Friday, June 3, 2011

Adopt this boy!

Hello. My name is Rex. I'm a good dog. My family lost me in the canyon last weekend, and another family picked me up. They put me in the back of their truck, and I got scared. I tried to jump out, and when I did, I shattered my back left leg. It hurt, but it's okay because I don't use it now. I just hop around on three of them.

My family gave me to my friends at Family Pet Hospital because they don't have enough money to pay for my leg to be fixed. It's okay though because my momma's husband died, and she's trying to save her money to pay for her human kids. I will miss them, but I will find a new family to love me.

Do you want to be my family? I would love you and snuggle with you forever. I'm such a quiet and good dog. I'm good with kids and people and all kinds of dogs and cats. But don't feel bad if you can't be my new family. Having a dog is a big responsibility, and I would not want you to be unhappy if you are not ready for a dog.

Do you have $1 for me so that we can pay for my leg to be cut off? I'm not scared. Right now, my leg is in a lot of pieces, and it broke right in the spot that would make it so hard to fix. I would need surgery over and over for the rest of my life. I don't want to do that. So we'll just say "bye-bye" to my leg. If we can all help with just a tiny bit of money to pay for that, then maybe it will be easier to find a new family.

Don't feel bad for me. I'm a good puppy, and I am sure to find a new home soon.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Welcome to Summer! Please check your dignity at the door.

It's been hot the past few days... hot enough for everyone to start moaning about. When it's cold, I start to romanticize the warm weather: it improves my circulation, everyone starts to feel happier because they're not shut indoors, the sun makes my serotonin come out to play, etc. In reality, summer means embarrassing episodes of back-sweat, avoiding swimming because I feel as large and spotted as a Holstein cow, and having to avoid the heavy traffic created by weekend marathons.

Don't mistake me. When everyone was complaining about losing one little hour of sleep to Daylight Savings, I was saying that I'd gladly go a whole week without sleep just for the extra sunlight. I will always love summer because it never feels like the sun sets after lunchtime. But warmer weather means you have to wear half as much clothing, and I feel like I'm a naked potato in shorts.

Rewind about one month, and brace yourself. I... started... running... My little sister put us on the couch potato program leading up to a 5K.  Two weeks in, I threw my knee out.  It took me another two to recover. Do you see how much my calories love me? They conspire with every part of my body to ensure their survival. Now my sister is way ahead of me, and instead of blog-bitching, I just need to get my asterisk on the treadmill and catch up.

I’m hemorrhaging friends, by the way. I really need to make a rule for myself: you can go on Facebook at any time of the day, but you’re only allowed to post things and comment during the “reality” hours of 12-2pm. If I had made that rule from the beginning, I wouldn’t have the problem that I do now.

It goes like this: I feel unrealistically good about my wit, I make a funny comment on somebody’s post, the comment ends up being out of place, and then, the only thing I know to do in order to save face is delete the friend I made the comment to. It’s probably not necessary to delete friendships that I’ve somehow made awkward, but when one little comment makes me feel like the fat kid in middle school with sweat beads on his mustache, it’s the only option that comes to me.

Note to self: technology is wonderful, but just don’t go ruining your reputation at a rate of 11 megabits per second.
On a side note, I can't seem to shake my pretentious tone. I am not under any illusions that my blog is a must-read, but I do want it to be a good read for the people that do visit. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to blog without making everything you write sound like a line from 'You've Got Mail'?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Letter of Resignation

My dearest X,

While in the course of my employment with BYU, I have made it my objective to avoid affection at all cost. As I've explained before, passions are so unproductive. They tie up your attentions and leave little room in your head for anything else. But now, after almost four years, I submit to you my resignation: I love you. I’ve loved you from the moment you walked through the door. And I loved you the moment I walked out. My tenure at BYU has spanned seven years, and I can say without reservation, my favorite part was you.

You may be asking yourself "Why?" or more aptly "Where the hell is this coming from?" Out of fear, I hide my affections very well. Fear is my exposed Achilles heel. It makes me freeze in the very moment that I need to be volitional. And so in a way, I've been frozen since I met you. It's like everyone is waiting for me to choose one of three doors, and I cannot choose any because being stuck in one moment, clinging to hope is better than choosing the wrong door. I want the Mercedes, but maybe the Mercedes wasn't made for me, and somehow I'm stuck with the washer and dryer behind door number three instead of the beautiful new C-Class that I so badly wanted. You and fear make me out to be the world's biggest pansy.

But I also won't fight for attention. I just won't do it. I refuse. Fighting for someone's attention is a bit like being the only one at a party that wasn't invited. Oh sure, I'll stay at the party because it's fun, make a few rounds, and take full-advantage of the open bar, but I'll duck out before anyone notices that I'm not on the guest list. My dear X, if you invited me, I couldn't tell. If I invited you, you couldn't tell. It was stale-mate.

