Tuesday, October 17, 2017

da traten die junger zu jesu

Every week I get ready to write something about the new nadir our country has reached, but then I get interrupted by something else and by the time I get back to the computer darn if we haven't plumbed new depths.

A big problem I see is that even if Trump were impeached, it's garbage on down the line of succession until you get to where, exactly?  I mean, I guess Orrin Hatch would be sort of okay because he probably wouldn't start a nuclear war and is maybe slightly less hostile to the LGBT community than the people ahead of him in line, but even that would be a nightmare.  And I don't know how far you have to go before it's somebody who's an actually decent human being.  Is there even anybody decent on there?  I guess I can google it.

I was going to post pictures of what my house currently looks like, but my computer is on the verge of eating all my photos and I don't dare do anything to it.  But the house is looking great and maybe it will even get painted before Thanksgiving, but don't hold your breath.

Monday, September 25, 2017

siempre, siempre con las moscas

I read a thread yesterday discussing President U Bum, and it helped a few things crystallize in my mind, like why I've been so down and frustrated and hopeless.  John and I see eye-to-eye on most things, with the marked difference that he believes most people are still basically good and decent, and I believe that most if not all people, myself included, are merely lacking the proper motivation to become monsters.  He's a day person!  So this last almost-year since the election has been a real picnic, as I read more and more awful and infuriating things and become more and more upset, and he goes to work with nice people who most of the time are trying to do the right thing.

We had a heated discussion last night about the level of racism exhibited by a person who instinctively thinks that it's disrespectful to kneel during the national anthem before a sportsball contest, and they don't spend any time trying to figure out why people are kneeling in the first place.  John and I are always having these talks, where he tries to get me to consider the upbringing people have had and how that informs their worldview, and I argue that when opportunities abound for people to acquire new information that could inform their worldview in new ways and they steadfastly, obstinately refuse, that I have to call them what they are.  We are more than just our choices, but we eventually become our choices.  

I'm still kind of chewing on it.  Obviously people don't have a lot of say in what goes into their brain for a long time, but at some point, don't we become responsible for what we learn and ignore?  And I know I have huge blind spots of my own.  

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

pursuance (live)

I bought a Thai cookbook at the library's book sale last week, and my family is going to be miserable I'm sure, but I'm going to cook my way through it, as soon as the summer food season is over.  I don't want to give up a single meal of tomato sandwiches that I don't have to, so I'm thinking October maybe?  I also bought "The I Hate to Cookbook" by Peg Bracken because I have heard she is very funny, so it's worth it just for the humorous essays.  Also, even though I usually do not hate to cook, I do hate long ingredient lists and complicated cooking methods.  I was suspicious about a recipe I saw that calls for canned carrots, yuck, but I think I can figure out substitutes without too much trouble.

Construction on the house has been mostly stalled for weeks, because the windows did not come when they were supposed to.  We did get most of the insulation last week, and the sheetrock was delivered, but we can't move forward on any inside work until the windows get here and the inspector takes a look at them and I guess decides that they really are the windows they are supposed to be.  But the shingles are going on today, which is very exciting for me, and I think I finally found the green paint that I've been looking for  for months now and had concluded existed only in my imagination, and that is even more exciting.  It will look like a real, no-fooling house here in a couple of weeks.

Often people, I've seen it especially in Mormondom because that's where I spend my time, blanch at having the federal government be in charge of health care or various other areas because, and this is the quote I hear frequently, "The government that has the power to grant all things has the power to take all things," or "the benevolent hand of government soon becomes the oppressive hand of government."  I think that's pretty obviously true, I have no quarrel with these sentiments.  And U.S. Mormons have a pretty deep-seated cultural distrust of the federal government, which is also at play here.  But our government currently does grant favors and is benevolent--toward the already-rich and powerful.  Why is that okay?  And if it's not, why aren't people spending more energy trying to dismantle an unjust and immoral system, instead of blocking any attempt to balance the scales?

Friday, September 1, 2017

there's a laddie weary and wanderin' free

I'm trying something new for my errand-running today--I'm headed out to buy some paint and I'm taking along the book I'm currently reading (Cannery Row) and I'll try reading that while I'm standing in the checkout line instead of reading the increasingly infuriating news.

I plan to wear a uniform wardrobe of caftans when I get to the right age--I'm not sure what that age is, but I am confident I will know when the time arrives.  I hesitate to tell anyone because I don't want anyone to jack my style, but also I want to be a good citizen who gives to the world more than she takes away, so there you are.

Choosing a paint color for the siding has me completely flummoxed.  I hate all the colors of green now, and none of them are quite right.  I thought I had found one, but I think I must have bought it in the paint store equivalent of the Room of Requirement, because I haven't been able to find it since, and of course the sample jar is all mixed up with the scores of other sample jars.  Today I started my search anew and bought a bunch of sample quarts and painted them right on the plywood on the side of the house, since the siding won't be here until next week.   It's helpful to see the color in big swaths like that, with the natural light and shading that it will have in real life.  I want to use a nice rich color that looks authentic to a nearly 100-year-old Craftsman, and that is a challenge.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

you know you could have been some perfume

The house remodeling continues apace.  The insulation is in the walls now and it's interesting what a difference it has already made in the noise level, even though the windows are still gaping holes to the outside, letting flies and wasps in all the time.  

