Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tips from Us

Did you know that if the slightly used car (as in under 10K miles) you're about to purchase blows a rod while you're giving it one last test drive you can probably score a pretty fantastic deal on a brand new car?

It's true.

Welcome to the family, Little Guy! (Kenny's really excited you're here.)

Monday, April 27, 2009

to satisfy my inner-nerd

I tend to keep things pretty surface-level on this blog for the most part. I might share my hatred for Time Warner Cable, and occasionally whine about forgetful old women in my church, or I might even share some actual feelings from time to time...but the content of this blog is generally sort of banal. And that's okay. I prefer it that way. But why don't we all try something a little deeper on this Monday morning...

Click here and read this article.

Then go read this book.
The story repeatedly asks "Who is John Galt?" but if you really want the answer as to "Who" he is, then go read this book.
(by the way, how amazing are those graphics? I just want to hang prints of these covers all over my house...Moving on.)

After reading all these, if you want, come indulge me with some stimulating conversation. Please? Not the "this is my opinion and you're damned if you disagree" sort of stuff, but something more inquisitive and exploratory and interesting. I admit, I've been a long-time fan of this book. I absolutelylove it. But I don't agree with everything in it, nor do I worship Rand. (I just heard you breathing a sigh of relief, Dad. Don't relax yet; I'm still naming a kid Atlas...)

Anyway, I don't want to repeat the article, so I'll just say go read it. It's not life-changing or inspiring, but it might get you to read the books, and those are life-changing and inspiring. If you don't get to read the article, I'll leave you with at least my favorite quote:

"...selfishness did not mean disengagement from the world or sociopathy. Rational self-interest, egoism, in Ayn Rand's perception is not being Bernie Madoff, not thinking short-term and satisfying just whims, and cheating and lying and is about pursuing what's truly in your rational, long-term self-interest, figuring out what's good for you, without exploiting, taking advantage, without stealing from other people, without sacrificing from other people to yourself...but also without sacrificing yourself to other people."

I think Adam Smith might have appreciated that clarification.

Oh yeah, the article also mentions a possible Altas Shrugged movie. Kenny and I have given this potential movie a lot of thought, and (while on a road trip) we casted all the parts. So, Hollywood? If you're listening, we have Atlas Shrugged's dream cast already worked out. (And it absolutely does not have Angelina Jolie as Dagny. How dare you...) Call us.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

He likes it raw.

Ignoring my dentist's instructions, I joined Kenny's family for sushi right after my surgery. We were gathering to give little brother, Michael, a proper send-off; he leaves this morning for a summer job in New York. (I'm a little jealous...of him living and playing in New York, not of his job).

Anyway, I ultimately obeyed my dentist and was a good girl. No sushi for me. However, Kenny overcompensated and ordered enough to feed a small army.

Hudd counted; Kenny ordered 50 pieces of sushi - in his first round! FIFTY, folks. Needless to say, he didn't order seconds.

Good luck in New York, Mike! We'll miss you (but hopefully we'll come vistit...hint hint to Kenny.)

Adventures in Dentistry: The life, death, and resurrection of a molar.

Once upon a time, Little Jill had a cavity on (in?) a baby molar. Her dentist gave it a filling and gave Little Jill a lollypop and a toothbrush (go figure.) The cavity won the battle, however, so Dentist pulled the dying molar and placed a metal spacer in its place to save a spot for an adult molar. Little Jill really loved caramel apples. While partying in Little Jill's mouth, the spacer and the caramel fell in love or something and refused to be separated. So the spacer said "peace-out" to Little Jill's gums and remained stuck to the caramel apple. Luckily, the adult molar quickly filled its absence, much to the delight of Little Jill's mother.

A few years later Tween Jill had another cavity on the now-adult molar. (Jill really liked candy...) Again, Dentist filled it. Unfortunately again for Tween Jill, this cavity was a fighter and it kicked the filling's trash. Dentist retaliated and performed a root canal on Jill's molar and put a shiny silver cap on it. All was well. This capped molar served as the anchor for Teen Jill' s braces (for three+ years) and all seemed to be well for Late-Teens Jill until one day this all-but-dead molar starts to hurt again. Then Late-Teens Jill's face swelled up to the point where she couldn't even open her right eye. She was lovely.

