Feb 29, 2008

practice, practice, practice

OK. The weirdest internet purchase that I have ever made arrived in the mail today. Brace yourselves. It's not what it seems like. It's not real. So don't freak out on me.

You'll be gratified to know that I'm not collecting human heads just for the thrill of it. Though I admit it would be a good Halloween prop. No, this is so that I can prepare myself for the most difficult of possible circumstaces, hair-care wise, when we bring home our Ethiopian daughter. I'm learning soooo much about things like Black hair care right now... like, did you know that the reason why little black girls run around with amazing amounts of intricate braids is so that their hair doesn't dry out and break off because of too much brushing/exposure to drying air? And that if it weren't braided, it wouldn't grow beyond a couple of inches? So, with some African hair, it's very important to keep it braided. And I'm learning.

Here are my first box braids, executed today.

And here are my first cornrows.

A little shaky. And I'm not going to tell you how much hair ended up in the comb. Good thing I've got lots of time to practice. Hopefully, by the time we bring her home, I'll be good enough at it that I can manage it on a real human head, without making it hair torture.

Book Review: the Salt Lake City 14th Ward Album Quilt, 1857

I'm starting a new story soon. For the past several weeks, I have been doing a lot of reading and research in preparation. I have come across some amazing information, and overall have found that this project is building my testimony astronomically. I usually don't make an effort to review the books I read, but I wanted to put this one out there: The Salt Lake City 14th Ward Album Quilt, 1857.

This is the story of an old pioneer quilt that the author inherited. It was made and signed by the sisters in the Salt Lake 14th ward; a ward that took in a lot of the prominent church members of the time, including Brigham Young, the Wilford Woodruff and John Taylor families, and many others. The author has taken these quilt blocks and tracked down the life stories of each of the women who made them. There are pictures of the quilt blocks and, where possible, of each of the women. The stories are sometimes incredibly inspiring, and sometimes heartbreaking. I loved reading it, because the stories really touched me, and I loved the feeling of association with the strong, brave women of this era.

Feb 26, 2008

I'm a World Class Snob

So, Mindset Media conducted a study about the typical mindsets/attitudes of Mac users in comparison with the rest of the population. It found that Mac users tended to be more liberal, more open minded, more sure of themselves and their own superiority over the rest of the population. I really hope I'm not like that, but... I have a lurking sense of dismay that I might be.

Peter Segal joked on this week's quiz show (wait, wait, don't tell me) that the only people who are more smug than Mac users are Mac users who support Barack Obama.

Ack!! I have some serious self-reflection to engage in, then.

Go Barack!

Feb 25, 2008

Another good cause

Tracy is a burn victim. Her husband burned her in an incident of domestic voilence. She is marooned in Argentina and is trying to find her way back to Bend, Oregon (the area from which this organization originates.) Check it out, and if you can, find a way to help.


my mom sent this one in my direction.

Moral One-Upsmanship

So as a prospective Ethiopian Adopter, I have encountered a troubling phenomenon. It seems that people who are really invested in the American foster care system see all these parents going to foreign countries to adopt as selfish, and irresponsible, because they ought to be turning to the American Foster Care system to adopt instead. I know I'll be getting this for the rest of my life after I adopt, and so I'm just going to put my thoughts out there so I can refer back to them in the face of indignant social workers and foster parents here in America.

1) You guys are awesome. Good for you. You work hard to place needy children in homes with families who will take care of them.

2) Foster parenting is completely different from parenting with the permanency of referral for adoption. It's something that I have considered and rejected for the time being, because I feel that my young family requires the stability of a permanent commitment at this time. Later on, when all of my children have been mostly raised, I plan on seriously considering foster care.

3) Geographical closeness does provide an element of convenience to any adoptive situation, but it does not provide any extra stewardship, in my opinion. All children are God's children, and everyone in the world is responsible for taking care of all of them. If everyone in the world who were capable of adopting actually found their way to being able to adopt, we'd have enough families to take care of all the world's orphans, including the theoretical orphans that have become a part of our foster care system.

4) Prayer and inspiration were involved in my decision. As a caring person who has invested a lot in children, I really hope you can support me in my decision. Because I'm going to need your support, because it won't be easy. Though I can do it on my own, I hope I can have your help. You people have amazing skills and resources at your fingertips, and I know that my little family will really benefit from them. Please stop trying to morally one-up me and instead, turn to me as a colleague and fellow caregiver.

