Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Some Pictures I Didn't Take and a Video I Did

I wish this post was starting with a picture of my car in the parking lot of Scorez Sports Bar, parked in the twilight with its drivers side door wide open.

If this post started that way, it could continue with the story of how Amy had debated whether she should bring her "old lady" purse into the bar or leave it in the car.  And how, after I had promised to lock the car, she had decided to leave it.  And how, when she asked if I had locked the car and I pushed the lock button again just in case, the headlights didn't flash.  And finally how, when we walked back toward the car, I discovered I'd walked away with my door wide open.

If I had told that story, it probably would have been pretty funny.  (I did actually take a picture of that particular moment, but it is somehow missing from my gallery.)

I wish I'd taken my phone out a few times at the bar to more accurately document a first for me.  Yes, I am 32 and have never been in a bar.  Correction.  I am 32 and had, until Friday night, never been in a bar.

I wish I'd taken a picture of the pile of clothes left on the floor of my closet that didn't make the cut as I tried to pick out an outfit that seemed to fit both the categories of faithful-LDS-mother-of-three and someone-who-doesn't-look-ridiculously-out-of-place-in-a-bar.  I texted Amy to ask what a Mormon wears to a bar, and thankfully her second response, "Just wear what you would wear anytime you are going out to a play or whatever," was a lot more helpful than her original, "It depends whether that Mormon wants a guy to buy her a drink or not!"

I wish I'd taken a picture of the 7UP and Coke we ultimately ended up getting for free because the bouncer who tried to ring us up didn't know how to handle an order of just soda.  After asking another employee, he just told us to go ahead and take them.  :)

I wish I'd taken a picture of the creepy guy with a cigarette behind his ear who came and sat at our table, attempted some ridiculously awkward small talk, and did - in fact - offer to buy me a drink.  Guess I chose the right outfit.

I wish I'd taken a picture with the 50-something woman in the ridiculously short pink skirt who seemed willing to dance with anyone with legs - which ended up including me and Amy.  Ultimately, I think she was the reason I ended up having a great time.  If no one cared how stupid she looked, surely I could get up and try to dance a bit.

I wish I'd taken a picture with the band, or at least with Violette Femme (Amy Dalton) and Molly Crew (Michelle Davis) who were the only reasons I was at sports bar in Lehi until 1:00 a.m.  At least I took a picture of them, but I wish I had one I could caption, "We're with the band."  By the way, Violette Femme is pretty hard to get a picture of because she's pretty much always moving!

Mostly, I wish I had taken a picture with Amy so I could post it and say how grateful I am to have a friend who can make the most random outings seem like the best night ever.  I don't know too many people who would have dealt with my seriously awkward first hour and then dance like a fool with me for the last 2 (even if we didn't know the song).  Not to mention driving clear to Lehi to see my sister sing and not getting home until 2:00 a.m.  I'd like to have a picture that would prove that I'm pretty lucky to have a friend like her.

But mostly I was having way too much fun worrying about whether we'd have to get up and dance to evade smoker-dude, dancing like fools to "Hey Mickey," being a ridiculously proud big-sister, and people-watching, and I just didn't end up taking many pictures.  Hopefully next time (and there will be a next time!) we can get a bigger group together, and I can remember to document my slightly less impressive 2nd time at a bar!

And for those of you who want to know what you missed, I did manage to record most of one of Michelle's solos (in the interest of full disclosure, she mostly sings back-up).  Enjoy Molly Crew singing "Black Velvet."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Girls Camp Eve

Apparently I was excited to attend Girl's Camp for the first time and wrote about it in my journal in 1994:

Camping in a tent - crowded with 10 people
Sleeping in a bag - I don't think I'll sleep well.
Eating frozen food - cold and not so great.
But all that is wonderful, after you wait.
Sometimes camp is tiring - sometimes not quite so.
And the bathroom really stinks - but you've got to go.
Tricks don't seem appealing - when they're played on you,
But playing them on others is a fun thing to do.
Also you learn stuff - like how to build a fire.
Or live without that communication thing - a telephone wire.
I am only 12 so I've never been before.
But I think Rough Camp has more fun in store!

