The Tumble Outta Eden

Genesis 3: The Fall of Man

So, reading about the Fall of Man in Genesis 3, this is what I was thinking about and focusing on.

In vs. 16, Eve is given the consequences of eating the fruit.  Specifically, God says that He will “greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Continue reading

American Idol Auditions – Orlando

After much determination and some drama around getting the time off from work (the audition process was a Tuesday-Thursday thing), I flew to Orlando and met up with my lovely little sister (“Jade”) so we could try out together.

We went straight to the audition venue to get our tickets, and like with Boston, there wasn’t a line when we got there (about 11am on the first day of registration).  The people registering us said there was a huge crowd in the morning, though.  After that, Jade and I went to our hotel and settled in.  Both of us worked all day, and then all of the next day, taking breaks to practice and watch the coverage of Michael Jackson’s services.  It was really nice to just get to spend some one-on-one time with my sister, since it’s been ages since we’ve really been able to do that.

The morning of the auditions, Jade didn’t want to wake up (at 4:00ish), and we got into a fight.  So, it really was like old times.  She got up, we got everything ready, and left for the auditions.  The set up in Orlando was different than in Boston; they had everyone sitting outside in cordoned off areas.  Jade and I found a spot by a makeshift fence/wall to lean on, and Jade promptly smoked a cigarette and laid down to sleep on my bookbag, using my hoodie (the same one as Boston!) to cover up.  There was coffee available outside, for which I was most grateful.  There was some drizzle, but after Boston, rain wouldn’t have fazed me.  We sat next to a lesbian couple who were quite sweet (and appeared to be a really unlikely couple, but it worked for them).  People were playing guitars and singing, and generally enjoying the sunrise.  At some point, they started lining people up in front of the arena, and everyone started crowding to get up there faster.  The American Idol workers kept saying over megaphones that there was no need to crowd; everyone’s places inside were determined by their seat ticket.  As such, Jade and I took our time.

Once we were all lined up, they did some crowd shots on the roaming golf cart.  The people around us all had really bad attitudes, and were all way too cool to be there.  I’m the kind of person who, if I’m doing something, want to do it, and do it with enthusiasm.  It’s not like anyone MADE anyone get up and get tickets to come, and then made them get up at 4 in the morning to come audition.  So, since everyone CHOSE to be there, even though a lot of the hoops to jump through are totally corny, it’s a lot more fun if you embrace it and just jump in.  Yes, it can be lame, and it can make you feel like a total dork, but where is the fun in a bad attitude?

They changed the group song between when we registered and audition day–it was originally listed as Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”, but changed to Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker”.  Rumor was that Lady Gaga wouldn’t release the song, but I don’t know if that’s true.

Everyone got to their seats, and they began shooting crowd shots and rehearsing the group song.  As the Orlando arena was indoors, there were a lot of the camera going around in circles, getting everyone.  They had us say something about Disney, I think, and someone started the wave.  Then they started the auditions, in much the same way.  There were 12ish booths set up, and they lined people up in rows of four people to go to a booth of two producers.

I was sitting next to a woman and her 16  year old daughter, and I spent much of the day annoyed at them.  The woman kept doing one of those super loud whistles through her fingers, and the daughter kept manic-depressively alternating between cackling and crying.  There was a guy behind us who incessantly sang to Creed on his iPod, off key.  A woman who we suspected was his mother was sitting next to him, but she was kind of pretending not to know him.  It would have been annoying if it wasn’t hilarious.

I talked to Kullervo a couple of times throughout the day, and he was really sick and getting sicker and sicker.  I warmed up my voice, talked to my other sister a couple of times on the phone, and just waited.  Jade was still really tired and dozed a few times. We noticed that when people would get taken to the ‘we want to see more of you’ door (instead of the ‘enjoy the rest of your life’ door), awhile later, they would come back out, and were videoed sitting in the stands, watching the auditions.  I assume that they video them ‘waiting to audition’ in case they get chosen to go forward, as they obviously can’t tape all 15,000 people waiting.  I don’t think they were allowed to talk to anyone when they came back out.

Finally it was our turn, and we lined up to go.  We walked to our spots, and watched the people in front of us audition.  One guy started out by doing a crazy dance, and flubbed it.  They let him start over, and it was still a crazy dance.  There was a girl who was wearing a silver, sparkly dress that appeared to be way too big on her, mostly because I could see huge safety pins holding it taut in the back.  Both of them made it through to the ‘we want to see more of you’ door.

The four of us went; I was last to go.  When Jade went, she sang so quietly that the judges had a hard time hearing her, I think.  Aside from that, she sounded really pretty.  Then it was my turn, and I felt just kind of off.  I was singing the Rolling Stones “Paint It, Black”.  I didn’t miss any notes, but I wasn’t really on my game.

They called all of us forward, and sent us all home.

