Friday, October 31, 2008

Hope for Bi-Partisanship

Next season's Dancing with the Stars?


More political blogs to come. Also more on my kids, Halloween, etc.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Birthday Week


Happy Birthday to Michael (Brandon's step-dad), Ryan (one of our best friends), Claire (my youngest sister), Randy (a friend of ours), and Brandon M. (our brother-in-law)! We pretty much suck at gifts, cards, and even phone calls these days but I promise they will all be contacted by the end of the week.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Politics


I know some people may have been offended by the link I posted to a conservative blog on my last post. It is a blog written by someone I don't know (she is my cousin's best friend's wife's friend). She is not a supporter of McCain but has definitely decided against voting for Obama. She posted another blog this week that I also enjoyed even though I don't agree with her on many things.
I do not consider myself a conservative. I have always registered as an Independent. I have voted both republican and democrat in different elections at both the local and national level. For this election's primaries I had to register as a republican so I could vote for Ron Paul. He is what some people would call a Libertarian or Constitutionalist. (I still think he is far better suited to deal with the deficit and probably the economic crisis than either of our two main choices). I vote on issues rather than parties. I think bi-partisan politics and the whole two-party system are flawed and ridiculous.

My friend Andy recently ran for political office, he is very politically active in other ways too. He is a law student, he has high morals, he is incredibly intelligent, and I greatly respect his opinions even though I don't always agree with him. Here are some snippets from an email I received from him this week that you all might enjoy:

"Certainly it is crucial for freedom that government keep taxes low, for a person with no money has no choices and a person with little money has few choices. If government lowers my taxes by $100 per month, I have $100 more freedom to do whatever it is I might like to do with $100. If government raises my taxes by $100 per month, I have $100 less freedom since the government is now spending that money for me. Money is necessary to fully exercise the freedoms that we have less -- even abortions and gay marriages cost money and are impossible for some people because of the tax burden they must bear (if not by direct taxation, then by the tax of inflation)."

"Abortion is a question of when life begins. Most Americans, regardless of political persuasion, want murder to be illegal, and some of those Americans do not see an acceptable legal distinction between a one second old fetus and a one week old fetus and an 8 month old fetus and a just born fetus and a fetus born a year ago. There are plenty of reasons for this - religious, biological, philosophical - but abortion is a moral question only as much as murder is a moral question. The real controversy is understanding when life begins (we need not have that argument now) and true conservatives differ on that point.
Gay marriage is a hot-button issue primarily because government took it upon itself to "marry" people in the first place. Until government stops licensing marriage (which is not on the political horizon), everyone will jockey to make the government's position look like their church's position. There are plenty of people out there (I think it would probably surprise you) who don't really have any issue with full legal rights for same-sex couples as long as it is not called "marriage". Gay-marriage advocates generally have made it clear that they will not cease their crusade for anything less than "marriage". For the true conservative, it is a tough issue with legitimate arguments on both sides."

"I think you'd agree that government action is justified under some conditions less than anarchy on the streets, but I understand your point and generally agree with it. That is one of the reasons that taxation is such a serious issue - people going about their business, not hurting a fly, still must affirmatively report the inner-most details of their financial lives to the government (nevermind the insanity of our withholding system, inflationary monetary policy, banking regulations, etc.) and then sacrifice their freedom (money) based upon that reporting. Does that not just piss you right off?"

"The simple fact is, government cannot take money in taxes and then somehow magically increase the worth of those dollars so that when government spends them they somehow provide more 'support for the people' than those dollars would have provided if the people spent those dollars directly. Think about it - is pizza ever made cheaper because you have it delivered to your house? Of course not (unless the pizza is significantly smaller or crappier). Government is no different in this respect - its intervention has enormous costs that are reflected in the quantity and quality of the services it provides."

"I'd rather pay the money and see our schools run better, our citizens be able to eat, and our war debt paid off than buy yet another pair of $130 jeans.1)" - Lisa (another highly respected friend of mine)
(Andy's response):It is certainly your right to use the money you earn toward whatever legal purposes you desire... but not mine. Your desire for all of those things more than a $130 pair of jeans cannot justify taking my money for that purpose when I did, in fact, desire the jeans. It is my money. Leave me alone government... I am not out on the street creating anarchy or slaughtering anyone.
2) There is absolutely no guarantee that your money will be put to ANY of those uses when it is taxed from you. Probably the most glaring example here is the war debt -- you don't honestly think your tax dollars are going to pay war debt, do you? (Of course, thanks to inflation, they already have - by being devalued through the sale of government bonds sold to foreign governments... but that's another story, I suppose.) We don't "get what we pay for" when we pay our taxes we "pay for what the politicians want"... which must be something other than what we wanted, or else why the government have to take it from us in the first place?
3) Finally on this point, do we really want the same people who run Social Security, FEMA, Homeland Security, etc. responsible for FEEDING US? For feeding ANYONE? Surely, whoever that poor soul may be will starve (or at least not get the meal they could have gotten otherwise... see the pizza delivery example above)."

