Friday, February 27, 2009
Is it worth buying a salad spinner? We've been getting a lot of lettuce and greens in our produce box, but I always feel bad using up so many paper towels to dry them. I've also tried regular towels, but that's pretty annoying too.
I'm excited to write a paper for my American Literature class because I'm looking at translations of two different books that are written in a sort of hybrid-"Spanglish" style. I think it will be interesting to look at what happens when you translate them to Spanish. However, after looking at this book today, I realized that one of the more interesting changes is the profanity (it's a great book, but definitely heavy on the swears). Would you feel weird writing a paper on swear words? It's not like I'm going to be saying them out loud, but for some reason I feel weird even writing them out. I could just skip over that aspect of the book, but then I feel silly for being so squeamish.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
On the other hand, I think most people who know me in real life would hesitate to call me an introvert. Once I'm comfortable with people, I tend to take over and talk their ears off. When I come home late from visiting teaching or presidency meetings, it's because I stayed late talking to people. As evidenced by this blog, I have no problem sharing my opinions or stuff about my life. Sometimes I fear that I come across as too pushy and opinionated. The biggest struggle I have lately is figuring out how to keep my mouth shut and listen more.
So maybe I really am extroverted in the sense that I like to process information verbally. I like to talk. I'm uncomfortable with silences in conversation and feel a need to fill them in. I'm confident in my opinions. At the same time, I seem to have an overdeveloped sense of social protocol and I don't like to draw attention to myself. Maybe I'm just an extrovert who's in denial.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I'm also feeling bad because I found out about the upcoming Sunstone West symposium a few weeks ago and thought I might be able to prepare something for it. Alas, the submission deadline is tomorrow and I have nothing to submit. I think even more than the fact that I am pressed for time, I also feel pressed for brain space. I don't have a lot of thinking room left; I've got school stuff and kid stuff to worry about, plus every day I worry about the fact that we are one day closer to needed more income and the job market isn't looking any better. So I probably won't be presenting anything at Sunstone this year. I am thinking of going, however, because a little getaway like that is always fun. I just have to figure out the logistics because it's a bit far from my house to just drive down and back in one day. Good think I have a few weeks to figure it out (assuming there's any space left in my brain after all the other worries I've got jammed in there).
So hopefully I'll get out of my slump this weekend and manage to not only be a little productive on school stuff but also have some fun and find a way to get my groove back. Too bad I already ate all of my Valentine chocolates.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I've been tagged by a bunch of different people on Facebook asking me to reveal interesting things about myself, but I'm still deciding how much I want to participate in Facebook and I feel like I've already done just about every meme on the planet here on my blog. But, just to satisfy the curious masses, here are two more bits of weirdness that I'm willing to share:
1. I'm terrified of lofts and most staircases. Like those basement staircases that are surrounded by a half-wall. Basically any place where a person could presumably fall over and plummet more than a single story within their own home. And it's not just since I had kids that I've felt that way (although the anxiety has increased tenfold since having small children). I think it started with my grandmother's steep attic stairs that are surounded on the top by a half-wall; or maybe my aunt's basement stairs that have no railing or anything on the side. I have a feeling that this fear will greatly hamper any future house search.
