Sunday, December 30, 2007

Not Much Better than a British Mullet

While I was living in London, I encountered a major problem. I left with short hair, which meant four months without a trim was a bit out of the question. Getting a cut at a salon in London was pretty much out of the question as well. One of the girls who chose to go this route ended up spending somewhere around 100 pounds, which was roughly the equivalent to 200 American dollars. Because I preferred to spend my money in London on fabulous European chocolate and food at outdoor markets, stylish H&M ensembles (which no longer fit me, probably due to the fact that I no longer eat excessive amounts of aforementioned chocolate), and trips to the theatre (AH! To see Les Miserables on a casual week night now!), I chose not to get my haircut in London.

After a couple months of agonizingly attempting to make the mop on my head resemble a style, I went with one of my best friends, Steph, on a "live-in" visit to Acrington, England. This experience ended up being one of the most traumatic of my life, but that is a story for another time. The point for today's tale is the fact that while on that trip something possessed me to get the most horrific haircut known to man at a local "Supercuts."

Now. I am a bit of a snob when it comes to my hair. I wouldn't dare venture into a Supercuts or a Master Cuts in the states. What in the world convinced me that it would be OK to trust someone in the white-trash/armpit of England working at a Supercuts is beyond me. But trust I did. And I paid the price.

There were plenty of warning flags. I saw the girl who left the chair before me. She looked like someone out of an 80's punk band. I still sat down, watched a girl go crazy with scissors, paid MORE THAN I WOULD IN A SALON IN THE STATES for a haircut, and left with a mullet. YES. A MULLET! It was atrocious. My good friend Steph, ended up with a similar style. When I came back from my semester abroad my stylist literally asked me what in the world the woman had done to my hair. It was that bad. It took about six months to get it back to normal again.

Well folks, I now have a haircut that rivals that British mullet of a few years ago. My current stylist, who I adore, just had a baby and is not working. So, I went to the same salon, thinking another girl could at least give me a good cut to hold me over until she comes back. Alas, I was wrong. I was foolish! I was IDIOTIC!

My hair looks HORRIBLE. I hate it! I hate it! I hate it! And, I don't know what to do to fix the situation. Chad told me to go get it cut again, but where will I go? If I go to another total stranger it might turn out just as badly. And, frankly, I don't know if there's much that can be done without going terribly short all over. Plus, I already paid $40, and the thought of risking another $40 when I just GOT a haircut isn't too appealing.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sophomores Say/Do the Darndest Things

I have started grading my sophomores' research papers. Aside from the fact that I want to shoot myself and have decided that the quality of writing must indicate what a horrible teacher I am, it's going rather well. Here are some things I've learned from reading their persuasive research papers about various heroes:

1) Ghandi tried to promote peace in Indiana from Britain.
2) Inseparable can be spelled "in separate able."
3) Even if someone spent their entire life doped up, you can still try to convince your English teacher he is heroic.
4) My students think I am too stupid to do a simple internet search. This must be the case,
because I have already found the sources that have been blatantly PLAGIARIZED in three

Did I mention that I got stuck in the elevator today? Yup. Sure did.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Why I am Destined to Become an Old Lady Counting out Pennies...

You know the ones. When you're in line at the grocery store, and you have to wait for what feels like an extra 15 minutes because the old lady in front of you is fumbling through her coin purse, counting out $3.50 in pennies. And you want to shoot yourself because you thought this was the shortest line. You picked it to save time. Now you're stuck. Trapped in between the penny counting, orthopedic-shoe-wearing, great grandma and the mom trying to pry her screaming toddler's fingers from the candy display.

Well, folks, I am destined to become that little old lady. I got a taste of my future today as I irritated dozens of customers at the local post office.

It all began with Christmas cards. I send them out every year. Last year, I found an amazing after Christmas deal on a beautiful set of Christmas cards. They were gorgeous, originally quite pricey, and marked down fabulously. I couldn't resist. In fact, my mother-in-law also fell in love with them and bought the same ones.

So. Just before Thanksgiving, when I got the cards out to start addressing, I wasn't too phased when I saw a little label on the envelopes that said "extra postage may be required." After all, I'd saved money on the cards, and "may be required" didn't mean "will be required."

Well, the problem comes with the fact that there were four different styles of cards. This means they were four different weights. I obviously did not keep track of which cards were which as I got them ready to be mailed off. So, today, the gentleman at the post office was only too thrilled to find out that he got to help me weigh EACH ONE to see how much it was going to cost. He ALSO had to slide each one through this little plastic slit to see if it required ADDITIONAL postage on top of the ALREADY more costly postage for weight.

I'm sure the people behind me in line (for we know how delighted all people are to be waiting in line at a post office before Christmas) were ready to kill me.

It ended up taking over an hour to get through the post office. And, I'm not so sure I saved too much money by buying my cards on sale at the end of last Christmas. Some of those babies cost me 75 CENTS to send! 75 CENTS!!!

So, if you get a Christmas card from me with a Valentines day stamp, or one with a horrid portrait of Harriet Beecher Stowe, instead of a pretty Christmas one, please know it is not because I don't love you. It is because I'd already held up zillions of people, and did not want to become know as the old, penny-counting lady while still in my youth. It was much faster to buy the stamps with the exact postage, rather than add 2-3 more stamps on top of the pretty Christmas ones.

