Friday, September 26, 2008


This song is great fun! My favorites:

"Unless you want this liberal wuss in command."
"Like the change we must change to the change we hold dear."
"Then we spin you around and poke you in the rear."

For those of delicate ears, someone does call another person a donkey named Jack.

Alena has just watched it intently 3 times in a row and keeps begging me to turn it on again. I guess she is a prodigy in political satire, not zoology.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Finally for Grandparents Wong

Here's a bit of footage of Alena walking in the Big Cottonwood Canyon on Labor Day weekend.

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Waving Zoo

Alena and I went to the zoo last week with playgroup and it was just a bit disappointing. I'm not much of an animal person myself (not to mention...frugal), so I wouldn't have paid to go in myself, but I was willing to give it a shot so Alena could maybe like animals someday. Well, Alena certainly liked the zoo brochure. She sat in the stroller and looked at it for quite a while several times throughout the day. (That's our girl. It was free.) She didn't actually notice that there were any animals there though. One of the mothers was trying to help her daughter see the small frogs in the tanks, because her daughter likes frogs, while I couldn't get Alena to notice the zebras and elephants. She did enjoy looking at the other children there and eventually she started to see the animals in the small animals building. (I think because they were closer, and because she had just eaten and therefore was willing to play.) Last time we were at the zoo both Alena and I really enjoyed the bird show. Unfortunately after school starts, they don't do the bird show on weekdays. So, in the end, it was fun, but not $8 worth of fun. (I think she enjoyed herself more the last time I let her walk in the grocery store rather than sit in the cart, and that was free.)

This week we went to "Gardner Village," with playgroup, a small shopping center with a little creek with ducks, a petting zoo, pony rides, and at this time of year, witch statues. I wasn't keen on spending money for Alena to ignore animals again, but I was keen on talking to people other than the two people I normally come in contact with in a week (Kevin and Alena). Alena enjoyed looking at the other children there, and touching the pumpkins.

(Do you like those radioactive shoes? We get more comments on those shoes than you can imagine. Most of them the kind of comments where you say,"Wow! Nice shoes." but it really means "I can't believe you wore those!" But that's our frugal selves again. We got those shoes for free, and we only have one other pair of shoes that fit her, and they're for Sunday, not tromping through goat poop. They don't make many size 2 shoes that you can actually walk in. Only silly waste of money, but adorably cute infant shoes.)

Anyway, I decided to give the animals one more go. So I forked over the $2 dollars (I told you I was cheap) to go tromp through goat poop. Alena loved the part where she was walking around and not in a stroller, but she wasn't to happy about the goats and sheep taking up the whole sidewalk in places (the places with shade). Then she had to walk on the more rustic dirt and bark. She did enjoy looking at the baby piglets. They were behind a fence. She shook and shook their fence and yelled at them. She tried to touch a chicken's beak (the chicken wasn't too happy), but she would not touch the soft fur of the cute little baby goats (even I touched them and thought they were cute.) She liked waving to the animals though, especially those behind fences. In fact, there was a big pig named Sally who had her own pen. She was at the far end of it when Alena saw her. Alena went right up to the fence and waved and called to Sally. Sally must have liked her because she started lumbering toward us, grunting as she came. She put her nose right on Alena's hand on the fence. Alena crinkled her nose and started backing away, then begged for me to pick her up. So there you have it. Alena is her parents' daughter. At least she won't be begging us for a pet dog we will never allow her to have.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Overcoming Childhood Trauma.

Disclaimer: There's no need to feel sorry for me. Every childhood has trauma, and the majority of children have it far worse than I did. Plus I was generally happy throughout my life, so it couldn't have been that bad.

The summer after third grade I went to basketball camp. I was SO excited to learn how to play basketball. I had a great time. When it came time for the tournament at the end of the couple of weeks I was the cheerleader for my team. I organized everyone on the bench with me to shout different things, and it was really quite fun as I remember it. My mom wasn't that happy about it. In fact to this day she's not terribly fond of the guy that was in charge. (Today on the phone she brought him up and talked for at least 10 minutes about how that guy shouldn't be allowed to deal with children.) Mostly because he benched me for pretty much the whole tournament and I was a third grader. That's when I started to figure out that "cheer leader" pretty much meant I wasn't good at basketball. The next year I played on an extra-curricular volleyball team. My team never won a game, but once again I had a lot of fun. That could be how I later received the yearbook title "Most Optimistic Senior Girl."

That was pretty much the end of my athletic career. In gym class I stayed close enough to the ball to get the participation points, but far enough away so no one would yell at me. I took the kicks in the shins by ninth grade boys with a smile and a giggle that "he noticed me." I did take a weight training class in tenth grade that I really liked and was reasonably good at. But really I spend my time becoming a choir nerd, a band nerd, a drama geek, and a member of the speech team.

One of the prerequisites for my major was a PE class called "Skill Acquisition and Analysis." In it they taught us with simple instructions how to do things like throw a baseball, shoot a basketball, and do a somersault. I never realized that someone could teach you those things step by step. I always thought I was doomed to throw like a girl forever. I was thrilled to find out I wasn't. I even thanked my professor for helping me to not be a pathetic dweeb (not in so many words). She told me she thought I was always athletic. That made me laugh. What was she thinking?

