Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekends are not for the weak

This weekend, I made two batches of granola, hoping to make it through two weeks without worrying about breakfast.

I weeded the garden path, digging out raspberry bushes that want to make the path their new home.

I cleared the ground around several strawberry plants and two rosebushes, and Tim and I heavily mulched around several rosebushes, hoping to deter weed growth.

Tim mowed and trimmed the lawn, and got the sprinklers running again.

He ran four loads of laundry, and we all went grocery shopping for a week's supplies.

I worked out.

Prepared and taught a Sunday School lesson.

Practiced and then played the piano for the Relief Society.

Ran the dishwasher.

Tim vacuumed the whole house.

Jonathan cleaned the bathroom.

And we read books.

You see?  I was legitimately busy.  Too busy to respond to your email.  Sorry.  Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Stuff I have done

Sometimes, I focus too much on the things I want to do, the things I would like to see, and the way I would like things to be.  I forget the things I have accomplished already.  I decided for this post to list 100 noteworthy things I have already accomplished in my life.

  1. I have danced on my toes in pink satin slippers.  It looked lovely, but yes, it did hurt.
  2. I have flossed daily for about 15 years.  I can't even remember the last time I forgot to floss. 
  3. I have lived in a house with five bedrooms, two baths, and 11 people.  
  4. I cooked and cleaned for those 11 people, when it was my turn.  (I don't miss those days.) 
  5. I learned to sew.  I sewed a few dresses that vanished long ago, and one skirt that is still my favorite (since 1998) that I wear more than any other skirt.  
  6. I have climbed to the tops of several mountains. 
  7. I have hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. 
  8. I have given up hiking, realizing that it gives me a migraine.  
  9. I have driven miles and miles and hours and hours across the Nevada deserts.  
  10. I have written programs in C, C++, and Java.  
  11. I have forgotten how to program, but I will learn again.
  12. I have painted with oils, watercolors, and acrylics.  I like oil paints the best, but they are the most expensive (it figures).  
  13. I have planted tulips, tomatoes, and onions.  
  14. I've grown the bushes, picked the berries, and made my own jam.  Although really the bushes grew themselves.  
  15. I have vacuumed.
  16. I have also laundered, often.
  17. I have read hundreds of books, if not thousands.
  18. I have scrap-booked.  But not recently.  
  19. I have learned to knit, and forgotten, and learned again, and forgotten again.
  20. I have carried on a conversation in a language that is not my native tongue.  
  21. I have played the first movement of a piano concerto from memory.  
  22. I have touched my toes with my knees unbent.
  23. I have learned to whistle.  
  24. I can tell time on an analog clock.
  25. I have run a 5K.  Do not inquire as to my timing.
  26. I have fixed a flat tire on my bicycle.  
  27. I have driven a stick shift.
  28. I have purchased stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.  
  29. I have lived a year as an adult without a car.
  30. I can fill in a map with 50 states.  
  31. I have taught children, weekly.
  32. I have taught adults, daily.
  33. I have sung alto in a choir.  
  34. I have also sung tenor.  But never soprano or bass.
  35. I have given haircuts.
  36. And twisted hair into French braids.  
  37. I have written grant proposals.
  38. And have been awarded grant money.
  39. I have paid taxes in four states and two countries.  
  40. I have done the splits.  Several years ago.  
  41. I have written two novels, though I have published zero. 
  42. I have recited poetry from memory.  
  43. I have had braces.
  44. And glasses.
  45. I have darned socks.  But you know it makes much more sense to just buy new ones.  (What a wasteful society we live in!)
  46. I have cleaned a refrigerator.
  47. And baked a cake.
  48. I touched my tongue to my nose.
  49. I learned to dance the Charleston, and wore a flapper dress.  (What became of my flapper dress?)
  50. I have integrated, differentiated, and taken limits.
  51. I have written essays, and discussed literature.
  52. I have had my wisdom teeth pulled.  
  53. I have discovered all the heart pieces in Majora's Mask.
  54. I have read the entire Bible, and many of the works of Shakespeare.  (But not all the histories.)
  55. I have designed and created a web page.
  56. I have tied a quilt.
  57. And patched the knees of jeans.
  58. I have learned to swim.  
  59. And I swam in the Great Salt Lake.
  60. I hold the family high score on Tony Hawk's skate boarding game.  
  61. And I beat Mike Tyson's Punch Out.
  62. I have held my breath for 60 seconds.  
  63. I have canned fruit.
  64. I have sealed grout.  
  65. And eaten clotted cream with scones in Cornwall.  
  66. I have been in a canoe, a sailboat, and a motor boat.  
  67. I have taken an overnight train.
  68. I learned to type.  
  69. I spoke at ninth grade promotion. 
  70. I attended prom.
  71. And I have kissed a boy.
  72. I have hung pictures. 
  73. And curtains.  And curtain rods.  
  74. I have graduated.  Four times.  
  75. And I have attended graduation more times.  
  76. I have counted by sevens to 1400.  
  77. I have added fractions.  
  78. And written online quizzes.
  79. I have mowed and weeded and mulched.  
  80. I have slept through my alarm.  
  81. I have published research.  
  82. I have eaten escargot.
  83. And sushi, in Japan.
  84. And pasta in Italy.
  85. I have seen a bear, a coyote, and many many bison in Yellowstone. 
  86. I have parallel parked.
  87. I have donated food and clothing and money.
  88. I have sewn patches.  
  89. I have asked for and given directions.  
  90. I have supervised student theses.  
  91. I have attended group meetings.  
  92. I have boogie boarded in Oregon, California, and Hawaii.
  93. I have built a sandcastle.  And a sand turtle.  And other sand things.  
  94. I have had my picture on the front of a flyer.  
  95. And my name on the back of a program. 
  96. I have curled my tongue.  
  97. And cleaned my teeth.
  98. And captured the flag.
  99. I have overcome failure.
  100. And today, I won an award from the faculty women's association.
Life is pretty complete.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dear Mr. Nelson