2. I will admit that at least a little bit of my baby hunger is the desire to use S-Boogie's baby clothes again. Looking at pictures of S-Boogie in her old clothes makes me realize that I'm ridiculously attached to some of her adorable outfits from her first year or two. Part of it is likely due to the fact that I also would still like her to be 2 and the right size for the impossibly adorable pink fuzzy coat with kitty cat pockets. Well, not really. Most of the time I like the fact that she is now big enough to be a kindergartener. I just wish they wouldn't make baby clothes that are so cute.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
We're going to make heart-shaped sugar cookies later, and then tonight our home teacher and his wife are coming over to watch the kids while we go eat some falafel and go bowling. Should be a fun day.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
We were having a rough evening today and I spent a lot of time writing a really whiny post in my head about how frustrating life is right now. The economy and the possibilities of finding a job are really weighing on me. We both love living here, but can barely afford it and we are so far away from our families. But I think the best thing for us would be to try and stay here if at all possible; we apparently don't have the mental reserves to survive major moves. I was also feeling frustrated by the fact that my kids just always seem to make the mistakes and do the same difficult things over and over again. I've been having a rough few weeks and been feeling kind of down about my parenting. But then tonight (after some major yelling, several trips to time out, and other bad parenting moves), the kids actually stepped up and listened. S-Boogie had dumped out a puzzle that we'd just asked her to put away and was whining for someone to help her put it back together (it's a small puzzle of the United States). It took a lot of convincing to get her to try it, but she put the entire thing back together by herself--yes, she knows where every state goes. Then after dinner she went off and got completely ready by herself: pajamas, teeth brushed, going potty, and everything else. That was great because I am so incredibly tired of the constant battle every morning and night to keep her focused and on task so she can get changed, brush her teeth, and go potty. She usually won't do any of those things without constant reminders and help. Tonight as I was putting her to bed we talked about good and bad choices, and she told me "my heart feels happy because I did good things."
So I guess this is a typical blog entry for me; what better thing for post seven hundred? A little down, a little up. Just a little slice of my life right now.
Friday, February 06, 2009
Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson
This book hasn't aged well, but it's interesting as a social phenomenon and as an excellent example of nineteenth-century social fiction. It was also a fascinating book to read while travelling in Southern California, in order to compare what things were like two centuries ago with how they appear now.
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
I read this book a number of years ago and remembered little about it. It is not an easy read, but an excellent study of the trauma of war and the betrayal of a generation of young people by their leaders.
Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
I was surprised by how much I liked this book (I've had mixed experiences with Cather). The writing is beautiful and the characters are fascinating. I didn't want to put it down and I was sad to see it end.
What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
This wasn't a book for school; Edgy reviewed it on his blog and I thought it sounded interesting. It did have a slow start, and I struggled with the fact that I didn't really like any of the characters. But the character development was stellar and the writing strong. It read like a classic noir novel combined with a more general coming-of-age story, and I thought the combination was great.
y no se lo trago la tierra/And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him by Tomas Rivera
The edition of the book I ended up with had one of the worst covers I have ever seen. It still turned out to be a good book, although the writing style makes it difficult to really get into the story and connect with the characters. It represents well the migrant experience, particularly the alienation felt by immigrants in a new land.
Caramelo by Sandra CisnerosI had a great time reading this book; it's long and took me a while to read, but I also didn't want it to finish. It's a classic family saga and coming-of-age story and the characters are all fascinating. Plus it's just a fun book and I think would be a great experience for anyone, even readers who are completely unfamiliar with Mexican or Mexican American culture.
The Man Outside by Wolfgang Borchert
This is actually a play, and one of the first written and produced in post-WWII Germany. As such is fairly bleak and not what I would call an enjoyable read. Stylistically it was fascinating and we had a good discussion of the issues it raises.
I've seen this movie a few times already, but since I just got the DVD for Christmas we watched it again. I think it's a pretty decent version of the story (admittedly I'm not very familiar with the book), although Susan Sarandon as Marmee mostly just hangs around spouting Women's Lib platitudes. Other than her character I like the rest of the acting and I think the film is very well-done as far as technical stuff goes. Plus Christian Bale is pretty swoony as Laurie. Mmm..
I haven't read the book yet so I can't compare the two, but I actually wasn't a big fan of this movie. It felt slow: I kept checking my watch to see how much longer it was going to go on. Plus it just felt very conventional and like many other similar movies that I had seen; it was like they were going through the motions trying to recreate the story but with little investment in the film itself.
Murderers are Among Us
First of all, this movie is impressive because it was the first production to come out of Germany after WWII (only 2 years later). Secondly, I was surprised by the boldness of the storytelling and the issues of guilt and responsibility it raises. The plot and resolution were fairly standard Hollywood fare, but I thought that it was quite a good movie.
