Thursday, December 04, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Which reminds me of my first Portland bar experience. Now me and bars don't have a long history together. Growing up Mormon, I always had the perception that bars were dark, seedy places that smelled like smoke, stale booze, cheap perfume, and despair. All the men were drunks looking for an excuse to be away from their families and drown their sorrows and worries in cheap whiskey and all the women were caked-on makeup floozies with stringy hair looking to snag a man for the night. The sitcom Cheers only altered my perception a little--bars were also places where people were forced to work if they were imprudent enough to get an English literature degree. My college years didn't afford me any opportunities to glimpse inside a real bar, given that going within 50 feet of one was a violation of the BYU Honor Code and the nearest one to Provo was a biker bar 80 miles out in the West Desert.
Well, finally, after fleeing Utah and moving to Portland, I finally got the opportunity to step foot in a bar... a REAL LIVE BAR! What made it alluring wasn't the alcohol, since I don't drink (although I was curious to find out if you really get free pop at a bar if you say you're the designated driver... if I found that out to be true, I'd never have to buy Diet Coke again and I'd be hanging out at bars all the time! Turns out you have to be in a group of people drinking who actually need someone to drive them home. Stupid rules.). No, the siren beckoning us into this bar was its wealth of pool tables. One day, around 4:30 in the afternoon on a weekday, Margaret and I walked by that bar and saw that the only people in it was the bartender, a couple of waitresses, and a couple of hardcore drinkers who looked like they'd been sitting on their barstools since the place opened at 10:30 am. We furtively looked around to make sure that no one from our ward was in view, then I took a deep breath (the last smoke-free breath I would take for the next 90 minutes) and stepped over the threshold. The main surprise I had about the place was that it had an awful lot of plants. I didn't really expect that, assuming that any potted thing would be quickly killed from being the dumping ground for cigarettes, bad cocktails, and the occasional vomit. Who knew?
We sauntered over to the pool table closest to the door all casual like, trying to project the image that this was something we did all the time. Margaret took care of getting the billiard balls out of the machine and picking out our cues while I got the task of, gulp, going up to the bar and ordering our pops. Believe me, all your cred disappears when you step up to the bar at the local dive and order a couple of rum and Cokes, but hold the rum, and instead of Coke, please use Diet Coke. I told the bartender we were the designated drivers, hoping that would throw him off track. Which it didn't. Damn!
Chastened, I brought our pops back to the pool table and we started our game. Given that this was the first time in years that either of us had played pool, we were absolutely terrible. But we were having fun laughing at how ridiculous we were at our awful pool-playing skills. That game lasted quite a while. It takes a surprising amount of time to sink... um, however many balls are in a billiard set... when each ball takes four to five attempts. By the time we finished, we were getting into it, and so I went and got refills on our modified rum and Cokes and we started a second game, as the bar was still quite empty. Within 10 minutes of starting the second game, however, people started flocking in. I don't know if it was happy hour or the local steel mill 45 miles south of us had changed shifts, but suddenly the bar was a noisy, smoky, crowd of people. Soon all the other pool tables were filled and we were feeling the pressure to finish our game. A guy saw that we had only several balls left in our game and came over to place two quarters under the lip of the pool table. "Um, I wouldn't recommend betting on us," I told him. "We're not very good players." He gave me that, "you're a non-drinking Mormon poseur just faking that you're comfortable in a bar and feeling all rebellious while drinking your Diet Coke-look" (you know the one) and told me that that's how you declare that you have dibs on the table for the next game. I wanted to bolt from the bar in humiliation, but couldn't waste the rest of my Diet Coke and the fifty cents we'd spent on the game. The 35 minutes it took to sink the last three balls felt like an eternity, as I could feel the eyes drilling in on us as we feebly tried to finish our game of shame. After the eight ball dropped into the corner pocket, we gulped down the last of our Diet Cokes, put on our coats, and proceeded to never step foot in that bar ever again.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Such power was held in that idea that it expanded to much more than the white, male, landowners it was originally meant for to eventually include blacks, women, Indians, indeed everyone. The power of this idea struck me full force a couple of years ago when Margaret and I were in Oslo. Despite all the time I'd spent there while on a mission, it wasn't until going back on vacation that I actually got the chance to visit the Oslo City Hall. The building is quite amazing and the symbolic significance of it being the site where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded each year only adds to its gravitas. Upon the building's completion, the major artists of Norway were invited to paint murals and frescoes inside. All of them were impressive, but one completely reshaped my perception of America.
Åge Storstein painted a fresco in one of the rooms that went from floor to ceiling on all four walls. The fresco is titled "Menneskerettighetene" or "The Human Rights." In it, the concept of human rights and liberty is symbolized by a flame. A flame that is ignited in America at the Revolution, spreads to France, then to the rest of Europe. The flame is almost extinguished by the Nazis, and on that panel, there are a huddled mass of Norwegians hiding underneath debris, carefully guarding only a tiny ember. Finally, in the final part of the fresco, the shackles of oppression are thrown off and the flame is allowed to burn brightly and be held aloft. Looking at this painting, and subsequently thinking back on it, I was struck by the wonderful gift that America gave the world and how thankful the world was for our contribution. But I was also struck by the change in our role in the world. Rather than being a force for good and freedom in the world, we'd become preoccupied by more selfish goals that belied the noble ideals of our founding. I was no longer living in the same America that saw patriots fight for the idea of liberty and justice. I was no longer living in the same America that my grandfather fought for and my grandmother sacrificed for for the sole purpose of bringing liberty and freedom to people on the other side of the world. I was no longer living in the same America that the rest of the world saw as a beacon of hope and possibility. Such were the emotions that I felt upon seeing this painting.
