Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You may be a prude if...

Here is the definition of the word "Prude" from that ever so reliable source, yea, you know which one.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"A prude (Old French prude meaning honourable woman)[1] is a person who is described as being concerned with decorum or propriety, significantly in excess of normal prevailing community standards. They may be perceived as being more uncomfortable than most with sexuality, nudity, alcohol, drug use or mischief.
     "The name is generally considered to suggest excessive modesty, and is hence unflattering, often used as an insult by people who do not share the moral standards of the "prude". A person who is considered a prude may have reservations about nudity, participating in romantic or sexual activity, drinking alcohol or consuming other drugs, or participating in mischief. These reservations usually stem from, or are at least justified by, moral beliefs. Actions or beliefs that may cause someone to be labeled a prude include advocating or practicing abstinence, advocating prohibition, advocating censorship of sexuality or nudity in the media, disapproval of being nude in public, avoiding or condemning public display of affection, or exhibiting unusual levels of discomfort with sexuality, alcohol, drugs or mischief.
      "The term is generally used in a relative sense. For example, one may be viewed as having relatively liberal standards regarding sexuality and drug usage compared to the overall population in which one resides, but compared to a smaller, specific subculture, one may appear to be unduly conservative and thus be labeled a prude because one refuses to participate in more illicit behaviors.
     "In historical contrast, the word prude was originally a noble compliment. Traditionally, it was usually associated with wisdom, integrity, usefulness, and profit.[2] Even in present day language, it forms the root of the word prudence, meaning "sound judgement in practical affairs".
       "The degree of prudery can vary among different cultural frames."

It's me talking now.  I won't pretend. By this definition, I am probably considered by many to be a prude.  Oh, such an insult!  Wait a minute.  No, it isn't.  When I read through this, I find myself nodding, yea, that's me, but I am not ashamed to admit it.   It states that the word "was originally a noble compliment."  I don't suppose it is a compliment anymore, due to the decline of the "prevailing community standards."  But I make no excuses.  I,as a rule, try to turn away from things that are crass and crude.  So sue me.  I welcome being "labeled a prude" if it means I "refuse to participate in more illicit behaviors."

So where do I fit in society?  Am I an outcast?  Am I the laughingstock at the water coolers around the world?  Perhaps I am.  Sometimes we have to boldly face who we are, and what we are.  If I am a prude, it is because I choose to try and take the high road, by my definition of high road, maybe not yours.  I would never presume to judge anyone else for being on the path they choose.  That is their business.

You know the funny thing?  I don't think I am alone in my prudishness.  There are more of us out there than the world might think.  Maybe it is time for us to come out of the closet.  Let's stop pretending to laugh at crude jokes.  Let's admit that we think PG-13 movies are offensive.  If it means taking up knitting, then sign me up.

In this crazy world there is room for everyone and whatever idiosyncratic baggage they happen to carry along with them.  There is no place for being judgmental.  If I exhibit prudish tendencies and it offends you, I'm sorry.  No offense was intended.  I hope that despite seeing me as a prude, you may also see me as a person of "wisdom, integrity, and usefulness."  Apparently they used to be one and the same.

Anyone else watching Chuck?

In my opinion, Chuck may be the best show on television.  It is cleverly written, well-cast, and entertaining in every way.  The ensemble is one of the most unique ever put together, yet each odd-ball character, each stunning spy, each awesome relative all bring their own charm to the table.  It is something we look forward to every Monday night.  It draws the viewer in with likable players caught in challenging situations without the need to stoop to the trash that most TV shows rely on.
And the serial episodes keep one waiting and wondering and anticipating what cliff-hanger we'll get hung on next week.  Watch Chuck. NBC.  Mondays at 8:00pm if you live on the West Coast.  You're welcome.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

That's Ridiculous!

No, THAT's Ranunculus!  Sorry, very bad joke.  What IS ridiculous is this weather we've been having.  I know, I know.  It is Spring, and it is Oregon.  But the flowers I bought on Saturday are still sitting out in the rain on my front walk, waiting to be put into the ground. I decided to forego the regular geraniums this year and try something new.  I was totally drawn to these beautiful yellow ranunculus-es. ( I wonder what the plural for that is....) 

 I would love to get just a tiny break in the weather, a little sunshine, dig a few holes, get my hands dirty; then my flowers will welcome the rain and I won't have to worry about watering them. But I am not going to plant flowers in the rain.  I am not going to plant flowers in the rain.  Well, if this keeps up I guess I may be planting flowers in the rain.

