Monday, November 24, 2008


Alright, this post is a cliche, I'm warning you now. But I was thinking about this today.

Today I wasted three hours, three hours I needed for laundry, nesting, and getting the house ready for my in-laws who are coming Wednesday night. Yesterday before church we noticed a nail in the tire of my car. We were running late, and the tire wasn't low, so we just drove on it. Fai said he'd figure out how to patch it since we're tight on cash right now, but today he called from work and asked me to take the car to the shop and have them do it. So I bundled myself and Anjali up and went to the shop, thinking this would take an hour or less. Unfortunately, everyone seems to be getting ready for holiday travel, so they told me it would be a half hour before they could look at it. Irritated, I gave them my key and my cell phone number, and walked over to the mall with Anjali to kill some time. It was 45 minutes later that I got a call asking me where the nail was exactly, and almost an hour after that that I got the call that they were done with my call. By that point, I had bought Anjali lunch from McDonald's because she was starving, even though I didn't want to feed her junk today or spend money on junk, and we were both tired and irritated. So we started walking back to the car. On the way out of the mall, we passed a Thanksgiving window display. In it were the typical window decorations that go with this holiday, turkeys and pilgrims and such. Pilgrims with chubby, rosy cheeks.

Being in a bad mood, I started thinking about what pilgrims would have looked like at that first feast. They would have been a pretty skinny, sorry looking lot, getting over near-starvation and disease. Most likely yellow and sickly looking. Still mourning dead husbands, wives, and children. Probably really homesick, and questioning their own sanity in leaving England in the first place. What were they so thankful for, really?

And then the cynical thoughts left me briefly. They were alive. They were together. For the moment, they had food, and in all honesty things could only get better.

Right now things look pretty rough all over. Last night Fai and I were talking about how the prices in stores would be dropping soon since people are only buying essentials, and how this drop in prices would eventually lead to the end of jobs. We talked about the fall in gas prices, speculating how long it would last, if it would last as long as this economic depression. We talked about our cars, the problems both of them are having, wondering how much longer we could make them last.

So this afternoon, as I walked through the cold parking lot outside the mall towards the auto shop to get my car, I thought about those things again, about this past year and the hard spot we're going through now. I thought about last Christmas, when I was pregnant and Fai found out that he got the job, and 2008 looked bright and sparkling and full of promise. He was graduating, we were moving, he had a good job, and in August we'd have a new baby. I remember writing in my journal about it, I remember all the optimism I felt. It would be a great year.

Then I had the miscarriage, the house in Tallahassee still hasn't sold, and here we are. And yes, I am about to have a beautiful new baby, yet I still wonder about that one. You know. Emotionally, physically, financially, it's been a really rough year.

And so, with the pilgrims, I found myself thinking, we're alive, we're together, we have food, and in all honesty things will/can only get better. And then I started thinking of all the other things I'm grateful for. Here's a list:

A strong, independent, smart daughter who is filled with energy, life, and self-confidence.

A healthy baby about to be born.

A husband who works hard and enjoys his family. The confidence I have in him and his role as a father.

A comfortable home with good neighbors.

The daily chaos that comes with animals and a toddler. All of that messy, wonderful chaos that keeps me busy but entertained.

Good friends. Even though far distanced, it's amazing what an e-mail or a phone call can do on a busy hectic day.

A bright future. We are where we are. Our economy fluctuates, there are highs and lows. This too shall pass.

There are a lot of other things too, but those are the highlights that came to mind as I walked with Anjali back to the shop. When I got there, it turned out that after they got the nail out and checked the tire for an air leak, there wasn't one, so they didn't charge me. I still wasted three precious hours, but I'll just have to play catch-up tomorrow.

What are you guys thankful for this year?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Accomplishment is...

when you've successfully wrestled your insane dog to the ground, trimmed all his nails, AND got his flea preventative on him.

This is the same 50 lbs dog that three professional groomers at Petsmart and two big men at Petco couldn't trim the nails on, the one I was told would have to go to the vet's and be sedated to have his nails trim. That dog. The dog who starts foaming at the mouth and hyperventilating at the sight of the nail trimmers. My crazy dog.

Langston's nails had gotten truly horrible, and I just don't have the money for the vet right now, so with the help of the muzzle and a lot of stubborn perseverance, I did it. Granted, he did go hide in the basement for half an hour in the middle, but by the time we made it to the last paw, he'd given up the fight.

