Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I'm back!

November saw the death of both my “free” wireless internet connection and my wonderful little Macintosh iBook, so I had to take a leave of absence from blogging. I’m back, though, and hopefully I’ll have more brilliant thoughts for you to read. For today, however, I think I’ll just bless you with pix of my cute kids.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Farewell Turbo

My rat Turbo passed away today. He’d been ailing for the past couple of weeks, but kept eating and moving around a bit. Last night it was a noticeable turn for the worse. He spent most of his life as a lone rat, which is definitely not the idea situation, but as he didn’t care much for other rats or people, his options were limited. I got him from the Humane Society when he was probably a few months old. I am glad that he got to live his life in comfort and even a bit of luxury--he loved it when I’d give him a hammock, but never could leave them up for more than a few days before chewing down one or more of the corners. Needless to say, I didn’t keep him in hammocks all of the time. When I saw him at the HS, I was really excited because he was agouti, and you rarely see those in the pet stores. I don’t think I’ve ever seen agoutis in the stores, probably because they look like “wild” rats, but have seen them on breeders pages, and know other people who have had them, so they aren’t too uncommon. While Turbo wasn’t very keen on being handled, he always amazed me at how gentle he was when he’d take food from my hand. He’d do it ever so gingerly, which was a nice contrast to some of the snappers I’ve seen/had.

Anyways, I just wanted to do a little tribute to my lone rat. Rest in Peace little guy.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Oh the CUTENESS!!!

I am in love with this pup’s sweet face! His name is Duncan and he's at a rescue in Missouri.
BHMS Rescue

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Belated Halloween Blog

So my internet was down nearly the entire week. Halloween this year was a lot of fun. Noodle was Little Red Riding Hood, Spud was the Woodcutter, I was Granny and David was the Wolf disguised as Granny. We went to a little Trunk or Treat at the church, and then took Noodle trick or treating around a nearby neighborhood with our neighbors. This was her first year going door to door, and Noodle was in her element. She’d run up to the doors at full speed and knock heartily, then say “Trick or treat!” very enthusiastically. After getting the goods, she’d head away from the door and shout a loud “THANK YOU!” back at the doorway. Then she’d return and report to me whether or not the person had said “You’re welcome.” She was going strong the entire time, and outlasted the neighbor kids, both of whom are older than she is. She was so excited and kept asking if we could go to another house. I had as much fun as she did, I think, just watching her go up to the doors. I hadn’t been too keen on Halloween since I’ve been too old to TorT, but I think I’ve rekindled the dormant flame. I can’t wait until next year!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

daily update

I am a woman obsessed! I look on Realtor.com nearly every day in many or all of the towns we could move to, and I also peruse the websites of the real estate offices to check out their featured listings. I don’t know if it is a good pasttime or not. (It doesn’t really take that much time.) I like to think that I am familiarizing myself with the market, but sometimes I think I’m only torturing myself when David says we won’t be moving until January, at the soonest, 10ish weeks has never seemed so painfully long. So, I’m especially ancy to do the holiday shopping, as well as shop for Spud’s b-day (Christmas Eve!). As if that will hurry time along. It was quite cool here today, reminding me of the painful imminence of winter. Since I’d hoped to have moved south before it turned cold, I think I’m trying to live in denial. It only works on sunny days.

I went jogging this morning for the first time in months. I felt it. But I felt good during and later, after my lungs forgave me for the cold air. Hopefully I can make it a habit of sorts.

The Comic Life


Isn't this little fella cute? Nope, he isn't one of mine. But I did take the picture at the rattery where I got Marco & Berkeley. I was cleaning out old photos today and noticed this guy. I really don't know why some people view rats so negatively. Sure, there's the naked "wormy" tail, but that is pretty easy to get over. And with faces like these, who can resist?

Friday, October 14, 2005

comic life

New program I played around with today. I just used some pix I had on hand of my late rat Frisco. No, my captions aren't very clever, but hopefully I'll get better.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

In the News

Hey hey! Mormons are the feature story in this week’s Newsweek.
The Mormon Odyssey
Q&A with President Hinckley

“You go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch ’em in the face, and for what? So some pimply little puke can treat you like dirt because you’re not on the team. Well, I’m better than dirt. Well, most kinds of dirt. I mean not that fancy store bought dirt. That stuffs loaded with nutrients. I... I can’t compete with that stuff.”

Moe Szyslak

Monday, October 10, 2005


I’ve been having a case of the blahs lately. I find that it makes me want to buy things on eBay for the momentary thrill and the happy anticipation of getting something worthwhile in the mail. Luckily, though, I’ve been able to refrain so far. This case of the blahs also makes me have insane chocolate needs at about 3:30 every afternoon. Sadly, the only readily available chocolate in the house is hot cocoa, and I already had some. It didn’t do much to curb the craving, though. Sigh....

“You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is ‘never try’.” ---Homer Simpson

Saturday, October 08, 2005

An elected official with a brain

Sadly, I think her voice of reason is drowned out by hysteria, so I suspect the Aurora (Colorado) pit bull ban will pass. I reiterate my position that the stupid population is overrepresented in government. Particularly local governments. (Though state & federal aren’t far behind.)

Go Rep. Stafford!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Noodle at the park

Just wanted to post these pix of my little Noodle girl when we were at the park.

Courtesy Laugh

So Spud does this thing now where it’s like he’s giving us a courtesy laugh. When anyone else in the house is laughing, or sometimes if he just thinks we’re being funny, he’ll do a “Ha ha huh!” sort of chortle/giggle. It’s pretty hilarious, and never fails to make us laugh harder, so I guess it’s effective. He’s walking about 10 steps or so at a time now, which is way too many since he’s only NINE months old. Sheesh! Oh well. It makes him happy and I really don’t think he can get into more than he does already...he’ll just do it faster! He’s a happy little boy, though. Our friends might take issue with my use of the word “little”. He is nearly 30“ tall and probably weighs 26 lbs now. Not excessively chubby, just a solid little guy. Noodle was the same way as a baby--very solid and muscley. He does have the bad habit of biting EVERYTHING, though. He’s constantly trying to bite my pant leg, or my arm, or my shirt, or ANYTHING. And those little baby teeth hurt! So, I’ll be happy when tooth #8 finally erupts, as it might give us a reprieve from the biteyness for a while.

The weather is turning cold now, and it leaves me feeling desperate. I don’t think I can handle another winter of being cooped up in our 750 sq foot apartment again. At least I won’t have post-partum hormones to deal with this time, but seriously, this place is too small to weather a cold & gray winter. Plus David has the car 99% of the time, so I’m quite stuck at home. Sigh... Hopefully we’ll be moving south to a friendlier climate in January. Until then I guess I’ll just have to buy a new hoodie.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Cute doggy!

So, I'm still dreaming of the day when I can get a dog. I like to play a little game called, "If I could get a dog today...." where I pick a dog from one of the pit bull rescues and dream of having it join our family. Today's dog is Flash, from BadRap Rescue in San Francisco. Isn't he adorable? And what a nice sit he has!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I'm so frustrated and sad. Spud was crawling around in the kitchen tonight, and managed to pull on a dishcloth on the table, and pulled my favorite handmade ceramic mug off the table as well, and it shattered on the floor. It's the only thing one of the kids has ever broken that was actually special to me, and as I knelt down to clean up the mess, I just cried. It was the best mug I'd made, and I loved using it for milk or cocoa or ice cream. It was perfectly sized and sculpted for me to hold, and I loved the finished glaze. I know it was only an object, but it was something that I really loved, and it brought me joy every time I used it. I'm just sick about it. It's such a loss to me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Another stupid city enacts a stupid ban

I'm starting to think that the stupid population is over-represented in government. I'd like to think that only 60% of the general population are stupid, but it seems that at least 87% of politicians are near morons.

