Sunday, June 25, 2006


Yesterday was the last game of the season. Marcus sometimes calls J "coach" now. I love it! I'm really proud of J for coaching and of Marcus for sticking out the season. Soccer is not his favorite activity. He has agreed to play again in the fall if J will coach. It amazes me that Georgie actually caught a picture of Marcus kicking the ball. Marcus's foot and the ball probably made contact about 4 times this season. However, he did improve. The whole team made a tremendous improvement! A couple of teams killed us in the first games, and when we played them again we tied.

We're trying to get Marcus to diversify his interests a bit. His dominating interests are Pokemon and Gamecube, and then there are the passing obsessions, like human anatomy last year. The current obsession is nutrition. We are asked a torrent of questions at meal times such as, "Is vitamin E good for your lips?" and "Is sodium good or bad?" It is difficult to explain the concept of moderation to someone like Marcus.

I don't want to be one of those parents who pushes things on their children. You can tell some parents are living vicariously through their kids. However, I've thought about this a lot, and I think strongly encouraging Marcus to develop healthy pastimes is not wrong. Soccer provides good cardiovascular exercise (ok, maybe not how Marcus plays), is inexpensive, and only lasts 8 weeks.

the crew

Friday, June 23, 2006

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Actually, it is pronounced "windmeal." They made up this game years ago and my husband, with his darling accent, always called it "windmeal." The kids always tease him about the few words he doesn't say quite right, but now they insist on calling it "windmeal" too! (J's accent is really almost undetectable even though he didn't learn English until he was 20. Most people are surprised to learn he was born outside the U.S.)

The game begins (see top photo) with J in the middle and the kids circling around. J moves his arms around in "windmeal" fashion. Suddenly he grabs a child and starts tickling. The other children attack him.

It used to be funny and harmless when the kids were tiny and punched him as hard as they could with their tiny fists. Now it hurts! Recently they added a new move called the "butt attack." They jump up and land on their bottoms on top of J.

Sometimes they do a chase/windmill combo. Chase is running around and around the circular of our traditional 2-story, of course. Frodo especially loves that one.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Politics Lost

Yesterday on MPR's midmorning I heard them discussing this book by Joe Klein. It sounded like an interesting book. Amazon does have this negative review of the book by Publishers Weekly: "Unfortunately, Klein's politics of personal authenticity—he longs for a candidate "who gets angry, within reason; gets weepy, within reason... but only if these emotions are rare and real"—seems indistinguishable from the image-driven, style-over-substance politics he decries; he just wishes the imagery and style were more colorful and compelling. Moreover, Klein's insistence that the electorate cares much more about the sincerity or "phoniness" of a politician's character than about policy issues puts him squarely in the camp of people who think voters are stupid."

I do think people care about policy, but the phoniness makes you distrust. When I see someone obviously pandering to a certain element of the electorate, I have to wonder what they really think, what they would really do if elected.

And then some people don't care about policy or phoniness. I read an article about Mitt Romney, governor of Massachucetts, who has obvious presidential hopes. The article addressed the interesting issue of Romney's Mormon faith possibly alienating the Christian right, who don't see Mormons as Christians. A college boy from Iowa approached Romney and asked him about his relationship with Jesus Christ. Romney flashed his toothy smile and said, "I believe Jesus is my personal Savior." That was very comforting to the boy, who said he "just really needed to hear that." I mean, that was his big criteria.

I found on the midmorning site a link to an article Joe Klein wrote for Time, Hillary in 2008? No Way! It was funny. I don't know that I agree that Hillary would be as polarizing as he makes it out. The people who hate Hillary probably wouldn't vote for a Democrat in any case. I think moderates would vote for her, and then you have to wonder who else in the Democratic party could possibly pull moderate votes?

I seem to be meandering in this post and not saying much of anything. Hearing the midmorning program and reading several articles lately has me thinking about politics, and wondering what I think about it all. As with many things, I seem to easily define what I don't like, but have a hard time finding out what I want, what I believe, what party I most identify with. What I most dislike about politics is how it can turn normally reasonable people into raving lunatics. I don't mind people being passionate about it. Passion is good. But what I find off-putting and even a little frightening is the hatred. Why do people who normally believe in loving their neighbors think it is perfectly acceptable to hate people in a political context? It is repugnant, but I guess I have to admit it is fascinating too.

