Saturday, 31 December 2011

sincerely seeking truth

i'm in a real quandary, and would love the support of the bloggernacle!  i've tried talking with friends, family, missionaries, my bishop, elder holland, you name it.  no one is able to help me figure out what to do with my relationship to the church.  i got the impression from elder holland that i was just "one of many" that my unique value to the church is not really important.

remember how when we were missionaries and we'd try and keep people from just baptizing people for numbers?  remember how we told people that you had to know for yourself and that you had to be true to yourself?  that truth came through a little triangle of love: God --> Prophets (writing and speech) --> You --> God.  one giant feedback loop of truth. or maybe how "all truth can be contained in a spiritual whole?"

i told all of my investigators, and then later all of the missionaries i taught that "a sincere seeker of truth need not fear what he finds" -- is this true within mormonism? i kinda don't think so anymore.

while i was a missionary, many of my favorite professors left BYU or were fired/excommunicated because the church didn't agree with what they were saying about women.  i found it really weird, but was just in my mission bubble and too young to realize that they were censoring religious freedom and study at BYU.  when they pushed Dr. Van de Graff out of the school, i started to wonder.  He was THE author of THE anatomy text book.  all of his students went to johns hopkins, harvard, yale, and to the super prestigious Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (which is were josh went).

VDG, as we called him, was a hero!  he would rent a freezer big/rig thing and drive across country himself, to get the cadavers we used to study and dissect.  he had to do it out of his own pocket, if i'm remembering this right  ... sharon? do you remember this deal?  they kept reducing his funding.  told him to stop with the cadavers already, and finally he left and went to Weber State.

all of the firings had taken place in the HFAC world, i spent ALL of my time in the Eyring Science Center or in the Widstoe Building where the anatomy lab that i worked in was housed.  Due to my residing in a formaldehyde laden fog, i decided i should read what the apostles whose names were attached to my buildings did.  They are SUPER cool people.  widstoe's writings on light and truth are facinating.

i loved that at BYU i was a scientist, but i HAD to take philospophy classes.  i took as many classes as i could.  i LOVED school!  i studied too much.  i never slept.  i took too many classes.  they finally told me i had to hurry and graduate or i was going to be in trouble.  they told me i should change my major to psychology because that would allow "others who have a real future in medicine" to go to medical school.  i told them i was thinking about it, and they told me to remember that my divine calling was that of mother and that i needed to make that my goal.  blah blah blah ...

i changed my major to psychology.  started doing research with Dr. Burlingame, he was the first "Adventist" i'd ever met.  he was amazing.  he helped me figure out my place in the world.  he took me under his wing and mentored the heck out of me.  he helped me realize that clinical psychology was not for me because i was too much of a "macro" thinker and he introduced me to Judy Norman, who then took me under her wing as i entered the incredibly dysfunctional world of BYU's School of Social Work.

i didn't know this at the time, but most of the crazy "gender reassingment" craziness was taking place right within the school of social work.  like i also didn't know that in 1965, then BYU president Ernest Wilkinson told the entire student-body:
We [at BYU] do not intend to admit to our campus any homosexuals. If any of you have this tendency and have not completely abandoned it, may I suggest that you leave the university immediately after this assembly; and if you will be honest enough to let us know the reason, we will voluntarily refund your tuition. We do not want others on this campus to be contaminated by your presence." 
by 1989 when i started, they weren't that direct.

i would never have joined the church had i known this!

i am the child of the 70's, we don't believe in this crap! i almost convert to mormonism because of the history with black people, i also knew that women were not all that respected, but i'd been able to learn respect on the soccer field (i was the first female soccer player on a AAA soccer team in the state.)  because i had always seen myself as a female athlete, i knew that i was faster and more technically able than most men ;).  i had played on a team with the same boys since i move to gilbert (the same year my sex abuse started).  those boys were my family.  that team was my life!  my best friends had been boys my whole life.  there were none in my neighborhood growing up, and i am an only child.  those boys and my animals (mostly the beagles) were my only playmates.  but for me they were way way more. i got lots of dinners at teammates homes.  teammate mom's would pick me up for games and practices. it was the team that even made it possible for me to play because my parents were too busy "surviving" to take me to practices and games.

i'm like the original fag-hag!  i tell all my gay boyfriends that we are probably the same number on the kinsey scale: mostly men, but the right woman could win my heart.

i knew gender was not fixed.  i knew it wasn't binary.  i had been a tom boy who HATED dresses and played soccer.  then suddenly one day, all i wanted to wear were dresses ... i also loved to kiss boys on the playground and later in my room.  i felt very straight in my sexual preference.  it wasn't until i was 35 that a woman kissed me for the first time.  the song had come out, "i kissed a girl and i liked it" and i felt like i had gone through some weird space/time portal.  my love for her, and the struggle i observed as she tried to reconcile her sexuality with the church's stance, were some of the most painful experiences of my life ... and if you know me, i'm no stranger to pain.

we prayed together earnest prayers "heavenly father is it wrong for us to love each other?" i think we both wanted Him to say yes, but He never did.  we went to a 2 different therapist, but she refused to talk at all about her sexuality.  i told her i would claim any of them ... lesbian, straight, bi, queer, questioning, anything ... her dad made it clear he didn't care ... etc etc.  she went to talk to our bishop.  i don't really know what happened obviously, but i'm sure he told her to leave me and get married to man.  he told her she needed to at least TRY to be straight.

she is a gorgeous amazing woman who had never been in a relationship with anyone until she was with me.  she is spiritual, hysterical, intelligent, silly, accomplished, i could really go on and on.  but she didn't believe in herself.  she didn't believe that she was amazing and awesome just the way she was.  she told me:
look teabelly, if it is me and you on a deserted island this is a no-brainer, but we don't live on an island. i marry you and i loose my job, my church, and my family.  
i will admit, i was less than compassionate with this revelation.  i found it ridiculous and unfounded.  i'm pretty sure her being a lip-stick lesbian mormon would have only helped her career. the bishop I talked to told me he would marry us, and her dad had made it clear to us that he knew.  we were on a family trip and ... it was very unspoken but very clear.

