Friday, February 27, 2009


I just got back from watching Coraline in 3D. Boy do I feel motion sick. But as a friend just pointed out, it was totally worth it.


From a religious perspective, the movie was interesting. The easy comparison is, of course, between the Other Mother and Satan. He wriggles into your life with temptation (the doll and mice) in the places you're unhappy, exploits your desire for flattery and attention and fun, and convinces you that it's all worth poking your own eyes out for. Of course, if you poke your eyes out, you die. Coraline is the Christ figure, who faces temptation and death, refuses them, and saves the souls of the sinners, or those who did poke their eyes out. They cat? The Holy Ghost. Coraline hears him when she's ready to listen. Her parents are God, from whom she is cut off when she flirts too closely with sin and becomes trapped by the devil. Watch the movie. You'll see the same techniques Satan uses as recorded in scripture and in Lewis's enlightening Screwtape Letters performed beautifully by the Other Mother. Of course, Coraline's parents are never trapped by the Other Mother, but she must find them (God) again to escape Satan. Big fat symbolic duh, right?


Well, it's the beauty and simplicity of the film that really get you. Since 3D video technology came out, it has never been so well used. Every other 3D film has been gimmicky, blurry, or just "slightly un-3D." Coraline, however, was a masterpiece. The visual effects were used to draw you in, but weren't distracting. Don't let my nausea dissuade you—exciting video games make me sick too.

Stop-motion film has been largely brushed aside in favor of computer-generated everything, but the choice to go with stop-motion instead was perfect. It gives the film a slightly creepy and handmade feel. If you can't equate creepy and handmade, then two scary old ladies didn't make you a crocheted Christmas ornament in the shape of a little lamb that hung by a string from its neck. Nothing like a lynched lamb on your tree to bring the Christmas spirit. Bleeeegh.


For the secular crowd, if you're totally ignorant of the religious aspect of things, you're missing a lot. But there's still a lot there. Coraline is a cautionary tale about a girl who is unhappy with her family. What kid doesn't feel that way? But her escapism earns her a nasty surprise—the parents she wishes she had are a psychotic witch and a tool. It's the tendency of kids with caring parents to wish they had the kind that would let them stay out all night, spend every moment paying them attention, and overwhelm them with gifts. Turns out, those kinds of parents are freaks who want to eat your eyeballs. And in the real world, the same kinds of tradeoffs apply. Parents who don't care when their kids come home tend to be neglectful all around. Parents who spoil their children get irresponsible, self-indulgent kids. Parents who make their children the only thing in their lives tend to smother their kids into adulthood and beyond. When Coraline figures it all out, it's normal parents for her!

One might also see Coraline as the adopted child, for whom there literally are two sets of parents. The false hopes she has about her "other" parents are destroyed, and she grows up just a little bit more. I include this interpretation simply because of the interplay between Coraline and her "real" mom. She tries to manipulate her mother into giving her what she wants with the threat of an "other mother." Real mom, feeling the threat of the wonderful Other Mother, reacts by trying to lock the door between Coraline and her fantasy parents (as some adoptive parents choose to do).

Anyway, I'd recommend it. Not only is it an extremely strong parable, but it's an excellent watch. It's beautiful, engrossing, frightening, and very, very interesting.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I'm off my murder mystery kick. Me and murder mysteries are breaking up. Because as a reader I hate the dark. I can't relate to characters who swear because there are no unvulgar words that adequately describe their lives. Because some of these books are not mysteries, but voyeuristic peeks into sickness well beyond the boundaries our society sets for the protection of hope, faith, good will, and love. And as a writer I must remind myself that I am better than the kind of cheap shocks these books use to frighten and sicken an audience with hearts of stone. I suppose I simply cannot stand to swallow page after page of watching someone else's torture—someone for whom I have no strand of hope because I have never, in my real life, met someone so dead.

So I'm tired of being sad for things I don't need to be sad about. Like I have so many other times, I'm leaving this behind.

