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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Food For Thought, Or Thought For Food



One of my very favorite things in the whole world is to cook good food for good people.

Today I got to do just that. 

Let me state for the record the record that the food today could not have been so utterly amazing without copious amounts of help and support from my adorable family. My mom is my personal angel. She always seems to have energy to do one more thing...and then another. My dad chops onions like a pro and my brother is very good with seasonings. Their talents, and willingness to share their time, helped me in immeasurable ways tonight. I am very pleased to be related to them.

In any case, cooking is only fun when performed for and with good people. Passion is a flavor and without it any dish would taste almost two dimensional. Flat. Missing something important.

Cooking has always reminded me of family.

My mother, married at 19, had very little practical knowledge of culinary arts when setting up house. My dad's mother was a ranch wife with a whole lot of practical knowledge on every aspect of managing a household -- especially feeding large crowds. Grandma taught Mom to cook robust but inexpensive meals. Mom picked up the recipes quickly and discovered a natural talent in the kitchen.

My childhood was spent enjoying "experiments" with food as new recipes were developed. I watched carefully as Mom seasoned, stirred, assembled, chopped, and mixed a variety of foods. By the time I was five, she judged me to be responsible enough to help prepare food and trusted me with a sharp knife. When I was about eight I made my first meal: spaghetti with red sauce. Mom shouted out seasonings for the tomato sauce from another room and I carefully stirred it all together, tasting and adjusting as it simmered.

Tomato sauce is still one of my very favorite things to make. It's so versatile!

At eight years old I also memorized the chocolate cake recipe on the back of the Hersey's cocoa powder box. Making a cake a week for a month or more increased my confidence in baking and I began experimenting and tweaking the recipe until I found exactly what I liked best.

Although I don't have the recipe memorized anymore, I still enjoy tweaking my cakes and adding just a little more cocoa or vanilla or adding butter instead of oil.

My chocolate cake is delicious.

I dare you to hate it. Double dog dare you.

Unless you are allergic to/hate the taste of chocolate. In which, case, I will make you creme brulee.

My creme brulee is also delicious.

I intend to be in the kitchen tomorrow. What do you want to eat?

Come to Erda and I will feed you!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Space Cadet


Image from here.

I have been a space cadet this entire week. Here are a few of my shenanigans and goings on:

1.) I saw a goat standing on a pile of gravel. He really was king of the hill. Goats do that sort of a thing. I thought it was a kind of myth, like: are elephants really afraid of mice and do goats really stand on the highest surface they can find?

Food for thought.

Food. For. Though.

2.) I had an entire herd of cattle stare at me. Every cow, steer, bull, and calf was checking me out.

I was wearing tight running pants...but somehow I don't think they were intersted in my awesome hind quarters.

3.) I showed up to work without a scrubs top. I had the bottoms on but not the top.

Luckily, I was wearing a t-shirt under my non-existant scrubs top.

Whew!

4.) I made a cake from a box mix and was really confused by the thick, paste-like consistency. After smearing it into my cake pan, I re-read the baking instructions and discovered that the mix required not only eggs and oil, but water also.

After that life-giving, liquid miricle was added, the cake batter became a more normal consistancy and there was much rejoicing.

Yay.

5.) I put the finished cakes in my car so that they can cool/freeze tonight. I'm sort of afraid that the cake will end up being mostly frosting as I attempt to layer everthing and it falls to bits because each layer is actually too thin.

Frosting is good, right?

Que sera sera. Whatever will be, will be.

Even if it is just a frosting avalanche.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Insight Achieved

This is my new baby!

If this car were a piece of clothing it would be a little black dress: loves to hug the curves, show off just a little, and just the right size.

Yeah, I think I'm going to keep it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Don't Waste The Pretty

The funny thing about self confidence is that it can grow exponentially as a person receives positive feedback. It can literally increase infinitely.

My quest for confidence has caused me to stumble upon a very interesting and very effective rule of thumb:

Don't waste the pretty.

I'm talking about the simple act of being able to get up, get dressed, and look at yourself in the mirror without imagining it shattering into a million pieces at the monstrosity of perceived faults.

There have been times in my life when I have not been able to look myself in the mirror because I despised the image I reflected. There was nothing I liked about myself physically, emotionally, or socially. All that I could see was someone who was trapped inside a body she hated because she was too weak to change.

This was reflected in the baggy t-shirt and pony tail uniform I outfitted myself in to hide the things I was self conscious about. And I was self conscious about everything.

I wear colors now. Bright, bold, and beautiful colors. I never could do that before.

