Open Question

April 28, 2009

Debt is bad.
Debt should be avoided.

But what if a certain amount of debt was incurred in order to get a job? Would you do it? What would be your limits?


Love Your Mother [Earth]

April 27, 2009

The one thing that bothers me about the new “green” movement is that doing normal, healthy, sustainable things is now trendy.  If you know only one thing about me, it should be how much I hate doing what everyone else is doing.  It makes my skin crawl.  That said, I’m not going to stop recycling and using reusable bags just because that’s now the “in” thing to do.

So I tried to find meaningful things to do for Earth Day, but also remind the boys that these are things we should be doing every day.

We ticked off several things that have been on the to-do list for a while, calling them Earth Day activities.

We repotted the herbs (they already look so much healthier that I think this may be the first year since we left Virginia that my basil will survive the summer!)  We planted some new herbs in the small pots.  We tended to our beloved orange tree.  We [FINALLY!] bought bird seed for the feeder.  I expected the three boys to get filthy while digging in the dirt, but they didn’t (and I was both disappointed and relieved.)  Boy Blue and Little Red loved having their own shovels and transferring dirt from one pot to another.  Daytime Brother, the one whom I expected to dive into the soil with wild abandon, was so excited to finally be out on the back porch that he just ran around, stopping at the gardening stuff only long enough to break a pot (which I wasn’t using anyway and wouldn’t have let him have if I would have cried at the destruction.)

As it was Wednesday, it happened to be recycling day.  I would have taken up the recycling bin to the curb even if it wasn’t earth day, but it was fun to say “I’m recycling on Earth Day.”

In the afternoon, at Alyson‘s suggestion, I made Earth Crayons.







They didn’t quite turn out as I had hoped.  I guess when you’re using all the broken crayons in the box, you learn quickly that different crayons melt at different speeds!  The upsidedown view (on the left) is earth-like, and the rightsideup view (on the right) is … mountainous?  😉

Because all our “earth day” activities are things I would have done anyway, I’m glad that I have more things on the list.  (The succulents, for example, still need attention, and I want to clean out the cigarette butts from the lavender garden I planted outside my door last year.)  These are the things that make me feel more connected with the world.  These are things that make me happy.  These are things I’d do even if there wasn’t an Earth Day (but I’m glad there is.)

Fine Art for Four Year Olds

April 26, 2009

The Getty Center

South Pavillion (Travertine Walls)

-What do you notice about the stone walls?  Are all of the stones smooth and the same?  Do you know what we call this leaf in the stone?  It’s called a fossil.  This leaf was alive and part of a tree over 8,000 years ago.  How many fossils can you see?

Central Garden

– Wow, look at all of these flowers and bushes!  What are all the colours that you see? Robert Irwin, the man who created these gardens, liked to create bright spots of colour that he called “kicker colors.”  What kicker colors do you see?  How does the water fountain fit into this?  Do you think the kicker colors also help the water stand out?  Close your eyes and take a deep breath — what do you smell?  Is it the flowers, or the water?  Let’s go somewhere else in the garden and see what it smells like over there.

In the Tapestry Room

-Do you see this in the corner?  It’s like a fancy leaf, it’s called fleur de lis.  It’s the symbol of the kings and queens of France.  If you see this, you know the piece is French.  Let’s look at these, they look like carpets hanging on the wall.  Can you find a fleur de lis?  Are all of the tapestries French?

Decorative Furniture

– Look at these pieces of furniture.  They have a lot of detail, they are very ornate.  Look at all of the gold that has been added to the furniture to make it more fancy!  Who do you think would like really fancy furniture?  No, actually, Jesus preferred things that were simple.  What kind of people cared a lot about looking fancy and feeling powerful?  Yes, Kings and Queens.

Family Room

-Do you remember the tube sculpture we saw when we got off the tram?  Here is a picture of it on this wall to make us feel like we are right there again.  Here are some tubes to put in the holes in the wall — can you make your own sculpture?


