Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
I taught Primary for two years before I started going to singles and student wards again, and kids are always intelligent and usually surprising. Anyway, I remember teaching a lesson about eternal families and watching one of the little boys in my class wrinkle his nose and say, "You mean I'm stuck with my older brother forever?"
After that class, I wondered if I'd ever had a similar reaction. Especially since my older brother and I only started to get along recently. (By recently, I mean "in the last couple of years or so, and even then he still has no sense of boundaries and tends to enjoy stepping over the line periodically") At the time of that lesson, he was just beginning to show hints of being a semi-decent human being. In my estimation, anyway.
So I went back and looked through one of my old journals. From my teen years. Melodrama, angst, and many entries about my relationships with my siblings. Once such entry read, "Today we had a lesson in Young Women about how families can be together forever--and that, by definition, is heaven. Well, I think that having to spend eternity with [older brother] would be hell." (Well, actually . . . the word hell was underlined many times and there's just no way to duplicate that on my blog.)
But now that I'm beginning to get older, I can see how eternal family could be the definition of heaven after all. Especially when I think about how my brother is a better person when he's around his wife. Not that he was an entirely bad person to begin with, but this whole concept of eternal family with her . . . it obviously has an effect. A good one.
So for today . . . though yesterday was long, though the evening went longer than planned, though I had the beginnings of a splitting hunger headache when I left the reception--I'm glad that he's married to her forever.
Because that means I get to be around nice people for eternity.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Per the dictionary of Katie. It’s the one to have:
snarky (adj.): prone to poking fun at any and all people in any and all circumstances in a pointed way. Or not pointed way. But usually pointed. Therefore, Katie poking fun at passive-aggressive co-worker when she’s highly annoyed with said co-worker is being snarky. Katie poking fun at most anyone else is being either sarcastic, a smart aleck, sassy, or facetious.
sarcastic (adj.): prone to dry humor at other’s expense. See also “Katie’s main mode of verbally expressing herself in a funny way.”
sassy (adj.): can either be of the rraaar come-on-to-me variety, or the I-can’t-take-anything-seriously-and-I-talk back variety; Katie employs the latter definition, of course.
facetious (adj.): not serious at all . . . in other words, Katie’s permanent state of being at work when she talks about anything not related to job functions.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
In addition, there was a highly unnecessary friction between Caspian and Peter. One that is most definitely not palpable in the book. My roommate, thinking aloud, said, "Well, perhaps they thought they needed conflict." And then we laughed. The whole movie is one big fat conflict between two races of people.
But I could forgive its shortcomings in relation to the book, because it still served the ultimate purpose of all of the Narnia books. It did a good job of showing me the parallels between us and our relationship to God, Lucy and her relationship to Aslan. The filmmaker did an excellent job of allowing the teaching nature of the books to come out natural.
In fact, the English-major and gospel-analyzer in me was bouncing up and down (metaphorically) in my seat at everything I was seeing. And since the whole spirit of Narnia is, well, spiritual . . . the movie succeeded. I walked out feeling replenished, which isn't a norm for me after seeing a movie.
P.S. We also executively decided the coolest Institute class ever would be called "The Gospel and Narnia" . . .
Thursday, May 15, 2008
- Say "please" and "thank you," and also "excuse me" whenever we bumped into someone or needed to move past them
- Smile at people
- Reply when spoken to
- Speak with those serving us . ..
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Anyway, I decided I want to look information up online right away. When do I register? How many credit hours make a full load? When are class scheduled for? (Will I still be able to work full-time and take the classes I want, or will it be necessary to become a part-timer?)
This led me to a marvelous web page that lists the master's classes being offered in the English department this fall . . . registration is not open yet, but I was getting a serious high from reading the descriptions.
Composition Theory and Research! Introduction to Critical Theory! Pragmatism and 19th Century American Literature! Their titles fill my soul with joy and their descriptions bring a little bit more dazzle into my life.
And apparently, I got excited enough that I was bouncing up and down. Literally. Actually physically bouncing up and down. Something I didn't notice until my co-worker asked why I was so bouncy.
"Oh," I replied offhandedly, "I'm looking at the courses I could possibly take this fall for graduate school, and I'm excited."
His raised eyebrows said it all.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Google Reader wasn't blocked. So I logged into Reader, looked through some excellent material . . . and followed the link straight into my gmail account without a hitch.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Besides, I also got her a gift and a card.
So without further ado, here is a bulleted list of things I've learned from my mother--by word, deed, and example:
- Don't talk with your mouth full.
- If you decide to tell a lie, try to make it at least a little believable. But even if it is believable, it won't matter. Mothers always know when you're lying.
