Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dear Box

Dear Box,

Your blatant disregard for natural processes and lack of respect for my wishes, feelings, and comfort need to cease and desist immediately.

I blame you for my lack of energy, general moodiness, my inability to concentrate and for the constant panic I walk around with. I'm too tired to stay up and too paranoid to go to sleep. Also, there is not enough hot water in the world to fill your insatiable need for hot showers; there is certainly not enough in our apartment, ever.

Also, you know how I feel about pumping myself full of pills (which you then proceed to ignore, anyway).

I am at my wits' end.



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mentoring Field Trip

Last week the mentor program took the kids and their mentors to BYU. The whole purpose of the trip was to inspire the kids to begin thinking about their futures -- whether they would like to go to college, join the military, or turn gay. (JUST KIDDING! I'll explain in a second.)

Anyway, we started the whole day at the Hinckley Center, which was really awesome because even though I was on campus when they dedicated the building, I had never actually been inside. (Side note: I got AWESOME parking for this whole thing. Best parking I've ever gotten on campus. Period.)

I walked in and couldn't spot my little mentee and they started 10 minutes early, the punks. The BYU representative was an older man, he said he was 70 or something, and so right away I was bored. I don't know how the kids endured it. I did try to watch the whole thing the way I thought I would if I had been their ages (anywhere from 3rd to 9th grade, I believe).

Riley Nelson was the next speaker. The old guy really built him up as being the most popular athlete on campus and all this jazz. And Riley spoke about adversity and putting the work into making your dreams come true. He had a few good quotes that I would've written down if I had come prepared. After what seemed like a long time, he opened up the time for questions. Little kids ask dumb questions. And they ask the same dumb questions that have been answered 3x already. But that's fine. Riley handled it really well. He then let the kids line up and he signed autographs and shook everyone's hand. My mentee waited until they were clearing the room and going on to the next thing before he had the guts to ask Riley a question, and then he asked something that had already been asked.


But we did get some good pictures. (I don't know the rule about posting children's pictures online without parental consent, so... I'm not going to post anything questionable.)

We moved outside where the BYU ROTC 5-man drill team did a little presentation. It was cool, and it turns out that BYU won first place at their competition this year. They usually do really well, too, and that's against all the military schools, like West Point. The boys especially loved handling the sword and the 12-lb. guns they toss and twirl about.

After the presentation, we went back into the room so the ROTC guys could talk about being in the ROTC and what their goals and ambitions are. Ramon told me that he wanted to join the air force and was quite taken with the guys. He was also starving, and couldn't wait until lunch.

We played tag walking to the Canon Center and were the first people in. They opened up the whole place to us, and we got to go and pig out. I had a salad. Ramon had everything that could fit on his plate. He also made sure that he kept an eye out for the ROTC guys, because he was determined to sit with them; he did find a spot, but that left me without a lunch buddy. If only I had had my Kindle or my book! I would have sat and read, happily, but without reading material, I didn't want to look like a loser, so I decided to sit at another table with a lone ROTC guy, and then we were joined by some other kid that I chatted with all through lunch. It was very extroverted of me: very out of character.

After lunch, we headed over to the Planetarium. I was excited about this, but it turns out that they forgot about us, and we spent a lot of time playing with everything they have out at the science building. Which was fine. When we finally got up to the Planetarium, I realized that we were in for a long afternoon. The lady next to me couldn't stay awake and was snoring quite loudly; on the other side, I had Ramon begging me to go to the bathroom. (Again. He had literally just gone before we walked in the room.) The lady showed us a movie and it was terribly boring and even though I had been most excited about going to the Planetarium, it became drudgery and I hated it. Ramon got mad at me because I wouldn't let him go to the bathroom. He said, "Fine. I'm not talking to you. And I'll just hold it!" And I said to myself, Great! You shouldn't be talking anyway and holding it is exactly what I want you to do!

After the Planetarium, though, I let Ramon go to the bathroom. The guy in charge told me that they were headed to the RB, so Ramon and I walked ahead of everyone because I knew where we were going. After going down the RB stairs, and then climbing them again because Ramon took off, and then going back down and up one more time, I began to wonder where everyone was. We did finally find them in one of the dance hall areas where the Young Ambassadors practice.

