09 August, 2008

Teenbooks, vampires and conversations you never want to have...

Some goddesses are puzzled by this...like me...

I made my kids a promise when they were about 3 & 4, that ANY question they had the guts to ask, I'd have the guts to answer (my dh chickened out and keeps telling them that MOM made the promise!) We've discussed where babies come from, what 'jerk offs' are (wasn't THAT fun!), what kinds of things will REALLY make you go blind, racism, elitism, words they want defined...if they asked it, I did my best to explain.

Lately I've had kind of a dilemma. There are some REALLY popular bestsellers that are young adult fiction that a friend of my daughter's loaned to her originally. She told me a bit about them when she was first reading them, and how the heroine got kind of depressing, whiny and teenaged angsty in the second book. I was glad that she noticed it and didn't think much more about it. Now I've read all the books because she insisted they were so good.

Now that I've read them I have MANY topics to discuss with my dd. My dilemma comes down to realizing that I, as an adult, read these books and noticed some weaknesses and the way some relationships were portrayed and I didn't care for it too well. But I enjoyed the books nonetheless. However, as a mommy goddess I had a difficult time with the way the relationships in these books are presented to a teenage girl. Yes, I know it's an alternative reality world, but it's based upon our real world.

With the first book I didn't much like that her parents were portrayed as immature and incompetent to look after themselves. The teen is portrayed as having an extremely low self image, thinks herself mature.

The books I'm talking about are the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer.
Here is my librarything review of Twilight.

In the second book "New Moon." The heroine is on top of the world because this gorgeous god is now her boyfriend, not an unreasonable response for a girl of that age, but she sneaks around and lies to her parents and friends. And while it's all justified in the teen's mind (isn't it always?) I still found it a sad statement on loving and caring relationships. Then when her boyfriend disappears to protect her she spend the last 4/5 of the book depressed and on the edge of suicidal. The obsessive relationship with the hero was scary to me, as it seems like such an unhealthy blueprint for love.

Here's my librarything review of New Moon.

The third book, "Eclipse" was more of the same, low self esteem, obsessive love, vacillating between two relationships. The plot was tighter and the characters more three dimensional, but it was an average read.

Here's my librarything review of Eclipse.

The conclusion of the series, "Breaking Dawn," was satisfying as a reader, but gosh it left the mother with a great many concerns.

Here's my librarything review of Breaking Dawn.

There were aspects of the book that were done well. The final confrontation for one, the building and layering of the characters interactions.

But I had so many problems with this book that I don't know where to begin. It could have been 200 pages shorter and been a tighter, more closely plotted book with less wandering. The father's reactions were unbelievable. The portrayal of pregnancy was horrifying and scarifying (and if you expected anything even approaching that you wouldn't want to continue the next generation!)

Again, the love relationship seemed over the top, but the virginity until after marriage and the groom who must have been the oldest virgin in the Western World was kinda cute.

The "imprinting" relationships in the last books between almost adult males and girls who were toddlers just hit my 'ick' meter BIGTIME!

The author used the old standby of the men looking out for the girls and wanting what is best for them, etc. But by setting the story in the real world this just swung too close to the edge of pedophilia for me to want my daughter to think it might a good type of relationship. If the world was less real, I don't think it would have bothered me as much.

And maybe, in the back of my mind, I'm making the prejudiced connection between the scandals with young girls and the old men in the Mormon church; since it has been widely advertised that the author is Mormon, and this may be some of my creepy, ick feeling. I know that reading the articles about girls that ARE girls, forced to (or brainwashed into) marry men old enough to be their fathers just hits all my feminist hot buttons.

I hope it's not prejudice because I really respect a great deal of values the Mormon Church espouses; I just don't want my daughter raised with them. :)

And yet, I can't see banning books either...

I raised her to think for herself; now I guess I have to trust her to know how to do it. (Especially if I've read it and can talk to her about it as well *grin*)

From a puzzled goddess who really wanted to like the books more

08 August, 2008

More than I ever wanted to know about potties...

Some goddesses are puzzled by this...like me...

Okay, yesterday I said I needed to stop writing and making comments about movies because I had some reading to do and needed to come up with a class for our SCA [Society for Creative Anachronism] meeting. Well, in the course of doing my research I discovered more about Medieval potties and cleanliness than I ever really wanted to know.

