Pimp That Snack

Posted by: Andee / Category:

I am officially an insomniac, tired... but I can't fall asleep. For the past week or so my legs have been doing that "RLS" thing, (restless leg syndrome). It feels like I need to walk around and use my leg muscles or something... it's really weird. When I saw the commercials for RLS drugs I thought the whole thing was bogus... I was wrong.

Anyway, here I am wide awake and bored out of my skull. I did a little browsing on the net and found this funny website called, "Pimp That Snack." People from all over the world make extremely large versions of their favorite candy and share the pictures. The site is based in England, so the measurements need to be switched if you want to use the recipe, but is a little math going to kill you? (Not me... you... math would definitely kill me...) Here are some of my favorites...

The Mighty Rolo


McDonald's Apple Pie

Caramel Twix

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Girl Lies in Essay for Hanna Montana Tickets

Posted by: Andee / Category:

I saw this article online a few minutes ago, and I couldn't believe it. What an absolute shame that the mother of this 6 year old girl encouraged her to lie in order to win tickets! I don't know of any six year olds that could come up with a plan like this on their own. It's sick.

GARLAND, Texas (AP) — A 6-year-old girl who won four tickets to a Hannah Montana concert with an essay falsely claiming her father died in Iraq isn't going to the show after all.

The contest's sponsor, a store chain named Club Libby Lu, withdrew the prize Saturday and awarded it to another contestant. It didn't identify the new winner.

"With this decision, we hope to revive the intended spirit of the contest, which was designed to make a little girl's holidays extra special," Club Libby Lu chief executive Mary Drolet said in a statement Saturday.

Officials of the Chicago-based chain surprised the girl on Friday at a Club Libby Lu store in mall in this Dallas suburb. Club Libby Lu sells clothes, accessories and games for young girls.

The girl won a makeover that included a blonde Hannah Montana wig, as well as the grand prize: airfare for four to Albany, N.Y., and four tickets to the sold-out Hannah Montana concert on Jan. 9.

The opening line in the essay was: "My daddy died this year in Iraq."

The girl's mother had told Club Libby Lu officials that the girl's father died April 17 in a roadside bombing in Iraq, company spokeswoman Robyn Caulfield said. But the mother, Priscilla Ceballos, admitted later Friday that the essay and the military information she provided about her daughter's father were untrue.

"We did the essay and that's what we did to win. We did whatever we could do to win," Ceballos said in an interview Friday with KDFW-TV of Dallas. "But when (Caulfield) asked me if this essay is true, I said 'No, this essay is not true.'"

The Associated Press was unable to find a phone number for Ceballos on Saturday.

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Secret Sunday!

Posted by: Andee / Category:

Secrets have been updated, they are really good this week! Check 'em out!

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New Years Cookies?

Posted by: Andee / Category:

Ahh, a day of doing nothing but goofing off in the kitchen. It's almost like heaven. No bills to worry about (for a while), nothing I need to pick up at the store (again... for a while), and it's snowing outside. How cozy.

Abbey Road was watching me from the other counter. What a little helper.

Yesterday I bought .99 cent cookie dough at the grocery store. They had sugar cookie with icing packs, and gingerbread. I decided to save the gingerbread cookie dough for another day and tackled the colorful package with the sugar cookie dough in it. This is what I found.

Oohhh, how pretty!

I had two sheets of cookie dough, rolled out and even (hell, thats most of the work right there... I don't even have a rolling pin). I put one sheet of dough right back in the fridge because there is nothing worse than trying to cut cookies from dough that is too warm. It just doesn't work.

Perfect 1st batch.

I decided to use my star cookie cutters... When I let them dry they actually reminded me of the 4th of July instead of Christmas. I am going to have to remember that on the 4th.

The first batch of cookies was absolutely perfect. I have never baked a better cookie! I was very proud of myself... but that didn't last long. I burned the next too cookie sheets... it's okay though, I like crispy cookies.

As you can tell, I am not very good with decorating cookies. I did my best... I wish I had more colors to work with, but I had no powdered sugar to make royal icing with. I decided to stack the stars on top of each other for a different look.

They are not much to look at, but they sure taste good... Double decker sugar cookie anyone?

Sorry for the boring post, but it was fun to make... Happy New Year everyone!!! -Hugs from Sydney!

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After-Christmas Cookies

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,

Can I tell you how much I love the after Christmas sales?

Roomie and I went to the grocery store today and found all the Christmas cookie dough on sale for .99 cents each. I bought some gingerbread and sugar cookie dough.

The sugar cookie dough came with frosting, so I am planning a day of goofing off with my cookie cutters and practicing my decorating skills. Nothing like after-Christmas holiday baking, right? I will do my best to post some photos of the process... not that it would be super interesting, it's just something for me to do while Roomie hogs the computer playing his new computer game.

The apartment complex dumpster was overflowing with the Christmas trash this morning. Eying the empty boxes it looks like the people in my building got some amazing gifts from Santa. 2 or 3 HDTV boxes, a few computers, and some scooters and bikes for the kiddies.

Makes me hope that some of the less fortunate people got something they really needed this year...

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Everybody Run, the Scarecrow's Got a Gun!

Posted by: Andee / Category:

I have seen the Wizard of Oz at least 100 times. Not once did I notice that the scarecrow had a gun in his hand when they meet the Wicked Witch... here is Thom Holbrook's article on the matter:

There are many unexplainable things in this world of ours, unanswerable questions. Where do those mysterious crop circles come from? Who built Stone Henge? What's the deal with Doug Henning?

But there is one question that has slipped under the radar of most observers. A question regarding an oddity about a movie classic that millions have seen over and over and yet have not looked at closely enough. The movie in question is The Wizard Of Oz and the question is why does the Scarecrow have a gun?

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Huh? What are you talking about? The Scarecrow didn't have a gun?" Oh contraire. Check out the scene immediately after Dorothy and company leave the wizard to go after the witch. They are heading into the scary forest and in a number of shots Scarecrow is clearly carrying a gun - a rod, a pistol, a heater, death in a tube, a rapid bullet delivery system.

