Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Family Search Indexing

A friend in our ward passed on this information to me and I thought some of you might find it interesting as well. The church has started a new project asking people to work in their homes to index a variety of historical records, mainly census data. You work on your computer with one batch of 50 names at a time. There is a very simple program you download from the web and you are off. I believe the August Ensign has an article telling more.

I signed up yesterday to participate. While I was literally downloading the program I got a call from our stake coordinater introducing himself. He walked me through the setup and in 15 minutes I was extracting and indexing names. During 45 minutes of naptime I was able to complete almost 3 batches. I was told that in the past 8 months, more than 50,000 people have signed up to help with the project.

I really enjoy doing family history work but it is difficult to find the research time I need. It's also really hard for me to get to the temple right now. (At least a 4 hour excursion!) This helps me feel like I am doing something to contribute. If you are interested, check out this site. http://www.familysearchindexing.org/en/index.jsp It's easy and it will help researchers access names much more quickly!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Food Blog

I've decide to start a second blog dedicated to food. http://myeverythingfood.blogspot.com/

This blog is a chance for me to discuss what I'm eating and what my kids are not eating. I am always looking for suggestions about what other people eat - especially when it comes to kids. If you, like me, are interested in food, recipes, etc., check it out. Have you thought about what you eat everyday?

Here is my top ten list about what I wonder about food:

10. Why won't my kids eat anything but fruit and/or junk food?
9. Why do I let my kids eat junk food!
8. Why isn't chocolate it's own food group?
7. Who made fat calories count more than vegatable calories?
6. What do other people feed toddlers?!
5. How can I make quick, easy, healthier meals.
4. I love the farmer's market! (Not a question)
3. Why is my husband so picky about food!
2. Why do I eat things I shouldn't?
1. Why do I want certain foods more if they are bad for me?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Kickin' it at Cal Tech

We have established a Sunday afternoon habit of going over to the campus of Cal Tech. They have beautiful lilly ponds, turtle ponds and reflecting pools there. The kids love searching for frogs, tadpoles and crawdads. And we always have time to dip our feet in the reflection pools. It is a beautiful way to spend a late afternoon or evening.

Elias was quite startled the first time he realized that there were things living in the water! He is still cautious about getting to close to the water without having someone's hand to hold. Yesterday though he started pointing and yelling at the "rogs!" He also likes to watch the turtles from a distance and makes the sign as he yells "tut-ta." (He really prefers to yell when he speaks.)

It is such a blessing to have beautiful places that are easily accessible. We love this quality of living in Pasadena.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Awesome! What more can I say. I won't spoil it for anyone who is still reading. But please, let me know the minute you finish so we can spray!

Everywhere we went this weekend, from the grocery store, to local community theatre, and yes, even church, we saw copies of Harry Potter being toted around.

Douglas was kind enough to get me a copy Saturday morning from the grocery store. "Honey, I'm just going to get some milk and a copy of the Deathly Hallows!" He's such a sweetie. Not only that, but I was allowed several chunks of uninterrupted time and was able to finish the book Saturday night. Let's just say, all of my questions are now answered. I am satisfied.

I have to admit to feeling a little disappointed that the journey has ended. . . however, Addison just informed me that she is interested in reading Harry Potter now! I can start all over again!!! Yeah!!

To all you Harry Potter heads out there - enjoy!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

In Memory of Tom Shipley 1924 - 2007

I want to take the opportunity to share some thoughts about a dear friend who past away a few weeks back. I should start by saying that the Hunter and the Shipley families have been close friends and partners in various activities since my father met Tom Shipley and his wife Liz while they were all in graduate school pursuing their PhDs in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in the early 1950's.

For my entire life the Shipleys have been a constant. From the many Sunday dinners we shared together around the Shipley's dinning room table, diving into huge bowls of what were to me new and wonderful foods such as Bouillabaisse, and paella. To Summer vacations in New Hampshire and Maine, many of my favorite memories of childhood feature the Shipley family. They are favorite memories because of the Shipleys.

It was not until I got older that I really began to appreciate Tom. In my twenties I began to see his genuine compassion for those around him and the strength of his empathy for the struggles and sorrow of others. I also started to understand that he was unique and powerful intellectual. In fact on a number of occasions I've had conversations with both Tom and Liz that impacted me for years after. I think the reason for this is that they showed me new ways of thinking about and understanding both the world and the mind.

In my thirties I gained an understanding of Tom as an ethical thinker, in his politics: a socialist of many years, and a pacifists; and also in his psychological research. For example, Tom was one of the first people to seriously study skid row and the people who lived there. He contributed to an understanding of the demographics of those living on the streets as well as to the problems they face and the services they need and the role addiction often plays in their lives. The last paper that he worked on concerned violence, specifically how the psyche reacts to killing, for example how soldiers respond emotionally to killing the enemy in war time. His research was clinical but what he chose to study and the way he would describe it always seemed to have great moral and ethical gravity. For this reasons I came to see Tom as an important ethical thinker even though his work was not directly related to the field of ethics.

As I mentioned above, a conversation with Tom would give me things to think about for months afterwards. So for years I've been in the habit of storing up questions and things to talk about with he and Liz between our seasonal visits. Last month was no exception. Addison and I flew back to the east coast for the wedding of Dan Shipley, Tom and Liz's youngest son. I was excited to see Tom again and ask about how his research was going. When Addison and I arrived the day before the wedding, we learned that Tom had died several days earlier.

