Friday, April 29, 2005

since you asked so nicely

and since you flatter me with your emails and comment, here it is. The much-requested Meet the Family, Part II

We'll start with my mom again. During the Family Speed Scrabble tournaments, she makes Baby crawl underneath our glass-topped table and tell her where all of the good letters are, and then wonders why her lectures about "winning isn't everything" never really sank in. While she can never remember where she put her cell phone, or where she parked the car, she always knows exactly how much and what kind of candy is left in all 10 of her "hidden" stashes.

When Dad isn't sleeping on his mattress in the bathroom, he sleeps next to his bicycle, which he keeps on a stand in his bedroom. When he loses Speed Scrabble, he goes outside to play with Cooper, (the dog), whom he insists we refer to as our "brother". Cooper is his favorite child, because Cooper always does what he's told.

When Brandon mentions how loud he thinks we are, Bethany pretends to agree, although she's by far the loudest of the group.

We're all very thankful that Brandon has finally admitted that he's bald, and has therefore given up on the comb-over.

Brother has stopped shoving gummy worms up his nose since he got married, for which we are all grateful. Every time I call, he pretends to have forgotten who I am, and honestly thinks the joke gets funnier every day.

Brianna very patiently helps Brother during our Speed Scrabble games, and is nice enough to let him believe he won on his own. This only happens when I'm not playing, though, because I'm still undefeated.

Then there's me. I am currently my mom's favorite child because I'm growing my hair out and I live the farthest away, so she has to pretend to love me the most when I come home.

I love Ashley mainly because she wasn't ashamed about sobbing for six hours straight when she received her mission call to Provo, Utah. She has successfully landed herself in the hospital during every family vacation, so going on a mission has saved my parents plenty of money in medical bills. I'm getting concerned about her because, not only does she believe her mission clothes are fabulous, but her letters are starting to sound more and more like New Era articles every week.

Since Bexar has chosen Annabelle for the name of her first daughter, she has moved on to picking out the cooking supplies she's going to buy when her husband's a rich doctor and collecting recipes so that she can make Shawn his favorite meals every night. Yes, she's still a newlywed.

Shawn has the kind of laugh that only his wife thinks is cute. I'm pretty sure his mom even thinks it's weird. So he majored in engineering, because there's really nothing funny at all about engineering. Seriously.

Baby just started her first job working at Sonic, and bases a successful night not on how many tips she gets, but how many phone numbers. She's going to prom again this weekend, and has therefore had to schedule extra time in front of the mirror to perfect her eye makeup.

We're a pretty fun bunch. Any other requests, Chris?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

yay! i love talking about books

This is going to be so much fun! I added a couple of my own questions, because I was too excited to just stop after five.

You're stuck inside Farenheit 451. What book would you be?

  • Plato's The Republic, because it's been named as one of the most influential books ever written, so after they burned me, my loss would certainly be felt.

  • Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

  • Of course I have.

  • Which fictional character do you like the most?

  • Hallie, from Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams. I'm not in love with the name, but I totally want to name one of my children Hallie now, because she's just that cool.

  • The last book you bought is...

  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert - I read the abridged version in French back in high school, and loved the story, so I wanted to read it in English so I could actually understand it.

  • What are you currently reading?

  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • - I really like her writing
  • All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg
  • - I've read it before, but it's a great story
  • Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury - we'll see how I like it.

  • Five books you would take to a deserted island

  • Scriptures Just because

  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, because it's really long and has a million sub-plots, so by the time I finished it, I couldn't remember the details of what happened at the beginning. So I could read this one over and over again and still be surprised by the plot twists.

  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, because, while it's a good story, it's not exactly a "light" read. If I really were on a deserted island, I'd probably be starved for some mental stimulation. Maybe if I read this enough, I could improve my vocabulary and literary skills instead of letting my brainpower wan.

  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, because it's long, so it'll occupy plenty of time, and it's heartwarming. Plus, I think I could read it repeatedly without getting sick of it.

  • We the Living by Ayn Rand, because I haven't read it, but want to.

  • What books, if any, do you NOT want to read?

  • DaVinci Code, or really anything by Dan Brown - maybe it makes me a book snob, but whenever there's that much hooplah made about a book, I'm generally disappointed when I read it.

