Thursday, May 30, 2013

Nightmares NOT on Elm Street

I probably shouldn't be giving out so much information in a blog, but the relative anonymity combined with the basic goodness of the people who do know enough about me to find me make it OK to share. My dad has been out of town, and my brother is still away at college and will be for awhile because baseball season runs a bit late, so my mom and I have been bacheloretting (I reserve the right to invent words or new forms of them on the spot) it for a few days.  This is not a problem for the most part, but it makes sleeping a little difficult for me.

Specifically, sleeping at home at night without a male in the house, or (not to be sexist) at least without a female warrior such as my Aunt Andrea who could kick any armed intruder's butt, tends to bring on the nightmares for me. Monday night, or I think it was Monday, anyway (I'm growing sleep-deprived to the extent that discenring one day from the next is difficult) my Aunt Jillian called and had my psychiatrist, who's a close friend of the family and lives just a few blocks from us, come spend the remainder of the night. Last night I toughed it out. For tonight, Jillian sent her brother Tim to sleep over.  Incidentally, Jillian is home from the hospital and is on the mend.

I'm not sure what's happening tomorrow. Maybe I'll sleep perfectly well and it won't be an issue. Then again, maybe I won't. My dad will be home on Friday night.

This is something with which I must learn to deal. My dad or the other kind males who've either slept over or come to my house in the middle of the night can't be traveling to wherever I end up for med school or, in a worst-case scenario, law school.  I do OK in dorms, but it's not really normal to live in dormitories when you're in med or law school.  

Perhaps I'll find a trustworthy male roommate. It doesn't have to be just he and I, if the situation makes my parents feel awkward. We could get a three- or four-bedroom house, condo, or apartment, and have a combination of males and females. It's not like the days of Three's Company, when Jack Tripper rooming with two girls (in  separate bedrooms, no less) had to pretend to be gay to avoid the living situation being considered scandalous. 

I suppose the situation would be the same as it is now when the make roommate happened to be gone for the night, which he probably would be a least on occasion, but that would be better than being scared or having nightmares every single night.

I have a little while to work out that situation. Right now I just have t deal with what happens when my dad is out of town. I wish one of my male cousins (not one of the crazy fanatical LDS ones; I do have normal cousins as well) would attend my university and live with us (much cheaper than the dorms). He could come as go as he pleased as long as he agreed to come home at some point during the night on the nights my dad was out of town. It would be a good deal.

For now, I'm just glad Tim is here tonight. He just got here, so I can sleep now.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Our Journey Northward for Early Memorial Day Commemoration

My brother and I left at what is for me the crack of dawn (6:30 a.m.) to travel to Benicia, California. Benicia is in located Solano county, which is in the north portion of the eastern San Francisco Bay region, or the east portion of the north bay region. One of those two is right. I'm just not sure which one.  I believe Benicia was our state's first capital, or at least it was a state capital somewhere along the way.  It's just over a bridge from Contra Costa County in the bay area.  It's the place where our parents lived when our older twin brothers were born and died. Matthew and I never lived in Benicia.

We went there to place flowers on the combined grave sites of our twin brothers who did not survive infancy. Nicholas lived  for just a few minutes. Christopher made it for a few days before it became apparent that medical science was only postponing the inevitable, and my parents made the gut-wrenching decision to pull the plugs and stop medical intervention.

Matthew and I  had purchased daisies, tulips, and a single white rose for each brother yesterday. My mom always puts a single white rose on each side of the  grave in addition to whatever else she puts there. Our neighbors gave us dahlias and some pretty bluish purple flowers called anemones, along with hollyhocks, daffodils, and some pretty bluish-purple flowers called delphinium. We had a nice assortment.

We had brought basic gardening tools and cleaning products because we weren't sure what we'd find, but the place in general, and our brothers' section in particular, had been cared for very well. We did polish the gravestone and we distributed the flowers. We put a tiny American flag  on each side of the combined headstone. Our mom's family is somewhat military-oriented, with her dad and brothers all having been Air Force Academy grads.  We figure that among the four of us, had the other two lived, statistically speaking, one  of us would have gone into the military. Since it obviously wasn't Matthew or me, it would have been one or the other of them.  We haven't figured out which one it would have been, so we always give them both American flags.

We lingered a little longer at the grave site than we normally do. We talked about how things might have been - what it would have been like to have grown up with two older brothers -- what it might have been like to have grown up with  an older brother or two who might have faced serious disabilities as a result of their extremely early births had they survived. We even talked about how our parents might have stopped at two had they been blessed with healthy babies on their first try.  Life is a total roll of the dice in some regards, and one never knows how things will turn out no matter how painstakingly plans have been made.

This may be one of our last few trips here together with just the two of us.  Matthew has ruled out any possibility of pro baseball, which is a good thing, as he might have spent a year in rookie league and another year in single A league at most, but ultimately it would have led him nowhere. Medical school is a safer place on the roulette wheel on which to place his wager. We don't know where medical school might take us in a year or so. We're assuming we'll both probably be admitted somewhere in the U.S. I'll go one year earlier than Matthew, most likely.  In any event, we have only another year or so where we'll likely be living close enough to each other to make this trek together.

Then comes the issue of significant others. I'm in no huge hurry to marry either the guy who had my name tattooed on his arm or anyone else, but at some point within the next five years or so,  I  may feel differently. Matthew changes girlfriends the way normal people change their underwear, but one of these times, the next one will be THE one.  We'll still be twins with our special bond and womb-mate status, but it will be different. Depending upon our locations and situations, we may visit our brothers as a threesome or foursome, or we may each make the trip separately with our eventual significant others, or maybe even alone.

It was bittersweet, knowing a long-standing tradition is nearing its end. Something we have been doing more or less on our own since we were old enough to persuade someone other than our parents to drive us will happen possibly as few as  two more times.

Life moves forward for those of us who are lucky enough to be alive.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

brighter outlook/ Memorial Day

Jillian still has three days in the hospital, but she's receiving a treatment developed in France (I think they have a higher incidence of cystic fibrosis in the northern European region than in the US, hence a higher level of research) that appears to be doing good things for her. it's not fighting the pneumonia all that faster than are the other drugs she's being given, but it appears to slow or prevent the damage to the lungs and airways that typically occurs with each case of pneumonia that a cystic fibrosis patient gets. Cystic fibrosis is sort of a cumulative thing - a patient typically loses a little ground and a little bit of their lung space to the invading bacteria each time they contract pneumonia. i believe it's known as colonization. The bacteria (for most CF patients it's more often than not a particular bacteria that invades; for Jillian, it seems to be pseudomonas, although she's undoubtedly had other forms somewhere along the lone) tend to gradually take over the lungs. that's the reason CF patients eventually need lung transplants.

As bas as the idea of a transplant sounds, this wouldn't be such a terrible thing except that lung transplants are probably the transplants that are the least likely to "take, or to be successful. There's a high incidence of rejection. The drugs a patient has to take to or even rejection of the new organ -- and lung transplant recipients need more than do the recipients of most donor organs) also lowr a patients resistance to everything else, so it's quite the vicious cycle.

So if Jillian can hold off the major damage each time she contracts pneumonia, and she's probably going to get it once or twice a year at least no matter what she does to prevent it, she's greatly postponing the day that she one day needs a lung transplant. this means that she might live to be a grandmother. Additionally, this new treatment is safe during pregnancy, so she can have less aggressive antibiotics and ones that are safer to a fetus during pregnancy, which is a huge deal to her.

Tomorrow Jillian will try to walk a few steps totally unassisted.

