misfit toys

We used to go down the stairs in plastic laundry baskets


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: This was an EXTREMELY difficult choice. I almost gave it for the best word: dankest, or for making a joke that included a mention of PHI, but in the end, the precious blog nod prize goes to the comment that was the driest humor: Braden. Here’s my shout out: He’s a current resident on the island of the misfit toys (my old singles ward) mentioned here. Now I have to actually pay attention in church; so sad. And on most days, he takes a picture at eleven and posts it on The Eleventh Hour. I like the name. Ever read that book? It’s a good one. (He’s also mentioned on my Cast of Characters, which I haven’t updated for a while, but it’s still cool for you if you’re on there.)


*And by GO!, I mean COMMENT!

I’ve Left the Island


I hate to break it to ya, but I can no longer tell you about misfit toys on Sundays. The area of the island I was attending these past few months was a rather unfriendly area and after nobody ever gave me something to do (a.k.a. a calling), I decided it was time to bail. I went to a new singles ward on Sunday and found myself in a world of normal toys.

I can’t say that I really fit in with ordinary society, but in comparison to the last ward, this new ward was like walking into Cheers. Okay, well, not quite. Everybody didn’t know my name… so they asked me. Lots of people, too. And before I knew it, I was in a little hiking group and have dates lined up for the rest of the year. (Oh right, I may have fibbed a little about that last part, but whatever… I think I’m funny.)

The new ward needs a name. Any suggestions? No, not really? I have to come up with it all on my own? Fine, we’ll go with The Mighty Functioning Singles Ward (MFSW—and we’re not talking about Multi-Function Steering Wheels).

So I pulled into the parking lot of the MFSW and just as I got out of my car, I saw a friend from work. Turns out, he’s a member of the MFSW and gave me his permission to attend. We wander into the chapel where I stand at the back while he talks to someone and I look around at the congregation… there they are: the P Brothers. They’re my neighbors and the older brother called me on Saturday to tell me about the MFSW and tell me to come, too. They saved me a seat so I took it just as the meeting began.

The chapel was packed. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a meeting with a packed chapel. It was amazing singing with such a large congregation—I didn’t feel like I was singing a solo anymore. Hooray! (Nobody really wants Larrie singing solos… just in the choir is fine, thanks.)

Shortly after the meeting began, a girl came in and asked if she could squeeze in next to me so the P Brothers moved over a bit and we made room. Turns out, she went to my old old ward (Hillside) for ONE Sunday, but being that I was the mighty prez, I remembered her and who her roommate was, her full name, her birthday, her SSN, etc. So now she’s in the MFSW with me and I don’t have to assign her visiting teachers.

After the first meeting ended, the P Brothers went off to Sunday School while I was talking to some other women who came and introduced themselves to me. Several of us then wandered over to a smaller room for the “new member” meeting. No, this is not a meeting for people who are new to the LDS faith or investigating. I don’t know that this ward sees many of those. This is a meeting to make sure that you are “appropriate” for the ward (apparently, they don’t want married people in the ward because we don’t actually allow polygamy no matter how much a guy thinks it should come back). In this meeting, I added to my list of people who asked me my name and more (things like my status, sign, and SSN).

By the time I made it to the last meeting (Relief Society), I had a handful of new friends to choose to sit by. It was a tough choice and I could see in the expressions of the women that I didn’t sit by that they were rather crestfallen that I didn’t choose them. Keep your hopes up, new friends… there’s always next week.

So after the very first week at MFSW, the final tally of new pals (or at least people that sincerely introduced themselves to me) is 14. It’s a good start. And if I make it to FHE tonight, maybe I can get all those dates lined up.

An Unknown Toy on the Island


Okay, fine. Go ahead, internet. Blame me because you’re right: it probably IS all my fault that I STILL don’t know people in my new ward nor do they really talk to me.

But one of the things that I liked the MOST about my old ward is that the regulars would go out of their way to meet and greet the not-so-regulars or the new folks. My new ward, however, basically stinks when it comes to fellowshipping. Either that or I keep on coming to church with a scowl on my face that says: LEAVE ME ALONE; I’M TOO GOOD FOR YOUR ISLAND. I don’t THINK I have a scowl.

