Month: August 2012

Annoyed Women

So today I was watching some TV after going to the gym and doing some errands.  I flipped from King of Queens to Everybody Loves Raymond to Home Improvement.  At the end of all this channel swapping I felt depressed, depressed for me and for all women.  The women presented in these and many other shows are constantly irritated by their lives, jobs and especially their husbands.   These women seem to have a continual roll in their eyes and a groan on their mouths.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Its interesting because if you think of the history of TV it used to be the other way around.  For instance, in I Love Lucy Ricky was the man with the constant eye roll.  When did things change?

The thing that gets me is why would anyone want to stay in a marriage or live a life they are perpetually annoyed with? I like my life and if something is annoying me it is usually my own pride that is to blame, more than anything else.  Of course, I live alone so maybe I don’t have as much potential to be annoyed as others….

What say you my married friends? Do you find yourself continually annoyed with those you live with? Do these images of nagging women make you more or less likely to imitate their behavior?

I guess part of it comes from the comic standby of needing a ‘straight character’. Not straight in the sense of sexuality but just in the sense of comic timing.  If everyone is crazy, off the wall, it isn’t funny but if one character is normal in contrast to the crazy it is more humorous.   This can be seen in all of the famous comic duos such as Abbot and Costello or Laurel and Hardy.  I guess you have to have one character to the be the idiot for most humor to work but why does it always have to be the man? Couldn’t it be a little bit of both?

A show like the Big Bang Theory allows all of its character to be smart, stupid, crazy, funny and ridiculous at moments.   The men and women are the butt of equal jokes.   One of my favorite shows, the Middle, does a pretty good job with an even keeled humor between the sexes and spares the constantly annoyed wife routine.  (Most of the real humor in that show involves the kids).

Arrested Development created great humor by having a straight man (Michael Bluth played by Jason Bateman) surrounded by both male and female idiots and wackos.  That approach works well too.

The funny thing is that I rarely notice this behavior with one viewing.  Its only when I have a day of leisure and watch a number of episodes in a row that it starts to bother me.  I wonder if as a society we cumulatively view episode after episode if the annoyed women  can be damaging.

Maybe I’m just reading too much into all this?  Some might say- “it’s just entertainment, no big deal?  It doesn’t impact my marriage/life?”.

That may be true but the subtle messaging the media gives us can be important.  It can cause women to expect men to behave like animals and then encourage men to then behave like animals.  Most of us after all are what others expect us to be.

I would think viewing such programs would make women more prone to fault finding and feel validated in their anger and irritations.   Things that should just be ignored are played out on TV to a comic benefit, creating a subtle approval of such behavior.

I live alone so I am free from annoying people most of the time (one of the great advantages of my lifestyle!).  Still, I hope when I get married I am not perpetually annoyed by those I live with.  What kind of life is that?  Why not find something you like  if you are so annoyed?

Reality TV isn’t much better.  In fact it is worse! Instead of fictionalized harping of wives towards their husbands we get ‘real life examples’ of a Jon and Kate Goslin or Bruce and Kris Jenner hating on each other.  (Not to mention the scores of ‘real housewives’ who mostly complain despite all their opulence).  I don’t really watch much reality tv but it can get depressing real quick!

Of course, you can always turn the TV off and pick up a book, which I did today. (Although the annoyed wife is certainly prevalent throughout modern literature as well!).

That’s my soapbox for the day! 🙂

What do you think about all the annoyed woman on TV? Do you think it has damaging effects for men, women and relationships? (or maybe you are all just annoyed with me 🙂  Sorry!)

Best Sick Day Movies

Throughout my life when I push myself I almost always get sick right after (doesn’t bode well if I ever have a honeymoon! 🙂 ).  Even when I was in high school after a swim meet or play I would get sick the next week.  These are not imagined illnesses but real legitimate sicknesses.  It is then no surprise after my 5k that yesterday I felt unwell all day.  I tried to fight it through lunch with an old friend but when I got home it was official.  I was sick.  I wish I could stop this from happening but it seems no matter how hard I try with the positive self-talk my body can only take so much and it becomes vulnerable.

