Saturday, October 25, 2014

Flame-Throwing Squid, Gallery Walls, Introverts, Broken Backs, and Halloween Movies--The Weekly Round-Up

I haven't done this in a couple of weeks because life has been busy. But I'm back today with another round of some of my favorite posts from the week. Enjoy!

The Weekly Round-Up

NOOOPE.--Jenny Lawson of The Bloggess shared this creepy post about a flame-throwing giant squid attacking a Greenpeace submarine. Watch the video. It's creepy, but worth it.

How I updated my gallery wall for under $30--Kallie from But First Coffee shared this fabulous how-to on updating her gallery wall on the super cheap. I can't believe I didn't think of some of this stuff. Serious duh.

True Life: I Was an Introvert Raised as an Extrovert--Brenda from Don't Stop Believing wrote about her childhood as an extrovert. The only trouble is, she was really an introvert. I'm sure I'm not the only one who could totally relate to this post.

Sticks and Stones and Broken Bones: An Anniversary--Lisa Jakub wrote about the anniversary of the time she broke her back doing something seemingly inconsequential and how that experience taught her the value in small moments.

Top 20 Movies on My Halloween Watchlist--Miss Angie from My So-Called Chaos gave us a list of her favorite Halloween movies. Some of them I've seen and some of them are getting added to my Netflix queue STAT.

So...what have YOU been reading this week?? Join in and share!

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Friday, October 24, 2014

The Woman in Purple

It's almost Halloween!

And I have ANOTHER spooky true story for you.

I'm telling you, I have A LOT of these stories. They follow me. I'm like Carol Anne in Poltergeist, except without the adorable chipmunk cheeks and getting sucked into the television by a crazy old preacher man.

So a couple of weeks ago, I shared the story of The Attic. If you missed it, you should go back and read it. Seriously creepy.

Today I have another story that takes place in the same house.

Now, this particular house we lived in was one of those where doors would open on by themselves and the cat would get freaked out and run out of the room. We constantly heard footsteps going up and down the stairs.

One time, I was in bed, trying to sleep. The lights were off and it was quiet. And then I thought I heard someone walking. I definitely heard something fall off my dresser. And the next morning, a small trinket that had been on my dresser was mysteriously moved over to my desk.

But that's not the story I was going to tell.


No, instead I thought I'd regale you with one that happened to my brother.

One night, I was in my room, doing homework (hahahahahaha! Yeah right!) when my brother Marc came past my door, did a double take, and stopped.

"What are you doing up here?" he asked.

"I've been up here all night," I said.

"How did you get here so fast?"

"What are you talking about?"

"And why did you change clothes?"

Okay, now he REALLY had me confused.

It seems my brother had been downstairs in the kitchen, getting a glass of water. He rounded the corner into the living room and almost ran into someone he assumed was me. Except that it wasn't, because I was upstairs doing not homework.

There was no one else it could have been because everyone else in the house was sitting in the living room with my mom. She had a few friends over. Marc immediately went up the stairs, where he found me not hanging out downstairs waiting to be run into.

Now this is where it gets weird.

Marc said that the person he thought was me was wearing purple.

I about died.

Because I'd had dreams about a woman in a purple dress.

And once, when I was in the backyard, I thought I saw a woman wearing purple looking out of the window on the stairs.

AND that's not all.

YEARS LATER, I had this friend who claimed she could see spirits and stuff. I was never sure if she really could, but one night, she started telling me about an old woman who was always watching over me. And, you guessed it. She wore purple.

And guess what! I'm guest posting ANOTHER creepy story over at Tayler's blog today. Go check it out!

(I told you. I have A LOT of them.)

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Someone Like You

You remember that Adele song from a couple of years ago, "Someone Like You"?

I practically listened to this song on repeat for months.

Okay, there's no "practically" about it. I really did listen to it on repeat for months.

The song was released sometime after I'd gone through a particularly painful break up. It was a little TOO long after I'd gone through that break up and was still having a hard time with it. Still thinking that, somehow, some way, he'd realize the error of his ways and come back to me.

And then "Someone Like You" came along and I loved it and it was right around the time I was finally starting to move on.

So I would belt out that line, "Never mind, I'll find someone like you."

It became a mantra. I would find someone great because he would be just like That Other Guy. That guy who was so great and who(m?) I loved so much and everything was going to be perfect.

And no one came around.

I spent a lot of time being single.

