January 31, 2007

What kind of soul are you?

You Are a Prophet Soul

You are a gentle soul, with good intentions toward everyone.
Selfless and kind, you have great faith in people.
Sometimes this faith can lead to disappoinment in the long run.
No matter what, you deal with everything in a calm and balanced way.

You are a good interpreter, very sensitive, intuitive, caring, and gentle.
Concerned about the world, you are good at predicting people's feelings.
A seeker of wisdom, you are a life long learner looking for purpose and meaning.
You are a great thinker and communicator, but not necessarily a doer.

Souls you are most compatible with: Bright Star Soul and Dreaming Soul

Don't know if this is all true about me or not...I think I do tend to have great faith in people. Not that it really matters if I have faith in people anyway. Just thought I'd share.

And, I don't know about being a PROPHET soul...the initials GBH come to mind. I'd rather change those up to HGB. If you need to know what that stands for, I think Gluby knows.

January 29, 2007

My last temple experience

It was time to go...the youth temple night for baptisms for the dead was that night, and since I was a counselor in the Young Women presidency, I needed to be there on time in order to help out.

I had recently received my "Limited Use" recommend for adults who were able/worthy to do baptisms for the dead, but were unable to have a full-use recommend to do adult things in the temple like take out the endowment or other things. My bishop had a little group of women in the ward who had not taken out their endowment like I hadn't, and he pushed us to go to the temple to at least do baptisms for the dead.

I arrived, and since we were unsure how many kids were actually going to show up, I checked out a white jumpsuit to wear just in case I was also needed to perform baptisms. I changed in the girls' dressing room, and the Young Women president and I helped the girls in there until we went out and sat on the benches overlooking the font where the kids waited to begin doing baptisms.

It looked like enough kids showed up, so soon I was in the dressing room helping the girls with getting ready (and helping them stay quiet and reverent) after they came out of the water. The YW president was in the little hallway that led from the font to the dressing room, and she was handing out towels to them as they came up out of the water. She went to get more towels, so I helped her by taking over handing out towels as the girls got done. I sat on a little stool holding dry towels next to the guy who was reading the names to the baptism performer, and across from me sat my bishop (and friend) and one of the Young Men presidency members. I'd hand a towel to those leaving the water as they got to the top of the steps, and then I'd get another towel and wait for the next kid to come out of the water.

Fast forward to the next Sunday. The Young Women president, a very sweet woman who also happened to be the stake president's wife, stopped me in the parking lot at church and said she needed to talk to me.

"Um, Lisa, I hope you're not offended by this, but I was asked to talk to you about helping out in the temple. Um....you can't help with the baptisms like that anymore...can't hand out towels. What you can do is stay in the girls' dressing room to help out, or sit in the chapel and help anyone who needs you, but you aren't able to go into the font area anymore. I hope this doesn't upset you....." I could tell she felt really uncomfortable doing this. I wondered who had put her up to it. Probably my bishop, who was there that night. She is a very sweet, very calm and unassuming woman, and we were both highly uncomfortable. I guess it's also possible she talked to her husband about it if SHE was the one who didn't like it, and he told her to talk to me. I don't know.

I stood there feeling pretty stupid. I had no idea that I was unworthy to HAND OUT TOWELS. Especially if I was worthy to actually step into the font and perform baptisms. I didn't quite know what to say.

I answered her, "No, that's fine, no problem. OK. I'll remember. I won't do that again, now that I know it's forbidden."

She said she was sorry again, and she hoped I wasn't offended, and I assured her I wasn't offended, and I said something to make her feel better, and we said goodbye.

I wish that wasn't my last temple experience to remember. Before that it had always been a very special place to me, a place where I felt a lot closer to God. Not so much anymore.

January 28, 2007

Avatar Adventures

You may have noticed that I've suddenly got an avatar in my profile and on my comments...this is all thanks to my good friend (and future wife) from Sweden, GENILIMAA, whose artistic skills are simply awesome. The resemblance to me is uncanny! She caught the look of my three hairs to absolute perfection.

