Wednesday, April 29, 2009

On hospitals...

I spent Monday morning in the hospital. Nothing big ... they just sprayed Novacaine on my throat, put me to sleep and slipped a camera down my esophagus. I woke up to Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips and Sprite ready to combat my falling blood sugar and warm blankets piled on top of me. Not a bad way to spend the day.

My angel-mother went with me. She held my purse when I was filling out paper work, my hand when I saw the needle going in for the IV and my arm when I made my way out to the car. She's beat cancer. She saw her own mother through a medical mess. I can't even begin to count the hours she spent with Sam during his stay in NICU, his heart surgery or other procedures he's had performed at Primary Children's Medical Center. Much to her chagrin, she is an expert on hospitals.

So I believed her when the first words out of her mouth as we made our way to the lab were "This is a nice hospital." It gave me a little boost in confidence for the upcoming procedure. However, I wasn't so sure what to make of her next comment as she came out of the women's room on the second floor: "They have weird Italian restaurant music going on in there."

She was right. It was weird. Here I was in a lab surrounded by mostly old people. (Oh the stories and the conversations I heard ... is anyone else dreading turning 50 and needing a colonoscopy? Because now I definitely am.) There were insurance forms to be filled out and pamphlets on acid reflux and it smelled like some kind of antiseptic. The room was decorated in business teal and brown. Hard counter tops and shiny IV poles were only slightly softened by rainbow curtain dividers. The warm ambiance music of Macaroni Grill just didn't mesh.

It did, however, make me hungry. And that was unfortunate because I couldn't eat. Of all the things I endured in preparation for Monday morning, not eating or drinking anything after midnight was the worst. At 11 p.m. the night before I was hungry just in anticipation of midnight. By 11 a.m. the next morning I was starving. Boy those Sun Chips tasted good.

But I don't know if I'll ever be able to listen to the music at Macaroni Grill in the same way again.

Friday, April 24, 2009

On bliss...

Just in case you wondered, the Crown Burger Combo is as good as its reputation.

And fry sauce?? Oh, how I've missed you!

My mom was unabashedly impressed as I packed away the entire combo meal she bought for me last night. I appreciated the fact it was a good-sized meal, but I was taken off guard by her surprise. She raised me. She out of anyone should KNOW I like food. Then I realized it has been my dad who has witnessed my most impressive cullinary accomplishments. My mom has taught me to appreciate flavors and colorful plating. My dad taught me to appreciate meat, and in large quantities.

I have a lot of memories of my dad that involve really, really good food.

The first pastrami burger I ever ate was at Astro Burger. Delicious. Back when Big Mac's were tasty I could finish one and my dad couldn't. I miss the metabolism of growth spurts.There are these French fries at Alf's lodge when we go skiing. He introduced me to sauerkraut. Have I mentioned he grills salmon and tri-tip steaks and knows how to perfectly cook prime rib?

When I was a college student and stealing other people's French fries to survive I missed meat. A lot. I would daydream about Sunday dinners with ribs or chicken or pork in classes. Since moving in with a friend and leaving behind all cooking paraphernalia I've resorted back to a prior diet of cereal and mercenary meals. Yesterday I was living off of a bottle of juice and a package of pumpkin cookies until my mom came along. I think maybe I'll go home on Sunday. Steak sounds nice.
(I didn't take this picture ... completely stole it from it from here.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On aging ...

I sat at a table with four Kindergartners, all of them sure they wanted to be sitting next to Violet -- except for Violet who wanted to be sitting next to Ashton. They played musical chairs and I attempted an interview.

It was National Teach Children to Save Day and Zions Bank was all over it with propoganda visors, pamphlets for the parents and games and activities for the kids.

I was asking a bunch of six-year-olds why they thought it was important to save.

"So you can buy stuff," was the most common response.

Somewhere in the midst of children on the other side of the room telling the banker they had a turtle and why their parents like Hawaii, Ashton turned to me and said in a matter-of-fact tone, "You look 20 or 21."

