Monday, December 31, 2012

Three Seatbelt Stories

Derrill's story:
We don't really have seatbelts in Nigeria. They exist in the cars, mostly, but have been scrunched under the bucket seats so you can't get at them. I've been in only 2 maybe 3 cars where the seatbelts worked and were available.

As someone who grew up after seatbelt laws in the US made them mandatory, I have been conditioned to believe they are necessary, wonderful, life-saving inventions that are absolutely crucial. Especially for children.
How do I deal with the cognitive dissonance this sets up? Mostly by pretending I'm one of those rebellious, aging hipsters from my youth who like to ride motorcycles without a helmet [see left] and claim seatbelt laws are a tremendous infringement on my civil liberties. Nigeria has freed me.

When I come back to the States, I smirk and say, "Seatbelts. How quaint." I then gratefully imprison myself and my children in the comfort of the familiar.

Prince's story:
Prince loves to race. His favorite race involves racing to see who can buckle their seatbelt fastest. He did it ALL the TIME last summer.

For some reason, when we came back to the States this winter, he had forgotten how to buckle his seatbelt. He just couldn't do it. 

We're accustomed to this normal 4 year old behavior of learned incompetence and we generally have very little patience with it, which is also normal for 4 year old parents. On our way back from the library, Joy gave him an ultimatum: get your seatbelt buckled or you and I are walking home.

That got him to genuinely try again, but the seatbelt still eluded him. I had him get out of his seat and try buckling the belt while looking at it. 

He couldn't. We moved his booster seat (how quaint!) to the far back of my parents' minivan.

He couldn't. Then I remembered how we had the car arranged in the summer [see picture]. I had him move his booster seat to the other side of the car.

He snapped the belt right in. It was a handedness issue. He can only buckle his seatbealt from left to right.

The races are back on!

Princess's story:
Princess loves her brother. When he and I agree to do a seatbelt race, it's often a race to see if he can buckle himself in faster than I can buckle Princess into her car seat. (Infant car seats. How quaint!)  Because of this, Prince usually wins and calls out, "First!"

This morning Prince was still finding his church shoes when I took Princess out to the car. I buckled her in. She looked around the empty car and called out, "Fuhst. Fuhst. Fuhst."

Friday, December 28, 2012

Best Disney Animated Villains

Behold, another awe-inspiring table!

After my post about Disney's animated animal sidekicks, the idea that most attracted me was doing my own villains list. I know, I know, I lose a lot of hipster cred doing something so totally mainstream ;)  I still think it is an interesting exercise trying to quantify WHY certain villains stand out. Descriptions below the break, and as always I am open to discussion, improvements, and filling in gaps for movies I don't remember well enough.

It turns out that 2 villains stand out far and above the rest, with 7 more also notably triumphing (>65 points) over other, mediocre villains (35-51). At the bottom, 5 fell far short of the others (<30)

Top Two (tied at 84/90)

Other villains who scored at least 65

Are you as surprised as I am that every one of the Top 10 either wears a black hat or has pointy hair? I will also point out that Jafar, Scar, Prince John, and Gov. Ratcliffe sport evil goatees, while Hook, Shan Yu, and Merlock have evil pointy mustaches. It is rumored that Ursula has a faint, evil mustache as well, but that they photoshopped it out at her request.

