Monday, June 30, 2008

The Host

I just finished reading Stephenie Meyer's new adult book, The Host. I'd read her Twilight series earlier this year after I bought it for the library. The Twilight series is about vampires, well, it's about a girl, Bella, who falls in love with Edward, who happens to be a vampire. Anyway, it's a very popular series with teens and young adults (and some "older" adults too), so I read it to see what all the fuss was about. It was enjoyable, and the books are always out, so I knew I had to buy her first adult book, The Host.

I have to say, I liked Host much better than I did the Twilight books. It was one of those books, that made me dream about the characters in it every night. In my dreams, I'd fret, I'd worry, I'd see the characters and watch them interact. And, of course I was a part of the story in my dreams too. It was the kind of book that made me wish I could just stop everything and read until I finished it...but on the other hand, it would be over all too soon. And, it's not my typical favorite kind of book either.

Earth has been invaded by alien "souls" who inhabit our bodies. They take over all function and mental control of human bodies, forcing our human souls out from bodies. We humans exist physically, but that special something, that makes us us is gone. There are some resident rebel groups of humans who are in hiding, trying to survive. Melanie is one such human. Except, she's captured, and becomes the host body for Wanderer, a soul. Unfortunately for the Wanderer, Melanie's personality, her "essence" doesn't leave, she refuses to give up on life and is a prisoner in her own mind and body. Fortunately for Melanie, she and Wanderer develop a relationship, and friendship. Unfortunately for both, neither the humans nor the souls want to allow their continued...existence. They stumble into a group of rebel humans where Wanderer has to learn how to live with people who fear her and want her dead. Wanderer also has to fight feelings she has for the love of Melanie's life--Melanie doesn't want to share.

In the end, well, it's a good ending.

I'd read in an early review that Stephanie Meyer's strength as a writer lies in her ability to write about relationships. That review was right on the money. This book is about relationships. The relationship between Melanie and Wanderer, the relationship between Melanie, her brother, and her boyfriend; the relationship between Wanda (the human nickname for Wanderer) and Melanie's human family; the relationship between Wanderer and her own kind... It's all well written and blended together into an unforgettable story of life and love and humanity.

If you are thinking that you don't like Science Fiction and alien stories, give this one a try. It's less about being different and more about being alike. It's a very good book. Now do what I say and go pick it up and read it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

2 days and three coats of paint later

I took 5 of my last 10 vacation days this week. Instead of basking on a beach somewhere on the plains of Kansas, I spent my time working. Painting to be specific. The goal: to paint Miss Kat's room and to paint the basement family room. The accomplishment to date: painted Miss Kat's room and my bathroom. Yeah, who knew!

I made a deal with Miss Kat. You see, I "inherited" a bedroom set from Grandma and Grandpa. Since Grandma's in the nursing home, Mom and Sandy have decided to sell their house, so we have to clean it out. The bedroom set I "inherited" is one that Grandma and Grandpa "inherited" when they bought the house. It always lived in the middle bedroom, and when they moved in, that room looked very Victorian with flowered wall paper, wooden floors (when they weren't in style) and this dark wooden furniture. When I saw it, at the ripe old age of 10, I remember saying "Oh, Grandma, this room is so beautiful! Can I have this furniture when you die?" So, it's always been "my" furniture and now, I needed to make room for it in my home.

No problem, which leads us to the deal I made with Miss Kat. Kat has a full size bed, which the bedroom set needs. Her mattress would fit perfectly and with 2 dressers, there'd be plenty of room for her clothes. One problem, Miss Kat doesn't love the furniture like I do. So, let's say she was a little resistant. But...Mom is devious. Miss Kat wanted to paint her room, and I told her we could paint it the way she wanted with the colors she wants if she'd take my furniture. She reluctantly agreed, so it was a done deal. She wanted bright green and pink, to match her bedding.

So, on Saturday, we went to town and picked out paint. The color of green we picked is called "Yellow Green" and the Pink is ...heck, some kind of bright pink. We started painting on Monday. Kat decided she wanted three walls green and one pink. And, she found a border that matched, so we decided to put it on our pink wall.

We painted...and painted...and painted. One coat was really splotchy. Two coats was better, but still pretty splotchy. And, we ran out of green. So, Kev bought more on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we finished the third coat and put her room back together. It's bright, but Kat loves it and I rather like it myself.

