Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


March Google Search Phrases

Filed under: Blog Stuff — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

No time to talk about April Fool’s Day. I’ve got more interesting things to talk about than practical jokes.

caffeine withdrawals, caffeine withdrawal, caffeine withdrawal headache, how do i quit soda, how to quit soda, sprite soda carbonation, caffeine addiction withdrawal, caffeine headaches soda, caffeine withdrawal cold turkey, caffeine withdrawal remedies, advice on quitting caffeine

Hands down, the most searches hit me because I wrote the entry about how to quit soda. When I was quitting soda, there was no help on the Internet because there are so many herbal remedies trying to get your business. I guess my entry was the one voice that wasn’t trying to sell you anything. I hope it helped you guys.

cupcake, computer term for cupcake, #mormon cupcake   Ok, I’ll bite. What do these searches mean? Is “cupcake” a new slang for something that I wasn’t aware of before? Doing these searches taught me nothing I didn’t already know. Cupcakes are little cakes in paper cups. If there is a computer term for cupcake, I wasn’t able to find it and obviously neither were those poor searchers.

I did find a story about a guy that is using misspelled domain names to generate advertising dollars. This guy has registered thousands of domain names, each one housing thirty or forty pop-up ads. He makes a lot of money because of stupidity and poor typists. All the more reason to study up, learn to type and use Google instead of typing in what you think the domain name is. Cupcake was a hit because the guy registered a bunch of cupcake sites (i.e. Cupcake Party, Cupcake Patrol, etc.). I wonder if this is what those people were looking for. It doesn’t explain the Mormon thing, though. In fact, it makes me think that “cupcake” is some new slang for something pervy.

I found a really cool technical paper regarding The Cupcake Problem. I only understood the first page of this thing and it got all mathematical on me, so I stopped reading, but it showed me that there are people working on things that I never even conceived of. The Cupcake Problem is a study in which a younger child is given a task by an older sibling (who is in cahoots with the researcher). The older sibling says that they have just put some cupcakes in the oven and they need to be taken out in 30 minutes. It’s ok to keep playing on the X-Box, but you need to take out the cupcakes on time, got it? The researchers watch the younger child during that half hour, observing the number of times the child checks the clock. All of this has to do with calculating monitoring activities. It got really technical really quickly, but it showed me that there are cool people out there. Rock on, Paul Cohen, Marc Atkin and Eric Hansen.

I did find a funny site recreating the Janet Jackson fiasco in cupcake form. I found a news brief about a boy who drugged Mormon missionaries with cupcakes, but that was back in 2000. There was also a reference to the movie Orgazmo, in which a Mormon missionary is introduced to the porn industry. This movie was a hit at the underground theater here, but I never saw it. It sounded like it might be a little negative and I don’t really play that way. Apparently, “Cupcake” is the pet name for the missionary’s girlfriend back home. I wonder if that was it.

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />st john climacus, patron saint of obesity

Apparently, I’m not the only one looking for the Patron Saint of Obesity. I’ve had several hits with these search strings. Keep fighting the fight, searchers. It’s worth it.

%22gathering randomness%22

They found me on page 6 of the Google search. I don’t know if they found what they were looking for. These sorts of searches make me think that I don’t know what is going on. Do the percent signs mean anything? What about the number 22? The only reason I showed up is because there was a little note at the bottom of my entry about Gathering Randomness for the previous date. Is the percent sign some sort of wild card? Why didn’t they search for the number 42? I guess if they knew the meaning of the universe, they wouldn’t be searching.

bathroom exhaust fans stopped working

I have no idea what this person was looking for. I waded through seven pages of websites that were perfectly willing to tell me how to fix the problem. Maybe they were looking for someone who could fix their exhaust fans. Maybe my entry enticed him. This is how my entry looked at Google, “… for a second or two and then final darkness and an eerie quiet that I have never heard in that bathroom. The ever-turning exhaust fan had stopped turning. …” I didn’t know that my entry about Friday the Thirteenth would bring people because of the bathroom exhaust fan. How glamorous.

what does the dragonfly symbolize

Yes! Two people on this planet found my entry on dragonflies. They found my entry explaining exactly what I had been looking for. I had been wondering, “What does the dragonfly symbolize?” No single site was able to help me, but now, my entry is there for all those people in the future who want to know the same thing. Hint for the kids at home: dragonflies mean nothing or everything, depending on how superstitious you are and how much weed you smoke. Stay clean, kids.


Honey, I think you were looking for Isis, not Iris.

That’s it for me. Let’s do this again next month!



Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I saw the advertisements for the new class on the gym doors, but it took me a month to try them. It was the kind of class that’s right up my alley. There is one treadmill that faces all the others where the instructor is. I’ve walked past that treadmill many times at the gym and it sat there as a reminder, “You should try that Trekking class.”

Of course, when I talked to Mike about it, he had a different idea of what it might be. “What is it? Do you do Captain Kirk impressions for an hour? Maybe everyone pretends that they are on the Enterprise and it has just been hit with phaser fire.” I barely chuckled at his witty jokes because the word “trekking” had already been embedded in my mind. It meant a new treadmill class that I’m a little scared of. It did not have anything to do with Star Trek anymore.

I finally tried the class two weeks ago when Mike was out of town. I didn’t have anything better to do that evening, so I decided to try the class. I tried to follow along with speed and incline as well as I could. I could barely walk the next day. The class kicked my butt.

Unlike the Cycling and Aerobic classes, which have their own rooms, Trekking is held in the cardio area at the same time that normal exercisers are there. If I arrive late, I have to beg a normal exerciser to go to a different treadmill so that I can see the teacher. That Cycling class was scary to me too. The room is dark and the teacher speaks in a soft, relaxing voice. It was totally different than what I expected.

The Trekking teachers speak more like the Aerobics teachers. They are very high energy and excited about the workout. Of course, by the end, they are sweating as much as we are, which is totally cool. It always thought that the Aerobics teachers were a little weird because the workout didn’t seem to affect them at all.

Even though I was in pain, I liked the class, so I went again last week and made sure that I took care not to overwork myself. I enjoyed it even more. There was a time when I said that I didn’t like group exercise. I thought maybe that the attraction for communal exercise was that special energy that you can get when you exercise with other people, but it’s not like that for me. I love this class because it pushes me to work harder than I would normally push myself. I might push myself too hard with this class. That’s a risk, but I might also achieve more than I thought I could.

I tried the Cycling class last week and enjoyed it also, despite the dark room and calm voice. I’ve gone to the Trekking class three times now and have decided to keep it in my weekly routine. So here I am, taking exercise classes when the old me used to hate them. I guess this is just another part of my transition.


When Your Best Friend Ditches You For Her Boyfriend

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Everyone on the planet has had this happen. You’ve got a best buddy who suddenly goes MIA because there is a significant other that didn’t used to be there before. Guys do it to their friends. Girls do it to their friends. Everybody has had it done to them. It’s a universal incident, but when it happens, it’s hard to deal with.

It’s not just an age thing either. I remember it happening to me in junior high, high school, college and even now, in my adult life. I have one girlfriend who has been MIA for months because of a flooring expert. I must say that I’ve been able to deal with this smashingly this time because I finally understand it now.

Firstly, you have to realize it for what it is. You’re still her best friend. She still loves you just as much as she did before. Just because she doesn’t call you, doesn’t mean that she doesn’t like you. Just because she doesn’t instant message you every five minutes doesn’t mean that she has replaced you. I know it feels like you’ve been replaced, but there is no replacing a best friend, not even with a boyfriend.

Secondly, be patient. I can tell you right now that she’s going to flake on you. You’re going to set up something that you are really excited about and she’s going to blow you off to be with her new boyfriend. It’s going to happen and you are going to get hurt. The best way to handle it is tell her the truth. The truth is: your feelings are hurt, but you feel like you can’t say anything because you want her to be happy with this guy. She needs to know that your feelings are hurt, but don’t call her a flake. She’s not a flake, she’s in love. Being in love blinds your vision for a short amount of time.

Thirdly, watch your mouth. Understand that you are feeling jealous and watch your words when you talk about him. Jealousy can make you say things that you don’t really mean and maybe aren’t even true. Did she meet him after a drunken night in a seedy bar? That’s not your concern. Does he dress like a homeless guy? That’s not your concern. Does he talk about his mother so much that it seems like there is an unhealthy attachment? It’s still not your concern. It only becomes your concern if he is hitting or verbally abusing her. Then it’s your time to step in. If that hasn’t happened, be careful what you say about him. This guy could be “The One” and you might end up double dating with him for the rest of your adult life. Don’t let a jealous remark carelessly flung from your lips come between you and your friend.

