Poetry and musings of a zany Mormon girl who is very proud of her Erda roots.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Great Gushing Giggles!

Giggles gush from children’s smiles as they pretend to listen to an ardent adult about dreary facts from dusty old oratories.

Gentle reprimands generally work to silence the little laughs, but today the tykes control side conversations as grown-ups giggle too.

Do you see it there? Under the lecturer’s lean lectern is a slithering stripped snake rubber replica!

Soon the stalwart speaker will notice the muffled mirth and survey the ruffled room in silence.

Suspicious eyes will spark and light upon the lithe rubber replica supposing it to be real.

Children chatter, audaciously anxious for a scrumptious scream to echo through the hallowed hall.

When the narrow-eyed narrator finally finds the cause of the commotion, it is not a yelp that escapes his lips, but a light laugh!

With a jolly jiggle around his middle, the giggle grows into a tidal wave of merry mirth that sweeps the sacred surroundings from floor to ceiling, contagious to the congregation.

Side-splitting laughter causes adults and children alike to roll on the floor in riotous reaction to the snake sighting!

All at once, the giggles are gone. Smiles still tickle twinkling eyes and bellies bounce with suppressed silliness, but the moment has passed at the preacher proceeds.

Until one small boy, way in the back, behind the last proud pillar produces a pack of pink whoopee cushions for the congregation. . .

Pool of the Toads

When I was a kid, we were so poor that my dad dug a hole in the back yard, lined it in thick, black plastic, stuck an electric fence all around and called it a swimming pool.

I don't remember if it was *actually* an electric fence, but I do remember being terrified of climbing it, or getting too close to it, or generally touching it at all. My parents may have lied to me about being electrocuted by the fence if any unsupervised swimming practices were floating through my five-year-old brain.

In any case, that little pool was awesome! Black plastic absorbs sunlight, so we had a solar heated pool! One side of the pool featured stair-steps of compact earth under the plastic which made a great place to lean back and relax in the warm water or to balance on while learning to kick in the water. I learned to dog paddle. It's the only swim stroke I know.

We would bask in the bathtub-warm water and watch the sunset. My older brother and sister (Numbers Two and One, respectfully) would push dead june bugs floating on the surface of the water toward me and shriek with delight as I'd shriek in abject terror. We'd just sit and listen to the cicadas and crickets chirp as the lightning bugs blinked on and off, on and off. Ahhh, lazy days of summer -- to be a child again with no concept of vacations.

Before the city made us fill in the pool/hole, it served as a haven for local toads in the Autumn.

These toads were our friends.

Each of us kids had an individual toad that was our special pet.

We tried getting warts from them, kissing them into princes, holding onto them for as long as possible, and generally anything that wouldn't kill the toad.

We were raised with a healthy respect for all forms of life. We were far more prone to save the little animals and whatnot instead of killing them. Remind me to tell you about the baby birds, kittens, raccoons, and caterpillars some time. Except . . . there was that one apple tree that only gave rotten fruit we tried to kill by skinning all of the bark off. Hmmm, I guess there were also the slugs that got salted, bees that were routinely sprayed, and flies I used to squash between the window and roll-down curtain. Ah, well those things deserved it; we really were raised with respect for life.

The toads came around the same time I got a book of reptiles and amphibians on a once-in-a-blue-moon trip to the bookstore. I loved staring at that book and reading up on weird things like two-headed salamanders. I learned as much as I could about toads from that book, grabbed a clean plastic container from the kitchen, punctured air holes into the lid, placed down a little grass, and shoved a toad inside for show and tell in the morning before school. I'm sure my first grade class didn't think the toad was nearly as cool as I did. But I recited my facts about toads anyway and included speculations about what species of toad I had found in our swimming pool. Towards the end of my presenation, the toad did something I wasn't expecting.

It peed on me.

A sticky stream of slime squirted out of the creature and coated my hand. Quickly shoving the toad back in it's plastic jail and securing the lid, I acted nonchalant as I strode over to the classroom sink saying something about how they pee sometimes. Applying liberal amounts of soap, I attempted to scrub the toad ick off of me but to no avail. That toad had been seriously put out when it did it's business all over me. I had toad on me for the rest of the day and avoided using my hand for anything non-critical.