Monday, September 19, 2005

David's birthday was Friday. He's 28!! I made him a chocolate cake with chocolate fudge frosting, from scratch! I was proud of myself, and he really enjoyed the cake. So, yay!! That evening we went out for dinner with the stake president (church position) and his wife, who had wanted to take us out for Indian food for a while. It was delicious, and a lot of fun to spend the evening with them. We stopped back at their home afterwards to watch clips from the comic Brian Regan, who is hilarious. David and I laughed so hard. We're going to try and find a video of his to rent, because he was great.

We've kind of decided/realized that it really won't be feasible for us to move down to St. George until January, at the earliest. The housing prices down there are just such that it will require more $$ for down payment & closing costs than we have at present. Also, he's hoping that in December/January he can ask for a raise to better support us down there. Other than the high cost of housing, the cost of living down there is about the same as here. So, we'll see. We're both kind of bummed about the reality of the situation, but oh well. We both just really want to leave this apartment, and would REALLY like to be out of town before winter begins...which will unfortunately most likely be in about 6 weeks! We are not snow people. So the plan is to keep living as "poorly" as possible, and to save about $1500/month. Adding $6K to what we have would give us about $13K, which would be an okay down payment, I think. More than 5%, but less than 10%. In a perfect world, David would receive some sort of "backpay" for the work he's been doing on the bank for the past 10 months (even $1000/month would ROCK!) but sadly that's not going to happen. He does have a couple of things that could help speed up the process, so we'll just have to pray for one or more of those to work out, too. That'd help out a lot. It's kind of discouraging for me to just be sitting here at home, not contributing financially, but I guess my part is to help us save the money, since I can't earn it.

Friday, September 16, 2005

On NPR they just said that Little Rock Air Force Base has been serving as an international airport, and planes from 21 countries have landed with supplies for victims of Hurricane Katrina, and 94 countries, total, have offered/provided aid (many monetary aid). I think the guy said that 1727 tons of aid supplies have been dropped off there thus far. It warms my heart to know that the nations of the world will reach out to help America in our time of need.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Calendar girl

I've been thinking about it for a while, and I've decided that I really don't like the Roman calendar that we use. It's utterly meaningless. I think it was poor decision making that made the Roman calendar the one most widely used, and I blame the Catholic church! I mean, get a load of the brilliance behind it:

"The Romans borrowed parts of their earliest known calendar from the Greeks. The calendar consisted of 10 months in a year of 304 days. The Romans seem to have ignored the remaining 61 days, which fell in the middle of winter. The 10 months were named Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Junius, Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, and December. The last six names were taken from the words for five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten. Romulus, the legendary first ruler of Rome, is supposed to have introduced this calendar in the 700's B.C.E.

According to tradition, the Roman ruler Numa Pompilius added January and February to the calendar. This made the Roman year 355 days long. To make the calendar correspond approximately to the solar year, Numa also ordered the addition every other year of a month called Mercedinus. Mercedinus was inserted after February 23 or 24, and the last days of February were moved to the end of Mercedinus. In years when it was inserted, Mercedinus added 22 or 23 days to the year."

Uhhhh...yeah, inserting a MONTH every other year seems like the best way to solve the problem. Crikey! This means their seasons weren't even always starting in the same months.

They did have a good idea, early on:
"At the time of their early kings, Roman months were of a length identical to the lunar cycle. Each month was divided into sections that ended on the day of one of the first three phases of the moon: new, first quarter or full. All days were referred to in terms of one of these three moon phase names, Kalends, Nones or Ides."

So, anyways, I wish we had a good lunar calendar. Or I guess the correct term is lunisolar calendar, as that takes into account both the lunar cycles for months and the revolution around the sun for years. I prefer meaningful measures of time, and I think that being in touch with the lunar cycle would be a good way for us to be more in tune with nature. I'm sure that a big factor behind the adoption and spread of the Roman calendar by the Catholic church was that it was NOT that firmly attached to nature, and the church liked that as it was another way to separate themselves from the pagans (nature worshippers). Personally, I think we could do a little better to have a bit more of a nature worshipful attitude. Perhaps then we would take our stewardship more responsibly and not have quite the extent of environmental problems that we see today.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I've not been online much lately, partly due to my internet connection being so sporadic, and partly due to the fact that for the past couple of weeks I've been reading books 4-6 of Harry Potter. I stayed up late last night and finished book 6. Wow!! It was fantastic! I'm almost sad to be finished with them (until book 7 comes out) as they were so fun to get swallowed up in. But I'm glad, too, as I won't feel compelled to read it at every spare moment. Plus, David and I were both reading it, so it was a matter of switching off and sharing.

Other than that, I'm working on developing a good pair of fairy wings. My inspiration is coming from the wings on this site: www.fairylove.com (I'm too lazy to make it a link right now.) Noodle has some generic store bought wings, which she really loves, but I'd like to make her some fancy & fun ones. I also want to make some for my little niece who has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, as she is also a big fairy fan, and I think she'll really appreciate them. And I'm sure I'll make some for myself, too!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith ni his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made." Moroni 7:38

The law is that we must have faith to be saved. I think I lack some understanding in this area. If we look at faith as a near equivalent to belief, then Christ can only save us if we believe he can. I have a hard time looking beyond the simplistic idea of comparing it to my belief in something happening. I can say that I believe it will rain tomorrow, but whether it does or not is independent of my belief in it. It almost feels like it is a limitation on Christ's power to say "He can only save me if I believe in him." But faith is more than belief, I think. I don't know if I understand faith as well as I used to think I did.

From the Bible Dictionary:
Faith: Faith is to hope for things which are not seen, but which are true, and must be centered in Jesus Christ in order to produce salvation. To have faith is to have confidence in something or someone. The Lord has revealed himself and his perfect character...so as to enable the mind of man to place confidence in him without reservation. Faith is kindled by hearing the testimony of those who have faith. Miracles do not produce faith but strong faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ; in other words, faith comes by righteousness, although miracles often confirm one's faith.
Faith is a principle of action and of power..."

It goes on but for now that suffices. So if I have faith in Christ I have confidence in him, and faith comes by righteousness. Is that because it is only by being righteous that we can actually get to a point where we might understand Christ enough to have confidence in him? I can see that we have to get to know him in order to have confidence...could you know him if you are acting unrighteously? Why and how does the atonement only work if we allow it to work in our lives? I tend to believe that there are actual rules that govern these sorts of things, and not that it is just an arbitrary setup. Why do I have to have faith in order to be redeemed from my sins? What is it about faith that allows Christ to help me?

I'll have to do some more research and pondering on the matter. Maybe I'll need to dig out my copy of Lectures on Faith.

So David and I had a discussion on the topic, and we came up with/remembered the following key point:
Faith is an active verb, not a passive verb (like believe). To truly have faith, you must be acting in some way that is taking you closer to the person/idea/concept you have faith in. So if you have faith in the Atonement, you must be acting in such a way (repentance) that puts you in a position to receive it. Without faith, you stand still and don't move in any direction, as you have nowhere to go (what's the Alice in Wonderland quote? If you don't know where you are going, it doesn't much matter which direction you go. Something along that line.) Faith is what makes you take a step towards God, in any way. We brought up that rarely would the self-absorbed hedonist suddenly have an epiphany to find God, simply because they lack the desire. As Alma says, you first start with a desire. I'd guess for most people this is a desire for something unknown, but simply a desire for something better. That is the beginning of a faith, as they are willing to look for something, and hope that it exists.

