Dec 30, 2007

The raging throat plague of death

Remember how I posted just a bit ago about cold and flu remedies? Well, guess what. They do help, immensely. Particularly when you're PG and can't really do the normal meds,(which,in my family, we avoid anyway) or when there's not much a dr can prescribe to quicken/relieve things.

Case in point: The Raging Throat Plague of Death. It starts with the typical itchy-throat, sneezing, congestion symptoms. Then it moves on to stabbing pain in the larynx, extremely irritated/swollen bronchial passages, uncontrollable coughing that causes more stabbage in the larynx area, and then when the fever pitch of the illness passes,you're left with a deluge of awful goo to somehow rid yourself of,mostly through mintues-long, uncontrollable bouts of coughing.

Do I sound like I'm whining? Well, I am. I'm so glad I'm almost done with this... what a nasty bug it was. I can't remember having been ill like this, at least, not in a long time. It will be nice to be able to be a normal, 9-month-pregnant woman again and not a bedridden, 9-months-pregnant-woman who cannot do much more than keep the kids from stabbing each other with blunt paintbrush ends, barely keep up with the dishes(forget the laundry, I have an everest of clean clothes awaiting folding in my bedroom) and serve PBJ's and grapes for every meal.

The saddest thing of all,though.... Skywalker's coming down with it now. As we speak, he's lying in the middle of the floor, listening to itunes on his headphones, his head propped up on a santa-claus hat. It doesn't look very comfortable. I'll have to offer him my pillow in just a second.

At any rate, this illness is going around. Everyone's getting it—the two- week chest cold. Called, by the way, bronchiolitis(or, conversely, RSV if contracted by a baby). This worries me... we'll have to keep our newborn close and out of contact with the public for a while. And hopefully Skywalker's two- week bout will be over by the time I deliver... maybe a small prayer or two would be good.

Thanks for listening to my whining.

Dec 23, 2007

A donkey ride

As you may or may not know, I'm expecting a baby in mid January. A funny coincidence; my duedate with this little guy (we know it's going to be a boy this time) is the exact same duedate I had for Loli. They could be born on the same day.

With Loli's pregnancy, I don't remember how I felt around Christmastime. It could be that life was too stressful to concentrate much on issues other than school, my deteriorating marriage, and the upcoming first-birth experience.

This time I've had the opportunity to relax, be a mom, really consider this pregnancy and how I feel, what it means. And today I had a sudden thought.


She had a lot of stress during this time in her pregnancy. She felt probably the same way I do-- like only the perfect position with lots of pillow-propping will keep her various joints from grinding agaist each other, like staying in any position for long enough would render her pretty much crippled and unable to walk.

I wonder to myself, did Joseph and Mary try to convince the officials in charge of sending people on their way to be taxed, to let Mary stay home? Obviously, she had to go, despite her advanced pregnant state. She did, dutifully. She rode a donkey for how many miles?

I'm picturing myself, riding a donkey over rough terrain in the state I'm in...

And I have to say that Mary was a very strong woman.

And I have to say further... the donkey ride was probably what brought her labor on. Not even probably. It WAS, for sure. Maybe I should try it in a couple of weeks.

:) I hope you all have fun with family and friends, all have the Spirit of Christ in your homes, and that none of you are hampered by any incelement weather we will have over these next few days. Drive safe, and have a Merry Christmas.

Dec 21, 2007

The Christmas Campaign

OK. These speak for themselves. Seriously. Who needs The Onion or JibJab when they have opportunistic politicians trying to squeeze every last drop of propaganda they can out of the last few weeks left before primaries, and those few weeks happen to coincide with the holidays? I hope you laugh as much as I did. Hilary and Guliani in particular gave me goosebumps.. and not the good kind.

Romney's is a little different... no mention of Christmas. After viewing these others... maybe that's smart?

Dec 18, 2007

Tips for Cold and Flu season #2

Here's a list of home remedies, some passed down from my family, some from Skywalker's, some I've discovered on my own.

For a cold/cough/sore throat:

1) Get a large, unmatched sock. (I know you've got a few of those lying around). Fill it with rice, put some cinnamon and cloves in and shake it all around and tie it off very securely. Heat in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350. Place it upon the chest/throat/wherever needs comfort. Really good for chest colds.

