No Disrespect Intended

Can we pretend for just a minute that this is a anonymous blog?  Wait, what’s that? Oh, it’s been so long since I blogged that no one reads this anymore and the few people who may stumble on here don’t have any idea who I am?  Perfect.

And why do I want this to be anonymous? You ask.  Because I’m going to talk about breasts.  And not just any breasts, my breasts.

You see, I used to have some.  Breasts that is.  I’ve never been chesty by any stretch but once upon a time I was a very respectable b cup.  Then I went on birth control and I was a c cup.  Then I got pregnant and for a minute I even went up from there. 

But then I stopped nursing and I stopped taking birth control and well, let me put it this way: when I go into Victoria’s Secret and the very nice girls there measure me I always get the same pitying look and then a half smile and a, “it looks like you’re an a cup.” 

An A cup. 

That’s what they say but the fact is I’m not an a cup, I’m a aa cup or a training bra (although, sadly, not nearly as perky as the usual inhabitants of the training bra) or maybe just a couple of band aids.  The fact is that I don’t need a bra at all, but the girls in Victoria’s Secret are aware of the fact that they sell bras and if they tell me that I don’t need what they’re selling then I won’t give them any of my money, so they tell me I’m an a cup.

Now, if this wasn’t an anonymous blog and you knew me and you had seen me you would be saying to yourself, “she has boobs.  Not big ones certainly, but she has something.”  You would be saying that because most of the time that’s true, I do look that way.  That’s because the girls at Victoria’s Secret were victorious in our little skirmish and I did give them my money in exchange for two bras that are sufficiently padded to make me a b cup again (or to serve as flotation devices for a small Cuban family trying to make a break for Florida) the bras in question are in fact so padded that they do not fold, they do not bend, they do not turn inside out (as one might try to make them do when folding laundry) and it’s a good thing that they have such innate strength, because sadly, I don’t even fill up the inner cups.

So to summarize my story so far, I have no breasts but most of the time I look like I do.

There is however, one time that I don’t.  You see, just like, and for the same reason that, I’m willing to spend obscene amounts of money for Styrofoam at Victoria’s Secret, I wear a sports bra to the gym.  (That reason being that I’m unwilling to leave the house without a bra.)  The problem is that, as most smaller chested girls will tell you, the sports bra is designed to hold you down and when you don’t have much to begin with and then you make a point of strapping it down, well, when I go to the gym I look like a breast cancer survivor.

Really.  So much so that I’m thinking about just going with that.  I think maybe I’ll buy a t-shirt with a big pink ribbon graphic on it or maybe see if I know someone with a spare walk for the cure t-shirt and start wearing it to the gym.  Maybe I’ll inspire someone with my bravery in the face of my obstacles.  I do have obstacles, just not breast cancer.  Besides I wouldn’t say that I had breast cancer, (I wouldn’t say anything at all, no one at the gym will talk to me but that’s a whole other post) I’ll just let them draw their own conclusions.

My Brush With Death (or something less dramatic, but what fun would that be?)

On my way home from work at about 1 am last week some creepy guy followed me.

I’m not sure when this guy got in behind me, I know it was on the freeway but I’m not sure if he followed me all the way from 201 on to 215 and then off at the 35th south exit or if he picked me up somewhere on 215.  But he was definitely behind me on 215, and on the off ramp, and behind me at the light, and on the frontage road, and on 37th.  That I noticed.  How could I not, he was riding so close I was wondering if he was trying to borrow my lighter (a joke that worked a lot better when cars had lighters rather than electrical ports).  He also turned onto my street right behind me.

Now, I’m not the most aware driver in the world, my driving record clearly shows that, but when some guy’s sitting on your tailgate close enough that you can’t see his lights at 1 am you notice when he turns in to your very small neighborhood.  The question is what do you do about it?  It was 1:15, I was tired, I wanted to get home and get into bed.  And yet… well, I didn’t want this guy to know where I live.  So I passed right by my house.  I took a right at the end of my street and another at the next street, at which point it became clear that he did not just happen to be another resident of the neighborhood heading home.  By that time I had taken a route through the neighborhood that no one who knows the neighborhood would take.  This was getting weirder.

Now what?

