Monday, January 30, 2006
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Kairos: A rhetorical term referring to the context of a speech and how the context for communication constrains ones speech
Friday, January 27, 2006
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
And the doctor gave me a different vitamin that includes a stool softener. I have spent the last 20 weeks in mortal fear of going to the bathroom, so I'm hoping this makes my life easier.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
First of all, it takes much, much longer to do anything. Eating a bowl of cereal can take up to half an hour, and getting dressed involves a lot of negotiation. Walking across the street to the library is a big deal, and once we are inside everything must be examined and explored in minute detail. It can be a little maddening to know that something which can be accomplished in 2 seconds is taking 5 minutes.
There is also no logic in this world. Cause and effect have not been established, and "why?" is a futile question. There is no reason why we can't wear the purple pants, why all the salt must be dumped out into a pile onto the table, or why waking up time has been moved back to 6:30. There is no reason. It just happens. And never start an argument with a two-year-old. It will go something like this:
Mom: Please stop hitting me.
S-Boogie: I hitting right now.
Mom: Yes, I know you are hitting. If you do it again, you go in time out.
S-Boogie: No time out! No do that.
Mom: You aren't going in time out unless you hit again. You aren't hitting right now. Thank you.
S-Boogie: No go time out!
At which time she starts crying and I try to explain that it was a warning about what will happen next time. But, just like there are no reasons, there is no future, just right now.
Actually, there is some sort of logic. We just haven't figured it out yet. Certain standards of performance must be complied with or there will be great pain and suffering. Coats must be completely zipped or buttoned. You must wear gloves whenever you are outside. Mom and Dad must put on their glasses as soon as they are awake. Blankets must be put on with the patterned sides up so we can see the animals. Occasionally there is order in the chaos.
The most exciting thing about this world is the imaginative power that is here. I can deal with the frustration because I am in awe of the brainpower of this child sometimes. The other day Auntie Skye's warm up pants were dubbed "jacket pants". Last night S-Boogie picked up the two suction cups that hold up her toy bag in the bathtub. She held them up to her ears and announced that she was "listening to music (zik-it)". She likes to bite her graham crackers into different forms and tell us what they are (house, train, airplane). I often get treated to fabulous imaginary creations involving chicken, yogurt, tomato soup, ketchup, and noodles that she has created for me in her little kitchen. The other day she told me that a tissue she was holding was a caterpillar, and pointed out its eyes, nose, and mouth.
Sometimes I wish I really could live in the two-year-old dimension. But, then again, I'm glad I'm just a visitor.
Monday, January 23, 2006
But, over the weekend we finally got around to seeing Saints and Soldiers. We've checked out from the library a few times, but never got around to watching it. I saw it on display Friday and grabbed it, and I am very glad that I did. I really, really, liked this movie. A lot. I'm sure part of it is the fact that I wasn't expecting a lot, plus I'm a big sucker for WWII stuff. It's one of my favorite historical time periods (basically anything after 1920 or so I'm really into, like WWII and Vietnam--that also explains why I like Children of the Promise more than The Work and the Glory). But, all my previous assumptions aside, I think this is a movie that everyone should go out and watch.
First of all, the production values were awesome. Costumes, lighting, camera work, etc. Especially knowing this is a lower-budget, locally shot film. Even if I didn't know that, I would be impressed. Also, the story was well developed and told. It's a small movie, with a small story, and a small group of characters. But, each of these characters was interesting, well acted, and uniquely part of the little group that worked together. All the little details of the story were obviously carefully thought-out, and even though some of the action could be seen as cliche, it didn't feel that way on screen. Anyways, if you haven't seen this movie yet, you ought to. There is some violence and bloody stuff, but it's a war movie so you might as well expect that. And it will make you cry in the end. If it doesn't, then maybe you should go rent Singles Ward. That's bound to make you emotional, but for entirely different reasons.
