You know – in the penal system… Oh – and I warn you – do not EVEN laugh when I attempt serious commentary about the legal system; most of us are NOT fourteen-years-old, and to laugh at “penal” is just infantile*.

I’m just saying that the courts wouldn’t have to go through any extra rigmarole to charge Sarah as an adult, as they might have had she bludgeoned five thousand kittens PRIOR to November 4th (please tell me that crime would entail myriad SEVERE felony charges – I should probably pay a fine just for writing it).

But never fear, Citizens of the World; though she turned eighteen just last week, she has already honoured her civic responsibilities and registered and VOTED. So much the prospect of a lucrative criminal way-of-life. I could have been her get-a-away driver and taken a substantial cut, but NO. Oh – and she not only voted, but she did some RESEARCH beforehand, which is much more than I can say for ninety-two percent of the population (and that’s the VOTING populace). That, incidentally, was a very scientific poll that I conducted by pulling random numbers out of my butt.

Now that I have said something crass (could have been WORSE), I will, for the VERY FIRST TIME, utilize the “extended entry” option. If you want to read my somewhat (‘kay – perchance VERY) political confession, it will follow the rest of this entry (at least I think that’s how it works).

Okay. So Sarah is EIGHTEEN. I will now OFFICIALLY wish you your cyber Happy Birthday, my Dear!!! And I’d add some of that complimentary flashy-twinkly birthday clip-art, but it really does make me motion sick. How about some ART instead?:
You don't think I painted this?

Portrait of The Birthday Girl as The Birthday Girl

Oh – in my spare time I also did a watercolour:
I am an ARTISTE!

Portrait of The Birthday Girl as The Birthday Girl
But THIS TIME in Watercolour…

Sarah, still being a teenager, and in spite of her advanced civic proclivity (say that five times fast), made the celebration of her birthday rather difficult. She didn’t know what she wanted to do, what she wanted to eat – you name it – even though her Mother and my Mom asked her EVERY DAY for I don’t know how long. Finally, she told my Mother that what she wanted for Sunday dinner. She and Shirleen went shopping, I think. And she ultimately concluded that she wanted my Mother to buy her “hooker” boots (this is her designation – the girl who dressed as Hayley Mills for Halloween). Put more simply, she wants tall, black leather boots – trÚs chic, really. And, as she STILL IS a teenager (have I said that two or three or fifty times now?), none of the five thousand three hundred and fifty-two pairs that she tried on in all seven hundred stores through which she dragged my Mom were “right.”

I eventually marked three billion possibilities on Zappos so we could order some online. She scoffed at most of them, though she had no explanation as to what she ACTUALLY wanted and what, exactly, she found HIDEOUS and objectionable about ninety-eight percent of the possibilities I’d marked. Who KNOWS what was wrong with pair number seven hundred thousand three hundred and thirty-one (I don’t think she did). She mostly indicated her displeasure of my suggestions by a strident “NEH!” and a dismissive sweep of her royal hand (she WAS wearing a tiara). I hope the ones we ordered FIT.

Otherwise, it was Birthday business pretty much as usual. There was chocolate cake with candles (I honestly had to ask if there were ONLY eighteen), our traditional rendition of Happy Birthday with loads of improvised off-key operatic harmonies, extraneous coloratura and Tuvan throat singing (okay, one of those is not true), “lite” ice cream – which probably doesn’t make any sense considering the chocolate cake weighed (by ITSELF) approximately three hundred pounds, and jollity and high spirits all about (which is REQUIRED by law, I believe). Sarah received two dozen beautiful purple-ish roses (I think purple roses always have the loveliest fragrance):
Fresh grown at Costco

Sarah also received an assortment of small gifts. I thought mine was very thoughtful and generous. I gave her a tape recorder with an incorporated microphone (so she can make gushy tapes to send to her boyfriend); I even let her choose between two that I purchased and didn’t tell her which one was more expensive (so naturally, as a young woman of discerning taste, she chose that the more costly one). I’m munificent like that. Oh wait – I got it for her so she wouldn’t use my recording equipment all the time. Perhaps I’m an narcissistic shrew (well, it is all about ME, isn’t it?).

The culmination of the party was when we tried to simultaneously shoot small incendiary devices at the dining room chandelier so that it was bedecked in festive, multi-coloured streamers. And it didn’t even start on fire.
Poppers DO have gun powder in them

Now, as is my LEGAL right as an Aunt, who saw Sarah come into this very World (via C-section – that was COOL), I get to be mawkish and overly-sentimental. After all, she was my very first niephew (niece or nephew). And if you mock me, Sarah, you will be visited by the mauldin Karma fairy who will bonk you on the head with her cosmic wand so that the older you get the more sappy you’ll become. You think I’m kidding? I am firmly convinced that I am as slushy-mushy as I am because I used to mock my Mom when SHE was moved and teary-eyed at things.

To the point: Sarah impresses me more each day. Yes, it boggles my mind and alarms me to no small extent that she is, in essence, AN ADULT. But, again, as it’s ALL ABOUT ME, I think that it’s most agitating because it makes me VERY OLD, indeed. But despite my advanced age and the possible onset of dementia, I can still see with what ever-increasing poise and kindness Sarah goes through life (sometimes it is extremely LOUD poise, but it’s poise and grace, nonetheless). She’s been through so much, and she NEVER (for more than a few paltry minutes here and there) loses her humour, her hopefulness and an astonishing eagerness for life. May I borrow a cup of that, please?

