Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Leaving My Comfort Zone

I love my comfort zone. It's so safe and soft and fuzzy. Every once and a while I leave it, but that just makes it all the more special when I return back to its welcoming embrace. However, I have left its warmth for the duration of the winter.

During the summer, finding myself a little short on money and more than a little bored with my life, I applied to be a ski instructor. Last weekend was my first on snow training and I was terrified. I didn't sleep at all the night before, could barely eat dinner, and had pepto bismo for breakfast. Why was I so scared?

It could be I was having flashbacks to my college ski class. I was by far the worst in the group and everyone had to keep stopping to pick me up again and again. The instructor was determined to advance my group through certain things but, I'm sorry, if I can't ski down the greens then I'm not going over that jump without falling. It's just not possible.

I also don't like people to watch me doing physical stuff. I'm a bit of a klutz and having an audience only brings that to the forefront. I was certain my training was going to be filled with skiers much better than me and an instructor who found nothing right with me and made me want to cry.

To my relief, I held my own with the class and got a "good balance" from the ski instructor. Maybe I'm not so bad after all. But since this week I start teaching actual people, I won't put the pepto bismo away quite yet.

How do you leave your comfort zone?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Editing My First Book

I received my first round of edits from my editor this week. Did you know I have an editor? Did you know I'm getting my book published? Maybe my editor will introduce me to my publicist. There I think I've casually dropped that into the conversation enough times.

As an editor and as someone who enters in corrections from editors into books, I would have thought I'd be prepared for this stage of the process. My editor (see how seamlessly I fit that in) wrote a few new paragraphs and left almost no sentence unchanged. Luckily for me, and for him, this book is not my baby so I'm less defensive than the average author.

I figured he would edit for grammar, clarity, and consistency but was surprised to find entire sentences using words I had never heard of nor knew the meaning to. Most of the editors I work with don't add in complete thoughts but just ask the author to clarify or suggest adding in a paragraph.

Thanks to advice from other bloggers, I sat on the corrections for a few days before responding. I realized that a lot of the new paragraphs were mine, they were just cut and pasted from different places and tweaked. I also realized most of his changes were more nitpicky than actually changing of meaning so I let those in. The only changes I really objected to was when he added sentences that I felt missed the tone of the book. Those I edited to be more my voice.

All in all, it was good first step on the road to being a published author.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Everything Happens at Once

Why does everything happen at once? This blog post is mostly a list of reason as to why I can't blog.

Along with a full time job, I've been freelancing at night and I'm this close to wrapping a project up, but my client keeps finding gnats (not even gnats, just baby gnats).

I start four days of training tomorrow for ski instructing. Yes, I am going to be a ski instructor unless I die on the mountain.

I just got my first round corrections from my editor for my book. Did I mention I'm publishing a book?

That's it for now.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I Stole a Truck

Wednesday morning, 5:30 am. I've got swim class and some idiot has parked his truck behind me and two others in my apartment complex. I check all the windows in the complex to see if any lights are on, but there aren't any. I'm not quite gung ho about banging on people's doors at this hour.

I pull the handle of the old white truck and to my surprise, the door pulls open. When I check the ignition, there are no keys. This dashes my one-second hope of moving the truck to some faraway spot in the complex and letting the owner figure it out.

After five minutes of pacing through the complex, a neighbor walks out who jumps at the sight of me. "You scared me," he says. I apologize since it's still quite early and I'm dressed all in black. I explain the problem and ask if he would mind helping me push the truck out of the way.

I jump into the cab, push in the klutch, and shift it into neutral. He pushes me back a few feet. I leave a note in the guy's cab, and I'm off to swim class.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spectacular Failures

John Lasseter, director of Toy Story and Pixar executive, was fired from Disney when he created their first computer animated movie. They didn't see the point. Disney was his dream job, where he worked up the ladder from the Jungle ride tour guide to animator.

Steve jobs was fired from the company he created, Apple. He purchased a company that no one had a use for, which became known as Pixar.

I've never failed so spectacularly but then again, I've never succeeded so spectacularly either. There are a few things I've failed at.

My first time off the ski lift, I fell and took out the instructor and another student.

I've yet to publish a book.

I've bombed more dates than I can keep track of.

