Sunday, June 9, 2013


*If you happen to have any hint of arachnophobia, skip this post.

The other night I woke up with a spider in my underwear.  Here's the story.

A month or so ago I opened my messy silverware drawer and almost grabbed a spider instead of a spoon.  It was a jumping spider, which is the kind you are not allowed to smush yourself, in case it jumps on your hand and into your hair as you try to kill it.  So I went and got my landlord, who smushed the jumper thoroughly will a paper towel while grumbling under her breath.  Grumble, grumble, but the spider was gone.

A week or so later I noticed a minuscule baby spider, almost transparent, crawling toward me on my white couch.  Small spiders can't jump or eat you, so I let it go on by.  I saw another one the next day, and then another. So, maybe a nest hatched? Whatever. They needed to go out into the world and I wasn't going to stop them. I'm a doula after all.  Besides, I'm pretty sure spiders don't squat where they're born.  I felt enlightened to be able to let these little creepy things crawl right on by me and not freak out.

Two nights ago as I was falling asleep I felt like something was crawling on me.  I was pretty sure I even flipped something off my waist, but when I turned on the light and scanned the premises, I saw nothing.  It's easy to be paranoid about creepy crawlers when you have a constant fan going.  I'd already reconciled this, so I went to sleep.  At precisely 2:36 am, I woke up because I felt an unfamiliar (yes) tickling in an unusual place.  I immediately felt for what it was and realized something was in my underwear that definitely shouldn't have been.  It's amazing the wide-awakeness you reach you when you become aware something is crawling around in your pants.  I should have taken the opportunity to write some new math.  The perpetrator was immediately smushed and I bounded from bed to bathroom in one leap.  I ripped off my clothes and fought off a panic attack as I saw the mound of guts and legs now one with the fabric.

I didn't go back to sleep for a while as I dreamed up all possible places for spiders, how to eradicate the certain infestation, and the details of this blog post  Now that I am really awake and have seen no more, I've decided to go back to being enlightened and leave things as they are.  I don't think there are many spiders around really, and I guess I can't get too upset about this little guy who just wanted to curly up with in bed.

It just better not happen again.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The unQuiet Mind

 I like that truth can be found through many avenues.  I've read a few books that refer to Buddhism in various ways, and many of the principals interest me greatly.  So, when I noticed that Community Ed was offering a Tibetan Buddhism class, I jumped on it.

The class is taught by a man from Tibet who is likely a wealth of knowledge--except that I can only understand about every fourth word he says.  And, to grasp these fourth words I have to completely focus on every single syllable that he speaks.  No stray thought is allowed a moment's attention.  I can't remember the last time I've forced my brain to be so focused that all inside chatter settles and I only think of what is being said. 

It's exhausting.  I was frustrated during my first class, until I realized that meditation is all about settling your mind and disciplining it to focus.  So, if nothing else, maybe I was learning something.

After talking about a variety of topics, including (I think) reincarnation, the author of the text book, allowing only positive feelings to reside in our hearts, and why some women don't find husbands, the teacher asked the question, "Who is Mormon?" A few people timidly raised their hands as he looked around our circle of 15, and I began to feel...annoyed.  He settled on one particularly bubbly girl for deeper interrogation. 

"You are Mormon?"
The teacher is surprised she would admit this so readily.
"Are you going to believe in Buddhism?"
"I-I-I think there are elements of God in everything..."
"But are you going to change?"
"...Nooo?  I don't know..." (giggle giggle)
"No?  Then why are you here?"

I spoke up for the first time in 90 minutes and said, "Why does it matter whether anyone in here is a particular religion?"

It reads benign, but a nice sentence can leave a girl's mouth in lots of ways. It didn't come with the curious and open tone with which I intended, being that I was in a class learning about Buddhism.  It was contentious.  I know this because everyone was looking at me in alarm.

