Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Chanting: The Way to Family Unity

So my little brother brought up a funny family memory last week. It made him laugh out loud. He remembered playing a game with the sibs which consisted of many or all of the seven kids lying on my parent’s bed, heads on the pillows, in preparation for a round of “King of the Bed.”

But before the game could start, we would all begin a chant while kicking our legs up and down to get ourselves psyched up for the impending rumble. We would chant “De-feet! De-feet! De-feet!” Yes, this was a method to get the adrenaline running, but it was also an amusing pun in reference to the kick line of flying feet.

I then realized how chanting often accompanied certain family activities. Here are some of the all-star chants:

“A-roma! A-roma! A-roma!”

This chant occurred one day while Amy Lynn was downstairs “playing” school. Chip, Suzie Petunia , and I were the students. Emily, a toddler, came down into the basement with a very ripe diaper. Amy Lynn pinched her nose and began running around to avoid the stinky Emily and chanting “Aroma!” This quickly caught on, and soon we were running and hiding in a corners chanting “Aroma!” while Emily toddled over trying to catchus. As soon as she got close we would run to the opposite corner of the basement and hide. Emily thought this was great fun. So this game stuck, and to this day, when one of the nieces or nephews has a stinky diaper…someone will inevitably start chanting “Aroma!” until the problem is remedied.

“Terr-i-torry! Terr-i-tory! Terr-i-torry!”

The last stage of packing a station wagon to transport 7 kids and 2 adults across the western plains involves actually packing the kids. We sat/lay on luggage cocooned in blankets and pillows to soften the bumps of enough underwear and clothes to last 7 kids for 2 weeks. We immediately set up blankets and pillows between our bodies to avoid “He’s touching me!” moments. Mom and Dad would patiently wait out this epic land grab while we chanted “Territory!” until we were all satisfied with our personal space and we could get a move on. This would probably happen at least once a day as we left motels to continue on our way westward. Occasionally, the chanting would start up during the drive when someone’s territory had been invaded.

“Di-vorce court! Di-vorce court! Di-vorce court!”

This was a really obnoxious chant. My parents NEVER argued in front of us, and rarely uttered a tense phrase. So it made it all the more irritating that we kids would chant “Divorce court!” at the slightest hint of impatience or irritation. We thought we were hilarious.

And the chanting tradition continues to this day. I have noticed that we Aunts and mothers have chanted “Moo Baa La-la-la!” to numerous babies and toddlers. I have “caught” my nephew Jacob chanting songs and made up “raps” that go on for minutes (he’s 4!).

Todd and I have even caught ourselves chanting. We spontaneously chant or recite Beck’s “Loser” lyrics (our family anthem), but the strangest one of all is “Julianna Margulies.” All it takes is seeing her for one second on an “ER” re-run or hearing her name, and it’s inevitable. It will tickle our minds until it has to come out. We chant “Julianna Margulies!” a few times and then it’s purged and we can move on. But I feel that Todd and I are closer for it. Thank you, Julianna Margulies… (Julianna Margulies… Julianna Margulies… Julianna Margulies… Julianna Margulies… Julianna Margulies… Julianna Margulies… Julianna Margulies… OK I’m done…)
Julianna Margulies

Saturday, April 23, 2005

A Sensitive Subject

A self-conscious disclaimer: I really hope this isn’t an insensitive post, and by telling this story, I am not passing judgment. Rather this incident sparked a curiosity/wonderment that has stayed with me all week.

So as I was in Old Navy this week for the 9th time, I saw an old co-woker of mine from my Eddie Bauer days. I immediately hid my face in an effort to avoid eye contact, as is my social M.O. mainly because I don’t remember names sometimes…often…almost always.

But walking out to my car I ran smack dab into this girl and inadvertently made eye contact. So then we both fumbled and got the names straight. Amidst the small talk, I noticed she was loading her two adorable small boys into a fairly new white Escalade (the one with gold trim, minus the Moroni antenna topper…).

I remembered that her husband had been a student, and two years ago (the last time I’d seen her) he had joined the National Guard to supplement their income. She was pregnant, and worked part-time at Eddie Bauer to help make ends meet. They must be doing well, I thought.

So I asked, “How is your husband doing?”

“Oh, he passed away.”

I was totally shocked. “I am so sorry. When?”

“About two years ago. He was training in Tooele and was involved in a truck roll-over accident.”

I must admit that I was first shocked and second sad to hear this, but that my THIRD reaction was “So you bought an Escalade?” I didn’t say this, of course…

But as the awkward conversation dwindled, all I could think of was the Escalade. She has two little boys, and a HUGE, expensive, conspicuously extravagant luxury SUV.

