Wednesday, August 27, 2008

08.27.08 -- Morality, Individuality and an Infinite Universe

When I was growing up, I had lots of theories. One was that all people were good, and that when they were doing things that society called bad, it was because they were either 1) misunderstood, 2) mentally or psychologically compromised, or 3) dealing with insurmountable challenges that sort of justified their wrongdoing. Therefore, these people couldn't really be held accountable for their acts. In college, I learned that my theory has a fancy name: moral ambiguity.

I believe differently now.

I now believe that some people do not mean well, that they do not have good intentions, that they intend to lie a little, cheat a little--or lie a lot and cheat a lot--take advantage of well-meaning innocents... to get what they want. They may not be psychologically sound, and they may have terrible histories, but this does not relieve them of culpability. Every person is given a life of choices.

On the radio the other day, I listened to a prize-winning physicist explain that, according to his findings, we are all products of our atomic make-up. What's more, he said, is that not only do we have nothing to do with the people we are/become and the choices we make, but there are infinite worlds in the universe EXACTLY like ours with EXACTLY the same things/people/thoughts/chips in the fingernail polish that occur in our world. According to him, there are countless dopplegangers of you in the universe--doing exactly what you're doing, thinking exactly what you're thinking, with precisely the same history as yours.

Theories are sometimes ridiculous. His theories are ridiculous to me, anyway. I can wrap my mind around them to see how he arrives at these conclusions, but they are ridiculous.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

08.22.08 -- The Day After

Lucy's birthday was yesterday. Thanks to a lot of help, both her friend party and the family party went really well. Today, I am pretty much wiped out. Not so for Lucy. Here's Lucy this morning: the very picture of enthusiasm. (I asked her to demonstrate her new chair and table for me.)

Thanks to my wonderful niece, Eliza, for her invaluable help wrangling toddlers...And a huge quadruple thank you to Crystal, who not only brought her son, Lucy's best boy friend, Ben--but helped with crowd control AND brought her camera (more importantly, her skillz). I didn't ask her to, but she took all of these great pictures and made the best CD for us. Honestly, I would've paid her to do this. I treasure these!!!

After watching the slideshow, I'm a little disappointed--you definitely get the idea, but you miss the clarity of the of Crystal's photographs. As for the music, I just pulled something happy-sounding from our iTunes collection. There's no correlation to the party.

See what I mean? Thanks, Crystal!

Cream cheese lemon cake...

I made-up a new cake and a new chicken marinade for the family party, and was happy with both. The cake was inspired by the frosting (recipe from How was it? De-lush-us (if you're into a moist, slightly dense cake with a fresh lemon zing to it). Lemme know if you want more info.

The marinade, I made up after consulting some recipes (on, deciding to use what I had instead of making another trip to the store. A lot of people asked how I did the chicken so here it is:

for 6 cups of marinade (yes, a ton):

3 cups of lemon juice, worcestershire sauce and white wine vinegar
3 cups of olive oil and canola oil
3 normal sized packets Good Seasons Italian dressing mix (dry)

After using up all the lemon juice (from concentrate) that I had -- about 1/3 cup, I emptied my bottle of W. sauce (about 1 1/2 cups), then topped it off with the white wine vinegar. Then I added all of my olive oil, there was about a cup left; the other 2 cups were canola oil. I mixed all this with the 3 packets of italian dressing mix (you guessed it), all I had, marinated overnight and it was really, really good grilled.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Worth Watching

Check it out.
Check yourself.

08.17.08 -- What is the Date?

What is this?

Seriously, WHAT IS THE DATE??

Okay, you got me. I obviously had to look at the date before I put the title on this post. Sometimes I just like to use my first conscious blogthoughts as the title.

This title reflects the slightly mashed state of my psyche. Lately, I have had what I will describe as a tremendous drive to get things in order and to get things done. It has been largely successful to this point. I'm not sure what I'll tackle tomorrow, but in the past week, I made sense of Lucy's closet, our closet, over a dozen drawers, the pantry and the fridge.

In addition to this organizing frenzy, I have kept the house PDC (pretty darn clean), and the laundry up to date. I have socialized to a moderate degree and even read a full book. Another accomplishment: preparation & delivery of the Relief Society lesson. Now, I like challenges, so I like teaching these lessons once a month--but it still stresses me out. As much as I've tried to get it all together weeks in advance, it somehow always ends up coming together minutes before we leave for church. I guess old habits are hard to break. This is a habit I've been reinforcing for as long as I can remember.

The pattern: Read a lot on the subject to be presented in report/essay/project/lesson form. Digest. Read more, follow any whims that arise along the way. Digest. Once the deadline is imminent, make sense of it all (with intended audience in mind).

This month's effort came together in a way that made me very happy. I had a feeling it would work and this gave me an extra boost for the lesson itself...the extra boost in turn made the whole thing better. Ta-da! Self-fulfilling prophecy!