Lastly, remember that she will return to you. If he is “The One” she will still need you to be her best friend. Things will be different for her, but these are the kinds of things that keep friendships interesting and flourishing. Instead of complaining to you about not having a date for Saturday night, she’ll be complaining about him not picking up his socks. That’s not so very different, is it? Don’t worry. You will have your friend back, even if he is “The One.”

If he’s not as wonderful as all that, she will run back to you with red eyes and angry words. This is not the time to be bitter. This is not the time to remind her of all the times she flaked on you when you needed her. This is also not the time to say that you saw it coming, even if you did. This is the time to be understanding and caring. No matter how hard it is to say that the minute you saw his beat up and rusted pickup, you knew that he would be nothing more than an out-of-work bum, you need to keep your mouth shut and be the good friend that she remembers. That’s what you are, after all. You’re her best friend.

In short, life changes. If something is bad, don’t worry, it will pass. If something is good, don’t worry, it will pass. No matter how much we would like it, nothing in this life stays the same. There is no escaping it.


Nothing Golden Ever Stays

Filed under: Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The van in front of me was pink and gray. I don’t think it started its life out as pink and gray. I think it used to be maroon and white, but over the years the sun bleached the maroon to pink and the dirt darkened the white to gray. It was driving slowly on I-80 heading toward the 7th East exit. Usually when I’m driving this route, the traffic is running about 35 mph, so a pink and gray van driving 55 in a 65 zone doesn’t bother me at all. That’s difference between Saturday and a weekday: I was happy to be stuck behind a van going 55.

The gym that we have a membership at has no convenient location near my home. I joined this gym because it was so close to my work that I could just go on my lunch hour, but the weekends I have to choose. Do I drive for 15 minutes to Cottonwood or do I drive for 15 minutes up to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Bountiful? There’s nothing in the heart of Salt Lake.

I used to go to the Cottonwood location on the weekends. The floor plan was very similar to the one in Bountiful, so I didn’t need anyone to show me around. The only problem was that the treadmills weren’t as nice there and I could never find a remote to change the televisions at that one. It didn’t take me long to just start going to the Bountiful location just because it was easier. I didn’t have to learn how to use the different machines. It was the same place that I went to at lunch every day.

The one in Bountiful is technically further away from my home than the one in Cottonwood, but the drive takes about the same amount of time. It’s either 15 minutes on the freeway or 15 minutes on the city streets. Either way it’s the same for me, it’s just more miles on the Beetle.

So, Saturday, I was driving my normal drive home from work, except that I had just come from the gym. I was stuck behind an ancient pink and gray van, but I had that post-exercise euphoria that kept me from passing it or even being bothered by it. I just looked at the van, fascinated that it didn’t have a “Keep On Truckin'” bumper sticker on it. I noticed that they changed the perpetual Bud Light billboard. It now reads, “All light beers are low-carb. Choose on taste.” All beer tastes like hell to me, so I guess I’ll stick with water.

Nothing in this world is for certain. Nothing in this world stays the same. The maroon and white van of the seventies is still running, but it has faded and grayed. The billboard that always advertises Bud Light is now telling me that they are low-carb instead of trying to align themselves with the Utah Jazz. The road that I drive everyday is clear and open instead of clogged with traffic. Everything around me is changing, no matter how much I might want it to stay the same. I guess I better change too.


New Neighbors

Filed under: People Watching — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Madison owns the house across the street from us. She found a new boyfriend and this weekend, she moved some of her furniture over to his swanky place on Harvard Avenue. We noticed that we hadn’t seen much of her. About three weeks ago when spring surprised us, she was doing some cleaning in her yard. I asked her where she had been hiding herself and she told us about her new boyfriend. She was living with him and she thought that they might get married soon. Her house has been empty since then and this last weekend she was moving.

Next door to her, the house had been for sale. It only stayed on the market for a couple of weeks before the “Sale Pending” sign went up. Last week, the “Sold” sign went up. Last weekend, we watched the old neighbors move out and the new neighbors move in. I still haven’t introduced myself to them yet. I guess I should, but I was worried that they were stressed with the move and in no position to receive visitors. What is the proper etiquette in this situation? Should I have run up to them when they were moving bookcases and chairs and introduced myself?

That’s how we met Rick, our next door neighbor. Back in July, we were trying to get the U-Haul back in time. Rick ran right up to the truck and introduced himself. He wanted to apologize in advance for the barking of his dogs. He had three dogs, Kelly, Wilson and Anna, and he was worried that they would bother us. Wilson is a real barker and will sound off whenever we walk by the house, he fretted. We assured him that we were far more worried about our dog, Sid, than his dogs. If our dog isn’t the loudest in the neighborhood, that made us happy. We became instant friends with Rick.

Rick got a new girlfriend. I don’t know when that big blue SUV started staying overnight at his place. I actually didn’t notice that he had an extra human living with him at all. I didn’t even notice that the barking next door got louder. I noticed that his cats, Pedro and Jahnsie, were a lot friendlier than they had been before. I noticed that their food bowls were out on the front porch, attracting an orange stray tabby. I didn’t notice his new girlfriend until he introduced her to us.

She has moved in with him and brought a dog with her named Stella who hates cats, which explains the exile of Pedro and Jahnsie. I love Pedro so much that I would just steal him from Rick and let him stay with us, but that isn’t neighborly behavior, is it? I watched his new girlfriend take all four dogs into her large SUV on Saturday. She truly is his soul mate to live with his menagerie.

I know that her dog’s name is Stella. I know that she’s Rick’s soul mate. I know that she’s a great gal, but I can’t remember her name. When Rick introduced us, her name got overwritten in my memory by Stella’s. I just imagined Marlon Brando in the rain, screaming at his large, gray dog, “STELLA!”


New Web Log

Filed under: Blog Stuff,Musings on Being a Writer — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Matt started a web log. Now all my friends are writing web logs.”

Dan sounded a little jealous or maybe he was just amused at the commonality among his acquaintances. I felt like saying, “Why don’t you start a web log?” but the conversation had turned to Dan’s friend and his life with his wife, Stacey’s old friend from long ago.

The first web log I ever read was Real Live Preacher. It seems strange that I would be introduced to this world by a Christian, but I love his blog, despite his religion of choice. Do you ask what religion your plumber is when there’s raw sewage flooding your bathroom? No. When I’m bored at work, it doesn’t bother me that Real Live Preacher is Christian. He’s a good writer and that’s what’s important.

From Real Live Preacher, I found Standing Room Only. Hugh Elliott is another good writer who’s funny and down to earth. After reading the two of them every day for a month, I was convinced that I needed to start my own blog. It suddenly seemed so strange to me that I would just hide my writing in a file on the computer every day. Why did I do it for so long?

Because writing is hard. Writing every single day in a relatively coherent manner is difficult. Some days I feel empty. Some days I have such a hard time trying to explain why such an insignificant thing like a beat up van could spawn my thoughts about change and metamorphosis. Some days I feel like everything I say could be warped and construed so that it will end up on a porn search. Some days I’m confused by the means in which people found me.

Every day, I show up at the page. Every day, I start typing and let the words take me on a trip. That’s the beauty of writing every day, but the pain is that some days I start my blog entry typing, “Just show up at the page. One entry a day, that’s all I need. What am I going to write about today? What do I want to tell the world? I feel empty. What am I going to talk about? What am I scared to talk about?” It usually only takes a paragraph of writing like that before the real entry starts for me and I’m ready to delete all of the emptiness.

So, Dan, when are you going to start your own web log? Did I make it sound glamorous enough to inspire you? Come on… Everyone’s doing it…


One Facet

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

There is one facet of my life that I don’t talk about here: my relationship with Mike. I do this in part because he asked me to, but also because there needs to be one room in the glass house that is impenetrable. It’s on days when that room seems dark that I have the hardest time writing. It seems like everything that I want to talk about is locked in that room and I’m hard pressed to care about writing about anything else.

It feels like the days right after Kristen’s stroke. My prewritten entries showed up like clockwork every morning, but they had nothing to do with what I was thinking or feeling anymore. Trying to write when I feel like that is even more difficult. All I can do is write about not being able to write.


Slam Dancing

Filed under: Personal History,Puttin' On The Ritz — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The guy at the table behind Mike had a musical ring on his cell phone. We were enjoying our spicy Thai food at Me Kong Cafe in West Jordan and Mike started dancing in his seat to the tune. It was only the notes, but I felt like I could hear the words.

When I’m a-walkin’ I strut my stuff and I’m so strung out. I’m high as a kite. I just might stop to check you out.  – The Violent Femmes, Blister In the Sun, 1983

While the guy answered his phone, Mike whispered the first four words of the next line, “Let me go out…” We laughed together and I remembered my dancing years at The Ritz. Those few notes made me want to Slam Dance in the middle area of the dance floor with all the guys.