Here it is, 20 years later, and I get to go to Girl's Camp as a leader.  I'm all packed, and I'm interested to see if my nerves let me sleep tonight.

I hope I packed everything.
I hope I won't miss my boys like crazy.
I hope I can remember the melody to the camp songs well enough to pass them on to another generation (turns out I only remember the harmonies).
I hope I can go four days without shaving my legs.
I hope I like the food.
I hope I can match the energy of all our new beehives.
I hope I won't go through withdrawals without my phone.
I hope I will have a great time, but that the girls' time will be even better.

Here goes...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sound Off: 44 Things Every Short Girl Can Relate To

I'm not even that short.  I'm a pretty respectable 5'3", a full 4 inches above midget status.  I'm the tallest of the Casdorph daughters, and I'm even taller than one of my sisters-in-law.  Sometimes, I wonder if I'm even actually short (or if being married to a 6'3" guy just makes me feel short).  Having read the circulating list, however, I no longer have to wonder.

6. Frankly, you can’t reach anything.

We were lucky enough to get custom built-in closets when we built our new house (Kirk was friends with the construction supervisor and we got a killer deal).  The whole process was pretty cool; basically, I stood in each closet and described where I wanted very shelves to be.  The guy marked the walls with a pencil, then built exactly what I had asked for.  When discussing the requirements for my walk-in closet (Kirk has his own), he actually had me extend my arm to my full reach to see if I could adequately reach a standard-height closet bar.  Proud moment: I did not have to have him lower the bar height!

However, that doesn't mean my little grey stool doesn't travel from room to room with me, helping me reach the upper shelves.  It lives in the kitchen, though I frequently use it in the game closet, my walk-in closet, and in the pantry.

7. It actually feels weird when your pants are the proper length, because you’re used to them being too long.

I bought a few nice pair of business pants after I lost my post-Dylan weight.  Having finally adopted the ballet flat trend (I was a very late adopter), I quickly realized these nice pants were going to look ridiculously sloppy as they pooled at my ankles.  The handy work of my neighbor, Cheryl, meant that for the first time in my life, my pants didn't require 2-inch heels to make up the difference between pant leg and, well, leg.

The skinny pant trend, however, comes with a pretty easy built in alteration.  Take a look at my ankles on any given day, and you'll see a 2-inch cuff.

8. Dress codes are unforgiving. You actually look like you’re drowning in fabric if your skirt or dress reaches your knees.

I actually don't mind knee-length stuff at all (which is good, considering my chosen religious dress code).  Instead, I find this to be one area where being short is a good thing.  I can wear a lot more straight-off-the-rack summer dresses than my taller and equally religious-dress-code-restricted friends.

9. “Wait, no. You have to wear heels or I can’t stand next to you all night.”

Kirk has never asked me to wear heels.  He really doesn't mind our height difference.  But if I actually want to be able to dance with him or appear in the same cropped photo, I choose heels.  The heels I chose for our wedding day not only required my seamstress to make fewer alterations to the length of the dress but would have bridged at least a bit of the foot gap between our heights.  I say "would have," because the heel of my right shoe broke early in the reception line.

Thankfully, Kirk really doesn't mind if I occasionally do this:

11. You don’t always have to squat in the front of photos.
12. And if you’re not in the front of photos, you might as well not be in them at all.

I was always grateful for my elementary classmate Thayne Cullimore who was kind enough to take turns with me for the title of "shortest in the class."  (His little sister, Kira, offered the same service to Lisa.)  In fact, being on the Middle Row was an aspiration no Casdorph girl would realize until Michelle came along and gave her best effort at being average height until her classmates grew, and she didn't.

13. Your yoga pants are all ripped at the bottom.

Yep.  Any pants I wear regularly without heels are missing a chunk of fabric in the back where they've been stepped on too many times.  I chuckle silently at the thought of "floods."  Never gonna happen to me.