So that's all I have to say about that. :)

Feb 24, 2008

Just for good measure

My first attempt at Ethiopian Cookery

There was a get-together last night of all the families in my area who have adopted from Ethiopia. Also, there was a woman from Ethiopia who has moved over here (she married an RM who served in Africa). She showed us how to cook Doro Wat (Ethiopian chicken stew... very tasty and VERY spicy). Also making an appearance at this meal: Beef Stew (can't remember the Ethiopian name for it), Injera, a nice spicy rice dish and lots of good old fashioned American desserts, as well as pepperoni pizza for the faint of heart. It was good times. My taste buds will never recover... I'll need something extra spicy from now on just to be able to taste. :) Everyone had a blast, especially the kids who ran rampage downstairs in the incredibly cool kids room, full of froofy dress-ups, toys, and a barrel slide coming down from the first landing.

Here's my dish. Pumpkin mild sauce:

It was very mild, compared to the other dishes. Oh, and, this was my first taste of Injera, the Ethiopian flat bread that is served with every traditional meal. There was some that was ordered online and some that was made here where I live... my opinion is, definitely don't eat the stuff here where I live for your first taste. Order it from somewhere they can actually make it... actually use the teff flower to rise the dough. Here it's made with self-rising flour and club soda, and it's a lot more sour and white-bready. IT was cute, the Ethiopian kids gobbled up the Injera like there was no tommorrow. Obviously, they miss having it with every meal.

The kids were adorable.

Feb 19, 2008

Awesome Find, and Strange Coincidence

So, I just happened to be in Provo for President's Day weekend. A lot of you guys just happened to be in Provo, too. :) Skywalker and I were looking around for a Mexican Restaurant that serves Mole, because he has been wanting me to try it for a while. He served his mission in Anaheim California, with the Spanish speakers of the area, and he had all sorts of different kinds of Mole while he was there.

I looked around on the internet until I found a review of a restaurant, and a menu that contained 2 different Moles. We went and were very pleased. Incredibly authentic food (according to Skywalker). While there, we were served by the owner. We asked a few questions and he talked our ears off about Mexican food, authenticity, getting recipes right, not cutting corners as far as cooking procedures and ingredients are concerned. The man is on a mission to teach Utah Valley (non-Mexicans) about true Mexican food. We had Mole and Chile Relleno (Skywalker went ahead and ate chicken this time, for the sake of my Mole education). It was amazing! The mole was dark brown with sesame seeds and was made with so many ingredients that my taste buds were swimming. Just so you understand; two of those ingredients were chocolate and chicken broth. And the chile relleno was Divine. As a Vegetarian family who loves mexican food, you can take our words for it.

So the amazing coincidence: I've been writing a novel over the past year. (Well, OK, three novels.) This novel follows the MOnarch migration from Michigan to Michoacan. As I don't know much about Mexico and have never been there, a lot of my information up to this point has been collected via internet blog accounts, pictures, maps of cities, and as much first person information as I could get my hands on (very little). This restaurant was named Las Tarascas. The name rang a bell but I couldn't put my finger on it until I saw the three monarch butterflies over the restaurant's sign.... the Tarascans, or Purepechan Indians, are the natives to the MIchoacan region. I was ecstatic. Maybe we can make friends, and then I can ask the owner a million questions... he admitted he wasn't from Michoacan himself; but his hired cooks were from there, and he got all of his recipes by calling up the MIchoacan grandmas he knows. So... how coincidental is that.
It's a sign.


At any rate, the next time you have a hankerin' for Mexican food and you happen to find yourself in Utah Valley, give Las Tarascas a try. THey're really good, the owner is really nice, the food isn't too expensive and you can be sure you're getting the most authentic Mexican food in the valley.

Feb 16, 2008

Introducing Squirt

So, baby boy came January 16, 2008 at approximately 11:58 pm. He was barely not born on the 17. He's been sick these first few weeks of his life, poor baby. We've just bought a nifty new natural health product, ASAP silver, which thus far seems to work well. It cleared up Jaws' ear infections two days ago, and it seems to have helped Squirt so far. See, I've even given him his cute fake internet name already. I'm sure you can guess what inspired me. There are some surprises about raising baby boys.

Ohhh, he's so adorable though. We love him to death and his sisters do, too (almost literally. Jaws loves to jump on him when I'm not looking).

Anyway, yes, pictures pictures pictures.

Feb 15, 2008

Moral Dilemma—Amy Winehouse

She just won 3 grammies. She just checked out of Rehab. She's got an amazing voice and writes some of the most amazing songs that have been written in the last decade or so (in my own opinion), and she frequently uses the F-word. So, what do I do? The young womens' president in my head says don't patronize someone who's clearly not got her life together, clearly not a good role model for today's youth who will be trying to emulate her; the music appreciator in my head says dang it, the music's good.
What do you all say?

