A Memoir in 52 Weeks

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This year I finished a two-volume pictorial history of my grandma.  I did it to honor her after she passed away.  My only regret is that I didn’t start this project sooner, while she was still alive, and I could hear her stories.

So that got me thinking about recording stories from my family.  In 2018, I’m going to help my parents write their memoirs.  I hope this will be a keepsake for their grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.

Each week, I’m going to email them one question about their lives.  At the end of the year, I’ll have it bound through a self-publishing company.  I wanted the questions to be comprehensive, so at the end of the year I’d have a full picture of their lives.  These questions also include topics specific for Mormons.

I hope these questions might inspire you to start your own memoir project, for yourself or a loved one.  Feel free to use these as a starting point!

52 Memoir Questions

  1. What were your parents like?  What is your favorite story about your parents?
  2. What did your parents do for a living?  How did this affect your life?
  3. Where did you grow up?  What was your home/community like?
  4. What were your siblings like?  What were your relationships with your siblings like?
  5. Describe the pets you had growing up.
  6. What were your birthdays like growing up?  Any traditions or particularly memorable birthdays?
  7. What vacations did you go on growing up?  Which one was your favorite?
  8. Tell about when you were baptized.
  9. What was school like?  What kind of student were you?  What were your favorite and least favorite things about school?
  10. What did you do over the summer breaks?
  11. What were your hobbies growing up?  Do you still do any of those things?
  12. What was your favorite book as a child/youth?  What did you like about it?
  13. What was Christmas like growing up?  What traditions did your family have?  Any particularly memorable events?
  14. Who were your friends growing up?  What did you do together?
  15. Tell about a mistake you made as a child/youth that you learned from?
  16. Who was your first crush/first date?  What did you like about that person?
  17. Who taught you how to drive?  What was your first car?  Any memorable driving experiences?
  18. What important spiritual experience(s) did you have as a child or youth?  How did you gain a testimony of your own?
  19. What was your first job?  How did you get it?  What were your experiences like?
  20. What other milestone(s) did you experience as a child or youth?
  21. Tell about your college years.  Where did you go?  What did you study?  Why did you choose that?
  22. Tell about when you went to the temple for your endowment.  How did you feel?
  23. How did you meet your spouse?  What was your courtship like?
  24. How did you know your spouse was “the one”?  Describe the proposal.
  25. Describe your wedding day.
  26. Where did you go for your honeymoon?  What did you do?
  27. What major historical event(s) have you lived through?  How did these impact your life?
  28. What did you choose for a career?  Why did you choose that?  What have your experiences been like?
  29. What activities do you enjoy as a couple?  What do you do to strengthen your relationship?
  30. What have you learned about what makes a good marriage?  What advice would you give to a new couple?
  31. Describe buying and remodeling your home.
  32. How/when did you decide to have children?  How many did you want to have?
  33. How did you choose each of your children’s names?
  34. Tell about when your first child was born/a baby.
  35. Tell about when your second child was born/a baby.
  36. Tell about when your third child was born/a baby.
  37. Tell about when your fourth child was born/a baby.
  38. What traditions did you pass on to your children that were important to you?  What new traditions did you create with your family?
  39. What vacations did you take with your family?  What was particularly memorable?
  40. What was challenging about raising children?  What did you learn from those experiences?
  41. Tell about a memory of raising your children that makes you happy.
  42. What makes you most proud of each of your children? (This could be an event or a character trait, etc.)
  43. What callings have you had in the church?  What calling did you enjoy most and why?
  44. What calling have you had that was very challenging?  What did you learn from it?
  45. What hobby(ies) have you started as an adult?  What do you enjoy about it?
  46. Describe your relationships with your parents as an adult.  What changed?  What stayed the same?
  47. Describe your relationships with your siblings and friends as an adult.
  48. Describe the transition as your children became adults and you no longer had small children at home.  How did you feel about these changes?
  49. How did you feel about becoming a grandparent?  Tell about a happy memory with your grandchildren.
  50. Describe your plans for retirement.  How do you feel about retiring?  What do you want to do when you are retired?
  51. What other important events happened in your adult life?
  52. How do you want to be remembered?



The Left on Modesty

There’s a lot of mixed messages about modesty out there in the world.  Let me help you sort them out.

The left: There is too much sexual objectification in the (very left-leaning) media by featuring women in skimpy clothes and sex scenes, and it’s very damaging.

Also the left: Wearing skimpy clothes/taking your clothes off is empowering!  To say otherwise is slut-shaming.

Also the left: Muslim women wearing the burka (even if forced to do it by their family, culture, or government)  is empowering!

