Wednesday, December 31, 2008


My roommate had never seen "Star Wars" until last night. I sat on the couch warmed outside by fleece and inside by pasta drenched in Velveeta cheese. She giggled over jawas and mocked Skywalker's orange uniform. I smiled with content every time a much younger Harrison Ford than I've never known appeared on screen or a reference to an earlier plot was made. I'm no sci-fi geek but "Star Wars" is comforting ... tradition.

Growing up my dad and I watched a Christmas movie every year on New Year's night after my mom and brothers had gone to bed, still tired from the night before playing Clue and eating the ruffled kind of potato chips. We didn't watch just any Christmas movie, but the grand-daddy of them all, "It's a Wonderful Life." I thought it was scary at first -- the stark black and white frames, the fear and eerie music played hard on childhood perceptions when he wandered lost in a cemetery or screamed into an empty home. But then I grew to love it ... at least parts of it. Now there's not a scene I wouldn't watch over and over again.

When I was seven I identified with the little girl named Mary because she had frizzy hair. Beyond that, I found more similarities, or at least wished I did, with the boy-hero of the story George Bailey. I wanted to travel and do things and see things and I didn't blame him a bit for calling Mary "brainless" when she had no idea where coconuts came from. I wished like crazy there was 1990's version of a corner drug store to work at after school or that I had membership in something official sounding like the National Geographic Society. I was just sure that if my little brother went crashing through the ice and bitter currents were sweeping him downstream that I would be the first to jump in after and pull him to safety.

Years later with braces and cheap lip gloss in the pocket of jeans that just wouldn't hang right, I yearned to be Violet. Winter break was just days from ending and thoughts of returning to school hallways where I wanted to hide in my locker when certain ninth graders walked by and where my stomach dropped just about any time I opened my mouth sent me gratefully into the couch for respite when my dad turned on the VCR. What would it be like to be the girl that can stop traffic with the flip of a few blonde curls or turn heads merely by walking past? I clung to hope that if I couldn't be Violet, maybe just maybe, I would be like Mary and grow out of this horribly awkard phase and be snatched up by the nicest guy in town.

Just a year or two later I flung myself on the couch with some snarky teenage remark to my dad about how old-fashioned this movie was and some "I'm 15 and you're older than 40 and therefore I know more than you do" comment about why it was ridiculous we hadn't bought the movie on DVD yet. I'd gotten over Violet and I'd definitely gotten over being like George. Who wanted to be the guy stuck holding the bag and cheated out of a college education? Who never, ever get on that train? The man perpetually frustrated by what should've, could've, would've been? No. The whole movie made me grateful I wasn't born in 1919 and sure I would be smarter, much smarter, than George Bailey or Mary Hatch ever were. Come hell or high water I really was going to figure out a way to shake the dust of that crummy old town and see the world.

Somewhere in between then and now I learned to love myself, and by extension, the movie. I stopped wishing for more and just loved it for what it was ... an incredibly entertaining piece of cinema.

This year tradition changed a little. I'm not home on Christmas break. I don't dread going back to school because that college education I wanted so bad has been complete for more than two years now. I watch the movie the day after Christmas with my 18-year-old brother while my parents are gone and I wonder if he's trying to find a little of himself in George Bailey. It's with some disappointment I realize I can no longer relate to the children in the movie; that I'm far more interested in the dialogue of their 20-something counterparts this time around. I notice things I never have before. I can't help but put myself in Mary's shoes as she holds up an entire life savings as a sacrifice for the masses on Black Friday. I giggle as the narrator explains that "Mary worked day after day turning the old hotel into a home, having two more babies and still finding time to run the USO." Some day, I think ... that will NOT be me. (If I'm going to be insane enough to try to be Wonder Woman, you better believe I'm hiring someone to wallpaper for me.) I still want to be more like George than Violet. I settle into the couch comfortable, warm outside from a blanket and warm inside from a frozen pizza. Every year I watch this movie, and every year I find one more reason to think that I really do have a wonderful life ... it's tradition.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Speechless ...

He just stopped calling me.
I took him our Homecoming pictures.
I wrote him an e-mail.
He told me it was over on the way TO a party; a party that was held two hours from my house -- longest drive ever.
I ignored his phone calls then sent him a Facebook message.
He kissed me and then bailed.

There have been moments of maturity. There have been adult conversations and mutual understanding. There has been common ground. You'll never hear about those breakups. They leave you feeling resolved and completely enabled to move on. They leave you with respect and a warm hug -- a few years ago it left us heartbroken. They also leave you with nothing decent to write about. It's much easier to find fodder from the time he asked my best friend on a date right in front of me just one week later or the time a friend was high-fived on a last date. Which brings me to Saturday ... I have nothing to say. So instead of boring you with all the mutually agreed upon details about how it was a good thing, totally expected and not that big of a deal because we'd only dated a few weeks anyway, can I interest you in hearing about the time I got broken up with in the half hour I had between attending two bridal showers? Ouch. Hello single awareness day.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thoughts on weddings ...

