8.12.2017

Marie Ogden and the Home of Truth

I love cults.

Okay, well, I love learning about them.  I get obsessed with reading, investigating, and watching footage of the Jonestown saga in the same way most Mormon mommies watch The Bachelor or pick out scrapbooking sheets.  I can't help it and I think a lot of people feel the same way; there's just some kind of draw to watching the questionable, ludicrous and dark things people do and believe, as well as how cult leaders engage and persecute their sheep.

I won't go into cult psychology or what I find most fascinating--that would be a whole separate post, but I did want to share a jaunt that Allyn and I made to a cult location earlier this year.  When I say earlier this year, I am ashamed to admit I mean January.  I have been meaning to blog about this f o r e v e r but it's August and here we are.  Forgive me and know that there will be an even better Utah-cult related post coming up, but the upcoming one will feature an active cult!

But first....



We went to Moab for Allyn's birthday and a hobby of ours, exploring abandoned places, intersected with the location of the Home of Truth.  I've mentioned it on the blog before, but I'll give a proper recap in case anyone's interested.  You can also read more in-depth info here and here.

And yes--Moab is beautiful any time of year and we had a WONDERFUL time!

*happy sigh*
Aaaaanyway, the cult.

Marie Ogden

Remember the name, it's important!  Marie had zero to do with Utah until she moved there as an adult.  She was a rich widow who turned to the occult after her husband died.  She traveled around talking about how the world was doomed until she got--via divine intervention I suppose--the idea to make a commune that would survive the last great calamities of the world.  Marie and her few followers bought a barren, harsh piece of land in San Juan County and settled there.

Creepily, the setup was comprised of concentric circle areas called "portals", and buildings were built on these imaginary boundaries.  There was an Inner Portal, Middle Portal, and Outer Portal.  Like any reputable cult leader Marie required all potential followers to hand over their worldly possessions and anything of monetary value and accept her doctrine.  There was no water, no electricity, and no dependence on the outside world, which Marie believed (a bit ahead of her time really) would be destroyed by nuclear war.

Wouldn't you hand over your checkbook right away? 

Impressively, the cult grew from the original handful to around 100 members at its 'peak' years of 34-35.  They did normal cult stuff like farming, starving, not having cars (except Marie) not ever entering civilization (except Marie, who went shopping almost daily in nearby Monticello), not eating meat, not drinking or using tobacco, and preparing for that apocalypse.

Cheery! 

Whoops, Dead Body 

While the cult was doing its thing, the Mormon settlers of the area mostly ignored what was happening.  I read in a lot of places that Mormons are "tolerant" of cults, but I think it's far more likely that the Mormon plane of thought is "finally, someone who looks weirder than us!"  It's like the relief of being picked second-to-last in dodgeball.  Either way, no1curr about Marie and her weird shenanigans, so Marie got bold and decided she'd take her "God speaks to me through a typewriter" stuff to the local news, because she wanted to convert more people.

Mormons ignored this for the most part as well.  She bought the entire newspaper and though I don't have any articles, I'm sure you could guess the topics--fire, brimstone, God's anger, death, salvation, come over here and eat no meat with us et cetera.  It was shrugged off and no one paid attention until one of the cult members, a miss Edith Peshak, who had only joined in hopes of curing her cancer--passed away and Marie wrote brazenly about keeping the body preserved and feeding it, preparing it for "restoration."  She couldn't stop her from dying, but by God she was going to bring her back to life!!!  Exciting. Apparently the corpse was fed milk and eggs daily--how, I'm not sure, but it was also rubbed with salt and Marie oversaw the process by which her minions desecrated the corpse.  I mean, "prepared' it.  

