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3/29/08

a series of thoughts.

Today my mother, while hiking, absentmindedly asked how World War One started. Dan answered with the quickie "Archduke assassination" spiel, while I followed up with my long spiel about all the alliances made previous to 1914 which eventually caused....

Did you start skimming? I bet you did. Just like I wasn't surprised when I turned around mid-spiel to find that my mother, husband, and brother had wandered off to climb up a rock.

I was not alarmed by this, but I was alarmed when I realized I am forgetting many of my World War I facts. I remembered staying up with my Dad once, explaining to him all the intricate details of the treaties and alliances, those ready little catalysts which sparked the most depressing-to-study-as-a-history-major-wars-of-all-time.

Four months out of college and I do not remember these things. I don't think it is really my fault, since there is really no place for me to utilize the things I studied in college. (That is why I am going to be a teacher, so when I start to explain things, people don't go climbing off onto rocks, at least not until the bell rings.) I mean, what career exists where my now lost knowledge of iambic pentameter, or the fact that I once knew the dates of each and every French revolution would come in handy? I have once fantasized about starting some kind of hot line, where people could call and ask me, "So, about the sentence structure in As I Lay Dying, what is that about?" But I do not believe this will make as much as a public school teacher, which is saying something.

To end this series of thoughts, I will tell you the one fact I remember vividly from my years as an undergraduate student.

Once, in my "Common Medicines" class, (I didn't want to take a real science class) my professor admitted that as a teenager, he developed large zits on his eyelids. He could not close his eyes until he popped them.

Sometimes, I can't believe I am taking out loans to further my education.

3/27/08

on lookin' good

Ever since I can remember, my mother (hello, mother, ) has taught me that good things happen to well dressed people. She firmly believes that people who dress nicely (but not expensively! she would emphasize, never expensively!) somehow incur good clothes karma and succeed.

She is probably right on many levels. We've all read the articles about how important dressing well for an interview is etc. etc.

Thus, growing up my siblings and I found ourselves wearing more than our fair share of dresses and carefully ironed collared shirts. While other kids got to wear pajamas on the airplane, we wore outfits bordering on Sunday best. Mother wore a nice skirt, earrings, and of course, lipstick (we will get to that later.)

When we found our tickets upgraded, or moved to first class, my mother always reminded us that it was because we looked nice, and good things happen to people who look nice.

Enter Junior High and High School, the one time my mother's theory was rendered completely irrelevant. Whenever I complained about my lack of date or any other boy-misfortune, my mother would always tell me that I would have better luck if I "stopped wearing those jeans, put on a pair of nice pants (khakis, always, the khakis), and wore a bright colored button-down." I swear I spent my adolescence hearing about nice pants because boys liked girls who looked nice. She failed to realized that any boy attracted to a girl who looked like a mini Martha Stewart was probably gay.

Even worse, whenever I left the house, my mother would holler "LIPSTCK, STEPH, LIPSTICK." It did not matter what time it was, where I was going, or how quietly I would try and sneak out the door. "LIPSTIIIIICK," she would cry. Sometimes she would even throw a tube from the top of the stairs into the foyer as I left.

I am now married to a guy who has seen me wear khakis approximately once, doesn't seem to notice when I wear the pink button down gifted to me by my mother, and hates, loathes, and despises the feel of lipstick when engaged in certain activities of the kissing variety. Even so, sometimes I wake up with the sound of "LIPSTICK" echoing in my head.

This happened yesterday, and I found myself making a deliberate effort into looking nice. I did my hair. I wore an outfit I knew was cute because I wore it before and my sister Grace said so. I even put on lipstick while waiting at a stoplight driving to the junior high school I was subbing at.

Saying that nice things happen to well dressed people is all well in good when dealing with the real world. But junior high is not the real world. If the real world is earth, where everything weighs a certain amount and gravity keeps us on the ground, junior high is the moon, nothing weighs the same and everyone is floating. Accordingly, one could suggest that in junior high, bad things happen to well dressed people.

I gave two kids "Friday School" meaning they have to come in tomorrow on their day off, and sent numerous little moonlings to the office. One was a very tall very big ninth grader who grabbed my shoulders and shook me violently before leaving (yes, I nearly peed my pants.)