I drove home from my first post-college interview in tears. They said I needed more internships but I just got turned down from an internship because I didn't have enough experience.

What things have you failed out?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chewing Gum while Walking

In honor of practicing things I'm terrible at until I advance to mediocrity, I take swim classes twice a month.

Each week the coach finds something else that I need to work on. This week I needed to focus on my arms during the backstroke. So I focused completely on my arms to the extent my legs dragged behind me slowing me down. I wasn't aware of this.

The coach stopped me, not to tell me I was doing better, which was what I was hoping for. However, he told me I needed to kick more. I explained that I was focused on my arms and, in the words of my brother, I'm the kind of person who can't chew gum while walking.

I now realize why I stink at swimming and most sports.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Such a Good Mother

I was paid a high compliment last weekend. Apparently, I'm a good mother. This came as a surprise since I don't actually have kids.

I babysat my nephews and niece on Thursday and had to take the boys to football. My niece is three and her patience with watching the game lasted about as long you'd expect. I played tag with her while trying to keep an eye on the game. After only a few minutes, another little girl joined us and I ran around with them for a while.

During the last quarter, I stood on the sidelines when the mother of the other little girl asked me which of the players were mine. I told her I was only their aunt. "But she's yours," she said gesturing to my niece.

"Nope, she's my niece," I replied.

"Oh, I was going to say you're such a good mom." She couldn't hide the relief in her voice that I was only the aunt. I assured her that I spent all week saving up my energy so I have enough for one day of watching them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Living Nightmare

I was home alone. (Isn't that how all these stories start?) It was evening and the house was turning gray in the advancing twilight. Only one light lit the house, and it shone in the bathroom where I stood in front of the mirror.

I heard a creak from downstairs, whose steps ended just a few feet from where I was. I stuck my head out and called, "Court," thinking my older brother came home without my realizing it. Silence was my only response. I went back in the bathroom.

After a few moments another creak sounded, this time louder and closer. I recognized the creak now as footsteps on the stairs. I pushed open the bathroom door and saw a man a third of the way up the steps.

The man was grotesquely fat and was making his way slowly up the steps. He didn't speak but only grinned at me. I felt evil radiating from him. My only thought was to get to my dad's room and grab his gun.

I ran passed the top step and around the corner, keeping the railing between him and me. Faster than I would've thought, his hand shot through the railing and grabbed ankle. His iron grip yanking me to the ground.

I woke up in my bed, relieved that it was only a dream but still immersed in the feeling of evil that permeated the dream.

A few days later, I prepare for bed in an empty house. I stand in the bright light of the bathroom, removing my contacts in the mirror. A creak sounds downstairs where there should only be silence. I leave the room to call out to my brother, thinking it's him. Standing at the top of the stairs, the memory of the nightmare washes over me. I retreat back in the bathroom, slamming the door behind me and turning the lock on the knob. I stay there until Court returns home.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ebook Versus Real Book: The Pros

As soon as I posted last week's blog, I realized I would need to write a follow-up. A person who creates ebooks for money can't focus on all the negatives, especially when there are a lot of positives.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a car for ten hours surrounded by strangers. The library book I brought along lasted only for three. Thanks to my borrowed iPad, I downloaded two books for the trip. Most ebook providers provide the classics for free, hence, Dracula. But I was also able to download an old book from an author I just discovered for only $3.

There was no driving to the bookstore or standing in line. And since I'm not a fan of clutter, there's that much less stuff I have to look at. (For the record, I only consider books clutter when it's books I don't like). I actually did buy a hardcover Dracula.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ebook Versus Real Book: The Dracula Experiment

I create digital books (along with creating real books) for a living and I have a confession, I don't own an E-reader.

I have programs that simulate what my books look like on the Kindle, and we have a work iPad that we load books on to see how they look. Plus, the books I work on are a lot of cookbooks, so not necessarily conducive to reading. But I've never really read a book on anything other than, well, a book.

I took home the work iPad to really experience e-reading and downloaded Dracula. I've always wanted to read Dracula, but I wanted it to be October and I always managed to forget each October.

So here it is October and it's a cold brisk night. My apartment is quiet except for the occasional banging of the neighbors and I've just warmed up a bowl of soup and homemade bread. Other than the lack of a storm raging outside, it's the perfect setting.

