Thursday, February 14, 2019

Pictures & Distractions

I haven't done Pictures & Distractions in a while and I don't know if any of you care but I miss it and I'm feeling 1% less lazy right now so here you go.

Also, speaking of not being lazy, please don't be lazy yourselves and get your tickets to Strangerville Live. The show is next Friday all y'all. And you know I literally never say that. Jolyn and I both promise nudity if you come. Meg promises modesty. Our promises cancel each other out.

In other news, it's Valentine's Day and Mr. We-Don't-Celebrate-Valentines-Day-In-THIS-House-So-Don't-Get-Me-Anything woke up early to make breakfast and give me a sentimental card. After I read it and told him I thought he said we weren't celebrating he yelled "THAT WAS A TRICK SO I COULD PROVE THAT I'M BETTER THAN YOU!"

So things are going super well.

And now, your Pictures & Distractions:

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Good Year for the Reservoirs

When I was a kid my grandpa lived in southern California and he was obsessed with the Weather Channel. He always seem to be acutely aware of the likelihood of a storm on any given day in Salt Lake City, even though he lived a 12-hour drive away.

Grandpa was also the most paranoid human being I have ever encountered in my life. I have somewhat crippling anxiety, and I 100% inherited this through my mother's father. Grandpa was convinced that the life of every single person he knew was hanging by a thread at all times, and he regularly issued all of us both comically specific and ominously general warnings every time we saw him.

It became a family game to keep a list of these warnings and reference them from time to time.

One time my mom and I had lunch with grandpa while he was visiting Utah. I think I was about 15. As we each walked to our separate cars, grandpa to his and mom and I to ours, he called over to us, "it's a sunny day and you'll be driving into the sun, so you need to be careful."

It was so earnest and intense, the way he said it, that it took us a few minutes to realize how funny the request was. He literally warned us that the sun was out, and he did it in a tone like we were swimming in a pool with sharks and didn't know it. We laughed for the entire drive home and to this day, now twenty years later, my mother and I regularly remind each other to be careful about driving when it's sunny.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Confessions

(Woot. Strangerville Live is next week. Get your tickets if you haven't already. Support Jolyn. She supports you.)

When I was 14, my older sister Krisanda offered to drive me and my best friend Sam to our local movie theater. I don't recall what movie we were seeing. This would have been around 1998. I want to say it was Titanic, but I know that Cathie McCann would never have allowed me to go see that film without her and her hand over my eyes so I wouldn't be tempted by boobs. Sam had been issued a similar embargo.

I don't remember why, exactly, but neither of us ever seemed tempted to break the rule and sneak in to see Titanic without our parents.

In any event, Krisanda offered to drive us to see a movie that was definitely not Titanic and certainly contained zero to negative zero boobs.

We were on summer break and it was a rainy day. Krisanda was in high school and had regular access to the white family Astro van, which was something of a sexmobile in the 90s.

We were free, independent, and cruising the streets of South Jordan Utah, nary a parent or guardian in sight, when suddenly, for reasons I still don't know to this day, the van swerved off of the road and into the front yard of a little house.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Vomit

Skylar found vomit in our backyard.

Actually, Duncan found it first. We noticed that Duncan had taken an extreme interest in one corner next to a climbing rose bush. A big snowstorm had come through, dropping more than a foot of powder. Duncan spent a few days frantically digging through that snow at that spot for reasons that were unknown to us.

We kept wondering what was going on, assuming that maybe one of his toys was back there. Then I came home from work a few days ago to confrontation.

"Did you vomit in the backyard?"

He said it more like an accusation than a question. Like I was in trouble. And I immediately became defensive, so defensive in fact that I probably looked more guilty because of it.

Then I paused, reminding myself that if I vomited in the yard I wouldn't be ashamed of it, and I would have probably written about it on the internet by now, so to whatever extent Skylar was accusing me of something, the shame projection was misguided.

Skylar apologized, "but to be fair" he did remind me that I have a history of vomiting in the backyard. It happened last summer, in fact. Skylar had made lamb chops for dinner and I ate too much of them. I had taken Duncan outside to do his businesses when I suddenly started thinking about how barbaric it is that we rip meat off of bones with our teeth and the next thing I knew, I was projectile vomiting into our raspberry bush.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Auto Signature

I was in the middle of my third year of law school when a professor with whom I did some work noticed that her secretary had been sending emails out with an auto tag line after her name. I know that doing this is possible. I communicate with people professionally whose emails have some inspirational quote automatically inserted at the end in a font very inconsistent with the body of the message. I've just never quite figured out how to do it myself, which is how so many of you have received pathetic email responses from the Stranger account that don't even include any brainlessly life-changing catch phrases.

The professor was sitting at her computer, reviewing some message the secretary had sent to a large group of law professors across the United States when I suddenly heard her gasp and say "how long has this been going on!?"

She said it like there had been an affair of some sort, and this caught my attention and intrigue.

I asked about it. The professor told me to come over to her computer screen.

At the bottom of the secretary's email and in large bright pink font appeared the message:

THOSE WHO KNOW GOD DON'T NEED ANSWERS THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW GOD DON'T DESERVE THEM

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

I made cookies to prove to you that I'm not incompetent.

Look, I know you people think I'm incompetent. In the kitchen. Shame on all of you who started nodding your heads after the first sentence and before I could qualify it.

