30 September 2010


Yes, my blog-fodder reservoir is so low that I am blogging about my shoes.

Compared to most American women, I do not have a lot of shoes. I have never been a shoe-guru. I certainly appreciate a pair of cute shoes, but when it comes to buying shoes I am rarely capable of letting go of my money to buy a pair unless I know that I will wear them a lot.

I am more interested in comfort and functionality than I am interested in style. Consequently, I do not own a lot of really adorable shoes. I see a lot of adorable shoes, but then I realize that those shoes would probably hurt my feet and/or make my back hurt, and I don't buy them.

One of my biggest pet peeves in traveling, actually, is that I hate to be that person wearing clunky and ugly tennis shoes at all the tourist places, but there are no other more comfortable shoes. And if I'm going to be walking around the National Mall and visiting umpteen Smithsonians, I don't want my feet and back to be killing me by the end of the day. And my feet and back would kill me by the end of a block or two if I were wearing some of my cuter shoes. (You can trust me on this. I park 1.5 blocks from the Family History Library, and even that little walk will often make my feet and lower back hurt all day long if I am not wearing tennis shoes.)

Perhaps the solution is to buy better quality cute shoes, but I have not found that the quality of a cute shoe matters a whole lot. Most shoes just do not have the support that I need to have a comfortable shoe-wearing experience.

So I am the girl with not very many shoes, who gets out of my shoes as soon as I walk into my flat.

(As you can probably tell, the bottom four rows of the shoe rack are mine. Missing are my pair of black flats. They happen to be right where I left them when I walked in the door from work today.)

27 September 2010

31 Weeks

Lest anybody who does not see me in real life on a regular basis thought I was making this up, I am not. I really am pregnant. And thankfully, I'm still on the small side considering how far along I am. Only about nine weeks to go!

(And, yeah, that picture on the right is really wonky. Why did Eric cut off the top of my head? And why didn't he tell me that my posture was more crooked than usual? Oh well.)

26 September 2010

A workaday world

Back in March I gave a brief description of Eric's job. I usually don't talk about Eric's job a whole lot, just like I do not talk about my own that much. It is partly because there just isn't a lot to say about our jobs, but also because I like to keep our professional lives pretty separate from the blog. I don't ever want to get into any kind of trouble for saying something on my blog about our jobs that could somehow get either of us into some kind of trouble. (While I'm explaining that, please take note that I NEVER name the companies that either of us currently work for, so please also refrain from doing that when you comment. Thanks!)

That whole paragraph does have a point, and it is thus - Eric got a promotion and a transfer to his company's Salt Lake branch. This is a huge blessing for us, and we are very excited about this new transition. Of all the things I am most excited about, the main one is that he will have a normal schedule. Last night was his last graveyard shift EVER. Since he's worked graveyard shifts our entire marriage (sans the year we were in New Zealand), I'm not particularly bothered by being by myself overnight. (I got over any qualms I had about that very quickly.) But it is kind of lame that he would often leave our flat on Sunday night at about 11 and not return until Tuesday evening. No more of that. He will be working regular office hours. We're going to see each other every single evening. I don't even know what that is like! But I'm excited for it.

