i can't decide if lyla is a mediocre actor, or a mediocre character....

Confession: I usually skip out on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette after the hometown dates. It is just boring after all the crazies go home, and everyone pretends to be nice, and that they really are falling in love. I do however, love the "Women/Men Tell All," because the crazies come back. I also feel like the show gets boring after the hometowns because there are simply not enough people to participate in the insane dates that have nothing to do with building relationships. Wrestling! Boat racing! Gathering of a suitable dowry! Ritual animal sacrifices! You aren't really ready and open for love unless you are willing to face your fears of paganism! Okay, I'm exaggerating. I told you the show gets boring....

Tangent: My sister Laura and I were recently discussing lame excuses people use to justify bad behavior. Things like "I didn't know you felt that way," after being called out for saying something insulting. This excuse implies that most people don't feel bad when being treating poorly, being insulted, etc., and that you are sort of crazy for being upset.

Similar, and used frequently on the internet, is the "I didn't understand the context" excuse. Oh, I didn't know this wasn't a site for insulting the writer, my bad! This excuse implies that the behavior is somehow okay in other contexts, and that the bad behavior was simply a mistake.

I never buy this particular excuse, but my sister said it best with this analogy: "Claiming they didn't understand the context is like saying 'Sorry I pooped on your face, I didn't realize your head wasn't a toilet.' No. Not okay."

Helpful hint for online interactions: there isn't really a context in which face pooping is okay, or nasty online comments.

Obsession: After a disappointing run with watching Make it or Break it on Netflix, I decided Friday Night Lights would be my summer show of choice. Best decision ever. Matt pretending to be his Grandpa to calm down his elderly Grandma! Anything Landry! Tim Riggins! Tami Taylor!

In fact, I think Tami is my favorite character. Behold her response to a whiner student caught cheating:

"It's my job to make sure you don't grow up stupid. It's bad for the world."

Can I commandeer that for my own personal use? Also, "Clear eyes, full heart, can't lose!"

Any confessions, tangents, or obsessions you want to discuss?


we will probably end up feeding them or something

While driving home, stopped at a light, Spouseman and I watch some Elder missionaries cross the street. I quickly avert my eyes. Like whole wheat bread and G rated movies, anything that wholesome makes me immediately uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, Spouseman honks, and leans across me to wave.

The fact that we like each other is a constant reminder of a miraculous God. Miraculous, with a healthy appreciation for situational irony.


Can this soapbox be saved?

A potentially preachy soapbox! Maybe your FHE needs some spice?

On the whole, I'm not a huge fan of gendered statements. The whole "men are from Mars, women are from Venus," stuff. Not because I don't acknowledge differences between men and women, but because I don't see those differences as interplanetary. For example, say we use a scenario oft found in women's magazines:

Woman has a problem.  Men hear about the problem and offer a solution, infuriating the woman who didn't want a solution, just a listener. Enter a bunch of "Can this Marriage be Saved" hijinks, fade out on Lucy and Ricky hugging it out. Lucy promises to tell Ricky how he can best respond to her problem, Ricky promises to listen. Yay!

I understand how that scenario is appealing, and how many, maybe even most, women and men identify with it. So I'm not going to say it isn't valid in some cases. However, I would not go as so far to say that men always want a solution, and women always want a listener. Sometimes men like listeners too, and saying otherwise implies that they are just Tarzan -like doers that must be trained to listen. Sometimes women like solutions, and saying otherwise implies that women aren't solution oriented.

Gendered language bothers me because it easily dissolves into exclusionary language. A person's masculinity or femininity shouldn't be defined by a series of black and white statements.*

Surprisingly though, the previous paragraphs are not my "main" soapbox today. In fact, it is just a cleverly disguised disclaimer for a gendered statement I'm about to make:

(Some)women are mean. We've all watched it on TV (Tina Fey** at least makes it funny,) read about it books, and most importantly, experienced in real life: the girl-on-girl woman-on-woman hate that eats at our souls and makes men call us "crazy."

(Some) women are mean, but I don't think it is an innate behavior. I don't think women are born mean, or that there is something in about double X chromosomes that make us meaner than our XY counterparts. (Evidence: High school, where I've seen boys gossip, and girls sport black eyes.)

I do however, believe that we live in a culture that encourages women to be mean, especially in areas relating to physical appearance. For instance, in my experience, a man calling a woman fat is generally thought of as a pig, but if a girl makes a comment on how "She shouldn't be wearing those pants" well, that's okay. It is especially okay if done in a funny and sarcastic way,  or by a very pretty girl.