Now, the Young Ambassadors is a cool group. I know people who were in it. They get to travel all over the world doing performances and singing and dancing and all kinds of musical-ly things. I'm just not completely convinced that they let straight men perform. I think that the guys in the band part aren't gay. But the singers/dancers... I just don't know. Ramon hated everything about this portion of the day. He was tired, cranky, and ready to go home. AND he didn't want to dance in front of everyone. He did a few of the stretches, and that was it. He refused to participate in learning the dance they taught and he refused to go and sit where they were mingling with the kids. I couldn't get him to do anything, and honestly, I was having my own issues and couldn't participate. So we sat on the window ledge looking like complete boobs. If I had known anything about Young Ambassadors when I was in school, and if I had a teaspoon of talent, I would have tried to join up. They have such awesome opportunities! In fact, they had just gotten back from Cuba! (I didn't know Americans could travel to Cuba? Haha...)

By the time I got Ramon on the bus, I was tired and exhausted and extra crampy. How do teachers take whole classes on field trips? One 9-year old was enough to drive me batty.

Over all, I think the kids enjoyed the day; though, I found it to be really boring. I hope Ramon does join the Air Force though, or decides to do something really respectable and worthwhile with his life. Although, I wouldn't be surprised if he forgot all his ambitions to join the Air Force before I see him again this week.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Own (Not So) Sneaky Hate Spiral

Please read this:

And you will understand how my weekend went. The series of events were quite different, but I think the end result was close enough. That is why this weekend I was not to be found outside of my room for longer than a few minutes at a time.

Someone would have died. 


Today is not much better, but as I had to suck it up for work and I am trying to be on my best behavior. So far, so good, I think. There was one major test of my patience only about 15 minutes after I arrived, so fine... I handled it to the best of my ability. One of the annoying voices called, and I dealt with her call without getting snappy at her.

From Hyperbole and a Half
But that doesn't mean that at any moment, I could snap.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fat: We don't deal with those kind of people

I was flipping through channels last night waiting for a phone call and saw this most recent episode of What Would You Do? It's an interesting hidden camera program that puts people in really awkward positions and films how they would react. For example, the clip above, showing a hoity-toity boutique in New Jersey where the sales lady is being really rude and offensive to a size 14 girl. The sales lady and the girl are actors, and so is the size 4 best friend, but the customers are real and their reactions are very real.

The first lady that they showed who walked over and said, "I'm a customer, but if you come with me, I'll show you some lovely things..." I just loved her. By the end of the three minute segment, she was in tears because she was so angry on behalf of a complete stranger.

I think it hit me even more because I've been in this situation. I was at Nordstrom Rack near Salt Lake, and had quickly noted that there was nothing in my size. So I went rack to rack looking for my sister, who is much smaller than me, and was approached by an employee who simply said, "You won't find anything here for you." She said it with such a tone of disgust and superiority that my whole face flushed in embarrassment and my whole body shook with indignation. I was too humiliated to speak, but I think I managed an apologetic, "I'm not looking for me." She sniffed and walked away and the whole time I just wished I had told her off. I quickly found my sister and hid behind her the remaining tour of the store.

What would I have done if someone had overheard and actually stood up for me? What if I had stood up for myself? I guess I will never really know.

There are times when I enter a new store that I would like to save myself the embarrassment altogether and walk straight up to a clerk and ask, "Do you carry this size?" And if not, walk right out if they say no. I have never had the gumption to do it, and normally just stick to shopping where I know I can find something to try on.

At the beginning of this segment, the narrator talks about how fashion caters to the smaller sizes and for the average American woman, it's hard to keep up and be fashion forward. That much is true. I always say that I would dress much differently if I were smaller (and wealthier), because the things I like vs. the things that are available in my size are very different. I pretty much hate my entire wardrobe. But in the end, as a consumer -- while we are supposed to wield the power with supply and demand -- we have to purchase the things that are available to us. This means a lot of ugly prints, stupid sayings, and more polyester than should ever be legal. It's not like we can walk around naked in protest... Although, maybe we should?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

From Sea to Shining Sea

All of the states shaded are places I've visited. I counted the states that I drove through. I may not have visited the cities in-depth, but I think smelling their cows and seeing the landscapes constitute a good enough visit. I did not include the states that I've only seen their airport. (Though, I think that would have only added two more states: Arizona and Minnesota.) And actually, now that I think about it, I think I have driven through/visited Montana and maybe even South Dakota, but that was before I can remember.

All this shows me is that I have a lot more traveling to do even within the Country's borders.