On a brighter note, I've never encountered such a helpful, kind, postal employee before. Usually, asking a postal worker to go out of their way to help you is like death. So, thank you for your patience, Mr. Postman. Even though you made fun of me for how much it cost me to send my Christmas cards this year when you told me my total, without you, I would have been completely lost today.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Some of my favorite photos from
Turkey Day.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Christmas Time...It's HERE!

Chad and I apparently are plagued by the curse of the Christmas tree lights. Let me preface this by saying, I am very picky about my Christmas tree. First of all, it MUST be real. No fake trees allowed. I love having a real tree. We never had a fake one when I was growing up, and I never intend to have one in my home, unless it is a second tree. Having said that, a lot of extra work goes into making a real tree perfect.

First of all, you have to drive around and find a perfect one that is still at a decent price. We did pretty well this year, I'd say, because our tree is beautiful and it didn't break the bank to buy it! After buying the tree, you then have to lug it up to the third floor, leaving a trail of pine needles behind you. This is to ensure everyone else living in the complex can know that you are real tree people. Then comes the time to get it into the stand, and following that comes the unavoidable "it's leaning to the right..."and "" discussion until it is arranged just right. For us this year, that discussion also included fishing line (our tree was too tall to stay up straight without a little extra assistance).

After all of that comes the fun part, right? Wrong. The lights have to go on first. And lights are the man's job. OK, so that is horribly sexist, but that is the way it goes. Chad calls Christmas tree lights the bane of man's existence. You know how women got stuck with the whole child birth thing after the oust from the Garden of Eden? Well, according to Chad, Christmas tree lights, even though unmentioned, were given to men.

We've had something go wrong with our Christmas tree lights every year, but this year probably tops the cake. I had to go buy new lights three separate times. Finally, Chad talked to his Dad, and it turns're not supposed to string a gazillion 100 bulb light sets together. Even though this is cheaper than buying the 400 bulb sets, don't give in. You will blow fuses. And thus, the whole tree will go dark when you plug that last set in. Anyway, after Chad adjusted things a bit, he saved me from ANOTHER horrendous journey to Satan's Five and Ten to return things, and the tree was lit and ready to decorate.

So. After a week-long fiasco of trying to get the tree lights to all stay lit, we finally have our tree up and it is beautiful! Chad was very patient as always and even though it took a lot of time, it is straight, well-lit, and nearly fully decorated (it is still missing the star...I think it's somewhere at my parents' house where we've been storing all of our Christmas stuff). Anyway, here it is:

As a disclaimer, I took these photos. Obviously, if Chad took them they would be better. But, I wanted them now, so I took them myself.

Here are some photos of the other decorations we have around the condo:

Garland and WillowTree Nativity on the bookcase. Also, they aren't Christmas decorations but please notice the lovely "Family" blocks made by yours truly at Enrichment last month.

Stockings hung by the chimney with care...or from the shelf between our living room and kitchen, because we have no fireplace.

Table with Christmas place mats and my adorable magnet board I made last year in the background (where all of the Christmas card photos go when they come!)

I LOVE CHRISTMAS! It is going to be so hard to get myself to work over the next couple of weeks. I am so ready for Christmas vacation!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Not A SIngle One

Cavity that is. That's right! NOT A SINGLE CAVITY!!! I went to the dentist today for a follow up visit. Chad and I went to dentist a few weeks ago. He had a whopping 5 cavities, but I had 0. I found this to be impossible, because despite my best efforts to take care of my teeth (I brush and floss at LEAST twice a day!) every time I go to the dentist I have about 8 cavities(no...seriously, I think I really did have 8 the last time I went) and since I hadn't been to the dentist in three years, I knew I was glutting for punishment. When the dentist told me I didn't have any, I said, "Are you sure?" and he said, "Well, there is a hole in the sealant back here, so if you'd like we can remove that to make sure there's no decay underneath." I said, "Please do," because clearly, there were probably 8 cavities lurking on that one tooth, otherwise, where WERE they?! So, today, I went to the dentist, he removed the sealant and NO CAVITY WAS TO BE FOUND! I am SO, extremely PROUD of myself! AND I didn't even have an anxiety attack while in the dental chair. This is a big step for me. The last time I had any kind of dental work done, I burst into tears afterwards and my mom bought me a milkshake. I don't do well with dentists. I've had excruciatingly bad experiences with dentists, oral surgeons, and orthodontists.

In other news, the orthodontist/dentist who also works in the office surveyed the damage left to my right incisor by the man who pretended to be an orthodontist in Moses Lake, but who I am convinced is in reality an Italian mobster (because clearly, my mouth is evidence that the man knows nothing about fixing teeth). Anyway, he suggested that instead of trying to wear braces AGAIN (I had to wear them TWICE under the mobster's care) to go with a porcelain veneer. So, there you go, in one afternoon visit, I can undo all the psychological damage done to me by the man who attempted to console me the second time I wore braces by telling me a member of the teeny-bopper band "Hansen" wore them. I despised Hansen in all their long-haired "Ummm--bop" glory. Thanks, Dr. Mobster. That really helped. Anyway, I figure the veneer will be an option in a few years, but right now it seems a bit pricey.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Top Ten of Turkey Time