I had almost four years to be happy. But under fear, I was content to just know where you were, how you were doing. Now, I no longer have the one thing that brought us together, and I don't know where you are or where you're going. Where ever it is you're headed, my heart says that I was supposed to be there with you. This is how my heart mourns:

Leaving school is so rough. I had this picture in my head of how life would be after graduation, and life just doesn't look quite like that. It takes a few months to adjust your plans to a more healthy place. When they learn that I've graduated in Psychology, people ask, "What do you want to do with that?" I may say anything that suits the conversation, but the real answer is: I just want to be happy with you.

So after these past four years of agonizing and doubting, I've come to this conclusion: it doesn't matter what I look like. It doesn't matter how much I earn. It doesn't matter if you are the one I deserve... because you are the one I will always want. And that is love's only bottom line.

I will never meet anyone better. I will never meet anyone happier. And I know that I will never meet anyone kinder. After four years, I am resigned: my dearest X, I will love you forever.

Yours always,

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The one where they got a puppy...

Our house has been a veritable nuclear plant this past weekend--full of energy and in danger of melt-down. That's what happens when you have a new puppy. Everything changes so dramatically that emotions run high. Several times a day you think, "What have I done? I can't do this anymore!" But then, you get a glimpse of this:

This is baby Eli, our little six week-old Boxer puppy begging to be let out of his kennel. Don't worry. Two seconds after the footage stops, I let him out for a little potty break and a brief run outside. He's a dear little boy. I dare you to keep your heart from melting over this one:

You see? Absolutely a delight! You giggle all the time over his simplest of tasks because they are so uncoordinated, so awkward, and so unassuming. He is a beautiful soul.

So what's the problem, you ask? Why, when this little boy makes everything so beautiful, should there be any problem whatsoever? Good question. You see, there is this other little boy that has also stolen our hearts for the past year, three months, and nineteen days. His name is Evan, and he has been the brightest spot in our home. Take a look:

He still doesn't know about Eli, yet. When we first brought Eli home on Saturday, Evan thought he was being replaced. He stayed downstairs with me for nearly the whole weekend. He would run to get away from Ammon or Nicole when they made loving overtures toward him. He lost his energy. He lost his appetite. He would lay on the floor at the foot of the stairs connecting their home to mine, and he would just stare up toward the top. It was so painful to watch.Someone so beautiful and so pure as Evan shouldn't have to ever feel that way, especially when he gives so much to us.

Living in this situation over the past four days has felt like living in a vice; the pressure is always on you, and you don't feel like you can get out. My darling little sister, Nicole, has been at her wits-end. She has felt like if she gives attention to any one dog, it will be at the expense of the other. Her loyalties are to Evan, of course, but she doesn't want to and shouldn't have to have loyalties at all. Both doggies deserve the best of everything good, just by virtue of being an innocent dog. It tears her apart.

Now, there seem to be signs that they are warming up to each other. It's like any change--one just needs time to get used to it. We cross our fingers in situations such as these:

Eli always wants to play with Evan. He follows him everywhere around the yard when we go outside for a potty break. Sometimes Evan engages in play, sometimes he doesn't. We are researching and trying every sound way to get them to love each other to death. It just takes patience. By the way, if you have any advice, it would be most welcome.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Scattered life

I have a problem. You see, I'd much rather play around with the aesthetics of my blog page than actually blog. If you were a psychologist or a Hindi guru, you'd learn all you need to know just by my color choices. For the rest of you, it's no good. You all need a new post, which means I have to wade around in the swamp of my life, feel around with my feet to find and bring up the small bits of rusted metal, beer bottles, and rubber tires that would make my life seem interesting. So, here's what I dug up this time:

I'm writing a lot of letters these days. Compulsively, I write to everyone. I find it's a little exercise that calms my nerves while I am at work or in church. The only problem is that, when I am finished, I feel like I have wasted the hours that it takes to write them. I have nothing to show for it. The hours are gone, and I feel just as financially destitute, just as uneducated, and just as unfulfilled as before. Writing the letter only changed the position of the hands on the clock. Was writing to someone supposed to be like kissing a frog, only to have my life become miraculously beautiful afterward? I have no idea what my motivation is... but still, I write.

My family life is starting to make me just a little sad. As all of us kids start to grow up, we all think that the other siblings aren't growing as well. So when one makes a decision that seems odd to the others, we all remain convinced that their life would be so much better if they chose differently. Our family culture sometimes turns into one of control; if they're not going to do it our way, we'll withhold or manipulate, hoping that it will change their mind. I'm usually very able to give my family the benefit of the doubt, but not when it comes to this. You see, if there is one deal breaker for me in all types of relationships, it is in lack of respect. There's this attitude that says, "If you only did things my way, you'd be so much happier." It's painfully ignorant, and it makes pain shoot throughout my soul. It makes me want to cry. How can anyone be so sure that, even though there are so many different people in this world with different lives and different circumstances, there is one way to solve a problem, there is one path to success, and there is one way to be happy? People are not wind-up toys.

I think I talk a little too much. I'm going to try sitting on my lips for a while. The people around me are starting to give off little cues that I'm monopolizing the conversation. I can see it in their eyes. Even when people look away, you can still tell if someone is paying attention to you. The people I talk to are thinking about other things in their eyes if I don't lock my responses down to one, short sentence. I probably need to train myself to talk and think in sound bites, like spokesmen do when they don't want to be misquoted on television.

