November 23, 2007

Seven Weird Things ~ Tagged Again

Sumwun tagged me to share seven weird things about myself again...I have to wonder why I'm always tagged on the sharing weirdnesses posts. I have shared more weird things about myself than I care to admit.

1. Every time I get out of my car at the grocery store, I walk away from the car and hit the door lock button on my key thing at least three times. I hear the honk and the headlights flash but I still have to do this three times. Sometimes I even turn around to watch it happen.

2. My pinkie finger on my right hand is as big as my middle finger. It looks unnatural, and I am so self-conscious of it. I have no idea why it's malformed. It kind of makes writing with pens and pencils difficult. Thank goodness it doesn't affect my drawing, though.

3. Watching men's individual figure skating during the Olympics is a real turn-on for me. Am I the only one who thinks those outfits and moves are sexy?

4. I had a Tina Turner hairstyle in 7th grade. I thought she was so beautiful. I often danced to her Private Dancer song alone in my bedroom, but only when my dad was out of town, since he thought she was a tramp and evil.

5. I never pump my own gas. I won't do it. Do you have any idea how many germs are on those pump handles?! Dart finds this a nuisance at times, but I don't care. I will not pump my own gas. He can do it.

6. It never fails ~ every morning when I first wake up, the song from Oklahoma goes through my head: "Oh what a beautiful mooorning, oh what a beautiful day. I've got a wonderful feeeeling, everything's going my way!"

7. I made up all these weird things. None of them are true.


November 22, 2007

Life as a Goddess...or...Thankful I'm Not One

I wanted to share my response to Reformed_Egyptian's question to women on FLAK about what they felt being a goddess in the next life entailed. Here is what I think it will be like if the LDS church is teaching the truth about the nature of God...

You say you haven't given the subject a ton of thought, and I can't blame you as it's obvious that the entire focus is placed on God and Godhood, not goddess and goddesshood. I can tell you that being married to a non-member makes a woman like me keenly aware of this subject. I came to realize over time that I had a few possible scenarios available to reach salvation and become a goddess:

1. Outlive my husband and seal myself to him posthumously, and risk his saying no way again like he did when he received the discussions in this life.
2. Divorce my husband and find a TBM man willing to seal himself to me.
3. Be as righteous as I can and endure to the end, and in the next life find some stranger and become his second, third, or hundredth wife. Remain hopeful that my children will also get sealed in the temple someday to their own spouse and endure to the end so perhaps God will let their mansion be next door to mine in the celestial kingdom. Hope also that my never-mo stepdaughter will someday join as well, so I will be able to live with her in eternity also.

What does actual goddesshood mean to me? I can only guess from the example I've been given about God by the teachings of the gospel:

I will have countless children with my husband in the next life. We will love all our children very much. (I am not going to portray any sister wives in my example here, to make it easy. That is a whole post unto itself.) My husband will choose two favored sons who will be asked to outline what they think my husband requires of them in his plan for all his children…one will guess slightly wrong and my husband will banish him as well as one third of all our children who thought his guess was right. The other son will guess correctly and will be favored and blessed. Together, my husband and the chosen favorite son will create a new world where my husband will send our children after taking their memory of me and him completely away. My husband’s plan includes only telling a select few of our boy children (whom he makes prophets) to tell our other children that he expects them to do certain ordinances in the temple in order to live in the celestial kingdom with us. Those of our children who don’t get the ordinances completed as per my husband’s plan will live in a lesser kingdom which I will not be able to visit.

My children will learn a song as mortal children: “I am a child of God….and HE has sent me here….” They will be taught that they must honor, obey, and worship almighty God in all ways if they wish to live with us again. My husband will command our children to always remember him and to keep his commandments. He will command our children to pray to him always, to thank him for all their blessings, all glory to his name. I will not be mentioned in any of the important books and doctrine that my children are told they need in order to be saved. He will teach our children that it is good and right for our sons to have authority and dominion over all the earth, and they will be given the power to act in their father’s name and will be told they preside over their families.

