Sunday, September 30, 2012

Not a Pumpkin

In order to kick off Sumthin' Pumpkin' month, here are several pictures of food I have around the house which are not pumpkins.

Bell pepper, you are not a pumpkin!

Persimmon, you are not a pumpkin!

Oh, dear, sweet melon, I'm sorry, hun, but you are not a pumpkin...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sports, games and physcial play

I never really went much in for sports, even when I was a kid. I might play a little recess soccer, and I did do both rec league soccer and modern dance, but I wasn't much in for going out for sports. Not wildly competitive, maybe.

Recently someone asked me why I work out and I made some lame response like that I need to work out to be healthy and look good. But then, that's not all of it.

It's fun to play physically.

A hike, playing tennis, kayaking, these are fun. Well, duh, you say, but let me finish--the motion itself is fun. Some people like competitions and games and achievement, and I love these things as much as the next person (I love a box to check off, you know, and Ieven play a running video game on my runs), but motion itself is fun. I remember when I was first learning how to play racket sports like tennis and racquetball how strange it was to make a swinging motion and have my reach so extended. I was hitting around a ball the other day and the sensation was such a surprise and a delight to be...well, natural to me. I was explaining the motion I make to kayak to someone, the way it comes from my abs and my shoulders, and it was so odd to conceptualize the motion, especially to someone who was very strong and active, but has little experience with to motion of paddling. Learning to dance, trying a new sport, they all remind me of that exhilaration of childhood when just feeling out what your body can do was thrill enough.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Well, it's high election season, which means SNL's Weekend Update is slightly more tired (did all of the good political jokes already get drilled for and burned up at The Daily Show and The Colbert Report?) and the leader of the free world has to divide his time between ensuring the safety of our embassies and shaking hands with vetted blue collar workers. Do I like this season?

*Sigh.* Maybe?

Politics is a term that is, like rhetoric, almost always used in a derogatory sense by lay thinkers. There's something down-and-dirty about the idea of having to go out and ask for people's votes, appealing, some say, to the lowest common denominator, that is, when the politicians aren't already appealing to the extremes of their own party during a primary. There's a lot of mucking around with broadly painted stereotypes, isolated incidents being expanded into character insight, hate and fear wielded like bludgeoning batons. It becomes like that old cynical saw about school spirit: excessive emotion on insignificant matters, like how close a vice president sits to a constituent, or the dumb one-off lines a candidate says in more or less private settings. There is, perhaps, a glut of information about what are ultimately insignificant things. Most ironically, the presidential election, because of the sheer numbers of voters and then because of the pre-communication age system of the electoral college, becomes the election that we know the most about and have the least say in.

But I love talking about ideas of politics. What do we, as a nation, as a group of people trying to work out consensus though contention, think about "the issues"? What issues do we even care about? Remember when everyone used to talk about guns in schools? There's just not the same level of discussion that there used to be. This is definitively a more "domestic issues" kind of election than 2008 was, when we needed to repair our international reputation. Economy is king, with a few domestic social issues thrown in. I'd love to hear more about which values we think are most important in our society: is security most important, or is entrepreneurial spirit? Should Latinos identify more with Republicans because of social issues or Democrats because of fiscal? What role should government have in something as private as reproductive health? These are all fun, West Wing-y questions that I like to see people, even ordinary people on the bus, thinking about. It's like the Christmas season of political thought.

In short, when I watch cable news, I dislike politics; when I listen to Shields and Brooks, I like politics.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Fifth Me

So they say that your cells are constantly being replaced, different cells at different rates, but the schoolyard estimate is roughly every seven years, you are a new person. Which means that on this, the eve of my 28th birthday, I'm am heading into my fifth iteration of Mary. It's a little bit like different Doctors on Dr. Who.  Everyone is different and the same. They have different companions. They have different quirks. Some of them have leather jackets. So what are the Classic Marys?

Here's how I see mes.

1) 0-6. Not much to say, but I've seen pictures. Got to be Rapunzel when placing with friends, got all my hair chopped off. Preferred X-Men to G. I. Joe when playing with the boys because who wants to be Scarlet every time? A lot of barefooting it over to the Cowles' and around the neighborhood in general. A little pet of her siblings, except her closet brother, for whom she is probably a pet peeve. I have a handprint I made in preschool somewhere, and I had a doll I named "Ahhh....cookie" and two imaginary friends: one named cougar and the other being the ghostbusters (collectively?).

2) 7-13.  Not, perhaps, my most graceful years, but imaginative ones. I played elaborate games with my friends based off an imaginary world called Allistar, which I had maps, histories, the whole shebang worked out for. Wrote a lot of collaborative/morbid/silly things and learned to rove in a gang of middle schoolers. Sometimes we danced to swing music in the basement. Aspiration: to be a spy. Lied all the time, but about insignificant things, like owning a horse somewhere. Hated to be called "cute," owned day-glow shorts (it was the 90s), bought my first cd (Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack), learned to watch TV that the rest of my family didn't (ER), began to realize that not everyone lives the same life I do.

3) 14-20. Ah, it would be nice to say that these were my blossoming years, but not so. Mostly awkward, but mostly very happy. Inherited my first car (LaVerne the LaSabre), and bought my first car (Fireball). Individual over-acheiving: swept a high school writing contest, Provo City Youth Government, drama, Mock Trial, Divine Comedy, inscape, even eeked through AP Calculus. Met people who hadn't known me my entire life and was able to subtly redefine myself.  Somehow became far more devout by the end of this cycle, and by the end was far more able to clean up nice and work well with others, both of which were less-than-stellar at the beginning. (I seem to remember wearing a lot of my older brother's old shirts in high school...) This Mary kept Figuring it All Out.

4) 21-27. I like this Mary best,  probably only because I'm closet to her/still her, but maybe because she keeps getting better (nothing against the other Marys). Life at the beginning of this Mary was very similar to at the end (school, apartment living, etc.), but better and better versions of that life. There have been milestones. Mission. Two degrees. Moving out of my hometown. Still, the range of changes here is quite smaller from the previous Mary, to say nothing of the first Mary, who started out incontinent and blubbering.

This fifth Mary, I suspect I'll like quite a lot as well. Hard to say where these little cells will be taking me, the thoughts they'll think, the things I'll do with the energy their mitochondria give me, the other bodily functions that'll keep me going another year. I'm excited to be this new Mary. I should get her some cake.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Yeah, I made that

I can be freakin' crafty when I need to celebrate an administrative assistant.