Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I unintentionally did not succeed in decapitation.

Child Six has not awakened early in the morning covered in poop up to his armpits the last couple days, Child Five's ear seems to have stopped hurting so much, and no one is throwing up any more, so I guess I can manage to get a post written today.

I thought I would go ahead and clarify some of the things you commented on in my birthday post. I'll simply go in order of the list.

#3: Why do I want to live in an underground house? Well, for the novelty, I guess. I also want to live in a straw bale house, a rammed earth house, and I love many different styles of traditional houses, as well. I would just love to build and build. When I go back and get my degree it will probably have something to do with construction.

#9: What song did Michael McClean sing about me? I'll give you a hint: you've never heard it and you never will. What happened was that one summer I worked for a family camp up in the mountains above Provo, Utah. We had all kinds of guest speakers, and one week the McClean family came up. When the weeks' campers went home on Friday, we staff had free time until Saturday afternoon, when the next batch of campers arrived. On the Friday night when the McCleans were there only three of us staff were still at camp. The McCleans hadn't gone down into the valley, so we looked all over camp in vain for the one VCR the camp owned so we could watch Anne of Green Gables. After a long and fruitless search, the three of us and the McCleans sat around in a room with a piano. Michael proposed a game. He started out with a story line and passed it to the next person, who told some of the story and then passed it along. It's a little intimidating to be telling a story to the best story teller ever and I think he got frustrated with us. After a while, he took over and told a fantastic story that he made up on the spot. Don't ask me; I don't remember it. I just know it was great. Then he sat at the piano and sang a song about each of us. Again, don't ask me because (sadly) I don't remember his song about me. It was short, it rhymed, and I was very pleased that for one moment, he knew my name. That is my big brush with one of the most famous LDS songwriters.

#13: Google my name and find out what band I played in. The Father of Five knows. That's how he found me after all these years. He's a fan of this band, who are native Minnesotans, and was looking up the band when he saw my name. If you don't know my real name (Barbara, I'm sorry. Eva Aurora is really the name of one of my Swedish ancestors), leave me your email address if you feel comfortable and I'll tell you. Or email FOF. He has my permission to tell you.

#16: Yes, my attempt to decapitate my brother was intentional. My next oldest brother (not the one whose birthday I wrote about recently) was my guinea pig as we were growing up. When I was about 7 and he was about 5, we were interested to know what happens to someone whose head has been cut off. We had chickens, and they do funny things when you cut off their heads. Was it like that for humans, we wondered? Standing in the kitchen, I took a serrated knife and began gently sawing away at my brother's neck (he helpfully stuck his neck out). I hadn't yet broken the skin when my mother, who was cooking at the counter, turned around, shrieked, and snatched the knife away. We were both disappointed at the time not to have our curiosity satisfied, but now he is married and has three beautiful children. It would have been a tragedy had I succeeded.

#18: When was I 100 feet from a tornado? My dad picked me up from ballet class on his motorcycle during some dicey weather. As we were motoring home, the air went still and the light turned that particular shade of green that always means tornado weather. Dad pulled over and pointed to the top of a hill that was just across the street. We watched the clouds swirl faster and faster, finally funneling and touching down briefly onto the hilltop. The funnel immediately went back up, much to my relief. I did not ride the wind of death that day.

#19. The bear. I was 15. I was babysitting in a house in northern Minnesota in the spring. The house sat right next to a large wood. After the kids were in bed, I was in the living room with the windows open and I heard a rustling of grass outside. I figured it was the dog. A moment later I heard the garbage cans on the back porch rattling and I went to the back door, thinking I would let the dog in. As I reached for the doorknob, a voice (I am NOT making this up) said, "Don't open the door!" I was quite taken aback. Then, after a moment, thinking I must have imagined it, I reached for the doorknob again. Again I heard the voice, only louder, "DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!" It hit me then that if Heavenly Father was warning me not to open the door then something bad must be on the other side of it. Completely freaked out, I walked shakily into the living room, sat down on the sofa and fell sound asleep almost immediately. It was weird. Later, I awoke to the sound of the mother pounding on the window to wake me up. She was really mad. "Who did this to my screen door?" she asked heatedly. I looked at the screen, which was shredded. I told her about what I had heard. She called the police, who failed to arrest any bears (though they found some incriminating footprints).