People express their grief in different ways. Not to say she wasn’t grieving. But an Escalade?

Later that day, after much personal reflection, I assured Todd that if he died suddenly I wouldn’t buy an Escalade.

“That’s nice of you,” he said. “But if you die I’m getting a Ducati.”

Saturday, April 16, 2005

If I Were a Mormon Celebrity…

This is what my day would be like:

5.oo am Pray for 30 min., being famous requires a lot of “favors”

5.3o am Read scriptures for 30 min. making notations for Book of Mormon commentary I will be publishing later in the year. Drink a cup of Mockaccino, my own brand of Mormon “coffee” sold in fine food emporiums in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona.

6.oo – 7.3o am Work out with Utah-equivalent of Radu, trainer to the stars. LaVell will do, I suppose, although he tends to over work my glutes and neck muscles.

7.3o – 10.oo am Early temple session (all clothing rentals and breakfast in the cafeteria are on the house, of course…must also enter and exit through special “celebrity” entrance, no recommend necessary…)

Personal Assistant: Pick up white custom Escalade with gold-leafed chrome and custom Moroni antenna topper from car shop.

1o.oo – 11.oo am Appointment at Beehive Clothing for custom fitting

11.oo – 12.oo pm Sit for interview with Doug Fabrizio on KUER’s “Radio West” show…promote new book and CD. Harmlessly flirt…like we always do. Set up lunch date for next week to get my ideas for interesting topics.

Personal Assistant: Take documents to accountant. Make sure he sees the celebrity tithing voucher (only 8% this year!)

1.oo – 2.oo pm Book signing at Deseret Book in University Mall…overwhelmed by crowds…need police escort.

2.oo – 3.oo pm Photo shoot for modest swimwear . It’s the next big thing!

Personal Assistant: Field any calls from Sherry Dew concerning October’s General Conference suit. Tell her to go with blue.

3.oo – 4.oo pm Meet with acting coach about cameo role in Richard Dutch’s new “God’s Army II: In the Hood”

5.oo – 6.oo pm Dinner at Café Rio – order and pick up at celebrity drive thru

Personal Assistant: Remind Café Rio employees that on the celebrity stamp card it only takes 5 stamps to get a free meal, and if the meal is comped I still get a stamp

6.oo – 8.oo pm Secret Weekly Mormon Celebrity Seminar – Tonight’s guest host Michael Ballam on “Typecasting”
Tonight’s topics:
“How to Get Recognized in the Mall”
“Diet Coke with Lime: OK in a Paper Bag?”
“How to Act Normal in Church or in Public”
“Botox and the Word of Wisdom”
“The Face of Humility”
“Damage Control Series Part VI: When the Person You Are Dating Brings Your Ratings Down”
“Wedding Rings: I Do or I Don’t in Public”

9.oo – 10.oo pm spend quality time with family

Personal Assistant Reminder: Have nanny up bedtimes to 9.05 to squeeze out a few extra minutes for stress relieving yoga. Add to schedule.

10.oo – 12.ooam Answer fan email. Write daily blog for fan website. Lurk on other Mormon blogs to see if I’m mentioned, Google myself.

Personal Assistant: Continue to say nightly prayers for me according to list of things needed doing.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

On the Positive Side of Neutral

So yesterday, as I was participating in a charming “let’s take ice cream to daddy at work” activity with my sister, Amy Lynn and her three darling children, I passed by a guy who was standing in the building lobby talking on the phone. He looked familiar, and without much guessing I knew it to be a former fellow Scottish Mission missionary.

I said (rudely butting in, for he WAS on the phone),”You’re “M”, right? You were in my mission…” Notice how I said he was in MY mission? Why does it always have to be about me? Oh yeah, because I’m a narcissistic-egomaniac who is also surprisingly shy….See how I go on about myself?

He said, “Yeah, you’re…(wheels turning) Sister Oscarson.”

“Well, you’re on the phone so…” I said as I continued to make my way through the lobby and up the stairs. I wished we could have chatted a little since he happened to marry the sister of someone I know well (the one and only Christian f ), and it would have been a pleasant thing to make that connection.

Once I passed on by he continued his phone conversation, as is proper, but then I heard him say to the person on the phone, “Yeah, I just saw a sister from my mission…creepy…”

Creepy? CREEPY?! Did running into me necessitate the description of CREEPY? I am many things (see above) but I am not, nor have I ever been, CREEPY.