Updated: Added Ending

Cunn Str Evil Plan Song Able Hench Actor End DW Sum Chron
Ursula 8 10 10 8 10 10 8 2 8 10 84 14
Jafar 10 10 9 10 4 9 10 2 10 10 84 18
Dr. Facilier 8 6 10 5 10 7 8 10 10 74 33
Prof. Rattigan 10 6 10 10 6 10 4 5 5 5 71 12
Claude Frollo 10 8 8 2 10 7 6 10 10 71 22
Judge Doom 10 7 10 8 0 10 4 5 8 6 68 13
Syndrome 8 10 9 8 0 7 10 5 10 67 29
Scar 10 6 10 8 6 5 2 3 8 8 66 19
Maleficent 2 10 10 7 0 10 10 8 8 65 6
Captain James Hook 8 7 9 6 0 2 8 2 4 10 56 5
Lots-O'-Huggin Bear 10 0 7 4 0 10 8 4 6 49 35
Percival C. McLeach 8 4 7 2 0 8 6 5 5 4 49 16
Gothel 8 0 7 4 10 7 0 7 6 49 34
Charles Muntz 10 4 7 0 0 6 10 3 2 6 48 32
Shan Yu 3 9 10 2 0 10 10 2 2 48 24
Randall Boggs 8 8 7 7 0 5 0 5 6 46 28
Hopper 0 6 7 2 0 8 10 3 5 4 45 25
Merlock (Ducktales) 4 10 9 4 0 6 0 5 2 2 42 15
Queen Grimhilde (SW) 6 6 6 4 0 6 6 2 6 42 1
Prince John 2 8 4 2 0 0 6 5 5 6 38 9
Red Queen 0 8 7 0 0 4 8 8 2 37 4
Gaston 4 4 6 2 4 4 8 2 2 36 17
Shere Khan 4 9 7 0 0 8 0 4 4 36 8
Gov Ratcliffe 2 6 5 0 4 2 8 3 4 2 36 20
Stinky Pete 7 2 2 2 0 5 0 5 4 8 35 27
Lady Tremaine 6 2 6 0 0 6 4 4 4 32 3
Chef Skinner 2 2 1 0 0 2 4 3 10 4 28 30
Cruella de Vil 2 0 5 2 2 2 4 5 0 22 7
Madame Medusa 0 2 6 4 0 2 4 3 0 21 10
Brer Fox 4 0 3 2 0 0 2 6 4 21 2
Sid Phillips 0 0 10 0 0 2 0 8 0 20 21

5 most pitiful Disney villains. Let's face it, they were overthrown by mice, dogs, and a bunny. Not supervillain material.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

We are enjoying our time in Goleta with my family. My health situation is apparently much better than advertised. The kids are loving being with their grandparents. Merry Christmas one and all.

Friday, December 14, 2012

How can you tell when your preschooler is listening?

Prince opening a gift from me:
a set of Mario styli for the Wii.
He wanted to make sure that we packed
all the toys where he had placed one.
I think it was a winner.
I told Prince a story this morning. It wasn't original to me by any means. It was the story of two sons who were asked by their father to do something. One son said "Sure, Dad" and then didn't do anything. The other said "No," but later repented and did what his father asked. We talked about the story and how it related to his life.

A few hours later, he told Mommy and me a story of his own. "Remember that story you told me today, Dad? It's exactly the same as in my Mario movie!"

There are very few real Mario movies. So Prince invents more adventures for Mario and friends and calls them movies. I was rather surprised to learn he had already heard it and acted it out, but Joy added that this was a new movie he created this morning.

Prince explained there were three friends: Mario, Luigi, and Peach. They were asked to do something. Peach said she would, but didn't. Luigi said he wouldn't, but then repented and did it. But Mario - ever the perfect example - said he would do it and he did it. He wants to be like Mario.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Not a baby

I'm trying to convince my daughter that she is not a baby.

I ask her what my name is and my name is Daddy. She knows Mommy. She knows Prince's real name. But when I ask her her name, she thinks it's Baby.

I'm not worried about any behavior I'm trying to correct, per se. I just want her to see herself as a growing young woman. Joy says she does not have a problem with her being a baby.

She is not yet 18 months, but today she demonstrated she can count to 10.
She is not yet 18 months, but she can sing the entire Looooong-form alphabet song from Love Those Letters. She knows her alphabet.
She has started singing along with the hymns. Surprised us this week and last - and look at that great mouth shape!
She can communicate and learns new words every day.
She walks 99.44% of the time...
She is independent and decisive, knows her mind.
"She is starting to listen and follow directions."
Today, I told her to "Go" out of our room. She obeyed, and then told me to "Come" with her.