Number one: There's a scene in "The Bachelor" (minute 6:30 for anyone who's following the link) where Rene Zellweger is left standing looming over a group of pre-pubescent girls during a bouquet toss. I think of this scene as I stand in a reception hall next to Bree and Haley, 24 and 22 respectively. I wonder how many more of these will pass before just one of us is left and then I look around and grin. Jules is beautiful. The reception is perfect. There's not a seven-year-old in sight.

Number two: Weddings should never be held in weather where it's so cold that the flowers need a fur wrap placed around them as much as the bride does in between photos to keep from freezing.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sign of my income

Di reading an article entitled "Sign of the Times": More than 1,000 people applied for an In-N-Out Burger opening soon in Nevada. There were only 50 positions available paying just $10 an hour.

Me: Wow. The economy's getting bad.


Me again: Wait. They get paid $10 an hour????

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Breaking and entering ...

April 21, 2006

I was carjacked this week.

The engine was running and the radio on as I waited in the passenger seat outside the USU library. Unsurprisingly, a young man began walking toward me and I braced myself for a lecture and some clear pointing to the 'no parking' sign. I had already prepared my excuse for being there, and would claim this was my friend's car (which was true), she would only be another minute (also true) and that I didn't know how to drive stick (not true) so could I please stay another minute Mr. Student Parking-Nazi man?

My mouth was half-open with half-lies when he opened the door, climbed in with his backpack still on, scooted the seat back and proceeded to put the car in first gear.

I smiled. I should have screamed ... but all that came out was a polite, "Can I help you?"

"Is this your car?"

And so we drove. Not far. Just long enough for me to learn his name was Ritt, he wasn't really that interested in small talk and this gag was all to prove to a friend he could do it. At least he had a nice smile ... I've always wanted to be carjacked by a man with dimples.

He pulled the car to the sidewalk opposite where I was before, facing in a strange direction. He got out and said with a serious tone and a contrived look of sternness, "I don't want to see you move this," and shut the door. I changed the radio station and seeing an actual campus facilities truck coming toward me complete with an orange cone, I moved over into the driver's seat. I then moved back, restless and unsure of what to do next. The facilities truck kept moving. I pulled on my seat belt, changed back the radio and waited.

"Why are you parked over here?" Natalie asked, climbing in a few books less than when she had climbed out.
"Oh. You know," I said.
It was freezing cold and windy when I went to throw open the door and squeeze into my living room. Which would've been great only the door didn't open. I was locked out and somewhat put out--we haven't locked the door since November. Who was the idiot that forgot I worked till 2 a.m.? I called every roommate in the apartment on their cell phone, banged and shouted and even rang our weak doorbell.

Giving up, I went up the stairs, around the house down the window well and with one high heel in the bed frame and another reaching around the pile of clothes on the floor I slipped not so quietly into my room. It was eerily easy to break in. The window didn't give even a hint of resistance when I nudged it open from the outside. It made me even more angry the door had been locked -- I'd rather have a serial killer come through the front door than end up immediately in my bedroom and yet it was the living room with the Schlage deadbolt. I wiped the leaves off my legs and Marie's skirt, the pleated black one I had slipped out of a closet in an apartment that wasn't mine without permission and shut the window, realizing that if it wasn't so cold, was there really a point?

Carjacking, breaking and entering, stealing skirts; these are now all things that are not as hard to do as I imagined. Maybe one day I'll master the art of a good hold up, but until then, I think my college education has me covered.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Peril and such

There's a spider teetering perilously on the edge of my blinds. Not its peril -- mine. As soon as the lights go out I'm sure it will make its way across the window sill and on to my bed to torture my sleep. My theory is it can't move if I'm staring at it. It's going to be a long night.

When printing a document recently, a spider scurried out of the printer along with my resume.

My roommate splashed a rather hairy one down the shower drain the other day and was horrified when it resurfaced, climbing out of the plumbing wet, but alive.

We're being overrun.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Better than Mastercard

Cranberry juice: $3 for four-pack
Scrambled omelette w/ colby jack cheese: dirty pan, spatula and cheese grater
Peanut butter sandwich: self-respect, stealing roommate's bread and using non-natural Skippy
Cream cheese bagel: nothing left to eat for breakfast Monday morning
Following it all down with a protein shake: $4.99 for a box of 10 Nestle packets, totally grossed out roommate
Making it through the LSAT with out a hypoglycemia attack: PRICELESS

IT'S OVER!!!!!

