Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Monk and the Peg leg

So, the car saga goes on. We love our car don't get me wrong, we are very glad that we bought Monk. It is just that a couple days after we bought him his front driver's wheel started going flat for no reason (thus the peg leg). So we filled him up with air and 24 hours later there was no pressure in the tire.

Our dealer has been really great about things that aren't working right in our car. For example, the other thing that kinda went wrong from the get go was that when I put in the first tape into the tape deck it go stuck which also stopped that auxilary CD player in the trunk not to work. Therefore we were already planning on going back to the dealership in Vestal..... an hour away to get the radio repaired or replaced.

With the radio repair and the peg leg we figured we would just get them both fixed at the same time. Derrill expertly put our spare tire on the car. The spare is suppose to be Herculian, meaning it can drive at 65 miles an hour and should last 3,000 miles. So I drove Monk down to the dealer, they replaced the radio (it works like a charm now) but the peg leg is not fixed.

The guy at the dealer tried to find the leak, but spent hours on it and didn't find a thing. He even thought maybe our tire gauge was faulty, but it was not and we did have a totally flat tire two day in a row (to the visible eye). So in an effort to fix it without finding the real problem, they reinforced the normal places that the tire would have a leak, replaced the valve and sealed the beads (that is all fancy talk for half of what I don't know). So I went trucking on home. Thankfully the tire was a little better. It took two days to go flat (or at least register below 20 lb s).

We were willing to just buy a new tire here an get it over with, but we did tell the dealer we would call if there were any continuing problems with the tire, so we called and they offered to give us two new tires for the front of our car. Alright we will drive down to Vestal yet again (4 times in the last two weeks) for two new tires for free. It makes the gas seem not too expensive. We are very thankful that the dealer we bought our car through is so determined to make sure that our car is what they said it is.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I like being pregnant!

That doesn't mean I want to always be pregnant, but it is so magical to actually be having a baby. More now that I feel him move. There is nothing that will put a smile on my face faster than when I fill a boom or many at the same time from my baby. I am often surprised, but it is always a pleasant surprise. I have been told that the baby moving can be unpleasant and even painful, but I still receive no pain from his movement. It is great to be alive and to be alive for two is twice as wonderful.

Roses, Thorns, and Buds

Whenever I sit down to write one of these blogs I seem to loose my train of thought. I will have carefully planned out what I want to write, sign in and my mind goes completely blank. But I think that I am starting to remember.

I want to start out by saying, I have not had my baby yet. Someone made a comment that made me think we had been confusing in a past blog. I still have 6 weeks until the baby is due to come and I don't even know what a contraction feels like so far, so I am sure I have a ways to go.

Today in church we talked about Elder Eyering's talk on Remembering. We had a great discussion about what we can do to remember God more in our lives and what we do that keeps us from him. A sister missionary that recently transfered to our Branch gave an example of what one family she met here in Up-State New York does daily around dinner time.

The family takes turns one at a time sharing around the table what they call Roses, Thorns, and Buds. Their Roses are the best thing that happened to them that day, the Thorns are the worst thing that happened to them that day and the Buds are something that they are looking forward to tomorrow. So I was thinking about my Roses, Thorns, and Buds for this week.

Derrill really has been my Rose this week. I have had several emotional days this week, and Derrill has tried so hard to be possitive. He really is a light in my life and helps me remember, just as my doctor says that I am normal and my pregnancy is normal. He always helps me feel that we can overcome anything that comes our way together. Thanks sweet heart!

My Thorn this week has been getting down on myself for my hormonal days, today I did better so far. I did not feel well, but I just tried to go with the flow and not give up. It was a much better day ;)

My Bud for next week is I am looking forward to getting our baby's crib and clothes ready for him to come. I plan to do baby laundry for the first time make up his bed and put his clothes in his drawers. I am just about packed for the hospital too. I just need to gather a few more things and choose the bag to put them in. One thing that I have realized when my allergies were really bad earlier in my pregnancy and I was not able to stop coughing or throwing up.... if I would start to read, watch a movie, or listen to a story, I could take my mind off of it. So our plan is to either get a couple books on CD that I can listen too while I am in labor or if Derrill has time he is going to record himself reading some children's stories on CD that I can listen to. I chose Alice in Wonderland to start with. I want at least 12 hours of stuff, since a first labor can be pretty long.

I hope that a that all of you have a wonderful Sunday, and just as Jacob was taught by his dieing father that there must be opposition in all things that we may learn to enjoy the Roses, Thorns, and Buds in our lives. I love you all!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The difference between men and boys ....

... Is the size of their toys.

Last week, I finally broke down and got myself a new computer. My old one has lasted me for four years until it's getting very difficult to transfer files between my computer and any other. Since this is a requirement for being able to graduate, the Time Had Come.

I stuck with Dell thanks to their great customer service on our laptop (which has been broken this last week, but a techie came in last night to fix it again). I spent a good portion of the last week installing software and music to the new computer to prepare it for the last big shove (shovel?) of dissertation work ... but a lot of programs were having serious problems. I spent nearly all of Friday online with Dell -- being very thankful for my break for Friday Forum and a date with Joy to see the waterfall paintings at the Cornell art museum done by an econ grad student's father -- only to be told by day's end that the problem was with Vista and I'd have to reformat the hard drive.

