Day 17: Recruit your Friends!

Today’s “Build a Better Blog” task is all about watching a first-time reader browse through my blog. I’m going to assign this one as homework to you, my loyal followers readers friends. Here it is, in three easy steps:

Step one: Phone a Friend

Actually, this really requires you to VISIT a friend or RECRUIT one to come over. I’m encouraging you to be social. You’ll need about 10 minutes of their time so bribe them with cookies and milk or maybe just some special time with YOU. Good thinking.

Step two: Introduce the Sciolist

Now that you’ve cornered your friend at your place, stick them in front of the computer and send them to this here fabulous blog. Then just watch. How long before they get bored? Do they ever laugh? At what point do they turn to you and ask, “How many people and/or personalities are writing for this blog?” Laugh.

Step three: Ask them “How sweet was that blog?”

Or ask them more serious questions like, “What was your first impression?” Cool header. “How did you feel reading it?” Like I could conquer the world. “Would you ever go back and read it without the cookies/milk bribe?” Maybe if somebody bribed me with a hot dog with cheese in the middle… mmm.

The end.

Now on to the fun part… CAPTION CONTEST. WOOT WOOT!

Enter the CAPTION CONTEST now!

The Sciolist Cell Phone Pic of the Weeknot-TM is published each week with the intent to entice readers to comment. This is accomplished with a CONTEST! The winner will receive a blog nod in the following week’s post-what a TREMENDOUS prize. Entering is easy. Just click on Comment below, fill in the identification information requested and enter your caption for the above picture as your comment. You have until Larrie posts the following Wednesday’s pic to enter.

Ready… GO!*

Last Week’s Winner: First off, nobody even made mention of the red note my boss had put on my white board: “Just say NO to sports.” But that’s okay. These are YOUR captions, not mine. So I almost picked the drugs comment (doesn’t that make you feel jipped, Clancy, that I ALMOST picked yours, but then, that I DIDN’T?), but in the end, the accolades go to Carolyn. It’s so true, too. DON’T ERASE WHITE BOARDS IN THE IT DEPARTMENT. EVER. Carolyn’s my good friend from “the island”** who taught some of my favorite Relief Society lessons*** and is much smarter than I am in the geek world. High five, Carolyn!

*And by GO!, I mean COMMENT!

**If you missed my life on “the island”, check out the old blog entries that date back to my really old blog over at live spaces: here, here, here, here and here.

***And for somebody who’s not always excited for RS, this is a big deal.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

My friend, Carolyn, referred me to a book about books, which I picked up from the library the other day. It’s called, You’ve Got to Read This Book; 55 People Tell the Story of the Book That Changed Their Life. So far, I’ve only scanned through and was rather surprised that I hardly knew ANY of the books these people named.

Unbelievable, I know. And you thought all I did with my free time was read books. This book did get me to thinking about some of the books that have had an impact on my life. Of course, for me, there are the religious books like The Book of Mormon and His Holy Name. But there are also the not-so-religious books that left me with a resonating feeling such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Their Eyes Were Watching God, How Green Was My Valley, and An Unquiet Mind. Since I don’t think many people know about the last book I named, I’m going to review it here and explain a little bit about the impact reading it had on me.

Kay Redfield Jamison is a psychiatrist. She has studied mental illnesses, worked with those suffering from them, and associated with other psychiatrists. She has also suffered, herself, from manic depression (bipolar disorder). This is her autobiography of her disease.

I picked this up when I was wandering through the mall in Chambersburg, PA, and, of course, was pulled without realizing it straight to the bookstore, Walden Books. I wish I could remember how, exactly, I found this book, but I did and after reading a bit of the description and some of the first chapter, I bought it. I then read it in two days instead of working (door-to-door sales) or sleeping. I had to read this one slow because I wanted to remember it (and if I speed read, I only remember long enough to write an essay or take a test on it).

