Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Amazing video about globalization

The Center for Global Development recently posted a magnificent video on their site that discusses in a beautiful, concrete way the challenges and benefits posed by globalization. I don't usually go for the "one person symbolizes everyone" format, but it's very effective here.

Unbalanced

My life has been unbalanced for at least a couple of weeks as I have literally thrown myself into helping Derrill find a job. It has been difficult for me to work on anything else. But yesterday I broke the chain in some ways. I put away the laundry for the first time in two weeks. I really was so proud of myself. But the fact that it took me so long to get to it and that I would feel like getting it done was such a victory kind of woke me up to the situation that I was in.

I realized that I really need to refocus. I am good at just focusing on one thing at a time (like looking for a job), but I need a life that is more in balance. Jesus Christ was the only person that lived that had life in perfect balance, but I find that it is very important for me to keep reevaluating and seeking help from heaven for balance.

So one of my goals to help me to focus on what is most important is not only to read my scriptures daily as I have been, but to read from the scriptures and the current prophet and apostles for an hour each day (doing this first). It helps me remember the duty of love that I have for my husband, and that I can serve my family best by doing some of all the things that help our home run smoothly not just amassing all finding a job for my sweetheart. Our family needs things of the spirit, and physical things now, not just in the future.

We went to the OB doctor Monday and all is well. Hyrum does not appear to be ready to come yet, but we feel assured that he will be with us within a month. :D (even if he were two weeks late. Just in case I haven't mentioned it lately my due date is March 10, so there is just 1.5 weeks left until that time. Hurray for family and the love of God that helps us feel that all in our lives is beautiful even when we experience challenges. (You may be able to tell that I feel more centered today than my post might suggest). I have already ready my scriptures and I am about to get to the rest of the day.

I love all of you. Have a wonderful day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I will keep my Book of Remembrance

So while Joy's visiting teachers were over, I took some extra gospel study time (after reading in The Book of Mormon and preparing for the next time I teach Friday Forum, probably in April) to type up some quotes I liked into my Inspirational Material file. Tonight I was including quotes about the temple that our temple president gave us last week in church and some notes from a talk Elder L. Tom Perry gave at BYU in 1997.

Elder Perry said:
------
In 1966 the Church announced a priesthood genealogy program and counseled members in this way:

The family books of remembrance in Latter-day Saint homes today should rate in importance second only to the standard works. These family records are supplements to the scriptures, aiding in teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the posterity of faithful members of the Church. A knowledge of the written testimonies and spiritual experiences of family members and of the proved genealogies of the fathers serves to bind the hearts of the children to their fathers and helps them to understand the doctrines that pertain to the exaltation of the family. . . .

Every faithful family should be diligently compiling a book of remembrance. In it should be found the story of the family, especially the story of its spiritual life, written by inspiration. It should also contain a genealogy of the family so that the children may have an opportunity to acquire knowledge of their fathers. ["Genealogy: The Book of Remembrance," Improvement Era 69, no. 4 (April 1966): 294­95]

------

As I copied that in, I remembered how a few years back I had really been touched by something President James E. Faust had said about remembering not just dates of birth and death, but stories and who the people really are/were. I decided then that I wanted to get some stories from my grandparents while I still had them and wrote to my grandmothers for their remembrances.

I took inventory tonight of how many ancestors we have testimony/conversion story/other spiritual history material for so that I can start working on compiling a short pamphlet with a little bit of our spiritual heritage in it that we can use in future Family Home Evenings.

I've got me and my parents in an IM conversation somewhere on my computer. Grammy (Dad's mom) was kind enough to write me a fairly detailed account of her childhood, conversion, and life story, including a bit about Derrill One and her parents. Grandma (Mom's mom) wrote Mom once upon a time about her testimony and incidentally some of her parents' as well. Mom thinks she can find a tape with Grandpa's testimony in a radio program he did once. That and some pioneer information is about it for my side.

Joy has a journal her dad wrote to her with some spiritual thoughts in it, and then we went searching through her gigantic Book of Remembrance for information. We have his mother's testimony in poem form and we have Joy's mother's family for two generations back because they've been big family history compilers. We have a whole book just on A.P. Clark and family (grandson of Alma Porter, our common ancestor) and we know the great conversion story for the other side of the family who came over from Holland.

So all in all, I think we've got most of the raw material. It'll be my job to get it into shortened format, translated from handwriting into legible computer, and then preserved. Should be a good project.

And that's wat's on my mind tonight:

Grammy and
Derrill Watson I










Ione and Arthur Watson




Mom's Dad in 1978 and
her family way back when:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

OB Wise. What can I say more?

D: So as we come up to the 39th week starting here tomorrow, it is time to confess something: we're having two babies. Joy has one of them ... and I seem to have the other. We base this on circumstantial evidence and have not given me an ultrasound, but we have good reason. (If anyone is in doubt at this point, we ARE speaking tongue-in-cheek here, and no one should take us toooo seriously. Read at your own risk.)

