Thursday, December 30, 2010

science for dummies

Ld put Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything on my new Ipad. Finished it up this afternoon. A fascinating read and very accessible. Seriously, I could not put it down.
Did you know that:
It isn’t easy to become a fossil,
there is more life under the earth than on top of it,
men will never reach the edge of our solar system,
there is no point trying to hide from your bacteria,
there is nothing we can do about asteroids,
we are energy,…

I love a book that shakes up my thinking. The world doesn’t look quite the same after reading this. Even ld. He is such a fine specimen of superbly arranged atoms, a thing I never ever fully supposed.

In a bit of synchronicity perhaps now I am ready to tackle the final list.

VI. Science & Technology
Physical Science, Mathematics, Technology, and Life Science

Life Sciences
Aristotle, On the Parts of Animals, Generation of Animals
Pliny the Elder, Natural History*
Theophrastus, De Causis Plantarum
Roger Bacon, Philosophy of Nature
William Harvey, Circulation of the Blood
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
Orlando Beccari, Wanderings in the Great Forest of Borneo
Lewis Thomas, Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler’s 9th Symphony; Lives of a Cell
James D. Watson, The Double Helix
Benoit Mandelbrot, The Fractile Geometry of Nature

Physical Sciences
Alhazen, Optics
Apollonius of Perga, On Conic Sections
Archimedes, Works
Euclid, Elements
Nicomachus of Gerasa, Introduction to Arithmetic
Ptolemy, Almagest
Copernicus, On the Revolutions
Galileo, Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina;
John McPhee, Basin and Range
Jacques Monod, The Origins of Molecular Biology
George Gaylord Simpson, Splendid Isolation: The Curious History of the South American Mammal
John Gribbin, The Scientists (aka Science, A History)
Alfred Crosby, The Columbian Exchange; Ecological Imperialism
Yann Martel, The Life of Pi
Margaret Talladge May, Galen on Usefulness of the Parts of the Body
Natalie Angier, The Canon: A Whirligig tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science
Leonard Euler, Introduction to Analysis of the Infinite
William Harvey, Circulation of the Blood
Christian Huygens, Treatise on Light
Isaac Newton, Principia Mathematica*
Charles Saunders Peirce, “How to Make Our Ideas Clear”; “The Fixation of Belief”; Mathematical Philosophy
Albert Einstein, Relativity: The Special and General Theory ; The Meaning of Starry Messenger; Assayer; Dialogue Concerning the Two World Systems
Johannes Kepler, Harmonies of the World; Epitome of Copernican Astronomy
René Descartes, Discourse on Method
Lewis Thomas, Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler’s 9th Symphony; Lives of a Cell
William Dunham, Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics Freeman Dyson, Disturbing the Universe; Infinite in All Directions
Paul Erdos, The Art of Counting
Richard Feynman, The Character of Physical Law; QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter
G. H. Hardy, A Mathematician’s Apology
Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time
Madison Smartt Ball, Lavoisier in the Year One: The Birth of a New Science in an Age of Revolution
Daniel Boorstin, The Discoverers
Douglas Hofstadter, Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Richard Bellman, Eye of the Hurricane: An Autobiography
Oliver Sacks, Uncle Tungsten Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
Robert Kanigel, The Man Who knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan
Constance Reed, Hilbert
Simon Singh, Fermat’s Last Theorem
Brian Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos, The Elegant Universe Relativity ; The World as I See It
Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science
David Hilbert, The Foundations of Geometry
Tracy Kidder, The Soul of a New Machine
Jacob Klein, Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origins of Algebra
Jacques Monod, The Origins of Molecular Biology
Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb
Stephen M. Stigler, The History of Statistics: The Measurement of Uncertainty Before 1900
John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern, The Theory of Games and Economic Behavior
Steven Weinberg, The First Three Minutes
John Gribbin, The Scientists (aka Science, A History)
E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful
James Gleick, Chaos – Making a New Science
Claude Shannon, The Mathematical Theory of Communication
Robert March, Physics for Poets
Paul Hoffman, The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth

Scientific Venues
Suggestions of places to visit in Physical and Life Sciences categories:
• Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum (L)
• BYU Planetarium (P)
• Eyring Science Building Pendulum Court (P)
• Crandall Printing Museum (P)
• Technological Exhibits at the BYU Museum of Art (P/L)
• BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures (L)
• Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point (L)
• Thanksgiving Point Botanical Gardens (L)
• Hogle Zoo (L)
But really the sky is the limit...
• NASA rocket launch.
• Microchip Factories
• Textile Factories
• Museums of Natural History
• Quality zoos and aquaria
• Huntington Botanical Gardens—San Marino, California
• Pasteur Museum – Paris
• Nature Centers at National Parks
• Fossil Digs
• National Museum of Natural History – Washington D.C.
• National Air and Space Museum – Washington D.C.
• Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza – Florence, Italy

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

chef cate

Had a sleepover last night. Cate stirring and mixing.

Make them a costume and you get free slave labor.

Monday, December 27, 2010

lifestyle of a princess

Despite all best efforts this child is princess obsessed. For Christmas ld and I caved and gave her a dress up trunk full of princess dresses, shoes, crowns, jewels and sceptors. She was overjoyed, thrilled.

But I couldn't go down without a fight. I also put in other career options. I made some dress up cowgirl stuff (in honor of her heritage), a chef's hat and apron, and a nurse outfit. She finally consented to try on the nurse outfit after I showed her there were real bandaids in the pocket and a life-like but harmless syringe (left over from my teeth bleaching:). Then suddenly everyone had Owies and it was cool to be a nurse.

Tucked in the trunk was also this little gem:

I remember this book from when I was a child. I loved it then and found it online. It's dated, but such a sweet book. I get the attraction of the pink princess world, I really do. And maybe, (a big maybe) it has it's value. But being smart, brave and resourceful (as opposed to passive, dependent and air-heady pretty) is such a cooler thing to grow up to be. Even when pretending.

Oh. Did I tell you we also gave her a princess sleeping bag and back pack and some princess dolls? Shut up.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

gifting from the heart

Around 3 am I ran out of wrapping paper. Bummer. Used it all up on the grandkids presents (don't go there, ld). Resorted to using newspaper and leftover scraps. So notice on the right ld's pile of gifts for me - the unwrapped boxes, next to my white trash wrapped gifts. Made for each other, eh?