Yesterday was the third time attending my new ward and I didn’t exactly make it to all of the meetings. Please forgive me for watching the Eurocup Final, which is only on once every four years. I went straight to church after the hottest goal keeper in Eurocup history, Casillas, lifted the trophy over his head. Hooray Spain.

Back to church: I slipped in and sat on the back row for sacrament and was quite impressed when the organist busted out some impressive pedal work and stop pulling accompanying the congregation on The Star Spangled Banner. After the meeting ended, I sat around on the back bench watching as the ward gathered in little groups and some people stared at me a little bit. At this point, you’re probably thinking, get over it already, get some guts and go up to one of those groups to introduce yourself.

Instead, I got up and went to find the Bishop to give him my tithing. After handing him the envelope, he gave me this look that I’m quite sure translated into “you look ALMOST familiar, but I really can’t put my finger on who you are, even though there are only 60 people in my ward, so I’m just going to ask a vague question while I back into my office.”

Bishop: “How’s life?”

At this point, I suddenly realized how much I had taken for granted the outreach that occurred in my previous ward. If I was the new girl in my old ward, after a month the following would have happened:

  • I would have been introduced in Sunday School followed by a group “Hello Larrie!”
  • The bishopric would have visited,
  • The Bishop would have met with me and asked about previous callings, whether I play the piano and how my dating life is going,
  • I would have been recruited to either the Lindsey or the Larrie fan club by one of the RS sisters,
  • One of the girls without a car would have called me for a ride to an activity,
  • I would have given a talk in sacrament meeting,
  • I would have given a prayer in sacrament meeting,
  • I would have a calling and not one of those made-up callings like the BYU wards (one of 20 FHE co-chairs, RS 2 newsletter coordinator, ward greeter),
  • And Alaska, Smooth Operator and Joel-in-the-box would have asked me out because that’s how they fellowshipped.

And that’s just a start…

Typical Hollywood Plot: New Girl Gets Befriended by Sweet Spirits


Sunday, I relocated to a new location on the Island of the Misfit Toys. This new location has twice as many women as men and currently lacks any humor in Gospel Doctrine classes. Maybe they’ll call me as a teacher and I can change that.

The relocation followed the plot of almost any given movie where a new girl moves in (think Never Been Kissed, Mean Girls, almost any high school, new girl movie except for High School Musical): new girl enters the building not sure where to go, stands around outside a room for a while waiting for the class to end and first sweet spirit shows up to offer friendship and help. Before long, four sweet spirits had offered their help, friendship, and cell phone number along with “I have UNLIMITED TEXTS so you can get a hold of me that way… if you like.” I like nice people, even if they are sweet spirits. It’s one of the reasons that I liked my old place on the island where there were sweet spirits in abundance (although there were also those whose sense of humor came out in Gospel Doctrine and as mentioned above, this is something that I miss already).

Sweet Spirit (SS) 1: my first new friend had some gaps in her teeth and didn’t wear any makeup, but was able to help me determine that yes, this is the new ward for those living in my section of the Island.

SS 2: spelled her name for me because I had never heard it before: N-I-C-K-E-L-L-E. And that was the only time she talked to me, but she nicely stood by the sweet spirits group while waiting for Gospel Doctrine and came to join us on the fourth bench in sacrament meeting.

SS 3: played the organ and therefore is a favorite of the Bishop’s. She also had glasses with thick rims that sit near the bottom of her nose, except for the times she pushed them up, and had greasy blonde hair parted down the middle. She, like her sister (SS1), had spaces between her teeth that I noticed because she smiled so much—made me smile since it’s infectious and all.

SS 4: has unlimited texts and frizzy hair. She’s figured out conversation, though, and made me feel like the star of the new neighborhood by being fascinated with my life, asking lots of questions and encouraging me to join them for girl’s night out tonight.

Sadly, the amount of homework I need to accomplish BEFORE taking off for CALIFORNIA NEXT WEEK (!!!!) will keep me confined to the laptop tonight. Somebody remind me why I decided to go back for a master’s, please?

One other person to mention in this New Girl and Sweet Spirits plot is, of course, the handsome hunk. Let’s call him Officer. Besides being good looking, any guy who stops me in the hall to ask me questions and actually be interested in the answers deserves the current spot as the leading man in this new plot. We call him Officer because he’s four weeks away from finishing the Police Academy. I might start speeding through my new neighborhood in a month to see if the Officer will pull me over.