I pulled over.  I was still in my residential neighbor hood and I pulled over in front of whatever house I happened to be near.  And he pulled over right behind me.  I didn’t turn off the car or the lights or anything, I just sat a waited to see what he would do.  It was possible that he wanted to tell me that I had a brake light out or a low tire or something after all, farfetched but possible.  Except that he didn’t do anything either.  He didn’t get out to talk to me, he didn’t honk or wave, he just sat there for a minute behind me.  And then he flashed his lights at me.  I still have no idea what that was supposed to mean.  And then he turned his lights off completely and backed away from my car.

Weird.

He backed to the end of the street and around the corner so that he could get out of the neighborhood.

At which point my curiosity was definitely piqued not to mention I was getting a little bit mad.

So I followed him.

He headed down 27th west, a road I drive several times a day, and then turned at a light headed west and then took the first right.  I’ve lived int his neighborhood for 8 years, I knew where he was going to end up.  And so, because I watch far too much television, I took another route and sure enough, he came out just where I thought he would.  So I followed him some more.  He headed down the street and then pulled over to the side of the road, turned off his lights and looked like he was parking.

Until I pulled up beside him.

I rolled down my window to confront him, he looked over, saw me, and tore out of there like he was on fire.  Huh, interesting.

Luckily when he pulled past me he was close enough for long enough that I got his license plate number.  I had also gotten a look at him.

I followed him for another minute or so but it was pretty clear that he wasn’t going to let me talk to him so I let him go (and went to the police station which was on my way home and despite the fact that the doors were open and lights on I was able to locate any people so I gave up) and went home to call the cops.

The dispatcher said that they’d drive around and look for him and with the plate info, contact the owner of the vehicle and see where he was and if it was him or whatever but… *shrug*

What I want to know is what was his plan?  If I hadn’t noticed him, if I had gone ahead and pulled into my carport was he going to come up behind me, knock me out and drag me away?  That seems like an awfully caveman move to make.  What was he play?

I guess I’ll never know.

That’s probably a good thing.

What Does it all Mean?

I was watching something this morning (it’s pretty funny actually, you can find it here) in which the speaker, a comedian by the name of John Branyan, said that Shakespeare had a working vocabulary of 53,000 words while the average American has a working vocabulary of 3,000.

And well, I just don’t think that’s fair.

Now I suppose that by working vocabulary he means words used, or possibly even words used regularly, but I would propose that we all have two vocabularies, words we use and words we understand.

The words we use vocabulary would be relatively small, I’m willing to believe that it falls in the 3,000 word range especially if you don’t consider technical jargon whatever flavor that might come in.  I can talk all day about positioning in a lateral decubitous manner to allow access to the right  superior anterior retro-peritoneal space in preparation to rescect the renal pelvis and spatualate the distended ureter in a ureteroplasty, but that doesn’t mean a lot to most of you.  So sure, “working vocabulary” 3,000 words, why not?

Then there’s the words we understand.  That number is a lot bigger.  Once upon a time I was told that antidisestabilishmentarianism is the longest word in the English language (although firefox doesn’t recognize it so maybe it’s not even a word).  This is a word I understand, it’s one that I recognize, that I know the definition for and that I could use in a sentence if I happened to be talking about the belief that the Church of England should be separated from the government of England.  However, that’s not a conversation that I have very often.  It’s a word I know but don’t use, so is that in my working vocabulary?

Here’s another example, maladroitly.  I’ve been reading a lot of Brandon Sanderson lately, fantastic stuff, and Brandon Sanderson really likes the word maladroitly.  I can’t blame him, it’s a great word.  It’s a word I understand.  And it’s significantly more likely that I am going to be discussing something that was done in a maladroit manner than that I’m going to be discussing the Church of England.  However, I’m still not going to use the word maladroitly.  Why not?  Because I don’t want to sound like a pretentious prick.  But I would be willing to bet that Brandon Sanderson wouldn’t either because for some of us there’s a third vocabulary.

For those of us who write (I haven’t really written anything in over a year but I’m still going to include myself in this category) there’s our written vocabulary.  This vocabulary, while possibly not quite as large as the second, is a great deal larger than the first.  This is where I just might use the word maladroitly.  This is where I can use all those fun words like celerity and marshaling and haste and not really worry about being seen as a tool.

And this is all we know about Shakespeare.  The only vocabulary of Shakespeare’s that we have is his written one, of course it’s larger than my “working vocabulary” he was writing!  And not only was he writing he was writing in iambic pentameter which requires even more creativity.  For all we know he wanted to use the word clumsily but he needed the extra syllable so he went with maladroitly instead.  Comparing me to that?  That’s just not fair.