i think because of the advice she got, the breakup was horrible.  it wasn't a break up at all.  she just came over to my house and told me she needed to date boys and she couldn't see me anymore, and that was that.  done.  no explanation, no nothing, she just left.  ran for the hills like a impala being chased by a lion.  i really never had a real conversation with her after that.  she just cut off all contact.

i kept the whole thing quiet, because it is what she wants.  but i realized my silence has made me kinda loose it.  i wasn't able to mourn.  all of my friends told me to get over it.  when she got engaged one of many of my best friends just told me to "move on".  i felt like i was married to this woman.  it felt like she was my soul mate and we were going to have a life together, but because we never told anyone of the family we conceived, no one seemed to care.

i've slowly started telling people that i once loved a woman. they just shun me or immediately want to label me. it goes like this:

F: so this means your gay right?
t: nope, just means i loved her
F: will you ever date another woman?
t: i could see how it could happen, but i think it was just her.
F: maybe you should date more women?
t: dating a woman feels weird.  i'd only fall in love with a woman that i was friends with first for a long time.
F: so then you are straight right?
t: no, because i did love a woman.

and then we just loop.  your gay, your straight, your gay, your straight.  and i just want to scream and say quit effin' labeling me.  this isn't about the label, my heart is broken.  i was suicidal and people were telling me to get over it.  were it not for my dear friend liz just coming to my house one day (she was inspired) i'd be dead.  i was sitting in my backyard and could think of no reason to keep living.  i felt like i just ruined everyone i got involved with.  i was tired of fighting with everyone.

liz made me go on a bike ride, and i had the worst accident of my life.  skinless and broken.  we thought my shoulder was broken, i had a GIANT bruise and scratches on my stomach, my helmet hit the ground so hard it broke and flew off my head and then i hit my head again.   liz called my now recently crowned ex-girlfriend, and she refused to pick us up. she told us to call an ambulance.  the ambulance took over an hour, so liz called again.  again she refused to help.  i saw my ex at church the next sunday (i went so she could see how broken i was), she just walked by and said "wow, look at you".

this is what my friend who introduced me to the church and who i lived with my last year of high school wrote when i tried to get some comfort from her (she is a fantastic writer, all formating is hers.  i added hyperlinks):


You say that you are uncomfortable with parts of the proclamation and decided to pick & choose which parts to believe.  I believe the whole thing.  I don't believe that gender is really that complicated.  Although I know there are sometimes genetic abnormalities, and people can be born with all kind of defects, I think that for the most part it is EASY to see how men & women were designed to fit together.  I believe it is a law of God that men and women were made to be together.  Even if you leave the bible and all the scriptures out of it-- even if you leave revelation and the prophets and their words out of it-- I believe it is SELF EVIDENT that men and women are made to procreate and bear children.  Men and men are not.  Women and women are not.  I'm not talking about some bizarre case in the animal kingdom.  I'm talking about humans-- about men and women.  Men and women were designed this way to compliment each other and to create families and children.  You simply can not get around that.  This is not only a law of God it is a law of nature & it is simply the way things are.  You cannot create children naturally any other way.  
I cannot begin to explain how following these commandments makes me whole, fulfilled, complete and happy.  The great comfort, warmth, security, fulfillment and joy that I got from marriage was the most amazing feeling, blessing and transformation I have had in my life.  It continues to be the greatest source of happiness to me every moment of every day.   But then to have these precious babies, these amazing kids with Curtis just magnified those feelings so much.  They are a part of us and our relationships are what make my life worthwhile.  It's like getting kitties times a gazillion.  Am I saying that my happiness makes it right?  Of course not, but of course I do believe that this is God's plan for us.  This is the way he wants us to live.   
I believe we are born with these strong needs-- the need to be loved intimately and cared for and also the need to love and care for others.   
I also believe that because we are born with these strong, innate desires we will do whatever we can to meet those needs. Of course we can be loved by and give love to our friends and families.  We can even have appropriate emotional intimacy and affection in platonic same sex relationships.  Many believe that these needs can be met in some alternate way--ie homosexuality.   But I believe that our sexual appetites, desires, and passions need to be kept within the bounds the Lord has set.  Sometimes we have desires outside these bounds.  I think we all do at times.  Some may be born with stronger desires outside these bounds.  People are tempted to all manner of sexual perversions:  masterbation, rape, bestiality, homosexuality, pornography, fornication, adultery, pedophilia, etc.  I don't believe that any temptation outside the bounds the Lord has set will bring you the true joy and lasting happiness that the Lord intended you to have within the bounds of fidelity in marriage and parenthood.  If you follow after these counterfeits they will all lead to a dead end.  They lead to emptiness, not fulfillment; frustration, not satisfaction.     
Even if you do have some of your needs temporarily met by participating in these activities, you cannot have all that God designed for you. These temptations are a false form of the truth.  It is said that in the last days men will call evil good and good evil.  I think that is what is happening here.  People want to justify their actions and call these perversions good when they not. They are only a corruption of the good, a fake, a substitute for the real thing. 

needless to say, we are on a break from each other right now.  i'm hoping she will change her mind, i'm sure she is hoping i will change mine...

i was the young women's president and after 7 years in the capitol hill ward bought a house and was moving.  they didn't ask me to speak to my congregation the last sunday i was there. (which is tradition even for interns who have been in the ward for a semester).  with lay clergy, everyone is a preacher.  i'm kinda a good preacher so it was even weirder, i was their pitch hitter all the time.  i knew how those assignments were made and my friend was in the bishopric, he brought it up and he told me he got a really weird response.  i'm pretty sure he was just protecting me from what really went down.

