Saturday, December 26, 2009

No Exaggeration Required

From my husband's company's weekly newsletter:

INAPPROPRIATE TOUCHING

[Our company] has a zero tolerance for sexual harassment. Touching another person while a[t] work is NOT acceptable except when providing emergency medical attention (first aid or CPR) or giving a formal handshake. No other forms of touching are permitted. Other forms of touching are considered sexual harassment and will not be tolerated. You are subjecting yourself to the possibility of immediate termination if you engage in inappropriate touching. If you have been hugging, kissing, massaging, shaking hands with a double grasp, patting on the back or any other forms of inappropriate touching STOP IMMEDIATELY!

Not kidding.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Trashing the Van

When my fifth child was born, we outgrew our car. We'd been driving two cars for a while to get our whole family anywhere, but at five kids we no longer had enough seatbelts for all of the kids. Someone had to sit on the floor. Most of the time we walked rather than risk death, dismemberment, or expensive traffic tickets. For about three months, we walked. And walked. And walked.

The need to buy a van grew within me. Not just any van. A new van. A Toyota Sienna, the car of my dreams. Crazy thinking. But crazed or not, the notion took root, and each time I drove with my oldest on the floor or walked the four miles to church, it grew a little. By the time May rolled around, we had an addition complication: our family needed to move into my mom's place so some repairs could be completed at our house. That made the walk to church seven miles. One way. My growing little obsession blossomed and bore fruit.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy. My husband protested. I insisted. He strongly protested, but finally my insane determination triumphed. Against my husband's wishes and all sound budgeting, I purchased my first new car.


The day we drove our sparkly new 2002 van off the dealers lot, we drove past something like unto this:


I looked at my sweet husband and said, "That is our future."

And indeed it has been. The first ding was a parking lot boo-boo on the passenger's side. The biggest was when my MIL backed into our front bumper. The most irritating was when one of my cute angel-monkeys got mad at me and took a rock on a drive down the driver's side a few times. The most painful was when the Montessori teachers (who opened the door for the kids each morning) pulled the handle right off the passenger's sliding door. My husband cracked the right rear-view mirror. Spills, forgotten apples, children's wrestling matches, car-seat dents, soda explosions, mud, straw all have contributed to our van's condition. My contribution? A big scratch from my mis-installation of a bike rack the other day.

Even though the glory of my glittery new toy faded fast, I cannot tell you what a joy it has been to get into my car and have it start, to need to go somewhere and to just be able to get there, to be able to give rides to people. Quite honestly, I think I appreciate my grubby old van today as much as I ever have. Maybe even more. It's still going seven years and 140,000 miles later. Even my husband's been glad we got it. And that's saying a lot.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Clothing Drive


My virtual buddy Sue is having a clothing drive to help refugees in Salt Lake City who have been displaced from warmer climates. Pass the word on and help if you can. It'll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.



You can send coats or any warm clothes you have on hand, or you can order something online and have it sent to this address, saving a trip to the post office while still giving that happy holiday glow.

The shipping address is:

Gayane Manukyan
Att: 100 Coats for Kids Project
Refugee Center at AAU
1588 South Major Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84115

Monday, September 28, 2009

Summer's Good News

Meet Pandora

Her super power? Invisibility.

Can you see her yet?


How about now?


Now disguised as a mild-mannered house cat.


Are you fooled?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rethinking the Whole Castration Thing

Melanie requested to hear about my world view exploding, and I think I'm stable enough to write about a portion of the explosion now. If not, I can just erase the post. Unless I accidentally press publish instead then my psychotic rantings will promptly go to a few dozen blog readers. (Not that it has happened before or anything.)

"Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."

I've got a problem with child molesters. It's a common problem. I hate them and would like them to die during an unmedicated castration. Child molesters are pure unmitigated evil and deserve pain. It's a nasty world view, but there it is.

A few years ago when my best friend's husband got caught red-handed with their mentally-challenged adopted daughter, I had a conflict. This was a man who I had known for years, a man who had offered my family shelter during a difficult homeless time. (Another long story involving the city and some building code violations.) The evidence was undeniable however. I took the girl in while my friend got her husband out. Then I watched in disbelief as law enforcement and CPS let the whole thing drop between counties.

