Monday, July 24, 2006

Summer Heat Wave

It has been really hot in LA for the past week, as with many other parts of the country. A girl I talked to today said that she couldn't take the preschool kids she works with outside to play because it was over 115 degrees outside, so they were not allowed to go outside. Where we are it is not as bad because we are near the ocean. In fact, a lot of the houses here on the west side don't have air conditioning because it only gets very hot a few weeks out of the year. Well, now is those few weeks. Yesterday at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica a fire started underground because the transformers overheated from so much use from people using their air conditioning. The fire blew manhole covers off the street and resulted in a power outage. There have been outages all over the city because people trying to stay cool and the governor is urging people to conserve, conserve, conserve.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Independence Day: Part II

So yesterday was the real Independence Day and we did what I predicted, we had a BBQ. We went over to Robert's grandparents house and swam in their pool and had a BBQ in their backyard. Woody brought his scuba gear and I tried it out in the pool. At first I felt like I was suficating even though I was getting oxygen from the tank. Getting your air from a little tube took me a while to get used to. I also wouldn't sink, so they had to add weights to me. Then I had to figure out how to swim with those fins on. When I finally had it figured out I realized there was really no place to go in the pool. I still enjoyed figuring everything out.

On Monday we went to the Hollywood Bowl, which is in...(can you guess?) Hollywood. It is an outdoor amphitheatre home to the LA Philharmonic Orchestra. So the LA Philharmonic played a bunch of music for the first half and the second half was Kenny Loggins. We were rockin it to seventies music. I bet not many people can claim that they have heard Footloose performed live. After that they had a cool fireworks show.

So by the time evening came on the fourth of July we were pretty fireworked out so we just went up on the balcony of the house here instead of going anywhere, and we still managed to see another 6 firework shows going off at the same time by not even leaving our house.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Independence Day

Yesterday we went to go see fireworks at Santa Monica College. It think its weird that there are all these firework shows on the Saturday before Independence Day because everyone had the day off on the fourth and can just as easily go see fireworks on the fourth. It is like a build up to the fourth of July. A lot of people don't have work on Monday either so it is this five day weekend building up to the fourth where I guess everyone will have a BBQ and the non-LDS people will all get drunk and the LDS people with play card games or something.

Anyway, so the firework show was fun. We parked at the LDS Institute and sat on the institute lawn because the place they shot the fireworks off was near there. They used to set the fireworks off right across the street from the institute and and once one of the firworks fell over and shot over to the institute and under a car. No one got hurt. Staying at the institute felt like a ward activity because everyone knew each other because they were all in the same stake. I saw a lot of people that I new from our ward.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Robert worked 18 hours on Monday. He had worked forty hours by the end of Wednesday.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

It seems like I would just like to go through life without having to do anything difficult. I just want to do things that I enjoy and that come easy for me. But really, what kind of life would that be? I think we get the most satisfaction in life from overcoming and growing from challenges. As good as life would be with nothing to challenge us, it would be really boring too. We don't progress if we are never challenged, we would just remain in a state of stagnation.

Sometimes I feel like I have a little too many challenges. I'm not talking about big moral dilemmas or life and death situations, just little things that I feel push the limits of my capabilities, even though deep down I know I am capable of completing the task put before me. Too many of those little things can become overwhelming sometimes. Then you have to decide which challenges to really try the hardest on because it would be impossible for you to throw yourself into all of them.

It's like when you're in school and you have a hard class and you know that if you work really hard you will be able to get an A in the class. But you also have four other classes and some of them are easy but most of them require a lot of work too. You feel overwhelmed because you want to do the best you can, and you know you can get that A, but not in every class because you just don't have the time to devote enough time to get the A in every class.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

About Today

Robert's Bike Tire

About today:
-I have been doing homework all day and I am going nuts!

-Robert got a whole bunch of new-used (hand me downs) clothes because his cousin just came back from a mission and cleaned out his closest. Now we have no where to put them all!

- Right now Robert is out dumpster diving for a bike box because the bike he ordered online came ruined by UPS, so Robert is getting his money back and shipping the back to the seller and
letting the seller deal with UPS.

-Robert had free lunch everyday this week.

