You learn a lot from your sisters about being cool in high school. Painting tiny stars on the corners of your eyes for a concert, cool. Wearing just enough white lipstick, cool. Stay away from blue eyeshadow, cooler. I had a lot of coolness just by association. "Hey kid, you Chronicler's little sister?" "yeah" "Cool." Yeah, cool. The fact is, all of my siblings were high score on the cool charts. Big brother was such a geek he became cool for that. Kind of like the geeky guy who is in the "in" crowd for balance. But he sang and danced and acted and could do voices and off the top comedy to make you cry. He was a really talented guy. But all in all he was the poster boy for the 98lb. weakling.
Chronicler was next in the pecking order. Always tall, slim and somehow managed to be in fashion no matter what she wore. We grew up poor and with a lot of home made stuff, but she was "model-esque" in those days, and everyone looked to her for what was new and hip. She sang also, fluently spoke more languages than anyone else, and had big teeth and dimples that got her in a lot of places. She was smart and bright and pretty and everyone wanted to be her friend. Yeah, she was cool.
In addition to Chronicler being hip, she dated a bass player in a band. A long haired, black finger nailed, face painted guy in the band. Woo - Who! Yup, he was pretty hard core back then, Mr. "Mom's Worst Nightmare" cool. They introduced me to things like Alice Cooper, burgundy velvet high waist pants and lighting a cigarette lighter at just the right moment during a concert. She went to San Diego for college. She got a job as an tour guide on the Queen Mary, bought me my first real pearl necklace, and lived in Long Beach. She had her own place. Yeah cool.
The other sister (she hasn't a handle or tag yet) was way cool. She had the perfect hair, the perfect skin, the perfect shape and the perfect group of friends. She was hip to the lingo. Pretty to a fault, eyes that stood out, and always knew what was on the horizon. She was "A" list. All the teachers liked her and most of the school wanted to be her. She was the poor kid in the rich kids' group and no one cared. She had blond hair and blue eyes, and a tan to rival George Hamilton. She eventually got a mustang and it had a license frame that said it hailed from Newport Beach, because hey, she's just that cool. She was the one to get a summer place on Balboa Island and a job on Fashion Island. She bought me a bathing suit that year. Pretty cool.
The other sister was also into Rod Stewart. It was due to her fascination that all three sisters spent one summer (in a v.w. bug that enjoyed starting the back seat on fire) chasing the band all over So CAL and eventually caught up with him. She was the one who met him (had lunch with him, got a back stage pass from him, um, sat by the pool with him). Him, Rod the bod. Yup. But as a consolation prize, I got to sit in his limo and get my picture taken with his Japanese drummer. She had written a biography about him and she got all the other stuff. Oh well. None of my other friends ever came that close to a celebrity sighting. But this sister also dated one of the Wayne boys, as in John Wayne's boys. (yeah, she's that kind of pretty) I forget which one, but hey, that was cool. I remember going to a dance club with her. She snuck me in and, after some goof balls followed us out to the parking lot wanting our numbers, she was the one who taught me you smile, say yes, and then give them a number; just not your number.
I could go on and on about my sisters. The three of us have been through a lot. Most of our childhood would make an interesting read although most folks who find it too "over the top" or "un-real". It has made us who we are. Three sisters who have a few things in common and yet are so different some folks are surprised to find out we are even related.
Chronicler has always been in the lead and now she is once again as she has gathered us together and formed another group blog. Three French Hens is launched today. Cool.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
I told you before I like these things. I high-jacked this one from Heather P. over at dream smiles at me. Here's what you do: look up the Top 100 Songs (scroll down) to the year you graduated from high school and bold the ones you liked. I took it a step further.
I would like to pass it along to the following: Gretter at Tiny Pineapple, Lisa at Lisa's Ramblings , and the chicks at Three French Hens. Have a go!
1. Silly Love Songs, Paul McCartney and Wings (um, the answer is in the title boys)
2. Don't Go Breaking My Heart, Elton John and Kiki Dee
3. Disco Lady, Johnnie Taylor
4. December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night), Four Seasons
5. Play That Funky Music, Wild Cherry (everyone liked this song. you know you did, c'mon admit it)
6. Kiss And Say Goodbye, Manhattans
7. Love Machine (Part 1), The Miracles
8. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, Paul Simon !!! (I really really, even to this day like this one.)
9. Love Is Alive, Gary Wright
10. A Fifth Of Beethoven, Walter Murphy and The Big Apple Band (yes, yes, we were so hip)
11. Sara Smile, Daryl Hall and John Oates
12. Afternoon Delight, Starland Vocal Band (must....find....barfbowl)
13. I Write The Songs, Barry Manilow (I like Barry as much as the next guy, where the next guy go?)
14. Fly, Robin, Fly, Silver Convention
15. Love Hangover, Diana Ross
16. Get Close, Seals and Crofts
17. More, More, More, Andrea True Connection (sometimes less is more more more)
18. Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen !!! ( Everyone who is in car when this comes on MUST sing every word, with inflections, to the end... house rules.)
19. Misty Blue, Dorothy Moore
20. Boogie Fever, Sylvers
21. I'd Really Love To See You Tonight, England Dan and John Ford Coley (every time I hear this now I remember the fuss over the "I'm not talking 'bout movin' in" being misheard as "I'm not talkin' 'bout millenium" and everyone thinking it was really deep. Yeah, that's the drugs talking there d.j. man)
22. You Sexy Thing, Hot Chocolate (just read the whole of #22 out loud to yourself ... no truer words were ever spoken)
23. Love Hurts, Nazareth (not as bad as this song)
24. Get Up And Boogie, Silver Convention
25. Take It To The Limit, Eagles (I think they just might have)
26. (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty, K.C. and The Sunshine Band
27. Sweet Love, Commodores
28. Right Back Where We Started From, Maxine Nightingale (that should be your hint Maxine)
29. Theme From "S.W.A.T", Rhythm Heritage
30. Love Rollercoaster, Ohio Players
31. You Should Be Dancing, Bee Gees ( I never never never got these guys)
32. You'll Never Find Antoher Love Like Mine, Lou Rawls (this is why "Lounge Against the Machine" is so funny)
33. Golden Years, David Bowie
34. Moonlight Feels Right, Starbuck
35. Only Sixteen, Dr. Hook (why? I don't know, but yes I liked it)
36. Let Your Love Flow, Bellamy Brothers
37. Dreamweaver, Gary Wright (this was a NIGHTMARE!)
38. Turn The Beat Around, Vicki Sue Robinson
39. Lonely Night (Angel Face), The Captain and Tennille
40. All By Myself, Eric Carmen (now it's like, quit yur bellyachin'!)
41. Love To Love You Baby, Donna Summer
42. Deep Purple, Donny and Marie Osmond
43. Theme From "Mahogany", Diana Ross
44. Sweet Thing, Rufus
45. That's The Way I Like It, K.C. and The Sunshine Band (using this song, we had an actual cheer leading routine/chant that we would do every time the team would score. Looking back on Debbie S. being our captain it all makes sense...)
46. A Little Bit More, Dr. Hook
47. Shannon, Henry Gross
48. If You Leave Me Now, Chicago
49. Lowdown, Boz Scaggs
50. Show Me The Way, Peter Frampton
51. Dream On, Aerosmith
52. I Love Music (Pt. 1), O'Jays
53. Say You Love Me, Fleetwood Mac (something about Stevie Nicks voice sounding like an old lady who smoked way too much never made me a fan.)
54. Times Of Your Life, Paul Anka
55. Devil Woman, Cliff Richard
56. Fooled Around And Fell In Love, Elvin Bishop (please wipe your feet as you walk in the door)
57. Convoy, C.W. McCall
58. Welcome Back, John Sebastian (just because we hear it every Thursday night on t.v. doesn't mean we think it's a "hit")
59. Sing A Song, Earth, Wind and Fire
60. Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel, Tavares (so this is where all those cheesy pick up lines started!)
61. I'll Be Good To You, Brothers Johnson
63. Shop Around, The Captain and Tennille
64. Saturday Night, Bay City Rollers
65. Island Girl, Elton John
66. Let's Do It Again, Staple Singers
67. Let 'Em In, Paul McCartney and Wings (What was it with Paul that when he had "wings" he managed to dive?)
68. Baby Face, Wing and A Prayer Fife and Drum Corps
69. This Masquerade, George Benson
70. Evil Woman, Electric Light Orchestra
71. Wham Bam, Silver
72. I'm Easy, Keith Carradine
73. Wake Up Everybody (Pt. 1), Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes
74. Summer, War
75. Let Her In, John Travolta (John Travolta had a song?)
76. Fox On The Run, Sweet
77. Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac
78. Got To Get You Into My Life, Beatles
79. Fanny (Be Tender With My Love), Bee Gees (teehee you said "fanny"! Who thought up this title? too many doors! too many jokes!)
