Thursday, January 31, 2008

Procrastination and perfectionism--two terrible bedfellows.

I hate being in charge. I hate it with a violent and enduring passion. Strong words? Possibly, but I’d rather face the truth than hide behind a wall of falsehoods even if the truth is incriminating. Unless of course the latter is easier, in which case I might lie to your face.

Being in charge makes me crazy. I stress out…a lot…in my efforts to get everything planned out just right. I worry that people won’t have a good time. I worry that it will be my fault. I worry that I will miss something important and reap failure. I worry so much that when it comes time to participate in whatever it is I’m in charge of, I have a hard time actually enjoying it.

You would think, with this overwhelmingly negative reaction that I would avoid leadership opportunities like they were going out of style--we all know how fashionably minded I am. So why do I thrive on it? Why do I enjoy being in charge? Why don’t I delegate more? Believe me, if I could get away with doing as little as possible, I would…and I do at times. Just ask my coworkers.

Perhaps I get so stressed out because when it comes time to actually preparing--you know, getting ready in order to help things run smoothly--I completely space it. Generally, I'll saddle up and attempt to out-think the minutest details, come to a comfortable stopping point, and then forget about it entirely because, well, you can always worry about the rest later. Does it sound like I'm contradicting myself? Don't think about it too much.

It's really a miracle that I get anything accomplished when I face such opposition as a split personality and bipolar tendencies. I don't let it bother me--it just adds depth and complexity. That's what makes a good protagonist, right?

Monday, January 28, 2008

In tribute.

For some reason I feel the need to join thousands of other bloggers in documenting the passing of President Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the church to which I belong...and work for...and buy my cars, anyway.

You know, I thought I would be sadder when I found out, but one can't help thinking that it's quite a relief for him--a relief and a joyful homecoming. Last night, as we tried to confirm the rumors of what we heard, my friend's 4-yr. old nephew said, "Yeah...he was prob'ly just old...or maybe he was bit by a wolf....maybe." It's tough to say really...

Of all the appropriately cheesy things I thought of to say to memorialize this man who spent the greater part of his life in church service, the most fitting seemed to be this--his testimony:

"I hope that all of you will remember that on this Sabbath day you heard me bear my witness that this is God's holy work. The vision given the Prophet Joseph in the grove of Palmyra was not an imaginary thing. It was real. It occurred in the broad light of day. Both the Father and the Son spoke to the boy. He saw Them standing in the air above him. He heard Their voices. He gave heed to Their instruction.

"It was the resurrected Lord who was introduced by His Father, the great God of the universe. For the first time in recorded history, both the Father and the Son appeared together to part the curtains and open this, the last and final dispensation, the dispensation of the fullness of times.

"The Book of Mormon is all that it purports to be—a work recorded by prophets who lived anciently and whose words have come forth 'to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations' (Book of Mormon title page).

"The priesthood has been restored under the hands of John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John. All the keys and authority pertaining to eternal life are exercised in this Church.

"Joseph Smith was and is a prophet, the great Prophet of this dispensation. This Church, which carries the name of the Redeemer, is true.

"I leave you my testimony, my witness, and my love for each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
--April 1, 2006, Sunday morning session of the 176th Annual General Conference

Nothing more needs to be said.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A series of unfortunate events.

Another saga has come to a close--I hope.

About a month ago I crashed my car. Yep, who thought cement barriers would ever be a serious temptation? Somehow I found one I couldn't resist.

I was cruising down the highway at speeds slightly over the legal limit when I found my lane suddenly ending. I hit the brakes in order to merge behind a car in the lane to the right of me. The second I did I knew I was a goner. The moments that followed I remember only in flashes of pictures and distinct thoughts: a lot of construction barrels on my left, the sound of one hitting my car, the full expectation that another car was going to hit me anytime, and...I'm not sure how I got there but the next thing I processed was a wall of concrete lit up by my headlights on the right side of the highway. I thought "I've always wondered what this would feel like. This could hurt a lot." I braced myself for impact, shut my eyes, and found myself in a haze coughing in smoke from the airbags.

It was over. I took quick inventory for pain, found nothing but a bruised knee, and looked with mixed relief and resigned frustration at my damaged car. Situations like that kind of make you forget you have a vocabulary because the only things I could articulate to myself were "wow" and "oh man." Someone had stopped behind me and called the cops, which was good, because I found myself alternating between staring at the cars driving past and staring at the phone in my hand, not quite sure what to do. They towed my car and I got a ride home with someone else.