wow you guys look better now ;)
admittedly, they had just woken up.
tho this was morning hair for a while ;)
i was uninvited to one of my best friends ceiling, even tho i had a temple recommend.  she and her husband-to-be talked about it and decided that they just didn't want my kind of energy in the sealing.  we had saved two orphans together and gone through some really tough stuff... i was devastated. again, blah blah blah ... more of the same.

i could write paragraph after paragraph of how people in the church have completely ignored, abused, or rejected me.  i cannot for the life of me figure out why i even want to call myself mormon anymore.  did i make a mistake in 1988 when i joined the church?  should i have become an adventist ... maybe?  should i have just stayed catholic and tried to deal with all that crazy?  i'm not sure which is worse/better?  or maybe what joseph was told during his first revelation was that he shouldn't join any of them, that they are all wrong together.  maybe he wasn't even supposed to start a church at all.  maybe it is the function of church that makes people do horrible things?

"no one expects the spanish inquisition," and i certainly didn't expect any of this.  can anyone out there help me figure this out?  the mysticism and the doctrines of the mormon church are the ones that speak the most to me.  i love the concept of heavenly mother, eternal progression, that "when you are in the service of your fellow men, you are only in the service of your God", frankly, i love the book of mormon.  its an amazing book and it really did change my life.  but is that enough?

so if i'm to "join with none of the churches, for they are all wrong together", should i ask for my name to be removed?  do i fight until i'm excommunicated or just see how much i can fight with them until they either accept what the truth's their prophet actually taught, or do i just drop it and realize that all of those "friendships" were really just about status and stature?  that i'm only worth loving when i have utility?  that is what it actually seems that the doctrine of the mormon church is.  there is one LDS family from my childhood who has stuck by me, welcomed me anytime i go home, and has loved me unconditionally through all sorts of freaked out, boundary-confused teabelly bull crap.  i know that there are more Allred families out there.  they are the families that aren't the bishops and the relief society presidents, because they realize that these callings are just funny things made up by man.  just look at sister allred and tell me, that isn't the perfect example of what a woman should/can be.  she is my hero and her daughters and sons have been my friends my whole entire life, and they told me they don't care who or what i am, who i love, or what i believe.  they just love me.  and their love has made it possible for me to remember that i'm not just a big heap of abused trauma, but instead a divine daughter of God.

i guess i feel like i'm being pushed out.  am i?  am i alone?  is there a way for me to stay mormon or is it time for me to severe the cord?  and is severing the cord part of what it takes to get to a place where your "calling and election can be made sure"?


Thursday, 29 December 2011

should mormon progressives speak up?


i got this in my email a few days ago and i keep thinking it is a bit silly, but part of me thinks if all of the people on my blog stood in the halls of power the whole world would be better.  if one believes in eternal progression, in progresses, in optimizing life, of attaining our divine potential ... what else should we do now?

yall know i'm not running.  i love my job and i'm not fit for politicking. but i know yall know people who should.  just like when we were missionaries, sometimes we just need to ask people the direct question: "will you?"  it reminds me of this mumford and sons song:







hey teabelly,

There's a lot at stake in 2012, but some of the most important races in the country won't get any national attention.

Local officials can decide what's taught in our schools and set priories for our towns and our state governments, but their campaigns are often waged with very little outside attention.

There are thousands of key positions up for grabs around the country in 2012 -- many of them in your own backyard.

Will you consider running for one of them?Decisions made at the local level have a real impact and progressive candidates running for local office have been on their own for too long.

That's why we're joining the New Organizing Institute and dozens of other progressive organizations to bring you the Candidate Project -- to recruit, train and support progressive candidates running for everything from dog-catcher to state representative. 

Pledge to run for office, or recruit candidates in your community to join the Candidate Project.
Or find out more about how you can be involved.
We need progressives like you fighting to make sure our values are represented in local governments around the country.

In 2012, progressives will be running for seats at every level of local government nationwide -- to take back our school boards, town councils, and statehouses.
You can also pledge to recruit candidates or volunteer on a local race.You have the power to change your town for the better. 

And with the Candidate Project you will also have a community of support from the day you sign up through election night 2012.

Thanks for everything you do.

- Kaili

Kaili Lambe, Political Campaign Manager
Democracy for America  

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Mormon Film Festival

i want to figure out a way to have a mormon film festival in my neighborhood this year.  with the popularity of the Book of Mormon the Musical and a mormon presidential candidate ... this might be a fun time to explore other mormon art.

they say that art is truth and truth is art.  i've always believed that if any church were to be "true" it would have the best art.  i've hoped that the mormons could pull their art up by their boot straps the way they did their business (@MittRomney -- not in a dick way, just in a super successful way.  we all know that a real mormon would not fire people, but train them up in the way they should go ...)

i was talking to some politico-neighbors and showed them this list of LDS films that the church (namely dagen's dad, Emmy and Academy Award Nominated Director Keith Merrill) produced.  just this would be enough, but then you find these, what some are calling "propaganda parody".  i'm wondering if the Capitol Hill Ward shouldn't give the district a run for their money by partnering with some art houses and charging people to see this "Propaganda Parody".  Let the missionaries be there and answer all the questions any vistor might have.  Maybe we could have some of the films show at the temple visitor center?

here are links to dagen and keith's films:
Amazon -- academy award nomination
The Wild West -- 1993 Emmy nomination
Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd -- 2000 church production for proselyting during the olympics



thoughts?

check out some of these "propaganda parodys":




Latter-day Saint Characters in Media  |  LDS Characters  |  Mormon Characters
Back to page 6HomeGo to page 8

This page only has INFORMATION about LDS videos: films made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.To purchase LDS videos, including the widest selection of films and videos about Latter-day Saints, including movies such as "God's Army", "The Singles Ward", and "The Other Side of Heaven," visit your local LDS bookstore, or you can order online from LDS Video.
LDS Video stocks a complete line of retail-available Church-made videos in its Church Distribution videos and DVDs section.
To purchase Church-made videos ONLY, you can visit any Church Distribution center. Many can be borrowed from your local meetinghouse library.