As a positive side effect, I'm more excited about writing myself. Recently as I've been reading and writing, I've gotten the feeling that I'm good enough to do this. I am fully aware that I could be wrong (feel free to leave your opinion in the comments [I'm not fishing for encouragement (really, I swear [what, a girl can't ask for an honest opinion?])]), and that doesn't bother me at all. I have fallen in love with a story of my own, and I'm starting to think I might enjoy writing it more than I enjoy reading so many things.

So while I'm sucked into this sudden confidence, I'm off to write something other than frivolous web-filler. But first, to the bathroom!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Made a Digital Scrapbook

April introduced me recently to digital scrapbooking. It's an excellent hobby, and has so far been free. Hooray!

Check it out! (Warning: there will be music. Just pause the thing and leaf through it with the arrows if you don't want to hear it.)

Dr. Horrible

Carter at work pointed out this awesome musical by Joss Whedon. The music is surprisingly good, and the whole thing is really entertaining, though I'll warn you now that it's a tragedy. In spite of the unhappy ending, the show as a whole is pleasant, funny, quirky, and quite well done.

You'll like it.

Also, if you just love the music, I found the soundtrack on Amazon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sometimes Things Go Wrong

When I worked for the high school newspaper, and later when I took junior English, I daily read a Peanuts poster on the west wall of Mrs. Williams' classroom: "Sometimes things go wrong so you can tell the difference when something goes right." I've read that phrase so many times, I can't help but think of it every time something goes wrong for which I cannot find a purpose. If nothing else, a nightmare makes waking up in the morning a bit more tolerable.

Getting engaged to the wrong guy made it much easier to identify the right one. If it weren't for everything I'd learned from what's-his-face, I might not have noticed the subtle but crucial truth: that I couldn't be happier with anyone than I would with Tim. In the Book of Mormon, we learn that the only real life is a life of contrast. Without knowing the bitter, we wouldn't enjoy the sweet. It is in the ultimate contrast that we find the ultimate joy: a sinless Christ suffered atonement, crucifixion at the hands of corrupt men, and death, so that a world of sinners might meet God.

At the end of several hours of acid reflux, when the bitter tide at the back of my mouth sinks, I can often taste intense sweetness. It's easy to get tired of the everyday things—a satisfying job, a handsome spouse, a warm home, or even the taste of our own mouths. We seek things that seem sweeter and sweeter, things that (if we were properly sensitized) would make our lips curl in disgust from the overload of sugars. We must welcome the bitter—famine, war, loss, pain, and the thorns of life—because without it we would miss the exquisite taste of all of the things God makes good for us every hour of the day.

It takes courage to live life with our hearts and minds and skin raw, but the things we feel, know, and experience with our callouses worn away by trial are the only ones we can really feel.

A good author will teach you about his heroine by giving her a foil. A superhero is only a superhero when he faces a supervillain. And so, as God writes our stories, he couldn't make us heroes in our own lives without challenging us with villainy. And more importantly, without facing villains, we couldn't identify heroes; without facing the challenges we cannot face alone, we wouldn't meet or know our Savior.

Some days, I am glad that my stomach hurts and that my internal organs seem to be waging bloody war against me. They are worthy nemeses. And without them, in a way, I wouldn't be able to define myself by the metaphorical dragons I battle and the weapons I wield to fight them. Against these challenges I can measure myself to see what kind of heroine I am, or if I am one at all.

And without these dragons, I might not have noticed the brave knight who fights beside me. Without a raging war in my body, I could have missed the hero I come home to every day, on whom I can lean for comfort and rest, who cares for me as if I were royalty. And I know I'm not.

And without my hero, I might have missed the Savior that I have come to know through his example. If a man can show such eager mercy for his wife, how much can the bridegroom give his church?

I suppose that I have learned a bit about bitterness and pain over the past few years. Certainly my education in suffering is cursory, at best, but that bitterness has taught me even more about joy than it has about sorrow. And sometimes, when I hurt enough, I'm a little less blind to the Lord's tenderness toward me in the little things—a warm home, a spouse's loving embrace, and the sweet flavor of the air I can only taste when the bitter has come and gone.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Happy Post

I've decided to take a break from whining today. For the moment, I'm feeling rather chipper. With plenty of sugary drinks and things I shouldn't be eating sitting in my kitchen, a fabulous weekend behind me and one more day off ahead, and no metformin in my tummy, I have nothing to complain about at all. I'll worry about impending doom tomorrow.

