Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Politics of the School Playground

A big part of my fascination with politics is my fascination with what makes people tick. There are the big and obvious motivators of money and power working alongside the much more subjective motivators of the unique filters and perceptions each individual forms about life and reality. That stew of ambition, self-perception, personal opinion, character strengths, character flaws, and the deeply ingrained beliefs of the subconscious all work together to steer these men and women toward a certain goal.

My theory is that you can explain and predict just about every aspect of society based on what happens on an elementary school playground. Kids, after all, are simply expressing the unvarnished truth of who we are as adults, and even if adults are more sophisticated in their desires, the underlying cause of any given desire can usually be traced back to the basic personality you had as a kid (and no, I'm absolutely not of the Freudian philosophy).

Does that make sense or am I way off base do you think?  I'll explain myself better in future posts.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Rarity of Photographs to Celebrate Spring

 During Spring Break, we did nothing. Then, on the last possible day, we went to the park, which is a lame excuse for a Spring Break activity, I agree, but better than nothing at all. I remembered to take the camera (yay, me!) and got some shots of the kids. After the park, we got burgers for lunch and a movie to watch at home. That is how we rock and roll, people, when we're cash strapped and ready for fun! Above is Elannah, recently turned 11.
 In this shot and the one below, Sophia is attempting to scale the soccer goal posts. Elannah, the little gymnast, had already managed it. Sian (in the green jacket) is trying to help.

 My little Joseph is getting so tall we buy him new clothing every single week, or so it seems.
 I don't know if you can see it very well, but Gabrielle had the tips of her hair bleached by a neighbor as a birthday present. I told her she should have been a little more bold and gone completely blonde. In the background, you can see Elannah clinging to the goal post. What you can't tell is that she's screaming because Husband is attempting to hit her with the big, yellow rubber four-square ball we brought to play with. All in good fun. And no, he wasn't really trying to hit her, but it was just too tempting because of all the dramatic screaming.
 Picturesque, no? Add a few sheep and some shaggy goats to this picture and you could imagine it was a scene from Heidi, if Heidi were hanging out with her sibs playing soccer (actually pictured are Elannah, far left, Sian, middle, and Gabrielle, right.). No sheep were injured in the aftermath of this photo, but if I remember correctly, there might have been a ball to someone's head.
 Little Gary, also of the constantly growing club. He is also constantly hungry. He will probably grow to about 7 feet tall at this rate.By his 6th birthday.

 Husband played Bomb Drop with the kids, as well as soccer.

In other news, Sophia did the Napoleon Dynamite dance in front of her entire school when she was running for student body officer. That takes some serious courage.

Little Gary is having issues with his bladder. He hates his bladder, as he frequently tells me, since it ALWAYS HAS TO PEE! Usually, this inconvenient full bladder sensation occurs during some very interesting activity. Then he runs upstairs to my room, slams the door, and yells, "I hate my bladder!" It's his fault, though, since he keeps drinking liquids.

Husband and I got to visit with a very dear friend from our mission days. She flew from England to be here over General Conference weekend. It was so much fun to see her again and meet her friend, who came with her.

I used to write blurbs for a well-known but recently notorious Lap-Band surgery center. I wrote 60 blurbs a month for 11 months and one week (total blurbs: 675), but I saw the writing on the wall when Allergan, the makers of the Lap-Band, announced they were no longer selling their product to this company. Sure enough, after I had completed the first installment of blurbs for April, I got an immediate email from my supervisor informing me that it was all over. My distinct relief is mixed with sorrow, for though it was a hard thing to come up with new things to say for that long, it was really good money for relatively easy work.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Marmite, a Wag of a Tale

We accidentally acquired a dog last month, one that is entirely ours and does not go home every night. He was a stray, a little poodle (or something) who has a penchant for adventure. He came to us slowly, by degrees, and it was only after he finally won Husband's heart that we could really call him our very own at last.

His previous owners, so the tale goes, also had a pitbull and this pitbull thought it good sport to attack Marmite, who is a fairly small dog. Rather than give Marmite away, the owners just let him loose to fend for himself, which was exactly what he did for a month until he was caught. Then, somehow, he ended up with Ruth, who is Jazzee's  mom.

Jazzee, as you'll remember, is our day dog. She's the sweet little shih tzu I pick up every day because Ruth is disabled and can't play with her. Marmite and Jazzee were instant friends, but Ruth couldn't handle another dog and was forced to call the animal shelter to arrange a pick-up. I said I'd take Marmite (who was being called "Petey" at this point. Are you still following me?) along with Jazzee that day, but the animal shelter never showed up and so we took him home the next day and the next, as well. Finally, on a Sunday night, the night before the animal shelter really was going to come and get Marmite, Husband found himself smitten against his will and decided to keep him.

The family voted and named him Marmite because, as Husband said, he just wants everyone in the family to love Marmite (and if you've never tried Marmite, you probably aren't sure why loving it or not could be a question. Believe me, it's an acquired taste. What is Marmite, you ask? Marmite is a very salty yeast extract, rich in B vitamins, beloved of some British persons; and if that description doesn't get your tastebuds tingling...well, I can't help that, since I believe those who crave Marmite probably also crave black pudding.) Marmite's full name is Sir Marmite, Earl of Toast. We're casual people, though, and don't stand much on ceremony.

 He loves to run, which is what he does when someone leaves the front door open. I've chased him one too many times through the neighorhood, yelling epithets all the way. Stupid, cute, adorable, extremely lovable dog.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lion Taming for Introverts: Fail

March came in like a lion and went out like a lion, if you take my personal busyness scale into account. Personally, I prefer lambs because I'm exhausted with taming all these lions. I'm an introvert who can pretend to be an extrovert sometimes, but when it comes to planning fundraisers, conferences, and parties, I am simply not the person you want to call on to be in charge.  I just don't have the ambition and drive to do what it takes to make large social functions become all that they can be, what with the marketing and phone calling and Facebooking and Twittering and e-mailing and face-to-face schmoozing and food planning and setting up and arranging and all. I like parties that are small in nature, involve close friends and/or family, and don't require anything extraordinary that I can't produce from my kitchen. Centerpieces? Please kill me now.

A few observations:
I don't get this obsession with cupcakes.
Are dollar store plastic bowls filled with M&Ms truly pathetic centerpieces or what?
Say the word "fundraiser" and watch all the adults suddenly have a hard time making eye contact.
Maybe origami isn't the best entertainment idea for 30 rowdy 7-year-old boys.
I had no idea until I got my ears pierced last December and could finally start wearing dangly earrings that earlobes can feel like they'd had a long and tiring workout.
Who knew there was such a thing as a melatonin hangover?
It's never a good idea to fake-Riverdance in high-heeled boots unless you're much younger and much more in shape.
I'm not taking Little Gary to the movies again until he's approximately 23.
It IS possible to eat only two (2) Thin Mints during the entire Girl Scout cookie sales season.

For the record, I don't Tweet. I do have a Twitter account, but I have only ever sent out two tweets, and that was probably last year. I never could get into it, but I really should have in order to better advertise all those fundraisers, conferences, and parties from last month. Thank goodness the issue is now moot.