80. Getaway, Earth, Wind and Fire
81. She's Gone, Daryl Hall and John Oates (um, yeah, and this song open the door for her)
82. Rock And Roll Music, Beach Boys
82. Still The One, Orleans
83. You're My Best Friend, Queen
84. With Your Love, Jefferson Starship
85. Slow Ride, Foghat
86. Who'd She Coo, Ohio Players
88. Walk Away From Love, David Ruffin
89. Baby, I Love Your Way, Peter Frampton (back in the day I would have to listen to this, now I don't have to, so I change stations - real fast)
90. Young Hearts Sun Free, Candi Staton
91. Breaking Up's Hard To Do, Neil Sedaka (as is having an actual man's voice)
92. Money Honey, Bay City Rollers
93. Tear The Roof Off The Sucker, Parliament
94. Junk Food Junkie, Larry Groce
95. Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again, Barry Manilow
96. Rock And Roll All Nite, Kiss
97. Disco Duck, Rick Dees
97. The Boys Are Back In Town, Thin Lizzy (thanks for the warning)
98. Take The Money And Run, Steve Miller Band
99. Squeeze Box, The Who
100. Country Boy (You Got Your Feet In L.A.), Glen Campbell (was the year that bad? YES! so bad they had to jump over to Country and get Glen Campbell)
o.k. Here's the thing: Granted it was 1976, I was clean as they came, yet, for some reason, I can't remember any of the songs listed in green lettering , although by the title, #93 looks as if it could be a hit again today. Perhaps it's that "post traumatic syndrome" thing. Also, this list explains why I have such repulsive taste in music to this day. I mean really, Disco Duck?, Convoy?, Afternoon Delight? What were they thinking? Those songs were so atrocious! Any list that even includes K.C. and the Sunshine Band - c'mon! That guy had one lyric (if you can call it that) and sang it over and over for ten minutes. Where's Rod Stewart?
(sidebar: I was doing a spell check and evidently the dictionary doesn't recognize Paul McCartney - they suggest I change it to "myocardium" -there's a joke in there somewhere.)
S'mee got her music education mainly from her older siblings who, let me tell ya, did not listen to top twenty.
So there you go. Proof that at certain times in our history, music was so sad that the falsetto styling of "Oh What A Night" made it into the top ten hits of the year. I need to go listen to a dental drill now, just to get that song out of my head.
Because Lisa asked so nicely here you go. Episode one of S'mee's version. A few years ago we bought our little house on the prairie, uh, desert. At that time it was a rental and it was (and in many cases still is) a mess. We had rented it for a very long time but the owner refused to allow any deep maintenance ( like painting or even shampooing the carpet) because he was afraid of being sued. Go figure. So after much abuse, the house needed HELP!
S'mee was shopping around and found high-middle of the road wood laminate flooring for about $1.00. Trust me, that is rare. So I convinced Thor this was worth it and we bought tons of it. That in itself is a great story, perhaps tomorrow...
If anyone knows S'mee and Thor they know us as the gal with patience and The Procrastinator! (you really need to say it like Ahnold, "I'll be back!"...just way later.) Anyway, it took for. ev. er. for Thor to get around to actually laying it down. When it finally happened, it took one entire day for the guys to figure it out. The packaging says "snap and click!" but the directions say otherwise. Forget the instructions. After #4 came home from work they got the first room laid in mere moments. But by then it was dark and everyone was pooped.
(Crickets chirping) Several months later there was still a large stack of packages on my concrete front room floor. Like I said before, S'mee is fairly patient. So there it sat, waiting for another free Saturday and Thor's gumption to kick start the project again.
It was now the fall and time to pick up #3 from her Temple Square Mission. 18 months had flown by and she was ready to be picked up. So Thor and I hopped in the minivan and spent three days making the trip. There was some miscommunication and the trip should have been about 5 -7 days, but it ended up at 3 and we were home again.
As we drove up to the house (about 9:00 p.m.) I noticed the white front door was now painted a deep rich blue. As I walked into the house there were all of our other kids and their spouses, standing on my newly planted wood floor and newly painted room! It seems that #2 had planned for some time to gather up the siblings and any other help he could find and get the job done. The exterior trim had been painted from brown to blue as well. You could have knocked me over.
This was probably one of the best surprises I have ever had and Thor, well, he isn't a guy to surprise, but they got him too.
Fast forward a couple of months. S'mee is looking at ads and finds, once again, wood flooring to match the already laid stuff on sale again for $1.00 a foot. Thor consents and we now have a grand stack of packaging sitting in the hallway for what has now been about 8 months.
Hint hint: We will be gone for about 10 days in November.....
Posted by S'mee at 7:48 AM
For whatever reason, when I got on the 'puter this morning it was the old program and all my sites and links and stuff are back. Who knows how it happened, but thanks for all the good wishes because evidently they helped! The program looks very old, but hey, do I care?
Yeah! Even spell check is back! Yesterday on the newbie program it was avoiding spell check as a "pop up", today, back in cave man days I have it again. Rejoice! This mainly because I am notorious as a bad speller. Not a good quality for someone who is also known for her flyers, poster, and calligraphy! But also a good thing because Thor got us a new fangled wireless keyboard and mouse. The key board is gynormous with big huge keys and the mouse has five (count 'em -5!) buttons all over it which I have no idea what they do except make the page jump around a lot if you touch one of them. So here's to spell check!
Monday, August 29, 2005
Thor gave up on the ex-gang member computer fix it guy. Mother board died and refused to talk with the hard drive, right? Well, after paying for repairs (we actually could have just bought a new one) Thor brought it home and hooked it all back up. Still nothing. UGH! So Thor decides that perhaps it has a bad keyboard as well. Yup. So computer should be fine. It's working at least.
Now new problems. I have lost all of my favorite places and I am in a very sad place. (cue violins) Some I could get from my list on the left, but there were the others that I did not list. You know, the ones you think are cool but assume no one else would. That, and if I listed every site I really liked, well the page would go on forever. Things like all the on lines stores, and science photos. This little fat girl will spend many hours tracking them all down again. Some of the sites should be easy enough because there is a name involved that describes the site. Others had titles in the sidebar that reflected what I found there, such as, "Hawaiian", "Elephant seals", and a whole categories that were dedicated to each family member. Things they would be primarily interested in that I had run across and saved for the proverbial rainy day. You need to remember that S'mee is technologically inept, a dither head as it were when it comes to this stuff. And now, with all offspring out of the house, there will be no more, "Hey, babe, can you find ______ for me?" I am sad.
Thor is ever so compassionate though, as he reminded me as he left this morning, "Sweety, you have nothing else to do today except sit there and try to heal up before Wednesday. You can play all you want and get it all back." Grrrr. It was meant to be a license to just relax and goof around, too bad he forgets just how dull I am at these things!
Saturday, August 27, 2005
O.k.I am not the best reviewer, nor do I have education too back up a word I say, but here goes.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The main buzz around these here parts was that it was a movie to forgo, let it pass, or at least wait until the d.v.d. came out. "Johnny Depp is just waaaay to 'Michael Jackson' creepy to watch this time around." or "The whole thing made me sad because it wasn't a thing like the first one." "I can't go see this movie with a creeped out guy. It would betray the fondness I have for Gene Wilder." And there were a few "This movie rocks!", but mainly from people I really didn't trust as far as "movie taste" being similar to mine. But something inside of me LOVES both Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, so I plunked down the $40.00 to see it.
$40.00? Yup. When you live as far out in the toolies as Thor and I, you drive to see a flick. You pay $12.00 to get in, $87.92 for popcorn, goobers, and a soda (Go over to "TinyPineapple" and read his 'Angst in my Pants' - I can totally relate!), plus the gas money these days in California!
When we saw the movie it was about in it's second week, however the memory still lingers on. From what I understand, it is a very close interpretation to the book. A local review called it "Dark Chocolate". I have a different slant. For me, the movie was shot and directed as if a 8-10 year old boy were actually the story-teller. All the remarks ("You're mumbling and I can't heeear you!"), facial expressions (Giddy at the thought of it being "Tuesday"), sets (Pretty much the same as the first; but with a definite period it was written in "60's" look), demise of children ("Why would I want to send you to a t.v.? You don't taste good!"), etc. were just as if a little boy were in charge. Really; would any adult come up with turning an annoying little girl into a giant blueberry and have her "squeezed"? (yes, that scene was also in the first, but Gene Wilder's interpretation was more of an irritated or less than bothered gentleman.) When the mom in the picture slyly makes a sexual remark, his reply isn't that of a grown man, it's: "Eew!" with a screwed up face. 10 year old boy.
The over sized "head gear" worn by young Willie, and the demonic father forbidding candy, all seemed very familiar to a mom who had three boys herself. Lots of things were exaggerated ("maaahm! I am allergic to them and I will die if you make me eat them!"), only to be fully understood as the boys grew into manhood.
When viewed with these thoughts in mind, there isn't anything "weird" or "creepy" about Johnny Depp's performance at all. He is acting as a ten year old boy telling a story.
Things that this movie has over the original (which I LOVE) are that this story explains why Willi has the factory (and why he is "weird"), why the family is destitute, why Charlie is wise as a child. It allows Charlie's example of family and love to help bring Willi and his father back to a real relationship. In the first movie, Charlie accepts the factory and all that comes with it. In the second he turns it down in favor of living the rest of his life hand to mouth with his family in their now (thanks to Willi) destroyed and almost irreparable house. Family is the point. Family love is more important than money or fame or even a chocolate factory that can provide all the world. Without your family, why would you want those things anyway? And finally, this version of the book shows that in the end, even when you have all the luxuries -or access to them- there is no place like home.