That was a long introduction to why I am so hopeful about the outcome of this election. Seeing the thousands of people gathered in Chicago to hear Obama's victory speech I felt hope. Hearing the fireworks, whoops, and honking cars at my house starting less than five minutes after the polls on the west coast closed and Obama was projected as the winner, I felt hope. Reading the Norwegian paper online and seeing that the top TWELVE articles were about the election and how excited the Norwegians were about our selection gave me hope. The following morning, seeing people still so excited gave me hope. All of these things combined to give me a hope that we can live up to our ideals once again and be a flame that gives light to the dark places in the world.
I don't think Obama can do this on his own, though. We'll all have to work together for this idea called America. The excitement, optimism, and hope that Obama has inspired in so many tells me that America still has it in her to be a source of good for this world in desperate need of our characteristic can-do, idealistic, creative nature to come shining through. And that, above all else, gives me hope. So after reading this post, you'll probably think that I'm just a hopeless romantic, to which I'll respond, I may be a romantic, but after that election, I'm far from hopeless.
Friday, October 17, 2008
To catch you all up, here's what's been going on: I'm still working to cut down on the amount of Diet Coke I drink in preparation for a trip to Utah in December. (Just in case I get called to work for the Church while I'm there.). Margaret has been going to work on Wednesdays, so I have been using the remaining paternity leave I have to stay home one day a week with Lucy. That's been interesting and enjoyable. Although last week I think I completely pooped her (and myself) out. Here is our day: get up and go to Noah's for a bagel and Diet Coke(s), go in to work for a few hours because The Event was that weekend, go to Taco Bell with a coworker, head home for a minute to refill bottles, etc., go to the grocery store, meet Margaret at a restaurant for dinner. Phew! Then Margaret took Lucy to her craft club. By the time Lucy got home, she practically fell asleep as we were laying her down in her crib. And Margaret and I collapsed into our bed.
The Event went well. My family was here all weekend and they focused all their attention on Lucy, despite the fact that, HELLO! I'm standing right here! You could at least say 'Hi'! Now that The Event is over, things are winding down a bit, although we have trips to Idaho and Utah planned before the end of the year. With that many more flights, trapped in a closed container, I don't know if Lucy will be able to maintain her sick-free streak for much longer!
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Anyway, to tide you over, there were two interesting things in today's paper that I had to pass along:
1. This is from John McCain and considering recent events, REALLY makes me want to move to Norway where there is universal health care:
"Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation."
2. This is a quote from the retirement announcement of Berkeley Breathed, the creator of the comic strip "Bloom County" and "Opus":
"With the crisis in Wall Street and Washington, I'm suspending my comic strip to assist the nation. The best way I can help is to leave politics permanently and write funny stories for America's kids. I call on John McCain to join me."
I would love to see a McCain children's book!
Friday, September 26, 2008
In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves, which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days. In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels: taxes have risen, our ability to pay has fallen, government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income, the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade, the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side, farmers find no markets for their produce, the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.
More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.
Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply.
Primarily, this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failures and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.
True, they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit, they have proposed only the lending of more money.
Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored conditions. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers.
They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.
The money changers have fled their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths.
The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.
Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money, it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.
Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be values only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit, and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing.
Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.
Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone. This nation asks for action, and action now.”
I'll forego the smarmy comments, as I think these words speak for themselves.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Sadly I've just found out that this blog has received a rating that would make it ineligible for consumption at BYU, or anyone wanting to go to the temple. So if either of those fits your description, delete me from your bookmarks before you're found out. And guess what things gave it an ignominious "R" on its chest, you ask? It used the following words: "sex" (3 times), "crap" (1 time), and.... wait for it, wait for it.... "MISSIONARY" (used 4 times)!!! I guess it assumes that I'm talking about missionary position, which of course I'm not. BORING! But speaking of missionary position, that reminds me one time when I was a missionary in Norway... oh, look at the time. Well, I'll tell you that story some other time.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
And here I thought that Mormonism couldn't get more commercialized and treacly. This book is the unholy union of the Book of Mormon and Anne Geddes! Because that's just what the world needs, pictures of cute kids reenacting scenes from the scriptures to make people believe in them even MORE! And I shudder to think of the poor kids posing for the photos of Bathsheba bathing, the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the slaying of Abel by Cain scenes.
If, by some ironic need or head injury, you would like to get this book, it is of course available from that veritable purveyor of all things kitschy Mormon--Deseret Book (read about Margaret's last visit to one here)!
Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Well, I've got the unfortunate news that I, too, know that I've hit rock bottom. Of course, I haven't woken up with my face in a urinal, but it's just as bad. Gather round, internets, and listen, for never was such a tale of woe. As any reader of this blog could surmise, Diet Coke/Pepsi is a fundamental aspect of my persona. I can easily down the fabled 96 oz. "Bladder Busters" of Utah fame in the same time that it takes a mere mortal to drink 32 oz. Of course this super power does come with a severe side effect: caffeine addiction. I've tried weaning myself off it time and again, but Diet Coke is a cruel mistress who demands obeisance several times a day... and preferably in at least 32 oz. amounts. Well, Margaret and I have been talking about getting off the stuff, particularly since I've been experiencing some heart issues that may or may not be related to consuming the equivalent of 12 cups of coffee a day. I was convinced of it on an intellectual level, but every caffeinated fiber of my being wouldn't let me.
