Sunday, July 12, 2020

Exhausted Broccolini

On Wednesday I had one of those days where everything just a little bit sucked more than usual. I don't remember how it started. Technical difficulties. Ants in the kitchen. An annoying work email, or two. Finally around 2:00 I decided I was just going to go for my long run and clear my mind.

I don't know why I can't seem to remember that it's one hundred eleventy degrees at that time of day this time of year. I keep doing this. I take off and about two or three miles into the run there is enough sweat pouring off of my body that Utah is technically no longer a desert. But by that point it feels too late to quit, so I just keep going.

I do the same run every other day or so. I head down my street and climb to the top of the Avenues in downtown Salt Lake City. Then I run across a road that overlooks the entire valley until I reach a small canyon, nestled in some trees, a lovely little creek winding through it. Eventually the canyon feeds right into Temple Square at the heart of the city. Then I make my way back home, past the Governor's Mansion and several dozen pioneer-era homes converted into bed-and-breakfasts and law offices. 

It's a pleasant run--about 12-14 miles, depending on how many detours I decide to take. This has been my best COVID-19 therapy.

But it's much less pleasant when I decide to attempt it at Satan o'clock.

I think it must have actually been around 95 degrees on Wednesday when I left the house. By the time I reached the halfway point, I was already wondering if I could possibly make it all the way back home. A mile or two later, my left heel started aching, to the point that I couldn't keep running.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Mormon Phrases

When Skylar moved to Utah in 2016, he basically had to take a Utah-immersion course just to understand basic life. He'd occasionally wander into the house and say things like "what's a CTR ring?"

So I'd explain it. And that would usually prompt more questions. Sometimes I would get defensive and be like "IT MIGHT SEEM STRANGE TO YOU BUT IT'S NOT IT'S WONDERFUL" and he'd respond "no, I think that thing you just explained is terrific" and I'd be like "WELL IT'S NOT IT'S VERY WEIRD" and he'd be like "well, I guess it is a little" and I'd be like "HOW DARE YOU HAVE SOME RESPECT" because that's what it looks like to have complicated feelings about your former religion.

Sometimes his naivety is lovely. In Utah, the predominant religion can be polarizing. Most people who have lived here for very long have pretty strong feelings, one way or the other, about it. But Skylar has no dog in the fight. He's just interested. Nothing else, really.

A few years ago he came home all excited because he learned about an organization called "Encircle" which is an LGBTQ organization in Utah which was created because some of the other national groups weren't as good at understanding the unique dynamics of coming out in a very devout Mormon family and/or community. Educating and providing support to kids and parents who speak a very different language than most of the rest of society requires some special tools, process, and vocabulary.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Indogpendence Day

Yesterday was Independence Day (happy birthday, America. Sorry your party sucked.)

Normally we throw a Fourth of July party where all of our friends come over and lick their hands and touch each other and cough into our open eyes but we decided not to do that this year because, you know, Rona.

The lack of social engagements in 2020 has been a super interesting thing for this extrovert who has knitted two sweaters, three scarves, a hat, and has run nearly 1,000 miles in the last three months and I'm sure none of these things are related. But honestly, I've settled into this and I've been able to find joy in the lessened social chaos.

I'm still working from home and plan to maybe forever? We've seen my family here and there, but not much because Bob & Cathie don't want us to give them the Rona. I have a lot of friends who are worried about their parents and grandparents because they don't feel like they are taking social distancing and mask wearing, etc., seriously enough. I'm grateful that I haven't had that problem with my own parents, but I wouldn't mind having Cathie come over and make comments about my yard that are definitely compliments but worded just so I'm not confident about that ("Oh! I would have never thought to plant a rose bush that close to that tree that I didn't realize people liked!").

We miss our old folks.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Skylar Looks Good In Sweaters

A couple months ago I called my knitting store down the street #supportlocal #citizenoftheyear #It'sScaryToTalkOnThePhone #bravery. I had picked a new sweater to knit, something that would be the most difficult knitting project yet, besides, perhaps, The Scarf That Shall Not Be Named.

The knitting store (Blazing Needles woot woot) was shut down, just like everything else on planet Earth at that time, but they were doing phone and internet orders and then either shipping product or letting you come pick it up on their front porch.

