Friday, November 30, 2007

Kick some a....addiction!

One of my guilty pleasures is to surf the celebrity gossip - specifically on Perez Hilton. It's juvenile and mind-numbingly dumb, but when I need a little brainless fodder, it works!

For a while though I have been contemplating divorce with my celebrity addiction. While the addiction feeds my desire to be famous, my desire to waste some time, and a desire to laugh (some of the celebrity antics and quotes are preciously stupid!) I am often disappointed in the malnourished imagery, wasteful spending, and incredible life invasions that end up on display.

There is a fine gray line between my entertainment and the intrusion into someone else's life.

This morning I read about Julia Roberts and an incident with a paparazzo. She isn't the first to take a stance like this, or to tell the paparazzo off, but given my affinity for her (both in general and her movies) it added one for thing for me to admire about her. While I don't condone her specific maneuvers to get the cameraman to pull over, I have no doubt that I would have done the same thing.

I am perfectly aware that Julia does not thrill everyone like she does me.

I am also perfectly aware that I am blogging about celebrities when I actually try to take my blogging somewhat seriously.

Still, I think the world of celebrity blogging, watching, and stalking has hit a ridiculous level. I can see pictures of body parts I have no need to see - tell me, what purpose does that serve?

Do we as consumers have some sort of unwritten contract that allows us access to celebrity worlds that surpasses anything we would want?

Unfortunately I cannot change everything - though not for lack of trying! My power lies only within myself...and that means that it's time for my addiction and I need to break-up.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Music Memory Monday #6

I'm a little late in posting this - but given that I am about to post a picture of me from high school, I think you will all take one look, dig deep into your souls, and forgive me!

Every once and a while I exchange emails from people that I know from our days in high school. I graduated in 1996 - and a lot has happened since then. Many of my friends are married, some have kids, some have partners, some have passed away, and some haven't changed at all.

One thing that hasn't changed is our school song: Scotland the Brave! Granted most school songs don't change. Quite frankly I'm not sure if it's a theme song, fight song, or just some song to tie in our Scottish theme.

No one has enlightened me (nor have I googled it) as to why a small town nestled in California would adopt a Scottish theme. It all worked all well for me since, at the time, I look fantastic in red and even better in a short kilt-like skirt.

Really, I'm not sure how it started for me either. I don't remember the impetus that sent me to try-outs, but all of a sudden there I was, marching to the beat of Scotland the Brave as:

A Tall Flag Girl (the girls who twirl the flags in front of the band):

The next year and my senior year, I was a Banner Carrier, following in the footsteps of my Mom. (the girls who carry the letters that spell out the name of the school, often slamming them into our arms in rhythmic routines):

I spent the summers and falls of my freshman, sophomore, and senior years as part of the pageantry. My senior year I was co-captain with my friend Dana (she's the 'E').

So many memories are wrapped up in those years of marching, twirling, riding on buses to the competitions, and more.

It would only be fitting that every time this song comes on my arms twitch and my legs catch the beat, falling in line and stepping back in time.

Get out your batons, your drumsticks, your tuba, your pom-poms, and cheer along for Music Memory #6!

I'm not in this video (this is from this year, I think) but here, in all it's glory, is the GHS Marching Band and Scotland the Brave.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Capture my youth in a bottle...

If only we could capture our youth in a bottle to be sent to us at another time in our life, when we need it the most.

The Sunday Scribblings quandary of how our youth was spent is a strikingly apropos prompt for this week. In fact, as I type I sit in my room while my entire family sits in other rooms of the house, talking, reminiscing, planning for holidays, and other generalized conversation. Me being in my room is pretty atypical of my personality and my behavior...but much needed in this moment.

How did I misspend my life? Initially my answer felt easy: I grew up too fast. I was having adult conversations at eight, speaking with ease and comfort in large meetings at nine, celebrating events and birthdays with friends decades older than I. While I had friends my age I also considered (and still do) my parents' friends my own. I worked jobs as soon as I could - sometimes having many at a time.

