Friday, September 29, 2006

I Got Books!

It occurred to me that since I am technically on the USU faculty, I have faculty borrowing privileges at the main USU libraries. And USU Libraries has a program for serving the extension campuses. So I sent for two books earlier this week. And today they arrived on my doorstep!

This is really, really cool. All the books I want to read, delivered straight to my door, for FREE! No interlibrary loan fees. No waiting for months for the books to arrive. No one-week deadline to finish the reading (faculty get books for three months at a pop). And if I don't want to mail them back, I can always drop them off next time I'm in Logan. Perfection!

You all should go out and get a Master's degree right now, and get yourself hired on at a USU extension so that you too can enjoy these privileges!

It's All Blurring Together

I really need to get some sleep. Everything's just whirling around my head.

I ordered 2,160 pairs of identical white 27" shoelaces from Rhode Island Textile. Why? Because I use shoelaces to lace up my handmade baby booties that look like sneakers. Even at Wal-Mart they are 77 cents a pair, and since our Wal-Mart doesn't ever restock anything it sells out of, I'm having to buy them at the grocery store for $1.09 a pair. In just a few months I'll have spent as much money on shoelaces as this order cost me, and that's not including the cost of my shopping time and the lost wholesale orders that shoelace supply bottlenecks will cost me. So even though this is four years' supply of shoelaces (assuming I make nothing but these baby booties), it'll be worth it. I've just cut my shoelace costs by 90%.

Now, does anyone want shoelaces? 'cause I'll gladly give you some as soon as they arrive. No joke! This is going to be the biggest box of shoelaces I've ever seen in my entire life. You think I want to haul it out to the garage? If you ever want 27" white shoelaces anytime in the next 4 years, please ask me for some.

Seriously, I need to think of some shoelace crafts for my kids to do. If you have any ideas, PLEASE leave them in the comments. (They're polyester so I can't dye them.)

Bagel has a date to start testing through Early Intervention next Tuesday. They're going to start with the usual developmental tests (vocabulary, motor skills, etc.) but hopefully they'll be able to give him sensory tests soon. We suspect that a main contributor to his problem is a sensory processing disorder, which is what's keeping him up at night and making his daytime activities unbearable. Doing the research on this is hurting my brain. I normally love to be in rapid brain expansion mode, but on this issue it's been very difficult. All my life I knew something was wrong with me but my mom kept insisting I was perfectly normal, and I knew I wasn't. I'd blocked out a lot of my childhood because I just wrote it off as an out-of-the-ordinary experience. Keeping a log for Bagel really shattered a lot of that. Reading back over the log I realized that I was compartmentalizing each day as "this day is unusual, but tomorrow will be a better day". Reading the log made me realize that it never ever was different tomorrow. And reading about Bagel's symptoms made me realize that I had done the same thing to my life-- anything that didn't fit in with what was normal for other people, I disregarded. I had thrown out most of my experience as outliers. I was skewing the data set so that I would think I was just like everyone else. It has been a very emotional experience, going through and reading that yes, there really was and is something different about me, but that there is treatment for it and that I can cope with it. My mom was right, in that it's just the way I am. But to finally have acknowledged what my mom had denied, that I really am different in a measurable and definable way, I just don't know how to feel about that.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Corruption In Sodor

The island of Sodor, where Thomas the Tank Engine resides, must be riddled with corruption. Broken tracks seem to be a pervasive problem for the trains on Sodor. The breaks appear to be related to use of substandard materials, because there have been documented incidents where hailstorms have produced substantial gaps and bending in the metal rails.

We know that Sodor has a nationalized railway system, which is controlled (apparently without any oversight) by Sir Topham Hat, a man who looks like he was cut and pasted out of a Monopoly game. Anyone who in this day and age could wear a top hat to work with his three piece suit shows that he cares little for public opinion. Is Sir Topham Hat skimming money from the track repair budget? And exactly what does Harold the Helicopter do? It seems like he's in every picture, just hovering there. Is he Sir Topham Hat's little snitch?