This was the beginning of the end for the Home of Truth.  The cops showed up due to complaints over what citizens were reading in the local paper; they saw the body (remarked that it was well preserved) decided there was nothing wrong with keeping an embalmed body around other than the general weirdness, and left the compound.  Legal or not, this was too weird even for the Mormons, and their apathy turned to disgruntled side eyes.  Shortly thereafter the cult members followed suit. After all they had to live around this insane woman.  They became disillusioned and abandoned the Home of Truth (minus a few diehards.)  In the end Marie's cult was an epic failure, the body was lost forever, and the creator and divine interpreter Marie Ogden lived out her senior years giving piano lessons to the children of San Juan County.  Bet that was awkward. 

Our Trip 

So we trespassed to get to this place, but other than a few startled/confused cows and what I presume was the rancher driving by (I am 99% sure he knew we were there and didn't mind) it was a quiet, spooky January day.  I remember thinking at the time how weird it was that I was hiking through the desert while pregnant, because I didn't feel pregnant--OH HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED--and how eerie the entire place seemed.  It was so quiet.  Nothing like a desert Ghost Town to be absolutely motionless and suspended in time.

The buildings were in a really sorry state, as was the land: there's an unfinished cobblestone chapel, remnants of a windmill and water cisterns, and a vague circular layout.  We didn't find any treasures MINUS THE ONE other than a couch, some female shoes (WERE THEY MARIE'S?!?!?! I MUST KNOW) and a few other pieces of trash.  For some reason, a few of the houses are literally filled with manure--who buys a tract of land with a cult headquarters on it and then shovels the relics full of shit? Ranchers, I guess.  Supposedly there's a cemetery out there but we didn't find it.  We did find something cooler.  Read on! 
      

Okay, so ALL credit for this creepy find goes to Allyn.  I'd filled him in on the history of the ranch before going, as you do.  He was shining his light up in a once-attic---this one, to be particular...and he noticed a familiar name....




The crate reads:

TO: MRS LETITIA C. WHITLEY
C/O MRS MARIE M OGDEN
VIA THOMPSONS R.R. STOP

Isn't that CRAZY?!?!?! I tried googling the name Letitia Whitley with no result.  But we all know she was a cult member, hence the 'c/o'.  Actually SEEING that someone had sent belongings or who knows what, to someone in this strange Depression-era faction of nuclear fearmongers, made the whole thing more real and exciting for us.

I'm assuming I could get some records from Letitia if I were to go to the Family History museum, but I haven't been.  Something to look into though.  How cool is that?



8.06.2017

The Flood of 2017

Wait, let's back up.

Before the flood, I begged demanded for vacation time, because I was so, so woefully unprepared for baby.  I had a few things here and there and when I cancelled my baby shower (SUCH a good idea, in hindsight, lol) several friends showed up with gifts anyway which was amazing and wonderful.  It wasn't just setting up for his "space" but it was also a mental preparation--I wanted to have a breather.  As someone who plans on working up until delivery time and will come to work shortly thereafter I just wanted time to myself before human motherhood.

I got the time off and booked a one night trip to Zermatt resort in Midway, spared no expense, rented Allyn and I off-road vehicles and massages and a nice suite...it was going to be incredible.  Half babymoon, half early birthday...

The last day I worked (my usual overnight shift) I was giddy with the prospect of getting everything done.  Allyn called the guard shack early in the morning to ask if the house was flooded.  News reports were popping up of a flood in Salt Lake City of all places and he was listening to the areas affected on the radio.  Our neighborhood was one of the worse spots.  I called Derik, who was at home sleeping, and he very confusedly said everything was fine.

Well, that was before he got out of bed...


The next few days are a blur. 

We left work early to assess the damage.  I didn't take any interior pictures, mostly because I was angry and frustrated and disgusted and repulsed, but also because....why? I don't need to document the devastation of my house.  The carpets were soaked, the walls were bulging, and a smell was arising.  

We turned off the air conditioner and turned on fans in an attempt to clean the mess.  It was hilarious; thirty seconds over a square yard and the reservoir for the water vacuum was full of black, muddy sludge.  Over and over.  Allyn and Derik labored all night and day while I suffered in the heat and felt like an asshole because I literally can't move furniture or push a vacuum or anything.  I kept walking through the house and finding soaked random items, things like the first baby book I bought, or my moccasin shoes, or the bottom of a pack of diapers, or the base of a piece of art I bought for Allyn before we realized I was pregnant, that has our son's namesake on the print.  Everything was sopping and warped and ruined and I was disgusted, hot, fat, and pregnant.


