Saturday, April 30, 2011

So when they called it the Wild Animal Park...

...they really meant it.

In case you're wondering, that's a duckling being eaten by a kingfisher. Both zoo animals. Yep, wild.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Random walk

Derrick's got funding for the next couple of years. YEAH!!!

So now, in addition to thermal geophysics and electromagnetism, he'll be working on mineral physics.

I think my husband's career is shaping up to be rather diverse.

How did I miss this?

Okay, so I don't read the Washington post all that often, but seriously, the sheer number of responses to Michael Otterson's post on equality in Mormonism should have brought it to my attention before today.

Especially given how timely that post (or at least the responses were. Thursday I went to a stake Relief Society activity where the San Diego temple President and his wife spoke. She was given the opportunity to speak first and she chose to speak on how wonderful women are, and then proceeded to quote a bunch of men speaking on how wonderful women are. The only woman she actually referenced in her talk was Abish, one of the (I believe) two women named in the Book of Mormon. Yeah. I believe I'm wonderful. Especially because men tell me I am. Kinda reminded me of this post on gender, authority, and strange loops.

Is it that hard to find quotes by women? Or stories about women's strength that don't actually make them sound childish and weak, like the stupid story Elaine S. Dalton told about girls "doing hard things" by walking 22 miles (all while apparently insufficiently prepared, given the references to injuries along the walk. On flat ground. Through an urban area). Really, can we do no better than that, especially given the remarkable history Mormon women have, the valuable contributions those women I'm rather proud to have as fore-mothers made toward building a society in a desert wasteland? Can we not find more women making laudable, impressive contributions today? What about any of these women?

The only part of the TP's talk that really stuck with me was an anecdote he shared regarding Pres. Hinkley and his wife. The TP and his wife had the Hinkley's over for dinner at some point and Sis. Hinkley was offered seconds by the TP's wife. Pres. Hinkley, used to protecting his wife (the TP's words, not mine) answered no on her behalf. Sis. Hinkley, however, spoke up and said that actually she would like seconds.

I realize we're all products of the society in which we live, and our culture has changed an awful lot in the last 80 years, but really, why would Pres. Hinkley ever need to speak on his wife's behalf, especially on such a trivial matter? Why would that be seen as protecting anyway, and not controlling?

We women are incredible, and we do hard things, but the way it's talked about so often leaves me feeling the opposite--like what I and other women do really isn't important, is really quite trivial, and certainly very unvalued.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter, right.

So, Easter kinda sneaked up on us this year. We were shopping for Easter candy Friday night (when the shelves at Target looked like the aftermath of a natural disaster) and Saturday was pretty well consumed between the primary/ward activity and Sylvia being under the weather (she had a fever).

The first couple of pictures are actually from Utah. My mom and Sylvia colored eggs with onion skins. They come out looking seriously cool:

Getting back to the more recent past, as I mentioned, we had a primary activity (Easter egg hunt and other miscellaneous activities) and ward activity (car wash, gardening class, and BBQ) Saturday morning. Friday night, in preparation, I made about 4 dozen cupcakes and twice as much frosting as I actually needed, and hard-boiled and dyed somewhere around 4 dozen eggs, all while catching up on The Daily Show and Glee. The activity went well and I had about twice as many cupcakes as needed and more than twice as many eggs, but the kids had lots of fun decorating cupcakes and throwing hard-boiled eggs around. It was a really pretty successful activity. I was sad Sylvia was sick--she would have really enjoyed running around with the other kids and getting a sugar high from all the sweets.

Sunday morning we had an Easter egg hunt, which Sylvia eventually got into:

As all kids should on Easter, she had candy at every meal and was totally on a sugar high all day long.

I intended to make a dress for Sylvia for Easter this year but didn't. Instead, she wore a dress my grandma Mimi made for her many months ago. The last time I put it on her she pulled the ribbons out. This time she just kept untying the bow.

Some friends had us over for another egg hunt in their yard, which Sylvia enjoyed. We took over her unopened Easter eggs from the morning (which was the vast majority of the eggs) and hid them while she played with the other kids and watched Alice in Wonderland. When the white rabbit showed up we took the kids out and let them find the eggs. It was a relatively quick hunt, not only because we kept the eggs in a pretty limited area, but also because it was cold! We hung out with our friends and their kids for a couple more hours, then went home for dinner and to fall into bed, exhausted from the busy weekend.

I know some people put way more into Easter than we do (full fancy meal, fancy clothes, and way more church). I'm rather glad we left this as low-key as we did.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The "why" stage is upon us.

This morning I yelled in consternation when Sylvia dumped water on the kitchen floor and complained, "now I have to clean it up."

To which she replied, "why?"

"Because it's a mess."



Later, dragging her away from the neighbor's gravel parking strip (her favorite play place) I told her we had to leave, NOW!


"Because we're late."


"Because I made a time-intensive breakfast of potatoes this morning."


"Because that's all we had on-hand."


"Because we need to go grocery shopping."


