Sunday, October 30, 2011

I'm a Working Mother

On Friday we went to the insurance agent while the kids were at Mom's house to get our new coverage figured out. The insurance agent started going through some questions. "Do you work?" "No, I'm at home with our girls," I answered. Wait a minute. Back up. "Well, it is work," I muttered out loud...but we had moved on to other questions at that point. Our agent listed my occupation as "homemaker."

This was not really a big deal, but I think the way we talk about working and raising children has led to the devaluing of the amazing role a woman can play as the center of the home and creator and shaper of human beings.

These days, if a mom works and gets paid, she is said to "work." If a mom works (yes, all moms don't sit around and eat bon-bons while they watch soap operas, some work hard in pursuit of a happy family) and doesn't get paid, she "stays home." I don't mind the term "homemaker," because despite some negative connotations it's been given, it is one of the best descriptions of what I do. However, I do mind having to tell people I don't work to describe my job. How to remedy this without sounding obnoxious when I talk to people?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Mystery of the Mysterious Money

Last week, my parents received a mysterious missive in the mail addressed to me--well, addressed to me under my maiden name, Anocha Herding.  It was a typed statement from a credit union in Illinois that I haven't had an account with since I was 12 years old, saying basically this:


Amount of Item: 450.00
Status of Item: Returned

Question 1: Why is the Department of Education sending me money? Question 2: Why is it sending the money to my closed account? I knew that these would be hard questions to answer. But 450 dollars? Someone is trying to give me 450 dollars? Well for that amount I can make a few phone calls.

I called the credit union. After being put on hold, I found out that since my account is closed, they don't know anything about the statement they sent me. I called the U.S. Department of Education. After being put on hold and bounced around from department to department within the Department, I was informed that I had never had any student loans (wow, thank you for that info!) and that I didn't owe them any money. (Anona: No, I'm not trying to pay you, you're trying to pay me! Surely you must have a record of that!) I called the credit union again to find out who exactly sent me the money. (Could it be the Illinois Department of Education? Nope, it doesn't exist.)  I got put on hold and told by "Nicole" that she had to talk to the bookkeepers and that she would call me back. Ha. I wasn't born yesterday. This is called the "get rid of the weirdy" tactic. But lo and behold, I was called several times by this gal for various pieces of information and finally told that since my account is closed, they know nothing about who was trying to send me money.

I'm beginning to suspect that this was either A.) A cruel joke perpetuated by the bookkeepers at the credit union, or B.) A cruel joke perpetuated by the U.S. Department of Education. Good-bye, 450 dollars. I will never know who tried to send you to me. I wish I had never known about you because now I regret your loss. Your brief appearance in my life will forever remain a mystery.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Just a link to a blog post about the whole Occupy Wall Street thingamajig, if you're interested. It's mildly profane and some of it made me think about tithing. Are you interested now?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Driving Mr. Daisy

Today I read this in the BYU student newspaper police beat:

Oct. 7 Officers responded to a possible fight at the ITB. A couple was arguing about who would drive the car home. The woman was upset because her husband wanted her to drive. No crime was committed.

I had to laugh. What sort of man argues with wife over who's going to drive home? What sort of man would willingly abdicate the seat of power that men throughout the ages have claimed as their macho right? What sort of man would commit this heinous crime against manliness? I will tell you what sort of man would do this: my husband.

This newspaper blurb reminded me about a short period of time after we got married. Although early in our relationship Austin always drove because, hey, it was his car, soon after we got married we went through this phase where he would want me to drive him around while he lounged about in the passenger seat. He didn't care what people might think about his masculinity; he figured that the joy of being chauffeured about was worth it. For a while it was like we were in an ongoing episode of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" with me featured as a lowly chauffeur who was constantly annoying her employee. Austin's lounginess was generally negated by the tensity brought on by watching my bad driving, so this idyllic period soon ended, I was fired, and I gratefully renewed my claim on the shotgun seat.

Last week Austin decided he would give his convenient chauffeur another chance. It didn't go too well. He's mellowed out with his passenger-seat driving tendencies, but I've grown more assertive in the seat of power, so the upshot of all this was that he ended up getting chauffeured to a pumpkin patch, which was not the ordered destination. I got my passenger seat back, (hurray!) but didn't foresee my quick demotion to pumpkin rearranger after the pumpkins started rolling around in the trunk. (darn.) However, I jumped out on the side of the road and bravely began hauling the dirt-encrusted pumpkins, thankful that Austin had picked the earthworms off before we put them in the car. I didn't even mind too much that my black shirt had now taken on a browner, dustier hue. At least I had my seat back.