I went on the occasional date, but there were no relationships.

Eventually, I became very comfortable in my singlehood. I could have stayed happily single forever. I was genuinely and truly at peace with my single self. There was no one to answer to. My schedule was always completely my own. My money was mine to spend however I wished. I could drop everything to take off for a weekend to visit Stacey in Dallas or run a half marathon in Utah or drive up the coast to see Marly. I could traipse off to Europe for two weeks and not worry about leaving anyone behind.

Life was good.

Except that someone came along.

Someone who was nothing like That Other Guy.

Someone who is, in every way, his superior.

I always thought I wanted someone like The Other Guy. It wasn't until I got comfortable in my own skin and with my own company that I opened myself up to the possibility of someone better.

And so, to Adele, and to anyone else who may be stuck in that mindset...don't sell yourself short by looking for someone like him (or her). Look for someone better. Because you deserve it.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Swapoween Goodness

I don't do a lot of swaps. Mostly because I'm the terrible swapper that ALWAYS ends up sending my package late and it is NEVER as awesome as the one I get.

So I usually don't do them.

But when it comes to Swapoween, I find I just can't resist.

And so I was partnered up with the awesome Christine from Life With a Side of Coffee for this year's Swapoween.

I put together a package of things I really thought she might like and sent it off almost completely on time.

(It would have been on time if it hadn't been for that pesky Columbus Day "holiday.")

And a couple of days later, a box showed up on my doorstep and I eagerly tore it open.

And when I tore it open, I laughed. Loud.

Now, when you look at the awesomeness of the package I received, you won't immediately understand why I laughed about it.

But the thing is, Christine and I must have been destined to be partners because we practically sent each other THE SAME PACKAGE.

Pumpkin Carving Kit? Check.

Halloween Funfetti Cake Mix? Check.

Halloween candy? Check, check, check.

She also included some other fun stuff, like Halloween straws and cupcake cups. And she sent more candy than I did.

But basically? We're two peas in a pod. I think we were destined to be friends.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Footprints in the Snow

I'm going to admit, this is a re-post from October of 2009. Most of you haven't read it before, but I hope you will now. Because it's another true story of terror! Horror! And scariness! Enjoy.

Heights don't really bother me. I'm not a fan of snakes, but the kind that can kill me in one bite aren't really indigenous to Anaheim, California. Ever since I was a kid, spiders have freaked me out so bad that I can rarely force myself near enough to kill them, and that creeped-out feeling only intensified a few years ago when my now dearly-departed paternal grandmother was bitten by a brown recluse spider and had to have her leg amputated.

As I was thinking about this topic, though, I thought about my many phobias (life-like dolls, reflections, disembodied voices) and I just felt like those weren't really what I fear. Yes, yes, I know all you word-scholar types are screaming at your computer screens right now that "phobia" means "fear" but just go with me on this.

The one thing I really, truly fear is being completely helpless and vulnerable.

I experienced this in almost paralyzing fashion one night as a missionary in Mascouche, Qu├ębec. It was not long after the night Sister Angel and I saw the faceless and under-dressed stranger in the road.

It was a Sunday night in early February. As part of our Sunday evening festivities, we made goals for the week and had what was called "Companionship Inventory" where you talk about the things that are going well and what can be improved on. It's actually very helpful when people are being honest and nice about it.

Anyways, we had some extra time while we waited for Elder Young, our twenty-year-old District Leader to call and get our report of the previous week's activities. So we sang a few hymns. We were right in the middle of a roof-raising rendition of "Count Your Blessings" when I stopped cold and listened.

(I should take a moment here to mention a couple of important facts about the house we lived in. One, it was out in the country. We lived in a spacious apartment built onto the back of a mansion, and our sliding glass door opened onto a wooden porch with ten steps going down to where we parked our car. That sliding door faced north, and past the porch, there was a huge, open field that ended in a line of fairly dense maple trees. Two, our immediate next-door neighbor was a Jewish abbatoir. Creepy, right? Three, the neighbor on the other side of the abbatoir was some guy that raised sled dogs. Very noisy sled dogs that always knew what time dinner was.)

Okay, so I stopped singing because I could hear the dogs. They were going CRAZY. I had never heard them bark like that, even at mealtimes. And since it was already a bit past 9pm, I knew it wasn't dinner time.

