Dec 30, 2007

The raging throat plague of death

Remember how I posted just a bit ago about cold and flu remedies? Well, guess what. They do help, immensely. Particularly when you're PG and can't really do the normal meds,(which,in my family, we avoid anyway) or when there's not much a dr can prescribe to quicken/relieve things.

Case in point: The Raging Throat Plague of Death. It starts with the typical itchy-throat, sneezing, congestion symptoms. Then it moves on to stabbing pain in the larynx, extremely irritated/swollen bronchial passages, uncontrollable coughing that causes more stabbage in the larynx area, and then when the fever pitch of the illness passes,you're left with a deluge of awful goo to somehow rid yourself of,mostly through mintues-long, uncontrollable bouts of coughing.

Do I sound like I'm whining? Well, I am. I'm so glad I'm almost done with this... what a nasty bug it was. I can't remember having been ill like this, at least, not in a long time. It will be nice to be able to be a normal, 9-month-pregnant woman again and not a bedridden, 9-months-pregnant-woman who cannot do much more than keep the kids from stabbing each other with blunt paintbrush ends, barely keep up with the dishes(forget the laundry, I have an everest of clean clothes awaiting folding in my bedroom) and serve PBJ's and grapes for every meal.

The saddest thing of all,though.... Skywalker's coming down with it now. As we speak, he's lying in the middle of the floor, listening to itunes on his headphones, his head propped up on a santa-claus hat. It doesn't look very comfortable. I'll have to offer him my pillow in just a second.

At any rate, this illness is going around. Everyone's getting it—the two- week chest cold. Called, by the way, bronchiolitis(or, conversely, RSV if contracted by a baby). This worries me... we'll have to keep our newborn close and out of contact with the public for a while. And hopefully Skywalker's two- week bout will be over by the time I deliver... maybe a small prayer or two would be good.

Thanks for listening to my whining.

Dec 23, 2007

A donkey ride

As you may or may not know, I'm expecting a baby in mid January. A funny coincidence; my duedate with this little guy (we know it's going to be a boy this time) is the exact same duedate I had for Loli. They could be born on the same day.

With Loli's pregnancy, I don't remember how I felt around Christmastime. It could be that life was too stressful to concentrate much on issues other than school, my deteriorating marriage, and the upcoming first-birth experience.

This time I've had the opportunity to relax, be a mom, really consider this pregnancy and how I feel, what it means. And today I had a sudden thought.

Mary.

She had a lot of stress during this time in her pregnancy. She felt probably the same way I do-- like only the perfect position with lots of pillow-propping will keep her various joints from grinding agaist each other, like staying in any position for long enough would render her pretty much crippled and unable to walk.

I wonder to myself, did Joseph and Mary try to convince the officials in charge of sending people on their way to be taxed, to let Mary stay home? Obviously, she had to go, despite her advanced pregnant state. She did, dutifully. She rode a donkey for how many miles?

I'm picturing myself, riding a donkey over rough terrain in the state I'm in...

And I have to say that Mary was a very strong woman.

And I have to say further... the donkey ride was probably what brought her labor on. Not even probably. It WAS, for sure. Maybe I should try it in a couple of weeks.

:) I hope you all have fun with family and friends, all have the Spirit of Christ in your homes, and that none of you are hampered by any incelement weather we will have over these next few days. Drive safe, and have a Merry Christmas.

Dec 21, 2007

The Christmas Campaign

OK. These speak for themselves. Seriously. Who needs The Onion or JibJab when they have opportunistic politicians trying to squeeze every last drop of propaganda they can out of the last few weeks left before primaries, and those few weeks happen to coincide with the holidays? I hope you laugh as much as I did. Hilary and Guliani in particular gave me goosebumps.. and not the good kind.










Romney's is a little different... no mention of Christmas. After viewing these others... maybe that's smart?

Dec 18, 2007

Tips for Cold and Flu season #2

Here's a list of home remedies, some passed down from my family, some from Skywalker's, some I've discovered on my own.

For a cold/cough/sore throat:

1) Get a large, unmatched sock. (I know you've got a few of those lying around). Fill it with rice, put some cinnamon and cloves in and shake it all around and tie it off very securely. Heat in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350. Place it upon the chest/throat/wherever needs comfort. Really good for chest colds.

2) Peppermint essential oils. Take a couple of drops, rub it on the chest, throat, the tip of the nose, and if you have a sinus infection, do your forehead and below your cheekbones, too. Will make your eyes water. do NOT get it anywhere near your eyes, or it will really make your eyes water. I've found this to be a huge help with pain relief and with getting congestions loosened up.

3) Hot herbal tea. If you want, you can do echinacea tea and kill two birds with one stone, but personally I prefer something nice like blueberry or mandarin spice. A little honey soothes the throat, as well.

4) A long, hot bath/shower. If you're having trouble coughing during a chest cold, this will help. Add some Melaleuca (tea tree oil) to the bath water for extra help with decongesting.

5) If you don't have time for bath/shower, boil a saucepan of water and put five or so drops of tea tree oil in. When the steam starts rising, lean over it and inhale.

6) Lots and lots of vitamin c. 2000 mg. Will loosen up/reduce congestion and help your body fight off the invaders.

7) Echinacea is a homeopathic remedy, which means it aggravates the immune system to get it to act... take it with care, and take it mostly when you feel you're coming down with something (at the beginning of the illness). Do not take it when you're pregnant.

8) Olive leaf powder is a powerful antimicrobial herb. Take it carefully, only one or two capsules with some vitamin C, perhaps twice a day.

9) Young Living brand essential oil: Theives blend. Dilute it, a drop or two in several drops of olive oil. Put it on your chest/throat. There's a throat spray too, haven't tried it but I'm sure it works.

10) Colloidal silver. You can get it in spray form, it's great for throat infections; spray directly on the throat. It's also good for pinkeye, put drops/spray directly in eye.

11) Iodine. You can get a special kind in health food stores that comes in a little dropper bottle... put drops on the back of the tongue and swallow, right before bed. Don't eat or drink anything a while so that it can have its full effect.

12) Avoid the fruit juices. Drink some, yes, but make it mostly water. Sugars of any kind will feed the infection, especially if it's a bacterial infection.

13) Carrot Juice. Very soothing on the throat, and very, very good for the immune system.

14) Make sure you're getting enough protein, avoid the carbs. Carbs are sugars, essentially. Especially simple carbs (sweets, white breads, corn syrup in juices/sweeteners.) Eggs are good, but if your illness is in your lungs, be careful because eggs aren't good for the lungs. I hate to say this, but meats might be the option. Broths, specifically... beef or chicken broth. IN my vegetarian family, we do miso/bonita broth with lots and lots of onions.

15) speaking of onions... very, very good for the lungs. Make a broth out of them to fight off chest infections, especially.

16) Garlic/Cayenne capsules. Cayenne pepper is a really great way to get some vitamin c and to loosen stuff up. MAKE SURE YOU EAT SOMETHING WITH IT. and if you're prone to heartburn, you might want to do something else.

17) Garlic is great for ear infections. Garlic oil on a cotton swab inside the ear for a while, then take it out and lay with the infected ear downward for drainage.


Just to let you know... this time around, I'm also taking sudafed at night so I can sleep. I think it's good to avoid the meds as much as possible, but sometimes you gotta weigh this against your sanity. If you're a mom who will have to wake up to kids in the morning, make sure you get a full night's sleep.


The end!

Dec 16, 2007

An empty place

It's funny, living in a ward as a married woman. It seems like after marriage, there is so much more that you have in common with the women around you. All the sudden rituals and repercussions that follow a marraige; for instance, writing of thank-you-notes, the stressful business of moving into a new place and setting up housekeeping. There's the newly married stage that all go through, where you might or might not be supporting yourself and a spouse during school. And there's babies: pregnancy, showers, birth, blessings. You're fussy and nervous when your first one comes. You devote all your energy during that first nine months to reading every pregnancy book you can get your hands on. You spend all of your day playing, looking at, and caring for her. And then the next one comes. And the next.

It's a sudden bond between you and other women who've been through the same thing.

There's this woman in my ward. SHe had her first baby about a year ago, a little girl. I, just like every other mother in the ward, commiserated with her once or twice about pregnancy, and admired the cute hair bows and little dresses she put on her baby. Those chubby little cheeks, the little round fuzzy head, I can see it now. The blessing, with the baby swaddled in a trailing white gown.

Her baby died last Thursday.

There's something about that that is incomprehensible to me, and completely, tearingly comprehendable as well. We try not to worry, as mothers. We do our best to do all that we can, and pray that God makes up for the rest; keeps them safe from all that we can't keep them from. The fear of losing a child is a red light at the back of each of our minds, and we pay as little heed to it as possible, because such things can drive you mad, make you into a fearful, controlling person.

But it happens.

I can't imagine not having Loli. Not having Jaws streaking around the living room, holding up her baba and asking for more "nohk." (milk.) Having her get up from her little toddle bed at 6:30 and push my door open and start chattering cheerfully about how she wants to get up, how she slept, how she wants breakfast (I can only understand one or two words of course).

