Personal Progress

When I was still Mormon, we had this program called “Personal Progress” wherein we would earn medallions for mastering skills of domesticity, spirituality, and submission. It was an honor to have earned your Personal Progress Medallion; the bishop even presented you with that little necklace in front of the whole congregation; a public declaration that you were well on your way to becoming a perfect daughter of Christ, worthy to be the helpmate of the CUUUUUUTEST return missionary in the whole stake. The best thing a girl could be.

I was an anxious, insecure, perfectionistic young woman. This program was made for girls like me. And so I plunged in with both feet, finishing the entire thing in two years, when it could take some as long as six. During this time,I learned the metrics of self-worth; Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity, and Virtue.

On paper, all of those values look well and good, but remember, the underlying motive of this program is to get young, impressionable girls to strive toward what their church arbitrarily defines as a Righteous Woman; the optimal feminine status being that of the devout wife of a worthy, priesthood holding, “provider/protector” husband, in addition to being the nurturing mother of Zion’s future.

At twelve, I didn’t know what “faith” was, nor did I value it. It felt silly to say the words “I believe” when talking about things I didn’t understand, and couldn’t prove whether they were true or not even if I did. Believing in things that are not seen hasn’t been my specialty since the Santa Claus Illusion was shattered.

“Divine Nature” was irrelevant to me, because even in adolescence, I didn’t really think about divinity, nor care about my royal status in heaven as a literal daughter of The Almighty. I’m a literal daughter of my biological parents now, and that has always been more than good enough for me.

I really can’t argue with the value of “Individual Worth.” God knows teenage girls need to find that. And I gotta hand it to the Mormons, they specialize in making their flock feel special. I didn’t believe that I was special until well after Mormonism, which I’m honestly rather grateful for, because the kind of special you are when you’re mormon breeds a superiority complex that I fortunately avoided, I hope.

Knowledge is a value in any context, and my youth leaders certainly urged me to pursue as much as I could get. I would eventually carry the burden of educating my future children to prepare them to be righteous spirit children of the Most High. I’ve never wanted children, though, which gave me the freedom to value knowledge for its intrinsic benefit, and pursue it for my own gain.

Choice and Accountability felt a lot more like Guilt and Shame. Under this value, we became well-versed in the Church’s arbitrary code of conduct-dress modestly, no coffee, don’t swear, no tattoos, no sex before marriage, don’t have fun on Sundays, you get the idea. Here, we also learned that it’s actually really easy to choose the right when everyone is policing your every move, even beyond those chapel doors. And we also became very much aware of the disciplinary protocols that would follow our inevitable transgressions.

Mormons do a lot of Good Works for their own. In order to learn this value, we’d bake cookies for the widows in the ward, volunteer at the Bishop’s Storehouse, (an inter-congregation food bank) rake leaves or shovel snow for the elderly members, things of that nature. I’m glad we did those things, it forced me to get out of my own narcissistic world and do something for someone else. I wish we’d hit this value harder, I still struggle to get my head out of my own ass to help my fellow man.

When we learned about integrity and how to have it, we covered all the basics-don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t intentionally hurt people, exude decency. We pledged to have the “moral courage to make my actions consistent with my knowledge of right and wrong.” But then I learned that morality isn’t universal, and it’s totally kosher for you to chop a guy’s head off to steal his stuff if God wants you to. This “knowledge of right and wrong” was getting pretty murky, so I just hoped that God would never ask me to behead anyone.

“Virtue” is code for “Chastity.” A righteous young woman is sexually pure. She has to be if she’s going to have her fairytale wedding in the holiest of holies; the temple. Hormonal adolescent girls are the gatekeepers of sex and therefore must keep the young men at bay by not bearing their shoulders no matter how hot it gets, only dating in groups, and keeping their boyfriends in line. I was not good at this. And when my “virtue” was forcefully taken from me, I’d accepted my fate of being ineligible for an eternal marriage with the love of my life, as I was not willing to jump through the hoops of redemption. That would require confessing a sin I didn’t commit to a man who had no legitimate authority over me.

