30 September 2008

driving miss merzy

2 completely pointless things i habitually do while driving:

1) i make wishes over railroad tracks. this started when i was 8 years old. my parents, in valiant efforts to turn their children into well-rounded future cheerleaders and maybe even cougarettes (pfffft), signed us girls up for dance classes. because they also hoped we'd be frugal cougarettes, they enrolled us in dance classes with a couple of schoolmates who lived nearby, thus promoting carpool collaboration. so every wednesday of 3rd grade (and continuing to 6th), we'd bring our spandex and tap shoes, change after school, and one of our mothers would taxi us over to the place of our rhythmic tutilage: tustin dance studio. to reach said facility we crossed over some train tracks. allison lowenstein, one of my dance buddies, would always touch her pinky to an exposed screw of the car interior, (usually inside a hanger hook) and lift up one foot (usually her right) as the mini-van flew over the tracks. allison explained that whenever you go over a railroad, if positioned and "at the ready," you could make a wish.

in them days, i was wishing for truckloads of things. a dog, for math to cease and desist in the whole "part of my life" way, that they would start making high heels to fit an 8 year old, and then that my mother would buy them for me, etc.

as an 8 year old, you have about as much control over your own daily destiny as a pet hamster. i think i got to pour my own milk at dinner, and chose my friends on the playground and after school, and...yep that's about it. so the idea, even a ridiculous one, that i could wield my own short term destiny was fantastic! while i knew it would help me in my math battles about as much as would wiggling my nose, it was strangely comforting to participate in railroad wishing all the same. i was all over it like white on rice.

there were ample railroad crossing opportunities. twice sundays to and from church, twice on wednesdays to and from dance, and any time i went to work with my dad. a minimum of 4 wishes per week?! my sisters caught on and any time there lay in the distance those candy cane levers, whether anticipated or on unchartered eaton territory, we'd go into a frenzy, trying to locate a screw to unite with our pinkies before it was too late. too late as in this little game turned into a do-or-die. it seemed that just as wishing on a train track brought increased chances for happiness in this life, to sit out on a railroad wish was sure to bring hellfire and brimstone. or at least we behaved as if that were true.

in time the near religious observance of the train track wishing well just turned into habit, and now it's more out of nostalgia for the days of yore. i just can't stop. true story.

2) i seem to behave as though there exists under the heavens such a thing as "driving karma." if i cut in front of people as they stack up and wait their turn to go right onto main from jamboree, i'll not take the closest available parking spot in my office garage. if i let people into my lane, especially if i do so more than once, than i feel entitled to the best spot i see. somehow, i don't think that this behavior is being recognized by any cosmic or higher power.

i never said this post was anything earth-shattering.

here's to world peace!

29 September 2008

maybe i don't want to move out on wednesday.

my parents are unintentionally very very funny. like tonight.

dad: the market giveth, and the market taketh away.

storytime: suzy banana split

another freaking BYU story:

in my last semester at BYU there was a girl in my ward named tasha haute. pronounce the last name "hot." tasha was a great gal; her portrayal of sporty spice in the ward lip sync was pretty much spot-on. the strapping gentlemen in the ward noticed her loveliness and started to plan to work on tasha, and then began to work their plans. i knew nothing of the successes or failures of these suitors, only that she had options a-plenty.

one night i was coming back late with some friends and parking the car. guess who should be stashed in the dark and apparently romance-spurring corner of the parking garage. tasha hot and fellow wardie john fudge! making out like 12 year olds! yes, 12 year olds. after closing our mouths so as not to appear cod-fishes, we evacuated the premises in a manner not unlike mary ann, mrs. dashwood, and margaret in that pen-ultimate scene in sense and sensibility.

in the time since, i have ascertained that tasha haute and john fudge did indeed take their compatibility to the bank, and were married after i graduated BYU.

so tasha became tasha hot fudge.

true story.

28 September 2008

next month!

pretty soon my big sis is gon' have a BAYBAY. i'm all excited about the fast approaching ripeness of this small muffin, because muffins are cute and grand, and also because right now i have no hint of knowledge as to what flavor the small muffin will be. while i don't comprehend why she'd sit herself (and the rest of us) in the mystery mush pot for almost 9 months, i am so excited for them to have another lamb to add to their burdgeoning flock. and in just another 2 years, another set of hands to help out at the factory. just kidding.

e is an extraordinary mom. they are having a ball. someone told me that when she dies she wants to get to the other side and say, "i had a wonderful time!" e and k are setting up their kids in every which way to continue to say, "i'm having a wonderful time!"

i think one of the most hefty reasons for this is they never have questioned her love and respect for them. they love and respect her in return. i love this picture. this was at the cheesecake factory for m' burfday in july. she's explaining their menu options.

after you ogle at the beautiful cascades of curly hair between e and muffin niece, just look at the muffins look at her. it says it all to me. she loves them so clearly all the time, she wears herself absolutely out, all for them, being their mother and their friend, and they love her for it, and follow her lead. following leaders is easy when we know they are motivated by love.

are families not the best?