This is not a baby. The hard part has been that ... I need to stop calling her Baby first.

This week for the first time, I got her to say her nickname. She can't manage her full name yet - too many syllables, but she did come up with her nickname twice. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Best Disney Animal Sidekicks

Behold, an amazing table!

A friend had on her blog a countdown of the most annoying Disney characters ever. I decided to go about it more social-scientifically and put numbers on things. There are far too many characters to do them all at once. So this is my ranking of Disney's best animated animal sidekicks. All the descriptions and caveats and all the rest are below the fold.

(Updated 12/7 - fixed chronology, added Max, Pip, and Kevin, rescored Little Mermaid Talking on my brother's advice.)
My Top 5 (tie for 5th)

Movie Character Talk Int. Plot Comfort Comedy Music Prince My Pref Total Time
Pinocchio Jiminy Cricket 10 10 10 8 4 8 10 10 70 1
Jungle Book Baloo 10 8 8 10 6 8 6 10 66 3
Little Mermaid Sabastian 8 10 8 5 6 10 8 10 65 4
Tangled Pascal 6 10 6 10 8 0 6 10 56 14
Aladdin Iago 10 10 8 8 10 2 0 4 52 5
Enchanted Pip 9 10 6 5 7 4 4 7 52 11
Brother Bear Koda 8 6 10 8 2 0 8 5 47 10
Up Doug 10 3 8 4 10 0 6 6 47 12
Aladdin Abu 6 4 6 8 6 0 6 10 46 5
Little Mermaid Scuttle 8 6 2 4 8 4 6 6 44 4
Princess & Frog Ray 8 6 6 6 2 8 6 2 44 13
Brave Mother 4 8 10 6 2 0 6 8 44 15
Cinderella Jacques & Gus 4 6 6 0 8 4 8 6 42 2
Princess & Frog Louis 8 8 2 0 4 6 6 7 41 13
Tarzan Tantor 8 8 4 6 4 0 6 4 40 9
Little Mermaid Flotsam & Jetsam 8 8 6 8 0 0 0 8 38 4
Up Kevin (fem) 2 4 10 4 5 0 4 4 33 12
Little Mermaid Flounder 8 6 2 6 2 0 4 2 30 4
Tangled Maximus 4 8 7 0 6 0 4 0 29 14
Cinderella Lucifer 2 4 4 4 4 0 0 9 27 2
Mulan Lucky Cricket 4 4 4 0 6 0 4 4 26 8
Tarzan Terk 8 6 4 4 2 0 2 -2 24 9
Little Mermaid Max  2 2 0 4 2 0 4 6 20 4
Aladdin Raja 4 2 0 2 0 0 4 6 18 5
Hunchback Djali (goat) 2 2 0 0 2 0 4 0 10 7
Pocahontas Meeko et al 2 2 0 0 2 0 2 0 8 6
Bottom 5 I think we could do without.

Nothing against Raja or Max, really - they got 6/10 just based on whether I like them or not. They just doesn't serve a purpose. What the table tells me is that none of these on the bottom do.

I was really surprised how high Koda came out and that Iago beat Abu. I was rooting for Abu to be in the top 5, but he's the only one I gave a 10 to that didn't make it.

I was also surprised how very few females there are on the list. Merida's mom (and you can argue she doesn't belong on the list for several reasons), and maybe Cri-Kee and Djali - I'm not sure and I'm not checking. Even the female leads don't have female sidekicks! Weirdness. [This convinced me to add Kevin from Up, even though her status as a proper sidekick may be questionable]

So there you have my take on Disney's animated animal sidekicks. Of course, now that I've given this way too much thought over the last two evenings, I'm starting to wonder what other groups of Disney characters I should rank and how. Villains? All the sidekicks I didn't include this time around? Human sidekicks? Leads? Any requests?

