Mar 29, 2013

Updates, Updates Everywhere

First, a sad update. I applied for a full-time position at work, but wasn't considered for an interview. At first I was pretty upset about this, and had a little bit of reflection on where I want to be and how to get there, and even wondered if editing was the right path for me. But once I had some time to think, and I met some of the candidates for the position, I realized that I really didn't have the education and experience to help me compete against other candidates. And I also realized that I needed more diversity in my work, including opportunities to use my editing skills. So I asked for it, and my supervisors/managers have been very good at finding a few projects here and there to give me that diversity and practice. So, good and bad there.

In good news, I'm fulfilling one of my New Year's Resolutions! Yes, I am going to Canada!! Prince Edward Island, to be exact. My plane tickets are all paid for, I've got my hotel reservations made, my car rental is set up, and I'm planning an itinerary and packing list. I don't go until mid-June, but it's exciting (and scary) to think about. I'm going by myself--a fitting tribute to Anne, I think. So, funny story, as I was writing down a rough itinerary, I realized I have FOUR days on Prince Edward Island, instead of the three that I thought I had. I was so surprised and wondered what I was going to do with that extra day! Guess it just means that I get to spend another day exploring the island! I've planned an entire day for my Anne pilgrimage--going to Cavendish and seeing the house LM Montgomery lived in while she wrote Anne, seeing Green Gables house, Lover's Lane, and hopefully seeing the Anne of Green Gables musical. The other days I just want to wander around the island and take in the beauty of it.

Let's see, what other updates can I give? My niece is still in the "unborn" stage, but I can tell I'm going to spoil her rotten. I've decided that being the only unmarried aunt by default makes me the favorite aunt. While her other aunts have their own families/children, I can devote all my love and attention on little Baby E alone. She and I are going to be buddies, I just know. I'm going to read to her from all my favorite books from the time she is born on, and I'm going to teach her how to be a geek. I get to feel her move next week when sis and bro-in-law come to visit and I'm so excited!!

So, there is a more general update on my life. I'll be writing a bit more on narrow topics, but just wanted to share a little of what has been happening in my life!

Mar 23, 2013

The Choice of Femininity in Feminism

I work in an environment with quite a few self proclaimed feminists. Not a big deal, it's not like I'm not a sort of feminist myself (what woman isn't to some degree these days, right?). But there are times when I just really don't feel like I belong, or that I can't speak up with my opinions because I feel like I would have to make excuses for the way I am.

Here's the way I am. I believe that everyone should be treated with respect--no matter who they are, what sex they are, where they are from, what they believe. I don't think everyone should be treated exactly the same, however. I am a woman and I take pride in my femininity--I don't want to be treated like a man! I wouldn't treat two children exactly the same, or two friends. It would be like living in some weird version of Stepford, or like the world in A Wrinkle in Time where everyone does everything at exactly the same time as everyone else, and they live in the exact same house. People aren't carbon copies of each other, so why would we treat them as such? Anyway, tangent. Like I said, I take pride in being a woman. And mostly I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to women's roles. I want to get married and be a mother. I don't want to work while I'm raising my kids, if it's possible. I'm going to add my husband's last name to my name (my idea is to just move my family name to a second middle name, so I'll have four names). I will probably cook and clean and do the laundry, preferably with my husband's help, but if he does all the yard work and maintenance around the house, I think that's a fair trade. I'm not much into sewing, though I have been learning a little. I don't mind wearing a skirt and high heels--I like looking nice, but I also like wearing sweats and t-shirts.

The thing is, I shouldn't have to make excuses or feel bad the way I am. The way I see it, isn't the whole point of feminism is that women have a choice. They can choose to be high powered business women, or they can choose to be stay at home moms who have all out craft rooms and make new recipes every day, or they can be sports fanatics and tomboys. We can be whoever we want to be, and we should never feel sorry for that.

I try to understand the thoughts and feelings of others (even if they may make me uncomfortable), and I would like to feel like I will be understood and respected for my thoughts and views of my femininity--the choice I made.

Mar 20, 2013

Murder! Murder!

