Shalom world!

10:38 PM Posted In , , , , , , , , Edit This 2 Comments »
I just had to show a picture of my dog... my excuse for not blogging regularly is that whenever I have time to, I always want to lay on the couch with her. She's just so precious! Luckily for all "y'all" (as my Grandma would say) she's stinky and needs a bath. Groomer tomorrow at 8:30am!! She doesn't look like it, but she was attacked by a coyote a little over a month ago in San Diego, and she was inches from doggy doom. Luckily with her IVs and collapsed lung, she didn't go to that warm, inviting light to doggy heaven. Or maybe she remembered seeing "All Dogs Go to Heaven" in her previous life as a French Princess and recalled that "you can never go back!"
---Changing gears...---
So it's been a busy, interesting week. I feel like I'm lying whenever I say that I'm busy since I'm only working part-time, but I'm never just sitting at home relaxing. I guess that will only happen when I retire. College is over, it's time to get serious. I did a lot of sewing of course, since I'm a superstar sister and quilter. I've been working on this quilt that I promised my brother and sister-in-law for their wedding (over 2 years ago) and it's almost finished. Also, Samantha sat on some kind of gunkitty-goo on the metro while holding her little boyfriend's hand and it threatened to destroy her pantalones. So, being an awesome person, I sewed some cute fabric over the stain.

The fabric is a scrap from a quilt that Alexandra is working on, so that was convenient. I bent a needle and a pin beyond recognition, but I make sacrifices for my love. Notice my cute toes to the right of the picture, with the big toe naked as the day I was born, and the other ones alternating white and black. I won't even try to explain what happened with that. Just smile, shake your head, and say "what a hippie." Also notice my mom and dad's sweet new rug.
This week has been loaded with interior design-ness from top to bottom. I went antique shopping with my mom most of Saturday, and she found a few pieces of furniture that were going to be ideal for the house. When my parents moved from Boston to La Cañada in August, there was suddenly a lot more space to cover. So anyway, the most promising was an Empire table, American, 1890, solid Mahogany for the entry hall. It is really beautiful, but of course we couldn't just bring it home because... my dad would probably have a hernia. And believe me, I know hernias. The ladies who we worked with were these spunky, vivacious, slightly tacky 70-year-old twins, Ann & Kay. If you're ever in Pasadena, you absolutely have to go see them. So my mom and I ended up going back for the table on Tuesday, at which point we hit up more antique spots and found more good stuff. So the cycle continues, and some day after dad has moaned and complained about furniture enough we'll get our way. I've never been that exposed to or interested in antiques, but now I'm in love. And even though I don't have my own place to put my own stuff, I saw a lot of potential in the old jewelry. It's funky retro chic is right up my alley, plus I would re-work a lot of it to make it look more modern (and therefore stylish, not kitchy), which feeds my need for working with my hands.
Anyway, after all of the antique business, we went carousing into Culver City, where there's this ridiculously amazing design store (like the size of a small home depot) called "Berbere Imports." Just the name is enough to make an African Studies minor like me salivate, but the inside was practically orgasmic. (My mom's mom would crucify me for that mark... when Meredith moved from "The View" to "Good Morning America," she used the word orgasmic and I heard about how inappropriate it was for a few days.) Anyway, it's all stuff from Europe, Africa, and Asia, and they sell to the trade. They have indoor and outdoor stuff, furniture, textiles, decorations, GIANT DOORS, you name it. They have these amazing, tall wooden doors that should be in the British Museum or something. They look like the doors of Jericho or a fortress in Assyria. I called them the doors to Narnia. So most of their stuff, I'd say, was Indian for indoor and Chinese for outdoor. They had killer Moroccan lamps and stuff, and the whole place was amazing. Well, we bought this cool little side table for the family room, which wasn't easy. You see, we were two lay-people walking into design Mecca, and it turns out that they only really sell to designers. But, we talked a cute guy into letting us have it, and I told him that it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. That is, after trying to solicit my services to him. I definitely mentioned both having lived in Africa and speaking fluent French, but he neither proposed to me nor hired me on the spot. Such is life!

This table is from India, about the height of my knee, and it's inlaid with either bone or lacquer. It's definitely cool. My mom said "A touch of ethnic is just perfect," to which I replied "a touch of non-ethnic is just perfect," at which we laughed and drove off into the sunset.

une grande dilemme.