Hmmmm... where to go next?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

13 Articles of Healthy Chastity

There's a lot of reading to do on this topic, but I think it's one worth looking at considering the ages of your daughters at home or the young women in your stewardship. A friend of mine follows this blog and sent me the comments that followed this initial post. I think the topic of sexuality and sex education in the church is an important one that is often overlooked. You hear all kinds of weird stories about girls that get married and know absolutely nothing about sex, and then you read some of these comments about women who felt guilty and ashamed for much of their young adult lives because of what they are taught.

I would like to end with a list of Thirteen suggestions for helping Mormon women have more sex-positive experiences:
  1. Overhaul the YW manuals, specifically emphasize chastity, virtue, and modesty as positive powerful choices, affirm the sacred nature of our bodies and our respect for God.
  2.  Remove the defensive fear-based vignettes, change emphasis from ‘camel-nose-rape-one-slip-n-you’re-toast to the healing power of the Atonement.
  3. Ask Youth leaders/teachers specifically to avoid object lessons that demean our divine nature or compare young women to objects (wilted flowers, tainted food, chewed up gum, battered wood, cabbages or licked cake).
  4. Stop talking about modestly as anything other than a sign of self respect. Make boys guardians of their own virtue, girls have no stewardship over boys thoughts or actions.
  5. Ask teachers not to have activities emphasizing outward appearance (like make overs and fashion shows) because teaching girls they must always be “modestly hot” in order to attract a husband is still teaching the false illusory power of attracting male attention with our bodies.
  6. Root out references to the myth of male weakness. Emphasize that men can control themselves.
  7. Include nuance in discussions about sex thoughts, sex discussions, sexual desire, and porn. Our Young Women will think about sex, they will see porn, they will feel desire, they need to talk about sex with reliable adults, they need tools, not blanket prohibitions and condemnation.
  8. Include lessons on physical sexual and emotional abuse, and unrighteous dominion.
  9. Empower girls to listen to personal revelation.
  10. Emphasize that girls who are raped and abused are not responsible for their abuse. That there is no loss of chastity or virtue.
  11. Train bishops on what date/acquaintance rape looks like. On my small blog alone, I can think of dozens of women who were called to repentance after being raped.
  12. Encourage parents to have ongoing explicit age-appropriate discussions with their children about sex. It is vital that we lift the veil of silence and discomfort. Many Mormon parents are naively worried that they will give their children ideas, or somehow corrupt them with facts. The fact is that children are surrounded by sex, lots of bad information, and tons of sexually explicit materials. But it is a proven fact that the more reliable factual knowledge kids have about sex, the more they talk to their parents about sex, the less likely they are to engage in it. It may be too much to ask, but I dream of a day when the church provides parents with age appropriate manuals for a comprehensive factual approach to sex-education that uses words like penis and vagina and sex.
  13. I am going to introduce my final and perhaps most pressing suggestion with another comment from fMh by AJ:
Sexual abuse in my childhood had spurred in me an odd fascination with sex, leading to experimentation with masturbation and pornography. These issues were never addressed directly in YW. Everything I knew about the church’s stance on these issues came from reading the priesthood session talks in the conference ensigns. I felt such deep shame–not only was I a sinner, I was sinning in a way only boys were supposed to sin.
Talking to bishops was awkward at best, harmful at worst. I was asked such inappropriate questions as “did you orgasm?” and was even manipulated and seduced into a physical relationship with one of my bishops. More often the issues I faced when trying to confess these transgressions was embarrassment–more on the part of the bishop than myself.
These men intended to help me would turn bright red and stutter that I should just stop these behaviors. They were too embarrassed to provide real support.
Now–I think bishops are in general very good men trying hard to do God’s work. But I was very, very deeply hurt by the actions of some of the bishops I worked with as a teen.
The amount of pain and confusion caused by the bishop who developed a physically romantic relationship with me is immeasurable and ongoing. I believe he was essentially a good man who just made some very, very bad mistakes. He’s received his punishment and forgiveness and he continues to takes steps to ensure that he never hurts anyone that way again.
But after what I endured at his hands I feel it is absolutely 100% inappropriate for YW to be taught that they must discuss sexual transgressions with an untrained older man in order to obtain the Lord’s forgiveness. I won’t pass on that teaching to my daughters, and you can bet I’ll never be turning to a priesthood leader for counsel regarding my sexuality again. (This link is where the above list comes from. Don't waste your time reading the comments on this particular post. Rather, read the comments that come from the subsequent post if you want to see what I talk about the things that are skewed within the lessons that are being taught in the church:
I in no way want this to be misconstrued into thinking that I somehow have a problem with the Law of Chastity. I don't think it is archaic. I don't think it is an impossible standard. I do think that because we live in a world where sex and sexuality is constantly bombarding us... where we have to live inside our own heads that don't let us forget that we naturally have desires and inclinations... that we can set this topic aside and hope that young women are taught by someone else, or that they will naturally figure it all out without being traumatized by some of the stories and object lessons that they hear.

