Loving Our Enemies

There’s been a little bit of hometown hell in Charlottesville this past week. Apparently, when the city decided to remove a Confederate statue, a group of protesters showed up with torches and Confederate and Nazi flags. Alarmed (by the torches and Confederate and Nazi flags,) a group of anti-protesters showed up to argue that symbols of White supremacy were not the way to solve this country’s problems. At some point, violence broke out between the two groups, ending(?) with someone driving a car through the counter-protester crowd, killing 1 person and injuring 19 more.

These are the facts, as far as I’ve found them. I don’t live in Virginia, and I don’t know anyone involved, so I’m relying heavily on news sources. But what’s clear is that there was a violent clash between two groups, and now the news (and social media) is exploding about it.

I can’t tell you who’s right here. Because, let’s be clear: I don’t think anyone was really “right.” I don’t think Nazis are a good group to join. But even Nazis have freedom of speech in this country, and I don’t think it’s a good idea to violently oppose a peaceful protest, even when the ideals presented are potentially violent. Hate doesn’t solve hate. At any rate, I’m not here to tell you what happened in Virginia, because I wasn’t there. I’m here to tell you what’s happening to my friends online.

As far as I see it, there are two kinds of people on Facebook right now: those who are talking about Nazis and those who aren’t. There would be more groups, except that those who are talking about Nazis insist there are only two. Because those who are talking about Nazis insist that if you’re not talking about the problem right now, you’re adding to the problem.

By remaining silent, they argue, you’re tacitly accepting it. You’re refusing to act on something that’s obviously wrong in this country. And I agree we should be talking about it. But there are a lot of people outside of Virginia who simply don’t know what they can do about it besides feel awful. And that still doesn’t solve the problem.

We need to address the problem. But that doesn’t mean remaining silent is acceptance.

Remember the women’s march in January? Everyone was talking about it. And every other post I saw about it was condemning those who weren’t participating in some way—why would you be betraying half the population of the world by not talking about Feminism right now? Why would you not be excited about this? What could possibly be more important than women’s rights?

My brother’s funeral was that day. That day, I had something to think about that was more important to me than women’s rights.

If someone you know isn’t involved in your troubles, maybe they have troubles of their own. Maybe they hurt, too. Maybe you should ask them, instead of accusing them.

Please, people. Stop calling people “the enemy” when they disagree with you on something. That’s exactly how the Nazis came to see good, hardworking Germans as “the enemy.” Because of small differences.

We know you’re hurt. We’re hurt, too. But if both groups in Charlottesville had just ordered pizza and sat down and talked about their differences, maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess. Stop lashing out. Start reaching out. ♥

 

Edit: I’ve been called out for doing shoddy research on the event itself,  for which I apologize. I stated the facts as best I knew them at the time. The worst of the violence clearly came from the Nazi protestor who ran his car into the crowd.

The purpose of my article,  however, was not to provide a substitute for the news.  I’m calling in people to stop calling each other bigots and Klansmen because they’re Republicans, because they’re Conservative,  because they voted for Trump, because they’re White, or because they’re not sufficiently outraged. I don’t want Nazis in my country,  because they thrive on hatred.  But hating people won’t solve that problem.   There’s a divide between Americans, and we need to work on healing the rift. Casting blame on our neighbors won’t do that.

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Why My Husband Has 5 Staples In the Back of His Head: A Dating Story

We haven’t gone on a date for a while. A long while. So last Saturday, we got a babysitter, headed to the ice rink, and rented some skates.

We got about 3/4 of the way around the rink.

Ethan’s a pretty good skater. I, on the other hand, enjoy ice skating as a date activity because it gives me  cling to my date. So we started out slow (about 1-2 mph), and watched for good skaters to emulate.

After two turns, Ethan fell. And I laughed at him, because I’m a jerk sometimes, but also because it was really funny. His arms went straight out, his head went straight back, his legs went straight up, and his glasses flew straight off. It was like watching Charlie Brown trying to kick a football. I did stop myself from laughing once I realized how hard his head had hit the ice, though. I’m not a total jerk.

Ethan stood up and we started moving slowly off the ice. About this time, I noticed there was a heavy trickle of blood coming down behind his ear and dribbling down his neck. We stopped at the first-aid station.

