Yesterday was my first–and last–ward council meeting. It seems that, over the weekend, the Church revised some procedures and, as part of these changes, eliminated the ward activities committee as a standing calling. Now “one-shot” committees are called on an as-needed basis for individual activities. Kristy and I will stay on through the completion of the ward Christmas party, but we’ll be released after that.

Brenna and Tutankhamun

Saturday morning Brenna and I ended up talking about archeology real treasure. I painted florid descriptions of what is likely the most famous discovery of “treasure” in the last hundred years or so: the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. We talked about what archeologists were and how they studied the past to learn new things.

I told her all about how “King Tut” had died thousands of years ago and been buried with incredible wealth. We discussed how mummies were, in fact, real, but they didn’t really go around like monsters, trying to catch people. We ended up hitting my computer and browsing through a few galleries, and she was utterly fascinated by photographs of Tutankhamun’s funerary mask (solid gold!) and even photos of his unwrapped mummy being CT scanned.

We left the house to run some errands and ended up browsing through the semiannual book sale at the library. While there I came across the perfect find, a treasure in its own right: a book detailing, in full color, Tutankhamun’s treasure. I bought it for Brenna (it was less than a dollar), who was nearly squealing, she was so excited to have this book for her very own.

Yesterday we sat down and read the book together. At the beginning was a section that detailed the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by Professor Carter in the early 20th century. Following that were over 50 pages of full-page photographs, each of a treasure from the tomb. Brenna was blown away, to say the least. We had a lot of fun discussing the importance of the vulture, cobra, and scarab to ancient Egyptians. She really liked the gold funerary mask and the various necklaces, especially one shaped like a falcon.

The book also contained quite a few black-and-white photographs taken by the original photographer back when the tomb was first opened. It was neat to see how disorganized everything was (as the tomb had been robbed twice, thousands of years ago).

Really, what was most special was showing Brenna how should could learn about anything she wanted. With books and the Internet, she really can learn about anything that interests her. She’s asked that we study the pyramids next, so hopefully we can find some good materials on that topic.

Push the button, Max!

We just finished watching The Great Race. I’d forgotten what a fun movie it was. Kristy was bored through the first half, but she seemed to enjoy the second. I think my favorite part is still the Great Leslie finally, after two-and-a-half hours of pristine untouchable-ness (a real word, I’m sure), getting creamed by a pie. I also rather liked Professor Fate glowering all the time. The actors must have had such fun making that movie.

Tumultuous happenings

It’s been a crazy few days. The weekend was anything but relaxing, which Halloween activities, Brenna’s party, Brenna’s actual birthday on Sunday, chores, and at least a dozen other things that just seem to pop up when least convenient.

At least last week turned out all right. It cost a pretty penny, but I was able to recover most of my lost data and ended up losing only a few days’ worth of work rather than two months’ worth. Unfortunately I did end up losing a bunch of comments from writing group and most of my plot notes. It’s still baffling how both my primary files and all backups (all of which were on separate drives) could simultaneously be deleted, with absolutely nothing else affected. I’ve increased the number of backups, and hopefully the root cause won’t crop up again. I find writing to be difficult enough as it is; recreating something from scratch after it’s been deleted is nothing short of discouraging.

Now work is changing in odd ways. I’m not sure if these changes are an odd shift in a neutral direction or if they’re the first quiet portents of further changes (for good or ill). I really hope that the powers-that-be will provide answers and clarify the situation.

It’s done

I think I’m finished writing. I’m tired of fighting things out of my control. I’m tired of being frustrated. I thought that I really wanted to excel at this–outside of my family, the only thing I really wanted was to see my name on the shelf in a bookstore. Now I can see that I simply didn’t want it enough.


Jonas and Brenna woke me up at 6:30 this morning, so in response I conquered Rome.

Happy Birthday

It’s Jonas’s second birthday today, so that’s pretty exciting. He woke up marginally later than usual (only 5:30 this time), so that was a sort of birthday present from him to the rest of us. I had to fast for a blood test, but the rest of the family had French toast sticks for breakfast. We also gave him one of his presents: a “roadster” tricycle from Kristy’s parents. He seemed to like it, even if he needs to grow another inch or two before he can actually work the pedals.

Also, last night he used the toilet for the first time (with help, of course). He seemed pretty pleased with himself.

North Korean dreams

Last night I had a rather odd dream. I seemed to be a reporter of some type, and I had the unique and highly enviable opportunity to interview Kim Jong-un, son of Kim Jong-il and heir-apparent of North Korea’s reclusive “dynasty.” It seemed that while in real life Kim Jong-un had only been “elevated” to heir-apparent status earlier this year, he had actually been in active control of the country since April of 2010, when his father had secretly stepped down.

As the interview continued, he seemed very reluctant to speak. I’d read (in real life) that Kim Jong-un liked basketball, so I figured that I’d toss him a “throw-away” question that I already knew the answer to, simply to get him talking. I asked him what his favorite sport was. He looked at me and said, “Cotton.” Then he said that he thought I’d wanted to ask him about the “Fischer Group” and counterrevolutionaries in North Korea.

I explained that I was just trying to get a rounded view of him as a person first. I then asked him about the dissidents in North Korea, and he called them “terrorists.” I asked him, given no outside influence and without the terrorists inside the country, where he saw North Korea in ten or even twenty years. I’m not sure that he ever answered the question. The dream then moved on to other subjects.

So, here’s a unique view into the secret world of one of the world’s most reclusive people, heir-apparent of the hands-down most reclusive country in the world. His favorite sport? Cotton. I think that explains exactly why people keep defecting to South Korea…

The temple

This has been a really good weekend. Kristy and I were able to go to the temple on Saturday. We went with Josh Pothoof, a friend, while some other friends watched the kids for the day. The temple was as calming and peaceful as ever, and we received the answers and direction that we were looking for. Also, as usual, we were the witness couple–it seems like we’re always chosen as the witness couple whenever we attend the temple together. It’s been a long time since Kristy and I were able to attend together, and I think it’s exactly what we both needed.

Brenna and the Tree of Life

Earlier this evening Brenna noticed someone’s icon or avatar on a forum on Kristy’s monitor. The small image depicted a tree with spreading branches and glowing fruit. Brenna immediately remarked, “Is that the tree that people want to eat from after they follow the pole?” It took me a moment to realize that she meant the iron rod; she’s a smart girl!