Sunday, January 30, 2011

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why I Hate Twilight

Knowing that I let (force, maybe?) my opinion of Twilight be heard at any opportunity, I'm surprised I haven't written here about it. Let it now be forever a constellation in cyber space.

First of all, I feel the need to explain that I have read every book in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. Therefore, no one can tell me "you can't knock it unless you've read it." I have. I have earned the right to do what I'm about to do. It's like, you can't complain about a president if you stayed home on voting day. You can't complain about a book you've never read. But, again, I read them all.

It all started at Artco, where I worked a few years ago. I had heard of the series but it never really interested me. But every last woman and some men on my team had read the novels. All the women raved and ranted, oh it's so good, it's the best ever ever, you're not cool unless you read it. My friend Ben said it's crap. He read it and he hated it. But he was the one voice among many, many of whom were my trusted friends. So I gave in.

Twilight started out a little dull. But it picked up and the story was fascinating. A family of vampires living in the normal world! Who don't eat people! Fascinating. It got me curious. I was able to look past the heroin's unlikeable-ness, and the wasted words (seriously, the book could have been tremendously condensed by omitting meaningless pages). I was intrigued by the story. Stephenie Meyer started off with a very creative idea. The premise was fascinating. The book wasn't worth the raves it received, but, certainly, it was fascinating.

I should have stopped there.

But then I wouldn't have the right to say what I'm about to say.

First of all, let's talk about Bella. Bella has nothing going for her. She's not all that pretty, she's not all that smart, she's not all that friendly, she's not noble or compassionate or witty or sweet or anything! She's also not evil. She is the flattest character I've ever encountered. Even fans will agree that Bella doesn't have a lot to offer. So why does Edward fall in love with her? I'll come to that.

Now let's talk about Edward. Edward is worshiped by teen girls the world over. This frightens me. Who is Edward, really? He's a vampire, we know that. He's a hundred and something years old, we know that. He catches Bella's attention, we know that. He's good looking. And that is the only thing he has going for him. Is that really why all the girls love him? Because he's hot? Have we really come to that?

Edward is abusive. Go back and read and you'll find many instances where Edward leaves bruises on Bella. I've pointed this out to fans and, inevitably, the fans make excuses for Edward. "He doesn't know his own strength!" they say. To that, I say, So What? Why does that make it okay? He's had all this time to figure out his own strength, why hasn't he? And why, when Bella got hurt the first time he left his mark, didn't he stop? He is abusive. Twilight makes this okay. She makes it okay for girls and women who are in abusive relationships to justify it. Because Edward is abusive, but he's also admired and loved, so it must not be that big of a deal.

Edward is angry. So, so, so angry. He manipulates Bella (probably due to her weak mind). He yells. He freaks out. He's just an angry vampire. To this one may respond "Well wouldn't you be if you were in his shoes?" YES! Yes, I would be! And that would make me unworthy of worship!

Edward is spineless. He was totally okay with Bella cuddling up in a sleeping bag with his nearly nude arch rival. He watched it! And when Bella told him she made out with Jacob (and this was when Bella and Edward were engaged!), he didn't even care. That is BS! Who of us really really want a man who is okay with us making out with other dudes? That's NOT OKAY!!! Twilight makes it okay. Bella pays no consequences for her pre-adultery behavior. She gets whatever she wants and pays no consequences for it. Why wouldn't Edward be jealous? Because he doesn't really care about Bella. And why should he? Again, she has nothing to offer. They're perfect for each other.

Some say well Bella was about to die in that cold mountain and Jacob was the only thing warm around. So he had to warm her up by getting almost naked and climbing in the sleeping bag with her. Um, doesn't Edward run really fast? Couldn't he have flown Bella down the mountain to somewhere safe and warm and run back and missed nothing? Or, better yet, Meyer could have written a different scene where Bella was in peril that didn't require her fiance's rival to get in the sleeping bag with her.

Edward is a liar!! How many times did he lie to Bella? But, it's okay, because he was just trying to protect her. NOT. It is NOT okay to lie in a romantic relationship!

Edward is also a pedophile. He's over a hundred years old when he falls for a 17 year old. I don't care if he looks young, that's still gross.

I really like Alice and Jasper and Carlisle and Esme.

So now that we understand that Edward and Bella are characters devoid of morals, of honor, of true love, and of any sort of depth, we understand their attraction to each other. Birds of a feather.... What I don't understand is how their relationship is so envied and worshiped.

