Friday, January 25, 2013

Dear Jackie

I don't hate you. I don't think you're a terrible person. I bear you no ill will at all. I'm not angry with you.

I forgive you.

I forgive you for not being a better parent. I forgive you for your involvement, whether it was direct or indirect, in the abuse that I endured. I forgive you for making mistakes. I forgive you for not protecting me as you should have.

I used to hate you. I used to be so angry with you. I have wished and hoped so often that a special level of hell was reserved for you and people like you, who either harm their children or allow them to be harmed by others. I used to hope some horrible tragedy would befall you, because in my mind, it would have served you right. I thought horrible things.

I was wrong to do so. I hope you can forgive me for that.

But forgiving doesn't mean forgetting. Forgiving doesn't mean I want you back in my life. I don't. I have a mom, and you are not her. I have sisters, and your children are not them. I have a family, and you are not part of it. I don't say that to be mean. It is what it is.

You are not part of my life, nor do I want you to be. As I have stated to 2 of your children, I do not want contact with you or your family. Not because I hate you, because I don't. But because when it comes right down to it, I have no feelings towards you. I don't know you. And I don't owe you anything. In many ways, I feel sorry for you. You missed out. You missed out on being a part of my life. You'll never get that back.

I know you read my blog, as you've commented on several posts over the past year or so. Please stop. No contact with you means no contact, including responses on my blog. I hope you respect me enough as a person to abide by my wishes.

Ah, at season!

I wasn't always a hockey fan. We didn't watch it growing up, and I always had the (correct) impression that it's an incredibly violent sport. But, when I was considering marrying Brett, I was introduced to hockey and the passion for it that exists in his family (mainly, Brett and Barbara, my mother-in-law). I have a hunch that I was undergoing some sort of test to see if I could hack being married to an obsessive hockey fan. We watched the playoffs that year at Brett's parents' house. The only team I recognized in the playoffs were the Ducks, thanks to the Mighty Ducks movies, so I decided to cheer for them. As it happened, they actually won the Stanley Cup that year, so it was a good introduction to the sport!

I quickly became a fan of the sport, owing mostly to the fast pace of the game. I LOVE how fast hockey is. The movement is constant and fluid. There are a couple of breaks here and there, but it's not the constant stop-and-go pace of football or baseball. There is always something happening. Things can change in a matter of seconds (or sometimes tenths of a second). It's fascinating! And you have to admire guys who can be on the ice for that long, skating, taking and delivering hits, occasionally fighting, and sprinting up and down the ice after pucks. Really. It's impressive.

Long story short, I'm nearly as obsessive as Brett is these days, with a pretty thorough knowledge of the rules and intricacies of the sport. I was pretty hacked off when the lockout happened, yes, I despise Gary Bettman like any good hockey fan, and I'm so glad they're finally playing again!

Brett sent a link to me today to a story about a "guide" put up on the New York Rangers' website. "A Girl's Guide to Watching the Rangers" was full of really obnoxious, patronizing remarks, including referring to female hocky fans as "Puck Bunnies" and using language that was patronizing at best. I automatically am irritated when I feel like I'm being talked to (or written to) like I'm stupid.

I pointed out to Brett that I, a woman (gasp), know just as much about the sport as the majority of male fans do, possibly barring the really obsessed ones like himself. We then proceeded to have a hockey-centric conversation including names of various players, injuries and recovery periods, and the comments I make during games we watch.

I'm embracing it. I'm a hockey fan. (And hockey fans aren't like other fans.)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Being busy and remembering Dad

Wow, this past week or so has been crazy busy! I finally was accepted into University of Missouri-St. Louis, so I had a lot to do before the semester starts. I managed to get enrolled and get my financial aid taken care of, get my books, and attend a transfer orientation. At the orientation I spoke with a student rep from the Honors College, and after discussing it with Brett, decided to apply to the Honors College as well. In keeping with the dizzying pace of the last week or so, my application and writing samples were rushed through in a day, and I met with an honors adviser yesterday for an informal interview. At the conclusion of the interview (which was actually highly enjoyable and thought-provoking), my adviser welcomed me into the Honors College, and helped me sign up for an honors course (which involved dropping Bioethics, a fact I'm a little bummed about). My acceptance is contingent on good letters of recommendation (which I have no worries about), and continued good performance in my classes this semester.

