Thankful Thursday - A Year of Gratitude

As it is the last day of 2009, I want to express my thanks to the people, rabbits, and stars that made 2009 a successful and exciting year for me.

I am thankful for...
  • Angie, Carolyn, Ursula, the volunteers, and the incredible children I worked with at Primary Children's. I miss holding infants, losing at video games with those genius 10 year old boys, and learning/improving my poker skills with several patient teens. Some of the most touching moments in my life took place at PCMC.
  • The U of U's FCS department. The professors who helped me through the process of applying and choosing a graduate program (especially Nick and Russ), the research group I was a part of (Jackie, Mike, Beverly, Marissa, and Cheryl), the toddlers from whom I collected stories, the grad students I met (JuleeAnn and Alta), Heather, with whom I had great conversations with when we probably should have been working for Family Retirement Issues, the most helpful people ever (Jenny, Sandra, Sandy, and Ribana), and my fellow fabulous Kappa Omicron Nu members!
  • California tax payers -- thanks, guys!
  • At UC Davis: The members of my cohort: Stephanie, Amy, Erik, Cheryl, Lisa, Mayra, Ina, Diane, and Caitlin. Without them, I would fail. Grad school is a group effort and I am so grateful to be surrounded by intellectual and friendly people. My professors for the first quarter, Larry, Rose, and Kathi, who pushed me straight into the literature. The graduate advisor, Denise... I am so indebted to her! And the other grad students, particularly my peer advisor, Maciel.
  • New and old friends! I want to list you all, but that might become tricky! :-P I keep being reminded that in the gluten-free cookies of life, friends are the chocolate chips! I have so many friends supporting me in my decisions (whether or not they think they are good ones) and always keep me optimistic when things go a little sour. You guys have made me laugh on the roughest days and I have never been without a shoulder to lean on. You make my world.
  • Family. My mom and grandmother made it possible for me, financially and emotionally, to move to Davis. My older sister, Emily, played a huge role in helping me make my decision on where to go and kept me going during the quarter when the going got rough! My younger sister, Ali, who is always a positive and optimistic person, and shares with me fascinating facts -- she's my history teacher! My brother, Wes, who introduced me to a number of things this year... possibly my favorite is Always Sunny! My sweet rabbit, Ben, who is always there to listen. And the newest member of my family, Taylor! He has transformed our family in the best of ways! I am lucky to have a family that believes in me. The only way I can survive in California is by knowing they are my stable home.
  • Finally, my lucky stars. A year of good health, opportunities, friends, family, and experiences. If 2010 is only half as good as 2009, I cannot wait for it to begin!


Written Wednesday - 40 Things in December

(I stole this from a writing prompt website... lets see how I do...)

  1. Finished my first quarter of grad school.
  2. Met Kevin and John.
  3. Got to know Sarah better.
  4. Ate at Tercero Dining Commons -- gluten-free options!
  5. Wrote cards, made mix cds, and picked two pictures to print out for friends.
  6. Wrote two papers.
  7. Wrote part of one paper in the UC Berkeley library.
  8. Ate a LOT of gf pizza.
  9. Got my second dental crown.
  10. Celebrated Christmas three days early with my siblings, mom, and my new-to-the family brother-in-law, Taylor.
  11. Went to a missionary homecoming.
  12. Reconnected with Vanessa, Julie, and Melissa.
  13. Watched several documentaries on Netflix.
  14. Became homesick for Davis (a very strange feeling!)
  15. Saw the Fantastic Mr. Fox a second time with my younger sister and dad.
  16. Researched GPSes, talked Santa into getting it for me, and was totally happy with the gift!
  17. Wore a skirt and high heels in freezing Utah weather.
  18. Stayed up until 4 AM watching Always Sunny with Khrystine.
  19. Shoveled snow.
  20. Went Christmas shopping in Berkeley and Salt Lake.
  21. Thought about my friend, Natalie, on her birthday. She is far away in Switzerland!
  22. Laughed really hard while watching videos online with Caitlin. There is a definite deep bond between us now...
  23. Had many deep, philosophical discussions with quite a few people.
  24. Played a great game called Balderdash! Lost each time, as I am really bad at bluffing (happily so).
  25. Made celebratory Bloody Marys for my new friend, Kevin, on his 21st birthday.
  26. Got a sketchy message on OkCupid! from Arie... haha.
  27. Ate some delicious new cheeses.
  28. Rediscovered the early 1990s Mickey Mouse Club.
  29. Came to the realization that I'm not afraid of physically having a baby... unless she/he comes via c-section.
  30. Flew to Salt Lake from Sacramento.
  31. Ate a steak tostada from Cafe Rio -- my new favorite item.
  32. Made lots of Jell-O. Mormon-style!
  33. Received a nice Christmas present from UC Davis (read: $)
  34. Played Christmas tunes on our baby grand.
  35. Cuddled with my favorite floppy-eared and fluffy bunny rabbit.
  36. Received one of the nicest emails ever from one of my professors.
  37. Drank an actual corn-syrupy Dr. Pepper out of desperation for sugar and caffeine.
  38. Explained on several occasions that, yes, California has economic problems but it's still the best state in the union.
  39. Watched the Hunchback of Notre Dame with my younger sister who explained to me all the gothic architecture (she's a smarty pants!)
  40. Enjoyed the company of my immediate and extended family on Christmas Day.


