Thursday, February 28, 2008

One More Meme

In which I am allowed only one word per question.

1. Where is your cell phone? bathroom
2. Your significant other? wonderful
3. Your hair? ridiculous
4. Worst bad habit? procrastinating
5. Favorite food? fajitas
6. Your favorite thing? people
7. Your dream last night? snakes
8. Your favorite drink? milk
9. Your dream/goal? publish
10.The room you're in? office
11. Your ex? okay
12. Your fear? kidnapping
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? everywhere
14. Where were you last night? poetry
15. What you're not? organized
16. Muffins? blueberry
17. One of your wish list items? freezer
18. Where you grew up? Tooele
19. The last thing you did? rouse
20. What are you wearing? pajamas
21. Your TV? connected
22. Your pets? extra
23. Your computer? Apple
24. Your life? rich
25. Your mood? fulfilled
26. Missing someone? always
27. Your car? dependable
28. Something you're not wearing? pants
29. Favorite Store? Target
30. Your summer? soon
31. Love someone? desperately
32. When is the last time you laughed? now
33. Last time you cried? birth
34. Who will/would re-post this? Beautopotamus

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pequeños Milagros

On Monday, I had the honor of attending a movingly lovely, smooth, easy home birth. It was so delightful. Even the mom, during active labor, described her feelings as "euphoric". The greatest honor was that the mother was my sister in law -- a very dear friend. This sweet baby is my new nephew, Duke. Welcome to the world, buddy. You're a lucky little guy to have been born so peacefully into such a wonderful family.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

This Cracked Me Up

Star Wars According to a 3 Year Old

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Let Me Explain

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

I think it's only fair to let you, my fabulous blog friends, in on a bit about the inner workings of my mind. Laura mentioned that my posts seem to be up and down lately. Others have expressed concern many times when I've talked about frustrations, anger, sadness, self-loathing.

For me, though, talking about it means I'm probably okay. It's like what my Grandma Murray always used to say "As long as you think you're crazy, you're probably not."

As long as I have the self-awareness to admit to and give myself permission to fully feel whatever it is I happen to be feeling, this is a pretty good sign that my mental health is in good shape. That I am able to see that I am feeling unhappy and give that feeling voice, even if it's scary, is an acknowledgment on my part that my feelings are a transitory thing. They do not define or control me.

It is when I am unable to recognize negative feelings as abnormal, when I turn them in on myself like daggers, that I am in trouble. The recognition is always the first step out for me.

That doesn't mean I'm not sad right now. I am. I'm hurting.

But I am still so terribly grateful for my life, for all I'm learning. I know I am so loved by my Heavenly Father, that I am important and good.

And I know that I am cared about by so many wonderful people, like all of you. Thank you ever so much for your support and kind words. It means so much to me.

So, I didn't do so good at the summing up thing. Did I? Truly, brevity is not my gift.

So, to sum up, here's one of my very favorite poems.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

Going Dark

Am I the only one out there who blogs the least when they have the most important things to say?

My heart is full. There are tears perching just above my eyelashes, waiting to spill. So many things have happened over the last week or so that have really rocked me. Then last night and today, a small thing has happened that really has me on edge. It is small really, but so huge in that I can't even find the words to explain why it is so unsettling for me. I still don't know exactly why.

So, if you don't hear from me for a while you can find me and my neuroses curled up in the corner with a box of chocolate truffles.

I'll see you on the other side.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Minor Facebook Disaster

I must admit, I'm not so hip where social network sites are concerned. I just got an email inviting me to join a group of other Birthing From Within mentors on facebook, so I did. And I think that, in the process, I emailed friend requests to about half of my address book. And half of the people I think I emailed don't really even know me. So.....

Then, I looked around and found a couple of people I know and would like to contact, but um, I don't have any idea how. How lame am I?

Then I ended up on myspace. Does anyone else feel a bit like a voyeur whenever they venture onto myspace? Um, I do. Maybe it's because I don't have a myspace page and don't keep up with friends there. I feel like I get an uninvited peek into people's lives. It's a bit strange.

And then there's that balance of current friends and old friends that you'd like to stay friends with and old acquaintances that you'd really like to be real friends with and old friends that you'd really like to never talk with again.

Oh, and finding one of your ex-boyfriends' wives myspace page. And she's not only gorgeous, but actually very cool and you'd probably be friends with her except for the fact that it might be awkward because she's married to your ex-boyfriend who is now the really good guy you always knew he'd be, but wasn't so much back then. Creepy.


This post is quickly disintegrating.

