Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rhymes with schmomygodMiloisfiiiieeeve

Once upon a time,THIS:

Became THIS: And then THIS: And about 5 minutes later, THIS:

Today is Milo's fifth birthday, and, like the day he was born, it's Thanksgiving. A sappy but perfect coincidence, because I can't think of anything I'm more grateful for.

Oh, Milo...since the first time you kicked me (from the inside!) so hard I could see your foot through my abdomen, since we tossed our planned home birth to the curb, since before your first word was "nuh uh" and your second words were "make me", we knew that all of our rosy, born-of-inexperience-and-fantasy-plans for parenting were in for some major renovation.

You are a strong-willed, smart, funny, sweeet, clowny little boy and an amazing big brother; a constant source of entertainment and, oh, such a love. A force of nature and love.

Happy birthday, sweet firstborn!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Vampires, parts 2-infinity...

So...I tried, not all that valiantly, to get through the other 3 Twilight books.

I mean, you know, I read a LOT, so it shouldn't have been that hard. But it was, and it took me over a month of eye-rolling to finally do it.

So, when we left off, klutzy teen girl had moved somewhere cold, wet and rainy for reasons not very well explained. And she hates the rain and can't seem to stop talking about that. Or falling down. Then she meets a mysterious, smouldering boy and for three hundred+ pages, she wonders why he's so hostile and keeps disappearing and scowling and then maybe she thinks he likes her and does he? and what's his deal anyway? and wait, is there something weird about him? and, omg! he's a vampire! A smouldery sparkly vampire! Dang, does he like her enough? Some? Does he hate her? What's up? Does he love her? Does his family hate her? Finally, for about 5 pages, a plot happens. And then they go to prom. The end.

Book 2: Depressed. Edward left. Bella is very very depressed. So depressed. Depressed. Very. unhappy. Jacob is a werewolf? Whatever. Still depressed. Bella gets a MOTORCYCLE! Probably she'll have an accident and die (she doesn't). She jumps off a cliff, maybe she'll die! (she doesn't). More. Depressed. And then, for like 30 pages, after 500+ pages of, you know, depressed, Edward-thinks-bella-is-dead-and-tries-to-kill-himself-in-italy-can-bella-and-alice-get-there-in-time-to-save-him? Yes they can. Tourists die. Whatever. Edward loves her. The end.

Book 3, which I just read, I can't even remember. Mysterious murders offscreen. Jacob and a lot of his tribe are werewolves. He loves wannabe vampire girl. She doesn't love him. Yes she does. No she doesn't. Yes. No. Yes, but not enough. But MAINLY, vampire boy and wannabe-vampire-girl argue about: I want to be a vampire! (no) should we have sex? (no) Where should we go to college? Are you sure you love me? Sure? For realsies sure? Should we get married? And wheeeeennnnnn will you turn the wannabe into a vampire? Please please please? (no). Then the murderers offscreen turn out to be vampires. 20 pages of vampire-and-werewolf-on-vampire fighting. Good guys win! The end. Dang.

Book 4: confession is that I can't make it all the way through book 4. But I got a good ways in. Enough to say that, well, mutant, hybrid, ultra-strong, rapid-gro babies (with teeth!) born at something like...20 days gestation to a mom who gets pregnant after the first time she has sex with her big old emo vampire husband...pretty much that took me as far as I could get in that series. That and they name it something I just can't not mock.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fear (aka, effed)

