Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I'm starting to wonder if those letters are even real

I just do not understand how it is that there are teachers who suck so bad at discipline that they have to paddle their students.  Do you sometimes feel like the South (and Texas, which Beckster informs me is not the same thing--though they both love paddling, so Beckster, are you lying to me?) is a totally foreign culture? I've got to think the South (and Texas) has some powerful weak parenting if this kind of nonsense seems necessary. 

Women, we need to stop freaking out when someone uses the term "forcible rape."  I keep reading capsy comments in the vein of: LIKE THERE'S ANY OTHER KIND.  Yes, there is another kind of rape, and many, okay, some people who use the term "forcible rape" are just trying to differentiate between non-consensual sex (forcible rape), and consensual sex involving a person who is cognitively incapable of understanding the ramifications of their decision to have sex (statutory rape).  Let's listen to some of their other comments before we decide they're part of the War on Women.  A fire-breathing overreaction just delegitimizes our other complaints. 

Let me tell you about yesterday.  I woke up, and the kids were awful and Grant has been starving the goats for days, and we were combing hair, reading scriptures, having family prayer, shouting and backtalking and arguing as the bus made its inexorable approach from our neighbor's house to ours, and I spat bitterly, "THANKS FOR THE GREAT MORNING, YOU GUYS.  I REALLY ENJOYED IT," then as sincerely as I could muster "I love you!  Have a good day!"  as they scrambled to catch the bus before it left.  Then I cried on my bed for a while because John was going to work and leaving me with two days' worth of dishes, and I feel like I've been the only one doing dishes lately, and I've got PTA with horrible meetings and copies to make all the time and no president-elect, and as the YW pres I've got to figure out how to turn my girls into the warrior goddesses they're supposed to be, and I can't eat sweets like I want to because they give me multi-hour, medication-impervious headaches and I still haven't dared to go get a new IUD because I'm afraid that I'll go into an anemic coma (is there such a thing?) on my first period, but I called both Emily and Sarah's gynecologists, because I want a woman doctor to discuss my neurotic irrational fears with, and my ob/gyn who delivered Willa is okay, but sort of skeevy, and OF COURSE neither of them is accepting new patients, and then I ruined one of my new shirts by splashing it with the hot chocolate that I didn't even get to drink, and meanwhile, I keep gaining weight, even though I eat sensibly, have increased my activity, and NO LONGER EAT SUGAR SORT OF, and believe me when I say that I was ready to self-mutilate yesterday.  But then I texted John (after he'd seen my morning crying jag and fielded a number of dramatic, tearful calls from me about each new lousy minor setback ) about the shirt:

Me:  "You'd probably like to know that the hot chocolate from this morning just splashed all over my shirt and ruined it." 
John:  "I'm gay." 

He couldn't resist the opportunity to make such a hilarious joke and bring levity to a (for me) nightmarish situation.  Because think of the retelling!  "So like the day isn't hellish enough, TURNS OUT MY HUSBAND'S GAY.  Like, my self-pitying caterwauling became so offensive to him that I actually reversed his sexual orientation."  The adding of insult to injury was too tempting, and John was killing himself laughing about it.  And it did what it was designed to do, sort of.  It got my mind off how much I hate my body and my life and the entire world and universe, and reminded me that my husband is funny and a great catch. He speaks my love language.  Hope he doesn't leave me for somebody who doesn't mysteriously keep getting fatter and fatter every week. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

look how all the kids have grown

Is there anything better than scrambled eggs done correctly?  If there is, I don't want to see it. 

Bart is planting our field today, so John and I had to go pull a bunch of rocks out of the field last night.  We were un-miring our rocks!  Har har har, Sabbath humor.  Little rocks are not a problem, but in plowing this year they unearthed a Craters of the Moon-type scenario in one section of the field, with rocks ranging in size from grapefruit to watermelon.  I wish I'd known we had them, and I wouldn't have spent so much time over the years driving down the road to my grandpa's farm and picking rocks out of his cow pasture. 

I'm feeling pretty victorious right now, because I made some extreme-strength window cleaner (1:1 vinegar and water, squirt of dish soap) and got the horrible hard water stains off our parlor window.  The sprinklers spray it every time, and since Utah water is so hard it's basically sliceable, my window was a sight.  But now it is beautifully clear. 

