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11/29/07

We Are So Over

Dear BYU. We Are So Over. It's Over. Ever since I found out about you and my sister it has been over. OMG.

Ok. Just had to get that out.

Dear Everyone Else,

As some of you may know, I am in the wonderful, life-sucking process of applying for Graduate School. In the process I have had to deal extensively with Brigham Young University in an attempt to get transcripts, records, ect. It is like dealing with an ex boyfriend you dumped years ago who hasn't gotten over it yet. Let's recap.

I started dating BYU in 2004. BYU was hot. BYU had dorms and I could stay out past my parents curfew and BYU had boys. BYU also accepted me. Accepted me and begged me to come to his campus and chill with his crew.

Even though I was still in High School, I dated BYU for a long time. I think I even "scrapbooked" my acceptance letter. I signed the honor code. It was fine, I could give up mini-skirts, BYU was such a great guy.

But then there was the U. The U's history teaching program was actually accredited (wowzers.) The U's campus had trees and old buildings and didn't resemble the potential set if 1984 was ever made into a movie. The U had professors who actually cared and answered my questions. My academic advisor wasn't so busy looking at her engagement ring to help me with my schedule.

Needless to say, it was love at first sight.

I dumped BYU. My parents were heartbroken. My grandmother (yes, that grandma,) told me that if I just spent more time on my knees, I would see the error of my ways. But the U was so much hotter.

BYU never stopped calling. Two semester's into my relationship with the U he was still calling. Should I hold your dorm? You haven't paid your tuition yet, or signed up for student health insurance, we really need you to do that. Things got heated when BYU called my mom demanding that I pay tuition to a university I never attended. It took my mother screaming "MY DAUGHTER DOES NOT GO TO BYU!!!!!" for the phone calls to stop.

I relapsed in 2006. BYU told me they would take me to London. The U was hot, but even I have a price. The U and I got back together after Study Abroad.

A few months ago BYU sent a collections agency on me. Seriously. I got a letter in the mail stating that if I did not pay the bill for BYU's student health insurance policy, they would come after me and ruin my credit. I had to get my Dad (a lawyer) to defend my honor. Apparently BYU thought that because I went on Study Abroad for one semester in 2006, I was secretly attending and needed to pay for 2007's health insurance.

BYU finally seems to have gotten the message. Too much, in fact. Now when I ask for my transcripts they're all "Do we know you? Are you sure you attended a Study Abroad program with us?" They're all pretending that what we had never happened. That hurts, BYU. That hurts.

P.S. And it is so not ok that you are dating my sister. So not cool.

11/20/07

What Women Know.

Two Posts in One Day! Somebody doesn't want to do her homework....

This is probably the most wonderful thing to me. Whether you agree or disagree, I think it is wonderful for women in the LDS church to engage in safe, meaningful, dialogue. I really respect the women responsible for articulating their thoughts in such a respectful, Christ-like manner.

So.

www.whatwomenknow.org

Enjoy. I sure did.

People Who Work Out Die Early.

My sister is behind me running on a treadmill. Running. On. A Treadmill. I blame BYU. The only time I ever worked out was while attending BYU study abroad. Something about living with 40 Mormon princesses (love you guys!) all competing to be the skinniest. I told Laura that people who work out die early, with evidence being that all the previous generations of Nielson/Wright women ....

Pause. Laura JUST FELL OFF THE TREADMILL. THIS IS HOW PEOPLE DIE EARLY.

...anyway, previous generations of Nielson/Wright women have shunned traditional exercise* for years and lived to be 101. Don't mess with success, Laura.

*Shopping is exercise. As is wandering aimlessly.

Anyway, speaking of the London roomies, I recently went to a very fun reunion with them. And their long-suffering spouses. I told my super awkward story to them. While I was telling them the awkwardness, I found myself wondering, "Why am I telling people this? This is horrible!" Then I realized

1. My London roommates have heard/seen worse from me.

2. It is very cathartic to tell awkward stories after the fact. It's like group therapy. For Free. Which is a big deal to me because therapy for the uninsured is expensive.

On that note, I will share another story that reveals my penchant for awkward and/or extremely stupid. Proceed.

Once upon a time I had to do a Senior Thesis, a big scary paper the History Department makes you produce in order to graduate. I wrote the very long thing last summer, with the aid of 30 or so books from the Marriot Library. I turned in the paper, got the A, and forgot about the books. They were hidden in a huge purse from my grandma and shoved in the corner of the room.

Last week I got a very nasty letter from the Marriot Library charging me approximately 100 dollars per lost book.

Yeah. You did the math right. That much.

Panic ensued. My first thought was to hide the letter with the books. (Honestly, first thought, hide and deny, I have got to apply for a position in the Bush administration.) My second thought was to pawn off my wedding ring, because that's about how much the fine was for. Then I thought that Dan would for sure notice that, and with that parting thought, I finally had a moment of reason.

