Thursday, May 31, 2007

May 31st: (Another) Day of Reckoning

So I'm typing here knowing full well that while I have kept off the 10 pounds I already lost by March 1st, I have yet to get those pesky "6 more". I'm about to go and weigh myself for the official number. I predict that I have not gotten all 6 pounds, but a mere 2 with 4 more to go. I'll be right back...

...I was right. Poo. However, I shall keep going. I'm wearing my Motivational Shorts today, which are new and cute and just barely too tight. It will feel excellent in a few weeks when they are more loose on the old waist. More salads, more fruits and veggies, more will-power!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

One more solemn post

Why it is better than it was a few days ago:
  • R is starting bar review classes tomorrow
  • I bought 2 new pairs of capris, and (gasp) a pair of shorts
  • M has his new brown sandals (thanks to generous grandparents :))
  • M has been taking 12-hour nights and 3-hour naps: a better schedule than MI!
  • I'm going to the Medicaid office today to apply
  • I'm calling around for a car repair place to replace our back tires
  • I just need a Wal-mart* trip for groceries and hangers (to make me feel super-duper accomplished)
  • Jess took some amazing pics of M (and even a couple of M and me together), that shall be posted forthwith
  • M liked the nursery in a new ward
  • M went to the gym's day care today for 45 minutes without crying too hard for too long
So it's looking up my friends. I feel like I can just take this one day at a time and eventually settle into loving my new surroundings. (It helps to speculate with R about returning to MI with our kiddos someday for a football game, some cider mill adventuring, and even a trip down to Cedar Point.) (It also helps to think that come November of this year, we won't be gearing up for 5 months of winter. Sorry Ann Arborites :)) So, catch-22.

*Although I have a bit of a moral dilemma when it comes to evil Wal-mart it is overshadowed by our lack of fundage.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

AZ for me

So we're here, and I'm all weirded out by not posting to y'all on my own computer. It's just not the same. I'll have to write more later when we figure out the stupid internet connection for our trusty laptop.

Here's a quick rundown of what we've accomplished in the last few days:

  • had movers come to our house on Monday to pack everything
  • had our car moved from MI to AZ
  • flown from MI to AZ with M and very heavy, nearly-bursting luggage in tow
  • settled into the basement at R's parent's house
  • gotten M to go to bed at 7pm local time and stay in bed until the next morning at 6:45am (even if he did wake up at 5:55)
  • seen lots of cousins and family

Here's a quick rundown of what's hanging over my head to get finished:

  • put together the real crib so M doesn't have to sleep in the Pack 'n' Play
  • call the Medicaid office so we're covered for the summer (M has a 2 year appointment to keep)
  • oh yeah, pick a freaking pediatrician
  • buy hangers
  • buy some pants that fit that aren't long, but capri-ish so I don't die when the heat picks up soon (it's actually only around 80-90 the last few days we've been here)
  • buy M some brown sandals and some khakis for church

The stress level has lowered, and I've been lucky enough to score a free gym membership to the gym R's family goes to. (Not as much luck to the men that married into the family.) This is great, because they have lots of good cardio classes every day at 8 or 8:30, and they're just around the corner, and I've been able to work out most of the moving stress by getting, well, moving. More to come after further settling...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Book List: A List of Books

My friend K recently inspired me to return to my journal-writing tendencies, which I had lost a few years ago. I bought some composition books for about 89 cents apiece and labeled them: Books I've Read and Scripture Journal. I figure that between those two and this here blog, I should be trying to keep myself well-documented enough to qualify for adequate family history coverage. But as I wrote in my book journal (basically a paragraph blurb of each book I read as I go, so I will remember more about each one) I got to making a list of books I wanted to read. Then I realized that I got more excited about current and future books if I listed them. Something to look forward to makes the difference for me.

Plus if I list them here, I hope to generate any and all interest in more of you recommending even more books to read. I love the Friend Recommendation, so please feel free to suggest, coerce, and even threaten, depending on how much you like the book you're recommending. And without further ado...

...these are the books I want to read in the near future:
  • The Book of Mormon (seriously, I've been slacking, and now it's on my list)
  • The Doctrine and Covenants (see above)
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  • A Gracious Plenty by Sheri Reynolds
  • Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • Democracy In America by Alexis de Tocqueville
  • Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross
  • Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee
  • In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
  • The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall
  • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt
  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  • How to Behave So Your Preschooler Will Too! by Sal Severe (yes you read the last name correctly)
  • How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
  • What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know: Preparing Your Child for a Lifetime of Learning by E. D. Jr. Hirsch
  • The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them by Elaine Aron
  • The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking
So there you go. A strange list in some ways, but it's true, this is my list.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

As M would say: BOOM!