The thing is... as much as I loved the child, I did not want her molester to die slowly. I wanted him to get treatment, I wanted him to stay away from other children, but I didn't want him dead.

Fast forward to early summer 2009. I do a Google search on a good friend from college to see what he's up to. Surprise! It's a molestation conviction. I cannot believe it. I don't mean that metaphorically—I really cannot believe it.

I email him and get the scoop. I believe the now-adult "victim" is lying, insane perhaps.

This man is one of my oldest and most spiritual friends, one of the chastest people I've ever known. (He has faults, but they mainly lie in his unwillingness to get a real job and support his family.) Now he's falsely convicted. The justice system sucks: a guilty molester wandering free and an innocent man bound for jail. I rant and rave. Rave and rant. What's it take to get a little justice in this world?

After I calm down a bit, I contact his ex-wife, who I love and respect. Such a sane woman, taken in by lies. Her pain must be immense.

It is. Two hours later, my heart is broken, my world upside down. I claim tragedy in a friend's life to explain my tears which for some unaccountable reason roll down my face anytime anyone says, "How are you?" (Awkward.) It's not a lie: My dear friend has lost his mind. My other dear friend has had her world and her faith shattered. All of their children have lost their father. That, my friends, is tragedy.

Should he be castrated, the life slowly ebbing from him while his soul is thrust down to hell? People who harm children are pure unmitigated evil, right? But he is my dear friend, not pure unmitigated evil. How can I process the unprocessable? He's innocent. Guilty. Innocent. My mind won't leave it alone.

I reread everything he's ever written. It's a lot: emails, letters, a book, a screenplay, his appeal paperwork. I read my college journals. And I decide he is telling the truth. This man could not have committed this crime. I'd buy losing his mind and committing a bank robbery, polygamy, even murder, but not this, not molesting a child. Not him.

Every instinct in me says she's right, that he's guilty. Every instinct in me says he's innocent. Clearly I cannot trust my instincts. I cannot trust my conclusions.

These things I do know. 1. Jami plays no part in this tragedy except as a weeping audience member. 2. I cannot know. Not in this life. 3. It's OK to believe they are both right even though it defies logic. 4. We probably ought to skip castration as a form of the death penalty. 5. I will feel this pain until God heals it.

I want to be able to wrap up this whole monstrosity in a nice little package of wisdom with a bow on top and a tag that reads, "Yes, it's heinous, but there's a moral to be learned here." Alas I have no wisdom; I'm still floundering. I'm praying wisdom comes along at some point. Praying hard.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Reality a bit much? Try Poetry.


Overheard on a Saltmarsh


Nymph, nymph, what are your beads?

Green glass, goblin. Why do you stare at them?

Give them me.
No.

Give them me. Give them me.

No.

Then I will howl all night in the reeds,
Lie in the mud and howl for them.

Goblin, why do you love them so?

They are better than stars or water,
Better than voices of winds that sing,
Better than any man's fair daughter,
Your green glass beads on a silver ring.

Hush, I stole them out of the moon.

Give me your beads, I desire them.

No.

I will howl in a deep lagoon
For your green glass beads, I love them so.
Give them me. Give them.


No.

—Harold Monro




Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We're Happy When We're Helping


Misty--a dear friend of a dear friend--is Dairrien's mom. If it is possible for you to help, even a little, please do. I can only give $10, but it's all theirs.
I am trying to raise money to help with expenses that will encure for us during My Son Dairriens Surgery...Dairrien is 13 years old. He has gone through 3 surgeries and this will be his 4th... I am a single mom of 3 boys..So being able to leave our home for up to 14 days is going to be tough..The surgery is paid for through our insurance and Shriners Hospital.. But being a single mom,Money is tight,And I will be leaving my 1 child,and animals in the care of my mother.Who has to take unpaid time off work to take care of my home and child. It will take alot of money to be away from my home for up to 14 days..Gas,and food is my biggest concern,as I will not only have myself to worry about but my youngest son who will have to go with me.. I have to raise enough Money to help pay for my one child to be left with my mother,Food and extra money in case he needs anything.. And I need to raise enough money to Get to Shriners,and back..Along with enough Food Money to last up to 14 days..we also need to raise money for a follow up appointment that he will have a few weeks after surgery..and anything he needs to take with him to the hospital,back pillows,new set of lose clothing (sweats) for the ride home.. So all of this adds up to an amount that I just do not have!! Please Check out our website we have set up,to learn more about Dairrien's Condition and why he is having surgery... For The Love of Dairrien

Friday, September 11, 2009

Then They Got Big

Sadly, Penny turned into Indy.