  • Anything by Hemingway - sorry, but his writing style bores me to death.

  • Who are you going to pass this to?

  • Wendy, because she has a degree in literature and, even though she made me watch "What a Girl Wants", I totally trust her book opinions.

  • Chris, becuase he reads this blog, but NEVER COMMENTS. So I'm getting back at him for being a slacker blog reader. Do you still think I'm funny, Chris?

  • Derek, because maybe this will inspire him to start a blog. Or at least to comment so I know he's reading. And because he does everything I ask.
  • Wednesday, April 27, 2005

    this one's for you, kiddo

    I promised Derek that since he wasn't able to come hang out in Southern California, I'd take plenty of pictures to ensure sufficient jealousy. These are for you, kid:

    I spent a majority of the first day learning how to longboard. I only wiped out about 20 times, and it only hurt twice!

    Then we went camping on Catalina island. If you had come, we definitely would have let you carry this pack. I could fit one and a half of myself in it.

    Remember what a ray of sunshine I am in the mornings? I bet you miss that a lot.

    We spent a few hours kayaking around the island. We made friends with a very nice little sea lion. He challenged me to a race. He won.

    Don't you wish you could have been there? Yeah, I thought so.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2005

    see ya!

    In about 4 hours, I'm leaving for California! And from there, I'm headed to North Carolina. So, unfortunately, I will not be able to post for a while, as my internet access will be somewhat limited.

    However, I promise to return next Wednesday with plenty of good stories. And if I don't have any, I'll make some up.

    dear future boyfriend,

    Sorry to bother you again. I know that you might be getting a little weirded out by all these letters from some girl you've never even met. Which is why I'm requesting that you save these letters until the beginning-of-the-relationship-everything-you-do-is-funny-and-cute phase that we'll inevitably go through for the first two months or so. Because then you'll find these little notes amazingly endearing. But please do not, under any circumstanaces, read this during the mind-numbingly-intense-pick-fights-about-nothing-because-it-proves-that-our-relationship-is-solid-enough-to-make-it-through-a-rough-patch phase. That's just bad news. As great as the make-up makeout will inevitably be, it's just not worth it in the end. (You know, why don't we just skip that phase altogether? Just to shake things up a bit?) So now that that's out of the way, I think we should discuss a few things.

    Now, I know that you have heard (probably very corectly) that women often say what they don't mean, and don't say anything that they mean. I'm sure you're smart enough to figure out that when she says "Fine, do whatever you want. I don't care," it generally means that if you do what she wants you to do, she'll pretend that she wouldn't have minded either way, but if you actually do whatever you want, watch out.

    The thing is, I have a few of my own little phrases that you need to know about. First of all, if, when you ask me what I've been telling my friends about you, I respond with "well, I told them there's this guy who's trying to date me," probably you're not the man for me. And if that's the case, you really shouldn't be reading this anyway. So please pass it along to that brown-haired blue-eyed boy across the room. Thanks.

    Also, if I ever say "huh...." followed by a long silence, it probably means that I'm not that interested in what we're talking about and have absolutely nothing to contribute to the conversation. This is your cue to change the subject immediately.

    If we're going somewhere, and I say that it's "not that far" away, this only means that it will taks us less than six hours to arrive at our destination. I love roadtrips, and may try to rope you into a few with my generic "not that far away" response. For your own sake, check with Mapquest. And while you're on Mapquest, you should probably print out the driving directions as well. Because most likely, I'll start driving with no real idea of where I'm going, and rely solely on my Easy Read atlas for guidance.

    If I have a hard time responding to any comment you make because I'm laughing too hard, it means that I'm most likely falling in love with you. (Yay!) So keep doing whatever it is you're doing. Keep up the good work, pal.


    Tuesday, April 19, 2005

    this weekend, i....

    Discovered that if you stay at a dance because you want to talk to the friend you haven't seen in a while, chances are somebody's going to coerce you into dancing

    Cleared dead brush and honeysuckle from a local park, not because I was trying to better my community, but simply because it was sunny out and I decided that I need a little more color in my cheeks

    Told the boy, in no uncertain terms, that under no circumstances should second-date conversation ever involve telling a girl that you'd be willing to follow her anywhere she goes when she moves in August. (I think my exact words were AUGH! Hello? Don't tell me that!)