Anyway, today I was sick and despite a few emails (it is impossible for me to not work a little in a day!) I had the whole day to hang around.  What do you do when you aren’t feeling well and need to get in some healing time? Watch some movies of course!

Everyone knows I have a large DVD collection and I have no problem watching a movie again and again.  There are movies I have that I could watch back to back repeatedly.  I have whole scenes memorized.

So what movies do I reach for when I’m sick?

1. Guys and Dolls- The song Adelaide’s Lament is probably the best song ever written about being sick.

2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off- What we all wish we could do on our day off instead of being sick.

3.Disney Nostalgia movies like Parent Trap, Old Yeller, Mary Poppins, Pollyanna, Swiss Family Robinson.  Something about the nostalgic movies are comforting, like a hug from your mother.  I love these types of movies.  I wish that quality family films were more frequently made today.

4. BBC Miniseries- When you are sick you have lots of time in bed so what better than to watch a 7 hour movie from the BBC like good old Downton Abbey, North and South or Pride and Prejudice.  I can’t think of a much better way to spend a day even if you are sick!

5. TV on DVD.  I love to get out my series and watch a bunch of Simpsons, Cosby Show, Reba or The Golden Girls.  You can fall asleep for hours and just start a new episode.

6. Dorris Day romantic movies such as Pillow Talk or Calamity Jane.  Also Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday and Talk of the Town are favorite comedies that I could watch a million times.  Let’s be honest we are all a little depressed when we are sick and good laugh never hurt anyone.

What are some of your favorites?

Also- after a day of rest I’m thankfully feeling much better!

Deer Creek- First 5k Race

The big race has come and gone and I finished!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was such an awesome journey.  I still can’t believe that I actually did it.  It was so exhilarating.

At the 5k Turn Around

The day started early in the morning.  Having taken some serious sleeping meds I actually got a pretty good sleep. Then I ate my traditional pre-race breakfast bowl and headed to meet Michele.  Michele is my trainer and kindly agreed to kayak for me at the race.  For having only kayaked a couple of times she did great and was very encouraging.

Michele and I at the lake. I got a new swimsuit for the race, inspired by the amazing Olympians I’ve watched the last two weeks. Too bad my cap wasn’t red. That’d be perfect 🙂

We drove down to Deer Creek Reservoir and met up with my swim family.  Some of them couldn’t make the race because of other commitments and some were overseas helping Gordon Gridley swim the English Channel (great job Gordon!) .  But a lot of my friends were there and I really can’t say enough about the bond I feel with so many of the other swimmers. They are just the best, cheering me on, waving in the water, hugging me when I finish.  It is so wonderful to be a part of.

Charlie’s Angels eat your heart out! Sue, Etsuko and me medals in hand.
Kate and I
Etsuko and I

It took a while to get everything started but at about 8:40 we were in the water and on our way.  I did better keeping with the main group than I’ve ever done before (and I didn’t finish last! 🙂 ). The water was like glass, beautiful and it is a gorgeous lake. The only challenge was it was hard to find things to sight to because the buoys were small and not a lot of large trees or formations to look at.

Isn’t that beautiful. I honestly don’t understand how anyone couldn’t love open water! It’s so amazing to be swimming in such gorgeous settings. So much better than a pool!

I made it to the 1/2 mile length fast and was surprised at how I clipped along the first half.  I’m not sure what my time at a mile was but I’m sure its the best I’ve ever done. There was a bit of confusion for me at the 5k turn around but Michele touched me with the paddle and let me know I was going the wrong way!

At about that point I got cramps in both my legs.  My legs felt tight the whole morning and I was honestly waiting for the cramp to come.  I could feel it dying to come out.  I was scared when both legs started cramping but I was able to wiggle the cramps out and keep on going.  Honestly swimming was the best thing for the cramps.  It was only when I stopped that their mischief started.

