Monday, January 28, 2008

Music Memory Monday #7

Brevity is the order of my day.

Instead of my Music Memory, I'd like to know what memories you have with this song:

Does anyone else think that the cowboy looks a little like Leonardo DiCaprio?

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Are there pieces of each of us that are miscellaneous? I'm not talking about dead skin flakes that have no purpose any longer. Pieces of information that when you are explaining yourself you use the et cetera clause? Like on Seinfeld where instead of finishing you just say 'Yada, yada, yada.'

Initially when I read the prompt for this week's Sunday Scribblings I thought it fit perfectly with a topic I am anxious to talk about - emotional baggage. Miscellaneous emotional baggage. It is still a topic that I am anxious to talk about about, but not at 1:00am in the morning after several days of minimal sleep. Emotional baggage, even just the discussion of it, feels so much larger and heavier when sleep and energy levels are low.

My next notion was to provide you with a list of miscellaneous facts about me. Things like:
  • I cannot mix milk from two different cartons. If there is a little of milk left in one carton and I need more, I'll use only milk from a new carton and wait to use the other later.
  • My feet and hands are almost always freezing. This is made worse by the fact that I like to wear flip-flops, regardless of the season.
  • I once plucked two key pieces of hair from my right eyebrow by mistake. This mistake then cause the brow to look like two, giving me a total of three eyebrows. It was a painful month.
  • With the exception of the first day on jobs, taxes and kindergarten I have never gone by my real first name.
Each of these is a miscellaneous fact. To know one doesn't give you a whole lot of insight as to who I am. You might see a girl walking through the snow in winter with flip-flops on and wonder if it's me.

Yet at the same time if you start adding all the miscellaneous facts up you get the sum total of me. So how do you differentiate, in your person, the singular you from the miscellaneous? Or can you?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Please make it stop!

Today I was folding laundry. The boys were in the other room playing and I thought 'I'll just turn on the TV and see what's on'. Bad idea. The time was 12:35pm. Not a good time for TV. I rarely watch TV let alone daytime TV so this was a walk on the wild side for me. I was severely punished.

Do you know how incredibly dull the programming is? Compounded by the bland commercials! Ok - 'I Love Lucy' is an exception.

Here is what I learned/saw in my 17-minute swim through daytime TV:

* A judge that has a 'passion for real people'. Um...yeah...who exactly are those
real people and how are all the rest different?*

* There is a guy on a commercial for trade school that urges people to call so that they aren't stuck in the same place in the next four years. Funny because I swear that guy has been doing these commercials for four years. *

* Soap operas and their actors are horrible.
Some actors are cute, but horrible nonetheless. *

* If you are ever invited on Jerry Springer or Maury Povich it is never for a good thing. *

* Wilford Brimley cares more about diabetes than anyone else.
He just exudes care and concern. *

* The actors in the "dramatizations" for personal injury attorneys are worse
that the above mentioned soap opera actors. *

* Most of the time he is NOT the child's father. *

So - that was 17 minutes of my life I will never get back. Doing the laundry in silence is better than exposing myself to that.

Lesson learned.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Music Memory Monday #7

There is so much to write about! I love all the comments from my last post about Independence - plus I had a new experience this weekend that I need to evaluate and then share. Yet I am at home potty training (Walker, not me) and feeling the need for something fun and not as serious. Plus it's Monday and time for Music Memory Monday!

So on Saturday I got to spend three hours sorting, cleaning, and organizing the boys' room. It was heaven by itself (given my affinity for organizing AND the fact I got a label maker from the boys for Christmas!!). My joy was added to by the fact that I donated two bags of clothes and a bag of toys. For me there is a direct relationship between stuff and junk in my real world and stuff and junk in my soul. Dropping those bags off to the Goodwill was almost like a good therapy session.

On top of the absolute fun I had with the activity itself I was ecstatic to plug in my iPod to my portable player and crank up whatever I wanted to listen to. I spent the first 1 1/2 hours listening to an episode of Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and the end of an episode of This American Life. While these are not music and therefore don't qualify for my Music Memory I have to put a plug in for both of them. I know I'm an NPR addict but these are real treasures. Wait, Wait is a game show with a pop-quiz style format featuring stories from the news. They have a panel as well as guest players. This American Life is indescribable. Well ok, they way they describe themselves is: "There's a theme to each episode, and a variety of stories on that theme. It's mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always. There's lots more to the show, but, like we said, it's sort of hard to describe." I can only say you have to listen to it. They suggest going to their favorites and downloading one or two for a listen. From their chosen favorites I highly suggest 'Act V', '24 Hours at the Golden Apple', and 'My Experimental Phase'. We use these as our road trip listens rather than books on tape now. There has only been one that I don't like - and I've easily listened to one hundred of them.

