Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A thought on Men and Women: Part II

Continued from here.

She then went on the say that they really would love for me to come; that they wouldn’t mean to leave me out of the conversation, but that they would probably talk about those things; that she hoped if I came I would help steer the conversation to topics other than husbands and kids.

I appreciated her comments, and saw this as a window of opportunity to tell them exactly what I thought about the whole thing.

I then proceed to give them three reasons why I would probably never come to many (if any) of their girl nights:

1. I don’t think married women, and married women with children, realize how much their conversations focus on those aspects of their lives. Almost all of it does. Really, almost all. And this is perfectly natural, normal, and nice. It’s the way it should be. All of us unmarried, childless friends realize this and don’t mind listening because we LOVE our married friends and care about their lives. But, to a person who is not any of those things, and therefore, can’t really relate, it eventually becomes uninteresting if it’s the only topic being discussed. It’s like chatting with someone who has a hobby that consumes most of their time—if you don’t share that hobby, talking to them about it, and only it, is a sure fire way to create boredom (even if the person you’re talking to is a friend).

Now, of course, marriage/children are not equal to a hobby. Marriage and children have eternal value (and consequences) that collecting porcelain replicas of two-toed sloths do not. And because of this greater weight (eternally speaking), this leads to reason #2.

2. Whether it is intentional or not, single people are made to feel that what they are doing with their lives is a great way to use their time “until” they get married, but that it is not on par with BEING married and having children. Single lives are “in the meantime.”

Let me put it another way: It’s like those who are unmarried are still in school working towards their degree, and those who are married have finished school and actually have a career. The problem with this perspective is that it leads to condescension, patronization, and pity. And this is especially true in the world of Mormon women.

We, women, have the belief that our only goal is to be a wife and mother. That’s it. And so any other derivative is either wrong (like a woman who chose a career over family), or sad (like a woman who never had the opportunity for a family). And this viewpoint colors our conversations with one another.

(Now before you married friends of mine protest that you don’t find us singles “sad” or that our lives are incomplete, answer me this: If you could wave a magic wand and have all of your friends be happily married right now, would you? If you said, “yes,” then why? I’ll answer for you. Because being happily single is second best to being happily married. And that means if you’re single, you’re seen as living a runner-up life. It’s that simple.)

And this leads me to reason #3 which you’ll have to wait for tomorrow.

************** Stay tuned for Part III**************

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Thought on Men and Women

You know, and I know, that there are differences between men and women. Some natural, some cultural. I normally don’t think about it much (despite my feminist leanings). But, I had an interesting conversation while doing my visiting teaching last week that made me pause and reflect.

A little background first (and a little digression).

In regards to visiting teaching, I’m surrounded by young married couples with small children. This includes my V.T. companion as well as the three sisters we visit. I like all of them, and enjoy our monthly get togethers. They are great women, and are doing a wonderful job being wives and mothers.

But, I must admit, I find a lot of their conversation, well, boring.

While my fantastic (and I do mean, fantastic) companion is talking to them about husband-stuff and kid-things, I normally end up playing with their little ones (which I love). I occasionally chime in with some kind of positive head-nod. But, a lot of the time, I just observe the conversation while playing peek-a-boo.

I’m okay with this for the most part. I realize that they’re just in a different stage of life than I am, and that both ways are good and valid. And though I find a lot of what they discuss dull (which I'm sure goes both ways), I see the inherent value of it, and don’t mind listening at all.

In fact, I’ve learned a lot from their conversations. And this last week was no exception.

Now, if you know me, I’m very direct. I can broach any subject, no matter how awkward or painful, and do it in such a way that the person I’m talking to thanks me for telling them the truth. I do this with co-workers, friends, friends of friends, etc.

I can be blunt, but non-offensive. It’s a gift, really (and one that's mentioned in my Patriarchal blessing, by the way). And I had to employ it at my last V. T. assignment.

They were talking about having a girl’s night out (which they do, often) after our visit. And they invited me to join them. They always do. And I declined. I always do.