I think people haven't noticed this because, for one thing, there is so much else going on. The other reason I think is because for the longest time we have been watching The Wizard Of Oz on TV where it is harder to notice. I first noticed old slug thrower when I went and saw the restored version on the big screen. I was in the middle of taking in the cleaned up print, my eyes lingering on every element in the frame when suddenly... hey... is that... is that a gun? Ooops they cut to a different shot. I'm sure I just imagined... nope there it is. A handsized steel killing machine. Hmmm.

I just have to wonder what the heck was that gun doing in that scene, both in terms of the making of the movie and in terms of the movie's reality.

Okay. First up why did the filmmakers feel the need to give the scarecrow a shooting iron. Here is my best guess. In the scene our heroes are heading off to confront the witch. They all needed to be able to defend themselves. No problem for the lion. He's a lion for crying out loud! Cowardly though he might be he's got claws and teeth - if needed he could be taking care of business. The tin woodsman has that axe so he's covered. Dorothy has her dog Toto. Not only that, it's only logical that the rest of the group we be protecting her (hey, she was supposed to be like a twelve year old girl and this was way before women's lib).

So that leaves the scarecrow. He's got nothing. He's made of straw and easy to literally beat the stuffing out of. I'm assuming some genius on the production followed this same train of thought and decided Scarecrow needed a weapon. Why? Why a gun? Why why why?

And why would Ray Bolger go through with it? A stagehand hands him a revolver.

"What's this for?"

"Well sir, that's the scarecrow's piece."

Right there the conversation should have went this way...

"What? Are you out of your mind? This is a kids film. And a musical! And it's all in a magical world! It just doesn't make sense? Are you nuts?!? Get away from me, I won't do it!"

Well maybe not exactly like that but I still am surprised Ray Bolger would go along with giving his character a gun. But he did and it's in the film. And of all the guys to give a gun to: the scarecrow was the most jittery of the bunch. He was the one who admitted he didn't have a brain in his head! Sure, give the jumpy unstable guy the power to control flying leaden death! The guy made Barney Fife look like Patton for God's sake!

Which brings us to the question of what this says about the magical land of Oz. Where did this thing come from? Its existence implies some sort of munitions industry in the happy old land of Oz: munchkins working away manufacturing bullets, hard at work on better guns that give the bullets better spin and trajectory.

"Winky! Come here! I've discovered a way to really increase the velocity on these bullets! With those new hollow point bullets Jingles is working on we should be having those damn flying monkeys dropping out of the sky like rain and hitting the dirt like bags of wet horse-of-many-colors crap!"

Yikes. On the other hand it is quite possible "the wizard" brought it with him from our world. Would explain why he gained so much power so quickly. The guy lands in that balloon. The locals show up full of curiosity. He peeks out, sees himself surrounded by midgets freaks, witches and monkeys. He gets a little jittery and blows some magical folks full of deadly lead and the next thing you know they're all going, "Christ all mighty! We'd better do what he says or were dead! Get all your jewels! Dude! We will build you an entire city of emeralds, just don't kill us! Why oh why God have you dropped this power mad wizard into our midst?" Next thing you know, "the wizard" is sitting back with a scotch 'n' soda scaring the locals with a big fake flaming head knowing that the death of a few innocents has gained him a life of luxury. Not a very pleasant idea but it does jive with what the film presented: the outright fear and worship he is given.

But why would he hand the gun to a loser like the scarecrow? He would clearly know how dangerous it was. Plus it is sort of the center of his power. It's simple. First of all, no one would necessarily know that it was the gun that he used to do the killing with. Anyone who had been there at his arrival would have been rattled to start with and then would only remember that there was a big puff of smoke, a loud crack and then Squeaky and Charmakin were flying into pieces. Plus, if they ever did wise up, better someone else have the gun so that they might look like a more likely suspect.

But who showed the scarecrow how to fire then? Oz was just a big scary head as far as anyone knew at this point in the film. Did Oz secretly train one of his guards on its use just in case there was trouble? The guard could lay down cover fire into the munchkin crowd while Oz slipped away. All seems kind of harsh for a seemingly nice old gent.

Oh but wait. I forgot. The whole thing was all Dorothy's dream as far as the film was concerned. So the question becomes what does this say about Dorothy? Probably nothing nearly as disturbing as the rest of her dream.

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Judgement Day

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,

A photo I took yesterday. The snow was untouched and beautiful. It was so peaceful, love it.

I received a comment on my blog this morning that upsets me just a little. It shouldn't, but it does. The person who left the comment was anonymous, which I find funny. If you are going to make snap judgments on people, shouldn't you be willing to stand by your statements? Not this guy... Not only did he attack my knowledge of the word of God, but he told me I was allowing other people to do my thinking for me because I shared a few articles I found interesting from another site.

Lets get one thing crystal clear. I stand behind everything I put on this blog. You don't have to agree with it, it's my opinion. It's my right to have it, and to share it. Having the opinions I do isn't easy. I grew up Mormon, went to Primary, Young Womens, and then Relief Society. Then, I woke up and realized it was a load of crap. That doesn't make me a bad person, and it certainly doesn't make me any less close to God. It makes my connection to God stronger and more honest.

Anonymous also stated that I, "missed the point." Wrong. Spiritual lives are individual and as personal as you can possibly get. To think that you could possibly (even slightly) know what I know and how I learned it from a couple posts on my blog you are kidding yourself. There are things that I don't even mention here... and thats how I want it to stay. Personal.

Why do people feel the need to make others conform to their beliefs? I will admit it, I want to shout out from every mountaintop how much Mormonism isn't what the church makes it to be... but not for selfish reasons. The only reason I would want to do this is because I know there are millions of people who were just like me. Members of the church, confused, sad, and unhappy because they never feel good enough in the eyes of the church. Guess what? The Church isn't telling the truth, and it's easy as pie to see that. Sometimes people want others to conform for bad reasons...

I find it sad when people feel the need to lash out at people like me. I don't think I am being targeted because I said something specific, I think he is just an angry person and I happened to be the place where his anger landed. I think people do it to feel important or smart. In reality, the only thing it does for them is to prove that they don't know God very well either if they are making judgments on perfect strangers. There is only one judge, and I will be happy to meet him one day.