Was this really misspent? That's a hard word for me to use. Misspent makes me think of the huge order I placed with CafePress a few months ago or the amount of money Eric and I spent on fast food in August of 2006.

The difficulty in labeling something as misspent invokes some notion that value was not realized. My youth, and my life learning process, are full of mistakes, missteps, errors in judgment, wrong questions, answers sought from bad sources...but isn't that all part of it?

How do we say that we misspent a time in our life? Is the answer that misspent time is time we would go back and change or do differently? If that is the case, then my reality is that none of my youth was misspent.

Yes, I grew up fast. I find myself at 29 trying to 'learn' how to relax, to take things slow, to undo adult-sized habits. I have moments were I wish I could run as fast and as far as I can from 'adult' responsibility. Sure there are things I wish I would have learned earlier or taken advantage of. Maybe I wouldn't have taken the promotion, or maybe I would have traveled to Europe or waited to get married, or focused on friends my age group, or maybe I wouldn't have changed anything. Responsibility seems to stick to me like cat hair.

Yet the world experiences I have had are built like a domino train upon each other. Taking one out would completely change the way my other dominoes fell. There are parts of my life, even right this minute, that I would love to be different. In no way, however, would I risk changing everything by 're-spending' a minute of my youth...

Black, blue and hurtful too...

The chorus to Mika's song 'Grace Kelly' have been floating through my brain all week. Seems to have matched my moods this week.

i could be brown
i could be blue
i could be violet sky
i could hurtful
i could be purple
i could be anything you like
gotta be green
gotta be mean
gotta be everything more
why don't you like me why don't you like me
why don't you like yourself

Monday, November 19, 2007

Music Memory Monday #5

Have you ever wondered if you have a sixth sense? Not in the Bruce Willis - Sylvia Browne kind of way but rather a soft whispering, or a feeling of deja vu,
or even a light premonition.

For a period of time - which include right now - I have wondered if Sister Hazel somehow has a sixth sense towards me! Yes I know, we all have songs that we think might have been written for us. Or maybe someone told you
that a certain song reminds them of you.

This goes above and beyond that. There have been other Mondays when I have sat down to blog about this, and then thought differently. I realize you all know I'm a tad crazy and, for the most part, honor my crazy. This might change that.
No doubt that if the below-mentioned ex
reads this it will confirm, once again, why we broke-up.

When I was in college, actually during my freshman year, I dated a guy that we'll call Owen. We only dated a few months before he compared me to breakfast cereal in a memorably creative break-up*. I was crushed. Whether or not this boy and I were actually compatible past the few months we dated is undetermined. However, at one point during our relationship he mentioned that a song we were listening too really explained how he felt about me. Awwww....I can hear the oohs and ahhs from all over blogerland.

The musicians were not his style (The Descendants) and the song itself was a little bit 'pop'ier than I expected him to like. Regardless I was thrilled to have a song remind someone of me.

Shortly after being likened to 'Fruity Pebbles' during our cereal date, and still reeling from the whole affair, I started to notice a trend.

EVERY time Owen called me or anytime I saw him on campus this song was on. Seriously. I was at a grocery store once with my roommate, the music came on, we turned a corner and there Owen was. My cousin and I were walking across campus, the song came on my Walkman (linked for those young-uns), and sure enough, there he was on his skateboard coming to find us.

It wasn't just me who noticed this trend.
My roommate had similar experiences as did my cousin.

For a while I forgot about the song and Owen. It probably played but I never heard or noticed it. Owen and I, who remain friends, weren't at school together, our friend group had dissolved and we were in different places.

Then last year I was sitting in our home with my husband, the song came on the radio (it gets a lot of SLC play) and shortly after the first strums of the guitar my phone rang with a call from Owen. NO JOKE!
I had not heard from him in over two years.

Crazy? Maybe. Strange? Definitely.

Regardless, it sure makes for an interesting story and a fantastic

Music Memory Monday

Happy Monday everyone!

