for the protection of sensitive eyes

Missy defended her friend’s behavior of the other day by saying,

Respond directly to my non bigot friend John or Laura…I just miss you. She found out well after the fact of it being my family. Her name is Kristina L [redacted] and she keeps telling me she is more than willing to tell you what she thinks. It’s very sad that things came to this but I will not silence my friends. It is the world wide web after all…you let yourself he wide open to it.

I think John has the right of it when he says to just ignore them and not deal with that particular brand of bullshit. At the same time, I do feel sad for several reasons:
  1. Missy, Sparky, and parents apparently think the divide comes from financial jealousies (this was the reason addressed by their parents). It does not. It comes from father-in-law’s blatant bigotry, as well as his divisive favoritism in regards to his children. Worse, Missy not only accepts and acknowledges both the bigotry and the favoritism, but has shifted (over the years) to defending it. This is a stance John and I find incomprehensible, insulting, and untenable. It was all made worse when Missy said John essentially deserved such treatment because he was careless with material goods and not respectful enough to his father.
  2. I think if the father in law was not such an overwhelming presence in the family, we would all get along fine. I continue to maintain this, though I sometimes wonder if it’s sheer naivete on my part. As families and individuals, we do seem to share many similar interests and hobbies, and I really do believe we would all get along if it weren’t for the favoritism exhibited by father-in-law and defended by Missy. This has been perpetuated down through the grandchildren.  I suspect Missy’s in a hard spot here — if she’s kind to John and I, she loses the approval of her father. With her father in town so often anymore, she has to find a point of common discussion, and I rather suspect that point of common discussion (once politics, children, and trucking issues have been exhausted) is a negative feedback loop regarding their opinions on the decisions and choices John (or I) have made in our lives.  If you’re constantly negging someone behind their back, it’s hard to be respectful or positive to their face.
  3. It may be the world wide web, and Missy has a point that I can’t stop people from airing their opinions on content I post publicly. That said, personal blogs are generally difficult to haunt down. I keep changing blog addresses, user names, etc. so as not to enrage them with my writing, and they keep intentionally seeking my blog out. I can’t stop them if they choose to keep stalking out my blogs and reading my stuff, despite the fact they know they hate everything I have to say. To paraphrase, It is the world wide web, after all . . . find something else to read.  I don’t read Glenn Beck because he’s a moron whose writing upsets me, so why would you keep reading my stuff if you think I’m a moron and my writing upsets you?
  4. It’s intriguing to me that Missy takes the side of her friend, while simultaneously remonstrating her brother for standing up for his wife and child. His family. Also, according to what Ms. L apparently told Missy, Ms. L did not “realize we were family” when she left the vitriolic comment in question, so that’s pretty fascinating to me that she’d flip out like that at an alleged stranger.
  5. I have no interest in talking to Kristina. I don’t know who she is, and other than the fact that she’s Missy’s friend and has gathered her opinion of me based on Missy’s representation of me, I know nothing about her and I don’t really see why I should care to. I’m not concerned about defending myself to her, because I’m not concerned what she thinks of me — rather, I’m concerned by what her opinion (gathered from Missy’s representation of me) reveals of what Missy thinks of me, and of John’s life choices. As far as Ms. L herself is concerned, I wish her a long and happy life away from me — a wish we seem to be in accordance with.

Those are some of the reactions I have when I read that she will not silence her friends (with the unspoken reality that she will gladly silence John hanging heavy over the words). I can’t express them to Missy et al, because a) I’ve tried in the past to  express my point of view, and it’s a futile exercise; and b) I’m tired of it. Part of me wants to call them up and try to work it out again, but just the thought of talking to them and dealing with the hot-cold, up-down, in-out nature of the relationship makes me feel exhausted and drained, and I end up never making the call.

John doesn’t like my family. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. He doesn’t like them, and they’re nerve-wracked and freaked out by his silent stoicism and bluntness. I still talk to and visit my sister and dad regularly. My husband doesn’t have to get along with my family for me to talk to them or visit with them. Likewise, I don’t have to get along with John’s family for him to talk to them or visit with them. The spouse does not have to come along, it’s as simple as that. I’ve opted out of in-law visits for the time being, and my husband is free to make his own choice, which he has. I just wish his choice could be respected (for once) by his family.