A strange feeling of panic washed over me and I suddenly said to Sister Angel, "Did you lock the sliding door?" It was an unusual question because I knew perfectly well she hadn't. We never locked that door. We lived in the country. Before she could answer, I jumped to my feet and ran across the cold wooden floor to the door and flipped the lock, which wouldn't budge. The door wasn't closed all the way. Sister Angel was beside me in half a second and together we shoved the door and lock into place, took one look at each other and dashed upstairs to the bedroom.

We sat on our beds and tried to decide what to do. And we scared each other with the "possibilities" of what could be lurking out there in the darkness. Our apartment was like a fishbowl. We had no curtains. In fact, the only room with a window covering was in our bedroom, and that was only because the sun rose so early in the mornings.

The phone rang.

We crept down the stairs and I made Sis. Angel answer it because I didn't want to talk to Elder Young. He and I didn't get along so well. I sat on the stairs while she answered the phone in french, said a few words and then hung up.

"It was a wrong number!" she practically screamed.

"That's what happens in horror movies!" I responded. I just knew an animal head was going to come crashing through the door at any moment, but I stayed where I was.

Sister Angel walked over to the wall and shut off the lights, then crossed the room to a window that faced the empty field. She stifled a scream as she cried, "Footprints!"

Sure enough, there were very determined footprints in the snow. They led from the back of the abbatoir right to our porch and out of sight. We both sank to the floor and I experienced the first official panic attack of my entire life.

The phone rang.

Sister Angel crawled across the floor to answer.

I'm skipping a few minor and boring details here, but essentially Elder Young ended up chatting with Sister Angel for a few minutes about how unlikely it was that some crazy axe-wielding psychopath was lurking outside our door waiting for the right moment to come in an chop us to pieces.

She finally hung up the phone and after spending another half hour or so sitting on the floor beneath the window, we started up the stairs, knowing perfectly well we weren't getting any sleep that night.

She suggested calling the landlord, but it was late and he had a baby, and apparently my genius mind was more content with facing certain death than with waking a sleeping child.

The phone rang.

Sister Angel told me I had to answer it this time.

I took a breath and answered the phone. It was a missionary that lived up the street and he had this feeling something wasn't right, so he decided to call and check on us. I told him what was happening and he said that if the escaped mental patient hadn't tried to get in yet, he probably had moved on and we didn't need to worry. I got off the phone and dashed upstairs.

Neither of us could sleep. Every sound was amplified in the perfect quiet you find on a snowy winter night in the country. And then a snowplow started up next door. For nearly two hours, we sat at the window and watched the plow go back and forth across the abbatoir parking lot and wondered if the man at the wheel was responsible for the footprints.

At some point, we both drifted to sleep and woke up a few hours later to the sounds of someone on the roof.

It was broad daylight and it didn't take long to realize it was the landlord breaking up the snow and ice to keep the roof from collapsing. I decided to run out and tell him about the prowler.
Me: (squinting into the sun as I looked up to the roof) Hey, I think someone was out here last night.

Landlord: Well, I was.

Me: (pointing at the footprints) Are those are YOUR footprints?

Landlord: Yeah. The abbatoir asked me to go check things out at night. Walk around the building and whatnot. Hope I didn't cause any problems.

Me: Nope. No problems.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thinking Thoughts About Current Stuff

A bit of current event randomness for your Thursday:

• John Grisham said some really stupid things about child porn and prison sentences. He's trying to backtrack now and unsay it, sort of, but you can't unring this bell. And it sucks because I've always been such a huge fan of his, but now I'm sort of questioning him and why he would say something like that.

ISIS seriously freaks me out. And I feel like hardly anyone is talking about it or really understands what's going on. And I don't know what scares me more: the fact that they exist and are beheading hostages like crazy, or the fact that people aren't really talking about them.

Ebola kind of freaks me out too. Not because I think we're all going to get it and die, but because there's just no way of knowing if it's contained or not. And also because there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. And because it's freaking EBOLA.

The blizzard in Nepal that has killed at least 20 people wouldn't normally end up on my radar. Except that I have a friend/former co-worker that literally JUST got back from a Mt. Everest base camp trek. How random is that?

The Kansas City Royals are going to the World Series for the first time since 1985. I'm still mourning the loss of my Angels, but I guess if they had to get beaten, it's good that it's the team that a) swept their way in and b) hasn't been there in almost 30 years.

Okay. I think that's about all I care to comment on today. How about you?

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