Wild flower, I love you every hour
Wild flower, I love you every hour
 – The Cult, Wild Flower, 1987

There was a brief time when Slam Dancing was allowed at The Ritz in the elevated dance floor in the middle of the club. Every time I went out there to Slam Dance with the big punk rock boys, I got hurt. I never blamed the management. It was my own damn fault for knowingly going in that part of the dance floor. It didn’t take long before the sign at the front of the club had an addition: “No Slam Dancing.” The management hired bulky guys with walkie talkies to enforce the new rule for the first few months.

Let’s have a party there’s a full moon in the sky
It’s the hour of the wolf and I don’t want to die
 – Oingo Boingo, No One Lives Forever, 1985

“Blister In The Sun” by The Violent Femmes, “Wild Flower” by The Cult and “No One Lives Forever” by Oingo Boingo are the three songs I remember being “Slam Dance” songs at The Ritz. Of course, as I said, it was only a small window in which Slam Dancing was allowed. If you weren’t there those few months, you wouldn’t have ever seen it.

In fact, Slam Dancing was only around for a slim window before it was renamed “Moshing” and people avoided “The Mosh Pit” instead of “those crazy guys on the middle dance floor.” If you weren’t there for those few years, you wouldn’t have ever seen it. Slam Dancing and Moshing looked exactly the same, by the way. I guess Slam Dancing wasn’t Grunge enough for those Seattle Boys. The bastards had to rename it Moshing. Yeah, that’ll make it cooler.

So okay, I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation and all but I don’t get how guys dress today. I mean, come on, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants and take their greasy hair – ew – and cover it up with a backwards cap and we’re supposed to swoon? I don’t think so!  – Amy Heckerling, Clueless, 1995

So within a few years, out went the safety pins and in came the flannel. Out went the mohawks and in came the greasy snarled mess. When Cher spouted her traitorous remarks, I agreed fully. I missed those smooth and suave Wavers. Even the Punkers put more effort into their appearance than those Grunge Boys. It was an honor to be slammed up against them instead of a biological hazard.

(Lying my way from you)
No no turning back now
(I wanna be pushed aside so let me go)
No no turning back now
(Let me take back my life. I’d rather be all alone)
No turning back now
(Anywhere on my own cuz I can see)
No no turning back now
(The very worst part of you is me)
 – Lying From You, Linkin Park, 2003

God, I miss Slam Dancing. Where can I go to get that same adrenaline rush? That violent impulse inside of me is still lurking and it cries out for release. Exercise helps some, but miles of endless running just tire it out instead of releasing it. Maybe I need to take one of those kick boxing classes at the gym. The only problem is that you’re just kicking air, not people or things. Nothing broken. Nothing torn. No danger. Maybe I need to take some Karate classes. At least in that class you touch another human being. Maybe I just need to go to a Linkin Park concert. Do you think they’d let me in the Mosh Pit?


Condoleezza Rice

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

There is a television in the locker room at my gym. Usually it’s turned off. If it is turned on, it usually is silent, but Thursday, it was on and the volume was audible. From the sound of things, I thought there were at least four or five women talking about it, but by the time I got to the mirror to put on my makeup, there were three women arguing.

“I like this lady. She doesn’t put up with any crap from these men.”

“This is exactly why I don’t deal with politics. They’re all liars.”

“But sometimes they need to lie.”

“I heard some guy asking her to just answer the question yes or no. Every time she tried to answer, he would just say to answer the question yes or no and she finally said that she wouldn’t do it. She’s cool.”

“All I know is that this lady is tough. She just stands up to all those men.”

“Let me tell ya, if she was a white guy, they wouldn’t even have this on TV.”

“Yeah.” They all agreed on that matter.

“Did you notice how no one stood up for her? If she had been a black Democrat, all the black people would be angry and saying that she shouldn’t have to be on TV. Those blacks only stick up for their own kind when they’re Democrats. Because she’s a Republican, she has to put up with all of this crap.”

I was busy choking in the back area of the locker room. It had been a long time since I’d heard talk like this. I don’t tend to run in Stupid circles, so I forget how short-sighted and simple some people are. The last time I had heard talk this stupid, I worked at K-Mart.

None of them were listening to the testimony anymore. I heard a man’s voice droning on and on and wondered where the question was. If the senator talks more than the person being questioned, are we really learning anything here?

When the senator shut up and she was allowed to talk, I finally understand the war in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Iraq. I can’t remember the question, but she was explaining that the reason that they took the action that they did was that they wanted to hit the terrorists in the places that they cared about. Bin Laden was originally angry with us for liberating Kuwait and pushing Saddam Hussein back to the Iraqi border. Well, if he was angry about that, let’s just wipe Iraq off the face of the planet and see if that’s enough to get him to leave us the hell alone. I was against the invasion of Iraq, but now, I don’t know what is right. Why wasn’t this woman writing the President’s speeches?

My attention turned back to the argument at hand.

“Yeah, it’s just like that Anita Hill thing. She ran that poor guy out of office.”

“No, Clarence Thomas was made a Supreme Court Judge despite Anita Hill.”

“No. That girl just came on TV and said all that stuff about him. If she had been a Democrat, they wouldn’t have made her be on TV like that.”

“No, I tell you. Clarence Thomas is a judge on the Supreme Court. They didn’t even believe Anita Hill and she was black balled for telling the truth.”

By then, it was time for me to go to the mirror, where all the women were arguing. For the first time, I could see that there were only three women, one of which was trying to get out of the conversation. The Bigot was insisting that he didn’t get to be a judge because of that Anita Hill girl. I couldn’t help correcting her error.

“Clarence Thomas IS a judge on the Supreme Court.”

The Bigot didn’t like the odds of arguing with two people who actually knew what they were talking about, so she left the locker room. The Escapee went off with her, leaving me with Anita’s defender. She felt like she had to reiterate her point.

“He IS a judge. They were just awful to her.”

“You’re right. I read an article that says she’s doing ok right now. She has a good position at a school or something. I think she’s ok.”

“That’s good.”

I put on my makeup and dried my wet hair. The whole Anita Hill thing happened when I worked at K-Mart. It was on television every day and every day, I’d walk into the break room to the sound of arguing. It sounded like an open and shut case to me. There are specific statutes of limitations. What happened to her was so long ago that I thought it should be considered irrelevant to their decision about Clarence Thomas. I still didn’t want him to be a judge based on his rulings, but Anita Hill couldn’t help us there.

I remember being so embarrassed by Orrin Hatch, the senator from my home state. He was the senator that likened her experiences to references from fiction, saying that she just made her story up. It all seemed so silly to me. I don’t remember ever hearing any of those stupid senators say the words, “Statute of Limitations.”

Right now, I’m on a News Fast. I don’t watch the news. I don’t read the news. I keep myself completely isolated from it all. Most of it I can’t change. Most of it doesn’t even affect me. All of it makes me totally depressed, so it’s best just to stay away from it. Poor Condoleezza Rice has been just in my peripheral vision. I don’t even know if she really is a Republican or not. This is how I end up getting my news, from a Bigot, an Escapee and one, quiet Knowledgeable One. Not very good sources, if you ask me.

I just have one thing to say to all those “guys” that are giving Condoleeza Rice a hard time, “Hindsight is 20/20, assholes.”

The Friday Five

Filed under: The Friday Five — Laura Moncur @ 3:41 pm

1. What do you do for a living? I am an Administrative Assistant at an electrical engineering firm.
2. What do you like most about your job? I like being part of the team that brings reliable electricity to the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />United States.

3. What do you like least about your job? I hate it when I have nothing better to do than answer the Friday Five.

4. When you have a bad day at work it’s usually because _____… they expect me to read their minds or they expect me to be an engineer. I’m a secretary, dammit, not a miracle worker.

5. What other career(s) are you interested in?
I want to be a full-time writer for a magazine. Not free-lance. I want to write articles like When Your Best Friend Ditches You For Her Boyfriend and How To Quit Soda and get paid with great benefits.

If you enjoyed the Friday Five, please visit them at http://fridayfive.org/.


Sweat Gets In Your Eyes

Filed under: Health and Fitness,Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Sweat and tears taste the same to me, but if sweat gets in my eyes, it hurts like a muthafucka. There has to be something profound that can come of this fact, but every thing that I think of sounds corny. It’s painful just to go through the thought process.

Work and grief are not the same. Just as you cannot replace tears with sweat, you cannot replace sorrow with labor. – Laura Moncur, Pick Me weblog, 04-10-04

Nope, that just sounds like it was quoted out of a 1950’s Christian Stories To Live By book. There has to be something here that is profound and touching and so incredibly quotable that I’ll end up in Bartlett’s.