Blindie, a sweet bird, a poor trade

Say bye-bye, roosters.

The Fortunate Six

Pitch—a Black Copper Maran hen.

Gimpy, a Barred Rock hen,
has nine toes on one of her feet,
poor girl.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

My Dog Ate My Blog Post


Please excuse my absence.

The kids have been hogging the computer.
My camera died.
Facebook kidnapped my brains.
The keyboard was anointed with yogurt.
My worldview blew up.
The mouse stopped working.
Change and decay in all around I've seen.
Been processing the unprocessible.

I will be returning to myself shortly.

I promise.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Forgive Me, I'm in the Mood for Powerful Poetry


Ode On Melancholy by John Keats
No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

She dwells with Beauty--Beauty that must die;
And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shalt taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Beautiful, Heartbreaking, and a bit Pagan


Patterns

I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden paths.

My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whalebone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime-tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

And the plashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden-paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover,
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon—
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
"Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday se'nnight."
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
"Any answer, Madam," said my footman.
"No," I told him.
"See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer."
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, "It shall be as you have said."
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down,
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

—Amy Lowell

Thursday, July 30, 2009

And I Quote


"I was bred to the law; that gave me a view of the dark side of humanity. Then I read poetry to qualify it with a gaze upon its bright side; and between the two extremes I have contrived through life to draw the due medium."

Thomas Jefferson, as quoted in Thomas Jefferson and the Rhetoric of Virtue

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Waste of my Mortal Probation

So I read the first and last Twilight books. Two thoughts. One for each of them.

Twilight: What's with the apple? Really.




Warning! PG-13 comment on a PG-13 book:
Breaking Dawn: What's with the never-ending s@x?
The end is the best part. Just sayin'.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Gospel According to V

My V interprets her lessons at church in such a lively way. A little tweak here, a little extrapolation there and viola, a tale worth telling!

Take this recent exchange:
Mom, do you know what the gift of tongues is?

What?

It's when Jesus gives us a tongue! Do you know why he gives us a tongue?

Uh...
So we can talk to him. Before he gave us a tongue, he couldn't understand us because we couldn't make our words right.

Um...

The mutilated lesson from the week before:
Look, Mom! Look! Here's a glove. See how it's DEAD! It doesn't move because its really dead. But look, Mom! If I put my hand in it, the glove is ALIVE. Because my hand is alive. Do you know why Jesus made my glove alive? So that [she places a penny upon her gloved hand and moves it forward a few inches]...so that it can pay tithing! Isn't that great, Mom?

Uh...yes, babe. That's great.

And last but not least, here's my all-time favorite V-ism, from a couple years back.
Do you have any questions about Jesus, V?

Just one. How did Jesus get us all here to Earth?

Well...daddies and mo--

I know! He gave us a ride on a spaceship! He had a cart that he drives on little wire connected to earth and the moon and the planet God lives on. So he made us on his planet and then he carried us without life and as he put us on Earth he made us alive--with his magic.

Well...um...hm. Actually I'm really sure about Heavenly Father letting daddies and mommies make babies.

With s*x?

Yes, when a daddy and a mo--

Then Jesus brings us to Earth in the cart. Right?!

I love you, sweetie.

I love you too, Mom.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In Which the Universe Thumbs Its Nose at My Presumption

It was beginning to feel like the death channel around here: all death, all the time.

So in late June I made my first Official Declaration 1 to the Universe:

Official Declaration 1

Hear ye! Hear ye! I officially declare the rest of 2009 to be a death-free year! All things great and small are hereby forbidden to die.

Most Seriously,

Jami La

Controller of All


At which point the Universe began its decimation of the stars.

Excuse me, O Universe, I believe you've gotten my order wrong.

What the heck? Wasn't I clear enough?

What?? I am not in control of the universe?

