Sunday, January 30, 2011

Why I'm a bad mom, part 5: The worst word!

Way back in part 1, you'll recall I was teaching my kids naughty words. In the years since then, I haven't gone out of my way to teach them naughty words (nor have I bothered to avoid using them), and I'm happy to report that we haven't had any problems over this.

(Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that they probably say naughty words occasionally, but I don't notice because I don't care.)

I did tell Nico recently that saying certain words (especially f*ck) is a little like saying "Voldemort": Some people worried or upset when they hear it, as though the syllable itself had some sort of evil magic power. And it's important to keep in mind when deciding whether/when to use it.

But there's a far worse word out there. Leo has dubbed this word "the worst word in the world", and has forbidden me from ever saying it to him. Can you guess which one?


Why is that the worst word?

"Because it means you're not listening to me."

see also parts 2, 3, and 4

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My continuing adventures as the Vulcan/Romulan Captain Thelev on TeeVee!!!

I hope you liked the earlier episode I posted (the one where I got to play my own evil twin, separated at birth -- one of my faves!). Well, that was episode #7, and here are episodes 8, 9, and 10:

In this one, my younger sister plays a child-genius who invents a computerized brain -- that escapes, naturally. The folks of the lower decks try to catch it without the Captain getting wind of the situation.

In this one, I watch in horror as my arch-rival gets the promotion I deserved! Also features sneaky Tholians and a hamster getting dropped into the soup.

In this one, Captain Kirk's illegitimate grandson (who replaced the horta as our first officer) gets a chance to prove himself -- by figuring out the mystery of the weird recurring dreams!

If you guys like these, I'll go back and post episodes 1-5, but I'd rather you start with these because the earlier ones have poor sound and production quality.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Succeeded in my goal to play more Legos with my kids!

Here's to starting with the funnest goal!

Somehow my kids have seemed to have acquired an uncountable number of Legos. I think Christmas accelerated the process. The trouble with Legos? They tend to leave droppings all over the house. Then, if you succeed in gathering them all into one place, it's impossible to find the piece you want or to get an overview of what pieces you have to play with.

So, to get maximum playtime out of these maddening little bits of plastic, I sorted them. I spent the whole day Saturday at it, and I sorted them all. I bought a whole series of various-sized tupperwares, and sorted the Lego bits into thirty-seven different categories.

In theory, the kids were supposed to clean up the rest of their room while I did the Legos, but that plan had one fatal flaw -- once Legos are sorted even partially they are irresistible to play with! So the kids re-built a bunch of their old sets, and built some more that they found instructions for on the Internet, and even invented some of their own.

Naturally, I could not resist the temptation myself. I wanted to try out some of these "Lego Heroes" bits that we certainly didn't have when I was a kid. (Seems like in the olden days, we just built simple stuff like castles.) In particular, I wanted to see if it was possible to build something out of the hero pieces that wasn't obviously a Lego Hero. Here's what I came up with:

It seems like these pieces mostly lend themselves to making monsters, so I decided to go with that. Also note, I made the head out of bits that I think were from some sort of boat.

What do you think? Doesn't it make you want to have 7-to-10 year old kids, so you can have an excuse to play with toys? ;^)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Vote (for me) in the 2010 Brodies!!!

It's that time of year again! Time to showcase the best LDS-interest stuff posted to the Internet in the past year!! And vote for which ones deserve awards as the very best!

Several of my posts are in the running. Please vote for me -- unless, of course, you think someone else's post in the same category is better. ;^) There's some pretty stiff competition!

Plus, I was nominated for "Best Bridge Building" (overall). We'll see if I can beat John Dehlin -- he's a lot more famous than I am. ;)

Whether I win or not, though, I'm thrilled to see how many people are excited about these awards!! This is only the second year we've been holding Brodie Awards at Main Street Plaza, and I'm glad to see that people are having fun with them! :D

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

2011 State of the Me Address

You may recall from last year that I'd isolated three main categories of goals where I need to put in some effort: (1) career, (2) German, and (3) arts (writing/blogging).

So, how have I done?

1. Career -- on track. As usual, this is a point where it's not appropriate to post too many details to the Internet, but I'll just say I had some specific goals in mind about the direction I'd like to see my career heading, and where I'm at right now is (if anything) better than what I was hoping for.

2. German -- on track. I'm at the point where I can carry on more-or-less reasonable conversation with a very patient German-speaker. I'm about halfway through my intensive German class (two afternoons per week), and I'm enjoying it immensely. And I'm planning to spend my vacation this Summer on a really, really intensive German class/immersion in either Germany or Austria.

3. arts (writing/blogging) -- pretty much totally dropped the ball.

I had a number of different creative projects I wanted to work on this past year, and I got very close to zero work done on any of them. I haven't given up on them. Rather, as Jen Hancock (and Madonna) explained:

So NARAS asked her, how do you keep all those balls in the air? She said she didn’t. She just makes sure to remember where she drops them so that when she has the time she can pick them up again.

Even though lots of amusing stuff happened to me and my family -- which I could have written about -- I didn't even bother to keep my blog updated regularly! At least I updated my masthead so y'all would know I'm not dead...

The trouble is that I have more than twice as much stuff I'd like to do than I have time in a day to do it. I used to write a lot of blog posts in a little notebook while I was commuting on the bus or tram, and now that time has been taken over by German homework. (Well, let's be honest -- for a stretch of several months in there, I developed a rather unfortunate Sudoku habit that also ate up quite a lot of otherwise-potentially-productive commuting time.)

The one exception -- the project that I'm very proud of -- is how well things have been going at Main Street Plaza. For years I've been gathering all of the former-Mormon blogs into a common list (Outer Blogness) and encouraging community discussion by highlighting new blogs and interesting posts in my weekly column Sunday in Outer Blogness. But it was hard for MSP to really get a foothold as a central gathering place because we didn't have enough news and other content to keep people coming back. Then Chino Blanco signed on and changed that. And in the past year MSP has really taken off, from having a small-but-loyal readership to being one of the Internet's most popular blogs on the topic of Mormonism. And the success builds on itself: the more popular MSP becomes, the more people are willing to contribute interesting guest-posts!

Naturally, the blog that's doing well is the one that gets all of my Internet time lavished on it. Usually, I feel like I'm hardly doing anything substantial over at MSP, but it is amazing how time-consuming it is just to read everyone's blogs every week and look for ways to weave the different discussions together.

Another goal that wasn't on my official list -- but that I did a good job on -- was to spend more time with real-life (non-Internet) friends and with my kids. As far as the kids are concerned, I'm a huge believer in undirected, free, imaginative play. However, it's possible to go overboard on that. I like to set aside a certain amount of time to read to them, and to just sit down and play some of the things they're interested in with them. Especially now that they're getting to be old enough to build some really cool, complicated stuff out of Legos!

So, my goals for the comping year are (1) to keep going on the items that are on track (German, career, family, friends, MSP), (2) pick up some of the balls of creative projects I've dropped, and (3) Put some more effort into "thinking globally, acting locally" regarding the environment, charity, etc.