Saturday, July 31, 2004

"The Village"

Jason and I watched "The Village" last night. I know that it's getting a lot of mixed reviews, but we thought it was fantastic. Although, not to toot my own horn, but I had the ending figured out the first time I ever heard the plotline. But I must have been the only one, because there was a collective gasp in the theater when the classic M. Night moment occurs. I was so excited that I had been right that I started poking Jason in the ribs. He didn't like that too much. He switched between a dumbfounded look from the movie, to a very irritated look because of my rib-poking.

We talked about the movie the entire drive home (thirty minutes for us pathetic small town folk) which is always the sign of a good movie, in my opinion. Every time I see an M. Night Shymalan movie, it reminds me of the reason that movies were invented: to tell a story, to entertain, to share a truth. Granted, his movies have their faults. Sometimes his dialogue is a little uneven. Sometimes he doesn't know where to end a scene. "Unbreakable" was a little too dark, in my opinion. But he's got the Big Three going on. I love that he dreams up these stories himself and sees them all the way through. When I watch his movies, I can feel his love for story-telling and movie-making. I think that he realizes that, although it's his vision, the movie is for the audience. It's not for his political agenda, or that the studio will reach their 1 billion dollar goal for the year, or to create obtuse art for obtuse art's sake. I think that the great creators realize this and embrace it.

The great can basically hand pick them out of any medium. I would give it to Steven Spielberg. He's had a few misses, but most of his movies speak from the heart. Charles Schultz (Peanuts), Gary Larson (The Far Side) and Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) still resonate in the world of cartooning. Some may argue concerning their work from their later "druggie days," but I think that the Beatles had something that cannot be duplicated. And I know that I am going to catch heat for this one...but I believe Eminem has it. I know that, yes, everything that I have listed is very mainstream. But maybe it's mainstream for a reason. Maybe they each strike a chord with most of us.

The great ones are few and far between. It's like I said under my ComicCon observations. 90% of any industry is crap.

Anyway, I used to go see every movie under the sun, during high school and college. But I've grown weary of paying $7.50 ($9.50 in California!) to see a movie and leaving feeling slightly underappreciated as a movie-goer. I've become pickier in my praise, and even my attendance. "The Village" was the last on my list of summer movies to see. Ellen's Summer Movie List included "Shrek 2" (frankly, could've waited for video, but better than most sequels), "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (pretty good, but I'm so Harry loyal, I would've seen it even if all the reviewers said that it sucked), "Spiderman 2" (twice, it was so good) and "Bourne Supremacy" (superb, as well).

So, that's it, I'm done. Maybe I'll catch back up when the Christmas movies come out.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Morning Sickness Revealed

I’ve discovered that there are many different kinds of morning sickness.  First of all, “morning sickness” is such a ridiculous term.  Mine has been “non-stop sickness,” although I will grant that the period from waking until lunchtime is the worst for me.  I had heard that it was a bit like the flu, but I don't really think it's comparable.  When you have a stomach bug, vomiting is usually a relief.  You puke up the offending material, drink some Sprite and feel slightly better.  Not so with morning sickness.  Vomiting doesn’t make you feel any better.  All of the nastiness, but none of the benefits.

You have your traditional Back of the Throat Morning Sickness.  It’s like walking around with the knowledge that you could puke at any moment, yet you are simply choosing not to.  You can just feel it sitting back there.  Waiting for you.  No, no, you say.  Not right now.  I am in a meeting.  Okay, says the Back of the Throat, we’ll catch up later.

Sniper Sickness has hit me on several occasions.  It happens out of the blue, usually for no apparent reason.  The first instance was when I opened the fridge one morning to think about breakfast.  Suddenly, the mere thought of food sent me into a gastric convulsion.  I ran to the bathroom and barely made it.  I had another episode at lunch today.  I had eaten my lunch.  I was just peacefully sitting on my couch.  Then all of a sudden….lurch!  I caught myself, though.  Sniper Sickness is very mental.  With enough focus, you can will away the need to dash to the bathroom.

