Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Disney Conspiracy, Part II

The day before yesterday I was considering my lunch options in the kitchen when an unidentifiable rodent skittered across my kitchen floor, navigated my glue traps (which I had suffered severe pangs of conscience over) and disappeared. Yesterday, my amazing father-in-law spent a couple of hours closing off what we think was one of the rodent entry points (of course conveniently located under our dishwasher; making access rather difficult. Still, I just spent a good 35 minutes cleaning up mouse/vole droppings from my entire downstairs.
I am left wondering whether the rodent(s) have found their exit route blocked and are running around trying to get out or if these droppings were left between last vacuum and this evening. Since I actually do keep a reasonably clean floor these days, I am putting my money on a rogue rodent loose in the residence. It leaves me with a new found respect for popularly vilified characters like Elmer Fudd and Tom. (From Tom & Jerry).
I think we as a public need to revisit why we perceive rodent hunters as "bad guys." I am beginning to find Tom's mouse hunting methods perfectly acceptable - that mouse had it coming. Would you want it living in your walls, crawling on your tables, eating your cheese? Once again, popular culture is trying to skew our perception of reality - if you are still cheering for the rodents; feel free to have lunch in my kitchen...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hello Gorgeous - and a Danish Lesson

No matter how much I will grumble about my cold toes and frozen nose in a few weeks, there is no way I could live in a world without fall. I love the crispness in the air, the coziness* of darker evenings with warm drinks, the flicker of candles, and of course, the colors.

How could you not love this:

* Coziness is an inadequate word to express what I mean. It is an entirely Danish concept that doesn't translate well and almost needs its own post as an explanation. It is something comfortable and familiar, with no strain or stress to be anything but yourself, to enjoy the moment in its simplicity. The actual word is hygge, difficult to translate and nigh impossible for foreigners to pronounce. It is cuddling under blankets on a cold day, reading books to your children. It is watching Christmas lights sparkle, or candles burn. It is dinner with good friends and laughter (but no worries about whether the meat is too dry or the veggies to crunchy.)
Hygge is the absence of stress, of worry; an oasis in the desert. You wouldn't want to live in the oasis because you would never get through the desert that way, but it sure is wonderful to stop in occasionally on your journey through the sands. The antonym for hygge is uhygge, which translates as horror/ ghastliness/ eeriness/ grimness, etc. It doesn't necessarily mean that the absence of hygge means uhygge; it can also just be the regular every day life, but I think we can all agree that we are in need of a hyggelig (yes, you can even conjugate it - look at that versatility!) fall season with much hygge and no uhygge whatsoever.
And that, my dear readers (both of you) concludes our Danish lesson for the day. Tune in again for more long-winded explanation on a language you will never need to use.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Unhappy Thoughts on a Horrible Subject

First a warning: this is a post on something highly unpleasant and probably not something you want to read today. Or any day. It is in fact not even something I want to write, except for the fact that the thoughts keep bouncing around in my brain and I think forcing them into written form might finally stop the craziness in my head...So here it goes.

Yesterday morning a woman was raped in our neighborhood.
I almost feel like that sentence ought to stand alone for a little while; if it was spoken, it certainly deserved a moment of silence...(And don't say you weren't warned about the subject matter being unpleasant.)

Yesterday morning someone went out for a run, in a safe town, a good neighborhood, on a busy street during commuter hour. And some bastard decided that he would take it upon himself to change this woman's life forever. Right there, in the bushes of someone's front yard, a woman's life was altered in an incomprehensible way.
I don't get it. And I can't quite process it - hence the constant bouncing thoughts that keep me shaken up. It is easier to put unpleasant stories in a box when they are removed from you. When someone gets raped in a big city at 4am in a shady neighborhood, I feel bad and yet somehow I am able to remove the event from my life - why would anyone chose to walk there at 4am anyway? When it happens in foreign countries, it's far away, a different world almost, and my heart aches, but I am not terrified like this.
Less than two miles from our house, in daylight, on a street we frequently walk on, is harder to push away. Which box does that fit in to? So I end up with these questions that have no answers. How could anybody do that to a human being? How does someone recover from something so brutal? How can it be avoided?
That last one brings in a whole new crowd of loud thoughts: Is the house safe enough? Is my running route (so close to hers) safe? Why didn't someone see something and stop it? Why wasn't she able to fight him off? When will they catch the creep - if ever?  And maybe the worst one: What would I do? And there is no real answer, is there? This isn't exactly something you can plan for, like putting your important papers in a fireproof safe or wearing a seat belt in the car. If she couldn't get away, who is to say anyone else could? That I could?
I am scared. And I try to convince myself that this is just like it is with terrorists - we cannot let fear control our lives. So much easier said, than done, that one, though. You see, in the end, bad things do happen to good people.
In an effort to make the panicky thoughts shut up, I've tried writing this out, thinking it through and in the end, the only way I can find any kind of peace in all this is through the scriptures. As I was reading the Book of Mormon, both last night and this morning, somehow the ancient words of people long gone found a way to soothe my soul, to tell me that God knows us and our struggles and He will help us through them. That somehow with His power, we can navigate the evils of the world and still come out ahead. I love this scripture, by a prophet named Jacob, who lived around 550 B.C.:

Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction.  (Jacob 3:1)

I like the message that God will console us no matter what we go through. And that justice will be done in the end. No matter what happens here, God won't let the bad guys off the hook. 
Does this help me be less scared? I think so. At least a little. It helps because I feel comforted that God has my back. And that Christ suffered all things - not just our sins, but also our pains and sorrows - so He knows. He is ready to help and comfort and strengthen. 
I think it also helped to write it all down - if anyone is still reading, thanks for the therapy. My apologies if you need therapy now. I did issue a warning.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Conspiracy Theory

There are some conspiracy theories that I cannot - and will never - subscribe to. There are some hat are so ridiculous I will never understand what possesses people who believe in them. Then there are some that could make sense but I am too caught up in raising children and doing laundry to care.
Before I banned all Mel Gibson movies (i.e. before it became public knowledge that he is a nasty piece of work and I drove my husband crazy by refusing to support Gibson's income through watching his movies), I watched "Conspiracy Theory." And it kind of made sense that there are things we as a public are being deceived about to make it easier to run our society/ countries. But I didn't think I would ever be consumed enough to try to "unveil" the truths, that the government/ CIA/ New York City cab drivers are trying to keep from the public.

Until now. I have finally reached a breaking point and I call upon all responsible citizens to unravel the biggest conspiracy of all.  

The Disney Conspiracy.

I've seen the movies. I've been to Disney World. All this time, I never realized how we are being conned and tricked by this massive conglomerate. Oh, I am not speaking of their attempt at convincing all little girls that they need to be rescued by a prince. Or that they need massively expensive "princess-dresses" to be pretty. Or even that getting on a magic carpet with a complete stranger in the middle of the night is a great idea.
No, I am speaking of the rodents that have somehow infiltrated most of Disney's movies and convinced us that they are adorable little creatures. Chip and Dale. Thumper. Ratatouille. Gus-Gus and his croonies. And, of course, Mickey. They sing. They dance.They narrowly escape brutal predators. They teach ice-skating and foraging. They sew and cook. Come on! It is finally  time to stand up to this mob of cuteness and say enough is enough. Or cry uncle. Whichever comes most naturally.

I used to believe in all this sweet fuzziness. Not any longer. Last year, I had dead mice stink up my basement. This summer, chipmunks ate my tomatoes and bulbs. Rabbits ate my flowers. The clincher, however, is the vole(s?) that as recently as this evening shamelessly runs across my lit rooms, probably cackling that it has convinced all exterminators that voles don't actually enter homes. (Or so I have been told by several stumped exterminators.)
Somehow these voles defy all exterminator wisdom, circumvent the steel wool we've plugged holes with, avoid any and all traps and continue to dance across my floors; slowly enough for me to see, but too fast for me to catch.

We've tried traps, screaming, crying, praying, and even calling in reinforcements:
No luck. Not even the cat helped. I've briefly considered that I may just be hallucinating, but I'm fairly certain the creatures are real. Maybe I'll start handing out leaflets to anyone in sight. Because, honestly, I am a few more vole-sightings away from the loony bin.

Are those rodent free, I wonder?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Letters of Malcontent

Dear politicians,
I understand that with elections coming up, you feel the need to barrage me with reasons to vote for you, but even if I could vote, I suspect I would not be inspired by your bitter rants on the radio, your "he-sucks-therefore-I-am-better"-ads on television and the ridiculous amounts of colored fliers with your faces on in my mailbox. The flier I received today was approximately 10x10 on card stock.

Stop wasting our resources and polluting the airwaves. Is there really no better way?!

A disgusted casualty of political drive-bys.

Dear "Tolerant" People,
I didn't use to care about how you chose to live your lives, but now your outrageously intolerant demands for tolerance have made me care.
I suppose it would be futile to point out that you don't believe in the way I choose to live my life either. That, in fact, you think the choices I am making are misled and even, perhaps, wrong.
Perhaps you could explain to me, why it is acceptable for you to think and even say that I am a fool, that I am small-minded and that I am living a lie, while it is completely unacceptable for me to even insinuate that I don't think your choices will bring you the greatest happiness?