Of course, there is now black dog hair all over the living room that I just vacuumed yesterday, and I'm covered in dog hair and dog slobber and my feet and arms are scratched up, but my dog's nails are no longer over grown. Plus I won the lesser battle of the flea preventative. For some reason every month the sight of that little tube sends him into hiding. It's been a busy day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Frustration is....

Okay, those of you with babies will feel me on this one. I've had a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions with this one, a lot more than with Anjali, and they are uncomfortable.

So yesterday I started timing them. And spent the whole day walking around thinking I was in early labor, frantically nesting. I had Fai on red alert, ready to speed home on a moment's notice. And honestly, it really felt like the very beginning of the real thing.

And then they slowed to a halt last night. Yep. Still pregnant.

It's so hard this late in the game to feel those contractions and NOT get your hopes up that that light at the end of the tunnel you've been looking forward to is finally there. I'm glad that with Anjali I went around in blissful ignorance during early labor.

Any of you done that one before?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Humility is...

When you've sent out 70 query letters (yep, I said 70) and find out that in the letter you've been sending you've put the word "revels" instead of "reveals". That's right, in my book Flora "revels" to Charlotte that she has a sister.

And in the next paragraph, I tell them that I have a BA in English. Uh-huh.

As I was hyperventilating on the verge of tears, Faiyaz casually observed, "Maybe that's why you keep getting rejections."

At least I've given a lot of literary agents something to laugh at.

My current rejection count is 22.

This is why you ALWAYS get someone else to proofread for you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

not so long, not so controversal...

Yesterday Fai was off for Veteran's day. We all woke up pretty early, and while Anjali sat on our bed watching Blue's Clues, Fai dyed my hair in the bathroom. As he massaged the color in, I felt truely grateful for him. Out of all the people out there, I found him, and I can't imagine anyone else for me.

I mean, how many Democratic Mormons are there? :)

No, but seriously, to have someone with the same opinions and views, who supports my goals, and balances out my sometimes too-intense personality, and makes me laugh at some of the most intense moments of my life, what are the odds?

So that's all, just feeling grateful today.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Socialism in America

Okay, so this is an educational post. First off, let me say that there is socialism in our great country. It's been here for decades, and it's affected every one's lives. Everyday, you come face to face with it, you hold it's hand, you walk with it down the street...

Are you scared?

If you are, it's because of something called the Red Scare, and a guy name McCarthy, and the black list, things that happened before my life time. The connotation (the way people feel) of the words Communism and Socialism will never be the same after that.

So many people are afraid of socialism, not recognizing the benefits they enjoy from it everyday. If you hate socialism, then please read "Marx for Beginners" by Rius. It's a graphic novel, and gives a break down of who Marx was and what his philosophy is all about. And, of course, there's the "Communist Manifesto". But let me give a basic breakdown of what Socialism is.

Straight, full-blown socialism would be the elimination of private property in the production, and manufacturing of goods and services. Basically, Bill Gates wouldn't be soooo rich, Microsoft would belong to the government, and Gates would get paid for the work he did. He'd probably still have a good 10 or more million to his name. But everyone else who worked for that company would have more, and the cost of a computer in the store would be less. Now picture the same thing for every company in the US, for every industry. That's full-blown socialism. The point behind it is to give the working class, those who don't own the means of production, the chance to succeed and get ahead.

Now here's the socialism that we have in the US:

Labor Unions
Federal Holidays
The 40 hour work week
Social Security
Public Library
Public Schools
Roads and Highways
Police Dept.
Fire Dept.
National Parks
City Parks
Anything the state or city pays for (city festivals, parades, etc.)

As Americans, we LOVE our Capitalism. But how would we live without Socialism? Let's look at what life in a purely Capitalized America would be like...