Okay, fast forward to this weekend, where we were driving home from a trip on a Sunday. We stopped at McDonald's for a wholesome breakfast, including a Diet Coke. Well, after getting back home and having to rush to church, and then not leaving the house after getting back, that turned out to be the ONLY Diet Coke I had all day. The Olympics closing ceremony distracted me from the slight twinge beginning to form in my brain, and I thought that if I slept it off, I'd have gotten a LITTLE closer to falling away from the path of caffeination. Well, around 1 or 2 in the morning, I woke up with a splitting headache. The caffeine level in my system had reached critical levels, like down to 0.08% or something. I went to the kitchen, but alas, no pop to be found. I went to the medicine cabinet to get some Tylenol, to at least help with the headache. Then, sitting innocently on the shelf, sat the solution I craved, despite the fact that it would truly be making me hit rock bottom. I saw the magic words on a pill bottle: acetaminophen and caffeine... on a bottle of, wait for it... wait for it... MIDOL! I didn't hesitate for a second, I just took one then and there. Of course as I was swallowing the bitter little pill, the picture at the top of this post was emblazoned in my mind. There I was, knowing that I'd hit rock bottom. But on a more positive note, I wasn't bloated, either, so I guess it wasn't ALL bad.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Actually, it came from a hilarious blog that all my Mormon (and Mormonish) readers should go check out called "Bishop Higgins 3rd Ward-News for Mormons" here. (And if you have no experience, don't bother, because you definitely won't get the humor.)
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The story of Joyce McKinney is the stuff of pulp fiction: a North Carolina-born beauty queen who moved west, won the title Miss Wyoming USA, converted to Mormonism and went on to college at Brigham Young University, where she became obsessed with a fellow student.
When that young man went on a mission to England, authorities say McKinney hired a private detective so she could locate and follow him.
She and a male accomplice were accused of abducting the 21-year-old missionary as he went door to door, taking him to a rented 17th-century "honeymoon cottage" in Devon and chaining him spread-eagled to a bed with several pairs of mink-lined handcuffs.
There, investigators say, he was repeatedly forced to have sex with McKinney before he was able to escape and notify police.
I added the bold. Can you believe that?! Talk about the missionary position! If she only waited a few years, she could have gotten her missionary fix from that calendar of shirtless Mormon missionaries. And I'm sure that calendar would have been much cheaper than mink-lined handcuffs. Although I'm sure you'd want only the best for your kidnapped sex slave chained spread-eagle in your honeymoon cottage. No faux-fur for HER!
Man, the worst crime committed against us in Norway was being exposed to soul-crushing guilt for not putting in all of our hours proselytizing. Of course it wasn't soul-crushing enough for us to actually put in all our hours, just soul-crushing enough that it took several beers and a joint or two to lift the burden... I KID, I KID!
Friday, August 08, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Speaking of Indians, I remember one time in Norway, right as I got moved to a new area, being amazed at having three dinners with members a week. Now, that's nothing for missionaries here in the States... in fact they get that may a DAY, but given the average for Norway was around 1 member dinner every other month, I knew something was up. And when the members were kind of disappointed at the dinners, I grew suspicious. Well, it turns out that my companion, in an effort to score more meals from members, had told the ward that his new companion was an Indian and that he only spoke Norwegian and his tribal language. Of course this had people lining up to have us over for dinner. If only I'd have brought a feather headdress and loincloth, I could have fulfilled their expectations. As it was, they just got another immature American boy that they'd never invite back for another dinner.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Later on, I spied a couple who evidently felt left out of the whole parents-with-children dynamic going on, because they each were carrying a dog in a Baby Björn. Yes, a DOG! In a BABY BJÖRN! I was transfixed. And when they got out their little bottles of Alpo Jr. (chicken fingers dipped in ranch dressing flavor) and fed them with spoons, I wasn't that surprised. After burping their little bundles of joy, they carefully swaddled each dog carefully and sang them "How much is that doggy in the window" to lull them to sleep. They left early, presumably to go home to set up their educational savings funds for Canine Obedience School. Without a scholarship, those places cost a FORTUNE!
Okay, maybe a BIT of that was exaggerated, but they really did have their dogs in Baby Björns.
Which reminds me of a woman in Norway I knew from my mission. She went EVERYWHERE with her little Pomeranian in a handbasket. We'd run into her on the streets; dog in a basket. At home; dog in a basket. At sacrament meeting; dog in a basket. Well, one day, when I was blessing the sacrament, I looked down to see her taking an extra piece of bread and feeding it to her precious little dog! And sensing the spiritual importance of that transmutated body of the Lord, the little dog was lead to partake of the sacrament. I'm assuming that's why, since you know how hard it is to get dogs to eat bread otherwise. And now, her little dog will be with her in heaven in a little basket made of clouds. Awww.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Can you believe this product? I can't even imagine why someone would use this. If your baby didn't smell fresh, shouldn't you actually WASH her rather than cover up the smell? I can imagine some harried parent getting ready to take the baby out and gets a whiff of a rancid poopy diaper and some soured milk that seems to have hidden in the nooks of the baby's neck. This parent, pressed for time, just thinks, "I don't have time for THIS! I'll just give Alexandria a little spritz of this baby cologne and no one will be the wiser. Plus, I want her smelling her best, because Atticus will be at the play date and I want to be sure those two hit it off!" Jeesh!