Lately I've been on a strict diet of light, fluffy crime books about serial killers. Tess Gerritsen was a bit of a disappointment as far as style goes, but her story was decent enough. I can see why they published her, but I can't see why they didn't do a more thorough substantive edit. After reading The Keepsake, I can't stop thinking that it shouldn't be as hard to get published as it is. She left an entire character's plot lines hanging, with a pathetic (and failed) attempt to tie them up by having the main(?) character know things she had no way of knowing. Her point of view shifts were awkward and inconsistent. Still, I enjoyed the break from thinking. A little suspense'll keep me entertained for a few hours well enough. A romantic Valentine's Day trip to the library provided my next diversion: a duo of books about a male detective's struggle with a female serial killer.

I had a lovely Valentine's Day. Salmon, roses, and the most amazing husband I could've possibly asked for will always make for a good day. Of course V-day was just another reason to remember the millions of things about Tim that make me the luckiest wife on Earth. I got to spend the week thinking about how lucky I am to be with someone so patient. I've certainly put Tim through plenty these last few years. I know he's built of the tough stuff. But his endurance is not the least of charms. He takes the time to do romantic things. He cooks. He cleans. He rubs my back when it aches. He listens to me whine about just about anything you can imagine. He reads with me. He is incredibly smart, well-read, educated, and entertaining. Plus, he's a kick to talk to. There's nobody else I'd rather hang out with.

Speaking of things that are fab, I recently discovered I really like Tab. The carbonated throwback was our impulse buy at Albertson's last night. It may be the most awesome diet drink to ever hit the shelves (twice). With the double flying roundhouse kick of aspartame and saccharin, it's earned a spot in my not-quite-deep-enough-for-a-"fridge-pack" fridge right between the Jones and the spreadable cheese. I know I should be on a diet, but . . . you know what, I don't have an excuse. Forget I brought it up.

In other news, I've been working on our new bee-themed budgeting site. Tim did some redesigning to the database, and I've been spottily writing the CSS today. I haven't been super inspired about the design, but once I get the layout together (which I've been lazy about, since I can't stop thinking about what it might look like), I can design and redesign until I'm old and gray. Oh and that's the other awesome thing about Tim: he's not a bad database developer. Together, we're a freaking awesome team. We're like a duo of Chinese acrobats, but without the whole "performance art" thing. Or like Bonnie and Clyde without the whole crime thing. Or like Sarah and John Connor, but without the whole awkward mother-son dynamic. And minus Summer Glau altogether. You get the idea.

I've also recently resurrected my PMPs for general use. I have to tell you that I love Adele. She is awesome. So what if I've been sauteing myself in British/American crossover pop culture?

In conjunction with my whole "books about murder" spree, I'm way excited about listening to a Kathy Reichs book on my Sansa clip. If you've ever watched the Fox show Bones, you know it's about a forensic anthropologist who solves crimes and writes bestsellers about her fictional self, Kathy Reichs. Well, as it turns out, Kathy Reichs is a real-life forensic anthropologist who solves crimes and writes books about Temperance Brennan (the chick from the show). Crazy huh? Anyway, the city library has audiobooks you can check out online, and Kathy Reichs is on there! Yay for me!

How was that for not whining? I may have groused a bit about Ms. Gerritsen, but I think I recovered well, don't you?

Monday, February 9, 2009

"Seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal"

I'd like to share just a couple of things that touched me today. My mom sent me a talk by Elder Holland about angels, and the way we're comforted, lifted up, protected, and constantly helped by those around us, both in the visible world and out. I would like you to read it at its source on The talk is called "The Ministry of Angels" (video) and was given in last October's General Conference.

I have taken time each time I was upset about my condition and its consequences to complain here, but I haven't taken enough time to express my joy over that same condition and consequences. Without these experiences, I might never have known the intense and real power of the prayers of family and friends. I may have missed out on the warmth of a hot meal when I really needed it, or kind words I wouldn't have lasted without. I could have remained ignorant of the powerful force beyond the veil that has come to my aid with armies I cannot see, and which has lifted me up with arms I cannot touch.