I've blogged a little bit about this before, but 13 years ago, the week before Thanksgiving, something completely changed my life. At the time, I was generally pretty happy-go-lucky. I was in my, um, 7th undergraduate year, having switched majors more often than I would have thought was allowable; and was living with my long-term boyfriend while still happily married to my ex-boyfriend. Ok, that sounds, but trust me when I say that everybody involved was pretty much okey-dokey with that situation. Then, in a pretty short period of time, I:
  • got the measles
  • got re-vaccinated, all at once, for all of these childhood illnesses for which I apparently had no titers
  • started having some wacky mood swings
  • started putting on weight for really the first time in my life
  • started going blind in one eye
I finally went to my optometrist about the vision problems, but he thought it was something more brain-related, so, at age 25, I made my first trip to a neurologist. Four months and about a kerjillion tests (and dollars) later, my neurologist and her team found a growth on my pituitary gland, right in the middle of my brain. The day before Thanksgiving, she called to tell me that I had a brain tumor. Before that, theories about the cause of my symptoms included ALS (Stephen Hawking's illness), MS, Diabetes, and...a couple more. I can't actually remember a lot of that time period, because getting diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 25 sort-of, oh, made a lot of white noise happen in my head. It was a very Woody Allen moment, because I'd just ASSUMED I was being a hypochondriac, only to learn that it was worse - much worse - than I thought. During those months of testing, I finally divorced my 1st ex, who was going through some personal drama of his own, and also started making plans to marry my (then) current boyfriend. I started taking anti-depressants to deal with the mood swings brought on by the pituitary changes, and then other medication to deal with some of the side effects of the anti-depressants. My weight and the mood swings sort-of stabilized, but I was much heavier and much MUCH more lethargic and generally DOWN than I'd ever been. Before I was diagnosed, when ALS was one of the most likely diagnoses, I conned my friend Boris to steal some cyanide from his job, because I was NO WAY going to live a Stephen Hawking life. That's how it was: I was planning how to die. All of this is pretty much ancient history. This was just the start (and partial catalyst) of a sucky sucky downward spiral. Lots more happened, bad, worse and VERY WORST before things finally got a little bit better, then - eventually - much, much better. 13 years later, I can see all the ways that period of time affected my entire life's trajectory and how much or little drama I decide is warranted for anything else that happens. I'd love to end this with some little placebo-quasi-inspirational nougat about how fear is nothing and you can survive bad and worse...but that's not necessarily true in my own life. I'm still ridiculously histrionic and choose to get dramatic about some really small, lame potatoes. But I also see how that experience enabled me to detach from things I might otherwise freak about. I am better at seeing how my physical life impacts my emotional life. At valuing things I might otherwise have taken for granted. I'm a little bit more prepared to think about dying and what I think that means. And...I know what I fear most, which has nothing to do with getting a brain tumor.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lie-y McLiarson's disingenuous, backdated blog post

I've been in a training session at work. And taking care of stuff at home. So I blog post backdatily to meet my Nablahblahblahpohmoh self-commitment. Does that count? Since I can't write and pretend to listen to the training session work, here's my cheaty-shameless-promotion-of-family-musicians post. These are The Mollies. My cousin Becky is the brunette and my niece Vivian is the blond. ENJOY!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A brief history of bad hair...

In the spirit of it being Monday, and me having had a full day of GAH! (in the form of a HUGE bounced payment check from this stupid 2nd job I shouldn't have taken - seriously evil karma for them, but also seriously painful for me to wait for them to just effing PAY ME! and then the boy believing that although halloween-is-over-chocolate-is-forever-so-give-me-chocolate-CHOCOLATE-NOW-NOW-NOW), well, I'm just all...not writing a blog post or including cute clogging kittens with pitchforks today. I'm all the other way today. Instead of that post? Inspired by Steenky Bee, but omitting her deep love of all things Sarah Connor, a history of hair: HS senior photo, juxtaposed with me a year ago. Oh, so beautiful 80's...

Clearly, HAIR CONTROL has always been a problem...

Is there a dog on that child's head? Dear lord, no. It's just HAIR! And then came the bangs... And the posing...oh.

The hell?

Note the so-beautiful PAISLEY JEANS in those last 2 photos. I think I was overfond of them... Hair control. I just don't have the gift. Or the posing thing. That too.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bubbling over

I've had something on my back-burner for SO LONG that it's left permanent scorch-marks. 

Finally, thanks to an article in, by THIS woman, I did something I've meant to do, oh, for the past 22 years. (And I should also note here that I'm basically plagiarizing her letter with few edits of my own).

IMO, Proposition 8 is probably nothing more than a bump in the road on the way to authentically unbiased, unprejudiced civil rights for just means it will take a bit longer to get there. And for people who might have never otherwise thought about it, this experience has hopefully made them think about whether they want to live a life exemplifying hate or love. 

However, for me, Prop 8 is significant as a catalyst for something I've needed to do for a long time:

Member Records Division, LDS Church 
50 E North Temple Rm 1372 
SLC UT 84150-5310 

This letter is my formal resignation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

As of November 4, 2008, I terminate my membership. 

The LDS church has participated in a hate-filled political campaign against the rights of families in California and other states, and this is the catalyst for my action. 

