Friday, August 28, 2009

experimenting: perma-BAAA! & perma-boohoo

warning: rambles ahead. though really, what else is new?

I have this friend...let's call her Schmerin, to keep her identity safe. Long ago, people were often shocked to discover that Schmerin and I were friends, and they would say things like "You're FRIENDS with her? She HATES me!" But I knew she didn't hate them. This exchange occurred repeatedly. You know how most people default to reasonably friendly? As in, unless you have a reason to DISLIKE someone, you generally like them? Well, I realized that Schmerin defaulted to dislike, meaning unless she had a reason to like you, she seemed to dislike you. So the world (and by world I mean school) was full of people who thought Schmerin hated them when really she just had yet to interact with them enough to have a reason to like them. (Fret not; she later figured this out and adjusted her default position to something less socially awkward.)

Similarly, most of us have a neutral face or vibe that we send off when we aren't high on life or in the depths of despair. It's not awful, it's not thrilled, it's just NORMAL. Yesterday I met someone whose default position is high on life. Like, unless she has a reason to be down, she has an enormous frozen smile on at all times and shouts and claps her hands. She says her name happily, she says goodbye happily, she says "GREAT MEETING YOU!" the same way she would say "I WON THE LOTTERY!" or "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE GETTING MARRIED!" or "IT'S SO GREAT THERE'S PEACE ON EARTH."

I'm a happy person and many who know me may find ME overwhelming, so if I, the bombarder, am bombarded, that's really pretty impressive.

Sometimes I have this intuitive need to balance things out, i.e., if someone is a total bummer with permafrown and sigh, I end up louder/more animated/Tigger-esque in an effort to balance out their misery and get the room to a workable equilibrium. Similarly, if someone is smiling their brains out or bouncy or laughy or just generally sending off the stole-my-kids-ADD-meds-again vibe, I'll become the bummer just to even things out. So if you tone it down too many notches, I'll tone it up as many notches as necessary to bring the average in the room to a 5. Does anyeone else do that?

Anyway, this leads me to wonder what people who are THAT HAPPY all the time do when they ARE faced with a reason to be abnormally happy. You know? If you're using your "THEY CURED CANCER!" voice to say things like "CHICKEN IS ON SALE!", what do you use when they do, in fact, cure cancer? If you introduce yourself "HI! I'M AIMEE!!!" with the same voice you use for "YES! I WILL MARRY YOU AND THOUGHT YOU'D NEVER ASK!", how do you portray actual excitement as opposed to default excitement?

The opposite is also true, isn't it? If you are a total downer all the time (and we all know someone like this), monosyllabic in your responses with your eyelids at half-mast, what happens when something bad REALLY happens? You have nowhere to go from there, do you?

Anyway. All this is my way of saying that there is a part of me that just wants to poke bears with sticks, so to speak. Yesterday's frozen smile woman (I know this will shock you but she was teaching an aerobics class, further proving my suspicion than most aerobics teachers consume startling amounts of uppers) made me want to tell her something incredibly tragic just to see what she'd do. Is that bad?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The circus, Lagoon and your 6th grade science fair, combined and on crack

Hard living ages you, so it's tough to guess if he was 65 or 80, but he was definitely too old to have all those naked ladies tattooed up and down his arms. His bald head was a gleaming, veiny mix of wrinkly old man tan and sweat but luckily we were still able to decipher the blue tattoo on his cranium that said "THAT TURNS ME ON!" in block letters. We listened to his smokey laugh as everyone gazed at the miniature horses dressed like ninjas and tried not to hurl from the manure and body odor swirling around the barn.

The Iowa State Fair is ridiculous, overwhelming and awesome. And I say awesome less like "far out" and more like truly awe-inducing bc this thing is unbelievable.

The 4-H exhibit hall was out of control cool. Breathtaking wooden porch swings and bed frames and gun cases, all handcrafted by 13- and 14-year-olds, ridiculously interesting and funky photographs, complicated quilts, the whole bit. Basically, name something people can make and/or grow, and the blue ribbon winners and runners-up were on display. We also saw posters presenting things like "Iowa's Owls," "Types of Beef Cuts and How to Best Prepare Them," and "Making Your Own 100-calorie Snack Packs Will Save You $137 a Year." To our delight, the incredible mix of stuff was perfectly illustrated by the fact that the picture-enhanced "Deer Hunting with Disabilities" poster was right next to "The Life of J.S. Bach." And on stage, two 9-year-old boys played Chopsticks (though the poster advertised it as "Chop-ticks") on the piano for an appreciative audience of several hundred fair-goers, while moments later, three overweight 20-somethings in sequins took the stage to gyrate/lip-sync to "Hit Me With Your Best Shot!"