(and I'm still full -- sooo much food)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Me: I don't want to write this stupid story.

Co-worker: It's easy. Just start at the beginning and when you get to the end -- stop.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Three magic numbers

There's a conversion chart on the Web site. With a couple quick statistics taken into account, I can accurately calculate my chances of getting into law school based on the hypothetical score I will receive after this weekend. Suffice it to say I'm taking a gamble. That score -- those three magic numbers -- could change everything.

I started this blog claiming syllables rule the world. Lately it's seemed numerals have all the power. No one shrieks and runs for cover when ATK changes to YLA on the stock market, but when the Dow drops to 1,200 mass panic ensues. The words on my speeding ticket tell me where to go, but it's the number next to "miles over" that determine my fine.

In the meantime I grapple with words to increase a number I have little control over with only five days to go. I struggle with sentences and phrases that contribute to a paycheck. I enter, clear and re-enter e-mails, chats and texts in an effort to be understood. But in the case of the latter, numbers still rule. Because it doesn't matter how great the message is if it doesn't get there.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


"In working through an Analytical Reasoning section of the LSAT, you’ll want to do two things: get the answer to the questions right and use your time efficiently." -- excerpt from a Law School Admission Council prep guide for the LSAT

Dear LSAC:

Thank you for the helpful instructions. I was previously studying under the assumption I wanted to get the answers wrong.

Gratefully yours,
Brooke Nelson

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Spider monkey?

It was a good thing we were sitting in the aisle seats, or we might have been beaten to death by a 13-year-old and her cell phone or ripped apart by her mother and a nail file. I have learned to never underestimate women who love Edward Cullen.

Opening weekend of "Twilight" was everything I expected it to be, with theatres full of estrogen and lots of squealing during the action sequences. I didn't expect Pattinson's performance to be so painful and I didn't expect there to be so much lipstick on either leading character. (Edwards lips were distracting and anyone who read the book knows that Bella's a Chapstick girl!)

I did, however, expect the movie to be a lot of fun, ripe with opportunities for merciless mocking and splendid moments of guilty pleasure. Which is why I'm glad I was on the end. Otherwise I might have been burned at the stake for giggling when Edward said seductively "Your blood is my own personal brand of heroine" or thrown out on my ears for scoffing at the "I'm stronger than I thought" montage and stifling hysterics when my date whispered "This scene brought to you by abstinence."

The credits rolled and several women around us let out content sighs. I've been holding in laughter all day. I can't help it ... it just sort of bubbles up everytime I think about Edward uttering in an attempt to be romantic: "You better hang on little spider monkey."

(And THIS LINK is just for fun.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Word of the day


Making up words: just one of the joys of working in a newsroom.

Tickets and tears...

"That was dreadful. It would have been bad enough to go to her seat, and see the pitying faces of her friends, or the satisfied ones of her few enemies, but to face the whole school, with that shame fresh upon her, seemed impossible, and for a second she felt as if she could only drop down where she stood, and break her heart with crying." -- Louisa May Alcott

"Every woman is wrong until she cries, and then she is right - instantly." -- Sam Slick

I've always resented girls who get out of traffic tickets by crying. It seems unfair and manipulative. But when I saw blue and red flashing behind me this morning, I couldn't help it.

I saw the police car pulling out of the parking lot and I glanced down at my odometer just in case. I was already sure I wasn't speeding -- I was in a school zone after all, but I needed visual reassurance. Five miles under the school zone limit? Check. Confident I wasn't going to accelerate until well after the traffic light? Check.

So I was confused and concerned when the lights came on and I was motioned to pull over. Cops never tell you why they're holding you up. They just ask for your license and registration. I handed over the license, pulled out the registration from the glove box (still in the dealer envelope) and passed him the proof of insurance.

"It's a different car," I explained, "but the policy number's the same."

I haven't even had this car long enough to have a new insurance card and I'm already getting pulled over? I thought. I wondered if I should explain to Officer B. why I had a new car and why my insurance papers looked like they'd been mangled by a dog, all crinkled from the rain and stained reddish brown by the cuts from my hands when the glass shattered. But then I remembered last week's wreck was my fault and I decided it wouldn't help my case.

Desperate for an explanation I stopped the cop with the question: "I wasn't going over 20 was I?" "29, actually," he replied, walking away.

That's when the tears came. They slipped out quietly at first -- warm tears of confusion and panic. I wasn't speeding! I thought. How could I have been going 29? I was going 15 when I saw him and I know I slowed down way before that. Why would I ignore a school zone? I wrote the article on school zone safety!

