Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mispronouncificationly Speaking

I was listening to a podcast of This American Life in which several contributors were sharing funny stories about things they believed in their childhood which they continued to believe into adulthood.

One woman thought that unicorns were as real as zebras or dinosaurs. While at a party, a group of her friends were discussing the plight of various endangered species. She spoke up and asked, "yeah, is the unicorn endangered or already extinct?" A moment of silence followed, and then great laughter, followed by another moment of silence when they all realized she had been serious.

Another woman thought that crossing signs (shown as X-ing - like Deer X-ing) were "Xing" (pronounced "zing") signs. She was with a colleague and saw several geese cross the street. She informed the colleague that they should "really put a xing sign here, don't you think?"

It made me think of some of the misunderstandings (usually dealing with mispronouncing things) I've run into (or had myself).

One of my younger brothers saw the reception center at which my sister's wedding reception had been held. He asked my mom, "isn't that where Merilee and Calvin had their conception?"

I had a companion on my mission say, "Your dad is an institute teacher so you know the scriptures pretty well. Can you tell me what a shameno is?" "A shameno? I've never heard of it, where did you hear it?" "Well, in that song, which I thought was from scripture, you know the one that goes 'by this shameno ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another.'"

When I was younger I was fairly concerned that perhaps I wasn't a child of God. Every day I would check my knees to see if they had turned gray yet. I surmised that they only turned gray after sufficient time on those knees in prayer. I wondered and wondered when my praying would turn my knees gray so that I could be considered a child of God. You know, "I am a child of God, and so my knees are gray." It was much later that I realized that my "needs" were "great."

So, please, do share. What funny stories of this sort do you have tumbling around in your past?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dating Diaries - The Blind Date (but not really blind afterall)

When I first moved to Logan (from Oregon), I moved into a residential area. I was roommates with my former mission companion and some of her friends. Other than her, I didn't really know anyone. I felt very much alone in our student ward. Although it was a "student" ward it was in this residential area and so most of the students lived at home and had grown up together. I was having flashbacks of moving my freshman year of HS and feeling that horrible feeling of knowing no one and wondering where I'd fit.

Then a young man came home from his mission. He'd served in Leeds, England. He was assigned to be my home teacher. He was a devoted home teacher and became a friend. He was faithful in coming once a month and would stay and make me laugh for much longer than the normal home teaching visit required. He was just a really nice young guy.

After that school year I moved closer to campus (next door to another nice guy named Richard). I would see my old home teacher on campus and we'd exchange warm smiles and a quick "how are you?"

About two years later, one of my roommates announced that she had been set up (by cramster's sister, actually) with a really neat guy. He was an RM, very intelligent, and funny. They would be going to the Institute dance. She was excited, even though she actually had her eye on another guy. As I listened to her talk about her soon-to-be blind date, I realized it was my old home teacher friend. I told her that they would have a great time.

The day before the date arrived and my roomie informed me that the man she'd had her eye on for many months had asked her to go out of town to visit his family - how could she pass it up? She wondered how I would feel about going on her date to the Institute dance. I told her I would feel awkward. She assured me that it would be fine, especially since I knew her blind date. I eventually agreed.

Apparently the date thought the whole thing was a bit odd too. He called me the day of the date and said, "I can't make it tonight and so I've arranged for my brother Steve to go with you." I informed him that I was "really just fine not going to the dance. It was a girls' choice dance and obviously I hadn't asked anyone and so obviously I was fine not going." He chuckled and told me he was kidding. Then he told me that he was in a new singing group and that they were going to perform at the dance. I didn't really catch the name of the group.

He picked me up, we went to the dance. He and some other guys performed a couple of a cappella numbers. We went home. I graduated that year and moved to Montana for graduate school. The home teacher and I kept in casual contact when I moved back to Logan after grad school.

Little did I know that he'd continue to be an important party of my life for a very long time. Years later, I married the dreamy baritone from the home teacher's a cappella group. As they often sing, "It's a small world, after all!"