25 September 2010

Pregnancy Lies

For the most part, I think I've had a very normal pregnancy. But I have definitely noticed some things that women told me would or wouldn't happen a certain way that have just not been the same for me.
  • Your morning sickness will be gone by 14 weeks. Let's try 21 weeks.
  • Your hair is amazing when you are pregnant, and you don't shed. My hair is the same. I shed the same amount.
  • Your energy will sky-rocket in the second trimester. While I definitely felt my energy rebound after the first few exhausting weeks, I never felt like I had exceptional energy during the second trimester. Of course, that may have to do with the fact that I was low on iron, as I found out last week after my iron test. And maybe the longer I am in the third trimester the more I will realize that I had great energy levels in the second. We shall see.
  • You won't have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom during the second trimester. I understand the logic behind this: during the first trimester your uterus mostly grows downward, causing you to need to use the bathroom more than usual. In the second trimester, your uterus really begins to grow outward, and that is alleviated until the third trimester when your uterus just grows and grows and grows. I had about two weeks where I wasn't waking up in the middle of the night to use the loo. It was a lovely two weeks, and it was so very, very, very long ago.
  • Weird cravings. I just haven't had any. I know that that is not a straight and fast rule, but it is something that you hear a lot about, but I didn't have issues with it really. In fact, there were few things that I really craved at all. I do love pickles, but I've always liked them. I also love chocolate milk, but I've also always liked that too. I just happen to like them a little more than usual right now. But I've never had a craving that justifies going out and satisfying it RIGHT THEN (or sending Eric out, which, let's be honest, is the more likely solution.)
  • Moodiness. I had a few weeks of being pretty unstable (by my standards - it's possible I was very even-keeled compared to other people.), but since then I've felt pretty normal. As when I am not pregnant, things get touchy when I haven't eaten properly or haven't slept properly (Yes, I am in fact an infant.), but that sort of moodiness is not unique to pregnancy.
Now, I know that most of what I've heard are generalities, and for the most part I think I've fit into those generalities. But these are few things that have caused me to raise my eyebrows and wonder what the heck every body else was talking about.

23 September 2010

Time-travel and political debates

We've been watching The Civil War, the documentary series produced by Ken Burns several years ago. It is a truly great series. The other night we watched the episode that included Lincoln's speech at Gettysburg. One of the interesting things about this speech is that Lincoln was invited in sort of an off-handed way. The folks dedicating the new cemetery realized they probably should extend an invitation to the president, and he knew that he'd be called upon to speak. However, he was not invited as the primary speaker. The chief orator was Edward Everett. His speech lasted a couple of hours. Of course, Lincoln's was only a few minutes, and it was one of the most eloquent and beautiful speeches most of us have ever read.

With all that background, here is my point: Can you imagine listening to somebody speak for over two hours? In the 1860s that was really common. Most politicians gave speeches that lasted that long. Sermons were that long too. Mormons attend a semi-annual conference each year. Each conference includes six two-hour sessions, four of which are directed at the entire church. (Meaning that at any given conference you probably will only attend as many as five sessions.) Don't get me wrong, I love General Conference, but sitting for two hours at a time and listening to speakers is a little tiring, and we're talking about NUMEROUS speakers in each session, plus songs! And I still find myself very ready for each session to end.

It is hard for me to imagine politicians of today, who are trained to speak in soundbites and quippy remarks having a debate with a politician of the 1860s. I mean, really, can you imagine Abraham Lincoln participating in the Republican presidential primaries with Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and John McCain? If anything on earth could make our current politicians look even dumber, I think that would be it. Of course, Americans, as a rule, appreciate the shorter, quippy remarks to the logical, thoughtful political explanations. (Thank you, television.) Not only that, but can you imagine a politician of the 1860s having to respond to debate questions within a 90-second limit?

Now, I'm not advocating a return to lengthy political speeches. I just thought it was interesting how very different our political discussions are now than what they were 150 years ago. The style of political discourse is so vastly different than it once was, that it really is like comparing apples and oranges. But I still do wonder if truly eloquent politicians of ages past are looking down on the Sarah Palins (and others, oh, there are others!) of today and shake their heads in disappointment.

22 September 2010

Meet George

When I was in Dallas for a week visiting my family, Eric got lonely. He was in his parents' yard helping them out when he found several praying mantises living their praying mantis lives. He decided to capture one and keep it as a pet.

And thus we have George. He lives in one of my vases with some twigs. He likes to eat grasshoppers, crickets and moths. When we were in Jackson Hole, my nephews helped Eric catch a whole bunch of crickets for George to eat. When Eric finds bugs in the apartment, he catches them and feeds them to George.

Eric wasn't sure how crazy I would be about George, and he anticipated that he'd have to get rid of George when I got home. But I like George.

I do not have to feed George. George does not shed. George does not demand any of my attention. George does not mess or barf on the carpet. George eats free and very cheap foods. We can leave George for a couple of days without worrying about him. George stays in his vase. George does not make any noise. George keeps Eric incredibly entertained, and I enjoy watching him catch his food too. I am a fan of George, the praying mantis.

