Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A new endeavor and some work

I started a garage sale. On-line.

That's sort of it. It's more like an exchange of stuff. I call it The Family Garage. Check it out and feel free to participate. I'd love to keep it busy over there.

I found out yesterday that people were moving around at work so I emailed my team leader to ask if he had seen something I thought I had left. He said, "if you've got anything still here you better come get it today."

Sounds ominous, eh?

I went in and found that my stuff had already been moved, but at least they didn't just toss it out. Instead, it had been moved to the other side of the building. Apparently I now work for Dan. The interesting part about working for Dan is that he's the person who originally hired me when I started at my company over 12 years ago. Kind of a weird full circle.

Anyway, when I had taken Amelia in to the office to show her off, I had gotten the impression that there would be very little (if any) work for me anytime in the near future. And then when I got the email from Jared I figured they were just going to clear me out completely. Really scary in this economy.

I looked everywhere I could think of for my CDs (seriously, I'm devastated that I can't find them - they're all my picture CDs - all my Alaska pictures, everything), but nothing.

There was a bright spot: Dan asked me to come in today. Turns out that Jared was planning to fire me (let me go, anyway) but Dan had stepped in and said he would take me. Because I put in the time years ago, I have a job today. I'll even go in for a few hours tomorrow. I don't know how many hours I'll get here and there, but I should get some. And the fact that the long-term higher ups are vying for me (Jared is brand new to this part of the company) makes me feel really good.

Apparently putting in the time at a job you can barely stand for a wage that would disgust most pays off in the long haul. :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Travel Contest at CheapOair

My friend Erin is running a contest for her company in which she will randomly pick from her favorite interesting entry essays to give away a $500 travel voucher.

So go to this site and enter by end of day on Feb 1. Winners announced the next day.

But just know that if you win I might expect you to take me with you... :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

More words and a Mystery Solved

The Felix Dictionary
ba-deen = bandaid
ba-pa = grandpa
ba-ma = grandma
gock = sock
guck = stuck
tew = shoe
pewn = spoon
pome = phone
pean = swing
pew-pew = computer

These are just a few of our favorites. It really is fun to see Felix get the hang of language. He does still need a translator for many things, but we did finally figure out one word that was getting the better of us. That's Brent's great accomplishment for the week.

Felix will often pair words with "we-we" and we had no idea what it meant. He will say "we-we bot-toh" (bottle) and "we-we bat-tuum" (vacuum). He says it all the time, in fact. Brent made the connection that "we-we" is actually "Felix". He's referring to himself or something that is his. When I told my parents about that discover this morning, my dad said he had just barely figured it out too.

This week was actually notable for a few other things:

* Brent painted and put the doors on the upper cabinets in the kitchen so I'll get to start putting food away this week. I'll finally have a living room again (and of course a kitchen)!

* I went to work and was told that there won't be anything for me to do for the foreseeable future (they made a bunch of layoffs in December) and I might want to look for a job. We would do fine with just Brent's income except for taxes. Taxes for the self-employed are killer.

* I got a ginormous cold - first of the season (which is quite miraculous, I think, because usually by the end of January I've had at least 2 terrible colds and am on my third) and my sinuses are itchy. Felix and Amelia also have colds but mine is the worst.

* I started getting a bedroom ready for Felix and Amelia. It is now stripped of wallpaper. This week I will tear out the crusty moldy carpet and the baseboards, fix up the walls (spackle and sanding and such) and paint them, and seal the cement. Then (probably the week or two after that), I will put in laminate flooring and have Brent start on a really cool Spiderman mural. I'm excited. :)

Things are good. Progress is made. Life marches on.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An Open Letter to Tom Hanks from a Mormon

Dear Mr. Hanks,

I have been a fan of yours for years. Several of your films are among my very favorites. I truly believe that you will be remembered long after your time as one of the greats of cinema history. It is because of the enormous respect I have for you that I address this to you and not to one of your many colleagues who similarly seem to think that your status as a celebrity, even a very talented one, grants you unique wisdom or understanding in the realms of politics and social conflicts.

I refer specifically to your recent comments regarding California's Proposition 8 and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (of which I am a member). Let me be clear that you are entitled to your opinion, but your statements demonstrate some enormous misunderstanding and ignorance about not only mormons, but the very issues at the heart of Prop 8.

Firstly I take issue with your characterization of the support for Prop 8 as "un-american." I find it ironic that you would even use this term, since the mere idea of being labeled such by supporters of the War on Terror had a number of your colleagues incensed to the point of nearly frothing at the mouth in their indignation. There is nothing more american than people making their will known through an organized vote. It is, in fact, one of the chief founding principles of this great nation.

