Saturday, May 30, 2009
Ready for another Y story?
So, I was swimming yesterday, and one of the Little Old Asian Ladies that's there every day comes walking out of the locker room. She's got on a new bathing suit.
It's, ummm, very high cut. Very, very high cut. In front.
Like a reverse thong.
Are you getting a mental image here yet?
It was all I could do to keep my self from screaming, "LABIA!!!! I CAN SEE YOUR LABIA!!!!!!"
I could totally see her labia. Everyone could totally see her labia.
It's disturbing enough to see naked elderly lady parts in the locker room--at least it's expected in there--but it's a whole other story when hoo-ha parts are flopping out the side of your bathing suit on the pool deck.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
My Proposition 8 post landed on Stumble Upon and was briefly resurrected this week. This post isn't about Proposition 8 at all, but that post being talked about again has brought the topic of homosexuality and the Mormon church to the forefront of my mind.
There is a belief among many, many members of my faith that being gay is a sin. It is, in fact, not a sin, according to our Prophet and Apostles.
Here is an article written by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in our church leadership.
I know it's long, but I know enough of you will skip clicking the link that I want to post his words in full right here. (This is from the October 2007 Ensign)
Helping Those Who Struggle with Same-Gender Attraction
A pleasant young man in his early 20s sat across from me. He had an engaging smile, although he didn’t smile often during our talk. What drew me in was the pain in his eyes.
“I don’t know if I should remain a member of the Church,” he said. “I don’t think I’m worthy.”
“Why wouldn’t you be worthy?” I asked.
I suppose he thought I would be startled. I wasn’t. “And … ?” I inquired.
A flicker of relief crossed his face as he sensed my continued interest. “I’m not attracted to women. I’m attracted to men. I’ve tried to ignore these feelings or change them, but …”
He sighed. “Why am I this way? The feelings are very real.”
I paused, then said, “I need a little more information before advising you. You see, same-gender attraction is not a sin, but acting on those feelings is—just as it would be with heterosexual feelings. Do you violate the law of chastity?”
He shook his head. “No, I don’t.”
This time I was relieved. “Thank you for wanting to deal with this,” I said. “It takes courage to talk about it, and I honor you for keeping yourself clean.
“As for why you feel as you do, I can’t answer that question. A number of factors may be involved, and they can be as different as people are different. Some things, including the cause of your feelings, we may never know in this life. But knowing why you feel as you do isn’t as important as knowing you have not transgressed. If your life is in harmony with the commandments, then you are worthy to serve in the Church, enjoy full fellowship with the members, attend the temple, and receive all the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement.”
He sat up a little straighter. I continued, “You serve yourself poorly when you identify yourself primarily by your sexual feelings. That isn’t your only characteristic, so don’t give it disproportionate attention. You are first and foremost a son of God, and He loves you.
“What’s more, I love you. My Brethren among the General Authorities love you. I’m reminded of a comment President Boyd K. Packer made in speaking to those with same-gender attraction. ‘We do not reject you,’ he said. ‘… We cannot reject you, for you are the sons and daughters of God. We will not reject you, because we love you.’ ”
We talked for another 30 minutes or so. Knowing I could not be a personal counselor to him, I directed him to his local priesthood leaders. Then we parted. I thought I detected a look of hope in his eyes that had not been there before. Although he yet faced challenges to work through—or simply endure—I had a feeling he would handle them well.
God Loveth His Children
When an angel asked Nephi a question about God, Nephi answered, “I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:17). I too affirm that God loves all His children and acknowledge that many questions, including some related to same-gender attraction, must await a future answer, perhaps in the next life.
Unfortunately, some people believe they have all the answers now and declare their opinions far and wide. Fortunately, such people do not speak for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Although I believe members are eager to extend compassion to those different from themselves, it is human nature that when confronted with a situation we don’t understand, we tend to withdraw. This is particularly true of same-gender attraction. We have so little reliable information about it that those wanting to help are left feeling a bit unsteady. Admitting my own inadequacy in this regard but wanting to assist, let me offer some suggestions to help those who have loved ones or friends who are attracted to the same gender.
Our Father’s Plan of Happiness
First, let’s be absolutely clear on what God wants for each of us. He wants us to have all of the blessings of eternal life. He wants us to become like Him. To help us do that, He has given us a plan. This plan is based on eternal truths and is not altered according to the social trends of the day.
