Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Best Music Videos

This has got to be one of the best music videos ever:


I think about goals a lot. Mostly I think about them and don't actually do anything to accomplish them. But anyway, one of my goals is to make a good French Silk Pie. I'll have to do this before I become vegan or raw, because it's definitely not anywhere close to vegan. I've tried several times and never got my filling to look anything like The Pioneer Woman's (click for pictures).

This looks closer, but mine was still more dense than this.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I've had so many things I've wanted to post related to my faith, or lack thereof, but I don't think I will post them. It would take pages upon pages to write out all the intricacies of what I think, and I don't have that much time, and you would die of boredom before you got through it. And if I just write out the basics, there would be mis-assumptions and misunderstandings and questioning, and I just am not ready to deal with that. Here are a couple of little things that are at least tangentially related to faith/religion, and I made sure to leave out some controversial parts.

1) I went to the Relief Society General Meeting with some ladies from my mom's ward. It's kind of strange, because regardless of how faithful or faithless I am feeling, I have always loved Conference as an adult. I hated it as a kid, but I love it now. Maybe if I had to get dressed up and spend 4+ hours at the church wrangling kids, I would still hate it, but I don't. So I was looking forward to this.

I was exhausted and slept on the way to SLC. When I woke up, I was in A VERY BAD MOOD. I am not usually like that, but apparently I got the perfectly-wrong amount of sleep and it was not pretty. I was thinking "If ANYONE even TALKS to me I am going to CUT THEM." When I'm feeling this way, I basically need to be alone so that I don't say anything I will regret. Everything that everyone says or does is wrong and I am critical of every single thing I see and hear. At least I've matured enough that it all stays in my head rather than being spoken aloud. But nevertheless, that's not really the attitude you want to attend Conference with.

Before the meeting started, we went to the bathroom, and right by the water fountain was a painting with motifs of Christ and His apostles. I can't remember now what region of the world it was from. Somewhere in or near India or Asia. I'm thinking Tibet. It was very interesting to me because the artist, who is LDS, had drawn Christ with Tibetan (or whatever region it was from) features. I think that probably everyone imagines Christ as looking like themselves. I was glad that they displayed the painting in the Conference center.

Our seats were on the 11th! row! down on the side. The exclamation marks are for the other ladies we were with, not for me. I was much more excited about being close at the Brad Paisley concert (and I realized the irony at the concert). We were waaaaay on the side, so it wasn't as if we could see anything anyway. By the time the meeting started, I was mostly recovered from my attitude problem and was able to listen without being critical of every single thing.

We could see the speakers from the side, and I liked seeing the ladies' dresses. I always imagined that they wore monochrome suits, but none of them did. Sister Beck wore a black top, but a long cream colored skirt. Nothing remarkable; just not like I assumed/imagined. I was interested to notice that the colors that show up on the TV monitors weren't very close to what I was seeing in person. Sister Allred was wearing a pale pink suit top, and on the monitor it looked practically fuschia. I also noticed that everyone's eyes looked really shiny on the monitors. It reminded me of Count Olaf in the Series of Unfortunate Events books. I think he's described repeatedly in the books as having shiny eyes. Is that blasphemy to say that? Also, lots of people in the audience/congregation were coughing a lot. Yeah, you can see that I was definitely focusing on what was really important.

I actually did listen to some of the talks and took some notes of that nature. I liked what Sister Beck said about Visiting Teaching being a way of life, not a task. She talked about eliminating non-essentials, which is always good. Sister Thompson was entertaining and talked about some topics that were extremely pertinent to me. I was actually surprised when she listed them off - how could anyone else deal with the things I deal with? Yeah, I guess that's pretty narcissistic. The first one was minding the gap between believing that you are a daughter of God and KNOWING IN YOUR SOUL that you are. Huh, so other people struggle with that too? Apparently so.

I kind of tuned out most of President Eyring's talk, but he was pretty funny too. I've felt like he's somewhat of a kindred spirit, because he's a scientist, but I'm mostly guessing -- maybe he's really nothing like me and has never doubted at all. But from what I can see, it seems like most of the people I know who are analytical struggle with their faith, at least from time to time. I wonder if it was ever the same with him? My friend's 15-year old son is very analytical and struggles big time with his faith. One time while we were at a VT appointment, she turned to me and said "You're analytical just like him; how have you overcome that?" I just muttered and hemmed and hawed until I was saved by someone else saying something. I guess I fool people pretty well if she really thought I could provide some insight on that topic.

2) I wonder if I should be teaching Primary. I've become a huge slacker, so I usually skim through the next week's lesson once as the kids are coloring at the end of class. Then I forget about it until Saturday between midnight and 2 am. Then I finish preparing the lesson between 11:00 and 11:15 as the kids are getting to class. And then sometimes there are parts I have to skip or modify. For example, today one of the questions and answers was:

"How will people know that you follow and believe Jesus Christ?
If you show love to others and try to do right in all that you do."

My mouth stopped working when it was time for that one. I couldn't even make myself say the words aloud. How on earth can you make the conclusion that someone follows and believes Jesus Christ because they love others and do right? If I see someone who loves others and does right, I'm going to make no assumptions at all. They could be any religion or no religion! I absolutely think that if you follow and believe Jesus Christ, you will show love to others and do right. But the reverse is certainly not true. Maybe I am splitting hairs, but I just couldn't tell the kids that answer.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Full Circle

Up until about 3 years ago, my main requirement for a car was "Does it drive?" My dad had the knowledge and resources to fix anything on a car, so my parents always drove old cars. There was just no need for a newer car. In high school, I inherited the 1974 Chevelle that my parents had bought used in 1980. It had a sweet 8-track player, and I remember my friends and I rocking out to the Sesame Street Fever 8-track.

(not my car; picture from

I also remember a kid in my chemistry class sitting in the back seat and beating me over the head with a vintage glass soda pop bottle while I drove (not sure why that was in the car or where it came from). He's now an EMT and/or nurse or something, and I sure hope he doesn't sit in the ambulance and beat the driver over the head with bottles.

My grandma's eyesight eventually failed her and at some point my sister and I inherited her gold 1986 Delta 88 Royale. We thought it was so new and awesome. I totally lost out and my sister got to drive it while I continued to drive the old Chevelle. I drove the Chevelle until it stopped going in reverse sometime in about 2003.

After the Chevelle, TheEx's aunt gave us her grandma-car, and I don't remember what kind it was exactly. It was fantastic because it had an automatic starter! You could start it from inside the house and get it all warm and toasty before you ever set foot out the door. Eventually it needed the head gasket replaced and wasn't worth the $1500 it would take to fix it.

So we went car shopping. This would be my first car payment ever. I had been raised as a GMC/Chevrolet girl, but TheEx decidedly was not, so I had to think foreign. I wanted a VW Jetta. We went to see a Jetta, and there was this super-ugly frumpy car next to it. It had 70,000 miles on it and I thought it was a terrible deal. TheEx fell in love with it, so that's what we got - a 1999 Volvo S80. I eventually came to appreciate its' beauty and LOVED driving it. It had so much power and was just a great car to drive. It got 33 mpg on the freeway if I was careful. Over the first couple years we poured well over $10,000 into it - thank goodness we had an extended warranty!

(not my car; picture from

In March 2007 TheEx decided that he was going to go work 1500 miles away, so he needed his own car. I figured he should pick out a cheap clunker that could make it to the new city, then work until he had enough money for an awesome car. He figured differently. He told me he had to have a REALLY NICE car for his sales job. I reminded him it was phone sales and clients would never see his car. That didn't change his mind. He picked out a 2004 Volvo S60R, which is a smaller, way more sporty version of the S80.