The girls running the ice rink were very nice, treated Ethan’s head wound, and recommended we call the paramedics to see whether he would need stitches. This we did, and the paramedics said we should go to the hospital. He wasn’t bleeding anymore, thankfully—but apparently he was going to need a lot of stitches. I think she said about 20.

A loyal alumnus, Ethan split his head open in a Y-shape. BYU fans will be disappointed to know, however, that alumni don’t actually bleed blue.

We stopped at home to clean up and told the babysitter (who was remarkably chill) we were going to the hospital. As we arrived at the ER, Ethan got a prompt on his phone from Google, asking if he’d like to add pictures of Peaks Ice Arena. We decided it might look bad on their ratings if we added a picture of his wound.

Ethan got his head numbed up, and then shot 5 times with a staple gun. (I’m sure the medical terminology is different, but it sounds better if I call it a staple gun.) And we brought home some ice cream, because we deserved it. ♦

Unfortunately, I Still Don’t Have the Picture, So You Don’t Get to See It.

The other day, I went to see my grandma. It’s been a while, for some reason; she lives close enough for this to be inexcusable, but I guess I just haven’t gotten around to stopping by. Anyways, this past weekend, I finally got me and my 2yo son up to Bountiful, and hung out with my mom and grandma for a while.

As I was looking around Grandma’s apartment, I started looking over the family pictures hanging up. There were some old pictures of my aunts I’d never seen (looking young and smoking hot, of course.) There were some more recent pictures of some relatives I haven’t seen in a while. I moved to the other side of the bulletin board.

This side had more pictures of people I didn’t recognize; neighbors, friends, and maybe relatives I hadn’t met. I found a really cute picture of an eight-month-old baby named Jonathan, presumably from the other side of the family. I noticed it because the kid was super cute, and also because he shared my son’s name.

Then I looked a little closer, because this kid really looked like mine. I was trying to figure out if he was more closely related than I’d thought. Then I recognized the shirt the baby was wearing. This was my kid. I did not take this picture. This was a posed, studio print. You don’t accidentally snap a shot of your kid at the Target picture studio, leaning out of a wooden crate.

I turned around, looking puzzled, and realized why my mom had gone silent. She was waiting, tensed up, with the “I’m in trouble” face.

“This is John!” I said.

“Yeah…”

“When did you do this?!” Mom fessed up. Apparently, she went and had the portraits taken while she watched Jonathan for a weekend so Ethan and I could spend some time together on our anniversary. She didn’t ask permission, because she didn’t want me to say no.

“Okay—but John’s two! Why didn’t you tell me since then?”

“I didn’t want you to get mad at me.”

We laughed about it. And I forgave her. And then I was embarrassed. And I’m still a little embarrassed about it. I’m embarrassed because I’ve been so uptight that my mom already knew I was going to say no, just because I didn’t personally want any pictures taken. I’ve also been so uptight that she was afraid to tell me after the pictures were taken. And then she was a little worried about giving them to me for a Christmas present.

To be fair, I still don’t like posed pictures. And they were cute, because my son is cute. But I still probably wouldn’t hang them proudly on my fridge—first, because they’re outdated now. Second, because my son doesn’t stand still for that long anymore, and I want a more true-to-life picture. I prefer candid shots. But lately, I’ve been realizing that I’ve been wound pretty tight, and I’ve gotten controlling. And I don’t want to be like that.

This is not a confession, nor is it a blank check for my mom to go spend thousands of dollars on my kid. But it was a pretty good reality check for me, and I need to chill out. I need to let my parents be grandparents. I need to let my neighbors be neighbors. I need to let my husband be my husband—and let him be Dad, too.

So here’s my resolution to calm down and let people show love the way they want to. ♥

Chester

Okay, guys. Bucket list item I didn’t know I had.

I caught a garter snake! With my bare hands! I always figured this was just a rite of passage for kids, but we never got any snakes at all where I lived. This last year, I finally learned what a garter snake looked like, and the other day one of my neighbors saw one scurrying across the yard. And I caught it!

I realize this is no big deal. But I like snakes. And he was super cute. And I finally felt like the prankster kid I always wanted to be.