Speaking of small worlds, you'll notice the girl next to me in this picture. Well, when the picture was taken she was fresh off her mission and had just moved in next door to me to attend grad school at USU. After I moved back from Montana, she and I became roommates (for 9 years!). Yup, that is my Charlotte. Oh, and the guy who was her date? He and I dated some and now he is in the bishopric of Char's ward. Just in case you were wondering about the other couple, he was the brother of a friend and the girl was his wife or fiance are something. They didn't live in Logan and were just visiting. I've never run into either of them again.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Havanah Glen

While in NY, we went (with several family members) to this beautiful hike:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Magic in the Mist

Location: Niagara Falls

Scene: A Husband and Wife have faced the rain in order to experience Niagara Falls together (she'd been, he hadn't). Their SIL was watching their most adorable one year old and they were enjoying some alone time that DIDN'T include doctors. As they looked over the amazing falls, Phil contemplated the deep mysteries of the earth. Heidi, on the other hand, enjoyed the mixture of mist and rain falling upon her face and hair.

The couple next approached their trusty aqueous vessel, The Maid of the Mist. As they did so, they gleefully held hands. Alone in their bliss, their solitude was abruptly interrupted by an elderly employee of the company who so ably relieved tourists of their funds. We will call this kindly man, "Bob."

Bob: "You know, there is magic in the mist."
Heidi: "huh?"
Bob: "Yes, there are more ions being charged in the middle of that mist than anywhere else on earth."
Phil: "Interesting."
Bob: "That's right, you two just keep holding hands and you'll feel the magic in the mist. You might even feel inclined to get a little more cozy. You might even kiss."
Heidi: "Alrighty then, thanks for the info."

In preparation for the magic in the mist, the couple donned the appropriate attire:

Off they went, resolute, determined, hands held, into the mist.

There was magic in the mist!

the end.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Food Friday - Fettuccine with Fresh Tomatoes and Brie

Since most people have fresh tomatoes now (don't even ask me about our tomato plant - the saddest thing ever!), I thought I'd share this really delicious recipe.

2 T Olive Oil
4 Large Tomatoes - peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 Clove Garlic - pressed
6 oz. Brie - cubed
5 T Fresh Basil - finely chopped (I do have a beautiful Basil plant!)
1/4 t Salt
1/2 t Pepper
1 lb. Fresh Fettuccine (if you don't feel like making your own - just buy a box of dried - it won't hurt!)

Saute tomatoes and garlic in olive oil 6-9 minutes. Lower the heat to medium - add the Brie. Continue cooking until the mixture is creamy. Stir in basil. Pour over cooked pasta and serve immediately.

This is seriously good stuff (and it only takes about 15 minutes prep and 15 minutes of cooking).


The Bambino: Pictures and Stories

Eden LOVES her swimsuit cover up. She has taken to finding it (it is supposed to reside in her bottom drawer) and putting it on (almost entirely by herself) or dragging it around like a blankie. She also likes to sit in "her" lawn chair (which currently resides in our family room).We recently bought a deep freezer and prior to that we had purchased a couple of plastic shelves. These came in wonderful boxes. Put them together, cut here and there, add a little tape and voila!
At first Eden was pretty tentative about going inside her "house" but then she got into it. Her Punka (my dad) sent her some stickers and she had fun applying those (and as many other stickers as I could find around the house) to the interior and exterior of her humble home.
This is Eden the morning we flew to NY. We had to leave pretty early. She was resting so contentedly that I just had to capture it. I know, she totally looks like a boy with her blue sheets and dino-jammies. Deal with it. :) Notice "Kitty" under her arm. This has become the stuffed animal of choice lately. She says, "Kitty" so cute (with lots of spit). Mom gets to kiss "Kitty" after every nap and in the morning. See below for a cute story about "Kitty" and Eden.
Eden loves watermelon.
Eden eating her airport meal. They didn't have any booster chairs and so I created a restraining system with her blankie (which was incredibly menky at this point and became even more so by the time we got home). She was such a trooper through all of this. In this particular picture, she has just discovered the joy of fries with ketchup.
Eden was such a trooper on the airplane and in the airport. On our flight out to NY we had the armrest between Phil and I up. There was a woman behind us who played a game with Eden wherein she would push the armrest down a few inches and Eden would push it back up. This was great amusement for several minutes. A week later on the plane trip home Eden totally remembered this game (on her own) and was trying to teach it to the flight attendant sitting behind us. She pushed the armrest up and then waited. When the flight attendant didn't respond, Eden showed her how by pulling the armrest a couple of inches. After several attempts to teach this really fun game to the woman, Eden gave up, clearly she wasn't going to get it!