After the first miserable night, during, which we suffered "swamp sleep" on reeking, wet furnished areas and I was reminded again of why I left the south, Allyn and I were driving somewhere and I commented that I felt like something bad was going to happen.  I felt like the landlady was going to tell us we had to leave. 

At some point after that, (see? it's all a blur) she stopped by with a somber look on her face; we had to vacate.  The place was uninhabitable.  And by all accounts it truly was, and was worsening the longer we sat there.  After she broke the news to us I had a good cry with Flemith stuck to my face, and then I bawled on the phone while I cancelled our reservation.  We had nowhere to go.  Nowhere. I was supposed to be putting up my baby's decorations and taking time off for a booked massage in the mountains, not frantically searching for a place to live.  That night, the final night we had before "evacuation" I had a huge mental breakdown and cried for hours and slept in my car because it was cooler than inside the house, and way less Resident Evil 7 mold-monstery.  

The Red Cross offered a motel, and other unhelpful things like clothes and blankets (not dissing the Red Cross...I just had no need of blankets....)  I had no desire to sit in a motel with three cats.  But just when I thought that might be our only choice, (and while the men loaded up every single belonging we had into the detached garage, which had not flooded) I was contacted by someone who offered her basement to us.  We worked out a deal that was cheaper than a motel, with two bedrooms, an actual bathroom, and access to the kitchen.  

As fast as we'd packed up our stuff, we hauled the necessities -- clothes, food, and beds, basically--across town to her basement.  Now here's the moment where I have to talk about how amazing humans can be.  I know we paid her, but this girl could have gotten a great, lucrative deal for a monthly rental.  Instead she took us in after a disaster and worked with us and our budget.  She was kind and friendly and offered empathy (I'm so rotund and sweaty I garner pity pretty easily these days, house or no house) for our situation.  One of my friends who is religious called this helper an angel, and I can't argue with that definition.  She literally saved us from far, far worse options.  

The rest of my "vacation" was spent being angry, frustrated, worried, and getting taken advantage of by rental predators. I tried very hard to avoid rental scams, and THEY ARE EVERYWHERE--WHY!?!?  I loved hearing how bad my credit was over and over again, and I especially loved the old Mormon man who snapped that I "must've done something wrong to get booted, go try the homeless shelter".  Jesus is so proud of you.

We were on our way to dinner and I told Derik to drive carefully; I sensed that something bad would happen.  It seems explainable as pent-up dread, but I believed we were going to wreck the car.  Two mornings after, I got word that my dad wrecked his bike again (the night I had the bad feeling) and was in ICU.  I vacillated between being livid at my idiotic younger sister for not telling me about this, being terrified and depressed that I might not lose just my home, but also my parent, and just being exhausted from pregnancy and the shit life decided to take.  Everyone asked me if I was flying home, but that seemed impossible, mentally.  I couldn't leave my people here, struggling to find a house.  There was no way.  

So we pushed on.  I had to dispute application fees from a scammy rental company.  I had to fill out applications and waddle my huge egg self over to Chase Bank for a money order to be told "you need an account..." YOU'RE A BANK! A BANK.  I HAND YOU CASH YOU HAND ME MONEY ORDER.  WHAT PART OF THAT NEEDS AN ACCOUNT? GROCERY STORES DO MONEY ORDERS.  I scrambled to fill out hand-written applications before the post office closed, fought back against a rental "agent" who claimed I didn't sound "serious" because my accent "isn't from around here."  Waited for updates on Dad and got hung up on by the nurses.  During this time the things that kept me going were the people around me, my poor, terrified animals, and the kid who routinely makes me feel like I have three separate pelvises that are all coming apart like the Titanic. 