26 September 2008

when the internet has a heart

at my last job http://www.pandora.com/ was blocked. don't ask me why, i didn't make the rules. therefore, pandora and i had a halted relationship.

at THIS job, facebook is blocked (healthy) but the illustrious pandora is mine, all mine (healthier).

pandora is quickly becoming my best friend. it is so in tune with what i want to hear or become better acquainted with. if ever there were a gift that kept on giving, this would be it. i'm almost starting to feel guilty. all give and no take. guilty toward a musical website? yep.

but the real crux came when pandora played a song i, in fact, just didn't quite love. not that i hate dave matthews, i just don't feel like listening to him, hardly ever almost never. so i clicked the little thumbs down button. immediately swooping to my screen was this massive, servile apology and promise to NEVER play that song in the future.

oh pandora.

if pandora were a person, i would have given it a big hug, said, "it's ok, i know you did your best, and that's all anyone can do," patted it on the head, and sent it on its way.

maybe even the internet has feelings. that would have made one bizzle-esque twilight zone episode.
i really make it a point to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. long gone are the days of 18-dom when i could go to bed at 3, greet the 7am morning, and skip off to school and work like a little bunny, and then repeat the whole cycle again. when i get too tired, i become overly cynical and the bloom is off every rose that ever had a fighting chance in this world. in an effort to not drive away every friend and loved one i call mine, i make sleep a priority. big ol' chubby priority.

but sometimes things come along that out-prioritize priorities.

last night i was initiated into this little club that watches a certain tv drama with religious diligence and masterful respect. while this show is now in its 5th season i never "got into it" until this last summer. now i've seen every episode, some more than once (hey, there's not much to do in vegas when your skin starts to melt off your face the moment you step outside). i suppose at first it was a cruel blow to my pride that i was so enamored of this show at all, but my gosh! it's amazing what thick curly "skillfully disheveled" hair and a scalpel can be when blended!

so while it's great that the tv show is back on (ignoring the fact that season premieres are always heavy on the "check out my new hair-do and how much weight i gained/lost over summer!" and over-acting) it is even grey-ter that the other members of the club are such fabulous company. i had far far far too much fun with them. today, these women are things which WON'T fall prey to my ugly cynicism and crankiness. this is because they're only lovely/lovable. they are true comedy, they are honest, they are sassy, they are kind, they all look great (which is nice because i can't be expected to hang out with ugly people...i've not done it before and don't intend on starting NOW), and just because i'm the only one without bling and people who grab onto my ankles and call me "mommy" we all know we can all still be real friends. we stayed up until 1am talking and eating and smothering each other in encomiums.

well worth friday crabbiness.

25 September 2008

this is why geneology is indeed for people of "a certain age":

every once in a while in the true church we get lessons on genealogy. how cool it is, how it's not an activity exclusively for senior citizens, how joni mae's cousin's aunt immersed herself in her CHARTS at age 22 and it saved her from a miserable existence because of X, Y, and Z, and i appreciate that. i really do. but the truth is, it remains a hobby that is, in large part, taken up by people of a certain age, because sooner or later, we dig deep enough to hit this "breed" of info:

(the cameron clan is my little branch of eaton-dom, where my little bro gets his name...oh dear oh dear oh dear.)

"Clan Cameron has a proud and romantic history and is especially noted for its unwavering loyalty to the Stewart kings. The clan's war-cry, which translated is `Sons Of The Hounds, Come Hither And Get Flesh', is one of the most ferocious and has the double significance that they will feed their enemies' flesh to their hounds and also summon the clansmen (the hounds) to come and kill. It is not surprising that General Wolfe, giving an account of the Battle of Culloden, states that the Camerons were "the bravest clan among them ". There are a number of theories as to the origins of the clan, whose first authenticated chief (but styled XI) is Donald Dubh (c1400-1460), whose name is the patronymic of Lochiel - MacDomhnuill Dubh (son of dark- haired Donald)."

don't worry folks, that's just the beginning! and since the vikings' blood has infiltrated about 70% of the earth's population, i'm going to hedge a bet your predecessors weren't much prettier.

only those sufficiently seasoned in life, only people who've rehabilitated their pot-smoking child, seen their bank account balances plummet to $0 approximately 15 million times, taught a respectable eyeliner application process to their cranky teenage girls, lectured endlessly on cleaning up legos, changed 39 billion blow out diapers, broken 330 plates, and spilled 42 gallons of milk can discover those unpretty details about their lineage and go back, hungry for more.

24 September 2008

my replacement brother

james and i met when we were 18, and despite his winsome personality, striking good looks, and reservoir of talents, he immediately fell into the "chum only and ever" category. being pals with james is a great way to go. he's easy to spend time with, is obnoxious and insincerely chauvinistic enough to help you reach your eye-rolling quota for the day, yet endearing enough to keep you around for a back scratch/gossip party/love life analysis and advisory council.

i saw him at tiffany's wedding right before my mission and thought, "welp, i'll never see him again!" i'm so pleased to be wrong. last night we went to todd's goodbye dinner together and i drove like a maniac and he'd bark at me to slow down, he'd burp loud enough to cause small tremors below our feet and i'd order him to say, "excuse me." we argue over who is the better looking person and are only half kidding (as in i'm the half that's kidding, he's the half that's not).

good old james. good to have him back, good to have a brother once more.

23 September 2008

conversation with my disciplined self:

*this is a writing exercise i just did for myself.  i really want to get better at writing dialogue.  maybe this is a bad time to invent a conversation, because i'm tired and a wee bit cranky over the standardized testing of this morning, but said tiredness prevents me from caring.  critique away, don't be shy, "i believe i hold up very well even under severe scrutiny"...name the tv show......