Of course, not everyone will be scarred by the way they learned about the Law of Chastity and sex. I certainly don't think I was. But I do remember when the newer edition of the For the Strength of Youth came out and I was aghast about the new rule that we were not allowed to wear sleeveless shirts and dresses. My mom had never allowed me to wear spaghetti strap shirts, but I was used to wearing shirts that had two or three inch (wide) straps. I remember complaing that, "No guy is going to be turned on by my SHOULDER! Really! My shoulder?!"

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

No one reads this, right?

I really liked the way I did my hair and make-up today, but I sort of forgot to take the pictures after I was dressed (I was, at least, in my night clothes). So I knew that I wouldn't be posting this picture on Facebook or anything, so I doctored it up with tons of photo editing, and in the end, I have a picture that I wanted to post somewhere but not in too public a place.

This is one of those posts where I really do hope no one reads my blogs and I'm just posting into an empty cyber space.

If you do read my blog, and you are offended by this picture. Sorry?

Monday, March 05, 2012


On Saturday, this guy took Tara B, Megan, James and me out beyond Saratoga Springs, on the other side of Utah Lake, to shoot a few of his guns.

I've only been "shooting" one time before, and that was with my dad's handguns. Tommy had a 10-guage, 12-guage, a .22 with a scope (!) and we had a good time shooting at targets, soda bottles and tree stumps.
The weather couldn't have been better. I had expected to encounter snow and mud, and we found neither. The sun shined on us for most the day -- I didn't take off my sunglasses until the sun started setting behind the mountain. The backdrop was just perfect with Utah Lake in the background. I didn't even need to put the battery in my electric coat.

Tommy planned the whole outing and had everything we needed: guns, ammo, victuals, pop and water, gloves (though, I brought my own), etc. etc. He claims that he isn't a planner, but we seriously had everything we could have possible needed.

Tara is from Wyoming, and I don't know if that is the reason why she is practically a professional, or if it's just the family she was born in to, but between her, Tommy and James, Megan and I had great instructors on how to use and load all our guns.

I loved this little gun and the scope.
I think it looks awkward when I hold the guns because I'm left-handed. That MUST be the reason.
I've often heard how badly shotguns kick and expected my shoulder to be hurt and bruised, but nothing of the sort. I didn't have any problems, and Tommy's guns didn't have a kick to them at all. They were heavy, and I could definitely feel it in my arms yesterday. I was the only one to shoot a flying glass bottle, but I was terrible at hitting the launched clay pigeons. My favorite was that .22, the scope, and hitting the targets on the side of the hill. It was SO fun!

After a whole day of shooting, we decided to go ALL the way around Utah Lake. It was an adventure that found us in a small town called Goshen. By the time we got there, the sun was setting, but that didn't stop us from taking a detour up the side of a mountain, trying to get a closer look at some mystery on the mountainside. We still don't know what it is, because we couldn't get close enough and it was getting too dark. I love that Tommy, et. al., are so willing for detours and adventures!

We stopped at Cracker Barrel to grab dinner, played dirty Mad Libs in the car and then headed back to Tommy's to watch Mannequin. Remind me next time: I hate 80's movies. They are terrible, and this was no exception. But it was sort of a perfect way to end the day.

Friday, March 02, 2012

March Header

I like March because it is a whole month dedicated to Green. I love the color green.

Next week begins a month of crazy, busy. I start two classes: cake decorating and a writing class (in Heber) and I will be continuing my workouts at the gym with Alaina. (See her Facebook page here.)

For those of you wondering, I haven't noticed a huge physical change since I started working out with Alaina in January, but I feel stronger. And I bet I would have more energy if I weren't up at this hour touching up my blog. I love the program that Alaina has me on because the workouts are challenging and, dare I say? Fun. I was afraid that when I started, I would dread going and hate it the whole time I am working out, but really, I've started to enjoy it.

If only I could hire a personal chef, I think I would really be on track.

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