One small problem, however, Dracula was NOT meant to be read on an iPad. It was meant to be read on a book that looks as old as the story itself. A book with a few pages that fall out every time you open it. A book that smells a little dank and its cover is nicked at the edge.

I think I'll head to the library tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Corn Maze

In Massachusetts, a family called 911 when they became lost in a corn maze.

"A police officer and his dog entered the maze with a farm manager on Columbus Day to search for the disoriented father, mother and two children, including a three-week-old infant. The family didn't realize they had almost made their way out and were just 25 feet from the street."

Apparently they took to heart the one rule of corn mazes, don't cut through the corn. It's just a rule, people. I love two things in this world: stupid people and corn mazes. When you combine them, it's awesome.

This week I went to the most amazing corn maze in Utah. It's called Black Island Farms and it's out in Syracuse. You might think you're so far west, you'd drop off into the Great Salt Lake if you take a wrong turn but you don't.

The only drawback to the maze is that it's designed after Twilight characters, but luckily you can't see the faces from the maze so it's easy to forget that part.

It's the largest maze in Utah but the best part isn't the maze, it's the two-story slide made out of corrugated pipe. I was in dread driving there because I was afraid it was ripped out since they don't mention it on their website. I thought, if some dumb kid fell off this thing and ruined it for the rest of us, I'm going to be pissed. No worries, it's still there.

The night I was there, it was raining. They laid out a big sheet of plastic at the bottom and when I hit the standing water on that thing, I flew another fifteen feet. Despite all the water I soaked up, there was still plenty for me to slide on the next several times down. Totally worth the drive.
They also have lots of activities for kids, including a petting zoo and a small farmers' market.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Failing to Plan for Success

On the Amazing Race this week, the self-proclaimed daughter of a tiger mother suffered an emotional breakdown when she failed at something. Her and her fiance won the first leg of the race and were poised to win the second when they misread the instructions on a clue.

The fiance immediately wanted to backtrack to fix their mistake and come back to the finish line. She instead had a meltdown. She called herself stupid, a failure. She, who had been confident with winning, was now incapacitated by this one error.

After much cajoling and dragging, the fiance got her running again. Since eight of the eleven teams did the same thing, their mistake didn't cost them the race and they were still in the running.

This week I found out that one of my books is going to be published. (Cross your fingers, I haven't contracted it yet.) It's an LDS nonfiction book so the market is small and the number of publishers limited. After refusals from all but one publisher, I accepted failure. Six months after pitching it at LDS Storymakers conference, I got a yes.

After the initial seconds of excitement, all I could think was, "Oh, crap. Now what am I supposed to do? I never planned for this.

She couldn't handle failure. I simply accept it as inevitable. But neither should hinder you from moving forward.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This Week's Blonde Moment

When I do something stupid, I like to have as few witnesses as possible. That way when I tell the story later I can spin it into a ha ha, I'm so silly but cool because I can laugh at myself story.

There was only one witness to my stupidity this week, and he just happened to be a cute guy.

I get into my car Monday morning and turn off the air conditioning but air keeps blowing. I can hear it, I can feel it, but I can't figure out where it's coming from. After pulling off the road, shutting everything off, and turning the key back on, I can tell it's coming from under the passenger seat. There is a round contraption blowing air out and the only thing I can figure is the intake for the air is broken.

I knew I should have bought a car and got the Lagoon tickets the Toyota dealership was advertising. But no, I had to be sensible and buy new tires and brakes instead.

I run over to the mechanic that minute and drag one of his guys out to my car to assure me it's not about to blow up. Using his vast knowledge, he opened my back seat and switched the back heat unit to off.

