when a stereotypical joke is funny. or is it?

It was  a beautiful day in Heaven.

All the new arrivals were loaded onto a bus at the pearly gates and taken on a tour of the many mansions in Heaven.

The bus driver, a surly man named Hank, welcomed everyone aboard and began the tour.

“On the right is the Catholics manion.” said Hank.

The passengers ooh’ed and ahh’ed over the ornate stained glass and gold staircases.

“Now up here on the left is the Southern Baptist’s mansion.” Hank said.

The smell of collard greens and fried fish was tempting to the hungry people on the bus, getting to Heaven is exhausting work.

Hank continued on showing off the Non-Denominational Christian mansion, the Seventh Day Adventist mansion and the mansion where people lived who didn’t really have a “religion” while on Earth. All were equally glorious, beautiful and ornate. Residents of each mansion milled about the beautiful grounds with residents from neighboring mansions.

It truly was Heaven.

Hank began to turn down a more secluded path, he killed the engine and put in in neutral. “Now I’m going to have to ask all of you to hold your talking for a minute right here and be reeeeaaaaallll quiet.” Hank said.

“Why?” whispered a small Rabbi from the back of the bus.

“Because,” Hanks voice was barely audible, “we’re about to pass the Mormons mansion and they think they’re the only ones here.”

*******

So this was told to me by someone whom I respect in my church. I think it’s funny. But with the recent “namecalling” debate what do you think? Is it okay because I’m the one telling it and am basically making fun of myself? Or is it worse because I’m the one telling it?

If it were coming from the mouth of someone who openly disliked the LDS religion would it cease to be funny?

Just curious.

DO YOU SEE WHY I’M SO PERPLEXED WITH ALL THIS PC GARBAGE PEOPLE?

watching pain.

Since it’s already pretty obvious to those who know me well, the passing of Madeline has hit me in a place I didn’t know I could be hit in. It’s a sort of triangle, from the center of my chest down to my stomach, it seizes, and when it does it leaves my head unable function, I forget to breathe. I have to remind myself to breathe.

And then I think of Heather.

“It feels like a dream. But not this part. The Maddie part. She was so wonderful and perfect, she couldn’t possibly have been real. Nothing that perfect is real. Except this pain. It is perfectly, exquisitely wretched.”

-Reminders April 29, 2009

I’ve been on chat with her on a conference call when someone said “We’ve been to hell and back” in regards to an ill child.

Heather’s response was simply “They think they’ve been to hell and back.”

I woke up one morning to an email that said “Today was the second worst day of my life.” And then I thought about the first. Madeline.

Another time I received an email that ended with the sentence “I can’t believe this is my life.”

I was sitting in the Spohr’s living room after picking Tanis up from the airport, her words “You will never know worse pain than this.” suddenly made me feel inadequate, how could I ever help my darling Hedder who now knows the worst pain a human can possibly feel?

My sister and I were loyal ER watchers, have been for as long as I can remember. We were watching old episodes when she was out visiting and one of the actors said:

“When you lose a spouse you’re a widow, when you lose your parents you’re an orphan, but when you lose a child? There’s no word for that.”

There isn’t.

I haven’t wanted to write this post. I don’t want to make it about me. It’s not me who lost a child, yet when I look at the past eight weeks I realize I haven’t been the same. Others around me realize I haven’t been the same. When Heather says “I can’t believe this is my life” I look up and see my daughter playing on the floor, my husband making pancakes and a bright endless future in front of us.

Why Heather?

Why Madeline?

I know God has His reasons. And I understand in my own way why things like this happen. But why did He have to go and mess with my two best friends in less than a year? Why did I come out unscathed?

I’m so far away from both of them.

I miss them so much.

I finally admitted to Heather the other night how I felt. How I feel unjustly busted up over her loss and her pain. Again with all her infinite wisdom she replied “If this were reversed? I would be shattered for you. Sometimes making it all about you is the only way you can realize what someone else is going through.”

I can say this, loss has made Heather immensely eloquent.

When I said goodbye to Heather and left for the airport I was doing okay. But when I got to the airport and realized I was headed back to my life that was still the way I left it and leaving Heather and Mike alone on their couch?

I lost it.

I knew Maddie, I held Maddie, I was mesmerized by her. the moosh was mesmerized by her. She truly was the happiest baby and strongest little spirit I have EVER come across in my life. Her light made the moosh’s a warm glow in comparison.

She was NOT a sickly child. She was a force to be reckoned with.

I made the grown men on my first flight next to me very uncomfortable. I finally had to scribble out where I had been on a napkin and pass it to the man sitting next to me on my second flight.

