September 14, 2006

OK, so this time's for real

I have another new blog. But this time it's for real. I'm staying put. I moved to Typepad. Follow the link to find out more! Oh, and if you update your link to my blog you won't have to do it ever again, or at least for a very long time!

September 10, 2006

Come see me at my new blog!

Hello my fellow bloggers! I've done it. I've switched to Beta Blogger. What can I say, I was curious. I've been reading about all of the new features and I wanted to start playing. Also, since we're all going to have to switch I just decided to go ahead and do it. Here's a link to my new blog. Please update your links list with my new URL and don't forget about me!

September 09, 2006

Have you seen this? It's hilarious!

As if I needed another website to check obsessively! If you're not an entertainment junkie like I am you may not have heard that YouTube is taking the entertainment industry by storm. So, what, you ask? Well, imagine your favorite new TV show for the fall season. There's a chance it might never have made it to television if it hadn't premiered on YouTube first. Television networks, movie studios and record lables are all searching YouTube for the next big thing. This video by the band OK Go has had over 5.7 million views and much more exposure than they ever would have received on, say, MTV. At least one TV show for the new season came directly from YouTube, and the trend is sure to continue. Isn't it cool that there's a place for so much undiscovered talent to finally be displayed?

September 08, 2006

Happy Birthday Jeremy!

It's pretty sad, but this is the only picture
I could find of him alone--and he's not really alone!

Thursday was Jeremy's birthday but my day was so hectic trying to get ready for his birthday that I didn't get to post about it. He's 32 and worlds away from who he was when I met him when he was 24. Unfortuanately, I have a feeling that a very demanding 2 year old and a baby who's waking up are going to prevent me from listing 32 things I love about him, so I'll have to settle for the top 10.

1. He's a very hard worker

2. He's dedicated to his family

3. He takes Kaitlin on "Adventure Buddies" which includes, but is not limited to: Hiking in American Fork Canyon, the dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving Point, Cabella's to talk smack to the taxidermied grizzly bear.

4. He makes spending time alone with me a priority and is even willing to line up babysitters.

5. He's willing to do what it take to let his employees know he supports and appreciates them. He even stayed at work until 2:00 AM one night just to cater to his programmers who had a very tight deadline to meet.

6. He was not in the least hesitant to get vanity license plates for his new Mini that say "JERCORE". Nor was he embarrassed to admit that he can't help but smile when he drives it.

7. He's makes me laugh, although not always intentionally.

8. He's honest.

9. He's quick to remember to thank people for things they do for him.

10. He tells his mom he loves her ever time he talks to her on the phone.

Jeremy, thanks for being my husband. Although you have brought some of the greatest trial of my life, you have also brought some of my greatest and most profound joy. I love you. Happy birthday!

September 07, 2006

Eating relatives

I've been having food woes lately. Not my own. (Although I do wonder why do chocolate chips have to have so many calories.) Kaitlin's. I have managed to raise a picky eater. Not only is she picky, but she vehemently refuses try any new foods. Last week I fixed broccoli with dinner and after countless attempts to get her to eat that vegetable, she tried it, and liked it! But, alas, this is a rare occurrence. I've tried very hard to not fight her on it. Kaitlin is the queen of drawing me into power struggles. She really gets a kick out of it. Particularly with eating. She gets this devilish little look on her face that says, "You don't even want to go there, Mom. Haven't you learned that you can't make me do anything?". Then she slides down from her chair and runs out of the kitchen, all of the food on her plate untouched. Until a few days ago I had a strict policy of ignoring her. And denying her any further food for the night. That didn't work, though, because our nighttime routine is: dinner, get ready for bed, go to sleep. Where's the punishment of no further food for the night? There is no night in Kaitlin's life. She goes to bed before the sun is fully set.