I would say this is the end of it and the last time I’ll write about it, but it probably won’t be. I blog out my thoughts. I like blogging. I generally like the differing views and feedback I’ve gotten on the various blog platforms from unbiased strangers; some comments encouraging empathy and forgiveness, others advising me to cut my losses and protect my son while I can. I’m tired of moving platforms and losing the tiny little readerships I gain.

In addition, while I normally treat John as a sort of pseudo-therapist, I can’t in this situation. I don’t want to upset him by discussing the situation, so unless one or the other of us are directly contacted I try to avoid bringing it up. I keep hoping that time will fade his hurt and anger, and he will be able to mend ties with his family on his own, without my involvement. I do wish I could tell Missy to give him his space for a few months to a year, because right now her regular guilt-trippy texts and messages are just stirring up his frustration and hurt.

So I will probably continue to write about this rather personal issue on my blog, knowing the in-laws might find it (again), but also knowing it’s highly unlikely anyone else who stumbles upon this blog would be able to place names, faces, etc. Missy and Sparky and the in-laws — indeed, John and Kidling and I — while easily identifiable to the parties involved, are anonymous, blank-faced characters in a far-away story to the average internet reader. At this point, I have to admit, that I do feel if the in-laws are hurt/ angered/ bothered by anything they read on my blog, it’s kind of their own fault for continuing to read my writing while knowing they will be enraged by it.

Right now, though, I just feel sad and sick (literally, my stomach is pretty upset) and exhausted with it all. I wish for a few weeks or months of silence, or at least an acknowledgment that John may have a valid reason to be upset and hurt.

gratitude journal 9-30-12

  1. I finished this weeks paper. I was worried for a minute there, because it seemed like the book wasn’t going to arrive in time. But it arrived yesterday, I read the two required chapters today, and I wrote the synopsis this evening. Yay for homework!
  2. Gorgeous day. We went up to Mt. Rainier National Park today, and it was a gorgeous day. We took a ton of pictures of waterfalls and scenic views, hiked around a bit, and bought Kidling some rock candy in the gift shop. Then we took the scenic route home, meandering through Eatonville, Elbe, and Yelm, and had Teriyaki for dinner. Awesome day.
  3. The Neato. It recently got a “pet upgrade,” where we bought a new beater brush and filter that better picks up pet hair and dander, as well as (obviously) dirt and whatnot. It sucks up pine needles really well now. I love this thing. I love not having to vacuum, but just being able to push a button and walk away to do other stuff.
  4. Donations. John donates through his paycheck to some of his pet causes, and for years I’ve been wanting to donate to Planned Parenthood, HRC, and Bitch Media. Now that I’m getting a regular paycheck, I can! Some of my donation swag (a bumper sticker, a digital magazine, a thank you letter) arrived this past week, and it makes me feel so happy to know I’m helping the causes I care about in my own small way.
  5. Kittens. Kidling has a friend named, um, “Dice,” and went to a birthday party for him this weekend. When we went to pick him up, we met this litter of kittens Kidling has been talking about all week and omigod they are so cute! And bobtails! Look at this face:

Right?!? Who could say no to that face?

As for calories, it’s cheat weekend. Every weekend is cheat weekend at the moment, but once I figure out how to manage packing a healthy & tasty room-temp meal on Saturdays, only Sundays will be the cheat day.

There’s something else, but it doesn’t really belong in the gratitude journal b/c I’m pretty conflicted about it. So (edited) new password protected entry will follow. I’ve decided to try to remember to password-protect entries related to family in the future, as they seem incapable of resisting the temptation to seek out writing they know will enrage them.

gratitude journal 9-29-12

First day of my Justice at Work class. It was kickass. We learned about the history of unions from 1865, and it was pretty darn fascinating. So, gratitudes:

