Peaches. Smog. Cats. Cash.

We found this beautiful jar of strawberries at Target'.
But bought the peaches because canned strawberries are gross. We usually buy peaches in gallon drums from Costco, but I wanted to support a company that makes such a beautiful product.

Then we drove up to Salt Lake to a friend's birthday party, and crashed our car into the stinkiest bag of smog I've seen in my lifetime. It clogged the streets, making it impossible to see signs until I was passing them. Like breathing urine and swimming in a bog of car farts.

Taken at 6pm last Friday
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Fortunately Gov. Huntsman has taken a stand with Obama against air pollution.
video
Video of the air
I also saw some kitties on campus.
And spent many hours making this spreadsheet for our family finances.
I did not really make a million dollars last week.
We could afford a house, if it cost $8000.
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I stayed up at night to finish it. Kathy said I was a budget addict. I worked on it non-stop, when I woke, in class, and until I went to bed.
If anyone wants a copy of this spreadsheet for your own finances, I'll email it to you. It helped us realize we spend more than we make, and have lots and lots of debt.

hello mother, hello father












When someone does for you what you can't do yourself, that person is endeared to you forever. Perhaps that's why I love my parents so much; they've ALWAYS done for me what I couldn't do myself. From the get-go, they were all about changing my diapers, cleaning my spit-up, helping me burp, and keeping me from clawing my own eyes out with sharp, baby fingernails.

They helped me survive 3rd grade (yes, 3rd).

My mom did what nobody else could: she stifled her laughter when I sobbed that I felt that my entire life (all 9 years of it), I'd been crossing a river with little stepping stones; but now I was in the middle of the river with no more stones in sight, and my third grade teacher was telling me to jump the rest of the way! My mom kept a straight face the whole time. And I think Mrs. Anderson got a phone call the next day asking what on EARTH she was doing to her poor class.

They helped me survive teenage-hood.

My dad did what nobody else could: he patiently tried to understand my hormone-induced mood changes. Even I couldn't do that. Around 13, I accidentally bent a spoon in the kitchen. My dad said, "Oh, you bent that spoon." And I ran sobbing from the room for no reason that I can divine to this day. He waded through all that wacky emotionality for years until our many late-night ramblings when he advised me on where to go to school and which boys I shouldn't marry, once I finally got around to asking.

So after all this survival, I thought that I'd be pretty self-sufficient by now: no more I-cant-do-it-please-help-me moments. But I had another one just last Saturday. I was in pain and worried that I had done something to ruin my tummy. They hopped in the car and drove down just to say that no, I was not an idiot and I had to learn to be a patient patient.

Anyone could have said that. But they had put in all that time to say and do everything that nobody else could say or do for me. And somehow, that made it matter more than it could have from anyone else.

Endometriosis: A kick in the nuts

Kathy has been in pain since September. She just dealt with it. She had exploratory surgery on Thursday, to find out what it was. It was endometriosis, so the Doc was able to take care of it right then.

Endometriosis looks like this.




Dr. Glenn just cut off the extra tissue.

The growths were on Kath's right ovary and uterus. The ovaries are the female equivalent of the male testes. So she's been feeling a kick in the nuts since September.

She's amazing.

She's still sore and recovering from the surgery, but now the pain will be gone. And she won't have to feel stupid every week when people ask if she's feeling better. She won't have to worry that she has ovarian cancer, or that she's making it all up.

Hurray.

first day on the job





I don't know why I thought the presidential inauguration would be at night—something about me believing that the whole world sets its watch by prime-time television (even though my tv doesn't even work). This morning, Christopher told me I was silly, that Obama would be sworn in first thing. You don't show up late at night for your first day of work.

And even though this morning's schedule had less to do with Obama's character and more to do with the way the inauguration works, I'm glad that he woke up early and got started being our president already. He has a lot to do. I hope his first day on the job forecasts many more early mornings and optimistic outlooks in the days to come. Heaven knows we need them.

better even later than never














A few days ago, Christopher posted why he loves me. And while nobody's keeping score of who loves who more, it seems only fair that I return the favor—especially since he's taken care of me (as if I were a three-year-old) for the last few days.

Three reasons (among the million) I love Christopher this week:

1. He didn't post a video of my post-anesthesia behavior on youtube. As I came to after surgery, someone mentioned that they should tape how goofy I was. Apparently (I don't remember), I said, "Oh, please don't put it on the internet!" He didn't—as funny as that might have been and as much as he enjoys a good laugh.

2. He will drop everything—even Zelda—to help me. I haven't felt my perkiest these last few days. I don't even have to ask him to pause his video game to help make me food or take me to the store to buy anti-barf pills. He just volunteers.