Other areas in which it is okay for a woman to pass judgement on a woman's body:

Breastfeeding without a cover (Gross! You're making me feel uncomfortable!)
Pale skin (If you can't tone it, at least tan it!)
Anything over a size four (Ewwww, muffin tops!)
Clothing not found, or at least similar to, clothing found in magazines. (Frumpy!)
Personal Hygiene routines that do not feature razors, waxers, and make-up prominently (It is your job to use these so that men will like you!)
"Immodest" clothing (Slut!)

I know it is socially acceptable to mock these things because I've been guilty of it, and gotten away with it. Past selves have made comments on how she's "let herself go" or "gotten big" or "frumpy." I've said it, but seeing in crop up, and even celebrated in the blogosphere makes it seem less funny than the Means Girls sequel, and more depressing than, well, the Mean Girls sequel.

The idea that our foremothers would fight for control over their own bodies, only to have their granddaughters dissect them on a limited and superficial scale...it is just mean, and it ought to stop. I don't think girls develop negative self-image simply from seeing air-brushed photo on Cosmo, they develop negative self-image from the women who tell them they are failures for not looking like the images they see.

So here's the deal, from now on, I'm not going to-

1. Tell you how often you need to shower, wash your hair, shave your legs, or wax, in order to be "attractive" or even "clean." I will trust that you know your body, and what it wants. This also includes comments about how much or little you need to weigh in order to make me happy.

2. Tell you that your husband, boyfriend, significant other, or partner "deserves" a version of you that requires you to alter your physical appearance. If you want to wear make-up, wax yourself bald, and strut in high-heels, I salute you, but not because it will make your husband happy. Because it makes you happy. Apparently.

3. If you chose not to cover up your body while feeding a baby, I will realize that I too have control over my own body and mind. I can chose whether to see boobs as "awkward" and "gross," or I can chose to see it as natural. Thinking breastfeeding is gross doesn't make it gross. Making comments about how disgusted you are is gross.

After all Lindsay-Lohan-acting-as-Caddy-written-by-Tina-Fey said it best,

"And that's when I realized,making fun of Caroline Krafft wouldn't stop her from beating me in this contest."

So from the vaguely- hippie- liberal -soapboxers- who -sometimes- forget- to- shower to the shower- nazis-grossed-out-by-bus-breastfeeding-moms-plastics: making fun of us won't stop us from beating you in this contest.

What? I said we shouldn't be mean, not doormats.

* Including statements about providing and nuturing, but you already know how I feel about that.

**Tina Fey is not mean, Regina George is mean.

Controversial post check-list: Gender relations? Check. Breastfeeding? Check. Soapbox? Check. What am I missing, what am I missing? Oh, right: BENTLEY WILLIAMS IS A JERK.


a million billion trillion stars

I'm stuck in an airport for 5 hours. It is time for some poems.

a man who had fallen among thieves, e.e. cummings

a man who had fallen among thieves
lay by the roadside on his back
dressed in fifteenthrate ideas
wearing a round jeer for a hat

fate per a somewhat more than less
emancipated evening
had in return for consciousness
endowed him with a changeless grin

whereon a dozen staunch and Meal
citizens did graze at pause
then fired by hypercivic zeal
sought newer pastures or because

swaddled with a frozen brook
of pinkest vomit out of eyes
which noticed nobody he looked
as if he did not care to rise

one hand did nothing on the vest
its wideflung friend clenched weakly dirt
while the mute trouserfly confessed
a button solemnly inert.

Brushing from whom the stiffened puke
i put him all into my arms
and staggered banged with terror through
a million billion trillion stars

I memorized a this poem once, at a time where I felt certain my life would consist of nothing but staggering and banging through existence, filled with terror. I found it comforting that if this were true, I at least would do it through the stars. I also really loved the unbuttoned button, personified and "solemnly inert." I've never buttoned an article of clothing the same way after this poem.

I also love the twist on the good Samaritan story. Most of us would help an innocent victim on the side of the road, but it is harder to help the drunk man covered in puke, pink vomit oozing from his eyes.

There have been a great many self-inflicted drunks in my life, and I haven't always chosen to pick them up and carry them through the stars. It is overwhelming, sometimes, to think of having to treat people kindly, not just through a million stars, but through a million billion trillion stars.
And because it is a literary Sophie's Choice to talk about only one e.e. cummings poem, here's another:

a total stranger one black day

a total stranger one black day
knocked living the hell out of me--

who found forgiveness hard because
my(as it happened)self he was

-but now that fiend and i are such
immortal friends the other's each

I like the jumbled words, a result of having "knocked living the hell out of me--" Eventually though, we forgive ourselves, our immortal friend. Despite the fact that our more rational selves, a total stranger on our blackest days, sometimes knock living the hell out of us.