And speaking of babies, is the term "buddy" limited to boys? The other day, Lucy, dressed in a green outfit, was sitting in her stroller and the checker, thinking she was a boy, said, "How you doing buddy?" When we corrected him, he later referred to her as "Sweetie." The gender-role stereotype land mines are all over the place, aren't they?
Friday, July 18, 2008
Is it just me or does this look a lot like our Introduction to the Dark Arts textbook we had as first year Hogwarts students? Man, I hated that class. Professor Lugubrius was such an evil taskmaster (which I assume is why he got the job). Although I have to admit, the Mulletus maximus curse which makes the hair on the back of your head grow faster than the top has come in REAL handy over the years.
Anyway, back to the Bolivian missionary. Nothing makes me appreciate the fact that I served in one of the wealthiest and advanced nations on earth than hearing about all the privations that third-world missionaries experience. Gigantic spiders, being served dog meat, and getting infected with a life-threatening bacteria from the Amazon river are enough to give me nightmares. Some of the privations we experienced in Norway included having to choose between salmon steaks and braised reindeer steaks in a burgundy sauce on our flight to the country; running out of sparkling water in the dining car of the train and having to gag down PLAIN water collected from meltwater cascading off a glacier in the Jottenheim mountain range; or having a saleslady in the Ralph Lauren store tell you that the floral tie you're wearing is SO last year! The only way we were able to endure it was knowing that we were serving a higher cause.
A measure seeking to commemorate President Bush's years in office by slapping his name on a San Francisco sewage plant has qualified for the November ballot.
The measure certified Thursday would rename the Oceanside Pollution Control Plant the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.
Supporters say the idea is to commemorate the mess they claim Bush has left behind by actions such as the war in Iraq.
Local Republicans say the plan stinks and they will oppose it.
Hmm, let's think of some other public facilities to rename, shall we?
How about renaming that rest area right outside of Boise the Larry Craig Rest Area? Or rename the intersection of 42nd Street and Broadway the Eliot Spitzer Street Corner? Any other suggestions?
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
(Which reminds me of my zoology class at BYU, where we had to dissect something each and every week. My lab partner and I always seemed to finish early, but we had to stick around to take the end-of-class quiz, so we would always go to the vending machines and get a pop and those nasty "Grandma's Cookies" that taste NOTHING like anything MY grandmother ever made, but I digress. Anyway, we'd go back into the dissection room and eat, always grossing the other students out. But here was my secret to being able to stomach eating a
So needless to say, I've been a sucker for anti-bacterial products whenever a new one comes out. Antibacterial hand soap: check; antibacterial lotion: check; antibacterial pens: check check (I bought a box); antibacterial kite string: check; antibacterial yogurt: check (although it just tasted like milk). Given all that experience, I think I'm qualified to say that a recent product I saw at Target is a little over-the-top.
Check out this picture I took at the store. Okay, now get a little closer to the monitor... a little closer... a liiiiiitttllle closer... okay, there. Now look at the upper right-hand corner. You see where it says "Microban?" Well Microban isn't a tiny can of spray deodorant, it's antibacterial plastic. Yes, the protractor is made out of ANTIBACTERIAL PLASTIC! While I appreciate porta-potties being made out of Microban, I can't imagine a protractor getting too dirty and certainly not enough to spread disease. Hold on, let me check the Urban Geometry curriculum for the high school here in town... okay, here it is:
Unit 8-Angles; Chapter 2-Protractor exercises.
Measure the following angles:
1. What is the angle where the toilet lid rests on the toilet?
2. What is the minimum angle required of a stream of urine to make it into the urinal?
3. What is the preferred angle one should hold his arm at when shooting up heroin with a used needle?
Well, I stand corrected.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
I wonder what people at church would think if Lucy showed up at church sporting these. She's already been in trouble for wearing something sleeveless and where you could see her underpants. SO inappropriate.
They're also available in zebra stripe, hot pink, and black here.
Anyway, the story goes a little something like this: annoying rich girl is crushing on cute boy trying to earn money, cute boy's cute girlfriend is also trying to earn money, jealous annoying rich girl wants to separate cute boy and cute girl so uses powers of persuasion to get cute boy a job at the country club (the resort), cute boy insists on country club hiring every one of his friends, country club of course does exactly that, since that's what job hiring is really like, wackiness ensues. Well, during the scene where all the friends are just playing in the kitchen, breaking into singing and dancing routines, and eating the food meant for guests, the resort manager had the UNMITIGATED GALL to come in and tell the kids that they had to clock in and out, be at their job station on time, stop eating food meant for guests, and not to breaking into cheesy song and dance routines that scared the guests! Can you believe it? Asking employees to do such things right out of Stalin's playbook! Didn't we fight the Korean War for the right to DANCE?!? And the manager was painted as completely unreasonable for making these demands. Didn't he know that a job was where you hung out at a place with your friends, goofed off, got free food, and most importantly HAD FUN... and got money for for it, to boot! Margaret and I felt really out of the target demographic of the movie when we were commiserating with the manager who had to herd and hand-hold these entitled kids to get any work done. No wonder everyone is hiring illegals... American kids won't work. (Although in their defense, it DOES take a big chuck on time to text message, play Guitar Hero, and keep your Facebook status up-to-date.)
