Friday, June 29, 2007

Archives

My hair is doing its typical "in the summer I like to be blonder" movement right now. This makes very little sense considering I rarely see the sun, so how my hair is managing to bleach out, I will never know.

I work 50 feet below ground in a completely controlled environment: no windows, controlled temperature, controlled heat... Basically, I see no sun. I breathe fake air. I am like a manuscript from the 1800s.

I work in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections of the Harold B. Lee Library. My job title is Collections/Stacks Manager.

Try to fit all of that onto a resume, assuming no one knows what the LTPSC or HBLL are. It's tricky.

Working down there has been fun, although it has made me realize that I probably never want to be an archivist. And I probably don't want to spend the rest of my life working with archivists, either.

Archivists, you see, tend to believe that their collecting area is inherently superior to all other collecting areas. (Yes, that is a blanket statment. No, not all archivists are like my description, but a lot are). They tend to treat their collection with the utmost care and respect and expect me to do likewise.

Curators (an archivist who curates, or finds, collections out in the world and brings them home to dwell in the LTPSC) often will try to "slip things through" the cracks of the established processing regimen. This is altogether very annoying for me and my students because we will then have to try to figure out what has been done and what has not been done to the collection.

Interestingly enough what we call "slipping things through," is what curators will also call it, but only if another curator did the slipping. If a curator were to slip something of his/her own collection through the word is ameliated so that "slipping through" becomes known as "expedited." You can only use expedition on your own collection though, because only your collection is important enough to skip many steps vital to keeping the collection's whereabouts known. After all, it is oh, so very important, we would naturally know where it is without having to record it.

Anything else is "slipping through."

How many times have I heard, "So-and-so thinks their collection is so great! I wish they could understand that __________ is the most important collection."

It makes me feel like a playground monitor.

"So-and-so thinks they're so great! I wish they could understand that I am the most important!"

No one actually ever says that, but the meaning is there.

I have to try to cater to 20 different people, all of whom demand that their collection be treated first. It's difficult.

As Stacks Manager I'm simply expected to know exactly where everything is at all times. A seemingly trivial task, it may seem, but it proves more difficult than at first glance. We have row upon row upon row of books and manuscripts. Many of our collections have yet to be processed, many of which have just been sitting around since before I was born.

"Where is ______?"

"Gee, I don't know. Let me look it up."

"You should just know where it is!"

"Should I? Well, we got the collection back in 1973, so I probably should know. Now, what was I doing in 1973 when we brought this collection in? Ahhh, yes...I was busy getting ready to wait 12 more years to be born. But I did take the time to notice where the collection got placed...oh, wait. I have no idea where it is!"

Of course, I've never actually said that to anyone. I won't say that I haven't felt like saying it though.

The best was earlier this week when one girl brought in something that looked remarkably like a tie hanger. In fact, I'm quite positive it was a tie hanger because it looked something like this:


"What is it, do you suppose?" she asked as if she had just found the fountain of youth instead of a piece of garbage.

"A tie hanger from a clothing store." I said, trying desperately to snap her out of her archival bliss.

"Oh, I think it might be like, like, like," I could see her archival brains overflowing with creativity, trying to convince me that we needed to keep said tie hanger, "perhaps a number from a cloak room. You know, like at an opera when you hang up your cloak and they give you a number? Yes, that's what it is."

"Really, it looks suspiciously like the same tie hanger we got when we bought my brother-in-law a tie for Christmas..."

"Oh, no...this is, this is..." again, I'm not sure she could even believe the words she was trying to force out of her mouth since she kept tripping over them, "This is something special. What should I do with it?"

I stared at her for a few minutes trying to come up with a good, gentle way to tell her to just throw it away. I couldn't.

"Perhaps we could just throw it away," I said unceremoniously, "It looks like a tie hanger you'd get at a store. It's garbage." Even if it had been a cloak room number, it would have also kind of been garbage (but I didn't tell her that part).

She gave me a look that said "What?!? You don't care about preserving things, you filthy, filthy woman!"

But what she actually said was, "Oh, no. If they gave it to us, they must have meant us to have it. They want us to preserve it. It is part of their legacy."

Whoa, there! First of all the man who gave us the collection is only about 56 years old. Sure, he's pretty famous, but he's also pretty down to earth. I'm fairly confident one of his grandchildren got into the garage where he was keeping all of his junk (that we now have) and happened to accidently drop the tie hanger into a box of his papers. His wife then screamed at him to get the junk out of the garage so he gave it to us to sort through, making me think that he really didn't care too much about any of it himself, considering none of it was sorted or anything when we got it. He's an author. How much of his legacy can one of his junky tie hangers leave?

Not much of a legacy, I think. A tie hanger from 1203 would have been cooler (that does not mean it would have been cool at all). A tie hanger from 1989? Not so cool.

"Okay," I said, defeated, "Just put it in a folder with everything else."

"You don't think I should put it in a Mylar envelope, or at least wrap it in acid free paper?"

"Not really, no," I said through (almost) gritted teeth, biting back the words I think we should throw it away.

So, in the end she won. We kept the silly little tie hanger. Why? Because it is special somehow. I'm still trying to work that out.

That is what I deal with on an almost daily basis. In fact, today I was given the "You don't care about preserving things you filthy, filthy woman!" look yet again over suggesting that perhaps acid-free paper holds no magical powers.

Of course, there are other librarians who share my point of view, bringing sanity to my job. One of those librarians is Richard Hacken who introduced himself to me in 2004 saying, "Hi, I'm Dick Hacken," and with a little wink, "No relation to Hacking."

Well, he shared the following poem with all my fellow employees at the HBLL and I think his tone kind of fits my opinion of archival work to a t. Although it may be important, at times it is borderline insanity. Enjoy!

I Am the Very Model of a Bibli-Specialographer
            I am the very model of a Bibli-Specialographer,
I liaise if you pliaise with the poly- or monographer,
Assisting students fidgety who seek their knowledge digitty,
As well as those who look in books both softly spined and rigidy;
I'm very well acquainted too with persons professorial,
I get them what they want, a task at times phantasmagorial;
In narrow disciplines I point to articles and bulletins,
Instructing while deducting all misleading or subjective spins…

I'm very good at reverential, deferential reference
Although selecting titles is my rightful place and preference;
In short, I alternate between deciduous and conifer:
I am the very model of a Bibli-Specialographer.

I could be called a curator, I once cured beef all jerkily,
Which fits my job description only enigmatic-murkily;
I could be called a specialist, for I’ve made lists of specialties
And annotated them and even called them bibliographies;
I choose between the news that comes on paper or on microfiche
And then connect and do collect resources for each micro-niche;
Decisions that I make, you know, are as a pro selectively,
And thus I’m a selector of such subjects most subjectively.

I’m able to spell acronyms with letters near identical,
Confusing persons both professorish and studentical:
In short, in matters that require a stereotypeographer,
I am the very model of a Bibli-Specialographer.

In fact, when I know what is meant by "strategy" and "management",
When I can tell at sight what is acceptance versus banishment,
When such affairs as teaching and committees are agreed upon,
And when I know precisely the short phrase, "official liaison,"
When I have learnt the metadata for an incunabula,
When I know words Ukrainian describing a parabola:
In short, when knowledge is delivered to me most caesarean,
Well then, I will be what folks call an actual Librarian---

I'm very good at reverential, deferential reference
Although selecting titles is my rightful place and preference;
In short, I alternate between deciduous and conifer:
I am the very model of a Bibli-Specialographer.

-Gilbert and Sullivan and [Richard] Hacken,
with penance to be performed at Penzance

Harry Potter

All of last week, Andrew and I trudged back and forth to work carrying the very same book. Andrew was obviously either very embarrassed or amused by this as he pointed it out virtually everyday.