Well, it's late so I'll sign off for now and hopefully continue this more in the future.
Dejunking! That's the word of the week! As David and I have started planning and dreaming and researching our future home, I think I am finally getting the motivation I need to toss unneeded, unwanted, and unloved stuff. I have two HUGE garbage bag of clothes plus a large bag of toys that are going. I cleaned out and tossed some plastic food storage containers, pulled out some "trinkets/collectibles" that I won't miss, and have cleaned out & organized a couple of my craft boxes. I still have a ways to go, and have to do some sorting through stuff that we have at David's folks house, but I am making progress. And it really does feel sooo nice to not have all of this stuff weighing so heavily everywhere. Heck, we might actually be able to find things. I checked out a couple of Don Aslett's books from the library, and they've been helpful. It's nice to have encouragement and some sound reasoning behind my efforts, as I certainly don't come by them naturally. Mom & Dad are both big-time hoarders & collectors. It's a struggle for me, as there is a strong part of my brain that wants to be frugal and therefore not get rid of things that might come in handy someday. But I'm trying to retrain my brain to think of how it is frugal to not spend time & energy (which equal money) dealing with stuff that I don't need at the present time in my life. It's a paradigm shift, but having too much really does cost us. We lose time because we have to sort through, organize & reorganize, and clean up around junkl And using time in this way takes away from more productive and enjoyable things. So the cost of dealing with it everyday is not worth the money saved by holding onto it forever.

I also like the idea of viewing gifts as messengers. Once you have received the gift and enjoyed the thought that accompanied it, it has served it's purpose. You can keep it around if you really love it, but you shouldn't feel obligated to hang onto it forever simply because it was a gift. Flowers & food are gifts, too, but after we're finished with them, it's okay to chuck 'em. So I think that perspective has some value. Another idea is that of it being selfish and wasteful to keep things around that you aren't using/enjoying, when there is someone out there who would enjoy it. I like that, too.

And my favorite part of putting the clothes that I'm KEEPING (some maternity clothes, kids clothes & diapers, etc) away: vacuum packing! I love to suck the air out of the bags with the hose! Ah, the simple pleasures of life.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Fabulous Pink Mindy

"You'll Look a Little Lovelier Each Day with Fabulous Pink Mindy."

For laughs, sloganize yourself & loved ones! Sloganize!


"When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be Mindy Overnight."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I like to consider myself a fairly informed American, and I do my best to research issues and candidates before I vote. I also listen to NPR several times a week and keep up on the news that way. When I feel strongly about an issue, I write to local and other politicians. But I feel no need or desire to keep up on the activities (more than happens from above mentioned sources) or speeches of our current President. I'm not a big fan, and I think tuning into him more than I do would just annoy me. Plus, it isn't like I have a lot of choices in the matter--we're stuck with him until 2008.d This spills over into my feelings about the war in Iraq. I don't support his justifications for going there in the first place (I feel it was a bit like an Onion article described it "Liberate Iraqi Oil Wells"), but since we are there and caused a big mess for the Iraqi people, I do kind of feel like it'd be wrong to just leave the country in shambles. But beyond that, my feelings about the whole situation are incomplete. I haven't wanted to put the effort and emotion into more fulling forming my views, because I don't know that it would make any difference, except to add more emotional stress to my life. I care about a lot of issues, but I don't care about every issue.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Harold & Maude

Last night we watched an excellent movie, Harold & Maude. It's an oldie (1971) but definitely a goodie. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It reminded me to enjoy living (not that I don't) and enjoy the journey for what it is, and not to spend your life half or mostly dead.

Related to this, I'm going to make a real effort to "greet the day" happily. It's hard after a night of frequently interrupted sleep, as all I think is "Aaarrgh! I need more sleep!" While that may be true, unfortunately having a negative attitude about it won't make me less sleepy. Though I might reserve the privilege of being grumpy for particularly bad nights.

Assuming all goes according to plan, David should start getting paid September 1st, thus ending our 15 months of poverty, and 8 months of zero income. Hooray!! I can't help but wonder if there were some lessons I should have learned during this time that I didn't. I know that I will not take paychecks for granted in the future. And I was already pretty frugal, but I've learned that you really can do without a lot of things. Our goal is to continue living cheaply so we can save up for a down payment on a house. We have several thousand in our IRAs that we can use for a down payment as well. Which is pretty good considering we saved that while we were both grad students.

One more comment on the movie -- the soundtrack is by Cat Stevens, and features this fabulous song:

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low
'Cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

You can do what you want
The opportunity's on
And if you can find a new way
You can do it today
You can make it all true
And you can make it undo
you see ah ah ah
its easy ah ah ah
You only need to know

Well if you want to say yes, say yes
And if you want to say no, say no
'Cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

And if you want to be me, be me
And if you want to be you, be you
'Cause there's a million things to do
You know that there are


Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Valderah HA HA HA HA HA!

This is my new happy song! For the tune, go here The Happy Wanderer Tune

I love to go awandering
Along the mountain track
And when I go, I love to sing
My knapsack on my back

Valderee, valderah,
Valderee, valderah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,
Valderee, valderah,
My knapsack on my back

I love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun
So joyously, it calls to me
Come join my happy song

Valderee, valderah,
Valderee, valderah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,
Valderee, valderah,
Come join my happy song

Overhead, the skylarks wing
They never rest at home
But just like me, they love to sing
As o'er the world we roam

Valderee, valderah,
Valderee, valderah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,
Valderee, valderah,
As o'er the world we roam

Note: I was made aware of this happy song by watching the Ben Stiller/Jack Black movie "Envy" which I think is a hoot & a half. I've seen it a couple of times, and had been singing the chorus periodically since we rented it last time. Finally I knew I just HAD to learn the whole song. I'm still working on the lyrics, but at least I have the tune. And it's a great tune to use for "homemade" lyrics about the kiddos, too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I've not been blogging much lately. I just finished reading our FMH bookclub selection, Mama Day. Excellent book! I'm excited for the discussion. Maybe I'll jot down some thoughts about it sometime. Other than that, I've been dealing with Spud & his erratic napping schedule. He's up to 6 teeth now (4 top, 2 bottom) and he does not seem to do to well with the teething pain. He also thinks it's his privilege to bite everything in sight. I don't mind as long as he sticks to things, but he loves to try and bite my clothes, which invariably leads to biting my skin, too. The other day he just reached out with his mouth and chomped me right on the wrist. YOWCH!! That was unbelievably painful. So, we of course give him our standard empty threat that he'll be sent to the coal mines...I'm sure they'll find a job for him. Perhaps testing the coal for strength with his teeth?

Also, he's into EVERYTHING lately. I knew this would happen, which is why I was in no hurry for him to master crawling. Yesterday I was in the living room with Noodle, and he crawled into the kitchen. Our living room and kitchen don't have any dividing walls, so I could easily hear him though I couldn't see him from where we were. I assumed he'd just go play with the tupperware like he usually does. After two minutes, I walk over to check on him. He's standing at the garbage can, EATING! AACK! He had a chunk of apple in his mouth, as well as a bunch of uncooked oatmeal (he'd spilled it earlier in the day), and a tomato top in his little fist. I was grateful that the garbage was pretty clean (and devoid of rat sundries), and after I cleaned out his mouth and his fist I couldn't help but be amused by how pleased he'd been with himself. You could just see him thinking, "Wow, thanks Mom! It's so great of you to leave this food out for me. And it's right at my level!! What a peach!" I guess I should have seen it coming, as he has been in love with the broom for a couple of weeks now. If I forget to put it in an inaccessible spot, he'll pull it down and just pet it and look at it. I figure so long as he doesn't suck on it, we're probably okay.