- Page 7 -
LDS Videos


Sampling of Films Produced by the institutional Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

This is not a complete listing of LDS videos or "Church videos." This listing is primarily focused on films that are dramas, fiction, or otherwise have a strong narrative component, even if they are educational in purpose. There are, of course, many other videos not listed here that are purely educational or instructional in content.
  • The First Vision
  • Called To Serve
  • Easter Dream
  • Labor of Love
  • Nora's Christmas Gift
  • Mr. Krueger's Christmas
  • On The Way Home
  • Our Heavenly Fathers Plan
  • Prodigal Son
  • Together Forever
  • Voice From The Dust
  • How Rare a Possession
  • What Is Real?
  • The Lamb of God
  • Legacy
  • Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd
  • Ancient America Speaks (1974)
  • Are You Listening? (1971)
  • The Restoration of the Priesthood (1982)
  • Of Heaven and Home (1963)
  • The Search for Truth (1962)
  • The Three Witnesses (1968)
  • Of Heaven and Home (1963; 30m:09s, a BYU production)
  • Worthy to Stand (1969)
  • Latter-Day Saint Leaders: Past and Present (1948)
  • Joseph Smith: The Man (1980)
See also: Church-produced films made by Wetzel O. Whitaker 

Church Distribution Titles

The list below includes the majority of currently available widely distributed video and DVD titles available from Church Distribution (the official materials distribution branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in 2004. This represents only a fraction of all videos distributed by the Church, as older titles are continually going out of print and are no longer available to be orderd, and new titles are continually being released. Also, title which are more restricted in distribution (such as specific training videos used only by leaders or specific branches of the Church) are not listed below:
  • An Introduction to the Church of Jesus Christ (DVD)
  • Between Heaven and Earth (VHS)
  • Bible Stories for Children (VHS)
  • Book of Mormon Stories, 2 Vol. Set (VHS)
  • Book of Mormon Video Presentations (VHS)
  • Called to Serve (VHS)
  • Come Unto Me (VHS)
  • Doctrine and Covenants Stories (VHS)
  • Doctrine and Covenants and Church History: Video Presentations (VHS)
  • Easter Dream (VHS)
  • An Ensign to the Nations (VHS)
  • Family Answers: For a More Loving Family (VHS)
  • Family First (VHS)
  • Family Home Evening Supplemental Video, Vol. 1 (VHS)
  • Family Home Evening Supplemental Video, Vol. 2 (VHS)
  • Feed My Lambs (VHS)
  • Finding Faith in Christ
  • Friends to All Nations (DVD)
  • Gordon B. Hinckley: Man of Integrity, 15th President of the Church (VHS)
  • Hallmarks of a Happy Home (VHS)
  • Howard W. Hunter: Prophet of God (VHS)
  • In a Land Called Israel (VHS)
  • In the Service of Your God (VHS)
  • Joy to the World (DVD / VHS)
  • Labor of Love (VHS)
  • The Last Leaf (VHS)
  • Legacy (VHS)
  • A Legacy More Precious Than Gold: The Mormon Battalion (VHS)
  • Light of the World (VHS)
  • Lives of Service (VHS)
  • Moments from Church History (VHS)
  • The Mountain of the Lord (VHS)
  • Mr. Krueger's Christmas (VHS)
  • Music Training (VHS)
  • The Nativity - Luke II (VHS)
  • Nauvoo: A Temple Reborn (VHS)
  • New Testament Video Presentations (VHS)
  • Nora's Christmas Gift (VHS)
  • Old Testament Video Presentations (VHS)
  • On the Way Home (VHS)
  • Our Heavenly Father's Plan (DVD / VHS)
  • President Gordon B. Hinckley Speaks to Parents and Youth (VHS)
  • Presidents of the Church (3-disc DVD set)
  • Primary Video Collection (VHS)
  • The Prodigal Son (VHS)
  • A Profile of Faith (VHS)
  • Pure Religion: The Welfare Program of the Church (VHS)
  • Sharing Time with President Gordon B. Hinckley (VHS)
  • Special Witnesses of Christ
  • Strengthening Families (VHS)
  • Teach One Another (VHS)
  • Teachings from the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History (VHS)
  • Testimonies of the Presidents of the Church (VHS)
  • Together Forever (VHS)
  • A Voice from the Dust (VHS)
  • We Believe in Christ (VHS)
  • What Is Real (VHS)
  • Wives and Daughters of the First Presidency (VHS)
  • The Worth of Souls (VHS)

Some Independently Musicals Produced for Latter-day Saint Market Which are Available as Straight-to-Video Films

When Church members talk about an "LDS video," they frequently mean any video/DVD about Gospel themes and topics, made primarily for Latter-day Saints. Often the phrase "Church video" will be used specifically to refer to a film made by the Church of an official audiovisual arm of the Church, such as BYU Motion Picture Studios. But such a distinction is not always observed. Occasionally some Latter-day Saints speak or write about "LDS Videos" when they simply mean broadly available, mainstream films that generally reflect Latter-day Saint ethical values. We do not recommend this usage.
  • Saturday's Warrior (1989)
  • Polly (1992)
  • Star Child
  • My Turn on Earth (1986)
  • It's A Miracle


Some Independent Straight-to-Video Dramas Made for Latter-day Saint Market

  • Christmas Mission (1998)
  • Only Once (1998)
  • Perilous Journey (1984) - about Samuel Pucell family and handcart 1856 trek
  • The Best Two Years of My Life (taped stage play)


"Docudrama of the Restoration" video series from Living Scriptures, Inc.

