Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sheer Comedic Brilliance

Today, I found out that one my friends has joined the ranks. These ranks aren't anything you'd wish upon your worst enemy, but alas, some of us end up in there anyway. So, when I found out that said friend has now experienced the qualifying procedure for the first time, I had to commiserate. Oh how I have been there...multiple times. BUT, the silver lining? So has Dave Barry. And OH. MY. GOSH. It cannot be expressed any clearer than this. Enjoy.

Sheer Comedic Brilliance

(I must warn you: if you are a member of the ranks, do not attempt to eat or drink anything whilst reading. Chances are, it will be involuntarily expectorated from somewhere, as laughter is sure to ensue without warning.)

(If you aren't a member: count your many blessings (one-by-one works best). You will laugh, but sadly, you will not be able to understand completely. Wait...scratch that. It is in no way sad...lucky dog.)

Scariest environment imaginable...'s all ya gotta say...

How terrifyingly brief does "3 years" sound to any of you, eh? Three short years. One for each letter I suppose. Moses, gracious. 2011 = P, 2012 = h, 2013 = D. 2014...who the heck knows..... Ok, I'll go shiver in disbelief elsewhere. Three years......sheesh....

(FYI: I'm really ok with it. I know HF makes all things He requires plausible. I just
sporadically buckle under the magnitude.)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Stay tuned for greatness!

Promise. When I post our FHE family's collaboration (for this year's 233rd Oscar night), you won't believe your senses! The sights! The sounds! SERIOUS COMEDIC GENIUS sealed with the Official Stamp of ELLA Approval...comin' our excited...stay tuned...

As a precursor to the quilt that has been sucking my will to live...

Where to a nutshell, I have (somewhat) recently made quilts for two of my dear friends' babies. They were each difficult, time-consuming, and well worth the effort! (Long overdue shout out to my fam for answering my expectant calls with willingness to help repeatedly...somebody share the blog-ccolades with mom.) Each quilt, having begun as my brain-child, is my pride and joy. They were each created specially for children that I couldn't love more if I tried.

That said...I work at BYU: Land of the Spool, Home of the Pfaff, right? So, all things home-makery must be shared...pretty sure its in the employee handbook. ;) No, truthfully it is fun to show people who can commiserate with you on the difficulty of such undertakings. This, my friends, is what came back to stinking bite me in the keister! Long story short, one of the more domestically challenged females at work confronted me about making one of my creations for her forthcoming grandchild. I, assuming she had to be joking, laughed along with her. To my dismay, she was serious, and my will to live has been slowly fading for the last 1.5 months as I created a doozey for someone I don't even know and a baby I will never see. Lesson learned: amount of energy required for such creation is inversely related (Kate, ask Chelle) to level of connection with recipient...don't do it again.

BUT, as a precursor to the official unveiling of the new beauty, I decided to share the two quilts for people I really cared about with you now. Only one pic of each...just a taste...

(Friends: love me enough not to spread the pics; Enemies: consider these copyrighted...seriously, big guys with guns...)

Here's the 2nd...

Because I can't get my computer to let me have more than one pic on one there a trick to that? (Seriously been on the front lines against my compy for a while now...)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A non-need for a women's restroom exists!

Today, as I slipped into the refuge awaiting me on other side of the familiar faceless stick figure with a triangle skirt, I knew immediately that I was in a place that rarely sees visitors. Crabtree Building (the College of Engineering building). Fourth floor. Women's Restroom. chirp.................... Wow. I've never felt so invisible in my life! Just then, the gawking that had followed me throughout my entire voyage in this building registered. Ha! I'm a foreigner...awesome. So, into the stall I went, closed the door, and turned the little handle-doohickey to lock it. It swung back at me. Eh? I repeated. So did it. What the? AH HA! Further evidence that NO ONE uses this restroom: the locks don't lock! The too far apart for the lock to work. Hee hee!!! I then proceeded to giggle aloud at the thought of dysfunctional door locks in the Engineering building...the very nest-egg of ingenuity in our culture. Well done, boys...well done. How are they supposed to know? It's the women's restroom, right? I laughed all the way out the door, again, taking notice of the shocked double-takes. That's right, I'm female and I'm in your building...calm down, Barely-home-from-your-mission-for-two-months Computer-lover, I'm leaving now.

Yes. That's me, same girl, driving away in a truck. Shocking, I know. My mad loader-tractor skills would probably stop you dead in your tracks, Summer Sales. Move along...

(My apologies to all the brilliant female engineers in the go girl. You were obviously quicker on the ratio uptake than I.)