ARG! "EEEK," said my lady. But that deed is done now too, and as I reinstall things, they do work much better than they were; so hopefully there won't be anymore such difficulties.

My new, up to date graphics card I put on it and the flat screen monitor that came with it ... are sweet. My games never looked so good. Nor played so quickly. I haven't had much time to try that out, but the preliminaries are ... promising.

So that makes a new computer and a new car all in one week by necessity. Our pocketbook is due back from the ER sometime in March ... when it'll take another hit.

PS - That isn't all I did this week. I made some good progress on my dissertation too in terms of organization and how to structure my arguments. I also found some much needed literature back up. But it was a blow.

Saturday Morning Cartoons

While Joy was showering today, I was installing things on the computer and decided that since it was Saturday, I ought to enjoy my Saturday Morning Cartoons. So I popped in my new VeggieTales Silly Songs collection and let the silliness go on while I installed needed programs on the new computer.

But I decided I wasn't multitasking enough and thought I ought to read the articles for our next Friday Forum, the Institute class I team teach with Eliza Brown this semester. Next week we're reading the three talks Elder Quentin L. Cook, our newest apostle, has given in General Conference.

I found this rather more difficult than my usual multitasking, though, and I decided I wasn't concentrating enough on Elder Cook. So I paused the cartoons so I could read through a page. At the bottom of the page, I read the following:

We are often unaware of the distractions which push us in a material direction and keep us from a Christ-centered focus. In essence we let celestial goals get sidetracked by telestial distractions. In our family we call these telestial distractions "Saturday Morning Cartoons."
(Elder Quentin L. Cook, October 1996 General Conference)

He goes on to explain that, during a father/son conversation, his five yr old told him he didn't want to be a doctor anymore because his uncle the doctor had to work Saturdays sometimes, and he didn't want to miss Saturday Morning Cartoons. So "Since that time our family has labeled a distraction from a worthwhile goal as a Saturday Morning Cartoon."

It was hilariously appropriate.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It's a boy! It's a girl! It's a ... Monk?

When last we left our heroine, Joy was shaken but determined to get a new car to replace Genie. We had been working on the project for a bit over a month. We knew her time would eventually come, but hadn't sensed the urgency of it until last Tuesday. So we stayed up the night of the accident doing research on cars to figure out what kind of car we wanted.

We managed to narrow down the list to our top 9 car makes and models that did not offend our various constraints. (That is, we got rid of the worst gas milage cars, the worst built cars, the ones whose parts cost the most, the highest milage, within our price range, and so on to get a list of cars that were at least mediocre in every category we cared about.) On the top of the list was the Oldsmobile Intrigue, which we estimated we could find from the year 2002 for about six thou. That was primarily my part of the work, the theory, though Joy worked on compiling auto reliability records.

Joy did the empirical part, calling used car shops and so forth. She was rather surprised to find very poor customer service and either unwilling or unknowing sales reps, mostly. There were a couple of good ones. She compiled a list of cars that actually existed in our area that we could compare to our ideal.

Wednesday night, Joy couldn't relax and didn't want to have fun. She just wanted to find a new car. So I decided that the better part of romance was to find her one, and we did some more searching around midnight. We searched the Ithaca Journal classifieds online, and they directed us to, and they directed us to a car we didn't really believe existed: a 1998 Oldsmo Intrigue with a whopping 21,000 miles on it.

No, there are no missing zeroes.

We contacted the dealer who admitted the car was not a hoax, and we drove down Thursday to have a look. They had only JUST gotten the car on Saturday, a trade in from first-owner Elizabeth Taylor. (Granted, Liz is her middle name, but it's a good story.) They hadn't even had time to do their own repair work on it by the time we got there. They were amazed we had heard about it since they only posted it Tuesday. The dealer confessed that it must have been meant for us. We were inclined to agree.

He agreed to hold the car for us and give us first bid after it was fixed up. We checked out a few other cars, but none were as wonderful as the leather-upholstered, chrome-wheeled, spacious beauty we found at the Binghamton Auto Exchange. So we agreed to purchase it this week, and they called yesterday to say the car was ready for us.

We are in the car, which we have named Monk, returning home under a gorgeous sunset. It's very comfortable, with a smooth ride, a great heating system, and will soon get a replacement radio since the first tape we put in him has been eaten. But once we find a way to get it out, the 12-CD exchange player in the trunk will be pumpin out the tunes. "Tabernacle Choir and Bach" says my wife who is tuned to an 80s station, "And Olivia Newton John!" We're very pleased and hope to get a good 8-10 years out of him, with his sun-bleached green dashboard:

Why Monk? Well, we got the car in Vestal, and it's so little driven that I proposed calling it the Vestal Virgin. But our last car was a girl and we're having a boy, and so Joy wanted a boy name. Virgil was a possibility, but Mom suggested Monk. They're celibate and make good detectives too. Joy confesses she thinks of the detective, and I do too.

