the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero

My Funny Valentine: Monday Monster Mashup meets the Weekly Writing Challenge!

In today’s entry, I take the Monday Monster Mashup and mash it even further with the Weekly Writing Challenge!

As usual, comments are closed at the tao of jaklumen. If you aren’t already following us at Jak & Cimmy’s Journal Jar, why not do so now? Thanks!

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jak & Cimmy's Journal Jar

What’s your Valentine’s story?

Today’s prompt comes from the WP Weekly writing challenge: Weekly Writing Challenge: My Funny Valentine?

First, the MASHUP:

Then, the photo:

12 roses for 12 years 2nd shot

Now, the story:

Our wedding anniversary is on December 12th.  Sometimes, it gets eaten up in the Christmas fervor.  In 2010, we had a church Christmas dinner on the 12th.  While Cimmorene said she was fine with attending a ward Christmas dinner on our anniversary (and we did), I didn’t think this was sufficient.

So come February, I decided I needed to make up for it.  I figured I would act early, and beat the Valentine’s Day rush.  On a whim, I stopped in to the local Just Roses flower shop, and asked for 12 white short-stemmed roses, in a vase.  They had such on hand.  Wow.  I told one of the florists, as she was ringing up my purchase, “If I do this right, she’ll…

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Happy New Year From The Journal Jar

We still need some love at the Journal Jar– although we got much love on “15 Years of Love”– thank you! Please consider stopping by as a regular guest, as we’d love to have you in 2014.

jak & Cimmy's Journal Jar

Happy New Year From The Journal Jar

This year jak and Cimmy spent New Year’s at home, but we had some fun.

Thank you to all that wished us a happy 15th anniversary in December! Here’s to a prosperous New Year to you and yours.

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15 years of love

jak and Cimmy are celebrating their 15th anniversary today.  Comments are closed! Please come visit one of the blogs Cimmy helps me run, that we started as a Group on the old VOX platform.

Please also take some time to visit her Cimmy’s Stories and Dragon’s Lair blogs, too.

jak & Cimmy's Journal Jar

jak and Cimmy have been married fifteen years.


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At the Journal Jar: Significant Other

You might be wondering why I am doing so many posts about the Journal Jar. Well, I asked Cimmorene to take a little time to promote that blog of ours (yes, it’s a joint project) again. The plan is that she draws a slip on Friday, which is a slower day of blogging for her as she does quotations that day. She did a few more than that recently just for fun.

(By the way, her primary blog is The Dragon’s Lair, which is at TypePad.)

So here’s the latest question:

“Write a description of your husband, wife, or significant other.”

I’m going to cheat. (If you’re reading after all my blather thus far, dear readers, you deserve it.) I made another post at the Journal Jar about our anniversary. Please, go look. I used one of my father-in-law’s old photos of her. Isn’t she a cutie? Now, I say briefly that I love this woman, as she shares many of my interests– but retains her independence and uniqueness, even as people marvel at our displays of affection given to each other as if we were newlyweds. Then I say, dear readers, please have a look at her main blog that I shared the link to above, and see for yourself.


At the Journal Jar: Extracurricular Organizations (JJQ #39)

“Did you belong to scouting or 4-H? Tell about your experiences.”

Cimmy wrote about her experience with Camp Fire, which was girls-only at the time. Please. Do me a favor and take a moment to read that account, at the Ex-Vox Journal Jar. I think it will help you make more sense of what I have to say next: recalling what experiences younger sister #1 had with the Girl Scouts, specifically with Brownies, I don’t think Cimmorene missed very much.

Unlike my father-in-law and my uncle (Dad’s older brother), I did not attain the rank of Eagle Scout, although I was fairly involved in Scouting. All of my supports dropped out from under me in high school, and I could not manage on my own.

As a Latter-Day Saint, Scouting is tied very closely still to our church. I did reasonably well in Cub Scouting, but by the time I got to the BSA, problems arose. My first Scoutmaster had boys that got their Eagles very early, one at near eleven years of age. My parents had a general attitude that too many Eagles in the troop had their ranks handed to them by their fathers, or rather, that the boys did not truly earn them on their own.