I did 2 feedings during the 5k eating gel packs.  They are so gag inducing but do help with the cramps.  I also had a vitamin water this time and I love that!  It was sweet enough to give me energy without spiking my blood sugar more than it already was from so much exercise.  It also has electrolytes and other vitamins to help with the race.  It definitely helped me finish.

At about the 2:15 mark I made it back to the 1/2 mile buoy and as crazy as it sounds that last 1/2 mile was definitely the hardest. There started to be more boat traffic and the big lumbering waves boats make are tough (tough both for me and Michele!).  I felt like the finish line was never going to come.

Race finished!

Then I saw it and I pushed and pushed, practically sprinting the last 50 yards.  To finish you had to smack the finishing buoy which I did in enthusiastic fashion.  Done!  I had done it.  Me the overweight girl from Draper had just swam most of a lake.  5k! I still can’t believe it!

It honestly was one of the best days of my life.  Every swim I do is one of the best days of my life.  I’m so grateful to have such an awesome sport in my life and to be considered an athlete.  Who would have thought?

Thanks to everyone for your love and support. It may not be gold but I guarantee you no Olympian has worn a medal with more glee than I wore my finishing medal today.  Hurray!

Finished, done, another one in the history books! Hurray!

Now on to Slam the Dam!  Next goal 🙂

Sue, Etsuko and me. Charlie’s angel redo? 🙂
Done! Such a great moment

Thank you Granola

Tomorrow is the big race! All the preparation has been done and I think I am ready. Ready as I will ever be! It won’t be the fastest swim but I’ll get it done.  It will be super exciting when I finish but also a huge relief.  I wonder if I will ever be 100% confident that I can do these great things? Until I am every finish will mean excitement and relief.

Anyway, my trainer has kindly agreed to paddle for me and as it is somewhat of a thankless task I wanted to do something to say thank you.  But what do you get your trainer as a gift?  Tough question.  Certainly I couldn’t make her cookies or brownies! She also has a pretty strict diet (gluten and dairy free etc).

So after some thought I decided to make homemade granola for her.  I looked at a bunch of recipes online and then added my own tweaks. Next time I will probably make it a little bit sweeter but I think that is better for my trainer because she isn’t a big sweet fan.  Its a super easy process.

Homemade Vanilla Granola

Heat to 350

2 c rolled oats

1/4 c flax seed

1/4 c honey (I would probably put in more next time because it wasn’t quite sweet enough)

1 c diced almonds

3.5 tbsp canola oil

2 tbsp vanilla (I used my homemade vanilla)

1 tsp cinnamon

If you have dried fruit or coconut that would be good.

Mix all ingredients.  Lay out on cookie sheet with silpat or parchment.  Stir the granola every 5 minutes and cook until it looks golden brown.

 

It’s honestly as easy as that and to think how much people can charge for it!

spread them out on a cookie sheet and then bake
Finished granola (this batch had some dried cherries)
The finished package

 

 

I’m Building on Up!

The big purchase. Earnest money paid!

As everyone on facebook and twitter knows today I took the brave step and decided to sign a contract for a new build townhouse in Draper.  I about had an anxiety attack before signing the papers but I knew deep down inside that it was the right decision.  I had thought about it from nearly every angle and I think it will be a good move.  For only a $100 plus more a month I will own a home as opposed to renting.  It is viewable from where I currently live so no real transition there and will be much bigger.

The key determining factor for me (aside from liking the layout and space) was that I looked at worst case scenarios and it still seemed like a good choice.  If I were to say lose my job than I could get 2 roommates, 3 if I finish the basement and that could cover most if not all of my lease. Knowing it could work out even if things turned south really helped me make the decision.