I love murder mysteries. I really have no idea why--I don't like scary things, I don't like puzzles--but there is something about murder mysteries that just draw me in. Here's the thing though, I'm horrible at figuring out "whodunit." For example, the other day, I was reading an Agatha Christie book, which I had seen the adaptation of, and I still couldn't figure out who the murderer was! That's just pathetic. So, lately while I've been watching the Marple series (or any murder mystery), I'll come up with about two people who I think could be the murderer--which can, of course, change throughout the episode. There is also usually a secondary mystery, so I'll choose the person who is behind that mystery too. I'm rarely right with the murder, except for the other day when I was watching "Murder is Easy" and halfway through I thought to myself, "the murder is either person A or person B." And guess what! It was person B!! I was so proud of myself that I kind of wanted to brag, but even I realized how lame that would be.

One thing about watching and reading murder mysteries is that I start mistrusting everyone in them. I will frequently say, "Oh that guy is definitely going to be bad. He wants the attention so much!" When really that character is one of the good guys. Oh well, trust no one, right? ;)

Anyway, all of that was just leading up to me sharing some of my favorite murder mystery TV shows with you:

About a team of scientists (called "squints") working in the fictional museum The Jeffersonian, headed by Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan (Emily Deschanel), a forensic anthropologist who works with bones. They work with FBI agent Seely Booth (David Boreanaz) to solve murders where the body and cause of death are not easily identified. What is amazing to me is how much bones can tell about a person--not only their age and sex, but illnesses, place of origin, diet, and previous injuries, as well as ones sustained after death.

Mystery writer, Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), gets permission to follow Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) and her team around New York City as they solve hurders. Castle's research and connections help them with their cases, as do his mother and daughter--though mostly unknowingly. Castle is a fun character, with all of his crazy theories, and his geekiness. Kate is sensible, but humors him at times.

Inspector Lewis
A British television show that takes place in the wonderful city of Oxford. Inspector Robby Lewis (previously Chief Inspector Morse's sergeant, from the TV show Morse) (Kevin Whately) is a Northern bloke without a lot of fancy learning, while his sergeant, James Hathaway (Laurence Fox), is an Oxbridge educated man who almost became a priest. Lewis has street smarts and experience while Hathaway helps him navigate the world of Oxford University and highly educated society as they solve murders of every kind. The ME, Laura Hobson (Clare Holman), is almost equal in importance and cleverness as Lewis and Hathaway (and I would say Holman almost steals the scenes she is in).

A little old woman, Miss Jane Marple (Geraldine McEwan or Julia McKenzie, depending on the season), helps the police solve murders all over England, including her own town of St. Mary's Mead. There are a lot of famous British faces to be seen in every episode, and it's amusing to see how Miss Marple leads the police to the right clues, earning their trust, and in the end, gathering everyone together to tell the story of the murder. Not every episode is a true Agatha Christie Marple story, and some are greatly changed, but they are still a lot of fun!

Another British television show. This one takes place in Whitechapel, in East London. Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler (Rupert Penry-Jones) just received his own team, which is essentially led by Sergeant Ray Miles (Philip Davis), when someone starts copying the Jack the Ripper murders. The first season (3 episodes) focuses on catching the copycat Ripper, with the help of ripperologist Ed Buchan (Steve Pemberton). The second season is another copycat, this time of the Kray twins from the 1960s. Buchan helps them again, which leads to him becoming a permanent member of their team in the third season. Since some of these murders can be a bit graphic (especially the Ripper murders), those scenes are filmed in such a way that hints at the gore without really showing it.

If you haven't heard of BBC's Sherlock by now, I want to know what rock you've been living under! This series takes the Victorian Sherlock and updates him to modern London. The update is seamless and inspired. Sherlock Holmes (the ever marvelous Benedict Cumberbatch) is still as brilliant and condescending as he ever was before as he solves the most unlikely of cases. Helping him is Doctor John Watson (Martin Freeman) and DI Lestrade (Rupert Graves, seriously this cast is amazing). The writers are self proclaimed Conan Doyle fans, so the plots are usually pretty true to the original story, just with updates to make them work in the 21st Century. But there is still 221B Baker Street, the violin, Mrs. Hudson, and even a deer stalker cap every once in a while. And, of course, Moriarty (Andrew Scott). Season 3 has just started filming and will be shown in the US on PBS in 2014.