There's a really cool thunderstorm going on outside my window right now. The thunder is so close that you don't have much warning and end up jumping now and then. I just finished The Secret Life of Bees on the recommendation of my sister T who loves it. It's set in South Carolina for the most part, and whenever I read stories set in the South (like the Flannery O'Connor stories that I just read) I get to imagine all the humidity, heat, lemonade, farms, porches, drawls, big yellow fields, etc. And then summertime kicks in wherever I am and it just makes my imaginings even more tangible, because of the thunderstorms.

In CA growing up there weren't as many as in UT, MI or AZ, so it's not like I can remain as cool as a cucumber when they come around. I get all excited like a big nerd and watch and listen and revel in the awesomeness of them. And I picture the storms as a Southern thing, which I don't even know for sure is the case. Now my Southern reading kick is complete with real life cooperation from the weather.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

So. Soapbox.

This may or may not be entirely related to the PBS documentary, but I've been thinking things. As most of us do. But the thing(s) that keep coming up is (are) all about how I fit in the church as a woman, as an artist, as a dancer, as a mother, as a calling-holder, etc. It's all about me! But honestly, it's interesting to think about how we fit in to our ward families, our home families, and the roles set forth for our sexes.

As a woman: I feel like there is a combination of things happening in a ward. There is what I feel a good part of the time, which is acceptance and love. But then there's the feeling of the most obvious gender exclusion, which a woman on the documentary talked about: I don't have the priesthood and am therefore not as important in decision-making, nor do I have power that is equal. I don't get as caught up in this as Margaret Toscano (the documentary woman), but I think it may affect a lot of women in the church. Women who might be thinking that there's got to be a better answer to the question of equality.

One thing I will say: women in the church cannot be expected to accept the simple distinction of "men have priesthood, and women have motherhood" as a catch-all for any feelings of doubt or inferiority. For some this is enough. But for others it might not fully address all the questions. Is it wrong to go further? I mean, men do have the priesthood, and women do have motherhood. But not all women are mothers. And men have fatherhood. So we only have part of an answer.

I'm not sure what the whole answer is myself. But I would like to feel comfortable enough in a ward where we could talk about it free from the fear of sounding ungrateful, non-spiritual, and stupid for wondering. Personal feeling: I love being a mother. It's hard, boring, heart-wrenching, wonderful, scary, meaningful, and generally the most important thing I will ever do. I respect the priesthood, I think it's important, my husband is worthy of it, and our family can have a blessing if we ever need one. But even though I believe these things, I would still hesitate to openly discuss gender role issues in the church, for fear of ridicule. And that is the problem.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

PBS Documentary

Has anyone been watching the PBS documentary called The Mormons? The first installment dealt with the Church's history (Joseph Smith, polygamy, Mountain Meadows Massacre, Book of Mormon). The second installment is tonight and deals with more contemporary topics. I'm assuming that they will address homosexuality in the Church and also blacks and the priesthood among other things. Both installments are on PBS from 9pm-11pm Eastern time. Even if you are in another time zone do not fear if you can't find the right to watch it, it will be available online on Wednesday. Highly recommended, especially if you like meaty subject matter to think/talk about.

I've been impressed so far with the balanced view they have presented, and also with their fearless attitude to difficult topics. There are interviews with those of many different backgrounds: historians in and out of the church, apostles, current members, former members, etc. Even those who disagree with the Church's teachings have interesting, well thought out arguments. R read several interview transcripts today, which give even more information than the four hour documentary itself. He said that Jeffery Holland's is particularly amazing, since he clearly states both his conviction in the faith as an apostle and his understanding of those who have opposing views.

So in order to celebrate this type of media attention, whether good or bad, we had a mormon party last night, ate mormon-themed foods, and generally had lots to talk about after the first installment was over. Tonight there won't be quite as much casserole and Jello, but still a lot to talk about. In my next post I will share some of my thoughts, and possibly get up on my soapbox a little. (Preview: I'm thinking mostly about women in the church and the disconnect between The Perfect Wife/Church Lady/Cook and who we all really are. And also how feminism comes in. You know, just one of those little topics.) Stay tuned.