It WOULD have been creepy IF:

1. He would have run into say, 6 other sisters from his mission that same day…
2. He had recalled to that very person he was talking to a witty antidote from his mission that involved me just as I was walking through the door…
3. There is a girl who looks just like me who he THINKS is me, and she stalks him day and night…

What is NOT creepy is a person just recognizing you and saying “hi”.

While HE looked pretty much the same, I do as well if you just take the missionary me and stuff 40 lbs of adipose tissue under my skin concentrating heavily on the butt and thigh regions. No big whoop. But maybe this former Elder “M” finds weight gain “creepy.”

All I can say for him, and maybe this is all anyone can ever hope for after not being seen for ten years, is that he looked on the positive side of neutral. I definitely would have taken that over creepy.

Certain creative acknowledgements should be made to the one and only Kacy .

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

My Civic Duty

Doug & Me
This is me and Doug. Doug is one of my favorite interviewers on the radio. Doug is politely looking on as I foam at the mouth.

So I signed up to volunteer at the April fund drive at ,KUER 90.1 FM…you know, the NPR station.

Important motivations of note…I wanted to:

1. Contribute to something I love in a meaningful, and tangible way
2. See the behind the scenes workings of a station I listen to EVERY DAY (I was surprisingly right on…except I didn’t see the big digital clock that ticks away, down to the tenth of a second, by which all programs, news casts, and announcements are timed…I know there is such a clock, I just know it!)
3. Work side by side with like-minded NPR loving individuals
4. See if I could get any of the free “swag” brought in by sponsoring companies
5. See where I will be interviewed when I am famous
6. Meet Doug Fabrizio (I’m a HUGE fan of the local host and sometime “Talk of the Nation” substitute…)

And each and every motivation was fully realized and satisfied, except for the big clock thingy…

One unexpected pleasure, I met and talked with some really interesting people while waiting for phones to ring. One girl, Portia, was also a Doug fan, and had a pressing question for him after his show. She wanted to know from Doug, after his interviewing of Martha Beck and two Nibley siblings, which party gave the most credible story. How juicy! Who WOULDN’T be interested in THAT response?

I waited in the hall while Portia cornered Doug and asked him the pressing question. I thought he would give her a quick answer which I could evesdrop upon and then bust in for my photo op, but instead he said, “That is a great question…Would you like to come in [to my office] and sit down to talk about it?”

Being incredibly intelligent, instead of introducing myself at that point and participating in the conversation (ah!...the chance to sit at his feet and hear his response!), I just interrupted and said, “Oh, hey Portia, before you guys get into it can I ask you to take a ‘fan photo’ of me and Doug? I’m Carrie Ann, by the way…

Doug: Nice to meet you, Carrie Ann.
Carrie Ann and Doug are standing next to each other facing the camera phone.
Carrie Ann: I forgot to wear my badge.
Doug: What badge?
Carrie Ann: The “Doug Fabrizio Fan Club” badge.
Portia: Where do you get a badge?
Carrie Ann: You make one…
Doug: Don’t tell me there really is a fan club?
Carrie Ann: No, but let’s just say you have quite a little following…
Portia: Yeah, and it doesn’t hurt that you’re so cute!
Doug: (laughter)
Carrie Ann: Oh, we liked you BEFORE we even knew what you looked like.
Doug: (Laughing) Oh really?
Carrie Ann: Yeah, I thought you were blond!
Doug: (Laughing) Really? You thought I was blond?
Portia: Not me, I prefer brunettes…
(Slight awkward pause…)
Carrie Ann: Well, thanks!
Doug (to Portia and Carrie Ann): Well, are you going to be here tomorrow? (Explains tomorrow’s show…New York Dolls interview…the drummer converted to Mormonism…sounded great…)
Portia confirms her pending attendance on the morrow, and Carrie Ann acts vague.
Carrie Ann: That sounds fascinating…Well, nice to meet you…

Portia and Doug enter his office (the inner sanctum) to discuss juicy topic, Carrie Ann exits the building…in no hurry… just moseys on out.

Now some of you might wonder: “Why didn’t you just stay and hear all about it?” To those of you who ask this…I have to say, “I don’t know.” But here are some possible explanations in list form:

1. Carrie Ann is socially awkward
2. Carrie Ann was just a little “star struck”
3. Carrie Ann does not like to appear like a foaming fan

So that’s it. You all should really listen to NPR more. It makes you smarter, but no less socially awkward. In fact, socially, the fact that you support public radio can be slightly irritating. How many times in a day can you hear “I just heard recently on NPR…” come out of my mouth, or anyone’s mouth for that matter?

Support you local NPR station. Donate generously.