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Showing posts from March, 2007

The Food Chain

This morning my sister-in-law and I took the kids to the animal museum at BYU so they could run around a bit and learn more about wildlife (like the wild "cantaloupes" of the African plains that S-Boogie saw). There was an exhibit on the food chain that suddenly brought back a memory of a lesson I learned in fourth grade.

It's interesting to remember those moments when my understanding of the world suddenly increased. I don't remember learning how to read, and I never had a single "talk" that revealed the mysteries of reproduction, but there are other facts that I can vividly remember learning. The food chain is one of them. I was living in Idaho at the time, and we often had lessons on Idaho history and ecology. I'm pretty sure this lesson was sponsored by the nearby center for birds of prey. We went outside on the playground to play a game. Most of us were "prey" and a few got to be "predators". The prey had to run around picking u…

Sandwiches and Sympathy

I think one interesting thing about all the funerals I've attended during the last few years has been the fact that they always seem to turn into impromptu family reunions. When we got to my aunt's house on Friday afternoon, there were already several trays of deli meats and veggies sitting around, as well as a large amount of rolls. And the neighbors kept coming by with more food. We ate before the viewing, then came back to the house to sit around and talk, and eat.

It was fun to see everyone again, because I don't see my dad's family very often. And it's always a little strange when we do, because his brother was 23 years older than my dad. My father was the surprise caboose baby (by nearly 18 years) tagging along after his three brothers, so my cousins are all my parents' age and their kids are my age. But we all hung out and got to know each other better and it was a nice funeral. My uncle lived a full life and was a well-rounded, and well-respected man. …

On the Road, Again

A few weeks ago, I mentioned to a friend that I had been to at least one funeral every year for the past five years. Most have been in the summertime, so I half-jokingly said that I've begun to wonder who's going to die this summer.

Then the other night my dad called to tell me that my uncle was killed in a car accident.

So Little Dude and I are driving up to Wyoming with my parents tomorrow morning. S-Boogie is going to stay here with her daddy and her aunties, since she doesn't need to go for another long car ride. And I'm not going to joke about annual funerals any more. Maybe next year will break my streak.

Phase One Completed

We just finished the first phase of our vacation, and I was sad to see it end. Unlike Master Fob, I am decidedly not allergic to California and I love the sunshine and flowers we enjoyed. I've spent the last few days indulging in my favorite hobbies--eating and reading. Thankfully the Thteeds are readers too and understand why the first thing I do in anyone else's house is rifle through their magazines and peruse their bookshelves. I'm not really antisocial, I'm just addicted to the printed page.

When we could all tear ourselves away from our reading, we did fun things like playing a nearby park, going out for crepes, and visiting the best ice cream parlor in the world (well, at least Northern California). The crepe excursion also featured a ride on BART (S-Boogie's favorite part of the trip) and a stop at Half-Price books, where I was delighted to find a copy of Word Freak on clearance for a dollar.

S-Boogie and The Big O had a great time together, despite their ma…

Hotel Oregon-ia

We have mirrors on the ceiling, but there's no pink champagne on ice.

I also am not sure if we're just prisoners of our own device.

(Well, just prisoners of our two small children, which means we don't get to see if the mirror on the ceiling really enhances the experience or not.)

Panic Time

The plan for today was that my children would either amuse themselves quietly or take long naps so I could get ready for our trip and tweak some things on my thesis. Right now they're both crying inconsolably. So much for that plan.

The thesis is going OK. I actually have about 55 pages now and I feel like it's more or less complete. I just need to beef up a few parts of it here or there. If any of my friends who are good at critiquing such things or who are good at writing profusely about stuff (I'm not) wants to email me to have a look at it, I would be eternally grateful (I might even make you cinnamon rolls or something some day when my life gets calmer). It does have some lengthy quotes in Spanish, but I did write in English.

Packing for a trip just plain sucks. Trying to get all the clothes clean. Trying to remember all the little things both kids will need and all the little things I might need. Like all the right cords for the laptop and the camera, or the nail clipp…

Svithe: Being Selfish

I don't watch Oprah, or any TV, so I've been kind of out of the popular culture loop lately. But I have occasionally been hearing about this new book The Secret. A friend of mine linked to this article from Salon, and it gave me a lot to think about. Perhaps I should read the book before I bash it, but I have read a few other articles on it. Apparently the idea behind it is that if you simply try and think hard enough about the things that you want, you will get them. Literally. I'm sure there's more to it than that, but it sounds pretty weird.

One thing I really am uncomfortable with about the whole "power of positive thinking" idea is that it tends to create the opposite, negative reaction: if you aren't successful in life, you must not be trying hard enough. When we constantly tell people that all they have to do is "believe in themselves" and "try their best" in order to do accomplish "anything", what happens if they don&#…

Progress Report

Yesterday Little Dude had his nine-month checkup. He now weighs nineteen pounds.That means he has gained 3 pounds in the last three months. His ears also were clear and everything about him was in perfect shape. Except for the bruises on his head which he keeps getting from things like attempting to scale the bookcases like a rock climber (that's why they're nailed to the wall) and pulling heavy objects down on his head. The doctor reminded us to childproof the house. Yeah, we're trying.

I was supposed to spend most of today writing my thesis. And I've been trying to. I'm just tired and I've been preoccupied by the hour of sleep I'm going to lose tonight, especially since we have early church. I'm also worried about the imminent arrival of next Wednesday, which is the day we're going to leave for our big trip. I want to go, but part of me keeps thinking "I'm not ready yet!". I suppose I'd better get back to writing so I can be ready…

Taking this show on the road

This is my first post from our new laptop. We like tax returns.

Where are you?

I am supposed to be working on my thesis right now, and I'll get it to it as soon as I post a quick little something. I probably won't be posting much for the next little while, since life is kind of crazy right now. We leave on our big trip next Wednesday night and I'm still trying to get as much thesis out of my brain and onto paper as I can. It's actually been going pretty well and I'm so glad I hired a babysitter. So far Little Dude as cried every time I've dropped him off, and prying his little hands off my jacket each morning is the worst torture ever. But, he's had a great time after I leave and the babysitter's little daughter is in love with him. So I know he's OK, I just wish he'd learn to smile and say "bye" like S-Boogie does. I am also much less freaked out about writing since I've managed to produce forty pages. Yes, I have written nearly forty pages. I can hardly believe it myself. I still have the second chapter and…

I thought this was cool

Frustration, Part Two

A few weeks we tried to file our tax return electronically but were rejected. So I thought I'd just be smart and print it off and mail it in. Then yesterday I got it back. I forgot to put in the W2s. Aargh!

Regrets

Some ideas have been floating around in my head lately regarding past decisions and how they affect our lives now. It was partly influenced by a post I recently read in another forum about what you would write in a letter to your younger self. I was intrigued by the idea and immediately started composing a fabulous letter warning myself of all the possible consequences of the decisions I was about to make. Then I realized that if I had not made those decisions, I would not have the wisdom that I now possess, the wisdom that, unfortunately, allows me to see how dumb I sometimes was. This is the paradox of life, I think. We have to stumble around in the dark. It's the only way to learn. And it's a scary way to learn. I have always loved the metaphor that Boyd K. Packer used in a talk called "The Candle of the Lord". Personal revelation is only a candle, not enough to illuminate all the darkness. But if we want to go ahead we must push forward, illuminating only a few s…