But I am a mom with a high tolerance for "germs". I don't worry too much if things fall on the floor, or sharing food among family members. But I do insist on fairly frequent hand & face washing, so I hope that balances out the germy stuff they get into.
Update on my niece, Emily, from my brother:

Well, we have some good news (of the mixed, uncertain

The attending physician last night concurred last
night with the diagnosis of "Dr. B" (for want of a
proper spelling of his last name) and recommended
treatment for Stills Disease - the juvenile arthritis
one. Talked to emmy's mom a few minutes ago, and she
says Emily seems to have responded well to that
treatment. So the good news is that we may have
solved the puzzle. The bad news, of course, is that
if so, our little girl may have arthritis that we need
to deal with. There are various levels of this
particular illness, so there is no telling at this
stage how severe the symptoms will be. Seems to be
evenly spread across the spectrum between mild,
moderate, and severe. So we are proceeding with that
treatment, and continuing to make other tests that
will help zero in on something. But, emily is feeling
much better today, and we appreciate your prayers and


I've been looking around online for more information about Stills, It seems like it does okay with treatment, but what a stinky thing for a kid to have to deal with. We're still praying for her.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

My brother Dave's little girl Emily (almost 5) is at the hospital for the 2nd time. She went in the first time about 10 days ago, with a high fever (104) and a rash. She was released, but then readmitted in the past couple of days. (I don't have all the details.) I guess she has been going in & out of consciousness. This is the news from my brother:

So far we have had "guesses" from doctors that she
might have Rocky Mtn Spotted Fever (carried by ticks
and mosquitoes) Kawasaki Virus (Scary, since if left
untreated it can mess up the heart) and the latest is
Stills Disease, or Systemic Onset Juvenile Rheumatoid
Arthritis. All we know for sure is that she is quite
ill. Fevers as high as 104, though we seem to be able
to break those with meds. She walked from the
bathroom to her bed tonight, and ate some steak, so we
are taking any good signs we can get. The spinal tap
came back negative, so all those scary diseases
relating to that are put to rest. First round of
blood tests will be in tomorrow, and hopefully that
will make us smarter than we have been so far."

Please pray for her and the doctors, or send good thoughts & energy their way. She is at Primary Children's hospital in Salt Lake City.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Yet another reason...

....I won't be sad to move. So neighbor kids M & J come over and knock on the door to ask if Noodle can play. The three of them play together for a half hour or so outside, and then decide they want to play inside M & J's house. M & J's mom has said that each of them could only have one friend in the house, and J (the girl close to Noodle's age) invites B over, even though J has been playing with Noodle happily for the past half hour. Then J & B both brattily tell Noodle that she can't come in, and they parade from B's place to J's place (right past our apartment) holding hands and acting all bratty towards Noodle. I was so mad, and poor Noodle was just crushed. I get her to come inside and have her sit on the sofa with me and she says, "They're not doing what Heavenly Father wants them to do, because they're not being nice to me." "I know sweetie." "I need to go tell them they should do what Heavenly Father wants them to do." "You can't, sweetie, because they didn't invite you to come." She went on about it for a bit longer, until finally I was able to distract her with her "quiet time snack" and take her in her room to read stories and take a nap. I'm annoyed at the bratty girls, of course, but more annoyed at their idiot mother who only allows one friend over when there are obviously three little girls playing together. Does one more little girl make such a difference? I don't think so. So I vented to David about it on the phone just now and he said that it is a typical behavior of poor people -- they set themselves up to "control" situations, resources, etc because they have always felt deprived. I think he's right on in this case. And not that "not-poor" people don't do this, too, but it seems to be particularly obvious in poor people who just feel like there isnt' enough ________ for everyone, so you've got to stick it to someone, especially if someone has more _________ than you. Obviously not all poor people are like this, but people with a "poor mentality" tend to be. Because heaven knows that the past year we've been poorer than poor, but we don't suffer from the same afflictive mentality. There is a lot to be said for David's idea of having an "abundance mentality". Approach life with the paradigm that there is enough for you and for everyone.

It's especially hard because Noodle loves to share things with her friends and invite them over to play here. And I either allow no kids into play, or allow all of the girls playing together to come in. We've had several little girls here at the same time playing together. I just won't support such exclusivity among kids when it is totally arbitrary.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Another rant...

So, I'm getting increasingly UPSET about the pit bull hysteria as of late. Check out these reports of dog bites/attacks:

What kind of dog? (You can bet it'd be all over the story if it were a pit bull

Akita - not said until end of article

Fatality, not caused by pit bulls!

Anyways, I just get annoyed when i read reports that include inane comments by people who obviously haven't done their research, or who assume that pit bull = killer. Sigh... I guess I just have to fight for the underdog and for TRUTH!

(I need to go to bed!)


Too late, I found out about "blogathon" where people blog to raise money for a charity. If I'd known AND had any spare money (which we don't right now--heck, we don't even have any money, let alone spare money!) I'd have supported this woman:
A fellow pit bull lover

Hopefully next year.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Yup, more on pit bulls

Perusing pit bull related sites the other day, I came across this fantastic comment on BSL (Breed Specific Legislation). LS says it as well as I could hope to, and I received permission to post the comment here. All I can say to this is "AMEN!"
(Linked from blog at The Bark,
Why does everyone hate me?)

Ignorance, hysteria and urban legend are terrible grounds for generalizing about dogs, and even worse grounds for legislation.

Compare these quotes:

1. Denver Assistant City Attorney Kory Nelson: "Pit bulls are the 'nuclear weapon' of dog breeds compared with the 'hand grenade' of other breeds."

2. Julie Gilchrist (a doctor at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who researches dog bites): "If anyone says one dog is more likely to kill — unless there’s a study out there that I haven’t seen — that’s not based on scientific data."

Show of hands---
How many of you heard about the border collie involved in a fatal attack on an elderly man in Indiana on July 1? How many heard about the Siberian husky that killed a days-old infant in Rhode Island on July 14? How about the Massachusetts boy mauled by two wheaten terriers last week ("one of the worst attacks I've ever seen," said the animal control officer)? Or the Wisconsin girl who suffered permanent injuries when a Lab attacked her, "flinging her in the air" several times? (The girl's mother has filed suit against the store where the dog ran loose.) Or the fourteen year old New Jersey boy who needed four hours of surgery after being attacked last week by a friend's bullmastiff? These are the stories that don't get much media coverage---the stories that have "dog" in the headline, as opposed to "pit bull."

