Final Words on the Matter: Yes on 8 vs. Ignorance

Friday, October 31, 2008 Posted In , , , , Edit This 1 Comment »

My daughter had an altercation with a couple of kids at school who objected to a "Yes on 8" sticker she'd placed on her binder. A girl started hitting her until C. forcibly held her hands down. C. told her she had the right to speak and asked the girl why she was so angry. The girl said, "Because you're going to vote yes!" (Oh such an intelligent reply...not.) C. calmly told her, (among other things) "I am not going to vote. I am ELEVEN!"
She had to similarly take care of a boy she caught scraping the sticker off her binder. She reported him for vandalism and he got detention x 3 for his efforts.
On the other hand - she had many requests for stickers from her friends and now there are six of them walking around with "Yes on 8" stickers on their binders!

My last thought on the subject: When I was eleven, I didn't know about same sex relationships and the first time I saw a same sex couple, I was twenty! (Remember? New Zealand!)
I am sad for my children, for the innocence lost. Can we just let them be kids for heaven's sakes? Can we let them grow up without confusing them with gender issues? And, if they choose to, can we allow them the freedom to stand up for their rights be it on the street with a "Yes on 8" sign without grown men and women giving them obscene gestures?

Do I sound angry? I am SO FRUSTRATED! Don't tell me you aren't! I won't be voting because I am a permanent resident and not a citizen but I have to live with the consequences just like you do!

I am lucky I have my daughter and others like her to teach me how to handle myself with dignity or I might be tempted to SCREAM at someone!

Update: MM. took the kids this morning to join the volunteers putting doorknob signs on pro 8 homes to remind people to vote on Tuesday. They were told that cars with "Yes on 8" stickers have been spraypainted and keyed. He said that they had to go out in pairs this time because individuals are being physically accosted by the 'Nos'. And just last night these people were handing candy out to children!

I know what Halloween is REALLY about!

Thursday, October 30, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , , , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
I was 36 years old when I first went trick or treating. I know! I'd been horribly deprived for 36 years! It's a wonder that I grew up mostly normal.
You see, nobody knocked on doors for free treats in New Zealand when I was a kid. We didn't even dress up. We didn't have those excessively orange, uber pumpkins on our doorsteps. We didn't have ghost or skeleton decorations. The only Halloween activities we witnessed were broadcast to us, from America, on the telly. If dad let us watch it. Instead of the Cricket.
It was useless trying to actually go out trick or treating. The only time my brother and I managed to get the courage to try it, we were chased off the property. And we couldn't even see who chasing us because we'd forgotten to cut eye holes in the sheet. It was pretty scary.
Now that I'm nearly grown up, I have children who enjoy trick or treating and the pumpkins and the ghosts, the costumes and the treats, the whole thing really. But I have grave (geddit?... grave!) reservations. Because I know that the blood soaked chainsaws and smoke machines are all just props and the real Halloween is about SUGAR. It is the sole intention and goal for all children to have tons of candy all day and all night. And the parents go along with it! But I want to put a stop to it!
Foolish, impossible wish...
I have a GREAT idea. Go to every house that they could conceivably canvas and ask the nice people to only hand out Vegemite jars and kiwifruit to the a)Ice Queen with a sparkly blue face, b)Black Widow complete with spiderweb collar, c)rugby player with stripey socks. Yes!............ No! Logistical nightmare and the kids would get suspicious. ("Let's see what you got kids! Fifty seven jars of yeast extract each. Yay!")
OK, this is better... tell them we're! Yes! I am so clever! No! I am so stupid! I would actually have to take them TO Disneyland!
Alright...I've got it... I really have. I am going to BRIBE them! For every 5 pieces of candy they give me, I will pay them 25 cents. Then I will take them shopping and they can choose their candy. Hmmm, that needs a little work...

Computer Generated or Not?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 Posted In , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
I have a bit of time on my hands, you may have noticed...
I've been sick with strep throat and nothing better to do than write on my blog and watch the washing pile up...

