Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bernie's dream

(photo taken last year at Padre Island)

Bernie came running and crying into our room this morning at 3 am. She said something but I couldn't understand as I was trying to wake from a deep, deep sleep. "What?" I muttered.

"Donkey Kong is shaking our house!" she yelled.

"Oh, he is?" I said, laughing a little.


"I dreamed that," said Bernie.

Monday, February 27, 2006

J and Co.

Here is J with the kids at a ward activity. I was doing homework that night. The activity was super laid-back and had a good vibe going. They had this fun photobooth set up, there were games, snacks, and some cartoons playing. The adult hung out and talked while the kids played. J said it was unlike any ward activity he'd been to and he really liked it.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


I just found out this week that four families in our ward (Mormonspeak for congregation) are moving. All of them have children in my children's primary classes. Three of these families will be moving from here, where they have no extended family, to somewhere that they do. One friend said to me, "Well, I've never lived near my family in our fifteen years of marriage. We thought it was about time."

I have never lived near my family in our nearly thirteen years of marriage. We are about 1500 miles from both my family and J's. In fact, J's family in Mexico is actually a little closer to here than mine in Maine. This does bother me. I would like my children to have the experience of living near grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I mean, who wouldn't? I would love to live in Maine. Every time my friends start moving away (and they always do) I go to realtor.com and check out the houses in Maine. Last Fall I found a gorgeous farm house in Windham that had river frontage. It looked perfect! I fantasized about the kids having a couple of ponies in the stable and learning to ride like I did as a child. I imagined large extended-family gatherings at my house with my siblings (all three of whom live in Maine) and parents. Sigh.

In the past, whenever I've felt this way I've felt guilty. We have been very blessed here in Minnesota. We have a lovely house in a beautiful neighborhood. J's business is doing very well. We have grown here. We've made great friends here. My children are in Spanish immersion schools here. I adore the museums, concerts, and plays. But you know what? I am not going to feel guilty about my Maine-living dream anymore! Yes, I have been richly blessed and I acknowledge that. That doesn't mean I have to like living far from my family. So there!

I checked realtor.com and nothing much is turning up. In a couple of months there will be a lot more out there. (Like it matters, but anyway...)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Marcus's float

I hadn't taken any close-ups of Marcus's float at school because it was a mad house and he wouldn't stop long enough for me to get a close-up when I could finally do so without dodging in to someone else's photo op. Here is his float. He liked it, but you can see it pales in comparison to those featured below. When I finally had Marcus on the bus and the girls in the car on the way to school this morning I told them I was proud of our collaborative effort.

teddy bear parade

Today was the teddy bear parade at Marcus' school. I thought some of the floats were really creative! I especially like the Mardi Gras bear. Marcus' float was not lovingly crafted, I'm afraid. It was a mad rush this morning when I remembered that the parade was today. Thank heavens for gold spray paint! He put some stuffed-animal Pokemon creatures in the spray-painted shoe box, big sisters then drew, cut, and pasted additional Pokemon on the side of the box, and all was well.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I love this little fuzz head. AVE needs to send me a picture that really captures that hair. Mum needs to send me a picture of AVE as a baby to post 'cause I think she sported this same look.

Monday, February 20, 2006

South Padre Island 2005

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

heard today

A couple of things I heard today...

Marcus was cuddling his head next to J's (or so J thought). Then Marcus says, "Dad, is my head bigger than yours? I think my head is bigger, so I'm smarter!"

We were waiting at a red light, nearly at the mall, when I suddenly realized I hadn't brought my purse. "Where's my purse?" I blurted out agitatedly as I frantically searched the passenger's side. We were listening to classical music that suddenly became really intense sounding. Marcus says, "This music is kinda scary." Lidia says, "I think this music is like what's happening in this car right now."

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Little Sis and my niece

This is not the best picture of my niece, but I think AVE sent it to me because SHE looks so cute.