Classes have been a bit boring, mostly because I've had trouble paying attention. I've managed to focus during "The Physics of Fractures." I found out that at my three top choices of med schools, that's a 1st -year med school class, and with an A, they'll all accept it from my university. So far I'm still easily in the A range, so unless a disaster occurs, I should be good.

             where most of the people in my prospective band live, which may be indicative of just how sophisticated the band is; at least they're not frat rats

This really grungy guy in "The Physics of Fractures" with me wants me to join his band as a keyboard player and fiddler. I don't know if I'm up to hanging out with the band and with the crowd that follows his band, and I don't think it would be a particularly impressive addition to my med school resume 9to the point that I won't list it, obviously) but I told him that once finals are past, I'll consider it, since all I'm doing is a daytime internship and a private violin to prep for the senior recital next year.  Some things you just need to experience for the experience of it. as long as I don't drink anything with PCP in it, and I'll be very careful to carry my own sealed drinks everywhere, I'll probably be OK.  I personally think I'll look a little stupid on stage with them, as I don't exactly look like a rocker chick, but that's really their problem, isn't it. I'm NOT dying my hair purple to fit in.

I hope everyone is prospering and is planning a lovely Memorial Day weekend.  I'm kicking in my share of the money for flowers for the various dead relatives, but visiting cemeteries gives me the creeps, so I'm not doing the grave-cleaning and flower distribution work myself.  If i get the opportunity, I will travel north to visit my older baby twin brothers' graves, though. my brother and i try to do it on or near their birthday and on Memorial Day weekend even though Memorial Day is reall about the military.I make the exception to my usual wimpiness and squeamishness in my brothers' case. for a few reasons, one of which is out of respect for my parents and out of empathy for the loss they suffered.  Another reason is that I don't for sure know that my parents would have had Matthew and me had Nicholas and Christopher survived. My parents have never said, and we've never asked. If my parents would have stopped at two children, in a way Nicholas and Christopher involuntarily made the ultimate sacrifice for Matthew and for me.

To those of you who are less easily bothered, I offer my admiration. It's an unpleasant task, but cemeteries would turn into areas of disrespect for the departed if someone didn't take care of the graves.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

inappropriate song for a strange time

My immediate area, which is presently the hospital,  is in the middle of an unforecast thunderstorm. I don;'t think the weather service has even figured out it is happening. We don't have tons of thunderstorms here, so it's a bit exciting. I'm operating on battery,so my computer's not going to be blasted. I have no idea if the hospital needs to shut down its server at some point, but  that's not really my problem.

Anyway the video I posted, which is  "Song for a Winter's Night" by Gordon Lightfoot, poet laureate of Canada, seems inappropriate for the weather we're currently experiencing here, except that  i once attended a Lightfoot concert where he told the audience that the song -- with all its winter imagery -- was written in a Cleveland hotel during a thunderstorm.  If I seem to be age-inappropriately obsessed with the works of Gordon Lightfoot, I'm not. My dad knew Lightfoot's longtime lead guitarist (who passed away about a year ago) so anytime there was a concert anywhere near us, we usually went. Rest in peace, Terry, and everyone else, give the song a listen if you have a chance. It's quite pretty. Sarah MacLachlan and several others also covered it, but it was and always will be Lightfoot's song.
My Dad's late friend Terry is playing lead guitar on this version.

It's good that I have all my class work finished, as I would have an extremely hard time concentrating on it now. I have a one more test this week and three next week. The late midterms are things I could manage if I were the one sick and not my aunt. I'll need my full cognitive function for finals, but those are almost three weeks away. My aunt will probably be running and playing tennis by then, or at least taking her dog for short walks.

I'm at the hospital visiting my aunt. "Visiting" is probably a misnomer. I'm watching her sleep and occasionally open her eyes and try to say something, which is not easy with all the tubes she has connected to her. This falls under the heading of "too much information," but one tube she does not have is a bladder catheter because they're breeding grounds for pseudomonas aeruginosa, and the last thing in the world she needs is one more way for that pathogen to invade her body. Once she regained consciousness, she demanded her regular undies back in place of the pull-ups she was wearing. (They were actual Pull-ups brand; the largest kiddie size fits her right now.) Bedpans were too gross for her as well. Even though she's not strong enough to to hold her own glass of orange juice, she demands to be helped to the bathroom because the remaining options gross her out too much. My dad says it's a sign that she's most likely going to live. Another sign that she'll ultimately defeat the evil pseudomonas aeruginosa, my dad said, is the expletives she utters despite her multiple tubes each time her pleural cavity is drained.

I'm too much of a coward to be out in the middle of a thunderstorm,  creating a photograhic history of the event. This is a generic photo I found somewhere. It basically captures the essence of what's happening here without my traipsing out in the middle of lightning like the complete fool that I usually am, which is how I justify its inclusion.

Monday, May 20, 2013

maybe a good sign

When my aunt's pleural cavity was drained, she received only a very light local anaesthetic because she is comatose.  Those who were present during the procedure say she was very uncomfortable.  This is, we hope, a sign that her coma is lightening and that she is closer to regaining consciousness. we hope that's the case, anyway.

pneumonia, pleural effusion, and popularity-based healing and salvation

Thanks Becca. I think I'll be OK. I'm trying hard not to make this about me, because it's not, and part of being an adult is that every crisis that happens to someone close to me isn't inherently about me.

My aunt is breathing on her own. She's still comatose, but the relatives --doctors who are not her physicians -- think she is stirring and showing signs of coming out of the coma. Then again, they're all related to her and may be seeing what they want to see.

They've identified psuedomonas aeruginosa as the strain of bacteria causing Jilly's pneumonia. It's one of  three or four common bacerial causes of pneumonia in cystic fibrosis patients. That allows the doctors to give a more specific antibiotic to target the bacteria. I'm sure her doctors already started her on it, although I don't know what the antibiotic is.  She also has pleural effusion, which is, I believe, a build-up of fluid in the pleural cavity above and protecting the lungs. The prblem is that it can be too protective, which causes a whole new set of issues.It can be treated with antibiotics in less severe cases, but in Jillian's case, the fluid has to be drained by needle. She's out of it enough that pain is a minor issue, but the doctors are still administer a local anaesthetic just because comatose patients sometimes remember pain after coming out of a coma.

My dad said that if the antibiotics work and she has a good night tonight, she should wake up tomorrow and the worst may be over. The pleural effusion may return, which means  it will have to be drained again. The doctors use better drugs for pain if she's not comatose, but it will still hurt. That's probably the least of her problems, though.

At least none of the followers of Aunt -----'s cult have discovered anything I wrote, so I haven't received death threats.

I'm not stupid enough to blame any of this on  Aunt -----. I just find it a little sickening that she plays the martyr role with such virtuosity because she bore a child with a birth defect that was successfully repaired. There's only -- gasp -- a scar! that cannot be seen, only felt.  I'm terribly sorry the tiny baby and her mother went through this, and I'm even happier that the little girl made it through with flying colors. And while I know it hurt me terribly when one of my adversaries' attorneys advised me that it was time for me to get over what was done to me and to get on with my life, and therefore agree to lift many of the terms of my attackers' probabtion, not that it was totally my call to make, anyway. Maybe what I'm saying about Aunt  ----- is similar to what was said  to me.  Somehow that's not the vibe I get, though. It seems more like, while I'm not trying to minimize the seriousness of her baby's condition at birth,  hers is behavior of a drama queen.

Anyhow, I'm not going to be a martyr over this particular situation. My aunt has prevailed in tougher situations than this one. Odds are looking more and more in her favor in this situation as well, although I worry about risdual and cumulative damage to her lungs.

I'm just thankful that I don't believe in a popularity gospel (which my religion somewhat supports, with its "Pray for the Aldo Massaro family" engraved brass placards screwed into the pews, with different names of course, depending upon who donated the money to pay for the pew in question;  it practically reeks of papal indulgences, but that's another topic for another blog) whereby the likes of Aunt -----'s depression and everything else will be cured because she has so many minions pleading for her, while my poor unknown aunt has only a few friends, co-workers, and relatives offering any prayers on her behalf. It gives me peace to know not necessarily that prayer is a combination of fairy tale activity and voodoo science, but that any outcome, however arbitrary it may seem, is not decided by casting ballots in terms of prayers. I hope I'm right.

Most of Us Are Cold at Heart When We Self-Analyze Honestly

                                      Auntie Jillian, please don't rest in peace yet.