disciplined self: ahem.
me: [looking right and left] what.
ds: what are you eating?
me: candy corn.  it's officially autumn, it's what we're all supposed to be eating, in abnormally large quantities.  i'm setting the autumn example.  you should follow my lead, jump on the wagon.  these won't taste as good after thanksgiving.
ds: hmm, what happened to your new goal you set last night?
me: the one about not eating any candy for a week?  
ds: yes that one.
me: bah.  it doesn't count toDAY, i just took the GRE.  i just paid $140 for a computer to tell me how smart i am.  THAT merits candy, i don't care what rip-snorting valiant ideas i had last night.  but then, you DO care, don't you?
ds: i care about the fact that you're going to die of a diabetic coma.  they're going to find you in a puddle of powdered sugar, gushers fruit snacks, brownies, and mini marshmallows.  i thought you were really on to something with this detox idea.
me: hey, first of all, gushers make me gag, and until i don't fit into my jeans anymore, i think it's safe to assume that i'm not about to die.
ds: you may still be fitting into your jeans, but man cannot live by candy corn alone.  think of the insulin level spiking going on underneath your pasty exterior!  right as we speak!  besides that, what about the dignity in just sticking with something for once?!  just sticking with one little thing besides breathing.
me: my sugar addiction has a lot of dignity, and it's protective as a first time mother.
ds: i'm going to ignore the fact that you're personifying your vice so you can pass blame, and ask you what does preach my gospel teach about addictions?
me: [eyes narrow] that's a low blow.
ds: well, you're the one that lectured this stuff to the coffee/ciggie/alcie addicts of costa rica, so you should be able to tell me very well.  in two languages, please.  i have a feeling you haven't spoken spanish in days.
me: [mumbling] it says that as addicts we rise and fall and we have to be patient but never cease striving to abandon bad habits.  
ds: [foot tap tap tap]
me: dice que como adictos sobrevivimos pero tambien fallamos pero que seamos pacientes y nunca dejar de tratar abandonar nuestros vicios, que nunca olvidemos lo que es la meta.
ds: [reaching for the jar] so now what shall we do with that jar of candy corn?
me: [clutching jar to bosom] you know, i really don't like you.  at all.  i did it in spanish and you didn't even say "bien hecho" or anything like that.
ds: bien hecho.  now go eat a carrot. [merzy releases jar from clutches] doesn't that feel better?  you're free!  free to go eat a carrot and prevent an untimely sugary laced death!
me: i just realized sometimes you sound just like sarah.  
ds: that's why she's mom and dad's favorite child...actually she won a three way victory with elizabeth and cameron for favorites.
me: hmm, well, it's been real, but there's a big sale at the gap i've got to check out.  i think the stores might be closing early today, ya know?
ds: with the money you're spending on clothing these days, at least maybe that will prevent you from being able to buy more candy co- [door slams on ds' face].

22 September 2008

wish fulfilled!

ever since i saw my best friend's wedding, i wanted to make creme brulee. then i found out that you have to blow torch it to carmelize the sugar for that tap-tap-tap-crack quality of the first bite. the pyro in me called for creme brulee all the more. my sisters will testify to the truth that i for years have been saying my christmas present to myself would be a torch. it's never happened; the torch usually takes a back seat to some great pair of shoes or something.

my friend dre made a miracle last night. little cute pots of perfectly made french custard. and then she was my own miracle in letting me torch my own. fairy taaales can come truuuuuuue, it can happen to yoooooou.....

21 September 2008

story time: don't leave your phone at a house full of monsters.

two years at byu i had the good fortune/pained struggle of living across the parking lot from "the honky tonk."  this was the nick name for a gorgeous brick house that was zoned for 4 boys on the top floor and 3 in the basement, but these boys were law unto themselves and remorselessly stashed no fewer than 15 tenants in that house at all times.  they were all from arizona, like 90% of BYU, or alaska, like 0% of BYU.  one of my best friends was engaged to a member of the honkey tonk, and we were all good friends.  most of the time. 

one sunday evening we'd all been shootin the breeze, and when i left to go back home, i forgot my cell phone.  hours later i realized my oversight and went back to retrieve my little gem of technology.  i had about 15 missed calls and text messages, and they just kept comin.  

"are you ok?" 
"i'm in the middle of dinner, i'll call you in a bit."
"oh!  so good to hear from you again!"

and so on.  i was a bit confused, so i looked in my SENT MESSAGES box and some impudent scally-wag (cough cough ryan darby) had sent to everyone, and i do mean EVERYONE in my phonebook, 

"call me.  i miss you."

this was especially wonderful, because in my phonebook lay numbers for people such as my bishop, my best friend's dad, boys i'd dated, blind date nightmares, boyfriends and husbands of friends and cousins, etc.  it was a treat, a real treat over the next 24 hours to see what reactions this text message provoked.  

it's ok though, because the next week we put fliers over every door in the ward saying,

"coming into the light by coming out of the closet.
you're invited to a candid fireside by ryan darby about his experience as a gay mormon."

20 September 2008


you: and meredith, what would newport beach happen to taste like?
me: well, i'll tell you.  newport tastes like creme brulee, spinach stuffed mushrooms, ravioli, butter cake, diet pepsi, and third eye blind.
you: surely not!
me: why yes it does!  

apparently it's been tasting like that regularly for the past two decades, i was just living under a rock all that time, because i never even heard of it until this week.  A TASTE OF NEWPORT is a bit of genius!  the event planners must be former girl scouts, because it savored strongly of "international day."  well, except for the fact that most of the attendees were adults dressed up in their weekend finery instead of grammar school students in matching togas and sarongs.  that was the only difference.  that and instead of inhaling little samples of international cuisine for a dime each, it was a collection of the OCs most neat-o restaurants selling commensurately priced servings of their biggest money makers.  then the wedding singers cleared the stage to make way for THIRD EYE BLIND.  whoa.  like, totally reminded me of like, high school and stuff.  GO IHS VAQUEROS! it was good to get reacquainted with them. 

you:  wow.  third eye blind.  aren't they getting old now?  like, do they have to dye their hair to hide the grays?

me: probably, although from a certain angle the lead singer looked a lot like bono, which he was probably going for.  and even if they are getting old and arthritic, there were some real, true third eye blind junkies there.  one in particular was my absolute favorite.  he did NOT stop dancing for anything, except to maybe puff on his girlfriend's ciggie.  i don't have any beef with someone boogy-ing down when they want/need to, but i was just in awe of how he danced as if it were keeping the universe afloat.  as if the fervent nature of his jig would obliterate every milligram of evil in the world.  i actually took a semi-clandestine video of him, but there's not enough memory left on my laptop at this moment to upload it.  another day, another time.  there were some other groupies whose behavior i'll just not going into describing right now.  i think concerts would be much less interesting in the people watching department if prohibition came back.

so can i get a woot woot for A TASTE OF NEWPORT?
you: totally.