In The Addams Family there's a scene after the Addams get kicked out of their mansion; they're all laying jumbled together in a crummy motel, the only one awake is Morticia.  She's sitting up in bed with Gomez dozing in her lap, and she looks around at her uprooted family with an incredibly sad look but then does that fantastic diva-esque eyes-narrowing that Anjelica Huston has mastered, and then she marches off in the middle of the night, on foot, to confront Fester.  That's a long vague bad description of a very poignant scene but I completely felt that way every time I was blanketed in sadness or felt like giving up.  



After hearing about how I'm a hoodlum or how I'm arbitrarily denied with no explanation, I finally found an apartment, and a renter, with whom I really clicked.  Landlord/tenant relationships are important, and when my mention of bad credit came up her response was "credit scores don't define a person."  It was the first time I'd felt treated like a human in a week.  She offered to hold the apartment for a deposit, and I had to make the quick decision to accept without any of my family there (everyone else was working--I was on "vacation", remember?) I figured the lease was a year so if they hated my choice, they could hate me for a year.

That was earlier this week; Friday the 4th of August we moved in.  We are still up to our chins in unpacked boxes and I'm even more pregnant and even more maladapted to heat.  I now have a scramble of budget to fix, addresses to update, projects to plan for the apartment, and continued paperwork for things like utility bills.  Getting a place meant that we have time and ability to sit and figure those things out but by no means do I feel settled; I had to dig through boxes just to find my work shoes yesterday.

I know everyone has their quirks and worries.  Mine is always about stability.  I don't talk about it, but when I take a shower, I'm always thinking of when I used to hunker in a tin bucket with lukewarm water or when I had to slide down a slope to a spring to carry water home during the winter.  Whenever somebody does something wasteful like toss a tissue into the toilet and flush I think about the bucket we had as a "toilet" when I was small, that needed to be carry-emptied every so often, and was used by five kids and two adults, in the kids' bedroom.  I still pause and marvel at doorknobs instead of big rectangular pieces of wood nailed into the wall.  I see huge aisles of food and think about our little modest garden harvests and trading zucchini for deer meat or whatever the barter was.  Whenever it rained in Salt Lake previously, I compared it to the immense storms of the Southeast that drowned wild animals and always knocked down one or five of the trees around us.  Cozying up under blankets in a bed when I slept on the floor and outside for years, or even feeling heat opposed to stoking the fire and being terrified of operating the wood heater at ten years old, I think of those and more, all the time.  

A lot of people will scold those of us with this mentality, that we don't "allow" ourselves to be happy and enjoy the moment.  You're goddamned right I don't.  I always worry.  I always think what if.  I know what it feels like to be on the unimaginable side of poverty, to a place that's almost unreachable unless you know where to go (hint: Farner, Tennessee.)  I know how quickly times and places change and how one day you can come home from school and be swept to a city hundreds of miles away with no warning, no belongings.

What this flood taught me is that I'm right to think this way.  It absolutely validated every worry or thought I've ever had.  I would not have been prepared if I hadn't thought of the possibility--close to every day--that something might happen to my house.  I'm not saying I'm a psychic, but that old "prepare for the worst" saying is pretty much how my brain operates everything.  It has for years and I expect it probably always will.

I did not anticipate the good though.  I am still in awe of how kind these strangers were, and how well my friends carried me through all of this, even though I am not the only person in the world who is hurting right now.  I got so many kind offers, both of support and assistance, and despite my bitching and complaining the people who were stuck in the basement with me didn't utter a peep of negative thoughts, and wouldn't let me carry or move anything (trust me, I tried to anyway--I physically can't, anymore.)

All moms ever do is one-up each other on their miserable experiences so now I guess I get to join the club and say OH YEAH? WELL WE WERE HOMELESS WHEN I WAS 34 WEEKS.........

Just kidding.

