Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stop Looking at Me!

The baby learned to say it recently. Although when she says it, it sounds more like "stoppa-lookin'-me." Still she pulls it out at the right moments, when everyone is giggling at her cute mistakes, when the whole family has gathered around to watch her nurse. I'm pretty sure she means it. Not that she doesn't like being looked at. Just...sometimes it gets a bit uncomfortable.

Recently I had two rather large spikes in my pageloads. A little investigation revealed that Mormon Times had linked my kitty in the Christmas tree pictures and Stumble Upon had linked my guilty gratitude post. Thrilling and yet . . . I kinda had something controversial that I needed to talk about in the relative safety of my anonymity. Now I'm going to have to wait until the world goes away again and just my bloggy friends are here. A few days wait should suffice.

In the meantime, I'll post a link to a piece that speaks to anyone who has ever dealt with addiction. It needs no linky love, as BCC has an immense following, but you might have missed it. Give it a look-in when you have a bit of time to follow the half-dozen links within it. Russell's post is heart-wrenchingly honest and brave. It moved me to tears.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Guilt-tinged Gratitude

Have I mentioned we're poor? American poor that is. No starvation going on here, but in general when the kids take their cans of soup to the food drives or make cards for the needy, those items tend to come back to us.

This year so many people are having financial difficulties that I was certain there would be very few gifts for the children other than what I could procure. The day after Thanksgiving, I did some pretty impressive Goodwill half-price sale shopping and was calling it good.

Then our Relief Society President asked if they could give the children each a present, something they needed.

"Thank you. That would be nice."

A week later, the Bishop told us that he'd recommended us to a company that chooses a family each year to adopt. Clothes, mostly.

"Oh, that would be nice, very nice!"

Shortly thereafter, a sweet lady called and told me that the weirdest thing had happened. She'd been buying a tree and a guy came up to her and asked her if she wanted an extra tree because he'd gotten an extra for free. So...did we have a tree yet? Could we take this one off her hands?

"Um...OK...I love real trees. Thanks!"

As my lovely RS President handed me three big black garbage bags of gifts for my lovely children the week before Christmas, she explained that we had asked for so little she added a "few things" to our requests.

"Wow! Thanks! The kids will be thrilled!"

Monday, the 22nd a man showed up to my door when I was expecting a friendly acquaintance from church.

"Hi! Jami? I'm Bob [all names have been changed, except mine]. This is Sandra, Robin, and Jason. Where would you like these?" says he pointing to a few charmingly wrapped gifts.

"Uh, on the couch I guess. Thanks."

"Oh we'll need more room than that. Ho, ho, ho!" And they proceeded to bring more and more and more gifts in.

I suspected they were the company to whom the Bishop had given our information, but they had probably ten gifts per child, much more than I was expecting.

"Um, thanks so much. Um...who are you?"

"Oh, replied Bob. "I already told you: I'm Bob. There's Sandra and Robin. And he's Jason."

Cute, thought I, but who ARE you? "I mean who are you associated with? Are you related to Dave who was coming over at 10?"

"Dave? We're no relation to him . . . but we know him."

OK, Misters and Misses Anony-mice. I get it. No clues. "You really know how to raise my kids' heart rates," I joked. "That's a lot of presents. Thank you!"

The kids added their heartfelt thanks ["Thank you!"(N) "Thank you." (V) "Thanks." (E) "Niiiice!" (J) "Tanksyerwelcome!" (C)] and our benefactors went their merry philanthropic way.

Ten minutes later, two teachers from the school dropped off a turkey, a huge bag of oranges, a half dozen cupcakes and a big box of food.

An hour after that, Sister Sweet delivered a lovely ham and a huge box of yummies.

The receiving cooled off for a day. Then came Christmas Eve at my mom's, relaxed and wonderful. The angel-monkeys sang for Grandma, and two of them played their trumpets. After that came the gifts. Concerned that the kids were not getting many presents this year, mom and the Yvil-auntie got them nearly everything on their lists.

Let me tell you...there was much rejoicing Christmas morning. N in particular just kept opening each of her gifts, hugging them, exclaiming, "I'm just so happy!" Even I teared up a few times.

I am filled with gratitude towards the founders of our feast. However, I do feel a bit guilty: all of that just for us when so many are needy this year. Also I think I may need to buy some carbon offsets for the wrapping paper/cardboard/shrink wrap abomination that constitutes our garbage this week. And perhaps, just perhaps, we concentrated a bit too much on gifts, and not quite enough on Christ this Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Seasonal Re-post

This is my second post, from way back in May. Only my family read it, and they only read it because I nagged them incessantly. So what was odd in May is downright appropriate in December. Enjoy.

"So Mom is there a Santa Claus?" asked my vibrant six year old this morning. It's a pretty standard question around here-in December. (I've got no idea what brings it up in May.)

I give my standard response. "No, honey. He's a nice pretend person."

[I now pause to defend my Santa-killing position. Every Christmas I teach my children that Christmas is about the baby Jesus being born to be the Savior of mankind. If I teach them that Santa is real, at some point I'd have to admit the truth.
"Sorry Sweetheart, I was lying (in the nicest possible way). Santa is a wonderful pretend person. But not Jesus. He's not a wonderful pretend person. Well, he's wonderful, but not pretend. I wasn't lying about Jesus. He's real. Sure you've seen Santa and he was a fake and you haven't seen Jesus, but I testify to you that he's real. Really, really real."
I didn't want to go there. So back to my standard answer.]

"No, honey. He's a nice pretend person."

"MOM! Don't say that. He is too. He's real. And he gives you one less present every time you say that!" V. informed me.

"Hm...I have noticed the take getting smaller every year. Maybe there's something to that, V."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Did You Know?

The Dollar Tree sells pregnancy tests. A buck apiece. They work too. Due my never-ending paranoia, I test regularly, at least once a month, sometimes more. So last night I picked up three while I was in the Dollar Tree neighborhood. I'm a big girl now, so I didn't buy twenty other items to hide the three boxes, though my inner teen begged me to shield her from the shame. Sometimes I should listen to my inner teen.

The checkout clerk chatted me up. About pregnancy tests. With my fourteen year-old son standing there.

Her: Oh, three? Ha-ha.
Me: Uh...
Her: Just want to be sure, huh? Ha-ha.
Me: Um, I just like to have them on hand.
Her: Yeah, I do that too. Ha-ha. Do you have a goal here?
Me: Um...yeah. I have six kids and I'm wanting to keep it that way.
Her: Ha-ha. Good luck with that. Ha-ha.
Me: Uh...thanks.
Her: Huh-ha-huh-ha! Credit or debit?

What is the world coming to? Next strangers will be asking about how Aunt Flo's visit is going this month. I swear the next time someone does this to me I am going to treat them to the full-on conception to birth story of my latest, the line behind me be damned.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Favorite Christmas Poem

Star Silver
   by Carl Sandburg

The silver of one star
Plays cross-lights against pine green.

And the play of this silver
crosswise against the green
Is an old story……
         thousands of years.
And sheep raisers on the hills by night
Watching the wool four-footed ramblers,
Watching a single silver star-
Why does the story never wear out?

And a baby slung in a feed-box
Back in a barn in a Bethlehem slum,
A baby’s first cry mixing with the crunch
Of a mule’s teeth on Bethlehem Christmas corn,
Baby fists softer than snowflakes of Norway,
The vagabond Mother of Christ
And the vagabond men of wisdom,
All in a barn on a winter night,
And a baby there in swaddling clothes on hay-
Why does the story never wear out?

The sheen of it all
Is a star silver and a pine green
For the heart of a child asking a story,
The red and hungry, red and hankering heart
Calling for cross-lights of silver and green.

