Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Career Path Discovery: Community Organizer

An Example of Researching a Career Path to figure out if it is really what I want.

Research Overview:
  1. Define it.
  2. Jobs.
  3. Internships
  4. Identify Career Paths
  5. University Degrees

  1. Define it. Figure out exactly what people mean by the name. For example: Looking up Community Organizing led me to Community Development and  Nonprofit Organizations.   I discovered that in the United States most community organizing is surrounding issues of housing, jobs, poverty, and lowering crime rates. I don't think that is what I actually want to get involved in. I went through the rest of the steps, though, as this could lead me to narrow down what I AM looking for.
  2. Identify Jobs. Google jobs in that field. You should find job search engines. Look at several job listings, identify if they are what you want to do or not. Identify the parts you want to do, and the parts you don't want to do. This will help narrow down your target 'job'.  For example, I googled community organizing. Some job listings I found include: Administrative Assistant, Website Manager, Director of Marketing and Communications, and Data Analyst. The Administrative Assistant sounded like a glorified secretary in charge of donations, who also provided customer service, mail, office support, and a few things that interested me like "coordinate conference room calendar, refreshments, and catering for meetings; and Schedule donor and sponsor village visits.I knew right away that websites, data analyzing, and marketing are not what I am looking for, so I kept looking.   
  3. Internships. Again, I googled 'internships community building.' This turned up many possibilities, as they are always looking for volunteers. Probably the best way to find internships is to identify organizations you want to work for, and contact them directly. The following is a good summary of community building qualifications you gain through internships: "The ideal candidate has experience in the following: working with the media, organizing campaigns, organizing populations of diversity, volunteer management and crisis management." Most of these you have to acquire through experience, rather than the schoolroom, making internships and volunteering crucial to this career path. Fortunately, universities are awesome for providing tons of opportunities to get involved, organize, and manage events. 
  4. Identify Career Paths. I googled "how to become a Community Organizer." That provided some good information, but I actually found the most information in Job Postings, as they list necessary qualifications. 
  5. Related University Degrees:
    1. Human Services
    2. Social and Community Services
    3. Social Work, focus in Community Building
      1. Look at required classes and see if they interest you!
    4. Social Services
    5. Community Organizing Certificate
    6. Sociology
The Reason for the Research:
Identify your core interest.
I realized as I researched community organizing  that it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. I was looking for something that has more to do with international aid and education, or working with and empowering youth. My target skill set includes organization, public relations, and event planning. Therefore, I will do similar research with international aid programs and youth programs, to identify possible jobs and career paths.

Good Articles:

Community Organizing Never Looked So Good

Big Future: article on preparing to be a community organizer here

Find How: page with links for "how to become..." 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Business doesn't have tantrums

I grew up among women. Stay at home moms, female teachers, female youth leaders, and later, five years worth of female college roommates. I learned many valuable things from these women, but there was one thing that was not so valuable. The art of complaining. Female moodiness. The 'adult' temper tantrum.

Only after I was married and entered a business-dominated world did I really discover (thank goodness!) the art of being 'chill'. Cool. Even tempered. I began to see that every problem has a solution, every difficulty has a healthy coping strategy, every argument can have a peaceful outcome. It is possible to deal with problems --even emotional ones-- calmly, rationally, and logically.  Recognizing the problem, or that there is a problem, is the huge first step.

Here is my business-world-influenced mental checklist when I'm facing a problem, a hormonal imbalance, or a difficult family member:
1. Recognize there is a problem. (Feelings of frustration are a big clue).
2. Mentally inform myself that "there is a problem," and remind myself that there is a calm solution. (Aka, no need to freak out). Yes, this step involves taking to myself. (Only crazy people don't).
3. Let it go. Don't care so much, or so strongly. If we females put as much energy into positive thinking as we do into our depressed/frustrated/angry musings, wow. I can't even describe how awesome that could be. Anyways I usually discover after an outburst that it really wasn't something worth getting fired up about.
4. Invite the other person to problem- solve with me.

Pregnancy Blues

Oh my! This has been a straight week of major highs and lows! If I wasn't pregnant, I would be seriously concerned about my mental health. But as it is, I try to keep laughing and remind myself that this is not ME, it is the alien wacko hormones waging war against my body and I can conquer them by laughing and smiling. And not saying backbiting mean things (*-*). Or being volcanically reactionary. Or getting overly frustrated about being ridiculously forgetful and confusing appointment times. (Gah).

Oh pregnancy...


One of the best tips I've ever received about pregnancy was when a friend told me how moody she was being one day, and burst out laughing about it. That is good advice. Laugh about it. :D Kind laughter makes most anything better!


Monday, November 12, 2012

The American Crisis


I've taken some excerpts from an article by Conrad Black, a Canadian National Post writer. His article is a bit of a summary of the Nov. 2012 election, and also a synopsis of the state of America today. I have been feeling more and more anxious these last few months about the state of the US's finances, and that no one seems to care! This is a major issue in my mind, and something CAN be done about it. The first thing to do though, is convince people that there IS a problem. Thus this post:

Excerpts from:
Conrad Black | Nov 10, 2012 12:01 AM ET
Public health and education standards have collapsed (though not those in the private sector); the whole country is being terrorized by a fascistic prosecution service; and the number of food-stamp recipients and the number of people with criminal records are coursing neck and neck toward 50 million apiece, a shocking figure in each case. The wealthiest country in history is bankrupt, with 50 million citizens in poverty and the entire middle class on an economic knife-edge.
...
In the terrible year of 1968, with 550,000 draftees in Vietnam, 200 to 400 coming back in body bags every week and the assassinations (Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy) and race and anti-war riots all over the country, Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan all ran for president. Historically, when America has needed leadership, its greatest leaders have come forward. Not this year.
...
This president has converted the $10-trillion of national debt accumulated in 232 years of American history (from 1776 to 2008) into $16-trillion now, and has financed most of it by selling bonds to the Treasury’s 100% subsidiary, the Federal Reserve, in exchange for bogus cyber-notes. This violates George Washington’s injunction to defend an indissoluble Union militarily and with a strong currency. It isn’t debt at all; it is just a money supply increase of incendiary inflationary consequences, with a delay-fuse provided by the proportions of the economic slow-down the official extravagance has failed to alleviate, in which the 25% annual gasoline price increase and double-digit food and milk price increases are disguised by collapsed housing prices and minimal interest rates, and the recessionary pricing of manufacturers. It is a giant shell game, but there is nothing under any of the shells.
The United States runs up additional debt of $188-million per hour, this President has added $17,000 of new debt for every man, woman and child in the country, and given no hint of how he proposes to prevent the U.S. currency from becoming toilet paper. And there are five million fewer Americans working than four years ago. The greatest and wealthiest nation in history is sliding into a more profound bankruptcy than any serious country has had since Weimar Germany, and almost the whole country seems to be in a delusional fantasyland. The whole American project is under threat as it has not been since 1933, if not 1861. It had the swiftest ascent, and is now nosing into the steepest dive of any great power in history. 
Nothing short of higher taxes on discretionary transactions to shrink the deficit, lower income taxes to promote growth and recovery, a serious spending review including entitlement reform, a bi-partisan assault on medical costs (more than twice what they are in other advanced countries such as Canada, while providing inferior care for a third of Americans, a state of affairs that will not be much altered by Obamacare); and a radical reconstruction of the education and justice systems, will restart the long-inexorable rise of America. There is no sign of any of this being considered or that it is even politically possible.
...
Canadians who are rejoicing today should not imagine that the ripples of the American crisis will replicate a day at the beach when the ripples from it land on our shore. There is an opportunity for Canada and Germany and a few other countries that have played their cards relatively wisely (and China is not particularly one of them), but the geopolitical vacuum incarnated by Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and the Republicans who sat the race out, will create a powerful and dangerous vortex. These will be perilous times.