(It suddenly occurs to me that this is my second post concerning lavatories in as many weeks...pensive stare into space...)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Welcome, one and all...(oh, and an FYI)

Well, I wasn't sure I was going to go public with this thing (see second post), but apparently you're kinda public anyway...shows how much I don't know about the blogosphere. So, welcome to the World of Ella. You should be my follower!!! (How hilarious is that term?) Thus far, it is simply my rantings, but never know...maybe one day I'll buy a camera and start into that digi-realm...

However, as some of you know, I will officially be a PhD student beginning in September 2010. I know, right? SHEESH, what is Education Karen thinking?!?!? I have no idea, but I'm along for the ride...for a few more years. But hey, when I'm done, I'M DONE!!!!!

Anyway, I digress....WELCOME! I hope you enjoy...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Semi-aghast compliments abound

I suppose by now I should be accustomed to the semi-aghast compliment of, "You look GREAT!" issuing from the mouths of the unsuspecting, but...alas, I'm not. I mean, thanks and all, are my professor...of semantics...with a comb-over. What would your wife say? ;) Luckily, all plausible nasty-old-man fears were put to rest by the shock and reluctance overwhelmingly plastered on your face and the accompanying stammer, buddy. I, too, have wished for life's "Control Z"...I understand. Thanks for the compliment. I'll try not to sneak up on you anymore... :)

(just to clarify...this was not meant in ANY way to be interpreted as cocky)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Confusing Putrescence

Deep thought of the day: how is it that some delicious foods can reek of the putrescence of a dirty diaper when finally released from their cooped-up container? An honest question for the cosmos. Why must one hold the nose when opening something as divine as potato chips? What is that? OR, boiled eggs! A great source of morning protein..til the smell of it makes me lose the lunch I haven't even eaten yet. Also on this list as of today: tuna, pre-mixed the night before with miracle whip. Whoa! STAND BACK, Bessie! Sheesh...

The biggest consternation, however, is that there is only enough of said putrescence for one whiff! Without fail, the next breath I (usually have to) struggle for is completely normal...bordering enticing! What IS that? Such an anomaly. Inexplicable, fleeting putrescence.......boggles the mind.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Back by popular demand...

Awesome. I figured I would include this story on here at some point, I just hadn't gotten around to it yet. But, Chelle really wanted it, so here ya go. (next post down) Stay tuned for other stories that I'm not sure I shared with everyone. They will venture from the hilarious to the intriguing, but as always, I hope they will be entertaining.


Karen's House of Dating Horror

Originally written March 2010 (*names have now been changed to protect the innocent):

Ah, the joys of Karen's entertaining life...sit back, relax, and let me take you on a classic Utah County dating experience. One for the ages, I'm sure. But as a precursor, I must ask that you please not judge me based upon this story alone. Had you been here, you would concur, I promise. Onward. As with most of my stories, background info is essential................

There I sat, patiently waiting in the best place in the world: the temple. My friend Brumhilda, being a bit more on the high-maintenance side, is always slower than me after we come out of initiatory. But I didn't mind. Sitting in the temple for any extended period of time is a treat....or so I thought. See, Hilda is a relatively newly endowed member, and oh-so-adorably terrified to be there alone. So I'm very conscientious about that, and I stick close enough for her to see me whene'er she comes out of a locker room or what-have-you. So, I chose a chair in the girls locker room, next to the cutest little old harmless temple worker lady. Doh.

Ten minutes later, the not-so-cute-and-harmless-as-I-thought woman had pelted me with a bazillion questions about myself (MAY DAY! MAY DAY!!), during which I had divulged my love for sign (WE'VE BEEN HIT!), and subsequently, she concluded that I was meant for her single son, him being an interpreting student at UVU (aka "UVSC high"). Dang gina. HILDA!!!!!!! *funnier with the actual name, but alas...* Hurry the heck up, Crazy! We can fix your dang make-up later! Oi. Too late. By the time Hilda was ready to go, I had been presented with a little paper and pencil intended for my name and phone the middle of the locker room. Too many eyes watching to just run I conceded. Boo.

Fast Forward a couple of weeks. Here we find Sick Karen lying in bed, coughing up a lung every 30 seconds with the beginnings of bronchitis. She is in the midst of sleeping for three days straight when her phone rings. Does it even register? Nope. Sleeps right through. Good girl. Turns out it was the son calling. Oi. Prudent (and Smart) Karen put it off for a while with a congenial text that warned of her pending illness and how she had no intention of spreading it to anyone. Perfect excuse. Whew.

Fast Forward again. Not to be deterred...he made contact again two weeks later...last Wednesday. Now, breaking from our story for a bit: you should know that I have tried to be a bit more open to dating. Turns out, I really don't like it. :) No, really. I mean, some day I may find someone that makes me like it, but thus far, the new Karen (who gets quite a bit more attention than old Karen is used to) isn't really enjoying it that much. So, I berated myself and decided to be a good sport about going out with Temple-stranger's son...I mean, ya never know, right? No. You do. You always know. Remember that. Also, don't take candy from strangers... Back to the story.

