A day in the life

9 04 2008

I slept in today, even though I told myself I wouldn’t.  Typical.

But then I got a fair amount done.  Not as much as I would have liked, especially given the fact that I got roped into working the lunch shift tomorrow, but it still felt good to get some things taken care of.  I repotted almost all of my plants into bigger pots so they’d have more room to grow.  I did some grocery shopping.  I visited with my sister’s cats since she and her family is in Hawaii for spring break.  I finally went through the vases from my other sister’s wedding to see what I could use for mine, although I didn’t bring them down from the attic yet.  I didn’t want to attempt it alone in case I dropped a whole box and shattered them all.  Straightened up around the house.  Had dinner with Mike.  Made some phone calls, particularly an important one about a recent wedding dilemma.  Went to small group, and I just got off the phone with Meryl.  The sun made me happy.  I should have been in bed 15 minutes ago, but maybe I’ll sneak in an episode of Medium since I’m already past my bedtime 🙂

I thought this was interesting:



A goal

8 04 2008

I always have lots of goals:  drink more water, spend less money, exercise more…

however I rarely actually set myself quantifiable goals.  I inevitably fail them when I do, and the guilt and let down of failing inhibits me from trying to continue.  I do better at achieving my goals if I just keep them as vague desires in the back of my head.  More of a “I’ll try and do this more”

I’m making an exception though, and that’s this blog.  I’m guessing many had given up on my posting on a regular basis long ago. I truly do miss the experience of expressing myself in this fashion.  I can’t put my finger on what exactly has been inhibiting me.  Yes, I’m busy, and often lack energy, but that’s not the only thing.  I think I’m a bit daunted by all the posts that I haven’t written.  All the things that I’ve thought “I should post about this” and never did.  So here goes.  I’m going to write something everyday that I have access to the internet for the next 2 weeks.  Maybe that’ll clear the air enough that I can start using this as a medium of self expression and a way for friends to keep up with me again.  I think it’s especially important now that I’m not living with the Evanston girls.  Not only will this allow them to still know my day to days which is so important to keeping up friendships, but I’m finding I don’t have as many outlets for my thoughts.  I share with Mike, but it’s different.  And there’s only one Mike.  I used to have 3 very close confidants at my fingertips.

By the Eights

3 12 2007

Abby tagged me.

8 passions in my life
kids, especially babies and toddlers
my soon to be husband
American Sign Language
travel and experiencing other cultures

8 things to do before I die
travel in Australia and see the great barrier reef
go to the olympics
visit Ireland
see the Taj Mahal and travel through India
live in Jamaica
have children
be a member of a community choir
help design and build my own house
8 things I often say
I feel like…
I mean…
Liz, off limits
Ray, no bitting
let’s share
Oh lordy
Oh my goodness
I’m tired

8 books I read recently
The Golden Compass trilogy by Philip Pullman
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
But not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
The Foot Book by Dr. Suess
Water, Water Everywhere by Baby Einstein

8 songs that hold some meaning for me
(only 8!)
When You Come Back Down by Nickelcreek
The Arms of a Woman by Amos Lee
I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables
Come Thou Fount
Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow commonly known in the Mennonite community as 606
One Tin Soldier by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter
Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer
Parto, Parto from La Clemenza di Tito by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

8 qualities I look for in a friend

8 people I’m tagging to go next
See Abby’s list

Ten Random Things about Me

17 08 2007

Bindi tagged me.

1. I have a dark brown birthmark about the size of a quarter on my left leg halfway between my knee and my foot.  My oldest sister has a light brown birthmark on her shoulder, and my other sister has both.  I’ve never heard of birthmarks being hereditary though.

2. I learned to jump horses when I was 11.  But I haven’t been on a horse in years.

3. I love mayonnaise.  I especially like it on fries.  My parents lived in Belgium for a while where they eat fries with mayo and she late passed on the habit to me.  My love of mayo is somewhat of a running joke in my life.  My best friend from childhood love to tell how I used to eat it plain.