I've reached the conclusion that very few people care about anything or anyone outside their immediate circle of family and friends. Sure, once in awhile something like the Connecticut school shooting happens, and we can all appease our senses of self-righteouness by sitting in front of the TV for a few hours pretending that it's a small world, and what hurts the families in Connecticut hurts us as well,  because we're all part of some circle of humanity. We may even go so far as to toss a few dollars in the general directionyof the traged. It's little more than empty words and  token contributions to ease our own consciences, though.

I epitomize this mindset as well as does as the next person. I don't  have any deep feelings about good and bad things that happen to anyone outside my own cluster of real-life and online friends and family.  When something bad happens to a small child, I'm bothered by it, but I don't think I'd be human if I didn't. Any sensationalized situation in the news hits home when I can identify with the victim through some commonality in our respective lives.. On the other hand, all the events the media doesn't sensationalize -- the average person who can't pay his rent, the  person who falls off his roof taking down Christmas lights and incurs hospital bills he has no way of paying and a job he can't do for three months, along with an employer who won't give him a desk job until his leg heals and possibly won't even hold his more physically-oriented job until he is able to manage it again,  the person who needs a kidney and whose relatives who might be matches couldn't care any less and who is not very high on the the organ recipient list, the person  who has both a kidney infection and a horribly infected  ingrown toenail and doesn't have enough time off to do anything about it   until mid-June, because she also has  thyroid eye disease, irritable bowel symdrome, and chronic kidney stones, and those conditions take precedence  on her missing work, so she hobbles to her pre-school teaching job each day and tries to smile at the children through her pain, all the while praying that none of the children steps on her toe.  I'm not altogether uncaring concerning the plights of  these people, but  I don't lie awake at night  worrying about them.

So why should I think anyone else should care that my twenty-five year-old not-exactly aunt but who functions as such is once more fighting for her life, for about the sixth time in four years? The answer is that I don't expect anyone else to give a rat's rectum about it. We're all in our own insulated worlds, and only my aunta friends and relatives acre, and , truthfully, i don't think some of them care all that much because they're tired of her illnesses. She has cystic fibrosis, so it's one caseof pneumpnia after another, some more serious than others, with an occasional colon or ileum perforation that almost casues her to bleed to death. Some of her own relatives even think they have better things to do than sit around hospitals waiting for my aunt to either get better or die. I will say, because I think my aunt would say it if she could right now, Don't it around the hospital on Jillian's behalf out of obligation, waiting for her to get better, or to finally get it over with and just die. If you have better things to do, go do them. The natire of her illness is that she is going to get sick, sometimes near-fatally, and this is going to continue until she finally succumbs. those of us who care about her hope it won't happen for a long, long time. The rest of you should probably get out of her life and go away.

Some people fall into the immediate circle of concern  of many people. It's funny how some people, Internet beings especially, engender sympathy in the part of others. An example in point is "Aunt -----" of the "Mommy Wants ---==" blog. Aunt ----- complains of feeling sad and of having PTSD because her daughter was born with a serious bith defect, beat it, and is now thriving.  Aunt ----- also has a mildly autistic son. i believe he's in the Aspergr category, lthough such diagnosis no longer exists in the most recent Never having given birth to a child, healthy or normal, I am not in a position of being as critical as I am going to be, but it won't stop me.  The real PTSD comes after losing one baby after another, or even after actually losing one child. The real PTSD comes after having one too many cases of tsukamurella or candida or whatever ravage your body and almost kill you. The real PTSD comes after a big, strong, high school offensive linesman uses two girls to hold you down and beat you up, then tries to rape and/or orally orally sodomize you (which intent wasn't entirely clear, as his assistants undressed me from the waist down, but it appeared to me that he was going for my mouth) but is unable to maintain the state of rigidity required for either, so he kicks your ribs and private parts instead. The real PTSD is what lingers when you don't know if the next person who coughs on you is going to give you your verylast case of pneumonia.

I'm sorry Aunt -----'s  child was born with a rare and often fatal birth defect, and I'm happy for her and for the child that the child beat the odds and appears to be thriving. I suppose the child is not out of the woods yet in terms of learning disabilities that may present themselves at a later date, but how many parents and children deal with the effects of learning disabilities every day without others placing  metaphorical hands on their brows to detect the presence of illness -- physical or mental -- or coming to their blog daily to inquire as to their well-being.  It's time for Aunt ----- to realize that her glass is more than half full, There may be more difficult times for her in the future, but she'll be better qquipped to face them if she buries her own PTSD diagnosis and rejoins the real world. I admit I'm saying this in part because I used to think she was one of the few who cared, but I've since decided that she cares too much for herself to care very much about anyone else. I also realize that if any Aunt -----'sminions find their way here, which is unlikely, I'll probably receive death threats. C'est la vie. No one's going to live forever, anyway, and I might even receive media sensationalism and post-mortem compassion -- not that I would be around to enjoy it.

I'm really just rambling and not saying anything that makes sense, so I probably should shut up before I say more things that incite death threats.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I Changed My Mind

Why pray for a person who is sick even if they're dying? What's the point? God knows the person is sick. God doesn't need anyone to tell Him that the person is sick. If God wants to make the person well, He can do it, And if other people's prayers would actually convince God to make someone well, how fair and just is God? A person who has lots of friends or Facebook friends gets to live, but the person who is quiet and does his or her job well and goes about his or her life doing charitable works quietly gets no prayers from other people, so that person gets to die, and maybe very painfully, because not very many people were praying for that person.

If that it how God operates, I want no part of Him. God, you know Jillian is sick. If you have the power to heal her, you can do it if you want to. It shouldn't have anything to do with how many people are praying for her,

It would be one thing if she were conscious and had the ability to ask for help herself. Maybe that would be reasonable. The stuff about how many other people pray for you seems arbitrary, sortof a popularity-based theology. If that's really the way you operate, I suppose Jillian will die.

If you are real and not like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain, God, you can help Jillian even if 10,000 Facebook friends don't pray for her.

Please Pray

My aunt is extremely ill. She's the one who's 25 and not really my aunt, but I consider her as such.   She needs positive thoughtsl good wishes, prayers, whatevr works, Thanks if you can help.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Change of Names

                                    my new cousin's namesake

Aunt Cristelle and Uncle Mendel are sticking with Antarctica as a first name, but there's apparently a waiting period in some places on names for babies. Antarctica 's middle name will no longer be meringue. It wil be Magdalena.  It think all three names are ridiculous, but I beleive, however stupid it sounds, Magdalena is at least a real name.

My mom, while recognizing her limited role as an in-law to give advice, tried to subtly suggest to Cristelle, that if a child wants to be different otr attract attention,he or she will find a way to do so. A parent doesn't have to predispose the child to automatic freak status by giving the kid a name no one has ever heard of before. I'm sure my mother worded it muchmore diplomatically than I did.  While you might not want your kid to be one of three in a class with the same first name, neither do you want to be the kid to who, everyone says, "WHAT?!?!?" when answering upon bing asked his or her name.  The trick is probably in finding a happy medium.  Either end along the spectrum of  happy medium is probably fine.  anywhere from relatively obscure to relatively common is good. It just needs to be an actually human's name and not the name of a reindeer or a continent.

My parents preferred common names.   Once they had decided on our names "Matthew and Aubrey, but that's another story from the past) the went to a department store that sold little objects (iny license plates, stickers, key chains, etc.) with children's names on them and checked to ensure that both our names could be found.  When my mom unexpectedly changed my name to Alexis, my dad went to the same store and checked to ensure that "Alexis" could be found on all the objects before he allowed the name to be put on my birth certificate.

Donna, regarding, "People Who Throw Glass Houses Shouldn't Get Stoned," it was a pretty good song. In fact it was their only good song. They'd start and end each gig with it, and it would be requested once or twice  during the middle as well. It was good, but not great.  It was at leasst in the key of A, which was the key that the bass player played everything in whether the rest of them were playing and singing in that key or not.The problem was that their other songs sucked worse than a  Rainbow Vac.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

People who throw glass houses shouldn't get stoned.