Apropos of all that, the dictionary.com word of the day is: Slimsy, an adjective meaning flimsy or frail (and not a word I would use in conversation or writing (it looks too much like flimsy, as if I just got it wrong.))

So, what’s your favorite word?

Putting the Joseph Back in Christmas

I’m not a knick-nacky person.  I don’t have bric-a-brac.  I’m not a curio keeper.

That being said I do have several (5 or 6) nativities that I put out this time of year.  And I noticed something as I was setting up the scenes this year.  I have nearly no Josephs.  Every creche that I have has a baby Jesus (naturally), they all have a Mary (almost always kneeling), they all have three wise men.  Every one of them has a random assortment of livestock, sheep, camels, cows and maybe an angel.  Each also has a minimum of one shepherd.  And then they have the other guy, the is he a shepherd or is he Joseph guy.

I have a gorgeous white china nativity (no doubt given to me by my mother in law) that has all the necessary pieces (Jesus, Mary, 3 wise men, a camel) and two other guys.  One is holding a sheep and the other a shepherd’s crook.  Ummm…

I'm a little nauseated by Precious Moments but I'm even more bothered by the 3 shepherds and no Joseph.

This is not my nativity but you get the idea, which one is Joseph?

I don’t really know what to do with that.  I made the guy with the crook Joseph because- well the guy with the lamb in his arms is definitely a shepherd right?  But the other guy really is too isn’t he?  So where’s Joseph?

Most of my sets are like that.  I’ve played with the idea that my kids have lost Joseph, heaven knows they’ve played with the nativities enough (and we have the missing arms, halos, etc. to prove it) but they’ve never played with my china one (I do draw the line somewhere) and what are the odds that they’ve lost all the Josephs and only the Josephs?

The thing is that I think Joseph is important.  I get that Jesus is the most important, I have no argument with that.  I don’t hold Mary in the regard that some do, I’m looking at you Catholics, but I still have huge amounts of respect for her.  But to my mind the next most important figure there is Joseph.  It’s true that he didn’t contribute the usual DNA offering that most fathers do.  But he was chosen BY GOD to raise God’s son.  He, of all the guys around was deemed worthy by an omnipotent, omniscient, father to be the physical father figure to the most important person to ever live.  It wasn’t that he just happened to be engaged to Mary, he was picked just as much as she was.  That’s kind of a big deal.

And yet I have 3 wise men and one maybe shepherd possibly Joseph guy?  That’s just not right.  So this Christmas while we’re singing about Christ and about the virgin mother how about a shout out the virgin father, to the guy catching that baby?  How about a little love for Joesph?

Where Basic Cable Missed the Boat

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of shows on basic cable, USA in particular.   (With the exception of that stupid show about the not lawyer girl but I haven’t seen any adds for that one in a while so I think they may have cancelled it.)  This summer my friends at USA have put together a great new show called Suits it’s silly and not very realistic but still very fun and the WonderHusband and I quite enjoy it.  Except for one thing.

In  recent months the FCC must have changed the rules for basic cable.  Specifically, allowing the use of words that were previously verboten, the angered reference to excrement, the allusion the a certain part of the male anatomy (when not actually talking about the male anatomy) once per show only, or so it appears, but all of these have shown up in the midst of this otherwise delightful show.

Does the casual use of words that are, at least in my world, not casually used completely ruin the show?  No, not completely.  Am I going to stop watching it?  No, it’s not that big of a deal , I regularly hear worse than that at work, in the grocery store, on the train, etc.  But it is a little off-putting and, what almost bugs me more, it doesn’t make any sense.

Now, I don’t work in television, I don’t pretend to know what goes into assembling an audience for a show.  I don’t know about demographics or … any of that stuff (I don’t even know enough of the jargon to come up with another word to use there).  But it seems to me that the first thing you’re going to want to do if you’re the producer of a show like Suits is to know your audience and give them what they want.

Here’s a hint, the audience for a show on basic cable is not interested in pushing FCC boundaries.  If I wanted to be cussed at (and/or to watch naked people and/or blood guts and gore) I’d watch HBO.  I’m not watching HBO, I choose not to which means that I don’t really want to be sworn at.  But they’re trying to make it realistic, you argue.  Have you ever met a lawyer in NY?  Because I’m here to tell you that throwing in a single reference to what bears do in the woods in an hour does not even come close to what you’d hear in the first five minutes talking to an actual big apple lawyer.  So if you can’t get realism why pretend to try?  (Also if you’re going for realism perhaps you shouldn’t start with a show about a guy working as a lawyer for a big powerful law firm who’s never attended law school or passed the bar (in his own name) because I’m pretty sure that any decent HR department would check that stuff.)

