Monday, January 31, 2011

It's Catching!


Communications manager Roger has been inspired to write up a (pretty much) daily post about something he's found in the library at BYU.

His first post is about call number T 15 .U6 1892, a book entitled The Growth of Industrial Art. Click here to see it.

One of the many things I love about Roger is that he has a particularly good eye for seeing interesting and unique items that other people might overlook.

I'm excited to add http://lib.byu.edu/sites/news to my Google reader and discover what's at the library through his eyes!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Next Blog

Sick day today. Didn't set a foot out the door. I had to figure out to improvise. I decided my best bet was to do some virtual exploring and see if I could find a new blog to add to my Google reader.

If you notice at the top of this blog, there's an option called "Next Blog," which randomly takes you to another blogger blog when you click on it (geez, that's something I never said when I was a kid!).

I got sucked into clicking. I learned about a woman who is trying to figure out how to prepare gluten-free food. I met a family trying to save up money to do mission work in Honduras. I discovered Lisa who likes to post pictures of her cats. I found Emma's parents who have signed up to run the Gold Coast marathon in July. I enjoyed pictures of a lovely couple who just got married in India.

After all of my exploring, I decided to add two blogs to my reader.

The first blog is by a 28-year-old guy who is on his third year of posting a new thing to see or do in London every day. Today's post was about finding a band to play with on the Drummer Wanted board at Rough Trade East, where "musical hipsters come together to scrawl notes about how they need other hipsters to make their dream work."

I didn't know why the second blog I added appealed to me at first. But as I read through the entries I discovered it's the blog of an LDS mom who lives in the Boston area. Go figure! Getting caught up in it reminded me of this Salon article, which has recently been making the rounds: "Why I can't stop reading Mormon housewife blogs."

Sometimes the world is not so big. Even the virtual world.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Square Root of 256 Is Always 16

Disclaimer: Technically this happened yesterday, but I was thinking about it today as I watched and read coverage of the uprising in Egypt. I hope you don't think less of me for playing a bit fast and loose with my rules.

I learned how to use a calculator to figure out the square root of a number. I haven't had to figure out how to find a square root since high school, and I have no memory of how I did it back then.

Lately I've been involved in some work that requires me to get back up to speed on high school level math. It's been unexpectedly satisfying because I usually spend my time and energy focused on subjects full of paradox and complexity, multiple possible answers, and competing values. Parenting, teaching writing, trying to figure out what I want to say to my state representatives in the midst of a stunning movement to erode public education that goes far beyond cutting budgets due to recession. Answers are not always clear.

But when x + 3 = 12, x is always 9. And when two lines cross, opposite angles are always equal. And the square root of 256 is always 16.

I find great comfort in that.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Eulogy

Today I read the last issue of our town's newspaper. I've never had to face something like this before, and, frankly, I'm a bit shaken.

The Springville Herald has been such an integral part of what makes us a community, and I am very thankful for that.

In its pages we have celebrated victories, marked important life events, rallied around neighbors in need, battled one another over issues like whether to change the high school mascot (we didn't) or pass a bond to build a new library (we did), and discovered many of the neat things that go on around town.

Personally, I have long since lost track of the number of times the Springville Herald helped me get the word out about various projects I have been involved with, especially our bookstore. And I'll miss chuckling (and sometimes guffawing) at small town police beat items and over-the-top letters to the editor.

I fear our little fish town will be lost in the big county newspaper sea.



Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Smell of Lasagna Is the Air


Lately I've been stocking up on food from the Stouffer's outlet at the north end of town, right near the plant that makes many of the items I buy there. They sell products that are basically fine but don't quite meet retail standards. For example, right now they have cartons of 12 turkey dinners for less than $1 apiece because the boxes are misprinted with a 9 minute cooking time rather than 6.

I believe in the idea of voting with my dollars, though I confess I'm more committed to that in theory than in actual practice. It can be really complicated to (1) balance competing values, (2) know where and to whom my dollars are actually going, and (3) know what is involved in bringing the products I'm buying to market.