He will teach our children that it is good and right for our daughters to have only one valid role to aspire toward: being a mother in Zion. They will be taught by my husband that in order to prove their love to him, they must embrace this one role and nurture all their children to the best of their ability. But for some reason, my husband chooses not to show our children my nurturing skills. They will have no example of my nature as a guide to follow.

But wait! There is that one song among hundreds of hymns which glorify my husband as God ~ ”O My Father” which mentions me once:

”In the heav’ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a mother there.”

Not sure how that one line is helpful to my children, but hey! It’s something. And I love music, but of course my children won’t know that about me either. And when any of our children think of me enough to actually pray to me publicly…well. That’s a huge no-no. My husband doesn’t like this. My sons who have the power to act in my husband’s name will admonish any of my children who dare to pray to me openly, and if they won’t cease such a practice, they will be punished, seriously risking their chance to live in my presence again someday in the top level of heaven.

When my children finish their mortal testing, they will be made to stand before my husband and his favorite son, who will together judge each of my children to determine which is worthy to live in the celestial kingdom and which will not. I will not be part of the judging process. In all their sinning on earth, my children were expected to pray to my husband for forgiveness and mercy, I had nothing whatever to do with any of that. This is sad, since I am merciful, loving, and kind, and a good judge of my children’s hearts. I also know that my children who don’t make it to the top level of heaven will never be allowed to see me or my husband because we will not visit the lesser kingdoms. Those children will be alone for eternity. Too bad.

The truth is, if this is the way it is to be for me as a goddess, I much prefer to be single and alone in hell than married to such a man as God at my side who has no problem keeping me as an unmentionable afterthought in the lives of our children.

November 18, 2007

Paris: Apartment

After getting our hair done, Montchan and I found another taxi and we headed for the train station where we planned to meet Genilimaa before heading to the rental company to get the keys to our apartment. I was amazed at the traffic in Paris! I thought Utah drivers were bad. In Paris you might see there are two lanes marked on the road (if there are markings at all), yet four lanes are crammed up into the two, not including the motorcycles that roar through between the lanes. It’s insane. I think Paris taxi drivers are some pretty amazing drivers to do what they do. I would be so stressed out if I had to drive in traffic like it. Wow!

We got to Gare du Nord train station, and tried to find the Tourism Office Genilimaa told us was across the street, but we had no luck and got tired of my luggage again, so we found a little café there and sat down to wait. We called Gen who arrived shortly thereafter.
We had a yummy apple tart pastry and some tea until she arrived. When she did, she also had tea then we made our way to the apartment. She was a bundle of energy and was fun to finally meet in person! It really is great to put a face and personality with the blog persona. Another taxi ride to the office, then on to our apartment.

Our apartment was located at 29 Rue Rambuteau, a great area very close to shopping and Metro and the Pompidou Center, which we first thought was a parking garage, humorously enough. We entered the code to open the outer door, which opened into a tiled entryway with mailboxes. It was totally dark until we found the light switch, and we went forward and entered the second code to get through another door. Beyond that was a regular sized door requiring no code which led to a curving, old wooden staircase. It was fortunate that Montchan’s luggage hadn’t arrived, because she helped me schlep the luggage up to the second floor where for the next twenty minutes we tried to get our key to work to no avail. We were laughing and frustrated and swearing, and finally we resorted to sweet-talking and caressing the door in an effort to make the lock open the damn door. Genilimaa had been told the key was tricky by the office where we got the key, so she went back out to the street to phone them and find out the trick to opening it.