In Case You Were Wondering How the DSL Installation Went

Yesterday, I went to the SureWest office to pick up my modem for the DSL. We weren't on the schedule. *twitch-twitch* But the kind lady still gave me my modem and told me I should have SERVICE by 8 PM. *smile*

Home again. Home again. Jiggedy-jig. J-Teen plugged the plugs. What a good and competent child he is! *smile* We began our OC checking of the connection. (Do we have SERVICE yet? Not yet. Do we have SERVICE yet? Not yet. Do we have SERVICE yet? Not yet. *twitch-twitch*)

At nine o'clock I called tech support and was placed on hold while someone walked the portable over to the tech guy in India. *twitch* When I had difficulty with Mr. Tech's accent, he was kind enough to repeat each instruction for me two or three times. Repeatedly he had me type "ipconfig" which he would spell out for me each time. [I as in India. P as in Paul. C as in Charley. O as in ornery. N as in nightmare. F as in ... failure. I as in India. G as in getting-nowhere.] He sent me hither and yon, through various files and secret spots within my mysterious machine. Finally, he asked me to get a pencil and paper and bade me write the numbers 20358. Ah, the key, a code to unlock my dormant DSL! *smile* Alas, 'twas but a ticket number; someone would be calling me tomorrow. He thanked me for choosing SureWest and hung up. *twitch, twitch*

After my tantrum, I connected to the Internet using my dysfunctional dial-up, posted the previous post, and brushed up on my Lamaze breathing techniques. *deep, cleansing breath*

At about eleven, after a bit more OC checking ("Do we have SERVICE yet? Not yet. Do we have SERVICE yet? Not yet. Do we have SERVICE yet? Not yet.), I decided to try tech support again. I was again placed on hold while someone walked the portable over to...Fresno! OMGosh! She speaks English. Clearly. Be still, my heart! Literally, five minutes later, she had me delete the dial-up connection from my Internet options. AND IT WORKED! I had SERVICE! *smile* Ms. Tech seemed a little nervous as I pledged my undying gratitude and love, but then she remembered her lines. She thanked me for choosing SureWest, and hung up.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008



Saturday, December 6, 2008

I Loved It First

I've been a regency romance fan for a long time. I still remember the first I ever read: Regency Gold by Marion Chesney. It didn't take itself too seriously and was laugh out loud funny. A charming heroine, a gorgeous hero, and a bunch of mischief. I was 12 and I was hooked. Good clean fun.

Not too long after my introduction to the genre, I ran into the works of Jane Austen. "Hey," thought I, "these are just like regencies. Only not quite so funny." Still I happily devoured Austen's works and every other novel set in the England's Regency era that I could get my hands on, nearly twenty years of delightful escapism. Sadly, those two decades have also included a dreadful decline. The regency genre has been dying and the few regencies that I've read in recent years have been disappointing. Not good, not clean, and not fun. Frankly, I have missed them.

Then along comes Heidi Ashworth with her book, Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind. A new regency? A clean regency? Gimme! Her countdown until the book came out was driving me crazy. [FOUR MORE MONTHS?] So I begged. Gimme, please.

Ms. Ashworth was kind enough to send me a galley proof, so that I could be among the privileged first to read it. I love being first. However, as I awaited the book's arrival, I began to worry. What if it was crap? What would I say? "Um, thanks for lending me a copy." "Loved the cover. What kind of rose is that anyway?" Uh...awkward.

No need for worries! I can whole-heartedly recommend Miss Delacourt. It is a delightful romp, everything I'd hoped for: an outspoken (yet lovable) heroine, a dashing (but repressed) hero, and all the impediments to true love I could ever want, all neatly resolved within a gorgeous hardback. It's fresh, funny, filled with love, Shakespeare, some rose patent infringement, and a lot of fun!

So now it's your turn. Sure I cheated, cut in line and read it first, but you can now order your own copy of Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind through Amazon with a pleasant little discount, or you can ask your library to order it so you can read it for free. I did both, but I'm betting Amazon will get it to me first. By a long shot.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

In my Inbox Today

My 14 year old J-Teen received a reminder that his library books are due soon. I wonder what the FBI would make of this list. I can't be the only one who thinks this is an odd combo.

Due Within 5 Days (10)
Library User/Title/Due Date
J-Teen In search of Schrodinger's cat : quantum physics and reality / Mon, Dec 01
J-Teen Time travel in Einstein's universe : the physical possibilities of travel through time / Mon, Dec 01
J-Teen 145 things to be when you grow up / Fri, Dec 05
J-Teen Calculus / Fri, Dec 05
J-Teen Developing nations / Fri, Dec 05
J-Teen Domestic wiretapping / Fri, Dec 05
J-Teen Endless universe : beyond the Big Bang / Fri, Dec 05
J-Teen Espionage and intelligence / Fri, Dec 05
J-Teen Experiments in space science / Fri, Dec 05
J-Teen The wage gap / Fri, Dec 05

I love the expionage/wiretapping/time travel possiblities. But what's with the cat? And who is Schodinger? Inquiring minds want to know.

Friday, November 28, 2008


1. My dad can talk again. YAY! Still no diagnosis. So my guess? He's been drinking like a fish for fifty years now and it's beginning to catch up with him, the beginning of the prophesied end described by his doctors, his [ex-]wives and his children for years. It's sad. Free agency + Consequences + My dad = Not pretty.

2. This blasted dial-up from H-E-Double-toothpicks! It's worse than no Internet at all. I read a post and try to comment. The connection is gone. Read an urgent email, hit reply. Helllooooo? Gone. Rest assured that I do read your posts even if all of my wise comments disappear into the void before you get read them.

3.Quote of the week: So now that your Internet is gone, do you find yourself reconnecting with your children?

4. Answer of the week: No, but I finally figured out how to play Minesweeper.

5. This Thanksgiving, I thank God for the drop in gas prices. Whew! What a blessing!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This Time I'm Really Going to Do It

Wednesday night I had a dream. OK, this one doesn't require a degree in psychology, but here it is: I dreamed it was New Year's Day and I was at a party. I was gorging on cookies, apologizing to one and all, lamenting my enormous size, and declaring that soon, very, very soon I'd be going on a diet.

Upon awakening, I realized the day had come. Time to bite the bullet and stop chewing the fat. Time for the diet to end all diets.

Day 1.

7 AM--Large glass of water.
{I am never going to eat again. Nothing but water!}
[You can't do that. You'll die. Your body needs protein or it will consume muscle for its needs. The heart is a muscle.]
7:05 AM--Mix unsweetened protein goo, gag it back fast. 100 calories. 20 grams of protein.
[OK, NOW nothing but water until lunch!]
{Man, look at all this zucchini. J-Teen says there's nothing to eat? I'll make him some yummy zucchini. Italian seasoning. Zucchini. Butter. Mm! WHAT!?! It does not taste gross! It's delish! EAT IT!}
7:45 AM--1 cup of sautéed zucchini
[OK, vegetables are good. But no fruit or sugar. Or starches. You can still put yourself in ketosis with a small quantity of veggies.]
8:00 AM--Grocery shopping.
8:40 AM--20 oz. Diet Coke
[Do not eat the bagels. Do not eat the bagels. Do not...OK, you can eat the apple. An apple is OK. Only 80 calories. Lots of fiber.]
8:45 AM--1 small apple
[A bagel wouldn't be that bad. They're pretty low in fats.]
{And cream cheese: a source of calcium. Not a lot of calcium. Better put it on pretty thick.}
9:15--1 bagel, 3 T cream cheese, large glass of water
10:15 am--1 bagel, 3 T cream cheese
[Oh E-Teen is giving you half a buttered bagel. How sweet! Don't offend her. She's going through a sensitive stage.]
10:45--1/2 a buttered bagel
11:00 am--a big glass of water.
12:00 am--1 bagel, 3T cream cheese
[Who are you kidding? Cream cheese is a lousy source of calcium.]
12:15 am--2 cups 100% natural, full fat cream on top maple syrup sweetened yogurt.
[Probiotics are good. You've not had any for quite a while.]
12:20 am--1/2 cup maple yogurt
2:00 pm--1 full-sized bag of Trader Joe's kettle corn
[What?! The kettle corn. That was supposed to be for...]
{Shut up! It's fiber.}
[Well, drink some water. At least you're hydrated. And the caffeine hasn't been too bad.]
2:30 pm Huge glass of water
{Man, I am stinkin' tired. I'm never going to be able to make it.}
[Whu-? Don't you dare!]
{Mind your own business.}
3:30 pm Triple-sized Pomegranate RockStar
{Antioxidants. Do not mess with me. I'll take you down.}
[Fine. Wallow in it, babe. I'm done.]
4:00 pm 1 1/2 cups pretend cookie dough
{peanut butter = protein; flour = grain; oats = whole grain}
5:00 pm 1 bagel, 3 T cream cheese, 1 large glass skim milk
{How many bagels is this? Eh, whatever.}
{Hm...I'm kind of full.}
{Geesh. My stomach hurts.}
8:00 pm 1 box of black licorice
{Real licorice is so soothing for owie stomachs. I am so glad I know about herbal heath options.}
10:00 pm 1 large glass Hot Chocolate

