Tuesday, June 28, 2005

on the road

Vacation is here, and I'm in NY visiting with my family. I grew up in this sleepy little town, and it's both reassuring and nice to see how little it has changed. A lot of my school friends still live here, and the bank is still in the same historical building. Because the village is a historical village - it is protected from being built up. Not so around my dad's house, which used to be the only house down in the hollow. Now houses are springing up nearby, there are lots plowed up and for sale in what used to be a meadow, and there is talk about draining the wetlands. (I hope that comes to nothing - it's a great place for wildlife) But despite the building, or perhaps because of it, we are seeing lots of wild animals that I never saw while growing up there. A bobcat, a flock of wild turkeys, and several families of whitetail deer live in my father's property. I hope they are here to stay.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Looking cool this summer

It's going to be Hot in Europe this year - the weather report from the official sites are announcing a hotter than usual summer, so everyone is gearing up to beat the heat.
There are few air conditioners here, but there are portable ones for sale. And there are fans. Since there are few bugs, windows stay wide open to catch the breeze, but when the sun hits, the shutters close. So what to wear? This year Indian cotton is in, as are Indian type skirts, sandals and loose, flowing dresses. Shirts and dresses sparkle with sequins and beads, and even make-up is shiny this year. My newest eye-liner has gold-sparklys in it. Very chic. Ethnic is in. Preppy is out. The brighter the colors, the better the look. Flower and paisley prints are everywhere in Paris. And in the shops, Brazilian style bikinis have started to make their appearence. The bottoms are skimpy, without being strings, and the tops are colorful triangles often beaded or sequined. Hot on the beach are the mis-matched bikinis - a solid bottom with a bright print top. Toss your beige, white, and navey blue clothes and go for orange (the season's hottest color) lime green, fuschia and buttercup yellow. Forget drab...this summer's coolest look is Brilliant!

Monday, June 20, 2005


This essay is attributed to the late Mark E Petersen of the Church of Jesus of Latter Day Saints. I lifted it from Mrs. Giggles' (www.mrsgiggles.com) excellent blog 'The Toilet Bowl'.
My husband is trying to stop smoking. I thought I'd use this and substitute the word smoking for masterbation. What do you think? At any rate, it's a riot to read, and the part about wearing tight clothes to bed that are hard to take off was frankly exciting. (I can't wait to try it!)

STEPS IN OVERCOMING MASTURBATION by Mark E. PetersenCouncil of the 12 Apostles
Be assured that you can be cured of your difficulty. Many have been, both male and female, and you can be also if you determine that it must be so.
This determination is the first step. That is where we begin. You must decide that you will end this practice, and when you make that decision, the problem will be greatly reduced at once.
But it must be more than a hope or a whish, more than knowing that it is good for you. It must be actually a DECISION. If you truly make up your mind that you will be cured, then you will have the strength to resist any tendencies which you may have and any temptations which may come to you.
After you have made this decision, then observe the following specific guidelines:
A Guide to Self-Control:
Never touch the intimate parts of your body except during normal toilet processes.
Avoid being alone as much as possible. Find good company and stay in this good company.
If you are associated with other persons having this same problem, YOU MUST BREAK OFF THEIR FRIENDSHIP. Never associate with other people having the same weakness. Don't suppose that two of you will quit together, you never will. You must get away from people of that kind. Just to be in their presence will keep your problem foremost in your mind.
The problem must be taken OUT OF YOUR MIND for that is where it really exists. Your mind must be on other and more wholesome things.
When you bathe, do not admire yourself in a mirror. Never stay in the bath more than five or six minutes - just long enough to bathe and dry and dress AND THEN GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM into a room where you will have some member of your family present.
When in bed, if that is where you have your problem for the most part, dress yourself for the night so securely that you cannot easily touch your vital parts, and so that it would be difficult and time consuming for you to remove those clothes. By the timeyou started to remove protective clothing you would have sufficiently controlled your thinking that the temptation would leave you.
If the temptation seems overpowering while you are in bed, GET OUT OF BED AND GO INTO THE KITCHEN AND FIX YOURSELF A SNACK, even if it is in the middle of the night, and even if you are not hungry, and despite your fears of gaining weight. The purpose behind this suggestion is that you GET YOUR MIND ON SOMETHING ELSE. You are the subject of your thoughts, so to speak.
Never read pornographic material. Never read about your problem. Keep it out of mind. Remember - "First a thought, then an act." The thought pattern must be changed. You must not allow this problem to remain in your mind. When you accomplish that, you soon will be free of the act.
Put wholesome thoughts into your mind at all times. Read good books -- Church books - Scriptures - Sermons of the Brethern. Make a daily habit of reading at least one chapter of Scripture, preferably from one of the four Gospels in the New Testament, or the Book of Mormon. The four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - above anything else in the Bible can be helpful because of their uplifting qualities.
Pray. But when you pray, don't pray about this problem, for that will tend to keep [it] in your mind more than ever. Pray for faith, pray for understanding of the Scriptures, pray for the Missionaries, the General Authorities, your friends and your families, BUT KEEP THE PROBLEM OUT OF YOUR MIND BY NOT MENTIONING IT EVER - NOT IN CONVERSATION WITH OTHERS, NOT IN YOUR PRAYERS. KEEP IT OUT of your mind!
The attitude of a person toward his problem has an affect [sic] on how easy it is to overcome. It is essential that a firm commitment be made to control the habit. As a person understands his reasons for the behavior, and is sensitive to the conditions or situations that may trigger a desire for the act, he develops the power to control it.
We are taught that our bodies are temples of God, and are to be clean so that the Holy Ghost may dwell within us. Masturbation is a sinful habit that robs one of the Spirit and creates guilt and emotional stress. It is not physically harmful unless practiced in the extreme. It is a habit that is totally self-centered, and secretive, and in no way expresses the proper use of the procreative power given to man to fulfill eternal purposes. It therefore separates a person from God and defeats the gospel plan.
This self-gratifying activity will cause one to lose his self-respect testimony becomes weak, and missionary work and other Church callings become burdensome, offerins.