If you ask the bureaucrats in Denver (where good dogs are being confiscated and killed) how many dog bite fatalities they've had since pit bulls were banned, city officials will admit that other breeds have been responsible for at least five fatal attacks and dozens of serious injuries. A malamute killed a seven year old Fruita,CO girl in May. As Dr. Karen Overall has written, "[Laws] banning breeds will not make you safer, and the illusion that they will do so is dangerous to humans and unfair to dogs." (Canine aggression is part of Dr. Overall's study at UCSF: http://psych.ucsf.edu/K9BehavioralGenetics/ )

Given the problems of overbreeding and the horrendous abuse and neglect so many pit bulls suffer, it shouldn’t be surprising that some of them bite. The impressive fact is that the overwhelming majority of pit bulls don’t bite---not even, in many cases, in the face of abuse and neglect. By anyone’s educated guesstimate, there are more pit bulls in the U.S. than any other breed of dog, and if even the better part of one percent of them were “loaded guns,” “sticks of dynamite,” “ticking time bombs” and “nuclear weapons,” there wouldn’t be enough space on the front page of the newspaper to record the daily fatalities and horrible injuries these dogs would cause.

I keep and train working border collies, and am always struck by the fact that so many border collies in the “best” homes bite---and so many pit bulls in the worst homes don’t.

God knows pit bulls suffer terribly from overbreeding. But so do all popular breeds, and this problem can be addressed by licensing dog breeders and establishing (and enforcing) universal spay/neuter regulations---not through legislation compounding the media-driven fiction that there are "safe breeds" and "dangerous breeds." That illusion is why America has a dog bite epidemic in the first place.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Awwww RATS!

A few months ago I started "officially" collecting rat/mouse paraphernalia, in large part because I am at my current max for actual rats. I think if I can move into a house and have a room that is more specifically for the rats, then I would like to get a couple females, but at present 5 rats is my limit. Anyways, it's been fun and I've picked up some fun pieces, and I already had a few just because. These pics are my junior boys Marco & Berkeley checking out their graven images. As I type this, they are running around exploring the living room. Cobar & Taj (their other cagemates) come out occasionally, but as they are getting up there in rat years, they often prefer to lounge around the cage. My other boy, Turbo, is antisocial with humans & other rats, so he rarely leaves his private cage (he was a humane society rat who I don't think was ever well socialized). I admit it. I'm obsessed. Rats really are fantastic little pets, though I don't expect most people who haven't had them to believe that. They each have their own "personality" and some are just like little dogs--demanding of attention and so excited to spend time with you.

So, what exactly does it mean to be open-minded? I like to think of myself as open-minded, but at the same time I realize that I'm incredibly opinionated about topics and issues that matter to me. So if I have a strong and unlikely to budge opinion about something I've researched well and thought about, am I still open-minded? I really can't think of issues that I feel passionately about that I haven't done the research to back up my opinion, and there are loads of things that I don't have much of an opinion on, and I consider myself to be open-minded about those topics as "the jury (in my mind) is still out." Is open-mindedness simply a willingness to hear various viewpoints, and consider their merit, even if you are pretty set in your own opinion?

Intelligent (?) Design

I'm in a state of disbelief that people are still so anti-evolution. I don't understand a faith in God that is so threatened by the principles of evolution. Would a human body be so much "degraded" by having developed through processes of evolution, rather than being created nearly ex nihilo out of dirt? Hmmmm...I don't see the difference. But the key point to me, and the nail in the coffin of teaching Intelligent Design in school, is that it isn't science. The beauty of science is that it is a discovery process, resulting from forming hypotheses, running experiments, making observations, then drawing conclusions from those observations. When we close the door on discovery, saying that the earth was Intelligently Designed, we close the door on inquiry and probing, and therefore close the door on discovery and learning. I refuse to think that God doesn't want us to study his earth and learn as much as we can. To say, well, God designed it and and therefore it is unknowable, that's just rubbish. Seriously, why do people think that the Bible is a science textbook? People don't use the Bible as a medical textbook, or a math textbook, or a cook book, or an economics book. So why do we feel the need to say, "Oh! This science does not conform with the story in the Bible (which we have no actual scientific evidence of), so we'd better just throw it out." No, it flies in the face of science as a process of knowing things. There is just no point in closing the door on inquiry and thought. It does no good, but a lot of harm.

(This rant was inspired by today's Diane Reams show on NPR)
  • President Bush Strikes again

  • and another p.s. The speakers on Diane's show are pointing out a key point, which is that evolution should be viewed as an organizing principle for biology. No, we don't know all of the particulars, but who cares? That's why we keep studying.

    My nephew the unicyclist!

    Check him out!!

    It's my brother's son! He's such a cool kid.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    City Council meeting

    I went to the Springville City Council meeting tonight to "protest" the pit bull ordinance. Rachel was there, too, and she had prepared a lot of materials which she brought along with her. I think it was good that I was there, as I was a contrast to what the council members might have perceived as "typical" pit bull owners. Also, I was able to mention the point that my family was looking to purchase a home, and this ordinance really knocks Springville out of the running. (We actually have considered living there, but in all honestly we'll likely end up somewhere further south. But the ordinance would preclude us from EVER living there.) Anyways, Rachel presented some good information and I added my two cents, mentioning that I have been attacked by a black lab and a St. Bernard, so it isn't just pit bulls that attack. When Rachel left, one of the city council members went out into the hall and talked to her for several minutes, saying essentially that he is on our side and has been a dog owner for his entire life. He said they'll have to have the staff review the documents and draft a new ordinance, and he'll be in touch with her when that is ready to appear on the agenda. So, HOORAY!!

    We Don't Need No Education

    "How can we say, in any case, that one piece of knowledge is more important than another, or indeed, what we really say, that some knowledge is essential and the rest, as far as school is concerned, worthless? A child who wants to learn something that the school can't and doesn't want to teach him will be told not to waste his time. But how can we say that what he wants to know is less important than what we want him to know? We must ask how much of the sum of human knowledge anyone can know at the end of his schooling. Perhaps a millionth. Are we then to believe that one of these millionths is so much more important than another? Or that our social and national problems will be solved if we can just figure out a way to turn children out of schools knowing two millionths of the total, instead of one? Our problems don't arise from the fact that we lack experts enough to tell us what needs to be done, but out of the fact that we do not and will not do what we know needs to be done now. Learning is not everything, and certainly one piece of learning is as good as another...It is not subject matter that makes some learning more valuable than others, but the spirit in which the work is done." -- John Holt, How Chlldren Fail

    It's interesting to me as I do more reading and research on home schooling, and I've found John Holt's books to be particularly thought-provoking, because I become more convinced that schools wouldn't be so "bad" if they were just inefficient methods of learning. That is tolerable in some regards, I think. What is NOT tolerable is that schools seem to inherently damage the natural enthusiasm to learn that already exists in most children. So I can no longer think that school is simply benign, because it seems that schools actually do harm to children. And this is coming from someone who always excelled at school. I was an ideal student in many ways, and received excellent grades. And even I recognize that so much of the time was wasted waiting for the teacher to gain control over the class, dealing with the troublesome students. I think I "learned" just about as much as was available to me to learn, but I know that most of it was not retained AT ALL past the end of the semester, and everything I did learn could have been learned much more quickly had it been something that actually interested me or that I'd chosen to study.

    I like the above quotation because I really do think that one of the most important things to learn is how to find out information and how to think critically about that information.

    Anyways, I think I have more to say on the topic, but the kiddos keep interrupting my train of thought.