We had decided to do lunch on Saturday (two days ago) at 1:30pm at Zupas...nice, relaxed, cheap. However, on Friday night at 11pm-ish, it dawned on me that the #13 Cougars would be hosting the #10 New Mexico Lobos in a brawl to beat all at the Marriott Center at 2pm that same day. NOT A GOOD IDEA TO TRY TO BE ANYWHERE IN THE NEAR VICINITY. So, I texted Bartholomew and said just that. So, suddenly he changed the plan to 2:30pm (after the traffic) at Carrabba's...a lot nicer restaurant. What the? Fine. Whatever. Free food.

Again, we must journey from our plot for a time. Now, I think I've mentioned in previous chapters that my skin has recently (not so recently anymore) ventured back into the teenage acne scene. Stupid skin. So, in a valiant effort to look my age, I decided to drop my tax return on Proactiv and Bare Minerals make up. So far, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the make up...I don't have the skin care yet. Now, back to the point.

On Saturday, I fought with myself all morning about going. Go. No. Go. No. Go. NO! GO!!! I SO DID NOT WANT TO. However, I'd just received my new fancy make up in the mail, and I decided it'd be fun to have a reason to try it out, right? Whatev. So, after a while, Cordial Karen won out, and yes, I straightened my hair, put in my contacts, and put on my new beautiful make up. Now, you're going to hear me say something (or read it and hear me say it aloud in your head) you've probably never heard before. But, DANG GINA, I looked HOT. :D I know, right? But,'s a little more common now than it used to be. But, really though, it was mostly the make up....but I looked GREAT. I came downstairs in jeans and a nice shirt, but Sheniquah protested that jeans weren't nice enough for Carrabba's. Bah.

After I changed, I looked even better. So, I left the house reluctantly, and went on my way. About half way there, I got a text from him, "I'll be wearing a UVU t-shirt and tan jeans." ........What?........ "What?" on a few different levels: 1) I WAS wearing jeans! dang. 2) Tan jeans? Really? Uh oh. See, I was nervous that this person, whomever he may be, was a lot younger than I was...mostly because his mom had told me that he was going to school at UVU to be an interpreter (a BA degree ) I assumed he was younger. However, the foray provided by the "tan jeans" comment alerted me that we were in for the TOTALLY opposite problem. Oh man...

As I pulled into the parking lot, I actually caught sight of him walking into the restaurant. Honestly? (...don't judge...) I had to force myself not to drive most recent misgivings confirmed at first sight. As I watched the balding plait of what can only be described as a 30-something year old (maybe older) trudge into the restaurant WITH HIS LAPTOP BAG IN TOW I thought, Oh dear heaven above... HF and I had a real good chat after that. I actually sat in my car for the next 10, maybe 15 minutes allowing the incessant inner-warring between pride and courtesy to run amok. Finally, after a lot of talking aloud to myself, I decided that HF understood that if I went on this stupid date, it should be my ticket straight into the celestial kingdom, husband or no.

When I got inside, he was nowhere to be found. Seriously nowhere. Carrabba's has quite the waiting area, but 2:30pm, there just aren't that many people (plus all of Utah County was cheering on the Cougs....who failed, btw). There was, however, one little old lady sitting there watching me and for a split second, I almost upchucked at the thought of his mother being there as a spy...but I'm pretty sure it wasn't her. At least that's what I told myself to clam down. Anyway, couldn't find him anywhere. I must have looked really confused because the hostess said, "Can I help you?" "Uh...maybe?" "Are you meeting someone here?" "Uh...maybe?" "Well, there was a single guy in here, but he went to the bathroom a long time ago." ....................Nice. (If I weren't a nice person, I would have left right then.)

He did finally come out of the bathroom, laptop in tow still. I stood up to greet him, and bless his heart, he almost fell over backward. He came to quickly and asked where I wanted to sit (he had apparently asked where we could sit before??). I chose the room off to the side, not for any other reason but this: I figured with the laptop in tow, he probably intended to show me something dealing with sign language (that having been the ONLY connection his mother had made)...which meant he'd probably bust out some sign at some point, and I HATE signing in public, everyone stares at you. So I chose the room off to the, the crazy man had a computer with him...who does that?

Anyway, so we sat down, and he busted the laptop out, right away...weird. Then, SERIOUSLY, the 2nd, MAYBE 3rd thing he said to me was this, and I quote, "So, my mom researched your name..." .....................................(so caught off guard I simply stared and continued swallowing the water that had SO NEARLY projected from my nose just moments before, as he misread my indignation as interest)...................."Ya, she did! And apparently, if you go back far enough, we're related." And then he smiled a terrifying smile that was probably meant to be flirtatious.