Friday, June 17, 2005


I love to travel. I love finding new places, meeting new people, and seeing new sights. So it's with great pleasure I tune into Wyn's travel blog and read about her travels.
I'm reading about Eleanor of Aquitaine, and was amazed to see that although living in the twelfth century, she travelled extensively through Europe and the Orient, even going on the Crusades with her first husband, the king of France. Eleanor was a thoroughly modern woman living in an age where things were changing rapidly. Her influence on that time is not negligeable (She married two kings, was kidnapped twice, went on the Crusades, and raised seven children!)

Have fun reading Wyn's travel blog, and if you would like to know more about Eleanor of Aquitaine, there are some wonderful books (both fiction and nonfiction) available.

Monday, June 13, 2005

More about love and sex

I just read a post by a well-meaning romance author. Sure sex is all right (she reasures us) but romance is all about love, and love is bigger than sex. (she goes on to say).
And all the poster-people after her hurry to agree that yes, love is not sex, and that their idea of love is (one person's words here) "a child bringing flowers to her mother".
I guess it's time I spoke up. Romance books are fine without sex. They are fine with sex. It makes no difference to me, as long as I know what I'm getting when I buy it. But to say that romance books don't NEED sex is absurd.
Love and sex go together when it's about a couple - and a romance book isn't about mother-love, or sister-brother love. And even if love is bigger than sex (agreed, agreed!) sex is a pretty darn important part of a relationship - and a healthy, loving relationship with great sex is far better than a loving relationship with terrible sex, or having one partner afraid of sex, or hung up about sex, or having been molested unable to equate sex and love. So, maybe romance books with sex can have their place too - a place to express the wonder and excitement of sex. A celebration of sex. It's about time human beings loosened up about sex and equated it with love and romance, don't you think?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

expressions of love

What is the link between breastfeeding and homosexual couples holding hands in public? Both make people 'uncomfortable' and both are expressions of love. In our society, it causes less of a stir to be seen carrying a gun than nursing your infant.
Movies show murders all the time, and the RWA (romance writer's of America) says nothing about romance books with murder in them (romantic suspence) while books with sex in them are causing a storm in a teacup.
What is it about our society? We can't show expressions of love, but we are invited to show expressions of violence!
Why is violence accepted and tolerated, while sex, love, and breastfeeding one's child are not? Isn't sex more productive (pardon the pun) than murder? Isn't a baby at one's breast more inspiring than a gun strapped to one's shoulder? Why can't gay couples hold hands? Why should any expression of love be frowned upon? You can't tell me that 'Jesus said gays and sex are sinful.' He never said that. God never wrote any of that on the ten commandments - (the only thing that came straight from God, not invented by man i.e. - the bible, koran, etc.)
God said (and he was very clear) "Thou shalt not kill." What part of that does mankind have a problem understanding? Why do so many people get so upset with love and kindness, sex, breasts, and babies, and yet they make sure gun lobbies keep their power and will watch films with their kids in which several people are killed and maimed. (The same people wince when two women kiss.)
I think that we have to re-educate ourselves. Common sense has deserted us. Perhaps it's overcrowding - nature's way of keeping the population levels down: war, violence, intolerance. It is certainly easier to shoot a stranger than to kiss one. Personally I prefer the saying 'Make Love, not War.' It's way out of date, conjures images of hippies and psychadelic flowers. But at least it's an expression of love, not violence. And I'd rather live in a world where expressions of violence are frowned upon, while love rules.

Monday, June 06, 2005

To join or Not to Join

That is the question.
I've joined the new RWA chapter for erotic romance. It's a great place to be - nobody has a hissy fit when you mention the word porn, and everyone is working together to try to bring erotic romance into the respected world of women's fiction. I do like the new chapter, but I'm not crazy about being part of RWA. Why? Well, for one thing, they don't seem to really want erotica to be a part of their group. You have to understand that erotica encompasses a huge array of genres and writing, just as romance does. Some is midly erotic, while some is so hot it scorches your eyeballs. Some writers proudly proclaim they write smut, while others will only owe up to writing 'erotic romance', and still others (you know who) think they write porn for women. So, it will be interesting to see behind which banner the chapter will march. They've called it Passionate Ink - because apparently RWA won't accept a chapter with the word erotic in it. To me, this is called 'getting off on the wrong foot'. We write romance but it is so explicite that it's rated R or even X, and it's for the Over 18 crowd. If the RWA accepts us, it will have to do so on those terms. Sugar-coating won't work. Another idea would be to make a whole new organization - Erotica Writers of America (EWA) instead of RWA. It makes sense when you think of the Horror writers' association, the sci-fi and fantasy org. and the Children's writer's association - each of which is very helpful. (I belong to several writing orgs and they can be helpful)
At any rate, I will be happy to join the RWA as soon as they show they are happy to have me join - until then, I will continue to support my new chapter and look forward to seeing what happens in the wonderfully wild world of romance writing.