Whatever happened to respectful disagreement? I know that since Greek and Roman times politicians have employed inflammatory rhetoric to win supporters. Now we have more inflammatory rhetoric from the pundits than from the politicians themselves.

I do find politics interesting from the standpoint of an observer. However, whenever I resolve to really get myself involved by commiting to a candidate, for example, I quickly become disillusioned by what I see going on in the different parties. And I don't think that is especially admirable of me. It's kind of a snob thing. I shrink at associating myself with lunatics, fanatics, and hate mongers.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I just colored my hair this morning so it was time to take pictures. About a year ago I colored it red and that was fun. I got tired of it and tried to do it myself ash blonde, but that resulted in an ugly orangey color. The salon did this brown, a shade darker than my natural color. My natural color is fairly dark, but it is quickly bleached out by the sun and hair dryer. When I grow it long and it's been through a few summers, people think I'm blonde.

Here's something weird. Yesterday after I'd taken the pictures of the kids on the path we walked home. As I was getting to my driveway a woman behind me yelled, "Are those your children or your grandchildren?" I turned around, with what I'm sure was an expression of disbelief mixed with horror. It was an older woman, maybe in her 60s. Before I could recover myself enough to speak, she said, "Now that you turn around I see you couldn't be their grandmother!" and cackled merrily. She said a few more things that made me think she was the type of person who liked to talk whether or not she had anything of interest or importance to say, and then went on her way.

I went into my house and dashed up the stairs to my full-length mirror. I turned around with my backside to the mirror and then craned my neck around to see what I could see. "Are these the nalgas of a grandmother?" I asked myself.

Aww, Mom!

While I was taking pictures of myself the kids walked in and said, "Aww, Mom!" while rolling their eyes.

That didn't stop Miss Georgie from taking some self portraits of her own!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Healthy Dog

A new company has been formed in our family. It is named -------- Healthy Dog. The first word is our street name. It is a dog-biscuit making company. Georgie, Lidia, and neighbor friend Angie made dog biscuits yesterday and designed a label. They tried to sell some this morning but didn't find anyone out with a dog. This evening they plan to try again.

They hope to add new flavors like veggie and cheese, hot dog, etc. I liked it that they added the cinnamon because it smelled good when they were baking.

Monday, June 12, 2006

vitamin A

Marcus gets very excited about examining the nutritional labels on food. When he saw that you can get 300% of the daily recommended vitamin A from eating 9 baby carrots, he quickly began gnawing away.

More on Marcus: a couple of days ago I was loading the washing machine and he ran up and gave me one of his tackle-hugs. He said very intensely, "If robbers ever try to steal you, I will kill them."

"Er, thank you," I said. "It makes me feel safe that I have someone as strong as you to protect me."

Then he says: "Did you know that Angie [neighbor girl] forgot to close her garage door at night and robbers came and stole her mom?"

I busted out laughing and bent down to give him a hug. "No, honey! They didn't steal her mother. They stole her mother's purse!"

This happened about three weeks ago. The neighbors had forgotten to close the garage door and my neighbor left her purse in the car. Poor Marcus must have overheard the story wrong. All this time he's been thinking that Angie's mom was stolen, and his might be next!

viva Mexico!

Roundup: Mexico breaks through vs. Iran

Next is Angola on Friday.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

family home evenings and family council

We are counseled as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to hold regular Family Home Evenings and family councils. Monday night is generally set aside for Family Home Evening. One purpose for this is to teach our religious doctrine. Boyd K. Packer, an apostle of our church, said "True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior more quickly than a study of behavior will improve behavior." We've found this to be true in our family. Another purpose of FHE or family council is to address issues that arise in our family without having to single out someone for undesirable behavior. Instead of scolding when I find that one of my children has a consistently negative attitude and poor execution of chores, I can think to myself, "this would be a great thing to bring up in family council." By the time we’ve all gathered together and started our meeting, I've calmed down enough to say something like, "Are there any suggestions for how we might motivate ourselves to do chores the way we know is right?" It provides a safe and loving atmosphere, or at least, a neutral forum for discussion of our family values and culture.

