Friday, January 28, 2011


Short post, but I'm busting y'all.

I'm taking a rhetoric class this semester and am beyond excited about this course. I nearly exploded when he handed out an op-ed piece about the Tucson shooting--not because it was about the shooting, but because it was a political piece. Though--and probably because--I've no strong stance on whether or not the likes of Beck and Palin deserve any real direct blame for this tragedy, I had to hold myself back.

That was fun. Even more fun was contradicting everyone the next day on a different piece. I've been in the house for so long, away from what I love to do that you can't fucking shut me up now.

Anyway, part of the class is collecting pieces of strong, interesting, weak, etc. rhetorical pieces and annotating them, analyzing them. We're supposed to find a focus within the next month. Until then, we're supposed to find a variety of things to present to the class.

There are so many things I could focus on. I thought about politics, I thought about advertisements, I thought about niche magazines. Upon arriving home today I thought of using Mumford and Son's "Little Lion Man."

But that's beside the point.

Y'all know what a goldmine the church is. Rhetoric? Oh my god, it's everywhere. In fact, just the other day we received a "your daughter is turning 8!!" letter from the church (so that's why they wanted to know our address...). I was surprised by a small reaction I had from that letter. Guilt doesn't go away easily.

General Conference talks. Official newsroom responses to General Conference talks. Deseret News. Emails. Pamphlets.


Now I don't know if I want to expend this kind of energy on the church, but it doesn't matter. This class just might be the death of me. I'm in heaven.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Brodies: Thank You!

I wanted to take a quick break to thank all of you who voted for me to win a Brodie--I appreciate your support so much. <3

I also want to extend my congratulations to the extremely talented bloggers who took the awards this year. Certainly I had the craziest competition and each one deserved to win--I'm flattered to have even been in the running.

I hope to write a post soon, but as school just began I'm finding sufficient free time difficult to grasp find (ugh, my brain is sore or something). I hope everyone is well and thriving and laughing.


PS: Nip/Tuck is a ridiculous, ridiculous show. And I am beginning season 4. Jesus.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recipe: Telestial Brownies

I'm going to use the box mix recipe because I've been a lazy, lazy girl lately. (yes, i know. it's not much more to make brownies from scratch, but srsly. it feels easier...and now i'm thinking about how much healthier, respectively, it is to make these from scratch--damn you, conscience!)

1 basic brownie mix. According to Berry Crocker, add:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs.

So this needs some serious doctoring up because this shizz is whack, jack.

4 tbsp (1/8 cup) cocoa powder mix
1 - 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon
Chocolate chips

It's goooooooood.

(but not good for you. except for the coffee part.)

...and now I'm wondering what it'd taste like with a little brandy or rum in it.

Either way, cook at 325 degrees for at least 20 minutes, if you have my 70's wall oven.

Wa-la. Telestial Brownies.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ghostly Logic and Confidence

(yes, i know. but i found this in my drafts and thought "what the hell")

Had the in-laws over a few weeks ago. Big birthday party for all to be had.

The conversation in many ways proved interesting. As it often happens, talk went to how one family member loves to be scared but shouldn't be because she becomes SO FREAKED OUT. So we spoke of San Jose's Winchester House, Alcatraz, and then the TV show "The Ghost Hunters." This also, as it does now, leads to me telling others how much (cough) fun Eric is now when it comes to supernatural subjects. NO FUN. But, in this instance, it was also kind of sexy.

"You don't believe in ghosts?" someone asked him.

No apologies, just a very strong "No."

I swear, I wanted to jump him. There's something unbelievably sexy about that kind of unabashed confidence in the right kind of company. This company.

So we're talking ghosts and whether or not they're an actually existing entity when discussion turns to the logistics of a spirit moving physical objects. My first thought was: really? we're going to decide what's possible and what's not? how can you decide that when you believe what you do?

And then my husband's BIL says "Ghosts can't move physical objects because that's what bodies are for." Duh.

I just kind of looked at him. It spoke, for readers who don't know, to the teaching that everyone living on the Earth came here to acquire a body--a necessity for the afterlife.

This particular man is a good man--one of the best, but he can be a bit arrogant and pious. He's always right, you know? I grew up around this, so I have a bit of a physical reaction to it. So realizing that I knew that he wasn't necessarily right was a very good thing.

It's a matter of where my confidences lie. One of my biggest issues lies in not embracing my own beliefs. The fact that I felt sure enough in myself to not yield to his in the name of propriety was an exciting thing.