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My Kittens

Posted by: Andee / Category: , ,

I finally got some shots of my cats, and I thought I would post them up for everyone... hope you like 'em!
Buddha Belly

Spooky Bear

Abbey Road

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Dinner with the Family

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,

I just got back from Salt Lake City with a lovely holiday outing with my family. I met my family at a restaurant called Buca Di Betpo, and we had some amazing italian food. I guess Buca Di Betpo is a large chain of restaurants, but I had never seen them before. I will definitely be going back. I recommend the chicken cannelloni and the apple crostata.

After dinner we exchanged gifts. I got was I was hoping for... a really nice digital camera. I will finally be able to share photos of my daily adventures instead of finding them online. I hope they will be as interesting. I am excited to learn more about photography!!

After the gift exchange, we went to the Salt Lake City Temple. We parked the cars in a garage and made our way over to the spectacle of lights. It was stunning, and I wished I could have had more time to set up my new camera before we left.

Roomie thought that the crowd at temple square was pushy and rude... and he was right. There were so many people there that it was worse than a crowded day at a theme park. We were pushed, cut off on the sidewalks, and our feet were ran over by strollers. Not one person said, "Excuse me," or "Pardon me." Nothing. Weird...

We were only approached by missionaries once during the visit. It was a pair of female missionaries, and one of them was from Australia. They were very pleasant, and took the hint that we didn't want to hear a "message." I have a feeling that we would have been stopped more if it were less busy.

I will add more tomorrow. Happy Holidays!!!

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Holiday Time

Posted by: Andee / Category: , , , ,

I was watching television and I heard the same old Target commercial jingle for the 20th time when it hit me. It's almost Christmas. I know I have been posting about Christmas for a long time, but the date actually crept up on me quickly. It's not like it was when I was a kid and I crossed each day in December off my calendar to countdown to Santa Day.

Tomorrow I am going to Salt Lake City to have dinner with my Mom and my brother. I am excited to see them, and happy that I get to actually have a holiday meal with people I love. It's been seven long years since this has happened. While I wish I had more money for presents for them, I know that spending time together and letting them know I love them is the most important thing.

After dinner we are going to temple square to see the Christmas display put up by the temple. Mom and I want to take an official tour of temple square to see what they tell people on the tour, and I will report back what I find. I joked with my Mom that we might just be zapped by lightning when we step foot on the temple grounds...

Maybe... just maybe... I will get a camera for Christmas and I can start adding my own photos too! I hope Santa got my letter. I am going to leave him some peanut butter bars and an ice cold beer just in case he needs a bribe!

The lights at temple square.

Last week my Mom wrote a letter to her relief society president asking for no contact from the Church. This is a major stepping stone for her, and it took tons of courage for her to do this. No less than 24 hours after asking for no contact, the bishop stopped by her office at work. I guess he didn't really understand the meaning of "no contact" but she dealt with it kindly and honestly. She told him that she needed space from the Church, and that it was her right to ask for no contact. She also told the bishop that she would have a meeting with him in a couple months to discuss some of the questions she has. She told him that I would be there too.

I am very excited and nervous for this meeting with her bishop. I plan on writing a letter to read at the meeting so I get all my points across (I will post the letter on my blog a few weeks before, hopefully some of the people who read this blog will have advice or insight into things that might not cross my mind).

Well, when my Mom got home from the gym today she found a note and basket of goodies from her relief society friends. Again, do they understand the meaning of no contact? Do they not respect her request? I don't think they do.

The lights at temple square, Salt Lake City.

In their hearts they only want to save her from leaving the Church. They believe she is risking her eternal salvation by questioning things and reading about the church from unofficial church sites. They have no idea how indoctrinated they are, and how wrong they are about so many things.

I really hope that 2008 will be a good year for my Mom. I threw a lot in her lap this summer when I talked to her about my concerns with the church, and she was honest and open minded. She always had my respect, but it has grown. I always knew that she would love me no matter what, but it never crossed my mind that she would join me on this journey. She is good people, and I love her very much.

She has a major decision to make about Mormonism. This decision, like mine, will effect the rest of our lives in regard to our extended family. We might be disowned, they might feel sorry for us that we were "led astray," or they might just love us for who we are anyway. It's scary to think that the love of your family depends on your religious beliefs, but it's a very real thing for my Mom and I. We know that when shit hits the fan, it ain't gonna be pretty.

Thanks again to everyone who stops by to read my blog. I hope that you all understand how good it makes me feel that people actually care about what is going on in my little corner of the world. It never crossed my mind that anyone would even bother to read the site.

I wish everyone a Happy Holiday,

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Raising Kids in the Mormon Church

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,

I came across some articles about raising kids in the Mormon Church the other day, and I thought I should share some of them. The first is written by a poster named, "Sad Dad."

The church is separating me from my daughter.

And I did nothing wrong except find out that the church isn’t true. And suddenly, my precious 15 year old daughter, who has always looked up to me, has to cry in church because her dad no long believes; he has lost faith.

She is my own flesh and blood. I raised her, I changed her messy diapers. I picked her up when she fell. I taught her how to jump on the trampoline, play chess. And I taught her how to tell the truth and be good person. And now, because I will no longer live a lie, I am the bad guy. Since I refuse to say that I believe in racist and immoral doctrine as taught by (insert name of early church president here), I have to watch my beautiful and bright daughter cry when she is persuaded by her “leaders” that I am being controlled by Satan.

How dare they? Who the hell do they think they are? They better be awful sure that they are right and that I am going to hell; or otherwise they are ruining one of the most beautiful things in this life.

I can live with having friends, coworkers, even my adult siblings thinking I am wrong. But why take away my own children? Every week she gets letters of invitation, calls to come to mutual, invitations to sing in church. (How perverse, they take a wonderful talent she has and manipulate my family with it.)

They all are well intentioned. They only want what is “best” for her. But it is their “best” not mine. They are arrogant, ignorant and completely duped. The amazing thing is, as I realized when I would talk with a few of them, they are clueless. Most of them don’t really know what the church teaches; let alone what the church has to hide. Most of these do-gooders haven’t even read the Book of Mormon. Yet they are willing to make my daughter feel bad about me. And put a wedge between us.