**I am happy to share the cereal break-up story with anyone interested - it is one of the most creative break-ups I've ever heard, let alone be a part of...**

Friday, November 16, 2007

I carry...

This blog suggestion came from the wonderful people over at Sunday Scribblings. I am not sure they realized what a cathartic exercise this would be for so many of their readers. Or at least for me, I can only speak for myself. Damn. I love speaking for everyone.

Anyway. As I have thought this week about the theme, 'I Carry', my mind has wandered with so many possibilities. All pieces of my life that are blazing hot topics for me right now: the weight I carry, the traits, physical and emotions, that I carry from my Grandfather, my children who are more often in my arms than not, the responsibility of being the oldest child, and the list goes on and on.

At some point during the week, I found myself at the store. Which store it was isn't important, but it is one with a standard big-box cosmetics section. Standing in the cosmetics aisle time came to a stand still, and a memory started to spin in my head. It suddenly became clear what it is I carry. Guilt. Specific guilt for various pin points in my life. The smell of Bonnie Bell cherry lip gloss and eye make-up remover induced stabbing pricks of memory, and said guilt.

I carry the guilt for carrying cosmetics out of a store without paying for them.

There, I said it.

No, I did not steal Lipsmackers or Maybelline this week! It was actually nine years ago. That time frame is crucial because it means I can blog about it with no criminal consequences attached to it! That state in which this horrid event occurred has a seven year statute. That says something about me too, that I would look that up before blogging about it. Hum...that's another thought for another day...

I had recently moved from the warm comfort of my parents' home and pocketbook, to make my way as a student at a large, state-funded University. My parents combined income exceeded financial aid guidelines and my parents' combined parenting theory demanded that I provide for myself, minus the money they paid directly to the school for tuition.

There is a reason that I sharing all of this with you. It is not in any attempt for pity. My parents provided me both the opportunity for me to go to school, an opportunity that unfortunately not everyone has. More importantly, and as per their desire, having to work as well as attend school helped me set priorities (boys were still #1), forced me to create my own signature work style and ethic, and value the money that I earned.

So it is interesting that I would have felt spurred on to carry, in my purse, anything out of a store without paying. Not because I am angelic and that behavior is beneath me, but because I could afford to buy the things I needed, and a few things I desired.

I could not tell you what I took. It was probably foundation and mascara, which tend to be the more pricey things where make-up is concerned.

I can tell you that I took the said items out of their packaging, hid the evidence throughout the store, put the things into my purse, and then proceeded to the cash register where I purchased several things.

Yes. I bought a variety of other necessities. I stood at the cash register, smiled and made small talk, paid for my legal purchases, and walked out of the store. Have cash, but will carry anyway.

This is not the only contradiction in my behavior. The very notion that I would steal make-up is quite ironic...I rarely wear make-up. At that time in my life I was in good physical shape, had always had clear skin, and could get by with jeans, a tee, and lip gloss. Who knows if I even wore the make-up!

Those details are unimportant in the end though. What is important is that the memory of having stole items from a store has been something I have carried since then. Each time I enter the store and legitimately walk out with cosmetics I am drawn back to that one instance in my life.

One instance that weighs in my mind and on my soul. Even now, as I struggle to define myself religiously, I still believe firmly that there are wrong and right behaviors. We do things at times that are directly contrary to who we know we are. Carrying make-up out of a store, with no payment, and with no, at the time, guilt, is not who I am.

From that instance on there have been so many things that have carved and molded me into the person I am. That's not to say that I haven't done other things I am not embarrassed, ashamed, or feel guilty of. Life experience dictates that we have some of those, as well as some that if we could we'd list on our resumes or on a t-shirt with pride.

So, though I have carried this for years. It is time to drop it.

Now playing: Petra Haden - Don't Stop Believin'
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Five Life Classes

Terina over at Life as a Military Wife tagged me to do the following meme! I actually really like this one as it reminds me of one of my favorite songs - 'Eight Easy Steps' by Alanis Morrisette (see below). I could just take all the classes that she suggests...I haven't found another song that rings so true in my life. I think I'll do this meme every year and see what classes I've taken, failed, or added!

