Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I had another great opportunity to meet people and make more connections yesterday at the Sunstone conference. I came home exhausted from travelling and from spending all day listening to and conversing with other people, but it was the positive exhaustion of energy spent on good things. I'm glad I chose to go down Friday night and spend some time with my friend Skylark; she was generous in allowing me to stay at her apartment and talk her ear off, and it was a much-needed break from my regular routine.
The conference was also a fabulous experience; I attended sessions on a variety of topics and came away feeling enlightened and enriched. Th. read his paper (in a lively and entertaining way, of course) and Maxine Hanks responded and no one wanted to end the session and our discussion of vampires, werewolves, and the psychology of Mormon women. I also got to meet Johnna from Segullah in person, and admit that my ego was inflated by the fact that she was just as excited to meet me as I was to meet her. I also met some other bloggers and was just as happy to find a little community of people who were all eager to meet each other in person. Blogging is sometimes regarding as a waste of time, or a poor substitute for 'real' friendships. I think that blogs and things like Facebook are only tools and can be used to facilitate connections with people.
I realized this yesterday as I was driving home. I get a lot out of blogging and commenting on the blogs of other people. I do feel like we get to know each other and that we can share something of value. At the same time, though, we need in-person connections. We need to see people as something tangible, not just words and images on a screen. Blogging and Facebook are tempting because they are so easy. Not that they don't take time, but they don't take as much work as other ways of maintaining connections. Everyone involved in the conference this weekend invested a lot of time and effort. But everyone had the same goal: forging some kind of connection with others. Sharing something of ourselves and listening to the contributions of others. I've realized also that this is why I keep attending church; not only to commune with God, but with those around me. It takes work, but when that work is rewarded by connection it is all worth it. Because in the end, those connections are one of the few things we will take with us when we're done here on Earth.
Friday, March 27, 2009
I lost a pair of pants. I have no idea where they are. I know that I wore them on Monday, and I did laundry on Tuesday. But when I went to wear them on Wednesday they were gone. Not in the hamper, not hanging on the clothesline, not in my closet, not in Mr. Fob's closet, not in my dresser, and not in our apartment laundry room. I'm afraid I left them in the dryer and someone decided to adopt them. Which is weird and kind of sad. At least they were old.
The kids have been getting very dirty every day from playing outside at the playground. S-Boogie went to a birthday party at the park on Wednesday afternoon and managed to accumulate layers of blue frosting, wood chips, sand, and lollipop. The weather this week has been awesome, and I think it got close to 80 degrees today. Right now is perfect and it sickens me to think that during the next few months the temperature is going to jump up twenty more degrees. That's just wrong.
I had planned to use my spring break time wisely and go to the temple today, but when I checked my recommend it had expired last month. I also could swear that I just renewed it a year ago, and not two years ago, but I am apparently wrong. Frustrating. Instead this evening we went for a family bike ride to the library and then ate dinner at a park. It was very pleasant, despite the fact that a little girl threw up in the children's section of the library while we were there and while we were at the park S-Boogie suddenly had to go potty. Thankfully she was able to hold it long enough to go home on the bike with daddy. While they were gone Little Dude flew off the end of the slide and plowed face first into a pile of wood chips. He picked himself up, laughed, and refused my offer of a kleenex by saying "I'll just pretend my nose is a tissue."
And I can't believe I let myself stay up this late again. I've got a busy weekend and now I'm going to be exhausted. It's time to stop the self-sabotage and get to bed on time. I think that will be my new goal for the new quarter. We'll see how well that works out.
Monday, March 23, 2009
I have the rest of this week free from school and sometimes I don't know what to do with myself. I spent a lot of time moping this weekend, but it was cold and I had PMS. Now I'm determined to use the next few days well. Today I made some French bread and took dinner to a friend in my ward who just had a baby. I also played with the kids and we had a Family Home Evening about using kind words and actions (Mommy and Daddy need to work on this as much as the kids). Mr. Fob and I decided that we didn't want to a job chart thing yet with the kids, but we got out the old marble jars and when we fill up the jar with good deeds we are going to go get a treat together. I also signed up for Sunstone this Saturday and I'm going to have a fun little getaway with a friend--it sounds so fun "Sunstone on Saturday with Skylark". I'd also like to go to the temple some day this week because it's been a while since I last went. I promise I'll get a 'real' post put up soon, now that I have my trusty computer back.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
1. By next Thursday I have two big research papers that are due. Today I finished a first draft (it's rough, but there) of one and I have an outline and notes ready for the other one that I'm going to start tomorrow. I haven't always been focused this week, but I've generally been using my time well and I feel glad that I'm getting my work done on schedule for the end of the quarter.
2. Due to my school workload I haven't been cooking as much this week, but tonight I decided to make some real food. I created a tasty minestrone-inspired soup that used up some of the sad vegetables lurking in my fridge. I've had some thoughts in my head about healthy, cheap eating but will probably not have time to post them for a while. Nevertheless, I feel proud of myself that I know how to feed my family tasty, healthy food on a budget. Plus I got an email from the farm I use saying that a friend had signed up for their delivery service--I hope you enjoy the produce! I've been a big fan of this service and I love spreading the word.
3. I also had an epiphany tonight about how to better motivate the kids and regulate our TV watching. Lately I've had a desire to create some kind of chore chart, but I've been a bit reluctant to use material rewards (like money, candy, etc). We're having an issue with TV time so I realized I could kill two birds with one stone tonight. I think it will work well for the kids. I'm going to make a "responsibility chart" where they can check off what they've done each day (cleaning up their dishes, putting away toys and clothes, brushing teeth, etc) and in return they will get a certain amount of TV time per day. I need to find a way to monitor the TV time. I feel so brilliant.
Since I've been so on the ball with my life today, I'm now going to go take a break to eat cookies and watch Jeopardy! I've discovered that watching television is more rewarding when I do it for fun and not just as an escape from other things I should be doing.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
This book is a classic of mid-century Latin American modernism, and I found that I enjoyed it about as much as other similar books I have read. In other words: the vagueness and pretentiousness were slightly irritating, the writing was beautiful but stuffy, and the misogyny of the protagonist was blatant. It wasn't a bad read and it's an excellent book, but it's jut not my cup of tea.
Night by Elie Wiesel
I know I've read this book at some point in the past, but I apparently remembered little of it because it didn't seem familiar. It is in many ways a standard-setter in the world of Holocaust literature, and though short still a powerful and affecting book. I find it interesting after reading it that so much of the literature that came afterward manages to find some sort of redemption, and yet this book (one of the first) seems to offer none at its end.
The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald
Sebald is the latest in a series of what I like to refer to as "famous authors I've somehow never heard of". Now that I've learned about him and his work I seem to notice references to him everywhere I look. I'm still trying to decide how I feel about his books (I'm reading another one right now). He combines a post-modern eclecticism and questioning of history with a style so understated that his books seem to be about nothing and everything at the same time. They are easy to read and yet I feel like I'm missing something that lies further beneath the surface.
Oedipus the King by Sophocles
What better introduction to family trauma than the story of Oedipus? It's been a while since I have read or studied any Greek drama so I enjoyed the chance to take another look at this play. And we've been studying Freud all quarter so we had an interesting discussion about the connections between the play and Freud's use of it in his theories.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot DiazI had a hard time getting this book started. I was intimidated by the massive amounts of praise being heaped on it from everywhere: this is the New Cool Book right now and I was skeptical. After a while it started to grow on me and I ended up liking it in the end. It's written in a style similar to stuff like Dave Eggers and Michael Chabon, and I'm not always a big fan of their work. But the story is strong and the weird experimental stuff works well for this book, so in the end I was satisfied. Two warnings if you are considering reading the book: the author intends for it to be difficult and perhaps even incomprehensible in parts; and there is a lot of profanity and talk about sex.
I was glad I had read a few things about this movie before seeing it, because I was prepared for the tragic things that happen in it. The story requires a fair amount of suspension of disbelief since the plot involves a chain horrifying coincidences that bring two people together. The way it is filmed, though, keeps things understated enough that you don't feel completely traumatized by it. The only thing that shocked me was a long and explicit sex scene in the middle--it was also disturbing because it wasn't filmed in a way that was neccesarily meant to be arousing and so it was uncomfortable to watch. This is a great movie as far as acting and cinematography goes, but it's also a very rough movie in a lot of ways too.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
I realized after a little while that her distress wasn't so much the fact that I had made muffins but that she is going through a very independent phase right now (well, she has been for most of her life). She wanted to eat something that she had chosen and prepared for herself. I also realized that part of my disappointment came from my expectations for the muffins. Food is one of my love languages, and when people reject my food I tend to feel rejected as well. We had entirely different expectations for snack-time: S-Boogie wanted to boost her self-confidence and independence by getting her own snack, and I wanted to show her my love by baking her a treat.
And so I'm not sure what the point of this post is. I guess there are a few morals. First of all, look at the motivations and emotions of other people when they seem to reject what you are offering them. Look at what your expectations were and why you are disappointed. Perhaps the message you thought you were sending is not the one they thought they were receiving. Secondly, I'm trying every day to figure out how to give S-Boogie the independence she craves while still keeping order in my home and helping her learn how to respect the needs of others around her. I think snacks are something I can have some leeway on; other issues, maybe not so much. I discovered this last week that she's much easier to deal with in the evenings if I can find some way for her to help with dinner. She just wants to feel involved and valuable. Most of us do, don't we? Thirdly, if someone doesn't want to eat the muffins, I should just look on the bright side and enjoy the fact that there are more for me!