My heart is full today, as I think of the mother who has lost her child. Who will be burying her on Monday. Who will have nothing but pictures left, until in fifty or so years it's her time to join her little child. The baby suffered terribly from an rare intestinal infection that was going around here this summer. They couldn't diagnose it at first. By the time they did, her little body was already dying. She was hospitalized and on various forms of support for a month. She's in a better place now, but there's a gaping, raw wound, there, for the family... an obvious empty place in their home.

Please, say a prayer for this woman and her husband. Keep her in your thoughts today. Pray for any comfort and peace that they might be given. I'll be praying with you.

Dec 15, 2007

Seven Random things :)

I've been tagged by margaret.

Here goes:

1) I can't handle stuff on my floors or surfaces. Big overflowing box o' random toys and shoes all mixed up standing in the corner= OK. Pile of neatly folded blankets on the couch that really ought to go in the linen closet= OK. Small piece of kleenex in the middle of my carpet= not OK.

2) My favorite movie star is Robin Williams. Yes, I know he does dirty slapstick, and that when he's let loose, he's really quite foul. But he is sooooo good at evoking empathy in the viewer, whether he's playing a medical student with clinical depression, or a blue cartoon genie. I think part of the reason why I like him is that his face and way of talking remind me of my dad. I cried when he got his oscar for best supporting actor in Good Will Hunting. (which I haven't seen, but wish I could. Too bad the language turned it into an R movie).

3) One of my lifelong dreams is to get really buff and fit so that I can climb any mountain in the world. Conversely, I'm scared of heights, and so I know that Everest isn't in my list of goals. Probably not Maccu piccu, kilamanjaro, or really any other extremely high, slippery sort of place. So in the end, I guess it's best to stick to places like Timp and Castle peak, back home (which I can just barely handle).

4) I really, really, really don't think brad pitt is cute. My first celebrity crush: Bill Pullman. I was 15. While You Were Sleeping has influenced my taste in guys ever since. I also think that Johnny dep is hotter than orlando bloom, and I never went through a Leo phase. I must admit though, that Mattew Mcconaghuey is godlike in his beauty.

5) I try to read poetry, but it's so frustrating. I love poems with good images, but I can never really get what the writer is talking about until I've read it through at least five times, with significant times to relax my brain in between. And yet I try to write it myself.

6) I'm a democrat, but I don't like Hillary or Nancy at all. And I voted for bush last time. (really regretting it). So in truth, I'm probably an independent, but where I live, a moderate political view means you're a democrat. Sometimes. Mostly, I think I like to SAY I'm a democrat because I've met a few too many self-righteous republicans, and in the end, I'm just as self-righteous about my own "moderate" political views.

7) I've only kissed three men. I didn't marry only one of them.


K, I guess I've got to tag some people... Camilla, Michelle, Jer or Rachel, Maren, Lucy, and Sherpa. If you want. :)

Dec 13, 2007

I've joined...

I have now been admitted to the bloggernacle choir as a first alto. This is the part that I have sung in any choir I've ever been in, and I intend to stick to what I know.

here's a link to a soft answer,the blog of the man who runs the LDS blog listings. I'll be putting it on my sidebar, too.

This is the link to LDS and Mormon blogs, a wonderful congregation of mormon writers/thinkaholics.

Thank you, powers that be!

Dec 12, 2007

snow day!!!





Here are some pictures from about a week ago. Two of them are mine, of them is my sister's.

Don't they make cute eskimos?

Dec 11, 2007

my slideshow

Some things are hard to see, or think about. But we should think about them anyway, because maybe it'll motivate us to change or do something about them.

I took a sociology class in college—current social problems. We were divided into groups and asked to each review a topic and do a presentation on it. The presentation that I was responsbile for was entitled, "Genocide, Hatred and Violence."

Holy cow. Not a fun topic, right?

The sad thing is, these things happen. To people like you and me. I know this isn't very Christmasy of me, but I wanted to post this slideshow (I put it together for this class.) I feel like, around Christmas time, it's easy for people (myself included) to get caught up in things that aren't important. My little ponies. Polly pockets. When there are kids out there who don't have parents, a clean place to sleep, or enough food to keep them healthy. We have so much, those of us with the luxury of a roof over our heads, fast-food restaraunts, and a laptop to blog with. So... this video. Watch it. Cry a little; I do. And then think, "what can I do about it?" That's the clincher. We can do plenty. There are people out there who spend all of their time and money helping people in these situations. And there are people who spend their whole lives preaching against these very things; Genocide, hatred, and violence. Even social awareness, even that, being willing to connect with these people who have suffered so much, is something important.


Dec 6, 2007

Romney addresses Religion

I'm amazed... he actually did it.

Agree or disagree, like or dislike, Romney's speech on religion and state, and his own personal convictions, brought tears to my eyes. It's about twenty minutes long, but Definitely Worth A Listen.

Dec 5, 2007

The Democratic Debate, hosted by NPR

I LOVED this debate. Here is the short summary of how I think things came off:

1) Hilary Clinton. She's the most polished-sounding of the candidates, and she has a sort of "above it all" thing going for her. In the polls, and in the way she discusses the issues. I like her views on Iraq to a point; her views on Iran scare me a little. She sounds like she'd be OK with going to war with Iran at some point. Possibly the most experienced of the candidates, possibly the most qualified. She and Joe Biden are about equally both, I think.

2) Barack Obama. Stumbled over his words a little. Still sounds inexperienced and a touch idealistic, but his views on Iran, Iraq, China, and especially illegal immigration really resonate with me. He's getting more and more specific with his ideas of alternatives to the way things are now, and I like what I'm hearing. Perhaps the most likeable of the candidates, or at least, seems to be the most earnest and heartfelt (to me.)

3) Joe Biden. I love Joe Biden! Wow, what a guy. He is someone I would trust not to judge hastily, but who I would also trust not to be pressured or to go with the status quo simply because it is. Very experienced in foreign relations, which will be VITAL in this next presidency. I like what he had to say on Iran and on China... I felt that his views on China were actually the most wise, the most balanced, and the most feasible. He and Hillary actually agree on China, but I feel that Biden has the ring of authority here because of his experience in foreign relations.

4) John Edwards. I like him, he's perhaps the second most "likeable," "Earnest", of the candidates. But I don't feel that his ideas on Iran and China are fleshed out enough. He's got a lot to say about immigration and the american economy and not continuing our current trade habits with China, and I think superficially, I agree with what he has to say on the subject. I like his compassionate stance on Illegal immigration.

5) Mike Gavel: He was a tad fiesty. Not too likeable, I don't think... he seemed to most determined to say why the other candidates were wrong, especially in the discussion about the resolution just voted on in the senate about Iran and designating certain groups to be proponents of terror. I agreed with what he said, but I didn't like the way he said it. I felt like he might have a tendency to one-mindedness, perhaps a tendency not to listen to others. Sorry, this is just my own sort of typing-as-I'm-thinking rumination. Anyway, I agreed with him, but I dont' want another president who is unwilling to listen to the other side and other, perhaps better ideas and options from those around him who have experience.

6) Dennis Kucinich: I agree with most of what he says. I'm starting to get annoyed as his querilous, "I am the only candidate here who..." blah blah blah. SO you didn't vote to go to war. Good for you. OK, now move on to something else. I think the man has integrity, but he has something to learn about likeability. Plus, I worry about his experience. He has consistently voted against funding the war, even when it was popular to be funding the war, but has he ever done anything himself with foreign relations? What are his ideas? I want to hear those, not just why he's different and better than all the other candidates because he voted a certain way all this time.

7) Chris Dodd: I actually don't remember too much of what he said... this is probably a bad sign (either of my own deteriorating mental capacity as I approach the culmination of pregnancy or of his memorability as a candidate.


One thing: I absolutely LOVE the way that NPR handled this debate. They kept the questions to three important categories so that they could allow each candidate to respond at lenght, and so that the interviewers (Robert Segal, Michelle Norris) coudl follow up and ask further questions. Also, they kept things pretty much on issue, were good at not allowing any candidate to ward off a question by making generalized sorts of statements (a source of big frustration to me during all these other debates). Also, they did a good job at keeping mudslinging out of it, and keeping things civil and agreeable between the candidates. Good job NPR!

Here's the link if you wanted to listen but missed it. This will take you to a page that has the transcript, but there's a "listen" button at the top so that you don't have to strain your eyes reading two-hours worth of material, lol.

Dec 3, 2007

Vader is not the most sensitive dad...

I have to say I think I sympathise more with Vader on this one. Unfortunately, I think that my daughter and I have had a few exchanges like this. Just, you know. A couple. When she's jumping up and down and whining because I won't give her cinnamon toast, or something. OK, I"m a good mom. I promise.

Little house

I thought I'd blog about something much more innocuous today, literature-wise. Not less important or less salient, but less controversial.

