Monday, August 03, 2015

Did I just read that?

"An Atlanta mom who came down with a fever after a day at the pool with her two children died Sunday of a mysterious illness. Stephanie Ballard woke up in mid-July the next morning with nausea, chills and a headache, MyFoxAtlanta.com reported."
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/08/03/atlanta-mom-2-dies-mysterious-illness-after-day-at-pool/?intcmp=hplnws

I guess waking up after being dead causes a headache...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Anonymous Comments

Anonymous comments are not welcome here and will not be approved.

Just so you know.

Don't even bother.

Why? I agree with this:
 http://www.sixteensmallstones.org/comment-policy/

It's to your advantage, actually, as I always respond more reasonably and kindly--and sometimes even learn from--people with faces. Faceless people don't get the same respect.


Monday, July 27, 2015

No mention of Christ?

I noticed that Kate Kelly doesn't really talk about Christ. Or Jesus. Or the atonement.

Yes, she's back. The lady who pushed Ordain Women, much to the chagrin of women all over the world who want to be taken seriously by other humans.

Ms. Kelly recently published an editorial encouraging people to abandon the church. "Hey--it's nice out here," is her basic message. "Come out and test the waters. It's so warm and safe and pretty."

But some of the things Kate Kelly says in her editorial are particularly "tricky" or troubling, undermining her invitation to leave for greener pastures, but also revealing and underlying lack of testimony that is not new to her writing, but is more apparent than ever before.

For example, Ms. Kelly says, "The decision for a person to stay active in the Mormon church should be based on an honest evaluation of its benefits."  This would be reasonable if you were joining a gym or a quilting club. But for a church, the standard is much higher. It would be better to ask, "Is this true?"

Ms. Kelly also says, "I encourage Mormon women to ask themselves a similar question: does my participation in Mormonism spark joy?"  That's a popular standard for decluttering a house (although flawed for that, too--whoever thought food storage or extra batteries 'spark joy'?).  But childbirth does not spark joy, and it's worth every minute of the pain. Getting up to nurse all night does not spark joy. Cleaning toilets does not spark joy. Catching a child's vomit does not spark joy. Stepping on legos in the night doesn't spark joy. Having a child scream mean things at you for hours does not spark joy. Watching your child cry in pain or sorrow that you can't fix does not spark joy. There is not greater pain than parts of parenthood. But parenting is the most valuable, rewarding, important thing I've ever done.  "Spark joy" is a stupid standard for deciding whether you want to participate in religion. Whether or not something sparks joy has nothing to do with how valuable it is in your life.

Ms. Kelly says, "It has been indescribably freeing for me to stop believing that men have control over whether or not I go to heaven."  What?! I have no idea where she got that idea. Men never did have control over whether she goes to heaven. Unless she means God and Jesus, and they're doing everything they can to get her in, not keep her out. But getting to heaven is up to her, not men. And it always has been.

Ms. Kelly says, "I don't wish for Mormon women to follow me — or to follow anyone. I want them to follow their own hearts, aspirations and dreams." First of all, that's a lie. She does want women to follow her. Her actions make that abundantly clear. But, aside from that, really, shouldn't we want people to follow Jesus? Our thoughts, aspirations, and dreams often lead us to places we end up not wanting to be. Jesus is a better guide than we are ourselves. We're too blind. He can see more and farther--and He loves us.

Ms. Kelly says, "Put your faith in yourself and in women."  Not in God? Not in Jesus? And what makes women any more worthy of our faith than men? They're all human, and humans don't have a great track record when it comes to being worthy of our faith.

Ms. Kelly says, "You can remove your name from the records of the church as a way to communicate to male church leaders why they can't keep you or others like you." See how she's all caught up in who has the power? The church leaders aren't trying to "keep you" (male or female leaders).  They are trying to offer you something they find immensely valuable. If you don't want it, that's fine. They won't hate your for that.