Bella tries to commit suicide. She, again, pays no consequences, and therefore shows the world that it's okay to attempt suicide when you're in love. She hates herself. She totally depends on Edward for emotional stability. This is the exact thing we should be teaching our girls NOT to do. Don't depend on anyone else for your happiness! But.... Twilight says it's okay. And desirable.

Twilight is a feminist's worst nightmare.

Remember the time when Bella tries to seduce Edward? I have actually heard the argument that because of this scene, the book has morality, has LDS values. What? When is seduction okay in the LDS church? In marriage. If it's your spouse you're seducing. When is it okay to talk to others about your bedroom life in LDS culture? NEVER. To display that part of one's life is a mockery, a mockery of sex and what it means, a mockery of marriage even. But that's a different post. Anyway, Bella is trying to convince Edward to sleep with her on the bed and he says no, refuses, and this is why some people say it has LDS values. They do wait till their wedding to have sex, and this is why people say it has LDS values. But, again, their honeymoon is displayed to the world. So. You can't really choose that one time when Edward makes a moral decision and say the series has good Christian values.

Remember how after they get married Jacob comes over all the time and cuddles with Bella on the couch and holds her hand and stuff? How is this justified? (oh yeah, it's justified because Bella is pregnant with Jacob's one true love- more pedophilia! EW!) Edward is there- is that how it's justified? Edward is okay with it- is that justification? Again, if I'm married, and I'm cuddling with some guy on the couch in my home and my husband catches me, and has no negative response whatsoever, I'm going to be convinced he's not in love with me. Either that, or he has no self esteem whatsoever, no self respect. And that's not cool.

Remember Breaking Dawn? What a waste of a book. The ENTIRE book is preparing for a big bad battle between the good vamps and the bad vamps. You're all sorts of pumped up after 500 pages of battle preparation. This gonna be a good battle, you think. But no. There wasn't one. Everything is happily ever after. What a huge let down. I remember once Dad said we're going to Lagoon on Thursday. We were so excited all week, got all ready, Mom even bought me a new pair of sun glasses. I was sooo pumped. We got in the car and drove from our home in Bennion, Ut to Lagoon in Farmington, Ut, which is about a 30 minute drive or so. We got there and it was closed. Oh, I was so disappointed. I was so let down. That's what Breaking Dawn did to me.

Twilight is not allowed in my house. I will encourage my children to never read it in their youth, because children are so impressionable and so are youth. Yeah, they can tell the difference between real and not real, but everything we take in is woven in our subconsciousness, and when you're so young, it's easy to melt that into what's real. And it's easy to think that somewhere in the back of your mind you remember a time when someone somewhere tried to kill herself because she was in love, and that was okay. And you remember that someone somewhere made out with another guy while engaged to someone else and it was okay. These don't come out as full thoughts, but as wordless impressions. And if my kids choose to read it, it won't be in my home, and it will be after a discussion of what is real and what is not, and that consequences do come with choices. And that Bella is the only person in all the world, even in the world of fiction, who doesn't have to pay for her sins in some way.

I can't even say "at least it's well written." It's not well written. It's not poorly written. Well, not very. It is filled with a bunch of meaningless adjectives and meaningless pages. But, for the most part, I wasn't distracted by poor writing. But I wasn't impressed either.

And with that I close mine epistle.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Post Script

Lately, friends, I have felt like I'm on top of the world. There are many reasons for this. I feel like everything is going my way. I feel like there is finally some order in my life. I feel loved and important for the first time that I can remember. I didn't even realize I felt unimportant until last year or so. But God thinks I'm important. Important enough to save. So. I am.

Things are going better with my family. I'm lighter. Remember how depressed I used to be? I was so depressed! I was so down! I was on anti-depressants for crying out loud! By the way, I will never again question the usefulness of such medication. For the short time I was on citalopram, I was able to focus on stuff that wasn't super dark. I won't even tell you how dark. The meds got me to a point where I realized I'd rather be happy than sad. And so I was able to make better choices.

Anyway. I look back and I can scarcely believe that girl and me are the same person. The difference between now and then is stark to say the least! It wasn't even that long ago. I was still taking the drugs when I moved back to Nampa.

I've been trying very hard to saturate myself with the Spirit of God. It has been a long and difficult process. Difficult because change is difficult. But, my goodness, FOR WHAT WAS I WAITING? I feel so great. There are still so many things dragging me down, so many opportunities for me to hide beneath a mask of constant despair. And sometimes, I'm tempted to go there again. I can't identify why that is. Sometimes, I visit that place briefly. But I hate it there now and I never stay long. I feel like I'm still just outside, though, like my journey of happiness has just begun, and there is so much more ahead of me.