To make matters worse, the environment was hostile. I will speak more generally and say that our church congregation had many people that were kind and gregarious, but their children were gossips and bullies. Understand, dear reader, that I truly am not bitter now, but there was too much jock attitude in my local Scouts. Then was then… please understand that I realize that they grew up, for the most part. I am not interested in picking apart the pain too much, but know that it did hamper my achievements.

Now I will say that not too long ago, when I was grown, I stood up with the other men in my stake (larger area than the ward/congregation) at a conference. I remember reciting the Scout Law and the Scout Motto. As I recited the lines, I came to realize what lessons they taught. I realized how Scouting was regarded as an institution to teach boys how to become men.

Please. I know that the Boy Scouts of America has controversies that some people are very bitter about today. I do not wish to discuss that, now. I say that in spite of all of that– and I have faced some of that controversy very personally– I still esteem the value of the organization. It has meaning and purpose to me. I have met Eagle Scouts (even those in the Order of the Arrow) that do not seem, to my observation, to have learned these lessons. I think it is possible to go through the organization that way, but I do not think it diminishes its value with me. By contrast, I do not have an Eagle badge to show to the world, but I still say with strength and confidence, that I believe that I have.


[Vox Diaspora] QotW: 9/20-9/25

as seen at QotW: 9/20-9/25 (at the Vox Diaspora) and QotW: 9/20-9/25 (Fall Storms) (at VOX Journal Jar Group In Exile)

Depending on your hemisphere, spring or fall is arriving on Wednesday. Show us what you love and/or hate about the season.

As I am in the U.S. and therefore the Northern Hemisphere, it is the beginning of the fall season, also known as autumn.

I love Hallowe’en, otherwise known as Samhaim.  It is a wonderful time to be creative and to dress up, among other things.

(This is an old picture of a Halloween long gone, but I hope it will suffice for illustrative purposes.)

(This was not at Halloween, but is here to show Cimmorene’s superb makeup skills.  My daughter was inspired by the musical CATS after watching a soundstage recording of it.)

I love Thanksgiving.  Anyone that has followed my old blog at VOX knows I really enjoy cooking.  I have no photos of Thanksgiving eats right now, but I will say I am one of the few on Cimmy’s side of the family that likes mashed rutabaga.  This year, Cimmy will make pies filled with gooseberry and Granny Smith apples. flavored a bit more with strawberry gelatin.  If we are lucky to glean Concord grapes this year, we may also make grape pie.

(HEY!  Pay attention… you might see some photos of that if you sit tight!)

I enjoy mulled cider and many other warm drinks.  Fall is a great season for cooking– speaking of pies earlier, most winter squash and many root vegetables make fabulous pie, too.  Sure, I bet you know a few… winter squash like pumpkin, and root vegetables like sweet potatoes.  (Yes, sweet potatoes are roots, not tubers.)

My skin is tinged with blue veins and a lingering farmer’s tan– I am a Summer in the fashion coloring scheme, so I can’t wear autumn colors.  But it’s quite marvelous to see the trees with leaves that are all sorts of brilliant colors after shedding their green chlorophyll.  Not just orange, gold, brown, and the like– there’s purple on some trees, too.

Both Halloween and Thanksgiving are part of the big U.S. holiday block I call the “Happyhallowthankamas” season.  Though I consider myself a religious man, I know that most of it endures through simple “pagan” observance of the season, much less than worship.  Although I am goy (Ephramite if you take my beliefs kindly), I am mindful of the High Holidays my Jewish friends have been observing.  Incidentally, I have been working on an atonement and a repentance of my own… which is a private matter, and I won’t discuss it here.

Because sunshine is vital to keeping my moods healthy, I have been working on full-spectrum lighting in my home.  That is one thing I don’t like so much about fall– is the retreat and hiding of the sun, with shorter days and overcast skies much of the time.  I cannot afford a light box, but will manage other features.  There may be pictures of such soon, as well.

I could say more, but this is long.  I thank you if you have been reading this far.

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JJQ #33 Your Fortress of Solitude

As seen at the VOX Journal Jar In Exile. Please come and visit us. We’d also be pleased to have you participate.

My answer is here instead of there because I think it’s of a more personal nature.

Did you have a childhood hide-out? Where? Describe it.