    Sunday, July 31, 2005

    Travelling with ultra conservatives

    So we had a surprise 70th birthday party for my Dad up in Idaho this weekend. Due to our financial constraints and the fact that we fear our transmission is going out, the kids and I rode up to Idaho with my sister and her family. So that was 3 adults and 10 kids in a 15 passenger van for a 6 hour drive. We drove up Friday and returned home Saturday. All in all, the trip wasn't so bad, though I confess that Spud spent a bit of the drive on my lap as he can't tolerate that much time strapped in his car seat. It's hard to be a newly mobile baby and then to be tied down to a chair for so long. My sister has twin girls that are about 6 months older than Noodle, so the three of them sat in a row in their car seats and had a lot of fun, with only a few episodes of driving each other to the point of screaming. A funny part of the trip, though, was having conversations with my very conservative sister and brother-in-law (BIL from here on out). These are people who find the most conservative candidate for president, no matter how obscure, and put signs in their yard and bumper stickers on their car proclaiming their support of the guy. The kind of people who are put off by GWB because he's too liberal. So, conversations with them are good because I'm reminded that people who I consider intelligent really can believe stuff that I think is rubbish. Anyways, on the way up to Idaho we started talking about dogs, and I mentioned how I think there should be some sort of permit required to breed dogs, and that this would help cut down the unwanted animal population. On their platform of not supporting government intervention in practically anything, they were adamantly opposed to this idea, as dogs are property and the government shouldn't step in when it involves people's personal property. I say that a lot of breeders are only breeding for money, so therefore they should subjected to some sort of regulation as they are dealing with living creatures and running a "business". I admit that I don't really have a vision for the particulars, but I do stick by my idea that pets should be neutered/spayed as there is no reason for them to breed. That should be left to experienced breeders who are educated and responsible. These sorts of breeders are referred to among the dog fanciers as "hobby breeders," and these types are typically heavily involved in the dog show circuit or training circuit and try to achieve titles for their animals. Additionally, these sorts of breeders require that dogs be returned to them in the case of the owners needing to get rid of them. The kinds of breeders that advertise in the Thrifty Nickel or sell dogs in front of stores are typically termed "Backyard Breeders" and breed dogs fairly indiscriminately, generally thinking that they can make some easy money. Their opinion is, once the dog is sold, it's gone, never to be worried about again. Anyways, I digress. So BIL disagrees with me that all pets should be "fixed" because "why shouldn't they have the opportunity to be happy and reproduce and raise puppies?" I had a hard time not laughing in his face. I'm a huge animal lover, but I know that dogs don't reproduce out of some conscious desire to "raise a family". It's all instinct and drive. They have hormones, so therefore they have a drive to mate with another dog. The "family" or puppies are just a byproduct of that drive. And even though mother dogs take good care of their puppies, it can't be said that their happiness is increased by having had puppies. Plus, if you buy into this line of thinking, isn't it terribly cruel to get rid of their family that gives them so much happiness? Puppies are sold at typically 8-10 weeks of age. Wouldn't that just break the mama dog's heart? I realize that laws are only as good as the enforcement, but I do think that they make a decent starting place from which to work at changing attitudes. Anyways, we agreed to disagree on the dog issue.

    On the way home, I told them about the book/PBS series of "Guns, Germs & Steel" and we talked about the ideas in there. This covered the idea of many plants and animals being domesticated there, and how this was an advantage to the people of the old world. He says that this idea of a fertile crescent origin of things is popular in the world (referring to the ideas of human origins in that area as well) but that the world doesn't have the "modern revelation" that we do. I presume he was referring to the idea of the Garden of Eden being in Missouri as he mentioned this a bit later. But I just don't see how people can look at all of the evidence in support of evolution and turn a blind eye and a deaf ear. It must be stressful to feel like you are always on guard against those deceptive bones and such scattered throughout the earth. Oh well...

    Sunday, July 24, 2005

    Through a glass, darkly

    I've been thinking more and more lately about our human view on God and the heavens, and just how much we don't know. I think in our religion we are blessed to have a lot of revealed information, but we take liberties and make assumptions about so much. We extrapolate from our own reality and paste that onto God and the eternities. The more I think about it, the crazier it is that we can really presume to know the mind of God. I think it is important to have, as best as we can, a correct perception and understanding of God (as Joseph Smith said), but even with the most that we can comprehend, we still must be seeing such a small picture. It's in some ways similar to the blind man being led around the elephant for the first time, feelng various parts of it with his hands and saying "Ahh...an elephant is very much like a wall. Oh, it seems the elephant is very much like a tree."

    We very often see examples of the "learned who think they are wise" (2 Nephi 9:28) and often associate this idea with secular learning, and those who are too caught up in the knowledge of worldly things thinking that they have no need for the gospel, and view such things as simplistic or beneath their intelligence. But what about those who think they are spiritually wise? David has some relatives who most assuredly fall into that category. In fact, they have stopped attending Sunday school as they prefer to have their own discussions at home because they think they know more than the teacher and other ward members. But the thing is, God didn't command us to meet together as a Church until we were sufficiently educated, then we can fraction off and be separate again. He said, "Be one, and if ye are not one ye are not mine" (Doct&Cov 38:27) and "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" (Luke 22:32). As much as we might prefer otherwise, we cannot live the Gospel as a hermit.

    So, I think I am realizing more and more the truth of 1 Corinthians 13:12:
    For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known.

    Despite all of the revelations we as a Church have received, despite the mysteries of God that have been thus far unfolded to us, we still know so very little. I guess this is what it means to become again as a little child (Matt 18:3, Mosiah 3:18, 3 Nephi 11:37-38). To appreciate that there is much that we cannot understand at present, but not to get upset about it. God gives us sufficient information to do what we need to do, but not usually enough to answer all of our "pressing issues". Life is, after all, a test to see whether we will do all things that the Lord has commanded (Abraham 3:25).

    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    Fun with Photoshop

    So, I need to improve my photography skills, but I also need to learn how to "improve" photos in Photoshop. Yesterday I spent some time testing out different effects, messing with hue/saturation, etc on this picture of my cute boy. It's so exhilarating to be able to manipulate parts of a photo to capture a certain mood. I really love my digital SLR, but a funny thing is just how excited I am simply that I finally have a camera with "zoom". Until David bought my D70, I had only ever had a point&shoot camera, so it took a lot of effort and a fair amount of luck to get a truly great photograph. For much of photography, at least of people & animals (my two favorite subjects) the key is to GET CLOSER. And when your point&shoot camera requires you to be at least 3-6 feet away, you just don't have a lot of options. And my other favorite thing about digital cameras--unlimited picture taking capacity and no film to develop!! The key to taking great photographs is to take A LOT, and this is so easy when you have a memory card that will hold up to 1100 photos. The only downside is having to sort through hundreds of photos and try to decide which ones to keep and which to toss. It just seems wrong to toss pictures of your children, even when you save the 3-5 best shots of the series.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    Pit Bulls

    There's been a flurry of news lately about "pit bull attacks," which has inspired a rash of ban proposals around the country. Your average uninformed person thinks, "Yeah, pit bulls are bad, obviously, because they are biting people. Let's ban them." So, let's have a bit of education.

    First of all, "pit bull" is not an actual breed of dog, but refers commonly to several types of dogs: American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Bull Terrier.

    No dog has a "locking jaw." That would require some sort of skeletal or other type of modification, which simply doesn't exist. Also, if they had that, it would be enough to make them not be a "dog" anymore. That's a total myth.

