Friday, June 27, 2014

The Friday Four, Part 72

It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I've fallen way behind on my writing.  I have a big stack of books I've read and need to review, so hopefully I'll be able to get some of those written and posted starting next week.  In the mean time, here are some utterly flippant items for today's Friday Four


I have pretty purple toes:


My oldest son desperately needed new shoes so I took him to the store the other day.  He chose bright red Nike tennis shoes; I found two pair of shoes on clearance and splurged for me
Nice basic beige pumps - go with everything!

My old flip flops were trashed.  I'd worn them for about 3 summers.
I like these replacements with just a little bling!


We finally went to our first Spokane Indians baseball game of the summer - almost two weeks later than usual!  Nothing like a night at the ball park!  (Even if the Indians lost their first home game that night!)

Oh well - there's always next time!


Ok, so here's one that's not frilly or flippant.  I was in a conversation the other day when a friend suggested giving a boy some panties "if he's going to act like a girl" (i.e. being emotional).  I didn't speak up and object to that and I should have.

"Like a girl" shouldn't be an insult.

Watch a great video on the topic below, or on youtube here:

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Friday Four, Part 71


An enterprising young woman created this poster, first handwritten, then edited and printed neatly, of common phrases that we got from Shakespeare.  You always hear how much Shakespeare affected the English language, but it's still astounding to me to see the specifics.  Without Shakespeare, the sentence "Good riddance to the green-eyed monster with a heart of gold who vanished into thin air after a wild good chase!" would just be gibberish!  Okay, so it's still gibberish, but really - I use at least one of these phrases weekly.


These book dedications made me giggle.

I like 2, 6, 19, and 20.

(slight language warning)


Anita Sarkeesian has come out with the next Tropes vs. Women video!  In this one, she looks at Women as Background Decoration and, I have to say, it's more disturbing than the previous ones because it deals with video games that literally portray women as objects to be used and abused.

**Major language and graphic violence warning.**

Among many other topics, Sarkeesian covers racist exotification, how video games move us from spectator to participant (which is particularly disturbing with the content of some of these games), and the negative effects of sexual objectification on both women and men.  She ends the half-hour video with this zinger:
Compounding the problem is the widespread belief that, despite all the evidence, exposure to media has no real world impact. While it may be comforting to think that we all have a personal force field protecting us from outside influences, this is simply not the case.  Scholars sometimes refer to this type of denial as the 'third person effect', which is the tendency for people to believe they are personally immune to media's effects even if others may be influenced or manipulated. Paradoxically and somewhat ironically, those who most strongly believe that media is just harmless entertainment are also the ones most likely to uncritically internalize harmful media messages. In short, the more you think you cannot be affected, the more likely you are to be affected.


This article provides a fascinating - and somewhat depressing - look at the "Strong Female Character" in several recent films.  Strong Female Characters who turn into "Superfluous, Flimsy Characters", "Strong Female Characters With Nothing to Do", and "Subservient Trophy Characters" don't really count, after all.
So maybe all the questions can boil down to this: Looking at a so-called Strong Female Character, would you—the writer, the director, the actor, the viewer—want to be her? Not want to prove you’re better than her, or to have her praise you or acknowledge your superiority. Action movies are all about wish-fulfillment. Does she fulfill any wishes for herself, rather than for other characters? When female characters are routinely “strong” enough to manage that, maybe they’ll make the “Strong Female Characters” term meaningful enough that it isn’t so often said sarcastically.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Friday Four, Part 70


More of #11, please.  And I prefer hot cocoa in #14.
Yup.  Pretty darn close.


I personally have absolutely no desire to ever run a marathon.  My couch-to-5k experiment last summer was sufficient for me.  But I admire those who do it.  Especially 91-year-old women who have run 15 marathons in the past 16 years and break records.


My sister and I went to the Neon Trees concert this past Tuesday at the Knitting Factory.  We ate in the District Bar right next door beforehand.  The food was decent, though the service was slow, but we got to go in before all the other ticketholders and snagged our favorite spot - at a table with chairs! - on a raised area to the side.  It was a great, great show!

Every concert I've been to at the Knitting Factory I've had trouble understanding the opening acts.  I don't know if it's a sound issue with the venue or if the opening acts just aren't as good, but there was such a huge difference between their performances and when Neon Trees came on stage.


This meme is a paraphrase from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk, "Come, Join with Us" from October 2013.  His words were balm to my soul and to many others as well.
Some might ask, “But what about my doubts?”
It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true...
Some might say, “I just don’t fit in with you people in the Church.”
If you could see into our hearts, you would probably find that you fit in better than you suppose. You might be surprised to find that we have yearnings and struggles and hopes similar to yours. Your background or upbringing might seem different from what you perceive in many Latter-day Saints, but that could be a blessing. Brothers and sisters, dear friends, we need your unique talents and perspectives. The diversity of persons and peoples all around the globe is a strength of this Church...
...None of us is quite as Christlike as we know we should be. But we earnestly desire to overcome our faults and the tendency to sin. With our heart and soul we yearn to become better with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
If these are your desires, then regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church. Come, join with us!
I sincerely hope and pray that our actions bear out the truth of these beautiful, inclusive words.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Friday Four, Part 69


Summertime means camping for this family.  For our inaugural campout of the season, we went out to Clear Lake with my folks and my sister and her kids.  It was a blast!