I've read a ton of books for a person of my age. Reading is and always has been my addiction. I'm proud and ashamed of this fact. I don't know how many books I've read and I don't care to count, and some of it has been crap. You have to wade through the garbage sometimes to find a treasure. Every once in a while I've had to put a book down, but at this point I can usually identify a book I'm not going to want to finish by it's cover (tee hee, yes, you can judge books by their cover, you just have to have the right sorts of prejudices) and the summary blurb on the back. So here, I've made a fun list. The twelve best young adult/childrens' fiction authors of the 19-20th centuries. This is strictly my opinion, without cross-referencing with literature experts or critics of any sort. It's the list of my favorites, based upon my own insatiable consumption of young adult/child fiction.

In no particular order:

Frances Hodgson Burnett
Mark Twain
Joan Aiken
Beverly Cleary
Rhoald Dahl
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Robert Louis Stevenson
C.S. Lewis
Mary Mapes Dodge
J.R.R. Tolkien
Judy Blume
Cynthia Voigt

Of these authors, I'd say #1 for me is based upon writing quality, wow, hard choice, but... Mark Twain.

Of the books of these authors, I'd say the very best one is either Huckleberry Finn, the Secret Garden, or Little House on the Prairie. My favorite is the third.


I love the little house books. First of all, they are true stories of an amazing family. My favorite character: Pa. He digs wells, he hews logs, he hunts for bears and brings them home to feed his family, he plows and plants acres and acres of wheat year after year even through all the meager yields, the constant crashing of his hopes and dreams.

My next favorite character: Ma. She keeps her dirt floors swept, her bread fresh and delicious even for want of most major ingredients, her little girls learning their letters and numbers even in the middle of the harshest blizzard. She can make apple pie when there aren't any apples to be had. She makes sure that there is a Christmas even when the family is on the brink of starvation.

My favorite line of the book (repeated a few times throughout the books)...

"Caroline, do you realize that you are the light of my life and the joy of my existence?" (Pa, to Ma.)

A-MA-ZING books. Read them. Gobble them down. Feel amazed and a little guilty at the safety and pleasure of our lives nowadays. Feel stunned and a little jealous at the adventure and exploration of the frontier. Learn what sacrifice really can mean, sacrifice for the greater good and the health of the community. These people were friends with their family and close neighbors, because they had to be to survive physically and emotionally. The warmth of the pioneer society has died out in our own; this is the primary jealousy I feel as I read these books. I mourn the loss of that.

Plus, there are absolutely no atheists in this book. From what one can tell. Laura Ingalls Wilder has never been inclined to preachiness.

*disclaimer... anything that has not been published in English, I haven't had a chance to peruse. So if my list seems biased toward English and American authors, that's why. :)

Dec 1, 2007

Pullman, the Golden Compass, and Killing God

I'm writing this post because I'm soooo tired of all those emails I've been getting! You know which ones I mean. I don't write back, because I don't like to get into unnecessary debates. But I feel a need to express my frustration about it, so here all of you lucky people go.

I have a pretty strong opinion about the Golden Compass books.

I loved, loved, loved this series. I also don't agree with where the author is coming from.

Lots of books are like that. Hemingway, for instance, was very anti-feminist and pro free-love,and yet even the most conservative of people will read his stuff. Why? Because it's good writing and it teaches us important truths, even if we don't agree
with every aspect of his arguments.

The thing about Pullman: Yes, he is an atheist. More specifically, he is a Humanist, an outspoken secularist. He's also a brilliant writer. The His Dark Materials series explores not only the idea of religious persecution and dogmatism, but childhood, innocense, the nature of the human soul and its influence on the human experience. He explores the idea of the Fall of Adam, setting those who want to prevent it (the Magisterium, or Church) against those who are trying to cause it (Lord Asriel, Lyra, and all the protagonists). This could be viewed as troubling to Catholics, perhaps, or other Christian religious groups that believe that the fall should never have happened. But In LDS culture, we believe that it was a good thing. Where's the beef? Are we just jumping on the "I'm P.O'd because I'm religious and I'm extrasensative to anything that may seem even slightly anti-religious" wagon? Shame, shame.

Those who object to Pullman's books have been making some rash statements. For instance, that he wrote the series as an anti-Chronicles of Narnia series. This is not true; he himself states that, if he has based this series on any other set of books, it's Milton's Paradise Lost.

His books make a statement about religious dogmatism and persecution, not about religion in general. Many people who have read them don't think of them as against the God of Christianity, (or for that matter, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buhddism, or Polytheistic socieities), but against the God that is set up by those who are engaged religious tyranny. He does kill a character named God, yes; a senile, misguided, hateful character whose wish is to enslave human beings into a narrow range of experiences and behaviors. Does this sound familiar, guys? I read these books and read a man who did not kill God, but instead, killed Satan. Who, we must admit, has been behind some of our more oppressive religious events. The crusades, the inquisition, the holocaust... can we really ignore the influence of Satan in religious persecution and dogmatism?

In these emails, Pullman is described as a God-hater, a sneaky atheist who is trying to convert the world's children to atheism. Phillip Pullman is a decent man. He's been described as a polite and considerate debating partner. He doesn't deserve to be villanized, and that's what happening.

I have a hard time when religious people decide to tell everyone that someone is evil simply because he doesn't believe the same way that they do, and examines a different wordview in his writing. Conservative "Christian" groups did the same thing with the Harry Potter series (which actually had lots of beautiful religious (Christian) symbolism).

When it comes down to it, if I decided to decry every author whose beliefs conflicted with my own, I'd be eliminating a lot of great writing. I'd have to elmiminate Hemingway, Steinbeck, Thoreau, Rousseau, Milton, Dante, even CS Lewis because he doesn't share my exact Christian beliefs.And if I decried every artist who lived a lifestyle that I could not condone, the list would have to stretch to include Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Liszt, and a great many others who have created inspiring, uplifting material.

I guess what I'm saying is, it's fine for people to decide, as individuals, that Pullman isn't for them. But to mass email everyone about how evil a certain author is, or a certain series, is not only intolerant, but is somewhat hypocritical. Unless these same people are also sending out emails about Steinbech, Mozart, etcetera.

Having said that, I do NOT think this is a children's series. Some of the materialin it is way too adult (children get kidnapped and harmed, Lyra loses her best friend in frightful circumstances, and the Magisterium is very scary and evil). I don't want my little daughter worrying about these things yet, and I know she would. I won't be taking the kids to see the movie.

Skywalker and I will find a babysitter and enjoy it together, because he also loved the books.

Nov 29, 2007

courtesy of Canpnwacky

By DAVID ANDREWS, RAY INGRAHAM, BRODIE H. BROCKIE, and BEN FLASTER

A list of the Pet-Peeves of Pirates

'Hook' always beats rock, scissors, and paper.

Those chicks who shop at Hot Topic who are all "oooh, I love pirates!" but then when a real pirate tries to pick them up at the pretzel shop they're, like, "ew, you smell like halibut!"

Peg-leg termites.

When someone snaps the strap on your eye patch.

Fourteen consecutive losing seasons, no pennants since 1979.

When certain other pirates say they're into "plundering and pillaging" and you try to explain that they're being redundant and then they stab you in the eye.

Not being able to wear those amazing new prosthetic hands because other pirates would make fun of you.

Pranksters teaching your parrot words like ‘fluffy’ and ‘rainbow’ and ‘I’m with stupid.’

Idiots actually trying to balance fifteen men on a dead man’s chest.

People who say "CaribBEan" instead of "CaRIBbean."

Accidentally scratching your crotch with the hook hand.

Boys who look like Mary Martin.

Swishbucklers

When someone forgets to mark which direction is north on a treasure map.

Low-flying woodpeckers.

Metal hook hand, electrical storm ­ you do the math.

Those hideous Captain Morgan commercials.

Having to stay below decks just to avoid killing everyone on ‘talk like a pirate day.’

Doubloons won’t fit the snack machines at most ports.

Finding pants that look good with one long and one short leg.

Having to share a name with geeks who, rather than murdering and pillaging, illegally download Ashlee Simpson songs.

Converting Pieces of Eight to decimal system is too much math.

Hipsters.

Star-struck parrot won’t stop saying “AFLAC!”

Parchment always gets stuck in the photocopier.

Crate & Barrel doesn’t really have very many good crates or barrels.

Stepping into a knot hole with your peg leg.

Being expected to fight every Ninja you see makes Bridge night uncomfortable.

None of your people seeing a dime from those Long John Silver restaurants.

Those times when Doctor Doom kidnaps the Invisible Woman and then uses her as leverage to force the rest of the Fantastic Four to go back in time to steal a bunch of your treasure.

Stuck with parrots because pot-bellied pigs have poor sense of balance.

Scurvy.

Nov 28, 2007

What about Huckabee?

Mike Huckabee. Arkansas Governor. Baptist preacher. A flawless record of pro-life, anti-gay-marriage stands. A moral leader; making his political decisions seemingly based on personal conviction.

So why have republicans/media been ignoring him? Because nobody thought he could win.

Well, now his poll numbers are soaring in Iowa. He's almost at the same level as Romney right now, who is far and above (or was) all other Republican nominees in his poll percentages. So I thought I'd dig around and say what I think about MIke.

