Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Clear!

My family is still fairly young; that's what happens when you're on the front end of the birth order instead of the back. We only have one baby in our family--and she turned three last week. For her birthday last year, I wrote one of my more introspective pieces about change and time and life stages--all of which has proven to be true in the following year!

But this isn't a somber, "let's analyze life, love, and the pursuit of happiness" post. Nope, not at all. This post is actually a video post. I know, I know. I try not to post videos, but this one is only 17 seconds long. Taken a few days after Adrie was born; I promise, no babies were harmed in the filming of this video:



Okay, but here's the funny part. For the last three years, I've been getting comments about this video submitted by the oh so intelligent and well-written users of YouTube. Viewed 13,540+ times, people have got something to say about my shocking the baby that way. Don't I know babies can die from doing that?

So. I shall hereby publicly apologize to my niece Adrienne. I'm sorry if I almost gave you shaken baby syndrome. And thanks Alaina, for not kicking a hole in my *** because I'm your **** sister who ****** to your baby.

Happy birthday baby girl.

uno, dos, tres, catorce

Long story short, I've had the vertigo. Boy howdy, it's not something I'd wish on anyone. Like child birth (I imagine), until you've experienced it yourself, there's really no way to describe it. The chasm between sympathy and empathy has never been greater than on the vertigo front.

I had three episodes in five days; bookending the weekend. (Awesome timing btw.) The onset was from 0 to 100 in about 3 minutes flat, so I was lucky to have been at home for two of them and able to quickly get home in the case of the other. My friends have been so kind in their offers to help and their checking-in-ingness.

So what is vertigo? Some of you may only have reference to Lucille 2 from Arrested Development. Some of you could sing me the entire U2 song. Sadly; it's little of either of those things. Vertigo is a wild carnival ride you can't escape; the worst motion sick you've ever been multiplied by 100. The tiniest movement; the tilt of the head, a lift of a finger makes you long for sudden death. It's pretty rad, friends.

Yes, I've been to the doctor. The silver lining is I'm going to have my hearing checked! Next month I'll finally know if I have a crummy left ear, or if I've been making it up in my head all these years. Won't that be a fun game? Some of you are anxiously looking forward to gender-identification ultrasounds--in like fashion, I shall look forward to my own exploratory medical procedure. W00t! Who said the marrieds have all the medical fun?

So lil readers. I'm sorry I haven't updated in the past little while. I've been too busy laying in my bed wishing for my world to stop spinning. You see, I'm at a place called vertigo. And hey, I'm a celebrity! Get me out of here!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gimme a {mental} break

Before I continue the parade of lurker interviews, I thought I'd drop in a quick brain dump. It's been awhile, and I've got these things skulking around in the crevices of my mind.

  • Getting back on the "eat less, move more" wagon is such a pain. I swear I never crave Good 'n Plenties until I know I can't eat them.
  • At work, we have all kinds of drinks, snacks, cheeses, fruits, chips, etc. My breakfast every morning last week was two Diet Cokes, a stick of colby jack cheese, and a rice krispy treat. Awesomely terrible. (See: getting back on the wagon.)
  • I really want to learn how to make these:

  • I guess I kind of want that outfit above too.
  • Two years ago, we had an Education Conference with Elder Holland, one of the leaders of our Church. This year, Elder Ballard is the keynote speaker. I've invited a few of my friends from New York (met on the Labor Day NH trip!) and I'm looking to the weekend for a host of reasons!
  • I think the bullet above may have the most links in the history of this blog. Another NatA! first!
  • Last December while snowed in in Portland, Mallory and I got kind of addicted to Beyonce's Single Ladies video. If you're interested in seeing a very cute baby bop along to this video, click here. Said video will open in its own screen, and this is cuter than you'd think. I got a kick out of the one leg kick and the shoulder shuffle. How I wish I knew this baby.
  • Who loved the Emmy's this year? Brilliant. Neil Patrick Harris is pretty much my favorite; and he was aces this year. Hardly anyone I wanted to win did, but hey! I've got bigger fish to fry.
  • I cleaned out my three closets this weekend and have a Goodwill pile roughly 4'x2'x3'. I wish someone would come take it off my hands; it's just sitting in a nicely folded pile waiting for you to come pick through it!
  • Crazy happenings at work of late. Some wins, some losses, but I'm feeling pretty good at what I do. Good thing since my life is funded by my career. And unless the cashiers at Target are making more money than they used to, a career change isn't in the near future.
  • Fresca + a splash of cranberry juice = the new best thing ever.
  • I changed the knobs on my closet doors and felt like a real DIY-type person. It doesn't take much. Face plates are next!
  • Also making feel adult-ish? Getting advice on what kind of investment options I have for the savings I'm squirreling away. Hello middle-aged, nice to meet you.
  • I'm quasi obsessed with Jay-Z's latest two songs: "Run This Town" and "Empire State of Mind." I'm infatuated with NYC, so the latter of these songs makes me want to live in the City all over again.
That's all folks. And now back to your regularly scheduled lives.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Interview with a lurker