Two thumbs way up! I liked the first, but I love the second! The minute it comes out on d.v.d. S'mee will be there to purchase it.
The house is quiet. Thor got up early to accomplish his duty cleaning the church building. every third month we get an three week assignment: High Priests, then R.S., then Y.M./Y.W. It stinks living where one has multiple callings! lol. S'mee is ditching this week due to still having the lower left quadrant owies.
I can hear the snore of #2 on my couch. He spent the night after visiting well into the night with us and #3. His wife and the baby boy are on a small Aunt J. funded vacation (daddy had to stay home and keep working, : I ) and expected home Monday. Until then we get phone calls that begin with giggles, a sigh, and then a hello to whomever picked up the phone. Short visit with the baby boy, who informed gramma yesterday he "wen swimmmming with mommy an shopping an swimmmming!" He likes the water, it's a genetic thing. They were headed out to the Farmer's Market and then the State Fair. #2 informed us last night that "mommy" was licked by a llama and booted in the tuchus by a friendly and amorous goat. "Mommy" wasn't too keen on the affections, but baby boy thought it was a hoot (as did Auntie J.).
As he is want to do, #2 sprung another "While You Were Out..." (Last year he organized such an "episode for S'mee and Thor, repainting the house exterior and laying wood flooring while we picked up #3 from her mission.) This time he is surprising "mommy and baby" with a back yard redo. The dirt slope that used to be is now level and a retaining wall has been set in. This enabled #2 to lay sod and place a small wood patio for a barbecue. Today, to finish the project, a small exercise trampoline will be placed at ground level, a small 4'x4' sand box installed to keep baby boy happy (but mostly to give mommy a break; providing b-b a place to play while she "gets things done" without constant interruptions.) Mommy will be most happy to have a place to read while baby boy covers himself with outside dirt and grass. A three ring rubber pool will also be purchased this morning in an effort to pacify baby boy of his water requirements, and to cool off mommy when/if possible. All this being accomplished in an apartment back yard! You gotta love that man.
#3 is still asleep after a late night. She went and saw "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". (movie review later) She had a great week. It started off by taking her sissy, #5, back to the BY-U on Monday. The move from first apt. to 2nd was canceled because she moved during the week. Cousins were involved and a good time was had by all. Anywho, The drive was fun and without having to move they were able to do fun stuff sisters do. One being a Jack Johnson concert.
AP:UPDATE: Tuesday evening, 10-ish, Phone rings. There is no reply to "hello" other than the sounds of "woooowhooo!" and Jack Johnson singing in the background. S'mee listens for the entire rendition of "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing" and then realizes that off spring are returning in favor what they have learned from their parents knee (or at least telephones): "When having as much fun as possible, call the family and brag that you are there and they are not. As in, "Hey! We just thought we'd call and tell you we are standing on the beach and ....." or "Hey! We just thought we'd call and tell you what the glacier looks like....". Thor and each of the siblings were treated to a song, pretty cool!
Two being that her school of choice called (not only her work but) her cell phone to tell her she was in! Oh joy, oh rapture! The only down side was the cost of said school, about 50k. But then Thor rationalizes that he has seen several kids that drive around in the cars with the wheels and paint jobs that add up quite nicely. In five or six years those cars will be junk or at least devalued and if #3 gets into a 50k debt with school loans, at least it will be for an education; something that will last and increase in value over time. So she is ready to dive in.
That's it for the Saturday morning report. All is well in the S'mee household. Life is good. : )
Thursday, August 25, 2005
With annual sales of more than $250 billion, Wal-Mart netted $9.1 billion in 2003 profits, more than twice the profits of its leading retail competitors combined, according to the company's most recent annual reports. Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott received a double-digit pay increase in 2003, his salary and bonus payments jumping by 26 percent over the previous year. Including the value of stock received, Scott's pay package soared to $12.44 million. But many of his 1.3 million Wal-Mart employees are paid so poorly they can't even afford health insurance.
Wal-Mart’s employees—more than 70 percent of them women—are paid an average $9.64 an hour if they are full-time employees, according to Business Week. Yet full-time workers, who comprise only about two-thirds of Wal-Mart's workforce, may be scheduled for as few as 34 hours weekly. Even at $9.64 hourly, working 34 hours a week, a Wal-Mart employee earns only $17,043 annually, well under the $18,850 federal poverty guideline for a family of four in 2004.
While 66 percent of workers at large U.S. firms get health coverage on the job, fewer than half of Wal-Mart workers do, an October 2003 AFL-CIO report finds.
Wal-Mart's virulent anti-union policies prevent workers from winning family-supportive wages and benefits. Unionized workers in the retail food industry make more than 30 percent more in hourly wages than their nonunion counterparts, according to a 2002 report by the Institute for Women's Policy Research. Yet when new employees start at Wal-Mart, they must first watch a video warning them against joining a union, according to author Barbara Ehrenreich, who chronicled her experience working at Wal-Mart in Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America.
By keeping its workers in poverty, Wal-Mart also impoverishes entire communities: When many residents have less to spend on goods and services, they can't support community merchants—and everyone's income and spending eventually drops.
Big-box retailers and supercenters such as Wal-Mart transform family-supporting, middle-class retail jobs into lower-paying jobs that often leave workers unable to pay bills.
With big-box retailers and supercenters tending to convert communities' union-scale retail jobs to fewer, lower-paying retail jobs, the difference in overall compensation, including wages and benefits, is "as much as $8 an hour," according to an October 2003 report prepared for the city of Los Angeles.
For every $1 wage cut, the local economy loses a total $2.08 as less money circulates through the local economy. If union grocery workers' wages were slashed to match the wages of Wal-Mart workers, their communities would lose between $1.6 billion and $3 billion annually.
If Wal-Mart paid each employee $1 an hour more, it could maintain its profitability level by increasing prices a mere half penny per dollar.
report copied from aflcio.org
Sitting at home today doing not much more than blog reading and wasting time. I have a tummy ache. I called the medical appointment desk yesterday (after three days of whining) seeking an afternoon visit with (at that point) any one with a medical degree. (read: YEOWIE!) I thought it was "hormonally" directed pain and therefore put it on the back burner -happily- until I could no longer walk without some assistance. Grrr.
The guy at the appointment desk inquired about the what and why and then said, "I need you to hold on, it may take a few minutes, but please stay on the line. You won't go now, will you? I need you to talk with an advice nurse." "o.k."
(cue elevator musak...Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Imponema goes walking, and when she passes, each one she passes goes - ahhhhh! When she walks, she’s like a samba, that swings so cool, and sways so gentle, that when she passes, each one she passes goes - ooh...)
"Hello? Is this S'mee?" "Yes" "Um, S'mee [blah blah blah yada yada yada], so you understand you need to have someone drive you to the E.R. right now?" (greeeeeaaaaat ) "o.k." "Oh, and S'mee? Make sure you tell them that [the advice nurse on duty] sent you and told you to go to the front of the line." "o.k., thanks." (greeeaaaat, now everyone at the E.R. with REAL problems will hate me.)
Long story short: I am officially OLD. As in "dirt", "Methuselah's roomie in college", "taught God in Sunday School" OLD. Yup, have an old people disease. (think SNL routine in the 80's) So until I can walk without aide, thank you very much, I am wasting TIME! Supposedly, if the drugs are going to help I will be oakey dokey in four days 8-), if not it's back to the stupid E.R. and wazoo junk (as in "up your wazoo!"). (How can someone this immature have an old people disease? I mean the other day I called a jerk at the Target return desk a "poop-head".)
So, until (thinking, counting days...) Sunday, I am officially OLD and miserable. Grrrr. Stupid poop head doctors anyway!
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
A few weeks back I was with a group of friends that I blog with over at Conversation. The evening went very well, and it was so nice to finally meet these incredible women and put a face to their words. However, at one point ,as I am want to do, I spewed forth my passionate opinion in a way that came off as a confused mess of words; more than likely not ones that expressed what I was really trying to say, but rather just words.
The subject was "feminism". A hot one for sure and one that I am indeed passionate about. I used to label myself as a feminist. Now I try not to label myself at all, because as I have grown older I realize that everything is black and white, but also shades of gray. (here comes that split personality...) It's is like the story of Les Miserables. Stealing is stealing and to take something that is not yours is wrong. But if you are starving and take a loaf of bread to survive it is much different than stealing a car just for the thrill of it. Black and white, shades of gray.
Feminism. S'mee has incredible problems living in a society that is considered to be the leader of the world in human rights, yet denies so many of these basic rights still. S'mee thinks all of the Congress, Senate and local leaders should "vacation" in the Ozarks for two weeks and live as the Mountain Folk do. Perhaps then we could get somewhere with medical aide, and social programs that would actually help. We have third world conditions within our own borders that seem to elude most of us. Have we not seen the mentally ill out on the street? Have we not witnessed the "not in my back yard" attitude that places more ill in neighborhoods that are to the brink already?
In 2005 how can the United States of America allow states to refuse entrance to country clubs due to religion and race and in some cases sex? However S'mee can understand the rights of refusal to allow entrance to religious buildings due to one's religion and adherence to its' particular laws. It's a conundrum.
S'mee is horrified at the reality of the situation of women in many countries around the world where women are not only devalued, but ignored as human beings. This is where the feminists should focus passions.
