Saturday, August 22, 2009

Let's Play a Game

I found this game on facebook, I let my friends there take a crack at it, and now I'm spreading it to the blogosphere. But if you played this game on my facebook page, know that the answers have changed.

I'm going to pick 15 movies I like, and name a quote from each. You are going to try and guess said movies without cheating and looking them up. Post you guesses in the comments section.

1. "Hmm, that's great, except you forgot, 'And since we're out of potpourri, perhaps you wouldn't mind bringing some.' Hello, this is the army!"

2. "I feel something, a slight tingling in my fingers. I think it's affecting me."

3. "I'm not saying she was very silly, but one of us was silly, and it wasn't me."

4. "I'm not a dwarf, I'm a girl, and actually, I'm tallest in my class."

5. "Everybody has a secret they don't want you to find."

6. "Can you forgive me? Can you love me? Will you marry me?"

7. "They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops, and that's true. What they don't tell you is when it starts again, it moves extra fast to catch up."

8. "Keep your head or you will lose it!"

9. "No more rhyming now I mean it!"
"Anybody want a peanut?"

10. "Do you remember how you said Mozart was a musical pod?"
"Prodigy."
"Yeah, well I have one of those, and he's living under my bed."

10. "I don't know, it's just that...it's like you escaped from a Hallmark card or something."

11. "Now I must give you one smirk, and then we can be rational again."

12. "I only gamble with my life, never my money."

13. "You'll never shut down the real Napster."

14. "I love talking about nothing, it's the only thing I know anything about."

15. "I would prefer it if I did not like oranges, consuming them is such a commodious task."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Planning social events is awkward. It seems that no matter how much you try not to make a big deal of it, it always winds up being a big deal.

This past Sunday, Janine and I made plans to have a Thai dinner with some friends after church. We wanted to keep it laid back, so we figured we'd just invite people whenever we saw someone we wanted to invite the week leading up to Sunday. We've also learned that if you want say 20 people to come to a party, you invite about 30 to 40.

On Friday there was a dance, and we both figured it was a chance to invite people for Sunday. We went around in no real order, inviting each person we ran into. We got a few enthusiastic yes's, a couple sorry-can't-make-it's, and a swarm of might-come-maybe's that are just so typical of our age group. Years ago, Janine had had a party similar to this where she invited 30 people and 37 showed up, so we were feeling pretty good about our waffling friends.

On Sunday we went to church with the intent to invite more of our friends we hadn't seen Friday. Before that could happen, we got some cancellations. A few more people regretfully declined, and a bunch of might-come-maybe's were added to the pile. By sacrament meeting, I was doing a mental tally. The total number of people who were still definitely coming had reached a whopping two, and I suddenly doubted my more evasive friends would be showing. Not only that, but our two confirmed guests were a couple of guys, who, though good friends and great people, I did not want them to think we'd conned them into a double date at our house with our brother, parents and grandparents present.

So after the closing prayer, Neen and I invite more people. We get one more yes. Three people, yipee! Three guys for that matter, who I am pretty sure share two things in common; they are all Mormon, and they all know us. That, as far as I could see, is where the similarities stop.

We went home, revised our menu for a smaller crowd, and consoled ourselves that at least it's one up from the baby shower we threw (literally, as two people came to that), and laughed at the irony of how that morning we were concerned that we haven't invited enough boys, and now all we have is a trio of them. By the time our guests start arriving, I am seriously wondering why I ever bother planning anything anymore.

They've been there maybe half an hour when I remember why - because it's fun! Yeah, there's five of us, but after Neen and I apologetically explain we're the only people coming and swear we did in fact, invite girls, and this wasn't a conspiracy for us to get all the biys to ourselves, they shrug it off and say how hard it is to ever plan anything, and declare their excitement that they get to eat all the curry. Typical boys.

After we've all eaten a lot of Thai food and visited a while, we head to a Fireside, and I realize that again I have worried too much. Then I start to think. Even though there was only two people at the baby shower we threw, it was still a blast. And our dinner party with three assorted friends went better then I ever would have expected, because people are usually just glad to be invited, get to know more people and to do something with friends, even if it's never the grand gatherings I envision.

So our dinner parties, showers, and non-bonfires will continue, never according to plan and always throwing me for a loop, but regardless, it's always fun.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

It's production week at work. This means that everyday the stack of files on my desk keeps on getting bigger and bigger as the deadlines get closer and closer. I stay late, I take work home, and I'm prone to crankiness after a day of fact checking and editing listings. You know, your typical production days.

