I’ll confess that in some ways I’m still slightly ambivalent about whether I want Barack Obama as president. But I am in no way ambivalent about the very solid fact that I emphatically do NOT want Mitt Romney. And I live in a swing state with a lot of electoral votes. So . . . yesterday we attended an early birthday party at our local Obama For America office.

The last real political meeting I attended was a caucus in Provo, Utah that felt like a cross between a Mormon Sunday School class and a high school popularity contest. So I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the Obama Party turned out to be delightful, with a very fun vibe.

read more

Strange & Norrell, Wine to Water, The Egyptian Revolution, and The Dream of the Celt

This week’s book reviews (with the exception of #1, which is just an irresistible indulgence) are dedicated to people who want to save the world.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is an absolute delight: witty, intelligent, exciting, and original.

I am addicted to footnotes (I even like reading annotated critical editions of novels), so I adored the abundant tongue-in-cheek scholarly footnotes in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I also appreciated the length. No matter how quickly you read, you won’t be finishing it in an afternoon. At over 1000 pages, there is just so much of this book to love.

read more

Ramping Up the Mommy Wars

I woke up this morning to the above-pictured Time magazine cover and accompanying media storm. On the one hand, I love it. Breastfeeding is a normal thing, healthy both biologically and emotionally for mother and child. And the World Health Organization recommends that women nurse their children at least until age two for optimum health and development.

That’s why on the surface it’s confusing why such a photograph would be labeled by the Media as “controversial,” “shocking,” or “provocative.” Until I remember that it’s par for the course in our culture to sexualize every possible thing we can. Let’s face it, the fact that breastfeeding #1 involves breasts, and #2 in our society is typically relegated to bedrooms, out-of-the-way corners, and even bathrooms, causes certain people to view it as a subset of sex. Sad, but true.

read more


Guess what came out of my mailbox today? My copy of Bridges, the alumni magazine for Brigham Young University’s Kennedy Center for International Studies. And guess what I found on page 14? An article about the Tunisian Revolution. Written by me.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably already heard what I have to say about Tunisia. But if you think it’s as cool as I think it is to see my name in print, you can access the online version here.

Looks Like There’s Still Room in Tunisia for One Last Dictator

Can I tell you again how awesome Tunisia is? At the Friends of Syria meeting on Monday, Moncef Marzouki, Tunisia’s interim president (chosen just recently in December by the Constituent Assembly, the interim parliament) played an active role. He suggested only half ironically that Russia back up its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by offering him asylum should he choose to abdicate. And today Marzouki put his money where his mouth is, and offered President Assad and his family political asylum in Tunisia itself.

read more

Pieces of Syria

This time last year I was in Tunisia, breathing the heady air of revolution, and observing curfew every night to stay out of gunfights between the army and the rogue police still loyal to ousted president Ben Ali. Egypt had followed close on Tunisia’s heels, and Qaddafi’s Libya was teetering. But as of yet, despite widespread unrest across the Middle East, Syria was still as silent as the grave.

Today in Tunisia, representatives of over seventy nations, (including the United States, but conspicuously missing China, Russia and Iran) are meeting to consider once again what can be done for the people of Syria. The party (known as “Friends of Syria”) was briefly crashed by several hundred Assad supporters who had been bussed to the hotel where the talks were being held. The infiltrators gained access to the hotel, but were eventually stopped at a security cordon.

read more


I absolutely cannot stop listening to this song, so I thought I’d share it with you. It is the official version, so you have to actually go to YouTube to watch it. But it’s worth it.


Fashionable Italian hippies recreating Woodstock in Amsterdam, and Laura Pausini by firelight. What’s not to love?

Tooth Fairy, Meet Santa Claus

My little girl is growing up. She lost her first tooth yesterday!

After this picture, she promptly lost the tooth again, this time literally. Even Grammy’s thorough sweep of the kitchen floor failed to unearth it. So I gave her a pearl to substitute for the tooth under her pillow. And I suggested lamely (how could I not?) that she write a letter to the Tooth Fairy explaining the reason for the substitution. She laughed.

“Mommy, that would just be writing a letter to you!”

True. I confess that I try no harder to perpetuate belief in the Tooth Fairy than in Santa Claus. I figure it’s enough of a job to teach my children all the true things I want them to know, without adding in false ones that will be found out later.

read more

Halloweening, Familia Style

When I was a kid, there was a minister who lived next door to us. He refused to pass out candy to trick-or-treaters. Instead, they got little Christian tracts on how evil and satanic the holiday was. At the time, I just thought he was weird. But I could do without Halloween now.

In fact, not seeing spider webs, creepy masks, and gravestones all over people’s yards and store windows every October was one of the things I loved about living abroad. Not to mention the fact that I didn’t have to either let my kids gorge themselves on candy for the entire first week of November or be the “mean” mom who takes it all away.

read more

Mormons and Muslims

I blogged today over at Times & Seasons about what Mormons and Muslims have in common. Pop on over and have a read:  http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2011/10/mormons-and-muslims/

photo credit