Thank you, Ms. Taylor. Thank you, Binghamton Auto Exchange. Thank you, Geico, for taking good care of us in the meantime. Thank you, God, for preparing such a fish to swallow us.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Well-Behaved Economist - 1

During the weekend of our first date, Joy and I attended a ward dinner party. She left me at the table with several venerable brethren, and we talked a bit. When she returned, she asked if I had been telling them all about economics. They responded that I had mentioned it a little as they asked about it, but hadn't inundated them with it. I forget what Joy intended to say, but what came out was, "Yes, he's my well-behaved economist."

In line with that reputation, I don't often bring up economics on this blog. I'll likely start up an econ blog once I have a job to participate in some of the broader discussions, but this is a family blog, come on. But while I was driving with the brethren to the stake priesthood meeting, someone asked a good economics question that's being tossed around on the econ blogs and I came up with a thought no one has mentioned yet on them! So I've been actually excited to talk about economics on here. And the great thing about blogs is, if you don't care about fiscal stimulus policies, you don't have to read the rest of this post!

So, some quick background. Many economists are guessing the probability of the US slipping into a recession in the next year is about 30-40%. Some say higher, some say lower, that's the mode guess. Some folks, concerned about this, are trying to think of ways the government might avoid or ameliorate the recession by increasing spending or cutting taxes [and hence increasing our spending]. The question was asked, do I think a flat tax rebate given to everyone will help?

Some of the important points brought up by professors Craighead and Mankiw include:

1) It depends on how the tax rebate/spending is actually implemented. To the extent it gets to people who are a bit cash-strapped at the moment (we call it liquidity constrained), they'll spend it and have nice Keynesian effects on the economy.

2) The problem is, fiscal stimulus nearly always comes AFTER the trough has been reached and the economy is back on the rebound, and getting this Congress and this President to agree on just what the package should entail will take a while. There's little reason to stimulate an economy that is already rebounding, and it can in fact hurt our economy longer-term by increasing the deficit and the effects of future tax increases to pay it off, as well as by making monetary policy more complicated to use.

2b) Although it's also pointed out that our last two recoveries produced very few new jobs and there might be some point in stimulating an economy IF it provided new jobs. See point 1 on how the stimulus is framed.

The point I thought of that I haven't read elsewhere deals with the fact that the current specter-recession we may be facing is largely driven by just a few key sectors of the economy: housing and banking. Giving a lump-sum tax rebate to everyone in the country of about $300 (one of the economist preferred means of doing things because it's the least distortionary) might increase some people's spending, but will have almost no effect on healing the housing and banking sectors' ailments. They would still go down, and though they might not bring the economy as far down with them, the effect would still be the same. Far better, I argue, to keep our measures focused on the area where there are problems.

So I weigh in on the side that says the fiscal government shouldn't get involved. This is banking's arena and monetary policy should have the go-ahead (if anything should be done).

Copyright: For more comics by Tom Toles, click there.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A dirty little secret and a clean little joke

The dirty little secret:
We re-edit these posts after we post them. Sometimes frequently. Usually it's to add pictures; sometimes to add more to the story. That may be illegal, but it's our blog, and we do it. So when you visit us, you may want to scroll down and see if we've added any pictures.

The clean little jokes:
[Winners in the We Enjoy Being Watsons, but You Probably Had to Be There Contest]

During Christmas, Joy was opening her presents from Grammy, which largely consisted of outfits Joy had picked out for herself and Grammy had paid for. So they weren't surprises to Joy, but rather to Grammy. At one point, as Joy pulled out a particular shirt, Grammy said:
G: My, you certainly do seem to like pink.
J: Oh, it's not just pink. It's different. This one is ... more like coral.
My brother, Steve: That's right. It's not just pink. It's shades of pink.
We all had a very good laugh over that one.

Last year, Emmy (Steve's wife) announced happily: "I ate all my M&Ms like a good little girl." So this year for Christmas, Mom and Dad got her a 5 lb bag of M&Ms. Apparently, it was on the top of her wishlist, Mrs. Santa informs me. There's no word yet on if she's a good girl this year or not, though.

Emmy has brought many new terms and stories to the family. We four kids were playing their Pixar Monopoly, which has different characters from the movies on the play money. Nemo is on the $1, and since Emmy loves fishies, she would get really upset whenever she landed on someone's property and had to give away "Nemos." "Stop taking my Nemos!" She didn't mind paying more money or larger amounts, just losing Nemos. So we made change for her frequently so she could pay us $10 for a $4 property and get more Nemos. If you happen to hear my beloved say "Stinkerfish!" when she's upset, that's an Emmy.

I said something very silly today too, but I'm having trouble remembering it. I'll come back and add in my own thing a little later.

Push em out! Shove em out! Waaaaay out! ...