The five cousins chillin' around the campfire.

Summertime also means fishing.  Now, I don't fish - I'd much rather just sit and read - but my husband does and my boys do:


Evan had his last day of preschool this past Monday.  The next morning he woke up and said, "So, Mom, when's kindergarten?"  He was a bit disappointed that he has to wait until September.  He's ready to go now!

Evan with his special buddies Rachael and Amanda.

Just over a year ago, I wrote about Gene's favorite restaurant in town, a taco truck named Fiesta Brava.  Well, since then, the owner Roberto has moved into an actual restaurant space close to where he parked the taco truck at the corner of Nevada and Francis.

And that's where we had dinner tonight.  As always, delicious, authentic Mexican food.  I had my favorite: the fish tacos and pineapple Jarritos.  Nectar of the gods, my friends.  Highly recommended.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Book Review: The Public Library by Robert Dawson

If you couldn't tell by the fact that I have a whole blog dedicated to them, I love books.

The homes in which I grew up were always filled to the gills with books: my parents' old physics textbooks from college sat next to stacks of trade paperbacks by Heinlein, L'amour, and McCaffrey on massive shelves my father custom-made to hold all of the books the military moved for us every three years.  I remember my dad's set of the ancient Tom Swift series on the very top shelf, out of reach of sticky little fingers, and the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (before the invention of the internet I did so many homework assignments with those) on the bottom shelf where we curious kids could find our own answers to all the "why"s we asked our mom.

Books have always made a place feel like home to me.  Maybe that's why I had an inexplicable case of what I can only describe as homesickness flipping through Robert Dawson's magnificent photographs of public libraries across the United States that I have never personally visited.

From the tiny Rudy's Library in Monowi, Nebraska (population: 1), to the soaring and light-filled Central Library in Seattle, each library had appeal and spoke to the character and needs of its community. It's hard to talk about public libraries without mentioning Andrew Carnegie, who donated the money to build more than 2500 libraries across the country between 1883 and 1929, including ones pictured in this book in New York; Santa Monica, California; and the first Carnegie library in Braddock, Pennsylvania.  But no less community-minded than he, the eight women of the Priscilla Embroidery Club in Roscoe, South Dakota, saw a need in their little town in 1932 and organized donations and volunteer labor to build a 12' x 14' building to serve as a library, keeping it open for 70 years before they could no longer maintain it.

The Public Library includes essays from brilliant writers - Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Lamott - letters to kids from Isaac Asimov and Dr. Seuss, and stories about the difference libraries have made and continue to make in people's lives.  I was touched by Kelvin K. Selders, the librarian for the Northeastern Nevada Regional Bookmobile, who drives hundreds of miles to some of the most remote locations in the continental United States to ensure the everyone has access to books.  He describes growing up in poverty and knowing that "the most essential aspect of my work is getting the books into young hands."
I often see patrons waiting for me when I get there, and when the steps are locked and the generator is started, the schoolkids come out.  Have you ever seen a child running to get a book? I have, and it makes me feel my job is worth more than the money I make.
I seriously got a little teary re-reading and typing that.

Chip Ward, a former assistant director of the Salt Lake City Public Library, writes about the importance of libraries to a democratic society.
We enjoy a democratic culture--not because we are like-minded, but because we realize that although we are not like-minded, we have common interests and needs that trump our disagreements...A library is a place where dissent is respected, tolerance is show, and open-minded behaviors are modeled.
He also discusses the intricate and delicate relationship between public libraries and the homeless.
The belief that we are responsible for each other's social, economic, and political well-being, that we will care for our weakest members compassionately, should be the keystone in the moral architecture of a democratic culture.  It is not enough to say it. In the public library we try to do it by creating a respectful and inclusive environment where we can practice that complex and crucial dance of mutuality that is only possible in a safe and open civic commons.
It's a rare week when I don't stop by the library at least once, to pick up a book I've requested, to drop off a book that's due, (rarely) to pay an overdue fine, to have a few quiet minutes to read in a comfy chair or get some writing done while waiting for my son's preschool to get out.  I've taken all three of my boys to story time, found books to help them with their homework or to learn about something that interests them.  Most of the books I read for this blog I get from my library. My life would be immeasurably poorer without access to libraries.

I can't improve on the final words of the afterword by Ann Patchett.
If you love your library, use your library. Support libraries in your words and deeds...Make sure that in your good fortune you remember to support [others'] quest for a better life. That's what a library promises us, after all: a better life. And that's what libraries have delivered.
The Public Library: A Photographic Essay
by Robert Dawson
ISBN: 9781616892173
Buy it from Amazon here: (hardcoverebook)
Find it at a local independent bookseller.
Look it up on Goodreads.
Check it out at your local library (find the nearest one here).