Oh. Oops. My mistake.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Edward and Westley



In January, Westley disappeared. We searched the shelters, the streets, and accosted every white cat in town. We listed ads on Craig's List and in the newspaper. It was heart-rending. The lack of closure, the not knowing, was as painful as the loss of our sweety. Edward, his litter-mate, went into a funk. We cried. But about three months after he left, we accepted his loss. Even Edward accepted it.

Still we longed for closure. Be careful what you long for. We got our closure on June 13th.



After a joyous day of kitty frolicking, Mr. Edward suddenly lost the use of his back legs. He dragged himself home in the dead of night, and our nice neighbor came to tell us he was injured. A quick trip to the vet and one euthanasia later, we knew. Both of our kittens had a heart defect which resulted in deadly blood clots.

It sucked.

But for two baby boys who were found in a field, they had a great life. Their rescuers bottle-fed them, adored them and snuggled them. When we adopted them they gained seven new adoring fans. They had snuggles, warm beds, great food. They had each other. They had such joi de vivre that passersby would stop and watch them. Their sweet lives brightened our pathway awhile.



Adieu, my kitty boys.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

The Pioneer Trek Reenactment
June 25 -27 2009





Many thanks to Kathy for the great pictures.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Short One

Last month as I was sitting in my car outside of the dollar store, I witnessed an accident. One car backed into another. The driver at fault was an older woman. The other driver was a woman in her twenties.

I cringed as I watched them get out of their cars: Cat fight a-comin'. They looked at each other, examined the minimal damage, and then spoke for a few more moments. My window was down and I could hear their conversation.

"Are you OK? "

"Are you? Is your car hurt?"

"Is yours? I am so sorry, dear."

"It's fine. I'm just glad everyone's OK. Are you OK to drive?"

"Oh yes, I'm fine. Thank you, dear."

Then instead of exchanging insurance information, they hugged, got in their cars, and drove away.

Friday, June 5, 2009

On Culling

The children scream down the hall, "MOM! THE CHICK IS DYING!" I rush to help.

A chick lays stretched out, a long twist of intestine protruding. He will die. Nothing I do can save him. Probably nothing anyone can do could save him. I cradle him in my palm and stroke him softly. He chirps an anxious dirge and arches against his agony. I stroke him back to a neutral position.

Poor baby. I should end his suffering, but I can't. Ways to kill him painlessly flit through my mind; I do nothing but stroke him softly. He arches again. My children's keening in the hall hurts my heart, so ask them to stop so their wailing is not the last sound the chick hears. The children weep their goodbyes.

Silence. Except for the heartless happy chirping of his brooder mates. A last arching. A final chirp. Death.

Oh crap.

What could I have done? Was it contagious? My online search reveals nothing. It's likely a birth injury or some kind of deformity. I should have culled him before his suffering became acute.

Monday morning, two more birds are drooping, their legs splayed in unhealthy directions. They will die. I should cull them.

Oh crap.

I'm not a farmer. I'm not a vet. I'm a mother, a doula: I cannot take life! They lay in my palm—again, sweet and helpless, dying. I must help them. I must. I prepare a small box, cuddle them together on the cloth and place them in the freezer.

Minutes later, I open the freezer door, whispering words, petting the doomed gently. I close it again. Then open it. I can feel their downy heads cooling, their breath slowing. I am doing the right thing. I am killing them. To reassure myself, I mentally replay the chick's death from the day before as I pet and soothe these two through their death. I am doing the right thing. Culling them. Saving them agony. I am doing the right thing.

That afternoon as my ten year old son lays gasping, awaiting an emergency appendectomy, I think of our dead chicks, of the one who suffered, of the two who chilled to death peacefully. I think of my son who would have been hours from death save for the surgeon. My mind wraps around the preciousness of his being, the beauty of him. I ponder the skill and technology being unleashed to save him. In a different era, he would have died. 

The irony digs at me. In the past two days, three lives have ended in the hands that now stroke my baby's head. This child will die too, but not today, not tomorrow. God willing, not within my lifetime.

When we return home again, we trade six of our Barred Rock chicks for six Buff Orpington chicks. It's a bad trade. One bird dies sometime in his first night within our home. Two more will die soon. I can see them fading, slowing, refusing to eat or drink. Steeling myself, I place the dying birds in a small box in the freezer and close the door. It is the merciful thing to do.