The Violent Vomit is awful.  This is when you vomit so many times in a five minute time period that, not only are you dry-heaving, but you actually bruise your windpipe.  After one of these episodes, I usually end up drenched in sweat with throw-up in my hair.  I’ve had the Violent Vomit mostly in the morning, although I had a spell at 2am once.  “Honey,” I squeaked miserably, “Will you get me a glass of water…?”  “Yeah,” Jason grunted.  I waited ten minutes, then crawled out of the bathroom to find my husband sound asleep.  Let’s just say that he paid dearly for that one.

If you haven’t announced your pregnancy yet, you may resort to Cat Burglar Puking.  As stealthy as James Bond, you sneak over to the one single-seater bathroom and desperately try to wait your turn.  “Hey!” says Phil in the hallway.  “I have a couple of questions about those advent calendars…”  Back of throat, back of throat, back of throat, you begin chanting in your head.  Please no Sniper.

And last, but not least, there is the Queasy Quandry.  I don't feel right, you think.  But I am not sure how I feel.  Am I going to throw up?  Could I possibly eat a banana?  No, that could send me down Sniper territory.  Okay.  I'm just going to sit here in this chair before anything worse happens.


Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Whole Lot of Explainin' To Do

It can now be made official....

I am pregnant. 


Jason and I were going to wait until 12 weeks to announce, but we figured that three days early wouldn't be too presumptuous. 

I guess I have a whole lot of explainin' to do.  Well, about ten weeks ago, the week before my scheduled laparoscopy, I peed on a stick.  I was certain that I wasn't pregnant, since this was actually the first cycle in over a year and a half that we hadn't tried to make a baby.  I just knew that it wasn't gonna happen until something got "fixed" and that was the point of the lap.  So, the month with no charting, temping, Clomid-ingesting, progesterone-inserting, green tea-slurping, vitamen-popping, Robitussin-guzzling, OPK-urinating, pillow-under-the-butt-for-two-hours, caffeine-avoiding...well, that was the month, for some reason.  Getting pregnant was so far out of my mind during this time, I drank a Pina Colada, ate sushi, dyed my hair and had a chest X-ray.  Then...well, something felt weird.  Something started feeling different.

For starters, I didn't start.  Which was very odd to me, considering the no progesterone-inserting that was going on.  I usually spot for about eight days before my period comes (sorry for the information, gentlemen) and no spots.  Yet, I had that approaching period feeling.  And my breasts stayed full.   I kept cupping my hands over them when nobody was looking.  ("Yes.  They still actually fill up my hand.  How odd.")  One night, we went and saw Harry Potter.  Before the movie, I checked.  No period.  The movie ended.  Run to bathroom.  No period.  Very odd.

That night, I laid in bed and decided that, although I was insane for even considering the possibility, I would test in the morning.  I got up and tested, telling myself that it was going to be negative, but knowing in my heart that it was positive.   Sure enough, two lines.  I sat on the toilet for awhile, staring at it.  "Wait a minute," I told myself.  "That's a Dollar Tree crap test."  So I drove to Walmart, still knowing perfectly well that I actually was pregnant (but still telling myself that I wasn't), and bought four more brands of tests.  They were all positive. 

Ten weeks later, here I am.  Despite dread, worry, skepticism, analyzing every twinge and refusing to get my hopes too far up, I am still pregnant.  We saw Cletus's heartbeat about three weeks ago (my mother has named him/her Cletus the Fetus) and for the first time, I felt really joyful.  Not petrified.  I don't know if it was the month after month of disappointment that I experienced beforehand, or my natural inclination to worry, but my first trimester has been extremely guarded.  I haven't felt glowing; I have felt wary.  But thankful.

