Thursday, February 26, 2009

To be a record keeping person

Derrick was ordained to the office of Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood by my Grandpa. I remember coming out for spring break and I remember a bunch of people from my family making the trek to Derrick's ward for the ordination. Unfortunately, I don't remember the date (other than around spring break) and I'm not much of a record keeper, so I'm pretty sure I didn't write it down anywhere.

Apparently, Derrick's ward clerk didn't write it down either.

There is no record that Derrick has been ordained to any office in either priesthood. I'm hoping that this won't prevent him from blessing Sylvia on Sunday--the Bishop said he'd let Derrick bless Sylvia as long as we found some witnesses to the ordination. It's so strange that there's no record at all of either ordination. It's obvious it happened--Derrick's been endowed, and we were sealed in the temple--there's just no paper trail associated with the ordination. This is one of those times when I really wish I were more consistent in my record keeping so that I could go back and find the date in my journal and say, "oh yes, it was a beautiful day in March. My uncles, A and B, and aunts, C and D, and my cousins, X, Y, and Z, all came down." Or perhaps even better, I wish my Grandpa were still alive so we could just call him up and he'd say, "yes, I ordained Derrick. He holds the Melchizedek priesthood."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Grumpy girl with two teeth

Tonight I was supposed to go out with other grad students from the department to help woo (and judge) the prospective graduate students. Instead, I hung out with a whiny, drooling baby who cried like I was abandoning her to the cold cruel world when I dared put her down for the night. Poor kid has another tooth coming in, and while the first one didn't seem to make much of a difference in her demeanor, this one apparently causes enough discomfort that she isn't sleeping well and REALLY doesn't want to be put down. As rough as dealing with a teething child is, I'll still take it over schmoozing with prospective students.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Transient art

Thursday is the day Derrick and Sylvia come to work with me. Derrick attends a lab meeting here on campus, and then hangs out with Sylvia in my office until I'm done teaching. Usually I take Sylvia in the morning before his lab meeting so he can get a little bit done before his meeting. Today Sylvia and I wandered down to the main office (something that is not at all unusual--the office ladies LOVE Sylvia), where one of them told me about the cupcake portraits of Abe Lincoln and Barack Obama. I'd heard the story earlier, and it got me thinking about art that is transient--specifically, meant to be consumed in one way or another--and gender.

A long time ago I read a book called The Mating Mind, which is about how sexual selection could have acted on humans to produce our large brains and complex culture. Briefly, the claim is that a big brain requires a lot of energy, and if an individual has access to a lot of energy, especially during childhood, chances are the genes that individual possess are high quality. Behaviors that prove individuals have a big brain include art, language, music, politics, and many other very human behaviors that are, in one way or another, attractive to at least some members of the opposite sex.

One of the observations made in the book is that even in a very egalitarian creative situation, typically one sees a 60/40 split between men and women. Almost always there are more male writers than women, even though women have (on average) larger vocabularies; there are more male fashion designers (by far!) even though women buy and wear most clothing; and even though women are far more likely to attend religious services, men are far more likely to head religious organizations. Any number of possible reasons have been posited for this discrepancy, some suggesting women are less interested in accomplishments that drive men, others that women are given less credit for what they do, or seek for less acclaim than men for what they've done. I myself have no real thoughts on the topic (I really have only myself as a data point), but in myself I do see a tendency to put a lot of effort into projects that are transient in nature--a tasty meal, a plate of cookies, a smiling baby. While Derrick enjoys the transient arts as well, he puts quite a bit more effort into projects that produce more lasting results. I realize the microcosm of our relationship has no real statistical significance, but if my experience, where I expend most of my energy in projects that leave no permanent record while my husband's efforts do, are similar to those of most women, it's really no wonder history doesn't record many of us--we simply haven't left enough durable evidence of our lives in the past. I wonder if the explosion of blogs, particularly of "Mommy blogs," will change that trend in the future. I may consume my artisan bread, leaving nary a crumb to the generations that follow, but the pictures I post will be there to see as long as the servers maintain my blog!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pain in the neck

I am so glad that Sylvia is now (most likely) over 17 lb. That said, I wish my body were more capable of handling that weight. Thursday my neck started to hurt. The pain started in one spot fairly high up on my neck, just on the left side, and then started to spread down into my shoulders. By Friday my neck hurt badly enough in spite of my heating and icing it that I took ibuprofen for the pain. Since Saturday the only way I've been functional (or able to sleep) is with pain killers (something that was made clear when I didn't take anything before church and couldn't make it through sacrament meeting).

I don't normally think of myself as a pain woos. I mean, I went through 21 hours of un-medicated labor, 11 of which were on pitocin, so I think I can handle pain. The thing is, this pain, though probably not as intense, is just so constant, and it interferes so much with my daily life. I can't pick things up without pain, or sometimes even hold them. Holding my arm or my head in certain ways is nearly unbearable. I don't want to drive because I don't want to turn my head either direction for fear of twinging my neck. I am being driven to distraction by simple discomfort.