The worst part, just before the kids would misbehave, they would, and I am not kidding you, would compliment my outfit/appearance.

"You're really pretty," (slams nearby student into desk)

"I like your shoes," (throws something across the room)

"You are hot," (yells to a girl across the room, saying that he wants to have sex with her,)

Lesson: I am going back to my standard uniform of make-up less old cardigan wearing grandma-esque clothing uniform. Whatever karma I lose is just not worth it.

And no, I will no longer be wearing LIPSTICK, either.

3/25/08

Updates From Limbo

I do not even want to tell you how many empty cans of diet coke I found while cleaning out my car this morning. (I told you it would be riveting.) It numbers between "embarassingly alot" and "holy crap this is alot of diet coke cans."

And Sarah Hughes Smart, this should make you happy, I did not recycle any of them. Sorry Earth, but I'm still pissed about that little prank called "winter."

And the move that will get me moved out of Limbo and straight into hell? I'm kinda pissed at John right now. Yes, that John. Bible John. I think he was translated (or was that the other one.) Anyway, I was reading John, and dude, do you have to say OINTMENT and WIPE so much? Ugh. Two of the most disgusting words in the whole world and your chapters are crawling in OINTMENT and people are always WIPING.

Sorry John. But at least you are probably translated and I am going to hell.

author is sent directly to hell where she is forced to say/read "ointment" twenty times a day.

3/24/08

I am in Limbo. Which is supposed to be less bad than hell. But I disagree.

In ninth grade out tyrannical Honors English teacher, Mr. Gill, forced us to learn a vocabulary list every week. There was a test every Friday, and if you got 100% on all the tests, you didn't have to take the big composite test at the end of the term. I know of only a few people who accomplished this, and I sort of still hate them for it.

Acquiesce, cacophony, and ennui. Those are the words I remember 7 years later. I am going to get all metaphysical and explain why I remember these words.

Acquiesce. Because I am always saying yes, albeit reluctantly, to things I do not want to do. From agreeing to stay one more week at an awful job, to saying sorry for things I am not sorry for, I am always acquiescing.

Cacophony. What I cause when I write things on this blog that I shouldn't have written (I always protest, but it's true. And I am learning that even if it is true, it is sometimes not a good idea to write it down. ) I cause the cacophony and then I acquiesce to apologizing.

Ennui. What I am feeling right now. That awful boredom that comes from having all sorts of uninteresting things to do, but nothing worth writing about. For instance, I really ought to clean out my car. Riveting.

It also comes from being in waiting Limbo. Waiting Waiting Waiting.

Waiting to start grad school.

Waiting for our taxes to be done so I can apply for FAFSA and actually GO to Grad School. (I have a month and a half to convince the government to give/loan me thousands of dollars. And I need that all important tax return to do it.)

Waiting for my PRAXIS II study book to come so I won't fail the PRAXIS and can thus graduate from Grad School. (My program is slightly odd. No test to get in, but a big test to graduate.)

Waiting to get called by Sub Finder to see what gosh-awful west side school I will be enduring tomorrow.

Ugh. Limbo. Maybe I should go clean out my car.

3/19/08

Guilt.

And behold. The Mormon Child Bride is wracked with guilt. (a true Nielson never misses an opportunity to feel guilt.)

I feel guilty for being so grumpish. I feel guilty that my Bridezilla post was too mean (It was just supposed to be a funny story!) Ohhhhhhhh the guilt.

To make up for my grumpishness, I am going to share an experience that made me feel happy beyond my usual 7 or 8 level of happiness (old readers will recognize that phrase from an earlier post.) This was a 10.

Last week I actually got to teach an English class. One of my old teacher's from high school let me sub her class, and because she knew I had studied English in college, let me take over her lesson plan.

This is the poem I taught for her poetry unit. (Do you remember this poem from High School? When I saw it on the lesson plan I was like "Oh Yeahhhh")

We Real Cool

The Pool Players
Seven at the Golden Shovel

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

This is an English major's dreeaaaaaam poem to teach. The alliteration! The sentence structure! And the enjambment. Referring to how the poem cuts sentences in half by placing the beginning in one line and the ending in the next.

In class we spent a long time talking about why this is significant, and the class decided it had to do with the fake "cockiness" the kids are presenting. They think they're real cool, but they pause after each "We" like they don't really know who they are. That perfect mix of insecurity and bravado.

