Thursday, April 30, 2009
A new philosophy calls all in doubt,
The element of fire is quite put out,
The sun is lost, and the earth, and no man's wit
Can well direct him where to look for it.
And freely men confess that this world's spent,
When in the planets and the firmament
They seek so many new; they see that this
Is crumbled out again to his atomies.
'Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone;
All just supply, and all relation:
Prince, subject, father, son, are things forgot,
For every man alone thinks he hath got
To be a phoenix , and that there can be
None of that kind, of which he is but he.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
On Saturday we had another outing as a family, this time to an organic farm. It ended up being a hotter day than I had expected and the sun really beat down us. The tour was also a bit long and fast-paced for the kids; they just wanted to play with the rocks and splash in the irrigation water. We all got hot, dirty, and sweaty walking around looking at stuff, and since the kids were going so slow we ended up at the back of the group and I didn't hear most of what the farmer said. After the farm we stopped off at Target, which is always an ordeal on a Saturday afternoon. Plus the kids were tired and cranky; S-Boogie asked for every thing she saw and whined when we didn't buy it. Costco is next to Target and so I ran in to try and buy whipping cream, but it turns out that they didn't have it, so we had to go to Target again. Then it took a long time to put the ice cream ingredients together, plus Mr. Fob had to run to the convenience store for ice, but we finally go the ice cream ready. And we've been learning during the past few days that four quarts is a lot of ice cream. Maybe we should have bought the smaller ice cream maker after all.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I was worried that the health center would delay me too long and I would miss our date last night, but thankfully we still made it. Even though we're only going to be here a little longer we decided to start doing a babysitting exchange with two other families in the ward. Last night we dropped our kids off at our friends' house and went downtown to listen to some other friends of mine play music together at a cafe. Mr. Fob and I had a great time listening to music, chatting, and eating yummy chocolate desserts. Afterwards we realized how much we needed that time together just for us to reconnect and relax.
So the moral of last night is two-fold: stay up-to-date on your immunizations, and go on more dates with your special someone. Both are essential for health and happiness.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
2. For some reason I have this thing about leaving the last few bites of my food on my plate. Especially sandwiches; it's like psychologically it's too much to finish it and so I feel better if I don't eat the last little bit. But then I hide it in the trash can in case anyone finds out I was wasting food.
3. I've been spending way too much time on Craigslist looking at apartments, which is silly because we don't need anything until the end of June.
4. I've also lately sometimes been a little sad that my husband didn't go into business or law or something that would allow us to have a big nice house and be able to afford vacations and new clothes. I never used to feel this way, but lately I've been feeling materialistic and wanting a fancier life. And then I feel dumb because I actually really enjoy the life that we have, and since I have no desire to work full-time I can completely understand why my husband doesn't either. Does anyone want to become our sponsor so we can become independently wealthy? Or pay me for reading the internet?
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Passing by Nella Larson
For some reason it's always surprising to me when 'old' literature that seems so removed from my own experience (I'm not a middle-class black woman in 1920s New York) speaks so clearly to my own life. This is a short novel and yet very powerful. I found her insights about marriage and the relationship between men and women even more forceful than her commentary on race relations, but that could just be where I'm at in my life right now. But it also shows how race, class, and gender are even more closely tied than we imagine.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
I've read parts of this book before, but never the whole thing, and I was surprised by how readable it was. And (again) by how timely it still is. It's a difficult read for a lot of reasons, but I'm pretty sure the author intended it to be that way.
Mrs. Spring Fragrance by Sui Sin Far
Another book I was surprised by; it is mostly notable for being some of the first published writings by an Asian-American woman, but the writing was pretty good. It was also amazing to me to contemplate how far we have come in the area of race relations. Yes we have far to go, but reading this reminded me of the progress that has been made so far.
Soldados de Salamina by Javier Cercas
I've read this a few times already, but decided to give it another read since I was writing a paper on it. It's a good book and has some excellent insights on the nature of history and memory.