Sweat and tears both taste salty, but they are not interchangeable. Tears rarely cool you off on a hot day and sweat stings when it gets in your eyes. Each is unique to itself and each must be used appropriately. It is the same with work and grief. They are not interchangeable. Do not work harder when you need to grieve. Do not grieve when you need to work harder. Each activity is unique to itself and each must be used appropriately. – Laura Moncur, Pick Me weblog, 04-10-04

Nope, that one is way too long. It’s hard to get in the annuls of history with more than one or two sentences. One perfect sentence is what the quotable masters were known for. They could state everything in one, simple and beautiful sentence.

If the sweat is stinging your eyes, wipe off your face, stupid. – Laura Moncur, Pick Me weblog, 04-10-04

Yeah, that’s one sentence, but it’s a little too irreverent. Sure, it says that working hard is important, but not so important as to ignore the sweat in your eyes. It’s essential to take a moment to take care of yourself, even during hard labor. Sure, it says all those things, but it’s not quite on the quotable level. It sounds like a joke quote. Plus, it doesn’t say what I really want to say.

I was on the treadmill yesterday morning. I was working really hard and the sweat started stinging my eyes. I realized that I had been using exercise to exorcise my grief for so long and didn’t even notice that it wasn’t working. My exercise is really helping me be healthy. It elevates my mood for the day, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t help me grieve for the life that I thought that I was going to lead.

Only truly letting myself grieve those regrets will get this out of my system. Sweat can’t take the place of the tears that I need to shed. The opposite is true also. There have been times when I’ve just wallowed in self-pity when I needed to get my ass out of bed. Tears can’t take the place of sweat either.

Work can’t replace grief. Sometimes you need to cry and if you try to replace tears with sweat you’ll just end up stinging your eyes. – Laura Moncur, Pick Me weblog, 04-10-04

Maybe that’s it. It’s not one sentence, but it’s exactly what I wanted to say. I guess I’ll leave the quotablity to Winston Churchill.


My Birthday (Part 1 of 2)

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Tomorrow is my birthday. I was born April 12, 1969, so I will be 35 years old tomorrow. I am writing this entry on Friday, April 9th, so I have no idea whether it’s a happy birthday to me or not. My family birthday parties are over the weekend, so I don’t know how any of them are going to turn out. No, that’s not the correct grammar. Will haven being turned out? I can’t remember my grammar for time travelers. I need to read The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy again. Maybe I’ll understand it this time.

Growing up Jehovah Witness really fucks up how you view your birthday as an adult. My last birthday before we became Jehovah Witness was held in secret at my grandma’s house. My grandma, grandpa and mom had the birthday for me and I got a strange game with lots of little people as the playing pieces. If I saw it today, unscathed, I probably wouldn’t be able to recognize it. I didn’t play with it in its intended fashion. I just played with the little people like they were Barbies. Who says you have to follow the rules with your toys? Not me.

I remember being told not to tell my dad that we had a birthday party because he would be angry with us. I would not have another birthday party until sixth grade, but I didn’t know that when I was four years old. All I knew was that I had a cool game with all of these little people. I controlled their lives.

It wasn’t until I got into school that birthdays became a painful subject. I don’t know how the schools treat birthdays in other areas, but at Academy Park Elementary, birthdays were a little twisted. On your birthday, you brought treats for everyone in your class. Instead of receiving treats and presents, you brought them for everyone else. I remember my classmates walking up and down the aisles of the classroom, handing out hand made cupcakes or brownies or tiny bags of candies. I remember knowing that I would never be allowed to be in their place. I would never be that special girl, walking up and down the rows, handing out special treats that my mom made for my friends.

Most of the time, it was really easy to turn down the treat. The threat of Armageddon was far more important than a tasty treat in the afternoon. No thank you, cupcake. No thank you, brownie. I’ve got a Final Battle to survive. Every once and awhile there would be an amazing treat that I couldn’t say no to and I would wallow in the guilt of sin. I remember once while licking the incredibly thick frosting off the top of a truly scrumptious cupcake, one of the supremely evil children asked why I never bring treats. I told them that I couldn’t celebrate my birthday because it was against my religion. He was kind enough to point out my hypocrisy. I think that’s why I hate hypocrites to this day: I know how shitty it feels to live there.

Like bookends, my eleventh birthday was also held in secret. When my parents got divorced, the divorce decree stated that we could choose which religion we wanted to follow on our twelfth birthday. They were divorced between fifth and sixth grade, so I had one birthday in secret. Mom and Carol had a nice little party for me. It was a quiet, family affair and I lived in fear that Stacey would tell my dad. I shouldn’t have worried. She had learned to keep secrets by then. It was essential when you lived under my dad’s reign.

On my twelfth birthday, I told my dad that I didn’t want to be Jehovah Witness anymore. I didn’t want to go to meeting and I didn’t want to go to assemblies and I was going to celebrate holidays. He tried the Armageddon thing to guilt me into acquiescence. The end of the world still seemed very real to me, but I had learned long ago that I was just going to die with the sinners. I couldn’t say no to a cupcake back in third grade. How was I going to spend an entire lifetime missing out on the fun? No way, I told myself. I was going to run for eighth grade vice president.

It wasn’t until ninth grade that I had a real birthday party. My mom let me invite several girlfriends over for a slumber party. We had hogi sandwiches and we watched The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller on the video machine that my mom rented for us. I got some smelly pencils from one of my girlfriends and Trudy Rushton woke up in the middle of the night. She had a nightmare about Michael Jackson or maybe it was the zombies that were chasing him. I don’t know.

I always felt like I was missing out on the fun. I wasn’t allowed to go to other children’s birthday parties. I wasn’t allowed to partake of the treats that came at least once a month. I wasn’t allowed to celebrate my own birthday. Screaming young girls in party hats shaped like dunce caps. Lack-Of-Sleep slumber parties. Huge birthday cakes devoted entirely to me. All of this was out of my reach. I felt like I had missed out on all the good that life had to give.


My Birthday (Part 2 of 2)

Filed under: Personal History — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Part One

Today is my birthday. I wrote this entry last Friday because I actually want to take a rest from writing on my birthday. Let’s hope I had a nice weekend with my family and that I’ll have a nice day today with Mike.

On April 2nd this year, my mom called me, “What are we doing for your birthday?” I sighed and realized that it was already April, “I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it at all.” She was surprised, “You haven’t? Why aren’t you obsessing over your birthday?” I just laughed and told her that it was because it wasn’t Halloween. We don’t get to dress up for my birthday.

It took Mike a couple of years to realize that my birthday is a big deal. I don’t want a huge party. I don’t want a bunch of strangers in a restaurant singing a kitschy song at me with my free dessert and a sparkler. I want a quiet party with my family and I want everyone to care about me the most.

My mom didn’t even realize how important my birthday was until the horrible year that she sold the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />West Valley house. It was my birthday and I was supposed to go to lunch with them, but mom, Carol and Stacey put it off. They were busy cleaning out the house. They told me to come a couple hours later after they were through getting the house ready for the realtors and then we would do my birthday afterward. Mike and Carol hid in the basement while the fight raged upstairs. When Mike finally ventured upstairs, he was able to explain to my mom how important my birthday is. I never want to be put off for a couple of hours. It’s my special day, respect it, dammit.

This year I do feel much more casual about it, though. It’s almost like I realize that I’m not missing out on anything. I’ve experienced all that birthdays have to give me. I’ve eaten enough frosting coated cupcakes to make up for the ones that I missed in grade school. I’ve had the slumber party, even though it was several years late and the late night antics entailed calming Trudy Rushton down from her Thriller Nightmare. I’ve had the drunken parties with friends at the clubs. I’ve had the quiet parties with family. I’ve had the birthdays when family fawned over and adored me. I’ve had the birthdays when we fought and screamed and cried. I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything anymore. I’ve made up for all of those Jehovah Witness years somehow.

It’s not like I dread getting older. I have enjoyed every age that I’ve encountered so far and if my mom is any indication of how I’ll age in the future, I’m happy to go there. Plus, the only other option is death. I’m happy for my birthday. I’m happy to be 35 years old. I’m just not obsessing over my birthday, trying to make the one perfect day to make up for all those years when I didn’t have birthdays. Maybe it’s the fact that I have had more Non-Jehovah Witness Birthdays than Jehovah Witness Birthdays now. I really only missed out on six birthdays, it’s just that they were those six birthdays when birthdays actually meant something. It took me a long time to grieve those six small years, but I think I’m finally over it now. For the life of me, I don’t know how I did it, but I finally feel like I’ve had all the fun that birthdays have to offer. Lucky Me!



Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I like sneezing. It’s kind of like sex: there’s a buildup, a tremendous release and it’s usually messy afterward. You can tell a lot about a person by how they sneeze. I know a woman who has a real sneeze followed by a fake vocalized sneeze. It sounds like a real sneeze followed by a cartoon insect sneezing. It makes me wonder how she enjoys sex. Does she have a real orgasm and then fakes a noisy one for her partner?