But! in one of those unwrapped boxes from ld was this:

Yup. An Ipad for me. Inscribed, no less.
Oh, and ld gave me some cool tighty spandex biker pants along with other thoughtful gifts (like the new Mark Twain) Is he the best, or what?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

oh fudge

I'm resolved today to not give in to the neighbor holiday goodies gracing my kitchen counter. Yesterday I wiped out the toffee bars and some fudge remnants. And before the day was out I had polished off the peanut brittle. Today I am reciting all the resist temptation mantras I can think of.

Temptation passes after 10 minutes, just wait it out.

or this one:

It's easier to avoid than it is to resist. Whatev. More like resistance is futile. Seriously, my cravings and attraction to Christmas sugar is Borg-like.

CS weighs in. The other CS. The one with all the wisdom.

"No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means—the only complete realist."

- C.S. Lewis 'Mere Christianity'

Yet again more wise words from CS Lewis:

It is restraint that gives pleasure all it's meaning.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

long post.

Our little ward has been hard hit. One of our students was diagnosed with leukemia during the holidays. She has a long, long road ahead of her. The ward has rallied around her but the news is sobering. Some excerpts then, from ld's Sacrament meeting talk, given December 19, 2010 to our BYU 65th ward:

I’m reminded today of that wonderful line in the carol ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’: ‘The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.’

Christmas, especially this Christmas, speaks to our hopes and fears in a way that nothing else can.

Nativity cast of characters

You have no doubt participated in years past in an acting out of the nativity. One of my favorite memories of Christmas Eve is being in the audience for our annual living room Christmas play. You know what I’m speaking of, right? You find the baby Jesus played by a flashlight wrapped in a blanket, Joseph defined by his bathrobe and mop handle staff, Mary looking solemn with a sheet draped head, the angel of the Lord with a tinsel halo and a wiseman with his towel turbaned head bearing oddly wrapped gifts. And depending on how big the family gathering, maybe you were fortunate to have a bleating lamb or a mooing cow.

However thrown together and amateurish the acting, there really is something sweet and special about acting out the nativity story that touches our hearts. It pulls at our heartstrings because it is a tender and deeply profound story. And besides the obvious and most important truth of our Heavenly Father sending his Son to a fallen world, the cast of characters surrounding this story offer some important examples in living life as well. These faithful people in their supporting roles in the Christmas narrative have much to teach us about wisely dealing with ‘hopes and fears’.

Life’s Fears

For all of us, there are always those times in our lives when fear and worry get the best of us. Our little ward is no exception. To the rest of the world they may seem totally unfounded and even ridiculous, but to those who live in the midst of them, they can be very real and totally overwhelming. Fear of the unknown, loss of health and fear of the outcome, fear of losing a job or in this economy fear of ever finding one. Fear of ever finding a mate. Fear of failure. And on and on. Every one of these powerful fears can send a stab through our hearts.

Thankfully for all of us, we have this wonderful season of Christmas that comes again and again each and every year to remind us and to renew within us the realization of the wonderful gift to us from a loving Father in Heaven—one who sent His son into the world to take those very fears upon himself and replace them with the Christmas message of light and love and hope.

Angels message: Do not be afraid

In the Christmas story we read from Scripture, we hear of the Lord’s messengers, the angels, delivering this very message. Do not be afraid. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah to announce that his wife Elizabeth would become the mother of John the Baptist, even in her old age, Gabriel’s first words to him were, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, your prayer has been heard”.
Not long after, Gabriel appeared again, this time to Mary, to announce that she would be the mother of Jesus. And again his first words were, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God”.
And an angel appeared to Joseph, too. He was betrothed to Mary and it would have been understandable in those days if he had sent her away, but the angel said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit”.
And finally, in splendor and light, an angel appeared to the shepherds on a hillside while they were tending their sheep and said to them, “Fear not, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord”.
All of these people were just ordinary folk who, each in their own way, were asked to overcome their fears and, in faith and obedience to a loving God, do improbable and difficult things.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were elderly and I’m sure many of their friends and neighbors had much to say as Elizabeth became obviously pregnant in her old age.

Example of Mary and Joseph
Mary, on the other hand, was just a child, a young teenager. She was unmarried and so a seeming disgrace to her family and to Joseph, her betrothed. Everyone would have understood if Joseph had put her away, but he did not. Because of the angel’s words, (Matthew 1:20) he stood by her and held his head, and Mary’s, high.
This man Joseph, stands out as a real hero, because of the lessons he teaches us about obedience to God and surrender to God. Dealing with the unexpected, or when life throws you a curve ball, this pretty much describes Joseph’s experience.

Like Mary, we too can offer in humble submission our lives to the Lord. He had a plan for Mary and he has a plan for us. As we make our way along our own spiritual journeys, may Mary’s example of willing commitment inspire us to take similar steps of faith, many times over. No matter what God has in store for us, no matter what life throws at us, may we trust our Heavenly Father enough to be willing to say like she did: Be it unto me according to thy word
And like Joseph of old we, too, must cope with unexpected events. When they occur and our faith is tested, may we show the courage, persistence, and valiance of Joseph. With such faith and determination we, too, can do all that God expects of us and conquer the unexpected problems of life.

Example of Shepherds (Luke 2:8-14)
There are more great examples found in the Christmas story.
As for the shepherds, they were the lowliest of the low. Humble folk who lived simple lives and cared for sheep. Possibly smelly and dirty from herding their sheep, they lived apart from the other townspeople. They were not high on the social ladder. However, social status has never been a requirement for revelation. They were the first to hear the news of Jesus’ birth, and they went quickly to see the babe in the manger.
These shepherds would become sincere, life long witnesses of Christ. They would eagerly proclaim what they had heard, and seen, and felt that night. In fact, they would do so with such simplicity and power and conviction, that the scriptures record that, “all that heard them would wonder at those things that were told them.”
The shepherd’s experience and testimony is still as relevant today as over 2000 years ago. It is now our opportunity to hear the shepherds story, and follow...

Examples of Courage
In all these characters of Christmas we find people of courage.
All of these people were asked to do difficult things, in some cases things that might have been totally out of character for them, and things we can be sure they never would have chosen for themselves. It is obvious that they were afraid. But Scripture tells us, too, that they were faithful people. Not only did they believe in God, but they trusted in Him. They knew deep down in their hearts that if the Lord asked something of them, He would also provide the strength and the courage and everything they needed to get the job done.

Now, not only do we laud the contributions of Joseph and Mary, the Shepherds and Angels in the Christmas story and their great examples of courage in overcoming fear but we also remember the example of the Wise men, who came of course, later in the narrative. Because it takes wisdom, brothers and sisters to overcome our fears.