14. Boys like short girls more.
15. …because you’re “easy to throw around.” Hmm.

I've always been okay with this phenomenon.  In retrospect, fighting against boys who thought it was funny to try to put me in garbage cans or lockers (just because I would fit) was probably a pretty odd way to flirt.  But it worked for me.  When I met Kirk, he discovered that it was kind of fun if, while I was lying on the ground, he would grab me by the waist and place me upright on my feet.

16. Middle schoolers are taller than you are.

Correction: Most middle schoolers are taller than you are (except the ones destined to be you).
Many 5th grade students are taller than you are (which makes me a 5th grade teacher fun).
Some 2nd grade students are taller than you (though thankfully this is an exception).

Whenever I have a need to walk down the junior high hall at the school where I teach, I do so with wonder and amazement.  I don't remember feeling so little when I walked through the halls of my own high school, but maybe that's because Emilee Andersen was kind enough to be both my best friend and just as short as I was.  I guess there is a certain comfort that comes from walking with other short people.

17. When you’re sitting, your feet don’t always reach the floor, and you don’t care how childlike you look swinging your legs.

I checked as I read the list.  My toes touch the ground when I am seated at the kitchen table, but if I flex my feet, I can achieve a really great swing.  Couches are the worst, though, because they punish short people both for having a short distance from knee to foot (or cushion to floor) and for having a short distance from hip to knee (or back-of-couch to front).  The worst is when the end of the cushion hits below the knee, impeding the ability of the joint to bend.  Ottomans are my friend.

18. You can’t dust the snow off the top of your car, because you can’t reach it.

People do this?  I am generally unaware that three dimensional objects have a side labeled "top."  Take the fridge for example.  The front is where the water dispenses.  The side is where the magnets stick.  The bottom is where small toys go to die.  But the top?  I literally cannot see it.  Hence the rule at our house: if I can't see it, Kirk can put anything he wants to up there.  Top-of-fridge is his domain.

19. You don’t think it’s weird to have friends who are over a foot taller than you are.

Or husbands.  I actually wrote in a journal once that I wouldn't date anyone taller than 6'2", because I wanted to have less than a foot between me and my husband in height.  But I bent my rule to marry Kirk.  What I didn't necessarily bargain for was spending time with Kirk's 6'4" brother Mark, or his 6'5" buddies Kevin and Nick.  It's no wonder I have neck problems.

21. You see as much of the performance at a jam-packed concert as you would if you were listening to the radio.

Me at a sporting event when everyone jumps to their feet in excitement: "Can't we all just watch this game SITTING DOWN?"  Standing ovations are also not my friend.  Even with tiered seating, I often cannot see above the shoulders in front of me.  I

22. Cooking dinner becomes an acrobatic experience, because you regularly have to hoist yourself up onto your kitchen counters to reach things.

It's not terrible in my own kitchen or even in my mom's kitchen, but the 9 months we lived with Kirk's parents was quite a struggle.  All the important things in their house are kept on the 2nd or 3rd shelf (the ones I save for things I rarely need).  I remember once trying to be a good daughter-in-law and cleaning the kitchen.  I stood on my tip-toes, straining to place the stack of plates in their correct place 2 shelves up.  I managed to slide them on top of the existing stack, but something about the angle and the pressure pushed the entire collection out the back of the double-sided cabinets.

Another time, Kirk and I had arrived early at his parents' house with the ingredients to throw together some cupcakes.  I searched the kitchen for some muffin tins.  I opened every logical door and drawer, finding nothing that seemed logical.  Each storage space housed the types of items you rarely use in a kitchen - items my family reserves for the top shelf.  It was then that I realized I was searching like a short person.  As soon as I checked the higher cabinets, I quickly located the pans - logically placed above the double oven.

23. Before reading this sentence, you didn’t know that normal-sized people can see the hoods of their cars while they’re driving.

I have heard this rumor before.  Statements like this remind me of when/how I found out my dad had actually modified my first car so I would be able to see a bit better.  When Jack was 15 and everyone was a bit concerned whether he would grow enough to drive the Jeep my dad had waiting for him, my dad casually mentioned, "I wonder if I will have to modify the seat like I did for you?"