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Best kind of paperwork

I have been working this morning on paperwork.  Sounds dull?  Not in the least!  I am making final arrangements for my kids to come home for their Spring Break which will be the middle of next month. 
This is what I call the best kind of work because the end results will be wonderful.  I love planning trips.  I love itineraries.  They hold such promise.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Why is it always red?

I have a love/hate relationship with the color red.  A normal, typical red usually has so much "blue" in it to make it beautiful and bright that it actually cools it down a lot.  I don't "do" cool.  My coloring has so much warm gold in it that I have to steer clear of  cool colors.  So, I have never looked good in red.  When everyone is wearing cute Christmas sweaters, or Valentine-ish stuff or 4th of July colors, I avoid it whenever possible.  Or I have learned to at least avoid having the red directly against my skin.  I use buffers.  I will always put a white or black collar between my face and the offensive color.

Last night I was reminded of my life long frustration with the color red.  I was getting ready to go to a Portland Trailblazer game.  In the past, I have been a huge Blazer fan.  Not to the point of painting my face or anything like that.  But I did have a crush on that gentleman-player of all times, Clyde Drexler, whom I happened to see one day driving north on I-5 in a shiny black Mercedes.   All I saw was his profile, but I would know that profile anywhere, and you know that cute little bit of moustache he had?  I saw it!  So I know it was him!  When we would get the rare opportunity to go to a Blazer game, I could absolutely not wait to see my guys come out on the floor to warm up.  Terry Porter was much more handsome in person.  We ran into him one day in the Tualatin Fred Meyer, and he and Brian hit it right off; acted like they were old friends.  Jerome Kersey came to Pringle Elementary School.  I don't know who was more excited, me or the kids.

So why speak of the Blazers and the color red in the same breath?  Because every sports team that I have ever rooted for in the past always required the wearing of red.  My junior high school colors were red and black; the Wilbur Wranglers.  And everytime I would show my school spirit and cheer on my team, I would have to wear that insidious red pep club sweatshirt that completely washed me out.  Even the band uniforms consisted of a red cowboy shirt, you know the kind with mother-of-pearl snaps?  I looked terrible!  Then, my high school colors were red and white; the Grace High Grizzlies. Yet again, on game days or any day that I traveled with my school to music festivals or drill team competitions, you guessed it.  I would be wearing the prescribed color of the day, and never looked good in it. Well, you know, the Trailblazer colors, too,  have always been red and black. 

I solved the problem last night by wearing a black turtleneck sweater underneath my red wool jacket.  I bought that jacket because it has a lot of black in it, which dulls the brightness of the red a little making it not so garish.  I think it looked okay.  I felt apart of the team, and yet I didn't feel like the "ghost" that had showed up to the game.

For some reason, the pictures I took last night are not being allowed to upload.  Technical difficulties, I guess.  Oh well. So now you won't be able to judge for yourselves.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Two Favorite Words

The next installment of my A to Z Album includes two of my favorite words:  G is for Grandparents, and H is for Home.

The first page focuses on our new role as Grandparents, and the joy that it is bringing to our lives.  Could anything be sweeter than holding that new bundle, wrapped up like a dolly but ever so much alive and breathing and full of sweetness?  We are getting ready for a visit next month from our living doll and are buying out the stores in preparation for her coming. Saturday we went to Target and restricted ourselves to three things, a play pen, a high chair, and a really fun toy.  Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait.

The next page is a tribute to our home, one of my favorite places in the world.  I can't explain how much peace I feel in this lovely place that has been my home for the past fifteen years, easily the one place I have lived the very longest compared to anywhere.  My children love this place too.  I'm so glad.  It holds so many special family memories.  How blessed we are to have a sanctuary from the world.

Looking at the outdoor picture is prompting me to start planting flowers.  I think the frost threat is over so I am going to begin adding some annual color.  I know the azaleas, dogwoods, and rhododendrons will soon be putting on a show, but I think they need a little help from me.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sukiyaki Anyone?

What had been anticipated with apprehension turned out to be a charming, lovely, and altogether enjoyable evening. A while ago the Young Men's and Young Women's groups at our church held an auction fundraiser. Brian and I were going to be out of town, so we made arrangements with a friend to bid on a few things for us to show our support to the program.  One of our purchases made by proxy was a Sukiyaki Dinner for Four at a Japanese couple's home who live in our ward.

I don't think I would have bid on this; I'm absolutely certain Brian would never have bid on this.  As much as we like to see and do new things, we are admittedly a little skeptical of overly authentic foreign foods, particularly Asian cuisine. You just never know what you are going to get...  Americanized versions are usually safe enough, but real, genuine, authentic?  Kind of leaves us both quivering in our boots.