2) Peppermint essential oils. Take a couple of drops, rub it on the chest, throat, the tip of the nose, and if you have a sinus infection, do your forehead and below your cheekbones, too. Will make your eyes water. do NOT get it anywhere near your eyes, or it will really make your eyes water. I've found this to be a huge help with pain relief and with getting congestions loosened up.

3) Hot herbal tea. If you want, you can do echinacea tea and kill two birds with one stone, but personally I prefer something nice like blueberry or mandarin spice. A little honey soothes the throat, as well.

4) A long, hot bath/shower. If you're having trouble coughing during a chest cold, this will help. Add some Melaleuca (tea tree oil) to the bath water for extra help with decongesting.

5) If you don't have time for bath/shower, boil a saucepan of water and put five or so drops of tea tree oil in. When the steam starts rising, lean over it and inhale.

6) Lots and lots of vitamin c. 2000 mg. Will loosen up/reduce congestion and help your body fight off the invaders.

7) Echinacea is a homeopathic remedy, which means it aggravates the immune system to get it to act... take it with care, and take it mostly when you feel you're coming down with something (at the beginning of the illness). Do not take it when you're pregnant.

8) Olive leaf powder is a powerful antimicrobial herb. Take it carefully, only one or two capsules with some vitamin C, perhaps twice a day.

9) Young Living brand essential oil: Theives blend. Dilute it, a drop or two in several drops of olive oil. Put it on your chest/throat. There's a throat spray too, haven't tried it but I'm sure it works.

10) Colloidal silver. You can get it in spray form, it's great for throat infections; spray directly on the throat. It's also good for pinkeye, put drops/spray directly in eye.

11) Iodine. You can get a special kind in health food stores that comes in a little dropper bottle... put drops on the back of the tongue and swallow, right before bed. Don't eat or drink anything a while so that it can have its full effect.

12) Avoid the fruit juices. Drink some, yes, but make it mostly water. Sugars of any kind will feed the infection, especially if it's a bacterial infection.

13) Carrot Juice. Very soothing on the throat, and very, very good for the immune system.

14) Make sure you're getting enough protein, avoid the carbs. Carbs are sugars, essentially. Especially simple carbs (sweets, white breads, corn syrup in juices/sweeteners.) Eggs are good, but if your illness is in your lungs, be careful because eggs aren't good for the lungs. I hate to say this, but meats might be the option. Broths, specifically... beef or chicken broth. IN my vegetarian family, we do miso/bonita broth with lots and lots of onions.

15) speaking of onions... very, very good for the lungs. Make a broth out of them to fight off chest infections, especially.

16) Garlic/Cayenne capsules. Cayenne pepper is a really great way to get some vitamin c and to loosen stuff up. MAKE SURE YOU EAT SOMETHING WITH IT. and if you're prone to heartburn, you might want to do something else.

17) Garlic is great for ear infections. Garlic oil on a cotton swab inside the ear for a while, then take it out and lay with the infected ear downward for drainage.

Just to let you know... this time around, I'm also taking sudafed at night so I can sleep. I think it's good to avoid the meds as much as possible, but sometimes you gotta weigh this against your sanity. If you're a mom who will have to wake up to kids in the morning, make sure you get a full night's sleep.

The end!

Dec 16, 2007

An empty place

It's funny, living in a ward as a married woman. It seems like after marriage, there is so much more that you have in common with the women around you. All the sudden rituals and repercussions that follow a marraige; for instance, writing of thank-you-notes, the stressful business of moving into a new place and setting up housekeeping. There's the newly married stage that all go through, where you might or might not be supporting yourself and a spouse during school. And there's babies: pregnancy, showers, birth, blessings. You're fussy and nervous when your first one comes. You devote all your energy during that first nine months to reading every pregnancy book you can get your hands on. You spend all of your day playing, looking at, and caring for her. And then the next one comes. And the next.

It's a sudden bond between you and other women who've been through the same thing.

