Thursday, November 5, 2009

Good Idea

It is a good idea to put your car in reverse before trying to back out of your parking space. While it is also fun to rev your engine, doing so may scare an old lady standing nearby.

Current song: "Put Your Records On," Corinne Bailey Rae

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It Makes Me Sick

Sticking with the theme of my last post, a week ago I noticed a frighteningly thin girl who goes to the gym at the same time I go in the mornings. She is thinner than most of the patients at the treatment center I worked at. I honestly think I can see her losing weight every day. Her arms actually looked skinnier today than yesterday if that is even possible. Some days I get mad. I think people who clearly have such a problem shouldn't be allowed to have gym memberships. Gyms should turn them away as soon as they walk in the door! Not that any gym would do that because their goal isn't really to promote the health of their members but to make a profit. I'm sure she would jog and do sit ups anyway. Then I get mad that no one in her life is forcing her to get help. She should be dragged kicking and screaming to a treatment center! Not that it would help. She's old enough to discharge herself. Sometimes I hope she'll break one of those toothpick arms, so she'll have to go to the hospital, where the doctor will tell her that her eating disorder has given her osteoporosis and is destroying her heart. Sometimes I want to walk up to her and say, "You know, you are literally killing yourself," or hand her pamphlets about eating disorders and treatment programs. *sigh* This is all very distressing.

Current song: "Be Yourself," Audioslave

Update: It took me several months to realize that this girl actually was a former patient at the treatment center. She was so much thinner when I saw her at the gym than when I met her shortly before her discharge that I didn't recognize her. Sad.

Monday, November 2, 2009

How Food Became My Friend

I told Deja I would explain how I went from this grocery list:
  1. cool ranch Doritos
  2. doughnuts
  3. hot dogs
  4. orange juice
to this grocery list:
  1. soy milk
  2. romaine lettuce
  3. carrots
  4. fat free yogurt
  5. cool ranch Doritos
in two years. The change was actually in the works for several years, but there was no concrete sign of improvement until recently. (And I still have a ways to go...) It's quite the story. In fact, I'm not sure I have the stamina to write it (it is also emotionally taxing), but I think I can handle the highlights.

Basically, my relationship with food has been bad since I was a kid. My mom says I was a pretty good eater when I was little, but I'm not sure I buy it. I mean, I've seen the home video of me when I was two or three, sitting on my Sit 'n' Spin with the big bag of Cheetos in my lap. (Those were my Christmas presents: a Sit 'n' Spin and Cheetos.) Like many teenage girls with low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety, I developed an eating disorder (though I was never formally diagnosed). I used to binge on the weekends and starve myself as penance during the week. When Mom made me lunch I would give it away, and when I got lunch money I would pocket it to spend on CDs. I used to say I wasn't hungry and was too busy doing homework to eat dinner. I would go to the kitchen once it was deserted and the dishwasher was loaded with dinner dishes and running. Lest my family discover my secret, I would put a few pieces of cereal and a little milk in a bowl with a spoon. Then I would put it in the sink and fill it with water. There was the evidence of my dinner: a lonely bowl full of milky water and a few soggy Cheerios. Yes, the seemingly good little girls can be masters of deception. (I like to think that is because each individual's potential to do evil is equal to her potential to do good.)

Food was not my friend, and my diet took a toll on my health. I was sick all the time. Eventually, my health was so bad that I could only handle school part-time. I managed to have high cholesterol--over 200--by the age of 20. That didn't bode well. And I worried what my poor health would mean for my future children. I wondered if they were looking down at me and shaking their heads in dismay. I needed to change things.

Progress has been slow--I've been working for 7 years now. I took a nutrition class. I worked on my psychological issues with food, and went to therapy to sort out some of the underlying problems that lead to my emotional eating. The most important lesson I learned was not to restrict what I eat in any way and never to feel ashamed of what I eat, no matter how unhealthy it is. I prefer not to think of food as good or bad. Food is food. For a long time, I removed "junk food" from my vocabulary, though it has recently crept back in but without the old guilt. I learned that if I tell myself, "You shouldn't have that cookie. Don't eat the cookie. The cookie is bad for you," I will hold off on eating the cookie for a while, but eventually I will give in. When I do give in, I won't eat one cookie--I'll eat the whole package. But if I tell myself, "You can have that cookie. You can eat a cookie any time you want," then I'll eat it, I'll enjoy it, and I'll be done with it. I never feel deprived, which allows me to listen to my body and know what I really want and need to eat. I'm not perfect. I still do the girl thing and eat ice cream when I'm sad, but I'm getting better. And chocolate soy milk is just so yummy!