These subjects (at least the cleanliness) are/is covered very thoroughly in The Compleat Anachronist #136: Hygiene of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Volume One: Personal Grooming and The Compleat Anachronist #136: Hygiene of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Volume Two: Domestic Arrangements by Jennifer Heise

The goddess was illuminated about gongs and jakes and gongfermors (the people who cleaned out cesspits), and I visited all kinds of websites that discussed the subject. One even showed off a padded seat! This cesspit was actually cleaned out by a tradesman known as "Monsieur Fifi. "

I read discussions about cities painting religious signs on buildings to keep urinators away and hiring people to clean out the "pissing corners." (and I thought I had a problem with people missing!) But I just hate to admit we can't eliminate in the medieval manner...there's no place on our property that would put us a "bow's shot away." And there's no handy Mullein bush for that wiping thing.

I've yet to see any lids on any of these seats though...

Till next time from a puzzled goddess who likes 20th century bathrooms

07 August, 2008

My Dear Husband has an agreement with the video stores....

Some goddesses are puzzled by this...like me...

I swear. He knows when I'm at my weakest and will hit me with the idea of picking up a movie or two.

A movie or two? How about 6 or so? He knows the way my Scots soul works and the internal dialogue I go through....hmmm...it would cost us $40 if we were all to go to the movies and we'd see ONE movie. Maybe even one we wouldn't enjoy. It would be too loud and I'd have to wear my earplugs (so the noise didn't send my head soaring) someone in front of me would have been marinating in their aftershave or some woman would have bathed in her perfume...I don't do well with the fake butter smell on the popcorn and the cigarette smell...you get the idea. And of course there's the, it's only a few movies. We live way out in the stick (too far for them to be multiple sticks) and we'd save the gas and time if we didn't go to the theatre. Just to RENT it would cost more than it would to BUY it and use the gas to have it there and back on time.

My dh, a great tactician, lets this all play through my head for awhile during our time in town while we're running our various bi-weekly or monthly errands. He knows that I always feel the bite of the bugdet during these times, but I also feel guilty for how little enjoyment he and the kids get the rest of the time as they cater to what we can afford, or what I am in shape to do.

So, we normally stop by the movie store. Not for new movies mind you, that would be too expensive, but a few of those pre-watched ones.... (this from a woman who barely watches TV and at that only really the History Channel and Discovery Channel when someone else has them on!)

So our last trip, knowing we couldn't really afford any away trips to SCA events this summer, I gave in to a trip to Blockbuster...we normally go to Hollywood Video, it's closer to our shopping routes.

Here's what we picked up:
One that I really wanted to see, because Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson are such talented actors. And the 2nd National Treasure because the first was a fun action adventure that, while totally imaginary, brought points of our history into use in the script.

Then Jumper and In the Name of the King for my DH. Jumper, because the plot sounded intriguing. In the Name of the King, because we all have enjoyed playing Dungeon Siege together...but only when I can keep my ds and dh from powering through the game. I like time to explore!

My ds wanted Dragon Wars and my dd wanted The Golden Compass.

Out of the six that we bought last week, we've watched 3. Sitting cuddled up on my small queensized bed that barely holds the ancient cat, the doofus lapdog, my dh and I at the best of times. To this, in our infinite wisdom (yeah, that's sarcasm) we add two 'kids' that are both over 5'4" and look like real people. And their snacks! Gods we're dumb. [this is part of the reason my neck's been out for the last week...and getting worse, I just don't want to give up the family time!]

So, we have watched, "The Bucket List," "In the Name of the King," and "Jumper."
The Bucket List lived up to all expectations. We laughed, we cried, we talked about our personal 'bucket lists.' It let us draw closer as a family. Jack Nicholson's character disappointed me a bit, because I felt like it was a character he has played many, many times in movies, but the quirkiness and intelligence of Morgan Freeman's character made up for it. I'm not sure I'll watch it again, because I don't like crying, but it was definitely an 'A' flick.

"In the Name of the King," we watched the next night. And it was about exactly what we expected. The cheese factor was a bit high, the fantasy epic plot was so transparent, the fight scenes were kinda fun...his wife was dressed like a true fantasy heroine throughout the whole movie, but most surprising of all were the number of big names who signed on for bit parts in this. Ron Perlman, John Rhys-Davies, Burt Reynolds? While I'd only rate the film at an A- or B, we had a ball making smart @ssed jokes and allusions to other fantasy movies that I'm sure you all could name. We'll probably watch it again, just to see what new jokes it brings up!

The last of the three we have watched in the past week is, "Jumper." I am so disappointed that I can't get that hour and a half of my time back. They started with a really cool premise, and had some neat history that they barely touched on throughout the film. Add to that some major plot weaknesses, some weak characterization and a lame @ss ending and you have a film that I would have re-written before it EVER hit the shelves. I'll give it a C- (it only gets above an F because the premise was so good, and I could see potential in it that was never realized.) Maybe if it had been 30 minutes to 45 minutes longer they would have actually developed the plot.