At the heart of this plan is the begetting of children, one of the crucial reasons Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden (see 2 Nephi 2:19–25; Moses 5:10–12). They were commanded to “be fruitful, and multiply” (Moses 2:28), and they chose to keep that commandment. We are to follow them in marrying and providing physical bodies for Heavenly Father’s spirit children. Obviously, a same-gender relationship is inconsistent with this plan.
For various reasons, marriage and children are not immediately available to all. Perhaps no offer of marriage is forthcoming. Perhaps even after marriage there is an inability to have children. Or perhaps there is no present attraction to the opposite gender. Whatever the reason, God’s richest blessings will eventually be available to all of His children if they are clean and faithful.
Through the exercise of faith, individual effort, and reliance upon the power of the Atonement, some may overcome same-gender attraction in mortality and marry. Others, however, may never be free of same-gender attraction in this life.
As fellow Church members, families, and friends, we need to recognize that those attracted to the same gender face some unique restrictions regarding expression of their feelings. While same-gender attraction is real, there must be no physical expression of this attraction. The desire for physical gratification does not authorize immorality by anyone. Such feelings can be powerful, but they are never so strong as to deprive anyone of the freedom to choose worthy conduct.
In saying this, let me make it clear that attractions alone, troublesome as they may be, do not make one unworthy. The First Presidency has stated, “There is a distinction between immoral thoughts and feelings and participating in either immoral heterosexual or any homosexual behavior.” If you do not act on temptations, you have not transgressed.
The failure to see that distinction sometimes leads to despair. I ache for those who do not understand that every blessing offered by God is available to anyone who obeys the laws upon which those blessings are predicated (see D&C 130:20–21). No one who lives the gospel should despair. Hope and peace come from the Comforter, and the answer to despair is to invite the Holy Ghost into our lives.
Ways to Help
Let’s assume you are the family member or friend of someone with same-gender attraction who comes to you for help. What do you say? What do you do?
I’d begin by recognizing the courage that brought your son, daughter, sibling, or friend to you. I’d recognize the trust that person has extended. Discussing the issue with someone of trust is a healthy first step to dealing with confusing feelings, and it is imperative that these first steps be met with compassion.
Next, if you are a parent of one with same-gender attraction, don’t assume you are the reason for those feelings. No one, including the one struggling, should try to shoulder blame. Nor should anyone place blame on another—including God. Walk by faith, and help your loved one deal the best he or she can with this challenge.
In doing so, recognize that marriage is not an all-purpose solution. Same-gender attractions run deep, and trying to force a heterosexual relationship is not likely to change them. We are all thrilled when some who struggle with these feelings are able to marry, raise children, and achieve family happiness. But other attempts have resulted in broken hearts and broken homes.
Above all, keep your lines of communication open. Open communication between parents and children is a clear expression of love, and pure love, generously expressed, can transform family ties. But love for a family member does not extend to condoning unrighteous behavior. Your children are welcome to stay in your home, of course, but you have every right to exclude from your dwelling any behavior that offends the Spirit of the Lord.
The Garden Principle
Next, consider a principle learned in gardening. Someone said that if we plant a garden with good seed, there will not be so much need of the hoe. Likewise, if we fill our lives with spiritual nourishment, we can more easily gain control over inclinations. This means creating a positive environment in our homes in which the Spirit is abundantly evident. A positive environment includes consistent private and public worship, prayer, fasting, scripture reading, service, and exposure to uplifting conversation, music, literature, and other media.
This same environment extends to experiences at church. Some with same-gender attractions have unresolved fears and are offended at church when no offense is intended. On the other hand, some members exclude from their circle of fellowship those who are different. When our actions or words discourage someone from taking full advantage of Church membership, we fail them—and the Lord. The Church is made stronger as we include every member and strengthen one another in service and love (see D&C 84:110).
You may feel prompted to encourage the one you are trying to help to visit with a priesthood leader who holds the keys of inspired counsel. Please do so, knowing that the First Presidency has asked Church leaders to discuss these matters confidentially and in a spirit of Christlike love.
In the Lord’s Hands
Not long ago I received a letter from a man in his early 30s who struggles with same-gender attraction. His struggle has not been easy, and he has not yet married. But, he wrote, “the Lord has helped me face my current circumstances, and I am content to do my best and leave my life in His hands.”
I weep with admiration and respect at the faith and courage of such a man who is living with a challenge I have never faced. I love him and the thousands like him, male or female, who “fight the good fight” (1 Timothy 6:12). I commend his attitude to all who struggle with—or who are helping others who struggle with—same-gender attraction.