(not his car; picture from

By this time, I fully appreciated the beauty of the Volvo line, and I had to admit it was a smokin' hot car. Dark gray exterior with orange leather interior. 0-60 in 2 seconds, or so it seemed. Like an idiot, I signed the loan papers for the car even though it cost about $25,000 more than any car I would have chosen. And then TheEx refused to ever let me drive it! I am not all that great with a stick shift, but I *can* drive one, so I was really put out that he wouldn't even let me try it. I paid for 2/3 of it; I felt like I should get to at least test drive it! If he was concerned about the transmission, he could teach me exactly how to baby it. (Eventually I found out this is the car that Stephenie Meyer's EDWARD CULLEN drives in the book!!)

(not his car; pic from

One time we drove to Las Vegas and TheEx was doing 90-100 mph through the Virgin River Gorge. I thought he was absolutely insane for driving like that, especially since the kids were in the car. The car could handle it, and he could handle it, but who knows what would be around the next bend stopped in the middle of the road? If he drove like that with me there, I have no idea how he drove when I wasn't in the car! Based on the huge tickets he's received, I can only guess.

My Volvo has been broken down since this past February. It is worth about $3000 if it was in great condition and it needs a $1500 head gasket repair plus $1500 of body work (I had a minor sideswipe last summer). So it has been sitting there dead for the past 7 months. A few months ago, TheEx FINALLY LET ME DRIVE his car! It was SO. FREAKING. AWSEOME. If you have never driven a car with that much power, you have to try it. Even if you're a girl and don't think you like fast cars. Now, maybe I am different, because auto racing is in my blood (my dad was a drag racer and my mom was pregnant with me while she was my dad's pit crew), but I LOVED IT. It was absolutely thrilling. My kids would insist on taking my cell phone when I drove and every time we left a stop light, they would call Daddy to tattle on me and tell him I was speeding. I would explain that I wasn't actually speeding, but that I just might have accelerated a little bit quicker than most people. It was SO fun. I still thought TheEx was an idiot for driving 100 mph through the Virgin River Gorge, but I GOT IT. It would be very difficult NOT to drive like that in that car.

OK, this has dragged on so long I've forgotten the whole reason for writing it. Sometimes I just like to write and reminisce with myself. I don't get out a lot, people ;-)

On July 29th, something on TheEx's transmission broke while I was driving it. Either he was justified in his resistance to me driving his car, or it was just a coincidence that it broke while I was driving it. Given the many problems it has had in the past, I think it's just a coincidence. But nevertheless, that was the last time I drove it. I still miss it. He has his car now, and guess what I have been driving? My grandma's old gold 1986 Delta 88 Royale. Oh yes. Take that LittleSister, I WIN. You got it in high school, but I get it now!

(not my car, mine is GOLD; pic from

OK, yes, that's just my way of trying to feel less pathetic. It is so embarrassing to drive. Like I said, I used to not care about what my car looked like or how old it was. But after driving that Volvo, I got used to driving a NICE car. So now the granny car is embarrassing. The clear coat is entirely gone and half of the paint is bubbled or peeling. The best part about the car is that the odometer doesn't work (permanently stuck on 138074) AND the gas gauge doesn't work. You just get to guess when you need gas!

The second best thing about the car is the radio. When my parents brought the car to me, the AM/FM radio was working, but you had to have a pen jammed into the cassette player to get it to work. At some point, this stopped working, so I had no radio. My dad replaced the radio with an old AM-only radio. He quickly set the first 5 presets that came up, and off we went. By the time I got home (70 miles away) the 'tune' dial wasn't working. So I was set with the presets my dad had set. And the 70 miles makes a difference - you need a bit of tuning to get the station in clearly. So basically, I was left with one non-staticky station - the local conservative talk radio! I carefully arranged all work trips for after Rush Limbaugh's show was over. I can listen to Bob Lonsberry, Dr. Laura, Glenn Beck and I love Dave Ramsey, but I won't listen to Rush Limbaugh. And now the talk radio station has switched stations. So my current options are an oldies station that switches to NASCAR in the evenings or a 'classic country' station. I watched enough NASCAR growing up to get my fill for life, so classic country it is. Today I was listening to the country station, and Kenny Rogers' "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" came on.

I had come full circle! We used to listen to that album on the 8-track in the 1974 Chevelle! And by the way, that is a really weird song. It's about a paralyzed Vietnam vet whose girlfriend/wife is going out on a date. And then he says if he could move he'd get his gun and kill her. Nice. I never listened to the words before.

Anyway, at least the car drives!! I am grateful for that. Someday I'd like to move *forward* and buy a car with less than 140,000 miles AND an FM radio, but for now at least I have a car that drives! I am so glad that I'm not hauling 3 kids around on a bike, or walking.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brad Paisley Concert, 2009

I'll add my comments later; I'm just copying these news stories for future reference.

Energetic Paisley charges USANA crowd

By Pat Reavy

Deseret News
Published: Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009 9:42 a.m. MDT

Country superstar Brad Paisley gave summer one last big "Hoorah!" Saturday night. And judging from the weather, he did it just in the nick of time.

What started off as a pleasant summer evening ended with on and off rain and frequent flashes of lightning from a distance. But it did little to dampen the spirits of Paisley or the 14,000 fans at the USANA Amphitheatre.

"We'll play as long as they let us," he told the crowd which met with roaring approval. "I don't care if I get a little wet out here."

Paisley showed why he is one of the best all around entertainers in any music genre, combining hit songs, fast guitar licks, and a full stack of laugh-out loud funny videos to compliment his music.

He took the stage, however, with just his acoustic guitar and a microphone with a "Grand Ole Opry" sign wrapped around the stand, and sang "Start a Band" off the "Play" album. At the end of the song, the rest of his seven piece backing band emerged as all the lights from his elaborate stage production, including a large video screen in the rear with five smaller screens spread out around the stage, were turned on and Paisley launched into the title track of his latest album, and the name sake of his tour, "American Saturday Night."

"It's still summer here, at least until the night is over," he said.

Throughout the evening, Paisley ran around every inch of the large USANA stage, including a catwalk that went several rows deep. At one point, Paisley got off the stage altogether and played his guitar from deep in the crowd.

Favorites like "Mud On Tires," "I'm Still A Guy," "Letter To Me" and "Wrapped Around" were combined with newer songs like "Water." Paisley paid homage to fishing by combining a song off his new album, "Catch All The Fish," with "I'm Gonna Miss Her."

Many of Paisley's biggest hits are love songs and he had couples in the crowd embracing for "Waiting On A Woman," "She's Everything" and "Then."

The good natured Paisley, who has made some notable funny music videos in his career, had new videos to show on this tour to compliment his music. Some of the standouts included a hilarious video for "Celebrity" which found the song turned into a video game, ala Guitar Hero or Rock Band. The video included cameos from Little Jimmy Dickens, Taylor Swift and opening act Dierks Bentley singing the second verse. During "The World," there was a video that showed a Brad Paisley bobblehead doll being stolen Indiana Jones style, and then being photographed around the world, similar to the Traveling Gnome.

Paisley, wearing a red T-shirt, jeans and his trademark white cowboy hat, was personable with the crowd all evening, at one point joking about going skinny dipping with everyone in the Great Salt Lake after the show.

"They can't arrest all of us," he laughed.