I was talking to my sister about my change of attitude. It was strange, I told her. I didn't understand why I felt this way, why do I feel so good? I have wondered if maybe I'm bipolar, because it seems like a cycle, like I was so very very down for so very very long, and it feels like I've been slowly cycling out of that period. Kinda like: down, down, down, down, UP, down, down, down, UP, down, down UP, UP, down, UP, UP, UP, down, UP! get it? So I thought maybe I was coming out of a depressive state and moving to a manic one. I was telling Melanie how odd it is that I feel so great, but if I was manic, then wouldn't I be more impulsive? Wouldn't I have a hard time sleeping? So while I'm trying to diagnose my strange good feelings, Melanie says, "or maybe you're just happy."

Oh.

You think? Yeah! Yeah, that's it! I'm not sick, I'm just happy! I LOVE BEING HAPPY!

The Next Day

Wow. I'm exhausted. Good thing I'd taken today off already. Of course, I had planned to use it to move. But, good things happened today. First of all, I went to the temple this morning, and that really set the tone for the rest of the day. After that, I was able to gather a significant amount of circumstantial evidence that I did not live with my ex when he got evicted. This took almost the entire day. I just finished putting everything together to send off to my lender.

I have come to accept that I am liable for the debt. Also, it's not $3000. I was rounding up, but I didn't realize I was rounding up from $2550. That's still a lot, but I started feeling like a liar. So what I owe is $2550. And anyway, I realize now that legally, this is my responsibility. So I probably will end up paying it. Slowly. I just wish someone for once would hold my ex responsible for something. I should just leave that to God.

My lender suggested I write an explanation letter. Did you know there are examples of such letters online? I typed "explanation letter" in Google and Google told me all about FHA loan explanation letters! Sweet. So I had a good launch pad there. And I think my letter rocks. And if I were an underwriter and I read my letter, I'd give me a loan. And a bar of chocolate.

I think I'm winning again. :D

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Day

I got out of bed at 5:47 like I usually do. Incidentally, this is too late. I'm always so close to being late to work. And my boss freaks out if I clock in at 7:31. But that's another post. I then read from my scriptures, which was, as usual, an empowering experience. Then I got the kids up, got them ready, ate breakfast, got ready myself, and left the house at 6:47 or so. Which is too late. I need to be out of here by 6:30.

Then I dropped the kids off at my brother's house and headed to work. The freeway was particularly frustrating today. The speed limit is 55 due to construction, but usually in the morning people go faster by at least 5. And usually I can smoothly squeeze past the people who insist on being law abiding drivers. And then the construction ends and it's 65 and usually people speed up to 75 or so. Well, this morning, there was a huge memo written across the sky that I missed that said "Stephanie's late. EVERYONE go REALLY slow." And they all did. And they all conspired against me so I could pass no one. I mean, people were going 45 mph and grouping together in a way that I had no choice but to be at their mercy. Hmph.

Miraculously, I made it to work on time.

Well, backing up to last Friday, my Realtor and I did a walk thru at the house I'm buying to check up on all the stuff the sellers said they would fix based on the inspection. That was fun. I still love that house ever so much. So all last week I'd been trying to get a hold of my lender but he wasn't really returning my calls or emails. So Friday I told my Realtor, Abraham, about my troubles and he whipped out his cell and dialed Andy (lender) and got him on the line right away and gave me the phone. Andy told me he still needs documentation showing my child support modification. What? Really? Okay thanks for telling me.

Okay, back to today. Every week, people yell and scream at me on the phone. Sometimes they call me names. Sometimes they cuss. I take it because I know it's not about me. Ever. I'm very calm on the phone. I'm the collections agent you hope you get when you call about a late bill. I'm respectful and understanding. Even when the client is yelling. Often, they'll end up apologizing and thanking me for letting them vent. I don't mind these calls. Other agents get worked up. Not me. But today, I got one that shook me up. Actually, it made me cry. It was an old woman who had never been late but the past 2 months. Her story is this: She and her husband wanted to sell their condo. A company contacted them and told them they would help sell the condo. They called the woman one day and said they think they had a buyer, and they needed $1000 to help the sell go through. She gave them $1000 on her credit card and never heard from them again. No buyer. No company. She calls their number and it's disconnected. She totally got scammed, but since she authorized the $1000 charge, we can't do a thing about it. I suggested she call the police. I'm so worried for her. She doesn't have the money to pay it. She's supporting another family member and their income is so small. My heart broke. How unfair! How cruel! Why are people so cruel? That lady had perfect credit until this mess. NOT HER FAULT. But she's liable. Injustice infuriates me.