-Today we saw art in a lot of different ways, through nature, through sculpture, through furniture, through paintings.  As we take the tram down the hill look at the shape of the mountains and the colours of the houses.  Do you see art there, too? 

Going Home

-Did you have fun today?  What was your favourite part?  Isn’t it amazing how many beautiful things there are in the world?  Let’s make something beautiful when we get home.  And let’s definitely plan another trip here!  There are so many things we didn’t have time to see yet!

Sweet Release

April 26, 2009

As things often go in the church, the positions in which we serve are never permanent. This weekend I made the transition between primary (the under 12 year old children) and relief society (the women’s organization.)

More than any other calling I’ve had, I can really feel the inspiration in this one. (Even before I heard Gloria tell me the story of how she came to choose me.)

I don’t expect being the secretary to be a cake-walk, but no calling I’ve had since moving here has been. I’m excited. I know this is the right thing for me, and I know that I can do a lot of good in this position.

After years of being with the children, it’s time for me to spend time serving older children. I’ve missed these women, and I’m so happy to see their faces every week.


April 23, 2009

I’ve still got a post about the Getty in my drafts, and pictures for another post in my folder.  The three weeks or so I went without blogging (and commenting at a minimum) were not without thought.

(truth be told, many of those thoughts were not fit for human consumption.) 

Really, what do I have to say that hasn’t already been said?

There’s been a shift in the way I think, having passed the six month mark on unemployment.  I’ve seen into the hearts and minds of people who live on welfare for years.  Once you’ve been beaten down long enough, and dependent on help long enough, it’s hard to imagine being on your feet.  The few jobs that seem to be surfacing these days have pay rates so low that when you calculate insurance, taxes, transportation, and all the other expenses of having a job, I hardly feel like we’d be in any way ahead of where we are now.  Of course we aren’t giving up, of course we’re keeping up our hopes and trying to do everything we can.  This experience, however, has really given me more sympathy for those worse off than us.

Unlike the vast majority of my generation, I didn’t expect to be bourgeois in my twenties.  I never expected that when Paul and I entered the workforce we would have the same salaries and standards of living as our parents after thirty years of work.  I knew we would have to sacrifice, and that it would take time to build our lives.  It has been a bigger struggle for Paul, but he has adjusted.  I’ve got a lot of thoughts on the standard of living and what we consider to be necessities, but I’ll spare you of that tonight.

This much I know: if you don’t bring your A Game to parenting, they’ll eat you alive.  I know this.  I have always known this.  This month I’ve not been my best at following my own advice.  Tomorrow will be better.  As will Saturday.  As will Sunday.  I can do this.  I will do this. 

Tonight, instead of ticking off anything on my list I have nothing to show for my hour since I put the boys to bed except a rambling blog post, some pie, and a little bit of Thursday night television.  I’m also sorting some things out in my head.  I will be ready for tomorrow when it comes.  Regardless of what is going on inside me, regardless of what is going on with our economy, my children have certain needs.  It is my job to meet those needs.  End of story.

Cynic in the Back Seat

April 23, 2009

On the 101, not even yet to the 134: “Are we home yet? I want to be home right now.” (a statement, not a yell or a threat.)

On the 134 in Burbank: “Do we live in the car?”
“No, we do not live in the car, silly, we live in an apartment.”
sigh “When are we going to get there?”

Today’s Thought

April 22, 2009

“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. I cannot count one. I know not the first letter of the alphabet. I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born. The intellect is a cleaver; it discerns and rifts its way into the secret of things. I do not wish to be any more busy with my hands than is necessary. My head is hands and feet. I feel all my best faculties concentrated in it. My instinct tells me that my head is an organ for burrowing, as some creatures use their snout and fore paws, and with it I would mine and burrow my way through these hills. I think that the richest vein is somewhere hereabouts; so by the divining-rod and thin rising vapors I judge; and here I will begin to mine. ”
-Thoreau, from Walden