“I’m sorry, miss, but I have a report here from a previous incident with the UNDERCOVER GANG PATROL from 1999 and I’m going to need to have you step out of the car and come around to the back of my car.” At this point in my reenactment, I was going to add a “spread ‘em” remark from the Officer, but let’s keep it clean here, people.

Who knows which lucky guy will be next week’s leading man…

I lied to the internet about my departure from the Island


It’s true; I’m a terrible, no good person because I lied to the internet when I told you that I had slipped away from the Island of the Misfit Toys without even whispering good bye. I lied because of two things: one, I just relocated to a different location on that same island and, two, the Toys secretly set up a little soirée to properly say goodbye.

I’ll have you know, however, that Saturday night, Maren lied to me. I can’t believe my little sister lied and I didn’t even catch it. I must have been too tired because I had stayed up until the early morning hours the night before watching movies (yes, that word was purposefully plural) on my NEW TV at my place.

Back to Maren lying: Saturday afternoon, we went to a shower for my cousin and I was reminded that he and his fiancé probably have several toasters now from well-wishers and I don’t have one… yet. (P.S. If you’d like to send me house warming gifts, I’ll take an iron, ironing board, cleaning supplies, toaster, blender, mixer, or a Mac, thank you.) During the shower, my cousin, Ster sent me a text inquiry about the possibility of getting together to play Rock Band. Side note: I have finally realized that I spend A LOT OF TIME with my family and while I don’t think of that as a bad thing, there are some who think it’s a bit too much like reality TV version of [insert your favorite 1970s sitcom here, e.g.: Partridge Family or Brady Bunch]. I told Ster that I couldn’t make it to band practice because of the massive amounts of homework I needed to take care of. I also informed Maren that this was the case and my reason for turning down an evening of rocking out with the Campbells.

“Oh, well do you want to just go to dinner with me after my soccer game tonight? Like at eight?”

I briefly thought about turning this down as well, but one hour wouldn’t be so bad to take a break from writing a proposal for my class.

“Okay.”

I went home after the shower and started unboxing books. Turns out, I have a lot of those and before I knew it, I was exhausted from the memories (ah, the SWEET memories of reading McTeague and The Golden Bowl; nothing better than depressive, American literature) of sorting through all of my books and it was now 7:00 p.m. I took a nap.

I woke up with enough time to brush my teeth and then drive up to Maren’s. I briefly thought about calling her to suggest meeting at a restaurant halfway, since gas is SO AFFORDABLE these days, but then I realized that deciding where to eat over the phone can be a difficult task for the two of us. It would be easier to spend ten minutes standing in her kitchen trying to decide.

When I got there, Maren grabbed her keys and said, “I’ll drive.” We usually have to arm wrestle to see who has to use their precious gas. Nobody just volunteers THAT. And then we left.

I got in the car wondering why we hadn’t decided where to eat yet.

“Where do you want to go?”

“Um, I don’t know.”

The conversation was starting out as usual, except for the fact that we’re already driving so I’m not sure how she decided that she would turn right off of her street. WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE RESTAURANTS TO THE LEFT?

“How about the Soup Kitchen?”

I wanted to go somewhere cheap—obviously. And then I started talking about how I was going to order the egg salad sandwich.

“And what soup, she asked? Do you think they’re still open?”

I hadn’t decided on the soup, but I sent Google a text to get a phone number and make sure they were still open. I was starving.

At this point in the game, Maren pulled into the parking lot of the church.

“Where are you going?”

“I have to pick up something from the church.”

I started to realize that she had been lying to me the entire time. Well, I almost started to realize. First, I asked if there was a ward activity because there were so many cars in the lot that I knew belonged to misfit toys. And then I realized. WE WEREN’T GOING ANYWHERE TO ORDER ANY EGG SALAD SANDWICHES.

I walked inside of the church and there, standing around in the gym with snacks and Guitar Hero, were many misfit toys, excited to yell surprise at me. I turned around and went for pizza.

Okay, so I came back and brought enough pizza to share. Maren paid for it—to make up for all the lies.