In three and a half years of blogging, one of my consistent themes has been my fascination with blog lurking. Everyone does it, right? --use the world wide web to skulk around in someone's not-so-private private life. Lurkers are passive, but typically avid, readers. They don't comment or participate in viral dialogue, but they're there. Creeping along. Like creepers do. Poll results show that 20% of my readership don't even know me! But give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free... all are welcome here.

So, cutting to the chase. Last month, when I asked someone to dare me to hurry up and write more blogs, a self-proclaimed lurker tore herself from the previously known sounds of silence and stepped to the the plate. I was, of course intrigued and asked "Moe" to reach out to me with her story.

In her own words:
So I feel like emailing you is taking de-lurking to a whole new level, but I think you'll appreciate the ridiculous nature of my "finding" your blog and continuing to read it. I used to work at an appallingly slow place of business and found myself with more free time on my hands than I knew what to do with. One day while chatting with my friend Amy I asked her what some of her favorite time-killing websites were. Her friend Amber had recently shown your blog to her and so she sent me the link. How this Amber character came about your blog I do not know but it took very little time for me to get hooked and I have been a faithful follower since that time. That time being...approximately February-ish of 2007. Good heavens.
Are you there Amy and Amber? It's me, Nat Attack. Are you still lurking around? I don't know any Amy's or Amber's, and have no idea how you discovered this pet project of mine, but I'm sure your stories are likewise fascinating. Random mcRandom.

The world is a small place. Moe and I most definitely don't know each other, but know mutual people--as discovered in a previous and heretofore withdrawn friends' blogs listing. Moe is originally from Oregon and had my sister photograph her darling son (oh the power of the blog!). And would you believe it? Moe and Alaina live across the street from each other in PG, Utah. We've since exchanged a handful of emails, and Moe is one fun gal. Oh that internet, bringing not just dead and needing to be genealogized people together.

And without prompting, Moe shares her favorite NatA! moment:
Since I have been reading for so long, I thought you might like to know which of your many posts was my favorite. I had to go back to check the date and post title to be sure: Fight or Flight (July 10, 2007). The story in and of itself was hilarious enough but the accompanying drawings were AMAZING. Tears may have been shed.
So there you have it folks. An interview with a lurker. There are at least eight more of you out there. Let's create a community. A community of recovering lurkers. Won't it be so fun?

**UPDATE: Stories from strangers are rolling in (including Amy herself!). Lurkers! Be brave. Join your comrades and submit your story to the email address in the comments section of this post. And if you'd rather the story stay just between us two, that's fine also. This is literally becoming the six degrees of separation...

Monday, September 21, 2009

ick-be-gone

Every time someone utters the word "ick" I share an internal giggle with myself. You see, in the Fall of 2000, my roommates and I found ourselves embroiled in a prank war with an apartment of boys in our ward. Save the time we poured liquid dish washing detergent in their dishwasher, most of the pranks involved food:

* A hair dryer blowing flour into a hallway vent from the lobby
* Watermelons ceremoniously chucked onto the kitchen floor
* Milk, sauerkraut, and eggs poured into the sunny patch underneath a kitchen window (that also served as an entry/exit to the apartment) etc.

You know how it goes. It's probably a miracle the dorms have held up as long as they have! All those newly independent pseudo-adults asserting themselves in ridiculously typical creative ways.

We'd all heard about the brownies you eat that make you pee blue. Everyone knows that prank, right? Well nine years ago it was still fairly new-ish. Knowing enough about how they were made (brownie mix + blue fish tank liquid), Aftin, Leslee* and I trucked ourselves down to the Walmart. To peruse the pet and aquarium supplies for the special sauce to put in our brownies. At 2am. (Because of course we're awake at 2am on a school night. We're free agents! We're adults!)

