Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ultrasound of Ultrasounds . . . .

It's true. Stephen was able to re-schedule our ultrasound to be earlier (though it's still a two weeks late) and thus we went into the much anticipated ultrasound appointment to find out that the lucky duck of a baby inside me is actually not a duck at all, or an alien as might be supposed by past developmental stages, but is actually a boy. He's healthy which makes me as the absent minded mother who sometimes before I knew I was pregnant and forgot to take my multivitamins, quite happy. Stephen's also happy that he stopped me before I bought all those cute baby dresses at Costco 2 months ago. Yay! We're excited as can be. Perhaps most of all, because it seems like everyone else is having girls so I'll have a multitude of possible matches to make in the years to come. hehe.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stolen pictures

I stole these pictures from my sister's blog. Oh well, don't tell. I don't think she reads this anyways. hehee.

Do you like Stephen sporting the beard? He's enjoying his time away from the razor as much as anything. I don't mind because he has red in that beard and I'm reminded of the good odds that we could have a redhead ourselves.

Though Abby gets mad at me wearing Stephen's basketball shorts, she doesn't mind stealing his shoes now and then.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Book Reviews

My brother Carl periodically posts reviews of books that he's read or is reading on his blog. I liked the idea and, needing a break from GRE studying, wrote down a list of the books that I've read since the mission. So, for whatever it's worth...


++=Highly Recommend

Winter/Spring 08

1984++ : First Book after the mission, very impactful.

The Brothers Karamazov++: Worth the time it takes to get through it

Faust: Rushed through it for class, plan on going back

Secret Garden++: Fun children’s book, but also contains mature social and philosophical commentary that’s presented in a way understandable to children.

Screwtape Letters+: A small, easily digestable book. Worth the two hours.

Mere Christianity: A little legalistic at times.

Prince Caspain: Not as much philosophical commentary as its predecessor. Cute children’s story.

Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe+: A good,powerful read, but overrated in the LDS community.

The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power++: Quinn’s a little polemical at times, but fills in historical gaps that ultimately needed filling.

Things Fall Apart: African fiction. Good insights into pre-colonial African culture.

Summer 08:

The Sword and the Shield++: Creepy history of the Russian KGB, based on the Mitrokhin archives. Some paranoia’s are justified.

From Beirut to Jerusalem+: Very entertaining (if that's the word to use) history of the Lebanese Civil War. Makes you feel like you’re experiencing it.

We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families+: Very moving, smallish book about the Rwandan genocide. Contains primary research and is very personal.

Fall 08:

Herzog +: A little technical, but an excellent repudiation of the “cult of experience” (i.e. substance of life is found in traveling the world, earning degrees, being cosmopolitan, etc.) of today’s world.

Ethan Frome: One of those depressing, everything-is-pointless books.

Here I Stand+: Excellent biography of Martin Luther, sparked off a one-year running interest in the man.

History of Joseph Smith by His Mother: I guess it’s pseudo-obligatory for LDS readers, but I personally didn’t find it very entertaining.

Winter 09:

The Tragedy of Great Power Conflict: Very educational/interesting (but I’m a polisci nerd, so treat my opinion with caution).

Man, the State,and War: International conflict theory, very boring.

Suicide Terrorism: Interesting, but could have summarized book’s findings in two pages.

Believing Christ++: Straightens out some theological misconceptions that need to be straightened out in the LDS community. Should be required reading in the BYU religion department.

Utilitarianism: Boring, but came the closest to justifying a godless social system that I’ve seen.

Equality by Default+: Accurate summation of the flaws in postmodernism.

Spring/Summer 09:

The Gift of Asher Lev: Potok Lost his touch in the 80's.

Crisis: Transcripts of diplomatic phone conversations during Yom Kippur war and the pullout from Vietnam. Entertaining firsthand look into the world of fast-paced, international diplomacy, but a little repetitive.

God in the underground++: One of my favorite books. Autobiographical account of priest imprisoned in the communist prisons for 15 years; the most powerful religious book outside of scripture that I’ve read.

A Response to the Moscow Atheists+: Written by the author of above. Very on-the-spot arguments against the USSR's atheist ideology, smuggled into Russia during the cold-war.

Philosophy and Social Hope: A little less technical, attempted validation of liberal precepts in the shadow of the death of God.

Irony, Contingency, and Solidarity. Technical philosophical work read for honors thesis.

Take Care of Freedom and the truth will take care of itself. Ditto.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Gone granola

Sorry no postings, not even of the gender of little kumkuat (by the way, I'm half way in my pregnancy, ohhwee). We missed my appointment in favor ofbeing two wanderers. My sister is pregnant and due at the end of August, but is already having contractions (on Friday was dialated to a 3 and a half) and so Stephen and I took a little roadtrip up to Washington to come play dress-up, read Cinderella, and swing (as well as change a few diapers and cook a few meals). Stephen was all too happy to let me come get a little more experience in the neglected domestic sphere, but I make it up to him by having Abigail tickle his feet while he's studying for the GRE.
Oh another bit of knowledge, after writing my past two postings on consumption, Stephen and I went out and used the last of our Target wedding money to buy our most expensive purchase(excluding healthcare and tuition) yet in our marriage--- a 101.99 dollar camera. Now we just have to use it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

a kick and a p.s.

Yesterday evening I think I felt the baby's first kick. Stephen and I were reading outside on the lawn and blub blub and I thought-- oh what is that? and then I realized--the quickening. I looked over and told Stephen who was quite excited as well. How fitting that the quickening be on the anniversary of our first kiss.

p.s. in response to Huklob's question as to the solution to consumption I give my inadequate and humble response recognizing that I have to work on all of these points.
  1. Have children. We need to consume to survive, but people also need employment. We were meant to work. Having children keeps a country having to take care of basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and education and thus jobs, yet not jobs creating luxury items.
  2. Make hard choices such as buying something that is more expensive or incontinent because it is better for the environment. (Though not buying at all should also be an option.)
  3. Decipher between needs v. wants. I know we hear this all the time; however this is more difficult than it seems. In our culture we just expect so much. Going to a third world and learning to live simply for a time and then returning may seem to help, but from what I've seen it doesn't really make an impact because as soon as we're back we slip into our old ways. We rationalize saying that it is a necessity here in the U.S. even if it is not because to fit in socially it is required. We don't realize, however, that when we do this it just makes it harder for anyone else who can't or doesn't want to consume that way to fit it.
  4. Also, as members of the church we are encouraged to have families, and depending on each family's revelation perhaps large ones. As such, we have even more of a responsibility to be and teach or families to be smart and to treat the earth kindly.
  5. Thoreau said that the wisest men live more simply than the poor. I had all sorts of expectations when I went to Brazil of seeing people in poverty living simply. Quite frankly, even some of the poorest families I knew would still spend money at a computer cafe chatting with friends. We should not hold others as our guide.
  6. Consume only enough to be happy and realize that beyond a certain point, consuming more only makes us more unhappy, not happier.
  7. My last, is that we should avoid advertising as much as possible. Even when I was stuck at the doctor's office with nothing to read, I still refused to read their baby magazines full of advertisements trying to get at my pre-mother heartstrings. Perhaps more importantly protect children. Advertising may not be of the devil, but advertising to children is to me.
    Okay, this is my last. Hang around friends that are okay just hanging out and not requiring expensive activities every time you spend time together. If you have to spend money to be friends, you probably aren't that good of friends anyway. It seems that most people are tempted to spend money, not on themselves, but on others. Generosity is a fine thing, but should be prompted by the spirit, not by social norms encouraged by marketers in order to get a profit.