The thing is...I had the same dream Thursday night, only this time I was taking the cookies out of people's hands and stuffing them in my mouth. Weird, huh? Do you think it could have been the hot chocolate so close to bedtime?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

False Alarms

Saturday night, my long lost sister called me to tell me that my dad had a stroke. Apparently our other sister had claimed primary next of kin status and blocked everyone from getting any medical information. So I called Kettering Memorial Hospital far away in the kingdom of Dayton and chatted up my dad. He's got speech issues and was getting frustrated until I reminded him that I've got a two year old and the gift of tongues. Then he chuckled and we muddled through. He wrote a note for the doctors to release his medical info to the kinfolk. As it turns out, the doctors don't really have a clue what's going on. OK. No death. That's good. No diagnosis. Not so good. The treatment plan? Steroids. Speech therapy. Wait and see. It's good to have a plan.

The other false alarm: my home Internet is still down. Not down really. Just so slow that the browser can't even load. Except in the dead of night. So I'm still on a timer which annoys me. I cannot believe how much I do online. My bills. Maps. Comunication for our co-op, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, school and church activities. Idle curiosity satisfaction. TALKING TO GROWN UPS. (Sorry, didn't mean to yell. I'm calm now. Really.) So, so much to fit into a 60 minute computer reservation.

Living in Limbo Land is lovely. Deep sigh. Deep, deep sigh.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I've got 6 minutes on this computer,

and then it will close down on me. So no deep thoughts for tonight. Just a hi and a plea to remember me.

I have got the phone lines working again. Yay! Now I need to install the modem driver that mysteriously deserted my C-drive. We found it running wild on the Internet tonight. So maybe...tomorrow I'll be a real blogger again. Perhaps.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dang It!

It's not over. People are still waving signs and flipping out about Prop 8 AND my Internet is still down. :( :( :(

BUT I do have a limerick winner. :) My mail carrier, Wendy the Wonderful, has chosen. Melanie J--YOU are the winner of a fine triangular chocolate bar for the delightful limerick:
There once was a cute mommy blogger
With a stroller, Snugli, and jogger
Who let them all rust
Or at least collect dust
She got blog addicted, so let's flog her!
Please email me and I will get you your Toblerone in this calander year!
Also here is a link to Thora's delightful blog. She is the winner of the name that country contest.
Love to you all. I miss you so, but Mr. MEANIE Internet won't let me visit.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


It's over! It's over! It's over! (Well except for the whining and complaining and lawsuits and all that other post-election joy.) Even better news: we have a WINNER.

I know you all love to know the scientific method used to determine my random winner. Well...first I eliminated all of my family members, then I eliminated all those who never actually put the word Switzerland in your entry, then I wrote all of your names down, and THEN I told J-Teen (mathematical genius) to pick a number between one and eleven. He picked TEN...Thora! You are the lucky winner of a lovely Toblerone! Please email me. And I shall send you the glorious prize post haste!

My judge for the limerick contest is still out on the verdict, but SOON we will have the winner of the second Toblerone as well.

[Still no internet, but we've looped a cord out of the window and into the outside phone box and have phone service. You know, right around now the inside wire repair plan looks like it would have been a good choice.]

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Toblerone Bars are made in Switzerland

November 4th at 8pm Pacific Time we will have the drawing for the TOBLERONE. So if you haven't entered yet, do so by leaving a comment with the name of the country in which Toblerones are made.

The LIMERICK contest is also coming to an end on the 4th. Go ahead. Enter that one too! Just submit your clean limerick as a comment. You could win a SECOND Toblerone!

[Hint: In order for your entry to be valid, you must have the word Switzerland in your comment. And that is it. I am not giving any more hints. If you can't get it from this hint you must buy your own Toblerone!]

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Wow! What a day!

Phone's out. Spent the better part of the afternoon trying to figure out what was wrong with my modem. Answer? Nothing. It's the phone. Dial up, doncha know. I am supposed to be turning in paperwork for $6000 worth of Girl Scout magazine sales. (Yesterday at 5pm) BUT I can't get the printout I need to finish the baby up. I owe the people at council brownies or something. They have been so nice. Nevertheless color me done with fundraisers. Forever.

Dryer's out. And the sun is not. Line drying loses it's attractiveness in the pouring rain.

ANYWAY because apparently I haven't had enough irony today, I'm over at the sister's place using her dryer and her Internet. It's a darn good thing she never reads my blog or I'd be toast. Very crispy toast.

It's kinda sweet how the phone company is so concerned about my situation. They're rushing a technician out Wednesday morning. I think someone rigged it so I can't go online until after the election.

So have fun without me for a bit. TTFN.

A Daily Dose of Irony

I think you may be beginning to understand why I did not want to talk about this. It's like abortion: once I get in the debate, I cannot stop. Here's the latest installment in the disgusting saga of Prop 8.

My sister (who is a rather outspoken person--you might have noticed) just spent a half an hour chewing me out about my stance on Prop 8. Turns out that on her late night walks she's been putting "H"s on people's Yes on 8 lawn signs. "Yes on 8" is hate. H-8. Get it? Everyone who supports 8 is filled with hate. The five Mormons who go the High School where she teaches are silent about it because they would get their @$$ kicked for being so hateful if they made their views known. All attempts to point out that NONE of the people I know who support Prop 8 are hateful fell on deaf ears. To me, most Pro 8 people mostly just seem worried and fearful, not hateful. Most of the Anti 8 folks I know are pretty mellow. Yet there are a few vocal hate-mongers on both sides. "If you don't think as I do, you are hate-filled." rhetoric is almost as appealing as the "If you don't believe as I do, you are going to burn in hell." rhetoric.

Tuesday cannot come soon enough.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Time to Put a Little Sweetness Back into Life

You know what? I am so tired of all the negative thinking that everyone has been indulging in this Fall. Aren't you? Let's DO something about it! Tomorrow night, I am going to tip the cosmic scales towards sweet joy. I am going to give EVERYONE who comes to my door chocolate and I'll compliment each visitor's outfit as well. I urge all of you to join me! Bring love and joy to the world, give chocolate and kindness to all!


(Not in a Prop 8 defying kind of way. Gee. One-track-mind-political-junkies!)

Even when I run into her and don't know it's her, I love her. So for those of you who missed the big unveiling, I present the following secret:


And no, I didn't know:
  1. that Cordy was fictional.
  2. that Sue was writing it.
  3. that people could get SO flipped out about a blog.

I was just sad that it was over. But it's not! She's going to back up and finish the story the way she intended. Wahoo!