Jill's mom (who was rather upset by all this) does some investigating. She learns (with the help of a new dentist) that the root canal was done incorrectly and Jill's poor molar has been dying a slow, painful death. The exact details are somewhat more gory and so I'll spare these particulars.
So Jill gets doped up on all sorts of pain medication and has another root canal done on the same tooth. Jill is really excited by this. She loves root canals.

Skipping some details...

Young Adult Jill finds herself in the L.A. county hospital waiting to have all four wisdom teeth pulled. The poor little molar has not fared well. It's all but gone at this point; it hurts still and looks really gross. Jill decides to do the humane thing and finally lay this molar to rest-along with her wisdom teeth. She is at the hospital's dental ward because she doesn't have insurance. And because she is only 19 and is on her own and is very poor. As long as she pretends to be a resident of Los Angeles County, she will get all five teeth pulled for only $50. So she patiently hangs out with all the illegals and state prisoners and all others looking for the State to throw them a bone. She realizes she has no pride. She avoids eye contact with anyone wearing handcuffs.

She perserveres and has the teeth removed. The mourning period was very brief.

Young Adult Jill learns that it's not wise to make follow up appointments while under the influence of laughing gas. She misses the appointment where she was going to get a fake tooth. Jill's Dentist decides to be a hero and travels to Africa to give orphans free dental work. He takes with him Young Adult Jill's chances of getting a fake tooth on the cheap. Young Adult Jill is devastated.

For almost six years, Jill is a hillbilly. She doesn't like this at all, but can't justify the expense of a fake tooth. Well, mid-twenties Jill finally has dental insurance, a good job, and scores a major hook-up on a dental implant. Today, Mid-Twenties Jill will no longer be a hillbilly. No, after today Jill will smile big and be welcomed back into the folds of civilized society. Jill is really excited.

The only thing Jill will be mourning tonight is the only likeness she shared with Amy Winehouse.

And I'm totally okay with that. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blame the Establishment

The temperature in Newport Beach, CA at 3:51pm is 94 degrees. (For real...on the coast!)

Despite the fact that the world is melting outside my office, I'm sitting here in a wool coat with a space heater strategically placed at my feet.

Either (a) I'm a reptilian wimp or (b) my company's building managers are total sadists. I'm leaning toward the later...

The perfect Stranger

How is it that after 3+ years of regularly attending my local congregation, I am still routinely asked if I'm a visitor - often by the same few women?! Sure, I could probably be more social, and yes, I realize my hair color/style might change on a weekly basis, but seriously. We have maybe 30 women that come to Relief Society every week - you'd think at some point I'd start to look familiar, right? RIGHT?!

On another note, the husband and I have been enjoying some long forgotten, so-bad-they're-amazing movies, courtesy of Hulu. North Shore was everything I remembered and hoped for, and, yes, I still love Turtle.
But Blue Lagoon? Time has not been kind to this cinematic product. I had a hard time getting past Brooke Shield's terrible acting, the whole incestual nature of their relationship, and the fact that the whole movie better served as a P.S.A. for the importance of sex education. It was essentially a two hour maturation video. I'd say check it out, but I don't want to be guilty of advocating such a total waste of time. If you choose to watch it, don't say i didn't warn you...

Stick with North Shore. It's magical.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lost in Translation

My dentist has a pretty thick persian accent - which I love (some of my favorite professors in college had thick persian accents)...also his social skills are somewhat lacking.  Granted, he knows his stuff and he's a nice guy.  

I had to smile when I overheard him say the following to a patient (who had apparently not had her teeth cleaned in quite some time): 

"See, it's beautiful!  I love it.  You know why it's beautiful?  Because it was ugly before.  That's why."

(Note to self: get teeth cleaned regularly, lest my smile starts to look "ugly.")

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Morning Math

1 very sudden and unplanned morning meeting
+ 1 routinely long-winded speaker, particularly prone
to redundancy
+ 1 moderator with a special fondness for long, drawn
out, and often awkward pauses
+ 1 particularly problematic credit deal
x a whole lot of variables
+ 1 female bladder full of oatmeal, strawberries, and
75 oz of water (all consumed between 8:00am-9:30 am)

= certain death (by explosion).

I guess it's technically not certain death. Against all odds, I did survive. Barely.