Most of the time my kids still understand and respect me, and often, I am sure they may have a deep feeling that I am right. But the emotional impact of teary eyed sacrament meetings, emotional music, brain washing EFY sessions, etc. put them back again and again. And sometimes I feel I am fighting an up hill battle.

And I did nothing wrong, except love their mother, provide them food, shelter, love and self esteem.

And find out that Joseph Smith lied. It isn’t that hard. Why can’t they see it?
This article was written by a poster who calls himself SecularPriest...

Attended Church today and it was Primary day. First let me say it was one of the best I have seen. Lots of music and kids knowing their lines. Why then am I sad?

As a primary child I too participated in many of these. I sat reflecting on those years. Back then it was singing, "Give Said the Little Stream." "Pop Corn Popping on the Pop Corn Tree." It was about being a good person.

Today from my notes.

"We are blessed to listen to a prophet twice a year in general conference."

"Follow the prophet and you will be blessed."

"God through his prophet GBH promises us that if we will read the BoM we will ..... (could not hear)

"Jonah was a prophet and did not follow the Lord" (Really, and then the child went on to say how he sat in a whale because he did not follow the Lord. He even had a whale doll)

THE BEST "Follow the prophet and he will lead me to God and Jesus Christ."

The whole presentation was based on promises.

Nothing about "I am a child of God."

Nothing about "Being good" like we sang when I was a kid. It was all adult stuff. Kids saying adult stuff, kids being programmed with adult stuff.

Okay maybe I am a wicked person and missed the spirit of it. I do swear and use the F word. I do sometimes think lustful thoughts. So not a great priesthood holder but wait I have been disfellowshipped so I don't have access to the Priesthood. BUT who will speak for these children?

I grew up and was told JS translated BoM behind curtain.
I grew up and was told only of one version of first vision, not 8 different ones.
I grew up and was told JS only had one wife.
I grew up and was taught second coming was around 2000 AD.
I grew up and was told I would be going to Zion (Missouri)
I grew up and was told God was man like us at one time
I grew up and was told BoM witnesses were honest to their testimonies on death bed.
I grew up and was told BoA was real records
I grew up and was told I was of the chosen generation.
I grew up and was told prophets spoke with God directly.
I grew up and told if I do the "M" thing I was in Satan power.
I grew up and was told if I drank coke I was sinning.
I grew up bearing testimony as a child the Church and gospel was true.

I could go on. Today after much study, pondering and prayer I have a different view.

Again I ask who speaks for these children? GBH has convinced me in the last 10 years that the foundations I recited and learned to believe in my primary presentations were not correct.

Note the focus from centering on the child (when I was a kid) to follow the prophet (2006). I shall be sending a letter to my Bishop and SP noting that even thought it was agreat presentation and "everyone felt the spirit" except me, it centers on child abuse. I felt abused as I think back to what I was told to say only to be told years later "we don't teach that" or "I don't know we teach that."

One child got up and showed the picture of the strippling warriors on horses with all sorts of metal. I am sure he is going to believe that this was the way it was as I did, until I started to study the gospel with an intent to prove it is true.

The worst part and stats show this, is how many kids are coming from one parent families, yet get up and talk about "families are forever" and "we can be sealed forever as a family." Yet in their minds they are going, "I don't have a daddy or a mummy." As a doctor of psychology it sickens me to have children exposed to this by having other kids, their friends say this stuff.

Sorry folks I'll never get over this abuse of kids. My wife does not agree with me. She thinks it was great and what a spirit.

This is the final article written by "tol"

When I left the Mormon Church, I was not sure I had done the right thing, I was not sure this was fair to my children, so I let them go and hoped that the people in my Ward would take them in and make them feel apart. I did not want to interrupt their lives.

I knew that the church was wrong for me but I was not sure it was wrong for them. I knew what it was like to be on the outside of my family and my culture. I had an idea of the ostracism they would experience.

My girls continued to attend. They were both still in primary. The boys happily stayed home with me. I did not tell anyone in my family that I had quit going. I did not want to go but I also did not want to face the judgment and condemnation I feared when my parents and siblings would find out.

I am not sure how long I thought I could hide that fact that I was no longer active. I had stopped wearing the sacred under garment. Soon people would notice even though I continued to dress in the conservative style of Mormon women.

One Sunday Michelle came home and told me that she would be giving a talk in primary and wondered if I would help her prepare and come and hear her give her talk. That week I wrote out a talk and practice it with her just like I had done many times before for her or a sibling.

On Sunday I got up and put on a dress. I immediately started to feel uncomfortable. The girls went ahead and I waited for the time when I knew Primary would be starting.

I walked over to the church. It was a beautiful spring day. I wondered what I would feel. Would I want to come back, would I feel like I could come back? Maybe the church was a good place to raise a family.

As I walked into the building I started to feel a little light headed and then I started to feel like I was having trouble breathing. It felt like my neck was swelling and cutting off my air passage. I checked. I was OK. I was breathing, I was not going to pass out.

I went into the primary room and sat down. The sisters I knew all smiled and acknowledged me. The children started to sing songs and I felt more and more uncomfortable. I had been the music leader in Primary and I knew all the songs and all the words. I had always loved the beautiful melodies and simple versus.

Today the songs enraged me. I now recognized the simple words as part of the indoctrination process. The same message was given over and over to these children at their most vulnerable and suggestible age. The message was obey and be saved. Conform and be lovable. Think and risk losing your salvation.

Michelle gave her talk and then the children sang Jesus Once Was a Little Child. The song was about how loving, meek and mild Jesus was. It admonished the children to be like him, to try to show kindness, be gentle and pure. I was overcome with anger.

The Jesus I had read about was strong, bold, sarcastic, and opinionated. When he confronted the Pharisees he was combative and angry. When he cleaned the temple he was forceful and adamant. When he reached out to the Samarian woman he was brave and going against convention and tradition.

The story of Jesus had many facets and lessons, but the songs and talks carefully portrayed him as obedient, compliant, and conforming. I cringed. How did these songs and sermons make my strong willed opinionated daughter feel? How did the other children feel? Everything about the primary program was designed to mold and shape the children into a narrow, limited caricature of a real person.