20 September 2010

Another trip to Jackson Hole

We went to Jackson Hole the second weekend of September to visit my brother and his family. For some crazy reason we hadn't been up to visit them in over a year. That's pretty ridiculous considering that they really aren't far away from us at all. We'll have to make sure not to be so lazy this coming year.

Every year Jackson Hole hosts a 5k charity race called Old Bill's. There is no fee to enter, but they do ask for a donation to a local charity. My oldest nephew started running about a year ago and has become quite a good runner. My brother had mentioned bringing his older boys down and all of us running a race together, but that was before I got pregnant. (Let's be honest, though: even if I weren't pregnant I wouldn't be able to run a 5k.) It just worked out for Eric and me to go up the weekend of Old Bill's. Eric ran with the older two boys and my brother. I walked around with my sister-in-law and her mom, and then we turned around and waited at the finish line to take pictures of the runners as they came in.

After the race, we went on a hike to Phelps Lake in the Tetons. It was a nice hike, and one I could handle considering my previously-better bum hip had flared up again for the special occasion (naturally).

We were really glad we had the chance to go up and visit. Each of the kids (except the oldest one) got to feel the baby kick, which was pretty fun. We ate great food, as usual, including mushroom and cheese-stuffed burgers (todiefor) and smoked pulled pork tacos (also todiefor).

Plus my brother gave me the cradle that two of my cousins, four of the kids in my family and all four of my brother's kids slept in. I will post a picture one of these days when the cradle is put together and has bedding. Right now it's in a box in our little apartment storage unit. When my sister-in-law was pregnant with my oldest nephew, my brother and my sister's husband worked together to restore the cradle, and it is a really beautiful little piece of furniture. It is exciting to know that our kid is going to sleep in something with so much history.

16 September 2010

Clever title here

I've been meaning to post for days, but the camera is never in the apartment. Plus, I'm busy.

Tomorrow I am having my gestational diabetes test. Plus an iron test. Plus a shot in the hip so my kid doesn't get hemolytic disease of the newborn, or HDN. Plus I have a regular appointment. Also big deadlines for work.

And it's Eric's birthday.

So, for this gestational diabetes test. You get this little soda drink. You chug it in five minutes and get your blood drawn exactly one hour after drinking it. You can't have eaten anything two hours prior to the drink, and you (obviously) can't eat or drink anything besides water between drinking the substance and getting your blood drawn. My midwife gave me the drink at my last appointment, like four weeks ago. It has been in my fridge since then.

Tonight I was telling Eric that I had to drink that orange drink first thing tomorrow morning and that I wouldn't be having breakfast until after I got my blood drawn. He then said, "Oh, I'm glad I didn't drink it. I've been wanting it for a while." It made me laugh. Because I don't think it's a particularly yummy drink. And because I DID tell him when I brought it home from my appointment a month ago that it was for my gestational diabetes test.

I think if he had drunk it I would have made him go get his blood drawn just to top off the experience.

09 September 2010

Book Burning and Personal Revelation

I'm sure you've all heard about the pastor calling for the burning of Korans. I could write a diatribe against this pastor and his hate-mongering, but I won't. Partly because the issue seems to have mostly blown over now, but also because there are probably plenty of people who have said what I want to say in far better words than I would be able to use. Instead, I want to focus on the fact that this man claimed that if he got a sign from God we would not burn the books.

As a Mormon, I believe in personal revelation. I believe that God can and does communicate with people still. I have had too many experiences to count when I have received some sort of personal revelation. Sometimes this revelation has been small, sometimes large. Revelation has come to me in a variety of ways - by small thoughts in my head (maybe what one would call an epiphany), by feelings, by reading something that answers a question I've had, by conversations with people, and even in dreams. While I certainly cannot say that I have ever had a one-on-one conversation with my Heavenly Father, I can state with certainty that He has communicated to me throughout my life through various means.