I have eaten about six ripe tomatoes out of my garden.  All the rest I've had to poach from my mom.  Now it's going to start freezing.  I think this is disgusting.  I guess we'll have to eat fried green tomatoes tonight, just so I can feel like my entire garden wasn't a waste.  Every year we do this.  I overplant and undernurture.  But it's not my fault the tomatoes aren't ripening. 

I don't know why it is that I roll my eyes about intricately-decorated cake pops and precious interior design but love Disneyland so much.  I hate fakery and artifice!  I don't know what's wrong with me.  Look, I'm a simple woman, with simple pleasures.  I like it when things are pretty and clean and people are well-behaved.  I like when my kids gasp with wonder when they walk through the front gates.  I like Indiana Jones.  I can't help myself!  We tried to take my sister Troy to Disneyland with us a few years ago, and she was all, "No, thanks.  I don't like that kind of vacation.  I like going to Maine."  Barf.  As though she's above Disneyland.  As though she even knows what she's talking about, since she was about thirteen at the time.  As though you can't like both Maine and Disneyland.  So then when she went with Claire and Nate last year and had an amazing time, obviously, I really rubbed it in.  Oh, she wants to go with us now, now that she knows what she's missing.  But she's still unwilling to drive there, so she won't be joining us.  Maybe she just hates my kids and doesn't want to be with us.  Her loss!  ANYWAY, my point is that even Troy, who is like a mini-me of my mom and parrots all her opinions, likes Disneyland.  We'll see if she's so uppity about driving to California once SHE has four kids. 

It might seem like I am having a fight with Troy through my blog, and nothing could be further from the truth.  I'm merely nagging Troy through my blog.  She doesn't read it anyway, so we're cool. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

and frank. the coffee. it stinks. it tastes like arsenic.

Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, the apocalypse is nigh, for there has come into the world a child whose parents have given it the name Hunzlen.  HUNZLEN.  I ask you.  I am extremely opinionated about names, and have categories for them, some of which are: That's Not a Name, That's a Noise; Stripper Names; Emasculators; and Freaking Mormons.  In a Venn diagram, Hunzlen would go on the overlap of the That's Not a Name, That's a Noise and Freaking Mormons circles. 

Here is a funny story about how much the Berenstain Bears suck.  I like the ones from back when they had beady eyes and the illustrations were old-timey, but I am on board with this guy about all the other books in the series.  Plus I love, like, really love, when somebody becomes passionately angry about something so mundane as a children's picture book.  I think, "Hey!  He's like me!"  And then, when they defend their position so cleverly, e.g. "Their faces bear no indication of thought or emotional presence," it is one of my favorite things. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

die zauberflote

When Tipsy was here this past weekend (which was a lot of fun, even if I did feel like I had to cram in as many conversations as possible before she left) she brought me some presents from India (I'm not sure if she has Greek heritage, and therefore how suspicious I should be that she came bearing gifts; however, none of the gifts was a big wooden horse), one of them being a package of that after-dinner fennel seed mix that you get in Indian restaurants, and I'm afraid it's going to be gone before the week is out, because I keep eating it and eating it, and just typing about it makes me want to go eat it some more.  The fennel seeds are sort of soft and fried tasting instead of having a sugar coating, and there are cute little red and silver and pearly dragees mixed in, and a number of other seed things that I don't recognize.  So now my problem is how the crap am I supposed to find that exact mix of mukhwas (which is what the internet told me it is called) without going to India?  I will not rest (figuratively) until I find it.

Today I must make salsa.  We are getting very low, and I'm afraid Grant will riot if we run out.  I'm not looking forward to the scalding and peeling part.  Tomatoes are kind of a pain that way.

I was just thinking about pumpkin pie, and I think this year I'm going to try not cooking my filling quite so long.  When my mom does it it's sort of a loose custard, and even though it makes the bottom crust soggy if you let it sit, it tastes better.  The way I cook it is too firm, and you know how pumpkin can be a little oppressive if you don't reign it in.  I say this as a person who loves pumpkin.

