Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday night.

It was fantastic.  Seriously.  One of the best films this year.  Bring tissue.

Friday night


+
=
a great night.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Loving New York


New York Magazine complied their fourth annual list of reasons to love New York.  I loved it so much, I had to list my favorites on my blog.  The italicized parts are blurbs from the write up under each reason.  They also had readers write in with their reasons, some of those are included in this as well.  My favorites (of the favorites) are in bold.

"Because it loves me!  I was born and raised in Texas and moved to New York City when I was 25-twelve years ago.  In Texas, I was thought to be difficult, hardheaded, controlling, opinionated, bitchy, etc.  When I moved here, all of a sudden I was considered sweet, polite, kind, intelligent, etc.  I know I didn't change-I was just free from the South's idea of how a woman should behave."

Because our generosity comes through even-perhaps especially-now.
October 15, 2007: Citymeals on Wheels donations: 314, for a total of $22,760.  DOW dropped 108 that day, closing at 13,984.
October 15, 2008: Citymeals on Wheels donations: 603, for a total of $49,201.  DOW dropped 733 that day, closing at 8,577.

"Because sooner or later everybody comes to New York: every band, every friend, everybody I want to see."

"The choice to be seen or be invisible."

Because our mayer is a self-regarding masochist.
Even in the best of times, you need a masochistic streak to live in New York.  Now, with the worst looming, it turns out the guy in charge of city government may have the biggest one of all.

"Because in addition to charging me like crazy every month for electricity, the fine folks over at Con Ed also dispense cooking and entertaining advice.  After I called in response to a notice of 'irregular gas meter readings' (i.e., never turning on my stove), the Con Ed rep asked if I lived by myself and ever cooked.  He then went on to advise me, 'Invite some people over, or at least make a cup of tea once in a while.'  Gee, thanks, Con Ed."
*Sidenote, I actually know someone that was called by Con Ed for the same reason.

Because where else would a tour-bus driver also be a king?
The most difficult part is the stupid taxicabs.  We call them "yellow rats."

Because Madonna's back to distract us.
We predict this Brangelina-style absurdity will continue well into 2009-and thank goodness.  It's just the tabloid diversion we need in such gloomy-news times.  We can already see how this will play out: First come the imaginary baby bumps, then the botched Dominican adoption, then the UNICEF ambassadorships.  After that they both get cornrows, A-Rod appears in one of her videos, and before you know it, they're both wearing burkas to the Grammys.  In blackface. We can't wait!

*The next two are blurbs that were published about New York this year.

"At three-thirty in the morning, the scene in front of 27 Eldridge was fairly typical: the last of the last-call stagger-zoo, many of them walking as if it were their first time on ice skates; a kid in the back of an open-doored taxi staring at the knot of damp cash in his hands as he tried to make sense of the meter; and up the block a shirtless, bearded man sticking the top half of his body out of a sixth-floor tenement window and screaming at everybody to shut the *u** up and go back to New Jersey, then slamming his window down so hard that it rained glass, the people below whistling and applauding."

"You know: where are all the baby pigeons?  It's the burning question on every New Yorker's mind.  'They're everywhere.  You just have to look,' says Ralph, who seems not to have heard the urban myth that pigeons arrive on the earth full grown and ready to be despised-or that they perform a backward version of human migration: raise babies in the suburbs, then move into town."

Because just when you take the Empire State Building for granted, it seduces you again.

Because Eli is now the Manning.

"Because every time you visit another U.S. city, you instantly realize how attractive and sophisticated you really are..."

"Because I moved to L.A. almost two years ago, and I've read maybe six books in the time since.  In New York, I'd read on the subway and finish a book a week (at least!).  There are millions of reasons to move back, but I'd do it just for the books."

"Sue Simmons dropping the F-bomb on TV."

"Because you can be poor and from the hood but still bump elbows with all different kinds of cultures.  I grew up in the very rough parts of Bushwick, with a single mother originally from the Dominican Republic.  Because of our limited resources, I was exposed to gangsters, hustlers, and all kinds of freaks.  [But] an entirely different world was always a subway ride away."

"Because despite the stereotypical high-mindedness of New Yorkers, most still watch crap TV."

"The MTA [riding the subway] is like working at a bar; you learn everything about human behavior."

"The baseball fields in Battery Park City almost directly across the street from the old World Trade Center site.  I love seeing the rich green grass and Little Leaguers where there was barren earth not long ago.  To me, it's the best example of new life and regrowth.  Oh yeah, and it also says, 'Eff you, we live here!' "

"Because when people find out I am single, they don't look at me in a way that is the perfect combination of horror and pity."

"Because it's the best place to earn one-sentence stories to amuse friends and family back home.  Like: 'I was at a hipster dance party and some flailing NYU student accidentally punched me in the eye.' "

"...Because  no one gives me a second glance when I'm working out at the gym and tears are streaming down my face as I watch Dr. Phil conduct a meth-addict intervention."

Because every once in a while, there is dancing in the streets.

