Sunday, December 11, 2016

Research/Picture Tribute to Canute.

I have taken many pictures of Canute with and without his knowledge. These pictures are meant to provide an empirical base for what I have learned about the subject. I think the world would benefit knowing what I know now. 

Canute likes to eat


Hamburgers bring out a more aggressive side of Canute

As do breakfast foods and... crab...

Canute finds this meal hilarious

Canute will not be distracted when engrossed in art projects.

When asked if he knew what the temporary tattoo said, Canute answered, "No idea." 

Canute sure likes his food.

Canute appears to enjoy dressing up...

Guess what we are?? GUESS! Okay, I'll give you a hint, I'm Hermione and, "Expecto Patronum!"

Canute enjoys spending time with family

I can canoe with Canute, can you?

Canute cares for wildlife.

We found an otter!! Canute drew inspiration from this taxidermied otter for his Halloween costume.

Canute appears to find many things hilarious.

Move over a little bit... just a little more... yep! You got it!

That face though. 

Canute practices good hygiene

Canute's thumb makes a good head for a makeshift crown which is actually his wife's ring.

Canute enjoys doing his own "research."


Canute does not appear to be embarrassed about holding his wife's extra purse.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Canute appears to have experience pretending to be a sailor.

Canute is tall.

Canute celebrates Christmas.

Canute appears to like the company of his wife.

One might say the feeling is mutual...


These are my findings as of right now--nearly six months into marriage. Since this a longitudinal study, I will try to regularly update my research as time progresses.



You make me so happy. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Here's to stepping it up, or rather, back to normal?

To say that I'm disappointed with the results of the election is an understatement. There are some great articles and analyses about Trump out there that can really make you feel pessimistic about our future, but it's pointless and depressing to waste my time rehashing that. I feel it would be better to focus on something that is within our power to change. I would like to share my growing concerns for our society and my hope in humanity.

For the first time in my short life, I am starting to see the fragility of our social structures. I've taken for granted how everything in my world operates according to a set of social rules and norms and I've assumed those rules and norms would remain in place my entire life. I've thought of social, economic, and political meltdowns as far separated from my reality because...well, we've grown past all that in my modern America. And it's been easy for me to feel that way because I've been privileged enough to come from a background that was safe and followed all those rules. I have high hopes I'll never experience first-hand that space of no rules, cruel rules, or survival rules.

Maybe I've lived a sheltered life that doesn't reflect reality, but I am still shocked at the blatant bigotry and hatred that has reared its ugly head during Trump's candidacy. Trump has become a symbol for some of resetting the social norm to keep those feelings and behaviors checked and/or hidden from public eye. While you may not like the idea of a social force suppressing honest feelings, that social force creates a semblance of peace and acceptance for those who are the object of that hate. It would be great if everyone deep down loved everyone else, but in the meantime we could at least rely on law for bigger things and social norms for all other day-to-day interactions. It's not perfect, but those social norms (i.e., intolerance toward all isms and hate-speech) keep us safe.

As it is now, I fear for the divisiveness that is eating at our hearts, building intolerance and distrust in place of empathy and brotherly kindness. I fear that in the midst of grouping into our own teams, one team member will bite and the other team will bite back. 

I fear that one or more groups will become the scapegoat to all of our problems. 

While Trump may become less incendiary now that he has secured the presidency, there is a disturbed beehive of social rules that may be shifting, and hopefully only temporarily. He spoke of unifying as a nation and Secretary Clinton echoed similar thoughts. This gives me hope.

It also gives me hope that this country as been through a crap ton of hard times already and has a good record of rising above. It gives me hope that we have a rich history of under-privileged citizens and oppressed groups defying the old norms, changing them for the better, and/or responding with love to those acts of hatred and intolerance. We have a history of good people doing what they can to support those who are oppressed and raising their voices even when they could follow a safer path.

While things are still fresh, we can prevent harmful norms from returning to our society. We can become advocates and allies to neighbors who are targeted while remembering love and acceptance to those less accepting. I like the step-by-step guide I've seen online for those who wish to help:
1. If you see someone being harassed, do something. That could be as simple as sitting next to them on the bus and starting a conversation with them to try and block out the hate.
2. If you hear a colleague, friend, acquaintance spewing hate speech, confront them. Explain you disagree and find what they are saying harmful.
3. If you have a colleague / friend / acquaintance with a similar commute path as you, offer to ride the bus/train together if they are feeling at risk.

Maybe the shift I fear is much smaller than I think or just a hiccup. Maybe I'm getting worked up for something inconsequential. I'd love to be needlessly concerned. Either way, there is no harm in being more accepting and helpful to those less privileged than you or me. Here's a little inspiration from Birmingham Jail:
"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial 'outside agitator' idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds."

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


There's this catch-phrase going around called "adulting."