I haven’t really picked up my camera since leaving LA, the last thing it captured was Madeline’s service. Heather has had a hard time picking hers up too. Her exact words? “My muse is gone.”

four purple ribbons copy

There is still a P.O. Box set up for letters, cards, hand knit tea cozies and Canadian candy (her favorite are Smarties.)

Every Tuesday adds a number to how long Madeline has been gone.

The eleventh of every month is a celebration of Maddie’s entrance into all of our lives.

The seventh of every month is punch in the tenders.

I have received emails from others of you who have had to watch as a close friend truly visits the hell that is losing a child. You realized what was affecting me so deeply before I did. I felt safe replying to you that “Yes, actually. I am wrecked.” but felt that I could never admit it to the rest of the world without looking like an excuse seeking pansy.

I love you Hedder. Thanks for letting me make this about me for a day.

Mike & Heather Spohr
11870 Santa Monica Blvd. #106-514
West Los Angeles, CA 90025

namecalling.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

My church has even put out a formal request to the media about how and when to use specific references to the Church.

The official name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This full name was given by revelation from God to Joseph Smith in 1838.—

While the term “Mormon Church” has long been publicly applied to the Church as a nickname, it is not an authorized title, and the Church discourages its use.

When writing about the Church, please follow these guidelines:

  • In the first reference, the full name of the Church is preferred: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Please avoid the use of “Mormon Church,” “LDS Church” or “the Church of the Latter-day Saints.”
  • When a shortened reference is needed, the terms “the Church” or “the Church of Jesus Christ” are encouraged.
  • When referring to Church members, the term “Latter-day Saints” is preferred, though “Mormons” is acceptable.
  • “Mormon” is correctly used in proper names such as the Book of Mormon, Mormon Tabernacle Choir or Mormon Trail, or when used as an adjective in such expressions as “Mormon pioneers.”
  • The term “Mormonism” is acceptable in describing the combination of doctrine, culture and lifestyle unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • When referring to people or organizations that practice polygamy, the terms “Mormons,” “Mormon fundamentalist,” “Mormon dissidents,” etc. are incorrect. The Associated Press Stylebook notes: “The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other … churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith’s death.”

Okay. *yawn* Are we all on the same page?

Good.

Nine times out of ten I call myself a Mormon. Or LDS. Five times out of ten Mormon is spelled wrong by the general public (Morman, which let’s face it, I have enough man in my life.) and three times out of ten when I use the term LDS, a joke is made about LSD. It’s also really close to FLDS (the polygamists, I cover that one here.) and the RLDS (also a completely different religion.) so for most people I keep it to the simple two syllable term, Mormon.

You’re not going to offend me if you call me a Mormon. If you precede it with four letter words ending in “ing” my feelings may bruise slightly. As long as you’re not trying to be hateful? Call me whatever you want. Same goes for most people I know who share the same beliefs as me, as long as you’re not being a jerk? We can take a joke and you can call us whatever is most convenient (which most of the time is Mormon.)

Now I can’t speak for other groups in the world. Everyone is going to take name calling differently. I have made the grave mistake of deeply offending someone by using the term “Jew.” It was not in a hateful or anti-Semitic way, however taken out of context I can easily see where I went wrong. At the same time I see other people using the term “Jew.” Even Rabbi Shmuley, (who’s totally on twitter HI RABBI SHMULEY!) used the term “Jew” in one of his tweets.

rabbi shmuley's tweet

*sigh*

Is it one of those things where only those who are “in” are allowed to use the vernacular? *deep breath*

I hope you can understand why I’m frustrated. We’ve become so set as a society to take anything as an offense that we react before we think a lot of times.

Sometimes it’s easier to refer to someone as “the Jewish one” or “the gay one” or “the heavier one” or “the black one” or “the one in a wheelchair.”  It’s not because we’re all  Anti-Semites, homophobes, vain, racist or have something against handicapped people sometimes it’s just easier to point someone out with an obvious difference. You all know you have that one Aunt you refer to as “The Crazy One.” Every family has one.  I remember at BlogHer last year trying to tiptoe around the fact that Heather B. was black. So what? She is! And she refers to herself as such on her blog.

But is okay as a white person to call another person black because I’m not? Because I don’t understand what it means to be black? Should I keep to the more politically correct term of “African American?” Is it even okay for me to refer to myself as a white person? Because deep down (okay, my nose) is a Greek person, and under that (my pale skin) is an Irish person.

Honestly I don’t like it when white (caucasian) people refer to themselves as “crackers.” It makes me uncomfortable, much as I would imagine the N term makes black (African American) people feel. (See? I can’t even utter the N word. But you know what I’m talking about.)