So, there you have it. The idea that it's always a choice to have same sex attraction is wrong. The idea that homosexuality is somehow a "greater sin" is false. It's not a sin at all. The sin lies in being unchaste, and that is the same sin whether it is committed with someone of the same sex or the opposite sex. One is not worse than the other.
Anyway, there are many members of my church who do not actually know what the church teaches regarding homosexuality and go forth spreading their gay=evil sinner attitude as doctrine when it simply isn't the case.You still may disagree with the teachings or the church's policies regarding homosexuality--that's your choice--but I thought it was important for people to know what the church actually teaches, not what many of its members claim to be doctrine.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Sarah M. (Click that to read her personal blog--she cracks me up). Anyway, Sarah, genius that she is, developed an idea for a product called Thinnerware (patent pending, so don't even think about stealing her brilliant idea. She's got a patent lawyer and she's not afraid to use him). Thinnerware is a line of dishes with measurements for healthy portion sizes cleverly disguised within the design of the dish. For example, my favorite plate:
That large flower on the bottom? About a 1/2 cup of food. The two smaller ones close together on the top right? A serving of meat. The medium-ish sized flower to the left of that? About a 1/4 cup.
There are bowls and cups as well--they have rings inside that measure out a 1/2 cup, 1 cup, etc...
You can easily keep your portion sizes in check without dirtying measuring cups and scales every meal. And? They're pretty.
Sarah hand makes each dish. And the best part (in my opinion) is their curviness.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
One of the things that came up (and I'm sure lots of things,umm, came up...) after the sex advice posts was that it's hard (and I'm sure lots of things were, umm, hard...) to shop for "marital aids" without encountering pornography.
There's a company based in Utah (and run by an LDS couple) called Simply Sweet Marriage. So, if you wanted to know what the buzz about Rabbits was all about (and I'm sure there was a lot of, umm, buzzing...), or if you wanted to find a book with sex tips that isn't borderline porn, this is the place.
About the company in their own words:
My husband and I began our marriage journey over 10 years ago. After the kids came, things changed; We made time for each other a priority, but I had difficulty talking about things relating to intimacy. I looked for books that would help me learn to talk about intimacy. Most books were pornographic in nature and even “soft” pornographic images can be damaging to an individual and a marriage. With some difficulty I sought and found good books that were not pornographic. I came to realize that I thought that husbands and wives were not supposed to talk about intimate details within their own sexual relationship. I realized that sex for pleasure is good and healthy. Husbands and wives are meant to have an enjoyable sexual relationship within marriage.
Ideas learned from these books lead me to look for intimate products that assist in marital relations. Finding products without the lure of pornography was nearly impossible. My search for intimate marital products slowly evolved into the idea of an online store where couples would have a safe environment that is free of pornography and its damaging effects.
Our goal at Simply Sweet Marriage is to provide the resources, products, and apparel for husbands and wives to cultivate and increase marital intimacy and make your marriage a place of refuge.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Please go rent/borrow/add to your Netflix queue Little Women--The Winona Ryder/Christian Bale/Susan Sarandon version.
Right now, please.
Ideally, I'd like you to read the book first (the unabridged one, of course), but I'll settle for you watching the movie.
I don't know what it is about this story that just gets to me. I've read the book too many times to count and watched the movie nearly as many times. It never gets old.
And every single time, I still hold out hope that Jo will marry Laurie.
Just look at this picture:
It just makes my heart ache when I see it. He's so totally in love with her and she's so totally not in love with him. I dare you to watch (or read) Little Women and not want to shake Jo until her teeth rattle when she refuses Laurie's proposal. Sure, sure...She ends up with Friedrich, who is a good man, but she and Laurie are meant to be together. It's destiny. Amy should have drowned in Walden Pond. Don't tell me you haven't thought the same thing.
And when you're done with Little Women, go read (or watch) the Anne of Green Gables series. Just don't watch the last movie--it doesn't even remotely follow the books.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
So, Will and I went on a last minute date last night to see Star Trek.
I totally have the hots for Spock.
Now there's a sentence I never thought I'd utter.
The movie was great. I highly recommend it, even if you've never been a Trek fan. Personally, I never really liked the original Trek series (or the movies). I was very much into The Next Generation, though. (I totally had the hots for Wesley Crusher). (Yet another sentence I never thought I'd utter).
I was totally expecting Kirk to break out into a rendition of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" to Uhura.
Anyway, go see it. It's worth the price of admission.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
So, Thursday was Liam's Pre-K graduation. Let me count the ways in which it sucked:
1. It started an hour and a half late.
2. There were not nearly enough chairs, so we spent 2 hours on the nasty carpet of the day room where the two year olds pee and vomit and wipe their noses.