Apparently that one doesn't need a why.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Do you have your bunker set up?

'Cause at 8:11 pm tonight skynet will become aware and begin attacking humans. Have your 72-hour kits at the ready, and know where your local nuclear fallout shelter is--it's going to be bumpy ;)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The rest of the trip

Driving to Utah was a bit more of a bear than we bargained for. Sylvia and I packed up the car on Thursday afternoon, which was an adventure in its own right, involving two poopy diapers, a bloody nose, a flooded bathroom, and Sylvia puking cat treats. We finally picked up Derrick around 4:30, which meant we had the joy of driving through rush-hour traffic to get out of town. Yeah.

We had dinner at the Mad Greek in Baker, CA, then drove a couple more hours until both of us were too tired to go on. We pulled out the tent and set it up in the blustery, freezing wind, and then discovered Derrick neglected to pack the sleeping pads. So, we slept on bumpy caliche, which didn't seem to bother Sylvia much, but didn't really agree with my back. Between that and the noise from the wind I didn't sleep well.

We were up and driving by about 6:30 the next morning and hit snow somewhere between St. George and Cedar City. This being April, the snow was wet and sticky, turning to slush as soon as it hit the road. Since the weather was bad Derrick didn't want to stop for real breakfast, so we picked up donut holes and some of those lovely wax chocolate covered donettes for breakfast. A couple of hours later we stopped for "lunch"--this time of cheetos and bean burritos (for me).

In spite of the snow we actually made pretty good time. It helped that about the time we hit Kanosh the snow turned to rain and eventually just overcast skies. We got into Lehi, where my cousin Elisa lives, at about 12:30 or 1 and stopped, happy to get out of the car. Elisa fed and entertained us, and then offered to take Sylvia for a few hours so she wouldn't have to get back into the care and so Derrick and I could go to MacBeath Hardwood without worrying about a small, easily squished human.

We finished shopping and got to my Dad's at about 4:30. At about 5 minutes to 5, Elisa called and let me know Sylvia had puked and asked if I could come down and pick her up because Elisa had plans with a neighbor she'd forgotten when she offered to take Sylvia.

Yeah. 5 pm on Friday. Driving anywhere near Point of the mountain. sounds fun.

Elisa said Sylvia was doing okay otherwise, and didn't seem to feel sick or have a fever. After talking to her a bit (and stressing over either driving to Utah County on a busy Friday evening or leaving my potentially sick child to play with other kids) we finally decided her puking was probably just a response to eating so poorly earlier in the day (I don't think I mentioned the earlier cat treat puking incident) and that I'd just make sure to be available to drive down and pick her up if she started looking sick again. Shortly after coming to that conclusion, my phone died.

Fortunately, Derrick's phone still had some juice, so we went to dinner at Rumbi's with my dad and then the two of them went out to the garage to work on a carving vise. Sylvia was apparently just fine and came home a few hours later wearing a pair of striped pajamas that was pretty much her favorite outfit for the rest of the weekend.

The next day (Saturday) we met my mom for breakfast at Village Inn and then my mom took Sylvia to a "What Women Want" showcase thing at the Salt Palace. Derrick and I went to Marshall's, a hardware store that has two locations--one in San Diego and one in Salt Lake. While we were there I tried to call my dad to ask him about a tool Derrick was planning to buy and whether he needed to buy one of the accessories for it. My dad didn't answer his phone so we went ahead and purchased the accessory, rationalizing that Derrick could then just keep the extra piece if my dad didn't need it.

When we got back to my Dad's there was nobody there, so we just unloaded Derrick's new toys and hung out a bit. My dad got home a few minutes later and told us he was just at Marshall's trying to buy the same tool I'd called to ask him about. Marshall's apparently only had one on hand (which they sold to us). The guys there told my dad, "We don't sell one of these a year and today we've had two people ask for one." They then went on to describe the purchasers as a guy from San Diego and his pregnant wife (reassuring in its own way that I now look pregnant rather than just fat). My dad didn't tell them immediately that we were his son in law and daughter.

Shortly after I got ready and left for the wedding. The weather was pretty bad--cold and snowy--so I wandered around the temple grounds for just a few minutes taking pictures before finding the waiting room where the rest of my family was waiting. When Andrew and Melinda came out, we took pictures--quickly--and then rushed back into the waiting room to warm back up. The funniest thing about the pictures was that the woman helping the real photographer kept calling Melinda "Melissa."

Lunch was at an Asian (Chinese) place called Sampan, where we had sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, lo-mein with chicken, and some beef dish. At the end of the meal, my fortune cookie told me I would soon receive many gold coins.

After lunch I just drove to the chapel where the reception was going to be and waited for the people with the keys to show up. The weather was finally starting to clear, but it was still cold and gray. When Mindy and Drew showed up with the keys, I went in and started taking pictures of things like the decorations, the cake, and the rings.