4. I’m crazy about balance in decor.  I love things that come in threes.  I don’t care as much about symmetry as I do about a space feeling balanced.  I’ve never studied fung shui or any of the other methods of balancing a room, but I’m sure I’d find it fascinating.  I tend to just follow my instincts.

5. I have a much smaller personal space than most Americans.  a) I’m a physically friendly person, b) I spent formative years in Africa where their personal boundraries are smaller.

6. Forget walking it, I can still cartwheel a line when I’m tipsy.  Comes from all that practicing on a beam.  And with the lowered inhibitions I’ll likely show you if you ask.

7. I’ve never dated a man with brown eyes. 3 blue and 3 green, but no browns.

8. I have a bad habit of snorting really loudly when I laugh too hard.  Then I get all embarrassed.

9. I have tiny feet.  I in High school I thought I was a size 7, turns out I’m more of a size six.  I even have a pair of 5.5, which I bought by accident, but hey, they fit!

10. I usually don’t notice when people call me Steph v. Stephanie, except once when a guy started calling me Steph within minutes of meeting me.  That caught me by surprise.

A summer’s break

14 06 2007

I’ve been away.  Did you all miss me?  (my voice echoes through an empty hall, hello?… anyone there?….. silence)… oh, well, ok.  I guess I’ve been away for a long time.

Lots of changes going on in my life… sort of.  Eh.  It’s a long story, and really, I just don’t have the energy for this right now.  So I’m probably going to be gone most of the summer.  I’m giving myself a break from the blogging world.  I’ll probably lurk around on blogs that I love, cause I just can’t stay away.  Work has become more demanding (an extra baby and another caregiver who I’m technically in charge of even though she’s almost twice my age) and I’m finding the need to focus more outwardly (I’m taking a ceramics class, and there are a bunch of other things I want to do this summer)  So I might post occassionally during the summer, or not… I’ll probably be back in the fall.

I’ll miss you all 🙂

Interview IV

9 05 2007

First of all I want to say it’s really hard to be satisfied with these answers because the questions were so amazing and thought provoking!  Thankyou so much for the challenge Mel.

1. In answer to Flutter’s question about the most important thing about you, you replied, “when I was 9 my parents and I moved to Zambia.” Wow! What are some of your best or most vivid memories of that time and place?
There are so many!  Like the time that my dad killed a spitting cobra that almost attacked my mom by throwing a hammer at it and hitting it in the head.  Or the way the world looks at night when there’s no artificial light for kilometers and kilometers in all directions.  Or going swimming on horseback and learning to jump at the tiny British expatriate school that I attended for a few months.  Or the first time I saw the mist and heard the roar of Victoria Falls.  Or being charged by a rino when my dad drove too close.  Or when a couple of my friends were almost run over by a runaway ox and cart at the little play set by my house.  Or my mom crying because we were told by the mission board back home that we had to leave the country in two weeks (this was later retracted, but we had originally planed to stay for 3 years and only stayed for 2)  Some time I should do a series of stories from those two years.  That would be good blogging fodder.

2. In your post to the person who found you through the broken engagement search, you said this: “I had to relearn to value myself as an individual,” and you also said this: “I made strong commitments to myself about maintaining my self worth and independence.” How do you feel you are doing with these self-affirming actions these days? Has a new relationship posed any challenges for you in still making sure to meet those goals for yourself?

It’s a daily struggle.  I think these are areas that will take continued growth and attention for the rest of my life.  But I’ve made huge strides.  Granted I had a long way to travel to even reach a healthy place, but it feels good to be able to look back and see how far I’ve come.  It’s not really something you can quantify, but I value and like myself much more than I used to.

Dating Mike has been a struggle in a lot of ways.  I have to fight the urge to rely on him for my self worth.  I have to fight the urge to plan my life around him.  Luckily, he doesn’t allow me to depend on him too much, and he has a way of being supportive while encouraging me to be the strongest person I can.  It’s hard road though because it’s a fight against my natural inclinations.
3. As a nanny, what’s the most important goal (besides “keep the child alive”)that you keep in mind, both at the start of each day and at the start of each new job?

