Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Please Read: On Drowning

I read this last year and feel strongly that it bears annual repeating. This is one thing that scares the living CRAP out of me, for both myself and especially my kids. I've had a close call. It's nothing to mess around with.

Please read and share this post: Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

The most important bit to know is this: People (and children especially) who are drowning are not yelling and not splashing. They don't look like they're drowning--unless you know what to look for. 

And, as the article states, if your kids become quiet while swimming, get your ass over there and find out why.

Excerpt from the article:

There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC).(emphasis added)

Friday, May 27, 2011


Y'all know Lady Gaga, right? (This isn't about her, just using her as a template)

I read an article the other day having something to do with her--honestly I only remember the comments--and readers quickly fell into a debate on her sexuality and the genuineness thereof. (oh! here it is, but i'll give you the cliff's notes):

Commenter 1: Is she right in being such a strong advocate for the GBLTQ community? She's not gay. Commercialism at its finest. It pisses me off as a gay man.

Commenter 2: Dude, she's said she's bisexual on a number of occasions.

C1: Whatever. She's always hooking up with guys in her videos.

C3: Nuh-uh! Have you seen the "Love Game" video? She totally macks on a chick there.

C1: Doesn't make her bi.

C2: Who are you to decide whether or not she's bi? This is such a big problem for bisexuals. Can't be part of either community. Either with 'em or against 'em, jesus.

C4: She said she was attracted only physically to women, that she couldn't connect with them on an emotional level. She's not bi.

And on and on and on.

I felt C1's concerns during Prop 8. I kept arguing against the proposition and after a while felt like I shouldn't be doing it. I'm not gay. I'm married to a man. I have found women attractive before (wasn't about to say that yet, shh!). Still! I felt like I shouldn't be fighting their cause. I wondered if it wasn't my place. Maybe because I felt like a fake. Maybe because I was fighting against the church just as much as I was fighting against the proposition.

But beyond that: this issue of sexuality, bisexuality specifically. I've heard on a number of occasions that bisexuals are treated as if they can't have their cake and eat it too (a terrible phrase in this situation, really).

Is this a political issue? The gay community has a justifiable cynicism if not hatred toward the straight community. Is this a matter of Us vs. Them? Group mentality? And let's not blame only the gay community for this cynicism. Heterosexuals are constantly berating bisexuals as well for simply wanting to be rebellious or fake or whatever. Ask anyone. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

And let's for a minute consider the other argument brought up here. Gaga allegedly stated she was really only physically attracted to women but didn't feel she could feel an emotional attraction. It sounds odd, I guess, but I think most of us have at one point or ten felt a purely physical attraction to someone we otherwise found totally unattractive.

But Gaga is suddenly not bisexual to these people. Her alleged limited attraction to women negates her claim to bisexuality, and it makes me wonder what makes you bisexual and what, if anything, cancels that out--can you be a poseur if you're genuinely attracted in any way?

It's all bullshit, really. It's never anyone's right to decide how gay or straight someone else is. If you don't like someone fucking with your sexual identity, privilege, or rights, don't fuck with theirs. Period.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Faith in Self

I've a big, fat, ugly problem with the idea that one cannot be happy or blessed if God or Jesus isn't thrown into the mix.

Y'all, this idea is everywhere lately.

A very very very Christian friend of mine wrote, "I may not see myself as anyone worth much of anything, but Jesus loves me, cherishes me–who could ask for more?"

It reminded me of a local Methodist announcement board (y'know, those that they have outside the church with often quirky and "clever" sayings for all to see?). It said "In order to make God great, you have to be less."

I rolled my eyes at first, but an acquaintance said "truer words!" and mine eyes were opened.

This is the problem. Not humility! But the feeling that without god, I am worthless and with god, I am worthless. The same church had before advertised "If you follow yourself, you've a fool for a leader" or some shit like that.

Do you feel awesome about yourself yet?

Then--and I don't frequent this discussion board at all anymore because it just pisses me off--I ran into a blog post over at Feminist Mormon Housewives because someone I like wrote it. Nat discusses the YW value of faith and asks "how can we best put this into action?" She talks about faith being nothing if you've no faith in yourself. It's well worth the read but the comments...well, here's your cliff's notes:

"Where's the mention of the Atonement? Of Jesus Christ? Of our Heavenly Father? Faith in oneself is nothing without Jesus."