AVE's Thai Curry

AVE’s Thai Curry

several cups of cooked chicken pieces

3 cans coconut milk, mix with 1-3 tbsp. yellow curry paste. (amount depends on brand and personal taste.)

cook over low heat, mix in 3-4 tbsp. peanut butter

add a bit of granular garlic powder

add 1 tbsp fish sauce if you have it

add 1 cooked potato diced

keep cooking for 15 minutes or so low heat and add in whatever veggies you want. i added green onion and orange bell pepper. pineapple drained is good too.

garnish with lots of cilantro

serve over white rice

serves 6-8

Little Sis sent me this awesome curry recipe. I complained that I couldn't find yellow curry paste in the normal grocery stores I frequent and couldn't find time to go to a special store. So get this--my sister mailed me a can of yellow curry paste! Isn't that sweet? She's so special. Awwwww! Anyway, this is another recipe I used cut up deli-roasted chicken. I didn't add potato to mine, I added a can of sliced bamboo shoots because I LOVE sliced bamboo shoots. I thought it was heavenly (I'm a big curry fan) and J even like it (not a big curry fan).

Thank you, Tunku!

In a previous post I commented on my irritation with people who think that American newspapers should print the Prophet cartoons because it is a "free speech issue." I was delighted to read Tunku Varadarajan's de gustibus article in Friday's Wall Street Journal. Check out what Tunku has to say about it:

There is also the question of taste: Deciding against the cartoons is not
unlike a refusal to publish anti-Semitic drawings or dodgy caricatures of black
people--or of Koreans eating pups...

...The First Amendment means that you can, but do not have to, exercise the
freest lawful speech. It means that you are responsible for your speech, not the
authorities. The absence of legal restrictions also means that institutional
dispensers of speech--such as newspapers and TV channels--need to exercise their
freedom wisely...

...Muslims already know that we have free speech. So the idea that the
cartoons should be published in the American press to make a point strikes me as
both pedantic and theatrical. There is no need to display one's devotion to
freedom in this gaudy way...

Friday, February 17, 2006

cien dias

Marcus celebrated "cien dias de escuela" (100 days of school) today. He is immensely proud of this hat he made with 100 stickers. All afternoon I've been trying to figure out our Jasc Paint program that came with this computer. I could easily use our old Paint program to make up scrapbook-style pages like this, but this new program is driving me CRAZY! It requires that I know way too much. Arrgh! So here is my first attempt...


Georgie goes to a class twice a week called "Different Dimensions." When they were studying the Middle Ages, they were challenged to make trebuchets. Trebuchets were used in war time during the Middle Ages to fling things. A catapult uses a sudden release of tension to fling stuff, while a trebuchet uses counterweight, like a see-saw. Georgie and her friend displayed their trebuchets at the Inventor's Fair last night.
Georgie's friend's trebuchet is the one with the red bucket. Georgie's is the other.
Georgie won this sword at her Different Dimesion's marshmallow flinging competition about a month ago. The sword says "PSI Medieval Battle Champion 2005-2006."
J and Georgie built the trebuchet from plans they found on the internet. I wish I'd taken pictures of J in his pijamas at 1 am building this thing. What we do for love!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

new profile pic

My old profile picture was starting to annoy me. I put up a new picture that is smaller and black and white. Most of you will recognize that this is not me {smile}. It is Audrey Hepburn, but a girl can dream can't she?

queenly behavior

Bernie got this crown at her friend's birthday party Monday. Monday night she found it in a sorry state--denuded of its jewels. She sobbed harder than I've ever heard her sob. Marcus, of course, was the culprit. He had removed the jewels for his own purposes. To his credit, he felt bad. J consoled Bernie by gluing the jewels back on her crown. Marcus asked if he could keep just one. Bernie wavered. You could tell she didn't want to, but she was thinking about it. The queenly Bernie eventually won out, and she even let him pick which one he wanted. He was very grateful. It reminded me of "The Rainbow Fish."

