Dec 31, 2010

Things We Say: Obama

*setting: Skywalker and the kids are in a hotel lobby eating continental breakfast and watching the news. Obama is making a statement to the media.*

Jaws: (gazing at the screen) Daddy, I love Obama.

Skywalker: (startled) Um. Okay. Why?

Jaws: (turns wide-eyed gaze on Skywalker) Because Mommy loves Obama.

Skywalker: Oh.

Jaws: Daddy, do you love Obama?

Skywalker: (struggling with words) well... as a person, I quite like him, yes. He's a good person. As the president... not so much.

Jaws: (gaze now reproachful) Daddy, why don't you love Obama?

Skywalker: Well... he's... I don't like how he takes my money.

*others, observing from surrounding tables, are now grinning in the Nosurf Family's direction*

Jaws: Why?

Skywalker: Well, I don't like how he takes my money because I'm pretty sure I could spend it better than he thinks he can.

Jaws: Oh. (nods.) Ok.

*a moment passes*

Jaws: Daddy, I still like Obama, though.

Skywalker: Mmm hmmm.

Dec 27, 2010

Things We Say: Goddesses

MayMay: Mom, what's that thing we get to be? After we die? Not gods, the other thing.

NSG: Goddesses?

Maymay: Yeah, Godisses. Mom, when I'm Godisses and I get to make things, And I make my own world?

NSG: Yeah?

MayMay: When I make my own world I will make everything fly. All the girls and the boys and the people, all the cats, all the horses... everything.

NSG: That sounds like a fun place to live.

MayMay: Yeah, and I will make it and everybody will be happy, flying everywhere.

Dec 22, 2010

Things We Say: Full Disclosure

Loli: Rose-Rose! You've got a bubble booger, don't you. Don't you??

Bella: (laughing) Mom,she's eating them! She's eating her boogers!

MayMay: She prob'ly thinks they're delicious.

Bella: She'll prob'ly keep eating them when she's big!

Loli: When I was six, I ate my boogers.

*general outcry of disgust and hilarity*

Dec 19, 2010

Guest Post: The Saving Nature of Personal Relationships

*Editorial Note* Dave is inviting guest bloggers to post articles on his site. In return, he will submit one to your blog. If you're interested, follow the link! There have already been a few very interesting posts that I have enjoyed.

By Dave Loveless

Here is my return post for NoSurfGirl's excellent post on beards....

I teach in priesthood, and each Sunday I find myself drawing the Plan of Salvation on the white board. It's become somewhat of a joke, and the quorum has even promised that one Sunday they are just going to draw it for me ahead of time. I'm actually glad they are threatening that; it means I'm getting through. I first drew the Plan for a very specific lesson, but since that time, I've had continued application for almost every lesson. I've found ways to incorporate the simplicity of the Plan, and there are few things that come through again and again. But first, the plan....

1. Preexistence--We lived with God as spirits before coming to this earth.
2. Veil--We pass through the Veil before coming to earth. This removes our memories of what was before so that we might be tested and proved on this earth.
3. Earth life--We live.
4. Death--We die.
5. Spirit World or Spirit Prison--After death, we go to the Spirit World/Prison where the righteous assist in the great missionary work of helping the millions who have not heard the gospel.
6. Judgment/Resurrection--I don't know how simultaneous this is, but I like to think they are pretty close.
7. Kingdom of Glory--True, there are three kingdoms of glory, but I've always only drawn the Celestial Kingdom. The other two are Plan B and C, and face it... God did not send us to earth to receive a Plan B or C. He has in mind our Eternal Salvation, which can only be had in the Celestial Kingdom. I only draw that kingdom to help others remember that we should be singular in our focus and our goals.

So there you have it. One of the connections that I've made to my class is that the Plan is infinitely personal. I think we often forget that this isn't just the Plan, this is Dave's Plan. This is NoSurfGirl's Plan. This is Your Plan. My Plan. It is tailored in such a way as to be personally saving meaning that the experiences that you have are designed for your salvation. God will allow to happen to you that which will bring about your salvation individually and independent of any other person.

I often get some odd looks when I say that. Most remind me that the marriage covenant is essential for true salvation. Others remind me of Malachi 5 and the turning of our hearts to our forbears and posterity. Others remind me also that salvation is had in family groups and that we will be eventually linked in an unbroken chain of sealing covenants from Adam to, well... I don't know who will be last, though if we were going alphabetically, I'd cast a vote for anyone named after ZZ Top. And that is also all true, but I tend to emphasize the individual nature of the Plan more to remind those I teach of the distinct care and concern the Lord has for each of us and to remind them that salvation is their own responsibility and cannot be had on the leavings on those who have gone before, stand with them now, or will come in the future.

And that being said, the Plan of Salvation requires people. Lots of people. It requires connections and relationships and friendships. The Plan functions best when there are people before to guide the way, people beside to support when weak, and people behind to push when tired.

A Spouse

I think the most critical earthly relationship we can have is with our spouse. More than once have I noted that my greatest weakness often coincides with my wife's greatest strengths and vice versa. Certainly such was in the mind of God when He, looking upon the Man in Eden, said "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him (Genesis 2:18)." My wife has been such a help meet for my weaknesses, my sorrows, and especially my joys. I'd sooner cry with no one than her, sooner celebrate with no one than her, and sooner be with no one than her.

Looking at the family relationship, we see a special symbolism of Godliness. My father often says that we can find earth-based examples of heavenly structures all around us, particularly the family. Nowhere does this exist more plainly than in the perfect organization of a Christ-centered marriage lived with proper understanding of the nature of the temple covenants and sealing powers. A marriage so organized is based fully on the gospel of Christ with a unified and joint understanding of powers, equality, assistance. The presence of children with the rich blessings and spirits they bring only strengthens and increases such bonds, and such a position surely increases the majesty of the Plan of Salvation and our individual positions in it.

A Friend

Somewhat similar to a Spouse, a Friend is important to the success of the Plan. I'm sure many of us have experienced that wonderful sensation of knowing someone from somewhere before. My father in particular believes that many of the relationships we had prior to this earth are preserved in the relationships we build here. While this may not be true of every relationship, I can identify a goodly number of people who have been uniquely important in my life and, going back to the idea that the Plan is individually saving for each of us, I can only conclude that their presence is important in some way for my growth.

President Hinckley, in trying to improve our ability to watch over the people around us, stated that every member needs three things. One of those three was a friend. Of all the tenderest and sweetest words of scripture, some of my favorites are in Doctrine & Covenants 84:63 where the Christ, speaking to the early leadership of the church stated, "Ye are my friends." Surely little compares in majestic grace and simplicity to the declaration of friendship with the Savior.

Of all the honors any one could ever bestow on me, I would hope that I could be called a friend. I cannot remember where the thought comes from, but I've heard the concept that we can stand as Saviors on Mt. Zion through our faith and testimonies. This, to me, is a friend, and my closest friends have been such to me. People whose examples serve to inspire and strengthen me and people, who like my wife, are instantly and perfectly willing to offer the love and protection of a kind word. While there are numerous examples I could name, my home teachers come to particular memory. These two brothers are active in our lives in rich and full ways. We seek their smiles and their love. In particular, we are both grateful that our children love them, watch for them, and know that they are safe. When President Hinckley spoke of every member having a friend, surely his primary emphasis would have been on every member having home teachers as faithful and aware as our own.

A Savior

Finally, we must actively pursue a relationship with our Savior. Nothing will be of greater worth in the Plan than the personal relationship we build with Him. Today during church, we talked about the Sacrament and what it means to take upon us the name of Christ. One comment that stuck with me is that the attitude of taking on His name is not just simply being known by Him, but rather it is an act of being known as Him. If we truly take upon us His name, we shall find ourselves acting and being in very deed as He is. Taking only the prayer on the bread, we learn that we "witness unto [God] that [we] are willing to take upon [us]the name of [Christ], and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given [us]; that [we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us] (Doctrine & Covenants 20:77)." Remembering, keeping, and taking upon us His name are all actions that change us in to Christ-like beings by bringing us into proximity with the Spirit which, teaches us of Christ and testifies of His reality, divinity, and saving nature.

While much more could be said on the saving nature of a relationship with the Savior, it is sufficient to note that we cannot be saved without such a relationship for salvation is found through and by Him.

When we consider the very personal and individual nature of the Plan of Salvation, I would invite us to recognize the infinite worth of the many who defend us, stand by us, and pray for us. Salvation is individual, but the road to salvation is watched over by the helping hands and faithful hearts of many who would help us along the way.

Dec 14, 2010

Things We Say

*setting: NSG, Skywalker and children are discussing the possibility of a move*

NSG: Moving is not fun, we always miss our friends. If we do have to move sometime soon, then we'll be sad for some reasons. But sometimes, like in the scriptures, Heavenly Father leads us to something that will make us happier and be better for us. Since we know Heavenly Father loves us, we can know that whatever he wants for us will make us the happiest we can be. Even if we're sad for a while.

Skywalker: If we move up there, we could have animals, maybe.

*kids visibly brighten*

Skywalker: If you could have animals, what animal would you want to have?

Loli: *promptly* a horse.

NSG: (exchanges glances with skywalker.) Well, maybe not a horse, right now. Unless one of you wanted it badly enough to learn how to take really good care of it, and earned the money to buy it and have a place for it and feed it and all that. So probably you'd have to have a job before you had a horse.