Original article here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pornography and Women

Pornography

This post has been a long time coming. I've thought about how to approach this topic tastefully, but well and thoroughly. In University I joined a Combatting Pornography group and a group for Women Dealing with Pornography. I was frustrated by how little the women around me knew or understood or would talk about pornography, especially as it relates to women.

So starting right at the very beginning: what is pornography?

DEFINITION
  • "Pornography depicts or describes the human body or sexual conduct in a way that arouses sexual feelings." (Let Virtue Garnish thy Thoughts, p 5).
  • "Pornography: Printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity." --Google definition
  • "Pornography: 1. The depiction of erotic [sexual] behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement. 2. Material (as in books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement. --Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • Hardcore vs. Softcore pornography: Softcore pornography can generally be described as focusing on scantily clad women in suggestive poses. Hardcore pornography explicitly showcases sexual relations.

ORIGIN
  • Greek pornographos, adjective. Writing about prostitutes, from pornÄ“: prostitute + graphein: to write. --Merriam-Webster Dictionary

FOR WOMEN
  • Women are not as prone to use the type of internet porn we hear about, with pictures and videos of women. Women's weakness for pornography is, rather, in literature. Mass market romance, romance novels, grocery store novels. You've probably seen them, with pictures of steamy love-making underway on the front covers. Recent popular pornographic literature includes titles such as the "Twilight" series, and "Fifty Shades of Grey."
  • I also believe that pornography and sex education are intimately connected. Many people turn to pornography for sex-ed. "What does a naked man/woman look like?" "What does sex involve?" While I believe strongly in education, I also think that education can go too far, and that is exactly what pornography does. I remember a church leader once saying: "There ought to be something left to discover when you get married." And I agree. An awesome part of marriage is discovering and exploring your sexuality with a committed partner, in a relationship of total trust and fidelity.
  • Another snare for women is that we are very aware of/competitive about/insecure about our physical appearance. Looking at other 'beautiful' women, scantily clad or not, is a way to build a reserve of comparisons that we switch between trying to emulate or ridicule. It can also be a trap for some women who want to know if their body looks 'right.' "What do other women's breasts look like?" may not be a conscious question we ask ourselves, but it definitely is a reason many women don't look away immediately upon seeing pornographic material.

DANGER
The following several quotes are taken from an article in the Washington Times, which I feel did a very good job of displaying some of the dangers of pornography. Click here to read the whole article.

  • "Science has shown that the brain reacts and takes in images in a certain way and can be detrimental in the developing mind of a child. When a man or woman becomes sexually aroused, the levels of endorphins and enkephalin in the prefrontal cortex are at their highest. Whatever a person visualizes at that point — real or imaginary — his or her body glues to, hungers for and craves, and the adrenal glands imprint that image on the mind."
  • “The more pornography women use, the more likely they are to be victims of non-consensual sex,” said Mary Anne Layden, professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston. “The earlier the male starts using pornography, the more likely they are to be the perpetrators of non-consensual sex.”
  • “If a man or woman ejaculates to pornography on a regular basis they will actually attach to sex as object relationships as opposed to intimate relationships,” Mr. Weiss said. “So they will actually hunger for object relationships, creating over time what we call intimacy anorexia."
  • “If they’re an addict, they stop developing spiritually, relationally and morally, at the age of the onset of the addiction,” said Mr. Weiss.
  • When we abuse the body, we abuse the soul. There are very real and painful emotional and physical consequences of being unchaste. I should mention here that the meaning of unfaithfulness for me includes looking at pornography.
  • Do you really want to be a "filth consumer"?

MORALLY WRONG
  • Why it is wrong to get aroused from the display of Pornographic material: Pornography is a violation of someone's body through displaying or manipulating it. That is not ok because it is violating their personal temple. My participation in the violation of another's body is unethical.
  • The adversary tries to thwart the Lord’s plan of happiness by suggesting that physical intimacy is only for personal gratification. Pornography encourages this destructive and selfish preoccupation. -p.1 of "Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts"
  • Television programs, pictures, movies, songs, and books often treat unchastity and infidelity as common, appealing, and humorous. Unchastity and infidelity are among the most destructive of acts, for everyone involved. They should not be taken lightly or made to be 'normal' or humorous.
  • "The standard remains abstinence before marriage and total fidelity in marriage." Elder Packer
  • "We...declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife." --The Family a Proclamation to the World
  • "Do not let your passions destroy your dreams. Withstand temptation. Remember the words from the book of Mormon: wickedness never was happiness." President Monson

COMBATING PORNOGRAPHY
When you are unsure about viewing/reading/visualizing/thinking about something, ask questions like these:
  • Does it invite the Holy Ghost? (or clean, peaceful feelings).
  • Does it make me feel edified or uplifted?
  • Is it aligned with gospel standards? (Compare it with the thirteenth article of faith.)
  • How are chastity, fidelity, and families valued?
That last question is a huge one for me. If what I'm watching or reading does not value family/is destructive to families, that is a clear and easily identifiable warning for me to put it down.

RESOURCES

INTERESTING ENDNOTE
When I typed pornography into Google the first auto correct it came up with was: pornography, the cure. Although society may not act like we need help, individuals in society are in fact needing, and recognizing their need, for help with this problem.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Letter to Baby, #2

21 October 2012
Lazy Sunday Morning

Dear Baby,

This morning was a special one, because it was the first time your daddy got to feel you move around! We were laying in bed just enjoying the long morning and sleeping in. I sort of groaned and Will asked me what was wrong. "Nothing is wrong, baby is just being really squirmy inside," I said. "Oh!" exclaimed Will, and he reached his hand over to my tummy. You continued to be quite squirmy, so he got to feel your little swimming motions several times. He asked me if he should poke back, if you'd be able to feel it. I said why not? So you two had a little round of peek-a-boo for while, Daddy poking and you poking back. He had a good laugh about that. 