J: "I just have this silly tendency, when I'm talking to anyone, and of course we're all a little narcissistic, thinking that the people we know are like us, so when someone tells me something about their life that sounds like a symptom of pregnancy, since I'm pregnant, I say, 'You must be pregnant then.'"
We've found out about a lot of our friends' pregnancies that way. (j/k)

You see, as we go reading through these baby books, they tell us how Joy should be feeling ... and we realize that I feel moreso.
"We've also read that the husbands have sympathy symptoms, but we never figure they would have MORE symptoms."
I'm just incredibly sympathetic.
"We read about it, he gets it ... or has had it. That's even funnier! Poor Derrill"

Classic symptoms of pregnancy:
Morning sickness: Joy didn't have any of this, and neither did I. So I'm behaving like my pregnant wife.
Lower back pain: My back has been hurting me, no matter what position I sit in or how often I stretch, for weeks now. Joy gets the occasional twinge.
"Maybe if you laid on your left side..... *LOL*"
That does seem to be the cure for anything that goes wrong, isn't it?
Joint pain: Again, my joints have been out of sorts for weeks, and Joy's are fine aside from her sciatic nerve.
Just to be REALLY silly about this, we can honestly say I haven't had a menstral cycle in ever so very long. "*LOL* oh dear! His baby's REALLY old."
And that brings us to the swelling in the tummy. Now, Joy's has been growing while mine is shrinking slightly, and this is a good thing. In fact, Joy just passed the point where hers is bigger than mine. I'm enjoying this.
Emotional swings: Joy does beat me here, but whenever I have them, we just blame it on my pregnancy and this is all Normal. ("Our OB doctor told us to tell each other every day that This Is Normal.")
Eating: The doctors tell pregnant women that they should eat smaller meals, about half-sized, every 3 hours or so. Well, guess what my doctors put me on about 6 months ago? That's right, half-sized meals every 3 hours or so. And both Joy's OB and my nutritionist try to reduce our carb intake. "yup yup"

And then I had this dream. Joy was giving birth in a medical research facility, and we were surprised to learn they were twins. One boy came out, but the doc announced there was another baby in there. Just then a giant sea monster (red like a lobster) came up and attacked the facility. We had to escape, so we shoved one of the babies in me and ran out since the other one was still in Joy.
"Not more than a couple days later, I dreamed that I had twins too"

The last week, I've been having stomach cramps, and tonight I started getting a fluttering in my stomach too. It's nothing compared to Hyrum's kicks, "who jiggles my tummy around," but it's quite entertaining.

So we have fun. Now, there's no way they're getting me on that gurney, but I might try to slip some of the pain killers.....

Bill Cosby: "Natural child birth means no drugs will be administered into the female's body during the delivery. The father can have all he wants."

True Story: Life and Love


I have been thinking about a dear friend this morning names Cheryl Lossie. She and I used to have many conversations about what made us happy and what life is all about. One of the things that we never seemed to agree on was the purpose of life and what the true meaning of love is.

This life has a reason! That reason and purpose begins and ends with Jesus Christ. Without him the words life and love would have no meaning. Since my name is Joy, I have often been approached by friends quoted scriptures that embody my name. "Adam fell that men might be, men are that they might have joy." That joy that ALL men, women and children are meant to have, live life in order to have comes through Jesus, who is the savior of the world.

We all came from God, our Heavenly Father. We began our existence with him. We learned all that there is to know about love with him and from him. His purpose is to help us learn to love and to have joy. He will not force us to be happy, nor will he force us to love (ourselves, each other, even him). When we lived with him before we came to this earth, our heavenly Father gave us choices. We were taught in heaven that we could go to earth.

Going to earth would be risky, because some of us would choose not to come back to live with heavenly Father. For there to be a choice God created a plan for our return. He would not force anyone to follow that plan (thus not forcing anyone to come back to live with him). That plan centers in Jesus Christ. Jesus also loved us so much that he was willing to sacrifice all of his earth time, not just some hours going to church or praying, but all of his time doing what our heavenly Father asked him to do.

Conversations that I have had with my sweet sister Cheryl that brought up the name of Jesus were confidently (by her) dismissed. She would tell me kindly that she believed that he was a great teacher, but nothing else. It weighs heavy on my mind, because I am not sure I was ever really able to explain to her how important his mission was. There is no other plan for us to return to live, life that is eternal, which is God's life or life with him, except through that immortal teacher, even Jesus Christ.

Jesus was a teacher, but he is so much more. He is our way back to the Father. Because he lived, loved, suffered, died and was resurrected, we can also live, love, suffer (life isn't easy), die and be resurrected someday. But we must take upon us His name and live what he taught and become through that living like him. Without Jesus, none of the other teachers of peace, love and unity would have any purpose or meaning. What peace are we striving for but God's peace?

So why is there hate, fear, and meanness in the world that could take away from our peace? It is because we all get to choose..... we must all choose will be have the life of peace that is offered by following the example the Savior, Jesus set for us and which other good people have exemplified (before and after the life of Christ) or not.

It is not easy to live a life following Jesus in a world where others may choose to create pain for their fellow brothers and sisters on earth. But when the end of this earth life has come and if we have learned to love and be loved, following in the steps of Jesus, relying on his power to change and save us, then we will be His because we gave ourselves to Him. If we are Christ's then we are God the Father's and will live with him in peace for ever. We must live for life, love, and peace but they are not to be found by agreeing (as some would consider peace on earth) with everyone they are to be found through the one who mastered them all even Jesus Christ and can teach us so to do.

I know these things are true. My heart yearns to share them with my dear Cheryl and with you.

Below is a video that explains in part through a story of how Jesus Christ makes up the difference for our sins. It is about 10 minutes if you want to view it. (explains some differences between justice and mercy)

If you happen to read this blog and would like to know more. You can find answers to questions about life, love and peace through the website mormon.org.
video

Sunday, February 17, 2008

This is Dedicated to the One I love


I have to say that I am really spoiled, so I feel the need to brag on my husband. I have heard many wifes discuss the need of more romance or romantic things in their marriages. I was blessed with the most romantic man that I could imagine and I am just left to wish that I were more like him and hope to become more like him through the years.