"People would [donate to churches] more if [the people] weren't taxed so much... and you better believe churches, etc. spend those dollars much more carefully than the politicians spend our tax dollars, and with less overhead. This is how we get the pizza delivery boy scenario to make sense, since some people (the needy) can't buy the pizza (necessity for life) themselves, we hire delivery boys (charities) to deliver (purchase/provide) the pizza to them. If the charity does a poor job, we find another charity that we feel does a better job - which is absolutely impossible with government, since withholding payment of taxes results in all sorts of scary things that charities cannot do to people who quit donating. (Those scary things also cost money... which is part of the overhead government must pay before the dollars it collects can actually be put to work for whatever purpose the politicians like that year.)"

"A government who allows it's people to starve while it prospers is not an ethical country, and is not democracy." - Lisa
(Andy):"Sadly, government is not all-powerful and does not have the ability to prevent starvation in perpetuity. In fact, for every mouth government feeds, a charity could have fed dozens, maybe hundreds (no joke).
As for ethical... should starvation should be an affirmative defense to armed robbery? That is, if a person were to rob a grocery store because they were starving, should that person, upon proving in court that they were actually starving, be found "not guilty"? I think the ethical answer is no. Just because one man is starving, he still does not have the right to initiate force against another man or men. But that is the exact mechanism at work in the welfare state that we live in. Government, as usual, is just a middle man - robbing from the grocer (you and I as taxpayers) at gunpoint (yes, taxes are collected under threat of force, otherwise I wouldn't pay them) to deliver some of the food it stole (but only some, since it must eat, too) to another person (whoever the politicians deem worthy).
As for democracy... democracy gives us whatever 51% of the voters want... if that is starvation, so be it - "democracy" does not care. This is the great danger of democracy which the Constitution sought to avoid to the greatest extent possible."

This is actually how Andy began his email, kind of introducing his politics and introducing himself to Lisa:
"Okay, I'm going to do a little point-by-point... but I want to start with a general comment about partisan politics. Too often, people become jaded by or even angry about one person (Bush and Obama are excellent examples of this) or issue (abortion is an excellent example here) related to a political party, so they turn to the opposing party and lower their intellectual guard on every other issue in order to fulfill a very basic human need: acceptance. The gang mentality is alive and well in politics and is used against every voter by Republicans and Democrats alike. I am a Republican because I think that being a Republican affords me the greatest opportunity to make the changes in government that I would like to see. Period. I'm not buying into the gang mentality -- no party or elected official is going to tell me what to think on any issue, but if I disconnect myself from the two-party system that has a legal and de-facto "bi-opoly" over the political process, I will be impotent. "

I pretty much agree with all of the things Andy shared in this email. I also agree with this:
"The job of a government is NOT to tell you what to believe." - Lisa A.

Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness people. Life, Liberty, Happiness...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Votin' Time's A Comin'

My title is meant to reflect that I feel like a backwoods hick for as much political news coverage I've actually watched in the past year.
This is my favorite blog I've read on the political candidates thus far (though from what I've read elsewhere Obama supports banning partial-birth abortions unless they protect a mother's health). I am desperately trying to get informed on this election before I go to the polls next week. Having two kids under age two, no television reception, and a weekly newspaper that only delivers local news has left me a bit behind the times. Playing catch-up on the internet and subscribing to Newsweek have been my last-ditch efforts. Where do you get most of your news?
Thank you to Mel for pointing the above blog out to me. Thanks to Linda, Lisa A., Andy W., Jennifer W., Margo, Dad , and others for keeping abreast of your views, engaging me in lively debates, and keeping me informed.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sally




If you think my idea for a Sally costume is unique, you are wrong. Consider my sister Robin was Sally last year.


And the year before my sister Sarah was the original Brimley Sally.

Close-Ups


Saturday, October 25, 2008

P.C. Moms' Halloween Party

Yesterday was the Park City Moms' (my online group) Halloween Party. Jonah, Elora, and I went even though we didn't know anybody else going. Jonah had a great time dancing and watching other kids and dancing some more. I had a great time seeing all the kids in costumes and Elora had a good time staring at new lights on a new ceiling.
(Prepare yourself for a lot of pictures of the world's cutest frog)


Jonah's initial reaction to wearing the frog head hood.


I promised I would take off his hood if he would smile for one picture.
I had him watch me put on my makeup so he wouldn't be scared of it (like Tucker was last year when Robin was Sally) while I wore it. He needed some makeup of his own so I gave him a green spot on each cheek.