I did not want my daughters to think that it was wrong to feel human emotions. I did not want them being forced into the being and doing of what I had been forced into. I started to feel like I could not breath and that I had to get out of the building. I started to feel dizzy and sick. I thought I might throw up. I got up and almost ran for the door.

Once outside, the quiet, the sun, and the fresh air started to calm me. I walked home and never wanted to go back. When Michelle and Erin came home I emphatically told them that what they had learned was misleading and that I wanted them to embrace their emotions, thinking, desires. I talked about Jesus and the other side of the story. I talked to my girls about being true to themselves and that the first person a young girl should honor in her life was herself. I did not want my girls to be me. I am sure they thought I was a little crazy and wished I could just be a normal mom; pretty, spiritual, and ordinary.

Just a few weeks later, it was Mother’s Day and the younger children had prepared a special song for Sacrament meeting. Once again Michelle wanted me to come and hear her sing. Once again I got up and put on a dress. I walked over with my girls and was greeted nicely by the many people that I knew. I sat down in the back of the chapel and many of the people I had gone to church with for years acknowledge me with smiles and welcoming comments.

I sat by myself. I felt uncomfortable and vulnerable. I could almost here the thoughts as people wondered what had happened to me. What had gone wrong that I had left the church? What sin had I committed? A few months earlier I was welcomed as an insider, today I was an anomaly, a bit of a curiosity, to some I was already a pariah. I had been measured and found lacking first as a Mormon and now as an apostate.

I refused the Sacrament and waited for the children to sing their primary song. The talks were focused on the role of the Mormon Woman. Obedient, kind, long suffering, faithful, prayful, worthy, virtuous, modest, soft, quiet, behind the scenes, self-sacrificing, a good homemaker, a wife, a mother, spiritual, sensitive, guided by the spirit, pure, gentle, lovely, gracious, soft-spoken, long-suffering, friendly, sweet and mostly nice.

Mormon women are nice all the time. They are nice while they lie, deny, criticize, complain, are victimized, unhappy, overwhelmed, frightened, angry, sad, depressed, unfulfilled, mad, powerless, and always obedient.

I started to feel the pressure, the force of a lifetime of Mormon indoctrination start to scream in my head. You are not righteous, you are different, you are too loud, too opinionated, too strong. You are weak, lazy, not good enough. It was these perfectionist, unrealistic teachings that had engulfed my life and made me feel unworthy and incapable. I had learned my whole life about this Mormon woman I was to become. This portrayal was a silhouette, a paper cut-out of what it was to be a woman. It was limiting, defining, and confining.

There was no insight into how to live life, how to love, how to think, how to decide. There was no room for difference, tolerance, creativity, growth, humanness, fallibility, and fragility. Just a paint by numbers portrait of womanhood. This ideal had been my model for how to live. A model that was impossible, ridiculous, and unyielding. I recognized this as the source of my emotional instability and mental illnesses.

I started to feel angry and once again my head started to feel light. I could not breathe. My air passages grew tight. I felt like I needed to throw-up. I was not even sure if I stood up I could get out of the building. My daughter sang her song and I bolted for the door. Once outside I started to feel better and slowly my head cleared.

I went home furious at what they were teaching my girls about what it meant to be a human and more importantly a woman. I did not want them to learn that their only choice was to get married and have children. I did not want my children to feel that they had no say in their lives, that any difference was wrong and caused through disobedience. I did not want them to learn that perfection was a worthy goal, that they needed to be sweet and kind all the time. I did not want them to live with a veneer of nice covering their unacceptable humanness, because who they were, was not, would never be, and could never be good enough.

I felt like Scarlett in Gone With the Wind as she held the dirt in her hand and swore with all her courage and determination. With all my courage and determination I committed that this church would not claim my children. This church and their lies about life and living would not addict my girls to a cycle of personal rejection and ceaselessly seeking approval from others. There was no longer any indecision. I did not want my children to be Mormon.

I realized that I not only thought the Mormon Church was not true I thought what they taught was wrong and dangerous. I did not the church was a great place to raise a family. I thought it was a terrible place to raise a family. There were no profound utterances, spiritual insights, or significant life lessons offered except those cloaked in the constant, persistent message of obedience and conformity.

The church offered only the voices of the church leaders, all others including my children’s own voices were condemned as unworthy. I wanted my children to have real say in their lives. I wanted my children to not battle depression daily, feel worthless and flawed. I wanted them to embrace who they were, embrace life and be joyously, amazingly happy. I wanted them to think critically, make decisions that were right for them, get married and have children if and when they wanted, and to contribute to worthy causes they believed in not because some man told them they had to in order to gain eternal life.

I wanted them to pierce their ears or get a tattoo or take a drink or laugh loudly or wear a bikini or make love or go to some foreign country or be nice if and when they decided to. I wanted them to get angry when they were angry, to say no to something they did not believe, and to live their lives according to the dictates of their conscience. I did not want them to turn their lives over to old, selfish, bitter men teaching hate and fear.

I had left hoping that maybe I would see things differently one day and be able to return. I had hoped I might find a kind of truce and could at least attend the way Bishop Forbes did. I now knew that would never happen. The church was not innocent or innocuous in my life. It had played an active role in my self destruction and it would continue to destroy people like me. People who were different. People who were thinkers, creative, and free-spirits. People who did not fit their perfect and rigid prescription for life and could not make themselves submit. We were the refuse of the church, the throw always, the rejected. They only wanted the nice and pliant.

The next day I sent a letter to the Church Office building and told them to remove my name from their records. From that day on I actively resisted my children going to church or participating. I told them how I felt and hoped that they would never choose to be Mormon. I now told my family my decision.

About a month after I sent my letter I was contacted by my new bishop. For the last time I would submit to an ecclesiastical leader. We met briefly and he attempted to determine if I was leaving because I no longer believed or to avoid a church court because I had committed some wrongdoing.

He thought he still had the right to determine my worthiness. He did not realize that he and the whole host of the Mormon Church would never again be given the right to judge me. I guess I answered his questions to his satisfaction. He made it official. I was no longer a Mormon woman.

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Cool... I want this stuff for Christmas...