Why is race and religion and physical appearance such a big deal? Our president is black, I’d make friends with a Baptist just as quick as I’d make a friend with a fellow Mormon and frankly this whole Prop 8 mess? I speak for myself (MYSELF) when I say that I’ve seen more same sex couples take their unions more seriously than a lot of “traditional” couples. (I’m looking at you Britney Spears.)

We all have value, and short of those derfwads floating around the world who live to hurt people by calling them names like a six year old bully, most of us aren’t out to hurt anyone else.

So if I use the word “Jew” and eat bacon in front of a Jewish person it’s not because I’m a jerk or Anti-Semite. While I’ll do my best to keep my pork consumption to myself I won’t always remember. It’s not my lifestyle.

Just as if you cuss up a storm and drink three glasses of wine in front of me, it’s not because you’re a jerk trying to hurt or offend me, it’s what YOU are used to. (Or your name is Tanis.)

And if somewhere along the lines I offend you or you offend me? I’ll be sure to tell you like a grownup. Just as I’d expect you to do the same. Because the likelyhood that I meant to hurt you? Is smaller than a fish’s eyeball.

moosh at indy 500.

the moosh was invited by one of her little friends to Carb Day at the Indy track today. (Where carb refers to carburetor NOT the carbs in beer. WHOOPS. Naive? I am. However there is massive beer consumption, or so I hear. *ahem*)

I was excited to hear her report upon her return. I mean, hello? Dozens of cars headed straight for you at 225 miles per hour! Fast turns! LIKE THE PISTON CUP BUT IN REAL LIFE! What four year old wouldn’t LOVE THAT?

When she walked in the door I asked “How was it!? What did you see!?”

Her response?

None of the other boys wore shirts. Ewww.

Ah yes. The day my daugther learned about rednecks and race fans.

And I wasn’t even there.

Expanding my muffin in the name of charity.

Let’s face it.

Me? In a charity pancake eating contest against former rock stars and a local weather guy?

I don’t stand a chance.

I can talk smack, but in this case? I can’t bring it.

What I can bring? An audience and maybe some donations.

The Indy 500 is a big huge deal out here, the entire state turns into one giant black and white checkered flag for the entire month of May. Potato chips are also perpetually on sale. There’s something called Carb Day every year before the race and it has always involved beer and music.

However, the Carb Day I’m involved in? Carb Day for a Cause. And that Cause? St. Vincent de Paul food bank, which feeds over 3,200 families each week. No beer, just pancakes and rock stars. With tattoos and trendy jeans. (I personally will have stretchy pants and Hannah Montana on my iPod.)

The goal is to raise money by having a bunch of us Indy Social Media dweebs trash talk each other and make a sticky spectacle of ourselves this Saturday. I of course would adore any donations, from $1 to $1,000. I’d also love for you to come.



Time: May 23, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Parade starts downtown at noon!)

Location: Locally Grown Gardens, 1050 E 54th St

Cost: Spectators can get a $10 all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, which will also go to the food bank

I’ve kind of become the social media poster child of feeding hungry people in Indianapolis. Thanks to your efforts moosh in indy readers were able to win $5K for Gleaner’s Food Bank from Quaker Oats back in February. A month later y’all helped me get a truck full of food donated to the same food bank from Tyson Chicken.

Social media can do so much more than suggest the best new app for your iPhone or the best place to get all of your political news. It can feed the hungry and bring together a community, no matter how big or how small.

Thanks for any help in this bum expanding effort.


carb day for a cause

I am the pregnancy rule.

I’m writing this on the 17th of May, a day before my period is scheduled to come and nineteen days after I ovulated (and made out appropriately.)

Which means for the past nineteen days I have interpreted any tiny fluctuation in my existence to mean I am either pregnant or not. For anyone who has ever longed to be pregnant you know exactly what I’m talking about. Suddenly everything you do with yourself from the day you ovulate could have bearing on the entire future health of your hypothetical fetus.

Feeling a little barfy? It’s because you’re pregnant, ignore the fact that you ate some seriously questionable chicken fingers chased by lukewarm fruit salad and a flat soda the night before. Commence eating nothing but Gatorade and Saltines.

Cookies and cream ice cream for dinner one night? You just ruined their chance at a Harvard education by dumbing them down with chunks of frozen chocolate cookie in your first trimester.

Forgot to take your pretatal Flinstone vitamin on Wednesday? Congratulations your pretend (or is it?) kid is now going to have a flipper.

Fell down the stairs?* Whoops, you just knocked the little imaginary embryo loose and you are completely out of luck, thanks for trying, come back again later when you’re a little more graceful.