Falling Toward Heaven by John Bennion
Another re-read, since I had read it once a few years ago and didn't remember a lot about it. And I'm still trying to decide how I feel about this novel. The writing is good, the plot and characters are interesting, and the characters are very real. I'm also torn by something that happens in the end. I'm not sure if I like it or not. It seems to be the start of a whole new set of conflicts, and yet it is the finale of the book. And it just didn't feel right with the rest of the plot. Plus I had difficulty relating to this book, because even though it is about Mormons, the idea of what it means to be Mormon is so far from my personal experience that it is difficult to relate to the characters. I still liked it a lot and think it is an excellent book, but I'm not sure it's one of my personal favorites.
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
I have seen the film version of this novel a few times and really like it. However, I realized after finally reading the novel that the film is significantly different. The movie is your standard Hollywood melodrama meant to make you feel good in the end. The book is something else entirely; much darker and without easy answers. It was still a good book, but I really didn't like the ending. I did not think it fit in with the protagonist or the feel of the rest of the book, so now my reading experience has been tainted a bit by my dissatisfaction with the last scene. I hate it when that happens.
I think I liked this movie so much just because I wasn't expecting a lot. Instead, I really liked it and think I'm a bit in love with Tony Stark. It was a lot of fun.
This is a new, straight-to-video version of the Wonder Woman story. And it's pretty good. I enjoyed it and liked some of the twists they put in (by the way, it's PG-13 and definitely not a cartoon for kids). If you're into superheroes you might like it.Milk
This movie was pretty good; the acting is phenomenal and the director does a great job integrating old footage with new. We both thought that in the end we felt somewhat distanced from the characters and that the movie seemed to focus more on recreating the historical events than on really getting into and understanding the characters. It's still a great movie and I recommend it; understatement is a lesser sin than overstatement.
I admit that I was a bit skeptical of this movie, since I loved the books so much and wasn't sure how they were going to pull off a film. Amazingly, I think the film is just as good as the books. It really works well, and I'm glad the director kept the same artistic style as the original novels because it would have been terrible otherwise. Even if you haven't read the books, see this movie. Then go read the books. You won't be disappointed.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
First of all, we've come to a decision about our life plan. Mr. Fob explains it in much more detail here, but the short version is that we've decided to move back to Utah this summer. A few weeks ago we confessed to each other that we've been harboring secret desires to live in that state, and we both feel pretty happy about this plan. We're looking forward to getting back close to family and I'm already praying that Mr. Fob can find a good job soon. I'm also considering applying to teach part-time this fall, but that might depend a bit on what else I've got going on my life. I can't believe that by the time we get there in June it will have been a year since we've seen most of you. Time is flying too fast.
Second, I actually feel relieved at the thought of moving again, probably because it's to someplace cheaper and familiar. I'm also working on letting go of the things I really dislike about Utah so I won't be one of those people who live there and constantly talk about how much they hate them. I have realized that there is no perfect place and we just have to choose one where the benefits outweigh the costs. And we definitely need to plan more vacations to California.
Third, it is my birthday in about two-and-a-half weeks. I've had some issues with my Amazon list and it's not currently up to date. Some people have asked what I would like for my birthday. I'm not sure; some things I want are intangible or out of my control, but if you want something concrete I offer this popcorn popper, this book, or a subscription to either Segullah or Irreantum. And I always appreciate cash, dark chocolate, gift cards for clothes (JC Penny, Eddie Bauer, Target), or donations in my name to worthy causes like Heifer. My birthday is on a Saturday this year and I'd wanted to go on a tour of a nearby chocolate factory, but just found out that they don't do tours anymore. Now I'm trying to decide if we should go through the trouble of getting a babysitter for the day and going out to do something together. Not sure what, though. I think I'm boring.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Once he suffered grief and pain;
Now he comes on earth to reign.
Now he comes on earth to reign.
Once a meek and lowly lamb,
Now the Lord, the great I Am.
