Sunday, July 30, 2006

Farewell, Avonlea


Before heading to the salon Friday morning to get my hair blonded, I made a list of post-blonde activities: Put gas in the gar, practice the organ for Sunday, go to the gym, and do some grocery shopping.

By Friday evening, my gas gauge was panic-level low, I was almost home before I realized I'd forgotten to turn the lights off at the church, I arrived at the gym without my water bottle, towel, or ipod, and returned from the store without the one thing I'd gone for in the first place.

Coincidence? Or blonde-related?

I do love my new hair - even if it cost a small fortune. I had no idea! My first professionally-aided highlights occurred one year ago in the makeup room of the LDS Motion Picture Studio, when it was decided that the Pioneer I was portraying should look like she'd actually spent some time in the sun. Up until then, the price of a box of Natural Reddish Blonde was about all I was willing to pay to give my hair a little boost. That, and the occasional $14 splurge at Supercuts.

With a little help from Clairol, I was a redhead for most of my 20s, although I have one friend who refused to refer to me as such. (Hi, Sam!) When I met her in high school, I was a natural blonde, and she was a natural Anne of Green Gables devotee. Later, no matter how red I went, she insisted that I wasn't really a redhead. Not like Anne!

(Love you, Sam!)

I have friends who, being sassy blondes themselves (Hi, Skanky Chris!), tried to convince her otherwise. To no avail.

(Love you, Skanky!)

Never content with my status quo, I've been vacillating between red and blonde for some time now. It's a waste of time and vacillation, really. I mean, have you seen my husband's hair?



We've been told by more than one person that we look like brother and sister. I really had no choice.

Also, the way we met: Stu asked a friend of mine (Hi, Jannah!) if she knew any tall, single blondes. Thank goodness I was blonde at the time! (And tall.)(And single.)

I've gone natural ever since the Pioneer highlights, and my hair's been getting more and more non-descript. And so, after accosting several women in the grocery store these past few months to find out where they went blonde (and insulting at least one of them, I'm sure, for not assuming their color was au naturale), I finally decided on the place of blonding.

And here I blondely sit.

I think it was worth the depleted bank account.

And I'll let you know if I start having more fun.

In the meantime:

(Hi, Carina! This one's for you.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Rumination

I've been thinking about guilt, regret, and retrospect lately.

I've also been thinking about helping versus enabling, but perhaps this all might be a little too much to cover in one blog entry.

So I'll focus on guilt.

A few weeks ago, I asked the bishop to release me from my calling in the Primary. In retrospect, I should have asked to be released much sooner, or not accepted the calling to begin with.

When the bishop first asked me to be the Sunbeam teacher, I was delighted. I was also scheduled for knee surgery the following week, but told him I was sure I'd be ready to teach a few weeks after the operation. Those few weeks came and went, and though my spirit was willing, my flesh - not so much. But I did it anyway. It was my calling! My kids tripped over and climbed on my crutches for a few months, and when I stopped using crutches, my kids tripped over and climbed on me. My friends in the ward were happy for me.

"Looks like you’re all better now!”

Thing was, I wasn't. But I thought I should be, and I couldn't ask to be released. I'd never done that.

Well, except on my mission.

When I first hurt my knee in Montreal, I thought I just needed to have more faith. This hypothesis was backed up by many fellow (mostly male) missionaries.

“Just have faith, and you will be healed!”

I did, but I wasn't. Instead, I was paired with an amazing girl who also had debilitating health problems, and we spent several incredibly difficult and wonderful months together, lying on our beds, telling each other stories about our lives. Rarely well enough to proselytize, and only able to read scriptures and Ensigns for so many hours a day, we soon learned almost everything about each other. I'm sure if you asked her, she could tell you the names of all my friends' boyfriends. And I could tell you the plots of all of Stephen King's novels, even though I'd never read any.

(She was a big fan.)