I even convinced my husband to go out at almost midnight to procure me a Cherry Slushee because there’s a chance I could be pregnant and the violent vomiting could begin any! day! now! rendering the enjoyment of a Cherry Slushee null and void for the next nine months because they burn so bad on the way back up.**

Speaking of vomiting, with the way my last pregnancy turned out*** I seriously consider everything I put in my mouth, because it could be the first thing to come up. (Seriously, with the moosh? I felt fiiiine, then one day, I kinda had a tummy ache, I ate some Cheerios for breakfast at 8:31am MST and at 8:43 am MST on April 15, 2004 those suckers came rocketing back up in the last stall on the left at Beehive Clothing. Nothing stayed down for the next 35 weeks. The last thing I vomited up? Lime Slushee in the delivery room, I told that nurse I was scheduled to puke just after 10 am MST and to hurry up and give me the Zofran already, however she went with a ‘wait and see’ approach. Lime slushee puke? 10:08 am, Zofran administered? 10:12 am. THANKS NURSE.)

So here I sit in limbo. Wanting so badly to troll etsy for baby stuff that was never around when the moosh was a baby.  Ignoring the overwhelming desire to enter every online contest for onesies and burp cloths and bedding sets. Putting off buying one of those “I’M A BIG SISTER” t-shirts for another month**** because frankly there is a possibility that the moosh may never be a big sister.

My time would be better spent vacuuming than dreaming up ways to tell my husband, my daughter, my family and all of you magnificent witty ways to announce my pregnancy.

But that’s just the thing, it’s so all encompassing, it changes everything. If I were pregnant it would mean that spare bedroom in a new house would be a baby’s room, not an office. People constantly offer the well meaning advice of “Just don’t worry about it and it will happen.” or “You think about it too much, just relax.” and then there’s my favorite, “I had this friend who gave up years ago and went out and adopted twins and a month later she found out that she was pregnant with triplets! Can you imagine!!!!1!!”

I have to remember when it comes to magnificent stories of conception they are all the exception. For every woman out there who miraculously becomes pregnant after a dozen years trying or after coming back from cancer or after going through a heart wrenching adoption, there are a dozen more of us out there who are the rule.

Those of us who pee on sticks every month to a single line or a blinking display of “NOT PREGNANT.” Those of us who will never become stories of “miraculous pregnancies.” Those of us destined to be ordinary infertile people that most of the pregnant world will feel awkward and uncomfortable around.

To those of you who are the exceptions? You’re welcome, because without people like me your stories would never be considered miracles.*****

_______________________________________

*I actually haven’t fell down a flight of stairs for almost a year. Yay me!

**Personal experience.

***For those of you who are new here I basically barfed myself into emaciation while pregnant from a soul sucking condition known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

****Honestly? I’ve been putting off this purchase every month for the last three years.

*****And that? Just sounded a lot more snarky than I intended. Maybe that’s why infertiles make fertiles feel so awkward?

faith.

I have often been criticized for my choice of religion. I am also criticized for not fitting a certain stereotype within it. I make jokes about enjoying my Dyson, I sometimes think a hot toddy would put a nice end to a difficult day  and I can fall victim to judgement and jealousy faster than the moosh can spot my hidden loot of Oreos.

All that being said I would not give up on my faith for anyone or anything.

Sure there’s times when it’s easier to stand behind my convictions with a burning testimony.

But there’s also times when it’s really hard. When something I’ve worked so hard for never quite seems to work out in the way I think it should.

Infertility is an excellent example of this.

There is a huge part of my heart that wants to be done with all the tests and waiting. But there is also a very rebellious part of my heart that knows it’s just not my time and it’s not up to me to say ‘when.’

There’s another kerfuffle currently brewing in my life  that I have thrown myself and my faith head first into. I want so badly to see even just one tiny improvement. To know all the sacrifice, fasting, tears and hours spent on my knees in prayer has helped.

That we physically can’t take another persons pain, suffering or burdens upon ourselves is frustrating.

Some people are given too much. And it’s not fair.

I may not have the faith to move mountains right now, but I still have it.

And I hope it’s helping.

Dysonummanumma.

In my family I have this crazy aunt who insists her carpets have perfectly lined up vacuum marks. She even vacuums on her way out the front door so as not to leave any footprints behind in her perfectly manicured carpet.

I have become that crazy aunt.

Because internets? I GOT A DYSON.

It was a culmination of gifts for surviving law school. my birthday, mother’s day, putting up with Cody and of course my all encompassing awesome.

It feels completely natural to hug it. And I do, regularly.

I need to get a house so I can have more square footage to vacuum. (And no, I’m not kidding.)

Want to be my friend? Come through my front door and throw glitter on the floor. Not only will it give me an excuse to vacuum, can you imagine how awesome glitter would look swiriling through the high impact polycarobonate canister?

NaBloPoMo for May here at moosh in indy has been foiled by my intense love for an appliance that sucks.

The Maiden Voyage of the moosh Dyson from moosh in indy. on Vimeo.