Thursday, November 19, 2020
Friday, November 13, 2020
OMGoodness! Squealing with excitement that the first episode of the Real Housewives of SLC just aired. I haven't followed the other reality series closely, only the first ever one when it first aired because I was still living in Los Angeles at the time and it just peaked my interest. It was a crap show like all reality series, but it was also the kind of wreck you couldn't look away from. Why are we as human beings so keen on other people's crap shows?!
Well, I had to comment as a good Latter-day Saint myself. Mostly because it was such a huge decision for me to join the Church, because I am not someone who was raised in the Church, and because of the controversy of how they portray they Church, I wanted to be the voice of reason and critique. Plus, some of my LDS friends are so disgusted by the show, my recap will serve as a quick summary read and then they can refute all the nonsense when their friends ask if SLC is really like that?
Of course it's not! It's a reality show mean to peak your interests. It's fake, so much of it is fake. Not just the boobs, eyelashes, and lips which stand out above all the rest, but even the fights and stuff. One of my good friends interned at MTV back when Laguna Beach was still on air, and I know firsthand that they had to "retape" a lot of the fight scenes, and the producers would prompt animosity between the characters with questions and lead the drama any which way.
Okay - onto the recap!
First, as an active Latter-day Saint, I find it hilarious that everyone in the show is using the term, "Mormon" which our Prophet and President of the Church has recently made a huge fuss over us no longer using that phrase to reference ourselves. Weird especially considering I was part of the initial "I Am a Mormon" campaign back in 2010, but it was revelation to him, probably because Heavenly Father knew that people were going to try and take advantage of the curiosity around our religion. There's not much to be curious about, we have a great website, the missionaries are dying to meet you and teach you, but what you won't know unless you're an active member is we always now refer to ourselves as Latter-day Saints. It's almost an inside joke in a way to those who have left the Church and still refer to themselves as former or ex-Mormons. It's a trigger word too, because once you say it, everyone knows you ain't one. LOL
Okay moving on... first up is JEN SHAH, but umm... Jen's Shah's Chalet? What's a chalet? I must be too basic because I had no clue. But here's our first assumed former "Mormon," and she is a riot! Definitely hands down my favorite character! What sass and crazy this one is! She is Tongan and Hawaiian and married to one of the assistant coaches at the U. She is extra. Definitely super extra, and trying to have cringe worthy parental talks with her two sons about sexting. You are welcome to look away during this portion. She even has her own assistant, a dude, and they drive the wrong way all over downtown SLC because video editing. This girl loves her beauty updates, in fact she makes weekly visits to her friend, HEATHER GAY, who owns Beauty Lab and is another former "Mormon" who married a super rich "Mormon" who was basically "Mormon royalty." Ummm.. no. If there's any Mormon royalty, his name is Mitt Romney or Rachel Parcell. If you're LDS, then you know what I'm talking about. Anyone else, and this nobody, is exactly that. A nobody. Also, she owns a beauty lab and talks really awfully about her "Mormon clientele" trying to seek perfection. I'm thinking this won't be so good for business after the show airs....
Heather is not the first to bad mouth the Church. She has to right? Pretty sure that was part of the gig when they decided who would be in the show. Apparently she didn't get the memo that a lot of active Latter-day Saints get divorced. It's not against the religion Heather. It's maybe discouraged, okay, but dude I know tons of great people who are divorced AND Latter-day Saints, what are the odds? I even know people who have remarried. BLENDED families? What the what. Shocking right? Oh wait, it's a reality show trying to taint the religion that so many people are curious about. Totally expected. But she also talks about how Elder Holland said to Be Therefore Perfect - Eventually - just kidding, but she knocks on how we all believe we can be perfect, so we keep getting beauty stuff done lol. Ummm.. not quite, but here's the talk in case you are curious why we believe we can be therefore perfect (hint: its' a scripture, but there's more!)
