30 May, 2010

https://new.familysearch.org plays with my mind.

Thanks a lot, jerks. Maybe you could pour some lemon juice on that stinging cut upon my heart, while you're at it.

I know my blog entries have been sub-par and obnoxious and whiny lately, guys. Don't worry, I've got some decent stuff in the works. Strap on your moonboots for the month of June, 'cause it is going to be an awesome ride.

29 May, 2010

One more sob from my ovaries.

video
I would like to promise that this will be the last baby-related post for a while.

But I can't promise that. I'm sorry.

Seriously, she is CO CUTE, right? Not to mention precocious. Who crawls like that at six months? Nobody, that's who.

28 May, 2010

Another short picture post

I really love Earth and the environment and all that jazz, so I was disappointed to hear about the oil spill in the Gulf Coast, but I didn't exactly get emotional about it.

Then this photograph damn near broke my heart.

A dragonfly tries to clean itself as it is stuck to marsh grass covered in oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in Garden Island Bay on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana near Venice on Tuesday, May 18, 2010.
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)




27 May, 2010

This is why I am sad.

Tomorrow is the last day that I will be hanging out with these little gals on a regular basis.

Aren't they delicious? Every time I look at them my ovaries cry.

26 May, 2010

On Narwals.


Here is a haiku I wrote in a writing workshop with two ten year-old boys.

Narwal queen and king
dancing in the ocean breeze.
They will stab your face.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I am a ten year-old boy in a twenty-five year-old woman's body.

20 May, 2010

CELEBRITY CRUSHES

After such a heavy post earlier this week, I thought I would lighten things up a bit, in an effort to bring some balance to the Universe. You're welcome. Also, I am very excited to announce that, after a lengthy stint at the top, "Man sucking boobs milk video" has FINALLY ceased to become my number one search term on Google Analytics. This is a happy day. It dropped all the way to number four, even. This really is excellent news.

I have no idea how that search leads to my blog, so don't ask.

Anyway, so last night I was at the temple, minding my own business, and a very nice and presumably well-meaning woman came up to me and said, "You have such a pretty dress! Is that your WEDDING dress?"

Here's a Multiple Choice Question. Did I:

A. Burst into tears.
B. Punch her in the face.
C. Both A and B.
D. Smile politely and respond with something I forget what I said exactly, but it wasn't bitter or mean.

The answer is, of course, D. Raise your hand if you're proud of me.

Thank you, thank you.

I got to thinking, though, that not being in a relationship is actually pretty fabulous for lots of reasons, one being that I can listen to this song and it's kinda like a double entendre and two, CELEBRITY CRUSHES!!!!!

I always feel guilty lusting after other men whilst concurrently lusting after a real live man with flaws, especially when he is in the same room or theater with me. But if all I got is imaginary crushes, less stress for me! I have got it made.

Here are some famous people that I have crushes on. This is just a small sampling and is by no means exhaustive.

I would TOTS have sex with Christopher Walken mostly because of this music video. He is smart, funny, mysterious, and can dance. Also, he is from Queens. WIN. I know a lot of people think he has a scary face, but sometimes scary is sexy. Also, I am attracted to his mind, you shallow, shallow jerk.

According to IMDB.com, he has been married to the same woman since 1969, which is both awesome and not good, depending on how seriously I start taking this celebrity crush. Also, I found out just now that he is older than my mom. I don't care.


First of all, hi, Batman. Christian Bale was THE BEST Batman. Better than Michael Keaton, better than Val Kilmer, and CERTAINLY better than George Clooney. I mean, really. I love comic books and I would say I love Batman equally as much as X-men, slightly more than Spiderman and significantly more than Superman, especially after the latest Superman movie, which I hated. My point is, Christian Bale as Batman is really really great.

Also, hi, NEWSIES. Watching Newsies was one of the first times I realized I was attracted to men. Newsies was for most girls my age what Leia's brass bikini in Return of the Jedi was for lots of little boys. If you catch my meaning.

And finally, Rescue Dawn. He's actually not that hot in that movie. But it's a really IMPORTANT movie, and I respect him for being in it, especially since he lost so much weight for the role and I think ate a real snake too. That's badass. It might even make up for the fact that he drinks way, way too much alcohol and is reportedly kind of a douche. NEVER STOPPED ME FROM LOVING SOMEONE BEFORE.