And what I find most astounding nowadays – what leaves me more and more and MORE dumbfounded each time I see her – is her FREAKIN’ HAIR. It grows like…Hmmm. It grows like Morning Glories, but as fast and all-encompassing as when you realize that you that you are old enough to see past the fact that they are “pretty” and notice, instead, that they are killing your shrubs with their insidious tentacles – causing a slow, painful, choking death to your plants. Yes, Sarah’s hair fits th
at analogy, but in a good way, not the suffocating death option. And it’s so CURLY. Untamed waves and tendrils and ringlets wantonly flowing this way and that and then the other direction; it’s amazing. I don’t know if the curl an after-effect of the chemo, or if it’s because her hair is short now…

Whatever the case may be, her tresses evolve constantly, and not just because they grow at miraculous rate, but she experiments with different coiffures (and well she should). At her Birthday party she looked like a Greek Goddess. I didn’t get a picture that did her justice.

Okay, so her HAIR isn’t the critical subject of the day. But somehow, it’s as though one can admire the wonderment of healing and nature through something that most people take for granted – the seemingly mundane – the tresses of a young lady. And a wonderful young lady she is.

I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH, SARAH! You inspire me.

*penal – heh heh

MY CONFESSION: I have NOT registered to vote since I moved from the Salt Lake Valley. Therefore it follows to reason that I did not vote. I know – shame and degradation shall reign down upon me forever and forever more.

In my defense, though I have almost wholly refrained from politicking here, I must say a word or two. I moved quite a few times in the Salt Lake Valley, and I ALWAYS registered, and the only major elections I missed had to do with bad work scheduling. In fact, before I lived in the Salt Lake Valley, I was registered here. I remember that Janet and I went to the polling station together the first time we had the opportunity to vote in a presidential election. We had our own personal “exit poll,” and got a big kick out of the fact that we’d just cancelled out each other’s votes.

But I just cannot gird up my loins (?) enough to vote HERE right now. The political climate here is too different than farther North. Yes, it’s a CONSERVATIVE state, indeed, but I am now living in one of the reddest (What is the superlative form of conservative – mostest very conservative?) parts of the State.

Oh – except perhaps for La Verkin, where they don’t just have OPINIONS about the United Nations, they passed a city ordinance in 2001 that defined their town as a “United Nations-free Zone.” Included in its many restrictions were prohibitions against the presence of UN flags, investments, personnel (including “Peacekeeping troops”), etc. The ordinance was repealed in early 2002, and in 2003 the House Resolution put forth by some of the area’s constituents “Urging Congress to Withdraw the United States from the United Nations” was defeated. Also, in 2003 the “UN-free Zone” city ordinance was rejected 427 to 321 (wow – great voter turn-out for a “city” with a population somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 people – almost 22% if you factor a population of 3,500). However, as far as I know, they STILL have “The National United Nations-free Zone Committee.”

But even HERE, for instance, there were FAR too many Bo Gritz supporters to make me feel entirely comfortable (if I’d seen one more “God, Guns, and Gritz” sign on someone’s lawn I think I might have left the State). Sorry – not a fan of ANYONE who runs as the Vice-Presidential Candidate on the same ticket as DAVID DUKE (former Klansman, neo-Nazi) – no matter how briefly. It scares the hell out of me.

In truth, I suppose that many of the voters around here would probably PREFER that I didn’t vote, as there always is the VERY slim chance that someone MIGHT change the status quo. To that end, I DID offer TWO pieces of advice to Sarah. I told her NOT to vote for two particular incumbents. One of them was Senator Orrin Hatch (who not only fancies himself a “composer” – you should hear his patriotic hymns, but was elected on a platform of term limitations and is now going to serve his – what – 200th term in Congress?). I feel more entitled to bitch about him than other politicians because, when I was a sophomore or junior in High School I was given the “select” honour, along with two or so other classmates, to serve on the “Senator Orrin Hatch Youth Committee.” That was twenty years ago. Seriously. And he’d already been in office since 1977. It was supposed to be a “non-partisan” group that endeavored to get young folks involved in the political process and make them more politically savvy and better future citizens.

Here’s what I gained from that experience: I decided that almost EVERY politician was essentially a pompous WIND BAG who never answered a straight question but instead spouted oodles and oodles of rhetoric (the BAD kind) that went on so long that no one could remember what the question was in the first place. I developed a very FIRM belief that I hold to this day that they are generally not to be trusted. And in the rare case that a politician can be COMPLETELY trusted (e.g. President Jimmy Carter), they have a really hard time getting anything done because they will not sell their souls to SATAN. Or Big Oil (redundant?).

And back then I hadn’t really formed any solid “left-leaning, green, tree-hugging, non-leg-shaving-quasi-semi-hippy” tendencies (I’m telling you – in THIS State that’s what they’d call me if I opened my mouth too often…). So blame Senator HATCH if you don’t like my political biases. He pushed me right over the edge with his secret “Young Republicans” incubator (“Non-Partisan” – HAH – if they’d SAID “Young Republicans” that would have been one thing, but I have never, ever liked being blind-sided).

See why I don’t politick? It’s not amusing, touching or even interesting. Let’s just all get along, and I assure you I am perfectly happy to agree to disagree as required.