Again, full description and the wonkishness below the fold.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas a little early

Because we're flying back to California next week, we decided to have a little Christmas this morning. We read Luke 2, acting out the parts with various stuffed critters. I was quite proud of my casting: Caesar as an eagle; the shepherds as the Backyardigans, the first angel as Sorcerer Mickey and then the multitude of heavenly host as a GIANT Mickey. Prince and Princess served as the parents in the Holy Family. Here is Princess adoring baby Jesus.

More pics below the fold

Monday, December 3, 2012

My Son, the Trickster

I try to read to Prince every night. We usually start whenever he's ready for bed and end at 7:30. This encourages him to be prompt in getting ready for bed.

Often if he is close to 7:30, but just a tiny bit over, I'll offer to read to him for 1-2 minutes "just because I love you."

A short while back, he was getting to bed rather late and it was not his fault. He asked for story and I told him no, it was much too late. He asked if I would read to him just because I love him. Well, I set myself up good for that one, didn't I?

Seeing my hesitation, Prince offered a compromise: "You could read me just one word, Daddy. Pleeeeeeease."

Oh, all right. Just one word. The. Good night.

The next night he was late to bed again. He asked for two words this time. I agreed. Two pirates. Good night.

He very happily told Mommy about "The two pirates" the next morning and she looked at me like she knew I'd been had.

He's been pretty good about getting to bed anyway since then, but tonight he was asking for "just 6 words" and I turned him down. As I sit back here smiling, I wait for the day he offers to let me read him just one word today, two words the next day, four words the next day, eight words the next, and so on.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Princess' Royal Throne

Princess has taken to giving us a warning the last few weeks.

Sometimes she says, "Go. Go." Where do you want to go? "Potty."
Sometimes she is more direct. "Poo."

When we take her to the toilet, we take off her diaper and then she climbs up onto the toilet by herself. Sitting there, she scrunches her face and says, "Push!"
It's adorable.

This Friday, Princess told Joy, "Pee Poo."
Joy took her to the bathroom and got her ready. She climbed up on the throne, sat, and added to the water below. Mommy cheered. Prince cheered. Mommy texted me and I rejoiced too.

All by herself. We haven't coached her in the slightest.

Aftermath of the Adventures and more Thanksgiving

Thursday afternoon I got an email from the National Hospital with my diagnosis: a herniated disc. Happy Thanksgiving! Brother-in-law DeWayne the doctor called me from Boston to discuss what it all meant and options. Friday I finally cornered the AUN Clinic doctor who agreed: Derrill needs an operation and it shouldn't be done here. He also gave me a new prescription for an NSAID that actually works. I've been mostly pain-free since and have enjoyed and relished lack of pain.

Thursday we also had a Thanksgiving dinner with the AUN community. The kids had a great time. 
Friday evening I attended a dinner for our illustrious keynote speaker, the former head of the Central Bank and key financial adviser (left). Next to him is AUN's Founder, the former vice president - that  week is also his birthday so we celebrate Founder's Day most of the weekend. Next to him is the Chairman of the Board.

Near me (not pictured) was the Adamawa Peace Council, an initiative AUN has helped spearhead to reduce violence in the area, and several members of the US Embassy. From AUN were ... the economists. I think originally the idea was for a quiet dinner with the economists [two of them behind the chairman], AUN's President (an economist) and the keynote speaker (an economist), but somewhere along the line a few more guests and then a few more were invited.

At dinner, Pres. Ensign and I talked very briefly about the possibility of sending me, not to Switzerland or Tulane, but to UCLA for my surgery. In emails since then, Joy and I found a doctor on the insurance in Santa Barbara and our travel has been approved to have the surgery done at home! So ...

We'll be home for Christmas!

Further Adventures in Medicine - II

Wednesday (21st) I woke up and was immediately grateful. I was grateful that I was not in terrible pain. I could walk and was just fine. I headed off to the hospital, made my way to the MRI, and showed them my N100,000. Now how about some service? "Well, where's your green [registration] card?" I still don't have one. Did the doctor not prepare anything?