In my defense, I had no idea the back of my car had its own heat unit. I don't ride back there. I figure when my nephews were back there over the weekend, they must have bumped it on. Now I know something even more awesome about my car, so it was totally worth being embarrassed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Things I Do Instead of Writing

I never struggle with procrastination more than when I'm writing. This is a list of my favorite distractions:
  • Blogging
  • Wikipedia (I look up one thing that takes me to another and another)
  • Food
  • The sunset
  • Sitcoms (I love a good laugh)
  • The phone
  • Food
  • Caroline Hax advice columns (I like reading about clueless people getting smack downs and people who have a lot worse problems than me)
  • Other books
  • Other people's blogs
  • Oddly enough not twitter or facebook
  • Food
  • Training for races
  • Shiny things (there's one now)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hard Life Lesson from Dad

Back in the glory days when publishers actually made money, my company bought us all Ipods for Christmas. One coworker was especially excited because she craved being able to listen to music at work. A few months later, I noticed that she was no longer using her Ipod. I asked her why and she said that she gave it to her teenage daughter who lost her own (which had also been a Christmas gift).

I laughed out loud in disbelief.

When I was five years old, I had one shiny quarter. I carried that quarter in my pocket to the state fair determined to buy something. (No, I'm not super old, I just had a five-year-old's understanding of what things cost). As we were walking in from the parking lot, I reached into my pocket to discover I had lost the quarter.

I told my dad about my predicament and asked him to replace the quarter. He replied, no. I pleaded and he said, "If I lost a hundred dollars, do you think I could go to Grandpa and ask him for more money?"

I knew the answer was no, but I tried to point out there was a large difference between a hundred dollars and a quarter. He remained firm and I learned a valuable lesson, never ask my dad for a quarter. I mean, if you lose something, only you are responsible for it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My First Olympic Tri

Last week was the 1st Annual Downriver Rampage Triathlon in Green River, Utah. What that translates into is a one mile swim down the Green River, a twenty-five mile bike ride, and a six mile run.

The race started out different than most in that there were about five hundred fewer people than a normal race. I'm used to being some random number like 462, but that day I was 9. While I was a lot safer, I felt a heck of a lot more exposed.

Because the race was downriver, they had to haul us to the starting line. Despite there being so few of us, it still took every hotel van and river rafting shuttle in Green River to get all of us there. They dropped us off where the pavement ended. There waiting was a farmer in his truck pulling a flatbed trailer. Wearing our wetsuits, we climbed onto the trailer to be hauled through the farmer's cornfields to the starting line.

To warm up, I started swimming upriver, which convinced me that I need a river to train in. I could just tether myself to a tree and and swim up and if the rope tightens, I know I need to speed up. It was physically harder to stand still in the water than it was to swim down. It usually takes me around fifty minutes to swim a mile, that day I did it in fourteen.

I jumped on my bike and headed into the desert toward the book cliffs. Luckily the path was well marked because for a good part of it, I was biking by myself. Even though there were a few hills (I have an aversion to hills), I was able to pass several bikers. I came into the transition area feeling pretty good since my odometer read a few miles less than twenty-five. Who knew all this time I was training harder and faster than I realized?

All my gains were for not though. I fell apart a mile or so into the run. It was a two-loop course and just when I thought I was finished with the first loop, it turned a corner and kept going. I could see the finish line and I could hear the other contestants crossing it, knowing they were miles ahead of me.

My throat was dry with thirst, but every sip I tried just cramped up my stomach. My legs stiffened beneath me and I couldn't bend my knees. That's the closest I've come to curling up in the fetal position and waiting for the officials on the golf carts to pick me up.

One thing I love about tri's is that a lot of the finishers stick around to cheer everyone across. Though my mom was the only who knew I was still out there, fifty people cheered when I cross the finish line. Next year I'll be faster.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Looking Fear in the Face, Part 2

In honor of last week's blog post, I am competing in an olympic triathlon this weekend in Green River, Utah. And in honor of the competition, I am writing a truncated blog this week.

For those not familiar with triathlons, "Olympic" tri refers to specific distance. This particular race will be a 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike ride, and a 6.2 mile run. I wrote a story about my first tri and published it in Chicken Soup for the Runners Soul. Below is the opening paragraph.

