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

nblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/2086/1183/1600/IMG_0141.0.jpg">

nblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/2086/1183/1600/IMG_0145.1.jpg">

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.