This I do know: Stouffer's is owned by Nestle, a multinational corporation, but the local plant is a strong contributor to the economic health of our community (and a sometimes contributor to the scent of the air, which is a good thing IMO).

On our way home from Jack's science fair at school today, my mother-in-law asked me if I'd mind stopping at the Stouffer's outlet. While we were there, I chatted with a friendly employee and learned a few more things.
  • While many of the ingredients for the products made in the Springville plant are not local, the company makes a concerted effort to buy local whenever it can. (I'm a little nervous for the cows in the picture above.)
  • Not all of the products they sell at the outlet store were made at the Springville plant. If items made in other plants get damaged in transit and Springville is the closest distribution point, the items come to the Springville outlet.
  • The local operation employs as many as 1,600 people. That's a big deal in our community of about 26,000.
  • The company focuses on implementing green practices like reusing, reducing and recycling. The employee told me that he, personally, had been reprimanded for discarding a carton in a dumpster instead of recycling. And he took me into the staff-only area to show me signage about safety and environmental procedures employees are expected to follow.
  • I pretty much have to be related to an employee or be a VIP like the governor to get inside the massive, multi-story freezer at the plant. He said I would be blown away by the number of pallets it can hold if I could see it. That made me even more determined to get inside some day. Some day.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spaghetti Tacos



Yes, you read that right.

Jack, inspired by Spencer's favorite meal on iCarly, talked Roger into making spaghetti tacos for dinner.

After some more serious posts in the last few days, I have officially been shoved back into the shallow water today.

We all tried them.

And, well, we can check that off Jack's bucket list.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Tale of Two Speeches

In an unprecedented move, I called Roger to see if he'd meet me at the mall after work to see the newly Oscar-nominated film The King's Speech. We actually only get to movies in the theater a few times a year. Not because we don't want to. Mostly because we're not very organized about it. In this case I have friends who keep posting positive things about this movie, so I wanted to make a point of seeing it myself before the Academy Awards.

The King's Speech tells the story of King George VI, or Bertie, who had a stuttering problem that paralyzed him with fear, and his speech therapist, Lionel, who used some unconventional and risky tactics to help the king overcome his challenge. At the end of the movie, the king successfully delivers a critical radio speech to his nation upon entering war with Germany.

I was thinking about both Bertie and Lionel's tenacity when I walked out to the parking lot. I started up the car and the radio was tuned to a station broadcasting the State of the Union address, which had already begun.

As I drove home, President Obama was talking about how our country was founded on the idea that each of us should have "the chance to shape our own destiny" and that "the future is ours to win." He went on to quote Robert Kennedy who said, "The future is not a gift. It is an achievement."

I don't know what would have happened if Bertie had not worked to overcome his fears and Lionel hadn't gone out on a limb to help him. But they did.

And we can, too.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Could Be Illegal, Eh?

This afternoon I went to a rally at the Utah State capitol that was organized to protest proposed immigration legislation similar to the law passed in Arizona last year. I arrived just as the rally began, snapped this photo, then joined the protesters on the steps.

I've never been to a political rally like that, and I thought my middle-aged, northern European face would be a good addition to the crowd that quickly grew to four or five times the size pictured here. I think I could be pegged as a potentially illegal Canadian. I do say "eh?" a lot.

For many reasons, I do not believe enforcing federal civil law through our state criminal system is an answer to the challenges we face and, in fact, I believe doing so would create additional problems that fly in the face of what makes the United States of America strong, vibrant, and generous.

When we frantically cling to some imagined America of the past, we risk suffocating the life and soul out of the amazing country we actually live in right now.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Honor

Jack received his Tenderfoot at a court of honor tonight, the first rank boys earn in boy scouts.

I'm proud of Jack because he is my boy, and he is an awesome boy at that. But to be honest, I've got mixed feelings about the adventure he's embarking on.

