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Monday, April 7, 2014

Kids are sick.

It's a Monday miracle. 

All of my kids are home, clutching their stomachs and claiming enough discomfort to merit an absence from school.


Let it be known that I'm a crummy mother. These little humans come to me, tears in their eyes, and tell me that they don't feel well. I respond with, "Don't lie to me."

I never know how much to believe "sick" kids. I am not good at judging these kind of things. One time Ashton had slipped on the wood floor in his socks and his chin was bleeding. I put a wet paper towel on it and thought that it would be ok with a band-aid, once it stopped bleeding. After talking with Alan, though, I decided to take him into the Urgent Care--just in case--and he came out with five stitches. 

Another time one of the kids was dry heaving by the toilet. Oh, give me a break. Go to school. Five minutes later... vomit. Lots of vomit. Vomit everywhere.

But just the same, I can count dozens of times that I let the kids stay home from school and they were playing video games with abandon within the hour. Mother Chump. One time is this very minute. One of my "sick" kids is laughing while playing with a ball. 

I don't want them to be crying the whole day, but I also don't want to feel like they pulled one over on me. You know? I gave them a little talking to this morning when all three school-goers had convinced me that they should stay home. I pretty much said, "You're sick. That's cool. The minute you don't feel sick, don't pretend like you are. Because next time you want to stay home from school, I'm going to make you go and I won't feel bad when you throw up in front of everyone."

I think I just hate the drama. We have one child who moans so loudly when sick, accompanied by the cries of "Mooooooom, Moooooom!" It is so dramatic. They give themselves so much sympathy that there is no room for mine. 

Like I said, crummy mother. 

Sometimes I wish I could be that doting mother that comes running with a washcloth and a pat on the head. "What can I get you? What do you need? Stay home as long as you want, dear." Which I can be, sometimes. When it is really obvious that they are sick. Like yellow eyes and listless. Geez, what do my poor kids need to do to get a little sympathy from their mother?! 

I am starting to feel a little sympathy for them because they obviously aren't getting any.

But then they come in and tell me all about how their diarrhea feels like someone is STABBING them in the stomach and there goes my sympathy. Stabbing? Come on. Discomfort, rumbling, boiling, even. But stabbing crossed the drama threshold. 

Am I the only mother that doesn't trust her sick kids? Does everyone let their kids stay home without the guilt? 

And now suddenly, I don't feel so well. My stomach is churning. Maybe my kids aren't lying, after all. Crummy mother.

a

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mormon Women

Oh boy. Oh girl.

This has been percolating in my wee brain for quite some time now. Living in Utah, you hear a lot about the business sides of the LDS church, the issues surrounding it, the protests, the politics. It is all over the news and buzzing in the dialogue at church. I don't remember hearing about it that much in Arizona, but then again, I never really got much into a lot of things at that time in my life. I do remember there were some neighbors using church relationships to petition for a certain amendment eight years ago and that made me uncomfortable. Maybe it was the beginning for me, who knows.

But here in Utah--I should be clear, in Salt Lake City (because Provo, St. George, and Logan can all be very different than SLC... especially Provo)--I hear of this "church news" and I do my little duty to be educated about things that I care to take a discussion in. 

Women and the Priesthood.

The Ordain Women Movement has been getting a lot of press lately, which is precisely what they had hoped for. This is a group of women AND men who agree with the church and the Book of Mormon that "black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God" (2 Nephi 26:33). They are a group of active Latter-day Saints who share the hope that the gender inequalities will be considered in future prayer and consideration with the Lord. They specifically desire that the church leadership take serious the issue of women receiving the priesthood. 

There are many women, like me, who care about women's issues in the church but are unsure of ordination. (See Feminist Mormon Housewives for more.) If the Prophet were to declare this weekend that all worthy women should receive the Priesthood, my faith WOULD NOT CHANGE. If he does not announce that women should have the Priesthood during my lifetime, my faith WILL NOT CHANGE. You see, I believe that this church is a living, breathing thing. At the core are a few fundamentals that will never change (The Gospel): God is our Father, Jesus is the Savior of the world and our brother, Jesus atoned for our sins, He died on the cross and was resurrected, He leads this church and teaches us line upon line as we are ready through his Prophet, Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, The Book of Mormon is a true book and doctrine, and the Priesthood keys have been restored on the Earth.

I'm pretty sure that's it. I might think of something later, but in those I have placed my testimony. The "church" then circles this unchangeable core. It grows and shifts and changes. The things in the "living church" can and do alter. These things include, but are not limited to: church organizations and their programs (primary, yw, ym, relief society, etc), hours of worship (used to be three separate times a week, now is three hours at once on Sunday), inclusion of Boy Scouts of America (still crossing my fingers for this one to fade out), length of clothing (see: For the Strength of Youth in past sixty years, and then Brigham Young's outlines of modesty), who gets the Priesthood (ahem), who can pray in sacrament meeting (cough cough 1978), who you can marry (polygamy), what politics you can and cannot support (communism, feminism, etc), church welfare, and so on. 