#20. My favorite pizza topping is pepperoni. I like most kinds of pizza (I even enjoyed St. Louis-style pizza when we stayed overnight there. I didn't know that there even was a St. Louis-style pizza before.) I enjoy gourmet pizzas and pizzas loaded with everything, but I always come back to the classic pepperoni. The best pizza is Papa Murphy's Pepperoni DeLite. I have to be careful with that because I could suck down the whole thing myself. Also delicious is their Mediterranean DeLite. Yum.

#23. I won a chicken in a chicken race way back when I was living in Idaho. Every year for Pioneer Day (that's July 24th for you non-Western, non-LDS folks), our ward would hold a big party at someone's farm. There were greased pole climbs, hog races, cow-pie throwing contests, all things pioneer. I raced with maybe five kids for a chicken. I won because I realized we were all playing follow-the-leader, stepped out of line and grabbed the chicken. We added her to our flock and she became a productive member of her society.

And now you know much, much more about me than you would ever have thought you could ever want to know. It's like I'm wearing a see-through backpack, hee hee.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

That political post you were worried about

Thank you for your kind birthday wishes both in the comments and emailed to me. I will address the questions posed about my list of things about me and try to answer them soon.

Today I have to get a little political.

Would it be too crazy for me to call Obama the devil? Yes, it would. I won't call him the devil, but some people are referring to him as the Messiah, which I find even more disturbing (look up Lewis Farrakhan sp?). And watch who is donating the money to him. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have given him more money than any other senator except Chris Dodd. Those who received these nice chunks of change (in the hundreds of thousands) have nothing bad to say about these two behemoths of inefficiency and bad accounting practices.

Even more damning is Joe Biden when he's telling the truth by accident. Oops.

Does this mean I support John McCain? Absolutely not. A vote against one is not a vote for the other. This year I'm going with the Constitution Party. I would have voted for Ron Paul, but since he's out, I'm voting for Chuck Baldwin.

I'm currently reading The End of America; Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, by Naomi Wolf (who is on The List and gets a special search every time she tries to fly on an airplane.) I recently finished The Creature From Jekyll Island; a second look at the Federal Reserve by G. Edward Griffin.

Am I a conspiracy theorist? Yes. I don't consider that to be so far out there when you start following the money and looking at who has (and wants) the power. As Americans, we find it extremely hard to believe that our great nation won't just keep going and going while we enjoy our freedoms and liberties without constant vigilance. As Wolf points out, we have assigned to the professional sector (the lawyers and judges and activists) the job of making sure our freedoms are intact while we go about our busy lives. The truth is that we are on a fast track toward...dare I say it? Fascism, totalitarianism, whatever you want to call it.

Ask yourself, while you read the Book of Mormon, which we are supposed to liken to ourselves, why the prophet Mormon put so much about the political happenings of the Nephites into a book compiled for us, people who live 1600 years after Moroni finished his last words. Read about the ancient secret combination that pops up at the beginning of the Jaredite kingdom in the book of Ether, which is revived among the Nephites and Lamanites by Gadianton. This secret combination is the same in our day: men and women who want to control the world and all the people in it for power, money, ideological reasons, it doesn't matter. The end result is tyranny and oppression. Always. If this tyranny isn't accomplished with massive bloodshed, it is accomplished with a slow eroding of our liberties. One by one, faster and faster, they disappear, until suddenly we find ourselves choked by a noose. The only way out is revolution at that point.

I will stop pontificating now. I just have to get it out sometimes.

By the way, I have launched another blog I call "Scripture Study" (Husband suggested "The Small Plates of Eva"). I'm still tweaking the visual layout, but you're welcome to read and comment. It's stuff that I'm studying in the scriptures and what I think about it. I'd love to read your thoughts (or questions) on these subjects, especially as I'm now a Gospel Doctrine teacher and can use all the ideas I can get.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

There. Me in a nutshell.

It's my birthday. I am again taking a page from Allyson and going to list 37 things about me that you might not know, but I'm only doing this once. With this many things listed there will be nothing you don't know about me next year.