I do not possess any of these values as the church defines them, but I feel comfortable considering myself a righteous woman all the same. I swear a lot. I drink coffee like healthy, well-adjusted people drink water. I help my fellow man, even the one who doesn’t look like me or doesn’t share my beliefs. I know that I have inherent worth, but not as a spirit crammed in a flesh vessel banished here by her omnipotent dad to prove herself, no. Just as a person on a planet with other people who miraculously get to experience life here for a while.

I guess the church and I just measure personal progress differently.

 

M.

 

 

 

 

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Loved and Lost

Welcome to the Valentine’s Day edition of Down With The Norm.

To get into the spirit, let’s talk about the times that stupid cherub Cupid royally fucked me over.

My first was innocent and sweet. Dylan. I was fifteen, and so was he. I’d never kissed anyone before, and he graciously showed me how in his basement, my entire body burning red as he leaned me against the pool table and gave my eager lips their first peck.

The next one I remember is Alex #1. I met him at the Singles Ward. Neither of us took church seriously, and we’d leave early to make out in his car. It was something fancy, like an Infiniti or something that I was supposed to be impressed by. He was at least 5 years older than me, had pale skin and orange-red hair, and talked about working out more than he actually worked out.

Next was Joey. He showed me Fall Out Boy and the Oreo Cheesecake Shake at Sonic. A true emo boy who took his feelings out on a guitar. He had no idea how to follow through on plans, and, as Joey did, bailed on our Halloween date to go to a haunted house with his buddies instead. So I, desperate for somewhere to be, went to Alex’s (Alex #2, that is), who was just a friend, I swear. I don’t remember how that night ended, but the next morning began with a spinning head and pain in every place imaginable. Part of me blamed Joey, and we went our separate ways.

Somewhere between Joey and the next one was Brody. Brody raped me, and that’s all I’m going to say about it here because that horse was beaten to death four posts ago.

I knew Austin from high school. We’d lost touch until a while after he’d returned from his mission. He didn’t drink, but he brought me wine and insisted that I drink it in hopes that he could feel me up. He ghosted me after a couple of months, turns out he was married.

And then there was Joe. He was 25, and a brand new pharmacist. He was boring, but nice, and therefore deserved a chance. I gave him one for six whole months. I think he may have been my first breakup. I vomited both before and after, I have no idea how to handle disappointing people. Last I heard, he’s still friends with my ex-roommate. She had a habit of keeping in touch with those I’d left behind.

After that was Alex #3, because I hadn’t yet learned my lesson. Alex #3 was different, though. We met thanks to Tinder, our first date in a quaint European-style cafe for brunch. We eventually got kicked out after four consecutive hours of blissful conversation. He took me bowling after, and a month later, I was all but living with him. I invited him to a fundraiser gala where he’d meet my parents. He took me with him to Banana Republic to find the perfect suit. The night of the gala arrived, and I was dressed in an elegant, floor-length red dress, jewelry, and a face full of makeup I’d been working on since I’d gotten home from work. He rang the doorbell, and to my dismay, he wasn’t wearing the suit we picked out. Just jeans and a simple t-shirt and jacket. My face sunk into my throat, which sunk into my chest. He was breaking up with me. He said he’d coincidentally ran into his One That Got Away the other day, and decided he had to chase her instead. I closed the door slowly, gripping the sides of my gown, and sauntered to the gala alone, hoping that no one would ask me for an explanation.

This wouldn’t be the first time I’d be left for someone else.

Tim was somebody I’d admired from a distance since high school. He and his girlfriend back then had exactly what I was craving; a seemingly blissful, happy union between two blissfully happy dorks. He was a bleeding heart liberal, a D&D nerd, a motivated millennial with a master’s degree at 24. He only asked me to coffee because his girlfriend wanted to be my friend. It took me months to agree (thank you, crippling anxiety), and by the time I did, they were broken up. He and I clicked over iced coffees and side hugs. Our second date was at the cinema, and afterword, he declared his like for me. I was giddy, and proclaimed mine for him. And we swiftly became each others’ dorks. A few weeks later, he asked to come over. After skirting around the issue for a moment while petting my cat as an excuse for not looking me in the eye, he asked if we could not date anymore, as he was too anxious.

I found out on Facebook that he’d gotten into another relationship not 2 weeks after he dumped me.

