Saturday, April 30, 2011

Awesome souvenir from Boston

Jess and Mitch recently got back from a trip to Boston. (Actually, it was a trip to Quebec, Montreal, Maine, and Boston.)

I drove them to the airport, and picked them up when they got back, so they wanted to bring me something. We don't really buy each other stuff just for the sake of buying stuff, so they weren't sure what to bring back until they were at a market in Boston.

This is what they brought me:

They were at this market, and they saw the pineapple and decided to bring it back for me. The reason for that was, last year they went to Hawaii. They wondered if I would like anything, maybe some macadamia nuts? I told them I wanted a pineapple, please, please!

I went to Maui back in 2002 and I absolutely loved the pineapples I had while I was there. Our resort served them with our breakfast, we had them at a luau, and I forget where else, but I thought they were wonderful. They taste completely different than pineapples here.

Jess and Mitch brought me my pineapple. I was thrilled! The pictures we got were blurry.

So, this time, when they were in Boston, they thought it would be funny to bring back a pineapple again. They both kept laughing about it on the way back and as they gave it to me. Apparently, although people return from Hawaii with fresh pineapples all the time, it isn't as big of a trend in Boston. At the airport they saw the pineapple as Jess & Mitch's luggage was being scanned, and they were really interested in it. [From what I remember:]

Airport person: " that ... a pineapple?"
J or M: "Yeah."
Airport person [confused]: "You're taking a pineapple?"
J or M: "Yeah."
Airport person: "I'm going to have to take a look at that."

So they took it out and looked more closely, or did little airport-safety tests, or something, and discovered that it really was a pineapple.



Real Estate:

I graduated from the Real Estate Academy I've been attending. I took (and passed!) the licensing exams. I interviewed at a couple different offices (and talked with a few others), and I found a broker to work with. I will be working for Community Property Management, which works with Community Real Estate. The broker's name is David Anderegg, and he's had his office for about a year. He's just started the property management brokerage, but he has a bunch of experience managing properties, so I think he will be great to work with. I submitted the application to actually get my license, and the Division of Real Estate is processing it, and they said I should receive my license in 5-7 business days, which should be sometime next week.


The cow is still pretty little.

We're down to one turkey. The one that's left is doing really well. It's out with our chickens.

We still don't know whether the goats are pregnant or not. They'd better be.


It's growing. I transplanted it into bigger pots, and it is still in J's parents' greenhouse, where it is doing really well.


My dad is visiting! He is in town for two weeks, and he's helping us with a bunch of things. He and I built a big shelf for our garage, and we organized the garage. He's been painting an apartment for us. He is also painting our barn. (So far he's put new plywood up to cover the old, really worn out plywood.) We're enjoying his visit. I think he is too. He plays with Chalcy a lot, and she gives him lots of kisses.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gay Mormons?

I just wanted to let people know about this book.

About a year and a half ago, my brother-in-law, Brent, realized he is gay. He’s an active LDS guy, so for a long time he didn’t even consider that he might be gay. (He just wasn’t interested in girls because, you know, he was a “late bloomer,” and things like that.) He knew he should like girls, and he wanted to, but even though he prayed to be attracted to girls, went on a lot of dates, and had his hormone levels tested, etc, nothing changed. Meanwhile, he’s had all these experiences where he feels “brotherly love” towards other guys.

Once Brent realized what was going on, he did a lot of research on being Mormon and gay, and I don’t know what else. He helped start a gay club at BYU (although it is not officially recognized, they do have permission to meet). He also attended different conferences and firesides, etc, and he started hosting parties at his parents’ house every quarter, or so.

The thing is, it turns out, there is this whole group of great, faithful LDS people (mostly guys) that realize they’re gay. They pray to like girls, they fast to like girls, they go for counseling, sometimes they get married to try to cure themselves, or various different things, and none of it works. They believe that the church is true, and they love the gospel…but they don’t know what to do. A lot of times their families disown them. Some of the guys commit suicide. It’s really sad. I think most gay Mormons are extremely lonely.

Brent started a project of collecting people’s stories for a book. After a lot of work, it’s ready, and he has it available on Amazon. It’s called Gay Mormons?: Latter-day Saint Experiences of Same Gender Attraction. The book contains thirty-six stories, and at the beginning it includes information about the Church’s current position on homosexuality, plus several pages of resources at the end, including support groups, books, Church articles, etc. Brent set the price as low as they would let him, so he isn’t making any profit or royalties at all. The main purpose of the book is to lighten other people’s burdens--by letting people who are struggling know that they are not alone, and by encouraging everyone to be compassionate.