-Yup, that's really how boring my life is right now. All I do is homework because I have only have three weeks left to finish my classes.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Pedicure

Every Friday I am off work and I focus on doing homework. The first Friday I didn't leave the house all day, so every Friday since Robert's aunt has taken me out shopping or to lunch or something to get me out of the house for a little while at least. Yesterday we went to get a pedicure. I told Robert once after reading an article about pedicures that I would never get one because of the infections that you can get. Since someone was actually telling me to come with them to get a pedicure I decided to try it because I was kind of curious about it.

Well, I think the place we went looked pretty sanitary, and now I have pretty toes. I still think it is a little odd, but my feet look nice at least.

Friday, June 09, 2006


This whole week I hav been having dreams about being at a family reunion. Three days ago my dream was about being at the ranch during a reunion, two days ago it was about Bear Lake, and last night I think we were in Logan.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Odds and Ends

Just a few odds and ends that I have heard about recently:

- The news is Los Angeles is nuts. Ever night at 11:00 (what normal person--i.e. not a college student--stays up until 11:00 everynight on a weeknight anyway?? Do people on the West coast not sleep? Don't they have to get up early to go to work? That could explain their driving, which is a topic for a whole other day.) the news anchor comes on and tells about some breaking news story where, without fail, there has been another car accident or shooting. Then we always have, of course, the reports of shootings, robberies, and abductions that have happened during the day. It kind of reminds me of the newspapers in Guatemala where everyday without fail they had pictures of a horrible murder or deadly car accident as the frontpage news. Just something you come to expect. In L.A. we have the mundane things that would be top news stories in Utah, and then move onto the real crazy stuff: whole families being murdered in their homes, ladies claiming the life insurance money of homeless men who have died, ladies offering to buy a baby and then kidnapping it, three children drowning in backyard swimming pools in the same weekend, stuff like that and crazier stuff that I can't even remember. Only in L.A.

-Speaking of children drowning in swimming pools... there was a ward in our stake that at one time had four lawsuits going where people were suing other people in their ward, members suing members. One lawsuit was between the Primary President and her first counselor. It's a sad story really, made even sadder by the lawsuit. The Primary was having a presidency meeting at the Primary President's house and the first counselor had brought her three year old child. Somehow the gate to the pool got opened and the child fell in and drowned. Really sad, especially since it happened while they were attending to church callings. However, the first counselor then went and sued the Primary President over it! Another lawsuit a woman was suing the church because she had tripped on a step and she claimed that the church should have had better lighting in the area. Only in L.A.

- Well, we are in L.A., near Hollywood (the sign is not that impressive by the way), so I have to tell about all my movie and T.V. connections. First, the two old ladies in New York Doll that work at the family history center are in our ward. Also in our ward is Doug Heder, Jon Heder's (Napoleon Dynamite) brother. Another guy that I have met at work was in an episode of 24, he was a guard in CTU who Jack Bauer knocks out. Yeah, I know, my list isn't that impressive, but I have only been here a month, give me a little more time. Robert saw Adam Sadler at a Dodgers game.

-I say we are near Hollywood because L.A. really isn't as huge as I thought it was as far as space. Every place in L.A. is nearby if you go by Utah standards. Isn't Salt Lake close to Provo? Well, here people would balk at having to go that far to get to anything. That's because there are so many people packed into this town that it takes twice as long to get anywhere! Downtown is like 15 miles away from us, but it takes an hour to get there because the freeway doesn't ever move and the surface streets are just as bad.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Los Angeles Traffic

This week I have been getting used to driving around L.A. and finding out where all the streets are. On Thursday I made the mistake of going down Santa Monica Blvd. during rush hour. I have never seen traffic so crazy. Traffic was so backed up that even when there was a green light it was impossible to move. Finally I got off Santa Monica onto a less busy street, but to get home I had to get onto another busy street where we hardly moved in five minutes. Everyone is always talking about how bad traffic is in L.A., but really I don't think I realized how bad. I had seen traffic this bad, but only after things like concerts or bad construction. In L.A. it is everyday everywhere.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Impressions of Los Angeles

Rob and I are now in L.A. for the summer. We were planning on leaving Thursday morning but we got back from Salt Lake late on Wenesday and still had a lot to do on Thursday morning. Plus, I still wasn't done with all my papers so I was frantically trying to finish them all since they were due on Wenesday. We finally decided we weren't going to make it out on Thursday and left on Friday about noon. We stopped in Las Vegas for lunch (In & Out Burger) and made it to Los Angeles by 9:00 local time. Rob's aunt was surprised we had made it so fast. No one was home when we got there because they weren't expecting us for another while, so we called their cell phone and they came home.