Call the library. Beg for forgiveness. I did, and a very nice lady told me that if I returned all the books, they would forgive me and reduce the fine to 10 dollars. (Which, yeah, is a pair of Old Navy flats on sale, but at least it is not my wedding ring or my first born spawn.)

I returned the books immediately (Evil! Poisonous books!) And the very nice man told me that my fine was nothing. Grad students usually ring up a mutli-grand fine just before graduation. And some sadist at the Marriot Library thought the best way was to scare the offenders sh**less and then charge ten dollars. Because it is funny to watch some one's blood pressure go through rapid, drastic, fluctuations.

It is just one of the reasons I love the University of Utah. That, and I never feel compelled to exercise when I'm there.

11/15/07

Why I Don't Vote on the Dark Side......

Part of the fun of this blog is it opens up lots of opportunity for discussion. And it upsets some people and they send me stuff and I get to post about it and make fun of them. I also get tons of positive feedback, and that boosts my self-esteem. So thanks. Thanks for telling me that I'm either going to hell or your new best friend.

So I know that ever since my husband asked the question "What is Mitt short for anyway, Mitthew?" we've all been wondering what Mitt's real name is.

Behold, the power of the Internets:

WILLARD. Mitt's first name is Willard. It confused me for a moment, until I remembered that (sadly) Mitt is Mormon. Mormons do this all the time to their kids. They name them Nephi and call them Moroni for short. Or they name them Skylar and add ninety-two a's. Skylaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar. Emileeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. or names with "Mc" randomy inserted. McEmilee. McKelsey.

I really wish I could like Mitt Romney. I really do. It would get me written back into my Grandmother's will and that would be awesome. She has about ten years worth of home-made jam to her name and I would like to be a part of it. My back-up when pressed about Mitt has always been "Well he did a really great thing for health care in Massachusetts." Because he did. Mitt made Massachusetts the first state in the nation with universal health care. Imagine it people, if you lived in Massachusetts, you could go to a doctor and not sell your soul in return. I would love to live in Massachusetts. What upsets me is that Mitt has now changed his mind. He recently called Hillary Clinton's Health care proposal, which ironically enough, is startlingly similar to Mitt's Massachusetts plan, "European-style socialized medicine plan."

In interviews he refuses to discuss his achievements in Massachusetts. Mitt apparently rethought the whole "created equal" thing and decided some people just shouldn't be able to see doctor's when they are sick. It's a shame, because if Mitt still supported his actions in Massachusetts, he would be the first truly "compassionate conservative" I've ever seen.

This leads me to a broader topic. In the course of writing this blog, lots of people have asked me how I reconcile being Mormon and a Liberal. To me there was nothing to reconcile. I based my decision on my very Christian values. Help the sick. Aid the needy. For LDS readers, I am always reminded of Mosiah 4, where King Benjamin tells his people to help the poor, even if they
don't necessarily deserve it.

I do not understand how a political party which clings to ideas such as "Family Values," the "Christian Right," and "National Morality," can be against universal health care. I do not understand the thinking that allows someone to decide that sick people should be rendered helpless by a bureaucracy.

I do not understand how someone reads the Bible, and at the part where Christ says "Suffer, the little children," interprets it to mean "Suffer, little children." **Because in America the Republican Party will vote down laws that will give you health care. Republican administrations will cut the funding for WIC (health care for underprivileged INFANTS.) They will vote against SCHIP but fund a war we have no hope of winning. They will cut funding for public education, thus widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

I do not understand it.

I do understand this-

"The uninsured are sicker, suffer more from chronic disease, and rarely get rehabilitation after an injury or surgery. They also die sooner-knowing that, with insurance, they might have lived." (Newsweek, September 07)

I also understand numbers-4.6 million Americans are uninsured. 46 million people die earlier because the Republican Administration says that government-run health care is socialism. Forget the fact that we've had government run health care for decades. (It's called Medicare, and oh, they cut funding for that too) What I want to see is some more 'Compassionate Conservatism." I want more "Family Values" that care less about what Americans are doing under the sheets and more about what sick kids, elderly people, and veterans are doing when they can't see a doctor. I want a type of Morality that knows the difference between good- health care for children, and bad-depriving infants of pre and post natal care.

Where are the Christians in the Republican Party? Where are the good Samaritans who help their sick and uninsured neighbors and their underprivileged kids?

I guess I just can't think that way. I guess I just can't vote that way. That is why I'm a Liberal. That is why I'm a Christian.


** That's a reference to Nancy Pelosi's speech after Bush vetoed SCHIP.

Ps. I got a hair cut.

11/6/07

Sadly, it Appears His Condition is Hereditary. (Aka, Living in Utah)

Me: (Proudly,) So, I voted today. I voted against the vouchers.