Love,
Your soon-to-be Mother

Letter to Baby, #1

Dear Baby,
Someone told me that I should write letters to you. I don't take everyone's advice about baby stuff, but I have a few reasons for writing these letters to you. First of all I don't really want to post your ultrasound photos or my babybump photos on facebook. But I do want you to have them one day.

By the time you are born, my dear baby, our family will have been established for 2.5 years. Your daddy and I are very excited about you joining our family! I'll admit, though, that we're also a bit nervous. When you're born, that'll make us parents, and that is a big change for us!

When we first found out we were pregnant, we kept it to ourselves for a little while. Kind of like a sweet secret we could share just between us. Soon we made an announcement that you would be born, and I went to the doctor to get a look at you. Here is the first picture we have of you:

12 weeks
At twelve weeks you were still so tiny I couldn't feel you moving yet, nor did I look pregnant yet, so it was a surprise to see how wiggly you were! Through the ultrasound I got to watch you move around, and that was really neat for me. It made you seem much more real.

Here are two pictures from the ultrasound 6 weeks later. By this time I was getting a 'baby bump', but I hadn't felt you move around yet. Your dad got to come with you and I to this appointment, and watch the monitor while the doctor took a good look at you. It was so fun to see you moving around again! This time, the doctor mentioned that you were SO wiggly that she couldn't get some of the measurements she needed. That's when I thought this must be a trend, and you'd probably be a very active little person. The doctor also told us you are most likely a girl, though we'll have to wait until you're born to find out for sure.
18 weeks, #1
18 weeks, #2. I must say, baby of mine, you have a beautiful profile. :)

Here is a picture of me 5.5 months pregnant. I could feel you moving around all the time now, and  we're starting to think about things like making a bedroom for you, getting you clothes and diapers, and picking a name! For girl names, we have chosen Aurora or Emerald. Maybe Jade. Or maybe whatever seems right when you are born. For boy names, we like Thomas, 'Tommy', or maybe Timothy. We've thought more about girl names though. For some reason ever since we got married we've mostly talked about girl names. I guess we both just always thought we'd have a girl baby first.
Recently at Canadian Thanksgiving, your Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Minchin gave us some baby furniture and toys for you. Grandpa Minchin just got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and we're all praying for him. They are excited about their first great grandchild: you!

14 October 2012. 5.5 months/ 24 weeks.


Friday, October 19, 2012

My birth community/Tribute to my 'ladies'

Who is your support person? Who can you talk to about all your fears, excitement, plans and ideas? Who gets excited with you about everything baby? 

As a youth all I wanted to do was spread my wings and fly away. The more I'm away, though, the more I long for home and family. This became true yet again, being pregnant. 

My mom and sisters live far away, and though I would love to talk no end of baby with them, it is not really easy to do over the phone. You just can't get giggly over the phone. Ok, let me rephrase that. 'I' can't get giggly over the phone. 

My husband is of course my main man, and support person. I'm so grateful we're in this together. But if I talked to him all the talk I have to share about everything baby, even I would plead for mercy or tune it out eventually, as the listener. 

So it is with much gratitude that I acknowledge the women with whom I get to share all my baby everything with: the four women I work with. They have been awesome! They all could be my mother, and all somehow make me feel like an equal at the same time as mothering me.

They were among the first to know about this pregnancy, and never tire of asking me about it. They get excited when I walk in, give me knowing looks, want to feel my tummy, ask me about my plans, get excited about how much my baby bump has grown from week to week, don't let me carry the laundry basket, and in general fawn over me in the way I imagine my mother and sisters would if they were near. It seems silly to say, but I have loved every moment of it, and I'm so grateful for these ladies and how they've shaped the emotional overtones of my pregnancy.

Then there is Jenny. Jenny is a dear friend, and the one who really introduced me to natural birth. We've had many long talks about just about everything related to fertility, natural birth, and kids. And we just happen to be pregnant at the same time!

I am SO grateful for these wonderful ladies! And while I do talk with family about baby stuff, I'm grateful to have these women in my every-day life to make it that much more special.

Reflections on Sundays

Yesterday I was in an institute class (religion class), and the teacher asked if we like Sundays. The resulting conversation was fascinating to me, I guess because I'd never stopped to recognize how my perspective of Sundays has changed through the different seasons of my life so far.

My married-with-a-two-year-old  friend sitting next to me gave the expected Sunday-school answer, that she likes Sundays because it is a day to have all of her family together.

I'm sitting there thinking, with lots of enthusiasm, "I LOVE Sundays! Since I work Saturdays, Sunday is the only day I get to spend all day with my honey."

The other girl in the class, a younger university student, said with more hesitation that "it's a really busy day," meaning that it isn't really her favorite day. And I thought back to those crazy fun busy university days when I was single. Yeah, I had to agree with her. At that time in my life, Sundays were really busy. 

And then the teacher asked if youth love Sundays. And I thought back to my childhood and youth. The fights about what we could and couldn't do on Sundays, the activity stations my mom set up, the boring afternoons...

Ok so as a kid I probably wouldn't have said that Sundays were my favorite day of the week. As a youth I have some fun memories of watching 'church' movies or making treats on Sundays, but they still weren't my favorite day. And maybe they can't be for kids, who value time with friends as 'the most fun' or their 'favorite' thing to do.

What are ways you've found to make Sundays a special and enjoyable day for kids and youth, while still keeping it 'holy'?

Reflections on sleep

I love sleep.

And for the last couple years of my life, I've been doing a significant amount of it. I feel like right now I sleep as much as my body needs, and that feels great!

I haven't always cared so much about sleep, though, and I guess I'm thinking more about it now because of the warnings of sleep deficits that come with babies. So it got me thinking...

Yesterday morning I woke up and got out of bed feeling amazing. Rejuvenated, awake, happy, and ready to be productive. And I felt grateful, because mornings haven't always been so pleasant. Which got me remembering those other mornings...

...Groaning as the alarm goes off and rolling out from under the covers onto the floor to stretch or pray, or grope for my clothes in the dark. Stumbling to the bathroom and downstairs for some breakfast or something to wake me up. Being blinded by the bright lights when I turned them on, because I was always up before the sun. 

But I did it! I got up all those mornings, and rarely felt so negative about it as I often do now when I have to get up early. WHY? How was I happy about it?

As I think about it now, I think it was because being awake was more exciting than being asleep! As a kid there are always exciting adventures awaiting you.