On the plus side (besides survival, and besides not losing it in my boss' office, of course):
  • I learned the true meaning of fervent, sincere prayer and
  • I'm pretty sure I set a new record for fastest sprint in 3 1/2 inch heels.
On the down side,
  • I couldn't tell you what we discussed in the meeting.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My previous post included some photos of my sister, Anna, on a recent Girls' Trip to San Francisco. For three days my mom, two sisters, and I ate, shopped, walked, rode public transportation (just like the good ol' days when we lived in Boston), posed for photos, chased the trolley, ate, visited museums, rode carousels, and ate some more. My cousin, Jen, who lives close to the city met us for a day.

It was so fun.

Here's some (okay, a ton) of photos. Warning: it was the little sisters' first trip to San Fransisco, so we were hard-core tourists on this trip.

On our way through Golden Gate Park to the De Young Museum we happened across this amazing play ground and carousel. Of course we had to ride it. (Also, there were signs everywhere saying we couldn't be on the playground without the accompaniment of children. Not wanting to be mistaken for pedophiles, we obeyed.) Here Jen demonstrates her mad acrobat skills. The Carousel conductor was not amused. He also wasn't impressed when she hung upside down from her chosen steed. There was some discussion of insurance and potential injuries...I wasn't totally listening.
Sister Becca...
Oh, blessed subway... L.A.'s just doesn't measure up. I dream of the day I no longer have to drive. (Becca and Anna)
Anna dominated my point and shoot camera all weekend, which was cool; I actually made it into some shots...albeit just barely in this case.
Happy to finally be on the bus after several attempts to locate the correct stop.
So much to see in the city...apparently I'm concerned about something.
Becca, Mom, Anna on Pier 39, not to be mistaken for Pier 49 - the pizza place I worked at for a year or so during high school (It was really good pizza...) Waiting for the trolley to paradise (i.e. Ghirardelli Square - chocolate!)
Enjoying the ocean's bounty at fisherman's wharf. (One lucky transient got to enjoy the remainders of my calamari. Aren't I generous?)
Sisters (at Lombard Street. Yeah, we were total tourists.)
We were fortunate to see both the Warhol Live and the Yves St. Laurent exhibits at the De Young. Outside the museum, I'm dreaming of wild parties and couture.
Becca got all the height in the family. Thus, she is a natural model.
My family has a tendency to make goofy faces and weird poses...unprompted. Oh well. (In front of the ferry building where I satisfied my craving for french macarons.)
Here's me in the process of taking the above picture.
Ah, mother.
La mer et ma mere. (translation: the sea and my mother.) She grew up in Southern California but is currently land-locked in Utah. Here she takes a moment to breath in the Pacific. (at Fisherman's Wharf)

I'm sure I'll post more... be warned.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Proud Sister Moment

Pardon me while I brag a little. (Readers of this blog should be well aware that among my favorite things to do is bragging about the accomplishments of my loved ones.)

Meet Anna. At just 12 years old, she is the youngest of my three siblings. Adding to her long list of accomplishments, she was just elected to be the eight grade class president. Congrats to Anna! And congrats to the eithgrade class that elected her; they're in great hands.

There's lots of reasons to love Anna - her sense of humor, her kindness, her quick wit, her joyful nature - but my favorite thing about Anna is her unpretentious confidence. It might be because I spent essentially my entire adolescence in a state of self-loathing, but I just love that she seems so happy in her own skin and confident in her likability without a trace of arrogance or smugness. She is kind, thoughtful, funny, and exactly herself all the time and never stops to consider what anyone might think of her. She just likes herself and assumes everyone else will, too. And apparently, they do. Congrats Anna. I continue to be inspired by you and I love you very much. You'll make a fantastic class president.

Always thoughtful, I got an email from Anna yesterday wishing me a Happy Easter. Her signature line included this phrase:

"love, anna (or anna spelled backward - take your pick.)"

Don't you just love her?!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Totally Gratuitous

A few of you asked for photos of the Magnificent Sequined Shirt/Cape thing Kenny gave me upon my return from San Fransisco...

Here it is...

Yes, I realize you can't see the whole thing, but the other photos I had just weren't very good - i.e. I looked like poop. (In my defense, I had just gotten off a plane after spending three days walking all over an alternately rainy, windy, and sunny San Fransisco. And the fact that it had been 6 days since I washed or even really brushed my hair was really obvious.) Sorry, but this photo will have to do. If you're lucky, you'll see it in person some time. I promise it will be magical.