S'mee is angry that in some states in our blessed Union, women have lip service as far as their legal rights, but in reality men abuse their power and these same women are underpaid and worse. Case in point, S'mee's daughters having a more difficult time receiving grants, scholarships, and loans, due to their sex and marital status and lack of children.; while men and minorities with the exact same qualification as these young women are eligible for loans, aide, etc.. The U.S. and state governments encourage single women to have children out of wedlock in order to receive financial aide. (#3 was asked to get pregnant without marriage and #5 was told that "your mom needs to be dead and your dad needs to be in prison" before either would qualifiy for certain loans/aide. Both daughters have GPA's 3.9 and above and always have.) This is a "legal" way to oppress women.
S'mee agrees that there are true reasons to be and to label oneself as "feminist". However, S'mee feels it rediculous to label oneself as a feminist and then complain about the oppressions one places upon herself. If I allow you to oppress me, who's fault is it? If I choose to be abused, who is the abuser? I am not talking about women who find themselves in situations, marriages or countries where they have been lulled into abuse. S'mee has and continues to work with Domestic Violence Shelters and acknowledges the patterns of abuse that lead to psychological slavery. I am talking about making free and clear choices and then complaining about it when we could change it if we would. About allowing someone to demean me in my presence and not taking a stand to correct it.
S'mee gets angry at women who, through their "own free will and choice", have said "yes" to husband and children and then complain about their "burdens". Women who live in relative freedom to do as they wish, with husbands who work (either alone or along side of the same women) for the benefit of the family and then complain about their living conditions.
These same women gripe and complain about the silliest things, things which given a few years perspective will appear as just that - silly. Women who have been given challenges such as, "Change Diaper, gasp, make dinner, gasp, pay bills, gasp, doctors appointments, gasp, odd jobs to make ends meet, gasp, entertain 3 young’en, gasp, clean clean clean, gasp, ballet lessons, gasp, avoid punks, gasp, blog, gasp, practice piano, gasp, prepare sunday school lesson, gasp, panic, panic, gasp, gasp. Ahhhhh !!!!!!"1 ; they chose to receive, and then are upset because this is all they have to accomplish. You are the mom. You chose to be a mom. You can act like the mom. Moms have to teach right and wrong and keep the offspring alive and relatively healthy. (Mosiah 4:14-15) You can say "no" once in a while. No one said your kids had to do every thing they want; that food had to be this or that, trendy clothes, or to go to every party they are invited to; no one said the dishes couldn't wait an hour or two or even overnight. You don't have to beat yourself up trying to be the best in town, just the best you.
Did I miss something here? Did the woman who wrote this complaint live in a cave before she was drug -blindfolded, ear plugged, and gagged and forced at gunpoint into her situation, never knowing what was in store for her as a married mother of -gasp- 3 young'en? I think this and statements similar to it reflect the youth, inexperience and ignorance of the authors. Statements like the above make it sound as if this woman was not responsible for her consequences. Perhaps she could have written the following as an explanation. "I was so uneducated about American society and motherhood. I was unobservant as to what it meant to say "yes" to all this. I never noticed my own home life as a child or young adult, I never read a book, I never watched a movie or t.v. I was so self absorbed as a child/young woman that I actually thought married life would be different! I didn't realize that I myself stayed at home needing a mom for 18+ years. I don't know how to say to my husband, "I am pooped, I need help." I had no idea the lug that I married was this way before I chose to marry him. He changed and I stayed the same as I was in high school, pretty, slim, and sweet. I don't know how to communicate my needs and wants and I just take whatever is dished out. I want to complain because I was duped!"
S'mee is frantic with the "feminists" who attached themselves to any religion and then complain about its' statutes and laws. (This does not include women who have grown up in repressive societies where "religion" has been chosen for them, without free will.) Women who accept covenants and laws and receive gifts, keys, and blessings knowing the rewards/consequences and then complain at being uncomfortable with their choice. Women who stand united and raise their hands to sustain leaders and then complain about whom they "sustain". Women who do accept these things, then complain about them say to the world, "I was ignorant and made the choice without regard to the result. I went in blind and came out mad." The women who write these complaints seem educated and able to read, why have they chosen so wrongly? And, whose fault is their condition?
Women who vote for this leader or that and then complain while said leader is in office. Women who complain about the children of the world who are essentially slave labour in foreign countries, and workers of both genders who are enslaved in off shore companies and then turn around and shop at Banana Republic, Jones New York, Abercrombie and Fitch, and other "fine" manufacturers who do such practices as "good business". Women who shop Walmart because they want to pay less while others are being paid less due to their sex to work and maintain the store (and it's profit margin). Women who say they are feminists who really just are self-ists.
S'mee thinks most (not all) of these women have latched onto a cause in an effort to vent their self anger and blame someone else for their poor choices. Women who need validation from other "smart intelligent" women instead of finding their own worth. Women who, for some odd reason, can't feel their own worth because they are worried about the differences in biological functions. Women who buy into what they hear instead of searching it out for themselves, or who close their minds to the fact that they just might learn something later they don't understand now. Women who forget that there is always Someone smarter and that eventually all things will make sense; eventually can mean in a year or two, or eternally. Women who think they are as smart as they will ever be and no one else understands more than they. Women who by their own words say they are valued, but search out daily those who would demean them and devalue them. They feed upon the muck of the world instead of really making a difference. They gather together like geese, and snap at anyone who oppose them in view. Isn't that a main point of feminism? To allow each individual the right to think their own thoughts? Perhaps it only means you have the right to agree with me but not to disagree, or you are stupid, uneducated, or have your head in the sand. ( I know, I can hear you now. I have just said the same. But at least I am acknowledging I can be wrong.)
I propose feminism to be a doctrine advocating the social, political, and economic rights for women equal to those of men. If that means you are upset about your religion, leave it. If your boyfriend is a jerk don't marry him. If your husband demeans you, correct him. If you don't want to be a mom, don't become pregnant in the first place. If anyone abuses or demeans you, don't put up with it, do something meaningful to change that. Use your votes in ways that matter. Work for the things that will matter in the long run. Do not accept lower wages for the same quality work and do not support merchants who do. Stop shopping without researching where and how it came into that store. Stop worrying about being the same as your neighbors, you're not and you never will be. Stop killing yourself trying to be what others want you to be. Find your own value and build your relationship with God. Stop mocking sacred things you do not yet have a full understanding of.
If I say that I am XYZ then people who read me will assume, whether for good or ill, that all I say somehow reflects on XYZ. There is a responsibility I have to try to represent XYZ folk in a reasonable manner. If I then choose to ridicule XYZ folk, practices, or leaders that is also a reflection. I hope that what I choose to proclaim does not reflect poorly on that which I deem most high and of value, including my own sex.
Perhaps some of these women could re-label themselves, Venting Housewives, and it would be more appropriate.
1. quote taken from the blog "Feminist Mormon Housewives"
Posted by S'mee at 1:30 PM
Monday, August 22, 2005
Saturday: The BIG day! Last night there were several frantic calls to the seamstress, who was a doll and met me VERY early at her store and gave me the dresses. Whew! So after a good stream ironing job we left for the temple and had the day of a life time.
The bride and groom had a lovely sealing and, as always, I learned something new that I wish I had known early on. Oh well, better late than never I suppose. There were photo ops and more photos and eventually the photographer sent all but the new couple away. Mom of the bride chose to stay and help the photographer, so we separated at that point.
Thor gathered with the other siblings, spouses and a stray groom's man and we had a nice lunch together. It was a great feeling to see all the family together, although we were missing the Groom and his Bride, but that will happen at a later day. Jokes and teasing are always on the menu and so were good belly laughs. Lunch finished and we all drove to the reception site. Thor and I began the final prep. He dropped me off at the hall and then went in search of lost grandparents.
I met Chronicler and the Big Guy and she set out to make her famous tartlets. Pecan and fresh strawberry were requested by the bride and they were a huge hit (as always). The caterers were a tad snarky about having someone else's tarts among their treats, but after it was all said and done, one of them actually begged for the well kept secret recipe. (sorry guys, you can't be snarky all night then ask for a sure bet recipe to be just handed over. Even if you were really nice, chances of landing that small bit of info would be hard to come by.)
Food for the evening was catered and appreciated by most. However I have to admit I am picky and there is a difference in food that has been fresh cooked and prepared as opposed to reheating frozen prepared food from a good manufacturer. I am spoiled by Chronicler's fresh ingredients and cooking. That said there were choices of chicken, rice, a broccoli salad, fruit skewers, dipped strawberries, cream puffs and 600 of Chronicler's HANDMADE from scratch tartlets.
A D.J. and a live swing band were on hand to entertain and make the evening fun. Introductions of the bridal party began the festivities, followed by dancing and generalized merrimaking! S'mee enjoyed watching all her offspring dance and have a great time. We mingled with good friends and tried to make new ones. Lots of family members traveled to come and share the joy of the day. It was incredible to see one particular aunt, fresh from her chemo session, enjoying her night. What a compliment to us and a huge sacrifice for her. We were surely blessed.