Thoughts of appearing a second time this month at the Ogden City Justice Court along with the incurred fines, insurance premium hikes (oh wait, that's going to happen anyway) and how I was going to pay for it all on top of the LSAT ran through my head. The crying got worse. Messy floods of tears poured down my cheeks. Recently applied mascara was everywhere. These were not tears that could be neatly wiped away by a dainty finger or two, these were all-out smear away with the back of the hand, interrupted breathing, 'why is life unfair' tears.

Several people turned and witnessed my crying jag. They were, after all, crawling by just a few feet away from me at 10 to 15 miles per hour. The cop handed me my crumpled proof of insurance, crisp new registration and now-familiar license. A ticket soon followed.

He wrote me up for only four miles over. It was a quota ticket. He clocked me at several places and I was slower at each one, clearly decelerating the further into the school zone I got. I was well under the limit by the time I reached the cross walk or any area with students. I was ticketed for a speed I maintained for less than a second only a few feet inside the school zone.

So I didn't feel too awful I was crying when I signed the form or when he thanked me for wearing my seatbelt and drove away. I didn't even feel bad I chose to follow up with the story assignment by phone rather than humiliate myself with a tear-stained face in front of high school students. I do, however, feel bad for the judge who will hear my case. It's got to be uncomfortable to watch a grown girl cry.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The LSAT and jazz

“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the Earth as the Free Public Library -- this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration." --Andrew Carnegie

"It's funny that we think of libraries as quiet demure places where we are shushed by dusty, bun-balancing, bespectacled women. The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community. Librarians have stood up to the Patriot Act, sat down with noisy toddlers and reached out to illiterate adults. Libraries can never be shushed."
--Paula Poundstone
I balanced the study guides that looked more like phone books than reading material against my chest and under my chin and felt my way up the steps. There were too many papers and materials in my arms to risk looking down to see the edges. Looking for the quietest, remotest spot in the library, I found myself at a shiny brown table with vinyl covered seats lined up in rows. Here, I thought, there will be quiet.

I was wrong.

Libraries are full of noise. There are kids running around, middle-aged men asking for help with the Internet from librarians with flashy earrings. A woman in modest Muslim dress teases a man she asks to a party. I can't prove it, but there were distinct 'meows' coming from a bag brought in by a couple who looked cold and tired. At one point, I swear I heard a harmonica.

The LSAT was winning. I had five minutes to check out my materials. So I admitted defeat and gathered my things. It was on my way downstairs I noticed the racks of CDs. The new car has a radio and a CD player -- something I didn't know how much I missed the last six months until I was fumbling with buttons and enjoying commercials. I browsed through rows of jazz, blues, comedy and classical and was suddenly aware of just how noisy libraries can be. All I know is, my car is loving Natalie Cole. And she's anything but shushed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Conversations with favorite people

"How's the studying going? How long have you been at it?"
"Mmm ... about half an hour."
"So do you feel smarter?"
"Haley, where are they?!!!"
"Brooke, you can't just expect them to pop out of water fountains!"
"I miss Logan!!"
"Me, too ... Wait. The city or the character?"

Life's short, talk fast.

Crash, bang ... SQUISH!

Fact: When giant champagne-colored SUV suburbans are pitted against small green Saturns, the SUV will always win. (I'll post pictures when my camera's working again.)

I went car shopping last night. There are all kinds of cars on the market right now. It's a buyer's market. I found a really great car for a fantastic deal. The only problem? Everyone I've talked to hates PT Cruisers. "They're ugly!" "They remind me of a hearse." "Why would you do that to yourself?"

It doesn't matter to me what I drive. I've never been very vain about my car. Just look at the last vehicle I owned. (It's at Brett's towing yard if you want to see it.) I just want it to last longer than the payments and be the vehicle that doesn't crumble like aluminum foil the next time I'm in a wreck.

So what do you think? Do I keep looking until I find something with equally great value -- the Cruiser has leather seats and seat warmers, a bit more than I've been able to find in any other car in my price range -- but is more aesthetically pleasing? Or do I buy the hearse?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today is Veterans Day

My roommate's best friend leaves for the Middle East today. My dearest Jenny is in boot camp. They are different than the veterans of the 1940's I met this weekend, but they are no less worthy of appreciation. The "greatest generation" endured an entirely different kind of war than we are fighting today. Forests have been replaced by sand dunes and dictators have been replaced by terrorists and access to oil.

Today less than 1 percent of the American population is involved with military service. The other 99 percent of us are left free to criticize the war, go about our jobs and comfortably support our ourselves and families. I owe my job to soldiers. The First Amendment is powerful, but of little use, if the country it serves is overrun by other nations. Those few that give all that up to protect our country in whatever way current administration asks them to deserve our support, and most of all, our thanks.

I, hate, commas,,,,,,

I hate commas. A lot.

