Monday, December 01, 2008

Creepy/Cratchit/Christmas Carol

Greetings, Blogging World.

I have been long absent from you, and for that, I apologize. (Unless you don't really care that I've been absent, in which case I do NOT apologize.)

I'm enjoying a rare evening at home; an evening with no rehearsal to race to or lines to memorize (Christmas Carol is currently in previews, and opens this Saturday!), so I've been pondering what I could share with you on this first eve of December. And I've decided there really is no deciding, for it's fairly obvious that I must tell you about the Creepy Prop Baby.

Early in the rehearsal process last month, it was determined that a prop baby was needed for one of the scenes. In my prior prop baby experience, I've observed that most are merely bundles of fabric formed into a baby-like shape. Either that, or they are fairly cute, innocuous looking dolls such as this one, held by a rather anemic looking Mary Fielding on the set of the Joseph Smith film:

**Photo courtesy of the famous C Jane's Chup, who loses a stick-pulling contest to Joseph Smith in the film. (It was totally rigged.)
**Doll later replaced with actual live baby.

Anyway, because of my fairly pleasant past experience with prop babies, I was in no way prepared for what appeared on the prop table several weeks ago. This particular baby, with its wispy, toupée-like hair, meaty hands, one eye slightly larger than the other, and overall unpleasant demeanor; this baby we had no other choice but to dub the Creepy Prop Baby.

Soon, Creepy Prop Baby began to have a life all his own. Sometimes, when I wasn't looking, a cast member would perch it on the edge of the prop table with its legs crossed and hands outstretched, thus frightening the next unsuspecting passerby. (Me.) Sometimes a cigarette would mysteriously appear in its mouth. Other times, it would be wearing Tiny Tim's hat. And sometimes, it would be writing with Bob Cratchit's pen:




What's that you say? You don't really think it looks all that creepy? Maybe you just have to experience it in person. Either that, or see what it looks like backstage:





Want to know what else is creepy? The Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Come hanging from a hook on the other side of the stage.



The side view:


The puppet is worn on the shoulders of an actor, and stands over 10 feet tall. It's delightfully creepy.

Things are decidedly less creepy downstairs, where all the actors get ready for the show. For instance, here are my wigs all lined up in a row (but is that pile of hair-filled bobby pins creepy?)



And here I am as Mrs. Cratchit; a photo snapped in haste as I was running upstairs after my fourth quick costume change of the evening:



And, finally, another photo I snapped before racing to the stage after my eighth and final costume change:



Okay, so maybe it's a little creepy that I'm such a bad photographer. But not nearly as creepy as Creepy Prop Baby.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fallish

I always seem to fall ill in the fall. Almost every autumn I can remember - from the glorious October I spent walking the tree-lined streets of Montreal, wading through maple leaves as big as dinner plates, to the brisk, windy Manhattan evenings in November, to the long days in Provo where the delicious scent of wood smoke fills the air and all seems right with the world - almost all of those autumns were accompanied by sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, and a big thermos of lemon tea with honey that accompanied me to many a play rehearsal. (Did I just write the longest sentence you've ever read in your life?)

I always seemed to find myself in a play in autumn, and I almost always managed to get sick during the run of the show. That is, until I entered grad school, where I stayed miraculously sniffle-free, despite the fact that I was more stressed out and sleep-deprived than I'd ever been in my whole livin' life. I remember congratulating myself on my non-sickly state one day as I drove to school, only to be rear-ended on the freeway. That night, I showed up for the performance with whiplash, and spent the next several hours walking around the stage like an attractively costumed robot. I couldn't turn my head without moving my whole body to follow it, but I did my best to incorporate the stiffness into my performance. I thought I'd done a pretty good job of it, too, until I found out a rep from one of the local newspapers had been in the audience, and the review came out the next day with this sentence:

"Emmelyn looks totally uncomfortable on stage."

At least it was an accurate assessment.

It's been several falls now since I've been in a play. The reasons for this are various, and could perhaps make up a blog entry of their own some day, or at least a sentence longer than the one above. However, I've just been cast once more, and I'm just getting over a case of the sniffles. I'm hoping that I've stored up some sort of good karma over these last few years that I haven't been in a show; these years of soul-searching and making tough-yet-for-the-best decisions, and that the cold and flu fairy will see fit to pass me by. But if not, I'm stocking up on Lemon Zinger and honey, and thanking my lately-quite-lucky stars that I get to participate in my favorite autumn pastime; that I get to do something I love to do at any time of year, but especially in the fall.

