Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Illustration Friday: Crowded

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Many Footsteps

Many Footsteps – Laura Moncur – 03-27-05


Neighborhood Watch

Filed under: Living in SLC, UT — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

In December of 2003, we got hit with a massive snow storm. All of us were buried under three or four feet of snow. My little Beetle got stuck in the middle of the road right in front of my house. I talked about it briefly when it happened.

What I didn’t tell you was about my neighbors. Rick, next door, and the guy down the street helped Mike and I push the Beetle into the driveway. Once it was there, it stayed there for two days. My tires were so bald that I knew that I would get stuck again if I ventured out. I already appreciated Rick for all the things he did when we moved in, but the guy down the street was a new Samaritan for me. After that day, that guy down the street was top on my list.

We invited him to our Halloween party, but he didn’t come. He has a cat named Spumoni that is a fat calico that comes over and eats the cat food that Rick leaves out for his feral cat that won’t come into his house. The guy down the street has a son with a wreck of a car that was parked in front of his house. He was scared that someone would call the city on him and asked us not to. It didn’t even occur to us.

He’s kind of a scruffy guy. Sometimes he talks to people in cars. They drive up, they talk and they drive off. We live on a dead end, so it’s easy to notice those things when they happen. I sometimes wonder if he’s a drug dealer, but I have a hard time reconciling my concept of a drug dealer with the guy who pushed my Beetle into the driveway and has a cat named Spumoni.

The other day, I saw him talking to someone in a car. The person in the car handed him something and drove away. The neighbor noticed me and waved, raising the hand that held the package from the car. He waved at me with a DVD of The Incredibles. I felt silly for ever thinking he could be a drug dealer.


Lake Mead

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 9:37 am

Spontaneous. We’re always trying to be it because there is so little true spontaneity in our lives. When we found out that I was going to be sent home early on Thursday and that I would have Friday off, we decided to take a spontaneous trip to Lake Mead.

The packing was not a problem. I have camping down to a science with a checklist especially formulated to our type of camping and our equipment. I wasn’t having trouble with the packing. That took about two hours to get everything ready and into the Golf.

The car was not a problem either. Mike had just had the Golf inspected. He had the oil changed just a few weeks ago. The tires are new and the windshield wipers have been replaced. The car was just as ready to go camping as the equipment.

The dog wasn’t a problem either. We got him into Abraxas kennel with a quick phone call. “Hi, April. I’m wondering if there is room for Sid to stay there until Monday of next week.” “We always have room for Sid.” Even if they couldn’t take him, we could have brought him to Lake Mead with us.

The problem was me. It was so hard for me to be spontaneous. I felt like I was making a bad decision by deciding to just pick up and leave. I left the dirty dishes in the sink. I left the paperwork on the table. I left the dirty sheets on the bed. I left the laundry undone and waiting for me. All of those chores are still there for me, waiting. I felt guilty for leaving on the spur of the moment because I missed camping over the winter.

As it turned out, it was a great trip. We took a hike on a trail that we had never touched before. We set up camp in the dark and collapsed on our inflatable mattress. It was cold at night, but not nearly as cold as the Wasatch Mountains in the summer. Mike had some work to do, but he got online right there at the campsite and finished up his work for the weekend. This spontaneous thing might actually be a good idea.


Boundaries Paradoxically Free Our Minds

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

I’ve been writing so much for Starling Fitness that I feel that I don’t know how to write for anything else. I read blogs and try to glean something from them for Starling Fitness. It’s what I used to do for this weblog, but I haven’t quite mastered how to think for two subjects at once, especially since I can write about whatever I want here.

In the words of Mr. O’Neill, Daria’s English Teacher, “Sometimes boundaries paradoxically free our minds.” I have clearly defined boundaries for Starling Fitness. I have been hired to write about fitness, health, weight loss, and fitness gadgets. If it doesn’t fall into that category, it doesn’t go on Starling Fitness. Here, though, I have no boundaries. I can write about anything. So, when I see that it’s time to write an entry for this weblog, I sit looking at the empty page.

