23 September 2007

Strange customs.

I want to know how all of the strange customs that we adopt in our modern culture came about. Things that aren't naturally so. My brother and I were talking a little bit about wisdom teeth yesterday, and we wondered why it is that it's necessary to remove wisdom teeth at all. Why would God give us teeth that we didn't need or use, or even have room for in our mouths? And what did people do before there was such a thing as wisdom tooth removal? On that note, teeth are kind of interesting. I'm sure that toothbrushes and toothpaste haven't always existed, so why is it so important now that we brush our teeth regularly (to keep our mouths fresh and free of cavities), or flossing? Who ever came up with flossing, anyway?

Also, this custom of women shaving their legs and armpits, and men shaving their faces, or the plucking of . Don't worry, I fully endorse these practices. I generally don't like facial hair (on guys or girls, for that matter), and I shave...but I don't understand why I have to. Why do I even grow hair on my legs if I'm a girl and girls aren't supposed to have hairy legs? It makes no sense to me.

18 September 2007


I think of this blog as my Russia blog because it's where it all began...but it's not. And actually, after 3 months of being American, I've forgotten what it's like a little bit there [in Russian]...to be there, to be Russian (ahem, I was never exactly Russian...but pretty dang close). How they say things and what they do, and all of the culture, the wonderful culture. That's terrible. It doesn't help that I suck at Russian. Ode to Russia...how will you be in my future? Only time can tell.

Handicap Sticker

My ethical standards have degraded to a large degree lately and I am not sorry for it, really. Ok, so maybe I'm a little bit sorry for it. It's guilt, but it's not the kind of guilt that's motivating me to change. It's just caused me to think about it...and not change.

Here's the deal. I have a handicap sticker...illegitimately. I am pretty sure there is someone in my family who has this legitimately, but somehow, because I have a car that is owned by the family, I have access to a decal.

Since parking in Provo is horrible (especially at BYU), sometimes I excuse myself and use it. It started this summer and it's gone on. At first, it was going to be a one-time thing. And then I started using it more and more, and justifying it more and more. And I thought, what's the big problem? It's not like faculty really NEED all of these spots they have. And I've gotten plenty of parking tickets on BYU campus (some of which haven't even been my fault), so I don't feel like paying again...but I do feel like parking closer to where I have class.

Today, I got a wake-up call in this department. Maybe it's God telling me that I'm wrong and need to start being more ethical...and not using something that I did nothing to deserve. It's not as if I steal handicap spots from people--actually, I never park in the handicap spots. Just faculty spots, and then I put up the handicap sticker so that I won't get a ticket.

This is wrong, I know. But is it really all that wrong? How many times do people have privileges that they don't deserve, anyway? Isn't that the definition of "privilege"? And the world is unfair, isn't it? Who am I to think otherwise?

Today, I was parking in the JKB faculty parking lot, right next to the Parking and Traffic Enforcement Office. There was even a girl ticketing in the lot. I saw her and she saw me, that was obvious. As I put up the handicap sticker, she turned around to tell me I couldn't park there (I presume), and then saw the sticker and said, "Oh, you're alright." (Or, more properly, "You're all right.") And I said, "Thanks." And headed to class.

But I was embarrassed, I'm not going to lie.

I do NOT have a respiratory condition, nor a cardiovascular disease, or any other "ambulatory" condition. I am not confined to a wheelchair. And I am not "blind." My knees sometimes pop when I walk and I get winded when I walk up the stairs south of campus, but that's my own fault. And I guess that means I am mocking people who actually have those disabilities. I'm not sure, but if I think of it that way, then I feel terrible. I'm really grateful to not have any of these conditions.

04 September 2007

Life's Questions

I have a lot of questions. Recently, I have decided to start asking them, which is the first step to getting them answered.

Here they are (the ones I can think of right now, anyway):
1. What do the solid white lines mean on the streets?
2. Are there Costa Vida's outside of Provo?
3. Can lovehandles be gotten rid of?
4. What causes hiccups?

--SOLID WHITE LINES are used on the right of roadway edge.
–SOLID WHITE LINES separate lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. Crossing a solid white line requires special care and is discouraged.
–Solid white or yellow lines are sometimes used to channel traffic around a hazard. –A double solid white line prohibits lane changing.
(Source: "Traffic Signals and Pavement Markings," CyberDriveIllinois.com)

I have noticed that solid white lines are used for bike lanes and the car pool lane on the freeway. Sometimes, it is broken white lines and I suppose this is the time when you are encouraged to cross, if needed. The other day I was confused because there was a huge shoulder, big enough for a lane. I thought it was a lane. I was driving in it. It wasn't a lane. (Moral lesson learned: the car pool lane is an anomaly. Don't cross the solid white lines unless necessary.)

2A. Costa Vida's are all over the country, including in AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, ME (Maine), TN, TX, and UT. It did start in Utah. In fact, the first location was Layton, UT, in 2003 (source: costavida.net).It was Costa Azul then, as I remember. (To think, my hometown!) I thought it was a crappy restaurant because it was right next to the movie theater. Not that the name change had anything to do with it, but it is interesting to note that I didn't start enjoying the restaurant until it became Costa Vida. Now it's pretty much an addiction.

Costa: coast
Vida: life
Azul: blue

3A. Exercise doesn't burn fat from specific areas of the body. The reason that it may be helpful to tone the muscles in your abdomen, though, is when you do reduce your overall body fat, the more toned areas will have a nicer appearance. But there is no way to get rid of lovehandles specifically, or fat from any other area of the body. And it seems to me that the places fat goes is up to your body type, often, althoughApparently, fat in the lovehandle area for men is due to heredity. I also read that lovehandles are more common in men because the midsection is the area of the body where men tend to gain weight. I read somewhere that sodium (from salt) causes water retention in your body, and that "The amount of too much salt in your diet is responsible for around 80% of love handles." I don't think that statistic is backed.

4A. Wikipedia says this about hiccups: "While many cases develop spontaneously, hiccups are known to develop often in specific situations, such as eating too quickly, taking a cold drink while eating a hot meal, eating very hot or spicy food, laughing vigorously or coughing, drinking an alcoholic beverage to excess, crying out loud (sobbing causes air to enter the stomach), some smoking situations where abnormal inhalation can occur (in tobacco or other smoke like cannabis, perhaps triggered by precursors to coughing), or electrolyte imbalance. Hiccups may be caused by pressure to the phrenic nerve by other anatomical structures, or rarely by tumors and certain kidney disease. It is reported that 30% of chemotherapy patients suffer singultus as a side effect of treatment."

I get hiccups all the time. I wonder if, in my case, it is an indication of a more serious medical problem. "Some illnesses for which continuing hiccups may be a symptom include: pleurisy of the diaphragm, pneumonia, uremia, alcoholism, disorders of the stomach or esophagus, and bowel diseases. Hiccups may also be associated with pancreatitis, pregnancy, bladder irritation, liver cancer or hepatitis. Surgery, tumors, and lesions may also cause persistent hiccups." I don't think I have any of these diseases.

In Russia, I got the hiccups practically every time I ate. I don't as much anymore.

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