Tasty Tuesday - Gluten-Free Options

This is sort of for self-reference, but other people may find it handy.

Salt Lake City:
  • Cafe Rio
  • Pei Wei
  • Chipotle
  • Thaifoon
  • Z'Tejas
  • The Old Spaghetti Factory
  • Sage's Cafe
  • Red Iguana
  • Salt Lake Pizza & Pasta (limited to salads)
  • Vertical Diner (limited to salads)
  • Pier 47 Pizza (downtown only)
  • Wendy's
  • Farmer's Kitchen Cafe - 100% gluten-free
  • Steve's Pizza
  • In-n-Out
  • Wendy's
  • Chipotle
  • Sophia's


Scholarly Sunday - Educated and Employed Women

Dear Blogosphere,

An old friend of mine got back from her LDS mission and gave a talk yesterday (erm, sorry about the belated posts... ha ha). Afterwards, family, neighbors and friends co-mingled at her brother's house. One person, after asking me what I was doing, stated, "I didn't know there was such a field as Child Development." Which is understandable... the interdisciplinary approach to social science is relatively new. But another person told me how great a degree in Child Development will be for my kids.

I feel like I come from a culture that believes family should be the primary and, often, only focus for women. Once you have a family, yes, family should be the primary focus. But I'm not remotely close to even finding someone to date, let alone marry, and start making kids with.

The first question someone asked me was, "So, are you dating anyone?"

Nope. I am a loser.

I'm starting to be active again in the Church and I'm having a lot of trouble handling this. Certainly, I hope my possible future family will benefit from all the information I'm gathering and the fact that I will someday (if I ever find someone to love and be loved in return) be a parent does on some level explain why I picked this field. You cannot study developmental psychology without looking at yourself.

But I want to work. I've read a handful of studies that show all the benefits to children, particularly girls, who have working, well-educated mothers. I am incredibly proud of my mom who raised my siblings and I while she worked in law school and as an attorney. Both of my parents taught me that I, with plenty of hard work, could get an advanced degree. But my mom showed me I could.

But, you know, she got a lot of negative feedback. An LDS woman attorney in the 1980s...

Coming back to Utah is strange. So many of my friends are married. A handful of them have children. When I'm in California, I feel normal. 22, single, figuring things out. But in Utah, there must be something wrong with you (and maybe there is something wrong with me?) if you aren't dating. I am open to a relationship, it's just one hasn't happened yet.

This wasn't very scholarly but it hits topics in the vicinity of education. Women in the US in general find themselves in an awful bind between work and family. But when you add in borderline oppressive cultural ideals... well, I think it gets even worse.



Fantasy Friday - Plans for Next Weekend

In one week, I will be home (?) in Davis. So I need to make some plans for January 1st, 2nd, and 3rd...

So I have to do probably two trips to the grocery store, one trip to Target and another to Save Mart. Stock up on rice, pasta sauce, tofu, etc. I will try to get those done the first day I'm back. I need to have a Sims 3 day... an entire day devoted to the game. Then, probably on the night of the 3rd, I am going to do one of my favorite things and hang out on my couch watching a movie or some just some TV. Then the next weekend, Sarah, Kevin, John and I are hopefully going to have an Amelie and Fondue party. The weekend after that, Stephanie and I are going to go to lovely San Francisco to window shop and go to a supposedly fabulous dueling piano bar.