But, you say, this is wrong because it is "discrimination codified on [a] piece of paper." I submit that nearly all of our laws are just that...discrimination. We discriminate against the murderer, the thief, the rapist, and the abuser. We discriminate against those who drive faster than the speed limit and those who do not wear a seatbelt. We discriminate against minors. We discriminate against those with physical or mental handicaps. Discrimination, the act of giving preference to one thing over another, is a given. The only question is whether or not that discrimination is justified. It is only right, for instance, that a person without the ability to see clearly not be allowed to drive a car.

Now, let's make a few things clear. First, most of us who are against same sex marriage are not trying to tell people how to live their lives. No one is trying to make gay sex illegal. No one is telling gays that they can't live together. What's more, gays can get married in any state in the union today. There are plenty of churches, even in Utah, that are willing to perform the ceremony. They can buy rings, wear white dresses, make whatever vows they wish to make, and if they so choose, they can live together and have all the sex they want. No human right is denied them. This is not about being able to love whomever they choose or live however they want. It's about validation. They want society to condone their lifestyle, not tolerate it.

So the question becomes, is society justified in giving preference to heterosexual relationships over homosexual ones? In answer to that let me ask this: Is society justified in giving preference to a relationship between two adult people over one between a man and a prepubescent girl? The answer should be obvious.

The issue is a definition of marriage and it's purposes. If marriage is nothing more than a vehicle by which two people express love for one another and a commitment to faithful companionship, then there would be no reason to bar anyone from marrying whomever they chose. But marriage is about family, as cogently and eloquently proclaimed by the leadership of the LDS church. Part of this is the undeniable fact that biologically two people of the same gender cannot reproduce, but the more important fact is this: marriage is the best way to raise up healthy, happy, responsible members of society. Marriage is not just husband and wife, it's also son and daughter. The family unit is the fundamental building block of society. As such it is in society's interest to encourage it.

And that's really the discrimination we're talking about here. It's not an issue of a law telling people that they can't live as they choose. The law says only that this kind of relationship will be encouraged through official recognition because it is of fundamental benefit to society and all other relationships will not because they are not.

Your colleague Sean Penn said that mormons and blacks should be ashamed of their support for Proposition 8. It is he who should be ashamed. You might ask yourself what these groups have in common. Blacks and mormons in particular have been subjected to real, sustained, deadly persecution in this nation. We all know what blacks have been through, but you may not be familiar with the history of persecution of mormons. Long years of people driven from their homes, men and women being tortured and killed, defamation, wrongful prosecution, and all manner of horrors, culminating in the 1838 "Extermination Order" issued by Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs declaring that mormons "must be exterminated or driven from the state." Effectively it was "codified on a piece of paper" that it was open season on mormons and they could be killed at will.

The point is, Mr. Hanks, that to frame the issue of same sex marriage as a civil rights struggle is deeply insulting to groups who have experienced real persecution. No human rights are being denied gays today. Society simply does not want to condone or encourage their lifestyle.

I don't really hope to change your mind, Mr. Hanks. I still deeply respect you and you are still entitled to your own opinion. It is my hope, however, that you might consider that I'm entitled to mine as well, that there might be a rational, reasonable cause to oppose same sex marriage. Even more, I hope that in the future you might dig a little deeper before making stupid, ignorant remarks about beliefs that you obviously do not understand.


Thursday, January 15, 2009


2008 was a tough year. I'm sure most of you understand that having a baby and dealing with economic crisis at the same time, all the while trying to make do on self-employment, can be rough. I'm sure a lot of my frustration has to do with fluctuating hormones, but there's also a toddler who's almost 2, a house that needs serious repairs, health crises, and an amazing lack of sleep.

Amazing to me is that you all really do seem to understand. Or at least sympathize.

Seriously though. I have the most generous friends and family known to man. I mean, it's not like anyone I know has boat loads of money they can throw around, but the people I know are incredibly generous with what they do have.
Some examples:

* It was awesome to be able to drop kids off with my sis-in-law yesterday so Brent could get lots of work done while I went to visit my adorable cousin's baby (you get to decide whether "adorable" applies to the cousin or the baby - I think it works for both).

* The non-boss that fired Brent 2 1/2 years ago and then decided he was needed... the one who now contracts work out to Brent... sent us a Christmas card. That card contained a gift card for $500 at Wal-Mart. Guilt money? Gift horse, for sure!

* A brother-in-law donated his time (and will for gas money donate a bunch more) to install our kitchen cabinets.

* The website owner where Brent spends a great deal of time moderating sent him a check for $500 as a "bonus." Considering it's a volunteer position, that's a fortuitous windfall.

* A great friend donated a toddler bed and a travel swing for our new baby.

