Thursday, March 25, 2010

An Explanation

Okay, so in my last post, I obscurely alluded to the story of Yankee Doodle Dandy. The way I understand the story, the song was first made up to mock the Americans. The "Yanks" decided they liked it and, instead of taking offense, they took the song and made it their own. The offense totally backfired.

That's what I was trying to do. You see, if I take the word "bigot" and make it my own, then it loses all its power. Perhaps, eventually, we can gain some ground. After all, that's what the homosexuals did, isn't it? I should walk around with a sign proclaiming "Bigot Pride!"

Yankee Doodle went to town
Riding on a pony!
Stuck a feather in his cap
And called it macaroni!

Hence the feather...

I hope that's somewhat clearer.

Oh, by the way, we signed the final papers today. As of tomorrow, We Are Homeowners!!!

I'm more than a little excited.

:)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Bigoted: adjective. Obstinately convinced of the superiority or correctness of one's own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different opinions. Expressing or characterized by prejudice and intolerance.

Bigot: a person who is bigoted.

Well, there you have it. By definition, I am a bigot.

This is interesting. I had a plan to say, flippantly, "Whew. I'm glad I got that off my chest. It's good to finally come out of the closet on this. I can finally be who I am by nature. You can't get on my case about this; would you have me deny who I really am?"

But then I wrote the words. I am a bigot.

It felt ugly. I don't like being a bigot. I don't necessarily want to be somebody who is prejudiced and close-minded.

Admittedly, I would change some of the definition. I'm not opposed to people themselves. I want very much to be open and loving and caring of people. I work very very hard to that end. Those who know me attest to this... and often give me more credit than I give myself. I am, however, utterly convinced that some behaviors are wrong. I'm not sure if there's a word in the English dictionary that describes that particular set of beliefs. To condemn a behavior but not a person.

So, I suppose, for lack of a better word, I am a bigot.

I should get used to it. I'm sure that if this blog gets circulated at all, I will be called a bigot, and maybe worse. Part of the purpose of this particular entry was to get used to hearing that word in connection with myself so that I won't be caught off guard by this defense when standing up for what I do believe.

I am a bigot.

It's getting easier. Perhaps now I can get on with the other points I wanted to make.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." This famous statement made by Voltaire has characterized much of what makes this country great. This is the country where you can say whatever you want to say without fear of imprisonment. In most peoples' opinions, this is a fantastic philosophy. I certainly agree with it.

Ironically, the same philosophy that led to a constitution that enables freedom of religion also protects freedom from religion. It protects that minority that would flaunt their deviation from morality.

I also really like the statement, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

How, then, does one stand for one's own beliefs, and try to protect them, while not infringing on the rights of others to speak and act and live as they wish?

I heard a news story yesterday about a school that canceled Prom because a girl wanted to dress up in a tux and take her girlfriend to the dance. It was not legal for the school to prohibit the girl from going. The only way for them to uphold their values and at the same time take a stand was to cancel Prom. Personally, I think the school was right on in their decision. At the same time, I feel sad for all those girls whose night was ruined because of one-well, two-girls.

It's interesting, too, having seen the progression. Once upon a time, people didn't talk about sexual indiscretions. They were a completely taboo subject. Now sex not only talked about, it's flaunted on television. It is inescapably plastered on billboards. A sitcom is not successful unless it has sexual jokes and innuendos in every episode. In real life, adultery became... if not necessarily acceptable, at least not punishable by legal avenues. (This might be wrong. I haven't done research, here, I'm just going by what little I've seen.) Now, not only are sexual indiscretions regarded as normal, but homosexuals have started flaunting their own preferences and touting them as normal. Since they have started "coming out of the closet," they have gained more and more acceptance in mainstream society.

Right now, I would like to make two points. I absolutely do not condone ill treatment of gay people. At the same time, I absolutely do not mean to backpedal. I believe homosexuality is a perversion of something that is intended to be sacred and good.

I'm not going to go crusading against homosexuality. I have other priorities in my life right now. Perhaps someday. At the same time, I do want to declare, unequivocally, that I do not approve of homosexual behaviors, or of sexual behaviors out of wedlock. I am out of the closet. This is the hat I wear.