The only reason Jack is involved in scouting is because it's a key part of the boys' youth program in our church. Free spirits that we are, I don't think it's something any of the three of us--me, Roger or Jack--would have sought out for him on our own.

I'm all in with the focus on values like honor, integrity, and working hard toward goals. I'm all in with Jack learning leadership skills. And I'm all in with the fun of camping and the great outdoors and the male bonding over lighting stuff on fire and potty humor.

What I worry about is Jack struggling against the bureaucratic demands of scouting and conflating that with his spiritual journey. I worry about the way scouting accentuates an already gaping gender divide in our LDS culture. I worry about the conformity for conformity's sake and about the materialistic aspects of scouting (the sheer volume of inventory in the scout store makes me hyperventilate).

Maybe Jack will navigate all of the potential pitfalls I worry about beautifully, and all of my worry will be for nothing. I've got an amazing example in my dad, who was an exemplary scout master for many years. I've got wonderful brothers-in-law who have given me wise advice. We have good men that I really respect involved in our troop, like one of our favorite neighbors pictured above with Jack. And the troop is full of boys I'm happy for Jack to look up to.

So far Jack's experience in scouts has been positive, and the leaders haven't made him stop wearing the troop numbers that should be sewn onto the sleeve of his uniform shirt instead tucked into the band of the non-regulation Spanish military cap.

Let's just say I'm happy that Roger will be one of his leaders when he turns 12 in a few months and that we won't be holding Jack's driver's license hostage if he hasn't earned his Eagle.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

An Extra Large Slice of Life

Tonight Roger, Jack and I went to a small dinner party at our friends Andi and Marco's cabin up the south fork of Provo Canyon. It's the first time we've been to their cabin, but more importantly it's the first time we've had a chance to enjoy one of Andi's abundant loaves of bread.

Over the past year or so, Andi has made more than 100 loaves of bread (with 14 cups of flour in each one!) to share with people. She calls it her bread-and-butter campaign, a way to create connections and community.

A week or so ago, she decided to start adding words. On Thursday she took a loaf to her friend Charlotte for her birthday that read "This bread is good. You are better." I discovered that when I saw a picture of the very loaf on my friend Karen's blog. Andi's community grew larger without her even knowing it.

And I'll tell you, Charlotte must be absolutely amazing because the bread was better than good!

Friday, January 21, 2011

712

(Not to be confused with 713.)

Roger and I went to Pizzeria Seven Twelve for the first time tonight. We've been meaning to go since we learned they use locally made Amano Artisan Chocolate in their desserts.

Such a good, good place to have a meal.

Besides the smooth, rich Amano chocolate pudding on tonight's menu, I enjoyed an unusual salad made with roasted beets, avocado slices, grapefruit, fresh ricotta and a few other ingredients. And, of course, there was the pizza!

This Alice Waters' quote is emblazoned on the chalkboard there: "When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is."

She is so right about that.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Idle

I am sitting like a lump on the couch watching last night's season premier of American Idol. And I'll probably stay up too late watching tonight's episode as well. Yes, that will be three hours of my life (minus fast forwarding through commercials).

As someone who still cranks up the car radio really loud when an Aerosmith song comes on, I am truly loving Steven Tyler as a new judge. This season should be good.

Yeah, sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laugh, sing for the tear

As an added bonus, here's a little memory of the radio station that got me through the 70s and early 80s:



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Experiment

Jack has been planning his science fair project for weeks, and tonight was the night to run the experiment. He wanted to find out if cats are any good at following scent trails the way dogs are, and if cats are better at using their sense of smell or their sense of hearing to track down their meal.

When the cats were good and hungry we locked them up in the bathroom. Then Roger opened a can of tuna outside the bathroom door and walked it (holding it low at cat nose height) two floors down to the basement. When he was ready, Roger radioed Jack on the walkie talkie and told him to release the cats.