He likes to celebrate special times, like the anniversary of when we met (celebrated with a German breakfast with the closest thing to Nuttella that we can find around her) and every day of our marriage (by keeping track of how many days we have been married) so that each day is a celebration of us.

For Valentines he bought me a beautiful bouquet of pink flowers, got me some of my favorite kind of chocolates and even bought me some seafood subways that are my favorite and have been something that I have craved during my pregnancy. He is so thoughtful and kind. He never fails to remember special times that have come and gone and they become so much more special, becuase our remembering them. Unlike some people I do not expect such things or haven't in the past from men I dated and I am so lucky to have a man who can teach me what true romance is about. Forever gets better all the time.

An unusually short post

I got to accompany Kenneth Cope today at church. He was there for the YSA conference. It was pretty neat. The thing that impressed me was that when we practiced and I didn't play it the way he intended, he complimented me on the skills I was demonstrating (following the singer) and then asked for the skills he wanted (play it straight), rather than telling me not to get fancy and just play it straight. It was a good example. Oh, and our resident Music Master/Mistress also took time out to tell me I did a good job. That was cool. And best of all, the church piano got tuned. I can't wait to play on it some more.

Paper 4 ... A New Project

For those of you who didn't know it before, I am insane.

J: "If Derrill didn't think so before, now he's convinced."

I've been really depressed at not getting any call backs from my interviews yet (still a couple hold outs) and Joy has been sending out new apps every day, but it's very stressful and it's been very hard to get solid work done on my dissertation for weeks. I did get some stuff done the other week because I signed up to present my work and I needed some work to present, but then just sat staring at the computer most of the day.

So then my adviser emails me. His post-doc up and got a job and has left their big, multi-year project in the lurch. Without any arm twisting, he asks if I would please be willing to drop my dissertation and work full time on this important book. I would be writing two of the chapters and reviewing/proofing the others, then listed as third co-author.

My first thought was that there was no way I would have time. There are precious few weeks before he and probably the other members of my committee leave for the summer, before which I'd have to defend the dissertation. But then Joy reminded me that I work best and happiest when I have way more to do than can possibly be done. She noted, correctly, how many times I have felt like God was inspiring me at certain points along the work, and testified of her confidence in me. The most touching part was that, when I reminded her that getting both done would really eat into family time, she said she would rather have me happy for one hour than all day as depressed as I've been. I decided to give it a second look.

It's really a good and important work, one that I believe will make a difference in the world for many people. I would be proud to be a part of it, and had actually wanted to be for a couple years as I heard him discussing it with Fuzhi (the post-doc) and other people working on the project. And the chapters I would be doing are right in line with the other research I've been doing on agricultural production and good governance.

I was still undecided that night, pondering the pros and cons and just how little time is left (and, incidentally, proved my lack of working ability again by not getting anything done after the call came, so even if I didn't get any work done on the dissertation, how would that be any different from now?). As I poured my heart out in family prayer that night, suddenly things came together for me. I realized how some of the things from Church and from priesthood blessings recently had foreshadowed this project coming.

And for the first time in a while, I felt peace. I felt peace and resolve. We've really adjusted our daily schedules this week to make it possible for me to spend full time on the project and still get an hour or two in on the dissertation and the job market every day. (Joy, meanwhile, continues her brilliant, dedicated pace at churning out several new job applications for me every day.) And Thursday and Friday, the first days of this new resolve, I've actually gotten back to writing the paper and making progress again ... just as advertised.

So maybe I'm going to have to find a way to keep my life overcrowded. It seems to have been one of my keys to success at BYU, and if it works here (as it did last November when I dropped the job market to work on the Hunger in Africa presentation at the UN with Per), it may be something I'll have to plan into my life.

So I've taken on far more than I can possibly do and pray that I still somehow finish the degree in time for whatever job is actually out there, somewhere.

So, in addition to the three papers of my dissertation, I'm working on:
Food Policy for Developing Countries book
Hunger in Africa book chapter
my meatpacking book
a paper on areas where people both buy and produce their own food
and planning future work on the effects of globalization on hunger and obesity, and identifying the difference between the effects of "market inequality" and "structural inequality" on economic growth.

A healthy pipeline, wa? This a picture of my graying hair. Watch for updates as developments are sure to be coming soon. :)