J: Not yet. But we finally got to go to a childbirth class. There were three other couples besides ourselves: two really quiet ones
D: And one that reacted about as much as Joy. As a performer, I'm very thankful for the woman I married, who is willing to react and respond as an audience. It's very gratifying and several people we have seen perform or present have felt so.
J: We didn't realize they were going to feed us, but we like the food we brought for ourselves too.
D: We actually woke up for this one. Thanks to Joy's allergies and weird schedule, we've been going to bed around 2 most nights and sleeping until 10 or noon, so waking up at 6:30 was a real stretch. But we made it, AND stayed awake in a very warm room for several hours. Clearly, my graduate school training has served me well. ;)
J: I wasn't even grouchy, which was a bonus. I was surprised that there were so many sweets there because when we first met with our doctor, he recommended I eat no more than 2 servings of starches a day!
D: A mild Atkins diet for 9 months. I told our nutritionist about his plan and her reaction was classic. When she ordered Joy back on a sensible diet, I told my darling that if we want to follow the baby doctor's diet that we should stop paying the nutritionist. That argument seemed to eventually win her over.
J: That, and my love of starches and recent dread of meat, which has been getting better.
D: She's been enjoying the meats I've been cooking for dinner, and didn't even gag at the smell of cooking chicken tonight.

J: We have a very talkative nurse. She happened to be the one teaching the class. Despite her semi-laryngitis, she was able to talk all day.
D: In addition to learning about the process of giving birth and her own experiences with it, we also learned about her struggles in raising her children
J: two boys and a girl.

J: I felt like I learned some good things, and we were given a book that we can read together and discuss it some more later, which I think will be valuable. I very much hope that our baby waits to come until 36 weeks, because if it comes sooner then we have to go to a specialist. We just finished 33 weeks of pregnancy.
D: Our nurse's praise for our doctor seemed legendary. According to her account he must have the gift of prophesy, ordering a C-section when other people saw no cause only to discover the just when they opened mommy up.

D: Our favorite moment was near the end when she brought us in to the OB section of the hospital. She had been praising the head OB nurse, Judy, as we walked in (and before that too). Judy, hearing the tail end of this, told us "don't believe a word she said." So my darling Joy, ever the literalist, asked: "So your name isn't really Judy?" The nurses were practically doubled over as Judy declared that she would have to keep an eye on my wife.
J: It was a well spent day. When we got home we had a couple of hours before it was time for Derrill to leave again for a stake priesthood meeting. He really spent all of his day out of doors. Since our rental car this week is a minivan, Derrill volunteered to help carpool to the meeting.
D: No reason anyone elses' mileage should suffer for it.

J: I spent most of the rest of Saturday night resting then did a little getting ready for the Sabath day before Derrill got home.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Genie Lost Control

Ok, so I was in Genie when she lost control. Genie is our 1996 Mercury. We had just decided that we had to get new tires. Our auto mechanic told us that the cords in our tires were showing and we came to realize that we just couldn't find a new car before we needed to use this car in the SNOW!

I was not feeling well today anyway, but I had found a place I could get an inexpensive tire and was on my way to get it (by the way I also had an appointment in two days to get all of our tires replaced at our favorite mechanic). The weather was bad, roads possibly slippery and I was nervous about going to get the tire, but I went anyway. Yes, the roads were slippery, very. Infact the roads were so bad that the tow truck that my insurance contacted latter would not come and get my car tonight because they were afraid of getting in a wreck on there way or with my car as it was towed.

I was being very careful in my driving, going under 15 miles an hour when I came up to the aweful hill. My task was to go down it successfully. Ithaca is just a lot of hills, so it can be difficult to decide the best hills to tackle in bad weather. Half way down the hill, I tested my brakes a little because I could see cars at the bottom of the hill and didn't want to hit anyone or anything, Well, my car just started skidding without any slowing, so I put it into a lower gear without any effect either. The hill was just getting steeper, so I knew I wouldn't be able to stop at the bottom.

I decided my only option was to try and get off the road hoping that something else would stop me. I tried turning to the right first. As I turned to the right curb my car immediately found the metal railing that is supposed to keep cars in. (See Derrill showing how tall that thing is.) Luckily it was just beginning, so I went right over it. well part way. It was a little like my car was a skateboard and my car was riding the rail. I am sure it did some damage to the bottom of my car. Although it slowed me down a little my car did not stop, so I decided to try the virtue of the left curb. Amazingly I was able to get off the rail -- still don't know how I managed -- and no one was approaching on coming on the Left (gratefully), so I turned left. I was able to go up the dirt a ways and my car finally stopped.

I was able to start my car again or it was still, so I decided that now that I was stopped I should try to get to the bottom of the hill. People in cars saw my antics and stayed out of my way. By this time thankfully my front two tire were flat, so I had some great traction, got down the hill slowly and pulled into a parking lot at the bottom.

I then was able to get a hold of my husband, who picked me up and I left a note for the church in whos parking lot my car still lies. I am so grateful to be unharmed and that I was able to keep from harming anyone or anything else (the metal railing was not harmed in the making of this film). So insurance is contacted an all is again well in the Watson household. Only God could have made all go so well, we thank him in every prayer

Update: The verdict is in. The appraiser has officially declared our car totaled. The scrape damaged the engine, the transmission, the suspension, the shocks, and who knows what else.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I've been tagged ... three

Hokay, let's spread some random factoids.

Name 4 or more...