My brother used to be in a hip hop band. Now that he's in college and playing Division I sports, he has little time for such foolishness. Despite the fact that his group wasn't particularly talented, they got quite a few gigs. I'm not sure why exactly, except that the competition was slim. One thing for which I give them credit is that they performed only original music. Their most-requested local hit was probably People Who Throw Glass Houses Shouldn't Get Stoned. It was, of course, a take-off on the proverb, "People who lived in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."  The song itself made little sense, which was basically the same with all their songs, but their audiences didn't seem to mind.

Proverbs -- not necessarily as in Psalms. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, etc.  -- but those old sayings that have been passed down through generations, are a favorite subject of mine.  Now, if you wonder about the origin of one, you can simply google it and come up with about twenty differing explanations as to the origin of any given proverb, and you can use your powers of reasoning to decide which explanation makes the most sense. Before the Age of Technology, your public library was your only decent source of explanation, and your odds there weren't even all that great. There was always some old geezer who had an answer for your question, but the answer was as likely rooted in the contents of a whiskey bottle as in reality.

My favorite proverb is probably the following: "In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."  I haven't yet researched its origin, but it sounds vaguely Asian to me.  In my younger, more angst-ridden days, when I frequently sparred verbally with my father, it was one of my favorite ways to attempt to end an argument. When he claimed that he knew more than I did either due to education or life experience, I'd throw that one out. My dad must have thought it had an Asian ring to it as well, as whenever I said it, he (the King of Political Correctness) would bow his head and press his hands together in what he perceived to be an Asian gesture, and would begin to speak in mock Chinese or Japanese. It didn't sound all that much like either, so it's hard to know which it was supposed to be. One night after I said that, he wore an eye patch to dinner.

We have a smoother relationship now, and if we argue at all, we do so in a rational manner. I no longer figuratively accuse him of being the smartest of the stupid people around him, and he no longer mocks Asians in an attempt to get to me. In an odd way, I sort of miss the old days.

Where do most proverbs have their roots? Many are Biblical in origin, although "Do unto others" supposedly has a paraphrase in every major world religion. "Spare the rod and spoil the child," appears in various Biblical translations beginning in 1377.  "Love they neighbor as thyself " is also obviously Biblical in origin.

I've  wondered about other proverbs for other reasons. "You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear." Duh. What Einstein wannabe  came up with that one? You can't make boysenberry pie out of cow dung, either. Some things go without saying, and don't merit a proverb.

Ben Franklin can take credit for a few widespread sayings, the most famous of which is probably "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man health and wealthy and wise." My personal favorites from Poor Richard's Almanac are probably  "He that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas," and "He's a fool that makes his doctor his heir." That last one hits home a bit. My dad's a doctor now, and I'll presumably inherit a reasonable chunk of the wealth he accrues. Go ahead and make him your heir, leukemia and lymphoma patients, if you want. I won't complain. Likewise, if I survive medial school, patients are welcome to name me in their wills as well, although I would think it could potentially create the very epitome of  "conflict of interest."

Some sayings make perfect sense, but who knows from where they came? "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" is an example of this.  An even better example is "A chain is as strong as is weakest link." The person who came up with that little proverb, however obvious it seems, was  wise indeed.

I like the proverb, "A jack of all trades is a master of none." It reminded me of a music teacher in my former city of residence. He gave lessons in piano, brass and woodwind instruments, and string instruments. The only instrument he played even passably well was the guitar, and he only knew about eight guitar chords and didn't play by note at all. This lends itself to another proverb: "A fool and his money are soon parted."

I'll end with a proverb I just read. I'm quoting it here primarily because I think it's funny, in addition to the fact that it reminds me of some of my classmates, including several with whom I am stuck doing a group project (which will end up being a project done by one [me] because I will not jeopardize my grade in the course just to make a point or to avoid carrying more than my share of the load).  Anyway, the concluding proverb: "A lazy sheep thinks its wool is heavy."

Isn't that incredibly fitting when applied to a few people in all our lives?

Does this guy think his wool is heavy? We'll never know, and he'll be sheared soon enough, anyway.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: It happened sooner than expected.

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: It happened sooner than expected.: Qu Wanting is still great, but this song is even better than hers . Give it a listen. Cue ahead to about 39 seconds for the real song. I...

It happened sooner than expected.

Qu Wanting is still great, but this song is even better than hers . Give it a listen. Cue ahead to about 39 seconds for the real song. It's off the book and CD "Dog Train" by Sandra Boynton. The singer is John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting. It should be a classic. It's probably wasted on children. Seriously, this song is great, and the video isn't bad, either.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Robert Kirby, who should be a role model for Morbots (most of whom are probably related to me) who come to this site to whine about anything I say in jest about their religion

For Mormons so thoroughly lacking in a sense of humor when it comes to the most benign or banal aspect of their church that they must rant at any mention I make of it if I don't figuratively drool about the Church's one-true-church-ness ,  read some of the writings of Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Kirby. Yes, he does work for the publication that used to be considered the opposition, as the Deseret News was owned, operated, ad very much controlled by the LDS church, while the trib had no church ties.

Since that time, the Tribune has been purchased by a church-held corporation.  It has exercised some editorial control. kirby is still typing away, and it appears still to be esswntially from the heart, although I don't see the original copy of each column before the editors have had their chance to hack away at it. he may be even more of a radical than I think, and he may be more censored than I'd like to believe.

Regardless, read as far back as you are able without paying subscription fees (or pay the fees if you have money to throw around and you're so inclined). Kirby is one of yourown. Listen to the opinion of a temple-recommend-holding Mormon who can laugh about things.


Note to my readers: I promise to move on. This is not going to become a one-issue blog, with the issue being my discordance with a church to which I've never formally belonged.

Who wants to go to Fiji, anyway, unless they're doing touristy things maybe?

It seems that tattoos in visible places on the body can pretty much get people banned from serving LDS missions.  I had never given this topic much thought, but my former on again/off again relationship knew this. I'm not sure about the rule if the tattoo appears on one's buttocks or some similarly not-normally-visible in Mormon-acceptable clothing. Maybe it's on the health form one takes when one has the required physical before a mission. Then again, maybe it's not.  I'll have to research that.

In Jared's case, it wouldn't have mattered anyway, as his tattoo (with my name on it; isn't that just special?) is in a place where at least part of it is visible in a standard T-shirt.

Jared was formally told by his bishop that he would not be serving a mission. no one told the hedge hogs in Provo or salt lake City or wherever the divine inspiration takes place as to whom will be sent where. So on Wednesday, Jared got his envelope. he and some friends, including my brother, got together and had a party at which they opened the thing. I think it's posted on youtube somewhere, but I cannot give more details because I'm supposed to be semi-anonymous, and reveling such details would reduce my chances of anonymity.

So Jared opened his white envelope and read aloud (I saw it all on skype) that he had been assigned to the Fiji Suva mission. (They almost always call each mission by first the nation, then the city  or region.0) So Jared would've been in Fiji, where the roads may be too sandy even for bicycles. I really don't know much about the Fijian islands. there's another topic I'll have to research.

My brother had been planning this demonstration or show of support for Jared, where a whole lot of people would put temporary tattoos on their arms, keep them covered until right in the middle of the sacrament, then take off their jackets and display their tattoos. Once my brother heard that Jared had been called to serve in Fiji, he wanted, instead, for the whole crew to dress up in Fijian attire, whatever that might be --probably floral patterns and those lava lava skirt things that men wear in other parts of Polynesia. Tim, a family friend, told Matthew that while it would be funny, it would be less effective, because the Fijian-attired people either wouldn't be allowed in the door or would be asked to leave shortly after entering. So they went with Plan A.

Tim's temporary tat featured the medical insignia. Matthew found a ridiculous one that was a stop sign. I don't know what would be the point, but Matthew said that was the beauty of it, that there was no point.  Other people got all sorts of interesting artwork. one guy even got a picture of his kindergarten teacher, who was a nun. I didn't know you could have temporary tattoos custom made.
Jared said that the whole thing was going to look a bit suspicious no matter how it went down, but the main thing was that everyone couldn't arrive and sit by him, and everybody couldn't show up in one large group. He said they had to act as though they knew what they were doing, sort of like no genuflecting. You just walk in, shake somebody's hand if they offer it, say either that you're an investigator or that  you're visiting from some made-up ward in any part of the country.