Andy and I ran to "Big E" yesterday to get the furniture and we got him another dresser too. I cleaned it all up last night and today, around noon, Miss Kat and I set up the bed. Headboard, footboard, and siderails. Only, there was a problem...Kat's bed is too long for the frame. It simply wouldn't fit. I can't express my disappointment, because this is my furniture. So, we compromised...we put up the headboard and used Kat's existing frame and she's using the dressers...but, this means that I have to store the footboard and side rails. I don't know if Kat's bed is a long full sized bed, or if sizing of beds and mattresses has changed since the 30's, 40's or 50's whenever the furniture was made. I'm hoping its a "long". If that's the case, then someday, I might just be able to use the footboard and side rails. (Yeah, we could have brought the mattress and box springs that was in it, but the mattress was a wool mattress and weighed 80 lbs or more and the box springs were just metal springs that had seen better days. Nope, they needed to be retired.)

[insert photo of Kat's room here because that stupid blogger program won't load my pictures,and kicked me out THREE times...]

Now for the bathroom. While Kat and I were getting paint for her room, I wandered back to the "miss-mixed" paint section. There, I found a gallon of blue that was just beautiful. I decided to take a chance and buy it for the bathroom. I'd call it a "thunderstorm" blue, but the tag said "Americana blue". Andy started painting the bathroom while we were painting Kat's room, and i finished up the cutting in and the edging. It's gorgeous! Kev even said "good color." A mighty compliment indeed.

We also bought paint for the basement family room, but, well, I'm not happy with it. I started cutting in, and it's too...too....harvest gold. I pushed the envelop with my green kitchen which is almost avocado green, I'm not going to the '70's again. So, I'll return the paint and pick out something else. I want something warm, but neutral. Maybe I'll make Kev choose...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Polygamy books

First, let me apologize for not blogging before now. I just simply did not feel like blogging. The best part of the past week was seeing all my relatives. Too much happened, and I just couldn't blog.
So, I'm getting back into the swing of things by doing a couple of book reviews of books that I've read dealing with the polygamist lifestyle. Rather timely, although I started reading and learning last summer, before the raid at the YFZ ranch in Texas.

So, if you think that polygamy, as practiced by the Fundamentalist Mormons is ok, and if you think that Mormonism is a solid faith, built on Christianity, well, read on and decide for yourself.

For a history of the Fundamentalist Mormon movement, ready Jon Krakauer's book Under the banner of heaven. It's a history of the various sects in the FLDS movement and it's a history of the Mormon church and how its early history has influenced and supported the FLDS movement. I will say, that after reading this book, well, I think that Joseph Smith was a horny man who couldn't bring himself to have affairs, so he made up plural marriages.

Last summer, I read Shattered Dreams by Irene Spencer. Irene was a former plural wife of the LeBaron group. Now, prior to reading this book, I'd always wondered how it would be living in a polygamist lifestyle. Would it be nice to have another woman to share the household chores? Would it be hard to share my husband with another woman? Just what exactly is it like to be married to one man and to share him with one or more wives? Are polygamist wives really happy?

Those questions, and more were answered when I read Shattered Dreams. Now, the LeBaron group is not affiliated with the Warren Jeff's group...directly anyway. They broke away from them in the 1950's, but share many of the same fundamental beliefs. However, the women in the LeBaron group dressed in contemporary dress and even cut their hair. But, the LeBaron group spent many years in Mexico where they lived in absolute poverty and in primitave conditions.

Two books about living the polygamist life in Colorado City/Hilldale area of Utah and Arizona, (which is the headquarters for the Warren Jeff's group) are Escape by Carolyn Jessop and Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall. Both women escaped from this group. Carolyn was in a plural marriage for 17 years and literally escaped in the wee hours of the morning with all 7 of her children. Elissa was forced to marry her first cousin at the age of 14. While she wasn't in a plural marriage, she was forced to marry at a young age to a man she disliked. Elissa was an instrumental witness in the conviction of Warren Jeffs.

These two women were raised in the same community of believers and expressed the difficulties and frustrations and general unhappiness of men and women living a polygamist lifestyle because they have been raised to believe it is the only way to heaven. All of these books have convinced me that polygamy is bad for the women and even bad for the men who practice it. Polygamy is no way for anyone to live.

Decide for yourself. Pick up one or all of these titles and learn about Fundamental Mormonism and polygamy.