But this week, instead of just nodding their heads and saying something about my being busy, my partner asked me “why?” and then went on to postulate that it was because I wasn’t married and had no children, and, therefore, wouldn’t feel included.

I was surprised at her frankness. (Normally, I find that my fellow sisters in the gospel are ever so careful about what they say in regards to my spinster-ly childless status (aside from the occasional “Hang in there! Your special someone will come, eventually. Just have faith!”))

************** Stay tuned for Part II**************

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Fluffly Letters

As a pre-emptive disclaimer, this is a really long post. So, if you don’t have the time, just scan the boldfaced type and read the letter that applies to you.

Dear People from Countries who visited me once (for about 3 seconds) and have never come back,

Was it something I wrote? Or something I didn’t write?

Or was it that you don’t know English so you couldn’t read anything?

I know you probably came to me by mistake. But, how do I get you to come back? What were you looking for? I can accommodate, really, I can.

I just want you to like me. Please like me, people from Argentina, China, Mexico, Australia, and France.

Pretty please. If you come back to me, I’ll bake you something and send it to you.

I promise it will be delicious.

Your future BFF,


Dear People from Countries who visited me more than once but have never commented,

First, thank you for coming to see me.

Second, thank you for coming to see me again. And again.

I really appreciate it! You make me feel so international and fancy. I love you for that.

But, could I just ask you one favor? Please comment.

Just say, “Hey.” Or “Way to go.” Or even, “You stink. But I find myself continuing to visit you just to remind myself how much you stink which makes me grateful I’m me and not you.”

So, you from Canada, Spain, Italy, Austria, and United Arab Emirates, please comment something.

You know you want to.

Your new BFF,


Dear People from Countries who visit me weekly (or, in other words, Dear Person from Singapore),

I hope I don’t come off too strong, but let me just say that I love you. I really do.

You come to see me just about every week, and it makes my day when I see your IP address. You intrigue me, person from Singapore, and I’ve made up entire life stories about you.

Here are just a couple of them:

1. You are an old friend of mine who is now an Expat. You started a small convenience store somewhere in Singapore after you got stuck there with a student visa. You stumbled upon my blog and it reminds you of the good ‘old days we use to share at Levi Dickey elementary school. You’d love to comment on my blog, but are afraid that I’d then want to come to Singapore and be your assistant while I pursue my future career of travelogue writer (which you would be correct).

2. You are an international spy whose cover is that you’re a Singaporean high school student who dreams of coming to the States. To support that, you spend a lot of your time visiting stupid American blogs so you can seem “in the know”. What you don’t know, though, is that I’m not in the know, so what you think you know from what I know, you don’t. But, luckily, you’re a professional, and can kill a person with a thumb tack, so you don’t really care. It’s just all in the name of getting the job done.

As you can see, person from Singapore, I think about you a lot. So, if you can (and it won’t blow your cover) drop me a line.

Your American BFF,


Dear Majority of People who visit my Blog (meaning, People from the U.S.),

Thank you.

You are the bulk of my readership and you hale from Virginia to Louisiana to Montana and New Mexico, and many states in between.

I know I know some of you. You are my real friends, and I love you for visiting me (and try to always reciprocate). It’s one of my favorite things to know that you’re interested in what goes on in my day or in my head because I feel the same way about you!

But, I must say that I don’t know all of you (namely, those from the states I’ve mentioned). I love you just the same for coming to see me, but could you give me a clue as to why you stop by.

I only ask so that I can make sure that I don’t lose you. I don’t want to seem needy or anything, but I love thinking that I have gazillions of friends all over the United States who would love to have me pop over for a visit.

So, leave me a comment, people I don’t know (or don’t know I know), and I’ll reciprocate.

Your BFF,


Dear People from an Unknown Country,

I have a few theories as to why my stat tracker can’t identify where you’re from. Let me know which one is correct, okay?

First, you are actually “the Man” and are monitoring my blog in case you have to send a sniper to take me out if I divulge some unknown secret you had implanted into my head when I went for my vaccinations as a small child.