People arrived alone or in groups of two or three.  There were, Matthew believes, a total of forty-nine of them. Seventeen were female, and thirty-two were male. Most of them knew each other, or knew someone in the group. people sat mostly with one or two other co-conspirators, rather than clustering.

First in the Mormon service, the bishop or one of his counselors welcomes everyone. Next comes an opening hymn, for which no one stands, followed by an opening prayer, for which the members also remain seated. then the bishop or one of his counselors conducts any ward business. this might be a change in callings (jobs) for anyone, a new membership, a confirmation of a new member if it wasn't done at the time of the baptism, or that sort of thing. then comes the Sacrament hymn, after which they pretty much barricade the chapel as though they were the Branch Davidians in Waco with David Koresh in charge. The sacramental prayer, read or ideally recited verbatim by someone who holds at lest the office of priest, is said. then someone who is at lest a deacon passes the white wonder bread around. In a normal family wards, it would be mostly 12-year-olds passing the bread around, but there are no 12-year-old deacons in a student ward, so it was ordinary young men passing the trays of bread so that worthy members could partake,

At this point, sweaters, blazers, and jackets started to come off.  It was choreographed so that each person knew when to remove his outer garment rather than everything coming off simultaneously. it was almost like doing the wave, Matthew said. It wasn't until midway through the passing of the water (virtually every other denomination uses grape juice or wine) that the bishop, who had noticed Jared with his visible tattoo and was staring him down, started to notice others. It must have been a tough choice for him: interrupt the sanctity of the Sacrament or let it go for a few additional seconds. Rationality won in the end. The bishop allowed the sacrament distribution to proceed.

At the completion of the sacrament, once the doors were un-barricaded and the place ceased to resemble the Branch Davidian Compound, the Bishop approached the pulpit with an angrily red face. He said that all those present  who were bearing tattoos were invited to cover them with clothing and to keep them covered, or to leave immediately. Everyone watched Jared for his cue. He slowly  picked up his suit jacket -- it looked almost as though he was going to put it on -- then suddenly stood up, walked down the aisle, and out the door. The remaining forty-six followed. Matthew estimated that the forty-seven tattoo bearers comprised probably a third of those resent, so it was a noticeable departure.

Matthew and Jared said they both regret not plating a spy to sit through the rest of the meeting to see what was said and done.  one guy said he drive by shortly thereafter, and it looked as though people were leaving early, s in about two hours early. (The entire meeting trilogy is a three-hour marathon.)
Who knows what really happened?

I wish I'd been there, but Jared's father hates me enough as it is, and I didn't even do anything.  If I'd actually gone to the mini-protest, I would have given him legitimate reason to despise me.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

      my  mommy's favorite flowers; please don't think I'm a cheapskate; the real thing is coming

To all the mothers in cyberland, please pardon the typos (I have ointment in my eyes this morning; I still haven't edited the typos from my last post, when I also had ointment in my eyes; sorry!) as i wish you all a very happy Happy Mother's Day.  I hesitate to mention names, as iknow I'll forget someone cricial either in my real life or my online life, but here it goes, and if I missed you, hit me in the head figuratively via some sort of reminder so that as i am editing my typos later today, I may edit you in as well.

Happy Mother's Day to my own mom, to my Aunt Victoria, to my Aunt Kathleen, to my Aunt Colleen, to my Aunt Ilianna, to my Aunt Jillian who is not yet a mother but WILL  be, to my aunt Andrea, to myAunt Joanne, and to myAunt Cristelle, to hoonorary aunts Aunt Maria and  Aunt Becky  (all of you, please take note that I have a whole lot of aunts who didn't merit mention; YOU are special.)

Happy mother's Day to my Grandma Anne, who is no longer with us 9mom and AuntVicotira took our flowers earlier in the week. I hope you could see them from wherever you are), and to my Grandma  Victoire, whose flowers should already have been delivered in Utah. Matthew and I pooled our resources for your flowers because Matthew has limited resources. I know your house must be full of flowers by this point. I hope our bouquet was at least nice enough to cause you to pause and look at it for a moment if you were not the one who answered the door when it was delivered.

Also meriting special mention are Tina, Amelia Ambyland, Knotty (stepmothers count even if your husband's psycho ex won't allow you or he to have contact with them), to Becca's mom and Grandma B. and her mom's twin and othr sister, and to her step-sister-in-law, to dr. Jeff;s wife who sometimes takes care of me when I have headaches even though it;s neither her profession nor her subspecialty, to Setphanie )Jared's mom, with whom I hope to always have a relationship regardless of the status of any relationship i do or don;t have with Jared, to Stephanie's sisters-in-law, whom I'll try to name" Brooke, Laura, Karina, and Alison amd to Jared's grandmother Verlene (none of whom read my blog, and we want to keep it that way, but I'll send my good wishes just the same) to Amelia who has something in common with my own mother, to Donna, to Amy,  to Paul's mother and to the mother of any children he may have, to Mr. Wright's mother and to the mother of his child, to Lauren,  to Minnesota joy, to Nimish, to Jennifer, to faery, to Mrs. Catherine, to shanduh the panduh, to Ellie, to kelly, to tiger, to Matt's mum, to his wife who has probably mothered a pet or two along the way, and, for that mattr, for anyone who has mothered a pet or two along the way. a special shout out goes to aanyone who's taken in a stray. ne it caniine, feline, human, or whatever.

Teachers -- even those less-than-great in my opinion, do more than their share of parenting. Happy Mother's day to all of them as well. And Happy Mother's day to Nurses in genreal, and particularly to those who help to bring new babies into the world and to ease new mothers from that transition from pregnancy to actual motherhood.

I think I've alluded to this earlier, but a special good wish goes out to anyone who has ever formally functioned as a foster parent or who has informally taken in someone else's child. Ther is a special place inheaven for those so willing to give ouf their time, their love, nd of themselves.

The world as we know it would never have come into existence without mothers, nor would it continue to revolve as we know it, both literally and in a more metaphysical sense, without the continued presence and functioning of the mothers of the planet.  to anyone who's ever nurtured a child (related or unrelated -- even to the  extent of  consoling a child whose family has wandered away from him at an amusement park or big box store) or a pet, it's your day to enjoy. I don't really care what the conservative critics had to say about ideas implied by  Mrs. Clinton's book title, It Takes a Village.  It takes avillage and more to sustain a child physically, mentally, and emotionally to adulthood. (Happy Mother' Day to Hilary Clinton as well, who, whether one likes her politics or not, if the fruit of one's labor is any indication, did a hell of a job as a mother.) Happy Mother's day also to our nation's first mother, Mrs. Obama.

Again, i'm sorry if I missed  anyone, and let me know if such has been the case. and, once more, i'll fix the typos when my eyes are clear.

P.S. Some of us are enjoying this day in more locales than are the rest of us.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Is Almost Here

This is my mother playing the piano, not what she looks like                                 
                                         Note: I recorded her surreptitiously, and there are a few errors                                 wh       
         which that probably would not have been there if she'd known she 
                                                   was being recorded. She's a game player, not  a practice player:
                                                   Her performances are always better than her practices.

If I don't take the time now to say something nice about my mom, the holiday will pass and I'll move onto other pressing matters such as tattoos, Mormons, and missions, and I'll forget all about my mom. She deserves more than that.

As much as she wanted to be a mother and to have and raise children, I don't think my mom was meant to be a stay-at-home mother on a long-term basis.  I think even the few years she spent totally at home, while she enjoyed them, were difficult for her.  She was more inclined to argue in court on  behalf of a school district that a student with a barely detectable if even existent case of ADHD (he had to be taken to seven doctors before one could be found who would give the ADHD diagnosis)  whose parents were not willing even to to try one of the many medications on the market was not entitled to his own personal one-to-one paraprofessional assistant  than she was to mediate disputes about whether or not a Fisher Price Popper could be hammered until it broke to see if the colored balls on the inside were actually bubble gum. (They weren't.)