WHAT THE WHAT?!?!?!? Did you? Just? Really? Seriously....where's the camera? Am I on some awful LDS dating show? I mean, seriously...with that line? Are you freakin kidding me?

And it only went downhill from there. I was carefully trying to discern what I should order, not wanting to order something extremely pricey if he didn't, but he said, "Order whatever you'd like, truly. It's all at your feet." (whatever that means) I actually opened my mouth to order a steak and shrimp combo I had been eying, but just then he cut in, ordering first, and got a SALAD. What? Shnat...change the mind quickly. (I ordered Cannelloni instead...but OH MY it was divine. The only reason worth being there, actually. Stuffed with shrimp, scallops, and lobster. Heck ya. Yum.)

Actually, there was one part of the discussion that was fascinating, and that is that he used to be deaf. He fell off the table when he was 6 months old and hit his head so hard that it jolted the bones in both of his ears loose. No one had any idea until he was 7, when he had reconstructive surgery on both ears. Unfortunately, one of them couldn't be healed, but the other has 70% hearing in it now. That part was very intriguing.

I wish I could remember all the awkward things that were said, but I've been concentrating on forgetting them instead. :) Oh it was bad. Ooohhh it was bad. At one point while he was ranting about something (still not sure what), he waved his hand as if to brush something annoying away and said, "But that's football. I hate football, so that's not important...." Seriously...this man is the anti-Karen. No matter how many times or different ways you say it, the fact is, "My parents really need me," is NOT an excuse for still living with them (having never left) at age....who knows....but old enough that it's problematic. The sweet little waitress was brilliant and came in to check on me more than usual...she was great. About half-way through I realized that I had forgotten to call my sister for backup. I intended to have her call me at a certain time so I could use it as an excuse to leave if needed, and I COMPLETELY forgot! DOH! When I realized it, I must not have hidden it very well, because my eyes got all big and he stopped his story and said, "Are you ok?" "Uh..yes, yes I'm fine." I then proceeded to devise a plan to get my cell phone out of my pocket and text said sister...'you can't do that, he's RIGHT THERE! So!!?!? Well he's deaf, not blind you idiot, he will SEE it!'

At some point (it's all a hazy blur now), he busted out his HOMEWORK on his laptop and asked for help on figuring out how to sign it. I knew it. Excuse me? If I'm supposed to be your tutor, you should be paying me, not buying me food....awkward. He also had brought along all sorts of gadgets to show me. (??) One of them was actually quite cool, but only because I'd use it in my ASL classroom, but still, he handed it to me and let me play around with it (unsuccessfully) for a second before he 1) GOT UP, 2) WALKED AROUND BEHIND ME...ya, you see where this is going. No worries, Healthy, Anti-dater Karen has cat-like speed and reflexes...I ducked out of the way with such finesse, he didn't even seem to catch it. I then continued to lean over so far I was in danger of falling out of my chair until he walked back to his seat...but just to be sure nothing was misread, I spent the rest of the time with my arms folded and legs crossed...AWAY from him. Out of nowhere, while we were still sitting down he said, "Well, maybe we could get together again some time." Uh, that's a he-- no. "We'll see," was all I said.

Luckily, I didn't need my backup plan after all. Shortly thereafter, the waiting staff came in and started arranging the room for the evening rush. He was like, "well maybe we shouldn't stay too much longer." I jumped on the idea, "Yes, actually, I have to meet someone in ten that was great timing." And I stood up. No, I didn't have anyone to meet. Yes, I lied. No, I don't care...even to this day. I actually started to leave while he was still packing up all of his gadgets, but he did catch up with me and hold the doors open. I had had enough. As we walked out and down the steps, he said again, "Well, so..." I said, somewhat abruptly, "Well, thank you for lunch and good luck with your homework." I had conveniently parked VERY NEAR the door for precisely this reason/scenario. I was in my car before he could even blink, basically. Oi. Oh dear heaven.

I acted very normal and even suppressed the giant shudder that was building inside my spine until I was out of sight. As I drove away to my meeting with no one, I GOT A TEXT. Ya, that's right...before I even LEFT THE PARKING LOT. Oh my. I slipped into a parking space on the other side of the mall and headed into Nordstrom to engage in retail therapy. The ADT (After Date Text) contained the following, and no, I'm not kidding: "Karen, I enjoyed your countenance...." amongst other things. (See. Told you it was the make up. ;) ) WHAT THE H? oh my. My countenance is flattered, thank you. But no, I have no intent to ever see you again actually...sorry. Since I told him I'd be meeting someone, I didn't dignify it with an answer until about 6 hours later. After much deliberation (truly, we were nice and we tried to think of the best way to cut off the conversation completely but still be congenial), I sent the following: "Thanks for lunch." Done and done. Two hours later, he texted me again and gave me his email, professing to have some really funny emails he wanted to send me. Nope. I didn't even answer that one. It would not be right to I am a-feared it would lead him on (in some odd way).

Aaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnndddd SCENE.

It has been two days now, and I am recuperating. :) I'm certain that, other than being a funny email for you, this storied "30 years old and still single in Utah County"-esque date can be chalked up to nothing short of a waste of time...though I may return to Carrabba's for more of that divine cannelloni...


We hope you've enjoyed your evening of entertainment, here, at Karen's House of Dating Horror. Please allow time for your eyes to adjust to the lights as they come on, and file out courteously, row by row. Thank you for joining us. Drive home safely, and we hope to see you again next it is sure to occur again....

Monday, March 15, 2010

Autonomy...and the Nazi Bathroom

Seriously? Today, I had to run to the bookstore on campus, and while there, Mother Nature called. So, I headed into one of the many women's (couch-equipped) restrooms in the good ol' WILK. Now, I'm proud to report that I've been potty-trained for nigh unto 29 years now. I'm a master at such complicated tasks as deciding how much TP to use and even flushing the toilet. However, apparently not any longer. I sat there astonished as I read "automatic/automatique" on the toilet paper dispenser...that's right. Our right to choose the length of (or quantity of squares of) feather-weight 3-ply has been revoked, folks. (While we're on it, it doesn't matter if its 10 ply if each "ply" is so see-through a mere cough in its general direction could rip it to shreds.) So, given the rationed amount, I composed myself narrowly missing the automatic vortex-flush that began as knees straightened. Sheesh. Next time, I will be faster...

My autonomy continued to dissipate as I semi-patiently waited for the soap dispenser to register my hand awaiting it, and the schizophrenic faucet to scald and then subsequently freeze the lather off of my hands. Really? I used to be an accomplished luke-warm Dang.

What really got me though? The final act in the Nazi Bathroom. The paper towel dispenser. Obviously, in such a non-autonomic place, this would spit out a predetermined-length towel too. I waived my hand repeatedly at it. Waved and waved and no avail.

What? No automation? You mean, I actually have to exert effort to get a paper towel?!?! Here, at the end of such an agency-sucking experience, they expect dripping hands to fumble the already wet spinner-thingy (that only works occasionally) in order to get some sand paper to dry my hands on. Hmmmmm.........

(Btw, how come only the French visitors at the WILK get the forewarning? What about the rest of the foreigners...shouldn't they know about the non-need for decision-making too?)

(Ooooooooooooh, and what happens if the "automatique" gives out, eh? What then? What if my TP is being held hostage by the dysfunctional dispenser??! Pretty sure I'd go all kamikaze at it...take no prisoners...just enough to satisfy my TP needs....)

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Epic Tale of Me and the Gym...the Wrong Gym

When I decided to write this experience down, I shared it with a few close friends...who promptly laughed their cans off. So, I decided maybe I should share it with a few more...who again, laughed raucously....hmmmm. 30 some-odd forwards later, this, my friends, is the real reason I started this blog. To share insanity like this, with the rest o' the world. Enjoy. Yes, it is all true...

Originally written in October 2009:

Ladies and ladies (because I've vowed I cannot reveal this story to the other gender), I present to you a thrilling tale of action, adventure, and...well, comedy...because it's me and my insane life (as insane as Provo can get). Some of you may have been previously apprised of the first act of said story, but for the benefit of future generations (and my stand up comedy act), I decided to do a Julie Andrews and start at the very beginning. After all, I hear it's a very good place to start...

After multiple months of drive-bys, I actually did it. I joined the gym I'd been stalking for quite some time. HOORAY! But that, my friends, is soooo not the beginning. Boring as history may be, a bit of background will help explain my pseudo-insanity. Let's journey back. Close your eyes and picture me cruising along in my freakin' awesome green hybrid Camry, actually accelerating up the hill into Orem instead of wearing out the floor beneath the gas pedal of my crappy old Contour just to barely crest the hill at a meager 20 mph. Anyway...I, the old Gold's on State in Orem has a new face. A boxing gym. Oh how I've wanted a punching bag for so long. Inspired by Julia Roberts (Runaway Bride) and Sandra Bullock (Miss Congeniality), the idea of taking my frustrations out in such a cool way settled in my mind and has festered ever since. Thus, my desire to join this gym began almost 6 or 7 months ago.