There's this woman in my ward. SHe had her first baby about a year ago, a little girl. I, just like every other mother in the ward, commiserated with her once or twice about pregnancy, and admired the cute hair bows and little dresses she put on her baby. Those chubby little cheeks, the little round fuzzy head, I can see it now. The blessing, with the baby swaddled in a trailing white gown.

Her baby died last Thursday.

There's something about that that is incomprehensible to me, and completely, tearingly comprehendable as well. We try not to worry, as mothers. We do our best to do all that we can, and pray that God makes up for the rest; keeps them safe from all that we can't keep them from. The fear of losing a child is a red light at the back of each of our minds, and we pay as little heed to it as possible, because such things can drive you mad, make you into a fearful, controlling person.

But it happens.

I can't imagine not having Loli. Not having Jaws streaking around the living room, holding up her baba and asking for more "nohk." (milk.) Having her get up from her little toddle bed at 6:30 and push my door open and start chattering cheerfully about how she wants to get up, how she slept, how she wants breakfast (I can only understand one or two words of course).

My heart is full today, as I think of the mother who has lost her child. Who will be burying her on Monday. Who will have nothing but pictures left, until in fifty or so years it's her time to join her little child. The baby suffered terribly from an rare intestinal infection that was going around here this summer. They couldn't diagnose it at first. By the time they did, her little body was already dying. She was hospitalized and on various forms of support for a month. She's in a better place now, but there's a gaping, raw wound, there, for the family... an obvious empty place in their home.

Please, say a prayer for this woman and her husband. Keep her in your thoughts today. Pray for any comfort and peace that they might be given. I'll be praying with you.

Dec 15, 2007

Seven Random things :)

I've been tagged by margaret.

Here goes:

1) I can't handle stuff on my floors or surfaces. Big overflowing box o' random toys and shoes all mixed up standing in the corner= OK. Pile of neatly folded blankets on the couch that really ought to go in the linen closet= OK. Small piece of kleenex in the middle of my carpet= not OK.

2) My favorite movie star is Robin Williams. Yes, I know he does dirty slapstick, and that when he's let loose, he's really quite foul. But he is sooooo good at evoking empathy in the viewer, whether he's playing a medical student with clinical depression, or a blue cartoon genie. I think part of the reason why I like him is that his face and way of talking remind me of my dad. I cried when he got his oscar for best supporting actor in Good Will Hunting. (which I haven't seen, but wish I could. Too bad the language turned it into an R movie).

3) One of my lifelong dreams is to get really buff and fit so that I can climb any mountain in the world. Conversely, I'm scared of heights, and so I know that Everest isn't in my list of goals. Probably not Maccu piccu, kilamanjaro, or really any other extremely high, slippery sort of place. So in the end, I guess it's best to stick to places like Timp and Castle peak, back home (which I can just barely handle).

4) I really, really, really don't think brad pitt is cute. My first celebrity crush: Bill Pullman. I was 15. While You Were Sleeping has influenced my taste in guys ever since. I also think that Johnny dep is hotter than orlando bloom, and I never went through a Leo phase. I must admit though, that Mattew Mcconaghuey is godlike in his beauty.

5) I try to read poetry, but it's so frustrating. I love poems with good images, but I can never really get what the writer is talking about until I've read it through at least five times, with significant times to relax my brain in between. And yet I try to write it myself.

6) I'm a democrat, but I don't like Hillary or Nancy at all. And I voted for bush last time. (really regretting it). So in truth, I'm probably an independent, but where I live, a moderate political view means you're a democrat. Sometimes. Mostly, I think I like to SAY I'm a democrat because I've met a few too many self-righteous republicans, and in the end, I'm just as self-righteous about my own "moderate" political views.

7) I've only kissed three men. I didn't marry only one of them.

K, I guess I've got to tag some people... Camilla, Michelle, Jer or Rachel, Maren, Lucy, and Sherpa. If you want. :)

Dec 13, 2007

I've joined...

I have now been admitted to the bloggernacle choir as a first alto. This is the part that I have sung in any choir I've ever been in, and I intend to stick to what I know.

here's a link to a soft answer,the blog of the man who runs the LDS blog listings. I'll be putting it on my sidebar, too.