We thought it was too funny, though, when we asked his parents to bring "Harry Potter 4" over with them (when they came to bring us our house key)--since we didn't explain what we meant by "Harry Potter 4," they brought over books 4 and 5, as well as the movie for number 4 (which is what we were going for).

So, there, in our house, were 3 copies of Harry Potter 5. The Heiss's, the library's, and ours. How absolutely...redundant?


With "Book Seven" coming out on July 21 (that is in 23 days--1 day before our due date), Andrew has finally convinced me to read the series. Up until this point, I am kind of proud to say, I have avoided reading the books. My excuse was that I just couldn't get into book 1, so Andrew convinced me to start with book 3, which was his personal favorite...until book 4, which was his personal favorite...until book 5. And you probably get the picture.

The little stink read just far enough ahead of me and dropped just enough sentences ending in, "Oh, wait! I can't tell you that yet!" that I just had to keep reading.

And actually, I will admit that I probably would have kept reading them even if he had not dropped those lures for me. It's a pretty intriguing story, really.

He was trying to have a discussion with me last night about the book, but because he's already done reading book 6 and I'm just starting book 6 he kept saying, "Oh! I can't tell you that!"

It was driving me crazy!

See, my mom and I like to know things before they happen. My mom will go so far as to read the ending of the book first. I don't think knowing the climax or any other little detail of the plot bothers us. In fact, I like to know the whole story and then watch the movie/read the book. Somehow it is more enjoyable for me because I don't have to sit there worrying about what will happen. I still worry...just not as much. My mom always tells me the plots of the books she's reading. I like knowing.

I tried explaining this to Andrew:

"You not telling me is like me telling you, see?"

He didn't get it. It bothers me as much not to know as it bothers him to have the plot spoiled. I think he just likes me asking what happens.

His plan is for me to go into labor as soon as we get Harry Potter 7 (he preordered it with his birthday money from Grandma Sharon and Grandpa Frank). That way he can be entertained while I am...well...

Perhaps he'll be able to calm me by telling me what happens.

Grumpiness

Sometimes, and this is natural since I am pregnant, my hormones take over and I become uncontrollably out of control. I will cry or laugh inconsolably, for no apparent reason. I will get in moods where I want to clean the entire house and stock up on vegetable oil (just in case) and then I will get in moods where getting up off the couch is just too much to ask for.

Other times I get very, very grumpy. Part of this is hormones, I'm sure. There are more contributing factors, I'm sure.

For example, I was rather grumpy today...and I'm ashamed to say that I didn't control it, even though it wasn't a hormonal rampage, and I knew it.

My "contributing factors" (aka: list of complaints) this morning were: sore back, sore rump, lack of sleep, 5 trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night (read: lack of sleep), someone (not me) stealing all of the blankets, too many painful contractions first thing in the morning, hunger, and having to go to work.

Feeling vengeful, I was able to track down the root cause for all of my little complaints...I mean, "factors." The unfortunate one: Andrew.

So I was accidentally purposefully grumpy at him. After all, if I wasn't pregnant then my back wouldn't hurt, my rump wouldn't hurt, I would not have made 5 trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I wouldn't have been as hungry, and these silly contractions, only divided by a squirming baby--well...they just wouldn't be there, would they?

Now, it would be silly to blame Andrew for the whole pregnancy because, let's face it: it takes two...And I know that. However, he did hog the blankets last night, so I felt somehow that my grumpiness was fully justified.

I was tired and sore and chose to be grumpy. It was going to take too much energy to feel happy about today. I didn't even attempt to get out of bed until 8:15 because I had fumed about Andrew in my head for so long that I knew if I crossed his path, he was doomed.

We're supposed to leave at 8:30. We left at 8:40.

I was right on time for work. Andrew was 2 minutes late for class.

I felt bad that I had been grumpy, and by choice at that! Luckily, I don't think that I actually did anything mean to Andrew...I don't think I called him any names or threw my pillow at him or dumped water over his head. I was just...a little terse towards him.

For example (okay, this is actually from last night--I was grumpy then, too, and even went to bed early):

Andrew: Will you turn on the hard drive for me?
Me: *heavy sigh*
Andrew: *mock heavy sigh*
Me: *Humph* It's just that I don't want to stand up and then sit back down because I'm going to stand up in like 5 minutes anyway when I'm done eating dinner.

[see, because I'm pregnant, I spend like 20 more minutes eating dinner than he does because I eat like 20 times more.]

Andrew: Well, I don't want to stand up either.
Me, sing-songly: Do you want to complain about that again before or after the baby is born?
Andrew: Ummm...after...

He turned on the hard drive himself.

Anyway, I spent my whole morning reflecting on how sweet my husband really has been to me. He comes to my every beck and call. Nay, he comes to my every whimper.

I felt bad that I treated him so badly. I should have turned on the hard drive for him. I should have not been grumpy. I should have gotten out of bed on time.

Alas, all I could do was apologize. And so I did. Life is full of regrets, I suppose...not that I regret apologizing, just that I regret having done something that needed apologizing for (yet again).

I would promise to never be grumpy again, but I haven't actually gone into labor yet, so I think I'll hold off on that promise. Plus, as Mary Poppins is known to have said, "it's a pie crust promise. Easily made, easily broken." I suppose I'm better off promising to try to not be grumpy tomorrow...and then the next day...and the next--even if my back hurts and my husband steals the covers.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

3, 2, 1...

Nearing the end of last term, Andrew and I headed to campus at 7 am for the second to last time that term. I remarked about this to Andrew who said,

"What if I have to work at 7 am next term, too? Then what will you do?"

Without having to think of a response, I said, "Start counting down again..."

So, I have this thing for counting down. I've always had it. In the little agendas we used to get in school, I would write a number at the top of each date counting backwards the days left of school: both including and excluding weekends.

When I actaully enjoyed going to school more than not going to school, I would excitedly count the number of days that I had been to school. I got over that fairly quickly and learned that counting down was a little more fun.

Recently, though, the whole counting down thing has become somewhat out of control for both Andrew and I.

For example, off the top of my head I know that I only have 15 days left of work. That doesn't include weekends or the 4th of July.

Even better is the countdown we have on our baby.

We have multiple little gadgets to help us keep track, one of which is featured on this very blog...


We have a few others on our iGoogle homepage:


The last one is the best because it informs us to the day, hour, minute, and second that our baby is due.

With this constant reminder of our due date, I really hope that she's on time...otherwise we'll have to start counting how many days I've gone over my due date, and that simply isn't as much fun, as discussed with counting the days in school verses counting the days left of school.

We also have each week of our calendar marked with how far along we are. We'll be 37 weeks this Sunday and, as Andrew was so keen to point out, only go to church three more times (including this Sunday) until we have a baby. Unfortunately, he pointed this out to my friend Valerie and she, seeing as she had her baby over a week late--and even then he was forced out, pointed out that she might possibly see us on that 4th Sunday without a baby and still very pregnant, just as she was a week after her due date.

Last night, the Wilsons came over and brought us some lemon-poppy seed bread for my birthday. They brought their twins up with them and we were chatting about air conditioning, baby births, and school, when Kim suddenly asked me how old I was.

We had just been talking about babies...and I had just answered the question about quitting my job...so when I opened my mouth, "25" blurted out before I could stop it, or even realize what her question had actually been.

"Wait..." she said, calculating, since she knows she's older than me.

"You're not 25!" said Andrew.

"Oh!" I corrected myself, "I'm only 22...but there are 25 days until our due date."

Everyone seemed to think this was much more accurate information. Everyone, with the exception of Andrew. He turned and looked at me indignantly:

"You're not..." he started.

"I'm 22," I interjected firmly.

"Wait, then I'm..."

"Yes," I interrupted again, "Not going to be 22 for much longer."

Silence fell over all of us as we realized, looking at the squirming (almost) 11-month-old babies, how old we were all getting.

"Well, Kim's birthday is coming up!" I said cheerily.