Well that's not going to happen to our Lucy. She's going to develop a work ethic! She can only watch TV for four hours a day, she is limited to 2,500 text messages a month, her personalized Hello Kitty-branded American Express has a strict $15,000 credit limit, and as soon as she turns 6, it's off to the textile mill for her tiny hands to work those threading machines.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Speaking of traumatic, yesterday the headline article in the paper was about a 14-year-old boy who got his arm cut off... I mean 'severed' (for some reason the paper never said cut off, evidently deeming it too graphic or crass--not that that stops them from writing about Paris Hilton's exploits [Wow! TWO unrelated Paris Hilton references in the same post... a new record!) by a boat while he was surfing on the Oregon coast. Well, today's paper had an article about the reattachment surgery and included this quote from the boy's father: "For the level of injury--having your arm completely severed--he's doing very well. It's a hard thing to grasp." OF COURSE it's hard to grasp when your hand isn't attached to your body. Geesh! I wonder if at the obligatory press conference, all those gathered will give him a hand?
Monday, June 30, 2008
Now I have to wait patiently until July 11 to get my completely justified new phone. See prayers really ARE answered! (Although I should have added the caveat to the prayer that I wanted it answered on July 10 so I wouldn't have to be incovenienced--I hate that! Well, that and answer the prayer in a way that I could still sell my phone on eBay when I get my new one. Alas!)
Monday, June 23, 2008
Now imagine my annoyance when I looked down to see that the alarm was for... wait for it... wait for it... the WINDSHIELD WIPER FLUID WAS LOW! Although I guess with German engineers' reputation for efficiency and order, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. But I mean really, is a dirty windshield REALLY a red alert emergency?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I should be worrying for not naming Lucy 'Loosie.' Eh, now that I type it out, 'Loosie' looks more like a 30's-era hooch runner during Prohibition. (And coincidentally, her great-great aunt Lucy, who she was named after, was, you guessed it, a 30's-era hooch runner during Prohibition. And she didn't pass down any family recipes for corn mash, barley malt, or 'Reservation Cognac©' so don't ask.)
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Now I'm still on the look out for cargo shorts. I told Margaret I'd be willing to buy a pattern and fabric for her to sew me a pair and she said that wasn't going to happen. Jeesh!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Anyway, the biggest problem during the night was waking up to feed Lucy. She's been going on a mid-night feeding, then an early morning feeding, then a breakfast-time feeding since she was born. Well last night, what we had been dreaming of finally occurred: she (FINALLY) fell asleep at 10:30 and slept a LOOOONG time. Margaret was planning on a 3:00 feeding, but Lucy wasn't awake. Then at 4:00; still sound asleep. Then at 5:00; still not awake. At this point, I'm going in to check on her to make sure she's still breathing. Finally at 5:30, I turn off the white noise machine hoping to get her to start to wake up, which it does. Phew! I swear, we still didn't get much sleep, as we were up worried that she was sleeping too long. So to recap: we don't get any sleep when she wakes up all the time; and we don't get any sleep when she DOESN'T wake up all the time!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Here she is, fresh out of the oven. You just combine 2 lbs. of sugar, 2 tablespoons spice, and 80 lbs. of
Actually, the picture is of a recent weigh-in we did on Lucy, who we just KNEW had gotten bigger. I mean some of her onesies we could only snap the middle button at the crotch. (And fortunately her bulky diapers prevented them from turning into a baby thong--and that look is so 2005.) Anyway, the most accurate scale we have is a digital kitchen scale, but the scale part is too small to balance a baby on, but when we put a baking sheet down to support her, the readout turned out to be too close to the actual scale part to be able to read the weight. Well, with a glass casserole, our problem was solved! And despite the fact that it looks like we're prepping her to put into the oven, we got a weight on our
On another note, we've officially gotten used to having Ikea close to us. Yesterday we went there for, wait for it... wait for it... JAM. Yes, the store that we once planned meticulously for, pouring over the catalog for weeks, renting vehicles to accommodate our purchases, taking an entire day to drive to Seattle and back for, has now been reduced to a quick stop in to buy a couple jars of food. (Although we did get some meatballs for lunch, so it wasn't JUST for jam.) I guess it's like that old adage that people will travel 1,500 miles to go to the temple when that's the closest one, but they build one in their hometown and they just take it for granted and never go.
And finally, speaking of Ikea, I still feel like I'm in Norway with the embarrassingly long paternity leave that my work offers. I got the first month after Lucy was born completely off, will work one day per week through July, and then three-day-workweeks for another two months. While not EXACTLY Scandinavian-benefits length (Sweden gets 18 months off), it's WAY more than the other guys in our childbirth education class got--most of whom got 2 to three weeks off. And boy let me tell you, I could get used to this one-day work week REAL FAST! (Although not so used to it to have another baby anytime soon.)
Monday, June 09, 2008
And of course, following that show, there was a special on that gigantic family with 16 kids. And guess what, the mom's pregnant AGAIN! Jeesh. That couple is WAY too represented in the gene pool as it is!
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Our Jetta takes diesel, which is currently $4.859 here in Portland. $4.859!!! Can you BELIEVE that? And my grandfather said he would never move to Alaska because their gas cost TWENTY-FIVE CENTS! I can't believe that I'm reminiscing about those halcyon days of 2007 when gas was around $2 per gallon. Now we have to second-guess all our separate trips to the farmers' market, Babies R Us, our therapists, and IKEA and just go to Costco for all those things.
Anyway, what prompted this post was this solution that Deb just sent me: the Verdier! It drove here straight from the 60's by way of the Jetsons. It's retro. It's futuristic. It's solar. It's cool. It comes with a secret compartment to stash your marijuana. It's got it all! Check out their website here.