Posted by: Andee / Category:

A traditional rug meets Space Invaders. A perfect and very original concept and boy does it look good. But wait… there is more. This is not just a rug you lay on your floor, it is a space invaders rug game.

A humorous, stylish wall mounted coat hanger incorporating a row of Foosball players. Choose either the ”full team” rack with 11 players, or ”five-a-side” rack with of course; five players. Players come in different colours.

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Secret Sunday!

Posted by: Andee / Category:

I forgot to do the weekly reminder, didn't I? Check out the new secrets!!!

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Teacher of the Year

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,

By Maria Medina WAPATO, WA -- Action News learned the first grade teacher at Camas Elementary on paid leave has got a criminal record that would concern any parent.

Earlier this week Action News told you the Wapato school district is staying tight-lipped about what happened, but sources close to the district told us the teacher was put on paid-leave after coming to class drunk.

Parents and residents are shocked the district hasn't yet fired the teacher, who's out of the classroom but still getting a paycheck.

Sources said it was this same teacher who came to school drunk a few months ago and may have struggled with a drinking problem for years.

A judge ordered the educator to stay away from alcohol after police found the teacher's child waiting in a car outside a bar.

There's also a charge of DUI, and the latest -- a hit and run and reckless endangerment charges from early this year.

The district refuses to go into detail, only confirming a teacher is on paid-leave and they're also dragging their feet in providing public records.

The superintendent asked for more time than the law provides to honor the request by Action News.

Our last resort was to drop-by the district's office on Friday, but again the superintendent was too busy to talk to us. Most times she's also too busy to return phone calls.

Concerned parents and residents have told Action News that they just want answers.

Witnesses reported seeing the teacher vomit on a field trip and then leave first-graders to wander through a corn maze by themselves while the teacher passed out on a school bus.

There's a clue that the district knew something was going on with the teacher because the former superintendent asked the state's superintendent office to investigate the teacher, but the state never did because the alleged behavior happened during summer break, it didn't affect students or the district.

The superintendent could give no date on when they'll decide whether the teacher could come back or when they might honor that public records request.

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Flying Spaghetti Monster Christmas Ornament!

Posted by: Andee / Category:

Oh, how I love the flying spaghetti monster! Let me count the ways! Here is a home project for those who love him too! I found the pattern on Civil Bitch's blog and I wanted to share it. I take no credit for the pattern, as I don't even know how to knit. Check out her blog to see more!

1 skein worsted weight 100% wool yarn – Brown
1 skein worsted weight 100% wool yarn – Cream (can’t felt white yarn)
US size 4 needles – DPN’s or Circular
US size 11 needles
Tapestry needle
Oobi eyes (I used the oobi like eyes)
Upholstery thread for loop to hang on tree.

Meatball (make 2):

Knitting in the round with brown wool, cast on 6 stitches with US size 4 needles and join. Place marker.

Row 1: K all stitches
Row 2: Kfb around (12 sts)
Row 3: K all stitches
Row 4: (Kfb, K1) around (18 sts)
Row 5: K all stitches
Row 6: (Kfb, K2) around (24 sts)
Row 7: K all stitches
Row 8: K all stitches
Row 9: K all stitches
Row 10: (K2tog, k2) around (18 sts)
Row 11: K all stitches
Row 10: (K2tog, k1) around (12 sts)
Row 11: K all stitches

Stuff the meat ball at this time.

Row 12: (K2tog) around (6 sts)

Break yarn leaving a long tail. Take tail and tapestry needle and thread through remaining stitches and cinch up to close the meatball. Leave the tail so you can use it to sew the meatball to the spaghetti monster.

Felt. (I just throw it into my washer and wash with hot water. If the monster still has some stitch definition, your monster needs more felting).

Spaghetti Monster:

With cream wool, cast on (double stranded) between 20 to 30 stitches with US size 11 needles.

Cast all stitches off but keep the last stitch on the right needle.

Repeat until you have roughly 30 to 35 tendrils.

You’ll have a long string with tendrils on it. Using a tapestry needle, sew the string together to make the monster, leaving the tendrils to dangle.


Make up:

Sew the meatballs on the monster (use the photo above as a guide). Trim all stray yarn ends. Take Oobi eyes and thread some of the tendrils through the loop so the eyes will stay in place (Usually can stay in place with three tendrils). Sew upholstry thread on top and make a loop so you can hang it on the tree.

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Posted by: Andee / Category:

ASHLEY MARIE CESENAS -Ashley was born on Feb. 29, 1988 and has been missing from Bethany, Oklahoma since July 9, 2004.

Ashley is 5'2" and weighs 120 lbs. with brown hair and brown eyes.

She has a tattoo on her left ankle of a crescent moon with a star. She was last seen wearing a pink tank top, jeans, white "K-Swiss" shoes and hair in a pony tail. She may have some gang affiliation.

JESSICA LEE CAIN- Jessica was born on August 28, 1979. She has been missing from La Marque, Texas since August 17, 1997.

She is 5'4" and 140 lbs. She has brown hair and blue eyes.

Jessica's photo is shown aged to 25 years. She was last seen by friends at a local restaurant on the evening of 8/17/97. Her vehicle was later found abandoned on the shoulder of I-45 South,
near Highland Bayou Park. Jessica's whereabouts are unknown. If you have seen her, please click on either of her photos.

STEPHEN CHRISTOPHER BEARD- Stephen was born on February 11, 1987 and has been missing since June 2, 2001 from Baltimore, Maryland.

Stephen could possibly be in the state of Virginia. He is 5'9" and weighs 140 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

Please click on his photo if you have any information on his whereabouts.

HALEIGH BREANN CULWELL - Haleigh was born on Jan. 25, 1996. She has been missing from Section, Alabama since June 21, 2007. Haleigh and her mother, Kimberly Whitton (picture below) may be headed to Montana.

She is 5'2", 110 pounds, with blonde hair and brown eyes. If you have seen her, please click on her photo to alert authorities.

Kimberly Whitton was born on July 7, 1970. She is 5'9" and 270 pounds. Brown hair and brown eyes.

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An Excellent Romney Article

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,

Lawrence O'Donnell wrote this article on the Huffington Post. I loved it so much, I had to post it on my blog. I agree with almost everything Mr. O'Donnell has to say, he did a good job!