So today, on my first break at work, I called the courthouse because I'd been unable to locate these documents. Here's a summary of the conversation:
"Is there any way I can get a copy of my child support court documents?" I ask the lady
"Yes, what's your name?"
I tell her all the info she needs.
"Okay," she says, "I found your file, now what do you need?"
"There should be two modifications. One was for visitation and one was for child support. They're separate. I need the child support one."
"Okay, so I'm finding two--"
"Yes, there should be two. I need the one about child support."
"Okay I'll have to call you back, I'm helping someone else."

On my lunch break, I listened to her voicemail on my phone. She said she found it and it's fifteen pages long. It's a dollar a page and please call her back to let her know if I want a copy of it. First, I called my lender to get an idea of what kind of timeframe I'm looking at for move-in if I can get the child support papers to him tomorrow. No answer, so I left a message. I got off work early today and saw that Andy had left me a voicemail. "Give me a call," it said. "We need to go over some things."

I now summarize our conversation in its simplest (perhaps somewhat fictionalized) form:
"Hi, Andy, got your message, what's up?"
"Remember when you first came into my office and told me about your ex's eviction and back rent on your credit score and I said it shouldn't be a problem?"
"Yeah."
"It's a problem. The underwriters came back with some concerns about it even though I explained the situation. They want to see it paid off."

" ."

"Either that or they want to see proof that you're not liable, that you weren't living there anymore when he stopped paying rent."
"Um."
"Yeah, your life sucks. You're probably not getting this loan unless you pay this collections bill. This is why I've been avoiding you for so long. Good luck with life. I'll probably never see you again."
"Okay bye."
"Bye."

I don't have an extra $3000. I simply don't. And I can't pay it. It's been sitting there on my credit scores for the past 3 years. I disputed it immediately when I first got wind of it. The credit bureaus said I'm liable since I was on the lease, regardless of the fact that I did everything in my power to get off it, and understood that I was, in fact, off the lease. I can't pay it. Furthermore, it's not my fault. I won't pay it. All I can do now is gather as much information as possible to "prove" that I wasn't there and then pray for a miracle.

I figured I'd stop by the courthouse in Caldwell before heading back to Nampa. I called Tiffany back. Here's our conversation:

"I got your message. Fifteen dollars is fine. Just make sure it's the one about child support."
"Okay, now, I just want to make sure. You have two documents-
"About child support?"
"Yes. One of them- nothing's been done with it since 2007."
"Okay, I need the one that was finished in January of 2010."
"January 26th?"
"Probably. The one for child support. Not the one modifying visitation."
"Okay, it's like I said, fifteen dollars plus a dollar to certify it."
"I don't need it certified."
"What's it for?"
"I'm trying to buy a house."
"You better get it certified."
"Okay. I'm on my way there. I'm in Caldwell now. Can I pick it up?"
"Let me call you back."

So I was left to myself to cry about my misfortune, which I did. I tried not to hate my ex. I feel like he did this on purpose. I signed my name off the lease. He said he did too. Then he stopped paying rent. Then he damaged the apartment. Then he got evicted. And I'm responsible. His girlfriend was living there, sleeping on our bed, our sheets that we got at our wedding, and I'M responsible. Why did I believe him? I don't know. So then I did what any woman in my situation would do: I called my bestie and whined. Kim could do little to comfort me but at least she listened, which was what I needed. I just wanted her to say "Don't worry! You'll get your house, bestie! You can provide proof!"

Then my Realtor called me.
"Stephanie, how are things going with Andy?"
"I just got some really bad news." (I told him the news.)
"Just remember, we only have till the 31st."

Then the court lady called me back.
"Okay, I've got the January 10 documents ready."
"Okay, I'm parked outside the courthouse, I'll be right there."
"You're at the courthouse?!"
"Yeah."
"Give me five minutes."

Figuring it would take me five minutes to find the office, I headed inside. My endless pockets in my coat tripped me up at the security station and I, embarrassed, emptied them into a bin. Mostly trash. Gum wrappers. The machine is sensitive to gum wrappers. OH Once I went into the courthouse with a switchblade in my purse! It wasn't detected! I forgot about it till I got home! I could have shanked everyone there! If I can carry a switchblade inside on accident, what can someone sneak in on purpose?

Ahem.