Friday, September 22, 2006

UFO Sightings

Do you have unfinished needlework projects (what are known in the needleblogging world as UFO's, UnFinished Objects) that you know in your heart you won't ever complete, yet you can't bring yourself to admit it? Well, here's your chance to have them do some good in the world. I am looking for needlework, finished or unfinished, to use in an art project called "Fiber Art Dreams". If you would like your unfinished project included in this work of art, send me an email.

Here's a partial list of what I'm looking for:
cross stitch
crewel work

The more unusual or exotic the fiber art, the better! although I am also in need of more mundane fiber arts too. My goal is to get as wide a variety of fiber arts as possible.

What Albus Dumbledore Wants For Christmas

I just love the socks my sister makes for us... as long as they're made out of superwash wool so that FH doesn't get confused and shrink them when he does laundry. So if you are wondering what to get that loved one for Christmas, go find him or her some handknit wool socks. They'll probably like them much better than books... or they will, if they have a long silvery beard and wear wizard's robes...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fame Strikes

My famous sister blogs on her newfound internet fame. Thankfully, she only uses her powers for good.

On a related note, I've had a huge run on my booties this last couple of weeks. I am literally selling them as fast as I can make them-- and sometimes even faster, as I'm now into pre-orders. And I've gotten two large wholesale orders of onesies this month! My stuff will be carried in boutiques in Salt Lake City and in New York City!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Deliberate Misunderstanding

Since I have the stature, figure, and coloring of a Portuguese matron, I stand out around here. So I often get questions from people who are curious as to my ethnic origin. The state of race relations and political correctness being what they are, though, people always try to find ways to ask without asking, and I do my very best to give straight answers to their questions.

"Where are you from?"
"Oh, I'm from California."

"No, I mean, where is your family from?"
"They're from California too!"

"Where is your last name from?"
"It's my married name; I got it from my husband."

"What I mean is, what country are you from?"
"I'm American."

Look, if you want to know what my ethnic background is, ask. But know that ethnic background cannot reliably be inferred from surname origins or geography questions. Better questions would be, "Where do you get those beautiful good looks?" or "What's your ancestors' ethnic background?" Just ask what you want to know.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thought Of The Day

Right as we were leaving our Stake Conference, Elder Bednar was giving his talk. Evidently he had just shared an anecdote about how someone was able to pull out of a sticky situation by having a load in his vehicle that provided the traction he needed. He was starting into a beautiful analogy of how the "loads" in our lives give us the "traction" we need to move. I wish I could have heard more of it.


Condorcet Really Meant It

Condorcet said, "[We want] to insure that in the future all citizens can be self-sufficient in all calculations related to their interests; without which they can be neither really equal in rights... nor really free."

This is why.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Just An Idea

We had Stake Conference this weekend and I wish I could have heard more than a couple minutes of the talks. So I have a suggestion for future stake conferences. Since they usually pipe the conference in from the chapel to several "overflow" rooms anyway, it would be great if they would take a big one (like the Relief Society room, or maybe even several rooms) and put chairs around the outside with a ring in the middle, bring in the TV, and move the Nursery toys into that room so that parents can hear the conference and watch kids who won't sit quietly on hard metal chairs for two hours. Quit pretending that the entire stake's children can fit into a 12 foot by 12 foot room just because it has colorfully painted walls, and quit pretending that parents will come to Stake Conference when they will get just as much spiritual instruction from staying home.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pernicious Girly Sites

Yesterday Princess and her friend were visiting websites for young girls. They love to visit sites like and play games there. So yesterday they sought permission to go to a new site, and as usual I monitored the site to make sure it was appropriate for them.

Well, they go to this site and the animated girls on it say stuff like "Now let's get to the most important thing-- deciding what we want to wear!" Every word out of these girls' mouths emphasized that you want to be in the "in" crowd and the key to that is dressing correctly.