And as we think about the Wisemen, we have to ask the question: What did they know that made them so wise? And the question for us all: What do truly wise people know that other people don’t? I want to suggest two things, if I may.

1) First Anciently, the wise men knew and Wise people today know that this life doesn’t last.
This life is temporary. We would be very wise to embrace this truth ourselves-especially in this season of the year when we are smothered in materialism. If we are not very careful all the things of this world will make us love the things of the world too much. Earthly pleasures can tempt us to forget why we are here. Wise people know that fancy cars and clothes, a life that constantly seeks for entertainment, ease and popularity, these are not the things that count. Riches and fame, the things of this world will not help us on judgment day. Only righteousness counts then. ( see Proverbs 11:4)
And this leads us to the second thing wise people know, just as the wise men knew.

2) They know they need a Savior. They know that their fallen state separates them from our Heavenly Father, and that the only way home is through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Wise people know that after all we have done we still can't be good enough or smart enough to earn our way to heaven when this life ends. They know they need a Savior. They know the only One qualified to save them was born that first Christmas night.
The fact is, the wisest decision anyone can make is to repent of their sins and follow and rely on the Savior. This decision gives you and I a peace that passes understanding, a life of fulfillment and meaning, and the knowledge from the plan of salvation that when this life ends, we have hope of a resurrection and eternal life.

President Hinckley taught:
And now, my beloved brothers and sisters, what must we do this Christmas season and always? Why, we must do the same as the Wise Men of old. They sought out the Christ and found Him. And so must we. Those who are wise still seek him today.

Now Christmas is here again for each and every one of us. Soon most of you will be going home to celebrate with your families.
May you remember that the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Savior Jesus Christ. For as we have talked a bit today about facing life’s fears let’s remember the hope the Savior brings to this life. It’s really that hope that makes the season so festive and joyous.

Because in spite of all the suffering or adversity you and I may experience, in spite of the bad and somewhat scary economic times we live in, in spite of some giving into despair and fears, the Savior says to have hope, please have hope, to hang on. The real message of that first Christmas is that Heavenly Father loves us –so much that He sent us His son. The Savior came to walk with us, to show us a better way, to redeem us if we will let Him. He never leaves us alone. We don’t have to be afraid.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

we are welsh, you know

C'mon, do your research. The family tree traces back to Wales. On Mother's side, of course. Fitting to read a fellow Welshman, then.

from A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas:

"But that was not the same snow," I say. "Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards."

"Were there postmen then, too?"

"With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried noses, on spread, frozen feet they crunched up to the doors and mittened on them manfully. But all that the children could hear was a ringing of bells."

This version is the one I'm hoping for: The text (Dylan Thomas) and the illustrations (Chris Raschka).

Listen to Dylan himself do a reading. Mesmerizing. Part 1,

Lot's of places to read it online, too:

There's a movie, too. Haven't seen it yet. Maybe the library has a copy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

s. claus

I know this guy personally. And it's true what they say, he is a jolly sort. Sometimes. And he does work hard at making everyone's dreams come true. Nice fellow, that Santa.

We all took a turn. jlw reports he's been a regular GB.

Megs reports she's been extra good. What with pulling off a new baby and graduating Santa promises an extra candy cane in her stocking.

And this little lady. We heard her sing in church today. Still sings like a bird and a good mom. She gets an extra wink from the jolly one.

Santa took good notes. This gal is hoping for lots and lots of toys. Santa says not to worry, no problemo. He's got it covered.

Santa. Really. You are so hip and cool.

As always, more pics over at the Grandparentals.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

angel carol

I have been listening to Pandora all morning. John Rutter's music is so beautiful, especially at Christmas.

Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Hear the angels singing, 'Christ is born'.

a book is a gift you can open again and again. -Garrison Keillor

The books for the grandkids Christmas have finally all arrived. Except for the A Very Hungry Caterpillar which showed up here in Hindu (ld you will never live this down:) I am happy with the stack. Frog and Toad are Friends, A Little Fur Family, Rainbow Fish, Black and White, Pat the Bunny, The Animal Boogie (Cate's fav and mine, too) The Paper Bag Princess, some Dr. Seuss and some Sandra Boynton (Pajama Time and Barnyard Dance). I'll add some Curious George, purchased earlier this summer, to the stack, too.

But I'm noticing a book I wish I had added. For a birthday, then. Yeah, when she's older. Yellow and Pink by William Steig (The Amazing Bone, that William Steig ) This book I re-visited at a serendipitous time, right after I finished Life of Pi by Yann Martel this summer. What? You haven't read either? Go read Life of Pi. You must, because we all have a Bengal tiger in our lives. Go read Yellow and Pink with a child in your lap. Because where there is creation, there is a creator, and this is the perfect book to explain those ideas to your children.

Both of these books, Yellow and Pink and Life of Pi, speak powerfully and beautifully about God, belief, faith, creation, and the Why Am I here? theme.

From Life of Pi:

"If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the cross 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation." (p. 28)

"'If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for? Isn't love hard to believe? ... Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer.'" (p. 297)

Much to think and talk about.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Delight in excellence is easily confused with snobbery by the ignorant.

I refuse to eat at McDonalds and I pronounce ld’s musical selections as crapola. M&M’s are so plebian (notwithstanding the handfuls I snarfed yesterday) and don’t get me started on the Twilight books. Modern/creative dance is infinitely better than highly sexualized dance or drill team routines. I refuse to decorate my house with vinyl lettering or anything purchased from Rod Works or Deseret Book (cough, cough). Pop culture is for the masses, the uneducated proles. Blah, blah, I could go on and on about my hoity toity superior likes and dislikes.

Ugh. I hate that I am a snob. Sometimes (okay, most times) a pretentious one at that. I don’t know what to make of this. I dislike elitism in others.

Remember this article, by William Deresiewicz, a couple of years back?

The first disadvantage of an elite education, as I learned in my kitchen that day, is that it makes you incapable of talking to people who aren’t like you.

While there's truth to the article, there's more to think about.

Here comes Joseph Epstein* to work my thoughts. He says there's a distinction to be made between snobbery and elitism.

"High standards generally — about workmanship in the creation of objects, about what is owed in friendship, about the quality of art, and much else — far from being snobbish, are required to maintain decency in life. When the people who value these things are called snobs, the word is usually being used in a purely sour-grapes way. 'Elitist,' a politically super-charged word, is almost invariably another sour-grapes word, at least when used to denigrate people who insist on a high standard... Delight in excellence is easily confused with snobbery by the ignorant."