- A laugh can turn a day around.
- Sometimes all it takes to make a body laugh is the right newspaper clipping.
- Even if the pun is not funny, your reaction to the pun may be so hysterical people will laugh anyway.
- It's possible to learn a whole heck of a lot when you have a desire to learn it.
- You take a 'picture' (pik-tchur) with a camera. You pour water from a pitcher (pit-chur).
- Kraft.com has some excellent recipes.
- The best books leave you feeling better when you've finished reading them.
- It's good to live near relatives.
- Singing and dancing make the work go faster.
- Even if singing and dancing sometimes cause others a certain amount of aggravated embarrassment.
- Sometimes it's just best to ignore the annoying sibling.
- Your attitude determines a lot of your life circumstances.
- Mothers always want to be near their children. Even when their children are being pesky.
- Don't burp. Even if it's funny. Even if it's funny when mom burps.
- Pay attention to dad.
- Good relationships involve excellent communication. Such excellent communication that it's possible to play Mom against Dad. Or vice versa.
- Cinnamon and cocoa look and smell remarkably different.
- You can't add garlic to just anything.
- Self-rising yeast has different properties than regular yeast.
- It feels good to give things away.
- Having sewing skills makes for some pretty darn cheap formal dresses. Also matching shorts. But the matching shorts came long before the dresses.
- Books can never replace people.
- Musical talent should not be wasted.
- Talking about it makes things better. Yelling about it--not so much.
- Staying at home to look after munchkins is not ignoble.
- Cleanliness is next to godliness.
- All of the neighbors love surprise zucchini. But they love surprise zucchini bread even more.
- Shoes are optional during the summer. Feet need to breathe.
- Playing in the dirt can be fun. Especially when it involves enjoying the vegetables of your labors.
- Chew with your mouth closed.
- Always be polite.
- Speak to the people serving you. You never know what you'll learn from a random conversation.
- Everyone loves the person who knows everyone's name.
- You can't settle on the first sweater you see.
- Smiling makes even an ugly person's countenance pretty.
- Reading your scriptures every day will make life easier.
- If you bake five loaves of bread, give one of them away. Someone needs it.
- It's never a burden to watch the neighbor's kids or pick up their newspaper while they're on vacation.
- Prayer works.
- Prayer works even better when an earnest mother is praying for some of the same things you are.
- Scripture power does keep us safe from sin.
- The scriptures will never get old.
- The prophet and apostles are all nice old men and we should love them. Even if they ramble.
- It's not cool to sleep through church. Except it's kind of inevitable to nod off a little during the last session of General Conference.
- Some church-wide revelation is given just for us.
- The right spouse can do wonders for a difficult child.
- It is not completely heretical to laugh before, after, or during family prayer. Heavenly Father has a sense of humor.
- It is also not heretical to add, after saying amen, "And please bless the Jazz."
- Priesthood blessings make coping with life easier. Even when they don't make life itself easier.
- Questioning the doctrine is sometimes good, as long as it's done with a prayerful and open mind and a desire to understand.
- Worrying about the "deep doctrine" is pointless. Even if it does make for interesting dinnertime conversation.
- Families can be together forever. And that, by definition, is heaven. (I believe it when I think about my mom. I get a little iffy about the propositions sometimes about my siblings . . .)
- God and my mom love all of their children equally.
- Living a gospel-centered life means never being dissatisfied with how you're living.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
My boss at the time rejoiced in having a kindred spirit--and though you could hardly call her radical, she seemed like--well, Gloria Steinem--in comparison to me.
I will readily admit that I believe there are certain contexts where women can perform as well as men, given the chance. The business world. (The glass ceiling, unfortunately, does exist. And far too few women shatter it.) The academic world. In certain arenas of the sports world.
Women are even on the rise in politics. (Not that I am particularly fond of most of the women on the rise in politics, but that's a different blog for a different day)
Anyway, last night I think I figured out why--aside from the aforementioned ideas I may have been a little vocal about--I became labeled as such a feminist. And it kind of made me laugh a little.
I refuse to ask a man to help me do anything I'm sure I can do myself.
But this doesn't make me any sort of feminist, because this behavior isn't restricted to just men. I refuse to ask anybody to help me do anything I'm sure I can do myself.
So here's the situation: my roommate and I have a new roommate moving in next Wednesday, and she is moving into my room. I am moving into the same room as my current roommate. We like having three roomies, because rent is cheaper. But that involves sharing, and our new roommate (who we dearly, dearly wanted to be the one to move in with us) had one requirement: her own room.