All ready to go.


Jonah was okay wearing the hood so long as it wasn't all the way zipped up (so he had the option of removing it). He loved his frog hands (and feet).


"Smile with your teeth."


I thought he looked SO cute from behind, with his irridecent spots and bulgy eyes on the top of his head:)


Jonah (on right) found a twin and was facinated.


Jonah playing with a chicken friend at the party.


Happy frog.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fresh Produce

Here is our 2nd to last pickup from East Farms. Our last pickup was all hard, winter squashs and potatoes. Yesterday was our first Wednesday in three months without our fresh produce. I will miss it.
Brandon says he ate more eggplant this summer than he has his whole life combined. We like it grilled, sliced and brushed with olive oil and spices first. Jonah can now say "squash" and "uh-made-o" (tomato).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dishes


For my birthday last month I got more dishes from both of my mother-in-laws. I put away my turquoise plates to make room for more scarlet and sunflower plates and bowls to go along with the persimmon color I already had. I smile whenever I open this cupboard now.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Divinely Inspired

Three weeks ago Elora and I left the boys at home one Saturday evening for a girl's night out. We went to my church building for a variety of salads and desserts with a bunch of women from my stake. After dinner we went into the chapel for a live broadcast of the worldwide annual General Relief Society Meeting. The General Relief Society Presidency spoke and one member of The Church's Presidency. Surprisingly it was the lone man's talk that inspired me the most. Elder Uchtdorf gave the best church talk I've heard in a long while. I related to it on such a personal level. He began with this little antecdote:

"I’m sure it comes as no surprise, but the differences between men and women can often be quite striking—physically and mentally, as well as emotionally. One of the best ways I can think of to illustrate this is in the way my wife and I cook a meal.

When Harriet prepares a meal, it’s a masterpiece. Her cuisine is as wide-ranging as the world, and she frequently prepares dishes from countries we have visited. The presentation of the food is awe inspiring. In fact, it often looks so beautiful that it seems a crime to eat it. It’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the sense of taste.

But sure enough, no matter how perfect everything is, looks, and tastes, Harriet will apologize for something she thinks is imperfect. “I’m afraid I used a touch too much ginger,” she will say, or, “Next time, I think it would be better if I used a little more curry and one additional bay leaf.”

Let me contrast that with the way I cook. For the purpose of this talk, I asked Harriet to tell me what I cook best.

Her answer: fried eggs.

Sunny-side up.

But that isn’t all. I have a specialty dish called Knusperchen. The name may sound like a delicacy you might find at an exclusive restaurant. Let me share with you how to make it. You cut French bread into small slices and toast them twice.

That is the recipe!

So, between fried eggs, even when they are greasy, and Knusperchen, even when they are burned, when I cook, I feel pretty heroic."

If that is not exactly the way my husband and his cousin Jamon view cooking than nothing is. I can prepare the most difficult and delicious meal in the world and it gets a, "honey, this is great" once, but Jamon and Brandon grill up a package of bratwurst and there are exclamations of their greatness throughout the entire meal!

Elder Uchtdorf continued:

"Perhaps this contrast between my wife and me is a slight exaggeration, but it illustrates something that may extend beyond preparing meals.

To me it appears that our splendid sisters sometimes undervalue their abilities—they focus on what is lacking or imperfect rather than what has been accomplished and who they really are... The good news is that this also points to an admirable quality: the innate desire to please the Lord to the best of your ability."

What I would call the thesis of his talk was this:

"Creating and being compassionate are two objectives that contribute to our Heavenly Father’s perfect happiness. Creating and being compassionate are two activities that we as His spirit children can and should emulate."

My favorite part of his whole talk was when he said:

"You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us. The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter."

I feel so blessed to be a member of a church where our leaders seek and receive guidance from above in leading us along life's paths.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You think Your Kids Are Funny

Click here to see how they stack up against my friend Christy's little comedians.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oklahoma Nuptials

I think of new things to post like twice a day, never when I'm at the computer. I've actually been computerless for a couple days too, and all last weekend. I'll never get caught up.
What was last weekend, you say? It was my good friend Lacey's wedding. I was a bridesmaid. It was the second non-Mormon wedding I've been in and it was a doozey. I helped plan the bachelorette party and sent out the invitations for it. I had to buy a bridesmaid dress that I'll never wear again (actually I might find a chance to wear the skirt). I won't even tell you what it cost. I flew to Oklahoma with Elora for four days, I rented a car. There were fiascoes, flubs, furor, and frenzy but overall it was fabulous.
After arriving Thursday afternoon and picking up the rental car, Lor Lor and I went straight over to my step-Grandma Vivian's house. We got settled in and had a tiny nap. That night was the bachelorette party. It began with cheese and marinara fondues on Beth's beautifully decorated deck.

