Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Recent Invention

You never knew personal privacy was a new-fangled gadget, did you?

I didn't.

But apparently it is.

First one nameless person, who dies her hair and is therefore old (I have no idea how old she is and I won't try to guess because I always offend people when I do that) says that I'm 'prickly' because I don't share my innermost thoughts the moment I enter her presence.

Someone else has complained to me on multiple occasions about how secretive her grandchildren are, because they don't want her in their room(s).

Uh, hello? Teenager (thirteen is a teenager, okay)? Room? Can we say 'Holiest of Holies'? 'Remove shoes before thou treadest on this ground'? How about 'Entry by express permission only; permission must be renewed for each entry; this means YOU'?

A younger woman from Mexico warned me not to leave my journal where my mom could find it, because she got in trouble all the time with her mom for things written in her journal.

So, either personal space is a new invention, or it's an American thing, or I'm an extremely private person. Or all of the above.

Is anyone surprised, or am I alone?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Suspicious Mind

I'm a very suspicious person. If you ask to read my writing- any of my writing- I'll give you a long, slow, cowboy-deciding-whether-or-not-to-go-for-that-iron-on-her-hip look.

And then I'll say no.

And I won't change my mind.

I wonder why I have a blog?

On another suspicious note, I was at college today waiting for the elevator when I heard- from one of the elevator shafts- a female scream. No one else waiting for the elevator (or an elevator- there are four) seemed alarmed or even to notice. But immediately I thought "Murder!" and imagined the elevator opening to show a bloody, still warm corpse. Of course the police would be involved. We would be questioned. Remembering a scream would be important to determining the time of death (I regretted once again the death of my watch).

But then! What should I say if asked what I thought when I heard the scream? That my first thought was that someone was attacked? Surely that would bring more suspicion towards me, which would slow the capture of the real murderer. But you're supposed to be honest with the police. But....

The real question here is, which came first? The writer, or the suspicious mind? No one else seemed to think someone had just been stabbed (never mind, garroted; a stabbing would have given the victim time to scream louder and longer than that), or to worry over their statement to the police. But I do this a lot. I hope I never do cross tracks with a real murder. I've plotted so many in my mind that a real one would surely be a disappointment.

PS: It lives! My watch has been resurrected! Bwa-ha-ha!

PS2: The Teacher acquired three new hens today, and found three glossy eggs in her nesting spot. She is mildly ecstatic.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Something To Look Forward To

I am a writer. I'm not starving, I'm not beaten, and while I am mocked on occasion, I mock back so for the most part people don't pick on me. I'm not very poor and I don't live in a drafty, dusty attic with creaking floorboards (although my room is dusty because I'm too lazy to dust; sometimes I'm too lazy to put my clothes away). I don't have to walk to school in the snow. I don't have to work in a coal mine to earn money for my family. I've never had a traumatizing, scarring experience. I've never had a) an illicit love, b) an unrequited love, or c) a love that died/moved away to never be seen again.

I am obviously seriously handicapped.

I've often agonized over this. How can I be a great writer when I can't be self-pitying with a straight face, when I don't hate anyone, and when I don't look good in black? I have mood swings, but they're never very inspiring. And I'm too practical to work myself into a healthy fit of black despair.

(Being practical is a curse of Titanic proportions when you're trying to court the muse. Or a muse. Any muse will do, I'm not picky.)

And being cursed with reason, I'm not very interested in seeking out a traumatizing, scarring experience.

As a writer, I'm not very writerly.

But! There's something most writers do that I can do to!

(Drum roll.)

I can go on a writing retreat!

Except that I can't drive, and I don't have that much money, and a real retreat would have crowds and would be therefore uncomfortable. I'm not comfortable with crowds.

But I could give myself a writing retreat! I could write by candlelight. I could listen to music over and over and over (not that I don't do that, but I could do it without someone yelling at me, which would be nice). I could make a tent and write under the kitchen table. I could go write in my treehouse. I could (gasp) outline one of my ideas into book form! I could write bad poetry. I could write blog posts for those days when I don't have anything to say. I could break out one of my old first drafts and practice editing. I could write alternate endings to my favorite stories. I could do anything!