A few of my favorite gimps she's done over on her blog are:

Economy News Rooster and Old Gen
Gen with Green Hair
Gen in Licorice-Eating Euphoria


January 25, 2007

My Rocking Horse Winner*

I asked my son this morning who he'd pick to win the Super Bowl this year.

"Pffft. The Colts." Said with a supreme look of hauteur and a little shake of his head that only teenagers can make, meaning DUH. How could you not KNOW this?

"So you're pretty confident in that, then?"

"If Peyton Manning does what he's supposed to do and is capable of, then yeah, they'll win."

So, for all of you who asked, put your money on the Colts. And don't forget to share your winnings with me, and I'll think about whether or not he should get the money.

*The Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence

January 24, 2007

Calling All Blogaholics

It seems that another Blogaholics Anonymous meeting is in order.

Hi. My name is Sister Mary Lisa and I've been addicted to blogging for five months now. I get home from work and immediately sit down at the computer and check for replies to my comments out there. I check my favorite blogs for new writing, like a weak heroin addict looking for a fix. I've been blogging since August, and I love it Love It LOVE IT more each day. I have found my voice, and want to (over)use it.

I think I owe my family an apology for being an absentee member of the family...

And yet, I don't have any desire to quit blogging. I'm seriously considering looking into getting a laptop so that I can continue blogging and interacting with all my friends here, while also being with my family in the same room vs. being in the computer room alone, submerged in my fascinating world of blogging.

Sorry I didn't bring any doughnuts to this meeting like I promised.

January 22, 2007

My Son's Football Picks

This morning I asked my son if he knows who's playing in the Super Bowl (I don't follow football, but he was watching ESPN while eating breakfast, and I know that we always have a Super Bowl party sometime in early February) and he told me it was the Bears vs. the Colts. I'm not even sure why I asked, since I really couldn't care less.

He mentioned something while I was driving him to school this morning that I had forgotten about...

A couple years ago, when my son was 11 years old, there was a football pool at my work, run by the guys next door. Every week, they'd print me off a sheet, and try to get me to get involved in the pool. It cost $5, and the person who picked the most winning teams would take all the money, and any ties would be decided by the guess of the final score of Monday night's game added together. I got tired of them hounding me, so one week I had my husband fill out his picks and I put my money in.

Our son saw him picking teams, and wanted to pick too. The next week my husband advised me to quit wasting my five dollars, so my son asked if he could have the sheet of teams I had brought home. The next day, he handed me the sheet with his picks circled in crayon, and he told me he wanted to be included. I told him it was gambling, but he said, "I just want to see how I would do IF I was in the pool." I figured this was harmless, so I said I'd ask. They agreed, and I wrote the words FOR FUN on his sheet and turned it in. They gave me a special copy of everyone's picks, with his picks hand-written beside the legitimate picks.

You know what?? That little booger came in the top three every single week. At age 11! So one week, I decided to put in $5 for fun. Guess who won the $80? Of course I did. This threw me into a moral dilemma. His picks, my five bucks. Do I tell my son he won money gambling? Would this make him addicted to gambling? I didn't feel right with it, but didn't know what to do. I actually remember thinking, what would the church have me do? What kind of a mother wins a football pool on her son's picks, and then keeps the money? What kind of a mother actually lets her 11 year old make picks in the first place???

I kept the knowledge of his win secret, but I took him shopping soon after and bought him the expensive shoes he really wanted. The next week, I didn't put in $5, but his picks would have won. And of course, the week after, I gave in to temptation and put in another $5. His picks were second. I took that as a sign, and the week after, I didn't put any money on. Sadly enough, he would have won again. So I put money down again from then on for the rest of the season, and always it was the same, he'd come in the top three. One week, we won again, and again I kept it secret. Eventually he found out somehow. Which is what he brought up this morning ~ he figures I still owe him 80 bucks.

So now I figure, if he's going to be a gambling man, then we'd better teach him how to gamble smart. Not that he really needs to be taught, obviously. He does just fine on his own.