Paisley, whose voice and guitar playing were strong all evening, finished with some of his biggest hits, playing a snipet of Bad Company's "Feel Like Making Love" before launching into "Ticks" and "On-Line." For the encore, "Welcome To The Future" included clips from several Utah children who submitted videos telling what they wanted to be when they grew up.

Equally energetic was opening act Bentley who ran around every corner of the stage with a crowd pleasing one hour set that included "Sideways," "Feel That Fire" and "What Was I Thinking."

Review: Paisley a true boy of summer
Country star doesn't let rain dampen his parade of hits.

By David Burger
The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 09/20/2009 09:02:41 AM MDT

Near the beginning of the last concert of the season at Usana Amphitheater on Saturday, country star Brad Paisley told the crowd that "there's nothing like summertime in the United States of America." And, he added, despite a chilly night of rain, it would be summer as long as the concert lasted.

And no one wanted the summer, or the concert, to end.

With his signature white cowboy hat and blue jeans, Paisley, on his "American Saturday Night Tour," demonstrated the showmanship, guitar work, wit and -- most importantly --- the songcraft that have made him one of the best performers out of Tennessee.

While many Nashville stars believe that pyrotechnics is all they need to entertain a crowd, Paisley has a catalogue of humorous, poignant songs that connect with the minds and hearts of his fans, who nearly sold out the amphitheater. Whether it is a tongue-in-cheek lust song called "Ticks," or just a plain ol' tune about getting mud on the tires of your Chevrolet pickup truck, he always has a clever line popping up in pleasantly surprising ways.

And, boy, can he play the guitar. At some points, the guitar solos bordered on being ostentatious, but they always served the song. With his Bakersfield Sound roots showing, his nimble electric guitar work stayed away from sloppy power chords but seemed more like he was furiously picking away on a banjo or mandolin.

That doesn't mean he skimped on the stage show. With six high-resolution video screens flanking him, he and his crack 7-piece band played in front of endlessly amusing video montages. In one, he competed against Taylor Swift (on video) in "Guitar Hero," and in another there was an entire video consisting of his relatively crude, but entertaining animation talents.

Before the concert, the gracious Paisley held a meet-and-greet with a number of local children who submitted videos of themselves filling in the blanks of the sentence :"I want to be a ...."

Their videos, chosen by local radio stations and then sent to Paisley's camp, were shown during the encore, when he performed "Welcome to the Future."

The lucky children were Trey McEnvoy of Provo (who wanted to be a scientist), Kylie Bouwmeester of West Point (country singer), Tally Warren, of West Jordan (biker), Gracie Bowen, of Taylorsville (cheerleader), Trevor Westmoreland, of Bear River City (farmer), Gracie Westmoreland, of Bear River City (teacher), Aspen Brinkerhoff (no town given, rodeo princess), Danica Anerson (no hometown given, vet), Jae'Sha Hall, of Tooele (motocross racer), and, my favorite, Heather Fields, of Park City, who wanted to be a ninja. "I like swords," she said.


I've talked about how I need to figure some things out about myself, and what I want. But doing that is very tiresome for me. I wonder how much I really need to 'figure out'. Aren't people always changing? If you waited to live your life until you knew everything about yourself, you would never live. I don't want to shortchange myself; I want to do what I need to, if I really need to do it. But in the meantime, it feels very self-focused. I have wanted to try to serve others more and have rarely actually made it out the door. So adding one more self-focused thing to my plate seems the wrong way to go. The advice from Bryant S. Hinckley to Gordon B. Hinckley to "forget yourself and go to work" seems applicable here. I hope I am not just trying to avoid difficult things, but it seems that forgetting myself might be the best route to finding myself.

As for actually getting out and serving. . . I want to do something that makes a real difference, that isn't too stressful for our family. The thing I keep coming back to is visiting lonely men and women in nursing homes. I am scared to death to do this - I'm so pathetically shy. Seriously, I have wanted to do this since I was a teenager, but have always talked myself out of it. Pathetic. Doing this certainly wouldn't make a society-wide difference, but it would make a difference to one person. But then I picture my kids running around like deranged animals and ripping out some guy's oxygen line or something. I guess we could try it and see how it goes. If they give someone a heart attack, we won't go back ;-)

The main thing that my kids have expressed an interest in is helping homeless people. We have talked about making up food bags to give out when we see someone in need, but have not done it. We have given a few dollars here and there when we see someone who seems to need it. We did try to volunteer at the food bank, and they told us that first we should come by for an educational family night. They had the kids make some Valentine's cards (it must have been last February when we went). It was OK, but they didn't tell us how to actually move on to volunteering at the bank. I looked up the criteria again the other day, and you have to be 12 to help. I think that's rather ridiculous, because my little kids would love sorting food. I am sure it's a safety issue, as they've probably got forklifts and such that would run over them.

What else can or do you do with very little kids? I would assume that for most things, I would wear my 2-year old on my back to keep him contained, and so it would be my 5 and 7 year olds that would be helping.

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's a Daddy Thing

Friday evenings are fantastic around here. Every Friday night, our neighbor two doors down holds a drunken party for his BestFriend and our upstairs Sex Offender neighbor. I guess I shouldn't say it's a drunken party -- I just ASSUME it's a drunken party based on the way the spend the entire evening screaming their guts out at each other. For example, just now:
Neighbor to SexOffender: Don't you call me no f****** b*****, SexOffender, or I will f*** you up. I will f*** you up.

It especially makes me feel nice and comfortable with the three of them since SexOffender's offense was rape. Nice.

Which is a great lead-in to my next topic.

Has anyone heard 'Cleaning This Gun' by Rodney Atkins?

He says the only speech he remembers from high school was
". . . so you like my daughter, do you now?
yeah, we think she's something else. . . .
She deserves respect, that's what she'll get -
Ain't it, son?
Now y'all run along and have some fun.
I'll see you when you get back,
Bet I'll be up all night,
Still cleaning this gun."

And then he talks about giving that speech to his daughter's dates.

The last time I dated was 9 years ago. I don't have anyone to give the "Daddy Speech" to my (future) dates (if I ever date). And now I have drunken SexOffender neighbors. So what do I do?

Actually, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon these companies/sites:
Women of Caliber
Cornered Cat
RAD Women

All of these are about self defense or training women in the use of firearms. I used to target shoot when I was a kid, and I loved it. I was pretty good (in my opinion). But as an adult I've never wanted a gun in the house. I doubted that I'd ever be able to use it, and if that's the case and you do have a gun, it will probably be used against you. But now that I'm facing a new stage in my life, and feeling a little independent, I wonder. Could I really use a gun on someone? Would I? If my kids were threatened? If I was threatened? I'm still not sure, but I think it's worth exploring. My biggest hangup still is that in order to use a gun for self-defense, it needs to be loaded and easily accessible. If you're fumbling around for ammunition and unlocking the case, etc., etc., etc., it's pretty pointless to have a weapon in the first place. But having a loaded and accessible gun would be very bad in my house. Did you see my toaster post the other day? Yeah, that's what my kids do with bread and butter. I just don't think that I'd be able to adequately keep a gun out of their reach. I think I would like to explore this a bit more though.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Follow up from today's post on love languages:
I have ALWAYS identified with Scarlett O'Hara. Her name is KATIE Scarlett, you know. Anyway, this is TOTALLY my problem:

And here's a longer version for the Gone With the Wind fans:

I can absolutely forsee a viewing of GWTW coming up, at least the Rhett/Scarlett parts.

Clothes Yesterday
I take full responsibility for this outfit; Megan did NOT give me this.

What color shoes are you supposed to wear with those color pants? My shoes are dark brown, but they look black here.