I enjoy a good set of ellipses and semi-colons don't bother me. I'm obsessed with the artful use of the long dash -- there's something dramatic and wonderful about that last form of punctuation.

But commas I will never understand. I appreciate their ability to separate thoughts and provide readers a pause in the middle of sentences and lists. However, I've never been able to use them correctly.

For my final paper in a senior AP Language course I chose to write about my dislike of the punctation tool. The only thing I was marked down for? Incorrect comma use. Does anyone else share my pain?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dedication and bleary-eyed faith


I rolled over pushing my head as far as I could into the pillow and pressed 'send.' The phone rang and I heard a confused "Hello?"

There was scrambling in the background as Haley looked for her keys.

"Why are we doing this? It's sooooooooooooo early!"

"I know. But we'll be blessed for it."

I think she ran into something. I desperately grabbed at the covers with my one free hand and with only my right eye cracked open, unsuccessfully trying to untangle myself from my bed.

"How did we do this every morning?" I asked incredulously, wondering if my left eye was ready to stay open yet. Nope. Not yet.

"I don't know! I think we had superpowers," she decided.

"Well I want them back!" I declared.

"Wait, someone's calling me. Why is someone calling me? It's 6:30 in the morning!"

"Huh. Well call me back when you find out."

I hung up and my arm flopped back to its place above my pillow. The fight with the covers was futile. And so was the fight with myself. It was just way too cold to get out of bed.

Wrapped in a hoodie and definitely wearing socks, I stood trying to warm myself on a gym floor in a line of a couple hundred people. We talked with our new friends Brad and Kyle and made lame jokes about wristbands and camping out while rocking out to MoTab. I couldn't get over the fact it was still dark outside when I got up. I'm NOT a morning person.

The questions the lady asked me were confusing. Which row did I want? Was the other person I was getting tickets for registered for Institute? Huh? I just wanted a soft seat in the chapel. That's really all I was asking for. The sweet woman smiled and handed me my tickets.

I found Haley and we stumbled back to the car. My bed was still warm when I got back and there was still time for a nap. It's good to be up early.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Holding still ...

I was half in love with her by the time we sat down. That's the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they're not much to look at, or even if they're sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. -- Catcher in the Rye
I could see that look in his eyes. The look that said, "Why can't I focus?" and "Have we met?" all at the same time. The look that told me he was watching my mouth move but not hearing a thing I was saying.

I was flattered in a way. Surprised I could catch him so off guard. I did stop by unexpectedly, after all. Caught him in the foyer with a favor and a bit of rain still on my coat.

Still. It wasn't going to work. I played with my keys and made small talk. Watching with interest as he fought to keep the conversation alive. I processed his words and responded appropriately all along keeping a running monologue in my head about the way he kept biting his lip and tracing my face with his eyes.

Poor guy. His crooked smile and sideways glances weren't helping his case. They made him adorable, yes. But it wasn't enough. I wasn't fooled. He knew what he was missing as much as I knew the effect I was having on him, half-blown in from the wind and one hand on the door. Threatening to leave but not willing to offer that relief. The dead-end phrases and concerted effort to keep his eyes locked on mine kept us trapped between moving forward and ending the conversation that never really started.

So I held very still, enjoying the commentary for as long as I could with half a smile on my lips and a few courtesy laughs to ease the tension. And then I moved. Something he hadn't done since the last time he moved in to kiss me. But it wasn't forward and further into the foyer. It was out. I could feel him watching me as I moved into the rain and bounced off his steps toward my car. He had that same half-smile on his face when he said goodnight as he had when opened the door, a result of awe and surprise. I felt him sighing heavily as he turned back to his evening, almost wishing I had stayed. Or at least made it past the front door handle.

I kept moving and didn't look back. Better things lay ahead. Because when it comes down to it, that's the problem with being the girl he can sometimes care for -- he's only half-way in love.

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Convenience and efficiency" .. Procrastination Part Two

While procrastinating a story assignment, I followed this link sent by a friend:

You are undoubtedly Green-Bean Casserole. You value convenience and efficiency and don't mind taking shortcuts if the results turn out just as good. Canned soup? No problem. It's tradition. This year, add a few extra fried onions.

Maybe I was a bit too honest about how much I use the vending maching and take-out. Which dish are you?


Click. It takes two seconds to find a 40-minute diversion.

Double right-click. I'm viewing blogs by the dozen.


I "need" more water. My ice has melted. It's ALLLL the way downstairs.

I'm bored. I play with my Pandora stations.

Double click. My e-mail is exploding. So I clean off my desk instead. Where did this invitation for Oct. 21 come from?

Bam! It's 2 o'clock.

Sigh ....

Click exit and back to work.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And it's Obama ...