January 18, 2007

The Pursuit of Happiness

I've had happiness on my mind lately a lot. What exactly is happiness? Sometimes I think in our society we get caught up in thinking that happiness comes only from having things, like more money, a nicer house, better cars, great clothes, perfect kids or spouse, beauty, exotic vacations, etc. But I know people who have all those things, yet they're unhappy. And I've known people with virtually nothing who seem genuinely happy.

I've realized how much I've been changing in the last 5 months since leaving the church. Recognizing the church wasn't good for me was a good start. Then I started blogging and have discovered in myself a real need to have communication with myself and others, something I had been missing yet never recognized or felt the absence of until I suddenly felt the void being filled. I've begun to look at my life and who I really am with open, clear eyes...and there are parts of me that I'd like to change. I'd like to be happier. I'd like to become the woman I know I can be.

A friend of mine had some great advice on finding out who you are:
  • Make a list of all the things that make you happy. On the other side of the paper, make a list of all the things that drain you.
  • On the list of what makes you happy, put down other activies, actions, movies, hobbies, enjoyments that you might have but aren't sure yet.
  • Your purpose of the list is to find out who you are and what you want.
  • Continue to do the 'happy' things on the list and you will form a positive identity of who you are and what you want in life.

Happiness has been on my mind because of this list. I want to create one, but have discovered that I have no idea what makes me happy. I am someone who has always deferred to others, doing what they wanted to do, and conformed myself to be what they wanted me to be. I have rarely taken opportunities to reach for and obtain those things that I want, and suddenly I'm discovering that I don't like being that way. It is actually difficult for me to say, "This is what I want, and I will have it."

I could lay blame on others or the Mormon church for perpetuating this mindset. I have always been someone who detests confrontation, and sometimes I find that when I reach for something that makes me happy, I am thrown into confrontation with others who have expectations that are not met when I try something different that makes me happy. I feel like the little kid who reaches into the cookie jar, only to have my hand slapped just as I take the cookie, so I drop it and run crying from the room. I've learned over time not to even try to do some things that make me happy, as the battle and aftereffects negate the happiness I'd have felt if I'd gone for it. This is wrong, I see now. It's not fair to me, or to my kids who see this as an example.

Mormonism is so good at subtly and not-so-subtly giving women the message that we aren't worth much. We have to run every leadership decision that we make through the bishopric for approval. We always take a backseat to the men, from the time we are young. Even the temple sealing ceremony (so I've read) gives the message that women belong to men and must answer to them. Having this message reinforced throughout your entire life that as a woman you are somehow inferior does nothing for a woman like me, who resists confrontation and enjoys pleasing others.

It's something I've got to evaluate now, so I can undo those things that I've done to enable this circumstance in my life. I can lay blame all I want on others and the church, but really, if I'm completely honest, it has been within me all along to either accept or reject this kind of treatment. Now that I can see that, I recognize I've got some serious work to do.

It's not going to be easy.

To begin, here's the start of my list of things that make me happy:

  • Reading blogs
  • Writing in my blog
  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Talking about stuff
  • Reading books
  • Being with my girlfriends, including my sisters and sisters-in-law, doing things like ladies' nights out, shopping, going to lunch, talking on the phone
  • Travel

So what exactly is happiness? To me, it's being able to just be me, and do what I love doing, without fear and without apology.

January 16, 2007

Sum Wun is hilarious

Well, I popped over to visit Sum Wun's Blog, and found that he'd posted about the Kama Sutra just because I'd commented on his previous post that I'd like to see what he'd have to say about it.

He did not disappoint. The poems he wrote are great, and the pictures he included are awesome, especially for those of us with LDS baggage heritage. Check it out! If you're afraid of x-rated pics, rest assured Sister Mary Lisa would never lead you astray and into Satan's grasp. (Not HERE, at any rate).

Oh, yeah, another previous post of his worth reading: The Old T-Bone.

Let me know what you think.

January 15, 2007

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

A few incidents have happened recently that involve acquaintances from church.....

1. We went to dinner at our old friends' home about a week ago ~ we meet up with them maybe twice a year to have dinner and catch up. He used to be my bishop and she and I were visiting teaching partners for years, and we worked in the primary presidency together for years also. My son had told their son that day at school that we don't go to church anymore. They didn't mention any of that to us and we had a lovely time. I tried hard to discern if they knew about me, but I couldn't tell. I thought that was nice. He said the blessing on the food, and when he said, "We are so very grateful for the Gospel in our lives" I almost snorted. Almost.