Nap Yesterday

I took a nap after work and my 2-year old didn't want to sleep. I stayed in bed anyway! Every parent knows exactly what happened next:

I guess we need to have some more lessons in proper toast cooking techniques.

Clothes Today

The pants may look black in the picture, but they have RED PINSTRIPES. Isn't that absolutely awesome? See:

ALL of my favorite clothes have pinstripes; I love them (on myself). My favorite pants ever were dark gray with pink pinstripes.

Love Languages

(I know I said I wasn't going to write huge blog posts any more, but this is another one that was already mostly written.)

Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages. The concepts are incredibly basic, but yet so profound. It's one of those books that changes your perspective, and once you've learned the principles, you wonder how you never knew them before. The principles can apply to any relationship - romantic, family, workplace, friends, etc. I'm going to write from a romantic perspective, because it's the most familiar and obvious, but these really can be modified to fit any relationship.

The basic idea is that we receive love in one or more of the following five ways:
(See Gary Chapman's site for a more detailed explanation of each.)
Words of Affirmation - Verbal appreciation, compliments, and offering encouragement
Quality Time - Focusing all your energy on the person, quality conversation, sharing experiences/thoughts/feelings/desires, sympathetic listening, self-revelation, and quality activities
Receiving Gifts - Any kind of gift, from a flower picked from the roadside, to expensive items
Acts of Service - Household/outside chores done out of love (not out of guilt/duty)
Physical Touch - Massages, holding hands, cuddling, caresses, hugs, kisses, sex

Dr. Chapman's books have detailed quizzes to help you figure out which is your primary love language. Many men will assume their primary love language is physical touch, because they like sex, but physical touch is usually different. In Dr. Chapman's book for men (which is the one I read, since it's what the library had), he completely separates physical touch from sex, but on the website, he blurs the distinction.

Problems arise in relationships when the parties speak different love languages, or even different dialects of the same language. Think of a wife whose love language is quality time. Her husband's love language is acts of service. He spends his entire Saturday cleaning the house, washing the cars, and mowing the yard. At the end of the day, he is pretty pleased with how much he has done to show he loves her, and she is feeling terrible because he hasn't spent time with her. Once you figure out your own love language, you need to figure out which one your spouse/child/friend prefers and learn to speak it. This can be a very difficult process, as many families grow up expressing love only in certain ways. It's very hard for some people to break out of those habits and learn to express love in different ways.

My primary love language is physical touch, no question about it. I have a very strong desire for all the things I listed above - holding hands, cuddling, massages, and hugs. I like frequent sex. I also desire quality time and words of affirmation, but they are not quite as important to me as physical touch. I do appreciate gifts and acts of service, but they just don't speak 'love' to me strongly.

Even though my primary love language is physical touch, I have never been comfortable with casual touching from acquaintances. I need to be close to someone before I can feel comfortable touching them. At work and even with women friends, you'll find me backing away when people get into my personal space. They move closer, and I move back. Sometimes we move several feet down the hall! If I am 'trapped' I feel very uncomfortable. (If I am attracted to the person, I feel completely different - go ahead, lean in closer! Woot!) I am OK with a short/medium-length hug from a female friend at the end of a conversation, but anything other than that feels weird. As I read blog posts about women getting ready to go to BlogHer and spoon with their roommates, I realized that either the bloggers I read are really strange, or I am not normal (likely a combination of both). I find it very strange that I feel this way. I intensely desire these things, yet reject them under most circumstances.

Now That I'm Single
Having Physical Touch be my primary love language presents quite a bit of a problem to me as a single person! Male and female friends can appropriately show love/concern/friendship through any of the other love languages, but not very much with physical touch. I guess friends can share a hug here and there, but that's about it.

Is love from others in the form of physical touch an actual need for me, or is it just a want? I'm sure you could get into hours-long discussions of what are needs and what are wants, but here are two theories: Maslow's Hierarchy and Max-Neef's Fundamentals. They list sex/sexual intimacy (Maslow) and affection (Max-Neef) as needs. That doesn't really clarify whether this is an actual need that I should seek to fulfill or a want that I should 'get over'.

Since I mainly desire physical touch from men I am attracted to, that leaves my options pretty limited as a single woman. I figure that I can do three things:
1) change myself so that I no longer have this perceived need/desire,
2) acknowledge the need/desire, but suppress/ignore it, or
3) fulfill the need/desire

I am actually pretty good at turning off my feelings or talking myself into something. I could probably talk myself into no longer desiring physical touch, or at least not desiring it as intensely. And I've done this before. My husband was not able to speak this love language the way I needed him to. He tried, but it wasn't easy for him. So for the past 8 years, this desire has gone somewhat unmet. A quick example: I love to cuddle at night. My husband would lay there like a board and 'allow' me to cuddle 'on' him (not really 'with' him). Then after 5 or 10 minutes he would say "OK, it's time to go to sleep now." Just as I had a hard time falling asleep without cuddling, it was hard for him to fall asleep while cuddling. It doesn't mean he's bad, we were just not compatible on that issue.

Now that I write this out, I think that changing myself to no longer desire touch and suppressing the desire are probably the exact same thing. Dr. Chapman says that love languages shouldn't change over time. I'm fairly certain that phyical touch is my love language and don't think it would change no matter what. And of course life isn't fair. *Everyone* has unmet needs. Sometimes you just have to cowgirl-up and deal with it.

So what if I decide to try to fulfill this desire? I've thought of a few ways. I could go get massages from students (female!) at the local school. I could go dancing. There's a local country dance every Saturday for ages 0 - 99. The kids and I would all love that. I think that other types of exercising would help. It wouldn't fulfill the need directly, but I would be using my body in a healthy way and it just seems like it would help. The final thing I could do is obviously to seek out touch from men.

Having a strong desire for touch has and will complicate my friendships with men. I can't picture being just friends with men, because I desire to show my friendship through touch. And in our society, you just don't cuddle with a friend! In my lifetime, I have kissed four men. I have held hands with six. You can see that I don't just hold hands with or kiss anyone who comes along. So when I do those things, it's a big deal, and means a lot to me. But I'm not ready to have a relationship of that magnitude any time soon. But I do want that kind of touch. Such a dilemma!

If you lived in Provo within the last 10 years, you've probably heard of NCMO - Non-Committal Make Out. I don't think I'd ever go for NCMO. But I might be up for NCCHH -- that would be Non-Committal Cuddling and Holding Hands! I guess cuddling and holding hands are probably what normal people do on dates, but as we all know, I'm not exactly normal. Everyone else just does it; I make it into a huge dilemma with a 30-page blog entry.

If you've made it this far, what is your love language? Any advice for me?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Brad Paisley, Rodney Atkins, & Chuck Wicks - January 2008

In December 2007, I wrote on this blog that I was going to throw practicality and caution to the wind and buy Brad Paisley concert tickets. I went to the concert, but never wrote up my review. I am going to my second Brad Paisley concert on Saturday, so this is my last chance to write up 2008's concert!

I planned for the concert to be a date for my husband and I. He was sick the day before the concert and then told me that he couldn't possibly miss another day of work for the concert. So I took my then-6 year old son. After I got home from the concert that night, I found TheHusband still at home in bed -- he had never even gone to work (he worked graveyards at the time). Slacker. This was how most of our dates turned out though, so I wasn't exactly surprised.