    Made a mental list of some of the men I've gone out with before. These included, but are not limited to:

    Ben: I met him the day he got home from his mission. That was the first problem. The second was that he thought it was funny to call me "Mom". Not acceptable. Ever.

    Brad: We spent a pleasant evening laughing at the first-date awkardness that was going on between his roommate and the girl he would propose to two weeks later.

    Ken: I firmly believe that he should be the poster boy for BYU's engineering department. He fits every single engineering stereotype to a tee.

    Marc: I've mentioned him in a previous post. He came to pick me up and Katie, the girl who had invited herself to live on my couch for two months, hit on him and really felt that they had a "connection". (Not White Skinned Goddess Katie. She is welcome to invite herself to live on my couch anytime. This is another Katie, whom I actually believe preferred to spell her name KT, which is something that I just can't approve of.) I will always appreciate him for introducing me to climbing, even though it was February, and my hands turned blue and numb from the cold.

    Alex: I'm not really sure if it was a date, but we had lunch together once. He found me incredibly boring because I had nothing to contribute to the conversation he was having with himself about skiing, and I found him incredibly boring because he was having a conversation with himself about skiing, and refused to change the subject.

    Brent: I was honestly worried that I might be related to him.

    Saia: I met him at a fireside, and he got my roommate's number and then called her phone to ask me out that weekend. Unfortunately, I was on a non-date with another boy, because we were currently pretending to be interested in each other. I really wanted to go out with him, just because his name is so cool.

    Ryan: He highlights his hair, frequents the tanning salon, counts calories, and would rather spend his money on clothes than anything else. Sorry, but I prefer to be the girl in the relationship

    Christian: I've got to give him props for his never-give-up attitude. After I told him that no, he couldn't hold my hand and no, I would never let him hold my hand, he called me for another date.

    Aaron: Man, I wish that one had worked out. He had the unique combination of charm, good looks, kindness, and humor. Unfortunately, he got engaged shortly after our date. And no, he doesn't have a brother. Dangit!

    Monday, April 18, 2005

    meet the family

    I know that you all think I'm wonderful and amazing, but I wouldn't be me if it weren't for my family. So I'm going to introduce you.

    First, there's my mom. She is incapable of staying up later than 10 pm, unless I happen to be talking about a boy. Whether or not he's a boyfriend is completely insignificant. Just as long as he's male, she's happy. She also has an obsession with both sales and candy, and is particularly fond of candy sales. She pretends to be a health nut by constantly discussing the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, but we all know better.

    Next is my Dad, who thought it would be helpful to ask my mom if she could try to be a little more like his dog. Because Cooper always runs out to meet him when he comes home, and if his dog can do that, certainly his wife can too. Although he has absolutely no problem sleeping through all 3 hours of church, when we're at home, somebody whispering at the other end of the house can keep him awake. He therefore stores an extra mattress in his room that he drags into the bathroom to sleep on while the rest of us are playing Speed Scrabble.

    Bethany is the family know-it-all, because she's the oldest child, and that's typically what oldest children are, and every family needs a know-it-all.

    Brandon is her husband. He comes from a family that doesn't talk much, and therefore thinks that we are incredibly loud. He also has the unique talent of knowing the times and channels on which he can find every episode of King of the Hill. Brandon is exactly like my dad. He really loves it when we point that out, too. So does Bethany. Really, they do.

    Next comes Brother. We call him Brother because he's the only one we have. He has made it his personal mission to eat at every barbecue restaurant in Texas and talk about how his brisket is better than anything you can buy anywhere. Which just might be true.

    Brianna is his red-headed wife who spends a good amount of her time making sure he doesn't do anything really stupid. She's doing a pretty good job of it, too.

    I'm next. I am the official Keeper of Family Secrets, and everybody's favorite sister. Obviously. I am also the reigning Speed Scrabble Champion.

    Ashley's right after me, although she has recently abandoned us to serve a mission. She now spends her days harassing the kind people of Provo, UT and telling the elders exactly what she thinks they should be doing. They do what she says because they're all slightly terrified of her. We've all become very concerned for her lately, because she's starting to believe that her missionary wardrobe is really cute.