Some advice for those who feel betrayed and angry—try a bubble bath and some chocolate. You'll feel better.

Then again...

I'm not generally an alarmist. You'd have a hard time convincing me that genetically-modified crops are going to kill us, that the second coming is next week, that we'll all be starving soon. So even though I've been endlessly frustrated by this election, I've been sure that everyone on both sides has been fighting for what they believe is right.

But just when I conclude that no one is going to die over this election, I get an email. Not a total stranger email. I know this mom; she's a homeschool co-op acquaintance of mine. Literally this happened last night. She's in charge of organizing the Pro-Prop 8 work in her stake (which is mainly composed of tiny, little towns). She had asked her sons (18 yrs and 14 yrs) to help put up "Yes on 8" signs yesterday. Some crazy person took offense at their actions and tried scare the bejeebers out of them. It's disturbing, just plain disturbing.

On [the boys'] way home last night they still had a couple of dozen [yes on 8 signs] in the back of the truck. They decided to post them along the frontage road on the way to our house. After a couple of signs a car pulled up behind them right on their bumper with their brights on. My son pulled back on the road and the car continued to follow them. He didn’t want to lead them home so he drove through M V….3 times! Each time the car followed on their bumper. He went into Winchester and the car turned and left them. They waited a few minutes and then started for home via the frontage road between M.V. and A.. Near the A. gas station they pulled over and Joseph took two signs to post. He walked about 20-30 feet back behind the truck. Further down the road headlights came on the car gunned its engine and started fast toward them. The car swerved onto the shoulder and headed straight for my son who ran as fast as he could and jumped into the truck. The car slammed on its brakes inches from our truck. D called us and we called 911. The boys couldn’t get the license plate because it always had its brights on them and was right on their bumper but did see it was a teal colored Ford Explorer. Whoever was in the Ford Explorer could see that my son was on the phone and “peeled out”. The Highway Patrol responded quickly and took the report. We are to talk with them this morning. I am hoping they are taking this a seriously as we are. I know the Lord was protecting the boys. If J would have tripped the Explorer would have run over him. The boys are no where near as affected by this as I am. They have been totally involved in the cause of protecting marriage. They have endured months of their mother’s daily involvement in ProtectMarriage, nightly dinner conversations, attended many rallys and town hall meetings, waved signs, made deliveries for me, stuffed envelopes, written letters, posted signs, debated the issue in classes and Daniel has done all the walking with his dad, and wears a ProtectMarriage t-shirt everyday to Sierra! This has just hardened their resolve to fight for the cause of freedom, family and faith! Their mother just continues to pray!

D expressed this thought from Abraham Lincoln: (one I have used before) (our boys have read the original writings of the founders and great statesmen in our history, memorized the Declaration of Independence and know what the Constitution says and what it doesn’t and what our government it truly “supposed” to do. D does not use this quote lightly but literally.)

“Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty, as we understand it.”

5 more days…..

I HATE THIS ELECTION! I'd say "just shoot me and put me out of my misery," but now I'm a little worried that someone might take me at my word. Freaks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

OK, I've worked out my objections... the new Moroni hoisting the "yes on 8" banner, found some words to express my shock at the comparison. Rest assured that I love you all, yes-folks and no-folks, even though I am, of myself, a gutless flip-flopper.

I think there are significant differences between the ancient Book of Mormon situation and our modern one. Moroni was dealing with power-hungry conspirators who wished to install Amalickiah as king. When it looked like they were going to lose, the cowardly traitors took off to join the vicious enemy, intending to come back and destroy the Nephites. Moroni made the standard of liberty, then he stopped as many of the dissenters as he could, encouraging them to renounce their conspiring ways, and killed those who refused.

Those who did renounce their intentions to overthrow the government were spared to...[fast-forward a couple chapters]...come back as the nasty king-men who were willing to allow the Lamanites to kill their fellow Nephites so long as they got a piece of power. Moroni again compels the no-good dissenters to support the cause of freedom or die, again uses the title of liberty as a statement of his society's values. Freedom being the central point of those values.

Even though Moroni and the freemen did not delight in bloodshed, "they could not suffer to lay down their lives, that their wives and their children should be massacred by the barbarous cruelty of those who were once their brethren, yea and had dissented from their church, and had gone to destroy them by joining the Lamanites" Alma 48:23

Life and death. Not definitions. I believe these events happened. Not as symbolic fiction but as absolute fact. But I just don't think the comparison to proposition eight is wise or accurate.

Are we really going to kill the "no on prop 8" folks? No.

Will my children and I be massacred if the "no on 8" people defeat the proposition? Extremely unlikely.

Marriage as an institution is in danger. Fornication, adultery, serial divorce, same sex families are all symptoms of a problem that will not, should not, be solved by legislating chastity. Turning people's hearts toward God would do the trick. I just feel strongly that the other societal attacks on marriage are much more destructive than the very small percentage of people who are breaking the law of chastity in a same-sex relationship.

That said, I will vote yes on eight because to me marriage is one man and one woman in a lifelong committed relationship. That has been the definition for centuries with very few exceptions. I'm willing to vote yes to keep it that way.

So anyway don't hate me because I was flabbergasted yesterday by the comparison to the title of liberty and the support it or die implications therein. I love you all. (Except you meanies. I just tolerate you. I'm working on it though. One of these days I'm going to love you all, even the meanies.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Um. Uh. Wow. Really? Huh. Gee. Golly. Oh my. That makes this post one thousand seventeen words.

See, that's why I saved one.

OK, Nat-Nat. This one's for you. No more tears. I officially award you, my dear friend, the Kreativ Blogger {Award}. Let me know if you want me to link to your charming blog.

Smiles, everyone! Smiles! Or similes, if you'd rather. They're both good.

Monday, October 27, 2008

In Which Jami Horrifies Two Lovely Young Teachers

I'm in serious overload mode with Girl Scout stuff right now. So I do not have time to craft a pleasant fiction in which I do not behave like a boor to those poor teachers. Background for those of you who missed the first post on this subject. Here we go! Details. Rough draft style.

I think I've frightened my mother off forever by bringing up the specter of Mr. Marshall which frees me up to discuss my crazy educational protectionism without fear of giving my sweet mother an aneurysm as she suppresses the urge to tell me off in front of the entire world.

ANYWAY...I met with V's two teachers last Monday after school. They had a nice neat rubric, with the smiley face, :), the flat line face :|, and the frownie face :(. They were certain that if they explained that the frownie face meant something other than "I'm mad/I don't like you/You have displeased me" that I'd say "OH! Thanks for explaining that. Whew! Glad we got that cleared up." Um, sorry, I'm crazier than that. A smile is a universal symbol for friendly acceptance while the frownie face is the universal symbol for "unable to complete assignment as given?" I think not.

So they kept saying, "Well, that's what we do."

And I kept saying, "Well, you can do it, but not to my kid. You aren't allowed to make her cry. I don't care if it is wimpy and silly that she cries over a frownie face. She's six, my friends."

Finally, I bent a bit. "OK, you can put a frownie face on her homework, but you can't let her see it. You can mail it home to me or stick it in an envelope and I'll get it," which was an unacceptable solution for them. They want the child to understand that they didn't complete the assignment correctly. Okey-dokey. More negotiations ensued until finally we settled on "1" = :( . Whew, glad we got that cleared up.

[OK Crash Test Dummy this next sentence is for you.] Nevermore shall my darling receive massive sorrowing visages marring her pulchritudinous, puerile endeavors toward scholarship.*

Then I told them I hated their reading program. That went over really well. I asked if there were any alternatives. Nope? OK...moving on then.

V's attention-seeking behavior? Ah yes. We locked her in a closet for six years, never paying any attention to her, and now she's a bit clingy. I sympathized with them. She does really seem to be a black hole for love. I told them that if they pay attention to her when she is making mistakes and acting up that she was likely to continue.