Or worse, write about not being able to write…

Emoticon Eric

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:29 am

Emotion EricI have been laughing so hard that tears are brimming in my eyes, threatening to escape!

Emotion Eric

Check out this website! I really needed this!

Via: little. yellow. different. Thanks, Ernie!


Hell Notes

Filed under: Books & Short Stories,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I just finished reading this short story. It’s so perfect and complete. It fits together like a wooden puzzle.

Scifi.com – Hell Notes – by M.K. Hobson

It’s about a man who stumbles into a Chinese Buffet for the dead. His descriptions of the delicious and disgusting food are vivid, enticing and revolting. God, I love food porn!

Via: Boing Boing

A Brief Moment in the Office

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 8:02 am

The haunting circus music of Smokey Robinson floats past her desk over to mine. I can’t hear anything else but the lilting organ. Smokey’s voice is obliterated by the ambient noise of the office. I am suddenly tempted to turn the music on my phone so I can hear Smokey sing, but I hold back. Then she’ll think that I actually like the Lite Music styling of FM 100.


Vanishing Act

Filed under: Books & Short Stories,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I just found this website Sci Fiction that has a collection of short stories online. Some of them are ok, but I have just finished an amazing one.

SciFi.com – Vanishing Act – by E. Catherine Tobler

It’s the story of a circus freak who is unexpectedly given a new roommate. What appears to be a young girl with an ethereal glow is a visitor that will teach him the importance of going home. The voice of Rabi, Vanquisher and Vanisher Extraordinaire, is so simple that he drew me in without realizing how complicated he would be.

Good readin’!


Illustration Friday: Travel

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Lake Mead, NV Lake Mead, Nevada 04-01-05


4505 White Cherry Way

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

I used to live at 4505 South White Cherry Way in West Valley, Utah. My parents moved to West Valley in the middle of third grade and I stayed in that home until I married Mike. My mom sold that house several years ago, so it’s off limits to me now. A nice young family lives there now, embedding more happy memories into its walls.

My friend, Sceverenia, lived just down the street, also on White Cherry Way. Her parents sold their house and moved down south to Fairview a few years ago. I think about their house a lot and I keep dreaming about it. When we were teenagers, we used to beep our horns when we drove past each others’ houses. “Hello!” the horn would say.

To this day, Mike’s family still lives on Palmer Drive. I tell him how lucky he is that his parents still live in the house that he grew up in. We visit every few Sundays. Sometimes after the weekend visit, we drive past my old home on White Cherry. They wrapped the bushes out front with “Caution” tape for the winter. The three little bushes look like tiny murder scenes with all that yellow tape. I refrain from beeping past Scev’s house. It’s vacant and the real estate sign taunts me, “Your childhood is up for sale…AGAIN.”

Google Maps just added satellite images to their Maps feature. To this day, I use the old West Valley address when I test things. When I typed it in, I felt the rush of it all. There’s my house. There’s Scev’s house. There’s Mike’s house. There’s the house that Matt Strebe lived in when his mom was married to Bud. There’s Mike Pinkston’s house. There’s Chuck’s house. There’s Dylan’s house. There’s Kennedy Junior High. There’s Academy Park Elementary. There’s Hunter Elementary. There’s the Circle K where Scev and I sluffed school for the first time. There’s the Holiday Oil where Pinkston blocked my Beetle with his huge Ford 450 so I couldn’t leave. My whole life was in that one square. My world was that small.

Ironically, the largest single lot of land in the square is the cemetery…

Yeah, It’s My Birthday

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 11:06 am

I forgot to mention that it’s my birthday today. My loyal readers remembered and have been wishing me happy birthday on my previous post. Thanks, guys!

Last year, I talked about how important my birthday is to me. If you missed it the first time around, feel free to browse.

I’m having a great birthday this year. Thank you to everyone who has wished me well. May it come back to you threefold.