After that, I will have to start studying for a genetics midterm. Gah! Crazy quarter system...

I don't know when I'll be back in Salt Lake. Stephanie and I are thinking of going to San Diego for Spring Break which would be a blast. Just lay on a beach... oh, how I'd be so up for that right now (why is Salt Lake so cold?!).

But, at the moment, I haven't regained much steam. I really need to kick back this next week and muster up the strength for winter quarter. I am afraid I might start it in procrastination mode... which is never, ever good. So I think I'm just going to relax until the 4th. Then I will be pumped for what is sure to be a fantastic 10 weeks!

Thankful Thursday - Past Due

I am thankful for...
  • Friends with whom you can share the most intimate of details
  • A particular floppy-eared rabbit who sweetly nudges my hand when he wants a nice petting
  • My aunt and uncle who went out of their way to make me a gluten-free meal on Christmas Eve
  • The moment of brief euphoria after a little breakdown
  • My family, who continually give and support me unconditionally


Written Wednesday - Sense

I stood on the pier. The waves crashed beneath me. The salty air and distinct smell of the Fisherman's Wharf filled my nostrils. I closed my eyes and felt the wind pick up strands of my hair. I let them go. The wind can take control.

I stood on the golden sand. The cool Atlantic water brushed my feet bringing with it fragile seashells. I would pick them up and look at the intricate patterns that Mother Nature has created. The ocean disappears if you look far enough. But I closed my eyes, and heard the sound of children laughing and screaming with delight as the waves pulled them onto shore.

I laid on the warm, baked rock. The world beneath me. Nothing above but the delicate sky. His arm wrapped around me, we looked to the stars. They gently twinkled above me. I closed my eyes. Nothing. No buzzing, no honking... silence. I opened my eyes. The stars alone were enough.

I planted my feet on the cool, dewy grass. "Where does the dew come from?" I asked my mother. She responded, but I was too fascinated by the feeling of summer. Morning breezes through my bedroom windows and fresh condensation on the lawn. The sound of cars driving through the neighborhood and the taste of lemonade on my tongue. What more does a girl need?

Tears grew in my eyes as I drove up the Silverado Trail. I quickly pulled the car to the side of the road and crawled out. Trespassing into a vineyard, I sat down between the vines and took off my shoes to feel the soil between my toes. I laid down and watched the clouds pass by. I realized that my hope is in the soil, the sand, the grass, the wooden planks beneath me. That my spirit is amongst stars and clouds. That my life is found within the laughter of people, the sweet and sour taste of lemonade, the smells of strange cities, and giving up a little control to the wind.


Tasty Tuesday - Cheese!

Dear Blogosphere,

Today was our official Christmas at my mum's place. Early in the day we went grocery shopping for Christmas dinner. My mom also let my younger sister and I both pick a "fancy" cheese. I spotted an herb & spices havarti and Ali chose a fontina.

I love cheese and am so glad that I can eat it. If I had to ditch both gluten and dairy, I think I would die. Cheese is what keeps me going!

The herb & spices havarti was very tasty. Creamy, as usual, and I do prefer the flavored havartis over the plain. The fontina was also delicious. Soft and with a nice bite to it.

There are a few things I do miss with the gluten-free diet, though. One is the gyro at Yannis. I would get it vegetarian, which just meant pita stuffed with feta, tzatziki, tomato, and lettuce. So good. And I also miss spreading brie on a good and fluffy baguette.

But I can still indulge in feta and brie, I just have to come up with more interesting and novel ways to do it!

Hope you are all enjoying your Christmas week!


P.S. Speaking of gyros, if you ever, ever see gluten-free pita let me know. :-)


Scholarly Sunday - Biology is Not Destiny

I keep thinking about a debate my science class had in 7th grade. The topic was "nature vs. nurture." And we were instructed to pick one. I can't recall which one I chose but I remember being passionate about it.

Sometime during the second semester of college, my dad asked me where I thought "personality" came from. I was taking Introductory Psychology as well as the second course in the Introduction to Biology sequence, so I should have had something remotely close to an answer of sorts. I didn't. He proceeded to tell me that he thought "personality" was created by a God or a force greater than us, unchangeable and concrete.