3. The caps and gowns we all paid $20 for didn't show up, so they wore some ratty borrowed ones.
4. I forgot to put a memory card in my camera, so no pictures of the suckiness.
5. Liam got a raging case of stage fright and stood there silently as all his classmates sang boisterously.
6. Parents knocking each other out of the way and blocking everyone else's view to get a good picture.
7. The woman who let her daughter run around wild and disrupt everyone and everything while the parent loudly threatened "I'm-a gonna beat yer ass off, girrrl" from the sidelines (but never actually did anything).
8. The indescribable smell that emanates from a group of 60+ four year olds.
9. The glare off the center director's grillz every time she opened her mouth to speak.
10. The amount of cleavage and platform heels present would have made Hugh Hefner blush.
In other news, my hair doesn't like to take color. I got a great cut and a few highlights, but the caramel-y color she put on didn't do anything. In a couple of months, we'll add more (and lighter) highlights and gradually lighten everything. Apparently bleach is the only thing that can change my hair. My new stylist is great--I just have hair that wants to stay brown no matter what.
Here's a picture, but you can't really see the highlights. They're more noticeable in person (I think, anyway).
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Here's the master bathroom. I'm pretty sure it has more square footage than Ben's room at the old house did.
It's bigger than the picture makes it seem. And it was one of my favorite things about the house. But, I've yet to have a chance to use it.
And though I'll miss having my own secret hatch into the Dharma Orchid Station...
This back yard apparently has its own secret hatch into hell.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Welcome to the new Douglass abode:
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sorry, Mom. I have to bump your birthday post.
We have big news! Will was selected to become a warrant officer! Yay!
Sometime in the next 4-6 months he'll head off to Alabama for a month of school, then he'll come back here to Fort Gordon for another five months of more specialized training.
Here's what this selection means for us:
1. Will can do a job he enjoys--all the technical fun without the babysitting soldiers part.
2. Better pay.
3. Officer housing (or officer housing allowance if we live off post again the next time we move).
4. I can start working on my snooty officer's wife attitude.
5. Did I mention the better pay?
Of course this also means more deployments. No more clothing allowance every year. More involvement in Army politics for promotions. Moving, yet again, in about a year. But did I mention that he'll get paid a lot more?
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Someday I'll get the new house unpacked and post pictures. I had grand plans about being totally unpacked a week after we started moving.
Pardon me while I laugh hysterically.
I got sick. The old house took more time to empty and clean than I'd planned. Liam was no longer in school, so add an extra kid to my day. And Will had two papers to write and a final to take.
So, someday. Someday it will be done. Someday I'll have time to write actual blog posts on a regular basis again. Someday.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Just for kicks I decided to try on my fat pants--I kept one pair of pants from when I was at my largest--a size 26. I fit in one leg of them. I now wear size 12 pants and plain old size large tops. I don't even glance at the plus size section anymore.
And though losing the weight with relative ease is nice, there have been some problems. Namely, my hair and teeth. My hair--oh my poor, poor hair. First it was butchered by a crazy stylist about nine months ago. It never really recovered, and the surgery has made it worse. It won't grow. It falls out by the handful. It's dry and brittle and frizzy. I've seriously thought about a wig some days. And my teeth. I've never had great teeth, but now my gums are disappearing at an alarming pace, apparently a side effect of not enough nutrients. I'm going to have to suck it up and see the dentist about it soon. Have I mentioned I fear the dentist above all else? I'd rather touch a spider while dangling from a rooftop 50 floors up while eating food prepared in a dirty kitchen than see a dentist. I've had exactly two real panic attacks in my life and both were in the dentist's chair.
But, it's a small price to pay. I take very little insulin now--less and less every month. I'm off all blood pressure meds, and most recently I found out that my cholesterol is normal (I had been on two drugs for that prior to the surgery).
Now, if only my boobs would stop shrinking...
Did you see LOST???? HOLY CRAP. HOLY CRAP!! HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!
S'okay. I don't even care about the whole Jacob and the bad guy in black part. I'll rewatch all that later.
But LaSawyeur and Juliet? I was sobbing. The whole time I was thinking Jack was such an ass for wanting to erase what had happened. I was hoping after the bomb failed that Jack would get sucked into the hole and die. But NOT JULIET!!!! (Sob sob sniffle). So, when she woke up (!!!) and detonated the bomb I was actually relieved. I'd rather have them not know each other than have to look at LaSawyeur's sad, sad face all next season. And know that Sayid bled to death. And that Jack lived.