From there we headed to Nothing But Class women's fitness center which specializes in "pole aerobics." They do bachelorette parties that take the incredible one hour workout and make it into a two-hour party. It was HYSTERICALLY FUN.


And I learned a chair dance that is certain to come in handy in the bedroom;)
The night ended back at Beth's with chocolate fondue, silly sexy gifts, and a lot of girltalk. It was later than I've stayed up in ages.




Friday I visited my friends Megan and Jodi (former boss at Hurst Academy & Reading Center) and had the top to my dress fixed at the bridal shop. Then went to the rehearsal at the church where I finally got to meet Lacey's fiancee, Ryan (they just met this past December). He is a doll and they seem very well suited. And after the rehearsal we went to dinner at an Oklahoma's original Hideaway Pizza. Stayed late chatting with Ryan and his friends, trying to get to know him better.
Slept in til after 9:00 on Saturday morning. That's probably the latest I've slept in two years!! Had my hair styled by my friend Jennifer who is in beauty school.

Ran back to Vivian's house to nurse Elora and pick up my stuff. Headed to the shop to pick up my top, ran to the church to get ready and have pictures done before the ceremony.
As for my top, it was strapless, which requires a bit of an explanation. I don't wear strapless tops. As a part of a religious commitment I've made to modesty I strictly adhere to a dress code. But I consider a bridesmaid dress in the same category as a costume for the theatre, which makes it an exception (think of all the devout Mormon's you've seen in plays, movies, tv, pageants, or performing at the Polynesian Cultural Center wearing strapless tops, etc.). Lacey wanted us all dressed identically and had a hard enough time picking out outfits for her four bridesmaids while she was in Colorado and her mom and Matron of Honor were in Oklahoma coordinating the effort. I told her I'd rather not wear anything sleeveless or strapless but in the end decided not to make any more trouble for her. The MoH who helped pick them out told me she normally doesn't wear strapless either but that it was more modest than most of the other tops with plunging necklines she had to choose from.

Getting ready with the Mother of the Bride, the Bride, the other Bridesmaids, and the flower girls was an event in and of itself. Lots of fun. I helped do the other three bridesmaid's makeup and did all sorts of other little last minute preparations, de-stressing, diffusing, etc. It was great.
The ceremony was beautiful. The minister was great, Lacey's dad was emotional but still managed to get in a reference to the Sooners, everybody looked gorgeous. I can't wait to see the professional pictures!

That night I hung out with Jennifer again and her husband Andy. They are one of our favorite couple's in the world. It was nice seeing them again!
Staying with Jo & Elora's GG, Vivian was absolutely wonderful. She babysat Elora a lot, provided a free place to stay and good conversations. I love her. It was great seeing her again. Brandon and I will continue to try to get her to come out to Utah to visit sometime.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sept. 28th






The kids and I went up to the cabin (20 minutes from here but with a significant altitude increase) two Sundays ago to see the fall foliage while Brandon and Alan spent the day builting a small set of stairs.

It's Confirmed

My baby is perfect.



Even our pediatrician says so.

Yesterday Elora had to have her hair trimmed. Just a bit off the top (of her mohawk) and the bottom (she doesn't have much hair anywhere else).

Last week we went to Dr. Dave, he says Elora is perfect, which we already knew. She is 12 pounds now and if I hadn't lost the paper I'd tell you how long she is n' stuff.

She did great on the plane to OKC and pretty good on the way home. She charms everyone she sees with her frequent gorgeous smiles, her fabulous dimples, her wild hair, her mannerisms, her overall great personality, her laugh, her singing/talking/squealing. She really is a wonderful baby. She adores Jonah. She's rolling, twisting, and generally moving a lot now. She goes to bed around 7pm and most nights doesn't wake up for a feeding for at least 8 hours. She loves being kissed and has a ticklish neck and tummy.
Did I already post that she can roll from her back to her tummy now? She does it all the time and has been able to for over two weeks now.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Yes, I can be judgemental

Saturday I was talking to a woman and noticed that her nail polish was sloppily done. Then I glanced at her feet to see if they matched. They were painted the same color, I was too far away to see if it was poorly done but it was easy to tell they hadn't been trimmed first and were way too long. Yuck. It reminded me of something really funny I saw a couple weeks ago.




















Those are press-on TOEnails, fresh from the border.

Awww!


Papa Stan with sleepy Elora. 9-21-08.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Just a Quickie

Everyone needs to go read this blog.

Just got home from a four-day trip to Oklahoma City with Elora for Lacey's wedding. Pictures and stories to come soon.