Towards the evening's end there was a special dance dedicated to Thor's mom and dad and the celebration that night of not only the newlyweds, but the "oldie-weds", mom and dad's 56th wedding anniversary. The groom asked for a special song and the two couples joined together on the dance floor. Eventually Thor and I joined in and it was a great moment with the three generations all dancing to acknowledge this legacy of eternal marriage and the joys that come from it. Past, present, future. So cool. So beautiful.
The two little love birds headed out to start their lives together and the night spun slowly down to an end. It was a big day. A great big huge fat eternal day! : >
Sunday, August 21, 2005
O.k. So I made a trip up to Utah just to get my daughter's dress measurements and to alter her dress so that it fit correctly. A misunderstanding between she and S'mee led to the dress not being altered at all. AT the wedding she was the gal in the size to large periwinkle number. But she looked "o.k." : l We both thought the other didn't want it altered. UGH! Anywho that dress and the other sister's dress both needed 3 inches taken off the three (yes folks -3!) layers of hems.
S'mee had #5 pin her dress in hopes of altering the mother of the groom dress.
Actually the alterations on my dress went better than I had expected. I got a pretty good fit from the marking's #5 made and after a couple of goes it was as good as it could get. O.k. So then I have #3 mark it for hemline. When I purchased the dress it was made for a nice tall Norwegian, or perhaps an exceptional Amazonian woman. Either way this dress had, not only a very long "line" but an actual train! Not as long as a bride would have, but a definite train about 8 to 12 inches. Measuring the front and finding my toes would have been an easy way to determine how much to take off, but with a train she would have to go all the way around and find the floor measurement. Grrr. But #3 did a great job.
S'mee made the marks on all three dresses for hems, and went in search of the proper needle and a rolled hemming foot. "CLOSED MONDAYS" Ugh! I need to wait for Tuesday.
SO I purchase what I need. All of the sudden everything in the world falls apart and by the time I get around to sewing, things are put off for one more day.
I started with my dress and after hemming the inside fabric (very nicely, thank you) I began on the outer layer. NOt for the life of me could I get that fabric to work. I tried it all, all the tricks I could think of, tissue didn't even help. The machine wasn't "eating" the fabric it was just shredding it. I used "fray check". NOPE. Nada. Zip. So I resorted to a very ugly hem and called it a day. We needed to be YM/YW and I had run out o' time!
Not wanting to shred the three layers of the bridal party dresses I decided to have them hemmed by a professional. HEMMED BY A PROFESSIONAL? Yikes, how the mighty have fallen. Hemmed. Are you kidding me? But I was disparate and so, yes, I succumbed and found an alterations seamstress.
"$35.00 each dress you want hurry coast you more money."
Forget that! What is it with the $70.00 alterations lately? Egads. I find another option and this seamstress is only asking $15.00. Oh joy! Oh rapture! I drop off the dresses and tell the gal I will pick them up tomorrow at 3:30. (She needs all day to fit in our "rush" - but who cares at this point?) She closes at 4:00. No problem! Friday at 3:30, plenty of time and I am happy and grateful and stress free! YES!
Thursday night: Meet down at the church to begin decorating!
Posted by S'mee at 10:37 PM
Dateline: Thursday night. Two days after the endowment - which went GREAT, so cool, so wonderful to see your kid in the temple, doing the right thing and ready to be doing it. What a blessing from Heavenly Father!
So it's Thursday and we are now in the exact middle. 2 days after the endowment and two days before the wedding/sealing! Mother of the Bride (K) is going into high gear and she has a plan. Unfortunately her plan was tilted a tad by a very unpleasant false ceiling gal and her crew. "K" had seen the ceiling lady's work many times before and was impressed. A billowing cloud full of twinkle lights was ordered and expected. Long story short, the ceiling expert was miffed because "K" wanted this material instead of that material and what she eventually got was a flat ceiling made of tulle. 61/2 hours for a flat tulle ceiling. Ridiculous. More than that, ceiling lady made such a fuss about it that she refused to work if anyone was in the room, so all the help "K" had organized had to be sent home without being able to help at all.
At 12:00 midnight "K" decided to pull the plug on the ceiling and call it. It was what it was and there wasn't anything she could do about it. Let's all go home. Hmmm. Where's the doohickey that closes and locks the door? (search search search) At 12:30 a phone call was made, a Bishop was awakened from his sleep, and by 1:00 the doohickey was found, building secured and all out and headed home.
8:00 Friday: Day before the wedding. 2 moms, one bride, and one little brother are able to meet and set up for the big party. 18 tables, 180 chairs, 4 buffet tables, 2 gift tables, one cake table, and one punch table are set up and dressed. All tables have white brocade table clothes. All 180 chairs are dressed with floor length tailored covers. The large tables with floor length clothes as well. A runner of periwinkle and celery plaid is placed on all tables, the seating tables topped with floral arrangements of hydrangea, orchids, and star lilies in clear glass vases. They sit atop a mirror with 6 small tea lights and cracked "glass" chips for colour. The larger tables have double sided ribbon swags with small wreaths at the centers and corners made of tiny hydrangea blossoms, green baby apples, and eucalyptus.
The stage was draped with white fabric to resemble a "water fall" with twinkling lights underneath, tulle fluffs along the top edge, again with lights, and a floral swag of hydrangea, green apples, and eucalyptus. Behind the fluff were draped stands that held 9 photos of the new couple interspersed with three cut crystal hurricane lamps with candles.
The cake and buffet tables had the same effect as the stage with the "white water fall". The cake table was dressed with a large silver cake plateau. The cake was 3 tier, extremely smooth whipped cream frosting, decorated with woven pearls strands and pearl points. In between the tiers were full sized fresh hydrangeas and the top was the bride's mother's cake top, a crystal blown glass heart with doves.
The Punch bowl were placed inside green apple wreaths.
The buffet was decorated with lighted food stands, topiaries of green apple, and fruit skewers. All the tables had tulle fluff and the cracked "glass chips" along with fine glitter sprinkled over all for shimmer, and were lit from underneath with special lights to create a pretty glow.
Back drops were made by the groom out of wrought iron and painted black. They were "Shepard's crooks", 2, one on each side, draped in the center with periwinkle satin, gently gathered. They stood 7 feet tall and about 4 feet wide. Each curl on the crook held a small candle lit glass lantern. Behind the buffet there were five of these back drops and one each behind the cake and punch tables.
There was a fog machine and bubble machine that were set to work for certain dances to give it a terrific effect.
The entry table was placed in the foyer of the building under a large painting of the Savior's Second Coming. The blues and periwinkles of that picture along with the bridal photos blended perfectly and set the tone for the evening. A large vase of fresh hydrangeas, orchids and star lilies was placed behind the guest book and temple photos.
The surrounding walls in the reception hall were covered with draped and pleated tulle, topped with a fluffy border with twinkle lights behind. The tulle ceiling was still pretty flat, but the bride made beautiful crystal "rain drops" that hung all over the room, making the ceiling quite glittery and gorgeous. It was really great.
The room was lit well by the twinkle lights, up-lights, and candles (battery) quite well.
By 9:00 that night we were able to leave, satisfied with the result. Pretty.
By 9:00 S'mee remembered that she left the bridesmaids' dresses at the now closed alterations store without the ability to call because S'mee didn't have the phone number to call and if she did, HELLO! WE'RE CLOSED!!! A drive by the store revealed she does not work the weekends. Dresses would be hostage until Monday, 2 days after the wedding. Smooth one S'mee.
Posted by S'mee at 9:44 PM
I have decided that the answer to all of our prison issues are answered in four words:
Lee. Press. On. Nails.
Yes, fake nails. Years ago S'mee had lovely long natural nails. Somewhere along the line the nails got shorter and shorter, making hard physical labour easier. Not to mention that I used to cut myself with the long ones while signing (ASL). Facial bleeding aside, there were more than one occasion when having shorter nails became a more sensible choice for S'mee.
Both of my daughters have long, pretty, natural nails. They work hard and seem to be able to manage life without too much difficulty. I think the trick is in the growing. Theory: If you grow them out naturally, you allow yourself the time and training to do whatever you have done in the past without hardship in the present.
If, perchance, you decide that an upcoming fancy event merits the $5.00 purchase of fake nail applications, well then, you have a problem. Going from short nails to long in a matter of minutes cripples you. It disables your digits in a way that make you look quite incapable of maneuvers heretofore simple such as uncapping toothpaste, turning a page, or opening a soda can.
Eventually the inevitable happens. Whilst in the sacred small room where one sacrifices to the porcelain god, one tries to pull back on "undies and nylons" and sees the small oval pink and white "French Manicure" thumbnail flying across the room, rendering you thumbnail-less (if that is a word). This occurrence will indeed happen, but only in the middle of the very important event you purchased the plastic nails for in the first place. If you wore them for ten weeks without a special event they would stay in place. Five minutes into a room where beautiful nails are requisite and they will pop off landing in the second tier of the fruit topiary centerpiece on the buffet table, in front of the snooty lady you were attempting to impress with your nice nails.
So, with the above information, I decree that all insubordinate prisoners be fitted with Lee Press On Nails. The inability to function on a normal basis will be a fine punishment. The frustration level will be sufficient to humble even the cockiest of meanies.
