Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Small Boys and World Peace

This is a picture of my mom, lovely sisters, and moi. I like my sisters. I also like my six brothers. I would say that I like people in general, and try to walk around with a glow of brotherly and sisterly kindness for all and a hope for world peace. However, I secretly find the world peace thing rather unlikely as long as small boys continue to exist. Let me explain...

Austin and I were recently asked to be leaders in our church! No seriously. We've done it before when we lived in Dallas, and although it's like a two hour aerobic workout trying to keep track of all the kids, you get to play games, eat snacks, sing songs, and give other parents a nice break. We're in there with another couple and we only do it every other Sunday, so it's a pretty cushy way to help out. However, the one thing that we've noticed (and in Dallas too) is that the annoying/mean/hitter/ripper/shover kid is invariably a boy. Granted, these kids are all way overdue for naps by the time they get to us, and all of them, though usually sweet, can be whiny and annoying, but the mean kid? Always a boy. Now "always" is a dangerous word to use, because I'm sure that somewhere out there there is an awesomely mean little girl that wanders around nursery grabbing toys away from other kids and hitting them in the head with them, but I haven't met her yet.

I could explore the theme of males and agressiveness, war, marking their territory, domination, blah blah blah. I think we could more simply say that world peace just doesn't have a chance as long as small boys continue to go to church nursery.

Caveat: Perhaps I am just a tad biased on this subect, as I have two very good little girls.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In Other News...

I watched the news for the first time in a while last night. Now lest you get the impression that I have become some sort of hermit in my mountain aerie*, I do keep up with what's going on, but just by checking the online news every once in a while throughout the day. But yesterday my hubby flew into New Jersey, which has definitely been affected by Hurricane Irene, and after switching hotels because his was left without power, he was wowed by the footage of the damage on the nightly news and told me to watch.

I recorded three different news channels, but ended up watching Brian Williams, because he reminds me of my dad a little bit. He covered the hurricane damage at length and went on to talk about the Lockerbie bomber and what's going on in Tripoli. I was thinking that maybe I should start recording the news every night, because I was feeling smart and knowledgable, when he started covering the news that Beyonce was pregnant. !!! He seemed kind of embarassed that after all this important, world-changing news he had to cover the celebrity gossip as well, but played it off well by calling it a "life-affirming event amidst all the horrible things going on" or something to that effect.

I decided that maybe I wouldn't start recording the nightly news, because to tell the truth, the pregnancy of Beyonce probably will have the same effect on my life as the destruction of Tripoli, i.e. none. And you know what that means? That I care as much about pregnant Beyonce dancing around as tortured men in the hospital in Libya. And admitting that to myself made me feel lame, not smart and knowledgable.

*this word reminds me of the incident in church a couple Sundays ago when one of the Primary children's leaders was wandering around with her Aerie bag proudly displayed....don't judge, Noni, don't judge...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cushiony Comfort

This is a picture of the Hugga-Bebe Cushioned Baby Support, and it took me forever to find this bad boy on the internet. Mostly because I didn't know what to google. I first saw it at the park the other day. A mom put her little baby in the toddler swing next to Cici with this padded monstrosity around him. Initially, I thought she was trying to sweat a few pounds off her son, since it was 90+ degrees outside, but then I realized it was to give him a cushiony ride/help him remain upright in the swing since he was way too young for it. 

First I rolled my eyes about the state of society and the people in it who think that it's too expensive to have kids. Just stop buying useless baby gear! (That's not to say that I wouldn't buy one if they happened to make it in an adult does look pretty cushy.)  Anyway, then I looked at my pants-less stain covered child sitting next to the Pampered Prince and realized that the mom next to me was probably also rolling her eyes about the state of society, only for different reasons. I decided to move off to another area of the park with the girls, whereupon we promptly happened upon Makeout Couple lying in the grass. (Cue more eyeball rolling.) After Sammy told me that she wanted to lie down too, I decided that we should just head home. There's only a certain number of weirdys that can coexsist in one city park at the same time.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Weird Kid

No, this is not a post about my childhood. Nor is it a post about my husband or (despite the misleading pictures) my progeny. This is simply a short story about a weird kid.

Once upon a time there was a cute little family that decided to go camping in the woods in a canyon near their house. They were led to their campsite by a strange man called "Bob" who kept close tabs on incoming guests, tailgating them with his golf cart until they payed him their camping fees. Upon reaching their campsite, they were greeted by a stranger sight than their strange host. A ten-year-old-ish boy sat at their table with nothing before him: he simply stared off into space, ignoring the cute family who really wanted him to go away so they could set up camp.

Eventually the weird kid wandered off but continued to wander through their campsite, turning on and off the water spigot near their camp and gathering sticks and bark from the trees bordering their camp. He also brought along a weird friend, possibly his sister. They remained happily oblivious to the strange looks given them by the campers. After all, the cute family's campsite was fairly secluded, not next to anyone, and not on the way to anywhere important, like the outhouse. Anyway, the extended family of the cute little family showed up and pitched their huge tent in the middle of the trail these weird kids were using, but did that deter them? Never!