I'm wondering. Do you use myspace? Facebook? Do you keep up with high school and college friends well? Through these sites or no? How do you make all of it worthwhile?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Love Day!

I thought Valentines Day would be an appropriate time to post the meme that Emily the Sassy Lime tagged me for. Perhaps I will tell you some Valentine stories later. Maybe not. We'll just see what I have time for.

Here goes:

How long have you been together? Almost 11 years

How long did you date? Define date. He was my first date in 1992 when I was 14. I'm not sure we went on any other official dates until February of 1997. Then we dated a lot, got engaged in April of 1997 and married in August of 1997.

How old is he? 32

Who eats more? Definitely me. But only because JDub seems to survive on oxygen. He frequently skips breakfast and often gets so busy at work that he forgets to eat lunch. Crazy man.

Who said "I love you" first? I'm not entirely sure. I think it was me.

Who is taller? JDub is 5'11". I am 5'2".

Who is smarter? I'd say we're an equal match. Though JDub is much smarter than me about things like engineering and database design and I tend to outsmart him in other areas.

Who does the laundry? I do. JDub helps sometimes. I am usually grateful when he does, but try to keep up with laundry because sometimes his laundry help scares me.

Who does the dishes? JDub loads them in the dishwasher at night. Kaitybean unloads them in the morning. I pick up any of the slack.

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? JDub.

Who pays the bills? That would be me. We have a running joke in our house. It's his job to make all the money and my job to make sure it doesn't stay in our bank account for too long.

Who mows the lawn? Mostly JDub. But I must confess that neither one of us does this as often as we should.

Who cooks dinner? Me. 99.99% of the time.

Who is more stubborn? We're both pretty stubborn. I think JDub usually wins out, though.

Who kissed who first? JDub kissed me.

Who asked who out? I think he asked me out.

Who proposed? Technically, neither one of us. We were just sitting together and JDub said "I want to marry you." And I said, "I want to marry you too." And that was that.

Who is more sensitive? Me.

Who has more friends? We're pretty even.

Who has more siblings? Definitely JDub. He's 2 of 7. I'm 1 of 3.

Who are you tagging?

Anyone is welcome to play along. I'd especially like to hear answers from Duchess, Sabrina and Kim.

JDub and His Mini-Me

Monday, February 11, 2008

Life As It Is

This came today from DailyOM. It was timely and comforting for me, so I thought I'd share it here.


February 11, 2008
Life As It Is
Making Life Work For You

Sometimes we have so many varying responsibilities in our lives, ranging from work obligations to caring for children to running a household, we feel we cannot possibly make it all work. We may feel overwhelmed in the face of it all, ending each day feeling hopelessly behind schedule. However, regardless of how frustrating this can be, these are the parameters that make up our lives, and we owe it to ourselves to find a way to make it work. Rather than buckling under the pressure of an impossible to-do list, we might take a moment to view the larger perspective.

Like the president of a large organization, we must first realize that we cannot do every job ourselves. The first step to sanity is learning how to delegate some of the responsibility to other people, whether by paying someone to clean our house or trading childcare duties with another parent. In addition, we might find places where we can shift our expectations in ways that make our lives easier. For example, expecting ourselves to create a healthy home-cooked meal every night after a full day of work, errands, or caring for an infant or toddler may be a bit excessive. We might allow ourselves to order in food once in a while without any guilt. Accepting the adjustments needed to make our lives work is an essential ingredient to being at peace with our situation.

At the end of the day, we must come to terms with changing what we can and accepting what we cannot change. Sometimes the laundry piles up, a sick child demands more of our attention than usual, and we temporarily get behind with our schedule. Accepting this momentary state of affairs and trusting in our ability to get back on track when the time is right, we gracefully accept our life as it is, letting go of perfectionism and embracing life as it stands.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

My Favorite Kind of Day

I get an email from Google Calendar each day telling me what's on my agenda for that day.

This is what it said today:

You have no events scheduled today.


Friday, February 08, 2008


Yep, we're facing school issues again. Yes, once again it's Scud.

Among other things, his teacher feels VERY strongly that he needs to be moved ahead to the next grade. (Didn't we do this last year?) I pretty much agree.

But, I'm also very concerned about some obsessive-compulsive behaviors and extreme anxiety issues he has been showing. He's always had them and I keep thinking he will grow out of them. But they're not getting better. If anything they're getting worse.

He is hating school right now. "Miserable" is the word he used. I hate to hear that from my sweet guy. His anxiety issues are keeping him unhappy at school, at home, pretty much all of the time.

So, we're looking into solutions, trying to figure out where to turn to evaluate things. I want to make decisions based on the whole picture.