I smiled appreciatively.

"You're close!" I responded warmly. "I'm actually 24."

Gee, I thought. That must sound ancient to a six-year-old.


"That's cool! My mom's 25."

Friday, April 17, 2009

On bullying ...

In the fifth grade we had a substitute teacher.

I have no idea what her name was.

All I remember was that she was young, kind of pretty and she had served a mission in Bolivia -- the same place as my dad.

This was a particularly good day for Mrs. Parker's fifth-grade class. Not only was our teacher gone and so we didn't have to turn in our homework, but so was on one of our classmates.

This girl had bullied me for almost three years by the time the Bolivian substitute showed up. I was weary of her constant teasing, belittling and cruel tactics to make my life miserable. Looking back I can see how desperate she was for attention. There were clearly some issues at home she wasn't dealing with well and most 10-year-olds don't automatically know how to torture others -- that's a gift that's learned.

At the time, however, all I could think about was how nice it was to have a day where I was free to talk to any person in the class I wanted without wondering how it would come back to hurt me. I could choose any game at recess without being told I wasn't welcome.

I was not the only person under this girl's thumb so I was not the only one rejoicing. A group of us stood in line waiting to be excused for lunch chattering about our joy and sharing horror stories. It didn't help her last name rhymed with "Rottenstein."

The substitute must have thought we were awful. Who is this poor picked-on girl they're making fun of so mercilessly? she was probably thinking. I could see that look on her face and I rushed to defend ourselves.

"I promise we're not mean people!" I told her. "She really is an awful person. If you only knew how horrible she was to us."

The teacher acknowledged my comments and then thoughtfully said, "All I know is that if you feel the need to talk about someone behind their back it's probably because you're worried someone is talking about you in the same way. You should try to be the kind of person where people don't have anything negative to share."

I've never forgotten that lesson.

I remember very little about the rest of fifth grade. I'm sure there were planets we studied and field trips and girl drama. I'm sure there were fights and tears and bonding.

I do, however, remember that substitute every time it crosses my mind to spread something negative about someone else. Fourteen years later it's still a hard lesson. But I'm getting better.

On eavesdropping and sensitivity ...

Editor (on phone with reporter): Seventy-year-old woman, skydiving, Ogden airport, 1 p.m. tomorrow, you there?

pause while reporter responds

Editor: It's at the Ogden airport but she may not be from our area.

pause while reporter responds

Editor: You're there in case the parachute doesn't work.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On work ethic ...

me: I'm having an outpatient procedure done on the 27th so I'll need that day off.

Editor: OK

me: And I might need the 28th off, too depending on how the anesthesia effects me ... I'd hate to come into work all looped out.

Editor: But how would that be different than any other day, Brooke?

me: (pause) This is true.

Monday, April 13, 2009

On dreams ...

Miss Patty from Miss Patty's School of Dance was at the stake center. Her pal Kirk was in my single's ward the other day and he was instructed to speak on the parallels of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and the gospel.

I went lingerie shopping with a high school friend I haven't seen in months.

Andrea started dating Chris and my boyfriend's brother fell in love with her. Amidst the love triangle, we were solving a murder mystery with a glowing interactive digital map from Kohler's grocery store.

I moved back to Tennessee as part of a polygamous relationship with a married friend of mine and then started dating other people to get out of it. My friend isn't so sweet when she feels her "first wife" status is being threatened.

There was something about speaking in a public place and in front of a crush I had in college.

Is it any wonder that even with a solid eight hours of sleep I'm still tired? It's not exactly like I'm getting rest.

At least I'm not dreaming about blind midgets hitting me with a hockey stick. That could leave a mark.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

On parenthood ...

Things are going infinitely better this weekend than the last time I babysat. Everyone's healthy and we have yet to visit the emergency room.

Just like last time, however, my mother left us prepared with an envelope containing an insurance card and some cash. The outside reads:

this is too much $$ in case of emergency -- don't spend it all just for the heck of it!

So I'm wondering ... do pizza and bowling count as an emergency?