2. Thursday afternoon, I got a call at home from a woman in my ward, inviting my husband and me to a White Elephant party at her home Friday night. I called her back once my husband gave me her phone message, and told her we had other plans but thanks for the invitation. She and I talked a bit about work (we have similar jobs) and the joys of being behind, and it was nice. At the end of the conversation, when I told her I had to get back to work, she said she missed seeing me at church. I said, "That's nice. Thanks for the invitation! Goodbye." What did she want me to say? It's not like I've ever been invited to her house before.....if we were close friends, MAYBE I'd discuss my not being at church with her. Maybe.

3. Today, my cell phone rang. I've only had this phone for a few months, and the only person I gave it to was the primary president I worked with just before I left the church, so she must have given out my number. She's friends with the man who called me...I'll call him Jay. He was a single man who was in my Gospel Principles class when I taught it for 3 years. He was actually only in that class for a short period of time, maybe a few months, before he moved.

He was calling me to invite me to his baptism this Saturday, because I was a great influence on him in that class, and he felt it'd be really special if I could be there. What could I say? Instead of committing, I asked him if he was in my ward again, and he said, "No, it's been 16 months since I was in your ward." I told him I'd have to look at my schedule, but that I really appreciated his letting me know about his baptism. I said something like, "Wow. I know how important your baptism must be to you. Congratulations."

So, does my friend the Primary President really think Jay's call is going to get me to change my mind? Does she not realize I feel depressed now, knowing how well I taught Gospel Principles to those poor souls who believed me? I know damn well how convincing and good I was at that job. It wasn't a small class, either. Sigh. Incidentally, the Primary President is the mother of the woman who had the White Elephant party. Coincidence? Maybe.

4. While I was on the phone with Jay, my sister Tony called me on my land line. She is in a different ward here, but it's the ward I used to be in so there are many people I know in her ward. My sister was at the baptism of her neighbor's kid, and she was approached by two different and unrelated people who asked, "How's Lisa? How's she doing?" One was the mother of my son's friend at school, so I don't mind her asking. She is a very nice woman whom I admire greatly. Our sons are interested in maintaining a friendship, so I know her concern for us is real and legitimate.

The other one is actually in my ward, just an acquaintance, and she said to my sister, "How's Lisa doing? We've missed her so much. The entire ward is praying on her behalf." I just laughed. The ENTIRE WARD? Does this mean they announced a special fast or prayer for me? Doubt it. I asked Tony if this lady asked the question using that hushed tone you use if someone died. She laughed hard and said, "Of course she did!"

Tony, if you're reading this, you know you're only going to get more of this. You know how to avoid such stuff altogether, right? Just don't go to church!! ;) But, if this is not an option for you, then you can and should say these words to anyone who should ask in future:

"Why don't you call Lisa and ask her yourself? Here's her number. I'm sure she'd love to talk to you herself rather than have you talking about her when she's not around."

It's fascinating to be going through this. Just when I think that nobody cares anymore, I get contacted again.

January 12, 2007

Dreams of Hawaii

When I arrived at work today, the temperature was -17 degrees Farenheit (that's -26.11 degrees Celcius) but, according to Weather.com, it felt like -35 degrees F (-37.22 C). That's damn cold, people.

I've been cold all day. I'm wearing a turtleneck sweater, with an oxford shirt on over it, and the inner fleece jacket of my winter coat on over that. And my hands are still freezing.

It brings to mind last year today, when I was enjoying the beautiful balmy weather in Hawaii.

That trip was a grand adventure, right from the beginning. It was exciting because this was the first flight of our youngest. She was so happy to be going. I had booked flights online, so we had to change planes twice between Montana and Hawaii. That part I'd do differently next time. When we arrived in Denver from Montana, we were notified that our flight to LA was delayed for hours, which would cause us to miss arriving in Kona that night. He had business meetings the next morning, and we couldn't miss arriving that night. So we jumped into the long line at the customer service desk to do what we could to find a different flight. We were probably around 40th or 50th in line.