When something makes you feel great, get out and show it off. Don't waste the pretty by hiding it. Don't waste the pretty on people who won't appreciate it. Don't waste the pretty doing something that makes you feel less than awesome.

It lasts a lot longer when it is shared. It grows when it is passed on. It helps you to love yourself and the beautiful body that God gave you despite its perceived imperfections.

I am by no means model material, and never will be, but can confidently declare that I have curves every bit as dramatic as Marilyn Monroe. I have large, strong muscles that do not require excessive exercise to maintain. I have a healthy appetite and no shame in feeding it. I have a body that does what I ask it to do.

What more can a girl want than what she's already got?

Don't waste the pretty on trying to be something you are not.

I like what I see in the mirror now because I like the me I am. My physical appearance, though a big part of what I am, does not necessarily dictate who I am. My mind, my heart, and my soul get to dictate who I am. Nothing else.



The same goes for you.  A person can tell you that something is wrong with you a million times by comparing you to the ever shifting standard. But when you know the measure of your worth, nothing can stop you from seeing just how beautiful you are.

Don't waste the pretty on those who would try to tell you otherwise.

What makes you feel pretty? What helps you to feel awesome about yourself? What gives you the boost of confidence that you look for in the morning?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Single's Ward

Let me just start out by stating that today was a great day! I've had the biggest smile on my face all day long and have made many friends this way.

I got to chat with President Cecil O Samuelson, current BYU president, after he spoke for my stake conference. He was here! In my stake center! After the meeting he had lunch in the room where I have YSA every Sunday!

He gave me some good advice and was very pleasant and approachable.

Cecil is my homeboy.



(Does anybody know where to find one of those t-shirts; I feel as though I've earned it after having met him for real!)


(Oh, wait. I found it here.)

Because stake conference was at 9am and over by 11am, I actually got to have a lazy Sunday. It was absolutely fantastic.

I napped.

There were tons of people at YSA tonight and I made a friends with almost everyone. (This whole "smiling" thing is really working for me.) The best part was that I didn't have to lead the whole thing. People took charge and really started to own it. I'm way excited for next week when I teach everyone how to make Cafe Rio style pork salads.

Love on a plate!

I'm so excited! This is awesome!

The only drawback today was that people kept asking me why I wasn't attending the local single's ward. Permit me to use my personal blog time to illustrate a few of the reasons I choose to attend a home ward instead.

1.) I love the different age groups in home wards. Babies through elderly and everything in between.

2.) There is more diversity in church callings (volunteer jobs) in a home ward. I was once called to be the
Relief Society Enrichment Refreshment Specialist in a single's ward. While it was one of my very favorite callings ever, because I got to cook for a huge amount of people once a month, it still strikes me as quite rediculous and makes me giggle.

3.) I love the people in my home ward. I love that they are my neighbors. I love that I get to socialize with them and look forward to inviting them all to my someday-hypothetical wedding.

4.) I feel very comfortable in my home ward. Many of the people attending are those who I have known for half of my life. I've grown up with them. I've missed them when I went away to school. Coming back to those people is a big part of coming Home.

5.) Single's wards remind me of the stake dances I was forced to attend as a kid: hot, sweaty rooms crammed with nervous people expected to pair up. Blech.

6.) I think my brother put it perfectly when he pointed out that single's wards attract young people set on out-churching others in attempts to prove piety and thereby win a mate. I'd rather just be real.

7.) Because I have a strong personality and go-get-'em attitude, I'm almost always asked to do things that are difficult or that I would rather not do. I'm horrible and lazy, so I choose to stick with a situation that was pretty much hand-picked for me in my home ward and see it through until it takes off on it's own.

8.) I've been forced to listen to one too many rants about dating/not dating and choosing the right marriage partner. That's not a concern in a home ward where the majority of those in attendance are married or far too young to consider marriage. I just want a break from that for now. Let me figure out when the right time will be and don't try to force me.

9.) I hate being reminded that I've moved back home and haven't done enough with my life. Oddly enough, I feel that way at the single's ward but not in my home ward. Going to my home ward is like being wrapped up in a big, fuzzy, warm blanket and nuzzling in close. I happen to love it a lot.

10.) I will attend a single's ward again, someday. But that day is not today or tomorrow, or even next week.

I am very, very stubborn. I will not do something unless I can see why it would be beneficial. Then, even if I hate it, I will throw myself in full force -- even if I am doomed to fail.

It is what it is.

All things considered: I have never been more happy, more at peace with my life, or more content than with what I am currently doing. Life is good.