But what if it didn't work? Are they all just dead? And what if it did work? Will next season just be life after they land at LAX? Will they all find each other without the island?
Oh, but the highlight of the night? LaSawyeur kicking Jack in the nads. Raise your hand if you've been waiting five seasons for that.
Hmmm...what else... I'm glad to know that Evil Locke isn't really Locke. I wasn't liking him being evil. I'm glad Locke's really dead. And I'm glad Hurley knows that he's blessed, not cursed. And I think Ben had his first honest moment ever when he was confronting Jacob. And Richard Alpert still creeps me the hell out.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Five ceiling fans.
And I'm finally done cleaning the empty house.
Will still gets to spackle the walls and mow the lawn, and I still have to tile the bathroom counter that I never quite got around to doing, but the cleaning is done and by this time tomorrow I will never have to enter that house again. And? I seriously considered calling my friend and offering her $50 to come clean the floors with her Rainbow.
Monday, May 11, 2009
This was going to be a confession of sorts. It still is, I guess--just with a happy (though likely annoying to the rest of you) ending.
Here's the confession part: I fell off the diet and exercise wagon in a big way last week. My excuse was moving and being sick. Those are sort of acceptable reasons to not work out a single time in EIGHT days, but not much of an excuse for eating complete crap that whole time, too.
Cheese popcorn. Chex mix. Taco Bell. McDonald's. Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Carbonation!!! (I paid dearly for that one, though. Holy gas...). I could go on, but it might make me vomit just thinking about it.
I hadn't weighed myself the whole time, either. I conveniently left the scale at the old house until the last trip.
I expected to have gained a few pounds, and expected to have to confess that to all of you.
But here's the annoying (to you) part that may cause you to want to throw things at my head:
I lost four pounds.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
And? My husband totally forgot about Mother's Day. I didn't even get a card. If you see him, be sure to harass him about ignoring his sick wife/mother of his three children on Mother's Day.
And mom? Happy Mother's day. My throat's too sore to call, so this will have to do for today. Here are some pictures to remind you of of the days when you probably wondered why you chose to have children:
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Back in February when I kicked off Cancer Can Suck It Month, I talked about my sweet friend Lorena who was battling terminal cancer.
She passed away yesterday.
Whenever I think of her, I always think about the hymn "Each Life That Touches Ours for Good."
Here's a short video of the song being performed. Listen to it, think about those who have touched your life for good, and keep Lorena's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.
What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.
When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.
For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
Devotion to the Savior’s name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Have I mentioned that rural Georgia sucks?
We're moving this week (got the keys this morning), but our current cable/phone/internet provider (Charter, who has been excellent) doesn't have service in our new neighborhood. Their office and ginormous satellite receiver are quite literally across the street, but inexplicably service hasn't made it's way across the road in the two years the subdivision has existed.
Satellite is our only option for TV, and AT&T is the only option for phone and internet.
Dish Network came and got everything set up for us two hours ahead of schedule this morning and catered (happily) to our every whim (and tolerated Will acting like Kate Gosselin--which is rare. I'm usually the harpie around here). They get a gold star. Two of them, in fact. Right. On. Their. Forehead.
AT&T, however, is on my list. Somebody's testicles are coming off with a dirty spoon.
We asked for service to be started today. It's not like I called yesterday to set up the appointment. I called nearly three weeks ago. They say they'll call me back with an appointment. I finally get a (automated) call at 6:30 tonight saying the appointment is on Wednesday and I need to be home between 8 am and 7 pm. Umm, yeah. I'm not staying home for eleven hours. And I couldn't that day if I wanted to. So I call them back to reschedule. A) They have my order totally wrong. 2) They have me listed as a small business owner. And H) If I don't take the Wednesday appointment, we'll have to wait until next Monday. Also? The woman is speaking like she has a mouth full of cotton balls. I keep having to ask her to repeat everything.
So, I finally ask for a manager. Having worked in a call center previously, I know that normally it doesn't help. Unless the original person you were speaking with is an idiot. And oh, she was an idiot of the highest order.
I talk to the manager who gets the order straight and then tells me that they can set the appointment up as a "remote activation," meaning I don't have to be there. For some reason they still can't flip that switch before Wednesday, though.
So anyway, the point of all this? I will only have internet when I come back to the crap hole we currently call home from now until Wednesday, so I will be scarce for a few days. And? Georgia sucks.
When I come back, pictures of the new house. Lots of 'em.