Sunday, May 31, 2009

Scenes from a Marriage: Genealogy, I am doing it...

a conversation unique to those of us who come from Utah Mormon stock...

Memorial Day 2009

Nate: Wait, isn't your family from a third wife?
Emily: Yeah.
Nate: You know, we're from the first wife.
Emily: Yeah, you tell me every year when we come up to Ephraim. And, only descendants from the first wife would think that's worth mentioning.

*pictures of Asher and Luke at Scandinavian Days in Ephraim, Utah

Who Thought "Cheese" Could Be So Unflattering?

These are pictures from our trip to Utah over Memorial Day. I always have good intentions to research some cool Mormon feminist topic at the BYU library and (more importantly) see friends who live in Utah. Clearly, I need to plan better because I didn't get to do either. And, I lost pictures from the whole reason we went up to Utah--Scandanavian Days in Ephraim, Utah. I love Scandanavian Days ever since Nate's family first introduced me to them 10 years ago (when Nate and I found out 2 weeks before we were married that we were mostly likely distantly related because many Danes from Ephraim, Utah aren't related?). I love the parade. I love the Swedish meatballs, and I love being at Nate's grandma's house, the Sorensen polygamous homestead.

This year, Asher got to play with lots of cousins and Luke didn't drown in the creek out back. And, my brother, Dave, and my mom were able to come see how fun this Memorial Day tradition is.

This is Luke when he smiles for the camera and says, "Cheese."

This is what Asher looks like when he does the same.

(Why, yes! We are the greatest parents in the whole wide world because we helped Asher fulfill his lifelong dream of going to "A Day With Thomas the Train"--those Thomas the Train marketers are something else. Most of the Thomas the Train DVD's have an ad for this event where everyone pays lots of money for a 25 minute train ride in a Thomas the Train that isn't actually a real train. Oh, and you can't sit on Annie and Clarabel; they're just for decoration.)

(And, while we are great parents, we can't take all the credit because it was Aunt Jessica who let us know about the exciting opportunity in Heber over Memorial Day weekend. Thanks for helping us get that off our checklist, Aunt Jessica!)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Why I Love Arizona (even when it's 110+ degrees)

I've been waiting for the weather to get really hot to start my series that reminds me why I like living in Arizona during these months when I hate living in Arizona. But, really, I can't complain because June 2009 had the nicest weather since 1913. 1913!

And, I've been meaning to write this post since I first moved back to AZ a few years ago.

I love Arizona and the Middle Eastern Bakery and Deli. They make the BEST baklava (how great is it to have a place that makes great baklava? I like to tackle culinary challenges and this is one that I know I'd never have the patience for), their own pita bread fresh every day, their tahini is always fresh (have you ever had rancid tahini? It tastes like oily dust), and their spices cheap (and fresh). They make an effort to know me and my kids, and they walk me and the kids to my car to help me carry my one bag and the two year old who would love to run out onto 16th Street.

Someday when my kids are in school, I'm going to have lunch there.

Teachers' Gifts, Recession-style

This year took more thought than usual to give Asher's teachers a thank-you gift (going to Target and spending $20 on a gift card for a classroom--I miss those days!). But, with 10 (yes, 10!) people involved daily with Asher's schooling, we had to get creative.

So, we made bread because we have lots of flour and yeast in our food storage, and who doesn't like homemade bread? Asher and I wrote up thank-you notes to his teacher, bus drivers, therapists, and aides. Asher colored the signs, and I took a picture of him holding each sign, so the adults would have something to remember him by. (I'm still sad that I don't have pictures of most of the kids I've taught, so I thought this would be a fun gift.)

I suppose a $20 gift card would be better with the upcoming cuts to education, but it's the thought that counts, right?

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Okay, Obama. ASU Wouldn't Give Me a Degree Either.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Arizona State Snubs Obama
Daily Show
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For those of you who don't know the story (because I'll tell it whenever I get a chance--it beautifully illustrates the arbitrariness (is that a word?) of the college/grad-school admissions process), I had a long list of grad schools I was planning on applying to when I got engaged. That engagement shortened my list. Nate had a year at ASU, so my choices were ASU and Harvard, which would let me defer enrollment for a year.

I applied to both and was accepted to Harvard. Two weeks later, I got my rejection letter from ASU. I wasn't that sad--it makes a great story, and I'm forever grateful that the rejection letter came AFTER the acceptance letter.

After a few years, I'm glad that I didn't get accepted to ASU because I was so scared of Harvard that I might have backed out if I had the option. We had to move 3000 miles away to a city with no jobs, very little money, all to pursue my dream. And, yes, my husband rocks for doing all that--especially if you knew about the job he worked while I went to school.

So, Obama, take heart. We may not be worthy of Arizona State University, but Nate says that really, Harvard is like the ASU of the East (and it seems the Daily Show agrees).

*Thanks, Dave for the Daily Show link!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day Talk

Some people wanted to see my Mother's Day talk (ok, my mom and her friend, Aunt Alice) that someone (Nate in bishopric meeting) volunteered me to give. I had hoped to get it done before Mother's Day and up on my other blog, but since I was still revising it--oh, on the stand before I stood to give it, that didn't happen.

Hopefully, if you have to give a Mother's Day talk in the future, you'll find something here that is useful.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Lanyard: a Mother's Day poem

Can I tell you a secret? Poetry kind of scares me. Prose is so much more forgiving; the extra words give me time to figure out what's going on. So, I depend on Exponent women or my mother or my mother-in-law to bring me good poetry that they know I can handle.

Happy Mother's Day to all those women who have sacrificed and mothered me (and for those lanyards I offer as repayment? You're welcome.)

The Lanyard
by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the pale blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past--
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I say to her now, is a smaller gift—not the archaic truth
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Friday, May 8, 2009

National Train Day is Tomorrow

Because if there was a holiday that was as important as Christmas or Easter...

"Whoa, that's a big train! I want to have a BBIIIGG party and have all my friends and we will make little trains and go to the choo-choo train park and ride the train and then, eat the little trains." (Asher gives his sincere thanks to Aunt Mahasin for the link!)