That’s such a hard question for me because I’m a novice nanny.  I feel like I’ve been through a trial by fire the past 10 months.  I’ve had two different jobs with very different situations.  Nothing in my past or education has given me the insight or preparation for this career.  So until now I haven’t really had the luxury of having clear goals at the start of a job.  I’m still a little wet behind the ears, but now I would say the goal with each child is to guide them in becoming independent, joyful, articulate, socially and emotionally mature people.  To provide them with the challenges that will help them to grow at a leave where they are able to succeed.  This of course is easier said than done.  Just because a child has the capabilities necessary to tie their shoes doesn’t mean that they have the focus to complete the task or that it’s going to be easy for you to have the patience to wait for them to complete it.  It’s also my goal to find ways to make the family’s life easier.  Oh, and to give the kids as much love as possible.  That’s the easy part.

Day to day I try and keep them on a schedule of sorts.  It’s hard with babies, but everyone’s happier if there’s structure to the day.  I try to take them out every day, weather permitting.  I try and think of new things the girls can learn, whether that’s how to put the blocks in the bucket or how to not chew on books.

4. Just in the posts I’ve browsed, you mention singing, dancing, salsa lessons, “wheel throwing lessons,” whatever those are, fiddle lessons… do you think you will be a perennial student? In other words, do you agree with the notion that a person should continue to learn something new throughout their lives? Do you plan on doing so?

I definitely think I’ll be a student most of my life.  There are so many things I want to learn and be able to do.  I love the creative outlet of art, music and dance classes.  If I had more money and more energy I’d be involved in a lot more classes.  I am hoping to do some “wheel throwing lessons” this summer.  Wheel throwing is a part of ceramics and is how most hand made pottery is formed.

5. You said last summer, “I just want to feel like something I do really touches someone.” This isn’t a question, it’s a statement: I have really enjoyed reading your blog; it has touched me. While our lifepaths are not extremely similar, I can hear echoes of my own heart from before I settled into the life I have now in your words. I do hope you keep going; your honesty and freshness are very neat to read.

Interview III

5 05 2007

This is from Angella who has really really cute kids.

1.  What is your favourite – a salty or sweet treat?
Definitely sweet.  I love creamy dishes.  I just finished a cup of custard.
2.  If you could live anywhere in the world (other than where you are), where would it be?
There are so many good choices!  Oregon is on my list.  So is Jamaica.  But I think right now I’d have to go with Australia.

3.  What do you do when nobody’s looking listening?
Sing.  I love to sing.  Especially broadway stuff.  When I’m really angry I go somewhere where no one’s going to hear me and sing at the top of my lungs.  When I’m really emotional I sing heart wrenching stuff.  Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m singing to myself until I see someone and become very embarrassed.

4.  If you could go be a celebrity, who would you be?
Nicole Kidman.  She’s poised, gracious, genuine, and I think she’s a really good actress.  But she has poor taste in men.  Really I don’t want to be a celebrity, but I suppose being Nicole Kidman wouldn’t be too bad.

5.  Coke or Pepsi, diet or all sugar?
Regular coke.  But from a glass bottle in Zambia.

Interview II

29 04 2007

These questions come from Nicole whose blog first inspired me to start this project.  I’ve been getting some great questions!

1.  Has being a nanny affected/changed your views on motherhood, and if so how?
It has a lot, but instead of making me want to be a mother more or less, it has opened my eyes to the complexities of motherhood.  I’ve seen how hard it is to be a parent.  Loss of sleep, loss of autonomy.  The guilt of not being with your baby at every possible moment, because that’s what a good mom does.  Frustration over not being able to lose the baby weight.  The expense.  The maturity it takes to stay sane and keep up your marriage and other relationships while caring for this little being who is totally dependent on you.

But I’ve also seen how the girls reach for their mothers above all others.  How they will be calmer in their mother’s arms than they are with me.  I’ve experience great joy caring for these two wee ones, but nothing compared to what I can see their mothers experience.  I look forward to having that some day.

I think being a nanny had deepened my already strong desire to have children, but it has also strengthened my desire to wait until I am much more mature and have a well-established marriage.

2.  If you could only use one spice for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Curry.  I love oregano, but it would have to be curry.  I love Thai and Indian food too much to give it up.

oh wait… does salt count?