  1. I’m glad I got to ride my motorcycle today. Given that a large portion of my work duties involve running errands, I can’t ride to or from work. John usually borrows my motorcycle to ride to his job, so I can’t ride after work. Sundays I have Kidling while John works, and we haven’t bought the boy a new helmet yet, so I can’t ride on Sundays. Saturdays are a rare and beautiful riding day, and the ride out to the college is just gorgeous.
  2. John made bbq pork ribs today. Over the summer, he was browsing the free section of Craigslist a lot, and he found a charcoal grill/ smoker-grill. He bought it with the plan that we would be smoking sausages and salmon and whatnot, but we’ve pretty much just been grilling with it. Two weeks ago he made smoked bbq pork ribs, which I’ve never had, and they were glorious. Today he made them again, and it was equally glorious.
  3. Hard cider is delicious. I’m not a fan of beer or hard A, and wine gives me headaches. I don’t smoke pot, I’ve quit smoking cigarettes, and long story short I don’t really have any relaxing vices. About once every three weeks or so, I indulge in a hard cider. I’ve just recently (re)discovered (I had it once in pub back in December 2009) Strongbow Hard Cider, and it is delicious and awesome.
  4. I’m not a mormon anymore. Tomorrow is Sunday. If I was still mormon, I would currently be stressing about whatever assignment — talk, Relief Society lesson, Primary lesson, Young Women’s lesson, whatever — I had from church. I would also be stressing about my classes, my homework, the chores that aren’t getting done, the dinner menu, and my job. Added to all that mental/ emotional strain, I would have to wake up fairly early, get my entire family ready for church, and go spend 3 hours inside a stuffy building on my only day off. The entire time, I would be trying to prevent my 10 year old son from wriggling and moving too much. Then we would come home and eat dinner (preceded, of course, by prayer), and then we would do quiet “Sunday appropriate” activities until either the home teachers or the visiting teachers stopped by. Then scripture study, family prayer, and bedtime. Oh, and I would need to plan Family Home Evening for Monday night, so I would also be worried about when to do my homework for Tuesday’s class that I didn’t get the book for until today, and I would be hating myself for finding church too stressful, because a good mormon shouldn’t. And on top of all that, tomorrow is actually the first Sunday of the month, so it’s actually fast and testimony meeting. I’m so glad I left the church — for a variety of reasons, but I’m not going to pretend the absence of church-related stress isn’t a relief.

gratitude journal 9-28-12

  1. Payday! Today is payday, and I am grateful for that! 
  2. Sunshine: John and I ate lunch at a park a block or so away from my office today. It was sunny and warm, with the scent of fall curling through the air — apples and chimney smoke and that indefinable autumn smell. We played on the play equipment afterward and he spun me round until I felt sick and was walking all wobbly. It was a blast.
  3. Supportive bosses: Yesterday Mr. Boss (I have two bosses, the Mr. and Mrs.) stopped by my desk on the way out and said, “Lana, you’re really doing a great job. I like how organized and on top of things you are, and I’m really impressed with your turnaround on [project].” It was awesome. It made me feel all happy and contributing, like my presence here is really valued. I love supportive bosses.
  4. Eating out: I love to cook, but I also love to eat out. Today John and I were counting up the restaurants within a one-mile radius of our house, and we got up to 27. They’re building a Popeye’s Chicken and Red Robin soon, too! Plus, there are 4 grocery stores — 6 if you count Walmart and Walgreens, which I don’t because I never shop at Walmart and Walgreens is more of a drugstore — within walking distance. No matter what our inclination, it’s right there! It’s awesome, and I’m glad I live in such a diverse culinary area.
  5. Modern medicine: I love modern medicine. I loves vaccines and doctors and healthy diets. I love that we’re moving toward affordable healthcare for everyone. I love that I live in a day and age where things like cancer and HIV and diabetes can be treated and managed. I love biogenetics and gene research. I fucking love science!

Unrelated: Today’s Calorie Counter

  • Breakfast: 2 boiled eggs: 140; 1.5 cup coffee, 5; 2 tbls half n half: 40
  • Lunch: 1/2 pre-packed Safeway Cobb Salad: 155; 1/8 pack Bleu Cheese Dressing: 23.75; 1 Cottage Doubles pack: 100
  • Dinner: pre-packed Safeway Chef Salad: 250; 1/4 pack Buttermilk Ranch Dressing: 67.5; Cottage Doubles pack: 100