I don't understand parents who won't let their children read Harry Potter, because of the occult subject matter, but do allow them large swathes of unmonitored, unfiltered time on the internet.  Look, I don't have all the answers.  But statistically speaking, your kid is probably not going to become a warlock.  He is, however, very likely to develop a taste for pornography.  And you're definitely going to get a virus, so good luck with that.  We have some friends who've had to flatten their hard drive three or four times because of the sites their son visited, and they still don't have any virus protection or filters.  Whatever.  Agree to disagree! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

charlie charlie butcher boy, seeking for a trade

I was going to make chicken pot pie for dinner today, and then I was like, "Idiot!  You can have chicken pot pie anytime!  Tomatoes are a fleeting wisp!"  So we had BLTs, but really whenever I say that I mean BTs.  The L is stupid and just dilutes the flavor.  It is a waste.  I will accept (melted) cheese or avocado or spinach in its place, but the true sandwich is the BT.

I'm buying a book that uses superheroes to teach physics to children.  I saw a thing about it on a blog, and my mother heart told me to buy it for my kids.  They will be brilliant now, so you'd better bring it if you're going to beat us at the science fair.  Lie.  My kids don't do the science fair, because of the part where they'd have to start working on their project sometime earlier than the night before the fair.  And also I don't do my kids' homework, which means: no science fair.  Look, we've all been to science fairs, and we all know that a bunch of those kids were only marginally involved in the project.  I just feel bad that their parents have to lie and live vicariously in such a stupid way.  I guess it beats cheerleader moms and football dads trying to recapture their glory days through their children.  I am so prejudiced against cheerleading and drill team and football.  Probably because I am such a big nerd.  I have a lot of opinions about how people ought and ought not to raise their children. I hope they work for my kids, or I am going to look super dumb when Grant is thirty and living at home and teaching himself guitar once he wakes up at eleven, Emmett has joined the new Hitler Youth, Ike is a Brony, and I'm raising my grandchildren because Willa has joined a commune of Wiccans.

Sometimes when I'm listening to the Friday News Roundup (I love Moises Naim! He reminds me of that puma on Creature Comforts who wants to eat fresh meat.  I hope that doesn't mean I'm racist.), and they're talking about the Middle East, I wonder if the panelists just tell their brains "Run Middle East diplomacy discussion program," and then go into some light REM sleep while they have the discussion, and then an hour later when they've all said the same things that we've all been saying since dirt was invented, the panelists wake up and go on with their day.  I really wonder.

I have eaten so many plums today you don't even know.

I had to speak in church and I was worried I was going to wet my pants.

Disneyland in two weeks!  I think we'll try to sell our wethers before we leave.  See how I have to stop calling them by name, so I can get the emotional distance required to sell them? I hate this part.  But I'd rather them be white packages than forlorn, lonely little ditch goats that nobody loves.  Oh, Tex!  Buddy!  I don't even care about Oweth.  He's weird.  But Tex and Qui-Gon are such dear little boys.  Batman Flowers is sweet, too, but he's getting sort of ugly.  I'm very shallow.

I keep getting terrible Charlie Horses, so I guess it's time to up my banana intake.  I love that colloquialism.  Isn't English fun?  That's another thing I've done for my kids--increased my incidence of Charlie Horses.  I hope they understand how selfless I am. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

my voice is my passport, verify me

Haven't I been saying this?  I swear I have.  Obviously I have some problems with a few of the points in the article (for example the continued assertion that skim milk is lower in calories and therefore healthier than whole, as though calories are the only concern and are all created equal), but I think a tax on large sodas is a much better idea than a ban.  People are going to find ways around bans, and with a tax you'd be helping people to make better choices while generating revenue.  Maybe you could even use the funds generated to pay for diabetes research and care, so it's basically like health insurance for people who like pop.  In enormous cups.  I don't drink pop, but I do like those big cups because they make such great puke bowls for the car.

One last point about health care before we leave it for happier topics:  in light of the recent discussion about women's reproductive care, do you guys at least understand why I might feel extremely wary of giving our government any more control of my life?  Because we can't guarantee that our elected officials are always going to share our values.  And when decisions are made and legislation created there is always going to be a bias toward the interests of the insurance companies, or whatever entities exist to perform those duties.  Is there any way to achieve the goal of having everyone covered for the appropriate care, without having the government be the administrator of it?  Am I even making sense?

Okay, no more heavy stuff for a bit.