3. Just a second ago, he said I'm beautiful. I might be on other days. But today is my second afternoon in a poofy, fleece bathrobe, lounging on the couch without makeup or a decent hairdo. I look more pathetic than pretty, but he doesn't notice that.

This guy is the best. Sorry that the rest of you ladies don't get him. You'll have to find your own.

anesthesia: your sense of humor's shot in the arm

I don't remember coming out of anesthesia after my surgery this week, but Christopher and my mom were both around to see it. Apparently, the anesthesiologist helped me overcome my natural word limit. I talked and talked and talked. And I sounded like a goof.

Christopher told me the doc had found endometriosis and removed the problems during surgery. Apparently, I put on a goofy grin and said, "Endometriosis? That's better than cancer!" Too bad they didn't write down all the other drugged up things I said.

I don't remember any of it. I just remember waking up to laughter that had apparently gone on in the ten minutes between my mouth starting and my brain finally catching up. Turns out, I might actually be pretty funny; I just have to be zonked out from surgery to do it.

Better Late than Never

My cousin's fiancee has posted reasons why she loves her fiance.

It made me want to post why I love Kathy.

An old guy asked if Kathy and I were newlyweds. I guess we're still all over each other. Some of our friends said after 6 months or a year of marriage, that we wouldn't be so touchy.

But I'm still late to school nearly every day because I can't stop cuddling in the morning. I'm even late to school in the afternoon because of cuddling.

I had always heard that marriage improves your grades, but not in my case.

And that's just one reason why I love her.

How to Marry the Right One

Kathy always feared that she would marry a closet homosexual, until she met me. I am so straight that my burps taste like steak and beer even though I don't drink. I am so straight my pheromones smell like Old Spice. I've been checking out girls since before I could talk.

Although, I was a transvestite.

Transylvania

I thought we were too normal of a couple to have any interesting insights to share. Kathy's friend is married to a homosexual. They share their struggles and ideas in this blog. They have a really unique perspective to add to the long list of marriage advice. But I realized that we are a rare couple too - We're happy.

So many people get desperate for love, companionship, and sex that they marry too quickly and end up with the wrong person.

Here's some tips on how you can avoid that disaster and marry the right one:

1. Don't get physical too fast.

I went on dates with Kathy for nearly three months before I even held her hand. That may be too long for some people. But you need to have what my mom calls "emotional intercourse" before you get physical.

My mom also uses the word "orgasmic" to describe food. But she has a point. You need to find out if you'll like this person for who they are and not just for what they look like. Beauty fades into wrinkles and fat, but you're stuck with that person until death, divorce, or eternity, so make sure you get along with them first.

My dad was a horny returned missionary when he met my mom. They got married, had sex, and realized that they had made a mistake. 10 years and 2 kids later they were divorced. Sucked for me.

If you get too physical too fast you will fall in love with a person who might not be good for you.

You may start by holding hands. Then kissing. Then snuggling. And then you'll start looking up the definitions of petting and necking from For the Strength of Youth so you can do those too.
Holding hands is the gateway drug. Don't be afraid to put that off.

Some will move in with each other and have sex before marriage. Such decisions lead more often to divorce. They are less likely to achieve the goal of a stable, happy family. Children deserve stability. To give them otherwise is selfish in the extreme.

2. Find someone who lets you be you.

I knew Kathy was 'the one' when I accidentally burped in her face. We were sitting next to each other studying, and I turned to say something when a beer-smelling belch rumbled up like a cow fart from my acidic stomach, past my tongue and gums, and splashed into her face like a hot, wet, towel of air. She laughed.

Marry someone who loves you for who you are. I dated a girl for six months who did not laugh at my jokes. She thought they were immature and stupid. When she dumped me I cried for days. I was in love with her because you can fall in love with anyone if you spend enough time with them.

I have a friend who is desperately in love with a girl who is embarrassed to be with him. She wishes he wasn't as goofy as he is. He wants to change and become "better." That's bullcrap. If someone doesn't love you for who your are, it's not because you need to be "better." We all need to be better. It's because you're not a match.

Kathy laughs at all of my stupid jokes.

3. Marry someone who is good with money

I had a roommate who dumped a girl because she spent $2000 in student loans on clothes and crap. He saw that she was irresponsible with money.
Kathy and I do our budget every month. I usually go over my allotted amount. She rarely does. Every paycheck we put 10% to tithing, 10% to savings, and use 10% to pay off our debts.

Some people use money differently and have different financial goals. I only want to work 40 hours a week, so that I can be home with the wife and future kids during evenings and weekends. Others will want to work 80 hour weeks so that they can buy more crap or retire early.

Make sure you marry someone who has your same ideas concerning money.

