Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday night notes

Tonight I went with Melanie to her niece's junior high band concert. Her other nieces clamored to sit on both our laps, go through our purses, and play with our hair. One of the little girls, after getting right up close and personal to my face, asked me if I were wearing lipstick. After I told her no, she took a look at my ears and saw I didn't have earrings on. She then instructed me to go ask my mom if I could have some lipstick and earrings. I had a hard time suppressing my laughter; we were at a concert, after all.

After the concert, Mel's sister-in-law had us swing by their house to pick up something and we ended up staying and talking for a little while. This same little girl gave me a piece of chocolate, then came and took it away and disappeared, and reappeared with a full mouth and a happy little smile, got up close to me and whispered, "I ate your chocolate." Again, laughter suppression was very necessary.

Then, on the way home, Mel and I decided to stop and get a couple of small shakes. She was driving, and so I held them for the duration of the ride home. Her brother's family lives in Ogden, so her shake had some time to get a little mushy on the road . . . and then it fell out of its holder and landed on the floor. I picked it up, relieved that it was almost intact, and realized that it had already left a substantial puddle on my coat somehow. By the time we got in to Salt Lake, my pants looked like they had the measles from shake drips and my sides hurt from laughing.

In other news, one of my co-workers, J, told me today that cancer is a contagious disease and that's why we wear gloves in the clinical lab. He's pretty fun to deadpan with. The general rule is to not believe a word he says and everyone will be happy and entertained. One of these days I'm going to put up a post about this whole job business and how I'm liking the working world. But time seems to go by so quickly these days, and there's not much left over for blogging. On the days when I feel like blogging. So, stay tuned, but not on the edge of your seat.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A situational lapse in judgement

I'm a firm believer that there really aren't that many stupid people in the world; there are just lots of people who have judgement lapses. Most of these are temporary. But some of them are situational.

Every day now, for a few weeks, I've been wondering-- what kind of judgement lapse leads someone to leave their toothbrush laying with the head hanging over the edge of the sink? I understand that it might help the toothbrush dry- but friends, let's think about this scenario for a moment. If the toothbrush is within a few inches of the tap, it's going to get sprayed with water occasionally throughout the day. And not just nice, clean water, but water that is washing people's dirty hands. And most people who are washing their hands in the bathroom sink are doing so because their hands are dirty from . . . doing their business.

I'm really not sure how this fact has escaped the notice of this particular fastidious person. Although having a healthy bacterial flora in one's mouth is a good thing, I'm pretty sure the kind of bacteria resulting from the this activity is precisely the kind that one does not want in one's oral flora. Yuck! It's pretty hard to gross me out, but yuck-o!

Now, I'm sure I have my own situational judgement lapses often, as do we all, but this is just a call to action against one in particular. If you or anyone you know is leaving their toothbrush out to be splashed by bathroom bacteria, put a stop to it!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Maria's thoughts

I believe in the sun
Even when it is not shining
I believe in love
Even when feeling it not
I believe in God
Even when God is silent

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

-Joe Darion, "The Man of la Mancha"

Fill your life with "I'm glad I did"s
Not "I wish I had"s

Those three things, for a few reasons that shouldn't be gone into on a blog, have been on my mind a lot, a lot, a lot lately. And I got a new one tonight to ponder. I had dinner with my aunt Gladys, who is actually my great aunt, but since she's only ten years older than my mom, she seems way too young to be a great aunt. She had the harrowing experience of losing her husband to a sudden stroke about six months ago. Since she and I both live in Salt Lake now, we decided to get together.

She is one of the most energetic, cultured, intelligent women I have ever met. As soon as I got there, she was telling me stories nonstop about all kinds of things, some of them funny, some of them sobering, many of them touching and edifying. My soul has been feeling rather damaged lately, and I felt as though her animated conversation and warm spirit were a salve that was taking away some of my pain.