1. I hate it when people don't put their shopping carts away. Really hate it. It burns me up.

2. I can not wear socks on carpet. It's the same shuddery feeling other people get when they hear fingernails on a chalkboard.

3. I would love to live in an underground house if it had enough skylights.

4. I melt whenever I hear Chopin.

5. My eyes always skip chapter headings. I have to consciously go back and make myself read them.

6. I would never have been a great ballerina; I realized that when I went on point and kept getting foot cramps because my feet are too flat.

7. I don't mind grocery shopping but I HATE putting the groceries away.

8. I like folding laundry.

9. Michael McClean sang a song about me.

10. I have been a lab assistant, a day-camp counselor, a clerk at a convenience store, and on the maintenance crew at a family campground.

11. I was almost a model in a fur catalog.

12. We once lived next door to Hugh Nibley. Husband borrowed a wrench from him just to meet him.

13. I once played cello for a famous? band, and since I was paid for it, I guess I'm a professional musician.

14. I was once a telemarketer for Fingerhut. I cannot tell you how much I hated taking people's money for the JUNK they sell.

15. I know just enough about Feng Shui to be really dangerous.

16. I once tried to decapitate my brother. Fortunately I failed.

17. When I was a kid in Idaho, I used to ride my bike 6 miles into town just to go to the library.

18. I was once 100 feet away from a tornado.

19. I was almost killed (or at least seriously injured) by a bear when I was 15.

20. I can eat more pizza than the rest of the family combined, Husband included. And I'm proud. PROUD!

21. I think a lot about the relativity of time, size, and the nature of the universe.

22. Although it sounds cliche, I absolutely love hearing wind in the trees. I can sit and listen to it for hours.

23. I once won a chicken in a chicken race.

24. I talk to myself a lot (but I don't hear voices).

25. I am good at thinking up ideas but not so great at the follow-through.

26. I really like Bollywood films.

27. Most of my clothes are blue, green or black. It just happens.

28. If I had the time, I would learn to be a master carpenter.

29. Ask me what model a car is and I will get it wrong 100% of the time unless I've made an effort to read it on the actual car. Well, I can identify a Mustang. That's it, though.

30. I still don't know the rules for football. Nor do I care.

31. I love babies, any babies. If I see a baby I can't help smiling at it and wanting to hold it.

32. While I subscribe to Martha Stewart Living Magazine, I have no illusions about my abilities to duplicate anything in its glossy pages.

33. When I have nightmares (which isn't often) it's usually about deep, dark water.

34. If I were an animal I'd be a wolf.

35. When I was younger and went to the library, people used to ask me for help because they thought I worked there. I helped them anyway.

36. I am fairly helpless when it comes to hair. I don't even know how to do a "messy bun." My girls are disgusted.

37. The sight of lots of blank notebooks, paper and sharpened pencils has a strangely euphoric effect on me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

'Bots serviced here

Every time I pass this sign I have an Asimov moment.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More to life

The kids have Thursday and Friday off school, so they're all here with their crowd of friends. Husband also had these two days off and wanted to work on his book, but found the noise distracting. He had also collected a group of kids who were threatening to smother him in their attempts to get close enough around him to see what he was doing. He loves our kids dearly, but as he is around multitudes of children in his classroom all day, every day, sometimes he just needs a break. After playing a few rounds of UNO with Child Four, he took off to the bishop's office to be quiet and write.

Child Three went to a friend's house yesterday and came home with her coat pink and beautiful. Apparently, her friend's mom had asked if she could throw her very dirty coat into the wash. I don't know whether to feel more intensely embarrassed or grateful. I know this mom and she is a wonderful person who keeps a very, very clean house. I find it somewhat of a superwoman thing for her to be able to do, but I quit comparing my house to hers a long time ago. My house is what it is. I simply can not be bothered to spend all my time running cleaning defense, especially in the kitchen. I quickly turn into the Mom Witch, yelling at the kids for every mess no matter how small, stressed to the point of heart failure. I knew a woman in a former ward who told me that when her kids were small she used to follow them around all day, cleaning up behind them. She was fanatical about it, to the point where she actually suffered a nervous breakdown. Her doctor warned her to quit worrying so much about it or she would literally die. There are other things in life than a house so clean at all times that you could invite photographers in to take pictures of the living room for a magazine spread.