I have also had a nasty case of Survivor's Guilt for the past few months.  I have people in my life who are still struggling and trying, and I don't want to cause them any pain.  There's a certain amount of guilt involved in feeling excited and happy.  I think that infertility has left it's muddy pawprints on my psyche.   A few weeks after I knew that I was pregnant, another co-worker announced her pregnancy.  Her due date is only a week before mine (which is February 12th, by the way).  Even though I was sitting there pregnant on the other side of the cubicle, I was boiling with jealousy.  It was completely irrational.  I guess that the infertility stink doesn't wash off quite as easily as one would hope. 

So here's what you have missed...puking, puking and more puking.  I have been very nauseous.  Just puked again on my way off to work.  I have probably lost about eight pounds.  My cubicle mate (who I told this weekend in San Diego) told his wife (my good friend) a few weeks ago that he was worried about me.  Apparently my weight loss and exhaustion has been noticable.  (And I thought I was hiding it so well.)

Last week in San Diego, Cletus decided to plant his little tiny butt firmly on my bladder, so I am the PeePee Queen every twenty minutes or so.  And I can finally see the smallest pooch in my stomach.   A little baby pooch.  Which is a very nice pooch to have indeed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

ComicCon 2004 Observations

I’m back from the San Diego ComicCon!  Quite the experience.  I had a great time, and managed to write down some observations whilst standing in one of the many monster lines of which ComicCon seems to solely consist.  So without further ado…

ComicCon 2004 Observations
1.  My husband must really love me to wade through a universe of which he has no interest.
2.  Seeing little boys living for their comic books is endearing.  Seeing grown men obsessing over their comics is a wee bit sad.
3.  Nerds, not unlike Metallica fans, wear black a lot for some reason.
4.  Just because you wear the cloak, belt, boots and light saber does not mean that you actually are a Jedi knight.
5.  Storm trooper full-body armor looks really uncomfortable and hot.
6.  For some geeks, so much brain space is used for Buffy trivia, computer tips and role-playing card tricks, not much room is left for common sense.
7.  There is a place and a person for everyone out there.  If you haven’t found your niche yet, just keep looking.
8.  90% of any industry is utter crap.
9.  Teenage girls at ComicCon are either true geeks or posers.  There is no in between.
10.  If you really love your art, doing it for very little money is no big deal.  You’ve probably been creating it for free for years anyway.
11.  Always bleach out the color in your hair before dying it turquoise.  Otherwise, it just looks moldy.
12.  While sitting in line for an hour, cleaning out your purse takes relatively little time.
13.  I’ve discovered that I am more of a geek admirer/observer than an actual geek.
14.  There are different tribes of geeks, and they have different defining aspects:   
   -Star Wars Geeks- relatively normal in real life, with a secret George Lucas fantasy world.  Big time collectors. 
   -“Trekkies”- do not even attend ComicCon.  Have their own separate Star Trek Cons. 
   -“The Elves”- obsessed with The Lord of the Rings.  Attend Renaissance festivals in full gear.  Learn elvish.  Truly believe that they have just been misplanted in history.  Collect chainmail.  
   -Goth Erotica Geeks- a prickly bunch.  Not apt to allow in outsiders without the prerequisite piercings, purple hair, black lipstick (multi-gendered) and sinister sneer.  However, often turn out to be quite friendly if complimented on aforementioned articles. 
   -Manga/Anime Geeks- mostly Japanese girls in schoolgirl outfits.  Short skirt, knee high socks, Mary Janes.  Think GoGo Yubari from Kill Bill Volume One.  Must have tiny backpack.   

I'll tell you more about my trip tomorrow....

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Well, my pretties, I am leaving for California at approximately 4:30 AM tomorrow (stupid cheap earlybird seats), so I will see you in a week!