These things are the church, but not the gospel. Sometimes they change. They can strengthen your testimony and help your life's journey. We look back on some of the things that used to be part of the church and we might be flabbergasted at the acceptance of some practices. Because to our modern minds, they could be considered asinine and condemnable. 

Good thing the Lord knows us all. I have little doubt that in fifty years, our grandchildren will be frustrated at the ways we handled our relationships and the social mores we held so close to our hearts. I don't doubt that they will think us archaic and unenlightened on certain issues. So is the living part of life. So is the whole line upon line concept. God only knows when and how and what. We should not presume to know.

But we should also not condemn others for searching for answers. We should not condemn anyone for believing in the gospel and struggling with certain aspects of the church. 

President Uchtdorf recently said, "In this Church that honors personal agency so strongly, that was restored by a young man who asked questions and sought answers, we respect those who honestly search for truth."

Which is why it makes me so sad that there are members of our church who openly criticize and berate the women and men who are in or close to this movement. "If you want the priesthood, go to another church!" "You get comfy chairs and men have to help people move their homes--trust me, stay where you are." "The women have got Relief Society. Can't they be happy with that?? It sounds kind of selfish to me." "You don't have a strong testimony or you wouldn't be asking these questions. You're probably already apostate."

Ouch. Because that is totally emulating Christ, who is the center of the gospel. Wait, maybe sarcasm isn't very Christlike, either. Then again, I've read the parables. 

The "Church" then published a letter "written" by a woman, so as to not seem completely patriarchal. (I know I'm cynical, but come on. Obvious.) 

[SIDE NOTE: It was published in the Deseret News, which I view as part of the group outside of the church but that has ties with the church, which include: Deseret Book, CES, anything with the word "Deseret" in it, anything with "Brigham Young University" tied to it, anything written by Michael McLean or Gerald Lund, any Pinterest boards that say "Young Women activity ideas", etc. These are all superfluous--if they help you get to the actual gospel, then great. They are not necessary and they will easily crumble if you place your testimony in them.]

This letter was specifically to the Ordain Women movement, sent privately but also published so as to suggest its intent was to form a public opinion. The letter intimated that these women (and men) were SO much of the minority of the church that their voices were unimportant. Then KSL (a church-owned news organization, but NOT the church) felt it important to make graphs that coincided with this thought (Carole Mikita even reported, so you know it's serious church business). If I didn't support the women and men of the OW Movement before, after reading this chastising letter, I became a bigger support. We are not children. Well, we are God's children, but we are not your children. I may not be clamoring for the priesthood for myself, I may be unsure of the need for women to receive such keys, but I do support these women who are being made to feel outside and alone. 

Like Michael McLean said, "You're not alone. Even when you're feeling on your own." (I take it back, that is so doctrine.)

Recently written on Feminist Mormon Housewife, "Joanna" wrote:

If our faithful Mormon feminist questioning has penetrated the behind-closed-doors decision-making meetings at Church Headquarters, we are thrilled.  But Mormon women are not involved in those meetings. Regretfully, we  still have no authoritative role in making decisions of theological, policy, and financial consequence in the Church we love and serve.  Our Church continues to function as an outdated, closed-door, gender-segregated bureaucracy–a model rooted in the secular conservative management models of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, not  in Mormon scripture and certainly not in the vision Joseph Smith had when he “turned the key” to the women leaders of the Relief Society.

Ordination is not my bosom-burning cause.  But I am tired of seeing women I love leave the faith because there is no serious, open respectful conversation within the Church about issues that matter to them and because they are stigmatized and rejected when they dare to ask the questions. 

To which I say, yes. Me, too. It is OK to ask a question and to want to start a discussion. Joseph Smith asked a very important one. Matthew 7:7, Christ said, "Knock and it shall be opened unto you." That doesn't mean it will always be the answer you want, but let people ask their questions. Let people wear purple and pants to church. Put your testimony in the very basics of the gospel and let others do the same. 

In short, 


And as always, I should write that all opinions expressed are my own and I do not speak for the LDS church or my ward or my neighborhood or any group. Just for me.

a

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

La Casa de Sucre, backyard

Our backyard is still a work in progress, but one of the first things we started to tackle once the weather turned warmer (which was surprisingly early this year) was the tree house. We have this gorgeous tree in the backyard, which was one reason I wanted this house in the first place. But, after much discussion, Alan and I decided to keep the tree houseless and let it be the place for swings and shade. 

Instead, we made a fort. A tree fort. It took a few weekends and a bit more money than we had planned, but this little corner of our backyard is now so cheery and lovely. 

the best fort you ever did see.