This was a huge struggle for the Shipleys, and it was brave of Dan and Leslie to go ahead with their wedding so soon after Tom's death. For me the event made me realize how I took Tom for granted. He had always been there for my entire life and I never put much thought into there being a time after Tom. So I was mourning his loss and also feeling ashamed for not really keeping in touch between visits, and also because I never really let Tom know how much I learned from and appreciated him.

Another element of Tom's passing for me is that he was one of my father's best friends, and only two years older than my father. Its difficult to not think about my father's mortality, the fact that I live thousands of miles away from my parents, and that because of my profession that won't be changing any time soon. That's a grim thought I know but one I need to do something about.

Finally, in thinking about Tom I am reminded of Maya Angleo's remarks at the funeral of Coretta Scott King. She expressed the idea that those gathered that day needed to go forth in action to make the tribute paid to Coretta's legacy meaningful. I feel similarly about Tom. We live in a time that is marked by the noticeable lack of intellectual and ethical leadership. Tom provided both for me and his passing brings that into focus. There is no doubt that its time to step up. I'll miss Tom for a long time, but I 'll be damed if I don't try to take action in the spirit of his example.

Super-8 Citizens

Douglas is making films again! Yeah!

It's been awhile since Douglas has been involved in a film project of his own design. It is so great to see him happy and excited again. He is so full of life as he works on this project.

He has joined a project called Super-8 Citizens. This is an international collection of film makers who each submit a short film on 8mm or 16mm film. The theme is Citizenship. The idea is that each film maker make a short film documentary about a specific person who, for the film maker, exhibits qualities of citizenship. When all the films are collected, it is played as a feature length film. Here is a link to the website with more information on the project http://www.workhorse.tv/citizensuper8.html.

The subject of Douglas' film is the reverend Susan Russell. She is an Episcopalian minister here in Pasadena at the All Saints Church. Not only is she a woman in the clergy, she is also a lesbian. Her congregation and ministry has come under a lot of scrutiny because of these things. Douglas is interested in documenting her spiritual journey that has brought her to a position of national prominence.

Douglas is getting a lot of support from other members of the film-making community and has to try and complete this project by Sep. 29. He is going to be a busy boy the next month!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


O.K. so Michele created this blog and I want to support her. I have been bloging on another site for a few months now. (http://feastuponthewordblog.org) its a blog dedicated to scriptures and teaching in the Church. Its a remarkable group blog for the level of discussion and the generosity of the group of people who post there. Please check it out! I think I will use this blog in a more informal way, to post brief thoughts or sketches.

So, today. Well I work on the Paramount lot which is smack dab in the middle of Hollywood, and is about the oldest lot around. Stage 25 on which "In Treatment" is shot was built in 1929 and has been the home for Cheers, Fraiser, and the Lucy Show. Its a very noisy stage which has created all kinds of issues for us, we joke that its Lucy's ghost messing with us because our show is not funny enough for the old girl. The paramount Lot has a very "old hollywood" feel to it. On every wall hang pictures of bright eyed folks looking out from under straw hats, or directors wearing riding boots (yes riding boots!) sit on dollys looking through old Mitchel cameras. A few hundred feet from my office there is a big display with all the Oscars won by Paramount movies since the 1920's. Every few minutes a tour comes by my building and I can hear the sharply dressed summer interns telling tourists that Howard Hughes had a panic attack and locked himself in the theater on the second floor above my office. So here I sit in the belly of the beast as they say, When ever I leave my office to walk to set its sunny and 75 degrees with just the slightest breeze. Ah Hollywood.

Welcome to our new blog.

For anyone deigning to read this, please note that this is a work in progress! I am not much of a writer, I do not have the patience to write well. However, that being said - I've had a lot of fun posting pictures and getting started on this project. I see this as a great format to keep our friends and family involved in our lives and hope that you enjoy visiting our site. Please feel free to respond, or not, to any of our postings. Also, if you have your own blog, please let me know so that we can check you out! Hope to hear from you soon.

Michele et al

Shirley Family Reunion Pics

Here are a few photos from our week in SLC.

We spent a lot of time in the pool trying to beat the heat.

The pool scene got pretty wild at times as we tried to squeeze everyone in at once. That pool is going to need a good dose of chlorine!

Elias' had his first real exposure to swimming this week. He had a rocky start - falling into the spa backwards, fully dressed. He seemed to recover from the trauma quickly though. Since we've been home we've started a mommy and me swim class. His exposure at grandma's has made him much more comfortable in the water. The only drawback is that the pool isn't nearly as warm as grandma's!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

We had a great time at the Shirley Family Reunion this past week. We were even able to catch a few happy moments with Elias - notice he is eating!

It was great to see everyone and to reconnect. I suppose that this past week is partly responsible for my starting this blog. I feel that we have lost touch with the family to some extent. However, the good thing about family is that you can pick up where you left off.

Addison had such a great time this past week too. She really enjoys her cousins and her grandparents. She is growing so fast! It's hard for me to imagine that I am soon to have an eight-year-old, third grader! Especially one who is all legs!