Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bad news about MacGregor...

We got off the ship this morning after an amazing cruise.  But the last half of our last full day turned out to be shitty.  First off, we went to Benmore Botanical Gardens for the second time.  I was looking forward to a nice walk.  But then I fell on my knees.  They're all scraped now.

Next, I checked Facebook to find urgent messages from my mother-in-law.  MacGregor was having a lot of pain and trouble walking.  The vet found a tumor in his neck invading his spine.  We had been weaning him off Prednisone and that's when he took a turn for the worse.  So we had to call the vet and get the grim news that we will probably be putting him down soon.  He's on different meds now which we hope will help until we get home Saturday and pick him up Sunday.

Next, I had no appetite for dinner because of the bad news.  I had a coughing fit that led to puking.

Then I started my period.

Then I puked again.

So though our time in Scotland as been amazing, the last night of our cruise sucked somewhat.

We are now in Edinburgh at a fabulous hotel/self-catering apartment.  It'll be a comfortable place to chill out or a few days.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Just hiked Sanda Island...

I recently blogged about a dream I had about Sanda Island.  I can't say it really looked like it did in my dream.  In fact, it surpassed my wildest expectations.  Internet access is spotty, so I have to keep this short.... But we hiked the island and saw seals!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A quick note!

The Internet on the ship is unusually strong tonight.  We have clear skies off Rothesay, so I thought I'd post a quick note.  I'd like to post pics, but am technologically challenged.  Google Mount Stuart house.  It's amazing!

Having a great time, by the way.  It's not that cold, though we have a lot of rain.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Today is the big day!

It got off to a rough start.  I woke up coughing so hard that I ended up puking. Unfortunately, there was nothing in my stomach, so all that came up was a little bit of water and some stomach acid.

After I recovered from that, I started doing some housekeeping.  I like to come home to a clean house, especially after a long trip.  So I washed the sheets, cleaned the toilets, vacuumed, swept the deck, and did the dishes.  My husband took the dogs to their doggie spa and I guess we'll be on our way in a few hours.

I'm not looking forward to all the flights, but I am excited about our trip.  I hope to see some unforgettable things.  I may or may not be adding any entries during our trip because I will have my iPad, which is not so easy to type on.  If I don't get back on before Thanksgiving, enjoy the day!


Good instincts...

Remember this post?  I blogged about the physician's assistant the Army tried to assign to me in October.  As it turns out, I was assigned another provider who operates in the small town where we live.  But before the Army reassigned me, I had some issues with the P.A.  First off, she's really young. I have nothing against youth, but when it comes to me and female stuff, I really need someone mature who can help deal with past traumatic experiences.  Secondly, she had posted photos of herself on MySpace and Facebook that led me to believe that she's not particularly mature or situationally aware.  Bottom line, I pretty much decided that she wasn't a good match for me.

Anyway, my husband had occasion to see this lady today because he needed a new prescription for his hypertension.  My husband has had high blood pressure for years.  He also has hyponatremia, which causes him to have low blood sodium.  He is one of those rare high blood pressure patients who actually gets told to salt his food.

Recently, my husband dieted and exercised and lost 14 pounds.  His job requires him to stay fit.  He takes PT tests every six months and must pass them to stay employed.  So he exercises regularly.

He enjoys the occasional glass of wine...  okay, so he probably should cut back.  But he's heard that advice over and over again by a variety of medical providers.

So the P.A. first tries to prescribe a drug that my husband can't take because of his sodium issues.  Next, she asks him if he exercises regularly (duh)...  And then, she lectures him about his drinking habits.  If I had been there, I would have said "Yes, I like to drink.  And according to your MySpace photos, so do you!  So spare me."

She asked him if his job was stressful... (duh).  Hey lady, is YOUR job stressful?  What's my husband going to do, go to his boss and tell him the doc wants him to be less stressed out?

