Monday, November 24, 2008

2 for 1 holiday excitement!

Now that my family is getting older and starting to have children and such (well actually just two of my siblings but it feels like my whole family) it was decided that we're having Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Let me tell you - it was an idea that took some getting used to, but once I did I enjoyed the thought immensely.

I love having my whole immediate family over for dinner, although we haven't really done it since Jack and Scott were born. It's always hilarious - not only are my younger siblings prone to outbursts like "Can you pay me for being so good?" which was a Micah comment after my mom paid someone back the money she borrowed from them, but my older siblings are pretty funny, too. Mostly when they try to bait my mom and dad into saying something like, "You know what I say: if it feels good, do it!" and then endlessly tormenting them because of it. Ah, the joys of family.

We usually end up bringing the mashed potatoes to extended family Thanksgiving celebrations, since we end up bringing the most people, and really anything else we're going to have to whip up at our house is easy compared to peeling 20 pounds of potatoes. Oh, and then transporting said potatoes to Provo. It's going to be weird to not root out every bowl in the house to move mounds of mashed potatoes - but good, too. Also, we have all power to determine when we start eating and we don't have to travel anywhere for the initial dinner. And having my own bed to crash in afterward is going to be heaven, rather than finding a nook somewhere in my grandparent's house to grab some Zs.

What's funny is that dinner at my house every night is like my friend Caryn's Thanksgiving dinners every year. I told her about the change in the amount of people for me, and she said her Thanksgiving was changing, too - she was adding on her sister's fiance for a grand total of seven people all around her table. Wow - I'll tell ya what, wow.

Also, this Christmas season (yes, it has started already, no matter how much I don't want it to be here before Thanksgiving) I've started my Christmas shopping early and it's weird. Being in college the last four years meant the only extra money I got for Christmas shopping came from book buyback the last week of the semester, which was like the second or third week of December. I would then scramble for presents for everyone, getting done the 24th-ish.

This year, I started a few weeks ago. It was weird - I drew up a list and just started shopping, mostly on Amazon. It was because I realized I had extra money from a paycheck to do it, and people on Facebook were starting to talk about it in their statuses.

Also, I take pride in giving people thoughtful gifts that they don't necessarily ask for, and usually I can come up with something pretty quickly for everyone I know. This year has been harder than normal, though. Mostly it's because I feel like a failure when I ask people what they actually want and then get them exactly that.


I'm weird.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A semi-political post *gasp

*Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!

This is the captain of the blog speaking. I'd just like to let you know we're making an un-scheduled stop at Political Land for a short time. Thank you for your patience and enjoy the ride.

When I started this blog, I pretty much promised myself I would never venture into political waters. This mostly stems from my desire to avoid conflict at all costs. This was hard when I was editor of the opinion section in college, but I even mostly managed that. I believe we got the least letters to the editor the Scroll ever received in its history.

But here I am doing it anyway. I guess it has to do with my beliefs and an epiphany, too, so now that my rationalization's done, I'm going to get on with my actual story.

Has anyone else noticed that Facebook is starting to become a political forum? Mostly it's the notes people write. It's weird, and usually I stay well away from them, kind of how I like to stay away from political things in this blog. However, when it's something I feel passionate about, I sometimes make a comment or two.

One of my friends posted a video of the countdown show Keith Olbermann does - in this episode, he basically talks about how no one has compassion who votes for Prop 8 and how it's all about love and we should extend love to people who want a same-sex marriage and allow them to marry. Shortly after it's posted, the author of the note and another one of my friends had a discussion about it, and eventually agreed to disagree.

I was going to insert exactly what I said and what the young man who had a debate with me said, too, but the friend who posted the note deleted me from her friends list, so I can't. She didn't even talk to me about it. This is what makes me so mad/sad. Can I not express my opinion and beliefs without getting shunned from the very same people who desire compassion and acceptance? Seriously? Why is having a religious opinion a second-class opinion? Cody sent around excerpts from a talk by Neal A. Maxwell that totally nails this on the head.

"Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. M. J. Sobran also said, “A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it” (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, pp. 58–59)."

"This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened..."

"If people, however, are not permitted to advocate, to assert, and to bring to bear, in every legitimate way, the opinions and views they hold which grow out of their religious convictions, what manner of men and women would we be?..."

I got it and was like, "Wow. That's exactly what happened to me!" Now to tell you exactly what happened.

Main feel for my first comment on the video: I said I believed that marriage should be between a man and woman and I held that sacred. To change that would to be to desecrate it, therefore treading upon my rights and what I hold sacred. Also, I said that the Church had commented that they don't mind if same sex couples have the legal rights, and isn't it basically the same thing, therefore?

This guy responded and said it was the ultimate show of love and if it was the same thing then why did people get married ever? He also asked what I would feel like if I couldn't marry the girl or guy I loved. Then he said that marriage is between a man and a woman is a legal definition, not a spiritual one, and therefore I can't believe in it. Also, he asked how it would personally hurt me if he married another man.

I said I was just responding to Olbermann's comment about how it was all about love - and that his belief that marriage was the ultimate sign of love was a BELIEF. Maybe not from God, but it was a belief either way. Nothing concrete to back it up. It kind of dawned on me then that beliefs might not all come from God, but everyone has them, whether they want to call them that or not. Most call them opinions. And if you do get them from God, lots of times people want to discount them. Also, why can't I believe something that's also a law? I believe murder is wrong, and it's also a law.

The problem is, in this argument, religion is where my side is coming from and if people against Prop 8 won't allow religion to come into the conversation, they won't be able to understand why we do what we do. No wonder there's all this animosity and hatred - it seems like we have no opinions, except those icky religious ones. *wipes dripping sarcasm from face.

How the conversation ended with this guy went a little like this: "I started reading your comment and then I saw there was God and religion in it, so I stopped. Keep God out of it!" Except not in such nice language. Wow. Again, this from someone who wants understanding and compassion. I thought I was being rational and reasonable, but apparently religious comments are unreasonable and irrational.

My beliefs don't matter but his does. Because the more I think about it, the more it IS a belief that same sex couples should be able to get married. That's all it is. If you don't agree with it you're shunned and not as politically correct, but I have a right to my beliefs, too.

No matter Who they're from.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mouse update

I mostly want to post about what we think happened to the little mouse I liberated a few posts ago.

He died.

Or we're pretty sure he died. Becca started smelling something rank in her room, like something had died. A small rodent, perhaps? She thought he died under her dresser since her clothes were starting to smell awful, and demanded I move it and remove the body. (Hee hee...if all anyone read in this post was that line, that would be hilarious. :)) I thought that was reasonable and attempted to do so, but, alas, there wasn't anything there to remove.

She tore apart her room and found the same thing. Or didn't find the same thing, I guess. Plugging up any and all holes in her room at floor-level became the solution. We think he crawled in one of them and promptly died.

So my liberating was all pretty much for nothing. Except that he got a few more days of life. That's good, right? At this point, I've decided I can't really do anything about it and beating myself up about it doesn't help any. I'll probably be sucking up to Becca for the rest of my life because of this...and oh well.

Anyone know a good way to buy off an angry sister with an rank-smelling room?