We had a wonderful time.  This lovely Japanese couple, Mitch and Reiko Taguchi, were perfect hosts.  We entered their home to find a low table all set for us with cushions to sit upon and chopsticks ready.  We learned that Sukiyaki is traditionally always cooked by the man tableside, with the wife assisting him with the preparation of the ingredients.  It was fascinating to watch as they worked together.  Everything was very methodical.

It was interesting learning about the new and unusual ingredients, imagining what the end result would taste like.

To our delight and relief, it was all very delicious and we were able to be as gracious as we had hoped to be.  We even were able to impress them in return with our chopstick skills.

The highlight of the evening was the conversation.  This is a very intimate setting and the whole process of cooking at the table invites lots of time for visiting and becoming better acquainted.  As the dinner progressed, in between the continuous filling of our plates, we came to know and love these good people in a whole new way.  I had known something of their history but this personal setting allowed us to hear more of the remarkable details of their conversion to Christianity from Buddhism many years ago in Japan and their subsequent sacrifices to raise their children in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They shared with us their treasured first Book of Mormon which bore the sacred signatures of two prophets of the Lord, Joseph Fielding Smith and Harold B. Lee. 

I will never forget my authentic Japanese dinner.  It will stay in my memory as the unique and special occasion that it was.  Will I always be so ready to try new things?  I suppose it is all a process, isn't it?  As we open our minds and hearts to new ideas, we are blessed with new experiences; experiences that hopefully make us more well-rounded, interesting, interested, accepting and full of love for a continuously enlarging circle of friends.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Genius ain't anything more than

elegant common sense."  I love it!  Awhile back I put a widget on the sidebar of my blog entitled "Brainy Quote of the Day".  I don't know if any of you have noticed it, but I would encourage you to give it an occasional glance.  Someone else does all the work for me in posting a new quote everyday, usually from some very prestigious and pithy voices.  It shows the five most recent at a time, so if you miss a day or two of me, you still won't miss out on the brainy quotes.

The new quote for today is from Josh Billings, an American humorist from the 19th Century.  Not quite so famous as his counterpart, Mark Twain, I think.  I was particularly drawn to his previously noted quote about genius and common sense.  I find so much value in common sense.  I love logical thinking.  If the only thing I need to do is learn to put an elegant spin on things, surely I might someday be able to come across as genius.

I looked into a little more about Mr. Billings and found some real gems.  He was particularly noted for his use of vernacular language.  The unquestionably reliable Wikipedia defines his work as written "in an informal voice full of the slang of the day, with often eccentric phonetic spelling, dispensing wit and folksy common-sense wisdom".

Here is one of my favorite examples of his complete disregard for grammatical language:  "I wud as soon take a ten dollar kounterfit bill on the Kodfish Bank ov Nufoundland, as tu marry a woman with false hare, false teeth or a false buzzum".

See how effective that style is?  Pure elegance.

I don't agree with all of Mr. Billings pearls of wisdom, but I think the following attains that elusive genius he was striving for:

"One of the greatest victories you can gain over someone is to beat him at politeness."

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Here is a little sneak peak...

I have been working on a craft project, getting it ready for the girls to do when they all come home for Spring Break. I am very excited about it, and hope they will feel the same way.  I am probably divulging too much with this picture, but I want them to know how beautiful it is promising to be.

I'm pretty sure that the boys will volunteer to find other distractions while we girls choose to get crafty.  They ought to be able to find a golf course nearby...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What have you learned lately?

Sometimes it seems like we just go through life nearly in auto-pilot.  Our days are filled with the same activities.  We interact with the same people.  We wash the same clothes week after week.  We pay the same bills month after month.

What are the variables?  What makes one day, or one week, or one year different from the previous one?  Though many things don't seem to change, the lessons we learn along the way are unique and different and perfectly matched to the where and what and why of our present life.

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend the Salem Stake Women's Conference, an elaborate affair that included keynote addresses, lovely music, workshops, service projects, and of course, a delightful luncheon.  I appreciate these types of events and recognize the hours of preparation that go into making them successful.  I would like to share a few of the lessons that I drew from this experience.

     1.  From Kathleen Howlett's workshop entitled Be of Good Cheer:  I learned that the Holy Ghost's influence enables us to overlook, forgive, and not to take offense.  You mean it isn't because I'm awesome on my own?  Couple that enlightening moment with the quote I read this morning by Boyd K. Packer, and you will see the point was really driven home:
     "Too many of us are like those whom the Lord said “[came] with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, … [and] at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” (3 Ne. 9:20.)
     "Imagine that: “And they knew it not.” It is not unusual for one to have received the gift and not really know it.
     "I fear this supernal gift is being obscured by programs and activities and schedules and so many meetings. There are so many places to go, so many things to do in this noisy world. We can be too busy to pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit.
   "All over the world ordinary men, women, and children, not completely aware that they have the gift, bless their families, teach, preach, and minister by the Spirit within them."