I helped Brent with proofreading the book, so I’ve read most of it. Although I am not usually very interested in issues of same-gender attraction, I’ve found the book to be pretty interesting. None of the stories are crude or antagonistic towards the LDS church, or anything like that. The book doesn’t have any sort of political or religious agenda, which is kind of nice. After reading Gay Mormons? I don’t know what causes people to be gay, or what God expects of gay people, and I don’t feel like I need to know. I do feel totally convinced that gay people don’t choose to be gay. I feel compassion towards people who struggle with same-gender attraction, and I think that as members of the Church, we have a serious obligation to love everyone, to include them, and to treat all people in a Christ-like manner.

I’m not very liberal. I don’t usually blog about this sort of thing, and I don’t anticipate future blog posts on this topic, but I thought I would mention Brent’s book just in case anyone is interested. It seems like it will be really relevant, timely, and helpful to a lot of people.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Barnes & Noble, IT’S OVER!

Look, Barnes & Noble: it’s not me, it’s you.

We’ve had a normal relationship, I suppose. When I first started going to Barnes & Noble, I was young. Every moment we spent together was thrilling, and I couldn’t wait to go back. Barnes & Noble, you made me feel special, and our future seemed promising. You had so many (!) books, and you even let me stay and read if I wanted to. I thought it was love, but it was really just infatuation. Of course, not every relationship is meant to be. Over time, things between us have grown stale. We’re off-again-on-again, because I just can’t seem to break things off completely. I keep going back hoping that Barnes & Noble will be fun and exciting like it used to be. Things were so cozy between us. Every time I go back, though, you keep reminding me why I shouldn’t. We really just need to cut things off completely, but it’s hard. We have so many nice memories, you know?

This is what happens, every time:

1. I decide to treat myself by buying a book I want now, instead of buying it online for cheaper, and having to wait for it to arrive. I go to Barnes & Noble. It probably won’t be full price. Sometimes I see signs that say things are 20-30% off, or something. Anyway, who charges full price for books? Even the grocery store doesn’t.

2. Ughh. It’s full price. (Everything is.) Do I really want to pay $30 for something that costs $17—including shipping—online?

3. Uh, uh, IMPULSIVE INDULGENCE: I guess so! After all, I’m already here. I thought it would be a difference of like, $4, but hey, it will be fun to have it now.

4. Approach cashier.

Cashier: “Are you a member of our program?”

Me: (friendly) “Nope!”

Cashier: “Do you want to join [and pay 3 times as much as you should really be paying for your one book you’re buying today]?”

Me: (slightly irritated because they’re asking me to spend even more) “No thanks.”

Cashier: “Okay, your total is $x. A member would have saved $5.

Me: (groan) (not in a mean voice, just disappointed) “And if I would have bought it online, I would have saved $15. I was just trying to treat myself, but I probably shouldn’t have. It really isn’t a very good idea to shop here, is it? Oh well. I guess I’ll try to still enjoy my book anyway. ”

Every time I buy something you taunt me by telling me how much I could have saved. Do you think that will make me want to join your program? It doesn’t. It reminds me that I’m an idiot for not being patient enough to just buy it online.

If I’m consciously choosing to pay more than I should, don’t rub it in! For goodness sakes, make me feel like I’m a princess while I’m in your store. Every single person in your store is choosing to indulge. We don’t need you. Nobody needs you anymore. Don’t you see? You’re not selling books like you used to, you’re selling a service now. The service is immediacy, and indulgence. That’s why you started your nook. It gives people something immediately (!), and brings it to them, instead of making them come to you (an indulgence). That business model is successful because it makes people happy. (And doesn't require printing anything.) Think about that for a minute, would you?

For now, I think it’s time that we take a break. All of our nice experiences are in the past, you know, and it’s just time for us to move on. We haven’t enjoyed each other for a while.

Don’t worry about me. I’m sure I’ll be okay. I already have my eye on someone new, you know. Amazon and I have been spending a lot of time together, and we’re really happy. For one thing, he makes me feel special. He thanks me for our time together, and he doesn’t use me like you do. Just upgrading my shipping option will work better for me, I think.

So long, Barnes & Noble. Thanks for the memories.

[Sorry the formatting is messed up. That sometimes happens when I copy/paste from Word. Oh well.]

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

More of my Emergency Preparedness blog posts

Remember how I blog for eFoods Direct? Here are the links to my posts that have published since the last time I mentioned this on my blog:

1. Creating a Family Emergency Plan
2. Preparing for an Earthquake
3. Preparing for a Fire
4. How to Turn Off Your Gas
5. Sprouting Basics

In other news, I started my garden! A couple weeks ago there was this really disappointing day where it snowed after it had been sunny and warm for a while. So, in order to spite winter, I planted a bunch of seeds. I did one of those 72-cell seed starter things and it is in my in-laws' greenhouse. Last time I saw it (about a week ago), some of it was growing. I think my Rich Sweetness 132 melons were growing, plus some cauliflowers, and my Romanian beans, and, well, I forget what else. Gardening is less exciting when it isn't at your house, because you can't really get excited about stuff that does well. Ah well. Soon I'll bring it back home and then I can enjoy the rest of the season more.