An orgasm is just a reflex, like a sneeze.  – Dr. Ruth Westheimer

What about the guy who holds that sneeze in? Is he the kind of guy who holds in his enjoyment until his face turns red? Will he end up being one of those men who die in the heat of passion, holding everything in and having a coronary because of it? I feel sorry for him. I feel like handing him a tissue and telling him to let it all out.

The Autocrat of Russia possesses more power than any other man in the earth; but he cannot stop a sneeze.  – Mark Twain

Mike’s sneezes are loud and dangerous. I usually have plenty of warning that they are coming, so I have enough time to get out of the way. He doesn’t try to hold them in. He just rolls with it naturally and lets the moment happen. The cats jump off the couch when he sneezes. The neighbors can hear him sneeze.

I like to write when I feel spiteful; it’s like having a good sneeze.  – D. H. Lawrence

Me, I’ve been overanalyzing my sneezes. Since becoming acquainted with the fake sneezer, I am constantly trying to make my sneeze more natural. I try not to vocalize at all for fear of sounding fake. I try not to hold it in for fear of breaking a blood vessel in my brain. An overanalyzed sneeze is not as fun as the ones that just jump up and surprise me. And I love those hay fever sneezes that come twice in a row. Those are the best sneezes of all.


I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead

Filed under: Personal History,Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I just found out the news today. “Weird Al” Yankovic’s parents both died on April 9th from carbon monoxide poisoning. They started a fire in their fireplace and forgot to open the flue and both died of asphyxiation. Someone I respect and honor is grieving and there is nothing I can do about it. Weird Al has posted an official message to everyone about the entire thing, correcting press errors, thanking his fans and explaining his actions for the near future.

I’d like to say that everything I’ve learned about life, I learned from Weird Al, but that’s not true. He has kept me happy during sad times. He has kept me happier in happy times. He has taught me three things: Everything You Know Is Wrong, Dare To Be Stupid and I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead.

Everything You Know Is Wrong

Sure, the song is silly. When you read the lyrics, it is really easy to lose the message in the stories and vivid descriptions. When you listen to the chorus, however, you hear it all. Don’t assume anything. The theories that were presented to you as facts before have changed. Just keep your mind open because it might be that everything you know is wrong.

Everything you know is wrong.
Black is white, up is down and short is long.
And everything you used to think was so important
Doesn’t really matter anymore
Because the simple fact remains that
Everything you know is wrong.  – “Weird Al” Yankovic, Everything You Know Is Wrong, 1996

Plus, this is the song with the phrase, “prosthetic lips” which sounded so insanely funny to me until I saw Michael Jackson’s nose fall off in court.

Dare To Be Stupid

From the first line, “Put down that chainsaw and listen to me” to the last line, “Dare to be stupid” repeated ad infinitum, this song just makes me want to get up and do something important. There have been times when I’ve been heading to an unpleasant activity and I’ve had the strength to survive it because Weird Al blared that phrase at me enough. One of the few stickers that live on the Beetle is the phrase, “Dare To Be Stupid.”
The future’s up to you,
So what you gonna do?
Dare to be stupid!
 – “Weird Al” Yankovic, Dare To Be Stupid, 1985

The song tells me to not worry about looking stupid and to risk it all. It’s ok to fail as long as you’re out in the game and working your hardest at it. Quit worrying about what other people are thinking about you and go out there and follow your dreams.   I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead

I’ve never heard him perform this song live. I don’t think he does anymore because there are a lot of words in that song that he would have to eat, in particular, “Don’t want no part of that vegetarian scene.” Since he’s a vegetarian now, I’m sure it’s hard for him to sing that song with a straight face anymore.

Since I’m such a hippie in some respects, I’m sure that my friends would be amazed that I love this song. It’s so dismissive to healthy eating, exercise and quiet time that it sounds like a protest song against the California Culture, but if you believe that, you’re not listening to the chorus.

I may as well be hyper
As long as I’m still around
‘Cause I’ll have lots of time to be laid back
When I’m six feet under ground.
 – “Weird Al” Yankovic, I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead, 1983

There is no time to waste. I have to live this life to the fullest now, while I can, because tomorrow I might be dead. I have to do all that I wanted to do today, because I might be pushing up the daisies tomorrow. Someone must have taught him this wisdom.

So, thank you to the two people who taught Al to live life in the moment, to get the job done despite fear and to keep his mind open to possibility. Thank you for bringing “Weird Al” into the world. Thank you for buying him an accordion instead of a guitar. Thank you for teaching him that morbid humor can heal.

Al, may the force be with you, man. I hope you find comfort when you need it and distraction when you need it. May your music heal you as much as it has healed me.


The Bosu Incident

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I tried a new class yesterday called Bosu Synergy. It was really hard and reminded me why I usually don’t like aerobic classes. The teacher has taught the class so many times that she just assumes that her students know what she wants. With little or no instruction, she will just change moves. That’s great if you are watching a video over and over, but this is a live thing. I can’t rewind her to get it right. Fortunately, it didn’t concentrate on dance moves. We were using a step and a half ball thing that’s so popular right now. The half ball thing is the Bosu half of the class, but the Synergy is a little more elusive. I guess they were trying to evoke an image of high energy, but that’s not what synergy means. I guess in gym speak, synergy means we’re going to use the Step too.

I had a junior high moment in the class. Those Bosu things are really hard to get on and really hard to balance on. I’m sure that I would be fine if I practiced on one at home, but this was my first time I had ever tried anything with that damn half ball thing. Once I was finally balanced, I was able to try the squats that the instructor had us doing. She had us hold the squat in the lower position for a count of eight seconds. My Bosu was really wobbling and I was doing my best to stay in position. I found out that eight seconds is exactly long enough for the bitch next to me to get her friend’s attention, point at me and for the two of them to laugh. I had a vision of punching her square in the jaw for just an instant, but it faded quickly.

While I rose from the squat and got off the Bosu implement of torture as gracefully as I could, I started thinking of all the things that I would say if I could defend myself. “Give me a fucking break. This is the first time I’ve taken this class. I usually run on the treadmill, but I’m trying something new today. I could kick your ass on the treadmill, bitch.” Then I looked at her tiny butt and realized that she could probably kick my ass on the treadmill too. For the first time since I joined, I remembered why I fucking hate the gym.

Within eight seconds, that girl was able to bring up every horrible memory of every gym class I ever had to endure throughout junior high and high school. She represented every scrawny bitch who insulted me when all I was doing was trying my best. We all have to start somewhere. I’m starting here. All I can do is my best, which is what I was giving. It’s not like I wasn’t trying. I got on the damn ball, so what if my butt was shaking.

I felt so bad that I decided to do something nice for myself instead of eating into oblivion. I did something just as destructive to my health, but this time I didn’t turn to food. I went straight to the tanning salon and spent 73 bucks on 20 tans and some overpriced lotion. I know that being tan won’t make me more graceful. It won’t help me balance on the Bosu ball, but I was tired from the class. There was no more that I could do today. After I get my check, I will spend some money on one of those Bosu balls and learn how to balance in the privacy of my own home. Maybe I’ll just practice every day at the gym for a couple of minutes until I can get on and off the thing with ease, but for now, I went to the tanning salon. I got the little heart sticker and placed it on my chest, circling the birth mark that shows when I wear my brown animal print shirt.

Since I haven’t tanned in so long, the session was only eleven minutes. After that, I let myself sit in the hot tub for fifteen minutes. All of that didn’t make me feel better. The money I spent on tanning sessions that will ruin my skin didn’t help. The stay in the hot tub, getting my body temperature high enough to make me feel dizzy didn’t help me. The long shower didn’t help. The magazine that I had been saving for the hour in between getting ready and going to work didn’t help. I almost wish I had pushed that bitch off her Bosu ball. That would have made me feel better.

The worst part is that it made me not want to try any more of the classes. It reminded me that no matter where I go, there will be some wench there, eager for me to fall. It made me want to never step into one of those classes again, when I know that the only way to become really good at that sort of thing is to keep attending until I have it mastered. I should keep going until I have that step on so many risers that it looks like a bench instead of step. I should keep going until I can jump on and off that Bosu gracefully and make it look easy. I should keep going until I can look a girl like that in the eye and know for a fact that I could kick her butt in any class at that gym.

All of that takes so much time. By the time I learn all that, she will be pregnant or something. By the time I’m able to look her in the eye, she’ll be long gone. She’s already long gone. I can’t remember what she looks like except that she had brown hair, a skinny butt and she has never been in the position that she put me in today. I try to imagine her sad and hurt by some cheerleader in school and all I can do is see her motion to her friend and point at me, working as hard as I could to steady myself. Her graceful body got on the Bosu easily and she performed every squat with simplicity. Maybe I can imagine her trying to write a blog entry every day.