Whew! Thank goodness classes don't start until next week!

Yesterday was the anniversary of my dad's passing. He died January 17th, 1999. Naturally, I always think of  him a lot around this time of year, but it seemed especially poignant this year for a couple of reasons.

First, as part of my application to the Honors College, I had to submit 2 writing samples. One of the samples I chose to submit was a poem that I wrote a couple of years after Dad died. My writing it was actually pretty random, because it was one day at school when we had those stupid standardized tests. I finished way early (as usual), and words just started popping into my head. I wrote them down and later posted them on a writing website I had joined. The poem has remained largely the same, with one major revision a few years ago. I love it, because I can still feel those emotions every time I read it, and I felt it was honestly one of my better writing samples that wasn't done for a school project.

The other reason I was thinking of Dad a lot is more personal. I have so many regrets about my relationship with my dad. I was so young when he died, and I always felt like I had been such a disappointment to him. I was smart, but I didn't apply myself. I was in trouble so often. He was always having to discipline me. There were some good times, but I'm sad to say that I have more negative memories than good ones. In recent years especially, as I've grown up and matured, I've fervently wished he were he and could see me be proud of me. I know he looks in on me from time to time, but how I wish he could stand by my side, give me a big hug, and tell me how proud he is of me! I have worked so hard these past few years, not just to make Dad proud, or other people proud, but so that I can be satisfied with and proud of my own accomplishments. And part of the reason for that is my history with Dad.

I do have good memories of him, too, and I cherish those memories. I wish we'd had more time together. I am so grateful to have been sealed to my family in the temple, and to know that I can be together with all of them again.

A couple of Christmases after Dad died, my mom gave us a copy of a letter he'd written as part of an assignment for something at church. The last line was, "Goodbye, my dear ones. Parting is hard, but our reunion will be sweet." That line is firmly embedded in my mind, and how true it is.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I think I was so busy with a new baby last year that I didn't actually set any resolutions. Or if I did, I either didn't write them down or I just can't find them. Big mistake on my part. :)

I've really been thinking about what my goals for this year should be. There are a lot of really good and great things I could pursue. There's so much I have on my plate, and so much more that I want to do!

I've been thinking a lot lately about my family, specifically my relationships with  my family. And to be honest, I find them lacking. Because in a lot of cases, I don't have much of a relationship with them. The blame is laid squarely at my feet, because to be honest, I don't put a lot of effort in. And it really is difficult to admit that.

It's not because I don't love my family. I do, very much. One of my most treasured memories is of our family together in the Chicago temple when I was sealed to them (and later when Chandra was sealed to us). I want to be with them for eternity, and I look forward to that.

In the case of my older sisters, it's kind of explainable. I was so young when they left home, and believe me, I was incredibly obnoxious as a child. (And that's an understatement.) So to be honest, I really don't know them. I've put forth some effort, but not as much as I should.

Granted, I'm busy. I'm a wife and a mom to 2 young kids, in addition to going to school and church activities and social activities and everything else that seems to accumulate in the lives of a young family. But that doesn't really excuse me.

I want to be close to my family. I want to have friendly, comfortable relationships with them. And I know that has to start with me.

So I have one resolution this year, because I want my entire focus to be on this.

This year, I will focus every possible energy on developing my relationships with my family. I will initiate contact because I genuinely want to. I will ask questions because I genuinely want to know the answers. Because I want to get to know them. Because how can I have a genuine relationship with someone I don't really know?

I know I won't be perfect. I'll probably still forget to send a birthday card to a couple of people. I'll try not to forget. My dedication will probably wane towards the end of semesters when I'm frantically finishing schoolwork. But the least I can do is try.

So, Johnsons (and Minsters--you guys are getting included, too!)--be prepared. I may ask you some really stupid questions. By the end of the year, it's quite possible that you'll be completely sick of me. But I promise that I'll know you better than I do now! And who knows, you may even decide you like it! ;)

Excuses, excuses

I know I need to write a blog post about the holidays, blah blah blah.

I'm tired.

Brett, David, and I were violently ill for 24 hours, and I'm still extremely fatigued.