One of the nicest things about the new place has been putting my baby stuff into the empty room ready for him.  I didn't think I would even look forward to it as the old house didn't have much in the way of space--I'm not big on nurseries and could care less about a theme.  But it feels like we will have somewhere comfortable, both he and I, while we adjust to the horror that is new human life, and I am so grateful for that opportunity.

Will I chill out and actually get comfortable and let my guard down? Nope, I'll be thinking every day about how anything horrible could happen.  But I am a multitasker thought-wise, and my fears are always paralleled with gratitude for what I have, because I know it can be taken away when you least expect it.

















7.15.2017

Creative Burnout and Recovery

This post won't be "4 helpful tips to avoid..." or "Learn how I overcame.....!" because I don't play no clickbait.  I just wanted to chat for a bit (ok, rant for a bit) about some creative burnout, what's been on my mind, and I guess my creative headspace recently and currently.

After coming home from Sweden I really got into doing pinup.  It was something I'd always been "into" since my great and eternal love for Fallout, although my atomic age obsession starts in a way nerdier spot, with my love for chemistry, radiation, and ultimately nuclear power--but the point is, I started getting into the subculture and for a long time, found another outlet artistically.  I also really enjoyed it because after losing 60 pounds I felt great in front of a camera, took good photos, had a nice figure--who doesn't want to show off their sexy new bod amirite? Haha.

I've been to so many car shows and contests since.  I relished the opportunities to get out of an EMT uniform and go put on my petticoats.  I even started doing decent winged liners and victory rolls. (Okay, subpar, not totally decent, but they passed inspection) and for someone who considers a ponytail an updo, this is practically magic.  I met a few nice people, got into the cars and car culture in a way I hadn't before, felt 'glam' in a way I hadn't before, and as with all artistic endeavors one pursues out of love, got inspired to up my game.

It's really weird though, usually when I get inspired to up my game, I'm eager to do better.  And in endeavors like painting, it's frustrating because I feel like I plateau and can't do better.  It's really hard to shake up a hobby you've been into since you could read.  So with painting, writing, piano, photography--I try really hard, push myself, get inspired, taper off....rinse and repeat.  It's like a very long race.  However in 2017 everything stalled.  My camera lens broke.  My body changed proportions and I no longer felt good in a circle skirt (I feel more like a circus tent.)  I haven't felt like writing in forever--not sure why, it just hasn't been there.  Nothing groundbreaking happened on the painting front.  Just a bunch of Till Lindemann doodles because I am trash.


But pinup was especially dragging me down and bumming me out.  What used to be fun just wasn't fun anymore.  I used to hungrily follow other models photoshoots and be just amazed and wowed and charmed and inspired.  Those feelings turned to "Meh."  Same with my own photos--in fact I didn't even want photos taken anymore.  (See the circus tent comment.)  Car show days were sour days.  If I have to hear one more person tell me how inspiring Bettie Page was--she had schizophrenia guys, it's not a story of empowerment and girl power, it's a story of a debilitating illness marked by years of suffering with no relief!!!!--I just felt like I was stalling in a place I didn't enjoy and wasn't connecting with the scene.

I tried for months to ignore this and smile my way through it like I suppose a good pinup does.  All the while the rest of my creativity plodded along.  I painted here and there.  I made Allyn some shoes for Father's Day, and doodled a bit.  I've written here on the blog, albeit not routinely.  I've spent time in nature: usually the best way in the world to recharge my batteries.  But this time it seems like I'm dragging my feet.  The energy loss as I moved into the third trimester really caught up with me.


 

And all around me, almost suffocatingly, is the pinup world that I loved and felt gave me nothing at all.  Like I say, I tend to get inspired by that suffocation, that's what artists do.  You just have to get it out of your system, but this time it had the opposite effect.  It wasn't just the attitude of some of the people involved, either.  Actually, my very last car show was a fantastic experience.  I went to Helper, Utah and won an awesome piece of art and participated in an insanely fun contest with awesome girls--it was a dream--and I was still burned out at the end of it.  Modeling before had been so fun, but that day I barely allowed any photos.