Today Bernie found an old crown from a previous party. Of her own accord she picked off some of the jewels and gave them to Marcus.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Feliz dia de San Valentin

Lidia always dresses for the occasion.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I'm finally getting it

This is a proud moment. I just printed off two homework papers to send in for my American Lit class. I will send them in tomorrow's mail. I am proud because one of the papers is not well done. I will probably not get an A on it.

Why should I be proud of that? In my past independent study classes, when I came across questions I struggled with or didn't understand, I would always think, "I need more time to work on this. I'll put it away and then get back to it" or "I should contact my professor about this before I try to answer." Sometimes I would get back to it and torture myself by tinkering away on it until it was just right. Sometimes I didn't. I would procrastinate because I was sick to death of it. What I didn't understand is that I was spending way too much time on my classes by stretching them out in this way. A class that I could have easily completed in four months would always stretch out to twelve.

What I am finally realizing is that I just need to finish the stupid papers and turn them in. Yes, my GPA is high, but know what? I would have happily traded that high GPA for having finished college five years ago with a lower one!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Nana's cheese wiz

My mother wants her grandchildren to appreciate the art of fine dining, so every time she visits she buys them cheese wiz.

my camera! hurrah!

My camera is fixed!

Here are some of the whoopie pies we're giving to friends today.

Friday, February 10, 2006

don't know what to title this

I have had a very busy few days. Yesterday it took my nearly 3 hrs round trip to pick the girls up from school. I've driven from my driveway to the school driveway in 15 minutes before. Yesterday it took me 1 hr 25 min. It was snowing and there traffic was at a standstill much of the time. When I realized I was going to be really, really late to get the girls, I started to freak out because I'd forgotten my purse and I thought I had no cel with me. Thanks heavens I soon saw that I had taken it out to charge and left it in the car. I was able to call the school. When I arrived the office lady still raised her eyebrows at me which I found very annoying. I mean, what could I have done? I did leave early, just not early enough. When we got into the car Georgie said there had been other children waiting too and they'd just barely left. So whatever, office lady. Keep your raised eyebrows to yourself.

I'm feeling a little sassy today. I made the mistake of turning on talk radio today while I was exercising. I loathe talk radio. The public was calling in on the Danish cartoon thing. There were several people who called in and voiced their opinions very badly, I thought. Not that I would be able to do much better on the phone like that. Then this one guy called who was more or less well spoken. The question people were supposed to answer was, "Should U.S. newspapers print these cartoons?" He first criticized President Bush for having said the Danish papers should not have printed the cartoons. Then he called it "a free speech issue, basically." But then he went on to say that U.S. papers should print the cartoons if they found it "economically advantageous" to do so.

I have not read much about this issue. I don't watch the news. But here is my question: How is it a free speech issue? I don't believe that any people from free, democratic nations are saying that the papers should not have the right to print this stuff. But must it be illegal to be wrong? The gentleman who said that papers should print the cartoons if they find it "economically advantageous" calls it a "free speech issue," but what he really feels should be the deciding criteria is the possible monetary gain. What does that have to do with free speech?

I think it was morally wrong to print the cartoons. I should say that I am disgusted by many political cartoons, but I really believe this crossed a line that shouldn't be crossed. People on the radio talk show were saying that it wouldn't necessarily bother them if someone printed grotesque cartoons of Christ, because after all, it's just "artistic expression." So, we are to understand, why should it bother Moslems? Why indeed. I certainly do not condone rioting and burning, but at least the Moslems have sacred things they insist be kept sacred.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

more trouble with ethics

Athena asks why I like that quote. I think it resonates with me that the teaching of ethics as the ultimate morality is superficial and ineffective. I find myself sometimes falling into the trap of approaching the gospel from an ethical standpoint. Sometimes I think teaching ethics is more interesting than teaching the Plan of Salvation. Sometimes I think discussing how we can bring our behavior in to conformity with God's teachings is more intersting than discussing doctrine. Only sometimes--I think I often save myself and my students from this trap. I recently addressed a group of Young Woman (for those of you who are not LDS I capitalize that because that's the name of an auxilary of the Church) about our Church's behavioral standards for youth. I felt inspired to talk about how these standards keep us safe in our mortal life, but I began the speech and ended it talking about the Savior and the Atonement. The youth need to always here about standards in the context of the Plan of Salvation, or they become of questionable worth.

