Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Funeral Highlights

Since Lavish missed out on the St.George / Vegas fun last weekend, she and I had our own road trip this past Saturday. We decided to go up to Bountiful, and invited several friends. Unfortunately, nobody we knew was able to join us. (I think it may have been because we gave them 10 minutes advance notice.)

We attended a killer (ha!) funeral while we were there. Since we didn't exactly know the man that had passed away, I kept thinking of 'Harold and Maude' (shown for Optimistic.'s movie night a couple weeks ago). (It was for my mom's uncle, whom we'd never met; Mom couldn't attend and asked Lavish and I to represent the family.)

Anyhow, since you all missed out, I thought I would post some highlights from the funeral. Enjoy!

Story #1 - The Cow Story
"JV" was an expert storyteller. His daughter shared a story-ette that her dad often told her when she was a kid. She wasn't sure if it was actually true, or not. To the best of my memory, it went like this:

When JV was young, he went to school, and he also helped take care of the family's cows. They would be down at the river, and they'd drink water, or whatever, and then he'd direct them back up to the barn to be milked. When he would milk them, there was never much milk, though. It was because when they were down at the river, their udders would hang into the river and the catfish would get at them!

(Lavish does not remember this story because she was watching a little girl who was playing near our pews. The little girl was sharing food with people. Another kid had dried apricots that they shared with her, and she graciously accepted, tasted it, and made a face indicating disgust. She took another bite because she was supposed to, since someone had shared with her, though. It was really funny.)

Story #2 - The Car Story
"JV" was a good father, and taught his children a bunch of lessons. A different daughter shared this story:

She borrowed the family car to visit a boy that she was interested in. He worked half a mile from their home. She stayed longer than she was supposed to, and kept the car longer than she was supposed to. Her father ("JV") walked down to where she was, and without going inside or saying anything to her, he took the car back home. When she finally left, the daughter saw that the car was gone, and she worried that it had been stolen. She called home and told her dad that they'd better call the police because the car had been stolen. "JV" was quiet for a moment. "No," he said, "The car's here. It knows when to come home even if my daughter doesn't."

Story #3 - Gardening
"JV" was an avid gardener, especially known for his prize tomatoes. His daughter helped him plant his garden after he was old and unable to do it. He made her replant the tomatoes twice (until they were planted properly).

"JV's Philosophy"
"JV" has something hanging at the wall of his house, and one of his kids said they think it was kind of his motto. It reads:

For every worry under the sun
There's a solution or there is none.
If there is one, hurry and find it.
If there is none, never mind it.

Hopefully that eased your grief and helped you come to terms with reality, just as it did for Lavish and I.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Save the Whales! And the Earth!

(Two blog posts from me in one day? Wow-ee. Can you handle the excitement?)

Last week for movie night, we watched An Inconvenient Truth.

Despite my status as a registered, ballot-wielding Republican, I happen to be sensitive to some environmental issues. And I realize that it all needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but the whole thing causes me some dissonance. I seem to have a continual voting dilemma-- do I vote for the party which supports the environmental issues that I am genuinely concerned about, or do I vote for the party which supports the other 99% of the things that I'm interested in? I tend to vote for the latter, and then I feel bad for not doing my part environmentally. I recycle when I can, and whatnot, but I wonder if my interests would better match with one of those parties that never wins any elections (not the Neowhig party.)

It's been in me for a long time.

I've remembered a couple stories from my childhood that I thought I would post.

Sometime in elementary school, I used our Mac to make a poster. It was a nice poster that I made in QuarkExpress. It had a little border around the edge and a big clip-art picture of a whale, and it said in really big letters "SAVE THE WHALES." I printed it on our dot matrix printer, and photocopied a bunch of them on Dad's copy machine in his home office. I went around the neighborhood and taped them to every lamp-post on my block.

I don't know what I expected to happen. Maybe people would start saying to themselves:
"Oh! We should save the whales. At first I was thinking that we shouldn't, but now that I've seen this smart poster, I think I'll change my mind and start to save whales!"

Despite my protests, my parents made me remove all of them. Probably the same evening that I'd posted them.
And then another time, I talked Lavish into making a Save the World commercial with me. It didn't go very far, really. We had a big video camera that I thought we could use. Lavish wondered how we would get it on tv. I was sure that we could just call up and get a tv station to agree to help us out with it. I called the TV station that was listed in the phone book and left a message.

They called me back while I was mopping. We were in trouble! for nothing! and so my sisters and I were having to clean the kitchen. (Chores like mopping always take much, much longer to do as a little kid than they do as an adult, because little kids don't have the same coordination that adults do.)
My dad told me that the TV station was on the phone. He didn't know why they were calling me. A nice man explained to me how expensive it was to produce commercials, and to air them. He asked me what my favorite TV show was (Woody Woodpecker) and told me how much it would cost to do a short commercial during that show. He liked to talk, and so even after I realized that we wouldn't be able to do our commercial, I kept asking good questions. He talked at length. I think it ended up being 40 minutes or an hour. By the time he was done talking, my dad had cooled down, and I didn't have to mop anymore. It was fantastic.