Places I've lived:

1. I lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank.
Joy: Are you really saying that?
J: Where was that? "It was in my parent's basement. They never knew!"
It's not true. It's a Monty Python gag.
2. I've lived in denial
It's a pretty nice place, isn't it?
Well, it is, but they deny it.
3. On the lamb.
You're full of it tonight. We haven't let you play enough today. You're jumping out of your skin here.
4. In the love of my Lady. That's the best one of all.

Try that one again:
1. Kahleeforrnia, land of the fruits, nuts, and assorted flakes
2. In the ghetto of a backwoods former East German town, next to the Polish border. Don't ask, you couldn't pronounce it anyway.
Eyes n' hooten stadt.
Close enough.
3. Happy Valley (Provo, Utarrr)
4. 10 Square miles surrounded by reality (Ithaca, NY)

Places I've been on vacation: I'll try to hit places Joy didn't mention.
1. San Diego -- We got married there, and I've visited Sea World with my parents Waaay back when.
I've been there too!
2. Old Tucson AZ -- I went to the tourist attraction that resembles Old Tucson with Grandma during the summer I lived with her. The lights went out in the saloon during a heavy thunderstorm and they asked me to play the honky tonk piano to entertain the crowd. I did about the only song I had memorized: Book of Mormon stories.
Are you serious?
For once. I was about 9. I played it through a couple times, getting faster and people clapping and stomping. The cowboy in charge had me stop, lest they have to pay me. They gave me a Coke. Good times.
3. Church history sites throughout the Midwest and Northeast.
4. Canada. Joy and I heard that laughter is the best medicine, so we went across the border for some cheap laughs. Actually, we went to the Toronto Temple and to dinner as part of our first date. It was a good time.
5. Poland. For about 5 minutes. Fulfilled a longtime former missionary's dream, those 5 minutes did.

Foods I like:
1. Pizza. Extra cheese, pepperoni, Italian sausage, pineapple. Occasionally mushrooms or other meat for variety.
2. Hamburgers. It is VERY difficult to get a good burger here in Ithaca. The Wendy's gave me food poisoning three times in a row, so I can't go there anymore. I'm glad the one at the mall went out of business. I wonder if it serves them right? The best burgers are at FATBURGER.
3. After those two, I feel it incumbent on me to come up with something healthy, lest I betray all the nutrition based training I've gotten through Per and his coworkers... I like whole wheat bread, with very little processing, lots of fiber, some vollkorn on the top... Good stuff.
4. Peanut butter (preferably with chocolate, celery, or a sandwich)
5. Chocolate (preferably with nuts or peanut butter.) German and Swiss chocolate rule.
6. Fatigmand -- Scandinavian Christmas cookie, a family secret recipe
7. Eggs with a runny yolk but thoroughly cooked white.
yeaaaahhhhh.... *longingly* I don't get to eat that until I'm done being pregnant.
8. Favorite cuisines: Thai, Chinese, Greek and Italian, German, Scandinavian.
9. Favorite homemade dinners: beef stroganoff, goulash and cornbread, chili cornbread, Chinese casserole, tri-tip steak, Grammy's yams, chocolate pecan pie, Joy's funeral potatoes, Father and Son macaroni and cheese, Frau Maske's rouladen and Kasslepfanne (I think that's what it was called) with "real" German potato salad.

Hobbies I have:
1. Play piano and organ. The next instruments I intend to learn are: accordian, bagpipe, and viola, though I haven't decided on the order yet.
2. Learning about languages and cultures, especially through their literature. I love reading history as well. Last year I studied the biographies of several WWII leaders, started reading a couple textbooks on Islam, and read White Castle by the Turkish winner of last year's Nobel Prize for literature. I speak fluent German and am learning Spanish.
3. Computer games.
Especially the ones about other cultures and civilizations.
It is true. I am highly addicted to the Civilization series. I like games with good economic models in them, but not stock market games. I enjoy RPG, but not if it's pure hack n' slash. I try to avoid first person shooters unless the story line really deserves it, like a few Star Wars titles have.
4. I enjoy walking with my wife, playing racquetball, swimming, bicycling (though I haven't since we got married), and I used to be in a bowling league.
5. I'm writing a fiction novel.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Give generously to the Church
2. Ensure my family's financial security (own a reasonable, NOT extravagant house, set up a small trust fund)
3. Set up a larger trust fund to fight hunger around the world and support other worthy development goals
4. Okay, now I need to find some totally unworthy thing I would splurge on after all that very honestly, seriously meant stuff half of you will think was cheese.
I could make a guess. It's really out there, though. I don't know if I'd be right.... You would buy something so that you could do game theory and create your own economics experiments and games.
An interesting idea. The one extravagance I really would like in a house would be a library, rather like the one in Beauty and the Beast. The ladder that scrolls around to see the books, a piano, fireplace, large windows. Comfortable chairs, some for falling asleep in and other for more serious study.
I like libraries.
It would also be nice to be able to upgrade my computer as often as I liked without worrying and to be a perpetual student, ever learning different subjects and sharing that knowledge as well. I could easily spend the Millennium that way, when money isn't important.