I don’t think I really had a hide-out, per se.  I’ve always been a loner of sorts, and so my alone time was not always confined to just one space.  My “Fortress of Solitude” was my bedroom, really, and to a lesser extent, much of the downstairs rooms in the old California split house.  For a time, it was known to be neater and tidier than any other room in the house.  I was so obsessive that I would make my bedsheets so tight you could bounce a quarter on them, even with blankets and bedcovers, somewhat.  One of the covers was a quilt that had remained in excellent condition since I was a baby.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to go back to that house someday and find that the tie rack was still mounted in the closet.

Some things moved in and out of that room.  The weight bench and weight set my father used for a brief time came in.  I wanted him to do more of it with me after he got me started, but I lifted alone.  My stereo system moved out to the den in later years when I wanted better sound from the TV (but the set didn’t have stereo ouputs).

The “lesser extent” included the downstairs bathroom, which was decorated and furnished to my tastes.  Sometimes I camped out with a sleeping bag in the room because it was the darkest spot in the house to take a nap.  It also included the utility room, where the family dog stayed for many years, as well as the clothes washer and dryer.  I had been taught to do my own laundry, so I suppose it was a natural extension.  I mentioned the den, which as I said, became a new home for my sound system (home sound was a small hobby of mine) and it also was where the family computer was located.  Naturally, the computer was another place to escape, which worried my folks to no end– I think the only other family member that used it much was the middle child of my three younger sisters.

The neat freaking deteriorated a bit and I got a little slobby, I think because I realized that no matter how neat and tidy things were, the abuse and emotional incest didn’t stop.  The family dog moved to a pillow bed upstairs.  No one at that time really cared about my computer or sound system hobbies.  Tensions increased.

Although my college and university years were bumpy and involved four different institutions, the process of moving out began.  My baby sister moved in at times, but left most everything untouched (too afraid to dare change anything).  After I started university, I was pushed to take summer courses– most likely so I’d maintain residence there.  But after a year there, I got married, so it became a moot point to go anywhere else until I graduated.

My parents eventually decided to downsize to a smaller house and thus this chapter was more or less permanently closed, save in memory.

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Journal Jar: Mini Love Note #1 (A Year of Love)

Another entry from Christmas 2009's "A Year of Love" jar:

I love you because you like licorice.

Indeed I do.  I like black licorice candy, which probably these days is mostly 100% confection (edit: Wikipedia says the flavor is mostly aniseed oil), but is fairly close to the real flavor of licorice root.  It's also a great sweetener for herbal teas.

(Yes, I do realize that a more common spelling, at least the British English one, is "liquorice".  That's how it was spelled on the note, though.)

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JJQ #27: Parenthood

"Were you prepared to become a parent?  What was the biggest area of growth that parenthood brought?"

This question won't apply to everyone in the Journal Jar group, but it was more inclusive than the last question I drew, which asked about being a grandparent.  Heh.

Yes, I think I was prepared, even if I did not have the best of role models.  It was something that Princess Thunderstorm and I discussed quite a bit, and all I can say is that we were very aware of our children's personalities before they were conceived and when it was time for them to come along.  Take that as you will.

The biggest area of growth– or change, depending on how you look at it, is that we could not be as selfish anymore, and we had to start shaping our activities around our children.  It is very difficult for me to explain to those who are NOT parents what this is like.  There are many areas of society where children are expressly not welcome, because participants want to drink, smoke, cuss, get naked, whatever, without censure.  If we can't find a babysitter, then she and I have to choose who goes, and who stays with the kids.

Our media habits changed: more PBS, more kid-friendly movies (thankfully, Tim Burton has done films appropriate for children, or it'd be a wash of mostly Disney).  Since the animation ghetto has lifted (the notion that cartoons are just for kids), I must choose now what animation is appropriate– The Simpsons is OK, Family Guy, of course, is not.  When the weather is foul, we sometimes find that a burger joint is one of the only places we can go where playground equipment is indoors, in hopes that we might tire our children out.  (The other is the mall, which I tend to avoid like the plague.)

As gamers, it is ESPECIALLY hard… although today's society is beginning to assume gaming is all pixelated, we still do the old school dice roll, and therefore, we must find players that will tolerate children (usually those who are parents as well).

I ask that "child-free" couples (or those who are otherwise waiting to have children) do NOT try to empathize saying they have nieces, nephews, other young relatives, or pets.  It is not the same thing.  It never will be.  Nieces and nephews get to go home eventually, and no one cares about cussing around your cat or dog. 

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