This morning I arrived at work ready for another day, the last production day before the magazine is submitted. I came to my desk this morning, and sat down to complete the remaining fact checking on my desk.

It took me half an hour. By 9 o'clock I was looking around for something to do. Great, this day is going to be fabulous.

Shortly after, I was occupied with another last minute task; checking the spelling of all the stores mentioned in the mall feature. Considering they talked about 10 malls, that's a lot of stores. I made it fun by opening a different tab for each store and collecting the tab symbols I thought looked best (I still have the 9 winners up on my computer). Sadly, that took me a little less then an hour. I was still kept busy until 11, at which point I walked into my editor's office and handed in the last thing I'd been working on.

She asked me what else I was working on, when I explained the vacant spot on my desk where waiting files usually sit, she thought a moment, and for a few seconds was really stuck as to what she could give her intern to do for the next five and a half hours. At last, she told me to return to a project I'd been working on in July, but had abandoned when production got closer.

It wasn't long after that my two editors retreated into the office to do the "read through," that's magazine lingo for shutting ourselves in a room with an iPod to read every page and ad in the magazine because after all the fact checking, editing, proofreading and spell checking, we need to make sure there are no mistakes. The really sad part is, they often find some.

This is my second production, so I went to work on my not-as-rushed project not expecting to be there for long. Sure enough, 20 minutes later, my phone rings.

"Elena?" my editor's voice echoes in the phone and down the hall. "I need you to call Masters Gallery and ask them about this exhibit in their ad, it's not in the listings."

I throw myself into this new task with enthusiasm, sort of. I have always enjoyed the art gallery side of my work and though I complain about it, I sometimes enjoy being caught up in the whirl of events that is production.

Ten minutes later, I give the info to Laura, and return to my desk. It's another half hour before my phone rings again. This time it's to make sure that the honey cashews at a certain Chinese restaurant are in fact, honey-roasted.

And that is how my day has gone since. I've realized that my purpose here is actually kind of silly. I finished the menial task they give me hours ago, and I just sit here, waiting for my phone to ring for another spontaneous fact check, or my favourite; to count the stores at one mall (via the internet).

It is very difficult to throw one's heart into these little tasks when one can't help but think that were it not for them, one would have nothing to do and could possibly be at home. But instead, I must wait. Perhaps I should slip out to get some silly putty....

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Fast Forward Button

If I could achieve only two things in my life, they would be these; first, I want to be a mom. I would give up every ambition, dream and goal in my life if I could achieve that one thing. Second, I want to be a writer. I would give all other ideas of my life except motherhood if I could get my books published.

I'm sure you all know exactly how well I am doing at these goals; a single girl who is still too afraid to complete her publication submissions because a) it's scary, and b) I'm just not convinced my book is ready. And try as I might, I sometimes feel like I'm going no where.

Today I came home from another day of work where I fact-checked and spent the day harassing our advertisers for their business hours. I felt proud of myself for accomplishing as much as I did in one day, but there is something so unsatisfying about spending eight hours filling in numbers compared to writing a really excellent chapter of a novel or character description.

Janine and I had an unremarkable dinner of leftover chili (although it was very yummy), and, as two single girls on a weekend evening are sometimes prone to do, we went to a movie. The film we chose was Julie and Julia, which is the story of Julia Child and a woman named Julie Powell, who, in an attempt to make her life more interesting, decides to cook all the recipes in Julia Child's cookbook and blog about it. The movie shows both these women, as they deal with the struggles and challenges that invariably plague all of us as we strive to achieve something.

As someone trying to get over some major writer's block, I identified strongly with this movie. Although at first, I sat there and glowered with jealousy. It is pretty obvious how this story is going to end. We all know what happened to Julia Child, and if Julie Powell's life has been made into a movie, I'm pretty sure she has met with success. These women were both writers and I envied them. What were they doing right that I was doing wrong? Why can't I get off my butt and spend my evening writing instead of watching other people succeed? Why was I so perpetually stuck? Why was my novel still not what I wanted it to be?

Later on in the movie, I got my answer: I wasn't doing anything wrong. I was still just in the montage of writing and getting frustrated and feeling like I was going in circles. I hadn't even reached my climax yet. All these realizations made me start thinking of my other, higher goal; to get married and have children. I like to draw comparisons between the two.