Again, for those of you not of our faith, if you are curious about our youth standards you can find out more by reading the brief pamphlet: For the Strength of Youth. Even if I did not believe in LDS doctrine, even if I were a member of another church, I would want this for my children. I love to read the inspiring message from the First Presidency. A Mormon friend recently told me that she was talking with a neighbor about their teenage boys. My friend was asking her neighbor, a religious person, how she planned on teaching her son about sexual purity. The neighbor suddenly said, "Do you actually expect your son to remain a virgin until he is married?" My friend, taken aback a bit, said "Well, yes." Her neighbor snorted and said, rather sarcastically, "Good luck with that!"

This neighbor doesn't know how powerful the teaching of truth can be and how the understanding of doctrine influences behavior to a much deeper level than ethics alone.

the trouble with ethics

I read this speech again today by Robert L. Millet. I couldn't help myself--there is so much I like here.

Another quote:

For some persons, Jesus stands as the preeminent example of kindness, the
ultimate illustration of social and interpersonal graciousness and morality. A
favorite text for this group is the Sermon on the Mount, while their highest
aspiration is the call to live the Golden Rule. A Roman Catholic philosopher has
observed: "According to the theological liberal, (the Sermon on the Mount] is
the essence of Christianity, and Christ is the best of human teachers and
examples. . . . Christianity is essentially ethics. What's missing here?" he
asks. "Simply, the essence of Christianity, which is not the Sermon on the
Mount. When Christianity was proclaimed throughout the world, the proclamation
(kerygma) was not 'Love your enemies!' but 'Christ is risen!' This was not a new
ideal but a new event, that God became man, died, and rose for our salvation.
Christianity is first of all not ideal but real, an event, news, the gospel, the
'good news.' The essence of Christianity is not Christianity; the essence of
Christianity is Christ." (Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue, p. 83.)

how I love thee

I love grapefruit. I always have, since I was a little kid. We didn't have it much at my house, but we always had loads of grapefruit when we visited my grandparents in New Mexico. All of my children love grapefruit. And I think I know why my mom didn't buy us more grapefruit when we were kiddos. Kids make a terrible mess eating it! And they squirt themselves and whoever is sitting next to them in the eye with the juice!

Almost more than I love the actual fruit itself, I love the smell of grapefruit. In any form I love it, but especially fresh. I used to carry around a little baggie of sliced grapefruit in my purse when I was pregnant. When I smelled bad things that disturbed me I would fish the baggie out my purse and take a big whiff ...ahhh!

Why am I posting on grapefruit? Must be a slow day.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

just think the justifiable evil I could do...

I read the following in a speech entitled "Divine Deterent to Creeping Relativism" by Robert L. Millet, professor of ancient scripture at BYU:

"In two separate cases in England, a barmaid who stabbed another woman to death in a barroom brawl, and a woman who angrily drove her car into her lover were both acquitted of murder after they claimed acute pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) addled their thinking and caused them to act in ways they could not control. Both received therapy rather than punishment.
"A San Francisco city supervisor claimed he murdered a fellow supervisor and Mayor George Mascone because too much junk food-especially Hostess Twinkies-made him act irrationally. Thus the famous 'Twinkie' defense was born. A lenient jury bought the line and produced a verdict of voluntary manslaughter rather than murder. They ruled that the junk food resulted in 'diminished mental capacity,' which mitigated the killer's guilt. He was out of prison before the mayor's next term would have been complete." (Cited in MacArthur, The Vanishing Conscience, pp. 22-23.)