Ok - ok. I am rambling. But the above is useful information so I'll consider myself thanked by you.

The real listening treat on Saturday came when I decided to veer away from the spoken word and crank on some music. My iPod is in need of music face-lift so I spent some time just tooling from playlist to playlist. When I finally landed on one I listened to the playlist three times. But before I share it with you I need to take you back in time.

In 2002 I had the chance for work to travel to Idaho on a marketing expedition. We were growing our business there and I needed to network. Eric took some time off and travelled with me. We were spending two nights in Boise - one night full of interviews, hiring and training new teachers. The other night, on a fluke, I bought tickets at Boise State University for the Broadway tour of Rent. I had never heard of this musical, nor had Eric, but we were up for an adventure.

It was a life-changing, mind-blowing experience. We walked out with Eric claiming that he had found a new all-time favorite musical. Seriously - Rent beats Les Miz, Phantom, Wicked - all of them for Eric. (technically Rent is a Rock Opera) Honestly I was still in a little bit of shock. That night remains such a vivid memory for me. Trying to digest the emotion of the music, the political musings, and the societal messages. Hard to believe we had this experience in good ole' Boise.

Rent is often known (to those who haven't seen it) as the musical where everyone is gay and has AIDS. In fact there was a Team America: World Police had a whole scene devoted to it. Most people don't know that Rent is actually based off of Puccini's 'La Boheme'.

Rent isn't for the faint of heart. Yes there are gay people. Yes there is a drag queen. Yes they use the 'F' word a lot -especially in the musical. If you can have an open mind, it will blow your mind. You'll think differently about love, AIDS, gay, straight - all of it.

Here's a brief description of the characters. For more information on the plot line, characters, and more go here.

Mark - a filmmaker and the 'narrator' of the story. Dated Maureen. He is roommates and best friends with Roger. (Originally played by Anthony Rapp who reprises the role in the movie)

Roger - a musician. He got AIDS from his former fiancee who killed herself after getting the news. Since then he's depressed, unable to write, and just waiting to die (even though he's healthy and young).
(Originally played by Adam Pascal who reprises the role in the movie)

Mimi - a young 'exotic' dancer with HIV. Has her eyes set on Roger. She has a drug problem which provides a problem for she and Roger. (Played by Rosario Dawson in the movie)

Maureen - Mark's ex girlfriend who is now with Joanne...or at least for most of the musical. Maureen is a performance artist with a flair for drama. (Originally played by Idina Menzel -yes, the original Elphaba - who reprises the role in the movie)

Joanne - Maureen's girlfriend and a newcomer to the group. She's a lawyer and her lines in 'Take Me or Leave Me' are classics! (Played by in the movie Tracis Thoms)

Collins - Falls in love with Angel who saves him from a fight. Collins is a philosophy professor and anarchist. Collins also has AIDS. (Originally played by Jesse L. Martin who reprises the role in the movie)

Angel - the muse of the musical Angel is a talented percussionist who usually plays on the street. She is a cross-dresser who has AIDS. (Originally played by Wilson Jermaine Heredia who reprises the role in the movie)

Benny - a former member of the group who married well and has new ideas of how to make the world a better place. In the opening scene of Rent the characters are singing about not paying rent after receiving an eviction notice from Benny. Benny and Mimi dated once. (Originally played by Taye Diggs who reprises the role in the movie)

Hollywood finally made a movie - which is fantastic. It features many of the original Broadway cast members (see above). Still the live version is so much grittier. Here are some scenes from the movie. It was PG-13 but I've put warnings with each clip.

Seasons of Love:
This is the most well-known song from Rent. This scene is from the movie opening.

The Tango Maureen:
Mark, who used to date Maureen, shows up to help her set up for a performance only to find her new lover, Joanna, instead. They find out their bond through Maureen is a little too similar. Great song for anyone who has felt absolutely crazy in love. (the 'f' word is abundant in this one so watch when the kids aren't around)

Out Tonight (the first part of the video):
Raunchy and dark - and totally addicting! Mimi, a stripper, is trying to catch eye. As she leaves the club she works at she sings about wanting to go out. He's a recovering addict who lost his fiancee to drugs and isn't sure he wants to go back the down that path. (she is a stripper so her dancing leaves little for the imagination though her clothes stay on)

I'll Cover You:
Angel and Collins (yes he's the Jesse Martin from Law & Order!) decide to be a couple. This is a scene between a man (Collins) and a drag queen (Angel) so if that subject material isn't for you then skip this one. The song is a great tribute to love.