Well, we are back from a wonderful Thanksgiving vacation. My students have made me want to scream for the last two days, so I am definitely missing Arizona. We spent the holiday at the home of the superb couple I call Aunt and Uncle, Chad's Aunt Pam and Uncle Steve. Chad's parents and younger brother also flew in to enjoy the holiday with us. Here are the top ten reasons I didn't want the five-day weekend to end (and believe me...there were much more than ten):

1. Black Friday with Joycious, Pamela, and Meredith. It's traditional that I go shopping with my mom EVERY year, bright and early, the day after Thanksgiving with my mom. This year, as I was with Chad's family, I continued this tradition with them. Black Friday was completely INSANE! Don't ask me why, but something possessed us to actually make the trip to the outlet mall at midnight. When we left, I thought it would be dead, but at the exit to the mall we were greeted by a ridiculous line of glowing taillights. Bumper to bumper traffic just to get into the mall. The people were swarming everywhere. It was a shoving match just to get into some stores. As we walked into The GAP, Aunt Pam, a black Friday newbie, got in a line that wrapped about three times around the store--just in CASE we decided to buy something. A couple hours later, I had one $15 sweater in tow...I'm still trying to decide if it was cute enough to make it worth it! After the outlets, we returned home for a "nap" only to get up early and start the whole process again at different locations! The fruits of our labors were small, and I don't think Pam will be venturing out again next year. She was a real trooper though. At one point even being accosted by a makeup counter sales lady (insert panicked groan here...we all know we've dealt with them before).

2. Eighteen pies in the fridge. EIGHTEEN PIES!!! Pumpkin, chocolate, lemon, blueberry. Pies piled with whipped topping. Pies that we couldn't possibly eat...or could we? Pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Pie. I couldn't help but be surprised, even though I was warned. Pam is the Thanksgiving pie queen. So many pies. So little time.

3. Sitting around the kitchen counter and all talking about what we're thankful for.

4. PERFECT WEATHER! It's freezing in Utah, but in Arizona we ate Thanksgiving dinner on the patio. Uncle Steve grilled out for us on two separate occasions. It was just FABULOUS!

5. The FOOD. Notice this is in a separate category from the pies. Despite the fact that I probably gained five pounds from artichoke and spinach dip alone, I don't regret a single calorie.

6. Sleeping in. We didn't HAVE to get up unless we wanted to. Getting used to this is what made the alarm clock the last few days we've been home especially obnoxious, and the snooze button even more tempting.

7. Singing our favorite 90s songs until 2 or 3 in the morning. Yes. We did this. In the dark. Before we fell asleep. OH! And speaking in the WORLD did we forget Ace of Base?

8. Touring Neal's house and getting very excited that Chad and I will be buying a place of our own soon (which means I'm allowed to do things like paint walls and change light fixtures).

9. Family. Even though I was far away from my Mom, Dad, and brothers, I love my in-laws so much. I think sometimes people think I lie about how much I really do love them, because you're not supposed to like your in-laws, but mine are wonderful. And NORMAL. We have a ton of fun together, and they mean so much to me.

10. The fact that Christmas vacation is right around the corner. And the beautiful 8' Christmas tree in my living room is proof!

Anyway, it was a fantastic Thanksgiving that only reminds me of how much I really do have to be Thankful for.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Today, I did the assignment I gave my Seniors. We are reading Anthem by Ayn Rand, and I'm trying to get them thinking about the importance of the individual in society. Anyway, after our class discussion today, I had them write an acrostic poem for the word INDIVIDUAL. And, during our writer's notebook time (I give them 5-10 minutes at the end of class to write about whatever they want) I wrote my own:

Inside of me I hear
Noises trying to get out
Divine tones that make me an
Independent thinker
Visualizing the future
Ignoring what I don't want to be
Deciding who I want to become
Urgently working to stay me
Always and forever
Loving who I am

Which leads right into what I'm supposed to blog about today. My sister-in-law has tagged me. I am supposed to list 6 things about myself that you may or may not know. So, here are some things that make me...ME.

1) I love to read. I love it! I love it! I love it! This is probably why it's so heartbreaking to me that so many of my students despise it. My addiction to books is really the fault of my mother, who read to me constantly as a child, and who I never saw without a good book herself. I am a bookworm and proud of it!

2) I can't go through a day without having chocolate. This is really sad, I know, and something I may have to come to terms with once my metabolism goes out. But I seriously don't think there is a day that goes by that I don't eat SOMETHING that is, or has in it, the flavor of the gods. When I lived in London this is also how I gained a gazillion pounds. If you've never tried European don't know what you're missing!

3) I don't really know how to say this without making me sound schizophrenic...but sometimes I hear narration in my head. OK, so that REALLY makes me sound psycho. I don't really know how to explain it. I don't mean that I go around hearing voices, because it's my voice doing the talking, but sometimes, I'll just be walking around and I'll be composing writing in my head. I might be driving in my car, listening to Christmas music, and running the air conditioning, and I'll think what a funny scene that would make in a story, and the next thing you know I've written a paragraph in my head. Weird. I know. BUT, if I can ever get myself to compose some of these thoughts on paper, I just MIGHT get around to writing the novel I'm always telling myself I'm going to write.

4) I have almost an unhealthy emotional connection to people. It is really easy for me to feel empathy for people, but that also means that I am constantly apologizing for things that aren't even my fault. I am a blue personality THROUGH and THROUGH and therefore want everyone to be happy and feel it is my responsibility if they don't. Sometimes it can be tragic.