7:27 PM Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »
After a fantastic, rather quiet weekend of antique shopping and old-French-movie-watching alone with my mom, my joy was brought crashing down around me as I made a sad realization: I'm pretty sure one of my sisters doesn't love me. We'll call her "X" for anonymity's sake: well I was with X driving to downtown LA to pick up a different sister, and before we were even pulled out of the parking spot X started berating me that I didn't have my cell phone with me. Now, never mind the fact that she didn't have her cell phone with her either, but she was practically crucifying me for not obliging to what she thought was a necessary nicety: how dare I leave the house without my cell phone? She was really honestly upset. So, as an attempt to protect our already rocky relationship, I told her that I wanted her to stop talking about it, that she was being too aggressive and I didn't want to yell at her or say something mean. I thought "wow, pat on the back self. You're being mature in the way you handle this situation." Well, she clammed up for the rest of the ride (1.5 hours) and didn't say a word. Now imagine a flashback from a TV show with all of the squiggly lines:
When we were little kids, I admittedly treated X like crap. My older brother used to kick me around a whole lot, and we get along really well now, so I kind of took that example on how to treat my other sisters. Turns out, it didn't work. She would tell her friends how incredibly awful and terrible I was to her, and they would in turn tell their older sisters (my friends) about it. Then my friends would tell me I was a total jerk and they couldn't understand how I could be so awful. I was ashamed and humiliated when that started happening, so I decided to be a better big sister. Well, that didn't work because she still hates me.
When I went off to college I had high hopes that absence would help to cure our problems. The first summer I came home went okay, but by the second summer she was telling me that I was a "fat, lazy, cow" and that was 30 pounds ago!! She started having this pattern of not wanting "share" people: if we had mutual people in our lives, she would either lose interest in them all together or become incredibly (and quite vocally) exclusive of them, and tell me how they were hers (in many more words.) Basically, she wanted nothing in common with me. And her personality went from sweet and shy to loud and in-your-face. And we haven't really ever learned to get along.
Back to the present, I have tried for a long time to improve my relationship with her. I buy her stuff, I try to talk to her, I try to spend quality time together, etc. etc., but she still is pretty aloof and cold towards me. And after dinner, after 5 or so hours where she hasn't looked at me or said a word to me, I'm pretty sure that she doesn't love me. I think that she likes me 10% of the time and can tolerate me about 50% of the time, and other than that, we're doomed. Why else would she persist to verbally abuse me every time we meet new people? It makes me look like a giant loser.

Caution: don't let the "happy mormon family" look deceive you.

un grand succès!!!

4:59 PM Posted In , , Edit This 1 Comment »
So yesterday was a day of successes for me! In the morning, I drove up to my office in Valencia to take Part II of my training test. On Thursday we took the written portion, and then were dismissed to stew in fear of failure at home until the oral portion the next morning. I got in there right on time, and my trainer Mario said that I had been particularly fabulous on the test: one other guy and I had passed with flying colors, and had been especially thorough and had kicked the hard parts' butts. So that was a fist-bump with my ego! Anyway, I took the oral part with the Program Manager pretending to be my autistic student. I had to run a lesson with her and correct a behavior problem, so I did! I definitely felt the pressure, I mean here's the Program Manager testing me, scrutinizing my every move! But it went well, and I got even more praise from Mari-izz-o for using several different disciplinary methods. Go me, fist-bump again. Or, as Ms. LaRoche used to have us do in the 1st grade, give myself a pat on the back :)
I got my schedule right then and there, and I had my first real live session yesterday! So I went to this little lady's house (I can't give any specifics, or I could be prosecuted.) She's almost 8, but has the verbal capacity of a 2 or 3 year-old. But she can read, and she's very sweet and has almost no behavior problems. I think she's going to be a really good first case, since she's pretty easy. I'm so excited! I was 45 minutes late to the house because their street has three segments separated by dead-ends, but it was cool... the Field Trainer didn't seem too upset, and it all worked out well. I'm the bomb, which everyone already knew, but... pat on the back Lauren!!!

Today in the news

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I personally am not good at keeping touch with the news, but I come from a family that's pretty well connected. The only thing I do with the newspaper is the crossword, and when I watch TV it's for the TLC reality shows or ABC dramas. Anyway, a few interesting articles have passed by me lately, and I thought I'd share two. One is for fun and fascination, and the other is for reflexion.
"Weird Beastie" Shrimp Have Super-Vision"

