Dreams for my New Life

Jenifer DeLemont
From the top of Mount Lam Lam

I move in less than a month. It’s also our anniversary month, and my birth month. So, there is a lot going on. Rich and I are not looking forward to living apart for six months while he goes to school and I set up a home for us in Hawaii, but that’s just part of the military life, so we’ll make it work.

Jenifer DeLemont
The Wooden Show Tulip Festival on a trip back to Oregon from Guam.

I have really enjoyed everything we have done here on Guam.

I loved the work I did to help the animal shelter here (called Guam Animals in Need.) I loved the volunteering I did with NOAA to help monitor the reef, and to donate photos for promotional materials. I loved the friends I made and the reefs I snorkeled. And, when I was working, I loved Sea Grill and everyone there.

I also wrote novels while I was here, and it was great to have the time to do that. The Vampire’s Sister is still on Multi-Path Audio books in the app store, and the rest of the books are on Amazon.

washington
At the coast on a recent trip back to the states.

Now, it’s time to look forward. I am so nervous to look for -and try to buy- our first house together! I’m already looking and it’s scary to take on so much debt (and to see how small the places in our price range are.)

I guess we won’t be able to be as eager for visitors in Oahu as we were in Guam. We had more space in Guam, and I had time to show people around. I am afraid those are luxuries we won’t enjoy in Hawaii.

We’ll do our best, of course. But I think if you visit us in Hawaii you’ll need to get a hotel near by and see us on the weekend. Different island, different life.

gain
At GAIN helping a puppy calm down after surgery.

Even if I will have less time for writing and visitors, I am excited to find a job. I want something I will love! I am so hopeful that some hotel in Oahu will need someone to manage their social media or do photography for the weddings they host. Maybe I’ll get a government job doing public relations and actually get to use all that stuff I learned in college. I can’t wait to find my new job and meet my new co-workers. I do hope we’ll be friends!

I know I shouldn’t be excited to look for a job. Don’t get me wrong; I have loved writing and doing volunteer work! I just missed that feeling of being useful that you get from a job. There are so few options here, but it looks like Oahu will be full of opportunities! That is exciting!

helicopter
On a trip to Maui where I went on a black sand beach tour.

Plus, Oahu offers all new hikes and all new reefs. I am looking forward to that as well. Guam has been lovely, but it is very hot and tropical here. The cool breezes of Oahu will seem like a dream come true!

I am sure I will spend a lot of happy weekends under water and out on hiking trails, which is something I am really looking forward to.

mount hood
Last summer we went to the family reunion and then visited the glacier on top of Mt. Hood.

I guess what I am trying to say is: the future looks bright.

I may not update this blog for awhile because I’ll be buys with the house-hunting and the job-hunting and the move. However, I adore you all very much, and I promise to tell you all about my new home once we settle in. Until then, be patient. If you want updates, you can always keep an eye on my YouTube Channel and my Shutterstock account. I’ll do my best to add content when I can. And of course, you can always get in touch on LinkedIn as well, if you need to.

Love to all my readers!

oregon
Summer in Seaside, Oregon for the family reunion.

Favorite Under Sea Photos

I am now selling select photos on Shutterstock. I would be amazing if you could spread the word. You can also always check out my YouTube Channel. A lot of my under water adventures are on there.

Since I have been volunteering at NOAA doing reef monitoring, I spend a lot of time in the water. As long as I am on the reef swimming anyway, I may as well snap some pictures for myself, right? So here are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them!

Green Sea Turtle by Jenifer DeLemont

Green sea turtle diving. 

Hawksbill sea turtle by Jenifer DeLemont
Hawksbill Sea Turtle

 

School of Convict Surgeon Fish
Convict Surgeon Fish Schooling

 

Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle breathing

 

Masked Puffer by Jenifer DeLemont
Masked Puffer

 

Hawksbill
My husband Rich having a closer look at a Hawksbill

 

Hank the Octopus
An octopus hiding in a rock

 

Oval Butterfly
Oval Butterfly Fish over stag coral

 

Just reef
Just a Bit of Reef

 

Octopus
Octopus!

I don’t take a lot of pictures on land anymore. I am sure that will change in Oahu. It’ll be cooler, so hiking won’t be as unpleasant.

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Don’t Rely on Facebook

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A lot of people rely on Facebook to keep in touch these days. They think that it’s a safe way to keep in touch with family and friends even when they are far apart.