We love it. We will share our HOW TOs another day. Today, we are just going to sit back and watch the kids play in their new tree fort.

See our other tree houses and play houses HERE, HERE and HERE.

mwah,
a

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

shoes

And the Mother of the Year award goes to...

I was telling a friend the other day that I never buy my kids shoes because I never remember what size they are. Well, Johnny showed me his shoes a month ago. He has been wearing these all winter long. 


HOLES through the soles. I am talking multiple holes that go all the way through. It was now a finger puppet. Fingers puppet? 


I told him to wear his other shoes. And because Johnny is a very obedient child (seriously. He is ridiculously obedient. He used to be a turd and now he is an angel. I am waiting for the other shoe to fall. PUN!), he only wore the other shoes. He didn't even mourn the holey shoes.

Last week I picked up his "other" shoes to put them in the basket. This is something I rarely do. I usually just stand right by the kids' shoes and say loudly, "Kids, put your shoes in the basket." Teach a child to fish, yo.

But there I was, being all Saint Mother and doing a little kind deed when what do I see? HOLES! All the way through in his newer, other shoes.

Now, I should mention that Johnny is a toe walker. I don't know why and no, he hasn't outgrown it. The kid walks on his toes always. He stands on his toes. It is rare to see his heels ever touching the ground. His calves must be tighter than tight pants (remember that video? still amazing). So, all of his shoes get A LOT of weight right in the front part of his foot. 

That doesn't excuse his lack of hole-less footwear. So, I took him to the store on Saturday to get some new shoes. 

"What size are your shoes, Johnny?" I ask him at the store.

"2.5," he says.

So we try on size 3. His toes are pretty snug, so we go for 3.5, then 4, then 4.5. We ended up buying him SIZE 5 shoes! They have a thumb-width room to grow because, hello, I'm not cruel. 

I just had him wearing shoes two sizes too small with holes in the bottoms during the snowy winter. No big deal.

a

Monday, March 24, 2014

What I am buying at Trader Joe's (five)

Some weird backlash against my favorite grocery store is happening. (See article here)

I read it. And ooh, moralizing Boulder. I chuckle at their health superiority. I mean, good for them.

But, DUDES, you're talking about packaged foods being full of preservatives. 

WAIT. WHAT?

duh.

And their cookie butter has JUNK in it? no shish, sherlock.

I just don't get the emotion behind this. Same could be said for almost every grocery store. Oh well, stories need to be shocking so people will read them and pass them along.

Want something really shocking? Today I have decided to share items that WE DIDN'T LIKE at Trader Joe's. In fact, they were so disliked that I returned them.

First up is the dark chocolate peanut butter salted caramel truffles. Wait, maybe I should mention that these aren't health food. OK, glad I got that out of the way. As you can see, I bought two packages. One for our family to try and another to give away. We all had one of the truffles (well, except for the child who is allergic to peanut butter). I think Maggie and I had two, just in case we mis-tasted the first time around. Nope. Nobody liked them. Nobody. So, I returned the unopened package and the 1/2 eaten package and guess what? I got a full refund for both. DARN YOU, CUSTOMER SERVICE! What a horrible place, right?


Then we bought something for the dog. You know, because he's cute even though I kind of hate him 1/4 of the time. He licks his butt hole while lounging on my lap. He can go to town on that thing for like 30 minutes. It's so horribly disgusting, I can't...! I digress. We bought him these dog biscuits:



We tried two of them and Bowie had no interest in them. He'd kind of eat one, but it was too big. And then I'd break it up and he would look at me like, "Et alors? Eet es steel dah-sgus-ting." (He seems more Italian than French to me, but I don't know how to write Italian-dog-speak.)

Box was opened. I returned it. Got a full refund. What jerks.

But, Ahhnna, you say, everything at TJs is packaged junk food.  

What? Who are you? I guess their bagged lettuce is technically in bags. But, my garden doesn't grow all year. And their produce is not ALL organic. And their coconut oil is inexpensive and really great. And their grains are pretty tasty. Oh wait, now I am revealing that I might actually COOK our food sometimes from scratch. Said food comes from Trader Joe's, even. Sure, they don't have everything you need and many of their items are unhealthy...

And their flowers are super affordable and lovely:

I love ya, TJs. Even if some of your products I don't like. Ooh, like the meringues. I don't get those at all. 

a

Money isn't everything

You can't take it with you.

The best things in life aren't things.

Etc.

But, a couple of these quotes have been bouncing around my head lately as I've been trying to figure out my next WHAT.





Et tu, amigo?

a

Friday, March 21, 2014

On holiday hating and Music to my Ears (03-21-14)

Fourteen years ago I was teaching kindergarten at a little private school. One of the first grade teachers was notoriously strict, but full of love. On March 17 of that school year I walked into my classroom and all I heard about was how the leprechauns had terrorized the first grade classroom the night before. I had never heard about something like it, so I went to check it out. The room was a complete mess. There were green footprints EVERYWHERE. Every chair was skiwampus, including a couple that were hanging from the ceiling. On the teacher's desk was a large pile of everything green that was collected from the classroom. The kids were amazed.