Monday, July 19, 2004


Well, it's just typical.
Yesterday, my family came over for an overnight stay.  My parents brought their dog, Ollie, and Karen's fiance brought his dog, Sunny.  Added to my two dogs, it was a mad house.  So we decided to take all of the dogs for a walk.
It was quite a sight--this big glob of people walking down the street, four of them being pulled along by their dogs.  The leashes kept getting tangled up in each other and two of the dogs wanted to pee on anything that stood still.
We rounded the corner and I saw a friend of mine from high school, who was visiting her parents who lived down the block.  I say "friend" but we were really just fringe friends.  I was friends with some of her friends, like fringe hanging on a curtain.  She was very popular in high school.  Voted "Most Beautiful."  I always wanted to hate her, but she was too dadgum nice. 
For some reason, every time I've seen her since high school, I have somehow managed to thoroughly humiliate myself.  For instance, the last time I saw her, we were at the same wedding shower.  (A friend of mine was a friend of hers.  Again, fringe friends.)  The day of this shower, I had broken out in a horrible rash from the penicillin I was taking at the time.  I was splotched out in big red hives from the top of my head to my toes.  I decided to go ahead and go to the shower, but I put a floppy hat on to try and cover my blotchy face as much as possible.  Of course, Brandy was there, looking gorgeous as ever.  Perfect complexion.  I tried to explain to everyone at the beginning of the shower why I looked like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka, and everyone gave me little sympathetic nods, but I still looked hideous.  I pulled up my shirt collar, pulled down my hat and just tried to sink into the background.  Oh, and I also called her "Brittany" repeatedly until I realized my mistake and begged her forgiveness. 
So yesterday, we are walking by and we wave at each other.  I stop to talk.  In my mind I am making a check list... "Lack of hives? Check.  My hair?  Messy but decent.  Check.  Introducing her by the correct name? Check."  We have a pleasant conversation and she introduces me to her third baby, I introduce her to my family.  We move on our way.
As we neared home, Jason (who had declined the family walk) ran outside and took a picture of the lot of us, since it was quite the sight to behold.  We went inside and he downloaded the picture onto the computer.  I glanced at it, to make sure there were no hives. 
I stared in horror.  Karen and I were wearing the EXACT SAME SHIRT.  My dorky little sister and dorky little me were wearing matching shirts.  I mean, we had acknowledged it earlier and laughed about it, but promptly forgot it.  What's worse is that they were both bright red shirts (given to us for Valentine's Day by my mother) with a big white heart in the middle.  There was no mistaking our matching shirts and khaki shorts.
"NOOOOOO!"  I cried in horror.  "No! No! No! No! NO!"  Brandy, Most Beautiful Student 1993, had seen me in a little matching number with my sister. 
My mother thought it was a hoot.  "Why do you care?"  she said.  "I don't's just...Most Beautiful...." I sputtered.  "Well, it's too late for you to ever compete for that title," my mother replied.  "I know...." I lamented.
"Besides," says my mother (and the following statement I shall never forget), "You've done fairly well, considering the genes that you were given."