As a teen, it was the prospect of making money from our early morning paper route that kept me motivated, or going to swim practice, or jazz band. Being with people and doing exciting things.  At the time, the drudgery of getting out of bed wasn't so much drudgery as just a means to an end to be dealt with as painlessly as possible. There were many high school and university days that I lacked sufficient sleep, but it was just more exciting to be awake.

I wonder what happened? Is my life not as exciting anymore?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Little men

"Jo's Boys" is the final book in the story of Little Women and the March family. The beginning is a bit dull, but then she starts marrying off the boys, and sending them on grand adventures. The Little Women series is among my favorite, up there with Little House on the Prairie, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and princess tales.

A couple of highlights I gleaned from the book this time:

"Kindness in looks and words and ways is true politeness." P.116

Speaking of young dating:
"Good lack! What are we coming to in this fast age when babes and boys make such demands, and want to play with one of the most sacred things in life?" P.157

Failure of the free market system

Birth.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Reaping the Harvest

This was my first year gardening as a 'grown up'. All on my own. :)

I started tomato plants from seeds way back in March... do you remember this photo from Easter time of the crazy snowfall and my tomatoes?

The plants flourished all summer, and even survived moving houses!
And now we reap the benefits :). I plan to make pasta sauce out of all our lovely tomatoes.
I continued my little herb garden all summer. I have really enjoyed having fresh parsley, dill, chives, and cilantro.

And the Bell Peppers! This was a grand experiment, and most people told me it'd never work to grow them here in the Great White North, but they are doing swell. The peppers are just starting to ripen and turn various colors. Can you see the orange one? They are smaller than store-bought varieties  but that is no surprise considering our food is all genetically altered anyways.

 Hooray for a little plot of earth, and remembering to water it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Home-Owners!

On August 24, 2012, around 1:15pm, we were handed a ring of keys and officially became home owners!

We moved in the next day, and even got mostly unpacked. 

It felt like home right away. 
(sigh of contentment)

 I'd heard people say that there's something different about owning your own place, but I never really understood it. Actually, I still don't understand it, but I feel it. It feels awesome, and safe, and comfortable, and full of dreams to come true, like kids playing in the yard one day.

Having debt has always been touchy for my emotional sanity, but we bought smart and don't have to adjust our budget too much to compensate. That feels great, too.

And having our very own home means we can do fun exciting things like throw a house-warming party! We were fairly mobbed by loving, well-wishing family and friends. It was great fun to show off the house and enjoy the evening with lots of the people we care about!

And now, with no further ado, 
THE UNVEILING of the MINCHIN ESTATE:

Our bushy 'naturalistic' front yard.

The front porch and little deck are shaded by a big lilac tree.

The side walk-way. Where we've already had many 'over the fence' conversations with our great neighbors.

I think every inch of the yard was put to some use. Here, along the side walkway, chives grow!

This is an edible lettuce/green along the side walkway, intermingled with dill. If anyone can identify what the plant is and how to eat it, I'd be grateful! It is harder to recognize now that it has gone to seed, though.

Our back yard, shot 1.
In the foreground is a big climbing bush.
In the middle are some raised planters, next to the garage, with my potted tomato plants.
In the background we have a cherry tree!
Any guesses to what the bush is in the foreground?

A Kiwi bush! These little 'grape-kiwis', as I call them, are delicious! No hairy skin, so you can just pop them in your mouth. There have been ripe kiwis on the bush since August.

Backyard shot #2.
We have a cute little patio area, that really needs some TLC (like the whole yard). A cool bonus is the mint growing all around the edges, and in between the paving stones. It smells great over there, let me tell you!

Inside the MINCHIN ESTATE

The kitchen.
I fell for the kitchen the very first time we walked into this home. White cabinets and blue walls. Now what could be better than that?

Breakfast nook at the other end of the kitchen.

The living room. Also blue. ;)

The dining room/living room is all one big room.

To the back...

Upstairs bathroom. 
Cute vanity with a round mirror!

The only thing we needed to fix, moving in, was the bathroom fan. I figured out how to change the fan all by myself! No small feat, as the old one was a completely extinct model, and vented a different direction than any you can buy today.

The Master bedroom.

Closeup of the awesome vintage wallpaper in the Master bedroom.
It has been just long enough that this room is totally back in style. :D

Our office/ boardroom.
The mirror on the wall should maybe be removed, eventually, but that sounds like a lot of work to me. And there is an overlay of running horses on the mirror! Oh classic '70's.

The third bedroom upstairs, our "International Room."
We thought it fitting, as it will eventually be the baby room, and our baby will be very international- American, Canadian, and Irish!
For now we put up the map of Europe showing our travels, my spoon collection, and all our murals from China and France. The dresser came with the house, and the chest I inherited from my great grandmother. My (2 greats?) grandfather, Abraham Lincoln East, made it.

THE BASEMENT

This was our renovation project. We cut a doorway in the side wall you see here, and turned the existing doorway into a kitchenette, as seen below.

3-day Kitchenette. 
Thanks to my Dad!

This is a view of the concrete footing we had to chip away in order to put the new doorway in.

The living room in the basement. We set up the trains here for now.

Sorry I don't have more pictures of the basement right now! It is finished with wood paneling and this 'awesome' 1970's linoleum. There is a big 'picture window' mural set into the wall in the living room- you can just see one side of it in the last picture. It is a picture of the mountains.
There is a bedroom and a bathroom in the basement, along with the laundry, a storage room and a cold room. Another cool bonus is that we inherited a chest freezer with the house! I'm pretty sure it is impossible to get out of the storage room without taking down walls. :)

The specs:
It is half a duplex, in a quiet cul-de-sac. Our back alley backs onto a shopping center, which is exceedingly convenient. The walk to and from the store is no more than from a busy parkinglot.

1962 Duplex.
958 sq ft, up and same in the basement.
4 bedrooms/ 2 bathrooms. (3 bed/ 1 bath up, 1 bed/ 1 bath down. )
Fully finished basement. 
1 car garage. 
Vaulted ceilings.
Tar and gravel roof.
Original hardwood floors in living room and Master.
New windows, laminate floor in 2 upstairs bedrooms, and renovated kitchen and bathroom.




Friday, September 14, 2012

My Roots

I come from some pretty darn good roots.

There are simply too many stories to be told, here, so I will simply dedicate this post as a Thank You to my parents.

Here are some qualities I highly value which I have learned from my parents:

From My Father. 
Music.
Dreams. 
And really believing they can come true. This principle woke my soul and gave me reason to be joyful about living every day!
Never give up. 
To always find new ideas, think of new solutions, and make new plans.
Love Lavishly.
Hard work. 
But still save time for family and hobbies.