I filed that experience into my brain file: When I am a Parent

Eventually (spoiler alert), I became a parent. And every March 16th at about 10 pm I remember that file. My last second attempt at leprechaunery throws everything green onto the kitchen table, makes a bit of a mess, and puts an exorbitant amount of green food coloring in the milk. That's it. Other than my pinchers coming out for anyone not wearing green. But, IT'S IN THE FILE, so I do it. I know that the one year I forget will be the last year, and my baby is only four.

I mean, look how AMAZING! Everyone should feel offended by this. (eyeroll)

I am the same for pretty much every holiday. I like to go big, but it is last-minute, throw-everything-up, make-do-or-do-without kind of big. I am not cute. My holidays are like my personality: loud, fast, and thrown together. But I love them and I love making them fun.

Which is why I am a little on the defensive with all of the frustration lately with mothers hating on holidays. People are ranting on blogs, in articles, in comments, on Facebook, all over social media about how holidays are getting out of hand. I get it, I do. Nobody likes feeling guilty for not living up to OTHER people's lives. Preach, sisters, preach. I don't like feeling guilty for not working at the kids' schools three times a week. I don't like seeing how everyone else seems to be dressed with clean homes when they leave the house at 9:00 am. It makes me feel uncomfortable (about myself) that there are children in music lessons AND on sports teams AND still getting straight As. Good on you all, but I feel the guilt.

That doesn't make it COOL to write a blog post about how I think everyone should stop putting their kids in music lessons and on sports teams and making sure they excel at school. Just because it's not my family's thing. I only have it in my wee little brain to do one extracurricular activity per child per year. Sometimes things overlap, but I am not going to assume that is how it is for everyone.

So, I just don't get it. Make a green mess for your kids on St. Patrick's Day or don't. Sometimes I wish I didn't, because, HELLO, it's another mess. But, then it's MY thing that I feel is important for MY FAMILY.

I know, I know. Blah blah blah tolerance. Blah blah blah golden rule. Blah blah blah do your own thing. Blah blah blah just love, people. Love.

You know what I love? Priscilla Ahn. Her album, A Good Day, is one of the easiest albums to listen to ever in the world. It is so chill and lovely. I love this new song of hers, HOME, as much as the others (and the video is lovely, too). Check it. Love. Bon week-end, mes amis, etc.

a

Friday, March 14, 2014

Music to My Ears (03-14-14)

Happy Pi Day, y'all. Every year I think I should throw a big ol' PIE party on Pi day, but then it comes and I think, "nah!"

Go eat a pie and think of me. That's kind of like a party.

Sia made a big announcement (kind of) that her new album will be coming out on Monday. Or a song from her new album. Either way, new music BY Sia and performed by Sia. She has been writing music for Beyonce, Britney, and the like for the last few years and BOY it's about time she sing some of her own stuff.

This song from her last album (five years ago?) is always a favorite of mine. It fits in a lot of scenarios. Be yourself, friends! Stop trying, we already like you. MWAH!



The Old 97s are also coming out with a new album at the end of next month, but from what I've heard so far it is nothing I can share on my righteous (eyeroll) little blog, nor play it around my children. But, MAN, their music is still amazing. Ahh-mazing (you can take the girl out of watching the Bachelor, but you can never take the Bachelor vernacular out of the girl)!

Now, go. Eat some pie. Find some cool music. Have a kick butt weekend. See you soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ban the Ban

from banbossy

Have you heard of this "movement" to ban the word bossy?

Some pretty strong and powerful women are supporting this idea to "ban bossy" and encourage young girls to lead. They have statistics that suggest girls are less likely to desire leadership positions in middle school and beyond because they are afraid of the label "bossy." Boys are told they are "strong" and "leaders" when they exude similar personalities.

From their video, celebrities and COOs say things like:
"We need to tell [girls] it's okay to be ambitious."
"Let's... encourage girls to lead and to be strong and to be ambitious."
"There are no limits."
"Dare to be you."

Well, no joke. I mean, can I get a huge, resounding "DUH!"? 

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook who is spearheading this movement said, "...if you look at my childhood, if you look at the childhood of most of the leaders we talked to, they lived through being told they were bossy."

And look where they are now.

I am not condoning the negative connotations placed on labels such as bossy. It is really rotten the way people get called chubby, class clown, shy, hyper, bossy, picky, gifted, learning disabled, etc. (and the worse versions of all of these, of course). We hold onto those words longer than we should. We let others label us and mold who we become. It blows.