Because we're resilient.
Psychologists define a resilient person as one who after experiencing a trauma has one or no symptoms of post-traumatic-stress disorder.  A Columbia study of New Yorkers a few years ago found that 65 percent of us were certifiably resilient following 9/11-as were more than half the people who'd actually been in the Trade Center buildings during the attacks.  But the study's finding I love best describes what kinds of 9/11 survivors were least affected, the quickest to bounce back, the most resilient: the so-called self-enhancers.  They, according to the psychology professor who ran the study, "are somewhat grandiose.  They are preoccupied with themselves, they score high on measures of narcissism, and the research shows pretty clearly that they are annoying to be around."  In other words...New Yorkers!  Cue the Gloria Gaynor.

It baffles me...

...that customer service can really be that bad in New York.  Honestly.  You'd think I'd just be used to it by now but it never ceases to surprise and annoy me.  Honestly, it's so bad!  
I was just at Target in the (very slow) check out line and when I get up front I politely say hello to the checker and how she is.  I get a very mumbled, "fine", I think.
Then when she finishes putting everything in bags one has way too many items so I ask for another bag.  I get the eye roll and sigh, then the bag.  I tell her in a sincere tone, "Thank you so much."  No response.  I then end the not so pleasant conversation with, "Have a good day."  No "you too", no "thanks", not even an acknowledgement of my existence.
Not a huge deal, but honestly this is pretty much my experience in every store I go into whether it's Target, Duane Reade, H&M, etc.  Basically if you go to any sort of affordable store you're getting crap customer service and it's so annoying!!!

Finally.

So I've been on the hunt for a good pair of black flats for what feels like maybe a year.  
This has been slightly difficult, as it turns out I've gotten to be super cheap, and just don't feel like spending more than $50 on a pair of shoes, especially flats.  Other than my Louboutins, I guess you could say I prefer cheap shoes.  I'm a firm believer that cheap shoes don't necessarily mean bad quality.  It was 2004 that I got a bogo pair of black flats from Payless for $3.  Yes, $3.  I just got rid of them this year.
I've now gone through two cheap pairs this year and I've gotten frustrated with my inability to find a pair I really like.  My first pair fell apart, and the second pair are uncomfortable.  I've tried on so many pairs at so many stores, but I just haven't found anything.  Everything was either too expensive, or ugly, or uncomfortable, or not my size.
So when Catherine told me the quinn flats at the Tory Burch sample sale were more than half off, I thought I should go check them out.  I waited in line on Wednesday forever just to try them on, but decided against them.  I still didn't want to spend as much as they cost.
After I left I was sort of kicking myself, thinking maybe I should have just gotten them.  I decided I'd go back on Friday (payday) and see if they still had them (unlikely at a sample sale.)
Yesterday was miserable outside.  I made it about four blocks and my current, cheap flats were completely soaked through and my feet were freezing and wet.  I had to stop and buy some rain boots along the way, and thought, wow, now I really hope they still have my size.
And guess what?  They did.  And I love them so much I dreamt about them last night.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Men are like...

So last night as I was falling asleep a commercial came on that made me laugh out loud.

Girl #1: Guys are like subways, if you miss one there's another coming along in five minutes.
Girl #2: Yeah, unless it's the end of the night...then you'll get on anything.

I found myself chuckling out loud to myself because it's so true....the part about the subways late at night....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The weekend

Friday night took a random 6:30-8:30pm nap.  For some reason I've been so exhausted after work lately.  If I sit down when I get home I'm sure to be falling asleep by 7pm.  Needless to say I didn't feel like going out so I bought The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants II on demand.  It was cute.
Saturday I actually got myself up and out the door by 10:45am.  A total feat for me.  I hate to still be in the "sleep in super late and waste my day away" mode, but it's hard not to when you live in a bedroom with no window.
I met up with Dan for brunch at Alice's Teacup (he assured me he wasn't too many for it.)  As boring as this sounds, I highly recommend the granola and yogurt.  I've gotten it the last two times I went and it's SO GOOD.
I didn't spend too much time out and about as it was so cold.  I was disappointed because the weatherman said mid 30s and it was super sunny which usually isn't too cold but it was just ridiculous.  
I made it home around 3 and finished the movie I couldn't stay awake for the night before, and then followed it with a nap.  (Apparently I'm like a bear.....I like to spend my winters hybernating.)
Saturday night Britt, Whit, and Carly and I schlepped clear up to West 105 for the annual Holiday Sweater party.  Everyone had some pretty sweet ensembles and as soon as I can find my cord to upload photos I'll post them.
Yes, that's right, I can't find my cord!  I think maybe I left it in California over Thanksgiving but I'm not sure.  Sad.
Today was a fab day at church, as always.  We had our Christmas program in Sacrament Meeting which is something I always look forward to.
It's going to be a crazy week, with a few Christmas parties, meeting up with friends, etc, but I'm looking forward to the festivities.