Yeah, I can just imagine her blog entries, “I went to the gym today. Nothing really exciting is happening right now. I guess I’ll write later.” Three weeks later, she’d write another entry, “Well, I was going to write in this thing every day, but I just don’t seem to have the time.” The next day, she’d write, “I had this great idea for something to write, but I was at the mall and didn’t have anything to write with. Now I can’t remember what I was going to say.” This would go on for about another week and then her log would be abandoned.  Yeah, she might be beautiful and have a tiny butt, but I’m getting there and I am a writer. Soon I’ll have her tight ass and I’ll still be a writer.

I know you’d like to thank your shit don’t stank
But lean a little bit closer
See if roses really smell like poo-poo.
– Outkast, Roses, 2004

The song called Roses by Outkast just came to my mind. Sure it’s on heavy rotation on MTV, VH1 and BET so it’s hard to get it out of my mind, but it is making me feel better. Sure, it’s juvenile, but for some reason, I imagine that girl at the gym to be Caroline. I imagine some guy writing that song about her years later and the ache that she would feel knowing that the song was about her.

Take that, gym bitch. I’m going to keep going to that class. I’m going to take every fucking Bosu class they offer. If you ever do that to me again, I’m pushing you off your little Bosu ball and teach you not to mess with a punk rock girl like me. I can feel the veneer of civility just cracking and flaking off me. The only safety she has is that I can’t remember what she looks like. Nobody better mess with me. They might get the beating that the little gym bitch deserved.

All this talk doesn’t make me feel better either. I still don’t want to go to that class again. I still want to cry for all the times that I took that kind of malicious abuse. Inside, there is a little girl who just wants to say, “Hey, it was my first time taking this class. I’ve never even touched one of these things before. Give me a fucking break.” It would have been so easy if we were guys. I would have gotten off my little Bosu ball, kicked her in the balls and it would be finished. She would have left me alone and I could have peed on her Step. Instead, I’m sitting here, wondering how I could have protected myself. The only thought that comes to my mind is that I should have never stepped into that class and I know that’s not the right answer.

Bosu Update


Bosu Update

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 2:21 pm

The Bosu Incident

Friday, Mike took me to every store in the Salt Lake Valley looking for one of those Bosu Balance Trainers, but to no avail. I just resigned myself to learning how to balance on them at the gym, in front of all the people. All the people just watching me learn how to balance.

If that sounds scary to you, then you’ll understand how I felt. When I went back to the gym on Saturday, I ran my 5K on the treadmill, just as planned, but I decided that practicing on that damn Bosu thing was just out of the question. After my run, I went to stretch so that my muscles wouldn’t seize up on me. There was a Bosu sitting in the stretching area. This is a unique experience. Usually the Bosus are downstairs by the weight machines, but one had migrated up to the stretching area.

I stretched on the floor, watching the Bosu like it was some wild animal that might attack me. I stretched my hamstrings. I stretched my inner thighs. I stretched my quads. I even turned my back on the Bosu to stretch my calf muscles, but it was still there, mocking me. I decided that I needed to get past this.

Instead of trying it at the hardest level (bouncy side down), I decided to try it on the easier level (bouncy side up). I did the squats just like we did in the class and this time there was hardly any shaking. If I had known that there was an easier level, I would have turned the damn thing over in the class, but I didn’t learn that until the very end of the class when I saw another beginner do her thing on the other side. That’s one thing that could have saved me: I wish the teacher had mentioned that there was an easier level.

After doing the squats, I tried balancing on one leg, while holding the other in a quad stretch. I didn’t really know what else to do to learn how to balance on one of these things, so I just tried that. It took a long time just to be able to hold the stretch for ten seconds. The important thing is that I did it and I didn’t let anything get in my way, not even the horde of people on the cardio machines watching me.

Even after my success on Saturday, I knew it would be an uphill battle every day at the gym. Every time I went there, I would look at the Bosu like it was an animal, ready to pounce. I decided to look online and found one at Amazon.com, so I ordered it. I’ll get better in the privacy of my own home. I will get past this. I know it.

My Excuse For Not Showing My Face In The Gym


My Excuse For Not Showing My Face In The Gym

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Bosu Incident

As you may or may not know, I have a 5K race coming up this Saturday. I signed up for it so long ago that most of the people I’ve told have forgotten about it. Maybe they are scared to mention it to me, fearing that I’ve flaked out on it. It doesn’t matter. The important people in my life know about it and are planning to be there.

I’ve trained for this race on the treadmill almost exclusively. Now, I am here, four days before the race with little or no training outside. That’s my excuse. I can’t go to the gym. I have to do some outside runs to get myself ready for Saturday’s race. And, I need to taper a couple of days before the race, so I won’t be going to the gym at all this week.

Sure, it’s a great excuse, but it isn’t the only reason. I just don’t feel like going there anymore. It’s not a safe place anymore. It doesn’t feel like my place any longer. It used to feel like the spa at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas, but it doesn’t anymore. Now, I’m scared that there will be a brown-haired waif in the wings making fun of me running on the treadmill or using the weight machines or practicing on the Bosu.

I don’t know how to make it safe again. I don’t know what to do to make the gym a fun playground instead of a reenactment of every day in gym class in seventh grade. I realize that it’s all perception. The gym isn’t any less safe now than it was before. I just hadn’t met the one bitch in the place yet. In fact, now I’m safer. I can make sure that I only stand next to blondes next time.

I don’t know how to make it safe again, but it doesn’t matter because I have this entire week to gain the courage again. I’ll run outside with my dog and I’ll train as hard as I can in the rain. For all I know, it’s going to rain on the race day, so I need to get that experience. After the race, I’ll get the courage to go back to the gym.

Previous: My Excuse  Next:Going Back To The Gym


Going Back To The Gym

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Bosu Incident

Buddha and St. Jude agree. I need to go back to the gym. I need to take the Bosu Synergy class again and again until I master it. I need to take all the classes until I have mastered them all. I can’t let this minor thing get in my way, but I argue with them.

“It’s not a minor thing. She really hurt my feelings.”

Buddha: “So you’re feelings are hurt. Pain is as much of living as pleasure is.”

St. Jude: “I’ve noticed that you aren’t directing your questions, pleading or replies to me. Even you know that it’s not a lost cause.”

“It doesn’t feel safe there anymore.”

Buddha: “Safety is an illusion. There are those who feel safe on the streets of New York and there are others that tremble in a meadow. Safety is what you believe it to be.”

St. Jude: “You’re supposed to find what you fear and conquer it. You’ve been given a great opportunity. Conquer it.”

“I want to punch that girl. I wish I remembered what she looked like.”

Buddha: “Yes, remember her. Remember how hard it was for her to get up on the Bosu. She had to hold on to her step. The teacher helped you, but she didn’t help that girl. Maybe she was jealous of you. All of us are struggling. Her struggle is just different than yours.”

St. Jude: “Go ahead and punch the bitch. I don’t care. When you’re doing time for assault, then you can talk to me.”

“What if someone makes fun of me again?”

Buddha: “Then laugh with them. You have to admit. You did look pretty funny on that Bosu. Your little butt was jiggling a bit, you know. You’re just mad at her because she voiced your own fears. If you hadn’t been ashamed of yourself, her pointing would have gone unnoticed by you. You would have assumed that she was pointing at someone else.”

St. Jude just stands quietly and looks straight ahead. He knows that I’m not even listening to him now.

Akenaten chimes in, “In case anyone is listening, I thoroughly approve of the color in her skin. It looks like she got some sun.”

Previous: Going Back To The Gym   Next: What’s The Big Deal Anyway?


Birthday Update

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

It’s ten days later, I realize that I forgot to tell you how awesome my birthday was this year. Stacey and Dan got me Dance Dance Revolution and a Dance Pad and gave me their old XBox machine. So I can play Dance Dance Revolution anytime I want without having to pump tokens into a machine.

As soon as I opened the present, I knew that we had to play it right there at Mom and Reed’s house. We set it up and hooked it up to Reed’s larger than life mondo big screen TV. At first, only Mike and I were willing to play the game, but soon Stacey, Mom and even Reed tried it. You should have heard Dan curse Reed when he finally gave in. “Traitor!”

My birthday at Mike’s parents’ house was much more sedate. I got a bunny candle from Kristen. I’m so glad that Mike’s mom lets her pick out gifts on her own. A bunny candle is SO Kristen. Matt and Mel gave me Matrix Revolutions. I have the complete set now: the three movies and AniMatrix. Cool…

On my actual birthday, Mike and I had a quiet evening together. He made me jambalaya and gave me another XBox game, Now 15 and some beautiful, handmade glass stars to go in the living room windows. I refused to buy them at the store a couple of months ago and he remembered and found two that were the right color for me.

I think the best gifts that I got this year is that Kristen is healthy and able to pick out a present for me, we all played Dance Dance Revolution together and Mike made me the best jambalaya ever with lots of spicy sausage. Thanks for a wonderful birthday this year, guys!