It’s possible that my objections make me some kind of religious fanatic nut and that no one else in the country cares.  I’m willing to accept that if that’s the case.   I just doubt that it is.  There are too many options out there.  In entertainment, viewers can find whatever it is they’re looking for, from Dexter to Hannah Montana* so when I choose to watch USA or TBS, or TNT, I do so with a certain expectation, that if my children happen to wander into the room I’m not going to have to hurry and pause my show.**  So far I haven’t felt like I would.  I’d really like to keep it that way.

-

*I’m trying to decide which of these shows is more offensive to me.  I don’t know.

**It occurs to me that I have that I have that expectation of the shows on basic cable but not of those on network TV, I expect tho have to censor those.  That’s a little sad.

And the White Trash Award Goes To…

Over the last few days I’ve been wondering if it’s more white trash to have a couch so broken that it very nearly swallows unsuspecting individuals alive, requiring the owner of said couch to either call out a warning to guests and/or forgetful children or to be sure to swoop in and sit in the spot the most prone to human ingestion before anyone else unwittingly risks life and limb, or to have a couch that’s been fixed with a piece of plywood under to cushions, making sitting on said couch feel (oddly enough) like one is sitting on a piece of plywood with cushions over it.

And then I realized that when one’s husband is facing drug possession charges the question really becomes moot.

About a week and a half ago Sean the WonderHusband drove to Current Creek (pronounced “crick” naturally) to hand the Princess off to her grandmother for a few days of girly bonding fun or something.  On the drive back home he was pulled over for speeding.  This sucks but it’s not interesting or even unusual enough to bother commenting on so we’ll move on.  Now, the “highway” on which he was driving is a relatively narrow one, so despite the fact that Sean pulled over as far as he could and that the officer in question didn’t pull over quite as far, giving himself some measure of protection from passing vehicles, the patrolman still chose to use the passenger side window for collecting the license, registration and so forth.  Which meant that he was fairly close to the glove box in which resides the registration and insurance information (as I believe it does in most cars although I have been given to understand that this is not good practice and they ought to be kept elsewhere).

As a little background, let me explain that Sean, the WonderHusband, has chronic back pain and chronic headaches.  In an attempt to manage this pain and leave the WonderHusband in a condition in which he can do anything other than lie in bed groaning (which is not really conducive to being an effective husband and father) he’s on some fairly heavy duty pain killers.  And then to mitigate the side effects of the pain killers he’s on some other meds and so on and so forth.  (It’s not an ideal situation in any way and it’s something that we try to be really careful about as far as dosages etc. but that’s not really what I’m talking about here so I’m not going to go into it.)  Because he’s on these medications daily, and in most cases more than once a day, he has stashes of his medications in various places including in the car.  Specifically in the glove box.

I imagine that you know where I’m going with this.  The officer, of course, saw the bottle of pills and inquired.  Sean answered honestly, he does have prescriptions for all of his medications and is followed closely by his doctor, and the cop was very nice about the whole thing but he was unable to access the database that should have confirmed the prescriptions (who knew there was such a thing?) and so he issued a ticket, or more accurately, two tickets, one for speeding and one for drug possession.

When issuing the drug citation the officer assured Sean that all he would have to do was call the county in not less than 5 nor more than 14 days and give his name and they could then check the database and drop the charges.  And then he let him go on home (which is a lot better than hauling him off to jail which he certainly could have done).

(Except that he didn’t go home he went to my mother’s where I was, with my children and my siblings.  And then he related the tale of how he very nearly got arrested for drug possession to me while I was sitting at my mother’s kitchen table playing Boggle with most of my siblings and my father and while my mother did dishes not ten feet away.  Picture that scene for a second will you?  Put yourself in my place.  Fun huh?)

As instructed Sean called The Wasatch County Justice Court yesterday and apparently what the patrolman told him is not quite how this whole thing is going to go down.

So Sean scheduled an arraignment for August 15th when he gets to go to Heber and enter a not guilty plea after which, we are told, he will schedule a hearing at which he can present his prescriptions and the charges can be dropped.  He’s been assured that this is all standard and not a big deal and nothing to worry about.  And yet I find that it feels like kind of a big deal to me and I’m a little worried.

The bright side is that if he goes to jail then I’ll have and extra car so I can finally have one up on blocks in the yard.  And I’m sticking with the plywood couch.