I took vicious pleasure in seeing Joel Osteen get thoroughly and rightfully shamed into opening his church to flood evacuees.  Locking your doors to the poor and needy and lying about why you're doing it is not a great look for a pastor.  It's almost like he cares about money and power and not the gospel of Jesus Christ?  So weird...

Today is John's birthday and I've made him an ice cream cake, which is what the weirdos at my house always want, except Ike, who is even more weird and always requests a cake made out of stuffing.  I made my own cake for my birthday just so I could have a real cake for a change.  I chose carrot cake and it was quite delicious--I made two sheet cakes and layered them because layer cakes are correct.  Anyway, back to John's cake--I got bourbon butter pecan for one of the flavors and it is super boozy, and probably the whole cake is ruined now.  Bourbon is a rough flavor for me to handle because it's so fruity.  Bleh.  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

truly dear

John and the boys got home on Saturday from their backpacking trip to the Wind Rivers.  Willa and I stayed home because I had just been gone for two and a half weeks and I could not be gone another day--I had to go to work and I had to make some house decisions.  Also I detest camping, especially the kind of camping where I can't shower for three days and I have to poop in the woods.  Camping in the best of circumstances is still terrible, and I always wake up hours before I want to, having to pee, and I lie miserably in my sleeping bag trying to go back to sleep until finally it's urgent and I have to stagger out into the freezing pre-dawn to the nearest outhouse which is never that near and I get dirt all over my feet.  Not for me, thanks.  But John and the boys had a wonderful time and supposedly it was very beautiful.  On their way out they passed thousands of people going up into the basin they were leaving, because it was in the zone of totality for the August 21st total solar eclipse.  I guess they should have just stayed a few extra days.  But then we wouldn't have been together for the eclipse, and what if the rapture had happened?  I would have been so cross.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

was our castle and our keep

We're building on to our house, so it will now be a 1 1/2-story Craftsman instead of a 1-story Craftsman.  I feel like it always wanted to be that way, and I've been imagining it and drawing  it ever since we moved in almost twelve years ago.  Of course it's insanely expensive, but only about half as much as it would be to build a new house of similar size and quality.  I was lucky enough to find an architect and a builder who both understood my vision and how important it was to me to preserve the Craftsman identity of my house.

I know it's greedy of me to want a bigger house, and greedier still to spend the kind of money I'm spending to make sure it "looks right." I was conflicted about it for a long time.  I might need that money to rehome refugees or hide people from the gestapo, and here I was, making a big old American house like the big old American woman that I am.  But unsurprisingly I was able to get over that concern and build my big old house.  Yay for self-justification!  If hiding people becomes necessary we'll figure something out.  As they say somewhere, probably England, cheer up, it may never happen.

In related news, the lawn and garden are thrashed, possibly beyond recovery.  We had to put in a new septic system, the flower beds are all squished, my river birch is probably dead, and the lawn hasn't been watered since the beginning of July because there's always wood stacked on it.  It's pretty grim, and it's going to be a monumental effort bringing it back.  It's okay though, because bindweed has infiltrated the front garden and it's so hard to control that it's probably better just to start over.

I got an email that my trees have shipped--I ordered a bunch of trees that are hard to find around here.  They come as little bare root sticks, and I'm just planting them for fun because they were super cheap.  If I get a decent ginkgo--or even better, a katsura--out of this experiment, it will be well worth the $35 I spent.

Friday, August 18, 2017

pain and panic at your service

What to even say.

I have a hard time believing this is the country I've grown up in, until I think back on what my country actually is and then it makes sense after all.  One of the most frustrating things about being an idealistic American is that when I look honestly at our nation's history I see that we've never really been the country we claim to be.  We've had a few shining moments when we did the right thing, when we championed our founding ideals, but it was often either too little too late, or motivated by the wrong reasons.

I've had no desire to post anything on this here blog for a really long time, and the election and its results just made everything worse.  I started this blog however many years ago now because I had stopped writing in my journal, and I wanted to get back into the habit, because I do think keeping some kind of record of one's life is important.  Record keeping is encouraged in Mormonism--in fact, I'm teaching a lesson about it this Sunday.  So I decided that in order to live up to my own ideals and to be a better example for my students I would start writing again.  Despite my frustration and embarrassment in the moral failings of my elected leaders, my terror at the direction our country is taking, my dread that we can't actually do anything to stop the rising tide of chaos, and my nihilist impulse to just sit back and let the animals and the intelligent machines band together and obliterate us all--despite all of these roiling emotions--I will do better.  I will write and record what I can and maybe I'll end up chronicling the final, deserved total annihilation of humanity.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

battle for freedom in spirit and might

Boy, isn't this the week for doing the right thing for the wrong reason, though?