* My parents regularly let Felix run free, allowing Brent and I to have some time "alone" (I put it in quotes because with an infant it's only sort of alone, right?).
Truth is that I can't detail all the ways that people have been wonderful with us. The time that people have donated to us, even by just understanding the difficulties of having a new baby, it all means so much. As overwhelmed as I am by the frustrations of motherhood and life in general, I am just as overwhelmed by the amazing people I am blessed to have in my life.

I love each and every single one of you. Thanks for your support and understanding. And thanks especially for your tolerance. It really is appreciated. If there's anything I can do for you, please, please, please... let me return the many many favors.

As Felix would say, "tay tew!"

Friday, January 9, 2009

According to Felix (and some other stuff)

Felix is a smart little kid. He's finally starting to string words together in semi-sentences and we're understanding him almost as much as he's understanding us. It's been lots of fun to see all this progress.

As I mentioned in the last post, his favorite thing in the whole world is his batuum. He carries it around with him everywhere. Because it's just a little bit heavier and more awkward than a small child can handle, he asks us to carry it upstairs for him: "up wi da batuum!"

His second favorite thing ever is baths. I blame this on his grandpa. I don't know if it's because my dad doesn't like to wipe him completely when he has a stinky diaper, but almost every single time Felix is stinky, his grandpa will give him a bath. If we give him a bath downstairs, we use a kiddie bath and just set it in the shower so he can splash. He loves it, and we don't have to freak out about any tiny spills.

Felix has figured out the stinky/bath connection, of course, so now (according to Felix anyway) there is a direct correlation between a messy diaper and a bath: "peuuu... ba?!" He also loves giving kisses and shaking his head back and forth vigorously as he says "no" over and over. Pretty typical toddler stuff. And his favorite people (other than "mom" and "daddy", of course) are "uke" (Luke) and "Becca" - probably because he can say their names (cousins).

He is saying more and more - like "wa-uh" (water) and "taw-uh" (towel) and lots of body parts. His favorite body part is the "but-tee", which is a hybrid of belly and button.

Felix is a great little kid. He makes us laugh regularly and loves to hear us sing for him (usually when we're trying to get him to sleep): "more!" This is all very good, because he's still pretty darn high maintenance. He demands lots of attention, is a master at creating chaos and deconstructing anything even related to "clean" and still sleeps way less than we would like. We can't get him to bed before about 10:30 unless we want him up at 4 or 5, but on special occasions he skips his afternoon nap and will crash by about 9:30. If we try to get him down earlier he will scream so hard he makes himself throw up. (Amelia and her much larger cousin Ammon, who is just a month older)

Our house is still in depressing disarray. I won't lie and say that I'm not completely overwhelmed and frustrated by the mess. I can't stand it. But I can't fix it because I don't have place to put everything and because I'm so exhausted that I often can barely move. Sigh.

One bright ray of light is Brent, who is finally painting cabinets today. Once they're painted and dry we can get all our kitchen stuff out of the living room and maybe start getting that room back in order.

Oh, the leak in the kitchen came back. Thank goodness for mom and dad's shop vac, or we'd be swimming in that corner of the house and all the lower cabinets would be totally ruined.

Ups and downs, and they're not hormonal. I just want a week off to catch up on sleep.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Due Date

I figured now was a good time to take down the widget seeing as how today is Amelia's due date. That means she's now 5 1/2 weeks old.

She's being a very typical infant - keeping me up all night, taking all my time during the day. Thank goodness she will occasionally sleep for long periods of time (up to 6 hours even) so I can accomplish some things and get some rest.

Felix is being all sorts of goofy lately. I finally cut his hair again so he no longer looks like baby Einstein. He now looks like a very cute little boy. No more baby for him. I can't believe he's almost 2 already. I guess the time really does fly!

We didn't do much for Christmas this year. We did finally buy ourselves a bed frame a couple weeks ago so we called that our present to each other. Officially, I gave Brent a t-shirt and a bag of chips. My mom gave me a diaper genie. But the best present ever was the tiny vacuum we bought for Felix. It wasn't actually on Christmas, but close enough.

See, I had seen a toy vacuum in a catalog a while back and thought that would be fun since Felix is obsessed with our vacuum. The toy vacuum even worked for real! But when I saw the little bright blue Eureka at Wal-Mart I had to buy it. It's essentially a hand vac with a telescoping handle and a floor attachment. Less than $20 even.

The best part is how much Felix loves that thing. He wakes up in the morning thinking about it ("mommy, battuum!"). He even moans about it as he's falling asleep. So freaking cute. I need to get it on film before it loses its grand appeal. But really I want him to love that thing for a very long time because I don't especially like vacuuming myself. I'd be thrilled if my kids loved all the housekeeping tasks I hated... Wouldn't you?