In your opinion piece this weekend, you said a few things that were wrong.  And I would like to call BS on those things. 

What!?  I would invoke my brother's initials on this, a family blog?  Mr Nelson, I believe the use of my brother's initials is warranted in this case.  I think your errors are harming my son.  

Here is what you said.  

1.  Women are naturally gifted with the ability to nurture [and men aren't].

Liar!  The ability to nurture -- to love and help a child to grow -- is not a male/female trait.  It is a talent that must be developed.  It requires patience, love, and effort, from anyone who wants to develop it -- just like any talent!  Some talents come easier to some people, but men are wonderful caregivers as well as women.  And on the other hand, women are child abusers as well as men.  Stop telling my son that he doesn't have to work to learn how to love and develop relationships with his children.  Stop it!  It is vital that our men learn to nurture in their families as well as our women.  

2.  Because my wife is the better nurturer, my kids always go to her first with their problems.  

Dude.  I am assuming you've held traditional gender roles in your home during the life of your family. That means she's been at home all day every day, while you are away.  She has been around during your children's whole lives to drive them in the car, to talk to them about their school day, to hug them and hand them bandaids.  She has developed relationships with your kids because she has put in the effort to do so, and because she has been there.  They don't go to her because she's female; they go because she's done a good job at her work all these years.  Do the people in your company go to your wife when they have a problem at work?  No.  Do you think that's because you're male?  I don't.  

3.  "It is a cardinal rule of leadership and management that there must be one in charge. That is paramount for any kind of effective functioning."  [And therefore men need to rule at home.]

I call BS.  And why would I bring up my brother's initials again?  Because having one ultimate person in charge doesn't work.  It doesn't work for governments, it doesn't work for business, and it doesn't work for families.  My husband and I are both mature adults, and we are both in charge.  My husband doesn't need me to tell him when to wake up, when to get dressed, which tie to wear to work.  I don't need to tell him where we are going on vacation this year, and when, and how.  When major decisions come up that will affect the whole family, we talk them over together.  I don't tell him that his opinion is nice -- and thank you for it -- but now we will do what I wanted to do in the first place.  For major things that come up, we must be unanimous.  I respect him too much to tell him how it's going to be.  For minor things, we are both responsible.  We take care of daily tasks and chores together.  And we give each other breaks, so one of us doesn't have to run everything all the time.  In my little family, there are two people in charge, and all three of us know it.  