I don't regret one minute of our time together, but I do regret the guilt I felt for not getting well. (That, and the guilt I felt for talking about boys and Pet Sematary.) Guilt kept me on my mission far longer than I should have been, and pushing myself because of that guilt is the main reason surgery was recently required.

My husband and family members told me from my first Sunday with the Sunbeams that I should ask to be released. But I couldn't ask. I looked healthy - everybody said so! When I went home, my knee spent the rest of Sunday (and sometimes Monday) on ice and painkillers, but there were people with far worse handicaps! Some people with missing limbs run marathons!

In retrospect, I was being ridiculous. Especially since I had (and have) two other callings. TWO.

A friend of mine once said:

“Faith is not the power of positive thinking. It's submission to the will of God."

I often find it difficult to decipher God's will, but I don't think he wanted me messing up my knee - either in California or Montreal. When I finally prayed and asked if it was okay to leave my mission early, I felt an overwhelming sense of love and peace. I hadn't expected that.

So, I no longer teach in the Primary. I don't regret asking to be released.

And I only feel the slightest bit guilty.

Friday, July 21, 2006

You Are My Sunshine

My 2-year-old nephew, after trying to shield his face from the sun coming through the car window:

"Listen ME, sun. LISTEN me. Stop it! Go 'way!"

Monday, July 17, 2006

Cosby, Cocoons, and Crevasses


As I settled into my aisle seat on American Airlines this morning, I was hoping against hope that the seat next to me would remain vacant. The stewardess had announced several times that it was a full flight (We've got a full flight today, folks, Please step out of the aisle and let people pass because we've got a full flight, This flight is full, folks, Just to let you know, folks, we've got a full flight today!), but sometimes stewardesses are wrong, like when they announce that there will be only a slight delay due to the plane's mechanical problem, and you should be off the ground shortly.

The plane doors closed, and the pony-tailed man in the window seat had just begun to rejoice at the emptiness between us when a small woman with a gigantic bag tapped me on the shoulder. As she plunked down into her seat, the pony-tailed man let out a loud, long sigh. I watched as she pulled a king-sized pillow from her luggage, followed by a neck pillow and fluffy down comforter. (Impressive, no?) When I stole a glance a minute later, only the tip of her nose was visible.

The stewardesses walked the aisles, hawking $2 headsets and $4 snack boxes. And only a small amount of ginger ale in an ice-filled cup. Free peanuts and entire cans of soda are not given out willy-nilly on this flight, folks!

I sipped my 2 ounces of ginger ale and watched 15 minutes of in-flight television. Did you know there's a museum that has a Cosby sweater collection? The sweaters that aren't displayed are stored in a climate-controlled room, and handled with reverence and gloves. Each time the museum curator held up a sweater, there was a clip of the Cosby Show with Mr. Huxtable wearing the very same sweater. My favorite sweater had fireworks and the Statue of Liberty on it. Very festive, though I wouldn't want to be wearing such a thick, wooly sweater in July. During the last Cosby clip, the cocoon next to me mumbled:

"I paid $2 to watch this crap?"

Good thing the next segment was about Paris Hilton!

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We had our mattress inspected last week. Duane the Mattress Inspector inspected it. At some point during the past six months, our mattress went from enveloping us in a cloud of fluffy softness to enveloping us in a cloud of fluffy quicksand. There are two distinct his-and-her crevasses on either side of the mattress, with a high barrier between them. I have to call out to Steve in the middle of the night just to see if he's still there! So I phoned the store, and they sent Duane. One glance was all it took for him to inform Steve that it looked bad. Real bad. We had to wait a few days while his inspection was filtered through the proper mattress channels, and I got a message yesterday saying that our mattress did not fulfill "three out of the four mattress criteria," and that we could come to the store and get "a replacement mattress of equal or greater value." Steve thinks that Duane meant to say "equal or lesser value," but I'm trusting that Duane the Mattress Inspector says what he means and means what he says. I think it's important to give people the benefit of the doubt, don't you?