The miracle of my son's life in the face of death flashes in my memory as one of the birds peeps. I remove them from the freezer. They will not die by my hand. I'll not play God today. Today, I'll simply stand vigil, a witness to their suffering, powerless. Today, I will simply accept God's will.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Today in Chickland

Click on the picture and it gets huge. Otherwise, some very reliable sources have told me this looks like a collection of roaches.

Curses! A Day Late and a Post Short Again

Yesterday marked my first anniversary as a blogger. I even have the beginnings of an appropriately nostalgic post in my file. I'll finish it at some point.

I love my blog. I love my blogging friends. Nevertheless, playing mommy-nurse to my tyrant child-patient has shoved my virtual life onto a back shelf. For a bit anyhow.

Never fear: I always have more to say, and say it I shall. Later.

TTFN

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Appendectomy Anyone?

Just a brief post to say that my ten year old son decided he has had enough of all those weird come-and-go stomachaches that kept making him tardy for school. He decided to just get over with and have appendicitis instead.

His symptoms were a little wonky so it took me a day before I decided to take him in to the ER. His pain was across the entire midsection of his abdomen, instead of being focused on the right side. He wasn't in immense pain and his pain was getting better, not worse. But no diarrhea, no constipation, no vomiting, no upper or lower abdomen pain. He also was experiencing decided relief laying on his right side. Hm...yes, it could be. Naw, you morbid mom. It's just the flu. Um, but...

Finally, I just decided to stop reading online appendicitis articles and polling friends and to trust my gut feeling. The kid's never been a whiner and a busted appendix could kill him. Best to check it out. Turns out the poor kid's appendix was tucked away behind his intestine and as a result his symptoms were atypical. I thank God that the useless thing didn't rupture.

His surgery went well. He's uncomfortable but they are treating his pain to the good meds. His temperature is fluctuating a bit too much for my taste. (If they don't give kid something for it soon I'm going to have to put on the Mama Bear suit.)

Anyhow here I am enduring countless hours of cartoon network in a Mr. L's hospital room. Amazingly enough, I'm feeling a bit tense. If I could play PathWords on facebook (my favorite brain-number) I would, but I can't seem to get the hang of doing it on the laptop. Since PathWords is out I should be reading blogs a lot today, wandering around saying stupid, distracted things. I'll keep you all posted.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Not Counting Our Chickens Quite Yet

Long, long ago, the La Family had chickens.


Really cute chickens. (The kids aren't too bad either.)


Alpha and Beta are the red ones, the first and second to hatch. (Sadly, Omega the third and last to hatch had an unfortunate incident which prevented him from being photographed.) (Yeah, he died. Let's not discuss it.) My friend gave us Black and Blue. (Guess which set I named and which set the kids named.)

It was a great school project! The kids learned a lot and we had some pretty yummy eggs. We ended up sending our lovely hens to the country to live a happy life, giving eggs to a loving adoptive family. (Go with it, OK?)

ANYHOW...
it's chicken time again.


We've got 42 eggs incubating away. Thirty-four of them came in the mail. We're expecting a pretty low hatch rate for those. They were all brown eggs and Carolina Biological Supply can give us no hint whatsoever as to the breed.

Eight of the chicks have come from a crazy chicken lady across town. Hopefully, those will be Buff Orpingtons. When we candled them last week (peeked at their little shadows with a flashlight) it looked like six of them were developing normally and two were duds. 

(^^ That there purdy bird is a Buff Orpington. ^^)

Hatch day is Thursday. In theory. Assuming we haven't messed up in some fundamental way. (I got really nervous last time too.)

J is designing a movable hen house for the Buffs. In theory. Perhaps if I ask him to create it out Rubik's Cubes he's be more likely to get into it. 

The kids will sell the extras to help fund some of their activities. Assuming there are extras.  I'll keep you posted.

[As an aside, sorry for the disappearing post the other day. I'd said a simple apology and a polite request would remove my grievances from the blog world. The owner of a certain rollerskating rink apologized and said his future coupons would be more specific. And voila, a disgruntled customer is appeased. It's like magic.] 

[If you must know the details, email me and I'll send my copy of the post to you.]

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Empathy

Just because I'm in a bit of a funk doesn't mean you should have to suffer Jami-withdrawal. Here is an older post of mine that applies even more today than the day I wrote it.



