Monday, September 29, 2008

Secret of Life #1. Hot, maybe even warm, Chocolate.

Not scorching chocolate, like the kind I had today. 'Twas my first round of cocoa in a cup for the season at the hospital, and it tasted so good..... but only after I got over the fact that the once existing taste buds on the tip of my tongue were now depleted. As I picked the Nestle mix from St. Al's cafeteria shelves and handed over the whopping $.53 cents for payment, today's date ran through my mind. I was reassuring myself I was justified in the early start into the steamy drink season. For some reason, September 20th ran across my cerebellum's ticker and I took a silent sigh of relief. Oh okay, I thought to myself, this isn't so bad. So September 29th? I'm golden!

After forking over another half dollar for another cocoa packet (need. more. chocolate.), I slipped on the cup's cardboard mini skirt, and indulged my senses. Slowly, I raised the cup to my lips, gingerly tipped the bottom toward the sky- fully wanting rich goodness to engulf me, but fully acknowledging the risks involved of sipping hot water. The benefits so outweighed the risks. Or so I thought. As my careful tipping tendencies took place, and my one-eye-open anticipatory grimace contorted my face, the immediate shock of the heat startled me (no matter how prepared we think we are, think again). Ouch! Reflexively, I attempted to remove the noxious stimuli from anywhere near my face, and the cup immediately returned to the tabletop. Now being in front of fellow nursing student comrades, I very casually attempted to hide the shock and acted like my first sip was a dream, as my innocently victimized taste buds sizzled away into oblivion.

So here I sit here chain-chewing my way through a pack of Extra bubblegum (aka the pink package). And whenever I prepare the gum piece into a flat pancake to blow a bubble by squishing it between my tongue and pallet, fried taste buds scream in agony.

To my oral braille: See the 'new you' in a week or so.

Up in the Italian Alps, drinking their version of hot chocolate (really the equivalent to a melted Hershey's bar in a cup- to lick the lips, not the fingers). When it's cold outside and it penetrates to my bones--no matter how many layers I pile on--I am always game for a good cup of HC.

Friday, September 26, 2008

And oh yeah...

One more thing.

Yep. It's Friday.

And you know what that means....

Mangum to Mangum, baby!

And the arrival of the eldest Mangum sibling from Provo, and my Uncle Geoff from Salt Lake- An exciting football game really is a great excuse to mingle with fam.

And no school.

Wow, Fridays are GREAT.

Better Late than Never...or not?

Secret of Life #1. Online Shopping.

Or perhaps this would be more appropriately tagged with my other expert Secret of Depleting One's Bank Account. For some reason I just discovered the beauty of e-shopping. Where have I been? Was I so stuck in my archaic ways by still frequenting actual stores to buy new apparel, I didn't realize I was the only customer? Seriously. My latest ah-ha(!) has not only brought my weakness to my bedroom and discarded the (my?) No-PJ's shopping cardinal rule, but has created an all too easy escape from doing what I should be doing (i.e. homework? Cleaning my bathroom? Reading my scriptures?). Yikes; time to re-balance.

But in the meantime, I will enjoy these... (At $9.20, on clearance, who wouldn't?)

And this... (when the sun's warm rays decide winter has had it's fair run)

{Side Note: Per my previous post, we all now know this swimsuit will look a bit different on me. Ah, the one perk of my obligatory blessing/curse upper-half; we can get away with so much more.}

PS- Marathon is nearly one week away. Starting to get nervous. As I strive to join the ranks of a '26.2 miler,' any advice?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Memoirs of a 21-year-old.

Secret of Life #1. Fond, and comical, memories.

I distinctly remember my mother's answer, when I asked her what drives my grandmother's day-to-day happiness now that her eternal companion has passed on. My mother wisely commented, "Her memories. As we age, our memories are such happy places to go to and reflect upon."

Though such a statement didn't fully uphold it's enveloping meaning on my psyche until recently, I have so learned to appreciate my mother's wisdom. I used to view memories as whimsical, and of little importance; now? Now I see them as an integral part of an experience. We look forward to an event, as the excitement leading up to the event is just as, if not more so, exciting as the actual event, then the event occurs, and then all of a sudden it's all over and we are forced to move on. That's where memories make their mark. That's how we can continue to revel in that exciting event. And if the memory is unpleasant, that is how we can learn, grow, adapt, better ourselves. (Yikes! I apparently am feeling a bit philosophical in the wee hours of this morning).