I've Been Targeted With Spam! From China!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 Posted In , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »

And guess what? I followed the chinese spammer back to his search page. If you want to see your own blog in chinese (it's pretty cool), just type into your browser: - that's the chinese google search page. Then do a search for your blog and when the search results show, click the chinese characters beside your blog name and voila! instant chinese translation! Chinese characters are sooo pretty!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008 Posted In Edit This 1 Comment »

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker

Funny Guy... Non Funny Issue

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 Posted In , Edit This 1 Comment »

Title of Liberty...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 Posted In , Edit This 1 Comment »

GO VIRAL with "YES on Prop 8!"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , , Edit This 4 Comments »
In a human chain 450 strong that stretched from the 79 exit almost to Pechanga Parkway, we stood waving "Yes on Prop 8" signs. We were making a stand in support of Traditional Marriage! It was a truly amazing experience! People driving past honked and waved in support. The children danced and shouted, "Vote Yes!" as the cars drove by.
Motorists called out for more information and we threw 'Yes' stickers through their open windows as they stopped at a red light.
Neighbours were climbing over their wall to join us with their homemade "Yes on 8" signs!

Members from each ward gathered at arterial routes close to their own church building. There must have been thousands of us out yesterday!

Click here to view the news article about it.

PLEASE READ THIS no matter what state you live in. Failure to pass Proposition 8 will hurt children. If gay marriage remains legal, public schools will put it on equal footing with traditional marriage. Children will likely receive “age appropriate” information about sexual relations within heterosexual and homosexual marriages. Failure to pass Proposition 8 will hurt ALL churches. The court’s decision will inevitably lead to conflicts with religious liberty and free speech rights. Society will become more and more hostile to traditional beliefs about marriage and family. Over time, greater acceptance of non-traditional marriage will be demanded of all people. This could impact the ability of any religion to teach and practice its beliefs. Including adoption agencies. These things ARE happening where gay marriage is legal.

Did You Miss It Too?

Monday, October 27, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
The announcement of the building of the Rome temple caused quite a stir. The ooohs and ahhhs rippled through the LDS membership, yet nobody blinked when the Kansas City temple was announced. Bear with me a wee bit while I point out the significance of what you may have missed. It went right over my head but my husband got it.
(With the help of the 1st Counselor in the Stake Presidency who referred us to
D & C 57.)
First, note that it is the Kansas City, Missouri temple...
Second, note the proximity of the temple site to Independence, Missouri... (click on the map to enlarge it)

Third, let me quote directly from D & C 57: "Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion." "And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the courthouse."
Finally, this statement regarding the temple lot was released by the church: "The site is situated on a hillside...a beautiful mixed development owned by the Church in northeast Kansas City, just west of the Liberty Jail Historic Site."

What do you think?

Touring the Aftermath

Sunday, October 26, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Edit This 2 Comments »
It's been three years since Katrina hit New Orleans but who knows if the lower Ninth Ward will ever recover? This was the hardest hit area and the community we drove through on our self-guided tour. One thing was clear, it wasn't only Katrina's fault. The Industrial Canal levee was built from sand. Yes, you heard right...SAND! Poking a screwdriver in it would have brought the thing down.
But, the Federal Government gave the city $600 million to replace the crumbling levee in 1998. Construction started the same year until Ninth Ward residents complained about the noise and sued to have the work stopped. Big oops!
It has been repaired now and unmistakably concrete in construction. If it had been repaired when it was supposed to, the steel barge that, well... barged through the levee into the residential area would not have ended up on top of someone's home.
(The barge has since been removed but for your viewing convenience, I swiped a pic from the net.)

Most of the residents from this area have left for good. There are acres of empty lots, homes long gone. Some diehards still live in FEMA trailers. We saw a few new houses. Families sitting on their new porches solemnly watched us drive past. We approached one man and asked if we could take his picture. People across the street called out, "He doesn't talk!" We took his picture. He smiled then picked up a broom and began to sweep his driveway. The driveway to nowhere....