Monday, September 08, 2008

La Vida La Jolla

As some of you may know, my husband and I moved to San Diego a few weeks ago. I love San Diego. I really do. But tonight I learned that it has seriously unrealistic expectations of my fitness level.

In an attempt to get into better shape, Steve and I have been taking nightly walks. On these walks, we noticed the entrance to what looked like a lovely walking path, and tonight we decided to try it out. We'd only gone a few steps when we noticed that there were signs posted every 100 feet or so. We soon discovered that this was no ordinary walking path, but rather a “Fit-Trail.” Each Fit-Trail sign asked us to do certain fitness-related things, and, being the amiable sort of people that we are, we decided to comply. The first one was no problem:



The second request from Fit-Trail required kicking my leg a little higher than I have in a while, but I gave it my best shot:



And this is the third sign we encountered:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Nie Nie


Last week, I joined with people all over the world in launching balloons for Stephanie and Christian Nielson.  If you don't already know about what happened to this beautiful couple, click here.

To find out what you can do to help, visit Stephanie's sister's blog here, visit this site to see the list of amazing items being auctioned (all proceeds will be donated to the Nielson's recovery fund) or click on the "Nie Recovery" button on my sidebar.  

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Like the award


When my friend and I moved to Harlem in the winter of 2001, we quickly became local curiosities. The only white girls for miles, we were often approached by women, their protective hands reaching out to clasp our arms, and always with the same concerned question:

"Honey, are you lost?"

After climbing the five flights of stairs to our apartment, we enjoyed recounting our day's adventures:

"So I could tell some guys were walking behind me, and they were kind of snickering, and then I hear 'Yo, yo, this ain't no Sweet Valley High!'"

As I made my way up the hill to our apartment one glorious New York spring evening, I passed a man standing on the corner. He smiled as I passed, flipping a waist-length dreadlock over his shoulder.

"Yo!"

I turned around.

"Yo! You the new girl in the 'hood?"

"Yup, I'm the new girl."

"I'm Tyrone. What's your name, new girl?"

"Emmie."

"Emmy? Like the award?"

"Uh huh. Like the award."

A slow, sly grin.

"Well, Emmy, you'll always be a winna ta me!"

Grinning ear to ear, he bowed slightly, his gold chains swaying.

"Thanks, Tyrone!"

Ten minutes later, I was making dinner when someone knocked at our door. As I let in my roommate's friend, I introduced myself.

"Hi, I'm Emmie, I don't think we've met."

Pause.

"Wait - you're Emmie?"

"Uh huh, why?"

Laughing, she explained:

"I stopped at that little deli across the street right before I came here, and this guy with dreads just like, burst in and yelled 'I met her! I met the white girl!' And then someone said 'What's her name?' And he said 'Emmy! Like the award!'"

The next day, a Saturday, I was slowly making my way down the hill with my laundry when I heard a shout from the building ahead.

"Hey Emmy! Yo! Emmy!"

I looked up to see a man I'd never met leaning out of a window three stories up.

"Yo! You'll always be a winna, Emmy!"

Two guys across the street joined in:

"Yeah, Emmy! You're a winner! Yo! Emmy!"

"Thanks, guys!"

As I folded my clothes later that night to the strong beat of hip-hop from the apartment below, sudden applause erupted from the street where some guys were listening to a game.

Amidst my laundry, I took a little bow. Thank you, Harlem. You'll always be a winner to me.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Flit, I Float, I Fleetly Flee, I Fly

Hi there.

Remember me?

You've probably figured this out by now, but, for various reasons, I've decided to take an Official Blogging Break (trademark pending). I'll still be lurking about the blogosphere, but this will be my last post for awhile.

Don't give up on me completely. (Unless you want to.) I'll be back!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Five Things I Have Learned Over The Past Five Weeks

1. Sometimes, a real estate agent will describe an apartment as "bright and airy." When you actually see the apartment, you will realize that "bright and airy" means "has a tiny window and oxygen."