Hubby told me it was a good thing my providers got switched.  I have to agree.  I don't think we would have liked each other very much.  She would have thought I was a bitch and I would have thought she wasn't very bright.  I want a health care provider I can trust and respect and who can return that same respect to me.  I have a feeling that lady would have taken one look at me and immediately tried to prescribe blood pressure meds.  I probably will need them soon.  My mom and grandmother both had/have high blood pressure.  I'm also not the best about taking care of my health.

But because my husband has high blood pressure, I monitor mine, too.  It's consistently normal, but as soon as I set foot in a military hospital, it shoots up... mainly due to the aforementioned trauma and my general disdain for military medical care.  One of my last providers didn't believe me when I told her I didn't think I was hypertensive, so she put me on an ambulatory blood pressure monitor for 24 hours, which proved that I don't have high blood pressure.  Not so sure the dingaling my husband saw today would have extended the same courtesy.

Anyway... I think it's better for both me and the P.A. that I won't be submitting to her care.  I have a pretty good notion that she would not like dealing with me.  And then her job would be stressful and her blood pressure would go up.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nasty weather today...

It's cold, gloomy, and rainy.  Perfect training for Scotland.  I started packing this morning.  It's hard to pack for a long trip.  I'm ready to get underway, though... I especially want to be past the flights.

I still can't believe how long we're going to be gone.  I wasn't originally planning such a long trip, until I realized that my husband would be getting the time off for Thanksgiving anyway.  Of course, when I planned the trip, I thought Thanksgiving would be the 29th rather than the 22nd.  For some reason, I was under the impression that Thanksgiving was the last Thursday of November.

But anyway, as long as we were going to be in Scotland, I figured we wouldn't want to deal with the holiday air travel.  If I had known Thanksgiving were earlier, I might not have booked the second cruise.  Something tells me I'm going to be glad we went for it, since we may never have the chance to go back to Scotland again.

In other news...

I'm watching Dr. Phil today and the subject is cults.  A mom is grieving because her daughter sent her a  letter telling her she never wanted to see her again.  I guess my husband felt the same way when he got similar letters from his daughters when they were adolescents.  It's amazing how cults and sick family systems can look so eerily similar.

It's so sad.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Marie Osmond is ruining my morning routine!!!

I know, I know... I really need to get a life.

But Marie Osmond is determined to ruin my mornings with her brand of coffee talk... Only Marie is not drinking coffee, is she?  She's drinking Kool-Aid.

Last month, the Hallmark channel gave Marie Osmond her own talk show, sans Donny.  She originally had a noon time slot, but I guess no one was watching.  Because within a couple of weeks, they re-scheduled her slot for 9:00am, and that meant one hour less of The Golden Girls.  I used to get two hours of Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia, but Marie Osmond had to insert herself in that 9:00am time slot...

So today, I turn on the TV, expecting my 8:00am Golden Girls hit... and there's fucking Marie Osmond again!!!  She's been rescheduled for 8:00!  I checked the guide to see if The Golden Girls would be back later...  Nope!  But Marie is on again at 11:00.  I guess they really want to see her show succeed.

Apparently, we all need to watch Marie, because she can teach us how to pick the right jeans, even if hers look like they're cutting off her circulation.

Here's a segment on the boot campaign... I'd kind of like to give Marie the boot, right in the kiester!    

I'm bummed about losing The Golden Girls, even if the episodes are now edited for time and content.  Hallmark cuts out all the swear words and "unnecessary quips" so they can fit in more commercials and  avoid offending people with virgin ears.  I have seen all the episodes multiple times, used to watch The Golden Girls every Saturday night.  I don't need to keep watching them, but I sure find them a hell of a lot more entertaining than I do Marie Osmond.  Guess I'll have to occupy my time with more blogs.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day! Mental spew ahead.