Friday, January 20, 2006
I think my journey out of snobishness actually began shortly after Master Fob and I got married. I convinced him to take a Young Adult literature class with me, and we luckily (or predestinately) got a class with Chris Crowe. I still don't really remember why I decided to take YA lit. During my teenage years, I read some YA lit, but mostly historical fiction. I shunned most things that were more contemporary, anything "boyish", and anything fantasy. But, this class really opened my eyes and got me reading lots of different things. And I discovered that I actually liked most of that stuff that I had shunned before. Now I do sometimes read contemporary stuff, and books about boys and sports and I even read fantasy (I did Lord of the Rings last summer).
So, the next semester Master Fob took a class on Mormon literature. I was unable to take the class, but participated vicariously through him. We also got involved with AML and started reading things like Irreantum and Dialogue. Consequently, I discovered a whole new world of writers that I had never heard of before, many of whom were quite good. (Many of whom were quite crappy, I must also add). Before this point in my life, I don't remember much exposure to Mormon ficition. I do remember enjoying many of the short stories that used to be published in the New Era, before the church magazines decided that fiction was evil. My mom actually won their annual creative writing contest, back in 1973. Someone lent me a book by Anita Stansfield during my freshman year, and I mainly remember thinking "what the hell is this?" while I was reading it. But, since then, I 've discovered quite a few other really, really good books.
The thing that I've realized, is that all genres have crappy books and good books. And everyone's definition of what makes a book "good" differs. In my opinion, about 90% of books out there are crap, no matter what the genre. So it doesn't make sense to me to throw out everything in one particular category because most of it is crap. Also, "Mormon" literature is really only about 100 years old, at most. And the more modern stuff is really only a 30-40 year old phenomenon. There's still lots and lots of time for things to get better. And if no one reads any of the good stuff, it won't stick around and all we'll be left with is Gerald Lund and Anita Stansfield. (Of course, the whole publishing and marketing thing needs major work too, but hopefully at some point that will change). My only other complaint about the genre is that it's still focused primarily on the Intermountain West. Most of it is just as much "Utah" literature as it is "Mormon". I can sort of deal with that, because even though I didn't grow up here, my family is "pioneer stock". But still, many members of the church can't really relate to what's being written, so we need to expand our topics a little more.
Whew! OK, now I will post some of my personally recommeded books and authors. And, I would highly recommend checking out Dialogue and Irreantum if you want to know more about Mormon literature. That's where I've found out a lot about these books. And both magazines (journals?) are full of poetry, essay, and short story. It's a good way to start testing the waters. If you're up to it, here are a few of my recommended picks:
Anything by Virginia Sorensen:
Where Nothing is Long Ago
This one is actually a collection of autobiographical essays about her childhood in a small Mormon town during the early 1900s. They are beautifully written; I think "First Love" is one of my favorite pieces of short writing ever.
A Little Lower than the Angels
I like to think of this as the "Anti Work and the Glory". It's about a family that moves to Nauvoo and then the dad gets commanded to take on a second wife. Very different treatment of early Church history than we usually get, but very subtle and not purely "anti" at all.
Heresies of Nature by Margaret Blair Young
Mom gets Multiple Sclerosis, the family prays, and everything is wonderful. Um, not. This is another very realistic, complicated novel about the effects of severe trials on a family. Well written and true to life.
Falling Toward Heaven by John Bennion
A missionary jumps off the bandwagon on the day he's supposed to be coming home. An interesting novel about leaving and coming back to the Church (more or less).
Vernal Promises by Jack Harrell
This one needs a better cover, but it's still a very good book. Another one about dealing with trials and finding your way.
Um, I just noticed that most of the books I listed are kind of about the same thing. But they're all really good, I swear. Here are a few more:
Edgy has already listed quite a few other authors that are definitely worth checking out. There are several YA authors that write for a national audience but whose work is obviously influenced by being Mormon. Among them I recommend Louise Plummer (A Dance for Three), Kristen Randle (Slumming) and Kimberly Heuston (The Shakeress).
Also, a plug has already been made for Dean Hughes, but his books are great. If you like historical fiction (and even if you don't), you've got to read the Children of the Promise Series and the Hearts of the Children. They are both excellent.
Another more light-hearted book is Angel of the Danube. If you served a mission in Europe you will particularly like this book, but I think anyone could get into it. It manages to be both funny and serious and do both things quite well. And it's refreshing to read a missionary book where the Elders admit that sometimes they'd rather go play pinball than prosylyte (plus they don't get struck by lightning for doing so).