In the eighties, my sister, my mother and I, separated by hundreds of miles, had a bonding ritual. Each week we would watch "Star Trek: The Next Generation" then call each other to have a little trekkie chat. My sister and I were completely unified in our mockery of Counselor Deanna Troi, an empath, a really irritating empath. She'd stand on the bridge, stare out into space and look pained. "I sense confusion [pain/sorrow/negative emotion du jour]" We were fairly certain that a good laxative would take care of poor Deanna's constant suffering.

Recently, I've felt a bit like the well-intentioned, but infinitely mockable Deanna as I stare into the vast Internet and feel the suffering. I wander around peeking into the lives of amazing people, their marriages, children, jobs. Their tragedies. It hurts and a laxative has given no relief. The pain is spiritual: the death of a loved one, the loss of faith, mental illness, disability, unemployment, poverty, pregnancy complications, the sorrows of real people I have come to love.

I promised when I was baptized that I was willing to mourn with those who mourn, to comfort those who stand in need of comfort. When a local friend has a miscarriage, I can hold her, cry with her, bring her a casserole and some helpful herbs. When an Internet friend suffers a miscarriage, all I can do is cry and pray that someone will hold her, bring her a casserole, and maybe some helpful herbs.

Perhaps there is some wisdom in the concept of not becoming emotionally involved with strangers, but as I ponder the Savior taking upon himself all of the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain of the world, I have a have a hard time believing that emotional distance is how we become more Christ-like. So I pray and occasionally send a poem. It's really all I can do which is, I guess, better than what Deanna, the hand-wringer, would do.

Life is pain. The joy that the scriptures talks about is not smiling through the death of a child, or humming happily as someone relearns how to walk. It is an eternal joy that comes when Jesus who vicariously suffered for us, who knows and loves us, removes the pain, brings peace to the troubled, heals the scars, and makes us whole again.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Need More

I think I may need an adjustment on my anti-depressants. I'm hoping that doubling the dosage will bring the excellent mood lift that the current dosage used to bring.



We may need to move to the half-gallon, but if that doesn't work I may have to take drastic measures to restore my equilibrium.



Saturday, May 2, 2009

What's Good for the Gosling is Good for the Other Gosling

Because I posted J-Teen's video, N-girl has created a video for the blog world.

She's a delightful girl who is very fond of cute things and now knows how awesome is spelled. Even though she doesn't want to redo the entire video, she'd still like me to post it.

video

You're welcome.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Not to Whine or Anything

Here I find myself, several weeks into a bout of writer's block that is not a matter of having nothing to say, but rather a matter have only grumpy things to say. I keep trying to wait out the crap until I have something cheerful to say, but I've decided that I won't find cheerfulness by allowing myself to fill to the brim with doom. Perhaps a little purging will help.

I just need to list the stuff that has happened in my neighborhood. 
  1.  On a gorgeous Spring day about three weeks ago, my next-door neighbor (a truly nice guy) died in front of my house. He slumped over in his little scooter right in front of my driveway. I'm glad he was out and about, because he loved the open air. Still...
  2. Early Sunday morning somebody knocked on a neighbor's front door. As the neighbor was unlocking the door,  a gun was fired through the closed door. The refrigerator next to door stopped the bullet from continuing into the front room where the children lay sleeping. It's one of those places where a dozen people are shoved into 500 sq ft. And people come and go all hours of the day and night. It was about something, but everyone has a different version of what that something was. Maybe race. Maybe drugs. Maybe a woman. Maybe revenge. No telling really.
  3. Across the street we've got another place with a dozen people in it. They're dealing meth
  4. On the other side of my house, the house has been "empty" for a few months. The guys who were living there had never paid any rent, other than the original deposit. They didn't speak and were rather secretive. Kind of creepy really. I wasn't sad when they were evicted. But I was sad when I found out that a variety of homeless druggies have been squatting in the place while it's been empty. It does look like a nice couple is moving in now. The mom works for the property management company that has been hired to clean up the crazy mess.
  5. Just past that house is our neighborhood convicted rapist who has paid his debt to society. He's a friendly fellow. He likes to give the kids ice cream and dollar bills.
  6. Just past him is the house that was raided about six months back by fifteen police officers with riffles and bulletproof vests. Immigration issues.
  7. The teenyboppers/Serrano gang members wander up and down our street, swearing at each other. We've got a little graffiti here, a pair of shoes hanging on the telephone wires there. It's charming. Adds that je ne sais quoi.
And I am stuck here. Yes, I could let the bank repossess the house. Yes, I could move to some cheaper part of the country with no job, no savings. Seems like a bad plan though. Anyhow, thanks for listening: I just needed to spew.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm Out Visiting Today