2. Sometimes you will accidentally leave your debit card at the grocery store. And you will realize what you have done only after you arrive home, and you will race back to the store with your heart pounding, hoping against hope that your card is in the possession of someone who is presently giving it to the cashier for safekeeping, and not giving it to the cashier to purchase a year's supply of frozen pizza and cigarettes. When you arrive at the store, you will ask the cashier if she has seen your card. She will eye you suspiciously, and ask for your name. You will tell her your name, and she will open a drawer and glance down at the card resting therein. After a few moments, she will say, "Okay . . . but is the card a Visa, or a Mastercard?" You will say, "Uh . . . Visa?" She will nod, and then ask to see your driver's license. She will then take the card (a Visa) out of the drawer, and slowly hand it over to you. And as you tuck the card back into your wallet, you will wonder: if you had gotten the Visa or Mastercard question wrong, would she not have given you the card? Even though your name was on it?

3. Sometimes Del Taco will come out with a new limited-time-only shake, and sometimes it will be a Neopolitan shake. You will not understand this.

4. Sometimes you will decide to ride Splash Mountain on a cool Southern California evening. You will not remember how wet one can get on Splash Mountain, so you will ask your fellow Disney-goers how wet one gets. They will say, "Oh, not very wet at all." So you will go on Splash Mountain, and then you will spend the next two hours wringing tidal waves of water from every square inch of your clothing:


(The fear you see on Steve's face is real. Not fear for himself or for me, but fear of the water making contact with his precious Blackberry.)

5. Sometimes you will spend five million years looking for the right apartment in San Diego. It will be very frustrating and time-consuming, and you will become very annoyed during the whole process, and maybe even get into an argument with your husband in front of a leasing agent. But then, just as you are about to throw in the proverbial towel (or throw it at your husband), you will find your new apartment. And this will be the view from your new patio:


Sometimes, things work out.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Migration

Hi there. Remember me? The girl who was going to post often and regularly? Did I mention that I'm really bad at consistency?

It's been a wonderful, crazy few weeks. Most of my family flew to Orange County for a mini family reunion, and it was one of the most delightful weeks of my life. Nephews and nieces experiencing Disneyland for the first time, long, lazy days at the beach, lunch at Ruby's Diner on Balboa Pier (complete with dolphin sightings and obnoxiously aggressive pigeons), and just generally hanging out with some of the people I love most in the world.

We also found out that Steve was accepted to his top choice engineering program, which means we're moving to San Diego! Like, soon. Like, next month. We've been hoping and planning for this since last August, so it was a huge relief and super duper exciting to finally get the official yes from the university. Now I can finally start to make plans, as opposed to sort of making plans that were contingent upon something which may or may not happen. Making plans is always more enjoyable than sort of making plans, wouldn't you agree?

Top it all off with the fact that I now have a cold which seems to have settled quite snugly into my lungs, and it is truly the best and the worst of times.

Anyway, that's me. How are things with you?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Warm (Or How To Be In A Movie Without Really Trying)

It was 98 degrees in Orange County today. 98 degrees! In April! In Orange County! Isn't that against the law or something? Whatever it is, it's unacceptable. And our air conditioner is broken. Also unacceptable. It has cooled down a bit since the sun set, but not enough. Not enough! And I should be making my hungry husband some dinner, but I can't bring myself to turn on the oven, because the oven raises the temperature in the apartment by at least 10 degrees. What can I make for him that doesn't require the use of the oven? We are out of microwavable food, except for my organic dairy-free, gluten-free tofu enchiladas, and somehow I don't think he'll go for those. Steve doesn't believe in eating anything organic. Nor anything containing tofu. Maybe I could make him a peanut butter sandwich with a granola bar on the side? A bowl of yogurt and some raw broccoli? A loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter? Hmmm. Perhaps I'll eat a popsicle while I mull over the options.

