3/3/15

physical vs. metaphysical

Josephine will sometimes write her letters not only right-to-left, but in mirror image. Not all the time, but occasionally. She has a hard time paying attention in class, and her imagination is all over the place. As her mother, of course I'm thinking, "She has the heart and soul of an artist! YES." But in the public school system, that necessarily must rely on test scores and meeting certain goals at certain points of the school year, Josephine is one of only four children in her class "with red dots" next to their name - meaning they are at "high risk."
At parent teacher conferences, her teacher and I discussed solutions. She suggested "anything homeopathic is better. There's a South African woman, not African American but South African, at the apothecary next to Sprouts who could help." Then the conference was over, and we bustled out with squirmy Eloise and Hazel. Its important for your children's teachers to feel like they aren't alone in teaching your child, that the parents are supportive and involved. So I told her I would try it.

I visited the shop, the owners were extremely nice, and gave me recommendations for Jo. Then I went home and researched. Research for me does not include Google searches, Wikipedia or WebMD, but peer-reviewed, published sources. One of the positive sides of Eloise's extensive hospital time is I can navigate medical literature much better than I could before.

Homeopathy is entirely bogus. The idea of diluting chemical substances and coating them in sugar pills relies on completely false science. Herbs undeniably provide benefits for the human body - however, the production and sales of herbal supplements is unregulated in the United States, thanks to a homeopathic Senator in the 1930s who passed legislation. The amount of herbs in a given marketed product may have as little as half as much of the actual herb as promise (again, unregulated). There is also a whole conspiracy aspect too, people believe the pharmaceutical companies are not trying to better mankind through medicine but fleece our pockets in evil schemes.

By disbelieving modern medical science, people are essentially doubting the scientific method. Medicating or "curing" through homeopathy, self-medicating herbs, or the like, is harmful because an illnesses may go ignored or worsen.

I don't know what this whole trend is, if its worldwide trend or a Mormon trend or a Utah trend or a Mommy trend, but I feel like I am surrounded by people disbelieving medicine and embracing homeopathic or "natural" methods instead. I don't care what people do, but I do care if it affects my children. While Eloise was in the hospital I had a nanny who believed in non-traditional cures wholesale, I've had neighbors, ward members, Primary leaders, family members and friends discuss how they choose to follow herbal or homeopathic self-medicating rather than medical doctors. And now their school teacher recommends homeopathy as a solution to Jo's ADD.

I've been trying to discover the historical roots of this movement, and it turns out it is complicated. Since the Industrial Revolution people have been rejecting technology and medical progression. Psychologists believe it may be "too much too fast," and so people distrust it. Its very appealing for a lot of people to believe in an "alternative" to modern medication. Dr. Hohnemann in the 18th century was the founder of homeopathy, and he incorporated *literally* the philosophy of "magic of similars." From what I have discovered, it appears to root from insecurity, ignorance, and magical thinking.

Okay - people can do whatever they want. They can make health a matter of belief instead of science. But two things make me angry about it. Number 1: When those followers act as if turning away from modern medicine and science is a moral choice, as if they were being virtuous by following a more "natural" path. When they become preachy and self-righteous about it, that's not okay.
Number 2: When it affects my children.

Naturally I turned this thinking onto myself, and tried to see where I may be hypocritical. I have faith in God, and I am a Mormon. I believe in things that science cannot prove. However, is not Moroni's promise at the end of the Book of Mormon the scientific method? Try it for yourself, over and over and over again, and decide from the results. I believe in giving Fast Offerings to the poor and monthly Tithing to the Church because I believe in the cause, and because I know it indirectly benefits me. I believe in praying because I know the practice not only helps me live in a more conscientious way, but I know it benefits my family. The results are quantifiable to me.

Faith is a matter of metaphysical belief and experience, and in that realm I can experiment with it. Science and medicine are physical and can be experimented and tested, and the results should be seen as a blessing, and not a conspiracy.

3/2/15

DA

Downton Abbey Season 5 finale last night. Don't leave Branson! We ALL love you!
Nothing succeeds like excess, so did I make crême brûlée? But of course!

2/26/15

flirt

I had a waiter wink at me. He was cute, and at least 5-7 years younger than me. The Ghost Martha on my shoulder said, Offensive! You did not give that male permission to flirt. The Mormon inside me said, Women of faith do not boast sexual appeal! Those voices told me I should feel like this:

But how I actually felt was like this:
I have borne four children and I still got it, yo! 

2/25/15

Fort Kamehameha

As my mother puts is, my mind has "a very large engine," and going through the mundanity of daily mothering without something big to keep my mind busy is like putting a cog in the works until the engine starts smoking and sputtering out. Lately I've been contemplating the 18th century, specifically how the Enlightenment fundamentally altered the history of the world. Not just in my beloved France or here in America, but all around the world. I've been delving into Haitian history and Toussaint l'Ouverture, Simone Bolivar in Venezuela, and King Kamehameha in Hawaii. Mostly I've been listening to podcasts while I cook or clean, and read Wikipedia articles while I hold Eloise.

Growing up I remember seeing statues of King Kamehameha all over the place in Honolulu, remember hearing stories about him in school, and I lived in Fort Kamehameha for Pete's sake. But I never cared to learn much about him; he existed as this vague historical figure in the corners of my memory as I imagine Brigham Young must be in the minds of young Utahns. I remember visiting a "haunted" coastal cliff in Oahu, where 700 people were pushed off to their deaths, and it was all somehow connected to King Kamehameha.