I like him. In the republican debates, I find I agree with him more than I don't. Here's a basic summary of his stands and how I feel about them:

1) The war in Iraq is a necessary battle in the war on terror, and we have to win it even if it means staying in Iraq for another fifty years. (I strongly disagree... though I also disagree with people who want to immediately withdraw troops. I think we need to continue to give this surge a chance until it is actually apparent we're failing, which it is not, right now.)

2) We need a completely new plan for healthcare. Health savings accounts should be available to all americans. (I agree. This is a different take on universal access to healthcare than Barack and Hillary tout, and perhaps a better one? We don't know, because all new plans are experimental at this point, anyway.)

3) It is our moral duty to do all that we can to halt or reduce global warming. (I completely agree. What, a republican candidate that actually says he believes Global Warming exists? I'm speechless!)

4) In general, Abortion is morally wrong. There are a lot of moral dilemmas involved in this issue, and therefore states shouldn't legislate about it. You can't legislate morality. (I agree. I think.)

5)Illegal immigrants should be deported if they are caught, and they shouldn't recieve welfare or voting rights. But the children of illegal immigrants should have access to healthcare, public school, and be eligible to apply for college scholarships when they graduate from high school in the U.S. (I like his compassionate stance on immigration. However, I'd like to hear more about possible routes to legalize illegal immigrants, or at least, grant them a chance to legalize themselves through legitimate means.)

6)We must become independent of Saudi Oil. We will do so within ten years. This means also pursuing all forms of alternative energy (nuclear, solar, wind, etcetera).
(I agree).


Overall, I think I might like Mike better than Mitt, actually. I definitely like him better than Rudy. If it ended up being Mike vs Hillary, my vote would go to mike. If it were Mike vs Obama, I'd have a harder time deciding. If it were Mike, Obama, and Ron Paul as a third party candidate, I might have to pray a lot.

Woudln't it be fun to have a president Huckabee?

The light of my life, the Joy of my existence

I don't blog about my family much lately. I've noticed this. I think it's because my family doesn't stress me the way other stuff does. Not in a big way. I'm a good mom, and my kids are good kids. Skywalker is a good husband. And not in a boring way at all. My life is awesome, and it's because my family makes it that way.

So today I thought I'd write about them, or more specifically, about my oldest daughter, who doesn't get her fair share of the blogging space, usually.



Just the other day, we had parent-teacher conferences, and her kindergarten teacher told me that she's been rated at 172/200 for proficiency in all the skills that they teach in kindergarten. I have no idea what numbers mean (and to tell you the truth, I usually don't worry too much about them), but the teacher told me that on average, a kindergarten student scores around 70. I guess to emphasize to me what he means. It was one of those moments for me, this teacher looking at me across the table, realizing (once again) that Loli is a special kid with unique needs and abilities. All kids are, of course. But this is MY kid. My special, unique kid with amazing talents and skills, and endearing weaknesses and challenges, too. I get to help her. How blessed am I?

This doesn't mean Loli doesn't benefit from kindergarten. Holy cow, she's become so much more social, she loves going, she loves re-learning stuff and learning new stuff (she talks to me sometimes about rectangular prisms and I pretend I know what she's talking about). I guess I just have to say that I've always known she's a unique kid, I've always known (from the time of her birth) that she's an extremely intelligent person, with a completely unique personality.

She had to grow up fast. Because of some difficulties that happened to us as a family, she was put in childcare at 9 months, and it was full time by the time she was two. She switched caregivers every year or so, and this worried me, except I never left, so she had me. I think this is what saved us; we had each other. I had to be sane and functional and productive and responsible despite my youth and the huge blow of all that happened, and she had to trust me to take care of her; and also be a little more independant than most toddlers. Sad in a way, amazing in a way.

Today, she is an amazing blend of kid and little adult. She loves pretending, she does it without embarrassment. She loves art and making stuff. She loves her my little ponies and dress ups.

She talks very maturely with the kids on the playground when they say mean things or push each other. And then she plays a crazy game of pretend involving the slide and monkey bars.

She talks about rectangular prisms and then wants me to read her "Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street."

Quite a kid. A wonderful companion, a champion friend, an amazing and (mostly) agreeable older sister, and an agreeable and (mostly) obedient little daughter. I can't imagine life without her, and I can't imagine being more grateful for someone in my life...

unless of course, I think of my other family members. I'm extremely grateful for ALL of them.

Nov 27, 2007

Danged if you do, danged if you don't

So you all know by now that I have a manuscript resting with Covenant. They're late getting back to me, and I'm trying to just be patient. But at the same time, it's getting on my nerves a little. Is this normal, I wonder, to be two and a half months outside of the time that was originally given to me as to when they'd be letting me know about my manuscript? Do all authors, with all publishing companies experience this?

Added to this, I have a certain set of extended family who has published with Covenant before and found their practices of royalty distribution less than ethical (if they discount the book, they take it purely out of the 15 percent due the author, not as a percentage out of all the royalties due everyone, they take lost/damaged/return books out of author royalties as well), and has warned me that they will want me to sign a contract (in the case that my manuscript is accepted) granting Covenant first refusal rights to any manuscript I ever send out to publishers in future.

Writers out there... tell me. Is this a normal demand? Are these practices of taking losses (marking down prices, lost and destroyed and returned books) out of only the author's percentage normal? And do most publishing companies expect first refusal rights?

I don't want to send them all my manuscripts first, particularly if first refusal rights means I have to accept any and all changes they may want to make to any manuscript I send them or else they'll sue me for looking somewhere else.

All these things have me thinking hard, have me worried. And at the same time, I desperately want Covenant to take my book so I can be published. Getting published by a publishing company is such a big break. It hardly happens to anyone who writes, or at least, it usually happens after a long string of refusals.

I'm just feeling so schizophrenic about this. It's affecting my writing... I get tired of it a lot quicker right now, I think because I'm associating stress with it. Argh.

Advice, people, please. Even if it's just, "snap out of it, surfgirl. The world is not coming to an end, the sky is not falling."

And dang it, I can't find people to give me feedback on my manuscripts. My family takes them and then doesn't read them. I want real feedback! But it's not like I write short little poems that I can place on a professor's desk and ask for feedback, these are books. They take time to read. Who can I impose on other than friends and family? And friends and family just don't understand fully, either that or the fact that I write is somehow... I dunno. Threatening to them? I have a lot of friends/family writers. I think that, if i were in their place, I would be resistant to reading a friends/sisters/daughter's manuscript because I would feel jealous that I hadn't finished one myself. I can see it so clearly, because that's how I would feel, and what I would do. Dang my artistic hippy renaissance family, and my informed and literate friends!

Just kidding. Sorry. Small vent.

Creative frustration is a [not going to say that word.]

Nov 25, 2007

Brit's twins?

How weird.

I'm really not sure whether I can believe this is true. I mean, I cannot imagine a social worker approving Britney, given her current stressors, not to mention her custody battle with her husband and various traffic violations (still unresolved).

I can only conclude that our newsreporting has gone downhill as blogs pick up on cheap publicity by falsifying things, such as Zahara Jolie-Pitt's birthmom desiring to regain custody. (I was so mad when I read those articles. Dang it. I need to just stop reading this stuff.) But I guess we'll see what happens with the Brit.

Nov 23, 2007

Delicious Vegetarian Enchiladas

Here's a recipe I just discovered/tweaked into vegetarianism. It's really good. NOt really good FOR you in the sense that there's lots of fats, but better for you than normal enchiladas in the vegetable usage department. Here goes:

Vegetarian enchiladas

flour tortillas (at least 10, medium size)
1 can green enchilada sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 8 oz package of fresh mushrooms, chopped
2/3 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups of spinach, chopped
1/2 cup of mozzarella (or you could use cheddar, but it's not as yummy)


take the mushrooms and onions, saute them in olive or vegetable oil until they're soft. Toss in the chopped spinach, stir around, take off the heat only when it starts reducing a little, getting a little soft.

Put above ingredients in a bowl, add 1/2 of the can of enchilada sauce and 1/2 of the can of cream of mushroom. Mix.

Fill up the tortillas with this mixture, rolling them and lining them up tightly in a standard baking pan, if you're making less, use a smaller pan, if you're making more, use a bigger one. It's nice to be able to fill up the whole pan if possible.

Combine the rest of the green enchilada sauce and soup concentrate and pour over the top, getting all exposed parts of the enchiladas moist.

Scatter the mozzarella across the top.

Bake at 350 until the cheese is very melted and the insides have warmed up.


As a side: chop tomatoes, lettuce, and a little onion into small pieces, mix together. Goes very nicely with the enchiladas.

Yummy, family friendly... my kids love this one. If you serve with a side of salad, you'll probably get all the veggies you need for dinner. :)

Nov 22, 2007

Congressman Ron Paul and Deep Fried Turkeys

Do you know what they have in common?

Cult popularity. Seriously. There are people who take an entire Turkey, every thanksgiving, and immerse it in a 600-degree vat of oil. Apparently you have to be careful or you might set yourself on fire. But then, that's probably part of the appeal. To certain people. Certain segments of the population. (OK. I mean Men.)