XOXO

So I'm not a huge Gossip Girl fan, at all.  I'd quite watching it, but I will admit to watching the last few episodes.  I guess at this point it's just one of those shows I'll watch if I have nothing better to do, and let's face it, at this point in my life I've sort of gone into a reclusive antisocial phase so I have my fair share of spare time.
So my friend Monica at work mentioned to Catherine, Liz, and I that her friend worked for Teen Vogue and they were having a Gossip Girl party that night at Louis Vuitton on 5th Ave, and she could get us on the guest list if we wanted.  Hmmmm, I don't exactly hate the show, so I should go, right?
It was a miserably hideous night weather wise, but I still made the mad dash downtown to get spruced up a bit, then back to midtown for the party.
Jessica Szohr was the only cast member at the party, as the others were filming and one was sick, but it was still fun to see her.  She is definitely way thinner, and so gorgeous in person.  She was also super nice.
We chatted about all the fans in our office (most of the girls are obsessed) and shopping (she loves Urban Outfitters.)
There were also a few other celebs as well, such as Amber Tamblyn, and Kim from cycle 5 of America's Next Top Model.  She is actually a lot smaller than I'd imagine.  There were a few other girls there who looked super familiar, but I just couldn't put my finger on who they were.  There were also a lot of models, and boy, you definitely should have seen them posing for the photogs.  Wow.  
Overall it was a really fun night.  The Teen Vogue crew were actually super friendly to those of us that weren't exactly VIP.  The LV store was really cool.  They were offering makeovers and manicures which was fun, and the hors douvers were really good.  And the best part?  Since it was Teen Vogue there were underage girls there, which mean Martinellis in the fancy champagne glasses.  Something fun for me!
I can honestly say I'm so happy I don't work in that industry though; talk about insecurities being brought to the surface.  Everything there was so tall, so thin, so gorgeous, and had amazing clothes.
I prefer to stay in my sheltered little life and enjoy these parties every now and then.  :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Death by chocolate

Yesterday I tried out a recommendation I read on Amanda's blog forever ago.  And really, I almost died of pure euphoria.  Are you ready for this?  Hot chocolate made with three parts whole milk, one part heavy cream.  I know.  But it's worth every calorie.  And hey, I opted out of the whipped cream on top.  A girl's gotta watch her figure.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Apparently now I plagiarize

I subscribe to 108 blogs via google reader.  I take a daily paper, and two weekly magazines.  CNBC runs on the floor at work all day every day.  I do my own share of guilty tv watching.  I'm constantly emailing, texting, checking facebook, and talking on the phone.  I try to read the Book of Mormon every day, and a conference talk a few times a week.
It's safe to say I have a high intake of information.  Perhaps there's been times I've regurgitated info that's not 100% original thought.  Or maybe I've seen something somewhere I really liked and thought, "Hey, I'd like to do that too."  (For instance, my California by the numbers post.  I've definitely seen that many many many times.)  I've seen my ideas taken as well.  I put the shows I record down the side of my blog and then noticed another friend put it on hers as well.  "Cool" was my thought.  In turn, I changed my links to have "+" in between each name instead of "," or "and."  I got that idea from my friend KB.  I mentioned to her that I liked it, and her response was, "Cool, I think I actually stole it from someone else, but didn't have the courtesy of mentioning that I'd gotten it from them."  KB didn't care that I'd borrowed, and I imagine the person she borrowed from didn't care either.  We all do it, consciously or not, no?
I (along with someone else very close to me) have been accused of blatantly and obviously stealing thoughts.  One of us (or both?) have apparently "copied blog posts outright, made our whole blog look exactly like someone else's, and even started completely morphing into another person"  !!
Really?
Hm.  Doubtful.
However, maybe someone else out there feels this way?  Maybe I'm completely in the wrong here?  Just throwing it out there, you know, in case I've tried to steal any one else's identity.  If this is the case, my sincerest apologies.  If I ever like an idea you have, and put it on my blog, and it bothers you, please let me know.  I'm not too worried, seeing as how I'm too lazy to switch up my blog frequently.  But you never know I guess, right?
*And no, I won't send you a link to this person's blog, so please don't ask.  My intent is not to embarrass anyone via the www.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Marriage

This weekend was the annual Lingos night.  I didn't make it to last year's and was so disappointed after everyone raved about it.  Lingos is a night where we all get together and watch videos people have worked on putting together the last couple months or so.
This year's winner was made by my friends Ryan, Collin, and Kim.
Ryan has got to be, hands down, the funniest person ever, and anyone who knows him will agree.  He's always "on."  

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My new favorite political blog

Blurtdaily.com.  I love crazy Republicans.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Alma 37

Don't worry, I haven't fallen off the wagon.  Truth be told, however, I did fall behind last week while I was in California.  For the last month or so I've wavered from being 1-2 days behind.  I never could quite catch up.  However, with my vacation my routine was totally thrown off and I sadly, missed reading more days than not.  
SO.  Here's what I've decided.  Rather than turn what's an inspiring and motivating goal into something that feels like a task I'm wavering a bit on my deadline.  I'm still shooting for the end of the year, but I know mathematically that's not possible.
So, I guess like anything else in life, I'm just doing the best I can.
Tonight's reading was really good for me.  It was just one of those nights where you feel like, wow, this is definitely what I needed to hear.
In verse 36 Alma tells Helaman:

Yea, and cry unto God for all thy supoort; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.