But since I don't have time to get that van before we want to go to Utah, I'm going to check Expedia and Travelocity to see if they offer last-minute rates for "Twinkling of an Eye"*. Unfortunately I have a nagging feeling that it costs 10% of my income.
*and for all the non-Mormons (and bad Mormons... you know who you are!) out there, this is a mangling of the LDS hymn "If You Could Hie to Kolob." If you want to know more about it, the process is quite involved. Click here to start. (But don't tell me I didn't warn you.)
Anyway, while savoring my bagel and
Monday, June 02, 2008
Since Lucy sleeps something like 20 hours a day, we thought we'd better take advantage of it before she shifts into the sleeping only when it's inconvenient and staying awake the other 23 hours of the day mode. Since we were already pushing our time (how is it possible that just getting out the door with a pack mule's worth of supplies for a three-week-old infant could increase our departure time 400%?), we went to the Taco Bell near the theatre and quickly regretted opting to wait to get Lucy's hepatitis B shot until her 2-month checkup. Yikes! Fortunately I got a corner seat, which allowed me the opportunity to throw myself between her and any oncoming riff-raff. Speaking of which, while at the Taco Bell, I spotted what is surely the rarest of all the mullets: the two-tone! A woman with black hair had a mullet in which all the short hair had been dyed blonde. She looked like she was wearing a possum-skin cap... and not an attractive possum, at that! I'm talking about the kind of possum that looks all grizzled because it only digs in the dumpsters at Taco Bell. I couldn't take my eyes off it, and since I was sitting in a position to casually look in her direction, I was able to steal glances, and eventually this photo, of her the whole time we were eating.
We made it out of the restaurant without any communicable diseases (that we know of) and saw the movie. Lucy was pretty good, but of course during the loud parts, she tended to wake up, so I spent half the movie bouncing her in my arms. Still it was worth it. It felt like our lives weren't completely and irrevocable altered beyond recognition, just completely and irrevocable altered yet recognizable. Our next milestone in that department is to brave a trip to Costco with her.
(On a related note, what is up with businesses putting changing stations right next to the bathroom door rather than in an actual stall? Several people came into the men's room, opening the door to the jarring sight of a naked baby bottom and poopy diaper. I'm sure they weren't interested in getting nachos after THAT!)
Sunday, June 01, 2008
- Lamb stew with braised fingerling potatoes, creamy fennel soup, and sourdough bread
- Falafel, tabouli, fresh pita bread, and roasted vegetables
- Southern-style beans and rice with fresh-from-the-farmers'-market green salad
- Salmon steaks with fresh green beans, garden salad, and ambrosia salad
- Meatballs stewed in a cranberry sauce and GIGANTIC brownies
- Grilled turbot with harvest grains, heirloom tomatoes, and fresh apricots and cherries
Friday, May 30, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Fortunately urine is sterile, or my germaphobia would have required that I drive home from the doctor's office shirtless. As it was, I totally forgot about the incident until I was taking off my shirt that night for a shower and realized that it was the urine-coated one. Despite knowing that the urine was quite benign, it still made me cringe.
WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME!?!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
That WASN'T the routine last night. After staying up with the baby for several hours, with her drifting off only to be startled awake by the sound of dust falling on the carpet or something even LESS noisy, she'd by screaming again. I finally got her to sleep and then didn't dare move for fear that the slight vibration of me moving my hand from her back would start the fussing all over again. Needless to say, Margaret regretted that Diet Pepsi she drank late yesterday afternoon! Now we know that caffeine is a very fickle goddess.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Well, after nine months of waiting, our little girl was born on Wednesday... right on her due date! (Which is a good thing, given how impatient both Margaret and I are. We even asked about induction two weeks before the due date... we were THAT ready!) It was quite amazing and lots of aspects of the delivery made me thankful for the marvels of modern medicine. Epidurals, induction accelerators, on-demand Diet Coke for the now mothers, and iced diapers for soreness. Yes, you heard me right... iced diapers. The nurses take the tiny newborn diapers, pour them full of clean water, then freeze them. Trust me in that all the women that had access to them right after delivery ABSOLUTELY LOVED THEM... probably more than their husbands at that instant. We were talking about how useful they would be to just keep on hand for all sorts of bumps and bruises, as they have the benefit of staying dry after they've melted. When I was telling this to my grandmother, she remarked, "And they would be great for new brides, too!" Well, yes they would. (And in this day and age, lots of teenagers, too!)
Anyway, we're home now, completely addicted to just staring at our little bee. She's AMAZING! She's very advanced for her age, too. She got yellow poo when she was two days old, when most babies don't get it until they are 3 to 5. Yes, high hopes for this little one.
Monday, May 05, 2008
And for the record, I never want to go to a fabric store unaccompanied ever again.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Anyway, Hollywood Video now offers a service called "Zoltar," which is a database that takes your previous rental history and offers suggestions of what you would like. We tried at and I was impressed, then mortified by some of the suggestions. Check these out:
Arrested Development-good suggestion, and I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never seen this show but I think Zoltar got it right that I'd like it.
Big Love-All those Mormon comedies we rent must have tipped Zoltar off that we knew a thing or two about Utah.
Okay, now here's where it gets embarrassing. Check out these suggestions:
The Prince & Me 2: The Royal Wedding-?!?!?! Wha? We didn't even rent The Prince & Me 1: The Formulaic Romance!
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen-Huh? I can't even imagine what would have prompted THAT suggestion!