That reminds me--last night Skylar and I were talking about one of our past Strangerville Live shows and I said "oh that show was great. So-and-so's story was my favorite that night" and Skylar said, "totally. But yours was pretty good, too." And I was like "OBVIOUSLY I WASN'T INCLUDING MYSELF IN THE COMPETITION BUT I'M GLAD TO KNOW YOU WERE."

Skylar is up against some, frankly, very reasonable expectations that I have for him and he doesn't always do that well. These expectations are that he considers me the best at everything all the time no matter what and he puts his life on the line for this belief if required.

The expectations were formed from years and years of Bob and Cathie telling me after every single performance of any kind whatsoever that I was the "best one." This included a time when I was 14 and I ran a cross country race and took dead last, after all the boys and the girls. They had already taken down the finish line by the time I got to it and most people lingering in the area assumed I was just coming back around for a cool down run after the race because I was so far behind that nobody could have possibly fathomed that I was still competing.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Twenty-Two

(Yo. Strangerville Live is February 22. You should get your tickets. Meg and Jolyn are doing a circus routine. Something about a bearded lady and roller skates. I'm scared, too. Find tickets and info HERE.)

Skylar's medical school classmates are all 14 years old and this freaks me out because they are going to be giving every one of us prostate exams like tomorrow.

It's never really been my practice to date or surround myself with people much younger than me. For years, pretty much everyone I ever dated was my age or older. I've never understood the allure of dating someone half your age. I don't know why that's a thing.

Then Skylar came along. He's nearly six years my junior, and most of the time that's not noticeable, but it comes up every once in a while. Like the other day when I made a very clever joke about Linda Tripp and Skylar was like "who's that" and I explained it to him and then yelled something about why doesn't he follow current events and he was like "BECAUSE I WAS SIX."

Skylar is too young to really remember Princess Diana. He doesn't recall the OJ Simpson trial. Zero memory of Jurassic Park hitting the theaters. He was barely five when the Oklahoma City Bombing happened.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Swearwords

Skylar is making "ramen" for dinner tonight. I always put the thing he says he's making in quotes until I actually see the end the result.

My understanding of how one makes ramen involves placing a plastic non-microwave-safe bowl of water and hard noodles in the devil's box for three minutes, mixing a small pouch of MSG into it, and then burning your mouth off while trying to eat it. Also it's 1994.

His version involves boiling about 600 vegetables in a dutch oven and occasionally screaming "awe fiddlesticks darn!" when he realizes he's forgotten something.

I'm not kidding about the fiddlesticks darn business. It didn't occur to me until very recently that Skylar doesn't swear. I just somehow went several years without noticing this. It fully hit me a couple of weeks ago when I heard him yell from the other room "GOLLY DARN MOTHER MONKEYS!"

I was writing when he said it. I paused for a solid minute, suddenly trying to remember if I had ever heard Skylar swear. Suddenly I had flashbacks to him telling me after watching various movies, "I really liked it, if it wasn't for all the language."

I think I may be marrying my mother.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Better or Worse

I woke up on Saturday morning to tweeted videos of boys from a Catholic school taunting and mocking elderly indigenous people. If you somehow haven't seen this yet, you can find at least one article about it here. The school and the boys are being raked through the coals on social media. The whole event and the seemingly endless stream of videos that have been surfacing has spurred a bunch of debates in a very short period, several of which have been fascinating and sometimes disturbing to follow.

This isn't a political post. It could be--there are plenty of articles being published now about the incident--articles that try to digest the politics associated with the thing that happened. That's fine and well, but while I've watched with horrified curiosity for a dozen different reasons, one of the sub-debates happening has made me think about a topic I've wanted to broach on Stranger for some time: religion. You know. That other thing about which no one has strong opinions.

Whenever religious people are involved in some publicized despicable act, a conversation about religion and whether it's good or bad or something in between often surfaces. I'm usually curious to hear these debates, largely because for a long time I was quite religious.

Growing up Mormon, I was used to spending three or more hours at church every Sunday. Church events took up portions of my weeknights, too. For all four years of high school, one of my daily school classes was a religion class held just at the edge of the public school's property. The home I grew up in had religious pictures hanging in every single room, bathrooms not excluded. As a child I just sort of assumed that this was probably the case with every house in America. I was used to this. The religion wasn't a thing we did; it was a lifestyle, infiltrating every aspect of everything we knew.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Wedding Planning Part II

I'm caught in the the nine circles of Hell right now.  This is because I'm suddenly required on a much more frequent basis than I signed up for to visit or view pictures of places where homosexuals can get married to each other.

Yes. We are in venue-hunting season, and it is exactly eleventy times more miserable than I predicted.

I keep doing this thing where I tell Skylar that I don't care what we do and he just needs to choose whatever he wants but then when he gets close to making any decisions I jump in and make him feel as much doubt as possible about his choice. I don't know why I do this. It's like wedding planning occurs at the intersection of the controlling and apathetic parts of my personality. You know. The one with manipulation right on the corner.

Skylar would likely have elected not to marry me by this point if he wasn't so excited to invite everyone he has ever met in his life to the world's most expensive party. With each passing day I become slightly less relevant to his relationship with this wedding.

But for real. Why do we need flowers? Can fun not be had and nuptials not be formalized without floral arrangements? Can't we just save those for funerals? Did you know that flowers cost $200,000? They do. I don't know why this is the case. They spontaneously grow in parts of my yard for free.