Addendum: #5 came home this weekend for the special event. While eating b-b-q chicken wings at a local restaurant she proclaimed them "embarrassing and not qualified as 'date food'." (date food: n. food one isn't afraid to eat in front of a member of the opposite gender while trying to impress that same person. "Linguine with garlic sauce is such a mess and has a strong odor, it isn't good date food.") "They are so slippery I can't even figure out how to get the food in my mouth! How do you bite these things?" She had so much sauce on her face, fingers and napkin that she had to ask the waiter for wetnaps, lots of wetnaps.
We have decided that if prisoners were fitted with fake nails and forced to eat b-b-q chicken wings that would really be punishment! Maybe they should save that for the death row guys.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Below is a list I got from reading Lisa's Ramblings (see side bar for link please - borrowing a 'puter still...ugh!). Anywho, this inane list making type of stuff is right up my ally! I love them, especially now that I know how to copy and paste! It's the idea of getting to know someone else better, in a "does that really matter?" sort of way, but also a post you can laugh at and not have to think too much about later. Kind of like the Super Bowl commercials of the blogging world. Entertaining, but I probably won't buy it! Now it's your turn... So here we go.
A Few of My Favorite Things.
I got this list from Weeding The Garden (S'mee, as stated above, gets this from Lisa!!!) and I added a few of my own.~ "And these are a few of my favorite things" (being sung by Maria)
Colour: Green, currently that limey-60's fad-bile green, but pretty much any green will do.
Smell: New baby, baking bread, rain.
Article of Clothing: This horrid Gypsy-esque skirt with sequins and loud flowers that Thor insisted I buy "because it's artsy - like you."
Ice Cream: B&R's Chocolate Chip, Godiva Chocolate with Caramel filled Chocolate Hearts
Fast Food Place: In-N-Out
Time of the Day: Seriously - when Thor gets home (I got married for a reason, I love that man)
Laundry Detergent: Whisk, but I buy that Costco stuff in what seems to be a 40 gallon drum.
Song: "My Old Addiction" -k.d.lang, "12th of Never" -Johnny Mathis, "You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party" -Beastie Boys
Flower: exotic daffodils, peonies, and pretty much anything very tropical and weird.
TV Show: currently Debbie Travis Painted House/Facelift but it changes- a lot!
Cartoon Character: Freakazoid
Actor/Actress: Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, Dustin Hoffman, and Harrison Ford primarily because they don't play themselves in every movie. That guy who played the blond elf in Lord of the Rings and Johnny Depp's counter in Pirates is nice to look at (so is DENZEL!), over and over and over.... sigh. I'd have to go with gals along the line of Kathy Bates for the same reason, although I loved Kate Hepburn.
Place to Shop: sad but true, Target; if I had money it would probably be something like Restoration Hardware
Vacation Spot: So far, pretty much any beach will do. I did enjoy the North Shore of Oahu, again, sigh.
Dream Car: I really think a classic Rolls or Bentley are pretty, but I don't have the wherewithall and the guilt would kill me. Perhaps a really cool hybrid?
Movie: Chocolate? Yikes I like a tons of movies and it changes from time to time.
Restaurant: The Lighthouse on Harbour Island, just for the memories it created
Theme Park: The big "D" -Disneyland
Animal: it would have to be three of my favorite kitties, George, Lewison, and Googiewhump; all chasing each other "on a nice farm out in the country".
Day of the Week: Sunday, again because I get to spend more time with Thor on that day than any other.
Do you collect anything?: Dust Bunnies mostly, Hearts, Tiny books, children's books, art and museum books, and book books!
Favorite Hobby: Painting, Photography, traveling with Thor, Scrapbooking
Place I want to travel that I have never been: Polynesia, Ireland, Italy
Something I want to do before I die: Live!
Favorite Snack Food: Chocolate, p-nut butter celery, my popcorn
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Have we thought about our freedom recently? Things such as being able to attend the religious services we choose ourselves, or being able to walk or drive pretty much anywhere we want. How about being able to choose those who would lead us and direct our government? We definitely have certain freedoms that we don’t even think about, that other countries in our world still do not.
It’s pretty true that most of us are o.k. financially. There are among us those who will need assistance from time to time, but because we have the means to assist, most Americans do not need to go hungry, walk the street to find shelter, or lack clothing and basic needs. Most of us will never empathize with having to sleep in an ally or beg for a meal.
I know there have been times, even recently, when I have been selfish with my donations, contributions,and talents; and wanted to keep what the Lord and others have given me. I think if we are all honest with ourselves we can find a time when we all have held back what we really could have shared. Sometimes we vote to benefit our situation knowing it may cause someone else hardships. Perhaps we encourage a decision in the community that would improve our neighborhood while neglecting another. Maybe we are selfish with our time or talents and feel we deserve to withhold our service because we have worked harder for the weekend than most. I know I rationalize many times to lean things towards my own good.
Have we ever over heard the following conversations? “Where would you like to go tonight for dinner?" "I don’t care, just not McDonald’s, I don’t like their chicken.” “What would you like to see at the movies this weekend?" "I want to see The Three Bears Invade Mars, but I also want to see A Chicken Roosts In Texas, but really I don’t care. You can decide.” “Who are you going to vote for in the new board elections?" "I don’t think I am even going to vote this time, it doesn’t really matter anyway, they’re all bad.”
Have you read lately about how many prisons are overcrowded? How the drug scene is overtaking our youth and prescription drugs claiming our elders? Perhaps the problems of pornography that are binding the minds of so many members of the church has been a subject for discussion. How about the stories that talk about losing our freedoms due to this new war?
Do we ever wonder about these things and why they are happening and what, if anything we can do about them?
In the August ’05 issue of the Ensign we have been challenged by our Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley to read or reread the Book of Mormon from beginning to end by December. He also asks that we follow our reading by exercising Moroni’s promise found in Moroni 10:27-29
“And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you, Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking from the dust? … And God will show unto you, that that which I have written is true.”
The article that lay just after this challenge reminds us that indeed, this challenge from our Prophets has been announced more than once since the discovery of this great book.
Presidents David O. McKay, Harold B. Lee, Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W. Hunter and Joseph Fielding Smith are mentioned and quoted.
Spencer W. Kimball, “This inspiring book was never tampered with by unauthorized translators or biased theologians but comes to the world pure and directly from the historians and abridger-s. The book is not on trial – its’ readers are.”
Joseph Fielding Smith, “No member of this church can stand approved in the presence of God who has not seriously and carefully read the Book of Mormon.”
Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon is studied in our seminary classes every fourth year. This four year pattern, however, must not be followed by Church members in their personal and family study. We need to read daily from the pages of the book that will get a man ‘nearer to God by abiding to its precepts, than by any other book.’”
Nephi tells us that its contents “shall go from generation to generation as long as the earth shall stand; …and the nations who shall possess them [the teachings of the Book of Mormon] shall be judged of them according to the words which are written.” 2 Nephi 25:22
Marion G. Romney stated in 1980 General Conference concerning the afore mentioned scripture from Nephi, “there could be no more impelling reason for reading the Book of Mormon than this statement that we who have been given the Book of Mormon shall be judged by what is written in it. Moroni says that the very reason the book has been given to us that we may know the “decrees of God” Ether 2:11 set forth therein and by obedience to them escape the calamities which are to follow disobedience.
To the early saints the Lord spoke rather sharply about remembering the Book of Mormon’s teachings. “Your minds in times past”, He said to them, “have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received – “Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. “And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. “And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon.” D&C 84:54-57
Prior to this He, [the Lord], had told them that the “Book of Mormon and the Holy scriptures are given of me for your instruction.” D&C 33:16 On another occasion He, [the Lord], said, “The elders, priests, and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of My Gospel, which are in… the Book of Mormon.” D&C 42:12
It is, of course, obvious that unless we read, study, and learn the principles which are in the Book of Mormon, we cannot comply with this direction to teach them.”
Speaking in regard to the Book of Mormon the Lord gave these words in D&C 1:37- 38,
“Search these commandments for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall be fulfilled. What I the Lord have spoken I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, [the Prophets], it is the same.”
Nephi was asked to accomplish many things while upon the earth, some of which were extremely difficult, seemingly impossible. He was blessed each time he obeyed and his motivation is explained in 1 Nephi 3: 7 –
“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”
I was discussing this assignment from the Prophet with my daughter. She felt that it should be an easy challenge for us to fulfill. She mentioned a popular children’s book that has been released recently. A book in a series of exciting stories, but one that was challenged at first due to its language and length being too difficult for children to read. These books have been top sellers and there have been nothing but accolades for them since the first installment a few years back. I personally know several folks who have read these 600 and 700 page books in a matter of days.
The Book of Mormon is 531 pages with language that may be difficult to some and definitely exciting to most. The difference is that the events are real. The characters were real people. A prophet of the Lord has challenged us. “Whether by mine own voice or that of my servant…” Also we need to understand that the Lord has, and always will, provide a way for us to accomplish this.
Years ago a friend of mine gave me a challenge to find the time to read my scriptures every day. Just a minute or two if I had to, but she challenged me to find even more time. Think of the time we spend gathering information from television and other sources. Is that information, even the news, more important than what the Lord has commanded us to glean from the scriptures? Can I turn off a program that perhaps I have seen already? Can I trade books for a week? Can I get to bed early enough tonight that I can get up a half hour earlier tomorrow to read few verses? I can find time to do those things I really want to do. I took her challenge and have found when I have been obedient to that commandment, my life has been blessed.
