Thursday, May 31, 2007

I've no idea who this is...but I LOVE that ice cream

april 27 045
Originally uploaded by seaverman.

This little girl is eating a creamie. Creamies are difficult, if not impossible, to find in Phoenix. But creamies are still in abundance in Utah. And I love them. LOVE them. This little girl is eating the banana flavor - the same flavor I love. Just more reason to like Utah I guess.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

BUT....and again with the tree of wisdom

Originally uploaded by sudweeks.

I just read through the past few blog entries and it makes it sound very skewed, as if I really am in a state of annoyance or disagreement with BYU or how things are here much of the time. In defense of BYU I would like to say that in actuality it is a lot like reading the diary of a 13 year old girl. There are going to be a lot of entries that say something like "I hate my mom!" or "I hate my best friend!", but really, she loves her mom and she loves her best friend and all will be well in the end.

That's how it is here with me - I love BYU, we always make up in the end. I am just trying to vent and figure things out as I do not have "friends" here to discuss these annoyances with. That is all.

So never fear, I still heart BYU - just with hesitation at times.

SWKT & Tree of Wisdom

Originally uploaded by sudweeks.

That's the Spencer W. Kimball Tower in the background with an abstracted "tree of wisdom" sculpture that is on one side of the building. This is the building the houses the psychology department and hence, where I spend quite a lot of my time.

Today I am suppose to be writing a midterm - it's a paper and it's complicated and I'm highly unmotivated due to lack of ability. Seriously. I have no idea what I am doing.

Today I felt like the discussion in one of my classes got completely hijacked and off topic and it really bugged me.

I always feel torn between trying to stand up for what I think are important things to remember and understand - and then feeling like I am the only one who doesn't agree with where the discussion is going. I get really bugged when someone pulls out an obscure quote by someone in a talk - in this instance it was Elder Scott - and then tries to justify a position that I don't think the church has ever taken with this quote. Then I get REALLY annoyed when I go off by myself after class to look up the quote and find that even in the darn talk (which was not given in conference by the way, but at some other forum thingy) what was represented as being said isn't even what he really said.

And I don't want to go into the whole thing because it would be a really long blog and it's kinda beside the point but it's just really annoying. I feel like it is so contradictory to be constantly drilling into us in class to be careful of the "science" behind a lot of the studies we read because of the inherent bias that can exist within the study and then to interject obvious bias via the teacher into the discussion and completely muddy things into oblivion.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Out of order

Out of order
Originally uploaded by Octoferret.

Okay so for those of you worried that I would break the rules at BYU and expose my class to objectionable material, never fear!

I give up. There's a way for a computer genius I am sure but there isn't any way that I can find that will allow a youtube video to play on this campus no matter how it's imbedded.

But I forge on (actually I forge on in the quest to somehow make this work eventually, which is probably a sad reflection of a little rebellious streak in my psyche, however meek).

I really wasn't excited about being here this week. But I just realized this week represents being half way through so that's probably part of the malaise.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Worst Part of Censorship

The Worst Part of Censorship
Originally uploaded by Lady, That's My Skull.

Okay so Censorship is probably too strong of a word in this instance. However, I do find the following highly frustrating at least:

We are asked in class to leave class and use the library computers, or to stay if we like and use our own laptops or take our laptops elsewhere in groups and 3 or 4 and find images for a particular project in my gender class. Immediately I think of an old 70's commercial as well as a video on the internet that will work well. So we go off in our little groups and try to find these things. But there is a big problem. The video is on you tube and BYU automatically blocks that site. You can't get there from campus. There's no way. It's also blocking the old 70's commercial which we've located on google video but it won't let us play it. In fact, when you use google video about 3/4 of the videos are blocked. We finally find a couple of things we can use and come back to the classroom with our measly finds. The other groups had similar problems. This is a class on gender and psychology - this problem happened earlier in the semester when trying to look up some relevant articles online. The BYU computers search everything for objectionable content. Since we were looking for things about gender the content was automatically blocked on most of the articles. These are scholarly journals but we can't pull them up. Now later I found that if you knew the website you were going to, you could pull it up, but by using a search engine to find it - that was getting automatically blocked by the strong filters. Is this a good thing?