Also the left: Christian women who practice/encourage others to practice modesty are oppressive, part of rape culture, teach girls to be ashamed of their bodies, and analogous to forcing women to wear a burka!  Also, you’re probably sexist!

All that mental gymnastics must be exhausting.  No wonder the feminist moralizing fashion police are so cranky.

PSA for Women: How to Avoid Being Sexually Objectified

The Sexy Lie We Have Been Telling Ourselves

A while ago, I watched this interesting video.  Caroline Heldman of Occidental College makes some really good points in the first part of her talk about what constitutes sexual objectification.  If an ad focuses on just one sexy part of a woman’s body, for example, or implies that being sexually attractive is her most important characteristic, than it is sexual objectification.  (That last one covers very nearly all advertising that has women in it!)

Ms. Heldman also points out that such objectification has become increasingly prevalent in the last 10 years, largely due to the increase of consumption of technology.  We see approximately 5,000 ads a day.  Honestly, that statistic was quite surprising to me.

Her analysis becomes considerably less useful when she gets to the “Plan of Action” part of her talk.  She gives a lot of vague fluff about encouraging women to “stop objectifying themselves” and for men to not judge women based on appearance.

Well, that sounds nice, but it’s a bit too fluffy.

My advice to women is: Don’t buy fashion magazines.  Avoid partying and celebrity gossip.  Dress modestly.  Practice chastity.  Choose the people you spend time with and the places you go to with care.

The extreme sexual objectification of women we see in today’s society is only possible because women are complicit.  Actresses and models who wear skimpy clothes for movies and advertising are doing so of their own free will.  Actresses in blockbuster movies performing nude scenes are not doing so with a gun to their heads.  They are willing participants in their own degradation.  Similarly, women who wear skimpy clothes are actively objectifying themselves.  They think they are empowered, but really they’re just inviting men to think dirty thoughts about them.

Of course, once I say something like this, I’ll have lots of whiny feminists accusing me of “blaming the victim.”  Let me be really clear: a skimpy outfit does not in any way excuse sexual harassment, assault, or any other kind of aggressive or demeaning behavior towards women.  You don’t, however, get to control other people’s thoughts.  Something seen can not be unseen.  If bending over at work reveals your thong, you can’t really expect your coworkers to not remember that, or think about it later.

Personally, I have experienced relatively little of what could be termed sexual harassment.  This is largely due to the type of company I choose to keep.  I spend time with people who treat me with respect, and avoid the ones who don’t.

I know many men who like to act very macho, but that “macho” behavior never means harassing women.  In fact, they would be the first ones to defend me if someone tried.

If you go to a boozy party with a bunch of drunken college students, for example, you can expect to be harassed.  If, as a woman, you go alone to a bar, you can expect guys to flirt with you, and it’s entirely possible that they will be uncomfortably persistent.

Why are guys in bars so obnoxiously persistent?

Because that kind of behavior is being rewarded, rather than discouraged.

When a woman goes to a bar, gets hit on, stays put, and goes to the same bar again, she is sending the message that she doesn’t really mind being hit on.  If a woman does not tell him no in no uncertain terms, or keeps coming back without saying anything, she is actually sending the message that she doesn’t really mind it.

So…what should you do with unwanted attention at a bar?

First off, tell him very clearly that you are not interested.  Don’t hint or try to be cute; he might think you’re actually encouraging him.  Secondly, leave.  Tell the manager you are leaving and will not be back because of the rudeness of his clientele.

If enough women choose to not frequent a bar because the guys are jerks, one day, one of those jerks will say something like: “Hey, how come there aren’t any women in here any more?” and someone will respond with something like: “Because you’re a pig!”

You might counter that you deserve to go to a bar without being harassed.  I agree with you.  Therefore, you should find a bar you can go to without being harassed.  A bar that allows harassment of its female customers does not deserve your business.

People seriously underestimate the value of the free market.  If a bar loses enough business from all the women going elsewhere, management will make changes.

Women have a lot of degrading, objectifying media to deal with.  Teenagers and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to its harmful messages.  It’s sad and horrific.  Participating in it, however, will only make it worse.  We have to make a stand against the sexual objectification of women by refusing to participate in it.

Flowers in Hawaii

I went to Hawaii for the first time not that long ago, and it was wonderful!  I love taking pictures of everything, so I had a lot of pictures to go through when I got back.  I especially enjoyed taking pictures of the flowers.


The day we got there it rained, which made the grounds of our resort feel even more tropical.

These are hibiscus flowers, commonly considered symbols of Hawaii, even though many of the species (including the ones above) are actually non-native.