It was too late to censure, and I continued, "Why can't we all just be here to learn something about new things?  We don't have to be ready to convert just because we want to learn something."

Everyone in class was probably thinking, This contentious girl is disturbing our peace. And the bubbly girl says to the teacher, voice dripping with apology, "Don't worry. I have a sense of humor."

The teacher answered me in some way, I can't tell you what he said because I couldn't understand it.  For the rest of the class he spoke directly to me and made me repeat random sentences he said. I don't know whether that was punishment or his form of thorough teaching.

I didn't attend the second class, but decided to give it another go for the third.  We started in on a list of scattered topics, including being frugal.  He said there are many ways we waste our lives.  Example: Many women buy lots of makeup to put all over their face, but if they don't get a husband from it they are just wasting their money. 

Oh dear. I'm trying to observe instead of react (like Benjamin Franklin), and so I let it go with a "Hmmph."

The problem is, comments like the one above diminished my confidence in this person as my teacher, and I could no longer muster up the drive to intensely focus on him so I could know what he was saying. As class went on and I had no idea what was going on, I began to realize I was wasting my time and my money, which is what he told me in the very beginning not to do.

A final comment about how the Mormon religion is cheating people by making them pay ten percent settled the matter.  During a lull I grabbed my coat and bag and ran out of the door.  It slammed behind me and echoed in the high school hallway, which I still feel bad about. 

Not every class works out for us.  At least I don't have to sit through this one in drugery in exchange for a grade.  I learned a few things, anway: it really is possible to concentrate on one thing and students are affected by more than just the literal things I teach them. 

The class was worth it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Love Your Enemies, Just Don't Join Them

Another great one from last night:

Too bad it's from Coke the Enemy.   I am surprised they even bother doing commercials considering their remarkably-sized addicted consumer base. 
Celebration of Love #2: Be Brave

Loved this commercial during the Superbowl. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Onion

I love February.  It's Valentine's Time.

Celebration of Love #1: a great love poem.  I found this while teaching language arts in Philly.

Not a red rose or a satin heart.
I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.
It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.
I am trying to be truthful.
Not a cute card or a kissogram.
I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.
Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

--Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy is a contemporary British poet.  She's said, "I like to use simple words but in a complicated way.”  Good example.  The first poet I loved is Edgar Allen Poe, and so my taste developed early with a tinge of eeriness. 

Because of this poem, I intended to give my boyfriend an onion for Valentine's Day once.  My roommate interceded, telling me it miiiight be too soon to unleash all my quirkiness on the day of love.  I gave him some Ed Hardy temp tattoos instead and we put them on each other.  And, coincidentally, he gave me an Edgar Allen Poe love poem attached to some dark chocolate. 

He probably could have handled the onion.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Half Marathon I Didn't Die In

A girl makes plans to run a half marathon in January in St. George because she is enticed by the possibility of a warm weather weekend.  She forgets that the months of Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays required to prepare for said weekend all must take place where she lives--which tends to be quite cold in winter.

So I didn't run a ton.  Toward the end I was only faithful to twice a week but have toughened up considerably since my first race two years ago that I trained for entirely on a treadmill.  I can handle running outdoors in the cold for the most part.  I also did a lot of Crossfit, so the non-running days were still getting work done. But still, I was aware of bad things coming.

I hear the most important time for sleep and quality food to fuel you for a race is the week prior.  Despite my best intentions, both eating and sleeping were quite sub-par, thus further shooting my race preparations to hell.

The day before the race I had cold chicken fingers for lunch and the night before the race I slept about three hours.*  I was unconcerned by then, however, because it was too late to care.  The race started and Summer said to me, "Wanna just do the 5K?" as we giggled about what a crap race this was going to  and took off.  I usually time/pace myself with a GPS watch but it's acting up; Summer brought hers instead but forgot to wear it, so we decided to not stress about it and just run for our lives.