Eventually, after the weird kids walked through the middle of the family's campsite a few more times, the cute wife got annoyed enough that she confronted them. The dialogue went something like this:

Wife: Have you kids ever been camping before?
Weird Kid: Mmmhmmmumble.
Wife: Well when you're camping, it's not polite to walk through other people's campsites. It's like walking into someone's house without being invited. So from now on, just go around, okay?
Weirdys: Okay!

Obviously, the cute wife needs to work on her lecturing skills, because Weirdy #1 and Weirdy #2 continued to walk through the campsite. However, they did begin to dart into the woods whenever they saw her coming, so perhaps she had some small effect on their psyches.

The story ends with a group of about 10 noisy kids of all ages crashing through the woods and running around the family's tents and through the campsite, for no observable reason, upon which the cute husband and cute grandpa got a bunch of ropes and straps out of the van and cordoned off the entire area. The cute little family then became known as the anti-social grouches but enjoyed their trip nonetheless. The End.     

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Selective Life Chronicling

I had to explain to my husband today the concept of selective life chronicling. Calvin and Hobbes first introduced me to this great idea. It's basically editing your past so other people view your life the way you want them too. I'm not just talking about untagging yourself from unflattering Facebook photos. This involves throwing away embarassing old mementos and bad poems, donating all the crappy books you own to Goodwill, crossing out key lines in your journal--maybe even ripping out whole pages. I personally don't go as far as Calvin and make stuff up...I just leave parts out, you know? This might seem wrong to some people, but there's a fine line between letting those who come after you learn from your mistakes and letting them feel free to follow in your footsteps. (The whole, "I-saw-a-General-Authority-doing-Insert a controversial topic of your choice here-so-it-must-be-okay" Syndrome.) Back to sorting!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Gadarene Swine Law

I didn't work in Corporate America for very long. I was a lowly publishing intern tasked with catching minute typographical errors while obsessed with thoughts of the man who would one day become my husband. Let's just say it was hard to concentrate on work sometimes. Though I soon left my job to go back to school and marry Austin, I did leave with a few new insights into life and other people. (Mostly from eavesdropping on Marketing and reading crazy manuscipts that people would send in.)

 Today I was reading through some notes I had jotted down during my days there, and came across the Gadarene Swine Law. The "Gadarene Swine" part is, of course, in reference to Jesus casting devils into pigs, who promptly committed suicide by flinging themselves into the ocean. The GSL goes something like this: Just because a group is in formation does not mean that the group is going in the right direction. I think this could easily apply to family life or work. Don't get swept along into the ocean with the pigs, even if you all look like you know what you're doing. People might assume that you're going the wrong way because you're not jumping into the ocean with everyone else. Ignore them. Etc.

I'm sure there are lots of deep metaphors hidden in the Gadarene Swine Law, but the most important reason to remember it is so you can impress people by throwing it into your next conversation. "I think this is a classic example of the Gadarene Swine Law. You don't know what the Gadarene Swine Law is?" Then you get to shake your head and look superior. Trust me, it'll make your day.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Staff of Life

I, the Happy Homemaker, have had a little too much time on my hands with the Handsome Hubby gone, so I decided to make some delicious whole wheat bread. It sure smelled good, but let's just say that there's a reason white flour was invented. Ever seen About a Boy?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bad Idea, Boy Scouts

Yesterday my husband sent me an email that he knew would annoy me. It was a link to a news article about the aggressive donation-soliciting techniques of the Boy Scouts, and how the money from Friends of Scouting doesn't go to your local troop, but to pay the high salaries of administrators. I don't know how much of this article is just yellow journalism, but it is true that I've been annoyed by the Boy Scouts in the past.

 In our old church ward (very beloved, much missed) the Boy Scouts would shut us in the Relief Society room once a year and ask us all to write checks to them for overpriced popcorn; they would then recieve "over 70 percent!" of the proceeds. When everyone around you is feverishly writing checks to buy popcorn, it's hard not to whip out your checkbook too. Planned peer pressure, anyone? I always wondered why I couldn't just write a check to the troop, so they could recieve 100 percent of the money. I think the second counselor told me some sketch reason once, but I don't remember it. Can you say "popcorn conspiracy reaching to the highest levels?"

Pet peeve number two. How about the Scouts actually working for their money, like, say, the young women of the church? Are we not-so-subtly prioritizing one gender over another? Conversely, are we saying that the teenage girls are capable of earning money for their outdoor activities (car washes, garage sales, hosted dinners for camp) while the Young Men are not similarly hard-working and intelligent? Think about it, people. Think about it.

