Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Do! Not! Doubt!

On this Halloween, I have a spooooooky story to tell you!  And what's more, IT'S TRUE!!

Once upon a time . . .

There was a girl who loved to dig in the dirt.  And she decided to spend one whole summer digging in the deserts of Utah.  Having made this decision, she telephoned her mother and said, "Yo Ma, I need some sweet shirts to dig in."  So her mother, being a woman of vast resources and knowledge, sought far and wide for just the right collection of epicness.  And illumination came to her mind!  She knew which shirt her daughter needed for to diggeth in the soil.

The Three Wolf Moon T-shirt.

If you have never gone to the Amazon site and looked up the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt, do so now.  We'll wait.  The key is you need to read the customer reviews.  Things like this are what give me hope in America's future, for a country without a healthy sense of humor is a country on the rapid downhill slide. 

One of my favorite reviews:  "The Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt gave me a +10 resistance to energy attacks, +8 Strength, and added 30 feet to my normal leap. I cannot list the specific effects involving the opposite sex as I am still discovering these. And they are many.

Since owning the Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt, I have successfully solved 7 crimes in my city, including 4 cold case murders. The local police force is currently wishing to retain my services."

This is only one of over 2,000 reviews describing the full, awesome power of the Three Wolf Moon shirt.

And yet, you think I and the 2,000 reviewers jest. 

Just wait.

I ordered my daughter The Three Wolf Moon shirt, along with a high quality cotton t-shirt featuring over 10 (TEN!) cat pictures, and a third artistic t-shirt depicting the legendary combination of a unicorn AND a rainbow.  She was prepared to dig and to dig successfully.

Into the desert she went, day after day, digging among the dead from a thousand years ago, bringing to life the long-abandoned and ruined settlements and homes.  With her went the power of the Three Wolf Moon shirt.

Success she did find.  And it's called 75 BEANS!!! (reference Junie B. Jones) The less erudite among us might scoff at this discovery, but that would be unwise.  Less than a scant handful of these small legumes have been found in the Utah area of a several-century age.  That is to say, beans don't last.  But they did for the wearer of the Three Wolf Moon shirt!

Now, we had been warned by many that she was underestimating the power of the shirt and that she would need to be on her guard.  I was confident, though, that being so far removed from major population bases, she would not need to use her highly trained jumping and running skills to fend off would-be admirers.

Little did we know that she had no preparation for what was to come.

Near the end of the appointed digging time, some people came to the site one day.  They asked some questions, took some pictures, and shot some video.  Then they went away.  They were not thought of again.

And then, a few weeks later, this appeared:


That's right.  The Three Wolf Moon shirt (and my girl) debuted on the BYU Homepage, having been donned by my daughter, for all to see.

And the gifts of the shirt kept coming.  She scored 3 (that's THREE) dates just from this one picture!  75 beans AND 3 dates!  What more could one girl ask for? 

We were yet to find out.

Unbeknownst to us, on the other side of the kingdom, a dude named "Travis" was scrolling the web, as we all like to do.  His internet surveying took him to many sites that day, among them the BYU Homepage.  He took note.

More time passed.  It was time for school to start again.  I went to her school financial account page to take care of her tuition payment.  But what did my wondering eyes behold?!  A scholarship notification message was sitting there unopened in her inbox.  Did she want to accept a half tuition scholarship? YES! YES, SHE DID!

I texted my daughter, did she know she had a scholarship waiting for her?  I got a phone call in return!!  "What?  Scholarship?  What?!"  But YES! It was a scholarship!  She hurried to accept, in case it was a mistake!

But it was NOT!  She was invited to a lunch for scholarship recipients.  There she met "Travis," who happened to be a member of BYU's admissions and scholarship committee.  He had nominated her for the scholarship.  But how?  She had never met Travis, had no idea who he was, or that such committee could grant scholarships?!  How had this happened?!

He had seen the homepage.  He had seen the Three Wolf Moon shirt.  And he gave her a scholarship.

TRUE STORY.

So, my friends, judge for yourself.  Myth?  Mystery? Magic?  But 75 beans, 3 dates, and a SCHOLARSHIP don't lie!



Monday, October 22, 2012

Studies In Ethical Considerations 2.0: Church with Children

Humans are not human by nature.  That is to say, we are not humane from the moment of birth.  Indeed, there is nothing so completely self-focused and instinctual as a baby.  Left completely to our own devices, without the benefit of society, rules, manners, blah blah blah, Homo sapiens remain creatures much more fitted to a scientific classification rather than emotive phrases like "philanthropist" or "mankind."  No, we truly are the ultimate Uber Ape without the benefit of moral training of some kind.

Thus it is that I drag my boys to church.  Every.  Week.  Complete with the uniform of white shirt, tie, dress pants, black socks, and shoes.  And if I'm really on my game, combed hair and brushed teeth.  Many, many Sabbath days pass, however, when I wonder why on earth I bother.

My considerations over the past 22 years:

1.  As I stand in the church halls bird-dogging my hyperactive 17 month-old (they don't really come in any other variety), who has been able to walk/run since 9 months-old, for no less that THREE hours, I ponder, yet again, "Wouldn't this be a lot easier at home in my pjs and with a cup of cocoa?"

