Friday, August 29, 2008

My Just Desserts

I torture my husband in his sleep. Because he's so fun to mess with when his defenses are down. Mostly I just like getting him to tell me that he loves me when he's not even really conscious, that does a lot for my ego. Sometimes he talks nonsense in his sleep (last week he congratulated me on my "big account," whatever that means). But today I didn't expect that he would torture me in his sleep!

He went shooting yesterday with my brother and brother-in-law. How very virile they all are. (I am going to make them take me next time and I will make sure to wear heels and something pink). Anyway, I found Michael asleep on the couch this morning, and was trying to shoo him into the bedroom so he could sleep comfortably. Suddenly he said:

"You would make good target practice."

My response: "WHAT!"

My shriek didn't wake him up, and I kept pestering him, because I wanted this cleared up right away.
The only other things I got from him were, "Why don't you just read it."
Me: "Read what??"
Him: "The statements."

He was incoherent after that. I said very seriously,
"You do know you are talking nonsense, right?"

He had the sensible presence of mind to look sheepish in his sleep.


I follow a lot of other blogs, and there were a couple of good ones today.

One, is from a photography blog. His photo today is accompanied with a story involving a French policman and undoubtedly a prank on him involving someone telling him "how to say it in English." Read it here.

Number two is from a librarian blog that I follow. I really like her blog, and today's post rang a little true for me. Read it here.

And a Late Entry:
This post has perhaps the funniest edited photo I've seen in a long time. Have you noticed that cucumbers are everywhere lately??

Thursday, August 28, 2008

If wishes were fishes

My husband and I like music, we want music, and we buy music. Our favorite method is getting single songs on iTunes. After years of buying CDs at the store and getting a whole album-full of crappy music and one good song, it is so refreshing to be able to buy one song that we actually want and not pay for all those crappy ones. Occasionally we'll find an album where every song sounds pretty good (my latest craze has been Life Left To Go by Safetysuit), but they only come along once every few months.

Today my husband sent me this message over the computer:

Husband: "Sweetie, I can't help but notice you have been buying Mozart? Do I not have enough for your liking?"

Michael has a dozen or so classical CDs, and I keep forgetting. But I thought the way he phrased his question was sort of funny. I'm reading a language-heavy Jane Austen spin-off right now, and what he said seemed so Darcy-esque. My stomach did a couple of flippies. Maybe I can get him to talk like that all the time? And dress in regency clothing? Probably not.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Strange Sounds

This is a story from a few years ago that I remembered. I haven't been able to tell anyone about it until now, because blogger has so many lovely features that let you include photos and videos.
It's a long story, but if you've got a few minutes you might enjoy it.
(Note: you need audio for this post. So grab some headphones if you don't have speakers).

It's 2003. I'm in London. I've just finished a term abroad studying art history with a group from my university. I decided that I wanted to go to Ireland by myself for three weeks before returning to the states. So while I was in London I re-arranged all of my flight plans and got sketchy details on how to get to the Stansted airport from a man at my hotel.

I have to wake up at 4:30 am so I can take the tube (subway) to the train to the airport for my morning flight. The tube was okay, the train was more confusing, but I finally made it to the airport. But I couldn't find the desk where they checked bags. After looking for awhile, I realized that it was only 45 minutes until my flight left, so I hustled and found the baggage check desk around a corner that I didn't see. I showed my ticket to the lady and she looked alarmed and said, "They're already boarding. I don't know if they'll let you in to the gates." That freaked me out, but she hurried me through and I ran to the gate security checkpoint. The men there looked at my pass and looked at each other and said, "I don't think we can let her through. It's really late." I was terrified, but I pled a little and they let me through, and I ran to the gate.

While waiting at the gate I noticed that I wasn't holding my passport. I looked through my bag and a whole new wave of alarm went through me. I couldn't find it at all. When had I had it last? At the hotel? They didn't check it when I got my boarding pass. I bet it was in my checked bag. It had to be there, because it wasn't in my carry-on. So I headed for the gate hoping that they didn't check before I got on the plane.