It made me so mad.

On a related note, there's the idea I've ran into all my life--Mormon and not--that if I just gave my anxiety to god he'd take it away.That I lacked faith if I couldn't or "wouldn't." Even my father, who knows how awful our condition is, gives some credence to this idea.

Dad, Dad, Dad.

He of all people ought to know better. I think he has an inkling, but we know how hard it is to deny lifelong teachings. You tell yourself that even though life is hard--nay, damn near impossible--now, it could be tragic if you changed anything.

But God doesn't take anxiety away. He adds to it.

Just because you walk away from God doesn't mean the anxiety and bullshit goes away with him. Not entirely. I've this sneaking suspicion that it's because God doesn't exist. It has nothing to do with God or his religions. It has everything to do with chemicals and constructs and how your brain is structured.You only have so much control, but you do have some control. I've learned this and am still learning this, and it has nothing to do with God.

Learning that you're worth it gives you faith. Denying your problems don't work. Trusting in God and not in yourself doesn't work. At all.

There's something amazing about the process of discovery of your own worth. That you, not God, can do it. That you, not God, did it. All because you believed in yourself. That's powerful. That's hope. That, y'all, is harder than belief in the divine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

For parents.

Dudes. I haven't read the book, but I'm so plugging it.

Go the [expletive] to Sleep: A Salvo for Tired Parents --NPR

Excerpt below!

The owls fly forth from the treetops.
Through the air, they soar and they sweep.
A hot crimson rage fills my heart, love
For real, shut the [expletive] up and sleep.
The cubs and the lions are snoring,
Wrapped in a big snuggly heap.
You're cute as hell and smart as [expletive]
But why in the [expletive] won't you sleep?

Seriously. I've some pregnant friends and family right now who I'd love to give a copy to, but no one who would approve. Which is too bad.

Interestingly enough, it's funnier with the bleep.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Feminism and Atheism

I reconnected with an old friend of mine almost three years ago, and one of our first conversations brought up the concept of feminism.

"I have a hard time describing myself as a feminist," I said.

"But you sound like one. You believe like one." (paraphrase)

And I knew that, but it still bothered me to give myself that label. Not because I'm against labels (in fact I'm all for them, in a personal sense), but because I'm uncomfortable with the many negative connotations. It's one of those ideographs, words that make people stop thinking. That's not what I want.

Now I feel I'm unworthy of the label. I'm not activist enough. I'm not passionate enough. I'm not aware enough of misogyny in my life--aside from the church. I imagine that the more I involve myself in the outside world the more I'll feel it. However, I'm not expert enough to argue the cause very well.

But it's progressing. At the beginning of the semester, a class of mine was discussing Kate Chopin's short story, "The Story of an Hour." Because we had earlier discussed how the personal beliefs of the author can sometimes play a part in her work, I decided I'd bring up my observation that Chopin seemed feminist. My professor dismissed me.

"No. I've read excerpts where she professed a love for her husband. She doesn't hate men."

I picked up my jaw, but I said nothing.

I hated that I said nothing, but I said nothing.

And that is one reason I don't like to consider myself feminist. I'm hesitant to be "that girl." I am thinking about that, though--is it worse to remain quiet, or worse to chance annoying people enough that they'll completely avoid you and dismiss everything you say? I know one doesn't have to be a jerk to spark discussion of controversial topics. In fact, I've learned that changing minds is best done when you're assertive and confident--not aggressive and an asshat. But it's also a matter of venue.

Then there's the atheism.

I lean more this way, and I have for a while. I even changed my "religious views" on facebook to atheism for a little bit, but that was uncomfortable too. But "agnostic" didn't fit the bill either. It's set to "none" at the moment, but only because I don't fucking know.

And I would like to know. There's a peace and a power for me in being able to put a name to the feeling. I can't say I don't believe in god for some reason, and yet the logic of a god (specifically the christian god) doesn't pass the test for me. I'm not theist. I'm more atheist, but I can't say it out loud. I don't know why. Atheism doesn't mean I don't think there's a chance. I also know there are things we cannot explain, but there were things people couldn't explain years ago that science has now explained. Yet that doesn't mean science will ever explain everything. Is everything explainable?