19 September 2008

"if you ever have a puppy, name it keats."

that was a command from one of my favorite english professors at BYU. and it was a good one, because while john keats' contemporaries were up to their eyeballs in opiates, reproducing with half-siblings, womanizing, inebriating, THIS is what the unassuming, talented keats had to deal with:

-life has a promising start until he was 7 and his dad is "done in" by a skull fracturing horse kick.

-a year later his grandfather dies.

-mom remarries a villain, she makes a run for it with her 4 kids to her mother's house when his evil manners are exposed.

-when keats is 15 his mother dies of TB. thus implants the feeling of foreboding that he would one day be taken by the illness.

-the family cash (which had been somewhat plentiful) is tied up by a swindling uncle.

-keats is ripped out of his beloved school which sparked his love for literature and poetry, and put as a medical student.

-his brother comes down with TB, john cares for him, putting his own poetry reunion somewhat on the back-burner.

-he falls in love with fanny brawne but because he has no access to the money and is already showing to be "delicate of constitution," fanny's parents forbid the marriage. love is a torment.

-in 1820 he indeed coughs up blood, his "death warrant," and despite a move to the healing country of italy, succumbs to TB in 1821 when in his 26th year.

his poetry made the walk to class with long, wet hair in the frigid provo cold 100% worth it. he was dead wrong in thinking it would be most appropriate to write on his tombstone, "here lies one whose name was writ in water." good thing nobody listened to him (although what they actually wrote wasn't that great either).

keats, to you i tip my hat.

i shared the on-line scrabble love with my friend megan. we have been playing bi-coastal scrabble for about 48 hours now. i received the following email yesterday, it was so fabulous i had to share:

I am now enamored to the point of no return with online scrabble and believe that, due to my addictive personality, it will be the cause of my rapid demise...I can see it now...a poor soul swaddled in rags hunched over a blazing trashcan fire in the shanty towns of New York City's very own Central Park. From time to time a passing socialite may stop to offer the aforementioned wench a kindly word or a monetary token of goodwill and yet, she remains untouched. If one listens ever so intently she can be heard to utter quietly to herself as she rocks gently back and forth, back and forth, "a-x-e, that's 30 points!, 30 points!!"

What have you done to me??

megan, i make no apologies. not one.

18 September 2008

just some of my all time favorite pictures.

mom at the tower of london
neph and niece at laguna
me and grandpa
me, mom, sarah at aly's wedding
mom breaking hearts at the BY
back when i was still cuddly
mom and dad in the days of yore
sarah the pixie-doodle
cam. what a dude.
dad and e at battle of the bands
where there are kris and e there is love.
intrigued nephew and tired niece

the aunties! the aunties are coming!

my mom has 4 older brothers. count them 1, 2, 3, 4. she loved them and baked them cookies regularly but always wanted for a sister. it's a good thing these 1, 2, 3, 4 uncles turned out to be such unabashed stud muffins, because mom's wish was granted in the form of 1, 2, 3, 4 sisters-in-law. these sisters-in-law/aunties/mothers/grandmothers transcend your typical fun. they are classy, they are talented, they kind, they profusely pour on compliments and never brook a single one which is thrown their way. so we hear a lot of "oh thank you, but no, no, no, it was nothing." sometimes i just want to say (and maybe not in an inside voice), "just admit it! you're the absolute living end!"

every year my mom and aunties are active participants in the "sisters-in-law retreat." it's quite exclusive. this year the epicenter, the ground zero o' fun is...my home base. the 1, 2, 3, 4 aunties are comin 'round the moun-in as i blog! so i'm foreseeing copious amounts of chocolate, diet coke with lime, movies where the women wear corsets or empire waists, and tales told of immediate descendents. maybe if i slide into some flannel jammies, wear sunglasses to prevent recognition, and tell stories about fake grandchildren, i can get in on some of the fun, too.

1, 2, 3, 4 aunties are 1, 2, 3, 4 times lovely.

17 September 2008

some haphazardly collected 2s

2 objects i could not do without:
-my space heater at work. best $30 i ever did shell out.
-GPS. oh wait, i don't have one. it's something i shouldn't be doing without. i flip far too many u-turns in life.

2 things i would rather be eating (as opposed to the stale orbit gum that's currently floating around in my mouth):
-mochi balls (with some frozen yogurt on the side)
-the grilled vegetable salad from california pizza kitchen. it's so fabulous it could make a grown man cry and blubber.

2. the song Two by ryan adams. that's not 2 things, but it's one great 2. listen to it. now. if you want to, i mean.

2 things i miss about vegas:
-my co-workers. you'd miss them too. this is the christmas skit for which i wrote the script...ok...fine, i ripped off from the office:

-living in my own place but within minutes of charming family

2 movies you should see as soon as you're able:
-wag the dog
-big fish

2 actions i'd take back if i could:
-eating at that hole in the wall taco shack last night
-telling sanjay bajaj i wouldn't dance with him at the 8th grade dance. that wasn't very nice.

2 reasons you should eat a large plunket of chocolate right this second:
-the rain in spain stays mainly in the plain.
-in honor of freddy and fanny and merrill. i don't mean to be flippant. chocolate, at the very least, can't hurt in times like these.

2 proofs that i am a child of the 80s:

-i know who she was and what she did for a living.

-i remember watching him perform at the grammies and my mother's subsequent lecture on using clean language (m.c. unfortunately didn't hear it, though.)

2 reasons for me to end this post:
-i have to go fax something.
-i'll get back to you on that other reason.