I love this.  I love knowing the Lord wants to know everything.  I love knowing that He already does know everything, but He still wants to sit and listen to me talk about it.  He still is happy to listen to me ramble on and on about the same things, no matter how trivial they are, no matter how meaningless they are in the grand scheme of things.  I love that we're not only told that we can talk to the Lord about anything, but that we should talk to the Lord about everything.  It's so.....relieving?
Also, I loved in verses 44-46 when Alma states:

For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.
And now I say, is there not a type in this thing?  For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.
O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us.  The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.

It's so plainly stated.  Just as the Liahona directed Nephi and his family, we have the words of Christ to direct us, as a compass, to eternal happiness.  How plain and simple is that!

Sorry if some of my thoughts don't make sense.  They're just some fragments from my mind that mean something to me.

California by the numbers



In-N-Out stops (within the first 24 hours)
2

Amazing home cooked meals
4

Flights
4

Inches of hair cut off
12

Family members at Thanksgiving
21

Number of donut runs
4

Dollars spent
Way way way too many

Stressful airport moments
2

Kilometers I didn't run in the Turkey Trot due to the rain
10

Episodes of CSI watched during travel
13

Days I drove on the freeway
6

Number of friends I saw
Not enough, never enough time!

Hours spent traveling back to New York, door to door
14+

Number of times I wore a jacket or coat
0

Number of vehicles to get from my parents' house to my apartment
6
(one car, two planes, one train, and two subways...oy)

Hours spent laughing with friends and family
Countless

And just for fun....

Minutes it takes to blowdry my new do
3(!)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Manners

When I got to my parents' house after flying in I went to take off my shoes and I saw Maddy's lined up next to her mommy and daddy's.  What good little baby.  :)

Hair today.....gone tomorrow

After over a year of contemplating I finally worked up the courage and did it.  I chopped it off.  For the last couple months I've really had to think seriously about it and now I'm so glad I did it!  I thought I would either A-hate it, or B-think it's alright, and it would take a while to get used to it.  Luckily I ended up with mystery option C-I immediately loved it and keep loving it more and more!  (Except when trying to style it, that will take some time.)


The last looks.

I've been going to Leela pretty religiously for about 10 years so I had to let her be the one to chop it.  Plus, I'd never trust anyone else for something so drastic!!  I was pretty much freaking out at this point.

The pony looks pretty short there, especially the layers, but don't worry, it's all long enough for Locks of Love.  :)

The final look!!  Other than when Leela's apprentice girl was blow drying it (who definitely didn't know what she was doing and kept burning me....I was getting a little nervous) I loved it immediately.

A HUGE thank you to my dear Aimee who drove down from LA for the moral support.  Aim used to have long hair like me, so she was great for lots of questions (she was one of only two people who knew before hand that I was cutting it.)
This isn't the greatest picture because I'd had my hair pulled in a pony for a little bit so it's got a kink.  After the first time I had to blowdry and style it myself I was a little frustrated, but I know it'll just take some time.  I really am loving it so much, and it's so so so so SO easy!!!  So low maintenance, and even though the pony is such a little baby one I really like how it looks pulled back too, or even half up.  I feel like I can still do a lot with it.  Yay!!  So far I've gotten all positive feedback, even from my brothers and Dad, who I thought would be a tough sell.  Curtis even likes it, who I knew would be my toughest critic.  He loves my hair, and any time I mentioned cutting it he'd beg me not too.  
The best part is knowing even if someone doesn't like it it wouldn't even matter because I love it so much!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Taylor Swift you are wise beyond your years

He is sensible and so incredible
And all my single friends are jealous
He says everything I need to hear and it's like
I couldn't ask for anything better
He opens up my door and I get into his car
And he says you look beautiful tonight
And I feel perfectly fine

But I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain
And it's 2 am and I'm cursing your name
You're so in love that you act insane
And that's the way I loved you
Breakin' down and coming undone
It's a roller coaster kinda rush
And I never knew I could feel that much
And that's the way I loved you

He respects my space and never makes me wait
And he calls exactly when he says he will
He's close to my mother, talks business with my father
He's charming and endearing and I'm comfortable

But I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain
And it's 2 am and I'm cursing your name
You're so in love that you act insane
And that's the way I loved you
Breakin' down and coming undone
It's a roller coaster kinda rush
And I never knew I could feel that much
And that's the way I loved you

He can't see the smile I'm faking
And my heart's not breaking
Cause I'm not feeling anything at all
And you were wild and crazy
Just so frustrating intoxicating complicated
Got away by some mistake and now

I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain
It's 2 am and I'm cursing your name
I'm so in love that I acted insane
And that's the way I loved you
Breaking down and coming undone
It's a roller coaster kinda rush
And I never knew I could feel that much
And that's the way I loved you oh, oh

And that's the way I loved you oh, oh
Never knew I could feel that much
And that's the way I loved you

It's freaking freezing.

