Friday, April 29, 2011

Denim Jumpers, Tote Bags and Here Comes the Bride

It’s Womens Conference here on campus. Every year during the week after April Graduation, thousands of women descend on campus to attend workshops and classes designed to edify, uplift, enrich and educate Mormon women. I suppose it’s a good thing. It would be a good thing if I were just a Mormon woman…because I would probably enjoy attending. But I am a Mormon woman who works on campus. And as such I don’t enjoy Womens Conference…at all.

These are good women – they really are. But for some of them, this is likely the first time all year they’ve been allowed away from home (with a car) without husbands and/or children. Imagine thousands of kids who’ve just gotten out of school for the summer…and then turned loose at Disneyland.

Same exact thing.

They are all in a super-hyper holiday mood and for some reason do not recognize little things…such as traffic lights…or rules of the road…or parking signs. You take your life in your hands just driving to work. Going from one end of campus to the other (either on foot or in a motor vehicle) is just evidence of an obdurate and determined Death Wish on your part.

I don’t even leave the building to go to lunch for two days. Because it’s a jungle out there…an estrogen-charged jungle.

My department assists in housing a good percentage of these conference attendees on campus. We get lots of strange requests and questions anyway, but this year a lot of the questions revolved around the availability and/or proximity of televisions.

Most of the time these women are too busy to watch TV. There are humanitarian projects set up that attendees can assist in. There’s an “instant choir” that attendees can participate in. There are author and artist book signings. And then there’s just plain old Girls’ Night Out (or in, actually) where you spend time with friends.

But television is very important this year…because there’s a wedding going on. A big wedding. A royal wedding. (In fact, it’s already happened…but a lot of these women were planning to watch coverage…which started about 3:00 a.m. this morning).




Now I confess that thirty years ago I got up in the middle of the night to watch Charles and Diana tie the knot. But I was in my twenties and was used to carousing until the wee hours and still managing to get to work on time. I’m almost sixty now…I get sleepy at 10:00. Lately I can’t even manage more than five pages in the book I’m reading before I find myself reading the same paragraph four or five times and retaining none of it.

So more power to those ladies who set their alarms and glued themselves to the telly to watch Kate and Wills march down the aisle in Westminster, and who still made it to all the classes they’d registered for today. I managed to see the vids with a clear head and a good night’s sleep…only seven or eight hours later. (And complete and utter dishrag that I am, I got all moist and teary during the vows. Can’t help it, I’m a total romantic. Fairy tale. Handsome prince. The whole nine yards.)

Good luck to Kate and William.

And to all those bleary-eyed, dozey and knackered conference ladies: YOU GO, GIRLS!
For now,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Being Wanted

Some time ago I had a friend say something that really hit me. She said, “The people in my life are more important to me than I am to them.” The reason it resonated was that I have been feeling much the same way lately.

Years before this I had a roommate who told me that she had this weird sense that people only “came to life” when she walked in a room.

Two very different individuals with very different self-images.

I’m not going to sink to the cliché that the second person was narcissistic and self-centered (although she did have one heck of a healthy ego), but both views are two ends of the same brush. (Am I mixing my metaphors again??? Sheesh.)

What I mean is that both people are relating to the people around them in a very fundamental, elemental way. Just at different ends of the spectrum.

There are people who light up a room whenever they enter, who maintain friendships their whole lives through, who have myriads of people who count them as “best” friend. (I know someone very like that.) And then there are those who always seem to take a back seat, who often fade into the woodwork. Whose presence, (and conversely) lack of presence, seems to go unnoticed.

The reason this came to mind is the last song on the radio this morning. I find myself mentally playing an endless loop of the last song I hear before I switch off the clock radio…and this morning it was The Foundations, “Baby, Now That I Found You.”

“Baby, now that I found you I can’t let you go. I’ll build my world around. I need you so, baby even though you don’t need me. You don’t need me.”

How sad is it that he’s willing to center his whole world around someone who doesn’t seem to give a rodent’s rump about him?

