Friday, March 28, 2008

Look Out! Political post to follow!

According to KSL news the mayor and city council of LaVerkin, one of the many strangely named cities in this state, have decided to forgo their salaries due to a $200,000 mistake brought to light by an audit. They apparently will refuse pay until the problem is taken care of. There was no mention in the article of a tax increase, although I'm sure that will follow, the key word being "follow," their responsible actions. There was also no talk of sending out tax rebates in order to alleviate an economic recession caused in part by irresponsible leaders leading the country into crushing debt, thus devaluing the dollar. (I realize that my understanding of the economy is simple to the point of probably being wrong. I blame the fact that I took economics at ICC.)

OK, so where did this mayor and city council come from? According to the comments I have read on the KSL website, LaVerkin is full of citizens who would "throw a tizzy" if their leaders said they were going to fix their mistake by having the people pay for it. Which leads me to my main point.

I did not cause the national debt.

If I didn't, who did?

Most likely the people who have, or have had, any control over the national budget. What if we held them responsible for their actions? I wonder what would happen then. I would definately reelect a senator who had given up his $165,200/year salary to put toward the national debt. Which leads me to my next big point.

Why the heck am I paying Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, and John McCain $165,200 to NOT go to work this year?


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Book Tag

I got book-tagged a long time ago. A very long time ago. However, at the time I was reading two books that I didn't want to share. I just didn't want you know know I was wasting time with such poor examples of literature as they were. They were both extremely cheesy. I actually checked the 5th sentence on page 123 of both of them and it seemed to me that they were the cheesiest parts of the whole book. So, I cheated and waited. I knew a good book would come around soon enough, and although it's not really fair, I'm doing it anyway. The book tag works this way: You pick up the nearest book and turn to page 123 and find the 5th sentence. You then proceed to put the 5-8th sentences on the blog. So, at least I didn't do it when the closest book to me was my choice of the bookshelf, because that really would have been cheating. Nor did I choose a different page of this book, because this page is kind of weird. So I only cheated a little bit, or I suppose a lot a bit, but less than I could have. Here you have it:

Hassan's elder son, Reza, threw a bucket of water to wash it away, and it ran in pink rivulets to the children's feet. They watched quietly, wrapped in thick scarves and gloves on their way to school, eyes wide at Maryam. She smiled at them and Noruz clapped her hands, stepping over the carcass to wave them away.

Don't worry, the carcass is the sheep they're going to have for dinner that night. The book is The Saffron Kitchen by Yasmin Crowther. I'm really enjoying it, although I just know the main character is going to make the wrong decision between the two men. Gah! I wish authors and song writers, and movie producers knew what real love was so they could write, sing, or produce it instead of the garbage they think is romantic. But that my friends is a post for another day. I've got all kinds of ideas on that front just bubbling at the surface of my blog writing fingers. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Change of Heart

The school year of 2006-2007 was a rough one for me. A combination of too many students (between 35 and 38 depending on the time of year), a few really tough kids mixed in with too many students, an age group not ideal for my personality, and (most of all) insane pregnancy hormones made for lots of time spent in the hallway trying not to explode all over my class. I had promised them I wouldn't yell at them and that when I was about to yell I would go into the hallway and wait for them to regain control of themselves while I regained control of myself. I broke that promise at least twice and spent many afternoons in the hallway keeping it. They asked me during one of our "ask Mrs. Wong" sessions, a reward for good behavior a lot like truth or dare without the dare, toward the end of the year if I would miss them. I told them that yes I would miss them . . . eventually. I explained that just like they wouldn't miss me until partway through the summer, because they were having too much fun, it would take me a while to miss them.

Well it took me longer than until partway through the summer. In fact until just recently when I looked at pictures of them, even of the angel students, it would bring a knot to my stomach. Mostly because I felt horrible for the childish feelings I had and things I did that year.
Also because of the childish feelings I was still harboring about a few of my more challenging students. If you are reading this, and you are one of my students, I'm absolutely positive that you were a student I adored, due to the simple fact that the challenging students didn't really like me . . . at all, and thus I'm sure have not taken the time to check up on me.

Well last week I was stuck in a chair, as often happens when you are the mother of a nursing baby, and I turned to the history channel. On the history channel was a documentary of a man. This documentary reminded me of one of the students who challenged me. This student didn't like me much, and was not secretive of those feelings. That or the secrecy was a complete and utter failure. My wounded pride colored my views of the things this student did, which only made things between us worse and worse. Said student did the "dead dude" report on the man featured in the documentary.

As I thought about this, I was surprised to realize that there was no knot in my stomach. I was even more surprised that the memories in my mind were fond ones. I realized something that I hadn't noticed at the time the student did the report. This student had a real thirst for knowledge about the man in the documentary, a quality I highly admire. I found myself glued to the documentary, in an attempt to be more like the student I had had such trouble just getting along with before. It sure felt good to realize that I had finally gotten over my selfish and childish feelings toward someone I should have loved. I wish I still had this student's mother's email address so I could find out how life's going in Junior High.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, Ladies and Gentlemen, I miss you. I hope you understand that it's my fault not yours that it took so long. I hope you can forgive me for being ornery on occasion, and I hope life in 7th grade is just fabulous. Remember what I used to say: if you know who you are and you like yourself, it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. It looks like I still had some of that lesson to learn. I probably still do.

P.S. I realize that it's laborious to read "student" so many times, but I didn't want to reveal the gender of the student, nor did I want to use "it" or "he/she." I hope you can wade through it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

7½ months

Time really does fly. I was going to write this retrospection a month ago, but procrastination took over, and Alena is now over 7½ months old!

