Monday, January 31, 2011


Have you heard about what's going on in Egypt? The riots and demonstrations, and demands for democracy from a people who have spent the last 29 years living in a dictatorship? I imagine you have, given you'd pretty much have to live in a box to not hear anything about the Egyptian riots.

I have to say, I think this is pretty cool to watch. Admittedly, I have no stakes in the events--no family, no friends; nobody I know is in any sort of danger--but I am pretty excited to see Egyptians pressing for democracy. I hope they get it, and I hope it brings them prosperity and freedom, and better lives all around. I hope that they soon see free, fair elections, and that those men and women who are elected take more care of the needs of their fellow countrymen than Mubarak has.

While perusing blogs to read more about what's going on in Egypt, I came across an account of the evacuation of LDS people on Hissatopia, and there, amongst the list, "People I Love" is the Island of Phelps (which I also link to, and who I would also categorize as "People I love"). It is a small, small world, and technology makes it even smaller. (In another random connection I had no inkling of until today, the Belts link to a San Diego family in my ward. Such a small world)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baby hippo

Sylvia was home sick today. Really, she isn't sick, but she's had goopy eyes the last few days and her daycare didn't want to risk pink eye, so she had to stay home. Feeling stir-crazy myself, we went to the zoo.

Our first stop was the petting zoo, where I discovered Sylvia is afraid of 24-inch-tall goats. She did really like the black rabbit (named Darth Vader) and was willing to touch him. While we were there, one of the zoo keepers mentioned a baby hippo was born yesterday, so off we went to find the baby hippo.

After meandering past tigers and birds, we found the hippo enclosure pretty packed with people wanting to glimpse the little (as compared to the mama, anyway) bundle of joy. The pair were lounging in the sun when we arrived, but within a few minutes the mama pushed the baby to his or her feet (gender is still to be determined--mama hippo is too protective to allow the handlers access to the baby) and then pushed the baby into the water. The two swam around a bit, with the mama hippo pushing baby to the top of the water to allow it to breathe.

Sadly, I decided not to take the camera today, so we have no proof that we saw the baby hippo. You'll just have to take my word for it.

It's amazing how much a baby hippo can do, just a little more than a day after it's born. It stood on its own and swam, though not well. I guess such proficiency is required for animals that live in wild, dangerous places and don't have mothers or social structures capable of keeping babies safe for months at a time while skills are acquired. Still, it's incredible to me that a baby hippo is strong enough to walk a mere day after it's born. Makes me wonder how much more uncomfortable the proddings of a hippo pregnancy are than a human one!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Safety pins

I walked past a safety pin this morning and barely even had the urge to pick it up. While that may not sound like a significant thing, for me it is. I always pick up safety pins. They're insanely useful little tools--tools which, incidentally, have been around since ancient Greece.

I have several pairs of pants and shorts that always have a safety pin stuck in them specifically so I can pop blisters on long hikes. The safety pins are invariably a little scruffy because, even though I have many safety pins in my sewing equipment, these safety pins were rescued off the street by my fingers that are so unable to pass them by.

Until this morning.

I realize I don't need them anymore. I don't go on long walks through woodland and desert. I don't get blisters. I use more safety pins to keep my daughter's clothing in place than I do for emergency first aid. I've moved out of that phase of my life, and you know, I don't even miss it. I sort of feel like I should miss the hiking and the outdoorsiness; the backpacking and associated tiredness and soreness at the end of the day; the campfires and simple food that would seem so inadequate at home, made deliciously gourmet by hard exertion.

But I don't. I'm content with what I have. Hiking with a 2-year-old (especially one who insist on being carried) would be slow and irritating, not to mention potentially dangerous since she's not so good at hills and insecure footing yet. It's going to be a while before I want to have her near a camp-fire--unless she's glued to my lap and busy eating marshmallows and chocolate. I do look forward to the day when she's ready to be released to explore the wilder parts of the world. She's enjoyed our few short excursions quite a bit, and I hope further exposure will increase her enjoyment of the outdoors. But I'm content to wait, watching her enjoy the pursuits available in less wild settings, enjoying her prolonged infancy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

New bed

Sylvia had a great day today. After her nap we went to IKEA looking for a bed frame to go with the mattress Sylvia got for Christmas. We'd hoped a new "big girl" bed would be enticing enough to her she'd actually sleep there instead of invading our bed every night, but no. When we got to the store, in addition to a bed, Sylvia found a snapping friend, who accompanied her in all her Goldilocks-like testing of beds (but remained in his IKEA home).