Most people are not willing to risk their Thanksgiving turkey experience by trying something so new and, well, dangerous. But I've heard people describe deep-fried turkey in the most glowing of terms... the melting in the mouth, the delicious flavor, the crisp outer skin (OK, Dave, I know you're cringing right now. Just to let you know, my non-dark side is cringing right along with you.) Who would deep fry a turkey?

Ask yourself this question, and then ask yourself another...

Who would vote for Ron Paul? I mean, sure, he has a cult following. He is described in glowing terms, as well. Certain segments of the population (John Birchers, Hippies, Independents who are fed up with our current foreign policy and bloated beaureacracy) are attracted to him. But why take the risk? Why risk something so traditional, so important, so monumental as a primary caucus by voting for someone who 1) only has 2% of the official poll count, and 2)wants to do away with the UN, wants to immediately pull our troops, not only out of Iraq, but out of South Korea, out of everywhere, and instead have diplmomatic/trade relations with these (possibly nuclear-arms packing)countries?

For me, it's all about the pendulum swing, my friends. I'm not one of those outrageous Ron Paul supporters who spams every mitt romney ad with negative comments and who gets flustered when someone makes fun of him or flings 911 in his direction. But dang it...

I like him. He's honest. And you know what else? He's a Chance at Breaking Free of this Increasingly Ugly Battle Between Two Political Sectors Who are Pretty Much Just A Reification Of Themselves, And In No Way Represenative of What America Wants.

(How's that for an acronym? CBFIUBBTPSWPMJROT, AINWRWAW.)

So, if you're even slightly interested, you really ought to try some deep friend turkey this Thanksgiving. After all, if one risks nothing... yeah.

Nov 17, 2007

It's just a needle...

I have to give myself shots every day when I'm pregnant. I've done it with the last two, I've been doing it with this one for the past 6 1/2 months.

People have asked me, "how do you do that to yourself? How can you stick a needle in your own skin?"

I asked myself the same question, the first few times I had to do it. I stared at the packaging, stared at the needle with it's little cap, stared at the bubbly medication inside the tube of the syringe. I stared for a good ten minutes, then brought the needle to my skin a few different times before I had the courage to actually stick myself. I'm no herculean sort of person when it comes to needles... I'm actually a lot more queasy than most people.

How do you do it? You think to yourself, this hurts a lot less than a blood clot would. It hurts a lot less than an IV pump. It hurts a lot less than a pulmonary embolism, and in a much more close-to-home sort of way, it hurts a heckuva lot less than labor.

I do my breathing exercizes, practicing ignoring the pain. It really does work. But you know what I have discovered, this pregnancy, works better?

*read ahead only if you're not going to be offended*

"It's just a needle, dammit."

I don't swear. Not a swearing kind of girl. It makes me blush to be writing this on my blog. But for some reason, one of my first injections this go-round was taking a few times to work out, and I just thought at myself (maybe even said it aloud,) "It's just a needle, dammit!" And for some reason, it was just fine. Ever since then, this is the mantra I repeat in my head as I look at that teeny, tiny tube of metal that I have to stick in myself. It works. I've tried dang it, and dang it just doesn't cut it the way dammit does. Why? I don't know.

It also works for blood draws. Just the other day, I had to get my platelet levels checked, and they brought that huge ol' needle up to my vein and I thought, "It's just a needle, dammit," and dang. It hardly even hurt much. Seriously.

So, I'm not saying you should swear as a rule, or as a habit. I think, really, this is about perspective, about not taking yourself and your nerve endings too seriously. SO the next time you come upon an unbearable task of some sort... maybe you could try it. If you're not too offended by the idea, that is. :)

Nov 13, 2007

A great piece of advice

"For all who would write good poetry, three simple yet fundamental things are needed: first is a concern for artistry of language and form; second is some significance in the content; and third is a controlled harmony between language and content—the synthesis that makes art. Inexperienced writers tend either to concentrate too much on diction, neglecting thought, or to concentrate too much on thought, ignoring style. The better way, of course, is to be equally concerned about matter and manner, substance and style, what is said and how it is said. The danger of thinking only about what is said is that everything may come out trite and obvious, and the danger of concentrating too much on stylistics is that sincerity may be lost and self-conscious artiness may take over. Balance in writing, as in most things, is the key, and the successful poet will equally control words, ideas, and emotions—in fact, will recognize their inseparableness."

--Bruce B. Clark

Nov 12, 2007

Black & White & Shades of Grey

If you follow personality theories, you find that it's sort of fun to compartmentalize people. That sounds bad. What I mean is, sometimes it's interesting to view yourself and your interactions with others through the lens of someone's view of people and the world.

The color code, for instance. According to this test, I'm Blue and white, about equally divided, with a bright streak of yellow and a nice little smudge of red.

According to another, I'm an INFP.

What do these things mean? Really, unless I give them credence, absolutely nothing.

But things like this can really be informative to a point. For instance, my "blueness" as percieved by the color code author would clash with someone else's "redness," and in fact, I do tend to clash with people who have the described "red" traits.

I also clash with people who tend to think in black-and-white. OK, this is my real point. If I were to compartmentalize people at all, and I only do this for my own convenience: to make me feel better about negative feelings I have sometimes and to help me know how to better interact with someone I just ain't clicking with--

I'm pretty sure I'm a grey thinker. I really can't believe that someone is a bad person, or that someone is a good person. I can't make myself believe that there are decisions that are inherrently right, or inherrently wrong. I believe in a few absolutes, but I have a hard time even with those. This can interfere with my faith sometimes. I really have to humble myself, to realize I don't know everything, in order to accept absolutes.

Some people like absolutes. They see right and wrong as divided along a firm line. Cross the line, you're wrong. This decision is on this side, this decision is on that side. Period.

We need both of these kinds of people in the world. Well, any personality theory will say that it doesn't favor one kind of personality, actually. And yet you can tell, the guy who wrote the color code really didn't like reds. I'm explaining this whole black-white-grey thing to you, and obviously I don't really favor black-white thinking. So you're going to have to take my interpretation of it with a grain of salt.

At any rate, there are both types of personality on both sides of my extended family, and I have to grit my teeth a lot to keep from saying things I'd regret. I get more angry than I like to get. But only at my family members. Isn't it wierd how that works? A stranger, a coworker, even your best freind can say things and you push them aside and forgive and don't really feel too bothered by it, but if it's someone in your family, it's huge. Why is that? Shouldn't we be more forgiving of our family? I think for me, it's hardest when a family member dissappoints me. I love them all so much, I expect them to be perfect.

Sigh. I'm betting I'll be able to dispell that piece of black-and-white thinking with the wisdom of age and experience.

So, on a lighter note, I have thought long and hard about truth for most of my life. I want to know what is true, and what is not. I really WANT the black and white, but I can't ever believe that it exists. It's a strange fight, in my mind.

Ulimately, the only absolutes I have ever found peace in believing are these (and excuse the religious references if it offends you):

1) God lives.
2) The Holy Spirit is real.
3) Absolute truth comes only by means of the Holy Spirit.
4) Right, Wrong, Good and Evil are decided by God (not us)

and
5) God has a plan for me.

Does this make me a bad Mormon? I don't think so. Because the Holy Spirit has brought a lot of truth into my life. I'm constantly second guessing myself, but God knows this and helps me by constantly reaffirming truth to me, through this means.

Thank God I have a long time left to live and wise up. And that I have a long time left to learn how to relate to people who see the world differently from the way I do. Especially those within the circle of my own family, because forever is a long time.

I'm curious, what are your absolutes? If you have the time, list up to ten in a comment here. I'd love to read and think about them.

Nov 8, 2007

Ugly but useful.

I take voice lessons from a teacher I've had for four years now.

It has been a long, painful road, rediscovering my singing and loving my voice. I had a bad experience in college which left me completely in doubt of my ability and even enjoyment of singing. This teacher that I have now is... what can I say. An amazing teacher. Skilled, capable, and loves singing and performing and helping people to get better, even if they have absolutely no ability to carry a tune. In his mind, singing is a whole package: voice, performance, feeling, execution. He has this theory:

there are two kinds of voices in the world. Oops voices and Ubu voices.

Oops: the One and Only Opulent Sound.

Ubu: Ugly but useful.

He describes it as a continuum; a famous opera star like Placido Domingo or Pavorotti would be close to the Ooops side, and someone like Bernadette Peters would be very much on the Ubu side.

I fall somewhere in the middle. I will never be an opera star, or even a noticeably skilled classical singer. My field is belt, and I do it well. And I love it, and people like to listen to me. It's a different skill set, not one usually appreciated by a college voice teacher, especially if you're trying to get into a classical major.

Anyway, lately we've been singing Christmas songs. It's magical, that music. Hearing it, sitting around at about 7pm after the sky has become black outside. Everyone's faces are lit by the lamp over the piano. Somewhere, a pine-scented candle is burning. The familiarity of carols and other songs: Lo How A Rose E'er blooming. Jesu bamino. Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella.

My sister has a beautiful, sparkling soprano voice. I listen to her sing and a piece of me is jealous and a piece of me isn't.
The largest piece of me just loves to listen to her.