Anybody have a feather?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A House

Four bedrooms.
Two bathrooms.
One laundry room.
A living room.
A family room.
A basement.
A walk-in closet.
A one-car garage.
A workbench.
A big front yard.
A big back yard.
A horse pasture.

It's in Provo. We'd seen it several times, but always discounted it because it was in Provo and the pictures made it look less than desirable. However, our only other real option was in Santaquin. I believe I've written about that one. Anyway, we decided to go and look at it, just in case.

Surprise, surprise! It was amazing! It was on .63 acres, and it was being used as a chicken farm. As we walked through, our general impression shifted from skeptical distaste to skeptical anticipation. Then we abandoned the skepticism and saw only glorious potential.

It has a few issues, admittedly. The kitchen is miniscule. The master bathroom has 3 different doors- one to the bedroom, one to the hallway, and one to the laundry room. The laundry room can only be reached through the master bathroom or the master bedroom. The fence in the front yard needs a little work. The living room is bright yellow.

However, in addition to the virtues listed above, it also has the benefits of a large second bedroom, a basement that is too small to be much of anything but a very large storage area, and a quiet neighborhood. Also, because the place is being used as a chicken farm, the fencing for the pasture is solid. It's not even chicken wire. All in all, it is pretty much exactly what we wanted and far more than we expected at this time of life. The best part is that it feels right. Ryan and I both feel so right about buying this house.

We prayed about it, then made an offer on it last Saturday, just after touring the house, and heard yesterday that our offer was accepted. Wonder of wonders and miracle of miracles!!!

Now we get to go through the rigamarole of getting inspections and such done on it, but we want to close before we go to the Grand Canyon on the 31st.

Anyway, YAY!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stairs

We have stairs in our teeny apartment. This is not to say we have two floors; our front door opens on an entryway that is just big enough to put a bike, a stroller, a dead plant, and some muddy shoes. You look straight up the stairs into the living room. Sortof. It's a little hard to explain. Anyway, we got a baby gate for the top of the stairs. Cara likes to play there. She stands up next to the gate and looks down, and sometimes sings. Since her bookcase is aslo at the top of the stairs, she sits there and pulls her books and toys down and has spent many an hour entertaining herself there. I usually sit at the computer and keep an ear on her, but don't monitor her terribly closely. It's all baby safe, right?

This morning, for whatever reason, the gate wasn't closed before I set Cara down. I don't usually have to worry about it, and so I didn't even think about it. I set her down and went about my usual routine of blog reading, email checking, and game playing.

Suddenly I noticed... Cara was in the corner, and had been unusually quiet. I looked over and saw the gate wide open and Cara sitting at the top of the stairs, looking down quite solemnly. I jumped up and she looked over at me as if to say, "Mom, what's that? It's never been like that before..." Needless to say, I immediately fixed the situation and gave Cara a more suitable toy to play with than stairs with tile at the bottom.

And now that I've had my heart attack for the day, it's about time for breakfast.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Too Much Time?

This is long. Sorry about that. It's also a testament to the fact that I really do have too much time on my hands. It's also very cute.

I did this so Grandpa O won't feel left out... and so that Grammy Cracker doesn't have to spend too much time sleeping on the couch for forgetting the video camera... twice. :) Love ya!
video

Note: After watching this once through the blog, I realized that it does take awhile to load, and the pictures and words are unclear. I'm sorry! It's cute here, I promise!

Incidentally, one of the pages says First Real Food. I think the other one that is hard to read says Getting Bigger.

Warring Factions of an Undecided Mind

The path of least resistance is laid out quite nicely before us. The manufactured home is beautiful. It is not, as far as I know, a short sale. It has a beautifully manicured front yard and an equally beautiful complete disaster of a backyard. It has a pretty kitchen. It has a breakfast nook and a formal dining area. It has a master bathroom with a big bathtub. It's in a quiet area. We could have dogs. We both like it. It's a perfect option. I feel good about it.