This is the link to LDS and Mormon blogs, a wonderful congregation of mormon writers/thinkaholics.

Thank you, powers that be!

Dec 12, 2007

snow day!!!

Here are some pictures from about a week ago. Two of them are mine, of them is my sister's.

Don't they make cute eskimos?

Dec 11, 2007

my slideshow

Some things are hard to see, or think about. But we should think about them anyway, because maybe it'll motivate us to change or do something about them.

I took a sociology class in college—current social problems. We were divided into groups and asked to each review a topic and do a presentation on it. The presentation that I was responsbile for was entitled, "Genocide, Hatred and Violence."

Holy cow. Not a fun topic, right?

The sad thing is, these things happen. To people like you and me. I know this isn't very Christmasy of me, but I wanted to post this slideshow (I put it together for this class.) I feel like, around Christmas time, it's easy for people (myself included) to get caught up in things that aren't important. My little ponies. Polly pockets. When there are kids out there who don't have parents, a clean place to sleep, or enough food to keep them healthy. We have so much, those of us with the luxury of a roof over our heads, fast-food restaraunts, and a laptop to blog with. So... this video. Watch it. Cry a little; I do. And then think, "what can I do about it?" That's the clincher. We can do plenty. There are people out there who spend all of their time and money helping people in these situations. And there are people who spend their whole lives preaching against these very things; Genocide, hatred, and violence. Even social awareness, even that, being willing to connect with these people who have suffered so much, is something important.

Dec 6, 2007

Romney addresses Religion

I'm amazed... he actually did it.

Agree or disagree, like or dislike, Romney's speech on religion and state, and his own personal convictions, brought tears to my eyes. It's about twenty minutes long, but Definitely Worth A Listen.

Dec 5, 2007

The Democratic Debate, hosted by NPR

I LOVED this debate. Here is the short summary of how I think things came off:

1) Hilary Clinton. She's the most polished-sounding of the candidates, and she has a sort of "above it all" thing going for her. In the polls, and in the way she discusses the issues. I like her views on Iraq to a point; her views on Iran scare me a little. She sounds like she'd be OK with going to war with Iran at some point. Possibly the most experienced of the candidates, possibly the most qualified. She and Joe Biden are about equally both, I think.

2) Barack Obama. Stumbled over his words a little. Still sounds inexperienced and a touch idealistic, but his views on Iran, Iraq, China, and especially illegal immigration really resonate with me. He's getting more and more specific with his ideas of alternatives to the way things are now, and I like what I'm hearing. Perhaps the most likeable of the candidates, or at least, seems to be the most earnest and heartfelt (to me.)

3) Joe Biden. I love Joe Biden! Wow, what a guy. He is someone I would trust not to judge hastily, but who I would also trust not to be pressured or to go with the status quo simply because it is. Very experienced in foreign relations, which will be VITAL in this next presidency. I like what he had to say on Iran and on China... I felt that his views on China were actually the most wise, the most balanced, and the most feasible. He and Hillary actually agree on China, but I feel that Biden has the ring of authority here because of his experience in foreign relations.

4) John Edwards. I like him, he's perhaps the second most "likeable," "Earnest", of the candidates. But I don't feel that his ideas on Iran and China are fleshed out enough. He's got a lot to say about immigration and the american economy and not continuing our current trade habits with China, and I think superficially, I agree with what he has to say on the subject. I like his compassionate stance on Illegal immigration.

5) Mike Gavel: He was a tad fiesty. Not too likeable, I don't think... he seemed to most determined to say why the other candidates were wrong, especially in the discussion about the resolution just voted on in the senate about Iran and designating certain groups to be proponents of terror. I agreed with what he said, but I didn't like the way he said it. I felt like he might have a tendency to one-mindedness, perhaps a tendency not to listen to others. Sorry, this is just my own sort of typing-as-I'm-thinking rumination. Anyway, I agreed with him, but I dont' want another president who is unwilling to listen to the other side and other, perhaps better ideas and options from those around him who have experience.

