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Showing posts from September, 2008

First Days of School

Yesterday was officially my first day of class. I was so nervous while riding my bike down through campus. It's been a little more than two years since I sat in a classroom, plus I'm attending an entirely new school. After 7 years of attendance BYU started to feel very comfortable. My class went well; on Monday afternoon I have a seminar on Shakespeare. We spent three hours sitting around a table having a wide-ranging discussion on Henry IV. Graduate seminars are once a week for three hours. I thought I would like this schedule, but after two days of class I'm not so sure.

Today was my "long day". On Tuesday I have two seminars, one from noon to three and another from four to seven. My first seminar is on critical theory, and I think it will actually be somewhat easy for me since I've had much of the material before. The professor reminds me of Elton John a bit, and we had an interesting discussion about the current economic crisis as evidence of a massive hol…

My bachelor's degree taught me at least one thing

It seems that every year around General Conference time I hear some variation on the following theme: "The Church is so ethnocentric/American/Western because they make everyone give their talks in English." Although I'm all for diversity and I love languages, I understand that it really is much more practical to have one standard language.

First of all, it's not unusual or even prejudicial for a large international organization to pick an official language. The Church did start in the United States and is still headquartered here. The Church also has a massive translation department and does an incredible amount of work providing texts in more than one hundred languages. Also, most of the General Authorities have at least some command of English. English is an internationally recognized language and in many countries it is required as a second language. I could add a rant about the lack of second-language education in the United States, but let me just say that many …

Debate 2008

One of the features of our new apartment is a working garbage disposal. It's been a few years since we've had one, and Mr. Fob and I are suddenly discovering a new source of marital conflict. According to Mr. Fob, movies and television have taught him that you should never stick your hand in the garbage disposal, even if it is turned off. I prefer to rely on common sense and the fact that the off switch means "off" and stick my hand in to make sure no utensils are hiding before turning it on. Mr. Fob thinks I'm crazy. What do you think? Do you stick your hand in the garbage disposal or do you like to grind up your spoons and forks?

Notes to Myself

I love to go grocery shopping and I love figuring out meal plans. I guess I'm just a little obsessed with food. Since we moved in I've been spending a lot of money stocking up our pantry because we used up most of our food in an attempt to save space in our moving cubes (and I'm glad I did). I'd love to get more long-term storage things, but right now I feel good about having a pretty decent supply of stuff that could get us through a short time without major trips to the store. I realized today, though, that my shopping is probably getting out of hand. For one thing, the food budget is a bit excessive and I don't actually get a stipend for another month. And then as I was putting away the four boxes of cereal I got at Target today (they were a great deal), I remembered the two large boxes of cereal I got last week at Safeway and had forgotten about. That doesn't even include the extra-large box of Raisin Bran we got last week at Costco. So this is a note to my…

The Fourth Commandment

We're still a little short on furniture since we moved in; nothing we can't live without, but our microwave is sitting on the dining room floor and we have no nightstands. So I've been patiently watching Craigslist hoping to solve both problems in an economical way. This afternoon I thought I had finally gotten my wish when someone posted a pair of nice-looking nightstands that would match our headboard well. I've discovered that most people just have one nightstand, but we'd really like two. I asked the guy selling them if I could come by the in the morning, but he said this afternoon would be better. I quashed my guilty feelings about the sabbath and hopped in the car with Mr. Fob and the kids for a lovely half-hour drive. Well, first of all the kids screamed at each other the entire way there. S-Boogie has fallen in love with riding bikes and shows it by behaving terribly in the car: wiggling out of her seatbelt, unbuckling her seatbelt, pinching Little Dude, wh…

My Daybook

This is a post copied from Jana, originally from The Simple Woman

I am wearing brown capri pants and a light blue shirt.

I am reading (actually rereading) the Hearts of the Children series from Dean Hughes. Trying to get in a bit more "fluff reading" before school starts and I have to read Shakespeare and critical theory. Not that I don't like that, but I like to give my brain a break sometimes too.

I am hearing noise from the workers renovating the apartment next door. I wish they were bringing me a new stove. Sigh. Also I can hear little noises from a waking up two-year-old, so I'm probably going to have to cut this short and continue tonight.

Learning all the time about how to parent with patience and compassion. I'm still not very good at it.

I am thankful for a caring husband who supports me in all I do.

I am hoping that my funding issues will all be resolved by Thursday when fees are due, so I won't have to come up with cash of my own. And I'm hoping tha…

This and That

Life is going on even if I haven't been posting much. My school schedule is finalized and now I just have to wait two more weeks for school to start. When they say "fall quarter", they really mean "fall" here. I have three classes, and each one meets for three hours once a week. Class is on Monday and Tuesday afternoons and then the rest of my week is "free" (except for taking care of my kids, my house, and my hours of reading and research).

So I've been filling my time with plenty of mindless reading, cooking, and TV viewing. Although I'm looking forward to my classes, I know I will miss the opportunity to ready whatever I want and to fill my evenings with such fare as CSIand Criminal Minds. We've also been spending lots of quality family time going places on our bikes. This morning we went to the farmer's market where I bought a lot of produce and S-Boogie got her face painted like a butterfly. Then we let the kids spend a long time …

Reading Roundup August 2008

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Most reviews I've read inevitably compare this book to Lahiri's short story collection (Interpreter of Maladies). I also really liked that book, and can see some ways in which this novel may not quite measure up, but still think this one is excellent. I liked reading a novel about average, every day people. Their lives were very different from mine and yet I could still find things to relate to here. The writing is beautiful and the characters are all interesting. After the book ended I sat around missing it and everyone in it for a while.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I'm still not sure how I feel about this book. It was a compelling read and obviously well-researched. I read it quickly and liked the story, even though I guessed the plot twist from the beginning. But I ended the book feeling yucky; I know I have a somewhat high tolerance for violence and stuff, but this book is very "gritty". I didn't like how everyone in it wa…

Sometimes it's not a choice

There's a bumper sticker I've seen around a few times during the last few weeks that's been irritating me. I actually don't mind politically motivated bumper stickers, and sometimes they even make me laugh (like "Who would Jesus bomb?"). But this one just bothers me: "My child was born at home." It's a simple statement, but I hate it because it just seems so divisive.

I'm certainly not against home birth. I was born at home, as were my three younger siblings. I think it can be a great option for many women, and I wish we were a little closer to the British system in which home birth with a midwife is the default option. I wish more states would license midwives that attend home births and that more babies could be born peacefully at home without unnecessary interventions. I also think it's sad that the current climate of insurance costs and lawsuit fears has pushed doctors to do whatever it takes to produce a healthy baby, even at the exp…