Seriously?  I have to go outside in this in twenty minutes?  No.  I refuse.  I want to stay in my warm bed.  Feels like 16?  Are you kidding me???

This weekend in New York.

This weekend in California.

I admit it.  I've become a seasons snob.  I've been luh-UUUUving the seasons.  Fall's been amazing.  AMAZING.  And when I've been hearing about the 90 degree temps at home I've been like, eh.  I sort of want it to be real fall weather when I go there.  I want to wear cute fall clothes.  THEN suddenly yesterday it turned into winter.  And now maybe I can't wait to be in the sun in four days.

Lastly, I do have a few things to blog, mostly about the time I've spent with this adorable ball of squishy love and cuteness.  But I've been a little lazy/our internet hates me.  But isn't she freaking cute?  Love that Madster.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Facts about Prop 8

I borrowed this from Kathryn's blog, and especially now that the protests have spread across the country (to my city last night) I thought I'd like to share it with everyone, as it seems there's a lot of confusion out there.  From what I understand, the protest at the Manhattan LDS temple didn't get violent, however that hasn't been the case in LA.  I agree with people standing up for that in which they believe, but don't believe it using violence, name calling, and mud slinging to express those beliefs.

The facts:

Mormons make up less than 2% of the population of California. There are approximately 800,000 LDS out of a total population of approximately 34 million.

Mormon voters were less than 5% of the yes vote. If one estimates that 250,000 LDS are registered voters (the rest being children), then LDS voters made up 4.6% of the Yes vote and 2.4% of the total Proposition 8 vote.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) donated no money to the Yes on 8 campaign. Individual members of the Church were encouraged to support the Yes on 8 efforts and, exercising their constitutional right to free speech, donated whatever they felt like donating.

The No on 8 campaign raised more money than the Yes on 8 campaign. Unofficial estimates put No on 8 at $38 million and Yes on 8 at $32 million, making it the most expensive non-presidential election in the country.

Advertising messages for the Yes on 8 campaign are based on case law and real-life situations. The No on 8 supporters have insisted that the Yes on 8 messaging is based on lies. Every Yes on 8 claim is supported.

The majority of our friends and neighbors voted Yes on 8. Los Angeles County voted in favor of Yes on 8. Ventura County voted in favor of Yes on 8.

African Americans overwhelmingly supported Yes on 8. Exit polls show that 70% of Black voters chose Yes on 8. This was interesting because the majority of these voters voted for President-elect Obama. No on 8 supporters had assumed that Obama voters would vote No on 8.

The majority of Latino voters voted Yes on 8. Exit polls show that the majority of Latinos supported Yes on 8 and cited religious beliefs (assumed to be primarily Catholic).

The Yes on 8 coalition was a broad spectrum of religious organizations. Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants, Orthodox Jews, Muslims – all supported Yes on 8. It is estimated that there are 10 million Catholics and 10 million Protestants in California. Mormons were a tiny fraction of the population represented by Yes on 8 coalition members.

Not all Mormons voted in favor of Proposition 8. Our faith accords that each person be allowed to choose for him or her self. Church leaders have asked members to treat other members with "civility, respect and love," despite their differing views.

The Church did not violate the principal of separation of church and state. This principle is derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." The phrase "separation of church and state", which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, although it has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court in recent years. The LDS Church is under no obligation to refrain from participating in the political process, to the extent permitted by law. U.S. election law is very clear that Churches may not endorse candidates, but may support issues. The Church has always been very careful on this matter and occasionally (not often) chooses to support causes that it feels to be of a moral nature.

Supporters of Proposition 8 did exactly what the Constitution provides for all citizens: they exercised their First Amendment rights to speak out on an issue that concerned them, make contributions to a cause that they support, and then vote in the regular electoral process. For the most part, this seems to have been done in an open, fair, and civil way. Opponents of 8 have accused supporters of being bigots, liars, and worse. The fact is, we simply did what Americans do – we spoke up, we campaigned, and we voted.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Life without Prop 8, a first hand story

An email from my brother Jason:

For those of you who have seen the commercials about the family whose second grade son had the book Two Princes read to him in class, I spoke to his father today and got his account of the full story.  He is *Elder Wirthlin's grandson and lives in Massachusetts.  I will try to go through his story as he related it to me today as best I can.  He had some interesting insights as well.
He is a member of the armed forces and as such has to move frequently.  When they recently moved to Mass, they looked into an area with good schools.  They found a district that was highly rated with test scores and that's where they moved.  It was to Lexington, Mass.  Soon after they moved, they learned that the school had something called the "Anti-Bias Committee."  He and his wife thought that it sounded like something good and wanted to be a part of it.  They soon realized that it was meant as a way to push alternative lifestyles into the elementary schools.
The committee decided to have a panel discussion called "Is your family like mine?"  The idea was to go through all the different types of families and explain and highlight each one.  They were going to talk about single parent families, multi racial families, divorced families, families with gay or lesbian parents, etc.  Rob's wife realized there was no panel for families with a traditional husband and wife and asked why.  The panel said they didn't know anyone who would be the example for the panel.  She said she would do it.
The group then was discussing what questions to ask on their panel to help keep the conversation going.  Rob's wife suggested they ask each different family "What do the parents do to strengthen their family?"  Everyone was offended and didn't understand why she would ask such a question or how to respond.
Time passed and they both got busy with things going on with their careers.  They had a baby and one of their parents passed away.  One day their seven year old son who was in second grade at the time came home and told them about a book they had read in school that day about two princes who got married.  They said the book made quite an impression on their son even though it had only been read once because he was able to quote lines from the story to his parents.  The parents knew the teacher and the teacher was aware of their more conservative beliefs.  The mom was upset because she had been at school that same day and the teacher didn't mention anything to her about the book.  They thought maybe their son was confused and followed up with the teacher who confirmed the story.
They decided to check out the book themselves and saw that the queen had told the princes that she would have already been married twice by his age and that she brought over all different types of princesses for him to choose from.  Each one had some different unappealing physical characteristics for the prince until he saw one of the princess' brother whom he immediately fell in love with and got married to.  The story ends with a picture of the two princes kissing with a heart over their lips.
The parents decided to set up an appointment to discuss this with the principal and teacher.  The teacher admitted that the book wasn't part of the curriculum but said she read it to help the children learn to enjoy reading more because it was a light read.  Rob asked why the teacher would waste time teaching this during school hours when it wasn't a part of the curriculum.  She said she was teaching a common thing about marriage and families to the students and wanted one book that wouldn't be so mushy and girly so the boys in the class would have something to relate to.  The principal asked why they would object to a book being taught about families.  In Rob's opinion the book showed gay marriage as preferable to traditional marriage and also he didn't understand why they would feel the need to teach anything at all in the school about any kind of marriage.  They asked if they could be notified in advance of any future cases where they would be discussing this in school.  The principal handed them a letter from the superintendent stating that the opt-out rule in Mass was only being applied to cases where there would be teaching of an explicitly sexual nature, and that it would not be applied to teaching about family structure of any kind.  The principal refused to give them prior  or post notice of any future discussions.
At this point the principal said they needed to speak with the superintendent about it even though it was not part of the curriculum for the district.  By this time the media got wind of it and started interviewing his wife, etc.  The superintendent said there would be no accommodation made for them.  Rob thought this was crazy because they get notice for so many other things; field trips, biology, math, spelling, but not this.  He said he only wanted to be notified when an adult would be talking about gay marriage.  They said no.
They decided to file a lawsuit with another family.  Because the Mass State constitution says that parents are responsible for the moral upbringing of their children the District court rules against them and said the schools must teach before the children can make up their own mind.  The First Circuit Court of appeals denied them in a 43 page report in which they stated that the sole purpose was to change people's minds about gay marriage.  The Mass Supreme court turned it down as well.  The scary thing is that now other states can turn to this as precedent for case law in their own states.  He recommended to anyone to read the appeals court decision because of the language in it and their justification that will be used by other states deciding the same issues.
He summarized up with saying that the same arguments that are being made by the No on 8 campaign now were the arguments made several years ago in Mass.  They said it was a Civil Rights issue and that it only affected the two people who were involved.  He said he thought within weeks if Prop 8 doesn't pass there will be similar things implemented in California.
On a side note, they were shunned by the community.  He said his wife would be walking down the street and people would cross the street to walk on the other side.  They were totally isolated from everyone else.  He said the other family's son who was six years old was beat up in school and the school did nothing about it until a year later when the same bully started intimidating their other younger son.

One thing I'll just add that I thought was significant was that he said they are pushing so hard to get this taught at such a young age because children are not able to discern right from wrong before the age of 8 to 10.  This hit home to me because we know that children under the age of 8 do not have accountability.  They are trying to plant this seed in kids before their brain can reject it so that later in life it will always be there.  He also mentioned that the high schools in the district have a common practice of telling adolescents during their confused years if they are upset or depressed that maybe it's because they are gay or lesbian.  Now in Mass from pre-K to fifth grade they must learn the correct definition of gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals.  They use the guise that it's about families and marriage because they have gay marriage.  He said anyone who thinks this is not going to affect them is naive.
I'm sure I may have made mistakes of his portrayals to me.  I did the best I could do based on my ability to write notes while he was talking to me but I want everyone to realize  that I may have made mistakes in the transcription.