Anyway - HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND! Find some eggs, eat some candy, and vacuum your house a million times to get all that awful plastic grass that spilled out of your basket. And (most importantly) remember the reason for the holiday. Also, I'm thinking some John Wayne movies are in order (but understand that I may have been slightly brainwashed by Kenny as he's been sending me emails all morning laden with Old West lingo. And, he keeps signing off as "Kenny the Kid.")

I really like him.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Great movie...

    Great scene (and I'm paraphrasing)...

    • Little Boy: Mom, [some kid] said I was a bastard...what does that mean? (mom, visibly upset, doesn't answer)

    • Aunt Nora: it just means your mom wasn't married when she had you; no big deal. In fact, someday it will be a badge a coolness for you, like, you'll start a band and call yourself the Bastard Sons or something. (whispering) You're the coolest bastard I know.

    Great friend /movie companion / conversationalist: Sarah ...

    (Sarah is rocking the Geela Wrap, available here.)

    Great Story... (but not-so-great story telling)

    You know when you're deeply engrossed in conversation and you don't really pay attention to where you're going or what you're doing? Such was the case when Sarah and I walked into the movie theater last night. After deciding that good movie popcorn needs lots of butter, Sarah left to get more for our otherwise dry, bland popcorn. The previews hadn't even started yet. Well, I watched the pre-preview entertainment, the recap, and several (long) trailers (all of which were for kids movies, which was weird considering the feature film was very adult). After downing half a box of Skittles and exercising great restraint in not hurling my phone at the screen when a giant Scorsese reminded me to 'kindly silence my cell phone' (for the thousandth time), I was convinced Sarah had been abducted - or she was scarfing all our popcorn in some deserted hallway. Either way, I had to do something. After all, I still had her purse, wallet, phone, etc. Where could she be?

    I waited long enough.

    I eventually found her sitting all alone on the front row in the correct theatre. Apparently we're too cool to listen to the doorman tell us which theatre our movie will play in and we sorta followed each other into the theatre playing Monsters vs Aliens. Anyway, it was awesome. In hushed whispers, she confessed she couldn't remember which theatre we had been in after leaving to get more butter. She decided to wait in the correct theatre and was confident I'd figure it out...eventually.

    Luckily, she was right. It took me awhile, but I got it. (And the movie was still great, even after missing the first twenty minutes.)

      Good times.

    Thursday, April 2, 2009

    Did you know...

    Did you know that if you’re Mormon* you baptize people by getting them naked and putting them alone in a room?

    Did you also know that if you’re Mormon* your church tells you to hate Jews, forbids you from knowing anything about the Bible, demands that you be skinny by starving yourself, and forces to ride a bike or walk everywhere?

    Furthermore, did you know that Kenny apparently looks like a Jew?

    (Oh the joys of conversing with the mentally ill and homeless...)

    My question now is, if you’re not mentally ill, what is your excuse for these ignorant, asinine, tactless accusations? Also, when you begin these “discussions” by using the following statement “You’re Mormon*? Oh, you believe....” please clarify at the beginning whether you are actually telling me what I believe or are in fact trying to ask me what I believe. ‘Cause I can’t tell. If it’s the former, well frankly, I’m not interested in talking to you. I’ve never been a fan of wasting my time on one sided conversations. Have a good day. See ya later (maybe...hopefully not).

    That rant aside, I wanted to say how awesome it was to volunteer at Santa Ana’s Mercy House last night. Humbling, sure; heartbreaking, most definitely, but still awesome. It’s good to be slapped in the face with the recognition of all your blessings particularly in contrast to those who have much, much less. It’s also nice to remember that seemingly mundane opportunities (like a daily shower) aren’t available to many people. Being clean and smelling good is a privilege and a blessing - for you and for those within smelling-distance of you! As tight as it might be for everyone right now, most of us are still relatively living the high life. I hope you take the time to recognize it and enjoy it. It’s awesome.

    I’ll leave you with this Depression-era photo that sits on my desk at work (in an effort to remind me to work hard and focus on financial security – and to not to shop online all day).

    Remember Einstein, folks: it’s all relative. (Also, your personal satisfaction and happiness lie entirely within the realms of your own perspective - choose to be happy).

    *Mormon is slang for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - use our real name already; get it right! And for the record, because I can't trust everyone to be reasonably intelligent or to use common sense, the Mormon "Facts" I listed at the beginning of this post not actual truths, contrary to a certain mentally-ill homeless girl. Come on people, that first one doesn't even make sense.