The cats burst out of the bathroom, clearly smelled the tuna, and proceeded to go around and around in confused circles.


On to step two. We put the cats back in the bathroom and let the tuna scent in the air clear. Roger put the tuna in a bowl and took it down to the basement. When he was ready, he radioed Jack to release the cats and he started clanging on the bowl of tuna with a spoon.

Fluffy, who was the runt of the litter but who now weighs more than Doublestuff, ran out of the bathroom like a shot and straight to Roger and the bowl of tuna two flights down.


Doublestuff hung out for a bit, then just sort of sauntered out of the bathroom. He did go directly to the tuna, but didn't seem to be in much of a hurry.


Conclusion: Our scientific method needs a little tightening up, but we did prove that our cats are very entertaining!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lopsided

Just back from the orthodontist. Jack got the fabulous news that he's almost done. I got the not-so-fabulous news that I'd be adding bands to the mix.

Check out the chart to see just how lopsided I'm going to be 20-22 hours a day. The right side is okay, but the triangle set up on the left hand side is seriously going to take some getting used to.

Did the folks at 3M know exactly what they were doing when they labeled the pack of elastics "bummer"?

Monday, January 17, 2011

This Little Light



Tonight our family joined the Walk for Life at BYU, commemorating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement.

As hundreds of us walked from the Carillon Bell Tower to the student center for the program, we each carried our own candles.

Even though our flames were protected by paper cups, the wind would sometimes blow them out.

And when that happened we'd turn to one another--to family, friends and strangers--to relight them.

To the dream!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Oh, Deer

Look what we found in our backyard this morning (and sent Jack out in his pajamas to retrieve)! Antlers!

We've seen more deer in the neighborhood this year than ever before. They especially like to munch on our Halloween pumpkins that are composting in our garden.

They drive the cats wild when they're passing by. Last night Doublestuff was begging to go out long after dark, and as soon as I opened the front door and saw the deer sauntering down the sidewalk I understood why. The crazy cat actually stalked them for nearly a block before he gave up.

What did he think he'd actually do if he caught up with them?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hot and Cold

Last night was the first time in a long time that I slept in our house without Roger here. I think it might be only the second time in our whole married life. It's weird how weird it is.

While Jack and I were nestled under thick blankets at home, Roger was sleeping on the ground somewhere in the snowy mountains with a bunch of boy scouts. He had thick blankets, too, but they didn't do him a darn bit of good. We're very thankful he thawed out enough to come home to us today.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Roger and I ended our stint teaching 7-year-olds at church, and he was asked to be an assistant scout master for the 12- and 13-year-old boys. Let's just say that camping is not on his list of favorites. Especially when it's below freezing.

To let him know how proud I am of him for braving the cold, I decided to brave the heat and bake him a cake.

I don't use the oven often. And I use my cool, red Kitchen Aid even less often. I got the Kitchen Aid for Christmas the same year I got the crockpot. Yeah, I was overly ambitious with my Christmas list that year.

Tomorrow I'll have to dust off the panini maker and make it three for three.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Collaboration


Note: I realize that I am writing about going to a third exhibition in as many weeks and, well, you may be wondering how doing something like that qualifies as a new experience per my 2011 challenge. But I promise, each one was totally unique!

This afternoon Roger, his mom and I went to a reception for an exhibition at the Harold B. Lee Library, a wonderful collaboration between artist wife Jacqui and poet husband Lance Larsen, who is also an English professor at BYU.

Together they "explore animals as messengers, avatars, rescuers, wild cousins, doppelgangers and joint stewards of this wobbly planet." If you have a chance to go--it runs through February 11--I highly recommend it. Especially if you need a good dose of playfulness, hope and serendipity.

As I sat down to write this, one of our cats laid down behind the screen of my laptop, curled her front paws around the edges and peeked over the top. Every time I started to type, she'd bat at my fingers as though she was trying to guide them. Wouldn't that have been an interesting collaboration if we could have found a way to make it work?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Magic Pot

Warning: This post reveals a stunning level of ignorance on my part.