Will met me at a Halloween party. He told me I had something “special,” something so alluring that he simply couldn’t keep his eyes off of me. (I was dressed as a PlayBoy Bunny, in true Elle Woods fashion, though, so that more than likely explains it). He was sincere, sweet, and genuine. The last time he attempted to see me, he had to work late at the Apple store, and he was terribly sorry. He waited until midnight on a Thursday to explain why he never showed. And now, it’s been two months since I’ve heard from him, so I presume that that’s over.

Then there’s the one that blindsided me. A Facebook acquaintance, initially, turned best friend, turned Cat Sitter, turned boyfriend all in a matter of a month. I panicked and withdrew, then reached back out again. He panicked and withdrew and begun a hiatus of which I see no end. But as soon as I get closure on that one, I’ll pass it on. I’m sure you’re dying to know, just as I am dying to get it over with so I can stop feeling like I’m about to fall off a cliff of emotions.

I’ve heard the “it’s not you, it’s me” bullshit a handful of times. The sting of being left for another girl only lasted a day or two, and honestly didn’t even alter my self-esteem. I’ve had terrible experiences with relationships and dating. I actively, deliberately, obnoxiously avoid them at all costs, but they evidently just happen sometimes. I keep using the excuse that I’m not ready, but I think that’s a lie. Relationships scare me because they require some degree of sacrifice of freedom. They confine me, suffocate me, and I inevitably either run, or make him run. They require vulnerability, trust, and communication. All things that I am still doing my damn best to develop.

Despite all this, or maybe because all of this, the weight of loneliness is getting heavier day by day. And sure, we can blame some of it on our society’s commercialization of love; Valentine’s Day.

Here I sit, almost 24 years old, with two cats and no idea what a healthy, meaningful relationship is, much less how to be in one.

I don’t need chocolates or flowers or teddy bears. I don’t need a date or a card. But damn would it be nice to be loved in the way I need to be loved for once.

Securely.

M.

 

Itinerant

You thought I was done with this writing thing, did you?

Not a chance.

I’ve been spending a lot of time between now and January 23rd, my most recent check-in with you guys, making more mistakes, meeting different people, gaining new perspectives, and also attempting to learn a thing or two from all of that.

I’ve been graduated from college for a little over a year now, and I’ve been walking around like a deer in headlights ever since. It’s honestly adorable how unprepared I felt when I graduated high school. That was NOTHING in comparison to how I feel right now. Does one ever learn what the hell is going on in this whirlwind of experiences that we compile together and call “life”?

I turned 23 on Memorial Day this year, and shortly thereafter, experienced what I surely hope I can call a “midlife crisis.” You see, I woke up one morning and dyed my hair pink, and later pierced my nose. Two days later, I got the stud taken out of my nostril and began the process of vigorously washing out the color from my yellow locks. It could have been worse though, I could have gotten BANGS.

I’ve continued to draw further into myself while a part of me desperately tries to reach out. I’m a prisoner to my mind, a captive audience to a voice that chants, You shouldn’t be here. You don’t belong. You are not wanted.”

Sometimes, though, I do get over myself and defy my mean brain. I hide behind my sense of humor and cool demeanor as I interact with others, peeking from behind the sky-scraping walls at others whose intentions I may never know, may never trust.

Humans love an origin story. We want to know where we came from, what existed first. Chronology. But I can’t seem to put a start date on when I started feeling this way, which leads me to believe that perhaps I always have.

This isn’t a call for attention, or even sympathy. I don’t even feel pity for myself. Perhaps it’s an integral part of who I am. I’m comfortable in my solitude, acclimated to my loneliness. I am capable of making myself happy, and I do so often. It’s only on days that I fail that I wish I were different.

I guess the most I could hope for for myself is to eventually allow myself to be encompassed by those who help set me free from my malicious mind. I’m not there yet, though. So I sit in my quaint apartment behind a keyboard, attempting to assign words to feelings, transforming the internal to the external, so that I can get some peace and quiet.

M.

Progression

According to WordPress, I’ve been at this blogging thing for 3 years now.

But the “I” who started this blog hardly even remotely resembles the “I” who sits behind the keyboard now.

DownWithTheNorm was founded by an 18-year-old girl during the spark of her *formal* feminist awakening. That girl was fiery, angry, confused, and determined to fix the world. Misogyny was her only foe, and she was vigilant and determined to take him down, and took every opportunity to bare her teeth in the face of opposition.