Here is my thinking. Yes, it's BYU and perhaps we should expect a certain amount of this. You are going to a private church run school. WIFI is everywhere (almost) on campus. This means that any 18 year old with a laptop can be on the internet on campus 24/7. This perhaps makes BYU feel that they must be extra certain that inappropriate content is not able to be accessed on their watch. I can see the logic of this.

But here's the problem, we aren't trying to look up anything inappropriate. We are trying to learn something and we are actually not able to even complete a simple class assignment because of this blocking.

Example 2. Later in the afternoon in my other class a presentation is given. Inside the presentation the students doing a powerpoint had a link to a therapy session that showed exactly the type of therapy there were talking about. Guess what? Won't work. The video originated from you tube. No dice. There is no way to access anything from that site. Their presentation suffers quite a bit because they try to make up for this 7 minute loss on the fly and it doesn't quite work.

It starts to seem a little excessive to me. And maybe I'm totally wrong. I mean, I'm willing to re-think it.

But instead I've spent the greater part of the last few hours trying to test to see if there is a way around this. I've started a new blog on a different site. I've uploaded one of the videos we were discussing on to that site. I'm then going to test it out tomorrow when I am on campus to see if I go from here to there, can I watch it? Or because it still originates on you tube will the censor/filter catch that and block it?

And is it sad that this will seem like some kind of accomplishment to me if I have figured out a way around their block?

AND maybe more importantly, does someone with a personality like mine become more likely to try to find ways around these things because the barrier is there? I don't know the answers, these are just things I am thinking about.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Originally uploaded by Eric Vondy.

Back Home....

Something I have discovered making these little trips back and forth to Utah;

When I was a little girl growing up in rural Idaho there were a lot of things to love about where I grew up. But I never thought I would live there when I got older. I can't really explain why because everyone else I knew thought that they WOULD live there forever. And maybe that was why, maybe that affected me somehow and I resisted it. I always imagined I would live in Utah - Salt Lake specifically. I would marry a boy from Utah or I would move there on my own.

Now this may have been because of the limited experience and travel I had done in my young life. We had been to California but it never occured to me to move there. The only other big city we had visited was Seattle - and I thought it was so lovely and green and wonderful too - but it never occured to me that I would move their either. Probably because the only people I ever knew who moved away usually moved to...well, really just to Utah. So that is what I always imagined. So when I eventually did move to Utah and later to Salt Lake, this was no surprise, it was what I had imagined all along. (I realize there are current parables to this idea of this now infamous book "the secret", which frankly, I take some issues with, but that's an entirely different blog...)

Later, when Kirk got admitted to a lot of good East Coast schools and we took a trip back there - I almost had a panic attack imagining living in DC and going to Georgetown or in NY and going to Columbia. I had a 2 year old by then and I just couldn't picture it. I'm sure I could have done it but UVA in bucollic Charlottesville seemed a more sane option at the time. But even that required some anti-anxiety medication for me to actually get moved.

Because this threw my whole lifes plan into a tailspin. MY plan was that we would always live in Utah on a tree lined street in Salt Lake and maybe live in the avenues or Sugarhouse or maybe the University area, end of story. I would be a few hours away from my mom and close to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole still...all the things I missed about living in Idaho. Why on earth would we move?

And I really KNEW why - I knew it was an opportunity too good to pass up, but it did not fit within the parameters of the schema I had built my identity on.

Fast forward - at some point after law school (and living in Virginia was so lovely in so many ways but we did miss the West. I missed the sky and I missed the attitude of the West) we moved to Arizona. Honestly, at the time, I wasn't sure if this was a permanent move or a stopping off point. For years when we would visit family back in Utah and Idaho I would imagine that maybe, someday, Kirk would get a job back in Salt Lake again and everything would be back to "normal" and this would all just be a fun little experiment we tried.