With that said, I wondered what this pastor would consider to be a "message from God." Was he looking particularly for a personal visitation? Did he expect to hear a voice calling him by name? Or was he looking for something a little more subtle? Because I would think that a personal request from numerous political and national leaders including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and General Petraeus could perhaps be viewed as a message from God. I think God often communicates to us through other people. Sometimes that communication is a word of comfort offered by a person that speaks directly to your soul. Sometimes other people offer a voice of warning (e.g. If you do this you will be putting thousands of American troops at risk!), that could be viewed as a direct message to you or I from our Heavenly Father.

I guess that's my question - what kind of communication was this guy looking for?

07 September 2010

Navigation - without a GPS

This is a portion of a map of the Salt Lake City area. This is the place where I've done most of my driving. There are not too many highways. It is not hard to navigate.
Contrast that with the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. (Yes, that is what it is called. I did not make that up, and I didn't even know it wasn't a word used to describe all metropolises until I was in college and people raised their eyebrows at me when I used the word "metroplex." It was only then that I learned it specifically refers to the Dallas/Fort Worth area.) The DFW highway system is fairly complicated. There are a lot of highways. Many of the highways have multiple names. In some places these highways merge together for a few miles and then separate again. There are exits on the LEFT SIDE of the highway.
It is a pretty big, sprawling place. And despite the fact that I lived in the Dallas area until I went off to college, I had virtually no concept of how this highway system worked. Besides the fact that it was big and sprawling, I did not get my driver's license until the summer after my freshman year at BYU, which means that I only spent a few months driving, and I only went to the same handful of places when I did go places.

For my trip to visit my family, I rented a car. I had an event to attend and a few people I wanted to visit, so I wanted the flexibility of having my own vehicle. I was rather terrified to know that I would be navigating the freeway system on my own. BUT! I've managed! The night I arrived I managed to get from Dallas Love Field to my parents' house in southeast Dallas County ALL BY MYSELF. The next day I managed to get from my parents' house to my sister's work in downtown Dallas ALL BY MYSELF! The next day I made it to the Dallas Temple (which, admittedly is VERY easy to get to) ALL BY MYSELF. Then, after that, I went out to Arlington and visited a friend, and I got there ALL BY MYSELF. On Monday I went all the way up to visit a good friend in Plano, and I got there and back ALL BY MYSELF.

You can probably tell that I'm fairly proud of myself. I've mentioned before that I don't like driving, and I especially don't like driving in unfamiliar terrain, so this week has been a huge accomplishment for me. I don't have a good sense of direction. I rely very heavily on maps, and it takes a lot of effort for me to have a sense of where I am. There were times when I took wrong exits, merged onto wrong highways or missed exits altogether, but despite this, I was able to figure things out and get myself back on track. I feel so much more grown up than I did a week ago.

Granted, I still have to get myself to the car rental return place tomorrow, but I'm feeling pretty good about that.

01 September 2010

Delayed Photos

At the end of July we took a trip to Northern California to attend a friend's wedding and also to meet my cousin for the very first time. Unfortunately, we "lost" our camera (technically, it was stolen by one of Eric's clients) just before the trip, so we only had Priscilla's camera. That means when we split up and she headed to Southern California, and we headed to Even More Northern California, we stopped being able to capture our journey.

Anyway, here's a brief run-down of mine and Eric's first ever trip to Northern California:

We crossed the Salt Flats. I had never seen them before. Eric, apparently had never tasted salt before.

The wedding was in the Oakland Temple. It's a beautiful temple, and we were glad we got to add it to our list of temples we've been to.
We then drove to San Francisco. Priscilla bought sourdough bread that was impossible to tear.

And we rented bikes and rode them up to and across the Golden Gate Bridge. I was so exhausted just getting to the bridge that I seriously contemplated quitting and letting Priscilla and Eric go without me. In the end, I was glad I went.

I may look happy here, but that is only because I knew the way back to the bike shop would be mostly downhill.
When we got back to our car in Oakland and were heading to Stockton for the reception, I commented that I was a big weenie. Priscilla agreed. I told her to shut her piehole. She just laughed. Seriously, though. This was a really easy bike ride that was incredibly difficult for me. Bike riding is not one of my best things.