And thus the Mormon Child Bride rejoiced. Because I got to talk about poetry and get paid to say the word "enjambment" over and over and over.......

3/18/08

I'm a wierd sort of internet stalker. And I'm judgemental.

Disclaimer: I think I'm still grumpy. I promise I can be a nice person sometimes.

Ok, as I have sort of confessed to before, I love LOVE LOVE blog stalking. I have many levels of blogs I read. Blogs of Friends. Blogs of people I found on friend's websites and now still read (mildly creepy) Blogs of people I found on those people's sites that I read even though I have no connection at all. (very creepy.)

I really am suffering from not have twelve victorian lit. novels to read every week. Does it show?

Furthermore, my blogs are divided into categories- Very Well Written, Entertaining, So Poorly Written as to Become Entertaining, and Cheesy Mormon Bride Blogs of the Perpetually Blessed.

Now that I've laid out the basics, lets switch gears.

Dan and I celebrated our one year anniversary, a few days ago, (March 15) and the next day my mom and I were reminiscing about my wedding day. This inevitably led to a conversation about "Bridezilla" Because I am Mormon and got married in the Salt Lake Temple, the temple and the surrounding grounds were COVERED in brides the day of my wedding. I didn't mind, we all navigated around each other and I got to check out everyone Else's cool dresses. Except for Bridezilla. She wouldn't let anyone else in the Bride's room (the room you go to after your wedding to fix your hair and such) because she needed the whole room for her make-up. She somehow managed to wear a temple-dress with cleavage. Her fiancee/husband had his very own diamond engagement ring. We were in a changing room together at one point, and i couldn't help but notice that her underwear was stained orange from fake tanner. My favorite part was she got very upset at me at one point. Apparently we were spending too much time on the little podium in front of the temple, and she made a big point of standing behind my photographer, hand on her hip, glaring at me and Dan while we dipped and kissed. I thought it was all very funny, and she has turned into sort of a movie-character in my mind. Too entertainingly bizarre to be real.

Of course you should all know where this is going. I found her blog. It was a surreal experience for me, because I was pretty sure that I had made Bridezilla up, a funny little anecdote to tell at girl's nights when we inevitably get around to talking about our weddings. But no. She is real. I don't really "read" her blog. It's mostly pictures of her and her husband eating at fancy restaurants and sharing fake tanner (kidding). It's one of those times when I marvel at the powers of the Internet. Behold Bridezilla has a name, a house, and a collection of dresses from Shabby Apple.

The worst part of this experience? It doesn't make me any less judgemental. You know when you judge someone and then you learn more about them, and they become more lovable and you even think you could be friends? Not so. Bridezilla is now Wifezilla, and I can totally see her in her new role. Glaring at some poor girl whose trying on the last pair of designer jeans in her size, hand on her hip at the dressing room door. Hoping her victim hurries up so she and her husband can make it for their reservation at the Cheesecake Factory.

3/16/08

Confessions of a Generally Grumpy Person.

By Stephanie Nielson.


My husband is always telling me that I need to be more positive. How, I ask, when I live in a country that elects George Bush not once, but twice, do you expect me to be more positive? Husband always responds by telling me that optimistic people live longer, have healthier hearts, and have the capacity to run marathons and lift up semi-trucks off of a trapped puppy dog.

Bah. What Dan fails to realize is that I enjoy being a slightly cantankerous quasi-grumpy intellectual with somewhat elitist notions. I was raised that way by my parents (The same parents who thought it would be comforting to tell me about all the people they knew who died of DVT while Dan was in the hospital with....DVT) and I have no intention of running a marathon anytime soon.

Well, I finally have some back up for my theory that grumpy people are better (I may be simplifying things a bit, but roll with me.) Behold, my new favorite Newsweek Article, entitled, "Happiness:Enough Already."

Some Gems: "They like being dour, and didn't appreciate being told they should be happier." Exactly. Well said Newsweek.

Apparently, there is even a new book out entitled Against Happiness. Written by a man who spent a year forcing himself to jog (raise endorphin levels,) smile all the time, and sprinkle his conversations with words like "Great!" and "Wonderful," he finally gave up and returned to his previous lifestyle of overall grumpiness.