"Yes," she said, "I am going to be 25!"

"Quarter of a century!" said Taber. Kim shot him a look.

Ahhhh, yes, getting old is so much fun. It gives me a lot of perspective. People I used to think of as old don't seem so old. I don't think of my parents as any older than when I was like 5, so it always shocks me when I have to think of how old they really are (not that they are old, they just aren't in their 30s anymore). And thirty doesn't seem all that old (or far away) anymore. I used to think 30 was old, and thought my parents were old. Now I think 30 is young and don't find my parents that old. Young seems so much younger than when I was young...18? That's hardly any old at all--not even 2 decades yet. So of course, being a mere 22? That makes me pretty young.

Soon we'll have a nothing-year-old in our house. That's either going to make me feel really young or really old. I haven't figured out which yet, so it will probably be a little bit of both. I'll feel old that we actually have a child, but I will feel that I am a very--and pardon my use of one of my most ditested phrases in the whole world--"young and inexperienced" mother.

I wonder if parents ever think they are old enough for anything. I know my friends who are on their second child are like, "Whoa! Two? Me?" so when my mom was on #6 was she also like, "Whoa! Six? Me? I'm too young to have six children!" I should probably ask her, just to know.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Milestone in our Marriage

With all of our oddities, I really wonder what this baby is going to look like. Will she have my toe-thumbs? Will she have Andrew's impossible-to-tame double swirl on the back of her head?

I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

I cut Andrew's hair last night in only 15 minutes. This is a huge improvement considering his impossible-to-tame double swirl is quite impossible to cut evenly. I usually take at least a half hour to try and get his double swirl at every possible angle, and even then it doesn't work out well. However, last night I just zoomed through it, no problemo.

Upon further analysis this morning, I did miss some spots, as I usually do, but this time they were around his ears, not his swirls! (I'll fix those later)

I felt very accomplished, and he feels happy to be bald again. I'm not sure what his beef is with hair--he looks so handsome when he actually has some...not that he doesn't look handsome otherwise...

As I was cutting his hair he said, "Wahoo! I'm bald again! I can feel the air going right through my head!"

I pointed out that this implied that he no longer had anything between his ears...but what he meant was that his hair was so short that he could feel the fan blowing on his head--through his hair.

All I know is that he can't wait to have a boy so that he can buzz his hair. That, and Andrew's sole desire for old age is that he goes completely bald.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Update on the heat issue

Andrew came home from work around 2:15 today. I wasn't expecting him home that early and so he walked in on me reading Harry Potter 5 in my recliner with my poor swollen feet propped up on the ottoman and two cushions. I had a big glass of cold water on my right, the box fan blowing faithfully, my feet covered in a wet cloth, and was eating a freezie.

The temperature? 88 degrees (31 C).


I was not very comfortable. So, we went to Costco to get some staples (Cheerios, bread, cheese, and milk). There was a nice display of air conditioning units and fans right at the entry of Costco. Andrew had some time pulling me away from them. I am not even a real fan of icy cold conditioned air, and yet found great pleasure in putting my face right up to a machine blasting out frigid air, trying to cool the whole warehouse down to 62 degrees, a quite impossible task.

After walking around Costco and being relatively cool for a little while, we had to head home. Rather unfortunate.

Our house is still 88 degrees and something now smells funny (it didn't at 2:15). We aren't sure what it is.

Karen called around and found some appliance guy to come and look at our air conditioning unit today (hurrah!) but he won't be here for another half hour or so--what a good landlord/mom! Hopefully he'll know just how to fix the air conditioning unit--and maybe he'll be able to pin his nose on the funny smell, too...



By the time the AC guy showed up, our house had reached 90 degrees (32 C)! Yikes!


I was so worried that perhaps the air conditioner was not broken and it was all my imagination and I was enduring the heat for nothing.

Not only was I enduring the heat, but I was enduring an extraordinary amount of contractions--I was quite afraid that we might actually have the baby early. They were just "practice" contractions though and I quelled them by drinking a million gallons of water! I really can't tell you how much water I drank, but just at dinner Karen filled up the water pitcher around 4 times (and I was the only one refilling my glass).

Well, the AC was broken--it was very broken. It was missing a fuse, so it had only been running on half the power up to this point. And then the "kick start" box had broken so the engine wasn't starting up anymore. And then the wires were frayed on the roof, and down by our furnace. So, the guy fixed all of that and, miracle of miracles, cold air started coming through the vents rather than 103 degree air. It was marvelous. The house dropped to 88 before he even left. For some reason that felt a whole lot better than 90.

Andrew and I went to dinner at his parent's house. As we were driving there in our wonderful air conditioned car, Andrew made the following observation:

"We could have played in the sprinklers in our house all day!"

I gave him one of those "I think you're completely crazy" looks so that he would explain his reasoning.

"80 degrees was the rule growing up. At 70 we could wear shorts and at 80 we could play in the sprinkler! We could have played in the sprinkler in our house at 7 in the morning!"

True enough, it was pretty nice sprinkler weather in our house all day.

Anyway, Andrew's parents had invited us to their ward pot luck last week and I really was planning on making something...but we ended up going empty handed. I could not fathom preparing anything in my kitchen. Fresh stuff would have wilted and I didn't even want to boil water, let alone cook anything. No one minded, and the food was great! I was so happy to not have to cook...and to get to cool off a little bit.

We went grocery shopping on our way home and by the time we got home our house was 84 degrees. We watched Harry Potter 4 and by the time we went to bed, it was 82 degrees.

We set up two box fans on chairs at the foot of our bed (one is my mom's, the other is ours), turned the ceiling fan up the highest, and had the air conditioning going. It was a marvelous feeling!

When I woke up this morning the house was 74 degrees--right where I like it. I think we'll keep it there for a while.

Secret to Happiness

If there is anything that travels faster than good news, it's bad news.

Bad news can get around the globe...Fast. I just told my mom and little sister that one of my little brother's best friends up in Canada committed suicide 2 days ago. I know no one wanted to tell them while they were on their trip...but they asked because they heard things--they heard things from New Zealand. So I told them. It is impossible to hide big news in this digital age. I mean, I just found out last night and Mom and Josie already heard about it by noon today.

Anyway, I've been thinking about happiness a lot lately. Earlier this week during Sunday School it dawned on me what the secret to happiness is. I should have recognized it sooner because it has been staring me in my face my whole life.

Here it is, in case you were wondering: Live your life the way you know you should.

So often in this world we are told, "If it feels good, do it." But that's a lie. Satan is awesome at counterfeiting happiness and you think you're feeling happy but all it is is a fleeting thrill...and then it is replaced with guilt and misery.

Andrew and I made the saying a little more conditional and it is one that we try to live by: If it feels good, and you don't lose the spirit, do it.

In case you were wondering, we had a lesson on Sunday about the 10 Virgins and how the oil in our lamp is something impossible to share. You can't share personal scripture study, personal prayer, or obedience in keeping all other commandments. Wouldn't life be easier if it wasn't so personal?

Happy with my epiphany, I wanted anything to let people in my life who were hurting to know that they could be happy, despite the hurt. It was an "O, that I were an angel" time for me. But it is hard to share these things when people won't listen. And it isn't exactly my charge, anyway.

Well, on June 18th, I read this:

"In order to have joy, you need to understand that, as a child of your Heavenly Father, you inherited divine traits and spiritual needs--and just like a fish needs water, you need the gospel and the companionship of the Holy Ghost to be truly, deeply happy. Because you are the offspring of God (see Acts 17:28), it is incompatible with your eternal nature to do wrong and feel right. It cannot be done. It is part of your spiritual DNA, as it were, that peace, joy, and happiness will be yours only to the degree you live the gospel."

--Marcus B. Nash, "The Great Plan of Happiness," Ensign, Nov. 2006, 49

Elder Nash has become somewhat of a hero of mine recently. Not only did he speak out directly to me at Stake Conference, but here comes this little gem of an email right when I needed to read it, right when I was thinking about it and ready to hear it.