One of them kindly walked me around the hospital gathering the various pieces of paperwork I needed, steering me through lines (and sometimes around them), arguing with the officials on my behalf, until I finally had the paperwork done 45 minutes later. Actually, since I only thought I needed the N100,000 for the MRI I had very little other cash on hand. When registration cost N1,500 I had to borrow N1000 from him. I paid him back once we returned to my backpack, but he really helped me through and was very nice.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Further Adventures in Medicine - part 1

Monday I flew to Abuja to have an MRI done. There are only a handful of large cities in Nigeria where there is a hospital with the right machinery. I stayed overnight at the 3Js hotel, my second trip there. The in-room internet still gives me trouble, but at least they have a cyber cafe where I can pay $1.25/hour or sometimes convince the guy in charge to let me work for free since my laptop has problems with their systems. I was thankful to have had a pleasant flight (if 2-3 hours late) and no problems getting to the hotel. I was also thankful the travel guy at HR got everything set up in record time and I made it to the airport on time despite not knowing when I was leaving until an hour before the flight ... in the middle of a class!

Nigerian beds remind me of hymn 86: How FIRM a foundation. It's sleeping on a board, almost literally. No bedsprings. Just a board and a mattress. I am thankful every night for the memory foam pad we brought with us to sleep on. When I woke up Tuesday morning, I was in agony. I needed both my cane and the support of the furniture around the small room to be able to move at all. Though I finally walked off most of the stiffness, I was in a quiet agony all day long.

I got to the hospital for my 9am MRI appointment and all wahalla broke loose (that's Hausa for problems).

Thankful for Sleep Problems

We never had a problem getting Prince to sleep. He could sleep anywhere and for the most part slept through the night. What he didn't want to do was feed directly from Mommy. So she spent long months pumping so that we had milk to feed him and I had the opportunity to feed him, day or night, from an early point. I felt very blessed. I remember more nights when he was a baby waking him up for another feeding than him waking me up.

I never had that chance with Princess because she was a good feeder and a bad sleeper (relative to Prince anyway). It took a lot of effort to get her to a place where she could sleep most of the night. Even as recently as last month we expected her to wake up once or twice during the night for yet another feeding. I couldn't feed her and I couldn't put her back to sleep. I felt left out.

Over Fall Break, we decided it was time to fade out the late night feedings. The way to do that was to send in Daddy who can't feed her to take care of her at night. Even though it's only been scarcely above a month, I am so thankful for this time with her.

She cries and I run right in to her. I hold her a moment then begin singing. As soon as I sing, she calms down. Within a verse she is calm enough to lay back on her mattress. Within 2-3 she is drifting back to sleep. It's so very sweet.

Things did not go all that smoothly that first week, of course. It's taken time to get to this happy relationship. I finally get to comfort my little one in the dark. And as expected, now that she doesn't get fed at night, she is much more likely to sleep through it.

Even though I'm just as glad when she does sleep through the night without waking, I cherish the precious moments holding my little daughter and having the power to calm her cries, wipe her tears, and restore the peace of sleep.

My baby's words

Princess has been coming up with a lot of new words lately. I helped her say her very first prayer over the food this week: "Dear ... Fadda ... Tankee ... Eat ... Jesus ... Amen." Her favorite word is "yeah." She will agree with almost anything. If she doesn't say "yeah," it means no and that's the only way to tell. She was looking SO ADORABLE reading with Mommy, and then stopped as soon as I grabbed the camera.

Some new Vocabulary:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A single tear

I was talking to brother-in-law-the-doctor tonight about my MRI and was delighted to learn this pain might not be permanent. A couple quick snips and the pain should vanish (even if the risk of more bad stuff happening is a permanent feature).

Then I read a few verses of scripture before bed. I've read this before, many times, and we manly men love verse 44. Tonight, I grew one little tear for verse 43 of Alma 11:
43. The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame....
44. Now this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame...