Ella Enchanted-Okay, seriously! I think Zoltar thinks we're a fourteen-year-old girl. Rent High School Musical ONE TIME and look what it gets you!
On a brighter note, we can rent one of Zoltar's suggestions for free! I think we'll get
Friday, April 25, 2008
Can you imagine anything more glorious than being caught in a Diet Coke rainstorm? Check out this picture from the biggest Mentos-dropped-in-Coke explosion EVER! Although if it were me, I wouldn't have worn the raincoat and just looked up with an open mouth and a funnel in the hopes of drinking the sweetest rain in the history of rain! As it was, all those hooded raincoats makes the scene look more like some druidic sacrifice to Seltzer, the god of carbonation.
You can read about the event (including more pictures) here. And it happened in a town in Belgium where a good friend of our lives, so Pam, when you read this, let me know in a comment if you got in on the action or saw the Coke River flowing through Leuven.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. — H. Jackson Brown
No pressure! So maybe I should commit to work on a couple of masterpieces, inventing nuclear bombs, feeding starving children... and sleeping with a slave.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Okay, not to be completely fixated on baby stuff, but yesterday I stumbled upon this video when I was getting the diaper change video and just had to share it. WARNING! This video may cause former or currently nursing women to cross their arms over their breasts, fall to the floor curled up in a ball, and mumble "they're mine... they're Mine... they're MINE" over and over--just a forewarning).
Speaking of which, that reminds me of a time in Norway when we were visiting a church member that was living with a guy. After talking about the law of chastity one time, the next visit she excitedly told us that for the past week whenever her boyfriend started getting amorous in bed, she crossed her arms over her chest and said no. I'm sure her boyfriend LOVED when we visited after that. This was the same member whose three-year-old wanted to nurse one time while we were visiting and so walked over to her mother and pulled open her snap button shirt for access. Oops!
By the way, I think a good rule of thumb is that if your child asks you to sit sideways so she can watch CSI while she nurses, it's time to wean her.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
My uncle sent me this video of fathers changing diapers. Of course in his day (and I'm going by my own father here) men didn't change diapers. My own father would either endure the stench until my mom got home, carry me to my grandmother's house to get changed, or strip me down, hose me off with the garden hose, and let me run around naked... which reminds me of a time in Norway... but I'll write about that later.
How times have changed. Now men are expected to change diapers, help around the house, and take hormones so they can experience the miracle of breastfeeding themselves.
Ah the price of egalitarianism.
And I have to admit, my favorite clip in this video is the gassy baby that blows a cloud of baby powder into her father's face. Juvenile, but classic.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I wonder if this is only available at the Church Distribution Center? Hmm, let me see here. I'll just --click-- check their website --click, click, scroll, scroll-- Bibles, Bang curlers --scroll, scroll-- Pious jewelry, Precious Moments© figurines... oh here it is: Scents --click. What in the world? Only MEN'S fragrances? It says here they refuse to carry Matriarchy. What's up with THAT?
The plumber is coming tomorrow to finish the installation, which means we will be practically done and able to move out of the dining room. Phew! Just in the nick of time!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
About five weeks ago, I ordered the fixtures for the clawfoot bathtub online. I ordered the whole shebang, including supply lines, waste line, faucet, shower, shower ring, and soap dish. When I got home and showed Margaret the pictures, she pointed out that she wanted a shower with an additional handheld shower so we could wash the baby, water the plants, and spray down the bathroom to make a burst water line claim on our insurance.... I kid, I kid. We'd never water the plants in the bathtub!
Anyway, I called them the first thing the next morning and told them that I needed to confirm something or other with our plumber and could I put the order on hold. They told me that the order had already been packed but that they would hold it until I contacted them again. In the meantime, we found the fixture that we really wanted, so I called the first place back and cancelled the faucet, shower, and shower ring but left on the order the other things, which they said they would promptly ship. A few days later, a GIGANTIC box showed up on our front porch--much too big for two supply lines and a waste line. I mean, a LION would have fit in that thing! I opened the package and, lo and behold, the entire original order was in the box! At first I was aggravated, as I thought I was going to be stuck with the shipping costs to return it. Then I looked at the shipping invoice: it only had the modified order listed as the contents of the box. At the time, I didn't have the time to deal with the situation, so I just stuck all the boxes upstairs to deal with later.
Okay, fast forward to last week when I was breaking down the shipping boxes for recycling. I noticed a giant neon sticker on the side of the shower fixture box that said, "INSPECT PACKAGE: AFTER 5 DAYS WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGED OR LOST ITEMS" and I thought, "WHAT?" So if something gets lost and the hapless buyer doesn't tell them in 5 days, they're off the hook? That's messed up! Well, that got me to thinking, does it work the other way? Am I responsible for their lost items? Since their self-declared window of claiming loss is long expired without them notifying me, what claim do they have on this stuff? What am I supposed to do to minimize the cost to my eternal salvation yet maximizes what goes in my wallet. (Just kidding). Seriously, though, what should we do? We tried giving the set away to our friends the Burningman's, but they, sensing the bad karma surrounding it, declined.
I know I should just call the company and let them deal with it, but a part of me really wants to screw them for having a policy that probably has screwed a lot of people. So the next time you visit and we offer to let you wash your car with the beautiful clawfoot tub shower and faucet that is mounted on our driveway, you'll how it got there.
...seriously, though... what would YOU do?
...no, seriously... what should I do?
...dude, SERIOUSLY! I'm in a conundrum!