Among other things this week, I've got a neighborhood party, time with Grandma (my Grandma, Lucy's Great Grandma), Lucy's birthday party with friends, Lucy's family birthday party, and a mini family reunion. As always, I'm preoccupied with all things creative, so I've got Lucy's little friend party on the brain...and it will be little. She gave me a handful of names and I didn't press her for more.

The invitation was heaps of fun for me to put together (earlier tonight)--the rest of the party should be just as entertaining for me. Lucy? She wants cupcakes and friends to attend. So is the party for her or for me?

Brian's watching the Olympics on TV, Lucy's asleep.
I'm standing at the computer, listening to the crickets outside.
This is me, 25.5 weeks pregnant.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

08.05.2008 -- I Regret to Inform You...

My love for you is undiminished. Post more and I will put you back.

08.04.2008 -- Fun With Daddy, M.B.P.

Three photos: this was all I was going to post. However, due to difficulty downloading pictures to Blogger, I started typing up an explanation. One thing led to another and I figured as long as I was typing, I would mention that besides cleaning house and being Mom to Lucy, I got to scratch a creative itch today.

M.B.P. Magnet Board Project.

Why spend time chronicling my M.B.P.?
Why not?

After all, I write this blog mostly to record the story of our family for our family. Count this toward character development: One thing that will probably always be true about me is that making things invariably leaves me happy and satisfied.

Here's what I did: Last week, I searched and rescued a gigantic picture (48x 32.5 inches) from our garage which hadn't been hung in at least 5 years. I removed the art and glass. The frame: loaded into the back of our station wagon for a sizing trip to the sheet metal shop, where I purchased a $15 custom-cut sheet of metal.

Today, I reassembled the frame with the metal, then put together some magnets.

I had a bowlful of shells and stones from Costa Rica, gathered on the beach, plus a stash of rocks that caught Lucy's eye during walks we've taken together. Conveniently, I also had on hand about 50 itty-bitty-but-powerful magnets (otherwise known as neodymium magnets) which I had left over from teaching an object lesson in church.

Shells and rocks stick to neodymium magnets with hot glue.

Now I have a gigantic magnetic board hanging in my laundry room, complete with lots of beautiful, unique magnets--all for $15! It's a perfect place to put all of the little paper items that I've stacked and unstacked on our kitchen counters for years. These are the odds and ends that get stuck on people's refrigerators, but ours is unfriendly to magnets, or maybe magnets just aren't attracted to our fridge. (Ha.)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

08.02.2008 -- Sodden

Before (about 1 year ago):

After (1 Day ago):

Back yard before (1 year ago):

And after!

Yesterday we got our sod in!

Not many of the people who helped us read this blog, but I'm sending thanks out into the ether anyhow:


It looks so different than a couple of days ago--much better. Of course, the trees that are dying stand out more (to me, at least). Happily, they're all from a nursery which sells trees with a 1 year guarantee. Best thing to take your mind off shriveled trees? New grass.

Thanks to so much help, all of the sod was laid quickly and before I knew it, my opportunity to document the event was slipping away along with our volunteers. My brother-in-law, Eric, reminded me to take pictures, but when I got out my camera, it wasn't working.

Noting that the battery indicator was low, I put the battery into the charger for a while. Nothing improved about the camera with the quick charge the battery was given, but I kept trying, because it worked sporadically. I finally put it away with no useable pictures when the camera persisted with it's bad behavior.

Talk about aggravating -- I would try to take a picture five or so times and then have a random shot succeed just when I had lost my patience.

I realized this morning that I had left it on self-timer. Ha. I now know for sure that my patience has limits: specifically 8 seconds.

As you can see, my brother-in-law got some pictures with his iPhone, so it wasn't a total loss.

Speaking of brothers-in-law...I have have great ones, two of whom helped yesterday. Special thanks go to Eric and my sister (with their boys)--they came early and stayed late. They helped with everything from Lucy-sitting and Gatorade shopping to housekeeping--not to mention laying sod and cleaning up the mess outside. After all other sod-layers had gone, Eric helped Brian troubleshoot sprinklers. I helped by turning the water on and off and Monica...well I'm not exactly sure what she did, but I do know that by the time I got back inside, our house was spotless.

How much would I have paid to watch Brian and Eric troubleshoot sprinklers? With lots of unpredictable water-under-pressure and mud, it was entertaining. Before you finish your own estimation (of what you would pay to watch), don't forget that it's a job which can only be done with hands on the sprinkler, and this means a face is only an arm's length away. By the time they were done, the two of them were sodden. Literally.

It was worth at least three dollars; and I got to watch for free. Thanks, guys.

As he pushed a wheelbarrow full of sod, one of our (fabulous) neighbors asked me who I thought would be happier about the grass, Brian or Lucy.
Look at Zoe. I'm not sure it's a two-way decision.