We played Guitar Hero (with limited songs because apparently, nobody has WON any yet). People played some sort of games in a circle on the other side of the gym (I have no idea what they were playing because it was too far to walk). They busted out karaoke. They started to clean up the snacks around 10:00 p.m. so I asked Joel-in-the-box to go and collect the Doritos. Maren called Ster and had him come over and get his guitar fix for the night. Thankfully, it was a party not just for myself, but also for Alaska, and Aaron (since we’re all leaving/or have left this month). And I left the party at 10:30. It’s sad, I know, but I really did have homework.

When I got home, I turned on my TV and selected a QUALITY movie with Hillary Swank and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Dying to Belong, from On-Demand and turned on the laptop to attempt homework. Eventually, I went to bed, only to wake up the next day and go to a new singles ward and find out that I had relocated to a different neighborhood, but hadn’t left the island. Perhaps I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.

P.S. Thanks to Canadia for putting this together, and I heard that Heather was involved, too, though she was MIA from the dorito-eating part-ay.

Farewell to the Misfit Toys


I imagined that when I left the island, there would be a large gathering of toys to send me off. But, it turns out, if you leave quietly near the end of Gospel Doctrine, nobody realizes that you’re gone for good. I could have stood up, demanded a little attention from the teacher and said, “Goodbye all you toys. Good luck with your new leader and come see me if I’ve decided I like you enough.”

Then I make a big, dramatic bow or curtsy, depending on how well the audience responds to my farewell address.

Don’t you think it would have been a standing ovation—at least from the misfit toys that feel they’ve made the Larrie-likes-you-enough list?

I think so.

But I didn’t say a word. I just stood up and walked out. It was sadly anticlimactic and I should have chosen a better farewell just for the sake of something dramatic to share on this blog. So let’s say this is how it really went down:

Near the end of Relief Society, when we left some time for testimonies, I stood up and told everybody that this would be my last week. I hear gasps, some wipe away tears, and Maren shrugs her shoulders. With the smell of pot roast wafting into the room from the kitchen next to us, all eight of the women there on Sunday get up to cry about how much they’ll miss me and that the sing-alongs in FHE will never be the same again. Then they wonder if anybody will REALLY pull another all-nighter and freeze around the campfire because the wood is locked up in the truck. Another sister stands up to share with us how for the first time in her life, she didn’t feel so white, since there was somebody else in the ward who COULDN’T TAN just like her.

After Relief Society, we try to start Gospel Doctrine, but the word gets around quickly to all nine of the men that this is it for Larrie. They shake their heads and frown. One asks, “How am I ever going to REALLY make it through THREE WHOLE HOURS OF CHURCH EVERY WEEK without a scribble session on the back of the sacrament meeting program?” But to bring the spirits back up, Joel-in-the-box reminds everybody that now they won’t have to look at my only-slightly-deformed toe when I wear sandals to church anymore. Phew.

And with that, I curtsy while they stand and cheer because THE TOE is moving on to a new ward where she might find another polka-dot elephant. Perhaps.

How to Handle Multiple Hours of Church


Once upon a time, I thought that everybody went to church as much as I did, regardless of their religion. Now that I’m an ADULT (contrary to popular belief), I’ve learned that few people attend 3+ hours of worship each week, or even each month. But I keep going. Must be something I actually believe in, hey?

By the end of Sunday meetings, I must admit, it gets difficult to pay attention. I want to turn around and see ALL the 45 people in the congregation (my singles ward is giant). I start drawing pictures on the program. I make the people around me draw pictures on the program. And I still MOSTLY listen. As much as I can.

I did listen to Leah this week. She served a Mormon mission to Peru and was sharing some of the stories. She was there when the earthquake hit and explained why they had to pull the missionaries out of the area: most of the adobe homes had crumbled so they had no safe place to live and the nearby jail had also been partially destroyed. She explained the jail break in words similar to these:

“Five hundred prisoners of the, like, 520 in jail escaped. Not exactly the safest place.”

After this comment, I’m thinking, yikes, I wouldn’t want to be there, either.

Not Maren.

“Stupid 20,” she said.

We spent the remainder of the meeting reenacting the stupid 20 who couldn’t escape.

“Guys, wait for me… I’m stuck in adobe…”

(Follow the link to have a look-see at some of the fabulous pictures Maren, Braden, and I drew in a past fast-and-testimony meeting.)