Monday, February 06, 2006

God's Grandeur

by Gerard Manley Hopkins

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Great Grammie

So here is my mother's mother's mother. Georgie got her red hair from this great- great-grandmother. My grandmother has a length of hair belonging to her mother and her aunt. I think it was from when they bobbed their hair when they were girls in the 20's. Can't you just see her doing the Charleston?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

de Gustibus

I think Tunku Varadarajan, occasional de Gustibus contributor to the Wall Street Journal, is right on in Friday's Speaking in Tongues: A State of the Union Response in Spanish? Multiculturalism has gone too far.

I really like this quote:

The left's great failing is that it envisions America as a collection of
alienated subgroups who would, if only they could kvetch in perfect harmony
about their problems with this country, achieve justice and world peace. This
sub-grouping urge is a kind of tyranny. Perhaps it made sense in less tolerant
times to talk of "people of color"--the way demagogues did and do--as shorthand
for nonwhite. But what an offensively blunt formulation it is now. As if any
identity could lie in a notion that seeks to cohere blacks, Native Americans,
and Hispanics. And consider the term "Hispanics": It suggests that, for purposes
of maximum political clout, Ecuadorans, Guatemalans, Mexicans,
Dominicans--"latinos"--should unite under a flag of grievance, then reorient
themselves again into subcultures but never define themselves as individuals or
mere Americans.

Chicken Chili

I can't post a photo of this delicious new soup recipe I created yesterday because my camera has been sent away for repair. :-( I dropped it. I may not have it for another couple weeks.

Cook 1 lb. navy beans according to package directions.

Shred the meat of 1 chicken. (I am a big fan of roasted chicken from the deli. They are cooked perfectly and are about the same price as buying a raw one.) I only used 1/2 the shredded chicken.

Saute in 2 T olive oil 1 chopped green pepper and 1 large yellow onion. After a few minutes add 4-5 cloves crushed garlic. Add dash of salt and pepper, 1/2-1 tsp cumin, 1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1 bay leaf. Cook until onion is nearly translucent. If desired, sprinkle 1/3 cup flour over onion/pepper mixture and cook a couple more minutes.

Add 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes. Cook while moving it with spatula 1 minute, remove from heat.

Combine beans and onion/pepper mixture in a large pot. Add desired amount of chicken broth. I don't remember how much I added--maybe 10 cups? :-) I use hot water and instant bouillon for my broth. Turn burner on high and bring to a low boil, then lower temp to low.

Add shredded chicken. When that is heated through, add about 1 cup of half and half (eyeball it--you could use quite a bit less), and heat through. I tasted it at this point and decided it needed a little less than 1 tsp. salt.

It was delicious. Lidia said it was the best soup she'd ever had! It tasted even better today. That's always the way of it with soups. The flavors combine more after sitting in the fridge overnight.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Last night I had this dream that I started talking with a British accent. In my dream I had been watching Berkeley Square (as I did last night before I went to bed) and after I'd finished watching an episode, I got up and went about my business, cleaning the house, making dinner with the family, etc. But I was talking like a Brit. It took me a little while to realize it, and when I did I thought, "How funny that no one's seemed to notice that I've suddenly got a British accent!" I tried to go back to speaking normally, and I couldn't. I was actually pleased by this at first. I thought it was cool. But then I started thinking, "How am I going to do this? When people ask me where I'm from, I'll have to say 'Maine.' And then they'll think, 'Hmm. Didn't know those Mainers talked like that!'"

I watched entirely too much BBC last month. First I saw the new Pride and Prejudice, which isn't BBC, but might as well be. Then I saw the miniseries North and South, which is not to be confused with the Civil War movie. It is British, from a book by Elizabeth Gaskell. Then I read Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, which I think I read with a subconscious British accent in my mind, then I saw the miniseries. Now I'm watching Berkeley Square, a BBC series about three turn-of-the-century London nannies. No, I don't normally watch this much television, but I haven't felt well this past month. Nope, not pregnant.

So if you notice that I start writing stuff like "colour" and "centre," you'll know it's just more of the same.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

What's your perfect major?





























What is your Perfect Major? (PLEASE RATE ME!!<3)
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