TOTAL THUS FAR: 881.25

gratitude journal 9-27-12

  1. My cats. They’re cool. They make me smile. I love the way Dmiters (nickname for Dmitri. See also: Dmitri-kins, Puddums, and Fat Bastard) head butts me for pets and cuddles. I love the way Arwen kneads my arms and belly, and the way she bats at my face or hand when she wants pets. I love the way Hope licks my hand, and when she’s in a particularly groom-ey mood, she hold onto my hand with her paw to prevent me from moving it. I love these cats so much.
  2. My hometown. There’s a country song with these lyrics: Where I was born, where I was raised./ Where I keep all my yesterdays. I just googled it; it’s by Montgomery Gentry. I’m not normally a big fan (at all) of country music, but those two lines — and these two: Where I came back to settle down, / It’s where they’ll put me in the ground: — perfectly illustrate how I feel about this town. I love it. I love everything about this town. I love the roads I know like the back of my hand, the parks (both obvious and hidden), the lakes and forests and rivers and streams. I love the restaurants and stores and the laid-back, alternative, stoner-esque attitude. I may grump about “goddamn stoners in the park,” or about “smelly hippies,” but deep down I’d rather have our unwashed, dreadlocked, stoner hippies over wall-street suited yuppies. I love this town.
  3. It didn’t rain today. The long summer is finally winding up, and our 80 degree heat streak is shifting into the cool 60’s. However, it’s not raining yet. I love this time of year, when the temperatures are cooling but still pleasant for outdoor activities, and when the air smells sweetly of rain and cut grass and fallen leaves, but there’s no rainfall yet. It was dry out today, with a cool grey sky stretching overhead and just the hint of a nip in the air.
  4. Financial security. I’m not a hugely material person, by and large. I mean, I like material things that add to the comfort of my life, everyone does. But I’m not one of those people who thinks material things are the only (or even best way) of showing affection and love. That said, I love being more financially secure. Out of the house, away from the 30 minute gas-sucking commute, and in a town where there’s actual business competition, so prices self-regulate. I love it. I love affordable groceries, affordable gas, and commutes that are under 15 minutes (driving for me, walking distance for John). I think our car is breaking down, and for the first time in years we have savings in the bank. It’s crazy.
  5. A painting I bought. I like puns. I like paintings. I like the Beatles. Today I found a painting with all three, and I bought that glorious painting because I could. It will go on my wall, next to some shadow boxes, and it will make me smile every day. Because owl you need is love.

Unrelated: Calorie counter for day

  • Breakfast: Two hard-boiled eggs, 1.5 cup coffee, 2 tbls half n half. 185 cal.
  • Lunch: 1/2 Grilled chicken cesar spinach wrap, 1 cup fresh fruit, 1 small square carrot cake. 720 cal.
  • Snack: 1 pack fruit snacks. 80 cal.
  • Dinner: 1 Lean Cuisine hot pocket (broccoli & chicken): 290 cal.
  • Snack: 1 Greek yogurt: 160

Total: 1,435. 

That’s within my goal range (between 1,200 – 1,500/ day), but still over what I was shooting for. Damn carrot cake.

gratitude journal 9-26-12

I’m so utterly uncreative at titles, ha. So, today’s gratitude journal:

  • I’m glad I live in the PNW. I love this state. I love that, for the most part, the people you meet are progressive/ liberal/ democrat-type people. I love that (generally speaking), the people I rub shoulders with every day have similar values to me. I love the diversity and beauty of living so near rainforest, desert, ocean, and mountains.
  • I’m glad today spiked up warm for a bit. I went to the park for lunch, and it was nice to sit on a sun-washed bench and soak up the warmth. The flowers were pretty, too.
  • I’m grateful for my past. I’ve made mistakes in my past, and I’ve lost loved ones. But whenever I look back at the crooked road I’ve traveled, I feel grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and the people I’ve loved. I would not be the person I am today without the experiences of yesterday.
  • I’m grateful for my talents. Sometimes I wish I could sing, or dance. Sometimes I wish I was better at sport. For the most part, though, I’m glad I have the talents I do. I feel that writing and drawing are good creative outlets, and my scrapbooking and cooking skills benefit not just me but my family. My talents will likely never garner me fame or accolades, but they improve the life of the people I love, and that makes me happy.
  • I’m glad John convinced me to take the MSF. I love my motorcycle. I love riding her. I love everything about riding, whether it’s in the summer heat, the autumn chill, or the winter wet. I love the smells and the sights, and the feel of pushing myself, mentally and emotionally and physically, to keep improving at something that is so incredibly rewarding.