    Bexar's a newlywed, and therefore spends her time laughing at everything her husband says. When she's not laughing at him, she is either baking for him or picking out names for their future children. In case you can't tell, she's pretty excited about being married.

    Shawn is Bexar's husband, who talks more than anyone I've ever met. And when Bexar pretends to be asleep because she's sick of listening to him, he talks to me. Because he knows I'm too nice to tell him to shut up. Shawn pretends to hate it when we call him Shawnbear, but deep down we know he loves it. We let him talk all he wants during our Speed Scrabble games simply because talking slows him down, and he therefore never wins. And in our family, winning really is everything.

    Baby's the baby of the family. She is trying her very best to be a teenager, and is doing a pretty bang-up job of it. She spends most of her free time looking at herself in the mirror and talking about how she can't wait to go to college so she can date "real men."

    There we are.

    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    poodle - an explanation

    Everybody always wants to know why on earth I go by Poodle. Nobody in their right mind could actually like the name. And if my family really loved me, they'd understand that Poodle is just ridiculous and mean. But what they don't realize is that this is exactly why my family loves the nickname. In my family, we love to laugh at ourselves and each other. This is occasionally mistaken for cruelty, but it's not. If you can laugh about something, it can't be that bad.

    So we laugh at each other. Like when we sent out a Christmas letter that included the lines:

    "Bethany is finally getting married this year. We were beginning to wonder if this would ever happen for her."


    "Michael spends quite a bit of time out of town, and sees the Continental ticket agents more than he sees his own children."


    "Bexar's having a lot of fun not making friends this year."


    "Poodle's not nearly as boring as she used to be."


    "Baby decided she wasn't quite nerdy enough, so she joined the spelling and math clubs. It's okay to laugh at her - we do."


    "Fernash decided that she was tired of wearing attractive clothes, so she became a missionary"

    Mean? Possibly, if you're not a Reed. Funny? Absolutely.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    dear pennsylvania,

    I'm just writing to let you know how much I've appreciated this time we've had together. These past two years have been my happiest ever, and I have you to thank for that. I was initally attracted to you because you are amazingly beautiful. Really, you're incredible. But besides that, you've treated me well for the most part. And amazing good looks and kindness are a difficult combination to find. You provided plenty of rain so that I could slide down your hills in my swimsuit, and you even let me swim in your lakes and run through your forests. And you didn't even give me allergies! You provided the snow on which I learned how to both cross-country and downhill ski, and in the summertime, you also somehow knew how to provide just the right intensity of sunlight so that I could tan without burning to a crisp. For all of this, I am very grateful. But don't think that I've forgotten the times you tried to kill me. Remember when I was driving to visit a friend, and you felt the need to push me out of my lane into oncoming traffic? Remember that? And there were several other times you pushed me off of the road and tried to slam me into street signs. I realize that I had not been giving you the love and attention that you deserve, and I may have said some unkind things about your winter winds, but I really feel that you overreacted. There are other, much gentler ways you could have let me know you were upset. Then there was the time you tried to trip me while I was jogging through your gamelands. That just wasn't necessary. I really don't need that negative influence in my life right now.

    So I'm going to have to take a break from you for a while. It's not that I don't care. I still like you a lot. I just need a little space. But if you need me, you can find me in California, Moab, Chicago, North Carolina, or Peru, depending on the day.

    I have some more bad news. Pretty soon, I'm going to have to leave you for good. I've found somebody else. His name is North Carolina. I call him NC for short. He's also amazingly attractive, and while he has problems of his own, I really feel like this relationship is going to work out great. Please don't be upset with me. I will always remember you very fondly, and will miss you when I'm gone.

    Love always,


    Monday, April 11, 2005

    live and learn

    I've made it my goal in life to never stop learning. And this weekend, I learned quite a few important lessons. Such as

    it's okay to freak out if a boy, one that you know perfectly well has been engaged before, tells you that he's more attracted to you than he's ever been to any girl, ever

    and it's also okay to vehemently agree with this boy when he admits that some people find him just a little too intense

    and it's really not a great idea to go camping in the Pennsylvania mountains in April if you don't have a really good sleeping bag

    and it's an especially bad idea if you're with two boys that you don't particularly want to be cuddled up next to

    and just because a boy is five years younger than you, doesn't mean he can't be unbelievably hot