5) I am a perfectionist in every sense of the word. Which means, I'm a little bit OCD about having things go the way I envision them.

6) I love to sing and be on stage, and I miss it SO much. I was very involved in theatre in high school, and am just starting to realize how sad I am that I gave it up. The thing about BYU, is there are so many mega-talented people, that averagely talented people (like moi) figure it's better to sit on the sidelines and let the mega-talented (those who are so good they can make their talent their career) take center stage. And so, I think I would now be PETRIFIED to sing a solo anywhere, even though there was a time that I did so frequently without a second thought.

So there you go. That is me, or at least 6 things about me, because I sure hope that I'm more complex than a list of 6 things.

I now tag...anyone who feels up to the challenge...but don't feel obligated! Scully? Kristy? Esperanza? (Maybe it will finally make you write a blog, because I keep hoping for a new post!) Panini? Curly? (Haven't heard from you in awhile either.) Any takers???

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Music to My Ears

I LOVE Christmas music, and it's all I'm playing now. I used to be one of those people who refused to listen to it until after Thanksgiving. Not any more. My BYU years taught me that starting to play Christmas music immediately following Halloween gave me hope. See, if I'm listening to the sounds of Christmas, that means it can't be very far away. And if it's close, why THAT means vacation time! Teaching has only increased my love for the sounds of the season. The thought of two weeks with no lesson planning, sleeping in, and drinking eggnog until I have to roll myself out of the kitchen sounds pretty appealing right now.

BESIDES, one month is just not enough TIME to fully savor Christmas tunes. It just doesn't fill the void left by the rest of the year.

If you are also a Christmas music fanatic, might I suggest for your computer workspace? Ever since Chad's amazing Aunt Andi recommended it, I've listened to it constantly anyway, but I just discovered they have HOLIDAY stations. If you've never checked out the website, it lets you design radio stations based on your music taste. For example, you can type in "Jack Johnson" and it will create a radio station that plays Jack Johnson and other artists who have a similar musical style. It is AMAZING!!! AND FREE!!! (The main reason it is exceptionally amazing!) Well, it turns out you can type in the name of any artist+holiday and it plays Christmas music by that artist and other similar artists. So. Unbelievably. Wonderful. And now the background music during my prep period. If you're about to go try it, might I suggest the Sarah McLachlan holiday station? I can't get enough.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Evil Utah Cookie People and Their Lies!!!

If you've been watching TV lately, you've likely seen the "Oreo" advertisement being run to encourage people to vote yes for Referendum 1. If not, here's a link to the advertisement:

There's a lot of debate going on about school vouchers, and this ad on TV infuriates me! Everytime I see it, I just start fuming. Anyway, I stumbled across this, more accurate "Oreo" ad produced by a public school teacher. Take a look. AND if you live in Utah, vote NO for Referendum 1--it's pretty much the devil.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm No Teacher of the Year

So. Today I had tres estudiantes ask me what they can do to pass my class first term. My response: the term ended on Friday. Today is now Tuesday. My grades were downloaded at 7:30 this morning. What can you do to pass first term? Absolutely nothing at this point. You can, however, start COMING to class, DOING the work, and STOP MAKING EXCUSES for yourself. I love my students, but bless their little hearts, I wonder what is going through their young minds sometimes.

Best moment of the day, though, had to have been when a parent raved for 10 minutes about her son's last English teacher. She, apparently, could make her son work. She would stay at the school until 7 or 8 every night. She would even come in on Saturdays if students needed additional help. He would work with her EVERY day at lunch...she was just THAT good.

Well, guess what, lady? I'M NOT GOING TO DO THAT! Will I be a good teacher? Yes! Will I continue to ask your son EVERY FREAKING DAY if he needs help on his assignment, if he will wake up and start working, if he's going to bring a book to class next time? YES! Will I keep attempting to make English fun and interesting, sometimes with no reward but continual whining? YES! Will I pretend that my whole existence revolves around adolescent English students? NO! Because, you see, it simply doesn't.

I, unlike Mrs. What's-her-name-Junior-high-educator-aspiring-to-be-teacher-of-the-year, HAVE A LIFE! And, frankly, I'm OK with that. Do I get paid for all the countless hours outside of school I spend lesson planning? Um....last time I checked, my bank account says no. Do I get paid for all the countless hours I spend outside of school meticulously grading horribly written papers and offering suggestions for improvement? Um...again, I'm pretty sure that's a negative. So, please forgive me if I'm not begging for the opportunity to meet up with your dear little boy on Saturday afternoons. I'm available before and after school, but so far, he hasn't seemed to feel the need to stop by.

I might not be teacher of the year, but I do work hard to be a decent teacher. I think, sometimes, that deserves some appreciation.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Well, there's snow on the ground. It started snowing quite hard last night while we were watching the BYU game on TV and I was grading all my students' late work (end of term is next week). The thing is, I really am annoyed that it's not even Halloween and it will now probably be freezing cold until May. One of my number one arguments about this state is that it never really gives us a full four seasons.

On the other hand, as much as I gripe, moan, and complain about Utah, the snow here really is "the best snow on Earth." Especially while it is falling. It is simply gorgeous! The flakes are huge and fluffy, and they flutter to the ground in such a soft, pretty way.

