Friday, June 29, 2007

the blog turns 2, and mary goes back to basics

Happy Birthday, Blog. It's called Mary + Her Mental Health. And I'm about to prove why.

I’ve been thinking a lot about core basics. I’m compelled to go back and re-establish a few things: Do I know that God exists and knows me? Do I know that He loves me? Do I believe in Jesus Christ? Do I have a testimony of Joseph Smith? Do I believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God? Do I believe that Gordon B. Hinckley is our prophet, called of God, to lead us back to our Father?

Going back to this every now and again is really essential, I think. I lose track. What do I really believe? The routine and lifestyle are so familiar now. I can’t just know once and that’s it. I need to know and re-know. You know?

Trials have a poignant (read: head-smacking) way of showing you what’s missing, what you need to go back and confirm about who you are and what you want to be. It’s easier to murmur about hard things which are required of me when I’m not tuned in to the basics, when I “know not the dealings of that God who had created [me].” (1 Nep. 2:12)

King Benjamin from the Book of Mormon loved the basics, and thank goodness they wrote his words down. Mosiah, Chapter 4, verse 9:

Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth;…
I have read this one verse more times this week than I have in my whole lifetime.

…believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth;…
Basic principle, but so difficult to always accept completely, especially when life becomes unmanageable. Then he says this:

…believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

I wonder if King Benjamin knew at the time, 124 B.C. to be precise, when he gave this magnificent sermon, that in 2007 A.D., a young woman in Boston would wake up one morning and realize that in spite of her active church and temple attendance, in spite of paying her tithing faithfully, in spite of serving in her calling regularly, her daily prayers, in spite of what everyone else thought about her, she had somehow lost her desire for spiritual things. Underneath all the routine, the light had gone out. It really, really scared her.

She opened up the scriptures, truly expecting to receive nothing, when the thought “this is where you return to the basics” came. She turned to Mosiah, she read her patriarchal blessing, she prayed - - this time, a very basic prayer. Are you there? Can you help me?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

just before dawn

I got a note from a great friend. With her permission, here is a portion of what it said:

When the Adversary fears that true happiness is present or near, he puts on the full gear and fights for his life. When we do righteous things, it's almost an invitation to him to strike harder. But no matter the scale of the attack, however reinforced the army, the power of the Savior's true atonement and the spirit is the strongest shield and protector and can conquer all negativity. Know the strength of God's love within you and within others - even those who have harmed us, perhaps especially, as it is they who need love most.

Isn't that great? She's a good one.

Monday, June 25, 2007

that's one smart monkey

This is a good one.


Friday, June 22, 2007

a bend in the rule

So I never write about my dating life. It’s just too…it’s just not a good idea. If I ever get married, I’ll let you know, but I’m not writing about the ins and outs of my male entanglements. Be that as it may, I have to write about the date I went on last night. I’ll say right off the bat that this is not one of those really bad date stories where you feel sorry for me. This was a really, really good date.

I shall call my date Reggie. This is not his real name.

Reggie came to pick me up at my place at 6:00, only I hadn’t come home from work yet. He waited for me and got to know my roommates and my sister, all of whom cried out in unison when I came home from the date, “Reggie is soooo hot!” Reggie is quite handsome, but that’s not his real name.

We drove to Winthrop, a small Boston harbor town, very close to Deer Island (for those familiar) for an Italian seafood dinner. Reggie told me, “It looks like a dive, which makes the experience all the more unbelievable. This food will blow your mind.” He wasn’t kidding. Reggie had the lobster ravioli and I chose the shrimp artichoke ravioli. I never wanted it to end. And the bread…the bread. Mother’s love, the bread.

After dinner, we walked for a while, wherein I learned more about Reggie’s PhD pursuits at a very prestigious technical college located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Reggie is a genius. Reggie is breaking new ground and getting his professors tenure because of his discoveries. Reggie gets extra animated when he explains how all the stuff he’s uncovering all testifies of Jesus Christ and Creation, and the divine structure of the universe. It’s really fun to see him talk about it. Did I mention his name is not really Reggie?