They helped me figure out what I needed, took all of the money I've ever had in my life, and I walked over that very day.

The knitting project ended up being extremely fun to make. Skylar had picked this sweater out online and I was hesitant because I thought it was hideous but I forgot the great Skylar rule, which is that literally everything looks perfect on him and he should have to spend some time in jail for this. (Where he'd look great in an orange jumpsuit he is so infuriating.)

I finished it over the weekend and I wanted you to behold my endless talents so here you go:

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Paintings. Now None of You Can Go to College.

Last year Skylar and I went to Santa Barbara for a quick vacation so he could have a break from medical school. We ended up driving a bit out of the area to a town called Solvang, which is this German(?) town that is exactly the most adorable place anyone has ever been to. Seriously. You should look this thing up.

Well we spent the day wine tasting NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT THAT IS and that ended up being a very dangerous thing because Solvang has some art shops with paintings that cost exactly elevently million dollars cubed times fifty carry the one multiple by the integer. By the end of the day, Skylar, who has to get a liver transplant just from walking past a vineyard, was so drunk none of us get to go to heaven ever again.

Tangent: I'm not kidding about this. Skylar weighs 14 pounds. And he rarely drinks. But he really loves wine--or, at least he loves the thought of wine. But every time he actually has a sip of anything he spends the next five months waking up every morning saying "I'm so hungover." And I'm like "SKYLAR YOU HAD COUGH SYRUP IN FEBRUARY YOU ARE NOT STILL HUNGOVER IT'S JUNE." And then he gets mad at me for speaking without punctuation, because that's what wine snobs do.

Anyway, on this particular Solvang day, Skylar was legitimately the most drunk I have ever seen him, and that includes this one time when we had just first started dating and we met in NYC and went to a party and ended up at a McDonald's at 3:00 AM eating a pile of very-not-good hamburgers and he reached over and grabbed my hand, looked me straight in the eye with this very sweet look like he was about to say something sentimental, and whispered "I want you to know, I hate this. I don't like staying up late. I don't know what we're doing here. I wanted to go to bed at 9:00. I hope you don't expect more of this from me."

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Q&A with Tami

A while ago Tami did a Q&A on the Stranger Facebook page (for those unfamiliar because you haven't yet caught up on a decade's worth of ramblings and misspellings on this site, Tami is my big toe on my right foot. She was born when the toenail fell off on Pioneer Day in 2014 and now everyone who reads this site LOVES her and begs me to post graphic pictures of her).

Anyway, I helped Tami respond to your questions and thought I'd share them here:

Q: Who are you Tami? (Yolanda Happy-Goil Newell)

A: She said "I'm the last thing you think about before you go to sleep and the first thing you think about when you step out of bed in the morning. Also, I work in HR."


Q: Who's your stylist? (Jesslyn Ann Poulson)

A: She said "The Illuminati."


Q: With the quarantine, how are Tami and the Queen of Colors getting along? (Jen Rushforth)

A: Tami is a vegetarian so the Q of C doesn't feel threatened by her. Plus since Tami works in HR the Q of C is terrified of crossing her.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Zoom

This morning I heard Skylar in the other room on a Zoom call with a bunch of people from school. I had slipped into the room a few times while this was happening and I noticed every time I did that he was slightly less dressed than the time before, like he was playing some game of virtual strip poker.

I thought about being interested in this but then reminded myself that if I took note of every odd thing he does I'd have to open a library and I hate indexing and barely remember how the Dewey Decimal System works. So I stopped paying attention, even as he fully stripped down to some short shorts and nothing else.

He wasn't participating in the call and seemed to be doing jumping jacks and stretching a lot so I assumed he was on mute with his video off. That was until I heard someone on the Zoom call finally say "uh . . . Skylar? Do you know your camera is on?"

A few things: one, it's interesting that they waited so many minutes to inform him of this. Two, how does this very tech-savvy millennial not know how to operate his laptop camera? Three, the question implied that the people on the call thought it was a real possibility that Skylar was intentionally stripping and exercising in front of them. It reminded me of that time I was at the gym with a giant rip in my bike shorts and that guy told me "you probably don't care but there's a huge hole in your butt" and I was immediately like "WHY DO I SEEM LIKE THE KIND OF PERSON WHO WOULDN'T CARE?"