I really believe that that is the only way to be happy. And I mean really happy. Not the fleeting, counterfeit of happiness that is so often mistaken to be happiness, but the real deep down inside, "I'm happy no matter what" happy.

That doesn't mean that you can't feel other emotions. For example, I'm pretty miserable right now, all things considered, but that doesn't mean that I am not happy and at peace at the same time.

In addition to "If it feels good, do it," I have heard it said that doing whatever you want makes you happy. Now, I believe that to be true--100% true. Problems, however, arise when we trick ourselves (with the help of Satan) into thinking that we want to do things that perhaps we shouldn't do...but because we now "want" to do them, that they should make us happy.

Unfortunately, wrong doings don't make us happy. Ever (see Alma 41:10). Even if we try to convince ourselves that we want to do it, so it will make us happy, it won't make us happy for this simple reason that it is contrary to our heavenly nature to desire to do wrong.

The natural man might desire to do wrong, but we're supposed to put that stuff off. Why? Because it won't make us happy.

The things that we really want to do are the things we are taught in Sunday School and Primary and at the temple and in our homes--the things that make our spirit sing. Those are the things we really want to do, as unattractive and boring as the world may make them seem sometimes, they really are the most wonderful and sure way to gain happiness.

I do apologize for the bit of a soap box I was on. I suppose I'm doing a little emotion-sorting myself right now.

But I really do believe that living the gospel will make you happy--depending on the Savior, and our Heavenly Father makes you happy.

No matter what I mess up in my life, and no matter how many times I make the same mistake, and no matter what pain I am feeling, the Savior's love is constant. And that I find that very comforting.

So although I am rather sad right now...I know that things will be okay, that my sadness is for "a small moment" because, in the end, my goal is happiness and I hope to find it.

Perhaps with some mercy, I will.

Not very funny

What do you get when you cross hot weather outside + broken air conditioner + pregnant lady?

a) A girl who's favorite birthday gift was a box fan
b) An uncomfortably hot pregnant lady with swollen feet
c) A girl who, for the first time in a long time, is jealous of not being at work while her husband is
d) One unhappy momma
e) All of the above

Oh, it isn't so bad, I suppose...but when it is midnight and you have all the windows in your house open and your brand new box fan has been sitting in one of the open windows blowing away for the past 2 hours and its' still 88 degrees (31 C) in the house and your husband says, "Don't worry, it will cool off at night..."

...It's then that you think to yourself, It's midnight and the house is 88 degrees!...

But then you realize that you're being ungrateful and things could actually be worse and you're just lucky enough not to live in Dubai and be in the exact situation of being 8 months pregnant and stuck with no air conditioning because for all you know, it could be more like 125 degrees (52 C)!

With that in mind, my 88 degrees was a welcoming thought.

So we went to bed uncomfortably hot and by 6:00 in the morning, the temperature had dropped to 81 degrees (why is our house so hot?). By 7:00 the sun had come up enough to be letting light into our windows so we closed all the blinds, curtains and windows. By 8:00 the house was 82 degrees.

I thought I would turn on the air conditioner just to see what would happen because we still weren't sure if it wasn't working. About 45 minutes later the house was 84 degrees. I turned off the air conditioner and hung sheets up in all the windows.

I have my brand new box fan blowing and my little brother brought over another one from my parents' place. I also have all 3 of our ceiling fans going. It's still 84 degrees (almost 29 C) inside, but at least it's kind of breezy now.

I think I'm going to put my feet up for a new minutes to see if they'll stop swelling (I am quite positive it is just the heat--not preeclampsia, don't worry) and then try to tackle some more of my house.

Locked Out

On Sunday, I walked up the stairs of our apartment, only to notice all of my neighbours standing outside, crowded around their door: the parents, the 3 children, and the grandpa. This is odd enough, but when you add to the picture that they had dismantled the door frame and had a credit card stuck in the door jam, it was even more odd.

They had left dinner in the oven while they "ran over" to grandpa's house to deliver something (it was Father's day after all). He's in our stake, so they didn't think it would take too long, and it didn't, until they realized that no one had grabbed their keys.

"You wouldn't happen to have a hammer?" the grandpa guffawed, while trying to force the credit card to unlock the door. It broke.

"I've used the credit card trick before, but it's not working..."

I went inside and had Andrew get them a hammer. They then started, literally, to hammer off the doorknob. I think it took them a good hour or so to break into their house. Amateurs! We were merely accomplices, but took great comfort in knowing how hard it is to break into these apartments. Whoever made the locks wasn't kidding around.

"The next time you're locked out, we'll lend you the hammer," joked our neighbor.

"Our parents have a spare key," we said...we had used it before last year when we locked ourselves out.

"That's not a bad idea," said our neighbour.

Well...yesterday we left to go shopping (at around 9 pm). Uncharacteristically, I grabbed my purse and we left the house. (I have started leaving my purse at home when we go to multiple locations because I have a tendency to forget it and leave it someplace: in the car, at the check out counter...pretty much anywhere).

We all know that my job when we leave the house is to lock the bottom lock and then Andrew, since he usually has his keys out to start the car, will lock the dead bolt. Well, we stepped out of the house, I locked the bottom lock and closed the door and then stood there waiting for Andrew to lock the dead bolt.

"Aren't you going to lock the door?" I asked after a few seconds.

Andrew didn't say anything but took a few seconds to dig around in his pockets, looking sheepish. Finally he spoke,

"Good thing you have your purse this time!"

It was then my turn to dig around in my purse. My search turned up nothing--my keys were in my other bag.

Just as we were both fumbling through our pockets/purse, our neighbour walked out to take out his trash. He looked at us and smiled,

"Need a hammer?" he asked.

We called Andrew's parents who gladly brought the key over (and made great fun of Andrew).

When I was younger I was the key-in-charge person, even when I was in kindergarten and my older siblings were...well, obviously not in kindergarten because they were older. That would put them in grades 2 and 6, I believe. My mom would tie the key to a hair ribbon and then tie the ribbon to one of the zippers of my backpack and then she would zip the pocket up and put the key inside. That way, if I had my backpack, I had a house key, and it is a whole lot easier to remember a backpack than a key. So for years I was the key-in-charge person because my siblings somehow managed to lose or forget their keys no matter what mom did.

I have so many keys on my key chain right now and I use them for so many different purposes, that tying a hair ribbon to my purse really wouldn't work (plus, we've already discussed how I constantly misplace my purse).

I think that after I have the baby and quit my job and my keys are reduced to just a house key (and car key and mail box key) that I will have to tie the key to a hair ribbon and then around the baby's ankle or something. It' s much easier to remember a baby than to remember a key... But then, there was the time that Mom locked Patrick, and the keys, and the groceries in the car, so perhaps that's not a great idea either.

I suppose the best solution is just to leave a spare key with someone you trust, who, although will ruthlessly tease you about it, will bring the key to you in your time of need. Of course, I didn't get teased because I'm pregnant--so just Andrew got teased and there isn't a whole lot we can do to help that, is there?

Royal Birthday

A few months ago I was sitting at my in-laws kitchen table and we were talking about all the upcoming birthdays. In May and June we have 5, I think...plus my brother, so that's 6 that I have to remember! Sheesh!

I mentioned that this year was my "royal birthday."

That was a rather embarrassing moment since it seems that they were altogether unfamiliar with that term. Americans in general, it seems, are unfamiliar with that term.

"Oh," someone said, I think it was Reid, "What do we get you for a royal birthday?"

"Nothing," I said, "It's just what we call it...nothing special happens really...it's just...22 on the 22nd or something like that."

So, I just had my royal birthday--I turned 22 on the 22nd, and to make 22 even greater, my baby is also due on the 22nd (although in July, not June--however much I might wish it were otherwise).