2.  But if I take the easy path and ditch church to let my miniature nuclear power plant roam free at home, will I be setting up a dangerous path for the future?  Is this, in fact, the first step on the road to giving up every time the going gets hard?  Am I courting disaster by allowing my child's natural behavior to overpower my personal discipline?  Am I, in short, creating a burden on society?!  WILL MY CHILD BECOME A SERIAL MURDERER IF I GO HOME THIS ONE DAY?!

3.  But at what point has exhaustion maybe, possibly, overwhelmed my common sense?  Where, in fact, is the light? What was my middle name again? Ooommm . . . chhhoooooccccoooolllaaatttteee . . . oooommmmm . . .

4.  As my children partake in the time-honored ritual of beating each other below the general vision line of the congregation (ie: punching each other in the hip and side -- below the top of the pew -- so that no one else can see) are we actually accomplishing anything?  Other than honing their stealth attack abilities . . .

5.  But it is here, among the tightly controlled, first 75 minutes of worship that my primary weapon of behavioral modification is perfected -- the Death Glare.  Here it is my children learn the full power of my wrath should their actions so much as draw one nanosecond of attention to them and away from the speaker.  In that 1/168th of the hours of the week, the most stringent behavior correction happens.  At no other time will my power be so formidable.  For to anger Mother during the absolute silence of the sacrament is to bring down the wrath of generations of Mothers.  Do Not Mortify Me This Day.

6.  And thus we have the ultimate tool in learning public behavior.  Long before I turn my young adult offspring loose on the world, he will have learned that not only is it unacceptable to claim your territory as a male human by walking into someone else's house, beating up the current dominate male and kicking him out the front door, claiming the female as your mate, and eating all the food in the fridge, (think about it -- what if people acted exactly like the majestic lions of the savannah?  We generally call that "Crime.") not only is it unacceptable to do any of this, it is unacceptable, nay punishable by Death Glare, to even think about belching, spitting, or farting out loud in public, let alone running into other people's houses and stealing all their stuff.  Including wives.  And chicken nuggets.  

7.  At what point, however, are we too ruled by rules?  Do we risk reverting to the constipation-inducing rigidity of the 1950s if we fret over every possible slight of public expectation?  Who determines public expectation anyway?  Why on earth did anyone ever think up such random notions such as "wearing white clothing after Labor Day is unacceptable."  WHAT?! Who cares! And why on earth should they have any right to tell me and my beautiful children with all their creative expression of their natural soul what to do?  Why should I tether their boundless emotional freedom with the bands of current idiosyncratic dogma?!

8.  Because they'll be thrown in jail, that's why.  (Not for wearing white after Labor Day.  For the stuff in #6.  Unless this is 1952 and the Hamptons.  Ahem.)

9.  But the fact remains that my teen boy is actually SNORING during the service.  There is an art to the sabbath day observance of the 15-18 year old boy.  They sit, elbows resting on knees, and hang their heads down in such a manner that it looks like the chapel is partially occupied by headless bodies.  No other demographic group can do this.  Oh sure, every man over 40 is snoring too, but they use the sitting-up-straight-eyes-mostly-closed-mouth-agape posture, developed by years of corporate meetings.  But only the elastic ligaments and tendons of a teen boy can produce quite the ability to appear headless AND snore at the same time.  Think about that.  And it brings me back, yet again, to the thought -- why am I bothering if he's sound asleep anyway?

10.  Because in the next moment, his younger brothers' sub-pew squabbling awakes him with snort.  He reaches out one long arm and administers two carefully gauged smacks and a Death Glare of his own variety, the kind that says "I'm going to pound you to hamburger when we get home -- and you know I can do it with one eye closed and both legs tied together -- if you don't knock it off right now."  Peace, or rather silence (which is an acceptable alternative), ensues and he goes back to snoring.  Hmm.  Method may not be my first choice, but I'll take it.  Older kid has learned the lesson and is now helping to teach the younger kid.  Public behavior matters.  Private behavior matters.  BEHAVIOR matters.

11.  And as I stand in the hallways, watching my boundlessly bouncing boy child run amok (who would later grow up to be the snoring pew-enforcer), thinking these deep philosophical thoughts, created and developed by higher education and the intellectual freedom of the 20th & 21st centuries, brought on by years of effort by my parents and women's rights advocates to ensure I had every opportunity available to me, as a modern woman, I hear a sound next to me.  It is coming from the car seat by my feet.  My infant sits there, smiling with all the pure happiness a 4 month-old can radiate -- which is a lot.  His little face contorts, turns a bit red, and then he smiles again.  And then I notice that the seat of his carrier is filling with liquid yellow poo.  Literally, he is sitting in at least a quart of runny, cottage cheese-ish poo.  And he is grinning at me as though he were the brightest star in the sky. (Which he is, of course!)

Time and place, young grasshopper.  Time and place.  And now we're going home. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Squirrel!!

So.