Loli: Well, a puppy then.

Skywalker: That would be likely.

NSG: A puppy sounds great.

Jaws: I like chickies.

Skywalker: If we had the land for it, we'd definitely want to have chickens.

Bella: I like cows.

MayMay: Monkeys! I want Monkeys!

Dec 13, 2010

Funny Jewelry Commercials

You know this





You got one?

Limbo

Between the motion...
and the act...
falls the shadow.

We are caught between two giant options right now. If things go the way we want (we think), there is a big series of changes in store, including a move.

If things stay the same, though, there are still big changes ahead in the next year or so.

Do you blame me for feeling a tad crazy right now? Sorry I haven't been blogging so much lately.

I have a hard time writing about things, until they are resolved. I don't like to write about unresolved things. I like to be able to decide what to do and do it, not wait. And wait. And wait. :)

But we'll have a lot to post about soon, maybe. Or maybe not.

Between the maybe...
and the maybe not...
lies less-than-sanity.

*sigh*

Dec 9, 2010

Hair and Skin Care for White People

These are some things about my own skin and hair, that I have learned from having two black daughters.

1)lotion every day. Especially in the winter, and especially face, knees and elbows. The lotion I use for my daughters is too heavy for my own skin, so find something lighter. But... every day!

2)Don't use soaps or detergents on the face. My favorite face cleanser: baking soda. I take a palmful of it, water it down a little and scrub my face with it, and haven't had any real breakouts, clogged pores, etc since I began using it regularly. Aaand my skin is not so ouchy and dry or irritated from soaps.

3)Don't use very much shampoo. And use it only on the scalp-areas. The hair doesn't need shampoo that much, it's the scalp that needs it and the oily parts of the hair next to the scalp.

4)Use the RIGHT conditioner for your hair. For me, this means I choose a different product for myself. If I used the same conditioner as my two adopted daughters, my hair would always look greasy. If you've got thin, straight hair like me, pick a very light, volumnizing conditioner. But... use a lot of it if you have long hair. Slather it on from where you'd gather it into a "ponytail" on the back of your hair all the way to the ends, and concentrate on the ends. Do not pick conditioner by scent!

5)Never brush your hair dry. Always brush it gently when it's wet and newly-conditioned, and start at the ends and go up. Very gently at the ends, trying not to snag or just rip through tangles.

6)If, for some reason, you have to brush your hair dry, always use a boar-bristle style brush.


I've never been able to grow my hair this long before. And My skin has never been this nice. Being forced into learning to care for someone with a completely different set of needs has helped me learn about myself. (and this applies to more than just skin and hair care!)

Dec 8, 2010

Mad list

I got sort of mad this last week. I think being tired makes me less able to forgive the world around me, and also myself.

I could make a list but I'm not going to.

I've realized one of my problems is I don't suffer fools too well. But I know I'm not perfect, so why can't I? I'm pretty sure people put up with a lot of silliness from me.

I wish I could shove my annoyance down inside of me and forget about it like some seem to be able to do.

Sometimes it just makes me tired. The way people are selfish, or completely unwilling to examine themselves. Or the way people give up and say that things can't change.

The thing that annoys me more than anything else is when people justify their lack of charity with righteousness, when really, underneath it all, is fear.

And that's my vent for this week, folks.

Dec 2, 2010

Things We Say

(Setting: driving home from ballet lessons)
MayMay: We wish you a merry christmas, we wish you a merry christmas.
Jaws: We wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year. Now Bring us some piggy pudding.
MayMay: Now bring us some piggy pudding! Good tyings to you, to you and your kids. You're tying for Christmas! And a happy good cheer.
Jaws: Now bring us some piggy pizza, now bring us some piggy pizza. We won't go until we get some! Lalala new YEAR.
Loli and Bella: (snickering)


(setting--it is lunchtime and everyone is sitting at the table eating.)

Squirt: Can I have some water?
Jaws: You can borrow some of mine, squirt.
Squirt: (looks skeptically at Jaw's cup) No, I want some BOY water.
NSG: And it begins. (Goes to the sink to fill a cup with water.)

(setting--putting Jaws and Squirt down for nap.)
NSG: want me to give you a kiss?
Jaws: (nods) Mom, I had a bad dream last night.
NSG: What was it?
Jaws: I dreamed that mosters killed Abby and Katherine and Samantha and big John and little John and all my church people and it was only me left in the family.
NSG: I'm so sorry. Maybe you can have a better dream this time. Maybe you can be a princess with a sword and rescue everybody.
Jaws: Yeah! Or Maybe I could have a dream that I was a princess tied up in a cage and my prince couldn't rescue me because it was very plastic, and he didn't have any big scissors or little scissors or any swords, and so he went and got all his friends with swords and they rescued princess Bella and princess Loli and princess MayMay and princess me.
NSG: That would be good.
Jaws: yeah.

Dec 1, 2010

Truth about HIV



Again, my kids are not HIV +. But this adoption process has helped me learn how small an issue HIV can be, if it is treated correctly and if there is help. And there are, literally, millions of kids out there who do not have access to proper treatment. In fact, who are dying for no reason, because they don't have access to treatment, because people are afraid of the virus that they happen to carry in their system. This epidemic is a great example of an epidemic spread mostly because of ignorance, fear, lack of information.

I want to get this message out there! If you feel comfortable, please share where you can.

Nov 22, 2010

A Vaccination for Crazy

So, today was really tough.

My kids were crazy all day long, as usual. But for some reason it got several notches louder, crazier, and more unbearable as dinnertime approached. I literally felt sick, like I had a flu bug or something, from the sheer stress of the free radicals of crazy floating around in my living room.

Skywalker got home from work early, and left shortly thereafter to go on an "errand", which took him 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete, bringing him home just about the time dinner is supposed to end.

Poor skywalker. The free radicals of crazy included ones coming from ME at this point. My tetchy lecture only lasted a minute or two, and I didn't raise my voice at all or say anything verging on more than just slightly testy, but it was enough to give him the crazy bug.

We unfortunately went over to my sister's house for FHE and passed the bug on to them. But for some reason, they seem to have a kind of immunity to it. My kids played and screamed and teased, and my little brother wrestled and threw them around and gave them a shrieking good time. My sister and her husband smiled mildly and watched them run erratic, high-strung circles around their living room.

Skywalker and I looked on in dumb incredulosity, but didn't question anything because at least the crazy was no longer being directed at US.

So... question.

You moms of young kids. What is your most effective "crazy" inoculation?

A good night's sleep is out of the question. As is (at this point) chocolate, due to budgetary restrictions.

Nov 16, 2010

A Poem Published

One of my poems has been published on an online literary blog, Wilderness Interface Zone.

They asked me for a piece of artwork that could compliment my poem, and I thought immediately of a picture my brother took on his mission. So we've both been published now! Go check it out :)


(And a word to you Austen-haters... how could you? How_Could_You? Honestly, you're RELATED to me, Adele. I expect it of Dave, who hates Tomatoes and Sushi, but you? I'm crushed. Crushed, I tell you.)

Nov 15, 2010

Pride and Prejudice

One of my favorite books of all time.

I read it for the first time when I was about 15 or so. It was a book that I loved when I finished it the first time, and loved more when I finished it the second time. And so on.

Since then, I have read every single one of Jane Austen's novels mulitple times, except for Lady Susan which, for some reason, I feel rebellious about. I have also watched every single movie adaptation of every one of her books, and read every single sequel ever written to pride and prejudice, including Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies which is not a read for the faint of heart.

(My favorite quote:
As guests fled in every direction, Mr. Bennett’s voice cut through the commotion.“Girls! Pentagram of Death!”)

Yeah, you pretty much have to have the book memorized to enjoy every subtle humorous nuance of P, P & Z.

Jane Austen was a brilliant woman. She was ahead of her time in many ways, and no, I'm not just talking about feminism. I'm talking about the crumbling British Aristocracy. I'm talking about the society's rigid class structures. I'm talking about the invention of a little thing called Satire. (Well, OK, Voltaire invented satire.)

I'm talking about the birth of writing for women, about women, that is more substantial and more intelligent than gothic romance (Which Austen frequently poked fun at in her writing.) I'm talking about the birth of romantic comedy.

Who doesn't love Jane Austen? (Dave, keep quiet.) She is maybe one of the people I'd call one of my "Influences" as a writer (though that would be very presumptuous, so I won't.) If I could write a novel as satisfying, with characters as attractive and nuanced, relationships as realistic and yet humorous and glamorous, as Austen's-- I couldn't ask for any more as a writer.

I took the opportunity, after finishing this novel, to watch my favorite film adaptation of the story. It is, of course, the five hour version broadcast by A&E in 1995. And I have a funny story about that, too. When I was 15, I saw a commercial for the show when visiting at my Grandmother's house. This was when it first came out. It would be a couple years before it became well-known and popular. Anyway, I saw the commercial and begged my grandmother to record it for me. She did, and it took up two VHS-tapes, and there were commercial breaks.

That was how I watched this movie for several years... fast-forwarding through commercial breaks and the occasional blip of football that would come on every now and then at what must have been a break in the recording. For a long time I missed pieces of it. And the second tape was recorded out of sequence... I'd watch the first third, fast-forward through to almost the end to catch the second third, and then rewind and watch the last part of it.