And I might have forgotten that in His time, the Lord gives his children the weights they need to carry, the strength they need to keep moving, the blessings they need to be lifted, and the healing they need to live.

To put it in terms to which I can relate, God is a writer. In his book, there is terrible sadness. There are war, death, and long waits. But he's a good writer. The kind whose books you often feel wrenched apart by reading, but whole again when you finish them. They're the kind of books where when you get to the end, you cannot question a single plot twist, a conflict, an injustice, or a strange decision without seeing how each thread falls perfectly into place. The well-read know that a good work of literature will take you to hell and back. We are God's work and His glory. If we let our lives be written the way he will write them, we'll find the ending well worth persevering for.

As it says in a hymn we sang in church today,
He sent me here to earth,
by faith to live his plan.
The spirit whispers this to me
and tells me that I can,
and tells me that I can.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sometimes You Want to Go

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Most of the time, I love my job. Everybody has days when they'd rather be in Costa Rica, but I have to admit that my work days are good days. I have a pretty sweet job, which I come to appreciate more and more as I hear about other people's experiences. I would guess that it's because I'm just not a complainer, but anyone who's been here before knows better. Complaining is my talent. Some people sing, others are great listeners, and still others can model the universe in equations. I complain.

But when it comes to going to work each day, I have little to complain about. I work with the nicest, coolest, most supportive people on Earth. I am really blessed to interact daily with the people at Imagine Learning. The ladies are really sweet, but not in a way that makes me feel bad for being the cynical, terrible person I am. Anyway, the folks I'm talking about really make work rewarding. And they've been great with help, advice, and understanding when I need it.

We get thrust into communities based on our jobs, schoolwork, religion, and hobbies, and I have to say how glad I am to be a part of my particular work community.

Completely Insane

But speaking of Imagine Learning, a bunch of people from the company are going to Costa Rica this week. Now, my thoughts on this have ranged from how awkward it would be to have to vacation with coworkers to how nice it would be to get a bit of a tan, but I can't help but focus with a little bit of worry on the emptiness of my office next week. I like to do a lot of things—eat, sleep, spend money—but I do not like to sit alone in an empty room for eight hours a day.

I have never lived alone. I think it's because when I was 16, my brother refused to kill a spider on my bedroom wall because I'd need to figure out how to do it myself when I lived alone. After several hours of trying to rig up ways I could kill the spider from outside of my bedroom, I finally slept on the couch downstairs. With the threat of having to kill my own spiders, I've been happy to have roommates, as much as I may disagree with them over sleeping hours, etc. Who is going to kill the spiders if there isn't anyone around me for at least two offices on either side?

On top of that, it's good to have someone else with you for other reasons: to blame creepy noises on them, to rant in your head about their loud breathing, to pretend you're aiming at someone when you're really talking at nothing, etc. It's not that I can't be alone. I like to have time (a few hours or a week) to myself every now and then. I'm just saying that the silence in my corner of the office building may build from boring to creepy, at which point I may lose my mind.

To London

We're thinking a trip overseas might be just the thing for the summer. Neither of us has ever been off the continent, and we figure if we don't go on this adventure now, we won't have the chance for another 20 years. Once kids, a mortgage, etc. come along, we'll be too poor, busy, and settled into our groove to even think of leaving town. I have no kids, and I will enjoy it.


Provo is seeping into my veins. In my April appointment, I'll let doc start testing away and trying to pump life into my ovaries. As my mom put it, this is my window, and if I don't take advantage of it, I'll regret it. I'm sure I have time before the baby train runs me over, but I suppose it's time I bought my ticket. Here goes.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Problem with Wii Fit

I like my Wii Fit. That may have something to do with how it usually assigns me a low Wii Fit Age, or how it consistently gives my weight about four pounds lower than the doctor's office scale. It tracks my weight and BMI, and it has some pretty fun games (forget exercise, that's not what it's for).


