Thursday, November 20, 2014

Prejudice and Over-Generalization

I don't expect everyone to agree with me on this one. Maybe no one will. That's okay. I'm still going to say it it.

Not all Muslims are terrorists. In fact, considering how many Muslims there are, it's safe to say that the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists. 

Yet we humans tend to over-generalize everything. Let's consider common American stereotypes.

Are all blacks criminals?

Are all hispanics illegal immigrants?

Are all Mormons polygamists?

Are all really tall people good at basketball?

Are all fat people lazy?

Are all thin people healthy?

Do you see where I'm going with this? I hope so.

Let's try to put aside sterotypes and prejudices.They're unfair, misplaced,  and often wrong, and they limit our ability to learn about others. It would be nice if we could respect each other enough to learn about and see others without the filter of prejudice. 

I don't expect staunch conservatives to still be reading this, and I can just imagine some of the things the liberals might say. The more I consider politics, the more I realize that 1) I'm a moderate Republican,  and 2) I really hate politics. Hey, if anyone feels the need to defend their prejudice, have at it. You won't change how I feel about this.

Prejudice is wrong. Period.


Afterthought:

Maybe you have an unpopular belief. That's okay. You have a right to stand up for it if you chose. You also have a responsibility to not be a jerk about your belief.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

An Attempt At Gratitude

I've had a lot going on in my life, lately. Between being behind on bills (it's getting scary), dealing with side effects of a medication (weight gain and depression), and some "other" changes I'm not yet allowed to talk about openly, I'm finding myself cursing (literally) my life and everything about it. I am forcing myself to find something to be grateful for. Please, bear with me.

1. 800 mg prescription ibuprofen, for my daily stress headaches and my joint inflammation.

2. I still have a job.

3. My kids still like me.

4. I still have clothes that fit. (Barely.)

5. My journal, which takes the brunt of my frustration.

6. Nice autumn weather.

7. My husband. Not sure how he puts up with my drama, but I'm grateful.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Salt Lake Comic Con - Survival Tips

1. There WILL be lines. For everything. Plan for it. Deal with it. Do not whine about it.

2. If crowds make you nervous, have a plan to take breaks from the madness, or bring Valium. It can be very overwhelming.

3. Food is expensive, and outside food is not allowed. (Though I've never had my purse checked any time I've gone.)

4. Many celebrities will not just chat with you, you will be required to buy an autograph. Some will not chat at all, and will only do an autograph. Some will allow you to take a picture with them with your own camera, but will charge you for that, as well.

5. The especially popular celebrities will be difficult to get to see, whether by autograph, photo op, or attending their panel. If you're really determined to do these things for that celebrity, get in line as early as possible, plan to wait a long time, expect autographs and photo ops to be expensive, and don't be surprised if you still get turned away.

6. Photo ops are not a good way to chat with a celebrity. You will not have the time.

7. While Comic-Con is technically "family friendly", be aware that in the Artists area, there will be artists whose art may include barely clothed women.

8. If you're bringing children, be very well prepared. They will get tired and cranky, they will get overwhelmed, and any kid who's not capable of staying right by your side should be confined to a stroller or strapped into one of those harness-leash things.

9. Read up on the organization's website regarding the rules, especially if you plan to dress up.

10. Bring cash. A few places will take credit cards, but most will not, and it's cash only for autographs. There are ATMs if you need them, but you can be sure they come with a high transaction fee.

11. Do as much advance planning as possible. It will make your experience much better.

Overall...

* Bring more cash than you think you need.

* Plan for longer lines than you think there will be.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What I've Learned From Loreena McKennitt's Music

It's safe to say I'm a pretty big fan of Loreena McKennitt, both her music and herself. It's a pity that I didn't discover how true this was until after I saw her in concert several years ago. There is no one quite like her, and no music quite like hers. She is a true bohemian. She weaves stories of her exotic travels into her music. There's no musical genre to describe how she combines Celtic beats and hypnotic Middle Eastern rhythms with folklore and history. Her albums can be found under headings of New Age world, but they aren't really adequate descriptions. She uses many instruments in her songs that most Americans have probably never heard of, instruments that hail from the Middle East, Africa, and other places.

Before this turns into a fangirl rant, I'll get to my point: I've learned a lot, thanks to her.

"Night Ride Across the Caucasus" led me to research the Caucasus Mountains. I'll bet you don't know what they are and probably haven't even heard of them.

Her live album "Nights From the Alhambra" had me wondering what the heck the Alhambra was.  That's how I came to the dream of a visit to Spain, a country I had never given much thought to.

"Caravanserai" taught me about the way stations along the old Silk Road, now in various states of ruin, and crumbling in the hot desert sun.