You wake up. It's time to drive to work, it's about 20 minutes from your home. You crank up your car, and get on the road, making sure you have the $9 you'll need for tolls. Why? Because roads are private property, and you have to pay to drive on them. You get to work, just your typical 12 hour day. 12 hours? Well, that's what people use to work before the government regulated the work week thanks to labor unions. You've heard a rumor that they might be lowering your hourly pay, so you really want to make a good impression on your boss today, so you're planning on skipping your 15 minute lunch break. Lowering your pay? That's right, no unions, no government interference, you have no rights at your job. If it's 12 hours a day, 6 hours a week, too bad. If your boss harasses you, you can always quit, but it'll be the same somewhere else. If he fires you unfairly, there's nothing you can do. So you're working, and you're thinking about your son. Hopefully when you get home tonight you won't be too tired to tutor him, since you can't afford the private school nearby. You know his only chance of a life better than this is if he gets some kind of education...if only books weren't so expensive....When you get home, there's smoke coming from the kitchen. Quickly, you run in, and turn on the water at the sink, desperately trying to dose the can't call the fire department, their fees are just too high, so you try to handle it yourself...finally, you get the fire out, but the whole kitchen is ruined, and your lungs are damaged from the smoke. Insurance companies are not regulated at all, so there's no way you can afford the copay at the emergency room, so you decide to just have a glass of water and go to bed. Maybe you'll feel better in the morning. On your one day off, your son want to go to the playground, but they recently raised their entry fee (there's no public land, so this is a private playground someone opened and is charging for) and with the recent damage to the kitchen, there's no way. Plus you're too tired, and it hurts to even breath. So you stay home, coughing in your dark living room, your son begging to go out and play...

Minus the roads (because poor people wouldn't have had cars or horses) this is pretty close to what life in America would have been like 100 years or so ago for the working class. A good book to read to get a better picture of this would be "The Jungle". Yes, there's gross stuff about the meat packing industry, but it also shows the struggle the working class faced before labor unions and before our government started to socialize. I'm not saying straight socialism is a good thing, but neither is straight capitalism.

I've ranted enough on Jen's blog about why I feel that regulating (not socializing) the insurance companies to make health care affordable and accessible is a good thing. Socialism is not a government handout, it's insuring that the workers in a society get their needs met, that everyone has the same privileges, like getting to go to school and the use of public parks. These are things that benefit all Americans.

At the end of this election, the Republican party started throwing around the word 'Socialism' a lot to scare voters. If you listened to Obama speak at the debates, you would know he's not a socialist. I didn't hear him say a single thing about eliminating private business property, did you? I did hear him talk about regulating insurance companies, so we don't have to pay so much for insurance, and so we get better coverage. This makes sense, just like it makes sense for the government to regulate businesses and employers so that employees get worker's rights, like the 40 work week, sick leave, holidays, and minimum wage. We don't think twice about these things in the work place, we expect them. If we expect worker's rights, public education, and public roads, why not affordable health care? During the debates, I heard McCain say that health insurance is a privilege. Now THAT scares me! So if you're too poor to afford it, then you don't deserve good health? Preventative care is sooooo much cheaper than treating an illness, and it's better for society as a whole. If you go to the doctor when you start feeling sick and get early treatment, you're less likely to get other people sick. If you get the flu shot, and then don't get the flu, you won't give the flu to your coworkers and your kids, and your kids won't give it to other kids who could give it to their parents, who could give it to their get the idea.

And this isn't even socialized medicine we're talking about here! (which, by the way, I'd like) This is a baby step by comparison, this is just making sure that every American can afford medical treatment. I've seen so much pain and suffering caused by the cost of health care, I've let myself get way sicker than I should, I've gotten severe tooth infection and felt the agony of that for months, I've had to have teeth pulled because I couldn't afford a doctor or a dentist. I've watched a family struggle under mounting medical debt. We've spent months paying off credit card debt caused by medical and dental bills. This is a serious problem in our country.

We've embraced Socialism in so many other areas of our life, can't we embrace insurance regulations? And is a little socialism blended with our capitalism such a bad thing? Would you really want to live in a country with straight capitalism?

If you still feel uneasy at the word "socialism" I urge you to read and consider those three books. I know that socialism has been linked with athiesm because some of the political philosophers who thought it up didn't believe in God. I feel it's compatible with the gospel, besides, so many things in the scriptures, especially in the teachings of Christ, have a socialist ring to them. I have my own theories in this area which I won't go into now. But may I just say that we can have and maintain our own standards and morals, we can even promote and share them without forcing them on other or on our nation as a whole. I know for several people abortion was a big issue this election. If you feel strongly against abortion, there are clinics across our country that offer counciling to women considering abortion. You could volunteer there, you could actually help someone in that difficult situation. You can adopt. You can voluteer with adoption agencies. Don't protest an abortion clinic, that won't make a difference (let's be honest here) but look at all the ways you can reach out with compassion and love to help others, if this is the issue that you feel so strongly about. I've shared my views a multitude of times, I think it would be unconstitional to make it illegal, and that it would do more harm than good. And I think that for women with a medical need for an abortion or who are the victims of rape it would make it more difficult to obtain one, dragging out an already painful and emotional process. My point: Find proactive, constructive (not destructive) ways to help this problem if you feel strongly about it.

