The Value of Sisters

Dear Blogosphere,

I was reading an old issue of The Week and came across this:

"If you have a sister, consider yourself lucky, says BBCnews.com. Psychologists at the U.K.'s University of Ulster quizzed more than 500 adults on their mental health and their family histories, and found that those who had grown up with sisters were more likely to be happy and well-adjusted. Girls are generally more expressive than boys, and researchers found that girls tend to foster communication among family members, which can promote family harmony and individual mental health. Especially during stressful times such as a divorce, researchers found, sisters served as a calming influence on the entire family. 'Sisters appear to encourage more open communication and cohesion in families,' says study author Tony Cassidy. Boys, though, can be trouble. 'Boys tend to internalize problems,' says family counselor Geri Burnikell, 'and in families where there are a lot of sons, I can see that can cause problems.'"

Interesting, eh? I had never heard before that boys internalize problems, but I do believe that girls would encourage communication among family members. Definitely see this in my personal life and in the literature elsewhere.



What Do Rabbits Do?

Dear Blogosphere,

Today, for about the third time, I was asked, "What do rabbits do?" Each time I've been asked this I've been taken aback. What do rabbits do? What do dogs do? What do fish do? What do potbellied pigs do? For the most part, don't they all just hang out and eat? Isn't that pretty much what humans do too?

So, I thought I would actually describe what Ben does for the blogosphere. Enjoy!

*Ben sleeps from about 2-6 AM and then from 2-6 PM everyday. These restful periods are disrupted by short snacking breaks. You can tell if a rabbit is actually sleeping by looking at his nose. If he is asleep, it will not be moving. He may or may not have his eyes closed.
*Ben does not like to be held. In fact, most rabbits don't like to be held. This makes sense as I would probably not like to be held by an animal famous for eating me.
*Ben eats. A lot. He loves dandelions, roses, trumpet vines, bind weed, cilantro, romaine lettuce, carrots, apples, bananas, Trix, timothy hay, and other things. Coupled with fresh veg, I also feed him "rabbit food" of which he is quite picky and sticks mostly to the seeds and dried carrot.
*If Ben was not neutered, he would be quite territorial. No one would be allowed in his cage or in his corner.
*Ben is house-trained just like a cat! Rabbits are actually very smart. He also has a hearty sense of humor.
*Ben loves to be petted. But hates the smell of human, so quickly after being groomed he will hop away and clean himself up.
*Ben loves to check out any projects I'm up to. If I'm focused on something, he'll get right in the middle of it. Working on a paper? He'll grab sheets of my draft or research articles and playfully steal them. Digging a hole, he'll hop right in unafraid of the shovel. Mowing the lawn? He will actually follow you. If I am just laying about, he will sometimes come try to get a massage from me, but will usually keep himself entertained.
*Rabbits' teeth never stop growing, which means they must grind them down. Unfortunately, Ben has ignored or not figured out, rather, what the toys I got for him are for. He grinds his teeth down on the fence... or on our deck... or on shovels... or on rocks... seems a little painful to me!
*Rabbits have very good hearing. As such, he doesn't enjoy loud music. Soft or moderate music I do think he enjoys. But maybe that's just me projecting. :-)
*Ben is very friendly. Many rabbits don't like children, but Ben loves them. He doesn't bite, scratch, "box," or grunt. He is pretty darn chill. He also likes other rabbits. He loved Hufflepuff.
*Just like humans, Ben is preoccupied with things he cannot have or places he's not allowed, but once those options are opened to him he becomes disinterested. He only cared about my mom's law office when it was closed off to him. And he continues to make bee-lines towards the bedrooms upstairs once he gets inside, in hopes of the doors being open.
*Finally, Ben was adopted from the Humane Society. I saw a listing for him online and fell in love with him at first sight! It took him about a month to get used to our home and finally let his personality out. The owner had to give him and another rabbit up for adoption because of their landlord. Sadness. The next rabbit I adopt I will get at the Humane Society. If you adopt after Easter, they cut the adoption fee in half. Neutering/spaying is free, as well.

Hope you learned something interesting and new about the cutest organisms in the world!



i take it back... there is no lesser ben

Dear Blogosphere,

Last March, Ben Folds came to Salt Lake and played a kickin' concert. The opening act was Ben Lee, who I had never actually heard before, and to be honest I was a bit underwhelmed. Maybe it's because he was alone for about an hour on stage... where he replayed "We're All in it Together." Perhaps it was the crowd singing along with it. I'm not sure.

But, whilst in Vegas, I declared that Ben Lee was the lesser Ben. The Bens is a brilliant group made up of Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, and Ben Lee. I love Ben Folds, Ben Kweller is hilarious, and I thought Ben Lee was lame. But I was wrong. Oh, very wrong.