(On the more practical side, I could cook all my meals ahead of time so I wouldn't have to stop writing to cook or clean.)

I need to start leaving bed&breakfast pamphlets around the house for my parents. It could take a while for them to get the hint, but I can be very persistent.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Purpose of Life

There was a time when I sincerely believed that my purpose in life was to make people laugh. No joke. I thought that was the whole reason I had been sent to earth: make people happy. (I think this was when I was around nine. But then, most things I'm not sure about when they happened I think they happened when I was nine. I was a very busy nine year old.)

Probably I got this idea from a well-meaning teacher who said that Heavenly Father gives us talents to use and develop in life and that's our job. The Parable of the Talents. But I'm not sure, so I won't point fingers. It's possible I thought it up myself.

But the point is, there was a two or three time period when I was specifically working to make people laugh. Not just cracking jokes, but training in the Martial Art of Happiness.

I'm glad I did. I have a friend who is very depressed. So depressed that one of my nightmares is getting a call saying that she killed herself. I'm not talking white make-up and Shakespeare and angsty wallowing in the fun of being depressed. My friend isn't wallowing. She's drowning.

And so when I'm with her, I try to make her laugh. I practically turn cartwheels (I don't, because I have a bad back and I don't know how anyway). And I'm glad I've been in training for this, because it's hard.

I wish there was a happy, up-lifting sort of note to end this on, but I can't think of one.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Spanish is both making me sing and making me cry out in despair.

I watched a movie this morning. There was a brief- like twenty seconds- scene in Spanish, where first an ambulance and then a ride to the hospital was offered to the bloody main characters, and turned down. And I understood every (almost) word! After five weeks of Spanish class, I can understand twenty seconds of conversation! Yayyy!

But just now, I couldn't remember how to spell salad. There is a direct ratio between my knowledge of Spanish and my spelling ability. Spanish goes up, spelling goes down.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


This is my 100th post! And I actually swore when I started my blog that I wasn't going to do those lame cop-out 'it's the anniversary' posts some blogs (and web-comics) do. Just as I don't plan to ever sit down and do a specific post for Christmas, or Thanksgiving. You know what a holiday is. You can figure it out yourself.

But 100 is just cool. I'll feel the same way about 1000. Sorry.

10 things (I'm not doing a hundred, sorry) I plan to do someday, and that might get blogged about here:

1: Publish my first book.

2: Own a dog. The Perfect Dog, so this will take a while. I want it to be a her so I can name her Lacey.

3: Have a husband to cut the brisket for me. (Do you have any idea how long it takes to slice brisket?)

4: Know enough Spanish to visit Colombia without a guide. Or any hispanic country without a guide. I want to see those dancers with the loud shoes and the red skirts that look like roses would look like if roses danced.

5: Spend four to five to six months in Washington, D.C. The capitol! The Library of Congress! The Smithsonian Museum!

6: Graduate from high school someday. It's a stretch, hard to imagine, but it might happen.

7: Join a critique group. With real writers. The awesomeness of that overwhelms me even as I write.

8: Write one poem a day for a year. Just to see if I can.

9: Find out what it's like to be in love, and see if my theory that it damages your brain is correct. (All my current observations bear out this hypothesis, but more testing is necessary before it can become Scientific Law. Or so I'm told.)

10: Publish my second book.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Abandon All Sense, Ye Who Read Here

I used to worry about people reading my journals. I wrote long, agonizing entries about it. I almost had a phobia about it. I planned to cut people out of my will if they read them before I died, and worried that wouldn't be enough either.

No more.

If you think that my blog is erratic, you have no idea how much I filter this. You're getting the good senseless meanderings. I've even spared you the long, incoherent brainstorms about half-named characters. And that's not all.

I can't put stickers on my blog. I can't tape poems, quotes, postcards, or letters into my blog. (The letters are like a fold out picture book; I tape part of it down and write around it and it unfolds when I want to read it. My journal isn't going to close when I'm done with it.) You don't get mental whiplash on my blog.