It’s not.

I want to tell you my story as a cautionary tale, because Facebook is full of arbitrary rules that mean you can get blocked or banned just because a group of people decide to start attacking you. And if that happens, you may lose your account forever. Here’s my story.

I joined Facebook in 2009 after having had a Myspace page when I was younger. As the platform has become more monetized, I have been less and less enthusiastic about it. But, since I live overseas, I kept the account as a way to keep in touch with people that I was geographically separated from. After all, when I lived in Korea it would have cost a fortune to keep in touch  with people back home by phone or in-person. And that is still true in Guam.

san luis clean sand

The first time it was a problem was in 2015. I was on a military spouse page and everyone was talking about how the locals were thieves and would steal your stuff if you left it alone for even a moment. They were also claiming that the locals will break into your house and that they are all criminals.

I said this wasn’t true, and that I left my sandals and towel on the beach all the time when I went snorkeling and never had a problem.

That little comment lead to a torrent of harassment and bullying from several people who called me a lot of very bad names that I won’t repeat here. In addition to the awful names they called me, they said that I was lying, that I was disloyal, and that I deserved to get robbed and killed. Then they started reporting everything on my account to Facebook, and I was locked out.

That is when I discovered that there is no appeal process. If you are locked out of your account, there is no one that you can protest to. You cannot explain that you were just being bullied and haven’t done anything wrong. In fact, you have no recourse at all.

There is not even a phone number or an e-mail address. If you get banned for an arbitrary thing, Facebook’s policy is: Fuck you.

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So, that scared me, since I am far away from people and I don’t like to feel isolated.

After the 30 day ban was up, I contacted my friends and reminded them about this blog, my YouTube Channel, and my second Facebook page as J.D. DeLemont for promoting The Jamie Johnson Trilogy, (a series of romance novels that I wrote.)

I hoped that everyone would save my contact information, since I had discovered that I could not trust Facebook. They are bias, and often let the victims of bullies be attacked while they do nothing. I had been bullied by racist military spouses, and they let it happen because there were more of them than me, and I didn’t report them first so obviously I was wrong.

My second encounter with Facebook being bias was just last month, in July of 2018. I had seen a video attacking FLDS Mormons for being a cult. As a person who grew up in Arizona around Mormons, I have seen a lot of sad stories of children being abused and women being kept from having any freedom or hope.

I simply said: “Don’t separate the FLDS out. I have never met a nice Mormon of any description.”

That is true, and I stand by it. I have had to help too many women out of abusive situations and help raise too many kids. I have seen what it does to teach women that they are inferior and deserve to be abused, and I don’t agree with it. I will not be shamed for that opinion.

A Mormon saw my comment, and it turns out that they are bullies just like military spouses. They reported it as “hate speech” and got all their friends to do the same. They also went to my page and started reporting every photo, post, and video. I will probably never be able to get back onto that Facebook page because of it.

And again, there is no appeal process.

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However, I assumed that my friends would find me on my other page which I use to promote my romance novels, since I had posted a lot about it.

They did not.

Then, I thought I would try to add them with the new page that I made to promote my latest book, The New Testament of The Flying Spaghetti Monster; Dinner 2.0. (which you should definitely by because I am a starving artist.) It’s under a different name because I thought starting a religion under my real name might be a bit much, so I used the pen name “Violet Johnson.”

However, most of them denied the friend request and some even blocked me, in spite of my posting since April 2018 about my new book and the pen name I wrote it under.

(By the way, the page I made to promote the new book is here. Please “like” it. )

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Will I ever talk to the people who did not follow me from my old account again?

Maybe not.

I don’t have any way to get in touch with them. I gave everyone my contact information, but no one gave me theirs. It is possible that we’ll just never be in touch again. It would be a shame if that were the case, but you can’t say I don’t put myself out there. I am all over the internet, and you only need to search my name to find me. It’s not like I worry about my digital footprint being too big.

I would like to point out though (for the record) that neither my defense of the Chamorro people of Guam or my dislike of Mormons should be against Facebook’s “community standards.” Their policy of banning you if enough people report you is ludicrous, and it makes me wonder how all that racist and sexist stuff stays up. Clearly people support that stuff while reporting far less awful things.

