Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy New Year 2019!

Last year sucked. Let's review:
  • Major surgery to remove Tumor #1 and left adrenal gland
  • Frustrations at work
  • Major car accident with neck problems for weeks
  • Feeling exhausted (again)
  • Major surgery to remove Tumor #2 and part of right kidney
  • Night sweats
  • Dumb stuff of my own doing

I'm ready for 2019, darnit! Here are the things I'm going to focus on:
  • Making serious progress on my family history
  • Getting the bakery up and running
I feel like those are good goals.

Thing I'm thankful for: kittens and newborns

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Wrapping

My family is a family of present-wrappers––good ones, at that. Perfectionists, really. Here's a recent conversation that happened on the family Hangout:

This conversation reminded me of my first real lesson in wrapping. I was 6 or 7 years old, and I had just bought a perfectly square box, foil green paper, and a bright red bow to wrap my sister Lexia's Christmas present. Having all the necessary things ready and the prettiest paper I could find, I was excited to get to work. I sat on the floor of our library and tried as hard as I could to make it perfect. To my utter frustration, I accidentally tore the paper and didn't have enough to start over with a clean sheet. I tried to work around the tear, but I couldn't do it. I cried aloud and began to sob. My sister Summer heard and came to my rescue. She calmed me down and showed me how to wrap the present with minimal tear visibility. I remember watching in awe as Summer deftly wrapped and created a piece of art in the process.

And that's what present-wrapping is, really––an art form. It takes patience and a good eye for balance and symmetry and clean lines and geometry. It can be quite beautiful. Just take a look at this:

It's simple, but lovely. More importantly, it's enticing. That's the beauty of a well-wrapped present––it makes a person want to open it!

Anyway, it's fun wrapping presents, and it's fun wrapping them neatly. To be fair, it's also fun watching my brother-in-law wrap them horribly and laughing at his complete lack of artistry, but I'm glad I learned how to wrap and wrap well. I'm glad for that Christmas so long ago when Summer exercised patience and took the time to show me something she was excellent at. I'm glad for a funny family quirk. :)

Thing I'm thankful for: the calm of Christmas Eves

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Adult Songs

I grew up on the best musicals. My mom loves "My Fair Lady" and "The Sound of Music" and wanted to share those stories with my siblings and me, as any sane parent would. I mostly watched "Annie" and "Funny Girl" and a few others on repeat, but still, I fast-forwarded through the "adult" songs. As a child, "adult" songs meant the subdued ones that adults sing to each other. I had no idea what they were about, but I remember thinking, "This is boring." So for example, all the songs in "The Sound of Music" were fun and exciting to me, and then the scene in the gazebo came . . . The one with Captain von Trapp and Maria. Yuck. What were they even singing about? I didn't let the scene play long enough to find out. I just went straight to the part where they were singing with their kids in the festival. Whew! Boring adult material avoided!

A funny thing happened, though, as I grew older. I started to understand and even like those "adult" songs. In fact, they're my favorite songs in those musicals now. My childhood self would be horrified––absolutely horrified––to know that I listen to the adult songs on repeat. But the depth! The depth of those wonderful songs––what I recognize now as love songs––sometimes leaves me in tears.

Here are some of my favorites:

Something Good, The Sound of Music

I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face, My Fair Lady

People, Funny Girl

You Are Woman, I Am Man, Funny Girl

My Man, Funny Girl

Thing I'm thankful for: MommyDaddy

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Things I'm Thankful For

This Thanksgiving was one of particular importance. I have so much to be thankful for right now. So, so much. Something you might want to know before reading my list, though, is that I had yet another surgery. Yes––less than two weeks ago. To remove more abnormal tissue––this time on my right kidney.

Things I'm Thankful For
  • Not having cancer
  • Being able to perform basic bodily funtions
    • Urinating on my own
    • Having a bowel movement post-surgery
  • Nurses who know how to get a catheter in on the first try
  • Wonderful doctors!
  • Parents who come to visit
  • A mom who makes meals when I'm recovering
  • Medical glue
  • Peeling medical glue off!
  • Leggings!
  • Friends who send food!
  • Friends who make delicious butternut squash soup
  • Nieces and nephews who decorate my Christmas tree for me
  • Hot chocolate
  • Space heaters
  • Binding cloths
  • Lightly salted Lays potato chips
  • An understanding and compassionate manager
  • Forgiveness
  • Prayer
  • Stacks of magazines
  • Snow
  • Christmas lights
  • Pictures on Hangouts
  • Fuzzy blankets
  • Boots that don't require tying the shoelaces
  • A heavy winter coat
  • Flowers!

And everything in between.

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