You don't see a postcard of a sailing ship taped in the middle of an entry about cooking experiments. You don't see a quote about eternal marriage next to one of my entries about how I've never dated and apparently never will. You don't see a poem about suicide next to one of my lists of things that make me happy. (I love making lists. Making lists is like chopping life up until it's smaller than you are.) Heck, you don't have to read my poetry, for which you should be eternally grateful. Even the stickers and postcards can't coordinate. I've got everything from misty mountain stickers to Winnie the Pooh and Tigger (I love Tigger), and postcards of oil-painted landscapes (lots of misty light that says 'magic can happen here') to watercolor coastal stuff (lots of faded boats and docks that says I don't know what but I like it anyway) to bright pink and yellow flowers from a cancer-survivor card. (I used to hate pink. I still don't love it. But some pink is less evil than other pink.)

So I don't worry about people reading my journal anymore. Their brain would bleed. Unless they were like me, and like feeling like they're on a mental merry-go-round with no way off, in which case I'm sure we can be friends.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Warm Fuzzy Feeling

The Teacher and I were talking on the way to seminary this morning. (We do that sometimes. Another way in which we are *gasp* not normal.)

She recounted an incident I didn't remember. At a mutual (Wednesday night) activity, everyone was sitting on the floor. I and one of my friends (she was the kind of friend you feel certain you always knew and you were just waiting to meet all your life) were rolling on the floor laughing helplessly about some joke one of us had told. (Knowing us, one of us told it, the other built on it, and we collaborated until there's no telling who started it.)

And the Teacher said that she saw that a lot of the other girls were giving us sideways looks, that translated as "What do you think you're doing?" with lots of snobbish sniffing. The Teacher said she couldn't tell if I didn't notice or if I didn't care, and I don't remember this so I can't enlighten her.

And she said that it was an incident like this that led one of my favorite leaders to say "Peaches lives in a different world than us, and she has more fun."

Stop for a moment and let the warm fuzziness sweep over you.

This is how I am with all compliments. If you tell me I'm pretty I'll thank you and smile and not really believe you. If you tell me I'm smart I'll smile and say "I know". And I might thank you. But if you tell me that I'm weird, strange, abnormal, or otherwise different, whether you intend it as a compliment or not, I will treasure that comment forever because I know that you've seen me- not my clothes or my face, but me- and recognized who I really am. Even if you don't like that person much, or understand her at all.

And I like to be recognized.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Really Random

Things that make me happy:

Geckos on the window screen faithfully chasing bugs.

Two orange kittens who almost love me more than food.

Stickers on my scripture mastery cards.

Five dollar jewelry. (I bought a pearl seagull and felt guilty about it until I saw something at Sam's I also liked for four hundred and seventy dollars. Relativity is everything.)

Spanish class. Because my teacher reminds me of Sister Gere, and I don't know why else.

Comments on my blog.

Things that make me unhappy:

My watch died. I dropped it and it came apart in pieces and when we put it back together it was cold and dead. Sob.

Thing that made me laugh today:

N, who sprayed me with smelly blue glitter stuff because I was asking what time it was every ten minutes. During class(es). Because my watch is dead. And because apparently having a watch has made me addicted to knowing what time it is. It just makes me feel better. And she also thought I would be less likely to murder her than A would. And I was wearing a black shirt. And she could.

Two orange kittens.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm A Horrible Person

But we already kind of knew that.

I've been sick enough since Sunday that I haven't gone to seminary this week. If it were closer, or if I hated any of them enough to give them what I've got, I would probably have gone, but because of our drive time, seminary is a two hour ordeal. Not up to it.

But I got to hear lots of war stories. If you want to hear the whole deal, talk to the Teacher. I'll summarize: Two of the boys in class are 'currently behavorially challenged'. The climax of their behavior challenge was Tuesday, when one of them lashed out at the Teacher in front of the whole class. As I understand it, it was a public temper tantrum that revolved on several points: You have no right to call my mom when I skip seminary; I was just gassing up my car; you must hate me because you're calling me on the carpet for my behavior; and you're not normal and your daughter isn't either.

Remember that I'm still sick when I hear this story, so I'm not in the mood to be easily amused.

