31 May 2007

Pre-Partum Panic

I mentioned in my last post that I went to the U's Health Science Library, but I didn't explain why. You see, I've decided to become a doctoress. Okay. That's a lie.

The truth is that I'm writing my final research paper for my final class on obstetricians' perspectives on midwifery during the 1920s. (Basically, the class consists of writing this 25-30 page paper).

So, today I flipped through all the applicable volumes of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. I read bits and pieces of several articles, not because they applied to midwives, but because I found them interesting and terrifying at the same time. Mostly terrifying. Not only because the idea of a person moving from inside of me to outside of me sends fear throughout my entire body, but also because most of the articles were about health problems. And some had pictures. Really frightening pictures.

The point, I suppose is this: I'm really glad that I will have babies in sterile environments with well-educated people who have a pretty solid understanding of delivering babies and all that goes with it. Not to mention the epidural. It might not feel as good as the opiates that were given to women in the 1920s (yeah, I skimmed an article about that), but a large shot in my spine will suit me quite nicely, thank you. Ahh, modern medicine.

Um, and no, I'm not pregnant.

30 May 2007

Another baby step toward adulthood

So, I have this reluctance to grow up, as I've mentioned before. Today, I took another step toward getting over that problem of mine: I drove to the Eccles Health Sciences Library at the University of Utah. (Part of growing up is being the one to figure out where exactly your kids' meetings and whatnots are and then getting them there safely and on time). I drove there all alone. With only a Post-it note with directions written on it.

To most, this is not a very big deal. But I don't like to drive. I don't like to drive alone. I don't like to drive to places I've never driven to before. And I especially don't like to drive to places I've never even been to before. But, today I did all that. And you know what? I did not die. I did not get in an accident. I did not get lost. I did not lack the ability to find a parking place. I did not get beat up for being a BYU student.

I'm pretty much ready for driving anywhere now. Let me loose in downtown Chicago. Wait, even better, let me loose in downtown London- with a standard!

21 May 2007

Name brand, Shmame brand

I've written before on my love of generic-brands. Most of the time generic-brands are just as good as the name-brand equivalent. There are a few exceptions, but generally those products are only slightly inferior to their expensive, name-brand counterparts that I would still rather save money by buying the generic-brand than the name-brand.

A year ago Eric and I lived in a couple's house, and we took care of their 33-year-old son with Down Syndrome. We came to really discover our love of generic-brand while caring for John because his parents have trained him to love name-brand food. We did an experiment in which we filled John's empty Cheerio box with the Malt-o-Meal equivalent. Surprisingly, he noticed. He told us, "They changed the Cheerios. They're still good, though."

For the next few weeks, we are living with John again while his parents travel around Europe for their 50th wedding anniversary. On Thursday we purchased John a gallon of Western Family Skim Milk. His mother usually purchases Viva! Skim Milk for him. On Saturday night, Eric poured John a glass of his skim milk; the container was more than half full. By Sunday morning, John had placed his empty milk container on the counter for us to see that he needed more milk. We were rather astonished that John had gone through more than half a gallon of milk in just one night! We are pretty confident that John disposed of his generic brand milk by pouring it down the drain. Today we bought John some more milk; we chose Western Family again. We're putting our feet down.

When store-brands first began, they were far inferior to name-brands. However, times have changed, and most store-brands are great! I suppose if you did a taste test where each subject ate the store-brand and the generic-brand right after one another (using a random, matched-pairs design), you may discover that the store-brands are usually better. But, without the other product there to compare, it's rather difficult to tell. Meaning, if you always eat Western Family crackers, you'll hardly notice that they aren't as good as Saltines because you never eat Saltines, and the difference in the two brands is marginal.

Which brings me to my next point. Many products are what they are, and labels just don't mean anything. Milk is one of those products. Skim milk is skim milk. It comes from the same source. It is treated in the same way. It has the same fat content. The end. Thanks to homogenization. You could easily argue that Sprite is better than Lemon-Lime Shasta. Those products have different recipes, but milk, my friends, is just milk. Or medicine. Name-brand and generic-brand medicines are the same. The exact same. Ask any doctor.

Not to mention all the money you save by buying generic brands! Sometimes the generic brands are almost half as much as their name-brand counterparts. Even when we are rich one day (because we will be rich one day) we are going to still buy lots of generic products. And that is how we will continue to be rich, by living frugally. As my cooking teacher said, "Live frugally and travel."

Books, books, books

Today I finished listening to Silas Marner. Excellent book. Excellent story. I was really pleased with it and the way everything came together in the end. Next up is Jane Eyre followed by Anna Karenina since they are both ready to be picked up at the library.

