Monday, February 25, 2013


This is something I would have formerly saved for a "Design Friday". But let's be honest, while "Design Friday" was never officially retired, anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time knows that died when my daughter was born. My free time for research was replaced with other, more important, tasks.... like nursing, cuddling, and showering. That was some time ago, but it always takes me a while to find my feet again after big adjustments, and lately I feel like things that have laid dormant for a time may be starting to show signs of budding again. At any rate, the consistency of "Design Friday" will probably not be returning for some time, but maybe I can fit in something here and there.

Last month I read an interesting article in Smithsonian Magazine, "The Story About Banksy". My knowledge of art history has waned since I graduated from college, and it was refreshing to update myself. Here is a slideshow of the works featured in the article.

In short, Banksy is a British street artist know for his stencil style graffiti art. He keeps his identity concealed- partly to raise public curiosity, partly because "he has issues with the cops". His works have a satirical twist, often highlighting social or political tensions. His works have been found throughout London, and other places like San Francisco, Paris, and even a wall on the West Bank in Israel. I have no idea how he accomplishes his work without being caught- some of them seem pretty involved. Much of his art is done for free, and it seems he also has gallery showings. His works are sold for high prices in auction houses. In fact, just after I read the Smithsonian article I came across a headline at an online news source I was perusing, "Wall with Banksy street art vanishes in London, appears in Miami auction house... ". I was so pleased to be in the know.

From what I've seen of his work I find his style to be appealing, and his anonimity and prankster humor kind of fun. I'm sure we have our differences in opinion, but I do find some of his works thought provoking. I also find an irony in his success and notoriety coming from an industry that he mocks. It is the strange line that all artists seem to walk. Success and not selling out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mr. Sand Man

I read somewhere that around 40 pounds of dirt per year is tracked into your house. I think my son, alone, fills that quota each month just from what dumps out of his shoes some days. And that's just one shoe!  
Clearly he is having a good time during recess. 
And clearly I need to legislate a no-shoes-in-the-house law.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

What Is Love?

"[Love] is far more than physical attraction. It is deep, inclusive and comprehensive. Physical attraction is only one of the many elements, but there must be faith and confidence and understanding and partnership. There must be common ideals and standards. There must be a great devotion and companionship. Love is cleanliness and progress and sacrifice and selflessness. This kind of love never tires nor wanes, but lives through sickness and sorrow, poverty and privation, accomplishments and disappointment, time and eternity."
-Spencer W. Kimball

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Finding Our Talents

"To find the gifts we have been given, we must pray and fast....I urge you each to discover your gifts and to seek after those that will bring direction to your life's work and that will further the work of heaven."
-Elder Robert D. Hales, "Gifts of the Spirit", February 2002 Ensign

"We are clearly instructed that each of us is given a gift or gifts. Each one of us has different talents and different gifts. Not all of us understand what all of our gifts and talents are, but we have many. Do we know what gifts we have been given? Are we seeking to find our gifts? Through effort, experiment, and practice, our gifts are revealed to us."
-Elder Robert D. Hales, "Gifts of the Spirit", February 2002 Ensign

"The decade of decision is the time for us to discover what our gifts and talents are and to decide which talents to develop further. In the process of doing that, we will have to take some chances. There's a risk/reward process in all of this. We will have to take some risks and be willing to fail and to learn from our failures and our mistakes."
-Robert D. Hales, "Return: Four Phases of Our Mortal Journey Home", Deseret Book

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Miracle of Human Flight

Our return trip from Montana was less than ideal. Our connecting flight in Salt Lake City was delayed, which would ultimately cause us to miss our connecting flight in Atlanta. There was no room for us on the flights out of Atlanta later that evening, so we would possibly be spending the night there. Luckily, our airline booked us on a flight connecting through JFK. When we made it to JFK, we learned that our connecting flight home was also delayed. So, we hung out in the airport for 4 hours kicking the breeze. A lame way to visit NYC. Our silver linings were: 1.) we had no children to pacify or entertain, 2.) our airline had given us $50 in vouchers to spend in the airport, so now our kids have NYC souvenirs from our trip to Montana, 3.) our airline also bumped us to first class for our flight home, and 4.) there is a Cafe Rio in the Salt Lake airport.