But months turned into years and an associates job at a big law firm turned into a career at a firm where he is a partner and we started building a life. And a big part of that life honestly had to do with the Stake where we live - a certain kinship we felt for those we got to know here. In a way so many people became like extended family to us. And I grew in love with the sunsets. And the architecture. And the heat (okay don't ask me if I still love it on August 16th but mostly, I still do love it). The summers spent almost entirely in the pool. Lots of bar b que'd food. Driving with the top down. So many, many, things. The diversity of central phoenix, both in terms of the people, the places, the things, EVERYTHING. I really love it. I've even learned to grow to love the desert itself.

I love our old house. I love that we turned our old house into something different than what it was that made it functional for us but it's still charming to me. I even love that it's not that big. Really.

So this is home now. And when I am in Utah - even this time of year, when it's all turning so lovely and green but it isn't quite as hot as here and you can drive around with your windows rolled down - well, this would be the time of year when normally I would have entertained those thoughts of moving back. But i don't. It's not home anymore. And somehow it can't quite compare to what I love about Phoenix.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


BANANARAMA True Confessions 1999 Re-Issue US Edition
Originally uploaded by yummygjd.

So today I was both very productive and on top of things and regressive. I was working on a paper at some point in the Wilkinson Center and this girl started practicing the piano and it was really good but it was just....loud and distracting somehow. Like I kept thinking too much about what kind of person just plops down in front of like hundreds of people and starts playing like that - and it was was too much to think about. Like I kept thinking about whether she was just this really gifted musician and just practicing because you know, why else do they have a piano there unless it's to be used right? But then it just seemed odd too. Anyway, I ended up putting on my ipod shuffle to drown out the noise while I was writing my paper. Yes, this might seem counterintuitive - why am I listening to noise to drown out noise? But this noise was of my choosing. Every song on my shuffle is a song I love in some way and there is a wide variety of random things on there - I've got Al Green and Stevie Wonder, I've got the Clash and Nirvana, I've got the Fratelli's and Imogen Heap and the Shins and I've got an awful lot of embarassing 80s music on there too. Just when I finished my paper and started walking over to the library to print it Bananarama came on my ipod - and this is one of the things I love about a shuffle - you just never know what you're going to get next. I felt very much like time had stopped and it was 1986 again and I was in college. You know how songs can have that kind of power sometimes?

Anyway, Bananarama totally made my day seem great somehow. I felt very much like I was able to have a "re-do" of what I should have done when I was in college the first time. A moment of brief time travel.

BYU Creamery on 9th

BYU Creamery on 9th
Originally uploaded by sainusa.

So my tummy is full of bad evil probably over 20% milkfat ice cream. And it was soooo good. Raspberry Cheesecake.

I feel oddly on top of things right now. So far so good!

It is so much easier for me to focus for the few days I am here than it was when I was here before and cared about a social life and hanging out with friends, etc. It's kind of awful to realize how much more importance I put on those types of things than I did on school itself.

I don't really regret it though. I had FUN. And it isn't like I completely blew off school altogether. But I was capable of more I know -

Well, we grow wiser with age - at least most of us do I guess. I am sure many of the students here are already more wise than I was.

But are they having as much fun as I did? :)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Having trouble sleeping

Having trouble sleeping
Originally uploaded by Simon Crubellier.

So here's what's completely crazy. I can't sleep. I can fall asleep on planes, in the middle of class if I wanted ( far I have avoided it) but I cannot go to sleep at night. I don't even so much want to except I know how tired I will be in like 4 hours when I have to get up. I did homework all day so it seems unfair somehow to have to end a perfectly good day without doing anything else.

Also I think this book I am reading about the girls who went away is making me think too much. And then Shannon always says "quit reading books like that!' But sometimes it's a compulsion....sometimes things have to be dealt with or they bubble over like a pot on simmer too long. So reading books like that is like taking the lid off for a while for me - it actually has the opposite effect that she thinks it does. I'm being cryptic I know but I don't know how much I want to say about all of that right now. It oddly makes me want to contact my half (full?) brother and that's a good idea at 1 am but probably not such a good idea in the light of day. So I'll have to give that some extra thought before I rashly go off on that thought process.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Diet Coke & the Ups and Downs (literally) of Being Here...

Diet Coke
Originally uploaded by nathanlaw82.