If There’s One Thing I’m Really Good At It’s…

I have a brother who’s an amazing, caring, wonderful person.  He is not, however, the most professionally successful person you could ever meet.  He works hard, he’s tried lots of different things, he just doesn’t ever get too far.  He made a comment yesterday to the affect that he’s starting to think that the reason he’s so unsuccessful is that he keeps trying to do things that he cannot do.  He didn’t really go into detail but the way I read it, at least the way I read it the first time through, was that he keeps trying to do things he’s not good at.  ( I have no way of knowing (yet) if that is in fact what he meant, but he reads this blog and comments with some amount of regularity so it’s possible we’ll all know before too long.  Until them I’m going to carry on with this post inspired by my interpretation.)

I think that we’d all agree that we’d be best served in life by pursuing those areas in which we do the best.  If we have a particular talent for playing the tuba and no ability whatsoever at playing the flute then it’s probably best to become a tubist (almost certainly not a word) and not a flautist (pronounced floutist and most certainly a word).  And therein lies my problem.  I have no idea what I’m good at.

I’m not writing this in an attempt to garner sympathy.  This is not a compliment fishing expedition.  I know that there are things that I’m good at, lots of them.  Heck, if you catch me on a good day, or even on an average day, I’d probably tell you that I’m a genius and multi-talented and gorgeous to boot.  I even mostly believe all those things.  The problem is that I have no idea whether or not they’re true.

I don’t watch a lot of American Idol but I’ve seen a few episodes here and there, and a few of the episodes I’ve seen are those opening episodes of the new seasons, the ones where you get to see the up and coming stars perform and those other performances.  You know, the ones that are so bad that you can’t believe that those people had the nerve to open their mouths at all.  The thing is, with the possible exception of William Hung (who I really like to believe knew he was awful and just managed to parley that into a “thing” for 15 minutes and a million dollars or so), these people think that they’re good.  They really believe that they can sing, that they are flautists, and that they’re going to make the big time.  They’re just really really wrong.

I work with a nurse that has the same problem.  It’s not that she doesn’t try, it’s not that she doesn’t care, it’s not that she doesn’t have the education, she’s currently working on her masters in nursing.  And she’s not the worst nurse ever, it’s just that she’s a horrible charge nurse.  She doesn’t have the knack, the feeling for it, the je ne sais quoi.  Corporate healthcare being what it is, it doesn’t really matter, there are policies and procedures, checks and balances, set up to prevent catastrophic mistakes even from the most inept of nurses (and her ineptitude doesn’t extend to patient care it’s more of a logistical decision making problem) but the fact remains that this poor woman has devoted her professional life to rising in the ranks of nurses, hoping to eventually do some kind of nurse managing, an area in which she just will not ever excel and where she’ll never be trusted or fully accepted.  The problem is that she doesn’t know that.

And it’s not that she hasn’t been told.  Just like the mocked would be American Idol contestants, she’s been told that she has a problem, she’s been retrained, she’s been put on probation, but much like those tone deaf folks on Idol, she believes in herself.

Just off the top of my head I can come up with several more examples of people around me being totally delusional on one topic or another.  I’m sure you can too.  Which leads me to wonder where my delusion lies.

I’ve spent the last 2 years working (slowly) toward a nursing degree.  And the long range plan is that I’ll spend several more years and A LOT more money carrying on in that vein.  Eventually I’d like to be a trauma NP.  This is a high stress, high acuity career.  I think I’d be good at it, I do have some experience with trauma and critical care and I think I acquitted myself quite well.  But what if I’m like that nurse that I work with?  And, possibly more importantly, how would I know?

If you were to really get to the top of any one discipline then I guess you’d know.  I doubt that Micheal Phelps wonders whether he’s actually a very good swimmer, I imagine that Celine Dion knows that she can carry a tune and Bill Gates is probably aware of his talent in regards to computer programming and business.  But most of us are never going to win gold medals or platinum albums or make trillions of dollars.  So how do we know? Is failing at something really proof that you’re not any good at it?  Is succeeding at something proof that you are?  (William Hung did make some money off his album after all.)

I don’t really have an answer, maybe it doesn’t matter, maybe being happy doing it is all that’s really required.  Maybe just doing something, anything, is good enough.  I’m really not sure.  I am, however, pretty sure that I don’t want to be a struggling flutist when I could rock the tuba.

Has anyone seen my tuba?

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