27 February 2009

Satch Salute

TO:  Cecily A.
FROM:  Mrs. W.

Today you were thinking carefully about the Funny Feet Dance and moving quickly on the beat.

22 February 2009

MoMo: Prayer and Insight

Prayer in Sharing Time:

-Please bless that Jesus will have a great day

-Please bless that we won't be mean to Jesus

-Please bless that we won't die


Dialogue with Mommy:

Mo:  Why are you not the whole boss?

Mom:  I don't know.  Who is the whole boss?

Mo:  Maybe Daddy is.  You're just the teeny-weeny boss.


20 February 2009

Mandarin Chinese Immersion

This is the program I'm hoping Cecily can get into next year:


Has anyone out there done immersion programs?

Cecily, on Ingrid's Style

"I wonder why she likes things like sparkly rings? Even though she wears those bracelets that are kind of cool, she still likes things that are lovely."

i'm LOVING her

Right now I'm particularly fond of Cecily.  We've had a lot of time to hang out this year, and she's simply the most hilarious person I know.  She's a great mimic, and likes to get a spoonful of peanut butter and pretend like she's on a commercial:  "Mmmmm, smooth, creamy peanut butter!"  She likes to imitate me:  "Oh hiiiiiii.   Yeaaaaah.  Mmmmhmmm I knoooooow," with hand on hip.  

If you see her in public, she will rarely crack a smile, but at home she giggles like crazy and has a great sense of humor.  She likes to improvise on the piano and comes up with some great modal, drone-y compositions.  A couple of weeks ago, we had a manicure together, and she was so serious about it.  She has the tiniest, cutest hands in the world.  The look exactly like mine, tapered lady fingers, but on a tiny girl.  Although for years she was very un-snuggly, she has recently gotten into snuggling with me and has stopped wiping off all of the kisses I give her.  She loves to read, and her favorite books are two books that I had as a kid:  A Time to Keep by Tasha Tudor and a book of children's verse.  Both have magical illustrations, and I can tell she loves the other-fairy-worldliness of the books.

The other thing she loves is Maude, our eight-year-old neighbor.  "Mom, I don't know why, but I always think Maude is so cool."  She loves reading and drawing and going in the bike trailer with Moses and movie night.  I can hardly believe my beautiful girl, so sick at birth, is now a thriving child about to turn six.

Happy Birthday, Cecily!

18 February 2009

family dining

Menu 1:

*Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs
*Brown Rice
*Garlic Roasted Carrots
*Purple Waldorf Slaw

Menu 2:

*Yogurt/Ementhaler Scratch Mac n' Cheese
*Garlic Seared Green Beans
*Molten Chocolate Cake (For Valentine's, from Bittman)

Menu 3:

*Ham n' Swiss Omlettes
*Buttered Whole Grain Toast
*Chocolate Milk

Menu 3:

*Italian Meatloaf
*Sour Cream/Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
*Green Salad w/Garlic Vinaigrette
*Crusty Bread

What did you eat for V-day? Whatcha eatin' this week?

This is your brain on a foreign exchange.

So, I promised mom some cyber-sunshine, but I really didn't have a very good week and a half. The good news is that Fasching (carnival) is this week, and I'm going to parties tomorrow and the next day, and perhaps Saturday and Sunday as well.
but two things before I tell you all that I have nothing to say:
a. If anyone has advice for me (me being a social and academic failure), please consider it solicited, and
b. I'm sorry about the wole "desicion" thing-- it's kind of anticlimactic compared to Eva's guess, but I decided that I like Mozart more than Beethoven-- but I wanted to wait until I had been to Bonn AND Vienna to make that choice, so I could really feel like it was an educated one.
I love you. All.
Oh, and a big huge cyber-five to my wonderful mother and the amazing Valentine package she sent me. I loves you!!!
ps eva: I really missed making Valentimes with you and secretly delivering them to our boys and staying up late with rhymes and construction paper and glitter glue. More than I can even say. Email me.