More and more I realize I need to sort out what I believe, accept it and love it in order for it to affect my relationships the way it ought to. I look forward to that. It only seems to be a process that lives on its own account and doesn't always seem to be something I can control. In a way that makes it better, but in a way that makes it worse, too. That said, last night it made it empowering, and I'm grateful for that.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mormon Housewife Blogs

1950s family prayer
Why I can't stop reading Mormon housewife

I ran into this article today and at first glance I was willing to be happy about non-mormons finding something good in these blogs--why the hell not, right? let's see the good in all things, or at least most. It's something I've thought a lot about lately, and perhaps I'll post more on later.

But then I started thinking about it more: this is just more fodder for the LDS PR department, more reason for many LDS girls and women to feel less-than. I remember trying to reach this ideal, to be these girls. I was not able to. I am not that girl. It doesn't mean I hate life (indeed i did in the church many times when i failed) or marriage, or that I don't see the good in small things, but not reaching the ideal espoused by so many--including general leaders--only sends one message "you are not good enough."

Yay for The Simple Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now, if this is who these girls are, I don't want to take that away from them. In many ways I wish I could be more like them, but that isn't the lesson I should absorb. I should be learning to embrace who I am.

Unfortunately, this is not what is or has been taught. Not in my experience. In my experience, the church and even much of our conservative society do not teach this. They teach perfection without acknowledging the tragedies that come in seeking it. Apparently the cost is worth the benefit.

So we allow others to tell us this is what is normal and that normal = happy. And we're enamored with normal because we don't feel normal. Anything to feel normal. Anything to feel not alone. And we sacrifice far too many people in the process. Many people have analyzed our fascination with the 50s and its nuclear family, and it's all worth reading. I won't go on about it, but we can and should be happy now. It's not about aprons and cupcakes and themed birthday parties and high-end jobs and perfect hairstyles and brand name clothes. I can understand the appeal in that, but that isn't what happiness is. Depending on the package, it's just more propaganda.

Again, if this is who these girls are, more power to them. If my son is what you might call a stereotypical boy, I will not take that away from him. If my daughter wants to wear frilly dresses and play with barbies, etc--awesome. As long as they don't criticise others or make them feel less if others are not who they are.

And that's why I can't stand these sorts of articles, even though I do believe in seeing the good in all, why I believe in seeing the good in that which we often demonize. BUT this isn't about the individual bloggers anymore but the faith they connect themselves to. In the church there is no individual. There is no separation, and non- or never-members can't understand this. When you speak of a person and connect them to the church in a positive light, the church will use it. There is no more individual after that. Just a puppet.

I have a really hard time welcoming anything that brings that.

And so this is no longer about charming, traditional, happy mommy bloggers. It's the Mormon we see, the Mormon we focus on, and the Mormon we are fed. And anyone who is not feels they are not, and because of this they will never really be happy either. Not as long as they buy into it. Me included.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Come to Institute, meat a chick.

I've bugged a few very kind and patient folks with my commentary regarding the new video I heard of regarding Tommy Monson's plea for young adults to attend institute.

...except for you fine people. And so I ask you to please follow along with me. The first video (that's right, there's two) is entitled "I've got to get to Institute" and is embedded above.

It's an unbelievably campy fun video! Low budget from the folks who bring you $4 billion dollar malls!

This vid begins with the viewer groaning in annoyance as a super-sexy boy sleeps in bed with a really annoying background noise you soon realize is his clock ticking (biological clock, perhaps?). You won't realize this until his alarm goes off and the dude wakes up, looks at it, and says "oh no!" and falls out of bed like he's totes slept in and is late for class.

Hi, stupid LDS actor guy? You didn't sleep in. Your alarm went off. The appropriate response to your alarm going off when you don't wanna wake up is "goddammit" or "gosh darn it." And please reset your alarm for an earlier time if this is an issue.

Anyways, so he smells the jacket on his bed because college guys are gross and wear gross hoodies over their pjs every day, especially when they sleep in 'till 9:40am. They also eat pizza left out on the counter (don't they know that pizza left out that long has tons of bacteria on it?) because OMG THESE ARE FER REALZ COLLEGE STUDENTS, JUST LIKE ME!

Cut to hallway scene where said guy runs into his really nerdy and untalented actor friends who stop him and tell him about their awesome new video games and invite him over to play!

Cue end-of-the-world-satan-wants-you music.

The John Bytheway wannabe then beeps at him to remind him he really ought to be at Institute. CTR, guy!

But our main character wants to have a little fun! Geez!

John Bytheway agrees, there's nothing wrong with a little fun. Yeah, I say. What's wrong with having a little bit of fun?