Finally, we boarded our flight ready for a First Class ride home. I was crestfallen to discover that the couple in front of us had a child riding on their lap- and this child was tired and having a difficult time. After a full day of travel, my visions of sleeping in peace were shattered, and I began to grumble inside... children should not be allowed in First Class. It's kind of surprising how quickly the First Class feeling of entitlement takes effect. I had been riding coach the whole trip, and all of a sudden I was better than everyone. I quickly remembered that I have two children of my own (one who was no picnic the last time we flew), and told myself that I need to knock it off. It took some effort, but I was able to replace my irritation with compassion. We made it home without incident, although much later than we had planned.

But, to keep a good perspective and sense of humor about it all, here's Louis C.K. on how "Everything is Amazing Right Now and Nobody's Happy". Hilarious and so true. (sidenote: this is the only work of his I'm familiar with, so I can't say I recommend his work as a whole):

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bonds that Liberate

"People say of marriage that it is boring, when what they mean is that it terrifies them: too many and too deep are its searing revelations. ... They say of children that they are... brats..., when what they mean is that the importance of parents with respect to the future of their children is now known with greater clarity...than ever before.
"... No tame project, marriage. The raising of children...brings each of us breathtaking vistas of our own inadequacy.
"... [So,] we want desperately to blame [family life,] the institution which places our inadequacy in the brilliant glare of interrogation. ...
"The quantity of sheer...selfishness in the human breast (in my breast) is a never-failing source of wonderment. I do not want to be disturbed, challenged, troubled. Huge regions of myself belong only to me. ... Seeing myself through the unblinking eyes of an intimate, intelligent other, an honest spouse, is humiliating beyond anticipation. Maintaining a familial steadiness whatever the state of my own emotion is a standard by which I stand daily condemned...
"[Yet] my dignity as a human being depends perhaps more on what sort of husband and parent I am, than on my professional work I am called to do. My bonds to them hold me back from many sorts of opportunities. And yet these do not feel like bonds. They liberation. They force me to be a different sort of human being, in a way in which I want and need to be forced."

-Michael Novak, quoted by Bruce C. Hafen, "Covenant Hearts: Marriage and the Joy of Human Love"

Monday, February 4, 2013

MIA in Montana

Last week my husband and I traded in our flip-flops for snow boots. My husband was attending a conference in Montana, and as his airfare/lodging/food were paid for, I decided to accompany him.

Logic would argue that leaving a sick kid and a half potty-trained toddler to go on vacation would be an easy thing to do. It was surprisingly tear jerking. But, I knew I was leaving them in good hands, and a bajillion thank-yous to my parents who were willing to meet the task and allow us to go MIA for a bit.

We reversed our bad vacation karma... or at least we made it work in our favor. It snowed every day we were there. When my husband wasn't in class, we were enjoying surroundings such as this:

Or skiing and playing in the snow:

One night, we took a moonlight trip on top of a snow cat to dine in a yurt packed in snow. It felt a little bit like a scene out of Star Wars:

Trips into unfamiliar territory always expand our horizons, so here is a list of things I learned while in Montana:
  • Cold weather requires a minimum of 5 layers of clothing (underwear, long underwear, base clothes, sweater, jacket/boots/hats/mittens). Allow 5-10 minutes to get dressed or undressed.
  • While living a "Downton" life is enjoyable from the housekeeping point of view, multiple clothing changes a day are overrated (breakfast clothes, ski clothes, dinner clothes...).
  • I am not as awesome looking while skiing as I had imagined myself, thanks to a photographer who took "action" shots of me.
  • There are more people who resort-hop and ski all winter long than you might think. My experience is that they are either retired or transient. In either case, alone.
  • It is very possible to find oneself on top of a snow cat, in the snowy forest, on a cold winter's night, with a bunch of drunk people. Kind of surreal.
  • Drunk people laugh at anything. This can be to your advantage if you are sober.
  • Hot chocolate at breakfast is a requirement when it is snowing outside.
  • There is a meatloaf in existence that combines beef, bison, and elk meat and is then wrapped in bacon. As the waiter put it, that's 4 animals in one bite!
  • I used to think that not having cable in our home was a sacrifice. I have learned that cable only gives you more options of nothing to watch.
  • Cindy Crawford's skincare line uses a secret anti-aging ingredient only found in melons grown in southern France.
  • For a limited time only this $170 skin care line is available for $39.95!

Lessons that were reinforced:
  • Your hair dries faster and gets awesomely straight in the West.
  • I hate hotel tubs that back up.
  • Having time to discover the world as a couple is priceless.
  • I love my husband and children dearly.