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12th January 2009

10:52am: Writer's Block: Shops Gone By
Woolworths shut its doors in the U.K. last week, sending many into a frenzy of nostalgia and bargain shopping. What now-closed store or chain do you wish was still open?

In the land where I was born, which is Northern Virgina, there used to be Ben Franklin's 5 & 10, or a five and dime. The one I particularly inhabited was located at the corner of Braddock Road and Backlick, which yielded Bradlick shopping center. I was once giving instructions to a man named Brad and he thought I was pulling his leg, but it is still called that.

We went there often when I was a child because it was near where my sister and I took piano lessons. There was also a laundromat, which we had occasion to use a time or two. As far as I knew, they specialized in candy and yarn, because those were the main things I bought. We mostly crocheted with the yarn, which I had learned at 4H at the local methodist church. There was also a display of doll furniture which intrigued me. I don't recall toys, particularly. They must have been the wrong sort for the age I was, which I can easily imagine now if I think of a dollar store and a 12 year old girl. I think they sold fake flowers and baskets too.

I guess the five and dime evolved into the dollar store, which is something to think about. There is a dollar store in Bradlick Shopping center today, and I also remember a Pam E. K's donut shop which used to be on the corner, which was open 24 hours and when I was first learning to drive we would go there sometimes, at obscene hours of the wee morning just because we could. There was a guy I liked named Mike who would hang out with me because he had a crush on my sister. And there we completely abandon this subject and move on to a story about the Howard Jones song, No one is to blame.

19th November 2007

10:56am: Restless
I've been catching up on some filing today. I also responded to an e-mail from my daughter's sunday school teacher that illuminated a lot of my family issues (to myself - I didn't go on too much to her.)

I guess things are just so open-ended at this point, there is little use in panicking. I went house shopping with the Man yesterday evening. Choosing a house raises all sorts of issues like whose work we should live closer to, and whether I'm going to have any more children in the next two and a half years (when I turn 40) and whether we will be staying in our congregation or moving out of it. I just need to step back and trust things will work out. I mean, it's not like there is some horrible, urgent reason we need to move. He had a person from work mention wanting to sell her house, and we started out looking at that and then wandering around that area a bit. Then we looked in a beaucoup fancy neighborhood that's still in our congregation.

15th November 2007

5:04am: If you haven't friended tricia_v yet
I think I might post something over there.

13th November 2007

11:05am: Hello
I had a funny idea for a story yesterday morning. It was about disembodied spirits living in trees. Not as the trees, but their homes were in trees. But I decided it was too weird. They were winged serpents, but not like a dragon. The wings were fins that undulated down the back and the serpents wrapped themselves in a coil to have a wing on either side and could beat the wings by moving not too differently from how they currently do.

It's an old joke I have with my husband that when God cursed the serpent to live in the dust, he took not their legs, but their wings. It's not a very old joke, just something I said once to be funny.

Anyway, this serpent wakes up one day, or possibly in the middle of the night, and their wings don't feel right, and they fall down. And on the ground they find a serpent creeping along, sidewinding, and talk to the serpent about the wing situation. The ground serpent says that this happens to everyone eventually, their wings start to fail, and the only thing for it is to stay on the ground and avoid sunlight as much as possible.

I wasn't really sure what happened next that would make sense. The serpent who is loosing her wings, who does she talk to next? Who does she live with? Where does she go and why? None of the answers that make sense are interesting, and vice versa. That is the tragedy of allegory.

In other news we are tiling our entryway, and it it's taking more time and money than we planned.

I guess if I cross post this, and you have me friended twice, that would be annoying as all geddup.

9th November 2007

4:59am: Writer's Block: This Gets My Vote
Whether it's in an election or just in a fun poll, what's getting your vote this week?
I've decided I'm going to stay Republican and boost for John McCain. I hope my fellow Mormons don't think I'm giving up on Mitt Romney, but I also think the media likes Giuliani a bit too much. Giuliani can't deliver New York, his endorsement by Pat Roberston stinks of a back room deal, and Pro-Life is the primary reason I am a republican (since as a Christian, most of their other hot button issues actually annoy me.) Seeing Giuliani crowned as the winner before the race started filled me with confusion, but getting behind McCain has given me hope and focus.