16 February 2009

missing ingrid

These cold and dreary February days have been difficult around here.  Every time I go to the store or the salon or the library I hear people complaining about the weather and longing for spring.  In a way I kind of like the end of winter and the end of summer because I am so ready for the change of season that fall and spring are ecstatic.  

I think the depression of winter has made me miss Ingrid all the more.  I was okay with her absence in the fall, though always worried about her health and safety, but I've had two nightmares about her in the past week where she was having difficulty with her host family.  I think this is because she didn't email me on Sunday as promised.  It's very hard on me when I don't get a weekly assurance of her well-being.  So today Christian cleaned out the garage and I found her crocheted rainbow scarf and her little key necklace.  I put them both on and vowed to wear the necklace every day until her safe return.  And Christian offered to give Kirsti the braid that Ingrid cut off last spring for a sculpture, which would be really cool, but I had to say no.
Not until my baby is home.  

I miss you Ingy Bingy!



p.s.--I miss Eva tons, too, but I got to see her for a month at Christmas and get to call her whenever I want (though she's mostly too busy to talk to me and mostly doesn't read or return my emails. . . ).  But don't worry about me darlingk.  I'm fine even though you never call.  I know you're so busy with so many important things and I don't want your poor mother to get in the way of your rise to the top.  So no worries.  I only cry over you once, maybe twice a day and that's it.  And the doctor says I need to be careful about my heart, but I didn't want to worry you. . . .


I had the most intense flavor memory last night while polishing of the remainder of the Hagen-Daas honey vanilla ice cream from Valentine's Day. I took a bite of ice cream and then breathed in through my nose and smelled a thousand beeswax candles. I was suddenly in St. James Cathedral in Seattle in the little Mary chapel looking up at the gilt stars on the ceiling. One of my favorite places, one of my favorite times. My vielle, Hildegard, Margriet, Anna, Molly, all the ladies from choir. My short dresses and chunky shoes and good legs from the early nineties. All in a spoonful of cream and honey. Was that ever my life?

Also, I have a gallon of honey that Grandma Beth gave me for Christmas from Uncle Stan's bees. It is delicious and the kids beg me to give them spoonfuls of it all day long. I also have a cookbook written by Grandma Beth's sister called BEE Prepared: Cooking with Honey. I'm working on it, trying to be more like the industrious Andersen's (Grandma Beth's family) who always seem to be so organized and prepared and healthy with their herbs and whole grains and desserts made with honey. Not to mention their admirably thrifty ways. Where did my thrifty gene go?

One more thing: I'm reading Nourishing Traditions for book club and getting all excited about lacto-fermentation, un-pasturized dairy, cultured dairy and bee pollen. I'm not feeling excited about cow brains. Am feeling excited about bone stock. I'm also reading What to Eat by Marion Nestle, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan and Food Matters by Mark Bittman. Simultaneously. It's like a fun house of food revolution imagery. But I love it.



15 February 2009


I must admit, I often enjoy teaching immensely, and then sometimes I dislike it. One never quite loses the stage fright, especially when one doesn't know the students that well. I had an awesome experience teaching on Friday. GEM, the BYU Group for Experimental Music, finally had a breakthrough and performed collective improvisations that included listening, beautiful and interesting textures created collaboratively, etc. It was really one of the greatest feelings in the world to experience it and to see the joy on their faces afterward. There is a great deal of faith involved in doing something so crazy as going into a windowless room with musical instruments and making music with no score or plan in advance. It took a few weeks for them to get over their self-consciousness and to apply this faith in real time. I think this is what I love about improvisation so much. It is a divine process, especially when engaged in with others.

I have some theory students who are a bit faith-challenged. They ocd-ly ask questions over and over again that mostly have to do with any possible challenge they might encounter on a test. There is a bit of a disconnect with the concept of critical thinking. It reminds me of this bit they used to do on Letterman a year or two ago with one of the actors that pops up here and there. He would ask Dave endless questions that were tedious and difficult to answer, but not interesting. These theory students can be really fun and smart too, though. My favorite technique with dumb questions is to over answer, i.e. to link up to tangents that involve wider historical, philosophical, spiritual, aesthetic themes. It's amusing to me and the smarty-pants students, and for those who are interested in only knowing what will be on the test, it kind of puts them on notice.