Please remove the name Rebekah Waffle (birth date: March 16, 1970) from the records of the LDS Church immediately — as dictated in the General Handbook of instructions. I understand that my resignation from the church cancels the effect of baptism, withdraws the priesthood (not applicable to me as a woman), and revokes temple blessings. I hereby withdraw my consent to being treated as a member and any tacit consent membership implies that I might be subject to church rules, policies, beliefs and disciplines. As I am no longer a member, I want my name permanently and immediately removed from the membership rolls of the LDS church. 

Please promptly complete the form “Request for Administrative Action”, and forward it to the appropriate Stake President. You will need to send me a letter telling me that you have done so. Further, I formally demand that the 30-day holding period be waived, and that the Stake President forward this letter and the form to the Office of the First Presidency as soon as he receives it. 

I will not participate in church court or disciplinary council, as I am no longer a member. I do not wish to be contacted by anyone except by mail confirming that my name has been removed from the records. This includes home teachers, visiting teachers or any church leadership attempting to visit my home or contact me by telephone.

I do not condone your church’s overt encouragement of members to campaign against the civil rights of others. While I have other beliefs at odds with Mormon teachings, it is this issue which has finally given me the push I needed to withdraw my membership. 

Rebekah Waffle
November 15, 2008

I should add here that I have a large adoptive family. I am the only non-Mormon out of my parents, 3 siblings, their spouses, 20 nieces and nephews, their spouses (the ones who are married) and 2 great-nephews. My parents are old and love their church. My siblings and their kids are not old and love their church. 

At least one member of my family reads this blog semi-regularly, so whenever I post about my whole round-and-round about God, Mormons, dinosaurs and wizards and peepstones and loving everybody no matter who THEY love, I know that I've got at least one person from that world who might (repeatedly and consistently) be offended by me. And, goatess, I love your support and the fact that you never huff off and don't return. It's important to me to work through what I need to work through, even in a public forum, but I always feel bummed that it might seem unkind or ungrateful to a family I genuinely love. This matter, though. I'm not sure how it will be taken. 

In my mind, it's a formality. I haven't been much of a Mormon for the past 20+ years other than my obsession with how that's shaped my worldview. I can't see it as making much difference, but sometimes I'm surprised by what matters to other people and what doesn't. Maybe they'll see it as a way to make change, or start a dialog. Or maybe they'll see it as a gross insult. Hard to know. And it may not come up at all. But, for what it's worth, it's the sole thing that's held me back until now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


(aka fun with my crappy Photshop skillz) You always wonder where you might have ended up, don't you? Don't you? Do you? Well...I do. Because, as I've already established, I live in the past, I often think about all the paths I took but reverted. Or messed up. Or just barely went one way instead of another. Let's just see what that might have looked like, had I not changed majors and divorced and then divorced and changed majors...and then moved to Oregon: Here's one: Mormon mom. How do you know she's Mormon? White shirts. Because? Are you kidding? Who puts kids in white?...There's a whole life averted in this picture.
Or this is totally cute: OK, frankly, I've never quite been here. A couple of protests that could have gone awry, but...mainly no. I did date a couple of future felons though. And made some poor roommate choices in college which could have gotten me here.

[Note: when your parents offer to pay for religious college, which you acquiesce to under duress and out of poverty, because you drank too much didn't study hard enough to keep your full-ride scholarship at the state school; and then your religious-college roommate says she's "bucking the system" at said college by "dealing a little", DON'T try to "be cool" by letting it slide. Get out!]

Fortunately, she never got caught (while you lived with her). Unfortunately, you live in your car for a while because you get freaked out by the company she keeps (and she totally steals all your clothes while you are doing this). During a Utah winter. Before you FINALLY realize you will pay for your own college, drop out of BYU and go live with non-drug-dealers-not-in-your-car, thank you.]

Anyway, I never got arrested.

All right. I was also never a mermaid, nor going to be a mermaid. But I did used to have cartoonishly perky boobs.
Singer! My first college major: opera! But primarily I did an enormous amount of bad or mediocre community theater. Right before I married the Evil Mad Scientist, I gave it all up and have (almost) never looked back.
Smoker!.Well...passively. I lived with an active smoker and sometimes held ciggarettes (is that how you spell that) just to fit in:
Kashmiri bride: I may not have mentioned that the Evil Mad Scientist was of Pakistani descent, but he was, and once upon a time, I really truly did this, so I guess it's a path actually taken, but reverted. We stayed married for about .2 minutes after this, but at least I'll always have Pakistan...
Nomadic Hiker: Husband #1 was this sort-of restless, gypsy-ish nomad guy. My life could have looked like this, but mainly it looked like being alone, since he was usually off doing his own thing.