SML and Genilimaa trying to get the damn door unlocked

We finally got it open after about twenty minutes, and we entered a cute little apartment that looked to be perfect for our stay. It was so exciting! Upon opening the door, we walked through into a hallway that we could see led past a kitchen area into the living room which had quaint French windows that faced across the alley/street into another building with similar windows facing ours. Just to the left of the entrance door was a bedroom with floor-to-ceiling closet mirrors on the opposite wall, and a king sized bed covered in a white down comforter which immediately reminded me of my bed in Austria which had a similar comforter on it when I lived there. There was a somewhat mildewy smell which came from the bathroom beside the bed, which obviously had leaky problems in the wall beside the toilet. But it appeared clean and cozy and we were very happy. The couches in the living room were red futons, and there was a coffee table and lamps and stools by the counter that divided the kitchen from the living room which fit right in.
The ceilings were high and we were all happy we had chosen to rent the apartment, as it was only 37 Euro per night per person, much cheaper than the hotel which cost over 100 Euro per night per person.

Montchan and I went shopping for clothes (since her luggage hadn’t arrived) while Genilimaa stayed behind to buy breakfast groceries at one of the little markets across the street from our building. Tari was due to arrive around dinnertime, so we had some time. It was awesome to walk the streets of Paris and see the sights first hand vs. on television or in pictures. I loved how we had a grocery store, a deli, a bakery, shops, and restaurants all around us near our apartment…it was so convenient and so fun to step out onto the narrow little street lined with bumper-to-bumper little cars, and look up to see the blooming plants and vines from the quaint and charming windows and know that I was in Paris! The smells were so reminiscent of Vienna and the distant sound of police cars which are so different from those in the states, and the many people walking in all directions in stylish hats and scarves and jackets made me so glad I had done this crazy thing.

November 17, 2007

Paris: Salon Visit

Montchan and I were so damn glad to have finally found each other, and we were both so tired from our flights and adventures that we chose to take a taxi to our next destination: our hair appointment in Paris which we hoped wasn’t lost because we were two hours late. Her luggage had not arrived in Paris with her, so she was bummed about that. We got dropped off and she found the salon by remembering the area from the last time she had been there (and by asking some nice guys in a grocery store where they thought it might be), and she went inside to see if they could fit us in while I stood outside with my three pieces of luggage.

Three pieces of luggage, you ask? Why, yes. I had a suitcase type carry-on, a suitcase for my clothes, and a suitcase containing items Taiko Tari and Montchan had requested from the US, such as a queen-sized buckwheat pillow, a two-man tent, a large box of Bounce fabric softener sheets, 17 pairs of Victoria’s Secret undies, and some dental floss. It felt crazy having that much luggage for four and a half days, and it was such a pain lugging it down the beautiful streets of Paris, and into the tiny salon once they said we could have our hair done even though we had missed our appointments. They were so kind.

Montchan having her hair cut by Steve

I admit I was embarrassed by my hair being so nappy…I had flown for what felt like days and felt all greasy and gross. My stylist, whose name is Warren, washed my hair while Montchan had hers washed too, and then I was sitting in a chair in front of the mirror, trying to tell him what I’d like, but I think I was talking too fast so in the end I simply said my hair was limp, and I needed more body. He said in a very charming accent “Body? More body?” only his accent made the word body sound like “Bow day.” In the end, I said I trust him to make me beautiful and give my hair body. He began to silence while Montchan and I occasionally talked during our cuts. We enjoyed the look of the place: wood floors, pink walls, ceiling painted in metallic gold, stylish and fabulous gay guys cutting our hair, two dogs walking around underfoot, and a fixture on the wall that is best shown rather than described:

I know I will NEVER find one of these in Montana, even though I’ve seen thousands of them hanging here. I love it.

Warren, my stylist

My hair was finished first, and Warren had done the impossible: he had given my hair body! I loved it. They allowed us to take pictures, and we gave them our blog addresses so they could see themselves on our blogs. Warren plans someday in the next five years to head to Miami and live and work. He’ll succeed wherever he goes, he’s great! His was the best haircut I've ever had.

Now if only I could figure out how to get back there every three months to have my hair done...

