Archive | February 2010

The Amazing World in Which We Live.

First of all, I really should apologize for yesterday (this mornings?) post.  I know that night-time is always when I crash, and instead of making a whiny blog post, I should just go to bed, get a good nights sleep, and when I wake up, the world will be a happier place.

Anyway, on to the topic at hand.  I was out running errands today.  I listen to NPR in the car, mostly because I can’t stand watching the “news” on TV, but still want to stay connected with the world.  The were, naturally, talking about the earthquake in Chile, and the threat of a tsunami throughout the pacific. The very first I heard about the earthquake and tsunami threat was when I opened my computer for the first time this morning, around 10am. This was approximately 10 hours after the earthquake struck, and they were already talking about the danger of a tsunami in places as far spread as Australia, Japan and Hawaii.

I was awestruck, sitting in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart, and not just because I ventured to go to the Wal-Mart on a Saturday (you’d think I’d know better by now).  Do you realize how amazing it is that there was an earthquake in Chile, and people in danger of a tsunami thousands of miles away had most of the day to prepare?  Think about it. If this earthquake had happened 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago, they might have been able to make phone calls, or send telegraphs–if the lines weren’t damaged, to warn of the impending disaster.  Father back than that, people might listen to the wisdom of their elders, and when they see the sea retreating unusually far, they might know to run to high ground. (Or, in the case of the Indonesian tsunami in 2004, they might wander out to pick up fish and oysters).  Today, people were given ample warning so that they could saunter up to high ground at their leisure–keeping the death toll to the hundreds, rather than the thousands.

Along that same line of thought–if, even as a child growing up in the 80’s, I was told that as an adult I’d have friends in California, Texas, New York and New Zealand that I communicated with on almost a daily basis, I’m not sure I would believe it–and I grew up with a computer.  When my best friend in elementary school moved from central Utah to northern Utah, I never expected to see her again.  But, again, but we are able to keep track of each other through Facebook, now.

I have a friend who lives 2000 miles away from me who gave birth yesterday.  For most of human existence, the kid would be walking and talking before I would have found out about her, but I know that she was premature, her weight and length, that she was born via c-section, and that she has red hair.  The baby isn’t 24 hours old, yet.

I keep a phone in my pocket that is smaller and more versatile than the communicators on the original Star Trek.  If my car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, I could call for help.  I can talk to my sister while I’m traveling to see her. (and by traveling to see her, I mean walking from my apartment to the car, not while I’m driving–that’s too dangerous.  Um, yeah *shifty eyes*)  The fact that nearly every phone conversation I have includes a phrase that would have been considered insane even ten years ago, namely “Where are you?” shows how quickly technology has progressed. Even this blog–as soon as I hit the “publish” button, it will be visible to people all over the world.  I’m slightly amazed that I’ve had visitors from places as far-flung Pakistan, Sweden and France.

I know that nothing I’ve talked about today is mind-blowing, or earth shattering. (Except the earthquake.  Too soon?) But honestly, I think we tend to forget how incredible the technology we take for granted is.

Um, I guess in conclusion, I really should post this video from YouTube, along these same lines.  You’ve probably seen it before, but it’s something that we all need to be reminded of.

I have no right to complain, and yet I still do.

I’ve had a bad sinus headache the past couple of days.  I’ve been blaming it on allergies, but in reality, it’s a bit early for that just yet.

I’ve been thinking about it, and I realized that I’ve been sick a lot since I lost my job.  I think it’s more the depression than anything–granted, I don’t know much about physiology, but I do know that if I don’t have the motivation to get out and move around, my body is going to think that there is something wrong, and react with a headache or fever.  Or it could just be the hypochondria.

Either way, I feel like I’m in a precarious situation, in this or any economy.  The depression is hindering my search for a new job, but if I was working, the depression wouldn’t be so bad, and I could afford to explore stuff like acupuncture. I know that after what happened on Monday, it’s a bit surprising that I’m curious about acupuncture, but I’ve stumbled across several articles, including one on Depression: The Lonely Dance that say it’s an effective treatment.