The elixir wasn't jumping out to us from the shelves. Asking the employees proved fruitless as the night crew's primary language wasn't exactly English. So we took a risk. We bought a blue liquid called "Ick-be-gone" from the fish aisle and smugly took ourselves home.

Needless to say, we ended up with the runs and several calls to Poison Control.

Moral of the story: If you think you're being clever, you're probably not. But your ick is probably gone.

*Hi ladies! Do either of you have photos from this? I know some existed... need to uncover.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Where I hang my hat

I don't know that I've ever explained my roommate situation. Linda and I were second-tier friends from the time I first arrived in Boston nearly three (wow!) years ago. We bumped up our commitment level one year and twenty days ago when we moved in together and created a home.

Without getting to sappy or ridiculously cheesy, Linda is probably the best roommate I've ever had. (Don't worry, I've told her in real, non-cyber life.) We share so many of the same ideas and upbringing and rarely disagree on things. Believe me, we both have strong opinions, but luckily they're rarely on the same thing; so we each take turns being the thought leader. Our standards for kitchen cleanliness are equal (read: clean) and we're both okay with the way the other person drives (read: more important than you think). She's in charge of getting the mail; I'm in charge of the DVR. We have a pretty great system worked out. Home is a safe place for both of us and we comment with quite some frequency how much we both enjoy being here.

I recognize I have some fun quirks that are probably annoying to everyone (including me) and I realized this last night as we were driving home from the ward campout in New Hampshire at 2:30am. You see, someone's (cough:cough) midnight moonlit canoe ride was sullied by a tip into the lake and a soaking wet torso and trunk. It being 35 degrees outside, the liklihood of sleep was looking grim so we decided to pack it up/pack it in [let me begin] and head home. During the 55-minute ride, Linda had to endure the cheesy music I played, the random signs I decided to read outloud, my damp feet on her dashboard heater and the general running commentary of whatever passed through my mind (no small feat as I'm sure you all know). I recognized I was being kind of ridiculous--and I'll try to blame it on the lateness of the hour and the fact I could.not.get.warm--but let's face it folks, this is just who I am. I had this surge of tenderness for this patient soul beside me and decided I would tell the world about it.

Now I just need testimony meeting to hurry up and roll around becaue boy do I looooooooove my roommate.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

not so heavenly ham

Some would consider waking to the smell of simmering meat celestial. I can firmly attest however, it is most definitely in the terrestrial realm. In your head it sounds all well and good but in practicality just isn't what it's cracked up to be.

By a series of unfortunate events, a crock pot with a pork roast was started in our house at 9PM last night. The roast, marinated and bathing with three lovely onions, slow-cooked throughout the night. Surely its taste is heavenly, but the pungent aroma radiating from it all night was just too much to warrant undisturbed sleep. I woke several times to the meat's all-encompassing aroma; it's powers of attempted seduction created a rather sporadic sleep pattern.

This morning, post-shower, I climbed back into bed and draped my wet hair across my nose to block out the smell. It was just too, too much.

My roommate and I had this conversation today:

me: NO MORE MEAT AT NIGHT
1:50 PM Linda: yeah i know, sorry
me: it was cracking me up and grossing me out all at once
1:51 PM Linda: yeah, me too
me: it was SO STRONG
Linda: i woke up gagging actually
i've learned

Has anyone else experienced erratic sleep due to smell? What's the latest/earliest you've ever eaten pulled pork? When you get married do you ever start making wiser decisions?

cure to the monday blues

Thursday, September 10, 2009

may you rest from your labors

This last weekend, I squared off against social anxiety and punched it clean in the face. As previously mentioned, I found myself on the receiving end of a 3-day adventure to a lakeside cabin in New Hampshire with a group out of NYC. Typically known as a planner 'round my own parts, it was a joy to ride the logistical coat tails of an activity--and a behemoth one at that.

Check it: 46 people (a dead even breakdown of gender) calling one tiny lakeside cabin home for three nights. One functioning bathroom. Three sets of bunk beds, four double beds, countless air mattresses, four tents, one shed loft and a hammock. There were people every.where. Everywhere. And somehow it worked. (It was probably the two port-o-potties we rented.)