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Adventures in Birthdaying 2 - in which happier times are foretold

The best way to start a birthday is by having crepes. I'm so thankful that Derrill made me crepes for my birthday. They were so yummy.

Princess kept wanting pieces of my crepes with nutella on them.

Prince wanted a crepe-Nutella-crepe sandwich, as you can see from the picture of Prince with his tongue sticking out.

We had pumpkin chocolate-chip cookies too, and opened presents. I got a trip to Disneyland [during the summer], a Christmas advent calendar, the first season of Bewitched, and Dominion: Hinterlands. Yay!

Some of my presents had not yet arrived via Whispernet. Then I got a nap

[A very important birthday present, that. - DW]

I had a longer nap today. When I got up [yesterday] it was time to get ready to go to the Thanksgiving party we'd been invited to. It was very nice to have turkey and pumpkin pie and masheyed potatoes...

We got to see some friends and let our kids play outside (on the rocks). I'm glad we went. We ought to get together with these friends more often over Christmas break. [DW - I made a pumpkin soup which was eaten alllll up.]

[DW - I had an interesting conversation with the head of AUN's various supporting schools. Her Farm School students meet with my freshmen once a week so that my students can tutor her students in English conversation. I give my kids some training and then step back to let them do it. She said she was extremely pleased with her students' progress, that they were speaking up and speaking out as never before, and that it was clear she felt I was doing a wonderful job. In my student evaluations, my students also love it - they universally feel they are learning from the experience and it's their favorite day of class each week.]

On the way to dinner, I got to open four more presents - some yummy books to read. One was Ally Condie's new book Reached, which I don't get to read for a little while cause Derrill and I want to read it together

[DW - but we're reading 3 Musketeers right now.]

And I got three more Georgette Heyer books: my third of the Alistair trilogy An Infamous Army, The Quiet Gentleman, and Venetia. I have to recommend Georgette Heyer. She is such an awesome writer. I have fallen in love with many of her heroines. I still like the books that I didn't fall in love with, but I really like the way she writes and, if you like Regency romance, she's very clean and a great author.

Prince bought me The Quiet Gentleman and I made sure to thank him a few times, because it's one of the first times that he got me something that I was really asking for instead of something he really wanted for himself. I think that's amazing for a 4 year old.

When we got home, we watched the first episode of Bewitched. It was a little over the kids' heads, ... which was a good thing. [I had no idea they had scenes like that in Bewitched!] But Prince really got into Little House on the Prairie after dinner - I had told him that it was one of my favorite shows and so he wanted to watch it. And we ended the evening playing Dominion after the kids went to bed.

It was a nice, comfortable, relaxing birthday.

Adventures in Birthdaying - in which disaster strikes and is overcome

"When I get up in the morning and I hear my baby, I usually a) give my son a hug and tell him I love him; b) get a drink of water; and then c) go and nurse my baby," Joy starts. "But Saturday was my birthday celebration and I wanted to have my computer charged and I knew it had turned off for dead battery the night before. So I plugged in the cord and plugged it into my computer. Nothing.

"I can hear my baby crying and I think, 'I'm coming'. I figure out that the stabilizer won't turn on. So I check to see that it's plugged in, and it is. I take out the fuse. It's the first fuse I've ever seen that has completely burst. To get the part out of the cap so I could replace the fuse, I had to use a pair of scissors with a narrow point.

"So I wasn't using very much of my brain and figured I needed to do that to get the rest of the fuse out of the stabilizer itself, forgetting that it was plugged in and turned on. So the first time I woke up Derrill was my scream from getting electrocuted from my scissors stuck in the stabilizer."

It focuses the mind in a way that is not difficult to describe. ... Then I went back to sleep.

LDS Pioneers in East Africa

Following up on the April article on pioneers in Africa overall, the October 1994 Ensign included an article on pioneers for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania in east Africa. By the time of the article, the Church had only been officially recognized by each country for 2-3 years. Here are some of their stories that weren't shared in the April article.