President Marion G. Romney stated that we can know God’s decrees, the prophecies for our times, and in study, find those things which can be signs and directors for us just as the Liahona was for the people who traveled with Father Lehi.
According to President Hinckley’s address in the Ensign he says, “The Book of Mormon narrative chronicles nations long since gone. But in it’s descriptions of today’s society, it is as current as the morning newspaper and much more definitive, inspired, and inspiring concerning the solutions of those problems. I know of no other writing which sets forth with such clarity the tragic consequences to societies that follow courses contrary to the commandments of God. Its pages trace the stories of two distinct civilizations that flourished on the Western Hemisphere. Each began as a small nation, it’s people walking in the fear of the Lord. But with prosperity came growing evils. The people succumbed to the wiles of ambitious and scheming leaders who oppressed them with burdensome taxes, who lulled them with hollow promises, who countenanced them and even encouraged loose and lascivious living. These evil schemers led the people into terrible wars that resulted in the death of millions and the final and total destruction of two great civilizations in two different eras. No other written testament so clearly illustrates the fact that when men and nations walk in the fear of God and obedience to His commandments, they prosper and grow, but when they disregard Him and His word, there comes a decay that, unless arrested by righteousness, leads to impotence and death. The Book of Mormon is an affirmation of the Old Testament proverb: Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”
In seminary the youth are taught the history of these two nations and the tragic cycles that inflict them. One cycle is named for decline. Read the stages and see if you can identify where we as a nation are.
The Lord Leads
The Lord gives covenants to His people.
Laws are established.
The majority of people reject these laws and choose to follow evil.
Prophets and missionaries are sent to the people to teach and direct them.
Some accept. Those who accept begin the cycle again to this point, meaning they follow where the Lord leads, accept covenants, follow laws and the Prophets.
Some reject the prophets and missionaries, but tolerate the Gospel.
The Lord’s judgment begin.
The Lord withdraws His Spirit from among the people.
The people ripen to iniquity and begin to cast out the righteous from among them.
Civil wars and destruction of the wicked begin, wars, violent physical destruction happens among the people.
The second cycle has to do with pride and freedom. Again, look for the cycle points and see if you can find where we are as a nation and also on a personal level.
In the beginning of this entry I related certain situations and conversations. Those points were primarily based upon the cycle of pride and freedom.
Our nations history is one based on this cycle. We were once in bondage from other countries, kings, and rulers. Our forefathers had faith in the Lord. They had courage to gain their freedom.
We live in this freedom and we, especially when compared with other nations, have abundance. We have become selfish. We have become apathetic. We have so many choices and opportunities we just don’t care. If I don’t see a movie this week I can always see it next week, or wait for it to come out on DVD. We don’t care to vote anymore, we don’t have real wants or needs that are lacking, so we really don’t care about too much. If we look around our community we can see many people – even within the Gospel – who are already in bondage of some form.
The solution to all these latter day plagues can be found in within the pages of the Book of Mormon.
President Hinckley is asking us to put down the NYTimes Best seller and pick up the Book of Mormon. To turn off the t.v. this week and read as a family what is really important. To study this book and find out what it is we really need. He suggests one and a half chapters a day until the close of December and we could indeed complete our assignment. He also promises us that if we willing to follow this admonition that we will be blessed with “an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God."
Who among us doesn't need those blessings? The promises that President Hinckley made concerning his challenge to read the Book of Mormon this year, will be a blessing for all who follow the his direction.
We have been instructed for many years by the brethren to do daily scripture study. It is significant that the Prophet of The Lord would instruct us in such a pointed way to read the Book of Mormon and to do it before the end of the year.
The Prophet of the Lord does not make busy work for the members of the church. So we must assume he fully believes the membership needs the information and the spiritual blessing that come from reading the Book of Mormon and from obedience to the Prophet of the Lord.
I have a testimony of the Gospel and of the Divinity of Jesus Christ. I have a testimony of the Atonement, and the great blessing it is to me personally. I know President Hinckley is a Prophet of God and he is receiving revelation. I know if we will obey the commandments we will increase in faith and we will find happiness and joy in this life as well as the one yet to come.
Do you have any plans or schedules to help you accomplish this great assignment? Any ideas or thoughts? Do you have a special system or motivation to share with family or individuals? Do you have a story to share about how this reading assignment has or will bless you or your family? Please share with all who will read! Thanks!
Posted by S'mee at 6:33 PM
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Have you ever wanted to try a product only to leave it on the shelf refusing to be duped into the hype and dissatisfied with the desired results? S'mee too. But a year ago my #2's wife came over with a more than usually pretty WHITE smile. Grrr! S'mee thinks! She is already youthful and gorgeous, and had white teeth enough! Then I witness #3 with a packet from her job. Seems the dentist she works for has given her a home tooth whitening kit to try. He wants her to use it and give it a rating for ease of home use. Her teeth are also very white to begin with, age has not taken it's toll as yet. No fair!
So S'mee decides to take things into her own hands and scope out what's on the market. One a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being best, I will rate my findings and home research! 10 to me would be the results of, say, BrightSmile or ZOOM! via a dental lab or dental office. But since S'mee is poor and or relatively cheap, I cannot afford cosmetic dentistry. So a 10 rating will probably not happen over the counter.
Last year when I first caught a glimpse of the youthful whiter smile of my Daughter in law, I went in search of the product she used. Simple White (I think by Colgate, it's been a while)- a small tiny little bottle with a paint brush applicator. The idea is for you to brush your teeth, floss, and then brush the gel onto your teeth prior to bed time. The gel will be absorbed overnight and after 2 weeks you have my daughter in law's bright pretty smile. The simple part was correct, how hard can it be to brush gel onto your teeth? The problem? FOAM! Killer FOAM! The FOAM that make rabid dogs in the last stages of death foam look like a baby's spit bubble. Foam from the lowest level in hell from which no mortal can escape! I am talking FOAM! So you paint your teeth and try not to drown in your own saliva all night long. YIKES! There is also a funky taste. Not disgusting, just really funky. Could they not add some peppermint to this stuff? After three nights I decided I was old and deserved the yucky yellow teeth I had.
Simple White = 2
Six months later I saw a local news show science experiment on which products were most effective. Their #1 choice was Crest White Strips ($30.00 or so with a coupon for two packs at Costco). I decided once again that I would delve into the mysterious world of bleaching kits. The news show didn't mention anything about FOAM so I thought I was safe.
The package contains gel coated pliable plastic strips which you peel off of another plastic strip and place on the front of your teeth, folding any left over gel strip under or over the teeth to the inside surfaces. Wait 30 minutes and remove. Rinse well and wait a while. They suggest two applications a day with a good rest period in between, every day for a week. The foil pack is easy to open and the gel strip is easily removed and applied to your teeth; and it sticks well enough while working.
The problems: #1 The manufactures somehow feel that the back and side teeth in your mouth need not be white as the front teeth, so the strips are made so that the top strips cover about 8 teeth, and the bottom strips cover about 6. This was a problem for S'mee who wanted all teeth that show (read: I have a BIG MOUTH) to be equally white. The bottom strip is deceptively small in that it appears to be as long as the top strip until you remove it from the other plastic strip. It's a lot smaller and leaves about one third on the packaging. S'mee outsmarted the manufactures and cut the edges off the remaining gel strip and over lapped them on her lower teeth. Messy but more effective.
Problem #2 The FOAM! Oh. My. HECK! What is it with the FOAM in these things? Geeze Louise this stuff is torture, I mean the Geneva Convention has rules about this sort of thing!
O.k. So I endure this treatment in hopes of whiteness. I have found the best solution is to not move any part of your mouth at all. No tongue movement. No lip pursing. No crunching of teeth. No swallowing. This is difficult because your nature, instinct and reflexes demand that if you are drowning to get out of the water or to at least swallow in an attempt to drink the pool dry and save yourself. This will only add to the forming of more FOAM. RESIST at all cost! After the 30 minutes race to the nearest sink and allow the 1/2 gallon of saliva to spew forth, slide the gooey icky strips from your teeth and rinse away! Relief at last!
The foam and the funky taste are the same as with the painted gel; it only lasts 30 minutes instead of the entire night. It was easier and faster to apply than the paint gel. No one noticed the whiteness except myself and then I wasn't really sure if it was real or imagined in hopes of not enduring the torture for nothing.
Crest WhiteStrips = 5
Baking Soda and Peroxide are #1's toothpaste of choice since high school and man!, does that kid have white teeth! Good ol' Arm and Hammer on a brush wet with peroxide and scrub the dickens out of your teeth everyday of your life. No foam, just GAG reflexing taste for S'mee. Next!
Baking Soda and Peroxide = 2 for taste and user friendliness, 10 for effectiveness
Recently I was in Target and noticed Rembrandt 2 Hour White. At $19.00 per pack I was hesitant for more than 3 weeks to step up to the plate and finally give in and buy a box. With my #4's wedding coming fast and furious this next Saturday I thought, "what the heck?" and this morning the science began again.