I’ve been in this position before, and it’s never fun.  I don’t know if living alone is making it better or worse.  The last time I was here, I had three flatmates, but my own private bedroom.  I really only came out of my bedroom to eat, use the bathroom, or do laundry.  This time, I do have Max and Lulu to take care of, so I have to get out of the house to take them for walks at least three times a day.  This also means I have to get dressed, and make at least a minimum effort to make myself look presentable.

I hate this.  I hate it.  I hate that I don’t know how to change it.  I hate feeling so powerless.  I hate that just as  I was starting to make progress, it feels like I’m back at the beginning.

I know I’m selfish.  I know I’m spoiled.  I know how lucky I am to be living when and where I do.  I know in the big scheme of things, what I’m going through isn’t really all that important.

I’m also starting to get a little to emo-y, so I better stop.

Oh, spring, why has thou forsaken us?

The weather has been wonky here this winter.  It got cold, quickly, for a few weeks in December, then, it was very mild through Christmas, January, and the first part of February. Then, when we hit Valentines day, they time when it usually starts to warm up, we started getting snow again.

I thought I’d celebrate the arrival, then departure, and anticipate the re-return of spring 2010 by posting some vaguely weather-related pictures I’ve taken recently.

At least I’m not on the east coast.

Kinda cheesy, but I like it. Rain drops as viewed from the inside of my windshield

The leaves from the hedge stained the concrete on the sidewalk.

The trees are ready for spring

Max isn't sure about the return of the snow, either.

I thought that the neighboring apartment block looked so pretty in the snow, kind of misty and European.

I was playing with the shutter speed on my camera, trying to stop the snowflakes around the lamppost.

In Time

Things have gotten a little preachy lately, and maybe I should apologize for that.  This blog was always meant as an aid to help me write every day, or almost every day, and has become a record of my thoughts.  I’ve been trying to get my life back on track, and have started going to church, praying and reading my scriptures more, so naturally, my thoughts have turned towards God.

I went to institute last night.  President has a way of opening up my soul, and forcing me to take a good look at what is really inside.  We talked about overcoming the natural (wo)man, because,

“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”

Mosiah 3:19

We talked about how we can do what our body wants to do–the natural man, or how we can follow the counsel of the Lord–to put of the natural man, and become a saint.  And, hey, look at that!  The name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

President mentioned, almost in passing, that we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves.  If we are hard on ourselves, we’ll be hard on our spouses and children.  A quick reminder–the title of this class is “Marriage and Family Relations”, and is being taught for singles–really a range of people with me at one end–no hopes of marriage in the near future, and at the other end, engaged couples who will be wed in weeks or months.

Anyway, that struck me.  I’ve had friends, family members, mission companions, and psychologists tell me that I’m too hard on myself.  The immediate (if rarely vocalized) response to that has always been “If I’m not hard on myself, then who will be?”  President talked about how men tend to elevate themselves up above their true position, and women tend to be too self-deprecating.

I realized that I need to get to the place where I can see myself the way the Lord sees me.  So when I got home, I hit the scriptures, then hit my knees.  After a heartfelt prayer, I needed to read my Patriarchal Blessing.

Um, Mormonism note.  There is a calling in the church, on a Stake level, (a stake is a collection of wards, a ward is the congregation that meets together each Sunday.  A calling is a [unpaid] job or position in the church) of Patriarch. Among the duties of the Patriarch is to pronounce a special blessing upon the heads of the members of his stake, one by one, as Isaac blessed Jacob, (Jacob may have tricked Isaac, but he was the rightful recipient of that blessing, or else the Lord would not have honored it), and as Jacob blessed his 12 sons.  A Patriarchal blessing is deeply personal, and shouldn’t be shared with the world.

Okay, back on track. There were two parts of my Patriarchal Blessing that really struck a chord last night. The first was in a section that I though discussed a portion of my life that had already past, the second was describing blessings yet to come.  Before the second part were the words “in time.”

In time.  Two simple words, but they left me sobbing.  The blessing that follows these words is something I’ve ached for for a long time.  Those two words reminded me to be patient.  The part of my life described thereafter may not come when I want it to, but it will come when I am ready.  I had wondered if I had missed the time frame in which that portion of my Patriarchal blessing could be fulfilled, if I was off following my natural woman, doing, as President is fond of saying, dumb stuff that was keeping me from feeling the Spirit of the Lord when that blessing should have happened.  I wasn’t.  It isn’t my time yet, but it will be, someday.