ANd now it's all online (probably not really legally) for anyone to see whenever they want.

Anyway, suffice it to say I'm in love with this book. Four out of four stars... if you haven't read it, read it. If you read it once and hated it, read it again.

And go make sure you watch the movie if you want. I linked to it. Now I'll probably get a ton of Japanese spam. Oh well... such are the sacrifices we Austonians make.

Nov 12, 2010

A Blessing of Music

I've written a few times about my experience at Rick's and how it changed my life, musically speaking.

Christmas time used to be full of music for me. Practicing at home, practicing for hours at school, performances at church, in the community, in my family. My life used to be full of music around this time of year. I'd start feeling Christmassy right around September, when my high school choir class began learning the songs for the Christmas program.

It's been a long time since I've had a whole lot of overwhelming musical obligations around Christmastime. For the last eight years at least, I've just had one number to practice: the one I would perform at my voice class's christmas recital. One piece of music isn't that big a deal.

This last year and a half, I have committed to learn to singing classically. I have wanted to for a long time, and something about last year and the year before has bought me across that boundary of confidence I needed to really, whole-heartedly and seriously pursue it.

I've said some prayers. One answer I got was: you need to stop using bushels. You need to use your talent and the skills you've learned in the setting most important to Me, and that is at church. Go to ward choir.

I've been going. It's been hard. Church is the last frontier for me, confidence-wise... my voice cracks on every single high note (or used to until recently, when I've begun to grimly power my way through them instead of being ashamed of my voice.)

Well, I've been blessed this christmas season. Suddenly, music has flooded my life. I have a piece to learn for my recital, as usual, but also my family is coming out on Thanksgiving, and I am learning 2 pieces and a choir number (and kind of directing the choir number) for the CD that our extended family puts out every year.

I am directing the homeschool choir. We are singing a two lovely songs, one of them for christmas. I'm in the ward choir, and so we're prepaing for that. There is a messiah sing-in going on, and I'm considering going to the practices for that.

I have been asked to perform, with Skywalker accompanying me, in the ward christmas program.

I have four little girls learning THEIR christmas pieces for THEIR christmas recital and their sweet voices... Loli and Bella, who sing so well already. MayMay, who is improving in leaps and bounds, being able to stay on key only recently, and sing in her head voice. Jaws, whose voice is so sweet it just makes you shiver to hear it.

I'm amazed at how prayers are answered, and very grateful to be overwhelmed with joy and with music at this time of year again: music with friends, family, church, and also for myself, now.

Nov 8, 2010

Confessional: 25 random embarrassing things

I wrote this list in response to a friend whom I have never met, who lives in west virginia. I purposefully only replied to her request on her post because I did NOT want all my friends and family to see it. But then I spent 30 minutes writing it and so I thought, what the heck. I better post it here because I can't justify the time spent otherwise.

Yeah. Anyway... these are EMBARRASSING things about me so they're not necessarily meant to reflect WELL on me. Just keep that in mind.



1) My favorite food is sushi and yes, a piece of that may actually be posturing.
2) I still pick my nose. Sometimes in my bathroom, but sometimes right out in public. I feel like I have to because it gets crusty and painful and a kleenex just don't do the trick. Maybe I have allergies.
3) I express strong political opinions but in reality, every single argument still sways me. Which is why I express myself so strongly... I'm trying to convince myself.
4) I love Jazz but hate the kind of jazz that the real "jazz intellectuals" are suppsoed to love. Louis Armstrong: Yes. Thelonius Monk: Yawn.
5) I yell at my kids at least once a day. I try not to. And every once in a while I spank them... I try not to. **edited to add... By yell, I mean scold with a voice raised somewhat above normal. Not scream or shatter glass or anything... I got a concerned email**
6) I am actually a very good mom, but I always discount myself when I am around other moms because I'm afraid they'll think I"m full of myself.
7) Like Mary in pride and prejudice, I sing and am always "impatient for display" but would curl up and die if anyone knew that about me. Since you're in west virginia, it doesn't seem as bad that you might.
8) I try to pretend that the fact that we have chosen a simple lifestyle is the most wonderful thing and I'm completely happy, but sometimes I do wish we drove a shiny car and lived in a house that would make our neighbors think twice about yelling parenting suggestions over the fence.
9) Secretly I want to be Renee Fleming or Lia Salonga.
10) I love my husband but have a secret crush on Mattew McCoughnaghuey and Tom Selleck.
11) I'm a Mormon.
12) I'm also not so clear on how I feel about those gay marriage propositions. If one of them came to Utah, I'd be very conflicted and not know exactly what to do. And I clam up about Gay Marriage whenever anyone I don't know well enough brings up the subject, on either side.
13) I love my kids and secretly think they're better than everyone else's kids.
14) I secretly do think public school is a giant waste of time and money, but I realize it needs to be in place, for the same reasons as universal healthcare.
15) I'm a real hermet, too shy to approach people, but I wish people would just walk into my yard and talk to me, though nobody would guess it.
16) I LOVE grape soda and grape candy. That radioactive grape flavor is my absolute favorite.
17) I HATE brussel sprouts and all kinds of lettuce, even though I make myself and my kids eat a generous helping of veggies everyday, often salad.
18) I get cranky, and everyone knows it, no matter how hard I try to hide it.
19) If I could have a superpower, it would be the power to read minds. Really. I want to KNOW what you're thinking, even if it's completely negative and about me.
20) My name is {Nosurfgirl}. I am an internet addict.
21) The older my kids get, the more I see the wisdom of being one of those "wierd" homeschooling families even though I used to despise those families and think they gave homeschoolers a bad name.
22) I hate Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Hate. Hate. Hate.
23) But I would write it myself if it made me the money it's made him.
24) My little boy is going through temper tantrum fits and it's partly because I can't give him enough attention.
25) I am a secret poet.

Nov 6, 2010

My Professional Website

I have had a piece of my writing accepted by an online literary journal. (!)

So. This week I spent time updating and putting together my professional website. It has blurbs on all of the novels that I am currently working on, as well as a bio. And exactly two posts.

With this foray into creating a professional identity for myself online, I will probably start commenting as myself instead of NoSurfGirl, but here, on my personal blog, I will remain anonymous and so will my children.

I will post a link to my site in this one post, and that is all. I do have a link to this blog on my professional site... my intention is that traffic from there will go here, but I don't want a whole lot of traffic (people who don't comment who I don't ever interact with, for instance) headed over to where I am NOT anonymous.

So... I will post this link, but please, everyone, don't use my full name on this blog in future. Putz, this means you :)

Thanks,

NSG

Nov 3, 2010

heeeeelp

I am getting ready to submit some stuff to western humanities review and segullah magazine for their fall writing contests. I have come up with which submissions I think are most appropriate.

One of these is a poem I have been working on for, literally years. I completely revamped it today... gave it a form, and deleted and added some lines and I need HELP. For those of you out there who read and love poetry, you literary-type people:

please tell me which words make you stop and not keep reading, which phrases or words are not continuous with the image, which ones make you giggle because of their deep-purple nature.

Please.

I'm asking... you... to... criticize... me. Yes I am.

Go here: Three Miles With Ghandi

thanks.


**EDITED TO ADD***

I am now actively submitting, so I have taken the poem off public view so that it is "unpublished" and therefore submissable :) Thanks.

--NSG

Oct 30, 2010

Things We Say: Halloween

(setting--NSG has bought a few discount wigs for Halloween, thinking they would add some fun to the littler girls' princess costumes. She bought a black one for MayMay, and a blond one for Jaws, and, like she ought to have predicted, each girl immediately reached for the opposite color hair.)

MaMay: (preening in front of the mirror) Mommy, I wanted and wanted you to buy me beautiful blond curly hair.

Jaws: I love my black hair! (stroking it with her hand.)

(Pictures will follow.)


(setting: the girls are in the car on the way to a music-class-halloween party, full Halloween regalia)

Jaws: I'm--We're all pretty.

Loli: Yeah.

Jaws: I was going to say I am the prettiest, but I only said it in my head.


NSG: Walks out of her room on Halloween morning.

All the kids see her and begin jumping around, making sounds that are half-joyful-shriek and half-gleeful laughter.

Kids: It's Halloween, Mom! It's Halloween!

NSG: I think there are a bunch of little piggies in my living room.

MayMay: (laughs with unrestrained glee) And you're the Mommy Pig!

Loli: *Smirks*

NSG: I walked right into that one.

Oct 28, 2010

My Post About Breasts

I was in voice class last night. My baby needed nursing. I have a nursing cover. I grabbed the baby, hoisted her under my nursing tent, and began doing the thing that I am biologically inclined to do as a mother of an infant under age 1.

"How was singing this week, [NoSurfGirl]?," My voice teacher asked. "I don't mean to catch you at a delicate moment."

"No, not at all," replied, suddenly feeling all delicate and tense, and aware of the fact that I have breasts and some people think of them as more than baby-feeders. "No... uh... good. Singing was good."

Here's the thing.

Breasts ARE baby-feeders.

Babies get hungry.

And they need to eat.

Babies are not like adults-- they don't have much ability to control themselves when they are upset about something, and they have a very low self-denial threshold. So I feed mine, when she gets hungry.