I found the office and went to the window marked "DIVORCE."
"Hi, I just talked to Tiffany. I'm here to pick up some child support documents."
"Did she say it was ready?"
"Yes."
"Just a minute ..................................... Okay it's $15."
I hand her my card.
"Three dollars extra on debit or credit."
"I'll write you a check."
"We don't take checks."
"Fine."

I pay the $18 for my documents and she hands them to me. I fail to investigate the papers till I step into the lobby. It's the wrong documents. It says CLEARLY: "Order to modify judgment and decree of divorce." NOTHING ABOUT CHILD SUPPORT! I have this one already! I know where it is! I couldn't believe the lady didn't copy my child support modification after all our conversations about it! I went back into the office.

"These are the wrong ones. This says nothing about child support. I need the one about child support modification."
"Let me get Tiffany."

Enter Tiffany.
"Please step over here," she says. I do. I explain again that what I actually need are the January 2010 child support modification documents. She slams my huge file down in front of her and opens it up and starts flipping through the pages. About one document in, she finds the one. "This one?" she asks. It is labeled: "Order Modifying Child Support."
"Yes," I say calmly. Serenity now. "That one."

It's five pages. She copies it and hands it to me and crinkles her face and says, "I won't even charge you for that one." If I was in a better mood, I'd have insisted on a refund. But I can't argue when I'm angry.

Twenty dollars and five pages later, I'm leaving the courthouse. While driving back to Nampa, I called the property management company from when I lived at Juniper Court with Randy, the property that's causing all this problem. (I want to note proudly that I remembered their phone number.) I asked if there is anyway I can get information about when I moved out back in 2007. I was given the corporate office number, which I called. Here's that conversation:

"Hi, I'm Stephanie Montano, I lived at Juniper Court and moved out in May of 2007. My ex husband stayed there until November. I'm wondering if I can get documentation of the notice I gave you guys when I moved out, and then of how long my ex stayed after that as well."
"Um, well, can you fax me your requests?"
"Sure, I guess."
"It's just that I want to be sure you are who you say you are."
"So you need a fax?"
"Yes."
"With just my signature or something?"
"Sure, just your questions, and we'll fax the answers back."
"Okay... "
I got the fax number. I still haven't faxed anything because I don't know how sending a fax proves my identity. I think that's so weird. But I'm going to do it tomorrow anyway.

I called the landlords of the place I moved to from Juniper Court. They've already provided documentation of my move-in and move-out date. I hope that helps. I just don't know what to do. This is so unfair. It's not my fault. I'm paying the price for someone else's dishonesty, AGAIN, and that's not fair!

When has life ever been fair?

And when has God ever let me down? NEVER! And so, dear friends, I know that all will be well. I will rest peacefully tonight knowing that my Father in Heaven will take care of my family. How many times have I faced a seemingly insurmountable mountain, and climbed it? How many times has my God delivered me from devastation? I can't count the miracles I've been blessed with in life, but I think I'll soon have another one to add to the list. I think that house is mine, God willing.

But that's the thing. God is willing. Nay, He's eager. Eager to help His children. And so, I know that whatever happens will be for my good, and for the good of my family. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we are about to witness a miracle. I believe I will be moving into that house by the end of the month. I've been praying for this since November. If it doesn't work out the way I want, God will provide another route. And I'll look back and say "thank goodness it didn't work out the way I wanted it to."

But, in this case, I think the house is mine.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 6 - A picture of something you'd like to do again


Create your own FACEinHOLE

I couldn't make the man have a face, but this works too.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 5 - A picture of your favorite memory

Don't reckon I know what my favorite memory is. But, a lot of the best memories of my childhood happened here: my grandma and grandpa Martin's house in Blackfoot, Idaho. There were Thanksgivings, cousins, cool bedrooms, old toys, icecream and warmth.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 4 - A picture of a habit you wish you didn't have

image from technorati.com

Day 3 - A picture of the cast from your favorite show


Missed yesterday. I think this is my favorite show. And I got this photo from guardian.co.uk. Seinfeld was brilliant.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 2 - A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest




this one was hard. I haven't been very close to very many people for very long. So I guess this works. Anna. 7 years. We're tight. This is my favorite picture of us. She's in one of her princess dresses. I cut both our bangs that day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Picture Challenge!

My cousin is doing this on Facebook. I thought it'd be fun to do here. Every day for 30 days, a picture, of the life and times of Yours Truly. Today is Day One, which is,
A Picture of Yourself with fifteen facts.




flattering, right? Ha. 15 Facts? Okay. Fun. Prepare for randomness.