Nov 3, 2007

As soon as you say you've seen a UFO...

People probably aren't going to take you seriously ever again.

Dennis, I respect your honesty. Really, I do. The public can be brutal about certain things. But then, I guess it wasn't the greatest chance that you were going to get the nomination, anyway, so, nothing lost.

I just hope that, should I ever have a similar experience, I won't be called upon to admit to the experience on national television.

Mormonism, UFO's, Cleavage... this election is really spiraling downward, IMO.

Oct 30, 2007

Wonderful link

This website is devoted to humanitarian projects and Ethiopia. I've really been touched by a lot of what I've read here. And I agree with their mission and means of carrying it out. Help someone to help themselves, that's the way to go.

You all should check it out!

Oct 29, 2007

Some more new links

So, I have found some more cool people to keep on my sidebar. Mostly, the sidebar is for me... I go around and look at my favorites from the comfort of my own webpage.

But you all should check them out, too.

Jer is a friend of mine that I grew up with in high school. His professional blog is already on my sidebar; this is his family blog, co-written with his accomplished and lovely life-partner, Rachel.

Denice is a silly, fun, warm person whom I happened to room with at Ricks college. She's been through some of the same stuff I have (who knew such things would happen? We definitely didn't imagine it, living there in our innocent little world of hotchicks 306) And is a strong, resilient woman.

MarlaJayne is a person I have never met in real life, but I already like. She's a wise person with great advice, given in a very ingestible kind of way. And she posts about a lot of interesting things, and I find that I agree with her almost all the time.

So go check them out!

Update on Covenant...

So I checked in with them by email the other day. They wrote back saying the the review of my manuscript is taking a lot longer than anticipated, and I should hopefully hear from them as to their decision within a few weeks.

I'm trying to take this as good news (why would they spend so much time if they weren't planning on accepting my book) but a piece of me is dreading what I think may be an extensive and full revision. If, for instance, they decided for me to switch the perspective of my story from first person present to say, first person past or third person present, holy cow.

I would do it, of course. But dang it! Well, Ok. fine. Being an author is hard work, and I ought to expect hard work, right?

Well, at any rate, this experience has been VERY good for me. And while they may still reject my book, at least I will get some extremely valuable feedback on my writing at the end of all this, which is almost as good as getting published. And they'll be aware of me in future, and more willing to consider any manuscript that I may send in.

So already I'm happy, grateful, ecstatic, etcetera.

I can put off my nail biting for another three weeks, too. That's also good.

Oct 27, 2007

Facebook woes...

I wish people wouldn't flirt shamelessly on facebook using SuperPoke. Because every one of your friends gets notified every time one of their friends SuperPokes someone else.

Seriously, I don't want to know every time one of my friends throws a sheep at, moons, or offers beer to someone else. It was fun while it lasted guys, but...

I'm done.

I do, however, think that the application Pirates Vs Nijas is very useful. Unfortunately I accidentally signed up as a Ninja when CLEARLY I am pirate material, so now i must convert ten people to my Ninja army so I can make the switch. Any takers?

And where, some of you may ask, do you find time for these sorts of vital actitives when you clearly have more important things to do? (Like make little sandwiches for your kids and fold socks, for instance?)

Lightning fingers, friends. Lightning fingers. Facebook updates are a matter of seconds when you've got the goods. And bloggetry, too. You may notice that I don't spell check a whole lot of my blog entries... this is efficiency and multi-tasking in its purest form.

Oct 26, 2007

Little Big Brother

My little brother is preparing for a mission right now. It is so strange to me, because he was 11 when I left home. His voice changed shortly thereafter; I remember calling home from college my freshman year and mistaking him for my dad.

John grew up fast. In a lot of ways. And in lots of other ways, he's still a kid. For instance, he doesn't think he's too cool to exchange witticisms with his older sister, and he still gets REALLY excited about things that he likes and good things that happen to him, and he still doesn't always put his underwear away like he's supposed to. (He'd probably exchange more than witticisms with me if he knew I posted that. And with my mom, who by all rights shouldn't be telling ME things like that but, that's what family is for, right? Unwelcome intrusion).

John, John, John. When I went home to visit a couple of years ago, we all went out on the town for some window-shopping and theater-going. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that no less than FIVE girls approached and flirted with him as we walked past. One of them actually ran out of her HOUSE and across her LAWN and practically leapt a FENCE in her quest of flirtation. The shameless hussy, flirting with a boy when is cackling older sisters are walking right behind them.

John knows women. He's one boy out of six kids. We surround him; he's number 4. John has had plenty of opportunity to study the art of kissing since he was a freshman in high school. (He's been in a lot of plays. don't get me wrong, my brother is lily-white. I'm sure he's only REALLY kissed like, maybe 3 girls so far).

How will the mission change him? Will he fare well in the company of overwhelming maleness, after being suffocated it estrogen for his entire existence?

Will he come back wanting to be a construction or electrical engineering major instead of opera and music performance, like he's opting for now?

Will his intensive study of ancient texts, foreign languages, and volumes by Hugh Nibley prove to be helpful or hurtful in his quest to teach the small, simple doctrines to his investigators?

I see John as a seedbed of compassion, empathy, strength and intelligence. He grew up before his time, and so people have sometimes misunderstood him. A small dose of humility (I mean, a large shock of humility-- this is the mission, after all) will serve him well; make him into something more than a precocious teenager. He'll come home a man. I'm not sure I'm ready for that. I can't even begin to imagine how my mom feels.

Here's the real question, though: Will he let me play his Gibson while he's gone?

Oct 21, 2007

blondism

The last comment on my race and adoption post made me think of something. Something that I have wanted to post about for a while. Something that troubles me deeply when I encounter it.

Now, I'm not trying to compare my experience with that of racial minorities. Not at all. People of color have a completely different, and perhaps more vicious set of preconceived notions to deal with. So, not to compare, just to state, for the purpose of observation and discussion:

Blonds are discriminated against. Yes, they are. You laugh, my friend, but you're not the one who was called "spacy," "airhead," etcetera whilst riding the busses of your youth. Oh, and worse. To be assumed to be "easy," "dismissible", "not serious."

Seriously. And you know what? Ok. I'm just going to make a list.

The Ten Crappiest Things That Blonds Have to Deal With.

10) A questioning as to the naturalness ofhair color, and therefore a blatant accusation of vanity, based solely on outward appearance.

9) A general attitude of dismissiveness by persons in authority who like to take themselves too seriously.

8) A lack of photographability: ie, looking undeveloped and washed out in any picture ever taken of you, particularly if you do not falsely darken certain facial features.

7) An addiction to SPF 30-or-higher and the possibility of having pieces of one's body cut off as one approaches cancerous ages.

6) The assumption by men that, just because you're Blond, you'll be willing to do for them what Marylin Monroe would do for them.

5) A lack of versatility/experimental leeway in the hair coloring department. It's much easier for a brunette to go lighter and pull it off than for a blond to go darker and not look like Morticia Adams.

4) The automatic assumption of youth; the whispers in the grocery store about 18 year olds and how they ought to do something with their lives other than popping out babies. LOOK AT MY FACE, people. See? Crows feet! And dang it, I have a bachelor's in psychology!!

3) The people that come up to you and ask if you're related to some other random blond person that they know. "Y'all look alike"... well, I know (to a very small degree, perhaps) how that feels.

2) The honking at stop lights. I know that, at 11:00 pm with the glare of headlights obscuring any clear vision of me within the confines of my poop-covered intrepid, added to the fact that I am nearly seven months pregnant, all they can really see is the blond hair. And so they honk. And so I tear off the green light and pass them. Yesssss!!!!

1) The mistrust of other women. Nuff said. Don't want to open up the vent on this one... it deserves another couple of posts, and nobody would probably want to read them ;)


And to add to all this, guys, I deserve sympathy because I'm not a blond with a cute, round, delicate swedish face.

I am a blond with LATIN features. I inherited the best of my biological grandmother's Portuguese facial bone structure: almond-shaped eyes, broad, high cheekbones, defined chin, aquiline nose. These look gorgeous and mysterious on a person with a matching complexion, but apparently strong features + blond hair = snob in most people's repertoire of first impressions. Without realizing it, I look really pissed off a lot of the time, when I'm in reality just intensely interested or perhaps bored. And apparently (I was told this by a brave guy friend during my single days)I accidentally smile evil smiles.

Add to that my tendency to act the clown and have unexpected hobbies (writing, homeschooling, vegetarianism and adopting Ethiopian children), and well, I'm doomed. When you defy enough stereotypes that nobody knows exactly which box you belong in, they tend to try to forget that you might be a nice person to get to know.

Most people don't like me until they've known me a while. Sigh. Alack and Alas.

But seriously, I don't know what I would think of myself if I weren't blond. It would be so weird. My hair color is such an integral part of my identity at this point... it has never changed. From the time of my birth. So I wouldn't want to change it.

And in a way, that could loop back to the adoption/racism conversation, too... can I teach this to my kids? You love who you are, and so, despite the fact that you get flack for your differences (and I admit, blondness is a vapid comparison to the sort of discrimination that my children my face), you love them anyway, because you love yourself, and wouldn't want to be someone else.