WAIT A MINUTE. Video games are not fun. Whatever happened to the old '80s video where the hot chicks with big blonde hair wearing shoulder pads give him the ol' eye and invite him to a non-mo party? That's fun.

But Mr. RM doesn't know about this whole "institute thing." Mahana, you ugly, he says.

But he needs Institute! and Institute needs him! It's symbiotic! There's no time for fun--besides, Institute is fun! And if that doesn't work, John Bytheway bribes him with what he calls "a bonus."

A bonus, huh? Well, since you say that...

The bonus comes in the form of a tall, blonde and pretty Utah Girl. They know each others names. Jared and Erica. I can see it inscribed on napkins already, the ones their reception guests can wipe their chins of the jello and carrot mold with.

The teacher then asks Jared if he might say the opening prayer, and he (like a good boy) agrees. The next few minutes are filled with scenes of all the kids learning and discussing things found in the scriptures.

WAIT A MINUTE! Did you all see that? THERE'S YOUR TOKEN BLACK GIRL TALKING! See, the church isn't racist!

Cut back to the main character. "I'm really feeling the spirit now," he says. "That must be that bonus I was promised."

I guess "spirit" is another word for throbbing erection?

And OMG she asked him if he was going to the Institute activity that night. SHE TOTALLY WANTS TO MARRY HIM!

Cue knowing smile that usually means "i'm getting some tonight" but in this instance means "I might get to hold her hand tonight."

And now, the second video:

This little ditty entitled "Institute Changes You" begins with this crazy condescending monologue about how awesome it is to graduate high school and how scary it is because you're now "independent" (i use this word lightly, it is speaking to mormons, after all) and have to make decisions. Where do you find stability? Why, in church! Make sure you keep in touch with other LDS kids because other people are evil and scary and LDS kids are never bad.

Besides, you can totes marry one of these people! And isn't that the most important thing?

Also, you can be yourself here

(or not).

And if the prospect of marriage doesn't grab you by the throat, the promise of free food should. Except for when you have to pay for it--I mean, donate a few bucks. We won't mention this is in addition to the tithing "donation" requisite for full salvation. We just say "free food" because, as the video reminds you, aren't college kids, like, poor?

Oh shit, there's something wrong with that. Never mind that. The serious part of Institute is the "spiritual nourishment" you'll find there. But we'll get to that in a minute.

The real world is super-duper scary. You can't make it without having church all around you, all the time.

I'm totally going to Institute now.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My step-MIL

My husband's stepmom is a convert. She served in the Army (one of the branches...can't remember which one). She converted to the church in the mid 90s. She is a survivor of an abusive marriage.

This woman has a mind of her own. Someone you don't want on your bad side, but if you're on her good side she will take the best care of you.

She keeps rum in the house for hot toddies when she gets sick. It makes my FIL so happy (according to Eric. i don't think FIL would ever speak of this to anyone)

And she just told me that the best remedy for a persistent, 3-week-long cough is black tea with honey and whiskey.

I don't know what she's doing in the church. She tells me on occasion in efforts to get me to reconsider church that she goes (which she doesn't. not very often) because she loves the gospel of christ. I imagine she also stays because FIL is very zealous. Very. She is not. But don't suggest that to her.

She also has a list of reasons she "cannot" go to the temple when the family comes up with a trip idea.

I don't understand her, but I'm willing to try her cough treatment. The shit my stupid doctor gave me isn't working well enough.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A god is a god is a god

You know what bothers me?

I am comfortably atheist regarding gods other than the Christian one. Greek gods, Islamic, whatever. Let's use Zeus. I don't believe in Zeus. Likely you also don't believe in Zeus. I am comfortable in saying Zeus never existed--yet for those who lived in the era in which Zeus was "God," Zeus totally existed.

You dig?

Distance--both geographical and time--has given me not only the privilege but the right to say I reject Zeus as a real entity and his religion as totally unnecessary.

The same goes for today. I wasn't born in ancient Greece. If I was, I'd likely be worshiping Zeus. But I wasn't and so I don't.

I am atheist with regard to these and other faiths and gods, and that is okay to those who share my feelings. My family, also not born in ancient Greece, would not disown me or cock their heads at me. There would be no whispers in the corners, behind our backs. My worthiness would not be put into question. I realize this is a privilege, that not every atheist with regard to Zeus especially was given this right, and while I can never understand what that is like, that's beside my point right now.

Listen, I am totally okay with saying Zeus never existed except within the hearts of those who believed in him. I can denounce other gods and religions, no problem. But for me to embrace atheism with regard to the god I grew up with? It's not so easy.

Why is that? There is no difference that I can see. A god is a god is a god.