Jade drove me to the airport, and on the way I got a hold of Kullervo, who said that he was just doing really poorly.  About the time I got to the airport, he told me that he needed to go to the  hospital.  He sounded totally out of it, so when we got off the phone for him to… I don’t know what… I called some good friends and asked if they could come watch the kids.  I called Kullervo back and let him know people were on their way.

Kullervo went to the hospital and found out he had Lyme Disease (which, by the way, comes from deer ticks, no matter what Kullervo tells you).  At about that time, I found out that my flight was delayed by two hours, and I’d be landing in Baltimore after the last trains would be able to take me home.  I befriends a couple of guys who looked like a couple, but turned out to just be good friends who happened to also be gay.  We all went in on getting a shuttle from the airport to the DC area, which was nice.  Finally the plane landed, the shuttle drove (dropping me off last, I might add), and I got home.

The kids were both sick (Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease), and Kullervo was so sick it was terrifying.  Everyone is better now, though, so all is right in the world.

And that pretty much covers my American Idol auditions.  It’s kind of an abrupt ending, but it sort of felt abrupt at the time, too, and totally overshadowed by the enormity of Lyme Disease and how horrible it was for Kullervo while he was trying to study for the bar exam.

Good Luck!

Tomorrow is the big day–the first of two.

Tomorrow Kullervo sits for the bar exam.  It’s been two years of dreaming about law school, three years of law school, three months of mad crazy studying, infinite flashcards, and now we’re finally here.  It’s the end of an era.

At the same time, he’s super worried, incredibly stressed, and needs a good night sleep and a a clear head tomorrow.

Conner, you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

Hopefully tonight I won’t dream about going over real property and torts flashcards with you.

If you have some good vibes, send them to Illinois!

Interfaith Marriage

It’s not as if I hadn’t thought much about interfaith marriage before. When Kullervo began doubting the LDS church, I was still a steadfast Mormon. We were living with his parents at the time, and stayed up late many nights talking about how we would relate to each other, how we would navigate church waters, and, most importantly, what we wanted for Oliver, who at the time was only about five months old.

It has been an ongoing dialogue since then. I found my church home at Cedar Ridge Community Church, but for awhile Kullervo was pretty sure he leaned towards more traditional, liturgical types of worship. And, as it turns out… I really don’t love the liturgy. So, there was the dilemma of where to go to worship when we actually prefer different styles of worshiping. But, then we were still both considering ourselves Christian.

However, Kullervo has discovered that he is, and always has been, a pagan. And I am still a Christian.

I was reading Jack’s blog the other day, and saw that at the top was written “Interfaith Marriage”, and I realized that, officially, I am a part of one.

Honestly, I’m not sure what it will mean for us. But it seems significant to realize. We still have to figure out the best way to raise the kids so that they will be open minded, tolerant people who have minds of their own and will realize that Christianity is truuuuuuue (hahaha! just kinda kidding!). Seriously, though, it’s something that we need to consider and kind of hammer down (inasmuch as you can hammer anything about parenting down, besides windowsills) while the kids are still fairly young.

Good Vibrations

Funny story at Conner’s expense (note that if you are easily scandalized, turn away now before it’s too late!):

As Conner recently graduated from law school, I got him three graduation gifts, one for each year of law school. For the first year, in which he undoubtedly worked the hardest, I planned a trip to the Poconos for two nights. Specifically, to the Champagne Tower room, which, if you look at it, is clearly designed for one thing only. (And the mirrors on the ceilings totally were going to freak me out, by the way!) His second gift, for the year of law school that he still kind of cared about, was a new pair of cowboy boots. They’re black and way hotter than the snakeskin ones that I hate. His third gift was a set of game figures since he hardly worked his third year.

Anyway, we planned our getaway to the Poconos, my nanny agreed to babysit, we booked our room and got an incredible rate. All was set. The night before we were supposed to leave, I was going through the bills and other mail that I routinely ignore, and found a summons to jury duty for Conner that I had left out since it was coming up. On the second day of our trip.

Conner called the number to see if he had to show up at all, and, of course, he did. We were so disappointed; we called the resort, and the rate that we had received for two nights was basically the same as we would pay for one night. Luckily, they let us cancel, because we would have had to drive for 5-6 hours to get there, and it just wouldn’t have been worth it. To salvage our one night, we still took the kids to their nanny, and we rented a Mustang convertible (hot!) and drove down to Richmond and stayed at the Jefferson Hotel. We had a great time.

The next day, Conner reported as required to jury duty. Here’s the thing though–he hadn’t emptied his bag from our trip. When he got to security, they opened his bag and he had to take out some… erm… personal, battery operated… toys. Totally embarrassing, totally scandalous, and when he texted me to tell me, I laughed for about 10 minutes.