At any rate, here's a not-strung out, no-swearwords song, sung by her, written by her. Enjoy this one. Who needs to decide right now? She's cleaned up recently, her abusive husband is in jail, things are looking up... maybe she'll be OK from here on out. I like to be an optimist about these things.

Feb 14, 2008

Valentine's Day silliness

DH and I laughed long and hard over this. It's from an old 20's musical. The plot: blondie is a princess who is married to the man who has been naughty with Brunette. Brunette came over to keep an appointment with naughty husband, and blondie has trapped her by being there instead.

Ok. Now watch the clip and enjoy. Close your eyes and you'll be able to imagine your own grandmother dancing around in a nightie.

Valentines day sadness

I'm not sad. Not anymore. I have a wonderful lover/husband/best friend to buy me toblerones and laugh with me at old 20's-era musicals and design floor plans for future castles in the sky.

But today, as I drove up to pick up Loli's friend for kindergarten, I noticed three police cars parked in front of the nieghbor's house. This neighbor has been struggling of late with his divorce. She was his wife of a couple decades, mother to several of his children. I don't know why the police cars were there, or why the two officers were standing on his porch with their walkie talkies, but I do know it's valentines day and it hurts for some. It hurt for me for a couple years.

I said a prayer as I pulled out of the driveway and onto the street to take the kids to school.

I say the same prayer for all of you out there who are dealing with sadness today. For those of you who have not yet received a valentine, here's one from me.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Feb 6, 2008

Ode to election day

To the back of the line
why don't they put D-K with S-Z?
A special line for young mothers with babies;
Divide the Republicans From the Democrats?
I wonder aloud, and an appreciative murmur
radiates; another example of civil insolence.

The family in front of me;
probably homeschoolers. My guess is
Ron Paul. The man behind me is friendly
and softspoken; Romney for sure.
The man with the book comes by
and says I'm unaffiliated.
Unafilliated? I ask.
Yes. It says right here.
Well all right then.

First Woman, or first African American?
the crowd around me murmurs, first Mormon.
I smile as if I agree. We inch forward, and
I thank God that He has the toddler,
not me. A woman becomes chatty;
how much did your baby weigh? My gosh,
that must have been awful...

The octogenarian in front of me;
this must be awful for you dear.
Not too awful, I say. I could have had
the toddler. Her husband moves a chair in
front for my carrier, and slides it along
as the line moves. Good Samaritans about in this crowd.

The woman at the book squints at me, tells me D33,
Bright eyes watch as I slide my card and punch
my keys. A thrill travels through me at this
historic event; First African American. I slide
on the iced-over pavement; only twenty cars left
in the parking lot.

Back in the poop covered intrepid,
a sold five minutes of buckling.
It's time to pick up the missing pieces.
I find them in the courthouse lobby;
Worn thin, full of granola bars and fruit punch.
And Finding Nemo.

At home, it's a picture,
then papa murphy's, a late bedtime, and NPR...
He is sad and a little frustrated. In bed
it's quiet talking for longer than we should
and soft laughter. And congenial disagreement.
He'll write him in; I say I won't vote for someone
who's no longer running. The pillows are warm,
the baby asleep, the girls upstairs. Ron
and Barack are off partying, doing their civic duty
in champaigne and SuperDelegates.
We fall peacefully asleep, hoping we did ours.

Feb 5, 2008

the book of zombie

If you're looking for a certain anti-mormon video, you're not going to find it here.

Mormons are normal people who are deeply religious, serve and are active in their congregations, and believe deeply in providing temple blessing to those who have already passed on. They spend large amounts of time devoted to the redemption of those who haven't had a chance to hear the gospel, whether living or dead. In the temple, proxy ordinances are performed where the living stand in for the dead. That is what temples are for. There is no nudity, no sexuality, no violence or anything that a two-year old would find it objectionable to watch.

Shame on those who would find it funny to belittle hard working, sincere people with false information and gorey speculation. Shame. It just doesn't seem Christian, to me.

Feb 3, 2008

a fun quiz... try it!

You Are An INFP

The Idealist

You are creative with a great imagination, living in your own inner world.

Open minded and accepting, you strive for harmony in your important relationships.

It takes a long time for people to get to know you. You are hesitant to let people get close.

But once you care for someone, you do everything you can to help them grow and develop.

In love, you tend to have high (and often unrealistic) standards.

You are very sensitive. You tend to have intense feelings.

At work, you need to do something that expresses your personal values.

You would make an excellent writer, psychologist, or artist.

How you see yourself: Unselfish, empathetic, and spiritual

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Unrealistic, naive, and weak