Second, you are from a little undiscovered island in the South Pacific and although you have internet service, and other modern conveniences, you have kept yourself hidden. The only contact you have with the outside world is through my blog (which is very sad).

Third, you are from the City of Enoch, and are hovering unseen somewhere over the earth. Because of your super righteousness, you can access the internet with your mind, and you like to amuse yourself by reading my blog and are stunned by the amount of time I waste on trivial things.

Fourth, you are part of the lost 10 tribes, and are in a dimensional shift that takes place in the Bermuda Triangle. You occasionally like to visit blogs, see what insanity we’re up to, and monitor when might be the right time to return. You have not read anything on my blog that indicates the world is ready for further enlightenment.

So, there you have it, people from an Unknown country. Am I close?

Not your BFF because you kind of freak me out,



Dear Person from Greece,

You visited my blog when I was posting this post, so I didn't mention you. But I don't want you to feel slighted.

So, hi. Please come back. I love all your anceint ruins.

Your Possible BFF,


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Oh no, not me!

Well, I’ve been tagged. Thanks, Rachel!

You think I would know myself well enough to come up with 6 facts/habits that I could post in response to this challenge. But, seriously, I’ve been stumped for hours now.

I almost considered making stuff up so I would seem more interesting, but then I realized that the 6 readers of my blog know me, and would know I was full of it.

So, I guess I’m just stuck with the actual facts and habits about the real me. Darn. Imaginary Liz is so much more fascinating.

1. When I was in high school, I was in an independent film called Grey in which I played White Girl #1 (until about 3 weeks into it when White Girl #2 pulled out). I then had the great opportunity to play White Girl #1 AND #2. This doubled my lines (to 4). And it gave me the last lines in the whole movie “You know what you get when you mix black and white, don’t you? Grey.” Yup. And I had to say it so many times and then hold a smile in just such a manner, that by the time I was done, my lips were shaking. Oh, good times! I wonder what ever happened to my ¼ cent royalties.

2. I won’t eat the skins of any potato I didn’t prepare myself. I don’t care who cooked it: fancy chef, great friend, loving grandma, or my mom. If I didn’t scrub it, I won’t eat it. I even have a special potato-scrubbing-only brush that I use. I don’t know why I’m like this. I can’t recall any specific childhood trauma connected to this (Dear Mom, Am I suppressing any horrifying potato catastrophe? Love, Liz). It’s just one of my things. So, if you invite me over and serve baked potatoes, don’t be offended when I leave the skin on my plate.

3. Pictures freak me out a little bit (not taking them, but looking at them later) because they trap time. It’s like I’m a native somewhere on an undiscovered island, and I think you’ve captured my soul when you show me a picture. I know, logically, that this is not the case. But still, it kind of weirds me out. And don’t get me started on videos.

4. I read multiple books at once. Currently, I’m reading 5 different books (but, I only put 3 on my blog reading list so I don’t appear indecisive). I need to mix it up on a daily basis. If I read only one book at a time, I get bored, and then I won’t finish it (especially if it has a predictable plot). That’s why I blend non-fiction with fiction, religious with secular. Oh, and my secret guilty reading pleasure: I love to read about reading. So, I read a lot of books about how to read, how professors read, how book critiques read, how not to read, what to read, who likes to read, etc. In fact, I’d almost like to read about reading more than reading something to read. Are you confused? Good, so am I.

5. I hate my hair. Always have. Well, maybe not always. I don’t think I cared much in my early days. But definitely since puberty when becoming a woman also meant that my hair became possessed with the “secret combination” of frizz. I blame the devil, really. And in the afterlife, if I have curly hair, then you know where I ended up…and you don't want to be there!

6. If I can’t fall asleep (which is often—stupid insomnia), I sing to myself. I have a whole repertoire of songs that I go through. Some church hymns, some Disney, some Karen Carpenter. It’s a kaleidoscope of tunes, really. I think this stems from my early childhood when my mom would go from room to room and sing to me and my siblings. I can remember hearing her in the distance, and knowing that soon she’d stand in my door way and lull me to sleep. Thanks, Mom! Oh, and speaking of sleep, I also have a special blanket (no, not a blankie) that I wrap around my head, sort of turban-like, except that it also has to go across my eyes and around my neck. Yes, it’s a complicated arrangement. And yes, I have a very good reason for it. And no, you will never see me do it.

