What is Drastic + Dramatic

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

5 years, 60 months, 261ish weeks, 1825 days later

Five years ago I talked about the five years before that. Shall we repeat the reminiscing?

Where I've seen myself in the past five years, 2013-2018 edition.

Shortly after the last post, I finally got a degree that measures in sensigrade (that's a creative writing major's play on words, using sensigrade in place of centigrade. Get it? Like sense and grades because school. OK done.). I went off to a planned internship at some Church technical writing gig and I kinda hated it.

I was in a musical! Ensemble only, of course, but it was still quite a fun experience that I'm happy I did once.

I went to Orlando for my first-ever SCUBA diving trip, which I loved and hated simultaneously cuz the ocean fascinates me and freaks me out simultaneously. My companions said at one point they saw a barracuda while I was facing the rest of them in a submarine regrouping huddle. By the time I swirled around it was long gone and I was very glad. I probably would've stopped breathing.

Also stopped over at Universal Studios and it's the best. BUTTERBEER. Say no more. Except Honeydukes and Seussville. #heartsforeyessmiley

I got my first big-girl job writing and mild editing for Food For Health International. I moved in with the best girls ever, LaShiz and Smash.

Eventually the stress of writing on a deadline and working at an unstable company gave me ulcers, so into the next year:

I got a new job! The one I'm still at, where all I have to do is edit and tell people how wrong they're doing their job and it's great. Moved from Orem to Murray for work. Lived with this piece of classy act. Love my Carrie.

I joined Tinder early in the year and met some fun guys and had some great dates. Until I had a stretch of very stressful somewhat scary experiences, then I took a break.

I bought a big-girl car! A Ford Escape I named Giacamo.

I turned 30! Wha? Guess that's what happens if you live long enough. My mother got me the natural gift of 30 pounds of cream cheese, which became the theme of my birthday party. And for a month after.

I decided to browse Tinder again, look for some leads. Saw this one bearded guy with the name of James. Swiped right.

Met Gandalf, finally. Also went to Lagoon for a work party.

Met that James guy in September; we went on lots of dates. I told him I loved him in October, he asked me to marry him in December, and, into the next year...

We married each other! That was a good, good day in March.

James started college courses for becoming a diesel mechanic, and I baked a lot. I like that now I shall report about two people instead of just one. James is my life. We did lots of fun things like travel (Bear Lake; Seattle; Union, Oregon), eat out, hike, combine families, laugh, and love and love and love. That kinda covers a lot.

We did a paint night thing. That was so fun!

I participated in a cookbook club for a bit. That was so my jam.

James got a new job at UTA. The difficult school and work hours this man endured to build his career...gold medal.

I did this cooking competition thing at Harmon's. I came in a very close second. Works for me. It was a stressful blast.

I got a fourth nephew, pretty much for my birthday. Thanks, Autumn!

I acquired two new sisters!

Went to Disneyland with Autumn's family during Halloween. THE BEST.

We bought a house suddenly. Yeah.

We adopted the Mighty Dustructo Dog, Midas! Our world (and house) (and slippers) was never the same.

Life pretty much became all about surviving Midas and mortgage payments haha.

One more sister in the fam, the courageous bride of Baby Jay. I got to make their wedding cake, which was a first, but fun!

James turns 30 on the 30th, his golden birthday! Man, it was such an epic surprise party.

After a year of trying to get pregnant, we learn chances of getting pregnant on our own are about, oh, 2 percent. We slowly start figuring out what it all means and what's best to do.

In the meantime, enter two nieces, a month apart!

