Sunday, January 31, 2010

Yes, yes, I know, you're sick of seeing ABC's...

But, because Henry is napping and Rachel tagged me, here it goes.

A-Age: 22

B-Bed size: Queen

C- Chore you hate: I don't. Thank you dryer.

D- Dog's name: No dog

E- Essential start your day item: chapstick

F- Favorite color: black, the classy kind, not the goth kind.

G- Gold or silver: silver

H- Height: 5' 4"

I- I am: going to check my phone.

J- Job: Blueth?

K- Kids: Henry

L- Living arrangements: Earth.

M- Mom's name: Constance

N- Nickname: YOU.

O- Overnight hospital stay other than birth: C-section

P- Pet peeve: Mildly OCD so there are too many to list.

Q- Quote from a movie: "I don't think Mrs. Barry is a well-bred woman. I don't believe God himself would entirely meet with her approval. " Anne of Green Gables

R- Right or left handed: left

S- Siblings: Micah, Aaron, Jacob, Hamp

T- Time you wake up: 8:00-8:30 am

U- Unique thing about your car: It runs on faith because it should probably have gone to the dust by now.

V- Vegetable you hate: Brussel sprouts

W- Ways you run late: a shorter list would be ways I don't run late...

X- X-rays you've had: Teeth

Y- Yummy food you make: pork burritos, veggie casserole

Z- Zoo favorite: Elephants

Proust Questionnaire Answers

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? "Well done thou good and faithful servant"

2. What is your greatest fear? Forgetting

3. Which historical figure do you most identify with? Lincoln...but mostly because of the moodiness...

4. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I can't think of a noun but essentially the desire to "vent" "ventivness"...

5. What is the trait you most deplore in others? An easy acquiescence to mob mentality

6.What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Unselfishness: "The grand problem is that of 'Unselfishness.' Note, once again, the admirable work of our Philological Arm in substituting the negative unselfishness for the Enemy's positive Charity. Thanks to this you can, from the very outset, teach a man to surrender benefits not that others may be happy in having them but that he may be unselfish in forgoing them. That is a great point gained." - The Screwtape Letters

7.Which words or phrases do you most overuse? "Well" "I don't know"

8. What is your most marked characteristic? Speaking and writing with run on sentences

9. What is the quality you most like in a man? Goodness

10. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Circumspection

11. Who are your favorite writers? John Steinbeck, Anton Chekhov, Elizabeth Gaskell, Leo Tolstoy, C.S. Lewis, Shakespeare, Lorraine Hansberry ...but not particularly in that order.

12. Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Konstantin Dmitrievitch Levin, Lee and Nikolai Stepanovich, but like Norman Mailer, I'd have to say that rather than my favorite, these are the ones I've learned the most from.

13. How would you like to die? I'd like to be "twinkled" please. (3 Nephi 28:8)

annnd since I doubt anyone will take the time to do this without some prodding, I am "tagging" some people as the kids these days say:Gdub, Maren Perkins, Amber Anderson, Stephanie Toone, Lowell & Elise Smith, Jacob Goodwin and Mary Baldwin =)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Proust Questionnaire

A few weeks ago we found out from my from sister-in-law that Walden Books in Provo Town Center was closing and subsequently selling off their merchandise at drastically reduced rates. We headed to the store the next day and found what we thought would be a nice "coffee table" book of sorts:

Vanity Fair's Proust Questionnaire: 101 Luminaries Ponder Love, Death, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life. (this is an earlier edition's cover. I couldn't find an image for this year's)

We've had a good time perusing its pages and being shocked by certain celebrities answers (who knew Julie Andrews was such a dirty girl) , entertained by others and even happy to see some humility and faith in some.
Here are some of my favorites:

-Dave Brubeck-
Q:What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A: All commitments fulfilled.

Q: When and where were you happiest?
A: May 8, 1945, Regensburg, Germany, the end of World War II in Europe.

-Conan O'Brien-
Q: What is your greatest fear?
A: Puberty.

Q:What is the quality you most like in a woman?
A: A lust for mediocrity.

-Robert Altman-
Q: What is your greatest regret?
A: Doing this questionnaire.

-Lauren Bacall-
Q: What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
A: A 24-inch waist.

-James Brown-
Q: What is the quality you most like in a man?
A: Integrity- that takes care of everything.

-Ellen DeGeneres-
Q:What is the trait you most deplore in others?
A: Tardiness. No, wait, arrogance. How about being late and then being arrogant about it?

Well, you get the idea. So I thought it would be fun to see what anyone who is willing to answer (any or all of) these questions says. Post it in the comment too if you don't mind so I can see them if you plan on blogging it. I'll go ahead and post my answers in the next post. Here are the questions I picked:

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
2. What is your greatest fear?
3. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
4. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
5. What is the train you most deplore in others?
6.What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
7.Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
8. What is your most marked characteristic?
9. What is the quality you most like in a man?
10. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
11. Who are your favorite writers?
12. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
13. How would you like to die?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Henry and Abigail

It is so much fun to be able to live close to a friend of almost 21 years! It is even more fun to get to see our children play together even younger than we did! So without further adieu, Henry and Abigail:

From the Top

Johann and I love "From the Top" with Christopher O'Rielly. We went to the U of U when they recorded one of their radio broadcasts back in September. Our favorite was a young girl, I believe only 7 or 8, who played the trumpet solo from The Carnival of Venice. It was so beautiful. I've never heard a trumpet sound the way she played it; like it was made of rose gold rather than brass: so full and warm. Her father taught her after she insisted on it by secretly teaching herself to prove to him she could play. He wanted her to play violin, which she could also do a little. Amazing! These kids make me think I have been wasting all my time!
Another favorite was a boy about 15 or so who played a really eerie modern piece on the marimba. It gave me goosebumps!
Sadly, the PBS show comes on just as we leave for church and we only catch about 10 minutes or so a week. I need to start downloading the podcasts. Anyway, to the main point: all this watching child prodigies makes me think, I wonder what Henry will want to play, because even if he never continues on, I think it is good for all kids to have some exposure to music lessons. So, what do you think Henry will play? My hope is cello or bassoon. My expectation is drums. ha! =)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Is it really so bad...

to want my very own "home library" someday? It doesn't need to be extravagant; just a potbelly stove in the corner, hardwood floors with a big soft rug, wood paneled shelving from wall to wall and a giant overstuffed chair with a soft throw tossed over its back. Sigh.

