Thursday, March 31, 2011

Play Ball!

It's here, and I'm tickled about it.

Opening day baseball.

I just love it. Baseball=summertime. Ballgames=a life of ease. Something kind of funny about my dad is that he was so determined that we (my brother and me) become culturally American, to the point that there really isn't that much about him or I that is culturally Brazilian. I'm kind of a chameleon that way. I noticed this again when Amy and I were in Mexico. To them I was always Hispanic first so they would automatically just speak to me in Spanish, which was fun, but made me realize that I need to work on my Spanish again. I digress...

One of the things that my dad pushed us into was baseball. Americans play baseball, we were going to be American, therefore we would play baseball, which was great. Except that I hated it. We never played before getting put in our leagues, so I just didn't have any of that kind of coordination so I was terrible at it. I quit, begged to be put in soccer, and stuck with that the rest of my life.

Then a few years later I just got all the way invested into it. I never played in leagues again, but I went to a few baseball camps, and we'd play everyday in the summers. Seriously, every day. Turns out much of my youth was spent obsessively playing sports, for which, I have absolutely no regrets. I started collecting baseball cards which my mom later sold, unbeknownst to me until it had already transpired. That broke my heart.

With all of that, I just love baseball now. There is nothing more summery than going to an Angels game, buying a hot dog, and watching them play in the warm but temperate Southern California summer sun. I can't wait until I can play catch with my kids and do all of those fun American things.

In certain ways I really wish my dad would have incorporated more appreciation for his own culture, but he did push me strongly into American culture, and for that, I really am so grateful.

My heart literally skips a beat when I hear this song playing at the stadium. Even just hearing it now makes me kind of teary-giddy like a little kid. I just love it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Snap Back to Reality

Next line, anyone?

Well, here we are. I'm having trouble getting back into writing my paper so I thought I'd at least get some writing done and do a brief little blog post for y'all. The last 10 days in brief:
  • Sealed! St. Patrick's day for the Silva family will now always be anniversary eve for us. The sealing was wonderful, the reception was fun, and the food was plentiful. A little too plentiful, as it turns out. So hard to plan for these things.
  • We checked into the Little America Hotel that afternoon, only to check out at about 5:00 am the next morning to catch our flight to Cancun. I won't bother going over the details of the trip because Amy Walton Silva has that up on her blog that you can find here.
  • We flew out Thursday afternoon and got back at around 11:00 pm that night. Her brother picked us up, brought us back to his place because my car was taken there after the wedding.
  • We checked out of Hotel Scott and Elisha at about 5:00 am again the following morning to catch our next flight up to Seattle, rented a car, and then drove up to Vancouver. I blew my line when we crossed the border, but thankfully, we were not detained.
  • A fun-filled weekend of hanging with the family and games and pictures followed with the Vancouver Open House on Saturday night.
  • After another three hour car ride back to Seattle we flew back home and got in at about 11:00 pm last night.
And I am all traveled out. I am ready to sit down for a week and just try and get my life - our lives - in order and up and running.

Getting married is really great. You plan a big party and all of your favorite people come out to celebrate you. You finish the party and then you don't even have to stick around and clean up. You get to go on a trip somewhere fun. People give you gifts, and they might not even know you, or even your spouse, but because they happen to like your spouse's family, they will give you stuff anyway. It's wonderful.

One of the best parts about getting married is the overwhelming and entirely satisfying love that you feel from your close friends and family. I cannot say enough about how much I appreciated everyone who bothered to come out to Utah, to come to our sealing, our dinner, our reception, or what have you, and just say kind words and share big hugs. There is no way I could ever say enough about how grateful I am for everyone who helped out with setting things up, clean up, bringing stuff back to our apartment, who helped us move, who offered counsel, or any of the other one million kind gestures that have been shown to us in these last several months.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Thank you for being in our lives and thank you for all your loving kindness.

More blogging and happiness to follow!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2 Days....