From My Mother. 
Love of children and nature. 
She taught me how to notice and admire.
Patriotism. 
To love something bigger than oneself is empowering.
Educate.
  From our very first phonics trains to times-tables flashcards, to learning a new hobby at 50 years old, she has taught me about education.
Amazing cook.
 I'm still working on this one, but I got a pretty good headstart in her kitchen and with her cookbooks.
Organized, I think. 
Knows how to CLEAN.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What is pregnancy like?

Pregnancy
There are three 'trimesters'. Like it is University or something, lol.

The first three months = the first trimester.
My first trimester was basically a breeze. No morning sickness, only a bit of nausea, some aversion to the smell of cooking meat, sausage mostly. And one week straight of craving Macaroni and Cheese, aka 'Kraft Dinner'. The only real issue I wasn't expecting was the incredibly sore breasts, and that lasted a couple of months! How come no one ever mentions that this is one of the first signs of pregnancy?

The second three months = the second trimester, you get the idea.
I'm somewhere in the middle of months 4-5-6.  I still haven't gained any weight, which is starting to be weird, although I am definitely starting to get a 'bump'. I just ordered pregnant-lady-undies aka 'grammies', and most of my pants are uncomfortably tight, although any maternity pants I've tried so far won't stay up.

18 weeks. Baby is the approximate size of a bell pepper. :D


For the last two or three weeks, I have been HUNGRY! However, I discovered the hard way that eating a big meal is totally uncomfortable, so now I just eat a bit, all the time. We just got a Chinese foreign exchange student who is terrified of becoming a 'fat american' (all her friends evidently warned her that she would get fat if she moved here). The first night she says "I don't eat very much, some fruit and veggies for lunch is good." I suggest "An apple and some carrot sticks?" She says "Sure!" ...leaving me wondering what fuel her body runs on, and me feeling like I have to hide my constant snacking from her, lol. To her credit, she ate a whole ginormous homemade hamburger for dinner last night. :)

The last couple weeks I've also been having very mysterious cramps. The top of my stomach always aches at night and in the mornings. I did some pretty intense physical labor during our move and doing renos, and after about 3 days it completely wiped me out. Sometimes when moving things I would get a cramp in my stomach, or the already existing cramp worsened. (I couldn't decide if the ache in my upper-stomach was well-worked ab muscles feeling well worked, or the baby trying to tell me to lay off).  I was perma-exhausted, feeling sick, even more dizzy than normal, and I ached everywhere. I wondered if I had West Nile from all the mosquito bites (I'm still not ruling that out), but eventually my honey put me to bed and told me to stay there. I was happy to oblige. I slept between 10-13 hours a night for a few days, stayed off my feet for a couple, and that seemed to help. I don't plan to get that tired again any time soon, kyuk.

On moving heavy objects when pregnant:  Lots of research gave no definitive answer. Old wives tales seem to be the basis of the counsel to not move heavy objects. Unless you are high-risk, which I'm not. Pregnant women need to be careful... of what I'm still not clear. So I've decided that listening to my body is probably the best bet, and if it starts to hurt, stop whatever I'm doing.

Other weird prengancy stuff: They say that various problems with bodily discharge is common during pregnancy, and to always 'go' when you first need to, in order to avoid the problems. Well, I don't know exactly when I was potty-trained, but it's probably been a good 23 years. That is, 23 years of convincing my body to "hold it" until it is convenient. So going to the bathroom at the first urge has been HARD! lol. I hope someone out there is chuckling.

We've started picking names (FUN!).
Aurora or Emerald for a girl. (We love the idea of using Aurora, as in the Aurora Borealis. It is kind of like a tribute to being born here in the northern part of the world, especially as we don't anticipate being here forever).
And for boy names we want something that hearkens to great leaders: like William the Conquerer, Alexander the Great, Charles/ Charlemagne, George or Robert or Henry as in various kings of England.  (I suggested Attila the Hun, but my honey didn't really find that nice. We westerners are so biased. :) The problem is we can't find one that we really like, that hasn't been used within the last generation. For example, it'd be awesome to name our first son William, but what would we call him? We both like Thomas, though. Anybody know any great Thomas' in history?

In other news, I've had one ultrasound and have another coming up to find out the gender of the baby (very exciting, and yes, we ARE finding out); I'm working through the web of finding a pregnancy doctor I'm happy with; and I'm starting to feel like it's about time we look into birthing classes and a hospital tour.

September always feels like a good time to start studying again, even though I haven't gone to school for a couple of years, so here's to a 'second trimester' course in "Baby"!

Friday, July 6, 2012

How to Win Friends and Influence People, part 1

I just started reading this book. I didn't even get past the introduction/forward before underlining and wanting to share...

"Education is the ability to meet life's situations." -Dr. John Hibben

  • This is so true! We focus so much on book-learning, but the true purpose of education for the rest of our lives is to become better at meeting life's situations... hopefully with more grace and ease.
"Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person's precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment." p5.
  • I have long known the detrimental side of criticism. However, I really appreciate thinking about it as 'dangerous', I think that is how I'll think about it from now on.
"Any fool can  criticize, condemn and complain--and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving." p13.

"God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days. Why should you and I?" p16.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Current 'Seasons'


I am in between Young Adulthood and Motherhood. 
Newlywed is a very fun place to be. 
I love to reflect on my past-- my Young Adult years were awesome! I wonder sometimes if I'm ready to move on, from the 'young and free' to the 'mother-me.' I am in between right now, so it seems like a good place from which to reflect on both, thus this post was born:

Seasons of a Woman's Life

I puzzled about ‘womanhood’ for a long time, probably the time when I was very in between. When does womanhood start? I’m still not sure, but I’ve started this post at young adulthood- I was 17.

Young Adulthood (6 years): I had an incredibly wonderful young adult/university life. I was FULL of energy, always striving for balance, ready to take on the world and any or every challenge or adventure. I had a lot of firsts: first time living away from home. First time holding a boy’s hand. First kiss. First real experiences with cooking.  First time abroad traveling. First time living with roommates.  First boyfriend.  I made wonderful memories, and have journals and photo albums full of them. I was always on the move. I didn’t stay in one place of abode or school for long. That was perfect for me. I met so many people, I was touched and shaped by them all, and grew in my understanding of people and the world.

My mission was a part of the young adult years. It has a chapter all its own, though. I remember first realizing that I should serve a mission. And then embracing it. Opening my call was such an exciting/bewildering experience. Being called to Taiwan was a special experience, because my Aunt Marcy had served there too. Many challenges came my way, many of them my own personal devils. I had to learn to slow down. I had to learn to let others lead and be in control of my life sometimes, especially God. I had to learn to accept others, not try to change them or their culture. I learned how to plan and prepare. I memorized SO much information—Chinese alone was months full of memorizing, then the scriptures, lessons, and quotes. Here again, my life met and was touched by many many people, more cultures, and new ideas.  I came very close to my God, as a missionary. I felt the presence of angels, helping, supporting, and encouraging me. I had some very precious experiences, some which were holy, and of great importance to me as an individual. I came to understand a bit more where I stood before God, what he expected of me, and dreams I have longed to fulfill for the entirety of my existence.