The condo I had offered on was smaller and does not have the roommate potential of the townhouse.  The only real benefit of the condo is the kitchen was bigger but still the townhouse is a better choice. The resale value will be better than a condo and I can get most of the nice features of the condo.  One thing I liked about the model home is that everything I liked seems to be included in the basic package.  Things like granite countertops, wood laminate, upgraded carpet, 2 tone paint, large garage, soaking tub, etc are all included with the purchase.  Other model homes I’ve been in everything seems an addition.

I am surprised how quickly I made the decision but I had a limited time period to decide.  In fact, they may have had another interested buyer this morning and it was the last lot left! Phew! But in reality I don’t think the decision takes that long.  There is only so much data to look over and then the decision has to be made.  Sitting and stewing over it only makes me more neurotic and anxious.  Plus, its just the reservation so you have time to mull over little decisions like any upgrades or little financing decisions.

In some ways building is perfect for me because it allows me to take each step in small doses and it gives me the house I want (or at least mostly want).  Aside from approval process I don’t have to close on the loan right away, not until it is done (scheduled to be finished 12/31/2012.  Should be my biggest Christmas gift ever!).

Today I feel proud of myself.  I am officially a grown up (only took me 31 years!).  I’m a super independent person but for some reason I never thought I would buy a house by myself.  It just seems so big for one person but I’m doing it! Hurray! It just makes me feel like I can do anything if I can do something this big.

I’m actually excited for the next part of the process, picking finishes, and watching it get built.  How fun! If anyone wants to see the model I’d love to show it to you.  Thanks to all my friends for your love and support during this fairly anxious process.

One nice thing is the mortgage broker I was working with, referred to me by my uncle Tom, works for the same company as the builder’s broker.  That saves me applying to 2 brokers (I’ve already applied for 2 others, so 3 total and I think I have the best rates).   They will have my preapproval to the builder by Monday.  One less thing to worry about!

So there it is.  I am a homeowner in training.  Should be a fun 6 months!

Now on to my open water swim.  What a week!

Not Smiling All the Time

Sometimes I’ve wondered if I am doing myself a disservice by declaring myself as a ‘smiling lds girl’. Some who do not know me very well think I am perpetually cheerful but the truth is much more complicated.

The germ of the name started when I set up an email after my mission.  I was on such a high then that I really was smiling all the time.  I felt like nothing could be harder, nothing more intense than my mission, and I had done it, done it for God.  In many ways I felt invisible.

But such bubbles are made to be burst and they sure were.  It took just 2 years to get to one of the lowest times of my life.  I’ve talked about it many times but in 2007 I left a job that was like a black cloud in my life.  The details don’t really matter. All that matters is I was in a low spot and I had the courage to claw myself out of it.

With a renewed vision of my potential for happiness a smile was back on my face.  All of the sudden the moniker of ‘smiling lds girl’ seemed appropriate.  I also had a bit of time and decided to join the blogging world and gave it my email name smilingldsgirl.  My first entry was in May of 2008. The freedom of Joblessness.  Back then I said:

“my first foray into the world of blogging…It is hard to describe my last 6 months but let me just say that I am in the job hunt and I couldn’t be happier. I honestly think I will be a bit sad when I have to go back into the work force. There is something wonderful about living my life the way I want to without regards to supervisors, bosses or routines. I have always been a big one for planning but after a bit of a breakdown last year I needed a change more than anything.”

It was so strange because in the eyes of most people my situation might have appeared quite pitiable (no job, no man, overweight, etc) but I was happy as can be.  I knew that I had done what God wanted me to do.  In many ways it was the same feeling I felt after my mission.  I had survived and new adventures awaited me.

So I was smiling again.

I had a period of peace and then in 2010 the crazy health challenges started and really I spent a lot of the next 2 years surviving again.  I don’t mean to seem ungrateful because I have been incredibly blessed during this time but let’s just say it was harder to smile for a little while.   It was rough and I remember going to Hawaii and just thinking ‘ why can’t I be this happy all the time?’.  But I kept pressing forward and smiling in spite of it all.