"Like you... what?"  I responded.

He went on to explain that he had customized the seat of my 1989 Hyundai Excel, allowing it to permanently do what many cars are capable of now: adjusting the height for a short driver.  I had no idea he had done this until 15 years later!

26. There’s at least one item of clothing from your childhood that still fits you.

Childhood?  Not really.  But teenagehood?  Yep.  For years, I've kept the shirt I was wearing when my first Richard Thorup asked me if I would be his girlfriend (and coincidentally was wearing again when he kissed me on the steps as I was leaving his Halloween party).  Will I ever wear it again?  Not likely, seeing as how it is so 1995, but it still fits.

Technically, I guess I did wear items from my childhood for Halloween once.  But I'm not sure "fits" was the right description.  (Halloween 2010: Kirk and I both went as SYTYCD contestants with the skirt and jacket coming from a box in my mom's storage room full of dance costumes.  I quit dance when I was 12.)

28. Your head is an armrest — as if everyone’s arms are just so tired all the time that they need constant resting.

I actually love this, and I cannot wait to have sons tall enough that they will start to use me as an armrest.  I think it is cute, and I don't mind being of service.

30. Your “big growth spurt” shot you up to 4’10” from 4’4”.

I actually never had a growth spurt.  I was consistently short, growing just enough to keep up with the bottom of the growth chart.  But I do remember being 4'2" in 5th grade.  My best friend Rosie and I were discussing the song "Five Foot Two" with the lyrics, "Five foot two, eyes of blue," and changed it to "Four foot two, eyes of brown," to accommodate my physical description.  Incidentally, she was 5'2", probably the beginning of me getting used to tall friends.  Also incidentally, we're about the same height now.  :)

32. Maxi dresses. Lol.

If I wear a maxi dress or maxi skirt, I had better be prepared to get the hem of my skirt caught under my foot.  Repeatedly.

33. Amusement parks become a constant “Are you tall enough for this ride?” joke.

I didn't suffer from that too badly.  However, I struggle to understand how my kids can be tall enough but not brave enough.  I would have given anything to ride Colossus as a younger child, but I just didn't mean the height requirement.

34. If you know an 11-year-old, his favorite party trick is making you stand up to show people that he’s taller than you are.

Thankfully Adam is only 9 and currently only just past my shoulders.  However, it is likely that when he is 11, this will start happening.  Currently his party trick is showing others than he can carry me.

35. You were always first when you had to line up in size order.

Actually, not always.  But I definitely knew to head to the short end.  I have had my small successes over the years.  For example, 2 weeks ago at a Fife extended family barbeque, I proved Kirk's cousin Kelli wrong when she tried to insist I was shorter than her.  Short?  Yes.  The shortest?  Actually, not usually.  And aware of who I will beat in a back-to-back line up?  Definitely.

36. Peepholes are pointless.

We opted not to bother with one in the new house.  We're going to use the window, which I can see out of.

37. Wearing jeans when it’s raining is your own personal torture treatment.

Picture me in the parking lot, as high atop my tip toes as I can get without toppling over.  I also have a fistful of fabric in each hand, trying desperately to keep the hem of my pants out of the puddles.  FYI, this method is not usually successful, and Kirk just laughs at me.

38. No one can fit in the driver’s seat of your car, and the amount of time it takes for them to electronically adjust it makes it feel like the vehicle itself is mocking you.

When I remember, I adjust my seat if I know Kirk will need to drive my car.  And he has an established procedure: adjust first, then climb into the car.  As for me, I can't even back Kirk's truck out of the garage without adjusting the seat; I literally cannot reach the pedals.

39. Putting something at the top of your closet means you’re not going to see it again for a very long time.

Actually, this refers to all top shelves and specifically to the cupboards above the microwave and refrigerator.

42. There are people who are still taller than you when you’re standing on an elevated surface.

Yep.  Still short.  :)  Depending on the couch, I can sometimes stand on a couch and still be shorter than Kirk.