6) Dennis Kucinich: I agree with most of what he says. I'm starting to get annoyed as his querilous, "I am the only candidate here who..." blah blah blah. SO you didn't vote to go to war. Good for you. OK, now move on to something else. I think the man has integrity, but he has something to learn about likeability. Plus, I worry about his experience. He has consistently voted against funding the war, even when it was popular to be funding the war, but has he ever done anything himself with foreign relations? What are his ideas? I want to hear those, not just why he's different and better than all the other candidates because he voted a certain way all this time.

7) Chris Dodd: I actually don't remember too much of what he said... this is probably a bad sign (either of my own deteriorating mental capacity as I approach the culmination of pregnancy or of his memorability as a candidate.

One thing: I absolutely LOVE the way that NPR handled this debate. They kept the questions to three important categories so that they could allow each candidate to respond at lenght, and so that the interviewers (Robert Segal, Michelle Norris) coudl follow up and ask further questions. Also, they kept things pretty much on issue, were good at not allowing any candidate to ward off a question by making generalized sorts of statements (a source of big frustration to me during all these other debates). Also, they did a good job at keeping mudslinging out of it, and keeping things civil and agreeable between the candidates. Good job NPR!

Here's the link if you wanted to listen but missed it. This will take you to a page that has the transcript, but there's a "listen" button at the top so that you don't have to strain your eyes reading two-hours worth of material, lol.

Dec 3, 2007

Vader is not the most sensitive dad...

I have to say I think I sympathise more with Vader on this one. Unfortunately, I think that my daughter and I have had a few exchanges like this. Just, you know. A couple. When she's jumping up and down and whining because I won't give her cinnamon toast, or something. OK, I"m a good mom. I promise.

Little house

I thought I'd blog about something much more innocuous today, literature-wise. Not less important or less salient, but less controversial.

I've read a ton of books for a person of my age. Reading is and always has been my addiction. I'm proud and ashamed of this fact. I don't know how many books I've read and I don't care to count, and some of it has been crap. You have to wade through the garbage sometimes to find a treasure. Every once in a while I've had to put a book down, but at this point I can usually identify a book I'm not going to want to finish by it's cover (tee hee, yes, you can judge books by their cover, you just have to have the right sorts of prejudices) and the summary blurb on the back. So here, I've made a fun list. The twelve best young adult/childrens' fiction authors of the 19-20th centuries. This is strictly my opinion, without cross-referencing with literature experts or critics of any sort. It's the list of my favorites, based upon my own insatiable consumption of young adult/child fiction.

In no particular order:

Frances Hodgson Burnett
Mark Twain
Joan Aiken
Beverly Cleary
Rhoald Dahl
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Robert Louis Stevenson
C.S. Lewis
Mary Mapes Dodge
J.R.R. Tolkien
Judy Blume
Cynthia Voigt

Of these authors, I'd say #1 for me is based upon writing quality, wow, hard choice, but... Mark Twain.

Of the books of these authors, I'd say the very best one is either Huckleberry Finn, the Secret Garden, or Little House on the Prairie. My favorite is the third.

I love the little house books. First of all, they are true stories of an amazing family. My favorite character: Pa. He digs wells, he hews logs, he hunts for bears and brings them home to feed his family, he plows and plants acres and acres of wheat year after year even through all the meager yields, the constant crashing of his hopes and dreams.

My next favorite character: Ma. She keeps her dirt floors swept, her bread fresh and delicious even for want of most major ingredients, her little girls learning their letters and numbers even in the middle of the harshest blizzard. She can make apple pie when there aren't any apples to be had. She makes sure that there is a Christmas even when the family is on the brink of starvation.

My favorite line of the book (repeated a few times throughout the books)...

"Caroline, do you realize that you are the light of my life and the joy of my existence?" (Pa, to Ma.)

A-MA-ZING books. Read them. Gobble them down. Feel amazed and a little guilty at the safety and pleasure of our lives nowadays. Feel stunned and a little jealous at the adventure and exploration of the frontier. Learn what sacrifice really can mean, sacrifice for the greater good and the health of the community. These people were friends with their family and close neighbors, because they had to be to survive physically and emotionally. The warmth of the pioneer society has died out in our own; this is the primary jealousy I feel as I read these books. I mourn the loss of that.