My niece Megan posted a recipe for beef and mushroom stroganoff on her blog today. It sounded like something that would hit my comfort food spot on this icy winter day. And how perfect to write an entry about making a tasty recipe I've never made before!

Well, I had no idea how many new and out-of-the-ordinary experiences I'd have with a project that sounded so simple.

First, I have only used my crockpot once, and that was three years ago just after I got it for Christmas (I had great intentions when I put it on my wish list!). When I pulled it out of the cupboard, I had to give it a rinse. Yes, it was actually a little dusty.

Second, the only time I used my crockpot, meat was not involved. In fact, I rarely cook with actual meat. And it's not just my inexperience with cooking meat. I have no experience buying meat. I didn't even know our neighborhood grocery store doesn't have a butcher counter, though I did find out they'd cut stuff up to order in the back when a very nice employee directed me to my best options in the meat section.

Third, I have very little experience cooking with cans of creamed soup. I know that sounds fairly incredible in our culture, but it's true. I couldn't even remember off the top of my head if they are condensed, and I had to ask if I needed to use milk or water (answer: for this recipe, no).

Fourth, I did not quite believe that you could just put raw meat and a few other ingredients into a pot and they'd all know what to do with themselves. Seemed like magical thinking to me. I had to ask Megan, and my friend Wendy, who I ran into at the grocery store, and the nice employee who helped me pick out the meat if it was really true.

Right now my kitchen smells insanely good, and when I gave the dish a stir a few minutes ago it sure looked like the magic was working. If I don't report back, it's because I've got my mouth full.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Little Child Shall Lead Them

Tonight I watched the memorial of Saturday's shooting in Tucson, which honored both the victims and the heroes of that tragedy. This is the kind of event I pray remains out of the ordinary for all of us.

From what I've heard and read since Saturday, it seems we could easily become more angry, fearful and divided than we already are. This is a defining moment that can bring us closer together or break us further apart. It is up to us, and every one of us can choose to work for the former rather than the latter.


When I first learned about Christina Taylor Green and the remarkable fact that she was born on September 11, 2001, I began to have a glimmer of hope that maybe her death, but more importantly her life, could spark something in all of us.

Like President Obama, "I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as good as she imagined it. All of us -- we should do everything we can do to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations."

My thoughts keep returning to Isaiah 11:6. And not just for our country, but for the whole world.

"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."

I wonder if Isaiah wasn't talking about animals at all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sacred Harp

When I was in elementary school, my favorite days were the days Mrs. D. would roll her piano into our classroom. While everyone else sang, I sang my heart out. Eventually my friends teased me about it, and from then on I just sang.

Today I discovered a place where I can sing my heart out, and everyone around me will be singing even louder!

My friend Jenny invited me to join the Utah Sacred Harp group that sings at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Provo the second Tuesday of each month (check the link for additional times in Salt Lake City).

I'm going to go back again next month now that I've started to get the hang of it. Do come with!



Monday, January 10, 2011

One Guilty Pleasure and Counting

I've debated about posting this because I'm not entirely sure what it reveals about me. But here it goes: today TLC started rerunning the series about the Duggar family--the one with all the kids--from the beginning. Back when it was 17 Kids and Counting. I think they are up to 19 now.

And I started watching it.

Technically I have seen bits and pieces of the Duggar shows in the past, so the family is not entirely new to me. But the desire to watch the series from the beginning is new. And when desire meets opportunity, well, that's how something like this starts. I confess the show is now programmed into my DVR.

The thing is I find that family so intriguing! I am in awe of their organizational skills and how the parents deal with their children so lovingly and patiently and how they are living their lives so deliberately. They are calmly passionate about their commitment to their values, which sounds like an oxymoron, but in their case it's not. They stick to their principles, but exude no sense of superiority or condemnation of others. And even as they work to stick to their principles, they laugh about their missteps. They run a tight ship, but they don't seem to stress when things go off task or schedule.