I woke up this morning at peace with myself, which hasn’t happened in a long time. Never mind that it happened at 5:30, and I didn’t make it to bed until close to midnight, then spent time disagreeing with the dogs over who got to sleep on the bed.

I hope I can make this feeling last.  I’m actually starting to feel like I’m getting my life squared with the Lord.  It’s a good feeling.  I wish I could remember that when I start to wander.

Adventures in Cori-Land.

On the scale of good day/bad day, I’m gonna call yesterday a draw.  It was interesting, though.

I woke up yesterday morning to the sounds of a little dog retching–and me yelling “Get of the bed!” which, of course, she never does.  Yes, this has happened before.  Count this as one of the things no one told me about owning an inside dog.  And that whole thing about dogs eating their vomit–yeah, that doesn’t happen at my house.  Fortunately for Lulu, she threw up on the cheap comforter that I use as an extra blanket, not on the beautiful quilt my mom made.

So, I started a load of laundry, then off to the library.  I love libraries in general–just not the Orem City Library.  Don’t get me wrong, it has a fantastic collection of books, but the layout is quite literally disjointed. It consists of three stories in two different buildings, connected by a sky-walk on the main floor, and a grassy park-like area in the basement.  It took me a long time to figure out what was where–and I still haven’t entirely figured out the alphabetizing system in the fiction wing.

I was quite proud of myself for walking through the non-fiction section, past my beloved popular science books, and the biographies–I’ve been trying to read more fiction, with the hope of inspiring my writing.  I was even proud of myself for picking up an interesting looking fantasy book, then putting it down.  Again, I wanted something to help inspire my writing.

I found myself looking at books whose authors names started with “Mil”, and I remembered a certain author.  I’ve read everything he’s published so far, and had enjoyed all of his books.  I remembered that the last I heard of him, he had a new novel scheduled for 2010, and I wondered if it was out yet, and if the library carried it.  The problem was, I couldn’t remember his name.  I knew his first name was David, and the last two letters of his last name were the same, but I had no idea where to look for his books.  I went to the library catalogue computer, with the intent of looking up the title of one of his books, whose name I could remember, but unfortunately, the catalogue was down.   Oh well, no harm, no foul.  I ended up checking out four novels.

On the way home, I stopped at the Wal-Mart to get my oil changed.  For future reference–10 am is a good time to get your oil changed at Wal-Mart, they weren’t busy, they were able to get me right in, and they were done with my car in less than 20 minutes.  Monday is not such a good day to do it though–weekly shipments of goods usually come on Tuesdays, so they didn’t have an air filter for my car, or a few other things that they claimed I needed.  The whole time, I was trying to remember the name of the author.

So, back home to two very excited dogs.  I was in the middle of making lunch, and suddenly shouted “MITCHELL” at the top of my lungs.  I just remembered the name of my author–David Mitchell.  And no, his new book isn’t out yet.  It’s a good thing my next door and downstairs neighbors work, and aren’t home in the middle of the day…

I spent most of the day reading, then, when 4:00 rolled around, I headed down to the church where they were doing a blood drive.

Now, if you haven’t picked this up from my blog thus far, I am a crazy person.  And, as a crazy person, I’m scared of all sorts of things.  One of the things I’m scared of is needles and blood.  Especially when the blood in question is my own. (I count that as one thing, because what I’m scared of is a foreign object entering my body, and losing blood as a result of it. The most experience I’ve had with this type of thing is needles.) I’m also not a big fan of seeing blood that belongs to other people or animals.

Now, despite this fear, I’ve donated blood in the past.  The first time, I passed out.  The second time, I threw up.  The third time was without incident, as was the fourth and fifth, so I figured I was past any sort of medical drama involved with taking blood.  My body disagreed.  I got as far as the part where they prick your finger to check blood type and haematocrit levels before I started to feel light headed.  I complained about it, and put my head against the wall to try to steady myself.

I guess I must have then passed out, because I remember the phlebotomist asking if I was going to.  I mumbled that I might, then it was like I was hearing things through a tunnel, with all the noises far away.   The next thing I knew, someone was talking about throwing up, and telling me that it was okay if I needed to.  I’ve decided that “phlebotomist” doesn’t mean “someone who draws blood” as much as it means, “crazy health profession wizard”, because I didn’t need to throw up until it was suggested to me.  I came to with my head in a garbage can full of vomit, and an ice pack on my neck, and no knowledge of how either got there.  Needless to say, they didn’t let me donate blood.