Questions? Comments? Snide remarks?

By the Way

I am dating the young man who wrote this poem. He is lovely. I'm going to San Diego for Thanksgiving to meet his family. That is all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


While I was driving home from the gym this morning, I saw a young man walking down the street in knee socks and a kilt, complete with one of those decorative pouch things that holds down the front--good thing, too, because it was windy. Awesome.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Favorite Temple Patron

Is it bad that I have a favorite temple patron? I have written about her before. Sister Ellsworth comes to the temple every Thursday morning to do initiatories. Most weeks I am at the desk or performing the ordinance when she comes, so I usually get to see her.

Her health has been better this summer than it was in the winter. When I help her up from one chair and walk her to the next, I can feel that she is stronger and doesn't lean on me quite as much for support. She has been talking a little more, asking me about myself and telling me a little more about her 20 years of working in the temple.

When she missed last week and this week, I was worried she was sick. Then I was worried she would die!--I mean, the regular flu kills lots of elderly people, and everyone is even more worried about swine flu. Today I found out her husband is in the hospital (I don't know why) so she has been staying with him. I am sad to not see her.

In prayer meeting this morning, we reviewed the initiatory training, and, since we had time left, our shift coordinator asked us to share our feelings or experiences with the ordinance. I had not planned to say anything, but she singled me out when she caught me sitting in the corner bawling. I said that, when I started working at the temple a year and a half ago, I was pretty miserable in my daily life, especially last winter. While I was working crazy shifts including overtime and graveyards in December and January, it was nearly impossible to get myself to the temple for my 6:20 a.m. prayer meeting. A few days, I woke up, cried, and went back to bed. (Now I get to go to a small, later prayer meeting at 7:40--much easier.) One day, I showed up sobbing and gasped a request to change my assignment for that morning to one that wouldn't require me to talk. But initiatory has changed my life. On my worst days, when I worked in initiatory, the Lord always sent me one patron, who, for whatever reason, let me know that the Lord loved me and was taking care of me. One week, it was Tricia Tanner, a girl I grew up with. Sometimes it was a stranger, and sometimes it was a familiar patron who came regularly who simply touched my heart that day. Sister Ellsworth was one of those patrons, one who continues to melt my heart and put a smile on my face. Every week that I see her, I remember how the Lord has taken care of me in all my misery, which makes me, well, not so miserable.

Friday, October 16, 2009

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other Ones

Today at the grocery store, I bought:
soy milk
romaine lettuce
fat free yogurt
cool ranch Doritos

Two years ago, this list would have looked more like:
cool ranch Doritos
hot dogs
orange juice

Also, do you remember when there was a fuss over the Sesame Street song because someone decided "one of these things just doesn't belong" promoted prejudice? I know I became totally prejudiced against broccoli when I saw that it didn't belong with apples, bananas, and grapes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Where's my snack?

Dear UVU,
Please stock the vending machines with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. How do you expect college students to survive without them?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Good Idea, Bad Idea...Good Idea

Good Idea: Participating in the class discussion about the chemistry professor's pedagogy.
Bad Idea: Telling the girl next to you to "stop whining and develop some intellectual maturity because education is about more than grades."
Good Idea: Developing some emotional maturity.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I'm taking a liberty with this post--I'm sharing something that isn't mine, and I hope that the person it belongs to won't mind. I'll keep it anonymous, at least. I am in an on-going on-line poetry discussion with a friend. I should also mention I had been nagging him about the importance of expressing feelings, which he said he does best through poetry. He wrote:

"The construction of this poem is a bit on the experimental side, but it seems the best answer I could come up with. Also, you seem to like to share facts about your childhood, so I thought I would too (I mean this sentence to be interpreted as it was constructed. In other words, there is no syntactical mistake)." Now the poem:

I used to like
to get up early
like little
children do
for life is
for the young
when I was
young no
more than eight.