I have been sucked in because I want to figure out how they do it.


Sunday, January 09, 2011

Mystery Solved

A few times in the past month or so, I've noticed bits of something in Jack's hair. I wondered if he had a dry scalp. Or maybe he wasn't rinsing all of the bubble bath or shampoo out of his hair properly. I even asked for a professional's advice when he got his hair cut this week, but she didn't notice anything unusual.

At church this morning I glanced over at Jack and noticed bits of something in his hair that I hadn't seen while we were getting ready. Then he leaned forward, and I gasped when I saw a huge swath of bits across the back of his head.

I pointed them out to Roger. He laughed when he realized it was dust and put two and two together. Jack had crawled under our bed just before we left for church to drag one of the cats out. He's been doing that for ages--we can't leave the cats alone in our room while we are gone because they climb the curtains. But I think in the last few months Jack's grown enough that he can't do it without whacking his head up against the underside of the box spring! (And who cleans that? Well, I guess we might now!)

I tried to brush the bits out of Jack's hair with my hand, but they were stubborn. Roger and Jack slipped out of the chapel to work on it (luckily we were in the back row because we were late). I thought they were just headed to the restroom, but Roger ended up taking Jack home to vacuum his head. Whatever works!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Airing Our Dirty Laundry

Note: This post should especially appeal to people who like websites like this.

Here is a picture of the way my closet looked when I woke up this morning. I've had trouble with the front of my sock drawer falling off, and my hanging clothes need a bit more breathing space.


So I got some nifty bins for my socks and underthings that fit on the shelves (unlike the drawers that I had hoped would when I got them years ago).


Now my hanging clothes have a lot more breathing space.


Flipping my shoe shelf on its side means that a couple of pairs of shoes have to rest on their sides now, but it also means I could fit some pairs of shoes in single cubbies. Hmm. What can I do with that extra space?

And yes, that is our family's dirty laundry in the baskets.


Friday, January 07, 2011

Music Therapy

I picked up my guitar while I was waiting for Jack to come home on the school bus. It's probably been more than a year since I've played it. While I only know a few chords--even though I've owned it for a dozen years--I have fun with it. Creating music is good for my soul.

This week has been a roller coaster. Dad flew to Nairobi to help my brother, who has been hospitalized for more than a month with Guillain–BarrĂ© syndrome. He's in the ICU and keeps suffering complications and set backs. I started a new semester. I found out that our community would not be getting a grant that I had worked hard on applying for and was especially excited about. Someone I was really rooting for got the news that she may be separated from her young children for years (which sure puts the whole grant thing into perspective!).

I need to remember more often that creating music is good for my soul.

Update: Roger just told me he heard a story on the radio yesterday about a woman who donated guitars to the troops in Afghanistan. She said "Music is my passion, and I know how important it is for me to play the guitar every day. I can't imagine being deployed overseas and not having your guitar." Click here to listen to the story called "Donated Guitars Lift Spirits of U.S. Troops."



Thursday, January 06, 2011

A Cabinet of Curiosities


This afternoon Jack and I went to see the special collections exhibit Roger curated at the BYU library. Click here to read the press release, which starts: "Hippo teeth, sharp daggers and a window from Hitler's bunker are just a few of the unusual artifacts that will be featured in the Harold B. Lee Library's new rotating exhibit, 'Cabinet of Curiosities,' opening Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, to celebrate the library's semicentennial."

Such a fun project for Roger! He did a fabulous job selecting items, writing exhibit signage and pulling it together. And if you're wondering why he included the hippo teeth, let me just ask: Have you ever actually seen hippo teeth?!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Megan Loves Bollywood

I met 40 new people today. Teaching at Utah Valley University is awesome like that.

On the first day of class, I ask my students to share one interesting bit of information about themselves. I think we're in for a rollicking good time this semester!