It's Veteran's Day.  It's also the birthday of one of my first favorite writers, Kurt Vonnegut.  Vonnegut wrote Slaughterhouse Five, Breakfast of Champions, and one of my personal favorites, Welcome To The Monkey House.  Vonnegut was a veteran and was captured in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.  He was a prisoner of war in World War II, imprisoned in Dresden, and that experience helped him write Slaughterhouse Five, a novel that recalled some of his experiences in Dresden.    

I remember really getting into Vonnegut when I was a teenager, but I eventually moved on to other writers.  In 2000, I was at the University of South Carolina and he was supposed to speak.  Unfortunately, his house caught on fire and he had to cancel.  Pat Conroy spoke in Vonnegut's stead.  I attended, even though I had a healthcare finance exam the following day.  I ended up flunking the exam, but probably would have anyway... and I did pass the course, albeit with the worst grade of my grad school career.  So much for my being a healthcare administrator.

I have been around military folks my whole life.  I was raised by an Air Force officer and quite a number of relatives served-- the only service that isn't represented in my family is the Coast Guard, and I imagine it's just a matter of time before someone serves.  Because I have spent so much time around military people, I am very comfortable with most of them.  I'm sure my time around military folks prepared me well for life with my husband, who is military through and through...

I have found that once someone serves in the Armed Forces, it becomes a part of them that is impossible to completely wash away.  It's like a dye that permanently colors their character.  Consequently, I can usually tell when someone has been in the military.  It's usually pretty obvious in the way they carry themselves.

Anyway, though I have never donned a uniform, I'm pretty proud of my military ties.  Many of the folks I've known who have served in the military and voluntarily exposed themselves to harm's way are among some of the finest people I've ever met.  I'm glad we have a day set aside to honor them.

Besides... Veteran's Day always results in a long weekend, which is handy when your wedding anniversary is in mid November!

Friday, November 9, 2012

I wish people would stop and think...

with the right head when they choose the person with whom they will have their children.

Dr. Phil's topic today involves parents who had a daughter and then split up.  They are now engaged in a nasty custody battle for this child.  Both parents are selfish assholes who act like the child is a possession to fight over.  They have spent over $1 million to gain control over this poor girl, who is just trying to grow up.

I look at these two adults and wonder what in the hell they were thinking when they got together long enough to make a baby.   They clearly can't stand each other.  They are willing to let a judge determine their child's future.  And they are on Dr. Phil, airing the craziness that is their relationship.

If you've read this blog, you know that my husband had kids with a woman he can no longer stand.  Unfortunately, he no longer has any contact with his kids and hasn't for a long time.  That's a shame because those kids are missing out on a wonderful person.  I'm sure some readers are wondering how wonderful he could be if he managed to lose contact with his daughters... I'm here to tell you he's truly a kind and decent guy.  If there's anything good to say about the fact that he lost contact, it's that at least he and his ex didn't spend a lot of time and money in court fighting over the kids.

I truly don't know which is worse.  Walk away and let the custodial parent raise the kids without interference?  Or engage in a legal battle, spending the time and money in court and letting a stranger determine what's best for your kids?  Either way, the kid loses.  The only true winners are people who make money off the legal system.

Hindsight being 20/20, I would like to tell people to slow down and really get to know the person with whom you're about to have sex.  Don't have sex with someone you think is an asshole.  Don't have sex with someone who's crazy.  Don't have sex on the first date.  Use birth control if you must have sex... and use it until you really know the person you're having sex with.  Even these measures won't totally prevent these kinds of legal battles, but maybe they might reduce them somewhat.

The mind boggles when I think of the trauma this poor kid is enduring and how it will affect her future relationships and those of her children and her children's children.  This kind of craziness is cyclical.  My husband's ex wife grew up traumatized by the same kind of craziness she has perpetuated in her own children's lives.  She grew up being used as a pawn and a power chip.  And she has gone on to visit the same reality in her kids' lives.  The cycle will continue until someone wises up and stops it.

