Saturday, January 31, 2009

Movie Goodness

Seeings how we're in the middle of a long frozen hibernation, making it the perfect time to cuddle up with a blanket and a movie I thought I'd mention one of the best ones I've seen in a long time.

While I was in Australia I spent time with and learned the history of the Aboriginal people in this country. Someone recommended to my mom that she see the movie Rabbit Proof Fence before going to the movie Australia. We did and it was about 100x better than Australia.

It's the story of 3 little girls who are part of the lost generation-- stolen from their home and their mother to be trained as housekeepers for white people and to be "bred" with white people to get rid of their black-ness. The little girls have to make a decision whether to attempt the 1500 mile journey by foot home or to accept their fate. It's inspiring, educational and touching. I'm not sure how I missed it since it came out in 2002, but if you pay a visit to your local blockbuster this weekend, pick this one up--it's a goodie.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Match Miss

Alright, I haven't done any random posts for awhile, but there is one that came last night that is simply too irresistible not to share.

So I don't want to totally violate his privacy by sharing his user name, but it's tall___bm. (I cut out one word.) I had no idea what bm might stand for except that when I was little my mom always asked me if I needed to have a bm (bowel movement) and I thought it was something weird they only said in Idaho where she grew up. I now know it's even more localized than that.

Anywho.. let's take a look at tall___bm.

His message is short and to the point. Subject: Open up..., Message: ...and try a black man.

I have to admit I felt a little attacked on first reading. As if he thought I wasn't open to a black man and I needed to be. Probably not his the intention, but no matter how I read it, I continue to find the disturbing on each and every level. It also became quite clear what bm stands for. Clearly his color is an important defining and even selling point to him. While I am open to "trying a black man", it won't be this one.

One more Match pet peeve. Why do guys post half naked pictures of themselves? This week I have received no fewer than 5 solicitations from men with no shirt - some flexing in a mirror. Blech. Is this some sort of selling point? I don't care how great your body looks, as soon as I see that you think it looks awesome enough to bare it...well, peace out.

What's interesting to me, is that I guarantee the opposite is true for men. Post a half naked pic of yourself and if you've got a "rocket bod" (tribute Cary Palmer) EVERY guy is going to contact that woman. Interesting and telling, no?

Monday, January 26, 2009


I saw this posted on my friend Elizabeth's blog and it was TOO good not to share with the world. You can and should check out her blog if you want to be entertained here.

For those of you who are married or in a relationship let me just say two words: Valentine's Day.

What gift could make your little shmoopie happier than this gem? Just think, the two of you really can be one all the time. You'll be "knit" together in love. Oh the joy of wordplay.

As it says in the ad, "they are specially designed so two people can hold hands in one mitten." Never let bulky gloves and other material come between you and your lover again! There's no reason to be apart ever again!!!

For those of us who don't have a sweetie-pie, it does put a bit of salt in the wound. Especially if you bought them when you did have someone to share it with and then he left and now you wear it with one little hand just hanging limply by a thread. Much like my dating life. Regardless - the cleverness of this product delights me.

So just know you saw it here first (and of course Elizabeth saw it before me - credit where due) and you still have time to order here before the big shopping rush in February.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Today at church a woman was visiting from Utah that is my mother's age. We started talking in the hallway and she stopped and said, "You are an enigma to me." I wasn't sure how to respond-- is that a compliment?

I waited, and she continued. "I have been talking about you to a lot of people" (scary) "and I don't understand..."

Can you fill in the blank? I bet you can.

"..why you aren't married. You're smart, and pretty, and blah, it you or them?"

It's funny, because I'm an enigma to myself. I think everyone wonders about it, and assumes SOMEONE is the problem, cause either you're too picky, or the guy can't commit, but there has to be an answer. And people think if they ask you that you can put their mind at rest and they can finally say, "Oh, I see - she just has a severe psychological problem. That explains it."

Sadly, I have no answer for these people. But hey, maybe you know it, and in that case fill me in.

But let me say this for those of you who will come back with "You're too picky." Ask yourself this--what does that really mean? Is it better to not be picky and just get married? Judging by the 50% divorce rate, I have to say nay. Of course, judging by the people some of you have wanted to set me up with, I assume many of you will disagree and think I should be OK with a guy who has been in jail, doesn't like kids but (hurrah) IS the same age as me. It's ok, I'm open to your opinion.