I understand that people could have moments of discomfort, seeing me take out my nursing shield and slide my baby under it. I understand that our society has sexualized breasts and there is no escaping the fact that people might be uncomfortable/horrified/titillated at the thought of breastfeeding, and might feel vaguely assaulted (or just downright assaulted) to see it take place in front of them without warning.

Here's the problem I have with that: God created my breasts to feed my babies, not to grace the cover of a men's magazine. My breasts have ducts in them that create milk. They are functional organs. I don't give a crud if some people have decided that they are too sexy to mention, or acknowledge in polite company. I don't care if the world has relegated the act of breast-feeding to the same level as bathroom functions, and therefore unfit for public consumption.

One time I was participating in an online conversation about breast-feeding and church. Someone brought up that all-too-familiar dilemma-- the sacrament is being passed. Unruly toddler won't keep a blanket on. Mom just has to make do, and hope nobody looks her directly in the breast.

Someone complained, in response to this, that while passing the sacra ment, her 14-year-old son always struggled to feel "spiritual" and not titillated when this happened, and so it was wrong of women not to leave the room, even if it meant they would miss the sacrament. The spiritual need of her son trumped the spiritual need of the nursing mother.

The response I had, but did not write, was this: Then you've taught your son wrong.

You've taught your son that breasts are objects of sexuality, forbidden fruit. You've taught your son that the sight of a child receiving nourishment from his mother is a lewd act, one that ought to be kept firmly closeted.

How will your son handle the reality of having a living, breathing wife, with functional breasts and a baby to feed them with? Is he going to be as horrified then by breastfeeding, as he is now?

And one more question: do you go and hide from your kids when you breast-feed them? If so, you've done them a real disservice.

I can't help the fact that I am a woman. OK... I'll refine that statement. I LOVE the fact that I am a woman. Women come blessed with an extra set of functional pieces that provide for and cause motherhood, which is supposed to be our divine calling... our stewardship. Its our equivalent of priesthood bearing; it is how we fulfil our roles as queens and priestesses.

One of Satan's biggest lines of attack has been to objectify women's bodies... to make them sex objects alone. And to emphasize the sexual nature of women, to OVERsexualize women. Satan's done a good job with us when we make breasts a dirty thing, something to either laugh about or run away from when encountered in a non-sexual setting.

Is this how God would have it?


There are some cultures where breasts are not so sexualized.

I mean, I think Latin men probably find breasts beautiful, because they are womanly--they are a symbol of womanhood. I'm sure that, in India, breasts are an attractive feature on a woman, noticed and admired by men, like any stereotypical trait of womanhood--long hair, rounded faces, larger eyes. But they're not dirty.

It's not dirty, in Latin America, to feed your babies in public. And guess what? Babies are able to get a far larger amount of nourishment from their mothers in this way, in countries where breastfeeding is more accepted as normal, as something that is just mundane, a piece of living life. Toddlers and children on up to age 4 or even 5, sometimes, are able to receive the nourishment that God has designed so perfectly for young childhood.

I've been in situations many times, where someone tells a mission story of a four-year old boy running up to his mother, flipping up her shirt and nursing. The person telling the story always acts horrified about it, or like it's amusing for some reason. And I usually chuckle and nod, but behind it all I'm thinking... this is so wrong. To be laughing about this. To be treating it as dirty or ridiculous somehow.

I'm a mother. And I'm coming out of the closet and saying: I feed my babies with my breasts, and I'm not ashamed of that fact. I'm grateful to the Lord for blessing me with organs that produce an inexpensive source of perfect nourishment that cultivates immune health, brain function, bone and muscle development in my child. It's an amazing mercy of God, that he created women this way, and it's beautiful and a touching example of everything that motherhood physically symbolizes. It's also, as with so many things Heavenly Father has created, a powerful spiritual symbol: the umbilical nourishment in the form of the spirit, that runs between us and God. And our closeness to God: chest to chest. Face to breast.

As a woman and a potential queen and priestess, I say: let's take the breast back.

Oct 24, 2010

Healthy Chocolate Milk substitute

I looove chocolate milk and I crave it sometimes. My favorite is Ovaltine, the chocolate malt flavor. This combination tastes, to me, very similar.

8 oz of milk (any kind--soy, almond, cow,etc)
1/2 tsp blackstrap molasses
1/2 tsp barley malt.

mix well.

the nice thing about this drink is that, while molasses has sugar, blackstrap molasses in particular has a huge "bang for your buck" as I like to call it. Meaning... it's nutritionally dense. In ways that are important to My body.
For instance, it has potassium (17 % DV in a tablespoon) iron (20%), calcium (20%). of course, you'd never have a tablespoon in one sitting. But as we vegetarians know, every tiny bit of iron and calcium helps.

So you're drinking chocolate milk, but, when you also count the nutrients in Milk, Soymilk, or Almond Milk, it's nutritionally almost as good as drinking V-8 or any other nutritionally dense drink (except there is a bit more sugar :)

How To Make Your Own Barley Malt

I have wanted to try making malt for a long time. It's one of my favorite flavors, and I read in lots of places that it can make a really good sweetener when you combine it with other sweeteners... it somehow enhances other sweeteners, something about its chemical composition.

Well, I read a few websites. Most of them were related to beer-making. After reading up, I tried it three different times, and my last try was most successful. SO I thought I'd lay it out here in case anyone else had the same desire I had, so that it could be more user-friendly and less beer-related.

MAKING MALT:

needed:

barley (uncooked, unpearled).
A jar
a dark cupboard or closet
a sieve with very small holes.
a good grinder--coffee or wheat grinders would be best.

Sprout your barley by putting it in the jar, filling it with water and letting it sit overnight in a dark cupboard.

THen rinse 2 times a day with water, setting it back inside the closet afterward, until you see little bumps forming on the ends of each grain.

When these bumps are as long as the grain itself (Half-grain, half sprout, usually takes a few days) then spread your barley out on a cookie sheet and roast it the same way you'd roast grains, at a low heat (I did 200), taking the pan out to mix the grains around every 15 minutes or so for even drying. You could also do this the long way in a dehydrator.

When the grains are all dry (sprouts included--they'll be withered and brown and will fall off very easily) put the whole mess into a sieve or sifter. sift, sift, sift until the sprouts are separated from the grains entirely (put something under the sifter if you don't want a giant mess on your counter.)

Throw the sprouts away. Take the grains, and grind them up into a fine powder. I use a coffee grinder, you could also likely use a standard wheat grinder.

You can use malt in any recipe where sweetener is required. The best recipes are ones that are cinnamon/chocolate/rice-pudding type recipes---anything that might use vanilla, for instance. just try 1/2 to 1 tsp in any recipe where you'd like to use a little less sugar, maybe, or are using other kinds of sweeteners to replace sugar.

Oct 21, 2010

Things We Say

NSG: Snack time!

All the girls: Apples! Can we have apples mom? Can we have apples?

NSG: *frowns in confusion* You don't want bananas this time? Not even you, MayMay? You never finish an apple when I give it to you.

MayMay: *Shakes head vehemently* No Mom. I want an apple. A RED apple. I'll finish it, I promise!

NSG: Well, OK then. (hands out apples.)

Bella: I want the reddest one, MOM!

Jaws: No, I want the reddest one!

NSG: They all taste just as sweet, girls. Here. (randomly hands out apples)

MayMay: *Gleeful chuckle* Look how RED mine is.

Bella: Ok, now die!!

Loli: I'm going to die first.

NSG: *whips head around, just in time to see Loli slink gracefully to the floor, apple-hand outflung, eyelids fluttering.*

NSG: *Baffled stare* Are you OK, Loli?

Bella: Now MY turn. Watch me, mommy! Watch me die! *takes a bite from apple, falls to knees, then crashes to the floor, allowing the apple to roll from her hand*

NSG: What are you doing?

MayMay: We're snow white, mom!

NSG: Ah. *Walks back to kitchen sink.*

NSG: Well, at least they'll finish their apples this time.

Homeschooling and Incorporating the Gospel

Because I have realized that I trust Diane Hopkins implicitly when it comes to curriculum, We chose to do the "package" curriculum with Latter Day Family Resources this year for Loli. This means we just bought a "packet" for third grade which included texts and workbooks for every important subject.

It was a good choice. Overall, I am very happy with what we have, and how Loli is learning this year.

Some of the books I have loved: singapore math. Story of the world, the middle ages text and activity book.

Some of the books, I have liked, but have found them a little strange. You see, they're Apologia curriculum. Which means.... Christian.

Well, you know. I'm a Christian. I love the idea of having the spirit while learning, and learning religious truths while learning science, history, etc. We do children's scripture stories before math every day, and read scriptures at night before bed, say prayers at every meal, do family home evening. One great thing about homeschooling is, I find I end up bearing my testimony in some small way, every day, to my kids.

But there's something wierd about these books sometimes.

Apologia science has this giant chip on its shoulder about evolution, it seems. I skip at least a paragraph every day we do science, where the text is asserting that evolution never happened, the world was literally created in seven days, here is the evidence that there were no dinosaurs, etc.

*sigh* I can put up with it.

But GRAMMAR? Does this really have a place in Grammar?

Technically, yes. God should have a place in every piece of our lives. I agree. I get it.