The whole trip to L.A. we had sunny weather, but as we entered San Bernadino it suddenly became really cloudy and we have not left the clouds since. I guess it is cloudy because of the ocean and will be until the begining of July.

I really like Rob's relatives. In the house there is only Uncle Steve, Aunt Wendy, and their son Woody. They also have a son, Daniel, who is on a mission in Peru but will be coming home this summer. Steve and Wendy have worked really hard to make the extra bedroom look nice for us. The rest of the house is remodled, but the kitchen and the hallway down to our room is not. I think it is really funny that they have this nice house in a pricey neighborhood, but the kitchen is tiny and looks the same as it did in the sixties. They don't ever really cook here, only on Sundays. We even use paper plates and cups instead of real dishes. I must say, it is really nice just to throw away the dirty dishes; it makes for a fast clean up.

On Saturday we took the bus downtown because that is how Robert is going to get to work so we wanted to try it out. The bus drops him off right by his building and it is an express bus so it doesn't take too long. I will driving up to my internship, but it isn't too far either. I don't have to get on the freeway at all. I just take Palm street over to Sawtelle Blvd. and take Sawtelle up to my office building. I think the only hassle might be trying to find a parking spot since I will have to park on the street.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Microcredit is a relatively new form of international aid that helps people from poor countries by giving out small loans to individuals to fund small business. This system started in the 1970s with Muhammed Yunus, an American trained professor of economics, who began giving the first micro-loans in his native Bangladesh. Initial reactions to this enterprise were very negative, with arguments such as the poor would not be able to save or would default on the loans. Today microcredit institutions have overcome those arguments and are now loaning money to five million people. Recently the film Small Fortunes: Microcredit and the Future of Poverty made by BYU’s Center for Economic Self-Reliance aired on PBS and discussed the pros and cons of microcredit.

Businesses funded by microcredit aren’t elaborate by any means, but they allow the receivers of the loans to perhaps double their income. In many cases this takes the receiver from a step away from starvation to a respected and prosperous member of the community. Every month the receiver pays back a portion of the loan with the money they are receiving from their new business.

The loans themselves are small and interest free, so no one is going to make a profit from the business of micro lending, but it has potential to help every poor person who can come up with a business plan. The businesses are things like making market bags out of old cement bags or raising chickens. They are things that don’t require a lot of capital to start, but the people who receive the loans don’t have that little amount of capital to start the business on their own.

This kind of aid is useful because it is not just a handout. The people are required to work hard, give back the money they borrowed, and become self reliant. Surprisingly, almost all the loans do eventually get paid back, even though there is little that the lenders could take away from the receivers if they defaulted on the loan. This system also re-supplies itself so it helps many people, not just a few. The money goes out, comes back in, and can go out again.

Although initially microcredit began by giving loans to both women and men, now about 96% of all the loans at the Grameen Bank and the majority of loans at other institutions are given to women. Lenders found out that women are more likely to actually repay the loans, while the loans to women also have a more direct affect on the family. Women are the primary caregivers to children, so when their situation improves the situation of the children improves as well.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Living Maya

The film “Living Maya” was an enlightening portrayal of what it is like to make an ethnographic documentary. The film was essentially a “making of” for the film itself where audience is able to see how the film makers chose their site, enter the field, and interact with the people they film. I really enjoyed seeing the behind the scenes work that goes into making a very low budget ethnographic film like this. It gave me insight into what really goes on and reminded me of what happens when anthropologists go out into the field to study other cultures.

The film makers had an idea of what kind of village they wanted to film, so they talked with their friends about the villages in the Yucatan. They then spent several weeks driving around to different villages to see which one was the best one. When they found the village they wanted to work in they gathered the men together (the women weren’t allowed to attend the meeting) and asked for permission to make a film there.