***

In other news, that blog entry/ comment/ blow-up thingy the other day led to surprising results. First, Sparky contacted me wanting to know if we (John and I) could meet up and talk. John couldn’t and Sparky and I had conflicting schedules, so the meeting kinda fizzled out.

Then John’s mom texted me wanting to see John and Kidling. Unfortunately, the day she named (today), everyone was busy and we didn’t have enough forewarning to change our schedules, or any sick time. I gather they stopped by John’s place of work and collected him for lunch a few days ago, so hopefully that communication is restarting.

Apparently, though, there was a major misunderstanding regarding the cause of the whole disagreement, and it appears Missy et al have a very different idea of why we’re in our current state of affairs than John and I do. I’m not really sure how that happened, other than the usual culprit of miscommunications and misunderstandings.

gratitude journal

One niggling fear that’s been worrying me is that I’m stretching myself too thin, adding school in. I mean, John helps out with chores/ etc., but our schedules make it difficult to properly work it all out. One thing I appreciate about John is that he’s pretty understanding of my need for “me time,” where I can just veg or read or draw or paint or what-have-you for a bit with no interruptions or demands.

It’s a rare trait to find, when a person doesn’t get all personally insulted because you say, “Look, you’re cool and all but just go away for like 30 minutes so I can de-stress here.” John’s one of the few people in my life who has shown that understanding.

Anyway, I’ve been a little concerned about adding a full credit load to a 40 hour workweek + family. They say for every hour of class you’re in a week, you need to spend two hours on homework — since I’m in approximately 12 hours of class a week, that’s 24 hours dedicated to homework. So essentially two jobs + family.

Tonight I attended my first class. It’s from 6 – 9 pm, so I leave work and drive straight to school. Dee watched Austin, as she will every week for the rest of the quarter. We received the syllabus, and I was happy to see the expected assignments aren’t at all overwhelming: we have to read two chapters a week, write a two page reaction paper to turn in each week, and we have one eight-page paper due near the quarter’s end. The most daunting part to me is actually the bit where we have to take 20 minutes everyday to de-stress.

Our teacher wants us to engage in some sort of activity that rejuvenates us for those 20 minutes — meditation, Tai Chi, Yoga, exercise, contemplative prayer, etc. I was trying to figure out where I could fit in 20 minutes a day; wondering if a shower could count as meditation. Then she slid to the next slide, which had more examples — including journaling. I was like sweet, I got this bitch.

She listed a few types of journaling, but the one that most caught my fancy was a “Gratitude Journal,” where I list 5 things every day that I’m grateful or appreciative of. I’m not entirely sure this won’t become repetitive, but I’m willing to give it a go. So without further ado, today’s gratitude list:

  1. I’m grateful for John. He’s one of the rare areas where I still fall speechless trying to express my wonder and joy at our relationship. We’ve had some really rough patches, I won’t lie — but in the end, we learned that we always have each other’s backs, and we love each other absolutely (flaws and all). I am so lucky to have such a supportive, encouraging, funny, compassionate, generous husband.
  2. I’m grateful for Kidling. I don’t know what magical combination of time and circumstance and genetics landed me such a great kid, but I got lucky with him.
  3. I’m grateful for the modern amenities in my life. Dishwasher. Oven. Shower. Internet. I would not give these things up for all the tea in China (or, more appropriately, all the coffee in Cuba).
  4. I’m grateful for my job. I’m still struck with amazed gratitude every day when I sit down at my desk. I can’t believe how stunningly lucky this opportunity was — I interviewed a year ago, and wasn’t a good fit for that position. But they hung onto my resume, and a full year later (almost to the day!) they called me back to interview for a different position. Now I’m an office manager in a small office of great people. Even luckier, my co-workers are all super cool, laid back, hard-working, intelligent people that are just individually nice. It really is a dream job situation.
  5. I’m grateful for the opportunity to attend college. It just goes to show that every cloud has a silver lining. In February 2011, John injured his knee and couldn’t work. That was sort of a straw-that-broke-the-camels-back, financially speaking, and we foreclosed on the house and moved in June, knowing we would have to file bankruptcy. In late July, John was able to return to work, but in October he had to take another leave of absence when Crazy Mike sucker-punched him and broke his jaw. All told, John was unable to work for about 8  months total in 2011 . . . which meant I qualified for enough financial aid to attend the 2012-2013 school year debt-free and loan-free. After this year, I will have one academic year left in order to earn my Bachelor’s, and I will have been able to do so completely debt and loan free. That’s a rare situation.

one of those mornings

This morning, I got up at 6:50 to take my shower. Before getting in the shower, I woke up Kidling and went to the kitchen to start to boil 2 eggs for breakfast. Whilst grabbing the eggs, I accidentally knocked my lunch — a Safeway pre-packed salad — out and onto the floor. It burst across the floor, the dog came to eat it, and I just knew this day was off to a bad start.