I just can't believe it. This one is from our bridals and groomals. Just love this one. I'm so excited for everyone to get into town and for how much fun the next little while is going to be. Truthfully, all of it has been fun these last few weeks. That's not to say it won't be nice once all of the festivities are over to just get back to a new "normal" life, but it's still nice while it's here. Maybe I'll be back before Friday, maybe not.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This and That

Our servers are down at work so I can't access any of the projects that I've been working on, so that usually means lots of websurfing and that leads to blogging. Here are some random things:
  • Read this article on Governor Walker and the maneuvering that he did in Wisconsin to remove collective bargaining off the table for the teachers' union. More and more of this stuff is starting to surface, and will continue to do so in the next few years to come. Public unions and services have been borrowing against the future for a long time now, but the problem is that the future is fast arriving with crushing realities, namely, fiscal insolvency. I can't wait until this happens in California. Anyway, the big thing worth noting is that Governor Walker has been amazing in his handling of this situation. He never blinked during the whole process, but you know what's also crazy? Democratic legislators have been hiding out in Illinois for the past 3 weeks. Word is, one thing that prompted this process was when one of the Dems filed for an absentee ballot for the April 5th election. That means they were planning on sticking it out for at least a month! That's insanity. Good for Governor Walker, and good for Wisconsin.
  • There are certain blogs that I just love, and they're all posted on the left of your screen. One of those is Study Hacks. He had a really cool post yesterday. He advocates simple things - focus, hard work - and while those are very obvious positive attributes, it sounds so unfamiliar these days, you know? Anyway, yesterday's post was on Non-Conformity in a Conformist Career. Good stuff.
  • Regarding that last point, I think I'm going to start a thesis journal, and post more about that progress on here. Another guy I know has been doing that, and something I read recently talked about how getting things done really requires complete focus, which means allowing yourself to get somewhat consumed by the pursuit. I need more of that. Wedding stuff has made me distracted lately, which I hate using as an excuse, but it really has just been that way. I'd like to stop punting. Time to start going for about 2 weeks...smiley face.
  • A friend of mine was asking me about how often I verbalize my feelings, and then I had to preface my answer with the fact that I might be an anomaly because I tend to be really verbally expressive. I guess that shouldn't be surprising to anyone who reads this blog, but I'm just that way in my relationships. Just got me thinking about love languages - affection, words of affirmation, gifts, time...the fifth one. It's interesting how people evolve and how those things can change as a person matures, or as a relationship matures. Thankfully, Amy and I seem to coincide with how we express and receive so we don't really have any dust-ups with that stuff.
  • Service. There's the fifth.
Last point: Everything is just amazing, isn't it? I was thinking this morning about our wedding, but more about the sealing and it started to get me emotional. Pretty soon I get to partake in some of the highest privileges that the gospel has to offer, and regardless of how the rest of the day goes, because I will partake in the sealing ceremony next Friday the best day of my life up until now will be March 18th, 2011. That's amazing. I hope I can keep that in perspective.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Managing Stress

For my class Neurophysio class all of the students had to go to the Stress Management Lab at BYU and participate in some of the diagnostics that they have there. You can find some of their resources and services that they provide by clicking here.

It's kind of funny and about what you'd expect when you walk in: there is one of those little running water things sounding constantly, a few plants scattered throughout the room, and then a nice big comfortable chair from which to do all of the assessments.

The lab technician has you watch a ball descend up and down and you are supposed to time you breathing according to the rise, falls, and pauses while your heart rate is being monitored. I think it's kind of hokey, but I also kind of like these things too.

I fully recognize the value of meditation/relaxation exercises, and I love the deep-breathing stuff because it really does help to get myself more centered. All of this is part of why I want to get into yoga more, because while it is a work-out and would help with stress, I kind of like the meditative side to it all. In the lab, the person has you progress from 7.0 breaths a minute down to 4.5. If you're interested in checking it out, you can follow that link above and they have the program that is used for free (30 days) and you can even download the audio files after which you pattern your breathing. Know what's kind of cool? There is a deep-breathing exercise machine that you can now purchase at Costco that is the only thing approved by the FDA that is not some type of drug to help lower your blood pressure. You can find that here. It's just kind of cool.

The technician monitoring me noticed right away that I have a pretty strong heart. Ever since I can remember my resting heart rate is somewhere in the low 50s. Yesterday it clocked in at about 51. What's kind of neat is that your sympathetic and parasympathetic systems turn on and off as you inhale and exhale, so your heart naturally rises and falls with every breath you take. My range spread from 40-70 from inhale to exhale.

My favorite part of the thing was when she was showing me how sensitive the instruments are when measuring heart rate and the waves of the beats. Apparently I have a really great ability to center myself and get my autonomic system regular, but there was one point in the session where she asked if my thoughts had drifted off and I had become distracted. Then she hooked me up to the machine to redo that segment, and then asked me to think about different positive thoughts and then anything that is stressful. My heart rate and breathing then started to bounce all over the place. It was crazy to see how much that psycho-physio stuff really can affect your system.