Did they want to keep trying what they have been doing or consider other options? My suggestions? They could have her move to a different classroom when she is seeking attention inappropriately, they could carry her in a baby backpack all day, whispering sweet words of encouragement and affection, or they could try something of their chosing that didn't involve frownie faces.

So then we discussed district standards for first grade which are the state second grade standards moved down a grade. That was fun. We discussed the wisdom of high pressure learning in the lower grades which led directly into the V's only attending their school because I need her out of the house during the day. Poor ladies, trying so hard to be nice to the crazy woman who pops this HORROR on them!

I offered reassurance. We totally follow their little homework routine for the hour and a half it takes to get done, roughly the same amount of time we'd spend on an entire day of homeschool. We parted on reasonable terms, but I would have paid hard, cold cash to be a fly on the wall for the conversation that followed our meeting.

In summary [that's also for CTD] they did not harm me, I didn't really stand on the desk and do a Tarzan yell, and security was not required to drag me off.

The end. For now. Until I get my knickers in a twist again.

*Translation: No more huge frownies on my V's beautiful, immature efforts at worksheets.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Three Items of Interest

I'll color-code it because I'm fun like that.

First: Seth and Teresa broke up. Time to move in for the kill Sister Cordy. (Didn't I ever mention that I love a good hopeless romance from time to time? Consider it mentioned.)

Second: [Cue the applause] I got my first blogging award. CTD from The Crash Test Dummy Diaries who said, "I think I would pick Jami at Superfluous Micsellany because I don't know what those words mean and I never understand what she's saying, Plus there's something bold and brave and sweet about Jami." I sound a bit like a barbecue sauce, but I am never one to pass up a compliment. Thank you, my dear.

Now for the hard part, choosing six people who won't roll their eyes too much at getting an award, who haven't already received it, and who are truly kreativ.

  • OK, Blogger #1: Elastic Waistband Lady at The Smiling Infidel. She is one of my all-time favorites for looking at the world in brand-new and somewhat freakish ways. Here's one of my favorite posts from EWL.
  • I love Tracy M and Mo Mommy, but they are both a tad busy right now, so I'll just say, they're mighty fine, talented, fun ladies. We can save the pyramid scheme-type flattery for another day.
  • Blogger #2: Sue. I know she'll roll her eyes and not have time to do anything about it, but she breathes kreatively. By turns her blog is silly, heart-wrenching, fun, and profound. I never miss a post. Those of you who have been around for a while will remember this poem, posted in her honor.
  • Blogger #3: Ray whose spiritual musings at his blog Things of My Soul and comments throughout the bloggernacle have earned him a favored spot on my must-read list. I know he's not a mommy blogger, but he is married to one. Ray, please feel free to pass this on to BCC and T&S, etc. That would be kinda funny.
  • Blogger #4 Jo over at Tangled Me. Because I really like her. And because she used to be a midwife. And because she takes beautiful pictures. And because she calls her husband "Bald Man."
  • Blogger #5 Heidi Ashworth at Dunhaven Place will single-handedly bring clean, fun Regency Romances back into fashion. And that, my friends, is a very, very good thing.
  • Blogger #6: You. That's right. You. The person who is reading this list hoping that I will type your name. Consider it typed. There are so many blogs I read and love. I can't stand leaving anyone out.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I don't call it miscellany for nothing.

My page loads tripled yesterday. Suddenly, I had 40 people coming to my kill the vermin post. While it is the BEST article I have ever seen on the subject (if I do say so myself), the sudden jump surprised me. I normally get about 10 hits a week on that page. Is there a sudden world-wide lice infestation? I'll never know because they aren't commenters. They come; they print; they leave.

Other popular searches that bring people here? "T@rture b@ys." "S@cks Baref@@t." "Fr@ud TJ@d and/or Th@mas Jeffers@n Educ@tion." "Home h@ircut" Hm... that first one flips me out. Go away, creepy weird@s. The second bemuses me. And third makes me feel guilty, because I was only kidding. The fourth makes me smile: I like that memory.

In other news, I'm working on a post about the teacher meeting that doesn't read "and then she said...and then I went THEN she said and then I stood on the desk and gave the Tarzan yell and security dragged me away." I'll get back to you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

2:45 today.

Mrs. P, the reading teacher with the over-enthusiastic grading pen, is meeting with me in an hour. She's bringing reinforcements. V's regular teacher, Mrs. R.

They're both 25 years old. Does it make me a bad person for thinking that as non-parent, youthful, novice teachers, they should really stop behaving like pompous know-it-alls. job. Old, eleven-year veteran parent teacher here. I get to be the pompous know-it-all!

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Technology Bridges the Gap Between the Haves and the Have-Nots

Here is the question for our times: Crazy cat lady or bluetooth user? At WalMart, a woman walks by me yelling personal insults at her grocery cart. Shortly thereafter, another woman begins laughing hysterically at the apple display. A third woman throws her hands in the air and grunts in derision. They all look the same and yet...two of these ladies have their sanity and a hands-free device for their mobile phones. The third has neither.

Again, the question: This?Or this?
You decide.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's a Bug-Eat-Bug World Out There, Princess. . .

ya best toughen up.


Caution, gentle readers. I may swear.

OK, here's the deal—when you get all the answers right we like you and smile at you, friendship and affection galore. BUT—now get this straight—if you mix up your #%$& "cot" with your @^$$%* "hop" you get this:

Bad first grader, BAD! No smiles for you! No affection or approval. YOU LOSE. But that's OK. I'll like you again—if you do it right next time.

She couldn't have put 7/9 or -2 or no redo?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Applause Please!

I would just like to mention that last night when more than a pound of carrot and broccoli peelings went down the garbage disposal and clogged the U-like pipe thingy, I pulled the whole darned thing apart, snaked that baby, and fixed it. The man and J-Teen gave the snake a few solid tugs and pushes too. But I was the one playing with it when it cleared out. Ta-da!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Long, but Therapeutic

It's no secret that Sister Beck upset me (and a few thousand other people) last year when she urged us all to be better mothers. In the grand tradition of Jami-obsessions, I've read her talk at least a dozen times, I've read every Sister Beck post on every blog I could Google, and I've read all the news coverage. Honestly if something is bothering me that much there is an issue there that needs to be explored.

I am going to scramble her talk a bit for conversational purposes. Sister Beck shall be lilac and I shall be black. First we have the parts with which I have no problem whatsoever. Then I shall move to the concepts that have caused me concern.

Mothers Who Know Are Leaders. Yes.

Mothers Who Know Are Teachers. Yes. Yes. And yes.

Mothers Who Know Bear Children. Yes, I've structured my entire adult life around this principle.

Mothers who know desire to bear children. Whereas in many cultures in the world children are "becoming less valued," in the culture of the gospel we still believe in having children. Prophets, seers, and revelators who were sustained at this conference have declared that "God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force." President Ezra Taft Benson taught that young couples should not postpone having children and that "in the eternal perspective, children—not possessions, not position, not prestige—are our greatest jewels."
Mothers Who Know Stand Strong and Immovable. I really like the phrase "women who know and love the Lord and bear testimony of Him, women who are strong and immovable and who do not give up during difficult and discouraging times."

Mothers Who Know Do Less. "They permit less of what will not bear good fruit eternally.. These mothers choose carefully and do not try to choose it all. Yes, but one woman's superfluous, worldly activity is another woman's essential family activity.

Mothers Who Know Honor Sacred Ordinances and Covenants A true principle, (Mothers who know honor sacred ordinances and covenants. . . .They know that if they are not pointing their children to the temple, they are not pointing them toward desired eternal goals. These mothers have influence and power.") , backed by a poor example: third world mothers carefully groom their children. Um...OK.

