Wednesday, April 11, 2018

They Call It Sea Lice, Actually

Wellllllll, ok. So where were we?

Oh right. We're right back to talking about my endlessly intriguing life. So first, I went Austria.



Oh just kidding. I went to Midway, Utah. That was a fun night. We tried a new restaurant and the evening was one of the first slightly warm ones we have had in awhile but they seated us next to a fireplace and it was just the perfect temperature and the food was local and lovely.

And then there was the day the girls and I wore matching striped leggings, but only a few of us were committed so it didn't last past this picture. I AM LOOKING AT YOU ERIN AND IRIS.


We went to Idaho for Easter and Spring Break. It's really sad because we did some cool things, went on some beautiful hikes and I have no pictures of it so I can't exactly prove it. That's the problem with suspending your social media accounts, you don't have incentive to take photos. I mean, beyond "memories." Oh wait I just found this photo I took during a roadside stop somewhere between Utah and Southeast Idaho. I slapped a filter on it so it would definitely look like I HAVE THE LIFE.



Maybe "living in the present" isn't what its cracked up to be? Also, palazzo pants...likewise not what they're cracked up to be, but man, so cozzzzzzzy.

You know we did do that is worth mentioning? We went to Crystal Hot Springs which is in the very northern hemisphere of Utah in a town tucked into the Wasatch Front called Honeyville. It wasn't just hot springs--I mean, as regulars of hot springs, we know our lava-molten-heated water sources--this is a full on mineral bath. It's like diving into a pool that has been poured into an enormous rusted-out tool box, with the tools left to stew at the bottom. Did that make any sense? (It will if you've been there!) It's called Crystal Hot Springs, but it's not crystal clear water. In fact...were we swimming in hot, steaming robot blood? We could've been. I don't know.

For certain, we all jumped in and in two minutes our life force was completely zapped. The baby (when do I stop calling her that? she's four) didn't talk the entire time we were there and Christopher looked like his spirit had left his body and he was just left to float his days until the zombie apocalypse. At one point, Anson blasted out of the pool and desperately shuffled through our picnic basket until he found a plastic fork and began scratching his legs with it in such a fashion I thought maybe he swam into a poisonous patch of water....until I realized...that's not a thing?

I don't know about any of this. But I did come home with matching strawberry-colored rash on either hips which was free of charge, I think? It occasionally itches, but I don't want you to worry about me because it's definitely NOT like the time last year when hundreds (thousands?) microscopic jellyfish larvae got trapped into my swimsuit on a gorgeous Costa Rican beach and bit me all over my back and belly and it itched and burned so badly I asked to be read my last rights.

Oh man, I said my life wasn't intriguing but that last paragraph is pretty precious. And you know what's funny? Unlike our Easter and Spring Break capers, I DO have a picture of the EXACT MOMENT I WAS DEVOURED BY  THOUSANDS (MILLIONS?) MICROSCOPIC JELLYFISH LARVAE. Here it is:


If only I could time travel and tell C. Jane to GET UP! GET UP! GET UP GIRL AND SAVE YOURSELF SO MUCH ANGUISH! (BTW I also have a picture of the rash itself but I will spare you and your love of hamburger meat.)

And anyway, if I COULD time travel I definitely would have a super incredible intriguing blog, instead of me yelling at lawmakers and posting pathetic Zombie Birthday Parties DIYs.

Alright...so, good to see you. Time to go switch the laundry.

p.s. Definitely giving Crystal Hot Springs two thumbs up. Must try. We loved the adventure of it all. The baby (or whatever I'm supposed to call her now) started verbalizing thoughts about an hour after we left. She's fine now.









Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Checking the Boxes

If you want to read this post, and I cordially invite you to do so, I humbly request you read this very informative article explaining the background of what I am writing about. I assure you, you will be rewarded with some very fine gems if you do. But it does talk about rape and harassment and the failure of men in power to believe women. So please take care if you decide to proceed.

It's funny because there was so much news this weekend that I didn't know I had been mentioned in the Deseret News until my aunt emailed me. And it wasn't as if I was mentioned by name, really. In fact I had to go to my source to make sure that the person in question was actually me. You see, the line reads, "He referenced a former Provo city employee and congressional campaign staffer and a city councilwoman who have criticized his leadership and said some people are trying to "destroy" him." 