Tonight, whist having a conversation similar to the nature vs. nurture one, my younger sister asked me if I thought personality was plastic. After majoring in Human Development and finishing a quarter where I read 4,000 pages on child development especially current research on infancy through five years, you would think I would have an answer. But all I have are more questions.

What is personality? The definition could change the answer. If personality is temperament, then yes and no. Depending on individual differences, either from genetics or environment or the intermingling area between the two, yes, personality can change but it may not. But I don't think personality is temperament and I don't think most people mean temperament when they say personality.

Maybe it's time I take a Personality course?

I think everyone wants to believe that it is "nurture" that makes us who we are. That means that we don't have to become our parents. That means that we can take the good or bad behaviors/actions we see others doing and utilize them in our lives. (It also makes for good policy in rehabilitation.)

But I don't think it's just nurture. We are not born as blank slates. I think we come in with a whole lot of genetic predispositions to things. Just because we have predispositions, however, doesn't mean it will happen. How we untie heredity (genes and the like) from "environmental" influences, I have absolutely no idea.

I like the saying Biology is Not Destiny. It acknowledges the salience of both biology and environment. But I am quite a fan of Erikson's Epigenetic Principle that he discusses in Identity and the Life Cycle. He describes humans has having a blueprint (genetics and the like) that everything grows from.

To bring this idea down to a physical level (as behavior can be rather abstract), Celiac Disease is a great example. There are a handful of alleles that must be present for someone to have Celiac Disease. All people with CD have these alleles. But, all people with these genes don't have the Disease. My cousin's wife has CD and her daughter is positive for CD genetically, though, at the present time, she is not a Celiac. It is highly possible that one or both of my parents have the genes and that one or more of my siblings do too. Yet they are healthy. So something in the environment, combined with the genetic predisposition, causes the immune system to go haywire and attack itself. I don't think anyone knows what the triggers are, but before I started having symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes, I had a series of flus and colds. And before the symptoms of Celiac Disease appeared, I had a very strange virus that almost completely closed my throat up, necessitating the need for a steroidal treatment. (Did the shot of cortisone make a difference?)

So if you think about this with, hey, lets make it interesting, psychopaths, they probably have some biological difference than most of us normal folk. But it is possible that combining that biological difference with environmental influences creates the "pathology."

I don't know. But I certainly don't think it's a case of Nature Vs. Nurture.

And that's a rambling Scholarly Sunday, for you!



Fantasy Friday - Summer Plan A

Dear Blogosphere!

Happy Fantasy Friday!

So I am in the process of applying for an internship for this summer. It is paid (yay!) and is at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. For those of you who are nerds, this is the home of the General Social Survey!

I'm not sure how well-known or competitive it is, but I am hoping I land it. It's 10 weeks of learning about surveys in a new city that can't possibly be as hot as Davis. Cool!

And there is the first Fantasy Friday!



Thankful Thursday - From Novocaine to Etiquette

I am thankful for
  • Novocaine
  • Whoever came up with cheese... or accidentally made it
  • The women in my life, who have taught me everything from applying mascara to jumping batteries
  • My professors and high school teachers who keep in contact
  • And the few people who still see the value and importance in thank you cards

Written Wednesday - A November Second

The gray scent of winter had already settled in. I drove up the steep hills of the avenues to see a view of the city. I talked along the way, saying a whole lot of nothing, probably making little sense. In my head I was asking myself why followed by why not.

I wanted to feel, if only for a few moments, what it means to be alive. To feel like I was taking an opportunity. My twenty-second birthday around the corner... I had, for the first time, a fear of not living life. The weight of mortality felt heavy on my shoulders. Twenty-two. Easily, a quarter of my life over.

In a way or two, you were there. You were telling me secrets. The truth. Or, well, at least some of it.

This feeling of raw, unbridled femininity took over. Words like connected and life and mother and earth and sea seeped into my mind. I was empowered with a sense of myself and a sense of womanhood. I felt beautiful. I felt like I had touched heaven with my feet planted securely on earth.

The tiny head and tail lights zoomed up and down State Street. A Winder Dairy truck passed. I looked up at the stars. And realized, though I feel so far away from you, each night we fall asleep under the same sky.

I never wanted to see you go. There were not, there are not words. Only the silent tears as I put my head down to rest.