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Quite A Lot Of Pressure

Skylar is supposed to get his test scores any day now and I simultaneously need it to happen immediately and not for a while. He is antsy and it is A Lot. He has been waking up throughout the night, gasping, and informing me that he just had a series of dreams in which he got his score and the score is always "average" and he doesn't know how to feel about it. I need that to stop. But also, it's kind of fun to anticipate something exciting during The Great Covid, which has produced few opportunities to anticipating something exciting.

I asked him, mostly as a joke, whether I could look up his score and read it to him, like Warren Beatty announcing the Oscar for Best Picture. It sounded so glamorous when I suggested it. I got shot down initially but then later in the day Skylar came back to me and said that actually, yes, he did want me to read it first and break it to him because "you're really good at sharing news."

Obviously I was flattered by this completely true observation. I am fantastic at sharing news. I get teary-eyed and emphatic over good news, celebrating achievements like they're my own and empowering the people responsible for them. I like to be the one to extend job offers for my law firm when we make a decision because I am so phenomenally good at it.

But more importantly, I am honestly the Meryl Streep of delivering bad news. I'm not kidding, you guys. If you ever have bad news, you should call me and have me tell it to you. I once got distracted while messing with people on Yahoo! Answers when I saw someone ask a question about whether they could sue their boss who fired them for a totally good reason and I left such a thoughtful and inspiring answer for that person about how they didn't have a legal avenue for recovery but that they had so many important qualities that mattered more than the job and that person emailed me to thank me and we are literally still in touch five years later.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sand Dunes

Skylar finished his test a week ago yesterday and listeners, I now have a husband with too much time on his hands.

Remember last week when I wrote to you and I was like "I'm an ignored housewife who can't get her man's attention" and you all felt really sad for me and you sent me presents that haven't arrived yet but I'm sure they're on their way because you aren't the kind of people who don't send presents at a time like this?

Well, now Skylar Westerdahl is spending his days following me around the house asking me on a never-ending loop "now what are you doing" and when I don't answer him right away he follows it up with "why aren't you talking to me?" and look. I love attention. But apparently I have my limits because sometimes I pretend to go to the bathroom to poop now just to have a minute to myself. AND I HAVEN'T POOPED SINCE 2012.

I asked Skylar if he had any hobbies he might turn to since he now has like three weeks off, which in COVID 2020 time is the same as eleventy millennia, and he said his only one is "being a good husband and loving you" which is so annoying but also I'm obviously not going to try to talk him out of that as a hobby.

He really is getting more manipulative now that he's in his 30s.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Do I Believe In Magic?

I think I might be losing my mind. Is this a safe space? Can I say something here about myself that might be embarrassing?

I . . . have always believed in hypnosis. Like, you know the hypnotist shows where they bring seven people on stage and then the hypnotist dude gets them to do embarrassing things for two hours? Until literally five minutes ago I have never questioned whether that is authentic. No! It's worse! I've never even known anyone questions the authenticity. I literally just thought this was a real thing and everyone believes in it like rain and Cher.

Skylar and I just went for a walk and I made a joke about how we need to take Duncan to a hypnotist so someone can get him to stop involuntarily bolting after motorcycles and then I was like "do you think it would be hard to hypnotize someone?" and Skylar was like "no harder than casting a spell you learned at Hogwarts."

Well then I found out that Skylar doesn't believe in hypnosis at all and I was like "what are you talking about?! Don't you learn about this in medical school?!" and he was like "yeah, we cover it right after Defense Against The Dark Arts" and I was like "THAT'S TWO HARRY POTTER JOKES IN A ROW STOP BEING LAZY."

So then I had this panic because, y'all, I am basically 60 and I've roamed this Earth for several decades just casually believing in something that might be totally fictional and I've already done that once in my life with religion I'M JUST KIDDING CALM DOWN THE LORD IS STILL MY SHEPHERD LIKE HALF THE TIME I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S TRUE ANYMORE.