So I don't know. I suppose "atheist" is the best classification. It's just very loaded, very negative. And that's a real problem--people should be able to be atheist without chasing others away in horror, just like Christians should be able to be Christians without other people shying away in horror.

For the record, I'm just as annoyed by militant athiests as I am militant christians.

These are strong terms, feminism and atheism. They mean different things to different people, and I tend to think I need to be all the way in, embrace it, before I call myself either one. As it is I run in with people who  think "feminist" equals "man hater" and atheism means "godless fucking asshole christian hater who arrogantly decides she knows everything." It just wears me out.

Because that's not what it means, but no matter how many times you calmly correct false perceptions, many people will never hear it. They don't want to. It makes things far too complicated. And even when I'm up for a debate, I'm not always prepared enough. I don't like debating unless I'm confident I'll win.

I wonder if a relabeling would be smart or even necessary--or if its just another way to dismiss important issues.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Santorum. And other things.

As soon as I can get my ass in gear I plan to post on my ever evolving views on what marriage ought to be. In other words, not what the LSD church teaches you it is. Perfect perfect must be perfect everything must be perfect and god forbid you ever disagree or argue or anything.

You get the fucking idea. I've done so much thinking about it. Eric and I get along and we're best friends in a lot of ways, but there are secrets--at least on my end.

I'm just...finals. I've so much re-reading to do, revising, self-quizzing, bullshit like that. Next Wednesday I'll be free. For the most part.

But for today, do me a favor. Allow me a moment of total immaturity. Today I will be 12-years-old. I was already told this was "old news" but I didn't know. Not until Jon Stewart told me! (I get my news from Jon Stewart)

Google "Santorum" for me. Or, I guess, lemme do it for you.

Not "Rick Santorum"--just "Santorum."

Yes, he's a Republican which makes it all the more giggly.

Doesn't help that his name rhymes with Dick.

Oh! Okay. Real quick. So I went to my daughter's class today to bring her class birthday cupcakes. While they're outside eating them, one particularly chatty and very chill little girl looks at me and says, "You're supposed to be in my church, aren't you? But you don't come."

"Nope," I said.

So fun to have little girls who inadvertently spread teh guilt. I'm not worried about myself, but the kids. Just what they need. "Uhm..." There are so many mormons at this school, in this city--she's been asked this question and variations on it so often this year. Her best friend asks too, especially once our names were read in what-would-be our new ward. "Why don't you come?"

You think she knows? No. Because we're not sure how to say "because it's all bullshit" without passing on the message that her family and friends are ridiculous.

Although one time I did lose it a little bit in a surprising fit of "because church [any church] makes mommy and daddy feel icky and unhappy and bad about ourselves." Which isn't the entire reason, but a big one.

Which leads me to our local Methodist church sign: In order to make God greater, you have to be less.


Friday, May 6, 2011


I'm so wired these days.


And spending money like we have it. Which, btw, we don't. But it's little things. Always little things.

Like a book! Y'all, I've been jonesing for this book for...ever and because I can never ever go to the store for "one thing" I found myself in the book department (because I live in a shitty city with NO BOOKSTORE) and found my book!

Not "Annie," though I do so much want to read that book. I do love me some controversy.

This one, Forever by Judy Blume, has it's own controversy. It's been on my mind for a long, long time. I've denied myself because I'm afraid of a few things:

1) I'm easily influenced by books, and I think this one might be too closely related to my story I've been working on forever that won't leave me the fuck alone.


2) Uhm. Jesus, I forgot. Well, I don't have the time for it right now. But #2 was something else.

It's a miracle if I've written anything semi-coherent. I think my mind gave up once I sent in that gigantic (for me) rhetorical analysis paper. Which I got an A on, thankyouverymuch.

I have so many blog topics on the brain right now and while I might have some time to write them, I don't feel like I can. While it may seem otherwise, I do care about writing a semi-decent post.

One and a half more weeks, kids.

I'm looking forward to summer. Not the heat--dear god, the heat--but, you know, chill time.

