Dec 31, 2006

The Nosurf Family Rodent Chronincles, volume 1

My family has a rich and flavorful history with rodents. Ok, no-- not what you're thinking. We're not a family that enjoys living in filth. These rodent episodes are purely happenstance-- not a result of lifestyle. Bad things happen to good people, guys. C'mon.

Anyway, first experience. This one began with good intentions. When I was living alone with my daughter, I kind of got baby hungry. Moms, you know what I mean? When your youngest child hits about the 2-year mark, and you start seeing these gooey little bundles all around and you're just like, I want one.

Well, in order to stave off this craving, I bought a rabbit. A cute little mini-rex with reddish brown hair and bright black eyes. He was adorable, and very friendly, and very smart, too. I named him Rudy and trained him (mostly) to go potty in one corner of his cage. He would hop up in peoples' laps sometimes and sniff them just like a little cat or dog. Man, I loved that rabbit. But it didn't completely help with the baby hunger-- about six months later, I bought a mini lop and named her Chloe. She was just a baby, so I didn't switch her cage yet, but I bought one, just in case. And then, a few months after that, a baby netherland dwarf, which Loli named Honey. At that point, Chloe was in another cage, of course, and so I put Honey in with her.

OK, yes. Eccentric. A woman living in an apartment with three rabbits. And it was completely against the apartment code. My roommates complained, so I moved them to my little tiled walk-in closet.

Well, the other two weren't as happy as little Rudy. Chloe was weird from day one-- there was something wrong with her back legs so that she sort of weirdly dragged/crippledly lopped across the room. She didn't like being held, either. She would put up a fuss unless you allowed her wherever, whenever, whatever she wanted to do. She never was box trained-- she absolutely refused. So I decided she had to be a confined rabbit.

I felt bad-- she never got enough exercise, or attention, but it seemed after a few weeks that she sort of liked it that way. She'd look at you angrily and stomp really hard if you came too close to her cage. And she'd nearly tear your hand off when you dropped food in there, too. I devised some ingenious strategies for the purpose of cage cleaning-- drop a box in, and when she goes in to exmamine it, slam a top on it, pull it out (avoiding the handle holes, of course) and then place it carefully back in and whip the top off and slam the cage shut when I was done.

I think it was living with Chloe that made Honey the nervous wreck that she was. She'd cower pathetically in the corner. I'd take her out a lot and soothe her, but she just wouldn't calm down enough.

One day, I decided to take all of them to the vet to get checked for health. In particular, I wanted to find out if something was wrong with Chloe. She'd outgrown her weird cripple-hop, but she was just so angry all the time. My roommates called her the demon rabbit. We could hear the sound of her angry thumps all the way in the living room.

I took them in, and they were each weighed (Chloe with a towel around her) and their claws were trimmed (Chloe flailed herself out of the arms of the vet and landed weirdly, breaking a nail off and bleeding profusely all over the clean floor of the examining room.)

The vet examined all of them and told me something surprising: contrary to what the pet shop people told me, Chloe was not female. She was a he. The vet said that Chloe was actually quite normal, just... how did he put it? "Feisty."

Well if that's feisty, I don't want to know what disturbed is. Or rabid. A rabid rabbit must be a thing of montypythonic proportions.

Well, it was a toss up. I most definitely couldn't put Chloe and Rudy together. I tried it once, and Chloe had hunks of fur out of him within the first three seconds.

I was concerned about the pairing of Chloe and Honey, for reasons I already explained. And I figured that, as Honey was not old enough by the book to have babies yet, maybe I'd be all right putting her in with Rudy, who was sweet and companionable, until I could buy a third cage.

A month later, I bought the third cage and put Rudy in it, leaving Honey in the first which was much larger, cusher and had more bunny toys. I figured she needed the TLC.

Four weeks later, she was tearing hair from her chest and belly and shredding newspaper. I'd read enough rabbit books to know what that meant, and so I gave her lots more newspaper and called around at pet stores to see if they would take mini rex/ netherland dwarf mix rabbits. I was worried about her, as she was supposed to be too young to have babies, and so I watched and fed her carefully. A couple of days later, I discovered her babies, which were actually quite a bit bigger than I'd been told they should be, and they had lots of hair too.

Wierd. Oh well. Three weeks later, I sold them..

and then two days later, I found eight MORE.

I stood in front of her cage, watching the little, squirming, eraser-pink rabbits (which were quite a bit smaller, and quite a bit more hairless than the last batch had been when I discovered them) and then finally came up with what must have happened-- She'd already had her babies when I switched rudy out of the cage. She'd just hidden her nest somewhere I couldn't see until I moved the furniture around, and then she kept adding her fur because she didn't have enough newspaper. Rudy'd impregnated her AGAIN, within days of her giving birth to her first litter. It happened not once, but TWICE within the month of her rooming with Rudy.

I read my rabbit book again and found that, when a female rabbit is paired with a male, she matures much faster (sexually) than she does in a cage by herself.

Well, I sold her second litter and examined her sadly-- she was very thin and tired looking.

I thought to myself, I'm a terrible person. I can't handle rabbits-- I can barely handle my own two year old. It was accidental cruelty, but cruelty nonetheless.

I called mom and asked her if she'd take my rabbits home with her and sell them. She graciously agreed to do so. I think that my two little sisters enjoyed them while they were there and gave Honey and Rudy some good attention. Chloe, I hope they left alone. But my sisters still have all their fingers, so I figure my Mom advised them on that score.

Mom found a good home for Honey and Rudy, but (surprise, surprise) could not place Chloe. Nobody wanted him. And so she decided that she would put a little rabbit hut in our orchard and let him romp around in there-- she lives in a very temperate climate, and there's plenty of rabbit fodder in the overgrown jungle of the fenced in area our family calls an orchard.

Chloe LOVED the freedom. He would run all over the place. My little sisters would go down to feed the sheep and they'd see Chloe out there in the middle of a grassy field, jumping ecstatically, doing back twists, springing madly all over the place. One time my grandma, who lives below us, called and asked whether my mom had gotten a dog-- a weird brown and white creature was growling and dashing in and out of her garden.

Sadly, Chloe's freedom only lasted for a few weeks. A coyote got him in the end. I feel badly about that, because I know I could have done better by him. Maybe bunny obedience school? Is there a such thing as bunny therapy? Or bunny juvenile lock-down?

At any rate, my one comfort is this-- the last few weeks of his life were the happiest a bunny could ever have. Ever. And it was quick.

Thus ends the first of the Nosurf Rodent Chronicles.

Dec 20, 2006

What color green

A new fun quiz!! Because I like to think of myself as green (environmentalist, vegetarian, etc) anyway.

You Are Olive Green

You are the most real of all the green shades. You're always true to yourself.

For you, authenticity and honesty are very important... both in others and yourself.

You are grounded and secure. It takes a lot to shake you.

People see you as dependable, probably the most dependable person they know.

True? I dunno. But it would be nice, wouldn't it?

Dec 19, 2006

Dee dee dee dee, dee dee dee dee--

that's supposed to be twilight zone music.

So, over Thanksgiving vacation, I had a disturbing experience. I got into my poop covered red intrepid (bird poop. It's a story for another blog.), turned the key, and whose voice do you think blasted through the speaker system?

Rush Limbaugh's.

In my car.

I stood, staring, dumbfounded for a moment, and then laughed as I realized that, no, my car was not possessed. My mother had borrowed my car the day before. My MOTHER listens to Rush. She listened to him in the car on the way home from picking me up from school every day. I think it's one of the main reasons I became a Democrat.

I don't think I can summon up any name that I would enjoy less to have to exorcise from my car than Rush Limbaugh.

Except maybe George W. Bush.

Or maybe Paris Hilton.

Anyway, I kept the station on just for a few more minutes out of pure morbid curiousity. After listening for a good fifteen minutes I realized that it wasn't Rush Limbaugh at all-- it was another bitter, loud-mouthed, sarcastic, belligerant, ultra-conservative male.

What, there are more than one????

I mean, what does that say about America. Seriously.

OK, really seriously, I want to know: how do you all feel about that sort of abraisive media personality (think Dr. Laura, Dr. Phil, as well). Do you like, or no? And what do you like or dislike about them?

I think that the reason why people call up Dr. Laura even though they know she's going to tell them in five different ways how they're stupid is because they want someone to tell them what to do. Ditto dr. Phil. Rush? I have no idea why people listen to him.

Why do you? (really curious-- not trying to be accusatory here).

Dec 17, 2006

Dec 12, 2006

all about Loli

This is Loli, full name, Lolipopoholic. For those of you who haven't followed this blog, her name stems from her intense love of sugary delights, which I am (somewhat unsucessfully) trying to wean her.