That being said, there is one fund-raiser done by the Scouts which I think is a great idea, and that's the one where you pay money for the Scouts to put a flag on your lawn for patriotic holidays, then take it down afterwards. It is something people want, and it involves actual effort on the part of the Scouts. Plus it actually has something to do with the mission and ideology of the Boy Scouts. Unlike popcorn.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


One last story from Marco Polo--I think you could use the basic story and write a book about this woman:

“You must know, then, that king Kaidu had a daughter named, in the Tartar language, Aigiarm, which means shining moon. This damsel was so strong, that there was no young man in the whole kingdom who could overcome her, but she vanquished them all. Her father the king wished to marry her; but she declined, saying, that she would never take a husband till she met with some gentleman who should conquer her by force, upon which the king, her father, gave her a written promise that she might marry at her own will. She now caused it to be proclaimed in different parts of the world, that if any young man would come and try strength with her, and should overcome her by force, she would accept him for her husband. This proclamation was no sooner made, than many came from all parts to try their fortune.

 The trial was made with great solemnity. The king took his place in the principal hall of the palace, with a large company of men and women; then came the king's daughter, in a dress of cendal, very richly adorned, into the middle of the hall; and next came the young man, also in a dress of cendal. The agreement was, that if the young man overcame her so as to throw her by force to the ground, he was to have her for wife; but if, on the contrary, he should be overcome by the king's daughter, he was to forfeit to her a hundred horses. In this manner the damsel gained more than ten thousand horses, for she could meet with no one able to conquer her, which was no wonder, for she was so well-made in all her limbs, and so tall and strongly built, that she might almost be taken for a giantess.

 At last, about the year 1280, there came the son of a rich king, who was very beautiful and young; he was accompanied with a very fine retinue, and brought with him a thousand beautiful horses. Immediately on his arrival, he announced that he was come to try his strength with the lady. King Kaidu received him very gladly, for he was very desirous to have this youth for his son-in-law, knowing him to be the son of the king of Pamar; on which account, Kaidu privately told his daughter that he wished her on this occasion to let herself be vanquished. But she said she would not do so for anything in the world.

Thereupon the king and queen took their places in the hall, with a great attendance of both sexes, and the king's daughter presented herself as usual, and also the king's son, who was remarkable no less for his beauty than for his great strength. Now when they were brought into the hall, it was, on account of the superior rank of the claimant, agreed as the conditions of the trial, that if the young prince were conquered, he should forfeit the thousand horses he had brought with him as his stake. This agreement having been made, the wrestling began; and all who were there, including the king and queen, wished heartily that the prince might be the victor, that he might be the husband of the princess. But, contrary to their hopes, after much pulling and tugging, the king's daughter gained the victory, and the young prince was thrown on the pavement of the palace, and lost his thousand horses. There was not one person in the whole hall who did not lament his defeat.

After this the king took his daughter with him into many battles, and not a cavalier in the host displayed so much valour; and at last the damsel rushed into the midst of the enemy, and seizing upon a horseman, carried him off to her own people.”

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Boob Tube

Why does my mother call it that sometimes? I don't know, but I'm afraid to google it. My best guess is that back in the day a boob was a ridiculous person, not a woman's body part. My mother thinks that watching television turns your brain into mush, televisions used to have tubes, (also a female body part btw) etc., etc., hence the "boob tube." I digress. The major topic of interest here is...obituaries.

Am I the only person out there that enjoys reading obituaries? I'm not a macabre sort of person, I just like perusing these mini-biographies. Not much information beyond basic facts=grouchy old person with not much family left. Really super long obituary=rich person with lots of civic leadership experience. Obituary with picture of person looking young and attractive in 1950 + present-day picture of old wrinkly person=sobering reminder that looks don't last.

Just a small sampling, of course. I was thinking about the big picture of life (a dangerous pastime) and decided to cut out most TV. I have two reasons for this.  1). Thomas S. Monson, LDS prophet, said recently: "Many movies and television shows portray behavior which is in direct opposition to the laws of God," he said. "Do not subject yourself to the innuendo and outright filth which are so often found there." God's straightforward commandment to you or plain old good advice, whether you believe Monson is a prophet or not.  2). I really like watching TV. Who doesn't? (Other than my mother.) I don't watch shows with outright filth and I avoid innuendo. But I really don't want my obituary to read: She spent her free time watching reality television. I want to be remembered for way cooler things than that.

What do you want your obituary to say? Here's an example, so as not to end on a somber and life-changing note. RIP, Bob Jones. He died in his sleep with a serene smile on his face...unlike his passengers, who were yelling and screaming in terror. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Back in Business

In some ways, I still feel like I'm recovering from our summer road trip. (The culminating moment of which was probably Austin being named Guest of the Day in Scranton.) Life has just been rolling forward as it seems to do, and I have managed to survive the loss of our computer. (It got dropped one too many times.) I have also been going a little crazy. These two things might be related. Anyway, I've missed blogging. I'm back!