Is it really that crazy to imagine a world where we both agree that we believe the other person to be completely wrong and yet, dare I say it, show tolerance and acceptance towards one another? Not necessarily acceptance of beliefs, but acceptance of human beings?

I don't like your one-way street.

A disillusioned Believer of True Tolerance.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Rather Blustery Day

A windy storm moved in over our state yesterday and blew around for a good part of today as well. I am normally not crazy about being outdoors when it's windy, but with memories of our recent oppressively humid summer still fresh in my mind, I enjoyed the freshness and the promise of fall in the air.
Since our yard already had thousands of leaves on the ground, we raked for a while this morning. It is a complete exercise in futility at this point, because as soon as we rake one area, the wind blows a new layer of leaves down. To avoid bagging a hundred bags at once in a few weeks, we are trying to keep up, however. At least the leaf-bagging version of Sisyphus comes with the option of leaf pile jumping. And how could you resist such a huge pile of gorgeous, fresh, yellow leaves?!

No, really - who could resist?!

We also went to cheer on S at his soccer game - they won one and lost one, and he made it through the game without any major injuries. There may be a future in La Liga for that one, though - he has the drop to the ground technique down pat. Besides that, he is getting better and better. Is it unmaternal to admit that I was maybe not entirely convinced of his athletic ability before? And that I am pleasantly surprised at his improvement? In any case - I am proud as can be that he keeps trying. (And that he doesn't blame me for the dramatic gene that causes him to drop at the smallest whiff of an injury...yet.)

L at a playground by the fields. He was there all of 60 second before he found a girl to chat with. I wonder when I should start locking him up...

Baby S enjoyed the blustery outdoors as well:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Renaissance Festival

Last weekend we packed up the kiddos and traveled back in time to the middle ages (-ish).
S and I got to shoot a bow (I've always wanted to do that), the kids tried fried dough, we watched a couple of shows (pirates and fire, respectively), people were in costume, there were swords, and we even saw jousting.
I may have been even more enamored than the boys...I am sorely tempted to go again next year and have he whole family dress up.
Is this where I reveal that my favorite time period has always been the middle ages? And that I secretly dreamed of being a female knight when I was a teenager? Hey, if I get a sword, I'll totally embrace my geekiness!

Cross bow

Long bows(Yes, a few of our arrows did hit the target. And they weren't all S's.)

Watching the show

We did talk about not trying this at home. I am wondering if I should reiterate...

Cheering for the female knight in jousting

Child of the TV-age: Are they (ie. the people in the shows) real?

Another future female knight in training? Actually, this one may want to be an acrobat instead...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blogging Revival

I admit it; I have been a blogging slacker. At first, I was merely busy; we had a fabulous summer, packed with wonderful activities and great times with family and friends and I chose to just enjoy it and not post along the way.
I guess somewhere in the middle of that, I also ran into an existential blogging crisis. My blog doesn't quite know what it wants to be when it grows up. I want to share pictures and stories from our every day happenings for far-away family and as a record for us. I also have this need to share my random thoughts at times.
Does that even mix?
My family is clamoring for pictures, and as my mom kindly put it, "who cares what you write, just show me pictures of the kids." (Hi Mom... Love you!:)
That might be all good (and true), but since I speak to approximately 2.4 adults each day in something that resembles a sane conversation, I do need an outlet for the thoughts that pile up in my head, so I can avoid situations like today, when I asked two seven-year olds in my car if they had heard about the Chilean miners. (One of them had.)

Thus as more and more pictures and thoughts were piling up, I didn't know where to even begin with my blog posts...And as I am writing this, I realize suddenly I am not really that important, and I do just need to get some pictures up. Thoughts will surely follow.

For now a few pictures of my raking helpers this afternoon. And yes, there are three times as many pictures of Baby S. However, this is not a sign of motherly favoritism, it is a result of the following process:
S, hold on, so I can take a pictures of you raking. No, don't make a weird face. S, please look into the camera. S, pretend there is a marshmallow on my head, will that help? OK, stop pretending to eat the marshmallow.
S. (Shortened for your sanity.)

And with Baby S, it goes something like this:
S, look at mami. Yay, good job. (And she gives herself a round of applause. See last picture.) Much less trying... 

I somehow neglected to get a shot of L. Possibly because by the time I got the camera out, he was long gone form the yard. Lest he reads this years from now and feels neglected, here is a picture of him posing in my half-painted kitchen yesterday. Not sure where he learned his posing skills. Or what the deal is with the hands. He is cute, though.