Working in the Yard

Today Reilly borrowed his dad’s truck and some chainsaws. He and my brother cut down some ugly trees from our yard. Trees that were rotting. And not providing useful shade. And blocking sunlight from plants we actually like. We’ve been meaning do this for years now, but we’ve finally got around to doing something about it. After cutting down the trees, Reilly and my brother made a couple of trips to the dump to dispose of them. The yard looks much better, which improves the facade of our house.

One of the trees exposed one side of a bush that desperately needs water and sunlight. The bush also needed trimming, which is what I worked on. I wish I’d taken a before photo, but here’s what the bush looks like now. I still need to take off another inch or two. By the way, it’s the other side of this bush that looks horrible and needs nurturing. Maybe once it grows back I can sculpt the whole bush into a family selfie or something:

Speaking of sculpting, handling those shears gave my shoulders a workout.

My arms are going to be sore tomorrow.

I Took A Nap This Weekend, and I Called It Sunday

I’m looking out my bedroom window, and a mountain is looking back at me. It’s green and rugged and I’m in a valley, and I’m not very green anymore, though maybe I’m still a bit rugged. I’d hardly call myself refined.

So, there were pioneers. Many of my friends have ancestors who crossed the plains in crazy weather conditions and under the order of God’s prophet, in addition to being run out of the Midwest by state governments.

And they settled in Utah.

This is the place.

Apparently some of my dad’s relatives came on that trek, I think. I would need for him to retell the story. He was born in Salt Lake City. His parents were LDS, and he has a stepmother who’s a member of the Reorganized LDS church.

My mother was born and raised Catholic, in the Philippines.

I was born in the Philippines, and my birth certificate says I have a Catholic mother from the Philippines and a Mormon father from Salt Lake City.

I talked aloud to one person today, my roommate. I told her I wouldn’t be going to church, so she didn’t have to worry about giving me a ride. Then I read and slept. And read and slept.

There are people in Africa who populate remote areas of continent. Why do they roam, where do they wander, and how do they decide to settle in certain areas?

And, why are other people stuck? Is it a matter of pride? Survival? Circumstance?

What are frontiers, anyway? What goes unexplored in realms physical and metaphysical?

Now, I’m thinking about Norway.

How do we understand what and where people are trying to explore?

Who are the pioneers, anyway? Do we always agree with or understand what they discover?

More of the Same, and Better

People, I just spent three and half hours helping a friend paint her apartment. Once upon a time, I used to have stamina, I used to be pretty strong, and manual labor was fun, but within mere seconds of rolling the paint onto her walls, I started to feel the burn. I said to myself, “Self, are you kidding me? How did you get to be such a wimp?” But we caught up on each other’s lives and finished two coats on the girls’ bedroom and one coat in the hallway. My friend is pretty tall, at least 5’10”, so she reached up high while I stayed near the baseboards. Anyway, I just wanted to warn you: I’m going to be sore tomorrow, and I’ll most likely complain about it. That’s not to say I didn’t have a great time hanging out and helping a friend; I’m just getting old and crabby. This body just ain’t what it used to be.

What I’ll miss: Hip neighborhoods
My friend whose apartment I helped paint just moved to a cleaner, safer part of town, near Columbia Medical Center. They have quite a bit more space and more closets in which to store their things. It seemed really family friendly and quiet, and they also happen to live near quite a few members of our church. The area isn’t necessarily hip, but it’s nice.

Upper East Side: Not hip, but also nice. Clean with wide sidewalks and nearby grocery stores. Stores close relatively early as more families lived there than the likes of me, single and a hearty partier. Yeah. That’s me.

Washington Heights/Inwood: More of the same family-ness. Many nearby parks and relatively peaceful when the kids are at school. When the kids aren’t busting open fire hydrants, they’re standing in line for Mister Softee and swinging on swingsets or jungle gyms or trying too hard to look like thugs. Amusing.

Greenwich/West Village: Busier singles scene, but also an increased likelihood of flirting with a gay man. Fun, but futile. Really great places to eat and listen to music; and walking around at Washington Square Park is always entertaining. Oh, a friend and I used to read the mailing labels on newspapers left on stoops to see if famous people lived there. Not my best stalking technique, but fun.

East Village/Lower East Side: This is where I first lived when I moved to the city. I fell in love with it instantly. Maybe I appreciated the struggle establishing a new life from virtually nothing. I loved how stores and eateries were open until 3AM, whenever clubs and bars had their closing time. I loved the easy access to live and phenomenal music, especially up-and-comers who’d soon take the music world by storm.

Upper West Side: Make sure to stroll through Riverside Park
Williamsburg: Some really great live music, some interesting neighborhoods
Prospect Park: Where you’d most likely run into a lower-profile celebrity
Brooklyn Heights: Quiet, pretty; lovely promenades. Where I almost snuck into Norman Mailer’s house
Bensonhurst/Coney Island: If you like Russians and good hot dogs, you’ll appreciate this neighborhood

What’s most impressive is how much a neighborhood can change within a few blocks, or even the next block. Hipsters, oddballs, artists, etc., they all seem to flock, to form communities, and I’ve loved walking down certain streets and sensing the “feel.” I don’t think it’ll be the same in Provo. Maybe it will.

What I won’t miss: Certain drunks
I’m not sure why I decided on this pairing. I just know I’ve seen too many drunk people on the subway or out on the street, and I’ve caught whiffs of their breath so saturated that I would have failed a breathalyzer just from that split second of sharing the same air. Hopefully you’ve been fortunate enough not to experience that. Totally not hip.

Sore Spot

I’m going to be very, very sore tomorrow. It already hurts to walk and stand up from a sitting position. Thing is I need to keep up the exercise. At least get down or close to my fit weight.

Today was a bad day for me. A very, very bad day. I don’t know what I can say about it, other than it was bad. I wish I could be sarcastic about it, but I can’t. It was really that bad. Dangit.


I played some basketball tonight. Girls’ basketball. Lincoln Center building. 9pm. Six of us showed up. It was fun. I’ll be extremely sore, either tomorrow or the next day. Charlie horses decided to seize both my calves, but I kept playing. I’m not sure what will happen. Keep massaging. And electrolytes.

My body is getting old. But I was scrappy on the court. I think I did a pick-and-roll thingy. And I must have scored 16 points or so.

Oh. Guess what I came up with? We were playing a little aggressively, and one of girls said something about not having charity while playing. Then I said, “Charity never fouleth.” They thought is was clever.

What else. Nothing. I got nothing. All I know is I’m totally spent.

A Few Random Things

One of my recently discovered blogs I’ve been following is oh-so-close to finishing his 50,000 words for the month. You see, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, and if you’re up to the challenge, you’d try cranking out a pretty hefty novel in 30 days. He has 4,366 words to write today. My fingers and toes are crossed for him.

Some of my muscles are really sore today:
little pectorals (minor, not major)
glutes (maximus and minimus)
abs (rectus and obliques)
my stupid left gastrocnemius

I’m getting back on a regular exercise schedule starting tomorrow.

One of my Sunday school students declared in class today: “In my previous life, I was a penguin.” I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that. I mean, we didn’t discuss it. The student said it so seemingly out of the blue. And this would be one of those things if I were a student and not a teacher, I’d be laughing and trying to ask questions about why some people used to be penguins. I normally wouldn’t mind mixing my religion and reincarnation. But today, I couldn’t do it. The kids are 7 and 8 years old. I just kept going with the lesson. Which was about resurrection.