I was running with my mother the other day, and as we ran through Bown Crossing, past the Tavern restaurant, we spotted my dear friend from my younger years, Rachel Beck, serving the outdoor tables. We waved and smiled, and my spirits felt so lifted. Of all the memories I have of, and made with, Rachel, the first one that came to mind was this fond, but comical, remembrance:

Seventh grade: Met at a friend's birthday party in Surprise Valley and we became inseparable. The evening soon morphed into two twelve-year-old girls laying across one another on the trampoline, giggling at silly self-verbalized 'jokes', and the unveiling of my first, but so not necessary despite my age, padded bra!

My memories then took me on a journey.. I was reminded of dinner at home prior to going to the birthday party. Being so intrigued by my newly purchased chest, all I could do was stare in astonishment at the mirror, clearly not comprehending that the 'woman' staring back at me with lady lumps and a defined waistline, was... me. Sigh, if only the mother-mandated make-up law of only blush and lip gloss at sub-teenage years would have made up for my face. Or if my long string-bean, all-to-evident knee-bone legs would have better complimented my size ten boats I called feet.

My mother, being so proud of her job well done in working her bosom-bracing magic, proceeded to drag me by the arm away from the mirror. Still in a daze as I tried to steal one more glance at myself in the glass, I wasn't sure what my mother needed of me- help keep the other 'kids' in the house in line? Try on different shades of lipstick to decide which one accented my needing-to-be-purchased stilettos best? Clearly, my mom wouldn't need me for anything other than grown-up woman stuff.

Much to my unpleasant surprise, she stopped me right in front of someone who was the last person on my mind with whom I would reveal my fake endowments, my father. What? Just as quickly as the word ran through my mind, my mother cheerfully asked with a wide grin on her face, "Well what do you think, Michael?!" WHAT? "Aww, MOM!", is all I could muster, as I abruptly turned and ran away, back to the mirror.....

And so I apologize to any male readers who may have considered this post information overload, but I know everyone has a story like the one I recounted (but if by happenstance, you do not, all I can say is just wait until you procreate. Awkward puberty stories are bound to happen). We all can relate, and (hopefully) we followed our parent's advice by looking back on a situation seeming serious at that present time, and laugh. I know I did. And the lightness of foot I found in my next running mile along Parkcenter Boulevard appreciated it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oldies, but Goodies

Secret of Life #1. Steel Magnolias.

So it's been a rainy weekend (two thumbs way down), filled with great friends, late nights, and virgin pina coladas; so I was all for a relaxed, cozy PJ-wearing Sunday afternoon. And that's definitely what I received, thanks to my inner-rebel convincing me I can do those NCLEX practice questions another day...

I thought to mitigate the ensuing storm outside, I would sink into the comfiest corner of the couch and pop in my newly purchased $5 dollar DVD, and one of my all time favs- Steel Magnolias. Oh boy, was THAT a mistake. Instead of calming the storm outdoors, I merely brought it INSIDE! No matter how purposefully detached I make myself while watching this classic (and I was doing SO well), the scene in which life support is discontinued... I absolutely lose it. Every time. I turned a complete 180- I wasn't sensing any sort of physical emotion (ya know, the painful throat tightening, fighting back overwhelming tears, and the consequential mascara smearing of welling eyes), and I literally thought to myself, "Man! I am doin' good!" (Bad grammar, I know, I know). And all of a sudden, it just HIT me, like a ton of bricks. I was a goner. Instinctively, I immediately tried to fight it, but that uber painful throat swelling hurt too bad, and I gave up all hope.

I'm such a sucker for tear-jerkers; I really should know better. If someone had seen my severely vulnerable state of hiding under a red blanket, laying in a near-fetal position, and rapidly wiping tears away before the salty sensation could be tasted on my lips- one's opinion of me would have been undoubtedly negatively altered. Good thing I was alone...

Wedding cakes in the form of armadillos, hairspray and 'delicate pink' nail polish, 'blush' and 'bashful' as the bride's favorite colors... "I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful, than a lifetime of nothing special."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard

Secret of Life #1. Julie Andersen.

AKA Julio (with a silent J), Jules, Julianna... My sister from another mister.