I also feel saddened. Getting this house now doesn't mean that we won't be able to, eventually, live the kind of lifestyle we want to live. It does mean that, for right now, we'll be living a pared-down parody of the kind of life we want. It feels like this first step will set the tone for the rest of our lives. We've been making do for 2 years. I've been making do for 8 years before that. It was a good time. I learned a lot and created myself in ways that I probably don't yet understand. What we are creating, now, is an eternity. We are setting the tone for ourselves and for our children. What will it mean if we sacrifice what we want now for the sake of something that is secure and good?

Our other options? Ryan said it well last night. "We have no options, so we have too many." In other words, because we don't really have a clear path before us, we can literally do anything. Heck, we could sell most of what we have, pack up the rest, and go to a foreign country. A part of me gets a little thrill at the thought. At the same time, that sort of thing would be far more difficult now than it would have been a couple of years ago... before the schprid. We could move to a different state. We could rely on parents. We could downsize our lives yet again. We could buy a little plot of land somewhere and start our community garden business idea. Literally, we could do anything.

To me, the options are pretty clear at the moment. We make an offer on the house. We fight for it. We get it, we move in, we learn how to garden in Utah. We have another child. Ryan gets his salary and I finish school. In a few years we move again (probably because there's another child on the way and we've run out of room...). This time, maybe, we get another step closer to what we actually want. Maybe we've become accustomed to making do, and so we keep wishing and hoping for someday.

Or, we take a leap now. We wait for Ryan to get a salary. We miss the $8000 tax credit. We buy a place with some land and get our horses and live, now, closer to how we want to live. We have something to work on at home, something to teach each other, and a legacy that we build and leave to our children with love and with pride and with hours and hours of learning and working and growing together. In the meantime, we still go crazy in this tiny apartment with no yard. Our little girl doesn't know what it's like to even be outside, much less to go outside and play. And, maybe we live closer to how we want to live now, but maybe we can't afford to pay for the things we want. Maybe we lose everything we wanted and realize that what we want is too dangerous for us right now.

So, basically, do we dream big or small? Do we take a big risk now, or do we delay the risk until we maybe don't want to risk, and we maybe become small people doing small things? Family is most important in this decision, I know, but what will serve our family best?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Yesterday

Yesterday was intense.

I woke up early and drove to Evanston where I met up with Ryan's family. Cara was, of course, much-gushed-over by Grammy, Aunt Meghan, and Uncle Wes. It was great. The reason for this trip was, actually, Uncle Wes who has recently decided to get out of the horsing lifestyle. Consequently, he is selling all of his equipment and Susan wanted to get a head start on my birthday presents for the next 5 or 10 years. I did need to go up and see what equipment he has... I'm a little picky. :)

I was pleasantly surprised. He had some nice bridles, and buckets, and a couple of good lead ropes. He also had barrels, a mounting block, a therapy saddle, and a cart! How cool is that? I've only gotten to drive a couple of times, but I loved it. He started to gloss over his packing equipment, but glowed with excitement when I told him Ryan and I want to go on pack trips. He wants to see that I get pretty much everything I'll need for future trips, and he also wants to teach me how to tie both a pack on a horse and a bridle from a rope. How stinking cool is that?!?

He also let me ride one of his horses. I don't even remember what breed he is, but he's a good size, beautiful color and has calm eyes. This horse has been used for therapy and for mountain trips. He was so fun to ride. He was gaited, too, and I got to experience that for the first time. Wes said we fit together. I fell in love.

Eventually Cara and I had to leave the ranching atmosphere and go pick up "Daddy." We had an appointment to go house hunting again. We looked at a couple of houses and found one that is perfect for us. It's a manufactured home, and feels good for our little family. It's on a little over a quarter of an acre. It has a one-car garage and tons of parking in front. The front yard is gorgeous, with a little lawn and huge trees. The backyard is a perfect mess and would give us many many hours of work and chances to be creative. If I hadn't ridden a horse that day and been reminded of how much I love them and want to be outside with them, it's possible we would be making an offer on it right now. We may yet make an offer on it. However, we also looked at a horse property in our price range. The house was a complete mess, but it gave me hope. So did the fact that there was another horse property we were supposed to look at but that the realtor somehow missed in our list of homes to look at. Again, maybe the house is a dump. Then again, maybe it isn't.