My obsession with this led me to look at pictures of other home libraries the other day and I think I found some good bits of inspiration for my own someday:

The color of the book shelves on this one

Maybe the window seat in this one. Though, I don't think there should be too much light in the room.

The floor and shelves in this one.

And the ladder in this one.

And in a related strain of thought, I must soon acquire these:and these

Don't worry, I've already begun. I got an amazon gift card in my stocking for Christmas and put it to good use a few days ago. Today a package arrived with this in it:

Oh, and another question: is it bad to want my books to be intelligent, thought-provoking, creative and pretty? I know. I know. Shallow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"This Emotional Life "

January 4-6th PBS broadcast a 3 part documentary called "This Emotional Life". We tried to catch most of it and I am pleased we did. The documentary is supposed to run along these lines:

"What message does the Harvard psychologist and his production team ultimately hope to convey with the series? Says Gilbert: 'Here are the three important facts about happiness that have become the themes for each of the shows: 1) You can't be happy alone. Social relationships are the single most important ingredient of happiness. They are key. 2) You can't be happy all the time. We have to experience negative emotions as part of being human. But it's HOW we experience negative emotions that count. 3) You can be happier than you are. There are universal traits of happy people that you can implement to raise your happiness level.'" (

I would say most of the documentary did revolve around what the "author" of it describes above. It was fascinating to hear the different families, couples, therapists, celebrities, and scientists all taking a direct stab at the idea of happiness, what it is, what causes it, etc., and its interconnectedness with relationships.

There were a fair amount of interesting ideas and stories. One finding for instance, showed that people who are religious are, almost worldwide, more happy than those who are not. Another-- marriages with children tend to be less satisfying but more stable, whereas marriages without children tend to be more satisfying but less stable. Interesting.

The one thing that consistently bugged me throughout the documentary however, was all the references to "our animal natures' preconditioned responses and behaviours." There was really not enough emphasis, I think, on our ability to choose many of the aspects of our behaviour.

I think what I like most about this is the idea of talking about happiness and relationships more openly, intelligently, and comprehensively than what we get from daily conversation and tv. I think there are these canned ideas that we pick up off the shelf of life and freak out when we see someone making their own chicken soup and talking about the recipe, whether that yields a delicious or disgusting bowl of soup, it doesn't matter, we just don't want to talk about it unless its widely supplied and purchased.

So, instead of my unsolicited ramblings, go check it out and let me know what you think:

Here is one of the video clips:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kids lower blood pressure?

I need to read over this more critically but in the meantime thought I'd post it. If you had told me the results of this study while Henry was whizzing on the carpet Sunday, I'd for sure have said you must be crazy:

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Building, Enjoying and Preparing

Some 2010 Goals in no particular order:

1. Complete Henry's 1 year memory book

2. Make 72 hour kits for the family

3. Hold weekly family home evenings and plan them a month in advance

4. Get second blog up and running

5. Forget all my stupid and embarrassing moments in the past; sans the ones that make me laugh rather than cringe

6. Attend the Temple as a couple monthly

7. Go to ward activities

8. Learn the new family search

9. Read through the standard works

10. Accept help

11. Take a family portrait

12. Read 15 novels from master book list and 5 scholarly texts

13. Clean up no more than twice a day (minus the kitchen, my OCD just won't allow that to stay dirty for very long quite yet).

Well, these may need some refining. I'm making a list in my googledocs with completion dates and so on. I hope to have the goals all finalized and nailed down by the end of the week.

"Remember Lot's Wife"

Last year Elder Holland gave a devotional at BYU that I only happened to catch because Henry slept longer than usual. Not only did a poem he shared form the foundation for a very troublesome essay for my history of the south class, it greatly increased my desire to forgive and look forward with faith.

I decided I should read or watch it at the beginning of every new year. I noticed they printed it in the Ensign this month (though far too much cropped) but I think there is something added to it by hearing him give the talk:

Here are a few portions of the talk:

"The start of a new year is the traditional time to take stock of our lives and see where we are going, measured against the backdrop of where we have been. I don’t want to talk about New Year’s resolutions, but I do want to talk about the past and the future, with an eye toward any time of transition and change in our lives—and those moments come virtually every day."

".. attachment to the past outweighed... confidence in the future."

"Some of you may wonder: Is there any future for me? What does a new year or a new semester, a new major or a new romance, a new job or a new home hold for me? Will I be safe? Will life be sound? Can I trust in the Lord and in the future? Or would it be better to look back, to go back, to stay in the past?

To all such of every generation, I call out, 'Remember Lot’s wife.' Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the “high priest of good things to come” (Hebrews 9:11).

Keep your eyes on your dreams, however distant and far away. Live to see the miracles of repentance and forgiveness, of trust and divine love that will transform your life today, tomorrow, and forever. That is a New Year’s resolution I ask you to keep."

With that in mind, I've made some goals for the year that I hope will build on the past, help me better enjoy the present and prepare for the future.

Happy New Year!