This reminded me a lot of when I went to Guatemala. The town that I studied in had BYU students coming there for 10 years. I was a pretty pampered anthropologist in that regard. The people knew what I was there for and were pretty willing to talk to me. The year I went however,the field facilitator put one student in a small, very remote town where no BYU students had ever stayed. Professor Hawkins went up there with the student and asked around if they would allow the student to stay. The family they talked to said that they would have to have a town meeting about it, but he could stay there in the meantime. A few days latter they came up to him and told him that he could stay.

I also really liked the part of the film where the women are talking about the filmmaker in the kitchen, with him right there. The women are speaking in Mayan so the filmmaker doesn’t know what they are saying, but someone went back and translated it and put in subtitles so the audience can tell what is going on. I know this happened to me everyday while I was in Guatemala. I was able to tell from my limited Maya capabilities a little of what was going on, but when I asked they would deny that they were talking about me. So I thought the film was very realistic with what it portrayed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hear Yourself

Today I stumbled upon the Inquiry Conference site and found that the audio for the 2006 presentations is now available online. Feeling somewhat curious, but a little aprehensive, I scrolled down the page and clicked on my own presentation. It was a very weird feeling to hear myself giving a presentation. It's not like hearing someone else give a presentation because all the memories come rushing back. Even though I was just listening, I was not an idle bystander. I felt like I was back up there, nervous and frustrated with myself for not being able to get the words out right. (When I got up to give my presentation my words just wouldn't come out. I stumbled and pronounced words wrong.) Listening to myself on audio recording was really just too much for me because I felt like I was giving the presentation again. I couldn't do it, so I stopped listening.

You can listen to the presentation at

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Computer Meltdowns

My laptop has been acting really weird latelty. I will turn it on and it will be fine for a while, and then the screen will go black. I figured out that if I shine the desk lamp onto the screen I can see what is there. So the lights go out I guess. Last week Rob opened his laptop and the plastic around the screen broke, so he can't close it anymore. Then yesterday he tried to use his computer and it wouldn't let him open any programs. He opened it in safe mode and was able to move most of his files onto an external harddrive. This afternoon he spent an hour and a half on the phone with Dell customer service, but so far nothing has happened. Luckily, we still have our desktop computer, which besides from being old, is usable. Rob tried to turn it on yesterday and it wasn't turning on. Then I noticed that the screen and the printer had power, so I suggested that he check the power cord on the tower. Yup, it was just unplugged.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Inquiry Conference

This is it. Today is the day of the Inquiry Conference. In three short hours it will all be over. Will I have made it through alive? Well, most likley. I am really nervous about it though, and am doing my best to go through my presentation so I know what I am doing when I get up there. It's just so surreal. It is one of those feelings of "I can't beleive this is finally happening." Like when you get married, and you're like, wow, I'm getting married. This is on a much smaller scale, but feel like, "wow, I'm presenting at the Inquiry Conference." Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

An Interview and A Talk

I had my interview with Reading to Kids on Friday. It went really well. I enjoyed talking to Jessica, the program director, and finding a little about how the program works. At the end of the interview she told me that she would like to have me intern with them this summer and I told her I would love to intern. So I just need to send in a writing sample this week so she knows what kind of writer I am. A lot of running a non-profit group involves fundraising and grant writing, so I will be doing a lot of that. I really think right now that working for non-profit groups would be something I would like doing as a career. I have thought about getting an MSW(Masters of Social Work) or an MPA (Masters of Public Administration). In non-profit work everyone does a lot of everything, so someone who is well rounded is something that they look for. I have hope that my experience interning with Reading to Kids will give me a leg up on the competition for non-profit jobs in Utah, since I will have experience in all aspects of non-profit work.

On Thursday I got a call from one of the counselors in the Bishopric. He started out “I know this is short notice so you can say no if you want to…” You always know what’s coming after that. He asked me to talk about receiving personal revelation in sacrament meeting on Sunday. I had things that I had to get done on Saturday, that didn’t get done, but at least I have given a talk in church now and I won’t have to worry about it for another while. Plus, the three day notice didn’t give me very much time to worry about it.