7th November 2007

5:50am: Change of address
I've decided to take up residence as www.livejournal.com/~tricia_v
It just seemed like a good idea when I woke up this morning.

6th November 2007

6:00am: Various thoughts
I was looking at some sunday school lessons this morning (I woke up at 4:30 and tried to sleep until 5) and I guess maybe the question is not what are the component parts of me, but what things am I a component of?

It's funny because in the lesson I talked about the controversy over how the original 12 steps talks about "we" this and that, and the Church's version talks about "you" this and that. It bothered a lot of old-timers. But I saw it as the Lord addressing me personally.

Well, I guess I can't go backward. I can't undo the last 6 weeks of thinking. I must go forward. I've been continuing to weigh some fairly large questions. I guess part of that was going to the wedding with all the people I was in high school with, 19 1/2 years ago. I guess I'm feeling discouraged about being a writer, though I could still be a writer even if I become a nurse.

I guess this might be called a mid-life crisis. Is it too early for a mid-life crisis? [/Phil Connors]

5th November 2007

10:24am: I tried putting creamer in herb tea
The resulting color should have been a tipoff. It was the color of the background on this browser bar. Now I suppose you may not have your windows theme same as mine, or maybe you're on a mac, but it was way too light to be promising. I think there needs to be a fair component of bitterness to justify creamer.

I'm eating lunch now because of Daylight Savings shift and it was fast sunday yesterday. Leftover stuffed shells... MMmmm.

So I continue to feel adrift (since the events of mid-september, which were of a philosophical nature.) I did do some reading in Doctrine and Covenants 88, looking for insight into the Freudian Trilogy, and I think the components of the soul are a continuum. But so is humanity, and we all seem to be at war pretty regularly.

Also, I gave the Addiction Recovery Program lesson in church yesterday. No one told me how much they liked it, but I kind of didn't expect that. Afterward, one sister mentioned that she doesn't understand the whole "addiction as a disease" thing, and I can remember struggling with the idea. I guess folks who don't think much about the organic nature of mental disorder can find it pretty puzzling.

2nd November 2007

11:38am: I'm looking over...
my dead dog rover... or is it a four leaf clover? Anyway, I'm looking over my day and not really seeing when I'm going to get a chance to write. :sigh:. At least I paid my bills already for the first part of this month.


Yeah, I just don't know if I can do it. Life is too crazy this year, and I don't really have any idea of what to write. And I think I'm still kind of put off by the whole Nursing question.

1st November 2007

10:32pm: So... nanowrimo...yeah.
I met my goal today. I guess I could have kept writing, but I spent too long updating my word count and then I had to go mail some packages at the 24hour APC and buy some break and milk (and $30 of other junk) and then I remembered an errand i had meant to do wednesday, before I connected the idea that Halloween was the 31 and Wednesday was also the 31.

What I've been writing so far is completely disjointed. I don't know, maybe I'll look over things on Sunday and decide where I want to go from there. You know, after I give the big relief society lesson about the church's 12 step recovery program. Yikes. (Every first sunday the local leadership decides what to teach, and the Branch president asked me to consider that for a topic. )

30th October 2007

5:58am: All things must needs be a compound in one
Eckart Tolle says the mind is not the self. Perhaps it is a function of physical systems, like digestion. Which sounds crude on the face of it, but digestion is actually a process by which our bodies are converting matter into energy.

We are to love God with all our heart, might, mind and strength. Many places in the bible it just lists three of these.

The AA big book talks about the self-will, the would-be director. Addicts are clearly people who do not need their "ego" developed.

"fiddle dee dee".

23rd October 2007

8:44am: Motives
During my more-action-packed-than-normal commute this morning, I had occasion to ponder the possibility of moving next year. A large component of my issues has to do with my husband not wanting me to be Relief Society President anymore. And truth to tell, it recently dawned on me that I really am not very good at it. I'm good at showing up. I'm not so good at leading. Of course, maybe I'm not supposed to lead. Maybe my leadership is consituted in following cheerfully. Except how cheerfully do I really follow?

I should look at the 7 things that talk asked us to do again. Things to fill up the reservoir. Attitudes as much as actions.

So on October 11th I mentioned I should revisit the decision to go back to school 8 days after my period started. I guess the conviction came to me on the 19th. Do I wish to receive that conviction? As I wrote in my green looseleaf, do I have any conviction for the status quo?