While we were driving around, following the realtor to one of the houses, Ryan and I started commenting on how irritable Cara was being. It was unlike her. We had already fed her, so we tried giving her toys. They helped for awhile, but not very long. We attributed her crankiness to the fact that she'd been in the car so much that day and hadn't gotten to exercise or play. A few minutes later, we heard her coughing and choking in the back. I looked back and saw that she had thrown up all over herself. I panicked. I started unbuckling her from her carseat and said, "Ryan!" He was so good. All he said was, "Got it," and he pulled over as soon as he could while I got her out of her seat. I sat her in my lap, regardless of the fact that we were still moving. When she was more upright, she threw up 3 more times, all over the car. Ryan grabbed the wipes and cleaned us all up as much as possible. He also got out the outfit I had stuck in the diaper bag that morning. We changed Cara, and as soon as she was clean and spent a little snuggle time with Mommy, she felt better. She wheezed a few times, but then coughed and it was okay. Poor thing. We were all pretty shaken up. Each time we put Cara back in the carseat that night, she cried a little bit. We made sure we took it easy in the car and that everything was okay before we tried the windy road back up to Heber. We're not sure if it was carsickness, or bad food, or what. She's fine now, though. As I speak, she's sitting in her high chair smiling at me and playing with the straps that keep her in.

And our poor realtor... we know what we want. Or at least, we know the feeling we'll get when we find the right one. So far, we've come close half a dozen times but we haven't quite found the right fit. Last week we wanted a townhouse. This week we want a horse property. A part of me feels like a horse property is a pie-in-the-sky dream, but it's so tantalizingly close to being a real possiblity that I just can't give up on it completely.

Anyway, we'll keep looking. Wish us luck.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Paradigm Shift

I want a mountain. In my mind's eye, it is picturesque. There's a pond, almost big enough to be called a lake, at the foot of this mountain. A stream, crossed by a little wooden bridge, feeds the lake. There are ducks, too, that call this lake home. Behind the lake is my home. It's a two-story cottage, bright and cheerful, like a Thomas Kinkade painting. It's white with blue trim, a chimney, flowers and herbs, and complete with a white picket fence. Of course, in the back would be a small paddock with a few horses. On weekends, sometimes we take those horses up into the mountain and go camping, or even stay at our rustic little cabin. Down at the house, there are plants and animals and life teems, but there is just enough cultivation that it can't quite be called wild. That sense of civilization fades and dies quickly, though, up in the mountain itself. Up there, the cabin feels just slightly out of place. So much structure does not belong in a place untamed.

For now, though, I am in Utah. We're trying to buy a house. Of course, I'd love to find a 20 acre plot somewhere and set up shop. That obviously won't work at the moment. We need to be close to a city for Ryan's work, and because we want to be together as a family as much as possible. That takes precedence over my mountain. It's not paradise, after all, if my husband can't be there because he's spending all his time commuting.

My second thought was trying to find a 1/4 acre plot somewhere within city limits. I get various responses to this idea. Most people, especially in this area, say, "Whoa! That's a lot of land!" My mother, on the other hand, said, "Well, that's small." I tend to agree with my mother on that score. It is small, but it's better than nothing.

We've looked, and found a couple of options. By and large, though, most things in our price range are either complete dumps or are short sales and would take too long to close. We wouldn't get the tax credit... and $8,000 is a lot of money!

Now comes the real paradigm shift. Yesterday, I considered the option of getting a townhome, rather than our own four walls. As I looked around, I started to get more excited about this option. The houses are nice, which is a big plus. The yards are small, but we would have a little bit to call our own. The biggest plus to the townhome option, though, is the perks. Often they have nice clubhouses, pools, big community lawns, playgrounds... so though we wouldn't have our own land, we would have easy and instant access to land. I've also seen one with a workout room in the clubhouse. How cool would that be? I wouldn't have to get a separate gym membership, or even buy my own exercise bike! I like it.

I know, I know. HOAs are a pain, and it's possible that a townhome won't keep its value like other homes might. At the same time, we're looking at other houses that would require so much money to get them up to par that we'd be lucky to break even in a lot of them.

It's not a perfect option, but I think for right now it's a good option, and that's worth something.