After reading Janssen's reviews of Twilight and New Moon by Stephenie Meyer, I put Twilight on hold at the library, but I didn't have to wait until my turn came up (I think I was 46th in line) because the lady who owns the house I am house-sitting right now owns both books. I started reading Twilight on Thursday night and finished New Moon on Saturday night. It was an utterly unproductive, lazy, and lovely weekend. I found the stories interesting, yet I didn't really care for the books. I found that I kept reading Twilight because so many people (girls) have told me how amazing, excellent, wonderful, etc. it is. So, I kept reading waiting for it to meet my expectations, and it never really did. Why did I read New Moon then? I'm not entirely sure. As with Twilight I continued reading it waiting for it to get good. Somewhere during the weekend I remembered that these books are meant for young adults, and that made me have a greater appreciation for them. Still, I just didn't think they were as fantastic as everyone else makes them seem.

And yet, I am excited for the third to debut later this summer.

17 May 2007

Procrastination: Something worth blogging about

I have a paper due tomorrow. I've barely begun. And I just spent 20 minutes searching for books on CD at the Provo Library and then putting said books on hold so I can check them out. I recently started listening to books on CD at work (a thing which I am techinically not supposed to do, but that is a dumb rule that I faithfully ignore, along with the rule which states I cannot listen to the news). Just last week I listened to My √Āntonia by Willa Cather, and wow! did the time fly by. Sometimes my work can be rather tedious, and it is really nice to listen to quality literature while I frantically press the keys on the 10-key pad or while I look for the immigration record of Jose Juan Echegarayhoycabalguirregoitia, for example. (I realize that only people who are familiar with Basque names and the research project that I am working on will find that name hilarious, but I am keeping it there anyway).

Now, you're probably wondering what books I have put on hold, and I will tell you:
  • 1984
  • Anna Karenina
  • Atlas Shrugged, part I
  • Brave New World
  • Catch-22
  • Emma
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants
  • Twilight

With the exception of Harry Potter, I have not read any of these books and feel like it would be good to at least familiarize myself with them. Although I am not technically reading the books, I feel like listening to them is substantially better than saying, "Yeah, I've heard of that one, but I've never read it." Many of the books will be available to me quite soon since I am first on the waiting list. Meanwhile, I'll finish listening to Silas Marner and try not to get too tired of NPR or Pandora.

14 May 2007

The Trip

I can't very well mention our trip without including some pictures.

When we first got to the beach on Thursday night, we were big babies about how cold the water was, and we wanted to avoid getting in. (Plus, we weren't wearing our suits).


Eventually Eric got into the water so he could climb on the rock and look pensive. He didn't intend to get quite so wet.

Eric's mom insisted that we build a sand castle. I opted to take pictures to avoid getting dirty.

Then we watched the sunset. Some locals said it was the best they had seen in a while. Lucky us!

The next day, we went to the beach again. This time, we wore our suits and went swimming. After we got out of the water, I was so cold, I let Eric bury me in the sand. (I detest being covered in sand). He tried to make me look like a mermaid (note the fins), but it looks more like I'm being swallowed by a fish.


We went to Sea World on Friday and on Saturday. It was my first time to see marine mammal in person, and they are very big. It was quite fun. :) I pet dolphins, sting-rays and starfish. Eric thinks it would be cool to eat a whale.

We also went kayaking in La Jolla Bay, and man, that was fun! We got really close to some sea lions, and I took lots of pictures on the water-proof camera. That film hasn't been developed yet, so you will just have to wait in anxious anticipation for those photos.

Grandparents

This weekend, Eric and I went to San Diego with his parents, his brother, his brother-in-law, and the Grandparents L to watch his sister dominate in the 800M race at the Mountain West Conference championships. It was well worth the trip.

I had never been to California before (well, not really). The Topless Girls and I went down to Las Vegas freshman year, and we crossed the state line, just so I could say I'd been to California. But, I've always felt guilty counting California as one of my 13 states when I had only been there for about 10 minutes (if that).

It was an extraordinarily fun trip, not because all eight of us were crammed into a nine-seater SUV, but because Eric's family is so much fun, especially his darling grandparents. Most of the time, I sat in the back seat with Eric's grandma, and she is just a fun lady. She said some funny things: "I'm too far away from Grandpa to be a good backseat driver back here. Slow down, Richard!" and "Don't say that at my funeral, Andrew." I really got her talking about her childhood and about her parents, especially when Eric was sitting nearby and could hear her. He seems to know so little about his older relatives (beyond grandparents), and sometimes I find that I know more about them than he does. It was good for him to learn about Grandma L's parents- what they were like, what they liked to do, etc. Grandpa, of course, was a hoot as well. When passing a sign that said "Nude Showgirls" Grandpa said, "Well, that doesn't sound any fun. Let's not go there." It was hilarious. But, you probably should have been there and should know Grandpa L to find it funny.

I think my favorite was when Grandpa named the starting line-up of the New York Yankees from 1939 (or some other time in the 1930s), and Grandma said, "Now name all your grandchildren, Richard!" I can't wait to be just like Grandma and Grandpa when I get old. Can I skip the part where we have kids?