Wii Fit yoga may be the worst thing ever created. I am a yoga novice when I feel well enough to turn upside-down, and I really enjoy the stretches, strength poses, and balance challenges involved in a good yoga workout. Classes, videos—both are good for a nice, relaxing body-awareness experience. But the Wii Fit ruins all that. First, it has no flow. That's a big fat duh. I mean, it's not really yoga anyway. But then, when you're trying to balance, focus, and breathe, your "trainer" makes one inane comment after another about what you should concentrate on, how your balance is looking, what you should be feeling, etc. The freaking thing talks through every single pose. So beyond the distraction of all kinds of moving dots and circles on the screen, you have some skinny, digital uni-tard yapping away about how to achieve balance.

If my Wii Fit trainer were real, she would be fired. And slapped. Just listen to her yapping away.

And mine doesn't even have an awesome British accent. Screw you, YouTube, for showing me what I might have had!

Unfortunately, we already paid like ninety bucks for the game, so I suppose I got what I prepaid for. And I prepaid for a perfect-bodied gym rat to criticize mii and my posture. What is wrong with me?

TMI: You Have It

Okay, so I recently did the 25 facebook things. I'm not sure if you'll ever forgive me, but Claire Suddath of Time certainly won't. In her scathing backlash against the 125 billion-odd facts people have composed, she says, "But it's just so stupid. Most people aren't funny, they aren't insightful, and they share way too much."

Wait a second. Let's have a reality check. Me and my friends really are funny, insightful, and . . . well, we do share way too much. To Claire Suddath: get better friends.

I enjoyed seeing the things people shared. Some people confessed strange secrets or bizarre hobbies. Others related their lives' defining events. One of my friends shared about her childhood adventures with a rubber chicken. I enjoyed learning all that crap about you guys. Knowing you better has been a pleasure.

If Ms. Suddath thought writing 25 random things about me was a narcissistic thing for me to do, she'd certainly be appalled by the sixty other posts I've written all about moi. After getting "Welcome to Dallas"ed about twelve times yesterday, I can't help but say something like "Welcome to the Internet" to point out that if this is the first time our Time writer has become aware of the mass narcissism that is the blogosphere, it must be her first time on the social end of the web.

In reality—which may or may not exist in the physical world, and definitely does not exist on the internet—the web is not being abused for narcissism. It is narcissism. It has birthed a nation of folks like me who just can't get enough of talking about themselves all freaking day long. And we like it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

UPS Tracking Numbers

People who laugh at me because they know I like being laughed at

Those little sticky arrows you use to mark places to sign

Hugging Tim right when he comes in from the cold

Grilled cheese sandwiches in tomato soup

Fried mozzarella cheese in bbq sauce

Blogs that are as whiny as mine

Taking off sweat-soaked socks

Real, hand-written letters

Phonotactic constraints

Cadbury Cream Eggs

Pumpkin Butter

My coworkers

Doctor Who

You guys

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The I Don' Wannas: I Has Them

Today I had another visit with Dr. Young, my OBGYN (pronounced AWB-guyn). I don' wanna talk about it. I don't even know why I was there exactly. At some point last week when I was in too much pain to think, and all external noise was swallowed up by my screams of agony, Tim called the doctor's office, and they gave him an Rx for my pain and moved my end-of-the-month appointment up to today. Why? Heaven knows.

All I got to do was tell him that my period was hellish, which he said he tried to warn me about (he did not use the word "hell," which is the only way he could have possibly warned me). Then he told me that the time had come for us to take the next step: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. (My recreation here falls miles short of the anticlimax of the whole appointment.) So I get to come back in two months and get an ultrasound—which is what I thought I was doing during this appointment, but apparently I wasted an hour of everyone's time instead. Then they might decide what to do with my stupid organs. And it will probably be . . . drum roll please . . . NOTHING!

In fact, taking all of these stupid, nauseating medicines is my only recourse against my wildly misbehaving body. The doctor's comfort? I can stop taking any of these meds, because we're not sure they'll really even help.