Holidays stress me out. A TON.

I'm trying to fix a last-minute bungle by the community college so I can still enroll in the university this semester, and it's not going well.

I'm a big ball of stress. I'm exhausted. And it's probably not going to end soon.

I'll do a blog post when I don't want to just crawl under the covers and sleep for the next three days.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Vanilla Body Lotion Bar--a tutorial

Holy cow! Another tutorial! I know you're all just teeming with excitement. As my mom would say, "Keep your panties dry!" (And yes, I really did just type that. I might regret it later.)

As part of the Christmas gifts I gave/sent to my siblings and in-laws, I included 2 little bars of vanilla body lotion. I saw a tutorial for these on Pinterest, and though it was a cool idea. So. My tutorial, very slightly adapted from this tutorial by Sarah over at Frugal by Choice.

First, you need your ingredients, which I did not take a picture of. Shame on me.

~ 1 part grated beeswax
~ 1 part sweet almond oil
~ 1 part coconut oil (solid at room temp)
~ vanilla essential oil

I used a cup each of the oils and the beeswax. I had some grated already from the lip gloss I made last year, so I only had to grate a little. An important note here: DO NOT use a good grater to grate beeswax. You will not be able to use it for anything else after grating beeswax with it. Trust me on this one.

First, completely melt your beeswax in a double boiler over medium heat.

Add your almond oil. It'll sort of harden the beeswax up a little again into white squiggly stuff. That's okay. Allow most of the squiggles to melt.

Add the coconut oil, and allow it to melt completely. Like this:

This is where I added my vanilla oil. In reality, you should allow the mixture to cool slightly before adding.

Get whatever you're putting this in ready. I bought this nifty silicone snowflake-shaped pan on sale at Joann. There are a ton of things you could put this in, though. Use your imagination!

I opted to pour the mixture into a measuring cup to control the pouring better. I highly recommend it. I just know if I'd tried to pour it straight from the bowl, it would've been everywhere.

Pour carefully. And be impressed, because I'm taking this picture one-handed on my phone while pouring.

Fill up your little molds. I filled them all the way up, you can see the surface tension on a few of them. Because I used the silicone mold, they were incredibly easy to pop out once they hardened.

Allow these to sit in the mold until completely solid. That middle row is already on its way. They don't take particularly long. Once they're solid, pop them out of your mold, and you're good to go! I put two in a little ziploc bag for each. (Like, a little jewelry-sized ziploc. They're small.)

To use: simply rub the bar on your hands (or wherever), like you would a bar of soap. The heat from your body will soften the bar enough to get some of the lotion on your skin. Then rub the lotion into the skin. This does start out feeling slightly oily, and you have to rub it in more than a light lotion. But it DOES rub in, and it's incredibly moisturizing. I use it on my feet, which are...well, I have gross feet. But this actually helps, and it rubs in better than the Eucerin I usually use. Smells nicer, too.

The next time I do these, I'll probably add more beeswax, to make them a smidge more solid. I thought they were a bit soft for my taste. So, maybe a cup & a half of beeswax.


David's Birthday Party

Brett and I decided that we wanted to do a luau for David's first birthday. Brett served a mission for our church in Hawaii, so he lived there for 2 years. In Hawaii, it's tradition to throw a (huge) luau for your child's first birthday, especially if it's a son. This comes from the old days, when it was quite an accomplishment to reach the 1-year mark, and meant you were pretty likely to survive to adulthood.

So, yeah. I was cool with it. It meant eating Polynesian food, which I dearly love, so I wasn't going to turn it down!

The "spread": Under the foil is kalua pig. Clockwise from there: potato salad, lomi lomi salmon, haupia, and macaroni salad. We also had Aloha Maids to drink (yum).

David's birthday cake, which reads "Happy birthday David" in Hawaiian.

The cake I made for my family's celebration. That would be a plumeria on top, which Brett greatly assisted with.

Admittedly, I didn't get many action shots, mainly because our camera died and so I have to rely on my cell phone. (Thank goodness I've got a smartphone now with a decent camera.)

We had a blast, though, and enjoyed celebrating with family and friends! I'm so grateful this little man is part of our family!