Then I found open water swimming and boxing and started smiling again.  Now I can hardly envision my life without it.  What did I do with all my time before?  It takes up so much of my time and yet I do most everything (with the exception of grad school) I did before. I wish that everyone could feel the way I feel when I’m in the water.  It is joy.  It is smiling.

Honestly it makes me a little nervous because I feel like I’m smiling again.  What does God have in store for me? I am certainly going to enjoy every season of joy I get and try to store it up for the testing that will inevitably come my way.

I suppose I had my mind on this because I am thinking of buying/building a house.  It is overwhelming and I can’t help but feel it will make my life more complicated.  It’s just one of those seminal moments of life so it seems appropriate to feel a bit introspective.  I never thought I would buy a house by myself. It makes me excited and nervous for the future.  Can I do it?  Will I keep smiling?

The answer is yes, but it will be interrupted by periods of tears; and, I believe that is how God wants it.  If we think about Jesus and His life He was not always smiling.  He wept with his followers.  He mourned with those that mourned and comforted those that stood in need of comfort.  He even got angry on occasion when it was appropriate.

We are told to have a broken heart and contrite spirit.  I’ve had broken hearts in my life and each time I have come out of it smiling because I learned in those crucible experiences that God loved me.  That is why you need a broken heart and a contrite spirit because you simply need Him more in those moments than ever before.

So in the end, I am smiling deep down inside even in the tender moments because I know God is turning me into what He knows I can be.

Thank you to everyone who has loved me in the low times. Kept me smiling. 🙂

Grown Up Movies

So today I’m going to give you a few recommendations that might surprise you.  For years I had a no R rated movie rule. That was when I still had faith in the MPAA.  Now I have a different approach, I use screenit.com to find out what is in the movie no matter the rating.  There are many movies that only make an R rating because of language and while profanity is unfortunate I think it can be an authentic way of representing a character because let’s be honest some people kuss like sailors.  It just doesn’t bother me the way violence or sensuality does. I realize this is rationalization but there you go.

I think there are movies made for adults and are appropriate for just adults.  That doesn’t mean they are gratuitous or gross but just mature.

So 2 movies I would classify for mature audiences that I’ve really enjoyed lately are:

Friends with Kids- There is an unfortunate amount of profanity in this movie and some mild sensuality but I thought it captured quite well the changes that happens in adult relationships when children come into the picture.  Every couple seems to handle the stress and pressure differently.  Some need more support of friends, others find maintaining adult friendships to be a burden that they can’t deal with once the children come along.  This can be challenging for all involved.

Last year there was this article floating around facebook of a single woman complaining to an advice columnist about how her friend with kids never had time for her any more.  This letter made me mad because it was so over-the-top that any legitimate concerns the single woman (or other women in her situation) might have had  felt petty, selfish, cold and inconsiderate.  Surely they could have found a more nuanced letter expressing the same concerns?  I felt like the woman was a devil and all Moms were innocent angels.  Made me mad.  I felt marginalized by it and that the worst possible example of my lifestyle had been used to tar and feather us all.  After about the 30th read through I couldn’t take it any more and finally said something.

Quickly I started one of my longest facebook threads yet.  It was clear this change from urban tribes to having friends with kids is hard on both sides.  Each couple must deal with questions of how to manage their time, resources, love, and new families.  As a single woman,  I’ve had moments of true grieving when a friend seemingly moves on from me to their new family lifestyle.   I know young Moms have felt the same about their single counterparts. At the very least it can be suddenly hard to relate to people that were so relatable for years.  The problems of raising an infant can seem like another world from the problems of a single man or woman.  I’ve adapted and learned over the years but it can still be a challenge.

Even if there is no change in attitudes the differing time schedules can force a change in the friendship.  A friend you saw everyday or weekly may only be available for birthdays or special occasions.  This is reality and it has be adjusted to.  Certainly keeping the friendship is more important than anything else and worth any sacrifice but it can still be difficult for both sides.  So few movies or books really touch upon these transitions in a meaningful and enriching way.  In the end, I believe strongly that relationships can thrive after this transition and be even stronger as a result.