I don't like my husband's daughters as people.  I feel a little sorry for them, but I hate the way they've treated their father and his family.  I understand why they've done what they've done, but it's still colored the way I see them, even though I know they are ultimately victims.  But they are now young adults and in a position to victimize other people.

So I just wish people would keep their legs closed a little longer and use their minds before they share their reproductive powers with other people.  You don't have to stay together forever.  Just pick someone with whom you can co-parent, for God's sake.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A tale of two Brick Cities...

I have a friend who is the wife of one of my husband's co-workers.  A few months ago, we started having occasional lunches.  The other day, my friend sent me an email, asking if I wanted to go out to lunch and maybe go see some Christmas trees in a nearby town.  I agreed.

She said she wanted to try a restaurant called Brick City.  I had not heard of this place, so I let my fingers do some Googling and landed on a restaurant called Brick City Drive Thru and Grill.  I figured that must be the place, since we live in a small town.

Off I went to meet my friend.  Our date was set for 11:00am.  I got there five minutes early and waited.  My cell phone rang at about 11:10.  It was my friend, asking me where I was.  I told her I was at Brick City.  She said she was at Brick City too.  Turns out she was at Brick City Oyster Bar, which is sort of a fancy place.  I was at a locally owned greasy spoon, also called Brick City.  Ten minutes later, my friend and I were ordering burgers and fries and sitting in formica booths.  The Brick City I found was cheaper and more casual, so we opted to dine there.

Who would have thought our little town would have two restaurants called Brick City?  They are completely different places, apparently owned by different people.  They have different menus.  Now we know!

I guess next time, we'll try the other place.

In other news, yesterday as I was walking to the mailbox, I found one of my neighbor's hens.  It was upside down near a jagged tree stump and apparently dead.  I don't know how it got that way.  It didn't look like anything had killed it, though there are a lot of coyotes in our area.  I ended up telling the neighbor about it from the dirt road, shouting that there was a dead chicken in the woods.  It was a rather awkward conversation.  I almost wish I had taken a picture, though.

Never a dull moment here in rural North Carolina...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


It's November 7th.  That means no more election bullshit!  Or maybe not.

One of my very conservative uncles actually sent me this video before the 2012 election season got into full swing.  It's pretty racist and offensive and I was dismayed that people I'm related to thought I would enjoy and/or appreciate it.  Even if I were as conservative as they are, this video would not impress me. But as the uncle who sent it to me is elderly, I didn't rip him a new one.

In any case, I am delighted that Obama will remain our president.  It's not that I think he's such a great leader; I just much prefer him to the alternative.  Of course there's a lot of doomsaying this morning by conservatives who think this country is going to hell in a handbasket.  And it probably is... but I doubt having Romney in charge would have changed that significantly.

I think people forget what they learned in 8th grade civics class when it comes to presidential elections. The fact is, the president is just one person.  He (or she as the case will one day be) does not have the power to ruin a country single-handedly.  That's why we have checks and balances.  Yes, it's true that the president has unique powers that legislators don't have, but when it comes down to it, he's not the king of the world.  If the United States is in bad shape, there's plenty of blame to go around.  And it was in bad shape long before Obama set foot in the White House.

I'm just glad I don't have to see any more political ads for awhile.  I'm hoping all the whining will stop at some point.  And I hope when it comes time for the next presidential election, Mitt and Ann Romney will be enjoying retirement and a private life.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's finally election day...

I'm looking out the window at the gray and drizzly weather, contemplating getting in my car to head to the polls and cast my vote.  I should be ashamed to admit this, but I prefer to vote with an absentee ballot.  It's so much easier to fill out the paperwork and mail it back, rather than drive to a polling place and stand in line.  This is an important race, though, so I'm going to do my civic duty.

It's the least I can do, given what my husband does for a living.  I'm just glad that the political ads are about to end for now.  Now we can see holiday themed ads...

Did I mention how much I'm looking forward to going to Scotland next week?