Commentators have a difficult job on election night.

Brian Williams didn't get off work until 3 a.m. Tom Brokaw brought a mug with him and had ale cooling off to the side of the set he was so stressed out. Wolf Blitzer had a ridiculously difficult job -- spew words for 10 hours straight that sound like they could mean something political.

The rest of us local journalists were making late night calls to candidates who spent less on their entire campaign than most Utahns donated to Obama's fighting fund. In between calls, flipping channels, devouring pizza and watching history in the making, some amazing things were said:
"This is where the people live. This is where you want to get them." -- CNN
master of the touch screen
"And then Warner sold his soul to the devil and ate Gilmore for breakfast."
-- Di on a senate race

"There will be a new family in the White House. And as we learned tonight ... a new puppy." -- Brian Williams at 2:30 a.m.

I'm not even going to start on the Facebook status changes the election created. Let's just say Obama's win was compared to everything from 9/11 to the millenium. My dad called and asked me how long I thought it would take for the country to implode. All I know is my roommate can't WAIT for TV to return to normal. In her opinion, this has been going on for too long.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My favorite part is the "I Voted" sticker...

Hey, Campbell Brown! I showed up for the exam. The real question is, did I pick the right answer? We have four long years to find out.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Will date for food

The dietary habits of single, working gals can be pathetic. Sarah Haskins knows all about it. If it weren't for dating, I don't know if I would consistently achieve consumption of three out of five food groups every week.

Tuesday -- half a bagel w/ expired cream cheese and a handful of pretzels, bag of popcorn, orange and 33 cent frozen burrito, frozen dinner, bowl of chocolate Chex, three spoonfuls of ice cream straight from the carton, another bag of popcorn

Wednesday -- bowl of chocolate Chex, cheese stick, yogurt, piece of fruit, whatever they're serving at board meeting, another bowl of chocolate Chex

Thursday -- two bowls of chocolate Chex (board meeting was long last night), banana, two spoonfuls of ice cream straight from the carton, fast food Thai or Chinese, cookies, another bowl of chocolate Chex and a cheese stick

Friday-- bowl of chocolate Chex, vending machine Hot Pocket, bag of "harvest cheddar" Sun Chips, bowl of chocolate Chex, REAL FOOD -- this time it's Mexican

Saturday -- leftovers from date on Friday

Sunday -- finish off leftovers from date on Friday, bowl of chocolate Chex

So bring it on, boys ... I've got an appetite and I'm taking applications for next Friday.

It's all over tomorrow

Tomorrow's election will be historic. And that's even if things go smoothly. I'm betting on double the drama and history with recounts, lawsuits and mass hysteria in the media. At least we don't have to worry about mass hysteria in the streets. Things aren't that bad. And as Americans, we're just not that violent. We take our aggression out in Halo games and simulated worlds. Most of us would rather blog, twitter or text our frustrations than take to the pavement.

So while I'm going to be glad when it's all over I haven't made plans to hide in the bunker yet. In fact, I'll be on the front line tomorrow night covering a local county commission race. I'm pretty sure the most dramatic part of my night will be deciding which kind of pizza I want (free food in my company is a rarity) or making sure I save my story before I shut down my computer. At the end of the night, we may or may not have a new president and I will stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance at school board meetings and my brother's Boy Scout activities no matter which man gets elected.

In the meantime, all of California -- along with many church, human rights and other socio-political groups -- is waiting with baited breath for the outcome of Proposition 8. One friend in California told me she never wants to see the number eight again.

The church I belong to is part of a coalition supporting Prop. 8. They have asked members to decide their own appropriate level of involvement. Here is mine: I support "rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights." Protecting the rights of everyone, including same-sex couples, means that I am more likely to be able to worship, work and live as I choose.

However, marriage is not a government-created right; it is not even just a "contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations." It is an institution created by God to foster the growth and development of families. Governments have often chosen to recognize marriages because marriage, when vows are kept, helps stabilize society -- but they did not create marriage. It existed long before the Constitution. There are other ways to protect the rights of same-sex couples to be part of a private, committed relationship without changing the definition of marriage given to us by the One who created it. For more information on views I can agree with, click here and here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

5 Reasons I am a horrible person ... 4 of which I don't intend to change.

#5 I still haven't written Jenny. I keep meaning to. Poor girl has been at boot camp for almost two months and I haven't placed the letter in the mailbox. I will.

#4 I use my roommate's body wash. It started out of desperation when I ran out one day in the shower. I vowed I would buy my own the next time I was at the store. That was a month ago. The fact she eats my ice cream makes me feel a little better.

#3 I screen my calls. Big time.