My Planned Parenthood Story: Mormon Child Bride Edition

As many of you know, I got married when I was 20 years old. What most of you may not know is the health insurance battle we went through during our first year of our marriage. We were a few months away from our college graduations, and every single private health insurance company had rejected our applications. Too many pre-existing conditions. Well, one company accepted us, they wanted to charge us an arm and a leg for partial coverage. We were unemployed, uninsured, and uncertain.

A few months into our marriage, my prescription for birth control (the one I had when I was unmarried and insured under my parents,) expired. I couldn't afford birth control without insurance, let alone an annual exam. I made an appointment at Planned Parenthood, covering my unease with jokes about driving to the "ghetto" Planned Parenthood in downtown SLC. My unease was rooted in the fear-filled rumors I'd heard growing up in a very conservative environment. Planned Parenthood was dirty, disease-ridden, and determined to force an abortion on every unsuspecting young woman in the valley. I wanted to get in, get my birth control, and get out.

But I was wrong. The people at Planned Parenthood treated me with respect and kindness, more so than many of the doctors who treated me previously, who often lectured me on getting married young, and insulted me for not being "smart enough" to be insured.  In contrast, Planned Parenthood walked me through all my birth-control options, and helped me stay healthy, both emotionally and physically, when no one else would.

When the health-care system rejected me, Planned Parenthood kept me informed, and helped me understand my own body. They helped my husband and I make the best choices for our situation: (young, unemployed, uninsured students.) They got to know me as an individual when insurance companies saw me only as a liability. They didn't care about my pre-existing conditions, they cared about me.

I believe in Planned Parenthood. I believe in men and women making informed, smart decisions about their bodies and overall reproductive health. I respect any organization with the following mission statement:

Planned Parenthood believes in the fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility, regardless of the individual's income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence. We believe that respect and value for diversity in all aspects of our organization are essential to our well-being. We believe that reproductive self-determination must be voluntary and preserve the individual's right to privacy. We further believe that such self-determination will contribute to an enhancement of the quality of life and strong family relationships.

I will be forever thankful to the organization that helped a naive Mormon Child Bride grow into an informed woman who knows how to care for her body. To show my thanks, I will advocate for, vote, and support any person or organization that maintains that right for men and women everywhere. Planned Parenthood For The Win.

This is a post for  the "What Tami Said" Blog Carnival in support of Planned Parenthood. Click HERE
to read more stories from people who are proud to support Planned Parenthood.


some people write the great American novel during their summer vacations...

Turns out, I'm not the most self-motivated person on the planet. I mean, I obviously manage enough to show up to work and not get arrested, but when left with no real deadlines or responsibilities, not much happens. In fact, when people ask me the inevitable "What have you been up to all summer" question, I usually respond with "absodamnlutely nothing." Which makes my righteous friends cringe because of the swear, and my heathen friends cringe because "absodamnlutely" sounds sort of awful.

HOWEVER. I am waaaaaaaay to busy to babysit your kids. Let's get that straight right now.

Anyway, have you seen THIS? I think it is sort of gross. I mean, I'm not exactly queen of political correctness, but altering a dead person's photo to correspond with a semi-inflammatory article about what they would be up to if they had not died young crosses a line for me. Aren't we all glad I found my line of human decency? On one side of the line, we have Mormon douchebags, open criticism of religion, reality TV, general mockery of Republicans, and all manner of things in poor taste,but heaven help us if Newsweek messes with Princess Diana. Line crossed.

I don't want to speculate about what Princess Di would be doing if she was alive because I posses a brain very ill-suited to imaginative play/suspension of disbelief. For instance, there are many things I shun solely because accepting it would require me to change a previous acquired mindset, and that just isn't going to happen. I cannot tolerate: Fan-fiction, remakes of classic movies, replacing any member of the original movie cast in said movie's sequel, digitally remastering anything, and cover songs. I know. I'm a purist. But I really don't care about if Diana and Catherine would get along, because it won't happen. I don't want to read an alternate version of Harry Potter where Dumbledore falls in love with Harry, (if I wanted to read something ridiculous and implausible, I'd re-read Twilight,) and I most certainly don't want to see Zac Efron coming anywhere near Footloose.

I worry sometimes about my inability to accept gray areas in popular culture. I mean, if I can't hypothesize about Princess Diana, why do I frequently want to hypothesize what will happen if Mitt Romney is actually elected ?(Prediction: huge spike in Rogaine sales, men going into salons asking for the "Romney swoop.") Furthermore, why do I always want to hypothesize about past and present changes in the LDS church? I mean, and I ask this sincerely, isn't the whole church just (sometimes) divinely inspired fan-fiction? What would Nephi be doing if he was still alive?

You will have to ponder that intellectual gem on your own. I'm clearly very busy this summer.