The Friday Five

Filed under: The Friday Five — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

They are a little busy right now, so I’m starting at the beginning and moving on from there.

1. Where were you born (city or state or just country)?

I was born in a military hospital in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Portsmouth, Virginia. My father was serving in the Navy at the time and they were stationed in Virginia.

2. What is your favorite number?

I decided that my favorite number was three when I was in grade school. We went to Lagoon and we were playing Skee Ball. I got the highest score that I had ever gotten in my life and I was playing on machine number three. From then on, I tried to get a machine with the number three or with three as a factor. That gives me a one-in-three chance of finding a “lucky” machine.

On a different note: three is such a perfect number. It evokes the Trinity. It represents stability. It reminds me of triangles, on which our higher mathematics depend. I just like it.

3. Vanilla or chocolate?

It depends. Ice cream? Chocolate. Candy? Chocolate. Yogurt? Vanilla. Pudding? Chocolate. Cheese Enchilada? Chocolate (or Mole, whatever).

4. What section of a bookstore would I find you in?

Sadly, you’d find me stuck in the discount section, partaking of the remnants. Whenever Mike and I go to Barnes and Noble, he gets sick of the store before I’m through with the discount section. I swear. I could spend the entire day at the book store.

5. What kind of mattress do you have on your bed? soft? firm? water?

Firm mattress. The kind that you don’t need to flip, you just need to turn. Which, by the way, is just as difficult to do.


Race Day

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Today is my race. I’m writing this ahead of time, of course, so I have no idea how it’s going to turn out. And, as is the case most of the time, you probably won’t even get an update after the whole thing is over until you have forgotten about it.

It’s my first 5K race in two years. I weigh less than I did at the last race and I’ve been training harder than I did for the last race. Neither one of those facts are helping my confidence right now. My goal is to beat my last time. Last time I did the 5K in forty minutes, so I want to do this race in less than forty minutes. Sounds easy enough, right?

Wrong. I have been running the prerequisite 3.2 miles during my training and I haven’t gotten close to the forty minute goal. I know that there is some extra adrenaline or something that makes you run faster when you compete, but I’m in much better shape right now. Shouldn’t I be able to get closer than three minutes from my goal?

My original goal was to place in my age division. That’s a really cool goal and if I make it, that’s great, but it is so dependent on other people. Sure, it’s an easy thing to accomplish if no one in my age division competes. It gets exponentially harder to achieve with each additional contestant. Plus, it’s concentrating on something outside of myself. I decided that my only goal should be to beat my personal best.

So, my personal best was forty minutes. I’ve got to finish in less than forty minutes. All my training runs have fallen short of that goal, so what am I to expect on this final race day? Who knows? I guess I’ll post my time after the race.


Stinky Ghost (Part 1 of 3)

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Last year, Mike and I moved into our current residence during the hottest summer in a long time. It was July and we had weeks of over 100 degree weather. We were running the evaporative cooler nonstop and it did little to ease the heat.

The house also stunk. Before we moved in any furniture, I cleaned the carpets. It still stunk. I cleaned them again. It still stunk. We had to move our furniture into the home because we had sold the house in West Jordan and there was no where for it to go except the new place. We had to live with the stink.

That first night in the house, I dreamt that a man was watching me sleep. It was one of those rare times when Mike slept at night beside me in the bed (he was exhausted from the move). The man was young. I immediately thought he was 24 years old. He was blond and fairly thin. He wasn’t scrawny, but he wasn’t bulked up either. He was comfortably thin. He was inconvenienced. “Where am I supposed to sleep?” I heard him say. At that moment, I woke up. I told Mike about the dream and said that the smell was that guy watching me sleep. I named him Stinky Ghost.

Stinky Ghost made sense to me much more than damaged carpets. I had cleaned those carpets thoroughly twice. It couldn’t be dog smell from the carpets from the previous residents. Plus, it didn’t smell like wet dog. Stinky Ghost smelled like dirty sweat socks. Additionally, sometimes I could smell Stinky Ghost in the living room. There was no carpeting in the living room. How could dog smell get caught in the hard wood floor?

A couple weeks after we moved in, Stinky Ghost was particularly pungent. I had been frustrated with the stench and just called out to it, “Stinky Ghost go away.” The smell went away almost immediately.

I kept dreaming about the man watching me sleep. After we finished moving, Mike went back to his Day Sleeper Schedule, so I was alone in the bed. Once I dreamt that Stinky Ghost was sleeping in the bed with me. I remember feeling ashamed in the dream that a man was sleeping in my bed, but I didn’t know how to get him out. Even later, I dreamt that Stinky Ghost was spooning me from behind. He was so heavy on me that I couldn’t breathe. I woke up trying to catch my breath, surprised that Maggie wasn’t on my chest.

Pick Me! » Stinky Ghost (Part 2 of 3)

Pick Me! » Stinky Ghost (Part 3 of 3)


Stinky Ghost (Part 2 of 3)

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Mike didn’t like Stinky Ghost. Ok, that’s a lie. Mike didn’t believe in Stinky Ghost and every time I talked about him, he was visibly uncomfortable. He never thought it was funny to talk about Stinky Ghost, whereas, I felt like I had to tell the story since the house smelled so unpleasant. I didn’t want people to think that I was a bad housekeeper. Really, the house smelled like this when we moved in.

I had started smelling men’s aftershave. It wasn’t Mike’s scent. He wears my favorites, but this stuff smelled like Old Spice. It smelled like another man’s aftershave. I figured it was Stinky Ghost trying to clean up his image. I would have preferred Polo or maybe Drakkar Noir, but Old Spice was tons better than smelly sweat socks.

One evening, I smelled the Old Spice again. I asked Mike if he had done anything with any of the aftershaves that he has. I thought that maybe one of his older items had gone bad and changed its scent, but he said he hadn’t touched anything. I was in the bathroom and he was in the bedroom. I said, “It must be Stinky Ghost. I’m going to have to call him Sexy Ghost if he keeps this up.” I could tell that Mike didn’t like what I said, so I back pedaled, “Well, Stinky Ghost was too fat to be a Sexy Ghost.” At that moment, the electric toothbrush fell on my head. Mike didn’t enjoy my mirth at the idea of Stinky Ghost making the electric toothbrush falling on my head because I called him fat.

The smells came and went all summer. Sweat socks, Old Spice and even one day, I smelled lavender soap. It smelled like that kind of French milled soap that makes me sneeze and I was sneezing furiously that day. I called out, “Stinky Ghost, I don’t know what you bathed in, but I’m allergic to it so go take a shower or something.” The smell of cheap lavender soap left and my sneezing subsided.

One day, Mike called me in the middle of the day. It was obvious to me that he hadn’t slept much and might even be calling me in the half-awake state that leaves me confused at the end of our conversations.

“What’s the matter? Why aren’t you asleep?” I asked him.

“I’ve been trying to sleep, but the phone kept ringing.”

“Who’s calling you?”

“It wasn’t my phone. It was the phone in the basement.”

I was quiet on the other end of the line. When we moved to this home, we decided that we weren’t going to have a land line phone at this house, just our mobile phones. We didn’t need a home phone. It hadn’t been connected. We had washed our hands of Qwest and gladly paid the last bill. Mike continued through my silence.

“The brown phone in the basement. Remember seeing it down there? It was ringing.”

I remembered the brown phone. It was an ancient rotary wall phone attached to one of the support beams downstairs in the unfinished basement. It was near the washer and dryer. I had noticed that it had been hardwired in, which explained why the owner hadn’t removed it.

“Yeah, I remember it. Did you answer it?”

“Yeah and the people kept asking for Kevin. It scared the hell out of me.”

“Mike, that phone isn’t supposed to work. It hasn’t been connected. Maybe it’s still hooked up from the previous residents.”

“No, his name was Mike. These guys wanted Kevin.”

“It’s a Ghost Phone. Stinky Ghost’s name is Kevin! Did you ask them what year it was?”

Mike and I laughed about the Ghost Phone. He ended up taking it off the hook so that he could sleep. The phone company must have mixed up the lines somehow and things got sent to our house instead of wherever they were supposed to be. A few days later, we returned the handset to its rightful place and it has never rung again.

Pick Me! » Stinky Ghost (Part 1 of 3)

Pick Me! » Stinky Ghost (Part 3 of 3)


Stinky Ghost (Part 3 of 3)

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The summer faded into autumn and we got used to living in the house. The dreams about the man watching me sleep were less frequent. I thought it was because we put up a curtain in the entrance between the bedroom and the kitchen. I felt like the world could see me in the bedroom because I could look out the door and see the entire living room. Once we put the curtain up, the dreams subsided.

I think it was September when I smelled Stinky Ghost again. I came home from work, walked in the door and was hit in the face with the stench of smelly socks again. “Aaugh! Stinky Ghost is back!” Then I realized that I hadn’t smelled Stinky Ghost in a long time and the only reason I smelled him now was because Mike had turned on the evaporative cooler. It had been nice enough weather that we hadn’t needed the cooler for the last few weeks, but now that Mike had turned it on again, we were getting the full bouquet of the moldy cooler pads.

Evaporative coolers are sometimes called swamp coolers and in this case, it’s a more apt name. They are a very simple and ingenious way to cool a house in dry areas. They merely pull air from the outside past wet pads and into the house. The humidity cools down the house. They work pretty well here in Salt Lake and about half the houses here have them. The one on our house must be covered with years of mold because it created a stink in our house that was impossible to track. That’s why I could smell it in the living room. It had nothing to do with the carpets. The air from the cooler could go anywhere in the house.

It also explained the Old Spice and lavender soap smells. Swamp coolers bring in air from outside. For all I know, we have a neighbor next door who really needs to update his cologne collection. Dude, Old Spice is called “old” for a reason. Hell, the lavender smell could have been the real lavender from the garden two houses over. All of those weird smells could be blamed on the cooler.

The Ghost Phone could have been one of those crossed wires. My dreams are simply my dreams. Now, the electric toothbrush falling on my head is a mystery. The only explanation that I can give for it is that when I reached up for the toothpaste, I might have knocked the electric toothbrush and it might have rocked around a bit before falling on my head. It was timed so well, that I just almost wanted it to be Stinky Ghost.

Summer is coming soon and so will the return of Stinky Ghost unless we clean out the trays and replace the cooler pads. I classify myself as an atheist who struggles with superstition. This is the kind of superstition with which I struggle. For some reason, I liked having a ghost in my house. I liked the idea of sharing the house with a stinky man in his twenties. Even now, I talk about Stinky Ghost as if he were real when I know that he isn’t.

Pick Me! » Stinky Ghost (Part 1 of 3)

Pick Me! » Stinky Ghost (Part 2 of 3)


Race Results (Part 1 of 2)

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 11:58 pm

I’ve been sick the last few days, so it took me a little longer to get back to you than I thought it would. I’m sorry for the delay.

The morning of the race I woke up with a nightmare. In my dream, I was waiting for my family to arrive so we could all go to the race. I knew that Stacey, Dan, my mom and her husband, Reed, were coming, but I had told them that if they didn’t get here by 7:15 am, I was going to leave without them. Even though it was after 7:15 am, Mike wouldn’t let me leave. He purposely wouldn’t put on his shoes. He wanted to wait for them to come, even if it meant that I was late for the start of the race.

Then a huge family with two dogs arrived to come with us. Mike had invited them and he was so excited that they had come. Instead of all of us fitting in one car, we ended up taking three cars, one of which for the two visiting dogs and our dog, Sid. Mike really wanted Sid to see me run the race and no complaining on my part could make him not bring the entire pack of dogs.

We arrived just as the air horn went off starting the 5K, so I jumped out of the car and started running. The bad part was that we were late, but the good part was that only five people were running the race. I thought that I would be able to win for my division for sure. That was until I saw the course. The course went through a shopping mall. I had to dodge merchandise everywhere I went. There were huge pillows on the track and I had to run over antique furniture culminating to a stack of baby grand pianos. I was also delayed by a woman from my church who was poking me in the butt with a broomstick.

When I neared the finish line, I was so angry. I was angry with Mike for making me so late that I started the race late. I was angry with Mike for inviting the family with too many children and dogs because I didn’t really want them here anyway. I was angry with the race directors for putting the race through the mall just so they could sell merchandise, I guess. I was just seething when I crossed the finish line.

When I finished with the race, there were no people to check my number or anything. I was so angry at how disorganized the race was. I finally found someone who could answer some questions. She was surprised because the race hadn’t started yet. It was only 7:45 am and I had fifteen minutes to get back to Liberty Park to run the real 5K race. I realized that I must have gotten all mixed up when I was so worried about being late to the race and I had been so mean to Mike for nothing. I was the disorganized one, not the race directors and I only had 15 minutes to get back to the starting line so that I could finish the real race. I was devastated.

That’s when I woke up. It was a bad dream to have before my race.


Race Results (Part 2 of 2)

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 12:31 pm

On the day of the race, I woke up from my nightmare, grateful that I didn’t have to run my 5K twice. I verified with Mike that he didn’t invite a family with too many children and dogs. I was assured by him that if 7:15 am came around and my family hadn’t arrived that he would leave without them. He pointed at his shoes the minute he put them on.

Stacey, Dan, Mom and Reed all came right on time and we piled into my mom’s car to go to the race. The Calvary Baptist Church Choir sand the national anthem and the race started 15 minutes late (Mormon Standard Time). I ran really well and we started the race to the song, Love Shack by the B-52’s. I didn’t realize it, but the race went right by Port O’Call, which is a local club that I love to go to. When I ran past it, I pointed and said, “Look, it’s Port!” The people around me could have cared less and just kept on running.

During my run, my goal was to get past the guy with the shirt that said, “The Kat is Back!” I just wanted to pass him and then I would be happy. Each time I passed him, though, I’d look up and there he was in front of me again. I kept trying to pass him. I thought that maybe he didn’t stop for water at the aid stations and that’s how he got past me each time. By the fourth time I passed that guy, I realized that it wasn’t the same guy. The guy I had been chasing and passed had brown hair, but this time it was a blonde in a “The Kat is Back!” shirt. Apparently, they were a team of runners and I was passing several guys.

By the time we got to The Gateway, I was pretty tired. When you looked at the race map, it looks like you finish when you get to The Gateway, but that’s not the case. No, the finish line was at the other end of The Gateway Plaza. I’ve walked that route before in the cold and it felt like a mile then, but at the end of my race, that stretch of sidewalk and road felt like an eternity. Before I could see the finish line, I finally called out, “Where’s the damn finish line!” None of the runners were listening to me, but I’m sure they were thinking the same thing.

I finished the race in 34:15 minutes. That is 5:48 minutes faster than the last time I ran a 5K. I came nowhere near winning for my division, but I beat my best time by over five minutes, so I didn’t care. There was some drama getting our finish times. They had them all listed in the paper on Sunday morning for the marathon runners, but the 5K participants had to wait until they were posted online on Monday. It wasn’t until then that I knew that I finished so well. I had forgotten to start my stopwatch when the race started, so I just had to guess on my time. I thought that I did pretty well, but I wasn’t sure.

My family took me to Lamb’s Restaurant to celebrate. It took me over an hour to find them because of the crowds. They thought that I hadn’t finished yet and were really getting worried about me. Little did they know that I finished about two minutes before they got over to the finish line. I was able to run it faster than they could drive it, Yeah!

Race Results
Race: 2004 Salt < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Lake Marathon 5K
First Name: LAURA
Last Name: MONCUR
Sex: F
Class: F35-39
Pace: 00:11:03
Final: 00:34:15
Class Rank: 100 out of 242
Overall Rank: 1578 out of 3037


The Friday Five

Filed under: The Friday Five — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

September 28, 2001

1. Laying on your back and facing the ceiling, which side of the bed do you sleep on?

I sleep on the left side of the bed. Mike always sleeps on the right side of the bed. Even when we move, it’s the same. Even when we sleep in a hotel it’s the same.

2. Do you have to have covers (blankets and/or sheets) at all costs, no matter the weather?

Yes. I love to snuggle in the blankets and I’m usually cold in the bed, even in the blistering summer. It’s not until a couple of hours before I’m supposed to wake up that my body temperature will warm up enough to get me to kick off my covers.

3. Sleep nekkid or no? Why?

I do not sleep naked. I keep having dreams that someone is watching me. I can’t have Stinky Ghost seeing me naked while I’m sleeping.

4. What’s under your bed?

The games are under there, so let me see, there’s Monopoly, Clue, Candyland, Cranium, Scrabble, Master Mind and Apples to Apples. I’m sure there’s some underwear or socks under there too and maybe even a cat depending on whether the vacuum cleaner is running.

5. If you have pets, do you let them sleep with you? Why or why not?

Maggie and Linda, the cats, are allowed to sleep on the bed. Ok, they aren’t allowed to sleep on the bed so much as we’ve given up kicking them off. Sid, the dog, is not allowed on the bed. He sleeps on the floor right next to the bed. This is great when I hear a bad sound and worry that it might be something evil. If Sid sleeps through it without barking, it must not be Evil. The only negative to letting him sleep in the room with us is that he’ll have bad dreams and whimper in his sleep. I’d rather wake up to Stinky Ghost watching me than to the ethereal and haunting sound of a dog with a nightmare.

Powered by WordPress
(c) 2003-2007 Laura Moncur