I picked up The Rebirth of Venus today/yesterday at the library. I decided to check it out after reading the first paragraph of liner notes. The rest is covered up by a sticker. It reads:

"This album is dedicated to Venus, the Goddess of Love and Beauty.

"She is an embodiment of archetypal Feminine qualities such as compassion, nurturing, creativity, spontaneity, intuition, playfulness, tenderness and warmth, amongst others. These are qualities that we all, men and women, need to cultivate.

"Everything seems a tad out of balance these days. In my own life, I am trying to find a balance between my own masculine and feminine nature. A lot of guys find this idea threatening or strange, but it's just another way of trying to be reunited with the qualities referred to above, reunited with a way of looking at the world that we have lost touch with. In recent years, just as we have denigrated Feminine values such as tenderness and creativity, it comes as no surprise that many women around the world in a variety of cultures are still regarded as second-class citizens, and we have treated the natural world as simply a resource..."

Darn library sticker. Anyway, this completely resonated with an ongoing conversation between my friend, Khrystine, and I. She shared the idea that when women are oppressed (or, dare I say, "feminine" qualities are repressed) creativity is lost or diminished.

I liked how Ben Lee mentions that both masculine and feminine qualities are within each of us and I certainly am going through the same thing myself. I'm trying to find the balance between masculinity (as I slowly creep towards androgyny) and femininity. I don't find any of the qualities Ben Lee lists to be necessarily feminine. They seem to simply describe humanity. They also seem to describe so many of the men in my life. Creators, compassionate about the work they do, very nurturing to me, at least. I think we lose so much when we decide to split things, qualities, and people in to only two groups. And I think we lose even more when we describe the two groups as opposite. (Digression in process: why do people call it "opposite-sex marriage?" Opposite sexes? What? Female and male are different, but they are more similar than different... how on earth can we classify them as opposite?)

Well, I am posting this at 2 AM. I am not sure if any other the above is coherent. It appears to be a giant digression as I look back on it. But hopefully it was sort of interesting... if not, it's just more food for thought for me. Ha ha.

So check out The Rebirth of Venus. The music is excellent.



FB Status Length Opinion on Today's News

Natalie is sad that the California Supreme Court does not value all marriages or families. It is frightening to find out that a slim majority can take away civil rights from a minority. What hetero couples think they gain by denying the commitment between two consenting adults is beyond me. If we truly valued the social and psychological benefits of marriage, we would allow and encourage all committed couples to wed.




Las Vegas!

Dear Blogosphere,

I am back from Las Vegas with Khrystine, Sara, and Aurora!

Highlights of the trip include:

- Ben Folds concert!
- Meeting up with Serenity and Aubrey at the Ben Folds concert!
- Lighting and attempting to drink a shot of Bacardi 151. It burns! Oy, could I feel the spirit!
- Delicious pina coladas, daiquiris, and margaritas.
- Winning $0.95 after gambling $1.00.
- Riding the Manhattan Express.
- Walking the strip at 2 AM (it was still hot).
- Fantastic conversation.

Outrageous purchases include:

- Ben Folds' Way to Normal album on vinyl.
- Way to Normal tour t-shirt.
- Extra large surgical bandages.

It was much fun and I hope to make this an annual thing!!!



A Picture a Day - Part 6

Dear Blogosphere,

Today I made gluten-free pizza. Oh, sooooooooo tasty. The dough was perfect. Toppings included: marinated artichoke hearts, red onion, green bell pepper, zucchini, garlic, turkey pepperoni, lots of cheese and Canadian bacon. Delicious.


A Picture a Day - Part 5

Dear Blogosphere,

So the photograph may not be so good, but the subject is fantastic. The Salt Lake Telegram's Comics dated July 6, 1952. My grandma got hip arthoplasty (fancy way to say hip replacement) last Tuesday and, fortunately, made it through the surgery A-OKly. But she's not going to be able to get in and out of a bathtub anytime soon so we are replacing her bathtub with a shower. My mom and I went to her house this even to get her newspaper, some meds, along with other things and to check out the progress. Behind the ultra awesome 1950s tile and in the walls was this newspaper. Makes me wonder what other treasures from the past lie within the walls!

Lets see, I have a few fun things to share. Sara had a graduation party Friday night. It was much fun and the margaritas were excellent (as were the tunes! you know your friends are awesome when they have the Mentos song on their iPod!!). After the party, I had to get some petrol so I went to my brother's workplace hoping he was on the job! He was, so I spent two hours with him checking out the latest products at Tesoro. Budweiser and Clamato?! That sounds absolutely disgusting. Eww... Anyway, it was much fun to hang out with him.