This next item

Is a picture of the rock collection that we painstakingly (well, actually, rather sloppily, but it was funner for loli that way) put together. The labels may or may not be accurrate-- mom has absolutely no interest in rocks (this was loli-fueled) and so she had to read a lot of books in order to teach loli what loli wanted to know.


Is our fun snowy backyard. Loli buried her dinosaur "to wait until springtime" and made a castle by sticking a gnarled stick in the mount of snow (and dinosaur grave).

This is Loli Shorn, as of today (11/12). She's still iffy about it-- but I decided that it was a necessary step to take in order to avoid hairballs. (If you've ever raised a little girl, you know of which I speak.)

This is her assignment today-- we learned about Kangaroos this week (on Loli's request). I have loli draw a picture about something we learned, and then narrate the picture underneath. In case you can't tell, this one says "Kalme (she named the kangaroo in her picture) looking for food."

Ta Da.

Dec 3, 2006

Back from CA

Hello, all. I hope you guys have had a good Thanksgiving. Ours was an extended vacation (for me. Dh worked from home. :( But he did take Thanksgiving and half a day off, so he did get a holday, thank goodness. Because of the Entreprenuereal nature of the company he works for, it seems that there is hardly ever a day we can call our own. But that's OK, he loves it).

We ate lots of pumpkin pie (and all got sick... sigh.) But it was still good. And possibly worth it.

What was your favorite thanksgiving food this year? My vote is definitely the blueberry cheesecake-- it was delicious. And I happened to be the one who made it, from a recipe that the ward gave out. I was pleasantly surprised by the deliciousness of it.

1 block of cream cheese

2 cups of whipped cream (sweetened, of course)

2 tsp lemon juice (you can add more to taste)

-- mix these together.

the crust-- half a cube of melted butter and nilla wafers-- add butter or wafers as needed for how much crust you're making.

A can of blueberry pie filling (or cherry, or whatever you like on your cheesecake).

Chill for at least an hour.

Hope you all had a good time, too.

Naked Barbie Doll

I remember one time when I was about sixteen- far too old to play with barbie dolls- my Grandpa happened by randomly. My mom is a little perturbed when people happen randomly by, because she has so many children that, in the normal course of a day, she cannot get the house to a pristine state. And so she has to make a special effort, and this requires notification.

Anyway, he came in and sat casually on the couch and engaged me in conversation. Among the randomly-strewn objects that he had to sweep away was a barbie doll. Veronica, I think her name was, or maybe Emily. It didn't matter to me anymore-- I didn't play with them. My little two-and-four-year-old sisters did.

I was totally embarrassed. I mean, you don't think of these things normally, you know? I grew up in a house full of girls. We all know what we look like without clothes on. And so the fake plastic-y, impossibly domed breasts, bottleneck midsection, and oddly prong-like hips were not really that arresting. Naked barbie dolls were a common sight at my house.

But when my grandfather picked up Debbie (I think that's what her name was) so that he could sit down, I experienced a flash of intense embarrassment. I mean, my grandpa. He's six feet tall, and taught me how to drive off road vehicles and survey with tin-can lids. He was the one who first induced me to bait a hook. I never heard him utter a single swear word (Then. Now I have. He's less worried about his influence on his impressionable adult granddaughters, I think.)

He had to look at a naked barbie doll. My insides recoiled, and ever since then I have not viewed barbie dolls the same way. I mean, despite the fact that their main purpose is to be dressed and undressed, consider. There's a Ken doll, too, with very removable clothes. What are kids supposed to do with these dolls with over-sexualized forms and skimpy ensembles?

Seriously. What is the purpose of a barbie doll? Think about this for a moment. Have you ever seen a barbie doll without feet that are molded so that they can wear anything but the barbie equivalent of six-inch stilletoes?

Out of all the barbie outfits, what percentage of them would you let your toddler leave the house wearing? Or your junior-high-schooler, for that matter? And yet, when do barbies lose their attraction? Somewhere around junior high age. Far before the time when such outfits are acceptable (if, in fact, you are EVER willing to let your daughters leave the house wearing such ensembles.)

My hypothesis-- barbie dolls are intended for the young exploration of sexuality. No, no, hear me out.

What are the primary features of a Barbie or Ken doll? Think about that one. What do the designers include, and what do they leave out?

A Barbie doll has breasts but no belly button. She has a defined behind, but her fingers and toes are crude-- in the cases of older versions of barbies, the foot is just one solid block, shaped to fit into a stilleto.

Why do barbies need an anatominally correct behind? If the purpose is to dress them in beautiful clothes and have them be Mrs. President or Nurse barbie, such specificity is obsolete.

The same with Ken's anatomy in that region-- why do we need something vaguely suggesting genitalia, when none of his pants are form-fitting enough for such accuracy (or rather, laughable inaccuracy) to matter?

Ever since the grandpa incident, I have pondered this from time to time. I ponder it as I look at the barbies that have been donated to my 4-year-old-- yes, I admit that I didn't object to them when I could have. It's far too easy. And she's only four, right? So it's not like she'll notice anything.

Well-- it's not so simple as that, I don't think. Even though barbies are generally put aside at around the time sexuality becomes an issue in a developing girl (or boy)'s life, they retain that image of the strange, domed breasts, the impossibly long neck, the waist that, in real life, would require the removable of several ribs to achieve. You know where I'm going with this.

I remember the first time I realized that my own figure wasn't odd and unattractive-- when I lived with roommates at Rick's college. Before that, I had only my mother-- and she was very modest. The only glimpse of a real breast I ever had was when she breastfed-- or those diagrams they give you in sexual education class. But I dismissed both of those-- my mother and I share the same genes, so of COURSE I inherited her strange, non-perky cleavage. And those diagrams were obviously poorly drawn, probably because the artist was too embarrassed to render an accurate drawing. Right?

It was a relief for me to realize that I wasn't ugly and dumpy and squat-- that most (normal, not anorexic or plasticly enhanced) girls share the same figure that I did. That actually, I had quite a nice body.

But I still can't quite internalize it. I mean, I grew up thinking of this

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

as what a naked woman looks like. And as for a naked man-- well. I wasn't even supposed to worry about that, right? So I tried not to think about it. But I remember being extremely horrified the first time I went swimming with my guy friends and saw their extremely hairy armpits. I mean, I knew that armpit hair existed-- I had to remove my own on a regular basis. And theoretically, I knew that armpit-hair removal wasn't a thing that most (non-supermodel, Mattew McConaghuey in how-to-lose-a-guy-in-ten-days) guys engaged in.

Consider my utter horror when I discovered that, in addition to to this, some guys have hair on their backs. (not, thank goodness, my dear sweet spouse. Ok. Anybody who's reading this who knows us, don't tell Skywalker that I wrote about his patterns of hair growth).

And, let's face it-- a Ken doll is a very innacurate representation of the male anatomy. If you grow up thinking of guys as hairless, rounded, and possibly with patterned underpants printed on their skin, you're going to be rather rudely awakened on your first real encounter. Is that really very productive? (I mean, if, for instance, you've waited until the honeymoon to engage in physical intimacy, the shock of such things could render you, erm... a little hesitant. I mean, couldn't they?)

I have decided that the barbie dolls have GOT to go. I don't want my girls to grow up thinking they're deformed. And I don't want my boys to grow up thinking that a normal woman is shaped like a wasp with breast implants.

I'm not saying that there aren't other ways to mitigate this-- sexual education is very important, on the part of parents especially. And being afraid of your own body will have a significant effect on your children. But I still contend that the barbie dolls--

they have a significant effect on how girls (and curious little boys) view their bodies and those of the opposite sex's. So, dolls should either be very accurate or not even try. This idealized hazy suggestion of sexuality is too potentially damaging.

So now, I call upon y'all to THROW OUT THE BARBIES. Buy my little ponies or cabbage patch dolls instead.

Unless of course, you're willing to go to the extreme that one of my childhood girlfriends did-- rub the front of her barbie dolls on the pavement until the breasts are down to a reasonable size and sew permanent panties on. But that seems a little neurotic-- I'd worry about my girls if I saw them doing that.

I'd love your comments.

Nov 17, 2006

Natural health for cold and flu season

To go along with my last post, I wanted to share some insights that I have gained in my (short) experience treating illness through natural means. Please, everyone add their two cents.

Colds-- lots of vitamin C. Lots of fluids, of course. And avoid those sugars and dairy like the devil.