It was that last part that really woke me up.  How many of the things we do, and the talents we possess, and the successes we have can directly be attributed to the Gift of the Holy Ghost? Do we really think it is because we are so great on our own that we are able to give uplifting lessons, play inspiring music, put together relevant talks?  We have been blessed with a powerful companion that invariably makes us look way better than we really are.  That is a humbling thought.  That is a very humbling thought.  Add that to my already enormous debt of gratitude.  I am so thankful that the Spirit chooses to help out this ordinary person and allows me to bless my family, teach and preach and minister by it's guiding influence.

     2.  From Kris Westover's workshop on Nutrition entitled Eat This, Not That:  I learned that eating is a personal thing.  The way you do it is unique; can be unique; and should be unique.  This was music to my ears.  I have been so stressed lately with trying to eat like this book tells me, or how that eating program recommends, etc, etc, etc.  It is exhausting and discouraging to try and make someone else's ideal align with my own.  I have always had the best results when I have listened to my own body and followed my own instincts. 

I also learned that nutrition can be a happy thing.  Worrying about it is stressful and counter-productive.

And my favorite lesson of the whole day was this:  A Healthy and Normal weight is fine!  I may never be thin again, but as long as I am able to remain active and in good health, I will try to find peace with my body.

Pretty good lessons, don't you think?  I may be getting older but I'm still learning new things.  I'm glad.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Needing some food for thought...

I have come to realize how much I rely upon good conversation to get my mind kicked into gear.  It doesn't matter how many books I read, or how many educational DVD's I watch, or how much music I listen to; I am most stimulated by fascinating conversation with OTHER PEOPLE. 

Perhaps this seems like a no brainer to most of you who have regular exchanges with others at work or school, or those with young ones at home to keep you entertained.  Most of my days are spent rattling around in this big, old empty house alone.  Finding distractions is not a problem.  As many of you know, I have the queen of craft rooms that is filled with every possible amusement.  But I am finding that what I crave most is conversation, particularly as I have embarked on this blogging challenge. It is impossible to pull anything out of a mind that has nothing going into it.

This morning I had delightful phone visits with my husband and my parents.  I found them very stimulating and uplifting; it was exactly the jump-start my brain was needing.  I love when I am given food for thought. Brian told me I may have to move outside my comfort zone in order to feed this craving for stimulating dialogue. That is a difficult move for me to make, but I may just have to take his advice.

Have a great day.  I hope it is filled with interesting interchanges with a variety of characters. Therein lies the formula for the most stimulating thought.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Postcards from Paradise

Can you indulge me one more post on Hawaii?  I hate to bore my faithful readers.  I just want to share a few more photos of beautiful sights from that beautiful place.

Certainly a trip never to be forgotten; memories to last a lifetime.  Thanks for letting me share them with you.

Extended Family and Friends

More A to Z pages.  The Letter E is for my Extended Family.
I wonder why this part of my family is considered the extended part.  Weren't they the FIRST part?  These are the lovely people I spent the first 20 years of my life with.  Chronologically then, shouldn't my IMMEDIATE family really then be considered the EXTENSION of my first family?  Or am I over thinking this...

The Letter F represents my dear friends.  The scan doesn't show the title well.  But it spells out "Friends" with a variety of letter tiles, followed by a metal tag with the word "Forever". 
Do you know how difficult it was for me to round up pictures of my friends?  Harder than it should have been.  Lesson learned.  Take my camera with me more often.  I remember when I was young how important pictures of my friends were to me, especially as I would usually move away and never see them again.  They became treasured memories.

This page is a tribute to all of my friends throughout the years, not just those I see regularly and do silly things with.  By the way, if you couldn't tell, Fred and Wilma Flintstone should look a little familiar...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Perfect Travel Companion

I need to pause and give a little thank you to the man who is behind all of my adventures.  He calls himself a facilitator, while I do all the planning.  Obviously I couldn't do any planning without his facilitating.

He is so much fun to travel with because he loves to see new things.  He is always up at the crack of dawn, not wanting to miss out on anything.  He is patient, and loving, and kind, and fun.
There is no one I would rather travel the world with than my husband, Brian.
Thanks for the wonderful memories.