Oh but let's not forget Jen also tells us how she changed religion (so casually also because you know, it's like picking what you wear) when her husband told her that blacks weren't allowed in the "Mormon church" until the 70s. First, that's not true. Ask any good latter-day Saint who is black, or check in with SistasinZion, what they didn't have was the Priesthood which some might argue is basically the same thing, but this also was the black men, and it was during a time when the world was trying to figure things out and I don't fault the Church for their decisions, just like I don't fault the US for not letting Asians own land or marry other races back in the day, but times have changed and so has the Church, and that's all great history but folks, let's talk about the fact that she was raised in the Church and didn't have a clue about this until she got married. Was she getting botox during Sunday School? Cuz I joined the Church at 28, and you better bet I did my due diligence to understand every controversial opinion and doctrine of the Church. But not Jen Shah, she might have been too preoccupied party planning cuz homegirl can plan a kick butt party for herself - I mean, for her friend.
Moving on again, to meet more characters. LISA BARLOW who is a feminist in every right, also another former "Mormon," who owns an alcohol company with her husband (I wish I could tell you if it's good, but I'm out of the loop now), but also, refuses to cook, so they do takeout for pretty much every meal. But she couldn't do a better takeout than Taco Bell? Taco Bell in a porsche. Too bad it wasn't a Tesla though. At least she redeemed her SLC-ness with some Crumbl cookies in the nice pink box, but I don't know whether to envy her never cooking or feel sad that she is eating Taco Bell enough that it's being filmed. I find Del Taco a little bit more high class but you'll only find me there on Tuesdays, if that. Maybe that scene was filmed on a Tuesday, because if so - I have much more respect for Lisa now, but I doubt she's trying to save money with her dining out choices.
Then we meet another girl, MEREDITH MARKS, who is basically Lisa Barlow's twin except she's not "Mormon" and she has little drama except this subtle hint of a troubled marriage because her husband expresses on air that he's not getting any. Ouch. Methinks the producers are setting us up for a storyline! (slow golf clap). Reminds me of the awkward time a partner at work said something along those lines when he was drunk and all us associates chuckled awkwardly and tried to slip away. SO awkward. Meredith Marks, supposedly a really famous person with jewelry that a ton of celebrities wear. They named dropped some but I was more focused on her awesome son who hands down has the best make-up on the show. And, what a sweetheart! Helping his dad who can't manage to make it home for his wife's birthday, spread all these amazing red roses everywhere and light candles (I hope he blew it out before they left for the party of the year). He is hands down the best looking person on the show, but it might be a close tie with WHITNEY ROSE who appears to have not entered botox just yet. More on that later. Apparently Meredith is the in to all those who want to party at Sundance. I think that's how everyone became her friend.
Okay, so then we meet Whitney Rose, who is also cousins with Heather Gay, and she is renewing her vows with her slightly older husband (they stress this in the show, I didn't notice to be honest, they make a cute couple) because it was a super scandalous relationship when it started because it was an office romance where they both cheated on their spouses! Kinda gross but kind intriguing, but more hilarious to me is when she states she can't believe it took her friends and family ten years to come around to the fact that she had a sordid affair with her older boss and left her husband for him. That's the kind of foundation that family and friends usually support and get behind you with, no matter what, so of course she's right. Why didn't anyone believe her? Why did it take ten years for them to finally realize this relationship was for real? It better be for real, because they just renewed their vows to make sure of that! But they are seriously such a cute couple. His face when she rides on the pole during the afterparty (yes, I just said that) is so cute and supportive. Of course they're still together! She makes sure you know that she has won because they are indeed still together. Oh and we get a short snippet of her dad, who has THE blackest wig or hair I have ever seen. I think it's a wig, but it's potentially even more black than my own hair which is all natural and mind you I have gotten random compliments from my older white male optometrist about it in SLC (weird? or is it.....). The previews indicate we will be seeing more of him later, and I can't wait!
Then we meet our last, but not least character, MARY COSBY, who is married to her step grandfather! Then everyone has to make side comments about how that is weird, even for Utah. LOL. I'm not originally from Utah so I can appreciate the snarkiness but that's not just weird for Utah, that's weird period. But it's okay, she had to do it in order to inherit the kingdom and wealth that is some Pentecostal Church that is definitely killing it in Salt Lake because homegirl is dressed to the nines! She will tell you about all her brand names, there's so many, I don't even know what designer she is in, but it is wonderful and amazing and I love her for it all! Also, in one scene her black sparkly beret catches the light just right the entire time she is talking. Asians love bling, so I love it! She's also effortlessly blunt and cannot figure out she needs to apologize to Jen for saying it smelled like hospital, a scent she is very sensitive and triggers a lot for Mary, when Jen complains about how she just came from the hospital where her aunt had both legs amputated. Mary even says well maybe the aunt didn't have a healthy diet (OMGoodness, did she really just say that) and I am here for it all.