Still, my mother stayed at home with my twin brother and me full-time until we turned four.  She did the play group exchange, the mommy-and-me swimming and gymnastics lessons, and many things that might by some have been considered beneath her when considering that she could have paid someone else to do it for a fraction of the salary she would have earned  doing the work for which she was educated to do.  Her point of view is that if one wishes to have children and one expects them to grow into the type of adults one would choose for them to become, there's nothing quite like doing the job oneself.

When my brother and I  turned four in early December of the year before we started kindergarten, my mother sent us to preschool for to days a week, five hours each day so that we could become properly socialized and learn to take direction from adults other than herself and our father, and so that she could return to work on a slight basis as a consultant. Many mothers would have packed us off to daycare and take the money they would have earned long before that, but my mom felt that we needed the bare minimum of preschool, and that kindergarten was soon enough for us to go to school every day. Even then, she chose for us to attend half-day kindergarten and worked only half-time so that she could pick us up each day at the conclusion of kindergarten.   When we were first-graders, she added two additional hours to her work day early in the school year, but was still there to pick us up each day until she developed leukemia, and her life had to be devoted to fighting the dreaded illness while we were shuffled from one relative to another.

Educationally speaking, that was very much a wasted year in our lives, as we traveled from one state to another to be cared by relatives  after a live-in babysitter who was a relative of a relative stood by, paying no attention as I, at the age of five, nearly starved myself to death.  Fortunately school came easily both to Matthew and to me, and we withstood the interruption to our education. Fortunately also,  I was a perfect donor match for bone marrow for my mom. She didn't want to take bone marrow from me because I was tiny and had been ill, but my father lied to her and used my bone marrow anyway, telling her at the time that it was an adequate match from a random donor..  More tha   Twelve years later, we're both alive and well, so I'd have to say he made the right decision.

The decision to conceive my brother and me was a tough one for my mom to have made. less than two years earlier, because  of placenta abruptae, she gave birth to premature twins whose lungs were not sufficiently developed for them to survive beyond a few minutes in one case and a few days in the other case.  Eventually she decided she really wanted at least one child. She had seen the adoption process not work out well for a few close friends, and concluded that it was time to try conception and pregnancy all over again.

Four months into her second pregnancy, my mother learned that she was again carrying twins. The reason she learned relatively late that there were two of us was that I was conceived in a later cycle. my mother's HCG levels dropped low enough that she ovulated again roughly eight weeks after her original conception. The idea that she was again carrying twins did nothing give my mother peace of mind. At about  24 weeks gestation with Matthew  and approximately sixteen weeks gestation with me, she was put on bed rest. she read, did some work from bed (laptops weren't then what  they are now) and tried her best to occupy her thoughts with anything and everything except what was going on inside her uterus at the time. She told me not long ago that during that time, she became convinced that she would cone out of this pregnancy with one baby if she was lucky, and it wasn't going to be the baby she conceived second.  s/he didn't speak to anyone -- even my father -- of this,because she thought actually voicing it might jinx even the larger baby's chances.

the plan was to keep the pregnancy going as long as it could reasonably go, but hen the more  gestationally mature baby needed to come out, I would have to come out as well, ready  or not.  she was being examined weekly by ultrasound. When Matthew's weight according to the ultrasound estimation dropped by three ounces in one week and when the amount of amniotic fluid was shown to decrease, it was time for the babies to be born.

My father's best friend in Florida, whom I call my Uncle Jerry, is a highly respected obstetrician. He had been on call, preparing to fly to California to, if possible, deliver the babies.  Call it doctor's intuition, a hunch, or just dumb luck, but he'd somehow felt the day before that it was time and had hopped a plane to California. He was present for the final ultrasound, and took part in the decision to take the babies immediately.

The ultrasound had taken place in the hospital,  so all that was needed was to move my mom to the operating room and prep her for immediate surgery.  it wasn't an emergency C-section in the sense that  obvious distress was present for either fetus, but it was obvious that conditions inside our little makeshift hotel in out mother's womb were deteriorating by the minute.  We'd gone from  a Best Western or Holiday Inn to something worse than a Motel 6 in less than a week.  There was no reason for the surgeons and other personnel to act recklessly, by time was of the essence.

Within forty-five minutes of the conclusion of the ultrasound, my mother had been given a spinal anaesthetic, and the first incision was being made by my Uncle Jerry. He then incised the uterus.The decision had been, if feasible, to get the smaller baby out first, and I was the more accessible of the to of us. My uncle Jerry told my dad to grab me. my dad's not an OBGYN, but all doctors have received some training in delivering babies -- even surgical deliveries -- so my dad didn't hesitate as he reached in with his rubber-gloved hands to pull me out. With a minimal amount of suctioning, I was screaming away. "I think you have a singer " my Uncle Jerry said to my mom as he lifted my brother out of my mom's uterus.  There was less than a minute between the time my brother and I were removed, which has our birth certificates listing the identical time of 11:43, which, I've been told, is highly unusual.

Some drama occurred with my mom announcing a change to the name previously decided on for me that I won't go into at this time. I was small -- two pounds, two ounces, while my brother was a robust six pounds, nine ounces. My mom still wasn't convinced she was going to end up with tow babies out of this experience, but chances looked good for her getting at least one baby that survived. What she didn't know was that the neonatologist called in for the delivery ad few worries about me despite my size and early  birth. He saw premature births every day that he worked. nothing about my condition seemed overly alarming to him.  my mother was going to be raising twins whether or not she had yet accepted the idea.

It took loner for my mother and me to bond than it did for her and Matthew to do the same, as he accompanied her home from the hospital five days after we were born. I was there about five additional weeks. We eventually bonded, though I have been more difficult for her to manage, i part, according to my mother's siblings, because I am so much like her.  Her mother always told her,. "I hope someday you have a daughter just like you," and she didn't say it at peaceful times when things were going especially well. to a large degree it seems that my grandmother got her wish.

I look like my mother, although I don't think I'll ever be as pretty as she is. I wish I could share a picture of her that actually shows what she looks like, but she will not allow it. I have much of my mother's musical ability, although my dad, too, is a musician, so it's hard to say what came from where. I can sing a little, but not the way my mother can. She says she used to sound just like me, but I think that was when she was younger. I believe her full voice was beginning to come in before she reached my age. My mother's singing  voice  is indescribable, so I won't even try except to say that she can sing to the back row of an auditorium without a microphone  but also can lull the crankiest baby in the world (which was me in my day) to sleep with her voice. To this day, if I'm having difficulty sleeping, she can sing and I'll usually be unconscious before two minutes have passed.

She taught me to play the piano. Many pianists won't teach their own children, as they find it creates too much conflict. For some reason, even though we butted heads in other areas, we had no trouble in my learning piano from her. I studied with her until I was twelve. It wasn't like a once- or twice-a-week lesson. It was more like she would be cooking while I was playing, and she'd hear that a fingering was awkward, so she'd come in and fix it for me. Since I practiced daily with her listening and providing suggestions or corrections when necessary, it was actually far more productive than going for a lesson once or twice a week. Even after I began studying with a professor at the university in the town in which we lived, she continues to help me, and her help was probably more beneficial at the time than were the lessons.

Interestingly enough, she couldn't teach Matthew to play the piano. Playing the piano had come very easily to her, as it did to me.  For Matthew it was more of a struggle, nd she found herself growing impatient in trying to teach him. She rightly  felt that a mother-son relationship mattered more than having a son who could play the piano, so she left it alone, thinking that maybe in a year or two she would find a private piano teacher for him.  Strangely, what she was not able to accomplish, I was.  He would listen to me when I taught him something on the piano, and I was too young to know that he wasn't moving a long at a terribly rapid pace.  He eventually got it down.  her doesn't play as well as my mother or even as well as I, but he can play several works of the masters and can sightread modern sheet music. m/y mom said she wouldn't have believed it was possible for one sibling so young to teach another one, but it worked.

