Back to the back into it! Back to this business of normal life. Christmas is ovahhh.
Half awake coming down the stairs this morning, wearing my new and righteous pink fuzzy socks, a gift from Santa, I was brutally shocked into full consciousness. My right foot slipped, I jerked backward, instinctively grabbed the banister with my right hand, and descended into a front split. New and righteous pink fuzzy socks are deadly on stairs. I held myself there for a moment, then said out loud, "Good morning, Slick."
Just breathe, Anna Nalick. It's only Monday.
No one makes me laugh like my family. (No one makes me cry like them, either. But anyway...) Being with them for five short days last week was just so many things: comforting, tense, happy, confusing, wonderful, boring, easy and hard. But maybe I'm overthinking it - I do that. The feeling that stands out when I think of home, and those faces, is a feeling of gratitude and respect. My family is extraordinary, which isn't always a smooth and tidy thing. We're strong at our fracture lines, though. And the bad times make the late nights around the kitchen table, doubled over laughing at the things we say, so so sweet.
Love you, Family. Truly and forever.
subject to change
Monday, December 28, 2009
Back to the back into it! Back to this business of normal life. Christmas is ovahhh.
Posted by Mary at 3:54 PM
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The evolution of nicknames is a source of fascination for me. Nicknames are given to us. We don’t really have a say in them. Someone just points at you one day and calls you by something other than your given name, and before you know it, people you’ve never even met are calling you Kipper. Even more fascinating, though, is the way a nickname changes over time. Eventually, people tire of the original “aka” and feel the need to doctor it up even more, or dumb it down even less. But the journey from Nickname A to Nickname F is one that can never be predicted. Could you ever have guessed that when you first got the nickname of LuLu, five years later they’d end up calling you Strutless Wonder? And yet, you can trace Strutless back to LuLu, listing all the in-between permutations, showing us how it connects naturally, one eventually leading to the other. Predictable, though? Hardly ever.
I have a friend who was given a nickname by her family of Juddah Ben Hur. Eventually, the family abbreviated it to Buddha. (To this day, she still has a brother that calls her that.) From Judaism to Eastern Philosophy in one nickname. Nicknames connect the world.
I was called Miss Dameana as a child. Apparently, I dabbled in petty theft, swiping stock from the lower shelves of drug stores, as my mother wheeled me in my stroller. No, actually I have no idea why they called me that. Later on in life, I was given a much simpler name of “Mi” (pronounced like “me”) which is what my youngest sister called me when she was one year old. Everyone has a nickname story. And we like to tell them don’t we?
What I’d like to know is what constitutes a nickname the STICKS versus a nickname that doesn’t. Is there some formula for success? A catchy factor? Number of persons present when using the term? Frequency of usage over a given period of time? What?
I’ll tell you the surest way NOT to get a nickname off the ground. Don’t tell people what you’d like your nickname to be. Again, it goes back to the first point: people give you nicknames; you don’t give one to yourself. In grade school, I wanted to be called Joey. Please don’t ask why. Fine. I wanted a name like one of the orphan kids on Annie, all right? But do you think anyone ever called me Joey, in spite of my aggressive marketing for weeks to my friends at school? Of course not.
Just a little thought for today.
Posted by Mary at 3:02 PM
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Today I did something I know all four of you are going to be very proud of. It is an act of singular courage and fortitude. It is a choice many people only wish they could make. So many lack the mettle. And I once was one of that many. For weeks I sat at home frozen with indecision, sick with guilt: what will people think of me? But today, I silenced the worried voice with bold stroke. Today, I changed my constellation, and set myself on a truer trajectory for happiness. Today, I canceled my gym membership. I am free.
Posted by Mary at 10:20 PM
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
This has been a summer of Star Trek, or in other words, a summer of self-improvement.
Thanks to a discount dollar movie theater, situated near my home in Trolley Square, I’ve been fortunate enough to see Star Trek ten times for the cost of one evening show at a regular movie theater. Yes. Ten. And without the dollar theater in Sugarhouse, this feat would not have been possible, and my summer would not have been as prolific. I will now explain.
There is no perfect movie, and there never will be. But Star Trek, for me, is about as close as it gets. From story, to casting, to special effects, to script, to score, to pacing, humor and profundity, folks…this movie simply wins it. People who are lifelong fans of the television show were happy; kids who had only heard of the show were just as happy. Very few moviemakers have been successful in achieving this, and for that it deserves genuine accolade, sci-fi fan or no. But I’m not writing a movie review here. After watching this movie so many times I not only enjoy it, but I’m also comforted by it. I relax into this story like I’m in the company of an old friend, and allow my mind to be overtaken entirely into this world of star dates and federation planets. The house lights dim, closing me out from my unfinished life and life-related worries, as the widescreen unfolds and fills the dark with giant moving images and echoes of a new realm. Here, the stakes are higher, the evil more obvious, the outcome is victoriously sweet, and all woes are resolved in just over two hours.