I've gotta nip this one in the bud; I can't let her learn that her goal is to be "in" and clothes are more important than anything else. So when I heard the girls on the computer treating a less-well-dressed girl meanly, I commented on how rude and unkind that was. I asked Princess and her friend what the right way to treat the less-well-dressed girl would be. I told them that no matter how well those girls dressed, they would never be beautiful because beauty comes from how you treat others. I asked them what useful things the girl characters on that site had done for the world, other than dress in fancy clothes, and Princess and her friend said they hadn't done anything besides give each other gifts. I pointed out that this was not a good way to increase the good will in the world, to only give gifts to friends you chose on the basis of how they dressed. And I told them that I did not approve of that site, but that I would let them make their own choice as to whether to visit it again.

After that they went back to, pointing out that Barbie did nice things for people and animals in unfortunate circumstances. Honestly, I never thought Barbie would ever be my preferred alternative, but yesterday it was.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My 9/11 Story

9/11 is like the Kennedy Assassination in that everyone who was alive and conscious at that time will never forget how they first heard the news. Here is my story. I thought I had blogged about it before but I couldn't find the post so maybe I just thought I blogged about it.

It was an ordinary Tuesday morning. FH was in Florida that week and I was getting a few extra Z's with Sonshine in the big bed. Princess was a preschooler so we had no particular agenda, we could sleep as long as we liked.

As usual, I had the radio on and tuned to Utah Public Radio. They play classical music all night and it helps me sleep, and in the morning they have news. As I drifted in and out of sleep, bits of news seeped into my consciousness.

A plane crashed. Yawn. There's always a plane crash.

A really bad plane crash. Yawn. They always breathlessly report on these plane crashes.

A really bad plane crash in New York City. Unh? Now that's worth some breathless reporting; there's bound to be some casualties on the ground. That roused me a bit.

A second really bad plane crash, also in New York City.

I sat bolt upright in bed.

One plane crash in New York City is bad. Two plane crashes in the same area of New York City is beyond bad; it's deliberate. Probability may not have been my strong suit as an undergrad, but I know enough of it to know that the odds of that happening randomly are absolutely astronomical. When I heard the news reporters wondering if it was deliberate or not, to them I thought "DUH!!!" It was obvious to anyone with two neurons and a synapse that it had to be deliberate, and that there was only one known group of people who had a history of using planes in any kind of a similar way. I was willing to entertain the possibility that it was a different group of people, but anyone who really thought it might all have been just a freak accident after the second plane hit was just a moron.

I turned on the TV and I saw the first tower go down, live. And then I looked at Princess, and I turned off the TV. I understood then that the second tower would go down too. I listened to the radio that morning, but when I understood that Princess was processing everything she was hearing, I turned off the radio and got my news on the Internet after she had gone down for a nap. Since then I get my news on the Internet.

I heard the stories about the firefighters and my first thought was, "What idiots. Why would they keep going into the second tower after the first one had already crashed and it became clear what was going to happen next?" And then I slapped myself. I knew that was not right. It was cowardly and it was not in accord with the way I'd been raised. I knew it was motivated by selfishness and that whatever else a time like this might call for, selfishness was definitely not on the agenda.

So it pains me to see certain people turned Monday morning quarterbacks compete with each other for the title of Who Can Be First At Second-Guessing. I got over my initial selfish reaction pretty quickly, and I'm not exactly the 100 watt bulb in the pack. After five years, you'd think they'd be smart enough to come around.

Quit Describing Life And Start Living It

This morning I turned on the radio to our local news station for coverage of the 9/11 memorial service. Since it was the radio that first informed me about the 9/11 attacks, I thought I ought to listen to the memorial on the radio. And I did-- until the pompous journalists started venting their pieholes over the list of names that was being read. And what important information did they interrupt the solemn memorial to bring us? To tell us (1) that the names were being read (duh), (2) what had just happened before the names were read (duh duh), and (3) that it was a very solemn occasion and that people were standing around being silent and somber (DUH duh DUH duh DUH). Well, everybody but them, I guess, since they were un-somberly making audible commentary. It would have been report-worthy if people had been in full disco party mode at Ground Zero, but somber? Isn't that kind of the natural state of affairs at Ground Zero on 9/11? I shut it off then, because I wanted to listen to the memorial, not to people talking about the memorial.