...hold me... uh, but don't judge me... I hate that.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Anyway, with that story fresh in my mind, here I am at Taco Bell waiting for my usual order (soft taco, fresco-style; side of chips; pintos and cheese; and a large pop) when they call my number and they have a crunchy taco, pintos and cheese, and a side of Spanish rice. I pointed out the error and the woman took the wrong items (which hadn't been even opened at this point) and THREW THEM IN THE TRASH! People are literally DYING from not being able to buy food at the same time that people throw perfectly good food away. (Although in my defense, it really wasn't what I ordered.)
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
All your kid talks about is butterflies? Fine. Just run with it. They're just dinosaurs for girls. With the Butterflies of the World poster, your kid'll be the best damn lepidopterist this side of Vladimir Nabokov.
Rainbows? All you hear is rainbows? You can go the optical science route, sure, or hustle the kids off to MoMA & PS1 next weekend for the opening of Olafur Eliasson's show. I'm sure there'll be rainbows out the wazoo.
Now for the cream...
You say your kid's got a bad case of the unicorns and faeries? I'm sure it's nothing a few unsupervised screenings of Ridley Scott's Legend can't fix.
Ain't THAT the truth. I'm an adult and that show freaked me out! Shudder.
Anyway, I had to tell our friend Twink (who has a daughter in the danger zone of such things) and Margaret and both of them said the EXACT same thing, "Well what do you show them to cure them of a bad case of the princesses?"
Well? Weigh in, internets. What movie can traumatize the princess urge out of little girls?
Monday, April 07, 2008
Sorry about the lack of blog posts. Our remodel is winding to a close. (The carpet was installed on Friday!!!) I spent yesterday assembling a crib that I had to repair somewhat, as the bars had a pesky habit of falling apart. THAT needed to get addressed, as I absolutely HATE it when my baby's crib collapses on her when she's in it! (And I'm sure she wouldn't be a fan of it, either!) I tested it by getting in it myself, and despite Margaret's estimates at how much the baby weighs, I'm SURE that I weigh more than twenty times the baby.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Anyway, Leslie was talking about coffee and coffee liqueur and was within earshot of a 4-year-old girl from our ward. Upon hearing the profanity "coffee" she whipped around and told Leslie, "You shouldn't be talking about that!"
"Shouldn't be talking about what?"
"How about liqueur?"
"Not that either."
Margaret told our friend, "She's Mormon" to which Leslie responded, "I figured THAT."
Also leading up to Saturday, we found out that our good friend Leslie was flying in for the event--from ATLANTA! Yes, she was so willing to come to the party that she was willing to leave the glorious South to brave the gray skies, unseasonal snow storms, and pasty-skinned populace that is Oregon in March! Now that's saying something!
Okay, now for the actual party. when we got there, Ber had made a flag with crows sewn on it that was flying over their house... kind of an homage to the Irish flag Margaret sewed for their baby shower that we hosted that you can read about here. (And now it's been almost FOUR years and that flag is still there--barely. Although it looks better than the shed it's covering even though it's an insult to Irish people everywhere.) We came in to find an bunch of friends already there and an AMAZING spread of food. I mean it was so impressive that Margaret took pictures of it. And not only was it artfully staged, Ber had even hand lettered placards describing all the dishes like "Buffalo hash served in a vintage Wedgewood tureen" or "Buffalo and pancetta quiche with handmade crust served in a Target pie plate." Yes, not one but TWO buffalo dishes. We honor their Irish heritage by serving Lucky Charms at their shower and they return the favor with delicious BUFFALO dishes to honor my Indian heritage. Color me sheepish.
There was also a cupcake-decorating station that our friend Stacey had baked HUNDREDS of cupcakes for. (In fact we even got to take home a back of 20 or so... which should last us until tomorrow, at least. And with all the frosting, candies, and other items to decorate them... all within reach of children, that particular station fueled the hyperactivity of every one of the kids at the party, much to the chagrin of all of their parents. I didn't know kids could move so fast until I saw one little boy whose mother was trying to keep him from all the treats, still manage to reach out and grab a handful of M&Ms. I didn't actually see his hand move, one second he was empty-handed, the next it was clutching 58 M&Ms. GREAT! That gives me something to look forward to!
In the invitations, Ber asked that people write a poem to read at the party. They were all really fun, including a verse-by-verse retelling of that 90's song "Don't forget the sunscreen" called "Don't forget the butt cream." Leslie recited this limerick she and Stacey created:
There once was a girl from Utah,
who couldn't get any cute-ah.
Though a bun in the oven,
may slow down the lovin',
but look at the size of those hoot-ahs.
I think we have next year's Poet Laureate!
There was also a contest to come up with an Indian name for the baby, which had some great entries, including Runs with Scissors, Tells Tall Tales, Dances Like Injured Heron, Shops at Ikea, and our favorite Running Nose (which has the side benefit of rhyming with our last name! It was meant to be!)
After visiting with some of our favorite people and gorging on too much great food and opening some amazing presents that we still don't have a room to put them into, as the remodel is STILL underway!, we stumbled home completely spent and with a bunch of leftovers and sense of gratitude to all our friends that made the party incredible and a sense of overwhelming relief that we didn't have to clean up after it!
Thanks Ber, Paul, Stacey, Brent, Janis, Leslie, Cheron, and everyone else who played a part in putting on this amazing production. We promise to let you hold the baby, change the baby, visit the baby, change the baby, rock the baby, change the baby, and change the baby ANY TIME you want.