First off let me just say that I do not think I am addicted to caffeine or diet coke - there are many days when I do not have any caffeine at all or I do not have one until far late into the day. It's not the first thing I think about in the morning. I do not think I fall into that stereotypical "mormon's like their caffeine cold" routine. That said...I DO like my Diet Coke very much. And I will drink it any time of the day I darn well please. Here is one thing that I find kind of stupid here - NO regular coke or diet coke. Only non-caffeine. BUT....they have Barq's rootbeer, which is teeming with it. Do they know this? I can't decide if this is some kind of compromise situation where, indeed, caffeine is available. Of course, at this point I can't imagine that some extremely annoying person hasn't pointed this out to the powers that be - the people who order the food here in the "Cougareat". I'm SURE that's happened right?

Anyway, today I am exceptionally tired and feel that some regular old caffeinated diet coke would probably at least help me get through the rest of the afternoon. I don't want the extra sugar in the rootbeer. Especially because I can just imagine the sugar crash will happen just as I have to do my part in the group discussion in the afternoon class.

So I say DAMN IT. There, that felt better. Somehow these peculiar little things annoy me.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Originally uploaded by Taz etc..

This happened to me on the plane today. I think I am more tired than I know. And what am I doing blogging on here when I should be doing my homework? I've no idea. I'm a VERY good procrastinator!

I've never fallen asleep on a plane before except when we flew to England in the middle of the night - but even that was not as deep of a sleep as this was. This was unintentional sleep while trying to read my textbook. And when the pilot landed the plane in Salt Lake I was startled awake and thought we were crashing. That's how asleep I was, it took me a minute to figure it out.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Rock Star

Rock Star
Originally uploaded by _tee.

So, I now I have a little bit of a rock star status on campus.

Most of the kids (students I guess I should say) in my morning class are also in my afternoon class. When I introduced myself in my afternoon class on tuesday they all said "tell them where you're commuting from!". It was interesting .... I felt oddly appreciated somehow.

After class three of them walked me most of the way to my car and were asking me a lot of questions about what I was doing here - about my family back home, etc. It was interesting.

I honestly expected to come here and stay as anonymous as possible. I don't know why. I think that's because that is kind of the person that I was when I was here before. I was friends with a very small group of people and I really did not try to be outgoing or get to know anyone else.

I had a lot of fun with the limited group of people that I knew and hung out with but I did not talk to other people or try to get to know them at all.

This seems to also be true in my regular life too - I seem to often be saying "I'm actually very introverted but....and then I'll insert some sort of exception". And I am starting to wonder if this is something that can change over time - like if getting older gives you enough confidence to quit being so quiet and not stating your opinion about things - just being an observer. I have always been extremely comfortable in that observer role. And in many ways I still am. I am perfectly content to be here on campus alone all day and not have anyone to hang out with. I mean, obviously, it would be much more fun if I had a friend with me here - it would be a different experience, but I really, really, don't mind being alone. In fact, I think sometimes, I am kind of a loner by nature.

Othertimes though I realize that when I'm in a group situation I'm no longer the silent one just observing - so I am gradually seeing that change in my personality over the past few years. yeah, when the students from my classes see me around campus they are super friendly and talkative and nice and I think that this would probably not be the case if I weren't some (almost) 40 year old woman coming back to school. I think if I were the 20 year old version of me here at the school it would be much more similar to how it was when I was here before. My age and the unusual aspect of my situation has given me the rockstar status.

I'm exhausted though. I stay up far too late trying to get all my reading in so I won't be doing homework all weekend while I am home. Also there is a lot conversations with my sister in law. And these are not conversations that are easy to end quickly or avoid.

She's moving soon and I really do want to understand her. I am really trying to wrap my head around this newfound love of atheism that she has embraced. I try to really understand where she is coming from. I'm conflicted about it. I want to support her as a person and I realize her life has not been easy - and I can see, just as someone who is so cerebral all the time, that it makes more sense to her to be an atheist.