Well, there you have it! Do you still want to be friends?

Oh, and I tag Gertrude, Florence, Bathsheba, Constance, Millicent, and Ethel.*

*Yes, I made these people up (well, I’m sure women by those names exist, I just don’t know any (But I wish I did. Those are some of my favorite names.)). Rachel took all my friends and already tagged them. And the few un-tagged friends will probably be tagged by the already tagged friends. So, since I couldn’t make up any facts about myself, I went with fake friends.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Saturday of Service

Things I got from volunteering at the Special Olympics (in descending order from best to worst):

1. An opportunity to serve my fellowman by clapping and cheering (which is really one of the best ways to serve) and to see how that made a difference on how fast they pedaled and how it made them smile. (Well, at least a few of them smiled. Most were in the zone, and couldn’t be bothered with public acknowledgements. But, we were okay with that.)

2. A chance to get to hang out with one of my silent beehives. She was a good sport when we informed her that she would be the runner-for-help if any of the riders went down, and made her climb the chain-link fence with a pompom in her mouth for a photo op, and she didn’t seem overly embarrassed by our cheers, such as “Ride, ride. Show us your backside.” (which was later changed to “Ride, ride. Show us your best side.” due to possible sexual harassment issues.) Hopefully she had a fun time, despite being stuck with us old ladies. (Dear Rachel and Liz, I owe you, big time. You both made the day so much more enjoyable! I’m planning a “thank you” dinner. We can coordinate the best night. Love, Liz)

3. A noose of fire and halo of agony due to being in the sun for 8 hours. I coined Sunday as “The day after the Sun said ‘Hey, I’m the boss around here.’” And it’s been embarrassing going to work this week (although I’m glad I had an altruistic excuse for the burn).

Things I did not get from volunteering at the Special Olympics (in descending order from sad to really, really sad):

1. The chance to hang out with the other young women from my ward. The older girls had specific assignments (unlike ours, which was “course monitor”) and my other beehive hooked up with some of her friends and went with them for most of the day.

2. The opportunity to place the medals on the winners. (We (Rachel, Allison, and I) were asked to initially, but then we were dismissed in favor of official S.O. people. Oh well.)

3. To take home the pompom that I had been using to vigorously cheer on the cyclists. I really wanted that pompom. Using a pompom for a whole day made me come to the conclusion that we should all have one with us “at all times, and in all things, and in all places” and when we see one of our fellow humans down on his or her luck, we should whip out our pompom and start cheering.

I know that would make me feel better! “Go, Liz, go! Forget about your fro!”

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Fluff*

Okay, so as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been working on what has now become a treatise on my views of women and the church in light of Sister Beck’s talk in General Conference.

Really, my post is out of control and will probably end up being 3 to 4 entries. I’m still tweaking it so that people have no misunderstandings about what I’m saying.

That will be coming your way starting next week.

But, to get you in the mood for lady issues, here’s some female related fluff*…

First, what do you see in this stereogram? Let me know in comments if you want. (I know, I hate these things too, but it relates to the topic.)

Second, How much of a feminist are you? Take this quiz to find out. (Usually I hate quizzes because they are inaccurate and/or stupid, but this one is useful just because it will get you thinking.)(Oh, and if you're wondering, I was 84% feminist.) (And for the sake of argument, let's just use a simple definition of feminist such as "one who supports equality between men and women" instead of the craziness the word is normally associated with now.)

*Now that I'm reading this post, it's not really that fluffy. Oh well. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Open Letter

Dear Office Mate,

You are killing me. I am actually dying inside sitting 8 feet away from you. If you look me in the eyes, you can see it happening.