This morning Robert and I woke up at the same time. I started getting ready for church and Robert got a bowl of cereal and went straight to his computer. At about twenty minutes until church started Robert had still not started getting ready, so I told him “You know, we actually have to be on time for church today.” He started to get ready then, and he had to finish putting on his tie and tying his shoes in the car. He says that he puts getting ready of until the last minute because then he wastes as little time as possible getting ready. If he only has ten minutes to get ready, then he will only take ten minutes. If he starts an hour earlier though, it will take him an hour.

My talk went well. The last time I had to talk in church I couldn’t see the clock, so I went over, and then everyone else had to cut their talks short. So this time I made sure I could see the clock and I finished in about ten minutes. I also tried to talk slowly, because I notice that when I get up and talk to people I usually get nervous and talk really fast. Robert said that it didn’t seem like I talked too fast, but that I did say umm too many times. I know I have to work on that. I need to give my presentation to Robert and have him throw a water balloon at me every time I say umm.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"They are all my Children"

Tojo papi, tojo amor,” Juana playfully beckoned her young grandson from across the kitchen. The child glanced over at her, but instead toddled towards the plancha, the ceramic stove, aiming directly for the fire. Once there he proceeded to play with the ash emerging from the front of the plancha. The family, however, looked on unconcerned and continued their conversation about how many cows to buy in the market the next day. Suddenly Miguel, the grandfather, lunged forward shouting “no, no, no!” as he confiscated a flaming stick from his young grandchild. “Ai hombre!” the child’s exasperated mother exclaimed as she stood and took the mischievous toddler from his grandfather.

My research took me to the small K’iche’ Maya town of Antigua Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan (ASCI) in Guatemala where most families live in family compounds where the normal dinner conversation consists of interactions like this between three generations of family members. Families are constantly together, speaking to one another and building relationships in day-to-day activities. I first arrived in Guatemala expecting to study the bond between grandparents and grandchildren. However, as I studied I realized that the bond between grandparent and grandchild is a cornerstone for the eldercare system. In my research I established the importance of grandparent/grandchild relations among the K’iche’ by examining children as a remembrance of their grandparents and grandparents as parents. Next, I looked at the significance of showing respect in Maya ideology and then examined the factors contributing to loss of respect. I show that the eldercare system among the K’iche’ relies on a strong bond in grandparent/grandchild relations as exhibited by respect towards grandparents. Without this bond the eldercare system, based on kinship care giving, can no longer function effectively

My research was conducted using semi-structured interviews with informants of all ages with the help of a Spanish/K’iche’ translator, as well as participant observation of everyday life in ASCI. Some of my most valuable participant observation actually happened during interviews where I witnessed, for example, family fights and grandmothers breastfeeding grandchildren. The cultural information I learned from observing the family may actually in these instances have been more significant than the information from the actual interview. I also completed a survey of forty households in ASCI in collaboration with all the students in our group conducting research in surrounding villages.

Grandparents are key figures in the lives of their grandchildren because grandparents traditionally act as backup parents for grandchildren when grandchildren are young. This nurturing relationship not only extends from grandparents to their grandchildren, however. After both grandparent and grandchildren have grown and grandparents can no longer take care of themselves then grandchildren have a responsibility to care for their grandparents, just as the grandparents had once cared for their grandchildren.

Grandparents are also distinctively important in K’iche’ culture because respect for ancestors is so prominent in Mayan ideology. Respect towards grandparents may act as an extension of this idea since grandparents can be seen as living ancestors. One of the most visible sign of this in ASCI is the k’ex bond between grandparents and grandchildren, which literally means “substitute” (Mondloch 1980:10). K’iche’ naming practices name children after their grandparents. Consequently, children named after their grandparents become grandparents’ k’ex, their replacement. This continuous cycling of a name ensures that the ancestor is never forgotten. Aspects of k’ex can be found in regions around the Maya world, such as Momostenango, San Andres Semetebaj, and even into Chiapas, Mexico (Mondloch 1980, Carlsen and Pretchel 1991), though few studies have examined k’ex in any detail.