Last week my sister invited us over to dinner at her house. I brought the leftover carnitas from Jill's party and she bought rice and beans from Mi Ranchito (which makes the best rice ever!!). Kaitlin would touch nothing but the rice--the only food she'll eat in any of it's myriad forms. So at the urging of my sister I resorted to the preferred desperation tactic of parents everwhere--the airplane. I showed Kaitlin how it worked. Then I let her choose who would be riding on the next plane. We ran through everyone in the room--Jenna, Gabriel, Andrew, Mommy, Alexander. Then we came to Raul, my sister's husband. I shluld mention that Kaitlin and Raul have never really bonded. We usually hang out with Jenna and her kids during the day. We rarely see them after Raul gets home from work. So the few times Kaitlin has spent time around Raul she's hardly acknowledged him--too much playing to do, thank you very much! So it came as no surprise that Raul took his airplane ride last. For some reason Kaitlin especially relished eating Raul, and now he is the only relative that Kaitlin will to eat. Nobody else will do. Tuesday night at Target, as if I wasn't already embarrassed enough, I had to fly almost every bite of food into Kaitlin's mouth saying, "Here comes Raul on the airplane--open the door and let me in!" Then at Kneaders for lunch yesterday it was the same thing. Only Raul would do. Does Kaitlin have a little crush on Raul? Does Kaitlin get some sort of reaction from me when she yells out Raul's name? I don't know. All I know is that it works, and we're keeping it up until Kaitlin's food repertoire is vastly expanded.

September 05, 2006

So many things to write about, so little time

Besides wanting to write about my Labor Day experiences, I've thought of two other items that are going to receive precedence today, since they're short and I just posted a mammoth writeup of the book Brideshead Revisited that if anyone reads all the way through, I'll be totally amazed!

First, is anybody reading Dooce? Her blog is at times guite irreverant, but absolutely hilarious. Her post today was especially good, so I wanted to link it. Take a minute to read it. It's really sweet.

Second, I found out today that all baby formulas are not created equal. Since Alexander had his two month check up we've been searching for the right formula to reduce his spitting up. I didn't feel like it was necessary to get an antacid for him since the only misery was on my part in that I had to continually clean up after him. Anybody whose fed their baby formula knows that this is not a cheap proposition. After about $70, I didscovered that lactose free formula is best, and that the Target brand (roughly $12 a can) is infintely inferior to the Enfamil brand (roughly $23 for the exact same can). Don't be fooled that the labels are identical. The formula is not. Today on the Target brand Alex couldn't keep a thing down and finally refused to drink. Once I went to Target (hence the dinner at Target) to get Enfamil and served him an Enfamil bottle he drank peacefully, hardly even had to burp and is now, at 7:45, sleeping peacefully for the night.

That's all of my nuggets of wisdom for the day. Now I'm off to clean up my disgustingly messy house and wait for Jeremy to get homw so we can watch Rockstar: Supernova. I know. You don't even have to say it.

The best way to feel like a failure as a mother. . .

is to feed your kid dinner in the target snack bar.

September 04, 2006

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

The other day while cycling on the recumbent bike at the gym I finished Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. I was thinking about what I wanted to write about, and it occurred to me that I've developed an interest in British wartime (WWW) literature. I'm a huge fan of JRR Tolkien, and CS Lewis. Every time I go to the bookstore I am tempted to buy novels by GK Chesterson who was a friend of CS Lewis's. Then I bought Excellent Women by Barbara Pymm, not realizing that it was set in London directly following World War II, and contained, what I see now, several examples of how life changed for English people during the war. Now, I can add Evelyn Waugh to my list of British wartime authors I admire.

Two years ago Jeremy and I took Kaitlin to Portland for a long weekend. Of course we had to stop at Powell's Books so I could browse around a bit. I stumbled upon a book called Conversations with Chaim Potok. Chaim Potok happens to be one of my favorite authors of all time. He wrote two of my favorite books of all time (go figure), The Chosen and My Name is Asher Lev. (A quick aside, if you haven't read those books, go out right now, get them, and begin! They're fabulous.) As I began reading the interviews compiled in Conversations I noticed that Potok mentioned Brideshead Revisited several times. He credits reading Brideshead Revisited with his becoming a writer. Of course, I had to check it out.