    All different breeds called "pit bulls" were mixes of terriers and bull dogs. Bull dogs used to be used for bull-baiting, which was a brutal sport that was outlawed in the 1800s. Then people started mixing the bull dogs with terriers to make them quick, and bred them to be dogfighters. Here is a KEY POINT: pit bulls were bred to be aggressive to other DOGS, not to HUMANS. The nature of a pit fight was such that there were usually 3 humans in the pit--both the dogs would have a handler, and there was also a referee/judge. These people didn't want to get bit, so the dogs were bred to have strong bite inhibition towards people. Moreso, these dogs lived generally as family members when they weren't fighting. (You have to remember that this was in the day before animal cruelty laws, so dog fighting was just a "sport" like dog racing or other things.) A dog that was human aggressive was not acceptable as a fighting dog, and was usually culled. Human aggression and dog aggression are two TOTALLY different traits. Other dogs are also animal aggressive, but nobody assumes that their aggression transfers over to people. Most hounds are to a degree small animal (i.e. rabbit or cat or fox) aggressive, most terriers are rat/squirrel aggressive, herding dogs are semi-aggressive to the animals they herd. Pit bulls were NEVER bred to be human aggressive, unlike "guarding dogs" such as mastiffs and others. Hopefully this point is clear: Dog aggression does not equal human aggression.

    Pit bulls, specifically the APBT and the Am. Staff, were considered great family dogs throughout most of the 20th century--think Petey of Our Gang/Little Rascals. Helen Keller had a pit bull. A pit bull received medals for service in WWI. They were the all around family dog. They often do GREAT with kids because they have a high pain threshold, so they don't wince at every hug, poke, or other things kids might inflict uppon them. Both APBT and AmStaffs are descended from the Staff. Bull Terrier of England, which is called "the nanny dog" because it is SOOOOO good with kids.

    Starting in the 1970s or so, pit bulls became the "cool" dog for unscrupulous people to get, because it portrayed a tough guy image. They are beautiful, muscular dogs, so it's easy to see why they were attracted to them. Dog fighting still goes on, but you can be assured that this is not the "gentleman's sport" that it was in the late 1800s. People now abuse their dogs to make them meaner, and they typically "bait" them with other dogs. The people who dogfight now are the bottowmdwellers of society, and don't care about dogs or people or anything else. Since pit bulls are still popular among "bad people" there are a LOT of "backyard breeders" who aren't doing the breed any services. The pit bulls you hear about on the news are the combination of bad breeding but mostly bad ownership.

    I can sympathize with apprehensions about the breed, because until a year and a half ago I felt the same way. I was doing research on great danes, and looked at one dane owner's page, and she had the cutest dog. I asked her what it was, and she told me it was a pit bull. I was flabbergasted!! At that time, I only knew of Bull Terriers (the target dog) as pit bulls, and so I set out to learn about these dogs. I've read loads of books and information on line about them, so I consider myself a well educated amateur. I've met about 8-10 pit bulls in person, and they are wonderful dogs--they have great owners.

    If you are interested in learning more, just for "education's sake" check out

    Happy Anniversary!

    Happy Anniversary to me and David! Four wonderful and crazy busy years. And what do we have to show for it? Two masters degrees, two kids, one trip to Brazil, 3 presentations at scientific conferences, one cruise to the Bahamas, 5 rats (with 3 more over the "rainbow bridge"), one fish (more over the bridge), one departed hamster, 3 Mac computers. . . In all honesty, four years hardly seems long enough to have experienced all that we have. It's hard in some ways for me to remember life before David came along. We met on a trip to the Amazon rainforest, where we spent two of the most relaxed and blissful weeks, even as we studied and learned and did some fieldwork with the other students and professors there. I think the memories of being deep in the Amazon will always remain some of the most peaceful and serene of my life. There really aren't words to describe it. But it's where I like to go when I need a "happy place" to restore the balance in my mind and take myself away from the occasional chaos of life with two kids.

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    Visit from a friend

    My friend Dean from graduate school did stop by on his way back to California. He's a cool guy and a good friend. I actually introduced him to the world of rats, and in my honor he named one of them after me! (He did get to bring them home on my birthday after all.) I really was honored. When Zion asked what his rats' names were and he told her, she looked at me with this half puzzled half excited face and said, "That's your name!"

    Anyways, he got to meet my two newest ratboys, Marco and Berkeley. He'd met the others before. Marco is the ultimate friendly rat and he'll climb right up your arm if you get anywhere near the cage when the door is open. Berkeley is really friendly too, just not as gregarious. This pic is of Berkeley scaling the cage last week during free-range time.

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    It's OFFICIAL!

    He's CRAWLING! Full on hands and knees, all over the place. And he's so nonchalant about it, which is so funny because doing the army crawl took so much energy, but now he crawls like it's no big deal.

    Dog for a Day

    This morning after David had left for work, he came back to pick up some car-related papers and told me that a female mama pit bull just came out of the bushes by the neighboring 4plex and was wandering around. Of course, we go out to see her and she turns out to be just the friendliest dog. It doesn't look like she has a current littler of pups, but her nipples are quite distended, so she has probably been bred a few times. We played outside with her for a while, and I brought her a bowl of water. After a while, I headed inside and she followed me. We hung out for the day, and I made a makeshift collar so we could take her around to hang up some "DOG FOUND" signs. It was a lot of fun hanging out with her, and I'd already fantasized about her living at David's folks house until we get our own house, and then she could come live with us. A woman called just a few minutes ago and described her perfectly, so I gave her the address and she came and picked her up. She said the dog's name was "Shanday" and that she'd actually been taken yesterday, but she didn't elaborate on that point. She said she and a friend were just about to start searching, and her friend saw the sign I'd put up at the park. So, I'm glad she's back with her owner, but it was certainly fun to have a dog for a little while. And Noodle and Spud just loved her, and she just loved them right back.

    :::::sigh:::::: I really can't wait to have a pit bull of my very own.

    "Imaginary" Friends?

    I've had the opportunity over the past month or so to meet a number of my "internet friends". In every case I have been delighted with how the meetings went, and happy to find that I like these people as well in person as I do online. A side benefit was that meeting them kind of "legitimized" them in my mind as friends. Instead of people I'd met online but had never met, which sometimes seemed a bit like "imaginary" friends, now they were people I'd met and who I just don't get to see very often. And since that is true of my regular friends, too, I feel more justified than ever in keeping up with all of them.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Thoughts on parenting

    "He is so full of energy and muscle, teething, ranting, crazed, but he's the best baby you could ever hope for. Still a baby, though, which is to say, still periodically a pain in the neck. Donna was saying the other day that she knows this two-year-old who's really very together and wonderful a lot of the time, really the world's best two-year-old, but then she added, "Of course, that's like saying Albert Speer was the nicest Nazi. He was still a Nazi."

    --Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott

    As a child, you think that your parents really have the good life--not having to be accountable to anyone, or ask for cookies or ice cream, being able to stay up late and drive cars. What would it be like to be so independent, you think. Then you become an adult and you do get to enjoy all of those things, possibly for many many years. But when you become a parent and you have an infant or young child in the home, you are worse off than even a child, in terms of independence. Every minute you nearly walk on tiptoes as you wait to hear the summoning cry or demanding yell from your child. Being a parent is never truly having down time, and being always on call. I'm hoping that we regain independence, at least to some degree, not too long after they learn to wipe their own bums and fix themselves sandwiches. The years go fast but sometimes the days are painfully long.

    Time waster


    Relaxing, in a painful sort of way perhaps.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    Good times...

    Clive has mastered pulling himself up to standing using furniture now, and standing has replaced bouncing as his new favorite pasttime. Often he reaches and grasps the part of the furniture he uses to pull himself up before his legs are anywhere beneath him, so he ends up stretched out at a 45 degree angle looking like he is teetering over hot lava. He does pretty well slowly inching his feet and legs up, but it starts out looking pretty funny.