Guess who got called bossy? This girl, right here. And guess who still ran for student council every single year (and lost many times)? This girl. Right here. Guess who still doesn't like to be told what to do but doesn't mind telling other people what to do?

Oh, is it that obvious? Yep. Me.

So, while I am not a COO of a major Fortune 100 company or a world-renowned entertainer, I still had the label of bossy placed on me decades ago. And I still felt like I could lead, be ambitious, and "dared to be me."

Not even a week ago I wrote about my feminism. I think the way we speak to boys and girls has got to be remedied. We cannot continue to applaud boys for certain characteristics and belittle girls for having the same. I have been told that I would have been a really great boy. How's that for a cut down? It's because I am loud, opinionated and have really strong legs. But dang, these boobs would look really weird on a boy. Among other things.

I understand the place where this movement stemmed. The words we use are powerful, and the tone with which we use them even more. Labels are dangerous, but they can also propel us. I watched a video with Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld (do you watch Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee? I highly recommend it) where Chris Rock suggested that if we eradicated bullies there would be no Bill Gates. Those kids who get bullied often turn out to be some of the most successful and intelligent individuals of their graduating class. Granted this is meant as comedy and bullying is ridiculously demoralizing and hateful, but some interesting food for thought.

When I wrote that post last week on feminism, I had many people tell me and write to me that they wish there was a new word for the feminism I described. I get it. I don't really like the words "conservative" "liberal" and even "religious" because they have been commandeered by the most severe adherents. People who claim these words use them for their own tempestuous agendas and often "hurt" the words. But they are mere words and can be used right and well just as much as they can be mistreated.

Words are never going to be banned. Not hateful, ugly words. Not exclusionary words. Not even words that should have never been accepted as words in the first place (ie "funner"). 

The point of Ban Bossy is to give girls confidence and encourage ambitiousness. Do that. Because a word is just a word until you give it power. By trying to "ban" it, you give it a lot more power and worse words come in their place. Focus on the positive. Tell girls that words don't define them. Tell them that their personalities are worth growing and exploring. Don't pigeonhole them by claiming a label is to blame.

Ban Ban Bossy. ;)

a

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

el bachelor, finalmente final

Oh Bachelor friends.

The horror.


That was painful. Just agonizing television... and yet I watched.

At the beginning of the season, I would not believe that Jake Pavelka would seem a more pleasant Bachelor than our Juan Pablo. Those first four episodes had us eating out of Juan Pablo's Latin hands. He was charming and funny and had morals. Didn't drink, cared about family, and seemed genuinely interested as these women talked. 

And then his magic juice ran out. Obviously. He seemed inebriated every date, or just really exhausted. He didn't seem to listen to anyone, ever. He wasn't funny. Whichever production staff was writing his one-liners the night before must have grown tired of the man as well.

All night I couldn't even correct the ladies' bad grammar (of which there was plenty) because I suddenly started feeling sorry for them. They are probably really nice people who are really insecure (shocker).

There are people who will say that poor Juan Pablo was thrown under the ABC production bus. That Chris Harrison didn't like him and was out to prove something. That they don't have to share their love now that the show is over; they have a right to privacy. 

To which I say: You can't reveal smug if there isn't already a huge dose of smug.


"I am glad I didn't choose her." (Clare and something similar with Andi)
"Will you not interrupt me?" (to the HOST of a show who was trying to move the rehearsed dialogue along)
"This is hard for ME. This is hard for ME." (always making it about him when the girls expressed concern)
"I'm not 100 percent sure I want to propose to you." (so good with words. Every girl's dream! poor Nikki)
"Oh, is this why no besitos for me?" (When Clare tried to tell him her frustration)
"I got to follow what I think is best for me and I have to say goodbye to you," as he goes in for a hug with Clare. Nope.
"Don't get cranky. I'm hot, too." (to Nikki. this is so condescending; she's young, but she's not a kindergartner, dude)
Don't forget his slut-shaming of Clare after the romp in the ocean.
And then there is his derogatory comment he made to Clare in the helicopter, but we are all not surprised that he would say something snide and malicious.

And here is a recent tweet of el Bachelor, you know, something you WRITE and can EDIT before you push send: "Not every flower can save love, but a rose can. Not every plant survives thirst, but a cactus can. Not every retard can read, but look at you go, little buddy!"

Retard? Don't blame this blatant hurtful use of a severe word on English being your second language.

You can't fabricate manipulative and disingenuous behaviors where there isn't any. He has them. In spades, methinks. Even his best friend/cousin and parents warned these two girls that he was selfish and hurtful. Oy, red flags!

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for Andi? I need a couple months of decent sleep before I decide if I want to engage in another "shocking" season of the Bachelor franchise.

a

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I am Woman...


This might come as a surprise to you, but I consider myself a feminist. 