*Elder Withlin is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the LDS church.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Adjustment

I'm saddened to say last week when I fell behind on my Book of Mormon challenge I didn't do as great as I'd hoped in catching up.  The good news is, I am caught up so that now if I still read six pages every day until the end of the year I'll finish on Dec 31.  Woohoo!
I'm definitely staying on track this time.  Swear.  Join me, even if you're just starting.  Pick up where we are.  Tonight I read through page 159.  Mosiah.  Some great stuff I want to blog about later.  This weekend will be crazy but hopefully I'll at least come back to these chapters on Monday because they were very thought provoking.  But for now, I must sleep.
Oh yeah, and please note I've updated the chart on the right side of my blog.

Yes on Prop 8

My 4 year old nephew Ryan, doing his part.

So I have to take just a minute to mention how impressed I've been with all the effort put forth from the members of the LDS church (and probably others, I just specifically hear about the LDS since I'm a member) specifically my parents, sister and her family, and brother and his wife, toward promoting Prop 8.
I spoke with my dad for a while today and we talked about all the campaigning for (and against) Prop 8.  It's raised more money ($6 million) than any other prop (or measure....not sure of the correct term here) than any other in the history of the United States.  Pretty amazing.  My family and friends have given so much time putting signs up every day (that have been taken down during the night) making cold calls, contacting neighbors, and not to mention donating money for this cause.
I couldn't be more proud of my Californians.
I will admit when I first learned of Prop 8 I struggled with how I felt, however after researching it I've come to realize that I truly am for it.  I strongly encourage anyone out there who does not know where they stand, or doesn't understand what exactly Prop 8 will do, to really look into it.
There's a really great video on Youtube that explains what will happen should Prop 8 not pass.  I encourage you to watch it.

And one more....sorry, I can't help myself

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cycle of democracy

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury.
From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising them the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.  These nations have progressed through this sequence:
  1. From bondage to spiritual faith
  2. From spiritual faith to great courage
  3. From courage to liberty
  4. From liberty to abundance
  5. From abundance to selfishness
  6. From selfishness to apathy
  7. From apathy to dependence
  8. From dependency back again into bondage.

Compliments of www.wrisley.com

I'd say we're at about #6, headed towards the end.  I'm just sayin...

Vote.

'Twas the night after elections and all through the town
Tempers were flaring, emotions all up and down!
I in my bathrobe with a cat in my lap
Had cut off the TV, tired of political crap.
When all of a sudden, there arose such a noise,
I peered out my window and saw Obama and his boys.
They had come for my wallet, they wanted my pay
To give to the others, who had not worked a day!
He snatched up my money, and quick as a wink,
Jumped back on his bandwagon as I gagged from the stink.
He then rallied his henchmen who were pulling his cart,
I could tell they were out to tear my country apart!
On Fannie, on Freddie, on Biden and Ayers!
On Acorn, on Pelosi, he screamed at the pairs!
They took off for his cause and as he flew out of sight
I heard him laugh at the nation who wouldn't stand up and fight!
So I leave you to think, on this one final note,
IF YOU DON'T WANT SOCIALISM GET OUT AND VOTE!!

Sorry Mom.


Whitney posted about a site that asks you an assortment of questions, and then tells you what locations best match your ideal place in which to live.  The questions vary from price of a house/rent, religion, weather, and culture.
Here are the top 24 places I'd be most happy:
  1. Long Island, New York
  2. New York City, New York
  3. El Paso, Texas
  4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  5. Norfolk, Virginia
  6. Phoenix, Arizona
  7. Manhattan, New York
  8. Augusta, Georgia
  9. Charlotte, North Carolina
  10. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  11. Charleston, South Carolina
  12. Tucson, Arizona
  13. Orlando, Florida
  14. Chesapeake-Virginia Beach, Virginia
  15. Carlisle, Pennsylvania
  16. Fort Worth, Texas
  17. Tampa, Florida
  18. Houston, Texas
  19. Jacksonville, Florida
  20. Dallas, Texas
  21. Memphis, Tennessee
  22. Nashville, Tennessee
  23. West Palm Beach, Florida
  24. Atlanta, Georgia
Sorry Mom, looks like I won't be moving to California anytime soon.  But the good news is it looks like I'm currently in the right place!

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Taking out the trash

Dear friends, in an effort to fill my head with less smut I've decided to go cold turkey and drop these shows.  GG shouldn't be too tough, as I was starting to hate it anyway.  The characters annoy me and I can't stand how ridiculously far fetched it is.  Did Serena really say to her mom, with a completely serious face, "I'm sorry I embarrassed you in front of a national magazine"??  I mean, I guess the same thing can be said about some of my other shows, but this one is just too much for me.  I think the hardest part will just be missing out on all the water cooler talk, which was the reason I started watching in the first place.  But I'm happy to no longer deal with Serena talking like her jaw is permanently locked in the same, almost closed, position, and Chuck's hideous pout.  I will miss, however, Blair's impeccable style.

Grey's will be more difficult.  Granted, it's not nearly as good as it was the first three seasons, but still, I've been a fan from the beginning.  It's just gone too far.  I mean, it's always been a little racy, but last week's episode really crossed the line.  I don't mind that there's a lesbian couple, I really don't.  It's just the graphic nature in which their relationship is discussed that I can't stand.  If those conversations were being had about a hetero couple I still wouldn't like it.  I actually wrote a letter to ABC because I really think they're going to lose viewers.  Everyone with whom I spoke felt the same way I did about Thursday's episode.