Alterna-babe: Even though I am a product of my generation, I have no tattoos. A couple of nose rings, yes. It's the path I didn't take, but I'm right next door... I'm an alt-dot-neighbor!
My birth father is an ex-Hell's Angel. Can't you see it? It's in my bloooood!
And finally, of course, this. I was SO close to becoming her. But chose instead to use my powers to remove dangling participles armed with nothing but a keyboard. (I kept my lasso, though).

The Great Why

I've been thinking a great deal about religion lately. Er, if "lately" can mean "since-2001-when-the-entire-United-States-seemed-to-become-in-a-flag-waving-911-backlash-frenzy-a-more-conservative,-religiously-bent-place-to-live".

I grew up in the US equivalent of Vatican City and didn't realize, until leaving Salt Lake, that most people don't get a religious analysis of world events on the nightly news. Or that most newspapers don't have a "Church News" section that's 16-20 pages long. That not everyone views their entire global experience through biblical glasses. Except, you know, many of them do.

At any rate, my attenuation to religious rightwingery is probably a bit acute and hypercritical, but not without provocation. Mainly, this comes back to my family.

I can believe that there is a world of people I don't know very well who believe things which are (to me) overtly suspect. But when it comes to my smart, analytical family, I am perplexed. And relieved, too, that I escaped that particular orthodoxy.

I think metaphysics is an important topic, and when my kids are old enough to both understand my beliefs and that they can also explore whether they share those beliefs or not, we'll talk about it more seriously. When I recently tried to explain to Milo why grandma and grandpa don't believe in dinosaurs, I had to laugh. Trying to find euphemisms he would understand, "God" became "a very powerful wizard" (like I'll never have to deconstruct THAT later...).

That might be unfair to their beliefs, but I can't feign reverence for the entire creationist package. Which is not to say that the universe in it's particular perfection doesn't awe me, but I find the concept of a sacred, cognizant, man-focused creator as likely as believing that it was all done by Santa Claus.

 I take my disbelief in invisible powerful beings (as well as salvation and sins, atonement, begatting, motes in your eyes and camels through needle eyes) pretty seriously. Even though, in the end, I think it's all just a big pile of dogma (ho ho).

And I find myself constantly wondering why, taking nearly exactly the same path, my siblings and I arrived at precisely the opposite location. From my seat, it's almost as though my entire family is mentally ill: believing in invisible entities, following directions from incendiary plant-life, a wealth of predestination, eating bread they refer to as a piece of a dead body, and, for that matter, zombie worship. So...clearly it's difficult for me to "get" religious people.

Do they really believe absolutely and more-or-less literally in all that stuff about Mohammad/Buddha/Moses/Krishna, floods, locusts, crucifixion, frogs, pale horses (and in my family's case, golden plates, peepstones, plural wives, priesthood...)??

Because that's a LONG list of complicated, conflicting stories to add to the standard list of ethics, appreciation, self-care and socialization (kindness, cleanliness, self-awareness, empathy...etc.) that everybody everywhere has to figure out.

When you add guilt and atonement and baptism and sacraments and prayer and whatnot various minor rituals and goat sacrifices and bible quoting to all the basic do they ever navigate the already difficult waters Is all that self-loathing gratifying? Can't you just forgive yourself? Can't you listen to your own voice standing up for what you feel is right or wrong? Can't you just appreciate the universe without doing what you are told by some pious talking head, let alone believing that it was created for YOUR benefit? Do you really need to eat that (proxy) dead body and drink that (pretend) blood?

Am I an atheist because I was adopted, and told from the outset by my parents that they expected me to fail at living with their piety (aka fitting in) because I was the product of sin? Am I a product of negative-wish-fulfillment on their part?

I'm grateful for the ways in which being regarded as an outsider led me to skepticism. My birth parents and their families are also ones who have left the religions of their birth (Judaism and Catholicism respectively) for more personal quests of beliefs, so maybe I inherited an innate restlessness with pigeon-holes, particularly those of a metaphysical nature.