P.S. There is nothing exciting going on in my life right now. Just in case you were wondering.*

*Actually, now that I think about it, there is something me-related going on right now that is interesting (at least, interesting to me). I've received several reports that I'm in the new Emma Smith film that is playing in movie theaters throughout Utah. I was surprised by these reports, as I'd never actually filmed anything for the movie. Inside sources tell me that the director used footage from the Joseph Smith film (including scenes that were left out of that film). So, I'm in a movie without even trying to be. I have many friends in it, terrific actors all, and I'm looking forward to seeing it. Alas, I'll have to wait until it comes to CA or is released on DVD. In the meantime, if you happen to catch the film, let me know what you think of it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Music and a Chocolate Car. Also, Shoes.

Can you spot me in this picture?



I’m one of the tiny little dots on the left, holding a teensy dot of a violin. I joined this orchestra a few months ago, and we played an Easter concert last week in glorious Segerstrom Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. (That was a lot of capitalization for one sentence.) Words can't express how much I love being in an orchestra again.

However, words can express how much I enjoyed eating at Wahoo's Fish Taco during the dinner break between the dress rehearsal and performance. Across the street from the concert hall is a gigantic, upscale mall, and I decided to walk over to grab some dinner and do a little Easter basket shopping. (I ended up buying Steve a chocolate car. Two of his favorite things combined!) I spent an enjoyable half hour eating an embarrassingly large plate of rice and beans at a table outside, basking in the early evening sun and flirting with a very cute boy at the next table. (He was 18 months old. What can I say - I have a thing for younger men.)

After the food and flirtation, I discovered and purchased the chocolate car, and then went in search of the ladies room where I could wash the caramel residue from my fingers. (I ate the free sample they gave me at the candy store. Was this in keeping with my anti-inflammation diet? No. Do I care? No.)

As I was washing my hands, I became aware of a woman standing very quietly in the corner next to the door. She was staring intently at the bottom of the handicapped stall at the opposite end of the bathroom. I looked over at the stall, and could see nothing out of the ordinary. I looked back at her, and she just kept staring. Puzzled, I dried my hands, and she stared. As I reached the door to exit the bathroom, I glanced back once more to see if I could identify the reason for her staring, and her hand suddenly shot out and grabbed my arm. I stopped, startled, and she raised her finger to her lips to shush me. Then, pointing to the handicapped stall, she whispered:

"No shoes."


I wasn't sure I'd heard her correctly.

"What?" I whispered back.

She put her finger to her lips again, and whispered with greater urgency:

"No shoes. NO. SHOES."


"Hmmmm." I said.

I stood there with her for about 30 seconds, her hand on my arm, both of us staring in silence at the handicapped stall. Finally, not knowing what else I could contribute to the conversation, I gently pulled my arm from her grasp, and exited the bathroom.

I was barely out the door when I heard a voice behind me.

"Sorry if I freaked you out."

I turned around. She came closer. In hushed tones, she said:

"It's just that - I think there is someone in that stall."

"Okay."

"But I couldn't see their FEET."

"Right."

"And I've been surprised in a bathroom before."

"Oh."

"So you should be careful."

"I will be."

"Always check for shoes."

"I'll do that. Thanks."

We both nodded solemnly at each other, and I departed, heading back to the candy store.

I decided it was time for another free sample.

Monday, March 17, 2008

When You Wish Upon A Star

Last Friday night, Steve and I, armed with the yearly passes Steve's dad won in a raffle and subsequently gave to us out of the goodness of his heart, decided to brave Disneyland.

We might never do that again.

Oh, the humanity. Disneyland was packed tighter than the LA freeway at rush hour. In addition to the five billion teenagers roaming the park with their hormones a-blazin' (we always seem to get stuck in line behind two sixteen-year-olds who can't keep their hands off each other), there were a ridiculous amount of children being dragged around by their parents.

Dear Parents Who Keep Their Young Children at Disneyland Past 9:00pm,

Please stop yelling at your crying three-year-old. Of COURSE he is crying. He is exhausted. Take your poor kid home. Or I am going to start yelling at YOU.

Anyway, after shoving our way through the teeming masses to get to the Haunted Mansion, we decided to venture over to California Adventure, wishing upon a star that it would be less crowded there. Our wish was granted, and we were able to enjoy a few rides, including:

The Tower of Terror. Have you gone on this ride? It basically takes you to the top of a very tall building, and drops you. And then drops you again. And again. I love it. After the ride, Steve took his customary picture of the picture they take of you during the ride. Why purchase the pic when your husband can take a picture of it with his trusty Blackberry?