Khrystine's 21st birthday party was today. It was awesome. The conversation was excellent and I drank a Mountain Dew -- something I haven't had in quite a long time! I love the color of it... makes me a little nervous! Ha ha. Then Khrys, Aurora, and I made a trek down to Costco only to find that they close at 6. LAMExCORE! So we went to Smith's instead and got snackage for our Las Vegas trip! List of things to make:

- Peanut butter cookies
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Rice Chex Squares
- Muffins?

Ah, I am so excited for a vacation. And to see Ben Folds. <3



Veggie and Herb Garden!

Dear Blogosphere,

So I have spent the past few days doing a lot of crazy things but the most fun thing I've done is plant my veggie and herb garden! Here are the specimens:

- Red bell pepper
- Green bell pepper
- Eggplant
- Thyme
- Cilantro
- Oregano
- Dill
- Basil
- Parsley
- Grape Tomatoes
- Pear Tomatoes
- Heirloom Tomatoes
- Tomatillos

We'll be planting zucchinis and pumpkins soon! Delicious! And my chives are growing like weeds!

I also found a cute pink mini rose that I got in memory of Hufflepuff. It has been planted in the Hufflepuff Memorial Gardens. :-)

Pictures will be posted sometime in the near future!!







A Picture a Day - Part 1

Dear Blogosphere,

When I took creative writing in high school the teacher instructed us to write everyday, regardless of whether or not we had any ideas. We could write down poems, a journal entry, random words, anything, but we had to write. I decide to take this idea and use it this summer but with a slight twist. Everyday I am going to take at least one photograph. I may have thoughts behind it, and hopefully I will get some inspiration while looking through the lens, but I may not. Just for fun, I've decided to post these pictures on this here blog for you, the reader, to enjoy. Today I took quite a few pictures and have picked my favorite five. (Comments & Critiques are welcomed and greatly appreciated!)



The Sweet & Salty Taste of Freedom

Dear Blogosphere,

Oh, wow. I am pretty much done with this semester!! The only thing I have left is a non-cumulative exam in my Intro to Music class. I'm taking it as early as possible: Tuesday (Cinco de Mayo!) at 4 PM. It only covers two units in the textbook so I'm going to start the study guide tomorrow night and just do it at a snail's pace. After this past Tuesday there is not a worried bone in my body.

Last Tuesday was exciting. I worked on my statistics project like crazy. I found some very interesting things out, like the children of divorce are much less likely to believe in an afterlife and feel further away from 'God.' If they do believe in an afterlife, they are more likely to believe that the afterlife will include a reunion. Women are more likely to believe in everything... I had no idea that sex (or gender...) would play such a huge role in religious beliefs. Strange, strange. Particularly odd that most churches are patriarchal yet women are far more religious. Mother's attendance at church also plays a huge role (greater than father's) in beliefs. So, hopefully I'll get to return to the data in the future, because in the end I sort of fell in love with it. I guess if you spend enough time on a project you never really want to let it go. Ha ha.

I also wrote an "exploratory literature review" (how's that for trying to title something loosely?) about the effects of divorce on children and how attachment plays a role in the whole thing. I think there's a lot of room for further research on that topic. I also ran across a few things on attachment and religiosity/religious views. Very interesting stuff. I think we like to think that we are consciously in control of what we think but... ha ha... perhaps just like with our political beliefs, taste in music, and opinion of the death penalty, it has some sort of genetic component or it draws from some of our earliest experiences.

So, in addition to Intro to Music, Nick's Stats and Russ's Attachment courses, I took Human Sexuality through the Health Education department. It was a great course. I wish we had touched more on sexuality through the lifespan, but the cool video of a few live births was AWESOME as was watching someone roll a regular condom down their arm... reaching their elbow. Too much information? I'll stop right there....

I'm rather sad to be done. It was much fun to be Heather's TA, collect stories from toddlers, watch preschoolers dramatize stories, and have the opportunity to watch Mike finish his thesis and Jackie start on hers (fortunately, I'll be staying in the research group through the summer). It's going to be strange to be able to do whatever I want to... whenever I want to this summer! A few friends and I are going down to Las Vegas on the 18th to see Ben Folds in concert, so that will be so much fun. I love Vegas. It is sensory overload. I will certainly be posting photographs.

And Emily is getting married so I'm excited to get everything ready for that! Yay, yay, yay!

Well, that's enough updating. I'll post again probably with graduation pictures! Oh, speaking of which, if you feel like coming it is in the Huntsman Center at 11:15 AM on the 8th. It's the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, and you'll be killing at least two birds with one stone as Sara is in the same college....