So, goodbye MerDer.  I hope for everyone's sake you'll be happy and get married and make beautiful babies.  And Iz, move on.  Alex is a total jerk.  He can't help it, but he's not going to change.  And George, figure it out.  Lexi is the best thing to ever happen to you.
Maybe one day I'll pick up the show again, but at this time in my life, I just can't.

Thanks for the support friends.....I'm taking baby steps.  I realize how much I've obsessed over SATC in prior postings, and that isn't exactly clean.  Luckily that show is long gone.  
Baby steps.

*PS It should be noted I do not judge those who love these shows and watch religiously.  I just can't watch them for my own reasons, at this point.  For the rest of you, happy viewing!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Confession

I've fallen off the wagon.  I've totally blown it on scripture reading over the weekend and am now playing catch up.  But guess what?  The good news is I can catch up, and will be back by Sunday.  So can you.  Or just pick up where you're supposed to be.  It's up to you.
Just a few notes from last night and tonight's reading.
Last night I was reading aloud over the phone with my reading buddy.  I've been a little frustrated lately because I'm having a really hard time understanding what I've been reading, and especially applying what I've read to my own life.  The Isaiah chapters kill me.  I frequently feel like my eyes are going over the words but nothing's really coming from my reading other than being able to check it off the list for that day, and really what does that even do?
My friend told me something that helps him.  He said I should just try to take one thing from my reading.  If I can just connect with one verse I should feel like I've had success.  And if I don't find that connection?  It's okay.  I can try again tomorrow.  So that's my goal for these difficult reading days, and it can be yours too.
I'm actually in the middle of tonight's reading right now, but wanted to jot down a couple thoughts.
In 2 Nephi 28:29 we read:

Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!

This one immediately made me think of how I can apply it in my life.  I love General Conference, but how many times have I felt like, okay, I've watched hours of this and I'm sort of ready to be done.  I'm sure a lot of you are probably shocked, and soak every second of it in, but I struggle with it.  And more commonly, sometimes I find myself dragging a little, thinking about how we spend 3 whole hours at church on Sunday.  When I break it down, really that's nothing.  It's 1/8 of one day out of 7 days in a week.  How many hours do I spend working, watching tv, talking on the phone, wasting time on the computer, and socializing?  How ridiculous for me to think that three hours is such a sacrifice.

Lastly, in 2 Nephi 28:32 we read:

Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts!  For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

All the day long.  
Talk about awesome.  This one stirred up an overwhelming amount of emotion.  It really hit me like a ton of bricks, remember how much God loves us.  Regardless of how accepting we are, we have a loving Heavenly Father whose arm is stretched out to us, waiting for us to reach up and grab His hand.  I was just so amazed at the thought of how much He loves me.  How much he loves you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Foliage is the new sunset

So last Sunday Courtnie had a great idea to head north about an hour to go apple picking at check out the foliage.  It's always nice to get out of the city every once in a while.  So after Sacrament Meeting Court, Britt, Maria, and I hopped in a Zipcar and headed out.
I honestly died over the trees.  I think I took like 160 pictures.  We were like ridiculous tourists, snapping our cameras every five seconds.  These pictures don't even come close to doing justice.







Remember this post? So this picture below is exactly what my view looked like on the plane, for miles.  Just packs and packs of trees in every colors.

This little town Sugar Loaf was so darling.

Loved this house.


I loved this picture because of the contrast of the yellow tree's branches pointing up next to the pine tree's pointing down.



We were so excited.

I almost fell over trying to get my head down so low.


Someone's backyard.  Amazing.

Britt and Court.


Loved this little place on the side of the road.

Picking out my pumpkin.



Court, Britt, me, and Maria.

Court and Britt.



I loved the woodsy background on the right.

We loved all the houses.  No cookie-cutter here.  Everything looked different.



Found mine.


Obviously I died over this one with the purple doors.



Can you believe this is just an hour outside the concrete jungle?

Three little piggies at the apple farm.





Right before we were ransacked by a million little kids wanting their picture taken.

So we didn't actually make it to the apple orchards in time to pick apples, lame, I know.  We still got a lot of great photos and Britt and I had some amazing apple pie.

So you can't really even tell what this is but it was totally dark at this point, I had to do the best I could with lightening it up on my computer.  There are houses that back up to this amazing lake with all the trees.  I can't even imagine living there.

After we got back we dropped off the car in Brooklyn and subway'd it back into the city.

So I honestly died over the trees.  I kept saying I could never live in California again and be a happy girl with how much I'm loving the fall.  Who woulda' thunk it???  I just can't get over how much I'm loving the seasons.  Last year we didn't really have much of a fall so I've been obsessed this year.  Autumn in New York really is everything everyone says it is and more.