44. You resent people who are shorter than you are, because being little is your thing.

Being little is my thing!  I realized one day as I was wearing roller skates in the kitchen and finding out how much easier even 2" would make my life that despite the inconvenience, I love who I am!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Of Crocheting, Scouts, and Dr. Who

The first time I ever heard of the now ubiquitous Dr. Who was in 2011 at an early Oklahoma rehearsal.  Arlee and Curtis has discovered their mutual fandom and quickly landed themselves in the sort of discussion in which only Whovians can participate.  I wrote the obsession off as one of the many quirky things that make Arlee one of my favorite people on the planet, and also as one of those things that reminded me of the Great Stargate Obsession of Approximately 2004 (in which all my closest friends and husband became obsessed with a show I couldn't stand).

My first attempt at watching Dr. Who came in 2013 when Kirk and I moved into our own basement whilst building our new home.  Because I had insisted that we not wire the boys' bedrooms for television, we found ourselves limited to options that could be watched via the Kindle to HDMI cable to TV system we'd set up.  For awhile, that basically meant Netflix and HBOgo only.  Perhaps I really would like Dr. Who, I thought to myself one evening.  After all, by 2013, everyone was talking about it.  Perhaps it wasn't so quirky after all.  I loaded up Episode 1.  And I fell asleep 15 minutes into some weird plot that had something to do with scary mannequins.

Not for me.

The first time I realized my kids had an interest in Dr. Who happened juts 4 days ago in the gift shop at the Clark Planetarium.  Adam spotted a Tardis and made some comment about it.  "Yeah, that's the Tardis," I said.

"You know what the Tardis is?" he asked, clearly astonished.

"Yeah... pretty sure everyone does."

"Can I watch Dr. Who?"  Even though I'm not interested in it doesn't mean the kids can't watch it.  And so a mini-Who obsession began.  Adam watches it.  Alex watches it.  Dylan tolerates it if his brothers promise to watch Color Crew with him (which is truly a sacrifice).

So what does crocheting and scouts have to do with this story?  
I heard you wondering it...

Important Back Story #1: A few weeks ago for Young Women's, we learned how to crochet, and it turns out I find it incredibly relaxing.  Wanting to pass off a goal toward my Personal Progress medallion (I think it is so cool that leaders can earn it, too), I needed to actually make something recognizable with my new skill.  Ever my champion, Adam asked if I could make him a red washcloth.  That seemed doable to me, and so I began.  I crocheted half of it that evening, and then it sat neglected in a drawer.

Important Back Story #2: This summer, instead of spending money on the Pass of All Passes, I opted to make a list of all the stuff we could do that would also meet a Cub Scout requirement.  I'll be honest, I am a pretty terrible scout mom during the school year, so I decided we could just go crazy during the summer.  I made a card for each item that seemed fun and threw in a bunch of non-scouting adventures as well taken from lists of fun free things to do in Salt Lake.  Each day after the boys and I complete our to-do lists, we choose a card from the stack and have that adventure.  Yesterday's to-do lists were overambitiously long, and it took us well past lunch to complete them.  Tired and out of time, the boys chose "watch a tv show and discuss it" from the required scouting pile.  

And so I was forced to watch an episode of Dr. Who (and by negotiation an episode of Color Crew).  Figuring I could pass the required time a little easier if I had something to keep my hands busy, I pulled out the neglected washcloth.  45ish minutes later, I had a completed washcloth, a fun discussion with my kids, a signature added to Bear requirement 18a, and a renewed hope that perhaps I can be a borderline Who fan.  That, I am fairly certain, is due to the fact that Charles Dickens was a featured character on the chosen episode.

And for the record, Arlee, Adam says his friend Trae is a way bigger Dr. Who fan than you are.  I told him, "No way."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

TBT: Uncle Butch

Oscar D. Casdorph II, "Butch," passed away on April 7, 2004, in Culiacan, Mexico.  Born in Charleston, WV, March 18, 1955, first child to Oscar D. Casdorph and Shirley Parsons.  