That should have been the last time I played with toads but I'm sure it wasn't. I took the show-and-tell toad home, let it out into the wild, and was upset when I didn't ever see that exact toad ever again.

Sometimes when you really like something/someone and it/he/she doesn't like you back and tries to tell you in no uncertain terms how ardently they loath your very presence, you should listen to them and not parade them in front of your friends as your new pet. Lesson learned the hard way.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

When I was a kid, we were so poor that we didn't have television for a looooong time.

Actually, we didn't have television because my dad took our color TV and tiny black and white TV down to the coal room (it was a scary dirt-floored room in our basement where coal was delivered through a chute in the wall back when the old, old house was heated with black lumps of ancient organic material). He took a sledge hammer with him. And his feet. He hammered and stomped those televisions until they were unusable. He did this because he was watching too much TV and not being productive. (Someone probably mouthed off about something and send Dad into a fit that could only be quenched by destroying media devices. I really don't know, I'm just speculating here. I was about six when it happened.)

In any case, we didn't have television for a good chunk of my early years.

Instead, I developed an imagination full of things I'd read in books, thought about until finding some sort of logic, learned while asking questions, and just generally imagined for myself.

There were elves in our blackberry bushes, villages of acorn people, fairies in the dormant apricot tree and the thick patches of lush, green clover. I was a gymnast when perched on top of the clothes line post, and an adventurer when climbing to the top of the MAMMOTH tree that was taller than our two-story house. At the very top, one could see the out as far as the rail road station in the north, past the factory to the east, across the neighborhood in the south, and nearly to the silvery glints of the Mighty Mississippi in the west.

I'd also imagine dead bodies under bushes and murdering kidnappers in slow-moving vehicles. (That was the influence of "Unsolved Mysteries" from when we had television.)

I consider growing up sans television to have been a good experience. When we finally got a small television/VCR to take on a road trip from Illinois to Oregon, life was a little more mundane. After school and on Saturday mornings, we'd huddle around the 8 inch screen to watch one of the three channels we could get -- soaking up the flickering lights like moths on the back porch in summer time.

This post really had no point. I was just remembering life with no media influence. Back when borrowing a TV and VCR to watch a rented tape was the pinnacle of joy. We now have two bona-fide televisions complete with DVD players and a huge projector and screen complete with PS3 Blue ray and half a dozen other interesting things attached to make life more fun.

My little brothers and sisters grew up in a much different household than my older siblings and I.

Let's Ride Bikes!

When I was a kid, we were so poor my parent's couldn't afford to outfit us all with bikes. However, we were also fortunate. My dad worked for a small electronics's company which rented office space in the basement of a bank.

This bank was robbed once while my dad was working there. He had to hide under his desk while the thief-turned-murderer stalked the basement looking for an exit.

In any case, some kind soul dropped off several old bikes at the bank parking lot and my dad took them home for us kids. They were at least 15 years old by the time we got them. At least. Banana seats and high handle bars suggest 20 years old, but I'm not a children's bike historian, so it's really any one's guess.

These bikes were so cool!

We lived in a very quiet neighborhood that only experienced traffic twice a day -- during Shift Change Time. 5am and 3pm. The rest of the time, we were pretty much free to roam around the block on our bikes.

After casing the safety gravel alleyway a few times, I'd generally work up the courage to go onto the street. Our school system was very pro-safety and I learned how to signal on a bike before I'd learning to ride. So, with arms waving in precise motions, I'd trek out onto the road. Down the hill, down Cedar Street, up the hill, back to the ally. Over and over. When I felt particularly brave and confident, I'd sometimes go one more street down or up. I'd always try to get as much speed as possible heading down the hill. That was the best!

