Saturday, January 31, 2009

Courtney Won Again...!!! I Am Proud of Her

Well..., just read her entry below. (This how much I usually write on our blog, as you know.)

Copyrights & Contests

So I found an answer to my citation concerns on that last post. I had a meeting earlier this week with one of the education directors at the BYU Museum of Art (the MOA), and she informed me that most images found in the public domain are available for use on my blog without copyright restriction unless specified otherwise. So apparently a lot of pictures from online venues are mine for the taking. Bwa ha. I will now continue to sprinkle this post generously with non-cited photos found on google image search.

Which makes me wonder a bit now how to protect my own photos and images placed here (not that any of them are particularly valuable, but still...trying to think ahead). One of my friends suggested "watermarking" but she didn't know how to do it. Any ideas? Especially when we have children and put their photos up, I'd like to know how to deter others from using the image.

On a side note, I am still investigating another copyright issue. One of my essays, a Great Works analysis, just won an award in a contest (thank you. thank you.) so I will read the piece at an award ceremony next week. Since the essay is analysis of a painting, I figured it would greatly increase the audience enjoyment to be able to see the image I have written about. Unfortunately, the painting is privately owned and I need written permission from the owner, Brent Ashworth, in order to project the MOA's photo of the painting while I read aloud. Ashworth has proven a tad elusive by phone, and if I do not hear back from him by Monday, I will make a visit to his collectible's shop in downtown Provo. (Yes, I feel like a stalker).

Oh, and you are all invited to attend the award night. I promise anybody who comes will receive both refreshments for the body and a boon to the heart as you listen to fledgling writers baring their souls. We will be at the Maeser Building Auditorium (321 MSRB) on Tuesday, 3 Feb. 2009, 7:30 pm if you are in the area and care to join in.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Draper Temple Open House 參觀聖殿

Self-conscious citing of the photo at left: I do not know what the appropriate method is to give credit to photos found on Google image searches. This one is a lovely picture of the Draper, Utah Temple of the LDS church, and came from a4gpa on I liked this photo because it was taken at night, which is when we visited the temple--so the view was just this striking to us as we drove up in a little ferry-van.

For those who don't already know, temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, like the one pictured above, are different from ordinary chapels or meeting houses (pictured below). Temples are special places of worship where baptized church members may go only when they are living good Christian lives and adhering to the highest of moral standards. We go to the temple to worship, pray, and ponder as we learn and make sacred covenants with God. Meeting houses, on the other hand, are open to both church members and visitors for any Sunday service or weekday activities.

After a temple has been constructed, there is usually a period of time during which the general public may take tours inside. After this "open house" time period, then the temple is dedicated to God, and only people following the specific tenets mentioned in the paragraph above may enter in.

Jerry and I have a Korean friend who is very curious about the temple and has said he would like to visit the open house with us soon. We are very happy for him to go and experience the peaceful beauty of that place. We attended once already, as we went this past weekend with a family from our neighborhood. Here we are pictured among photographs of temples from all around the world, which is appropriate because our party that night consisted of a Puerto Rican, a Chinese, and a few Americans. Nearly as global as the display.

We also had a chance meeting up with Uncle Carl, Aunt Becky, and their family at the refreshment table after our tour. How fun to see them and chat a bit. Here is one more picture taken at the display area located outside the temple (in a local chapel):
No photos allowed inside the temple there is some motivation to go see it for yourselves! One of my favorite parts of the inside is how local artists have painted murals on the walls. These paintings depict the surrounding Wasatch front, so the mountains inside the temple look just like the mountains outside. Also, the bridal changing room is spacious and exquisitely decorated. When we entered the sealing room, where countless families will soon be united for eternity, I felt very full in my heart. I took some time to reflect on my own marriage in the temple to sweet Jerry.
I have made a concerted effort to keep this blog as non-sappy as possible, but will go ahead and take this opportunity to just say once and for all: How wonderful it is to me that a man of such intelligence, understanding, and kindness saw fit to be my partner through this life and forever. I love you, Husby!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Customer Appreciation Day

Courtney originally gave me this cup for Christmas, because it is smaller (4 oz), which fits my New Year's weight-losing strategy. Notice the pattern is a rooster. Later we used all of our “creativity” to think of making a coaster for the cup, which has the pattern of little eggs and chicks. It looks like the eggs are getting sat on when the cup goes on the coaster.

We made ceramics at Color Me Mine last week when they had a free studio day for customer appreciation.
“Creativity” that you may notice… a rooster hatching the eggs…?? Huh…. However, Courtney is so artistic. The eggs and chicks look so real to me.

Speaking of losing weight, check out this cup I made! (Click and play the video!) My favorite part is the words inside the cup, which you can see them at the end of the video:

Also, Courtney made this rainbow bowl. It is miniature like the rooster cup.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Since Jerry's last entry gave some insight into his mother, I figured I would share a bit of history about my own dear mom. Nurturing with nutrition, she rarely let us kids escape for school days without having a solid breakfast to line our bellies. The most common food she handed us as we ran out the door: a fried egg on toast. "Brain food," she calls it. I am quite certain one day she even handed me a whole plate, complete with ham, egg, knife, and fork. "I'm driving myself to school, Mom," I informed her--but apparently she feared what an empty stomach could do to me more than the risk of me driving while eating.

I have kept the "breakfast egg" habit after leaving my parent's home, and was pleased to find Jerry also grew up with something similar during his Hong Kong days.

We recently visited the dollar theater (actully, $1.25 theater with student ID) and finally got around to seeing the cute flick Wall-E. Thanks everybody who recommended it. The next morning I made a nice protein-rich breakfast (gotta love my hypoglycemic body for helping me rationalize eggs and bacon) and Jerry laughed as he stared into the frying pan. All he could say, in a mechanical robot voice, was: "Wall-E." I almost felt cannibalistic as I bit into those pleading eggy-eyes (pictured above).