Mom would
be up too
just as early.

We lived in
rental homes
while Dad
built houses
we would live in
for a while
then sell.

Escrow meant

It rained
rained almost
every day then
but we would
badger holes
in the soft
and find
awe in
the deepest

Do you know
lives in the
forest by
my house?

Is it not beautiful? The dull ache is exquisite. My response:

"If writing poetry allows you to be in touch with your emotions, it is a good exercise for you. Reading your poetry, I can tell you feel something when you write, but I don't necessarily know what you're feeling because my experiences and emotions color my interpretation. So to me, this poem is melancholy. It conveys a dull pain, the general dreariness of constant rain, perhaps because something is missing. The pain might be worse if not for the active distraction of exploring badger holes and the awe found in the deepest ponds, but even these just ease the pain rather than bring happiness. But these are my feelings; I still don't know what your feelings are or to what degree they are like mine. Still, I think it is good that you write poetry, and I like to read it. Besides, you don't have to tell me your feelings, as I have no claim on them. It is presumptuous of me to ask your feelings because it assumes that you feel close enough to me or will choose to be close enough to me to share your feelings.

"I talk about my childhood a lot because it is my mental short-circuit. The past several years, I have been consumed in an effort to come to grips with the events of my childhood (almost all my memories are traumatic or leave a bitter taste, at the least) and figure out what my past means for my future. I want to raise children who are better than I--happier, emotionally and physically healthier--so I think a lot about what has been good and bad for me. I think that's normal. I also want to know how experiences similar to mine affect people with personalities different from my own and how different experiences shape people with similar personalities to mine. So I like to hear about other people's childhoods and families. Thanks for sharing."

I just felt like this needed to go on the blog. Is it strange that I feel inspired to write things on my blog?--not just creatively inspired but spiritually inspired sometimes.

And, for the Newt, I have to add: "What badgers?" Do you remember that? Sorry. Seven-year-old inside joke.

Current songs: Today is all about Radiohead's melancholy moaning.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why chemistry gets me through the day

I haven't blogged in a few months, but I enjoy my chemistry professor too much not to mention him. He is about 40 years old, wears his hair in a ponytail almost all the way down his back, frequently sports a bowtie, and just as frequently has a line of chalk across his rear despite the fact that there is no chalkboard in our classroom. When the students work in small groups during class, he walks on top of the desks, making rounds to answer questions. I'm sometimes jealous that he walks on the desks and want to jump up and follow him. (I often wanted to walk on the desks in high school, but, the one time I did so, my teacher told me not to do that because he and the school would be liable if I fell and hurt myself.) After our first exam he surveyed the class: "The exam was a) very difficult, b) somewhat difficult, c) meh, d) not difficult." When we learned about limiting reagents, our book used the anology of making s'mores--if you need 1 graham cracker, 1 chocolate bar, and 2 marshmallows to make 1 s'more and you have 100 of each ingredient, how many s'mores can you make? My professors happened to walk by as I said aloud to myself, "A whole chocolate bar for one graham craker?! This is a poorly constructed s'more." We then had the following conversation:

"Not if you use the right kind of chocolate. Maybe if you're using some junk called Hershey's."

"What kind of chocolate are we using? Ghirardelli?"

"Ghirardelli is the lowest acceptable grade."

"It's arguably the best American chocolate."

At this point, he shrugged and walked away, but I called him back. "Wait, if you had really good chocolate, why would you ruin it by putting it in a s'more? I mean, if you're making dessert out of graham crackers and marshmallows, you probably don't care about the quality of your chocolate."

He just smiled and nodded his approval.