I just filed my taxes. #adulting

Last semester before I work for the rest of my life! #adulting

We bought a house! #adulting

Cooking for the in-laws. <3 <3 #adulting

Changed my baby's diaper again.  #adulting

Paying my bills on time. ;) #adulting #responsible #adultingresponsibly

I think that the hashtag is meant to distract readers from realizing that the post isn't that interesting or funny. But then, that's kind of what all hashtags do.

Pizza with the roomies! #yolo 

(Other hashtags seem to function like parentheses, e.g., #sorrynotsorry, #sarcasm, #seewhatIdidthere) We certainly take great pains to make sure that we are perceived well and correctly. I can't judge though. I am all too familiar with instacurity.

Maybe #adulting bugs me more than other hashtags because its a made-up word that could be easily replaced by #adulthood. Like I said, most posts with hashtags are uninteresting, and I'm not bugged by those ones. In fact, I can relate to that feeling of accomplishment that comes from doing adult things for the first time. Facebook was made for announcements, and any event that gives you a sense of accomplishment ought to be shared with friends. #notsarcasm

Or maybe I am simply displacing my discomfort with growing up onto an innocent catch-phrase. I'm resisting the trend to complain/celebrate/bond about adulthood with others because I'm in denial about how tough it is. I naively thought I had adulthood figured out, but then I graduated, got married, and moved across the country.

JUST to be clear (and so I don't get concerned texts or phone calls), I am very happy. I mean that in the emotional sense and in the "I'm satisfied with my life" sense. We are truly blessed and we hardly deserve it. That doesn't mean that I haven't had an emotional breakdown every week, it just means that there are big adjustments to be made.

I suddenly have so much respect for every breadwinner out there who has the weight of providing for more than him or herself. I also have a deeper appreciation for the courage required to pursue one's dreams in the face of an over-saturated market. Even if I end up hating my job or career, I don't think I would be brave enough to try something completely different even if I loved that thing.

I think I'm also really homesick.

The other day, I saw a friend post a picture of herself starting the new semester at BYU. She had a huge smile and you could see the sun shining behind her on a beautiful campus I call home. I almost cried.

Even though I sometimes criticize BYU or roll my eyes at the Mormon worship of BYU, I can't deny that it holds a hallowed place in my heart. I had new responsibilities, sure, but it was liberating to be on my own. (The origin of my feelings that adulthood was easy).

BYU was a place I felt free to explore, wonder, and become something more. I was encouraged to think critically and develop, re-develop, and continue re-developing my thoughts and ideas. My testimony of the gospel was challenged by new knowledge but also strengthened as a result. I learned new social rules. I could be surrounded by people or alone if I wanted, and nobody would care. I discovered there that you could have meaningful conversations with strangers (and often never talk to them again). It was a place safety. I felt peace in most of the buildings that I sometimes couldn't at my apartment. I could go to the temple nearby when I needed more peace. I could go on...

I was feeling nostalgic the other day as I went through pictures of my freshman year. One image brought me back to a night I went to International Cinema with a new friend.  That night, I made the mistake of wearing cotton flats right after it had rained. We probably hit every icy puddle walking from old heritage halls to the SWKT, but that probably made it more exciting. It was a Friday night, and I was going to a movie on a whim with whomever I wanted, just because. I also felt very academic and indie.

By the time the movie ended, it had snowed about 6 inches. My feet were already a drenched in puddle water, but I had warmed them to a comfortable temperature during the movie. It was like... somebody had peed on my flats. I covered my feet in the new trash linings hidden underneath the used ones in the hall, and dashed outside to a winter wonderland.

It was SO beautiful. Without any wind to toss the snow, it perfectly draped the trees and the light posts. I was in awe. I paused several times on my way back while my pee shoes started to harden inside their bags. It was like a little present to me: "Welcome to a new era. You may get frostbite, but boy is it beautiful."

That sense of excitement and newness faded little by little as time passed, but the feeling of home never did. By grad school, I was jealously possessive of my home because I felt like I was being kicked out. Against my will, they were passing the title to younger students. What use did I have of its many buildings?? I only needed one or two anymore, and soon I wouldn't need them at all.

So the homesickness really kicked in before I moved. Maybe it's a good thing I can't visit all the time.

(Side note... I think I slept in every building I had a class and then some...That's like seven buildings... And I ate on campus at least five days of the week for most of my undergrad... It really WAS like a home!!!)

[Back to adulthood...]

I think the biggest difference between the adulthood I experienced going to BYU and now is that the excitement is replaced by fear. And maybe that's the biggest indicator of being an adult is that you have a greater sense of everything that can go wrong and you fear it. Maybe that's why it has a bad rep.

It doesn't have to be that way though. If you learned anything from my story, I had the option of despairing with my impending frostbite, but I was too distracted by a fancy tree. I shouldn't look out the window and see breathable water and mosquitoes, I should instead focus on all of the green and natural beauty of Missouri.

I guess.

Maybe I just need to see a really fancy Midwest tree. That'd probably make everything more exciting.

Canute is a dinosaur in his dreams.