3.  What is the one political/moral issue that you try to stay away from (because you think it’s silly, it makes you uncomfortable, etc.)?

Abortion.  Because I have a view that not many people appreciate.  I think abortion is completely wrong.  I think that it is psychologically unhealthy for the mother and that we do not have the insight to know the point when life begins.  At the same time, I am not pro-life in the political use of the term.  I don’t think abortion should be illegal and I am bothered by how many resources are used to try and make it so.  Why not use those resources instead to alleviate the “need” for abortions?  Isn’t there an old proverb about the man who kept pulling drowning people out of a river until he went up river and stopped the man who was throwing them in?  Sort of like that.  There are social issues that lead to the prevalence of abortion that need to be solved before even thinking about making abortion illegal is really going to help anything.  We know from history that making abortion illegal does more harm than good.
Ok, it’s not completely true that I stay away from it.  I actually said basically the same thing in a recent post, but in my “real life” often I won’t get into it.

Oh, and legalizing marijuana.  I’m not saying it should be legal, but please… cigarettes, alcohol, even some prescription drugs… I feel that it’s hypocritical of our government and doesn’t make any logical sense to make it illegal when there are much worse things that are “acceptable”.

4. What is your favorite quote/passage from a book you’ve read?

I adore quotes.  I have to choose one!  Humm… well, I don’t want to be clique, but I Corinthians 13 is the most meaningful piece of writing I’ve ever read.  If I had a creed this would be it.  I wish I could love in the way this passage describes.

Taken from the NRSV:

13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast(a), but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly(b), but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

(a) Other ancient authorities read body to be burned  (b) Gk in a riddle

and because I can’t help myself, here’s a quote from “Memoirs of a Geisha” (the book) that has been very meaningful to me in the last year.

“Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it.  It’s a window that will simply open of its own accord.  The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver.  But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.”

5. If past lives exist, what are you convinced that you were (and in what time period)?

Definitely a cat.  And hopefully in ancient Egypt.  They worshipped/pampered cats.

Thanks for the questions 🙂

More interviews to come, but I’m in Niagara Falls with Mike right now, and trying to store up as much of him as I can before he goes abroad in a few days.


26 04 2007

I was recently inspired to retrace the steps of my interview meme to see how widespread it was.  And boy howdy!  what a big blogging world there is out there!  I decided to stop once I had traced back 10 blogs.  I found some really neat ones that will most likely see me again on a regular basis.  And since I’ve been having a bit of blogger’s block lately I decided to ask each of them to interview me.  If each of them respond that will be 50 questions, which should keep me busy for a while.  Here was my first response.

Christine asked…

1) In a recent post you talked about BYU’s alternative commencement ceremony as a protest to Dick Cheney being the commencement speaker. Imagine instead that the speaker was Hillary Clinton, how would your post have read if students were reacting in the same manner?

You know, I thought about that as I was writing the post.  To be realistic, I probably wouldn’t have been paying as much attention to the news in the first place if it had been Hillary, but let’s say that it was… Howard Dean.  I probably wouldn’t read the blog of someone who felt that way about Howard Dean.  Not because I want to be close-minded, but how often do we relate to someone with vastly different views?  And I’ll be the first to admit that I have to fight the urge to be closed off to views I don’t agree with.

But, I hope that I would respect the ideology behind the protest, and the manner in which it is being carried out.  I feel that honest, peaceful dissent is the best way to bring about change, and is necessary to keep the government in check.  I believe I would feel this way even if things were run exactly how I’d want them to be run (or at least I really hope).  We need open dialog to keep up with the changing world and to create a more respectful society.

2) If you could describe your ideal day in one sentence, what would it be?

My ideal day would be warm, barefoot, earthy, creative, and end relaxing in the arms of someone I love.

3) You need someone to know the most important thing about you, immediately. What is it?

That’s so hard!  There are a lot of things I could say, but I think the most important thing is sort of two things that are closely related.  I was born in Zaire (we left when I was an infant), and then when I was 9 my parents and I moved to Zambia after my closest sister graduated from H.S.  Part of my schooling in Zambia took place at a British boarding school.