If you think I am talking about you right now, I am not.


Lastly, Alan Rickman. I might only love him because Sense and Sensibility is such a great film, in my opinion better than Pride and Prejudice, or it could be because he was in Galaxy Quest and that movie is really hilarious.

Clearly, I have a thing for deep voices. Don't even get me started on how I feel about Eddie Vedder.

Here is a representative quote which proves I also love Mr. Rickman for his mind:

"I do feel more myself in America. I can regress there, and they have roller-coaster parks."

Oh Alan I would ride a roller-coaster with you ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. Even though IMDB just informed me that you are, in fact, the same age as my mom. I can forgive you for that, as well as for cheating on Emma Thompson in Love Actually.

Oh my gosh, I almost forgot about Die Hard. I love that movie.

17 May, 2010

Remember that story in the Bible when Jesus was like "Guys, guys, don't eat that corn. We don't want anyone to get the wrong idea."

Photo by Carl De Keyzer, copyright 1990, Magnum Photos, from Slate.com

On March 21st of this year, I wrote the following in my journal during a particularly unsettling Sacrament Meeting. The girl who spoke about obedience and prophets, bless her heart, almost certainly has no idea how close I came to leaving the Church because of my thought process that stemmed from her talk.

"The line between thinking for yourself and becoming your own prophet is a confusing one. 'We are false prophets to ourselves.' Wait, what? I wish I had no brain. I wish I didn't have to think about everything so much."

I can't blame this girl entirely, I don't even know her name. But ever since that day, my downward spiral into serious doubt and the personal crisis of faith I experienced in the foyer outside Multipurpose Room One, I have been struggling.

Sometimes I wish I had not served a mission for this very reason. Don't get me wrong, it was the greatest, most important experience of my life. But by the same token, I think I would be simpler, more credulous, and therefore happier if I had not gone. It would be easier for me to believe without questioning. Ignorance is bliss etc.

Before my mission, I was happy to obey rules for their own sake: not always, but more often than not. I recall one time when I wore a pair of athletic shorts to the grocery store because I didn't feel like getting dressed. Wearing shorts above the knee is against the stringent BYU Honor Code, of course, and it technically applies on campus or off--you know, all of the time. I was talking to a friend on the phone while I was walking home that night, and laughingly mentioned that I was "breaking the Honor Code" because of my outfit. Rather than laughing with me as I expected, she responded with horror. "How could you do something like that? You promised you wouldn't."

That sentence, "You promised you wouldn't," is a fairly apt summary of almost the entire Honor Code at BYU. We were asked to kick boys out after midnight and not dye our hair unusual colors not because those things were against the Commandments or even inherently wrong, but because we had been asked not to. Before I was a missionary, that actually worked for me. If someone said to me, "Hey! That's against the Honor Code," I would blanch with embarrassment. It was that easy. Even though I knew in my heart that most of the rules were arbitrary and silly, I still obeyed them.

Lots of people argue that BYU standards or standards like unto them are helpful because they keep you so far from sinning that it never even becomes an issue. Like, if breaking the Law of Chastity is a tree, the Honor Code is a fence around the said tree. I would argue that it's an electric fence and plenty of people who aren't even meaning to get near that tree are regularly and consistently burned by it. Anyway.

When I was a missionary, my distaste for rules took on horrifying new proportions. I was a good missionary, for the record. I worked hard and loved the people and helped my companions. But the idea of "Perfect Obedience" was never my priority. Lots of missionaries would run down the sidewalk in order to make it back to their apartments by 9PM. I walked. I sometimes wore t-shirts with my skirts instead of the requisite blouses. One time, I kissed a 90 year-old man on the cheek. So you see, I may have lived on the edge by mission standards, but I was still a good person. Obeying the rules to the point that I managed to, even, was exhausting. And don't worry, as a former Catholic, I beat myself up real bad about any indiscretions, real or imagined.