To celebrate, we had dinner and cake at my parent's house after working until 8:00 at the library. We did that on Thursday because Josie and Mom left for Australia on my birthday--how unfair!

I have posted the best pictures...unfortunately, our schedule had been so horrendous that Andrew hadn't had a real meal in days. He's been working 7 am shifts and midnight shifts up the wazoo meaning that whenever he was home, I was more interested in sleeping than in feeding him. So, most of the pictures from my little birthday bash are of...food. Bread. Spaghetti. Cake. Raspberries. There are a few pictures of me...and I think also a snapshot or two of me and David together, but in all of those pictures, the cake is in the picture, too...or I'm licking something off.

Maybe next year we'll get pictures of the people present. Just so that you know, my mom, Josie, Patrick, and my Dad were there also (you can see parts of them in the pictures--but the focal point is the food).

Yesterday Andrew and I went to work...and then we went out to dinner at the Panda Express...then I took a nap...then we went shopping...and then we played Mancala until nearly 1 am. He totally beat me the first game, but that's because I didn't really know how to play. The second game I started to be more strategic and, although it took a lot longer than our first game, I ended up tying Andrew. Next time we play, I'm sure I'll beat him.

And here is the video of my family singing to me...although I am the main subject for most of the film, you will notice that Andrew's attention is quickly switched to the cake.


1 month to go

You know you've reached a good point in your pregnancy when you are counting down instead of up. It's nice to say, "I have four weeks left." Instead of, "I'm 17 weeks along." We're definitely in the final stretch here.

And I'm feeling the burn. I'm ready to be done with this belly and have my baby. I suppose we'll give it a few more weeks though; I have so much to do around the house! I sure hope that "nesting" thing happens sometime soon, otherwise I'm not sure I'll ever have things ready for the baby.

Well, here I am with only one month of pregnancy ahead of me:

Wearing the traditional shirt
I suppose I'll write more tomorrow about my birthday and a few other events that happened to occur on my birthday, although have nothing to do with my birthday. Right now I'm tired so I think I'll try to convince Andrew to put Harry Potter down, give me a nice massage, and then go to bed...see how tired I look in the second picture--Andrew just took that a few minutes ago. That face is a sure sign that it is time for some sleep.

Last night we had a sleep over in the living room because I couldn't sleep in the bed. I just kept tossing and turning and...well, I don't really know why it's so much easier to just prop yourself up perfectly on the couch. Maybe if I get a really good massage I can brave the bed again tonight. I tell you, this baby is heavy. I don't really understand it because my weight seems to have peaked--although I am not gaining weight, not enough to speak of at any rate, my baby seems to be getting bigger still and my back sure is noticing.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Josie's Folkdance Camp


Josie spent the week on BYU campus living in DT. She attended the BYU Folkdance Camp and really quite enjoyed herself. She made a lot of friends and had a lot of fun...and even learned some dances. She hurt her foot on Monday night though so didn't spend as much time dancing as she could have otherwise, but still had a great time.

She was part of the Ninja Clan--from Japan. While they were making up their cheer, she tried to do a fancy kick while soaring through the air. Apparently the kicking and soaring part went well, it was the landing part that was her downfall (and how she hurt her foot).



After showing us a few dances, the audience got to join in the fun. Here we are doing a Lithuanian dance...



It was quite exhausting, really...but also so much fun!

Josie also did an Israeli dance and...another one that I can't remember...She had a fun time though and didn't want to leave, even though everyone else had. It was pretty funny. We were waiting for her in the lobby of DT hall Q and while we were waiting, a ton of girls left with their families. Josie came downstairs and we were like, "Great, let's go!" and she was like, "We can't go yet!" The reason: she wanted to say goodbye to everyone. Unfortunately, she had taken so long trying to find people that no one was there anymore.

She'll survive though. Apparently everyone she wants to keep in touch with is on facebook.

The Israeli Dance

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Seeing Double

The instructor for our prenatal class was a little scatterbrained this past week. She was half an hour late and then kept saying crazy things like,

"I'm going to tell you a sure-fire way to know if you're pregnant...er...I mean...in labor."

Since all of us in the class are obviously pregnant (except for the men), we all knew full well we were pregnant...

Anyway, Andrew did great through the class until she got to the part about how women's pelvises have cartilage in them while men's don't, so that a women's can bend during labor. She brought out a replica of a pelvis and started bending it back and forth. Andrew looked like someone punched him in the stomach and he only looked worse and worse as the class went on.

I'm not quite sure he's ready for this whole labor thing. Then again, I'm not either.

I was thinking, though, just how glad I am that it is only one. I think you lose enough brain cells with one, I can't imagine how many you go through with two.

This morning I babysat my friend Kim's twins while she went to drop her car off at the shop.

I sat and read for a while since the twins were still sleeping. Then one woke up (I wasn't sure which one since you kind of have to study them for awhile to tell them apart--and I didn't want the awake one to wake up the asleep one) and I took her out, changed her diaper, played with her for a bit, and then put her in the high chair to feed her breakfast. In the middle of feeding her breakfast, the other one woke up.

I took her out, changed her diaper and took off her onesie since she had soaked through it. I then put her in the other high chair and started feeding her as well. Deja vu.

There I sat for the next half hour, giving this baby or that baby a handful of Cheerios over and over and over again.

This baby would laugh and eat a Cheerio. That baby would laugh and eat a Cheerio. This baby. That baby. This baby. That baby. I concentrated on trying to tell which one was which while keeping a steady stream of Cheerios going.

When Kim got home I was finally ready, though.

"Okay, this one is Isabelle, and that one is Eliza."

"Just a minute," Kim said, walking over and checking this one's arm, "Yup."

I totally forgot that Isabelle has a teeny, tiny birth mark on her arm, but I got them straight anyway.

Then they both started squawking so we got them out of their chairs. Kim and I talked about how quickly my due date is coming. Kim's excited to have me be a stay-at-home-mom, too, so that we can hang out, even though our girls will be about a year apart. We talked about labor for a while and I said,

"I'm not looking forward to pushing out one baby! How did you do two right in a row?"

"Oh," said Kim, with that my-endorphins-made-me-forget-how-painful-labor-really-was voice, "After you push one out you don't really care what else comes out."

She only pushed for an hour for both of them. Wow. She was only in labor for about 6 hours, total. Of course, she also delivered 5 weeks early. I'm already past that point, but I think I'm definitely ready to be done being pregnant, although I'm not sure I'm quite ready for a baby so I think I'll wait a little bit longer. (As if I have any say in the matter).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dad's Airplane

Dad recently finished his latest project for his stained glass class. He did it with no pattern, no plan, just a picture and an idea. I think it turned out great! It's a 3-D airplane/kaleidescope.


He made the inside with mirrors (as you would any kaleidescope) and then you look through the tail of the plane and spin the propeller and it ends up looking like this:



Monday, June 18, 2007

Confessions from the Secret Life of Nancy

Here are some things you might not know about me:

I was born in a small town: Raymond, Alberta, Canada--home of the first Canadian Rodeo. After a few stints in larger places (various cities in Utah and California and British Columbia), I headed back to cow poke country. We lived in Calgary for 6 months--home of the ever famous Calgary Stampede, which I never went to...but I do remember when we moved there, in December (not Stampede season) we stopped at a McDonald's for dinner and I saw all these men dressed up in authentic cowboy-ish garb.

"Why are they dressed like that?" I whispered to my elder, and thus wiser, brother.

"The Calgary Stampede, duh." he responded.

"Oh," I said, as if that explained everything. I had no idea what the Calgary Stampede was and his answer had nothing to do with the Stampede because a lot of people dress like that all the time. If you don't believe me, I will gladly show you my yearbook.

After our short Calgary experience, we moved back to a small town, this time High River, which was a lot smaller when I lived there. I remember getting our very first traffic light...those were the days. I don't even know how many we have now. Maybe even as many as ten? Curse those traffic lights--our small town took to them like Jordanians (not well).