I'll be visiting the Isle of Arran and Brodick Castle... maybe I'll hear pipers play the music I walked down the aisle to like I did in Maine.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Looks like I've been assigned another doctor...

Remember last month, when I blogged about being assigned a doctor by the good people at Tricare?  Well today, I got a letter from Health Net telling me that I have a new primary care physician.  This person is a civilian provider with a local practice where I live.  I was under the impression that I was supposed to find someone locally.  I've been here almost two years and have yet to see a doctor, so I guess it doesn't matter anyway.

I looked this fellow up.  Turns out he's in his early 60s and graduated from the men's school five miles from where I got my undergrad degree.  He is evidently a fellow Virginian.  I read a few reviews online that lead me to believe I'll probably think he's an asshole.  He's described as curt and indecisive, which doesn't make me feel awesome about seeing him.

But since I don't tend to see doctors unless I'm about to die, it probably won't be a big deal.  You'd think with my background, I'd be more health conscious.  I don't like doctors, though.  They cause me a lot of stress.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Falling back...

When I was younger, I loved Daylight Savings Time.  I loved having more daylight and the warmer temperatures that made me want to be outside more.  Now that I'm older, the biannual time changes always throw me for a loop.

This morning, I woke up at about 6:30am... only it was really 7:30am to my body.  Realizing the time changed, I went back to sleep and finally hauled my ass out of bed at 8:00 or so... only it was really 9:00am according to my body clock.

As I write this, my dog MacGregor is looking expectantly at me, because this is the time he's used to getting his dinner.  But it's only 3:30pm, rather than 4:30... so he has to wait.

I used to think it would be great if we just stayed on Daylight Savings Time all year.  But then one year, by fluke, I actually stayed on DST all year.  It was my first year in Armenia and for some reason, they never did change the clocks.  So when the weather turned cold, it was still dark outside at 8:00am. I don't know why they didn't change the clocks in 1995.  They changed them the following year.  Incidentally, this year Armenia did away with DST altogether.

I had to walk to school in the dark... and it wasn't that early in the morning.  And that taught me that it's not a good thing to be on DST all year.  Hell, until today, it was pitch dark at 7:30am, which really isn't all that early.  I hate getting up when it's still dark outside.

Maybe the rest of the country should take Arizona's cue and do away with changing the clocks once and for all.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nothing says "I love you" like Proactiv under the Christmas tree...

Christmas is coming.  For a long time, I've been uncomfortable with Christmas.  When I was little, I loved Christmas, of course, because it meant I was going to get presents.  There would be good, rich food, and I could gaze at the Christmas lights.  I loved playing with the ornaments on the tree.  I had a rich imagination when I was young and would make up stories involving the ornaments.  I'm sure it drove my mom nuts.

As I got older, I started seeing Christmas differently.  It became more of an obligation.  I felt obligated to buy gifts for my family when I had no money for them.  I was involved in musical ensembles that required extra rehearsals for Christmas concerts.  I hated the extra church services that always came at Christmas time, though I was raised mainstream Presbyterian and Presbyterians, by and large, are a fun-loving, non-demanding lot.  And Christmas also meant spending more time with my family.  When you get older, you stop idolizing your elders so much and see them as flawed... at least as flawed as you, yourself, are, and perhaps moreso.

I have three older sisters.  I have never been very close to them because they are significantly older than I am.  The sister closest to my age is eight years older.  They all have a tendency to treat me like a baby.  One sister, in particular, is guilty of this.  When I used to talk to her on a regular basis, she'd give me a lot of unsolicited advice and was often very critical.  As I've gotten older, I've noticed she's not very good at giving gifts.  Not that we really exchange them anymore.  It's been nine years since the last time I spent Christmas with my family of origin because I've pretty much refused to.  Our holiday gatherings usually turn shitty in a hurry.

This particular sister is very pretty.  She spends a lot of time and money on her appearance.  At 48, she's what you'd call "hot".  She doesn't look 48.  She has a nice figure and a bright smile.  She wears stylish clothes.  And she seems to think we all want to be like her.

