Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Maddening

Question: How much of this recession is a result of people acting on media-driven perceptions? My husband thinks it's about 100%.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Twilight: The Book vs. The Movie

Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1) I read this book as a preview check before giving it to my daughter for her 12th birthday last year. I came so close to tossing it a hundred times before I got to the last few chapters when the action began. I found Meyer's writing mediocre at best. Her descritive phrases are redundant (i.e., "...his eyes tightened"). Her heroine is such a poor model for teenage girls--here's a girl who sees nothing good or worthy within herself and becomes so enamored by her "love" that she is willing to kill/destroy herself for him depending on whether she thinks he loves her or not. Teenage girls have enough issues without romanticizing the problems that are already rampant among them.

I saw the movie last weekend and liked it very much--I thought it was well done. In fact, it was one of the very few movies I've ever seen that I thought was actually better than the book. It got rid of most of the nauseating descriptions of Edward's perfection and created a much more tolerable Bella. At least it kept her "I can't live without you" manic episode to a hospital room where it could be partly written off as trauma.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pie Night--A History

Well, it's that time of year again when I go a little crazy and bake every kind of pie on the planet--okay, it FEELS like I do. The crazy thing is I love doing it.
Many years ago, when the big kids were littles, we started a tradition of asking each of them what their favorite pie was and making sure we included it on our Thanksgiving menu. We also started having several guests over and including each of their favorites as well. As our family increased to its full size of 10, it wouldn't be unusual for us to have 20+ for Thanksgiving dinner and for me to make 12 to 15 pies (there were duplicate requests plus I make at least two of each of the big 3--pumpkin, pecan, and apple).

Of course with all this pie baking we had leftovers, but that was okay because the morning after is "Pie for Breakfast Day" which my kids consider part of the Thanksgiving holiday and I consider an absolute necessity after so much kitchen work the two days previous--it allows me to stay in bed and have happy kids who aren't pestering me or each other. It's wonderful.

Then a friend of mine invited us to our very first Pie Night. She held it on Thanksgiving "Eve" and invited many friends and neighbors to come, bring a pie if desired, and enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving dessert before you were too full. How fun! We really enjoyed it and it was especially fun to get together with everyone--it reminded us of how thankful we were for good friends!

Then we moved to Saipan. I love what a great place this is to live and raise a family (with the exception of the fact that it is so darned far away from aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and the chicks that leave the nest and move back to the States), but at first it needed a few tweaks to make it feel a little more like home, so I decided to invite friends over and have a Pie Night--on Thanksgiving night instead of the day before.

Our friends have become our extended family here--Pie Night gives us a chance to share the holiday with more of them and unload some of the pie as well. Guests can bring pies that are leftover from their dinner or not--no matter. We eat pie, play games, talk, have sing-alongs. In the past the girls have danced (island-style). Downstairs we have a movie going to settle the kids down a little--this year it'll be the b&w version of "Miracle on 34th Street."

I really miss our family back home, but I am incredibly thankful for the people who have given us family here. I love them all.

Pie Night. I can't wait!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I'm gonna be a grandma...and grandpa plays the banjo.

Life don't get much better than that--oh yeah. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Elder Conner

Well, he's off! Sam went into the MTC on October 15th, had a wonderful experience there, and is now serving in Hawaii. We received an email from his mission president telling us he had arrived safely and is with his first companion in his first area, but they didn't tell us where that was! So he's somewhere on either one of the Hawaiian Islands, Johnston Atoll, or Midway Island. Somewhere. Oh well, I'm sure we'll hear soon enough.
Sam intended to get his hair cut before he left Saipan, but when we got home from Maine he found out that the barber that he usually went to had gone out of business, so he and Casey just decided they would have it cut in Utah before he went into the MTC. They never did and he went in with long(ish) hair. As you can see, that has been rectified!!


I'm pretty much a family-post blogger with a few tirades thrown in here and there, but this email from my son-in-law made me think about something my husband had pointed out to me. I've included my response.

Here is an interesting quote from Elder Maxwell given in 1979. I thought of Proposition 8 in California when I read this. -Michael

"Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had 'never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life.'

"This is hard doctrine, but it is particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ...Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. . . This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions.

"Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened...Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself. Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, 'summer is nigh.' Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat."
Elder Neal A. Maxwell"A More Determined Discipleship", Ensign, Feb 1979, pgs. 69-73

When Elder Maxwell says, "...others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness..." and "...having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds..." I thought of the millions of [racial minorities in the U.S.] who voted during this last presidential election, many for the first time, having been stirred to hope by the candidacy of Barak Obama. Millions of voters who have a great tendency to be socially conservative when it comes to family values. Thanks for the quote. Mum

Monday, November 03, 2008


A website I ran into that's worth checking out before Tuesday--Project Vote Smart. A somewhat non-partisan (or at least multi-partisan), site with candidate bios, voting records, issue positions, etc. all in one place.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Hey! It's Our Anniversary!

Yes, he's one of the Good Guys--they do exist. Overly kind, overly generous, overly thoughtful, and overly attractive/attracted--all toward ME! And he's kept it up for 28 years. He's a wonder.

People Are Just People

Do we have to classify people by something other than good or bad? Friend or foe? I get so tired of discrimination and so-called "reverse" discrimination (you know, instead of "we're good and they're bad" it's "they're good and we're bad").

I understand applying identifiable descriptions to people ("Oh you know--she's an American, black, about 35, drives a red Corolla."), but to actually put character attributes, positive or negative, to people because of the color of their skin, the country of their birth, etc. . . . come on.

I'm not totally unaware of general cultural effects on people's behavior--Americans tend to be more assertive, Japanese more fastidious, Islanders more laid back, etc.--but to either hate people because of a circumstance of birth or wear your "love" of them as a badge of honor I don't get.

There's been a lot of efforts, in the U.S. anyway--I don't know about other countries--both promoting and attempting to do away with discrimination over the years, but unless we can rail on someone or praise someone because of their choices and not their circumstances, I don't think it's going to happen. Wouldn't it be great to put aside "political correctness" for just plain old goodness? Couldn't we recognize our diversities, but celebrate our commonalities? Until we do, I doubt we'll ever have what I'd like to think we're all looking for.

"I hate them, they're black." "Handicapped people are so sweet." "I can't stand people from California." "Poor people are so humble." Oh really? Ugh.