    I went to our ward's Enrichment meeting tonight. I'd actually signed up to bring something (a bag of chips) in an effort to ensure that I would go. I have a tendency to decide fairly last minute that I'm not up to it and stay home, so I figured if I felt obligated to go because I was taking food, I'd actually go. And I'm glad I went. I had a chance to talk to people and also had the opportunity to say some witty comments and got everyone to laugh. It's funny, because all of my siblings are like that, and I'm not sure where we got it from, as I don't recall if mom & dad are that into saying the witty "after-thoughts" that we all enjoy so much. And while I would never go into business trying to get laughs out of people, I do enjoy making people laugh. But I prefer to do it on the side while I am not the main focus of attention. So, I'm really glad I forced myself to go. I also got to bring home a few leftover cookies, so Z was a happy girl, as she'd been asking for cookies all day long, especially after watching Cookie Monster on Sesame Street happily devouring his.


    David and I had an interesting discussion regarding perfection. We were discussion what exactly perfection means, and how it is "measured". We figured it is not a numbers game, or even a results-oriented idea. We came to this idea by looking at the children that God has created. Right off the bat 1/3 of the hosts of heaven left, and what percentage of those who live on earth will make it back to live in glory with him forever? I figure it's a fairly small percentage. So if perfection isn't achieving 100%, what is it? Is it completeness? Is it having perfect motives? Perhaps doing the right things for the right reasons, irrespective of the outcome? I am fairly convinced that we can't look at results to judge perfection. Which is heartening to me, since judging from results in many areas of my life, I would have slim chance of ever achieving perfection.

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    Rough night

    Last night was not a good night for sleeping. Granted, David and I were up until 1 o'clock talking, but still. I think we were giddy over the fact that both the kids were asleep by 9:30--what a miracle! Anyways, so at about 1, when we are getting ready to go to bed, Spud wakes up. I nursed him, and laid him back in his bed. He woke up about 3 minutes later, and I tried to pat a burp out of him. He settled down, so I laid him back in bed. Then a few minutes later, he woke up again. I think once or twice during this time he slept perhaps up to 20 minutes, but then he'd wake up again. I tried everything. Putting him on the bed next to us, laying him on my chest while I slept on my back... I even got up with him and took him to the living room and nursed him a little more. He'd fall asleep, then wake up shortly after being laid down. By 3 o'clock, I was beside myself. I made David take over for a little bit, but the curse of being the mother, at least for me, means that if the baby is noisy or whimpering and I can hear it, there is no way that I'll be falling asleep, and Spud had gone through an intense crying spell. So, I took him again. He finally fell asleep, after doing some prolonged occasional sniffles and that inhale/pant that happens after you've cried a long time. It was so sad and pathetic that I pretty much forgave him for the whole fiasco, though I still longed for sleep. This morning he woke up at 8:00, and David had a meeting at 9:00 so there was no chance of me getting any more sleep. I've been cleaning all morning and the exhaustion hits me hard in my stomach, it almost feels like hunger or sickness, but it's just exhaustion coming in waves from my center. What I wouldn't give today for a nanny so I could take a 3 hour nap.

    Friday, July 08, 2005

    Birth Order

    I've been thinking a lot lately about family dynamics, specifically birth order. I'm the youngest in my family of six kids by six years, so in some ways I was a bit like an only child, and I definitely didn't have the experience of having younger brothers or sister. I did become an aunt when I was 9, but in a lot of ways that is like being a grandparent -- you only see the kids for brief stints and you can give them back. I was always really good with kids, and I was a great babysitter, probably because I had a comparatively extended childhood and I love to play. So, with all of this "experience," I looked forward to becoming a mother. And WOW was I in for an awakening. I won't say a rude awakening, because overall motherhood has been a wonderful experience, and I think I'm a pretty great mom on the whole. But having never observed someone raising kids long term (except for my parents raising myself, which of course couldn't be viewed objectively), I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. I can't help but think that everyone else in my family had a much more informed portrait of parenthood in their heads before they became parents. My oldest sister (mother of 8 living children) is 16 years older than me, so I'm sure she remembers when mom was pregnant with me and some of the other kids. She saw the thousands of diaper changes, and probably did a lot of them, and noticed how the family dynamics changed with the addition of another child. I don't doubt that becoming a mother is life-changing for every woman, but wonder if it is less dramatic for children higher up in the birth order. And I wonder if oldest children generally have more kids than youngests.

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Self entertaining

    Spud is at such a fun age (6 months). He's quite mobile, and though he only does a true crawl every once in a while, he gets around amazingly well with his "army crawl". He can sit up and absolutely loves clapping his hands. It's amusing to watch him when he can't see me as he claps and giggles to himself - and I love to see his capacity for self-entertainment develop. I am the youngest in my family by six years, so growing up most of my entertainment was based on finding things to do to entertain myself, so perhaps I value it more than most. And to be honest, nothing wears me out quicker than to spend a lot of time around kids who have no self-entertaining abilities. I can only come up with and tolerate so many games in which I have to be an active participant. Noodle is a good self-entertainer, too. I try and play with her when she comes to me, usually up to an hour, and often she gets an idea and goes off to play on her own for quite a while. I love it! DH complains that we have too many toys in her room (a lot of which were mine as a child) and perhaps she does, but I think it's important to have a sufficient variety to encourage and support creative and independent play. Plus I figure as long as I'm the one home with the kids the majority of the time, I'd prefer they have lots of options and possibilities for play, especially on their own.

    (Note: I'm not a big fan of "editing" naked baby photos, but since this is on the internet, it seems best to play it safe.)

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    The Aviator

    We watched The Aviator this week, and having known nothing about Howard Hughes, I quite enjoyed it. I have several friends who have obsessive-compulsive disorder, and so I'm familiar with the disorder, but after watching the movie we watched the extra scenes, and they go into more depth discussing OCD. The estimate is that 1 in 50 people have some form of OCD. One guy I know had really violent obsessions, and would spend hours in his room doing compulsive behaviors to try and get the thoughts out of his mind. It's just so sad to think that people have to live with these problems, and they don't know that it is just a problem with their mind. It typically isn't diagnosed until around age 20, which means that people spend the very formative years of their lives feeling anxious and concerned, and having to deal with so many unpleasant and often terrible thoughts. And they just think something is wrong with them. I certainly am grateful that it is diagnosable and treatable now.

    For more information on OCD, check out http://www.ocduk.org


    My Nikon D70 is finally back from "the shop". At the end of April, it inexplicably stopped working, and online I found that the specific error was a result of a manufacturing error in some cameras sold before September. So, today, TEN WEEKS LATER it finally made it home to me. In the ten weeks, I missed photographing my birthday (trip to Dinosaur museum with dh and kids), my daughter's 3rd birthday, vacation to beautiful mountains of Colorado, family reunion, and my 6 month old son learning to sit up and crawl. I'm thrilled to finally have it back, but I still haven't quite finished being annoyed that it took so long. Lately it seems that there is always one thing lingering in the back of my brain that really annoys me. I'm sure it isn't healthy, and it likely says something about my mental/emotional state right now. For example, yesterday was the recycling pickup day, and someone (I don't know if it was some random car or the recycling truck) knocked over our bin, so it didn't get picked up. And it's full clear to the top. And it's two weeks until the next pick up. Perhaps my excessive reactions are the result of being at home all day every day, having such a small realm of influence/experience lately. Seems a likely possibility.