Sign below reads: "Danger. Keep Out. Methane Gas May Be Present. Home Sitter Preservation Network. Saving our past for our future."

Still standing...

Tiny house overgrown with weeds.

House for Rent. Cheap. No neighbours. Air conditioning. Original facade. Choose your own carpet. Available immediately.

Two died here...

Writing on the door below says, "Sorry. Too Late. Copper is Gone."

Deserted neighbourhoods and potholed streets...

Belongings still sitting where the water left them...

Holes hacked into the roof by residents trying to escape the floodwaters. Rooftop S.O.S. sign. "We Love You Jesus. We need gas and food."

Only the roof remains...

Not much remains...

Oh, the irony!
Hope wrapped in tyvek...

Building UP! Nemo keeps an eye out for the next wave...

Devastation Tour

Friday, October 24, 2008 Posted In , , , Edit This 2 Comments »
Would you like to tour the Katrina carnage? Do I have the tour for you! And I quote: "Witness our devastation and struggle to rebuild with a licensed tour guide." Can you say e-x-p-l-o-i-t-a-t-i-o-n?
Works for me... I'll tell you more when we get back from the tour...

Y'all want some shrimp gumbo?

Thursday, October 23, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , , Edit This 2 Comments »
They speak a different language in New Orleans. I still haven't figured out what the last two people said to me.
I think MM. is turning into one of them. He keeps saying, "Hey y'all..." to everyone. OK, this confirms it...he asked if we want to go eat at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Company.
Sure, Forrest.

So we went to Bubba Gump's for dinner and this whole restaurant is themed after the movie "Forrest Gump". The place is filled with movie memorablilia. The waitress said she would do a little dance for us if we answered the movie trivia questions correctly. Ooooh goody, I can't wait. Surprisingly, we got alot of them right including... What is Forrest's favourite book? You don't know? No dance for you then.

So far we have shopped at Winn-Dixie (I thought that was a dog) and the Piggly Wiggly. I'm not joking. This is a real shop and none of the employees seemed embarrassed to be working there. They all acted as if it was perfectly normal to walk around with a pig's head logo on their chests. Oh well, (shrug) that's life in Louisiana...

(Forrest Gump's favourite book- 'Curious George'.)

Jarheads and Harleys

Monday, October 20, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , , , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
So anyway, we were invited to MM's cousins home for a Sunday afternoon family dinner. When we pull up to the apartment complex, the security guard (alias Gestapo Lady) approaches and writes down our license plate number, asks us who we're going to see then calls him to confirm we are not enemy spies. Then we are given a set of 'rules and regulations' for the complex, and MM has to sign it... all the while, the security camera is trained right on us. I was very tempted to make faces at it but didn't want us get us kicked out so very stoically eyed the thing instead. (OK, I stuck my tongue out at it, but only once.)

Then, to add a little more indignity, we were told we could not take our vehicle to the apartment but could park it at the gate and walk up (yes, UP!) to his home. I should've worn my hiking boots.

This check-point debacle made our host J very annoyed and he vowed to "bash them" later.  I wouldn't like to get on his bad side. He's a Marine.

So, we had a nice quiet dinner with J and his son and girlfriend and room mate and her boyfriend and another couple of friends and various children... did I say quiet? No, this was unmistakably a BBQ 'party' complete with ear bleeding music.  Did I say music?
Wrong again.

I was about three million miles outside my comfort zone. This is not how I envisioned spending my sabbath. MM and I looked at each other then each dove in. We were going to make the best of it. We were there for J, to meet his baby son and his girlfriend and that meant we had to be in his world for a while...

So, I ignored the "music" and the alcohol and the abundance of skin and ink on skin and just started talking to whoever would talk back. 

Just before we left, one of J's friends (griller extraordinaire) told us the recipe for the steak marinade that we all wolfed down. Soy sauce and beer. you say....oh.
"I could really taste the beer." he says.
Oh.... right.....uh huh...hmmm.

On the way home the kids said, "Now we know what beer tastes like!"