I skipped work the next day, found out my car would be totalled--though how he knew that without knowing how much my car was worth or how much damage had occurred I'm not sure--and spent the rest of the day looking for new cars. Long story short, people alternated taking me to work and picking me up and being nice enough to visit me in my unavoidable house arrest, and I decided to buy a car from the church. A 2004 Mazda3. This is the part where everyone tells me they'd never buy a missionary car so let's just assume you feel the same way and spare me from hearing it again. I found a place to take out a loan, I transferred money to my bank account...and then waited...I went home for Christmas...waited some more...and came home from break. I played phone tag with my insurance company--I still hadn't found out how much I was getting for my car. I called the credit union--the lady who was processing my loan was out sick. I called church fleet repeatedly in the hopes that they wouldn't give up on me and sell the car to someone else...and people continued to take me to work. Come to find out, the credit union was waiting for me to send some items that I had already sent but they apparently never got. We had been locked in a secret stalemate. One day later, I paid for my car.

Don't be deceived into thinking this is the end...because it's not. Plow on, my friends, plow on. I mentioned some concerns I had with the way the car started, uncertain whether it was even plausible for me to expect them to do anything about it, and I gave the car back so they could check it out. By this time, I had a car I could borrow and my friends started answering my phone calls again. I got the car back for the weekend with the instructions to bring it back Monday so they could take it to someone else who could ascertain for certain what was going on. During this time I discovered the cigarette lighter didn't work--seemingly unimportant? Wrong. I gave up my car again and quickly mentioned the cigarette lighter hoping they would be kind enough to fix it and still not hate me. Four days and an over $200 mechanical problem later (one which I gratefully didn't have to pay for), I got my car. For good.

I can finally start going to church again.

Monday, January 07, 2008

"Can I have a minute to be human?"

"Novels, in the proper sense of the word, are not written to vanish in a month or a year. That most of them do, today, that they are written and published as if they were magazines, to fade as rapidly, is one of the sorriest aspects of today's literature." --Ayn Rand

Well, I finished it. Twilight--appropriately entitled Book 1 of the Twilight Saga, and I emphasize the word 'saga'.

I was admittedly curious about all of the attention this book received...from the media, from young teenage girls, and from desperate housewives all over the country. So I read it...and I'm no longer curious. I'm absolutely perplexed.

Does anyone actually relate to these characters? Bella, the new girl in school, doesn't struggle with acceptance as one might expect. Nope. Instead, she's the hot new item and happens to win the heart of the untouchable and irresistably attractive Edward...who turns out to be a 100-yr. old cannabalistic killer.

Naturally, Bella has no doubts whatsoever about this relationship and confidentally leaps from being intrigued to being in love. I mean, lust moderately camouflaged as love. She spends the whole book staring at his quarried body (quarried here meaning cut from stone) and...their first kiss fills her with such intense desire and consuming passion that she starts to hyperventilate. It actually makes her faint when they kiss again. Sorry, was that a spoiler?

Edward, on the other hand, pursues Bella not because of any redeeming qualities she may possess but because her neck smells so very good. I'm sure we could have done without the plug for strong perfume.

The fact that each successive chapter is more painful than the last is not solely a result of the overwhelmingly unrealistic romance--where the only thing Edward and Bella argue about is who loves who more--but also the abnormal use of adjectives. Things like "inescapable jeans," as if they somehow had it in for her, and "primordial cedars," a word generally used with soup or mass...or dwarfism. Not to mention this description: "He paused to catch a stray lock of hair that was escaping the twist on my neck..." The twist on her neck? Is she suffering from a severe case of scholiosis?

I suppose I should give the author credit for creating a whole series of books based on a dream. If I wrote a book inspired by a dream, my main character would steal a bus, drive it off a cliff, and end up unharmed by a cabin in the woods dressed as Aladdin.

I'm just saying...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Blessed Saturdays

I bet you thought you were going to get a tribute to the new year or a review of the old. It seems that's the traditional thing to do around this time of year but this is neither this nor that and you already know how I feel about that...or is it this? That's neither here nor there.

Anyway, I know Sunday is the holy day but Saturday is right up there. Just ask a Jew.

Saturday is the one day to get everything done you've neglected over the week--like sleep...and read...and write on your blog. You probably thought I was talking about running errands and doing laundry or finally washing your dishes. May you stand corrected.

Today has been a great Saturday, not because I picked up the clothes off my floor or unpacked my suitcase from Christmas or even went to the grocery store to restock my bare fridge (when I say bare I mean 1 egg, 3 tortillas, American cheese, spaghetti sauce, and a tub of butter). Instead, I did absolutely nothing I needed to and merely accomplished things I probably never would have had it not been a Saturday--like replace my porch lights and start reading Twilight. The new picture for my header is quite an accurate depiction...on the contrary, it's an ACTUAL depiction of what I did today. I realize some of you may think that replacing my porch lights and reading Twilight are absolute necessities. However, I haven't noticed a marked increase in criminals skulking around my front door in the past few months and, well...the book Twilight is another issue entirely. Perhaps I'm loving today because, unlike the past few weeks, I have attained freedom (through the generosity of a friend) and am no longer a prisoner to my lack of transportation--which is a story for another time.

So, yes, Sunday is THE blessed day but man...Saturday...