I'm teaching a class on the first principles and ordinances at the Forensics Unit today. There's a whole different kind of teaching. Probably the most diverse group of 20 or so people you could ever get together. One of my avenues of inquiry is that there is no difference between generic faith and the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ mentioned in the Articles of Faith as being the first principle. Joseph Smith said that faith is the principle of action in all intelligent beings. Moroni (7:12-22) says that all good things come from God, and further that existence is about "laying hold on every good thing" by means of faith. D&C 88:6-13 says that, as the light of the world, Christ is in the Sun, moon, stars, etc. and that He is the power by which they were created, etc. His light is also said to bring life to all things. All this points to the idea that faith in anything that is good or true is, in essence, faith in Christ.

10 February 2009


This will not be news to some of you, but I hate teaching.  Okay, I don't really hate it anymore; I've made a tepid peace with it over the years, telling myself it's better than working as a receptionist at an insurance brokerage, or on an assembly line, two jobs that an English major and an MFA in Creative Writing can get you.  And what else would I do?  Christian keeps telling me I would make a kick ass realtor, as he's been super impressed with my negotiation skills in buying and selling our own domeciles, but I think he's mistaking the fierceness that threat to her cave arouses in a mama bear, or a threat to her nest provokes in mama bird.  Or maybe he's just comparing my negotiating skills to his.  Either way, I have no desire to be a realtor. Owning a restaurant sounds fun, but I think I'm too old and tired for that.  Even as a teenager I found restaurant work to be physically grueling.  I 'm quite sure I couldn't take the stress or the physical toll anymore.

Another thing I hate is medieval literature, which is what really drove me to take a leave from my Ph.d program this year.  It's not that I don't want a Ph.d, it's that I don't want to have to earn one.  I'd rather be given an honorary doctorate for being cool than have to know about the influence of Boccaccio on Dante (or is it the other way around?  see, this proves that I am not cut out for academia).  Some people I know are comfortable pretending they know everything, and thus make good professors.  Others actually do know everything, and they make good professors too.  I don't fall into either category.

This post probably sounds whiny.  I know there are many worse situations out there, and I feel guilty for being dissatisfied.  I should be grateful for the experiences I've had, and I am.  But, maybe this is a mid-life crisis talking. I just don't want to spend my time doing things I don't love anymore.  So either I need to find a way to make a living doing what I love, or I need to find a way to love what I need to do to make a living.  Was that too convoluted?

Here's the other thing:  the numbers just don't add up--5 kids +140 texts to master for my exams + 1.20 minute commute to Salt Lake + 3 writing classes to teach= what?  A trip to Utah State Hospital?  It's just not working for me.

I need a book deal, a large grant, or Christian needs to win the Herb Alpert award ASAP!  (MacArthur Grant?  Can't apply for NEA grant until March '10.)

Please advise.

family dining

Menu One:

*Enchiladas Verdes with queso fresca and crema
*Green Corn Tamales
*Mexican Rice
*Bam's Cake and Ice Cream

Menu Two:

*Seared Cauliflower
*Spinach and Egg Fried Rice

Menu Three:

*Carrot Tomato Bisque
*Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches on Whole Grain Bread
*Purple Slaw

Menu Four:

*Terriyaki Chicken
*Brown Rice
*Broccoli w/ Daddy's Dipping Sauce

08 February 2009


Six years ago Lula was four and we moved in next to Lola, also four. Lula and Lola are blond balls of energy, and when they get together, watch out! On Friday night, they babysat for us between the hours of 5.30 and 7.00, and here's what they accomplished during that time:

*Made vegetable noodle soup from scratch for the babies
*Set out two bowls and one pan of red jello in the snow to cool (we now have what looks like big bright drops of blood on the snow outside our front door.)
*Built a fort in Momo's room out of a mattress ( the roof) and three large rubbermaid bins, blankets, the humidifier, and every container in the region that could be emptied
*Planned a Valentine's party for Friday night called "The Heart Ball"
*Made hand-made invites for "The Heart Ball"
*Planned the menu for "The Heart Ball" (cookies, soda, pasta bar, soup bar, donuts--perfect!)
*Drew a blue print of our house with each room designated "game room", "dance palace", "movie room", "hang out corner", etc. Apparently we have to move out during the party.