They were, however, kind enough to force me to let me lie down, on the bus, next to the people who were able to successfully donate blood, until I was steady on my feet.  I swear they were reading my mind–they could tell when I was starting to feel like I could sit up, and suggest it to me just as the thought was entering my mind.  They handed me water when I was thirsty–even though I didn’t ask for it, and they could even tell when I was ready to get up and leave, without me suggesting it.  They also suggested that I take an ice pack with me–which has since disappeared.  It’ll be a fun little surprise for me when it shows up again in about four months.

On the plus side of this adventure, I met a guy who’s lung collapsed 6 years ago, and he’s had the hiccups ever since. “I don’t mind,” he said.  “I got use to it after the first year.”  The rest of us, not so much.  His hiccups were the kind that sounded like small screams.  He claimed they were worse after eating, drinking, or when he was stressed.  Well, this was also his first time donating blood–so guess who was stressed?

I spent the rest of the day resting and recovering, and having my sister calling me a wimp on Facebook.  I’m embarrassed about the whole thing, but I’m not going to give up donating blood–even if my body is begging me to.  My family has had too much of a need in the past.

While I was laying in bed last night, trying to go to sleep, I realized that I didn’t turn the TV on at all yesterday.   With everything that happened, I guess I didn’t need to.  My goal, now, for the rest of the week, is not to watch any television.

Hulu so totally doesn’t count.  I watch it on my computer, not my TV screen.  That’s totally different.

Golden Corral Won’t Know What Hit Them.

It seems like every family has a month that has the most birthdays in it.  Well, in my family, that month happens to be February, with my dad, my grandpa, two uncles, three cousins, and two first cousins once removed all with birthdays–not to mention the Bro-in-law whose birthday is in the first week of March.

Every year, we have a big party to celebrate the February birthdays.  I use the term “party” loosely, because my family is the biggest bunch of grumps that I know.  Frankly, it’s not a family party until someone gets their feelings hurt.  Unfortunately, it’s usually my angel grandmother.

This year, the party will be in Utah county.  It also happens to fall in the same time frame that a good friend of mine, who happens to be male, will be in town visiting.  I’ve been talking about this guy a lot, and my family knows how excited I am to see him.  Apparently, I’ve been talking about him too much.

I was talking to my Dad on the phone last night, and in the background I could hear my mom:

Mom (in the background): “Is that Cori?”

Dad: “Yep”

Mom (yelling): “Grandma says to bring [The Giant] to the party!”

Fortunately for The Giant, he won’t be in town the day of the party.  I have to say I’m relieved.  Not only do I like this guy too much to subject him to the family, I’m not sure I could live with the teasing of bringing what would be considered a date…

Impersonating Perfection

At church today, I ran into a girl who I have contact with perhaps once a month.  I can never remember her name, but she annoys me.  I realized today why–she is very concerned about appearing perfect, and, the natural shape of her face and nose makes it appear that she is always looking down at the world around her.

We chatted for a bit–small talk, which I totally suck at, and I realized that she is quite a nice person, one who probably has a lot of the same neuroses that I do.

Mormons are very concerned with perfection–we are taught that the purpose of this life is to become perfect, like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ (see Matthew 5: 48 and 3rd Nephi 12:48) When perfection is discussed, we are reminded that perfection is impossible to obtain without the saving power of the atonement of Jesus Christ, and we will not be perfect until after the resurrection.

Granted, I know more Mormons than any other denomination, but it seems like we are more concerned with showing the world a perfect face than the rest of humanity.  We have to be the most humble, the most sincere, the kindest, the most generous, etc.  It’s exhausting, frustrating, and, quite frankly, depressing.

I’ve talked about this before from a personal viewpoint.  WHY do we have to put a perfect face forward?  Everyone is human, and everyone who has ever lived (besides Christ, of course) made or makes mistakes.  We are not perfect.  We are flawed, we mess up, we do dumb stuff.  The beauty of the Plan of Salvation is that as many times as we mess up, we can repent and start fresh and new.