Here is Child Three with her clean coat. She's in the kitchen, where I've been baking bread today.

Here is the coat closet just moments ago. I have tried and tried. The kids seem to be allergic to hangers.

One of the other things in life: I went to the music store from which we rent a trumpet (Child Two) and a saxophone (Husband) and tried out the cellos. (My own cello is no more. I opened the case one day and found that the neck had exploded off the body, the wood literally shredded. It was a shock, to say the least.) I had Two, Five and Six with me, so it was fairly irresponsible of me to even think it, but I asked the nice lady if I could sit down and play a cello or two. Two took charge of Six, who would have ruined absolutely everything in the store in five seconds, and I tuned up a cello and pulled the bow across the strings. Ohhhh, it was like butter. I knew in that instant how horrible my old cello had been and that it was better that it had destroyed itself, to inflict pain no more on the ear of man. You don't buy a cheap cello off the Internet and get a butter-soft, mellow smooth sound like the cello I played at the music store. The old one sure was shiny and pretty, though, and I was desperate to get my hands on a cello. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I still have a grand piano to play on, and that is a big consolation. Now I just need a constant stream of money for both a cello and endless piano and cello music. That's all. I don't ask much.

Child Four's scars are healing nicely. This is a picture (taken and posted with her permission) of the large scar. The smaller one is higher up on her thigh. Note the paint spatters on the wood floor. Remember that I did not put those there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Many Shades of Chard

When I asked for ideas for posts, I wasn't prepared for David S.'s suggestion of "More chard. All chard, all the time." Wow. That kind of threw me for a loop. Here's a guy who really loves chard and wants to know as much as possible about this fascinating and delicious deep green vegetable, so much so that he wants me to devote all my future posts to chard alone.

Well, David, I can't go quite that far, I'm sorry to say. Even you might get tired of reading about chard, as hard as that is to believe right now. Plus I would have to rename my blog, maybe to "Love, Kisses and Chard" or "Chard! The Best Gift From the Swiss Aside From Numbered Bank Accounts and Lederhosen." (And then I would be printing false information because chard didn't come from Switzerland. It is only "swiss" chard to distinguish it from French varieties of spinach, but I didn't have to tell you that, did I?)

Still, there are a number of interesting things about chard. For instance, we call this vegetable "chard" because the French got confused (insert joke here) and called both this plant and another, similar plant, called cardoon, "carde." The leaves are deep green and the ribs can be white, green or red. Both are edible. The young leaves are okay to eat fresh in salads, but the older it is, the more likely you are going to want to cook it. Here is a nutrition chart I stole from a website:

As you can see, this is an amazingly nutritious vegetable to eat. Not only will it build your bones, it will also clean out your colon, improve your lung health, help you see in the dark and become one of Oprah's new diets. It will NOT allow you to fly, however, no matter what anyone says, especially as that claim has not yet been approved by the FDA. (In fact, the FDA isn't really sure swiss chard is all that good for you, since drug companies can't patent it. If chard is ever patentable by drug companies, you can rest assured that you will officially gain great benefits from it for an exorbitant price. Eat it now while you can afford to.)

Any diet should be high in leafy green vegetables. Don't believe me? Just ask my mother. She pounded that into my head all the time I was growing up. But it turned out she was right. Who knew? Swiss chard is a wonderful addition to your diet. Eat it fresh, sauteed or boiled with just a little vinegar, salt and pepper. And bacon. Mmmm.

David, I know this isn't enough to satisfy you and I'm sorry that I can't devote all my writings to chard. I hope you understand. While chard is a worthy subject, I have other things I want to write about, but I promise to occasionally re-visit this little miracle of a plant. I don't think we've plumbed all the depths of swiss chard yet.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Christ in the Americas

Child Five, ever a fountain of funny declarations, told me that my "dinner hit his jackpot!" I was glad to oblige.

Today was my first time as an official teacher in the Gospel Doctrine class at church. I have substituted for the teachers before and was even asked to be a guest teacher once, but now it's my official calling. I love this calling. I learn so much while I'm preparing the lessons.