But this passage from Loli's grammar book struck me as a little odd:

c) Prayer is the way we talk to God. The Lord's Prayer is an example of a prayer. (Read it in Matthew 6:9-13.) Is there something you need Jesus to take care of? Write down a prayer, asking Jesus for help.


**what the?**

It came RIGHT AFTER adding suffixes to words.

And cursive.

That was my reaction as I read it. But I didn't say anything to Loli. I didn't want to give her the impression that I thought that it was silly, to say a prayer to Jesus in a textbook... See, I'm a pretty skeptical person, sort of sarcastic sometimes, but I try REALLY HARD to tone this down around my kids, especially when it comes to religious things. I don't make fun of Janice Kapp Perry... I realize that, while she's smarmy and gooey, she can teach important messages, and, yes, a small child might feel the spirit while singing, "A child's prayer."

anyway. So I didn't say anything to Loli, I just gave her the assignment.

When I got the assignment back, I was delighted to realize that, genetically, I must have passed some of my skepticism on to her.

Again, here was the question:

c) Prayer is the way we talk to God. The Lord's Prayer is an example of a prayer. (Read it in Matthew 6:9-13.) Is there something you need Jesus to take care of? Write down a prayer, asking Jesus for help.

And here was Loli's Answer:

I ask thee to help me ride my wobbeliy bike.

I snorted as I read her answer, then looked at her, and found answering amusement in her eyes.

"I know it's silly," she said, trying to hold back a grin.

"Loli, I love you," I said, and squeezed her, hard.

And then I proceeded to engage her in a discussion about different religions and how they handle God, and this textbook and its origins. I told her that if one of those questions makes her feel weird, she can talk to me about it or possibly even not answer, and we can just have a discussion instead.

I don't know about you, but I have always felt religion to be extremely personal.

I guess my daughter is the same way.

It's not a bad thing, I don't think. There is that whole section about the pharisee who prayed for people to hear, and the humble man who smote his chest and prayed quietly to himself.

Anyway, I want to hear from you homeschooling moms. How do you handle the spirituality/school balance?

Oct 19, 2010

Adoption and HIV +: it's not as big a deal as you think

This is an amazing blog about HIV and what it really means.

My kids do not happen to be HIV +. We've had them tested here in the US, and they were also screened in Ethiopia before they came home. SO we don't have to deal with HIV. But the more I learn about the need of HIV + orphans to be adopted, and the more I learn about how manageable/low risk a condition it really is when treated properly, the more I feel a need to share messages like these with friends and loved ones who might be considering adoption

Oct 16, 2010

My beautiful, Big-Eyed, Crazy-Haired baby

I realized I haven't posted any pictures of Rose yet. With a family full of photogs and her amazing blue eyes, she gets a lot of pictures taken... so I have no excuse.


These two were taken when she was about 2 weeks old.

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Here are some more recent ones. All these except for the last were taken by Emily, my sister-in-law who is rapidly becoming more than just an amateur photographer. The last was taken by my other sister in law, who told me she entered it into her county fair and won first prize. ;) But we don't care much about that. We just love Rose. A lot. She gets a LOT of love from everyone in our family. All her sisters and her brother, her mom and dad. There's hardly a minute when she's not being held or paid attention to. And then there are the aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas that she has been around so much these past few months because of all the family events.

Maybe her pictures turn out so well because all that love is somehow visible on her.

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Oct 14, 2010

Things We Say--Natural Remedies

(Setting: Baby Rose has just thrown up.)

NSG: (feeling Rose's forehead) I think she's got a fever.

Skywalker: Hmm. (feels her forehead.) Yes, she does feel a little hot.

NSG: Maybe we should put some peppermint on her feet and tummy.

Skywalker: Do we have any?


NSG: Maybe not. I think we used it up. Maybe lavendar instead?

Skywalker: And some fennel.


NSG: Maybe some oregano would help, too...

Skywalker: We should grate a little ginger, put a drop of the juice on her tongue...

Dave: (looking up from his computer, and giving NSG and Skywalker a strange look) Are you treating her, or seasoning her?

Oct 10, 2010

How's Life?

Gosh, life is funny sometimes.

I guess I want to hear from all of you. I talk about my own experiences a lot, the things I figure out and the things I work out that make life more emotionally satisfying.

My family has a genetic tendency to anxiety/depression, and I've somehow eked my way through some stuff, and am continuing to eke, and it's comforting to talk/write about it. Getting it out there makes it seem less drastic and difficult when there are difficulties, but it also makes things funnier and happier when I take time to write about them.

My friends are all becoming more adult-like, with bigger families and/or established careers, so I figure a lot of you are starting to settle into yourselves, figure out what makes you happy and fulfilled. I figure that a lot of you are also starting to think about the big picture and set some long-term goals.

So, to those of you who read and might take a moment to comment... how's life?

What is it that makes life worth living for all of you?

Have you had any epiphanies lately (even small ones) that have propelled you into greater happiness?

Were there any general conference messages this time around that hit you hard, and why?

This is my attempt at non-omphaloskepis, but whatever form of skepsis would be reaching out and connecting and learning from others' experiences.

Oct 7, 2010

Hilarious

Maybe I shouldn't think this is funny because my family is composed of children whose first language doesn't happen to be English but I kind of do. Think it's funny. (in case you lost track of the first part of that sentence.

Oct 6, 2010

Closure

I feel like I'm closing out some accounts I've held onto during my life.

"Trauma" is one.

"Neediness" is another.

"Self-Consciousness," "Fear of Failure," "Fear of Others' Opinions" are some more.

Thirty has been very good to me. For some reason I've gotten past some important hangups I've had in life. I've realized, No, I Am A Good Person and this has improved my relationship with a lot of people. Unfortunately, it has made things a tad more strained with one or two people, though. I'm still figuring that out, because while I don't Care What Others Think Of Me, I do Care About Whether Or Not I Hurt Others, particularly those I care about.

I wrote a couple important letters this week. And I feel suddenly like I'm standing on top of it all, that I can say I'm finished dealing with the things that make me "different" from everybody else in Mormon culture because of what I've been through.

I've grown. I'm different from who I was. I'm not innocent anymore. But, (in the words of my bishop) I am more compassionate and also I feel like my faith has grown, because I see that God works in spite of and through imperfect vessels. And I'm starting to feel compassion and charity for those imperfect vessels, too... something I wasn't able to grasp before because of the strangeness of trauma and its aftereffects.

Anyway. Some serious omphaloskepsis and I guess this post is also self-indulgent, if the point of this blog is to entertain readers. But it really isn't, so, yeah. Thanks for reading.

Oct 3, 2010

The passing of a generation

Skywalker's last remaining biological grandparent passed away this morning. He was 95, and pretty much going strong until he started failing this last year. We all knew it was close, in fact, have been preparing for a while. The opportunity to come out for the girls' sealing provided an opportunity for my mother-in-law to say goodbye. I watched her, during the visit... she was saying good-bye every day. Every minute. She spent as much time as she could with Grandpa C., kissing him, cuddling him, showing him how much she loved him. And now he's passed, and I think everyone feels peace and resolution. This has not been a tragedy, it's been like a coming of age, a next-step sort of thing.

This all hits me in two ways.

1) I'm about 20 years behind, generation-wise. I've only lost 1 grandparent,but I have to face the fact that we're going to say goodbye to all of them in the next 20 years. I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

2) Skywalker is a lot like Grandpa C. They look alike, and they have similar personalities, likes, and interests. As an example, this is something my sister-in-law, Emily, wrote regarding a picture she took of him holding our youngest.

"With Grandpa's failing health he hasn't known who we, his children and grandchildren, are anymore. It's been awhile since I've seen the grandpa I remember, the old man with that smile in his eyes. He didn't have to be reminded that he can't remember any of us anymore, as soon as he saw this baby he knew what to do, just hold her!"

When our kids were sealed to us and blessed the next Sunday, everyone came over afterward for a get-together. Grandpa was in and out of reality. He didn't exactly know who everyone was all the time. He was sitting under a tree in our yard, and Skywalker came up to him with baby Rose. Grandpa was asking about the baby. Finally Skywalker said, "would you like to hold her?"

"Well, yes!" Was Grandpa's prompt response.

Grandpa loved children, and he had a soft spot for his little girls.

He is kind, a peacemaker. He had two wives. One of them passed away when his family was still young, the other kept him company until he died this morning, at 95.

I look at Grandpa C. and I see my husband in 60 years. And it makes me happy. How blessed I was when I married into this family, and how blessed our children are to have a great-grandfather and a father like Grandpa C. and Skywalker.

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Sep 24, 2010

Political discourse via email forwards

...it's never really a good idea. I usually just delete them without looking at them. But recently someone sent one of these to our homeschooling email group. It was someone with a lot of clout, in our homeschooling group, and so people just tend to "live and let live" when she sends something like that out.

But this email forward was particularly offensive. A notch or two more than usual, which is saying something about Email forwards. Among other things, it compared the Obamas to the leaders of Pre-revolutionary France because of the "lavish vacations" that have recently been discussed in the media.

This is what I wrote back:

Bleah. This is a ridiculous piece of attack media. Sorry [HSQueen]....

and I'm kinda surprised you'd post it because of the swearword in the picture.