Then John came out, gave me a kiss and told me to get in the shower while he made the coffee. When I got out, he’d taken Kidling to McD’s for breakfast and bought me back a sausage biscuit, hashbrown, and a Cutters Point coffee. Best husband ever? I think yes.

Image

Except it was a delicious delicious Cutters Point coffee.

re-orienting

I’m not actually a big fan of college orientations. They seem pointless and silly to me. I’m not some 18 year old kid with daddy’s wallet and pipe dreams of a “dream career.” I don’t need to find out where the dorms are or how much a cafeteria card will save me over time. I don’t want to run for student government or join any clubs. None of that stuff matters to me.

What I want is to go to class and earn my degree. I have a husband, kid, friends, job, homework, hobbies. I’ve got other things I’d like to spend my time on, and with only so much time in the day I’m not sacrificing the important bits (family, job, degree) for stupid extra-curriculars like sports or debate team.

That said, I was a little bummed I couldn’t go to the convocation speech this week — Carlotta Wells LaNier, author of  “A Mighty Long Way,” was speaking about her experience as one of the Little Rock Nine.

Although I missed her speech, we discussed the book at the mandatory orientation today. That was pretty cool. We also saw a segment of the documentary, Eyes on the Prize, which we discussed as it related to or differed from the book. It was a pretty fascinating discussion.

The segment of the documentary we watched started with an old southern racist dude quoting the bible to defend segregation. This really caught me in light of something I’d read in her book just the day before:

“It never ceased to amaze me how often the bigots tried to hide their fear and hatred behind the banner of Christianity.” — Carlotta Walls LaNier

I’ve always firmly believed we have to pay attention to our history or we are doomed to repeat it. The resonance between such shameful moments in our history and what’s going on now is really saddening. You’d think we’d learn from things like the anti-Japanese terror during WWII, which resulted in American citizens detained in the internment camps, not to judge people based on their appearance or perceived religion. You’d think we as a country would look at the shameful homeland terrorism practiced by the Segregationists and show no tolerance to their modern day xenophobic “state’s rights”-bleating equivalents, the Tea Party.

Anyway. After some discussion and freewriting and more discussion, we took a lunch break and I explored the campus a bit. I bought a sweatshirt (because the ride in was freezing) and priced out my textbooks. College stores are always so freaking overpriced, I swear. I dropped $46 on that sweatshirt, and it was one of the less expensive ones. Lame. My textbooks I just took pictures of (for their ISBN), then came home and searched online. Three were available in e-book, and the other five I was able to order for less than $60 total. Nice! I also checked out the cafeteria and coffee shops.

BTW, tangent here, I adore coffee shops. I still feel a little twinge of relief when I see them. That summer I lived in Rexburg, there was not a coffee shop to be found. They didn’t even sell those iced Starbucks coffees at the store. They had a friggin’ sno-cone stand on every corner, but not a single fucking coffee shop. That’s just inhumane. I love that in Washington, there’s a coffee shop on every block (sometimes two a block!) and one in pretty much every shopping mall, college campus, or bookstore. It one of those wonderful little bits of Washington culture that never ceases to make me smile.

Then it was back to orientation to work on our academic statements. It was a practice type deal, not at all the final draft (or even rough draft), which is good. I wrote two pages for the section that was defined as my “intro”, and it’s supposed to be more like one page. For the whole statement. I dislike writing assignments of less than 1,000 words. Obviously, I need to cut it down a bit.

Out at three, and I headed on home. The weather by now was, of course, gorgeous — rendering the sweatshirt I’d bought useless. I met up with John at his place of work and we shot the shit for a bit. Then I bought a cute dress from the roadshow going on at the store.