Sunday, July 18, 2004


I attended a baby shower at work on Friday afternoon.  It was for a lady who is having twins, so she received double of everything in pink and blue.  Everyone has been twin crazy since she announced her pregnancy back in February.  Her doctor told her at 30 weeks that she was measuring at 42 weeks, so everyone thought that was a hoot.  But as I was sitting there, it occured to me how much work twins would be.  She is going to quit work to stay home with her daughter and the twins, because day care for all of them would be too expensive.  All of the rose-colored twin glasses suddenly wore off for me as she unwrapped her tandem stroller.  She began crying.  She said, "I was so worried that we wouldn't get one of these!"  Throughout the rest of the shower, she glanced over to the stroller in relief.  I found myself wondering if she had enough diapers, and whether she would just have to give up sleeping for a few months and... how do you breastfeed twins?  I spent a few moments staring at my own breasts wondering at the logistics of it all.
Showers, wedding or baby, are strange events for me.  I am not, by nature, a group person.  In fact, I avoid large gatherings of people.  I just don't feel like myself, and everyone is so happy and smiley.  I can fake it fairly well, but I am usually counting down the minutes until the last present is unwrapped and I can leave.  Most showers are pretty much the same--lame shower games that nobody really wants to play,  pleasantly boring chit-chat, the standard cake, punch and nuts and prim ladies trying to sit ladylike while balancing the aforementioned cake, punch and nuts on their knees.
Even my own wedding showers were odd for me.  I don't like being on center stage, all eyes on me.  When you unwrap that butt ugly useless knickknack that you certainly didn't register for, it takes a great deal of energy to summon the "Ohhhh!  How lovely!" neccessary for feelings not to be hurt. 
Don't get me wrong.  I was extremely grateful for my wedding showers (especially my lingerie shower, yowsers).  In fact, that was what made it even more difficult for me.  I remember sitting in Mrs. B's living room, surrounded by old family friends that I hadn't seen (or made any effort to stay in touch with) for years, and feeling how much I didn't deserve it.   Every toaster I unwrapped produced an overwhelming wave of humility in me.  To be honest, even the ugly knick-knacks.  Because I knew that I could never repay them.  I just had to sit there and be showered in gifts that I did nothing to earn. 
I guess that is kind of how grace works.  You can't earn it, you don't deserve it and you can't pay it back.  It's uncomfortable, but it's good.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Pee Pee Queen

Leaving for San Diego next Wednesday!  I can’t wait to blow this popsicle stand.  All the arrangements are made, my sister is set up to watch the house/animals, my boss will be at Comic-Con as well (therefore, no work guilt) so I am responsibility-free for a week.  Woo.  Hoo.
I believe that I have finally met my Speed-Peeing match.  It has been a joke since I was a wee girl that I am the fastest urinator alive.  (Maybe that's the superhero I'd be..."The Urinator.") I can be in and out of a public restroom in three minutes flat.  I know that some family members have speculated that I don’t wash my hands, but I swear I do.  I even use soap.  (And flush the toilet with my foot.)  But I have never seen the point of any mambie-pambie in the restroom.  I get in, pee, wash my hands and get the heck out of there.  If it’s a hand-dryer, I just wipe my hands on my jeans.  And if I have to pee at a movie theater, I can even push it to lightening speed (still washing hands.)  I can get out of the theater, do my business and get back to the movie—all in one scene.  I am the Pee Pee Queen.  
BUT I believe that Shelley’s dog, Lucy, has thrown down the gauntlet.  I let her out twice while Shelley and Dan were out of town, and that dog can pee.  I actually think that she might be afraid of the grass.  She scampers out, pees and quickly jumps back on the patio.  It reminds me of that game I played when I was a kid—Acid Lava.  You know, the ground is acid lava and you have to travel across the yard to home base without touching the grass.  You end up swinging off of lightposts unto flower pots and then hanging onto the clothesline until it bends.  Then, invariably, some neighbor kid falls on the ground and declares that the lava only burns through your flesh if you touch for more than five seconds.  Loser. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Moving On

For a wee bit lighter post today, I present:

Things I Dig About My Husband

1. He can fix or install anything electronic. I don't even know how to hook up a VCR anymore.

2. He refuses to fall for my attempts at manipulation.

3. Whenever we would go to church while we were dating, he would reach over, grab my leg, wiggle his eyebrows with a saucy look and quote Dave Matthews, "Hike up your skirt a little more and show your world to me." I would say, "I'm not that kind of girl!" But it still made me giggle.

4. He loves animals as much as I do, even though he won't admit it.

5. He doesn't get all wacky that I have male friends, and that I had a life before him.

6. Our house is usually very clean, and it's certainly not because of me.

7. His trait that I originally found off-putting, his cut-through-the-crap honesty, is now the trait that I depend on the most.