Young Married and Young Adult mixed together in my courtship and first year of marriage, as my husband and I travelled to and lived in France for a year, along with many other university-age students.  We had internships to teach in the French school system, and were fortunate enough to be placed in neighboring areas, making living together possible. Some couples were not so fortunate. Teaching was only a means to an end, however, and our whole purpose in being was to LIVE in France. What an immensely dreamy, romantic, and culturally-divine experience. I was in heaven.

Newlywed: Upon returning to North America, we settled in Edmonton, and “real life” began. I was a wife, he a husband. He went to work. I kept house and worked as I could. When I became a permanent resident of Canada I got more full-time positions, but I tried to be home enough to make it a clean and happy environment. Making a clean and happy home where my Mr. Right would want to be was paramount to me. I treasured our evenings together. “Full time work is a bain,” thought I, “when all we want to do is while away the hours together.”  Despite this, we were living a wonderful life. We continued to dream and scheme. We looked into ways to create passive income in order to retire early. I looked into many work-from-home jobs. We chose to pursue real-estate investing. We have yet to see where that takes us, but we hope for it to allow early retirement, mobility as desired to visit family and the world, and the ability to be available for the Lord, whenever and wherever he needs us.

First Child and Baby Years: On the eve of parenthood/motherhood… I am so full of mixed emotions.

  To every thing there is a season, 
and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” 
(Old Testament | Ecclesiastes 3:1‎)‎ 

There is a time to be round with child- for some that spans 20 years, for others, only a few.  My time is coming, yet I mourn the past.  I wouldn’t redo the past though; my young adult years were vibrant, and perfect. Now on to motherhood I go. I am grateful for this year I’ve had to live upstairs from a young family with a 1-2 year old. It has reminded me of the great love, light, laughter and joy a baby is. It has also reminded me that it is a full-time job, yet within that full time job I can still create, dream, and do things for myself. I envision a great first pregnancy. I’ll still work and have fun at all the things we always do, along with planning for the new arrival. The first few months we’ll take it slow—recuperate, learn, connect, survive, and adore! I don’t know if I’ll go back to a salon after having baby, but I will go back to real estate investing. Perhaps, though, I will go back to the salon and do my 10-week class in May/June. Baby would have to go to a sitter for those weeks, which isn’t ideal, but it would throw me back into the world, which I think would be beneficial. The next babies will come along, and baby/toddler years will be in full swing. At least that’s how I imagine it. Maybe it won’t happen that way. From what I’ve observed so far, the first 8 years, kids are all yours. The second eight years they are trying to fit into the world, and you become more of a mentor and a coach. The third eight years, they’re adult and your relationship becomes more of a mutual one. I want to have a ball with those first eight years. We’ll go on adventures galore, explore the world and everything in it. I want to be there, and be involved. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Education of a Wandering Man- book review


What is education?
"Education should provide the tools for... increased appreciation of all one sees or experiences.It should equip a person to live life well, to understand what is happening about him.
No one can 'get' an education, for of necessity education is a continuing process. If it does nothing else, it should provide students with the tools for learning acquaint them with methods of study and research, methods of pursuing an idea. We can only hope they come upon an idea they wish to pursue." p.3

What is wrong with our system:
"...it also seems obvious that a child should be taught some methods of reasoning... it might clear the air of a lot of loose thinking, and the kind of questionable statements that fill the air during political and other campaigns. We do not at present educate people to think but, rather, to have opinions." p.74-75

The Mind
"Personally, I do not believe the human mind has any limits but those we impose ourselves. I do not believe that man has even begun to realize who he is or what he can become." p.175

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
--Alfred, Lord Tennyson, from "Ulysses"

Titles he mentioned which I want to read:
The Man Who Laughs. Victor Hugo
Toilers of the Sea. Victor Hugo
Shah-nama. (Iran's great Book of Kings/history of Persia). Reuben Levy translation
Hung Lou Menq (Dream of the Red Chamber). Tso Hsueh-chin (Traditional Chinese society)





Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why Pray?

I just had a very wonderful conversation with my Dad. Especially considering I rarely see him, which means that most of our conversations are short and to the point, or solving a problem. (PS I like our problem solving conversations, they are usually about how to make a dream come true. :)

I mentioned a goal I have, and "if I can make this work, then...".

He right away said he wanted to share some things he has learned with me.

1. Believe in it
2. Think about it 
3. Don't be too specific
4. Talk about it
5. The more people thinking it the better
6. Be happy
7. Write down goals


You've heard of the Law of Attraction, right?
The law of attraction is a pseudoscientific belief or theory,
that "like attracts like," and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts,
one can bring about positive or negative results.



So think about the things you want and believe in! Don't stop thinking about them. Keep them constantly on your mind and you are putting those wavelengths out there into the universe. Now, is that not like faith? Perhaps that is how prayer works. We visualize, vocalize, and constantly think about (pray always) the things we are striving for, and the things that mean the most to us. That can potentially be a lot of positive energy we are sending into the universe! (Or towards God, however you like to think about it).
Now imagine lots of people doing the same thing about one same issue- a family member, a buisness deal, a sickly friend. Let the positive energy flow!


Thinking about it is good (something tangeable, visualizing something real). Saying it out loud means at the same time visualizing it. Both things send out positive energy. This is why mindless repetitive prayers don't work- you're not sending out anything, not creating any images. And if this principle holds true, then the more people sending out that positive energy the more power it has.That is how group prayer and fasting works.

Pretty cool stuff, if you ask me. Thanks for the great conversation, Dad!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Political Cartoons, part 2


Jimmy Margulies - The Record of Hackensack, NJ - JP Morgan Chase - English - JP Morgan Chase, Wall Street, Financial regulation, Banking
I personally really appreciate the political cartoons about the US's finances, the big banks and wall street. I am glad their idiocy is getting some attention. Something needs to be done about it!

Pat Bagley - Salt Lake Tribune - Banking While Intoxicated - English - Banking,Wall Street,Wall St,Dimond,J P Morgan,Capitalism,Banks,Casino,Bet,Trading,Stocks,Regulation,Dodd Frank

------------------

Joe Heller - Green Bay Press-Gazette - Outrage Fatigue - English - Outrage Fatigue, cable news, tanning mom, time magazine, breast feeding, dog, obama, rush, stay at home, pundit, gaffes, media
Agreed.
Political Cartoon
Can we just ask our government officials to be a bit less frivolous in their expenses? Maybe one day...