He is a fascinating man. I told my best friend that if my chemistry professor were 10 or 15 years younger, we would definitely be friends with him.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Affair with the UPS Guy

I've been doing some online back-to-school shopping. Between that and the increase in packages from my father ever since he discovered Costco online, I've been seeing the UPS driver frequently. Yesterday, he thanked me for keeping him in a job. Today, he simply said, "Good to see you again!" He's become so familiar that I've been struck with embarassment at the disarray in which he sees my living room every day, so I'm actually cleaning the apartment for the sake of the UPS guy.

Current song: Led Zeppelin, "Kashmir"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Amidst the Clutter

I found the following poem while I was cleaning my room today. I think it was a rush-write once upon a time.

If we slide out of bed and crawl down the hall
Past Mom and Dad's room
Pressed against the wall at the top of the stair where the floor creaks
And you follow me into the yard
Where the dew is cold like just-melted ice
And our toes sink into the ground like burrowing worms
I'll lift you over the fence
And if you'll grab my hand once you're on the neighbor's roof and pull me up
Then we can watch the sun rise over the trees
And eat ice cream for breakfast.

Scrabble scores were on the back of the paper. I totally won.

Current song: "Hallelujah," Rufus Wainwright

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

May Mayhem Part 2: New Eyes and Baby Geniuses in Boston with a Quick Trip to NH

After a week and a half in San Diego, I flew with my friends Lacey and Troy to Boston. Lacey's older brother, Hunter, who has autism, came from Texas to explore the city with us. We crashed at my parents house for 10 days. The house feel more crowded than I remember it being, probably because it has been mostly empty during my adulthood, but now my oldest brother lives there with his wife and their 4 kiddos.

The first few days were thought provoking for me. I don't go home often anymore. I don't feel there is anything left there for me, and I've no desire to return to a place that triggers traumatic memories. But Lacey and Troy's excitement made me think about some of the parts of my home I take for granted. When I was little, I hated that nothing in our house matched--the carpets and the couches, the pictures on the wall, the tablecloths and the upholstery on the dining room chairs. I wanted the kind of home I see out here in Utah where everything matches and it all comes from Pottery Barn or Pier 1. My tastes have changed--I hang JMW Turner and Scott Mutter in custom frames to camouflage the Ikea furniture in my condo--but it's hard to shed my distaste for my childhood home. Lacey and Troy looked at the haphazard decor and said, "It has so much character!" They walked through every room with their mouths gaping in awe: "Look at this Persian rug! Look at this old china cabinet!" Soon my house looked cool even to me. It was the same when we walked around the naighborhood one evening. We walked about a mile and a half, looping around the high school and through the center of town. "Look at these houses! They're so colorful! Green, blue, brick, stone, yellow, white with a bright purple front door--it's like you can see the personality of the people who live there!" "This is where you went to high school?! It looks like something out of a movie! Your school has an ice skating rink?! People play ice hockey here?!" Everything was so exciting to them, I stood back and thought, "Yeah, I guess it is pretty cool."

Lacey and Troy were also impressed with my nieces and nephew. They are pretty smart. During dinner one night, the 9-year-old explained to us how to measure a footcandle. A few days later, when she scraped her elbow, she explained how blood clots. One morning, Lacey was telling the 5-year-old that plants need water and light when the 2-year-old said, "Otherwise it will die." "Otherwise"? What 2-year-old says otherwise?

Lacey and Troy were so entertained at my house and enamoured by my neighborhood that we did far less touring than I expected. We made it to the aquarium where we saw several kinds of penguins, jellyfish, baby anacondas, sharks, the colorful mandarin fish (my fave, below) and a hundred other sea animals. We held starfish--before we noticed the sign that said not to pick them up. Oops! I also enjoyed hearing every aquarium visitor say, "Look, it's Nemo!" when they saw the clownfish. I doubt any child will ever learn the real name of a clownfish again. We went to some art museums, down to the harbor to see a boat race, and to the Harvard Museum of Natural History to see the glass flowers (hundreds of anatomically correct flowers and other plants made of glass). I got us lost a few times, but I blame the GPS and my poor sense of above-ground direction due to my taking the subway everywhere when I was in high school. We took a day trip to New Hampshire to go boating on Lake Winnipesaukee. I think that was Lacey and Troy's favorite part of the trip because their favorite movie, What about Bob?, takes place there. On the way home, we passed and outlet mall where I introduced them to the joys of tax-free shopping. Ah, progressive tax system, how I miss thee!