16 September 2008

story time: aly

this would not yield the same reaction outside of provo.

when aly (the one in the lovely middle) and i had only been roommates a little while (and were still getting to know each other), we were grocery shopping at macey's. it was late at night, i was probably contemplating the paper i had not yet begun, which was also due the next day, and whether or not i should have picked up more discounted string cheese. it was a busy night, early enough in the semester to send BYU students in droves to the markets to fill empty cupboards with all the necessary ingredients to win lovers by nurturing stomachs. thus the store and the lines were sardine packing style.

all of a sudden aly turns to me and says with a very solemn, gentle voice, "so merzy, what are you going to do about your classes?"
i yawned, "what do you mean?"
"you know, [eyes widening and jaw clenching] what are you going to do about classes when...?" her eyes darted to my stomach and back to my face.
"aly, what are you talking about?"
in a slightly exasperated and definitely louder voice, "when the baby comes! are you going to drop out of your classes or wait for them to kick you out or what?!"
about 50 shocked eyeballs in my grocery line as well as the neighboring line-ups looked over at me. i started to laugh.
"merzy," she hissed, "this is not funny. have you even told the father yet?" i swear a few people gasped in line 7.

good times, good times.

15 September 2008

100th Post (unbridled applause!)!!!

for my 100th post, i thought i'd go with the classic
100 o' my faves!!!
and they said dreams no longer came true!

1) puppies
2) butterflies
3) long walks on the beach
4) the carpenters' song, on top of the world

ok enough of that.

instead how about a martini glass full of caffeine free diet coke and a youtube.

cheers, my darlings.

almost tastes as good as the real stuff. and that's a total lie.

and now presenting, sir ian:

14 September 2008

sketch pad from heaven (shoobee doobee)

thursday i came home from work to find a package from my darling sister sarah. 

she gave me a sketch pad and bridge mix so i can draw and become nice and plump simultaneously. thank you, sarah, you are lovelier than a summer's eve in every which way.


they are so choice. if you have the means, i highly recommend picking one up.***

***name the movie for 50 blogger bucks (to be redeemed at some future non-specified date)!

13 September 2008

adventures in surfing: trip 1

basically, this is what i looked like this morning:not really, but i had a wonderful time, and i'll get there soon.  blue crush eaton.

2 things of which i am certain:

1) a wet suit is a beautiful thing. i am always cold. 99.9% of the time, i wish i could amp up the warmth of my given location. i was in the chilled ocean on a cloudy day, toasty warm as a freshly made s'more. thank you wet suit, i think you're swell (pun intended!).

2) my arms are jello tomorrow. j-e-l-l-o.

12 September 2008

ode to the volvo

when i was about seven years old, i was walking home from the pool one evening with my pop, and felt quite singled out and privileged when he shared a secret. "merzy, tomorrow i'm getting a new car." "what kind of car?!" "well, what kind of car do you think i should get?"

a question lovely enough, but i recognized his tone of voice. he and mom had used that tone only a year earlier when cameron was still shaking and baking inside the mother meri oven. at FHE one monday evening they casually (translation: indifferently) asked, "so what should we name the baby?"

me: michael! or -- or bobby!

e: charles! william! (even then, elizabeth was attracted to power. just kidding.)

sarah: probably hiccuped or something. she was not quite 2.

brief silence.

dad: well, that's nice; thanks for your suggestions. we're going to name him cameron.

i wondered 2 things at that moment:

a) why bother asking our opinions if they'd essentially already embroidered the name on his blankets, and

b) since i'd never heard of the name "cameron" before, did they just invent that name as they probably had mine?

and indeed so it was again. my father requested auto make and model referrals, and i suggested with alacrity, but these fell on loving but deaf ears. the decision had already been made, and the next evening my dad rolled up in this beauty:

thar she blew. in all her confidence and glimmer, i was introduced to THE VOLVO. i hadn't been a great enthusiast of station wagons before then, but hey! it was a new car! and it was MINE (or ours). i ogled and probably did not sit down for two minutes together until i got to go out for a spin. a new car. a new volvo car. mine (ours).

the volvo was initiated into our lives the proper eaton way. probably tri-annually my dad had told the story of buying a new mercedes when elizabean was a no more than yay high, a toddler with big ol' hair. the day after he'd claimed ownership, elizabeth decided it would be a great idea to throw up all over the fresh interior right as they pulled up to the house. dad would joke, "what, you couldn't have waited 30 seconds to be taken out of your carseat?" silly as it was for dad to chastise his firstborn when she was hardly aware of her own name, let alone societal norms and proper disposal of purged materials, it was even funnier when sarah christened the volvo in the exact same way 2 days after dad bought it. i never asked it, but i do believe the volvo appreciated the warm (literally) and welcoming gesture.

the volvo boasted leather seats, a tape player, cup holders that popped out, and a glove compartment that locked, (but unlike elizabeth's diary, this lock could not be compromised). as if those scintillating features weren't enough, being a station wagon, it was equipped with room enough in the trunk to store all the gear for whatever sport cam was working at the time. my absolute favorite feature on the volvo was its illustrious sunroof, and i dreamed i would one day, if i were a very good girl, be authorized to stand up and out of it like those teenagers did on tv outside moving limousines.