High River's motto (I guess you would call it that) is: A Modern Town with a Western Tradition. Yup, we're pretty cool. We have our own rodeo, too, complete with chuck wagon races and the whole shebang. I've had friends gored by bulls...stepped on...thrown...etc. People walk around with pliers in their front pocket so that they can do up buttons and such because their fingers get severed off in the ropes they hold while bull riding or bronco riding...

As I mentioned, I've never been to a rodeo (I was spared that) but, I will confess, we did watch some of the rodeo events on TV. Bull riding is actually quite thrilling, and those little kids trying to ride the sheep? Priceless, really.

I did once do a service project with my ward at the High River rodeo grounds...and we watched fireworks at the Raymond rodeo grounds.

I had 2 pairs of Wrangler's growing up: one blue for everyday (they were actually my mom's from when she was younger) and one black (for marching band).

Marching band. That was good. We wore cowboy hats, cowboy shirts, tight black jeans, cowboy looking shoes, and a nice shiny...belt buckle. Yes, yes...a belt buckle.

I helped rope and brand calves at my uncle's brother's farm. Helped a vet tend to a calf that had been gored by a buffalo (okay, so I didn't really help. I just watched). Spent many a day rock picking. Water tubed down the canals. Slept out under the stars. Skated on ponds (and lakes).

I suppose you could say Andrew married a country bumpkin.*

With all of this "cowboy" exposure, however, I never:

-thoroughly enjoyed dressing up for marching band and would purposely untuck my shirt as much as possible so that my belt buckle wouldn't show. My band teacher also exempted me from wearing "tight" black jeans since those were nigh impossible to find for my toothpick frame.
-attended a rodeo
-wore a cowboy hat for a school picture or dressed up like a cowboy to do everyday things, thinking it was normal (for me, it wasn't)

And I certainly never, ever, ever gained an affinity towards country music.

Oh, there's the odd song that's alright. There are even a few that I might go so far to say that I like. But country is certainly not my favorite genre of music.

All of a sudden, though, Jacob (Andrew's little brother) has taken a right fine liking to the stuff due to his wish to emulate Matt Longson, his boss for the summer. Here is a clip explaining why country music is the best...and also what exactly a "hemi dually" is.**



*not that there's anything wrong with that.

**in case you are wondering, a "hemi" is a hemispherical combustion chamber in an engine and "dually" simply means that there are four wheels on the back of the truck instead of two...two on each side...dually...get it? I certainly wasn't sure from Jacob's explanation. But, I hear Matt's an okay person to want to emulate, so we'll let Jacob continue, I suppose.

***this star doesn't lead up to anything but I just thought that I would mention that when I lived in High River, my Torrie cousins would call me a "city slicker" and it really would upset me. But I couldn't deny it...High River
was a pretty big place...

Until I took Andrew back there to show him, I was still under the illusion that it was. We drove in and I asked my mom if we could give him "the tour." So we did.

"That's the High School...that's the police station...that's our old house...Sunshine Lake...Joe Clark Elementary...Emerson Lake...the graveyard...Senator Riley...George Lane Park...Spitzee School...the church...the library...the train tracks--where all the grain elevators used to be...the Rec. Plec...and...the High School again...."

"That's it?" he asked.

"Yes." I said.

Only then did I realize just how small it really is. Next, I'll have to give him a tour of Raymond--that shouldn't take long.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Babysitting Sabrina

I'm glad that, for the most part, when one acquires a child it is completely dependent and immobile. I'm also glad that, for the most part, babies who are mobile and enjoy sticking things in their mouths like to come and show you what they are doing first.

"See this book, Auntie Nancy?" and in it goes. And then I make sure it comes back out.

"See this Cheerio I found on your floor, hidden in the depths of an unswept corner?" and in it goes. And I don't bother reaching in to get it.

"See this magnet I pulled off your fridge?" and in it goes. And it's too big to swallow so it stays.

"See this picture frame that I pulled off your TV stand?" and that comes away before it even reaches her mouth.

I suppose I'm also glad that neither Andrew nor I are avid marble players.

Our house really hasn't been babyproofed yet, which is alright because if our baby is like any others I know at around her age, she'll just lie there and if she wants anything will be sure to let us know. Newborns just aren't into exploration very much.

So, after deciding that my house really wasn't all that big and there wasn't that much to explore...and after we pulled the magnets off the the fridge 100 or more times, we headed to the great expanse of the outdoors. There we kicked pine cones, banged on the mailboxes, tripped in the grass a dozen times repeatedly, and tried to climb on every bike we saw. We then got really confused when I said we should go home and tried to climb up every set of stairs in every breezeway. Alas, one of us kept saying that we weren't home yet, making the other one rather upset. Finally we made it to the right house, and I let her upstairs (she kept stopping and looking back at me as if to say, "You're seriously letting me go up the stairs this time?"), only to get distracted by our little neighbour's tricycle. Thankfully, it was so hot outside that being inside sounded better than trying to swipe a bike, even to Sabrina.

When we got home, we had some sandwiches (I knew we kept those phone books for a reason--we've never used them otherwise)


and then played with the magnets while waiting for Uncle Andrew to come home. Sabrina started doing this strange torso swivel when she was walking. I think it's her I'm -a-woman-on-a-mission walk because she doesn't do it all the time.




Uncle Andrew finally came home and straightway commenced teasing Sabrina. She, of course, freaked out and came to complain to me. Uncle Andrew is persistent though, and even though every little girl he's ever met has been mortally afraid of him, within 10 minutes he's their best friend.

In the end, Sabrina found Uncle Andrew a whole lot more fun than Auntie Nancy and just couldn't get enough of him.


This particular "game" was Sabrina's favorite. She kept asking Andrew to do it over and over again (without any words of course, but with a lot of grunting and actions).






After Uncle Andrew was plum tuckered out, I made him a sandwhich and we tried to coax Sabrina into eating the remainder of hers. She wasn't really interested and instead found so much more joy in smashing it into the table. When I tried to take it away from her, she screamed and threw it against the wall. It stuck. She continued screaming.

She found Auntie Nancy to be much more relaxing (or maybe just more boring) than Uncle Andrew--how she slept through my baby trying to kick her off my belly, I'll never know, but she managed to do it. I only slept for a half hour--but she slept for a good hour and a half or so.


After she woke up from her nap, we headed over to Marquita and Daniel's house to have dinner, and to let Maya and Sabrina have the chance to play. Maya had a little bit of an internal struggle (that lasted until after dinner) before she would let Sabrina play with any of her toys. She had them all in her arms and would take them all away from Sabrina. Sabrina, the more "dominant" twin was not used to having her toys taken away and so she hit Maya (I'm told that we're lucky she didn't bite), which gave Maya a little bit of a shock. They just had a hard time at first.

After dinner though, they got along a lot better. Maya kept wanting to pick up Sabrina (who probably weighs as much as she does) and hug her and kiss her and they were sharing nicely. Maya was upset a little that Sabrina got the sippy cup (meaning that she didn't), but she seemed pretty excited to have a big girl chair at the dinner table instead of having to sit in the high chair.

When it was well past bed time and Sabrina was having trouble keeping her happy face on, we decided it was time to give Sabrina back to her mom--happy that ours will come home smaller and needing slightly less entertaining (at first). It was good practice though!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Patrick's 18th Birthday

We haven't been able to celebrate Patrick's birthday as a family for quite a long time. He was in France one year, Canada the next, and then last year my mom just got home from Montreal on his birthday...so this is the first time in 4 years that we've done anything for him. Oops!

He tried desperately to cover up his excitement, but we're all pretty sure he was happy about it.



It was a really quick party because Dad had to leave for his stained glass class, Josie and Mom had to leave to Josie's capoeira class, and Patrick had to go to Garion's for a party. Andrew and I were planning on going to the library picnic but decided we were too full to have a second dinner.

