* We got home Saturday from a week in sunny Southern California. It was lovely. The view from our room was divine, but even more lovely was the fresh air and warmth.
Utah's inversion where we live has been especially awful this year, with snow lingering on the ground since Christmas and very few days in January above freezing. We try to go to a warmer place for a week every winter, but I think this year we craved it more than usual. We had a great time at the pool, at the beach, and at a little place called Disneyland. I'll share more photos later, but doesn't this one of Harmony say it all?
* I want to write more, but often I feel tired and uninspired so I don't. I was reading this article about Brandon Sanderson yesterday, though, and I was struck by his advice for writers: "Sit in a chair and write. Ignore this thing they call writer’s block. Doctors don’t get doctor’s block; your mechanic doesn’t get mechanic’s block. If you want to write great stories, learn to write when you don’t feel like it. You have to write it poorly before you can write it well. So just be willing to write bad stories in order to learn to become better.” So, if you find my posts boring at times, just know I'm taking his advice to heart.
* I found this article in the Wall Street Journal about the consequences of America's falling birthrate interesting. Among the middle class, our birthrate rivals China: "Chinese women have a fertility rate of 1.54. Here in America, white, college-educated women—a good proxy for the middle class—have a fertility rate of 1.6. America has its very own one-child policy. And we have chosen it for ourselves." I don't know if I agree with the article that more incentives are the way to encourage more children as I tend to think that government programs mostly are a bureaucratic nightmare. I also thought it was interesting that the average birthrate for a woman in 1800 was supposedly 7 children. There was a woman I met on the beach last week in California who seemed amazed that I had birthed 9 children, as if it wasn't physically possible. So it's interesting to me to note that in an age where the medical care was so primitive, and women died more often in childbirth and in general, the average was so high.
* I lost five pounds in January. I came home from our trip and stepped on the scale to realize I'd gained six on our trip. Six pounds in one week? Ick. I didn't think I'd eaten that much, though maybe the homemade cookies and the rice crispies with peanut butter and nutella on top were a contributing factor. I did go for three runs near and on the beach, though, and they were great. I've got to get motivated to lose the weight and get my fitness back. I'm starting the first week of marathon training tomorrow, though I'm thinking I might switch to the half-marathon because I just don't know if I'm motivated or ready for the longer distances by June. I'm supposed to run 6 miles on Saturday. My longest run in the last few months has been only 4.25 miles so I'm a bit intimidated by that distance.
* We don't have channel television at home, so I'm always fascinated by what's showing when we go on a trip. If you were an anthropologist trying to infer what Americans are like based on what's on television, I'm afraid you'd figure we were all either superficial brats or crazy loons. From people obsessed with weddings (why is Say Yes to the Dress still on? Do people really watch that?) to mothers subjecting their kids to screaming dance teachers or enrolling their toddlers in beauty pageants to people out in the wilderness spending eight hours digging for $15 worth of gold, we're a strange bunch. Then you have shows like Doomsday Preppers, where guns and ammo are just as important as MREs and freeze-dried tomatoes. Weird.