for many years, the volvo was the nice car. unlike mom's white astro van, the volvo wasn't often faced with the prospect of apple juice spills, muddy playground feet, etc. although we young ones occasionally rode in dad's car, when one inspected the door handle, one wouldn't find broken crayons and used capri sun straws stuffed inside. you found...a door handle. when you sat in the back seat, you didn't hear the crunch of returned homework assignments or a coloring book or have a capless marker poke your bottom or see a sock cameron had abandoned en route to the grocery store. you sat on the leather seat. for you see, dad's volvo elicited respect, and mom's van elicited...something else. dad was assiduously steady in maintaining the volvo, taking it in for any and every check up to avoid catastrophe in those moments when you least expect trouble. even as it became older and newer models of swedish wagons roamed the roads beside us, it was still reliable, clean and estimable. as the odometer's count reached the "pig choking" range, and we would suggest a trip to our friendly neighborhood car dealer, dad would look fondly at the volvo and swear he'd never trade it for anything else. it's tank-esque body style saw safely him through two ugly car accidents, and spared him further back trouble. for this, and many other volvo bonuses, dad was grateful.

you know, the volvo and my dad have a lot in common. built for comfort, not for speed. in it for the long haul. i mean that in the very best way. "just a guy/car tryin to help." the volvo could have irretrievably kicked the bucket when it lunked out on cameron in the wendy's parking lot in 2005. it could have kissed us goodbye when cameron "strongly nudged" the car ahead of him while driving (with what certainly must have been a very tranquil, focused group of teens) to EFY in santa barbara in 2006.

before this we used to laugh about its 2 sounds. loud and louder (kinda like one of dad's sneezes). as soon as you wanted to move past 20 mph it would go from "grrrrrr" to "GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR." when cam smushed the bumper, it started leaking funky oils and smelling like the dickens, but after this and every other visit to the mechanic, the volvo softly convinced all around that its good fight was not yet finished. on a number of occasions, dad had another car picked out and waiting for him, but there was always a reason to hang on, and the volvo's loyalty was matched only by that of my father. and, as much fun as a new car could have been, we have to acknowledge there is comfort in familiarity, and the volvo, with its saggy ceiling, shredded leather seats, and non-functioning stereo system, has that in abundance.

i began to wonder what it would take to adios the volvo from our lives forever. my friends, i'll tell you. the answer lies in a smog issue, the repair of which would cost approximately four times the value of the car itself. with heavy heart i announce the farewell of THE VOLVO. saturday, september 13, the volvo will go the way of the world, to some place that is probably not heaven, for D&C makes no mention of such a place, but we trust it could never be anything like auto hell. wherever you goeth, we bid thee adieu, oh volvo, with love burning so brightly. thanks for the mem'ries.

11 September 2008


my friend jen came to visit with her BABY!

it was a lovely evening, and if you think that little muffin is cute in the picture, you should see her in 3-D!

good to see y'all!

california, california, so much to plunder that i think i'll sleep instead.

i have spent 78% of my life as a california resident. i love it here. i wouldn't be here if i didn't. it's home; i like to think of it as my california with its sunny skies, ample air moisture, and masterful freeway system. however, i have a confession to make which might get me hanged, drawn, and quartered: i have never felt like a real california girl. i will ever claim that i grew up here with glowing pride, i think it's wonderful, but not in the same way or for the same reasons as so many people who want to (and do) or should live here. i think i was supposed to be born in maryland or somewhere over that-a-way. i love turtlenecks and pleated skirts, brick buildings, and government subsidized museums. i embrace the pasty blush of my skin. i really don't like third eye blind, roxy brand clothing, fish tacos and hibiscus flowers. i don't think i wore flip flops more than thrice this last summer. i love the beach, i go to the beach, but i'd never classify myself as a beach bum, and i haven't touched a surf board in 14 years. i'm more of a swim around or boogy board kind o' gal. my california friends NEED the beach. 1 week into fall semester at BYU they'd start to get the shakes and froth at the mouth a bit as their bodies went into beach fix-less shock. i endured twinges of guilt knowing that if we were to go play in the sand and waves, that would be wonderful, but if we didn't, that's wonderful too. guilty, guilty, guilty. i'm not proud of this, it seems disarmingly ungrateful to me. i always worry that i'm going to wind up living in south dakota or something and cringe over the grand california amenity i didn't enjoy as much as i could have. anyway, there. i feel much better having unloaded that. confession is a very important passage to repentance.

there is hope. i moved here exactly 1 month ago. i'm working, i'm moving out and over to huntington beach (knock hard on wood), i'm applying to further my education, i'm bonding, and as of tonight, i will be a surfer in training. for the first time since i was 12 years old i am going to go surfing, apparently on saturday i'm going to be in a surf video, i might go on a surf trip to costa rica in november, and i'm going to hope that the fact that my arms are completely devoid of muscular particles doesn't get in the way.

just call me "blue crush eaton." california, you and i are going to get a lot more cozy.

09 September 2008

for the most part, i'm all down and jiggy with CA, but i really am not appreciative of the whole hands free cell phone driving law.  those pesky earpiece items actually hurt my ears. then, as if poking and pinching my head isn't enough, it always FALLS OUT, usually right as i'm receiving some important information (like, if i was the 102nd caller.  just kidding i hate the radio).  thus, instead of holding my phone ever steady to the side of my face, i'm groping around on the floor of my car or around my gear shift for the shifty devil plug, paying less attention to the road.

basically i've just been standing on the dock, watching and waving as the cell phone conversation ship flitters off into the horizon.  i only talk on the phone while driving if i'm really desperate, and if my hair is down and i can super sleuth my phone away into obscurity.  the hands free cord movement is just a no-go in the meredith industry, and i'm pretty sure my phone is too ghetto to support a bluetooth.  the tragic thing of it all is that i used to do my best "keep in touch-ing" on the road.  it's such a convenient time to catch up on chit chat, and now i'm having a hard time risking a chit chat with a ticket-doling copper for an indulgent chit chat with a friend or relative.  basically i've just been listening to a lot of music instead.