One year at Christmas, she gave me an exercise video called Daytona Beat.  It was a cheesy video set in Daytona Beach and had a horrible soundtrack.  The message was that I needed to get off the couch and work out.   I did, and still do, need to exercise more.  At that time, I had a horse and biked to the barn every day to take care of him.  Unfortunately, I'm what you'd call an "easy keeper".  It doesn't take much to keep me fat and sassy.

More recently, she presented me with Proactiv.  Proactiv is a product used to get rid of pimples.  I do get the occasional zit, but I've never had acne to the point at which I'd consider buying a special system to get rid of it.  If I recall correctly, she didn't even give me a nicely wrapped set.  It was basically a bunch of bottles of stuff in a gift bag or something like that.

I was kind of bothered by her gift.  She later sent a note explaining that Proactiv had worked for her and she had gotten a deal.  She wanted to share the wealth, as it were.  I never did end up using the Proactiv, though I was curious as to whether or not it worked as well as the commercials claim.

Last year, she and my oldest sister both sent gift baskets from Harry & David.  They both sent the same basket, though, so I ended up with a shitload of pears.  I wish she'd take the hint and stop trying.  It's not that I don't appreciate being thought of... it's just that the gifts feel more like they came from someone who feels obligated to send them.  I stopped sending gifts to my sisters years ago because I never get to see their reactions to them and I am not close enough to them to know what they like anyway.  None of them really need any more useless crap from me.

At least I can say that Christmas is a lot less traumatic than it used to be.  I spend it with my husband.  We have a nice dinner and exchange gifts.  I know what he likes.  I can even pick out clothes that he likes.  And he sets me up with new gadgets.  I don't know what will be under the tree this year, since we may be very broke after we get home from Scotland.  On the other hand, there's bound to be a lot of scotch this year, so that'll take the sting out of the holidays.

I don't mean to sound like a sourpuss... and I know I do.  And I know that it's the thought that counts... but sometimes gifts can express unpleasant thoughts that are probably better kept under wraps.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Another MacG update...

So I was supposed to take MacGregor to the vet today for a re-check... or so my spouse told me the other day.  I got there early for what was supposed to be a 3:00 appointment.  The lady behind the desk said that there were no doctors around today.  My husband was told that there were no doctors available tomorrow, but apparently someone misspoke.  So he's taking the dog in for his re-check.

Otherwise, MacG seems to be somewhat back to normal.  He's still limping and knuckling a little, but he's much better than he was.  I'm annoyed by the vet's office, though.  It may be time to fire them and find someone else.

Out of the mouths of babes...

I so totally sympathize with this little girl.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

<--Mormon bashing skank

Until last month, I was a member of a Facebook group for second wives and stepmothers.  The group was sort of an offshoot of a messageboard I belonged to but rarely visited.  I was also a member of yet another group that I visited and participated in a lot more often.  Back in August, the board went kerfluey; hence my participation in the Facebook group.  

I ended up quitting the group because a simple thread I started about my decision to switch healthcare providers blew up into a ridiculous debate.  In October, I spent several very peaceful weeks not being part of an online community dedicated to second wives and stepmothers.  I realized that for the first time since 2003 or so, I wasn't caught up in a bunch of dramas with women I don't even know offline.

A couple of days ago, a woman I consider a very good friend started another Facebook group exclusively for the members of the messageboard I used to visit a lot.  It suddenly dawned on me how much I had enjoyed not being in a group for second wives and stepmothers.  I finally felt like I could start putting aside all the toxic crap I've been carrying around for so long.  But I ducked into the group anyway, just to see if I wanted to stay involved with it.  The fact that Ms. Overly Helpful was a member and I had really been enjoying not arguing with her anymore was reason enough not to stick around.