We lived in a house sitting on the top of a slope. Our back yard was level with the house, but our front lawn featured a big dip down the the street as did our drive way. It was great fun to go sledding on the lawn in the winter time and flying down the drive way on bikes in the summer. One such summer afternoon saw me perched on my banana-seated tall-handle-bar-sporting bike at the top of the drive way. I pedaled hard for a few feet to work up momentum before the hill took over. By the end of the driveway, I'd lost control of the pedals and had my legs stretched straight in front of the bike to avoid being ripped apart by the wildly rotating rouge pedals. Completely absorbed with attempting to regain control of my vehicle, I didn't realize that another vehicle was right in front of me until moments before I smashed into its side. It was my neighbor's parked car, pulled next to the curb across the street.

I was so grateful for that car!

It stopped me from running into the curb and being thrown from my bike -- which probably would have resulted in a trip to the doctor's office. The rubber on my tall handle bars made contact with the door of the car first, simultaneously spinning me around and slowing me down so that I would bump the vehicle instead of the metal frame of the bike. I left no dent or scratch on the car and came away with only minor bruising and an intense lack of enthusiasm for the remainder of my bike ride, which was very short.

This left an impression on me, though. To be doing something reckless and to be saved -- painfully -- by something best avoided.

Sometimes salvation comes from an unexpected source.

Fly Like an Eagle

When I was a kid, we were so poor my mom wouldn't buy us a trampoline. Instead, we propped up a 2x6 on two cinder blocks and bounced up and down.

We got just enough air that it was exhilarating!

It was close to the ground so Mom didn't worry too much about broken necks.

We could only fit a few people on at a time so we were forced to share.

It was too narrow to actually do any flips. Not that I wanted to even try flips on a 2x6. One time I attempted a back flip on the lush green grass. It started out so exciting! I was sure that it would be easy and I'd just be able to do it on the first try so I didn't put any thought into where to put my legs. Halfway through the flip I realized my ignorance of flippage and panicked. The last half of the flip was spent flailing. The ending of the flip saw me flat on my back and the air knocked out of my lungs with such force that my diaphragm spasmed and I couldn't take breath for a good 45 seconds or so. I just lay there thinking, "I'm dying! Ouch! Someone needs to save me! Ouch!"

Hahahahahahahaha! I'm crying tears of mirth!

In any case, flips were flat OUT on the bouncy board.

It was the '90's and the Steve Miller Band's song "Fly Like an Eagle" was a super hit! We'd bounce on our fake trampoline and sing the chorus over and over again as we soared (about two feet!) into the sky.

This year is nearly over because:

Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future

And next year all I can think of is how:

I want to fly like an eagle
To the sea
Fly like an eagle
Let my spirit carry me
I want to fly like an eagle
Till I'm free
Oh, Lord, through the revolution
Feed the babies
Who don't have enough to eat
Shoe the children
With no shoes on their feet
House the people
Livin' in the street
Oh, oh, there's a solution
I want to fly like an eagle
To the sea
Fly like an eagle
Let my spirit carry me
I want to fly like an eagle
Till I'm free
Fly through the revolution
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future
I want to fly like an eagle
To the sea
Fly like an eagle
Let my spirit carry me
I want to fly like an eagle
Till I'm free
Fly through the revolution
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Tobaco spit stinks.

I like my hair short. I can swish it.

Enormous belly buttons really freak me out! I saw a "clown" once at the circus with a belly button the size, shape, and appearance of a hot cross bun. Complete with X-marks-the-spot smack dab in the middle.

I think turtles are cute.

Although my neck is really short and thick, it sometimes displays delicate musculature that makes me feel sexy.

I really want some Le Creuset crockery. It is so beautiful!

My dad regularly tells me that fornication is fun and I ought to be participating.
He's just teasing.
I think.

If I were a fruit, I'd be an apple. Sweet, tart, round, and makes an awesome cream cheese apple turnover. Mmmmm!

I would love to have a child with red hair. I've wanted one since I was five years old.

I do not like store bought chocolate milk, pudding, or ice cream. The cheap chocolate flavor puts me off.

I wonder what it feels like to fly.

Warm Body

I was just reading over some of my favorite blogs and I found this post from a few months ago: http://noellc.blogspot.com/2009/09/all-single-ladies.html.