Louis Vuitton

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

Louis Vuitton“You always have the same purse. I don’t think you’ve ever carried a different one.”

I was talking to BJ. At the time, we were both still real estate agents. We were coming back from a long lunch in which we avoided prospecting. She always spoke in exclamation points, even when she was calm.

“Are you kidding?! This is a Louis Vuitton! Well, not a real Louis Vuitton, my sister-in-law got me this in New York. Haven’t you ever heard of Louis Vuitton?!”

I hadn’t. I shook my head and shrugged. She wasn’t happy with that admission.

“Well, this is a famous designer purse. Well, not this one because it’s a knock-off, but the real thing goes for like a thousand dollars.”

She huffed and picked up her very famous purse and once again, I felt out of it. I felt like the day I got into junior high and learned that blue jeans were not enough. I should have been wearing Levis 501 Button Fly Blue Jeans. (Continue Reading…)


Computer Drawing

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Drawing pictures with a mouse on the computer is a foreign experience to me. Every time I try it, I end up with uncomfortable squiggly lines. I just haven’t taught my hand to draw with a mouse like I have with a pencil or pen.

I usually just end up drawing the picture on paper and scanning it into the computer. That’s how a lot of artists who post their work online do it. Others have those tablet things that let you draw on them like you would on paper and it inputs right into the computer. They even come in shocking white to match your Mac (not a good idea for me considering how much food I eat by my computer).

Braidwood has been teaching herself how to draw on the computer with a mouse and I am so pleased with how quickly she is progressing. Every picture she posts is substantially better than the previous one. I saw this entry a couple days before my birthday and it made me so happy:

Yes, please! – Birthday Wish – by Braidwood

I imagined that sweet pink frosting was mine and there was someone willing to light that many candles for me. There is a warm glow from the fire and I need to suck up all my breath to get them out in one blow.

They Laid Me Off Today

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 5:02 pm

Looking at it from a completely logical standpoint, it makes sense. They didn’t need two secretaries. They didn’t need two secretaries when they hired me. I understand it logically, but it still feels like a kick in the gut.

I’ve spent most of the day updating my resume and getting my paperwork in order. I’ve applied for three jobs already. They laid me off at 10:30 am this morning and I spent the rest of the day getting things in order.

I have been taking typing tests so I can prove how fast I am, but Utah Department of Workforce Services no longer provides the verifiable tests, so I have been testing myself on TypingMaster Online Test. I’ve got 65 wpm with 96% accuracy (net speed 63 wpm). I’ve got the email from them to prove it. I hope it’s enough for potential employers.

I knew that I was unneeded. I could have gone out looking for a job where I was challenged and appreciated, but I really liked working for them. I decided that I would stay there as long as they would keep me. Well, they laid me off today.


Tax Day

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 4:55 am

I hate tax day…

Illustration Friday: Alone

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am


Alone – 04-12-05 – Laura Moncur

Thought I’d try my hand at drawing with the computer. I prefer paper.



Filed under: Reviews,Television — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Popular: Season 1I’m about halfway through the first season of the television show Popular. I am so out of it as far as television is concerned. I never heard of this show when it was on the air. I haven’t watched live television for months on end, so when Amazon.com recommended this television show to me, I jumped. Television shows are perfect for exercising with.

Every morning I jump on the treadmill, eager to see what is going to happen next. If you read the description for this series on Amazon, you might think it’s either a fluffy teen drama or a hard look at teen issues. I can’t tell you about either of those things. I don’t know what teen issues are like today. I can’t tell you if this series would be entertaining to teens.

I have a hard time describing this series. There are times when its goofy level is so high that I’m cringing at the silly costumes. It is very stylized, so it’s separated from reality. The cinematography is beautiful. The actors and actresses look like models. On the other hand, it feels raw and sore, like an open wound. It is brutally honest. These characters feel like shockingly real people.