Last night, after the initial groans when Chad announced that it was snowing on TV, and we opened our blinds to confirm that, yes, it was indeed snowing in our parking lot as well, we both decided that it was kind of hard to be mad at it. It was just so beautiful! Chad even said we should leave the blinds open so we could watch it for awhile. Watching it swirl in the light from the streetlamp was such an exquisite image. I felt like I was witnessing visual poetry.

So, there you go. I'm sure that in a couple weeks, if the snow lasts and keeps coming, I will have nothing but complaints. The snow seems less pretty when you have to start driving places in it. But for now, it's kind of fun to look at from afar.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Things that Make Me Happy Today

1) My students. Today, I love them! I read them a picture book today as a model of using good details in writing. We are going to make our own class book, using the format of the model as a guide. While I was reading it to them, I almost got a glimpse of how much fun it must be to read to an elementary school class. They were enthralled! It was marvelous! AND you should have HEARD some of the awesome "memorable details" they wrote afterwards. FANTASTIC! They are writers! We described things that are important about Halloween. We came up with 5 ordinary details as a class, and then the students transformed them into more memorable, extraordinary sentences on their own. One girl changed our class sentence of "There are pumpkins" into something like "You feel the slimy goo drip through your fingers as you carve your favorite picture." Another girl changed "It is fall" into "You feel the brown, yellow, and orange leaves fluttering around your feet." Who would have thought that a little bit of creative writing would have them begging to share their words? It was a great day. Especially in comparison to yesterday, when I cried on the couch about what a horrible teacher I am.

2) My Salt City candle. It is cedarwood vanilla scent, which basically translates into the smell of fall in a jar. I LOVE it! There is something about a candle burning that makes the house feel so cozy.

3) The nice librarian at the Orem library. She gave me a FREE copy of My Antonia (which I already own, but who can pass up a free book?) and was so pleasant and helpful.

4) THIS DIVINE MEAL! The recipe for which I found on Kristylicious' blog. I made it for dinner tonight and it was fabulous (although, we made it less healthy by adding chicken, and putting melted cheese and sour cream on top).

5) The discovery that it takes LESS time to drive to Smith's and Albertson's, shop, and come home, that it takes to go to Walmart (even though Walmart is closer). I feel SO much better supporting stores that are not cohorts with the devil, and feel even better doing it when it SAVES me time! I drove to Albertson's, bought the fresh ingredients for dinner, drove back, and was STILL in time for my ritual re-run of "Gilmore Girls."

6) My fuzzy pajama pants that are becoming my everyday, after-work garb. I LOVE them!

7) My fellow English teacher who is collaborating with me on a research unit. It seems so much less overwhelming when there's someone to work with! We basically have the entire unit mapped out, and just need to get together to finalize a few of the details.

8) The fact that tomorrow is Friday, and that on Saturday I get to meet 3 of my best girlfriends in Salt Lake for some catching up and fun. It's going to be great!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lost but Not Found

So, at the start of September I went with my husband to a photography thing in St. George. It was great fun! I took a personal day, and spent the weekend sleeping in, lounging by the pool, and composing lesson ideas. Sadly, the trip ended on a less positive note.

I left my swimsuit behind.

I just found it this summer. It was brand new. I loved it. It was perfect. It looked like this:

Isn't it adorable? I think so too! In addition, I also left behind my handy-dandy-matches-the-suit-perfectly beach cover-up. I left them hanging on a hook in the bathroom after returning from a visit to the pool.

I am not usually so careless, and the loss of the new swimsuit has been driving me insane!

I know what you're thinking, "Why didn't you call the hotel?" Don't worry folks, I did. In fact, I have called them repeatedly. Until today, the lady named Jen, who is in charge of the lost and found, was never actually THERE! I left her two messages, and my husband even tried to call once or twice while I was at work. Today, Jen finally returned my phone call. Apparently, there is no such swimsuit to be found.

Now, I ask you, who would steal a used swimsuit?!?! I mean, I know it's a fabulous one, but REALLY! I don't care how cute it is, you wouldn't want to adopt the swimwear of a complete stranger! (And this is coming from me...the thrift store queen...some things are just off limits.)

Anyway, I am majorly depressed about it. Jen promises me that she has my phone number, and will call me if my bathing suit shows up in the laundry or something. Right. I'm really counting on that happening.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fall Break is a Beautiful Thing

All through my days at BYU I craved a Fall Break. I think it is cruel that BYU does not give students a break in the fall, or in the spring. It's just...wrong. It became even worse after I got married. Since Chad goes to UVSC, where they believe in letting students have vacation time, he had one and I didn't. I'd have to leave for classes, while watching him still sound asleep. And NOTHING. I repeat, NOTHING, is as miserable as that. Particularly when you're a person who detests early hours, and would like nothing better than to hide under the covers from the alarm clock in the morning.

Anyway, I can put such misery behind me, because I finally have one! It's not a super long break, and most of it will probably be spent forcing myself to finish all the mounds of grading that have piled up, but STILL it is a break! I don't have to go to work, and I can stay in my pajamas all day if I want to. I can finally indulge in a session of relaxation, complete with a mug of Stephen's Mint Cocoa (quite the treat, and we now have a ginormous container of it from Sam's Club) while I force myself to read what are supposed to be coherent sentences created by my 10th and 12th graders. The mountain of book reports is slowly, but surely, depleting. I only have two and a half classes left to go! And, have only found one case of blatant plagiarism so far! It's miraculous! With a light at the end of the tunnel, I think I might actually have a few moments for fun time between now and Monday.