Charles Asiago 
The first Kenyan to join the Church was Charles Asiago. Charles studied at a theological college for three years. In 1978 he was introduced to the gospel by Boyd Whipple, a Latter-day Saint who was working in Kenya with USA Aid. “I asked him many questions and he answered them,” said Charles. “I began asking myself, ‘How can someone who is not a theologian answer the questions more perfectly than the principals of the colleges to whom I had already asked the same questions?’ The Spirit of God touched me.”2... 
 Since his baptism on 15 March 1980, Charles has visited the old men of the tribe who know the oral histories back to A.D. 1500. He has collected his family history from them. Temple work has been completed for about three hundred of Charles’s ancestors.
It took until 1985 before the government gave permission for more than Charles to be baptized, so some people had been investigating the Church for more than 5 years, including the first missionaries from Kenya.

Joseph Sitati, First Kenyan District President
In 1989 government officials in Kenya restricted members to meeting in groups of no more than nine adults. In July 1989 all full-time missionaries were asked to leave the country. Joseph Sitati, a convert of only three years, was set apart as the first Kenyan district president. ... On 25 February 1991, President Sitati, Charles Asiago, and two other brethren were asked to come to the attorney general’s office. They were overjoyed when they were presented with the registration certificate for the Church. President Sitati recalled, “It was a very, very happy occasion. We cried. I thought I was dreaming.”
Today, Joseph Sitati is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, the most senior governing council in the church after the apostles and First Presidency. In fact, he is part of the Area Presidency overseeing us here after being a mission president in Nigeria. He studied mechanical engineering and accounting. 

Edward Ojuka
One of the first to join the Church from Uganda was Edward Ojuka.... In 1982 Edward traveled to Perth, Australia, with a scholarship to study physical education. His wife and children remained in Africa with her family. The first people Edward came to know in Perth were two sister missionaries who knocked on his door the night of his arrival....
After studying the gospel for four months, Edward was baptized in May 1982. Of this experience Edward recalled: “My baptism was one of my most special days. I know that I was born on this earth for an important mission.” ...
Before long, he decided to pursue a doctorate in education at Brigham Young University. Three months after their arrival in Provo, Grace was baptized. A year later their family was sealed in the temple. As Edward reflected upon what is of greatest worth, he said: “I have a very strong testimony, and I want my posterity to know that I know the Church is true. I have no doubt about it. The Church’s power is based on the truth of the gospel. My desire in life is to serve. I will be returning to Uganda to work with our people.” 
The article also praises various LDS pioneers who helped establish the gospel in east Africa as foreigners:

Thankful 3

I wanted to be thankful this week for better pain medicine, but I certainly didn't get it. Instead I can be thankful that - now that I know what's gone wrong - I can do something to relieve what causes the pain and that is lowering the pain significantly.

Monday I was quite thankful that my checkbook balanced on the first try. Few things are as aggravating to me as finding that missing $.06 in a month's worth of spending in a cash-only society.

Tuesday I got some work done I had not expected to get to. Anything that reduces that pile is a thing to celebrate.

Wednesday I intended to celebrate being all ready for Joy's birthday, but didn't quite make it. Instead I am thankful for student evaluations I passed around that will hopefully help me be a better teacher. My juniors want me to pass out my own notes more often (sometimes expressed as liking powerpoint which I avoid whenever I can, but more often asking to get their hands on my slides or other notes.)

I was also thankful to finally understand my student evaluations a little better. I tell them expressly - verbally and on the sheet - that I am looking for suggestions and ways to make things better. So when I have them fill in the blank "I like it when my teacher _______________________" I'm expecting them to tell me something I don't do, but their other teachers do. It used to frustrate me to see them say something that I thought I was doing. "I do a shocking amount of relating what we cover to the real world - why do you think I don't??" Finally I understand they think I'm asking for attaboys and telling me something they like that I do. Well, that's nice and useful to know too. Thank you.