Mainly it's questions right now.

Are the obsessive-compulsive behaviors and anxiety stemming from the fact that is mind is terribly under stimulated?

Or do they exist on their own?

Will changing grades mean a reprieve from current symptoms? Short-term? Long-term? Could it possibly make it worse?

Does he have obsessive compulsive disorder or another mental illness? Or is the fact that he is very intelligent and not being stimulated causing his brain to look for other things to do? Or is it both?

I want so very much to take care of this tender little guy. I want what's best for him. And I don't want to go with quick fixes and not look at the whole picture, really figure out what he needs.

We are also looking into a Montessori school, the idea of homeschooling him. There are many possible options and many questions with each option.

Wish us luck.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I'll Take the Composite Candidate Please

Reading my friend Rynell's comments this morning was an echo of how I'm currently feeling.

I'm a bit of an odd duck politically speaking.

Okay, maybe I'm just a bit of an odd duck, but we're talking politics here, people. Let's stay on topic.

I am a registered Democrat in one of the reddest states of the nation and a county that's even more red.

But I'm not really a Democrat when it comes down to it. I'm more liberal than most Utahns (which is not very hard to do). But I'm much more conservative than most Democrats.

If I really had to align myself with a party, I'd probably be a Libertarian. But what good does that do?

I have watched the political climate over the last few years very carefully and with great fascination. The vitriol that is spewed from one side to the other is beyond shocking to me. The divisiveness of our current political system, the polarization of it all, is mind boggling.

On one side we have progressive Democrats (most of whom are kind, considerate, good people in their every day lives) who hate George W. Bush and everything Red, Right, Republican or Religious. The conversations I've had or overheard with some Democrats shock me. The anger is palpable and I wonder how I can feel a part of a party that is so hateful toward our current government. Disagreement is one thing; even anger is understandable. The borderline murderous antipathy I have witnessed is inexcusable.

Then, on the other side we have that block of the religious right who feel that their way is THE ONE RIGHT WAY for everyone in the entire country. And not only the right way, but God's way. And what does that say about anyone who disagrees? Damn to hell all of those evil, godless, baby-killing, homosexual, pot-smoking, welfare-addict-loving donkeys on the other side of the aisle. And the fear-mongering! Holy cow, the fear mongering. The fearful words used to describe every possible form of wrong -- equating with terrorists nearly everyone who does not come into lock-step with the current administration -- that I've heard just make me sad. Like the Democrats I spoke of before, these are generally good people.

On both sides are people who would never dream of being this unkind to a real human being, but who blatantly and viciously attack groups of those human beings without remorse.

What is happening to us?

Orson Scott Card wrote a fantastic book. Empire. You really ought to read it. In the epilogue he talks of this same thing. Our country is becoming increasingly polarized. Neither side seems able to see the others, those who disagree with them, as people. Rather than allowing their own ideas to be challenged and deciding whether or not they still hold true, people tend to look at anyone who disagrees with them politically as either stupid, ignorant or evil. He's right.

And I'm feeling it lately.

Because I feel like one of the bastard children of the United States of America. Even if it weren't for all the bad behavior floating around (but especially because of it) I feel ashamed to label myself as a Republican or a Democrat.

In the current "Red Team vs. Blue Team" mentality of our country, I belong to one of the most hated groups in America.

I am a moderate.

Because I spend my political life dancing back and forth between platforms and parties, between groups and ideologies, it is impossible for me keep from being hated by one group or another. Because I'm not stepping in line with the haters on one side or the other, I feel like I am drawing icy glares from every direction.

Here's what I mean:

  • I may be a Democrat, but I'm also a very religious person. So, in the eyes of many I am a fool and perhaps even worse, a dangerous fool because, as a religious person, I fall into the same category as our current president.
  • I am a feminist, but I didn't vote for the female candidate yesterday. In order for her to get my vote, I believe we must share more than two chromosomes in common. And we do, but not enough that I felt good about voting for her.
  • I am a Mormon. Even if I were not a Mormon, I feel that Mitt Romney would be a highly capable and effective president. It has very little to do with our shared beliefs. However, I'm not sure that I want Romney to be our next president. I'm not sure that our country can take another president who is so very religious. I fear that the chasm between the right and left, the religious and non-religious is in danger of growing ever wider during the presidency of another man whose faith is so prominent.
  • At the same time, as a Mormon and knowing what good people my fellow-Mormons tend to be, I do love the idea of having a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the white house.
  • I believe that until we find better ways of protecting women, better access to good health care and education, better options and more support for young women abortion should not be 100% illegal. This is especially true in cases of rape, incest and where the life of the mother is in danger.
  • I do, however, believe that there should be many tight restrictions on abortion. For instance: restrictions for minors, a complete ban on all late term abortions.
  • I believe that homosexual couples should have the same rights to care for one another as heterosexual couples do. The morality of homosexuality should not be decided on a national level or in a political sphere. I have many friends who are gay. I love them very much. I want them to have the rights and abilities to care for one another as couples and families. I think that civil unions are the best answer.
  • I think that all children deserve a good education. But, wait. I don't think that the public school system is the best and only way to accomplish this. The system itself has been shown to be failing many students from all different backgrounds and ages. Pumping more money into it will not satisfy this problem. If our government is going to continue to promote and fund compulsory schooling for all children, then there need to be many different options available to people from all socioeconomic backgrounds. I believe that school choice is the only way that we can meet the changing educational needs that face this country. Vouchers, charter schools, public schools where teachers receive merit pay... Ideally, I think that a dollar-follows-the-student system would be the very best.
  • In light of this, you can imagine how greatly I bristle at Obama and Clinton's plans to fund earlier and earlier forms of public education.
  • And how much I dislike the No Child Left Behind laws.
  • Though I believe that certain systems are worthwhile to our nation, I recognize that what works from a systems perspective is often highly detrimental to individuals. In all possible cases, I think that individuals should be given the freedoms and abilities to chose how best to care for their own needs. In every possible way, systems should be set up to allow flexibility, independence and individual choice. If this is not possible, I think we should carefully consider whether or not the system is even worthwhile. This theory applies to many things: health care, education, social security, welfare, immigration.
  • Speaking of immigration, I think that our system needs to be fixed. It is obvious that there are a great number of people who would like to live in our country. Because of our broken and inflexible system, it is unrealistically difficult to do this legally for most people. We need to make it much, much easier for people to enter our country legally. We need to have many options for doing this. Are they just coming to work for a little while? Do they want to come and stay forever? What are the true needs?
  • And don't shoot me, but I think that we should grant current illegal aliens the opportunity to be here legally. If they desire it, they should be given the opportunity to move to the back of the line (and we need to make it a much more rapidly moving line) and become citizens. This, in my opinion, is not flouting our current laws. It is a recognition that our systems have been broken for a long, long time. We should have responded to this sooner and done a better job. Oh, and removing the draw for illegals to enter this country seems like a no-brainer. Americans who hire undocumented workers should face harsh penalties.
  • Again, don't shoot me. I think people who come here should learn English. It is to their benefit. They need to be able to get along here. I also think we should all learn Spanish or the language of the largest immigrant population in our area. Other countries require that their children learn to speak a second language in school. Learn to SPEAK it, not just be somewhat exposed to it. Why not us?
  • As for the war in Iraq. I have no idea. It's a crummy situation. There are no easy answers. I have little trust for any candidate who would like me to believe otherwise. "Get out now!" seems too easy. So does "Stay until they're stable." What if that never comes? How long is too long? How soon is too soon? Who really knows?
I could go on and on, but you can see that just this smattering of political beliefs puts me all over the political spectrum and in danger of drawing the ire of nearly every possible political group out there. No matter what I say or think, there's going to be someone who hates me (not me personally, but on principle).

I imagine that many of you, my wonderful blog friends, probably adamantly disagree with me on at least one thing I've just said. See? There's no safe place for most of us politically right now, is there?

And here's the biggest problem with all of my crazily moderate, thoughtful political beliefs: Every single one of them is subject to change at any moment.

I have learned that the "happy land of absolutes" is a veeeerrrry small place. I'm still learning and growing, reading and trying to understand things. I'm continually changing and try very hard to be always willing to be wrong. Something I believe is right today may be something I decide is wrong next year.

So there's no political party or candidate who can really ever count on me. We independents, we moderates are a dangerously unreliable bunch.

So, as this presidential election draws near I feel myself wishing I could choose from the speeches like a menu.

I'll take all of Romney's ideas on education and health care funding, a bit of McCain's plans for immigration. And could I have a side of Obama's plans for foreign relations and environmental issues. How about I have a smidge of the economic plans of all the candidates, they all have good ideas. And as for taxes, isn't Ron Paul highly in favor of a fair usage tax? I'll take that, thank you very much. And Hillary's ideas on creating opportunities for rural Americans. Brilliant. Bring it on.

Sadly, though, I only get to choose one person. Even more tragic is the way the polarization of politics is pressuring candidates to choose sides, to limit their open-mindedness and ability to learn good things from people all across the political spectrum. Why must it be red or blue, right or left? Why can't we find a way to elect the candidate who is most likely to be good, effective, pragmatic and willing to see the benefit of many possible ideas?