The above flower is an example of a native hibiscus.


Wearing a hibiscus on the right side indicates a woman is single, while wearing one on the left side indicates she is taken.

There were also many beautiful orchids.  I especially love the variegated ones.


The bird of paradise is one of the most interesting looking flowers.

Mahalo for looking at my post!  I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

How Callings Work in the Latter Day Saint Church

I’ve been thinking about this topic for awhile, ever since someone I know tried to convince me that bishops are like politicians, trying to gain more power and prestige.  I figure that other people probably don’t understand how things like that work in the Latter Day Saint church, so I thought this might be interesting to others who are curious.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, as in any organization, different members have different responsibilities.  In the LDS church, these responsibilities are called “callings.”  Callings vary in level of responsibility and, I suppose, in prestige, from greeter (who greets people in the lobby), through bishop (pastor/minister/whatever you like to call them), and many more.

These callings work a bit differently than they do in other organizations.

We have a lay clergy, meaning people are not paid for their work in the church.  I’ve taught classes, organized activities, and performed music, among other things, and have not been paid for any of it.  The idea of being paid to teach Sunday School is very strange to me.  We see church callings as a type of service, both to the other members of the congregation and to Heavenly Father.

We don’t volunteer for these positions.  As I like to say it, we are “voluntold.”  Someone in a leadership role will ask us to take on a calling.  We can say no if we like, and sometimes people do, though it’s true that we are encouraged to always accept a calling.  Those in charge of choosing who to call for a particular position are expected to pray to receive inspiration for who to call.  Similarly, when extended a calling, we are to pray for confirmation that it is right.

The most qualified person isn’t always the one called.  People who don’t have teenagers are called to be with the youth.  People who have never been teachers get called to teach.  People who have never been administrators get called to lead auxiliary organizations.  You’ll hear a common refrain: “Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies,” said by President Monson.  Moses was slow of speech.  Noah didn’t know how to build an ark.  Peter was a fisherman, not a priest.  Similarly, God teaches us what we need to know in order for us to do what He asks us to do.

We don’t get promoted for doing a good job.  Callings don’t work like your place of employment.  People don’t move up to more prestigious positions by gaining seniority.  We don’t strive for more “prestigious” positions.  In fact, a joke you’ll sometimes hear when someone has been called to be a bishop or Relief Society (women’s organization) president is along the lines of, “Should I give you congratulations or condolences?”

Generally, people are called to positions of less responsibility in order to gain experience before being given a “big” calling, but not necessarily.  It’s also frequent to go from being a bishop or president to being a teacher or having some other, smaller responsibility.  It all comes down to the purpose of these callings, which is to serve.  It’s not the bishop’s job to tell people what to do.  The bishop’s job is to guide and serve.

That’s what it all boils down to: we fulfill responsibilities at church in order to serve.

Wonder Woman a Success by Copying Marvel *Spoiler alert*

Wonder Woman (2017) : Movie Review - Fantoosy.Com™

***Spoiler Alert!***

I’m going to be giving away most of the main plot points of Wonder Woman, so if you don’t want to know, don’t read this post.  Go watch the movie, then come back and read this post.

Wonder Woman has been receiving numerous accolades and high ratings from both fans and critics.  Everyone loves this movie.  I, too, went to see Captain America: the First Avenger…uh…I mean Wonder Woman.  I really enjoyed it, too.  In fact, I never really liked Wonder Woman before, but now I’m totally ready to buy some Wonder Woman merch.

But let’s not pretend this movie is more than it is.  It is not groundbreaking, mainly because it’s straight up copying the story line of Captain America: The First Avenger.

This isn’t meant to actually knock DC for copying Marvel.  DC and Marvel copy each other constantly.  That’s why they have so many characters that are basically copies of each other, like Deathstroke and Deadpool, Green Arrow and Hawkeye, Darkseid and Thanos, Black Cat and Catwoman, and, of course, the Justice League and the Avengers.

In Wonder Woman, the role of Captain America is split between Diana and Steve.  In this analysis, Diana is sometimes the hero and sometimes the love interest.  Nevertheless, the similarities are such that I’m amazed no one else seems to notice.  Here is my point-by-point analysis of the similarities between Wonder Woman and Captain America: The First Avenger:

  • The hero tries to join others in military training, but is stopped by an authority figure.  The hero succeeds in being accepted for training with the help of a mentor figure.
  • The mentor figure dies and the hero is unable to stop it.
  • The hero wants to join the war effort, is denied by an authority figure, and finally joins the war effort by going rogue.
  • The hero is idealistic, with the main goal of saving innocents and doing what is right no matter the circumstances, with emphasis on the high moral character of the hero.
  • The hero’s worldview is depicted as simplistic, but is ultimately correct.
  • The movie is a period world war piece.
  • The hero must overcome a supernatural power.
  • The hero is a captain named Steve.
  • The hero’s first big success: charges in and single-handedly (or nearly so) saves those who are helpless (POWs/village) from the Germans.
  • The hero assembles a rag-tag and multi-ethnic band for the mission.
  • The Big Bad is a power-hungry German with a psychotic inventor sidekick.
  • Psychotic inventor sidekick creates a super-weapon that the power-hungry German plans on using on the enemy.
  • Power-hungry German uses the super-weapon on his own people for standing in his way.
  • Great loss (Bucky/village they just saved) bolsters the hero’s determination to stop the Big Bad.
  • Rag-tag band storms fortress to destroy the super-weapon.
  • The super-weapon is loaded on a plane.  The hero manages to get on the plane and subdue the pilot, and faces a dilemma: how to dispose of the super-weapon.
  • The hero sacrifices himself to save innocents from the super-weapon, saving the day and leaving a mourning love interest.
  • Fast-forward to modern times: the hero waits and is ready for the next Big Bad.

There you have it.  Wonder Woman has the same story line as Captain America: The First Avenger.  Though, it wasn’t until the plane that I was ready to accuse DC of outright plagiarism.  Maybe we should just call Diana “Captain Amazon.”

And, just for fun:

re a pretty happy family don t tell how to do his job robin needs a ...

How My Fair Lady Should Have Ended

Image result for my fair lady

Here I go again, wading into truly controversial territory.  That’s me, fighting the good fight.

Eliza should have married Freddy.

Perhaps a little background is required, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the musical.  My Fair Lady was written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, based on the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.  In it, Eliza Dolittle is a poor flower girl (meaning someone who sells flowers) with a thick Cockney accent, which in London means she’s little better than a beggar.  Henry Higgins is a phoneticist who encounters Eliza in the street.  On a dare from Colonel Pickering, Higgins decides to take on Eliza as a student, to transform her language and make her pass for a fine lady in London society.

He succeeds.  Meanwhile, Freddy Eynsford-Hill, a young socialite, has fallen in love with Eliza, and has professed his love to her.  In the end, however, Eliza decides to continue living with Henry Higgins.  Eliza made a serious error.  She should have married Freddy.  I shall now present the reasons why.

First off, Freddy is devoted to Eliza.  Granted, his song “On the Street Where You Live” is a bit of a stalker song, but Freddy seems much too innocent to really understand that.  Freddy is unashamed to admit to Eliza herself that he loves her.

On the other hand, Henry Higgins won’t even admit to himself that he cares about Eliza.  In his song “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” which he sings to himself, it is apparent that he does care about her, but he will only admit to being “accustomed” to her.  Ah, yes, that’s what every woman dreams of in a relationship with a man: to be with someone who is used to her.

Secondly, Freddy is kind and respectful, even deferential, to Eliza.  Henry Higgins, on the other hand, is rude, irascible, and tyrannical, and doesn’t appreciate the things she does for him.  He doesn’t recognize her achievements, claiming all success for himself, as seen in “You Did It.”  He excuses has appalling behavior by saying he treats all women that way.  Ultimately, Eliza is going to be happier with someone who treats her well.

Additionally, as Freddy’s wife, Eliza will have a place and future in society.  As a married woman, she will be respectable.  Living with Henry Higgins, on the other hand, is a very ambiguous position.  When he first introduced her to society, she was a charming novelty.  As others get to know her and her situation, however, she will not be so welcomed.  An unmarried woman, who is not a servant, living with an older man will not be a savory role in society.  Furthermore, Eliza is going to tire of being a novelty and will want a life with meaning, such as she could have as a wife and mother with Freddy.  I mean, Eliza isn’t going to sleep with Henry Higgins, is she?

You might say that Freddy will end up wasting his estate, and leave her for someone else.  We also have no evidence for that except for Henry Higgins’ assertion, and he’s jealous, so we can’t really trust what he has to say on the matter.

Finally, what will happen to Eliza when she grows old?  As Freddy’s wife, she would be entitled to an inheritance when he dies, and any sons she has would be obligated to care for her.  With Henry Higgins, she would have no official status.  Since she is an unmarried woman who is not part of his family, there is no assurance that she won’t be thrown out into the streets upon Henry Higgins’ death.

In summary, Freddy loves Eliza, treats her better, Eliza will have a better role in society with Freddy, and has more assurance of being taken care of in old age.

Also, Freddie is a much better singer.