Monday, March 30, 2009

You're Killing Me, Buster

Since my birthday last Tuesday, two different people have independently suggested that I kill myself. Perhaps the reminder that another year of my life has passed was enough to push them over the edge of realizing they couldn't stand another moment with me in it.

They both were joking, of course, but when I think of things that are as funny as suggesting suicide to a woman already hanging over the edge of sanity, the main mental picture that comes to mind is chasing down a kitten with a knife. When you think about it, though, that's actually pretty funny.

So I did some research, and the most interesting thing I found was the statement that most people who commit suicide do so for the same reason people commit crimes: to be put into a situation in which they no longer have to make choices. For criminals, that situation is jail. Essentially, then, suicide is the relegation of one's self to a situation theoretically without agency, if that's what you consider death to be.

For most, that type of complete lack of freedom is called Hell. So I suppose that what my colleagues were saying was simply a creative and indirect way of telling me to go to Hell.

But since I'm feeling neither creative nor indirect, I'll just say it:

Up yours, guys.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Carl's Jr. Is Killing You

Char: It gives you cancer. Red meat: It too gives you cancer. Food that gets all over the place: It drives moms everywhere insane. Botulism: It kills people, and likes to hang out in burgers made of fifty different cows compacted into one patty.

I'm telling myself all of these things in a weak attempt to convince myself that I do not, in fact, want to eat a Western Bacon Cheeseburger right now. I've developed a strong distaste for red meat since my last steak-ordering experience in July 2008. Since then, someone brought be a stew with beef in it, and I felt obligated to choke it down, ground beef particles and all. You can't imagine the guilt I feel over the way bile rises in my throat every time I think of my neighbor's kindness.

Last weekend, I attempted to eat a mini-burger, and couldn't make it all the way through. My off-red-meat-ness appears to be sticking.

And yet, despite strong memories of visceral reactions to ground up dead cow, I could still really go for the WBChB. Dinners with Dad, rewards from my third-grade teacher, late night trips with Amanda, lunches with Wookie (the nickname was never meant as badly as it sounds), and occasional snacks with my brother—all of these things revolved around Arcata's local CJ's, which turned the quiet job of putting together pre-frozen fried foods on a sesame seed bun into an art form.

And in spite of the horrible taste of the charbroiled (char-covered) version they serve in Provo, I could sure go for one right now. If only the thought of one of their beef patties didn't send my stomach—WAIT! Do you think they'll serve it without meat? Just, like, onion rings, BBQ sauce, cheese, etc. on a bun?

Who's up for a midnight snack!?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


At the risk of annoying you with a third post today, I thought I'd fill you in on the rest of my fabulous birthday. You may be asking yourself, "How could things get any better than a wonderfully decorated desk, computer wallpaper, cute button flowers, and lunch?"

Surprise visits from friends, that's how! Noel and Andee came over and brought me a present and hung out. How awesome is that? They threatened to unfriend me if I ever posted the picture I took of them, so I'm only allowed to post this picture of the beautiful date kit they brought. Thanks for making this such a special day, guys!

While earlier in the day I was out with Tim at TGI Friday's (eating Jack Daniel's Chicken—DROOL), Andee and Noel were apparently stalking me down on BYU's alumni network, then stalking down my husband so they could covertly arrange to surprise me. Then, they did a drive by on my residence before coming back later. So if you're wondering what can improve a day already filled with birthday friends, it's birthday stalkers.

After my new favorite stalkers left, I blew out the candles on my birthday rice krispies treat cake. Nine of those candles turned out to be trick candles. Once I started getting lightheaded from all the blowing out, Tim soaked the candles and we sliced up our now-somewhat-wax-spattered sugar masterpiece.

To top it all off, Tim got me a gorgeous suit and CS4! Now we can start to move away from the crappy photos and I can edit them for you, and we can all forget I ever had adult acne.

(Speaking of which, I always feel a little insulted when my doctors call it "adult acne." I know I have acne beyond puberty, and I realize that that's abnormal, but geez, do you have to keep pointing out that my acne has matured to adulthood with me?)


When I got back from lunch with Shar and Maryn, I found my desk decorated all pretty in some of my favorite colors. On top of that, there was a mountain of candy spread over my desk and a beautiful yellow-and-green button bouquet in my desk organizer. Thanks Shar and Lisa, and Anna and Laurel for setting it all up. And I got another card to decorate my wall with, which pretty much sums up my contribution to any setting: "You always make our conversations so interesting (in a good way)!"