James finishes school!!!!!! What a relief. He's really happy in this picture. ;)

So far so good. Main thing to report is the first try-to-make-me-pregnant procedure we tried was not successful, but we've got a plan ahead of us. I wager little fingers and toes will make their appearance in the next five years. But whatever happens forward, wow, what a blessed, remarkable, rich five years in the backward direction. I really love life and all those who share it with me.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

How God Told Me I Should Eat More Bacon

Dare you not to crave bacon after this post.
This story pretty much originates Sunday evening in the car. With husband as my captive audience, I babbled on about the parable of the ten virgins and audibly contemplated what I could do to improve my faith. I decided I should renew my effort to pray after waking up. Too often I don’t even roll out of bed right away, and, when I finally do, my attention usually dips directly into my phone to see what notifications it gathered for me while I slept. I got the gentle prod once again to seek heaven’s notifications before any others.

So Monday morning I acted on this faith improvement effort. From a willing heart, my prayer included something like, “My path is quite predictable each day, so it won’t be hard to arrange something for me to be able to do for thee, God. And I’ll do my best to recognize the promptings.”

And then my morning proceeded to have a very unpredictable path. Or unusual, I should say. Nothing is outside the range of prediction for God.

Instead of taking the Trax blue-line train to work, I decided to drive in so I could drop off the women’s shelter donations my sisters had given me after their recent move. After I dropped those off, I approached a branch of my credit union farther along the route to work, and I thought, “Eh, I’ve got a minute.”

Didn’t feel like a prompting... I could’ve easily ignored the impromptu thought to deposit the cash I had in my wallet, but I quickly slowed, turned, and steered to the drive-through.

At the drive-through's first-lane window stood a petite and elderly Asian woman. Her right hand shook steadily, her head slightly bobbing in sync as she spoke and completed her transaction. Aside from it just being odd that she was in the drive-through without driving apparatus, I didn’t pay her much mind. As I reached to send my cash through the vacuum tube, she wrapped up her errand and scuttled away from the window and toward my lane. Between lanes, she paused, and my side-eye observance noted that she was busy with something. Then she spoke. To me.

“You go to Trax after this?”

I responded with “not exactly,” and she asked where I was going. I said (and repeated three times) downtown/City Creek/food court. I think she recognized the food court version best. She asked for a ride. Her next errand was to get her husband’s medicine. Only a brief pause before I said “sure” to this harmless little lady. I cleared my bags from the front seat, and she climbed in.

We got to wait for a few minutes as the teller bounded away to prepare my cash deposit (it included all the loose change my husband and I saved up the entire prior year for a new-year treat, so he had to get it counted up), and she asked me questions.

“You LDS?”
“You serve mission? Where?”
“France.” Repeated two times.
“That nice. How old are you?”
“I’m 33.”
“I’m 79!”
“Wow, you look great for 79,” I say, and I mean it.

She laughs as I look at her, and I can see she has what looks like all her original teeth, which look like they’ve been hard at work, say, chewing ham and bacon for 79 years. But she has thick, peppered black hair; a youthful face iced with wrinkles; a sturdy resolve and purpose in her posture.

“I laugh and get 10 minutes back of life.”

She laughed again.

“Laugh twice, twenty minutes. That’s how I stay young.”

Two seconds of silence.

“You have kids?”
“You not married?”
“Yep, I'm married. I am married.”
“How many years?”
“Almost three!”
“You like pork?”
“The pork?”

It sounded more like “poke,” but I felt 80% confident she was saying “pork.”

“No, not so much,” I responded, hoping it was a fitting response. It’s the truth, anyway, if we’re talking about pork.
“Pork is ham and...what it called… ...oh, bacon. Bacon. Ham is pork, right?”
“Woman needs ham and, yep, the bacon. You need ham and bacon.”

Which, incidentally, is the not-so-faint aroma she had carried into my car with her. For this, I was glad my door was ajar (my driver-side window doesn’t roll down) as we waited on the teller receipt, but I was just too delighted by this random stranger in my car to be at all bothered by the smell of home-cooked-meal-saturated clothes and/or breath.

Chicken bacon swiss pizza I made once.
“Okay,” I nodded. “Do you have kids?” I continued, somewhat surprised that I’m not surprised that I’m thinking bacon might have helped her conceive.
“Yes. My daughter turn 51 this month on the 13. My son is 48.”