Pushing Daisies
A quirky series that was greatly under appreciated in it's original run. It's about the Pie-maker, Ned (Lee Pace), who has a very unique talent--he can bring the dead back to life, but only for a minute, or someone else has to die. When he touches them again, they go back to being dead forever. He reluctantly helps Emerson Cod (Chi McBride), a private detective, solve murders by asking the victim if they know who killed them. They also get the help of Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (Anna Friel), Ned's childhood sweetheart, who Ned brought back to life and kept alive past one minute, meaning he can never touch her or she'll die again. It's a weird sounding concept, it's actually a very colorful and upbeat show. The murders are so ridiculous, that it feels okay to be making fun of them.

So, those are some of my favorite murder mystery shows. All of them have good characters, which I appreciate, so don't go in expecting CSI with their cookie-cutter, apathetic, poser characters. And, also, I'm sorry if I get you into these shows and you spend the next year trying to catch up on them all. Really, I am sorry, but have fun while you do it!

Mar 8, 2013

The time! The time! Who's got the time?!

Does anyone else feel that there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done that you need to do, let alone what you want to do?

I wake up every morning, excepting Saturdays and Sundays, at 6:30. At this point in the morning, I should have gotten the 8 hours of sleep recommended. I say should because I may have had my eyes closed for 8 hours, but that does not mean that I actually slept for that long. The next forty minutes is me getting ready for the day: showering, getting dressed, making my bed, doing my hair and makeup, ending with me eating breakfast while reading my scriptures. Then it's a 20 minute drive to work.

I get to work and I'm there for about 8 hours, taking 30 minutes for lunch where I either read a book or talk to coworkers. I leave work, followed by another 20 minute drive home. Sometimes during my drive home I run errands, so I don't have to leave my apartment again.

By the time I get home, I have 5 hours to try to do all my "extracurricular" activities, as well as those things you are supposed to be doing. These include working out, making dinner, cleaning, taking time to just relax, reading, writing either on my blog or in my novel, working on my lace, interacting with my roommate, keeping up on TV, paying my bills, and at least once a week participating in some sort of activity with my singles ward. Then all of a sudden it's 9:30 and time to get ready for the next day and bed. It's almost like you can't just sit down and watch a movie anymore without feeling guilty for not doing other things. After "going" for 10 hours, you just want to sit down and not have to think or do anything for awhile. Which I like to do. But then I start feeling all guilty when I look over at my lace, or see my novel up on the back of my computer, or notice the dirty dishes in the sink. And then the weekends come and I have Saturday to go places and do errands I couldn't/didn't do the rest of the week.

Anyway, sometimes it just feels like there are all these things I need to do! But the truth is, sometimes, it's okay to come home from work and watch TV. No one has the time to do all the things we feel like we should be doing. I try to write something at least two times a week. And I'm trying to get back to working on my lace after a too long haitus, but I can do that when I'm watching TV. And I try to clean the kitchen while I'm making dinner (or whenever I get in my restless moods and just can't sit still). I think a lot of times I feel like everyone else can do all these things, plus they are married and have kids! But in reality, they all probably feel like I do, that it's just so hard to get it all done in one day. We're all in this together!

Mar 5, 2013

Being "My Age"

Next month I have a big birthday coming up. Quarter of a century. The big XXV. Yup, the last birthday where I pass through one more rite of adulthood (being able to rent a car): 25.

I have a thing about growing up. It's completely unavoidable. It's nature--you have to grow up. But I don't think that this means that just because we reach a certain age, say, 21, 25, 40, 65, means that we have to all of a sudden be all serious and only interested in "adult" things. I love Disney movies, and Disney pop. I like Doctor Who. I read teen fiction. I still have my childhood teddy bear. I like graphic tees. I love pointless movies and TV shows (you know, the ones that require no thought whatsoever, and you just laugh and laugh). There are definitely some times when you need to be a grown up and be serious. And I still like classic novels, and more serious movies. But I don't think we should stop having fun just because we are a certain age. But I don't like to be treated as if I'm a kid either.

The thing is, I still look like I'm 18. Everyone keeps telling me I'll appreciate my youthful face when I'm older--and I'm sure I will--but right now, it's a little it annoying. I've been thinking about it, and I really think that me looking 7 years younger than I am causes people to treat me as if I really were 18. I feel like I'm talked down too. Sometimes I feel like people are being condescending. And that kind of bothers me. I'm not some kid just going out into the world. I have a college degree, a job, an apartment, a car, a cell phone, insurance (all of which I paid/pay for myself), as well as bills to pay, food to buy, a budget to manage, etc. So, I definitely know about being a grown up.