During one of the ten viewings, I found myself casting the main characters with people in my own life. It was a brilliant exercise, I recommend doing it! I got to ponder a bit about why so-and-so would DEFINITELY play Spock, why other so-and-so DEFINITELY would portray Captain Kirk, and OF COURSE so-and-so had to play Engineer Olson (Olson - the overzealous British guy who jettisons down with Kirk and Sulu to disarm the Romulan drill, only he pulls his chute dare-devilishly too late and eats it in open flames). It gave me insight as I mentally placed my friends in their galactic alter egos, helping me understand them better.
Another time, while watching a poignant scene between Spock and Uhura, I made some headway into understanding better what is needed to make love last. I know, right? Go figure. Sometimes when characteristics are exaggerated, we’re able to see the solution more quickly.
Yet another time, while watching my 20 year-old roommate text throughout the entire film, which hurt me more than she will ever know, I thought about where I lack patience with others and what I can do to be more aware of it. I learned to not take another’s disinterest in something I love so personally. Granted, this was not a lesson taken from the movie itself, but had I not been watching the movie, watching THIS movie, this lesson would not have been learned.
Other times, I’d wake up on a Saturday morning feeling lonely. So I’d do a few important chores, then as a treat, I’d go online and find a good time to head down for a dose of happy from Dr. Star Trek. Always worked like a charm. I walked out afterward feeling lighter.
I realize some may call me pathetic for placing this much importance on a movie. It’s just a movie. Well, of course it’s just a movie. And I’m willing to believe it really is pathetic to see anything that many times. But at the end of the day, if I walk out feeling better, learning new things, and it only cost me a buck, I really don’t care what they say about it. These are the reasons why we tell stories. This is what good stories are supposed to give us. And I still have the good sense not to wear my Star Fleet insignia with flashing lights anywhere but in my own bedroom, thank you very much.
P.S. I have plans to see it again this Saturday with a friend. I can't wait.
Posted by Mary at 3:15 PM
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Well, the story of 029 (ie. previous blog post) concludes tragically with a negative outcome to the impound hearing. The hearing officer refused to reimburse me for the towing of my roommates car, stating that the police officer acted within the bounds of the law, and that just because I'm ignorant of the parking rule doesn't mean it's inapplicable or unenforceable.
I said, "YOUR MOM'S INAPPLICABLE!" then threw my Vitamin Water in his face, with my arm I pulled down all the papers on the counter, knocked over the flag pole, jumped on the metal detector conveyor belt and sang God Bless America at the top of my lungs. No, not really.
I tried to argue my side: a) no one is disputing police officer's acting within the bounds of the law; but that the law itself is unjust; b) it is unreasonable to enforce a law with such rigidity when there is no reasonable attempt to inform SLC residents of this law; c) the law is stupid and needs an outclause or two. I guess it's a good thing I'm not a litigator.
I resisted my urge to take things to a personal level with one who was so clearly drunk off the drop of presumed power this hearing officer imbibed. Thoughts of commenting on his receding hairline, how pit stains really show when you wear rayon shirts, asking how the last Trekkie convention was, or whether he still talks to his incarcerated mother, or what it's like earning $10 an hour when you're over thirty-five, were seriously considered before I decided to not give any of them a voice. But oh how I wanted...
Posted by Mary at 2:50 PM
Friday, August 28, 2009
My roommate has been out of town for two weeks, and left her car parked in our shared driveway. About three days after she left, the neighbors with whom we share said driveway asked us to move the car so they could haul away some junk from their backyard. So, I pulled the car out of the driveway, and parked it a few houses down from ours.
Monday, I come home from work to find my roommates’ car no longer on our street.
I call the police, give them the license plate number, and ask if it’s been towed. They won’t know until tomorrow morning. I call my out-of-town roommate to deliver the bad news. The police will need a notarized affidavit from her authorizing me to get the car out. I give her my office fax number.
I call the police station the next morning. They have no record of the car being towed, and suggest I fill out a theft report. Poop. I fill out a report over the phone, and call my out-of-town roommate to deliver the latest news: her car has been stolen.
During the next hour, as I’m trying to stay focused on all I have to do work-wise, I can’t help but feel like the police made a mistake. What if they just didn’t have the car entered into their system yet? My neighbor said he thought he saw the police come the day before and tow it away.
I decide to call the station again.
I speak to a new person at the station who checks the license plate for me once again. Lo and behold, they did tow it. It’s at their city impound lot. I get the address of the station where I go to pay and pick it up. Then I call out-of-town roommate AGAIN. Just kidding, Roomie! Cracker-jack squad of geniuses we got manning the impound calls, we do.