And then, while I was searching for accompanying photos for this blog post, I found these:

An underwater skyscraper

And an underwater tiger. They have no point, but I thought they were interesting.

Monday, May 24, 2010

...But now, I'm found.

I credit myself with happening to fall on the most marvelous little shop this weekend. For everybody that has never been there, you must go. For everybody that has already been, shame on you! You let me live my whole life thus far without ever hearing about this place. I'll need to hold a grudge a little while longer before we can be friends again.

And there it is... the temple for letter writers everywhere, a "crack-house" for paper addicts, a playground for paper-mania. This is my success story:

My life before Tabula Rasa Social Stationers is a dark one. I hardly remember it. When I think back one who I was or what I did back then, it seems as though it is someone else's life -- like it was a movie I watched or a book I read, not what it actually was... a life I led. I'm a clean man now, but I can still feel the craving at times, like when I'm stressed or on the weekend when I'm partying with my friends. It creeps into my blood: the need to find beautiful stationary.

Like so many of us, I got into stationary when I was young and stupid. All of my friends were writing letters, and in spite of better judgment, I thought, "Hey, why not? I'm curious to see what it feels like to buy stationary. What could it hurt to purchase some gold-embossed, blank note-cards just this once? I'm strong enough." But the cravings wouldn't stop, and pretty soon after, I was wandering the streets, going from store to store looking for the right lettersheets and matching envelopes that would stop the cravings. I prostituted myself, buying cards and envelopes that I didn't even really need -- stationary that somewhere in my mind, I knew it was ugly. But I was addicted. I was so high on letter writing that I just couldn't see what I was doing to myself and others around me by buying ugly stationary.

One day, I hit rock bottom. I was busy trying to do housework, but I just couldn't concentrate. I had to write a letter. My breathing was heavy. My palms began to sweat. I got that familiar headache and tingling in my head that comes when I've gone too long without a hit. I got in the car and drove over to Barnes and Noble. I picked up a few folios of whatever I could find, paid at the front, then drove home. My little dog who I love so much greeted me at the door. He knew where I had been. He could smell the cheap notepads and slutty stationary sets all over me. I froze. He looked up at me then began lick his rear as if to say, "When is it going to stop, Aaron?"

I broke down. I fell to the floor, curled up in ball like a fetus in the womb and cried like I have never cried before in years. I felt it all at once: I didn't like who I was. I felt dirty. I knew I wanted to see my dog grow up, but at the rate I was going, I knew I wouldn't be able to. After hours of crying, I picked myself up off of the floor and began searching the internet for resources to help.

I found a website for this store in Salt Lake City called Tabula Rasa - Social Stationers. Something inside me spoke. I felt the universe guide me to this store for healing. I wrote down the address on a small, torn-off piece of paper. I kept that paper safely tucked away in my pocket for days. It was my light at the end of the tunnel, my talisman against the demons of polka-dots and poorly designed damask patterns on letter pads intended for teenage girls and post-menopausal cat-ladies.

This last Saturday, I went through Tabula Rasa's Fifty-Step Program: it's fifty steps from the entrance to Trolley Square to the entrance of their store. They don't rush you; you take as long as you need to walk those fifty steps. You can even have the support of your family and friends around you as you make those final steps to recovery. I knew that I was finally "on the wagon" when I bought this:

24 Sheets of antique 'par avion' stickers to put on the outside of my envelopes. And just to make sure that I knew what it felt like to buy gorgeous, quality stationary (to ensure that I would never go back the same road I came), I bought a box of this:

When I got home, I found my dog half asleep on the couch, wasted. The very one who inspired me to change was almost passed out next to a Hallmark bag with pastel-colored floral note-cards scattered everywhere. It seems as though he's fallen in with the wrong crowd. But as long as Tabula Rasa is only one hour away, there is always hope.

John Doe (name changed for privacy) is now a student at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah pursuing a degree in Psychology. He hopes to one day bring help to recovering stationary addicts like himself. He is in high demand as a speaker, touring the country one day out of the year to speak on the dangers of ugly letterpaper and cliche greeting cards to high school audiences.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Following a job well done on my latest lesson, I have decided to treat myself to the delights of the city. You see, if one escapes the nomalicy of Utah County, or the UC as we sometimes call it, one must fully embrace the offerings of Salt Lake -- as cosmopolitan as is possible in this state. There is never a shortage of experience to be had; the city offers, and you either accept or are taken aback by the unfamiliarity and decline. Salt Lake asked me, the Wallflower of Utah County, to dance, and I took her hand and allowed her to lead me across the floor she knows so well.

Where did she lead me to? Today, it is the Beehive Tearoom on Broadway. Here, you share tea with your soul in Miss Havisham's dark and warm study. A cup of vegetable soup, spinach and artichoke sandwich, and hot pot of tea... they stir my soul, gently waking my heart from complacency as gently as a wise, old grandmother. Take a look at where I'm sitting:

--Blogged on the run using my mobile.