So the next step is absolutely jack unless I want to get pregnant. Now I get to confess how I really feel about fertility treatments. I have always wanted to have an accidental baby. I will go as far as to say that for my entire marriage, I have been trying for an accidental baby, just more and more intensively over the past year. You know, to the point where I'm using no method of contraception and trying to figure out when I ovulate (which I probably don't ever do).

So that leaves us with the second option of a whole series of progressively more invasive—and, let's face it, gross—procedures. Now, this goes against my accidental baby grain, but that's not all. I really just don't want all of the stress and craziness of trying to get pregnant. Not only does it seem like it would take all the fun out of sex, but I've also seen too many people seriously struggle with all of the disappointment, the stress of trying, and the financial and physical drain. Also, the whole idea just kind of freaks me out.

I may very well end up giving in and trying some of that crap come April. Then I get to experience the reality of big, scary words like laparoscopy, hysterosalpingogram, semenalysis, steroids, and Clomid. After that come all kinds of scary acronyms like IUI, IVF, AI . . . even more gross and expensive.

So it's either the stress of baby soup or endless doses of gigantic pills containing things that may or may not help. Oh yeah, and I'm likely to continue having periods like the one I just had, which ol' doc described as being about a year's worth of periods all stacked up on top of each other.

On the other end of the spectrum, I am hugely pro-adoption. I know it's way harder than raising kids that are genetically yours, but I have felt strongly for a very long time that adoption is not some last resort for having kids, but something I really want to do in my life. But adopting kids is expensive, and Tim's not quite done with school. If he felt the same way I did about adoption, that would be no object, but he'd prefer to try some of the baby soup stuff first. I am willing to compromise, but I'm not yet sure how much.

A part of me feels like putting in an adoption application and getting the whole thing started right now. Another part of me wants to not have kids for another few years so I can enjoy my freedom. Yet another part of me wants to get really fat, pretend I'm pregnant, go buy all kinds of baby stuff, then move and cut off contact with everyone I know in nine months when my fat-baby will be "born" (i.e. I join Jenny Craig). So as you can tell, not all of my parts are thinking clearly, nor are they all entirely sane.

To review, my options are the following:

  1. Continue swallowing giant misery pills indefinitely (though if I want to have my own kids, doc says I need to do it in the next couple of years)

  2. Try and cook up some baby soup

  3. Pressure Tim into adopting kids, which he seems hesitant to do

  4. Do the fun parts of pregnancy: get really fat and buy baby stuff (just kidding, guys)

  5. Get another cat

During the hour I cried after my stupid, pointless appointment (yeah, you'd think I'd have gotten used to them by now) I realized that I don't want to do any of them. I mean, I wouldn't mind another cat, but Coco would probably hate it, and I think I'd be jumping the gun on my cat-lady years.

So I have the I don' wannas. I don' wanna keep taking these stupid pills. I don' wanna go through all kinds of fertility crap. I don' wanna pressure Tim into anything, ever. I don' wanna get fat or lose my mind. I don' wanna get another pet. I don' wanna do nothing. And I don' wanna accept the fact that inevitably, I will do one of those things.

So if anybody has some cookies and a few hours to watch chick flicks and cry, I'm down.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I've had a bit more time to blog lately because I can't seem to stay asleep for more than four or five hours; I'm wide awake and it's not even 2:30 AM. I crashed on the couch absolutely exhausted at around nine, and enjoyed possibly the best dream topic possible: the Tardis. For those of you who aren't familiar with the BBC show Doctor Who, you're really missing out. No woman can resist the charms of time travel with the last Time Lord.

So you can imagine that I was pretty upset when I regained consciousness before 2 AM to the charms of dried out contact lenses and heartburn. Anyway, if you have Netflix, they have a bunch of Doctor Who episodes that you can watch online, so you can become as infatuated with the possibility of exploring the universe in a police call box as I am. Admittedly, I preferred Rose Tyler's adventures with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor to Martha Jones and the David Tennant iteration, but both are just fantastic.

What I'm saying is you must watch Doctor Who. Here's a taste:

You can't tell from just this clip, but the show is incredibly well-written, charming, exciting, and altogether the most delightful show on Earth.

* Those of you reading on Facebook won't see the YouTube video I've embedded above. Consider it one more great reason to visit my blog at