Anyway, just kind of neat.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Davies Fall Out

This whole Brandon Davies thing has been really interesting. There has been tons of media attention on BYU and the Honor Code, and it has implications on the impressions that people form about the Church. You know what was really cool? This morning sitting in a meeting with one of the higher-ups in the Public Affairs Committee discussing this particular issue and what it means for the Church. It's fun working up here.

It's interesting what this does for public perception of the Church. My suspicion is that if you ask most Evangelicals what the Church should have done, they would have said, "let the kid play ball." Their view is probably one that argues more heavily for mercy than for justice, for grace over consequences. Our Church just happens to have a different conception of what is entailed in Christian doctrine.

It means not only holding ourselves to a high standard, but being accountable to that standard. Hopefully the fall-out over this drama will help the university and the Church to also learn how to emphasize the compassionate side as well, because out in the media wasteland all anyone is talking about is how the law is being applied too harshly, but bravo for sticking to our standards.

I don't know. It's an interesting topic though, no?

With that kiddos, have a good weekend! And this song has been in my head all this morning.
People are making all sorts of attributions, but I'm not sure that anyone has any firsthand knowledge about what actually transpired, how it came about

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Gleek No More

Everyone has his/her things, right? I'm talking about members of our Church. A person will take a hard-line stance on a particular issue, say, R-rated movies and swear off of them and speak vehemently against them because our Church leaders have said simply, we do not watch R-rated movies.

And then that's it.

We'll go ahead and watch other things of questionable morality because Church leaders haven't explicitly stated, do not watch such and such. Left to our own devices, a lot of times we miss the mark. We keep the letter, but not the spirit of the law. Often we have those two things confused. We think that the letter is harsher than the spirit. It's not. The spirit is always more strict. For example, the letter says don't watch R-rated movies, but the spirit would indicate, don't watch anything of questionable morality, right?

I'm not perfect with that particular law. I had no restrictions growing up and so I was really used to just watching any ol' movie I felt like. Then I got to BYU and met a whole world of people who never watched any R-rated movies and I thought that was such a revelation. Good for them, and now good for me too! I reformed, didn't watch anything and was off serving in the vineyard called Chile.

Since then I've been off and on. I think more on than off. To be honest, it had a lot to do with who I was dating at the time, although there was a period of several years when I wasn't dating anyone and I held hard and fast to that rule. Now I'm on, and that has a lot to do with Amy's influence, but I think on my own I'd be pretty steady in this area. But every so often now, I'll let certain things in from time to time. (Example: I saw 127 hours. It was really good, but awfully graphic. Anyway...)

I'm getting away from my main point. Last year I let myself get into Glee because it was fun. They had cool performances, clever writing, and some cute characters, but at the beginning of the Fall season, I just got so turned off to it. Kurt became too central to the show's plot, Finn was constantly villainized, and I just hated it. I deleted it from my DVR.

Then a week or so ago I was stretching post-run in my room, and I'll always turn on the TV while I'm just sitting there, and Glee happened to be on so I thought I'd give it another chance. It was an episode about alcohol awareness and the whole cast was getting drunk, and the theme basically centered on how no one in the world could ever be expected to abstain completely, so try and be wise about when and where you do it. It boiled my blood.

I just can't stand this show. It's not just the same-sex issues. It's not just about the show's rampant promiscuity. It is pretty much everything about it. The show just seems to cut against the grain of anything and everything that we as Church members believe in. It makes me wonder how I can draw a strict line when it comes to the movies I'll watch, and then let this garbage on through just because there isn't an explicit declaration about TV-MA type shows.

What bothers me most about the show is that it has such an obvious target audience. Whether we think so or not, we are subtly influence by every message that is thrown our way. It comes through in what we see, hear, and read. And I guess this show is so irksome to me because it is supplying our youth, and ourselves, with false impressions of what is really valuable. It lowers our values and commitments to sacred principles. I guess it just bothers me because it subverts so much of what is supposed to be so valuable to us, and it aims primarily at kids who are so impressionable.

I hate coming off as self-righteous about this because I know that there is so much that I do wrong, but this is one thing that I know I can cut out. If you watch it, please don't. Let's not invest our time and attention into supporting something that doesn't agree with our standards. It's garbage, and will only hold us back. For a time I let myself get caught up in it too, but I'm done with that now. This is one less thing on my list of a million things to work on. If it isn't one of yours yet, please make it so now.