The package, to my surprise, contains three syringes, and two "comfy trays" (small mouth guards); along with instructions. The mouth guards can be heated in hot (as coffee or tea) water for 5 seconds and then placed in your mouth, pressing into your teeth for a good impression, with your tongue and fingers. Allow it to cool while still on your teeth for about 30 seconds and remove, cut off the tag like handles (or not) and you are ready to bleach. The resealable syringes contain "7-10" applications each. This means that if you are careful you can brighten your teeth, top and bottom 5 times with one syringe! This makes that $19.99 price seem very little now - 30 applications! Wooo-whoo!
Taking the syringe, place a thin stripe of gel along the proper place in the "comfy tray" and place in your mouth. EASY! Less GOO and less MESS. Nothing to throw away. Wait 20 minutes, rinse; lather; repeat. No wait, that's shampoo. Just rinse and wait at least 10 minutes before applying again. Now I must say there is foam with this product as well. Lots of it; but it seems like less because most of it is contained in the tray and you don't get that "going down for the third time in the lake" feeling. That, and the manufactures of this bleach decided to add some peppermint to the funky gel so it's less nasty than the afore mentioned products.
I wasn't able to continue with the applications (busy day), so I just had the one 20 minute run through. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WE HAVE A WINNER! Almost immediately people around me asked if I had bleached my teeth. They actually LOOKED whiter and unsolicited remarks were had. Yippi! I am anxious to see what happens after the whole 2 hour routine!
Rembrandt 2 Hour White = 9 1/2
Last Wednesday I had a really nice opportunity to over expose myself to a group of women I blog with over at Conversation. This was both a great and dreadful day. Great because I got to see these women who freak me out with their intelligence and grace, and dreadful because they would see firsthand that I am a genuine goofball who cannot shut up.
I have often explained that folks either really like me or hate me. This is, in part, due to the fact (scientific studies involved!) that I am in a 2 percentile of folks who have clinical split personalities. Not that I am going to run amok foaming at the mouth and then sit down quietly and write the Great American Novel. More along the lines that I am indeed, both right and left brained, neither dominate. I am an exact 50-50. Sanguine Melancholic. Conservative Liberal. Believer of following the book and yet believing that the book must be thrown out. Creative and Logical. Free Spirited and completely manic about organization. Colouring inside the lines and knowing that there should be no lines at all. Loving educated people and wanting to know so much, yet such a dither-head with no formal education at all. Believing parenting to be the most important job on the planet and having five children who most think were raised by wolves. Entranced by glittery pretty things and hating the diamond industry so much I only wear Cubic Zirconium.
This is why, when my #1 read my blog his first remark was, "I don't know how to say this mom- without insulting you totally- but, you sound a lot smarter on the blog than in real life." I write, tragically, better than I speak - especially in small cozy groups at a table for the first time. Unfortunately, most of the blog writing is also goofy and without a point. I am confidently nervous. Shyly verbose.
So on my blind date with four other women I managed to monopolize the Conversation and flap my arms well into the night only to drive home while smacking my head against the dashboard in embarrassment.
These women intimidate the wazoo out of me. I have a short term memory situation, which kept me from keeping stories straight and because of that (making an excuse here) presumed these ladies were closer to my age than they were. (HAHAHAHA!)
Sister #1. blew me away with her sweet shy personality; but mostly her accomplishments so far. She is like the Doogie Howser of the linguistics world. Traveling to Europe both on her mission and during her education she has incredible experience to back up her vast knowledge. She is humble and amazing all at the same time. I can't wait for her to go out there and conquer her world. If we could only get her to write more often about her life! Time will come and eventually school will be over for her- and watch out, the things she will have to share! P.S. I wish I had more time with her to just ask her about her heritage and the places she has been and how she feels they are similar, different, and how the experiences have complemented her growth. Amazing.
Sister #2. again set me back with her youth. Knowing she had all this really awesome knowledge and was also the mom of a couple of guys encouraged me to make her much older. She has a fascinating blog that chronicles her world travels and adventures. The thing that caught me with #2 is her confidence and again her ability to make one feel comfortable among the stars. She has this way of making a statement that assumes everyone at the table understands her and isn't impressed, "hey we have all done this right?" kind of statements. Yeah, right. NO. Nope. Not at all. Look up 'self motivator' in the dictionary and you can see her picture. This woman has no fear and it shows. She has such a range it's scary. I hope this one writes a book someday, it would be a great read.
Sister #3. has had such an interesting life that she impressed me with her attitude of succeeding when it seems impossible. She is, in the face of trials, a beautiful ship headed for a peaceful cove. Not that there won't be a rock or two along the way to steer clear of, but in the steering comes more knowledge of how things work out for good, and in the end, isn't that what it's all about? She also has a terrific humour, which I always find attractive in a friend. She will have an exciting life to share with all who know her. I have much to learn from her.
Sister #4. A mom. A busy mom. She made time to visit with us when in reality she was in the middle of her family vacation! She has a varied list of accomplishments and seemed to be able to converse with each sister at the table -and had some form knowledge in each diverse subject. Knowledge like hers does not come along often, especially packaged so creatively. Her art and computer skills preceded her, so I was expecting someone similar to who showed up, but her ability to specifically relate to everyone at the table was unexpected. Talk about writing a book! This poet in mother's clothing has something to share with all.
Sister #5 I have known for quite some time, but always blows me away with her ability to shine. I have seen her hard work pay off for years. She is always on the move towards learning and doing more. Her accomplishments read like the resume of 10 women, and she does many of those things at the same time. Crazy. A sense of humour and a creative mind and someone who can think on her feet. I wish I were more like her. She will die in motion, I just know it. She never sleeps, and if she does nod off it is only to allow the muse in her dream to add to her qualities and aspirations.
Sister #6 would be S'mee. Uneducated and mouthy, but with an observer's eye and a heart that continually hopes for the good things in the world. Good things like these five sisters. I am blessed to have met them and gleaned some positive things from each of them. Thanks ladies, you made my trip a good one.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
When you begin the day with a "chocolate cream frappachino, medium please, and ummm, a rice crispy treat, thank you", life is good. I met up with Chronicler (sorry no link here, 'puter problems - see the side bar - Food Chronicles) and we set out for a day in LA. Upon arrival at the prearranged meeting place I was early. Knowing Chronicler enjoys a good strawberry whozit from Starbucks, I called her on the cell and asked if she would like to start the day and make it a "sugar high Thursday"? I found the perfect spot, ran in and met with a terrific English gentleman behind the counter. He could tell immediately that I was a Starbucks virgin and helped me through the process. I felt like a dork anyway and just ordered the same as Chronicler.
She met me half way down the block, having parked her baby (a cute little 'cooper') in a safe spot waaaaaay far away in a distant galaxy where she would be safe from the day's dings. We set out and drove in to LA to the garment district where I was promised I could find a "cheap yet reliable tailor" to alter the wedding dress I purchased for my son's upcoming nuptial celebration. I wrote earlier about buying the dress (on sale for $50). After finding a parking spot, adding 50 cents to a meter, Chronicler and S'mee-self waited with a group of non English speaking workers for an elevator up to the 2nd floor of a very "funky" building. After nodding and smiling a while we got off on our floor and walked in to find two very kind tailors willing to help me out.
How much to alter the dress? "Poot on first, then we see how mooch." After dressing, the two gentlemen are all over me with pins and tape measures and I look as though I am an albatross awaiting a dry landing with my arms hanging there (flapping?). After the last pin was set one of the men said, "Ooohkay, now you take off and be 3 hours back, please." "How much for the alteration?" I asked. His reply, "Three hours back please. Mooch work. Take long time." So once again the query, "How. Much. Money?" "Three hours back please, mooch work, seventy doolars, seventy uh huh, three hours you come back please."
I paid $50.00 for the dress. I don't care how mooch work, I can't pay $70 to get it right. "Well, thank you, but I cannot afford $70 for the alteration. Thank you." And I begin to take the jacket off. "Hoold it please!" and at that he was on his knees taking all the pins out o the hem.
We walked down the stairs, not wanting to wait for the very slow elevator. (Creepy factor HIGH) Chronicler suggested we head over to the Farmer's Market/The Grove for lunch at her favorite Italian restaurant (hey you took home the wrong bag and you have my meatball sub leftovers!). We walked through Barnes and Noble and did some critiques of Cook books, and debated chefs versus cooks. (Flo Braker = cook Giada DeLorentes = food network eye candy) As we headed back to the freeway we stopped by a couple of Cake Bakeries; each sitting cheek to jowl of the other (in fact, the one was in the middle of the other - complicated, but true). Chronicler and I parked the car, ran across traffic and went in to see what all the fuss was about. Here in LA these are the two places to go for wedding or real party cakes. Who really had the best? She had to know! So we went in each store, tasted samples and perused the displays of their talented bakers/decorators. The cakes were indeed delicious and some were amazingly complicated in design and technique, although I didn't see too much that I hadn't see already in books.
I think Chronicler will probably write up the stores and bakeries, so I will let the Cook do her job well. On the way home we talked and chatted and, as what is becoming a habit, ended up at the Cheesecake Factory to grab tonight's dessert. YUM!
What about the dress? Well, Chronicler and I decided that if she pinned and scrunched, that perhaps I could do a fair Dr. Frankenstein and end up altering it myself. So next week it's back down to her house for a scary few hours of sewing; and hopefully the dress will be fine. Hopefully.
Posted by S'mee at 8:49 PM