Our FHEs and family councils tend to the informal and spontaneous. That's what works for us. If I were planning exclusively for my own personality and taste, I would prefer to sit everyone down sedately at 6:45 Monday evening and follow a planned program. We find that in our particular family, that spells disaster. Why is it that the Monday dinner hour tends to be the worst of the week? After going through that, the last thing I want to do is prolong the torture.

Our children are old enough to learn better self discipline, and we realize we haven't been the best at teaching this. Right now we're working on reverence during family prayer. It will take time, and we're only looking for a little improvement each day. They need to learn the habit of attention. We're working on it.

For now, we find that Sunday afternoons work best for teaching doctrine and good character. We start informal discussions of different topics when we have a captive audience: during lunch, dinner, or snack. J is especially good at conducting these discussions without getting too preachy. Two Sundays ago he asked me, "What is the most important thing you learned as a child?" while we were gathered around the table having a snack with the kids.

Lidia immediately leaned over and whispered in my ear, "work." I had to laugh. It could be that something like the following remark has occasionally been known to pass my lips: "You call this work? This? When I was a kid by the time I was your age I was spending at least a couple hours a day hauling buckets and shoveling manure down on the farm. That was work!" I said that while work was an important thing I learned, something somewhat related to that and perhaps more important was learning to do things that were not pleasant. I learned a certain amount of self-discipline that helped me to accomplish things that made me feel good about myself. I didn't learn as much discipline as some do at a young age, but it was a start. We talked together about what things we have to do every day that are not fun but will eventually give us satisfaction or lead to a happy life. We had a big laugh (but were also sobered) imagining what our family life would be like if J and I never did anything we didn't feel like doing. Lidia piped up, "We would walk around naked because Mom hates shopping for clothes!" Oh dear, it's true.

We talked about what options are available for future employment for a student who never studies in school compared to someone who does. We talked about what the result is of never practicing violin compared to practicing every day. It was a great discussion, and hardly preachy at all!

The next day, I found the above list in Lidia's room. She had listed several things to do each day that require self discipline, and then you can see that she values her "free time!" The other day she was loafing around the living room as I passed through. I thought of pointing out to her that she hadn't practiced violin yet, but decided to wait a few minutes. Sure enough, soon after I left the room I heard the opening strains of "Minuet I."

Not a bad result for a little conversation over watermelon.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Relief Society in Iraq

In these past posts I have shared some feelings about my membership in the Relief Society, a women's organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: stake women's conference and more Relief Society. Thank you to nestle for posting this fascinating article about Relief Society and Iraqi women: Relief Society intrigues Iraqi women.

Sunday, June 04, 2006



The sad thing about it is I wasn't even doing a silly dance or purposely acting moronic when Bernie took this picture of me. I was talking and walking across the kitchen. I'm not sure what I look like I'm doing. Any thoughts? But what does occur to me as I look at this photo is that this is the angle from which Bernie sees me. From Bernie's perspective, my thighs are the size of tree trunks. You can't see much of my behind, but from the little that's visible, were I to turn it toward the camera, it threatens to loom large enough to fill most of the shot. Poor Bernie. No wonder the world is a scary place for her sometimes, what with massive thighs and colossal butts at every turn.

Friday, June 02, 2006

SUV conversations

Today on the way to Irish step Lidia wondered aloud if "Georgie will have a boyfriend when she's thirteen." I laughed and told her that of course Georgie would not have a boyfriend when she's thirteen. Why not? asked Lidia. That's not a good age for that sort of thing, I said. But didn't one of our babysitters have a boyfriend when she was thirteen? asked Lidia. (To my knowledge none of them have. Lidia could not remember the name of said babysitter.) I explained to her that in our family we don't believe in "boyfriends" and "girlfriends." (I laughed inwardly at the way I worded this. As if "boyfriends" and "girlfriends" were a point of religious doctrine divergent from our faith.) I told Lidia that the idea of having a "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" makes no sense and is a lot of silliness promoted by pop culture and stupid t.v. shows.

"When you think it is the right time to get married," I told her, "you can start looking around for a man who is at least half as good as your father. When you find that man and you love each other, get engaged. There's your boyfriend." Lidia laughed. "But no boyfriends when you're thirteen," I emphasized.

"Don't worry, Mum, I won't. I mean, gross," she said.