On Wednesday when we went through security (all for not since we didn't actually fly anywhere), I was nervous that Eden would have a hard time sending her blankie and Kitty through the X-ray. So, I showed her how I was putting my shoes in the bin and then my belt and purse. I giggled and said, "isn't this a silly, fun thing to do? We are going to send all our things through that machine and then we can watch them come out the other side, how funny!" While I said these encouraging words, she allowed me to take her shoes off, take her blankie and Kitty and put them all in the bin. I was relieved that it was going so well. As I started to walk away, she handed me her binky (paci, pacifier, soother, whatever it is called in your region) and indicated that it needed to go in the bin too. It totally cracked me up. She is a bright, inquisitive kid.

We had her with us in Buffalo one night (my SIL babysat her the other night) and so she was in a port-a-crib in the same room with us. She is a light sleeper so we had brought her sound machine (ahh, the sound of crashing waves, so soothing!) and then used an extra blanket to cover the crib so that it would be dark and block out some of the sound. In the morning we heard her making some noise and I said quietly, "she'll probably go back to sleep." At which point Phil said, "I don't think so, look." And there she was poking her head up through the little hole we'd left at the top of the crib. She had a huge grin as if to say, "hello world, I'm up!"

Last night Phil was at a church meeting so it was just us girls. I said, "should we call Punka?" She said, "umah" (yes) "Pa" (Punka*) "ta" (talk). So we called my dad and talked. Then he made kissing noises. Usually Eden kisses her grandparents by placing a big, wet, silent, open-mouthed kiss on the phone. Adorable but the grandparents don't really get much out of it. Well, this time she made the "smack, smack" noises. She kept saying "Pa" smack, smack, smack "Pa" smack, smack. it was pretty cute.

We love our girl!

*"Punka" is the name that my oldest niece (now 21) gave to my dad - it was her way of saying grandpa. The name has stuck and now pretty much everyone calls him Punka. Maybe some day I'll do a post about a most hilarious story involving the question, "Do you know what a Punka is?"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Birthday Never to be Forgotten...

I am somewhat known for planning great birthday celebrations for those closest to me (see here for one such opinion). In fact, Phil often lists "a thoughtful giver" among the qualities he most appreciates in me. So, imagine my horror when I realized that in booking our flights to NY (for a Design Conference - a whole week of typography bliss! more on this later) I booked our return flight on Phil's birthday. Not just any birthday either, but the big 4-0! Yup, I did. How would I turn this into something better than terrible? I got him some nice gifts and incrementally dished them out (which he pretends to hate but I think he likes early gifts just as much as anyone - as long as there are still gifts left on the actual day!). I asked my friend, Alisha (and her able helpers: Bayley, Kendal, and Trey) to decorate our house and leave a cake so that when we got home at 10pm there would be a ready-made birthday waiting. This could be saved, right?

I gave Alisha the key, the balloons and streamers, the cake mix and frosting, and the "4-0" candles. The day we left I made sure to unlock the storm door in the front. I was pretty excited that this was going to be a fun surprise for Phil (and save my reputation).

Wednesday, July 23, arrived and I received a phone message that basically went like this:

"Heidi, hi, this is Alisha. We are at the house and ... well ...
the storm doors are both locked. Is there another way in?
We can't really decorate without getting in and
we can't get in because the storm doors are locked."

Dang! My thorough husband did one last walk-through and re-locked the storm door.

I admitted to Phil that I was defeated and a failure at adequately celebrating his big day. We laughed. Then it happened...

Our flight was delayed. There was no way we'd make our connecting flight. After several hours in the Rochester Airport we were given the assurance that we would be on a 6am direct flight to Atlanta. We were given a voucher for a night at the Holiday Inn (actually a very nice room!) and 4 $5 food vouchers*. As luck would have it, our luggage was able to make its way to Detroit and then Atlanta, unlike us. Therefore, we didn't have any of our clothing, toiletries, scriptures**, or the like. Therefore, Phil spent the evening of his birthday washing clothes in the sink and then drying them with an iron***.