PLUS we are having "fake Thanksgiving" at my parents' house this weekend. And what's better than turkey, sweet potatoes, and a little stuffing on a fall day?

And, did I mention I don't have to go back to work until Monday? YEA!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Remarkable Man

My husband is wonderful. Would you like to know what he did for me today? Allow me to tell you. He did all of our laundry by himself. Which, in itself, is a big deal. But add to that the fact that he had to put the laundry in baskets and haul it to my sister-in-law's house since we STILL do not have a washer and dryer and it's an even BIGGER deal. How sweet is that? AND he did it by himself so I could go with my mom to see Becoming Jane and window shop in the mall. I am lucky.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Way to Ruin the Moment, Folks

So. One of the teachers in my department came up with this really cool opportunity for students. The juniors are reading Night for world literature. He decided to use his legislative money to bring in a guest speaker, who is an ACTUAL survivor of the Holocaust who lives in the area. SO AWESOME! (Think heart felt Freedom Writers moment minus the gang violence.) She was going to come and speak about her experiences, and give students the chance to ask questions, etc.

I say she WAS going to come, because she is no longer coming. Why? Well, you're probably thinking, like me, that the poor woman has a health issue. Perhaps a family emergency. I mean, she's old. Something obviously came up that is keeping her from speaking to the lovely high school students who have been looking forward to her appearance.

NOPE. None of those are it. See, the reason she's not coming, apparently, is because the district decided it's, "just not ok to use legislative money to pay for a guest speaker." Are you kidding me? Is this for real? Is there a camera near by? Where's Ashton Kutcher, because surely I'm being punked. I must be, because there's just no way that people who claim to have the best interests of students at heart would ever say something so preposterous. What's "not ok" about giving students a genuine learning experience???!??!!

So, the guest speaker is no longer coming. There are a lot of disappointed students. The funny thing is, my classes weren't even going. I don't teach juniors. This doesn't impact me in the slightest. BUT I'M STILL INFURIATED!

I love being a teacher, I really do. It's just that sometimes, things like this happen, and the bureaucracy just eats me inside. I hate it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

In Need of Advice

So, because my school has just changed the curriculum for 12th grade English, there is a shortage of options of what to teach. Some new novels have been ordered. One of my options is Persuasion by Jane Austen. In all honesty, I've never read it. (I know, I know, don't judge me too harshly.) Teaching this intrigues me more than teaching Great Expectations, but I was wondering if anyone who's read it could offer me some feedback. Do you think I could actually get high school seniors (particularly the boys) interested? I taught Pride and Prejudice in my student teaching and I think I pulled it off...not with flying colors, but I focused a lot on communication between men and women (an issue any high school socialite relates to), personality types, and literature and film. If you have any thoughts, I'd greatly appreciate it. I'm trying to outline my units for the year and am trying to decide what to do! Thanks in advance for any comments you might offer.

Friday, August 17, 2007

If Children Are the Future...Shouldn't We Invest Some More Money in Their Education???

Because I'm pretty sure giving a new teacher 36+ students per class, and only 30 desks might be a bad me crazy, but I think that asking students to take notes, read, write, etc. while sitting on the floor and counter tops might not be conducive to learning. Yet, that is exactly what I'm going to have to ask my students to do. Well, there is a possibility I will get chairs for the extra 6+ but not desks. And get this, the teacher I'm sharing a room with wants me to make sure "the chairs are blue so that they match the room." AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Somebody shoot me, please.

On a more positive note, we have a home! It's in a perfect location, has tons of storage, is beautiful, and we are very happy. We have a psycho landlord, but I can deal. AND I have a carpool buddy, which is SO awesome, I can't even tell you!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Day from the Place that is Not Heaven

You know, when the day is covered in dozens of little moments that make you want to return to your Dr. Pepper addiction, it's hard to pinpoint which moment exactly drove you to utter insanity. My day today was such a day. Dozen of encounters contributed to making the day a disaster. I feel like I deserve an award of some kind after the chaos I have endured. Perhaps the "Most emotional breakdowns in one day" award. Here's my acceptance speech:

Wow! Me? Thank you. It's so unexpected. Well, not really since I cried multiple times today...sometimes in front of complete strangers. Gosh. So much contributed to making my day a day of emotional instability. It's hard to know who to thank first.

First of all, thank you so, so, so very much BYU. By changing your housing boundaries and throwing dozens of married families out on the street, you have forced rent prices to increase for married couples everywhere! Not only that, but you have also contributed to married people searching outside of the tiny radius of student housing into Orem, where I had originally hoped to find cheaper, available housing. Gee, BYU, you're swell! Couldn't have even begun my crappy day without you, thanks!

You know, I think the highlight of my day was dealing with Utah drivers. There were so many magical moments on the freeway that made me want to scream. But I'd like to particularly thank the semi-truck driver who decided to back out into oncoming traffic ON STATE STREET going the wrong direction during rush hour. Such a combination of incompetence. But you know, you did blow your horn to warn us...thanks Mr. Semi-truck driver.