5 Life Classes to Fix My Existence

Devise a list of 5 courses you would take to fix your life.
It’s more fun to be in classes with friends, so include
one class from the person who tagged you that you’d also like to take.
Tag five friends to go back to school with you!

I am tagging Jessica, Liz, Ali, Eric, and Melissa - plus ANYONE who wants to do it!

Shell's Life Semester Courses

Course #1: World Religions & Philosophies 501

I've taken world religion and philosophy both before so I want
the advanced course. I want the advanced version of this class.
I want field trips to monasteries, Shinto shrines,
kaballah centers, Hindu temples, sabbath with a rabbi,
visits with theological leaders and religious greats.
Schedule seminars, which include a review
of major doctrinal beliefs, introduction to scripture,
and a question & answer period, with the Dalai Lama, Jehan Begli,
Billy Graham, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,
Pres. Gordon Hinckley, Archbishop Williams,
Yusuf Motala, Louis Farrakhan, Bishop Tutu,
Mary Manin Morrisey, Arun Gandhi, and more
Given the religious pursuit that I find myself in, having
this class would provide me with the factual information I need
and the spiritual experiences I crave.

Course #2: Expect Reality 101

When I got married (back in 2000!) my Mom's advice to me was:
"The best advice I can give you Shell is to lower your expectations".
The truth is that I needed help setting expectations LONG
before I got married and for every aspect of life - not just marriage.
It is easy to get in a mode where you think your way of doing things
is better than the rest. You expect that people either do things
the way you want, even though you haven't communicated what that looks like.
Or maybe you expected a situation to go differently than it did and
you find yourself being disappointed, a lot. Or you expect,
when the phone rings, that the friend on the other line will actually
ask about your life even though up to this point they NEVER ask.
Even though I got this advice a while ago - I still struggle with this
and would love to make my life easier (and those around me) by
resetting or letting go of expectations.

Course #3: Countries Have Boundaries & So Should You 101
Ugh. How many times have I said 'yes' to something and then
immediately regretted it. It's even more than regret - it's more
of a burning frustration with myself wanting to be 'nice'
to someone else rather than being nice to myself.
Saying no doesn't have to be mean -does it?

Course #4: Deaf Studies & ASL 101

Did you know that people who are deaf prefer
to eat in restaurants with bright lightening? Or that
if someone can lip read that they prefer you speak at your
regular tone of voice even if they cannot hear you because when
you whisper (or do not speak) you do not enunciate as much which
makes it harder to read your lips? Did you know that when you study
sign language part of your study includes non-manual signals such
as the lowering of eyebrows, tilting of head, and placement of
shoulders? I do - but only because my uncle, who was born deaf,
his wife, his children, and my cousin have given me these tidbits.
I am amazed by the ability my uncle Steve has to make people
he is speaking too feel comfy especially when they don't sign -
but I have long been unsatisfied with my ability to fully communicate
with him. By not knowing sign, or much of deaf culture, it makes
him work more to talk with me...even if he's used to it.
I miss out on phenomenal conversations with him and would
LOVE to just sit down, relax, and chat away.

Course #5: Blood Might Be Thick - But It Is Transferable 201
This is the class of Terina's that I would take too! She called it,
"How To Do With Crazy Family Members 101"
I have been working hard on understanding the dynamics
in my family or origin and in Eric's family of origin. This doesn't
mean that I understand them all or that I deal well with them - but
I feel like I am to a place where I can see why things happen. Still,
especially after my grandpa's funeral, I feel like there is SO much more to
explore. I would like to spend a lot of time doing a detailed, relationship
genogram, looking at the roles of older sibling/middle sibling/youngest
sibling in each family, the behaviors that we learn in our first five
years that haunt us as we grow old, and especially how to let go
of the issues that affect our new families that come from the old.