I've learned a lot in the last 7 months - about children, being a parent, and myself. Children (we're talking babies, here) are so innocent and trusting. They take interest in the smallest things. It always amazes me how long Alena can sit in one spot and be occupied by the grout between the tile, or a sock on her foot. It makes me wonder if I ever take the time to appreciate something so relatively insignificant. I realize that, since she was born, I have somewhat slowed my life down. My constant thirst for always doing something was replaced by an appreciation of life and peace. I could sit in the living room for an hour playing with Alena or just having her asleep in my arms, and I wouldn't consider it a waste of time. I've come to realize that time spent with family and friends is even more valuable than earning money or getting other things accomplished. The opportunity cost of missing a money-making opportunity can be quantified in dollars, but that of missing quality time with family and friends is immeasurable. I have an increasing understanding of achieving balance in my life.

As I reflect on Alena's current likes & dislikes, I see the joy that can be had in the simple things of life:

Her likes
  • Daddy's homecoming
  • Tags (on stuffed animals, blankets, bibs, etc.)
  • Someone getting her from her crib
  • Her sippy cup
  • Seeing her food
  • Playing the piano with Daddy
  • People looking at her
  • Sucking on the washcloth
Her dislikes
  • Sleeves (well, she's okay with the sleeves themselves, it's just getting into or out of them that she doesn't like)
  • Lying on her back
  • Being in a room by herself
  • Having her face wiped
I've also learned that I would fail miserably at being a stay-at-home parent. I think the biggest thing is, though I have learned to slow down and appreciate things, I still need to get things done so I can feel productive. I admire Talyn's ability to shift the focus of her life from her (& me) to Alena. I admire the patience she has with her in finding out what the problem is if something's wrong. I admire the incredible amount of love that she has for our daughter and for the attention she gives her. I admire the diligence she has in learning about caring for children, and using that knowledge to raise our child. I know that I couldn't do it alone.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's raining

Or at least the ground is wet, and this is what I have to say about that: Hallelujah!

I love the rain, but that is not why I'm cheering. I'm cheering because rain means I can't go out and do yard work today, or at least I have an excuse solid enough to satisfy myself. Yesterday I spent several hours outside working and whispering to myself about 4 million times, "Don't bend over. Squat." I whispered that for 3 reasons:
1. It's better for your back.
2. I didn't want my hamstrings to ache for two days like last time I spend a day in the yard.
3. My yard work jeans have a patched, yet obvious hole in a location only visible when I bend over.

Today my muscles say, "Next time bend over, don't squat." That means good job me. Who cares about toned hamstrings anyway? Toned quads are where it's at. But today I'm thinking toned quads are overrated. I think I'll stay inside, watch TV, and eat cookies all day.

I think it's interesting that I feel that way now because that's not how I felt earlier this morning. I got up to feed Alena after 4 hours of sleep last night. That's normal. What wasn't normal was that I couldn't go back to sleep afterward. I just lay there awake wondering what I could do. I considered reading, but I've been disappointed with both of the books I have checked out from the library. I thought about getting up to watch TV, but I knew there would be nothing on, and I didn't want to sit on our incredibly uncomfortable futon with my fabulously toned quads. I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to get back out. The other thing I thought of doing surprised me, and it surprised me that I actually really wanted to do it. That was going out back and working on the step ladder to pull down last year's morning glory to make room for this year's. I seriously almost did it. The only thing that stopped me was that it probably wasn't safe to do that in the middle of the night in the dark.

It's too bad, because I sure don't want to do that now. I wish it were already done. Next time I can't sleep and have a strange desire to do work, I think I'll do it. You gotta use those urges while you've got them.

Oh no. The sun is starting to shine in through my window. I think I'll just ignore it for a while.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Flaps, Kicks, and Giggles

In addition to being able to entertain herself for long periods of time:

Alena is loads of fun to play with:

As you can see in the first video, she's working on learning to fly, just like in one of her daddy's favorite movies, Chicken Run. She's also learning to wave, although at the moment it looks a bit more like "gimme gimme!" She just wants to be able to see the fingers moving since that's the fun part. You've had your whole life to see fingers moving, so just give her a chance for once. Sometimes she sits and talks to herself and rearranges the toys around her for several minutes. I know someone else who would organize his toys and thought it was entertaining... Although the defining characteristics of Alena's organization are not apparent to her parents.

The last few videos are a poor representation, because she's never quite as fabulously hilarious when the camera is out. On the last one she had been giggling for quite some time, but we only got 10 seconds before she was tired of being tickled.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Calling people in the area

I'm going to take a belly dancing class through continuing education. In the hopes of having some friends in the class and making sure it has enough people enrolled to go I'm inviting all the cool people who read this blog and live around here to do it with me. It's only $25 for 8 weeks of class starting on Tuesday the 25 of March from 6:45 until 8:00 P.M. the the middle school in West Jordan. Now, lest my mother think I'm scandalous (I don't expect Jordan is reading this...) belly dancing is really just folk dancing from the middle east where traditionally it is done by men, women, and children at parties for fun. Think of it as square dancing.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Family Portraits

A few weeks ago, we went to the JC Penney Portrait studio to get some family pictures taken. Of course, we didn't pay full price - I had been saving a coupon that gave us a free 8x10 print and no sitting fees. (you didn't think that we actually paid full price for something, did you?) We also bought a couple extra sheets of pictures with our two favorite poses, then went home and took our own pictures, emulating some of the other poses (to the best of our ability) in front of the shower curtain. Feel free to view our favorites here.