On top of all the stories she told me that are helping me gain some perspective for my own situation, she shared a thought with me that I might end up hanging on my wall. Our family is notoriously long-lived, and one of her father's cousin's is currently 108 and still alive (her father, my great-grandfather, lived to be 98 and would still climb apple trees when he was in his 90's). This cousin was still an active businessman at age 100, and once when he was having a conversation with Gladys, he told her that aging is all in the head. It's a mental state. "The minute you stop living for your dreams and start filling your life with regrets, is the minute you start to age," he told her calmly. "Not before."

I would hate to be old and be in my 20's, so no regrets! cast them aside! No looking back! Only forward looking allowed on these premises.

Here's to the wisdom of aunts.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Call me sentimental

After Hazle the cat died, I wrote up some of my memories of him and was surprised at how many thing I had forgotten, or hadn't thought about in years. With some trepidation, fully acknowledging that this makes me look slightly obsessive, I'm going to post them here. He was a funny cat! He had loads of personality. I never actually finished the notes, so they stop kind of abruptly. I'm not sure if I ever will finish them or not. But I hope you enjoy.

Hazle was born in the spring of 1991 and spent his early days at the Wells household, just around the corner from our house. While he was there, he was known as Dusty Rusty

He became a member of our household during May of 1991. I had just turned eight and had been begging my parents for a kitten probably sicne I could talk. The succession of stuffed cats that I’d been given just weren’t cutting it. So when Mom and Dad heard that there were kittens at the Wells’ house, Mom bravely decided to grant me my wish. We walked over to the Wells’ and looked at their kittens.

I don’t remember much about the other kittens there, except that Hazle stood out to me as far superior to the rest. We were given a litter box to go with him and walked home, Mom carrying the litter box and me carrying the cat. He struggled on the way, and we thought that maybe he wanted to go back to his family. But as it turend out, he was just anxious to use his litter box, which we found out as soon as we set him down in the backyard at our house.

I was so excited! However, my enthusiasm was tempered a little the next day when I broke my finger playing on our swingset in the back yard. It was a little harder to take care of a rambunctious kitten with one hand temporarily out of commission. But at the same time, this became my first experience with Hazle giving me comfort when I wasn’t feeling well.

Somehow, the cat went from being known as Rusty Dusty to being known as Hazle. We didn’t bother to check the sex of the cat before we brought it home, and I assumed it was female. Even if I hadn’t assumed it was a girl cat, I didn’t even know that “Hazel” was a name, so that wouldn’t have affected my choice of name much. To be honest, I can’t quite remember how I picked the name, but once I had decided, that was that. A couple of years later, we found out that Hazle was male, and Grandma Clark was quite concerned that we had a male cat named Hazle. She tried to convince me to change his name to Hazleton, but I was rather offended that she thought my name was inappropriate. Hazle he remained.

Hazle came straight into a household full of young children. I was eight, Tim was six, Mark was three, and Laura was just a year old. From the start, he was a very patient pet. Laura loved him a lot and showed her love by laying on top of him, petting him vigorously, and pulling his ears. Mark wasn’t much better. However, Hazle put up with all the attention in a very admirable way and only scratched if he was really being tortured- like tail pulling or eye poking. In return, he figured that he could sleep in all the cozy places we had laid out for babies—in the crib, on blankets on the floor. His favorite was the bouncy baby chair that Mom kept in the kitchen that was the perfect size for him to curl up in. Mom thought differently however, and chased him out of it many times.

To be honest, when I first got Hazle and he and I were very young, I wasn’t much better than the babies. I thought it was great fun to dress him up in doll clothes, wrap him up in blankets, and pop him in a doll stroller. Much of this he put up with quite patiently too, although he probably would have run away many times if he could have.

Also when he was a young thing, he had a hard time keeping his beautiful long fur clean. He would go running through the orchard and come back with burrs embedded in his fur. We gave him several baths and recruited Curtis to cut burrs out of his fur whenever Curtis came for a visit. This was back when Curtis was single, so he came down fairly often, especially during volleyball season. We appreciated what he did for the cat, but Hazle did not. For a while, he would run away at the sight of Curtis.