Please stop immediately being the way you are so I can go back to just feeling sorry for you instead of figuring out ways to kill you and/or get you fired (you know, which ever would come first in the scenario). I wouldn’t do any of the things I fantasize about, because, you know, I’m trying to be Christ-like and all. But, you are driving me insane. (In fact, I could probably use insanity as my excuse in order to skip jail time).

I dread every day because I know you will be there crunching away, snapping your gum, saying the stupidest things (like “shapes can be hard”), raising your kids to be delinquents, and leaving your oozy food mess in the microwave.

And no, I don’t want to hear about your weekend, your dopey sister, your cat (regardless of what you bought him to wear), your crazy Ex whom you still give money to because he’s hot, your opinions on Britney Spears, or how you have a problem with your halter top.

I am only human. I have a breaking point.

And I have reached it today.

Angrily yours,


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Open Letter of High Importance

Dear Men Who Use the First Floor Unisex Bathroom,


What are you guys doing in there? I mean, really. What in the world? I don’t know if you’ve heard the “born in a barn” expression before, but seriously, were you born in a barn and left with a mama pig? (Apologies to anyone actually born in a barn. I bet that’s a cool story. Do tell.)

Every time one of you guys leaves the bathroom, it’s like a stampede of cattle stormed through the place whose only mission was to find every piece of hygienic paper, shred it, and throw it on the ground.

You are grown men right? I mean, you have jobs, I know that much. And you seem to be competent in them. But your bathroom etiquette makes me wonder. Is it because you’re inherently lazy and assume someone is going to pick up after you? I bet that’s it, right? Yeah, that’s it.

What’s wrong with you?! Pick up after yourselves! Or, better yet, put things directly in the trash can. Stop trying to make a basket. You have to miss 9 out of 10 anyway. Face it, you stink at making baskets.

Speaking of stink…for the love of humanity (and everyone who has an office near the bathroom), get some help.

Gratefully (if you take my advice) or Disgruntledly (if you don’t),


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

International House of Conference

So, were you as pleased as I was that it seemed that every other talk and prayer was given by a speaker with an accent?

I thought it was fabulous and in the right direction!

Since we do have more members outside North America now, I think that General Conference, et al, will begin to reflect this. I hope that within the next 5 years, this becomes the norm. And I hope soon we will see either an African General Authority speak or an African-American G. A. speak.

Oh, and more women. There should be at least one female speaker every session, minimum. (But I’ll talk about this later).

Conference always gives me food for thought. And this weekend was no different. So many talks either struck a cord with me or made me think “What? I never thought of it that way.” Lots of doctrinal insights and lots of self-introspection (which is redundant, right? Yes, so it should just be introspection.).

And to summarize it all here would take too long and probably be boring. So, I’m going to slowly post on certain talks. You know, cause you don’t have me pontificating enough as it is. (wink, wink)

I think the first one will be on Sister Beck’s talk which has caused quite a lot of hoopla in the Mormon blog world. Some women felt hurt and well, crappy. And some felt like it was a call to arms, a rising of the bar, so to speak.

I have mixed emotions about it. So, you’ll have to stay tuned…

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday Fluff

Well, I had a personal goal to post every day this week, and I did it! Yay!

So now, on to some fluff...

This is something I look forward to every year as we humans celebrate our best and brightest. Yes, friends, it's time for the annual Ig Nobel Prize. What's that you ask? Well, go here for the full history.

Or, here are some of this year's winners to help you figure it out yourself:

2007 Ig Nobel Winners

Medicine - Brain Witcombe, of Gloucestershire Royal NHS Foundation Trust, UK, and Dan Meyer for their probing work on the health consequences of swallowing a sword.

Physics - A US-Chile team who ironed out the problem of how sheets become wrinkled.

Linguistics - A University of Barcelona team for showing that rats are unable to tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and somebody speaking Dutch backwards.

Literature - Glenda Browne of Blue Mountains, Australia, for her study of the word "the", and how it can flummox those trying to put things into alphabetical order.

Economics - Kuo Cheng Hsieh of Taiwan for patenting a device that can catch bank robbers by dropping a net over them.