Oh, and just to clarify-- I love Marylin. Despite all that she has done to denigrate the cause of intelligent blond women.

Oct 19, 2007

If I could choose...

one R rated movie to see this year... it would be this one.





But I don't watch R rated movies. This one is rated R for language. It's so tempting, but I know that if I see one, it will be easy to see another one, etcetera. My long list of R rated movies I would choose if I could see them:

Braveheart
Girl, Interrupted
Good Will Hunting


That's it. Too bad I didn't get to cleanflicks before their pants were sued off!!

Oct 11, 2007

My little thrill seeker

Do you remember how I wrote a while back about Jaws and her love of fear? Well, it has been steadily proven a major personality trait.

She is 17 months old, and was walking by 10 months. She was RUNNING by 12, climbing things by 13, and willingly falling off of high surfaces at 14.

And today, on her own steam, she climbed seven really steep steps up to a 5-foot slide, sat, and bowled herself down it. Seriously. Here I am, biting my nails and whimpering, holding my hands on either side of the stairs in case she might fall off, and she's just blithely tumbling up it, despite the hampering nature of her new patent-leather ankle boots. And then launches herself down this slide, tumbles off the end into the wood chips, picks herself up, and runs around to do it again.

I was astounded, even though I know my daughter by now. It was astounding enough that I called Loli over to watch. She did, with absolutely round, scared eyes. After Jaws took her second trip, she turned to me and said, "that is amazing."

Is it more amazing that my toddler has absolutely no fear of death or that my five year old uses words like amazing?

I'm not sure.

Oct 9, 2007

Race and Culture: stepping out of the comfort zone

I've been reading up a lot on transracial families and transracial adotpion. One of the overwhemling messages I'm getting is how important it is to bring our adopted Ethiopian children in contact with their birth culture and with African Americans, as they will be identified as such in society.

It's funny... I have been such a naive, white girl, all my life. I grew up in a community where 80% of the population was not only white, but white, middle-upper class, yuppie, liberal... (well, except for all the retired people moving up from the baby area, but that started after I left home, mostly). The biggest source of diversity in our area were the yoga artists and hippies that lived up on the ridge and occasionally came into town bearing piercings, weave clothing, and touseled-haired children who went by monikers like "summer rain." (A real-life example).

I have realized, as I seriously contemplate adopting a black child into a white family,white community, that I have been color blind.

Meaning, completely unaware of color. What makes an African American? What makes a Latino-American? I have never been around enough diversity to figure these things out, other than basic rudimentaries: eg skin color and cheesy sitcoms like Fresh Prince of Bell Air.

A piece of my color blindness, I think is based in an unwillingness to see that there actually is prejudice, yes, even in my own wonderful, warm, virtuous community. Here in utah, a black or hispanic person will be pulled over far more frequently than a white person will be. He or she will be followed around in department stores.

There is even a family on my yahoo list in northern utah who recieved a threatening message on her answering machine.

What does this mean for my family? I will have to teach them about ugliness. I will have to explain to them that they may be treated differently based on the color of their skin, and not the content of their character.

But one thing I'm continually realizing as I get more and more warmed up to this whole, very alien situation/world/circle of human beings is that I will also have a chance to teach my children about beauty in a way that I never though about before: the beauty of difference, of startling similarity in the face of physical diversity, and I will be able to teach them humility in a way that I would never have been able to otherwise, because this experience has been extremely humbling to me.

Try walking into an all-black congregation, who meets specifically to support black members of the church. Nobody knows you, and you're obviously not black. You get looks, nobody really socializes with you afterwards, there is not a familiar face or even a comforting similarity. That's how it seems at first, and then you shake hands with the man at the door and he hands you a program and gives you such a welcoming smile that you decide you're not going to turn and run, you're going to sit. And listen, and be amazed at how much more diverse the ways of expression testimony and spirit are.

It's akward. But we're going back again, and again, and again. And eventually, it will be more comfortable. And all the akwardness will serve as a hint to me, what my own adopted children might go through, standing out so clearly amongst their peers and even their family.

God really works in mysterious ways, and I find my resolve and peace become more and more firm and powerful as we continue on this journey. In the end my greatest comfort is this: we are supposed to do this. Our blessings and growth as a family will be unimaginable, and the happiness that will come from these challenges will be overwhelming. I can sense that now, and I look at that as our end goal, because in the meantime, there's lots of work to be done.

Oct 6, 2007

Grandma's

So, this is pretty silly of me, but...

sometimes I look for recipes on the internet. Completely untried, untrue recipes, because my better homes and garden cookbook can be stingy sometimes. Meaning, too healthy when I want to make something completely unhealthy. My philosophy is, if you're gonna eat cookies, you'd better eat really really delicious buttery sugary chocolatey cookies, and not dry, crumbly, tastless cookies, even if that recipe is more 'healthy'. Because it won't staunch your cookie craving, and you'll keep making it over and over and get more and more dissatisfied.

Anyway, so sometimes I look for recipes for the most simple things on the internet.
Pizza dough, cookies, pancakes, pumpkin bread... and today, waffles. And this is really funny. In order to get a recipe I hope is really good, I type the word "delicious" into the search engine. So today I searched for a "delicious Waffle" recipe. Lol. ANyway, the search engine always pulls up a ton of results, and I sift through them, looking to see if I can find one that seems more delicious than the others. As we all know, this is a hopeless endeavor unless you have someone who has made it and can reccomend it; stars don't mean anything.

In the end, I've found, I always land on one strategy: the addition of the word "grandma's" in the title.

My grandma is an amazing cook. Always has been. I have just come to expect deliciousness when I sit at her table. And so I think it's subconscious.

So today, we're trying grandma's waffles. I'm hopeful.

Just to let you know, Grandma's pumpkin bread is delicious but Grandma's banana bread lacks flavor. (not real grandma's, internet grandma's. If you're reading this, grandma, please don't be offended.)

Oct 5, 2007

Standing Up for Chick Lit

OK, I'm really mad. I checked a book out of the library yesterday. Normally, I don't just choose a book without reading author reccomendations, etcetera, but I needed something new. This book looked, from the pink cover and scrapbook title, to be chick-lit, and I was reassured by the legitimate publishing label (bantam trade paperback). I love to read, and I read a wide range of material, anything from the Princess Diaries to Hemingway and really old classics such as Ivanhoe. And I'm the kind of person who picks up a book, and finishes it even if she isn't initially engaged in the plot/dialogue/style of the author. I just love to read.

But I draw the line every once in a rare while. I do not, for instance, read explicitly sexual books. Ever. A passing reference as part of a storyline, I can accept. A P-G-13 scene, I will skim through and continue where the plot picks up. But anything overtly sexual, anything that would bear a "R" rating if it were seen on the big screen, I do not participate in. And I hardly ever come across anything like that, either, because my tastes do not run to that area of fiction. The Harlequins I enjoy are from the 50's and 60's, when they were still bright and cheery and innocent and hilariously fifties-housewife-ish.

This book was trash. The woman who wrote it wanted to sell porn, and she sold it under the name of chick lit. The problem I have with this is: chick lit is not porn. It is usually a light, humorous story based around the lives of women; their troubles and the ways they resolve them, their jokey interpretation of relationships and being a woman in modern society. This I LOVE. This is girl power, this is laughing to make troubles seem less awful, this is woman at her best. In my own opinion, that is. NOt really serious, maybe not classifiable as real literature, but worth something nonetheless.

So, Ms. Kauffman, I will here outline the differences between the Modern Harlequin and Chick Lit. Just in case you ever attempt a foray into the writing world again, and I sense that you will. Unfortunately.


Ahem.


#1: If you want to write a chick lit book and not harlequin, you cannot dwell on the gorgeous appearance of your main character. In REAL literature, gorgeousness is not essential to the plot of the book. A quality writer can make her character attractive without describing dusky tresses, curvaceous body, and without resorting to scenes reminiscent of a pin-up calendar. For instance, in the Shopaholic series, all we know about Rebecca Bloomwood is that she doesn't have blond hair, she's of average height and possibly is slim with normal-sized feet. And we don't get this in one big description avalanche at the beginning of the story.

#2: You cannot promise an interesting plot and then fail to deliver. And I'll tell you right now, spending one chapter on the plot with little to no description, and revisiting it only occasionally throughout the rest of the novel, whenever the whim happens to take you, is failing to deliver. The plot has to be in EVERY MOMENT of the book. You cannot throw over the plot in favor of more glowing description of hero and heroine, and their relationship, no matter how innocent. Yes, this can come into play, but it ought to be a part of the PLOT, or at least somehow vaguely related.

#3: Speaking of said relationship between hero and heroine, it ought to not be an easy accomplishment. Meaning, they ought to have a hard time getting together. It should happen at the end, or perhaps should start at the beginning with a tension-building interruption somewhere in the middle so that the reader does not become bored with the relationship. Sex will keep the interest of (some) readers, but will turn off others. And it's a fairly cheap trick, and it sends the wrong message. Sex can NEVER replace a plot.