Dad: Me too! I voted against the vouchers too!. Except my ballot was special, do you know why?

Me: Why?

Dad: Because on my ballot, it asked, "Do you wish Dick Cheney would die of a fatal heart attack?" And I said, "Yes." And then it said, "Do you wish George Bush would die?" And I said, "Yes." And it was at that moment, that I realized I was having a delusion, right there in the voting booth.

11/3/07

Happiness. And, I need to develop better social skills.

There are two groups on the book of faces that describe my sentiments perfectly.

1. Every Time I Find out a Cute Boy is Conservative A Little Part of Me Dies.

and

2. Vote Against Referendum One.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

(ps. Voting day is November 6. Let's take down the Voucher freaks!!!!)

11/2/07

Halloween Creepiness

Hi

Look. I know. I know I promised to share my most awkward story today. I lied. I'm an awful nasty democrat who lies. And thinks progressively.*

There are a couple reasons why I am choosing not to tell the story today-

1. I related what I will now and forever more refer to as the "Incident" to a close friend a few days ago. She is in awkward-moment shock. She told me that if said Incident had ever happened to her, she would lock herself in a closet and never speak to anyone again. I figured that if the Incident generated this response in someone who didn't even experience it, I'd better think twice before sharing it with the Internet.

2. Yesterday I read possibly the most depressing adolescent lit. novel of all time. Horribly depressing. So instead of writing about my Incident, I'm going to do a little short book review. And then we're going to talk about SCHIP. POLITICS ARE COMING. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

The offender: Catalyst, by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Now don't get me wrong. Anderson is a brilliant, thoughtful, and significant writer. When I read her book Speak, a few years ago, I was put in complete shock. I've never read an adolescent novel so provocative and beautifully written. I still cry every time I read it. If I am ever in charge of school curriculum, I will make Speak required reading for everyone in the district, teachers included. I also recently read Twisted which is equally stunning.

My problem with Catalyst concerns the complete lack of hope throughout the novel. One of the things Anderson excels at is depicting the struggles of today's teens while maintaining the idea that somehow, her characters will prevail in the end. Catalyst suffers from a complete lack of hope, or even catharsis. I went to high school. I know that there is not always a happy or satisfying ending to life or novels. But there usually is some sense of catharsis, a closure, or some hint that redemption is still possible, however far off. Catalyst's conclusion may have attempted this, but I'm afraid it was too little too late situation. The writing was true to Anderson's fluid, skillful style, but I just couldn't get attached to the protagonist without wishing to slit my wrists. I'm very sad. I had to take one of my candles off my Anderson shrine and move it back under the one I built for Chaim Potok. I hate it when I have to rearrange my literary shrines.

I'm going to try and segue this to some thoughts I had on a slightly different subject. In Catalyst, one of the things Anderson does succeed at is using words to evict a very emotional reaction.

In the media, especially the political media, people manipulate words in a similar manner, often hoping to evict very emotional response that takes away from the facts and logical thinking. No where have I seen this applied more accurately than in the current debate about SCHIP (children's health care program.)

In order to take away from a very good idea (Can anyone really truly believe that children do not deserve health care? Truly?) Conservative Republicans start throwing out some very scary, very inaccurate emotion-words. Let's call them emotowords. I like making up words.

The following is some emotowords used against SCHIP and the actual facts I found with a little bit of research. And by research, I mean an excellent article by Jane Bryant Quinn of Newsweek magazine. The title of her article is "The Kids Aren't All Right." Read it.

1. ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. SCHIP helps illegal immigrant children! Oh No!

Fact- SCHIP doesn't even cover legal immigrants until they have lived in the U.S. for five years.

2. SOCIALISM!!! If we give all the children health care, we'll have to insure every American! That's socialism! Bad! Hitler was a Socialist!

Fact- SCHIP works a lot like Medicare, government funded but privately run. States contract with insurance companies, and patients can usually choose their own doctors, programs, co-pay situations, ect.

3. IT ACTUALLY HELPS RICH ADULTS!!!! Lots of people claim that SCHIP is manipulated to cover adults far above the poverty level, as well as their not-starving-yet children, those little smucks.

Fact- Only 10 percent of people covered my SCHIP are adults. They are insured under waivers APPROVED BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, You know, back when he cared about kids. The remainder are pregnant women. The conservative-right is always rambling about the lives of the "unborn." If they want those unborn children to actually make it through labor and delivery, they may want to reconsider their stance on insuring their mothers.

4. EXPENSIVE! 35 billion is too much for our kids!

Fact- We just spent 200 billion on a war that is clearly not working. And Bush wants 40 more this year. 40 more could keep SCHIP running for 5 more years. Five years of children getting the health care they need.

Next time you hear emotowords, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, SOCIALISM, EXPENSIVE, ect. consider what those words are hiding. In this case, their hiding a bunch of underprivileged kids who can't see a doctor when they get sick.