But, as with all sparks, hers was extinguished.

Gradually, she let her inquiring mind guide her as she learned more and more about the world; how it probably works, and how it most likely doesn’t. She developed an air of cynicism, and became understandably tired of fighting the good fight. Others grew tired, bored, annoyed, or a combination of the three of her persistent, yet non-refreshing wordy posts on social media that accomplished nothing but a temporary emotional relief for our young author.

She did her best to keep her mind open, while simultaneously drawing her own independent conclusions. Especially in the context of her religion.

She spent a short duration as a walking contradiction; trying to force her newly acquired world views into a mold that simply would not fit. She wanted to be the change from within, but that resulted in her being pushed out.  She lost friends, but she gained an identity that she felt comfortable in. An authentic lifestyle was drawing nearer and nearer, but exponentially more solitary.

This girl was anxious-so much so that she couldn’t bare to even hold still even for a minute. Sleep was just a five-letter word. She had to be the fastest, the best, the smartest, and the skinniest always. And she was failing miserably at all of it.

But, breaking down turns into breaking through, if you let it.

The girl behind the keyboard is an enhanced version of the girl from 3 years ago.

I’ve had so many experiences that have shaped me into who I am now, whether that be for the better or not. I’m not the girl with the eating disorder anymore. I’m the girl who maybe spends too much time thinking about food and not enough time about breathing, and probably uses her bathroom scale more often than the average joe. And binges on breakfast cereal once in a blue moon. Oh, and HATES going to the gym.

I’m not the Mormon Feminist Anomaly anymore. I’m simply the feminist woman-person who believes that whether or not there is an afterlife is irrelevant. What really matters is that there are plenty of opportunities for me to develop and enhance as many interpersonal relationships as I possibly can during the time that I am allotted here. I believe that this life isn’t a test at all. Rather, it’s an opportunity to develop oneself to the fullest extent possible, and perhaps find an individualistic sense of happiness while we’re at it; whatever that looks like.

And for all of you looking to slap a label on me (because that’s what people do-no judgment), you can call me an Agnostic. Like I said, I’m not looking to shut out any possibilities completely.

I love tattoos, science, coffee, wine, and angry heathen misogyny-laden rap music. And I let myself love these things, because this is MY human experience. And what I choose to drink, put on my body, or listen to, does NOT make me a bad person, contrary to what I was led to believe growing up with religion

I’m not anxious anymore. Through the process of extensive trial and error, I’ve finally settled on a path that suits me. I got a job that makes me excited to wake up in the morning. I have a degree of self-sustainability that I never have had before. I feel liberated and powerful and in control. Rather than planning for my future, I’m actively taking steps toward living it, and I’m doing it calmly, mindfully, and relatively maturely.

As far as interpersonal relationships go, I’ve made strides toward getting out of my own way. I’m still a bit more self-isolating than I’d like to be, but baby steps are the name of the game. I can let loose now, and go out with friends once or twice a week. Hell, sometimes even on a school night! Because, as I mentioned beforehand, in the grand scheme of things, people are what matter. Yeah, going to bed early so I can bring my A game to school and work is important, but so is making time for those I care about. It’s all about balance.

I breathe easy, sleep easy, and am patient and engaged in every moment, which is much more than I could have ever said 3 years ago. I know I’m no sage of wisdom, and that I have much more developing, improvement, and revision to do, but I genuinely like the direction I’m heading.

Documenting my experiences over the past 3 years has been truly enriching for me, and hopefully at least mildly entertaining for you! I genuinely appreciate anyone who has ever and will ever take the time to read anything that I write.

Here’s to 3 more years!

M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parity

I remember the Spice Girls. I remember all four of us: Cortney, Tasha, (my cousins) McCall, (my sister) and myself, dressing up and choreographing dance moves to all of their songs. None of us could be Baby Spice, because all of us wanted to be Baby Spice. I still think I should have been her, though. After all, I was the only one with blonde hair.

I remember long summer days at the pool, and our quad piling into the back of my mom’s minivan in our bathing suits. I remember sitting side-by-side with my cousins and comparing the sizes of our thighs. Mine were way bigger.

I remember asking my mom later if I was fat. She told me that I wasn’t, and that my cousins were simply too skinny. I was seven years old.