Conner was put on a criminal trial, and the deliberations lasted into the next day. So, once again, Conner reported to the courthouse. And, once again… he had forgotten to empty his bag! To make matters worse (and even funnier since it wasn’t happening to me), this time, they made him take everything out and turn it on!!!

Buzz buzz buzz…

Annoyed at “An Invitation”

Conner received a response from the LDS records department following his resignation letter. It said the standard, “We don’t deal with this in Utah, but your bishop will get back to you” stuff that we expected. It also talked about the seriousness of the decision he was making, and they encouraged him to read the enclosed pamphlet and come back to the Church. Nothing unusual or unexpected there.

However, the pamphlet annoys me. It is titled “An Invitation” and has a photo of the statue of Jesus that you find at Visitor’s Centers across the country (world?). What gets under my skin about the invitation is that it exhorts Conner to please not be offended. “If any have been offended, we are sorry.” It encourages him to come back to the Church even if he is sinning. “To you who for any reason find yourselves outside the embrace of the Church, we say come back… and partake of the happiness you once knew.”

It’s no wonder that people assume that the only reason that one leaves the church is because he is offended or committing sin. It is no wonder that accusations of adultery, fraud, etc have been hurled at people close to me. (People don’t dare say that to me–I think it is presumed that I am “offended”.) The Church assumes that Conner either offended or committing serious sin!

And inviting him to partake of the happiness he once knew? Because he is no longer happy? I suppose it may be difficult to believe it, but while there has been difficulty in our lives since leaving the Church–knowing that family members are hurting as a result, having more choices (and thus more difficult decisions to make), coming to understand how we feel about Jesus and God and religion without the restrictions of what “we” believe being placed on us… that is all difficult. But we are happy.

I no longer consider myself a Mormon (although I did not remove my name from the registry and have no plans to do so). However, I did not stop attending church because of any of the following reasons:

  1. Conner made me–I dare someone who knows me well to try to “make” me do anything.  Try it.  Seriously.
  2. I was offended–I wasn’t.  I think Mormons are great people, and many of my favorite people are LDS.
  3. I was committing sin–I wasn’t.  Nothing serious, anyway.  I left with a valid temple recommend, thankyouverymuch–and not because I had lied or cheated or just not given it back.
  4. I wanted to be committing sin–There is no sin that is cool enough or awesome enough or anything to make me abandon my beliefs.  Now, I do occasionally drink alcohol, and coffee is on my daily must-haves, but this all transpired pre- and post-church (and, due to spiritual experiences I have had, I believe that this is with God’s blessing–the coffee, anyway).
  5. I had just never had a real testimony–I knew when I joined the Church that I was doing what God wanted.  I stand by that.  I also believe that God had a hand in me being where I am today.
  6. Satan answers my prayers–I guess if that’s how people need to deal with the cognitive dissonance of me, that’s their business, but I don’t believe that God and Satan sound the same.  And if Satan told me to leave the church, Satan also told me to join it.

There.  I’ve spoken my piece and counted to six.

And, also, anyone get the reference?  🙂

April Showers

I was reading a blog post by Mama Saga about an activity she did with her daughter during the month of March.

I realized that I am a slacker mom whose activities with her own children involve more throwing stuff at each other, dancing and singing silly songs (all of which are important and fun) and probably not enough learning and conceptual stuff. Oliver is smart nonetheless, probably more a product of genetics and less a product of my incessant need to make rhymes out of our conversations. But I’ve seen him flourish in Sunday school classes and under the direction of our incredibly nanny.

So, I decided to do what any American-high-school educated girl would do. I copied Mama Saga. 🙂

Since March is over, I had to come up with a new idea. (And note that although I suggested it, Conner actually implemented it, so I actually deserve no credit for this even a little bit.) The slogan for April is that April showers bring May flowers. We created a calendar for the month and are putting raindrops or suns on it depending on the weather that day. At the end of the month, we can count up the number of days that it rained and see if there were a lot of April showers.

Here is the calendar that Conner and Oliver made this morning.


PS: If it’s not obvious, Oliver did the coloring of the calendar… (although it easily could have been me).

Oliver’s Tattoo

When Kullervo first got his tattoo done (of Odin and Sleipnir, his eight legged horse),

Oliver would tell us every day about his tattoos. He would pretend he had one on his nose, on his arms, all over his body. Usually he said that his tattoos were of some of his favorite TV characters (specifically, The Backyardigans). Once the newness of the tattoo had faded, though, he stopped talking about it.

The other night, he was painting after Hazel went to bed and got paint on his leg.

He told me that that was his tattoo. When I asked him what his tattoo was, he told me “Sleepsha and Sheepneer”. He was pretty proud of it.

Then, he got more paint on him:


These were also tattoos. One was “Ooks and his horse Sheeks”. The other remained nameless.

However, he did make me scrub them off before bed. So I think that he maybe isn’t ready for a real tattoo just yet.