Friday, September 26, 2008

Beautiful Fall

First, I am posting a lot this week because Ben said that it is my turn! Apparently I haven't been making my fair share of posts. I still love you Ben, sorry that I don't have any exciting political opinions to post about. ;)

Last Saturday we spent a romantic afternoon at the Geode State Park in Iowa. We sat and admired the lake, ate a picnic lunch, and walked through the wooded trails. I don't know how romantic it was for Ben. He had to walk at a snails pace to stay with me and I couldn't walk for very long without completely losing my breath. I also wasn't too impressed with the hole in the ground bathrooms that smelled horrible and had been taken over by the local insects. Eww! (We didn't see any geodes.)

Yeah for fall! It is beautiful and I love the cool mornings.


We have loved getting to babysit several cute children in the last week. Last Saturday we took on two little ones at the same time. We really enjoyed the time and both girls were fantastic. Annabelle is about 4 months old and Gianna is 2 months. Both were well behaved for most of the time. Annabelle started crying just before her parents got there and made us look bad, but on the whole things went well. We also recently babysat Caleb (13 months). He is a fantastic baby and even let us give him a bath. His mom said that he was kind of cranky, but he put on a show for us playing with all of his toys and flashing a huge smile. He even went to sleep without crying or anything.
Here are some pictures. Annabelle did not like the flash on the camera and her eyes would open very big every time we took a picture.

Gianna peacefully sleeping in the swing:

Gianna and Katie:


I have been tagged by my my friend Rachel! I have to list 6 quirks about myself: Here goes...

1. I don't like to kill things, even little things. I have a hard time swatting flies and even killing spiders. For this reason we have squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks eating our garden. The chipmunks actually live under our sidewalk and have burrowed under there. We also have four or five pidgeons that spent a week living on our deck and making a MESS! Whenever we find a spider in the house, we collect it in a cup and let it outside. Right now we have two IMMENSE spiders living outside the back door and the back window. We have left them peacefully there for at least the last two weeks. (They are outside.) I figure that they are our "guard" spiders and that they will protect us if someone wants to break in. Here are some pictures of one of them.

2. I LOVE game shows. I spent hours watching game shows with my grandmother when I was little. I sometimes even watch the dumb ones like Deal or No Deal or American Gladiators. My favorite right now is Wheel of Fortune. I record it and can watch an episode in 10 minutes if I fast forward through the commercials. Ben says that I am pretty good and he signed me up online to try and get on the show. He's in it for the money. $$$$
3. I am very particular about how I organize my groceries on the checkout band. I organize it by how I want to unpack it when I get home. The frozen foods all go together, followed by the refrigerables, followed by cans, etc. Benjamin has learned my system and he does it the same way now too.
4. I make Ben clip my toenails because I am too lazy to do it. He sometimes clips my hangnails too. He is the only one out of the two of us that always carries around fingernail clippers.
5. I don't enjoy talking on the phone for very long. I often pace up and down when I am on the phone.
6. I am a multitasker. I always have to be doing something. If I am on the phone, I am always doing something else as well. I do crafty stuff while I watch TV, play solitaire while waiting for Ben to finish on the other computer, make cookies while listening to my online class, etc. I think it makes me feel more productive.
Anyway, that's me. I'm sure my friends were able to think up more quirks about me, but this is all I could come up with today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I trust this isn't too morbid a topic to address in this particular venue... but I thought this was a cool thing to share.

This is my father's headstone that is now in the Logan city cemetery next to the Utah State University campus. As can be seen, he passed away almost ten years ago now. My siblings and I designed this over the summer in honor of my dad's great affection for Star Trek. (Any knowledgeable Trekkie will recognize this as the Original Series insignia.)

My father (and mother) instilled in his (their) children an appreciation for science fiction. When most little boys were out playing ball with their dads, my dad was building models of the Enterprise with me and teaching me the Vulcan Neck Grip. When most dads were out teaching their boys how to change the oil on a car, my dad was helping me make a toy tricorder. Consequently, I still don't know how to throw a ball or change the oil on my car, but I can recite memorable moments in Star Trek history and cite examples from relevant episodes in graduate school political philosophy seminar papers. What can I say? The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

When my brother and sister came out to visit us last summer, we made sure to make a pilgrimage to Riverside, Iowa where the official Captain James T. Kirk birthplace is located. We did this in honor of our father, who would have enjoyed such a venture. Riverside is located approximately half-an-hour south of Iowa City. Behind a little barber shop on Main Street is a stone monument that reads: "Future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk: March 22, 2228". It should be noted, however, that there is some disagreement over the accuracy of that date. Others calculate a birth year of 2233, but I digress...

So here's to my father, Richard Raymond Knoll. He would have been 51 this year. He was 25 years old when I was born. Coincidentally, I am currently 25 and this year I will become a dad for the first time. I'll be sure to pass on my father's legacy by making sure his granddaughter is well-instructed all about Captain Kirk, Spock, the Enterprise, and the Vulcan Neck Pinch.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And the Third Trimester begins...

As of Sunday, Katie officially entered the third trimester. Considering she's in her seventh month of pregnancy, taking graduate school courses full-time, working part-time as a research assistant at the university, and putting up full-time with her husband, she's doing pretty well. Her only major complaints are a sore back and feet that no longer fit into any of her shoes.

Meanwhile, my Political Psychology course I'm teaching is going well. I have forty students who love to talk about the presidential election. I'm also studying like crazy this week for my second comprehensive examination (the big tests they make you pass before you get to start on your dissertation). It's in political theory and is a three day take-home exam. I'll be working on that from Friday at 9:00 a.m. until Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. Wish me luck! After that's over with I'll start working in earnest on everything else I should have been working on since the beginning of the semester, including preliminary dissertation research with the goal of (hopefully) being ready to defend a dissertation prospectus in the spring.

Other than that, not much exciting going on these last two weeks... so we'll close with some shots of the wildlife that graces our backyard.