anyway, yesterday morning i was driving to work and at a stop light saw something i thought was pretty funny.  a woman with sopping wet hair, a sweatshirt, and heels got out of her car, ran to her popped trunk that was full of boogy boards and other such sea shore instruments, pulled out a water bottle, and slammed the lid shut.  a rogue flip flop, however, had weasled its way to the lip of the trunk and prevented it from closing.  she was back in the driver's seat before she realized it had bounced back up.  with the light turning green, she ran out again, this time only to the side of the car, and, unable to see the sabotaging sandal, slammed it again, this time harder.  i thought the flip flop was going to be decapitated (if flip flops have heads...which they don't, so the flip flop was going to be cut in half.).  one more bounce back from the trunk door and cars were starting with the trumpeting.  at this point she was laughing, went all the way around, and saw the flip flop, stuffed it back in, got in her car and slammed the gas.  i thoroughly enjoyed the show.

my first thought was, "i've got to call elizabeth to tell her."  then, "shoot, where's my ear piece?"  then, "eh, i'll just blog it instead."


i miss this big lug.

he has a nice new companion and is working like a dog.
hear it for the boy, indeed.

08 September 2008

A Pearl from Elder Holland

Tonight for FHE we watched the CES Broadcast from last night, featuring Elder Holland. He spoke about how we all must be sentenced to a period of time in Liberty Jail, and this comes from a loving Heavenly Father.  We've heard it all before but he makes it sound so...so...surrenderingly wonderful!  I think my favorite line of the evening was

Man's extremity is God's opportunity.

Makes the trials which come to us all seem like we hit the proverbial jackpot.
If you missed it, click here to listen.

Just look at him as a young buck!

07 September 2008

"woops, uh, who put that song on there?"

the other day i was at this shopping center called THE DISTRICT. unlike the districts i knew on my mission, which consisted of sun burnt, benevolent, 19-20 year old boys, this DISTRICT is a day tripper's mecca. one of those 10 minute stops that penitently turns into 4 hours. panera, target, costco, a movie theater or two, michael's, DSW, borders, pinkberry, verizon, a smattering of banks to facilitate spending, rocky mountain chocolate factory, tj maxx, whole foods, lowe's, and ever so much more. it is quite huge. it is quite stunning.

one of the most stunning elements, the ones that makes you think, "wow! viva la 21st century!" is the fact that the parking lot light posts boast speakers, so that while i'm en route to tj maxx, elizabeth could be on the other end of the expansive district universe, skipping into lane bryant (kidding) and hearing the same tunes blaring from the light post speakers.

anyway, the other day i'm walking through the parking lot and they start playing the counting crows cover of joni mitchell's tree hugger tune, "big yellow taxi" and i just start laughing. if you haven't heard the song before, i'll help you out a little:


now m'lamb sarah doesn't feel so far far away.  

i've been newly introduced to www.scrabulous.com -- scrabble a la on line.  it kinda makes me feel like i am paying for my whole seat in the grand scheme of things, but i'm only using the edge.

here's why:

-i am improving my vocabulary as i play, which makes me feel less guilty for the fact that i'm goofing off on the world wide web and ignoring my GRE flashcards.  

-you know that idea that there are 2 old fuzzy men on desert/ed islands passing a game of hangman or tic-tac-toe in a bottle betwixt those islands?  welcome to message in a bottle gaming 2008!

-sarah's totally beating my trash into the next century.  scrabulous is neato because i can also start a different game with anyone i please.  "surely not!" you say.  and now i say, "why certainly!  scrabulous.com does not put a ceiling on how many simultaneous games you play!" anyone know any 10 year olds up for the game?  i could probably beat them.  although i taught coulter to play spit (or speed or whatever you happen to call it) thinking i'd get a nice ego boost, and he too beat my trash into the next century.

happy sabbath!

06 September 2008

8's great.

i just got home after the prop 8 walk.  yes, even! 

for a few hours today i was a "vote 2008" pin wearing (i was disappointed there were no "hi my name is MEREDITH" stickers), flier passing, door knocking, cereal girl.  besides this, my long lost college friend james was my companero for the day, and i became privy to all the nitty, gritty, exquisite details of his love life since i last saw him at tiff's wedding in 2006.  nice.

people were very kind.  orange county is more conservatively abiding than i thought!

there were two people in sufficiently passionate agreement who thanked us for going out and doing this stuff; one of these offered to post a "prop 8" sign in his front yard.  almost all the rest were luke warm in their feelings, so no yelling hit my ear drums.  

there was only one girl who nudged rudeness.  she was one of the last feathers we ruffled.  fast dawning was the inkling it might not go well because she quickly identified that we were election fiesta people and interrupted with, "well i just moved here from new york so i don't know about any of the california propositions, but i'm an extreme democrat."  did i mention she also said just prior to that, "sorry, i'm having a REALLY BAD MORNING."  perf.  so anyway i start telling her about prop 22 and the way in which it was overturned and how "yes" on 8 keeps marriage between a man and a woman and she goes, "so, YOU want marriage to stay between a man and a woman."  "yep."  "ooh, you're conSERvatives.  well, i'm not gay, but i love everyone, and i think they should get married if they want."

as we walked away james told me i should have said, "we ARE gay, we just don't think we should be allowed to get married! ever!"

nah.  lying turns your soul black.

05 September 2008

one little 8

i just got an email reminding me of what i'm doing tomorrow morning at (deep breath now) 8:30!

i'm going to knock doors and talk to the citizens of huntington beach about prop 8.

what a sensitive subject. i know this is hard for loads of people, i don't like to see people upset (especially at me), but talking about it never hurt a flea. in the end i trust our prophet, i trust marriage as the institution it's always been, and most of all i trust that the chips will not so much fall randomly as much as land very purposefully where they were omnisciently intended long ago.

people never yelled at us in costa rica (or hardly ever yelled at us) because i think it's hard to yell at girls in skirts and orthopedic shoes. i think i'll most definitely wear a skirt tomorrow. yelling is the #1 reason why i'd never join the army.

