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.