Like everything, it's a fine line, isn't it? We all pick and choose what to be elitist about. And is there such a thing as being a shallow elitist versus a cultured one? Can you be a snob as to what to be a snob about?

*Yeah, that Joseph Epstein. The one who wrote profoundly about Envy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving

My favorite holiday. A day to celebrate resilience and gratitude.

You can't see baby Faye, she's in her car seat sleeping.

Maddie. Our darling turkey princess.

A paper bag turkey conceals a bag of cheddar popcorn. For the kiddies. It looked kind of cute when the glue finally dried.

Cate helped me make these corn on the cob favors. We stuffed them with bags of peanuts and tootsie rolls.

We spent the rest of the day rehearsing the tubes and moving furniture out to make way for new. Oh, and eating. We did a lot of that. Love my fam. Love Thanksgiving.

cardboard band

We're in rehearsals for our upcoming holiday tour, but here's a sneak peek. Yeah, we need to work on our rhythm a bit. What? You want to do this too? Well, okay.

Jingle Bells
(with cardboard tubes)

3 3 3 – 3 3 3 – 3 5 1 2 3

4 4 4 – 4 4 3 3 – 3 3 3 2 2 3 2 – 5

3 3 3 –3 3 3 – 3 5 1 2 3

4 4 4 – 4 4 3 3 3 3 – 5 5 4 2 1

Cut cardboard tubes to these lengths:

Tube #1 – 15 inches
Tube #2 – 14 inches
Tube #3 – 13 inches
Tube #4 – 12 inches
Tube #5 – 11 inches

Gather up cardboard tubes left over from wrapping paper or empty paper towel tubes. You'll need enough for five tubes. Doesn’t matter diameter of the tube, it’s the length that counts.

Cut tube number one 15 inches long. Write the number one on the tube with a marking pen. Cut tube number two 14 inches long and write the number two on it. Cut tube 3 13 inches long and write number three on, etc.

The directions have the number of the tube that is to be played and when it is to be played. For example, when there is a number three, the person holding number three tube hits her head. Since everybody knows the tune it isn’t hard to learn to play the tubes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

31 years

Yup. Getting older. Getting rounder. But! Getting better at life and this whole marriage thing.

Grow old along with me!

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made...

Robert Browning

For you then, ld. What else but a Beatles song? he he he
Love you forever. Mean it.

youtube wouldn't let me embed this version like I wanted. Just go to it and have a listen:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

she's here

Meghan is amazing. Kody is amazing. This baby is amazing.

God is amazing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

mercy in the loving, then. some grace, too.

From The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

‘The great thing is to have lots of love about. I don’t see,’ she went on, ‘at least I don’t see here, though I did at home, that it matters who loves as long as somebody does. I was a stingy beast at home, and used to measure and count. I had a queer obsession about justice. As though justice mattered. As though justice can really be distinguished from vengeance. It’s only love that’s any good. At home I wouldn’t love Mellersh unless he loved me back, exactly as much, absolute fairness. Did you ever. And as he didn’t, neither did I, and the aridity of that house! The aridity*…

*only in the movie Enchanted April Lottie, instead of aridity, says oh the emptiness of it all!

What is loving if it's not caring? And what is caring if it doesn't include sharing?
And tit for tat trading isn't love, either. It's trade. Loving is never more real and true then when not exactly deserved.

online until dec 7, so hurry

Watched the last of PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery excellent modern day Sherlock. The first and third episodes were wonderful, the second, not so much.
You saw them too, yes? If not, then remedy it by going over to:
and watching:
A Study in Pink
The Blind Banker
The Great Game
(this one is brilliant, but you should watch all three to really get the third)

I loved it. The developing Sherlock/Watson dynamic and the show’s intelligent, ever-present humor, it’s terrific. From what I understand series II will not be out until next year. Can’t wait.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

the sin no one talks about

No one really admits to struggling with this, do they? Well, line up behind me, folks. It’s such a low class sin to confess to. I'll joke about my gluttony, admit to my slothfulness, and boldly proclaim myself as a serial procrastinator but admitting to the sin of envy, it's just so, well, seedy.

But, seedy or not, it's also just so deadly, and maybe the worst of all the Seven deadly sins* spoken of, not just because it’s so destructive, but because it will not let you and I live productively. It doesn’t let us be satisfied with what we have or be grateful for our own talents and personality. It hinders us from finding meaning in our life because we think the meaning must be someplace else.

Liking this a lot. From Envy (Joseph Epstein):

Whatever else it is, envy is above all a great waste of mental energy. While it cannot be proved whether or not envy is part of human nature, what can be proven, I believe, is that, unleashed, envy tends to diminish all in whom it takes possession. Wherever envy comes into play, judgment is coarsened and cheapened. However the mind works, envy, we know, is one of its excesses, and as such it must be identified and fought against by the only means at our disposal: self-honesty, self-analysis, and balanced judgment.

If theological thinking is unavailable to you, if the very notion of "sin," original or unoriginal, as damning simply makes no sense to you, I would invite you instead to consider envy less as sin than as poor mental hygiene. It blocks out clarity, both about oneself and the people one envies, and it ends by giving one a poor opinion of oneself. No one can see clearly anything he or she envies. Envy clouds though, clobbers generosity, precludes any hope of sincerity, and ends in shriveling the heart -- reasons enough to fight free of it with all one's mental strength.

Envy (by Joseph Epstein) is the first in the Oxford University Press/New York Public Library Seven Deadly Sins series.

While I do think and believe envy a sin (the scriptures are full of examples and so direct that we begin to see our own struggle with it, eh?), I like how Epstein describes it as poor mental hygiene. A kind of mental illness and when we look at what it destroys, a kind of spiritual illness, too.

Envy, for me, is usually dejected. Envy becomes sad or depressed over my own lack of achievements or position or looks or…whatever. You fill in the blank. When someone else succeeds sometimes I don’t rejoice but rather think I’ve never been blessed, my life is a failure. Such thinking, it’s crap, I tell you. Crap as in distorted thinking to the max.

When I’m constantly depressed and distressed about my circumstances (someone else has a new China cabinet, someone else raised a problem free child! someone else can still wear a size 8, someone else has the energy and skills to paint murals on their walls) I am envious rather than grateful. And this folks is the root of the problem here for me.

Oh, November, blessed month of celebrating gratitude, you couldn’t have come at a better time. The antidote for all this envy and comparison making, it’s all helped along by feeling gratitude. Duh.