1. I'm falling in love with Atticus Finch. Again.
2. My kids are cute. This is not subjective. Fact.
3. If I had a baby girl right now, I would name her Lila Brielle.
4. If I had a baby boy right now, I would name him Tyrus.
5. I'm not pregnant.
6. I don't actually want another kid right now.
7. My life is brilliant.
8. Jesus is my Redeemer! And He lives!
9. One of my brothers is in Mexico right now and he's going to bring me back something awesome. I asked for a nice looking Mexican, but we'll see.
10. If I got a dog right now, and it was a boy, I would name him Atticus Finch.
11. I'm going to lose weight this year
12. When I play cards, I have to have all the cards facing the same direction. That's why I love cards that are the same upside-down AND right-side- up.
13. I've never been to Boston in the Fall
14. I'm going to try to go to Alaska this year
15. I'm buying a house!

Thank goodness that's over with. Talking about myself is excruciating. ;)





Day 1- A picture of yourself with fifteen facts
Day 2 - A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest
Day 3 - A picture of the cast from your favorite show
Day 4 - A picture of a habit you wish you didn't have
Day 5 - A picture of your favorite memory
Day 6 - A picture of something you'd like to do again
Day 7 - A picture of your most treasured item
Day 8 - A picture that makes you laugh
Day 9 - A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most
Day 10 - A picture of the person you do the most crazy things with
Day 11 - A picture of something you hate
Day 12 - A picture of something you love
Day 13 - A picture of your favorite band or artist
Day 14 - A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without
Day 15 - A picture of something you want to do before you die
Day 16 - A picture of someone who inspires you
Day 17 - A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently
Day 18 - A picture of your biggest insecurity
Day 19 - A picture of a phrase you live by
Day 20 - A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel
Day 21 - A picture of something you wish you could forget
Day 22 - A picture of something you wish you were better at
Day 23 - A picture of your favorite book
Day 24 - A picture of something you wish you could change
Day 25 - A picture of your day
Day 26 - A picture of something that means a lot to you
Day 27 - A picture of yourself and a family member
Day 28 - A picture of something you're afraid of
Day 29 - A picture that can always make you smile
Day 30 - A picture of someone you miss

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

1.11.11

I had to write a post on January 11 2011. So I will use this opportunity to solicit your prayers/positive thinking/hope on my behalf.

My lender keeps asking for more and more and more stuff. It's a nightmare getting everything together. But even more worrisome, everything he's asking for will possibly not point to my ability to repay a loan. I have the ability. But I'm worried some of these things he's requesting will suggest otherwise. I'm probably over-reacting. But I'm a little bit freaking out. I have to get this house! Send me a positive thought and a good wish, would ya? Prayers, if you would!

Many thanks,
~Stephanie

Monday, January 10, 2011

So they really ARE siblings

Matthias has Kindergarten on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and sometimes Fridays. Full days. I prefer the every day half day schedule, but nothin I can do. Anyway, here's one of our conversations today-

Me: Kids, you both have school tomorrow.
Anna: ooooh, I hate it when Matthias has school, too.
Me: Why?
Anna: Because he's so annoying!
Me: What does he do?
Anna: Whenever he sees me at lunch, he says "Hi, Anna!"
Me, laughing: But, Anna, he's just excited to see you.
Anna: I know, but it's annoying.
Me: But that's exactly what I would do. If I saw you, I would be excited, and I'd say "Hi, Anna!"
Anna: I would like that. You're not annoying.

Me: He just wants to say hi because he loves you.
Anna: Well I love 'im too, he's just annoying sometimes.

Sigh. I guess I can't force her to say hi back to her brother. I tried to convince her to be proud of him, but her answer was the same as all her other ones "I am proud of him, but he's annoying." All the while Matthias was sitting quietly, seemingly unaffected either way. Remember when your younger siblings were annoying, and it wasn't okay for them to address you in public? I do. Also, Jem told Scout when she started school that she was not to approach him till school was over. (Do you wonder, sometimes, if I reference To Kill a Mockingbird too frequently?)What is the reason for this? Even though I did the same thing, I can't find a reason for it.

Ah well. My kids are the cutest, even when they're annoying. :)

Her Name is Lovin' Katie: a story of friendship

Church girl's camp, 1998. We sang many a silly song. One of them went something like:

Her name is Lovin' Katie
She's a red hot lady
She's the hottest girl in to-own
And when it comes to lovin
She's a human oven
And she'll burn you right down to the ground.
Spoken: psssssh, Ashes, baby!