November 15, 2007

Paris: Arrival

The thing I forgot about international travel is how great the people-watching is. I left Montana half an hour later than scheduled due to a delay, that fortunately didn’t hinder my following flights. It was a quick trip to Denver where I sat next to a kid who said he was in 9th grade (14?) but who looked to be about 12. He was very friendly and was headed to a Catholic youth conference in Ohio. I had about half an hour before boarding the next flight to Washington, D.C. On that flight, I sat next to a woman who was headed back to Vermont where she grew up, although she did spend some time living in San Diego. We had an interesting discussion and I learned things about her and I could tell she was someone I would be friends with if we lived close. In D.C. I spent an hour sitting and watching the masses of interesting people walk by me. I love to speculate about their lives, and let me tell you, I come up with some great stories when I take the time to sit and watch and wonder.

All my layovers were shorter than 1.5 hours each, and lucky for me, each new terminal was only one or two away from the previous one I came from which made it smooth and simple for me.

The flight to Paris from D.C. was interesting. I sat between one woman who was headed to Paris for the third time this year, going to visit her daughter who works there, whose husband is a stay-at-home dad. She beamed telling me she about spending ten days with her granddaughters. The woman on my right was a bit more reserved, because after making small-talk for a minute, she fell asleep and then so did I. I had hoped to sleep the entire flight in an effort to eliminate jet lag, since I arrived at 6:20 a.m. Paris time. The woman to my right woke up in the last hour, as did I, and we had a very interesting and thoughtful conversation about religion (she asked what my connection was with the different women I was spending time with in Paris, and I admitted that I knew them through blogging ~ ex-Mormons making up the majority of them, although none of us blog solely about being ex-Mormon). Her name is Carole (hi, Carole, if you are reading this!) and she’s a fascinating woman (doctor in Oregon with French parents) who will hopefully read my blog (she said she’d check it out) and who will stay in contact that way or through emails. She really made that flight enjoyable for me, as well as standing in line to have our passports stamped, and standing at the baggage claim area too. She was another woman I think I’d love to become friends with if we lived in the same town and I had met her in the usual ways in person.

While I had been in the airport in Denver, I saw I had a voicemail and it was Montchan, informing me that our master plan of her arriving in Paris the night before and meeting me at the airport so we could go back to her hotel to shower and prepare for the day went awry when she got stuck in Amsterdam due to a hole in her airplane (!!!). I made my way to the United Airlines desk where she had hoped to leave me a message with her arrival times, but I called Dartman first who was glad I finally did, as it was midnight for him and he had a message for me from her. She would arrive at 10 a.m. and I was to wait. So with hours to burn, here I sit, typing a blog post while I watch fascinating and interesting people walk by. Next to me in the row of seats is quite possibly the cutest little boy I’ve ever seen (besides my son, of course). If it weren’t rude, and if his mother didn’t look harassed enough, I’d take his picture and paint him later. He keeps talking to me and bumping my arm and doing that little kid flirting, but I don’t understand a word he says. I wish I did. I think he’s probably 3 years old.

I got to Europe and discovered my cell phone has no service here like I thought it would. Sigh. That could be a pain. But once I get to my apartment (first two nights) and then the hotel (second two) I’ll have my computer and can communicate with my family via Skype or emails. In awhile I’ll use my credit card and call Montchan’s cell to let her know where I’m waiting for her. She said she was arriving via Terminal 2F, and there is no F after any terminal signs I see. So I hope this is it. Having no cell phone in a situation like this sucks ass.

I’m loving being here, I think this will be a memory to treasure. I don’t know how much time I’ll have to blog about it while I’m with my friends, but I certainly will give more detail after I return home.

If we didn’t miss our appointment due to Montchan’s late arrival, she and I plan to have our hair cut somewhere in Paris this morning, and after lunch we will be meeting up with Genilimaa to check in to our apartment where Taiko Tari will meet us as well. Then the fun can begin.

In the meantime, I shall stare at all the beautiful people of the world and wonder what their lives are like.