  • The Trek West
  • The Mormon Battalion
  • Nauvoo: City of Joseph
  • The Heavens are Opened
  • The Handcart Pioneers
  • New York: The Church Restored
  • England: The Field is White
  • Missouri: Zion Revealed
  • Roots of an American Prophet
  • Kirtland: The Spirit of God
  • A Legacy of Faith
  • Ensign Unto All People

Some Other Films Made by the Church, or made by BYU Motion Picture Studios for the Church

  • 'Til Death Do Us Part (1960)
  • Ancient America Speaks (1974)
  • And Should We Die (1966)
  • And Should We Die (1966)
  • Are You Listening? (1971)
  • Joseph Smith: The Man (1980)
  • Latter-Day Saint Leaders: Past and Present (1948)
  • The Lost Manuscript (1974)
  • Of Heaven and Home (1963)
  • The Restoration of the Priesthood (1982)
  • The Search for Truth (1962)
  • The Three Witnesses (1968)
  • Windows of Heaven (1963)
  • Worthy to Stand (1969)


Feature Films with Major Latter-day Saint Characters" web page created 9 February 2001. This page (LDS Videos / LDSVideos / LDS Video) split from original pages on 19 October 2004. Last modified 22 February 2005.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

CHRISTMAS 2011 ;)

what an awesome christmas.  i eschewed gifts for music and chose to bloom where i'm planted.  my friend came out from portland to see me and we are just relaxing today and tonight we are going to the synagogue for chinese food and to watch the big lebowski.  we are trying to be more open minded ;)

its weird warm here tho!

quote of the day:  "spirituality is the consciousness of victory over self, and of communion with the infinite."  (David McKay)

here is a cute photo of my neighbors that came out via twitter.




Neroli Osborn
Jackie and my niece Shauna with perfectly done Christmas hair. Nice work shauna!!!pic.twitter.com/YwmzsNS6

Friday, 23 December 2011

warren's homework: write a letter to eleanor holmes

"warren" my neighbor has the assignment of writing a letter to congresswoman holmes for his government class and asked for my help.  bless his heart, he had no idea what he was in for.  he got a whirl wind history lesson from the beginnings of the slave trade to the current drug war in mexico, to health care in america.  i wanted him to come up with the topic he felt most passionate about and have him tell me.  so we just fiddle around on the internet, me lecturing at full force of professor belly ... and we stumbled on this series... we both cried and it prompted this first paragraph ... at least for the first draft of the easy.  he dictated something here, but because he doesn't have internet at home, he has to go home and put it all in his own words.  so he is writing in his journal and then coming back to me with his take on the matter ... i'm sure it will be awesome.

this is the dictated paragraph:

I believe that we should make it legal to use and grow marijuana in DC.  I think it would be important to make sure selling marijuana without a license was super illegal.  I think people should only be able to sell the marijuana they grow.  Ideally, they should give away extra the way my neighbor Ms. Teabelly gives away vegetables.





part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5
part 6

Monday, 19 December 2011

70 busted in DC for drugs and guns worth $7.1M.



NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Gwendolyn Crump (MPD), (202)727-4383
Senior Special Agent/PIO Mike Campbell, (202) 648-8021

Metropolitan Police and Federal Partners Seize $7.1 Million in Drugs in Operation

(Washington, DC) - Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Cathy L. Lanier and members from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), announced today the arrests of 70 suspects for the possession and distribution of firearms and narcotics with a street value of more than $7.1 million.
The joint operation between MPD, ATF, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) was initiated to disrupt and dismantle illegal firearms trafficking, drug trafficking, and fencing operations within the District of Columbia.

On November 2, 2010, “Operation Manic Enterprises” was initiated. An undercover location was set up as a recording studio for a rap artist and was utilized to make the majority of undercover purchases. The operation continued through November 2011.

MPD’s Major Narcotics Unit and federal authorities seized approximately 80 pounds of methamphetamine, 9.6 kilograms of cocaine, 1.25 gallons of PCP, 23.5 pounds of marijuana, heroin and MDMA/ecstasy. The drugs were purchased and seized by the detectives in the investigation. Additionally 161 firearms, including 29 assault weapons were purchased or seized during the undercover operation.

“If these drugs and guns had made it to our streets, the impact would have been devastating to community, said Chief Lanier. This was an extremely dangerous operation. These suspects had bragged about other violent crimes they had committed and had no qualms about killing police officers, guards and other innocent people. All the law enforcement members involved in this operation are to be commended for their bravery.”

Numerous violent crimes were closed with arrests.
“It was just about two years ago to the day that we stood here with Chief Lanier and talked about our commitment to the safety of the citizens in the District of Columbia,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Rich Marianos. “Today's event shows that the men and women of ATF kept their word, and continue their work in making the citizens of DC safer.”
“These investigations have proven very effective in targeting criminals and keeping drugs and guns off our community’s streets,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners and the citizens of the District of Columbia to bringing those who traffic in narcotics and firearms to justice.”

Anyone with information about crimes that occur in the District is asked to call the police at 202-727-9099 or 1-888-919-CRIM [E]. Anonymous information may also be forwarded to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.