Let's give them a big round of applause, shall we. (clap, clap, cheer, clap, clap, cheer, clap!)

Now, to follow along with the theme of stupidness...

I know it’s annoying. Really annoying. But, isn’t there something else we could be doing with our time, and money, and researching skills than this? Seriously. It’s like people who study traffic just to say it happens when someone slows down to look at something which causes a chain reaction of other people slowing down. Well, duh!

And last, but not least. Here's something for you, Rachel. I was going to photo shop a Vegas outfit on him. But, who are we kidding. I could barely figure out how to post this picture. So, you’re going to have to use your imagination. He does have his Vegas glass on though, so that should help.

Well, that's it for this week's Friday Fluff. Hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Words of Wisdom

An excerpt from The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom that has made me think about my own life and my relationship with Heavenly Father.

“Will you carry it [a bag] off the train, Corrie?” he said.

I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.

“It’s too heavy,” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now, you must trust me to carry it for you.”

Just something to think about...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Secret

So, here’s something I do that no one knows about.

It’s not that big of a deal, really.

But, it’s the ritual I do to invoke the muse, as they say.

I put on this CD and let the words from one of our greatest poets flow over me. Sometimes I listen to it for an entire day. I have most of the sonnets memorized by now. And I love to repeat them in my best British accent (sometimes I even use gestures for added emphasis (don’t laugh)).

Oh, and there’s one sonnet (Sonnet 29) put to music by Rufus Wainwright that I listen to about 67 times in a row like I’m some kind of idiot savant (although I don’t think they’re called idiot savants anymore, but I can’t remember the new PC term, so I’m just going with that) and it always brings me to tears.

You can listen to it here. (Just click on the top of the article where it says “audio clip.”)

Maybe it will inspire you to pick up a pen and write what lies within…

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Things I hate

Three little things I hate about my day (and these happen every day in some variation):

1.) When I answer the phone and say “Hi, this is Elizabeth.” And then the person asks, “Is this Elizabeth?” (By the way, Elizabeth is my work name. I have found over the years that “Liz” is too tricky a name for people to get. When I used to use that version of my name it went like this, “Hi, this is Liz?” and then the person would say “What? Who is this?” And then I would say “Liz. This is Liz.” And then they would say “What? Less? Lisa?” And then I would say, “No, Lizzzzz.” And by then I hated them and their ancestors and couldn’t give a crap about their problem. So, that’s why I adopted Elizabeth as my work name.)

2.) When people send me emails saying that a) God (the Universe, an angel, a Tibetan monk) will answer my prayer if I pass this on to 5 other people in 5 minutes, but if not, the person who I thought of at the beginning of the email is going to die, or b) an inspirational message of hope all in Spanish (at least I think that’s what it’s about based upon the pictures (Dear Friend Who Speaks Spanish, I do not speak Spanish. It’s a beautiful language, but I don’t know it. Please remember that the next time you send me an 18 minute PowerPoint. Sincerely, Liz.))

3.) When my officemate laughs uproariously just to get me to ask what she’s laughing about only to find out that it’s a picture of a cat in a T-shirt. (This is actually why I now wear headphones at all times—even if I’m not listening to music. I can pretend I am and not respond. I know, I’m evil and mean and deserve to be swarmed by locusts.)

So, what’s a little something you hate about your day?

Oh, and if you don't leave a comment within 5 minutes of reading this, the person on your left is going to have a horrible accident. So, if it's someone you hate, yay! If it's someone you like, turn around.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Conversation my sister had with my 5 year-old nephew…

Carolyn: Thank you for helping me, Caleb. Hey, do you want to know how to say thank you in other languages?

Caleb: Okay.

Carolyn: In Spanish, you say “gracias,” in Korean you say “Kamsahamnida,” in Mandarin Chinese you say “Xie Xie,” and in Japanese you say “Domo Arigato.”

Caleb: Oh.

Then a few seconds pass…

Caleb: Poo Poo gato. That’s how you say thank you in Crapanese.

I love being an aunt!