Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest

A couple months ago, I was asked which I would rather be: a pirate or a ninja? It didn't take much deliberation for me to answer. Hands down, in a fictional world where I kick major trash, I would much rather kick said trash as a pirate. And who could blame me for wanting to follow in these footsteps?

One-eyed Willy

This guy is smart enough to set booby traps for those less-deserving crooks who dare take his share of the treasure he so "manfully" earned. (and by so doing, he helps save the goonies.)

Captain James Hook

Only one hand and this guy still manages to hold his own against a boy who can fly.

Dread Pirate Roberts

Okay, so the original Roberts retired to Patagonia to live like a king, so it's really Westley that I admire, but come on. He sails, climbs the Cliffs of Insanity, fences, beats giants, and outwits evil geniuses. (not to mention coming back to life a couple times.) All this in addition to plunder and mayhem on the high seas, and in a mask, no less? Awesome.

Captain Jack Sparrow

I couldn't leave him out. Why? He's always one step ahead of his enemies (and frequently his friends), managing to confuse others with his bizarre behavior, but then coming out on top so he can "raid, pillage, plunder, and otherwise pilfer [his] weasly black guts out." You'd think that kind of purpose in life would make him the bad guy, but somehow ... it doesn't.

So ... smart, athletic, fashion-savvy, and just plain cool? Yeah, I want to be a pirate. Just have to cure that sea-sickness problem.


"Avast there, mateys! Ye're sailing with Long John Blackbeard Peg-leg Patch-eye Hook!" -Ray Stevens, The Pirate Song

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Get the Work Done" Day

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am kind of a cleaning machine. For the most part, I even enjoy it, mainly because I feel like I can get my frustrations out in a non-violent manner as I attack various parts of the house. (except dusting. yuck. i will always try to pass off dusting.) And I really like how the house looks when I'm done. It's a good feeling of accomplishment, even if for the rest of the day you can smell the pine-sol the instant you walk through the front door.

So last weekend, when both my roommates were out of town, I went above and beyond the call of duty with my Saturday morning chores. I always clean my bathroom and vacuum my floor, as well as doing laundry. But occasionally I'll add the kitchen floor to that (and i still get on my hands and knees to scrub ... thanks for the early training, mom). So bathroom, vacuum, laundry, kitchen floor. We have a half-bath on the main level that is not really under anybody's "jurisdiction", but I'm sure it's never been cleaned since long before I even moved in, so that got added to the list. Bathroom, vacuum, laundry, kitchen floor, half-bath. But I was on a roll and kept going. Bathroom, vacuum, laundry, kitchen floor, half-bath, all kitchen surfaces (which of course requires moving things around, which we rarely do). Then came the biggest challenge by far. The microwave. What a chore! But again, when I was done, I was thrilled! It was a thing of beauty. When Lisa got back from Houston, I even went so far as to tell her to look in the microwave. That's how excited I was about it being clean again. What a nerd.

Then this Friday night came along. Once again I was alone in the house. Once again I got in my cleaning mode, but I attacked a different part of the house entirely. There is another small room on my floor that has basically turned into a storage room ... which I utilized the instant I moved in. That room was an unmitigated disaster. Not "dirty", exactly, but a bona fide mess. What I had added to it over the course of the last year didn't help matters, either. It took me two hours and five pails of garbage to organize the chaos, but when I was done, you could see the floor! (and the futon.) Still plenty of stuff being stored in there, but you're not afraid to enter for fear of being lost in a black hole! Again, when Lisa arrived home that night, I told her to go downstairs and take a look.

But I still haven't dusted. Would anybody like to come over and take care of that?


"Neurotics build castles in the air, psychotics live in them. My mother cleans them." -Rita Rudner

Monday, July 19, 2010

Raindrops on Roses and ...

I have lots of favorites. The little happenings that just thrill you, the happy moments, the friends, the random messages, the good news. They make my day. So my day was made a few times this last week.

1. I talked to Carol for the first time in over a year. For having been one of my best friends in school, I've done a lousy job at keeping in contact with her. But she called to tell me she's getting married, and I was uber-excited! I literally cheered and hopped around the room after I got off the phone.

 Kim and Carol ... long ago

2. After enjoying some delicious frozen yogurt at Red Mango, I heard my name called while walking out, and when I turned, I saw it was my old roommate Nicole! What a sweetheart. Although I lived with her for only four months over four years ago, she was a blast to share a room with, so I was excited that she recognized me and got my attention.