But the whole thing kept me chuckling after I heard it for most of the day. Well, kind of the whole thing. Mostly that last bit.

I'm not normal? You don't say. And how long have you known the sky is blue, sir? And you expect this information to wound or insult? Uh-huh. In fact, I consider this a compliment. A big compliment, because he was obviously being honest if he expected this to be a bomb and he said it anyway.

Mostly this proves what I already knew: he's not as cool as he thinks he is. Or as mature as he thinks he is. (I'm currently estimating his age, based on behavior and not stature, at three and a half.) And he DEFINITELY doesn't know as much as he thinks he does. Not if he thinks that I care about being normal. Or that I care whether or not he approves of me.

Meanwhile the Teacher sniffled and sobbed most of the day- not because he upset her, but because.... I'm not sure exactly why. She explained it more than once, but it didn't make much sense. All I could make of it is that she's upset that they're upset and she's also upset that she can't- being the Teacher- back down or hand the job over to a sub. And she's upset that she has to deal with this at all.

She figured out I thought it was funny pretty quick. She's perceptive that way. And she gave me a variation on the Mother's Curse: someday you're going to have a class like this. And we'll see who laughs then, missy.

I really do enjoy confrontations like this. Not because I enjoy watching people make a fool of themself- which is basically what he did- or because I enjoy having the Teacher sniffle around the house all day- which is what she did. Just because I love it when other people run up against the Teacher and come to a screeching halt. It's a sort of validation. Like getting someone else to eat unsweetened chocolate after someone tricks you into having some. But more funny.

And yes, I'm a horrible person. Enough said.

Monday, September 14, 2009


This is so not right.

My throat hurt yesterday. I have two tests in college this week, so I was paranoid about getting sick. I ate six oranges (vitamin C) and drank drank drank.

Today I have the flu. My throat hurts and my head hurts and my bones hurt and my eyelids feel swollen and I'm going back and forth between burning up and freezing to death.

To add injury to injury, I still have most of a drawing to complete before tomorrow (if we're optimistic and I'm not dead by then) and three pages of vocabulary I need to polish my memorization on before two Spanish tests in a row.

To add insult to the first injury, today is food day at seminary. The Teacher is taking two huge breakfast casseroles and some bacon and cheese muffins that I helped make. And I'm not going. And one of my friends is a scavenger (in my current mood, I feel like comparing her to a vulture, but that's not really fair; she's much cuter than a vulture) and the odds of me getting any leftovers without me being there to speak for them seem... insignificant, at best.

To add insult to the second injury, we made fresh, hot, homemade rolls yesterday. With butter on top. And they're still in the kitchen. And I can't eat them.

This just sucks.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Parents Are Gross

They are. Even putting aside the green olives, sauerkraut, and pickles of every flavor.

There is only one computer with internet that I have access to. I'm on it every day. Sometimes not for very long, but every day.

The Principal put on a new screen saver for the Teacher:

Smoochie-woochie Hugsy-wugsy Lovie-love! (Dearest Snookums)

I'm pretty sure this falls under public indecency. And I'm also sure that if I change it my life won't be worth a donuts box at seminary.

PS- it's raining. I love rain.

Friday, September 11, 2009

'The Future Is Your Responsibility'

WARNING: Teenage griping, cynicism, and over-reading-into-things ahead! Read at your own peril!

(Unless you're also a teenager, in which case break out the kevlar and skateboard helmets and join the revolution.)

Most 'inspiring' speeches are really, really boring. Anything written to inspire is 70% likely to fail miserably. Firstly, people aren't stupid and don't like to be manipulated into inspiration. Secondly, most of the trite sayings designed to make you feel warm and fuzzy- 'Jesus loves you', 'We're a big happy family', 'don't worry, be happy'- make good bumper stickers but miserable inspiration. Thirdly, true inspiration inspires because we hear it and we recognize- sometimes unconciously- the Truth.

'The Future Is Your Responsibility' does not make me recognize the Truth. Instead, my hackles go up, my head goes down, my elbows go out and I start to snark- because I recognize a big, fat, slimy- think huge glistening slug slimy- LIE.