Thursday we awoke at 4am (ah, 5 hours of blissful sleep) to catch our 6am flight. Imagine our frustration when we were informed that we had not been booked (actually Phil had, I hadn't) after all. Oh, and by the way, there are no open flights out today. Did I mention that we were trying to get back so that Phil could meet with the Oncologist and have a chemo treatment? Yeah. So after some tense moments (in which I got a little cranky - not yelling, just cranky - with an airline employee) we were sent to another airline. They got us on a flight to Detroit and then on to Atlanta. We missed the doctor stuff (still trying to figure all that out because it isn't a good thing to be off schedule). Eden was AWESOME (I'll do another post about all the cute things she did).

We're home now. Alisha and the kids decorated the door. There is a cake in the oven. Phil has opened his gifts. He gets a weekend without chemo (perhaps the best gift of all). The pressure is totally off for next year. I no longer have to live up to the perception that I am a great celebrator of birthdays. He'll probably be happy if I just don't book a flight on his big day.

Happy Birthday Phil - at least you got a poem from Char! :)

Phil's chocolate and PB cake (I used PB to "decorate" the cake - quick thinking I'd say).

Phil opening his presents (the ones that were still unopened on his b'day)

*these had to be used in the airport. We couldn't go over the $5 on any purchase (so we couldn't buy something for $5.23 and give them a voucher and a quarter) and there was no change back if we bought something for under $5. It is an interesting puzzle to figure out what to buy that will come closest to $5 without going over (it was like the Price is Right or something!).

**hooray for - we were still able to have scripture reading!

***Char and I learned this trick when our luggage was "lost" (we knew where it was the whole time, just the airline didn't) for several days on a trip to NYC.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sweet Home Alabama

Top 10 Things I like about Alabama:

  • My House
  • The Birmingham Temple
  • The YW of our Branch
  • Extremely Courteous People
  • Amazing Plants, Flowers, and Trees
  • Amazing Birds
  • Eden's Swing in our Awesome Back Yard
  • Good Friends
  • Voter Registration is Non-partisan
  • It is Where My Hunny Lives

Friday, July 18, 2008

Food Friday - Egg Gravy

Ok, some of you are totally repulsed just by the name of this post. Others may be intrigued. Those of you who have tasted it are saying "Right on! I need this recipe!"

This is a Beck family favorite (especially my dad) but tends to be somewhat polarizing among newcomers to the family. Phil thinks it is pretty good and it has become the standard first breakfast after each chemo treatment. (Eden really likes it too - but not the egg whites, just the yolks for her!)

And without further delay, here is the recipe:

Hard boil three eggs (five minutes in rolling/boiling water)
In a medium sauce pan, melt 2 T butter then add 1/3 C flour and mix until you have a paste. Add 2-3 C milk (depending on how thick you like your gravy). Simmer/cook until thick (usually about 3-5 minutes). You've just made a white sauce! (wonderful for so many things)

Cut the eggs into bite-sized pieces and put them in the gravy. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over toast or biscuits.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dating Diaries - First Kiss

Location: Dexter McCarty Middle School, Gresham, Oregon

Leading Lady: Heidi - shy, a little awkward, 7th grade (don't judge me for not being sweet 16)

Leading Man:
Kelly - cute, big blue eyes, curly dark blond hair, popular, 8th grade

Scene One: After choir practice in the commons area of the middle school.

Kelly approaches Heidi and boldly asks, "whodda ya like?"
Heidi shyly responds, "I dunno."
Kelly replies (dejectedly), "oh."

Scene Two: After school waiting for the bus Heidi's friends all inform her that Kelly was about to ask her to "go" but then she didn't proclaim her interest in him when asked and so abandoned his true desire and he was feeling sad. Heidi can't believe she missed her chance with the older, more popular boy.

Scene Three: That evening in Heidi's front yard. The sun has just set and the stars are just beginning to show themselves. Heidi looks up to see the first star and thinks, "star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight. I wish that Kelly would ask me who I like again." (this is absolutely 100% true and this is the first time I've ever told anyone about it but now you know, I wish on stars!)

Scene Four:
The next day, after choir practice in the commons area again.

Kelly once again approaches Heidi and a little more timidly inquires, "whodda ya like?"
Heidi responds with great confidence and assurance, "YOU!"
Kelly, regaining his confidence blurts out, "you wanna go?"
Heidi (not really knowing what this all means but thrilled at the prospects) proclaims, "YES!"