And yet, I do understand. You find yourself feeling foolish that you’ve made that person or that group of people so important to you that not being included is devastating. What’s equally mortifying is when not only is your absence not lamented, they’re not even aware you’re not there. Or if they are aware, they don’t care. (ACK!! Even worse!)

In Mary Stewart’s book, Nine Coaches Waiting, the heroine talks about being wanted:

“And if I was ever to have a place, in whatever country—well, nobody ever wanted you anyway unless you damned well made them. And that was what I would have to do.”

However, I seem to be the opposite. If I sense that I’m not wanted I withdraw. I could never be a stalker. Ever.

Well, okay…once I was a sort-of stalker. (I mean, I never took it to extremes…well, okay I did…a little.) I fell head-over-heels with a football star in college – Golden Richards.

And he was gorgeous…totally. And he (of course) never knew of my existence…oh, except for the constant hanging around after his classes, or the numerous evening walk-by’s of his dormitory. Oh…and then there was the cake. A football cake. Green frosting, with white piping made to look like a football field. The little goal posts were made out of pipe cleaners. Don’t laugh…you should have seen the basketball cake that I made a couple of years later for his brother (the college basketball star). So cute. Blue frosting, with white piping to show the court markings…and the baskets were the absolute best part. I bent those little wire egg-dipping thingees and had my roommate crochet little baskets for them.

( I guess I should’ve gotten some professional help.)

I know…


But that was when I was very young…and apparently very stupid. I don’t do those things now. I’m super-sensitive about wearing out my welcome. I don’t push, I don’t impose and I don’t go where I’m not wanted. Trés uncool. And humiliating.

Just like a hermit crab. Or a turtle…in her shell.

(Except for that annoying echo I think I could get used to it in here.)

For now,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April Showers Sometimes Bring...the Blues

It’s April 26th. That date conjures up mental images of flowers blooming, trees leafing, birds chirping…bright blue sky and puffy little white clouds…balmy breezes and a feeling of hope and renewal. Here are some pictures of the blooming business…my daffodils and a lovely cluster of my yellow tulips.

What the pictures don’t show are the teeny little snowflakes that are swirling around me, as I stand in the middle of a very wet lawn with sandals on. (Sandals, of course, because…it’, Spring.) We’ve had unusually wet weather (and cold, did I mention cold?). It’s causing a lot of concern because we’ve got a very large snowpack in the mountains, and that puppy’s gonna blow when we go immediately into 90 degree summer weather. Which we will. It’s inevitable. (Do you have your inflatable raft ready? Are you filling your sandbags even as I speak?) Fortunately I live on the Orem hill and flooding isn’t likely.

Normally (what with the date and all) I’d be longing for the chirping, blooming, leafing, blue-ing, puffing and balming. But the current weather is actually a suitable accompaniment for my on-going mood. I should probably move to somewhere gray – like Seattle. I’ve actually thought about it…but Mt. Rainier really scares the crap out of me. I might experience times where life doesn’t seem worth living (see paragraph below)…but I don’t particularly want to drown in a molten river of lava or be fried by a pyrocastic flow. (I saw all those pictures of the excavations at Pompeii and I know what I'm talking about.)

I’ve struggled for years and years and years with depression. Clinical depression. The official diagnosis is Dysthymia. It isn’t as severe as MAJOR DEPRESSION (that just somehow needs caps, doesn’t it…I mean it’s MAJOR)…but Dysthymia is often never overcome. Sometimes dysthymics can sink into a "major depression" – this is known as “double depression.” (Oh boy, two for the price of one…what a deal!) I seem to do this on occasion. I call them “POH’s”. (Pit of Hell depressions.) I eventually re-surface from these, but while I’m submerged it ain’t pretty.

Most of the time I can, if I try hard enough, sort out the “trigger” – what it was that specifically sent me spiraling to the bottom. And quite often a dysthymic’s condition can worsen due to circumstances. I’ve mentioned all the cleaning out I’ve been doing and the reality facing me of having to sell the house, the impending loss of my elderly father and an uncertain future…and thus there are many triggers currently.