Sinus infection-- Tea-tree and peppermint oil. I put the tea tree oil in a pot of water, boil it, and then breathe in the vapors. A towel over the head helps. You look silly, but when you're sick enough, how you look doesn't matter. I apply the peppermint oil to the areas of my forehead, cheekbones, jawline and hairline where I can feel sinus pressure. (be careful to avoid the eyes by a wide margin). I think that this works even better than pill-based decongestants-- and without the side effect of anxiety from long-term use.

Flu-- Emergen-C works as an electrolyte balancer in mild cases. But don't hesitate to seek medical help if you're becoming really dehydrated-- that's pretty dangerous, especially with kids.

Here's a recipe for the soup that I use in lieu of chicken noodle soup. It might sound yucky to some of you, but I think it has a rich, round flavor, and the steamed mung beans are very like noodles, and without the refined flours that will contribute to illness.

Mung-Bean Miso soup.

1/2 pound of Mung beans.

2/3 cup of thinly-shaved cabbage, purple or green (the purple will turn the soup dark blue, so look out.)

2 green onions, chopped.

1/2 package of Bonito fish flakes. (you can use the broth cubes, which are easily found in Asian stores, but almost all of them have MSG. I like the fish flakes because they do not have MSG added.)

Steam these all together in about 3 1/2-4 cups of water for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables feel really soft-- almost melting.

Let the soup cool a little (to bearable eating temperature,) and add 2/3 cup of red miso (easily found at discounted prices in Asian stores, or health food stores.)

VERY healthy, and very nice when you're sick.

If you want to do something fancy with this soup, add baby bok choy instead of the cabbage-- the texture of bok choi in soup is really nice.

natural and allopathic healing

My mom is an LPN. The reason why she doesn't have her RN degree is because she quit the program, two weeks before completing it, because my little sister wasn't handling childcare very well. My mom is my hero for doing this. But that's another post.

Anyway, she is a very knowledgeable person when it comes to healing and medicine and various other nursing matters. I have always called her for advice whenever I have a baby sick.

Skywalker's mom is really into natural health. So is my mom. The difference between them (from what I can tell/know) is that Skywalker's Mom did all that she could to avoid having to take a little one to the Dr. My mom would wait until we seemed seriously in need of intervention, but if we were miserable enough to stay home from school, that warranted a Dr.'s visit. She combined things like essential oils and Echinacea with Allopathic stuff such as antibiotics.

Both moms have had some difficulty with vaccinations. Skywalker's Mom decided, after Skywalker went through his rounds of childhood shots, to not vaccinate any of the rest of her kids. I haven't asked her if she was inspired by a bad reaction in one of her babies, or not.

My little sister (the second of us) reacted badly to one of her 3-month shots. She screamed with a pained, high-pitched scream for hours and was feverish for a long time. This experience lead my mom to decide against vaccination for all the rest of her children, until they became teenagers. Or at least, older children.

At any rate, I'm trying to figure out what I believe as far as healing naturally vs allopathically is concerned.

My family just got over a bout of flu. Poor little Loli, who doesn't have much of a margin as far as weight loss is concerned, could not keep fluid down for several hours that first night. I realized that, with Loli especially, this is not something to be messing with. I headed straight over to the health food store. upon recommendation from the herbal consultant there, got Emergen-C, some Vitamin a capsules, and some chewable acidopholus vitamins.

Loli couldn't keep any of it down. Even at a teaspoon an hour, she was still throwing it up.

Time to see the Dr, in my opinion. Our doctor is a Naturopath and an MD, and so she's friendly to the idea of no vaccinations. (in fact, the first thing she said to me in the hospital when she came to examine Jaws was, "you refused the hep B, right?")

This is not intended to inspire a debate about vaccines. What I want to discuss is natural remedies for illness. By the time Loli made it into the Dr.'s office, she was so dehydrated that the Dr was borderline thinking about admitting her to the hospital for IV fluids. Finally, he decided to give us until 7 that night to see if she could keep a significant amount down.

I took Loli home and bought Pedialyte (not natural medicine, but by far better than Emergen-C for electrolyte re-balance), and she was able to take a little bit every fifteen minutes. By seven she was looking nice and pink again.

So in my opinion, there is a time and a season for everything, and a purpose under heaven. The time for Natural Medicine is mostly in preventing horrible illnesses, I think. If you keep your diet balanced and exercise regularly, you can usually ward off most viruses. I know this from experience-- since reforming my own eating habits, I have hardly ever been sick. Before, I was sick with every season change.

But sometimes you still get sick, no matter what sort of preventative measures you take. Especially, children get sick.

I think that it's important to be willing to go either route-- natural or allopathic, if it might mean the better health of a child (or adult.)

So here I am, as usual, willingly straddling the fence. I like fence-straddling. It's a nice, comfortable spot to sit and watch everyone on either side of the fence duke things out with one another.

Nov 11, 2006


In the wake of the midterm elections, I have noticed a disturbing increase in the meanness-level of political blog debates.

Now, most people are pretty civil when discussing politics. This makes me happy and restores my faith in the thought that perhaps religion and politics are not off-limit topics in friendly, socially uplifting conversation.

But back to the meanness-- I've seen some pretty intense name calling. Personal attacks. Extreme defensiveness. Passionate lashing out. I have also noticed that some of these mean blogs and blog responses are from people who are typically tactless. I have to wonder if they're as tactless in real life? Or if the anonymity of the internet gives them a safe place in which to vent without feeling like they're hurting "real" people.

Hmmm. I think that sort of irresponsibility is unnacceptable.

Skywalker and I were discussing this the other night, and he came up with a brilliant idea-- the Mean-O-Meter. This would be a program where people could rate the quality and nature of one another's comments. The information from these ratings would be computed by the program and consequently, each blogger would earn a distinctive mark that would set him apart according to his typical rating.

And get this-- the most brilliant part-- those who have been rated as mean-- their font size would decrease. So the more mean ratings they'd get, the smaller their typeface would become until-- voila. They're just writing gibberish that we can't bother to read 'cuz we don't want to break out our trusty magnifying glass.

What do you think?

Nov 7, 2006

the Lump

Lolipopaholic has a little friend-- let's call her Tutuchild. Loli and Tutu play together a couple of times a week. They LOVE each other. It's been funny to see their attachment develop-- first it was two-year-old attachment, where they sort of played alongside each other and got along as long as they didn't get in each others' way. Then they learned to play together-- fantastical imagined games, loud rowdy screaming fun, bossing each other until they end up crying and requiring reconciliation by whatever parental figure is present.

Lately, however, it's taken another turn-- attachment. For the past few months, Loli looks despondent whenever it's time for Tutu to go, and Tutu will burst into tears and give the offending parent(me)covert evil glances as I hustle loli out the door.

Just this last week, they've started doing things in BETWEEN their visits for each other. Loli writes notes for Tutu and draws pictures for her, talks about her all the time. She's been making 'emails' (a piece of paper with a picture and letters scribbled on it, folded in half and stickered to death) for Tutu and giving them to her when they visit.

In return, Tutu is peppering us with random cards, obviously snatched from a stockpile somewhere-- cards with a picture of a baby being blessed, cards with flowers and birds, etc. Last week, Tutu gave Loli a "present"-- a blue gift bag with some alphabet-fridge letters, a few cards, and this random thing that looks like stale bread dough with a twisty tie around it.

In return, Loli gave Tutu (the same) gift bag with her little plastic ring (which she adores, so it's kind of touching) and some pictures and letters.

The stuff is lying around on her desk. I go through the pile of stuff on Loli's desk every few days and sort through the thirty or so pictures she has drawn/painted/stamped, saving out the best and tossing the rest. (I know, it sounds cruel... but I can't save three hundred pictures a month!) Anyway, I also tossed the bread dough piece in the trash.

Three hours later-- Loli, giving me a hurt look, takes the bread dough from the trash. "Mom, you can't throw this away!"

I turn to her. "Loli, why do you want that? What is it, anyway?"

Long pause. "It's the lumpy thing that Tutu gave me!"

So now it sits safely on her desk, enshrined along with her bear-shaped fingerpainting sponge (fingerpaints long dried up), her maple leaf from our walk last Saturday, and her collection of topless markers. (One of these days, I'm going to arrest them all for indecent exposure and put them Where They Belong, ala trashe canne. But I'll have to do it when Loli's not looking).

In a way, I wish that I could be as undemanding as a 4 year old-- accepting a lump as token of affection.

But then, a diamond ring is much more fun than bread dough. So maybe I'll keep my expectations high.


Nov 4, 2006

Squash, anyone?

Have you ever wondered what the heck you're supposed to do with squash, other than steam it with butter and brown sugar and eat it? Personally, I don't like squash that much when it's prepared that way. And yet, squash is so nutritious, and is so good for you in the fall/winter.