She hummed something as we passed a moment without words. Her right fist clutching the handle of her blue fabric bag drummed its involuntary beat.

I got my receipt and we pulled away, back onto State Street and headed to work via Trax. She said other things, trying to figure out where exactly we were going. I asked her which Trax line she wanted to take. Red. So I changed lanes to turn left at the next intersection to take her to the Courthouse Trax stop. She was so impressed by my decisive navigating skills, she dug her small fingers into my shoulder and pressed with a force equal to her impression.

“You so gooood!” She laughed again, and I couldn't help but join in for the love of life.
“So where are you from?” I asked. 
Without hesitation, her response skipped in between beats of her hand. “Heaven!” Another and heartier laugh. “But I was born in North Korea.”

I smiled. Aha, the realization finally blossomed. Heaven had predicted her arrival into my day indeed.

As we got closer to the Courthouse Trax stop, she quieted and it seemed her thoughts began taking the precursory steps that would complete her next errand. The morning rush-hour traffic halted us two cars from the crosswalk, but she was already scoping her path toward the train.

“So I get out here?”
“Well, sure, I guess.”
“I get out here.” 

With her right hand, she gave the seat belt button a concentrated push then returned her grip to the handle of her bag. Out she went the way she came, the happy mother of some lady whose birthday is this Saturday, only looking back to make sure she wasn’t leaving anything behind in the front seat.

Mumbling, she shuffled away to get on with her day. Her charity taxi fare was paid in full, and I reset my course for work, running only a few minutes late.

So let’s quick recap what we’ve learned: You ask God to put something in your path. Your path is so out of the ordinary that it’s impossible not to recognize that only God could orchestrate the random arrangement of crossing paths. The messenger from that arrangement feels the need to respond with “you need the bacon” after finding out you’re married for three years, you’re 33, and you don’t have kids yet.

All those in favor of the interpretation that God wants me to eat bacon? Any opposed? Your vote has been noted. I’ll be eating the bacon.*

A recent BLT constructed with homemade sourdough bread.

* In all honesty I probably won't eat more than I do now, which isn't much, but I recently heard about Pederson Farms bacon and I think I'll try its products sometime.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine's Mayday

Disclaimers: This post isn't uplifting. It's important. Also, my husband is zero percent abusive, don't concern yourself about me. But maybe you or someone you know is wilting from unspoken weight and terror. Be alert, be brave, be respectful and caring when you reach out.
Being in a poetic relationship with words, sometimes an idea hits you, drags you from your slumber, tosses and pushes you until you finally break down.

And say something.

Write something.

Even when you know it's not going to be politically comfortable. When you'll be bruised as insensitive, appalling, offensive. You open yourself to criticism and attacks from worldwide strangers because you dared to say something even when you don't know everything. From the depths of denial, victims will lash out, shaking their chains with fury. Survivors will whip you because have no right, no idea.

But when the idea, as disturbing and haunting and vagabond as it may be, raises its clammy hands and strangles the brain until surrender, the poet must speak.

Publishing controversial thoughts always draws from the shadows of anonymity those who find the argument. Those who wield wounds for wounding, hurt for hate.

Keeping it in, that hurts too. Silence invites more hurt. Not saying anything is exactly how fear and control want us to curl up and lie.

You won't like the Valentine poems that found me, that I exhume here. They may make you uncomfortable. You might have plenty to say or hurl when you're done letting me pluck at your eyes.

But if even one lover recognizes the need for help, call for rescue, time for escape, rise of courage, then sweet is the victory of words. The criticism will melt like truffles in my mouth.

I don't know why these thoughts suddenly came pouring into my mind and kept me awake from 5 this morning. I'm not experiencing abuse. I'm not crumbling in silence. But poems are always floating, waiting to intersect the open mind and heart through which they can find their voice. A poet is always trying to reach unknown depths through empathy to be a receptor of inspiration.