We parked in Sandy so that we could ride Trax, because my son loves trains. On the Trax train, we sat behind two families who were obviously from a real live working ranch! I was glad to see they had a little boy with them because I wasn't sure if I should have brought my son or not. The men were stoic and uninterested and wore plaid shirts, Wrangler's, boots, cowboy hats, and vests with the name of their ranch on the back. The women had big hair. The kid wore Wrangler's and boots. We got off Trax and made out way to our seats. Lo and behold, there were the ranchers, directly in front of us.

Chuck Wicks was up first. He wore this really long gray scarf. Some people in the audience made fun of it. That's all I remember about his set.

Rodney Atkins was next. According to the note I wrote myself in January 2008, his set included:

These Are My People
About The South
Watching You
Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)
In The Middle
Invisibly Shaken
If You're Going Through Hell

Rodney Atkins was absolutely awesome. All of his songs are about small town country life, and I've always imagined myself as a small town country girl, so I love his songs. He had a great rapport with the audience as well. I'm sure he says the exact same thing to every audience, but he makes you feel like you're really talking to him personally. He told us the stories behind some of the songs, especially Watching You and Cleaning This Gun, which were written about his little boy and his stepdaughters, respectively. At one point he even uses a huge spotlight to look out into the audience, and he seemed like he really did want to see who all these people were that love his singing so much. The most awesome part happened during "In The Middle". It's a song about a dad coming home. One line says "Two little boys sayin' daddy's back; Next thing I know it's a wrestling match". When Rodney sang that, he was standing on the catwalk on our side of the arena, which made him right at the same level we were. When he sang "two little boys", he pointed DIRECTLY at my son and the little boy in front of us. That was so cool! Even though I was there to see Brad Paisley, I was quite disappointed when Rodney Atkins' set was over.

I had never been to a concert before (other than OldiesFest and about 30 minutes of Ricky Martin, both in 1999 or 2000), so I had no idea how to act. Should I pretend I was a Beatles fan and scream my guts out and faint? Should I sit there quietly and do nothing? What? Fortunately the ranch men in front of me were way more serious than I was, so no matter what I did, I didn't look as stiff as they did. They sat there most of the time, until their wives made them stand up. Then they stood their motionless with their arms folded. I was so glad to have them in front of me :-)

Finally, it was time for Brad Paisley. It was already very late, around 9:00. That's not too late, except I had my 5-month old at the babysitter's house, and she was expecting us back by 11 or so.

Brad Paisley's set included:

Letter To Me
Mr. Policeman
Better Than This
Mud On The Tires
Whiskey Lullaby
The World
She's Everything
When I Get Where I'm Going
Wrapped Around

I love most of Brad's songs, and being there in the arena with the sound literally permeating every part of your body was absolutely awesome. For me. It was not awesome for my son. He was overwhelmed by the sound and the lateness and fell asleep. In the middle of a concert, on one of those hard plastic Energy Solutions Arena chairs! I piled the coats on him and let him sleep. Brad was a lot less personable with the audience. He went directly from song to song without talking in between. I am sorry to say that when comparing him to Rodney Atkins, he came up short because of this. But his music and effects and animations were great. Most of his songs are so funny; they put a huge smile on my face. He only went out onto the catwalk on our side a couple of times, so we didn't see him up close very much. I really don't remember much more than that. At one point, he took a break and then was going to come back with acoustic songs after the break. I was disappointed that we had to leave early, but it was already 10:30 or so and we just had to get home. We went home and the baby was fine, sleeping at the babysitter's. It was awesome and I would definitely go again.


Now that I'm working on my résumé, it appears that I'm more accomplished and less of a loser than I thought! Sweet!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Crappy, Awesome, Clothes, Dinner, & So Dead

The day started out crappy. Baby cried when I left him at daycare, so I went to work and posted a self-pitying status update about it. Then I went on to self-pity status 2 when my friend posted a link about school and it reminded me that I'm not a homeschooler. And then I realized it was September 15th, which was the date I had mentally given myself to turn down my old job. I was really looking forward to going back to that job, so that was incredibly hard and launched me way into self-pity mode.

But then I remembered it was only four days until the BRAD! PAISLEY! CONCERT! and decided to get out of self-pity mode. The rest of the day was mostly awesome.

Here is what I wore today:

This dress BEGS to go dancing. Seriously, it's like the dress is asking me to take it dancing. It is just so swingy and swishy. I even had to look up West Coast Swing steps on YouTube and remind myself of the basics.

Dinner and More Awesome
After work I immediately made dinner, and it was very fast and easy. Several years ago, it would have taken me forever to make this dinner. But tonight it was super fast. Granted, I skipped some of the more time-consuming steps. We had quesadillas -- leftover chicken seasoned with fajita seasoning, extra cumin, and lime, sautéed onion and red pepper, cheese, fresh guacamole, and sour cream. (I cheated by using leftover chicken and I skipped making fresh pico de gallo).

After dinner I got tons of cleaning done (tons for me anyway). MiddleSon was very naughty at school, and OldestSon helped him write an apology note to his teacher and then MiddleSon added a cookie and a balloon and wrapped it all up. This was entirely their idea, and they looked so cute working together on it. Usually they just try to kill each other, so this was so awesome.

So Dead
In order to become a real-live civil engineer, you have to get a Professional Engineer license. In order to do that, you have to graduate from college, work full time for four years, and take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam (FE), an ethics exam, and the Principles and Practice of Professional Engineering exam (PE). Most people take the FE when they are in school. When I was in school, I signed up for it, but then I thought "HEY, I'm NEVER going to work, so I don't need to take this!! YES!!!" So then plans changed and I worked. I was scared of the FE, so I put it off until April 2006. I was absolutely terrified, studied for a few months, and then passed it the first time.

I was almost eligible to take the PE last October, but needed just a few more weeks of work experience by the sign up deadline for the test. I was definitely eligible to take it last April, but just like with the FE, I was terrified. By the time I got to the last day to sign up, I hadn't started studying yet, so I chickened out. I did finally sign up for it a couple months ago and am taking it October 23rd. Most people study anywhere from 2-6 months for the PE. I have 37 days left and I haven't even OPENED a book. I am totally going to die. I am not looking for compliments. I am serious.

My boss and co-worker told me not to bother studying much, that I'll do fine regardless. But I have serious doubts. The test covers five completely different areas of civil engineering - geotechnical, transportation, structures, water resources/environmental, and construction. My co-worker who told me not to bother studying worked for a year as a geotechnical/structural engineer and now uses all five of those areas in his job. I have only ever worked in water resources. So yeah, I am feeling completely terrified.

So why am I writing another epic-length blog post instead of studying? Good question. I think I need to continue to blog or Facebook or something in order to stay sane, but perhaps I could tone it down a bit.

Tomorrow I will post my review of the Rodney Atkins/Brad Paisley concert I went to in January 2008. Since I am going to another Brad Paisley concert on Saturday, this is pretty much my last chance to post it!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Of Sprouts, Swearing, and Strawberries

There is absolutely nothing tying these subject together, other than all of them starting with S. Also, every time I re-read my posts, I cringe. Just remember that this blog is not supposed to be a great literary work -- it's a place for me to brain dump and write whatever is going through my mind at that moment! So if it seems stream-of-conscious, that's why.