At any rate, it's kind of fun to be an enigma. Like James Bond.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Creative street lines

I'm in New Orleans with a client. Last night Brian, Elizabeth, Chad and I went out to dinner on Bourbon Street. As we were wandering the streets searching for a restaurant (in a direction Brian was quite sure was the right one) we passed a college aged guy who stopped us and in a frantic voice said, "Can ya'll help me? I'm in a fix cause I just found out my mom is in the hospital and I need to go see her." As everyone kind of looked at him I responded (empathetically) "I'm sorry, we don't have a car."

Apparently this whole I need to get the hospital to see my mom thing is a common line in New Orleans (also according to Brian) to get money, but I didn't know that at the time and wasn't sure how I could help without transportation to bring him to his ailing mama.

I think I stumped him a little too, cause he almost continued on, but then after a pregnant pause said, "Well you see, I actually don't need a ride, I'm gonna have to get me on a greyhound down to baton rouge..." You know the rest. Money was denied, we continued on. But the rest of the group got a good laugh at my sincere claim that we would love to help him if we only had a car.

I also offended some kids who walked by us in formal attire by saying "Is it prom tonight?" Disgusted look, disdainful voice, "WE'RE in college." hmph.

Excuuuse me. Is it my fault that all people under 25 look high school age to me now?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Boundaries can be a good thing

I was dreading my layover in Korea on the way home. I had to spend the night, and when I did that on my last trip to Australia it was a nightmare. I stayed in a scary, ghetto hotel, I couldn’t sleep all night, I didn’t understand how to make my lights go on or how to flush a toilet, etc…

Last night was a wonderful surprise. Courtesy of the Hyatt Regency Incheon. It’s the only nice, western-style hotel in Incheon and I was smart enough to stay there this time and not just save a buck cozied up to the prostitutes this time.

It was magical. I had a huge, luxurious room, everything was in English (easy toilet flushing) and best of all they had a spa. After my “panic attack” I thought this might be a great idea. I called and asked for a massage. They asked if I wanted a “scrub” first. I thought this would be a great idea since I was covered with dry skin from all the sun in Australia, and hey, it was only a $15 add-on.

I walked in to the gym and all the old confusion returned. First they handed me a robe and a pair of grey cotton gym shorts and a locker key. I got the key and the robe, but the shorts had me baffled.

Mistake #1: The locker key goes to not one, but two lockers. I was wandering around the locker room getting the lay of the land when a lady started telling me in Korean something I didn’t understand. She took me to the entrance and showed me small lockers. “shoes.” Ah…no shoes allowed. I get that. You put your shoes in the little locker and get slippers on. THEN you go to the big locker and put your clothes in there and put on your robe and… shorts? It seemed like she was saying yes.

Mistake #2: I had on my robe and gym shorts and wandered through the locker room again to what looked like a door to a sauna. I walked in and saw all the women were naked. Some sitting on stools with little shower nozzles spraying themselves off, some in the sauna, some in a hot tub or cold pool. It was pretty cool (minus all the naked women) but I realized I was wearing a lot more than everyone else.

Mistake #3: SO, I went out and took off my robe and shorts, put them in my locker and rejoined all the naked people feeling a bit self-conscious since I’m not accustomed to walking around naked much. As I entered the door AGAIN (3rd time) I noticed a bowl of salts by the door. All of a sudden I thought, maybe the scrub I bought was access to this facility and I scrub myself down? No one else had salt, but I had paid, so I grabbed a handful and started scrubbing it on my arms and legs. Grabbed another handful and sat on one of the nifty shower stools and scrubbed more salt on and prepared to wash off. I got a lot of surreptitious looks, but I figured, ah, probably haven’t seen a naked westerner before.

Mistake #4: I finished rinsing off, grabbed a towel, went back to my locker, put on my shorts and robe again and walked out to reception. “Is it time for my massage?” Broken English—“Uh, no, no—go back in to hot tub. Wait for scrub. 20 minute more.” Hmm…pretty sure now that I wasn’t supposed to scrub myself, and also realized I had to go get undressed…AGAIN. I took it all off, went back and hot tubbed and sauned, and cold tubbed, and sauned, and hot tubbed some more and finally a lady came in who spoke NO English and told me to follow her.

Mistake #5: Learn Korean. The scrub woman had on bristle-y rubber gloves and she signaled for me to lay on a hard table on my back. The only words she knew were “massag-ey” and “hard?” She started scrubbing and seemed amazed and thrilled by all the dead skin she was finding which she proudly showed me. This woman scrubbed me to within an inch of my life AND scrubbed me everywhere. And I mean everywhere. I had to lie on my front, back and both of my sides in odd positions. But I couldn’t talk to her and tell her stuff or find out what the heck she was doing. At one point she scrubbed my back so hard and so long that I think she removed an extra layer skin and I had to screech for her to stop. She said, “Hard?” “Massag-ey?” Umm….YES. I will say I have not felt this smooth since my Turkish Bath where I was also beat to a pulp, but I did feel more than slightly violated, manhandled and sensitive where I lost some extra skin.