Other favorite activities include brewing every kind of concoction imaginable from the kitchen: lotions, facial masks, perfumes, teas, hot chocolates, soups--if it's wet and messy and they can stow it under the bed or in a shrub where I'll find it a year later, it has their stamp on it. They also like to make cookies and art and sell door to door, sell lemonade, have parties at the Kozy Shack in Lola's grandma's back yard, make "Box Town," a movable city made of boxes on a longboard and a wagon, or anything that involves all of the towels and bedding in our house.

Wherever these girls go, they leave a trail of fun and chaos. It's frightening to think of what the next five years will bring.

07 February 2009

family dining

Menu One:

*Buttermilk Pancakes
*Fried Potatoes
*Eggs, over easy

Menu Two:

*Warm Salad of Bok Choy, Chard, and Napa
*Grilled Spicy Sausages

Menu Three:

(dinner party for the Jacoby's on their way in from Asia and out to Italy 'til summertime :()

*Paprika Rubbed Pork Loin 
*Apple Cider Pan Sauce
*Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
*Salad of Shredded Napa Cabbage, Chard, Spinach, Toasted Pinenuts and blue cheese
*Crusty Whole Grain Loaf
*Cheesecake with Mixed Berry and Lemon Compote

05 February 2009

The Eye of the Tiger.

That's the song that was playing when I bought the Lederhosen of Fate.
Very fitting, oder? In any case they were at a thrift store just down the road from the Hundertwasserhaus. I can't even begin to describe this wonderful building, but I will say that everyone has "Fensterrecht", with I can't explain without the risk of saying something wrong due to mistranslation... utilize your googles, people. It is eco-friendly, though, and the architect is anti-straight line, which might give you an idea of what it looks like. I hope. And one lucky winner is getting a postcard with a picture of the place.
Okay, did I already talk about the Magic Flute? I saw it. It was great, as every production of the Magic Flute is destined to be. The Papageni are the cutest couple ever. I might even venture to say the cutest couple evar, which is a misspelling I save for special occasions. I love the "Pa pa pa pa" dialogue-- you know the one? I might run the risk of ruining any shred of dignity I might still have by singing it, but I'm writing.
But I made the big decision. The Big Decision.
Can anyone guess which one it is? I just decided that I want to keep the four of you who read this in suspense, keep you guessing until a later date.
Also, I bought a record from the Streeeeets!! I am so happy. I found an amazing record store that sold Black Flag tshirts, which freut mich, and of course records from the Streets. Unfortunately, the HostFam doesn't have any facilities to play vinyl, so I guess I'll have to wait. But it has "You're Fit But You Know It" AND "Get Out of My House", as well as others. Woah! I can't wait.
So, Charly/Karl and Anna have this niece called Mira, and she's around my age and we spent yesterday together. She's really cool. Her boyfriend used to be in the Vienna Boy's Choir (speaking of which, the three little guardian boys in the Magic Flute-- you know the ones?-- they were from the VBC. They were divine) She and I walked around and bought a present for Moses (a Spiderman comic auf Deutsch) and climbed the whole entire Stephensplatz spire, which I think should have a fireman pole at the top for easyslidingdownishness. Which is probably a word in German. And I saw sea urchins! In an aquarium. Cute.
Oh my, did I forget about the most wonderful greenhouse in the whole world? It was huge and the house itself was beautiful, and then it was just like stepping into a jungle-- steamy and fragrant (like soil and plants-- how I want to smell) and warm. It was lovely to walk on ground that wasn't frozen, amazing to be with someone (Anna, perhaps the nicest person on Earth) who loved it as much as I did. When I grow up I'm going to teach a yoga class there.

02 February 2009

My heart broke when I saw the price tag on the Lederhosen.