I intend to store up this sunny soul-weather for the inevitable storms of the future.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Introspection

It is not uncommon to receive several compliments a day from the male donors at the plasma center where I work if you happen to be a female. XX chromosomes grant full flirting privileges to any XY who happens to come through our doors. I've never had a problem with an overly ambitions flirt, and generally take their attention as the compliment it is meant to be -- but nothing else.

Tonight a donor had a few things to say that made me stop and listen.

Not because I was interested in him in particular -- he professes to be very much in love with a beautiful girl -- but because of what he said.

It is no secret that I am a social misfit just barely learning how to get along in society. It is also no secret that I have yet to make things "work out" relationship-wise and still have a lot to learn on that front. In observing others who appear to be as equally awkward as I, it has always mystified me that they seem to be able to find other awkward people and make things "work out."

A late night conversation among friends a few years ago stands out as a perfect illustration.

We were talking about how most people fit into a few categories: circle, square, triangle. And, similar to the way tupperware fits together, they can find a match: circle to circle, square to square, and triangle to triangle. Although different, there are many options because these categories are so abundant. Finding a match is pretty easy but might take just a little bit to get the exact right fit.

Some people, however, are like octagons. There aren't very many of them so they seem to find one another, remarkably enough, and that's it! They say, "We're weird so let's get married and be weird together and have weird babies!" Lickity split.

I know that I'm oversimplifying things, but really, I've seen enough couplings of strange people who just work well together to know that this is a true principle of humanity. Trust me.

I've always thought that I fit into the first category. I was just another circle looking for a matching circle in this big world of circles, squares, and triangles. But the more I think about it the more I realize I might be a decagon or, worse, a dodecahedron. At first glance I can be mistaken for a circle, but in reality there are more needs to be fitted. Finding a fit is really difficult.

The donor I spoke to this evening remarked how strange it was that I am a 24 year old Mormon girl with a great smile and pleasant attitude who wasn't married. He was shocked. I gave him my canned answer of, "Oh, you know, I just don't know where to go to meet people." The words tasted like water when you are expecting 7-Up. Just...wrong.

This morning I drove my little sister to the airport. She is reuniting with her hubby who has been training for the last two months in deployment preparation. She was really excited.

During our 20 minute drive we talked. Mostly about me.

She has been mad at me for five months. Ever since I said something insensitive while visiting her at the end of last summer. We talked about it and I apologized, having a little more sympathy now for her condition than when I first offended her. Our conversation opened up a few more of my bottled up issues but shed a little light on some things that people have been telling me for years.

I have high standards when it comes to dating.

The thought finally began to gel this morning.

I suppose that I do.

I never thought that I did.

I know that I have blinders on when it comes to potential dating partners. I never see them until they've exhausted all attempts to get my attention and by that time they don't really want anything more to do with me. Either that, or I form an elaborate attachment to someone with very little base it on and then become disappointed when they don't live up to the imaginary person my mind painted them to be.

I know that I am very judgmental and will dismiss someone from my dating pool if they don't meet up with what I consider some very basic criteria.

"What are those criteria?" you might ask. Well, I suppose I can outline them here, because we all know that I love lists and divulging intimate things about myself.

1.) He must share my interest in and observance of religion.
2.) He must be able to match my level of ambition in all aspects of life and learning.
3.) He must value family.
4.) He must be physically attractive to me.

That's what I look for.

I never thought that it was too much to ask for.

And I still don't think it is too much.

But maybe it is.

Particularly since there is a lot that goes in to each part of the list. Chapters could probably be written on the exact definitions. Chapters that would make lawyers weep.

The arrogant manner in which I dismiss possible matches early on is killing my chances of ever finding a matching decagon. Or circle, if I'm not as weird as I think I am.

I do have a great smile. I am a nice Mormon girl. I have a very liberal sense of humor. I have a lot to offer in a relationship because I have many talents and interests.

But I have so many flaws and insecurities that I have serious doubts in my ability to ever "make things work" with anyone. 

It's not difficult to see that the common element in all my failed attempts at relationships is me.

Maybe the first step is to stop being so introspective.

Maybe it is better to just live in the moment for a little bit and stop thinking so much about the eternal perspective and how everything I do can be used to fulfill specific goals set for personal growth and edification.

Maybe I need to take a closer look at who is already in my life instead of looking toward the somedays of life and what new opportunities may, or may not, be in my future path.

Maybe.

It's only beginning to gel.

I'm by no means close to figuring all of this out in any way that might make sense.

Plus, I just wasted 20 minutes writing about myself.

Dang my introspective nature!