After the Today Show used video clips of me talking (ranting, to some) about the racist history of the Church of Latter Day Saints as a lead-in to Matt Lauer's interview of Mitt Romney, I feel compelled to clarify the obvious: religious affiliation is not a good reason to vote for or against a candidate for president. I mean any religious affiliation, including Scientology (if that's a religion). I know at least one Scientologist who would be a better president than many of the current candidates. I might know more, but they tend to be a bit secretive about being Scientologists, so ...

I don't hate Mormons. Some of my best friends are Mormons. Well, okay, one of my best friends is Mormon. Or used to be. He's not sure anymore. He's glad he grew up Mormon, likes the values he learned, the respect for family, etc. He's just not sure about some of the crazy beliefs of the religion. He would like to distance himself from some of that stuff and still be a Mormon--the way Rudy Giuliani can be pro-abortion and very fond of divorce and sequential marriage and still be, or at least call himself, a Catholic. But Mormonism isn't as flexible as Catholicism. It's a hook, line and sinker deal. You buy it all--every word of the Book of Mormon and its supplement, the Book of Abraham--or you're not a Mormon. My friend is a surgeon. He says the Mormon doctors he knows are like him. They have doubts about some things in the books and there are some things in the books that they simply can no longer believe. He can't imagine any Mormon who graduates from medical school or Harvard Business School like Mitt Romney thinking any other way. But if Romney were to admit to such doubts and reservations, the Church of Latter Day Saints would be forced to say he is no longer a Mormon. And a candidate for president without a religion ... well, that could only happen on The West Wing.

When I created the West Wing's Republican candidate for president played brilliantly by Alan Alda, I wanted for dramatic purposes to give him the worst problem I could think of. Sex with the interns being a bit dated, I chose to make him a closet atheist. When the press started to close in on him with questions about when he last went to church, he refused to answer. He said he would answer any question about government, "but if you have questions about religion, please, go to church." Mitt Romney has chosen a different course. He said: "Some question whether there are any questions regarding an aspiring candidate's religion that are appropriate. I believe there are. And I will answer them today." And then he left the podium without taking any questions.

The media thought this was a perfectly sensible approach. TV pundits of all stripes fell all over themselves to praise the speech. They gushed at how admirable it was for Romney to stand up for what he called "the faith of my fathers." The cable news networks seemed ready to cut straight to Romney inauguration coverage. No one thought to ask what is or was the faith of his fathers?

Romney felt politically forced to give the speech specifically because evangelical Christians seem to know a little too much about the faith of his fathers. Many evangelicals believe and have said publicly that Mormonism--contrary to Romney's assertions--is not a Christian religion but an abomination of Christianity. Here's a sampling of why: Mormons believe that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri; that Jews were the first people in America; that Indians descended from Jews and are a lost tribe of Israel; that Jesus came to America; that after the next coming of Christ (which will be the second or third, depending on how you count his trip to America), the world will be ruled for a thousand years from Jerusalem and Missouri; and to answer Mike Huckabee's now famous question, yes, they believe "Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, in the sense of both being spiritually begotten by the Father."

When Matt Lauer asked Romney the Huckabee question about Jesus and the devil being brothers, Romney refused to answer and handed the question off to the Church of Latter Day Saints. The Church issued a deceptively worded statement that most reporters incorrectly read as a denial of the brotherhood of Jesus and Satan. In fact, the Church could not and did not deny it. The Church did correctly point out that attackers (meaning critics) of Mormonism often use the brother bit. Critics also use the Church's 70 year delight in polygamy and sex with very young girls, which also happens to be true. Critics of Mormonism have plenty to work with without inventing anything.

The pundits had no idea how deliberately misleading Romney's speech was. They loved the bit about Romney's father marching with Martin Luther King. None of them knew that if at the end of the march with George Romney, Martin Luther King was so taken with Mormonism that he wanted to convert and become a Mormon priest, George Romney would have had to tell him that they don't allow black priests. George Romney might also have had to explain to the Reverend King that Mormons believe black people have black skin because they turned away from God.

I give you the words of the holy Book of Mormon:

"And I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark and loathsome and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations."

Brigham Young, the most revered president of the Mormon Church, who marched his people all the way to the Utah territory because he so vehemently hated the laws of the United States, taught that sex with black people would kill white people. Instantly.

"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." -Brigham Young

Brigham Young:

"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so."

It took the Mormons ten years after Martin Luther King was killed--ten years--to decide to allow black men to be priests. They did so only after the president of the Mormon Church said he had a conversation with God in 1978 in which God finally decided it was time to allow black priests. Mitt Romney was 31 years old when he heard that lie. At 31, was Mitt Romney smart enough to know the Mormon president was lying about having been told by God that it was time to remove one racist tenet of the faith of his fathers? In 1977, at age 30, was Mitt Romney still accepting the racist position of his church? Does Romney really believe that God had to wait until 1978 to change his mind about this? Did Romney know that the Church had to change its racist policy in order to preserve its tax exempt status? We'll never know. No reporter will ever ask those questions because questions about the faith of his fathers are off limits even though, in an attempt to win evangelical Christian votes in Iowa, Romney dragged that faith into the campaign and asked to be admired for strictly adhering to it.

If the Washington Post finds that Romney ever, however briefly belonged to a country club that did not admit blacks or Jews or Muslims, it'll be dogging him with questions about that, but there will never be questions about his faith because as Newsweek's Eleanor Clift said, "Every religion is full of crazy beliefs."

Eleanor said that in response to my comments about Mormonism on last week's McLaughlin Group. Eleanor has gotten no heat for that comment, but I have been attacked widely--beginning right here on HuffPost--for getting into the specifics of what Romney, in effect, said he believes when he said, "I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it."

On McLaughlin, I was asked to review a political speech. My approach to reviewing political speeches is to examine what deceptions are employed. Romney's speech, like every speech by every candidate for president, had its deceptions. No one else was willing to talk about those deceptions because that would involve talking about a candidate's religion, which we must never do, even if the candidate has just done it.

