I had to go to the public library today (not the weird part) because although the BYU Faculty Delivery Service is the BEST THING EVER, I've been reading books faster than they can keep up.
Here's the thing:
The manager of the library? Margie Mills.
Not *my* Margie Mills. Just *a* Margie Mills. Which is sort of made even weirder by the fact that *my* Margie Mills is actually named something a little different and I made up that name for the whole blogging privacy thing. And maybe a little weirder because my Margie Mills also works with books. Not in the library, but with books.
This book is a little confusing because at first you're not sure whether or not this is 1) earth; 2) an alternate reality; or 3) somebody's very strange wet dream. But then you figure out, "Ohhhhh! I get it! This is about how Facebook is secretly a front for the music business so that they can throw orgies in dark rooms and control everyone with mysterious 'organic' substances that make people disappear into thin air and then reappear with no memory! Gee... So cliche."
Well, when I can't sleep, I shouldn't watch TV, I know, because the TV keeps me up. But reading? Well, reading takes, like, concentration. So if I start to get sleepy, I just can't read anymore and I fall asleep. Perfect, right?
So, last night I looked over by the side of my bed at the various books I'm reading and spotted this one:
"That'll work!" I thought. Because it's a quiet book--gentle and sweet. "Maybe I can finish it!" I thought. "That'll be a nice way to go to sleep! Gentle, sweet thoughts. The book says it'll make me believe in God, so great! God = nice."
So I finished it.
I finished it.
And horror: there is nothing gentle about this book. And I had no idea. No clue. Wait... Maybe I did have a clue. There was this clue and that clue... And why didn't I notice that these could be clues?! And WTH?! And why didn't my BFF warn me about his when she told me to read the book?! Wait... didn't she bring the book up when talking about unreliable narrators? And WTH?! And if this one scene from the book meant something, then FREAK, most of the scenes probably meant something! And WTH?!!!
Brain: munching on itself.
Body: not asleep. not asleep until two in the morning. and then right back up at around seven.
Dagnabit brain! Stop the voices!!!!
(Most people call them thoughts, Kerry.)
I don't care! Stop the voices! and the munching! and the obsessing! and
And that, dear friends, is why reading is not a good cure for insomnia.
In honor of President Bush's last day in office, I'm going to tell my best (only) Bush story.
It was Summer, 2001. Steve was Mr. NPR reporter man and I was in grad school. Well, anyway, there was this big group of reporters from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan scheduled to come to town somewhere around late fall of the same year. Wanting to be cordial, the State Department (US) scheduled a dinner that was supposed to be a fun sort of cultural exchange thing. Because Steve was the only reporter they could think of who spoke Russian (in addition to his mission, he did a stint at CNN Moscow) he and I were invited. No biggie.
And then came Sept. 11.
Suddenly, the US was going to invade Afghanistan and they were looking for favorable treatment from the Uzbek and Kazakhstani's since they were right friggin next door and their land would be a fanTAStic place to launch fighter jets. Now, reporters tend to have a lot of influence over things like opinion. And we were going to dinner with, like, a TON of them.
"Great," I thought. "It's going to be WWIII and somehow, someway, it is going to be MY FAULT. Perfect!"
So, I was freaked. Freaked enough that I sat through most of the dinner just smiling and nodding under the guise of the language barrier. (I've gotta be freaked to keep my mouth shut. So, dude. I was freaked.)
Well, everything is placid enough. There's a rough kind of energy underpinning the evening. Every word seems to carry a connotation of importance, every discussion of cheese or grape juice the weight of foreign policy.
And people are getting drunker.
Now, these are former Soviets. They can handle their liquor. But I would be lying if I said I didn't notice the flush of red creeping from their necks to their faces, or notice the way that their voices got just a little bit louder and less cordial.
And suddenly, from the corner, the red-haired Russian translator from the US State Department yells out, "I want you all to know something!" She's holding her glass of scotch steadily on her knee. There is absolutely no quiver of ice against the sides of the glass. I'm impressed.
When she can tell that enough of the room is paying attention she says, "I want you all to know that I LOVE the president."
The room goes silent.
"I do!" she protests. "George W. Bush, God Bless Him, I LOVE THAT MAN!"
No one is moving anymore.
Crap, crap crap. I think. Here is the beginning of WWIII and I'm going to be right here watching. Because, well, foreigners (especially Europeans)... they don't really love our George Bush. Heck, let's be honest, except for my mom who calls him her "Bushie," with such affection that Steve and I feel compelled to set up our signed George Bush picture by her guest bed every time she visits, most *Americans* don't really love George Bush.
Since no one is talking, the red-headed translator decides to keep going. "Do you want to know why I love him? No? Well, I will tell you why I love him." [You need to read her voice with a Russian accent, by the way. Not only is it more accurate, it makes the story better.]