Can you spot us? I'm back row center, and Steve's face is pretty much obscured by an enthusiastic hand. Everyone looks like they're having a good time except for that woman clinging to her husband on the front right. (She was screaming before the ride even started.)

Next, we rode the roller coaster. I think it might be my favorite ride in the whole park. We always wait a few extra minutes so we can ride in the very front. It was pretty windy that night, as you can tell from my facial expression:



I like how the guy behind Steve is so blasé about the whole thing.

After California Adventure closed, we decided to head back into Disneyland to see if it had cleared out a bit. It hadn't, but I opted to stand in line for Autopia anyway because I have nephews visiting next month, and wanted to send them pictures of the cool cars they'll be able to drive when we all go to Disneyland together. As we drove around the track, Steve made some valiant photo attempts:





Look, nephews! When you come to Disneyland, it will be dark! And your aunt will have glowing red eyes! And you can do something vague and indistinguishable!

Having breathed in diesel fumes while clutching a sticky steering wheel (why was it sticky??), we decided to call it a night. On our way out of the park, Steve stopped at one of his favorite places:



He's trying not to eat sweets around me because of my present food restrictions, so he didn't get his usual giant ice cream cone filled with mint chocolate chip. I told him he should, but he valiantly refused. Obviously, as you can tell from the photo, the sacrifice was not a big deal at all.

On the way back to the car, we walked hand in hand through Downtown Disney, and stopped to watch a man who was playing the electric violin. He was dressed all in black, and had swoopy hair, and he was going to town on his interpretation of Music of the Night. I have never heard so many flourishes, unnecessary scales, and key changes in one piece of music. We tried to wait out the piece so that I could ask him about the instrument (I've never seen a real live electric violin), but Music of the Night turned into Think of Me, which turned into a version of All I Ask of You that was swoopier than his hair, and we couldn't really take it anymore, so we decided that I could ask Google about the electric violin when we got home, and we left the man to his schmaltziness.

All in all, and despite the teeming masses, it was an enjoyable Friday night, and I told my young women at church about it yesterday. When I got to the part about the swoopy violinist, the YW President said:

"I was in Downtown Disney with my dad on Friday night, and he bought that guy's CD! He loves that kind of stuff!"

I thought back to the song Jiminy Cricket was singing as we left the park that night. And I realized he was right: Anything your heart desires really will come to you.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Deprivation Dedication


Would you like to hear about the anti-inflammation diet I started a week ago? I'm sure it will be FASCINATING to all of you, and you'd like pages and pages of details, but just in case you don't have a lot of time to read right now, I'll sum it up:

No wheat, oats, dairy, sugar, red meat, potatoes, or tomatoes.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Thankfully, I already have the no wheat part down. You should try my gluten-free brownies with fresh whipped cream! Oh, wait. I can't have dairy. Or sugar. But don't you worry about me! While you're trying my gluten-free brownies with fresh whipped cream, I'll just be over here enjoying a nice big bowl of brown rice topped with . . . rice. And lettuce. And celery.

Actually, all self-deprivation aside, I'm really excited about the results I'm seeing after only 7 days. I'm doing this to help my gimpy knee be less gimpy, and it's really working. So I'm committed to it. I am steadfast and immovable.

But tonight, after I made my husband a sun-dried tomato alfredo sauce with basil and pine nuts, and he poured it over his big bowl of penne pasta and sprinkled the whole thing with freshly grated parmesan cheese, I must admit that I shed a few gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, red meat-free, potato-free, tomato-free tears.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Complete

There is a woman in my ward who speaks fluent French. This makes sense, seeing as she’s from France and everything. However, she also speaks fluent German, which makes her a delightful Germanic conversation partner for my husband. (This makes sense, seeing as he served his mission in Germany and everything.) I enjoy listening to their foreign exchanges, and Steve enjoys the opportunity to practice a language he loves. And then she turns to me with a smile, and begins speaking French. And I feel a sense of panic. I smile and nod, understanding everything she says (well, almost everything), but I am hesitant to speak more than a few words. What will she think of my grammar? Which past tense should I use? How can I tell her that her skirt is cute if I can’t even remember the word for “skirt?”

