Monday, January 25, 2010


Awesome idea

This is a cool idea. I sat through yet another "the family is under attack" lesson this week. I think most of the women around me live lower on the economic food chain than the people portrayed in the NY Times article, and I suspect that's part of what makes their families strong.

I wonder if we would, as a people, create stronger families if we actually lived well below our means and donated the rest to charity. We're encouraged to live below our means by tithing; I wonder if that feeds into less divorce?

Friday, January 22, 2010

So cute, Newt!

I just love it when Republicans try to sound populist. It's adorable. Take Newt Gingritch in this interview on NPR. He claims,

But the convoluted, very complex system that we built over the last 30 years has primarily been anti-middle class. It's been anti-middle class candidates. If you're going to retain constitutional freedom and allow people to criticize their politicians effectively and allow them to be engaged effectively, I think you want to really be engaged in allowing the maximum of resources to be in politics, not the minimum.

My thinking was always the best way to criticize your politicians is with direct communication to said politicians and a vote against them if they fail to live up to your desires. Silly me!

He also claims,

Well, the president was elected in part by labor unions who massed their resources of people, who have no choice but to have their money taken out of their dues. The president spent money that was donated through to a variety of organizations, including, by very, very rich people.

Those rich people, all over the country; more than a million of them. More donors than any other campaign in history. Yeah, those very, very rich people who donated to the Obama campaign and helped him steal the election from the Republicans, the true keepers of our nation's best interests.

Well, now those populist Republicans can even the playing field! They can accept as much money as companies will give them. Isn't that great?

If only people could be counted on to question everything they're told, especially on TV and radio, and find out the truth behind whatever claims are made in the political arena--whether from conservatives or liberals--then it wouldn't be a big deal. Unfortunately, advertisers pretty much know what's going to convince people to buy something, whether it be a product or an idea, and I fear all this money will do is spread the lies we all want to hear further and further. Sounds like is going to be a more and more important (and I hope more and more widely read) source of political information in the future.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


While Derrick was here finishing up the burden of housework gradually, then not so gradually, shifted to me. I remember back in the days before Sylvia we shared work pretty equally; in fact, there were several tasks I never really took on (vacuuming, for one) because Derrick cared more than me and so stayed on top of them better. Since he was finishing, though, and deadlines looming closer and closer for him, I started taking over more of the housework, even the stuff Derrick typically took care of. Either that, or it went undone (which is why my house has gradually accumulated more and more clutter and grime lately. Grr).

The deal was Derrick would return the favor when it was my turn to finish. Turn about's fair play, right? Sadly,that probably won't happen, since by then he'll be working at his new post-doc (assuming the position is still there when he finishes). Turns out, according to this article, I'm not alone in doing most of the housework and child-rearing. I'm not surprised, though I am surprised at the size of the disparity. I'd not have guessed there would be a 20%-plus gap, even when both spouses are scientists. I've talked to other female scientists and definitely gotten the impression there's quite a bit of give and take--one spouse will be primary house/child-care for a little while, then it'll switch when the other partner needs to focus on work. It's a little depressing even in situations like that the balance of the housework lands on the lap of the wife, even though both partners are putting in similar amounts of time at work.

I still hope Derrick and I can find a balance closer to 50/50 (or maybe 40/40/20, with the last category for paid housework), but it sounds like if I do, I'll be bucking a trend. Ah well, a girl can dream!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A little late for Christmas

Here's Miss Sylvia Claus:

Vanilla ice cream makes for a fun and tasty facial treatment.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Over Christmas I saw (bits and pieces of) a program on the History channel on survival after societal collapse. The program focused mostly on the resources that are required to keep you alive (food, water), where you can find those after the most obvious supplies are exhausted, and what happens physiologically when you're denied food and water for an extended period of time and how to deal with those effects.

As I've been listening and reading about the Haiti earthquake and its aftermath, I'm struck by the focus on food while forgetting about water. You can survive much longer without food than you can without water, yet we think of sending food first. In my ward there's a project (announced just before the Haiti quake) to put together 72 hour kits. It's a great idea, but again, the 72 hour kit is mostly food for three days, not water. Really, I'd think it most important to have a filter or iodine tablets in an emergency. I guess that means I should put together my own 72 hour kit with some water and some iodine for an emergency.

Monday, January 11, 2010

All kinds

The internet is a place where anything can be published, and many, many things are published and found that would otherwise probably languish in obscurity. Take this site, which will apparently soon receive it's millionth visitor (if it's you and you followed the link from here, you'd better share the twenty bucks with me!). The woman who has that blog is amazing with hair. Seriously creative and talented. I am in awe. Seriously.

Of course, that particular talent is one I will never even attempt to cultivate--in all likelihood Sylvia's hair will never tolerate so much styling. Mine never could and Sylvia's fine blondness is so reminiscent of my own I suspect she'll be sporting a halo of flyaway hairs with any hairdo.

It's great to see that in the great sea of the interwebs, people do rise to the top for excellence, even it is for random, sometimes weird or pointless, but always entertaining, talents.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I frequently hold my tongue in discussions, especially at church, mostly because I hate being the kill-joy in the group. When I read "The Gurnsey literary and Potato Peel Pie Society," I said nary a negative word about the book, even though I'd wanted back the couple of hours it took me to get through that particular pile of cliches and shallow characters sporting far too modern attitudes, mostly because everyone else was gushing over it and I didn't want to dump on something everyone else obviously enjoyed. Similarly, at church I don't voice many of my criticisms because I know many of the things that bug me are pillars of faith for others. Instead, I blog, expecting those who read can either handle my disagreement or will move on. I'm guessing most people move on, but I do appreciate those who stick around, whether to be entertained by my daughter's antics or to read my occasional attempts at deep thought, or whatever.

Speaking of Sylvia's antics, I took these pictures today:

She's figured out how to open screw tops and, forgetting the red pepper flakes don't have a shaker top on them I let her have that jar to play with. She was rather pleased with her chili-pepper angels on the floor, as you can see.

Now that the entertainment portion of the post is over, those of you who just wanted to see my cute girl can leave.

The rest of you may be curious why I'm bringing up the reasoning behind holding my tongue. Well, probably it's on my mind because I held my tongue quite a lot today. We were talking about foreordination, which is a fine topic--particularly if you happen to feel like you're one of the noble and great ones the manual and the scriptures go on about. I suspect it helps to be youngish and male to feel that way, from the examples produced in class. I know, we're living in the latter days and by definition all of us were "held in reserve" and thus we are the noble and great ones. Never mind that the only woman mentioned in the D&C is Eve--not even Mary makes the cut (though the avoidance of anything vaguely Catholic probably explains that one). After a long list of men foreordained to be prophets or apostles or mission presidents, and a seemingly longer list of positions one may be foreordained to hold (but only if you're male), the teacher brought up motherhood, telling us women we were foreordained to bear and raise children. I like the teacher, really--he's a great guy, and I'm glad he at least thought about women at some point in the very male-centric lesson he was teaching. It still felt like a patronizing pat-on-the-head afterthought.

I find it problematic to speak of foreordination in respect to motherhood. Having babies is a biological function that I am capable of because I happen to have two X chromosomes instead of an X and a Y. If I was foreordained to have babies, that implies every other woman in the world was also foreordained to have babies. Except those who are infertile, or married to infertile men, or whose babies die, or who just don't ever get married or have babies for whatever reason.

The examples given of what men are foreordained to do depend on righteousness for their fulfillment, which is not at all the case for motherhood. Girls fall into motherhood for violating the law of chastity all the time, which hardly seems like a reward for being righteous/financially successful in the same way being called as a mission president is. From that perspective alone claiming we are foreordained as mothers is a problem. All of the examples for men require righteousness; motherhood is independent of righteousness, as any unwed mother or faithful saint struggling with years of infertility can tell you.

But motherhood is hard, and I know for some women it's helpful to believe they are specially called to raise their children. (Perhaps they're right and I'm just too jaded to give that idea the credulity it deserves). So even though I question the claim that motherhood is a calling we women are foreordained to, I said nothing, saving my doubts for a blog post that will likely reach fewer eyes and I hope harm none.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Wow, it's cold. I know, it's the midwest in winter, but it's so cold. I miss the mountains for their beauty every day, but on days like today, I miss them for the insulation they provide.

I'm still working on prepping photos to post, but I finally downloaded all my pictures from the trip so I can post a few of them.

The bug girl has a new bug dress and some fun wooden toys to throw around, courtesy of her grandparents.

I found this picture of me as a baby and thought it would be interesting to see the comparison between Sylvia and the picture. We're definitely related!

I'm sad this picture is blurry, but Sylvia's still cute. We stopped at the Great Salt Lake on our way up to the New Year's non-party and took a few photos, since it was beautiful and we showed up just in time for sunset. I had to twist Derrick's arm a bit to get him to stop (I think he asked three times if I really wanted to stop or not) and he said he didn't want to take any pictures. That lasted all of about 2 minutes before he stole my camera to take a few pictures of his own. Sylvia had a blast in the snow and I think would happily have stayed to play in the snow banks had we not strapped her back into her car seat for the remainder of the trip to Mimi's.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rethinking things...

So, Derrick and I are currently on different sides of the Mississippi, separated by something like 1400 miles of cold, icy roads with the expectation he'll be staying there and I'll be staying here for most of the next four months. We've dealt with separations of this sort before, frequently with a longer interval between seeing one another than we're facing here. The difference is, we now have Sylvia. Taking care of a child completely by myself is a whole different kettle of fish.

Something that was made clear about 40 minutes after I got home when I heard Sylvia gagging on something. Something white, greasy, and smelling mildly of perfume. I'm not sure where Sylvia got the deodorant she was munching on; indeed, I'm not entirely sure it was deodorant (though it looked, smelled, and felt like deodorant does, so I'm guessing that's what it was). But there she was, gagging on the stuff.

I called my mom, who gave me the number for poison control (800-222-1222 for Utah, in case anyone else ever needs it), and they told me deodorant isn't dangerous but it is an irritant, so while it might cause her to puke, it won't do any lasting damage. They suggested I give Sylvia something to drink and watch her, which I did and she's fine.

It's pretty clear to me, though, that as difficult as keeping track of Sylvia's whereabouts and activities was when Derrick was here, it's going to be much, much harder on my own. On the plus side, Sylvia also sampled some cat food and spat it out after chewing it up, so I have hope that she's growing out of the eat everything even if it's nasty phase and moving into a phase where she'll spit things out if they taste unpleasant. Makes life simpler when your charges avoid danger on their own.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The sacrifices we make

Ah, family. The people we love. How do we show this love? By making sacrifices. Like turning off "Battlestar Galactica" because my husband didn't want to watch it in order to watch "Six Days, Seven Nights." So far, I'm not impressed with the trade. Indeed, Derrick has just informed me (since I slunk away to write this) that the movie may be getting worse. Sigh. I didn't realize Harrison Ford made bad movies.

Sometimes my family, at least, provides enough entertainment to make things worth while. Last night we were supposed to have a New Year's party (planned by one aunt and uncle without clearing said party with the hosting aunt and uncle), but then, since three of the four of the children of the pair planning the party couldn't come, they canceled. Again, without informing the aunt and uncle actually hosting. Good times. I didn't hear about the cancellation either because I've misplaced my phone (something I'll have to remedy before too long), and I have to say that worked out wonderfully--Derrick, Sylvia and I showed up for the party my other aunt and uncle were throwing and had a blast. Sylvia didn't stay up for midnight (thank goodness!) but was the life of the party before she fell asleep. She seemed especially fond of my uncle, body-slamming him whenever he was silly enough to lay down.

This morning dawned far too early for my tastes. The same uncle hosting the party also hosts a traditional ice fishing trip on new year's day. It started about 12 years ago, one year when he took me and my uncle down to Fish Lake and fished through some incredibly clear ice. I've had some good days ice fishing, but that one was superb--gorgeous, not too cold, and good fishing. Anyway, my uncle has a bad cold starting, he only hosted breakfast (though he was sorely tempted to join, as was obvious from him showing up in his normal ice fishing attire and doing everything he could to facilitate the trip), but the drive is long enough that breakfast started at 7. Silly me, I started reading "Catching fire," the sequel to Suzanne Collin's "The Hunger Games" (a book I enjoyed more than I expected to) and didn't go to sleep until too long after toasting in the new year. Which all means I should be tired and should go to sleep, since it's a barely reasonable 11:00 almost, but then I remember--there's a silly movie on in the next room--one that will likely keep me awake with its obvious ridiculousness and numerous opportunities to make fun of it.

Ah, Derrick informs me the pirates (yes, there are pirates--near Tahiti, no less) just blew themselves up. Perhaps the end of the movie is at hand.