#2 I haven't gone very green. I know I should. The world my future children will live in is at stake. But sometimes it's just too hard to reduce, too easy to buy new instead of reuse and too liberating to trash my junk than hold on to it hoping I can recycle it into something else.

#1 I don't forward sappy e-mails. Today I got one that said if I believed in God I would forward it to everybody in my address book. I do believe in God. I just don't believe in cheesy e-mails.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Failed Older Young Single Adults -- better known as FOYSA.

The name Eric gave to himself and other ward members 27 and older. A group I won't qualify for for another four years. And a group with the most amazing church acronymn ever.

Less than a week to go

In less than 7 days the polls will be closed and unless Florida manages to mess up the digital transfer of votes via electronic polling machines, we should know who the new president will be. Mass hysteria has broken out in both parties. Take the "crazy McCain rally" lady SNL so brilliantly parodied or a segment on Jon Stewart showing Obama supporters who are just as irrational. Voters are ready to take to the nuclear bomb shelters their grandparents built if the other candidate takes office.

Really? Taxes may rise or fall, the war in Iraq may be prolonged or shortened and we will see the first African American or the first woman in the White House. But the world won't end. And the country certainly won't self-destruct. How about a little hope America? These kids seem to have the right idea:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cheering Logan ...

Junior High cheerleaders are oblivious. Four inches from the front bleacher, they were cheering their hearts out regardless of the play. From the beginning whistle to the final throw, they never stopped yelling. I don't even think they turned around.


The receiver fumbles the ball.


The opposite team snatches the ball off the ground and makes a break for the end zone.


Parents are craning their necks and rising out of their seats trying to see around the girls with the pom-poms.


He's getting closer and closer to the end zone. The crowd is going crazy. The opposite side of the field is screaming encouragement, the home side in shock. No one is watching the girls with big smiles on their faces.


The ball flies into the guest's end zone in the arms of a young player and parents groan. The other team's fan base is ecstatic.


Seriously. Oblivious.

In the meantime, Logan Coombs was having the game of his life.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Side note ...

Notice posted on side of school bus:
"Entering a school bus with the intent of criminal activity is a crime."

Local diner marquee:
"Banquit room now available."

and finally ...

Marquee on 1900 West for Impact Guns:
"Relieve those pre-election jitters with an AR-22."

Because when faced with the possiblity of a Democratic president, nothing says solace like .22 caliber rifle.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shoe love ...

“Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you criticize him, you'll be a mile away and you'll have his shoes." -- Jack Handy
It snowed last weekend. A couple hours into the day and four inches deep in snow, my toes were painfully aware of the shortage of shoes in my closet. Matching the only thing water, snow or ice proof in my closet with anything work appropriate would have been the equivalent of matching bowling shoes with no socks and a Hawaiian shirt. So I was left with open-toed sandals and frost-bitten toes.

I got off work earlier than expected tonight and decided to buy something warm, practical and work appropriate. Last weekend's TV time with "What Not to Wear" has ruined me. The Mary Jane's suddenly seemed very plain. I was drawn to bright colors, sexy heels and shoes with oddly shaped toes. There were shoes with bows, patterns and textures. A world I was blind to was now in my sight and I began pulling shoes off the rack at an alarming pace. I approached the counter with a pair of burgundy shoes with texture, ruffle and bling. I was thrilled. My first grown-up shoe purchase. They were a bit small but the signs posted around the store assured me I could order them.

I was wrong. The clerk was sympathetic. She looked at other stores and offered to look for them in a different color but I was too crushed to care. I paid for my warm, reliable flats and stepped out into the darkness. It was cold, but my feet were warm. It will be a bit icy but the traction on my new shoes will keep me upright. Come snow, come mud, come hail and sleet ... my feet and my closet are prepared. And though they're missing a four-inch heel, they might have just enough shine and a square enough toe to stave off the fashion police.

Monday, October 20, 2008

On fashion ...

Angelica: Would you like to hear one of my poems?
Joe Banks: Sure.
Angelica: Long ago, the delicate tangles of his hair... covered the emptiness of my hand... Would you like to hear it again?
Joe Banks: Ok.
Angelica: Long ago, the delicate tangles of his hair... covered the emptiness of my hand.
My parents skipped town this weekend leaving me with two siblings to take care of and an insurance card. When the youngest came down sick, their excursion also left me with a lot of time in front of the TV while he slept. At one point I caught an episode of "What Not to Wear." The philosophy was simple: Whatever you're doing now, it's wrong.