This week, I went on Hugh Hewitt's radio show so Hugh could attack me for attacking his favorite candidate. It was a good conversation. Hugh began by asking if I am Catholic. I gave what sounded like a very Clintonian answer that depends on what you mean by the word Catholic. I explained that there are Catholics--very few--who, Romney style, adhere to everything their church says. Then there are American Catholics, most of whom believe the church is wrong about abortion and wrong about the death penalty and used to think the Pope was wrong about the war in Iraq being a mistake but have now switched back to the Pope's side on that one. I don't feel empowered to say Catholics like that are not Catholics. Once we got past that, Hugh asked if the Catholic Church is wrong to not allow women priests. I said, yes, the faith of my fathers is wrong about that. I then happily admitted to many failings and evils in the Catholic Church and in past Popes. This frustrated Hugh's strategy to hang all the problems of Catholicism on me the way I seemed to be hanging all of Mormons' problems on Romney. But I have never given a speech defending Catholicism and saying I believe every bit of it. No Catholic politician has ever given that speech. All the Catholics running for president now--Democrat and Republican--as usual, are very open about disagreeing with their church on abortion and other things.

The more you know about Romney's religion, the more you want to ask him questions about it. Your religion was founded by an alcoholic criminal named Joseph Smith who committed bank fraud and claimed God told him polygamy was cool after his first wife caught him having an affair with the maid and who then went on to have 33 wives, and you really believe every word that he said and wrote? Do you really believe that the American Indian is genetically descended from Israelites? Would it shake your belief if DNA testing showed no such relationship between Indian tribes and Jews? Do you really believe that Jesus Christ came to America? Do you really believe that your possible general election opponent, Barack Obama, is black because his people turned away from God? Are you in favor of big increases in federal funding for Missouri or turning the site of the Garden of Eden into a national park?

I wouldn't ask Romney any of these questions if he hadn't decided to make a political speech in which he pretended to tell me about his religious beliefs.

I could vote for a devout Mormon for president or anyone with any religious affiliation if I agree with the candidate's policy positions. I used to agree with a lot of Romney's policies before he flip-flopped on all the ones I agreed with. Flip flopping for political convenience is a Mormon tradition. In 1890, the Mormon president claimed he had a chat with God that finally convinced him polygamy was no longer cool, thereby allowing Utah to become a state. That was quite a flip from Brigham Young's anti-American position. When Brigham Young--a deadly serious racist and a hero of Romney's who actually got a mention in the speech, unlike the unmentionable Joseph Smith--was told Utah could not be admitted to the United States as long as it allowed polygamy, he said, "Then we shall never be admitted."

In his "faith of my fathers" speech, Romney had the audacity to say "Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world." Weren't any of the Romney speechwriters worried that someone was going to point out that Romney's religion jettisoned its beliefs to gain statehood? Of course not. That would mean talking about a candidate's religion, which, by current press convention, only the candidate is allowed to do.

The unprecedented relentlessness of Romney's flip-flopping is his campaign's biggest problem. The Mormon thing has done a fine job of diverting attention from the flip-flopping. Romney knows he can use the Mormon thing whenever he wants without fear of getting trapped in an uncomfortable question. On the campaign trail, he has actually said, "I can't imagine anything more awful than polygamy." And no reporter has thought to ask the obvious follow-up about how conflicted he must feel about his great grandfather having had five wives.

In the Jack Kennedy speech that Romney's speech is being compared to, Kennedy said that the truth of how he would govern was not to be found in his religion but in his record in government. Romney could not say anything like that since his record in politics is littered with liberal positions, including Clinton/Giuliani-like support for abortion, that he is now running away from.

I, for one, am a libertarian on marriage. I don't think the state should tell any of us who we can marry or in what order. I'm cool with gay marriage, Giuliani's serial polygamy, and Mormon style polygamy as long as it does not involve the rape of children under the age of consent and as long as women can marry as many men as they want. I know you think those are crazy beliefs. All I have to do to prevent you from attacking me for those beliefs is to create a religion like Joseph Smith did. Then you wouldn't dare question my faith. Well, okay, you would at first. But a few generations from now, when one of my many descendants proudly proclaimed it "the faith of my fathers," no one would dare question that faith.

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Favorite Flickr of the Day

Posted by: Andee / Category:

These photos were taken by Gertrude K. Check out more of her photos by clicking on the images!

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Something Weird Happened

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,

Something weird happened to me today. Roomie and I were running some errands. We stopped at the bank and deposited some checks, then went to order some pizza for take out. While we were waiting for that pizza, we ran to the grocery store.

While walking through the entrance of the grocery store, I noticed this guy off to my right side leaning against the wall. He was dressed well, and had a couple bags of groceries in his hands. He wasn't leaving the store but it was snowing outside... so I figured he was waiting for the snow to stop, or he was waiting for his ride. I walked inside and didn't think anything of it.

On our way out of the store I noticed he was still there. This time I got this strange feeling like he was a bad man. I got chills (yes, it could have been because it was cold outside) and I felt like I should get out of there quick. Roomie and I walked to the truck and the guy was following us. Why was he waiting? Why did he leave when we left? It was like one of those moments in a scary movie when the bad guy is walking right at the person being stalked and that person feels like their feet are stapled to the floor.

We got in the truck and I told roomie to lock his door. He thought I was insane, maybe I am. Something about that man scared the hell out of me. Has that ever happened to anyone else? For no good reason?

We made our way to the pizza place and picked up our order and hopped back in the truck. We stopped at a stoplight and the man was right behind us. Roomie thought I had lost it, maybe I have. I looked at him through the mirror on the passenger side and refused to turn around to draw attention to myself. The guy was really scary to me for no good reason.

The only thing I can think of is that maybe he was a bad guy. Maybe he was out there trying to hurt somebody... maybe my intuition told me to get the hell out of dodge. Maybe not. Who knows?

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Favorite Flickr of the Day/Holiday

Posted by: Andee / Category:

Instead of the normal flickr of the day I decided to share some of the awesome Christmas cupcakes on the site. Some of these are absolutely amazing! Toodles!

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Christmas Ornaments

Posted by: Andee / Category:

Click on the photo of these super-cool paper ornaments and learn how to make them yourself. I am going to do this in a couple days, those are awesome.

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