Once upon the cross he bowed,
Now the chariot is his cloud.
Now the chariot is his cloud.
Once he groaned in blood and tears;
Now in glory He appears.
Once rejected by his own,
Now their King he shall be known.
Now their King he shall be known.
Once forsaken, left alone,
Now exalted to a throne.
Once all things he meekly bore,
But he know will bear no more.
But he now will bear no more.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
My mom and dad flew in on Saturday evening; we stopped by Ikea on the way to the airport because the kids were so excited to see them and I knew waiting around our house would be torture. Thankfully Mr. Fob and I made it out of the store without spending too much money, and we all got a yummy dinner that I didn't have to cook. My parents called to inform us of their arrival right after we had left the store and were on our way to the airport to get them, so our timing was excellent. Sunday we watched conference and feasted. First we had a yummy brunch of crepes with a variety of fillings, and then for dinner I made salmon cakes with mango salsa. I love having people come visit so I can cook fun things for them to eat. After conference in the afternoon we drove out to a nearby wetland area to walk around and look at birds. It was a bit warmer than I had expected, but we saw many interesting birds, bugs, and plants. Sunday night we also had a family home evening together and ate delicious Florida Pie for our treat. Oh, and after the kids were in bed we played Scrabble and I actually managed to beat Mr. Fob for once.
Monday was a low-key day and I did manage to go to both my classes like a responsible student. The kids also spent some time on the playground with Grandma and Grandpa and did fun Easter crafts with Grandma. We ran a few errands and had an afternoon treat at the frozen yogurt store. My parents spoiled us by doing things like washing our car, making us dinner, and buying us fresh flowers. It's nice to be spoiled. Tuesday was our big, long crazy day. We got up early and headed down to the Jelly Belly factory, because if you don't get there early you have to wait in line for a very long time. The kids were fascinated by all the cool machines and loved their free jellybean samples. We've done the tour a few times and so far it hasn't gotten old. After that we drove down to Oakland to go to a cool space center/planetarium. Along the way we stopped for lunch, and I made a poor choice of exit that yielded few good restaurant options. We drove around for a while before deciding on IHOP, which was a bad idea because the service was lousy and food was mediocre. We finally made it to the planetarium and had a great time. There were exhibits to look at, things to play with (even a real microscope), and cool movies to watch. The kids loved it. After that we spent almost an hour driving in circles around Oakland because I thought it would be easy to stop by and see the temple, but hadn't brought a good enough map. Thankfully we eventually found it, and at that moment the rain stopped and the clouds parted (literally) and we got a gorgeous view of San Francisco and the bay. It was worth the detour. That was also the point where I realized I would not make it home for my evening class and that I didn't care (even though the class is only once a week). Then today I skipped my other class in order to eat In-n-Out on the way to the airport to see my parents off.
I do feel a bit guilty about skipping classes, especially the one that is only once a week. But I also believe in finding balance in our lives and that sometimes it is more important to create memories with the ones you love. I didn't get a chance to listen to a lot of conference this weekend, but I did hear a lot that spoke to me about choosing priorities and taking advantage of opportunities to strengthen family ties. I don't plan to make blatant irresponsibility a habit this quarter, but yesterday and today it was worth it.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
The other day my mom sent me a link to an article about my great-uncle Kermit. He was my maternal grandmother's little brother, and died tragically after his pressure suit malfunctioned while he was on a training mission at Edwards Air Force Base. The article talks about how he had spent years focusing on his desire to be a pilot, and possibly astronaut. While I was reading the article S-Boogie came in and asked me what I was doing. I showed her the picture of him (it's in the PDF version of the article if you're interested) and talked about he was her ancestor and wanted to be astronaut just like she does. Of course she asked what happened to him, and I told her about the plane crash and that becoming an astronaut can sometimes be dangerous. She thought about it for a moment and then asked "what do you call those people who study the planets with telescopes on the ground?" I responded, "astronomers." She looked at me and said "I think maybe I'll just be an astronomer."