She takes a breath, looks as us and says, "It's because of the way he uses *words.*"
I think a few of the drunk guys laugh, but mostly we're just looking at the lady like, WTH?! Because of all of the reasons you might love Georgie Bush, the way he uses words... well, it's not really on the top of anyone's list.
"You see," she explains, "I'm a translator. I care about words. And with your *last* president [said with disdain and eyeball rolling, referring to dear Mr. Clinton, of course] everyone said, 'oh what an orator! oh how well he uses words!' Musor! [that means "garbage" in Russian] You see..."
She took a drink of her scotch.
"When you translate, you don't really translate *words,* you translate *meaning.* So Mr. Clinton would blahblabeddy blah blah blah all these pretty words! But they wouldn't *mean* anything! And I'd try to translate and, well, everyone would look at me like I was an idiot!"
She looked down at her scotch, preparing to take a final drink to make her point, and a slightly wicked smile curled up from the edges of the glass.
"But with your president now?" she said. "The man talks... And I translate... And, well... let's just say that no one looks at *me* like *I'm* the idiot."
God speed, Bushie. May your future be filled with much rest and Texas BBQ. Your picture will always have a place next to my Mom's guest bed.
I accidentally left my computer at work. (Borrowing my four year old's computer to write this. Tricky because the entire thing had to be sanitized before I could touch it. And even then...) Now, my work is an hour away, else I might just pop over and get it.
But, anyway, it's the beginning of a three day weekend. Four day weekend, really, since I don't work TTh.
And the idea of going that long without my computer...
ack. it's like I've lost the third arm I didn't know I had!
Someday, your two year old will drop something. Her hands will be full and she won't want to bend down. So she'll let out a full-on martyr sigh (Mormons have PERFECTED these) and she'll say, "Oh. My. HECK."
Feeling *OUT* people. sheesh. if y'all were Mormon you wouldn't go there, I'm sure.
So, I'm about to go out to dinner. And we all remember what happened last time I went out to dinner, right? Which got me wondering... Sometimes I go out to lunch/dinner with y'all. Sometimes in places with pretty drink menus.
This is STEVE. I hijacked Kerry's blog to tell all you who live in Utah to come to a birthday party-- that's two nights long! It's this Saturday and Sunday from like 4ish to 10ish each night, and it's come whenever you can. We'll do the candles over and over every 1/2 hour or so-- the kids will love it and you won't miss anything!
And I am trying to keep Kerry off of her laptop, so come and surprise her...
No gifts, or only hand-me-downs or gag gifts if you must. Bring bread or snacks or drinks, or just show up, we're having home-made soup and/or stew and/or chili, and bread and cake and ice cream.
Call me with questions. Post if you want to come and don't know my number. Thanks!
I didn't even drink. In fact, I've never once had any alcohol that wasn't in the form of NyQuil or the super tiny bit of mouthwash you accidentally swallow that makes you cough until you cry. Once my bff bought me a bottle of brandy, but that was just because I was worried about early contractions and she said that if I really panicked I could sip it on the way to the hospital (alcohol used to be used to stop early labor, apparently). The brandy is still unopened, locked via child-proof lock, in our medicine cabinet.
But even though I don't drink, I did look at the drink menu at Joe's Crab Shack last night. I was bored and my kids were playing in the play place and Steve was on a work call. They had all sorts of frozen drinks with pretty colors that looked super tasty. I thought to myself, "See, if Margie Mills was here, she could tell me that these don't taste nearly as good as they look and I wouldn't have to feel like sighing at my self-imposed temperance..." Margie Mills is one of my very few non-Mormon friends. And, really, even the least prudish of my Mormon friends are more prudish than the most prudish of my non-Mormon friends. So Margies come in handy in situations like these.
So, anyway. I didn't drink anything.
But this morning? I totally woke up feeling like I had a hangover. My head throbbed, the light hurt, I wanted to throw up, and basically I felt all sorts of self-loathing that didn't seem to have a cause.
I was supposed to be sleeping two hours ago. But, instead, I thought I'd read a little before bed. Then I had to keep reading. And now, even though I finished the whole book, I can't get my heart to stop pounding! ThumpaTHUMPthumpTHUMP panic thumpTHUMP!!!
breathe, kerry, just breathe. book people can't kill you. breathe...
Today was the first day of the semester. First days of the semester are always a bit... odd for me. Well, probably more odd for my students than for me. I'm not exactly... typical. Anyway, the first day of the semester usually consists of lots of awkward silence and a dozen faces looking at me with some variation of this face:
today was no exception.
someday I'll take pictures. Just whip the camera out suddenly before they can change their expressions. Should be awesome.
Sam: "I used to have a different mommy, but now I have you."
me: "what happened to your first mommy?!"
Sam: "well, she pretended to die. and they pretended to bury her. but then--on Friday!--her ghost came out and went to the golden parking lot."
me: "the golden parking lot?"
Sam: "Yeah. It's in China. Where they don't speak english. But, see, there's a really, really long staircase to heaven and if your ghost comes out of the ground, you get to wait in the golden parking lot."