They didn't. I made it safely on the plane and headed for Dublin. The plane ride was okay except for the landing. We have a theory going that the airline I chose was the one they trained new pilots on. Needless to say, I did a little death-bed repentance during the slide across the tarmac.

I stepped off of the plane and went rigid with panic as I saw a giant sign hanging in the air above me, "PASSPORT CONTROL." The passengers were all filing past me and walking up to a counter where a man was sitting and checking each of their passports as they went by. The line was moving steadily, and passport control guy wasn't taking anyone's passport, just looking at them as they held them up going by. So I decided to try being tricky.

I hopped in the line of people moving towards him, and waited until the last possible second, until I was the person he was looking at. Then I played dumb and went, "Oh!" as if to say, "Oh! You want to see my passport! Whoops, better find it." Then I rummaged through my money belt, pulled the papers out, went through them one-by-one, then opened my carry on and started rummaging through that. The line was building up behind me. Control guy got really annoyed and said, "Just go ahead." Because he knew that I had it, I just hadn't bothered to pull it out in time. I said a quick, "Thanks!" as if to say, "thanks for helping me with my stupidity today," and then I ran like hell.

I got my checked bags and went through them one by one looking for my passport and couldn't find it anywhere. That meant a trip to the U.S. Embassy for me.

I had prepared a lot for my trip to Ireland. I remember my mom being concerned that I hadn't thought everything through, and I remember telling her on the phone the exact number of the bus that I took from the airport to the city center. She sounded impressed and I was real proud of myself. But finding the bus was one thing, and then once I got on the bus and we started to reach the city center, I realized I had no idea how to get to my B&B once I got off of the bus.

Great. Well, I had the address of the B&B. As the bus pulled up to the city center stop, I saw about 7 taxis waiting there. Apparently they just lay in wait for young tourists who have no idea where their hotels are. I had hardly any money, but I didn't have any other choice. I hopped in a cab and gave the driver the address, and we set off!... For less than 3 minutes. The B&B was about 3 or so blocks away.

Ok, finally I'm there and I can't wait to change my clothes and take a nap. I had spoken with the B&B owner on the phone two days ago, and she made sure to ask me what time I was coming in so that she could be there to unlock the door for me (1:00pm). So I knocked. No answer.

I checked my watch. It was 1:20pm. She should definitely be here. I knocked again. No answer. I knocked for about 5 minutes before I gave up.

So, now I'm alone in a foreign country, I'm exhausted because I woke up at 4:30am, the train, the airport, passport control, the bus scare, I hadn't eaten anything all day, and now I couldn't get in.

Then it started to rain.

I gave up. I sat down on her front step, I was too tired to cry. I just stared straight ahead of me and wondered how many hours I would sit here in the rain before she came. That's when I heard this:

(If you turn it down low you'll hear it almost exactly as I did)

It was literally coming out of the sky above me. I'm not kidding. It echoed off of the buildings around me. I started to wonder if I was delusional, but then it happened again:

I knew this music from somewhere. It kept repeating, and I had no idea where it was coming from. The rain lightened up to a sprinkle and then the sun came out. The music wasn't coming from a direction, like a neighbor's window, it was just coming down from the sky.

So you have to imagine yourself sitting there in the sunlight listening to this music and feeling completely exhausted but completely exhilarated at the same time. I noticed for the first time that her front garden was filled with roses. Here's a photo:

I was pretty shocked by the contrast of how I felt and what I was hearing. I decided to pull out the Belgian chocolates that I had bought for my mom (in Belgium, no less) and ate one. Then the rain actually stopped. And then behind me the B&B owner opened up the door and asked me, "Why didn't you knock?"

Apparently you can't hear the door well from the back rooms.
I went straight up to my room and slept for the next six hours.

Did you know that Dublin hosted the Special Olympics? In 2003. The opening ceremony was the day after I flew in. Did you also know that they do sound checks the day before to make sure everything sounds okay? Guess where the stadium was. Practically across the street from my B&B. The music you heard (and I heard) was performers from Riverdance doing their sound checks for the next day. As a young girl I watched Riverdance on TV with my Dad and I remembered that song. At the time I thought it was one of the most beautiful, haunting things I had ever heard.

