Christmas at the Lauritzens was excellent. Dan indulged my penchant for bright, shiny objects and craptastic adolescent literature, and I pretty much killed our marriage by getting him a box set of computer games. After all the festivities, I read about teenage vampires, and Dan played a computer game involving Einstein coming back to life in order to murder Hitler, thus allowing the Communists to take over the world. We are going to have inevitably wierd children. Not that I am anywhere near pregnant. (Whenever I say something about how wierd our kids are going to be, everyone always looks at my abdomen like I'm already nine months prego and they just didn't notice. I also can no longer say "Guess what?" without someone assuming I'm incubating a spawn.)

All joking aside, Dan and I spent the day together and with family. For the Nielsons, it was a good holiday as well. The cops were only called once, and only one person went to the emergency room. Not bad for a family of klutzy lawyers. (For those curious, the cops were called because some dumb teenager crashed his expensive SUV into my grandpa's front yard. Later my aunt slipped on the ice and sprained her wrist. We have yet to become the Soprano's family.)

I'm so happy Dan and I got to share our first Christmas together. I'm so lucky to have a husband and best friend to spend every Holiday with. I hightly recommend marriage. It makes the holidays one hundred percent better. (love you, Dan.)

I am now leaving to read more about bloodsucking teenage angst and to remind my husband that Hitler is, in fact, dead.


Home for Christmas.

Today we went to my parent's ward for Church. I love my parent's ward, mostly because it is filled with fabulously wealthy old ladies who come to church decked out in the family's emeralds and fur coats.

I also love it because old ladies love love love to talk. Relief Society meetings are almost always open forum. Today's lesson was called "Enduring Together," and lots of ladies got up and talked about how living in the ward helped them endure. My favorite was Sister McGee.

"What I've learned by living in this ward is that I can love anyone. They don't always love me, but Jesus never said we have to be lovable. He just said we had to love everyone else. Anyway, people can't hate you for long when you love them. They eventually realize that you have absolutely fabulous taste, and so you can't be all bad."

This same woman, upon finding out about my engagement last year, asked me, in a very loud voice, if my relationship with Dan was a "Sexual attraction, or a spiritual one."

I told her it was both. I think she approved.


Very Difficult Post-Graduation Life Questions.

Should I be upset that while trying on a size medium dress, I found I couldn't fit the top over my boobs, thus forcing me to try a size large? Should I be upset about this, or should I just revel in the feeling that, for the first time in my entire life, my chest is just too huge.......

Thank you, birth control.


I've Probably Been Studying English Too Long

So you can just go ahead and file this under "Steph is too weird about words," but I recently discovered a new phrase that I hate. I have many phrases that I hate. As well as many words. I can usually trace the hated thing back to a source, for example, I hate the word "potent" because I read a history book which talked alot about the "utilizing the uterus as a politically potent tool." That reminds me, I hate that whole phrase and just about every word in it.

Today's phrase. "She'll make a good wife." I don't know, but whenever I hear a guy say this I am tempted to ask him if he is sure he's talking about cookies or his future spouse. Women are not made into wives. Men are not made into husbands. Marriage does not instantly transform a woman from one "thing" to a another. It's not like cookies, which start out as dough and are later "made" into delicious and fatty goodness. I'm okay with the idea of developing into a good spouse, via mutual growth and negotiation, but I hate the idea of "making" a good wife. It makes the role of wife sound almost inanimate. I'm fine with someone using an active verb, i.e. "She'll BE a good wife," but "make" is a word for model cars, and, well, cookies.

The phrase also seems to imply that there are certain, universal, characteristics to being a good spouse. To continue the cookie metaphor, it's like saying that there are a few "ingredients," probably along the lines of domestic and scrapbooking skills that instantly render a woman a good candidate for marriage. If your spouse doesn't come with cinnamon, nutmeg, and three cups of flour, she won't bake well. She won't make a good wife.

If I'm completely honest, I can trace my hatred for this phrase back to an ex boyfriend, who told me he didn't think I'd make a good wife because I was a liberal Democrat. He thought that when he was made a Stake President, it would "look bad" to have made a Liberal wife. I have spent many years wishing to go back in time and saying something like "I wonder if President Faust makes/made a good Apostle? He's a Democrat too, you know." But oh well. We are now both happily married. Me to a wonderful man who loves me for me, not what I can be made into. And him? He's married too, ostensibly to someone perfectly suited to be made.


Explain This To Me.