Scene Five:
A few days later after watching a football game Heidi and Kelly are approaching the after-school buses. She will ride one to her home and he will ride another to his. As they approach Heidi's bus (holding hands because, you know, they are "going together), Kelly grabs Heidi's shoulders, turns her around, and kisses her. Right on the lips! Right there in front of two bus loads of 7th and 8th graders! Heidi gets on the bus, sits down, and asks the girl next to her, "did he just kiss me?" and upon receiving an answer in the affirmative whispers airily, "I thought so."

Fade to black
(until a week and a half later when Heidi breaks up with Kelly and ends up "going" with Curtis the brown eyed, dark haired star of the Stake musical.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Closer to normal...


Phil's most recent CEA
(better than last time at 3.4)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Food Friday - Caramel Popcorn

This is the yummiest, softest caramel popcorn EVER! I'd been craving it but didn't have the recipe. My SIL who had it was in the middle of moving her family from MI to VA and having a baby! Needless to say, she couldn't find it. Finally the craving sent me to google and I found the very recipe!

  • 6 quarts of popped corn (Beardens, this is where you have to stop)
  • Combine in a medium saucepan:
    • 1 1/4 C brown sugar
    • 1/2 C light corn syrup
    • 1/2 C margarine or butter
    • dash of salt (what does a "dash" really mean anyway?)
  • bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and add:
    • 7 oz. sweetened condensed milk (half a can).
  • cook, stirring constantly until it reaches a soft ball stage (240 degrees)*.
  • Remove from heat and stir in
    • 1/2 t vanilla.
  • Pour slowly over popcorn, stirring until caramel is evenly distributed throughout.
  • Store caramel popcorn in a covered container (it last really well).
*if you don't have a candy thermometer, you can take a small bowl, put cold water in it, then drop a small amount (about 1 t) of the mixture into the water. When it forms a soft ball, you are at soft ball stage.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Here we go again

Right now I am sitting in the Infusion Clinic waiting room (mmm, stale coffee smells intermingling with rubbing alcohol smells...). Phil is in getting stuck for his blood tests. Then we are off to radiology (up a floor) for his CT scan. Then back down for his Dr. appointment. After that, we are back to infusion for his chemo. We are hopeful for good news today (although I always have to brace myself for not good news so that it doesn't come as a shock - is that lacking faith?).

Our RS president came early this morning to stay with Eden. I hope Eden wasn't too surprised or upset to wake up to her. Later both of my YW counselors are taking a shift. Good women, I'm so glad to have willing friends to help. I'm also grateful that Eden is pretty adaptable and hasn't had much "separation anxiety" (yet).

I'll post more as the day continues.

Ok, it is four hours later and he is finally in infusion (receiving chemo). We waited for three hours at the Oncologist's office. She is still on maternity leave but after three hours the nurse practitioner finally came in. She is a very nice girl (she looks about 18) but she was a bit insensitive. She first told us how busy she'd been and that it had been a crazy morning with scans that showed unexpected/bad information. Then she said, "oh, but your scan looks great! I was really glad because as I opened it I said to myself that I sure hoped it was good news because I couldn't take more bad news today." (Not, because I really care about you and hoped for good news for you!) Anyway, we are thrilled (for us as well as for her) that the CT scan was clean or "unremarkable" as they say. He will still have two more rounds of chemo (a round is two treatments). He starts a round today and will have the second part of this round on July 24 (happy birthday to him!). Then he will have a treatment while we are in Utah and his last (we hope for forever!) treatment back here at the end of August.

Poor guy, he was nauseated before things even began. The nurse said it is "anticipatory nausea." She said, you know you have it bad when you see your nurse at the mall and have to throw up. Indeed.

The report on Eden is that she is doing well. Because we are so far behind, I fear it will be bedtime before we get home. Poor kid, she wakes up and we are gone and then we get home and she's in bed. Let's be honest, she's probably fine with it, it is me that suffers separation anxiety! I miss that kid. While we were waiting for the CT scan there was a small child somewhere down the hall who was making Eden-like noises. I could barely stand it. Yeah, I like her quite a bit.