Not really like the Christian god is any better than the others. If he is better, it's only because of me and my interpretation. That's all god seems to be, an interpretation. Mormonism is one interpretation, Catholicism another, etc. etc. etc. God seems to be something that lives only in my heart and yours. And yet I can't let it go. There's a chance, I say. Maybe nobody has it right. Maybe there is a god, but then who is that god and why do I need to know? To feel better? I don't know why it would make me feel better. What the fuck would I do with that information--it's not like any god I'd believe in has a set of scriptures. I'd love to believe in the ideal Christian god, but I can't legitimize making that god perfect. I'm not making up that story, y'all. There are too many things I need to edit from what I've got in the Bible, and I've got my own shit to edit. Not to mention that I feel (perhaps mistakenly) that god is manifest in god's believers, and I'm not perfect--nor do I want to be.

So I can swiftly deny one god while holding onto another, even if by the threads. I think this is why I struggle with embracing agnosticism. I can't wrap my head around it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

January Update

First of all, some of my blog posts have been nominated for a few categories over at Main Street Plaza, yay!: 

Best Deconversion/Exit Story (For "Faith"),
Best Interfaith Interaction (for "The Beginning of the End?"), and
Most Interesting Commentary to Mormonism (for "Stupid Mormon Words")

Please go vote, and thank you so much for your support! It really means a lot.

And you know what? There are so many other amazing posts out there, many of them written by friends of mine. Check out the nominated blogs/posts for all the categories. MSP has really outdone themselves.

Which makes me want to apologize. Here's the thing: lately, I just don't have a hell of a lot to say. Christmas, my grandfather's death, I had my sister over this weekend, school began today for everyone but me, the cars need some attention and I can't get rid of this fucking cough for anything. THEN, I arranged to have some friends over this Saturday until realizing that my grandfather's funeral is this Saturday and on Friday we're headed over to Eric's stepsister's house for the monthly get-together (it's his stepsister's turn to host). And I just realized I missed posting my first post yesterday on books, and I just finished a pretty decent book called "Not That Kind of Girl." Next Sunday? Yes.

So the funeral is at my dad and stepmom's church. Assembly of God. A new one, something about a merge. But these people speak in tongues and treat my sister like shit. I'm dreading this a little, if only for the preaching. And the kids are going. It's like everywhere we turn around there's something about god and heaven and the kids are right there, totally tuned in. We need to engage them in a conversation. I've no desire to indoctrinate them (y'know, like force them to believe and all that shizz) about what we believe and don't believe, but I do want to talk with them about it. But don't get me wrong: they will not go to primary. We won't go to church unless they're curious, and only then just once per church. They're going to learn critical thinking. Religion is just everywhere around here. If we don't talk with them about it, someone will.

Then there's the fact that Abbie is turning 8 in May, the ever magical number. I don't know how the family is going to act. Their reaction or non-reaction will tell us a lot about how they feel about our inactivity. I know enough to know there are inactive members who still have their children baptised, but there are also plenty who do not. We'll see. My nephew has already commented about it to her a few months ago.

We'll see.

In the meantime, I'll try to calm down and organize myself and hopefully get something written here.

And now that I've bitched and apologized about having nothing to say, a few topics will pop-up in my head and I won't be able to do anything until I write it down :D That is, after all, how it works.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Contacted. Also, /facepalm

I'd like to say I was strong and bitchy (without being bitchy) today to a well-meaning church member, but I was not. I'll probably spend the rest of the night or so kicking myself in the ass. Please tell me I'm not alone.

For the most part--and to my extreme privilege--the LDS church does not bother me. This is a mix of a fantastic friend in what would be my ward who tells everyone to back off, impossibly good in-laws who only fit in comments here and there, and the fact that our anti-social lifestyles in the church make it pretty hard for anyone to give a shit. Even though most people around here know Eric.

But, y'know, my visiting teachers (VTs) found me via facebook and friended me. At the time I didn't know who they were, other than their names or the names of their husbands were familiar to me. I figured "whatever" at the time, after doing some thinking. I mean, should I have friended them? I just did. I figured they added me because I was a mutual friend of whoever.

This seems pathetic of me, just adding whoever. I assure you it is not serial. If some random asks to be my friend, I ignore it completely.

Anyway, so VT emails me today. This is our second communication. Some months ago she mailed me the Relief Society newsletter. Only the newsletter. I thought it was cute and funny. She did her duty. I wondered if she was afraid of me like I used to be afraid of inactive members. She's young (~20), newly married, etc. And inactives, as you all know, are offended and hate the church (ie: its members, because there is no separation)

The email today was pretty short and to the point. Subject: Please reply (that tugged at my heart strings. She thought I wouldn't reply.) "I know I don't know you, but I'm your VT from [redacted] ward. Are you still on X street, because we have another address for Y street. If you're on Y street, you're probably in a different ward. Just let me know."