'Twilight' Verdict

Friday, October 17, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , Edit This 3 Comments »
So anyway, I gave in to pressure to read Twilight. Luckily it was a quick read. I got through it in one day. I don't usually read books like this and initially I was not enjoying it. But it did get slightly better. In the end, I gave it a solid 4 out of 10.
I know, you're shrieking with disbelief...

The first hundred pages I felt like the author was still trying to figure out how to set the story up. The next couple of hundred pages were slightly better because it seemed Ms Meyer increasingly knew where she was going. The 'vampire falls in love with a human' aspect was a novel one. However, I did not like the intense sexual tension that kept up throughout the whole book. It just made me want to gag.

It wouldn't let up.
Bella's dialogue mainly consists of: "Edward is beautiful and perfect and gorgeous. What stupid thing can I do today to get myself nearly killed? Edward is beautiful and perfect and gorgeous. Edward is a vampire. His instinct is to rip me to shreds. But he's beautiful and perfect and gorgeous. I can't exist without him." On and on...

The speed with which Bella 'fell in love' was unnatural, or at the very least, inadvisable. Bella completely ignored her life (father, school, friends) in favour of worshipping the perfect Edward (who incidentally, only liked her smell). He became her life. What message does this send to the mainly teen female audience?

Although Edward was perfect, he did not have any real personality. Apart from listening to Claire de Lune, and lying in the sun, we don't even find out what Edward likes to do.
One of Edward's comments wins the 'Most Inane' award -"I may not be human but I'm still a man." Huh?

For me, the best part was when Bella was trying to save her life by running from a bad vampire dude. The bad dude cleverly tricks her and she is forced to deal with a dangerous situation by herself. The suspense builds up nicely around her as she plunges (yet again) into mortal danger. This was what rescued the book from a 2 out of 10. The last ten or so pages were actually not too bad.
But... I don't recommend this book.
If you like romance (sometimes I do) I recommend you read (or at least see the 1969 movie of) 'Romeo and Juliet' before you give this one your attention. Then there's 'Pride and Prejudice', not to mention 'Gone With The Wind'.
"Seek ye out of the best books" right?

Pumpkin Patch Pranks

Monday, October 13, 2008 Posted In Edit This 2 Comments »

Night Goggles

Sunday, October 12, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
I have been pondering the mundane things in life. Since it is now 11:49pm and sleep is elusive, I will tell you about a little trick I learned to help me see in the dark.
If you are anything like me, a visit to the bathroom in the middle of the night turns into a stumbling grope through hostile territory. Actually, getting to the bathroom is easy. Its on the return trip, after the 'oh so blinding' electric bulb has done its evil work, that disaster awaits.
I have slowly shuffled my way back to my bed. I have crawled my way back. I have slid my feet along the carpet, skiing to bed. (That's when electricity got me a second time.) Regardless of my efforts, I managed to locate and step on every lego piece and matchbox car in the room with a toe kick to the bed leg to finish me off.
If your life contains miserable experiences like this, help is on its way.
All you will need is: both eyes and eyelids that open and close independently of each other. If you can master this simple technique, your woes are behind you.

Follow this carefully and don't try to skip any steps, your extremities are depending on you to get this right...
1. Walk to the bathroom. (So far, so good.)
2. Now this is the important part: Close ONE eye. If you are not sure which eye to close, it should probably be the left one.
3. Keeping your LEFT EYE CLOSED, switch on the light.
4. Use the bathroom. (Please! Do you need to be told?)
5. Wash your hands per the sign you see in fast food restaurant bathrooms. (...E Coli, salmonella, blah blah...) Remember to keep the LEFT EYE CLOSED.
6. Turn off the light... now this next step is important...
7. CLOSE the RIGHT EYE and OPEN the LEFT EYE. Look around. You should now be able to see clearly enough through your non-blinded eye to avoid the land mines left for you by your children.
Have fun with this, experiment a little by changing which eye you close first. If you really want to have fun, alternate opening and closing each eye once you have safely reached your bed.
The simplest solutions are usually the best and I am not even charging you one cent for this priceless information. (Should you wish to donate to future research in the continued effort to improve your quality of life, please click on the paypal button conveniently located below. Thank you.)