8. He is not enmeshed with his family.

9. He gets up at the crack of dawn and lets me have the whole bed to myself for a good two hours in the morning.

10. He just put a fish tank in our fireplace.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Sit Down, You're Rocking The Boat

A question was posed in the comment section of my last post concerning my views on The Cider House Rules and how it affected my life. Aye yi yi. I am assuming that this question is referring to abortion. Well, geez know, I sincerely don't want to start a firestorm here, but I guess since it's my blog, I can share my views. Frankly, I usually keep my political opinions to myself. I can argue forever and a day about key plot points in the Harry Potter saga, but for some reason, I see no need in arguing about real world issues. Mainly, I think, because I don't think that my little opinions will change anything anyway. I'm no boat rocker; I'm no Michael Moore. I vote. That is my contribution to American politics.

My friend Amy, over at Life By Candlelight, whom I have known since college, recently stated in a post that she often feels that she is "not Christian ENOUGH for the Christians and TOO Christian for those who are not." Amy is quite a bit more liberal than me, but I can definitely echo those same feelings.

Since it was released, I actually went out of my way to not watch The Cider House Rules. I knew what it was about, and as I mentioned before, I don't like my canoe even slightly swayed. I had my set opinions on abortion and I prefered to leave them that way. However, slowly, throughout the past couple of years, whilst I have been floating peacefully down the river, I have found that my conservative boat has been slowly tipping by gentle, but persistent, waves.

It started with little getting my monthly Focus On The Family newsletter from James Dobson one day, and actually thumbing through it for once. Realizing that I had a strong urge to flick him on his nose. (I still think that he has some good views on child-rearing, but for the most part, I am irritated by his political views, and feel that he is speaking out of turn for the rest of us Christians. We aren't all like ole' Jimmy Dob. I swear.)

Then I discovered that my inner cockles were becoming increasingly itchy about the current state of our government. And hey, I voted for George W. Bush. I liked him. I still kinda like the guy. But I feel very itchy about the whole Iraq mess.

But I think that the main contribution to my boat tipping has been watching my husband's work. Jason works with the lowliest of society. His schizophrenic clients would be living under a bridge if it weren't for the grace of God, medication and thankfully, Jason's treatment center. Whenever I start to get all high and mighty, I take a trip to the center and gaze upon the real world. Some of them are simply learning how to bathe every couple of days. Some are battling voices in their heads, telling them that they are worthless. Most have been abandoned by their families. Many were sexually and physically abused as children. Their teeth are rotting out because of the harshness of their medication. They sit outside and chain-smoke, not knowing that the entire town avoids their particular street. This is the real world, and it's anything but perfect.

So getting back to the do I feel about abortion? I don't like abortion. I don't like it at all. (I want to sing the praises of adoption from the rooftops, though.) In a perfect world, there would be no need for abortion to exist. But we live in a fallen world full of teenage pregnancies, rape, molestation, rotting teeth and heartache. Rather than spending our time condemning a woman for killing her unborn child, the time, in my opinion, could be better spent reaching out to help heal her soul for the grief, confusion and emptiness that she is certain to be feeling. Jesus can comfort us and heal us when we are in our darkest pit. This soul-healing is permanent and eternal, as opposed to the temporary actions and heartaches of our present life. You can either club her with your sign that says, "God Thinks Abortion is Murder" as she leaves the clinic, or you can take her by the hand and introduce her to the REAL God. The God who says, "I don't care what you've done. I love you anyway."

So those are my views on abortion. Let the firestorm begin.

Saturday, July 10, 2004


Jason and I rented the movie, The Cider House Rules, last night.