And a few minutes later I wrote this: *I'm worried I hurt feelings...hope I didn't. I was just... I mean, it's hard to offend me. But this offended me*

This was her reply:

[HSQueen] So sorry to offend anyone. Sure didn't want to do that.

I get frustrated with how things are going in our government. I guess if Obama stepped down there would be another big spender that would step right in. I have read several articles on the president's flagrant spending while asking the American people to tighten their belts. It is just so frustrating, as a small business owner, to watch a lifetime of work eroded by such ridiculous and wasteful government spending and policies. Most of the business owners I know are frustrated. The health care plan will make most of the small business, like mine, in this valley close their doors. Few family businesses can afford to fund their employees health care with the high cost of mandatory insurance.

America was a lot different when I was a little girl. Socialism was thought of as evil. Guess as the years go by, the contrast gets starker. We have become accustomed to socialism. I fear for our children's futures.

A US president should not live like the kings that preceded the French revolution, or we may be faced with another revolution... Americans don't like to be downtrodden.

Once again, my apologies!

; 0 )

I wasn't going to write anymore. I think it was the winking big-nosed smile that did it. That emotocon just seemed to be giggling at me... oh, I offended nosurfgirl. I'm glad! Yay. I got her all riled up.

I wanted to punch big-nosed winking smile right in the honker. I guess that would be the zero. I wanted to punch that zero from here all the way to MySpace, which everyone knows is now the ghost-town of the internets.

Anyway, I had to say something in return. So I did:


[NoSurfGirl]: I think there's hysteria on BOTH sides, to be quite frank about the matter. What I get frustrated about, is the fact that people seem to thrive on fear lately.

I think that it is a universal phenomenon, to make fun our whomever is in power. It helps us ( the people ) feel a bit more powerful. Also, laughter induced endorphins are important in times of stress :)

But this email is completely innaccurate. When people start to take "fun" and then masquerade it as "truth"... that's what gets frustrating.

When people start believing what radio and TV commentators with a clear agenda are saying... that's when I get frustrated.

When it seems like civil disagreement is thrown out the window... that's when I get frustrated.

Hey... I bought my husband a Ron Paul bumper sticker. I respect his viewpoints.

I expect people to respect mine, too.

Here's a secret: I love Obama! I don't like what our government (BOTH parties) is doing to our level of debt... but in just about every other way, I love what our president is doing and admire him as both a man and politician.

So... consider that, please, when sending out things over this homeschooling group.

Or at least... put "OT" (off-topic) in the title of the email so I know what I'm going to be hit with when I open it... and I can decide to delete it without reading it.

Thanks!

--[NoSurfGirl]

And then my friend, who, like me, doesn't subscribe to all the fearmongering that's been going around lately, and has had some positive feeling for Obama at some points in these last few years, wrote another email kind of backing me up but also adding the message that the original post was ridiculous, because comparing America and its leaders excesses to pre-revolutionary war France, is kind of ridiculous.

She also mentioned that her father, a small-business owner, is for Obama and for the Health Care Bill. So this area of the world is truly unique when it comes to the political culture. One cannot generalize about things like "all small business owners feel this way, etc etc" especially when our experience is Utah Valley. Because let's face it... Utah valley is in a giant bubble politically, as well.


Here's the thing... I don't think I'd be nearly as vocal, politically, if I didn't happen to feel differently from most people around me. And I can usually keep my mouth shut. But there comes a time when I just can't do it. Something hurts my heart too much (how would you conservatives feel if someone was slandering and spreading deliberate falsehoods about president Reagan, for instance) , or something is ridiculously innaccurate and the crowd seems to be taking it as truth without even blinking.

I picture in my mind Joan of Arc's funeral pyre. I think about Martin Luther King and Kennedy, about any figure that has stirred up lots of controversy and then someone takes the hysteria (conjured on purpose by some, for self interested reasons, and exacerbated by others who just enjoy getting upset over things, but lightly mixed with true feelings of frustration as well) too far.

In the wake of all this, I was mad enough that I was tempted to spam our Homeschooling group in the other direction--find a ridiculous email forward from the liberal side, perhaps painting Ron Paul or Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney in a ridiculous light. But no matter how much searching I did... I could find nothing. Nada. Not one email forward.

What does that say about how the dialogue is going right now?

Who's being the bigger man (side)?

OK, granted... Jon Stuart and Stephen Colbert are making fun of Conservatives right now. But they're comedians... they make fun of the make-funable. And they make fun of Obama on occasion, too.

Just some random, hubris-seasoned and grievance-tainted thoughts.

PS: Here's a secret.

I really do still love Obama. Not for what's going on with the economy... but let's face it. Obama's not doing that. He's a piece of it... but it's our legislators who are doing that. BOTH sides of our legislative body. Maybe most republicans voted against the Health Care Bill, but let's face it. Earmarks, Pork-barells... both sides do it. BOTH sides are bankrupting our economy. IT's nonsensical to point the finger at Obama and say HE's the man ruining our economy. Point it at Pelosi and Reid, Maybe. Maybe.

I believe what Obama says when he states he prefers a "lean" government. But what do you do, when you believe a certain thing is good for your country, and you've been given a certain broken, bloated system to work with? YOu can either break down and rebuild the system (ala Ron Paul) or try to work WITHIN the system to get what you feel you need (ala Obama). And our level of debt is skyrocketing... but who's really to blame for that. Hmmm? How many Americans would really tolerate what would happen if Paul came into office and did what he says he's going to do? Let's all think about Hoover for a moment and what happened to him.

And let's face the fact that America will never stand for the process it would take to go through the crash voluntarily. America will need to have it forced on them... Obama knows this, Palin knows this. Paul even knows this... but he's not going to give up on his missionary work.

Neither is Obama. But he's in a tight place, when you think about it. When you really stop to THINK about it, rather than pointing fingers.

And anyone who says that America is becoming socialist, doesn't really know what socialism is.

OK this Postscript itself has become another political diatribe. Nosurf out ;) (you see I skipped the punchable zero in MY emotocon.)

Sep 21, 2010

OK, Dave, I give in...

Just so you know, I have a friend who listens to Christmas music in September. His name is Dave. Usually I make cruel fun of this tendency of his, but I must admit...

This year I'm getting a bit sentimental. About Christmas Music. And I'm having a real hard time holding off the urge to turn on Bing and Harry and all the others. So I thought I'd share some Christmas music with y'all.

Sep 20, 2010

Things We Say

NSG: Go clean up, squirt.

Squirt: OK! But I don't want to clean up my dwess. (pats skirt lovingly.)

NSG: Is that your dress?

Squirt: It's my Awouwa dwess.

NSG: Squirt, do boys wear dresses?

Squirt: (cocks head to the side) I like my Awouwa dwess.

NSG: OK. But do boys wear dresses to church?

Squirt: No.

NSG: What do boys wear?

Squirt: Big Boy Pants!

NSG: And what else? Do they wear pants?

Squirt: Yes.

NSG: And shirts?

Squirt: Yes!

NSG: What color shirts?

Squirt: Wainbow!!

Sep 19, 2010

Pirate Popular

Of course it's national talk-like-a-pirate day, which of course is religiously observed in every god fearing household. And someone sent me a toy.

Which I promptly used. Enjoy:

Aye, whene'er I see someone less fortunate than Me,
And let's face it, who isn't less fortunate than Me?
My tender heart tends t' start t' bleed.
And when someone needs a makeo'er,
I simply have t' take o'er, shiver me timbers!
I know, Me know exactly what they need, shiver me timbers!

And e'en in your case,
Though tis' the toughest case I''e yet t' face,
Don't worry, I'm determined t' succeed, shiver me timbers!
Follow my lead,
And yes indeed, you will be...

POPULAR, shiver me timbers!
You're gonna be popular, shiver me timbers!
I'll teach you the proper poise,
When you talk t' boys,
Little ways t' flirt and flounce,
ooh, shiver me timbers!
I'll show you what shoes t' wear, shiver me timbers!
How t' fix your hair, shiver me timbers!
E'erthin' that mightily counts t' be...

POPULAR, shiver me timbers!
I'll help you be popular, shiver me timbers!
You'll hang with the right cohorts,
You'll be good at sports,
Know the slang you''e got t' know.
So let's start,
'Cause you''e got an awfully long way t' go, shiver me timbers!

Don't be offended by my frank analysis,
Think o' it as personality dialysis,
Now that I''e chosen t' become a
Pal, a sister and ad'isor,
Thar's nobody wiser, shiver me timbers!
Not when it comes to...

POPULAR, shiver me timbers!
I know about popular.
and with an assist from me,
t' be who you'll be,
instead o' dreary who you war...
Well, be.
Thar's nothin' that can stop you,
from becomin' popu-ler... lar...

la la, la la, shiver me timbers!
We're gonna make you pop-u-lar, shiver me timbers!

When me see depressin' creatures,
With unprepossessin' features,
I remind them on their own they ha'e
T' - think - o'
Celebrated heads o' state,
Or specially great communicators, shiver me timbers!
Did they have brains or knowledge?
Don't make me laugh, shiver me timbers!