While we were waiting in the Onc. office I kept daring Phil to do obnoxious things. Here is a list of dares he DIDN'T accept:

"I dare you to mark OB-GYN related side effects on the form."

"I dare you to breathe deep like Darth Vader when she checks your breathing."

"I dare you to chew that Triscuit just before she checks your throat." (They don't even check his throat, but that would be funny!)

"I dare you to list 'annoying people' on the line for allergies."

I suppose we are glad that he didn't accept my dares but we got some nice (distracting) giggles out of the process.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Eternal Perspective and Overcoming Opposition

Today I combined lessons 3:22 and 3:23. I thought these went together well. To begin the lesson I had created word strips of the following words:

  • unafraid
  • discouraged
  • testimony
  • immoral
but I had folded the paper so that only the following was visible:
  • afraid
  • courage
  • test
  • moral
I asked them if they thought these words were positive, negative, or neutral. Then I showed them the rest of the word and of course they changed their minds when they saw a wider perspective. We discussed the Lord's perspective compared to our own perspectives.
I shared with them a personal experience I had in reading James 1: 2-8 and likening those verses to myself as I was dealing with a very difficult trial in my own life.

What I've learned in my own life (and am still learning) is that when I have an eternal perspective, it is much easier to see that there are opportunities for growth in our trials. I have to remember that Heavenly Father loves me and will strengthen me in my struggles.

God has a specific plan for your life.

"God has a specific plan for your life. He will reveal parts of that plan to you as you look for it with faith and consistent obedience. His Son has made you free—not from the consequences of your acts, but free to make choices. God’s eternal purpose is for you to be successful in this mortal life. No matter how wicked the world becomes, you can earn that blessing. Seek and be attentive to the personal guidance given to you through the Holy Spirit. Continue to be worthy to receive it. Reach out to others who stumble and are perplexed, not certain of what path to follow.

Your security is in God your Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. As one of His Apostles authorized to bear witness of Him, I solemnly testify that I know that the Savior lives, that He is a resurrected, glorified personage of perfect love. He is your hope, your Mediator, your Redeemer. Through obedience, let Him guide you to peace and happiness amid increased evil in the world, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

-Richard G. Scott, Ensign, May 2004.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

There's a party goin' on 'round here, a celebration of another year. So bring your good times and your laughter too...

When Phil and I got married we decided that our anniversary would be a family celebration* instead of something for just the two of us. This year we decided to go to the B'ham zoo. Eden didn't love it quite as much as we thought she would (not as much as she did the Aquarium) but she was a very good girl and we all had a nice time.We also decided that we would always have a "wedding" cake on our anniversary. This year Phil ordered this cake and surprised me with it and the flowers.

Our other tradition is that we go to the store and each pick out a card for the other one and then exchange cards right there in the store - then we put them back. Eden even found a card (totally on her own) that was pretty funny and "to my crazy parents." While I was looking at cards she grabbed it. I took it from her and while I was doing something else, she picked the same one again. I decided it must be her card for us and so I let her hang onto it for the "exchange." It was a great anniversary!

We stuck close to home (well, AT home to be exact) for July 4. We all got in our kiddie pool and enjoyed the cool water. After our "swim" we had a traditional Americana meal with homemade burgers, corn on the cob, potato salad (made by Phil), chips, grapes, and soda. Yum!

Eden loves the pool and especially her floating toys.

I have to point out how dang cute her ponytails look!

We didn't do any fireworks this year - probably next year.

*My friend, Richard B. told me that he and his wife celebrate their anniversary as a celebration of their family's beginning and therefore as a family day. I shared that with Phil and we thought it was a great suggestion. Thanks Richard!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Are you a PATRIOT?

I boldly and proudly proclaim that I AM NOT.

What is patriotism? I've given this much thought over the past few weeks as it has become a popular discussion on radio programs as we lead up to the election and Independence Day. The discussion usually goes something like this, "Is it patriotic to leave our troops in harms way?" or "Can one be a patriot and still be critical of the government?" or "The most patriotic thing a citizen can do is to join the dialog and try to help the government improve."

I humbly and respectfully declare that these people are asking the wrong questions. The right question is this: "Can a lover of democracy possibly be patriotic?" or this, "Should a democracy even ask her citizens to be patriots?"