 Nicole and me on a roommate's night out ... again, long ago

3. I got to go out to dinner with my family when my aunt Vicki was in the area, so we went to Carrabba's and gave my cousin Steph a hard time while she waited on us. Good food and my family? Yeah, that's worth skipping fhe for.

4. I am safe from having to give a talk in church for a while. Put me in front of a podium for a musical number, I feel fine. I even will perform admirably, if not perfectly. Put me up there to give a memorized line/paragraph/anything that somebody else wrote down at any point in time, I will be great. Put me up there to give a talk where I'm using my own words, I have to pray all day for the jitters to back off. Fortunately, I think it went well, and I'm safe. For now.

5. I finally bought an air popper and a candy thermometer and made caramel corn! 'Twas delicious.

I wonder what it says about me that three of my favorite moments somehow involved food. I'll justify it by saying that each of those times, I had someone(s) to share it with. -cue audience "awwww"-


"The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public." -George Jessel

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

For Suddenly I Can See the Magic of Books

And the subject has come back to books. I managed to add yet another novel to my list of favorites, and while some of you may not be big fans of Mr. Dickens, this is the second book of his that has attained that honor in my eyes. What is the book, you ask? The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (which he never meant to publish on any account).

Now, I think I was about eleven years old when I first discovered that the name of David Copperfield belonged to something more than an illusionist. It took me some time to recover from that shock, considering fifteen years later was when I actually made the sincere effort to read the book. Like the other Dickens novels I have read, Copperfield is abundant with diverse characters: some good, some bad, and some in-between. Like the other works, these diverse characters are connected in complex (and not always joyful) circumstances. But what made this particular novel a little easier for me to handle, despite its 800+ page-length, was that all the events and characters tied back to the one chap whose name graces the cover.

David Copperfield isn't the perfect man. I particularly wanted to strangle him for ignoring the blatantly obviously perfect woman for him and instead falling head over heels in love with a girl who, despite her sweetness, was just silly and shallow (and she knew it). But David, even through his weaknesses, is still over-all a decent and good man. I liked that. I appreciated his willingness to push ahead in his life, overcoming a painful childhood to be a better person and recognize the kind of man he didn't wish to be. In an age when we are surrounded by "victims", where people's parents are endlessly blamed for screwing up their children forever, it's refreshing to read about someone who didn't keep under that cloak of martyrdom. I don't wish to denigrate those afflicted individuals who really have had to live with horrible circumstances; I just think too many people are eager to blame others instead of moving ahead and making themselves better. (insert hypocritical blush here.)

There were a myriad of thoughts and ideas expressed in Copperfield that caught my eye and stuck in my mind, but this one has stayed with me ever since I finished the book last week:

"I have never believed it possible that any natural or improved ability can claim immunity from the companionship of the steady, plain, hard-working qualities, and hope to gain its end. There is no such thing as such fulfilment on this earth. Some happy talent, and some fortunate opportunity, may form the two sides of the ladder on which some men mount, but the rounds of that ladder must be made of stuff to stand wear and tear; and there is no substitute for thorough-going, ardent, and sincere earnestness."

In other words, practice makes perfect. We have natural abilities given to us, but it is up to us to improve those abilities. I can't expect to look at Liszt's Liebestraume and play it wonderfully, no matter how good a sight-reader I am. I have to practice it. I have to work at it. I must make the "stuff to stand wear and tear". I really liked this philosophy of David's, and it's one of several unexpected lessons I discovered while reading.

Looking forward to my next reading venture. Suggestions, anyone? (i've got two more i'm working through at present, but i'm always open to other possibilities.)


"It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations." -Winston Churchill

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm Sorry ... So Sorry

Allow me to beg pardon. I have yet to learn to contain myself. I've never been very good at abridging myself and keeping stories brief. So for those of you who attempted or succeeded at powering your way through my latest post, I salute you. And I extend my deepest apologies.

I said a few months ago that I would do things that were blog-worthy and shed the appellation of Boring Blog Megan. What I fail to recognize occasionally is that even if I am doing good and fun things, like my trip to Oregon, I need not write about every event. (and i really wasn't lying when i said i condensed, either.) Doing so only manages to make this particular label stick to me like Krazy Glue and I can't ever shake it off.

I do this in my conversations, too. I come away from those wondering why I felt the need to share everything I did, or why I was compelled to talk so much. I don't think I make people uncomfortable (i hope not, at least), but I do have a tendency to dominate conversations when I should be a little more aware of the concept of listening.

So now I make a new goal in a further effort to acquire a better blogging nickname (and to be a better listener in person): I will be to the point, and I won't pummel you all with too much information. Wish me luck.


"Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of that fact." -George Eliot

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I Get Around

Phew! Now that I've been back in Utah for a week, I guess it's about time I talked about the week I spent in Oregon. For any friends of mine in Oregon who might be a little annoyed with me that I didn't get in touch with you while I was there ... believe me, I had no extra time. It was a busy week. Really good and excellent, and I absolutely loved being with my family (even with the ten+ chilluns around), but it was pretty busy.

Mom wasted no time putting her daughters to work when we both arrived in Tualatin on Wednesday night. Thursday night was the pre-wedding family bbq, and there was prep work and errands and other last-minute things to be done. And then of course other family coming in. What fun! (that's not sarcastic, even though it could read that way.) And despite Mom's stressing, the bbq went off very well, and the weather was beautiful. (naturally.)

Lisa walks with Lucy

Gpa, Gma, Jami, Craig, Mom, Dad

Jami, the beautiful bride 

Friday was the wedding, and it was simply wonderful. Jami and Craig looked beautiful and dapper, respectively, and I'm so excited to have a new sister-in-law! Naturally I was a crybaby during the actual ceremony, but I blame Dad, who was directly in my line of sight and got pretty emotional himself. I had reassured the Hodgmans that I was fine before it started, but I knew that would change all too soon, even if I didn't inform them of that fact.

The reception that night was great, seeing familiar faces and catching up, and catering to Lexy and Ali's dancing whims between catching-up-times. It was a dessert bar, and quite considerately, there was a sugar-free table. We all admired that table, and then immediately headed over to the chocolate fountain. We like sugar in our family. And it came in handy once the line of people finally died down and the DJ really got things moving. I really wish I had pictures of all of us dancing fools, but that would have meant I didn't dance, myself. And I danced. And danced.

On the Waterfront. Yay, Portland!

Saturday was spent in Portland at Saturday Market and then to Lake Oswego for an art festival and then back to Portland to see The Lion King. Pretty dang cool. Actually, the day was hot, which is why I got a pretty nasty sunburn on the back of my neck, but The Lion King was really cool, and it was fun to see it with my family.

Sunday we headed down to Salem where my cousin Sam blessed his new daughter, Bristol. It's really neat to be present for those occasions. I get very used to seeing my family discuss sports and the ongoing BYU/Utah debate (hands down, byu beats all ... sorry steph) and all of us shouting to be heard, so to witness a more quiet and infinitely more spiritual side of my family is very special to me.

Jake shows me his treasures on the beach

Andrew's gotta run from the waves

Jack gets some air

Monday, we headed to the beach, and after many adventures on the road there, what with Mom forgetting the directions for getting into the rental house and blessing modern technology (in that you can check email from my parents' phones and get the instructions again), we arrived to a misty day at the Oregon Coast. I didn't mind that it was gray when we first arrived, but Mom was sure disappointed and worried it would be like that the rest of the time there. Suffice it to say, it wasn't.

 Ali doesn't play in the water, but she still likes the beach

Mom and her seestor Vicki

Tuesday was beautiful, and it was great spending the morning on the beach (even if it was a tad chilly) and then going to see Toy Story 3 in the afternoon. (which was awesome!!!!!!) Went to Mo's, of course, for lunch (after i had raised a stink about them planning to do so after i had skipped town), and then to Read's (and i forgot my seafoam in lincoln city! maybe someone else enjoyed it). It may not be the best fish 'n' chips or the best candy, but it's tradition, and because of our traditions, each of us knows who he is ... oops, went off on a Tevye moment there. Anyway, I'm glad we went.

 Kelly and Nerak, appropriately dressed

Nicole basks in the sun

Wednesday I headed back to Portland with the grandfolks, which was a fun little drive. Totally providential that our flights were five minutes apart from each other. I was glad for that time I got to spend one-on-two with them. They're pretty dang awesome. Upon arriving back in Utah, Becky picked me up and we attempted to find a Cracker Barrel for dinner, but either we missed it or the big billboard was wrong, because we couldn't find it (cue sad face). Oh, well. We still stopped for dinner, and Becky got to hear all about my week. Lucky her.

I knew this post would be too long. And I massively condensed it, too! Guess I'll just have to do better next time. All in all, it was a great trip home, being almost constantly on-the-go, and I'm going to say again that I'm really excited about my new sister-in-law! My family's awesome, Oregon's awesome, and I'm awesome. It's an awesome combination.


"We live in an age where pizza gets to your home before the police." -Jeff Marder