We also found her a bed.

We took the bed home and set it up, with Sylvia helping by handing Derrick the hardware and even tightening a few bolts. She was so proud, telling us repeatedly she was "fixing" the bed.

And then she slept in it!!! (though not all night.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Grandma Nextdoor

My mom was in town this weekend, which was quite a lot of fun. We just kind of kicked around on Thursday and Friday, went to a fancy dinner at Fleming's Friday night, the Birch aquarium on Sunday, the San Diego Zoo Sunday (hooray for conference that I don't have to feel bad about skipping!) and then Little Italy yesterday. It was really quite a fun, busy weekend. Probably the perfect amount of time, too, since I miss my mom already.

I'm not the only one--as soon as we got home with Sylvia this evening, she asked where Grandma was.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Christian Nation

Those of you who are fans of Steven Colbert have undoubtedly already seen this clip, or at least heard reference to it. If you aren't a fan, or just don't want to sit through four and a quarter minutes of Colbert, the gist of the skit is encapsulated in this cartoon. Either one suggests the hypocrisy of some politicians claiming a Christian heritage for our nation while at the same time dismantling government programs aimed primarily at providing financial assistance to the poor.

Especially as we go into the new year in Sunday school discussing the New Testament, the questions of how Christ wanted us to treat one another, and what our obligations are to our neighbors--and who exactly is our neighbor--are perhaps things to at least keep in the back of our minds.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


My religion doesn't have a tradition of celebrating epiphany. I don't get the impression it's a very common part of the Christmas tradition for a lot of protestant sects, though, so that's not all that surprising.

Because I'm curious (and because for me an epiphany is about coming to a realization about something previously confusing), I'm going to ask a question. For those of you who don't believe global warming is an issue (if there's anyone like that who reads this blog, anyway), what is it about the way global warming is presented that makes you feel the way you do? I can understand not wanting to do anything about carbon emissions for economic reasons--I think those sorts of arguments have some amount of validity. I don't get why we can't get to that conversation, though, since we're still stuck on the "is it real or not?" conversation. So, rather than rail, I'm going to ask: what offends you about the assertions of climate change? Are you afraid of what you'll be asked to do if it's real, or do you just not trust the message-bringers?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dangerous prayer

Today just keeps getting better.

I was lazy/frugal for dinner and warmed some French onion soup we'd had in the fridge for a while. After ladling out the boiling soup for the three of us, I thought it would be prudent to delay Sylvia trying the soup. So, I said, "let's pray!"

Sylvia, in her rush to fold her arms, caught the bowl of soup and dumped it down her side, from her shoulder to her hip.

Following a cool bath and a couple of consolation band-aids, Sylvia's back to normal, and the red, burned skin is back to its normal hue, so apparently her clothing was enough of a buffer, or we got the scalding soup off quickly enough to avoid real hurt.

Thank heavens for small mercies.

Ringing in the new year

Okay, so, I'm pretty lame. Last night I was in bed by 11:30, and that was after I got up to put away soup and start a load of laundry. We started out the evening (at least, the post-Sylvia portion of it) with a Sanctuary marathon. I lasted all of about 10 minutes before I was gone, which is ultimately why we both decided staying up to ring in the new year officially was probably a waste of good sleep time. It's amazing how tiring having a two-year-old is, and what a fuddy-duddy having a kid makes us at least.

At some point during the night, Sylvia came in to bed with us. She woke me up and I pulled her up into the bed, at which point I thought she smelled a little funny. A bit like chocolate and fruit juice. I figured she'd spilled some on her clothes, and the smell was kind of nauseating (as it has been since Sylvia projectile vomited fruit juice at Uncle Philip's wedding two years ago), so I pulled off her shirt and then let her go to sleep next to me.

This morning, Sylvia got up and went to her room for a book, and then came back and informed me her bed was "poopy." I wasn't sure what she meant, so I went into her room and discovered she'd puked all over her bed, The fruity, chocolaty smelling stuff coated her pillows, both the regular one and her pillow pet; her new bedsheets and (fortunately) her new mattress cover; and the Smilodon Derrick put her to bed with. At that point I realized why Sylvia smelled the way she did when she crawled into bed with me and I was suddenly very glad I'd pulled her shirt off, though still grossed out by the flakes of dried vomit that transferred themselves from Sylvia's hair to my bed. Derrick was nice enough to take care of the laundry while I cleaned up Sylvia, for which I am very grateful. Not quite what we were hoping to do to start the year off right.