Anyway, that’s why I liked this movie.  I thought it  had a lot of good dialogue about the adjustment to parenthood or lack there of.  The story centers around Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeld who are friends that decide they want to have a baby and still date other people. They are tired of being left out of the parenting world that all of their friends are participating in (any singles or childless over 30 can relate to that feeling!).  They figure they can get all the benefits of raising a child without the messiness of dating, romance, divorce etc.  This is obviously a foolish idea but it works to get the plot rolling.

There are 2 other couples  that communicate with each other and with the group in a realistic manner, like I can actually picture all of them as real couples.  I particularly liked Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd. They are the most functional of  the couples and handle the stress of child-rearing with a lot of humor laden chaos.  Jon Hamm and Kristin Wig are both good as a couple that begins to burden their friends with their marital problems, risking the happiness of the whole group.

I can’t say  I have a cohesive group of friends as shown in the film (at this time at least) but I have lots of married and single friends, and I felt like I could relate to the dialogue.  It is a dialogue based movie  with many scenes  set in one apartment but it worked.  It’s also very funny, with humor coming from realistic situations, not silly slapstick.

My only wish is that they had included a truly happy single within the group but you can’t have everything in the movie. I think Hollywood doesn’t believe the truly happy single can exist.  (We think we’ve come so far from the days of Pride and Prejudice but look at the mopey ladies of rom coms and I don’t know!).   Megan Fox plays a girl who has no interest in having children and it is as if she wants to kill puppies.  A woman not wanting to have children, how can that be! 🙂

It is also a bit predictable.  We all know that Adam and Jennifer’s platonic plan isn’t going to end well but I just found the dialogue so engaging that I didn’t care if the plot followed a formula.

In the end, I really enjoyed it and for adults (particularly adults in their early 30’s going through this transition) I think it is a great pick.

Descendents- I know everyone saw this last year before the Oscars but I didn’t get around to seeing it until recently.  It stars George Clooney as a man who finds out his wife, who is in a coma, was having an affair (who would have an affair on George Clooney but it works).   George has been trying to raise his children carefully but they have turned into selfish brats anyway.  He is also the descendant of a massive plot of land on Maui island and he along with his cousins must decide whether to sell the property.  So, basically poor George is having a tough patch.

Everything in this movie felt authentic to me.  It felt like an authentic version of Hawaii, one where people actually live and don’t just surf.  It felt like actual father/daughter conversations.  The teenage daughter felt like a real teenage daughter.  Not overly rebellious or overly cute.  Just a real person.

Judy Greer is also in the movie with a small but impactful part and Matthew Lillard plays a believable and cowardly other man (again who would pick Matthew Lillard over George Clooney but it works).

Part of what makes the Descendants so good is that none of the drama is over-done.  Really not a ton happens but at the same time everything happens.  There is no last minute conversation with the wife.  No over-the-top moment of truth.  Everything is subtle, soft and perfect.  At least in my life most of the things that should have loud music accompanying it in my eyes, most observers would think ‘that’s no big deal. Just an ordinary life’.  That’s the point.  The drama of ordinary life.

The thing that is amazing is with all of that sadness the movie is quite funny.  It doesn’t feel drab or depressing.  I’m going to give some of that credit to the beauty of the islands but the script is good enough to portray real life with all its mixture of laughs and tears- sometimes all at the same time.

The Descendants is only for adults as it does have a fair amount of profanity but again it did feel authentic to the characters and how they would probably talk when going through such difficult situations.  None of it was for show or to be shocking.  There isn’t anything else offensive that I can remember but if you want to check look at www.screenit.com.

For both of these movies go to screenit.com read the content and decide if it is something you want to see.

So, there you go.  2 movie recommendations.  Let me know what you think.  And if you hate them.  Sorry!