So I am hanging out at my house, late at night with some guy friends, doing the guy thing- playing video games, oreos and snickers all over the place, and the smell of grilled PB&J (yes, you heard right) filling the entire downstairs. I am fully aware that Julie and fellow cohorts are driving in from Provo for a friend's wedding this weekend, as I had just spoken with her on the phone giving directions to my house, but had a momentary lapse in processing that she would be here any minute. Mid Wario and Bowser battle on Nintendo 64, I hear running footsteps from the front door to the family room; I immediately turn around and see the angel of a best friend standing behind the couch, her hand briskly tucking her wind blown hair (from her run) behind her ear, as she surveys all of the faces to find me. I quickly stand up and my pink sweater and 5'10" stature gave me away- our long legs only allow a mere two leaps and we are already in eachother's arms performing the "swaying hug." You know, the kind where you are so elated to see one another, the interlocked arm embrace actually sways from side to side.

I love Julie Andersen.

And Kassi Andersen; and John Kupper; and Kassi's friend, Ashley. I loved to see them all.

Oh, how I miss Salt Lake!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What's in a name?

Secret of Life #1. My surname.

Meredith. A very unique and uncommon, previously male's name in the Victorian 1600's. Followed by Kaye. My grandfather's (more affectionately known as Papa) name, feminized with an 'e' at the end, and more than just a monosyllabic initial, despite the vocalized pronunciation. And topped off with Mangum. Represents a Scottish heritage, belongs to my father, the 'g' hangs with the 'man' like 'mango', and a name which I even butcher when introducing myself.

{Note to divine intervention, or to whoever is the committee chair of my already established divine plan: Twenty one years of a difficult last name, so much so I avoid having to say it, I fully deserve a nice 'n easy new last name when I someday tie the knot. Thanks.}

But, what if I was one of Sarah Palin's offspring? What then?

With children responding to the name of Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow, and Piper, pretty sure Meredith wouldn't even get a second glance. Thanks to a friend's inspiring blog post, Leigh Dethman, all curious minds can be satisfied.

So, if I was a daughter of Sarah Palin and was forced to relinquish all of my dirty little secrets to the entire country, my birth certificate would read Rake Trinket Palin.

Rake....??? ....Trinket??

Pretty sure no matter how hard my Palin parents attempted to exude anger and yell my name, laughter would only ensue. Mom and dad, no, I can't take anyone seriously who thinks yelling, "Rake Trinket!!!" at the top of their lungs really would give me a scare.

Just call me RT. Even better.

I know you are curious too. Go on, see what Mrs. SP would name you here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Mangum Five

Secret of Life #1. Sibling love.
Last night at dinner, Madison (17 years old), said, "I am looking forward to reading the paper tomorrow. Hopefully I won Athlete of the Week." And we were all hoping right along with him. He deserved it. He has paid his dues, waited years, and has silently been wanting some public recognition for his great athletic accomplishments.

Paper route, 4 am. My father and Tanner (15 years old), arrive at the Hastings parking lot to pick up the morning's 140-paper stack of Idaho Statesman waiting to be delivered. Tanner immediately flips open the sports section to hopefully see his brother's face shining brightly from the Male Athlete of the Week designated column, but to his shock, his own face is staring back at him. After about a quiet and never ending minute car ride to the neighborhood desiring their daily newspaper, Tanner broke the silence and said, "I have never been so upset about receiving an award." How mature is such a statement? How endearing is such a claim?

And Madison, who so quietly hides his sincere disappointment, shares in Tanner's recognition for (another) incredible game last Friday night. Sibling love is so strong, and can even win in a battle that has the word, 'football,' in it's title. A humbling experience for all, as I walked a fine line in celebrating with Tanner, but offering my vote of confidence in Madison. As soon as I learned of the news after I awoke this morning, I sent a text message to Madison at school- according to the Meredith Daily, he wins. His response was full of "ha-ha-ha's," revealing that even in the sting of losing out to your freshman brother, laughter is still possible.

And Tanner, with a 389 yard game, completing 29-42 passes, and 3 TD's.... He is the Idaho Statesman's Male Athlete of the Week:

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's Friday

Secret of Life #1. Fridays.
At the request of my cousin-in-law, beautiful Nellie Bingham, I am going to share another "one of those" sister moments (though perhaps her permission to do so is just my excuse). And did I not say I would quit my proud-sister moments, until Friday...? Well, she's here.