I didn't know what to say. "Please reply" was...well. I don't know. It made me feel sorry for her. I may curse and be all liberal and stuff, and I may occasionally slip and say something bad about the church (i generally don't out of respect for the members on my list), but I'm not scary. I'm actually really very nice. Sometimes too nice.

But, you know, she wanted my address.

Scratch that, the bishop wanted my address. Or the ward secretary. Whoever.

I don't like this about the church. They want to know where you live so, if the ambitious sort comes around and "feels the spirit" they can come after you and hound you and get your tithing money back (is that cynical of me? it's true, if only partly). I'd rather they didn't know. What does it matter?

But I was lame. Please reply and all. I could've just said "I really don't want to give out that information," but I didn't. My reply was short and to the point too. "We still live at X. We moved here from Y."

I feel that was a dumb thing to do, like I'm still allowing them in my home to some degree. What would you have done? Has this sort of thing happened to you?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I'm still sick. Pretty sick.

Pret-tay, pret-tay, pretty sick.

Anyways, I ran into this the other day:

NPR: New Edition of 'Huckleberry Finn' will Eliminate Offensive Words

Yes, please. Let's breed some MORE fucking ignorance, shall we? This coming from the people who call liberals too concerned with being politically correct. This likely coming from the same people who would rather teach our kids abstinence way before methods of safe(r) sex. This is unbelievably condescending.

Ignorance is bliss. Except it's not.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My grandpa died today.

Historically, I don't handle death well.

After today I wonder if that is just something I've always told myself. Truth, it has always been the idea of death that I didn't handle well. The idea that one minute they're there, the next they're gone. I'm horribly nostalgic, too. It's also the mystery of death. The thought about the pain that goes with it. The last, secret moments before relief.

I received the phone call on Thursday or Friday about his having a stroke and being at the hospital, how it was "not looking good." They said if I wanted to come, then I needed to come now. I couldn't. I've had bronchitis for a while and didn't think the hospital would smile on me coming down to see him and I didn't know if I'd just make things worse by doing so. The next day I was so out of my mind it scared me. I wasn't able to stand for more than five minutes until today, so when I was told he was on life support but that they were pulling the plug, there was little I could do.  But I'm pretty sure my stepmom at least faulted me to some degree for not coming more quickly. It wouldn't be a lie to say that a part of me hesitated to go, but I've done a lot of thinking lately and, with Eric's help, began to look at this situation from a different angle.

Besides, my grandma and my dad--I needed to be there for them. I cannot imagine losing my husband or my father. I wanted them to know I was there for real.

So when my sister texted me earlier today to tell me his respiration was failing and his extremities growing cold, I called my mom and asked her to watch the kids for us while. We left at approximately 1pm. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I prefer privacy when it comes to saying goodbye to somebody--something I'd only done once before, but then my aunt was more alive than dead (she had stage 4 cancer and liked to put on a show of strength for everyone). I also told myself he'd probably pass as we were on our way, and then what was the point?

But there was a point. I just wouldn't know until I was there.

My mom and Eric asked me if I'd regret not going. I knew I might. I thought about my grandma--she has a ton of land with a small farm quite a distance from town, and she's living with her abusive and possibly certifiably insane daughter. At 75, it feels far too much for her.

We walked in the room at about 2pm. I made my way to the side of his bed and watched him. I thought he was asleep. Alive, but asleep. His eyes were closed, his mouth agape. The nurse was there. It took me a moment to figure out what was going on. I quite literally missed him by about two minutes, if not less. It broke me up that we missed him by just seconds. Stories were told about his last days, his last moments, things I wished I could've been there for. Apparently just before he passed he moved both his arms up, something that surprised the family as he was brain dead on the left side and assumed paralyzed.

I've never seen a dead person before. Ever. I've refused viewings, all of that. I didn't want that to be my last memory of the person. I've also not lost very many people close to me. Two, maybe. Maybe.

Eric, having used the bathroom, came in a minute or so after I did. I didn't know if I should've said it out loud, but I did before I really knew what I was saying. "We're too late," I said. That was a hard reality to face.