The cake was really good. At least, I thought so.


I practiced suctioning cups to my face
It was fun to celebrate his birthday again--and we caught him just in time. Who knows where he'll be for his next birthday? And he certainly won't be around for his 20th or 21st birthdays, so it was good we got him while we could.

Oh, and yesterday, I went out to see Miss Potter (about Beatrix Potter) with my mom and Patrick. I cried like a baby. I've decided that I shouldn't watch any more movies while I'm pregnant. It's just too difficult. It was a really good movie though. I was surprised that Patrick wanted to go and see it, but he did and he thoroughly enjoyed it, too.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Lightening

I really wonder about the sanity of the person who coined the term "lightening." To me that suggests a feeling of getting lighter; however, I don't believe that is the feeling I have at all.

I much prefer the terms "dropping" or "engagement."

Dropping is a good term because the baby drops downward, which is nice because I can now feel all of my ribs again, especially when I lay down. Before, the baby would get all squished up into my ribs, or, worse, somehow manage to wriggle an odd body part or two on top of my ribs. She's definitely carrying a lot lower than she was before.

Engagement also makes sense because the baby kind of gets lodged in place. She doesn't do any massive swirly movements anymore because she's just kind of stuck.

But, lightening, really? That doesn't make much sense at all.

First of all, I feel heavier everyday. And then because I'm carrying her so low down my waddling has increased 10 fold (it's getting plum awkward to walk around). She gets on my nerves (literally) at lot more now, too, making my legs get tingly. In short, I don't feel any lightness about the whole situation at all.

At least I know that the downward trend has started and, although I'm still sometimes afraid this baby will somehow peck her way through my belly button, I can rest assured that gravity is working.

It's interesting...everyone tells me that I now look like I'm about 5 or 6 months pregnant--and I could definitely be compared to some girls in my ward who are 5 or 6 months pregnant--but, trust me, I still feel like I have been pregnant for 34 weeks, not a mere 20 or 24. Granted, I'm sure I would feel worse if I happened to be bigger, but I still feel like a big pregnant lady.

I go to work...I come home and sleep...I wake up and do yoga and have dinner...I go to bed.

That is my life. Work, eat, sleep. Work, eat, sleep. Most of my spare time is taken up with napping. And then to add to the paradox, most of my nights are spent trying to get comfortable.

A few nights ago I made Andrew go out to the storage closet at 11:45 pm to get a foam pad from the storage closet. My side of the bed is now a good 5 inches taller than Andrew's side of the bed. Then I have my head pillow, my body pillow, and my foot pillow, leaving Andrew approximately 12 inches of bed space. He's a real trooper.

But I guess since I didn't have any morning sickness (so far), and I really haven't gained an astronomical amount of weight (so far), and I still can wear most of my regular clothes (so far), and I don't have any stretch marks (so far)...that I should count my blessings.

Three cheers for only 6 weeks left!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Another Strange Disease

I found out today that I also have a strange disease--perhaps stranger than Andrew's foot in mouth disease.

It was a long day, but I loved it. I was in singing time/sharing time for three hours (causing me, during my practice with some Relief Society sisters to use some actions to the song we were practicing to try and get them to sing with more feeling. That was embarrassing). Anyway, I had a ward conference this morning with the third ward and then hurried back over to our building to teach Sunbeams with Andrew.

When I got to primary I was already late so I sat outside the primary room and ate pretzels while they were giving talks and doing all the opening things. After the opening prayer, I poked my head in the door and then sneaked over to the Sunbeams. Because they thought they only had one teacher today, one of the little Sunbeams, Brooklyn, had climbed onto the big "teacher" chair, while Andrew was in the other one.

Not wanting to make a big scene, I sat on one of the small chairs instead of claiming the other big person chair. Then they called us up to sing a welcome song which meant that I had to heave myself up out of the chair...a difficult process with a skirt on and a big ol' belly in front.

While we were up in the front being serenaded by the primary children, Brooklyn's mom, who teaches the class that sat behind us, asked Brooklyn to move to the small chair and apparently tried to explain why I needed the big person chair because when I sat down, Brooklyn snuggled up to my side and said,

"My mom says you have pregnancy," and then with a really worried tone added, "What does that do?"

"Oh," I said, "It just helps my baby grow."

That seemed to put her at ease. From the sound of it, I'm pretty sure she thought whatever I had was life-threatening in some manner. Knowing that it just helped my baby grow was comforting to her, although with number of young pregnant girls in our ward I wonder if she thinks the disease is contagious.

Foot in Mouth disease

You've heard of hoof and mouth disease, I'm sure. Andrew has a different disease. It's called foot in mouth disease.

Andrew added a shift tonight meaning that he would be gone until midnight. Not wanting to be alone all evening again, I called my family to see if they would hang out with me.

David was going to one of our friend's wedding receptions and said that I should come with him. I accepted his invitation and started to get ready to go while Andrew was getting ready to go to work.

"I'm going on a date with my brother," I taunted Andrew, "are you jealous?"

"No," he scoffed, "I feel sorry for him!"

I glared at him...

"What...no...I...uh...what I meant was that it's too bad that he has to go on a date with you instead of having another girl to go out with. I mean, you're a great date, but you're his sister... I mean I wish he would ask a real girl out... I mean..."

"It's okay," I said. I know what he meant.

So, David and I went to this reception and it certainly was not the right wedding party. As it turns out we showed up a full month early (oops)!

But, David did get a date with a real girl after we got home, just so you all know that he doesn't just date his sister.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The secret between me and my socks

I haven't had a pair of new running shoes/sneaker-like shoes in a long time. I had a pair that I liked once, but I totally trashed them in Russia. Ever since then I've struggled finding a pair of shoes that fits.

I've had a few pair handed down from my mom, but she walks differently than I do so I could never really get into the groove of the shoe.

I had a really nice pair passed down from Josie when her feet passed mine up size-wise, but they had leather tops and I didn't know it was real leather so went hiking in Wadi Mujib wearing those particular shoes and after they dried there was no hope of ever wearing them again. Plus, Josie had pulled off some of the bottom of the shoe to prove to Mom that she needed new ones, so a bunch of that was pulled off by the force of the water. I left those in the dump in Jordan. What is with me and leaving my favorite shoes trashed in foreign countries?

Since coming home from Jordan I've been alternating between a pair of boots (hand-me downs from Josie) and my Egypt sandals... and I bought a pair of new flip flops since my pair from last year are paper-thin.

We just had a cold snap and so Andrew and I decided it was high time I got a pair of shoes to wear. We went shoe shopping yesterday because Andrew was in a particularly patient mood.

My feet are size 6 or 7 in women's and size 4 or 5 in girl's. The problem is that every shoe fits a little bit differently so you can never be entirely sure which size of which shoe will fit. That means that you have to try on every pair of shoes in the whole store, which means you can only go shoe shopping with your husband if he is in a particularly patient mood.

I tried on all the shoes in the women's section, but the only shoe that fit me right had a size 9 in the box for the other shoe, which wouldn't do at all. So we moved on to the children's section (which averages $5 cheaper). I found the most perfect pair of shoes ever! I tried on one shoe, and it fit. Then I put in my other foot in the other shoe.

It's my "other foot" (read: right foot) that presents problems. My big toe sticks up funny. It stuck up funny before I broke it, but it was workable. Ever since I broke it, it sticks up a lot more than it used to. My "other foot" didn't fit in the shoe because my toe touched the top of the shoe, which gets rather annoying and uncomfortable.

So, I put down the shoes that were perfect looks-wise and started trying on every other shoe in the children's section.

This is a painfully slow process to go through to find a pair of shoes ordinarily, but when you are 8 months pregnant and find it difficult to bend over, it is an even slower process, which means that your husband has to be in an even more particularly patient mood.