That's hefty allegation I guess. Trying to destroy him? Whoa. I really wanted to write a public statement after it was confirmed that the "Provo city employee and congressional campaign staffer" was me but I didn't have time until this morning (Tuesday at 6am) and if I can hardly find the time to just write a quick rebuttal then HOW DO I FIT IN TRYING TO DESTROY A WHITE MAN'S LIFE in my schedule? You know? I mean, DESTROY! I've watched enough Game of Thrones (don't Google that Mom) to know you don't just wake up casually and destroy a life. Especially of a man in high power--a CONGRESSMAN! Who does that? Look at what Stormy Daniel's had to do just to tell her story! And even then, 75% of Family Values Utah GOP will remain cool with D. Trump and will continue to support the CONGRESSMEN who vote with him every single day of their lives. 

Look, Arya Stark had to recite that list in her head for a long time before she could even begin to do her work of destruction! Plus she had to train in serious sword fighting and face-swapping. And while I do have a list (which I call my Manemies List--a collection of enemy men who have done women wrong) my former boss and white male congressman is not even close to the top! That spot is still occupied by the dude who put a hit on me by the stake relief society presidency and had them follow me (which they obediently did) a few years ago. (If you aren't Mormon you'll have no idea what drama I just dropped, but anyway). I still see him around town and think of his demise. (I am not perfect!) I also just moved another dude to a top spot for divorcing my friend for not being sexy enough. Oh lawd my list is long and fruitful.

But the truth is, I did criticize him publicly. I mean, not SUPER publicly. Not like, as publicly as I could have. In a community facebook thread (which I didn't even post!) I showed up to defend the five women who said my former boss (and white male congressman) didn't do much after they came forward with sexual harassment against Provo's police chief. It was a hot news item, showing up in three major papers and then the congressman wrote a pathetic op-ed response in which he said he only ever heard two allegations as his time as mayor. And he took them "seriously."

And then oops. A few days ago he "remembered" there were actually three allegations bought up. Which he DEFINITELY took "seriously" and then forgot them, I guess?  Anyway, I am a woman who has also experienced being dismissed (and dumped, to be honest) for bringing up sexual harassment, sexism and homophobia with the white straight male congressman on his campaign and was told I was being "insubordinate" and something about my tone being off and then when I defended my tone I was told my timing was wrong and so on and so forth (a story I really don't want to get into for my own emotional health) and saw other women be treated like shit (I learned that word from you Mom, don't judge) in both offices I worked in and so guess what I BELIEVE THE WOMEN.

And even had I not had these experiences, I have chosen to always always BELIEVE WOMEN because the price they pay for coming forward is so extreme. It's so devastating. Any man who says "we have to be careful because lives could be ruined" about women coming forward and being "fair" to the man accused doesn't believe women. When you're sexually harassed and you decide to come forward its because your life is already ruined. It's your last hope to be compensated for all your loss. And it's hugely risky. And most of the time the dude walks unscathed and maybe even made a congressman, or like PRESIDENT. So to even utter the phrase "lives could be ruined" essentially means, "I don't believe these women, and even still I only value male lives."

And as I read more of this article it became more and more like a farce, or like an SNL sketch. And before the weekend was through, I was listening to friends read the whole thing in dramatic reading fashion! My lands, the laughs we had. I mean, it's cinematic! Classic white male material! Should be required in feminist theory classes in college! There's classic male victimhood, with the punctuation of male tears! There's the whole "women want more than just to check the boxes" and "they need a lot of emotional support and understanding" (women are pets?) bit! And the part where he says he allowed his predator chief to"retake" sexual harassment training ("Oops, you forgot and grabbed a woman's thigh--you should probably brush up on that training again!")! And don't forget how he decided to take care of the problem by insisting that his own police chief was chaperoned when he went to certain areas of his jurisdiction so he wouldn't be "misunderstood". Right? Because when your police chief calls your boobs "puppies" it could be "misunderstood". We've all been there. Understandable.

But the crowning moment for me really was the part about how he wakes up every day in a cold sweat worried about what he might be accused of that day. Like, most of us women are waking up hoping that we aren't harassed that day, you know like the other day when I went for a walk and a man walking his dog started yelling at me some vulgar joke about the way my body bounced when I walked fast. Or we worry about not getting a job (or being removed from a job) because we won't put up with our co-workers gazey eyes or gross jokes about our bodies. I mean, while this white male congressman who is fairly wealthy is worried about this scandal making it hard for him to get an executive job or raise money for his re-election, black men are waking up hoping they won't get shot for holding a cell phone in their backyard. 