This Very Moment

Today is my birthday. And I'm lucky enough to feel both loved and needed. I am well taken care of by friends and family. This birthday, it's a time of unique gifts. First, messages from friends. Some reminded me that I even have friends, others were kind thoughts, and one reminded me, quite poignantly, that there are reasons I was born those twenty-something years ago.

As my parents always do, they called and sang to me. Carter at work sent me an awesome desktop background (at left) from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Ken allowed me one free IT incident. I'm hoping that means that if my computer breaks the entire office network today, he won't tell everyone all about it. It wasn't a birthday present, but Chris sent me a link to some awesome online games. The ladies at the office are accompanying me to lunch at CPK.

I've been short on time (brain space) to choose my date for this evening with Tim. If I were PMSing, I'd say I'm fairly sure that his letting me choose what to do is a very convenient way for him not to have to plan anything. But I'm not, so I'll say it was kind of him to let me do whatever the heck I want for the evening (within an hour's drive and a reasonable budget). I can even go shoe shopping!

You can count on hearing how it goes. Sorry I couldn't muster up a good whine for you guys, but I just don't have it in me at the moment.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's Been One of Those Weekends

I'm losing my mind. Well, specifically, I'm losing most of my mind, and the loss is located in basically every region except the middle area of my left hemisphere where the language centers are typically located. As a result, moment by moment I have less and less to talk about, and less and less to do with myself but talk.

Visiting children, work through the weekend, and a few solid metaphorical knocks on the head kept me exhausted Friday through Sunday afternoon, and now, with another work week ahead of me, I'm about ready to buy life insurance and then keel over and die from stress (keeling optional). Forgive me for being too drained to write anything interesting.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dear Body:

I think we're both a bit confused about what you're doing right now. I hate to make it so formal, but I need to give you an official written warning that your behavior is unacceptable, and should you fail to improve over the next month, more drastic measures will be in order.

In our first interview, you specifically stated that you were proficient in digestion. You performed that job admirably for some years. You dealt well with personal challenges, such as lactose intolerance. Your overall fitness for the job over your first sixteen years was excellent—I believe we even awarded you the Sixpack of Amy Gordon award for several years in a row. Things seem to have taken a turn upon your promotion to manager of reproductive affairs.

Since that time, your performance has been a disappointment to upper management. While we understand a certain adjustment period to your new job, and we realize that it may take you a while to be able to fully fill your position as manager of reproductive affairs, we cannot tolerate your loss of competence in all of your job functions.

While we agreed that you could keep a roomier office on one of the middle floors, you have begun to take up more space than is appropriate, considering that you have not been performing your duties in gestation. You seem to be creating the image of gestation, when no reproductive work is actually occurring. This kind of deception is unacceptable here at Amy Gordon.

We have appreciated your work here, and we have seen you overcome great challenges during your career. Because of our great respect for your intelligence and abilities, we will allow you to continue to work here under several conditions:
  1. You must downsize your department. Cut the fat, and you could have another Sixpack of Amy Gordon year.

  2. Resume your digestive functions.

  3. Within two years, achieve some degree of success in gestation, including the manufacturing of our company's most valuable product.
Should you fail to achieve any one of these goals, you will be demoted to head of digestion and basic functions, and we will outsource your position as the manager of reproductive affairs. Should you continue to fail in your simpler job functions, we will have to meet to discuss your options and whether Amy Gordon is really the right place for you.

Thank you for your careful consideration of these matters. We will review your progress when we meet next month.


Amy Gordon
CEO, Amy Gordon

Thursday, March 12, 2009

All the Times I Could Have Died, but Didn't

Mom, I'll warn you now that you might not want to read this post. It may panic you about my safety and sanity.

Freeway Stupidity

When I was a freshman in college, five friends and I were in an extremely crowded coupe on the way to General Conference. In the middle of our uncomfortable car ride, a man in his mid-to-late twenties pulled up beside us and started making incomprehensible hand motions. We goggled at him cluelessly for a bit, guessing translations that had to do with broken car parts or dresses hanging out the door. It was I who finally guessed that he was offering to take half of our passengers.


But being about seventeen at the time, we decided to take the next exit and exchange a few passengers. I and another girl went. I cannot believe the idiocy it took to do that. I mean, how many times did my mom tell me (starting from when I was still in the womb) NOT to get into cars with strangers? He could have totally been an axe murderer. He could have taken us into the mountains and kept us as his woodland slaves in some creepy pre-industrial society he was trying to build by kidnapping idiots on the freeway.