The Real Ritchie Valens - La Bamba

The Penguins - Earth Angel

Rays Silhouettes

Roy Orbison - Crying

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Just Smile



Have you ever noticed how a smile from a stranger, a kind word, or an expression of genuine appreciation can affect your day in a powerfully positive manner?

Have you ever noticed how a glare, physical avoidance, or snarky comment can turn the sunniest of days into a stormy mess?

Have you ever noticed how the much the moods of those around you affect your own?

If so, you are not alone. The emotions of others can have an almost tangible and uncontrollable influence on our own. Just as it can be very difficult to forgive someone who is less than contrite, it can be easy to forget about a wrong committed by someone who is genuine and congenial.

For instance: Work at a plasma center goes much more smoothly if I make an effort to connect with each donor who comes through. If I leave them with a good impression of my capabilities, even once, mistakes are overlooked and then entire process seems to be just another pleasant encounter.

Today I had a donor request me for the first time. It wasn't because I'm a terrific phlebotomist -- it was because he enjoys talking to me. I make a point of saying hello every time he comes in and keeping a running dialog. Little things like that help people to know that they are valued. And that can make all the difference.

If you find that life is a bit of a drag and things simply aren't coming together, try out this little tip and let me know how it goes: make it a point to get at least one person to smile a day. If you can bring a moment of light to one person's life, I promise that your own mood will be lifted and life will become just a little more bearable even when it seems crushingly oppressive.

love,
zam

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Palooza

Happy Valentine's Day!

The following are 18 cards I sent out for my Facebook Valentine's Palooza. They were way too cool to keep just between myself and the recipients, so I'm posting them here as well. Enjoy!



















Thursday, February 10, 2011

Can I Just...?

The following is poem I wrote tonight. It's still rough around the edges and I haven't decided what it means yet, but bits and pieces have been floating around the special place in my brain where primordial ooze of creative thought exists. 

I think it's a bit of a riddle posed by my brain to my heart or my heart to my brain. There's no saying, really.

Maybe you'll like it, but probably not.





Can I Just Love You From Over Here?

I love you, but you don't love me
I know you, but you can't know me
I can't know you but I love you anyway
Can I just love you from over here?
Can I just love you from over here?


I'm a jumbley mess of hand-me down cares
Pasted with string, chewing gum, and tears
Together we could have made a rag-tag team
More friends than lovers, not lovers or friends
Perhaps just comrades fighting in the dark
Whatever we were, dear, you left a mark,
Dear, you left a mark


I can't be the same for what I'm not anymore
I can't sing a song that I've never learned
I can't go on being what I wasn't before
I can't go on changing for you who I never knew
Did you know, did you know, did you know me?
I never knew, I never knew, I never knew you.


I love you, but you don't love me
I know you, but you can't know me
I can't know you but I love you anyway
Can I just love you from over here?
Can I just love you from over here?
Can I just love you from over here?
Or perhaps from over there?


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Do you know how it feels...?

Do you know how it feels to feel as though you are floating in strawberry banana pudding?

Do you know what it's like to want to wash each individual cell of your body?

Do you know how it sounds to stretch out each word you say while slurring them all together?

Have you ever been hilarious without really trying?

Have you ever had a Woody burger with curly fries from Woody's drive-in located in Murray?

I have done all of these, except one, just tonight!! Can you guess which one I did not do?

Caaaaaaannnnnnnn-yooooooooou?

I don't know if my pain tolerance has gone up or what, but I can't really feel my migraines as painful anymore. I'm just really light sensitive, experience mad aura, get super-duper loopy, and my upper limbs twitch or shake randomly.

My sister said I looked "special" today because I couldn't control the twitching. She was mean and hurt my feel goods. So I ran away and took a nap.

When I woke up, my limbs felt like they were cast out of lime jello with carrot shavings floating around inside. Dirty carrot shavings -- someone plucked them straight from the garden before sticking them inside my half-formed gelatinous limbs. I wobble so.

I really should never take drugs. I think that would be really bad for me. I sort of feel the same way now as that one time when I got all hopped up on Lortab after surgery.

I feel funky.

You can't see it, but just did a dance. Inside my head.

Dancing is no fun when your limbs are made of jello. You leave bits of yourself on the hot, sticky dance floor and then people trod on you. Parts of you go home with strangers where you are licked off their shoes by their pet dogs. Not the kind of thing one generally enjoys, I imagine.

I should probably try to sleep this off.

Lucky thing I didn't have work today.

What if I accidentally twitched at the wrong time and needle got stuck in someones eye or throat or knee cap?! That would be horrible! You can't take plasma from those places. No sirree. No. Sir. Ree.