It was a bit of an internal struggle for me, honestly. The company, Diviine ModesTee, sells clothing that is dressy without being fussy, modest, and ever so slightly preppy. Very much my taste, but the company is also based out of Utah and has a pretty obvious mormon vibe to it all. That’s the part that bothered me — knowing that 10% my $48 for that awesome army-green shirtdress would more than likely end up in the coffers of the Great and Spacious Corporation. But unfortunately, mainstream retailers don’t make a lot of clothing that is a) tastefully understated and modest and b) made of high quality materials with strong stitching. So I guess I just inadvertently paid tithing.

title is optional

After the froo-ha-ha of yesterday’s comment flurry, I wasn’t going to post for a bit. No point in poking a stick at angry bears, y’know? But then I realized that with school and everything starting soon, I’m not really going to have time to blog, and blogging is cathartic for me. I shouldn’t let angry people get to me.

So here’s what is probably a final post for a bit, as my schedule is about to kick up hardcore. I go to orientation tomorrow, and start classes next Tuesday night. I found a sitter, because good deeds apparently really do beget good deeds. Over the summer I invited Kidling’s two best friends (“Remus” and “Romulus”) with us to quite a few places — Long Lake, Wild Waves, that sort of thing.

Kidling hung out with them for a bit on the 4th of July, too, before we headed over to Steph’s for fireworks and food. I finally met their parents (“Dee” and “Bran”) around mid-summer, and their parents are awesome, too. Dee has agreed to watch Kidling while I’m in my 8-hour weekend class, which takes a huge weight off my mind. I was starting to get a little worried there!

Even more delightful, Dee and Bran have a lot of similar interests to us. They collect dragons and Amy Brown faeries, they watch a lot of the same shows, they read books in the same genres and topics (sociology, theology, fantasy and sci-fi, etc.), and we all have congruent theories on parenting. He rides motorcycle; she works right down the block from me.

I know all that isn’t a slam-dunk for friendship. I’ve met plenty of people who have an interest in sci fi and fantasy, watch the same shows, read the same types of books, and have similar parenting theories, but we just don’t mesh on a personality level. Still, I’m tentatively excited to have a family nearby that is so alike in temperament and interests.

Moving up here has been amazing — the costs of housing, commute, everything have been cut. We’ve made more friends in a year than we made in all the time we lived in Centralia. We spent the 4th of July with this super sweet family I met volunteering in the PTSA last year, and with our commute time down to ~5 min (for John) and ~15 min (for me), we actually have time to do things and spend time with people. Despite all this coolness of life away from the middle of nowhere, the neighborhood issue of last year has had me a little jumpy around the neighbors.

Right before Crazy Mike attacked my husband, he was kept telling us that the neighborhood had never experienced any problems before we arrived, that everyone was friends and happy. I believed him — I guess I’m just gullible — and I kept wondering what it was about our family that caused all this neighborhood strife. I couldn’t really comprehend the kind of mindset where someone came to our house, harrassed our family, yelled at us when we went out walking, then told us we were instigating it.

I mean, what kind of disturbed person tries to start a fight, then blames the other person for walking away? It’s so irrational, I just figured we must have been doing something to incite such rage. Welp, I finally screwed up the courage to talk to a few other families and whatnot in the neighborhood and surrounding cul-de-sacs, about the incident, including Dee and her family.

That’s how I learned that Crazy Mike and his family had the cops out there in the neighborhood on them every 3 to 6 months before we arrived. Crazy Mike, apparently, had a drinking problem, and was often apprehended for drunkenly stumbling through the neighborhood at all hours of the morning.

Other neighbors told me Crazy Mike Jr. had been bullying the neighborhood children and cats to the point that they (the neighbors) didn’t feel safe letting their children play outside or their pets roam. The upshot, apparently, is that when we acquired the restraining order against Crazy Mike and he subsequently vacated the neighborhood, we apparently tangentially improved the living situation for several families. So that’s cool.

I’m still processing the situation from yesterday. It’s weird. The insults were shocking more in their vulgarity than in the content — I’m not really too surprised to find that’s how Missy talks about me to her friends. John seems more upset than I am right now, but the same thing happened back in February. It takes me a bit to process all the ramifications of the conversation. Like that if someone so tangential to my world is repeating this stuff they’ve heard about me from Missy as gospel, then it must be a really common theme held forth and spoken by Missy.