He is preceded in death by his brother, John D.  He is survived by his brother, Charles A. of Draper, UT, his two sisters, Sally A. Kazilek and Teresa C. Fontana of Tempe; his wife, Kim Clegg Casdorph, three children: Rayma M. Forney of Tempe, Robert A., U.S. Marine, and Lindsey E. of Chandler; Step-daughter Stephanie Marshall of Las Vegas; and two grandchildren; also his parents, Oscar and Shirley of Tempe.

He obtained his private pilot, instrument, multi-engine and certified flight instructor ratings at Sunbird Aviation in Chandler and then became an instructor there.  For several months he flew as a Corporate pilot for American Fence Co, returned to teaching and eventually started his own flight school in June, 2003, naming the school for his boyhood hero, Sky King, and Butch became Sky King II.

Butch had an immense love of flying, dogs and people.  He was especially devoted to family and friends and was incredibly helpful to strangers along the road, transporting people in need to wherever they had to go.

There will be a memorial service on Saturday April 24, 2004 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1221 W. Howe, Tempe, AZ.  Visitation with family at 9:00 a.m. with Service at 10:00 A.M.  Interment immediately following service at Green Acres Cemetery.  He will be greatly missed by all who loved him.

I was standing in the kitchen at my in-laws house when I received the call.  I nearly dropped the phone as the tears immediately came.  My uncle Butch, the most lively personality I had ever known, had died in a plane crash in Mexico when the small plane he was piloting had gone down.  And although dying in a plane crash is probably some people's worst fear, my first thought was, "At least he died doing what he loved."

Of course we went to Arizona for the funeral.  I kept thinking how glad I was that we'd made the trip to Tempe just a month before to celebrate my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary; that was the last time I'd ever hear Butch's hearty laugh.

Uncle Butch called me "Andrea Sue," which is not at all my middle name.  He was a huge tease, that fun uncle you are always so excited to see.  I have a scar on my leg from the burn I got on the exhaust pipe of his motorcycle when I was little.  The tradition of "laundry," the Christmas treats Grandma always stored on the shelves above her washer and dryer, will be passed on to my kids as a living legacy of the great fun I had with Uncle Butch.  And sometimes when my dad laughs, all I hear is Butch.

My family was asked to sing at the funeral - no easy task.  We sang "The Wind Beneath My Wings," a perfect tribute to a man who loved to fly.  I remembered a recent Christmas when he had taken a few of us up in a Cesna 182 to fly over the Arizona desert.  I got to be at the controls as we flew over the temple, lit up for the Christmas season.  We also sang "Prayer of the Children," which we barely made it through.  My dad's voice cracked a little, and it became very difficult for us to hold the 5 part harmonies together through the sniffles.  I made the mistake of looking my cousin Rayma, Butch's oldest daughter, in the eye.  Her small children's faces were tear-streaked, and I realized that for every ounce of amazing Uncle he had always been, he was probably 10 times as awesome to have as a grandpa.  My heart just broke for their loss.

But I have always loved funerals because of all the happy stories of all the best times in a person's life.  And Butch's funeral was no different.  The best part, without question, was when my grandpa played the recording from the answering machine Butch kept at his flight school.  Butch's voice announced, "It's a great day to fly," with the touch of West Virginia accent that he'd never quite lost.  Those six words echo in my mind every time I think of Butch.

However, nothing anyone said could compare to what took place at his flight school.  Butch's crash had been so severe that burial was not really an option.  My grandparents had opted for cremation, and Butch's remains were to be scattered from his flight-school plane across the Arizona desert.

We arrived at the flight school, having changed out of our funeral attire and into Butch's favorite fashion-wear: Hawaiian shirts.  The sight of so many people dressed like Uncle Butch was a stirring tribute to Butch's laid back life.  My favorite sight, however, was the long string of Volkswagons lining the streets leading to the school.  Butch had been a VW enthusiast to say the least, with parts and pieces of the German classic inhabiting much of his back yard.  Anyone who had access to a VW had driven it that day in tribute.