We do love eggs. Foo yung, scrambled, poached in noodle soup...and of course, lovely duck egg porridge like the pot we made tonight. Jerry first made some for me when we were dating, and I ate a few bites--but it tasted unexpectedly fish-like to my uncultured tongue--so I mostly just fed the leftovers to my Great Aunt Bertella. She liked how she could eat it without chewing. Plus also, she has complete loss of vision, so the black of the egg did not affect her appetite like it did mine. The dish is growing on me, however. Tonight I even found myself looking forward to it, and while peeling the duck egg, my eyes widened in a mild awe at its beauty. Green specked on the outside shell, with a glossy, marbled black, mahogany, and turqoise flesh on the inside; I couldn't resist taking a picture.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Conversion Part 2 & Prophets

My mother went with me to a church activity for the first time in 2001. There she met many wonderful members and felt the good influence of the church.

She took the missionary lessons. For about two months straight, she read the Book of Mormon out loud every night, to a point where my non-member brother thought that it was too noisy. (Hong Kong people have very little space and small homes.)

When sister missionaries asked her whether she had read the assigned scripture, my mom started quoting from the scripture and most of the time she read more than what the missionaries assigned.

She was baptized eight months after my baptism.

Talking to her on the phone tonight, I asked her, “What helped you join the church?” She first said that “the Gospel principles are very good; and then the member’s love.” We got to worship with her at the church and temple when we went to Hong Kong last summer.

The Restored Church of Jesus Christ has a living prophet:

Courtney and I saw the prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, yesterday at the BYU Marriott Center (sat about 40 yards away from him), when he came to speak for the CES Fireside. Prophets are special witnesses that testify of Christ and write down God’s words.

He quoted a lot of inspirational stories and poems, but I think this quote came from his witty mind: the “W formula” that “Work Will Win When Wishy-Washy Wishing Won’t.” He also said, “In order to find Him [Jesus Christ], make room for Him in your life.”

image at right from

A straggler pic

One more Christmas photo. Don't try to say it comes too late, because apparently the Georgian Orthodox Church (of Russia) celebrated their Christmas yesterday.

Usually the gift-wrapping done by my little brothers would not prove photo-worthy. We decided an exception was in order with this particular gift, however.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Holiday Photos Have Arrived

Jerry found himself with extra time on hand after the semester classes ended. He used his free moments to nurture his cooking hobby, even roasting our first turkey. Its carcass looks a little scary in the photo, but we felt confident enough in Jerry's skills to invite a neighbor family to help us eat the bird. Thanks to our other neighbor friends (who just moved away) for giving us their big ol' table so we had room for everybody to all sit together while we ate.

I have always been a dog-lover. When my cousin asked us to pack her pooch up to Boise this Christmas (too expensive to take him on her flight) we readily agreed. Tanker, an American Bulldog, gave us lots of tail-wags and doggy flatulence to make our drive lively. (We unrolled the windows every 5-10 minutes for fresh air).
With road closure on I-84 for several days during the week of Christmas, we felt grateful to find at least one day clear enough to drive straight through to Boise.
Once we got there and spent time with siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, good times unfolded. We especially liked playing Pit and Apples to Apples with everybody. Pictured is my next-door-neighbor cousin with her husband and 2-year-old son. We thought it was so funny to have a makeshift baby bjorn out of daddy's coat. Note the snow on Boise's sidewalk!! It rarely sticks longer than a day, but this Christmas it proved plentiful to the extent that the white weather wore out its welcome. (for me, anyway).

After coming back to Utah, we spent New Year's Eve day on Temple Square with one of our other neighbor families. They are Chinese, so we made sure to find the asian creche (as well as others from around the world) and we liked the Chinese luminara as well.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Literary Musings

Here is an opening attempt to catch up from all the December-post backlog. Most of our other tales of Christmas adventure have photos to go with them, but I am not currently in the mood to upload said photos, so please accept my humble offering of just one bit of image-free news from the 2008 Christmas with the Tams.

Over the past couple weeks of holiday, I have burrowed into uber amounts of purely enjoyable bookworming. From revisiting old friends (like Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot) to examining stranger territory (I'm now half-way through The Secret Life of Plants), my reading lately has spanned all sorts of diverse interests. Through all this reading, my brain feels refreshed and ready for a new semester. Never underestimate the value of a quality break from school to stimulate intellectual growth.

Recently BYU asked me to serve as part of a focal group to discuss possible changes in the academic calendar at my institution. Most of the other students in the group nodded along with me as I proposed that there is a need for adequate time off from classes in order to enhance the learning process. "Students need time to contemplate and absorb all the cramming of knowledge that happens during a semester," we decided. And indeed, even during the apparent random selection in my recent reading experiences, I have pondered the themes of my last several classes, and found principles gained during Fall Semester are now lodged more firmly in my heart and mind as a result of my free reading.

Furthermore, I have incorporated reading into one of my New Year's Resolutions. Sweet Husby and I both decided to complete another rereading of the Book of Mormon, beginning at January 1st, and finishing by General Conference in April of this year. We decided to do this "cover-to-cover" reading on an individual pace, because my husband will most likely get a lot of his reading done via audio recording while on his computer at work. Our bishop encouraged the entire ward to adopt this goal, but we Tams made it a matter of personal consideration because we both already had other scripture study programs in place. After some pondering and prayer, we decided to join with many of the others in our congregation to read the entire Book of Mormon in this 3 month time frame. Anybody else care to join us?

A prophetic statement of the blessings that will accompany our endeavor:

Without reservation I promise you that if each of you will observe this simple program, regardless of how many times you previously may have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.

--Gordon B. Hinckley