Here is the point to make some clarifications. The article, the author of Against Happiness, and myself are not actually against being happy. You see, I'm actually a pretty happy person. Why shouldn't I be. Obama is killing in the elections, I have a great husband who likes to cook and knows how to run a vacuum cleaner, and I got accepted to Grad School (every quasi-intellectual elitists dream.) What I am against is that overwhelming chipperness that self-help books keep pushing. Like those bloggers who log on only to extol about their husband's cuteness or their state of blessedness, I simply get irritated by superficial sunniness.

The most interesting part of the article notes that Happiness, like money, has become a commodity in American society. Like the material idea of keeping up with the Joneses, "Being Happy," is now something you have to compete for. While most Americans state that they are "pretty happy" there is a culture of self-help books, therapists, and even pharmaceutical companies that try and tell you that if you aren't happy 100% of the time, you need a prescription for Prozac.

I guess I am feeling that peer pressure alot lately. Since Dan's little stint in the hospital, I have had countless well-meaning people tell me not to worry or not be sad, or not feel any emotion not associated with perfect optimism. And I would like to point out that what I am feeling is perfectly normal. We had a scary situation and that necessitates a little worry, and maybe a little grief over the care-free attitude Dan and I had before we considered injecting him with Lovenox twice a day a suitable date-night activity.

Things are going to be ok. Dan is doing better. But I'd like to end this rant with a study from the article. It measured how much education/income a person received with their level of happiness on a scale from 1 to 10. (1 being miserable, 10 being freakishly happy.) Guess what? The 7's and 8's of the world earned more, were more likely to finish their undergraduate education, and overall dealt with grief a lot better.

So there. All you 10's that are so busy running marathons. I'll be seeing you on my yacht.

3/15/08

anniversary

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart) e e cummings

3/13/08

not going to nursing school

Dan has started giving himself his shots, because when I do it, I have a propensity for stabbing him multiple times......Not on purpose, I just suck at doing anything with needles not on a sewing machine.

Maybe I should ask one of my neighbors for advice? They are very advanced needle users, if you know what I mean...

3/12/08

Dan Update # 2

Dan is home! He was discharged from the hospital this afternoon and he is doing ok. His legs still hurt alot but he is on lots of Tylenol so that is good.
We still don't know why a perfectly healthy 25 year old developed so many blood clots, but this isn't the first time Dan has defied the expectations of normality. I've accepted the fact that he is just a freak.
We are starting the outpatient stuff tomorrow, pretty much labs and checkups to see if the medication is working and thinning his blood so that he doesn't form anymore clots.
After six months the clots should be gone, and if there are no new ones, he can get off the blood-thinners (then I don't have to freak out about him hemorrhaging to death should he cut himself shaving or whatever.)
Life is slightly less sucky. There probably won't be much to report for awhile, but we will continue updating with any developments.
Thanks again for all the prayers and support. We appreciate it so much. Thanks mom and dad for the help except for the time Dad told me about his client who had DVT (what Dan has) who had to get her leg chopped off and the time Mom read me the article about the reporter who died suddenly from a pulmonary embolism after he threw his clots- (Dan if you throw your clots you are grounded for life.)

Thanks again everyone

3/11/08

Dan Update

Hi everybody, I know a lot of people are concerned about Dan and since I can't keep up with everyone's calls, texts, messages I will just write brief updates about whats going on.Dan was admitted to the hospital tonight (We are FINALLY out of the ER.) He has been diagnosed with DVT which stands for Deep Vein Tim....something. Pretty much he has several deep and surface blood clots in his legs. Fortunately, the U hospital has a great staff and lots of doctors and Dan has been put on lots of anticogulants so that he forms no more clots and his body can hopefully take care of the existing ones. We are very optomistic that he will be feeling a lot better soon. He will start outpatient therapy after his release from the hospital, which we hope will be soon.Thanks for all the love, prayers, and support. Please keep Dan in your prayers.

3/10/08

Hurray!

Guess what? I've been accepted to GRAD SCHOOL!!!!!!! (Don't make fun of the grad students Bart, they're people too. People who have made horrible life choices....)

I have been accepted to Westminster's Masters of Arts and Teaching Program. I start May 12 and will have my Master's degree by May 2009.