Tasty Tuesday - Omelets and Good News!

Dear Blogosphere,

Sleep is a wonderful thing and I am pretty sure most people don't get enough of it. I usually do. In fact, sometimes I get too much sleep. During snooze-time, your brain works through problems and figures or sorts out all the new information you gather each day. (This is why it is better to get a good night's rest before a final as opposed to pulling an all night cram session.) Sometimes these show up in dreams. Other times, you just dream of making omelets.

Omelet cooking is my latest recurring dream. It is amazing. I see myself putting a good sized serving of butter into a non-stick pan. It melts and once it gives off that browning aroma, I pour two fresh, beaten eggs into the pan. It smells like heaven. Once it is mostly set, I flip the beautiful golden, soft disc. In some dreams I add various cheese, vegetables, and even meats, but usually I just have a plain, all eggs and butter dream.

Isn't that delicious?

Anyway, the good news is...

Olive Garden now has gluten-free pasta!

Although I'm not a huge fan of Olive Garden, it is wonderful to have a new option for eating out! And it is just one more chain that has picked up on gluten-free. :-)

Until tomorrow,




Scholarly Sunday - More than Myth

Dear Blogosphere!

Today I have read quite a few articles and really enjoyed one of them.

"More than Myth: The Developmental Significance of Romantic Relationships During Adolescence" by W. Andrew Collins

I felt like this was a fantastic introduction to the study of adolescent romantic relationships. He begins by making the case for studying them, talks about why we haven't been studying them, and jumps right into methodological and contextual issues.

But one of the reasons we haven't been studying relationships is because they are "private" and relationships should be up for scrutiny. I think this is at the heart of why we haven't been studying child development or parent-child relationships until recently. Another point he makes is that it is rather hard to study relationships purely in a lab. Which brings me to my next point...

The idea of a "hard science." I'm sure you've heard the term. Mathematics, physics, and chemistry are hard sciences. Which, I guess, means that anthropology, sociology, psychology, and developmental science are soft. When I told a neighbor that I was studying child development she asked my why I decided to leave the hard sciences. Sometimes I feel like people think studying people is some sort of cop-out. "Physics was too hard, so I decided to go for something a bit softer."

To get off of my soapbox, I read an interesting thing this past quarter in the Handbook of Child Psychology. It said, and I don't recall which chapter, that developmental science is somewhere between psychological science and biological science. In reality, this is what made the switch from biology so easy. It all boils down to effective reproductive strategies, survival, and adaptation.

Well, I think that's it for the first Scholarly Sunday! Just by the nature of my field, there's a range of opinions, so if you agree or disagree or would like to add something, I'd love to hear it!

Until tomorrow,


Collins, W.A. (2003). More than myth: The developmental significance of romantic relationships during adolescence. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 13(1), 1-24.

A New Year's Resolution

I know it is a little early to start making resolutions but...

Jenn L. does posts for various days (like Thankful Thursdays) which I have decided to steal! Here are mine. And though it isn't 2010 yet, I thought I'd get started today!

Scholarly Sundays - Where I shall indulge you with whatever I am reading
Media Mondays - Where I will talk about movies, music, books, or television
Tasty Tuesdays - Where I will post a recipe or just talk about something delicious
Written Wednesdays - Where I will attempt to write a little prose or poetry
Thankful Thursdays - Where I will post something(s) I am thankful for!
Fantasy Fridays - Where I will talk about dreams and aspirations or just plans
Snapshot Saturdays - Where I will upload a picture or two

I will be posting later today a bit about Peer and Romantic Relationships in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood. Are you jazzed? You should be!


November Flew By

Dear Blogosphere,

November flew right by and I didn't get another post in! I apologize.

So what happened in November?

*School, school, school and more school. It never ends.
*I went on the most delightful road trip from Davis, to Winters, to Lake Berryessa, to Calistoga, to St. Helena, to Napa, to Fairfield, and back to Davis.
*I gave my first big presentation on Socialization in the Family: Ethnic and Ecological Perspectives.
*I turned TWENTY-TWO.
*I ate the most delicious turkey and gluten-free stuffing with my family in Salt Lake.

I am thrilled because I only have one more day of class left! I still have plenty of work ahead of me, but soon I will be back in my beautiful Utah for the holidays!