4.  Heavenly father is protecting our Heavenly Mother from her kids by hiding her in a shed somewhere that no one can find her.  Ha!

Those are not actually your choices of words, but that's the gist of your speculation.  What?!  After you just argued that women are naturally better nurturers?  If my husband tried to protect me from my babies in this way, I would have him arrested.  What mother would let her children go off and grow up all alone, while she stayed in the shed, worried that they would call her names during their teenage years?  BS.

Mr Nelson, you should probably just say "I don't know", rather than make up explanations that remind me so much of my brother's initials.  

It's good to practice.  "I don't know."  "I don't know."  "I don't know."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Starting posts and not finishing them

I've been starting lots and lots of posts.  Usually they end up being about two sentences long.  And then I sit and think for a while, and work on something else.  It takes me a long time to realize the post is dead and I can't go on.  I keep the empty blog post open in another window for a few days, just in case I find myself ready to write while I'm doing something else.  But I don't.  So it gets killed.

Here are some topics I'm not writing about.

1.  Academic book publishers who make me really mad.  In fact, sometimes they make me so mad that they ruin an entire day, while I sit around thinking mad thoughts and how to professionally turn my mad thoughts into a professional angry letter.  And then I get home and realize my day really sucked, and I don't want to live another day like that.  So the angry letter doesn't get written.  It doesn't.  It hasn't.  And neither has the blog post.  Which means most of my readers don't even know what I'm talking about.  And I'm not going to tell you, because what I really need to do is stop whining and just write the angry letter and get it over with.  But that makes me cringe.  I don't know if the reward of getting the thing fixed is worth the high price of writing the angry letter at this point.

2.  The status of women in my religious sphere.  In my church, there have been a few movements recently to ordain women (yes, I belong to a religion that still does not -- crazy, eh?).  I understand the concerns and desires of these men and women, and I am sympathetic.  And I would like to explain eloquently why I am sympathetic.  But I don't want to join their cause.  Not right now.  Right now, I just want to figure out how to politely correct the person who raises their hand in Sunday School and says that women are naturally better than men, and so they don't need the obligation to serve like the men do.  Dude -- that is called benevolent sexism.  Look it up.  It's not helping.  And no, women aren't.  And your comments make me lean further in my sympathies.  But now is not the time -- not for me.

3.  The status of women in my discipline.  I've been to meetings with women students, in which I was supposed to share "my story".  I've been to meetings with women faculty, in which we were supposed to discuss ways to improve graduation rates among the women in our state.  I've been to meetings with women in my research area, in which we just talked to each other about the cool things we're doing for a weekend.  I liked the third one the best.  You know, I would like to be able to help people, and be a role model for people, and a leader.  But I don't like standing in for Every Woman.  Because I'm not.  And sometimes I say stupid things in public.  And it is unfair to judge everyone else based on me.  Stop it!  But honestly, I really really would like to do what I can to help people -- male and female -- feel comfortable in my discipline, and meet their full potential.  I just don't know how.  And things change slowly, if at all.  And it isn't my fault!  Just leave me alone for a while and let me get my Real work done.

4.  The status of my garden.  The tulips are about to bloom!  They would bloom, if it would stop snowing.  They probably will bloom anyway, because they have already begun the process of blooming, and it's too late to go back now.  I predict a profusion of tulips by the weekend!  I would blog about that, except that I feel like I should include a picture, and that adds a level of difficulty that so far I have not surmounted.  Meanwhile, Tim ordered 2 cubic yards of mulch (that's a lot of mulch), and Jonathan decided he would like to plant actual flowers in the garden space that has been his own for the last three years.  That is right.  Jonathan's mud and rock hill will become a lovely flower garden this year.  As long as the snow hasn't killed off his new transplants.

5.  Family news.  My little brother got engaged.  My parents are preparing for their own Big Announcement. My older brother is moving to Argentina for the summer.  My sister had a baby boy.  But I can't post any of this stuff, because it isn't my news.  It's theirs.  But exciting!

6.  Boring lists of stuff I am doing, and stuff I need to do.  It is useful for me to write such lists, but super boring for you.

In fact, even this post about stuff I'm not posting has turned into a list.  And you just read through it.  (Most of the way.)

I'm not going to finish this post either.  I'm just going to publish.