Apparently income, time constraints, significant weight loss and dedication to community service are no excuse for wearing flats to work or dressing three times your size. The words "clothes can be an extension of your personality" and "let the real Michelle come out" were used frequently. Reminded me of some favorite words from the 1990 classic "Joe vs. the Volcano":

Marshall: They just pay me to drive the limo, sir. I'm not here to tell you who you are.
Joe Banks: I didn't ask you to tell me who I am.
Marshall: You were hinting around about clothes. That happens to be a very important topic to me, sir. Clothes, Mr...
Joe Banks: Banks.
Marshall: Banks. Clothes make the man. I believe that. You say to me you want to go shopping, you want to buy clothes, but you don't know what kind. You leave that hanging in the air, like I'm going to fill in the blank, that to me is like asking me who you are, and I don't know who you are, I don't want to know. It's taken me my whole life to find out who I am, and I'm tired now, you hear what I'm saying?

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I'm singing a solo in the Salt Lake City Tabernacle in two weeks.

I'm terrified.

One verse of one song. Not that big of a deal -- a fact I haven't been able to explain to my nervous system.

Today in rehearsal I broke out into a cold sweat two songs away from my turn. I began clearing my throat and panicked when it was dry. The water bottle belonging to the girl next to me became victim to my anxiety. The pews began closing in around me and I was certain it was going to take Maniac Magee to unravel the knots in my intestines. I focused on the pattern of the carpet on my way toward the microphone to keep the walls from spinning. I faked a grin at Merilee and began searching for faces in the crowd I recognized. My eyes wouldn't focus long enough in one spot to find anyone so I settled for the cultural hall curtains in the back of the gym. It was over before I got my breath back. The shaking didn't stop until we were halfway through the next song.

We get to repeat this physiological experiment next week and the week after until ...,8197,726-1-676,00.html.

See you there! I'll be the one in the pink lei trembling uncontrollably.

On food...

I've eaten chips off the floor. I've eaten food left in the fridge so long it carmelized to the styrofoam take-out container. I've even resorted to Ramen.

But the most desperate attempt to stay fed I ever staged in college was at Village Inn.

It's no secret college students aren't picky. Fast food, frozen food, instant food ... as long as its food and its cheap it will do. But one night we needed sugar and we wanted something real. Ten of us packed into a corner booth at Village Inn, ordering pie. Only $15 among us, so we shared pieces, casting aside requests for key lime or anything with coconut and peanuts to improve the chances the three generic pieces of apple, chocolate and strawberry would find their way to someone's mouth without allergic reactions.

Someone broke the code. Pulling out a credit card from home, they gave into the tantalizing marketing and ordered a warm plate of breakfast food ... meaty goodness piled in crepes pulled right off from the vibrantly colored menu. Suddenly, I was starving.

I finished off the whip cream, scraping my fork against the plate for any lingering pie crumbs and looked longingly at Sarah.

"I'm hungry," I mouthed.

She nodded.

"But I'm cheap," I added.

She nodded again.

Just then she was bumped by the young man behind her leaving his table. He grabbed his girlfriend's coat, threw down a tip and the two of them headed for the door.

There on the table was a plate with an untouched pile of golden, seasoned, delicious looking french fries. The sandwich next to it was unsalvageable, but even the diluted pond of ketchup was on the opposite side of the plate. My eyes got big and met with Sarah's.

"We shouldn't," I said.

"We can't," she responded.

I looked back down at the pie plate. I could smell the fries, their warmth was nearly tangible. My mind raced through options at home. Certainly something there was better than second-hand potatoes ... nothing came to mind. Culinary genius though she is, even Sarah couldn't turn half a box of Honey Bunches of Oats and a can of cream of chicken soup into a meal. The waitress was piling plates from another table into her brown bin, sweeping delicious remnants of food into the garbage as she went. I felt like that poor kid in India standing outside a hotel restaurant. She was getting closer.

With one swift move, Sarah was sweeping fries onto my empty plate. A quick look around for the waitress and another blurred move, the plate was back on the home table. No one had seen anything.

"Hey! When did you order those?" Matt asked.

I was piling on ketchup and getting ready to devour.

"This is really disgusting," I added.

"Agreed. No one can know we did this," she responded salting our plunder.

But we were full. And happy. And the best part? We still had enough left over for a tip.

What's in a name?

"Brooke's Blog" was already taken. A 14-year-old using lexicon and A TON!!!! of exclamation points six years ago. That's right ... the self-proclaimed "freshman pretty girl" wrote a total of one post in 2002 and hasn't written since. So an entire address is dedicated to a rant about Dan and Nessa and how "messed up" that situation is. She's 20 now. I can't help but wonder whatever happened to her ... and to Dan and Nessa. That little love triangle was just the beginning. I came across blogs that haven't had new posts in years and was introduced to middle-aged women and stock brokers alike who share my interests or name. In the meantime, this address is the result of repeated attempts at alliteration, personalization and creativity.

I leave you with these words from Geroge Bernard Shaw:
Syllables govern the world.