My last few transfers in the country I was fed up. I was exhausted and was starting to feel that maybe I (or rather, my lack of obedience) wasn't the real problem here. I started looking at the rules and listening to what other missionaries said about obedience and I couldn't help thinking to myself, "That can't be right." There was a woman in my last area who was only a few years older than me, and she had three young children that I am positive she neglected most of the time. Her youngest son was six months old. I should note here that one of the highly emphasized rules for missionaries is that we are not supposed to hold babies or children. Anyway, one Sunday in my last transfer, I went out into the hallway during Sunday School and heard what sounded like a baby crying. Upon further investigation, I saw that this idiot woman had left her son in his stroller outside the building. In the snow. The baby was screaming his head off, and the other missionaries and I were the only ones in the hallway.

I said to one of the Elders, "Eff this" (or something to that effect) and brought the baby inside. I held him for the rest of the hour. And I'd do it again. So would Jesus, I can assure you.

Probably someone I don't know will comment on this entry and argue, "Well, WHAT IF something horrible had happened because you held that baby? The purpose of these rules is to keep bad things from happening, ever." My response to that is, just like with good things, if God wants a bad thing to happen or not happen, it is going to happen either way. I have spent many years trying to avoid becoming a sign-seeker, trying not to see God as a hallway monitor with a big sheet of paper on which he marks my pluses and minuses. I stubbed my toe? Must be because my prayers this morning were insufficient. That light turned green really fast! That is because I pay my tithing. God doesn't work that way. He is much cooler than that.

Part of me still wonders if maybe I have insufficient faith and that's why I have such a hard time being perfectly obedient. But I don't think so. Rather, I think the real problem here is that sometimes God says, "Thou Shalt Not Kill," and sometimes He says, "Take That Guy By The Hair And With His Own Sword Cut Off His Head." Sometimes the right thing to do is to tell the absolute truth and obey all orders without questioning, and sometimes the right thing to do is disobey the direct orders of a king and then lie to him about it (Thanks, James). I'm not saying that God is the problem here, for the record. But I am saying that trying to apply the same rule to every different situation in existence is oversimplifying. It doesn't work.

Here is my real problem. I can get away with holding the occasional baby or wearing a tank top to the beach (before I was endowed, obviously) but what about the big stuff? I'm still, for all intents and purposes, in favor of Gay Marriage, despite what has been said about it. I've prayed and studied and all that jazz but I still don't have a testimony of Thomas S. Monson, mostly because of Prop. 8, unfortunately. I don't think he's NOT a prophet, but I wouldn't follow him into the wilderness for 40 years, either.

I worry about talking about this with anyone because I feel the reaction would go one of two ways:

1. Horror that I have let my salvation be jeopardized so badly/concern that I am beset by sin so badly as to be beyond repair.

2. Shock that I have stayed in the Church this long and that maybe I should just abandon ship.

Fact: I am not leaving the Church anytime soon. I like it. I believe in God and I enjoy being religious. Also, I really really love going to the Temple and my understanding is that once you leave the Church you can't go to the Temple anymore. Also fact: I am unsure as to what to do next. People are going to tell me to pray. I do that. Study. I do that too. No, no, STUDY SOME MORE. Which seems to be the only thing left.

In that journal entry I mentioned earlier, I started very reasonably and methodically laying out what my life would be like if I did leave the Church. I would get my nose pierced, for one. And ... that was pretty much it. Even if I didn't belong to any organized religion, I would still believe in God. I believed in God before I was Mormon so it makes no sense to stop now. Additionally, I am pretty solid about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon being true, so even if I weren't participating actively in the Mormon Church, I would still believe in everything. It's the details of the doctrine that leave me floundering, not the doctrine itself. Ergo, it makes no sense whatsoever for me to stop being Mormon just because I have a few hang-ups about some very specific issues.

Even though I am solid about not leaving the Church now or ever, I am completely baffled re: what to do next. Luckily for me, I went to a Fireside last night and one of the speakers struck me as someone who might be a kindred spirit. She was a feminist doula who talked about sexuality and the Priesthood and all these cool things, and I decided I wanted her to be my friend. I talked to her very briefly and got her email address, so hopefully our conversations can shed some light on how one manages to be a thinking member of the Church without losing one's mind.

If that doesn't work, I suppose I will try something else.



14 May, 2010

Moms.