See, this past holiday season we had opted to visit Eric's mom. It wasn't a big deal for Thanksgiving, so much, but Christmas. I had a feeling it'd be his last. You just don't suddenly deal with mini-strokes and dementia and falling down all over the place (to the point you're put in a nursing home temporarily) and not be swiftly on your way out. Even knowing that, though, I didn't go. First it was a matter of "I don't want to," but no decisions were made. I didn't want to deal with that side of my family--they can be rather labor intensive at times. When we discovered we had no money for gas, the decision, I figured, was made for us.

Besides, I think I figured him to last longer than this.

My dad and my grandma sounded terrible on the phone when I spoke to them only a few days before, but here in the hospital room they were putting on their stoic faces. My dad was taking care of all the crapwork--answering questions, that sort of thing. My grandma was talking about other things but if you looked at her close enough, you could see she was suffering. His death means a lot of things. She kept saying she didn't know where to begin, that this was a nightmare (she walked out of the room for just a moment, and when she returned he was gone). My dad tried to be strong, but every now and again his words and actions would belie him. Five or so minutes after we arrived, my dad went to my grandpa and shook his shoulder, saying "It's okay, Dad. It's really okay." I spoke with him right before we left and asked how he was doing. He said he figured his would be a delayed reaction. He also spoke of taking a moment during a trip to her house to look at all the things my grandfather had made. They used to go cut wood together. He's resigned himself now to not do that anymore. It's sad for me to hear that--every year they did it. They were great friends. If I can say anything about my father, it is this: he is amazing when it comes to taking care of his family.

My grandfather was a Korean war veteran and a machinist. He astounded me with his knowledge. He had his own little saw mill where he could take tree trunks and make 2 x 4s. He made his own nuts and bolts. His garage is something to marvel at. My dad has no idea how they're going to get through it all.

Everyone, of course, began to guess what my grandpa was up to now that he was gone. "He's probably meeting a lot of people right now," they said. "Probably eating a whole load of cookies." "Got a platter of food, I'll bet." Stuff like that. My grandma talked about how some people, right before they die, are reported as smiling and/or waving, or saying hello to themselves, how if that doesn't prove an afterlife she doesn't know what does. Of course I let her have this. I let them all have this. As for me, I didn't believe it. I just didn't.

Same goes for looking at his body. My SIL, after seeing her friend's dead son at his viewing, told me that it was a good experience--she, too, had balked at such things before. She said it reaffirmed to her that our bodies are mere shells. She could tell his spirit was gone. I spent some time looking at my grandfather, wondering if I saw and felt the same thing. I didn't. Other than the lack of breathing, it just seemed like he was in the room. He wasn't, and I knew that--I felt that--but it wasn't like something was missing. If I didn't think about it, he was just sleeping.

I also kept looking at him because I knew I wanted to go touch him and say goodbye. I had asked my dad over the phone yesterday to kiss him for me, but I wasn't sure he'd do that. Besides, I was there. Everyone else would take his hand and kiss his forehead. I wanted to, but I was absolutely terrified. I spent our entire visit debating with myself. I knew I'd regret it if I didn't, but I was afraid of rigor mortis and the cold of the dead.

Right before we left, I determined to approach him. I kissed him on the forehead. I think I said something but I don't remember what it was. I worried for a moment about my hair falling into his eyes but remembered straightaway that it didn't matter anymore. His skin was cold to the touch, but it wasn't a special kind of deathly cold. It was just as if he needed a blanket.

There's something comforting to me about just knowing that he was gone. Not that he, individually, was gone, but I wasn't worrying or speculating over what his spirit was doing or where he was. I didn't wonder about him being in the room with us, as my mom tried to reassure me he was (because we were too late). He was just gone, and it was up to us to make something good of it. It gave me a sense of strength I hadn't felt before.

I've thought a lot lately about being honest with myself. I fight with myself about Jesus--not so much god anymore, but Jesus. I'm holding on to threads, just like I did with Mormonism, but I think deep down I just don't believe. I have the door cracked, of course, but mostly I don't believe. And that's okay.

I'm going to miss him. I keep thinking about how he played "this little piggy" with my cousins and I when we were just little. He and my grandma weren't in a happy, loving marriage but they stuck together. He took great care of her and she of him. For a long time he didn't come with her to family get-togethers, and if he did he was quiet. He'd speak with my dad and my uncle out in the garage, of course, but in the home he was in his seat, sleeping. The last few years he became much more sociable. It was fun to see him that way.

I'm sure there's more to say. This is probably more for me than you, but that's okay. This is my journal.

I'm gonna miss him, but mostly I'm worried about my grandma. I'm sure that's okay. As for myself, I'm pretty proud. I fought through a lot to do what was best.