[Aside: We are on a Tobey Maguire "kick" right now. This week we also watched Seabiscuit, Spiderman, and Ride with the Devil.I tend to do this from time to time. I've been through many "kicks": Nicholas Cage, John Cusack, Merchant Ivory, Bill Murray, Reese Witherspoon, Adam Sandler, Colin Firth (that one accompanied a Jane Austen kick, I believe.) I look forward to going through these every once in awhile. Although you do see lots of crappy or mediocre movies, you also uncover some real gems. For example: Nic Cage crap movies: Valley Girl, Honeymoon in Vegas. Nic Cage gems: Peggy Sun Got Married, Red Rock West. John Cusack crap movie: The Grifters. John Cusack gems: Better Off Dead, Being John Malkovich. We actually haven't found a Tobey Maguire crap movie yet. Ride With The Devil was...fair, but Tobey managed to elevate it to an acceptable level. And Jewel didn't suck too bad in it, either. Some people might say a Tobey crap movie could be The Ice Storm, but I really loved that movie, just as I am sure I am going to hear back how great The Grifters was.]

Anyway, The Cider House Rules got me laying in bed last night, thinking about strength of character and the will to do what's right. Some people seem to have their strength tested quite a bit in life, but others of us, much fewer.

I was in a relationship once which I knew, in my heart, was not meant to be. I knew it, he knew it. We tried to disentangle each other for years but nothing seemed to work. I knew the only way that it could end, so with all of my will, I pushed him away. If all of the previous removal attempts had been attempted with tweezers, this one was done with a sledgehammer. Within a couple of months, I heard that he was engaged to someone else. Here was where my previously-unknown-to-me willpower took over. I knew that I was not supposed to be his wife, and I knew that this woman was. But I also knew that I had the ability to mess with his mind, and doing so could cause some serious damage. So, for many months, I did absolutely nothing. No contact whatsoever. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever done, but the best thing I've ever done. He is living the life that he is supposed to be living, with the loved one that he is supposed to be living it with. After meeting her, years later, I was happy to discover that she is the yin to his yang (which I never was. We were both sorta yangs). And the ironic thing is that the week that they got married is the week that I began dating my husband.

My friend, Mindy, had a false accusation brought against her by an asshole principal. She was told that, if she would just sign this little form admitting guilt, she could have her hand slapped and keep her job. She refused and the shit came raining down. I remember talking with her while the whole thing was going down, and seeing the weariness in her eyes. She held her ground though, and was relocated to a different school. In the end, she was much happier in the new school, and it was later revealed that the principal had lied about the incident, as well as many others. He was fired.

I remember my father going through a very difficult time many years back. Through dealings with an unethical partner, difficulties and hardships arose surrounding his medical practice. He had the grounds to get even and sue, but he did not. Instead, he picked up, moved on and forgave. I, as a teenager, of course, was indignant with his decision to allow the injustice. I felt a bit like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, frustrated at her father's infuriating mercifulness. Looking back, he couldn't have taught me a better lesson. I don't know what happened to the other person involved, but my dad turned out fine. And he can sleep soundly at night, without anger in his heart.

Much can be said for the shapings by our feeling and emotions...hell, sometimes my emotions have me wrapped around their middle finger. But I think that most of our character-shaping comes from exercising our will to do the right thing, especially when you seem to be the only one that knows it's the right thing.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Mental Remnants

It’s odd the remnants from youth that will forever be stuck in your brain. For instance, last night, after I got out of the shower, I realized that I needed to file my nails. Immediately, the first thing that popped into my head was, “Well, I’ll have to wait about twenty minutes until they are dry, because you can’t file wet nails.” Hmmmmm…where did that come from? I thought. Oh yes. From an old Encyclopedia Brown story, in which Encyclopedia solves a mystery by determining that a girl’s alibi is a fib because she stands by the door, filing her nails, insisting that she just got out of the shower. “Impossible!” says Encyclopedia, “You cannot file wet nails!” The girl admits defeat and returns the bike, or whatever object that she had stolen.

Also, I always check my toilet for large pythons, waiting to bite my tushie. Why? An old “Highway to Heaven” episode where Michael Landon posed as a plumber and pulled a snake from a toilet. I remember my sister and I turning to look at each other in horror. Ten bucks Karen still peers into the toilet as well.