The clouds above us turned an ominous gray, but that doesn’t stop Reggie from continuing with his plan to take me out to Deer Island for an amazing view of the Boston skyline. Once again, he wasn’t kidding, particularly last night’s view. A storm had unleashed itself on Boston, but it hadn’t reached the island yet. It’s sunset. To the left is the city and the harbor, to the right is the Atlantic and pretty lighthouses. Above the ocean, pinks and oranges and blues. Above Boston, deep purples, dark grays, and lightning strikes. Gorgeous bolts so big they look like the sky is cracking open. And here we are, watching this on top of a hill, bone dry, and scream-laughing with every strike.

On the walk back down the hill it comes out that I’ve never been to Top of the Hub. I thought Reggie was going to choke on his own tonsil. He didn’t. He quickly recovered and announced matter-of-factly: “We’re going. We’re getting dessert there. Let’s go.”

Reggie is a fictitious name.

For non-Bostonians, Top of the Hub is a swankster restaurant which sits on the top of a big business building called the Prudential Center. Its walls are floor-to-ceiling windows, it boasts a panaromic view of Boston.

By the time we get to the car, it had just begun to sprinkle. Five minutes into the drive, it was pouring. Perfect timing, we thought. By the time we reached the restaurant, the rain reduced itself to a drizzle. More perfect timing, we thought. The storm had blown out, leaving a clear night sky. We took the elevator to the fifty-second floor.

We were greeted by the snobby hostess with the phenomenal body and the English accent. Reggie asks for a table. Hostess chick slips us an FYI: $24 per person minimum after 8:00 p.m. I’m ready to leave right then. “Thanks anyway.” I say. Reggie replies, “We’ve just come for dessert. Is it possible to just get dessert?” Hostess chick says, “Of course, so long as you order $24 per person’s worth of dessert.” Cute. “Thanks anyway,” I say again, and look at Reggie with the “let’s just go” eyes. But Reggie’s not finished. He points to me and says to Hostess chick, “she’s never been here, and tonight is so beautiful. What if we just walked around for minute? I want to show her.” No. “Well,” Reggie tries, “what about if we sat at the bar?” There’s only a seat for one. By this point, I’m totally ready to give up. I’m pleading with Reggie, “It doesn’t have to be tonight, Reggie. It’s okay.” Reggie turns to me in total seriousness and kindly says, “No, Mary. It has to be tonight.” I didn’t really call him Reggie, since that’s not his real name. But Reggie’s the name I’m using for this story. So that’s why I wrote Reggie.

Reggie’s looks and charm finally wore Hostess chick down. At last she laughed and gave me this warning, “Watch out for this one, friend. He doesn’t take no for an answer!” She then directed us to a spot where we could order a couple of drinks and stand in front of a spectacular view of northeast Boston. I couldn’t believe it. She completely caved. She gave us an amazing spot. I’ve learned a valuable life lesson here. Persistence pays off, and Reggie is a charmer. Even if his name is Reggie. Which it’s not.

I wish I could paint with words the expression on the bartender’s face when Reggie proudly ordered: “Two Shirley Temples, please!”

We walked all over the restaurant, toting our Temples, and looking out the windows. Unbelievable. I just smiled and smiled.

The drive home we just raved about how perfect everything was. The food, the scenery, the walk, the storm, the rain, the Hub, the Shirley Temples, the bartender…it was perfect!

You know what, I changed my mind. I think I want to call him Vlad.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

no interventions please, it's entirely under really.

Well folks, it's out of hand. The situation is desperate. I’m back to an average of 64 ounces of Diet Coke a day. This is in large part due to the 40 ounce mega gulp I stop in for every morning at the 7 Eleven. I realized yesterday that I didn’t have anything other than Diet Coke to drink until 7:00 p.m. last night. I had Orangina. And only because we were out of Diet Coke. I am hopeless.

I’m such an emotional DC drinker. Lately I’ve been feeling a little stressed at work and other places, so I’ve dropped some weight and upped the Diet Coke intake. When my boss said something snide to me in front of a co-worker the other day, I bolted for the fridge. I drink because I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy because I…actually, no. I’m not unhappy. I’m very happy! Diet Coke makes me happy! WHO AM I HURTING? IT’S JUST A SOFT DRINK! Oh, my tortured shame.