Believe me, your troubles are over.

High Fructose Corn Muck

Sunday, October 12, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , , , , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
So anyway, I saw an ad on tv where girl offers friend some bright red punch and friend politely declines saying she does not partake of the evil HFCS. Girl baulks then ever so condescendingly tells her it is natural and just like sugar if eaten in moderation. "Oh," says thoroughly chastened friend, "I didn't know that!"
I won't go into how insulting this is to all anti-HFCSers; insinuating that we are largely ignorant of HFCS effects and will deflate in the face of a little opposition.

* HFCS is no more natural than bio diesel or urethane which are derived from corn. I doubt you would like to eat the latter.
* HFCS steals nutrients from your body while it is being assimilated.
* HFCS can only be metabolized by your liver (like alcohol) not
by your cells like normal sugar.

* People who consume large amounts (how much is that exactly?) of HFCS show copper deficiencies. This causes immune system problems, skeletal defects, irregular heart rhythm, dermatitis and more.
* HFCS is lurking in 70% of processed foods (even bread) so it is easy to unknowingly consume too much. (Found in soda, salad dressing, ketchup, yoghurt, corn dogs, bagels, juice, spaghetti sauce, jam, its basically everywhere.)
* HFCS does not trigger insulin or leptin secretion which helps to signal your body that you've eaten enough.

Check all labels when you shop and do yourself a favour - chuck out all your soda. Our bodies have enough rubbish to deal with.

A Propositioning We Go

Saturday, October 11, 2008 Posted In , , Edit This 1 Comment »
So anyway, we three (MM, Moi and C.) went out to put "Yes on Prop 8" signs in the neighbourhood. We distributed more than 50. Two days later, only one sign that I know of has been vandalised. The one I put in front of Arco, corner of Margarita and 79 South, is still there. (Update: Three days later and the sign is gone. Thieves, vandals, vagabonds!)

Chick Magnet

Friday, October 10, 2008 Posted In , , , , Edit This 4 Comments »
So anyway, M. comes home, slumps in a chair and says casually, "It happened again. Some more girls told me they like me. That makes five this week."
"Wow!" says I, "What are you doing to them?"
(Incredulous look.) "Kindness!"
So there you have it. How to 'make friends and influence people' from a ten year old sage.
Kindness!!! D'uh!

I'm Not Ready for Halloween

Friday, October 10, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
So anyway, I took the kids to look at Halloween costumes (I'm trying to be better prepared this year and not make the 11th hour dash to Wal-Mart for black lipstick and vampire teeth).
M. wants to be a rugby player but I couldn't find the striped knee high socks. No problem, I found some on ebay. Private listing. For those who don't want anyone to know they like stripey socks
. Shhhhh.
C. initially wanted to be a hobo but fell in love with a black widow costume, complete with spiderweb collar.
(Maybe Wilbur suggested it?)
A. chose a blue wig....let me guess....Marge Simpson?

Overheard from a teenage boy whilst walking past the underwear department: "What is this?" (Pointing to a padded bra.) "They have built-in boobs?"

Google Sides With Gomorrah

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , Edit This 1 Comment »
I just read that Google has made an official stand in opposition to Proposition 8. I am so disgusted! I'm ready to quit Blogger and go to Yahoo. California law already grants domestic partners all the rights that a state can grant to a married couple. Gays have a right to their private lives, but not to change the definition of marriage.
Voting 'YES' on Proposition 8 does three simple things:
* Restores the definition of marriage to what the vast majority of California voters already approved and what Californians agree should be supported, not undermined.
* Overturns the outrageous decision of four activist Supreme Court judges who ignored the will of the people.
* Protects our children from being taught in public schools that "same-sex marriage" is the same as traditional marriage.