A few years ago, when skinny jeans were coming into style, I was digging in my heels and talking about how they were just mom jeans, which at that time they were.  I was around for the previous invasion of tapered pants, and it wasn't pretty.  But iteration by iteration they were modified and updated, until they finally got cute.  There are legitimate reasons to wear skinny jeans.  I own several pairs myself, in colors even, and though they emphasize my saddle bags a bit, they are acceptable, and I don't look like I haven't been shopping for five years.  SO IMPORTANT.  Being a mom is hard, because you have this very delicate line to walk between dated and trying too hard.  Nobody wants to be a frumpy sadsack, but nor should they be the mom who refuses to age gracefully.  I will be excited when those awful Bedazzled-looking pants are over.  Ugh, they are so gaudy and hideous.  I just hate the sight of them. I am generally not in favor of the hard, overdone approach to beauty. 

We decided not to get a steer.  They're so much money and work, he would turn our goat pen into a manure soup, and the pen's not big enough for him to get the exercise he needs.  We really emphasized the negatives (twelve gallons of water a day, even in the winter) when we talked to Grant about it, and I guess we crushed his dream.  But he could see that it was going to seriously cut into his valuable Doing Stuff time.  If goats were better supported we could show Tex, because that guy is a dreamboat.  He is seriously the handsomest wether I have ever seen.  Hubba hubba!  Some doe would be lucky to have him, if his business hadn't been smooshed.  As it is he's just going to be handsome white packages, which is so sad.  I wish I could keep all of them, but can you imagine?  I'd be the neighborhood cat lady, only with goats.  Let's be honest, eventually I would let them in the house.  I'd start talking to them like they're people, asking their opinion on what stocks I should invest in, then I'd lose all our money, and John would divorce me or have me institutionalized, and then my kids would grow up without me, and they'd turn into horrible people and probably steal the Hope diamond.  How sad.  All for the want of a horseshoe nail, you know?  I guess we'd better sell them. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

it's these expressions I never give

Should we take on health care today?  Yes, let's.  This is not going to be a cogent argument or anything.  I'm still trying to figure out what I think.  It's probably going to be boring and wrongheaded. 

I'm toying with the idea of thinking that health insurance should be mandatory up to 18, maybe 21, and optional after that.  I like the idea of letting adults decide if they want insurance or want to work out a payment plan with their doctor.  But then we have to be willing to accept the consequences of that decision.  Do we turn people away who can't pay?  If they can't pay for health care, how would they pay for insurance?  Hmm.  I'm not sure how to work it out.  If health insurance is mandatory and taxpayer funded, I know that I don't like the idea of having to pay for gastric bypass surgery or repeated trips to rehab.  But what if somebody else doesn't like paying for my IUD, or for Ike to have a plastic surgeon sew up his nose instead of an ER doc?  We all have different ideas of what is and is not necessary care, and if we're paying for each other's care we're going to start thinking we get a say in what care gets provided.  I don't like that.  I think that anytime you give somebody money, once the money leaves your hands you don't get to decide how it gets spent.  You can use your frustration from giving your sister rent money that she spends on getting an ombre dye instead and use it to guide your future decisions, but that money's gone.  Next time don't give her money, or write a check to the landlord.  If the money you donated to USU's English Department gets spent on the athletic program, then next year don't give them any money, and tell them why.  We think that money buys ownership, but in the case of other people's agency it just plain doesn't. But that's not going to stop us from thinking it, and that's where I think we might get into real trouble; when somebody else thinks they get a say in what our health care needs are.  But is that very different from how health insurance is implemented today?  We already are always up in each other's business.  Already employers think they get to tell you how to spend the money they keep back from your paycheck to pay for your health care. I think I'd rather get a bigger paycheck and I'll pay for my own birth control and mammograms before 50, thanks.  I wish individuals had more bargaining power with insurance companies.  And of course I wouldn't be smart with that bigger paycheck.  I'd just spend it on shoes and Charolais calves and then wring my hands in dismay when Grant tears his braces off eating a Sugar Daddy. 

John is a smart guy and a good guy.  I trust him to not tell lies, and he says that in his experience, countries with socialized medicine have excellent preventive care, often superior to the standard in America, but once you develop any expensive condition it gets very difficult to receive treatment.  But that's one man, and maybe other people have seen it work differently.  I know that stories are not statistics.  Has someone else coined that phrase?  If not, I want credit.  Stories are not statistics, you heard it here first. 