Let's examine the word "patriot" for a moment. It comes from the Latin prefix "Patr" which refers to "father." We see it in words such as "patriarch" and "paternal." I therefore see two things wrong with our country asking for patriotic citizens.

1. We are a democracy (a republican democracy to be sure, but still a democracy). Therefore it should not be about the "father" or the head of our country. Our allegiance should be to the brotherhood (or sisterhood if you prefer). Shouldn't then, we be asking our citizens to be fratriots (or sorortriots if you prefer)?

2. Let's allow that we aren't referring to any one figure head but to our country as a united whole. Fine, but don't we usually refer to the United States as a female? "Proudly SHE stands," we must protect "her" in times of war, etc. Therefore, even if we believe that our allegiance should be to the collective "one" - meaning our country - shouldn't we ask our citizens to be matriots?

"Patriot" seems to only refer to one scenario and that is that we are declaring our allegiance to the male-dominated bureaucracy which has taken over our democratic republic. It is this kind of "patriotism" that made it impossible for Hillary to assume her rightful place as the Matriarch of this land (ok, now I've gone too far...)

And there you go. Call me a fratriot or sorortriot. You can even call me a matriot. But please, don't call me a patriot. It just makes no sense.

******Please note: the preceding commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of this blog and is meant to humor Dr. Nick and others. Do not send hate-comments. Thanks.******

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Your destiny is in your hands...

“Life gives all the choice. You can satisfy yourself with mediocrity if you wish. You can be common, ordinary, dull, colorless; or you can channel your life so that it will be clean, vibrant, progressive, useful, colorful, rich. You can soil your record, defile your soul, trample underfoot virtue, honor, and goodness and thus forfeit an exaltation in the kingdom of god. Or you can be righteous, commanding the respect and admiration of your associates in all walks of life, and enjoying the love of the Lord. Your destiny is in your hands and your all-important decisions are your own to make.”

President Spencer W. Kimball
The Miracle of Forgiveness

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Game of Life

Tonight for our activity, the topic was "Choice and Accountability." I was in charge and decided that it would be great to play the board game, Life. I decided to adapt it to reflect some of the eternal choices we have in this life. So, in addition to the regular rules I added these:

  • When you spin a 5 (before you are married) you get to choose a boyfriend*. The first time you should choose two at random and then select one to keep. Every time you roll a 5 (before you are married) you can select a new boyfriend (at random) or keep the one you have.
  • If you chose to wait (or plan to) until you were 16 to date, receive a Sweet 16 card.
  • Whenever you receive money you can choose whether to pay tithes and offerings. You will receive blessings cards each time you pay tithes and offerings.
  • You can choose to serve a mission any time it is your turn to play prior to getting married. To serve a mission (before marriage) you must pay $4,000 and skip two turns.
  • You can choose to serve a mission with your spouse after retirement. To serve a mission with your spouse, you must pay $15,000.
  • You get an “obedience” card every time you spin a 3 or 7. (Obedience cards included: Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, Testimony, Scripture Reading, etc.)
  • When you land on the “Get Married” space you will marry your current boyfriend. If you are both worthy to attend the temple, you will be sealed and receive a “Temple Sealing” card. If you don’t want to marry your current boyfriend you can stay on the “Get Married” space until you spin a 5 (only one spin per turn). Once you spin a 5 you will be given a temple-worthy boyfriend. If you are not worthy to attend the temple (you must have a testimony, live the Word of Wisdom, obey the Law of Chastity, and pay your tithing) you can stay on the “Get Married” space until you become “worthy.” You can become worthy by spinning 3 and 7 to receive the necessary “obedience” cards.
  • When you have a child you can choose to be a stay-home mom. You must turn in your career and income card but you will still draw money from your husband’s income.
  • You get an opportunity to serve in a calling when you spin a 9. You can choose to accept it or not. If you accept it, you must trade in one “Life” tile.
It worked out pretty well. If I do this again, I will cover up the board's "Get Married" space and place marriage and children further down the road of life so that they had time to go through several boyfriends and to accumulate the necessary obedience cards. We also needed smaller "bills" than the game has so that the girls could pay their 10% tithing. As it turned out we just kept a running tally of their money. That worked out ok. We definitely needed all the adults to keep the game going with all the extra cards and rules.