19th October 2007

11:20am: Cross posting
Someone was asking for a definition of enlightenment.

This morning I was thinking about my decision process about whether I should become a nurse. I really believe that helping people in need is the most important thing I can do with my life, and I know there is a nurse crisis that is only going to deepen in the coming years. But I don't know if these ideas are sufficient to weather me through the process inherent in a radical career change.

I need more than several classes to be eligible to start a nursing program, and then the nursing program itself is 16 months of full time study, so at that point I would not be able to continue working a regular job (and with my family being young, I probably would not be working at all at that point). Additionally, I watched my mother go through a similar attempt at a career change in her early 40's. First she wanted to go to medical school, and then it was nursing school, and then she wound up getting a bachelor's degree that didn't really equip her for a gainful career. I already have such a bachelor's degree, so I guess I'm not quite as worried about that.

But my question I posed to myself this morning was whether I have conviction. I am capable of having conviction, such as with continuing to maintain and build my marriage, and my conviction in caring for my children has been challenged a lot by working full time. Is conviction something from without that seizes my will, or is it my choice?

As I was pondering this matter of how to transform preference into conviction, I for some reason remembered what Dumbledore tells Harry Potter at the end of Book 2, that our choices are more important than our talents in determining who we are. While I'd recognized that as a very good idea when I read it, seeing that it applied to the very question I now have before me was enlightening. It united my thought process and my emotional energies, for want of a better word.

So now I know what conviction is. Is nursing what I want to do with it?

18th October 2007

8:28am: I have apprehended my muffin nemesis... maybe.
This muffin said it was Apple caramel, not apple cobbler. Though it could be I heard Meg wrong. This thing definitely has a crunchy oaty topping on top. It's pretty good, anyway. I guess the trick is to get here a few minutes early and check before lunch. Really yummy, though.

16th October 2007

3:06pm: The elusive apple cobbler muffin
I saw one probably 4 weeks ago (this is at the cafe on the street level of our building). I thought it sounded good, but I got something different instead. Well, as far as I can tell they haven't made them since. Today is the first day I haven't checked. I wonder.

Don't tell my husband, but my boss is gone for 1 1/2 hours. I was all excited that I would get some writing time in, but instead I appear to be having an attack of cramps. Well, we'll see if it passes or anything.

15th October 2007

8:03am: My problem with "The Peacegiver"
I did some reading in True to the Faith last night and their description of the Atonement is just wonderful. I realized the sense of what I was missing in Farrell's The Peacegiver is, precisely, peace. With that in mind and went back and re-listened to it today and realized the problem I have with it.

Ferrell's voice in his description of Gethsemane is "Grandpa Carson" and he describes Jesus as being one sin away from defeat, as locked in an agonistic struggle against Satan. The sense I had of this is that it seemed very Catholic, and indeed it is. Though as Mel Gibson showed, the serpent has but power to bruise the heel, where the son of man had power to crush his head. So where is the contest in that?

My sense of the atonement is that it was a struggle of the will of Jesus with the will of God. The outcome of that struggle was not victory as man has it, but peace. And it requires the most important distinguising feature of Latter Day doctrine, which is the individuality of Jesus Christ and God the Father (as well as the Holy Ghost.) The only witness that convinces me they are separate is to know that Jesus said "Thy will, not mine, be done."

Before I listened to the passage again, when I was making lunches this morning, I wondered which was more important to the restored Gospel: The individuality of the Godhead or the Atonement. How wonderful to realize they are the same matter. I knew, but I didn't know that I knew.

Of course this raises a greater mystery (for me) which is whether Adam's transgression was contrary to the will of God or not. On the one hand, God accepted it would happen and had a plan in place. But his commandment to Adam was not to partake of the fruit. Does God give commandments, specific personal commandments, that are contrary to his will? There is the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, another type of the atonement.

Too often in life we liken ourselves to Christ as the savior of others rather than to Adam (and/or Eve) as a traitor to ourselves and to God. Maybe. The illusion is that we can follow our own will and get anywhere. So in a larger sense, Ferrell is half right that if Jesus had succumbed to his own will, he would be succumbing to Satan's will.

Yeah, more big questions I don't really know how to even ask.