I wrote one of the passages down in my journal because the experience talked to me about a friendship that was in effect 24/7 and reached out to her when she refused to reach out to anyone:

Sometimes, after I had told him that I simply had to be alone, he would call me later, at one or two o’clock in the morning, to see how I was doing. He could tell from my voice what state I was in, and, despite my pleas to be left alone, he would insist on coming over. Often this was in the guise of “I can’t sleep. You wouldn’t refuse to keep a friend company, would you?” Knowing full well that he was only calling to check up on me, I would say, “Yes, trust me. I can refuse. Leave me alone. I’m in a foul mood.” He would call back in a few minutes and say, “Please, please, pretty please. I really need the company. We can go somewhere and get some ice cream.” So we would get together at some ungodly hour, I would be secretly and inexpressibly grateful, and he somehow would have finessed it so that I didn’t feel like I was too huge a burden to him. It was a rare gift of friendship.

Have you ever had days where you are sure that you’re crazy? Or maybe you’ve been down and wondered what was wrong with you? You’re riding an emotional rollercoaster and don’t think anyone can relate? Reading this book, for me, helped me to realize that we’re ALL crazy. Seriously.

If a successful psychiatrist, who writes so poignantly, can suffer with a debilitating disease and still love, still find a way to succeed, still keep at it, then it’s okay for us to have days where we struggle. For me, I just haven’t quite mastered the mind-over-mattress skill in the mornings.

I’ve reread this book three times now. Something continues to draw me back to it. I think it may be in part because of her writing, and also because I find hope in reading the stories of someone who struggled, but now has the perspective to see how bright the light can be in contrast to the dark she’s been in. It’s more than just a story of struggling with moods; Jamison offers a study in human character.

I like it.

Larrie the Future Olympian

You watched the US Men’s take the gold in the 4×100 freestyle relay last night, right? I was watching that race all by myself at my place (where it was in beautiful high def) with Pogi, my little kitten curled up on my lap. When Lezak, their anchorman, shot through the water to first place over the trash-talking Frenchies, I about threw that kitty across the room in my excitement. This got me to thinking about becoming an Olympic athlete. I could totally do it; I just have to pick the right sport.

Larrie’s Event #1: Horse Saving

Do they have any events that involve horseback riding? I absolutely love doing that and am sure that if I found a sugar daddy to buy me a horse, I could learn. The last time I actually went horseback riding, I was good. I went with my LDS Seminary class in high school. (Do you remember that class, Max? We talked a little about the comparisons between 3rd Nephi and the last days, but we also played a lot of Phase 10 and went on field trips where we saw your Grandpa.) Tragedy struck on our little trip, though, as one of the girls’ horse’s saddle flipped upside down. She managed to jump out without injury, but her now bucking horse scared another horse in the group, which threw one of the other girls and she broke her wrist. Now we had two freaked out horses: one was trying to buck its saddle off and had just slammed into the side of a van (big dent), the other was racing wild-eyed off the other way. “Go catch that horse!”

So what did I do? I grabbed my reigns, tightened my knees into the saddle (I was slightly standing) and raced off after the wild-eyed horse. Of course I didn’t think about the fact that my horse might pick up on the contagious freaking out. I WAS CALM IN THE FACE OF FREAKED-OUT NATURE. I caught that horse and brought it back to the corral. See? If there was an Olympic event in chasing down wild-eyed horses, I could totally bring home the gold.

Larrie’s Event #2: Words that refer to the buttocks

Or perhaps they could create a new event for Cranium. I seriously rock that board game. A couple of years back, I went to a New Year’s Eve party, but showed up a little late. The teams were even (if I remember correctly, Carolyn and Jon were rocking the trivia for the team I eventually joined) and so when my sister and I arrived, they split us up. Before long, my team pulled into the lead and we were ready to take home the win. The other team had to pick our final card and they chose the yellow category, Word Worm (spelling and vocabulary). HA! One of the guys pulled out the card and began reading; it was a Lexicon, which gives you four possible definitions for an obscure word. He couldn’t read the word correctly and handed it to another guy next to him.

“Ca-lip…” He was sounding out the word.

“CALLIPYGIAN!” Yes, it’s true; I shouted the word. What a great word! At this point, my sister rolled her eyes because the win was in the bag.

I defined the word and even told him the etymology.

“Having a shapely buttocks; from Greek.”

Winners! I’d like my gold medal now.

(Three more friends mentioned because they took my survey: Max, Jon and Carolyn. Check, check and check.)