I didn't make a single post, but two women left a thinly veiled message especially for me.  They said they hoped there wouldn't be any "Mormon bashing" in that group.  For the record, it's actually been a pretty long time since I last "Mormon bashed" among anyone in that group, if you could even call it that.  What I mostly did was post articles about Mormonism in our news forum.  Most of the articles would upset a certain member of the group who is LDS.  She felt it was disrespectful to shed an unflattering light on her faith, although she didn't seem to mind when I posted about any other group.  But anyway, I had mostly quit doing that long ago and hadn't even made a single post in the new group.  Being specifically called out like that from the get go didn't leave me with the most welcoming feeling-- and didn't really make me feel like I was among friends.

Then, the person who said she hoped there wouldn't be any "Mormon bashing" added, "But I do love me some knotty."  As if that makes it better...

And then the self-righteous (and I'm sure "vindicated") LDS lady wrote that she understood that my husband and I had been through a lot with his Mormon ex wife and kids, though she couldn't understand why that would turn me off an entire religion.  Then she added that she "loved her some knotty, too."  Yeah, ladies, I'm sure "loving some knotty" makes you feel better about passive aggressively calling me out.

But wow.  Boy, does she not get it.  My disdain for Mormonism is certainly not just about my husband's ex wife.  I have some perfectly legitimate reasons not to like Mormonism, starting with the fact that it's a very divisive religion that makes people think they are special and set apart from others.  The very fact that Mormons exclude non-Mormons from temple weddings is a prime example of that divisiveness.  And maybe you don't think it's a big deal, but how would you feel if you were the loving non-Mormon parent of an adult child who had converted to Mormonism and decided to get married.  Instead of watching your child being married, you're relegated to waiting somewhere outside the temple.  And then they expect you to just get over it, because it's sacred, not secret.

I don't like the way young people in the church are made to feel terribly guilty for giving in to the very natural, healthy, human, and above all, NORMAL urge to masturbate.  Young men in particular are given hell for this, questioned by their bishops about what they do when they're alone in the bathroom.

Mormon Mission Pres Allan Pratt On Masturbation!! von samueltheutahnite (if you click the link, you can access this video about missionaries and the evils of masturbation.)

Maybe for a lot of guys, this isn't such a huge deal.  After all, they can always lie about it.  But then they'd be going against perhaps the best known Mormon PSA ever made...

I don't like the way young men are expected to give up two years of their lives to the church, going door to door in their Geek Squad outfits trying to recruit new members to their faith.  It's one thing if these guys (and gals) really believe in what they're doing, but I have it on pretty good authority that a lot of them are just doing it because they are expected to by the church and their families.  So they go off on their missions and some of them do fine and even have some fun.  But a disturbing number of them suffer...  They end up anxious or depressed or with medical or dental problems that don't get properly addressed, all so they can save face with their communities and marry a good Mormon girl, preferably within six months of returning from their missions.  And then they are expected to start pumping out babies, even if they haven't finished their educations and don't have sufficient income to support themselves, let alone a family.

Some of these young men don't even want to marry a good Mormon girl.  Some of them are gay.  And God help them if they come out and their families believe homosexuality is an abomination because they then stand to lose everything.  Don't believe me?  Hit Amazon and find all the written accounts of people who left Mormonism because their sexual orientation was not accepted.  Read up on the unfortunate souls who went to Evergreen...  I defy you to read Jayce Cox's account of his time at Evergreen, a gay "treatment" program offered at Brigham Young University.  If you click the Evergreen link I posted, you will hit one of their pages which claims that Cox's account (different link) is fabricated.  The trouble is, Jayce Cox is not the only one who has come forward.

The worst part of all of this is that too many of these guys (and gals) eventually end up committing suicide.