The next day all of the athletes from different countries paraded through the streets outside of my B&B as they made their way to the stadium. I took some pictures, and in this one you can see the top of the stadium in the upper-right:

I really don't know what to say in conclusion. I'm sorry I had to list all of the boring and whiny details from that morning, but it was pretty important to understand how dejected and awful I felt when that happened. It was completely surreal and wonderful.

I have some other good stories from Ireland that I may post in the future. Let me know what you thought of this one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Unattended children will be given an espresso and a puppy.

My family saw this warning posted in a shop in Park City recently, and we all thought it was pretty clever.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Where is the bathroom?

Today I caught myself pointing someone in the direction of the bathroom with two fingers and I thought, "Okay, I have now reached full flight-attendant mode."

They warned me that this would happen when I started at the library. A lot of the questions we get at the desk are directional. Where is the bathroom? Where is nonfiction? What does J mean and where is it? (J is for Juvenile, or children's).

But I do get some zingers. Like the other day I got this question:

"Do you have any novels?"

I am so sorry, my response was not good customer service, but I said a little incredulously, "Do we have any novels?"

She laughed and explained that she meant do we have any novels that I would recommend? Oh yes, I had a few encyclopedias that I could recommend, especially ones that cover what the function of a library is, but after a bit of investigation we settled on Ender's Game for her.

That isn't the worst one I've had. The cake-taker would have to be:

"Where are your books?"

Ok, I'm sorry, but we're surrounded by them. The correct answer would be, "Uh, everywhere. Close your eyes and hold out your hand and walk forward and I'm sure you will hit some."

But I answered his question with another question, "Do you know what type of books you are looking for?"
He was looking for non-fiction. That's upstairs. Two-fingers will point you to the staircase on the left.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

be·wil·dered - completely puzzled or confused; perplexed.

A girl came up to my desk today and just stood in front of me for a minute. I usually ask people if I can help them, but she wasn't looking at me, she was looking at a flyer. But after a minute it became clear that she wasn't looking at the flyer, she was just staring off into space. Begin our interaction:

Me: "Can I help you?"
Her: "Do you have any books on cortex?"
Me: "Cortex?"
Her: "Yes, it's my cultural heritage."

Then she walked away. But she wasn't really walking away, she was walking around the massive desk area that I sit in.

At the farthest point from me she whispered loudly, "Did you find anything yet?"
I waited for her to come back around.

Me: "Are you sure it's the cortex that you want?"
Her: "Yes."
Me: "Well, we have books that cover the cerebral cortex."
Her: "No, just find anything you have that has to do with cortex."
Me: "All I have is the cerebral cortex."
Her: "Ok, Where is that?"

I gave her the call number and she walked away. I thought maybe she meant Cortez, but he's a guy, not a cultural heritage. Unless you're related to him.

But she didn't really have that Spanish conquistador look about her.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ever feel like you're being watched?

At work the other day, I caught sight of this little guy looking at me from between the pen holder and the phone. And it was the most wonderful serendipitous little moment. Not just because I love Star Wars and most-things-sci-fi. But how likely is it that at any given time of the day, a little lego guy is watching you? Some librarian found this guy, and set him there, and positioned him to be looking at whoever's in the seat.

Someone once said, "God is in the details." How can you not feel that these serendipitous little moments were arranged to get a smile out of you when a moment before you wanted to pull your hair out?

(By the way, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, "God is in the details." But that awful German name just really got in the way of the rhythm. Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest said, "...I don't like German. It isn't at all a becoming language. I know perfectly well that I look quite plain after my German lesson.")

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

If you chance to meet a frown

An African guy came to the library today.
(He had the accent and a flag pin with green, red, and yellow colors, so I guess it's an assumption, but hopefully an accurate one.)

This is our conversation:

Him: Do you have books on mental illness?
Me: Do you know which kind of mental illness?
Him: Schizophrenia.
Me: Yes, let me look that up, just a moment.
Him: [reading my name tag] Breenee?
Me: Hmm? Oh, it's Breanne.
Him: Breanne. You have a kind face.
Me: Oh! Thank you.
Him: I'm not trying to be fresh or anything. You just have a kind face.
Me: Well thanks very much.