La Vie Boheme:
A former member of the group has married well and is now forcing them to pay rent for the building he originally let them stay in. He seems himself as a force for positive change - everyone in the group sees him as a traitor and a 'suit'. When he tells them that Bohemia is dead they sing in honor of La Vie Boheme. mentions a lot of controversial subjects and includes some suggestive dancing)

Take Me or Leave Me:
This scene occurs shortly after Joanna and Maureen have a commitment ceremony (yes, they are lesbians). In case it's not obvious - they break up at the end of the scene. Part of the musical is their journey away from and back to each other.

Ok I better stop. I could keep posting and by the time I'm done my blog would have all of the video.

Going to this musical really helped me face my own prejudices about AIDS, LGBT issues, and drug use. Eric was the original Rent-head in our family but it did not take me long to fall in love with it. At the end of writing this I am realizing that this post was serious - so much for wanting just something 'fun'. I still got to watch most of the movie though in picking out the clips! Now that's fun.

Give Rent a chance if you haven't already.

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's just my personality...

One of my high school friends, Carrie, has her son in preschool with mine. It has been fun to catch up with her after their school gets out as we walk around and try to make our way to the car. She and I were never best friends but we were close through most of the time we were in school together. I have some great memories with both Carrie and her sister.

Yesterday she mentioned that one of our other friends from the good ole' days is getting married. And then she said something that I have been chewing on since: 'I never thought she'd get married. You know, she's just so independent.'

Hum. Now I realize what Carrie meant and what I'm chewing over are two very different things. I walked away, though not offended, challenged by the notion that I might not be considered independent. In fact, being labeled as dependent for any reason, but let alone because I chose to marry someone I adored. I realize, again, that this was not Carrie's implication...but is it society's?

Our friend, we'll call her Marie, was the one in high school to be incredibly selective about boys, rather than boy crazy. Rather than head to every dance or party on the weekends, she was selective about how she spent her time. She still works for the same company that she did in high school. More importantly she was (or at least seemed) comfortable with herself and in high school, well that's like the Holy Grail.

Hearing Carrie say this has really challenged my notion of independence. Was I not independent because I always knew I was the marrying kind? I have always thought of myself as an independent person, but is that really true?

What is independence in a person?

Is it based off of romantic relationships? In high school I dated the same guy off and on from the time I was 15 until early college. We broke up several times but it was usually because I wanted to date someone else. And I rarely wasn't dating someone. I am not saying this to sound proud - trust me, some of the 'men' I dated are not ones to be proud of. Regardless I was never long without a love interest or a boyfriend. Is this dependence?

Is it based off a person's awareness of his or herself? And if so, how do you define that? At various times in each phase of my life (high school, early 20's, now) I have felt very aware of myself and very comfortable with myself. Something usually happens in each phase of life that shakes that awareness up, both positive and negative, and forces me to reevaluate myself.

This question I find myself thinking about was then further challenged last night when my cute cousin Ann stopped by. We got talking about family dynamics, in particular, 'yapping'. Ann recently returned from serving an LDS mission and is staying at home until school starts at the end of this month. She got home in October - which as a young adult means a long time back with the 'rents. She commented that she forgot how much 'yapping' occurs in her house. Which led us to discuss who in our family 'yaps' the most.

Who won doesn't matter - oh ok, it's Ann's mom. My ultra-white-personality Mom made the comment that it was hard to make 'yapping' sound like a negative when, for my aunt, it is part of her energy. Like most extroverts my Aunt gets some serious energy from people. In fact she gets more energy from interactions with other people than anyone I know - except for the pre-mommy me. Pre-kids I had a greater need to be fed energy by people through interaction and conversation.

So...playing into my earlier question of what is independence - can only an introvert be independent?

This post has been rather convoluted and random which mirrors my thoughts about the subject the last 24 hours.

I'm wondering for my blogger friends and family out there - are you independent? If so, what are the criteria that you measure your independence by? What about other people? How do you determine, from the outside looking in, whether someone is independent? Does marriage change your feelings? Does having children change your criteria?