The second I hit the water, I knew I made a mistake. There were about two hundred swimmers all diving in the lake at the same time, kicking off the first leg of our triathlon. We were indiscernible in black wetsuits and gray swim caps and kicked up so much water that you couldn’t see anything that wasn’t right next to you. My wetsuit sucked against my stomach, keeping me from taking any deeps breaths. The little air I took in was mixed with green water. I tried to hold my breath and swim underwater but the green murkiness blinded me. I could feel people swimming over the top of my legs and I knocked into someone with every stroke attempted. Panic quickly set in. Even though I was only fifty feet out, I knew I couldn’t touch—couldn’t touch, couldn’t breathe, and couldn’t see. This is how people drown.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Looking Fear in the Face

"Have you ever looked fear in the face and said I just don't care?" Pink, Glitter in the Air

When I was nine years old, my mom took me skiing a few times. I remember picking it up quickly and loving it. We didn't have the money to keep doing it, but I always wanted to go back. And in high school, when we were assigned to write down fifty life goals, I wrote that I wanted to ski black diamond.

A few years later during my senior year in college, I decided it was time to take some classes just for the heck of it. So in addition to fiction writing, I signed up for ski class. Ten lessons for $150 class fee was too good to pass up. After a visit to the local ski swap, I started my first day on an ancient pair of ten-dollar skis with rusty edges, five-dollar scuffed up boots, and a coat three sizes too big.

At the beginning of class, the instructors told the one hundred or so of us hanging around to get on the lift and ski to the bottom. They'd watch us to decide which class to place us in. I took one look at that hill, raised my hand, and said, "I'm in the class that can't ski that hill."

At the end of ten lessons, I knew one thing for sure, I would never be able to ski a black diamond.

I spent the next few years happily skiing the greens (beginner runs) and slowly working my way to the blues (intermediate runs). Each season I identified a few hills that looked far too scary to attempt and then eventually I attempted them.

This last year my brother, who up and decided to become a ski instructor, took me up a black diamond and into a foot of powder. I stared down that thing and I think I peed a little.

I was a quarter way down with my legs shaking under me, when my brother stopped to tell me I was skiing like a cat clinging to a leg. My fear kept me from letting go of the mountain; I kept leaning into it with my toes clenched into my boots. He told me to face forward and be aggressive, and I reminded myself that you ski a mountain one turn at a time.

I made it down that hill and I made it down a few other steep ones. And when I face something that scares me (like writing a book), I remind myself to let go of my fear, face forward, and take it one step at a time. And, whatever it is, go after it with aggression.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Things that Ought to be Banned

I've read several articles circulating lately about book banning. Rather than focusing so much attention on banning books, I thing we should ban the things that are truly wrong. Here is a start:

1) Flesh colored speedos.

2) Severely overweight or pregnant women wearing string bikinis. This goes along with number one. No one should have to guess if someone is wearing a swimsuit. There's beaches for that.

3) Crying babies in movies. I'm told this is banned, but yet I keep encountering it. By the way, taking your baby to the hall behind the stadium seats doesn't help. Just because we can't see you, doesn't mean we can't hear you.

4) Texting during church. We can hear you clicking. If your message is that important, just go into the hall.

5) Adult temper tantrums. There needs to be an age limit on these.

6) Phonebooks. I know this sounds a little odd, but I get a new one every month and I'm fairly sure the phonebook people killed a rainforest last year.

7) People driving below the speed limit in the fast lane.

8) Subwoofer in an apartment complex. While your movie may sound awesome, my walls are shaking.

What's missing? What would you ban upon being named king (or queen) of all?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What Kind of Drunk Are You?

I've lived a fairly sheltered life when it comes to the party atmosphere. So I was quite pleased with myself when, while in Vegas, I attended a party where the police showed up. Granted, the party was a Mormon singles pool party and the police didn't actually knock on the door (they were parked outside), but still.

They stopped my friend and I as we were walking to the car about midnight. "Where you headed, ladies?" they asked us. We simply replied, home, and they wished us a good night. We were so hoping they would ask us if we'd been drinking, so we could laugh and explain that we were at the one party in Vegas that was alcohol free, and they picked the wrong party to stakeout.

I started wondering that night what sort of drunk would I be. Would I be the life of the party? Would I be the stupid one, always good for a laugh? Or, would I be the belligerent one?

I have to go with belligerent. Oh, I'd start out doing some embarrassing things and maybe even some cool things, but I'd turn angry fast. "None of your business where I'm going," I'd yell at the cops. "Walk your own line, jerk."

It's probably best I don't drink.

What kind of drunk do you think you would be?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Did I take a sleeping pill while I was asleep?

This a question most normal people never have to ask themselves — yet I find myself wondering if I did.