Now to the biggy for the piggy, the most problematic passage for me: Mothers Who Know Are Nurturers
Another word for nurturing is homemaking. Homemaking includes cooking, washing clothes and dishes, and keeping an orderly home. . . . .Nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but all the education women attain will avail them nothing if they do not have the skill to make a home that creates a climate for spiritual growth. Growth happens best in a "house of order," and women should pattern their homes after the Lord's house (see D&C 109). Nurturing requires organization, patience, love, and work.
Recently a surprising thought came to me as I was discussing the Covey priority quadrants with E-Teen, illustrating the principle with some activities in my life.

I realized something that has been patently obvious to anyone who knows me: cleaning my house has always fallen into the sad, grey area of "not important." Sometimes it's "urgent and not important." (Can't eat dinner until the dishes are done. Everyone is out of clean clothes. Must find the birth certificate in those piles of papers today.) Sometimes it's "not urgent and not important." (Cobwebs. Grout. The thirty rubbermaid containers stacked in the corner, patiently awaiting sorting.) I have viewed housework as a waste of time, not worthy of my attention.

But here's the deal: sometimes life is downright unpleasant because of the chaos and mess. From time to time, we lose or forget something really important. Precious belongings have been stepped on, besmirched with raisins, or soaked in milk.

If not doing housework results in panic, sorrow, anger, and revenge within our family, then perhaps I need to re-prioritize. Many important, worthwhile things in life can be difficult and unpleasant. Childbirth comes to mind. Going to work every day to earn a living, learning, changing diapers come to mind. Now, dagnabit, keeping the house clean does too.

In short, I think that Sister Beck was trying to stage the intervention in my life that no one else dared to stage. If my mother, mother-in-law, husband, child or best friend attempted such a thing, the results would not have been pretty. Being angry with a loved one for more than a year can be problematic. Sister Beck took my fury with the grace and emotional distance that only a complete stranger could muster.

I don't know how this knowledge is going to play out in real life. Will caring more make the actual mess better? How shall I gain the cooperation of the family? Will I become psychotic in the effort to rein in the chaos? Don't know.

Probably oughta talk to God about it. He managed to organize the chaos of the cosmos into Earth. Certainly, my chaos won't be outside his power.

Friday, October 10, 2008

must sleep baby cough fever cry very sad must sleep melanie j refuses to post until she has seven comments on the old post i think i shall not post until i get a nap 7 hours is of course asking for the impossible but a nap seems reasonable have fun on the world wide web my friends I shall not be visiting until i feel like punctuating again

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Year Later, Looking Back at My Issues

During the October 2007 General Conference, Sister Beck's talk "Mothers Who Know" blindsided me. Sweet Sister Beck. I love her. I felt like a good friend had walked into my home and told me that everything I'd ever done was worthless. I flipped out. Flipped out.

That afternoon I went to a cub scout planning meeting and mentioned how upset I felt. My sweet beautiful friends looked at me as if I'd just spoken in Russian. They wanted to be there for me, but they couldn't. They didn't understand what I found so heartbreaking. They'd loved the talk. A lot.

So a year ago, the Monday after conference, I went searching online for women who understood. I found Kristine Haglund's very comforting post at By Common Consent. I found the Bloggernacle where smart and faithful LDS people discuss ideas that range from the petty to the profound.

Here is my first (extremely long) blog comment:

Thanks for a couple of laughs on the subject. I needed them. It sure beat the two cries I’d had on the subject. Although "Our Refined Heavenly Home" wins the most uninspiring depressing talk of the decade, this one came close.

This is a hard subject for me. Six kids, small house, homeschooling. We’re all here, all the time. And I’m trying. I really am. But if a clean house and neat children are required for exaltation, I’m out. Even trying my hardest, it’s a disaster around here.

IF I could fulfill the ideal she taught, my family and I would be happier. I like clean. I like organized. I like neat, reverent children. I like peace. I dream of these things. I despair of these things.

So Sunday, I’d stayed home, listening to conference, hoping to hear “the pleasing word of God, yea the word which healeth the wounded soul.”

Sabbath-breaker that I am, I needed to clean the “playroom.” So housework was exactly what I was doing when Sister Beck was talking. I stopped cleaning. I couldn't
decide if I wanted to send in my motherhood resignation, burn the house down, or ask to have my name removed from the records of the church. Love, civil duty and a testimony prevented me from following any of those knee-jerk reactions. Instead I just cried because one more fellow mom was judging her fellow moms one more time. I don’t know–maybe that’s the in the job description for GRS Presidents.

The points that stabbed most deeply:

(My memory of) Her definition of nurture. By “nurture” we mean housework, the physical upkeep of the family. (My dictionary says “Nurturing: 1. To nourish, feed. 2. To educate, train 3. To help grow or develop; cultivate.”)

And did she really say that it didn’t really matter how much education you have if you can’t keep your home properly? I must have misheard.

I’ve pondered “the wicked taketh the truth to be hard." Am I wicked? ‘Cause that seemed pretty hard.

Well, enough killing time. I need to go clean something, cook something and cancel some of my children’s outside activities.

I live to serve. Jami
Bitter? Me? OK, maybe a little. I'm better now. This year has been one of the most difficult of my life, spiritually and intellectually. Exciting. Invigorating. But hard. A good portion of my angst has come from my exploration of LDS issues, profound and petty, from participating in the Bloggernacle.

In spite of these growing pains, I celebrate this anniversary and my freedom to think and to write about those things which interest and concern me. I celebrate my pain because it has led to increased knowledge, to increased faith and to healing. Thank you, Kristine, for the post that started it all. As it turns out, I mostly like Sister Beck's talk too. That, however, is a subject for a different post.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Fundraiser Most Foul

Last Tuesday, as I was volunteering at the kids' school, they had an assembly for the QSP/Reader's Digest fall fundraiser, so instead of helping kids with their multiplication facts I ended up stuffing folders. I'm OK with that.

I'm not going to whine about taking academic time to train little salespeople. Or the fact that the QSP folks were whipping the kids into a frenzy of greedy enthusiasm that could be heard across the school. Or the fact that when my son got into the car that afternoon, he fully believed that selling 200 items was completely within his nine-year old abilities. Or the fact that each of the four kids who came to my house that afternoon also believed that they could sell 200 flippin' subscriptions/kitchen gadgets/cans of nuts. I'm not going to gripe about the fact that my son thinks that if I just loved him more and was willing to put out a little time and effort on his behalf the freaking iPod Touch would be his. I am not even going to gripe about the fact that the Girl Scouts are doing the exact same QSP/Reader's Digest fundraiser right now. Three girl scouts + two school kids = five simultaneous fundraisers to support. That's OK; I'm game.

No. The thing that has fixated my foul fascination is this: The girl scout council is selling a ten-ounce can of Reader's Digest/Ashdon Farms/Pleasantville Farms cashews for six dollars. The school? THIRTEEN dollars for that same can.

Go kids, go! Sell 200 cans of THIRTEEN dollars nuts! In an income challenged neighborhood. Nice. Very nice.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Month Late, but Still Gorgeous!


The garden is in mourning:
the rain falls cool among the flowers.
Summer shivers quietly
on its way toward its end.

Golden leaf after leaf
falls from the tall acacia.
Summer smiles, astonished, feeble,
in this dying dream of a garden.

For a long while, yet, in the roses
she will linger on, yearning for peace,
and slowly
close her weary eyes.

-Hermann Hesse
[Translated from German]


Der Garten trauert,
kühl sinkt in die Blumen der Regen.
Der Sommer schauert
still seinem Ende entgegen.

Golden tropft Blatt um Blatt nieder
vom hohen Akazienbaum.
Sommer lächelt erstaunt und matt
in den sterbenden Gartentraum.

Lange noch bei den Rosen
bleibt er stehn, sehnt sich nach Ruh,
langsam tut er
die müdgeword'nen Augen zu.