Yep.

I'm done.

Sleep tight, world.

Don't let the bed bugs bite.

Unless they are poor, orphaned, third-world bed bugs. In which case, set them up with a college fund.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mumford & Sons -- The Cave



It's empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears
And all the faults you've left behind

The harvest left no food for you to eat
You cannibal, you meat-eater, you see
But I have seen the same
I know the shame in your defeat

But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

Cause I have other things to fill my time
You take what is yours and I'll take mine
Now let me at the truth
Which will refresh my broken mind

So tie me to a post and block my ears
I can see widows and orphans through my tears
I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears

But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

So come out of your cave walking on your hands
And see the world hanging upside down
You can understand dependence
When you know the maker's hand

So make your siren's call
And sing all you want
I will not hear what you have to say

Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it's meant to be

And I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lovable Doo-dads!

I love presents!

So, I bought myself a few and eagerly anticipated their arrival in the mail.

Just a few doo-dads and what-nots that I've had my eye on for some time.

Because I fell in love with them.

Apparently, they are very lovable.

I have been complimented so many times that a count is impossible.

I own some lovable doo-dads!


You can find your Good Cheer earrings at darlybird.com. Then you too can own/gift some lovable doo-dads!

Huzzah!

(As a side note, it tickles me to hear a grown man call a pair of earrings "cute." The absurdity making me giggle!)



Here's a picture of me chilling with myself and my awesome, compliment-inducing earrings. :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Just Another Manic Sunday

I dreamed some crazy stuff when I crawled back into bed after an early morning meeting today.

Crazy stuff.

In any case, I've been in a super hyper mood for a few days now and there's no end in sight for how long this will last, so I've decided to enjoy the heck out of it all!

Here's a conversation I had at work on Friday:

Me: How's it going?
Guy: Ok, how are you?
Me: I'm great! It's Friday, how could it be anything but great?!
Guy: Well now I'm great! Thanks! Pass it on!!
Me: Hahahahahahah!

That basically sums up my whole weekend. Even when I have tired, hungry, grumpy, or blue there has been a huge grin on my face and chortle stuck in my throat. It's so awesome!

On a related note: I've decided to never, ever get drunk or try drugs. If this is how I act with a natural hormone cocktail -- shaken, not stirred -- made by my own body, have no doubt that I would be the looniest inebriated woman alive! Inhibitions galore, I would either get myself killed, or discover the cure to all types of disease, cancer, war, grumpy children and icky vegetables.

*sigh*

The world just can't handle that!

No, I will do everyone a big favor stay relatively sober.

. . .

. . .

. . .

Lalalalalalalalalalalala!

Hahahahahahahahaha!

Relatively.

Key word.

And now, a picture for your viewing pleasure:


I call it "Holding In A Sneeze"

Thank you, and good night!

I love you, world!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hawaii

I drove my parents to the airport this morning. They landed a in Hawaii safe and sound for a week of telephone convention business.
Poor dears!

My mom's biggest worries this morning included forgetting to pack a spare pair of sunglasses and whether or not they would get to the resort in time to pick up scuba gear tonight before their swim tomorrow morning.

Poor dears!

Hawaii became the 50th state on August 21, 1959 -- the year before my dad was born. It was just a territory during WWII when Pearl Harbor was bombed and the US officially entered the war.

Hawaii is the only state with a royal palace. That's because it was ruled by a monarchy before American businessmen overthrew the government and took over in 1893. We apologized in 1993, though. Just 100 years too late.

Oh well.

Now we have the delicious bananas and pineapple those businessmen were after all along. And Hawaii has scores of nerdy tourists wearing socks with sandals all over the pristine beaches. Not to mention all the SPAM you can eat! This is a win-win situation, right?

Anyway, my point is: My parentals are out of town for a week. Who wants to par-tay?!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Insight


What do you think, my darlings? Can you see me behind the wheel of this sleek, sexy hybrid? 2010 Honda Insight, baby! With 40 mpg in the city and 43 on the highway, I just might have more of an excuse than ever to drive all over the country. You're all invited to come with me, of course. Road trip!!

I'm calling the dealership tomorrow to hold it for me until the end of next week.

I'm pretty much in love.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy 200th Post


Thought of You from Ryan J Woodward on Vimeo.

A great big Thank You to those who keep reading and keep me writing! I scour the stats every day to receive validation for my stories, poems, sharing, and weirdness -- it's just how I am. Thank you for the numbers, comments, and general support. I owe you one!