BP Officials Seek New Strategy for Oil Spill in Gulf
Um, the government some really BAD decisions? Ya. It is possible that the same sort of thing led to the war in Iraq.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Political Cartoons

I have been analyzing some political cartoons with a tutoring student, and then found myself really enjoying them! (Said student eventually fell asleep during that session, while I was glued to the screen... Ah, tutoring)

A sampling:

I hadn't realized that Dr. Seuss was a prolific political cartoonist. He does a good job, without dipping into crudeness.

This one is especially moving, I think because the statue is so familiar as a noble and proud figure, so the depicted change of mood is shocking. Besides that, we tend to immortalize Lincoln, and so thinking of him feeling like this about the state of our country sends daggers to the heart. (Although he probably felt that way plenty of times when he was alive).

I'm quite certain this is exactly what a bank is.

Image
For analysis' sake, this is full of fascinating views. Republicanism and democracy are pitiless servants. What is Wall Street doing? The gold standard was the final blow? I have been learning what happened to currency once the dollar was taken off the gold standard, but I'm not yet familiar with the problems surrounding it. I realize this is not religion-sensitive, but after looking through pages of them, I realized that it does the job of being extreme enough to get the reader to care about the issues, which is the goal of a political cartoon, politically correct or no. (not that I condone that).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rose Wilder Lane

The rest of the story...

My interest was peaked, because we have the first stint of Rose's life in story-form, but no hints as to what happened with the rest of her life! Her mother was Laura Ingalls Wilder- the Laura of the Little House books. Rose grew up between farms and towns, first in the Dakotas, then in Missouri. She witnessed the turn of the century (1800's to 1900's) when she was around 12 years old. She was an excellent scholar and went to high school in Louisiana where her aunt lived, because there was no high school in her town. After that she became a telegrapher, going to school in Kansas City and taking various jobs, ending up in California. The books of her early life end with a potential love-interest taking her with him to go sell real-estate in what is now Orange County.

I did some research to see if I could find out what happened to her after that. She had quite the life!  She did marry that love interest. She had a baby boy who died, after which she was not able to have any more children (the same thing happened to her mother and grandmother. Fluke?) She eventually divorced, sources citing that she was a better real-estate seller than he was, which caused tension. She became a great journalist, editor, and ghost-writer. She had some pretty strong views that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, so I'll add them to this post. During the Depression she moved back to her parent's farm in Missouri and that is when Laura approached her with the manuscript of her young pioneer days. They were turned down for publishing several times, but eventually made a children's story out of the first part, which was published as "Little House in the Big Woods." After it's success, they published the rest of the stories in the same format. No one knows if Laura actually wrote the books, or if Rose was her "Ghost-writer," or if Rose just helped her edit and publish them.

Quotes from the Rose Years:
"Where are we going?" Rose said.
"Anywhere you want to go, as long as it's with me."
"Then let's just keep going and never get there," Rose said.

"She was growing bigger. Even her thoughts were growing bigger. She knew the joy of mothering a little baby, and she had felt the heavy weight of grief. She had begun to speak her mind and learned to hold her tongue. And yet, the more grown-up she became and the more she understood life's secrets, the more she yearned to know."

Strong views and political advocacy:
(Quoted from Wikipedia)
She combined advocacy of laissez faire and anti-racism. The views she expressed on race were strikingly similar to those of black writer, and fellow individualist, Zora Neale Hurston. Lane's columns emphasized the arbitrariness of racial categories and stressed the centrality of the individual. Instead of indulging in the "ridiculous, idiotic and tragic fallacy of 'race,' [by] which a minority of the earth's population has deluded itself during the past century", it was time for all Americans (black and white) to "renounce their race". Judging by skin color was comparable to the Communists who assigned guilt or virtue on the basis of class. In her view, the fallacies of race and class hearkened to the "old English-feudal 'class' distinction." The collectivists, including the New Dealers, were to blame for filling "young minds with fantasies of 'races' and 'classes' and 'the masses,' all controlled by pagan gods, named Economic Determinism or Society or Government."[4]


She is one of the founders of the American Libertarian Movement in the mid-century.


(On principle the following story isn't funny. But from a story-telling perspective, it is a chuckle-jerker! And I agree about the Ponzi scheme.)
In 1943, Lane was thrust into the national spotlight through her response to a radio poll on Social Security. She mailed in a post-card with a response likening the Social Security system to a Ponzi scheme that would ultimately destroy the US. The subsequent events remain unclear, but wartime monitoring of the mails eventually resulted in a Connecticut State Trooper being dispatched to her farmhouse (supposedly at the request of the FBI) to question her motives. Lane's vehement response to this infringement on her right of free speech resulted in a flurry of newspaper articles and the publishing of a pamphlet, "What is this, the Gestapo?," that was meant to remind Americans to be watchful of their rights, despite the wartime exigencies.
There was an FBI file compiled on Lane during this time, which is now available under the Freedom of Information Act.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mother-me

What kind of a mother will I be?
I believe that question can be answered with many different outcomes, all of which are ultimately determined by me. I have diagnosed myself as a learning-by-example type. I see, and I can do. So I began searching for mother-models in books, to widen my pool of seeing how others mother. This is sort of a compilation of the sources I've gathered thus far.

I tried to think of books and other sources with a mother-figure that is positive. The first book I came up with was Ella Enchanted. There are only a few moments of wonderful memories with her mother at the beginning of the book, and of them this is my favorite:
  • ...remembering the times mother and I slid down the banister. We didn't do it when people were around. "We have to be dignified," she would whisper then, stepping down the stairs in an especially stately way. And I would follow, mimicking her and fighting my natural clumsiness, pleased to be part of her game. But when we were alone, we preferred to slide and yell all the way down. And run back up for another ride, and a third, and a fourth. --Ella Enchanted, p 8-9
D&C 121: 41-43- no power or infuence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile-- reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; that he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.

When reading the scriptures I often pause to think about the women behind the stories. While Helaman was out leading the 2,000 stripling warriors, his wife was at home raising Helaman II. While he responded to the call of duty, his wife was at home raising two future leaders: Nephi and Lehi, brothers. Later, while those brothers were off converting the Lamanites and preaching in the North countries (they were gone for many years), did their wives go with them? Or did they stay home with extended family raising the children? Either way, those women were amazing, and maybe one day I'll write "historical fiction" novels about them.

Hymn 336 reminds: Passion shatters reason's tower, condemnation never pass.

Little Women
The mother in this book, Marmie, is an absolute angel. Too perfect for reality, she still gives some very good lessons and examples to follow. She is forward thinking, takes care of others, and is kind and understanding in her relationship with her daughters.