I made French Garden sprouts this week. This is a combination of clover, arugula, cress, radish, fenugreek, and dill. Yummy! Actually, it tastes pretty much the same as plain alfalfa sprouts. Maybe if I actually pay attention when I'm eating them I could tell the difference. This jar started out with 2 tablespoons of seeds, and now these are packed in here tightly:

I swear now. Really! Are you shocked? I started swearing, oh, probably about 2 years ago. My kids learned how to swear from watching Back to the Future (and from The Ex), and I started copying them. Yes, I am so mature that I copied 3 and 5 year olds. I am not sure if I was trying to shock them, or be funny, or what. But anyway, it became a habit, and now I swear sometimes. Never at work, never outside the house. And only when I'm angry. I figure I'm at a tipping point now. I can either move on to hard-core swearing, and start swearing all the time and add in the 'F' word, or I can stop swearing. I think I'm going to stop. It's just not me. It definitely comes naturally, but it just isn't how I want to sound. My goal is to sound gentle, loving, and kind, and swearing doesn't exactly do that for me.

I went to the grocery store and saw strawberries on sale for $1/pound. Usually if they're that cheap, you know they're going to be disgusting, but these smelled good, so I thought they might be OK. I use frozen strawberries in the Hot Pink Smoothies that I sometimes eat for breakfast. They would also work well in Green Smoothies. Frozen strawberries are regularly $3.49 for 12-14 ounces, so if the bet worked, I would save $$$$$.

First I washed 4 pounds of strawberries in the sink. I cropped out the timestamp on this picture so that you wouldn't know I was doing this at 2 in the morning. Oops.

Then I cut the tops off and put them on a cookie sheet:

Then I carefully stuffed them into the freezer, hoping that they wouldn't come crashing down the next time I opened it:

Freezer commentary: There's butter in the back - it was on sale for $1.58/pound this week. In the lower left corner is the frozen yogurt the kids chose. I said they could choose ANY ice cream. ANYTHING. And they chose that. Gross. I am obviously not raising them well. On the bottom, next to the ice cream is some asparagus that I got on sale LAST OCTOBER, whoops. Next to that is some bread crusts for making bread crumbs. On the right is some chicken. Everything else is fruit or vegetables. I bought a couple 1/2 bushel boxes of peaches over the past 3 weeks and those are in there.

The next morning, I put the strawberries into freezer baggies. I realized that since I am going to be using these for smoothies, I didn't have to worry about cutting the tops off - that saved a TON of time. I was running out of room in the freezer by the time I got to the last 10 pounds, so I streamlined the process even more and skipped the tray. After washing the strawberries, I put them straight into the baggies and into the freezer. They got all frosty, but oh well. Hopefully that doesn't ruin them.

And here's the freezer once I had added about 27 pounds of strawberries:

The bag on the top center is cubes of coconut liquid. The hot pink smoothie calls for the liquid from 1 fresh young coconut, but if I buy a whole box, I never use them before they rot, so I process them all at once and freeze the liquid in ice cube trays. I freeze the flesh in baggies and use it to make the most delicious vegan chocolate pudding ever.

This morning I had some of the strawberries in a hot pink smoothie. They smelled really gross when I opened the bag, but the smoothie was OK.

Oh, and Clothes
My outfit for the day. My posture looks so strange in these pictures. I am sure it is because my kids hold the camera really weird. Yeah, that's it. I actually wore these heels all day and didn't die. Mostly. My legs felt like they were broken because of the hike, but the heels themselves were OK.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I am not cut out for this!

I am SO not cut out to be a single mom, especially a single working mom. I finally decided that this is because I am very bad at multi-tasking. When I'm working on something and I get a phone call or any distraction at all, it takes me 10 minutes to get back into what I was working on. This works the same way at home. I'll start cooking dinner, and 2 hours later I wonder what on earth could possibly be taking so long. I just can't cook, monitor the kids, and clean up the messes they're making all at the same time. Every time I try to do anything around the house, I fall farther behind because of the messes the kids make while I'm cleaning something else. Baby can absolutely destroy an entire room while I'm engrossed in doing the dishes, and I don't even notice, even if he's doing it right in the next room.

Today my parents came to our ward for the Primary program. They came over after church for a little while. I got SO MUCH DONE while they were here! I cleaned the kitchen (a bit), made dinner, cleaned up (a bit), and got another batch of strawberries ready for freezing. Reading through, that really doesn't sound like much, but it was so easy and effortless. Usually when I'm trying to do these things, it's like swimming through mud.

Contrast that with this morning. While I was ironing, Baby broke into the kitchen and got a bowl full of cereal and milk and proceeded to distribute it randomly throughout the apartment. Then, I had the audacity to take a shower. While I did that, he broke into the kitchen (again; the older kids left the gate open both times) and proceeded to fling a pound of strawberries all over the place. That's fun if I miss one and then find it a week later only because the swarm of fruit flies leads me to it.

I've thought of doing all the housework after the kids are in bed, but I hate that idea. I don't want my kids to be the ones whose mom does everything for them. I love the idea of Family Work, where the whole family works together to do everything. I may have to put that off for another couple of years though - at least until Baby is old enough to not make worse messes while the rest of us clean. Or, we can do tasks where I can stay right by them, and I'll save the more intense cleaning for after they're asleep.

I know I can make changes and get on top of things. In my past life, I have always been able to do hard things and meet challenges. Somewhere along the way I forgot that I had that capability, but I remember now, and I can meet this challenge!


I am getting extremely bored with the outfit of the day. This is why fashion will never be my forté -- I just don't have much of an interest! Anyway, this is what I wore today:

The skirt was given to me by my sister in 1999. I always leave my hair until last, which usually means a dowdy librarian bun. I did paste down my flyaway hair after taking the picture though. I have to wear nursing-accessible clothes to church and it is getting REALLY OLD. I would love to just be able to wear a regular dress. Sometimes I wear one anyway, and it's a great excuse -- whoops! I can't nurse in this dress! Guess we'll have to sit (sleep) in the Mother's Room during Sacrament!

Timpanogos Cave

Today's outfit was jeans with a black t-shirt, a beautiful comfortable mei-tai made by Julie at Little For Now, and 28+ pound baby.

We hiked to and toured Timpanogos Cave today. The plan was to get up at 8, go to the trailhead and buy tickets for early afternoon, come home and go to swimming lessons, eat lunch, and go hike. Of course I overslept for some strange reason (i.e., staying up until 2), so we didn't get the tickets early.

We left the house at 11:30 and got our tickets at 12:00. Our hike time as 2:40 and our cave tour time was 4:10. So we had 2.5 hours to kill. I decided we should go see a movie. I looked for dollar theaters in the phone book and found one that looked promising. Their phone message didn't say if they were a full-price theater or not, and I'm so clueless about which movies are out that I couldn't tell from the movies that were playing. A little part of State Street was closed and we ended up taking a massively huge detour. Once we got there, we would have only been able to watch 1-1.5 hours of a movie that had already started, and it would be $15. I refused to pay that much, so I suggested we go out to eat instead. So we did, and spent $23. Since our hike time was so late, we would have had to eat somewhere, but I probably could have gone to a grocery store and done it a lot cheaper.

One reason I like hiking is that it's very inexpensive recreation. Today was not cheap though! We had the $6 entrance fee to the canyon, $15 for the cave tour, and $23 for lunch. Oh well. We tried to tour Timpanogos Cave last year, but we didn't get there until the last day of the season, and of course the cave tours were sold out. We hiked anyway but were excited to go through the tour this year.

At lunch, I made the brilliant choice of eating a BBQ bacon cheeseburger and fries. I was well aware that this would make me feel awful on the hike, but decided I needed the calories (see this post). As soon as we left the restaurant, I was about ready to fall asleep. We started hiking and I felt OK. Somehow we made it up to the top. The trail rises 1100 feet over 1.5 miles. My lungs/breathing were OK, and my legs weren't really burning, but I felt like I was dying! I took my pulse, and it was at 160. I guess I need more cardio work. I don't know how backpackers can hike with 50+ pound backpacks. I was dying with 28 pounds of baby.