A Pilgrimage to the Land Up North

J: ... It was our first visit to Babies R Us yesterday. ...
[Derrill notes that his wife is having difficulty forming sentences for laughing about things she isn't going to say.]
J: So what I will tell you is that it was a little like getting to the temple: kind of tough to get there, but it was a good time once we were there.
J: We had a strategy. We decided that I would do a complete scope of the place while Derrill did some things he needed to do, and then we'd look through it again and I could show him the things I liked.
D: Iiiiiiii been workin' on the dissertation all the live long day. Iiiii was over at the Wendy's where it was warm and I could think.
J: He did come in with me at first, though, for a smidge.
D: I found the diaper bag! *proud look of a 3 yr old who 'helped' with dinner*
J: Yeah, it has a couple jungle characters on front. It's fun.
D: I decided they only came in three flavors: drab, overkill, and over-marketed. So I found the one exception to the rule, and that's ours.
J: After we did some looking on our own I found some jingle toys to show him and a stool to sit on when you feed the baby ... ... ....
[D notes that Joy is having a case of Parkinsons as she plays charades to help me give her the name of whatever it is]
J: I showed him a bouncer with jungle animals
D: A circular Johnny Jump-Up
J: So there were the cute little spoons that change color when the food's too hot, some baby diaper changing tables (we're thinking about getting one)
D: I'm trying to convince Joy it's worth it to spend a little more to get one that we could use as a display table in the living room several years down the road.
J: We won't have to give it away cause we won't like it anymore?
J: Found some interesting toys, like things you can put your kid into in the grocery cart
D: Joy is big into finding a mirror for the backseat to look at baby while driving.
J: Derrill's a little nervous about this.
D: We tattle on each other. :)
J: It's true.
D: They look so BIG I worry about seeing out my rear window again. I'd rather go for one of the shaving-glass sized mirrors.
J: Speaking of which, I have a question if any of you mother's know that have had your baby in the middle seat instead of one of the side seats: I've been thinking about a shade, but do I need one on both sides because my baby's on the middle? Any comments?
D: Or none, since the baby's in the middle....
J: Anyway, we're going to kinda wait for our larger purchases until the baby shower this Saturday. We're looking forward to the party, even if Derrill wouldn't go even if he were invited. He's excited with me.
D: *Jamaican voice* It's no place for a man. Not dat I'm not interested, but I got no place der, ma'm.
J: It's kind of interesting. I haven't done very much shopping, but looking at what's out there kind of makes me feel a little more like I'm starting to get what I need gathered. It's nice. We didn't really plan on buying much. Our strategy was to look around first, do a little pricing.

D: ONLY THREE WEEKS TO GO (theoretically)

J: We're not holding our breath. By the way, I want to mention here, I'm feeling really good. Still the best time of my pregnancy as long as I get sleep and food, I am a happy pregnant lady.


Some shots of our further nursery preparation: organizing the toys and the clothes are washed and put away.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentines Remembrances - Germany

As part of our Valentine celebration last night, we worked on our "Newlywed History." It is in many stages of completion. We started it after a few months being married and have kept it up fairly decently, but we're still filling in details on our honeymoon. So last night we worked some on describing our honeymoon. The following is an excerpt from our day in Weimar:

J: So we got in our car and ft-ft-, down the road ... to a pretty nice looking hotel, I might add.
D: It was a little hard to find, but we did. And they had no knowledge of our having called. That was curious. But they showed us the rooms and it looked nice ... and then they told us the price. It was not what we had bargained for!
J: Nope. I don’t remember her showing us the rooms. I remember her telling us the amount though, and we kinda dropped our jaws.
D: That was when she then showed us the place to try to convince us. But it was a hotel, not a bed and breakfast, and so we abandoned the venture and began searching all on our lonesomes for a b&b. We needed the b&b to make it a honeymoon for Joy. I had a firm decree to get you a bed and breakfast.
J: Cause I like bed and breakfasts and the Germany kind is really nice, and you will soon find out.
D: Someone finally suggested a place we could go (after visiting the local grocer), and it took us FOR-EVER to find. The wonderful computer car could not give me straight directions to save its life. But we got turned around often enough and Joy just started sending me down any road we hadn’t taken in this podunk village – both of us fit to be tied –
J: Very hungry by that time
D: When we came upon the Huber bed and breakfast in ... Wegefeld, about 10 km south of Weimar. The other place was in Kranichfeld, a bit further south. Tell us how wonderful it was, Joy.
J: It was a perfect bed and breakfast! Not only was it in our price range, it was the biggest place we ever stayed in! It was an apartment with ... we’ve only gotten bigger in our houses.
D: It was the rooftop apartment, so it had a slanting ceiling. The furniture was the cozy stuff they gave their family when they visited. It had a kitchen and everything. They had a TV too, but we didn’t need that.
J: There was a bedroom off the living area and a large bathroom ...
D: For Germany. The bed was large for Germany too, even if it was still two beds pushed together.
J: But that was just the beginning of how wonderful it was. There was also a garden in the back of the home with animals walking around. They and the garden were fence up next to where you park your car.
D: They had some people over for barbecue when we drove up. I got out and asked the assembled men if we could find a room. One of them said he would go get his wife. She said that they were all full except for one room, and if we wouldn’t mind being in the attack we could have that. And of course by this point we might have been willing to sleep in a toolshed. This doubled our delight in the room (our desperation).
J: The decor of the buildings was very traditional, just like Derrill likes it, with the cross bars painted brown or something like it, so picturesque with flowers from the ground and in window boxes. We really enjoyed staying there, and we found a nice little place for dinner just a few buildings away. It was also a quaint little place.

