Tuesday, January 25, 2011
If I had been blogging at 2 this afternoon I would have told you about whiny the baby was. And I would have told you about how I gave in to Little Dude's pleading to make a volcano like the one in the Super Science Book. It's an extra special volcano where you add some red Jell-O powder to make it look cool. It was a lot of fun until I foolishly left the room for a few minutes to change the baby's diaper and came back to a giant puddle of sticky red gelatin-infused vinegar dripping all over my cabinets and freshly washed floor.
If I had been blogging at 4 I would have shared my excitement about the email I got from Jeopardy! inviting me to an in-person audition in Salt Lake in March. I had taken the online test almost a year ago, but assumed that since I had not heard anything that meant I had not passed. I guess I did after all, and the bonus is that the tryout is on a Thursday morning so it doesn't conflict with work. Hopefully the third time is it and 2011 will be the year I get on Jeopardy.
If I had been blogging at 5 I would have discussed my regret over having realized that we had gone several months without a major illness. The baby woke up from her nap sad, hot, and shaky--she had a fever of 103! Little Dude was drooping too so I took his temperature and found that he was at 102. They both got ibuprofen and drinks and an hour of snuggling on the couch with me. By then the medicine seemed to be working and they were feeling good enough to have some dinner (baked potatoes are a good back-up plan) and get to bed early. Hopefully we will all get a decent sleep.
Right now I need to get to bed. I spent too long creating a new lesson plan for tomorrow because I didn't like my old one. I hope it will work well. I also hope the baby is well enough to go to her appointment tomorrow. I scheduled a visit with an office that makes shaping helmets to see if she is a good candidate for one and talk about her options for fixing her flat head because we weren't feeling comfortable about 'wait and see'. More on that soon. Now it's time for one more lemon bar before going to sleep. My biggest wish is that I will be spared this illness. Part-time instructors don't get substitutes.
Friday, January 21, 2011
This week I feel like I've been doing a good job trying to stick with my motto of 'use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without' when it comes to food. I thought I my budget was doing great until I realized that for some reason in Excel it wasn't adding up the first few items in the groceries column. Oops. We still have enough money and food to get through the rest of the month, but it's less than I thought. On Monday we had mini-pizzas that used up some tomato sauce I had leftover from last week (sadly we had no olives to make faces on them), Tuesday I made enchiladas with the corn tortillas, summer squash, and leftover pork roast languishing in my fridge. Wednesday we had Indian food and I was feeling too lazy to make naan so I discovered that fresh cooked tortillas are an excellent substitute. I think pre-made tortillas that you cook yourself are the best new thing since pre-shredded cheese. Lately I've also been in love with toasted nuts; if you toast your nuts before putting them in salads or cookies they are infinitely more tasty.
This time of year I long for winter in California, especially when it is cold and brown and everything is covered with dirty snow. I miss the cool fog and the pounding rain storms. I miss the fact that winter is green there. I wish I could magically live in San Luis Obispo for half the year and Orem the other half. Or that I could magically transport all the people I love to San Luis Obispo so we could all live happily there.
I've had a lot of good posts in my head, and yet I have again failed to write them all down before they went away. Lately I feel like I'm busy all the time and yet never accomplishing anything that I want to. I've been trying to figure out why this is and how to fix that, starting with a Family Home Evening on Monday to help the kids remember what their responsibilities are and help them set some goals. Hopefully it will help.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
The year 2000 started for me on my mission in Spain. I spent that entire year in Spain and came back early in 2001. I lived with my parents in Maryland for a few months, then came back to school at BYU in Provo. My husband and I got married at the end of 2001 and spent a few more years in Utah. We moved to Seattle and then to California before coming back to buy a house in Utah. When this last decade started my parents lived in Maryland but they have moved closer to us in Las Vegas. My mother-in-law lived in Hawaii during the first few years of marriage but she has also moved to Utah. My husband and I have lived in seven different homes during the last nine years.
During the last ten years I acquired a husband and three beautiful children. I got to experience pregnancy, childbirth (only c-sections, no labor), related health issues, depression, anxiety, and a lot of dirty diapers. Plenty of joy along with those times, too. We're still married despite many of the things we've dealt with during the last 9 years.
When I got home from my mission I needed to finish my undergraduate degree. Since then I finished my bachelor's degree with a double major, earned a master's degree, and spent a year in a PhD program. My husband finished his bachlor's degree and completed two master's degrees. We've gone from being dirt-poor students who owned some books and a couch to owning our own home and car, and a whole bunch of other stuff (we still have most of the books but have been through many couches in the interim).