Ok, if all the other patrons in the world would just give me nice compliments like that, then that would be great. Thanks.

p.s. - I am going to resist with all my might thoughts like, "Well then kind people must have fat faces." Because it was a compliment and that would just taint it.

In case you were wondering if I exaggerated

My sister linked this to me today. You can click on it to see it larger if you can't make out the text. I didn't add the underlining and highlights, but they do show some of the finer points. Enjoy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mad World

Did you ever watch that show MASH? The show that arguably has the worst theme song music ever? It was that theme song that aptly kept me away from the show for years. Until I was about 18. I had a boyfriend in high school that was refreshingly different. One day at his house I asked him to change the channel when I heard those appaling horns announcing the beginning of another episode. I probably said something like, "Ugh, I hate this show. It's so lame." He responded by saying something to the effect of: "Oh, really? I actually like it a lot. Just the way that they're appalled by war, the way they see it affect these men's lives and bodies, they're faced with the ramifications every day..."

Basically, this blew my mind. I didn't know that the show with the awful intro-music could possibly have heart. So I started watching it, and sure enough, amidst the roll-eyes jokes and sarcastic banter, there were moments where the doctors would just look around them and the reality of it all would hit. Then you'd realize that all of the stupid jokes were just their way of trying to push the reality of where they were away from them. I watched avidly for a couple of years after that.

So one day in college, I was watching MASH in my apartment, when a roommate walked by during the intro song. And she said something like, "Ugh, I hate this show. It's so lame." And I smiled and thought I'd try the little trick on her. So I got up on my soap box and gave her the little spiel about war and the show...
A couple of weeks later she told me, "Breanne, after what you told me, I totally got into this show!" She watched it for awhile after that, too.

Have you ever had this happen? You have your idea of how things are, what your opinion is on something, and then suddenly one day you hear someone else's point of view and you realize they could be right, and it changes everything.

I had this happen again recently. Since Michael started working graveyards, sometimes I go up to my mom's house in the evenings and knock on the door and ask if she wants a little company. One night a couple of weeks ago she was watching a marathon of Mad Men. This drama on AMC just got nominated for 16 emmies. She said, "Oh, won't you pleease watch this show with me?" My mom then started talking about all of the reasons that she loves the show. The characters, all of the relationships between them, so-and-so's mysterious past, etc. But the big kicker was the setting. The show is set in 1960, about a Madison-avenue advertising company. The big appeal for my mom is the nostalgia-- she says that the show is so true to how life was back then, the clothes, the sets, how they treat women...

Wait, what? How they treat women? Nostalgic? So I started watching, with mom narrating on the sidelines. A new character walks onto the screen and she goes, "Oh, and this is so-and-so. He slept with that girl in the last scene but he's married and he doesn't talk to her now..." I'm missing dialogue now, but she's on a roll and we're on a new scene with all the men chatting in an office, "This is how the guys would act back then! Just this boy's club and the women were just stupid children. This show is just so nostalgic - this is my teens, my early 20's. This is what the world was like!" And as I'm watching it, something weird happened, because it started to become nostalgic for me, too. I got some weird connection to the 60's through my mom being there.

So the next night was the season premier of the 2nd season, and sure enough I was up there watching it with her. One scene of the show revolves around everyone watching Jackie Kennedy give a tour of the whitehouse on television, and mom's narrating again, "This was such a huge thing. The whitehouse had been neglected for years, but when she moved in she decided to restore and conservate everything. Kennedy's camelot..."

Now I'm hooked. I bought the first episode of the first season online last night and watched it until 1:30 am. Now the drama is starting to reel me in; the acting, the relationships, meanings. And the whole women's-treatment thing is starting to come more into focus. I was appalled by some things that the women (I know, actors in a fabricated environment) didn't even batt an eyelash at. Example: one woman uncovers a typewriter and says, "Don't be intimidated by all of this technology. The man who invented it made it simple enough for even a woman to use." Another woman standing up for herself is told, "I won't have a woman talk to me that way." I wanted to write my mom and email after watching it and say, "Really? Is that really how they treated women? It seems like a whole different universe. I can't believe it's so different."