After all this, why would I--a mother of four busy young children--take anytime out of my life to destroy a congressbro's life when he's so obviously doing a good enough job on his own?  And this is a man up until last week I still held out hope for! Even after all the crap I experienced and witnessed, there still remained a lasting faith in him--however slightly. But his response to the charges pretty much destroyed (to use a word) any good will I had left. And not only that, my family is fully aware that I will divert time and resources to show up for women (and sometimes that means I ignore them to write an unedited, messy post on my blog in defense, and they will have to fend for themselves for breakfast) but I will not spare one tiny ounce of my over-scheduled, under-funded, over-budget life to execute the destruction of a privileged dude who refuses to get help for his own deeply ingrained misogyny.

I mean, that's just not a good investment of energy sources. I don't have to be a lawmaker to get that.




Monday, March 12, 2018

Heart Eyes, Can't Lose

Well as it turns out I turned 41 yesterday.

I spent a chunk of the weekend holing up at B+J's cabin on a hilltop overlooking Bear Lake. Just me and CK--my favorite husband (I've had two). Basically we ate food and luxuriated in quiet living. We didn't even leave the cabin once. We just stayed in for two nights and a few days. I read a lot and CK worked a bit and we listened to a ton of chill music.

It was nice. It had a different flavor than last year when I turned 40. I spent the day on a cave-beach in Costa Rica with some of my most beloved people, drinking straight-up out of a freshly cut coconut. And when the sun started to set, everything turned a celestial gold--the water, the waves, the rocks and the sky. The entire scope of my eyes was incomprehensibly luminous and dazzling, and it was like I wasn't on this planet anymore. It was like a naturgasm. Yeah, that's what it was...a naturgasm. When nature is so unbelievable you sort of lose planetary consciousness and you land on a different dimension for a few moments.

I had one of those when I visited Spiral Jetty. And the Needles Outlook in Canyonlands. And so many others, really. I've had a lot of naturgasms. (Let me brag, yesterday was my birthday.)

But this year I needed the Cabin of Quiet because the day before was Iris' Zombie Birthday Party. Remember that event? It turned out to be probably the best birthday party we've ever hosted because it was LOW KEY. We played LOW KEY games (basically, CK and I turn into zombies and chase the kids around the Green Room) and we had LOW KEY entertainment (CK dressed up as a Mad Scientist and performed LOW KEY zombie chemistry experiments which was really just candy making) and LOW KEY cupcakes (emoji-ring cupcakes from WALMART HEART EYES HEART EYES HEART EYES) and LOW KEY decor (everything was black!) and LOW KEY costuming (old clothes and black eyeliner smeared on those little faces).

I came into motherhood at the height of kid's birthday fashion and I am telling you what--sham! Don't believe a word of it. The less preparation and money spent the better you're off. This is what 41 years of wisdom looks like. One time my friend Carina had us over for a kid's birthday party which was a plastic sheet with a hose for a "slip n slide" and some Popsicles, and the kids almost hyperventilated with happiness. You could not peel them away from that watery affair.

Anyway, Iris was glowing as an appropriate Princess Zombie (with some sign of the occult on her forehead? I didn't ask questions...) and so full of dreamy satisfaction after the party it was just the best.

But it was also loud. I mean, we had horror-themed tunes and kids screeching and zombie noises for our hours coming out of the cracked windows of our home. It was loud and it was dirty and no, I would never in my lifetime eat one of those emoji-ring WALMART cupcakes but I was so glad when the kids did happily.

So a retreat to a semi-secluded hilltop cabin with a yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting CK and I made over the course of a few days was just what I needed to thank the Universe for probably the most perfect year of being 40 I could ask for, and welcome a new year to come.

One in which I hope doesn't include the undead, in general. Oh please, please I pray.



(Unless it's just my mom dressed up as a zombie, I mean that stuff is good.)






Wednesday, March 7, 2018

It's 1pm, Time for Writing

Oh man I really really want to write but last night the entire family got absolutely engrossed helping Anson complete the diorama for his report on the Chinook Tribe and now the table I usually write on is a disaster. I don't know how I can concentrate to write when the corner of my eye is appalled at the amount of modeling clay stuck to the Legos we attempted to use and the purple paint smeared across my new writing table top. 