11th October 2007

10:45am: Don't try to live your life in one day
Today my car quit working on the way in on 295. I thought it was probably out of gas, but I had an hour to wait and think about what I want to do with my life in the next few years. This question has been perplexing me a lot lately, as I have realized I'm not this hot literary genius with a work ethic defect. I'll certainly continue to write, but what else?

Well, a splinter that has been working its way into my head is to cross train into nursing. I've been resisting it for several weeks now, and I thought I'd try not resisting it for a while and see what happens. I just always wanted to do something more chic and glorious than nursing. But I guess those motives have not been adequate to move me into anything chic and glorious.

The thing is, I kept wondering what I'd tell myself if I could talk to myself when I was younger. Then it occured to me to wonder what I'd be telling myself if I were my older self talking to me now.

Part of me wants to say "Don't give up your dreams! Don't sell out!" But it wouldn't be about the security and necessity of Nursing. I really want to help people. I once wished I would help people by writing, but I'm not really there and I don't know how to do it. What would really be selling out is writing cute tripe that is marketable in order to keep busy as a writer. Wow, there's some anger in there, isn't there?

So, the plan is if I still feel like becoming a nurse would be a good idea 8 days after the period I assume is impending, then I'll get moving on that idea. I should clarify I'm looking into Psychiatric Nurse Practicioner, which I'm told is where a lot of therapy is being done these days.

10th October 2007

9:27am: My trip to Las Cruces
So in addition to no fatal plane crash, I had a really good time at my friend's wedding. Though it was strange to see my first boyfriend officiating as the Reverend. I went and checked out his blog at www.xanga.com/beloved_spear. I think that's what it's called. And then, because he blogged about how many more people follow his homosexuality links than his Jesus links, I read all his Jesus links yesterday. He really believes in predestination. That's so odd to me.

There is sometimes a bit of weirdness when my friends and I are reminiscing and the subject of me and the Rev comes up. He married one of my Jewish friends. Like earlier this summer we were all at a barbecue and they were talking about who went to prom with whom, and I said "I went to prom with (and I almost said his first name, but instead, out fell)... your husband". I can see how in print that would look really catty, but hopefully it was just funny and a little surreal.

And then at the wedding we were talking about how no one realized that my parents were breaking up when I was 16, and I said that's because they didn't know it, and someone asked why I had to move to Utah just before Senior year, and I said "My mom finally admitted that it was to break up me and [the Rev]."

"But did it work? You guys still wrote for a while."

"Yeah, but there was other stuff."

"Oh right, like the Mormon thing would never have worked out. Not like, you know, Judaism." I'm not sure who said what except for Mrs. Rev said that last bit. It was funny and surreal also. She's very involved in her congregation and raising there sons Jewish, as far as I can tell.

Well, I'll have to write about the non-surreal-ex-boyfriend-Reverend parts some other time. I did realize pretty recently that he was a good guy who never did anything but try to make me happy -- within reason-- and though I've been angry at how things ended from time to time, I don't regret that it ended. I sometimes regret it didn't end sooner.

5th October 2007

9:22am: You never know,
Maybe that dream that I die in a plane crash is for real. I don't know that there is so much in my life that would need to be differently, that I am willing to change at this point. Duh, I would have changed it.

My story I want to write for Nanowrimo begins with JT's lesson on the Ten Virgins, the Sunday F3 was blessed (in 2000). He made the point that our preparation has to be spiritual as well as based in the word. That was very hard for me to take, because I had come to believe in God again, but it was the watchmaker God.

January of 2001 I have the "Road to Draper" revelation. I think I posted about that on the Heart-t-heart forum. I suppose the story can trace up until that point why I got there and why JT's view on the 10 virgins was upsetting to me.

Beyond January 2001, I guess the recovery story begins. I think this aspect of the story goes through my breakdown with F4 (winter 2003) and on to May of 2005.

Childhood, 2 N 9:42. It can be scary to become as a child, if childhood was scary.

27th September 2007

8:23pm: What's this, my third update today?
Well, for variety I'll make it friends only.

Something rather important was impressed on me as I was driving home today. It had to do with something I used to think about mental illness and the atonement, about what is necessary on the part of the mentally ill person. When I was thinking about it in fall of 2000, I believe it was, when Dallin Oaks gave an address on the Resurrection, I thought then that the physical components of mental illness would be healed in the resurrection. But I believed that there were spiritual elements that required me to... I don't know. I mean, this is the thing I realized was false, so why labor in trying to remember how it was articulated?