Gwendolyn Crump
Director, Office of Communications
Metropolitan Police Department
300 Indiana Avenue, NW, Room 5130
Washington, DC 20001
202-727-9346 desk
202-727-4383 main
202-553-8741 cell
gwendolyn.crump@dc.govgwendolyn.crump@dc.gov>

Join Mayor Gray’s One City • One Hire - 10,000 Jobs Campaign
“Putting District Residents Back to Work – One Hire at a Time”
Learn more at http://onecityonehire.org


Sunday, 18 December 2011

is an "Osborn Democrat" today's "Lincoln Republican"?


i guess i'm a "Osborn Democrat", which i honestly think is the same as a "Lincoln Republican".  if my family lore is correct, my great-uncle Sidney was the best, most moral politician ever in the history of the universe ;) or something like that.  He had a very grounded core and believed that both man and God were good.  He fought for the common good of humanity.  When the Goldwater republicans of his era wanted to create internment camps to house japanese and all other asian americans, Sidney fought it.  He fought until he realized he wasn't going to win, and then offered to have them in Arizona, so that he could control how humanely they were treated.

SPO creates ASU
during his early bit in politics, he actually delayed Arizona from getting statehood because he wanted to ensure woman's suffrage.  the man stood by the principals of democracy. my grandfather gave me sidney's copy of plato's republic when i turned 10 ... i thought it was "retarded" but my mom told me i should read it, so i did.  turns out, its not as complicated as we make it.  i read and understood plato's forms at 10 ... and i think sidney did too.  he spent his life working for the common good.

some people think that the road that runs through the center of phoenix is after him, but it is actually after his grandfather john and his dad neri's farm.
john and matilda


The Wells and Osborn party, of which E. W. Wells was captain, and John P. Osborn, James M. Swetnam, Joseph Ehle and others, were members, was organized in Colorado, and arrived in Prescott in July, 1664. Captain Wells remained in the Territory about three years, when he returned to the East. John P. Osborn was accompanied by his wife and seven children. Osborn had three or four ox teams, all loaded down with flour, hams and bacon, also a herd of cattle. Most of the cattle the Indians confiscated. Mr. Osborn sold the remainder to butchers in Prescott. When Mr. Osborn arrived at Prescott, bacon was worth seventy-five cents a pound, flour a dollar, and so on, which gave him quite a capital to commence business. As has already been stated, he built the first hotel in Prescott, and afterwards took a prominent part in laying out the city of Phoenix. He was born in Tennessee on the 25th of March, 1815, and was eighty-five years old at the time of his death.



my mom has an old school book from when he was in 6th grade where he wrote, "Sidney P. Osborn, Governor of Arizona." totally like a teabelly ancestor to have that kind of fantasy ha ha!! he is the only govenor elected to four consecutive terms in Arizona.

apparently he obsessed about politics ... which i can appreciate.  my family has huge ruckus fights about politics.  i don't go home for the holidays in part because of the family tension politics created in the 70's.  its just too intense.

sidney actually lived not far from where i live now.  he served as a congressional page went to Georgetown, was a political reporter and editor.  i feel like he really is part of who i am.  its cool!

sidney as candidate
Sidney "served as the youngest member of the Arizona Constitutional Convention in 1910, and held political office throughout most of his long career. Neri Osborn, his father, cleared land for a farm at Central Avenue and McDowell Road in Phoenix in 1870. Sidney Preston Osborn was born there May 17, 1884. "  this is why the road is named after his dad Neri.

at Phoenix Union High School, where he was graduated in 1903 and my mom graduated in 1965, he was one of the school's first football stars. my family is crazy about sports, as you know.  my mom, even in her 60's runs 3 miles a day.  she calls running and exercise her prozac.  she is such an awesome example of what a woman who faces every adversity can become.  that's a really long story, that i hope she tells some day.

sidney went to Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., where he learned national politics first hand, and then returned to Phoenix to become a political reporter for the Arizona Democrat.  which i personally love because the arizona republic was the news paper we read growing up, and my family thought was so conservative, only to then see the rise of the "shit-rag" the Mesa Tribune, which they saw as Arizona's version of the New York Post or Fox News (as edited by Glen Beck, if you know what i mean).

it was perfomance as a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1910 led to his election as Arizona's first secretary of state in 1912.  there is a ton to say about this, but i'm think this post is getting too long, so i'm just going to say, that early in his fourth term as governor, it became known that Osborn was suffering from the muscular atrophy known as " Lou Gehrig's Disease" He died in office May 25, 1948.

my aunt Sydney died of something they never quite understood.  but for most of her life was diagnosed with some form of ALS or another.  i was young, so when she would fall down at the mall we would crack up, and i'd fall with her.  i thought it was fun just to make it into a game.  we just hung out all the time cracking each other up, smoking pot, and talking about god and the nature of man, my family, and her life.  i loved it.  in so many ways, she filled in the gaps that my mom wasn't able to fill in.  you know, it really does take a village (especially if you are an osborn!)

now that i've just turned 40 and am fighting my own ALS type of illness, i feel myself clinging to my great-uncle and my aunt (who is even better) SYdney hoping to know how to beat this mess.  what did they do wrong?  what did they do right? how do i make it through?  i'm remembering all of sydney's lessons ... egalitarianism, that both God and man can be good, that we should treat ourselves well, but over indulgences is just excessive and uncomely.  other funny rules sydney have include having matching undies and bras because you "just always feel better with sexy underware".  though, bless her heart, the love of sexy undies might have been part of the problem ... ha ha

anyway ... i just wanted to say merry christmas to my family with a little bit of info i've learned about our infamous sidney.

if you know more info, let me know.  i'm fascinated about all of this right now!





Friday, 16 December 2011

teabelly is going private

herro all,
teabelly is going private.  you can reach me at teabelly@gmail.com OR twitter at ogTeabelly ...  i waited too long to join the twitterverse and someone stole teabelly ... so i took OGTeabelly ... because i'm the old gangsta' belly ... and the only one that makes tea and not war!  feel me?

con amore!
teabelly

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Furlough, again???!!! Why can't this congress keep our Government running??


