Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Should we feed it?

Our new backyard friend...

Say, is it "Sehderberg?"

Tricia and I went to a Seder dinner at BYU to observe the Jewish passover. Victor Ludlow, a Mormon religion professor who hosts these dinners with his wife (they've done it for 30 years), led us through the various parts of the symbolic meal, after which his wife led us in a Jewish song. It was apparent that they really enjoy this--they treat the 100 or so guests as family, and teased each other and told jokes in a natural way that can only come after years of hosting these events.

For instance, when his wife got the mic towards the end of the evening, she said she always gets asked three questions at these dinners. 1) Do you always come to the Seder dinners with him (yes), 2) Do you always eat the bitter herbs? (yes), and 3) WHY? (I don't know.) Then she proceeded to ham it up--and steal the show--while leading everyone in the Jewish folk classic "Who Knows?"

Anyway, my family has always pronounced our surname "SEE-duhr-burg," (though it is invariably mispronounced by others.) However, the original Swedish is pronounced "SYEH-durh-burry." I got to thinking that a "SEH-duhr-burg" (as in Seder ceremony) is actually closer to the Swedish than the vocalization our family has standardized on.

So, what would my great-great-grandpa Olaf Sederberg (the first Sederberg--he had his name changed from Olav Johanson when the patronymics were discontinued in Sweden in the 1800s) think if I broke with recent tradition and disposed of the Americanized pronunciation in an attempt to hearken back to my roots? People change the spelling and pronunciations of their given names all the time, but it seems like last names ("family" names) are more reverenced and not to be touched. Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

only six to go

With unopened chocolate Dunford donuts sitting on the kitchen table as encouragement, I have plowed through 16 of the 22 final projects. I am happy to report I have only six left, and I plan on finishing the grading today.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Remember when you were a college student? You worked really hard for a semester, studied mad hours for a few days leading up to finals, and dug into final tests with abandon? Remember the feeling you had after the last final you took--the feeling of walking out of the classroom with nothing floating in your head except ideas about how you would allow your brain cells to relax and enjoy?

Yeah, those were the days.

Now I get to be the professor who works like mad an extra week longer to assign grades. What was I thinking when I assigned third-year graduate students a semester-long writing project to be turned in the final day of class? The students have put in good work--and now I'm putting in my own good work.

Today I've learned about the following topics:
  • Terrorism
  • Bonds and stocks
  • College student success as it relates to extracurricular activities
  • Continued funding for the Life Sciences Learning Center
  • The business of ice cream

If I didn't have to assign a grade to all of this, I would be more fully rejoicing in all the learning that is taking place within my OWN head. My students are amazing, and I am proud of their work.

But I better get back to all that grading.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

my own way to save the earth

This morning I slept in a bit late while Matt was busy trying to get to work earlier for a conference call. As such, we missed our opportunity to go on a morning run together--a nice little activity that died down with the onslaught of snow, but which has recently picked up with the warmer weather.

My solution was to run to the grocery store this morning to get a couple of groceries for dinner tonight. It was great! I passed all the kid-o's going to the closely located elementary and junior high schools while enjoying the fresh morning air. I showed up at Ream's (our favorite local grocery store!) a bit out of breath, but happily beaming from the brisk run.

A few minutes later I left with chocolate chips (for the mole tonight), oranges, and yogurt. I did NOT run back with my bag, but while I was walking home I thought of lots of different ways I could be a more conscious citizen of planet earth. Here are just a few of the ideas that came to mind:
  • Buy a re-usable tote bag for grocery shopping so I don't use and create waste with the plastic bags groceries are normally bagged in.
  • Start doing around-town errands on my bike. (It turns out my around-town errands are pretty much nil, besides grocery shopping, but in case I need to hop down to the post office...I've got it planned.)
  • Try to re-use cottage cheese and sour cream containers. I'm finding that saved items very often come in handy at various moments.
  • Buy more fresh food items. Simply cut down on canned items--they aren't as healthy and they create more non-biodegradable waste.
  • Start using the herbs in our herb garden! (My next post will be about the herb garden.)
  • Related to the previous point, make good use of the little garden space we have and the cherry tree and grape vines in our yard so we have our own food supply this year.

I may not be saving the world in one shot, but I am trying to do my own little part in leaning toward a solution--instead of toward the problem.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Scout Oath

After attending the Springville Republican caucus and hearing various platforms, I started to wonder what documents best describe my personal convictions, outside of religious documents. Upon contemplation, I have realized that the Scout Oath (and Scout Law) do a great job of very succinctly outlining how I try to live my life, and consequently, how I would act if ever elected to public office. (And yes, I am an Eagle Scout.)

Scout Oath
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scout Law
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I heart Reams

I like living half a mile from a grocery store.

This means that in a pinch, I can run to the store for my morning run and run back carrying a jug of milk so I can have cereal for breakfast. That extra 8.6 lbs provides both a good workout and an incentive to keep my weight down.

Last weekend, I had a slightly longer grocery list. To keep things interesting, I brought along our nice, great camera. Going grocery shopping at Reams makes me happy.

1. Here's the outside of the store. Notice the old fashioned ads: Magic Marker on butcher paper announcing a sale on potatoes.

2. Strawberries on sale. Tricia loves strawberries.

3. Produce at Reams is both cheap, good, and plentiful.

4. I was sure I'd meet someone I knew here, and I did. This is my great home teaching companion Craig and his mom and niece.

5. This friendly employee helped me find the chicken broth (of course, in the soup aisle!). He was pretty excited when I told him about my blog and said that the store management would love to talk with me. Maybe I'll interview them later.