Sunday, November 04, 2018

Trimming Nails

Sometimes women ask silly questions such as "What's the part of your body you like the most?" And I usually answer that it's my hands. I like my hands. My mom used to say that I have piano hands––with long, slender fingers and a wide span. Or she'd say they were artist's hands––delicate and precise and capable of things that require very fine motor skills. Either way, I felt confident about my hands. It's an odd thing to like, really, but when you're a teenager and you are generally insecure about your body, you find the most random thing to like about yourself.

Anyway, I can only remember growing my fingernails out one time. Just one time! I was a senior in high school. Sometime in Spring semester, I grew my nails for as long as I could stand them––I think it was about three or four weeks––and then I painted them. I got so many compliments on my hands and nails (funny what people notice) that I thought, "I've got to do this more often!" But I never did. Because I hate having long nails. I hate it! Sometimes people ask me why, and my answer is that I'm a baker, so it's unsanitary to have long nails. While that's true, it's not the real answer. The real answer is that I think I was conditioned to like short nails.

When I was a little girl, my dad would trim my nails regularly. He'd call my sister and me into his room on Saturday evenings after we'd had our bath and finish the weekly ablutions with a nail trim. That was the final preparation for the Sabbath, I think. I remember he'd sit on the edge of his bed, and I'd stand next to him, putting one hand at a time on his knee. He trimmed just the right amount of nail off––short enough to be practical, but long enough to keep our fingernails from digging into the sensitive skin underneath. Then he'd hand me my little-girl pile of nails and tell me to throw them away and go brush my teeth.

Of all the memories to have, why does that one stand out? And when did I start trimming my own nails? And why did my dad like short fingernails on kids so much? These are all questions I think about maybe every time I trim my nails, which is way more often than once every three or four weeks. I suppose I associate a good nail trim with being clean. With being ready for the week. And somehow, it's a good feeling.

Thing I'm thankful for: crunchy leaves

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Movie Review: First Man

Apparently, "First Man" is lagging behind "Venom" and "A Star Is Born" at the box office. Honestly, I don't understand why––seems like a movie about Neil Armstrong would beat out anything else Hollywood had to offer. Then again, I'm a pretty big fan of NASA.

This movie, though. This movie is good. I almost simply wrote "Go watch it" for my review, but then I stumbled upon this Business Insider article today: 22 Astounding Facts About the Moon Landing from "First Man" that are Actually True. And it really is astounding how accurate the movie is. It gives you a sense of just how dangerous being an astronaut was in the '60s and how agonizing it must've been to watch your astronaut friends die. The filmmakers offer a reverence not for America and its collective brains and courage, but for the individual men who did their jobs every day.

It's a tough movie to watch, though. The camera work is choppy and at times disorienting, but I think it serves to make the viewer feel taxed along with the astronauts. It's tense and stressful from beginning to end. Still, there are tender moments sprinkled throughout, and they make the stressful ones worth it. (The final scene is my favorite.)

So . . . Go watch it.

Thing I'm thankful for: CT scans

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Relationship Failures

I don't usually dislike people, but a long time ago, I disliked my crush's crush. I disliked her because she was taller and thinner than me. Because she was more girly and whimsical. Because she was a better writer. Because she threw dinner parties. Because she had a straight nose, a long neck, and a well-defined jawline. I disliked her because he liked all the things she was and had and did. He wanted to marry her, even.

As it turns out, he didn't marry her. And as it turns out, I think they were actually perfect for each other. I'm glad I understood that so long ago and encouraged him to pursue her, even though it was painful for me. I'm not exactly sure why their relationship didn't last, but looking back, I wish it had. I think it would've been a good thing.

What wouldn't have been a good thing was him and me. Or me and any other guy I dated, especially the one I wanted to marry. I stumbled upon him on social media today and thought (with great intensity), "I hope I never see him again." It's funny how time and perspective change things. One day you're bawling over someone as you make your way back home through the Southwest heat in an unconditioned car, and four and a half years later, you can't even remember his birthdate.

I'm glad I am where I am in life. I sometimes wish I could change things. I wish I could be married and have a few kiddos constantly crowding my space, but that's just not my life. Maybe someday I'll find someone and maybe I won't, but good grief, I tried. I tried and I failed, and what I guess I'm saying right now is . . . I'm grateful for the failures.