Have you heard of StoryCorps? I had heard of them but wasn't really aware of what they did until someone passed along to me this video, which started out as a story on NPR until StoryCorps animated it.


It's a great interview. I love moms.

11 May, 2010

Ugly animals that I for some reason love, continued.

A herd of earthworms Eisenia fetida
"In experiments, I noticed that earthworms frequently clustered and formed
a compact patch when they were out of the soil," Zirbes told the BBC.


I spent like fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to capitalize the title sentence before giving up.

So I doubt anyone thinks of earthworms as social or intelligent creatures, because they are ugly and drown in puddles more frequently than other creatures, but I still really like them.

So does Lara Zirbes at the University of Liege in Belgium. For her PhD dissertation, she conducted a series of studies to determine whether earthworms demonstrate herd behavior. She rigged up a bunch of mazes and sent earthworms through them, and it turns out that they do! Apparently earthworms communicate through touch and prefer to travel in groups.

When placed in a chamber together, worms will follow the same path. Unlike ants and other social insects, worms communicate using direct physical contact rather than pheromone trails. Which means they try to touch each other with as much of their bodies as possible to mazimize communication.

I'm not sure why exactly but to me that is so beautiful.


08 May, 2010

Moses Lake, I love you but you're bringing me down.

After a rather stressful week, if I say so myself, things took a turn for the better when I drove up to Spokane this morning and picked up my brother. He is done with his freshman year of college and will be home for four months, and he is like my best friend, so that is pretty much the best news ever.

On the way home, in Moses Lake, because we are awesome, we stopped by this random record shop where they had a bin of CDs for ONE DOLLAR. Many of these were the WORST CDs YOU CAN IMAGINE.

We agreed that we would each choose several CDs and purchase them, and the rule was WE HAD TO LISTEN TO THEM ALL THE WAY THROUGH NO MATTER HOW BAD THEY WERE.

Some of them, however, we bought just because they were so awesome.

Here were David's picks:


Monty Python Live at City Center, 1976. This was a really funny CD even if it was a lousy recording. We had to keep adjusting the volume at weird intervals. But, you get what you pay for.


Ray Charles, Genius & Friends, 2005. This one was mostly for our dad.


Johnny Cash, Ragged Old Flag, 1974. Um, how could you NOT buy this CD, I ask you?


And here were my picks. I was a little more adventurous.

Home

Deep Blue Something, Home, 1995. Remember that song, Breakfast at Tiffany's? Well, I do.


Batman Forever soundtrack, also from 1995. The Offspring, Massive Attack, Seal, Nick Cave. Delicious.


Sabrina the Teenage Witch soundtrack, 1998. Apparently I was in a very 90s mood today. Also, CHECK OUT THAT LINE-UP. Additionally, I have fond memories of listening to this very soundtrack with Cori when we were younger, but still old enough to know better.

And, last but not least:


Lou Bega, A Little Bit of Mambo, 1999. This CD sucked even more than you imagine it sucks.

As you can imagine, it was a pleasant roadtrip. I feel like now that my brother is here, everything else will be OK.

06 May, 2010

HOLY CRAP EVEN MORE 2010 BOOKS

So many books. So so many. I have no life.

Lois Lowry's first novel, if you can imagine. Really good, touching book. Of course, about an introverted, awkward girl. All books I read are about introverted, awkward girls. It's true! Because they are all good. No, that's not true at all. But the fact is, most of us introverted, awkward girls grow up to be writers.


NO MAKING FUN OF ME ALLOWED. I loved this book. It was a big departure from the usual books I read, because instead of being about an introverted, awkward girl who grows up to be a writer, this book is about an introverted, grief-stricken girl who is not awkward who grows up to date a broody artist type guy, but is not one herself. Still, it was a great read.


This book taught me a lesson that actually had nothing to do with the book itself. It taught me that I could fall in love with a book halfway through. Until about one hundred pages into this book, I was still feeling pretty "eh" about it, and almost returned it to the library without finishing it. Then something in my mind just clicked and I couldn't get enough. I finished it in like two days. It is a really amazing book, just starts out kinda slow. Supposedly like the best Mexican-American book of all time. It was pretty interesting. And it was about (wait for it) an odd introverted kid. It doesn't say (INVERSE SPOILER ALERT) what he grows up to be, though.