My problem with envy is maybe I don’t really get or understand gratitude. Care to guess the bent my blog sermons will take this month?

Some more thoughts on the green eyed thing:

*Traditionally known as: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

Friday, November 5, 2010

i'm a fan

There's not supposed to be any video recording, photography, and other rude mannered behavior during a concert. Whoever filmed this (not me, folks) didn't get the memo. Still, I'm kinda glad they did as I was there at this actual performance.

And this. Not of that evening's actual performance obviously but a recording of one of his standard encores. The Swan. Sorry about the kitschy pics, it's the cleanest recording I could find on youtube.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

mr. smith goes to washington

Yup. We did the Washington thing. Ld and I, along with two other couple friends, flew out to D.C. last week.

The general consensus from all the travel sites was Do Not bring a car to D.C. but logistically there was no way to make our itinerary work without one. So we rented a van. After experiencing the traffic there it's easy to see why public transportation is recommended and for most folks that would work best. But most people aren’t so blessed to have a driver with navigational skills that rival Lewis & Clark coupled with a Zen-like calmness. He is also very fit. He would drop us off then go park and run (literally) and catch up with us. Can’t thank him enough.

Our itinerary:
Arrived late Wednesday night. We stayed in this vacation rental home in Columbia Heights. Lovely inside.

Thursday, October 21:
Toured Library of Congress. Oh My. Went through the Holocaust Museum. Toured Washington monument, went to the top. I swear I could feel it sway. Ate lunch in Capital cafeteria & then caught up with congressional staff guy for a tour of the Capital. Then we headed to the Kennedy center. We changed into dress clothes in the car (tricky putting those pantyhose on:) and had dinner reservations at the Roof Top restaurant that overlooks the Potomoc. Afterwards we attended Yo Yo Ma in concert downstairs. Amazing.
The WaPo review here:

Friday, October 22:
Mount Vernon. Martha W had some weird obsession with the color green. Lunch at Mount Vernon. Supreme court tour was scheduled but nixed as no time. Visited Smithsonian (Natural History & American History buildings to see Dorothy's Ruby slippers, Julia's kitchen & First ladies inaugural gowns). Union square – ate dinner there & caught tour mobile to tour Monuments & Memorials at night. Awesome.
At Mount Vernon.

Saturday, October 23:
White house tour. World War II memorial. Lunch at hot dog stand. National Archives to view historical documents. Smithsonian (Air and Space museum). Drove out to see the temple. Ate Thai food (Ruan's Thai)
At the World War II memorial.

Sunday, October 24:
Georgetown. National Cathedral. Arlington National Cemetery for the changing of the guard.

Monday, October 25:
National Gallery of Art. Go see, go see, people! Ate in cafeteria downstairs. Bureau of Engraving and Printing (for my numismatist hubby), then back to National Gallery of Art (because I loved it so much:)

Tuesday, October 26:
Flew home. A great, fast paced trip with wonderful people.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

V. Film

Break out the popcorn. The film list as promised. A bunch of artsy fartsy stuff, true, but some really good films. You will note Babette's Feast is included. I saw many of these films years ago in my film class at BYU. Ingmar Berman's Seventh Seal, Citizen Kane, Joan of Arc, On the Waterfront, and others. I'm looking forward to tackling this list. And no jla, Blazing Saddles is not included, for obvious reasons. Same goes for you ld. Sadly, Lonesome Dove did not make the cut.

Key to abbreviations: d=directed by; b/o=based on an original work by; s=starring; p=produced by