Read more about Prop 8 and its consequences here:


A Bomb Went Off In Our Backyard

Monday, October 06, 2008 Posted In , Edit This 2 Comments »
So anyway, we had to remove the BBQ island because tree roots had compromised it. MM rented a jack hammer and spent the better part of Friday afternoon destroying it. The kids were keen to help (demolishing things is their specialty) so they all grabbed hammers and started beating it.
M. was like, "I'm a working MAN." Whack! "I'm a working MAN." Whack!
I went out to survey the damage and it looked like it had exploded from the inside. There is a HUGE mess out there.
I'm not cleaning it up.

Spiritual Sci-Fi

Saturday, October 04, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , , Edit This 4 Comments »
So anyway, I managed to be seated and attentive before the opening hymn of the Semi-Annual Conference was over. I must admit, I love Conference. I just absolutely love it. I take notes and everything.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf is fast turning into one of my favourites. His talk was centred on 'hope', 'faith' and 'charity' and how the three complement each other and bring happiness.
For me, the most meaningful thing he said was, "If only we could glimpse for a moment what our Heavenly Father has in store for us not only in the next life but in this, our hope would be unshakeable and despair would never overcome us."
I love this perspective and I am going to try to be more optimistic in this pessimistic world. After all, there is really only one person in charge and He is mindful of each individual He created. Believe it or not.

One thing that truly endeared me to Pres. Uchtdorf was when he finished his talk with, "Never give in, never surrender." He said this with great empathy but this is like the famous line ("Never give up, never surrender".) that Tim Allen utters in the movie 'Galaxy Quest', which happens to be my favourite sci-fi parody. So of course this catapulted me into the movie and I was right there with Tim Allen trying to kill the Rock Monster. ("It's a rock! It doesn't have any vulnerable spots!")

I didn't know Pres. Uchtdorf was a Trekky.

Money Changes Everything

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 Posted In , , , , , , , Edit This 3 Comments »
So anyway, a year ago we (MM and I) decided to offer the children cash incentives to help them focus on getting 'A' grades. For every 'A' graded paper/test, they get $1. For every 'A+' on their report card they get $50. But, they can only get the money if they have no less than a 'B-' on their report so no matter if they get four 'A+'s, one 'C' will kill the cashflow.
Seriously, I didn't think they would respond well to this. I thought the idea would swish around their heads for a day or two then disappear under the weight of apathy. These kids are not very materialistic (if I do say so myself). They aren't the types to hand you a list a mile long when you ask them what they want for their birthday. They go with the flow and don't ask for much and never think to ask for money. (Except when it comes to sugar-laden treats, then its ALL ON.)
Imagine my surprise when A. walks in with THREE 'A's! M. turns up with FIVE and C.'s progress report is now showing THREE!
We may go broke before the kids are out of Middle School, but the point is....this system is working!
They are clever children, there's no doubt, but they have never put so much effort into their schoolwork before and they now go out of their way to gain extra credit.
Here is my question.... is this morally wrong? My friends say they would never bribe their kids to get good grades but my viewpoint is this: They are not gaining an illicit advantage and we are not inducing them to be dishonest in their work. We are REWARDING their hard work. We are helping them build good study habits to carry them through a lifetime of learning. I actually object to the 'b' word because I know people who bought their child a car when they turned 16 and all they had to do to get it was - grow.

I told the kids I want them all to be professionals when they grow up because I want free medical care, dentistry, and law. A. said she'd rather be a Medical Examiner because you can't accidentally kill someone if they're already dead (?) or an air stewardess because you get to travel the world. (Nevermind the barmaid and vomit duties.)
M. has changed his mind about becoming a police officer after we went target shooting as a family. (No, we didn't SHOOT him! It must've been the slugs that rocketed out of my shotgun, deafening the lot of us. Wasted the target though - awesome!)
C. hasn't made up her mind about what to do so I can still try to make a lawyer out of her. If her current debating skills are anything to go by, she'll be fantastic.
I wish my parents had been as clever as I am.......