And in case you are wondering, I am an ENFX (a mix between J&P). If you have never done the Meyers/Briggs personality test - google it and find yourself out. Check and see how closely you feel it resembles your personality. I love (love, love, love!) personality testing!!

Discuss amongst yourselves....

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wait, how many miles is that?

Last weekend we went down to visit our friends Rob & Melissa who are stationed at Camp Pendleton. We had more fun than can even be described. Towards the end of our visit Melissa brought up the Camp Pendleton 'Mud Run'. Not 'brought up' as in "Did you know they have an annual Mud Run" or "Can you believe that some idiots run in a thing called the 'Mud Run'".

No, no, no. She brought it up by saying "Would you and Eric run this with us?"

I told her to send me the link - which she did - and that we'd think about it.

And thinking about it I have done. All week. Almost every hour I have some thought of this race.

It is 6.2 miles long. 6.2. Did you read that? SIX POINT TWO MILES! Up hills, in the mud, through a river...

I have never run more than two miles in my life. And those two miles were when I was in my first year of college and had strong legs and a stomach unmarred by the stretch of child-bearing.

So...I am completely upended by the question about whether I could do this.

I keep going back and forth in my mind.

Some of my thoughts and counter-thoughts:

* I've been trying to get in shape and this might provide a good goal to work towards. (Yes, but 6.2 miles Shell. Who are you kidding? Even with a training program you're not going to make it.)

* I like the idea of going out every night with Eric to run. (Yes but running Shell? When have you ever liked to run?)

* It would be awesome to be able to say I've done this. Plus maybe it would start a fun trend and we could do other runs with the Gluten-Free team. (Yeah, how awesome would it be to fall flat on your face or quit 1/2 way through the race.)

* There are a lot of people who do the couch-marathon training and succeed. (Just because you've been going to the gym every day doesn't mean you can run a 10k.)

As you can see my inner voice is not being helpful. I can't quite decide if I'm being self-deprecating or realistic.

Honestly I would really like to do it and feel like I'm coming up with all the ways and reasons I would fail to see if I can get past them. If I can get past them now then during the race it wouldn't be that big of a deal.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Are my cheeks red?

I am struggling between feelings of shame and glee to write about this. Not quite sure why I would be embarrassed by this...but I feel like I should be. Maybe it is because my Mom has already declared her absolute hatred for this and my husband his disinterest. What should their opinions matter though? My Mom likes American Idol and Gray's Anatomy and Eric, well his taste cannot even be described!

So...with blushing cheeks I admit that I am totally into Kitchen Nightmares!

I have only watched a couple of them online but I love it. Of course Gordon Ramsey is world renowned for being an ass - which is quite sad because (even though he is) he is incredibly talented. His attitude often overshadows or out-Hollywoods his talent.

Part of the draw for this show (which I watch here) is to see how restaurants are being run. Having worked in one for several years it is mind-boggling to see what happens. Makes me grateful that we don't eat out that much! The other draw for the show is Gordon Ramsey. Of course I'm jealous that he says whatever comes to his mind with little to no filtering. It would be nice not to filter everything I say. Beyond that I am absolutely floored by his ability to manage business with his talent for cooking. Not every creative person can also run a business.

I realize he has a staff of people that travel with him and a staff of people that run his restaurants. Regardless - that he can see the overall picture of business success and also focus on the minuscule details of what makes a dish delectable is enviable.

This probably seems like a random post but I'm getting ready to work on a text-heavy project which means I need a little something to watch. I then realized how excited I was about getting to watch MORE of the show! Had to share...

Friday, January 04, 2008

Pandora's Box

Have you noticed that once you've become aware of a subject that your mind finds connections to it from everyone? Here's an example:

When Will was diagnosed with Celiac Disease I started hunting for gluten-free (GF) foods. Now I see them everywhere! It was like the original exposure alerted my senses to a world I had not noticed before.

I believe we all do this. Sometimes we get introduced to a new musician and it's all we can do to stop listening to just their music. Or a new food and we can't get enough of it.

Well my little foray into consumerism, environmentalism, and use of the world has opened Pandora's Box. Not only am I seeing information everywhere I go now, but now I'm hearing discussions that, no doubt, were had before, and watching people make their own life changes.

My best friend TJ sent me an email with this link. I rarely send group emails out unless it's regarding our family but I had to send this one just like I have to post it here. The video is twenty minutes long so pull up a chair!