I know full well that one of the biggest challenges I face is overcoming the need to appear perfect.  I know that no one thinks or expects me to be perfect right now, but I get mad at myself when I fall short.  When I am fully aware of my shortcomings, I don’t want to go to places where I think they will be highlighted.

It doesn’t matter, I suppose.  All we can do is keep moving forward.

Thoughts while watching the Olympics

  1. Ugh, figure-skating.
  2. Why didn’t I ever learn to play hockey?
  3. Oh, right, I can’t skate.
  4. Luge looks fun.  I wonder if I have the guts to try it.
  5. Probably not.
  6. The captain of the German Women’s Curling Team is really scary.
  7. Now how do I resume a numbered list?
  8. Oh, figured it out.
  9. I want a pair of curling shoes.
  10. Why didn’t I try curling while I was in Canada?
  11. I miss Canada.
  12. LULU SHUT UP!!!
  13. How it the crap is biathlon scored?
  14. Oooohhhh…dog show on USA Network.
  15. Speed skating in a little like NASCAR–gofastgofastgofastgofastgofastLEFT TURN!

Into the Lion’s Den

I’ve been feeling especially brave, the past couple of days.   Of course, when I say I’ve been brave, I mean I’ve been doing stuff that everyone else would think was just par for the course.

Yesterday, I went to Wal-Mart for the first time since the pseudo-fire.  I needed more hardware/garden type stuff, so I was on the other side of the store from: a) where the fire was, and b) where I was when they asked us to evacuate.  It was still pretty difficult, and I was fighting back a panic attack the whole time.  Of course, that could have just been Wal-Mart, too.  Fortunately, I was able to find an isle that didn’t have any customers, pretend I was looking at plastic pestles, and take deep breaths until I calmed down.

Today, Sis asked me to come and watch the kids while she went and got her hair did. She knows it’s hard for me to be around E, and was apologetic, but I was actually happy to–despite, well, despite it being the time of the month when it is extra hard to be around babies. Both G and E have pretty nasty colds, and so are pretty demanding.  So far so good, but we’ll see what happens when I get home tonight.

Even with what I’m considering two huge triumphs, things have been pretty difficult the past couple of days.  I’m having to take a hard look at myself, what I believe and what I know.  I’ve felt for a long time that I’d need to get my spiritual house in order before I would be able to find work–and I’m just now realizing what a state of disrepair it’s in–and of course, because I’m trying to get my life back on track, the adversary is working hard to keep me from doing so.

Hard Lessons

I made it to Institute tonight, for the first time in way too long.  For my non-Mormon readers, Institute, or Institute of Religion is a class for adult members of the church–sometimes provided in conjunction with a college or university, and sometimes put on by the stake. Since I’m not in school, I should be attending Stake Institute.

My Stake President, who is also a licensed psychologist and professor at BYU is teaching this institute class.  The topic?  Marriage and Family Relations.  Did I mention that this is a class for singles?  President is very pro-active about getting the members of his stake married and moving on with their lives.

I love to be taught by my Stake President, but the topic of the class kind of put me off for too long.  I’m glad I went tonight, though.

The topic of discussion was “Moral Cleanliness”.  We talked about sexual purity, of course, but President went beyond that–talking about our morals, and how, if we expect our hypothetical children to be moral, responsible people, then we need to be moral, responsible people.

We talked about addiction, to drugs, alcohol and pornography.  We also talked about stuff like anger issues.  While I don’t have a problem with any of the issues that President discussed, I did start thinking about the places in my life where I am weak, where I do need help.   And I was astonished to see how far I’d slipped from being the person that I want to be.

I made a list of things that I need to do to recover myself, and fortunately, it was all in areas that I knew I needed to work on anyway.

I’m going to do better.  I don’t know if I’ll ever marry or have children, but if I do, I know I want to be the best wife and mother that I can be. I also know that I won’t be successful as a wife or mother, or, for that matter, as a human being, without the help of my Heavenly Father.  I can’t will away my depression or neuroses, but with my Heavenly Father’s help, I can deal with them.

I will do better.  I will.  I have to.  I think I’ve been staring at the kind of person I’ll become if I don’t, and I don’t like what I’ve been seeing.

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