    and lipgloss shows up in a completely different shade when your lips are sunburned

    and how annoying this is when you just found the perfect color for your complexion

    and my dad's my hero (see previous post)

    thanks, dad

    Today, I feel the need to let everyone know just how wonderful my father is. I love him not only because I inherited his straight teeth, but because, although he absolutely hated his days working as an accountant, he still answers all of my tax filing questions. And today helped me earn FOUR HUNDRED EXTRA DOLLARS on my tax return. FOUR HUNDRED!!! Because, apparently, there's some loophole that I was unaware of that makes my assistantship tax-free. I know, you're all now wishing he were your dad, but he's not. He's mine. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

    happy birthday to you

    Happy birthday to you,
    Happy birthday dear Bryan,
    Happy birthday to you!

    I'd like to send out a special birthday greeting to a unique individual. The first year I knew Bryan, we celebrated his birthday by successfully annoying our entire class by playing his Bad Religion CD during our lab. We may have lost a few friends that day, but we had a good time anyway.

    Some other happy memories with Bryan include the time we went camping at San Rafael Swells, and he pretended to be asleep the entire drive so that he could eavesdrop on the conversation taking place in the front seat. And when, on this same camping trip, we failed to bring sufficient fluids, and had to filter water from a small pool while we pretended not to notice all of the dead fishies floating around. Then there was the time that he honestly believed he had time to go climbing, take a video of it, shower, and change in the hour and a half between our friends' wedding ceremony and luncheon. I also still laugh whenever I think of the day he asked our fluids professor, in all seriousness, if he was teaching us a bunch of lies, or if this stuff was "for real". And I will never forget the day that I threw up repeatedly, forcing me to leave our flexibility class early, and he thanked me for getting sick because it gave him the opportunity to hit on the really hot girl he'd had his eye on for a while.

    I especially am thankful to Bryan for allowing me to laugh at him the numerous times he hit on women who turned out to be married. Nobody can handle that situation quite as gracefully as he. And also for forgetting to tell his roommates that he had invited everyone over for breakfast, so that I could find them standing half-naked in the living room when I showed up. That was a wonderful moment for me. Finally, I'd like to thank him for driving me up to my aunt Cindy's house two years ago, so that Cindy could tell my grandma that she met one of my friends, which could then be translated into "I met Brittany's fiance." This was rather amusing for everyone involved.

    Happy Birthay, Bryan! You really are something else.

    Friday, April 08, 2005

    Dear Future Boyfriend,

    I know we haven't actually met yet, but there are a few things that I'd like to get out in the open ahead of time. I realize that you're counting down the days until we meet, and that you very well may have dreamt of my face and received revelation from the heavens that I am the woman you will someday marry, but if this is the case, I really don't want to hear about it. Please. You need to realize that in relationships, some things are best left unsaid. And that is most definitely one of them. But there are a few other things that I need for you to understand about me if we're going to make this work.

    First of all, I really need for you to understand that I just don't dance. Yes, I've tried to enjoy it, and I've tried even harder to be good at it. And no, I assure you that you will not be the man who "teaches" me to love dancing. This deep-rooted hatred for dance goes all the way back to my elementary school days, when I would stick my foot in the doorway and force my sister to slam the door on it repeatedly, in hopes that I might break something and therefore be excused from Square Dance Week in PE. So please, please, please do not think that you can change my mind about this. Every man I have ever gone out with has tried, and all have failed miserably.

    It's also important that you realize that my family does actually call me Poodle, and that there's nothing you can do to stop them. This has been going on for over 12 years now, and has progressed to the point where my sister's husband didn't even know my real name is Brittany until after they were married. So don't think you can just swoop in and change their ways, no matter how ridiculous a name you think Poodle is. You will just have to learn to love it.

    I'd also really appreciate it if you tried your best not to be an engineer. This means that, the first time I meet you, I'd really prefer to not find you printing out the first 5,000 digits of pi to hang up on your wall. And all jokes that include the line "ohm" my gosh are not funny. They're just not. In addition to this, if someone were to ask you what you do for fun, "working out", "pumping iron", or any variation thereon are not acceptable answers. Even if you do work out for fun, at least have the sense to keep that information to yourself. I understand that this is the response all of your engineering friends give, but that's just the problem. Acceptable alternatives include mountain biking, camping, fishing, or even watching movies. And most importantly, you really need to understand that Stirling, Erickson, Brayton, and Otto are absolutely not acceptable names for our children. I realize that they are all famous enough to have engine cycles named after them, and Thermo was my favorite class, too, but let's be serious here.