The Story of Stuff

And as always, I would love to hear thoughts.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

My own welfare...

Several years ago, after receiving several awards for his contributions to environmental causes, Jim Fowler was quoted as saying "Sooner or later we've got to tie the saving of the natural world to our own public welfare."

No doubt, given his background, Mr. Fowler was talking about conservation of the earth's resources and minimizing our carbon footprint. When I read his quote it hit a different chord with me. Certainly I am investigating ways to decrease my own carbon footprint, rethink the relationship I have with 'Mother Earth' and teach my children respect to the environment. With the holidays having passed, and in such a frenzied manner, this quote and our relationship with the world mean one thing: consumerism. I spent most of the holidays absolutely amazed (borderline disgusted) with the present-purchasing movement.

You don't need to be a NOAA scientist to find the link between consumerism and the decline of the earth's resources. For me though, it is simple. In the madness that was the holiday season I found my notion of the world and it's people attacked, and my own personal welfare in jeopardy. In fact I mentioned to my Dad today, while watching the Rose Parade, that I longed for the simplicity of my youth. The days when watching the Rose Parade didn't make me smirk at the contradiction of a sign touting 'Preservation & Conservation' on a float filled with flowers that had been harvested solely for the purpose of a parading down the street. I've been to the Rose Parade and had a lot of fun spending the night, throwing tortillas, laughing at the horse dropping clean-up crew, and 'ahhing' at the floats. That was before I knew that it costs at least $3,000 to enter a float into the parade and at least $100,000 to build one. That means at least $4,944,000 just from float 'revenue' alone.

Granted some flowers are grown solely to donate their life to the parade. Granted this is a 119 year tradition that is honored by a lot of people. And I'm not meaning to pick on the parade. The example is a valid one. How many events, toys, products are exaggerated in meaning or price? How ridiculous is it that my bank has several teams of horses? That in addition to paying for the care of these horses they also enter floats in the Rose Parade!

In my own sphere, the only one I can influence, how ridiculous is it that my children spent most of Christmas day opening present after present after present? They were not gifts that we had bought, but I had failed to set an expectation with everyone else that my kids were not in need of anything. We've joked the last few days that out of everything they got the trumpet from the Dollar Store and the $2.00 airplane have been the hit!

My Grandma, who is in town, caught me at a vulnerable moment the other night and I found myself sharing more than usual (funny given what I share here). Eric joined us and we spent a good time talking about the mistakes made in the past. I touched on it in my previous post but the bottom line being: without clear goals Eric and I find it easy to put wants before needs and wants before future. She shared stories of stretching grocery money out for the month and then serving creative meals with any food in the house as the end of the month grew near. Her example of always picking up change she finds, even the now-neglected penny, because enough pennies collected meant 'a night on the town'. When we were cleaning up my Grandpa's things we found $49.00 in his wallet. She has made that $49 stretch - 'treating' herself to Taco Bell, a couple of movies at the dollar theater, and an ice cream cone or two. She still has $11 and it's been a month! How many of us can say that $49 would have lasted that long and treated us to so many things!?!

Credit cards were not options for them. Nor were pay day loans, or cash-advances. You saved up for the things you wanted and sometimes even for the things you needed.

When do we finally say: Yes! Less IS more. Less food on our plates wasting our money and growing our waists. Less gas being spent only to drive to over-priced movies, extravagant shopping malls, and big box stores. More time at the table playing games or talking with each other and less time tuned out in front of the tube.

When do we teach our children that the real message of Santa isn't behaving one way to get what you want, or writing long, detailed lists out but that of Saint Nicholas and his devotion to charity.

This post has gone on and 'off' more than I intended. Obviously there is a lot on my mind. Trying to revamp our life has made me think, discussing whether or not to teach our kids about Santa has made me think, learning more about Celiac disease has made me think, and reading posts like this one by Riana have made me think.

It is horrifying to realize that my own natural world is so polluted by things I've consumed
. It all boils down to me realizing that it is time to take control over my personal world. It starts with the phase I am in now. Realizing that there will always be stuff to by and that more money doesn't mean freedom if you just buy the more stuff. It means realizing the links between working to buy, buying and failing, saving to not work, saving and thriving.

No this isn't a New Year's resolution - though the timing is about right.
This involves a new attitude towards my consumerism, my nutritional habits, my time with my children, my time with my husband, my time with myself, and my effect on mother earth. And lots more to think about.