{gasp!}

It's a funny word: feminist

Those who were "around" in the 1960s have pretty strong feelings one way or another about feminism. Bras burning, unshaven armpits and a vocal disdain for the SAHM might come to mind. (Or so I have been told.) Maybe sisterhood and empowerment are words that others feel when the word is thrown around. I wasn't born until the 1970s, so I don't have a strong emotion tied to the word FEMINISM.

I am often enthralled at reactions and weight attributed to certain words. A word can be translated into another language and have completely different sentiments. I could be wrong (I doubt it), but I think the word FEMINISM in most languages would cause equally significant reactions. Power, animosity, hope, frustration, unity, divisiveness--I wonder what you feel about the word.

I have been told before when I have bid for a job that a man bidding the same work has a right to ask for more because he has a family to support. For the same work. How does this person know that I do not support my family? They didn't. But it has been something I have dealt with as a freelance worker before and very possible could again. I don't cringe when I hear "Equal Pay for Equal Work" because I wholeheartedly agree. I have noted that since there are women who are in high-paying positions, some men feel that it is no longer an issue. Just as now that we have a black PotUS, racism has been completely obliterated. Obviously. (eyeroll)

This is more than just being paid the same as men. This is getting outside of your little umbrella'd community. This is more than staying at home with your kids VS working outside of your home. (Get over that one, friends. People make choices for a thousand reasons; make your own and get over your neighbor's choice.) We live in a time when our little communities no longer define our world. We cannot pretend that what makes sense and works for us would work for the entire global community. 

This is FEMINISM for your SISTERS in this world.

What is FEMINISM? It is simply the declaration of the complete humanity of women. Women are not supplementary to men, but in every way considered equal. I am not using the word SAME, please note. The word is EQUAL. I, as a woman, am not a bartering chip, I am not merely my womb or my body or my age. My personality should not be shunned because it is considered a masculine-trait to be opinionated or loud or strong-willed. 

To me, feminism means realizing that women ARE NOT treated equally to men throughout the world, and that needs to CHANGE. 

"Feminism is about both women and men. It affirms women’s full humanity, but it is not a putdown of men’s humanity. Rather it is a critique of patriarchy as a system that distorts the humanity of both women and men." (link here)
 
If you are a FEMINIST, you don't think it is OK for a young girl of 14 or 12 or 9 to be taken out of school and given to an older man in marriage.

If you are a FEMINIST, you understand that women have as much right to vote as men. That the suffrage movement was an important step in humanity.

If you think that female genital mutilation is cruel and should not be protected under ritual custom, you might be a FEMINIST.

If you believe that sex trafficking is inhumane, you could very well be a FEMINIST.

If you think that sexual objectification, oppression, discrimination, and stereotyping based solely on sexual organs is wrong, then HEY, guess what? You might be a FEMINIST.

If your heart breaks when you see that girls cannot get an education because they won't "need" it as much as boys, you are a bit FEMINIST.

This world has opened up in ways that were impossible half a century ago. We can easily see the mutilation of humans based solely on their gender. We are made aware of women who have acid thrown on their faces because they turned a male suitor down. And then their subsequent shunning by their family. We can see that women are used as bartering chips in patriarchal dealings (as they have been since the beginning of time). 

The words FEMINIST and FEMINISM are not as powerful as the people who declare that they, their sisters, their wives and their daughters ARE IMPORTANT. Not more important or almost important as their brothers, fathers, husbands, and sons. But just as important.

You don't have to be feminine or even female to be a feminist.

This Saturday (March 8) is International Women's Day. Not Mother's Day, but Women's Day. In some countries it is a national holiday, complete with parades and celebrations. It has been an observed holiday since the early 1900s, when there was much for women to debate due to inequality.

It is the day before I gave birth to my first son, ten years ago, when I first began to understand how important it is to raise boys who value women and men, equally.

I am a FEMINIST. I hope all of my kids will be FEMINISTS. I hope the word is eradicated in my lifetime because there will be no need to point out blatant inequalities. But until that day, I will gladly hold that torch and title, regardless of how negative the word may seem to others.

a

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

el bachelor, women tell NADA



This happens every season of the Bachelors. We get to the Women Tell All / Men Tell All and I am just tired of them all. Half of the individuals sitting in the plastic circle chairs seem completely irrelevant and I can't remember anything about them. The ones I do remember rehash the same information that has already been played out on previous episodes. 

And the audience members steal the show. 

Seriously, the facial expressions and reactions of the live studio audience are the greatest parts of the Women Tell All. They are so involved. They nod, scoff, question, cry, smile on cue. The audience is SO INVESTED and it kills me. Every time. I hope they are getting paid.

These girls were less catty and hateful (towards each other) than in seasons past. They seem to have bonded and care about each other. Think about the drama between girls on previous Bachelors: Girl who had so much sparkle. "I got the rose" model. Michelle Money. Vienna. I can't believe how much I miss those girls.