Ms. Kelly says, "let church leaders know what the cost of their rigidity is."  Clearly she does not believe what they have been saying all this time:  they aren't being rigid; it's Jesus who is not bending to Ms. Kelly's will. The leaders are bound to follow Jesus. (Now, it's another question entirely whether you believe the apostles have access to Jesus and are following Him. But she's skipping that part.)

Ms. Kelly says, "Male leaders colonized our minds to make us think we had to play by their rules to be taken seriously." Nobody has colonized my mind. Who is she letting in to her head? (It sounds to me like feminism has colonized her mind, urging her to see oppression where it does not exist, and trying to convince all people everywhere that "patriarchy" is evil no matter what, even if God is the patriarch and Jesus is the one in charge....)

You can read her latest public "speech" (letter to the editor) here. It reminds me of a speech given many, many years ago in ancient America.

If you don't already know which ancient speech I'm referring to, I'll quote an excerpt for you. Here is Korihor:

"I do not teach the foolish traditions of your fathers, and because I do not teach this people to bind themselves down under the foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests, to usurp power and authority over them, to keep them in ignorance, that they may not lift up their heads, but be brought down according to thy words. Ye say that this people is a free people. Behold, I say they are in bondage. Ye say that those ancient prophecies are true. Behold, I say that ye do not know that they are true.... And thus ye lead away this people after the foolish traditions of your fathers, and according to your own desires; and ye keep them down, even as it were in bondage, that ye may glut yourselves with the labors of their hands, that they durst not look up with boldness, and that they durst not enjoy their rights and privileges.Yea, they durst not make use of that which is their own lest they should offend their priests, who do yoke them according to their desires, and have brought them to believe, by their traditions and their dreams and their whims and their visions and their pretended mysteries, that they should, if they did not do according to their words, offend some unknown being, who they say is God—a being who never has been seen or known, who never was nor ever will be." (Alma 30:23-24, 27-28)

Except for two things:
1. Kate Kelly doesn't deny God exists. She just insists we all don't understand Him.

2. Korihor spent a long time trying to convince the people that Jesus didn't exist. Kate Kelly just conveniently ignores Jesus altogether. She is not interested, apparently, in humility and repentance, but in who has the power (as she perceives it) and how she, personally, can get it away from them as fast as possible. And she's led a lot of "women, and also men" astray with her "great swelling words," just like Korihor.

I remember being quite distressed by my English teachers at BYU--until I found Korihor's teachings in Alma 30 and realized modern feminism, the way it's taught by a lot of people, is just the same doctrines with fancy new catchphrases.

And Kate Kelly's stuff is right in there, too. It makes me sad for her. But if she wants to walk away, that's her choice. Really, she left a long time ago. She's just formalized it now.

Kate Kelly's back in the news

Kate Kelly flew back from Kenya (Nigeria?) to help people leave the church. This despite her insistence for so long that she's not fighting against the church or trying to lead people away.

So that got me thinking about feminism in general again, and why I don't like it.

I concluded that part of the big issue for me is not the details or the deciding for all women what will make them happy (without asking the women involved).

I think the issue is closer to what a sister-in-law told me years ago: Feminism is a world view that teaches you to see everything in terms of power and oppression. If you focus on oppression, you will see it everywhere. And, as my sister-in-law observed, that doesn't make you happy. It ruins relationships; it destroys marriages; it crushes your children.

The world is not actually all about oppression and victimization, but so many feminists only see that. In everything. Every single interaction is about who has the power and who doesn't.

In the end, that's what feminism is about.

It's not about opportunity or equality or fairness or justice or living happy, fulfilled lives.

No, at its core, feminism is this: someone has the power, and someone else wants it, and who should we give it to?  Me.

That's the bottom line for Kate Kelly:  she perceives that someone else has power and she wants it, plain and simple. She felt justified. She used lovely rhetoric to convince a lot of unhappy people that more power would be the answer, and that power is held by people and we should go out and get it.

She completely missed that it's God's church and God's power in question.

But that's possibly because feminism doesn't think that way. If you listen to them, the entire world view is a discussion of oppression and power, and turning the victims into the victimizers (it's so very Puritan--leave England to escape oppression so we can oppress people ourselves, according to our own standards).