Fast forward to when I met my good friend, Laura. She is fantastic, and in one of our many chats she mentioned that she loved her kickboxing classes at that gym!!! I about jumped out of my skin! The idea that I knew someone who belonged to that gym and liked it was quite the energy surge. But I knew the real Karen. I knew that she must be tested. So, I didn't allow myself to join at the beginning of the Summer...nooooo. I forced myself to prove that I REALLY wanted to join. I would have no more of this pittering away a monthly stipend to some warehouse full of Arnold Schwarzeneggers and Carmen Electras. No no. I'm a 30 year old woman now. If I'm gonna spend my hard earned money (I say as I sit in my office...on the clock...typing this email...), I'm gonna do it up right. I wanted to KNOW I wouldn't waste my money any longer. Lo and behold, the end of the Summer came around, and with the cosmos aligned, I decided to make my move.

Armed with the knowledge/reassurance that Laura loved her time at this gym and my renewed sense of anti-couch-potato verve...I once again cruised up the hill to said gym. This, my friends, was Monday night. I told myself I wasn't going home on Monday without joining that gym. "The time has come," I scolded myself, "to be the healthy person you know you should be, Spanky. Now." I pulled into the parking lot and zoomed right into a giant man-truck forest!! No kidding. Not to be deterred, I pulled safely into a spot nestled in a thicket of gargantuan monster-truck wheels topped with shiny trucks littered with questionable window clings portraying images rarely found in precious Utah County. I briefly wondered if there was some sort of invisible barrier that didn't allow such nasty man-trucks into Provo, causing their owners to leave them parked at this gym in droves...nope. As I walked into the gym, I found all the owners inside, matching their trucks outside right down to the personality, tattoos, and piercings they were all sporting. Yipes. Press on, Diligent Karen, press on.

The next few minutes went by without much ado, though a few important "det"s garner a nod for the story to make sense. 1) I knew Laura liked this place and the workout she got here. 2) The male tanning-bed addict at the desk was actually quite helpful and informed me that on Thursday, October 1st, the current "sale" would be gone and the price of joining the gym would almost triple...seriously. 3) I'd been waiting for 5.5 months, convincing Prudent Karen that we really wanted to do this. 4) I meandered around checkin' things out...some of which looked ominous, but I was sure that, while this was a gym to train fighters, the classes sounded like they would be an awesome workout, just like Laura had said. As I left a few minutes later, I had a new bounce in my step. I was finally gonna get back in shape...heck ya. Happy 30th to me!

Tuesday dawned and I actually got up on time, readied early, and packed my "gym bag" for the first time in, I'm ashamed to say, about three (maybe four) years. Wow. Holy huge leaf overturned. Whew. Powered by road rage from the chaotic streets of Provo, I reached the gym and changed at lightening speed. I felt a bit out of place in my granny-like workout suit of gray capri sweats and BYU t-shirt, but I didn't care. Nothin was gonna stop me.

And the Lord said, "Be humbled," and it was done. Oh my gosh. The next hour of class crawled by at "negative" the speed of light. I've never seen time go by so slowly. Scratch that. I couldn't actually see. I couldn't do much of anything about 8 minutes into the class.

We began by warming up. Jumping jacks. Got it. I can do that. I've even mastered the non-chalant, half-extended, "I-workout-so-much-I-don't-
even-need-to-really-lift-these-guns" arm movement. Bam. I have arrived. "SHUFFLE!" called the mutant, 19-year-old, squatty, muscle-elf (who I realized was our teacher) two minutes later. Shuffle? Oh. Bounce back and forth with the fists at the ready. Got it. I can do that too. Sweet.

*For those of you now paralyzed with fear concerning me jumping up and down and the damage that could ensue, rest assured. I took the necessary steps/time to plaster everything into place with not one, not two, but yes THREE layers of way-too-small spandex tops. Prudent Karen required that all precautions be taken to save me from giving myself two black-eyes on my first day back. No worries.*

Two minutes after that, "___________!" Didn't even understand what in the free world Elf-teacher said! WHAT?! Even to this day, when I try to recall the word, the only thing that pops into my head is "HERPES!" which, Lord bless, is not actually the correct name of the next event...though such an expletive could have correctly labeled many of the "hoochies" surrounding me who were now repeatedly jumping with knees tucked to chin, landing squatted, popping out to the push-up position, back to squat, and up in the air again with knees tucked...nasty little spanky-pant clad robots. HA!!! (As I recall, I actually did laugh out loud.) "Here goes nothin," I thought as I jumped and tucked. OUCH, there's the ground. Now push-up! "Whoa," as my kiester weighed me down dangerously close to the floor...truthfully, on my way back to squat, I nearly accidentally somersaulted myself trying to heave my legs back up under my can as my already-half dead arms almost buckled. I succeeded in accomplishing 2.5 of these. .5? Yes, .5 because on the third, the sagging actually made contact with the floor and I was spent on this exercise. Surely class was almost over.

"It's only been six minutes, now ______________!" Evil teacher. All those blows to the head knocked the time-telling out of you? To my Seriously. 6 minutes in and I wanted my couch back. He'd already given two commands I didn't even understand. Should have left right then. I did survive warm-ups, though there was a lot of standing which earned me lots of glares. Bite me. I'm old.