You know, I think something about getting older makes you care less about appearances than you used to. Today I was out driving and saw an old guy shoot across the street right in front of me wearing roller skates and sporting ski poles. And just so he wouldn't be overlooked, he was also sporting a fluorescent yellow vest.

And speaking of overlooked, I just read an interesting article about some new technology that researchers are using to look through walls. Just thought I'd throw that in.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Edge of the World

My blog is not really a travel blog or a mom blog or a cute blog. I'm not really sure what category my blogging falls under, actually. It's kind of a potluck blog. On the menu today: road trip!

Cici drives us to the edge of the world.

We look around...

We play in the dirt...

We look around some more...

And rest up on the way home...

So we can party!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Joys of Planning Ahead

Well, I escaped the winter storms and am having a marvellous vacation with the family. (We'll pass over the little episode from this morning where I got locked in the playground with Sammy and Cici.)

When we went on family car trips when I was growing up, we would end up in some random town late at night, tired and grouchy from travelling, and we would stop at every hotel that looked promising so Dad could go in and ask how much it was. It always seemed to take fooooooreeeeeever. We kids of course, were rooting to stay in the most expensive hotel available, with its accompanying host of amenities, while my parents simply wanted to stay financially solvent with their 10 kids. We children would wait with bated breath to find out our fate for the night: Would we get one room or two? A pool, or no pool? A nice continental breakfast, or one with Tang and chocolate chip cookies from Albertsons? (And yes, I've stayed at places with those options.)

I know the Internet has probably (hopefully?) changed the way my parents find hotel rooms, but ever since I've been married, I've discovered the joys of planning ahead. I love that my husband makes plans and reservations and that we leave at a predetermined time and have a predetermined destination. Are we free-spirited travellers that embrace the road wherever it may take us? No. Do we embrace the place that we have told our GPS to take us, especially if it happens to be a fun resort hotel with 90 degree weather in October? Most definitely.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!"

Earlier This Morning...

I'm currently reading a Shakespeare anthology--All of Shakespeare by Maurice Charney--and looking at whiteout conditions out my window. I'm trying to decide whether I should even try to go down the hill to take Sammy to preschool. At least Austin took the car that we put new brake pads on last night--I don't have to worry about whether we installed them right and whether or not I'll go careening out of control off the side of the mountain. Anyway, back to Shakespar, my book is not really an anthology, but more like a compendium of Shakespere's plays which makes for a quick read. It was during my college Shakspear class that I first knew that studying literature was my calling in life, and I've loved him ever since. Especially the fact that you can spell his name so many different ways and still be right.

So enough of talking about literature written hundreds of years ago in iambic pentameter. Shakesper aside, my other love is reserved for J Fiction books. A recent read I found that is easy to dive into, fun, and also at times insightful, is The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood. Whatever you end up reading, enjoy!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

More Randomness, Please.

Birthday Fallout: So I went to the birthday party with Sammy. I think she had fun, which is the important thing, but now I am dealing with the fallout, which mostly involves policing a toy lightsaber and Austin wanting to join the foreign service so he can get a cool diplomatic passport. Say what?

GRE Joy:  I will neither go into that long story nor the story of why I just got done taking the GRE. If nothing else, it was a self-actualizing experience.  But I think I aced it. At least the verbal and writing sections. The math section bubble-marking went something like this:  A, B, C, D, A, B, C, D, etc. Good thing schools don't care about how good English grad students are at math. Anyway, if anyone wants tips for the writing section I came up with a pretty decent formula for success there. Also, I recommend having a Nana visit you and watch your kids so you can study.

Marshmallow Bed: Maybe due to the stress of test-taking, but our old bed was really bothering me. We bought a new bed that is super comfortable, but didn't realize how big it was going to look in our room. Not only is it a king, but it's like 4 feet high. I have to get a running start to get in bed at night.

Secret General Conference Fort: Where is the blanket from the bed, you might ask? Well it is being used for greater purposes. Many thanks to Kellie for the inspiration.

Super Cici: And somewhere in there, Cici has started walking! I know, this is a picture of her new hobby of playing in our shower, but much to my chagrin, I haven't actually got any photographic or video evidence of this new development.

That's all. Happy weekend!