Some of the others who come back from missions may have converted innocent people without a second thought to what effect that conversion might have on the people they convert.  Converting to Mormonism is not a simple thing.  It requires lifestyle changes and a lot of time and money.  Missionaries will promise you eternal life with your family... but only if your family gets onboard and joins you in your conversion and only if everyone keeps believing... and praying, paying, and obeying.  If anyone decides they'd rather be Catholic or Baptist or Jewish or atheist, they're out of luck and won't be in the Celestial Kingdom with everyone else in their family.  And if you happened to get sealed to your spouse and that spouse has a crisis of faith, it will mean you won't be together in the afterlife after all.  Or maybe you will...

But they will make you believe that you will lose everything.  They will tell you that terrible things will happen to you if you leave the church... or you will not be "blessed".  When you resign, you'll even get a letter telling you that all your blessings have been "revoked"!  That's certainly a loving thought, isn't it?  Actually, it's an arrogant thought.  Mormons don't have the power to revoke blessings.  They don't speak for God.

That fear of loss is what keeps people hanging on, even if they have to give up their Saturday to scrub the shit stains out of the wardhouse toilets rather than letting a professional janitor who needs the work do it.  That fear of loss is what keeps people who really need to pay their mortgage paying tithing instead, with the hope that they will be blessed by God.  That fear of loss keeps people believing that bad things will happen to them if they're not worthy... and anytime something bad does happen, it's entirely their fault because they've pissed off God.

I don't like the way Mormons are not allowed to study their faith.  Oh sure, they go to church and activities and they have access to Web sites like LDS.org and Mormon.org.  But they are not allowed to consider any other sources of information.  Anyone who has anything slightly negative to say about the church is immediately discounted or marginalized.  The cognitive dissonance is so thick that there's little hope of any critical thinking to break through.  Those who do manage to figure it out tend to be very smart and brave people, because leaving the church often means losing your family.

I don't like the group think aspect of Mormonism-- the way members seem to be told what to think rather than taught how to think.  I especially don't like the way the church encourages its members to vote a certain way.  And I hate the way the less pleasant aspects of the past seem to get whitewashed constantly by Mormon leaders.  For a prime example of this, check out the facts surrounding Joseph Smith and his wives... some of whom were married to other men and some who were as young as fourteen years old.  Check out how in 1978, the living prophet decided that blacks could finally hold the priesthood.  1978 was really not that long ago, folks.

I think these are legitimate reasons, and there are more than enough of them listed here for me not to like Mormonism.

However, I honestly believe that people have the right to believe whatever they want to believe.  You can believe there's a man living on the moon and it's made of green cheese and that would be fine with me... as long as your beliefs don't infringe upon my rights.

So, that's partly why I don't like Mormonism.  That doesn't mean I hate Mormon people, though.  If you can love the sinner but hate the sin, I can certainly hate the belief but not the believer, right?  I can even admit that Mormons are not the only ones who are divisive and feel "special".  I'm not wild about any group that excludes and exploits people.  It's just that Mormonism has directly affected my life while those other groups haven't as much.  But I do my reading about them, too, and realize that Mormons are not the only ones guilty of racism, homophobia, and sexism... and any other of the less savory things they could be accused of doing.

Getting back to the original thrust of this post...  I saw that these two ladies had pre-emptively called me out.  I was already feeling like I didn't want to participate, because I had been enjoying the peace and the fact that I had less reason to vent on my blog about some of these folks.  I relished the idea of never having another ridiculous run in with "Ms. Overly Helpful"... and once I saw what those two women had written and their fake sentiments about "loving them some knotty", I decided I was better off opting out.  So I very quietly left the group.

Within a couple of hours, I had a chat with my friend who had started the group and I explained to her why I had left.  She was very gracious.  I was too, until last night.  My friend was watching something on TV that featured Khloe Kardashian looking very nipply...  She commented about it and I responded, even though I wasn't watching the same thing on TV.  I told my friend I wanted to be skanky.  She said, "That's you, knotty... a real skank."  I said, "I am a Mormon bashing skank."  That reportedly made her laugh.

You know what?  I think I can own the Mormon bashing skank title with pride.    

I wish the two ladies who prompted this post well, but I think I've outgrown them.