I was amazed at how fun a race it turned out to be.  My dad and Fay were our cheering section and met us at random places around the route with snacks, along with some poster holders with a sign that said, "Go Amy, Heather, Summer and Emily!"  They didn't know it, but we counted their cheer for us as well.  We cruised up hills with zero problem, and even had some time to stop and take pictures along the way. 

The last two miles were grueling, just as the last two miles of any run are bad.  During the time my brain entered delirium it brought up the story of Bilbo Baggins, and I imagined myself trudging through a freezing dark forrest fighting for life. This mental adventure worked, and I ended up significantly beating my last half marathon time.  Book nerd that I am, it doesn't surprise me that I transcended into a story.  I just wonder why I made myself a Hobbit.

After race pictures: everything looks all sweet and happy here.
Here I am with my biggest fan.
This is how I really felt. I had charly horses in my hips.  Dumb Hobbit hips! 

*This sentence speaks Hemmingway, in case you didn't notice.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Abe Lincoln is the new It Man

Abraham Lincoln is lately trendy. He is overtaking popular culture all over the place. Have you noticed?


These are the new USPS stamps released January 1, 2013 in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Lincoln signed January 1, 1863.

This is the first stamp of a civil rights set being issued this year.

 'Mixing his trend with another hot item.

I read the book over Christmas break. Pretty entertaining--LAME ending. It's also a movie, I hear it bites. The cover artwork is fabulous.

He's Hollywood's Latest Hearthrob-- even up for an Academy Award.

You know you are something when you make SNL (not for tender ears).

And, no one can truly transcend unless they are somehow attached to George Clooney.

 Clooney is Lincoln's half-first cousin five times removed

 Another box checked.

 Can't get enough of him via all of the above?

 Check out Lincoln's handwritten documents, address book, and taxes

 (That last one is for you, Emily Alley.)

I have always had a thing for tall & slender, dark, mysterious, driven men that are related to George Clooney.  So I'm actually way ahead of the trend here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wash Your Hands

I am a business manager for a charter school, but because I missed the classroom and a classroom here needed a teacher, I picked up teaching a 7th grade CTE (Careers and Technical Education) class. It's pretty awesome. I basically do fun activities with them. Well, I try to. They don't always turn out.

Today did, though.  Lately I'm teaching a Healthcare Careers unit. Today my mom Tam talked about being a CNA and my sis Kaylee talked about being a medical receptionist.  Tammie had the kids put glow lotion on, half of them then washed their hands and the other half de-germed with hand santizer. Then they put their hands under a black light to see what they missed. 

The moral of the story is: a 7th Grader's hands are gross.

This kid is obsessed with Jeeps.
It was great.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Post Break-up #2 To Do


Here are the steps commonly involved in such a task:

Forced Calm.  It's not personal; it's business.
Incredulousness.  It's impossible that that really happened.
Peace.  This is where your love for the other person only lets you want the best for them. "If you love something, set it free..."
Perturbedness. This is where your memory kicks in.  "What the hell?!"
Melacholy.  Shoulda Woulda Coulda.
Jealousy.  It's best to let this one starve.  We always have a choice.
Acceptance.  Fine then!  Fine, ok, ok.  Fine.  I'm fine.  It's fine.  It's good.
Apathy.  "Weird that a while ago I had a serious boyfriend."

These steps may look orderly, but they're not.  Instead of consecutive keys on a piano; they're a song.  This is why you can't make a To Do list to get over someone, you have to just let yourself wake up to a melody in your head for a while. 
The steps aren't patient either.  They push and shove until they've each had enough of the spotlight.  Right when you feel like you're over it, you see an online post about a certain someone not sleeping because he's being kept up by a new girl.  Gag. 

My transition was a little awkward, because the break-up was sudden and unexpected for everyone else around me.  I had quite a few conversations similar to,

"Heather, Happy Holidays!  How are you and the boy?" 
"Holidays are going well!  Oh, we broke up!"
"We're not together anymore.  It's OK."
I know the other probably wanted to end the conversation with "Merry Christmas!", but wasn't sure whether it's socially appropriate to wish a newly single person such a sentiment.