Thursday, June 9
J: In the morning we ate a very traditional breakfast with all the trimmings.
D: Soft-boiled eggs in egg cups with little chickens on them to keep them warm; Brötchen and all the marmelades and butters you could want; a cute little garbage pail for the egg shells; and by our request, some fresh milk and orange juice. This surprised her greatly, but since we didn’t want coffee, she was willing. Plus, of course, introducing Joy to real Nutella.
J: mmmm *smack lips* num num num num. I didn’t think I liked Nutella because I’d had it in the United States before and it was yucky.
D: In the morning after breakfast, we went in to Weimar to do the city proper. We also arranged with the landlord to stay another night there so we wouldn’t have to worry, because Joy loved it so much, and because we learned there was a Miniatures ... park? museum? display? a few hours to the west and it would be convenient to leave from there.
D: In our Weimar brochure, we marked the places we went. The Goethe National Museum, from his house; Schiller’s house, which we passed by but didn’t go in; Wittums Palace (the state theater); Belvedere Palace. We also visited the Historic Cemetary Ducal Vault where Goethe is buried, but that was on Friday.
J: Oh, right. That had a lot of greenery outside.
D: We spent a lot of time searching for Goethe’s house. It’s just tucked in there like any other apartment on the town square, with no signs to direct you.
J: Reddish-orange color. It had a plaque.
D: People kept directing us back the way we came but could never find it. It was very aggravating. We were glad to get in. Glad and hungry.
J: And we almost missed it. We got there just before their last showing.
D: They had a walking tour with headphones, which we could acquire in English, so that gave us two tours in a row in English.
J: Very nice. Quite thoughtful.
D: They’ve largely turned his house into a combination of Goethe museum (this is Goethe’s desk!) /historical museum (this isn’t Goethe’s kitchen, but it’s how kitchens of the time looked) / and art gallery of things Goethe might have liked.
J: I liked the museum. I think especially because it was guided in English individually, but I particularly liked the garden behind the house. It was very beautiful with roses. Well kept.
D: The other place where we stayed significant time was the Belvedere palace, which was the place where the reigning person for Weimar lived.
J: I don’t even remember that place....
D: It had magnificent grounds that we wandered through. There was a hedge maze. There was a rose garden with hedges. There was a walk through the forest. There was a music school nearby and several other things we couldn’t go in. And the palace itself was an art gallery.
J: There was also a little shrubbery artistic shrubbery thing, wasn’t there? Like if you looked out the other window in the back, didn’t they have short shrubs that they did in different patterns and stuff. I remembered it specifically because many people in Holland do that in their front yard. It’s really cool. I didn’t remember that was in Weimar.
D: I’d like to do that too. I also like ‘carving’ and sculpting the bushes. Just one or two, but it would be nice. They showed some of the original wall decorations and the difference between the restoration work and the original. There were these gorgeous designs on all the walls and ceilings or curlicues and such.
J: I don’t think they let you take pictures, but they’d let you buy postcards.
D: The guard was a bit annoyed at me.
J: They had a beautiful fan staircase. I like those.
D: There are a few rooms that I still remember the look of, they were impressive enough. ...
J: Yeah. Palaces are just as cool as castles.
J: I loved the hedge maze. It was awesome. They also had a rose garden, didn’t they, on one side? That was in bloom, I believe. I loved that place. It was great.
D: We wandered around a couple hours, just looking and being in love. You don’t need Much to do on a honeymoon, but you do need Something to be doing together. It was just great to be with this wonderful woman all day and celebrate our love.
J: We went to some neat places, didn’t we?

Friday, June 10
J: The day we left the bed and breakfast, we even took a picture with the lady.
D: We got up bright and early to spend the mid-morning with the miniature park that Joy was very excited to see. It was near Eisenach.
J: They had full castles shorter than us. We took lots of pictures as I believe. The architecture was well done. The small detail work was ... better on some places than others. It was definitely a walking park, outside.
D: It was a glorious day – blue skies and greenery on the hills and a little train ran through it with a water feature and a teeny waterfall. It was very beautiful.
J: I like trains.
D: They had a model of the castle where Martin Luther wrote the Bible and a model toy museum that was very famous, and various castles and palaces.
J: I really enjoyed some of the ones that they had done a back yard for and had little flowers and little flower pots. I liked detail work. Little staircases and towers...
D: I really want to look at the pictures we took, but all I could say is, “oh yes, I remember that one. I remember that one too.”
J: There was really no focus on people. It was very focused on miniature buildings and they did a pretty good job of having lots of different types of architecture for their miniature buildings. Course, there were little plaques for all the little buildings, and Derrill read a lot of them.
D: I knew that was coming.
J: But it was so beautiful it didn’t matter.
D: The first thing was a lighthouse that Joy just had to climb up near and look inside and play with.
J: I wanted to see the back. Think it was after that I found out I wasn’t supposed to get off the beaten path.
D: So that was the “mini-a-thür” park in Thüringen.
J: On our way there I was feeling a little guilty that we had to go so far out of the beaten path to get to the miniatures, but Derrill explained to me that it was important to do things that I loved too.
D: Otherwise we’d spend all our time going to museums and historic sights and she’d come home and say, “Well, we were in Germany. Derrill enjoyed himself.” And that is NOT the mark of a good honeymoon.
J: But we both really wanted to go down the Rhein....
D: Speaking of Derrill really enjoying himself, after the romantic and gorgeous miniature park, I took her to a romantic and gorgeous ... cemetery.
J: I don’t have much memory of that right now. Maybe while you remember it, I will.
D: It’s where Goethe is buried. Joy prefers Dutch cemeteries to German, but liked the tall oaks and the greenery around. She talked a lot about the Dutch cemeteries and how they were better. But they have a great church in the middle with a great circular hole and dome, and down in the basement are several sarcophagi.
J: OH! Right. It took us a while to find that building in the middle of the cemetery.
D: Joy had me try to explain why I liked Goethe and why he was so important. It took a few days of just finding plaques all OVER Germany saying “Goethe visited here in ....” to impress on her what a national figure he was.
J: A man can only be from so many cities. But I guess he traveled.

And here I am, arguing with the great man over which way we should go.

Monday, February 11, 2008

FULL TERM!