The next two books will require some explanation, I think.

I am doing this new thing where I am working my way through the American Library Association's list of banned books for the years 1990 - 2000. I plan to work my way through the last decade, and then 2000 - 2010. It's been a fun exercise so far.
Of the top thirty-five, I have already read the following:

Fantastic book. Simple and beautiful. My favorite Steinbeck by far.


Mediocre. Actually, really boring. Full of really descriptive sex scenes that still manage to somehow be boring. Can you believe it? I can't.


Another work of genius. Anyone who bans this book is an idiot.


I cannot fathom why someone would ban this book. I guess it has ONE very mild sexual reference, and it a really sad book, but it also like, achingly beautiful. When I am a teacher, I plan to read this book to my students.


Yeah, yeah, it's a book about witches. Boo hoo, Christians.* Roald Dahl is still a genius.


Why do people hate this book? Because it deals with math? Or possession? Again, I guess the book is a little scary at parts. But it's also super uplifting. However, I recognize that I am biased because Madeleine L'Engle is my hero.


Poor, poor Lois Lowry. She can't even write a sweet little novel about a quirky teenage girl who moves to a new city without folks getting their panties in a twist. Sheesh. I guess this book could be considered offensive because the parents are kinda liberal and mention the ACLU? Otherwise, I am way stumped. I should say that the parents in this book series are my fictional role models. Artist mom and professor/poet dad? Yes please.


Well, this book does have a really sad rape scene at the beginning of the book that would make me hesitant to read it to a child under the age of, say, eleven. But ban it outright? No way. It's a book about wolves. AN ESKIMO GIRL WHO CHILLS WITH WOLVES NO PUN INTENDED. It's an AWESOME book. People can be silly sometimes.

Life-changing. Has anyone not read this book yet? If not, stop reading right this instant and go read it. It's short, it will only take a few hours. I'll wait.















Have you finished Bridge to Terebithia yet? Good.
Man, I love that book.

So anyway, this entire treatise will explain why I just finished reading this book:

Because my mom was a biologist and a liberal, my brothers and I grew up with a reasonably healthy, open attitude about sexuality and biology. We had lots of books about sex when I was growing up, but I totally wish we had owned this one as well. I imagine that it was banned because of its frank discussion of masturbation, homosexuality, and lots of other stuff that makes people uncomfortable, but I thought the overall tone was respectful about the sanctity of the human body, while still being honest about real issues, without being condescending. Also, one of the best explanations about sexual abuse that I have ever read in a book meant for teenagers. It even has some elements of humor worked in (not into the part about abuse, obviously, but elsewhere). I would highly recommend this book to parents for their adolescent children.


Speaking of homosexuality, this book is essentially "Heather Has Two Mommies" but starring a little boy with two gay dads. He also has a divorced mom who seems to have adjusted to the whole thing quite well. I thought this book was harmless, but also kinda boring. I guess if the whole idea was to drive home the point that homosexual couples do all the same boring everyday things that heterosexual couples do (pay bills, make dinner, etc) then mission accomplished. I wouldn't buy this book for my kids, but I wouldn't be upset if they read it, either.

*Um, JK. I love Christians.

05 May, 2010

My beautiful friend Thelma sent me this quote from Vaclav Havel and it's too beautiful not to share with the world.

"Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. "

04 May, 2010

I have a lucky number.

I keep waking up at eight in the morning even if I slept very little the previous night.

Last night I was so out of it I asked my friend Bob the same question eight times. We were preparing to watch the Tick and for some reason I was really confused about whether it was a movie or a TV show.

Me: Wait. Is this a movie?
Bob: No. It's a TV show.
Me: Right. OK.

Repeat five (eight?) minutes later. He only got a little impatient, bless him.

Also, in the past two days I have lost eight pounds.


Do you love that I am such a PUPPET NERD that I recognize all the voices in this video?

Also, this has nothing to do with the number 8, but today is STAR WARS DAY and thus everyone should definitely watch The Empire Strikes Back at least once. Quick! You only have eight minutes left!!

Darth Vader Quotes

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Andy Warhol Art of the Day