These two concepts in Mayan ideology, respect for ancestors and k’ex, reinforce the pattern of nurturing between grandparents and grandchildren. These create a system where all members of the society are taken care of. The cultural system is dynamic, however, and culture change from Ladino (non-indigenous Guatemalans) and Western influences has put the eldercare system in danger of breaking apart. Instead of remaining in the community to take care of the elderly, many young people leave the communities.

Televisions, once a rarity in ASCI, have been bought recently by many people in the village. This has chiefly allowed K’iche’ youth to see beyond their borders and yearn for things they see on these televisions. Furthermore, K’iche’ youth have become familiar with Ladino pop culture and music and often times become overly preoccupied with them. They no longer value Mayan ideals such as respect towards the elderly. Two ways to get the material things are by becoming more educated or by migrating. Both of these require that the youth leave the village. Furthermore, if the youth do stay in the community, many of them are unconcerned with making sure their grandparents are taken care of.

One of the many problems these create is that the system to care for the elderly is left with many holes. Grandchildren would rather spend their time trying to make money or catching up with the latest fashion than taking care of their grandparents. In Guatemala there is no state system in place to take care of the elderly if their family fails them. The spread of western ideals and western products around the globe should also come with an understanding and preservation of native cultures and social systems. Without this, cultures that have methods for things like health care and discipline that have been successfully used for centuries will face major social problems if they cannot adapt quickly enough. Further research should be done into the health care system for the Maya elderly before more elderly are inadvertently abandoned by their kin without other support systems.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Captain of My Soul

William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
(R. J. Cook, comp., One Hundred and One Famous Poems [1923], 95)

Orson F. Whitney

Art thou in truth? Then what of him
Who bought thee with his blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood?

Free will is thine—free agency,
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong.

Bend to the dust that head “unbowed,”
Small part of life’s great whole!
And see in him, and him alone,
The Captain of thy soul.

(Improvement Era, May 1926, 611)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Added Stress

A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from Dr. Hawkins, my professor over the summer in Guatemala. He gave us some information about upcoming conferences that we could present at, and then told us that we had to apply for the BYU Inquiry Conference. I had thought about applying, but I wasn't really sure if I really wanted to put myself through it. The presenters give a fifteen minute presentation on their research, then have ten minutes for question and answer. I just wasn't if I wanted to stand up in front of people for half an hour as they judge my research. It is a good experience to get feedback on your research and improve it for later publication. Even to just get more out of your research experience. I wasn't sure how much the benefits outweighed the costs of speaking in front of people.

Well, after I read Dr. Hawkin's e-mail I decided to go for it. After all, Dr. Hawkins was very adamant that we did apply and whether or not our papers ever get published depends largely on him. I looked up the information for the Inquiry Conference and found out that that exact day was the deadline for applying. So I submitted my paper for evaluation around 8:00 P.M. on the last day to apply. Two days later I got an e-mail saying that I had been accepted to present.

As I read the e-mail I didn't know how to feel. I had kind of hoped that I wouldn't get accepted, and then I wouldn't have to present. I was also very excited that I did get accepted and that I really was going to get the chance to be in the Inquiry Conference. I have been going to the conference every year since I have been at BYU, so it is pretty cool to me that this year I will actually be a presenter.

The conference is now less than two weeks away. I am nervous about getting up and presenting, but I have done that a lot in classes and know what I need to work on for my presentation. What I am really nervous about is the question and answer part. I can't just present something that I have prepared. I can only try to anticipate what questions will be asked. Someone could ask me a question about my research that should have been really obvious to me. Someone could ask a question that I should know the answer to, but I don't. Hopefully I will be prepared to answer any questions that audience members do have, and hopefully people will have questions so I don't have to stand there for ten minutes.

Another thing that I am nervous about in an upcoming phone interview I have for an internship with a non-profit group called Reading to Kids. I really hope that I will be able to answer the questions that I get well so that I can have this internship. It is an unpaid internship, but I think that the experience I get would be really valuable to me in the future, especially when I look for a full time job. I have never met the person I am interviewing with, so I really have no idea what to expect from the interview.