If Hyrum decided to come out tonight, he would officially be a full-term baby. 36 weeks later, she's going strong and loves being pregnant ... and wonders what attacked her hip over the weekend that makes it so difficult and painful to walk and to climb into our oversized bed. Here are the monthly comparison shots, but tonight we'll compare week 36 and week 9, just so you can see the real difference 7 months makes.

And the last ones are the funny ones. That's all, folks!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Entertaining the Watsons

It's been a slow, if busy and stressful, week and there's not much to report on. (Not that any of you should be waiting with baited breath by this point. It's not like this gets updated only once a month or anything.) But we thought we'd share a few of the things we're having fun with:

Books
Family book: Emma by Jane Austen. We read it to each other, taking turns by chapter. Mr. Elton has just left town and Emma had to tell Harriet that **PLOT SPOILER HERE**. We finished reading Anne's House of Dreams from the Anne of Green Gables series in Nov/Dec. For those who are wondering, Joy chose Anne and Derrill chose Emma.

Scripture: We're up to 2nd Nephi 16 today in our family reading. I'm studying the Book of Mormon topic by topic, going alphabetically through the Index. I'm up to "conversion," after reading about being "contrary" to the plan of happiness this week. Joy's up to page 145 in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants (one page a day in each is her goal).

Baby prep: We have a pamphlet on delivery that we're reading 2 pages a day. We're around page 40 of 80 that we want to read before Hyrum comes. We feel that reading together not only is entertaining, but sparks conversation about our concerns and things that we're looking forward to. We also started reading Hyrum's biography, but got stuck in it. Whether we get unstuck depends on if the author can discover linear time or not.

Joy reading: I just finished Gerald Lund's Fire of the Covenant about the Willie and Martin handcart companies, and A Light to Come Home By by Shelly Johnson-Choong. Both were written by LDS authors with LDS themed stuff. I like clean romance books. Currently reading an Oz book, about number 12 in the series. I like reading the Oz books as an easy read. I don't have to pay too much attention but they're still enjoyable.

More Joy reading: I'm also trying to read a session of conference every week. This is my ... third week and I'm two talks behind. Which is pretty good :) And I am caught up in my reading for the Joseph Smith Relief Society manual. These are all things I haven't done so very well on in the past, so I'm really proud of myself. I am feeling the Spirit a lot more as I accomplish these goals and I'm hoping to continue them. I also try to read an article from the Friend sometimes to Hyrum.

Derrill reading: I have made no progress on my Islam or WWII readings. I did read a few chapters of Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer this week, though. I've been getting through the important articles of The Economist and read several of the talks from the October 2007 General Conference. I've also been reading Pres. Hinckley's biography, and he's on his mission at the moment. I'm recording Alice in Wonderland for Joy to listen to during delivery, and that's a load of fun. I'm also taking a few peeks into the Dangerous Book for Boys, which has some fun stuff in it. I think I also skimmed my Handyman magazine, haven't made it very far in the BYU Magazine for the quarter, was able to skip most of the last couple economics journals I got in (not related to my research mostly), and have been reading a lot of articles related to research.

More Derrill reading: Then there's Fire in the Bones about William Tyndale's life. I haven't been doing much new religious reading since I've been preparing several Forum articles for the class I teach and they've taken a bit more time than usual, but I've read a few new poems in Masterpieces of Religious Verse. I guess I did restart working on Preach My Gospel this week, read another page or two and I'm caught up on Joseph Smith for this week.

J: Wow. We're really a reading family, aren't we?
D: Well, for a short blog this has gotten long much faster than I expected, so I'll spare you our silly movie watching and game playing antics.
J: For today. We'll share them some other day.
D: We sure do read a lot of different things, don't we?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Lesser-Known Gastronomic Treasures

So Joy took me out to dinner last night, and it was fun. We went to the Souvlaki House, a Greek/Italian place in Collegetown I've really enjoyed whenever I went but haven't been to in a couple years. While I was there, my alter Ego -- let's call him Anton, shall we? -- reminded me that I've always wanted to just write into a newspaper with a few gratuitous restaurant reviews. Well, I can do that here, can't I? So here are two short reviews, and hopefully later Joy and I will sit down and compare Chinese places around here.

I love The Souvlaki House. I discovered it my first year at Cornell just wandering about. They have a large tray of baklava on the counter, and they let me take a menu home the first time I visited so I could give it a good look over. I confess I haven't tried any of the standard Italian fare there, focusing instead on the Greek food, which I have always loved. I was leery about the eggplant parmigiana, but tried it anyway to be adventurous and loved it. It startled me. I've had their lamb Souvlaki and their Gyros, and this last time I had the Moussaka, which is a ground beef meatloaf with eggplant and Greek spices and potatoes. Greek shepherd's pie, maybe. It was heavenly. I'm about to go on a web search for a good recipe for it. I've never been a big fan of the feta cheese in their salads, but those and the sour olives are just part of the experience. The breadsticks are very good too.