My husband thought that the young women would all make the "obvious right" choices (college, temple marriage, etc.) but they didn't. We had some good examples of the difficulties that occur when poor choices are made. It was especially clear when girls chose immediate rewards instead of long-term ones. At the end of the game (we ran out of time so we had to declare it the Second Coming) we took all their money, the praise of mankind (like the Pulitzer etc.) and only left them with eternal rewards. If they chose not to get married in the temple, we took their husband and children (harsh, I know). We kept the mood fun and didn't lecture. We didn't need to, the lessons were obvious.

It was just a fun way to think about and demonstrate that our choices have consequences.

*I made up about 25 boyfriend cards. Each card had a name and a short bio. There were some RMs that were lazy jerks and some non-LDS guys who were really good men. These were in addition to plenty of temple-worthy, good guys to go around. Each boyfriend card also had a job/income. Once they got married they got to draw the income of their husband as well. That way they could choose to continue their career or give up their career to be a stay-at-home mom.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Now I've done my A-B-Cs, this time Charlotte has tagged me.

A is for age: 41

B is for burger of choice: Those bubble gum burgers! So cute. j/k, but I'm not a huge burger fan.
C is for what kind of car you drive: Trixie the 2004 Matrix (Toyota - always Toyota) C is also for your favorite past vehicle: The 1982 blue Corolla because it endured to the end (and then some - I finally retired it in 1998).
D is for your dog's name: We had so many dogs but my favorite was D-O-G.

E is for essential item you use everyday: Diapers (not for me, for Eden).
F is for favorite TV show at the moment: We don't watch TV (we don't buy cable and have no reception otherwise) but I like to watch a few on the Internet. Right now I'm enjoying the shows on USA: Monk and Psych. They are a little similar and they'll probably get old soon but for now I'm enjoying that they are clean, humorous, and entertaining.
G is for favorite game: The one I win.
H is for Home State: Born: Montana * Raised: Oregon * School/Career: Utah * Currently: Alabama

I is for instruments you play: Piano (a very little - for FHE Phil plays the left hand, I play the right, and Eden bangs out the high notes).
J is for favorite juice: Kissing Juice: (This is the term of endearment for any kind of mixed juice that ends up being sort of tart and therefore makes you smack your lips like a kiss. My dad came up with this name. Our kissing juice is usually two kinds of generic-brand Crystal Light.)
K is for whose butt you'd like to kick: The parents of youth who are in desperate need of love, direction, discipline, and consistency but who aren't getting it because the parents are too self-consumed and/or damaged to give it.
L is for last restaurant at which you ate? PF Chang (in fact I'm finishing off some leftovers as I blog).

M is for your favorite Muppet: Beaker
N is for Number of Piercing: One hole each ear. (My aunt gave me some earrings while I was in 7th grade. My mom wouldn't take me to get them pierced so my friend came over and we stuck a needle through my ear. They got infected and sealed. In eighth grade my sister took me to the mall and I got them pierced again. They got infected and sealed. Finally I got them pierced again and realized that I can only wear sterling silver.)
O is for overnight hospital stays: For myself: one (when Eden was born) but I have spent MANY nights in the hospital for others.
P is for people you were with today: Phil, Eden, Dr. Green (our fabulous Chiropractor - bless him).

Q is for what you do with your quiet time: Work on YW stuff, blog.
R is for biggest regret: Sewing my own wedding gown - what a fiasco and now when I see pictures of my wedding I don't think about what a fairytale it was I think about what a fiasco it was (the dress, not the sealing).
S is for status: Happily married.
T is for time you woke up today: Seven o'clock.

U is for what you consider unique about yourself: I am quite comfortable being gregarious and "social" and therefore most people think I am an extrovert but in reality I am more of an introvert.
V is for vegetable you love: Is the cocoa bean a vegetable?
W is for worst habit: Eating my favorite vegetable too much and too often.
X is for x-rays you've had: Dental, shoulder (because of "the incident"), abdomen.

Y is for yummy food you ate today: Anniversary cake (I'm done with the PF Chang leftovers and now I'm eating some cake that Phil ordered with which to celebrate our anniversary).
Z is for zodiac: Gemini (I think that the sign of the "twins" indicates that I'm a little "moody" - which sounds better than "bipolar").