The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Monday, March 30, 2009]

Brandi Carlile Show


On March 25, Katie, Laynie, and I saw Brandi Carlile play at the Ram's Head in Annapolis. It was a great show. Of course! Brandi Carlile is my favorite musician. Katie liked that she played a couple of Beatles tunes. I'm linking to a YouTube video someone took of Let It Be, at this show (so glad she doesn't crack down on bootlegs).

Brandi Carlile has an amazing voice. I don't think it's nice for people to tease me for enjoying listening to someone with an amazing voice.

Brandi Carlile plays the piano and guitar well. I don't think it's nice for people to tease me for enjoying listening to someone who plays the piano and guitar well.

Brandi Carlile writes songs with interesting lyrics and great melodies. I don't think it's nice for people to tease me for enjoying listening to songs with interesting lyrics and great melodies.

So there.

Here's a video I downloaded of Brandi singing Dying Day (I edited some junk off the beginning, but the whole thing is on YouTube).

Japanese Candy


The other day, I went out for sushi with some friends from work. Along with the check, I got a little box of Marukawa gum. I remembered how much I love Japanese candy.

When I worked for Suncoast, I used to buy gummies and Pocky whenever we got a shipment. They're so good! I love the strawberry ones. And the kiwi gummies crack me up, because they have actual kiwi seeds in them.

So I ordered a bunch of Japanese gum, gummies, and Pocky online. I love the internet.

[Tuesday, March 17, 2009]

Being Irish


As I get older, I increasingly value who I am and where I come from.

I love being Irish. Although St. Patrick's Day is a little silly, somehow it makes me really happy. I don't even mind that it focuses so heavily on drinking, which I am against, because that's Irish culture.

Today, at work, I went to a couple of Jewish preschools. Shockingly, only three or four kids out of the 35 or so I saw were wearing green. None of the teachers were. Quite a few kids were wearing orange shirts, which made me feel oddly resentful. For a second it felt like a deliberate slight, but I realized that their parents were just ignorant of Irish culture (Green = Irish/Catholic. Orange = British/Anglican, therefore of the devil). That was the first time in my life I realized that I was a member of the Irish culture, despite never having set foot on Irish soil.

It's fun to drink green milk and have Irish Rover lyrics on the tip of my tongue. It makes me want to do genealogy.

Culture is a funny thing. Last Tuesday was Purim, the Jewish holiday centered around the story of Esther. I love that story and consider it part of my own heritage, but I don't feel the connectedness that Jews feel with Purim. It's just a fun day... not altogether dissimilar from St. Pat's. But I didn't have the cultural experience necessary to appreciate the holiday fully.

[Saturday, March 14, 2009]

It's Been a Week, So I Guess I'll Post Something


How can I not have anything to say after a week? And my birthday week, at that. Alright, I'll talk about my birthday.

I'm 31 now, which doesn't feel right. Is that what happens as you get older? The label doesn't feel accurate.

Laynie and I went out to Melting Pot for my birthday, which was great. Our server was excellent, and the menu had just changed, so we got to try a new main course. It was a relaxing dinner, and I don't have much to say about it.

[Sunday, March 8, 2009]

Time Flies


Morgan turned nine on February 28. It's unbelievable to me that this very big girl was once a little baby and that that little baby is now a very big girl. A wise person once said, "The days are long, but the years are short."

I was looking through old journals today (gosh, what an experience... hope no one ever gets a hold of them, but I can't bring myself to burn them), and I found something I wrote about Morgan on January 17, 2002. Morgan was 22 months old, so almost two. I wrote:

She is so smart! She can count to ten; pick out yellow, red, and blue; sing her ABCs; and sing along with most Barney songs. She also narrate the Barney videos. "Boppy coming!" "Where BJ? Oh! He coming!" "Come back Barney! Barney going." It's very cute.