The other place to bring to your attention is the Manos Diner along 13-S out of town. Now, there's a story. Back at BYU, I was introduced to what Mystery Science Theater 3000 calls the WORST movie ever made: Manos, the Hands of Fate. It's terrible. It's awful. It's very funny how they handled it. Quentin Tarantino calls it one of his favorite comedies. Torgo, pictured right, is the henchmen. "My name is ... Torgo. I ... take care of the place ... while the Master is away." I bought it for myself one year, I love/hated it so much. So when I saw there was a Manos Diner, I just had to go. The look Joy gave me when I told her I wanted to go to a restaurant because of the worst movie ever made was classic, and I'm sure most guys know the look I'm talking about. (PS - The restaurant has no relation to the movie. It was built by a guy whose last name is Manos. But I can see Anton over there is sharpening his talons, so best get back to the review:)

The polite term for the Manos Diner is a greasy spoon. The correct term is a dive. It is a dive for two reasons. The first is that the bright red plastic bench coverings are held together by packing tape. Now, a low-class establishment would have used duct tape, but Manos uses packing tape, so it's a high-class dive. The other reason it's a dive is that you can dive in and swim around in the sauces they put on your sides. My side salad could tread watery vaguely-white salad dressing for five minutes, all without acquiring any flavor! The marinara sauce on my pasta not only demonstrated a shocking disregard for cornstarch, or even tomatoes, but dripped off the sodden noodles like so much B-movie fake blood.

So why do I recommend you go anyway? Why have we gone back multiple times? 1) They have the world's greatest beef in au jus, as testated and tastetested by the Lovely and Gracious. In fact, we've taken to asking them for a styrofoam coffee cup and lid so we can bring the leftover sauce home. I guess since their specialite de la maison is watery sauces, it makes sense that one that's supposed to be would be perfect. 2) It's nearly impossible to get a decent burger in Ithaca outside of Friendly's, and they do good burgers and other very nice, well seasoned (if a touch lukewarm) entrees. They even profess to do a cordon blue I haven't had the gumption to sample yet. So when you go, stick to the french fries and you'll be fine. The fries are safe.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

That Home feeling

Hi everyone,
I am just wanting people to talk to. Hyrum is moving I think that he likes the chocolate ice cream that I ate a while ago. I am so grateful to be able to go visiting teaching. Being gone from home for two months kindof made me feel like I was a little bit of an island, without a lot of normal responsibilities. Visiting teaching really helps me to feel more plugged into people around me, and like this is really my home. It is a good feeling.

I am also glad to be starting to help with some of the cooking again. I have been feeling better this trimester, so even though Derrill still plans on making dinners these days I have been very helpful.

I even made a very delicious soup all by my self on Sunday to share with friends. It was a Bacon, cheese, potato chowder. It was my first try at it, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was to die for. I have always wanted to learn how to make nice soups, they remind me of warm and cozy evenings at my grandma's home. Grandma Elzinga was always making some kind of stew and they always tasted wonderful. I highly doubted that she ever used recipes. She also made the best wheat bread, I am hoping to try that sometime soon, since I got the recipe from her. I really think that I got the love of gardening from my grandmother too. She is really a neat lady, I love her and my grandpa. It is strange to think that they are the age that President Hinkley was. There house always felt like home.

Tomatoes from my garden last fall.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

How ya like THIS color scheme?

Baby Preparations



I am getting so excited for Hyrum to come home with us. I washed all of the clothes that we were so kindly given at a shower in Santa Barbara, CA and his bedding that Grammy gave us, including the cover for the car seat. After the cleaning preparation which also included cleaning the baby matress with Doodoo Voodoo (a wonderful stain remover and the matress looks great-we discovered the Doodoo Voodoo on line when we had spilled something in our car and could not get it out for the life of us. We were given the crib by some kind people in our branch), and cleaning, dusting the crib.

After all of that I triumphantly put the baby car seat in our car, so that we will be ready to bring him home and to get used to it. I also made the bed in the crib and put in the bumper, skirt, and the mobile. Here is a picture of the results. I am so glad the bed is ready, now if he will just wait a week to be full term (36 weeks) all will be ready :)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Musings of an undecided Republican

This post was going to be a lot longer when I first planned it, but would have ended with a thought that I was thankful NY was not the first state to have its primary so the other states could weed out a few of my choices. This they have done, and now I don't need to go into details about a number of other candidates. This will, I'm sure, be good news for readers as well as the readee.

The main criteria I'm looking for:
0) First and foremost, there has to be some basic honesty and goodness or I can't vote for them, no matter what their stances on anything else. Joy quips, "Therefore, no voting."
1) Getting anything done in politics is about compromise, and so I don't expect perfect consistency, but I do want to see evidence of a few core values that they do not abandon and really work towards.
2) This election cycle I care more about foreign policy than economy, and I would like someone with experience of the kind that will help in the current crises abroad we face.
2.5) To the best of my knowledge, NO ONE has a good understanding of economics, so it can't be much of a filter. They've all said some incredibly stupid things. A pity, but that's what advisers are for, I guess.
3) I really would like to vote for someone who has some chance of toning down the partisanship and extreme rhetoric of the last 16 years.

Just for fun, let me mention the Democrats first. I listened to one of their debates on NPR earlier in the election cycle and actually heard some halfway decent things. It was a pity to me that Dodd and Biden lost so quickly. Not that they had much chance against rock star power, but, unlike Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, they actually had the significant experience the others try to claim, and I thought they made several good points during the debate. To me, Edwards and Obama each have a couple good points so that, though I would likely disagree with how they would accomplish their goals, they at least have a couple worthy goals I could praise them on and support. I am of the opinion that Clinton is still as congenital a liar as ever, willing to do, say, or be anything for her/their own aggrandizement. It astounds me that anyone can consider the woman who wanted to nationalize 1/5 of the US economy as a centrist. But I didn't come here to discuss that. So I'm willing to consider and look deeper into Obama or Edwards if the Dems put them up. That's the happier, friendlier thought.