Little House on the Prarie Books
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Before writing this post I read through the ENTIRE Little House series, as well as the Rose Years books, the daughter of Laura. Each book is a quick read, but they are packed with information. You could learn how to survive in the wilderness from those books.
I read them with the intent to observe the parents, and it was fascinating-- It was like they were whole new books!! It helps that in the first few books, I am a similar age to the mother and father, and so I could imagine myself in their shoes-- living in the wilderness with two young daughters, and my husband always wanting to move away from civilization... I was touched by the type of discipline they used with their daughters, and noted that they tried to always be soft-spoken. Here are a few quotes I took from the books:
  • "Least said, soonest mended."- as Ma would say. These Happy Golden Years, p52
  • "A grown-up person must never let feelings be shown by voice or manner."
  • "Wooden Swearing"= losing your temper and slamming things is as bad as saying the words.
If wisdom's ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
  • During the long winters the family would memorize scripture verses each Sunday- the mom too! They had recitation contests, to see who could remember the most scripture verses. I think that would be a fun game to play. 

I want to: Love abundantly. Have music and singing everpresent. Have fun! Explore the world.
I want to let my children learn how to do things with me, but I also believe that I will need space to do things on my own. There must be a balance. Let the kids help, but not so much that they take over. That becomes overwhelming and disheartening. As the French do, I want to intsate "Adult time," perhaps in the evenings, or maybe just once in a while for my husband and I, or when friends come over.
I learned a lot from reflecting on the mothers and parenting styles in these sources, and I think that one of the most important aspects to me is to be gentle. Gentle with words and actions. Kindness and gentility are worthwhile attributes.



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Learning

I completed the general public schooling of elementary and high school.
I learned a trade.
I went to College and then finished my degree at a University.
I took French Horn lessons for 8 years.
I spent 18 months of intense emotional, educational, spiritual, societal, and conversational boot camp; what we LDS members like to call a "mission."
I've learned a couple couple of languages.
I feel like I've done a lot of learning so far in my life.

Memorizing was so difficult for me, before. The times tables were the bain of my public schooling existence.  Every math class, it seems, I needed to know those times tables, and usually the ones I hadn't managed to memorize- the 6's, 7's, and 8's, yuk. I still don't know them all. I diligently tried to memorize scriptures in Seminary, but inevitably the scripture references would escape me when I needed them. Names. I can always count on NOT being able to remember people's names. chuckles. Dates. I love history! Yet I am terrible at remembering dates! Only recently have I been able to put historical time-lines in order in my mind, especially when considering multiple civilizations.

Want to know what I'm getting at? It is this weirdly twisted and backwards timeline of Marcy's life: I'm done with the generalized public schooling expectations, and yet, right now, I feel more capable of learning than I ever have!

Why is that?

I feel like taking on the world! I read voraciously- money magazines and literature, investing markets, survival in the wilderness, political theories, stories, recent history and current events, I even picked up a book on birds in Edmonton--that's pretty weird for me, but I can honestly say I am interested in knowing the names of the birds I see. I want to tackle projects like learning to play the hymns on the piano, gardening, sewing, fixing the car, handyman type things around the house; nothing seems impossible to me. Why am I so confident about learning NOW? (And why couldn't confidence in learning have caught up with me earlier on in life? Like in third grade learning those times tables???)

In any case, I'm loving that learning still gets me so excited! I guess as a kid I figured that schooling-type learning ended with the visual ending of going to school. And I don't think I thought I'd be excited to keep learning and memorizing things after I finished that.  Glad to know that I get pumped up about learning still! But really, the most remarkable thing to me is that I feel so much more capable of learning, now.

(Maybe now I'll conquer those times tables. :D)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Book Review: The 10 Women You'll be Before You're 35

The 10 Women You'll be Before You're 35
Alison James
2005

I found this book on the library website while browsing on the topic of: you guessed it, My Purpose. *Chuckles*. This seems to transcend everything I do nowadays, and had become quite the cozy 'thought companion.'

The ten women James describes:
  • The new Graduate (Naive)
  • The Dollerless Diva
  • The Worker Bee
  • The Party Girl
  • The Body-concious Babe
  • The Chameleon
  • The Crisis Chick
  • Ms. Independence
  • The Wirl - half woman, half girl
  • The True You
I feel like this book is mainly a description of the author's stages of life up to age 35, but I found a few that definitely apply to me, and made me laugh so hard from the perfectness of their descriptions.

First, I was the Worker Bee. I was swept on the Worker-Bee wave out of high school, beauty school, and into university. I remained the worker bee through most of university, with intermittent semesters of The Party Girl, The Chameleon, and always the overtones of The Dollerless Diva and Ms. Independence. This quote from "Real-life tales from Ms. Independence" in the book made me fall off my chair laughing-- it could have been me! I'll put it here for your entertainment :
  • "I didn't want to hire someone to help me put my air-conditioner in my window so I did it myself. I ended up balancing it on my leg, had a huge bruise the size of North America, and also came pretty close to killing a few people by dropping it onto the sidewalk below."
I thought I'd always be Ms. Independence. Then I fell for Mr. Right and found that 2 is better than one. I thought I'd always be The Worker Bee. But then I couldn't work for 6 months and I saw the light, and now I'm really enjoying having a couple days a week off work. Coming out of that 6 months of not being able to work, I turned into the Crisis Chick. My blog has been the recipient of most of that period's musings. 

And now, the Wirl. I feel that this describes me perfectly, right now. The Wirl is half woman, half girl. She is somewhere between youth and age, freedom and responsibility, she goes back and forth between feeling like a kid and feeling like and adult. "You know you're a wirl when: 
  • You can sit in a room with someone in college and someone turning 40 and relate to both pretty well (or for me- a ten year old and an 80 year old, and have a meaningful conversation with both.)
  • You research home equity loans, tax brackets, and life insurance on the Internet. Ten minutes later you play a game on the same computer (or look up and put on hold at the library all the "Little House on the Prairie" books).
  • People who were born while you were in high school are now driving. (ok so I'm not quite there yet, but people born while I was in high school are going to YM/YW's, and even that is scary!)
  • There is a constant wave of marriages and reunions.
  • Missionaries and college grads students look so young...
A Wirl is caught between wanting to stay in her twenties forever and being excited about the future. She feels as if life is forcing her to grow up and she can't stop it. She's too young to be old but too old to be young, so that leaves her right in the middle, in a state of Wirlhood. She is still a kid with questions, issues, fears, and a need for other people in her life. She can't figure out what it really means to act her age. Why does the thought of having a child flip me out? Why does the though of NOT having a child flip me out?
Benefits of Wirlhood: She has the Perspective to laugh at her particularities of youth. She has the Versitility to get away with playing "young" or "old" in all situations. 

A couple of off-topic quotes from the book that I especially like:
  • You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. -Plato
  • Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. -G.K.Chesterton