Whatever the source, I wouldn't trade my belief that life is precious because it is our total experience for one which thinks we are infinite and ultimately destined for glory. Despite the palliative comfort in that belief, it is self-deluding.

At any rate, that's my longish off-the-cuff of today. What's the point? What, really, do people get out of being religious aside from that delusion of a luxurious, infinite afterlife? Is my entire family a bunch of self-deluded liars?

Because they all claim to have frequent spiritual encounters with the metaphysical universe, burning bosoms (seriously) and still small voices. Which know...sounds crazy and/or liarist. And that's my perpetual conflict. I love my family. I respect that they want to pursue truth in all forms. And that for us, truth has taken on completely opposite trappings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I've been searching unsuccessfully online for my favorite Lynda Barry cartoon ever. I have a copy of it that I clipped out of a weekly newspaper back in 1995. It's pretty ratty. At any rate, it's a typical LB creation full of words words words and her clutter of dreamy, smart, unpopular kids. This one is about botox. The line I remember best is Marlys holding up a misshapen can and saying "the thing making this can bulge will make you beautiful!" and in the last frame, an off-panel voice says "immobilized foreheads turn me on!" Someday, my jowls will fall around my mouth, and my tiny chin will be no more. My eyes will have lots of smile wrinkles around them, and the line between my eyebrows will be permanent. My hair, which has been getting fuzzier and thinner for a few years will probably look tufty and patchy. I will look OLD...but I will have character. I will look like myself. And someday, this will happen to everybody you know in some way. We'll all get stranger looking, less tidy, less snugly wrapped in our skin, and more stretchy and Martha-Grahamy in our bodies. Our necks will be loose, our arm skin will wobble, our knees will look strange and our hands will look knotty and gnarly. Our voices might shake a little when we talk. Or...we will start injecting toxins and plastic into ourselves to make it stop. I think a lot about it. Aging. Changing. Wanting to be young for my kids, but happy with this body in all of it's many permutations. Here's my girlfriend Sarah again:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

'nü-klē-ər's that day. The last day a certain special someone saying "nook ye ler" impacts me in that specific tooth-grinding way. Because even though we'll still have 10 more weeks of winter after today, lame-duck mispronunciations will sound just like "buh-bye" to my ears. And...for any fence-sitting-pronunciation enforcers out there: Meditate on that while you vote...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Stacks

What do you call someone who reads ingredients lists if nothing else is around? Textophile? Scriptomaniac? Compulsive escapist? Because that might be me. If you came to my house, you'd see something like this: every room.

And in case you think this speaks of erudition, note that I re-read the entire Harry Potter series this year back-to-back. And...a zillion kids books, some YA, thrillers, mysteries, sci-fi, pink lit, punk lit...and maybe 3 or 4 non-fiction books. Nothing much to construe as, in any way, respectable or ensmartening (see?)

This might not be something which would even occur to you, frankly. I was in college too long (9 undergraduate years - sweet!) Six incomplete majors, culminating in English theory. University people tend to think academia requires a certain...gravitas, which multiple re-readings of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle or Matilda, minus a dissertation project, probably lack.

I squeeze reading into my day in tiny increments. Baby wants to nurse? Great! Where's my book? Bathroom break? Bring a book!

I think my amassing of books is a bit...weird. I own a few books that are out of print. Books I enjoyed when I was a kid and which I want to share with my own kids. And those are possibly understandable. But...I'm aware I don't REALLY need to own books I most likely will never read again.

I've schlepped hundreds of books across the country and packed and unpacked the same 20+ far-too-heavy boxes in at least a dozen apartments and homes.

I've been scolded by a landlord for jeopardizing the structural integrity of their house by keeping too many books...(I'm not sure who is correct about this one - my sense of logic says "naaah", but my sense of my own fallibility/gullibility says...."is that possible??!!???)

So...this could be the obnoxious post subtitled "Look at meeee - Ready McReaderson". But it's really...I dunno. Confessional and 12-stepperish...

Hopefully there's a point to all the books. My kids might grow up incredibly well read (or at least literate)...and I might branch out into instructive non-fiction and general self-improvement (ugh) a bit more and turn out to develop some, up until that moment, completely amazing talent for...oh, something besides reading late into the night.

Right now, though, it seems most likely that I'd just better stay out of my own house during an earthquake...