Today's lesson was on 3 Nephi 8-11, the pinnacle event of the book. It's when Christ comes to visit his other sheep, the Nephites and Lamanites, after his resurrection. At the time that he died on the cross on Calvary, the New World experienced three hours of such cataclysmic events that they changed the whole face of the land. Mighty cities fell into the earth during horrific earthquakes, other cities were drowned (probably by tidal waves), others burned to the ground from lightening strikes like nothing ever seen before, and cities were buried in avalanches. Some people were carried away in massive tornadoes. The whole geography of the land was changed: mountains fell down and valleys rose up (ever read those tabloid headlines about unexplained straight roads sitting on top of mountains and how they must be alien landing sites? I figure those were roads that used to be in the valleys and were heaved up thousands of feet) and untold numbers of people were killed. After it was over, the survivors had to deal with a darkness so encompassing that they not only couldn't see but also couldn't light any fires. For three days they wept and wailed for their dead, and probably for themselves, while the darkness surrounded them.

Suddenly, a voice comes out of heaven, a voice that everyone in the land can hear. "Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations that they are fallen!"

The voice goes on, listing the cities and how they have been destroyed. It also tells why certain cities were destroyed; for instance, the cities of Gadiandi, Gadiomnah, Jacob and Gimgimno were sunk into the earth because they had killed the prophets and believers of Christ. The city of Jacobugath was burned because it was most evil. The people there had fostered the organizations that tore apart the government and had taken away the freedom of the people in order to get power.

Finally, after listing all the wickedness of the people of those cities, the voice begins a message of hope to the survivors. It tells them that they were spared because they were more righteous than the others who were killed. And then the voice declares its identity in 3 Nephi 9:15:

"15. Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.
"16. I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled.
"17. And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; nd even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled.
"18. I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end."

The pinnacle, the most beautiful part of the book is in 3 Nephi 11. The aftershocks of the earthquakes have finally stopped. Some of the survivors who are gathered near the temple in the land of Bountiful are discussing the things they've heard and experienced, when they again hear a voice, so quiet and still, but piercing, that they don't understand it the first two times. The third time they understand. This time it is God the Father. He says, "Behold my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name -- hear ye him."

The people look up and see a glorious being descending out of heaven. He is dressed in a white robe and he comes into the middle of the crowd, who is stunned silent. He says, "Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world." Then he allows every single person there to come forward and touch the marks of the nails left in his hands and feet and the slash of the spear in his side. Even if every person (there were about 2500 there) took only a few seconds, it would have taken around seven hours for this, and yet Christ wanted everyone there to be a witness that they were actually seeing and touching the resurrected Savior, just as they had been told by their prophets for centuries.

Christ stayed with these people for several days, teaching them many of the things he taught the Jews on the other side of the world. He also tells them that they are the "other sheep" he spoke of to his apostles and disciples in the Holy Land, and that he will visit all his sheep (other remnants of the Ten Tribes of Israel) scattered throughout the world and give them the same lessons and commandments he gave to the Jews and the Nephite and Lamanite survivors.

It's a testament to me that Heavenly Father knows each one of us, individually, and that we are all equally important to Him. There are so many wonderful things He said in these chapters I didn't even touch. He blessed the children, and they were surrounded by angels. I wish I could have seen it.

I have decided I will start an additional blog where I can write about scriptural insights and thoughts, and any who want to read and comment are more than welcome to do so. That's why I learn so much in these Gospel Doctrine lessons: the people in the class make comments that give me additional insight. I love it.

The above painting is by Walter Rane, entitled "One-by-One."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Two first kisses

You're all very lucky.

I had started a new post several times, and what kept coming out was political. That in itself isn't so much of a problem, as it's something I think about a very great deal, but the post itself was not very organized. I rambled badly in my desperate attempt to condense and clearly state some things that I feel very passionately about at this time. Once I get it organized, I'll let it loose. I can't help it. There are things I must say.

So how are you lucky, then? Clearly, you'll still end up seeing a political post in the future, so where is the good fortune?

Today, my friends, I tell you about my first kiss, an idea suggested by Shanna. But I'm not going to tell you about my FIRST first kiss alone; no, I will tell you about several first kisses. Maybe two. We'll see as this progresses how embarrassed I become with the whole subject.