"Mummers Dance", the one song of hers that has ever had any radio success in the United States, led to research about members. A mummer is probably not what you're thinking it is.

"Skellig" came to life when my favorite travel blogger visited the very location that must have inspired the song, a rocky island off the coast of Ireland, which houses a very old, weather-beaten monastery.

"Kecharitomene" had me googling the word. I still have no idea what it is, or what it means, but I love the song, and I hope someday I will figure it out. (If you know, I'd love to hear about it.)

"Beneath a Phrygian Sky" gives me visions of standing on the deck of a sailboat, in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Greece, staring up at the night sky.

I love it all. I'm a little bit of a bohemian, I love culture and music, and travel, and doing things that other people think are weird or crazy. (I have yet to meet someone else who thinks Sarajevo would be an interesting travel destination.) Loreena 
McKennitt and her music are a part of that. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

List-Obsession: What I Am

~mom
~wife
~LDS
~geek
~underdog
~doormat (sometimes)
~relatively open minded and non judgemental
~seeking a more Zen life
~novelist
~a former poet
~an actress on a long hiatus
~a fan of the Chicago Cubs
~travel obsessed
~collector of bags and luggage
~highly opinionated about the things I know a lot about
~pro life within reason
~accident prone
~very forgetful
~a big time procrastinator
~a little crazy
~A fan of genuine people
~musician
~mildly talented at a lot of things
~a wannabe nomad
~a little morbid
~a Dr Pepper addict
~somewhat antisocial
~very anti conflict
~imperfect
~overweight
~completely uninterested in politics
~a little OCD (but isn't everyone?)
~secretly harboring bohemian tendencies ~a dog lover
~intrigued by the idea of an unconventional pet like a goat, pig, hedgehog, llama, or armadillo
~a bank employee, but not a banker
~in love with Scotland in all things Scottish
~not especially tolerant of high maintenance people
~firmly convinced that people who don't want to travel are crazier than I am

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

List-Obsession: Songs About Me

Music is extremely important to me. I take it very seriously, especially lyrics. This is a list of songs that I feel define me in some way... how I feel, who I am, what I care about, my past.

More Than Fine -- Switchfoot

No Such Thing -- John Mayer

Raise Your Glass -- Pink

White and Nerdy -- Weird Al Yankovic

I Go To Extremes -- Billy Joel

Unwell -- Matchbox Twenty

The World I Know -- Collective Soul

Nobody Home -- Pink Floyd

Lithium -- Evanescence

Life After You -- Daughtry

If Everyone Cared -- Nickelback

Leave Out All The Rest -- Linkin Park

Life Is A Highway -- Rascal Flatts

Calling All Angels -- Train

Little Wonders -- Rob Thomas

Raindrops Keep Fallin On My Head -- BJ Thomas

Another Day In Paradise -- Phil Vassar

**While I'm at it, I'll throw in a few memes that define me.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pregnant, 36 Weeks 4 Days

Yeah, it's official:

I am ready to be done with being pregnant.

I am so uncomfortable most of the time. I miss being able to walk without hip and back pain, at a normal speed, without looking and feeling like a walrus. I miss getting a good night's sleep. I miss having any measurable amount of energy.

The number one thing I am looking forward to, however, is getting rid of this excess weight. Yes, it's for a good reason, and I wouldn't say I've gained an  excessive amount of weight. (24 pounds isn't that bad). The thing is, I now weigh more than I ever have before, and it is really hard on my body.

Of course, this pregnancy has been different from all previous ones in many ways. The morning sickness bad enough to require Zofran, the kidney stones incident, the depression, the contractions...

Oh, the contractions. Real ones, but without consistency or increase in  intensity. Sure, there's a pattern - at night, for 2 - 3 hours, they're every 20 - 30 minutes. I've never experienced real contractions before. I had a planned induction with kid #1, and had to be induced with kid #2 because my water broke, but I wasn't otherwise in labor. Hence, my only experience is with Pitocin contractions... and only as long as it took to get the epidural. This is definitely different.

Anyway, I'm rambling.

One positive thing I've gained from this pregnancy is in letting go of pride to ask for help. After my request on Facebook, I've recieved many offers of help. My lovely friend Shauna, my brother Curtis, his wife Heather, and of course my mom, have all contributed to my house being cleaner. I also recieved a meal after my hospital stay for kidney stones, and recently, a little treat... thanks, ladies! I am so grateful to them for their help, and to the many other people who have offered.

As of today, 24 days until my due date! I'm still hoping for baby to decide to come in that magic, most convenient window of June 15 - 21. However, this baby has already been my difficult child, so nothing would surprise me at this point.

Next up, the answer to the burning question: boy or girl? Malcolm or Felicia?

Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Why I Don't Do Drugs

Hollywood has lost another talented actor. Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an apparent drug overdose this morning. He was 46. I loved him in Almost Famous, and enjoyed his now never-to-be-reprised role in Hunger Games Catching Fire.

However, he was an idiot.

Let's examine this subject, shall we?

Celebrities who overcame drug addiction:

Robert Downey Jr -my hero!-
Mark Wahlberg
Drew Barrymore
Elton John

Celebrities who we're expecting to die from drug overdose any day now:

Lindsay Lohan (maybe it's because no one would care? Lol)
Rhianna
Charlie Sheen

Celebrities who died of a drug overdose or issues related to extreme drug use:

Judy Garland
Corey Haim
Brittney Murphy
River Phoenix
Heath Ledger
Philip Seymour Hoffman
*and the two real peoe he's best known for portraying: Lester Bangs and 
Truman Capote
Whitney Houston
Jim Morrison
Marilyn Monroe
Janis Joplin
Jimi Hendrix
Elvis Presley
Coco Chanel
Chris Farley
Howard Hughes
Thomas Kinkade
Bruce Lee
Billie Holliday
Sid Vicious
Billy Mays

Point made?

An drug-altered state of consciousness does not appeal to me. Maybe it's because I'm too much of a control freak to allow something else to have control over me. Maybe it's because, for all the psychological problems I've had, fixing it with drugs has never interested me. 

I get that celebrity life is hard in many ways. Your life is not your own, you have zero privacy, and you're held to ridiculous standards of perfection that no ordinary human could posdibly manage.

However, there have got to be better ways of dealing with the pressure. Yoga, meditation, religion, exercise, yelling at paparazzi, buying and escaping to a private island, taking a stand for whatever cause you believe in.

Don't do it, celebs. Say "no" to drugs. Take advantage of your spot in the limelight and set a good example for the rest of us.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Pregnancy, 17 Weeks

Today I am 17 weeks 1 day pregnant. I had an appointment yesterday, and the baby's heartbeat sounded good. I mentioned the frequent headaches that I've been having, but my doctor was vague in her comments about it. I'm guessing that if it is pre-eclampsia (which I had been wondering about), it must not be anything to worry about for now. I go back for another appointment in 4 weeks, at which time I will also have the well-known mid-pregnancy ultrasound.

I am a little nervous about that ultrasound, and it has nothing to do with the baby's gender, since we've decided to not find out. I am nervous about checking on the placenta. Has it moved out of the way, or do we officially call it placenta previa? If so, here comes c-section #2. I'm okay with that, I think. There are worse things than a repeat c-section.

I wish I could say this pregnancy was getting easier in the second trimester, but it's not. I have the stretching pains, the round ligament pains, the itchy stretch marks, the braxton-hicks contractions, back pain, headaches, mood swings, congestion, occasional nausea, sometimes serious depression, and the inevitable exhaustion. Oh, and let's not forget that I still get a horrible aftertaste if I eat any dairy other than yogurt or cheese. I really miss milk and ice cream. I am convinced that this baby is going to be the difficult one, seeing how he/she already is at not quite halfway through my pregnancy.

Simon has been my sunshine lately, and I am so very grateful for him. He is always excited to see me. He gives me lots of hugs and kisses, and always has to throw in a hug and a kiss for the baby as well. He is so excited for the baby. He frequently asks how many more days, or how big the baby is now. He even says nice little things to me when I am having a bad day. How does a six-year-old learn all this? My heart is bursting with pride. He has made the bad days bearable, and the good days wonderful.

I have 159 days until my due date, and after a miscarriage with pregnancy #3, I am grateful for every day I am still pregnant.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Year's Resolutions for 2014

Here it is, a little late. My resolutions for 2014. I am not resolving to lose weight, since I will be pregnant for half the year anyway. I am not resolving to be more spiritual, because that is an ongoing process that I can't achieve through a resolution.

1. Develop better cleaning habits.

I hate cleaning, and I am not very good at it. I am determined to find ways to make it easier on myself, and developing better cleaning habits is a major part of it.

2. Become more confident in being different.

I have come to accept that I am different. I don't want to be "crunchy". I dislike most cooking. I don't teach my children sign language. I would never subject myself to cloth diapers. I posess neither skill nor patience for gardening. I hate romantic books and movies. Lately, I have been feeling like I must be defective because of all this. Pinterest can be useful, but it also causes women to feel like we all have to be Martha Stewart. I resolve to embrace what I am instead of worrying about what I am not. I am not Martha Stewart.

3. Simplify my life.

I hate feeling rushed. I don't tolerate stress well. I feel certain that simplifying my life will help. So I resolve to get rid of stuff I don't need, say "no" without guilt, and develop a zen approach to life. I found a website I'll be using for this.


Wish me luck!