Current song: "Dreaming with a Broken Heart," John Mayer

Friday, June 12, 2009

I've Got Soul

Before I continue with my fascinating May travels, I want to philosophize a little. (Warning: this philosophizing includes theologizing.)

Last month, I created a quiz on Facebook: "How well do you know Anna Eagar?" (Oh, the life of a bored 20-something.) Among many close friends and my entire family, one of my brothers-in-law was the only person with a passing score. Some of the others made a fuss over their low scores.

One of my sisters asked what was up with my existential questions: "Where does Anna refer to as 'the place of my soul'?" "What does Anna imagine death will be like?" and "What does Anna imagine her soul looks like?" She also pointed out that my answer to the last question is not in line with Mormon doctrine. The multiple choice answers were a) freshly fallen snow sparkling in the sunlight, b) a brilliant diamond refracting rainbows of light, or c) a single shaft of sunlight in a dark, empty space. Most people answered "c," but my answer was "b," which has led me to muse over the meaning of the word "soul."

I looked at Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition. Soul: "1 : the immaterial essense, animating principle, or actuating cause of individual life. . .3 : a person's total self." To me this sounds a lot like personality: "1 a : the quality or state of being of a person b : personal existence. . .3 a : the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual. . .the totality of an individual's behavioral and emotional characteristics." Both soul and personality are the abstract totality of a person. In many contexts, we could use them synonymously. Mormon theology also believes that the soul is the totality of a person--the combination of a person's spirit and physical body (I won't get into the details now). Thus, the soul looks like the physical body.

In my quiz, I obviously wasn't asking about my soul from a Mormon perspective, but I'm not sure the other perspective works either. If I replaced the word "soul" with "personality," like my friends, I would answer that mine looks like a single shaft of light in a dark, empty space. My personality doesn't radiate and sparkle like a diamond. Its light is as beautiful but somehow softer, more poetic, less in-your-face and blinding. But I posed the question because I believe some part of me looks like that diamond. So what part of me is it?

Light was the focus of each image. What is light? Back to Mormon theology. Doctrine and Covenants 93:36: "The glory of God is intelligence, or in other words, light and truth." Light is intelligence.

What is intelligence? Abraham 3:22-23: "Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; and God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good." In this passage, intelligences refers to our spirits, what we were before we had bones and muscle and blood. Doctrine and Covenants 130:18-19: "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his dilegence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come." Here, intelligence has a more familiar meaning; it's still an abstract and difficult term, but it has something to do with knowledge. So our intelligence, or light, is the sum of what we were before we lived on earth and what we gain on earth. (That kind of goes along with the idea of the soul being a totality, which is probably the connection my mind made.)

This makes sense in light of New Testament scripture (no pun intended). King James Version, Matthew 5:14-16: "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Everyone has or is light. You can hide it; you can isolate yourself, close yourself to people, never let them in or share yourself, but then the world will be dark. John 8:12: "Then spake Jesus unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Christ has the most light of any person who has walked the earth, and he can give it to us.

What does your light look like? And has anybody seen it lately?

Current songs: The Killers, "All These Things that I've Done" (you know, "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier") and Dishwalla, "Counting Blue Cars" (you know, "Tell me all your thoughts on God")

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

May Mayhem Part 1: Fun, Heartbreak, and Spring Cleaning in San Diego

The Fun Part
Three of my guy friends (Sam, Matt, and Chas) and I drove down to San Diego. I kept a road log for the first few hours of the trip, but it turned out to be too boring to stick with it for the whole 10 hours. Highlights from the log include 3 minutes after leaving our condominium, "Sam asks, 'Matt, are we there yet?'" and 5 minutes after picking Chas up from his house, "Chas asks, 'Are we there yet?'" The boys also argued about where to get cheap tacos. Apparently, Taco Time and Taco Bell are too expensive (what?) so we went to Wendy's for burgers. We finally got on the highway 2 hours after we intended to leave. The guys are rarely talkative, so the drive was quiet except for my singing along with Matt's "San Diego '09" mixes.