I remember the summer before 8th grade when I decided to participate in the Miss Kaysville Fruit Heights scholarship pageant. I won the Director’s Choice Award, but I know that the pageant was rigged, and the only reason I got any sort of award was because the director of the pageant just so happened to be my neighbor. I’m still glad she didn’t let me leave empty-handed, and still have that little trophy sitting on my dresser.

I remember Lakin Larsen, my favorite babysitter, who always made me two packets of Easy Mac and played Kim Possible outside with my little sister and me. She was always Kim Possible, and we were the bad guys.

I remember going to bed with one little sister, and waking up with two.

I remember when the only things that mattered to me were whether or not I would be sleeping over at my cousins’ house for the third time in a row, and who had the most Water Babies.

I remember when everything mattered.

I remember when everything mattered so much that I couldn’t bring myself to fall asleep at night because I had too much worrying to do about things that mattered.

I remember how in 8th grade health class, we had to practice reading each others’ blood pressures, and mine was so low that even Coach Downs couldn’t find it. I’d never seen a teacher look so concerned before, and I doubt he’d seen a student so underweight before.

I remember buying Coach a snow globe with a John Deer tractor in it for Christmas that year. The man was obsessed with John Deer tractors.

I remember our summer snow cone stand out in the front yard and how we got a whole gang of older kids on bikes to buy fourteen dollars worth of snow cones in one day. They came back once a week, and we’d always spend our entire earnings on syrup and ice so that we could re-open shop the following day. We owned that neighborhood.

I remember when I finally decided that I was going to stop taking myself so seriously, because, let’s be honest, nobody else does. Life has been significantly easier since I’d made that decision.

I remember starting high school with a brand new clique of friends. My best friend, Brooks, introduced himself like, “Hi, I’m Brooks! And I’m a giant teddy bear!” and then shook my hand. I knew right then that we were going to be best friends for a long time.

I remember Brooks coming over to my house for the first time. He laughed at the chubby third grade version of myself my family had mounted on our living room wall. I locked myself in my closet and wouldn’t come out until I felt that he’d adequately begged for my forgiveness.

I remember my Chemistry teacher, Mr. Stevens, and how one day, in front of the entire class, he advised me in his British accent to enroll in medical school for the sole purpose of finding a mate. He said once I’d done that, I could just drop out and be a trophy wife. That was the day I decided I was going to get a PhD.

I remember back in high school when I was a ballroom dancer, and I’d have to get spray tans for competitions. I remember being told by a fellow classmate that I looked like I “rolled in a bag of Doritios.” I blushed, but you couldn’t see it due to my artificial tan.

I remember waking up at 5:30 every morning to get ready for school, which gave me two whole hours before class started. I didn’t mind, because just like everything else, looks mattered.

I remember when I’d foolishly decided to sign with a modeling agency. The agents were all real smooth-talkers, and wrongly convinced me that I “had a great look” for modeling and said that if I worked hard, I could be successful. Guess who didn’t get an ounce of work through aforementioned modeling agency?

I remember how in junior high school, the proper way to tell a boy you liked him was to hurl Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into his back yard while he was jumping on his trampoline with his friends. This method was successful on all trials but one.

I remember being labeled a perfectionist by some shrink my parents made me see one time

I remember deciding that things didn’t matter any more, and how that mindset resulted in really poor grades, and a lot of sneaking out of my house on school nights.

I don’t remember ever finding a balance.

Voiceless

Have you ever had a million things to say, but nobody to say them to?

That’s me, as of present.

As you can infer from previous posts, (and, quite frankly, this entire motherflippin’ website) my life is the kind of mess that Mr. Clean would shake his bald head at in surrender. As you can imagine, I have a thing or two on my mind.

My social circle is small. Like, point-of-a-freshly-sharpened-#2 Pencil-small. Recipients of my potentially verbalized thoughts are very limited.

And those within my minuscule social circle seem to not want to hear what I have to say. Granted, some of my feelings and grievances are completely irrational, (Not. Rational. I admit it, geez.) but it seems as though lately, I rarely even get the chance to finish.

Now, I’m not playing the vicim here. I found some sort of inspirational quote prompting me to become the heroine in my story, rather than the victim, so that’s what my new mindset, and phone wallpaper, as of recent.