Boy, she did love Barney! I remember buying tons of Barney tapes because I could only watch each one so many times. It's funny, I have tons of journal pages from when Morgan was little, but not much about her. More about "grown-up" things. But I did write about a phone conversation I had with Morgan on January 15, 2004. I had left two weeks earlier to go to school in Utah, and Morgan was three, almost four. 

Talked to Morgan a little while ago. They got back from the cruise today. She said it was good--Carly [Carson, who was almost a year old] was good, but he fell down a lot, because he had to wear shoes. 

I told Morgan I'm at school, waiting for class. She asked who dropped me off and I said I drove myself. "With you car?" Yes, remember, I drove my car out here. "You sleep in you car?" No, I slept in hotels. "What?" I stopped at hotels to sleep--my car is too small. 

I told her about painting my room. "You mom didn't help?" No, she watched sometimes, but she didn't help. I painted it yellow, with one blue wall. "What?? That crazy? You so crazy!" I like it. 

I asked what she's doing tonight. "It almost nighttime." It was 4:00. She said she's going to Miranda's party tonight. I asked: who's going to get you ready? "Daddy." He knows how to make ponytails. "I have tiny, little braids." From the cruise? "Yeah." Did you have to sit still for a long time? "No, just a little time." 

Oh, when I told her I was calling from school, she asked, "You got a phone there?" Smart. I told her I have my cell phone.

She said Emma's dog died. "But she has a lot of little cats now." Kittens. I told her we have a cat at my mom's house. "What?!" I'm lucky, right? "Yeah."

She got excited all of a sudden--"I saw the mocontrol thing! With the red & green & blue cars! You 'member." I racked my brain. Is it on Carson's baby movie? "Yes!" The remote control cars? "Yes!" Is the tiger winning? "Yeah." He always does.

Sorry if this entry is boring. I'm mostly writing for Morgan, because she reads my blog.

I found a book where I wrote only about Morgan. I was keeping it for her, for when she grew up. Unfortunately, I was a slacker: I only kept up with it December 2000-April 2001. Better than nothing, I guess. Morgan was about a year old. Here are two entries:

February 21, 2001
Morgan is the biggest in her Gymboree class, and the only one walking. She is, therefore, a menace to the poor, defenseless babies, who lack the speed (OK, and judgement) to avoid her clomping feet. Toward the end of every class, all the children get under the parachute, while the adults make the parachute "fly" up and down. Today, Morgan was so excited (she really loves parachute time), running back and forth on the mats. As I'm sure you've guessed, she hurt the other children, knocking over a little boy who was sitting up and stepping on a little girl's foot. And that was on her first pass! They both started crying, of course, so I stayed under to chaperone. Guess I'll be doing that from now on!

March 6, 2001
I'm not sure I can take her into the library anymore. She used to be so well-behaved! Actually, she used to be too shy to leave my side. Now she's so comfortable in her surroundings there, she feels she can just wander off! She was playing with a little 2-year-old boy today. Or, more accurately, she was taking his toy. She walked away with it and he just stared forlornly after her. Then she got distracted by the newspapers and magazines, trying to pull them off the shelves.

OK, one more. I know, I know... just let me live in the past a little while longer. This one is cute.

April 14, 2001
I took the big Morg to Friendly's today. She was very cute, eating a little bit of applesauce and a lot of mac & cheese. The waitress loved her; she came over and sat and talked to me a while. Morgan showed off--majorly. She danced, blew kisses, pointed out imaginary doggies around the room and barked at them, played peek-a-boo... all sorts of tricks. The table next to us was three elderly deaf people, and Morgan was fascinated by them. She kept turning around to look and finally decided to wave to them. Perhaps she thought they were waving when they were signing? Well, they waved back at her and she clapped, then put her arms over her head (which mean "so big"), and blew them a kiss. All the hand motions she knows, all in a row. They were enthralled, and I was very impressed that she tried to communicate the same way they did.