It turned out that our tour was 16 teenagers and us. Before we went in, the ranger warned the other ranger to watch out, because one of the girls had been standing up on the ledge that looks out over a sheer drop-off. Greaaaaaaaaaat, I thought. Teenagers, and worse, choir kids. At my high school, only the cool kids were in choir (do my high school friends perceive it this way?), and I was not in choir, so I was an enemy of choir kids :-) I figured they would be really annoying and sing annoyingly while we were trying to hear the guide.

Then the karma bus hit me, as my beloved child was the only one to make it difficult to hear the guide. But that only lasted about 15 seconds 2-3 times. The guide told the students before they went in that he would give them an opportunity to sing. So they behaved themselves and only sang at the appointed time. Their song was absolutely gorgeous. They were obviously part of the school's elite choir, maybe even an a cappella choir. The song was a hymnal all about Christ and the Atonement. "Only at Orem High" I thought. Nevertheless, it really was beautiful.

So, we survived the tour, got home more than 7 hours after we left, and can't wait to go again!


Some of you may wonder what exactly are the religious issues I struggle with. Sometimes I forget what they are entirely; sometimes they're all I remember. I will share just one (kind of two actually), and I am not going to provide much commentary - I am not ready to get ex'd for being an apostate on the internet!

My oldest son will be turning 8 in November. I have always thought there should be no set age where everyone is encouraged to be baptized. Some children are very spiritual from young ages. Some are just going along with what everyone else is doing. I have always tried to present it as a choice: "if you believe the Church is true and decide to be baptized" rather than "when you get baptized when you turn 8". But there's my first problem - I don't like that baptism is considered pretty much automatic at age 8.

Secondly, I mentioned to my son that The Ex probably wouldn't be able to come back here to baptize him (I did not mention anything about him being able to do it, just treated it as a distance/travel issue). I asked him who he would like to have baptize him instead. He chose me. I was very sorry to tell him that that simply was not a possibility. He was very sorry to hear it. I am far from a stereotypical feminist, but I do have some feminist leanings. Despite those leanings, I've never been upset that women can't hold the Priesthood. I know many women want it, but I never have. But I was very sad that if my son's father couldn't do this for him, that I couldn't step up -- I didn't even have the option. His next choice was his friend's father. The father was recently baptized himself, and I'm not sure if he's ordained. If he can't do it, my son will be baptized by someone who has very little personal influence on him. Of course the ordinance will still be just as valid, but it's nice to have it be a personal thing too.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Can I Be Open Here?

Can I be open and honest on this blog? I'm sure that my readers would be fine with that, but I'm not sure I can do it. I have had this blog for nearly 5 years and have carefully avoided saying anything about my true feelings, problems, joys, sorrows, etc. that entire time. I'm not sure if I should continue on that way, or open up. What I'd really like to do is get together with a few friends in real life and open up to actual flesh and blood humans. I'm not sure how to do that though, so for now, it's broadcasting it to the world or nothing. . .

I can see how it would be very therapeutic for me to write some things out, but I don't know that it would help to write them on the internet, for everyone (including future employers) to see. I am an intensely private person, and it terrifies me to think of anyone except carefully selected friends knowing my true feelings about ANYTHING. It doesn't really matter if it's embarrassing or not - I just don't want most people to know anything about me. The article I read about Soulful Relationships may help me change that point of view, and realize that it's not scary to let people see who I am. I already write out my feelings to a few friends by email and anonymously on a forum specific to my situation, and both of those are very helpful. I am hopeful that putting this out there will be helpful to someone else and will keep me more accountable for making the changes I say I am going to make.

The whole reason I am thinking about this is because I am getting divorced. You may have noticed over in the sidebar that I changed the 'husband' status to 'STBXH' which means soon to be ex husband. Readers of my blog never really 'knew' my husband anyway -- I only wrote about him 2 or 3 times. He barely even knew I had a blog and he never read it as far as I know, so I didn't feel it would be fair to write about him.

I want to tell everyone the reasons for my divorce, so they won't think that I just fell out of love or gave up over something silly. I will not share the reasons, but I will say that probably without exception, every one of you would say "yeah, a divorce was a good choice" if you heard the whole story. The story is not secret; I'm just not going to publish it on the internet. Anyone can email me if they would like to hear more. I waffle between telling myself that ANYONE would get a divorce in my situation and knowing that anything COULD have been overcome if we were both willing to do the necessary work.

The Ex and I did not ever have very good conflict resolution skills, and he would suggest divorce frequently, throughout our whole marriage. I first considered divorce seriously in June 2007, but only because I thought I had to. We decided not to go that route and things seemed to be getting better. The Ex was not satisfied at work and decided to move back to Houston for work. I found out he was thinking about Houston two weeks before he moved. I do not deal with things quickly -- I need a lot of time to process. But I came around and was very excited about Houston. I was especially excited about not having to deal with snow! I called up my old boss and got my old job back.

Before he left, I realized The Ex was making plans to do something that I could not live with. I was so overwhelmed by the idea of the move that I didn't do anything about it. Then The Ex left to drive back to Houston. I talked to a friend and realized I did have a choice. She told me that I was worth being emotionally safe, and for the first time, I began to believe it. I didn't have to sit around waiting to see what The Ex would do. So I called him. I said I was very concerned about our family, and that I didn't think we could make it as a family if he did what he was planning to. I was very careful to say this was not a threat or ultimatum, but he took it as such. He blew up and during the conversation said we were getting a divorce. He had said this many times before, but it felt a little different this time.

I prayed and fasted (a huge deal; hadn't done that for 8.5 years) and attended the temple. I felt very calm about divorcing. I had refused to consider divorce in the past because of the devastating effect it would have on the kids. But suddenly it felt like it would be a good choice. I didn't get any sudden clear answers, but I felt calm and happy and I came to an understanding about the meaning of a scripture that really helped. I've always wondered why we have the story of Nephi killing Laban in the Book of Mormon. Most modern day LDS aren't going to have to kill someone. But I had an epiphany and felt that divorce was the modern day analogue to murder. Usually, people will not be given an answer from God that they should divorce -- it just shouldn't happen most of the time. But occasionally, it needs to happen, for the better good. I felt like I had been given this understanding of the scripture. Things like this almost never happen for me.

I'm alternately devastated, ecstatic, sad, calm, agitated, happy, sad, hopeful, and hopeless. It is a bit of a roller coaster, but it is tolerable because the intensity of these feelings is nothing like the intensity of the roller coaster I've been on during the marriage. The worst pain I've ever felt in my entire life happened in May 2007. I am scared that I may go through that kind of pain again. I'm hoping that since I went through it 2 years ago and to a far lesser extent went through it continually over the past 2 years, that I'm done with it and I can just move forward. But I worry that I may just be burying things and will not deal with them appropriately.

The Ex and I were in marriage counseling over the past 2 years, and I have continued to see the counselor as an individual counselor. I asked him how I could 'make' myself feel what I need to feel, to be sure I didn't sweep it under the rug. He said I was probably so busy that I didn't have time for a breakdown, so I was just keeping my mind off of it. He suggested I find a safe space, where I am all alone and have no demands on me. He said I should intentionally think about everything that is happening and even write it out. I have not done this yet; even while writing this huge blog post, I carefully keep the most painful parts sealed safely away in my mind. I guess I need to do it soon, at least to get a feel for how much pain I am hiding.