My mother is brilliant beyond what I can express. I'm not, despite what a commenter said recently in another post, "an idiot," but I have a little more than a shred of the intelligence my mother has. My father is a research physician, and he readily admits that my mother is more intelligent than he is. I'm not sure why she chose educational psychology, school administration, and music performance as fields of study when she could have done things so much more cerebral, but I suppose it was what made her happy. She retired briefly when we relocate from northern California to the central coast of california, but is now an adjunct professor in the music department of the university I attend, and is considering an offer to join the faculty on a full-time basis.  If she takes the offer, I hope it's because it's what she really wants to do and not because she thinks she should work and it's the most convenient offer.

Jacqueline Kennedy once made the comment, "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."  My mother was a Kennedy aficionado as a child, so she's surely familiar with this quote. I suspect, though she's never spoken it within my hearing, it's been a  silent mantra to her and to how she's lived her life, not because it was Jacqueline Kennedy who said it but because it epitomizes how important she considered us, the seriousness she took in the job of  being our mother, and the precision with which she raised us.  I'm not claiming that either Matthew or I is perfect. I'm merely saying that if anything about us is bungled, we did it to ourselves. Our mother was and is  practically perfect.

Friday, May 10, 2013

My New Favorite Song

You Exist in My Song
Composer, Lyrics and Singer: Qu Wanting

I change favorite songs with only sligly less frequency than most people change their soncks. This is my new favorite song, but it probably won't be next week. Still, I keep track, so it will be on my list forever.   It's sung in Mandarin, and while the English words are still nice,I suspect it loses considerable depth in the English translation. As much as I love the melody, I hope no one comes along and wrtes English lyrics for the tune, because I sense it was meant to be sung in Chinese.

My dad came into my room as I was playing it on the piano and singing it in Mandarin to the best of my very limited ability. With his characteristic tact, he asked, "What in the hell are you trying to sing?"  I explained that it was a song by a Taiwanese singer. He suggested it sounded more like I was trying to sing in Klingon, and that if I intended to keep singing in Mandarin, a course in the language would be a good place to start.

I don't especially want t learn to speak or even sing in Chinese. I just want to sing this one song and just for myself, not for the world. I'll try to sing more quietly in my room so my dad doesn't have to be offended by my pitiful attempt at at Mandarin in song.

Loss of essence in translation notwithostanding, I think it's a lovely song.  I also think the dress Qu Wanting is wearing as she plays the piano is gorgeous, and I'd buy it in a minute if i could find it.

    méiyǒu yìdiǎndiǎn fángbèi, yě méiyǒu yì sī gùlǜ
没有   一点点   防备,也 没有 一 丝 顾虑
Without any precaution, and without a trace of apprehension
nǐ jiù zhèyàng chūxiàn zài wǒ de  shìjiè lǐ , dàigěi wǒ jīngxǐ , qíngbúzìyǐ
你 就 这样  出现  在  我 的 世界 里,带给 我 惊喜,情不自已
you appeared in my world as you did, bringing me a pleasant surprise, that I couldn’t resist
kěshì nǐ piān yòu zhèyàng, zài wǒ bùzhībùjué zhōng
可是 你 偏 又  这样,在  我 不知不觉 中
But like this, without me knowing
qiāoqiāo de xiāoshī , cóng wǒ de shìjiè lǐ ,   méiyǒu yīnxùn , shèngxià de zhǐshì huíyì
悄悄  的  消失,  从  我 的 世界 里,没有   音讯,剩下    的 只是  回忆

you quietly disappeared, from my world, without a word, leaving behind only my memories
nǐ cúnzài, wǒ shēnshēn de nǎohǎi lǐ,  wǒ de mènglǐ, wǒ de xīnlǐ ,  wǒ de gēshēng lǐ
你 存在,我 深深   的 脑海 里,我 的 梦里,我 的 心里,我 的 歌声 里
You exist, deep in my mind, in my dreams, in my heart, and in my song
nǐ cúnzài, wǒ shēnshēn de nǎohǎi lǐ,  wǒ de mènglǐ, wǒ de xīnlǐ ,  wǒ de gēshēng lǐ
你 存在,我 深深   的 脑海 里,我 的 梦里,我 的 心里,我 的 歌声 里
You exist, deep in my mind, in my dreams, in my heart, and in my song

nǐ cúnzài, wǒ shēnshēn de nǎohǎi lǐ,  wǒ de mènglǐ, wǒ de xīnlǐ ,  wǒ de gēshēng lǐ
你 存在,我 深深   的 脑海 里,我 的 梦里,我 的 心里,我 的 歌声 里
You exist, deep in my mind, in my dreams, in my heart, and in my song

hái jìdé wǒmen céngjīng, jiānbìngjiān yì qǐ zǒuguò, nà duàn fánhuá xiàngkǒu
还 记得 我们 曾经, 肩并肩    一 起 走过,那 段  繁华  巷口
Still remember us once walking side by side together past that bustling alley

jìnguǎn nǐ wǒ shì mòshēngrén, shì guòlùrén, dàn bǐcǐ háishì gǎnjué dào le duìfāng de 
尽管  你 我 是 陌生人,  是 过路人,但 彼此 还是 感觉 到 了 对方  的
Even though we were strangers, just passing by each other, we still felt each other
yí gè yǎnshén, yí gè xīntiào ….
一个 眼神,一个 心跳….
One look, one beat of the heart

yì zhǒng yìxiǎngbúdào de kuàilè, hǎoxiàng shì
一 种   意想不到   的 快乐,好像   是
one unexpected delight. It’s like

nándào shì yuánfèn?
难道  是  缘分
Could it have been chance?

nándào shì tiānyì?
难道  是 天意…
Could it have been destiny?

yì chǎng mèngjìng, mìngzhōngzhùdìng
一 场   梦境,   命中注定
a dream, that was destined.

shìjiè zhī dà wéihé wǒmen xiāngyù
世界 之 大 为何 我们   相遇
The world is so big, why did we meet?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Little Less Contentious Than Last Night; Guinness Has That Effect

                                           a Mormon nun if there were such a thing

Last night's post was a bit of a downer, though necessary. It isn;r easy to deal with those who  feel that they have eer right to be angry andto resort to name-calling when a joke makes any reference to their religion, /perhaps they should try reading the writings of robert Kirby of the Salt Lake Trib. Then again, they'd probably just spew vitriol at him,call him an idiot, and tell him he doesn;t know what he's talking about despite his unofficial distinction as the historian of LDS reality.

Right noRight now I'm having three-quarters of a Guiness in honor of all the Anonoymous posters,who may have been just one responder with mutiple personalitieshea. As much as I would like to help this perso,  there is none so blind as he or she who will not see, I'll just keep drinking a eekly Giness on their behalf every week or so.  It may not do a damned tihing for the one or various anonymous poster.

My mom watched Jared's little brthers and sisters today so his mom could drive in to Los Angeles to see him and his tatto. When I finally got home this evening, she was already crashed for the night. It's been ahwile since she's been responsible for so many kids, some of them all day because htheor too young for school. I can't wait ot hear what Jared's mom rhinks about the tattoo,

I'm figuratively falling asleep at the wheel here. I'll talk to you tomorrow night.

Beware of falling coconuts.

The Sacred and Profane (or The Sacred and The Sense of Humor)

Are there things too sacred about which to make jokes? Ask a Muslim that, and your answer will surely be "yes."  Make a joke about what is most sacred to those who practice Islam (I'm not  mentioning it because I don't want a bounty on my head if anyone ever actually figures out who I am) and you'll find out just how lacking in humor are members of their faith when it comes to what they consider holy. Those who practice Islam aren't overly blessed with the gift of humor when it comes to their faith.

Ask a Mormon the same question as to the existence of topics too sacred to be discussed with any hint of humor. Again, the answer will be yes.  I can go along with this to a degree.  I know what goes on during LDS temple endowment ceremonies, as well as what occurred within them pre-1991, or whenever the most recent big change was. I don't write about those things, either seriously or in jest. I may make the odd joke about the magic underwear, but that's about as far as it goes. And as far as that goes, if a church goes so far as to dictate to its upper-echelon (temple-endowed) members   what kind of underwear they must wear, that church should be prepared for at least a little mirth at their own expense. Laugh it off or let it roll right off one's back.