It is worth noting that I have had plenty of people attack my Unitarian Church of Pasta page and say horrible things. I reported them to Facebook, but it does not violate their “community standards” to call Pastafarians “ignorant cunts” or “dumbshit libtards.” So you should all know where you stand. You can get banned forever if you say that you never met a nice Mormon, but if you say something bad about Pastafarians you’re fine. Apparently it’s only hate speech if it is against people who want to take away women’s rights and move society back 200 years.

Anyway, my e-mail is still jendelemont@gmail.com and you can still always reach me on Skype on any of my social media for The Unitarian Church of Pasta. The Unitarian Church of Pasta which is, you’ll note, not protected under Facebook’s “community standards.”

other temple

Favorite Photos

It’s only six weeks until the move, and I can feel myself getting more and more nervous as we get closer. I am looking through photos of our time here on the island, and feeling more nostalgic than I thought I would.

I think the big takeaway for me is that anywhere can feel like home if you live there long enough.

Anyway, I thought I would put together some of my favorite pictures so you can see what these last four years on Guam have been like. Being away from friend and family like we are, I know that pictures are one of the only things that makes anyone feel connected to us anymore. It’s hard to believe I left my home ten years ago after graduating ASU, and I have been so many places since…

I miss you all.

Larry the turtle
A green sea turtle.
Jenifer DeLemont
The waves washing up on the beach.

 

plumeria
Plumeria flowers on a tree by our house.
stormy day
A storm closing in.
clouds
I loved the clouds over the ocean. I am going to miss the ocean view.
orchids
Ground orchids on Mount Lam Lam.

 

Green Sea Turtle
A green sea turtle in the morning.
sun set
Just another sunset.

 

pond
A pond on a sunny day.
rainbow is epic
The ocean is so beautiful.

 

a bite
Dragon fruit, which is one of the awesome fruits that grow here.
power plant
An abandoned power plant.

 

aweome sunset
The sunset over the ocean, which is always awesome.
Gun Beach
Gun Beach.

 

kitty
A kitten at the animal shelter.
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Under Two Lovers Point looking at Tumon Bay.

 

coconut crab
A coconut crab.
all the pink
Another sunset.

 

cocnuts in a row
Coconut juice being sold.
Ocean
A typhoon offshore made the ocean look churned up.

 

Passion Flower
My favorite flower, a passion flower.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since we moved to Guam for what started as a two-year tour (and then got extended twice.) It feels like such a short time since I was packing up to leave South Korea and stay with my mom in Oregon while Rich went to school in Mississippi.

Somehow, four years flew by, and it’s time for us to move on. As I sort through all our clothes and possessions and get them ready to be packed, I remember all the things we have learned since we moved here.

For example, we hardly knew how to swim when we moved to Guam. Now, we’re both great swimmers.We learned to scuba dive, too. After much study, I think we know the names of all the fish on our reef, and a lot of the coral as well.

I learned about coconut grabs, huntsman spiders, and tropical flowers. I also got to find out a lot about the Chamorro people who are native to Guam. I watched Proa boat races and learned to eat reef fish.

We did some volunteer work painting the local animal shelter. I’m allergic to dogs and cats, but I still care about them. We learned a lot about the unique challenges that islands face when it comes to ecosystems. (We also got to pet lots of animals.)

Guam has been fun. We’re really going to miss it. However, I am sure that Hawaii is going to be great, too! I can’t wait to love it.

Jenifer DeLemont
Just a picture of me.

 

The Move

Jenifer DeLemont
Sitting in my Living Room in Guam

We are moving this year, and we sure are going to miss our place in Guam! I know we’ll never get a beachfront condo again (where else could we afford such a thing?)

It has been amazing to wake up and see the ocean each day, but it’s time to go back to seeing a fence and more houses behind it. Setting aside how much I will miss our home here in Tumon Bay, moving with the military involves a lot of paperwork and red tape. I thought I would write about what it is like, for those who don’t know.

People keep asking “Have you started packing yet?

The answer is no. We aren’t allowed to pack our stuff, because then we could hide drugs or guns in it. They pack it for us (like we’re children.) We have no say over how things are wrapped or boxed. Movers come, pack our things, and take them away. We get a receipt and the vague hope that we’ll see any of it again one day.

I have also had many people ask “Are you throwing away all the trash in your house?

Again, no. Both of us are so used to moving that we don’t keep things that we don’t need in our house anymore. Sometimes this means regretting that I threw away something that could have been useful later. However, I have moved more than twenty times in the last twenty years. Rich has moved six times in the last ten years. At this point, we just re-gift or throw away pretty much everything (I say this with the sincerest apologies to my mother, who likes to get me things like artificial snowballs.)