My very first kiss happened when I was a sophomore. I was sweet sixteen and finally allowed to date, not that anyone was banging down my door or anything. I got to be friends with a group of guys who liked to play a Marvel Comics role-playing game, kind of like Dungeons & Dragons but much less weird and geeky. One of them was a senior, a cute guy I'll call Norm (because it's nothing like his real name) who seemed to always have one girlfriend after another. We started hanging out more and more, usually with one of his friends, so it was never a dating situation. One evening, Norm and his friend, Leo, were over at my house hanging out and watching TV. Some sparks had been flying between Norm and me, and when they left, Leo headed out to the car and Norm lingered on the doorstep for a moment. He claimed later that I kissed him first, but I swear I would never be that forward. I do remember going upstairs after they left and thinking, "Huh. So that's what a kiss feels like." Norm and I dated for about seven months (an eternity in high school, no?) and then I got replaced with the next girl. I had seen the writing on the wall and didn't get my heart broken, however, and we wrote the occasional letter after he went to college.

Fast forward to 1991. I was all dated out. I had gone to BYU and met some amazing, wonderful young men. I dated quite a bit, which I thought was pretty crazy since none of the guys in high school or in my ward thought I was dateworthy. But I was done now. I was hoping I was going to marry a certain young man (though he wasn't aware of his fate) but first I was going to go on a mission. As an explanation for those of you who aren't LDS, missionaries are not allowed to date in any way during their missions. Fraternization between male and female missionaries or missionaries and people they meet in their areas of service is prohibited because it would seriously detract from the sacred work we are sent to do: share the gospel. (You can, however, write to anyone, male or female, who is not within the mission boundaries) Fine with me. I was done dating. I figured that after my mission I would go back to BYU to finish my degree and harrass the guy I wanted to marry until he either told me to get lost or agreed to marry me.

I went to England on my mission. In my second area, I met a Welsh elder, my zone leader, and knew within a few hours that I was going to fall in love with him. It's wasn't a dreamy revelation, though. It was a sudden knowledge, a solid THUNK of revelation, the kind of thing you know is true without knowing how you know. Since we were both missionaries, I started praying to Heavenly Father to take the feeling away. I wanted to be a good missionary, to focus on the work. The feeling increased, however, and then I knew I was going to marry him. You LDS returned missionaries are out there snickering in sad disbelief. Yes, it was the Spirit telling me, sometimes to the point of physical pain, that THIS was the guy I would marry. Don't even lecture me. I know. I know. I couldn't believe it either. Yet, I knew it and I was glad, glad, glad.

Long story short, Elder Future Husband got transferred to another area. One night he called me (again, no lectures) and told me he had been saying his prayers and the spirit had told him to call me and ask me to marry him. I fell over and said yes. We went and saw the mission president a couple weeks after that to keep everything in the open, and I was so sure President was going to send me home or transfer me to another mission. He was new and I didn't know how he'd react. Turns out, his parents met as missionaries and he felt the spirit there in the office. He gave us strict rules to follow about talking or writing to each other, and we followed them. I had ten months left of my mission at this point, and Elder Future Husband finished his mission a couple of months later and went home to work and get his visa for the United States.

By the time I finished my mission, I'd been engaged for ten months and had never held his hand, given him a hug, or, of course, kissed him. Most would find that a little odd. I went home and Future Husband followed me to the States five days later. I was so nervous as I went to pick him up at the airport. I couldn't sit still and wait, I had to walk and fidget. Finally he was here and I saw him coming through the door. I waited for a hug, for him to dip me and smooch me right there, anything, but he walked right by me and put his stuff down on a chair first. THEN, he hugged me. Then he kissed me. I was so flustered after that I couldn't remember what the car looked like. My parents had bought it while I was on my mission and I had only driven it a couple times, so we walked around the parking lot while I stupidly tried to get my head in order and remember anything about the car. He kissed me again in the parking lot, which didn't help. Since we aren't still wandering in that parking lot, it's obvious I did eventually locate the car. Then I kidnapped him and we went to the shore of Lake Superior and talked (and smooched) until he felt ready to meet my family. A month and a half after that we got married in the Salt Lake Temple.