The way this series is marketed is misleading. Given the description, you may think that this show is about the dichotomy of the Popular kids and the Alternative kids. Not so. This show is about the Popular kids and the Almost Popular kids. The Unnoticed kids are almost unnoticed in this series. There is a beautiful scene where the Chess Club are interviewing the Homecoming Queen candidates. One member asks the beautiful blonde cheerleader what his name is and she is unable to answer. The two groups that are the focus of this series, however, are not members of the Unnoticed.

So, every day I have been eagerly jumping on the treadmill to see what is going on with the students of Kennedy High School. Why? I just told you that the premise of the series is flawed, the goofy situations border on federal crime, and the stylization of it all makes it have a surreal effect. But just when I think it can’t be goofier, someone will say something that is so true that it punches me in the gut. Just when I notice something superficial, something will happen that makes me suck in a shocked breath of air. In essence, the writing is really good.


Getting Through This

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

I had a pretty hard weekend. No matter how I look at it, being laid off feels like a rejection and a loss. Severance pay, unemployment insurance and COBRA don’t deal with the real pain when someone is laid off. Rejection is hard to swallow, even when they tell you that they didn’t want to reject you. Loss is hard to accept, even when they tell you that they didn’t want to lose you.

I took a whirlwind tour of the five stages of loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I think it was so fast for me because I wrote constantly all weekend long: pages and pages in my personal journal working through it. I think I spent the longest time on bargaining thinking, “Maybe if I had done this…” or “Maybe if I hadn’t done that…” or “Maybe I should have been clearer about this…”

The only truth that I know with a capital “K” is that they didn’t need two secretaries. I was very grateful for the time that I had there. I learned a lot and I found it a restful place to work. That is the only truth that I know and can prove, so that is all I’m going to concentrate on.

Plus, it’s amazing what a few good job interviews can do for my outlook.

Google Sightseeing

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 6:00 am

The Luxor Hotel“Why bother seeing the world for real?” That’s the tagline for this enjoyable website. Thanks to Google Satellite Maps, we can see the world from an entirely different perspective. I talked about this before when I typed in the address to my childhood home, but this website concentrates on sites that we have seen from perspectives other than the satellite view.

Google Sightseeing

Imagine what The Las Vegas Strip would look like from outer space. What about the Hollywood Sign? How about the Rainbow Bridge in Southern Utah? All of these sites look vastly different from above.

The catchy tagline stating, “Why bother seeing the world for real?” misses the point. I feel as if I’m seeing the world for the first time…


Thai Garden

Filed under: Living in SLC, UT — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Pawit greets us as if we were family. He remembers our names. I’ve seen him hug other patrons, but it’s as if he knows our boundaries. We’re not a hugging family, so he doesn’t hug us.

The food is amazing. I order Num Tok every time. I love the spicy beef and sticky rice. Sometimes it’s a little too hot for me; sometimes it’s not hot enough. It’s kind of like a random roulette wheel. Even though I order the same thing, I never know what I’m going to get.

Stacey, Dan, Mike and I meet there for dinner about every other week. Even though Thai Garden has been in business for less than a year, it feels like home and I look forward to going there.

Back in December, Salt Lake City Weekly reviewed them favorably and business picked up substantially, but Pawit always takes the time to say hi to us and remember my favorite dish. Sometimes, I think I go there just because I need a smiling face and happy words. There are times when those things are more important than food.

Thai Garden – 4410 South 900 East – 266-7899 Lunch & Dinner Monday-Saturday


Illustration Friday: Reinvent

Filed under: Art and Photography — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Growing My Legs Back

I Got a Job Today

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 7:00 pm

I was offered a job today at a different firm. I’m really excited about this position because I will be doing work that is a lot more technical than what was asked of me before. I feel so lucky to have a job so quickly.

It only took a week! Yeah!

This job is going to take a lot of my brain power, especially at first, so I might not log in here too often. I will try to keep you updated regularly, but I have to focus on learning the new ropes.

Powered by WordPress
(c) 2003-2007 Laura Moncur