They war Popular, shiver me timbers!
Please, shiver me timbers!
Tis' all about popular.
Tis' not about aptitude,
Tis' the way you're 'iewed,
So tis' 'ery shrewd t' be,
Very 'ery popular
like Me, shiver me timbers!



oooohhhh I can't resist... one more:

Ahoy, if I could grant
You one wish
I'd wish you could see the way you kiss
Ooh, I lo'e watchin' you
Baby
When you're dri'in' me crazy

Ooh, Me lo'e the way you
Lo'e the way you lo'e me
Thar's nowhar else I'd rather be
Ooh, t' feel the way I feel with your arms around me
I only wish that you could see the way you lo'e me
The way you lo'e

It’s not right
It’s not fair
What you're missin' o'er thar
Someday I'll find a way t' show you
Just how lucky Me am t' know you

Ooh, I lo'e the way you
Lo'e the way you lo'e me
Thar's nowhar else I'd rather be
Ooh, t' feel the way Me feel with your arms around me
I only wish that you could see the way you lo'e me
The way you lo'e me

You're the million reasons why
Thar's lo'e reflectin' in my eyes

Ooh, I lo'e the way you
Lo'e the way you lo'e me
Thar's nowhar else I'd rather be
Ooh, t' feel the way I feel with your arms around me
I only wish that you could see the way you lo'e me
The way you lo'e me
The way you lo'e me

Ooh, the way you lo'e me
The way you lo'e me
Aye, me parrot concurs.


OK wait... Skywalker wanted me to try this one:

Arrr, it must have been cold thar in my shadow,
t' ne'er have sunlight on your face.
You war content t' let me shine, that's your way,
you always walked a step behind.
So I was the one with all the glory,
while you war the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name -- for so long,
a beautiful smile t' hide the pain.
CHORUS:
Did you e'er know that you're my hero,
and e''rythin' I would like t' be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
'cause you be the wind beneath my win's.
It might have appeared t' go unnoticed,
but I''e got it all har in my heart.
I want you t' know Me know the truth, o' course Me know it,
I would be nothin' with out you.
(CHORUS)
Fly, fly, fly away,
you let me fly so high.
Oh, fly, fly,
so high against the sky, so high Me almost touch the sky.
Thank you, thank you, thank God for you,
the wind beneath my win's. A pence for an old man o'de sea?

oh, nooooo wait....

this one's for you, Dave:

Aye, l.a.'s fine, the sun shines most the time
And the feelin' is 'lay back'
Palm trees grow, and rents be low
But you know Me keep thinkin' about
Makin' my way back
Well I'm New York City born and raised
But nowadays, I'm lost between two shores
L.A.'s fine, but it ain't home
New York's home, but it ain't mine no more
I am, Me said
T' no one thar
An no one heard at all
Not e'en the chair
I am, Me cried
I am, said I
And I am lost, and I can't e'en say why
Lea'in' me lonely still
Did you e'er read about a frog who dreamed o' bein' a kin'
And then became one
Well except for the names and a few other changes
I you talk about me, the story's the same one
But Me got an emptiness deep inside
And I''e tried, but it won't let me go
And I'm not a man who likes t' swear
But Me ne'er cared for the sound o' bein' alone
I am, I said
T' no one thar
An no one heard at all
Not e'en the chair
I am, I cried
I am, said I
And I am lost, and Me can't e'en say why
Lea'in' me lonely still Ye'll ne'er get me buried booty!

Sep 16, 2010

things we say

(The kids have been in bed for half an hour, when MayMay and Jaws come pounding down the stairs)

MayMay: Mom! Squirt throwed up.

NSG: He threw up?

Jaws: Yeah! He throwed up.

NSG: Where?

MayMay: Right on my Sunday dress!

NSG: Was he wearing it?

Skywalker: Why was your sunday dress out of the closet?

MayMay: Jaws got it down.

NSG: (Deep sigh... thinking hard about a way to get out of this) OK, MayMay. Here is what you do. Roll up the Sunday dress very carefully so you don't touch any of the...

Skywalker: (shakes head) it's not going to happen. (rises from couch)

MayMay: (gleeful laughter) it's white!

Jaws: (shrieks) It's White throw up!

(both girls pound after skywalker up the stairs. NSG watches them go, trying to quash the guilt at having successfully manipulated her sweet husband into doing the job she didn't want to do.)

Sep 14, 2010

Hans Christian Andersen: Fairy Tales and Stories

So I FINALLY finished Hans.

1,165 pages, a huge collection of short stories. In my own defense it WAS all I read during the time I was reading, it just took me a while. I wanted to do it right, not auto-read and forget everything I'd been reading. But to be honest, I coulda skipped half the book and still really enjoyed the most important pieces of his writing. So for your convenience, if you want to tackle Hans, I'm going to give you a list of the recommended stories. I've pared it down to a dozen:

Inchelina
The Traveling Companion
The Little Mermaid
The Emperor's New Clothes
The Magic Galoshes
The Steadfast Tin Soldier
The Flying Trunk
The Ugly Duckling
Mother Elderberry
The Little Match Girl
The Dung Beetle
The Ice Maiden

Read those and you've got the best, IMO. And you should read them.

What I loved about Hans: His stories are so clever. There is so much sly insight into human nature. You can tell that Hans Christian Andersen loved people, children especially. But people in general--he saw the bright and wonderful parts of human nature as well as those parts that make his stories skeptical and curt in places. His storytelling is superb--pithy, masterful, incisive. ANd yet somehow entertaining, and usually not preachy. He laughed a lot when he wrote them; you could tell by how he wrote them. And of course, so many of these have become classics, because of their layered, deeper meanings and the way they srike at the heart of so many of the frailties but also beauties of human nature.

I love the description of Denmark. This man was in love with his country and wrote about in almost all of his stories. His descriptions included how people lived, the clothes they wore, the way they got around, culture and society, and the legends of the past. I really got a vivid look at Denmark through these stories. Since many of my ancestors come from Denmark, it was very special to me to be able to feel and understand and see all that he showed through the stories.

I did some research on Hans' life. When he was a child, he was favored by his father, who believed he was connected to Danish nobility. Hans was an odd-looking child, with close-set eyes and a long nose and a big head. He talked and acted very feminine... a lot of people mistook him for a girl when he was young.

Han's father wasn't the only person who saw something in him. Hans was given a grant by a nobleman to go to school to become a writer.

His first writing exploits weren't all that successful. It was his fairy tales that began to make him famous around the world--but not in his own country. It wasn't until he was acclaimed by the world at large as a "treasure" that those in Denmark followed suit, proclaiming him a "national treasure." Kind of funny--prophet in his own country thing, I think.

There was one interesting encounter he had with Charles Dickens, who was his contemporary. Andersen idolized Dickens, and they met at an event and exchanged letters. Andersen was invited to stay with the Dickens family. He stayed 5 weeks, completely overstaying his welcome. His daughter proclaimed him to be a "fawning, obsequious" person who was a bore to be around.

Well, this made me sad. I read his writing and think... how could that be? It's all about casting off the status quo, about how birth and rank can mean nothing in the face of character and talent. He wrote so perceptively about human nature, so often poking fun at those who were full of self-importance. He's no brown-noser!!

I read a little further and discovered that, despite the fact that Andersen was well educated and so could speak English in a very cultured, noble way, he understood the language poorly in some instances. Also, the Dickens family was having real struggles during the time Andersen was staying with them... houseguests weren't the most welcome intrusion because of the high level of tension amongst the Dickenses. In fact, someone has written a play about it, which I'd be very interested in seeing, if it were somehow possible.

But I don't live in England, so I fear it's not possible.

Anyway, I loved the character that showed through the writing. Hans and I agree about a lot of social issues. And the book was a wonderful read, even though it was long. The stories I listed: four and a half out of four stars. The book as a whole: I'd have to give it 3 out of four stars.

For your entertainment: Hans Christian Andersen telling aloud his story, "The Emperor's New Clothes".

Letter to my ex Voice Teacher, part II

I don't know if anybody remembers when I posted a while ago about my experiences at Rick's college and the letter I eventually wrote to the voice teacher I had while attending school there.

I haven't posted about this since because I don't really feel like this is a therapy blog. It's a blog about day-to-day life, sometimes about venting or politics or emotional topics, but is hardly ever about my own personal traumas and healing.

Well, I feel like I should post the sort-of-conclusion of this whole saga that has been one of a two-pronged trauma in my life. It's odd, how trauma can happen all at once. I had this trauma, and then everything happened two years later with my ex husband, which was about when I started singing again.

Anyway, it was about two years ago that I received this surprising communication in my email inbox (names have been changed, of course):

[NoSurfGirl]:

I have held this e-mail for two years now; I am sure you do not remember sending it. At any rate, I have long meant to respond and hope you will forgive me for the unforgiveable delay.

I remember you well—your face, your voice, even the repertoire you sang. First may I say thank you for choosing to share your feelings with me. Your critiques are well-stated and well deserved I think. I take no offense; rather, I am grateful that you respect me at least enough to share your thoughts with me. I am grateful that you are able to sing again and that you have found a teacher with whom you can have a good relationship. I am sure that you and your talents are a blessing to your family and your community.