That was all just in the first building.


In another huge building, there was a 1,100-pound pumpkin and blue ribbon cucumbers, zucchinis, gourds, corn, and everything else you can think of. We honored the winners of the weed identification contest and drooled over the best strawberries and soy beans in the state before comparing the size and texture of various apples. We later sauntered through an incredible milking station and applauded the enormous and virile "Super Bull." And most of all, we saw droves and droves of people. An estimated 100,000+ people A DAY go to this thing and it is NUTS.

(Turkey legs, which, as you may know, are significantly bigger than they appear so when you eat one you look like a Viking.)

Though we ate only a few regular treats and a turkey leg (and felt delightfully barbaric), we could have easily sampled: BBQ everything, walking tacos, po' boys, fried candy bars on a stick, fried oreos on a stick, fried twinkies on a stick, pork chop on a stick, funnel cakes on a stick, hardboiled egg on a stick, veggie dog on a stick, fried pickle on a stick, cotton candy-flavored fudge, fried mac-and-cheese, and bacon dipped in your choice of cheese or chocolate. We could have also partaken of a fried wonder entitled the Potato Lollipop.

Thanks to a sweet, exhausted kiddo who loved petting the cows and making friends but who did NOT love missing her nap, plus a mid-afternoon rainstorm, we didn't get to see everything this time, but apparently we missed arm wrestling, sheep shearing and even a cow made of butter.

Had we gone in previous years, reliable sources indicate that we could have seen a life-sized butter sculpture of Tiger Woods and Iowa's own olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson.

Can you feel the magic?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

plans n such

I'm getting a lot of "What are your plans now, gurrbonzo?"

Is this bc hub, kiddo and I abruptly moved across the country on a bit of a whim after finishing school and I took the bar in a state in which I no longer live so most people I know are confused? Is that what this is about?

1. Why'd you take the Utah bar if you live in the midwest now?

Welp, turns out you have to apply to take the bar months in advance, and (as many of you know all too well) the application process is a large pain in the buttocks. The FBI background check takes at least a month and you provide an absurd amount of info (e.g., contact info & reference for every place you've ever worked since you were 18, the address of every place you've ever lived since you were 18, every drug you've ever abused, every single time you got arrested, blahblah), and then you have to drop like 500 bucks. Plus for the July exam, you have to decide what state you'll take it in by March-ish. As the deadline approached, our plans were still up in the air, and we lived in Utah, so, Utah bar. And by the time we decided to move, it was too late to take it in our new state, so, why not utilize the funds I'd dropped and the buttock pain I'd endured during the application process? I can't imagine that taking the bar exam will get any easier than it would be right now. Which is a depressing thing to say.

2. But what's the point of being admitted in Utah if you don't live there?

Shiz. I need a POINT for the stuff I do? THAT would have been useful to know 26 years ago.
Turns out you have to be admitted somewhere to do ANYTHING. To put J.D. on your business card, to help your buddy with his will, to help your cousin get custody of her kids, to answer somebody's question without saying I AM NOT AUTHORIZED TO GIVE LEGAL ADVICE, whatever. Apparently you can't do squat unless you're admitted at least somewhere, and you can do a lot of federal stuff anywhere as long as you're admitted somewhere. Make sense? Thankfully, in this fine new state in which we reside, they accept the 6 hour multiple choice part, which is the same nationwide. So assuming (please bless) my score on that is reasonable, I'll only have to take ONE day of the two-day test in our new land.

Which I can do either next February or next July.

But probably not February, bc in January, we're having a baby girl. Woopwoop!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

living on the edge.

There are two things taking over my new life in the midwest (besides our kid, and getting settled): church and the law. I also spray painted a couple of our chairs today on a whim and it may have been a poor choice. Sigh. Anyway:

An inevitable part of Moving While Mormon is figuring out your way around your new congregation. It's nice to have a fresh start, but overwhelming bc there are just a lot of people to deal with. Soon you find your scene and all is well, but the first month or so can be a little intense. This is especially true when you move to a state, nay, a region of the country in which you don't know a soul and so pray that there are some non-snickets under 75 that you can bond with and spend your time actively searching out new hangout friends. To advance these efforts, I'm experiencing hyperactivity. Not scurrying in circles with stickers on my forehead, Capri Sun spilled down my hot pink shirt while chewing gummi worms and shouting "I'm hyper!!!" Rather, way more involved in church than is normal for me. We're talking having randoms over for dinner, feeding the missionaries, going to midweek activities, the whole bit. This might be normal for you but for me, it's pretty intense. My new assignment in our ward is to hang out with the teenage girls. This means I do things like let a pack of seventh graders french braid my hair and throw tic tacs and be nervous about forgetting locker combinations. Pretty awesome.