When we got married we had a computer and internet, but have since discovered blogging, Facebook, and many other ways to connect with people. Both through my husband's writing and my own I have made many new, dear friends and have had some great times with them. We have also travelled to see friends and family in Hawaii, Oregon, California, Arizona, Wyoming, and Nevada.
Unfortunately we've been to a lot of funerals. My friend and her husband died in 2002 and then two weeks later my brother-in-law also passed away suddenly. The next year I lost a great uncle. Two years after that, my aunt. The next year, my grandmother. The next an uncle. Then another uncle the year after that. And then my grandfather. So many good, sweet people that I hope to see again some day. My grandmother's house in Wyoming has now been completely emptied and remodeled--there have been many shifts in my extended family.
We've also welcomed several in-laws and nieces and nephews. I've come to love my husband's family and feel like they are my own and I have always been a part of them.
I feel like so much has changed during the last ten years of my life. Most of this change has been positive. I'm very happy with where I am at in my life right now and look forward to the future. Looking down the road another ten years I hope to be in the same house, with older children who have some goals for their lives, and with the same sweet husband who loves me. I hope we don't have so many funerals to go to and that we can go to more happy occasions like weddings and baptisms. More than anything I hope to be more kind, more faithful, and more confident in myself.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Although our day was long it went pretty well. My cousin's wife emailed me earlier this week to see if they could help us out, so we went up to Salt Lake last night and stayed in their home. It was nice to see them and it meant only a 15-minute drive with the baby this morning instead of an hour-long (at least) drive through morning traffic. The scan was not as scary as I had anticipated; they just needed to look at her head so the scan itself was short and they used a sedative that didn't make her completely unconscious, just really out of it. It was a little scary to see her so 'gone', but they were monitoring her and the entire time period for the sedation was only about half an hour total. We are feeling very relieved that we don't have to do anything worse to her than that. The final thing that made my day was when the eye doctor I saw last week called us back tonight to follow up on the scan and the results. He is an awesome person and one of the nicest doctors I have ever dealt with.
Saturday, January 08, 2011
The eye doctor was very pleasant and I felt very at ease with him. I was amazed by all the things he did to be able to examine the eyes of a very wiggly, eleven-month old baby. He told me that her eye looked fine, but that her face was asymmetrical. In fact, the way he said it sounded like he assumed that I already knew that. I was shocked and somewhat embarrassed that I had never noticed it, but once he pointed it out the difference between the left side and right side of her face was glaringly obvious. His receptionist was amazingly helpful with getting us appointments in Salt Lake next Thursday for a CT scan of her head and a consultation with a pediatric craniofacial specialist.
The tentative diagnosis the eye doctor gave me is craniosynostosis, which means that one of the bones in her skull fused too early and so the left side has not been able to grow. At first I thought it might likely be the other possibility, which would be a flattened skull from sleeping on the same side, but when I found these pictures I was convinced. Several of them look exactly like P. Bibby's face. If we don't get a diagnosis of craniosynostosis next week I will be very surprised.
I'm actually glad I did some searching on my own so that I can know what to expect. The only real treatment for it is surgery and I'm glad I have some time to prepare for that possibility. Mr. Fob and I have already talked through the logistics and the emotional issues and I think we are prepared for that option. It will probably have to be sooner rather than later since she is nearly one year old. 2011 is already shaping up to be a much crazier year than I expected.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
This year I read 86 books; I thought I had read fewer than I had in previous years, but it was more than both 2008 and 2009 . Since having a baby at the beginning of this year and then starting to work part-time I feel much more pressed for time than I used to; it doesn't look like my reading time has suffered nearly as much as I think it has.
59 books were fiction and 27 were nonfiction; I thought I had been reading plenty of nonfiction, but I guess I was wrong. Several of those nonfiction books were memoirs; this must have been a year for narrative. I do like nonfiction and maybe next year I'll read more. In 2007 and 2008 the numbers were almost evenly split between fiction and nonfiction, but the last two years have been heavily weighted towards fiction.
48 books were written by women and 38 by men, nearly an even split. This seems to continue a trend that I've seen over the past few year.I also read a lot of LDS books, something I have been trying to do more of during the last few years. I also read a few 'classics' and would like to increase that number, as well as the number of books in translation.