Last night I had a dream that I got out of bed and, frustrated by not being asleep, took a sleeping pill. I would write this off as just a dream except for two small problems: I sleepwalk occasionally and last night I woke up in the bathroom.

I've sleptwalked and talked since I was a child. I thought it was something that I would eventually grow out of, like pimples. But, as with pimples, this annoying tick of mine rears its ugly head up now and then. There was the time I woke up with the entire contents of my purse on my floor and my purse in bed with me. Or when I went to bed wearing a long t-shirt and woke up wearing jogging pants (I just hope it was because I was cold and not that I went jogging).

My roommates and family have learned not to ask me if I'm asleep because this just angers me. In a small way, I'm aware of what I'm doing even if I have no control over it, so I get offended when people tell me I'm asleep. I've accepted my life comes with certain limitations. I'll never sleep naked. I can't sleep with a door open, in fact I sometimes prop things under my door to stop me. And I will never make friends after ten, since I'm usually angry or confused by then.

Don't worry about me, though. As far as I know, I've never left my house or apartment or endangered myself or others in any way. I don't even think I took the pill, despite being unusually sleepy on my way to work (luckily, I carpool). In my dream, I'm fairly sure I took the pill in the bathroom but when I woke up the pills were in the kitchen. And, if I did, the pill are over-the-counter and mild.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pushing through the Fear

So it happened. I'm 30,000 words into my manuscript and the fear is creeping in. It's a stupid idea, I tell myself. No one will ever want to read it. Who are you to think you can write a book and people will actually pay to read it?

I get these thoughts in my head and it's like quicksand. The negativity happens when I design a book or sign up to compete in a triathlon with a longer distance or when I see a cute guy I like. Anytime I try to stretch myself, it comes over me.

I know some of these thoughts are wrong, but I also know some are probably true. I've attempted things in the past that I've failed at. Though I'm usually good about pushing through the fear but with writing a book, it's different. For one thing, it's a crapload of work down the toilet if I suck. For another, I have a lot more pride wrapped up in my writing than I do my triathlons.

So here's the question: How do you know you've got a good idea for a book? How do you know it's worth pursuing? How do you know you don't suck?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Real Cost of Traveling

In honor of my upcoming trip to Vegas (if you have to turn thirty, why not do it in Vegas), I've compiled a list of things I've lost in the past year, most of which I lost while traveling.

Snow skis (Left next to my car at Solitude. What kind of person finds skis and doesn't take them to lost and found? You'll burn for that one.)

Drivers license (Lost and found in Disneyland, but not before I had to board a flight home. Thank you to the honest people of Disneyland.)

Pillow (Lost somewhere between my brother's house and my bedroom. Last seen in the passenger seat of my car.)

Favorite earrings (At the Jazz game and we didn't even win.)

Thumbdrive (No idea).

I'm curious to see what I don't come how with. What's the worst thing you ever lost?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

If You're too Drunk to Read this Sign

Going to the local demolition derby this last weekend reminded me of a problem I had. You see I used to have a sign on my back that said, "If you're too drunk to read this sign, hit on me." Something about me just turned drunk men on (or really white trash guys).

I first noticed this phenomenon in high school at a rodeo. We were sitting in front of man so drunk that his friends had bets on when he was going to pass out. He managed to slur, "Some of these girls in front of us have nice butts, especially the brown haired one. (I was with all blondes and redheads.)

Or there was the time, I explained this problem to my coworkers and they didn't believe me. I promptly went to the bank and was propositioned in the ATM line by a choice redneck with a mullet driving an old clunker. He had to lean out of his car window to yell across the lines, "Where you going after this?"

In case you think this is something I bring on myself by the way I dress or act, this effect continued while on my church mission. West Texas is ripe with drunk guys so I shouldn't have been surprised.

But after not getting hit on at the demolition derby, I thought that maybe I had finally removed the sign until last night. I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from the temple wearing a conservative dress and heels (it was the temple after all). At the store a sixty-some guy with short jean shorts and one tooth chased me down to say, "Girl, you're a throwback to the old girls, and that's a compliment."

Oh yeah, I still got it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Breaking the Rules

To support Elana Johnson and her debut novel Possession, I'm participating in a blog tour about the first time I broke the rules.