Inevitably, when we sang this not very church-ish church camp song, my thoughts would turn to Katie. Not the one this song's about, but about my best friend in Utah.

That was over ten years ago. Sometimes I still think about that song, and when I do, I think about Katie, and since I'm on the topic of Katie and songs, I think of the silly songs she taught me. Like this one:

She died, she did, she died of a broken rib, she did!
She died, she did, she died of a broken rib, she did!
I know she did, she said she did, she showed me where she slipped and slid...

And, one of my favorites:

Around the corner
Behind the tree
A handsome major
Once said to me,
"Who'd marry you?
I'd like to know,
'Cause every time I look at your face
It makes me want to go
[Repeat from the top]

And then I remember the silly little endless question she used to say: "Life? What's life?" "A magazine." "how much?" "fifty cents" "too much." "That's life." "Life? What's life?" "A magazine...." And etc.

Those are pretty silly, aren't they? But, so were we. My first memory of Katie took place on the playground at Bennion Elementary School. Kindergarten. So woulda been 1986. We weren't in the same class. But I asked her why she needed glasses. She pointed to some far off landmark and asked if I could see it. I answered to the affirmative. She replied, "I can't." Now, I have a lot of memories of my childhood that have since been proven incorrect. I attribute this to a very powerful imagination, of which I am not ashamed. So, maybe this memory is skewed. Maybe it's several memories mixed together. Nonetheless, it's been sitting in the corners of my sub-conscious for decades now, exactly in the way I have here written. Besides, Katie was always saying clever things, so it's not like such a comment was beyond her, even at five years old.

It wasn't till we were 11 or 12 that we became friends. I speculate we were drawn to each other because we were the hated ones among our peers at church. We were hated for no other reason than that we were good, and stayed in our seats for the duration of class time. One day, Katie invited me to go swimming at her house. I felt honored. I knew no one else who had a swimming pool at her house. That day, after swimming, Katie put her arm around me and prophesied in a Humphrey Bogart manner: "this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Indeed, it was. She was my first true best friend. I JUST now had a fun realization. My first best friend was Katie. I didn't get a new best friend till I met Kerrie. And now there's Kim! They all start with K! Yeah, I know, only I....

Anyway. Katie and I spent hours together, most of which were at her house. It did have a pool, after all. We would play with her Polly Pockets. We would play with her guinea pig. No, wait! It was a hedgehog. Maybe both....? We would listen to Carly Simon. We would walk to Holiday (a convenience store I've only ever seen in Utah) and buy Slurpies. Even in the winter. We went on bike rides. We discussed baby names. We talked about bras and periods and boys. Our birthdays were six days apart, and I thought that was neat. We played Hugger Mugger. We had a halfway tree, which marked the halfway point between our houses. I thought she was so cool.

When we were 14, I delivered the news that my family was moving to Idaho. And I had to go with them. This move was the first hard thing I ever did in my life. And it was hard. Katie insisted that I was wrong; I would not be moving. We bet a ten- page letter. I moved, shortly after we turned 15. 1996. April 26, 1996. She wrote me a ten-page letter. I still have it. Sometimes I review it and laugh and miss Katie. I miss her, because, you see, she got married. I was invited to her reception in 2002 I think it was, and I made a trip to Utah to attend, but I got lost. This adventure is a crazy story which I will likely share in another post. I never found the church. I dropped her gift off at her parents', and never heard from her again.

Over the years, I have tried various popular methods of old-friend-locating. No success. THEN about a year or two ago I found her little sister on Facebook. I sent her a friend request which she never responded to. But THEN, last week-ish [my concept of time lately is so very, very skewed], I was FB stalking her little sister and found a comment from her aunt. I remember this aunt. I remember Katie telling me she was full of life and often threw her hands in the air. I sent this aunt a message. Two days later, an unfamiliar email address was in my inbox, with the title reading "I am Katie."


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Dear friends, since then, we have been catching up via email. I am so relieved to find her happy and well, and still clever! It has been a joy to reunite, even if by text only, a joy in a way I didn't anticipate. I knew it would rock, oh yes I did. But, it's been so great finding out she's still Katie! And I still love her and she still loves me and we are so still friends.

In one of her emails, she reminded me that we had decided we would both name our first daughter Jessica. I hadn't recalled. But I do remember that was my favorite name during those years. Well, we didn't name anyone Jessica. I named my daughter Anna, and she named her daughter . . . (drum roll, please) . . . Anna! Ha!

My son was born on her birthday, six days after mine. Also, incidentally, it's Dr. Suess's birthday.