But then I see little cracks or little chinks in the armor. Like last night when she admitted that if anything could convince her that there might be a god it would probably be that her ex-husband was such an evil person and she thought at times filled with something that seemed purely evil - something satanic. And she concluded that statement with, if you believe in satan, I think you pretty much have to accept the opposite must exist, which would be God. But then she said "I don't know. I could be wrong. But I don't think I am".

I mean, I guess at the end of the day I just feel like this her path - this is her quest, this is her thing that she has to figure out. Her life isn't easy - some of that is because of choices she made and some of that is things that were thrust upon her. I guess I just feel like it's not my job to judge her when she's just trying to figure out what makes sense to her about her life - a life I think, that has been frought with difficulty and stress and yet she has managed to really handle things so much more competently than most people would. How can I judge that really?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Okay Observations so far...

pink shirt day
Originally uploaded by amcati.

I have a lot to say these days - and time to say it I guess.

My first class was this morning. I am by far the oldest in the class. I would say the next two close to my age are probably, maybe like 28, 30 tops. Everyone is Seniors and many of them are graduating in August. No freshman.

The class is taught by a grad student, which I am fine with, I have had some other good classes taught by grad students before so that's cool, whatever. Here's what was of note;

I almost freaked out when we started with an opening prayer. WHAT? Did we always do that and I forgot? I mean I went here for a long time, I don't remember the opening prayer bit...but maybe I just forgot that detail. That seemed so weird. I mean, it was nice in a way too - but I just feel so...alien to all of this.

Okay the class is on sex and gender and so after we've done all our little introductions and everything (and several people are amazed that I am doing this whole Phoenix commute business), the next thing he mentions is do we stereotype people with facial hair. And I speak up and say "well, you mean mormons...or in general?" and then that's a whole discussion because somehow these people don't realize that our stereotypes of facial hair or not the stereotypes of the world. I mean, sort of they know this, but REALLY they do not know this because they are now - even if they were originally from California or where ever - they are now so deep into the mormon culture thing that they don't get it at all. And for the first time all morning I realize that Mr. Grad Student/Professor has a little goatee. And honest to goodness, I did not even realize it, I did not even give it a second thought but apparently almost everyone else did and they were kind of freaking out because they aren't allowed and here the teacher is wearing facial hair. I was stunned in silence for a minute.

Then next he says "what about my shirt...who noticed anything about my shirt?". And right away about half the classes hands shoot up or they all start talking at once and I am so confused because he's dressed very nice. In fact, I remembered thinking right away that my first impression of him is that he was a well dressed good looking guy, shirt, tie...looked nice, looked good.

I did not take note of the fact that he had on a pink shirt and a lavendar tie. Not except to think that he was well dressed. That's it.

Apparently many, many other people in the class thought that was "off". Apparently it is not "masculine" to wear a pink shirt (did we not break this stereotype somewhere around 1985...I mean seriously?!)

Frankly I am stunned. And I have to speak up. I said "are you guys serious? you realize this is just a Utah thing or a mormon thing right?". And they argued with me. They so said no, it isn't - wherever you go there is a bias against guys wearing pink. I kinda went off at that point. I mean, I have husband, an attorney husband who just wore a pink shirt to COURT last week with his black suit and he looked very nice and certainly no one gave it a second thought. My teenage son wears pink shirts all the time. And I think they have now concluded that I am some sort of "liberal" and "off".

But I'm excited about it because I think I will definitely have things to say in this class. They made us break into small groups for a part of it and I absolutely HATE that, because by nature I am just kind of anti-social. I would rather just stay in my little corner and be anonymous. But I can tell that this class is going to force me into not doing that.

And I think maybe because I am so much older than the rest of them - I can't just keep quiet. Because frankly I am old enough to be some of their moms (many of them) and I have opinions and I'm not going to be able to just sit there and be quiet. Especially because there are only about 20 students in the class.

There is one kid in there who is totally gay though. I am not saying that in any kind of mean way but....the dude is seriously effeminate. And I know I am stereotyping. The guy who owns the Aveda salon where I get my hair done is seriously femmy but he is married with children and apparently not gay. I know it doesn't mean someone IS defintely gay - I get that. But this kid.... I dunno.

But there are other observations too...


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