TV shows I like: Let's see, what do I actually miss?
1. Dodger baseball
2. Any Star Trek, though Enterprise had a number of episodes that were too racy for me.
3. Junkyard Wars
4. Iron Chef, but that's canceled
5. History Channel and PBS Mysteries
6. I miss good Saturday morning cartoons. The kind they could produce, but don't anymore.

Places I'd like to be:
1. Right here, next to my sweetheart.
2. Employed at my #1 pick ... which I will hold off mentioning until I find out where I'm actually going.
3. In the temple.
mmmm. Me too!
4. Far in the future, when all the trials are over and we get to sit back and say, "Yes, it all came out just right. Not how I anticipated, but Right nonetheless." When worry and fear and tears are passed and all things are become new.
And to get there ... that's what we spend each day doing.

Things people don't know about me:
1. I may do fine performing for a large group or in small group conversation, but I hate socializing in large groups. They make me very uncomfortable and insecure. It's much better since I got married and always have somewhere I can go and someone I can talk to. Joy keeps an eye on me to see when I've had enough and offers kindly to take me home.
2. People don't know how strongly I feel through music. It is one of the most direct and profound ways I feel God's influence in my life. Playing hymns or uplifting sacred works is the most transcendent thing in the world for me.
3. What don't people know about me, Joy?
That you're a cute cuddly bear.
Actually, I tend to think that's a good thing.
They don't always know your generous nature.
I have a strong desire to serve and help others, but I feel very backward socially in many areas, and so I really don't ... come off that way. Joy's helping me get better.
4. The best calling I ever had ... was in Nursery. I was afraid of it at first, largely because I was afraid the kids would reject me, cry if I came near them, that sort of thing. But we really grew to love each other and have just this wonderful time together. It made me VERY excited for becoming a dad.
5. I played on our church basketball team when we won the regional championship. I don't shoot, but I do excellent man-on-man defense and I'm great at keifing the ball.
Josh Price, don't read this. j/k

Now I'll tag
1. Benji Harry
2. Marcy Green
3. Fozzie Bear
4. Hyrum

I've been tagged too...

Well, my friend Shari asked me to do this, so I'm going to try.

Name 4 or more...

Places I've lived:
1. Logan, UT (I lived more than 4 places there, so I could stop there, but ...)
D says: Then you'd have to give street addresses or something. Yes, I'm here too, just to take dictation and make snide... helpful remarks.
2. Orem, UT - close to the University Mall
3. Costa Rica - for my mission
4. Wendover and Tooelle, UT - teaching elementary school
D -- And she's never going back!
J -- That's the truth!
5. Provo, UT
6. Edinboro, PA
7. Titusville, PA
8. Ithaca, NY ... That's about it, isn't it? I guess I lived in..
9. near Flagstaff, AZ, only four months.

Places I've been on vacation:
1. Lagoon was always fun, in UT.
2. Christmases to California and Chicago
3. I took a cruise that was Jamaica, Mexico ... some other places, leaving from New Orleans. It was a Carnival cruise. I don't recommend Carnival for those who ... have moral standards? I skipped a lot of the entertainment.
4. Holland -- a one week tour, visited the Hague Temple, the tulips and the windmills :D
Joy loves windmills.
5. Germanies! My honeymoon with my sweetheart. That was very fun. Rented a car... drove on the Autobahn... Stayed in a wonderful bed and breakfast...
Visited dead people... I take my wife such romantic places, like the cemetery where Goethe's buried. Goethe popped up in the most unlikely places on our trip, come to think of it.... Though probably those two sentences should not be read in that order. Suffice it to say, we went to a lot of places where Goethe also went. To my credit, we also sailed up the Rhein most romantically.
6. Baseball Hall of Fame and Joseph Smith birthplace for an anniversary.
7. Disneyworld. We went with Derrill's parents. I want to go back! Sci-Fi Dine In Theater was awesome...
8. Disneyland a couple of times with Derrill's family.

Foods I like: Actually, that's a little difficult right now, with my pregnancy. So this is an unusual list for me:
1. French fries
2. Seafood Sandwich from Subway
3. Pumpkin Pie
4. Chocolate muffins
These are indeed the cravings. From September until Joy left I was making 2 pumpkin pies a week for my sweetheart. I'm looking forward to not having any until NEXT Thanksgiving.
Poor Derrills.

Hobbies I have: hmm, we're getting down to the harder stuff... My hobbies .... hobbies, hobbies, hobbies....
1. I like to read! Mostly historical fiction, some romantic fiction but only if it's clean.
2. Right now, for fun I create new projects for myself.
You might be surprised how fun a hobby that can actually be. ... Doing any of them is another story.
3. I'm looking forward to watching my Little House on the Prairie DVDs I got for Christmas. I enjoy watching a movie or listening to a book on tape while I do work around the house.
4. Finding out what my husband's doing.
Now There's the favorite hobby! *lol*
*lol* Really, I like to spend time with my husband, that's the real hobby. I have some funny hobbies, don't I?
5. I like to spend time with friends.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. I would put money into retirement.
That money has worked hard enough. It should retire.
2. I would pay off a house.
3. Go on a mission after my kids grow up with my husband.
It'll take a good 25 years more for me to grow up, it's true.
He's the only one I have to grow up right now.
4. Give some money to the Church.
5. Save the rest, I guess....