    Oh, one more thing. If you could just double-check to make sure you really do have brown hair and blue eyes, that'd be fantastic. And just so you know, they sell hair dye and colored contacts, just in case you find out that you're actually a blonde with green eyes. And if you have a mustache, shave it off right this second. This is for your own good. Really, it is.

    If you could just keep these things in mind, I think we'll get along just swimmingly. I'm totally looking forward to meeting you.



    Thursday, April 07, 2005

    bryan thinks i'm funny

    I love using this blog to tell stories about ex-boyfriends. I've found that they generally prove to be the most humorous, probably because my attraction to a man is directly related both to how often he allows me to laugh at him, and how often he makes fun of me. But the problem is, I've only really fallen for two men in my whole life. The first was Ben, whom I loved mainly because he was brave enough to play "Jingle Bells" on the kazoo for our church's Christmas musical program, and because he handled my laughter rather gracefully after he informed me that he could never live in Britain because it was "right smack in the middle of Europe, and completely landlocked." So he moved to Wyoming instead. Much better choice. Then there was Derek, who had enough charm to convince me to not only purchse, but to actually wear an old bridesmaid dress from Goodwill, (something that I had promised myself I would never, ever do) simply because he honestly believed that it looked really good on me. But I still truly adore both of these men, so I will spare them the embarrassment of publishing their less-than-brilliant moments for the entire internet. (Derek, you can thank me later.)

    Instead, I'll tell you about Marc, since I no longer have any particular attachment to him. I was initially attracted to Marc because our very first conversation consisted with his telling me how smart he thought I was, and how he was jealous that I was always the first to finish my programs during our C++ lab, and ended with an invitation to go skiing with him. Which was something that I had been trying for three years to get a man to ask me, with no luck. Later, however, he felt that the best way to win my heart was by telling me how awful I had looked that morning, but that he was glad to see I didn't look quite so horrible anymore. I accepted his invitation for a date, though, because he was smart enough to bring a candybar along with him. And if you can't win my heart through laughter, candy is your next best bet. I went on four dates with him, but finally had to end things because, although he let me laugh at him as often as I wanted, he was just too nice to ever laugh at my stupider moments. And if I'm going to make an fool of myself, (which everybody does at one time or another), I at least want the satisfaction of knowing that I am amusing those around me.

    Wednesday, April 06, 2005

    if only they knew

    I've now received my first official job offer. They callled me a few weeks ago to let me know that I was their "front runner," but now it's official. They want me to work for them.

    They sent me a letter explaining how impressive they found both my sense of humor and my understanding of the material, and how comfortably and naturally I interacted with the students. What they didn't know was that the last time I stood in front of a high school class was when I myself was in high school, and my history teacher made me play the part of John Calvin for our class skit. And that she asked me in the middle of the performance if I was feeling okay, because I really looked just that miserable. (But I was dressed as a man, so could she really blame me?) I also failed to mention that I'm not usually as funny as I was that day, but since I only slept for 2 hours the night before my interview, and fatigue has the unique ability to pique my sense of humor, I somehow managed to make everyone laugh. I also forgot to tell them that, since I could potentially earn about three times the salary that some schools are currently offering, I am doing this because it's really, truly my dream, and therefore will accept just about any salary they offer, no matter how small. But judging by the offer they gave me, they picked up on this without my having to point it out. Smart people.

    Most importantly, they don't know that nobody seems to care that I have zero experience working with high-school students. Because I've also received several offers to interview with schools that, unlike them, are located in towns that have more than 5 single adults. Offers to interview for jobs that I never even applied for. Life is looking pretty great right about now.

    Tuesday, April 05, 2005

    eagles mere

    Well, since the boy hasn't done anything entertaining enough to warrant its very own post, and Katie requested a funny story about Derek, I have reached into my archives from last June. The story isn't entirely about Derek, but I find it entertaining nonetheless.