I don’t even want sympathy. Sympathy pisses me off.

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want.

I want a trusted individual to listen to a complete, raw, uncensored, irrational rant of mine, and not say a single thing until I’ve indicated that i’ve finished. Then, I want them to respond with a Denzel-Washington-From-Remember-The-Titans pep-talk, and a hug.

But for now, I will settle for writing my desires here for you lovely people, and leave it at that.

SHUT UP AND LISTEN.

M.

Misapprehension

Last week, I decided it was time for me to move out. So I did. (Well, sort of.) I decided to pack up my Camry with my seasonal belongings and make the 12 minute drive to Oma’s* house and become her brand-new, live-in best friend. Now, i’ve only been here a week, but this week has been the bomb-diggity. (Excuse my informal language.)

Living with her has been awesome because I have this sense of independence that I don’t get at my parents’ house, but also there is always somebody here to help me with my laundry or make Crepes even on a Thursday morning. And also, my favorite aunt lives right next door now, and enjoys taking me to Applebee’s for half-priced appetizers after 9 PM. It’s like the half-step between paternal dependence and complete independence. And that works for me.

However, regardless of the happiness this move has brought me, not all affected by this move walked away without their toes being stepped on. I think I hurt my parents in doing this, and that tears me apart. My dad, and probably one of my closest friends lately, was a little wounded by my choosing to live elsewhere. He told my mom that he felt like he was not a good father for not providing me with an environment that I can flourish in.

My mom is also not exactly happy by this choice of mine. She feels as though I am pushing her away. Geographically, this holds true, but you know what they say- “distance makes the heart grow fonder.” (Or something like that.)

I have an overwhelming burden of guilt for making my parents feel this way. I am more than frustrated that a decision that can make me so happy (or at least, less unhappy) could be seen as a ding to my folks’ parenting skills. My intentions have been entirely misunderstood.

Even though I can’t seem to clear up my reasons for leaving the nest to mom and dad, I am going to clarify them here.

Reason #1: No Curfew. 

My Oma works late a lot, and our schedules make it so that we are rarely home at the same time. Since she is so busy working and also being the best Oma in the history of forever, she rarely asks me interrogating questions. Which means I am free to go out and do teenager stuff with the abundance of friends I don’t have at 2 AM. It’s the principle of the thing.

Reason #2: New Environment=removal of temptation to be a girl with an eating disorder.

As silly as it sounds, living in a new house with a different kitchen has helped me start to mend my skewed relationship with food. I haven’t binged yet, and even my thoughts toward myself have improved. I am starting to lose the rigidity of my routines and rituals. This, on its own, is reason enough for me to not live in my house, as it saves me a significant amount of time, grief, and self-loathing.

Reason #3: No more Condescending, Contentious Little Sister

Woah, that was a rather bold and hurtful statement for a Monday morning, eh? Before you start grabbing your virtual pitchforks and picket signs that say “M deserves the ‘Worst Big Sister In The World’ award,” allow me to explain.

My relationship with my darling ‘little’ sister (quotes have been inserted around ‘little’ because my 16-year-old sis has probably 6 inches and 20 pounds on my short, non-athletic frame) is very unstable. We go through brief phases of alliance followed by extended periods of complete and utter hatred and/or avoidance. When we fight, homegirl gets pretty damn condescending and rude, radiating too many negative vibes for my already too negative self to cope with.

I haven’t spoken to her in a month. Not a word, nor an acknowledgement. And she doesn’t seem to mind in the slightest. In fact, I’m not even sure she noticed I even moved out, and that stings. Granted, she’s a self-absorbed Junior whose entire world revolves around herself and her friends, but I just thought that I had a little higher ranking of priority in her life. But you know, it is what it is, and if moving out removes the possibility of yet another heated, estrogen-slathered quarrel, then so be it.

Reason #4: Java

I’m allowed to have a coffee maker here.

So that’s where I’m at right now. Still not making anybody happy with my life choices. Still trying to please everybody. Probably about to move back home to relieve myself of this overwhelming feeling of guilt for hurting the parents. Still on the quest to find the path to lifelong happiness. Still no where close.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to breakfast over crepes with my Oma and gossip about our wacko family.

*Oma: German for Grandma. No, I will not refer to her as my grandma, for she is not. She is my Oma.