But I always idealize shit like this. I hope this summer is more fun.

Oh--my girl turns 8 next week. First--weird. Second, so far: nothing. Not since the "omg your sweet daughter of God is turning 8 let's get her dunked." Then again, the mass stake baptism kids day for her doesn't occur until the first Sunday next month, so we'll see. It seems the higher ups know where we stand. Our would-be-bishop awkwardly invited Eric and us to church back in April, and Eric said "y'know, that's prolly not going to happen" and the bish said "yeah, I figured."

I'm surrounded by these people and yet so many of them are so goddamn chill. We really hit the jackpot. It makes up for the crappy town. I'm just not feeling it.

Oh well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Self-righteousness is everywhere.


(also, i'm on a f-bomb spree. deal.)

I'm hearing it on both sides about this bin Laden thing. "We shoulld've tortured the motherfucker!" "Let's not take joy in death!"


It's in my sustainability class, too--twelve weeks into this thing and I'm finally hearing something other than OMG CAPITALISM SUCKS AND WE'RE RUINING THE EARTH!!!
Which, fine! you know? if it's true. And I'm not a big fan of our system, but a while of crazy-evangelical preaching that i'm killing my grandchildren gets a smidge old. STFU i can't hear in between your rantings.

Which, I would think anyone whose been through the religious grinder would understand. I want to hear both sides, and every fucking time I say that someone has to get all "well scientists have said..." and I don't fucking care. I WANT TO READ IT. I want to hear about it! If I can't or I'm somehow kept from it, I get really really suspicious. I begin to question. Too many people who ought to know better tell me I shouldn't, that it's bad because the thinking has been done for us.


I also become cynical when a professor pulls the ALL CAPS AND !!!! on me (literally, it's an online course).

I'm just tired. I can only do so fucking much. I want to be happy too, you know? This omg we're gonna die!! shit isn't good for a girl like me.

But it's a fine line, isn't it, between faith and evidence. There's only so much you can do.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Annie on my mind

Over the last few days I've read so many glowing reviews for Annie on My Mind that it's on my summer TBR list for sure. It's a coming-of-age tale of two girls whose friendship turns to love. Their relationship, for various reasons both predictable and not, is forbidden.

So I went to Goodreads to update my list and to read the reviews there. After all I'd heard of this book, these reviews surprised me. Tons (like 85) Barnes and Noble readers give the novel 4.5 stars. Goodreads gives this book about 3. So I'm reading and then, then, I hit this review.

You'll enjoy it. I did.

"Had to read for controversial/banned books lesson for YA lit. class. Review: Dated (1982) book about a girl in high school who falls in love with another girl. Aside from being confused about their sexual orientation, the girls are not very good at practicing restrain or self-control. Personally, a disturbing subject and more so because of the point of view.


...Wait for it...

I am forever grateful for my friends in BYU 32nd ward who were with me throughout the day helping me get through this book. It was a serious ordeal for me and their love and support was the only thing that got me to the end." -- Goodreads (emphasis added)

sigh. I'm happy she was able to "get through" her "serious ordeal." Later she says she wanted to read an LBGTQ book, so props to her. Still, "serious ordeal"? I hope she came out with a greater appreciation and less "ew, gross."

(can i also just say that I want to take a YA lit class? PLEASE?)

Anyway, on my TBR list. So many books are. I'm in a little over my head, but oh well. I always romanticize things in my head. Summer will be wonderful. I will stay within a really air conditioned home and read in a quiet room (HA!). I will do all these things. I forget how tired the heat makes me. Or how easily distracted I get.


(Because I posted on it yesterday...)
As for the bin Laden thing: I've heard so many different reactions. Mine, obviously, was one of "glee." We got the bastard! But I have appreciated hearing different perspectives. They made me think and continue to think. Still, as of this moment, I'm glad the asshole is gone.

And for right now, that's all I want to say.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We got the bastard!

Oh. Bring the 2012 elections on, bitches.

Osama bin Laden Dead, Obama to Reportedly Announce--Huffington Post 

and to y'all who are so damn cynical right now:

you are right
this isn't over
neither is the war
something might happen

just have a beer and enjoy the fucking moment. we don't have many happy moments in the news lately.