-Hermann Hess

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Oldest and Dearest Friend, My Yvil Sister

Your dog. My cat. Your Campfire Girls to my Girl Scouts. Theatre and choir for me; art and band for you. We tried so hard to draw boundaries, to hang onto our differences, but fooled no one. Two loaves made from the same dough, one braided, the other patted in a pan, we are as similar as we are different.

Long ago, we were in Algebra II/Trig together. If we were in the middle of a fight, we carried it into class. If we were getting along, we would laugh and do the family comedy routine. When Mr. O'Keeffe separated us, we just fought and joked louder across the room. Eventually, he let us sit together again. It was just quieter that way. Besides, he liked us. We spiced up the day.

I still need my Yvil sister fix. At least once a week. Preferably daily. Perhaps I'll throw the phone across the room in frustration or laugh until my cheeks ache: I can't predict us. I wouldn't if I could. No one makes me as angry as you do, no one touches my heart and makes me laugh as you do.

You screen my books and my movies, because you are a loving and helpful pagan. Ridiculously smart, my very own pedant, the only person in the world who corrects my grammar as I speak, you swear like a sailor, but you do it in complete, complex sentences.

My gifted, articulate, profane, pithy sister, you are irreplaceable. I love you.

Happy 40th Birthday. May your 41st year be your best yet.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How About If I Use The Magic Words?

Pretty please.
S’il vous plait
Per favore
Por favor
onegai shimasu

Follow my blog
by clicking
the cute little button
over on the right side.
It says, "follow this blog."
Thank you.
Dank je/u
Xie xie

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Two Toblerone Chocolate Bars Need Homes

First, a reminder about the Toblerone Giveaway. Enter to win chocolate by correctly guessing the name of this politically neutral country which I attempted to use as a joking symbol of my staying out of Californian politics this year. Of course, I've recently declared my definitive stance as a flip-flopper, but I'm still giving away the amazingly yummy Swiss chocolate bar. I know it's hard, but go ahead, take a guess. You know you want to win this exquisite chocolate crafted in Switzerland.

I shall be holding a drawing from all the correct answers on November 4th as the polls close here in California.

Second, Alison (whose blog is well worth a read) voiced a fondness for limericks, SO in her honor I announce the
Win a Toblerone Limerick Contest!
Yes, that's right! A second Toblerone will be awarded to the writer of the best limerick!

(Just to give you courage, I'll go first.)

There once was a blogger named Jami
whose contest was silly and lame-y!
November 4th it ended
because it felt splendid
to be done with smeary, dumb blame-y.

P.S. Keep it clean.
PPS. Enough with the eye-rolling. Lame-y, Blame-y and Jami DO TOO ryhme.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You can handle it.

OK, don't go away. I know it's the scary Mr. S. but it's one of the best sonnets ever written. You can do it. So close your eyes and still your inner rebellious teenager. OK, now open your eyes again. Um...OPEN YOUR EYES. Dang it. You think I could have seen that one coming.

So for those of you who did not still your rebellious natures and kept your eyes open. (No one ever listens!) Here you go.

Wait! One more thing. You'll need your archaic word of the day before you start. Here she is "bootless = absolutely useless."

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least:
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee,--and then my state
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings'.

W. Shakespeare

(Hey thou, yea thou, thou knoweth who thou art, I thank thee for thy sweet love.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Resolution Redux

Due to some freakish self-defeating mental condition, I am much less likely to accomplish something if I make an official goal. The only New Year's resolution I have ever kept is 2006's: I will not kill anyone. (That was back when I was on the school board and TRUST me only the fear of God and my New Year's Resolution kept a couple of people alive.) By golly, I did not kill (or maim or even threaten) a single person all year long.

So here are the 2008 New Year's attempts (and results).
  1. Get the playroom clean. (Define "clean.")
  2. Oft speak kind words to the munchkins and the wizard. (Define "oft." Define "kind.")
  3. Blog less. (January 1st I was reading By Common Consent, Mormon Mommy Wars, and Feminist Mormon Housewives daily, commenting and following the links found therein. September 22nd. I am following approximately twenty blogs and comment regularly on all of them. AND I started my own little mish-mash blog, my own little bloggy playground. [I am not addicted! I can stop any time I want. I just don't want.] I spend about two hours a day playing. More if I'm looking for a picture of a pirate kitty.)

So that's how the New Year's resolutions are going.

So how about my fake gastric bypass? DOA. Oink, oink. Got some seriously unattractive gluttony going on here.

To add the final flourish to my goal-making humiliation, I have the following to report:


How's about that not talking about it plan? Not going so well. I've been reading everything I can find on the subject, chatting with sympathetic friends, and pretending not to be listening to all of the exhortations being dished up at church. I've been wandering around, irritated at this blatant politicizing in my place of worship, looking forward to November 4th (oh SO looking forward to November 4th) when the whole stupid issue will be laid to rest!

AND THEN?!? Why, the Living God decided to have a little chat, of course. Not a face to face chat. More like a heart to heart. I will spare you the details, but the gist of it is that I have been asked by God to obey. To humble myself, to trust him and to volunteer to make phone calls. Oh and since my objections were made in such a public forum, He thought it would be a good idea to use that same forum to mention my acquiesce to His will.

What is interesting about all this is that I have not been asked to change my mind. I still don't think that the world will end if gay marriage is legal. I still don't think that homosexuality is any more of a sin than any other kind of unchasity. I still think church is a rotten place to talk about Proposition Anything or Candidate XY and his running mate XX. However, I am going to be making phone calls on behalf of the Yes on 8 campaign. Because God asked me to. Because He created me. Because He knows best. Even when I disagree.

(p.s. Yeah, I'm still having the Toblerone give-away.)
(p.p.s. I just achieved my unspoken, unofficial goal of writing a post with the word redux in the title.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sadly, The Cats are Unable to Join Us in Celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Day

What do ya do with a drunken kitty? What do ya do with a drunken kitty? What do you do with a drunken kitty earl-i in the mornin'?
Throw him in the brig and fix him! Throw him in the brig and fix him! Throw him in the brig and fix him earl-i in the mornin'!

The Dread Pirate Westley an' his best matey Edward

We wanted t' go sailin' wi' th' other kitties.
Oh t' sail th' high seas wi' th' Black Fur Ball when she sails today!
But, arr, th' fat wench had our balls cut off last high tide'!
Fixin' she calls 't. We'll fix th' lass!

Fixin'! Arr! That's how 't all started! Firstly, th' tom parts then a leg an' arm.
Ye canna trust the lasses! Or swabbies! Arr!
Ye ugly lousy excuse fer swashbucklers! I be goin' wi' lots o' body parts missin'.
We could break ye ou' o' th' brig, if'n ya wern't lazy, lily-livered cowards!
Ya scallywags who ortin' t' be keel hauled!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Yep that's right folks! I am officially forty-one TODAY!
We partied yesterday because the 17th is
wacky Wednesday which looks like this:
6 am Seminary Kids out the door
(J says this doesn't count since he and E ride bikes and that I'm just using them to garner sympathy. True enough.)
7 am School Kids up
7:45 School kids to school
8:00-9:30 Last minute prep for teaching later on
9:45 Homeschool kids to co-op classes
1:00 Teach General Science at co-op
3:00 Pick up big kids from building class
(4:15 Yay! No activity days today.)
4:30 Cub Scouts (Yay! I'm not the assistant den leader anymore! Sorry Jen. Still love you!])
6:30 Brownie Girl Scouts
7:00 Mutual (church youth activity) for E & J
7:30 Pick up V from brownies
8:30 Pick up kids from mutual
10:00 The Man leaves for work
(I'll squeeze in meals, baby care, survival housework and emergencies in between.)
(A visit from the Truth Fairy: I am writing this on Saturday and scheduling it to post on the 17th, because I know that I will have no time at all to write on Wednesday. I will have time to check my email and stat-counter for little signs that you all love me. You know, like COMMENTS or gift cards or something.)
Anyway! Happy Birthday (forty-one years of mortal probation down and no more than fifty left to go) to me!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I love this.