So these two things have put some additional stress on me that make me feel in a permanent state of nervousness. I will be glad when they are both are over. I think that in the end I will be glad that I tried for both of these things though. Things that are hard for me to do like these always make me glad that I did it afterwards because it only makes me stronger and more expereinced.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Joy of Being Nursery Assistants

The title may sound a little sarcastic, but Robert and I love our calling as Nursery Assistants. Let me tell you why. First of all, we don't have to go to class, we just show up and play with toys during church. Second of all, we not only get to play with toys, but we also get to play with kids all through church. I grew up in a family where there were always little kids running around. When I came to college I missed not being able to play with kids. Now that we are in a married ward there are plenty of little kids around, but we don't get a chance to play with them except in nursery.

Sure, it does have it's downsides. 18 month-olds don't really communicate too well. Their favorite words are mine and no, and by the time they learn any other words they are transferred to the senior nursery (we are only in the junior nursery). Consequently the most popular way of communicating is crying, especially at the beginning of class when their parents have left them with the strange nursery leaders. Times that by 10 kids and you get a very chaotic first few minutes. Luckily, some of the kids actually like nursery, especially the toys (who can blame them?), so not all of them are crying at once.

I didn't know before I came into the nursery that there are actual lessons in nursery. I think it is really sweet to teach them about Heavenly Father and Jesus. It is pretty cool when they actually learn something from the lessons.

Qing Mei Meeting

Robert and I are having a Qing Mei meeting for all our friends who want to know more about Xing. It will be Friday at 6:00 at our aparment.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Qing Mei at BYU

For all of you who are in Utah County and would like to attend, Qing Mei is hosting a representative Training Meeting this Wend. Feb. 1 at the BYU Wilkinson Center room 3215 from 5:00-6:00. This is basically a chance to get to know the company a little better for all those who are interested in learning more about a great nutritional supplement in a MLM company with a good compensation plan. Plus, free PIZZA! For more information visit our website at

Thursday, January 26, 2006

More Comics

I really would like to actually write things to post, but my husband was so kind as to share his sickness with me, so I am down with a virus right now.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Weird, eh?

Picture Explanation

I thought I should give a little explanation on my favorite Guatemala pictures. This summer I initially set out to study grandparent/grandchild relationships in a rural Guatemala. The paper that I ended up writing after I returned to the United States ended up discussing the relationship between growing globalization and a loss of respect for the elderly among the K'iche'.

The first picture is a picture of typical interaction between grandparents and grandchildren. In this picture a woman watches as her grandnieces wash their hair in the sink. Since this woman has no children of her own she lives with her sister and cares for her grandnieces and nephews as if they were her own.

The second picture represents a couple issues faced by the villagers of Santa Catarina Ixtahaucan. This boy is standing in front of an abandoned church with trees growing inside. Mudslides after Hurricane Mitch devasted the town five years ago, eventually leading to the split of the town. Most of the villagers decided to relocate to a site more accesable to the freeway and with more stable terrain. Some of the villagers decided to stay in the old village however, which is where I lived. This picture also shows the influence that the West has on the small village. This boy is fascinated by his uncle's walkman.

The third picture is of two of my informants. They lived together alone since most of thier children and grandchildren relocated with the rest of the town. They take care of themselves by weaving since their grandchildren are not present to take care of them live they traditionally would.

The fourth picture is of a man with his granddaughter, and the fifth is of two brothers on a road in Ixtahuacan.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Qing Mei

My husband and I have recently become distrubutors for a new health supplement called Xing. Xing is a health drink based on the qing mei fruit from China. The Chinese have been using this fruit for thousands of years for health benefits. Now, Qing Mei Inc has blended this juice with other historically beneficial juices, such as pomegranate juice and white grape fruit, and added nutritional supplements. Just as exciting however, Xing is distrubuted through network marketing. Once you try this product you can also sign up your friends to try the product, which can pay for your product. Once you have built a big enough network you will start making money from Xing. Check it out at!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Christmas Break

Christmas break is almost over, sad sad. These are just some pictures from the break. The top picture is of my brothers and cousins when we took family pictures. The picture directly above is me with my sister-in-laws, the pic on the right is Rob and I at a family party. The last pic is Rob and I devouring our one year old wedding cake on our anniversary. J/k, we took the picture and threw the cake away!