My grandpa boarded the plane, and we watched it circle the flight school.  If Butch couldn't remain on earth with his family, I know that up in that plane was exactly where he wanted to be.

Grandpa later shared the story of when he'd gone to Mexico to get Butch's body.  He'd arrived at the pre-arranged location, but no one could seem to locate my Uncle's remains.  Through some sort of mix-up, it was discovered that Butch's body was at the airport.  Grandpa didn't really consider it a mix-up at all.  He knew that's where he would find his son.

Recently, the Casdorph family joined together once again for a funeral.  We all sat outside at the same cemetery where Butch's life is memorialized.  We waited and listened as the final words were said before my grandma was interred.  A quiet moment was interrupted by the sudden whir of an engine overhead.  I looked up, and noticed my aunts doing so, too.  I was briefly disappointed to see a helicopter.  Butch certainly would have arrived to pay his tribute by plane!  Then I noticed that the engine's sound had brought his memory poignantly close to my aunts as well.   As we simultaneously thought of him, Butch was there with us us as we said goodbye to Grandma.

My cousin Robert has started to fill those jovial shoes.  I noticed on our most recent to trip to Arizona how he teases my kids in just the same way my dad used to tease me.  How he arrives by motorcycle, a cooler-than-anything guy the kids just can't get enough of.  How his voice has the same lilt and his laugh has the same infectiousness.  How people gather around when he tells stories.

I actually thought I had lost the pictures from Butch's funeral, so I've spent years visualizing those VW's lined up on that street.  I think of that every time I watch a family pay final tribute to someone who has passed on, and I see a bit of Butch in every VW bus and Hawaiian shirt I see.  The obituary tribute was certainly accurate, because 10 years later, he is still greatly missed by those who love him.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Blogging - The Early Days

I still think it is funny that I didn't start my own blog. Once upon a time, I used to write stuff down on an antiquated site called Bebo. Does anybody remember that? Kirk came home one day and announced that he'd started me a blog. I felt annoyed and a bit pressured to actually write something on it. Well, Bebo went the way of brick-and-mortar video rental stores, and I fell in love with my new blog.

But I got my start in blogging long before that. For me, blogging is really just a place to write my opinions, personal history, and really - just to write. I've always used the written word as a form of personal expression, favoring really bad poetry when I have emotions to sort out. I have notebooks and journals full of terrible lyrics that never turned into songs. And thankfully, I have a pre-blog record of the history of my writing in a few key items I've managed to keep. But my emergency plan is to back up my life on the blog so that in case of a fire, all I need to get is my piano and my children (not in that order), and I can know that the rest of the stuff is safe on the internet somewhere. 

So here it is: a little time capsule of Andrea's early writing.

My earliest recorded "blogs" were recorded in the journal I received at my baptism.  Though I chronicled some pretty boring school days, I do like this entry from January 2, 1990: (it is important to have a record of a family's first VCR!)

Yesterday we started a new year.  Today we started school again.  It was a weired day.  My alarm got me up at 6:30, and it was suposed to get me up at 6:00.  My mom's clock didn't go off at all.  It snowed half of the day.  I brought all my snow things just to stay inside.  We played Bowling for ressess.  All I could get was a guter ball.  We got allot of treats from my teacher Mrs. James.  When I got home my sister would not eat her dinner.  My sisters fought about who got to say the prayer.  I had to practice the piano.  It took forever.  I have to do the dishes.  My sisters are scared of the sirens we hear.  Michelle hert her foot on my bed.  Then the penutt butter fell on her nose.  I worked on my book report at school.  I like school.  My sisters are nice.  And they are very funny.  They make me laugh.  I like them.  My parents are nice.  My teacher is nice.  I have allot of friends.  They are: Jenny, John, Nickey, Laura, Malissa, Steven, Christy, Jennnifer, and Tia.  I like them very much.  We got a bran new VCR for Christmas.  Me & my sisters each got 2 tapes.  We like them.