I have no idea how much of this is due to pregnancy, and moving to a new phase in life and taking on a new role.  Probably a lot.  But I just can't ignore all of the issues in the pinup community.  I suddenly decided that I didn't want to, and went on a cleanout.  I wiped and unfollowed and put at the back of my closet (and mind) all of the photoshoots and models and dresses and victory rolls and red lips.  I was so scared that this made me a failure, until I actually did it and breathed THE BIGGEST SIGH of relief.  Sometimes you don't even know how bad the thorn in your side is hurting until it's gone.


There was a time where this would've puzzled me and I would have spent too much time trying to analyze and breakdown where I went wrong in the creative process and trying to problem solve how to bring back the spark and the joy and chasing after that outlet, but happily that time in my life is over.  I don't even care.  If something is not working for me, it's not working for me and I can't force it.  I can't force an uninspiring hobby any more than I can force a dull or poisonous relationship.  So I'm just not going to.

I washed my hands of the burnout and figured I'd just be that boring lady adding things to her Target baby registry in the meantime, waiting for inspiration to come back.  It has, in a big and unexpected way.  Allyn and I first became friends while he helped me figure out my Valkyrie costume last year; it seems with him around there's always some creative thing that we can do together, even with me hugely pregnant and fat and both of us sleep deprived.

Today (Saturday, July 15) there's a Halloween-themed event in Magna, Utah, and Allyn and I have gathered the equipment to dress up and go.  We are both Halloween/costume fanatics (duh) and we both have a background in special effects makeup--he's way more enthusiastic than me--but his enthusiasm and knowledge rubs off on me in the right inspirational way.  It's almost like we feed off each other's creativity and I can't tell you how special it is to have a partner like that.

I think it's a relief to remind myself that pinup isn't my identity.  I'm not one of those girls who lives and breathes 40's and 50's.  Not that there's anything wrong with that--there absolutely is not.  But I'm just an artist, and a costumer, and a cosplayer, and a makeup artist, and a painter, and a writer, and a bunch of stuff.  If something isn't working for me I can move on to the next thing that works.  It's refreshing, and removes that negative suffocation I was feeling.


I don't believe in that "The Universe" stuff, but I will admit it was pretty reaffirming to see that shortly after I said "eff this" to trying to grin and bear it and keep up with a scene that was doing me no joy, I got a few requests to make custom painted shoes (Allyn is a good model) and there was this email:





So, until next time!










7.01.2017

Pregnancy Questions (So Far)

Gross, I'm THAT person, who is pregnant and won't shut up about it.

Actually, I don't talk about it very much but since it's so....well, affecting everything in the world...I just haven't been talking at all.  I do have some boring deep thoughts to unleash on the blog (not pregnancy related, by the by) but I figured I would vomit out all the pregnancy questions first in case anyone cares, and so that I'm not rehashing them later.

See, I'll make you take your meds, but I'll give you a popsicle.  Your welcome.

I got this great list from Wild Little Flowers by the way--thanks girl!


How did you find out you were pregnant?  Honestly I had no symptoms (that I correlated with pregnancy) other than being viciously tired.  I more or less had an intuition. And chose to chalk it up to being overdramatic and stressed and finally broke down and got a test.  And then three more tests, haha.

What was your immediate reaction? Excitement.  Then terror.  Then excitement.  Terror.  Repeat 7 months, here we are.

How did you share your good news with others?  I told a select few people at first.  Stefanie and Amanda got first dibs via Facebook, as well as Mike, Abbi, and Amber. The first person I told in person was of course Derik.  Soon after I told Niki.  Then I blurted it to Allyn like two weeks before I intended to because I couldn't help myself.  We told Krystal and Seth soon after that--like a day after he knew!  He really wanted to share, and so did his older sister who blabbed it dramatically in front of his parents and ruined the surprise.  V rude Emily.  I still made a cute announcement because I'm tacky and sentimental.


Write a letter to baby.  He can't read!  Fine.