    The story takes place at Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, in the Townsend family lakehouse. Those in attendance included me, who you have all come to know and love; Derek, who at the time had not yet admitted that my charm and magnetism were really just too irresistible; Phil, who leads you to believe that he is the most laid-back person on the planet, only to surprise you with a long list of rather amusing particularities; and Melanie, who is committed to spending at least 80% of her time either laughing or making everyone around her laugh. Then there was Caitlin, the 9-year-old who tried her best to use her own charm and flirtatious abilities to win Derek's heart, and Jenny, Caitlin's older sister, who didn't particularly appreciate this newly-developed crush. And let's not forget Phil's parents, who sincerely thought that the best way to spend their vacation was entertaining a group of twenty-something engineers. They truly are special people.

    The time spent at the lake was particularly pleasant, with the exception of the instance when Derek made me cry because I wasn't paying close enough attention during my sailing lesson. That situation was remedied, however, when I went sailing with Phil and fell out of the boat without his noticing. The majority of our time, however, was spent lying by the water, pretending that it was warm enough to be in swimsuits. We finished off the week with a rather vicious game of King of the Mountain, followed by a good hard laugh at Derek's inability to swim.

    Highlights from the time spent in the lakehouse included drinking gallons of hot pink fruit drink, eating hotdogs with lots of mustard (because, according to Derek, "that's the thing about girls and hotdogs... they eat a lot of mustard"), discovering Derek's guitar playing and songwriting abilities, and completing countless numbers of country crafts that Phil's mom had brought along. (The glow-in-the-dark paint by numbers princess castle was my personal favorite.) I also forced Derek to participate in the Engineering Problem of the Day contest (since, technically, I was paying him to be there), which included calculating just how small the shrinkydinks will shrink, and figuring out how many people we could fit on one innertube without sinking it. Melanie and I dragged Derek into our game of Truth or Dare (which he didn't even pretend to enjoy), after which we played endless rounds of Speed Scrabble (which Phil didn't even pretend to enjoy.) During these Speed Scrabble games, we all learned that Derek is exactly nine years old, which Caitlin took as an indication that he was interested in her. My favorite moment was walking into my room, only to find Melanie hiding behind the dresser with her ear pressed against the wall because she was learning some "really juicy stuff" from Derek and Phil's conversation. After we finsihed eavesdropping, we retired to our beds to discuss the many crushes we had each had on different BYU engineers, and concluded that the fact that none of these crushes amounted to anything was no fault of ours, but merely a result of engineers being incredibly weird. We also took the opportunity to make fun of Derek for flirting with the eighty-year-old woman we met at church, and vowed to tease him about it as often as possible.

    Overall, it was an enjoyable week, thanks to Melanie's ability to make anybody laugh at any time, and Derek, for graciously being the brunt of all jokes.

    Monday, April 04, 2005

    maybe, maybe not

    My friend told me on Saturday night that he's trying to date me. Which, quite honestly, took me by surprise. I probably should have picked up on some of his I'm-trying-to-date-you hints. Like:

    How he found an excuse to call me every single night last week,

    Or how he made me cookies, just because I said I liked them,

    Or how, when he noticed my chipped nail polish that was a result of running out of nail polish remover, a brand-new bottle of polish remover mysteriously appeared on my doorstep that very afternoon,

    Or how I frequently catch him watching me from across the room,

    Or how, when I was supposed to go out with him and his roommate, his roommate mysteriously didn't show up,

    Or how he repeatedly told me that I am the epitome of womanhood, and how much he loves a woman who "exudes femininity" the way that I do,

    Or how every other question he's asked me in the past week is whether or not he is correct in assuming that I am really, truly over my ex-boyfriend,

    Or how almost every question he asked me that wasn't about how over my ex-boyfriend I am was about the vision I have for my hypothetical future family,

    Or how he called me exactly 30 seconds after I left his house to tell me that he thought I looked great that day,

    Or how, when I was watching conference, and was the only person sitting on a couch large enough to seat my institute teacher, his wife, all nine of their children, and quite possibly six additional full-grown men, he sat just close enough to me that he wasn't completely sitting on my lap,

    Or how, every time I told him something new about myself, he put his hand on my leg and told me how impressive I am, and how the more he learns about me, the more impressed he is. (Although this one shouldn't necessarily be a sign that he wants to date me. Because I am amazing and impressive, and everyone, regardless of whether or not they're trying to date me, should notice my impressive qualities. Apparently humility isn't on the list, but hey, nobody's perfect.)