04 September 2008

my dad wins the cat's pajama prize for the week.

he watched this entire movie on sunday with me. he even went the extra mile and texted my mom jane austenisms throughout.
what a guy.

16 weeks

i'm a little bit obsessed with christmas. it's like we get past labor day and the holiday bumble bee that's been buzzing around in the back of my head all year takes a hit of crystal meth and starts buzzing all the more.

last night i may or may not have counted on my calendar how many weeks remain until christmas eve.
and if this picture of tenderness doesn't put you, each and every one of you, into the christmas spirit, then i can't help you.

03 September 2008

more brain vomit.

last night's brain vomit dream: although i have never been...como se dice..."athletic," the first thing i remember is being up to bat in a major league baseball game, wearing a cute dress, heels, and (thank heaven) no baseball cap. i was teamed presumably with the angels, because i was in their stadium with the crowd roaring heavenly enthusiasm. i was apparently about to bring it all home for them. the pitcher was winding up and suddenly i had this middle aged, pudgy guardian baseball angel advising me to not swing at the next two pitches, and i'd get walked to first base. guardian baseball angels do not lie, folks. a moment or two later i was leaping and bounding my way to first base. nice.

then, in that inexplicably omniscient way of dreams, i just knew that the next three hitters would ultimately succeed, and i would find myself stomping onto the home plate in no time. the excite-o-meter was off the charts. i was, all of a sudden, a total sports junkie, one of those "for the love of the game" people.

enter him:

he offers to buy me dinner with a winning, slightly off-kilter smile, so i just peace out of the game and aerate the baseball field with my stilettos, hand in hand with ryan gosling.

we went out, and were definitely having fun, so much fun that i slept through my alarm until lindsey woke me up with fifteen minutes to get ready and leave for work.

ryan gosling: like dr. luca from ER, a forever-my-dream-love.

just another day in the OC

today during my lunch break i popped into banana republic to peer and wish and hope. i was trying on a dress and heard the sales associate making her rounds through the dressing room hall, asking everyone how they were doing. this is what i hear from the room directly across from me, no add-ons or exaggerations present:

employee: (knocks on the door) hi, how are you doing in there?

customer: uh, you know, these just aren't working.

employee: oh, i'm sorr--

customer: just--just get them out of my sight!

i hear a flop of what i can only assume is large quantities of clothing falling over the dressing room door and onto the floor.

the end

02 September 2008

only a sith speaks in absolutes.

i find more and more with the passage of time that if you (or i) make an absolute statement, the opposite will ultimately and inexcusably come to pass.  the same carb conscious mouth that utters the words, "when i'm a mother, i'll never feed my kids sugary cereal" belongs to the same person who, later, will buy count chocula and lucky charms in bulk for their little homespun beasts.  the individuality seeker who abstains from induction into the harry potter fan club for years on end, will, at one point or another know what the quibbler is capable of doing.  by using those dangerous words "always" or "never" we essentially carve in stone the promise that we "won't" or "will."

my own personal case and point: today i scheduled a time to take the GRE.  

so, my lovelies, be careful what sorts of absolutes you put out into the universe.  i, for one, am about to start throwing around absolutes like these:

-i will NEVER have millions upon millions of dollars.
-i will ALWAYS be a big fatty.
-i will NEVER have a mini cooper.
-i will NEVER have a vacation home in monaco.

and so on.

never/always.  trouble.

01 September 2008

Tire Labor Day

look at this bliss. wasn't my labor day charmed? even angela martin would have to agree; a day at the beach with alyson, lindsey, kristen, the hadleys, andrew, randy, etc., a slightly sunburnt nose, polishing it off in aly's backyard jacuzi....

i'm all up in fervent admiration for the person who invented labor day, and by extension the american government for continuing to sanction it. otherwise instead of frolicking in the surf, i would have been sitting in an office inserting an IV of dark, sinful chocolate to numb the annoyance that is my current job.

however, before there was the beach and all the charm, there was indeed labor. labor of the acutest (not cutest) kind. via the adventure that came upon lindsey and i on this labor day, i found myself laying on my stomach on the 5 freeway. i'm pretty sure brother brigham never intended that for any daughter of zion. grease was slabbed about my hand. the horrors! the horrible horrors!! why the hell would i ever engage in such folly?

you know i'm about to tell you, because that's what i do on this blog.

lindsey and i were driving along, merging onto the 5 south to meet our friends in sleepy san clemente. i was, pretty ironically, mentioning that i needed my oil changed, and that lead me to reminisce about that time back in like, 1998 when my dad showed his children how to change oil and a tire, predicting such an unfortunate car malfunctioning situation should inevitably, one day, kick our bottoms. i just happened to be chuckling about the fact that i had never personally dealt with vehicular rubber OR oil, and so, all that useful instruction had quickly evaporated from my brain.

just then a mini-van honks wildly next to us. i think, "what? i'm not cutting you off, i'm not speeding. dude, what's yo beef?" he does the "roll down the weendow" sign, and once we roll he informs us that my black left tire is flat.

what. ? .

we pull off to the shoulder. thank HEAVEN lindsey has done all this before.

we get to work. in spite of the situation, i was kind of having a good time.

we were almost done, and then a copper pulls up behind us. he swaggers over, clearly planning on being something of a

to us helpless felines (although to be totally honest, if lindsey hadn't been there, he would have found me sitting on the gravel sobbing without my AAA services, and would have become a true officer hero). i think he was a bit disappointed to find it was almost finished, critiqued lindsey on something trivial, and then loosened some bolts for us, thereby absorbing some of the grease effect.

pretty soon we were donut-ed up and on our way to the ocean blue. i always knew this day would come, and i am pleased to say it happened when i had the crafty and wisened hands of a pal there to make the scion all better.