Um, so there you have it. Many of the best books I've found within a genre that 5 years ago I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. "Try them, try them, Sam-I-Am. You may like green eggs and ham."
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Then this afternoon I went to school and stayed after class to do my homework. Upon opening my binder, I realized that my reading assignment for tomorrow was much longer than I had been planning on and took me a horrendously long time to read. Plus half of it was in Early Modern Spanish with a tiny font. Blah.
Finally, tonight, I left S-Boogie happily playing in the tub while I watched from the other room as I folded laundry. When I went back in to help her clean up the bath toys, she informed me that she had "made poopie". And she had. All over the tub. Ick.
I just spent 2 hours watching stupid crime dramas on TV instead of studying for my departmental exams that are coming up in two weeks. I also should have been in bed half an hour ago. I think today is shot and I should just try again tomorrow.
Friday's editorial praising Larry Miller's decision to pull the movie Brokeback Mountain from his theater certainly made a good point: it is always commendable when people stand up for what they believe in. However, what bothers me most about all the hoopla surrounding this decision is the fact that it simply reflects the hodgepodge morality that too many of us (myself included) practice. Why suddenly decide that this particular film was so reprehensible that it must not only be pulled from the theater, but that the decision to pull it be made into a public spectacle? What about all the other immoral movies currently showing at Larry Miller's theater? Things like Hostel, which glorifies graphic violence, Cassanova which turns fornication into art, and The Ringer, which makes fun of the mentally handicapped? Or Fun With Dick and Jane, which makes criminal behavior funny, or even The Family Stone, whose poster features an obscene gesture? All of these movies are currently showing at Larry Miller's theater, and I wonder how many people would applaud if he pulled them. If we are going to take a stand against immorality, we should take a stand against all immorality, not just those particular sins that are the scapegoats d'jour.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
The other disturbing thing was discovering that if we add up our insurance premiums as well as our out-of-pocket stuff, we spent somewhere between 13-15% of our income on medical expenses. IHC got a bigger chunk of our money than our landlord, BYU, or even the Mormon church. I have come to the realization that our insurance is somewhat of a ripoff--if Master Fob were full-time and we didn't have to pay the premium, it wouldn't be so bad. But we pay a pretty high premium in addition to high deductibles. Blah. I don't think we could get much better if we shopped around, though, and it's definitely been better than having nothing. I am certainly learning much more about the ins and outs of health insurance and hopefully in the future we can get into something better. A few years ago I didn't really even know what a deductible was, so I've definitely learned something. And I really hope that this next kid doesn't have any sort of cronic health problems. If she does, we may have to sell her.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
My Tuesday/Thursday class is focused on "Early Modern Women Writers". We are looking at women who wrote during the 16th and 17th centuries, both in Spain and throughout the rest of Europe. It's a lot of fun. I love the professor, and several of my favorite grad school friends are taking it with me (Today after class she did ask us to not sit by each other next time. Wah.) The Spanish department puts grad students and undergraduates together in one class for their literature ones, so this class has about 5 grads and 20 undergrads. Sometimes I'm not a big fan of the larger classes, but this should still be a fun one. Today we talked about how people used to think that women were physically uncapable of learning and why those people (like Aristotle) were total idiots. Actually, we didn't say they were idiots, we just talked about 15th century noblewomen who said that Aristotle was an idiot.
My other class is also a lot of fun, but for entirely different reasons. I'm taking a graduate level course on syntax. I really shouldn't be in there at all. The grad program has three different tracks: linguistics, literature and pedagogy. In addition to the required stuff from your own track, you have to take one course from each of the others. So I needed a linguistics course and I chose syntax. The problem is, they have a few linguistics courses that are specifically intended for non-specialists. None of them fit into my schedule this semester, and I can't take one during Spring. So I'm a literature student in a class not meant for me. The professor keeps pointing this out to me, too. But, he's a nice guy and there are only 4 of us students, so I think it will be fun. And I've had several classes on linguistics-type things before, so I think I'll be all right. I love having a class with only 4 students, and I like the other 3 girls a lot too (yep, this semester I don't have to hang around with any of the guys in the program). And, I really do like linguistics; I've thought about specializing in it instead of literature before. Last night I had to take a bunch of sentences and draw those little phrase structures trees for them. It made me giddy.