It is, so you know for the future.  Some break-ups might even bring merrier Christmases.

I am relieved to now be on the side of acceptance.  You know you're at this point when your mind is occupied with things other than all that stuff above, when you don't feel strongly in any direction about the person, and when you finally have a tinge of excitement for your new Friday night date. 

Sometimes I miss him when I am standing at my kitchen counter cutting up vegetables.  I would often get the daily message or call from him while right there doing just that.  I miss how I felt when I was with him and good he was at solving problems.  But, I no longer have burning questions to ask him or poignant observations to declare. As the Parable of the Cute Shirt (previous post) teaches, just because we like something doesn't mean we need it.  And, experience tells all of us, there is always something new around the corner. 

I must admit, I love the anticipation of what's around the corner. 

Parable of the Cute Shirt

**I originally wrote this post two years ago and discovered the concept eight years ago.  When searching for the post to link it to the one above, I realized I'd never published it.  Here it is, saved from abortion:

a really great shirt often takes precendence over the best-intended money goals.

one day a girl goes window shopping with her friends, determined to stick to her budget and just "look". then, she finds on a back rack the shirt that cannnot be passed over. i mean, true that buying it would blow the budget, but when would she find it again? besides, when making the budget she really wasn't planning on finding such a shirt. so the excuse slides in and the money goal is pushed to next month. then again, if one is really tricky, she can squeeze and twist her budget to meet her wants. she can sort of make this count, even though her re-vamped budget looks nothing like its original shape. sort of like trying to pour into a pair of too-tight jeans. admit it.
after this the girl feels a bit disappointed in her lack of discipline and knows she should have been better. but, she has the shirt now and knows it'll make up for it.

a couple of years ago i moonlighted evenings at Ann Taylor Loft to pay for my braces. my love for clothes and the tempting 60% employee discount often ate up my meager $9 an hour, thus messing up my budget. one day while working i was tossing numbers around in my head to figure out how i could buy a particular could-not-be-passed-up shirt and still stay on budget.

a mind-blowing thought entered my head right in the knick of time: I Don't Need That.  the simple concept was profound.  i could appreciate the shirt was beautiful, and that could be enough.  admiring and acknowleging its lovliness displaced the "gotta have it" mentality.  it dissuaged my desire for the shirt entirely, and i was once again a girl in charge of my own wallet.

overtime, i've found this concept to be likewise applicable to men.  break-ups or lack of reciprocation can be hard, because we let our wants overrule our needs.  we sometimes feed our hopes and desires for a certain guy that we lose a level of sanity.  not to mention dignity.

a much healthier perspective is: "that guy is great.  amazing even.  i see that he is sort of Zeus, but I Don't Need Him."  thus, a girl maintains control of her own sanity. 

this is like a miracle drug.  try it, it works.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Post-Break-Up #1 To Do

Since having a break up with a guy who is extremely healthy and never eats processed foods, the best thing for me to do is eat macaroni and cheese.
The prob is that every time I do I feel a little gross because I have also learned the benefits of fresh foods and don't even like macaroni and cheese really.
But I don't care! I am eating it anyway! It isn't going to make a difference in my body!
He did always say I was defiant.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Flying Away

I'm finally on a plane to London, in considerably better spirits due to a Scottish man sitting next to me with curly eyelashes who said, "Do you think they could make these damn seats any closer together? Sheeeeeet." At least I think that is what he said, I can't understand him very well. And then I'm pretty sure he went on to tell me he just got engaged in Edinburgh Castle and to describe some refurbished bridges in London.
I'm excited.