After standing there in the same spot for 15 minutes, my hours and hours of watching The Amazing Race finally paid off, and I had an epiphany to use the phone in the waiting area to call the airline and try to secure different flights that would enable us to arrive in Kona that night. I was on the phone with them for probably 20 minutes, but it worked. We rushed to get to the next flight.

When we got to the gate, we were told we were on standby. That sucked! My husband hates flying anyway, and this really pissed him off. Not that we could do anything about it, really. The airline had us by the balls. We waited and waited for them to call us, and finally I went up to the desk, and they said it was good I had, or they'd have never known we were there to fly. We fortunately got on that flight. Our (5) seats were all separated. That was a little scary, since I didn't feel comfortable having my 8 year old separated from me. One guy took pity and gave up his seat so we could sit together. The others sat separately and my husband had to suffer his fying anxiety alone amongst strangers more than thirty rows away from me.

In LA, (this part is a blur, because we were tired and stressed) we had only a small amount of time to catch our connecting flight to Kona. We made it. But if I remember, the airport was HUGE, and we were directed by employees of our airline to go to a certain desk, where the line was so long, and once we reached first in line, they told us we were at the wrong desk, and we needed to go upstairs to an entirely different desk. More stress and running with carry-ons through an unfamiliar airport. We barely made it on that flight, and this was another that we had to change because of delays, so we sat apart yet again. This time, I was able to get someone to change again, and sit with my daughter, but my 12 year old son and husband and daughter were all in different areas of the plane.

I remember a few things about that flight:
1. The guy next to me had a lot of electronic toys with him, like his personal DVD player... (I watched The Godfather silently beside him when I got really bored). All throughout that flight, I noticed his feet stunk, BAD. The funny part was, once we all reunited in Kona at the end of the line, each one of us mentioned we had people beside us whose feet stunk bad. Then we figured out that it was the stinking air system that stunk, not the people. And it was vile. Just writing it out makes me relive the smell. Eeeeew.
2. My 12 year old son sat next to a guy who played poker with him for hours. Should I have been more worried? I had no option but to accept it. The funny part was, my son won more times than the dude he was playing. Yes, he's smart.

Once we arrived in Kona, it was already 11:30 p.m. and we had arrived 4 hours later than expected, and on a different airline than originally planned as well. We stood there waiting for our luggage, watching all those pieces revolving around and around the belt, but of course ours never arrived. It was still with our original airline. We went to the little desk to file a report for missing luggage.

The amazing thing we found out: the rental car agency had kept a guy at their office, waiting for hours, because they knew we were due to arrive. That part amazed me, on that horrible night. My husband was so pissed about our luggage, and the flights, that on the 15 minute drive to our hotel, he said, "Watch, with our luck the hotel won't have a room for us. God!" I replied, "Come on, honey! Could you BE more negative?? Just mellow out. We're almost there."

We finally arrived at our hotel, the Hilton Waikoloa Village, with about 20 other stragglers from our flight, at around 12:30 a.m.(Hawaii time). For me, it was 3 a.m. and I was exhausted.

As we stood in line, we started to notice that people weren't moving once they arrived at the desk. It was highly strange. The people didn't look very happy, either. My husband started grumbling again and I was losing patience by this time too. Finally it was our turn.

The lady behind the desk said, "I'm sorry, but all our rooms are booked. We are trying to find you another room at a neighboring resort a couple miles down the road."

What. The. FUCK??

I said, "You're kidding, right? We had two rooms booked and confirmed in MARCH of last year, for a convention being held AT THIS HOTEL, and you gave both our rooms to SOMEONE ELSE?"

She apologized profusely and assured me we'd get the same discounted convention room rate at the other hotel.

"But our luggage didn't arrive! They are calling THIS hotel once it does, so we'll have clothes to wear. I have no way to know who to call to let them know we switched hotels."

Again the apologies and the fact that they had no more rooms available at all.

"But we are in meetings at this hotel all day long for days. What will our kids do if they aren't staying at this hotel but this is where we are going to be hanging out all day? This is a nightmare."