I arrived in NH late late Friday night knowing two of the girls in attendance. Luckily for me, the entire group was a hodgepodge of people both new and veteran to NYC (I was the only non-Manhattanite), so everyone was in getting-to-know-you mode. Unbelievably, the getting-to-know-you started at 6:30 am on Saturday morning. Apparently that's what happens when you can't step foot without stepping on someone.

Saturday and Monday were nearly identical. The sunny days were spent lounging in chairs chit-chatting with new folks, eating from the copious amounts of food, or participating in any number of water activities. The house we were at boasted four kayaks, a canoe, several paddleboats, and a host of ski boat flavor: skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, etc.Probably my favorite memories from the trip involve our trips across the lake (once by canoe, once by half paddleboat, half swim) to the rope swing. A big group would make their way over (unintentionally--there were just so many of us!) and hang out; grading swings off the rope or jumps from the tree. Knowing my propensity for accidental personal injury, I designated myself photographer.

The Sunday we spent in NH was probably our most "different" of days. Unbelievably, nearly 30 of us were dressed (albeit not showered) and out the door by 9:10am to make a 10:00 church service a few towns over. We didn't quite outnumber the locals, but our numbers certainly made a difference in the branch. The fast and testimony meeting was interesting--always so when you're used to wards that are a) big and b) full of single people of similar age!

Once over, a few of us decided to head to Kennebunkport, Maine. (Linda, Meridith and I spent a weekend there in May. It wasn't blogged, because I was remiss in my duties back then.) We ate seafood, we overtook a small patch of grass to polish off some ice cream, we checked out the Bush's summer compound, and we rolled 18 deep everywhere we went. Our group attracted quite the number of stares. So many of us, dressed to our Sunday-nines, just wandering around this little tourist town. We were quite the sight.

We finally made our way back to the cabin. The evenings definitely had a strong hint of Fall to them; the weather was cold enough that we all jammed into the house and kept ourselves entertained. The groan-worthy activity of the trip that possibly turned into one of the funniest things ever, has to go to the Talent/No Talent show. Skits, songs, jokes, subject trivia, countries of the world recitation, laughing games, questionable story telling, etc.

Somehow, later in the evening, I mentioned buffalo kissing. Alaina and her friends talked and did it long ago; I brought it up wondering if I could convince anyone to give it a go, knowing full well it'd eventually get that far. (Confession: I've never given nor received a buffalo kiss.) To put it shortly, the giver of a buffalo kiss places their mouth over the nose of the receiver and blows air. The air travels up the nasal cavity and then out the receiver's mouth, resulting in a sound that sounds like a buffalo. The things people will do when it's bored and cold. This is the first of two kisses filmed--the second is longer, but the general shock and hilarity that results after the first experience is too funny to miss out on:
video

One of the other key highlights of the weekend was watching the BYU v. Oklahoma game. It probably wouldn't be much of a story had we watched at home; but get 20 BYU alum in a small NH town bar where you generally outnumbered the rest of the pub and hilarity kind of ensues. I could see the folks wracking their brains trying to figure out the geographic improbability of the whole situation. In fact, several approached us (at the end of the table) and asked how the heck it all worked out. Maybe they weren't used to seeing so many men give double high fives or folks get so worked up on Diet Coke?

All in all, the weekend was a major success. So many good, fun people in one place; bereft of the comforts of home and the connection of technology. I'll admit I felt a little reservation heading in (nerves will always be nerves) but am glad I keep pushing myself outside of that good old, warm, reliable, never-want-to-leave comfort zone. Sometimes you just have to go to New Hampshire.

Open, Shut Them

I've been thinking quite a bit about the idea of doors and windows lately. There's a Primary song called "Open, Shut Them" (give a little clap clap clap? no? am I making this up?) and I feel like I've been dancing around this tune most of the year.

This year, I've developed a routine. I'll head down a path I'm convinced will lead somewhere specific but will abruptly hit a massive roadblock that requires me to reroute my course. It's been frustrating, and at times I allowed my boots to fill with water. Lately however, my reflection on these points of frustration has allowed me to recognize the byways placed in my path as I'm forced to venture from that original destination I knew was going to lead somewhere. I've been able to strike off and forge a new path because windows are opening for me. Options are presenting themselves in ways I didn't originally foresee.

I consider this a pretty huge blessing in my life. It seems counter intuitive to feel like giant roadblocks are a blessing; and it is. Sometimes the windows that open aren't any better or more attractive than the doors that closed, and it takes faith to go to the window to even check it out. Despite that fact, I'm grateful for the realization that there's activity happening all around me all the time. I could dwell on the closing doors, and there are people who make a life habit of doing so, but I feel lucky that I choose to focus on the Open, Shut Them-ness of it all.