This goes down during a party which Jen has planned for
herself her good friend Meredith's birthday. It is a gorgeous over the top party with roses, new furniture she brings in to rearrange along with a tent and runway because everyone needs a runway for a party, duh. There's also a lot of alcohol and of course they talk about alcohol (which nobody points out is reduced and not as strong in Utah, the first thing all my non-LDS cousin couldn't stop talking about when he visited because it isn't any cheaper according to him, but takes longer so much longer to get buzzed) but then Heather has to make a comment about how all the Mormons at the party will basically be drinking in a corner. But really she means cultural Mormons, because so much of Utah was founded with the religion when it began, but so many people have fallen away, that it really is like being Jew. It's a religion, but it's also a culture. I subscribe to the religion part, but I am still adjusting to the culture of it all, so this part of the show amuses me instead of angering me. Dude, if you wanna drink - go drink! Nobody cares. But don't come to church and pretend you don't drink. Hypocrites. I gave up alcohol myself 11 years ago to join the Church, so I know firsthand how fun and awesome it is to get wasted, but also how wreckless and the painful dumb things we all did while drinking. Luckily, I never got hung over because I drank tons of water, but I hear it's awful and if you're wondering what it feels like, it feels like you just had a new baby. There, now every new mom has felt hungover. To the max.
Overall, I know a lot of my Latter-day Saints friends will be pissed about the show. "Whitney Rose wasn't ex-communicated, she left" but honestly guys, who cares?! We all know these are not real "Mormons" and that they are going to poke fun at our religion, say things like, "I love blacks, I love homosexuals, and the Church does not love them" or how being a "good Mormon" means "don't drink, don't swear, treat your body like a Temple." LOL. If only guys. It takes way WAY more than that, and probably a testimony is the most important part, but that doesn't sell. That's not exciting! Look, it took me a lot of serious conversations with missionaries and my own studying but when you feel the Spirit, you just KNOW! I don't think they've felt the Spirit though, doubt they even know what that is... but what I felt by watching was definitely the spirit of wanting more of the pure entertainment. I think no publicity is bad publicity, because I'm pleased that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put an ad into the Book of Mormon musical about "loved the show? The book is even better!" (I've heard, I've not actuall seen the musical, just watched the numbers and read about the plotline). Anyway, I'm here for it all! And since so many of my LDS friends won't be watching it, I'm willing to take one for the team and post recaps every week.
Bring it on RHOSLC!
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
I suppose the same can be said about cooking and cleaning, but for some reason, I don't ever forget to cook, and cleaning can be ignored without a huge devastating consequence, but laundry is something that when forgotten, really comes back to bite me in the butt.
Since I spend so much of my time in the laundry room, that was the second room in our new house that I wanted to update. I had updated the dreary and foreboding red in my office to a light gray/purple which has always been a dream of mine ( I am in love with the color purple but a darker purple might have been too much for me...) plus I needed it to be bright and airy for when I do my meetings (I'm a speaking coach at night via Zoom).
So the first thing I did before I even began taking off the cabinets to paint white (they used to be brown) was make this print. It was the motivating image in my update. I did black and white with blues, and this print sits perfectly before and after the update. Some of you have asked for it, so here it is. Just save it as a JPG and print it at Costco or any other photo printer. Enjoy!
Sunday, November 8, 2020
I made this for our family, but thought I should share with everyone else! If you're looking for something basic to do, I'm your girl! If you don't have snow, you'll have to substitute for playing outside, in leaves, etc.
Monday, September 21, 2020
I've been thinking a lot about motivations, especially as I struggle with finding a means to motivate my own children that are now being homeschooled. I started to notice the pros and cons of homeschooling.
We can honestly do so much more in the amount of time we have together. We can go over three subjects with one on one attention, finish piano practice, and have a lot of leisurely reading time. We also explore a lot of other fun subjects like technology where we're doing a coding subscription kit and learning about 3D printing and printing stuff together (or planning on it).