In the few years since, I've come to believe that I could have been athletic had someone taught me step by step. It's like people who say they can't draw, or they can't do math, or they can't sing. It's just not true. Perhaps it doesn't come as easily to them as to someone else, but that does NOT mean they don't have an aptitude for learning. It's all about breaking it down and teaching people step by step. You don't take a Chemistry class because you already know everything about Chemistry, you take it to learn. You shouldn't have to go into a PE class and have the teacher expect you do be able to do everything already. They should teach you how, step by step.

The other night I got a phone call telling me that I had a church volleyball game the following evening and could I please call everyone on my team. I wondered why on earth she thought I should be the captain. Turns out it was because I was the first person on the list whose phone number she could read. Anyway, I called lots of people (this visiting teaching calling has made it a teensy bit easier to make phone calls) and several of them went to the game with me.

It was a BLAST!! I had so much fun! I was the worst player on the court. I don't say that out of some sense of false modesty or asking for compliments from those who were there. I only say it because I was. I don't feel sorry for myself that I was the worst, I just was. But that didn't mean that I didn't have fun, and it doesn't mean that I "can't play volleyball" and now that I'm not in middle school and I'm not playing EQ basketball, it doesn't mean people were yelling at me the whole time. What it does mean, is that for the first time in my life, I can look forward to being the most improved by the end of the season. (I always groaned when teachers said we would be graded on improvement, because I always studied hardest for the first test, and by acing it allowed myself to slack off at the end. Not the best plan for improvement.)

There were lots of people on the team that I could tell had played volleyball for real at some point. They jumped beautifully and their form on their spikes looked like real live volleyball players. It was beautiful to watch. And guess what? I could learn to do that myself. I really could. I'm willing to bet that those girls, at one time in their life, didn't do it so beautifully. They probably were taught step by step and practiced a boatload in order to do it. I'm also willing to bet that if someone taught me step by step and I practiced about three and a half boatloads, I could do it. Isn't that encouraging? So, don't you dare tell me you can't sing, and I promise to never again say "I stink at sports." I'll just give it a try instead.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Major Accomplishment

Yesterday I had 6 dozen cookies sitting on my counter all day, because I was in charge of the refreshments for the Visiting Teaching Interviews last night and buying cookies was the easiest way to do that. They weren't stupid cookies either, they were bakery cookies. The kind I could eat a dozen of without even trying. Then I went to the Visiting Teaching Interviews and I was sort of the welcome girl, so I sat with the cookies and chatted with people. I watched people eat them, and smelled them for more than 2 hours. I was surprised at how many people didn't eat a cookie. Until a few weeks ago that never would have crossed my mind. "Only one" might have crossed it but "No thanks" was unheard of. I was one of those people that didn't eat a cookie.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Awesome new song!

So, I recently decided not to watch sitcoms anymore because they're full of crud, and it cruddies up my brain and I don't like that much. So that leaves me with Food Network, the Learning Channel, The History Channel, CNN, and FOX news for when I need a good 20 minute escape from the mommy treadmill that is my life. I wish you could learn on the learning channel and I wish they had history on the history channel. Oh, it also leaves me with KBYU, where I have recently found great joy. You know all those rumors that went around middle school about Sesame street cutting Bert and Ernie as well as Cookie Monster? Lies! Isn't that just great news? I think it is. Alena also likes the news and she and I recently found what I think is my new favorite song:

P.S. and this is important: There was another post posted the same day as this one, it's one you shouldn't miss as it showcases my fabulous hubby and my adorable baby. Be sure to keep scrolling past this weak-toast post. Haha. Toast post.

Giggly giggling girl

This video is from over a month ago, but it's so cute that I had to post it. Plus my parents were begging for more video. No walking is involved (it took place when she was just starting to walk), but there are a lot of giggles!

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hypocrisy Politics

It's interesting to me that the conservative response to the whole "Bristol Palin is 17 and pregnant" thing is to point fingers at liberals and cry hypocrisy. It seems to me that by doing so, we avoid the real issues, and, at best appear, at worst become hypocrites ourselves.

For example:
Liberal: Having a 17 year old pregnant daughter should disqualify Sarah Palin . She should withdraw.
Conservative: But you didn't care that Bill Clinton was unfaithful, and it was him who was doing it, not his daughter. So, you're a hypocrite, and Sarah Palin rules!
Simulated liberal response: But you didn't like the whole Bill Clinton thing, so why do you still think Sarah Palin rules? Hypocrite!

I've seen many conservatives react this way, even when there's no liberal around. Perhaps we should concentrate on why this issue isn't an issue for us. There are lots of legitimate reasons to forget about the whole thing, for instance:
  • It's not Sarah Palin's mistake, it's her daughter's.
  • Bristol is taking responsibility for her actions and has chosen to act responsibly, and *gasp!* so has her boyfriend. That changes a whole lot. Even the evangelical right believes in forgiveness.
  • It's not Sarah Palin that's pregnant. (I realize that's redundant, but isn't that the point?)
  • It's opening a huge can of disgusting worms to decide that parents are responsible for all of the mistakes of their children. I think most parents, when asked if they would like to take that responsibility would say no thank you. There are loads of good parents whose children make big mistakes. Adam and Even had one.
  • Bristol is not running for vice president, her mother is, and her mother is neither 17 nor pregnant.
Now, those of us fanning the fire of this hot "news" story should be ashamed of ourselves. (I guess this blog would be included in that.) For once the candidates have got it right, and they agree with each other. The media, and the rest of us should leave the children out of it. When I read that Barak Obama had said that, for the first time in my adult lifetime I was really proud of him.

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