Fast forward to now, when her idea of communicating with Laynie is to TALK VERY LOUDLY AND SLOWLY. And make occasional, random gestures. Carson's the one who can communicate with Laynie.

Well, I've spent the better part of two hours with my journals and this post open. Guess I'd better call it a day.



It's funny how cyclical life can be. Sometimes you end up right where you started.

When Laynie and I moved to Maryland, we checked the Church website and found that our address was within the boundaries of the Eldersburg Ward. However, when we went to that Ward on Sunday (this was last May), the clerk checked and told us that we were actually in the Hampstead Ward. I hate to say it, but we were disappointed, because we loved the Eldersburg Ward immediately, and we were already sad to leave it after a single meeting.

We went to the Hampstead Ward for a few weeks and did not feel it was the right place for us. Probably part of that was being lost in an influx of Utah Mormons, who were there for the summer to sell pesticide or insurance or something. After some thought, we decided to try the Washington DC Branch (Deaf). We felt good there and had our records transferred from Hampstead to the Deaf Branch.

All summer, we had a great experience there. But it changed in the fall. Nothing happened. There was no event we could put our fingers on and say, "Look at this, we are in the wrong place." We thought maybe it was just us, that the distance was getting to us (the Deaf Branch is an hour away, while Eldersburg and Hampstead are both 20 minutes away). We should have prayed about it. I don't know about Laynie, but I thought that it would be "counseling the Lord," that we had already gotten the answer to attend the Deaf Branch, and that was it. Besides, Laynie had a calling in the Relief Society (women's organization) presidency.

Well, we struggled along through the winter, sometimes attending the Hampstead Ward when the weather was bad. We felt more and more like visitors in the Deaf Branch, though, like strangers. After going to Hampstead again in early February, we both came home feeling like we should transfer back there.

I should emphasize that the choice of ward is important and difficult, because Laynie is deaf. If we go to the Washington DC Branch, she can communicate freely (as can I, for the most part) and we can both learn from the talks and lessons firsthand. There are a few hearing people there, but most of the small group is deaf, and church is conducted in ASL. At the Hampstead Ward (or Eldersburg, for that matter), I have to interpret for Laynie. Interpreting three hours is tough on me, physically and mentally, and it's not as easy for Laynie to understand. There's a saying in deaf education that is true: "An interpreted education is not an education." Also, when I am interpreting, I cannot participate in the lessons, and Laynie really can't either, because there is lag time for me to process the language. By the time I get a question interpreted, it's already been answered. The communication barrier also limits the callings either of us can have. For example, if I get called to Primary (the children's organization), what will Laynie do during Sunday School and Relief Society? Even if I were teaching in a meeting where Laynie is, I would have to teach in English, not ASL. It's not possible to do both simultaneously. I'm sure there are more concerns with going to the hearing ward. And there certainly are more concerns about the deaf branch, which are not worth getting into.

So, three weeks ago, we prayed about it and decided to return to the Hampstead Ward. Today was our second Sunday back there, and it is definitely the right place, despite the challenges.

Bishop Briggs and Brother Hill (I think he might be the Executive Secretary) visited us this afternoon to see what's up with us. The bishop shared that Bishop Shepherd, from the Eldersburg Ward, contacted him last week (which was when we asked to have our records transferred back to Hampstead) to ask about us. A less active deaf sister has recently begun coming to church again, and, while there is one brother (Wheeler) who signs, he is only able to interpret Sacrament Meeting for her.

I suppose it's possible that she could come up to Hampstead for church, and I could interpret for both her and Laynie. It seems to make more sense for us to attend the Eldersburg Ward, so that Brother Wheeler and I can share the burden of interpreting, and so that this maybe-still-weak sister would not be asked to drive further for church. We'll see what happens. The two bishops will work it out and we'll do whatever.




My grandmother, Mary Alice Foley, died on Thursday. I loved Nanny, but I hadn't seen her in several years.

I definitely haven't processed this yet. I'll probably bring it up later.