Brideshead Revisited is the story of Charles Ryder and his involvement with the Flyte family, an aristocratic Catholic family in prewar England. Part of what draws Charles in to his fascination with this family is the fact that they are Catholic. His Protestant upbringing and his youthful agnosticism produce in him a curiosity about the family and their religion. Two of the four Flyte children, Lord Brideshead, the eldest son, and the youngest child, Cordelia, are devout Catholics along with their mother. Sebastian and Julia have followed their father's path and essentially left the church. Throughout the years Charles is a witness to the effect this has on the lives of Sebastian and Julia, primarily their inability to give up their religious traditions despite their disbelief.

The ideas of religious belief and spirituality have been on my mind a lot lately. I have recently started really trying to understand my own religion and the things I claim to believe. This was a timely read for me. Charles is of the opinion that the religion of his friends, or any religion for the matter, is merely superstition. For him the rituals have no meaning. Adherence to religious teachings is not the way to personal happiness, it is the exact opposite. It is the way to misery. What he fails to see is that when Sebastian and Julia are farthest away from their beliefs they are unhappy, even stagnant. Sebastian retreats into the numbness that alcoholism brings him, yet he ultimately realizes that the church is his only salvation.

It is Julia's relationship with her religion that fascinates me most. The consensus in the Flyte family is that Julia is the most "lapsed" (is that even an acceptable word anymore??) of all the children. Her lifestyle is decadent and, in the eyes of Catholic England, sinful. She married a divorced man, then left him to live, unmarried, with Charles. Throughout the book, we receive hints that Julia is not so unconscious of her sins as she would like the world, and herself, to believe. However, it isn't until her brother Brideshead announces his engagement, and the fact that his bride-to-be will not come to stay in their home because of Julia's sinful live with Charles. Julia is no longer able to conceal the internal struggle that has been going on in her mind. She breaks down and finally acknowledges the facts of her life through her Catholic upbringing. It isn't until the very end of the book, though, that we see how fully Julia has accepted her faith. Though she still doubts, and is not fully willing to live in strict observance of her religion, she is finally able to acknowledge the hold it has upon her. She realizes that the course her life is taking will not lead to her lasting happiness, and she changes it abruptly.

For me, the most important aspect of this book is that it has helped me to see the effects that abandoning religious belief can have on a person. (And no, I'm not nor have I ever considered abandoning mine!) Instead of being a liberating event in one's life, it has the potential to cause great confusion and the unbearable burden of having to carry around tremendous guilt. Ultimately Julia and Sebastian return to their religious roots. Granted, their return is on their own termsm but they still return. They will never be what would be considered good, devout Catholics. However, through their return they manage to find a peace that their lives previously lacked. Don't misunderstand--this is not to say their lives will end happily ever after. We know Sebastian's won't--he is nearly dead from his long term alcoholism. And, in fact I firmly believe that if the story were to continue Julia's life will not be full of joy. The point is that they have acknowledged their beliefs instead of denying them. They also have accepted the consequences that will result from living by their beliefs. When you think about it, isn't this one of the major tasks of our existence--to find out what is true and to live by it. I believe in modern jargon, this is called being true to oneself--and it is the only way to be truly happy.

I'm not one to draw parallels between works of literature, but I was reminded of two books while I was reading. The first is My name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok, which deals with the themes of abandoning one's religion as it is practiced by one's parents and assimilating religion into one's life in new and perhaps unconventional ways, then coming to terms with the consequences of that act. The second book is The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, which addresses the idea of redemption. I can heartily recommend My Name is Asher Lev to anyone. I'm not so sure about The End of the Affair. It may be a little to readerly--the kind of book that only a stuck up book snob could love.