My mom brought Sylvia to the reception and dropped her off, which was really nice. Sylvia apparently enjoyed herself at the What Women Want show, arriving decked out in a frilly purple dress, complete with feathers, and a pair of metallic pink squeaky shoes. My cousin Lara eventually showed me how to de-squeak the shoes, but Sylvia was unhappy with their lack of noise-making, so I put the squeakers back in and she squeaked the rest of the night.

The last couple of days in San Diego I put in a lot of time making kimonos for Sylvia and her cousin Liesel (Lara's daughter), but by that point in the day I was so tired I didn't even try to make her put it on. Oh well. Liesel cried when her kimono was inflicted on her, so it's not like we would have gotten the nice pictures I was hoping for anyway.

The reception ended at about 7 and we stuck around 'till about 7:30, mostly to take a few more pictures of the happy couple in the sunshine that finally appeared at the end of the day, and then we drove (carefully, since we'd neglected to get Sylvia's car seat back from my mom) to the Red Iguana. We had a delicious dinner there and then went home and crashed.

Sunday Sylvia and I hung out in my Dad's house while Derrick and my dad continued to work in the garage. At about 2, Sylvia and I drove up to my Grandma's house in Fruit Heights for my Aunt Lynette's birthday celebration. I showed off the pictures I took to my grandma (which wasn't so much showing off as sifting through again to see if, by some miracle, the pictures had improved--that was a hard wedding to photograph from a technical perspective and I'm really not happy with the job I did. Oh well), did a little work (since my advisor emailed and apparently was in town at the same time), and then had a delicious dinner of salmon burgers, asparagus, and stuffed mushrooms. It was a wonderful dinner, and an especially wonderful dinner to have left Derrick at my dad's house. I apparently inherited my mom's bone-finding gene because the piece of salmon I got had as many bones in it as everyone else combined.

Lynette's two older daughters both made cakes--one a flour-less chocolate torte, one a simple yogurt cake assembled as a strawberry shortcake--and there was cheesecake to boot. I ate way to much, then packed up Sylvia and our stuff and drove back to my dad's.

Monday Derrick decided he needed to do actual work, so I gave him the car and Lara picked up Sylvia and me to drive down to Elisa's again. Mostly we just hung out and talked, which was unbelievably nice. Other than Derrick and maybe two people from church, I just don't get a chance to talk to many people in person for any length of time anymore. Visiting with all of my family was the best part of the whole weekend. Anyway, we went to Target, picked up a dinner of corn dogs and french fries, then Elisa picked up her son, who, unlike her other two kids, was not on spring break. Sylvia and I probably should have left about then, but Elisa promised me a haircut, so we stuck around for a little while longer.

While Elisa was cutting my hair (and discovering I have white hairs growing), Sylvia and Ira (the son who was in school) got into the mud Elisa's oldest child had created earlier in the day by flooding his and the neighbor's back yards. Within the relatively short period of time it took Elisa to cut my hair, Sylvia and Ira were both covered in mud, as was the front porch and front door. Sylvia and Ira got a shower together, and while Elisa was taking care of the kids I tried to do some damage control on the mud caked on the front door and scattered from the front door to the bathroom. The kids were clean before the door was, so all three cousins (Sylvia, Ira, and Liesel, who just wanted a shower) ran around naked for a while. This was apparently too much for one of the kids in the neighborhood who was visiting Elisa's daughter because she made several snide comments about the inappropriateness of letting children run around naked. Elisa, Lara, and I all found the suggestion we were allowing our children to behave inappropriately highly amusing.

When Lara dropped me off at my dad's house, I found out we'd missed the dinner my dad's wife, Christine, had planned for us all. Of course, so had Derrick and my dad. So, we warmed up the left-overs and ate, and then Derrick went back to working and I went back to packing for the return trip--a feat made more complicated by the dozens of articles of maternity clothing I've borrowed from cousins.

We left the next morning by about 8, stopped for burgers at In 'n Out in St. George, stopped again for gyros and shakes at the Mad Greek in Baker, and were home by about 7:30.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cold, cold wedding

Today was beautiful. All day long I was cursing the wonderful weather, the beautiful dramatic clouds and sparkling blue skies for coming today rather than yesterday. Even with the less than pleasant weather yesterday, we still managed to enjoy the beautiful wedding of my cousin, Mindy. Here are a few pictures from yesterday:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Funny pictures, no joke

Because I am lame and do not pull April fool's jokes on people (in spite of having a husband who richly deserves them) I have nothing to report. I will, however, share some of the backlog of funny pictures we've taken of Sylvia. Please note that my husband is in every case the instigator.

Sadly, we found the "washable" black markers aren't quite so washable as claimed. Sylvia had a black eye for several days after this. I sometimes wonder when we're going to get that first visit from family services.

In other news, Sylvia went to the dentist for the first time today. We spent probably a good 40 minutes sitting in the dentist's chair, with Sylvia clinging to me like a barnacle, until the dentist showed up. Sylvia then refused to even look at the guy, never mind actually show him her teeth.

And of course, she spent the rest of the day excitedly talking about the dentist. I guess Sylvia's the one who pulled the April Fool's joke this year.