And so I chicken out. I exchange only a few French sentences with her before reverting to my native tongue. She is very sweet about it; insisting my accent is “très bon” and attempting several times to encourage me to return to speaking Français. But I am too worried about sounding foolish; too worried about making a mistake. Eventually she gives up, and smiles a little reproachfully at me as she bids me adieu.

I think my perfectionism has served me well in many ways throughout my life. I’ve had many amazing experiences that most likely wouldn’t have occurred if I hadn’t held myself to a high standard; if I hadn’t demanded the very best of myself. But in situations such as speaking French with a native Francophone in a church foyer, my perfectionism is nothing but a hindrance. It keeps me from learning. It keeps me from progressing. And in that foyer, it kept me from interacting with someone in a meaningful way.

Over the past few years, it’s become apparent to me that my perfectionistic tendencies can be as much of a weakness as they are a strength. And wouldn’t you know it, situations have arisen that have forced me to directly confront the negative aspects of that personality trait. Some of these situations I’ve touched on in blogs past (my knee surgery, theatre auditions), and some are a little too personal (and lengthy) to discuss at present. But one that springs immediately to mind is my calling as substitute ward organist. I was given this calling a few months ago, despite the fact that I had never actually played the organ. Suffice it to say, I have made a lot of very loud mistakes, and once played a chord progression that was rather reminiscent of the opening strains of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” And so I sit at the organ, my face turning red, but when I turn to the congregation I find that the ward members are smiling up at me with only encouragement in their faces. I am learning, I am progressing. And, wouldn’t you know it, something I’m not very good at is turning out to be very good for me.

I don't think I'll ever be able to completely rid myself of perfectionism, and I don't think I should, necessarily. But I'm slowly learning to redefine my expectations, to be kinder to myself, and to stop letting it get in the way of my progression and growth. In the New Testament, we are commanded by Christ to be perfect. However, the Greek translation of that “perfect” is “complete, finished, fully developed.” I love that translation. It’s inspiring to me, and it brings me peace. Because, when it really comes down to it, I don’t even know how to begin to be perfect. And what is “perfect” anyway? (It's exhausting even to think about it.) But I think I can find great joy in striving to be “complete.”

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Metaphors (Mixed Up)

Today, at work, I spent far too much time on the phone with an extremely frustrating salesperson. The kind of salesperson who doesn't listen to you, who assumes they know what you're talking about (they don't), who is impatient (very) and snippy (extremely), and who can't spell your name correctly, even though you repeat the spelling several times (5, to be exact). After the 5th spelling of my name (by me), and the subsequent misspelling (by her), I had to work very hard to suppress the small scream that threatened to escape my lips. When the phone call finally (mercifully) ended, my co-worker (who had overheard the conversation), said:

"Wow, that sounded painful."

To which I replied:

"Yeah. She wasn't the shiniest knife in the drawer."

Then, breathing a huge sigh, I went back to my work. Until the voice of my co-worker broke my concentration:

"Uh, I think it's sharpest knife in the drawer."

"Wait - what?"

"Sharpest knife."

"What did I say?"

"You said shiniest."

"I did?"

"Yeah."

"Shiniest?"

"Yeah."

"Oh."

I guess I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, either.

(Or the shiniest.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Pal Jub


My sister's 3-year-old son (with the nickname of Jub) is a very special friend of mine. Many is the hour we have spent together reading stories, singing songs, constructing block towers, and discussing the intricacies of sharks, dinosaurs, airplanes, and Bob the Builder. Unfortunately, he and his mom live several states away, and that distance often makes my heart hurt. To mitigate my heart pain, Jub and I often talk on the phone. He is a skilled conversationalist, and we typically have lengthy conversations covering a variety of topics. Unless, of course, he hasn't been very nice to his little sister that day. On those days, our conversation goes like this:

"Hi Jub! How are you?"

"I'm doing great, Emmie!"

"Are you being nice to your little sister?"

"Buh-BYE Emmie!"

It's always best to end a conversation quickly when an uncomfortable subject is brought up, don't you think?