What about you? Have you felt this pull toward one side of the other? Do you feel like me -- a picked-on moderate without a home? What are your thoughts so far?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Isn't this AWESOME?!?

Have any of you ever wanted to do something like this? I sure have.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bring It On, Phil!

And strangely, I don't mean spring.

Not that I wouldn't welcome spring, but can I just tell you how desperately I have been loving this winter?

Winter was magic when I was a child. I can still taste the awe and excitement of waking up and looking out of our big, picture windows to see the world sparkling, blanketed in new snow. The hush, the splendor of the smooth, crystalline surface was almost sacred.

I remember walking home from school, wearing pink and gray moon boots. Crossing the high school football field, I felt like an arctic explorer as I tromped a trail through virgin snow that came up to my knees. And of course no trip would be complete without a handful melting in my mouth as I fell backward with a poof into the white to make a snow angel.

Seeing my breath blow in steamy puffs through the icy air, I felt so alive. Examining the tiny snowflakes that fell on my window, I marveled at each intricate, unique design.

My mom would bundle me up in snow pants and coat and boots and gloves and scarves and hat. I would wander through my yard for hours. Winter made the places I knew into a brand new world, fresh for exploring. Then, I'd come in to the living room, put my wet clothes on the large metal heater vent to dry and sit in our cozy kitchen drinking hot cocoa.

Later years found me sledding -- at East Elementary with Camille, at the high school with Rachel, in our Stake President's back yard with Liesl. Oh, and thinking about Liesl reminds me of the old snowmobile we used to ride for hours around the fields at West Elementary.

Winter was a charmed time.

I don't remember exactly when I started hating winter. By the time I was in high school, I'd lost a bit of my love affair with winter. But I didn't hate it.

Winter meant singing in three different choirs all through the Christmas season. It meant lights at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

Winter was snowball fights with Michael, holding hands and walking through the cold until midnight with Troy, driving with Kevin to meet his grandmother in a car that didn't have a heater. I had to huddle under a pile of quilts and he had to stop every couple of blocks to wipe the inside of the windshield so that he could see.

Even during those years, winter was magic.

I think it may have been my freshman year of college that did it. I didn't know it then, but an insidious monster was creeping into my life.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Anyone who has ever suffered from depression will understand why I simply cannot put into words the intensity of the pain, the anger, the emptiness and cold that has crept through my mind and heart every winter for so many years.

The panic that came over me every year in October was palpable. The feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness that consumed me each November are excruciating to even think about.

Somehow, this year a miracle happened. After TEN YEARS of suffering through winter, of wanting to hide from everyone and everything, of loathing the cold and the ice and the gray of winter, this year I am free.

I have no explanation for it. Nor do I want to spoil the charm of it all by trying to deduce the reasons.

I am simply grateful -- overwhelmingly, completely enamored with this season, with everything about it. My heart is full of the wonder I felt as a six year old child.

Has falling snow always been this enchanting? Has it always been this white? Have I ever really seen two feet of snow so powdery that it feels like air when you shovel it? Or snow so heavy that it is like hefting shovels full of water?

Is this how it feels to greet winter without crushing, agonizing depression?

Can I have some more please? I feel like I'm making up for a decade worth of winters this year.

A few nights ago, I walked outside to see Mashuga walking lightly across the surface of the snow in our front yard. An enormous grin exploded across my face. I remember that! Do you? Do you remember when you were small and the surface of the snow was frozen so that you could walk on top and leave only the barest trace of footprints?

And snowmen. Do you remember the sheer joy of building snowmen? This year my children have made snowmen and snowdogs. Their cousins came over with long, crooked carrots for snowmen noses. They all worked together to build snowmen in our yard, then ran across the street to build two more ginormous snow people in our neighbor's yard. This was extra fun, for Iris's aunt came here from Mexico just a few months ago. This was her first winter, her first snowman. Isn't that exciting?

The vicarious joy I've gotten from my children this year would be enough, but I am just astounded by the joy I feel, the way I've walked in awe during this season. The white, the ice, the fluffy snow has warmed my heart and spirit in immeasurable ways.

So, Punxatawney Phil can shuffle out of his hole to see his shadow tomorrow. Or he can not. Whether the groundhog heralds a swiftly approaching spring or a continued winter, I will be glad for it. I will welcome it with open arms.

You see, my friends, I have been happy and able to enjoy winter for the first time in oh so many years. Life has taught me once again that I believe in miracles.