The LDS Church just announced that they will no longer be affiliating with the Boy Scouts of America for their 14-18-year-old boys (BSA is the de facto young men's program for most wards in the U.S.).  Now, the LDS-run scouting program for this age of boy is a mess and has been for a long time, and I super-duper hate what a time- and resource-suck it is, and I hate the conflation of "Eagle Scout" and "righteous priesthood holder," and the end of the era in which our young men are conscripted into a program that they have little to no interest in can't come soon enough for me, but I would bet large sums of money that the only reason they're uncoupling at this point is because the BSA now allows gay scouts and leaders, and that's sheer bigoted rudeness.  The BSA even said that church-run troops could still exclude gay members, so this just makes it look like the LDS Church didn't want to be even associated with a group that has been infiltrated by the "gay agenda," or some such nonsense.

And if they're going to get rid of it, why not ditch Cub Scouts too?  They meet every week to do stuff they hate, and the pack meetings are just death, full of appropriative, faux-Native American language and ceremony and corny cheers that even the kids are embarrassed by and I HATE THEM.  Why don't they have a twice-monthly program like the girls that age have, with the same budget (which is a whole other enraging discussion)?

In sum, this week is full of conflicting emotions.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

see you on the dark side of the moon

America:  it was nice while it lasted.

What in the world is going on?  We seem on the edge of some really bad territory.  Is the skullduggery that's happening now more egregious than in the past, or is the Trump administration just more inept?  I listened to an interview on Radio West yesterday with the author of "Richard Nixon:  The Life," and one of the things he talked about was that Richard Nixon had been spying on people all along, it was just that the people who did the Watergate job were clumsy doofuses about it, so Nixon got caught.

On Thursday we sometime watch "learning movies*," because our kids are so desperate to watch anything at all on a school night that they're willing to put up with movies that they would riot about on weekends.  This Thursday I'm going to insist on "All the President's Men" so we can marvel at how time truly is a flat circle.

*this is a broad term that includes musicals and Mystery Theater episodes

Monday, March 20, 2017

she was a working girl, north of England way

The other day I heard Patton Oswalt say that since the election a friend of his has taken to greeting people with "How are you, otherwise?" I feel ya, man.  This morning the discussion on Radio West was about fake news and how hard it is to get people to believe things they don't want to believe, no matter how true they are.  And then you see the American public and the media so happily turn their focus to whatever new shiny thing the current White House administration throws in front of them without holding their feet to the fire on any of it and it's all pretty frustrating.  So otherwise I'm doing great.  Our family is mostly surviving adolescence, I have a job I love, and I bought a bare-root apricot three that looks very promising.  

I have moved from derby-ing to on-skate officiating because I have too many irons in the fire and I think my teammates deserve someone who is capable of forming a somewhat cohesive wall with them.  Sad, but necessary.  

I want to put three or four nice big horse troughs on the south side of my house and do container gardening in them.  John is really pinning his ears back about it, but I imagine I'll end up doing it someday anyway because I'm rude and dismissive of other people's opinions.  

Thursday, February 16, 2017

they were bum poets as well

Well, what an interesting ride we are on lately, no?  Sunday morning I started crying about something else entirely--I believe it was the book we're reading as a family--and John, with concern in his eyes, advised taking a week off from the news.  I refused, and I'm glad I did because what a week this has been!  I am so cross with Jason Chaffetz, who I want to stop embarrassing Utah with his naked ambition and partisan hackery.

But more about the book we're reading--my sister gave us Echo for Christmas, which is a book for older children and is thoroughly wonderful and well-written.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It traces the pathway of a harmonica through the lives of a series of characters before and during World War II.  Delightful, engrossing, I love it and so do my kids.  Even Grant and Emmett, who try to pretend like they are too old for it, pay enough attention to know what's happening and ask questions and react to the events of the story.  There is a lot of symmetry with what's happening in our current world, and it makes for great discussions with the kids.  Pam Muñoz Ryan is the author, go get it.

Monday, February 6, 2017

open up my eager eyes, 'cause I'm Mr. Brightside

Come into the Conspiracy Cave with me for a moment, won't you?  In light of that horrible man's ongoing tantrum about the judge who defied his unconstitutional orders I would not be surprised to see a terrorist attack that was either orchestrated by, or was actively not prevented by the current administration, in order to use the event to scare people into supporting his inhumane policy and to accumulate more power.

I wish this seemed more implausible.  There was a time, in the halcyon days of yore, when I thought the people carrying "BUSH DID 9/11!" posters were crazy, but here we are.

Monday, January 30, 2017

and the call isn't out there at all, it's inside me

At the women's march held in Salt Lake City last Monday I saw so many signs that made me laugh ruefully, shake my head in agreement, and cry in sympathetic frustration.  But the one that has stuck with me is the one that said: 

"I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change.  I am changing the things I cannot accept."  

So what can we do?  I'm talking beyond contributing to worthy organizations and calling our reps.  I called my elected officials three times last week; I'll keep doing it, but I'm sure I'm working my way up their "crazies we do not listen to" list.  What do we do?  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I have a bad feeling about this

I am thoroughly disgusted with two of the major institutions in my life and have had my distrust of all humanity confirmed.  The silver lining to watching the unravelling of dignity and decency and democracy is that I have read a lot of Kurt Vonnegut, so I will be unsurprised by any of it.