Plus, there are absolutely no atheists in this book. From what one can tell. Laura Ingalls Wilder has never been inclined to preachiness.

*disclaimer... anything that has not been published in English, I haven't had a chance to peruse. So if my list seems biased toward English and American authors, that's why. :)

Dec 1, 2007

Pullman, the Golden Compass, and Killing God

I'm writing this post because I'm soooo tired of all those emails I've been getting! You know which ones I mean. I don't write back, because I don't like to get into unnecessary debates. But I feel a need to express my frustration about it, so here all of you lucky people go.

I have a pretty strong opinion about the Golden Compass books.

I loved, loved, loved this series. I also don't agree with where the author is coming from.

Lots of books are like that. Hemingway, for instance, was very anti-feminist and pro free-love,and yet even the most conservative of people will read his stuff. Why? Because it's good writing and it teaches us important truths, even if we don't agree
with every aspect of his arguments.

The thing about Pullman: Yes, he is an atheist. More specifically, he is a Humanist, an outspoken secularist. He's also a brilliant writer. The His Dark Materials series explores not only the idea of religious persecution and dogmatism, but childhood, innocense, the nature of the human soul and its influence on the human experience. He explores the idea of the Fall of Adam, setting those who want to prevent it (the Magisterium, or Church) against those who are trying to cause it (Lord Asriel, Lyra, and all the protagonists). This could be viewed as troubling to Catholics, perhaps, or other Christian religious groups that believe that the fall should never have happened. But In LDS culture, we believe that it was a good thing. Where's the beef? Are we just jumping on the "I'm P.O'd because I'm religious and I'm extrasensative to anything that may seem even slightly anti-religious" wagon? Shame, shame.

Those who object to Pullman's books have been making some rash statements. For instance, that he wrote the series as an anti-Chronicles of Narnia series. This is not true; he himself states that, if he has based this series on any other set of books, it's Milton's Paradise Lost.

His books make a statement about religious dogmatism and persecution, not about religion in general. Many people who have read them don't think of them as against the God of Christianity, (or for that matter, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buhddism, or Polytheistic socieities), but against the God that is set up by those who are engaged religious tyranny. He does kill a character named God, yes; a senile, misguided, hateful character whose wish is to enslave human beings into a narrow range of experiences and behaviors. Does this sound familiar, guys? I read these books and read a man who did not kill God, but instead, killed Satan. Who, we must admit, has been behind some of our more oppressive religious events. The crusades, the inquisition, the holocaust... can we really ignore the influence of Satan in religious persecution and dogmatism?

In these emails, Pullman is described as a God-hater, a sneaky atheist who is trying to convert the world's children to atheism. Phillip Pullman is a decent man. He's been described as a polite and considerate debating partner. He doesn't deserve to be villanized, and that's what happening.

I have a hard time when religious people decide to tell everyone that someone is evil simply because he doesn't believe the same way that they do, and examines a different wordview in his writing. Conservative "Christian" groups did the same thing with the Harry Potter series (which actually had lots of beautiful religious (Christian) symbolism).

When it comes down to it, if I decided to decry every author whose beliefs conflicted with my own, I'd be eliminating a lot of great writing. I'd have to elmiminate Hemingway, Steinbeck, Thoreau, Rousseau, Milton, Dante, even CS Lewis because he doesn't share my exact Christian beliefs.And if I decried every artist who lived a lifestyle that I could not condone, the list would have to stretch to include Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Liszt, and a great many others who have created inspiring, uplifting material.

I guess what I'm saying is, it's fine for people to decide, as individuals, that Pullman isn't for them. But to mass email everyone about how evil a certain author is, or a certain series, is not only intolerant, but is somewhat hypocritical. Unless these same people are also sending out emails about Steinbech, Mozart, etcetera.

Having said that, I do NOT think this is a children's series. Some of the materialin it is way too adult (children get kidnapped and harmed, Lyra loses her best friend in frightful circumstances, and the Magisterium is very scary and evil). I don't want my little daughter worrying about these things yet, and I know she would. I won't be taking the kids to see the movie.

Skywalker and I will find a babysitter and enjoy it together, because he also loved the books.