I stand crouched, hiding behind a stack of boards next to a partially constructed house. My breath is coming gasps, difficult to control. But I must control them, otherwise he will find me.

I can't believe he chased me. What I did was innocent enough and certainly didn't warrant this cat and mouse game in the darkness. A friend is in the basement of the empty house just a few feet away. He's peering out of what will be a window but is now just an empty hole. We both listen, dreading the sound of our pursuer's footsteps.

Whether my patience gives out or I think I'm safe I don't know, but I take off running. My friend can hear my soft footfalls retreating but also the heavier tread of our pursuer behind me. I hear nothing. After about thirty yards, I make it to the back of a pickup and hurdle the tailgate.

"Go, Dad, go," I yell to the driver. He takes off. It's house number three on our doorbell ditching night.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Benefits of Beer: Part II

So before you read this, you must promise not to tell my grandma. Promise? Okay, you can keep reading.

So after my huge success with killing snails via beer, my mom decided to give it a go. Feeling a little embarrassed, she grabbed a random can of beer at the store and took it the checker. It rang up up as six dollars. Now she's not too experienced at the price of beer but this seemed a bit extreme to her.

When she queried the clerk, it turned out she was being rung up for an entire six-pack. They sent a bagger back to grab another beer, but he returned with lite beer. By this time my mom was too embarrassed to request a non-lite beer (am I spelling that right?). She quickly paid for her beer and fled the store.

Long story short: snails (like men) do not drink lite beer. Now she has to go back for her second beer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

10 Life Lessons Learned

As a child, I once cried to my mom that I always seemed to learn things the hard way. In her sympathetic way, she told me, "Some people learn from there own mistakes but wise people learn from others." In honor of that I've created a list of lessons I've learned the hard way.

  1. Never use your hand (or pretty much any part of your body) to check the heat of something.
  2. Look up when you're walking down the street. It saves face (because the face bleeds easily).
  3. When it takes a while for the water to shoot out a hose, don't check it with your ear to see if it you can hear it coming.
  4. Always check your cinch before get in the saddle.
  5. When you talk to yourself, always assume someone can hear you (this also applies to singing in the shower).
  6. Always check your rear end when you leave the bathroom while wearing a skirt just to make sure everything is tucked in right.
  7. Never curl your hair on a rainy day, it just makes you angry.
  8. Never eat shrimp from an unknown source at a potluck, especially if everyone had to drive an hour to get there. (I learned this one just yesterday.)
  9. Never swing a chocolate-covered baby.
I'm leaving number ten blank. I'm sure something new will come up this week. What things have you learned the hard way? I still haven't given up on the idea of learning from other's mistakes as well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Benefits of Beer

So my roommate and I were having a slug problem and, no, I'm talking about the local single guys. We had an actual slug problem in our flower beds. Despite numerous attempts to poison them (again the slugs not the guys), they multiplied.

I told my roommate that I had heard beer was great for getting rid of slugs. It took a few months to convince her, but eventually she agreed to give it a go. There was only one problem; she waited until we were at a gas station in my hometown to decide it was the opportune time to buy beer. The gas station my family frequents; the gas station we've used as gathering spot for road trips.

She tried to play it cool but her red face gave us away (that and when she asked the guy for a brown paper sack she told him it was for slugs). We killed about fifty of those suckers in one night.

It took a few more years of convincing, but today my mom bought beer for her slugs. If only they didn't have to do a price check at the grocery store.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dating Bucket List

So after watching the horribly corny and cliche-laden Kate and Will Lifetime movie, I realized that my dating life lacks memorable moments. So I've made a dating bucket list of all things I need to experience before I get married.

  • Meeting a guy and totally giving him the brush off but eventually becoming friends. Then one day he discovers how beautiful you are and you realize how sweet he is. It's the meet-cute.
  • A first kiss in the rain and/or a first kiss at night with soft twinkling lights. The movie utilized both.
  • Being sung karaoke to by a guy trying to win you or your forgiveness.
  • Saying I love you in front of a fire.
  • Breaking up in a car and then dramatically stomping away.
  • Being won back by a guy willing to embarrass himself, yet again in a dramatic way.
Which ones am I missing?