Hazle quickly developed a strong personality that was very tender and very sweet, but also had an aspect of defiance. He knew that he wasn’t allowed in the living room or on the counters, but that didn’t always prevent him from going those places. However, huntil he became a crotchety old cat, he would look guilty and jump down or run away when he was discovered.
When he was young, he would periodically go wild, especially if you fed him catnip, toyed a string in front of him, or lay down on the ground with your head next to his paws. Mark was laying next to him once while he turned wild and he latched on to Mark’s head with all fours with his claws.

He also went through a stage where he would catch and kill birds and mice and leave them in the backyard. I learned the hard way that you could never be sure where he would leave them when I stepped on a mouse in my bare feet and felt its guts squeeze up between my toes. There was also an unfortunate episode where he caught a wild mouse and brought it inside, where it escaped.

Hazle hated cars in his youth. Once, Mom got in the family van and started driving off on some errands when a tornado broke loose in the van. It turned out that someone had left a window open and Hazle had crawled inside and fallen asleep in a blanket he found there. He must have been pretty concerned when he woke up and found himself in a moving vehicle. Mom tried to talked to him gently to keep him calm while she turned around and took him home.

Hazle has been taken to school for show and tell a couple of times, too. He escaped in the school parking lot once, and Mark and I spent several minutes trying to coax him out from under the car and hoping that he wouldn’t run off.

During the summers, Hazle found a lot of entertainment from passing cars. On warm evenings, he would sit in the middle of the road, staring haughtily at anyone who walked by. Should a car chance to drive by, he would stare it down. The car would start going slower and slower, and since the cat wouldn’t move, eventually the car would come to a complete stop. Then the driver would often honk, and sometimes even get out of the car to physically move him. At this point, he would calmly and deliberately get up and walk slowly away, moving to a new spot in the road where he could wait for another car to come by.

Hazle has always been a good comfort cat. If anyone was every feeling sick or sad, before long, he would wander over to them and sit down on their lap. It’s possible that he was mostly interested in being held and getting petted, but he was also great for a lot of kids. Especially me. He got me through a lot of melancholy days in my teenagehood.

He was a tough cat, especially considering how little medical attention he received in his life. He got sick three times during the last seven years of his life that required veterinary attention, but he never got taken in for preventative care, and he never complained when he was sick, he just looked all droopy and stopped eating. But no caterwauling!


So here's something I've discovered about myself in the last month. I'm much more of a people person than I was when I started college. Shifting from a 6-person apartment to a 3-person apartment where I don't see my roommates very often is more challenging than I thought. Fortunately I know enough people in Salt Lake that I've been able to keep myself fairly busy, but there's just something to be said for the comfort of having good roommates around. Possibly I've always been this way to a certain extent, but I've just never realized, because I've never been in a situation like this before- there were always people around the house when I was growing up. It's one of the corollaries of having a big family, for better or worse (I think it's almost always for better).

Tonight, for example, I've been keeping myself busy all evening in a very lonesome apartment. Amy is at work and Melanie went home to see her mom. I don't know any of my neighbors and I'm not good enough friends with anyone in the ward yet to just call them up to chill (I realize that you don't have to be great friends to do that, but I'm still even figuring out who I would like to do that with- this ward is a very interesting blend of people. I'm not sure just how many bosom friends there are to be acquired here).

I went to my cousin Aly's house last week. She lives with three girls in a cute little rental house, and as they sat around and chatted, I started feeling rather jealous. I'm so thirsty for that kind of home environment. Melanie and Amy are both great, but like I mentioned, they're not here a lot and I'm definitely the most driven of the three of us to go meet people and be social.


does anyone know of a nice apartment of girls in Salt Lake that has an opening for a friendly, mid-20's female?