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.