TV shows I like:
I can't do this one.
You can do really old shows.
I guess so. Alright. I haven't watched any real TV for about 11 years, so it would have to be old.
1. Little House on the Prairie.
2. Smurfs
3. The Cosby Show
4. Fraggles. I never watched it on TV, but Derrill is introducing them to me.

Places I'd like to be:
1. With my husband
That's a nice place. Can I come too?
2. Visiting extended family -- UT mostly
3. Italy -- I have some extended family there too
4. I've been thinking that Hawaii would be a nice place to visit.

Things people don't know about me:
1. I'm shy about many things.
2. I wanted to be a cheerleader in high school.
3. I don't expect other people to be perfect -- that one's for my brothers.
4. Something that was surprising to my husband: I don't like to clean.
That needs a qualifier. Her apartment when we were dating was pretty close to immaculate. And she talked about the importance and necessity of cleaning a lot. It was shocking to learn that she didn't actually enjoy doing it, just having it done.
And that the chore she talked about most she liked the least too. So that became my job.

Now I'll tag:
I don't want to tag four people.
1. Derrills
2. Claudia doesn't have a blog. I would tag her if she did.
3. Steve
4. Emilee
There. That's four people. Guess that's it, hunh?

Home again, Home again, jiggity jog

It is very nice to be in my own bed and to be getting back to life in Ithaca. I must admit though that no matter how long the vacation has been it is always hard to see it end. Even after 2 months away from home, it was hard to say goodbye to family in California to come back. I had even forgotten where I keep things at home, it had been so long that I was gone. This put Derrill at an unusual advantage since he is usually the one that has a more difficult time remembering where things go and for the first couple of days I was asking him. :)
When I arrived in Syracuse Monday, Derrill was there to greet me, but my luggage was not. Ok some of my luggage was not. I was grateful the next day when the rest of my luggage arrived at our home. We also sent some things ahead by post that did not fit in our luggage. One package arrived yesterday and one today, so with all of our things arrived and our clothes laundered it is finally feeling like we are home. I am hoping to finish unpacking this weekend which will help life feel even more normal. I hope that you all had a wonderful vacation. We really did! The only thing that could have made it more wonderful was spending time with my family as well. I love you all so much.
Aside from getting things back to normal here, I have started reading Fire of the Covenant, written by Gerald Lund. I am enjoying it and I am thinking about reading the Work and the Glory series soon. I borrowed the first two books from dad, so that I can. My favorite gift this Christmas was that Derrill got the nursery/office in order for the coming of our baby.
Speaking of our baby Hyrum (ok his is still considered a fetus), he is doing well. We heard his heart beat on Tuesday, and in two days I will have completed 32 weeks of pregnancy. The vacation helped the pregnancy to go by a little fast, just as I had hoped. I get to feel him move often, but there are no discomfort or pain involved in his sudden movements, punches or kick so far. He is very nice to his mommy.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Golf N Stuff

For Joy's birthday, we had decided to go miniature golfing, only to discover that the course we wanted to try was closed that day. Since we didn't have enough time before she left town to try another day, we decided I would take her to Golf N Stuff in Ventura while we were in California. Dad went with us for our date, and then the whole family went another day just before I left for New Orleans. Here are some of the pictures I took of our fun and victory laps:

It was lightly raining (or heavily misting) the first night, and so Joy wore the decorative headgear while I was in my broad-brimmed Aussie hat.

Our holes-in-one. (It's a pity Dad has asked I not post pictures of him on here. He had a magnificent "Hattah!" pose.) In the second game, I had only 8 strokes for the first 6 holes! It ... went downhill from there.

Ahh ... California. Land that I love!

Steve hit the ball through the gold mine so hard, it went off of that course and onto the next, scoring a hole-in-one on the next shot - a very difficult shot too. We gave him the hole-in-one for the next shot, but he had to redo the gold mine. He was doubled over laughing and had just started to recover when I got this shot.

This is my brother's favorite way to putt, and he did seem to hit pretty straight that way. Patent pending.

Watch out for the water hazards! Actually, a friend of mine is really in to hippos, so I get pictures for her occasionally.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A great conference

Preparing for the AEA conference this weekend was a very stressful, and anxious time. Waiting and wondering which of the 84 schools and organizations to which I applied would call me back and ask for an interview was nerve racking. I had to live with my cell attached at the hip, which I found decidedly uncomfortable as it perpetually reminded me when no one had called that day.

Thankfully, seven organizations -- 5 schools and 2 branches of the USDA's Economics Research Service -- did ask for an interview this weekend, and though the preparations were brutal, the actual interviews were ... fun! As I neared the end, I told Joy that I wished I had more, just so I could have more fun. Each interviewer seemed genuinely interested in me and the work I do, giving good feedback in some cases of things I can try to improve my paper, informing me as much about them as I did them about me. I can honestly say that, from my side at least, each interview went well.