It was the perfect way for me meet Husband. Heavenly Father knows me well.

This is long. I even edited a bunch in the middle. That's the story of my first first kiss and my last first kiss.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fiat Money used in Ancient China

Here's something Marco Polo wrote:

"The Emperor's mint then is in this same City of Cambaluc, and the way it is wrought is such that you might say he hath the Secret of Alchemy in perfection, and you would be right!...

"What they take is a certain fine white bast or skin which lies between the wood of the tree and the thick outer bark, and this they make into something resembling sheets of paper, but black. When these sheets have been prepared they are cut up into pieces of different sizes. The smallest of these sizes is worth a half tornesel... There is also a kind worth one Bezant of gold, and others of three Bezants, and so up to ten.

"All these pieces of paper are issued with as much solemnity and authority as if they were pure gold or silver; and on every piece, a variety of officials, whose duty it is, have to write their names and to put their seals. And when all is prepared duly, the chief officer deputed by the Kaan smears the Seal entrusted to him with vermillion and impresses it on the paper, so that the form of the Seal remains stamped upon it in red; the money is then authentic. Any one forging it would be punished with death. And the Kaan causes every year to be made such a vast quantity of this money, which costs him nothing, that it must equal in amount all the treasures in the world.

"And with these pieces of paper, made as I have described, he causes all payments on his own accounts to be made, and he makes them to pass current univerally over all his Kingdoms... And nobody, however important he think himself, dares to refuse them on pain of death. And indeed everybody takes them readily."

(Original from Henry Thule's edition of Marco Polo's Travels)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Anorexia and a Speed Bump

Well, gosh. It's been a while. I kicked my own behind so hard I didn't land until today. On the way down I took minutes for a couple PTA meetings, got cars repaired and registered, created posters for a little lost kitten we found, drove kids here and there and here again to various activities, watched the LDS General Conference (which was wonderful!), and planned the budget with Husband. Among a few other things, of course. I'm thinking about cooking meals three times a day, day in and day out.

When I asked for ideas for posts, MKShelley suggested anorexia. Considering she had just read my post about swiss chard and pumpkin soup, I'm assuming her suggestion was in reaction to foods that may be on her BLECH! list. She isn't the only one who would find those particular foods somewhat distasteful. My children are sometimes more than a little dubious about my experiments with new food items, although I think I've instilled in them a healthy fear of whining about it to me. They usually praise my cooking and eat as much as they can stand, then politely decline second helpings and obediently take their dishes to the kitchen.

HA HA HA HA HA! Ahhh...(wiping tears of laughter from my eye)...I kill myself. "Politely decline." That's hilarious.

So, about anorexia: I wouldn't recommend it. Jack Weyland wrote a book about an LDS girl who had anorexia and bulimia. The title of the book is a girl's name, though I can't remember which one (and those of you familiar with Jack Weyland will have yourself a little chuckle about that). I read it recently when Oldest Child was going through a Jack Weyland phase, and it did really educate me about the thought patterns of someone who is suffering from one or both of those diseases. It's quite scary. I feel bad even being flippant about it at all.

On the other hand, when someone says "anorexia," the first thing that pops into my mind is a certain Saturday Night Live skit with Christina Ricci. She plays a starving Eastern European woman on a gameshow called "Who Wants to Eat?", similar in format to "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" The prizes are all food items, from a bag of rice to a live goat. The questions, however, are all American trivia, and as she incorrectly answers each one, the lost prizes are paraded in front of her. "Can't I just smell it?" she asks as the bag of rice disappears. When she is asked about a disease in which a person refuses to eat because they think they are fat, she is astounded. "You mean, they have food but they refuse to eat it?!" she cries.

It was funny in a painful way.

UPDATE (10/6): I totally forgot MKShelley is a vegan, so assuming the reason she suggested anorexia as a topic because of some distaste for chard and pumpkins was just a little stupid of me. Please accept my sincere apologies, MKShelley. If you'll read the comments for this post, you'll see the reason she offered up "anorexia" is because she was reading about it. Don't let my stupidity put you off any more post suggestions, if for nothing else than to find out how I can make hash of it!

And now for something completely different: