Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Conversion Story, Part 1, In which I meet some cute boys

According to missionary lore, circa 1985, you have to knock on a thousand doors to find one person who will join the church. I was one in a thousand. Elders Jacobson and Munsee, unbidden, unannounced, with no member missionaries to pave the way, knocked on the door.

Elder Jacobson was tall, handsome, and blond. Elder Munsee was taller, handsomer, and dark.

"We're from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we'd like to share a message with you."

It was late June, hotter than hell, and I was severely pregnant. I really wasn’t in the mood for visitors, even cute ones. I was uncomfortable, swollen, and didn't have air conditioning. I told them to come back next week, after I'd had the baby.

They came back the next week. The scheduled c-section had been cancelled in favor of a trial labor, so I still had not had the baby and still did not want to talk to them. I recommended mid- to late-August.

In mid-August, they came back. I have since learned that if you tell the missionaries to come back later, they always will. I showed them the baby. They admired the baby and my (now ex-) husband’s record collection. They asked if I had a Bible. I pulled it out and blew off the dust. The blond one coughed lightly, then read aloud the two sticks thing in Ezekial. He told me they had a great message about the purpose of life and asked if they could come back when my (now ex-) husband was around to teach us. They really were cute boys. Also, my six year-old daughter had expressed interest in attending a church. I said yes.

My (now ex-) husband was not interested in taking the discussions, but had no objections to me doing so. The elders and I had a lot of fun visits and some interesting conversations. I enjoyed learning about the church. I liked reading the highlighted/Cliff’s Notes edition of the Book of Mormon. I went to church a couple of times. I attended a convert baptism. Jake gave me a tape of a re-enactment of a talk by J. Golden Kimball. The Relief Society President was stunned when I told her so.

Sometime in September, Jake left, and was replaced by Elder Fox. He was also very cute.

Early in the teaching process, I had made comment about “no way I’m paying 10% of my income to a church.” Jake and Munsee coincidentally stopped teaching real discussions after #4, “The Law of Chastity.” When Fox came on board, he assessed the situation and pressed forward with Discusion #5 – “The Law of Tithing.” There were only six discussions, so we wrapped up pretty soon after Fox’s arrival.

I went to General Conference on TV on a Saturday. I had a nice conversation after the session I attended with my junior high school algebra teacher. The elders were impressed that I knew him. Seems he was in the stake presidency.

Within a few days I asked how I would know when I was ready to be baptized. The guys said, “You’re ready.”

I replied, “I dunno. I'll have to think about it. I’ll let you know.”

Coming in Part 2: Figuring it out.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Does Anybody Out there have a JOB?

Sometimes I think Ned and I are the only Mormon people who blog who also go to work for other people for money doing something other than lawyering or teaching.

I've always worked. I get up when I'd rather sleep and then commute (or not) to the office. I clock in and put on my headset to start the day. I write reports and SQL stored procedures and install software for customers over the internet and solve the tough technical problems that other people can't and occasionally, if I'm not going to be on the phone, listen to Live365. I need to get in my 40 hours a week, and I'm not allowed to work overtime, and I always have too much work to do and then, when I'm done, I clock out and start a different kind of work.

In my free time, I try to do some writing and I play stupid computer games to relax.

Do all the Mormon blogging university professors already have tenure? Have all the blogging Mormon lawyers already made partner? How do you invest any time in your own spiritual growth when there's no time to even BREATHE? Is the reason nobody writes about work/life balance because nobody is actually working?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I HATE NED.... Lamont

I don't usually post about politics, because I have political views that are shared with precisely one other person in the world. But this post isn't about politics, it's about HATE.

I hate Ned Lamont. And not just for ruining the name Ned for an entire generation (or at least a news cycle). I hate Ned Lamont because he's a beady-eyed, trust-fund-baby, Joe-smearing, Senate seat-buying, know-nothing selectman. Seriously people, he's a selectman. That means he'll go from considering whether to grant TGI Friday's a liquor license to solving our nation's most pressing problems. God forbid he ends up on a Senate intelligence committee. We might as well appoint the City Manager as head of the CIA.

I feel I can say these things about Ned because I am a Connecticut resident, and I've put up with his beady stare for lo these many months. At first it was amusing, as the gist of his campaign ads was that Joe Lieberman personally helped George Bush drown people in New Orleans. In all seriousness, his ads opened with images of people on the roofs of their flooded Louisiana homes, and then segued somehow into "Joe Lieberman won't stand up to George Bush."