Dude. Or, rather, Dude-a-rad. (that's an inside joke between Katie and me only, yo.)

Dear Katie, I hope you don't mind this all-about-you post.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dear Future Husband

Dear Future Husband,

I have come to accept that I may never meet you in this life. But, if I do, here is the kind of wife I will be:

I will love you wholly, fully, unashamedly, uninhibitedly, unreservedly. It may take me a while to let all my love out. I may reserve some love for a time until I believe I can trust you with it, or until I believe that trusting you with it is worth the risk. But, before I become your wife, I will commit to loving you with all of me. I will hold nothing back.

I will be proud of you. I will speak highly of you to everyone when I speak of you. I will never shame you in the presence of others, whether or not you're there.

I will encourage you. I will respect you. I will listen to you and put myself in your shoes if we have differing views. I will speak with you logically, and I will remind you that emotions are important too. I will validate you.

I will cook delicious dinners for you. I will wash your clothes and match up your socks. I will bear your children and love them with all the love that I possess. I will teach them about Jesus Christ. I will teach them about life. I will give them an education to be proud of. I will teach them, by my example, that you, as their father and step father, are a man of honor, and a man to look up to, and a man worthy of imitation.

I will clean our house. That will be hard because I hate to clean. But, as I imagine it, I will have so much respect for you that I will seek to make your time at home as pleasant as possible, and that will include a clean house. And so, dear husband, I will clean for you.

I will even pack your lunches in the morning before you go to work. If you want me to.

I will love you exactly as you are, but I will hope for your improvement, as we are all imperfect. I will expect you to continuously improve yourself. I will expect you to expect this of me.

I will go where you want me to go.

I will rub your feet, and your back. I'm really good at massages, you know.

On your birthday, I will make your favorite dinner. On your birthday, and other occasions, I will come up with silly and creative ways to show my love, such as scavenger hunts around the house or the town, surprising you with a short get-away, writing you a song.

I will write you poetry. I will play the piano for you. When you cry, I will cry with you. When you laugh, I will too. I will love you the same when you go bald. I'll sew buttons on your clothes. I will tell you you look amazing.

I will kiss you all the time. When you come home from work, I'll greet you with a kiss. Before you go to bed I will tell you I love you. I will hold your hand and walk with you. I'll share the quietest parts of me with you. I'll be the best you ever had.

I'll watch action movies with you. If you want, I'll even watch a football game with you every so often.

I will pray with you and I'll pray for you. I'll read with you. I will love your family.

I'll wash your car for you.

You will be the best thing about my life. I will support you in your decisions, all the time. If you tell me I'm doing too much, I will listen. If you tell me I'm not doing enough, I will listen. I'll bring you a glass of water when you're thirsty. I will be interested in your job and in your hobbies, even if I don't always want to participate in them.

All I want from you, dear man, is the following:

Faithfulness. I want you to love God with all your heart, and love me second best, second ONLY to God the Father and His Son, and none else. I will place you in the same spot. I want you to take me Home.

Your heart. I want you to share everything about you with me. I want to be the first one you tell when you get a promotion, or when you get a flat tire on your bike. I want to be the one you want to be with, everywhere you go.

Your Eyes. I want to be the only woman you look at, look for. You will of course be the only man I seek.

Your Ears. I want to be able to trust you with anything I have to say. I want you to be interested in what I have to say.

Your lips. So I can kiss them all the time.

Your mind. So I can discuss things with you, things that are deep and serious, things that are light and fun. I hope you know who Atticus Finch is, and I hope you love something by a famous artist. But that's not necessary. I just need you to be of slightly above-average intelligence.

Integrity. I want you to be man of honor, and I want you to honor me. I need for you to not lie to me, or anyone. I want you to be true to yourself and to your God.

Security, financial. I want to be a stay at home mom. It's very important to me that you have a job, a career, that will support a family. I want you to take this obligation seriously, and to gladly take on that responsibility- the one of supporting your family. Within reason. Mainly, I don't want you to think it's cool to support your family with the State's funds. Relying on food stamps is not cool. Relying on medicaid is not cool. I won't marry you if you think it is. I want you to have some pride, pride in supporting your family by the work of your hands, or of your mind, whatever it may be.

Security, emotional. I want to count on you. If you say you'll call me, call me. Be where you say you'll be when you say you'll be there. This goes along with integrity.

I expect a lot, but I'm willing to give a lot. It is possible that you don't exist for me in this life. That's okay. I'll wait.

With all the love that I possess,
your wife.