And how can I ever accept such a prestigious award without thanking the real estate company who got my hopes up ever so much, only to crush them into oblivion? Thanks so much for letting me look at the perfect apartment and telling me it's available and then calling me to tell me that, sorry, you were mistaken and it's already been leased. MAN! I felt so helpless and lost at that moment after I'd just called my husband to tell him I thought I'd found our new home...couldn't have done it without you!

And, I'll never forget, Mr. Policeman, how you gave us that parking ticket, even though we were only parked incorrectly for a split second at Meredith and Adam's apartment. And, when I saw you putting the ticket on the windshield and asked you if I could move the car, when you looked at me and said, "It's a done deal," I was so thankful that I was able to reply, "If I burst into tears will it help? Because this is the worst day of my life!"

And how can I neglect to mention the tub full of spiders in the duplex for $600 a month? Your triggering my arachnophobia helped me to realize what frightening living quarters are available to me at a reasonable rate.

Lastly, remaining homeless after a day of house hunting is just...priceless.

I'll never know what I did to deserve such punishment. Thank you. Thank you all.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Returning to the Place that Shall Not be Named

So, the summer has been truly wonderful. Other than missing my own family, who are trapped a zillion miles away in the place of the devil that shall remain nameless, life has been grand. I visited the beach for the last time Saturday with one of my dearest childhood friends and said goodbye to the Atlantic Ocean. In exactly one week, I will return to the land-locked state that houses a land of horrible drivers, no fresh seafood, rude people who tell me I'm intimidating in Costco, and sheltered people who dis-invite authors to their libraries. I am trying to think on the bright side. Multiple Relief Society lessons on forgiveness have prompted me to realize that it is probably (emphasis on the probably) time to let go of the bitterness and hatred towards Utah (ok, so I just named it) that I harbour in my heart. On Sunday morning, while blow drying my hair, I started to make a mental list of good things about the state. I was attempting to convince my psyche that I will not have a mini-nervous breakdown when I return. This is what I came up with:

1) OBVIOUSLY I will get to see my fabulous mom and hang out with my family again.

2) CAFE RIO! I have been craving an enchilada style burrito for the past month and half.

3) ???

That's about as far as I got before I burst into tears. My mother-in-law added my paying job to the list, and I guess that is a plus.

Sorry if I have offended anyone who hails from "the best snow on earth" but I have given you five years of my life, and you have not made much of an impression.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

All Roads Lead to Kinston

Living in the South has been even better than just visiting. After reading Curly's latest blog entry, I feel inspired to follow her lead. These are the things that I love about spending my summer in a land where people say, "Y'all":

- Going to the beach can be a spontaneous thing.

- People are so, unbelievably FRIENDLY! They smile at you. They speak to you. They genuinely care about each other. They don't look at you weird if you say hi to them in a grocery store. It doesn't matter if you know someone or not, they will be nice to you.

-People are polite. Because I grew up on the west coast, I always thought saying ma'am, sir, miss, etc wasn't really a big deal. Here it is. I thought I wouldn't really get used to it, but I have, and I like it. People just show each other a lot of respect.

- Did I mention...I can go to the beach?

-BOJANGLES Cajun-fillet biscuits with honey mustard.

-Spending time with my husband's family and getting to know them better.

- Saving money! It's been fun watching the money grow in our bank account, especially since Chad's internship decided to pay him.

-Baseball games in 75 degree weather.

-Some of the best shopping ever, especially because my mother-in-law (like my own mom) seems to have clearance radar and can help me find great deals =-)

-And...lest I forget...OH...THE BEACH!

I really do love it here. I'm starting to feel like a real slacker because I haven't even started my unit plans for the English classes I'll be teaching when I get back. But there's something about summertime that makes it feel impossible to get any real work done. Oh well, I'll have a lot more months of real work than I will of summer, so I guess I'll savor the free time while it lasts.

Friday, June 01, 2007

She Thinks She's People

I have never been a huge dog fan. This is just a simple fact of my existence.

It's kind of random, that despite this fact, I still yearned to be a veterinarian over the span of a few years during elementary school. I'm not exactly sure why I thought I would be content making a career out of caring for animals that I normally find obnoxious, but whatever. I probably just wanted to fit in with my circle of friends, and two of my best buds wanted to grow up and make puppies feel better. Anyway, before you start thinking this whole veterinarian childhood fantasy has nothing to do with the dog thing, let me explain. During this short-lived stage, I sort of had a dog for awhile. We had her for a few weeks. Her name was Maggie and my dad got her from a nursing home. They had to get rid of her because she was sniffing old ladies' rear ends. She came to stay with us, and after a few days I'd decided she smelled bad, the hair she shed on everything was unsightly, and I didn't like her jumping on me. Therefore, I avoided going outside so I wouldn't have to be near her. Once Maggie had destroyed several pairs of my mother's shoes, and also managed to chew a hole in the side of our family's tent, Maggie went to the pound. We saw her picture in the paper a couple of times after that. I don't know if she ended up with a nice family...or somewhere else.

Anyway, getting back to the point. I'm just not much of a dog fan.

There is one dog, however, who seems to have won my heart. My husband's family had a dog named Bailey. She is a golden retriever. She thinks she's people.

This is my favorite thing about Bailey--I find it absolutely hilarious. If Bailey has to go to the bathroom, you can't just go to the door and let her outside. You have to walk out on to the front porch, and she won't actually go out into the yard unless you've walked out far enough. She won't, I mean, I don't think she physically can, use the potty until you are standing on the porch watching her. It's hysterical.