I don't like being lied to.

And this is the kind of lie I hate most. It isn't a 'No, that dress doesn't make you look fat' lie, meant in kindness and desire to keep a relationship intact. It's not a lie to make you feel better.

This is a lie to make the liar feel better. Right up there with 'I can quit at any time' and 'I know I'm a good writer because my mom said so' (I actually struggle with that one), this lie is completely and totally self-serving.

You don't get why? Then let's start dissecting the slug.

The Future. What, exactly, do you mean by that? Do you mean half an hour after dinner time? Do you mean our career and family? If so, then yes, the future is our responsibility. But this isn't what you mean. You aren't talking about our future- you're talking about The Future. Global warming, national debt, world peace, and so on- these are the things that make up The Future. Things that are, mostly, out of the control of small, harmless teenagers like me. (Okay, I couldn't even write that with a straight face. But it's still true. No one consults a child or teenager on national policy. They consult voters. And the voters can consider themselves privileged to be involved in the process. Heavy sarcasm.)

Your Responsibility. I don't have a problem with responsibility. Sure, it's a heavy burden sometimes, but it's much more fun to have responsibility and be in control than to not have any responsibility and have to live in a pink bedroom. So to speak. (I despise pink.)

However, in this context, Your Responsibility is code for Your Problem, Not Mine.

So put it together. An adult intent on inspiring a bunch of adolescents with moral messages of hard work, long life, and the benefits of homework decides to throw this slug in for seasoning: The Future Is Your Responsibility.

Yes, that's true. The mess you're making today will be dealt with by me and my peers tomorrow. That's how it is and that's how it has always been. The sins of the parents on the heads of the children. But whoever you are- because The Future Is Your Responsibility is a favorite lie of many adults- if you want to keep your teeth in your mouth, I suggest you shut your mouth before you tell this lie.

Teenagers (and children) have very sensitive hypocritical/self-serving/manipulative jerk radar. If you want to inspire? Don't set it off.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

And in Darkness You Will Find Light

It rained this morning. (Although it was so early this morning I'm tempted to call it last night. It should be illegal to have to go somewhere at six.) And since this is Texas, and we're in a drought, it didn't just rain, it dumped. Buckets of big, fat drops. And lightning. And thunder. And squeaky windshield wipers.

Everyone got to seminary all right, although there was lots of squealing involved. We had opening exercises (the mastery scripture this week is 2 Nephi 2:25, and I've issued an ultimatum to the class that they have to memorize it before the end of the week) and the lesson started.

And then the power flickered, came back, and then went out for good. After a few hopefuls asking if we could cancel seminary, (the Teacher said NO), and a few more people called back into seats (why do people jump up when the lights go out? do they think their chair has become a bear trap, or that the electricity will come back if they flip the switch a few dozen times?), we had seminary in the dark. We used the lights of open cell phones to read the board and the few scriptures the Teacher decided were too important to miss.

Now, having seminary in the dark seems really cool. It could have been an amazing spiritual experience for everyone to talk about scriptures and eternal truths in the dark. It could have been like an impromptu testimony meeting. (Of course every seminary day could be like that, but seminary in the DARK seems so much more.... cool.) It wasn't, of course. The class isn't ready for that yet. But it was still cool to sit in the dark and watch the rain stream off the roof and see lightning and thunder... I spent the first thirteen years of my life in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I still miss tornado season.

Anyway, maybe we'll get lucky. Maybe Heavenly Father will give us another chance in the spring when the class is ready for more and He'll short out the electricity again. We can always hope.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ask For Humility, And Thou Shalt Receive Humiliation

There's a joke that you should never pray to receive patience in adversity or humility.

This is the reason why:

In art class on Thursday, we cut out pictures of people from magazines. Then we taped out a square on the picture. I don't mean a grid, I mean a square- like a grid. The inside of the square was the same size, according to ratio, as the drawing pad. That meant that everything inside that square should go on the paper. Before we started drawing, we turned the pictures (everyone had their own) upside down. The purpose of this exercise was to show how well we could draw proportions when we couldn't see what it was we were actually drawing.