The other big thing I'm dealing with in counseling is that I feel that I don't deserve to be happy any time soon. I feel that I have absolutely, thoroughly, and completely failed and destroyed my kids' lives and happiness. I'm not much worried about myself, but I am devastated about the kids. I feel that I don't deserve to be happy because I need to pay in some way for destroying their happiness. Now, that all sounds very dramatic. I don't think about it in that extreme of a way most of the time. My kids seem to be doing fine. I have no idea what is really going on in their minds, but they appear to be OK. The Ex worked out of town for 15 months out of the last 3 years, so the kids have dealt with him being gone for up to 5 months solid before. I also recognize that my mindset completely denies the efficacy of the atonement, and I don't want to think that way. I also realize logically that if I keep myself unhappy, that will be WORSE for the kids. Intellectually I understand all those things. But it's hard to convince my deeper belief that this is the case.

I don't have a solid, workable plan for how to move forward, but I do have some ideas. I've always been a great sleeper, but once The Ex started working out of state 3 years ago, I started staying up until 11, 12, 1, 2, or 3 in the morning. I've been utterly exhausted ever since. Look at me now - it's past 1 am already and I am supposed to take the kids on a difficult hike tomorrow! Anyway, the first big thing I could improve upon would be my sleep, and related to that is my self-discipline, since for me it requires a great deal of self-discipline to not waste time on the internet and go to bed.

Directly related to spending time on the internet is having real life friends. I am absolutely starved for flesh-and-blood human relationships, male or female. I do not get together with friends, ever, and have rarely done so at any time during my marriage. Our first 2-3 years of marriage, we would get together with other couples occasionally. In the past 3 years, I've been to a playgroup 3 or 4 times. I've gone to book club once. In Houston, I went to a friend's house a handful of times. I have no idea how to start up new friendships. The main problem is time. I work full time. After 5 years of doing it, I have no better handle on running a household, spending time with my kids, and working. I just don't have time to be sitting around hanging out with friends. I absolutely do not want to leave my kids in order to see friends. That would not be fair to my kids. Although in order to be a good mom, I do need to get a handle on the friends thing, or I likely WILL go insane, and then I'll be a much worse mom. The second hurdle to starting friendships is that all my acquaintances are married stay-at-home moms. They see their friends during the day. After the kids' bedtime, when I'd be available, is their time to be with their husbands, as it should be. I haven't kept in touch with any single girl friends, nor do I think I would be the first choice for them to hang out with if I had!

Another HUGE thing I need to do is figure out who I am and what I believe. I skipped that process. I got married at age 20, the typical age when people are figuring these things out. Particularly I need to figure out what my religious beliefs are. I have never had the courage to do that. I bend to the opinion of whomever I am talking to at the time. If I am emailing my ex-LDS agnostic/atheist friends, I am free to express doubts and concerns. If I am at church or visiting with a church friend, I am free in expressing faith and hope. But I've never had the courage to figure out what *I* believe and what I want to do with that belief. Getting divorced has released me from The Ex's expectations, but I still do not feel any more courageous about it.

I have emailed most of my readers privately about at least one of these issues at one time or another, but this is about 1000 times more open than I've ever been publicly on this blog. So I will probably wake up in the morning and freak out and want to delete the whole thing. Just so you know, it very well could disappear.

Friday, September 11, 2009

OOTD - September 11

Today's outfit consisted of a soft berry-red velvet hoodie donated by Megan, a brown t-shirt that I already had, jeans that I bought at Plato's Closet, and black flat shoes. You may be thinking "Wait a second Katie, isn't it still 85° outside?" Yes, that is true. However, at my work, when the engineers designed the building, they decided it would be a good idea to make it freezing downstairs and hotter than hellfire upstairs. So I have to have a removable sweater/jacket/parka of some sort every day. Some of the drafters wear sweat shirts year-around.

Shot from the back to prove that, for the first time in my life, I am not wearing Mom Jeans!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Outfit of the Day - September 10

Today's outfit, dress donated to me by my hot/fashionable sister:

My posture looks really weird in this picture, like I'm totally stiff and leaning back or something. Weird.

I am actually wearing 3-inch heels in this picture!! Go me! I'm not sure I will make the effort to continue this trend. I'm kind of a basics/natural girl, and high heels are pretty unnatural for your posture/joints/etc. I think they are hot though (not these specific ones necessarily).

(Refer to the previous post for the rules before you comment.)

Outfit of the Day - September 9

My friend Megan decided that I need to stop being frumpy and look hot and young. I have always wanted to look less like a grandma/librarian, but don't have the knowledge, motivation, and/or resources to actually follow through. Well, Megan has always been a great dresser and she took me shopping in her closet, so that solved the resources problem to some degree. (I bet I can still frumpify the clothes she gave me though.)

I decided to post pictures of my outfits each day, especially if it's one Megan gave me. Here are the rules:
1) I am a delicate flower, so no harsh criticism. I will delete it if it's rude.
2) You can tell me what you would do to make the outfit less frumpy or more awesome.
3) If it's really bad, you could say "maybe reserve that outfit for housework" or something similar.
4) Try not to look at my face. I always look so weird in these pictures, probably because I'm saying things like "Is something wrong with the camera? What did you do to it? Why aren't you taking the picture? Just take the picture; hurry, we're late!!" (My photographers are unwilling 5 and 7 year olds.)

Megan gave me this black jumper and I supplied everything else. I should have worn heels with this for ultimate awesomeness, but don't have any. (Actually I do have one pair of black heels, but I had forgotten about them.)

Here's a hair length update:

My hair is SO thin! Sometimes it looks like there's a lot of it because it's curly, but really it's thin -- when I braid it, it ends up as these teeny little braids.

After my run last night I was feeling dorky and decided to demonstrate what happens when curly-haired girls brush their hair. This is why curly hairs aren't allowed to own brushes. (Also, my glasses always look terrible with the flash; I swear I am getting contacts as soon as the money magically appears!!)


I've been thinking about relationships of all sorts (friendships, romantic relationships, work interactions, interactions with strangers) a lot lately -- Mainly how to initiate them, and how to have better ones. I found two relationship articles that really resonated with me.

Soulful Relationships

Initiating Relationships with Honesty and Directness

Both are by Steve Pavlina, a Personal Development Guru. I disagree with Steve on a lot of things, but I think he has nailed it with both these articles.

Soulful Relationships is applicable to any relationship, even your relationship with someone you pass on the sidewalk. I think it describes an absolutely beautiful, compassionate way to see other people, and I'd like to align my thinking to these ideas.

Initiating Relationships is mainly applicable to romantic relationships, but could be modified and applied to other relationships as well. Honesty and directness could be used more liberally in most interactions. I see the principles in both these articles as goals for me to work toward -- I am certainly not there yet. I have been very non-direct in the past, and it just doesn't work well. I have very few in-person interactions with people because the indirectness of email/message boards/social networking sites is far easier and less scary. But it doesn't fulfill my need for human interaction.

To me, directness is really scary! It's actually hard for me to even say hi to co-workers without feeling awkward. I can't even imagine how terrified I'd be at applying these ideas to a romantic relationship. Steve explains that fear of being direct is actually fear of rejection, which makes perfect sense. He also explains that it's OK if you get rejected -- you feel grateful for the knowledge that it wasn't a match, and you move on. That sounds great in theory, until the person you want to talk to is looking you in the face and you have to actually speak up and be direct. I imagine myself being confident, honest, and direct in my mind, but a lot of times what I see in my mind is hard to apply in reality.

Well, I meant this to be a 2 line post with just the two links -- oops!