My neighbor named him Chester. I have been calling him Stinky, though. Because he stunk. I let the kids touch him, then I put him back where we found him. ♥

Cinderfella: A Rant

Okay. So I saw this video on Facebook. And of course, instead of just moving on, I got all worked up about it.

It’s a parody of “Cinderella.” They tell a two-minute story called “Cinderfella,” in which an innocent orphan (boy) is abused by his stepfather and ugly stepbrothers, is granted a new suit and a pair of glass loafers by his fairy godfather, and wins the heart of the fair princess by means of his rare shoe size. It’s absurd, and adequately points out how absurd the original Cinderella story is.

And up to this point, I think it’s fine. It’s actually rather clever. But then it goes on a feminist rant about how we share stupid stories with our girls, about girls doing stupid things that don’t matter, and how we would never read a story like that to our boys. Of course we wouldn’t. We don’t want them to grow up stupid.

But, of course, since we do read stupid stories to our daughters, that means that we expect them to be stupid. It’s sexist. Fairy tales are sexist, the video argues, and our girls deserve better.

First, let’s talk about the idea that we don’t read stupid stories to our boys. Have you ever read a “Caillou” book? If you have, I rest my case.

If you haven’t, count your lucky stars.

I’ll go back to the Cinderella logic. It’ll make the argument more cohesive, anyway. Cinderella is a classic fairy tale, found in the Grimms’ Fairy Tales collection. Now, the brothers Grimm weren’t out to create any great literature. They didn’t write the stories. They collected them—and not even for literary reasons. They just wanted to know how far German culture extended, and asking old grandmothers to tell stories was the easiest way to tell how far the same stories had spread.

I digress. The point is, Cinderella is a Grimm story. And so is “Hans in Luck,” “Hans Married,” “Strong Hans,” “Foolish Hans,” and “Hans Files His Income Taxes With a Late Exception Because He Was Singing Down a Well and Forgot When the Due Date Was.” Hans, as a character, is apparently a German legend. And he was so stupid, bland, and irrelevant to the story that he didn’t even get an interesting name. I mean, at least “Cinderella” is distinguishable from the next-door neighbor.

So no, we don’t just tell stupid stories to our daughters. We tell stupid stories to all of our children, gender aside. And why do we do that?

Ask a child to tell you a story sometime. If they’re old enough to make one up, it’s probably going to be stupid. They’re kids. Their concerns are equally spread around being lost, left behind, unloved, and losing jelly beans. And they’ll probably include all those things in a poorly-constructed fairy tale about a turtle named Bob. (Or Hans, perhaps.)

Now sit down and write your own story. Was it brilliant? Probably not. Was it adequate? … Probably for bedtime. Maybe. These stories were told, spur-of-the-moment, by the fire, usually by an elderly woman trying to entertain small children with short attention spans. No wonder they include shiny objects (like glass slippers,) magical beings, and gaping plot holes.

If you want higher entertainment for your kids, I don’t blame you. But stop complaining about old German folklore, and go write something better. ♦

Parents are Basically Just Tall Children.

Parenting really brings out the immaturity in a person.

My son is 2. He’s learning stuff in leaps and bounds. (Actually, one of the things he’s learning is how to leap and bound.) And I’m trying to keep up. One of the things I’ve noticed over the past few weeks is that me and my husband Ethan are actually pretty good at this. Parenting, for the most part, seems to come naturally to us.

This is probably because neither of us has properly acted our age since we were toddlers ourselves.

For one of our first dates, we went to the Provo library and sat in the children’s section, reading books. We laughed so hard at Dr. De Soto Goes to Africa that I actually peed myself. This was when I realized I liked Ethan.

Last night, we were up late dancing around the kitchen, having a funny-face contest, and making nachos. We had to make the nachos. I had three ripe avocados. I mean, what else were we going to do with an entire pint of guacamole? And of course, we had to do the dance. It’s the nacho dance.

This morning, I keep finding myself lingering as I walk past my dresser. The thing I’m lingering on is a little booklet that Ethan brought home the other day from work. He found it in a used book, being used as a bookmark, I suppose. It’s a few pages of temporary tattoos. Wild animal tattoos. I keep telling myself to save them for when John wakes up—but that rhino just looks so cool.

I usually finish the Dr. Seuss books, even after John has lost interest and wandered off.

