Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas 07

We hope all of you who frequent this blog had a wonderful Christmas. Christmas here in Raleigh was low key. We weren't able to go to Utah or Georgia for Christmas and we had to go back to work the next day. We did have a relaxing day at our little apartment. We went for a walk, went to a movie, and caught up with some of our families and friends on the phone.

Here I am showing off one of my new t-shirts and showing off a present we got from Cheyney's parents.

Here is Cheyn relaxing after opening the presents.

Pre-Christmas Get Away

The weekend before Christmas we went to Boone, North Carolina. Boone is a cute little town in the middle of the Appalachians. It seems to be a mixture of small mountains and tree's, antique shops, and mobile homes. We stayed at a fun lodge about ten miles away from Boone. We don't own a TV and so we were able vedge some with their TV with cable. The highlight of the TV watching was the Cougs pulling out a miracle against UCLA.

On Christmas Eve we got to go snow tubing on artificial snow (for 25$ each!) Here is the sledding run. There is a little airport like conveyor belt that brings you back up. A fun little trip, but it made us miss the Rocky Mountains.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

paper cut to the EYE

Paper cuts anywhere are painful, but are even worse on the EYE BALL. I am a hazard to myself with paper. I was running out the door and some how jabbed the paper I was holding into my eye. Corneal abrasion.... very painful. So for the next day and a half, I couldn't see, my nose was running, and my eye turned red and swollen. Luckily, my sister's boyfriend's dad is an ophthalmologist. I gave him an urgent call and he said for me to put a patch over my eye. Every time I blinked I was scrapping off the cells that were healing over the abrasion. Don't I look like a sexy pirate!

Everyone thought I was an idiot for calling into work over a paper cut. Thanks to a trip to the eye doctor and 60 bucks worth of eye drops. I am as good as new!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Seven Books From '07

Ryan here. I love a good book and I like talking about and recommending books to others. I think this comes from growing up with a family weekly library run, and watching Reading Rainbow. Here are seven book recommendations from what I was reading this year*. I would love to hear any recommendations you have for me or would like to pass on in the comments. So here they are. Of course paraphrasing Reading Rainbow, you might want to check these out...."but you don't have to take my word for it."

7. Team of Rivals
I Really like reading about Lincoln. As far as Presidents go he's the tops in my book. This history was about the conflict that Lincoln managed between his smart and self willed cabinet members as he tried to keep his cabinet, party, and nation together. The author focuses on Lincolns way of getting and managing the best man for the job whether enemy or rival instead of just installing cronies. A good book of history. I recommend it as well as the biography I read last year Lincoln: A life of purpose and power.

6. Mao: The Unknown Story
Man, Mao is an evil man (this blog will now be censured in China). I really didn't know much about the Great Leap Forward and other horrible social engineering programs. Mao was a tyrant who caused the death of tens of million. The author has a clear hatred for Mao and through this book I learned why he stirs such feelings. I read this as we were traveling and relaxing in Fiji and left it at a village school library where it will probably gather dust for years to come

5. The Reagan Diaries
A fun treat. You get to read portions of Ronald Reagan's journal when he was President. On the average day he would review the movie he saw that day as well talking about relations with the USSR and then talk about March of Dimes kids who visited his office. I'm by no means a conservative but I couldn't help but admire his optimism and charisma. His narration towards the beginning of being shot by John Hinckley Jr and his subsequent recovery in the hospital are especially worth reading.

4. Moby Dick
Melville's brain is like a mid 19th century Google on whaling. I was surprised how much of this book was about whaling practices and encyclopedic information instead of Ahab and his quest for the white whale. Through the narrative the author changes his mind: First person narrative and then third person, Adventure tale and then encyclopedia, Fast paced and then slow slow paced and then fast paced again. I can't say it was an easy read and I got everything, but it was worth the work and I learned a lot. For example I learned what ambergris exists. Melville scores points with me for a number of Fijian references. He does lose a point with me for not having the appropriate translation of the word whale into common "Fegee" (Fijian): Tauvuto and not Pekee-nuee-nuee.. .C'mon Herman.

3. A Long Way Gone
Don't read this book if you are depressed. The memoir of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone, its a devastating and grim book. The author avoids romanticizing or overstating his experience as a victim and soldier. This book is very well written. The author has a special knack at communicating his experience while avoiding saying too much or being too agenda driven. Makes you thankful for the somewhat stable situation most of us are in. I came away feeling somber like when I read We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families.

2. Lenghten Your Stride
A wonderful biography in the tradition of recent David O Mckay and Joseph Smith Biographies. I remember going to the prophets Spencer W. Kimball's viewing when I was seven. I enjoyed filling in on the times and teachings of the prophet of my early primary years. This biography is written by the prophets son. The author is interested in contextualizing the prophet in the times and events he lived through and giving us a complete perspective of Spencer W. Kimball's years as President of the LDS Church . I'm impressed with SWK's fortitude in the face of physical struggles. He had a vision and understanding of the beauty and international appeal of the Gospel of Christ and the Church. The chapter on the 1978 revelation is powerful. His opposition of the ERA and Nuclear proliferation were interesting.

1. The Race Beat
This is a history of the American civil rights movement focusing on the black and white presses and how they played a role in making their readers aware of the mid century inequalities. I enjoyed the narratives of freedom riders, sit ins, and school integrators in Alabama and Arkansas. I enjoyed hearing the accounts of Martin Luther King Jr being imprisoned in Albany, GA and organizing non-violent protest in Raleigh, North Carolina. Now that I have a bit more familiarity with the South and lived close to both places this year it's fun to trace through a few of the notable places. Activists in the civil rights movement were truly heroic. I enjoyed the authors special insights on the battles and logistics involved in the press when covering the movement.

*I have to rule out Uncertain Sanctuary because its out of print, but if your a Webb (Cheyney's side) or interested in the Mormon Colonies in Mexico I recommend the book. Also I try to read some Flannery O Connor each year, so that doesn't count as a new book this year. I recommend her fiction to all. She's my favorite fiction writer.

Here is a list of 2007 books I got through and took my favorites from:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Not above Bribery

We have had to bribe our primary class to encourage appropriate behavior during our Sunday School lessons. I made a "behavior-momenometor" to help gauge the behavior in the classroom. When they are on HOT and stay on HOT, it means they are closer to having a party. If they refuse to say a prayer, sit in their seat or be reverent, the behavior-momenonmetor will slip down to WARM, COOL or COLD... taking them far away from a party. Well, these nine 10 year-olds were on HOT five times in a row which elicited a PARTY.

We went to the movies and saw Disney's Enchanted. Then came over to our apartment for pizza, decorating cupcakes, and playing games. I felt like a 10 year old hoping my friends would come to my party. It was fun to see their reaction when their parents came to pick them up. They were actually disappointed they had to leave! The party was a success!

(video on other blog)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Autumn in Raleigh

The Autumn leaves here in Raleigh are beautiful. Just in this past week the leaves started to fall off the trees.  (video on other blog)