Ok, I’m sort of cheating, because it’s really two things, but whatever.  So the Africa part is important because there’s a part of me that will always want to be in Africa.  My happiest, most vivid childhood memories are from our two years there, and it’s my birthplace.  The boarding school bit is important because that was when I started to separate my identity from my family.  I also attended boarding school for H.S. and that had a larger impact, but I trace the roots of my independent nature to that experience.

4) What did you want your name to be, when you were a little girl? Why was it your favorite name?

There wasn’t any particular name, although I liked the name Gabrielle, I just wanted my name to be more unique.  My brother’s and sisters all got cool uncommon names.  Karis, Andre’ and Lenora.  Then there’s me, Stephanie.  There were 4 Stephanies in my elementary class alone.  Remember that British boarding school I was talking about?  There were 16 kids, and another Stephanie.  In H.S. I lived in the room next to another Stephanie Ann.  My dad likes to tell people that Stephanie was the most popular name in Nebraska (where he’s from) the year I was born.

5) What would you change about yourself, if anything?

I would live more in the moment.  This would change me in two major ways.  First off I wouldn’t procrastinate so much because why not do something right now instead of putting it off till later?  And more importantly, I wouldn’t worry about my life turning out the way I want it to so much.  I can really stress myself out with that one.

Kick-ass questions (and my long-ass answers)

18 04 2007

I recently opted to be interviewed, so here we go.

Red Dirt Road asked…

1. What’s your favorite Board Game? If you don’t like board games,
what’s your favorite Card Game? If you don’t like games, tell us why?
My favorite board game is probably either Acquire or the Farming Game, but I really prefer card games. Tichu definitely gains the title of favorite card game and has close associations with China SST. I also really enjoy Rook and Dutch Blitz, both of which are very popular among Mennonites. I suck at choosing favorites.

2. Are you left-handed or right-handed? Ambidextrous?

Interesting that you should ask! I’m am actually left handed. I am in my right mind. I’m a south paw. I’m pretty prideful about my left-handedness because it is the only non-dominate trait of mine that I’m aware of, and because it’s pretty darn cool. It does have its disadvantages though. First of all, written language was created for right handed people, so the way we form letters and words is awkward for left handed people. Plus your hand tends to smear the ink or lead unless you write with your paper sideways like some left handed people do. Some instruments like scissors only work with the right hand unless you have specially made “lefties”. When signing, you should always line a list of dates from the center of your body out. I just couldn’t get this concept into my hands because in my mind, dates always go from left to right in a continuum of time. Sorry, if you’re not an ASL person it’s hard to explain in writing. I remember being extremely frustrated in my interpreting class when we had a whole assignment based on listing dates and I just couldn’t get it right. I am however a right handed gymnast, and I’ve never figured out which way I should bat.

3. If you had to keep only one book and one album for the rest of your
life, what would they be and why?

There’s a copy of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein that my oldest sister gave me when I was young that is very dear to my heart. Album…. humm… that’s harder. I feel that it would be cheating a bit to say the mixed cd that Mike made me, so… I think I’d have to go with Graceland by Paul Simon with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. It has a nice mix of differently toned music, some upbeat and some slower, and has elements of African music which have a way of connecting with a deeply buried part of me.

4. Have you ever played a joke on someone and it went horribly wrong and
you felt really bad afterwards? Tell us about it.

It didn’t go “bad” per say, I just still cringe a bit when I think about it. I had a small crush on my gymnastics coach in high school (he was probably about 4 or 5 years older than me) and one April fools day I convinced my friends that he had asked me out and that we were going on a date after gym that night. I started setting it up a couple days before telling one of my friends that we had been flirting. They bought it, but were clearly concerned for me and told me to be careful. I didn’t do the whole “April fool’s, I gotcha” bit till later that night after I got home from gym. The part that I cringe about is that I made them worry, and that I told him about it, and it clearly made him a little uncomfortable. Ah, high school, such foolish years, but so fun.

5. If you were a superhero, what would your name be?

SuperNanny! (I wish)

To play along…
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Ready…. Set…. Go!