Punky Brewster taught me to never climb into an old refrigerator and shut the door. "Different Strokes" taught me that strangers in your home can secretly put tape on the front door latch and then sneak in later to rob you of your Christmas presents. Slim Goodbody taught me that a hummingbird’s heart makes the sound “lubdublubdublubdublubdub,” whereas a whale’s heart goes “LUUUUUUUUB DUUUUUUUB.”

I always walk out to my car with my keys in my fist, with the tips sticking through my fingers. You can punch an attacker in the face and do more damage that way. Also, before getting in my car at night, I look underneath it because an attacker might be under there, waiting to slash the tendons in my ankles. I seem to remember learning these tidbits from a former babysitter.

My question is, will these useless items be stuck in my head forever? My friend Melissa has a theory. You know when you are standing there, minding your own business, and a random memory pops into your head? You think, “Band camp? Why the hell am I thinking about band camp?” Melissa thinks that your brain is ridding itself of that memory to make room for new ones. However, just to be nice, your brain is letting you remember that item one last time before it is erased. Maybe the completely stupid “stuck” memories are ones that your brain has deemed indispensable at some point in time. Maybe it is really important, for my brain at least, that I always check for toilet snakes.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Superhero Ponderings

Spiderman 2 was fantastic! Even better than the first one, which was my favorite superhero movie to date. I think I’m more of a Marvel gal, than a DC Comics gal. I have learned all about such things from my cubicle mate, who is an aspiring comic book artist. I didn't even know that there was a difference, but there is. For instance, DC characters do not live in the real world. Superman lives in Metropolis, Batman lives in Gotham City, etc. Those characters all know each other, also. Wonderwoman, Batman, Superman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman…they are all buddies. They are also all gods or from other planets. Wonderwoman’s mother is an Amazon queen, Superman is from Krypton, blah, blah, blah.

Marvel characters, on the other hand, live in the real world. They hang out in New York, and can venture over to Washington D.C. They are all real people that had a brush with a scientific experiment gone wrong, or they are genetically mutated. Peter Parker becomes Spiderman, Bruce Banner becomes The Hulk, The X-Men…well, they are just freaks, let’s be honest.

Here’s how I see it…if these superheroes were all in high school together, DC Comics characters would be the cool kids. Athletes. Prom queens. Class presidents. In fact, they even have their own clique: the “Justice League.” You know the type…basic do-gooders. Frankly, I would not have fit in with the DC characters. They just aren’t conflicted enough. Not enough angst. I would have hung out with the Marvel nerds over on the “other” side of the cafeteria. I can imagine Spiderman fiddling around in the Science Lab, glancing at Superman running by outside, training for his next triathalon. The Hulk would, of course, be stomping around, wearing his Black Sabbath T-shirt, being generally anti-social and surly. The X-Men would be the drama geeks. I’m not sure where the Fantasic Four would have fit in, but I’m fairly sure that they would have been homeschooled.

The odd man out in this whole scenario is Batman. Although he is a DC character, he is decidedly human, though with lots of money to buy cool toys. My cubicle mate says, “He’s just a detective, not really a superhero.”

So maybe Batman is the high school narc.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

No Resolution=Ticked Off Ellen

Jason and I watched the movie, "Secret Window" last night. I wanted to see it in the theater but I'm really glad I didn't. I didn't like it. The only reason I like suspenseful movies is knowing that, in the end, it will all be okay. The protagonists will win/survive and I, having had a cathartic experience, will leave the movie feeling that all is right with the world. (I don't mind the sordid endings in black comedies, because there is a wink-wink-nod to the audience.) However, I do NOT like drama/scary movies in which I get no resolution. It's always a bad sign when I am left fumbling for the remote, muttering, "Maybe there's an alternate ending..."

"Give it up, Ellen," says Jason, "That's all that there is."

"Damn you, Stephen King," I mutter and throw the remote control across the bed.