These kinds of things can contribute to the average person’s bad mood or sadness…but depression isn’t ordinary sadness. And those suffering from depression aren’t average. There's a reason...and it's chemical.

I watched The King’s Speech on Sunday. (Yes, I thought it was a good movie. Colin Firth was brilliant. So was Geoffrey Rush. And I adore Helena Bonham-Carter. But I’m not sure it was really a “Best Movie.” ) Anyway, there is a particularly painful scene where King George V (well played by Michael Gambon) is berating his son, Bertie (Colin Firth) because of his stammer. He’s irritated and impatient as the poor man agonizingly struggles to get words out. He keeps yelling things like “Get on with it!” and “Just say the words!” (I wanted to scream, “If he could he would, you beastly, arrogant ogre!!”)

People who don’t understand depression are often the same. “Oh, cheer up!” OR “Just get over yourself.” OR “Why don’t you look on the bright side?” (Believe me, if we could see the bright side we’d look there!) It’s not like we want to feel awful and hopeless, we’d prefer to be happy and optimistic. Honestly. (I you really think this stuff is FUN??)

And very likely (maybe) my spirits will lift (hopefully) if the sky miraculously turns blue and those birds begin to chirp and those clouds begin to puff. (If they ever do!!!)

Are you listening, Mother Nature???

For now,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Going...Going...Not Gone? WTH??

So Saturday was the BIG GARAGE SALE. Yeah.

I’ve spent weeks and weeks going through bins, boxes, bags, closets, drawers. Then I spent hours punching tags out, looping string through holes in the tags, pricing things (yes, I’m compulsive, yes I’ve known this for years…’nuff said…move along…). The house was a wreck and I was stressed. We waited, and waited again, because of the weather and finally we were going to get a pretty good weekend.


Thursday night I loaded up the SUV. Friday night I hauled what I’d loaded over to Kay’s and unloaded. Tables came. Tables were set up. Tables were loaded with stuff. Then Terri and I piled into the truck with Kay’s hubby and went and picked up the furniture that wouldn’t fit in the Hyundai. Almost everything in place. Tarps were spread. Time for bed. (**pauses to enjoy rhyme**)

Saturday morning came way too early, but I was up at the crack of dawn. I zoomed down to Einstein Brothers and bought a bucket of bagels. (**pauses to enjoy alliteration**) Then over to Kay’s. Finished setting up stuff and then it was time to wait for customers.

Did I mention it was going to be a “pretty good weekend?” Well it was cloudy and cold. I ended up with a sweatshirt AND a fleece jacket on and was still shivering. (The ice-cold Diet DP probably didn’t help…but hey, I needed caffeine!)

People came, people went. You have to wonder just exactly what some people are looking for. They come walking up, stroll around the tables without a word and leave. I wanted to ask, “Please? Could you tell me what you were specifically looking for, so I can have some next time?”

There was one couple that sort of “floated” in and out. I don’t think I’ve seen so much long curly hair on anything other than a poodle…or an afghan. No…actually it was more like a Portuguese Water Dog…

The only difference was the skin-tight black leather pants. (The woman was wearing the pants...not Anyway, they both gave me the creeps. Well, they gave everyone the creeps…but provided a great topic for discussion.

We kept thinking we’d get busy…but we never really did. And then the afternoon was lengthening and we were getting very tired…so it was time to load up all the things we’d un-loaded, for pick up by someone else for someone else’s garage sale next month. (Not mine…definitely not mine!)

Final tally? Eighty-six dollars.

Of course I immediately spent sixty-six of that at Tai-Pan Trading. And if you factor in the bagels, chips and salsa, and soda I brought for everyone to munch on…not to mention the salad and panini from Zupas for lunch…I…um…well I actually lost money. But at least I got rid of some of the junk. And that’s a good thing…


By the way...Terri made one-hundred and ninety dollars. 

(**face in hands**heavy sigh**)

For now,