In no particular order, here are some books that stood out to me:
Dispensation: Latter-day Fiction ed. Angela Hallstrom
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi
These is My Words by Nancy Turner
In the Company of Angels by David Farland
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Room by Emma Donaghue
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
Nurtureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
Nothing Was the Same by Kay Redfield Jamison
Yearning for the Living God by F. Enzio Busche
Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer
When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin
Every Man in this Village is a Liar by Megan Stack
We only watched 38 movies last year; that's more than in 2009, but still not as high as earlier years. I love movies and we just bought a projector for our family room, so hopefully in 2011 we'll watch even more. Some of my favorites were:
The Best of Youth
The Lovely Bones
Up in the Air
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Monday, January 03, 2011
This is a beautiful little book; it is an incomplete manuscript discovered and published by the author's daughter after her death. I wish she had finished it during her lifetime because her writing is keenly observant and very beautiful. The author has the kind of voice that really sticks with you for long after reading the book and leaves you feeling like you really know her.
When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
This book surprised me; it is a novel about the internment of Japanese-Americans, and yet takes such a unique approach that I found myself deeply touched in a way I had not been by other novels about the same subject. Each chapter focuses on a different member of a California family (that remains unnamed) and a different aspect of the journey to the camp and back. I think the spare prose and the focus on small details really made the story so much more poignant and vivid to me.
Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein
A review of this book led me to believe that it was literary fiction; after a short while of reading it I realized that it was a supernatural thriller. That's not really my favorite genre and I didn't like this book that much, but I went ahead and read it anyways. The story was interesting and a good mix of native legend with contemporary mystery, but I really disliked most of the main characters and had a very hard time feeling any sympathy for them. The writing is also pretty choppy and spends too much time telling us about people, generally in stereotypical prose.Picasso's War: The Destruction of Guernica and the Masterpiece that Changed the World by Russell Martin
I already know quite a lot about the recent history of Spain, but not a lot about Guernica, so I thought this book would be an interesting read. It might be good as an introduction to both the painting and the history of Spain after the Civil War, but I found it very boring. The topic was interesting and I learned a lot of new things, but there was something about the writing that really lacked any kind of ability to keep the reader's interest.
Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams
Williams is a versatile author and I have loved everything I have read by her. She can be really funny sometimes, but she can also write so well about hard subjects that will just make you cry. This is one of her 'harder' books, but the fact that it is written in verse, with each page only offering a 'glimpse' of the story really makes it compelling. I especially liked the fact that she managed to build suspense both into the exterior story and the interior story of a girl learning and accepting the truth about her mother.Every Man in this Village is a Liar: An Education in War by Megan Stack
I think this book will stick with me for a long time. Stack is a foreign correspondent for a major newspaper who spent a number of years living in countries in the Middle East. Her writing in this book is much more personal than any newspaper story; she puts in many little details that really drive home the impact of violence and terror on individuals, not only the violence of bombs but also the psychological violence of totalitarian regimes.
They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, 1967 by David Maraniss
This book is very dense and took me a long time to read, but it was worth it. It paints a broad picture of events that took place at the same time in different parts of the world: an Army operation in Vietnam and peace protest back home in America. I really liked the way he brought in many different people and profiled them and how the events of that time affected them both then and now. This book was fascinating in the way that it really brought together what seemed to be two widely different worlds and showed how really connected they were (and yet also showing how hard it was for one to understand the other at the time).
The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
I really didn't want to read this book because I had strongly disliked Udall's first novel. It just felt too much like other contemporary fiction where every character is incredibly quirky, flawed, and a little seamy. I have to admit that the tone is fairly similar here, but for some reason I found myself really liking this book (despite my initial intention not to). Despite the fact that the protagonist is horribly quirky, flawed, and seamy, he is still deeply sympathetic and it is hard not to like him or at least sympathize with him. I still don't think this is the Great Mormon Novel, but I'm willing to give it status as a Great Utah Novel (I need to write another post about this; hopefully I will someday).
As Mr. Fob put it, we expected this movie to be perfect and it wasn't. I also felt like it reminded me too much of Shutter Island, in the music, the cinematography, and in the way the Leonardo Di Caprio portrayed his character (who was rather similar to his character in that movie). Perhaps I'll have watch it again some other day when I'm in a more charitable mood.
Saturday, January 01, 2011
I think what I would like to do instead is to set monthly goals. One piece of the puzzle to work on each month; perhaps accomplishing small, measurable things will help me make some lasting changes. For January I am going to get back on a regular sleeping schedule. I will be in bed with the light off at 10:30 and during the week I will get up at 6:30 (either to exercise or to get ready for work). I do have goals for exercising and scripture study that I'd like to do in the morning, but for this month I will focus on sleep. I will report back at the end of the month.