It led me to think about the philosophy of relationships for what they're worth.

It has been said that love is a 50-50 game of give and take. Sometimes you need to be giving 100% because your partner needs you and sometime you need to receive 100% support because you need him/her. Sometimes you need to compromise what you want for the benefit of the relationship and what your partner needs. It evens out over a life time.

That being said, settling never was compromise. Settling is the prostitution of your pride to the lowest bidder. It's giving up your right to be genuinely appreciated and understood for the fleeting comfort of a warm body and a few laughs.

Just remember, time is relative. Your soul has eternity to find its mate.

These are thoughts that have been slowly solidifying for me over the last ten years as I've gone through the teenage armpit of life and have proceeded into my early twenties. Just five years ago I was so emotionally withdrawn from the world that I could not imagine an existence where someone would want to date me. I know this sounds weird -- dating is easy, right? Although I could easily visualize the happy glow of married life, rearing children, and growing old with some nondescript kindred spirit, images of the dating process and courtship were not part of my imaginary repertoire. I hit a wall built of terror and self doubt whenever I tried to peek at that part of my expectant life. This was seriously crippling. My sad, lame dating life was rendered worse than pathetic as it hobbled around on the crutch of self pity and fed me bon bons when I was alone on Friday nights getting fat and old. Only, my dating life was probably too catatonic to eat bon-bons and get fat -- it would have just let the bon-bons dribble down it's chin in a gooey mass of ick. Ew! I just grossed myself out!

So, I bewaied the fact that no one was ever blatantly interested in me and hosted pity parties every Friday night. Sans bon bons.

Then I made some changes.

Tired of looking in the mirror to see myself trapped in the eyes of a timid, lackluster somebody, I determined to break free and become someone worthy of notice.

My body was first, and easiest. A quick operation and I was a new person with more potential than I'd ever had before. I could breath. I could run. I could shop for regularly sized items that didn't require tailoring.

My mind set was a different matter. While I couldn't understand why someone would want to be around me, I knew that there were people I wanted to be around. People who made me feel good to be in their presence. People who accepted me in all my awkwardness and partial insanity. (They wouldn't have stuck around if they knew about the bon-bons.) I focused on letting each individual know how much I appreciated their association -- giving what I could of my self while asking for the kindness of friendship in return.

It was the acknowledgment of this give and take that finally helped me to realize that I had something unique to offer the world. I had myself. My real self. No longer imprisoned within the thick shell of ignorance of my own attributes, I was finally able to begin living.

That's when I started loving myself and gaining an understanding of my individual worth. And so I have determined to wait through the turmoil and bon bon inducing loneliness that occasionally accompanies single life.

It's not that I'm picky. It's because I know myself too well to be satisfied with just a warm body.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


While I realize that not everyone likes snow, I am a big fan. I love the crisp, vibrant way the air glimmers after a storm. I love watching flurries dance on the wind settle into thick piles on the ground, trees, buildings, and eyelashes of those viewing their performance. I love how it takes a long time for snow to accumulate on the surface of roads and disappears as soon as a flake touches down.

I love the silence of snow. All the world seems to cozy up inside some type of burrow and the regular sounds of nature cease to pay tribute to the awesome power of snow.

My favorite type of snow only happens when it is truly cold outside. When the sky turns dappled and gray, and the air sings with chill. Then the snow flakes come down as large, individual, perfect crystals. Each flake stacks up on the ground and makes the perfect powder. The kind of powder that easily brushes off of coats but completely frosts your exposed hair or fur trim. And the crunch! This snow is dry with plenty of air caught up in between each flake. Each step begins as an adventure on a pillow-soft cloud of white and results in a satisfying "crunch!" as all of the layers are compressed. It is, consequently, the best for winter sports.

My very favorite thing about snow is that after becoming deliciously cold you can hang up your outdoor clothes, don a thick pair of socks, and snuggle up to someone warm with a hot mug of something sweet and just watch the magic from the comfortable side of a glass pane.