For some time now, I have seriously debated the question as whether or not I am actually ADD rather than an overworked mom, which is a question many moms ponder from time to time as they are folding their 473rd load of laundry only to realize they have left the water running in the kitchen sink, although they're pretty sure that the drain was open and free so nothing should have run over on to the floor like what happened last week when *someone* peeled an apple into the sink, not realizing that apple peels will clog a disposal almost as well as potato peels, though to be fair, one apple shouldn't have done it, oh but that's right, there was also an old dish rag down there, which had to be thrown away not because it was shredded but because it turned out to be the source of the mystery smell that triggered a full scrub down of the fridge and that never really goes amiss so it can't be seen as a full loss, especially since it turned out the kindergartener's reading folder was underneath the vegetable drawer, although the orange juice that had spilled down the back hadn't done it any good, but it did lead to a delightful pan of orange rolls being made -- not from the spilled OJ, of course -- and any time baked goods are involved it's a good day, which reminds me that I promised to make 8 dozen brownies for the 9th grade football team tomorrow even though they really shouldn't be eating brownies, although if any one can afford a brownie calorie-wise, it's a 15 year-old boy since most of the football players I know can barely walk under those shoulder pads, but truly, that they don't simply pass out from the the sheer smell of generations upon generations of teen boys wearing those pads without ever having the benefit of some soap and water is anyone's guess, meaning they probably deserve a brownie or two simply by not passing out from olfactory poisoning, but given the way most teen boys radiate stink on a daily basis, it's not that surprising given that their smell receptors probably just shut down for half a decade, sensing the need to protect their own survival from the onslaught headed their way whilst their young male owner makes the wild ride from boy to man, although I'm not sure anyone really realized how accurate that metaphor would be way  back at the dawn of time when the first neanderthal -- incidentally, did you know that that word is properly pronounced nee-and-der-tall, and not nee-and-der-thall, although when one does pronounce words like that correctly, like saying ahm-peer instead of em-pie-er to describe the style of dress worn by Josephine Bonaparte, everyone else looks at one as though one was arrogant and snotty to a degree only reached by people who say "one" instead of "you" or "me" in a sentence, and use them properly, including the required smirk indicating that this "one" knows enough grammar to stuff an armadillo, which brings up new and interesting imagery, not all entirely pleasant, not the least of which is that armadillos are natural carriers of leprosy, although we're supposed to call it Hansen's disease now, especially since there are still leper colonies, although Hansen's disease colonies doesn't sound quite as dramatic or historic, however the last one in the US, which happens to be on one of the smaller Hawaiian islands, may not actually be an isolated facility anymore, although there are several islands that are off-limits to anyone who is not a native islander -- the first neanderthal picked up a roundish-looking rock and rolled it down a hill and said "hey that looks promising" and proceeded to invent the first go-cart ala Fred Flinstone, grabbing a couple of his buddies and heading to the tallest hill they could find, thus creating the most accurate piece of performance art in history, depicting the journey each boy child makes from the top of the hill 'o adolescence with an intact go-cart full of friends and exuberant anticipation of immediate fun, to the bottom of the hill as young adult with an incomplete collection of go-cart wheels, battered bits and pieces of friends, and a whale of a headache, although that comparison would not occur to our newly minted go-cart racer because he would have had no idea what a whale was, although I would pay good money to see the moment the first humanoid came across a whale because that would be amazing to watch his or her face as they realized "holy cow, (well they probably didn't know about cows either) that's a skull . . . and it's bigger than all of me . . . " and I could well relate to that feeling, thinking back to when I first saw a whale skull at Marsh's Free Museum in Long Beach, where they had one on display in front of the store, although I don't think it's there anymore, when I was 5 or 6 and we would always try to imagine how big its eyeball was or its brain and then get completely grossed out at the thought and then we'd get sad because someone had killed it and Grandpa would say "No, it beached itself and rotted on the beach until the birds picked its bones clean" so we would feel more sad and slightly sick about that and Grandpa would give up and offer to buy us a candy stick (I like the apple green ones) inside the Museum so we would all race in to see Jake the Alligatorman, the epitome of all that is good and great in Americana, and the stuffed two-headed goat and the blue and green glass ball floats that Grandpa promised us had floated clear across the Pacific from Japan, and they probably did, but I always had to point that they were glass so why didn't they break because every time I even touched my "5 years old" figurine dolly, which was made of glass, I broke it, well I broke the same part, namely the gold ribbon from her hat, and I always glued it back on with good 'ol Elmers, so it's probably not much of a mystery why that broke, but to my mind it was clear proof that no blue glass globe from Japan could float that far and not break, which I now know as an adult, did happen and those are increasingly rare and valuable since no country uses those any more, given the cheaper and oh-so lovely alternative of poly-styro-whatever that can be squirted out into zillions of molds for pennies and CAN float the Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic, and Indian oceans until the end of time without breaking, which I hear is actually happening with the creation "garbage islands" out in the ocean now . . . and I think I may have wandered off topic . . .

but it did give me time to unload the dishwasher . . .

She's baaaaaaack!