If you are a big spender but find that you are always behind in bills, and never can seem to get out of debt, consider reading books on personal finance, and change your ways.

4. Marry someone you are attracted to.

"If you are not attracted to your wife, your marriage does not have a snowball's chance in hell." It's a line a High Counselor used in his otherwise coma-inducing talk.

I think there are exceptions to this rule. Your wife will not. If you do not find your wife attractive, she will forever feel undesirable, and somehow flawed. She will likely cry a lot. She will try to be "better" to make up for it, in much the same way a guy will try to be "better" if a girl is not attracted to his personality. Such change is futile.

And following rule #1, make sure you are attracted to their personality. Marry someone who is your intellectual equal.

5. Avoid a "heated imagination." I.e. pornography and romance.

The media already does enough to distort our sense of beauty. Pornography will distort it almost beyond help. It will keep you from getting married. If you hide the problem and do get married, it will lead to unhappiness for you and your spouse, and will ruin your marriage. Seek counseling and repent if you have this problem.

This applies not only to men. Women may distort their desires through romantic media. Whereas pornography will cause men to have a distorted desire for air-brushed beauty, romance will cause women to have a distorted desire for an air-brushed personality.

C.S. Lewis said:
"You and I, for the last twenty years, have been fed all day long on good solid lies about sex."

"We grow up surrounded by propaganda in favor of unchastity. There are people who want to keep our sex instinct inflamed in order to make money out of us. Because, of course, a man with an obsession is a man who has very little sales-resistance."

"Contemporary propaganda for lust . . . make us feel that the desires we are resisting are so "natural," so "healthy," and so reasonable, that it is almost perverse and abnormal to resist them. Poster after poster, film after film, novel after novel, associate the idea of sexual indulgence with the ideas of health, normality, youth, frankness, and good humor. Now this association is a lie. Like all powerful lies, it is based on a truth - the truth. . . that sex in itself is normal and healthy."

That's it.

Find someone who is good to you, and good for you. You will not find the perfect man or woman, because, as my friend Bill says, "Sorry ladies, the perfect man died 2,000 years ago."

so i'm a nerd. are we surprised?








My friend,
Clayton, tagged me on his blog last year. Literally last year.

It's taken me so long to finally post my answers here because I've hesitated to confirm all of your suspicions of my nerdiness. The tag asks about tv shows and wishes; I don't watch enough tv to fill up the list, and all I wish for are books. Here goes. Fewer than 8 reasons why I am, indeed, the nerd you thought I was:

8 shows I watch:
The Office, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show. Um...

That's it, really. I don't have eight. I don't actually have a TV that works. I watched LOST and the first season of Heroes. I hope nothing's wrong with me.


8 places I like to eat:

Cafe Rio, El Azteca, Tucano's, Bombay House, La Dolce Vita, Guru's,
One World Cafe, and Zupa's.

Fortunately, I'm not sure it's possible to be a food nerd. Unless you own
this. Which I do.

8 things on my wishlist:

All of them are books. And I have more than eight.


But if we're going with unrealistic, non-bookish, pie-in-the-sky type wishes, I would choose these eight: a baby, peace in Israel, a decent health care system, a voice loud and wise enough to make a difference, magic laundry fairies for all the women of the world, the ability to fly, a hawaii-like climate in provo—oh, and another bookshelf.

the inner organs of my new year's goals














If I had known that Body Worlds would be the perfect New Year’s Eve activity, I would have recommended it to all of you beforehand. But I didn’t know. You can still go before they pack it up on January 11th.

The show was a perfect ring-in-another-january thing to do, mainly because it tweaked my age-old, lose-some-weight New Year’s goal cliché. The Body Worlds exhibit displayed the inner workings of the human body in a way I had never seen. And when I saw how intricate and intertwined the body’s systems really are, I wanted to take care of my own like never before.

Yesterday, I ate cucumbers and exercised. I could imagine the way my stomach needed to break down food; the thought made me chew more thoroughly. While I moved around, I could vividly picture my heart and the millions of little capillaries pumping blood all around inside of me. Even now, the quick, coordinated movements of my typing fingers astound me.

Body Worlds inspired me to take better care of this body of mine. Whoever said that knowledge is power must have been good at keeping their New Year’s resolutions.




My Brother's band

My brother, Nick, and his wife started a band called Belly of the Whale. The following was in SLCity Weekly:

"
Belly of the Whale are relative newcomers to the scene and though they’re a bit rough around the edges the foursome shows definite potential, particularly through Libby West’s vocals, groovy keys and lyrics worth decoding. Burt’s Tiki Lounge, 726 S. State, 10 p.m. (with Cavedoll and Ben Johnson)"

The show is tomorrow, Saturday the third.
You can also check out their stuff here.