I am looking at a white tiny plastic dolphin right now that did not make it into the oceanic scene we created to depict the lifestyle of the Chinook. And she's looking back at me as if to say, "Ok, so what do I do now?" And I am like, "I think I should probably put you back into the bin of tiny plastic animals, but I've made a promise to myself that today I would sit down and write."

It's really awkward.

As a family we struggle with math. Christopher and I did not pass down any genius math genomes. We own it. We say to our kids, "This is a void in our brains. We're sorry."  I think we might have one child who may be able to get by, but it's an anomaly for certain. We've had such excruciating experiences with numbers, I am now drilling math into my kids like a sergeant. Before they can ask for any favors I make them work out a math problem. "Can I have a fruit snack?" "Yes, after you solve this problem: Louis had five fruit snacks, but his silly dog ate two of them while Louis wasn't looking..." This way I can either cure my children of their fruit snack obsession, or force them to acquire math skills to have their basic human needs met. Who is the tiger mom now?

Rrrrr.

Anyway, in what we cannot achieve on math tests we make up for in humanities. The project last night was really where we shine. First, we have studied the lives of American Indians (both past and present) for years now. We like to dive deep into culture and peoples-- there isn't a museum we will pass up. We also rally behind anything creative and innovative. Last night was all hands on deck--without provocation. Anson and I started the diorama together, but by the end of the night Iris was making tiny fish baskets out of clay, Ever was designing a "tree bark" dress, Erin was doing research with Christopher for historical and present day accuracy, and I was trying not to curse out loud in the chaos and noise. Some of us are better at application of art, and others of us are idea people, (and I seem to be the irritable default project manage) but together....boy we can make one slick diorama.

And the mess that comes with it.

Which I should just clean up real quick before I start writing this post.         




Thursday, March 1, 2018

March Comes In Like A Zombie

It's March. Thank Goddess.

I learned recently that although the vernal equinox is on the 21st, meteorologically (which is a word I cannot pronounce out loud) March 1st is considered the first day of spring. I always considered myself a spring baby and according to Al Roker I was a spring baby.

When the calendar turns into March it's like I've been battling a disease and I feel so much better having been cured of January and February.

One thing I am really looking forward to is watching The Academy Awards this weekend. It's the first time in my life I have seen all the nominated movies. This comes from heavy jealousy of my brother Topher who every year has seen everything and understands all the buzz and wins the office poll. This year, I am showing up prepared. I recently left my office job so I don't have any poll to win. But honestly, the Provo Mayor's Office wasn't really a place where people cared much about artsy films. No offense.

It's also Iris' birthday this month. She wants to have a zombie-themed birthday party. Ok Iris. Let me just make some invitations with illustrations of decaying humans with holes in their heads void of brains. I AM SURE ALL YOUR FRIENDS WILL WANT TO COME!

Oh heavens, you think you're going to have "normal children" but the truth is you don't. I remember Lucy calling one of her kids Weirdo So-And-So (protecting the innocent) one time and I was like, SHE IS RIGHT. You know, at the end of the day I am not fatigued because I've been with needy kids all day, I am exhausted from being with humans who don't make a lot of sense. That's what tires me out--all the confusion. "Why are you putting your hand on that hot stove?" "Why did you just leave your shoes exactly next to the shoe bin but not IN THE SHOE BIN?" "Why did you just hit her for no reason at all?" "WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO DRINK THE TUB WATER WHEN I KEEP TELLING YOU IT'S NOT OK?" "Why did you just lick that?" "Is there are reason you keep making that loud obnoxious noise?" "Why do you prefer to wear all of your clothes backward?" "Why do you keep saying Mom? Mom? Mom? when I've already answered What? What? What? a hundred times?"

Recently I had to run errands with all four kids and at the end of the excursion I texted Christopher and told him it was like being on a team with the Looney Tunes characters. Like, you get stuff done but it's full of devious buffoons, slap-happy high jinks, and cuckoo sound effects.

The Florida Project. That was probably my favorite movie from 2017. It's not even nominated. Funny enough, it's about kids and the non-nonsensical things they do when parents aren't around. Of course, it's also a little bit about the foolish things adults do too. The more things change the more things stay the same.

Except for the seasons. Thank Goddess it's March.