I'm only at the beginning of my life story. And no matter how much I wish I could just fast forward to the scene where my novel becomes a smashing success or I'm holding my first baby, life has no remote control. I always want the end result, but I shudder at the time in between. I sometimes hate dating. I hate the constant nagging pressure I have to work on my writing because I want to be sending out queries by the time school starts. I'm terrified of stockpiling rejection letters and trying to make my book just right. I'm scared out my wits of going out and trying to be sociable so that one day I can meet someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. And honestly, I'm even more scared of being pregnant.

In some ways I want to be able to skip to the end of my life, look back and go "Check, check, check, I did it," but filling in those check marks is as interesting as my day of work. It was satisfying, but the content was dry and brushed over.

The great part of Julie and Julia wasn't the final scene where Julia Child receives the first copy of her cookbook in the mail, or when Julie Powell presented her final recipe of duck, it was the stuff in between. It was when Julie was too scared to cook a lobster, or burst into tears over a chicken she dropped on the floor. It was when Julia Child's Cordon Bleu teacher told her she couldn't cook and she charismatically stuck out her tongue. The great moments in my life won't be when I'm looking back and checking off my goal list, it'll be when I'm here, working my way through the trenches.

I started this post not knowing what I would say, just knowing that the movie I saw today touched me in some way I didn't understand. It's taken writing it all out here in the blogoshere for me to realize the purpose of my writing and my wandering thoughts;

I want my life to be about achieving something, an endless list of somethings that I could never attempt to name all at once, but when I'm old and grey, I want my life story to be more then a checklist. I want it to be about the journey along the way and the stories in between.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Veggie Tales Vol 4: I Did It!

Well I don't have much to say in this belated post other than, I did it!

I, Elena Redd, who used to always say I could never be a vegetarian because I like meat too much (or my oh so witty high school explanation - I am a vegetarian on February 30), have lived without a single morsel of meat for exactly four weeks. I feel so empowered right now, like I could do anything.

My last week of going veggie was uneventful, though plagued with temptations. Thursday night my brother and I drove to Cardston for our cousins wedding-pizza party. Upon our arrival, the orders were pepperoni and meat lovers, so I ate my cousin Monica's crusts. On Saturday we went to a wedding of a family friends where not only the salmon was delectable but the chicken was to die for. But to my delight, the mushroom salad was also fantastic.

Sunday night I took my last stand at a family picnic for my newest nephew's baby blessing. My sister made pulled pork. I binged on plain buns and couscous salad, but I had to keep repeating to myself;

"Do no not cheap out! You've lasted 3 weeks and 6 days, you can last another 12 hours."

Somehow I talked myself into it.

Though on a happier note, Friday proved to be a fruitful day for being a vegetarian. That afternoon, I got together with an old friend from high school, Brittni. After catching up, we decided to make some dinner at my house, and I warned her, I was still a vegetarian. I've gotten used to telling people this, and usually the response is, "Oh, why?" and once I explain, "Oh, okay," and that ends the conversation. With Brittni it was an exclamation of "What a coincidence" followed my the announcement that was also a sort-of-sometimes vegetarian. So we had a fun time creating a vegetarian pasta sauce with a plethora of veggies and an accompanying salad with feta cheese.

Yesterday was a weird day, I woke up and after rummaging through the kitchen for a few minutes, I remembered I could eat meat again. I didn't eat any right away, not until lunch, when Janine and I - left home alone for a week - went to Boston Pizza for lunch.

I was scanning the menu, habitually looking for the meat-free options when Janine and I both remembered again I could meat for the first time. Janine got very excited and started insisting I eat something very meaty, like a hamburger or beef dip.

I didn't. I took the easy road and opted for one of my BP favourites - spicy perogie pizza. It has just a little bit of bacon on it, and it's scrumptious. That has been my only meat thus far. For some reason, I'm not craving it as much as I would have thought.

Overall, I have enjoyed my experiment with vegetarianism. While there were several times I had to slap my own wrist for craving meat I came out successful, and actually enjoyed it. I am not such a carnivore as I originally thought! My mom would often ask me during my sojourn as a vegetarian how I was doing, and the response was always;

"Fine. I like being a vegetarian."

In answer to your question, no, I will not be making this my permanent diet, if only for the sake of Grandpa Redd's chicken sandwiches. I am however, pondering ways to cut down the amount of meat I eat in a structured way. While I have always tried to "eat meat sparingly" I'm having trouble deciding how sparingly I should go in future.

Any suggestions?