The law
I'm trying to purge my brain of at least some of more useless law stuff I've shoved into it this summer in preparing for the bar, but to no avail. It is taking over my life. EVERYTHING FEELS LIKE A STORY PROBLEM and it's starting to get embarrassing but I just. can't. stop.
  • Last weekend, we were at a wedding with a sit-down dinner and they had fancy old-fashioned high chairs for the little kids. Without buckles! I could not stop thinking about who would be liable if someone got hurt.
  • The parking garage at the public library has NO FINE PRINT on the tickets. Isn't that bizarre?
  • I drove past a cop who had pulled someone over and immediately started thinking about what he could and could not search if it were a basic traffic stop and how he didn't have to inform them that they didn't have to consent if he asked to search their car.
  • Today I saw Azucar's update that a fly in her house had been there so long it had squatter's rights, and I immediately thought about why that wasn't technically true.
  • I can't read the news without thinking about who might be liable as an accomplice or co-conspirator.
  • I agreed to help a friend with something and then when needs changed, I immediately started thinking about whether there was sufficient consideration to make the modification binding.
  • I watched last night's Dating in the Dark (good grief, I love bad TV). Are you watching it? It's delightfully/painfully dumb and I recommend it if you feel like wasting an hour of your life feeling good about yourself in comparison to the rest of humanity. Anyway, I spent most of the episode wondering what kind of waivers they signed to get on the show bc cameras go in their houses "without their knowledge." There is NO WAY that would be allowed, would it??
This is getting embarrassing.

This is my life, people. French braids and theorizing about reality tv contracts. I know. I KNOW.

Monday, August 03, 2009

the latest

Well, last week was a helluva week!

  • the damn bar exam. I'm really sick of talking about it, and if you have any friends or e-friends who took it, you're sick of hearing about it, so let me just say, in the words of my wise classmate (and former Miss Indian BYU): "Remember, results aren’t supposed to come out for 8-10 weeks. Don’t ask, if I don’t tell. And if I fail, it was because you weren’t faithful enough. So really, I’d be feeling bad for YOU." She also compared being done to "your birthday and Christmas wrapped in bacon and topped with a fudgesicle" so basically, it feels good.
  • I ate a lot when I was in Utah, mostly Cafe Rio, Taco Amigo, JCWs, you know, the important things in life. I also had a delicious Gandolfo's breakfast sandwich on both mornings of the bar and plan to credit them with my success or blame it for my failure.
  • I've gotten some interesting guidance from several friends about traveling alone with a toddler. One dear friend said, "Get people near you on your side before she freaks out. Then they'll be so charmed by her they won't even be mad when she's screaming." Another advised, "You will never see any of the people around you ever again, and you'll have that relationship with your kid your whole life. So worry about your kid and meet her needs and do your thing and don't feel bad about the strangers." I employed a mix of the two strategies and in spite of total dead-arm, a flight delay, a mini-meltdown or two (me, not the kid) and a couple of diaper situations (kid, not me), all was well.
  • I had the first massage of my life thanks to a gift certificate from husband. I got it for graduation and made one of the best choices of my life by saving it until the day after the bar. Go get one, now. Sidenote: the place I went (in foothill village) just happens to be located in the same spot as the old office of a congressional campaign I worked on before law school, and don't worry, the room I was in was actually in MY OLD OFFICE. As in, I paid a stranger to give me a rubdown in the same little room I'd color maps and ask high-rollers for money in. Gross and awesome.
  • It's great to be home. Husband painted the kitchen, living room, hall, kid's room and our room while we were gone, and it rocks.
  • Anyway, I've been wondering lately about themed parties bc I think they're lame. I guess I get it if it's just a get together for the heck of it then great, but if the party already HAS A THEME, say, a bridal or baby shower, does it really need a second theme, like butterflies or luaus? Isn't the theme that it's a baby shower? Same with weddings. The theme is that it's your wedding. Stop dressing up like cowboys or whatever.