So why am I blogging about this, you may ask? Am I hoping for sympathy? Not really (though it's always appreciated). Everyone feels pain sometimes--of that I am well aware. My current pain situation is hardly unique. I'm sure this pain is far from the worst I've felt, and there may be people out there who are in much worse, even people reading this blog. So again, why am I talking about this?

It's because I made tamales and awesome red mole this weekend that I haven't even eaten yet, and all I want to do is take a pain killer and lie down. Argh.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Darwin!

Not many people are still famous--or infamous--200 years after their birth. Abe Lincoln, born the same day, may have been derided in his time, but today he's pretty much admired by all. Here's to hoping that the 300th anniversary of Darwin's birth will be marked by more celebration and less disbelief.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Monkey see, monkey do

So, technically Sylvia was probably chewing on her toothbrush, but she definitely enjoyed it when I brushed her first and only tooth.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Gene deletion

Evidently some people are missing a critical humor gene. If I were missing a gene, even if that missing gene were to cause discomfort or even death, somehow I doubt having a cool name for that gene would offend me. But then, I'm a scientist and have a suitably strange sense of humor.

In other news, Sylvia is not, apparently, lacking in any genes that influence growth. Today she weighed in at 16 lb, 14 oz and was 26 1/2 inches long, which put her in the 75th percentile for both measurements.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Six months

Yesterday was actually Sylvia's half birthday, but it was a very busy day so I didn't get around to posting any pictures. She did wear a very cute hat for the occasion of her half-birthday. Combined with the tie-dyed onesie, I call this the "love monkey" look.

Friday, February 6, 2009

First tooth

So, yesterday evening, while I was supposed to be paying attention to the dinner conversation going on around me at enrichment, I was really paying attention to Sylvia and the little hard thing sticking slightly out of her bottom gum. I couldn't see to be absolutely sure it's a tooth (especially because any time I try to look Sylvia just thinks I'm playing with her tongue or something so she sticks it farther out, blocking my view of her gum) but I'm sure in a few days it'll be quite obvious. Guess this is why she was cranky and had a hard time sleeping a few nights ago.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I've seen this map on a bunch of people's blogs lately. Lemming that I am, I thought I'd also add it to my blog. I'm not sure I ever expected to do so much traveling when I was a kid. In high school my sister, Kim, spent a summer in Massachusetts, which seemed so far away and so metropolitan. Friends of mine at the time told me they expected I'd never live outside Utah. Now I've lived all over the country and traveled around the world. Sometimes I'm simply amazed at the life I live.

visited 43 states (86%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or try another Douwe Osinga project

Monday, February 2, 2009

almost cute

Sylvia gets very excited when I get home from work. And by excited I mean she starts screaming and crying and flailing all her little extremities in and effort to escape from the clutches of her father. According to Derrick she'll be happy and giggling up until the moment she hears a key in the door, at which point her attention focuses on the door and the person she knows will soon enter the room (that would be me). From that moment until the time I pick her up she wails like she's been abandoned and terribly ignored. As soon as she's in my arms she'll turn around and give Derrick a huge grin.

It's almost endearing. Almost. If she'd give me enough time to take off my coat and hat before launching into the hysterics I'd be more amused.


While Derrick and I were in San Francisco, we ran into a classmate of mine from Caltech. This particular classmate happens to be gay and, when we ran into him, was going out to some gay clubs with a bunch of my (hetero) friends from Penn State and 'Tech. They invited Derrick and I along, but since we had Sylvia I was pretty sure 1--we'd need to put her to bed soon, and 2--we'd stick out like sore thumbs.

Anyway, not long after we got back from AGU and from Christmas, I came across Seeking forgiveness, a blog where Mormons post their apologies for prop 8. I'd like to add my own apology here. I am sorry for the pain. I am sorry for the loneliness, for the exclusion. I am sorry people I know and respect, and love, participated in this hurtful action against others who I know and respect and love. I am sorry our collective cognitive dissonance allows for the support of prop 8 by a people who were formerly reviled for their own peculiar marital practices. It causes me pain that this group with which I align myself is aligning itself so strongly with other groups and other viewpoints I find abhorrent.

I know, dear ex-friend, you will almost certainly never read this, but I am sorry that nearly a decade ago I voted for prop 22 and, during that time, I bought into all the lies about gays and lesbians. I am sorry that so long ago I told you I thought you shouldn't be able to adopt--I was wrong to think that, and especially wrong to say that. I'm sure it surprised you to learn that I thought you less human, less capable of love and nurture than a heterosexual person. I am surprised today that I didn't fully realize the implications of my blind acceptance of those beliefs, and embarassed by my nievete. I know nothing will ever bridge the chasam I opened between us with my callousness, but I promise I will do my utmost to be more thoughtful and less divisive in the future.