By the way, one of my students put that the best day of class was: the day I painted my face. Let's hear it for Halloween and being the only person on campus that crazy! (It'sa Luigi!)

Also on Wednesday, I was thankful this cute little girl wanted to sing on my lap. That was fun.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thankful 2

Thursday I was thankful for a nap I didn't mean to take. Then I only meant it to be 30 minutes. When Joy got me after an hour and a half, I knew I could've kept on sleeping another 90. But the correlation cannot be denied: Wed I felt terrible, Fri I felt terrible ... Thur I did not feel terrible. Huzzah for a long nap. I would like to thank the students whose truly terrible writing made it possible.

Friday I was thankful to find out what's really wrong with me: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. Which means two of the vertebrae in my lower back are kissing that have no business kissing. They are too closely related for that sort of thing! We'll see what the doctors want to do - cortisone shots,

We interrupt this gratitude to bring you Prince, who wants "to talk about Disney."
"I think the first, when we get to the Disneyland, I think the first ride is going to be Winnie the Pooh."
"Because I really like it! I think they have great sounds when they walk around the track. That's it."
Thank you, Prince.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled post, already in progress.
So I may get a cortisone shot and be put in a plaster cast/brace until the end of the semester, and then possibly have an operation to separate them. We'll see what the MRI says eventually.

Saturday I am thankful for Daddy again, but in particular for his tax preparation software and the fact that we're finally going to get a big refund from Unca Sam for 2011.

Today I was making my eggs when Princess came up. She reached out her hand to me and said, "Hand." I put my hand in her little one and she led me all around the house, saying "Hand" and smiling. It was very sweet.

This weekend I am also thankful for Prince and his amazing skills.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankfulness: Week 1

A lot of friends are being grateful for something every day on Facebook and I wanted to join them over here. in some catch up. We have a lot to be thankful for, ________ living in Nigeria.

Why did I put a blank there? Well, there are just too many connecting words that fit. "Despite" and "even" might come to mind, but they're not very thankful; "because of" sounds more thankful; "especially" would suit the purpose well; "while" suggests that some of these things we can be thankful for here won't last and so we should enjoy them while we can. Pick your favorite or mad lib some more.

Nov 1 - I'm thankful for my father. That's an easy one because he was born Nov 1. Happy birthday, Pop! I'm thankful for a father who taught me to grin and bear with pain and keep working, who showed me you can be successful and play games occasionally at the office, and who made sure his kids knew they could come invade his office daily to spend a few minutes jabbering at him. I'm thankful for a father who taught me public speaking by precept and example - some of my best professional training. I'm always thankful when he takes the time to mention that he appreciates these blogs and status updates. Love you, Dad.

Nov 2 - I'm thankful for the new taxis!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Princess: What I did this week

I look fabulous! I got to dress myself. My next step was to hand Daddy his cane so we could go outside. I even opened the door for him. No dice.

I love to read. I take books up to Mommy and say "[r]ead." She reads them to me. Then I take the book to Daddy and ask him to read it too. Then I take the book to Mommy and ask her to read it too....

I only want Daddy to read because he does funny voices. When his voice hurt this week, I didn't want him to read anymore because he couldn't do Grover right. Mommy does not have to do funny voices.

No seriously, I really like to read. Book after book. Sometimes I read them to myself.
Here I am first thing in the morning pulling on a second pair of shorts - inside out and backwards, it's true, but sometimes you need to do bold things for new fashion trends.

My newest new word is "Game." As in, "Mommy, Daddy, why won't you let me play the Bible Trivia game you are playing with Prince?" It's not my fault all they heard was "Mommy, Daddy, Game!"

My favorite new word is "Gummy," as in "I would like my delicious and nutritious Disney Princess gummy vitamin, please."

The new word my parents have worked on the hardest is "Amen." They've tried to teach me to say it when they are done saying prayers. I'm now trying to teach them that when I say it, they are done praying!