Each thought, like a faded soul finally finding a body again, formed a word and crawled along my brain, clawing to be heard. Not just by me. Through me, by anyone with faded soul seeking a voice through these resurrected words.

The words wailed into the universe and linked elbows with the fates, leading me—by no coincidence, I'm convinced—into this experience later in the morning:

Waiting for the train to work, I open my phone and start releasing the tortured words onto the screen. Train pulls up to platform. I find an open bench in the front car and sit down.

I look across from me to find a woman with a freshly red, swelling ridge curving from the end of her eyebrow to under her cheekbone. She also has long blonde hair, thin-framed glasses, pink sweatpants, a white sweater, a large bag next to her, but that stinging mark reveals an invisible feature of her soul: hurt. I look back to my phone as it catches fire under my fingers.

A couple stops into the ride enters a plump man in a dark hooded jacket and beanie covering his head; visible neck, arms, and hands tattooed; three spiked rings on the three major fingers of his right hand; earphone cord spilling from his right ear. He sits across the aisle, facing the same way I am.

Another stop in, he speaks up. "I hope you have a better day." His words are reaching across from me, for her attention. "I hope you have a good day. Did someone do that to you?"

I'm feeling heat rise in me, a little uncomfortable but grateful. I can only assume she nods because she doesn't speak, because I don't look up, and he continues. "Have you reported it? You should. Try to."

I look up and she looks ashamed, embarrassed. The words howl up from my phone. Do you see? We are everywhere! You must write us into extinction.

I try to paint my face with encouragement, support, love for her.

It's her stop now.

"Don't be afraid," he pressed. She nods hurriedly, leaves hurriedly.

I look at him now. "If I saw a man doing that to a woman, I would f*ing murder him."

I shake my head to acknowledge his passion, but I look away, out the window where I see her walking away slightly tilted, maybe from the weight of her large bag.

Before I get off I say to him, "I hope she is brave. Thank you for saying something."

He raises a painted, spiked fist. "Seriously, I would f*ing murder the guy. You have a good day."

I dissolve when you whisper in my ear
“No one else would ever love you”

My heart beats wildly when you get home
and I see that you're drunk again

You're funny, Valentine,
when you get others to laugh at my expense

When I'm talking to you, I sigh to see the glow on your face
from your phone screen

My cheeks turn rosy red
when your palm whips across my face

Nothing gets the fiery passion hotter
than when you touch my child

You take my breath away
when your hands reach for my throat

My body trembles
when you force yourself on me

When I stumble, you catch me
each time—and never let me forget I'll never be good enough

I've never felt more alive than with you
Gone for the day, and I can breathe again

The woman in pink sweatpants deserves real love, a gentle and supportive hand. The feisty, spike-fisted man deserves to be loved. Do you believe you can be truly loved without exceptions, concessions, neglect, abuse?

We all deserve love and respect, recognition of our value and uniqueness. And when we are wrapped in such love, chances of us hurting others diminish. You are worthy of true love, of which my poetry is devoid. The hardness of abuse and neglect is never an expression of love; it is a flash of uncontrolled agony from someone also in desperate need of real love.

But friend, brother, sister . . . if you recognize abuse in your life, your abuser needs even more love than yours alone. They need help. That help needs to come from professionals, people who can also offer you help and protection if needed.

Be brave. Use wisdom and love. Be supportive where you can. But be safe, be healed, love as you would be loved and unbroken love will find you. Time may not heal all wounds, but what time cannot heal, love can, it really can. Especially knowing and embracing the unconditional love your Heavenly Father has for you can heal your hurt.

Reach out to someone you trust if you need to talk. Try The Hotline below. Contact me. I'll virtually hold your hand. With a gentle hand up, you can rise above and find solutions.

Be what you deserve to be.

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