As much as I would enjoy telling some of the funnier stories from the interview process, I think it might be more politic to wait until I have a job in hand. Now is another period of waiting to see what the search committees decide, during which time I can thankfully get some more work done on my dissertation. I came away from each interview with some more reasons why I would enjoy working there, and I think we would be happy wherever we end up.

(While wandering around to get the lay of the land and figure out how to get to each of the hotels where I would be interviewing, I went down a wrong street and came across ... a Hattery! So now I can sport a new brown derby. I wore it to the exhibits where people were selling books and subscriptions, and though it got some very positive feedback there, I decided to stick with the advice of the Cornell professors and not try to stand out Toooo much by wearing it to the interviews.)

A few pictures of New Orleans

There are a lot of murals around the riverfront area where the convention hotels are. This one I made sure to take for my sister, Emmy, who loves and studies fish.

This was the view from the elevator that sneaks you out of a mall and into a 20 story hotel where I had my last interview. The view from the hotel, which starts on the 11th floor, was very impressive:

Near my hotel was a dance club, The Howling Wolf. This was one of the sides of the building. The whole thing was a large mural of jazz. But when I walked by last night ... I don't know what was blasting out of those doors, but it wasn't jazz.

A statue commemorating the grand golden trumpet and greatly gargled voice of Louis Armstrong in one of the 15 lobbies of the Hilton Riverside Hotel, AEA Conference HQ.

A long time dream fulfilled. Thanks, Dad.

Some time back in high school, I developed one of my "Someday When I..." dreams. These are dreams that I know will likely never come true, but it's fun anyway: Someday when I am President of the United States.... Someday when I teach kindergarten.... Someday when I have my own TV variety program.... Someday when I am an evil overlord.... You get the idea. I decided back then that Someday when I go to school in either Chicago or New Orleans, I will find a hole in the wall jazz club where I will spend 2-3 nights a week at a small, round, corner table, nursing about 8 mugs of root beer, studying by the dim blue light while the band plays smooth jazz until midnight or 1am -- even 2am if the band and the bar are open that late -- before going home to sleep until 10/noon. This was my dream.

So then I learn that the American Economic Association's annual job market conference would be held in New Orleans the year I'm on the market, and the first thing I thought was "jazz club." Reality has this nasty habit of getting in the way, though. Each day I've been on my feet over 2 hours walking between hotels and interviews to return home with throbbing feet and a desire only to prepare for the next day's interviews and force myself to get more than 6 hours of sleep. Then there's the money issue. All the jazz restaurants I saw online had major price tags, and I was eating most of my meals from some peanut butter sandwiches, Campbell's soup, and Chinese noodle meals I found at a hole in the wall grocery store to save money because I don't have the job yet.

So I was tired, feeling poor, and happy to stay in the hotel watching my new VeggieTales movies and playing Civ IV all night when Dad called. Good young Dad. He invites me out to dinner on him to celebrate a milestone in my long and difficult climb. Well ... I _had_ seen _one_ place nearby that advertized a nightly jazz band and some not too exhorbitant food, so I pushed myself out the door.

I was highly disappointed. It was noisy and boisterous because tonight, you see, was the celebratory night for the LSU/Ohio State game. The band wasn't playing, but the loudspeakers were shortening the life of my ears by a few months blaring out fight songs as the mob inside shouted and cheered. The wait staff refused to serve me so I moved myself to a better table. The band finally came back, only to start in on some country music. Now I have a lot less against country since marrying Joy, but I didn't come to New Orleans to listen to country. So when someone came by to tell me I was not welcome to that table, I bid them adieu.

I wasn't sure where I was walking, wandering up and down a number of streets, poking in a few likely looking hotels or restaurants that had no jazz, but in general I headed was in the direction of the French Quarter. I dodged myriad drunken college students and sidetracked around the entire 20% of the US population who smokes and always seems to walk about 10 paces in front of me, searched for sounds of jazz amid the rap, hip-hop, and 80s music (Girls Just Wanting to Have Fun were in the main square) blaring across every street. I followed the lights, then avoided the lights when I saw what was there, wandered up a dark alley, and suddenly ... there was jazz. I turned the corner, looked, and saw the name of one of the clubs I had found online: Club 300.

They wouldn't be able to sit me for 15 minutes, so would I mind sitting at the bar?
You mean the one next to the band? ... I think I can handle that.

So for the first 20-25 minutes I got a front-row seat! When they moved me to a table, it had a command view of the band. It may not have been quite in the corner, but a command view would do nicely. It may not have been a round table, but that's okay. They were out of root beer, so I nursed 8 glasses of water instead with my meal. I didn't study economics, but I did read a fun book by the dim blue light and the candle on my table. I also didn't stay until midnight, but 11 was late enough. I walked back to the hotel with a nice, happy glow of fulfillment. Thank you, Dad. And I also thank Joy who probably told you I was concerned about the money.

Even though I was very tired and my feet just a bit sorer for additional the 2 miles of walking, I am much less exhausted and ready to leave New Orleans for our own cozy Hobbit Hole in Ithaca as soon as the shuttle arrives to pick me up.