The next event was ...the demise of the use of my left arm for three days running now. I wish I were exaggerating (took me 10 minutes longer to wash my hair this morning than usual). Paired up "strategically" by Star Squatty Fighter-man (who, incidentally, actually changed his pants RIGHT in front of us when he first arrived...seriously...but it was ok, I can do jumping jacks with my eyes closed...), I spent the next 30 minutes getting pummeled by Angry Hooch, who was taking her frustrations out on me. See, Elf-teacher had decided to aim his grotesque fighter-flirtatiousness at Ex-Female-Fighter-Skank instead of her. I paid dearly for such pairings. For a girl who is training to be a fighter, she was actually nice to me. But in the grand scheme of things... She had to let me borrow her gloves because Male Tanning-bed Addict had assured me incorrectly about the need for any equipment. I don't think that helped. So, for the first 15 minutes I was supposed to be hitting her. Well, not her per se, but the arm guard things she was holding up. I know I hit like a beast, so I was going a bit, let's be honest, I was exhausted already. She critiqued me occasionally but mostly shot furtive looks over my shoulder at the couple whose prospective children would seriously frighten Hagrid. I hit. I hit and hit and hit. When you hit, you have to keep your arms up at all times. They're supposed to reside close to your face...funny how my physiological make-up prevents such a stance... But I did it. It killed me. I sucked my water bottle down like it contained the Fountain of Youth...seriously. It was now her turn. OUCH. OUCH is all there is to be said. The arm guard thingys, while vital, are HEAVIER than the gloves, people! And I'm supposed to hold them up continually to guard myself?! Seriously? I held back on her, remember? She did not return the favor. Oh my gosh. One time she nearly broke my glasses (whacking the arm guard so hard it hit me in the face). Another time my arms gave out at a particularly inopportune moment and she bruised both of the ladies! NO kidding. OUCH. "Keep them up by your face!" Whatev, crazy semi-female! You ain't aimin for the face right now, beast! Oh my. Oh my gosh.

As I am alive to type this email, you already know I survived...but BARELY. "Ok, Cooldown!" Finally. The last 10 minutes of class had arrived, though about a century later than expected. "10 minutes of abs! GO." I'm sorry. Either I aged enough during this never-ending torment that I lost my hearing, or raging Angry Hooch knocked my ear bones loose. What did you say? That's right, peeps. 10 MINUTES OF ABS TO COOL DOWN. And no, they weren't kidding. The robots mechanically flipped over like stuck overturned bugs and started. I turned around to slowly get down and saw the rest of the room now filled with guys waiting for the next class. (@#*$&)@#$*(% That's what. The annihilation then spread from physical to emotional as I feebly kicked out one, maybe two cruncher-based thingys they were doing in front of at least 20 male bouldery-looking forms that probably used to be human. Wow. Just wow.

Some sadistic freak put the locker room on the second floor. I all but crawled up to the privacy of the women's locker room and collapsed on the changing bench. Seriously. I couldn't really see straight. I was involuntarily almost upchucking every 10 seconds. I forced myself to lie down on that bench for at least 15 minutes before I could even comprehend standing again. I felt like I was in a movie. I seriously blindly felt around for my water bottle and handicappedly doused myself with it, managing to get a few drops into my gaping mouth. I was lucky to have enough synapses left to get that out of my shaky arm.

Some time later, the door opened and pride kicked in. As I catapulted into sitting position, so that no one else would see me, I swayed and blinked the stars out of my eyes. I couldn't sleep here. I finally got my locker open on the 10th try (new lock) and mustered the courage to leave with feigned dignity. As I slithered into bed that night, already having downed the pain meds, I thought to myself, "Wow. I must have gone to the wrong class. I'll have to check with Laura tomorrow." It was exercise, and it did kick in endorphins once the semi-traumatic conditions melted away...I was just out of shape, right?

The next day I thought I would be stuck in my bed forever. If I could have given myself an IV of extra strength Morphine, I would have. OW to the Nth degree. I made it through life to my new office (on the 2nd floor now...great) and to my computer. During a chat with Laura she invited me to go with her to the class that night. Uh...conflict of interest. I really wanted to go with her to the right class to reassure myself that I had made the right choice. I really did...but brushing my teeth was a miracle that day. Sneezing was WWIII! Could I really take it again? Yes. Yes I could. I agreed, though that night when I had to encase myself in spandex again with every muscle screaming, I wondered where Sane Karen had wandered off to...