It was funny for a while, but there was no response from our man Joe. I dislike probably 90% of United States senators, but I like a few: McCain when he's not crazy, liberal Republicans, conservative Democrats. I like Joe. But he didn't respond to the negative advertising. Then Lamont started up the radio ads. The Lite FM station that my racist cubicle-mate listens to featured Ned Lamont's voice more than the actual DJ.

Joe started falling in the polls. People said it was because of anger about Iraq, or the infamous State of the Union makeout session, but from my perspective as a potential Connecticut voter, it was clear that it was because Joe had ceded TV and radio to his opponent. Every day was a relentless "Joe won't stand up to George Bush" mantra repeated in as many media as possible. There was no Lieberman response.

The week before the election, polls showed Lamont up 13 points on Joe. Finally, with just days to go before election day, I heard the first pro-Lieberman radio ad on Lite FM. Bill Clinton came to campaign for Joe. There might have even been an ad during the local news. It was too little, too late. Even so, Joe closed a large gap in just a week.

In the ten days leading up to the primary, Maude, a registered Democrat, received a different piece of direct mail from Lamont EVERY DAY. One featured Lieberman's scowling face and another showed flood victims in New Orleans (a favorite Lamont motif, it seems). Total direct mail received from Lieberman? Zero.

I have no idea why Joe ran such an anemic primary campaign. According to news reports, he still had 2 million dollars in the bank afterward, which is crazy. Had he defeated Lamont in the primary, he could have campaigned in drag and still defeated the Republican challenger in November. Why save your money for an expensive independent run without any party support, when you could crush your only serious competition in August? I think Lieberman was one serious campaign ad away from a primary victory, and he blew it.

So as for my despised doppel-namer Lamont, he is still trailing an independent Lieberman in the polls, 41% to 46% (with Republican Alan "I Do Not Have a Gambling Problem" Schlesinger at just 6%), but I am not optimistic about much more Joe-mentum picking up. Lamont now has the support of the entire Democratic party and can always dip into his large personal wealth to help close the deal.

But don't worry, if any zoning disputes come up in the Senate, Ned has the necessary experience to handle it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Thanks to the sharp eye of Jeff Milner over at Our Thoughts, I found out that VivaNedFlanders was mentioned, inexplicably, in this Google Current clip. For those of you who don't want to watch all three minutes of the video, they basically talk about various things that are popular searches on Google, like Simpsons references. Then they highlight a site where you can shoot Ned Flanders and his family. From that, they segue to:
But Flanders gets his share of love too, especially from Christians. For instance, VivaNedFlanders is the name of a Mormon blog with some very un-Ned-like postings.
I think the orthodox Bloggernacle, at least, will be relieved to find out the Google considers Mormons to be Christian. Onward Nedward Soldiers!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Hit by an Unlicensed Driver: Advice Needed

About an hour ago on my way home from work, I was rear-ended on the freeway. Earlier, I had noticed the car in back of me weaving aggressively, and I made a mental note to be careful. Unfortunately, there was a slow-down on a curve and BOOM, I got hit in the rear bumper.

After we pulled off the freeway, the driver came up and asked if I was all right. She was very agitated, and kept looking at the damage on her car. Fortunately, there wasn't a lot of damage to my car, but the back bumper piece had a huge dent in it and was hanging off the car.

"I don't have a license," she told me. She told me that she had to go before the police came. She said that it wasn't her car, and gave me the name and phone number of the owner. "Call him right now," she said. Then she got in her car and peeled out of there like a bat out of hell.

I've never been in an accident before, so I called my insurance company to make sure I didn't have to call the police to come to the scene. They said I didn't, and I started to file a report. I wanted to get off the side of the freeway, so I told the insurance company I'd finish the report later, but I haven't told them the name of the owner or license plate number of the car yet.

My question is what should I do when I call the owner? I don't know if he even has insurance, and I imagine he'll want to take care of it off the books (assuming he actually exists). Judging from the appearance of the woman who hit me, they might not even have enough money to pay for the repairs.

Should I just go through my insurance company? I can't imagine that she could get in trouble for driving without a license from just my report. Should I decline any offers by him to take care of it himself, since he probably doesn't have the resources or the intention to pay me?

Why oh why couldn't I have been hit by a Lexus?