In January, I promised myself that 2009 was going to be my best year yet. Nearly three months sit between me and its close, but I feel I've made significant progress in myself this year. I've been let down by quite a few people, but I hope I've made up that share in my interactions with the people around me. I've made crucial decisions in several key areas, and I'm pleased with my ability to parse out what really matters long-term from what really bothers in the short-term. I've made good inroads into becoming a better version of me. I'm proud of that.

So come what may, I have key decisions to make in nearly every aspect of my life. One decision I'm sure of, however, has to do with a scripture I found in the Book of Mormon a few months ago:
"And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." ~ 2 Nephi 5:27
It has to be a choice. And it's not an easy one by any means, but I feel prepared to keep finding the windows. After all, a house with all doors and no windows is lonely and dark indeed.

Friday, September 04, 2009

preparation for socialization

Through a series of invitations, I find myself queued to spend a long weekend at a lakeside cabin in New Hampshire with 48 folks from New York.

Through a series of offers to help, I find myself with a list a mile long of perishable goods to purchase at Costco and transport to the Lake. Solo. Because that's what I'll be. Alone. Sole Boston participant. I'm sure there will be stories to follow.

Are you bored enough to wonder what my list of Costco perishables to purchase contains? Hold on to your hats folks. And remember these are all polygamous-family-sized.

TO BUY... NAT
# item
2 Yoplait 18 count/ 6 oz each yogurt
1 Kraft singles cheese
2 potato salad
1 Hebrew National Hot dogs (32 pack)
32 hot dog buns
30 lbs Ground beef
3 3lbs sandwich meat
1 container of cookie dough
1 container of spread butter (country crock)
2 bags of ore ida fries
1 cream cheese
3 Hummus dip
8 tortilla chips
2 boxes of tomatoes (30)
2 sour cream
8 salad in a bag
4 lettuce
50 Hamburger buns
4 cupcake mix
1 canola oil
cupcake liners, pwdrd sugar, cinnamon, cream cheese
1 240 plastic cups
300 paper plates
500 napkins
eating utensils
more snack food
1 pancake mix

Because of my stocked kitchen, I'm also in charge of bringing cupcake tins, my hand mixer, griddle, waffle iron, knives, beach chairs, games, and anything else that may or may not fit into my baby sedan.

So the big discussion was on how much ground beef to buy for fifty people. We're grilling hamburgers one night and then doing taco salad/nachos the next. Complicated math equations were created in response to the elaborate word problem. Weigh in! Will 30lbs be enough? How many pounds will we be short/left over?

Did I mention I'm going on this trip with strangers? Ahhhhhhh. Let the nerves begin.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

the $7.49 that changed my life

A CURE HAS BEEN FOUND! Beep beep boop bop bop boop hummm. A miracle! Wonder of wonders. Miracle! Miracle! A fifteen year mystery and quest for a solution found. HUzzah! Hooray! I have been healed!

Yes. I'm often prone to hyperbole. And prone means always. (See?) But I'm serious this time. A true cure. I have a whole new outlook on life, and it starts from the ground up.

Everyone has points on their body that don't operate on the highest level of performance. For me (and my mom, aunt, sisters, cousins, basically anyone with Wood blood in them), my heels are a point of major battle. Epic battle. Epic battle written about in every kind of epic war literature throughout the history of time. Epically tragic. To put it mildly, they crack. More or less an open sore from April to October with periods of brief respite in the winter. BUT IT'S ALL BEEN CHANGED.

Every cream, lotion, and dermatologist has previously been tested. Tried, tested, and failed. To put it mildly, I've given up the last few years. Until yesterday. One simple tip from a gal at the salon, one trip to the CVS, one lil $7.49 purchase and I'm a NEW WOMAN.

I recognize that 95.8% of my readers are women (men! identify yourselves or count yourself among the women) and wouldn't be too grossed out by my discovery, but I still have a level of modesty and decorum. No gruesome details here (find me another way. WINK.).

It's ridiculous how beside myself I am. BUT I'M JUST SO HAPPY. Come walk a mile in my shoes. It doesn't hurt any more.

Definitely, maybe, probaby related posts:

If NatA! posted a photo with this blog, here it is!