Learning about King Kam as an adult has been a peculiar experience. Those vague outlines in my memory have been sharpened, with some startling realizations. Primarily, he was a cunning and strong leader, a ferocious warrior, but basically a thug. A thug with better technology than the other chieftain thugs. Not that I believe the European colonizers or plantation owners were bastions of morality, but...King Kamehameha had a bloody rule. He may have united the islands, but through bloodshed. He may have reigned in relative peace toward the end of his life, but treachery and bloodthirst brought him there.

These revelations for me are what I imagine it must feel like to learn your childhood pet rabbit had rabies, and spread rabies to all the other rabbits in the neighborhood. And it pushed 700 people off a cliff. Its a bit unsettling.

This experience also strangely connects to another eery discovery about my childhood home:
This is a video taken in 2014, "Fort Kamehameha, HI. Formerly extraordinary US Army family quarters, now left ignored, in disrepair, vandalized, and a heart breaking sight." They were indeed extraordinary homes, built on beachfront property in the early 1900s for the army colonels and their families. Each house has nearly identical layouts, and were a magical place to grow up. I have precious memories there. Its where I met Sarah, my BFF, and when she showed me this video last year, it was a strange sensation. Its eery to see your childhood home, alive in your memories with geckos and ocean waves and best friends, now abandoned, broken, derelict. Its like a sad, bizarre horror film.

I have never been back to Hawaii since I left when I was almost 11. I would like to, but I can't see it happening. I wonder what it would feel like, if it would feel like watching that video or learning about King Kamehameha (disturbing and strange), or if it would feel like a homecoming. It was such a unique place to live that it is almost entirely removed from my life now. Despite being part of the same country, living in the Rocky Mountains is an entirely different experience than tropical Pacific islands. There aren't any traces of my island childhood in my current life, except for these unexpected revelations that seem to occur without warning. Its a little odd.

Cinderella



I don't know why, but every time I see this trailer, I get teary-eyed and uncharacteristically emotional.

Maybe because Cinderella has been Hazel's favorite since she could distinguish between the princesses, and she is blessed with the exact same hair as the Cinderella in the movie. It might be because I believe courage and kindness are pretty much the most important virtues. It could be because my interior decorating style in my house is a boiled down French Rococo, complete with 18th century textiles from a flea market in Paris. It could be because my best friend has loved Cinderella since she was little, and I can't see Cinderella without thinking of her. Or maybe its because I love Lady Rose MacClare and Rob Stark and Lucy Honeychurch. And because I can't resist the idea of layers of glorious blue and purple silk paired with Swarovski crystal slippers.

Or maybe I know exactly why the trailer makes me tear up.

2/21/15

interruptions

I have big plans for the garden this year, and thanks to an unusual, warm Equatorial weather pattern bathing Utah in sunny days and higher temperatures, it feels downright neglectful not to be doing some yard work preparation. But work this morning was halted because of this:
That would be Eloise's sad looking tummy. Earlier in the morning while her extension tubing was still on, somehow it was stepped on or yanked and ripped some of the tissue around the site. Poor baby bled all around her G-tube button. We cleaned her up, and brought her outside. She was happily playing until suddenly she was not. When G-tube buttons get old, the cap can flip off easily, and stomach acid and bile and whatever else is in her stomach leaks out. Because all the skin on her torso is super-sensitive due to constantly having Mefix tape placed and removed, her pores bled. I've never seen that before. Under her onesie she was covered in acidic stomach content and bile and blood, which inflamed the sliced part around the button, and irritated all her skin. 
It took about an hour to bathe, clean and dress the wound, soothe her skin and stop the bleeding, and calm Eloise. As if it were choreographed, the minute I was finally able to put Eloise down again, the mail lady delivered a letter from the State, asking for more documentation about Eloise. I know governments can only function with half a ton of paperwork, but I had spent a cumulative 6 hours last week doing just paperwork for the State about my baby. 
I wanted to send the letter back with only the above picture in the envelope. Maybe with a snarky note, "Is that proof enough for you?! I am not making this up!"

2/19/15

lousy day

Nothing makes me want to wear a "Hilary 2016" t-shirt more than going to Thanksgiving Point in the middle of the day in the middle of the week with my four littles. Its brimming with passive aggressive, well dressed, highlighted hair, stroller-pushing moms. That is not a judgement - its an provable scientific fact. And they all come in massive group play dates. My children had a wonderful time riding the ponies, seeing the farm animals, and learning about seeds, while I was surrounded by women having one of only three discussions: gossip, planned expensive vacations, or Facebook. Again, not a judgement, an observation of a culture over a 3 hour period in uncomfortably close proximity.
Its hard living in Utah sometimes.
Then the fella giving us our Culver's order said, "I hope that ice cream is for you, because all you moms need a treat." All you moms?
Later today, my well-intentioned visiting teacher stopped by, and when I off-handedly mentioned how much I missed working at the art museum, she said, "Well, maybe you will be able to volunteer again someday." It doesn't matter how you say that, its patronizing.
Then a door-to-door salesman knocked on my door. As usual, I open the door and my children escape out the sides, and start riding bicycles. The guy said, "Hi, I'm Brinton. Wow - you've got a lot of kids. Look at all the toys everywhere. So I noticed outside your house here that the rain gutter is not attached to the roof anymore, and the roof tiles need replacing. My company can do that for you!"
What? Why does a stranger think he can knock on my door, remark on my posterity, and point out flaws on my house? Get outta here, man!
AND THEN, I get another disappointing email from the kindergarten teacher. If I didn't know any better, I'd say she dislikes me. Like, a lot.

*sigh*

After I read to my girls for bed, Josephine gave me a huge hug and kiss and out of nowhere said, "Mom, you did great with everything today. You are the best mom in the whole world." Hazel piped in, "You are the BESTEST mom in the GALAXY." Now if that wouldn't bring tears to your eyes, you're one hard-hearted Sue! How could my day be too terrible with an ending like that?