Dear Zordon, please stop making those weird scrapey sensations against my womb, and also please stop ceasing kicking when your dad is trying to feel kicks.  I hope you're nice and hairy in there what with all this heartburn I'm getting.  Your older brother Flemith is now on anxiety medication in anticipation of your arrival.  See you in a few months! Love, Mom

What have you been doing to prepare for baby's arrival?  Having internal panic attacks.  Readjusting finances and contemplating life.  Looking so forward to it minus the whole hospital/birth/healing thing.  But mostly, panic attacks.

Write out a complete do-before-baby list.  Do you want me to have another panic attack? Pass.

How do your other children (if you have them) feel about baby right now?  Well, Flemith just got put on Prozac so there's that.

What is your relationship with food like at the moment?  Unhealthy and annoying.

How does your body feel? Like an egg. My pelvis feels like three pelvises.  Middle pelvis, and left and right pelvis that creak and groan against each other when I walk.  My muscles are tight and they cramp. My shoulders and neck are just as weak and overstressed as ever.  My face is huge and my cheekbones are gone.  My gums are bleeding.  Anybody who says I'm glowing is a liar, it's just sweat.

How did the ultrasound go?  I have had many ultrasounds so far.  All of them varying in experiences.  A few were miscarriage scares, complete with catheter and my unmitigated hate for that....hearing his heartbeat--oh! I was so excited.  It's the best sound.  I love hearing it.  I also loved seeing him at 11 weeks (post miscarriage-scare) because he was so small and literally was turning somersaults.  I'll never forget that, being the first sight of my little boy.

Boy or girl? How do you feel about it?  Boy and I'm relieved.  I don't even know why.  I'd love a girl too.  I just really always wanted a boy.


What names are you considering? How is the naming process going?  We do not discuss this!  This is a mom and dad topic.  We have three or four options and are planning to just name him at birth if we can't pick.

Write a prayer for baby.  No.

What sort of parent do you hope to be?  The kind who is scary enough to be a parent, but open enough to talk to.  Where if you do something stupid you know your mom is going to find out and you better be the one to tell her, and she will help you no matter what, but you'd still rather go to the dentist and pull your teeth out than tell her the dumb shit you did.  The kind of mom that other kids say "aw your mom is so cool!" and my kid will go "IF YOU JUST LIVED WITH HER, SHE'S INSANE."  The kind of mom who lets their kid paint and draw and make a mess and gives lots of hugs and praise but is also kind of a benevolent dictator tyrant who gives no quarter.  I can't in good conscience shield my child from the road, but I can give him the tools he needs to walk it.  Also I read somewhere that kids learn more by what you are than what you teach, so I just have to be a good Alex, whatever that means.

Write about baby's father.  He's extraordinary.  He's beautiful and kind and hard-working and honest.  He's so gifted, intellectual, creative, he's so special to me.  He is the biggest piece of my soul walking around on earth.

What gifts and advice have you been receiving?  "Everything will work itself out."  Asinine shit like that.  I get really weird about pregnancy advice, in fact I get really weird about pregnancy.  I want it to be a private thing, but it's so hilariously not private.  So I just grind my teeth against the advice and reassurance and think about something nice, like Flemith cuddles.

What are your hopes and plans for delivery?  To not freak out when the doctors touch me.  That's about as far as I've gotten.  There will be Rammstein in the DVD player.  And I'll probably be sneaking food.  But definite Rammstein.  There are wall speakers, you guys.



What are the top five things you want to teach your child?  Self-reliance.  Loyalty.  Courage.  Productivity.  Empathy.

What are your plans for baby's baptism? Who will be his/her godparents? Hell no to all of that.  I will continue the path of being an unwashed heathen for my own womb fruit thanks.  I don't even know what a godparent is, but it'll be Derik and Niki.

What parenting books have you read/do you want to read? Like a million I've checked out of the library.  They're slightly more comforting than the articles, which quickly spiral down into "you have gout, diabetes, cancer and borderline personality disorder" territory.