Pause story for an important note: you may be wondering why it was towed in the first place. AS DID I. I was informed during my first call to the police that there is a city ordinance in Salt Lake which mandates a vehicle parked on a city street must be moved at least every 48 hours or it can be towed. I had left my roommate’s car parked for 3 or 4 days. 99.9% sure that one of my neighbors, not recognizing the car, called it in and had it towed. And because I’m the sap who parked it there, this was my pain in the bum’s aftermath with which to deal. Move the car out of neighborly consideration, get backslapped by another neighbor for doing so, to the tune of $246.
I sneak away during my lunch hour and go to the station. I have the faxed-in copy of the letter authorizing me to pick it up, my ID and my credit card. I wait in line for 45 minutes, and pray no one is having a business crisis and cursing my name. When I finally get to the window, I tell them I have a few questions: 1) where is this 48-hour parking rule posted? 2) how was I to learn of this law? 3) how can I dispute this impound? Answers: 1) it’s not posted anywhere; 2) officer at the window didn’t even know about the 48-hour rule until he started working same window; 3) he gave me a phone number and explained the process of disputing the impound, inferring that he agreed it was ridiculous.
As he begins processing the paperwork, he asks me for proof of insurance on the impounded vehicle. I hear my gut drop a foot into my uterus. I don’t have that. This means…you guessed right…I don’t get to pick up the car. I call my out-of-town roommate and ask her to fax a copy of her insurance card. It goes to voice mail. I have to get back to work, and can’t wait for her call any longer. The car was left to spend another night in the city lot.
This is the night I cried really hard, mainly to relieve the stress of a crazy job and a crazy week. Plus, I’m feeling bad for calling my poor roommate every fifteen minutes, harassing her for faxed documents, while she’s trying to enjoy the last few days of her vacation. Plus PLUS, I’m angry at the City of Salt Lake for making up dumb rules which precipitate eye twitches, sleepless nights, forced overtime, and the transference of money from savings to pay for such dumb rules.
The following day, faxed proof of insurance in hand, I go back to the police station. I go in the morning this time, and it was a smart idea because no one was in line. I fill out the paperwork and hand over my debit card. This is when I find out that the car lot, where the car is parked, is NOT ANYWHERE NEAR WHERE I AM STANDING. In fact, it’s a fifteen minute drive from downtown. Didn’t have time to do that. In the end, I had to involve my entire household just to get the darn car out of Egypt and back on our street before 6:00 p.m. and get to an appointment in Draper by 6:30. Sheer. Madness.
My eye has literally been twitching the entire time I’ve been writing . This is the kind of post I never wanted to write. No creativity, no abstract slant or whimsical anecdote. This is your garden variety story of life at its most futile. This is a gripe post. This is the stuff you listen to when you call your girlfriend/boyfriend and lend a supporting (but be honest, you’re bored senseless) ear. I apologize. There was just too much twitching to come up with something better.
Posted by Mary at 2:55 PM
Monday, August 24, 2009
SISTER WEBSTER (“SW”): single woman in her mid-thirties, babysitting GABBY and PARKER
GABBY: Eight year old girl with strong verbal skills and a well-developed sense of irony
PARKER: Five year old boy, precocious, inquisitive, and a surplus of energy
LIVING ROOM (watching Swiss Family Robinson before bedtime)
PARKER: Sister Webster, do you have a baby in your tummy?
SW: No, I don’t have a baby in my tummy.
GABBY: First you need a husband, huh?
SW: Yep, first I need one of those.
PARKER: You could marry your Mom!
SW: No, my Mom’s already married to my Dad.
PARKER: Oh yeah.
SW: Plus, she’s my Mom.
GABBY: Parker, you don’t marry your Mom!
GABBY: Do you go to college?
SW: No, I finished college.
GABBY: My mom and dad went to Snow College, and that’s how they met.
SW: That’s nice.
GABBY: I think that’s your problem. If you were still in college you could get a husband.
PARKER: Sister Webster, how come the mom isn’t swimming with them? (referring to the movie.)
SW: I guess she didn’t want to.
PARKER: Oh. Everybody has their shirts off but the mom. How come the mom doesn’t have her shirt off?
SW: Because she’s not swimming.
PARKER: But even if she did go swimming, she wouldn’t have her shirt off, because then we would see her boobs.
SW: That’s right, Parker.
PARKER: I just said boobs.
SW: (trying not to laugh.) Yes, I heard you. I think the right word is breasts.
PARKER: Oh yeah. It’s breasts. Girls don’t show their breasts because…
SW: Because that’s a private part of girls.
PARKER: Yeah, that’s part of their private parts.
PARKER: Do you have boobs, Sister Webster?
SW: Yes, I do.
PARKER: But they’re not as big.
PARKER: No, cuz she’s not a mommy, and she doesn’t have milk in them. That’s what boobs are for. I mean breasts!
SW: No, you’re right Parker, my breasts do not have milk in them.
PARKER: And that’s what they’re for. God puts milk in them to feed the babies. And you don’t have any babies, because you’re not married.
SW: And we’ve come full circle.
Posted by Mary at 9:27 AM