Since I refuse to give up my teen fiction and Disney films, I have decided that maybe I should try to start looking my age more. This week, I decided that I am going to wear makeup everyday. Ugh. I like makeup, really, and I like experimenting and trying out new things, but at 7 o'clock in the morning, the last thing I want to be doing is trying to put my eyeliner on straight. But I'm doing it! Before I would just put on some concealer and blush and go out the door. So, that's one way I'm trying to look more my age. I've also curled my hair everyday today (as opposed to just blow drying it), and tomorrow I will be getting a haircut that I hope will help me look older (though I have this fear that it will make me look younger . . .).

I guess the thing is, I want to be treated like I'm a grown up, but I don't think I should have to give up things I like to be a grown up. Which is why I'm trying to look more my age, rather than 18 years old.

Mar 3, 2013

Sunday Special: Living in the Now

Last Sunday we had the chairs of the ward temple committee speak to us in sacrament meeting. One of them was talking about a trip she had taken out to Winter Quarters, and read us some journal entries from a woman who had traveled west with the early Saints, meaning that she stopped for the winter at Winter Quarters. While traveling to Winter Quarters she had given birth to a baby boy, and though he was healthy for about 3 months, he became sick and died in about 6 days. She buried him in a graveyard that held other saints who had died, though without a marker. Then in the spring, she continued on to the Salt Lake Valley.

The point of the talk was that sometimes you have to just keeping moving on, even when horrible things happen. And as I was listening, I started thinking about something else, that was somewhat related to the talk, but was kind of the opposite, if I'm going to be honest.

My thought was, that we need to continue our lives as they are now, without stopping living because we think that something else is going to come along. For example, going back to the early Saints, they kept living as if they were going to continue living how they were. In the first 16 years of the Church, the Saints moved from New York and Pennsylvania, to Ohio, then to Missouri, to Nauvoo, and eventually moved westward to what became Utah. And yet at every place, they built houses, started businesses, and made a life for themselves, instead of thinking that they would just have to pack up and leave again.

I think that this is applicable to us in a slightly different way. We need to plan for the future--it's a fact of living--but we can't let our plans for the future stop us from living in the present. When I apply for a job, I send in my application, and then I continue living my life as if I hadn't. There's no point in stopping because something might happen. Another example, I'm single in a society where marriage is really important. So, for a long time I had a mindset that I couldn't do certain things if I wasn't married, or in a relationship--like go on vacations, to plays, concerts, and movies. But I've eventually come to the conclusion that, while I still hope and desire to get married someday, I don't have to stop my life or hold back on things just because I'm still single. If I want to go to a play, then by golly, I'll go by myself (and I have!). I'm planning a trip to Canada this summer, by myself, and I'm looking forward to it. Sometimes I like to share an experience with others, like going to a Josh Groban concert with my mom, or seeing a play with my roommate.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is love the life you have, and live like it's the one you will always have.

Mar 1, 2013

February Book of the Month

Sometimes, you need to read a lot of not so great books to find one great book. Reading is a lot like dating in that sense. Since I read so much, I read a lot of not really great books (in my opinion), and such was the case this last month. Looking at my reading journal, my entries for this month were not very good. 

But! I do have a book of the month for you all. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. It's only about 100 pages, so it's an easy read. The book is a bit Holmesian in the way it was written, so if you like Conan Doyle, you'll probably like this. It's a pre-WWI spy novel, with the main character, Richard Hannay, finding himself in possession of a notebook of secrets and the London police on his case for a murder he didn't commit. It's the first of five novels featuring Hannay, though this is the only one I've read. One of my favorite things from the Wikipedia page is that Buchan described it as a "shocker"--which is "an adventure where the events of the story are unlikely and the reader is only just able to believe that they really happened." 

Alfred Hitchcock made a movie in the 30s based on this book, though rather loosely I understand (I haven't seen it). The BBC came out with another version in 2008, which I did see, with Rupert Penry Jones as Hannay, and they added a romantic angle to it (not in the book, but who doesn't like a little romance, eh?). 

If you're looking for a good British spy novel, I would suggest this over something like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which I found very hard to get through.