8 1/2 (1963, Italian) d:Federico Fellini
42nd Street (1933) d:Lloyd Bacon
The 400 Blows (1959, French) d:François Truffault
35 Up (1991, British, documentary) d:Michael Apted
Age of Innocence (1993) d:Martin Scorsese b/o Edith Wharton
Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972, German) d:Werner Herzog
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) d:Lewis Milestone b/o:Erich Maria Remarque
A Man for All Seasons (1966) d: Fred Zinnemann
American Dream (1991, documentary) d:Barbara Kopple
The American Friend (1977, German) d:Wim Wenders
Andrei Rublev (1965, Russian) d:Andrei Tarkovsky
L’Avventura (1960, Italian) d:Michelangelo Antonioni
Babette’s Feast (1988, Danish) d:Gabriel Axel b/o:Isak Dinesen
Ballad of a Soldier (1960, Russian) d:Grigori Chukhrai
Baraka (1992, documentary) d:Ron Fricke
Battleship Potemkin (1925, Russian, silent) d:Sergei Eisenstein
Ben Hur (1927, silent) d:Fred Niblos:Ramon Novarro
Best Years of Our Lives (1946) d:William Wyler
Bicycle Thief (1949, Italian) d:Vittorio de Sica
Berlin:Symphony of a Great City (1927, German, silent) d:Walther Ruttmann
The Big Parade (1927, silent) d:King Vidors:John Gilbert
Black Narcissus (1946, British) d:Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger s:Deborah Kerr
Black Orpheus (1959, Brazilian) d:Marcel Camus
Blood Wedding (1986, Spanish, dance) d:Carlos Saura
The Blue Angel (1930, German) d:Josef von Sternberg s:Marlene Dietrich
The Blue Kite (1993, Chinese) d:Tian Zhuangzhuang
Le Boucher (1969, French) d:Claude Chabrol
Breathless (1960, French) d:Jean-Luc Godard s:Jean-Paul Belmondo
Bride of Frankenstein (1935) d:James Whales:Boris Karloff
Bringing Up Baby (1938) d:Howard Hawks s:Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn
Broken Blossoms (1918, silent) d:D.W. Griffith s:Lillian Gish
Cabiria (1914, Italian, silent) d:Giovanni Pastrone
Casablanca (1942) d:Michael Curtiz s:Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman
Children of Paradise (1945, French) d:Marcel Carne
Chronicle of a Summer (1961, French, documentary) d:Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch Citizen Kane (1941) d:Orson Welles
City Lights (1931, silent) d:Charlie Chaplin
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, Mandarin) d: Ang Lee
Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) d:Michael Gordon
Cyrano de Bergerac (1990, French) d:Jean-Paul Rappeneau s:Gerard Depardieu
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) d:Robert Wise
Death of a Salesman (1986) s:Dustin Hoffman b/o:Arthur Miller
The Defiant Ones (1958) d:Stanley Kramer s:Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier
Diary of a Country Priest (1950, French) d:Robert Bresson
Don’t Look Back (1967, documentary) d:D.A. Pennebaker s:Bob Dylan
Double Indemnity (1944) d:Billy Wilder b/o:James M. Cain
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932) d:Rouben Mamoulian b/o:Robert Louis Stevenson
Dr. Strangelove (1964) d:Stanley Kubrick
Dreams (1990, Japanese) d:Akira Kurasawa
Duck Soup (1933) s:The Marx Brothers
Eight Men Out (1988) d:John Sayles
The End of St. Petersburg (1927, Russian, silent) d:Vsevolod Pudovkin
Fantasia (1940) p:Walt Disney
Fiddler on the Roof (1971) d: Norman Jewison
The Firemen’s Ball (1968, Czech) d:Milos Forman
The Freshman (1925, silent) s:Harold Lloyd
Gallipoli (1981, Australian ) d:Peter Weir s:Mel Gibson and Mark Lee
The General (1926, silent) s:Buster Keaton
The Glass Menagerie (1987) d:Paul Newman b/o:Tennessee Williams
The Gold Rush (1925, silent) d:Charlie Chaplin
Grand Illusion (1937, French) d:Jean Renoir s:Jean Gabin
The Grapes of Wrath (1940) d:John Ford b/o:John Steinbeck
Great Expectations (1946, British) d:David Lean b/o:Charles Dickens
Greed (1924, silent) d:Erich von Stroheim
The Gunfighter (1950) d:Henry King s:Gregory Peck
Hamlet (1948, British) d:Laurence Olivier b/o:William Shakespeare
Hamlet (1990) d:Franco Zeffirelli s:Mel Gibson
Hamlet (1997) d:Kenneth Branagh
A Hard Day’s Night (1964, British) d:Richard Lester s:The Beatles
Harlan County U.S.A. (1976, documentary) d:Barbara Kopple
Heartland (1979) d:Richard Pearce b/o:Elinore Pruitt Stewart
Henry V (1945, British) d:Laurence Olivier b/o:William Shakespeare
Henry V (1990, British) d:Kenneth Branagh
High Noon (1952) d:Fred Zinnemann s:Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly
High School (1969, documentary) d:Fred Wiseman
Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959, French) d:Alain Resnais
His Girl Friday (1940) d:Howard Hawks s:Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell
Hospital (1970, documentary) d:Fred Wiseman
Il Postino (1995, Italian) d:Michael Radford s:Massimo Troisi
Inherit the Wind (1960) d:Stanley Kramer s:Spencer Tracy
It Happened One Night (1934) d:Frank Capra s:Clark Gable
Jean de Florette; Manon des Sources (1987, French) d:Claude Berri
The Kid (1921) d: Charles Chaplin
King of Hearts (1967, French/German/English) d:Phillipe de Broca s:Alan Bates
King Lear (1984, British) s:Laurence Olivier
Knife in the Water (1962, Polish) d:Roman Polanski
The Last Laugh (1924, German, silent) d:F.W. Murnau s:Emil Jannings
Lavender Hill Mob (1951, British) d:Charles Crichton s:Alec Guinness
Lawrence of Arabia (1962, British) d:David Lean s:Peter O’Toole
Life is Beautiful (1998, Italian) d:Roberto Benigni
Listen to Britain (1942, British) d:Humphrey Jennings
M (1931, German) d:Fritz Lang s:Peter Lorre
Malcolm X (1992) d:Spike Lee
The Man With the Movie Camera (1929, Russian, silent) d:Dziga Vertov
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) d:Vincente Minelli s:Judy Garland
Metropolis (1927, German, silent) d:Fritz Lang
Modern Times (1936) d: Charles Chaplin
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1930) d:Frank Capra s:James Stewart
M. Hulot’s Holiday (1953, French) d:Jacques Tati
My Brilliant Career (1979, Australian) d:Gillian Armstrong
My Darling Clementine (1946) d:John Wayne s:Henry Fonda
My Father’s Glory; My Mother’s Castle (1991, French) d:Yves Robert b/o:Marcel Pagnol
My Night At Maud’s (1969, French) d:Eric Rohmer
Nanook of the North (1922, silent, documentary) d:Robert Flaherty
Napoleon (1927, French, silent) d:Abel Gance
The Nasty Girl (1990, German) d:Michael Verhoeven
Night and Fog (1955, French, documentary) d:Alain Resnais
Night of the Hunter (1955) d:Charles Laughton
Night Mail (1936, British, documentary) d:John Grierson
Ninotchka (1930) d:Ernst Lubitsch s:Greta Garbo
North by Northwest (1959) d: Alfred Hitchock s: Cary Grant
Nosferatu (1922, German, silent) d:F.W. Murnau
Notorious (1946) d:Alfred Hitchcock s:Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman
Oliver Twist (1948, British) d:David Lean b/o:Charles Dickens
Los Olvidados (1950, Spanish) d:Luis Bunuel
Olympia (1938, German, documentary) d:Leni Riefenstahl
On the Waterfront (1954) d:Elia Kazan s:Marlon Brando
Ordet (1954, Danish) d:Carl Dreyer Otello (1986, Italian, opera) d:Franco Zeffirelli s:Placido Domingo
Pather Panchali (1955, Indian) d:Satyajit Ray
Plow That Broke the Plains (1934, documentary) p:U.S. Government d:Pare Lorentz
Prelude to War (1942, documentary) p:U.S. Government d:Frank Capra
Raise the Red Lantern (1991, Chinese) d:Zhang Yimou Rashoman (1951, Japanese) d:Akira Kurosawa
Red River (1948) d:Howard Hawks s:John Wayne
Rome, Open City (1946, Italian) d:Roberto Rossellini
Romeo and Juliet (1968, British) d:Franco Zeffirelli
Room at the Top (1959, British) d:Jack Clayton
Rules of the Game (1939, French) d:Jean Renoir
Safety Last (1923, silent) s:Harold Lloyd Scarface (1932) d:Howard Hawks
Schindler’s List (1993, English, Hebrew, German, Polish) d: Steven Spielberg
Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) d:Steven Zaillian
The Searchers (1956) d:John Ford s:John Wayne
The Seventh Seal (1965, Swedish) d:Ingmar Bergman
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964, Ukrainian) d:Sergei Parajanov
Shop on Main Street (1965, Czech) d:Jan Kadar
Singin’ In the Rain (1952) d:Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly
Some Like It Hot (1959) d:Billy Wilder
Sparrows (1926, silent) d:William Beaudine s:Mary Pickford
The Spirit of the Beehive (1973, Spanish) d:Victor Erice
Stagecoach (1939) d:John Ford s:John Wayne
La Strada (1954, Italian) d:Federico Fellini
Streetcar Named Desire (1951) d:Elia Kazan s:Marlon Brando and Vivian Leigh
Sunrise (1927, silent) d. F.W. Murnau
Sunset Blvd. (1950) d:Billy Wilder
The Ten Commandments (1923, silent and 1956) d:Cecil B. De Mille
The Thief of Bagdad (1924, silent) d:Raoul Walsh s:Douglas Fairbanks
The Third Man (1949, British) d:Carol Reed b/o:Graham Greene
Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1994, Canadian) d:François Gerard
Tokyo Story (1953, Japanese) d:Yasujiro Ozu
To Live (1995, Chinese) d:Zhang Yimou s:Gong Li
Tom Jones (1963, British) d:Tony Richardson
Top Hat (1935) s:Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
Touch of Evil (1958) d:Orson Welles
La Traviata (1991, Italian, opera) d:Franco Zeffirelli s:Placido
Domingo and Teresa Stratas
The Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948) d:John Huston s:Humphrey Bogart
Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978, Italian) d:Ermanno Olmi
Triumph of the Will (1939, German, Documentary) d:Leni Riefenstahl
Twelve Angry Men (1957) d: Sidney Lumet s: Henry Fonda
Ugetsu (1953, Japanese) d:Kenji Mizoguchi
Vanya on 42nd Street (1993) d:Louis Malle b/o:Anton Chekhov
Vertigo (1958) d:Alfred Hitchcock s:James Stewart
Viridiana (1961, Spanish) d:Luis Bunuel
West Side Story (1961) d: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise
White Heat (1949) d:Raoul Walsh s:James Cagney
Wild Strawberries (1957, Swedish) d:Ingmar Bergman
The Wind (1928, silent) d:Victor Sjöstrom s:Lillian Gish
Wings of Desire (1988, German) d:Wim Wenders
Wizard of Oz (1939) d:Victor Fleming s:Judy Garland
Yellow Earth (1984, Mandarin) d: Kaige Chen Z (1963, French) d:Costa Gavras