I'd never been to Southern California before. I assumed it would be warm and we'd go to the beach every day. I was surprised how cold it was--I was in sweatshirts every day. We went to the beach a couple times anyway. One day we went snorkeling, and the water was freezing. We had wetsuits, though, so it wasn't too bad. However, I had a panic attack because the water was so murky that I couldn't see anything! While I was sitting on a rock trying to calm myself down enough to swim back to shore, a seal breached about 2 feet from me. Later someone told me that the water is murky during pupping season, and that's when the sharks come to eat the seal pups. I don't know if that's true, but it would have kept me out of the water if I had heard it before we went snorkeling. We spent some time watching the seals and their pups. Matt and Chas played Frisbee. It was windy, so Matt decided to throw his Frisbee out over the water to see if the wind would carry it back to him. I laughed for 20 minutes and took pictures while Matt and Chas stood on the beach hoping a wave would wash the lost Frisbee to shore. It never came. Silly boys.

I loved spending the week with the boys. We went to the zoo. Like the seals at the beach, all the animals at the zoo were having babies, too. by gorilla was especially cute and social. I wish I had gotten a picture when it pressed its face right up to the glass in front of Matt. We also saw a polar bear that showed off for all the visitors. He knocked his food dish into the water, dove in after it, put it on his head like a hat, and swam around for the crowd. We also went to the San Diego Temple, drove to Los Angeles to watch the Dodgers and Padres play a boring game, played Settlers of Catan about 2 dozen times, and drank orange juice that Matt squeezed from the fruit in his aunt's back yard. I watched them play tennis for hours and fielded the tennis balls when they played baseball/softball/wiffleball (I don't know what to call the game since they played it with tennis balls and a wiffleball bat, which they mangled and eventually broke). I spent hours reading or watching What Not to Wear while I waited for them to wake up in the mornings. One day I got impatient and woke them all up. I walked into Sam's room, and said, "Sam! Get up!" "Why?" he said. "Because I said so!" Five minutes later I was surprised to see that that had actually worked and he was in the shower. On the last night with them, I sat quietly watching them eat dinner at Claim Jumper, engrossed in whatever was on ESPN, and felt a surge of affection that resulted in me paying for everyone's dinner. I can't imagine anything better than a quiet life with people you love.

The Heartbreak Part
I won't share the gory, rip-my-heart-out-and-spew-blood-everywhere details. Let's just say, I told the man of my dreams that I love him (or something to that effect--I'm being a little melodramatic here), and he said he is "content with our current level of attachment" as friends. I mean, I knew how he felt--I saw He's Just Not That Into You. Still, sad. I decided we could stay friends, although I'm reconsidering now that I know he's planning to ask out a good friend of mine. Ouchy. (FYI, said heartbreaker is the short balding man in the snorkeling picture.)

The Spring Cleaning Part
After the boys drove back to Utah, I stayed in San Diego to help another friend clean her grandma's house. A month earlier, her grandma was in a car accident and broke her hip. She was finishing rehabilitation soon, but because she lives alone a social worker had to inspect her house to make sure it was suitable for her to come back to.

Problem: Grandma is one of those Depression Era children turned pack rat. We're talking empty ice cream cartons filled with neatly folded plastic bags and Tylenol from 1978. The house was so crammed full of junk that Grandma couldn't clean it, so dust mites infested the curtains, spiders spun webs in every crevice, and ants had made their home in the refrigerator and died either of cold or because they tried to get out when the door was open and got crushed when it closed. We wore gloves and face masks for all the cleaning. (Incidentally, face masks were in short supply at the stores because of swine flu.) One of my jobs was to clean the ant mausoleum. Here are the before and after pictures. And, yes, all the black stuff is ant carcases. It was so pretty after I disinfected it.

Current song: Eric Clapton, "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fat Free Bacon Grease

I'm in North Carolina at a family reunion. The BBQ sauce on the dinner table last night claimed to be fat free, but the second ingredient listed on the label was bacon grease. I guess the South has its own definition of "fat free."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Kentucky Fried Chicken

"It's kind of gross, but it's kind of good."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

You Know You're Getting Old When...