Dear HHS Colleagues,

As we approach the end of the year, our thoughts rightfully turn to gratitude for family, friends, and colleagues.  I am tremendously grateful for the work you have done this year to advance the health and well being of the American people.  But while I would much prefer to be writing you to celebrate our many accomplishments at this point in December, we instead must once again discuss and prepare for the possible shutdown of many departmental operations due to a potential interruption in our funding. 

While Congress continues to consider an omnibus appropriations bill and extensions to the payroll tax cut and Unemployment Insurance benefits, there is no guarantee that they will finish their work before our current appropriation expires on Friday at midnight.  The President has made clear that he does not want a government shutdown.  The President has also urged the Members of Congress to complete the work they were elected to do and has made clear that there is no excuse for Congress to leave on vacation before all of its work is complete.  Given the realities of the calendar, however, prudent management requires that we plan for an orderly shutdown should Congress fail to complete its work or to pass another short-term continuing resolution that would give it more time to take up these important matters. 

Both the President and I know that the uncertainty of the current situation puts federal employees in a difficult position, and we are very much aware that a shutdown would impose hardships on many employees as well as the groups and individuals our agency serves.  As we approach the expiration of the current appropriationour leadership team will provide you with updated information as soon as it becomes available.  For now, I want to provide you with information on how the potential funding lapse – should it occur – would impact HHS employees – other than those at FDA, which has already received its FY2012 annual appropriation.

If funding lapses, the affected Federal departments and agencies would not be permitted to incur further financial obligations for activities funded by annual appropriations, except those related to the orderly suspension of operations or performance of excepted activities.  This means that some employees would be furloughed and unable to work.  Our contingency planning for the potential funding lapse includes determining which agency functions and employees are excepted from a furlough.  Should it become necessary to implement our contingency plans, non-FDA employees of HHS will receive informal notice from your manager no later than Friday, December 16 and formal notice no later than Monday, December 19 regarding the designation of your position and furlough status. 

For our FDA team, although our Fiscal Year 2012 appropriation means we do not face a risk of shutdown, a funding lapse that would affect other agencies may have some limited implications for FDA’s operations that we are working with FDA to evaluate at this time.  As the week progresses and we learn more information regarding such implications, we will share it with FDA employees and initiate any contingency plans that are needed.  We expect that, except in very limited circumstances, FDA staff will continue to work on a normal work schedule regardless of the status of other Federal agencies.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) website, www.opm.gov/furlough2011, addresses some of the questions that I know must be on your mind.  As needed, OPM will provide additional pertinent information for federal employees as the week progresses.  And our leadership team will do our very best to provide clear information about the status of events as the week progresses.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of all of you, HHS provides critical services to the American public.  Your contributions touch people’s lives in so many significant ways, and I want you to know how deeply I appreciate your dedication and your expertise. 

Your patience and continued support are greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your continued service to the Department and the Nation. 

Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary


Help for health care workers!!



If you are a health professional and would like financial assistance during these rough times, the National Health Service Corps has scholarships and loan repayment options for  Americans willing to work in undeserved neighborhoods.  The NHSC Loan Repayment Program (LRP) offers primary care medical, dental, and mental and behavioral health providers the opportunity to have their student loans repaid for serving communities in need.The NHSC Scholarship Program (SP) awards scholarships each year to students pursuing careers in primary care. In return, students commit to serving for two to four years, upon graduation and completion of training.




Wednesday, 14 December 2011

@JoshuaDubois is in the twitterverse

today, my grandboss (as i like to refer to him) joined the twitterverse.  @joshuadubois he is the scripture master of the whole partnership center crew, so ... if you are into faith and politics and occasionally advice on restaruants and sports, check him out.

he also loves getting scriptures about politics AND he is usually way funnier than this video ... ;)




White House with Isaiah

typing that title i realized many from religious sects around the world might find this post hoping to see the fulfillment of prophesy. unfortunately, we didn't have dinner at the white house, we just went and saw the decorations -- and had the time of our lives, if i do say so my self.

isaiah is going to tell the story of our visit as a guest blogger when he gets home from school, so i'm just throwing the photos up. enjoy them without context for the next little bit.













Saturday, 10 December 2011

Happy Xmas!! War is Over! to world love John Lennon

video

uncomfortable in time



time is a funny thing. i spent a lot of time in college thinking about it. i wrote papers on the nature of time ... i decided that time was just a measurement for change. like a meter is to distance. that is why time can sometimes go really really fast, when your having fun OR really really slow when you are in a near fatal accident, or your husband tells you he is cheating on you, or you find out you have ALS, or you are BORED TO TEARS. its because of the amount of change occurring in those moments.

so i've realized then that "fun" times for me are times when change is occurring at a particular speed or rate. i kinda like going fast, so i kinda like change, so that is when i'm happiest. even when "bad" things are happening, if i can keep the pace of change either fast or slow enough, i stay grounded, at peace, and even happy.

i also realized that this thing that we then refer to as time, this standardized measure of change, is really destructive for me. i can function perfectly well when i'm allowed to ebb and flow with both my energy levels and the amount of light. but after a number of days of HAVING to be up at a certain moment, i just loose it.

i gave up an alarm clock years ago because the anxiety of the alarm going off was about to cause me a heart attack. i could never come back down from the energy rush of that damned alarm. over the course of this healing process i've been in, i've be able to really disconnect from time restrictions and its amazing what it does for my stress levels.

i've realized that i am as comfortable in standardized time as a fish probably feels in air. i'm not saying get rid of the meausurement. i love having meeting times when they are apropos, but i'm saying we need to rethink our rigidity about time, realize what it is we are talking about, and let go of this random idea's control on our brains.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

bed bugs repost ... still (not) biting after all these years

this is a repost. i get a bunch of people each day finding this post via searching for images of bed. i do want to say, that since this time, i have not had ANY bed bugs. i have sprayed with a synthetic pesticide, which made me feel really guilty, but no bed bugs. it cost $400 total. the exterminator, gary, told me about "Do Your Own Pest Control's" bed bug kit. it got it and more problems. but just in case ...

