Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Everything!

It's Christmas again, which means we didn't buy you presents
and we didn't send you any cards or pictures or anything.

Sorry about that.

But we did do that thing where we record a song and send you the link 
so you can download it or listen to it on your computer box. 
scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on each song to download.

(Or, since it's a free country and you can listen to whatever music you want, 
just don't worry about it.)

This year we did one of my favorites, In the Bleak Midwinter.
And we stuck the old ones up there, too, just in case.

We hope you enjoy our little ditties!

If not, just pretend this Instagram of a Christmas card 
is an actual Christmas card 
that you got from us in your mailbox.

And pretend it has a picture of us where we look awesome.

Merry Everything & Happy Always, you guys!

Love, the Whalens.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I did it!!!

I said the *closing* prayer in my pants

(Actually, I said it in the microphone while I was wearing pants).

I asked God if he would help us mourn with those that mourn
and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.

And I've still got my temple recommend!

The only thing that would have made this day better
is if I could have skipped the spanxs.
It's been a while since I pulled on those teacher pants.
Too many Candy Cane Joe-Joes.

Thanks for all the hugs, likes, loving comments, and support!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's Not About Pants!!

I'm a Mormon. But you already knew that. I'm also a feminist. But you probably already knew that, too. And I know you know this: I do not like to wear pants. My favorite part of the day is when I shut the front door and immediately take my trousers off. Sometimes I replace them with pajama pants. Sometimes I just sit in front of the space heater in my crazy underwear. And you are welcome for that visual.

When I grew up and found out that my butt is big and my thighs are thunderous, I learned to love skirts and dresses. Mostly dresses. I never fall asleep on the futon in my jeans. I always fall asleep in my Sunday dresses. Because they are so scrumptious and comfy, you know? And I'm extremely classy. So while I don't always look forward to church, I usually do look forward to spending the day in a nice A-line frock.

This week, some Mormon feminists asked the rest of us Mormon feminists to show our solidarity and wear pants to church this Sunday. Immediately, Facebook lit on fire. Everyone and their dogs started weighing on the merits and de-merits on pants on ladies at church (which is funny because dogs don't wear pants or dresses). I got anxious. (Wha?! Me?) Do I wear pants to show my fellow worshippers where my heart is? Do I risk making them think I'm even more of a weirdo than they already think I am? (I've already pegged myself as wacky by adding "and sisters!" to any scripture reference that addresses brethren...). Do I pull my PR slacks out of the back of my closet and squeeeeeeeeze into them, even though they're roughly two sizes too small? Do I participate in a movement that I believe in, even if doing so makes me uncomfortable, so that I can tell my daughters (should I ever have any) that I tried to make things better for them the best way I knew how?

Honestly, I don't know yet.

I took the issue to my Facebook friends. And immediately after I posted a link to a news article and asked if anyone was planning on pants-ing it up this Sunday, I panicked. Did I not learn my lesson during that horrible election?

But you friends are the best.

Nearly 100 kind, understanding, respectful comments and only a couple instances of snark and/or misunderstanding. Not everyone agreed with one another, but honestly, it seemed like everyone was trying to understand. Compared to the now removed "Wear Pants this Sunday" event page, what happened on my comment thread was positively loving.

Guys. Ladies. That's what this whole pants thing was about. Not about whether or not it's OK to wear pants to church (it is). Not about feminists believing women should be identical to men (they don't). It was about raising awareness, starting a dialog, creating a space full of love, empathy, and greater understanding. Some people failed; some passed with flying colors.

You may not feel the inequities in the church or in our society at large, but you know what? Other people do. Lots of other people. And it hurts them inside. It hurts me inside. At this point, I'm not really asking for radical changes. I just want people to listen to each other, to acknowledge each other's concerns and fears and pains. To walk a mile in their Ann Taylor, pin-striped, flat front trousers. Or whatever.

And if you see me at church this Sunday in a dress, know that I still support my MoFem trouser-wearing sisters. And if I show up in pants, please keep in mind that I am probably terrified and itching to get home and swap them out for my pajamas and a space heater.

Friday, December 7, 2012

On Day Dates and the Christmas Blues

You may not think the two are connected, but trust me. I'm an English grad student. I will find a relationship between a lovely, day-long date with my dude and feeling bummed out around the holidays.

It all started when our brilliant friends, the Lyons, posted that they were looking for a couple to shoot for their photography workshop. Thinking (incorrectly) that I didn't have to work on Thursday and assuming (bravely) that Rob could take the day off since the music industry basically shuts down for the holidays, I volunteered us. If you know Amelia and Justin, you know they are the coolest and talented-est, and you get why I would be willing to do anything — even get my picture taken — just to hang out with them for a second. (One of my little-known super powers is that I look amazingly awkward in most photos. Body dysmorphia, nose get the idea. Luckily, the Lyons have a super power, too. It's making dorkusses like me look decent. Moving on....) 

After failed attempts at the sock bun (disaster) and false eyelashes (├╝ber-disaster), we headed down to Huntington Beach to meet up with the Lyons and their pupils. It was just lovely ... like taking a hot tub time machine back to the day when they took our engagement photos almost five years ago. And for a minute, I was 24 again — working toward a promising journalism career (ha!), driving a car that still had a mat in the trunk since it hadn't yet been wrecked three times, never having to work on the weekends, always trying to "lose three pounds".... No thesis to write, no need to juggle multiple jobs, no crippling fear of inadequacy (truth: it was there, just lying dormant). No well-meaning friends telling us that it's OK that I just turned 29, we can still probably have a family if I get pregnant before I turn 30. No reason to wonder if I should feel bad that we still live in a teensy one-bedroom apartment and don't have enough money to fly ourselves home for the holidays. For one day, my anxiety disorder took a break, and we got to just enjoy being together with our friends, watching them be passionate and knowledgable and generally amazing.

Here's where the Christmas Blues come in. It's a thing. Definitely a first-world thing, since other people less fortunate than I am are too busy to feel bad about their lives because they're out there digging up blood diamonds with bare fingernails. But Christmas Blues can happen. Even to someone like me. My life is good! My husband is nice to me. My dog loves me so much that he wants to live inside my mouth. I have access to almost every modern convenience of the industrialized world (except a bidet...but soon...). And I'm surrounded by loving friends and an extremely supportive (if extremely dysfunctional) family. And yet here I am, sinking like Artax in the swampy mire of my perceived insufficiencies.

But now, here's where I snap out of it. It's time to stop comparing myself to the shining, happy people on the Internet. It's time to get off the futon, brush my teeth, and find a way to make someone else's life easier. It's time to remember that even though we only have a handful of days off together every year, sometimes I get to have a whole entire day with Rob in Huntington Beach, where the world looks like this:

Huntington Beach Pier at Christmastime.

That is something to feel very, very good about.