Resolutions 2011

I generally don't bother making new year's resolutions, but I did last year and made it through July--which, I think, is pretty damn good. My resolution was simple: read one book a month. I even kept track. Some months I only read one, some months I read up to three. I'd like to make this resolution again, but with a full load at school and a family at home, I'm not all that sure how much time or motivation I'll have for casual reading. But I'd really, really like to.

At the moment I'm reading "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" by Allison Weir and am finding it terrifically interesting. I'm now about in the middle of his fifth wife, Katharine Howard. She'll be beheaded soon. It astounds me how accurate the series The Tudors is. The show does take artistic license, but damn. This book also makes me want to travel to England that much more. It has also reignited a rather passive love I have for history, and I'm seriously considering minoring in it. History and literature go together hand in hand.

If you're on Goodreads, look me up.

So that was the resolution last year. What stopped me? School, partly, but also my cycling. I get so disinterested in books sometimes. I may want to read but can't find it in me to read. It happens especially when I'm reading a more difficult book. Last year I slowed down considerably with The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. That said, I completely recommend the novel. Narrated by Death, it tells the tale of a small girl in Nazi Germany. It is not your typical WWII novel.

This reminds me: not too recently ago I had the idea of having a Literary Sunday kind of feature. I get so obsessed with religion and mormons that I forget my very first love. Surely that deserves more of my attention. Maybe I'll do that.

Anyway, this year's resolutions:

1) Try my damndest to not be so self-deprecating. This is especially difficult to do in the throes of a bad depression, but I need to do it. A few days ago it was bad, so I wrote down everything I was worrying about with regard to myself and my life. It helped. Thinking about good things with regards to myself, however, doesn't come very easily to me.

2) Resolve to stop allowing feeling lame to get in the way of allowing friends and family to help me. I also used this resolution today when I brought up a few posts of mine at Main Street Plaza. Yes, I was lame and nominated myself, but I'm proud of those posts (Stupid Mormon Words and Stupid Mormon Phrases) and feel they deserve some consideration.

3) Keep going forward. I am terrified of going to school, to the point where I regularly attempt to convince myself it is not only better but safer to stay home instead. It's enticing, but I'm not happy here. I'm just not.

And that's really it. If I keep thinking I'll come up with more, but with the year looking like it does I don't need more. Simple is best, for sure. I might also try to clean up my posts, but I won't make any promises. This isn't an especially serious blog (well it is, but it's hardly academic), and I don't want it to be. However, it would be a good exercise in writing, which I don't do nearly as often as I should or would like.

I'd also resolve to send in my resignation, but I've already done that.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Patriarchal Blessing

Here you go, folks. I keep meaning to post this but forget to. I'm going to leave out the first paragraph, you know. So-and-so, in the name of Jesus Christ, blahblahblah. This was given in September 2000.

I will admit, also, that I'm slightly afraid someone here is going to be "this isn't that stupid. it made you cry and really angry? dunno why." but it did.

This is also word for word. Spelling, grammar, all of that. One thing I can't bring myself to do is add in the double spaces after every period--can't blame the lady who did that. She's older and that used to be the rule, one I know personally to be a very difficult one to get over.

And now...

This blessing shall be unto you the mind and will of the Lord concerning His love for you, and your membership in His church.

Now, dear daughter, you are special unto your Heavenly Father. While you lived with Him in your pre-earth life, you lived among the noble and the great. You prepared yourself for mortality. You were schooled by your Elder Brother in the great plan He presented at the council, to come to this earth and have the opportunity to work out your salvation, then return and live with Him. Now, in your pre-earth life, you were valiant and faithful. You were of the believing blood. You accepted your Savior, and the great plan. You were expedient in encouraging and fostering others to do likewise. As you were schooled and trained there, you became knowledgable and desired to serve the Lord in many capacities. You were fore-ordained, blessed, and given certain talents there. Among the gifts you were given was the power and gift of discernment. Remember, dear daughter, that this gift is yours, and you will always know the truth. You were always be able to discern one from the other. Follow that which is good, and do the things which will enable this gift to bring blessings into your life, above and beyond measure. You were also given the talent of faith. It has been prescribed to you as one of your valuable talents. It will lead you in the direction the Lord wants you to go.

Now, dear daughter, you were one of the noble and great ones. You were chosen before you were born to the House of Israel. You are a daughter of Sarah. You will receive your blessings from Ephraim. He who was called by the Lord to preside over the Priesthood in these latterdays. This is your right and claim to Abrahams blessings. it is your right and claim to the Celestial Kingdom of God if you will but keep His commandments, and weave into every fiber of your being the eternal truths that have been disclosed unto you. Also other truths that will be disclosed to you as time goes on. You are a daughter of God, and He loves and cares for you. He wants you to be happy here, and when this life is over, He wants you to return and live with Him in the great Celestial Kingdom among the Gods.