Okay, so my birthday was a couple weeks ago, and I'm now a quarter century old. That's not what makes me old, though. Three reasons my friends keep calling me old: I own a rocking chair without the excuse of having a baby, I bought a little skirt to wear with my bathing suit, and I go to water aerobics. I just turned 25, but I sound like I'm 75. For the record, however, water aerobics is a great workout, swim skirts are flattering and totally in this season, and everyone who comes to my apartment wants to sit in the rocking chair.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

God Will Give You a Ferrari

Today, I gave a thrilling lesson on the law of consecration. I have to give credit to Tori, who team-taught with me. (I was excited to find we are both tabletop-sitting teachers, and we both usually go shoeless, though Tori chose to leave on her super cute shoes today.)

My favorite part of the lesson was a thought provoking point from my favorite front row class member, Richard. He read this quote:

"Until we 'feel in total harmony' with the principle that everything we have belongs to the Lord, 'it will be difficult, if not impossible, for us to accept the law of consecration. As we prepare to live this law, we will look farward with great anticipation to the day when the call will come. If, on the other hand, we hope it can be delayed so we can have the pleasure of accumulating material things, we are on the wrong path.'" (Bishop Victor L. Brown, quoted in the Sunday School manual)

When Tori asked Richard what he learned from that quote, he said, "That I'm on the wrong path." There were a few laughs, and then Richard told us that he has a dream to own a Ferrari one day. He said he would never go into debt to get it, but it is something he intends to work hard for.

Material possessions, even luxuries like a fancy car, are not bad in and of themselves, so I told Richard that I bet it would be all right with God for him to buy a Ferrari someday if he also pays his tithing and is otherwise generous and charitable. Then I asked him if he bought his Ferrari and the church starting living the law of consecration, would he give up his dream car after working hard to earn it? He said, ultimately, he would give it up, but he hopes he never has to.

I have been thinking about this all afternoon, and I've decided that, if Richard gave his Ferrari to the church under the law of consecration, God would probably let him have it back. The steward over the apportioning of property will not work randomly--he will be under the direction of the Lord, and I doubt that our loving Heavenly Father would deny one of his children something he really wanted and for which he had worked hard. Of course, God might not give Richard back his Ferrari for one of His important and unknown purposes, but God blesses us for our faith and humble sacrifices and wants to give us the righteous desires of our hearts, so if Richard acts with the right attitude, God will reward him, and I see no reason why he shouldn't get his dream car. Just my opinion.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Life Is Beautiful (the sentiment, not the movie, though it is a fabulously poignant film)

Little by little, life has been getting better. You can tell how well I am handling my depression based on the number of blog posts I write. (Notice the number is increasing.) I felt so good this week that I think I actually exuded joy. On Friday my therapist said to the group, "Look at the light in her eyes. We've never seen her so bright." I went to the temple yesterday, and the worker at the recommend desk picked me out of the long line of patrons showing their recommends and said, "Young lady, you have a sweet spirit about you." Today, I taught Sunday School, and I started the lesson by telling the class how overjoyed I was to be there and to teach them. I told them that I loved them and wanted to give each of them a big hug. Then I said, "I won't actually hug all of you, but if you feel like you need a hug today, come up after class and I'll give you one." I was excited when several people took me up on the offer.

Life is beautiful.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Many Uses of a Fork

I've decided that every week I go to group therapy, I will post my favorite quote of the night. This week's knee-slapper, said oh-so-casually: "I use a fork to eat with. She uses a fork to stab me in the eyes."

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Color Purple (the color, not the book, which I have never read)

On Friday I was making dinner, and my friend Lacey was sitting in my living room. Seemingly out of nowhere, Lacey said, "When I was younger, I didn't like the color purple, but now I like it."

I stopped what I was doing and thought, "Lacey has read The Color Purple? Maybe she's just seen the movie. Either way, it doesn't seem like a story she would like." Then I looked over and saw that Lacey was looking at my new shoes: a pair of purple Chucks.

Aren't they awesome?

