Tuesday night my roommate and I exchanged gifts:

Shaken, not stirred ...
Yes, I got her a cocktail shaker. Whenever she’s thrown parties, she’d make “mocktails” for the guests.  I thought I’d bring it to the next level for her. For those of us non-drinkers, it’s pretty funny. The appearance of evil is a fine line, but here, it’s also a fun line. She enjoys the challenge of finding substitutes for liquor. The cocktail shaker is a “dial a drink,” meaning the sides of the container will tell you what proportions of ingredients to use depending on what you want. It’s pretty nifty.

This stuff was awesome. And my outfit SO doesn't match ...

Okay, Becky’s a genius. The box in my right hand is a chemistry kit for BUBBLE BATHS. It has packets of fragrances and little pipettes, and it seems like so much fun! Taking a bath is a science project! I can customize my own baths! The book in my left hand is John Hodgman’s The Areas of My Expertise. John Hodgman is the PC in the “I’m a Mac…. And I’m a PC” commercials. It’s one of the funniest almanac-type books I’ve ever seen. If you get a chance, and if you’re the least bit geeky, check it out. 

Earlier that night I read out loud to my roommate part of an essay I wrote for a contest I was entering:
me: Hey, can I read something to you? It’s for an essay contest.
her: sure.
me: I’m only going to read part of it, since part of it has some sensitive material
her: you mean adult-sensitive?
me: yeah
her: okay
me: [reading text]
her: wow
me: so, can you be objective?
her: I’m going to enumerate my points
me: okay
her: one, I had no idea, and I’m sorry
me: that’s okay, it was a long time ago.
her: two, that’s probably the best thing you’ve ever written; there was one part, [citing a sentence], the way that’s worded is really beautiful
me: thanks
her: three, you should totally submit that to the Ensign
me: um, because the rest of that essay is particularly sensitive, I wouldn’t feel comfortable submitting it to an official church publication. Also, the contest I’m entering is for a women’s publication.

So, I’m not sure if Becky was entirely objective. I don’t know if it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. Even if it is, I’d feel like I was peaking too early. Ideally, though, I want everything I write to be the best thing I’ve ever written. Anyway, my roommate was very successful at making me feel good. So I gave the entire essay one last once-over, I copied and pasted it in the body of an e-mail addressed to the essay contest; I put the title of the essay in the subject line, and I put my name, address, phone number and email address in the body of the email preceding the essay.  Then I clicked “send.”

And now, I wait three months.

I’ve finished packing. Okay then.