It's a mess, true enough.  I want people to be taken care of, but I expect them to do their part, however small it may be. 

Any ideas from you guys on how to fix it?  Just one little change you think would help? 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

meow kitty, meow so pretty

I try, you guys.  Really I do.  I try to suppress, but sometimes the politics just come barfing out.  Sorry, but this post is a total downer. 

I know that people love to turn abortion into a wedge issue, because it's an easy way to differentiate one side from the other, and also serves the handy purpose of turning people into one-issue voters, keeping them from researching further into the platforms and asking in-depth questions about just how each candidate plans to implement their plans for A Better America Today or whatever.  I don't like abortion.  I think it's awful.  But I also think that if you find yourself further right than the LDS church, and allow for no cases in which it may be an unfortunate necessity, then you might need to rethink your position.  Looking merely at the lack of a rape or incest clause, I am horrified that someone would think they get to tell a woman who has had this monstrosity done to her that she has no choice about whether or not to carry the baby to term.  How do you become the sort of person who can say that?  And being the suspicious pessifeminist that I am, I am terrified by the idea that if there were a law that an abortion could only be performed in the case of rape or incest, someone might have to prove she was raped before she could obtain an abortion.  How would that play out?  Would the perpetrator have to be found, charged, prosecuted, and convicted?  How many weeks along would she be by then?  I don't like the potential there for women and the contents of their uteri to be considered property of the state.  Hey--ask Ceausescu how that worked out for him!  Yes, the focus should be on the rapist and bringing him to justice.  But there will always be rapists, won't there?  There will always be the powerful abusing the weak, and to deny the weak the dignity of governing themselves is to perpetuate the abuse.  A good step toward ending abuse of women might be to recognize their status as equal, sovereign beings, and to stop denying them a voice in the management of their own lives.  So, even recognizing that there are women who would choose an abortion for reasons I might consider selfish and immature, I think I have to put myself on the side of "safe, legal and rare."  I hate slogans, especially when it's life and potential life at stake, but that's the most succinct way I can sum it up. 

Now!  Vaccines.  Recently I was talking to someone who said she'd been putting off getting her child immunized for kindergarten, because she'd been talking to another woman who doesn't vaccinate her children, and she was nervous.  People.  There is not a nice way to say this, so I will just be blunt:  I am not convinced that a woman whose toddler's teeth are rotten and falling out from being put to bed with sippy cups of juice and Kool-aid, whose house is a treasure trove of highly-processed manufactured food, with nary a fruit or vegetable in sight (except in their plastic form as decoration), has done the necessary amount of research to make a well-informed, educated decision about what we should and shouldn't be putting in our bodies.  I am pretty careful about what goes into my children, food- and otherwise, and yes, I was a little skeeved out by the idea of slamming my kids at such a tender age with so many vaccines and their multifarious questionable ingredients, and yes, I think the vaccine schedule and contents could do with closer examination, and yes, vaccines have side effects, sometimes unimaginably horrible ones.  But I read both sides and talked to smart, thoughtful people I trusted, and decided I preferred our chances with the vaccines.  I made what I felt was the best decision for our family. I support everyone's right to do likewise, or even to make an uninformed, ignorant decision.  But I also think that when your decision has the likelihood of impacting countless other people, potentially lethally, as refusal to vaccinate does, then we have a right to be protected from you, Typhoid Mary.  Form an isolated community of like-minded individuals and have at it.  Maybe you will develop immunity and the rest of us will rue our short-sightedness.  But until then stop compromising our herd immunity. 

Here's the article on Slate that got me yelling about it today. 

How are you guys, anyway?  How is school going?  We have settled in and the kids are already pushing the schedule for bus readiness to the utmost limit.  My yearbook chairman bailed on me, and I still don't have a president-elect.  I sent a letter home with the students today, and I refrained from addressing it "Dear Leeches," but it was hard.  I have to keep reminding myself that it's possible that no one knows how desperate our situation is.  I certainly didn't until I was called into service by the girl who did it before me.  I suppose it's okay if they sin in ignorance.  But I'm still mad, and if anybody acts like they are so busy, busier than I am, then they'd better be able to back that up with facts.

Now.  Feel free to lambaste me in the comments and show me where my reasoning is flawed.  I'll never learn if people don't disagree with me.