We were going to watch a movie last night, but then decided John wasn’t being good enough to sit still for an hour and a half. I’m still a little disappointed I didn’t get to watch Tarzan.

My best form of flirting is to just kick my husband and then say, “Hey, I like you.” So far, he seems alright with this. As long as I don’t kick too hard.

I realized the other day that there’s really nothing stopping me from having hot chocolate for breakfast. I’ve had nearly 2 quarts of Abuelita this week.

Basically, what I’m saying is that if you’re good with children, there’s a decent chance it’s because you’re a child. ♦

A Quick Review

I haven’t blogged in a while. Sometimes that means I forgot. Sometimes it means I was depressed, and just didn’t want to do stuff. Sometimes it means I got overwhelmed with the stuff I wanted to blog about…but didn’t. Sometimes it means I got distracted, and completely forgot I had a blog.

This time, it means all those things! Hooray! So if you’re interested, here’s a review of some things you might have missed (because I didn’t tell anyone about them.)

  • My 2yo loves raisins. LOVES them. The other day, he ate 3 boxes of yogurt-covered raisins (not worth it. They’re disgusting.) Then he ate about 3 bunches of grapes. Then he pooped his diaper all the way up to his neck.
  • Potty-training is getting a little more serious, due to the aforementioned diaper.
  • I’ve been writing poetry. Some of it is fun, some of it is not. The ‘not-fun’ variety is usually how I get out my grieving for my brother. I think it’s pretty good, but I’m pretty biased.
  • Ethan and I took another good look at our TBR (To Be Read) bookcases. Not shelves. Bookcases. And we decided that we’re not allowed to buy any more books until we each read at least one of the shelves. My goal is to clear the bottom shelf, which has now gained about 5 inches of free space. I have not cheated and bought any books. I’m super proud of myself.
  • Ethan has cheated, but only kind of. He’s studying to pass the history praxis exam, so he can get a job as a history teacher. We both agreed that buying study materials does not count as cheating on his TBR pile.
  • John knows his letters. I did not teach him his letters. He learned them from an obnoxious talking train toy that our neighbors graciously gave us. This is the biggest reason I have let him keep the toy. The songs are getting old, but hey—he knows the letter J.
  • I stepped on a duck the other week. Not metaphorically. The ducks at our local pond are really aggressive when they know you have food.
  • John thinks ducks are freaking hilarious.
  • John also thinks his scripture-story characters need mustaches. I’m inclined to agree, really.
  • We went “fishing” (read: trout farm) with my parents for Easter. I was a little worried John would freak out, but he was very interested in the fish, and the fish-cleaning process. And he still happily ate the result.
  • Whoopi Goldberg has no eyebrows. I went 27 years without realizing it.
  • LDS General Conference was great. I only heard half of it, though. I had a panic attack that Saturday night, and missed the Sunday session because I was sleeping all day. Still not entirely sure what caused it, although the grieving process probably didn’t help.
  • I’m slowly making progress on my decision to read a book from every country. (See my above-mentioned problem with the TBR pile.) One interesting thing I noticed this morning was the contrast between global problems and American problems. When I look at people who are struggling to eat or keep a roof overhead, the American news starts to look really whiny. It’s not like I think only Americans have houses, or that all Americans do. But our standard of living is really high, and our bureaucracy actually gives us a lot of stability. We can address our problems and seek help. That’s not available universally.
  • I forgot to renew my prescription for antidepressants. And so far, I keep forgetting. I’m taking this as a good sign, because I’m doing alright without them.
  • At Ethan’s request (ultimatum, actually,) I finally got rid of the mountain of stuff I spring-cleaned out of our lives. Sorry if you wanted one of those dozens of picture frames. You can find them at DI.
  • My neighbor changed my life the other day, by pointing out that all you need for a homemade French dip is some bread, lunch meat, and beef bouillon. And I personally plan to add some of those crispy fried onions.
  • I bought some tomato plants, a bell pepper plant, a rosemary plant, and some pots to plant them in! I haven’t put them outside, though. It got cold right after I bought them. So here’s hoping I can keep them alive. I want tomatoes.

That ought to catch you up to speed. If you’re still reading, I’m impressed. And maybe a little concerned. You should probably turn off the computer and go read a book or something. It’s not that I’m uninteresting, but… I’m not that interesting. And this was long. ♥