Believe it or not, I have reflected often on our experience together in voice lessons—every time I see your e-mail—and felt badly that I could not help you more. It was a difficult experience for me as well. It was my first teaching experience on the college level, and I had much to learn. Though many of my students did well, I am sure now it was not largely due to my ability as a teacher. I say this not by way of self-defense, but as an admission of my own lack of experience. I am truly sorry that our time together was such a negative experience. I think I have learned much since then—both about teaching and about people. After my experience with you, I never wanted to come up short again with a student, either as a teacher or as a counselor. I have worked to become more sensitive and supporting to my students, while still being able to help them understand and reach the standards required of them as potential music professionals. I may not always succeed, but I am trying. I have been blessed with great colleagues and students from whom I learn something every day.

Thank you again for your candor, and for what you have done to help me understand my teaching and improve upon it. It is my hope that one day we might meet again and be friends. I would enjoy meeting your family and hearing you sing. Perhaps that will not happen until the next life; in the meantime, however, I wish you the best in all your endeavors, musical and otherwise.

Respectfully,
[Brother Snorfelbluss]
BYU-Idaho

It's odd, because Skywalker and I applied for a job out at BYU Idaho just a few months ago. Ultimately someone else won out over Skywalker for the position. But throughout the whole process, I was thinking about Ricks (as I knew it then) and how it seemed kind of a harbinger in my life. The music thing crushed me. I was going to be a music teacher before all that. And didn't sing for two years after the experiences there.

But also I was engaged to my ex husband the whole time I was there. He was the center of my life. We wrote emails daily, and talked on the phone weekly, and he visited me twice while i was there, and I came back home twice, and we met in Salt Lake City once.

It was the year I left home. My mom brought me to school 2 weeks early because it fit her schedule better. She unloaded all my stuff, and then we stood there and looked at each other akwardly for a moment, said bye, and she drove off.

And then my life proceeded to change forever.

This was a trial-by-fire year, one that I thought would end with marriage and happiness and companionship and a full, long life planned with a certain person.

And then that quickly spiraled downward, too.

Ricks has a strange sort of hold over me. So in a way, I'm glad we're staying right here.

But in another way, I feel left behind. My little brother is there now. My little sisters in law will be going there soon. All the girls from my home ward are going to BYU Idaho, when, ten years ago, they'd all be squealing over BYU provo.

Have I been left in the dust?

Am I settled here?

Am I glad?

Is Skywalker doing what he's supposed to be doing?

Should I have stayed at BYU Idaho and not gotten married? Would I have pushed through and become a music teacher like I wanted?

So many questions. But none of them are important enough to answer.

My life is here now, it is what it is and I do love it, and I love my husband, and I've spent the last 10 years recovering and now I think I'm pretty much recovered enough to say I'm normal.

Anyway, Brother Snorfelbluss, I appreciated your note and will recommend you to my brother, who is now studying music up there in Rexburg. And maybe I"ll have to come up and listen to one of his concerts, and maybe you'll be directing. And it's quite possible that won't be a problem at all... in fact, maybe there's a little affection for you creeping into my heart now.

Love, NSG

Sep 11, 2010

The gross thing I bought at DI

It's pretty much the grossest thing you can think of.

I bought a dirty diaper at DI today.

It came with the diaper pail--an accessory thrown in, if you will. To demonstrate the usefulness of the diaper pail, I'm sure.

I mean, I'm already a little freaked out about buying stuff from DI for the ick-dirt-germ factor. But I think this tops every experience I've ever had.

After gingerly removing diaper from the pail (who knows how old it was??) and disposing of it, I sprayed the pail out with our high-pressure hose and like three cups of bleach. And now it resides in my house but I'm eyeing it, still, with skepticism and disfavor. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get over it. We may just have to take back the diaper pail...

and you know, cloth diapers are much better for the environment. I'm sure the next customer who buys the diaper pail will appreciate the message we've left them.

Sep 4, 2010

Sep 1, 2010

I shouldn't be blogging

I shouldn't be blogging right now.

But I feel a need for release.

Today was good. In a tough way. Got a lot done, and now I'm very tired.

This diet thing is brutal. Is this what it feels like to be on a diet? I'm fine until about 7pm and then I feel like I'm hollow inside and just need to lie on the bed like a limp noodle and sleep.

It's gotten better. But I felt it tonight during my critique group I go to on Wednesdays (for my own personal happiness). Critique was great, but I felt like I was talking a little more thickly, a little more slowly than usual.

I got home and had to resolve a difficult difference with a good friend. It was pure miscommunication, but she was upset with me. YOu may not think this about me, but when people are mad at me I feel like I want to crawl in a hole in the ground and then avoid them for the next month.

But I've learned that grownups (functional ones at least) can resolve differences with charity and with friendship left intact.

That doesn't get rid of the crawly feeling I have inside, that someone was mad at me tonight, though.

I love writing.

I love my kids.

I love teaching.

I love singing.

It's a good thing I love what I do. But sometimes it does tend to feel like "too much of a good thing," making it into a "aggravating annoying thing," and I hate feeling that way about my kids.

This too shall pass, though. This is, definitively, the most "intense" stage of parenting--little kids. And I have a lot of them. They all need my undivided attention all day, and I give it to them for most of the day, and feel victorious at the end of it for doing so.

Sometimes I feel like the whole world has no idea what it's like, doing what I do, otherwise they wouldn't ask things of me that they sometimes ask. But then I remember the Savior and what he did. Gosh, he fasted for a month. And still healed people and resisted temptation, and only got angry when it was righteous to do so.

With God's help, I can succeed at this. He put me here... he won't let me flounder.

OK that's the end of this post... I need some sleep.

Aug 30, 2010

A little too much for me...

You know, I'm not really one to say people are communists, or people are stupid, or people are racist (though I have called on tea-partiers to exorcise the racist messages that tend to get delivered in street-protests). So I'm not going to say anything like that about Glenn Beck or his rally.

I will say, however, that it's a little scary to me. Reading the transcripts, listening to the sound bytes, looking at the pictures... it feels a little off, to me. Something's not right.

It kind of reminds me of the man in my home ward who'd get up behind the pulpit during testimony meeting, hold up a copy of "An Enemy Hath Done This," (a political work written by Ezra Taft Benson before he became the prophet of the LDS church) and talk about how we all ought to read it along with the Book of Mormon. As if those two books made up the scriptures. His testimony always went on about how evil he thought America's current leadership was and how, if we wanted to fight to "save America" we had to believe a certain, narrow set of political doctrines.

I never heard him use the word communist, at the pulpit, though.

I know this was a rally, not a sacrament meeting. But with the religious rhetoric being taken up a notch, I almost feel like I'm not sure which part of me needs to be responding--the part that is skeptical of anything a politician/talk radio host says and therefore can easily dismiss such things, or the part of me that is respectful of people's testimonies and therefore, horrified at some of the things that are being said, and fearful of a giant movement of gospel-hobbyists that might decide that politics is the core and purpose of the gospel, and it's up to us to keep America from Hanging By A Thread.

I sure hope that this hasn't done a whole lot of damage.

I sure hope people still realize that the milk and meat of the gospel (ha! Ironic considering I don't feed my family either of those) is repentance, redemption, missionary work and service.

Personally, I still need to focus on the milk and meat of the gospel. I'm really not perfect enough to start going for the barley drinks and acai berries and 12-day-grapefruit fasts of the gospel. So even if God really does want us all to be libertarians... I'm not going to make that my focus in life right now.

No disrespect, Glenn Beck. No disrespect.

And BTW... if you are starting to think of yourself as a prophet (as a lot of media moguls from both sides of the political spectrum have stated), you're gonna have some trouble. Trouble that I really don't want to have to watch unfold.

Aug 28, 2010

aftermath

I am DEAD TIRED.

I don't know why I'm blogging.

I guess I feel like I need to say how this week all ended--on a rather positive note. We've had lots of intense socializing over the last few days, which my kids needed.

Everything went all right, just like I knew it would.

The world didn't end and the sky didn't fall.

And I'm getting to sleep at 9:30 tonight and next week will be easier.

The end.

Aug 25, 2010

Punishment by degrees

I came up with a new genius way to give consequences today.

My girls were told to clean up the mess they made in the living room. One of my girls said outright, "I'm NOT going to clean."

I looked her in the eye and said, "Then you're going to bed an hour early. If you don't clean the living room, you don't get to enjoy the living room after dinnertime with everyone else."

They all busily went about cleaning after this. I gave them a reasonable time period to get it done, and it did get finished.

With one disclaimer.

"(this child) didn't clean!" exclaims one of the other children.

"No, she didn't." Another child shakes her head vigorously.

I look said child in the eye. "Did you clean?"

Child nods, but with a guilty look in her eye. "I did."

"But she stopped and played for a little while when the rest of us were finishing."

"Hm," I say. "Is this true?"

Guilty slight nod.

"Well, you only disobeyed me a little bit. So maybe I'll just give you a little bit of the punishment. You can go to bed ten minutes early instead of an hour early. OK?"

Weeping, bewailing and gnashing of teeth. So obviously it was an effective punishment. (Am I evil that I gauge the effectiveness of my consequences by the sadness they cause?)

ANyway, I'm seeing all sorts of possibilities.

Just a LITTLE bit of extra cleaning up--more than everyone else.

Only SOME treat--Just a little less than everyone else.

I'm thinking with this new lovely vista of options opening up before my eyes, I might eliminate the straggling obedience problem I have altogether!

Am I evil to be this excited about it all?