Here, my friends, is where the story becomes comical to the teller. For 5 - 6 months, I've wanted to join this gym. Since the beginning of the Summer, during that fateful conversation with Laura about her gym, I have known I would join. We have talked about it more than once since then. But not until we were GETTING INTO HER CAR to head to the class together...that's right. Mid-squat, with little tendon cells dying off with fierce rapidity, one of us said something that instantly clued both of us in to the biggest over-sight I have ever made. WRONG GYM. You heard me. For FIVE MONTHS, we have been chatting, and I somehow got it in my head that she goes to this gym. Nope.

I tried to act like my earth hadn't just been rocked and sent her on her way to a kickboxing class at Golds (a normal I thought I was going to get), and I turned around and started back toward my house with my jaw scraping the blacktop of our parking lot. How in the world could this have happened? My mind cranked into high speed as questions, concerns, regrets, and fear all boiled inside of me. I had signed a contract! But you almost died on Tuesday! I had to get out of it, would I be able to? Maybe I was just being wussy. Should I stay? Should I really train there and get back into serious shape?! What in the world? How could this have happened?!?!?!? How did I get mixed up?! But I've wanted to join this gym forever! But you almost died!!!


I did return to my gym that night. I did cardio on the eliptical for about 15 minutes. (I actually love the eliptical when I'm not a walking heap of goo muscles that can't respond even if they wanted to...) I got off and went down to chat with Ugly Elf Teacher Beast who, I realized, is actually missing part of his ear...Evander Holyfield much? I talked to him point blank about what to expect, how to get better if the class I attended was, in fact, LEVEL 1. (And by "get better" I meant survive.) When I left that night, I was overcome with the intense desire to get out of it. It was an even darker place than I had recalled in my half consciousness the night before. I'm not sure what caused me to lose more sleep that night, the incessant growing pain or the nagging thought of the huge mistake I had completely unknowingly walked straight into...

If I thought I was in pain the day before, I have never been more wrong. Yesterday was the most painful day of my life...and I've broken LOTS of my body during my time. Oh. My. Word. I'm sure the people I work with are tired of the gasping and wailing issuing from my cubicle all the time. I sneezed yesterday and cried for ten minutes because my entire core shook with pain. And that doesn't even begin to touch my arm. Luckily, its my left arm...the appendage I need the least right now. I can walk. I can write. It takes both hands to open my mini-fridge on the left of my chair at work, but that's ok. I'll survive. But I might need to go to my doctor to be sure that I didn't do any lasting damage during the three days of complete insanity I incurred this week.

I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to get out of that contract, even if it meant a $350 mistake. If they didn't understand, I was prepared to hand them the money to get out. As I unfolded my copy of the contract that I had unceremoniously stuffed into my purse without reading three days earlier, I got very nervous...what if there wasn't a grace period? Oh well. There were more important my life. Heavenly Father loves me. That's all I can say. On the morning of October 1st, three days after I'd signed up, I ditched work and headed straight to the gym to tell them about my horrible mistake. Three days. Three day grace period, and I was there on the third day. I'm adult enough to know that things like this are a good enough reason to be SERIOUSLY annoying. When I got there, the people I needed to see "weren't there." Fine. I made her write two messages and give me their phone numbers. I wrote the most detailed letter of intent of my life...with times and dates right down to the second. I was NOT about to let them ignore me until the 4th day. I finally felt right about a decision regarding this gym again, and I was going to follow through. I called them more than once that day. I didn't care. When the woman finally came to the phone she assured me that she'd take care of it. That didn't suffice. I forced her to email me the confirmation of cancellation and credit to my account. I will win. They took, I swear, years off of my life...I will take years off of theirs until they let me out for good.

As I drove away a free but broken woman, my senses unclouded and I just...I'm just glad I didn't stay. Truth is...we're told to stand in holy places for a reason. And, all jokes aside, that was not one. I'm sure there are lovely people who go there to workout (like my friend Kara I saw), but in not the place for me.

So, on I tread, on the path to diligence in health. I'm so much farther than I used to be, that this little detour won't set me back that much. However, until full use of my left arm is restored...pretty sure boxing or gyming of any sort is out of the question...but I have quite the jewel in my comedy arsenal now.

There you have it, friends. The most recent chapter in the crazy life of Karen.

Love you all.

me...insane, half-dead me.

I have arrived.

I'm finally here. This has been a long time coming. I'm currently debating on whether I'm going to publicize this puppy or not...I figure if I don't tell people I have a blog, then it could serve as more of a journal. Who knows? I guess we'll just "let the chips fall where they may," eh? I'm not exactly sure how this blog is going to work, see...I should find out in the next week or so whether I have been admitted into a PhD program here. Which would obviously take over my life. However, I do have the occasional blog-fodder-esque experience that I usually color up in a nice little entertaining read. Those stories are most likely what will reside here.

Randomness from my life, or those who influence my life, whether they know it or not.

Well, in an effort to get this blog goes nothing.

Welcome, to the world of Ella...........