National Geographic is getting some free advertising from me tonight!! So I saw this crazy freaking picture scrolling through on the homepage of the aforementioned equivalent of ecstasy, and I had to read on. This "weird beastie" is a crustacean called a Mantis Shrimp (it's not a shrimp though), and the cool thing about it is that it can see 12 or 13 primary colors! So we see 3: red, yellow, and blue. This freaking thing can see 4 times the amount of colors we can! Infrared, UV, different wavelengths and polarizations, etc. My favorite part about the article was the ending: "What the significance of that is... not clear." These brazen scientists spent all this money finding fancy colors that they can't even see, for fun! Well, at least they're honest about it.
"Ex-USC student pleads no contest in dumping of newborn in trash bin"
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that USC was a pretty good school, and that you had to have some degree of education and sense to get in. But of course, Miss Holly Ashcraft didn't have enough sense to snap on a condom! This 23 year-old woman has dumped 2 -count 'em 2- babies in her short life-time. And of course, she is serving no jail time after her court hearing today. Once when she was 19 and once when she was 21, this chica has dumped her newborn baby like a sac of rotten fruit. Can anyone explain that to me?
As horrifying as this is, the most interesting thing for me was a reflexion from my mother. She mentioned that people are horrified about a woman dumping a newborn, but most don't even blink at abortion. She was saying this in political neutrality, probably because she didn't want to start a fight with her most flaming liberal offspring, but really it was an interesting commentary on our society. What changes in the 6 months between an abortion and the murder of a born baby that makes us go from apathy to horror? Just something to think about.

On the senses

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If had to lose any one sense, what would it be? Touch, sight, smell, sound, taste? It wouldn't be touch, because I love the feeling of my dog's fur, or the way water feels as it rushes past you in the ocean. It wouldn't be sight or sound, I love those sensations too much and the art that often accompanies them. It sure wouldn't be taste, because I'm kind of obsessed with food. I mean, imagine not tasting British White Stilton cheese anymore? Or Gouda with apples? It would definitely be smell. I could do without smell, especially gasoline, bananas, and Hadley's breath. I'm thinking about senses because of a few things: 1, I'm in pain. I cut a bunch of the nerves in my right pointer finger over a year ago with a notoriously stupid blender accident, and against my greatest wishes from my magic genie that I keep under my bed, they still afflict me. And my back has been hurting from the indentured servitude that began when I moved home. Would I be willing to sacrifice touch in order to never feel pain again? Or do I appreciate pain, because it makes me realize how great not being in pain is? That's sure a sunny outlook... sounds like something an African would say.

Reason 2, my mom just bought tickets to a Stevie Wonder concert! It's pretty awesome, because Stevie Wonder is pretty freaking awesome! For anyone that doesn't know her, my mom is this super classy, proper lady who was raised by strict Mormon parents in Bel Air. She went to Law School, always uses impeccable grammar, is embarrassed to use the word "fart," and won't allow thongs in the house. But somehow, thrown in the mix, my mom LOVES R&B. Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, The Commodores, you name the 70's black music and she's all over it. I'm not suggesting that this music is unclassy, just that it's an awesome, slightly unexpected facet of her deep personality. Stevie Wonder has been able to work through blindness at a time when it sucked to be a blind man, not to mention blackness in a time when it sucked to be a black man, to be a prolific, versatile, and extremely talented musician/singer/songwriter/long-braids-with-beads-wearer. Our family tends to love his albums "Songs in the Key of Life" 1 and 2, tending more to funky-fresh, less to the sappy old-school stuff of the 50's and 60's. In fact, the ring tone on my cellphone for family calls is his song "Superstition". And now I have tickets. Pretty freaking sweet.
Recommended songs:
Superstition, Past-time Paradise, Isn't She Lovely, Have a Talk with God, Sir Duke, I Wish, and Ebony and Ivory. Enjoy!!!

idk, my bff jill?

8:42 PM Posted In , , , , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
So watching that AT&T commercial, where the teenage disaster is texting up the yinyang, I always just laughed and thought it was pretty funny. Like oh, haha, that's funny. Well, that was until I moved home. Now, that isn't funny. It's sadly realistic... My little sisters Samantha and ESPECIALLY Caroline are texting freaks. They text all day! It's gotten to the point that my parents had to officially ban texting from the dinner table. Really, where has common courtesy gone? If my Grandma Carmack, the etiquette queen, lived with us, she'd drop dead. And you know what my sisters do? They sneak texts like little kids dropping their veggies to the dog!

So today Samantha was opening her birthday presents (Happy Sweet 16!!!!) and a phone buzzed. She dropped the fresh new clothes from H&M, very concerned that she might have a TEXT MESSAGE, the holy grail of all teenage communication. But "no," my mom said "Caroline's phone farted." Meaning, she got a text message. Which, to the rest of us in such a profuse quantity and while everyone is trying to enjoy togetherness and cake, is just as distasteful.
Luckily the evening wasn't a total waste... my mom made the connection between her favorite new adjective, "gangsta," and the Steve Miller Band classic "some call me the gangster of love." She sang it beautifully while folding her unmentionables.