What is Drastic + Dramatic

Friday, May 11, 2018

Menstruating on Mother's Day


Fruit. Ripe tomatoes bulging with heirlooms. Strawberries crawling with seeds. Cherries pregnant with pits. Seedless watermelon.

Roses are. Mothers receive them into their arms like an aromatic baby plucked from the vine. Inhale the scented oxygen and maybe blink down grateful tears. Plunge cut stems into a vase with water and plant them on the table. My mother prefers a few clipped lilacs or a dainty bouquet of sweet peas. Me too. If roses, only wild, left growing in the ground, and then purple.

Blood, obviously. Carries oxygen to the cells, carries toxins to the lungs. Exhale a happy sigh, gather in the sight of momentarily reverent, adoring children. Inheritors of her blood and partakers of her body. Permanent residents of her heart. Product of genetics and miracles.

Makeup, maybe. Lipstick that chubby hands will later smear on the mirror, vanity, carpet.

Candy. What else could a mother ask for? Besides blissful sleep, no doubt.

The uterus. It thickens with blood. The heart. It thickens with hope. And then they shed.


My wedding dress was custom made to fit my body. Beautiful white fabric flowing from rib cage to the ground. The chest and arms wrapped in elegant lace with a randomized spread of floral stitching. Little beads glinting like dewdrops in the delicate webbing between buds. That day, the dress fit perfectly.

My skin is called white. Standing next to James, brushing teeth, I see in the mirror that his white skin compared to mine is more pink. He's the underdone middle in the chicken breast, and I'm the season-salted baked meat. My skin has had to adapt to an increase in body mass. We have hormones to thank for that. But also emotional eating, no doubt. Toothpaste spit into the sink is white—a tiny bit of pink if I flossed too well.

White like brand-new toe socks worn before washing. And I cut my big-toe nail too short, so now there's a copper smudge on one side where the sock protected tender toe from constant shoe. If the stain doesn't come out, I'll always know it's a right sock.

The whites of your eyes are hedged with reddish-pink lines; you'll see them peek out if you keep staring forward as you turn chin to shoulder. Or pull your lids down or up. Mostly you have to go looking for them to notice anything but white seas surrounding the iris islands. Unless you cry.

The stick I dip into the urine collected in the tiny one-ounce plastic sampling cup, hoping to see that second line of pink, is white like a ream of printing paper newly opened and shoved in the printer. The printer is out of ink.

White like the pantyliner pressed onto the fabric slinging between my legs, wrapping my womb, and pinching my waist.


A tempered red. Diluted with white. Just the right mixture of hope and heartache.

Lamplight. The lamp beside my bed...really, it's ridiculous. It's a little girl's bedroom decor item. Light-pink fabric wraps around a wire frame in the bulbous shape of a purse. The handle of the purse lamp is giant clear beads. A white feathery-boa trim lines the rim, and the feet of the frame curl like Cinderella's pumpkin-vine carriage wheels. But its level of light is softly perfect. It makes my skin look somewhat fairy golden in the dark. Flaws are smoothed over, and I feel a sexy confidence, comfort.

Sex is pink. A mixture of love and intercourse. A little lighter pink when you're trying to make a baby the twenty-eighth cycle following twenty-seven failures. Sex can go a little darker pink when kids aren't involved.

"Just have fun with it" is pink advice. A mixture of ignorance and positivity. Best for newlyweds. Fun doesn't make a baby, though. Bodies do. Biology does. If my biology isn't ripe, no amount of fun will plant pregnancy in my body. If your biology is fruitful: red congratulations.

Newborns after first breath. A miraculous mixture of sperm and egg, of love and sex, of mother and father.

Life is pink. An infinite mixture of known and unknown. We're always counting. When we know what's coming, we count down the days, anticipate. Two days to Mother's Day. Twenty-eight days to my birthday.

If we don't know when the event's arrival will be, we count up, hope. Thirty-three years, hoping for thirty-four and beyond. Twenty-eight cycles, hoping it's the one.

Counting calories to fit my body into that dress again. Counting pills to swallow. Counting days past ovulation. Counting the months to see when the due date would be.

But if a white dress never fits custom to my body again, if I'm never wrapped plumply in pregnancy, I count on being healthy and happy. Which I am. Happy. A practically perfect pink happiness. Lifelong mixtures of red and white.

Counting. Hoping. Shedding. Cycling.

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.

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