That's it from me today...I got books to read and SCA classes to plan for our meeting tonight. And I'm behind because of all my dumb @ss indulging in more than 5 minutes of whining a day and too much sleep!

Blessing and many happy movie hours to you all from
a puzzled goddess

06 August, 2008

Pain, pain go away, come again some other day...but, send in the clowns

Some goddesses are puzzled by this...like me...

Pain is not my friend. It may be YOUR friend, but it ain't mine! I was hoping against hope that clearing the aspartame toxins out of my body would mean more pain free or even pain tolerable days. This last week has definitely proved that hope to be in vain.

I've already cleaned out non-naturally occurring MSG. (with all it's attendant names they try to sneak through on the packaging...margarine, whipped MSG YUCK! Hydrolyzed Proteins and vegetable oils...yucky!)

I've dumped most, if not all, sources of nitrates, nitrites and sulfites and am weeding the list tighter on what packaged food can EVER make it into my house.

I only have about 4 restaurants I can eat at, most of them I have to special order and be careful of EVERYTHING. That's why Chang's Mongolian and the China Garden Buffet are such a relief. Chang's because I know everything that I put into the food, and China Garden because they use no MSG and so I can avoid other questionable ingredients.

I drink no sulfites; I don't eat preserved food. I stay away from heavy perfumes and paint or fresh tar smells. I avoid loud noises and bright lights and even much music most days. I try to walk (not as consistently as I'm supposed to *blush*)

But still I get bombarded by pain that won't let me think, won't let me sleep un-drugged and makes my memory like swiss cheese, and all I want to do is live a life with my family.

I know there are many people out there in worse pain, my cat, my sister, my mother-in-law...but the pain isn't helped by knowing there are more people out there feeling it or even who feel it worse. I can't judge anymore; there have been too many days of unrelenting pain, but as long as I keep joking and can manage to laugh around it I won't become the absolute b*tch I'm scared of turning into.

You know that nasty old lady that everybody avoids because all they can do is grump about themselves and how picked upon they are in their life. I REFUSE to turn into that....so b*tch slap me if I do (Not too hard tho' you'll throw out my neck again!)

Maybe that's why clowns paste on the smiles? I've done that. And I do it almost everyday on the theory of (what's above, so goes it below? ya know) so what's outside, eventually makes it to the inside, maybe? Especially when most people don't notice that the eyes have trouble smiling when the pain is that fierce. This is part of my most worthy goal to try and become less judgemental in my life and more compassionate...and you can't be compassionate and act witchy at the same time!

Though some days, (most days!) I will admit, that's a challenge....hmmm....wonder where I packed all those harlequin masks? Nah, with my karma, I'd probably get arrested while wearing them as an alleged bank robber or some other stupid shite!

in the face of a puzzled goddess who's going to take her sleeping pills, and pain pills, and muscle relaxers, and...

05 August, 2008

Creeping Vampirism and more Neat Sh*t...

Some goddesses are puzzled by this...like me...

I know I'm becoming a vampire; it just keeps creeping up on me, ever so slowly. I mean the pale skin, dark hair (I'm sure the blood red lips and slinky body will catch up with me eventually!).

But I've had 2, count them, 2! Massive runs of Vitamin D medicine in the last 6 months to get my levels up somewhere midway of normal. Mine are down below 20% or so...much lower than the doctor likes to see. So he gave me the first set of pills and my Vitamin D climbed wAAAAY high! Higher than the test's limits for checking...he checked again a bit later after telling me to stop taking my calcium and vitamin D supplement.

Uh oh, I guess my levels now are back down and 1/10 of a point less than they were when he first handed me the supplements...so I get to take them again. I haven't noticed any appreciable change from the increase & decrease, but maybe it's my vampire habbits of staying in the dark behind drawn curtains all the time? Nah...

But we got out to town last night!
We had to do the monthly grocery run from HELL and so I talked my Baldric into a visit to the local (kinda) goodwill.

We saw much neat sh*t!
We found a present for my
mother-in-law who loves the
fishing/coast/lighthouse theme...maybe it's all those years
living at the coast?

We then found a VERY cool carved rock (looks like soapstone) indian/persian style pieces with a wood
and mother-of-pearl inlayed board.

The last and best gift of the day for me,
was a run through their book aisles!

My ds got a player's guide for Assasin's Creed (with my dh)
my dh got 4 or 5 books he likes.
My daughter got about 6 or so....
but the goddess herself picked up over 20
to keep herself in books for a week or two.