Again the apologies. She really was pretty nice about it. It could have been much worse. My husband by this time was about 30 feet across the marble floor, pacing and swearing under his breath.

Finally I looked her in the eye, and said the one thing that was of paramount importance above all else:

"All I care about, all I CAN care about, right now, is where do I get a toothbrush? Do I ask the new hotel for that or do I ask you, because I can't care about One. More. Thing. NOTHING else matters to me. Nothing. Just a toothbrush."

I don't know if she could sense a woman on the edge from my quietly controlled voice...maybe it was the twitch in my eyelid, or the quiver in my chin, but she looked at me for a moment, and she started typing furiously on her keyboard, then she said "Just a minute" and walked into an adjoining room. She was gone for five minutes.

When she got back, she said, "Don't look too excited, because all those people you see in the other lines are not getting this. They will switch hotels. I got you a room. A suite, actually. Here. It's very nice. And it's yours for the 4 days you'll be here, and we'll charge you only the rate you'd have paid for your original room. Don't say anything to anyone about this, because those people will never understand. I mean, this suite costs $1,200 per night, so I think you'll love it."

I was floored. It was all I could do to hold back from jumping over that marble counter and kissing her full on the lips. I have never felt more grateful to a stranger in my entire life.

We were escorted to another building, where we were directed into an elevator, and down a long, curved hallway. As we neared the end of the hallway, we figured the big doors that WERE the end of the hallway were an exit, and ours must be one of the adjacent rooms. But no...the entire end of the hall WAS the huge double doors to our suite, and we walked inside to a room of such luxury that we could only laugh with joy and abandon.

The suite had a marble entry, a large bathroom off the entry, a big bedroom with two large closets, complete with robes and a huge, fluffy king-sized bed, and the opposite end of the suite had a large living room with two couches, a large TV, a couple oversized chairs, and a dining room as well, with a large glass dining table, and a kitchen sink area with fridge. The master bath alone was bigger than my daughter's bedroom. It had marble from floor to (12-foot) ceiling, and a huge walk-in shower. It had a mirror with two sinks set in a marble counter that was probably 10 or 12 feet long. It was gorgeous. The bathtub was oversized and very luxurious. There were 12 fluffy white towels in the bathroom. Our suite had 5 (count them, FIVE) lanais (balconies) off of it, looking out in three different directions. Oh. My. God.

Almost immediately a doorbell(!) rang, and they rolled in 2 rollaway beds for us, and extra sets of robes for the kids to sleep in (no luggage for any of us) and 5 toiletries kits, 2 geared toward boys and 3 for girls. I have never felt so pampered in my life as I did when I crawled into that wonderful bed and died.

And you know what? I never even thought to take a damn picture of that room. Nor could I later remember the name of the beautiful saint at the front desk who took pity and helped a woman on the edge.

PS ~ Blogger won't let me post a couple pics from the trip that I want to. I'll try later...

January 10, 2007

I'm the Empress...Ooooh!

I took this test over on Sideon's blog.....check out my results!

You are The Empress

Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.

The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents,
beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home
decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.

The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

January 9, 2007

50 Facts - tagged once again

I've considered refusing to accept tags, but until I decide for sure, I've been tagged again by my friend Poker Spice. I'm supposed to list 50 facts about myself. Sheesh. I can think of 50, but 50 INTERESTING things?? Doubt it. Good luck reading all the way to the bottom. I'll try to make it short.