Megan loves Bollywood. Cory is a wedding deejay. Jimmy was voted "most likely to die laughing" in high school. Natalie is double jointed. Nadia was born in Ukraine. Cameron loves Irish sports. Sammy taught English in China last semester. Conner plays the French horn. Christopher has never had a cavity. Chandelle is an aspiring country singer. Christy once shaved her head on her brother's dare. Brooke was mute as a child and would only communicate using signs. Caitlyn is a vegetarian. Collin is a sky diver.

My new students represent 10 different states, including Hawaii and an unusually high number of southeastern states, and 5 different countries, including Taiwan and Brazil.

Jealous?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Manga

One of my former students who loves manga gave me a copy of this book to introduce me to the genre. I read it today. It was darn serious. Three angry teenage boys. Lots of trauma. Real.

I'm not sure why, but I have to work hard to follow a story when it's presented in comic strip format. And even harder when it's read back to front and right to left.

I suppose I could get used to it. But I don't think I'm going to try.

Even though I'm not a manga convert, I'm glad for the experience. I especially enjoyed translated lines like: "What's with that fro?" and "Japan's so messed up! There's no place to play ball except at school!" and "How'd that cute kid turn into ugly with attitude?"

I also learned interesting stuff in the editorial notes. For example, "takoyaki is a savory snack filled with bits of octopus." If I come across takoyaki during this year of adventure, I promise I'll try it. A little bite at least.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Outside the Inside World

I woke up this morning to the pain and comfort of the old routine. Roger went to work, I took Jack to school, and then I piddled around on this and that, avoiding the work I need to buckle down and do to prepare for a new semester. I scrubbed the bathroom counter and wondered what I'd blog about on such an ordinary day. I emptied the dishwasher. I cooked up scrambled eggs for breakfast. I made a phone call. I let the cats out to play. I got the mail. I put in a load of laundry. I ran some errands. Same, same, same.

And then suddenly I witnessed something I'd never seen in person before. I saw a man get out of jail.

As I was coming out of the main lobby of the jail after taking care of some school business there, I noticed him walking toward the parking lot wearing a short sleeve polo shirt and jeans. I thought, "Man, it's barely twenty degrees out here! Where's his coat?" And then I realized that he had just been released. The only clothes he had were the clothes he was wearing the day he lost his freedom.

His excitement was palpable, especially when he caught sight of his family coming toward him. His children were grinning wide grins as they broke into a run. I smiled to myself and headed to my car. I turned and looked back at the man and his family. They were walking with arms around one another, he in the center.

He didn't need a coat to feel warmth today.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Inside the Outside World



Today we went to the Ansel Adams: Early Works exhibition at the Kimball Art Center in Park City. A perfectly inspiring activity for a new camera owner.

Did you know that he had to choose between being a photographer and a concert pianist? That is the something new I learned today.

As we drove home through Provo Canyon at about sunset, the sky was overcast and the mountains and trees were blanketed with snow. Except for occasional tail lights, it felt like we were living in Ansel Adams' black and white world.


I'm guessing he would have stopped the car to get a better picture.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Say Cheesy!

Roger gave me a new camera for Christmas! As many of you know, I have completely depended on Roger for more than 20 years to take the pictures in our family. He's very good at it. I'm not so good. Here, for example, are the first two pictures I took with my new camera on Christmas day:


Yeah, I need some practice.

Today I sat down with the manual and learned how to use my new camera. I wanted to take a picture of the camera to include here, and told Jack it was ironic I'd have to use another camera to take that picture. He said, "Just take a picture of it in the mirror." I said, "You are brilliant!"

So here is a picture of my new camera taken with my new camera. I'll need to work on proper focus, but I did learn (1) how to turn off the automatic flash so I could snap the shot in the mirror, (2) how to download the picture to my computer, and (3) how to reverse the image so it shows up properly here.


I'm feeling optimistic about documenting many of my new adventures this year with photos. Or, more precisely, I'm feeling optical-istic!