Lately, my work schedule (combined with the difference in time zones) has prevented me from talking to Jub as often as my heart demands. Because of this, my sister fills me in on her conversations with him during the day, including this recent dinnertime exchange:

Jub: Momma! I want some dinner!

Sis: How do we ask for things?

Jub: Um, Can I have some dinner?

Sis: And . . .

Pause

Jub: Your Majesty?

Last Saturday, my conversation with Jub started in the usual fashion - he said he was doing great, asked if I was in California, and told me that he lives VERY far away. I then asked if he'd like to sing his favorite song ("How Much is that Doggy in the Window" - with the Jub-requested lyric change to "How Much is that Donkey in the Window"). This question is usually met with a positive response, but this time he said:

"No, I don't want to sing it. Can I talk to Uncle Stuvey?"

Steve is also a special friend of Jub's, so even though I was a little disappointed that Jub didn't want to sing about donkeys with me, I willingly handed the phone over to my husband, and listened to his end of the conversation:

Hi, Jub! How are you?

Oh, good. I'm glad to hear you're doing great.

Where's my car? It's out in the parking lot.

Well, I'm not driving it because I'm working right now.

Yes, it's a very fast car.

Yes, it's very fast.

It's a silver car.

Yes, I like my car very much.

Yes, it's a super fast car!

Yes, it goes VERY fast.

What's that? Do I like to wrestle?

The conversation continued in this manner for some time, until:

Do you want to talk to Emmie now?

No?

What's that? Yes, my car is a VERY fast car.

As they continued their car conversation, I suddenly realized something: My little Jub, my sweet little nephew who has always asked me to cuddle on the couch with him and sing him songs about Thumbelina and the Little White Duck, had officially turned into a BOY.

When this realization struck, my heart hurt just a bit. I wondered how much longer I had before he no longer wanted me to sing to him and cuddle him. I wondered if our bond would be as strong when he discovered I'm not very good at wrestling. (Or any kind of sport at all.) But then I took a deep breath, and decided that my heart would be okay. After all, I like boys. (I'm married to one, you know.)

And the next time he asked, I would be prepared. Jub doesn't know it yet, but my car can go VERY fast, too.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hello Friends,

I've decided to leave the previous post up for a few more days, just in case anyone else wants to share a dating horror story. Look for a new post from me on Wednesday, or thereabouts. In the meantime, and on a completely unrelated note, if you haven't seen this short video, I think you really should.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Making the Best of It

I have a confession to make. Today, when I should have been paying attention to the lesson in Sunday School, I was thinking instead of awkward first dates.

The impetus for my non-religious thoughts came from a brief conversation I'd had with Steve the night before while I was watching part of a reality show that chronicled a first date. I was really rooting for the couple; maybe they would find true love! But, alas, the date did NOT go well. There were long, uncomfortable pauses, jokes that fell flat, jokes that were misunderstood, more long pauses, an attempt to be impressive by speaking in a foreign language, and I was cringing at the painfulness of it all when Steve sat down beside me and asked why I was making faces at the TV.

"It's so painful!" I exclaimed, explaining what I was watching.

Then I rewound the date (I heart TiVo) so Steve could watch it from the beginning. We sat and cringed together until the commercial break, and then Steve said:

"You know, there are plenty of good reasons not to engage in polygamy, but having to go on awkward first dates again is foremost among them."

A good point.

So today I found myself thinking of the awkward first dates in my past. There was the guy whose mom called him on his cell in the middle of the date to ask how it was going. There was the guy who wore so much cologne that I was so completely nauseous by the time we arrived at the restaurant that I couldn't focus on anything he said the entire evening because I was putting all my effort into breathing through my mouth so that I wouldn't keel over from the fumes. And there was the guy who invited me to a party at his place, but all the other people he invited didn't show up (mysterious!), and so he had to "make the best of it" and have a candlelight dinner for just the two of us, followed by repeated offers of a backrub.

And then I started thinking of my blogger friends, and how much I would enjoy it if they shared their awkward dating stories, so that we could all cringe together.

Won't you please share?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dusty Dreams

"What would you think about living in Southern France?" My husband asks one Saturday afternoon.

"Sounds great!" I reply, barely glancing up from my book.  