i do public health. the only way to end an epidemic is to talk about it ...


my parents used to say that to me when i was going to sleep. just like "sleep tight" (which is a reference to how people used to sleep on hay that they would bind and recently tightened beds were more comfy) i just thought it was something people said. it wasn't until i was in college that i realized that bed bugs were bugs that bit you when you were in bed.

i had never seen them nor heard of anyone having them until the night before i left for colombia. that's when i discovered that i had bed bugs and had been letting them bite me for awhile. this made for a few nights without sleep . . . i was just SO creeped out!

had i not journeyed into hardcore denialville, i would have known 3 weeks earlier when i first noticed little pin-head sized blood spots on my sheets and the odd, itchy string of bites on my arms.

during my denial phase, Aly (who is a fellow that worked with me for the last 6 months AND who study with a bed bug specialist at Harvard) said, "i wonder if you have bed bugs" after i showed her the strange set of bites on my arm. i just laughed. i thought, how could i have bed bugs, i'm clean . . . plus i didn't think that they existed anymore. i had seen a red bug the size of a pin head on my bed, but just figured it was some weird dc thing.

without denial, i would have look at photos of bed bugs and tried to figure out if i had them. instead i avoid the topic of bed bugs like the plague. i often do that. sometimes, when a task is daunting or it is new territory i can procrastinate or deny reality with the best of them. this is a testimony to me of the power of denial. it was so obvious that i had bed bugs, but i did not want to believe it, so i kept my head in the sand for a LONG time. once i actually saw the bugs crawling on my bed that night, the denial cracked open, and i realized i had them for a LONG time.

denial is powerful!

i figure i should share my bed bug epiphany with all of my readers (all 10 of you). . . there is a bed bug infestation taking place in the US. some are calling it an epidemic, but that word is for illnesses, bugs infest! NYC is super infested and it is moving throughout the eastern seaboard. all 50 states and the territories have reported bed bugs. calls to exterminators for bed bugs have increased about 70% across the US.

we are a people on the move, and we are taking our bed bugs with us. they travel in our clothes and suitcases and can hibernate for a really long time.

it is important to check any hotel bed you are going to sleep in for bed bugs before you lay down. i will explain how:

signs of bed bugs:
  • pin head sized brown or red spots on your sheets. (they bite you at night and then they poop the rest of the day.
  • brown spots or casings of bed bugs in the folds of your mattress, box springs or along the wooden walls near your bed.
  • bites on uncovered parts of your body. the bites are usually in a string or circle of bites
bed bugs do bite but only at night, when you are asleep. they inject anesthetics and anticoagulants via their saliva under your skin that creates a numbness, many people can't feel when they are being bit. i never did. during one 10-minute feeding they will suck down 2-3 times their body weight in your blood.

some people won't react for 14 days or more. so check your sheets, that will be the best way to know if you have them.

during the day bed bugs hide themselves in the folds of your mattress. they need to feel hidden. they often will all glob together to hide (they aren't the smartest bugs). just so long as 2/3 of their body is covered they think they are hidden. they will usually be near where their food sleeps (you are their food), so look under your sheets, bed skirt, mattress, and box springs near the side of the bed you sleep on.

gary the exterminator took this photo
this is post-extermination
this is the underside of my box spring

each female bed bug will lay 6 eggs a day. this is not a typo. from an op-ed in the NYT last week:
Because the female bedbug has no genital opening, the male inseminates her by using his hardened, sharpened genitalia to punch a hole through her abdomen. With no elaborate courtship ritual, males in a frenzied pursuit of sexual congress often blunder into and puncture the bodies of other males, occasionally inflicting fatal wounds.
this rate of reproduction is staggering when you consider just how long it could take to be completely infested. when they are young they are so small they just look like little red dots moving. below is the life cycle of a bed bug:


the adults are about the size of a lady bug, but flat and not cute at all!

this is just a photo from the internet, but should help you get a feel for their size
if you want more info on this, check out this bed bug site
i can't look at it for long without getting the creeps and feeling itchy all over.

you can also tell that you have bed bugs by the "sweet musky" smell of their oderants -- which is how they communicate. if you are smelling this sweet musky smell, you probably have a bunch of bed bugs.

bed bugs mutate incredibly fast, which makes complete eradication tricky. NYC has been battling bed bugs for over 5 years. the city, they believe, is infested. fancy hotels and shops along park avenue have been shut down because of bed bugs. some believe that NYC's environmental policies are making it impossible to kill the bed bugs off. because they mutate so quickly, it is important that if you use pesticide, you do at least two treatments and change the mixture of insecticide so that they don't become immune.

having bed bugs doesn't mean anything about the cleanliness of your house or office. though bed bugs do like to hide in clutter and prefer paper and other wood products to any other substance. so i had a bunch of books next to my bed and some bookbinding papers under my bed. they were living in them. in a raging fit of lazy i had also shoved my winter down comforter under my bed -- i didn't want to have to find a bag to put it in before storing it in the attic -- they were in it too.

bed bugs can't survive extreme temperatures. the best way to kill them is to expose them to really cold or hot. i ended up washing just about every piece of cloth i owned in a extra hot cycle in my washing machine.

you can also freeze them to death, which might be a cool way of killing them in the winter.

i put all my books in a garbage bag and sprayed insecticide on the books and in the bag and sealed it. gary, my exterminator, said that would for sure kill all of them.

you can also suffocate/starve them. this is time consuming. a bed bug can live for up to a year without food. so, the stuff that wasn't super important is in the attic waiting for a year to come back down. i may end up just throwing it away, because if i don't need it for a full year, i probably don't need it.

michigan has provide its citizens with this super helpful guide: don't let the bed bugs bite if you are looking for more information.