Thing I'm thankful for: chicken noodle soup

Monday, August 06, 2018

Classic Movie Night: "His Girl Friday"

Some friends and I recently decided to watch one classic movie together each month. We cleverly call it "Classic Movie Night."

We kicked the tradition off with His Girl Friday, a screwball comedy released in 1940. I remember watching Turner Classic Movies in high school and college and hearing Robert Osborne sing praises for the movie, but for some reason, I never wanted to watch it. Looking back, I think it's because I didn't (and still kind of don't) like farcical rom-coms, but I dunno . . . I suppose I was feeling generous tonight. "Try something new," I told myself, as my friends and I were going through classic movie titles. "Just give the screwball comedy a try. Maybe there's something to it."

Well, whadaya know? I actually liked it. It's not on my Top 10 list of favorite movies––especially not my Top 10 favorite movies of the 1940s––but I liked it and I'd recommend it. The dialogue is crazily fast-paced, with the actors barely giving you enough time to recognize a joke and laugh, but that's one of the things I liked so much about it. It's like a British TV show of today––just plumb full of smart and quick humor.

I don't tend to like humor, however, without some melancholy lurking around somewhere, and the movie didn't disappoint in that regard, either. The sub-plot centers around a mayor who's up for re-election and trying to swing the vote by hanging a white man who shot a black sheriff. Let me say that again: "A white man who shot a black sheriff." Wait––Is this really 1940?

And there, dear readers, is why I love Classic Hollywood Cinema. Filmmakers didn't rely so much on special effects; they focused on storytelling and character development. They introduced and sometimes commented on rather serious social topics, even by today's standards. People often say, "We're much more progressive than our parents and grandparents," but the truth is that humans are pretty much the same. We struggle with the same stuff now as we did 75 years ago. I like movies that highlight that fact, and His Girl Friday does. It just adds a little humor. And Transatlantic accent. :)

Thing I'm thankful for: neck massages

Sunday, July 15, 2018


I just spent half of my drive home from church trying to whistle a hymn. Any hymn, really. Any song, come to that. And after several minutes of hot air mixed with some off-key notes, I had to laugh at myself. I laughed out loud, even. What a sight that would've been––an adult woman trying and failing miserably to whistle in her car.

Whistling has always been a puzzling activity to me. I remember hearing my dad whistle early on Saturday mornings when I was young. He could whistle anything, and the notes were loud and clear. I'd even say he whistles better than he sings! My mom, too, whistles with exquisite clarity. Even today, whenever I catch them whistling, I get so angry inside that I can't also whistle. If both my parents can whistle, shouldn't I be able to? There has to be some kind of gene responsible for whistling . . .

And yet here I am at 36, still trying to whistle. It's not that I can't make any sound at all; it's that I'm just an airy, one-note pony. I've practiced a good amount––maybe not a lot––but I still can't whistle a happy tune. Or whistle while I work. It's maddening.

So dear readers, if you have any tips for me, leave a comment.

Thing I'm thankful for: singing and music and all that goes with them

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Photos Lately

Thing I'm thankful for: lazy walks

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A Father's Day Post

There are a lot of things I haven't blogged about lately, but I still don't feel ready to write about them. So. Instead you get to read about my dad.

When I was young, my dad would often call me to his study and trace my hand on a page in his journal. Then he would trace his hand on top of mine, and he would write my name and age inside the traces. I'll never forget that feeling––of the pen going smoothly around my little fingers. And I would watch in awe as he traced his own hand, marveling at the difference in size. His fingers were long and strong, while mine barely took up space.

I always liked my dad's hands. I liked watching him write, too, because besides my mom and grandparents, I couldn't think of anyone else who regularly wrote in cursive. His handwriting also has an interesting slant to it, as though it belies a Midwestern accent––one from Chicago or Detroit. But he is from Idaho, and maybe that's why his handwriting slants. Maybe the slant comes from the shape of the mountains he looked at and loved every day.

My dad recently told me that mountains remind him of home. It was strange to hear, since flat lands and pine trees remind me of home. But somewhere inside––when I see jagged and rocky mountains––I think of my dad, and it feels like he is nearby, saying, "Appreciate those mountains! Even if you don't love life right now, look up! Appreciate this world!"

What a good dad he was and is, though he doesn't know it. I guess that's the way with parents; they never realize how much they mean to their children, even if all they did was give them life. I'm thankful that mine did much more than that.

Love you, dad.