But instead of inducting us into his cult or murdering us, he told us all about how bitter he was about not being married at his age. I was so happy not to be dead, I almost didn't mind the whining. Almost.

The Bazillion Times Mike Saved Me

I have an awesome older brother. By some miracle, we ended up in the same grade most of the way through school, and he was such a sweet guy, he actually let me tag along with him and his friends anytime I needed to. When we got into high school, I think some gene switched on and I decided I had a death wish. Rooftopping? Great plan! Hanging hundreds of feet off the ground on a rotating structure? SURE! I was that girl. I drove through a hallway at school once. I was an idiot.

But nine times out of ten, Michael said, "No, we're not going to do that," or "That's illegal," or "That'd be a good way to get ourselves KILLED!" If Mike hadn't been watching out for me, I'd have been a goner before I wrote my first newspaper article.

Lost in My Own Back Yard

I grew up in the middle of the woods. Behind our house, there was nothing but redwood forest for miles and miles and miles. And miles. It was my favorite place to play. Not in a Bridge to Terabithia way, but in a "hey, it's like a giant playground" way. I knew a couple of acres really well, but one day I decided to ignore Mom's "don't go too far away to see the house" rule (by imagining that some speck in the trees was a part of the roof) and pursue the sound of running water further into the forest.

Of course, I ran. I was the girl who fell asleep in trees and ate redwood sorrel and wasn't afraid of anything but spiders. And once I reached the stream, all I knew was that the side of it I was on was the one I had come from. Essentially, I had 180 degrees of nonexistent paths in the woods to take.

So naturally, that's when I started screaming. They say that when you get lost in the woods, you should hug a tree. Wrong. You should yell your face off. Now, I was born with quite a set of lungs, and anyone who's sat next to me in church can tell you they weren't made for singing. So lucky for me, my God-given talent for being a loud-mouth finally paid off, and I heard Mom screaming back at me.

And I didn't get eaten by a cougar in the woods.

Monday, March 9, 2009


The human body is beautiful. It is an exquisite creation, miraculous from every angle (at least mine is). The body has amazing capabilities, though many are realized by only those who train for years and years. Our human bodies think, speak, run, swim, procreate, cry, grow, and interact. They filter wastes and employ robust survival systems. In every way, the body is a fantastic creation, gorgeous and perfect for its purposes and full of possibilities. If the body is not sacred, then nothing is.

And because our bodies are sacred, we cover them, protect them from eyes that would judge them without understanding them. We feed, groom, and care for them. We guard them from every kind of danger. Some use the beauty of the body as an excuse to display it everywhere, but in truth, the venue of display is the difference between celebrating the sacred and profaning it.

Where between a man and wife, in privacy, or at a doctor's office, the naked human body is given the respect it deserves (if all parties are behaving appropriately), in another setting it might be mocked, injured, or used. That's why the naked human body is sacred art in some settings, and pornographic and offensive in others. It is crucial that we recognize the difference.

We live in a society that is constantly trying to turn the sacred into the everyday. Sex, pornography, and all manner of obscene and profane things are plastered all over our common forums: the internet, television, etc. We cannot lose sight of the sacred in favor of the lie that sacred things are for everyone to see. They aren't.

I hide my body from the world—not because there is anything wrong with it, or because I am ashamed, or because I am afraid. I hide my body because I know that the whole world won't understand it, or is not ready to behold its beauty. Because I will not expose my body to mockery or abuse. Because it is sacred.

I will stand naked without reserve in those places where my body is treated as the sacred, beautiful, amazing thing it is. Where no profane thought will arise because of it. Where no harm will come to it.

Similarly, many other things are sacred. The sacred must be protected, and in many instances that means keeping it hidden from mockery, abuse, profanity, and any other damages.

To the point, I write, too, about the Latter-day Saint temple ceremonies that are often abused for their secrecy. Simply, they are sacred. We are not ashamed of them or afraid. We are not trying to hide something wrong. We simply refuse to turn the sacred into the profane.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Things That Are Awkward

We all have special days where almost everything turns out like a weird perversion of real life. Between work and a wedding reception, I had my share of awkward moments today.

First, work was weird. My computer broke for the fifty billionth time this week, and the IT guy, whose extension I have memorized from overuse, had to come and fix it. In case you haven't experienced such intense disharmony with your computer, I'll tell you this: it feels really awkward when the IT guy spends more time on your computer than you do. And then he tells the whole rest of the office how it was my computer that somehow fouled up the entire wireless network. People are starting to think that I'm so attention starved I'm breaking my computer on purpose. Quite frankly, I don't have the technical knowledge to so intensely mess things up myself.