My mother-in-law is big into taking pictures. She takes pictures of everything. She had my husband videotape his father's funeral. So my husband was big into pictures too. Everything we did was not complete unless we got a picture of it. It put me under a lot of strain because he had a job that required him to travel every other week, so not only did I have to get the kids ready and herd them in and keep them seated, I also had to take pictures. One day I found myself at Princess' preschool graduation and I realized that I had watched the entire thing through a camera viewfinder waiting to capture just the right moment. When Princess wanted to share the special day with me, I was unavailable to share it because I kept telling her to hold still for the picture. After that day I promised that I would not live my life through the viewfinder of a camera. I would take pictures if it was convenient, but I wouldn't have as a goal the capture of every moment of my life on film. I wanted to live my life first and photograph it second.

Note to journalists: not every part of life needs to be described, especially when it comes down to a choice between experiencing and describing.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bob The Scary Builder

Bagel loves Bob The Builder; he's sitting with me watching it on TV. I have to say it's really, really creepy how happy everyone is. You have to imagine that the characters are more complicated than they seem. Does Lofty talk Muck into dumping psychoactive drugs into the water supply to make everyone so happy to provide support for his neurotic doubts? And why do Bob and Wendy sleep in separate trailers within hailing distance of each other? If there's no sexual tension between them, why doesn't Wendy get herself a cute little apartment across town? Maybe Bob doesn't pay her enough? Then why doesn't Bob get himself a nice fixer-upper? Is there something going on between Wendy and Farmer Pickles that makes Bob want to keep Wendy close by? Clearly there's some sort of history there. And why is Bob so motivated to work hard and keep up such a cheerful facade when things go horribly wrong? Does it have to do with his childhood, when his parents favored his brother Doug The Doctor for his accomplishments and coddled his other brother Sam The Slacker? Is his relationship with Wendy marred by the verbal abuse he suffered from his mother and father for wanting to go into construction? One of these days, is Bob's facade going to crack and will he just snap at Dizzy for spilling the cement again?

There's gotta be SOME depth of character here... somewhere... because people just AREN'T that happy all the time.

Sorry For Not Blogging

I haven't had much time for blogging lately, and I thought I should take a minute to tell my faithful readers why. Bagel has taken up a lot of my time lately. He doesn't sleep at night and he won't nap, and he's been very difficult to deal with. He has about a two-week cycle where he goes from having a full night's sleep to skipping naps to an unstable but inadequate sleep schedule, and culminating in a total meltdown where he can't function at all or even eat, and finally he falls asleep for the better part of 24 hours and the cycle resets. He's had ongoing problems with biting and a lot of other things, and I'd tried to deal with these problems separately without any luck. Then I listened to a program on Asperger's Syndrome, and the lightbulb came on. While I'm not sure if Bagel has Asperger's Syndrome or maybe something related, it's becoming apparent to me that all these problems have a single source, and I suspect that it has to do with how sensitive Bagel is to stimulation. He seeks out stimulation all the time but it's too much for him to take. The lack of sleep may be caused by overstimulation, and the rest of the problems are exacerbated by lack of sleep. Looking back I can see that these problems have gone back to when he was a tiny baby, but I just thought it was my lack of parenting skills that was making it harder to deal with than my other kids were (and make no mistake, my other kids were difficult too, but Bagel trumps them all).

I'm in the process of arranging for Bagel to be evaluated, and until we have a diagnosis and some sort of therapy regime or other solution to the problem, it's going to be difficult to find time to blog when he's in an unstable sleep pattern like he is now. Even as I type he is insisting I have to hold him and pushing buttons on the computer, because when he's overtired he can't just play by himself, he will totally melt down unless he has my entire attention. You can never tell when he's going to explode into a full screaming meltdown, and you long for the day when he gets so overtired that he just sleeps the entire day and night and re-sets his cycle.