For the past year or two, I have been looking around for delicious ways to prepare squash. Here are two that I have found:

cream soups. You take vegetable broth and steamed butternut squash and blend them up in a blender to create a soup base, to which you add vegetables and spices/any other thing that you like in your soups or stews.

And this one, from my mother-in-law's cookbook:

Spaghetti-squash casserole.

1 pckg stovetop or generic boxed stuffing, prepared. (Any flavor works, but we stick to herb or onion and mushroom to minimize meat-eating.)

3 cups steamed spaghetti squash (could be one whole one, or half-- it varies with the squash, lol).

mix 'em up, bake them for 10 minutes at 350 in a casserole dish.

Yum. Even squash haters will like this one, I think.

OK, now it's your turn-- squash recipes, anyone??

a great movie!

Last night, Skywalker checked a movie out of the library and we watched it. It's called the Snake Pit. It's about a woman who is experiencing a nervous breakdown and is put in an institution, and how she comes to herself. It's very descriptive of the experience of being institutionalized, and institutions back then (the 1940's).

Olivia De Havilland stars in it. She's most famous for her role as Melanie in Gone With The Wind. I adore her, and I think that she and Ingrid Bergman are the two most beautiful women ever to grace the silver screen.

SO interesting to me, because I worked in a residential treatment facility. All of the issues surrounding human services in the mental health field-- how much is too much, what's helping and what's not, when to let someone go on their own and complete their recovery, what sort of boundaries ought to exist between staff and patients and what is just plain meanness as far as boundaries are concerned.

It reminds me of two other, more contemporary stories: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest (which I haven't watched, but I have read the book), and Girl, Interrupted (ditto.)

One Flew is more pointed in its denunciation of the inhumanity of mental health practices and the dehumanizing of mental-health patients.

Girl, Interrupted is just a sort of "this is what happened, this is who I am, here are some of the notes straight from the charting the staff did while I was in the facility" thing. No real preachy-ness, just a biographical recounting of the year she spent in an institution. BTW, this movie has another of my most favorite hollywood personalities-- Angelina Jolie.

SOOOO interesting. I highly reccommend all of these. (If you watch R rated movies. Which I don't. But read the books, if you don't watch the movies.)

Nov 1, 2006

Vegan Broccoli-cheese soup

Mine Own Recipe. I have discovered the cheese-like deliciousness of nutritional yeast flakes. you can use them in conjunction with olive oil and onion powder on popcorn to get a delicious buttered/cheese popcorn flavor. You can mix it with veg bullion, tamari and tomato paste to get a cheese-tomato sauce. This recipe is delicious (in my opinion) and I'm a conosseur of broccoli-cheese soups. (the best? Quiznos. Hands-down.) Anyway:

1 1/2 cups broccoli, chopped
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1 tb. tamari sauce
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I use the cube kind, but the powdered kind is also nice--make sure it's vegan if you want to keep your soup vegan).
1 1/2 tb. vegetable oil

Simmer these until the broccoli and onions are nice and tender. Blend in a blender for about a minute.

Then, put in:

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes (not brewers, although that might taste nice too, I dunno)
1/2 tsp paprika
and 1/3 cup vegenese.

Salt and pepper to taste.

:) :) It's good.

Oct 28, 2006

new people

I've added two new blogs to my little list. (not this list. My blogroll list.)

Jeremy is a libertarian-hearted Democrat in the midst of rampant Republicanism, which I respect beyond words. I enjoy his rants.

Janelle is a techno-savvy, chickfluff reading girl with pretty blue eyes who I know from my old singles ward. She also has some amusing rants that you may want to check out.

Listen to Jer

Jeremy Blanchard - I Won't Go Away

My extremely cool highschool (class of '98) classmate, and seminary buddy.

Ain't he good?

What, this old thing?

I sang in a recital this last Wednesday. The studio I take lessons with does a themed recital every two months. This month (October) is the "Halloween" recital. We're supposed to choose something scary or comic, and it is best if it's a character piece so that we can dress up. Traditionally, I have done funny stuff for this recital, not scary stuff. I did the Annie Get Your Gun bit three years ago, I did a song from Little Shop of Horrors, I did Huckleberry Fin (I, Huckleberry, Me from Big River)--

This year I didn't get to choose my song, because my teacher is making us do "music through the ages", where we learn about a different time period and the music and singing that happened then. It's been fun to re-learn some of this stuff (I minored in music, and so I took some music history classes), but it has been difficult to find a song appropriate for each month's theme AND each month's time period of focus.

For this last two-month installment, we studied the Romantic period (1800's.) Basically, the Romantic period plus humor= Gilbert and Sullivan, which I sort of like and sort of don't. At the beginning, I chose the song "As Someday It May Happen" from the Mikado.

The words go like this (watch out-- it's extremely politically incorrect. In fact, this version is even tamer than the original, which contained racial epithets.):

On that site, you'll notice that there are two other versions, made to fit more modern themes. Here's yet another one (also slightly offensive in the third verse, politically-speaking).

So, OK, I wrote my own version of these lyrics. Ready?(hopefully not quite as politically incorrect):

As someday it may happen that a victim must be found,
I've got a little list, I've got a little list
of society offenders who may well be underground
and who never would be missed, who never would be missed!

There's the loudmouthed commentators who aren't righteous as they seem,
they coin phrases that link womens' lib with male Fascist regime,
and then take their oxycotton far more often than they ought
parading propaganda that sounds great, until they're caught
wearing ties that cause more seizures than cysticercosis,
They never will be missed, I'm sure they'll not be missed.

There's the date who somehow grows eight hands and invites you to his place,
when first he has been kissed! I've got him on the list!
and all bimbos who chew doublemint and breathe it in your face,
I've got them on the list, they never will be missed!
and the idiots who came up with sizes zero, one and two,
who expect us to go traipsing 'round in eight-inch platform shoes
and all people who walk runways and have celery for lunch
and the people that they pay to give their stomachs extra "crunch"
and all jerk writers who were dissing female novelists,
they never will be missed, I'm sure they'd not be missed.

That's as far as I got-- I was going to do the last verse listing all those male jerk writers and their works, using Elizabeth Peters as a resource for the names, but this song just... ew. I mean, it's funny, but too acidic for me to feel comfortable singing, particularly in front of a bunch of elderly men and women.

So I asked to change my song two weeks ago to this:

Someone is giving me flowers.

Someone is giving me flowers,
Oh, what a sweet thing to do.
Every new day brings another bouquet
but I don't know who to say thank you to.

Sometimes they come through my window,
then down at the chimney, they fall.
Sometimes at night when I turn out the light,
they come through a crack in the wall.

Now that my house is a garden,
bursting with blossoms and blooms,
I stand here for hours, admiring my flowers
I'd like to sit down but there just isn't room.

First, they were sending me bluebells,
oddly enough, they were grey.
Each faded bloom had a nasty perfume;
besides being grey, they were paper mache.

next came a garland of fungus. Then, as a tropical treat,
they sent me a plant that proceeded to pant,
and later, began to eat meat.

The cactus corsage touched me deeply,
a marvelous plant, in it's prime.
I felt just the same when the rock garden came,
one rock at a time.

Somebody madly adores me. I know not whom to suspect,
but I cannot afford to be madly adored,
if they keep on sending me flowers collect.

So, fun. Anyway, the point of this crazy, rambling post:

I wore my red hat.

It's a beautiful, beautiful hat. When I bought it in Wal-Mart two years ago, an older lady was standing right next to me in front of the rack of red hats. (Yes, there is a rack of entirely red hats at our Wal-Mart-- don't ask me why). As I was examining possible red hats, she looked at me out of the corner of her eye. A few minutes later, she turned to me and asked, "Dear, are you a member of the Red Hat Society?"

I smiled like she was joking (although it was a sort of weird and random joke, if she was). But she was totally serious. The red hat society? What the crud?

I felt like I was in a spy movie or something.

I wore it at my wedding reception. (Ok, I admit I'm a bit eccentric.) Actually, I didn't plan on wearing it throughout the reception-- my sisters and I did a bit where we sang and had cool hats and gloves.

And then afterwards, Skywalker wanted to dance and I didn't have time to change back into my wedding dress, and then I just gave up and remained the lady in red all night.

I LOVED IT. It was a wedding reception dream come true-- no stuffy white dress, just RED. With a cool RED hat and RED gloves and swing dancing. Yay.

Anyway, this red hat is special to me, and I loved the fact that it got another go at this last recital. And afterward, a little old lady came up to me and said,

"Dear, that hat looks really good on you. You should wear it all the time!"

It was the best thing that everyone has ever said to me.

Well, one of the best things.

And yes, I am a member of the red hat society. Actually I'm not, but I plan to be someday, when I have the time.

Are you a member of the Red Hat Society?

Oct 19, 2006

An experiment in wheatgrass

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Really cool website.

Have you heard of the photographer who finds look-alikes who are unrelated, and then photographs them? Here are some of his pictures. Isn't that fun?

Oct 14, 2006

Extremely Funny Story.

Just thought I'd share.

If tampon stories embarrass you, skip the three vignettes and move on to the story.

old hurts, dark relfections

I've had a fairly unusual life, I think as a product of Mormon culture.

Can I just vent for a paragraph or Seven?

My life right now is so wonderful. So much better than it has been for several years. I mean, I've always been happy, I've always felt the support of friends and family and God lifting me and adding to what I can do, so that I don't make any heinous mistakes or neglect anyone really, really important.

But these last two years, life has become, well, just about as amazing as I always thought it should be. This is due in large part to Skywalker's coming into my life.

Let me back up.

I got married at 19, to a man I had known for a couple of years, dated for 8 months, and had been engaged to for another 8 months. He was a wonderful person. As far as I know, he always has been and always will be a wonderful person-- a wonderful person with a sickness known as an addiction.

From the time he was very young, (let's call him Onionboy, that's a name that he has applied to himself before), Onionboy has been struggling with an addiction. Yes, pornography-- that's one of the addictions that he battled. But I mean, younger than that.

When he was seven, he first started playing video games. He spent all of his free time, as far as I know from what he has told me of his childhood, involved in the world of defying dragons and rescuing princess and typing just the right phrase in that yellow colored analog typing to get the right thing to happen to the heroes of his digital world.

His friends-- they were video game fanatics as well. The time they spent together was all eating, sleeping, and video games. His cousin, who was his closest and most enduring friend growing up, was also a video game fanatic. In addition, he collected action figures. He still adores power rangers, X-men, etcetera. I mean, it's a harmless habit, right?

Sometimes it's harmless, and sometimes it's not. I know of three specific cases where families have split up over videogames.

Mine is not one of them-- I would have tried to make things work if he hadn't tried to do away with me while I was pregnant with Loli. Yes, you read that right. No, I'm not being overdramatic, no I'm not lying to you. The situation still seems so absurd to me. We were living a normal life (as far as I knew), were fairly happy except for the odd outburst he would have on occasion where he would act really wierd... And that fact that sometimes he was controlling, bordering on emotionally abusive, and all.

Three Octobers ago, when our lives came apart, Onionboy not only admitted to having had a long-standing porn addiction (and when I say addiction, I'm not being trite-- we're talking several times a day, interfering with his life, neglecting our daughter for hours-on-end, lying desperately about our finances, addiction), he also told me that he had tried to kill me several times while I was pregnant with Loli, because he wanted to "live a different lifestyle" than the one he had with me.

Does that sound a little like a video game to you? Something's in your way. The logical solution? Kill it.

The aftermath is still hazy to me. I spent hours and hours driving around listening to that cheesy set of hymns on tape that is recorded for chapels that have no piano. I drove up to a certain peak on several occasions and just looked out over the city, thinking. I spent time in the temple, just letting the comfort wash over me.

I was numb, just plain emotionally gone, for several months. And then it slowly started creeping back, one excruciating memory, feeling, hurt, at a time. I had a therapist who thought I was being a baby because I was devastated to have to put Loli in childcare-- I don't know why I couldn't help her understand what I was feeling, how scared I was to trust someone after my absolute trust had been so blatantly violated.

In the midst of all this, I had good friends who stuck by me, who let me be eccentric and emotionally broken, even unreasonable. They saved me, along with Christ and the comfort of the Spirit, of course.

But then, I ran up against some less tolerant people, too... These are the ones I'm still struggling with sometimes.

My bishop at the time was a new bishop. When I told him I felt I had received an answer from Heavenly Father that I needed to pursue a course of divorce instead of reconciliation, he told me he thought I should think about it more. At the same time, my mom was telling me (as any good mom would) that she would NOT let me get back with Onionboy, if she could do anything to prevent it.

My bishop also told me that I was not following the Spirit when I began to pursue the termination of parental rights, even though Onionboy seemed just fine with it. He said that "[Onionboy] would have every right to be really angry later because you've denied him his daughter." This at the same time my mom is telling me, "[nosurfgirl]-- let's face it. He's torn up his daddy card."

There's a lot involved in the story of Loli and her natural father that I still don't have the answers to-- all I know is that I went ahead with the termination, and my bishop later apologized for his behavior.

But I had (and to some degree, still have) a patent distrust of preisthood leaders; bishops, more specifically.

Ironically, it was a singles-ward bishop who helped me find the courage to date again, and who moved mountains to help Skywalker and I along when we decided to get married.

It's a long story, why I began attending a singles ward instead of the family ward that I tried for 8 months. Too long for this already long and convoluted post.

That singles ward was another excruciating experience-- not all because of those in the ward. Some of it was definitely because of me. I just didn't fit in with them, at all. I was a mom, who had to watch her hyper child run up and down aisles, who didn't have time to primp in the morning beyond a little makeup and a hairdryer. I didn't flirt-- it felt ridiculous under the circumstances.

I didn't trust the girl or two who would try and buddy up with me-- because it was after Skywalker and I started dating. From some girls, I felt rays of "you don't belong here, you've already had your chance," or, "you're damaged goods, stop lookin' at our boys," or even "your poor daughter. Too bad her mom is so messed up."

let me stand on my mile-high soap box and say it, here and now:





my husband was smarter than all y'all combined. I mean, there are a few exceptions. In fact, a lot of exceptions. I'm sure that a lot of the people didn't know what to do with me, just as much as I didn't know what to do with them... and some were friendly with me in the face of my odd situation and sometimes-defensiveness.

I was so scared that people would think I was a predatory female out to find a daddy for her half-orphaned child that I kept myself at arms-length from everyone. Even some of my family, which I partly regret, and partly don't-- because let's face it.

nobody understands.

Except Christ. And maybe other women who've been through the same thing.

But love is amazing, you know? I think that Skywalker is an amazing person-- he broke through that mile-high defense. He wasn't discouraged by the barbed-wire. Heck, he was even pricked a couple of times, but he kept on, and, well, I hope I've made it up to him.

I think I have. If I know anything about myself, now, it's that I'm a very emotionally stable person, who is capable of making those around her happy, even in the worst of situations.

And so now, that is my continuing, lifelong goal-- to be the one willing to get pricked. To risk myself again, now that I have a safe place to return to. Skywalker, you are my inspiration-- thank you for all that you have done for me.

Oct 13, 2006

A fantasy land

Skywalker was telling me about this virtual reality world that is slowly gaining in popularity and complexity.

He told me that various corporations and businesses are bidding for spots in virtual worlds now-- clothing designers that sell clothing for your avatars that you can exchange for virtual world currency, that you actually buy with real money (I think it's currently $1 for $250 of the virtual currency), cars, property, etc. People are starting to invest money in online property.

This is really disturbing to me. I feel that it caters to escapists, and is potetially addictive and dangerous. After all, you can be whomever you want. A child molester could pose, virtually, as a little kid. Etcetera.

Skywalker likes to think of the potential for missionary work. I'm not so sure about that.

What do you guys think??

Oct 6, 2006

Secret Garden, indeed

So, I decided to divide some (I think they're Irises) that are growing in the yard today, and look what I dug up! Holy Crocuses (actually, I am pretty sure they're irises) Batman!!

And then I weeded out the crumbling stone urns that are placed hither and thither among the somewhat overgrown foliage, and one of them was an ants nest!!! With wierd lookin' white chrisulises (chrisuli? Chrisulae?) and everything. EEEWW. I hope they don't eat my tulip bulbs.

Knee-jerk homeschooling

Why do people homeschool? The answers range about as widely as homeschooling methods, philosophies, and curriculum do.

I was homeschooled in the 7th grade because I was not doing well academically, and my mom knew I was smart. So she took me out of the system and attempted to give me a better opportunity to succeed. I'm grateful to her for this, but I must admit it was also a challenge-- my mom and I were starting to have issues at that point in my life. I was 12-- you can guess what those issues were, can't you?

Adolescence is not a fun time of life. You're still pretty much a child, but you're beginning to be expected to act more like an adult. At the same time, you're kind of doing a little dance with your parents around the issues of control and autonomy-- what does mom expect me to do? What does she trust me to be able to do? Does she think I'm capable of making wise decisions yet, or is she going to keep controlling certain aspects of my life?

An adolescent begins to desire the relinquishment of some control by parents. It has to be done strategically-- with inspiration and deep consideration of the child in question and his or her desires and capabilities.

First children are the first explorers of this phenomenon. And so they tend to have a more difficult time negotiating these issues with their parents.

My mom was a knee-jerk controller when I was an adolescent, and when I was a teenager. She didn't trust me to not get killed, pregnant, or stoned. Even though I was a very good girl, my curfew was 10:00 on weeknight and 12:00 on weekends-- not a minute later, or else I was in biiig trouble. I wasn't allowed to drive off campus with my friends for lunch, even when I was a senior in high school (I did, anyway. But don't tell her that). I could list all the restrictions, rules, fears, and controls-- but I'm not going to, because it would be counterproductive, and I have long put these issues behind me. The only reason why I bring this up again is my topic-- Knee-Jerk Homeschooling.

I think that a lot of parents homeschool because they don't trust the world, and they don't trust their kids to make good decisions. This is a sentiment that I sympathise with--- I don't think that a 12-year-old is ready to think about having sex, and I don't think that fourth-graders really know what drug addictions mean. At least, not well enough to realize what sorts of consequences are following their decisions. At that age, social life is everything. It is the time when they are scrambling for a hold on the social ladder, or maybe just trying to discover who they are, and who their friends are. To a 4th- grader, quite often the prospect of lung cancer at age 50 is no real deterrent when faced with the reward of friends and acceptance. And to a 12-year-old girl, especially one that is a little insecure, having a boyfriend is worth the risk of pregnancy, because motherhood is such a vague idea for her.

OK, I promise I'm not just saying all of this off the cuff-- I have experience. I've volunteered with troubled children and teenagers, and I have worked extensively with women who have experienced the severe consequences of poor decision-making at a young age.

That having been said, a child needs autonomy, especially as she gets to the point where she's trying to develop an identity that is separate from her parents. It's a delicate balance-- releasing control little by little, as you see that your child is ready for more responsibility. It takes inspiration, like I mentioned before, and a thorough knowledge of your child and his/her desires and capabilities. And it also takes a lot of discussion with the child in question.

I'm homeschooling because I want to give my children a good, individualized education. I don't want them to be stuck with a label in a system that has to modify based on the needs of 30+ children. I don't want to make my children go through what I did. I graduated from high school with a 2.9 GPA. And then at community college, where I was a little more autonomous with my learning and choice of subjects, I got a 3.6. I went to a prestigious university and graduated with a bachelor's degree, and a 3.55 average.

My children will be protected by me when they need protection. And I'm sure I'll mess up, just like any parent, and my poor first child will receive the brunt of that. But hey, I turned out pretty good, didn't I? And I love my mom, and my memories of my childhood are good, for the most part.

But they will also be expected to start finding their way at some point. It may even be different depending on the child in question. I'm not homeschooling to keep my children from the world, I'm doing it to better prepare them for the world.

Ethiopian Adoption 4

We've taken care of half of number 4, half of number 5, and number 15.

We're quickly approaching the time we had set aside for doing our homestudy... eeek.

Oct 2, 2006

fall pics

I don't normally post pictures of myself/family, but this was too wonderful to not share.

Sep 30, 2006

I don't think he's really running--

But I wish he would.

Here's a not-very-recent column about this joke running for president thing that Dave Barry does from time to time.

Sep 28, 2006

My new favorite presidential candidate

Dave Barry.

Here is a section of the interview he did with Reason magazine:

From an interview in Reason magazine conducted by Glenn Garvin:

Reason: Do you ever get complaints that you're making people cynical?

Dave Barry: Every now and then, when I write my annual tax column, some ex-IRS agent will complain, "There you go IRS bashing again." They're always saying that they're just doing their job. Someone I know once said, "You could get another job."

Reason: In your column I detect a certain skepticism at the notion that congressional spending creates jobs.

Dave Barry: Of all the wonderful things government says, that's always been just about my favorite. As opposed to if you get to keep the money. Because what you'll do is go out and bury it in your yard, anything to prevent that money from creating jobs. They never stop saying it. They say it with a straight face and we in the press will write that down. We will say, "This is expected to create x number of jobs." On the other hand, we never say that the money we removed from another part of the economy will kill some jobs.

Go Dave!!

Sep 27, 2006

More on Professor Jones

this article, published this last monday in the Deseret News, basically confirms my opinion of all of this--

there could be something, but speculativity (is that a word?) and rash accusations are never attractive.

My sister had that exact problem with Dr. Jones' paper-- and I trust her opinion.

That still doesn't mean that there isn't something fishy going on, though. So I'm continuing to reserve judgment.

Ethiopian Adoption 3

So today, we took care of half of number one, number two, and number three.


Ethiopian Adoption 2

So today, I looked through all the paperwork from the homestudy agency, and all of the paperwork from AFAA and made a comprehensive list of the things I need to get/do to prepare my dossier:

along with the adoption application & 2 copies of it, and the 250 fee,

1) birth certificates for everyone in the family-- a certified copy and 3 photocopies of each.

2) certified marriage liscence and 3 photocopies.

3) Divorce decree and 3 photocopies.

4) Afaa finacial form-- notorized, and including past 3 yrs federal tax returns (signed) and W-2's (original and 4 copies). A bank letter stating checking and savings account balances (original and 2 copies).

5) Afaa medical form- notarized. (original and 1 copy). This includes a complete physical for every adult member of the household, and the Dr. has to write a letter that states that we are in good health and have no infectious diseases. This has to be signed, and they need 2 photocopies.

6) Color photos of each individual in the home and photos of the main rooms of the home, and photos of the exterior of the home (2 sets).

7) Passport photos of Skywalker and I.

8) Homestudy (no more than 6 months old)- 2 notorized originals and 1 photocopy.

9) autobiographies of both parents about important life experiences- 3-4 pages long + 1 page for each marriage. Signed and dated- original and 1 copy each.

10) Employment verification letter on company letterhead, including salary and date of hire- original and 2 copies.

11) Local police clearance for those over 18. On police letterhead, with full name and address of the individual recieving clearance, dated-- original and 2 copies.

12) State or county child abuse registry clearance for those over 18- original and 2 copies.

13) three signed reference letters from non-relatives (originals and 2 copies).

14) Letter to the government of Ethiopia stating why we want to adopt from their country-- one typed page. (Original and 2 copies.)

15) Verification of medical insurance for the adopting parents and the adopted child.

16) Power of attourney form.

And the homestudy has a detailed list of what the social worker needs to include, as well.


I now know why they estimate a month to get paperwork done.

BUt it is all worth it. Definitely.

Sep 22, 2006

Shatner singing to lucas.

Shatner Singing to Lucas

found this on Jeremy's Jeremiad, one of the blogs I like to follow.

I'm only a small percent trekkie, but I appreciated this, so I figure it could appeal to any audience. ;)

Sep 20, 2006

Two things

I wanted to share two things today. The first is this:

Not my child, BTW. My mom sent this to me in an email.

The second is this. It's a summary of the findings of a study done at Weber State, on the comparative effectiveness of essential oils and antibiotics against the e coli bacteria:

The study also compared the effectiveness of two often used antibiotics,
Penicillin and Ampicillin, with 4 essential oils (two single oils and
two blends) against 2 bacteria with known high morbidity rates,
Escherichia coli (E-Coli) and Staphylococcus aureus. *The four essential
oils are Cinnamon, Oregano, Immupower and Purification.*

*The results clearly show all 4 oils superior to both Penicillin and
Ampicillin* in their ability to kill the microorganisms. In the case of
Penicillin, lysis (disintegration) of E-Coli did not occur. Apparently
this generation of bacteria strain is totally resistant to Penicillin.
Interestingly, the kill rate with essential oils went up dramatically as
more of the oil was added. This same effect, however, did not occur when
more of the antibiotics were added.

With National attention focused on E-Coli bacteria outbreaks, we want to
share a portion of another Weber State Study with you that deal with
this killer. To understand the numbers next to each oil below, it is
necessary to know something of how the study was conducted.

A small piece of paper infiltrated with essential oil was placed in a
petri dish infected with Escherichia coli. After a period of incubation,
examination revealed a dark shadow around the paper indicating Lysis
(disintegration) of the E-Coli. The diameter or size of the dark circle
is demonstrative of the kill ratio and referred to as the "Zone of
Inhibition" (Through replication, researchers know that E-Coli cannot
grow in this zone).

Measured in millimeters (mm), the Zone of Inhibition was noted for each
of 67 different oils tested. There were nine oils that's Zone of
Inhibition measured 25 mm or larger, meaning *these oils are most
effective against E-Coli*.

*They are:
*Rosewood 40 mm
Cinnamon Bark 32 mm
Peppermint 30 mm
Thyme 30 mm
Ravensara 30 mm
Oregano 30 mm
Mtn. Savory 30 mm
Lavender 25 mm

By mixing Peppermint and Rosewood with a ratio of 1 part Peppermint to 8 parts Rosewood, researchers discovered the Zone of Inhibition for E-Coli increased to 50 mm.

For the pubmed (in case you want to read the whole study, or would like the citation), here.

Sep 18, 2006

Do I Have to Call Myself a Feminist?


There have been a couple of times I have gotten frustrated with the way the term Feminist has become some kind of epithet, or even just a loaded word-- from those on both sides of the issue.

Rush Limbaugh and his coinage of the term, "Femi-Nazi" makes me laugh and hate him at the same time.

My question is this: What do I have to do to be called a feminist? Feminists often won't have me, because I actually do think that, when at all possible, a woman's place is In The Home. With her children. I actually think that kids need their own mom. This is coming from someone (me) who was a single parent and worked really really hard for a living for a while, and had to put her child in childcare-- and I think that Heavenly Father makes up the difference when you have to do this.

But why, oh why, would you do it willingly? I guess everyone is different, and there are a lot of different reasons why women need to work. Lots of them. So I don't judge any one individual-- I just take issue when people are offhanded about it, like "oh, it doesn't matter that much-- they'll learn to love their childcare givers, lots of kids have done it and it hasn't hurt them."

I think it does matter. Not just for them, but for us. Why should we miss out when we don't need to?

I think that motherhood is the ultimate act of creativity. You help someone become who they are supposed to become-- partially by molding them, and partially through sensitively helping them mold themselves.

And what is the reward at the end of the labor (which never really ends?) More possibly amazing people in the world, who also happen to be your good friends, usually.

On the other hand, there are lots of people who would call me a feminist. Lots. Which I'm OK with--- in my opinion,

feminism, the term itself should just mean an interest in the issues surrounding womanhood. A person who studies and takes an interest in women. Not a creepy interest, I guess I need to differentiate on that score. A real interest in women without an abusive agenda.

The hard thing is, I guess I do have to throw out some labels. If, for instance, someone invites me over to dinner, I do have to say, "by the way, we're vegetarian," if I don't want to offend them by not eating meat.

If someone asks me if I am a Christian, I say "yes." Because I believe in and worship Christ. But then I do have to throw out, "I am also Mormon." Because a lot of people would be misled by my saying I am a Christian, because lots of people think Mormons are not Christians. Which, by the way, is kind of silly.

If someone asks me if I'm a feminist, I have to also say "yes," because I do believe in equal rights between men and women, and I take an interest in womens' issues. I assume that's what people mean when they say feminist.

But a lot, and I mean a whole lot, of people that I know, are put off by this. Just as they are put off when I say that I'm liberal. But neither of those things is meant to infringe upon anyone else's rights at all. I simply believe what I believe, do my best to live my life that way, and I still like people who believe differently.

One long-standing friend of mine was somewhat taken-aback to hear that I was a democrat. He is a staunch republican. It's funny-- he threw the line at me about, if you're young and you're not a democrat, you don't have a heart. If you're old and you're not a republican, you don't have a brain.

Well, how about, I like you and you're my friend, so I have a heart AND a brain. Is that OK, Dr. B?


Just a slight vent. Thanks for listening.

Sep 13, 2006

My Secret Garden

I have always wanted a garden like the one described in Francis Hodgson Burnett's book. I have this amazing, intricate plan laid out in my mind and sometimes almost on paper, of my garden as it would be if I had no worries about expense or acreage.

Well, I've lived in apartments for the past 6 years or so, so the best I could do was potted plants. Which have been very nice. But we just moved into a place with two acres and a garden. It is so wonderful-- I feel like I really am coming home. None of it is our work yet, but we have big plans.

I love being outside in the yard. I thought I would post a few pics of my favorite
beauty spots.

Homeschooling and the Possible Dead Thing in My Front Yard

Loli is only 4. She'll be 5 years old this coming January. I don't feel rushed about schooling(we homeschool, by the way). But I'm starting to feel a need to do my research on HS curriculum.

There are lots of different methods of homeschooling. Some believe in a method that is more structured, some like it to be as un-schooling as possible. My personal preference is no stress. To me, that means structure right now, until I learn the ropes and can teach my younger children what I find is most important for them to learn at these young ages when structure can be so discouraging.

My current plan is to begin a real curriculum starting in March or so. Hopefully we'll have all of our homestudy and other adoption application materials completed by this time, and I won't be dealing with both stresses.

This is a little earlier than Loli would be starting (Aug/Sept. to go along with the school systems), but she'll be an older 5-year-old for that group, so I think we'll be OK starting then.

Right now, we're having fun learning just by exploring. I'm teaching loli about insects and plants right now, along with just a little bit of penmanship, reading and mathematics (she already knows her alphabet, how to sound out easy words, how to add numbers up to 10).

We have been checking out books about ants and bees from the library. She got interested in these insects after watching a Magic School Bus episode. A few of the books have been a little advanced for her, so we simplify by looking at some of the pictures and discussing what is happening in them.

We're also learning about plants, especially flowers. When I opened up a ripe rose-hip the other day and showed loli the little ovaries inside, explaining to her that they are the seeds to make new plants, she was fascinated. Every day that we have gone outside she has wanted to pick some new rose hips, open them, and then plant the seeds in the rosebed. (I'm a little doubtful that they'll actually grow, because they're still green, most of them, and I think that roses are one of those plants that are tricky to start.) But she's having a lot of fun.

So my question is this: can decaying rosehips smell like decaying flesh?

I know, that's a pretty unsettling question. But I'm a little unsettled. For the past couple of days when we've been out by the rosebushes, I smell this yucky smell kind of like my trunk smelled the time I forgot to remove 10 pounds of hamburger (this was pre-vegetarian conversion) for a few days. It was green and hooooorrrible.

Well this smell is not as bad as that, but it's getting steadily stronger. I'm hoping it's just the way that decaying rose hips smell, or maybe it's how decaying horse-manure smells (we have horses in the pasture next to our house) because I do NOT want to go looking through my bushes to see if any animal has died recently.

oooh... I should, but i just can't.

Maybe I can make that Skywalker's Saturday project. (Evil laugh.)

Sep 11, 2006


I think that probably a lot of people will be blogging about Sept 11th today, most of whom are more qualified than I am to do so.

I will say one thing, though... my friend had her baby right as the WTC collapsed. So for her, today is a celebration... sort of. How must it feel to be celebrating something while the rest of the world is in mourning, I wonder? I'd ask her but I don't know her phone number anymore.

At any rate, I feel an extra measure of heaviness today. I think it involves the sadness of so many lives lost, so many people who served their country that day suffering physical difficulty as a result of what they did, so many families left behind, etc.

They're singing the song, "all you need is love" in central park today as a memorial.

I love that song. I wish I could be there to sing it with them. I think that the very best way to memorialze someone or something important to you is to have an extra measure of love and understanding for those around you.

Sep 10, 2006


Ok, I am so sad.

I don't know Dr. Steven Jones, BYU Physics faculty member, at all.

But my sister does. She worked for him for a year. I sent her all of the stuff I had found on him and his research on the WTC bombings, and she was puzzled, and a little wierded out by it, because she said it's not like him to be off on tangents like that.

She described him as a soft-spoken, kind, scholarly man who she enjoyed working for. She was surprised at how his paper read... She told me that his use of italics and bold, as well as his turn of phrase in certain places, sounded less than professional, and that this didn't impress her... But as a student of physics, his arguments sounded valid.

I watched this interview when I was studying up on this stuff a few weeks ago. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth-- not toward the professor, but because of how he is being treated.

From how my sister has described him, I can't help but think that this man truly believes in what he is doing. He doesn't have anything against any particular person-- he hasn't pointed fingers in any of his publications.

Why is BYU letting him go? Isn't he supposed to be doing research? Isn't he supposed to get passionate about stuff? See the world in a slightly different way from the mainstream? As a scientist, isn't he supposed to be skeptical of everything?

Now, I know that a chief argument is that he has not put his research through the canonized method of publication. And his affiliation with 9/11 truth may possibly be considered to be against the honor code, if you classify this group as apostate.

But why would you? Is it apostatizing to wonder if there was something more to this significant event in our history, an event which has changed so much of how we view the world, and has incited war and the use of massive amounts of OUR (taxpayers') funds?

I understand that emotions run high on this whole topic... So much patriotism, grief, a feeling of being violated, the shock of losing so many Americans etc...

but should we let emotion lead us to exclude some of the possibilities as we look back? How are we going to prevent this from happening again if we aren't willing to examine all of the alternatives?

I'm not saying I believe Dr. Jones' theory. What I'm saying is that people should not vilify him... He is a scientist (albeit an imperfect one), and he is passionate about his subject matter. He is doing his job...
and being put on leave for it.

You can't really get an education if you've decided already what your education ought to be... A real education goes to the person who is open minded. Who is willing to examine possibilities. Who is unafraid of what he or she may find. Who continues to do what he or she believes in even if it makes him or her unpopular.

Even if it gets him or her fired.

I'm sorry, professor Jones.

Sep 9, 2006

Ethiopian political history

I just read another book about Ethiopia and learned some neat stuff about the History of Ethiopia. Here is the basic political timeline:

a) Prehistoric peoples. They found a human skeleton that was purported to be between 2.9 and 3.6 million years old in the great rift valley. The discovery was made by Donald Johanson in 1974, the woman nicknamed "Lucy" because they were listening to a certain Beatles song at the time they discovered her. Because of this discovery, Ethiopia was thought to be possibly the place where humans originated.

b) 5,000 BC: Hunters and Gatherers.

c) 1,000 BC: Semitic Immigration-- people from across the sea on the Arabian peninsula settled in parts of what is now Eritrea/Ethiopia.

d) 900 BC: The legendary meeting of Sheba and Solomon, which resulted in a Son Menelik I, who became King and the first ruler in the Askumite Kingdom. According to legend, he visited his father, King Solomon, when he became of age, and Solomon sent a son of all of the temple priests back with Menelik to Ethiopia, along with a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, which the Ethiopians claim is the real ark, because the disgruntled priests' sons exchanged them before they left.

the Jewish people of Ethiopia are called Falasha, and practiced a unique form of Judaism that only incorporate the first 5 books of the Old Testament.

e) 4,5,6th centuries: Christianity introduced into Ethiopia. It becomes the State Religion of Askum.

f) 615 AD: Islam comes to Ethiopia. They flee from the Arabian Rulers at the suggestion of Mohammed, who declares Ethiopia to be "a land of righteousness where no one is wronged." The Ethiopian Ruler refuses to give these refugees up to the Arabian leaders.

g) between 7-800 AD Yudith (Judith), an Agew Falasha princess, takes over and destroys some churches, as well as the city of Askum.

h) The Zagwe rule for about 150 years. They stay with Christianity, and king Labiela has several churches carved out of rock. These churches are one of those things that are said to be an 8th wonder of the world.

I) In 1270, the Amhara people revolt and instated a new king, Yekutmo Amlak, who claims descent from Solomon and Makeda, the Queen of Sheba.

J)16th century- Muslims come in from the east, The Oromo come in from the south. The portugese assist the Amhara to hold off the Muslim invaders and stop Agew revolts. Emperor Fasiladas builds a new capital city, Gondar.

K) There is a period where separate Ethiopian provinces are ruled and peopled by different cultures/tribes. In 1855, a series of Amhara kings, Theodore II, Yohannes, and Menelik II attempted to unite Ethiopia under one government. Menelik II succeeded. His Nephew, Haille Sellassie, ruled Ethiopia as emperor until 1934 when Mussolini lead the Italian invasion.

L) At the advent of WWII, British soldiers assisted Ethiopian soldiers in reclaiming Ethiopia, and Sellassie came back to rule in 1941. He ruled until 1974 when the Derg took over the government. As a result of some governmental policy combined with drought, Ethiopia was considered one of the poorest countries in the world at this point.

The Derg was a Marxist-Leninist group. The leader, Colonel Mengistu Hile Meriam, executed enemies of the government and instated government farms, forcing farmers to move onto these government-run facilities.

M) by 1985, more than half a million Ethiopian people starved. In 1991, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front began to attack government troops, and had much success. Four months later, President Mengistu resigned, and one week later, these troops seized the capital. They promised to set up a provisional government that included fair representation for all ethnic groups in Ethiopia.

At the same time, The Eritrean Liberation Front set up a government in Eritrea, and asked the UN to vote for Eritrean independence from Ethiopia. They eventually won this independence.

N) In 1994, a constitution was drafted. Ethiopia is now governed by a President (Chief of State) and a Prime Minister (head of government), a 108-seat Council of the Federation who represent regional interests, and a 547-seat Council of People's Representatives who are popularly elected and who are responsible for electing the president. The Prime minister is elected by the party in power.

Sep 8, 2006

I thought this was funny...

mostly because I have recently locked myself out of my car twice.


dude, I know it's idiotic entertainment, but... well, it's funny.

Ethiopian Adoption 1

I got my homestudy paperwork in the mail in the middle of last week. I'm going to start gathering materials next Monday; that's my plan. My only real concerns are these:

1) The letters of reference. Not that We don't have people that like us and thing we'd be good adoptive parents, just that I can't think of many people in that category who aren't insanely busy or, well, a tad flaky.

2) I'm scared of social workers. Just a little scared. But I'll have to get over that fast, won't I?

3) Our house. We're renting. According to the info that AFAA sent us, this will not be an impediment to our adopting. But will it be a mark against us that could add up with other marks against us and possibly make us a less-desirable adoptive family? And our house has only 3 bedrooms, and by the time the adoption is complete, we'll most likely have 5 kids (including the two we're planning to adopt). Is our house too small for 5? I don't think so. But will They think so?

4) The Moola. I found out that the first half of the fees are due before we're put on the waiting list, which we'd like to accomplish by January, or February if un-anticipated things happen. We still have to pay back BIL 4,500, so that means we need to have saved a total of around 10,000 by January (Inc. the 4,500). I think we could possibly do it, but it will be close. I personally do not want to go into debt for this, if we can help it... We're not hugely well off,and if our economy is as in trouble as it seems, I don't want to be in a vulnerable position, economically.

The Art of Sprouting Isn't Hard to Master

So, I have this piece of paper taped to my computer. It says "Rinse Sprouts."

This is because I have ruined one batch of seeds, and nearly another in the last two days because I'm trying a new thing with my sprouts. I'm putting them in the pantry as they grow so that, hopefully, they'll grow longer. Particularly the sunflower sprouts... They were only about an inch long last time. I want long sunflower sprouts!!

Sprouting is So Neat. You can sprout any seed, including but not limited to alfalfa, clover, broccoli, any green veggie pretty much,

and grains such as wheat, barley, or any other that you wish. And they're SO GOOD FOR YOU.

and they make a kick-butt addition to a salad. MMMM.
One Caution- be careful to rinse often as you sprout, and remove matter that looks as if it's no longer growing. Salmonella can grow in sprouts. Alfalfa, in particular, has been shown to have this problem.

Um, Really??

I know that a blog is typically considered to be the arena in which one reveals oneself in much the same way one reveals oneself in a journal. You're supposed to be vulnerable and if something is bugging me a lot, typically I would talk about it here. But the thing is, I have a policy where I don't really discuss the things that I'm dealing with that are also personal to other people, particularly if they're my family or may come across this blog (which is always possible). So... I will not vent today about what I wish to vent about. Instead, I will pick an extremely easy target for my venting.

I was listening to NPR the other day randomly while driving to the library (Loli needed more books to feed her interest in bees, ants, and flowers, as well as another Sesame English Video. Actually, she doesn't care all that much one way or another about the Sesame English videos, I'm the one who loves those. Yet another guilty mom secret.) Anyway, en route to the library, they were broadcasting Bush's address to congress wherein he revealed that there are, in fact, secret CIA prisons.




particularly disturbing to me are these quotes:

“It has been necessary to move these individuals to an environment where they can be held secretly, questioned by experts and, when appropriate, prosecuted for terrorist acts,” Bush said in a White House speech.


Though Bush said the United States never tortures suspects, "alternative" interrogation methods are used to glean information from them. These procedures "were tough, and they were safe and lawful and necessary," he said.

Also on Wednesday, the Pentagon issued a revised Army Field Manual that requires detainees be "treated humanely and in accordance with U.S. law, the law of war and applicable U.S. policy." (Watch how nudity, duct tape and electric shock are now banned -- 2:28)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that tribunals convened at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were unconstitutional.

The High Court also ruled that al Qaeda operatives were protected by the Geneva Conventions, which ban "humiliating and degrading treatment." Bush called that mandate "vague."

Ok, What???? You have got to be kidding me.

The funny thing is (well, not really funny), as I was listening to Our President on the radio, the thought that kept running through my head was He Likes His Cattle Branded.

I dunno why. Why do you think I was thinking that?

Also I don't like this man, I don't like this man, I really don't like this man.

Good thing I can do something about it, right? I don't like it when people vent about our government or leaders and then say that they're not going to even vote because they feel such contempt and hopelessness at the situation. C'mon! If you want things to be better, you need to be a part of the System. Make the government an appendage of you!