I was also a card-carrying member of the RecyCOOL club, but I don't have much to say about that.

Writing on Shirts

For as long as I can remember, I've had access to a washing machine and dryer. Even on my mission, our apartments always had washers. (We had drying racks instead of dryers, since pretty much nobody has dryers in Italy. Most stores that sell washers don't even sell dryers.) It's something I've taken for granted, much like CheezIts or linens or anything else.

Now, my house has no washer or dryer, and I get to make trips to a local laundromat. Lucky me. Lavish goes to a fantastic place that boasts wifi and new machines. Since I usually don't do my laundry at the same time and I have to walk, I go to a really ghetto (really nearby) joint that boasts cheaper dryers than Lavish's, and a shady crowd.
The last time I was doing laundry, another woman was drying hers near mine. She was hispanic, probably about 50-55 years old, wearing athletic pants and shoes, and a t-shirt with an unbuttoned plaid shirt on top. What fascinated me about her was her t-shirt.
The t-shirt had an African American young man on it, shirtless, and wearing lots of bling. (Perhaps a rapper?) He had a tough expression on his face. The shirt read "Don't judge me if you don't know me."

I began to wonder why the woman would have chosen to wear that shirt. Was it her son's shirt? Did she find it for really cheap at a thrift store? Did she somehow identify with the shirt? It was a mystery to me. I certainly couldn't imagine my parents or grandparents wearing a shirt like that.
(It reminds me of one time on the buses in Italy...a guy had his music on at a pretty high volume. The person directly behind him on the bus was a little old lady with long white hair. I started to feel sorry for her having to listen to his loud, worldly music until--I saw her from another angle and realized that my little old lady was sporting a mullet!)
I started thinking about writing on shirts.

I make a conscious effort to avoid wearing clothing with writing on it.
It started when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, when I chose a Peter Pan outfit as one of my new school outfits. It was a red shirt that had Peter Pan on it, and pants with Tink on the knee. Other kids would stop me on the playground and start reading my shirt aloud "Escape from Neverland........" and it made me uncomfortable. What do I care about Neverland!? It certainly had nothing to do with me. I really didn't wear it much after that.

I really don't like having to explain or defend things that are written on my clothing. I start feeling self-conscious.
Recently I've had a similar problem with one of my shirts that I ordered from Threadless.com. (I love their shirts.)

One of the shirts has writing on it, though. And almost every time I wear the shirt, people will come up and stare at my chest and read what the dialogue on the shirt says. Or they'll ask me what it says. And then after I tell them, they'll ask me why it says what it does, or why I chose that shirt. "I don't know," I'll say. "I just liked it." But I feel like it's never a good enough answer. In fact, I realized that there was more to my shirt than I knew of when I bought it, and it makes me enjoy the shirt a bit less.

(It's kind of like people's cellphone ringtones. You'll get these very uneducated guys that sometimes have classical music as their ringtones. I saw it more often before downloading ringtones was so popular; they'd just chosen a pre-programmed ringtone. And of course they didn't realize it was a symphony that they'd set. They didn't know that the composer was 11 and unable to speak, or that it was written in honor of some queen, or anything about it. Not your typical classical music crowd; they just thought it sounded cool. That amuses me to no end.)
I've had a couple of other issues with writing on shirts lately.
One of my little sisters gifted me some of her trendy clothes that she chooses not to wear (in favor of more comfy clothes.) It included a very comfortable brushed cotton shirt that became my favorite. There was also another one just like it that read "Your boyfriend says hi." that I wasn't really sure what to do about. On the one hand, I wanted to wear it because it was so soft and comfortable. On the other hand, I didn't want anybody to think that their boyfriend would be saying hello to them through me.
I decided that an excellent compromise would be to wear it only for painting. That way I could enjoy junk clothes that were soft and comfortable! I thought it was fantastic. Except...people came over to help Lavish and I paint our apartment, and they would sometimes give me funny looks. I felt awkward about it, too, because I liked and was spending time with a guy who was already in a relationship. My conscious effort to respect his relationship mad me very uncomfortable to be wearing that shirt.
Also, I have a Cecil sweatshirt which has writing on it. I almost always enjoy it anyhow. In California, though, nobody knew who Cecil was. They'd stare at my sweatshirt and say "Sissel is your home boy?" "Mhmm." "Who's Sissel?"

So there you have it, folks. Don't judge me if you don't know me. (Especially not by writing on my t-shirts.)