I have to say it, Sharleen is beautiful and her eyebrows are mesmerizing. But they keep using her cerebral soundbites which are doing her no favors. "I wish I was dumber" keeps manifesting that she isn't as smart as she thinks. She should have said, "I wish I WERE dumber" if she wanted to actually sound intelligent (subjunctive verb, y'all), bless her heart. I wish they had recorded her singing when she had enough time to warm up. Prove it, sister! ;)

Juan Pablo and his "little package." All I need to say.

I am calling it for next week: we're going to be bored. Juan Pablo will not propose. Everyone will cry. They are going to ask Andi to be the next Bachelorette. I will sleep.

Chris Harrison recently said that as soon as the viewers are apathetic about who is chosen, then his job is done. I don't want to put anyone out of a job, but...! You?

a



Friday, February 28, 2014

music to my ears (02-28-14)

Last day of February and I'm feeling pretty optimistic about Spring this year. You?

If you've never heard Paris Combo, you've never been a boutique shopper. I first heard Paris Combo (pronounced similar to Perry Como) when I was living that semester in France. I bought about five CDs and burned about five more of my friend's CDs onto tapes. (dating myself, much?) Out of all of those groups, Paris Combo is the only one I have ever heard playing in the States. I think my sister even bought one of their albums without any suggestion from me.

Like most interesting artists, Paris Combo's lyrics are quirky and a bit twisted. My favorite song is Je rêve encore.


Paris Combo - Je rêve encore (Live)

(the claps are a bit annoying, but just give it a listen for the build-up)

I just discovered yesterday that Paris Combo released a new album last year--their first in eight years. On first listen, I am totally digging it. It is total soup party music. (What? You don't have soup parties and play french jazz pop in the background? Weird.)

This song is my favorite so far of their new album, 5. (Cinq, for the non-French speaker) 

 

As a side note...

Have you seen this short movie on Hulu? Rhett and I really enjoyed it. 

Room on the Broom

e

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I'm not 100%

pious AND patriotic

Last night at a meeting for the youth in our church, someone was speaking of family history. As they recalled what they had learned about their great (x5) grandmother, they said, "She never questioned 'the church.' Her kids never heard her once say anything other than positive things about everything the Brethren said to do."

That reminded me of a conversation I recently had with my mother, who told me that she sees how much I question and wonder--how it is never something she has felt the need to do. She didn't think either way was right or wrong, but it was interesting to her that I had so many questions and struggles that I need to ponder and study, while she felt it was easy for her spirit to listen and accept.

Sometimes I hear stories of "faithful pioneers" and wonder why I am so much less willing to accept. My flesh is weak, my spirit is weak. There is willingness, but an inability to "go along with the crowd." I admit that I cringe all too often where my spiritual learning and listening are concerned.

But--in the deepest parts of my heart--I know God understands me. My questions are not disdainful nor are they irreverent to Him. They are a daughter's desire to comprehend and to filter out the supplementary fluff from the core doctrine.

I see my cringing as my soul physically denying immediate acceptance for just anything. Just because it is said within a church edifice, does not make it holy. Just because it is printed in a "church publication" does not make it doctrine. Just because someone said it at an institution of higher learning does not immediately make it my personal belief.

I feel like there is a line that divides members of the church to which I belong. There are the staunch "if you're not with us 100%, you're against us" and there are the others. I obviously feel I am in the other category. I am like 92% WITH, but the 8% take up some serious concern and questions. That 8% includes a lot of dogma that I don't think belong with my belief, but some of it has been declared as church-wide opinion. Some of the 8% has even been preached from the conference pulpit. Yet, I still struggle and wrestle with it. I cannot make it align in my heart and in my head. 

Because I have that 8%, should I give up the 92% of my most sincere beliefs?

Of course not. Never would that make sense in anything anywhere. If you lost 8% of your income, would you throw away the 92%? If you lost 8% of your body's functions, would you give up on life altogether? If you lost 8% of your food to a malfunctioning refrigerator, would you toss the rest of your food, too?

I know that there are people who question more than 8%, and yet they continue to come. For, are we all not sinners and beggars, hoping to be forgiven and understood by our Creator? 

President Dieter Uchtdorf recently said: "The Church is designed to nourish the imperfect, the struggling, and the exhausted. It is filled with people who desire with all their heart to keep the commandments, even if they haven’t mastered them yet."

Hand raised. I am not 100%, I don't know if I will ever be. Sometimes it feels more like 48% of struggle and questions and 52% aligned belief, but if I ignore the fluff and concentrate on the doctrinal basics, I see that while my actions might fail me, my desire is to do right. I will not ever see it like you do, you may never understand my views, but together we are just trying to make sense of it all. We are all right. Even those of you that are incredibly wrong.