I Believe in Packing Light

Which is why is just went through my backpack a second time, mercilessly throwing out 2 shirts, a dress, some vaseline, and chapstick. 
Unfortunately, I am also a bit lighter on this trip because I am missing a very important piece of it: my paper ticket for a train ride from Paris to Florence.  Two of my friends and I scoured my belongings, to no avail.  I have to leave in the morning without it.  I didn't think it was that big a deal, until I just finished watching the season finale of How I Met Your Mother, and at the end burst into tears. 
Good vacations do not start with crying.  I need to buck up. 
Actually I need to go to bed. 
Day 1.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Conference As Usual

when i log in to my blog, it tells me it wants a new look. i agree. i was just thinking myself that i need a haircut. i suppose my blog feels the similar need to switch things up or thin things out when they're getting out of control.

but before my little blog can get a new look, it needs to be more disciplined in updating itself. ahem. it's not my fault, it's the blog's.

every 6 months my church holds a General Conference where our leaders give counsel and encouragement. if you live in Utah, you know about this even if you're not Mormon, because the bullet points are reported on the news. when i came back to Utah after living away for a few years, i thought this was weird.

i love conference. i love the messages shared, i love the updates on numbers and people. i can't help it, i'm a numbers person. i especially love Temple Square. it gets very dressed up for conference and smiles at everyone.

if i were still an English teacher, i would expect my students to ask me why i keep using so much personification in this post. well, it's just my mood. "Who needs an excuse for literary elements?", i would retort.

i have a couple of friends that love conference at Temple Square as much as i.
(speaking of English teaching, the previous is a good sentence to explain when to use "I" or "me" at the end of a sentence. if i said my friends love TS as much as me, it would mean they love it as much as they love me. when i say they love it as much as I, i mean they love it as much as i love it. excuse the mood, dear readers.)

i have the confidence to say that these friends likely love conference at Temple Square also as much as they love me, so in this case it really doesn't matter how i said it. so there, Miss Bankhead.

i digress.

one of my fellow TS lovers is Camilla. when we were in college, we would drive down to SLC from Logan and sleep on the sidewalk outside Temple Square to make sure we could get a good seat. most teenagers/young adults do this for concerts and parades. we did it to see the Prophet and the flowers. i think we liked that it made us feel like pioneers. now, every conference Cam and i have some sort of communication during it. this time it was a text from her telling me one of songs reminded her of me (not I) because it's my favorite, and to see if i liked President Monson's "Hello." i had to confess that i had been cleaning the bathroom while listening, so i heard the song but missed the facial expression that came with hello. it's all bueno, she assured me. neither of us had slept on the sidewalk the night before, but we still love it.

Christy is another of my conference friends. we committed after we got back from our missions to always meet up for fall conference somehow. we are usually successful at this, even though both of us have lived in states outside of Utah for a large portion of our adult lives. this past weekend we met up Sunday afternoon. Christy picked me up and we drove down to our typical parking place. the open space that day happened to be on a hill. Christy parked and then as a second-thought asked me which direction the wheels are supposed to be turned on a hill. i told her, she already knew and did it, and we got out. as we were walking back down the hill, we heard a loud POP! and turned to see the car start rolling. there was not enough time to panic, we just both started running back to it. because the wheels had been turned toward the curb, the car backed itself right into the driveway next to it, and started heading toward the garage of the house belonging to the driveway. by this time, our purses had both been thrown into the flowers and Christy's very-cute high heels were kicked off, and we fumbled to get the door open. we both realized that cars are heavier than we'd ever imagined. my brain was trying to predict how hard the car would have to hit the garage door to seriously damage it, and was relieved that it was heading for a garage and not a bedroom. blessedly, the driveway was on a slight incline and the car lost its momentum going toward the house. it rolled back down toward the street a moment, and then stopped. it was perfect, just as if it were stopping by to pick us up. we grabbed shoes and purses and hopped back in, found a flat spot, and made it to Temple Square.

the adventure of conference never ends.

(the English teacher is back: please name the onomatopoeia in the narrative above. 10 points.)