And then, Flash and I started having serious relationship problems. I wanted to display a video with full controls on a php page. Flash wanted to show a video without controls or nothing at all. It took about four phone calls and way too many dudes crowded around my desk to fix it. If I didn't already, at this point, I felt like a complete idiot.

Fortunately, the next two gaffes weren't mine. Wedding receptions are usually a little weird, but tonight's toasts were, well, awkward. The first, by the maid of honor, threatened and subsequently delivered a poem in the form of personalized lyrics to a song from the soundtrack of The Best Two Years. The recital was only a little awkward—until she started singing and crying simultaneously.

The best man's toast was sweet, entertaining, and everything a toast should be. Except at the end, when he finished his "the groom doesn't eat sweets"-themed speech, he announced, "Kyle, I want you to enjoy the sweetness of your wedding cake before you enjoy the sweetness of your marriage." The phrase did not go over well. At all. In fact, I'm fairly sure the entire family of the bride (which includes over sixty cousins) gave an audible disgusted grumble. That's when we decided to leave before the dancing started.

To celebrate just how awkward life can get, here are a few other doozies:
  1. When your roommate's gay friend used to bring minor boys over to hang out—and noticing that they all had the same basic features.

  2. Mentioning a terrible smell before you realize that it's the perfume of the woman sitting next to you.

  3. Using the handicapped stall in the restroom when a person in a wheelchair comes in.

  4. Bathrooms that are directly connected to the room all of your friends are hanging out in, instead of down the hall where the bathroom would be in any civilized home.

  5. (Last scatological comment) Having insanely noxious gas when your friends decide to involve you in a tickle fight.

  6. Telling your mother-in-law that you're not so "crazy" that you think sparkling apple cider is evil because it comes in what looks like a wine bottle, only to find out that the reason she so politely asked is that her parents were of precisely that opinion.

  7. Every conversation I've ever had with my sister-in-law-in-law.
So my life has had its share of the kind of moments that make you want to rip your own face off so nobody will ever have to see it again. Days like today, I can handle.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Workplaces have policies for everything: dress codes, office space allocation, raises, hires, and what you can and cannot talk about it. My office is pretty informal about most of these things. The flexibility of a small company is underrated. But the one policy that has caused some controversy lately is the Birthday Policy.

That's right. There's actually a policy about what to do for someone's birthday. And I'm not talking about some unspoken, unofficial commitment to take people out to lunch (we have one of those, too). I'm talking about a procedure for buying a card, having certain people sign it, and delivering said card. Right after Chris's birthday in May, they started sending cards around the whole office for everyone to sign and hide from the recipient until the big day. As you can imagine, Chris is just the tiniest bit bitter (no sarcasm intended).

Some people got big 3D pop-up cards covered in jewels and crap—Lisa got one with all kinds of pretty puffy stuff. Other people got boring flat cards with pictures of cars on them (sorry, Gav). For the people I didn't really know, I always ended up trying to say something cute, but actually saying something really bizarre or awkward. (If you're thinking of making some comment about how that could describe my entire blog, you're a huge jerk.) And I wasn't the only one unsure of just what to say on the stream of cards that crossed my desk. When this had been going on for a while, a couple of guys had stamps made to generically sign anyone's card that happened to come around—birthday, wedding, or otherwise.

So reception decided that it would be more appropriate to have cards signed by only those who worked directly with the card recipient. After a brief foray into socially mapping the office, they decided to quit having cards signed altogether. And they changed the Birthday Policy once again only weeks before my birthday.

So now I'm the slightest bit bitter myself about what is sure to be a reduced-greeting birthday (which is barely better than reduced-fat cheddar). I have considered my options:
  1. Live with no card.

  2. Buy a greeting card for myself (one with all kinds of cute crap glued to it) and send it around the office.

  3. Buy a greeting card and ask reception (nicely) to send it to a list of people from whom I would like to request birthday greetings.
So none of the options are particular attractive. In fact, they feel a little bit like planning your own surprise party (man, I've always wanted to do that).

This just reminds me of the time that the young women in my ward came over for my brother's birthday and sneaked in to decorate his room and leave him a nice note and a treat. They also decorated his car. Two weeks and one day later, on my birthday, nothing happened.

Yeah, forget it. I'm buying my own card, and on top of that, I'm going to write myself really nice notes in it from everyone I know and wish liked me.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Best Romance Ever

And so you see, coins really are evil. Darn pennies!