I'm guest-posting over at Dunhaven Place today, while Heidi enjoys a well-earned Spring break with her family. Come over and say hi! Browse around while you're there. Heidi's blog does not suffer from UBS (Ugly Blog Sydrome) as mine does. She scatters beauty everywhere she goes! 

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Link Worth Pursuing

For those of you who have been concerned about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' position regarding the former priesthood ban, Ray (aka Papa D) has put together an excellent collection of "powerful modern prophetic utterances" clarifying the equality of all of God's children: Repudiating Racist Justifications Once and For All.

Go. Read. Remember.

[For additional information, see Official Declaration—2]

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My House is a Disaster, but My Yard is Looking Nice.

Behold, my glorious California poppies:



This is the lovely and oh so fragrant Rosa rugosa "Roseraie de l’Hay" She's supposed to be a huge thorny 6 foot living fence between my family and the cold cruel world.



Maybe in another few years.



In the meantime, isn't she gorgeous? And what a heavenly perfume!


Here's my cute little my broccoli which I hope will grow bigger without going to seed. I've got about eight others that are trying to decide if they are going to bring forth plentifully or not.



Happy Spring!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Where Should the La Family Move? In Theory.

I want to move. Quickly and permanently.  I had a nice long post about all the reasons we ought to move, but let's just leave it at a simple my neighborhood leaves much to be desired. (Feel free back me up on this one, Wendy and Natalie.) It's not going to happen, but I like to dream. 

I'm looking for a good place to move and want your suggestions. Here's my wish list:
  • sidewalks
  • LDS church within ten miles
  • children in the neighborhood 
  • safe enough that responsible people let their children play outside alone
  • reasonably priced
  • casual
  • no annual anti-Mormon events
  • a good library
  • higher education located within twenty miles
  • no free roaming alligators or huge cockroaches
  • low crime
  • low community drug use
  • a vibrant homeschool community
  • mild winters
  • normal everyday people walk and bike to their destination sometimes
  • political, ethnic and religious diversity
  • low unemployment
  • neighbors who intend to stay in the area until their children are raised
  • not located on a fault line, a floodplain or on the edge of a cliff
There are two or three local communities that fulfill most of desires, but that pesky "reasonably priced" doesn't bend. At all. And those great communities do not come cheaply. If I come into a half million dollars or the ability to pay for a $500,000 mortgage, I'd have it all under control, but so far I haven't and I don't. SO give me a name to match my dream, your favorite "nice places to raise a family." 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm Pregnant

OK, not really!

APRIL FOOLS!

Thank all of you sweet sensitive people who offered sympathy. You are so nice. You'd never do anything like trying to flip all of your friends out.

Kristina P, Melinda, Annette and Jo all ratted me out early on so I deleted their comments (with a quick email explaination) so that the rest of you might possibly fall for it. Tee-hee.

Thanks for making my Wacky Wednesday a little more fun!

Monday, March 23, 2009

MMB's March Giveaway!

I can resist doubling my chances for winning something fun at Mormon Mommy Blogs this month. You can enter too. I guess telling you that decreases my chances. Hm. Somebody want to run the numbers on that one for me?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Post or Perish?

Ever have one of those time periods when you have nothing useful to add to the human conversation and you're out of cute stories and pictures and the stuff you want to write about you want to keep to yourself? No? Oh good. That means there will be something cool to read when I come moseying by your blogs.

I promise to post again soon. Probably three or four posts all at once because when the old grey matter decides to purge, my creations will likely be deep and often poignant. Probably wordy. Possibly amusing. Come back then, my friends.

In the meantime, seventy people a day shall come and look at the pictures of nits and lice, of President Lincoln and family, and for some odd reason the picture of Heidi and me arm wrestling. Thank you, Google images.