Front page of the Idaho Statesman Sports Section:

{Side Note: As articulate as my mother is, and has so demonstrated with the bombardment of phone calls from the local Boise press, reporters always find a way to manipulate personal comments! "We're trying to keep him focused on the next game so he can continue to do good," GOOD? From, Karen Mangum? Not a chance.


"...We hate to put him on the cover of Sports Illustrated too soon," Ahem, I was in the kitchen listening to this very statement given by my mother, and it was clearly referencing the Sports Illustrated cover curse (i.e. you put a team on a cover, and they inevitably fade). Now my mother looks like one of those moms, and she hates that. ALAS, I digress...}

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Who knew?

Secret of Life #1. Pleasant Surprises.
So who knew I was going to have so much fun with friends in Boise post a social-central Salt Lake City summer? Such a lovely homecoming.

Secret of Life #2. Friends with toys.
Makes my first SoL even more pleasant. And if I may borrow the words of the musician John Mayer, "Maybe I will tell you all about it, when I'm in the mood to lose my way with words," but for now, thankfully, this post has accompanying pictures to suffice.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One of THOSE...

Secret of Life #1. Brothers.
Yes, I am SO going to be one of those sisters, for a brief shining moment, at least. So, please, humor me, as I rant and rave about my brother's accomplishments.

Friday night, 7pm, my family and I make the 30 minute drive out to Kuna High School to watch the opening Timberline HS football game. Upon exiting the car, a strong and undeniable waft of COW is inhaled through the nostrils, immediately affirming my current location- yep, welcome to Kuna, folks. Was this indicative of the evening's future outcome? Should I be reading into the formidable live beef stench and the sweat and blood poured into maintaining such an aroma by the people of this town? Meaning, are these Kuna 'Kavemen' we are about to battle on the green (if dead grass is the new trend) football field so 'tuff and gruff' from their familial lifestyle, we should fear?

Apparently, the answer is a big. fat. NO. At least not if your a Mangum.

Okay, okay, I am getting ahead of myself, I admit. However, a senior wide receiver/defensive back who intercepts a pass on one of the first defensive plays and runs it back for a touchdown, makes six catches throughout the three hour war, and later catches another pass in the end zone for a second TD, will respond to the name of Madison MANGUM (a.k.a. my 17 year old younger brother). Furthermore, a freshman quarterback (I repeat, freshman- yes, that makes him 14 at the time), who threw for 335 yards, 4 TD passes (with one to the aforementioned wide receiver) and earned the starting position, has a birth certificate that not only proves his infancy, but reads: Tanner MANGUM (a.k.a my now 15 year old brother, as of September 8).

Such a night has to be one of my proudest moments as a sister. My cheers, claps, screams, jumping and any excited noise or movement possible was unparalleled. I told my mother, "I think I ache just as much as you do." And though I may have made a fool out of myself by yelling, "Mangum to Mangum, baby," or "(#)11 to (#)4! 11 to 4!" every other down, I really don't care. I was ecstatic. Elated. SO PROUD.

And did I mention a collegiate quarterback converted wide receiver, whom after earning a spot on BYU's football squad last season (and I mean really, no one works harder than him), tearing an LCL which required surgical repair, and a severely strained hamstring currently placing him on the injured list, he STILL is working out everyday to regain his health? Now that's dedication, and you can't teach that. Oh and by the way, his name is Parker MANGUM, my older brother.

And now I must relinquish my act as being that sister; at least until Friday...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In Her Shoes

Secret of Life #1. Thirteen dollars and ninety nine cents.
And when the above stated amount reads on the price tag of these slick beauties: A STEAL! Yes, I have a shoe fetish. A bad one. When my nursing career turns into the rich and famous dream I so imagine during late-night REM, first thing on my to-do list will certainly be to build a monstrosity of a walk-in closet, just for my shoes. Rows, and rows of shoes. Black ones, gold ones, pink, turquoise...

As the obviously bored cashier, who was super bummed to be working on a national holiday promoting a DAY OFF, grabbed the skinny stilettos by the paten leather heel, and a smile slyly moved across her face. She cheerfully said, "These are SO cute." My response, to hopefully assist in maintaining her rekindled laboring spirit, was, "But SO impractical!" And I flashed my widest grin, and vocalized a self-incriminating hearty laugh.

So who knew I actually had calves until I tried on these bad boys? (But I guess it makes sense since my gastrocnemius, when elevated a few inches, is in perma-flex mode).

For you men who fear a 5'10" woman in three and a half inch heels, looooook out....