And, like my wise sister-in-law said, feminism can train you to see oppression. But then you see it everywhere, and it doesn't make you happy.

(I also found it amusing that Kate Kelly's standard for deciding to stay in the church or not had nothing to do with truth or Christ and everything to do with decluttering, as if the Church is an unmatched sock or a broken crock pot you finally decided to get rid of.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How I got rid of warts with duct tape

I never have warts. Until this last pregnancy. And then I had three, one after another.  People have asked me how I got rid of them with duct tape, so here's the scoop:

I read online that you can get rid of warts with duct tape, and that people have done legit studies that showed that duct tape was more effective than "freezing" warts in a doctor's office, and less painful.

I figured I'd try it. I had duct tape, and I didn't like my warts--they were each painful to walk on.

Here's how I did it:

I put a piece of duct tape over the wart. I left it on all the time except for 2-6 hours once a week.  If the tape fell of, I put a new piece on as soon as I could. (Some people say you should file the wart with an emery board when you remove the duct tape, but I didn't do that and it worked anyway.)

That's it. It took the pain away so I could walk, and then the warts went away.

It took about 8 weeks, though, which I hear is about how long any method takes. For a long, long time, there was no change in the warts. And then suddenly one week I'd peel off the tape and find a "seed" had been exposed. A week of taping later, it was gone, and a week later the wart went away. So if you try this, don't give up if it takes a long time and doesn't look like anything is happening.

I did discover, though, that not just any old duct tape works. The new "light" varieties actually cause your healthy skin to peel off in big sheets but make the warts worse. So don't use the "light" variety. If you tear off a piece of duct tape and examine the sticky side, it has to have visibly white adhesive for it to work for wart removal. If you peel the duct tape off your skin after a couple of days and examine the adhesive, you should be able to see a very clear "Fingerprint" (or foot print or whatever) that shows all the tiny lines in your skin imprinted in the adhesive. If you can't, you have the wrong kind of duct tape and it won't work.

So that's it. Easy as pie. Effective. Painless. Inexpensive. That's my kind of cure.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Emmeline's Firsts this week

Emmeline's been busy with new things this week.

She got her first ear infection (both ears)
She had her first antibiotics
She figured out sitting up and got to play with toys that way for the first time
She did her first goofball cheesy smile with her eyes squinted up
And she got her first tooth.

She might also be saying her first word, but we're not entirely sure if she's saying, "Hi!" on purpose or by accident (but she says it every time she sees Tim).

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Something smells fishy

So I've been curious about the over-300% markup on the price of that big house (the one at 12525 Quicksilver Road), considering it was worth $200,000 just a few months ago, and tangibly the only thing that changed was they painted it and put on a new roof. That wouldn't justify going from $200,000 to $650,000, right?

I was also curious that the listing agent put in the notes on the property that it could have a Commercial/Industrial use but didn't list the property on any of the commercial real estate sites. Those are the code words for "marijuana can be grown here" in the Boulder County zoning codes right now. (Especially curious because the property actually CAN'T have those uses--it's not zoned for that). (I did try asking the real estate agent about this via email and got no response.)

And I was curious that someone would go to all the expense and trouble to get the change of use approved for the big building and then not bother to move in. Almost the instant the change of use was approved, the property was put up for sale with the exorbitant markup. But that change of use wouldn't justify the markup--unless you were trying to pass off the change of use as making pot-growing allowed on the property. (It's not, even with the change of use, because pot growing is controlled by zoning law, not by the site plan review board; also the change of use was approved for a specific business and with certain assurances in place about what that business was going to do with the property.)

So I emailed the potential tenant (the information on change of use is public record, so easy to find out who got the change of use and for what purpose) of the property to see why they decided NOT to move their business there after going through all the change of use process. I told them I would like to buy the property (I would, very much) and wondered if there was something wrong with it.