Nearly all of my well-beloved ancestors hail from either Germany, Ireland, or Scotland. Now just what kind of a chance do I have here, really? Could I at least beg for some credit since it isn’t Gewurztraminer, Guinness, or Johnny Walker? It’s in the line. It’s in the bloodstream. Generations of junkies hooked on the liquid stimulant coursing through my unassuming veins. The demons I face, people! Dirty demons, dirty drinking demons, with little dirty faces. I beat them down with Diet Coke! Come on!

Lots of peeps advise that you need to replace the bad thing with something else that’s better in order to kick the habit. Kay. Great. Go find me something better than Diet Coke. No, do it. Go. Cuz I’ve looked. And I wish you the very best of luck with that. Diet Coke anyone?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Right before I woke up (late of course) I was dreaming about this beautiful baby daughter of mine. She had these amazing blue eyes, long lashes, and no hair. The kid had fuzz. She wore a pale blue onesie, and she was the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen. She sat on my hip as I was making food in the kitchen, and she’d reach for everything I was holding in my hands. I’ve been missing her all day today. I never dream about babies, so I’m not too worried about getting psycho baby-crazed. Yet.

In other random nothingness, here are some words I typed incorrectly at work today. When I said them out loud to myself, I laughed. I encourage you to read and say them aloud for a first rate diversive experience.

and lastly,

I think my right is faster than my left or something. Also, I think I'm quite easily amused. Must be the lack of sleep. From all the baby dreams.

Enjoy your evening.

Friday, June 15, 2007

it has come to my attention...

Hi, my name is Mary. And I’m a negligent hostess.

My adorable youngest sister, Jen, has been living with me for
almost a month now on an extended visit. And up until yesterday, I thought
everything was great. Yesterday, Jen is sitting next to me on the
couch. “Hey, Mar?” she says. “Um, when are we going grocery shopping
again?” Apparently, other people, normal people, need to subsist on things
other than Triscuits and cheese. Apparently, most people shop for food
more than once a month, not including Diet Coke runs. Apparently, I don't like to feed people.

“We have food.”
“Not really.”
“Well, you have that spinach lasagna in the freezer.”
“I ate that already. We bought that a month ago.”
“There’s stuff for turkey sandwiches.”
“The bread is gone.”
*blank stare
“Do we really not have food?”

A while back I had my sister, Laura, here for a few days and we ran into a
similar problem. I only had one bath towel at the time - - my bath towel. We had to borrow another one from my roommate so Laura wouldn’t have to air dry in October. Get a clue, Mar. When people come to visit me, I think “Yay! I have peeps coming to visit me!” And then they get here and I think, “Um, bath towel. Right. Bath towels are important.”

But I learned from the bath towel snafu. Oh yes I did. The first day Jen came to town, I made sure she had a bath towel. Two towels! Then we went to Target and I got her a wash cloth and a hand towel. I even let her pick out the color. Towels, plural. Check.

Further, I thought I was all totally awesome and stuff because I secured a twin mattress for her, with actual sheets and pillows and everything. I made space in the bathroom for her things, I cleared out the bottom drawer of my dresser, and packed away lots of clothes to make room in my closet. So proud of myself! So learning! Gold Stars! Right?

NO. NO. This is BARE MINIMUM hostess behavior. This is Level One, Hostess for Beginners, Anything Less And You’re Living In a Cambodian POW Camp type of prep work. No gold stars. More like a “meh” shrug. And even if you gave her 23 towels, she still needs eat. What is wrong with me? Why didn’t I learn this a long time ago?

I suppose I should be grateful these lessons are coming to me now. Imagine CPS showing up at my door in fifteen years:

Mrs. Mortensen? My name is Officer Marshall Briggs, Protective
Services. We are in receipt of a letter from your daughter wherein she
states, and I quote, she currently ‘befriends hunger like an old war buddy
while dreaming of the touch of cotton on her skin after a lukewarm bath on a
cold December night’. We just have a few questions for you. Also, I’m going to need to see the contents your kitchen cabinets. We’ve received reports concerning Triscuits and nothing else. Now just what kind of sick twisted...

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