Friday, October 15, 2010

yet another baby shower

(Click to enlarge, people. I want you to see all the pink cardboard crafting and gingerbread giraffes. Yeah, I dream in pink, too:)

Whoo Whee. Friends and family whooped it up last night. We ate, played games* and guests shared prepared advice on all things maternal. Breastfeeding successfully, the low down on eco friendly and cost effective diapering, and a quick recipe for a new mommy - it was all delightfully dispensed.

My fav advice from the evening and a direct quote from Lexie: My advice is don't ask me for advice as I don't have any knowledge whatsoever about mother matters.
Our bookworm Lindsay gave some great reading tips on how to interject girl power morals into fairy tales. A little embellishment and extra dialogue is key.
Then Aunt Kathy shared her tips on the medicinal and psychological value of breaking open a bag of chocolate chips to relieve stress. Uh, Kath. You forgot to mention how cathartic spooning and dipping directly into a box of cake mix is, too. Not that you used to do that. he he he
Penee didn't disappoint either. Her category of "How to put on pantyhose when you are 9 months pregnant" was informative and useful. And hilarious. You had to have been there. Oh, Arnett wimmen. You are all wonderfully endearing.

Other exciting shower news:
We recruited ld to babysit for the evening as Brig had to unexpectedly work. ld appeared to have everything in control upstairs when all of a sudden we heard a thud and a baby crying. Kenz and I rushed upstairs. Maddie had fallen off the bed and ld had her in his arms trying to soothe her. He appeared quite flustered and distraught. Before I could say or accuse him of anything like how could you let Maddie fall off the bed for heaven sake you nincompoop ld beat me to the punch and blurted out "in my defense I was dealing with something big" and then pointed to Cate. She had pooped (um, diarrhea to be exact) all over herself and had left a trail, if you know what I mean. ld in his frantic assessment of the situation had pushed Maddie far back on Cate's bed and was attempting to help Cate. In his anxiety he apparently forgot that Maddie can crawl and is quite mobile and therefore plunged to the ground. Whoo whee such drama. But even that mishap couldn't marr the evening and gratefully our tough Maddie recovered. Good man, that ld.

I love the whole baby shower thing. A group of family and friends coming together to celebrate and show support for the coming of a new life. It is a sweet little tradition that exemplifies sisterhood and family at its best. Thanks family and friends of Meghan, you're awesome.

It is a major faux paux on my part that I neglected to get many pictures of those attending, Megs especially. Too busy chatting it up, I suppose. Kudos to ld's mother and sister driving down from Ogden. We hadn't seen them in ages.

One final note. The banner is in French. Appropriate, no? Meghan and her hubs speak French. And wondering about the giraffe theme, eh? Well, we went with that because, well, because Kody is Tall. This was a shower fraught with symbolism. he he he

*I'll post more about the games later.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

a party for 'lil sprout

Kody’s family threw Meghan a baby shower Tuesday night. It was a lovely evening with great food, great conversation and hilarious entertainment! The Sweet Pea theme was fitting for ‘lil Sprout, eh? Everyone was assigned to bring a favorite easy recipe for a new mommy and share it in a creative way. Thus we enjoyed cooking demonstrations to rival anything on TV. Good times!

Oh, and Kayci (Kody’s lovely sister) had the most clever idea for an activity. She baked sugar cookies in the shape of baby shoes and then provided frosting, sprinkles, fruit roll ups, etc and had us decorate them to suit our fancy. Winners (all of us!) received chocolate. Mmmm. Such a clever idea and we all enjoyed decorating, chatting and licking frosting.

The website she used for this, found here:

So many wonderful gifts. Kody’s family are such kind and generous people. We love them.

Monday, October 4, 2010

greet the day with a song

I was once a Gaynote in Primary, complete with cool green Bandlo and a cross stitched sampler that read "Greet the day with a song, make others happy, and serve gladly." That old timey wisdom still holds true for me when I let it. It's a little cloudy this morning, but I'm greetin' the day with a song.

Where troubles melt like lemon drops and even if they don't it's a wonderful world.

More about those cross stitched samplers of my Primary days:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

just ducky

Yesterday afternoon in the dentist chair nearing the end of my root canal.

Dentist (ld’s cousin): It’s good you came in, given the amount of infection we cleaned out in there, I’m surprised you weren’t in a lot of pain.