Within 2 days of homeschooling my kindergartener, I called the school and registered her. Even though I'm unsure how long in person school will last with the pandemic, I needed her to learn the social aspects of a school education where they have to take turns, not throw massive tantrums everytime she wanted something because 1. I'm her mom and 2. I'm her mom.
The same hardships exist with just my boys. Whenever they decide to be disruptive or that they don't want to do the assigned work, they throw a tantrum, enormous astronomical sized ones that I know they would never ever dare to throw at school. I know there are children that would also throw a tantrum at school, but mine haven't. In fact, Bubba is the most well behaved kid at school, he actually separates himself from his friends if they are causing trouble because being well behaved at school is that important to him. I am trying to think of what it is that makes him try so hard - the pride, the knowledge that he's the best? And so my mind dwells on what motivates me. Why do I work so hard to organize and clean? Before I started posting my decluttering journey, why did I keep my home clean. Pre social media, why was I obsessed with it? It made me feel good. I like showing my mom that I could keep my room clean, but I also liked how it made me feel. Good.
Does completing their work make my kids feel good? Perhaps until they've learned a sufficient amount, there's nothing to be proud of? Or will test taking and receiving good results make them want to try harder? Will the objective of learning itself ever make them feel good? As I sit and force my child to practice another song on the piano yet again, is there something for him to be pleased with?
I finally decided my kids do need motivation. Some type of positive and negative reinforcement, because without it, they are just ticking tantrum bombs. If it's not the oldest, it's the second. I quickly put up "very good" and "not good" in Chinese on my board and started telling them that good behavior earned a show. I hate using screen time as a hook for them, but with our strict screen rules, it really works. So for now, why not. Perhaps faking it til we make it will mean they eventually are so honed in on routine, they don't even question why they study hard and work hard, because it just comes naturally, or perhaps, it backfires and my kids will not do anything once they get a phone and don't need to do anything to get it. Who knows. Time will tell.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Part of my kid's homeschooling curriculum includes reading a lot of poetry. It's so interesting, I almost forgot how much I loved poems growing up. In high school, I would constantly write poems. Poems about love, about disappointment, failure, death, or attempted death. I was very emo to say the least.
So homeschooling so far (week three done, starting week four) has been going and has had its ups and downs. Mostly, I'm nervous about whether they're learning anything, definitely more than public school, but enough to make this endeavour worthwhile? Verdict isn't out yet. I've definitely noticed which of my children may actually most definitely benefit from this set-up in the long run. I'm not sure about the others quite yet.
It wasn't easy.
It wasn't hard.
It just kind of became.
But do they see me? Do they hear me? Or am I like the blurred blare of a voice they can't make out?
This feels right. This feels like my time. But not as much when I'm losing my voice yelling.
Frustrated. Dejected. Tired.
Happy. Proud. Accomplished.
Thursday, August 27, 2020
Wednesday was a joy. We finally got some of our English textbooks, so I felt good about teaching two of my kids and just using the downloaded PDF versions for one child. Despite being completely exhausted and utterly drained by 2 PM, the morning was so great. To have a kid sit on my lap while we go through their work, to have the kids play for 15 minutes on the apps they've downloaded, to have a kid calm down and speak gently to me, it was all SO SO weird! It's as if they respect me as a teacher mom, and are able to enjoy having their mom spend some one on one time with them. And it was so exciting to see them learn with me! Cooper was fine by himself until about 11 AM, and then we distracted him by giving him some bells. Once he tired of that, we grabbed the xylophone bells. Sometimes Dagny will ask for some ipad learning time while the boys are doing their apps (NightZookeeper for English and Prodigy for Math), for 15 minutes. I oblige willingly, but then Cooper just wants to play on the ipad for the rest of the day while the others are learning. That does become a bit of a problem. But really not paying too much attention to him has been key.
I also managed to clean 4 of our 5 toilets (it's the Wednesday chore we always do), and the kids helped with dishes and tidying up. The boys had baseball practice at 6 PM, and the littles and I joined to go play on the playground for a bit. I rewarded myself with a quick trip by Swig on the way over, and enjoyed sharing the drink with my kids too. Good hump day, I really hope this homeschooling positivity continues. Because so far, I'm loving it.