1. I was born during a bomb threat at the hospital. I was actually delivered in the doctor's office across the street.
2. I was 5'9" at age 13 when I FINALLY stopped growing.
3. I despise pickled beets.
4. I visited a beach on the ocean for the first time last year in January.
5. My first flight in an airplane was when I was 18 and headed for Austria.
6. I'm drawn to and fascinated by the patterns that trees make against the skyline.
7. I always put my jeans or pants on first before my shirts.
8. I chain-eat Lifesavers Wintergreen flavor sometimes. The soft ones that dissolve instantly are the best.
9. Ich liebe Oesterreich.
10. I'd fly to Umea, Sweden right this minute if I could.
11. I find Grissom from CSI Las Vegas oddly attractive.
12. I'm fascinated by Asian women.
13. I'd like to paint people as well as Burton Silverman does.
14. My hands are often cold.
15. I love the poppies that bloom in my yard in spring.
16. I saw a glass octopus sculpture in an art gallery in Hawaii and have wished ever since that I had bought it.
17. I used to tease my mom about how big her nose was, and was devastated the day I realized mine is bigger than hers.
18. I won a Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Summer Seminar scholarship to study at Colorado College for over a week the summer before my senior year.
19. Barbies weren't allowed in our house when I was young because they weren't modest.
20. I think Cary Grant is sexy as hell.
21. I dread public speaking.
22. I once dreamed that three garden gnomes came into my room at my grandma's house and tried to get me. I would have sworn I was wide awake and it really happened.
23. I went to my senior prom with my friend Jill and a guy and girl from the special education class she was aide to.
24. Every time I would go camping as a kid, I'd envy guys and their ability to pee while standing.
25. Watching ballet always makes me wish I could dance like that.
26. I'm a sucker for old black and white classic movies.
27. I don't like Elvis. At all. Even a little.
28. I'd love to design my own house and art studio someday.
29. I love people watching. I love to wonder and imagine what their lives are like.
30. I've only been stung by a bee once (on my finger as I was taking the tin foil off of a cake pan they had taken to a picnic).
31. I never knew I enjoyed writing until I started this blog.
32. I wish I were multi-lingual.
33. I'd love to travel the world and visit cultural places far off the beaten path.
34. I don't like peanut butter. It's probably due to eating it every day for lunch while growing up. I will eat it under extreme duress, or when I just don't feel like cooking.
35. I was a majorette my sophomore year. I found out really quickly that I actually hated it (not as glamorous as I thought) due to weeks of practice, all for a measly 2-minute performance. I stayed in it one more year, because I had paid for all my gear myself, and thought maybe it'd get better. It didn't.
36. I'm not comfortable skiing. On snow or in water. Something about going faster than I can control.
37. I wish I felt comfortable posting nude photos of myself, you know, the really artsy black and white kind. I don't know why I wish this.
38. I wish I had my house to myself once in a while. I've enjoyed this a total of 8 hours in the last 14 years or so.
39. I felt so ashamed of not admitting to my LDS host family that I was 5 months pregnant when they came to visit me, that I dropped all communication with them and only resumed contact a year and a half ago. What a bloody waste.
40. I used to be an avid reader of smut novels. I gave up reading books altogether to focus on doing art and getting better at it.
41. Sometimes I give in to temptation and buy a full bag of Dubble Bubble Bubble Gum. I chew a new piece about every minute, to the point that my jaw and the muscles in my temples are sore for two days.
42. I've never skinny-dipped, but would do it now if given the chance.
43. And only if it's really dark outside. :)
44. I detest swimsuit shopping.
45. I heard the words "Cut the folderol!" too many times while growing up. I think it's fair to say that even hearing this asinine phrase ONCE is too many times.
46. Procrastination is one of my weaknesses.
47. I feel a real need to get better at "listening to understand, not to respond."
48. I've never tried eating alone at a nice restaurant, but every single time I see someone do so, I wonder what it'd be like to try it.
49. Blogging has given me a sense of self that I've been missing.
50. I'm compelled to think up a perfect finale fact for #50, but just can't think of one more thing.

Random Memory

I loved making Val laugh. She had such a cute smile and laugh. She was only a year younger than me, and we shared a room, so this happened often. We'd lie in bed late at night, and make each other laugh by being funny or making strange noises.

That night, I made a funny noise somehow, probably a farting noise using my mouth on my arm or something, and we were giggling so hard, but trying to stifle the noise. We were supposed to have been asleep a long time before that. I was probably around five years old, and she was four. We moved to Montana when I was six, and I remember we were in our bedroom in our apartment in Orem.

Right in the middle of a particularly giggly moment, our bedroom door suddenly slammed open, and hit the opposite wall with a bang, hard enough to bounce back halfway.