Me: Yeah, we’ll I’m tough, I guess.

Dentist: Seriously, as bad as it was your jaw should have swollen up like a baseball. You didn’t have any symptoms at all?

Me: Well, I haven’t felt exactly right, whatever that means. And I haven’t been eating on that side of my mouth for like a month.

Dentist: Hmm. Your body most have been churning out the white blood cells for sure, trying to fight it. That’s good.

Me: I guess. Maybe that’s why I’ve felt like I've been 'nibbled to death by ducks’ lately. You know, exhausted, overwhelmed and easily annoyed, eh?

Dentist: (Pats me on the arm) Well, hopefully this will help. We’ll know in a couple of weeks and then if all goes well, we’ll put a crown on it.

Me: (Softly): Quack, quack.

Dentist: What’s that?

Me: Er, nothing. (I smile) Thanks for your good work.

Dentist: (Pats my arm again) We’ve shot you with antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory and we’ll give you something for the pain before you go. See 'ya soon.

Posted by Picasa

Tucson. Summer '09. Harmless fun. Until they nibble and chase. And bite you on the butt.

Friday, October 1, 2010

the trick to remaining sane? being comfortable with irony and ambiguity. --cs

Thus, we need to develop the capacity to form judgments of our own about the value of ideas, opportunities, or people who may come into our lives. We will not always have the security of knowing whether a certain idea is “Church approved,” because new ideas do not always come along with little tags attached to them saying whether the Church has given them the stamp of approval.

Whether in the form of music, books, friends, or opportunities to serve, there is much that is “lovely, . . . of good report, and praiseworthy” that is not the subject of detailed discussion in Church manuals or courses of instruction. Those who will not risk exposure to experiences of life that are not obviously related to some well-known Church work or program will, I believe, live less abundant and meaningful lives than the Lord intends. We must develop sufficient independence of judgment and maturity of perspective that we are prepared to handle the shafts and whirlwinds of adversity and contradiction that are so likely to come along in our lives. When those times come, we cannot be living on borrowed light. We should not be deceived by the clear-cut labels some may use to describe circumstances that are, in fact, not so clear. Our encounters with reality and disappointment are in fact vital stages in the development of our maturity and understanding.

Yup. Two of the most difficult concepts we struggle with in life: Irony and Ambiguity. Elder Hafen does a great job addressing the latter and spiritual shallowness. Go read:
Love Is Not Blind: Some Thoughts for College Students on Faith and Ambiguity BRUCE C. HAFEN 9 January 1979

Let's Discuss.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

such a howardian slip

Last night I made up a packing list for an upcoming trip. And yes, I have to make a list to remember to bring my toothbrush. Just you shush, you ladies will all be menopausal, too, one day.

Hair dryer. Check.
Toothbrush. Check.
Glasses. Check.
Wait. What? Non-stinkum? Where did that come from?

I chuckled. My Dad. Sigh. Another Howardism. He called deodorant non-stinkum all the time.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

oh, that Cate

Yesterday morning Kenz brought the girls by. Cate came with Nephi and Tarzan, her latest imaginary friends. And woe be unto anyone who eats their portion of candy corn!

At naptime Kenz put her into the spare room crib. She’s quite familiar with this as she has spent countless sleepovers and naptimes here. She did the usual talking to herself but for whatever reason wouldn’t settle down and nap.

Pretty soon we hear her holler:
Here’s da deal, k?
I clime outta my kib (crib) and din I turn into a REAL LIVE BOY!
Okay, Mom?

Yup, we have been reading Pinnochio around here lately. Is it any wonder my grand daughter and I get along famously? She reads stuff and makes the most randomly odd connections.

possibly TMI

Note: I never wanted this blog to be my personal diary and in fact 90% of my life is not shared online. I use my blog to record random insights, links, happenings, pics, projects, etc. It’s a place to sort out and store many things. Sometimes though, I reveal too much. I am opening myself up to the craziness in my head today simply because owning up to our lives is a pretty universal thing. When we look honestly at ourselves and try to uncover what is at the root of our unproductive or less worthy behavior, it hurts. I don’t expect comments dear family, it’s nice when you do, but this blog has never been about that. Rather, by posting this, may you knowingly smile and feel less alone. There is a shared familial bond between those who feel emotional pain and struggle and I provide the genetic link to Arnett craziness. On any given day I am a holy mess.

I am working hard at keeping my emotions in check. For the past few months I have been slipping into…I don’t know what. I believe the closest psych jargon is called ‘despair thinking’. Patterns of thinking that automatically go to the worst-case scenario. I have always had a tendency to do this but lately, well, it’s causing me to tear up more than once a day and the rational CS, the one who knows better, is using up a lot of energy in her private lectures and self-talk in trying to shake this off. This is what comes when we give up on denial and make a commitment to start facin' it. Where to put all that inevitable pain, eh? When we quit stuffing our feelings and emotions and DEAL, well, expect difficult days. My old ways of distracting myself or reaching for a cookie (more like 20), I miss that because as harmful as it was, it allowed me to live in denial. And denial, what a luxury. It allows me to pretend that I don’t see what is evident all around me.

Standing tall to all these feelings and the reality of my life without my knees buckling is tough, tough stuff. Hence, the weepiness.

But being depressed much of the time is really getting old. I am sick of my mopiness because in my better moments I know that despair and denial aren’t the only options available to me. There are other ways of thinking and feeling through all this facin’ it stuff that offer much more promise.

Sunday in Sacrament meeting a boy in his testimony said:
A friend once asked me 'What is your favorite thing about the Gospel?” And I thought about it for awhile and said, ‘It’s hope. Hope that I can change. Hope in Jesus Christ, that there is a reason and a plan’.

I love that too about the Gospel. I am still trying to work out how reality and optimism and hope jive. Is it an act of will or a gift of the spirit? Both?

This then:

Despair is a luxury. If I despair, I can drive a Yukon and watch bad television. Despair makes no demands on us; Hope demands everything.

The easy thing is to feel sorry for myself. But how do I be and do hopeful when I feel helpless? It's the helpless part that makes me feel hopeless. You see my dilemma.

Sometimes we get stuck in our thinking. Sometimes we need someone to listen to our convoluted or tortured thoughts and breathe perspective on them. Yesterday, when mine came tearfully tumbling out, someone listened and heard. He made it better and bearable by really listening and telling me to take up golf. Oddly enough, I'm better today. Thanks, brother #4.

I would not trade my brothers for all the pineapples in Hawaii.