On the Republican side, I've been in general dissatisfied, but not averse to the candidates. I mean, no one is going to be my ideal of a perfect candidate because they would have to believe everything I do, and that would include that politics corrupts people, so they wouldn't even run in the first place. So I recognize that it is necessary to be reasonable without "holding my nose" as I vote.

I'm thankful Guiliani is out. He had too many moral ambiguities for me to support him. The way he has treated his families, his dishonesty with taxpayer money, the company he keeps, all speak against him.

I may share a number of Libertarian sympathies and admire his firm stance on what he believes in, but the fact of the matter is that Ron Paul 'scared' me during the debates I saw him in. He has absolutely the wrong foreign policy for America at any time. Though there is some truth in it (no, we shouldn't go forcing our foreign policy on other countries just because we're bigger), we can't be isolationist either, especially not now. From my reading of his website, he has a very poor understanding of monetary policy despite sitting on the committee that oversees the Fed. That suggests obstinacy more than integrity informs his opinions, and that also is a concern in a President.

So then there are the three guys I actually have considered voting for in the primaries. I call myself undecided because I've been waffling between McCain, Romney, and Huckabee the whole time. Each of them has a demonstrated set of core values they hold to. McCain and Romney have experience working across the aisle and Huckabee's "folksy" manners (as every news report takes pains to remind me) make him appeal to a broad set of people. None of them really has the stellar conservative record I'd like to see -- Huckabee raised taxes on numerous occasions, Romney has some ambiguities his supporters have not been able to satisfy me on, and McCain may work across the aisle, but does it have to always be with the most liberal senators?

Of the three, I think McCain has the best foreign policy experience and in his admission that he doesn't understand economics, would be more likely to turn to advisers. As I've reconsidered his immigration and campaign finance reforms, I've begun to see some of the wisdom in what he has been proposing. He has had a sensible, fairly consistent stance on the war, and I appreciate his desire to cut spending as well as taxes. At the moment, I think I'm leaning towards casting my vote for him, and I've been leaning that way for a couple weeks now, so it may stick.

I loved Romney's religion speech. It was the best thing to come out of the campaign. I intend to do some more research on Monday to get at his foreign policy and econ views. Naturally, every article I've read has just focused on his religion. The funny thing to me is that his supporters who I've spoken to locally don't give the same answer he does as to what caused his switch of views on abortion et al. Fairly early in the election, he cited an experience he had that changed his mind. This was a remarkable admission for a candidate to me -- to actually admit a change and cite a reason for it rather than glossing it over is a welcome change. But then his supporters try to encourage me that, since he was called as a Stake President [who oversees several local congregations] about the same time as he was governor, he can't have held those views in Mass when he announced to voters he was running to the left of Kennedy. "He was just saying that to get elected. It's the politics game. These are his Real views," they tell me. But I know that when a stake pres is chosen, there is no litmus test where they ask views on abortion and gay marriage, and it is very worrisome to me that his supporters imagine a LIAR could serve as stake president and not a person who holds different political views. And if he is willing to outright lie for political gain, how different is he from Clinton?

My one complaint about Romney's news coverage has been how upset everyone is that he is "too" squeaky clean. What on earth is wrong with having someone as President who is actually morally clean and upstanding, who treats the only wife he ever had with respect, whose children love him, and has done good service in his community?? He's a nice guy, and that's a good thing.

Huckabee hasn't really been keeping up on foreign policy, telling reporters incorrect things about the world situation that changed two weeks previous. His economic stances show increases and decreases in taxes. Joy is very gratified that he is willing to mention Jesus and the Bible in debates and stand for his beliefs. I liked him at first for that and his claims to be the Reagan heir-apparent (a claim every Republican has to make, sort of like being the Candidate of Change), but have just found his record more mixed and spotty than I'd really like.

So there I am right now, and that's why I'm leaning towards McCain, but that could change after I scour the three websites for some more specific viewpoints I haven't heard yet in the sound bites and to give the candidates the chance to really speak at more length at their and my leisure. Comments, as always on our blog, are welcome.

Friday, February 1, 2008

One month and counting

There are two things I refer to in the title. The first is that Hyrum is due sometime in the next month. The second is that a month has passed since my interviews in New Orleans.

Hyrum's official due date is March 10. But we all know that doctors lie to us. First children are regularly "late" which means they tell us the wrong expected due date! But Mar 10 is the official expectation, a mere 39 days away now. So, if you care to, please vote when you think he will come. (The reference in the poll to being his father's son means two things: one is that he'd be an April Fool, and that fits me well enough; the other is that I was born after a 10 month pregnancy, and by that point we're gettin pretty late.)

I had 6-7 interviews in New Orleans, depending on how you count them, and so far I've heard back from half of the employers ... in the negative. So I'm still waiting on the University of Denver at Colorado, Oklahoma State University (my advisor's alma mater), and the Miami University ... at Oxford ... in Ohio. I would be really happy at any of these, I believe, and each has particular attractions.

In general, I'm doing pretty well at the waiting game. But at night, right as I'm preparing for bed, the worry monster does creep up and hit my stomach because no one has called today yet. So I might as well have some fun with it and ask everyone's opinion of where we'll end up. For fun too, I've been singing "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" with slightly amended lyrics:

I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain (UCD) or plain (OSU) or Miami.

Being risk averse, we've also started applying to some additional places for the second econ job market, so we could still end up pretty much anywhere. Cast your votes!