Night and Fog
This is a short documentary on the Holocaust, shot only ten years after the end of the war. It's also one of the most powerful films on that subject I've ever seen (it's not rated, but the content is very 'adult' just in case you are wondering--there are graphic photos from the war). We talked a lot in class about the style of the filming and I have to agree that it is one of the more unique documentaries I have ever seen, and that these particular qualities make it so compelling.
I've heard a lot about this movie but never had a chance to watch it. I'm not sure it has aged very well (it came out in 1982); Meryl Streep is amazing in her performance, bu the rest of the movie didn't feel that great to me. Yes the backstory during the war is pretty shocking (there's a scene in there that I never, ever want to watch again), but overall I didn't really like the movie for a lot of reasons.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
"Do prod your self out of idleness. If you have that urge to write, dance, paint or make music and it just isn’t fitting in, try to figure out how you can. On the other hand, don’t beat yourself up if the time is just not right for these things and you don’t feel a burning urge to do them. Don’t let others dictate what your time frame should be. If you are immersed in raising children, enjoy it and learn all you can from it. You will know when it is time to start weaving back into your art. Some are just able to do the two together all along. We are all different. Listen to your soul and what brings you peace and joy.
I know that when my first two girls were young, I really didn’t think about painting or drawing much for about five or six years. But as they got a little older, I was feeling the need and used school as a way to get going again. Motherhood was totally satisfying for me as a woman, and as an artist. All good things will work for your benefit and find expression in your life somehow. I like that line “All truth can be circumscribed into one great whole.” I look at art and life this way. Art is what comes out of that receptacle of truth and light."
I'm not an artist by any means, but I understand the problem of trying to find inspiration while raising children. This interview helped me crystallize what I've been feeling for a while about graduate school--I'm just not at a point in my life where I'm willing to give myself to it fully. I've been trying, but I just can't get into it and find my inspiration for what I'm doing. Graduate school is very hard and takes a lot of energy and purpose to accomplish. I don't have that burning desire to do it at this point in my life, and I think that if I keep trying to do it I'll just be miserable. Perhaps at some point in the future it will fit in with me better; at this point I've been trying to make room for school and I just keep having a hard time. I think that's primarily because it just doesn't feel important enough to be a priority for me. Some days I really enjoy my classes and like what we're talking about, but the whole experience of being in academia and moving towards a career there just isn't really working for me.
So that's where I am as far as the school thing goes (since a lot of people have asked me lately). As far as the practical implications of what that means for us, we really don't know yet. Mr. Fob has been looking around for job possibilities so we can figure out what our options are. We are in a good place here and so are not in a hurry to leave if we don't have to. We both love living here and would not be unhappy if Mr. Fob could find a job here. Unfortunately this is an expensive town and the job opportunities aren't that great. We are somewhat limiting the job search because we don't want to be too far away from family. Ideally we'd like to find a situation where we can settle down for a while and raise our children; we're ready to grow some roots. I'd love for that to be in Utah close to family, but it doesn't look like the economy is going to help us out with that (unfortunately library jobs in Utah are scarce and underfunded). We've found a few good leads in California and so we'll see what happens during the next few months. More on that later.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Then I got to sacrament meeting and we sang one of my favorite hymns, "Reverently and Meekly Now". The third verse starts: "Bid thy heart all strife to cease/With thy brethren be at peace." And then the bishop got up and said "I'd like to urge everyone to read President Eyring's talk about unity from the last conference."
I had been praying about how to handle my new calling, and I know realize that I've been doing it all wrong. I've been going into it trying to figure out how I can help and how I can do such an amazing job and fix all the problems that are out there. But I've been called to help people and to serve and love them. Not to tell them all why they are so wrong. Now my new goal is to try and remember these words and pray for more love and charity in my life. Because I need more unity in my ward and in my family, so I'm going to try harder to apply principles of charity and humility to my actions with others. I hope something good comes out of it.