Dear daughter, you are choice and special. Insomuch that you have been singled out, and have escaped the pollutions of the world because of your testimony, and have joined His only true church, lean upon the Lord. He loves you, He will not leave you comfortless. He will come unto you, and give you answer to your prayers. He will bless you in times of need with a guiding hand. His counsel for you is; gain an added testimony and knowledge of the Gospel. Do this by reading from the Book of Mormon. Make the blessings of the Prophets yours, that you might be spared from the sins of this generation through studying the Book of Mormon. Remember always that he loves and cares for you. He will give you answer to your prayers. The answers will come by your thinking out your problems, then presenting them to the Lord. As you ask Him which is right and what you should do to solve your problem, your bosom will burn, and you will know that He is your God. That He is your Savior, and Redeemer. That He is the Holy One of Israel, your Elder Brother, Jesus the Christ.

Now, keep the commandments, seek good company. As you go to school, live and keep your standards. Don't let them be lowered at any time for some momentary pleasure. If you will do this, God will honor your requests, and make you a great spiritual leader in His kingdom. You will truly be a daughter of Sarah, and a daughter of Rachael. You will become like all the chosen of Israel.

Now be patient and kind to your folks. They might not see things as you do, but set and example for them. You will find that these things will change. Always be found doing the things you should be doing at the right time, that His spirit might be with you, that you can be a missionary in the service of His kingdom, bringing many friends into the church. I bless you to this end, dear daughter, and say unto you; the Lord loves you. You are special unto Him. He will reveal His secrets unto you in the hour you will need them. You will become mighty in His church, insomuch that you will become a mother of righteousness and truth. When you seek out your companionship, seek for someone who will be able to take you to the Holy House of the Lord, where the blessings of the Temple will be bestowed upon you. You will have the great Celestial Marriage the Lord wants you to have. He will bless you with kind and loving children. He will bless you if you seek for it, a companion who can stand upon the principles of truth that you do. take nothing less than this, dear daughter. For these are the valuable things in life. They are the things that will take you back to your great Heavenly Home as you sojourn here in mortality. Always remember who you are. That you are a daughter of God, that He has sent you here. That He cares for you. So stand close to Him, and be in remembrance of Him for the things you will need help and guidance in. For you will receive His help in the hour you need it.

Now, Heavenly Father, bless this thy daughter. Bless her in all the things she might stand in need of. Bless her with health, strength, and wisdom, that she might have the power of discernment, that she will be lead down the paths of truth and righteousness. that she will bea ble to return unto thee, along with her love one's to the great Heavenly Home that thou has prepared for those who love thee.

Heavenly Father, I seal this special daughter of thine, up unto thee, that she might be protected from the sins of this world. That she might know thee, "the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent." That she might be caught up when thou cometh, which will be soon, to reign among the Lord of Lord's, that she will be caught up in the clouds of heaven to meet all the resurrected Saints. To be there with all who choose to live after thy pattern, to become like thee. May she be an inheritor, and live among the Kings and Queens of heaven. May this lot befall her. May she seek after these things and take nothing short of this great honor. Heavenly Father, we bless this daughter with all the things she might stand in need of. May thy attending Angels look after her. That she might live close unto thee. Bless her, and make her the promise, if she will keep thy commandments, she will be a mother of truth and righteousness, that thy blessings will follow her. I make her these promises, Heavenly Father, and say unto her; be faithful, keep the commandments, weaving into every fiber of her being these sacred truths the Savior has laid down for us. If she will do this, she will rise in the morning of the first resurrection, with her family, loved, ones, and all the Saints of God, to live with thee in the great eternal home among the Gods. May this lot befall her. May this be that which she seeks after, and is desirous of. I make these promises unto her upon her faith and faithfulness, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, Amen.

Nominate me?

First, happy New Years everyone! Hope you had an amazing night. My kids got to stay up for the first time. Joseph, the littlest one, made it to within twenty minutes of midnight. The other two were wide awake.

Second: So kids, I've been really sick the last few days and haven't had any sort of brain function to even consider posting and I still kind of don't (but now that I've said that, tons of ideas will come to mind)

In the meantime, though, PLEASE NOMINATE ME FOR A BRODIE!

Edit: I just looked back and had NO IDEA, y'all. Thank you to whomever nominated me, it really means a lot. I guess I'm not all that familiar with my own blog post titles! But really, I appreciate your support. Loads.


Wishing you all the best in the coming year!