Blessings on you from the myopic puzzled goddess..

PS. the one in front, Second Opinion...just finished it,
great premise some good interaction with secondary
geriatric characters, but the main secondary
characterizations were flat, the heroine was pretty
idiotic as well. Darn, can't have everything.
At least the sex scenes were good.

04 August, 2008

The Muffin Man and other Bread Products...

Some goddesses are puzzled by this...like me...

We celebrated Lammas tonight (Aug 3rd). We were a few nights late, but I figure it's the sentiment that counts. I think I would be more comfortable leading rituals for my children and sharing my very real spirituality and belief in beings larger than ourselves if I hadn't spent all of my time as a solitary practitioner. I don't think they have much of an idea really of how important meditation and ritual really are to me. How could they when I keep it all internal.

Anyway, I baked a bread man as a Lammas sacrifice to thank the gods of the harvest for our abundant wealth, kind of like the pagan Thanksgiving. :)

Here's what's left of our Bread man....of course my dh HAD to bring up the "muffin man" as we were tearing off the legs and eating them. ;)

He really liked this bread recipe!
So here it is:
2 T active dry yeast
1 1/2 c warm water
3 T sugar
1 c oats
1/4 c steel cut oats
1/4 c wheat bran
1 1/2 c unbleached white flour
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
4 T olive oil
1 t onion salt
1 T chives
1 t granulated garlic

mix, knead, let rise 1 hour, punch down and form into a 'man shape' on a large, greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Let rise 1 hour. Bake at 400F for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a 'knock' on the top sounds hollow. As it's cooling spread butter (not margarine, yuck!) over the top.

Makes for a moist and nummy 'heavy' bread.

blessings on all from a puzzled goddess
who DOESN'T live on Drury Lane...

03 August, 2008

The REALLY ucky green stuff...

Some goddesses are puzzled by this...like me...

As I sit here, drinking my cup of spinach flavored pseudo tea, I comfort myself with the thought that at least I'm not drinking the REALLY ucky green tea that's in my cabinet; so life could be worse, right? I just have to keep looking for those silver linings.

For those of you who read my last post on ucky green stuff this is a continuation. Same not-so-bat-time, but definately the same-bat-channel. (In case you are wondering? I'm the bat!)

Yes, I'm whining again about how nasty green stuff tastes. But the Stash green stuff actually tastes less nasty than the Royal King green stuff crap I bought at Uwajimaya in Beaverton. YUCK!

That stuff is the Royal King pictured on the lower right here. I don't know if the 'smokey flavor' everyone talks about is the flavor of dirt and mold I normally taste when drinking green tea, or if it's just particular to this brand and the cup I tried at the Corvallis Beanery many years ago. (More than I'd like to remember!)

My favorite green tea so far is not pictured here. (I drank it all!) I'm looking to see where that is local to me I can find the Tazo if I can't find anything that tastes better. :) Four of the packets above are Stash teas (an Oregon based company!) The premium green tea on the upper right is my least favorite of these (tastes like spinach water!) But the Morrocan Mint, Ginger Peach and Wild Raspberry green teas are part of my daily green tea intake of 4-8 cups. (I only force myself to drink the Royal King or Stash Premium Green after dinner....puts me off eating any more food *grin*)

Just so you know, I DO force feed my family green stuff, and I'll eat it occasionally. Dinner tonight was oriental steamed brocoli spears, teriyaki pork, and pork ramen (which I can't eat due to MSG so it's not on my plate.) The teriyaki was the Lighthouse brand that J & M introduced us to (and I have to blush because I've had the bottle in my cabinet for 2 years...I just normally mix my own teriyaki!) The ramen was the standard packaged crap. But the Oriental Brocoli Spears are one of my FAVORITE vegetables....crunch and nummy and not slimy and it doesn't taste like green sand as the top of brocoli can so often. NUM....

Clean brocoli and chop off the heads to use with cheesy brocoli or some other dish. Slice the spears left on a slant into bite sized pieces in a microwave serving dish. Mix 1/2 Tablespoon fresh minced garlic (jar) with 2 Tablespoons soy sauce and 2 Tablespoons water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of granulated onion and 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger (or 1/8 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger.) Pour over vegetables and microwave on high for no more than 3 or 4 minutes. Just so they are warm and still crunchy. MMMM! Good stuff. Could almost make me like green.....nah.

And my ds will pretty much ALWAYS eat the veggie leftovers. YAY! I trained him right!

Tasty cooking from a puzzled goddess.