Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Me, random guy and my friend

I had a great weekend. My good friend had her Hens celebration on the Saturday. We spent the afternoon at a beauty salon; then had a fancy and civilised dinner with the mother and mother-in-law etc before moving the party into Northbridge for some riotous living. It was so much fun... the whole day that is. I think the part you will be most interested in though occured in the wee hours of the morning.

As soon as we got to the bar we made fast work of some tequila shots and then cooled off with some Vodka and lime. We were very popular with out pink fluff, shot glass necklasses and bridal veil. I recommend donning these costume pieces if you're up for a night of making instant short-term friends!

We found the crowd to be very friendly and at times a little too eager. New experience for me - making my way from the bar to the dance floor and random arms reaching out to try and entice you to dance with them. Tip no. 1: Walk fast! eyes ahead... then use the move my dad taught me where you twist your arm out of their grip in one swift move leaving unknown Romeo spinning.

The thing I'd like to natter about with you is this. I removed my wedding rings soon after leaving the Church. I wanted to find myself and I felt that the real bare bones me needed to be stripped of this worldly symbol of ownership.  Now before you all get started 1.) Rockstar has never worn a wedding ring 2.) I love him more and more every day! Our relationship rocks (In fact I was especially 'in love' with him when I got home from receiving so much positive attention that night... TMI, probably).

It just so happened that this guy asked if I were single and before I could open my mouth one of my friends said "She's married and she's got kids!". Hmmm. I wasn't annoyed that she had done that but it sure did start a tiresome exchange. So then this guy was all up in arms about me not being allowed to go out without my wedding ring on. I asked him why and he said "because you're hot!" Gee, thanks (blush).  I told him that my husband doesn't wear a ring and that I just wanted to go out and be me and have great conversations with people without having to be labelled as married. I asked him if he would have still hung out with me if I had worn the ring and he said he would have so good on him for that. I asked again what was wrong with me just wanting to be me minus the ring and he said that I was owned and that I had to show people that!!! Ok, back up a second, you said what?!! Ugh! I could not believe it. I let him know just what I though about his ownership hang up and I hope that I got through. Anyway this guy still hung around and I should add that he remained friendly throughout the night, he just had some very full on things to say. He harped on about it at random intervals but otherwise we all had a good night.

Being new to the world of pubs and flirtation I'd love to hear your opinions. Am I naive? messing with mens heads? Can they take it? Can we all just have good, clean, flirtatious fun or am I being mean? I had a good time. Did they?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One Year On

mid-Happy Birthday song...  cake decorated a la kids
(oh! do you love my hitchhiking dinosaur shirt? he's off to one of my favourite places - Vegas!) and uh, that's me dancing to the song btw.

It is my thirty-second birthday today but I am also marking another milestone; it has now been a whole year since I last paid tithing (10% of my income) to the Mormon Church. I noticed this when I went over my finances for the 2009/10 year and discovered a difference of about $700 between what the Church says I paid and what my records say I have paid. Hmmm, so I will look into that and I think I will go back further in my records to check that out. Besides that oddity it was quite satisfying to see such concrete evidence of my departure from the Church.

I have not as yet received anything official from the Church to acknowledge that I have removed my name. I am going to re-send my letter, along with the tithing query, along with, wait for it... a letter from Rockstar! He's decided that it's actually taking too long for them to excommunicate him and he wants out.

So, where am I one year on?

I had an amazing aromatherapy full body massage today at my local organic day spa and as soon as I laid down on the massage bed I just melted away. The music, the soft bed, the peace... and then the awesome massage. I felt very happy. A few thoughts flittered through my mind while I was there, one of them was how wonderful it is to feel free to think whatever I want. I can read about anything that I am interested in, talk to whomever I choose and make up my own mind about how this world works and what might be beyond it. Early on this idea freaked me out a bit but now I find it to be extremely liberating and calming. I am the one at the helm of my life and it feels great!

So I am 32 in earth years and 1 anno libertatis!      

(Daniel, dear linguist friend of mine, have I bastardised the latin or does it work? See Daniels comment below for the reasons I have changed anno liberta to anno libertatis! Thanks Daniel)

pizza faces

looks like Canaan thought I'd need some help 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Feminist Mormons: An Oxymoron or the Best of Both Worlds?

When I started to look deeper into the history of the LDS Church one of the first places this search took me was a blog called Feminist Mormon Housewives (fMh). It was here that I began to feel that it was ok to look at the ‘facts’ no matter how confronting they might be. The other source of comfort during this time of questioning was an article written by Hugh Nibley called Beyond Politics (BYU Studies 1974) where he wrote “God did not hold it against these men that they questioned him, but loved them for it…the Lord was not above discussing matters with the brother of Jared…” (p3). Ah, sweet words to a newly questioning soul.