The truth is that the spiritual illness is the part that can be healed here and now through the power of the atonement. It is not the case that my physical illness will be healed and then how will I be. What I have experienced is the removal of the spiritual illness through removing the barriers of fear, shame, guilt and anger that I so long denied. I thought these barriers protected me, but they shaded me from the light of God's illuminating grace.

Well, if you've got this far in the post, I guess you might not mind reading some of my thoughts on the church's addiction program. Some of the old school 12 steppers don't like how the church program discourages people from identifying themselves as addicts (because the church believes we should identify ourselves principally as children of God.)

It's a curious matter. The particular crowd I run with feels the historical 12 step movement has suffered by muffling the presence of God in the program. It seems the church will now experiment with muffling the presence of the addict in the program. It's not really the church itself, but a professional wing of the church made up of psychologists and therapists, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. I find myself in a curious middle ground, for my 12 step friends are fond of saying they are grateful for their addictions. I think that's not quite right either. For every addict that finds God through the 12 steps, there are 7 or 8 who go down for the count. The reality is, one has a better chance with many forms of cancer than with addiction.
2:32pm: What to wear?
I have a wedding I'm going to in 9 days. It's at a scenic park in Las Cruces, New Mexico. My friend, the bride, went to school for fashion design. But it was in the early nineties. Basically, I don't see much point in trying too hard to be fashionable. I should just dress up as me, only fancier.

I have a red Chi-Pau, but that's a chinese wedding dress, so not so good to wear to someone else's wedding. I also have a velvet v-neck dress that I bought for dancing in, but I think that's too wintery.

I have a black blouse and skirt that might work for a plan B. Though it's somewhat hazardous to wear black to a wedding when you haven't been asked to. I guess I could wear some kind of scarf, sash, or stole to brighten up my look. But mainly I hope I can find something else. Maybe something green. It would be nice if I could find something I could also wear to the office. Since the office is a pretty formal one, and the wedding is not a strictly formal setting, I could see that working.
8:41am: Feeling somewhat better
I woke up and my stomach was tied in knots, which hasn't happened without good cause in quite some time. But I've been meditating and praying quite a bit that I can let go of the stuff I have no control over.

26th September 2007

4:27pm: feelings, whoa o o feelings
I feel pretty anxious, and I hope it's just the situation with the person who is leaving the office. We'll see, I guess. I'm trying not to point the anxious ray at everything else in my life.

24th September 2007

11:01am: Tomorrow is Sept 25.
I guess that puts getting my daughter's bed built high on the agenda, so she doesn't have to keep sleeping in the family room.

I think I had some insight on my writing project this morning, like where the story should properly start. The beginning I was working on, which was the same time as the original but with a different character, didn't really seem too exciting.

19th September 2007

9:35am: There's stuff piled up against the door of my heart
Something you that really resonates with me is that Christ would be willing to descend below all, “even in to my hell”. I think a lot of people have expressed a desire to give themselves over to the Lord, but don’t know how.

We see the picture of Christ at the door of the heart, knocking and only we can let him in. But it seems there is not a handle on the inside either! Or, we have the handle, but it is a pull door and we are pushing.

So much of the answer comes back to honesty about feelings. Maybe we don’t know what is in our hearts. That is what the inventory is all about. I think I used to feel my heart was all the good stuff about me, but Christ doesn’t need to heal me of that (well, it turned out he did in some cases, but that’s another ball of wax).

The very things I most needed healed, I was holding back, because I didn’t want to think about them or acknowledge they existed. In doing so, I had judged myself. I wanted to present to the lord a pure heart, that’s what I thought the scriptures said

When in fact they ask for a broken heart. I was keeping back the parts of my heart I felt to be broken, or which were so broken, I didn’t recognize them. That is why the inventory is so essential.

It took me four years to really do an inventory, and I am grateful beyond any words that the Lord persevered with me. Though I will say I didn’t have to wait until I’d done a thorough inventory to be blessed with abstinence. My “path” has been more like a Van Gogh painting than a blueprint.

Still working on step 8. Can’t wait to see what happens. Thanks…
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