I am not at all surprised by his question.  At least once a month, Steve asks how I would feel about living in some far away, non-English-speaking place.  If we were being stereotypical, you'd think that I would be the one asking these day-dreamy questions, seeing as I'm the artsy type, and Steve is all logical and computery and stuff. But Steve is nothing if not non-stereotypical (what?), and when it comes to dreaming, Steve is quite industrious.  Case in point: upon waking one morning, Steve told me he'd dreamt in great detail of building an airplane and flying it around the world.  It was a thrilling dream, he said, and seemed to go on forever.  

"And what did you dream about, Em?"  

"Uh, I dreamt that I made you a steak for dinner.  With potatoes."

So when Steve asked me yesterday how I'd feel about living in the Mojave desert, I automatically responded:

"Sure!"

And then, after a few moments of reflection,

"What did you say?"

"The Mojave desert!  There's a company there I want to work for - it would be my dream job!"

"Are you serious?"

"Actually, I am."

"Don't they have offices somewhere else, too?  Like maybe . . . Venice?"

"Nope.  Just Mojave.  We could get an awesome house there for super cheap."

"So I'd have more rooms in which to silently weep.  And decorate with cacti."

Then he told me more about the company.  It was pretty nifty, I had to admit.  

"Not only could we get a huge, cheap house, but they give their employees every other Friday off!"

"Great!  More free time to frolic about in the DESERT." 

This dream was quickly becoming a realistic nightmare.

"Oh - And they also say that it's a real plus for job applicants if they've built their own plane."

"I see.  Well, you should probably get right on that then."

And back to dreaming he went.  

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Totally

A few days ago, as I was standing in line at a cafe during my lunch hour, I overheard the following exchange between the two women wearing tight business suits and spike heels who were standing in front of me:

Woman 1:  I think it just made him feel totally emasticated, you know?

Woman 2:  Yeah.  Totally.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Snider Friend

I was wondering why my statcounter registered a gazillion hits today until I noticed that many of my blog's visitors were linking from the venerable Eric D. Snider's website. Eric and I have a unique and special relationship, for I believe I am the only person who has ever made him walk at least 40 more New York City blocks than he had to, all because I thought a restaurant was somewhere where it wasn't. Not only did Eric forgive me for making him walk those 40 unnecessary blocks (at least, I think he did), but his website has provided me with countless hours of entertainment, especially during interminable temp jobs where the only things standing between me and a slow death from boredom were his Snide Remarks and theater review archives.  

So Eric, I salute you, and I'm truly flattered to be mentioned on your blog.  And if you have a statcounter/tracker thingy, and ever wonder who in the world is browsing your really old theater reviews and angry letters, well, now you know that you are keeping that person from throwing herself out the window of her latest temp job, as well as keeping her from getting any actual work done.  And I hope that makes you proud.

Ever your fan,

Emmie

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mahalo for your Kokua

Have you ever been off-roading in a jeep on the isle of Kauai? I haven't, because I'm too much of a wimp. However, my husband, brothers-in-law, and sister-in-law are very much not wimps, and they now have fond memories of:

bouncing along this trail:



this incredible view:



And changing this blown-out tire:


(By all accounts, the tire was changed in a very professional, timely, and orderly manner.)


Although I was not brave enough to participate in the off-roading adventure, I did participate in many delightful activities, such as:

Making a trip to sample what is reputed to be the best shave ice on the island (it was quite delicious):






(Please take a moment to appreciate Steve's Giant Hawaii Hair™)


Reading lots of books while enjoying the view from our condo:




Watching amazing sunsets:




Dinner at Roy's (one of the best meals I've EVER had):


(That gleam in my eye is from contemplating filet mignon with truffle and leek sauce)




A muddy and very fun hike to see a beautiful river and waterfall:




Snorkeling in the clear water and saying hello to the brightly-colored friendly fish:


(Photo courtesy of my bro and sis-in-law's super cool underwater camera)

And playing on the beach with my adorable nieces (I was having too much fun to take pictures).

This trip was a perfect way to start 2008 - a year in which I hope to accomplish many things (so many, in fact, that it makes me tired just thinking about it)(but in an excited kind of way).

One of my New Year's resolutions is to post a new blog entry every Sunday night. Stay tuned to find out how amazingly consistent I can be! (Or not.)