    I should have picked up on these hints, but I didn't. And they're all probably reasons that I should want to date him. Among others, such as:

    If I date him, I will have kissed 3 men in the past year, which would DOUBLE the total number of men I've kissed in my lifetime,

    Or because he isn't aware of the existence of this blog, so I can exploit his idiosynchrosies for the amusement of my audience. I frequently write funny stories about my ex-boyfriend, but since he reads this occasionally, instead of publishing, I have to "save as draft" until a later date, when he has completely forgotten about this blog. And I'm always looking for more humorous material.

    Or because, although I've never actually tried dating someone that I hadn't' already completely fallen for, my sisters think it would be a great idea. And I do everything my sisters tell me to do.

    We'll see...

    I'm embarrassed every time I watch Napoleon Dynamite


    (1) I've called home (on more than one occasion) to ask my sister if she can bring me my chapstick.

    (2) At my sister's wedding in December, I performed an impromptu dance routine very much like Napoleon's. Because I'm pretty much the best dancer I know.

    (3) This is by far the most embarrassing. When I was a kid, I stuffed mini powdered donuts in my pocket, so that I could have them available to eat no matter where I was. I contemplated doing the same with tater tots, but it just wasn't practical. Tots get cold in your pocket, and really are only good if eaten with ketchup.

    Friday, April 01, 2005

    blind dates

    Blind dates really should be against the law. Both parties inevitably spend the night praying please, please let them be clever enough to come up with questions other than

    "so what's your major"


    "where are you from?"

    And when they realize that their companion is not, in fact, that clever, they desperately search for better comebacks to their resoponses than

    "hmm... that's not my major"


    "oh, I have a friend from there. Gee, what a small world"

    And what makes a blind date even worse is when you're set up by the boy you currently have a crush on, who knows perfectly well that you have a crush on him and do not actually want to go out with his new roommate who apparently couldn't find his own date.

    I receive a phone call from Derek the night before the date is to take place, explaining that he and his roommates were doing a group-date-thingy the next evening. I'm feeling slightly confused, since that very day he explained to me how he had "kinda sorta" just gotten back together with the girl he had recently accidentally broken up with. Despite my wariness of group-date-thingys and concern that his "kinda sorta girlfriend" might not be thrilled that he was asking me out, I accepted. Because Derek has a certain charm that, even after four years of observation and contemplation, I still can't explain.

    I hear Okay, hold on a sec, after which a new, unknown voice comes on the phone, thanking me for agreeing to go out with him on such short notice. I begin feeling even more confused than before, try to focus on the conversation taking place and figure out who exactly I'm talking to all at the same time. It finally dawns on me exactly what just happened. I pretend to be excited to be going on a date with Jason. Because, while he obviously couldn't find his own date, it's not his fault that Derek failed to tell me that he was actually asking me out for his roommate, and not for himself.

    Since the evening's activities are beginning at Derek's house, and I happen to know where Derek lives, and Jason has no idea where I live, since he has no idea who I am, it has been determined that I will meet him there. He's short, which, thankfully, I find incredibly attractive. He also has great legs and perfect skin, which I also totally appreciate. My feelings of Derek, you owe me BIG TIME are diminishing to okay, I may or may not ask you for a return favor sometime in the future.

    Jason begins the conversation with So, you're a friend of Derek's huh? Despite my best efforts, the entirety of our conversation for the evening rests on what we both know about Derek, and just to shake things up a little bit, he gives me information that I may not already know about him since I don't actually live with him. Do you know what pajamas he usually wears? No, Jason, I don't. Why don't you tell me about them? Mmm, hmmm? Really? Wow. I focus my mental energies (maybe not so successfully) on pretending to care about what he's telling me because I love to hear him talk and not because I'm wishing I were Derek's date for the evening.

    There wasn't one. That's how well the date went. But at least I didn't have to deal with the dreaded "I know we've only been on one date, but I think I'm in love with you" routine. Because when that happens, I have no choice but to forget all about being nice and tell them rather bluntly what I exactly I think about that. Which, quite honestly, I really prefer not to do.