My children will never say that I was someone who always believed and never questioned. They may say of me that I, in fact, questioned often; maybe that I never had very clear answers to their religious questions. But I hope they say of me that I tried. That I desired to be better. That I wanted them to be intelligent and caring individuals who loved the Lord and loved all of God's children. I hope they say that I tried to love everyone and treat everyone fairly. I hope that they say my cringing was adorable.

a

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

El Bachelor, semana ocho, part dos

Okay, Bachelor friends. I'm just going to come out and say it:

SNORE!

It was not as dramatic as promised (per usual), it was not as nightmarish of a telling of the Fantasy Suite (I don't know what I was expecting, but I am a bit ashamed as to what I was hoping), it was a gorgeous location, but I couldn't give any cares about it. It was totally boring.

And, is it me, or does even Chris Harrison seem to not dig Juan Pablo? Chris usually seems so invested in these Bachelors and Bachelorettes, but he is just not an advocate for el Bachelor.

I also seem to remember liking the main person MORE as the season goes on. My affinity has been trending away from Juan Pablo since week 4.

If he chooses either of these women at the end, I won't buy it. There will be no TV wedding, no special on Us Weekly about how their love has grown, I doubt if they even last a year so they can keep their Neil Lane ring.

C'mon Women Tell All, just be a fraction of what you promise to be. I'm losing hope for this enterprise (finally).

What did you think?

a

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

El Bachelor, semana ocho, part uno

tomorrow night is such a tease. The NIGHTMARE!
The sun is beating on my back through the window of the office. Oh sun, you are so welcome here. Do you think we will actually have an early spring this year? Punxsatowny Phil be damned.

El Bachelor--let's draw this out, shall we, producers? ugh

Nikki's date:

Juan Pablo is such a cowboy (eyeroll). Is Kansas City full of cowboys? I've never been there, but I imagine that most people living there would not love the idea that national television is showing them as a bunch of bull-riding, bbq-eating cowfolk. And the way Juan Pablo says, "I'm fine. I'm fine," over and over in his high-pitched voice while on the bull is pretty hilarious.

Oh, cue sexual simulation on top of the mechanical animal. gag.

Wait. Nikki's family is totally level-headed and kind. Maybe she was raised well and is just acting a brat this stage in her life. Her mom seems genuinely sweet, as does her dad. What is happening here?! 

I remember when saying "I love you" was such a big deal. Those were some good times. Ha! Hey, Alan, I love you! Boom. (not that he reads my Bachelor posts, anyway)


Andi's date:

He was not feeling the teasing from Andi about being tough. The guns were interesting. I am all for women being empowered and showing their interests to potential beaus, but this felt awkward. I don't think Juan Pablo likes being in a submissive role.

Hy, the father, would scare almost any potential male suitor, don't you think?

Andi's mom wanted to dance hip to hip with Juan Pablo. Then Andi got in the way. Oy!

Hy doesn't understand how the show works, but he is right. You don't ask a dad to potentially ask his daughter for marriage IF she wins your heart from three other women. That is lame, let's be honest. But, it is how the show is played. "I see things rapidly unfolding real fast," says Hy. Has he seen tomorrow night's episode already? Also, does he know about redundancy? (I kid)

Will Hy let Andi be the next Bachelorette? 

Renee's date:

Most 30-something mothers should not wear short jean shorts. Renee totally can. Darn her.

Ben is a legit baseball player. Cutest little league game. But, seriously, what uncomfortable pressure for a little guy.

Juan Pablo talks with his hands A LOT. How did I miss this before? 

Renee is a catch. Plus, she already lives in Florida. But, Juan Pablo won't choose her. He's into crazies, methinks. She's too level-headed and sweet.

"We can love our pets," best line of the night from Renee's mom. Except, I think Alan is IN love with our dog, Bowie. So, her theory is flawed.  

Clare's date:

He lights up around the blonde crazies. Even though she says, "whole 'nother" and "like" and drops the "k" when she says "ask" all of the time. He doesn't know, though, since English is not his first language and all.

SIX daughters! This explains a lot. Is only one sister married or only one brother-in-law could come to dinner?

"You're not respecting Momma." That sister Laura is trouble. Ha! But I would love to hear Momma speak. Who is Momma? Or is it Mama?

Mama speaks! Espanish. What a sweetheart. 

These hometowns sure make you like the crazies more than you want to.

***

Where do the ladies go after their one-day hometown? I cannot believe that they can't stay for a few days while Juan Pablo goes and hangs with the other girls. Maybe it's the isolation that is so important to the drama. Seems unfortunate, though.

Chris Harrison keeps looking at Renee. He loves her. ;)

Clare is so conscientious of how she walks sexy towards Juan Pablo and the rose.   

Oh, such a sad limo ride. Chin up, sister. 

What do you all think? WHAT is going to happen tonight? Guesses only, please. no spoilers!