I soon began to visit this online world for more than just information and ‘permission’ but also for friendship, discussion and above all a new and much needed feeling of belonging. The issues discussed there are varied and bold. Accompanying every thread is an almost tangible feeling of sisterhood. Wait! There is more than that. The feminist men who comment on the blog are such an integral part of the place that really the feeling is one of humanity? It is a forum where respect for each sex is the ideal.

Recently some feminist Mormons have put together a new blog called HOPE.  It is linked to the WAVE website (Women Advocating for voice and equality). At HOPE women (and men), LDS or not, can write about their experiences in relation to equality for women in the Church.

Why do I, as an ex-Mormon and known by other labels such as anti-Mormon and apostate, choose to support such movements?

As much as I dislike organised religion I also dislike the idea that I would turn my back on my friends at fMh simply because we have different beliefs. There are plenty of ex-mo’, atheist, agnostic etc supporters of fMh. There was a short time when I did not visit fMh as my feelings of betrayal and anger towards the LDS Church were quite high and I did not want to blow off steam in a place that still felt like home.

Considering the pain that I experienced leaving the LDS church I feel strongly that LDS members should be allowed to look into the truth about their church’s history and I think that fMh and HOPE are good places for active members to do that. If a person then chooses to remain a Mormon then at least it will have been their choice, a conscious informed choice. The other option of course is that they choose to leave. Either way LDS members will then have been given the chance to choose what is right for them.

IMO many of the people at fMh actually comprise what I consider to be a breakaway branch of Mormonism. I am all for it. They believe in God, Jesus, love, service… they just also happen to believe that God always intended for women to have a more significant role to play in the Priesthood, an equal role even. They look to the past to inform this dream for the future. They also believe that there is room in heaven for the LGBT community. Again, not a secondary role but an equal role. They look at each person on this planet as truly equal. That is something that I can admire.

If the girls and guys at fMh can enlighten the minds of the LDS youth and provide options in an otherwise strict and unbending institution (unbending towards its members vs very flexible in its changes to ‘doctrine’ over the years!!) then I am all for it. Consider for a moment the youth suicide rate in Utah. I think that fMh and HOPE along with other such blogs are very well positioned to alleviate a lot of suffering.

The Mormon conundrum is a complicated one. I hope to lend a hand in transitioning people out of it or at least into a safer part of it. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Through the Eye of the Tiger

After 6 months of Down Dogs, Crocodiles, Cobras, Sun Warriors, Airplanes, Stars, Swans, Locusts, Cat Stretches, Pyramids, not to mention butt squeezing (seriously this has got to be the most commonly used coaching cue "squeeze your butt"!!!) I am finally certified, yay!

I received my certification in the mail a few weeks ago and just realised that I have not yet shared this exciting piece of news with you. So now I can get paid more, I can register with Fitness Australia and I can feel further accomplished.

One of the tips in the notes I received was to find times in each track where I can talk less and allow the music to teach. I said to one of my regular classes "Talk less? my husband could have told me that!"

The 3 day intensive course that got me started on this journey 6 months ago was far more challenging than I had expected. I had thought "I've been going Body Balance for 7 years, this will be fun", well it was fun but it was a lot more than that. I came close to tears on the first day when I realised how far off I was from being able to transform my good technique into something that I could teach. I felt as though I was speaking a different language than the master instructor. I would listen to the beat in the music and try to get the timing and then move and then count and then talk!!! aye-yae-yae-yae! I honestly doubted my ability to pass this stage of the journey.

I practiced and I did have a few tears at home. I drew in my strength and applied myself. Then when we had our final assessment I gave it all I had and I felt great. By this stage I was expecting to gain a conditional pass but... the surprise and pride I felt when the master trainer gave me the full pass to trainee was immense. After the difficult months that I had experienced previous to this endeavour I felt tremendously lucky and satisfied to have been able to prove to myself that I can do whatever I set my mind to.

The journey continued with team-teaching, launches, workshops and many hours of practice. I have felt my body grow stronger and leaner. I have experienced a deeper awareness of the mind and body connection. I have challenged my previous fears of performing. It has been an exciting and demanding journey but so inspiring for me. Thank you to the people who encouraged and supported me. This is an achievement that will continue to be advanced and that will benefit myself and others for the rest of my life.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Young Elders return with Honour?

I know I said I would do a feel good post about what I like about Mormonism as my next post but that is requiring some work and I really wanted to post about something that came to mind this week.

I was reading over at the Koda Think Tank, Koda wrote a post about some goings on around the time that he went on his mission. He wrote about feeling guilty and about nearly getting sent home. It reminded me of Rockstars mission.

Rockstar nearly got sent home when he was about 2 months off completing the 2 year mission. He had been sent to New Zealand (not an important part of the story just fyi). His favourite all time companion (lovingly referred to as MB - marijuana boy by his wife, Angry Baker, because he calms her down eh!) had recently finished his 2 years and returned to the USA. Rockstars productivity had begun to slide a little and he and his comp (companion, missionaries are paired up usually for a few months at a time and reside in bachelor style flats, ew stinky!) had been neglecting to check in with superiors and report on their whereabouts and statistics. They had also indulged in the viewing of a few movies at member families homes.