The title is a true story. Will I give in and buy them by the end of the week? It's very likely. I have been dreaming of a good pair of lederhosen since the moment I found out I was coming to Germany-- a mental image of me emerging triumphant from the airplane clad in them and running into the arms of the large crowd of people awaiting me, all of whom are freshly showered and carrying balloons... So mom, how much am I allowed to spend on a pair of lederhosen? You set the price, and if I can't find any for less than it I will return lederhosenlos.
Okay, now I am going to be a bad blogger and copy paste the message that I sent my mother about my first full day in Vienna:

Oh my gosh. I don't even know where to start, but I LOVE Vienna-- something about the air or the atmosphere is just wonderful and soothing but at the same time stimulating. And the Austrians are as great about public transportation as the Germans. Today me, Anna, and Leila went to the Belvedere together and looked at some famous Austrian artists, like Gustav Klimt (I saw The Kiss in the flesh! It's sooo pretty!) They went home fairly early and I stayed around a little longer and looked at some more paintings. There was this great one of three nude girls prancing around in the meadow in the springtime, and I said to myself, "that is what I want my life to be like". I think I'm probably going to join a nudist colony at some point, because I love being liberated from clothing! I was thinking about that lots today because all of the unclad people in the paintings looked so happy and free and I was wearing seven shirts and two coats and a scarf, with a sundress buried somewhere to remind me of the summer. But worst of all I was wearing pants AND socks-- mismatched socks, to be sure, but socks all the same.
But I really want to live here. Settle down here someday, I mean. It's going right next to Seattle on my "potential cities to settle down in" list. That way I could be a street performer like I've always dreamed of, and go to the opera all of the time (the standing tickets cost like half as much as entrance into Velour! But Anna was coming with so we got 6 euro sitting tickets) and spend my life in museums OR in the woods that are just 30 minutes away from the city. What a wonderful place. And Karl and Anna are so nice, and Leila is so cute! She was playing with Chester today, and putting diapers on him and making him noodles in her little kitchen. What a cutie. I miss babies.

Also, I don't think I have said anything on the matter of Cologne. It was killer. I swam in the Rhine (right in front of a couple of half-submerged trees in case the current was bad, but it wasn't) while Robin kept watch, and I climbed the Dom in high heels-- tiring but worth it. ALSO, there was a dead body found on the tracks of the first train that was going to Cologne, which meant that I had to find a new train to my first stop and new ones all the way down the line, and then find my way from the Cologne Hauptbahnof (aka huge) to the Jungendgaesthaus (youth hostel) all alone in the dark raininess. I was wearing my angel wings, though, and operating on the theory that strangers are more willing to help an angel because either she is a poor crazy little thing of else she is a real live angel and will smite whoever doesn't offer competent directions. It worked pretty well, and I was only mostly traumatized when I finally got there, and got lots of hugs from other affection-starved CBYX kids who thought I had died.
And there was this flea market. I bought a sterling silver dinosaur ring, bartered down to three euros from a man with an eye patch.
Actually, it's probably not actually sterling silver, but he said it was, which is why I couldn't get it for 1.50
You know what is 1.50? Standing tickets for the Magic Flute in Vienna. Woah!
OH, and Beethoven's house. Was awesome. I bought a ton of postcards, anyone who wants one just give me your address.

01 February 2009

Advice from the Elders

Today at Relief Society, the women offered their best advice as we were discussing the advice "Come what may and love it," that Joseph B. Wirthlin's mother gave to him as a youngster. Here's some of it, all from the 60-98 year old crowd:

Sister Lois (95, give or take): I recommend that you all get a quad cane so you don't have to bend down to pick up your cane.

Sister Mary (on making mistakes): Take the good from your mistake and throw away the bad. (I love that one!)

Sister Jan: You can do anything you want if you're willing to work for it. (That's an old school one--my Dad always said that to us when we were kids. I used to think, really? I could make it to the NBA if I work hard enough? It kept me up nights)

Sister Ruth (98?): There ain't no happiness in this world; you just have to be happy without it!

I love the sisters! They totally rock. And I love aphorisms. I should have been an Alcott.

What are your favs?