There stood Dad, furious.

He ground out with clenched teeth, "WHY are you not asleep yet? Do you have any idea what kind of noise you are making in here?!"

He stormed into the room while removing his leather belt. I was closest to him and Val was between me and the wall next to the bed. I cried out, "Dad, noooo!" but he came forward anyway, and I cowered as he reached over me to roughly lift Val by one arm until she was hanging above the bed a few inches. He dropped her to her feet, and his right arm lashed out with that damned belt across her legs and thighs. She screamed and cried out, and so did I.

"Dad, STOP! Don't hurt her! I was the one who made her laugh! STOOOOP!"

He kept hitting her, over and over, and Val's little body was trying to climb that damn wall to get away.

He finally stopped, and she crumpled into a heap beside me in agony. My arms reached out to her to comfort and protect her the best I could.

All he said as he left the room was "I don't want to hear ANOTHER sound. Now go to sleep."

Oh, Val. Sweet Val. Why didn't he hit me instead of you? WHY?! I would have taken that beating instead. Why, fucking WHY did I have to make you laugh that night?

January 6, 2007



I was commissioned to do this portrait in graphite during the week between Christmas and New Years Day. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially since I haven't drawn a man since high school.

I must admit that chest hair is very fun to draw.

January 4, 2007


Love and respect woman. Look to her not only for comfort, but for strength and inspiration and the doubling of your intellectual and moral powers. Blot out from your mind any idea of superiority; you have none.

~Giuseppe Mazzini

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.


January 3, 2007

Thou Shalt Not

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

I was raised by parents who were born and raised in the Mormon religion. We knew early that we should not and would not say the name of the Lord in vain. It was understood that this was worse than swearing of any kind. We didn't dare do it. We weren't even allowed to say "Oh my GOSH" because this was too close to the real thing.

I only remember breaking this important commandment one time growing up.

The Scene: lunchtime in the cafeteria at my junior high school

The Players: me and about 20 other students

The Action: Andre, the only black kid in school (not that that is relevant whatsoever, I'm not even sure why I even said this or why I don't delete it now) stood up at our table and announced that he was going to make a little money. We were all immediately intrigued.

"Anyone who gives me a dollar is allowed to put one scoop of whatever food you choose in my applesauce, and I will eat it all, every drop. If not, you get your dollar back."

The crowd cheered and started pulling crumpled dollar bills out of their pockets in excitement. I watched in horrified fascination as cookies, potato chips, jello, cheese, hamburger patty sections, pickles, mustard, ketchup, green beans, twinky creme, salt, pepper, bread, peanut butter, oreos, peach syrup, and milk were added to his applesauce. His wad of money was huge by the time it was finished.

There was dead silence all around as he lifted the first disgusting spoonful to his mouth. As soon as he started chewing, it slipped out of me in barely a whisper.


In that single moment, it felt like I had screamed the words. It even echoed in my brain like something yelled across a big chasm. It was like I was standing naked in the middle of the crowded room. I felt physically sick, and I remember my horror vividly, as wave after wave of shame and remorse washed over me while I stood stock still, with eyes raised to the ceiling, knowing that God had heard me and was considering sending the lightning bolt through the ceiling.

I quickly left the room and ran to the bathroom, where I locked myself in a stall and said a heartfelt repentance prayer for my sin.

Fast forward to today, where I've reached the point in my beliefs where I'm wondering if there is even a god at all.

I've noticed something peculiar about me now. As I write blogs and comments and e-mails, I've discovered the joy of writing the words. Sometimes they have different meanings, it depends on the context of my conversation or thoughts. But I have discovered that it is the only proper thing to write sometimes. It just plain fits.

OMFG (yes, I even use the F word now too at times)
Oh GAWD! (thanks, Sideon)
God Dammit!
God, that sucks.
GOD, that's awesome.
Holy. Mother. of. God.
Sweet. God. In. Heaven.

I still can't say it out loud like I'd like to, unless I'm saying I swear to God! But that's not really saying it in vain. And this surprises me because I have no problem swearing at all. I enjoy it, actually.

So why can't I say GOD like I'd like to?