They (I think it was about 4 of them) got called on for a meeting with the Mission President who had to make a special trip to meet with them. It was clear to all 4 young elders (haha, 'young elders'.... an oxymormon?! ) that they were probably going to be sent home.

This is where I get to my point.

Rockstar started thinking about what he would do if he were sent home early. Now for those uninitiated in the ways of the Mormons, being sent home early from mission is certainly up there as one of the most shameful things that could happen to you. Rockstar decided that when the plane landed in Sydney that he would just disappear. He wouldn't catch the connecting flight to Perth, he would drop off the radar and go from there.

He didn't know when or if he would contact his family or myself. We had written to each other pretty much every week (we each now have a shoebox full of letters, oh so romantic) but he felt so icky about being sent home early from mission that he didn't know whether he could bare to face any of us.

The story ends well. The boys were not sent home early. Rockstar finished his mission and returned with honour.  Romance resumed and so on, yadda yadda.

Hmm. So what I am interested in here is the aspect of control on mission. There are so many rules! Geez! most of these kids are 19-21 years old. From what I've seen of missionaries - I sat across the family dinner table from many elders in my childhood. I have fed many elders (and sisters, not so many of them but they're great) in my home. I would use two words to describe them. Kind and energetic.

Since the mission is expected of every young man it bugs me no end that the rules are so strict and in many cases so ridiculous. I will beg Rockstar to post about some of his experiences.

I am looking forward to moving house so that when eventually we get a pair of missionaries randomly knocking on our door (currently I think our house may be a no-go zone for missionaries, scary apostates reside here) I plan on letting them know we're exmo' but inviting them for dinner, conversations etc. I am  so grateful to all of the splendid New Zealanders who looked after Rockstar on his mission and I would like to continue to offer support to any elders/sisters who are game enough to spend time in our home.

Lighten up Mission Presidents!

Eczema update

In my search for a moisturiser that I could apply to my sons eczema ridden skin I have come across Blossom Baby Butter from Ayana Organics.  If you are in Perth, Australia then this is a wonderful local product that I highly recommend. We have been going through about 250ml of moisturiser each week (we have tried just about every moisturiser that is commonly available in chemists), applying moisturiser all over his body 3 times a day which is why I am so glad to finally have found a product that I feel completely comfortable using so often. His skin has been dry and damaged for some time and I did not want any unknown or harmful products being absorbed. What is so great about this Blossom Baby Butter is that even the preservatives are all natural. This of course gives it a shorter shelf life but we are using so much of it to manage the eczema that the shorter shelf life doesn't factor in for us. I now have some Ayana products for me too and I am loving them. I wanted to post about it here since we have been grappling with this current bout of eczema for some time and I really want to pass on any info about things that have been working for us.

We have also been going to Allergy Pathway and we are seeing great results from that as well.

The other thing we have been doing is visiting our local pools once or twice a week. It is believed that the chlorine kills off the bacteria that can develop when eczema is present. Hospitals use bleach baths but I much prefer the pools option. Plus the kids love it. Make sure you shower with things on and moisturise after pat drying yourself with a thick fluffy cotton towel.

We have been buying all cotton bed sheets, covers and clothing.

We encourage Canaan to drink plenty of water. I try to offer him water every time I get myself a drink.

We have been adding foods that promote healthy skin to our diet (i.e. foods high in antioxidants as well as other things). Our favourites are raspberries (the frozen ones are great for a snack), other berries, apples (particularly Red Delicious, Gala and Granny Smith), popcorn, oats/porridge, pear, cranberry juice (Canaan loves this for some reason!), lemons (think hot lemon and honey), broccoli (dinosaur trees), barley (beef and barley soup), parsley (in chicken noodle soup or on garlic bread), LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond meal) which Canaan loves sprinkled on his porridge, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts (add to brownies), grapefruit (Canaan likes the pink one), pineapple, millet (I buy puffed millet and then make a slice out of it with melted choc chips, dried apricots, dried cranberries, honey and butter, experiment with quantities).

The other thing that we do is if he is having a particularly itchy night we have an antihistamine on hand to provide a better nights sleep. We try to save this for when it is really needed.

Anyway, these are the things that have been working for us. We also keep him out of direct sunlight, make sure he's wearing a hat and long sleeve shirt if he is going in the sun, and we've educated him about regulating his temperature. If he gets hot and sweaty he will itch more so he tries to remember to take layers off to cool down. We've also tried to have him rub the affected areas rather than scratch them. Oh and we keep his nails nice and short and clean, buff them too.

Phew, so much to say.

Good luck to anyone else out there trying to manage eczema. It can be tough but we're getting there. I hope these ideas help.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tim Minchin video

Rockstar just read the last piece I wrote and suggested I add Tim Minchin's If I didn't Have You, check it out.