"Andrew, will you pick that box up off the floor?"

"Yes, dear."

"Andrew, will you take this shoe off my foot?"

"Yes, dear."

"Andrew, those shoes are purple and sparkly and they light up! I can't try them on."

"But they're size 5!"

"Put them back!"

"Okay, try these."

"Andrew! Those have Bratz on them! I'm not wearing shoes with Bratz on them!"

"Fine...but they're size five..."

I think he enjoyed himself a little bit much, taking every caution I gave him about shopping for shoes in the children's section (no sparkles, no cartoon characters, etc., etc., etc.) and throwing it to the wind.

At long last we found a pair of shoes that fit all of my toes and looked decent on my feet (still not as good as the uber-cute shoes, but...oh, well). I wasn't too keen on them at first, but they were comfortable and Andrew was able to talk me into getting them, despite their flaws.

You see, the shoes are "skater shoes" and I certainly am not a "skater" type personality.

I wore them to work today and my friend, Rachel, and I were talking about them. I told her of the little flaw they have and she said, "That's okay--it's just a secret between you...and your socks."


See? Skulls and crossbones really aren't my style, even if their eyes are little hearts (which only slightly girlifies the shoes) instead of empty sockets. At least they fit and are comfortable and the only thing wrong with them is the inner sole, which is still comfortable.

Hypothetical Situation

If you happened to be terrified of bugs, alone in your room, in China, half-way around the world, at midnight and suddenly discovered that your room has become infested with cockroaches...what would you do?

Oddly enough, I know someone in that exact situation.

My dear cousin Elizabeth was "online" this morning. I've never seen her online ever before so I was like, "Oh, dear! Maybe she's home and I didn't even know it!" See, I just wrote her an email yesterday asking her all-things Chinese so if she was already home, I would have felt pretty silly.

Well, I got brave and talked to her. Here are the first few minutes of our conversation:

me: Are you home already?
9:44 AM* Elizabeth: No. But I will be back on June 25. How are you doing?
9:45 AM me: I'll have to remember that date.
I'm good. How are you?
9:46 AM Elizabeth: Hey, I kind of have a problem that I just discovered. My roomate here in China is really messy and now we have cockroaches. I don't know what to do. What to you suggest?
me: Well...
That is disgusting, first of all. I hate cockroaches.

Now, I have never technically "had" cockroaches, but I really don't like them all that much. We found one really big one, dead, under our table, in Jordan but that's the only one we ever saw, and we never noticed anything suggesting a cockroach problem, per se. The only other encounter with cockroaches (that I noticed) was at the cafe in Madaba that had cockroaches crawling on the walls. I was really hungry though, so I ignored them the best that I could and ate anyway.

Anyway, here I am, now in a position to find a solution for my cousin. See, when it comes to bugs I'm a lot braver than she is (although I do make my husband do the bug-duty in our house).

One of my favorite memories of Elizabeth was when we were having a little family get-together at my Grandma's house in Raymond. Elizabeth's family had traveled all the way up from Utah, so we were all very excited to see them. Grandma had also made her fruit salad, making all the grandchildren even more excited.

We were sent to eat on the back porch while the grown-ups enjoyed the luxury of a bug-free dining room.

Most of us were fine with this because although the mosquito population in Southern Alberta is astronomical we were all pretty much used to them and could ignore them fairly well. Elizabeth, although born in Canada, had spent the majority of her life in Utah so she was a little less comfortable with the idea of a million mosquitoes flying around. In fact, she would scream and flail her arms every time she noticed one come near her (which meant that she spent most of dinner screaming and flailing her arms).

With that background, picture her now in a room full of what she described as "scratchy" sounds. Another girl in China came in, saw a cockroach and left post-haste. Elizabeth was once again alone, in her room, in China, with a whole bunch of big bugs.

What do you suggest for someone to do about cockroaches while they are in China and you are in the United States? After all, I've never been to China (although I would like to go) so have no idea what her situation is really like.

Boric acid is probably out since that is mined in California and I have no idea where she would get it in China.

Repellents are something I would be cautious of considering China feels comfortable putting diethylene glycol in toothpaste. Who knows what they use to kill bugs?

I didn't know what to tell her, really, having never dealt with this problem...and certainly never having dealt with this problem while living in China.

So, I told her that it was perfectly acceptable to clean up her roommate's stuff (her roommate will be out of town until Sunday). Pick the clothes up off the floor, put all of her foodstuff in the fridge (leaving no food out of the fridge, ever), and scrub down the bathroom really well, being sure to squeegee all the standing water into the drain.

I also found a nifty idea for a trap with items that she probably had available: a glass jar and petroleum jelly, along with a little food for bait. Simply put a two inch strip of petroleum jelly around the inside lip of the jar so that the cockroaches can't climb out once they go in for the kill.

And, because she wanted to be sure that they wouldn't crawl on her in the middle of the night, I told her to sleep with her light on.

I also mentioned that she should tell her "head teachers" (she's there with ILP and so her "head teacher" is her boss/mentor person) so that they can let the school officials know.

By the end of our conversation, I think she felt a lot more comfortable with her problem--thinking that you can trap the little pests while believing they won't crawl on you always helps to elliviate some amount of anxiety. She was able to calm down enough to try to get some sleep, leaving me with the dilemma of what to do about potential stow-aways in her suitcase.

I really haven't the foggiest idea. What do you do about cockroaches that may potentially come home in your suitcase? And what do you do about the ones in your bedroom in China?

*note that 9:44 AM in Utah is 11:44 PM in China

Three times a lady

We finally broke down and bought a prenatal yoga video. I've been doing it every day since it arrived and I think that I'm getting better at it. I was doing yoga with some girls in my ward, but of all the times I've gone I've only met up with anyone twice. I figured that twice in two months is not very good odds, which is why we purchased the video.

It came on Monday and for Family Home Evening we were going to do yoga together (Andrew is trying to be supportive). He was totally fine with it until the instructor suggested we all get on the floor and do some kegel exercises--then he decided that this yoga DVD was just for me.

I gladly claimed the first part of the movie because the second part of the movie teaches the "birthing partner" (read: Andrew) massage techniques. I gladly turned that on for him and told him to pay attention because my back is sick and tired of carrying around this extra weight.

Last night he was so nice and was using some of the techniques that he learned. I was having a fine time until I noticed a bug on the bed. Every now and then I will see a bug on the bed. I don't know why. It's always the same type of bug and I have no idea where it comes from because I changed the sheets and we flipped over the mattress looking to see where they could be hiding. Alas, we found no bug in sight...we just find them occasionally and always on the bed--never the floor. So, I said to Andrew,

"Ugh, there's a bug on the bed!" He removed it, because he's a gentleman. I complained because I am sick of finding bugs on the bed, and because I'm a lady.

"It's only happened once," he said, trying to soothe me.

"Once?!?" I asked in disbelief.

"Okay, twice..." he said, a little less sure of his ability to soothe.

"Twice?!?!" I asked, equally shocked.

Andrew gave up on soothing and instead decided to go for some humor.

"Once, Twice...Three times a lady!" he sang.

This got me laughing. I'm not really sure why because neither one of us actually know that song and weren't even really sure that it was a song because he sang it to the tune of Look to the Rainbow from Finian's Rainbow, a song that I've had stuck in my head for the last few days and, consequently, have been singing. He was just so silly about it--it's part of our prenuptial agreement: he is to make me laugh every day. Not that we have a prenuptial agreement, but we did have some things we agreed upon before we got married, so I suppose that is technically--although informally--part of our prenuptial agreement.

Well, Three Times a Lady really is a song and it's by Lionel Richie, so it's completely possible that we've both heard it before, although Brick House is so much more well-known because it is featured on DDR (also known as Dance, Dance Revolution for those in the audience who are less-street).

Truthfully, I really think I've only found three bugs. So far, that is...