#4: Speaking of the Hero, if you make him physically stunning, witty and charming, always polite and pleasant to be around, and the head of a large company or inheritor of a family estate, he won't be real to your readers. You can do maybe one, maybe TWO of these things, but he Must Have A Flaw. Or at least a few quirky traits that distinguish him as an individual. Or else he will be like Ken Doll, or like those life-size cutouts of Han Solo that some college girls like to keep in their apartments. Of course, if you whole point is pornography, this isn't any real problem... who wants to get involved in the emotional journey of a porn star? But we're talking about writing chick lit, not modern Harlequins.

#5: Clothing does not need to be described in great detail, unless it is essential to the plot. (See, shopoholic series). It is hardly ever essential to the plot.

#6: If you're going to include sexuality of any kind in your plot, don't involve us as readers in such a way that it would make us uncomfortable. Anything I wouldn't want to see through my neighbor's window, please don't describe. A good way to lose ALL sympathy for any character you have written is to write him or her doing things that make the reader uncomfortable/disugst them.


OK, Rant Over.

You'd better be reading this, Ms. Kauffman. Because if you continue to dirty the name of chick lit, as a potential author of the same genre, I will have a personal account to settle with you.

Sep 28, 2007

Prayers for Mohammed

This is one of those things where I ask you to do whatever it is you do-- pray, exert positive energy, cross your fingers-- whatever, for the sake of someone really special.

Mohammed was featured on 60 minutes, and later, after he was adopted and brought here to America, on dateline.

Cheryl adopted him.

She saw a rerun of the sixty-minute episode, and as she watched, she suddenly had a strong feeling that this boy was her son.

It was a pioneer effort. She wrote to senators and congressman, tried talking to agencies, and they all told her to give up. Finally, one Senator agreed to help her. One of his aides brought Cheryl's letter to his attention. Later, the aide told Cheryl that the letter had made her cry.

Cheryl adopted Mohammed and brought him to America. He underwent several surgeries to fix the significant physical problems that he had. Among them,hip and spine deformities, a club foot that he tried to treat himself, and several forms of malaria. He never complained during recovery. He said that having food in his stomach and water to drink was enough to be grateful for.


Cheryl didn't stop there, and neither did Mohammed.

This is the agency I am working with. I have talked on the phone with Mohammed a few times. Talking with him, you can just feel what a person he is. And having read about his life, I know that his patience and his kindness, and his intelligence, his maturity (no doubt gained at a young age) make him a very special person, someone who is meant to do something in this world.

Right now he is struggling for health. His weight has dropped to a dangerous level, he is feverish, and his heart is giving out on him. They don't know what's wrong.

He was admitted to the hospital yesterday.

And so, if you could say a prayer for him and his family. Cheryl, of course, could use some comfort and peace during this difficult time, too.

Sep 26, 2007

The monster forum of the internet

So, I'm on an adoption yahoo group. Specific to Ethiopian adoption. Someone just wrote in asking everyone to support a bill that is now apparently going through congress. This was her email:

There is a bill in the House of Representatives right now, known as H.R. 2003, The Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007, that needs our support. The bill would state that it is United States policy to:

(1) support human rights, democracy, independence of the judiciary,
freedom of the press, peacekeeping capacity building, and economic
development in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia;
(2) collaborate with Ethiopia in the Global War on Terror;
(3) seek the release of all political prisoners and prisoners of
conscience in Ethiopia;
(4) foster stability, democracy, and economic development in
the region; and
(5) strengthen U.S.-Ethiopian relations


Now, I posted a while back about speaking up or shutting up, and how sometimes you have to speak up, but sometimes speaking up isn't fun because of responses you might get. But...

I really disagree with this bill. This is the response I posted (to her, and to the yahoo group which includes, like 800 adoptive families):

I feel kind of divided on this issue... I'd love it if Ethiopia were able to step up on human rights and have a real democracy... but I"m not sure it's America's place to interfere in another country's processes. Especially a country like Ethiopia, where the independence and self-governing power has always been prized, and relatively uninterrupted for thousands of years.

It's really awful, the things that the people of Ethiopia have gone through in all the different stages of the government since the occupation by italy in the 1940's, but I can't help but think it's best to allow them to continue to adapt, learn, make mistakes, and gain a democracy that they can call their own accomplishment. It seems right to me, to allow them that privilege. :)


Soooo... the cool thing was, nobody wrote in and trashed me for what I said. I even had someone write me with a "right on!" kind of note...
but speaking up (though I can be loudspoken at times) always scares the crud out of me. To tell you the truth, I don't like being the one who expresses the dissenting opinion. I really want people to like me and feel comfortable around me. But then, I'm also someone who really feels a need to speak her feelings, especially when there are moral issues invovled.

So I email the 800 person list. And 800 people read it. The question is:

if it were a podium in front of 800 live people, would I be able to do the same thing? And yet, essentially, that is the internet. I think about thirty people read this blog every day. (not many comparatively, lol) but it's thirty people! In a room with thirty people, would I have the courage to be as openly wierd and freaked out, as well as irreverent and revealing as I feel I"m being? (I'm probably not... I tend to overanalyze myself).

How strange a phenomenon is the monster forum on the internet.

Sep 19, 2007

lost in the neighborhood

Today I took a walk with my kids, took them to a little playground several blocks from my house. I ended up trying a short cut on the way back, wound myself around several little side streets, and ended up back on the same road that we took going out. The playground is maybe five blocks from my house. It took us 45 minutes to get back home.

My poor little 5 year old has flip-flop blisters.

Seriously. What would my pioneer ancestors think of me if they knew I got lost in my own neighborhood?

Sep 15, 2007

*whew*

This is good news.

Unfortunately, she still mentioned having kids in the article, but, well... we'll see, Paris. You have to have a certain percentage of body fat in order to be able to achieve this sort of thing. So, maybe Darwin's theory is true in your case. I sure hope it is.


(gosh, I can be mean sometimes!!!) (But babies aren't dogs, that's all there is to it.)

Sep 14, 2007

I am in love

with this blog.

I have to get my temple reccomend updated with that new barcode thingie... do you think they'd let me go to bishop higgins?

Sep 13, 2007

OK... this is getting bizarre.

http://fametastic.co.uk/archive/20070912/7600/paris-hilton-looking-to-adopt-mini-mes/

Paris Hilton is reportedly considering adopting children to start her family as per her desired schedule.

Paris said recently that she hopes to start a family next year but doesn’t have a potential father in mind just yet.

A source has now told Closer magazine: “Paris has been saying, ‘You don’t need a husband to have babies.’ There are babies in orphanages around the world, and she’s hoping to find four girls with blonde hair and pretty eyes to whom to give the Hilton name.”

In the same way her mum Kathy Hilton moulded her for fame, Paris will do the same with her offspring: “She’s been telling people, ‘I want a brood of little mini versions of me.’ I’ll raise them to be the most famous women in the world.”"

And just as she designed a line of dog coats for her collection of pets: “She’ll design a line of baby clothes. She sees her kids modelling from a young age.”

Sep 11, 2007

Ha ha-- fun trick

Soooo, Janell did this fun thing on her blog and I'm copying her. I type my first name followed by the word "needs" all together in quotes and see what the search engine comes up with. After paging through several pages of other blogs with women who share my name that have done this, I randomly chose page 17 of the search results because 17 is my lucky number. And here the list is, in all its glory (with my name replaced by my usual alias, of course):


1)The physiological tests proved beyond doubt that Nosurfgirl "needs" her carnitine. (Tour de France, here I come!)

2)Nosurfgirl needs to become self-dependent. We know what is going to happen when she mixes it up with Stillson. (Whoo hoo! Skywalker, are you reading this?)

3)Nosurfgirl needs to lighten up and dig deeper musically to keep me as a fan. (Hmm. Well I haven't blogged any social responsibility moments lately, does that count for something?)

4)Nosurfgirl needs to learn to deal with the small remnants of memories she has of another life. (I think I was Cleopatra. Or maybe Susan B Anthony.)

5)I think Nosurfgirl needs your prayers. (She does.)

6)Nosurfgirl) needs surgery in the morning (neutering) (AAAAck. There's something really wrong here, then.)

7)"Nosurfgirl needs to know about everything, and then has to know why everything is that way -- then she usually wants to change it," (Hmmm. Ok, well. Maybe.)

8)For now, Nosurfgirl's needs should be your focus. (That's right.)

9)Nosurfgirl needs your help to get elected to the Senate. (Vote for me in 2008.)

10) Nosurfgirl needs a belt because the dress is just hanging on her, without form. (It must be quite the tent, then... this basketball is not easily disguisable.)

Sep 8, 2007

You've got to be kidding

Holy Crap.

I seriously hope that this isn't true. Seriously. I'm not going to talk about this because it makes me too angry to be rational, so instead I have one word for you, Paris:

Tinkerbell.

Oh, and by the way, you can't put a rhinestone collar on a kid.

Sep 4, 2007

Cute Pic


Gotta love labor day. Here is Skywalker and Jaws enjoying a swingset moment, with Loli running rampant in the background.