I saw my mom online today and got to ask her in person:

Me: was it really like this???

Roberta: Absolutely. When we were married, I tried to get a job at BYU while your Dad was taking classes. This was 1969. Every department I went to would find out I was married, then basically tell me that married women shouldn't work, and that I should start a family! Like 6 jobs. I finally got a job off campus.

Me: oh my gosh
look how far you've come

Roberta: Yes, during these years we have had the womens movement, Gloria Steinem (who is my hero), the freedom movement. We have come a long way, but there is so much more to do.

Me: mom, I think watching this show is painting a picture of what [the world was like during the early years of your marriage]

Roberta: For me too! That is why I am so fascinated with it. It kind of verifies for me that I was right in doing what I did, changing the way I did.

Me: yeah, I'm glad that you did
I just can't believe you ever had to deal with that kind of world
when those people at BYU turned you down, did you realize then that that was sort of out-of-whack?

Roberta: I have to think, how are our Heavenly Parents? What is a true, strong, equal man woman relationship?
No, at BYU, I thought I was out of whack for asking for a job, but we needed it!

Me: so you didn't even know

Roberta: No, a frog in cold water that finally gets warm, then hot, doesn't sense it. I finally got so depressed and sick, and started back to college, taking a womens discussion group, and hearing the women in that group discuss these things helped me see myself. I would say about an amazing woman - hey, she shouldn't take that, she is a great person,and it slowly began to dawn on my that I WAS WORTH IT TOO.

Me: nice
it's just so foreign to me that the culture accepted these attitudes about women.
like culture shock

Roberta: Each decade has gotten better. It was worse before I got married, both of our parents marriages were worse.
Maybe this is a big purpose of life, that each of us free ourselves from ghosts of the past that say do things that don't work.. Maybe we are called to learn how to make relationships wonderful, freeing, empowering, and to grow like Heavenly Father wants us to.

Roberta: I am so proud of my girls marriages. That was my biggest fear, that you would repeat my mistake. Turns out you all decided NOT to make that mistake

Me: which mistake?

Roberta: Thinking you are worth any less than your man

Me: oh yeah, no
I pretty much think I am hot snot

Roberta: Oh ya, maybe my girls swung a tad too far the other way!!!!!

Back to my blogging:
I understand that this is not everyone's experience of the 60's. But this is what my mother experienced, which makes it real for me. She told me once, "We stand on the shoulders of our parents." Meaning, we get better with each generation.
Thank goodness. I hope the trend continues.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My month-long plan kaputz'd

Just in case anyone was wondering, I got sick during the 2nd week and my plan kaputz'd. Not very inspiring. But I'm not sure if the month-long plan could have held up even without the cold. I think I might do a series of week-long commitments. That's long enough to get an idea of something but not so long that I want to give up. It will also give me a chance to mix-and-match, try out a new commitment every week. More to come.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Blog Game

This is how the game works:

There is a list of questions (what is your favorite food, etc).
For each question, you type in your answer into Google's Image Search. Then you must choose your favorite image from the first page only, and post it on your blog. What you end up with is can be crazy or surprisingly insightful.

Here are my answers:

My Age:

A place I'd like to travel to:

A favorite place:

A favorite object:

My favorite Food:

My favorite animal:

but also:

My favorite color:

The town where I was born:

The town where I live:

A past pet:

A past love:

My best friend's nickname:

My screen name:

My first name:

My middle name:

My last name:

One of my bad habits:

My first job:

My grandmother's name:


My college degree:

What I'm doing right now:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Amusing Book Review

I got a chuckle out of this as I was processing book reviews for our Summer Reading Program:

Title: Let's Begin Again

Author: Debra White Smith

Summary: Victoria and Tony have been married for six years, but their marriage is having problems. In this book they try to figure out how to fix their marriage while evading assassins.