They emailed me back today that they didn't know the property was for sale and have been waiting all this time for the owners to get back to them about the change in zoning, and they're still planning to move their business there, but aren't interested in actually buying the property. (Curious because the change of use was approved--so why didn't the owners tell the tenants that? And why rush to put it up for sale with a huge markup on price immediately, before telling your tenants?)

Does this sound like I just uncovered fraud to anyone else?

What am I supposed to do about that?

Update: I emailed the realtor, and he said the deal on that property is you buy the LLC that owns it, not the property itself, specifically so that none of the permits and changes-of-use that were granted (to the company who didn't know they were granted) will be up for question like they would with a change of ownership. That way, he explained, the county can't cancel them and will have no reason to question them.

Probably the same reasoning was in play when they gutted the smaller building on the property without a permit--then you can re-do the inside without getting a building permit (supposedly) because nobody knew the drywall came down in the first place. (Although removing all the drywall in a building and stripping it to its studs seems a little excessive to get rid of cat smells. Makes me wonder if the small house had a meth problem.  One more thing for the list of things to check...)

So, theoretically, the people whose application got the change of use and site plan approved don't know that, and the people who do know are trying to sell it with the unspoken understanding that they won't tell the county you aren't the same people, and you can then use it for an "intensive agricultural operation" you don't want the county to know about...

I have no idea if the whole setup is legal, but I certainly wouldn't buy without talking to a lawyer first. Quite possibly their entire intention is simply for you to take over as property manager and let the tenants (who they haven't told about the change of use yet) move in and use it like they believe they are contracted to (even though the realtor had no idea there were tenants contracted in the place until I told him).

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Making licorice

I've been trying to make red licorice (red vines style; twizzlers are inedible) for years now, off and on. This week I bought a bag of red vines and noticed the ingredients consist of corn syrup, wheat flour, flavoring, coloring, and citric acid.

There's not much you can do with those ingredients, so I started experimenting.

First I tried cooking the corn syrup (1/2 cup) to soft crack stage, stirring in flour (2 tbsp) and kool aid powder (flavor, color, and citric acid in one fell swoop; half a packet), and then pulling it like taffy (on the assumption that licorice is like a modified taffy). It came out this really cool candy that shattered when I dropped it or smacked it into anything, but became quite taffy-chewy when you sucked it for a minute. Tasted good, too. Tastes good, fun to eat--but not licorice.

Then I tried cooking it to soft ball stage (1/2 c corn syrup) and adding flour (3-4 tbsp this time) and kool aid powder (the other half packet), rolling it into ropes, and letting it cool. It tasted great and was quite sticky to eat, but didn't hold its shape like licorice.

So I got back online and instead of reading "how do I make licorice" posts, I watched a "how licorice is made" video and got some ideas. First of all, they mixed the ingredients up front and kept them cooking and stirring for a long time at 190 degrees (not to hard ball stage by any means). Then they cooled and shaped the dough, and cooked it again for a long, long time.

So the process was more like making fruit leather.

So new attempts: I mixed up 1/2 c corn syrup, half a packet of kool aid powder, and 1/4 c flour. It was way too liquidy to shape, so I cooked it to hard ball stage. But it was still too liquidy to shape. The cooking did cook out the starchy flavor of the flour, though, which was a very good thing. I was in a hurry and didn't bother to cool it (they cool it 24 hours in the factory), so I poured the mixture into a drying tray and put it into my fruit dryer.

Then, since the dryer was going anyway, I threw together a recipe that flipped the proportions (I read on one website that it was more flour than corn syrup, even though the package would indicate it's more corn syrup than flour). I put in half a cup of flour and 1/4 c corn syrup, and then kool aid powder and a little more flour, until it was doughy. It was very sticky. I formed it into ropes and put that in the fruit dryer, too, and then tried mixing flour, a teaspoon of corn syrup, and 1/8 c of jam and made ropes from that, just to see what would happen.

At the moment, all of them are still drying, but the one that I poured into a drying tray all liquidy is making something very close to licorice. I am pretty excited about the possibilities here.

Next time, I'll let it cool first and see if I can form ropes....