Next stop was the massage with oil. Before I went in, I asked the lady in the locker room (with signals naturally) if I was supposed to wear the gym shorts. I didn’t want to make the same mistake I did in Turkey and show up naked when everyone else was dressed. She kept nodding her head, so I guess that meant yes.

Mistake #6: Wrong. As soon as the masseuse came in and saw me lying on my stomach on the table she took off the towel, saw shorts and pulled them down. Not off, just halfway down my legs. Which let me tell you, felt really, really weird.

The massage was going well though, no beat down, until all of a sudden I felt the table move. I couldn’t see what was going on since I was laying face down, but it was pretty clear she had straddled me on the table to get a better angle. At least I hoped that was why she was on my back. I couldn’t ask, obviously, and I could only go off of my experience last year with my Korean masseuse when she complimented my lady lumps, and a random story from Robbie Reid's trip Asia when his masseuse asked if he wanted a “happy ending.”

So now she’s straddling me and my shorts are around my knees and I started having a real panic attack as I think about these two stories. So much for the relaxing massage.

Turns out, no harm was done, no charges needed to be filed, and I walked away not only cleaner, softer and no doubt thinner, but also with a couple lessons learned. One, there are no professional boundaries in the world of Korean massage. This includes where you are rubbed, how much clothing you’re wearing and where the masseuse must stand. Two, I must learn how to say, “do I wear clothes?” in every language because I get myself in trouble with this in every country I go to. I never seem to be wearing the right amount.

I have never gotten dressed and undressed so many times in one spa experience, and the frustrating part is I still don’t know what those darned gym shorts were for. Unless it was just a little joke on the stupid Westerner that they all had a good laugh over later. I don’t blame them for this, I just want in on it.

Heart Attack or Panic Attack?

Is what it felt like this morning when I woke up and packed my bags to leave. For some reason I was terribly, terribly sad to leave my folks and Adelaide – even more so than last time and this time I’ll see them in 6 months. Go figure.

I did have a moment of fear right before I left when I suddenly had sharp pain in my chest/shoulder and my whole left arm. I got short of breath and started worrying I was having a heart attack. We did research online, and called the ER, but I didn’t want to miss my flight which would create a domino effect to all my flights/layovers. Of course I didn’t want to die on the flight either.

Amy suggested it might be a panic attack, which baffled me at the time because although sad, I wasn’t any more sad than other times of saying goodbye in my life, and if I was going to have a panic attack it should have been in December before I left with all the stress at work than after 5 weeks of R&R.

The pain was off an on for the next 8 hours, and I did take my flight to Sydney. It finally went completely away. I have no idea what it was, but now I’m thinking—maybe it was a panic attack cause I'm still alive. Honestly the pain caused me more panic than what I felt before the pain, but who knows? Anyone ever have one before?

Seclusion? No Worries Mate.

Happy Birthday to me.

For those of you who have been reading my blog since last year, or who have simply known me for a year, may remember my strong distaste for my birthday. You may remember how I am always distressed because I don’t want anyone to know how old I am or to celebrate because then I have to share how old I am and be embarrassed at the attention, but then when they don’t how distressed I become because no one cares. Even though I convinced them, often with threats, not to do anything. I know- I'm a sicko.

Last year, I thought I could escape all of that by going in to seclusion in LA, in an all day spa, where no one could possibly do anything if they wanted to, and I could just pretend the day never happened under the pampering hands of my masseuse. It was fairly successful, but there were still tears and sadness at some point during the day. (And also one magical moment that BD will not be happy I raised again when my Asian masseuse made comments about my L.L.’s. Lady lumps.)

I am here to tell you that I did not feel one pang of sadness, disappointment or despair this year. Not one. The day started with a birthday breakfast by my mom and the office staff. Sister Howes made me her special “Cherry-Ripe” Chocolate cakes as well.

After breakfast, mom, dad, Garrett and I went to a wildlife park to see the koalas and kangaroos and other Australian wonders. We got our obligatory pictures to prove we were in Australia and headed on back home.

After that I took a book out to my favorite spot at the mission home—the back porch swing – and I just rocked and read in the warm summer sun for a good couple of hours. This swing is my happy place—a little slice of heaven in Adelaide.