And socialism isn't evil.

Thank you, comrades.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Day Before Elections Rant

You know, before we moved I thought I was pretty political. I kept up with things, I had opinions. I could hold my own in a debate (okay, usually I could win the debate). And then we moved here.

Has the rest of the country gone insane, or is it just being here, so close to DC? Let me share with you some of the insanity I've put up with in the past few days, and let me know if it's hitting you too.

-Talking politics during fast and testimony meeting yesterday. No names were said, but they were alluded to from the pulpit. In my opinion, a BIG no-no. Also, this themed carried on into Relief Society. GRRR....

-Last night we got no fewer than ten (and possibly a lot more, we finally just stopped answering the phone) calls about McCain and Obama and who we should vote for and why. Some of these were recordings, but several were real people. Once we just let Anjali answer the phone, and told her to say "Barack Obama" and hang up. She did, and seemed to get a kick out of it. Today (and it's only 11.) I've already gotten five calls about the election, including one from the Hispanic Minority something or other. Why they called me? No idea.

-Over the past two months, we've had seven incidents of people knocking on our door to discuss the election, and why we should vote for their canidate. Those are the ones I've been home for. We've also had lots of flyers left on our door.

-Each day, we get at least one mailer, sometimes as many as seven. One day I opened the mail box to find nothing but political mailers. Seriously. How many trees have died?

And does any of this work? Will a phone call, a flyer, or an annoying person at your door change who you are voting for? I'd like to believe that the debates and personal research would be the things most people use to decide. Before this onslaught, I was voting for Obama, and now I'm still voting for Obama. I don't understand why either party had to waste so much time, energy, and money, not to mention volunteer hours, on me, much less the rest of America. Virginia is a circus, at least this close to DC. What's it like where you live?

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Trick or Treating was everything cliche that we have come to expect. Although the neighborhood we went to didn't go "all out" like the neighborhood we go to in Tallahassee, and the number of children on the street last night was rather small, it was a fun night. Anjali was Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty (yes, I know, but there are worse things in the world than the Disney princesses) and at her request daddy was Prince Phillip. I wore a tight orange maternity shirt that I'd painted a jack-o-lantern face over the belly of. Nice. Strangely, we were the only parents out that were dressed up. Huh.

So everything was going fine, Anjali had it down, clank-clank-clank (because she had to wear the unstable dress up shoes that came with her costum) up to the house, knock-knock, trick-or-treat, thank you, clank-clank-clank. A few times she paused to chat, and to tell the person about the different kinds of candy she'd collected. And a few times (okay, many times) we stopped so she could put those shoes back on. Then we came to this one house.

This one house had closed in their porch with black fabric and filled it with black lights. Strob lights went off in the second floor windows. Scary music played. To get to the door, you had to walk past a mummy, a witch, and a zombie guy, all life-sized and the kind that move when you get too close. There were spiderwebs and a smoke machine. Very intimidating. And my usually fearless two year old? The one who laughed at those same decorations in the store? The combination of darkness and tiredness over powered her, and she was scared!

After a couple of comforting hugs, and daddy's hand in hers, and the reassurence that he would protect her (with his foam sword, of course) she bravely walked up to the door, and delivered her lines. And then made a hasty retreat. Back at the street, she told us again, "That house is scary!" "Yes, but they gave you candy! Wasn't that nice?" "Yes." "Okay, so that house isn't scary, it's silly. They just made it all silly for Halloween." "Silly?" "Yes, silly." "Oh." and then we moved on. I wish all the frightening things in her life would be that easy to explain away, and that it would be that easy to comfort her always.

And so we continued on our way. A few houses later, knock-knock, "You have candy? Trick or treat. Thank you." Clank-clank-clank. And then those big brown eyes looked up, and she said "I'm done." "Do you want to go home?" "Yes, home. It's too cold."

We had pizza and watched a movie. Halfway through, after pizza and a brownie, and all mommy's peperoni, Anjali asked to go to bed. Granted, it was after 11, and much later than we normally let her stay up, but after we had her all tucked in, I thought "what a simple, beautiful life she has! So full!" and I also thought how wonderful it was that when we let her have a little freedom, she is wise enough to limit herself, to say she wants to go home, to say she want to sleep. Granted, I doubt she'd show restraint if we turned her loose with the candy bucket, but I hope she'll always know when it's time to go home, to call it a night.

Later today I'm going to try to get some pics up. Unfortunately, I played camera man, so they aren't the best.