I went into this exercise strong and fearless. I felt like one of those billboards for the Marines: the few, the proud, the totally-done-this-before. Because I have done something like this. You take a picture, turn it upside down, and draw the shades of light and dark until you run out of picture or paper. But when I did it, the point was to practice drawing light and dark. Getting the picture to fit exactly on the paper-no white margin and no chopped off heads because I drew too big- was a completely new kettle of fish. (Why on earth would you cook fish in a kettle? Fry it, man. With lots of butter.)

I drew a line. It was completely off. I erased it. I drew another line. I erased that one too. I drew and erased for about an hour, until I had lots of erased lines and no picture. I started to cry. Not because I wanted pity or anything, but because every time I put charcoal on paper, it was wrong, I could tell it was wrong, I could see it was wrong, I could feel that it was wrong- but I couldn't see how to make it right. I was extremely tempted to leave the class, hide in the bathroom, and not come out until I knew everyone would be gone. But I enjoy pain and humiliation, so I stayed. And oh, the humility I keep asking for- I was swimming in it. I couldn't even ask anyone for help because I knew the minute I started talking, I was going to dissolve in noisy, slobbery, incoherent, even more humiliating sobs.

At last the teacher came by when I was struggling with the head and showed me how the head happened to be in the center of the page, with the same amount of space on either side. With that, I managed to get the head right. And everything followed from there. I still need to work on it before Tuesday, but it will no longer break the Geneva Convention to make my classmates critique it. Ask and thou shalt receive. Even if you would actually really rather not.

Chicken update: the little red hen survived, but now that we've figured out how to fox-proof a coop, we're stumped as to what to do with her. We can't merge her with a new flock- ours or someone else's- because chickens will peck to death any strange freak they find among their number. We don't want to slaughter her because that's a lot of work for just one chicken. Messy, stinky work. We might give her away, complete with fox-proofed coop, to one of the neighbors, since we need to make a brand new coop for the next batch anyway. That's all still up in the air.

During fast and testimony meeting, someone mentioned how tolerant and kind their husband is because he doesn't care if all there is for dinner is pancakes, so long as there's something. Immediately- being slightly hungry- I decided that sounded wonderful. So we're having pancakes, ham, and eggs for dinner. And we might make bacon too, since we'll be making a mess anyway.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Tale of Three

Once there where three small chickens and two small cats. They grew up together as happy siblings with an Understanding. Sometimes the Understanding was that the chickens were hot and annoyed and were about to start pecking, and then the cats would nonchalantly remove themselves farther outside of the chickens' personal space. All was peace and fluffy clouds and buttery sunshine. The chickens clucked happily to each other: "Cluck cluckcluck CLUCK cluck cluck!" Which is chicken for "My bug! Mine! I saw it first! Stop trying to steal it!"

And then, yesterday there were only two chickens. Two very, very, VERY unhappy chickens. And the sad, stiff body of a chewed-upon chicken. The chickens were released, the body bagged and removed, and then the coop was moved and fortified. All day long the chickens clucked nervously to each other, mourning their lost companion and avoiding the dreaded word fox. The two chickens roamed free that day, were coaxed back into the coop that night, and left safe and secure for the night.

But this morning, there was only one chicken in the coop. A panicked, terrified, traumatized chicken that knew she was going to be next.

The coop is more stringently fortified now. And while there are still two kittens running around under fluffy clouds and buttery sunshine, happy in their lack of dependence on a flock.... there is one chicken alone in the coop, clucking mournfully to herself. "Cluck.... Cluck... cluck CLUCK.... Cluck...." Which is chicken for "I know I'm going to be next; he said so last night as he chewed her head off. I just know it. Why are you locking me in here again? It's not safe. Nowhere is safe now. I'm doomed. I'll never lay an egg. I'll never eat another grasshopper. I'll never compete with the kittens for scraps again. Oh me! Cruel world, why hast thou treated me so? I'm a good chicken, I am, so let me out of this place...."

There were once three chickens. Now there is one. Tomorrow, depending on how clever foxes really are, there may be none at all.

The Teacher is not a happy chicken farmer.