I feel bad, since I know that the reason people ask this stuff is because they want to relate to us and say “Oh yeah, I know what that is like.

Believe me: I appreciate every single one of you. Thank you for trying to relate to me and make connections with me. It means so much! But the truth is that it’s this whole different world when you live a nomad lifestyle. And with the military, it’s a whole different world, plus red tape. It’s just not an easy life to relate to.

Jenifer DeLemont
The View From Our Home in Guam

Now, I may not have to worry about packing or throwing away trash. But, there are a lot of things that I do have to worry about. With the military, we are required to fill out more paperwork than you can imagine.

We have to have a PCS (Permanent Change of Station) binder. They require special forms and appraisal information for my paintings. They require very thorough medical checks for both of us. Then there is the power of attorney forms we have to get so we can sign for each other (since he’s going to school in Japan and I am going straight to our next duty station in Hawaii.) There is also the checklist to make sure that our phones, cars, etc are all sorted, and that has to be turned in to the command. Not to mention all the paperwork we have to turn in to housing.

As to the cars: Yes, the military would pay for us to ship one vehicle. A lot of you have said that we should take what is owed to us and ship one of our cars. However, I have never owned a car nice enough that I think your tax dollars should be used to ship it. We buy beater cars because we’ll only have them for a couple years, and then we sell them when I go. It’s just easier that way, and means we don’t have to wait months on the other end for our car to show up.

There are two shipments of our stuff: Household goods and express. Both will probably take 16 weeks to get from Guam to Hawaii, so we’ll get to live without our stuff for quite awhile. As to why they call one of them “express,” many jokes are made about that in the military, but the real answer is that no one knows.

Jenifer DeLemont
On top of a Mountain (We love hiking)

Another fun thing is that they aren’t really going to give me enough money to stay in a hotel while I house-hunt. Rich will be off at school and they will be paying for him to have a hotel and per diem as well. But me? All I get is the housing allowance for Hawaii (enough for a two week hotel stay.) I either get to make friends to stay with really fast, or try to make it work staying in the youth hostel in Waikiki with all my stuff.

I suppose normal couples get to look at houses together, but they are not in the military. In the military, they just send the spouses ahead with a boatload of paperwork and not enough resources, and expect us to set everything up for our active duty spouses. (Then find a job and help with the mortgage because BAH -or Basic Housing Allowance- is way too low in Hawaii.)

I have been asked why we don’t just rent, and I get that. I am sure it seems like it would be easier. However, most people build personal wealth over the course of their lives by owning and paying off property. If we just rent everywhere we go for the rest of our lives (with rents everywhere being higher than mortgage payments), we’ll have nothing when we are old.

A mortgage costs less than rent in Hawaii, and that money is going to equity in the home (meaning we can get it back by selling.) Since housing will take up 70% of our total income in Hawaii, it sure would be nice to get some of it back, don’t you think?

Also, even though no one has asked: Yes, I’m nervous.

I’m scared of job hunting and house hunting and starting all over again. I am scared of having to make new friends and learn new street names. I am scared of having to buy us a house, get us two cars, set up our utilities, and get furniture off craigslist all without help. I am scared of having to deal with all the military red tape and paperwork without Rich to sort it out. I am scared that something will happen to him in Japan (he did get hit by a car the one night I left him alone in Korea- so I worry!)

But, I am also excited. This is our next adventure! Will we have a house as nice as the one in Guam? No! We really won’t. But I am hopeful that I will find a great job with fun co-workers, and that we’ll make awesome friends and find all new beaches to enjoy. I am always looking forward, and I am sure we’ll make our next adventure a good one. It just might take a while to settle in.

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One thing I know I am looking forward to is Leonard’s Malasadas. My family used to live in Hawaii (I still have relatives on Maui) and because of Leonard’s, I grew up eating homemade malasadas at family gatherings. Nothing else tastes quite as much like love and family.

 

Around the Island

This is just a post full of pictures from around the island.

Jenifer DeLemont
A rope swing a San Luis Beach which you can only get to at low tide.

 

best yellow tree
These trees are covered with flowers every spring

 

Jenifer DeLemont
Me in downtown Tumon

 

good view
Tumon Bay, where I live on Guam

 

single flower
A single plumaria flower

 

Jenifer DeLemont
Sunset over the ocean

 

orchid tree
Flowers on an orchid tree (one of my favorites!)