The day ended with the family and the Howes (our favorite Adelaide couple!) going to dinner at a restaurant overlooking the beach and then a blanket on the sand to watch the sun go down on my birthday and my time in Australia. It was perfect and lovely.

It wasn’t until the next day that I realized I was never sad. It’s not like something spectacular happened to make it extra special although I enjoyed everything we did that day. The only thing I can figure is that either

1. I am now fully Australian after 4 weeks down under and really have “no worries mate.”
2. I was with the only people I knew and all my expectations were met by being with the ones who love me most.
3. There was actually sun in January and it wasn’t the most depressing month of the year like it is in the states.
4. No one ALL day long, even once, asked me how old I was.
5. I’m too old to worry about it any more. I just don’t care how old I am.

Or maybe a combination of all of these. I really don’t know, and frankly I don’t really care. The last thing I want to do is over-think it and lose this zen-like moment. All I can say is, it was a pleasure to finally have a birthday where no tear was shed. Who knows? Maybe I’m just plain growing up. Probably not, but you never know.

Buried Alive

I decided on Saturday I wanted one last beach day before heading back to winter. Mom, dad and I got ready (meaning mom and I put on swimsuits and dad put on his most casual full length jeans and t-shirt, as well as country appropriate head gear) packed up a picnic lunch and headed off to catch some rays.

After unpacking our stuff we realized it was pretty windy, but we ate our lunch, and then hunkered in for a nap. Dad was snoring soundly in about 5 minutes and I think I dozed off for a few minutes as well.

We had all covered our faces before sleeping to protect from the sun and the sand that was blowing in the wind, so with my eyes closed my hand started to feel around and I wondered if I had rolled off the blanket. It felt like I was sleeping in sand. I lifted my face covering and sat up to discover I was still on the blanket, but the blanket was fully buried in the sand. We were basically buried in a matter of 15-20 minutes. It didn’t seem to bother dad though— I guess when you’re fully dressed you don’t notice what you’re lying on as much.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Bike Ride

On Monday we did dad's favorite Adelaide activity and rode bikes along the river trail to the beach. It's about a 2 hr bike ride and after Garrett's late night put him in at 1am and his basketball game with the elders got him up at 5:45am, he was in no mood to bike at 10am for 2 painful hours.

Much like dad with the camels, Garrett was given no other option and with a glad heart (see picture) he gracefully acquiesced and came out to meet his 2-wheeled destiny.

I think my favorite part of the trip was dad commenting to Garrett on how beautiful the ride was and then asking Garrett how he liked it. Garrett replied that it would be much better if his thighs weren't "chaffing." Dad was kind enough to answer that at the next stop he would be happy to rub Garrett's thighs for him. You can imagine how Garrett felt about that offer.

When we finally got to the beach we were all exhausted. We were forced to bring our bikes on the beach since dad insisted they would "melt" if we chained them to the car, which was a bit odd, but fine. Mom met us with a picnic lunch and after we all hungrily gobbled down the food all four of us hit the sand hard and in about 2 minutes we were all sacked out. Dad's light snoring testified to that fact as he stretched out with a towel wrapped around his dome, and fully dressed in jeans and his "no worries" t-shirt. We must have looked like refugees---not so much from a country as an asylum.

It was a good trip.

My Humps, My lovely lady lumps

A couple days ago Garrett and I went to the Murray River with some people he had met at convention. There were a couple boats and some tubes and skis and boards to play with behind the boats. It was "heaps fun" as they say, although a little bit abusive to the body as they try to whip you around on the raft with two others until they shake you off. Needless to say, I'm having trouble lifting my arms over my head today without intense pain.

On the last ride and a particularly brutal fall I climbed up in to the boat and sat there for a minute trying to breathe when I suddenly heard Garrett's panicked voice, "Shauri! Shauri!" I looked at him and he was frantically signaling at his chest. I had no idea what he was talking about and finally glanced down at my chest to see one of my, well, "lady lumps" catching some air. Apparently the fall had ripped part of my suit to the side.

Garrett didn't see it--his friend sitting with him made him aware of the...problem. I was a bit embarrassed at first, but then it became pretty funny to me and even funnier when I realized how much more embarrassed Garrett was than I was to see his sister's lovely lady lump exposed. He just sat with his head bowed, snorting and making laughing noises, rolling his eyes and looking generally uncomfortable.

I offered my sincere apologies to his friend that witnessed the event, but he didn't seem to want to talk about it. Go figure.


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