Yes, I really am a nerd. But at least I live in the 21st century so I can be a nerd in grad school and not a visionary nun or a prostitute that writes poetry. Hmm, maybe those would be better options...
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
This shirt also features two of my biggest fashion pet peeves. I generally just stick to comfy t-shirts and jeans, because so many features of "trendier" clothes bug the heck out of me. One peeve is those stupid three-quarter sleeves. I hate them. They drive me bonkers, because they don't go all the way down, but they aren't up either. Instead, they hang out somewhere halfway down your arm and flap around all day right in the most annoying place possible. I spend all day trying to push them back up or pull them down. Aargh. My other big peeve lately is shirts with gaping necklines. The thing is, most of these shirts are intended to be layered with another shirt underneath. Um, I already wear an undershirt and a bra, and I am a heavy sweater. Plus, I'm pregnant, which means that the thermostat is set on high for the next six months. And, why should I pay money for two shirts when adding a little fabric could mean that I could just pay for, and wear, one?
I really shouldn't complain since my wardrobe is mostly borrowed and I don't have money to go buy some comfy long-sleeve t-shirts that will cover my bosom. And several people complemented me on my beautiful circus tent attire today. Maybe tomorrow I should wear the bumblebee striped shirt.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Friday, January 06, 2006
Last night we had some friends over for paella and roscón. Then we played Trivial Pursuit until the wee hours of the morning. I didn't get any presents this morning, but it was still a pretty good fiesta.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Today I just read in the New York Times that they've now approved the rotavirus vaccine for distribution around the world. That news made me want to cry: rotavirus causes diarrhea and vomiting and contributes to the deaths of about 500,000 children every year. Yes, half a million babies die each year because they get sick in countries where no one can help them get better. And now, hopefully, a lot less of them will be getting sick, and if they do it won't be as severe an illness. Sometimes I get so frustrated by all the unfairness in the world, but I feel good now that one more good thing is happening to help people out more. And we got to have a little part in it.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
I now have a sparkling clean refrigerator, a much more organized bedroom, de-mildowed bath toys, and a blindingly white bathtub. It's lovely. Plus I've made more progress on S-Boogie's baby book, which truly is the project that will never end. Maybe I'll get it done in time for her wedding.
My joy over all this cleaning was tempered today by the realization that the rest of this year is probably going to be hell until September or so. 2006 is really going to be the year that sucks. I'm going to be in school straight through until the middle of June, at which point baby will arrive (and I'm not just taking classes, but supposedly writing my thesis as well). Then, by the time I will have become somewhat human again, we will have to pack up everything (or sell everything) and move to a different state. Then unpack it and settle in to an entirely new area. And S-Boogie should probably get potty trained at some point this year. If you need me, I'll be curled in a ball in the corner, hyperventilating.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
#1 and #2: Within the short span of just one year, S-Boogie decided to grow hair and now looks much more like a real girl.
#3: Due to sudden, massive plumbing failure in our old place, we got to move a few doors down to an apartment that did not have brown walls, brown carpet, or brown curtains.
#4 Master Fob finished his thesis and became a master, giving me hope that it can be done.
#5 Two weeks in Hawaii, during which S-Boogie made good use of her cute pink swimming suit.
#6 S-Boogie turned 2 and we celebrated with a fabulous party at her favorite place, the Scera Park pool.
#7 We became very, very grateful for good health insurance after 2 seperate hospital stays for breathing troubles. S-Boogie was diagnosed with asthma and now we give her medicine every day that seems to be helping quite a bit.
#8 Master Fob, S-Boogie and the redwood trees. We enjoyed a visit to San Francisco and spent lots of fun time with Th, Lady Steed, and the Big O.
#9: The best Halloween costume ever: S for Supergirl (and S-Boogie)
And, of course, the number one photo of 2005.
Happy New Year!
Sunday, January 01, 2006
PS--If you can name the Simpsons episode referenced in the title, you win a prize
(Unles you are Master Fob--he can't play)