This is my second favorite thing about Bailey. She is only "allowed" to be in the kitchen, and one tiny corner of the den. She follows this rule quite precisely. BUT, as soon as she thinks no one is home, that rule seems to no longer apply. She wanders all over the house! It's so funny! As soon as you get home, you catch a glimpse of her darting out of a bedroom, down the hall, and back to her designated area.

In conclusion, I am not much of a dog person, but I am a Bailey person. If we can find a Bailey replica, Chad just might be able to talk me into getting a dog someday. If not, my children will have to wonder what it's like to have a family pet...or maybe we will get a fish.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Search for a Home

We have started the house hunting. Since we are going to be away all summer, I would kind of like to have at least an inkling of a clue as to where we are going to live when we return in August. We looked at some places today. Can I just say that apartment searching is pretty much the most depressing thing ever? Basically, you're either reminded of how poor you are by the crappy, ghetto locations you can afford to call home, or, you're reminded of how poor you are by the beautiful, roomy, over-priced locations you cannot afford. Either way, the reminder is the same: you are poor. I just want to find a decent place, with a decent price, that can semi-fit our belongings (better than our apartment now), in a happy neighborhood, near where I am going to be working and where Chad goes to school. Too much to ask? I think NOT! The universe, however, seems to think otherwise. I know we will find something eventually, but for now I choose to be frustrated and annoyed that we cannot find the perfect dwelling place immediately!

Friday, March 30, 2007

I am Alive!

So, I realized today how tragic it is that I have not been blogging this semester. Frankly, I have been ridiculously busy. Even so, it is no excuse for not making time for the hilarious, tragic, and every day moments of my semester.

I can't believe that on Sunday it will be April. What does this mean? Well, for starters it means student teaching will be coming to an end!!! Which means I will be graduating!!! Which means I have to get a grown up job. All of these things are exciting, but also scary. Because I've neglected to blog for so long, allow me to share with you the top ten moments of my student teaching experience (the good, the bad, and the ugly, and in no particular order):

10. Having a student elect to announce to the entire class that he's going to write about, "Why student teachers suck!" after I gave students permission to write about a student issue of their choice.

9. Writing delightfully pleasant comments on a student paper, only to suddenly discover that what I am reading seems vaguely familiar. AH! But wait! It wasn't vaguely familiar AT ALL! It was word-for-word the exact same project turned in by a student in another class that I teach!

8. Giving both students a zero on a 400 point project because they made the choice to disregard plagiarism/cheating policies and turn in the same project anyway.

7. Having students genuinely seem sad to find out I'm leaving soon and hearing them actually suggest that I stay the entire school year (It's nice to feel loved).

6. Listening to the buzz/hum in the classroom when real learning is happening and knowing that I made that happen.

5. Watching a student who has never passed English work so hard he made a C+! (I never knew a C+ could make me want to cry with joy!)

4. Actually talking about books with students and finding out that, yes, some of them do choose to read, despite their efforts to attempt to convince me they were illiterate when we read Pride and Prejudice.

3. Overhearing the following conversation and wanting to leap for joy:

Random High School Junior - UGH! I have to read Pride and Prejudice for English this

My Student - We just finished reading that. I hated it at first. But it's a pretty good book

2. Having the quietest girl in the class, who never says a thing, actually volunteer to respond during group discussions.

1. Realizing that, yes, I am a teacher. Knowing how much I genuinely care for every student that I teach. Knowing that, even though days are hard, I really am making a difference for some. Crying for kids. Worrying about kids. Rejoicing in their successes. Giving them my all. This is what I have chosen as my profession, and I love it.

Now, someone hire me.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What a Man Sees vs. What a Woman Sees

Me: Hey, honey, can you help me out? My shirt needs to be ironed. Could you do that for me while I'm getting ready for bed.

Husband: Sure. Where is it? (Examines shirt) Are you sure this needs to be ironed?

Me: Are you looking at the same shirt I am?

Husband: It's not even wrinkled.

Me: (Laughing) Are you being serious or sarcastic?

Husband: Serious.

Me: If you are honestly being serious, I am concerned.

Husband: I'll iron it for you, but it really doesn't look wrinkled to me at all.

Me: (Holding up extremely wrinkled, bottom portion of shirt) What about this part right here?

Husband: (Looking closely) I really don't see it!

Me: I am concerned for you based on that comment.

Needless to say, the shirt was hopelessly wrinkled. Bless his heart. I love him.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fuzzy Pants, Ice Cream, and Days I Don't Work = Happy Days

Today I came home from school absolutely exhausted. There's something about getting used to waking up every morning at 6:00 and being on my feet all day that makes me feel a bit tired. Since today is my day off work, I came home and zoned out in front of Oprah. My husband very intelligently suggested that I change out of my teaching clothes and into pajamas, even though it was only 4:00. I took his advice, and it was good advice indeed. I have spent all evening in these amazing pajama bottoms that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas. They're fuzzy and blue. They sound weird when I describe them like that, but they are pretty much the best things ever invented. Right now my hubby is getting us ice cream. I'm so excited to eat something sweet, savor the last moments of my night off, and go to bed early. I'll need the rest--we're almost through Macbeth and it takes a lot of energy to keep high schoolers interested. Wish me luck!
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