Monday, March 16, 2009

O Farewell My Pride, I Shall Miss Thee

[Alternate title: If the shoe fits wear it, if you can find it, because the mighty uncomfortable road to hell is paved with good intentions.}

As you might imagine, getting six kids ready for church every week is a stressful event under the best of circumstances. During our weekly public presentation of the La Family, it's nice if everyone is wearing underwear and has been bathed in the last month. People are looking. Really they are. Every time I convince myself that no one cares what we look like, someone blows a hole in my delusion with a well placed comment. Or by an entire ad lib addition to a talk.

This week we had underwear, everyone was freshly bathed, and we even had clean church attire. And we were on track for a timely arrival. I was feeling good. Right up until shoe-time. Those shoes—those blasted, infuriating shoes—were our dilemma this week.

We do have a central location where the shoes belong. It is just not working out as well as I had hoped it would, not normally a big deal. I hardly ever wear shoes. I live in California. It's comfy to go shoeless.

Anyhow four of us had shoe crisises yesterday. Three of us experienced a happy ending to our crisis. Alas not I: I went to church barefoot this week. After thirty minutes looking for a pair of my own shoes that matched, I gave up. I found a dozen single shoes, and not a pair among them. What are the chances? Pretty high around here actually.

My teen and I wear the same size shoes so there are our two black holes bedrooms that swallow unwary soles. The baby loves shoes too. She carries them hither and yon, dropping one yon, the other hither. Sometimes I find my shoes in the toy sty box, sometimes outside, sometimes in the towel cabinet. Not this time.

This time I gave up looking for the shoes, bit the bullet and went to church shoeless. Attending church is more important than my pride. Right? Jesus would rather have me at church barefoot than blogging at home barefoot. Right? I need to go to church. Right? I can be reverent and barefoot. I can sit with my feet under my chair and no one will notice. Right? Right?

We came in twenty-five minutes late and sat in the very last row. The children immediately scattered to the far winds. Tithing slips. Bathroom. Drinks. In vain did I motion for them to return. So I took a couple deep cleansing breaths and settled down to hear the pleasing word of God, tucking my feet discretely beneath my chair.

The Stake President arose, began to praise punctuality for and reverence during Sacrament Meeting, wearing one's best in church, polishing one's shoes, etcetera. Um, I polished my feet with one of those little pedi-egg things on Saturday. I was wearing the best clean dress I owned. I intended to be on time. Surely, surely that counts.

I was squirming and thinking of the bad luck of my shoes going AWOL on our annual reverence Sunday. And then...and then...he said that he had gone on long enough and that he needed to move on to the talk he had written. ARG! This wasn't a planned talk. It was ad lib, ad hoc, directed right ad me.

I fought the urge to run home. I bit the bullet harder, held my head up high, and walked carefully through the crowded halls to Sunday School. The closest available seat was a couple of feet away from the Stake President. I sat.

Oh well. It really is more important to be at church than to have shoes on. Still, I think I'll find my shoes on Saturday next week.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Praise and thanks be to the Yvil Sister

Mission San Francisco de Solano, front

Mission San Francisco de Solano, back

L-Boy is in fourth grade, which in California means a California Mission Project (CMP). The Y-vil sister went to the craft store and bought stuffa styrofoam do-it-yourself model, a bunch of cute plastic thingies, some peat moss and a bag of sand. Then she had three making the CMP dates with L. I don't know who had the better time. Yvil was like a little kid in an art class, L was serious, yet happy, and I was out of a dreaded task.

Yvil delegated the procurement of the cross and the CMP fact card to me. Two things. You think I could have excelled. But as we all know in addition to being more fun than mom, aunties are also more efficient.

Although I looked very thoroughly in all of my normal [cheap] stores, the only cross I found that was the right size and not firmly attached to an angel was a chocolate one. I got it, but Yvil had already given up on me and had carved one out of leftover styrofoam. Thus did L gain a snack.

Then Mr. L and I nearly came to blows over the CMP facts card last night. In the end, the card came out looking great. L and I had a big long snuggle to make up for the grumping. Still I was emotionally spent; just imagine if Yvil hadn't taken care of the hard part. I owe her. Big time.

Great job, L.  I love you.