For the writer I'm nurturing within me and for all the writers I love.

A Writer's Prayer

Oh Lord, let me not be one of those who writes too much;
who spreads himself too thinly with his words,
diluting all the things he has to say,
like butter spread too thinly over toast,
or watered milk in some worn-out hotel;
but let me write the things I have to say,
and then be silent, 'til I need to speak.

Oh Lord, let me not be one of those who writes too little;
a decade-man between each tale, or more,
where every word accrues significance
and dread replaces joy upon the page.
Perfectionists like chasing the horizon;
You kept perfection, gave the rest to us,
so let me earn the wisdom to move on.

But over and above those two mad spectres of parsimony and profligacy,
Lord, let me be brave, and let me, while I craft my tales, be wise:
let me say true things in a voice that is true,
and, with the truth in mind, let me write lies.

Neil Gaiman

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On Edward's Rescue

During my blog-cation in late August, one of our kittens went missing. Edward disappeared on a Friday night. The first thing we noticed was Westley meowing inconsolably Saturday morning. It was so unlike them to be separated that we were immediately worried.

The kids and I began knocking doors in the neighborhood by Saturday afternoon. I posted pictures on Craig's List (a shot in the dark since we live in a computer-challenged neighborhood). At the SPCA, we examined all the found cats, the squished cat reports, and filed a lost report.

We drove slowly through the streets after dark, shaking the cat food bag and here-kitty-kitty-ing out the windows of our van. By Sunday, we'd hit the entire neighborhood twice. We attracted much feline and human attention but no Edward.

Tears. Prayers. More here-kitty-kitty-ing. More prayers.

To be honest, by Sunday night, I was really thinking someone had fallen in love with our boy and we would never see him again. I forced the words "thy will be done" out of my unwilling lips and cried again.

Monday morning we got a joyous call from the SPCA. We rushed to the shelter with Westley in tow. Our reunion was celebrated with a quick and inexpensive micro-chipping ceremony, so our boys would have a ticket home should they ever roam again.

Edward had been found five miles from our house, and they immediately recognized him from Craig's List. Apparently, a young skateboarder found him and skateboarded two miles to the SPCA with our kitty in his jacket. We shed more tears and and offered much happier prayers of gratitude for a boy who literally went the extra mile, for the dedicated SPCA staff, and for our God who keeps track of stray kitties.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday's Child

Overall, I love blog rolls, aggregators and the like, but if I have something very brief to say it kind of saddens me that the entire post is visible before anyone even gets to my blog. Steals my thunder a bit, if you know what I mean. So now that I have thwarted thunder-stealing forces of the universe, I shall proceed to today's little post. the glass half full or half empty? The classic question to determine one's level of optimism or pessimism is missing one little detail: what is in the glass? It seems to me that if you have a glass filled (or emptied) to the halfway mark, much would depend what is in it. For a nice yummy glass of juice, milk or soda, the optimistic response is half full. But what if it contained something vile like maggots, hemlock or brussel sprouts? Would it be more optimistic to say it was half full? I think not. The cheery souls among us would say the vile glass is half empty. Whereas the realistic dour among us would certainly write an entire post about the challenges of our half full glass of woe.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Never a Story of More Woe

Balloons and I, we want to get along. They wish to please me. I admire and respect their uplifting potential. Alas, 'tis a star-crossed relationship. In spite of our best intentions, things always go awry.

Long ago, I decided that my man needed a huge buoyant symbol of my love. What to do, what to do? Ah! Fill his car with balloons while he was at work. I would write little things I loved about him on slips of paper. "Musical genius." "Amazing singing voice." "A melt-me reading voice." "Great with kids." "Comfy hugger." "A fine enchilada maker." Stuff 'em in balloons. And fill his car! He'd love it!

Let me tell you. I don't care how much you love someone, finding 100 ways to say "You're cool! Glad I married you. Let's smooch!" is a creative challenge. "You leave fantastic outgoing messages on the machine." "You are so gifted at Jenga." "No one reaches high places quite like you." "Wow! Can you open jars or what?!?"

So after much effort, I got the little love notes done, stuffed into balloons and began inflating the eighty-some-odd balloons the old-fashioned way: I huffed, and I puffed, and I puffed, and I huffed. Then I bagged them all up and drove to my man's parking garage while he was still working, my car filled to the brim with loving balloons. It was so fun emptying bag after bag into his little sub-compact.

OH NO! I was out of balloons and the car was nowhere near completely filled. The loving gesture wouldn't work if the car wasn't completely full! He had to pop his way in so he could see how much I admired his ability to carry out the trash with athletic grace and poise. Scrambling around, I managed to come up with some leftover balloons.

But OH NO! I had no paper, no pencils, and to be frank I was plumb out of ways to say, "Hey Baby, you light my fire!" Besides he was getting off work really soon and I needed to skedaddle. Oh well, this batch would have to be love note-free.

I puffed and I huffed and I huffed and I puffed. Thirty more balloons! Whew. In they went. On his car door, I taped a pin on a copy of Browning's "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." It was SO CUTE! I knew I'd score eternal brownie points for this one.

OK...let's stop. What happens next? Jewelry, right? Special snuggles? NO WAY. The experience involved balloons. It was doomed from the start.

My man came home a bit perplexed. Apparently, being forced to pop a hundred balloons after a hard day at work didn't strike him as romantic.

"The little love notes were sweet though...right?"

"I guess, but what was with the empty balloons? It was like you ran out of stuff to say."

"Uh...well..." Doomed.

And so it has gone. Balloons have burst, gotten caught in trees, flown away, caused fights, caused tears. Balloons were shiny sorrows on strings. I swore them off forever.

Then I was struck with Stephanie Nielson's story and the whole balloon release for NieNie. Surely for something so beautiful, surely, it would all turn out well.

E and I bought our balloons last Tuesday. As always, the sight of the balloons gladdened my heart. Eight red balloons, gloriously glistening, bouncy and new! Watching the baby's delight as she bobbed them up and down—pure joy!

The homeschooled kids were curious. My man was curious. Balloons? Mom never gets balloons! Who were they for?

"You'll see," I'd answered mysteriously. I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I had the markers ready. After the school kids got home, we'd each get a balloon, choose a wish and a goal to work on, write wishes and commitments on the ruby surfaces, then we'd release them heavenward. We would remember it for the rest of their lives.

OK...let's stop. What happens next? A sweet bonding moment for the family? Treats? A big group hug? NO WAY! The experience involved balloons. It was doomed from the start.

When L and V got home from school, they noticed the balloons in my bedroom right away and immediately began fighting about them. L grabbed the bunch and ran out the front door. V ran screaming after.

"Do not take them outside!" I warned. By the time I got to the door, L had released them to the tune of V's sobs.

I sighed as I watched them shimmer away. I should have known. Doomed.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Because I am a sucker for contests.

When I was in labor with my first, in between killer back-labor contractions, I was licking the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes stickers so that we could win TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!! It was so cool when they showed up on my doorstep with that HUGE check and the cameras and the fruit basket right after E-Baby and I got home from the hospital. Really made the choice to interrupt the sacred process of birth seem wise.

Anyhow...ain't no way, no how, I'm going to get the most answers right in Annette Lyon's Quiz. So I'm going for the "link to the quiz and get entered into a drawing" contest. Of course, if you all link to her quiz the hundreds of extra people entering the contest seem like they might reduce my chances of winning. Oh no! I know the secret. (Actually, I only overheard it, but that's close enough.) I am sending winning vibes out into the universe and the universe is about to dump the motherload in my lap.

So thanks, Universe!
And thanks, Annette!