I laughed and said, "At first I thought you were talking about the book The Color Purple."

Lacey laughed and said, "Oh, Anna, you know I don't read!"

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I started going to a new group therapy a month ago. Last week, the therapist, a Native American medicine man (who also has a PhD in psychology from Cornell, for all you skeptics), worked with me for about an hour. He said that I am tricky to work with because I am so postmodern.

Postmodernism, as defined by the OED: "a style and concept in the arts characterized by distrust of theories and ideologies and by the drawing of attention to conventions."

A few days ago, I told my best friend, Shaant, what the therapist had said, and Shaant said, "I want to be postmodern! Can I be postmodern?" I said, "Don't worry, you're at least as postmodern as I am." Clearly he did not understand that this is a negative attribute in the pursuit of spiritual healing.

This week's quote from group: "Here's a tissue for your issues." I thought it was funny.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sweetness Follows

Every Thursday morning at 9:45, three little elderly women come to the Provo Temple to do initiatories. I am privy to this as I spend more than half of my shift in initiatory, either organizing patrons at the desk or performing the ordinance. We were surprised and concerned last month when we did not see Sisters Nelson, Jenkins, and Ellsworth for three weeks. They rejoined us last week, to everyone's relief.

Sister Nelson is easily the strongest and healthiest of the three. She calls around 8 a.m. on Thursdays to schedule their appointment and drives them all to the temple. Her husband died a month ago, hence their absence.

Sister Jenkins is usually the first to shuffle slowly in by herself. She has poofy salt-and-pepper hair and her eyelids droop with age so that I can hardly see the whites of her eyes. I have never heard her say a single word or seen her smile, but today she leaned close to my chest to look at my name tag and then looked up, with her face close to mine, as though she were memorizing me.

Sister Ellsworth is my favorite. She had a stroke--I don't know when--she just says, "I had a stroke, but I can still come," and I am sure that Thursday morning initiatories are the highlight of her week. She thanks me every time I put my arm around her to help her stand and walk from one chair to the next for each part of the ordinance. I can't tell if she recognizes me from week to week, but she looks at me as though I'm someone special, and I wonder how she can think I'm special when she doesn't even know me. Her eyes look deep into mine and lock me in place so I cannot look away, and I know she sees me as a daughter of God, and I wonder how she can see that when I can't feel it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Good Idea, Bad Idea

Good Idea: Moving to the front of the class when the Sunday School President asks everyone to move forward.
Bad Idea: Standing on your chair and snapping at the rest of the class for not moving forward. Telling Steve you don't care that it's his birthday--he still can't sit in the back.

Good Idea: Eating a bacon cheeseburger.
Bad Idea: Eating a bacon cheeseburger before going to water aerobics.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


In my dreams. Last night I dreamed that I was famous (the dream never specified why) and Tyra Banks was interviewing me in my home.

I lived in my current condo, but in the dream I owned it so it was decorated quite differently. The color scheme was based on the watercolor of Venice that my uncle painted for me: brick red, blue, and gold, with dark wood finishes. I had a rocking chair with one of those ottomans that rocks with the chair (I told Tyra it may be a little grandma-ish, but it relaxes me and I've always wanted one). I had a huge flat screne TV and a surround sound system from Bose. I lived there alone. Almost. There was a cat named Manhattan, which is my first choice name for a daughter someday. Not sure why I had a cat since I have no desire to ever own a pet of any kind. My apartment was also spotless, which was probably the most unrealistic part of the dream.

As I showed Tyra around my condo, I told her what a typical day is like for me. This included going to work at the treatment center for women with eating disorders, which impressed Tyra, of course, since the subject is so close to Tyra's heart, as she is a mentor of would-be models the world across (sarcasm here, if that's not clear). Then I told her about the chamber music ensemble I sing with (I don't actually sing with a group, though I often wish I did). I had to show her the vases I made in my pottery class (again, something I've always wanted to do). I glossed over the suject of my writing (I was working on my second novel) and then woke up.

Strangely, my dream, in which I had most of my superficial desires and a few of the deeper ones, made me feel like my life was worth getting out of bed for. Kinda made me want to buy my condo, too.