I would like to give a little shout out to the husband, who is so wonderful. When I told Dan about my program he told me he was willing to put off starting a phd program out of state so that I could get my Masters at Westminster (their education program is the best for what I'm going into). I'm not going to be the primary breadwinner (hope not, not on a teacher's salary) but he knew that this program means alot to me and I love him for being so supportive. Thanks Dan.

In other news, Dans interviews at the U went very well, and if he is accepted we will be able to go to grad school together. Being poor and working our butts off for advanced degrees! Sounds Fun!

3/7/08

More Clark Brilliance...

Just in case a license plate spelling out "PENIS" wasn't enough, I bring you more of the charm that is Clark.

The incident from the previous blog occured after Clark and I had gone to my apartment to pick up some stuff. I come out of my bedroom to find Clark staring at a painting on the wall entitled Wedding on Bikes. Its one of those Japanese-style painting with a huge fall forest landscape and just along the bottom you can see a little wedding party, on tiny little bikes riding through the mountains. Clark is staring at it in wonder, and as I come into the room he turns to me and says,

"I think that would be the best wedding. Riding on bikes and everybody would follow us. It would be so cool." He even looks a little dreamy-eyed at the idea, and I thought it was cute that little Clark was already planning his very own Wedding on Bikes.

On the drive home (after the license plate conversation,) we pass a Dees Restaurant. Clark perks up "There are still Dees? I thought they knocked them all down!" (The Dees by my parents house recently closed down for demolition.)

Clark continues. "That's it! Here is the plan! After my wedding I'm going to go to Dees on my Honeymoon! We will rent the whole room and eat breakfast all day! Perfect Honeymoon!"

And they will drive away in a toilet-papered car with a license plate reading "PENIS."

If anyone knows any cute 10 yr. old girls who are interested in a future of bike rides and pancakes, and who would be perfectly ok spending her honeymoon in Dees, please let me know....I've got just the guy.....

3/5/08

Warning! Inappropriate for the Molly Mormons of the World! Don't want anyone to read this unintentionally and be ashamed! Danger Will Robinson!

Italic
Well. I tried. Today I tried to get through the whole day with only one can of diet coke. I was quite crabby (*euphemism*) and came home from work only to fall asleep on the couch for three hours. I don't see what I have as an addiction problem. I see it as a successfully rendered life-long commitment.

For those who are wondering, Dan's insides are still being ravaged by a mystery infection. He is quite the little delicate flower now, but seems to be on the mend a little bit. Dan's popularity in my family is not unlike the crazed fervor some people have for Obama, and I have recently been informed that his name is now on every prayer roll in every temple in the U.S.


Between caring for delicate flower and denying my addiction problem, I have neglected to recount one of my absolute favorite conversations from last weekend, which we spent at the Great and Spacious Building (parent's home*) house sitting and making sure my brothers ate more than just a bag of beef jerky and did more than play their game cube . In order to do this, I spent significant amounts of time driving them to school, and art class, and trumpet, and scouts. One time, while driving with my ten year old brother, Clark, we found ourselves behind a car with an indecipherable vanity license plate. We knew it said something, we just couldn't figure out what.

Clark: "That it the dumbest thing ever! Why would you spend money on something that doesn't make sense?"

Me: (Thinking that someone should ask Mike Huckabee that question about his campaign, but keeping quiet) "I don't know Clark, some people are just retarded." (better answer)

Clark: (Casually,) If I did that, I would make sure my license plate made sense. And was funny. So I would make it say PENIS.

As he proceeds to fall into a fit of giggles at his own cleverness, he comes up for air for one more zinger.

"Then all the little kids would try and figure it out, and their moms would have to tell them! All the moms would have to say 'PENIS.' "

I didn't want to tell him that the moms probably knew about that word already. That little word got them the kids to explain it to in the first place.....

3/4/08

Is OCD a good reason?

For no apparent reason, I have developed an almost-instant hatred of the word "Getaway." Too many people have written that word lately. And I hate it.

I do not know why I get these sudden and often times meaningless aversion to certain words in the English language. Because I do not know why, I will take the easy route and blame my parents. Especially my mother, who cringes visibly anytime anyone says the word "moisture." Sunday's in Utah are particularly hard for her.

"Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the moisture we have recieved...."