Explain to me how, despite my best efforts, my concluding paragraphs to every single one of my papers turn out incredibly cheesetastic. Even the history papers where the conclusion should simply be, "Thus, this war was important for x,y,z, reasons, the end."


That Willard is Gettin More Complicated.

Mitt Romney recently gave what some have called a "JKF speech," referring to the time when JFK gave a speech emphasizing that his Catholic faith would not interfere with the running of the Free World.

I am pleased that Romney has decided to talk about a very difficult political subject. I still think he'd be better managing a reunion tour for the Osmond family, but I respect someone who is brave enough to say "Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it." That is impressive.

But I, like Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, are less impressed with what was not said in Romney's speech. Romney praised the fact that America is comprised of many forms of religious faith, but, deliberately excluded those who are agnostic or atheist. As Noonan puts it,

"There was one significant mistake in the speech. I do not know why Romney did not include nonbelievers in his moving portrait of the great American family. We were founded by believing Christians, but soon enough Jeremiah Johnson, and the old proud agnostic mountain men, and the village atheist, and the Brahmin doubter, were there, and they too are part of us, part of this wonderful thing we have. Why did Mr. Romney not do the obvious thing and include them? My guess: It would have been reported, and some idiots would have seen it and been offended that this Romney character likes to laud atheists. And he would have lost the idiot vote.
My feeling is we've bowed too far to the idiots. This is true in politics, journalism, and just about everything else."

The idiots of the world like to paint the atheists as evil, horrible, people whose sole purpose in life is to destroy Christianity and Christa in values. People are boycotting The Golden Compass film because it is critical of "The Church." This is an overly simplistic, and quite frankly, dangerous way to view what is essentially just another belief system. Atheists believe differently than Christians. That does not render one person better than another. There are wonderful atheists in the world, and, as the books The Golden Compass is based on notes, horrible things have been done in the name of Christianity. Wars. Genocide. Death.

In 1492 was not just the year Columbus sailed the ocean blue. In 1482 all of Spain's Muslim Population was eradicated. Some fled to other countries. Many were tortured. Muslims who had converted to Christianity were hunted down and killed as heretics. This was all accomplished under the instruction of the Catholic Church and in the name of Christianity.

I am a Christian, but I know that often times people who share my beliefs abuse their religion as a means of gaining power. I also know that people who share my beliefs have done, and will continue to do, wonderful things in an attempt to follow Christ's example.

The same goes for those who adopt an agnostic or atheist world view. Many do wonderful things. Some do not.

I think it is time for people to start thinking more critically. I think it is the idiots of the world who believe that seeing a film made by an atheist who is critical (and rightfully so,) of the crimes organized religion has committed, will somehow destroy their faith. I think it is only an idiot who will brand all members of a particular belief system as "evil" and "anti-Christian" solely because they do not believe in a divine deity. It is foolish to assume that someone who does not believe in Christ is automatically anti-Christian.

And it is foolish to ignore an entire demographic who will soon claim the right to vote for you, or not.



So I am not even going to tell you how long it took me to figure out how to post pictures. Not even going there. Let's just say I'm special needs when it comes to technology. I ride the techno short bus. I'm posting these pictures because I needed a little break from the constant finals, term papers, applications stress. I also need to recover from my most recent meeting with a Professor, where I admitted that I had NO idea what I was talking about in my paper. And she was all "That's fine, make it up, it's an English paper." Then she went "I'm really excited about your paper, it should be fascinating." NO PRESSURE, THOUGH. Dang it, now I have to be fascinating. But not here. Here I can just post pictures of our little tree, Henry. Henry's got about 4 weeks to live, but it is going to be a cute four weeks.

These are some of the ornaments on our tree. The USS Enterprise is Dan's, and he bribed me into letting him hang it by gifting me these cute little bird ornaments.
We also have lots of new ornaments as of today, because Dutch Santa (who looks a lot like my mom,) delivered presents in our wooden shoes. (Yes, we have wooden shoes) My favorite ornaments are the ones that consist of little jingle bells with snow man heads glued on top. Nothing says Christmas like a decapitated snow man that jinjles.
More pictures to follow. I have to go be fascinating.


We have an understanding.

"Are you ready to for the craptasticness that is an episode of Charmed?"

"I prefer to see Charmed as truly quality television. Truly quality television that is terribly misunderstood. It's how I justify this and sleep at night."

Ahh marriage. An institution based on compromise. I refuse to watch Star Trek and he refuses to watch In Her Shoes over and over again. With Charmed, we both win.