I was waiting for Montchan in the completely wrong terminal…sitting outside the only arrivals area I could find after exploring the entire building. As I was finally beginning to panic just a twinge, I walked back to the United Airlines information desk at departures to see if she had left a message (I had called her cell phone ten times but no answer) but she hadn’t…so I went back to the one place I had described to her in a message the one time I got through on her cell phone, and as the elevator door opened, I heard a very heavily-accented French voice over the intercom: “Paging Leeza Frrraahhnk. Paging Leeza Frrraahhnk, would Leeza Frrraahhnk please come to the information desk at Terminal 1 Meeting Area please?” and I had never heard such a sweet sound in all my life! It was noon, and I had been waiting for almost six hours. Montchan had found me! The funny thing was, she was told they don’t page people at that desk, so she stepped away a few steps and began calling my name at the top of her voice, then she turned around and got a little finger motioning her back to the desk, so they could page me rather than have to hear her making such a racket. The memory of her telling that story with a mischievous grin in her eye makes me smile again as I recall it. The sad part of the Charles deGaull airport in Paris is they have no maps that show the airport having multiple buildings located far from each other, and very poor signage that gives you a clue that this could be the case. But now I know and will never make that mistake again. Terminal 2 where Montchan arrived and waited for me was 15 minutes away by airport tram. Nice. My first blonde moment in Paris.

November 14, 2007

Jet lag...

Is kicking my ass.

Home from Paris

I am sitting on the airplane, high above a layer of fluffy cotton batting, with wisps of blue ocean showing through thin spots in the clouds and blending into the atmosphere that seems to go on forever.

The pilot announced that this flight to Chicago from Paris will last 8 hours and 52 minutes. I already ate lunch, watched a movie, and took a little nap, and now I’m happy to write my thoughts while they’re fresh. The greatest part of this flight is that only about half the seats are taken, which gives me my window seat and also the one next to the aisle ~ aaaah, sweet leg room! If I had a stranger next to me, I’d never feel comfortable writing this where he or she could watch me and read what I’m writing. I know once I return home (after two layovers and thousands of miles and hours of flying and time zone differences), I will be dead tired. Work tomorrow should be fun because I will be busy as hell catching up on what I missed while I was away. But I don’t want to think of that right now, because…

I have fallen in love with Paris!

I heard many times from many different people that I should expect to find French people rude and contemptuous toward Americans, and I am here to tell you that this is a Big Lie. Instead, I found French people to be pleasant, hospitable, kind, charming, and with a style and flair that I now consider purely Paris. I wish I knew the French language, which I feel is vital to fully appreciating and understanding the people there, but for now I leave Paris with a love for it that will remain with me forever. I have found a new place to cherish.

Of course, another reason I will always cherish Paris is because my friends have given me memories that I hope to remember forever. I split my time in Paris in half, with two sets of friends for each half. Montchan, Genilimaa, and Taiko Tari were with me my first two days, and the second two days I was with Wry Catcher, Chanson, HM-UK (Aitch), and Ripzip. I knew from their blog writing and from emails and chats that these women were people I would love to meet, and I feel so very lucky to have been able to finally meet them in real life. Each is unique and beautiful in her own way, and very special to me. I am so happy to be able to call them friends. Thanks to each of you for joining in on my ladies’ weekend in Paris! What a fun time it was ~ I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

I plan to write and share my thoughts and adventures one at a time, so I can have a good record of my memories (yes, I’ll include photos) while they are still fresh in my mind. I’ll post my first one soon, and hopefully all of them will be posted with little or no long lapses in between.

For now, I’ll leave you with this advice: Start saving immediately and go to Paris as soon as you can. You’ll love it, I promise. Especially if you are with friends you love.

November 7, 2007

feeling magnanimous

The huge spider crawling across my office floor (that resembles a gray crab with a huge butt) has no idea how lucky he is I'm going to Paris within 24 hours!

I'm just too happy to kill anything right now. Instead I let him crawl onto a piece of paper and then I carried the paper outside and let him live.

I should go to Paris more often! It makes me a nice guy.

November 2, 2007

Once upon a time...

There was a little girl who was so busy getting ready to go to Paris she didn't think she'd ever see her way free.

The end.