Anyway, I was more than happy to accommodate, but I didn't think about how I'd have to move my furniture. My bed, desk, and dresser will relocate to their new home in the other bedroom. And the bookshelves would have to be removed to the living room. (Which makes them a conversation topic for everyone who visits, because everyone is guaranteed to ask "Who reads this much?")
A week ago, I had removed all of the books from my bookshelves because my home teachers were supposed to visit. And since I was recently informed that men like to feel "manly useful" (which involves moving things and not, say, showing someone how to use a fickle digital piano as an organ for sacrament meeting), I thought I would help boost their egos by asking them to help me move the shelves.
Except they rescheduled. And so the books have rested, lined up in tidy rows on my floor, for a week. I didn't want to re-shelve them until the shelves were in their new places. Besides, the home teachers had rescheduled to four days in the future. I could wait till then. And by boosting his ego, I would feel I'd restored some of the confidence I'd unintentionally shattered when I talked to the new home teacher. (I may have--unintentionally--implied that he was wimpy, out-of-shape, and ignorant. Let me again emphasize--unintentional!! Don't worry--it has been duly noted that I need to exercise my filter a little more than I did.) But then they canceled.
Anyway, last night I decided that the bookshelves needed to move. They needed to move right then. And I could hardly expect my home teachers to show up spontaneously. Besides, I had a distinct impression I could move them on my own.
It would be a lie to say that moving them was one of the easiest things I've ever done, but it would also be lying to say it was one of the hardest. And they are tall shelves, so calling it a little awkward might be employing a little litote.
But I moved them. What can I say? As I told my roommate, I was having an I-am-woman, hear-me-roar kind of moment. And I didn't want to have to wait for a man in order to do something I could do perfectly well all by myself.
I blame my parents. They raised us to be as independent as we could possibly be. But let it be known: independence and feminism are not the same things.
(And unfortunately, I do need help to move the desk. So I'll try to be a good child and help my home teachers feel manly useful.)
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
That is, I had no idea until 3:30 Saturday afternoon, which was when I finished watching Shattered Glass.
Shattered Glass is the story of Stephen Glass, an up-and-coming young journalist who worked for The New Republic in the late 1990s. Think of him as the precursor to our newest generation of journalists/writers-with-issues. (Think Jayson Blair and James Frey for a more recent parallel.) When he published a piece called "Hack Heaven," and a Forbes.com reporter busted the piece wide open by discovering nothing or nobody cited in the article checked out, Glass tried to defend himself but ended up burying himself in lies that became so obvious that his editor connected the dots.
Anyway, because I'm me, and if you know me at all, I have to read up on someone or something before I watch a factual movie about them. And what I read had some very clear identifiers about Stephen Glass: an effeminate man, bordering on the seemingly gay. Not just self-effacing, but more or less a paranoiac who constantly asked "Are you mad at me?" And someone who transformed himself any time he spoke about one of his stories in meetings.
And I have to say--Hayden Christensen was masterful in this movie. He displayed the appropriate tics. Asked "Are you mad at me?" with just the right tinge of paranoia and pleading in his voice. And could transform himself, literally from a snivelling sycophant ("My story's not that good. I'll probably scratch it.") to a workplace rock star--as he enacted situations that had never existed and people who were born and thrived only in his head.
It was fabulous, as well, to watch his decline. As the movie started, you could see this peculiar blend of mild paranoia and confidence. In fact, the character was such a paradox to begin with--this desperate desire to please with this near-perfect confidence that whatever he wrote would be well-received.
And as the movie progressed, the dark circles under his eye grew and you could fell the character being more taut. More tense. More strained. And increasingly ready to defend himself and his writing and to insist that anyone who attacked his writing must have some type of personal beef.
As you can tell, I'm not the most spectacular reviewer. But I've got to wonder why this guy has made some of the career choices he has. Sure, toward the end, I could see hints of the ever-angry Anakin. But they fit. And this was, by no means, a one-note performance. I think that I could maybe--maybe--call his turn as Anakin a two-note performance. (Mostly because he looked more or less brooding to me throughout Episode II, and then he seemed angry throughout Episode III. And though I know they weren't intended this way, they came off as more comedy than drama. In fact, I think I laughed harder during those two films than I did through films that were billed as comedies)
As I said, everyone deserves a fair shake. Even movie stars.
What is now completely incomprehensible to me is that he doesn't seem to be giving himself a fair shake.
Either that, or he's opting for roles that amount to: "Hey, Hayden. Please just stand in front of the camera and look good. We'll pay you well to do it."
I sincerely hope he realizes he can do more. And he has.
P.S. Seriously, watch this movie. And then watch the Sixty Minutes interview included as a special feature and tell me if you think the real Stephen Glass really seems contrite to you. I'm curious.