This piece is from the mid-nineties. I'd guess about '96. I've told pieces of the story surrounding my greyhound trip to Iowa before (to attend journalism camp). While there, I experienced my first real exposure to the "real" world. In retrospect, I don't know what sort of camp for teenagers actually lets kids get away with smoking on campus, but they found a way. For the first time in my life, I saw the "cool" kids doing things I really thought weren't cool. And somehow, I had the guts to write about it and publish it in our end-of-week book. The crazy thing is, they wouldn't publish it in the actual book! Because of the subject matter, my piece sits apart in a separate bound edition, 28 Stories: Untold Tales from the Elevator, The Censored Collection.

I sit in a class full of almost strangers and listen to their foreign views.  A "good girl" from Draper, Utah, I have not been exposed to all the drugs and alcohol that others have.  In this sense, I am naive.  I listen to their "Everyone is doing it" campaign and think to myself, "I'm not."  I hear them say, "I have nothing against a little drinking and marijuana as long as it's not very serious."  Well, I don't have to worry about it getting serious if I never try it for fun, right?  I listen to tales of being "so 'burnt' that I can't even more" or "Yeah, I smoke pot; I've done acid." Or there's my favorite, "I really need a cigarette right now!"
"Why do people even think of drinking or drugs?" I ask.
"They're bored and it's something to do."  I don't get it.
"With all the great things to fill life with, why drugs?" I respond, still confused.
"Well, it's not like drinking at one party on a Friday night is going to make you an alcoholic." I don't reply.  I have to absorb the unfamiliarity of this answer.
Jokingly a classmate says, "C'mon Andrea.  Everyone is doing it!"  Is that really what they think?  Not everyone's doing it, and it's not okay just because some people are.  Not everyone drinks, or smokes, or does drugs.  I don't.
"You have to experiment to grow," they tell me.  Why?  I don't need to know what being high feels like.  It won't get me anywhere.  I don't need to know anything about drugs.  I don't need to know what they'll do to me, how to get them, or why I shouldn't.  All I need to do is decide, "No.  I don't want to do drugs.  I don't even want to try drugs, and I don't want to drink or smoke either."  I made that decision years ago.  And by the way, how can getting addicted to drugs help me grow?
I draw my will not to drink and smoke from many sources: my parents, my religion, my community.  But I know that it's a more personal choice that anything.  I don't drink, I don't smoke, and I don't do drugs because I don't want to.  I could receive all the guidance in the world - all the warnings - and still smoke.  Instead I make the conscious choice not to.  As longs as I'm alive, the statement, "Everyone is doing it" will never ring true.  I'm not.
Then there's the less glamorous (and far less censored) Poems of Wonder by Andrea Casdorph.  At my elementary school, Challenger School, students participated annually in a Young Author project.  We spend a couple of months writing, editing, and publishing a "book."  This gem, Copyright 1993, is proof that I have always been a huge nerd.  I mean, what kind of 11 year old writes poetry about grammar?

Lie and Lay
Now children this is the last time I will say
You lie all by yourself, and objects you do lay.
You lie down on the bed and lay the towels away
The dog lays down the ball, you got it down okay?
The past of lie is lay, the past of lay is laid.
Participle of lie is lain, participle of lay is laid.
There's no such word as layen, nor a word like layed.
I want it right tomorrow, study before you've played.

I found an unfinished piece in a notebook as I was recently unpacking boxes.  My best guess is that this is from 2000, and I probably wrote it in my last few weeks at USU.

There comes a time in your life
When you have to decide
What is wrong and what's right
For you
And all that people have said
All the books that you've read
Get jumbled up in your head
And though the ground's the same ground you've always walked on
The path seems a little skewed
Where can you turn?
What can you do?

I'm glad I've largely put poetry behind me and glad Kirk forced me to start this blog (I think it has been 7 years).  It is wonderful to have a place to celebrate, to vent, to journal, to memorialize, and to share.  And apparently to instruct everyone in the proper use of "lie" and "lay."