Special undergarments  notwithstanding, other than writing of my experience at being baptized for the dead in a Mormon temple, I generally don't joke about temples all that much.  I will say in seriousness that holding weddings in places where not all close family members, including even a bride's or groom's parents in some cases, are allowed to attend, is contradictory to the ideology of any church which professes that family comes first. I'm not saying that for the sake of humor, though.  I'm dead serious.

Some readers (or one reader posing as some readers) came across a blog from many months ago in which I made references to Mormons who drink coffee, Mormons who practically worship Mitt Romney (this was before the election; Mitt has lost even most of his Latter-day Saint flock by now), and stake presidents,   and took umbrage  in a not particularly articulate manner at all that I had to say. I was bored so I responded. It was a waste of computer life span, health of my wrists (pianists and those who type excessively are at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome), and perhaps even of  function of my brain, as one's brain is only going to think so many thoughts before it decides it has had enough and ceases to function. My dad says there is no scientific basis to support my "maximum brain function" hypothesis, but he's an oncologist and hematologist. What makes him think he knows any more about brains than does the next person?

Anyway, what is truly too sacred to be the subject or object of humor?  The answer  varies from one person to the next. As much of a cafeteria-variety Catholic as I am (pick and choose what aspects of the faith you want to follow just as you pick your entree and side dishes), I can't find anything about Jesus' final week as a half-mortal remotely amusing. (I wouldn't put anyone else on a death list for disagreeing and creating a cartoon about the crucifixion, although I probably wouldn't choose to be that person's friend.)  Anyone's death is something about which I'm not comfortable making jokes, whether because of the sanctity of death or merely out  of respect to the survivors or the deceased himself or herself.  I  don't find the suffering of very many people to be particularly amusing anyway, but the lack of humor factor rises exponentially when it's the suffering of a child or an animal involved.  I can't watch either St. Jude's Hospital commercials or those Sarah McLachlan SPCA ads or Humane Society ads or whatever they are. My inability to watch them is probably because I'm squeamish, but the subject matter itself really bothers me. Is that because it is sacred, though? Maybe it is. Perhaps we have a sacred obligation as a society to protect animals and children to the very best of our ability. Or perhaps I just have PMS and had to click off one too many Sarah McLachlan or st. Jude's Hospital commercials tonight.

I think it runs in the family. My mom has the same tendency. I remember once when I was about ten. It was December and  she was driving us to practice for a Christmas program, and the radio station was playing Christmas stuff.  The Littlest Angel , which isn't even a song, was read dramatically by someone like William Shatner over a musical background. My mother got all weepy, and she had to drive around the block about sixteen times until she could get her emotions under control. We were about five minutes late, and there were people outside the church auditorium standing in the fog, waiting for her to unlock the door to the auditorium.

My brother has the same tendency, though, and he can't even blame PMS, or if he can, he has problems far beyond anything I can hope to cover in this blog or anywhere else. Anyway, once during the end of one of those Cerebral Palsy or Muscular Dystrophy telethons, he got really caught up in the moment and called the number on the screen and pledged one thousand dollars. He got his name announced on TV, which is how my mom found out about it. You'd think the volunteers answering the phones on those telethons would be trained to recognize a young child's voice-- I think Matthew was five -- and ask to speak to an adult before processing the donation. Those pledges aren't legally binding, or certainly not when made by a five-year-old. My parents wrote out a one-hundred-dollar check and called it even.  The telethon people would have liked more, but they were lucky to get the hundred bucks.

It seems perfectly appropriate for anyone to take his or her religion seriously at least to some degree (in this regard as in many other, my dad is inappropriate). It is probably reasonable to expect others to refrain from desecrating the things you consider most holy if they know that you consider those things as such.   On the other hand,  if the things you consider holy beyond desecration are undergarments, drinking or not drinking coffee, Mitt Romney and his entire family, or even the protection of the family (!!!)  and the sanctity of marriage, it might be a bit of a stretch to assume that everyone who posts or blogs on the Internet knows your feelings and will avoid these topics as though they're the ebola virus.

The Internet contains a wealth of views on virtually any topic one could imagine.  Pick any topic. If youcan't think of one, grab a magazine and randomly open it to a page. Google, it, Bing it, ask Jeeves about it , MSNsearch it, or  check it out on the Internet in whatever way suits your fancy. If  the topic is gravity, there may not be too much disagreement or controversy. On almost any other topic, probably one will find controversy and divergent viewpoints. The comments after the main entry are often where the greatest controversy can be found , but even the main body of the article may be controversial or even offensive from your viewpoint. If your purpose for searching is to learn more about something or if, in searching blogs,  perhaps wishing to learn about others' viewpoints, it might be fruiful to read what the author has to say. If, on the other hand, one wishes to find facts and beliefs that support one's already existing belief system and one might be offended by anything to the contrary,  one might do well  to quickly scan the article, or at least the opening and closing paragraphs, to see if what has been written is something that will annoy, offend, incense, or otherwise ruin one's day. If such is the case,  it would behoove one to bypass the article.

If, on the other hand, one derives pleasure from reading blogs or other posts at message boards and looking for places to disagree with a poster or blogger, criticize the person not just for his or her writings and point of view  but for his intelligence, character, usefulness as a human being, and general right to occupy space on the planet, by all means use the various search engines available on the Internet  for such purposes. Find blogs or posts with which to disagree, using the most vitriolic non-expletive words of which you can think. (It's not wrong in the eyes of God to call someone a worthless piece of poop as long as you say poop rather than shit. It's all in the technicalities. Jesus doesn't really care what's in your heart. It's the little things -- like not wearing a cross around one's neck or ,heaven forbid, getting more than one piercing in your ear, that will make a difference in the end.

Don't just stick to your feelings regarding what was written in a person's blog wen criticizing in response. Read between the lines. It's probably The Spirit telling you what to write and just how to insult the person. Call the writer an idiot. It will let him or her know the truthfulness of the gospel if you speak to him or her in such a way. Tell the person he or she does not know what he or she is talking about. It isn't remotely possible that the person may know more about the topic of discussion than you do.

This is the Internet. You can say or do anything, or claim to be anyone with  The Spirit on your side. Tell the original author that you cannot understand why everyone who knows him or her does not hate his or her guts. He or she needs to hear this. Choose the right! This is righteous indignation, just like when Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple.  Tell the writer that no one cares what he or she thinks.  It doesn't matter that you have no way of knowing how many people care about what he or she thinks, that you have no idea how many people like or love the person, or what the person's actual intellectual capacity is.
Afterwards, if you feel that you may have erred in judgement ever so slightly, apologize for maybe just one of the many  things you said, but try not to sound too sincere, and let the blogger know you were angry and you had every right to be. (Don't forget about the temple and the money changers and righteous indignation.)

Then when you go to church or Young Women's meetings, or to Sunday School, speak about the iniquity of bullying (except when doing so in defense of the church; then it's ok) or the importance of being a shining example of righteousness to non-members. No one knows what you wrote on the Internet.

Consider that on the outside chance, the person to whom you are writing was in a shaky emotional state when he or she wrote what he did. Consider that your responses sent him or her over the edge, and perhaps he or she downed an entier bottle of tylenol, then drove, thirty miles to a dry lke bed that isn't often visted until water is released into it in the summer. Perhaps the writer stayed there so nonone would fine him or her until the writer died of liver failure. First of all, the person was breaking the word of wisdom, so he or she was not a very worthy person. second, everyone knows suicide is a serious sin, and the person will probably spend eternity  in outer darkness. How could this be your fault? Were you supposed to read the entire Doctrine and Covenants to this idiot just to make sure you hit section 89. And one person can't be responsible for another's harmikng himself or herself. you are NOT your brother's or sister's keeper.

The outside chance didn't happen, of course. The blogger is alive, well, and acetaminophen free, and plans to remain that way for a long time,  But how could you have known?

Congratulations in choosing the right and in being one of Zion's youth in Latter Days, triumphant, pure, and strong.