 

reflection
Clouds reflecting on the surface of a pond by the port

 

Marina
Gab Gab marina

 

Jenifer DeLemont
Just a dreamy sunset

 

 

My Latest Book, and The Fight Over It

From Gab Gab Reef, Guam USA

As you know, I spend most of my time volunteering for NOAA doing reef monitoring, and writing books.

The reef monitoring is because we need to protect our oceans, and I encourage you to please avoid using plastic of any kind, and to lower your carbon footprint as much as you can. What you do does effect the oceans! Here on Guam we have seen a huge loss in coral due to climate change, and everything you an do to help matters.

As for writing books; that is because of my friend Dave Strand. He wrote an app called Multi-Path Audio Books for Apple, and he needed stories to go in the app. I had been a journalist, and I had written textbooks. However, I had never written fiction before. I considered it an exciting challenge, and I wrote a book called The Vampire’s Sister.

This made me realize that it was possible to write a full-length novel. I guess you could say I “got the bug” from The Vampire’s Sister, and I went on from there. I don’t think I was very good at first, but I would like to think that I have gotten better as time went on.

I wrote The Teenager’s Guide to life, which is a collection of short stories about life as a young person. This book has illustrations by Anthony Black, and has been a fun collaboration.

I also wrote a series of romance novels called The Jamie Johnson Trilogy. This was meant as a counter to the negative books about BDSM like 50 Shades of Grey, which portray kink as abuse.

Unitarian church of Pasta Bible
The New Testament of The Flying Spaghetti Monster; Dinner 2.0

And then I wrote the book that ruined it all: The New Testament of The Flying Spaghetti Monster; Dinner 2.0.

I wrote it under the pen name Violet Johnson, and I was intending to use it to try to start a movement towards kindness and unity. After all, the main problem in politics and society these days is that artificial divisions are causing people to loose sight of real human values.

I worked for a year on The New Testament of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. I read all kinds of modern philosophy and listened to podcasts of people talking about comparative morality in the digital age. Rich helped me come up with ideas here and there. I took all my old vacation photos and Photo-shopped a Spaghetti Monster Rich made into them for the social media. We had fun, but it was a lot of work.

After a year of hard work, I published my book through Createspace. This is an Amazon company that my friend Chris Backe recommended to me. He thought it would be easier than wasting years trying to sell it to a publisher, and pointed out that I could control my own distribution and pricing. It sounded perfect.

However, less than a day after the book came out, Bobby Henderson reported it to Amazon for copyright infringement. You may wonder how this could be possible, since I wrote the entire book myself and I created all the images for it out of my own photos.

The thing is this:

The burden of proof is on me.

In other words: You can create an original work and it can bear no resemblance to anything else that has ever been created before. But if someone has a copyright on something similar (say the image of a flying spaghetti monster that I did NOT use) then they can report you. They do not have to prove that you infringed on their copyright.

See this clip of John Oliver explaining about patent trolls, which is essentially what has happened here, but with copyright.

There are only two ways to fix the issue:

1. Robert Henderson contacts Amazon and tells them that he reported my book in error, and asks them to please release it.

2. I hire a lawyer to prove that the work is original and protected by parody law, and they force Amazon to release it.

Now as you know, I spend most of my time writing or volunteering. I don’t have money for a lawyer. So here is what I am asking of you, my fellow humans:

Write to Robert Henderson and ask him to contact Amazon and straighten this out. I have already written to him myself, but I have not gotten a response. However, maybe a few more voices will change things.

His e-mail is: henderob@gmail.com

What he needs to do to resolve the matter is write to BOTH:

validation-request@createspace.com AND copyright@createspace.com

He needs to tell them what he admitted to me in private, which is that he reported my book in error, and that he rescinds his report of copyright infringement.

In the meantime, I would never let a year of work and a good idea go to waste. So, you can download the book for free here or get it at the website I set up for it, which is The Unitarian Church of Pasta.

Please download the book and read it. Give it to your friends and ask them to read it. Spread it far and wide because I put my heart and soul into my books and having them be censored like this is so painful for me. I would mean the world to me if you could help out.

And e-mail Bobby because he already admitted he made a mistake in reporting my book, but if he doesn’t take the next step and tell Amazon that, it will be years before I can get my book back from them.