Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Some More Olds and News...

First of all, I forgot to mention a couple of items in the "update" part of the last post:

1. BYU Ballroom Dance Corp (I think that's their official title- I forget). A couple of weeks ago, they were in Indy as part of their national tour. I'm not sure how Rachel found out about it (most likely, her bishop made some announcement in the ward...), but she signed up to host a couple of the female dancers. In exchange, we got a pair of free tickets to their performance May 5th. Let me tell you, it was an amazing performance! Granted, I didn't recognize a lot of structured ballroom dancing steps- to me, it seemed more like a combination of a professional-level show choir with some ballroom dancing techniques thrown in. But then, I will confess that I am not knowledgable enough to be a dance critic. Whatever the case, it was some incredible dancing (with some exquisite costumes- as well as some really weird and bizarre ones). Seriously, I'm not sure humans were really meant to move like that- astounding agility and flexibility! If you ever find yourself given the opportunity to go to one of their performances, go. It is a visual delight!

2. I have always loved handbells. Although I haven't tried to keep that a secret, I haven't really gone around and told people about it- it just never really came up. But I think handbell choirs are amazing and fun and so cool! I have always been a little sad that our church does not have congregational handbell choirs (which is understandable- the initial cost is considerable, from what I've heard, and I realize our funds go to other, more important things, like helping out starving hurricane victims or helping support missionaries that are trying to bring people to Christ). Anyway, long story short (too late!), I joined a handbell choir a few weeks ago! It is at a Methodist church in Castleton, and one of the players is also a teacher at TEch (which is how I made the connection). I have had so much fun learning how to play the bells (there is a lot more to it than just ringing, let me tell you!), and my "big" debut on Sunday went fairly well (only a few mistakes, nothing too major). Sadly, they are done for now- we won't start up again until the fall. But a lot of the members were very friendly and eagerly asked if I would be coming back in the fall. That's definitely the plan! I am excited about this new way to develop my musical talents!

Okay, that's it for the updates (I think). Now, since J.Ammon complained about haters in my last post, I thought I'd show him that it's not all about hate (though I did forget to mention in that list that I absolutely despise beets, that I hate Romeo and Juliet as a love story, that I think Maraschino cherries are disgusting, and that, unlike most people, I really do not care for movie theater popcorn. I hate the way it coats your tongue and the roof of your mouth in layer after layer of pointless cholesterol...)

Anyway, I decided to do a list of things I like that most other people seem to dislike/hate. Here goes (again, in no particular order):

10 things I LIKE that most other people seem to hate:

1. William Shakespeare: I know that his name may be considered the equivalent of a four-letter word to most high school students, but despite the aforementioned dislike of R&J as a love story, I can honestly say I love Shakespeare. This is not any kind of obligatory English-major acknowledgment of one of the greatest writers to ever live. I genuinely love much of Shakespeare's works (I will concede that I do not love his works universally- there are some of his plays and poetry that I can do without). He had such a brilliant knack for description and imagery. I will argue till the day I die (and maybe even beyond) that one of the greatest speeches ever written is King Henry V's pep talk before the Battle of Agincourt. Goosebumps every time.

2. Hamlet: Going with that Shakespeare vein, I love Hamlet. It seems that even among those that like Shakespeare, Hamlet does not seem to be one that is often cited as a favorite. It is definitely one of mine. I love the intricacies, the complexities, the ambiguities of it all. Most of all, though, I love Horatio. He has long been (and always will be) one of my absolute favorite characters, Shakesperean or otherwise. I especially loved the way he was portrayed by Nicholas Farrell in Kenneth Branagh's production of Hamlet. (The best is the scene between him and Hamlet, just before Hamlet's fatal duel with Laertes).

3. Washing dishes by hand: Most kids do not like to do chores (heck, most adults don't like to do chores either), but out of all the rotating chores my parents had us do, I never minded doing the dishes. For most of our childhood, we did not have a functioning dishwasher appliance, so they always had to be done by hand. I actually found this rather relaxing, especially since we had a window above the sink that looked out over the back yard. Though there is no window above the sink in my current apartment, I still don't mind doing dishes by hand, even with a working dishwasher appliance. Weird, I know.

4. Cleaning in general: You wouldn't think it to look at my room, but I really do like cleaning: mopping, scrubbing, dusting, vacuuming, straightening/organizing...I enjoy doing it all! (Although, keep in mind that having a cluttered home is not the same as having a dirty one). While it may not necessarily be relaxing to me like doing the dishes is, it is still a refreshingly satisfying thing to do. It really does bother me when the house is dirty and out of order. Granted, I'm not obsessed like Monica on Friends, where I'll do it above doing many other things. No, other things sadly do take precedence...but I'm still working to balance my life in such a way that I can get more cleaning done on a regular basis.

5. Snow: I don't like driving in snow when there are panicky idiots on the road who make life unsafe for anybody around them, but I love a good snow--especially around Christmas. Anytime between mid-late November until the end of February, I will almost never complain about getting snow (unless it is not getting enough of it, such as on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day). I love the way it looks, I love it when it crunches or when it swishes or when it sparkles or when it glistens... It is so beautiful in so many ways. So, to those living in the Midwest who hate it or complain about it, I always say, Nuts to you. Move to California or Florida. If you live in this part of the country, you're going to have to accept snow. You don't have to like it, but for heaven's sake, quit complaining about it out loud. I don't want to hear it.

6. Ice Storms: Like the snow, I don't necessarily like the dangers that ice storms present- it royally sucks (stinks!) if the power gets knocked out for more than a few hours, and roads are significantly more treacherous than with snow. Still, I love the way an ice storm makes the world look, as though it were encased in glass or crystal. I love the way the ice sparkles in the sun like diamonds, and when it puts a crust on the snow, it's kind-of fun to crunch through that layer of ice... I just think it makes everything so beautiful.

7. Peanut Butter Kisses: Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Those Halloween taffies that come in the black and orange wrappers. Sure, they are probably used by dentists for tooth extractions, but I love them! I remember my first year at college (and my first year away from home on Halloween), Mom and Dad sent me a small box full of them! (Probably Sarah and Kirsti's discards, but so what? I sure didn't care!)

8. Turkey dark meat: I am one of the few people in the family who prefers the dark meat to the white (I think Mom shares this same preference). I just think it tastes so much better, and unlike white meat, which always tastes a little dry, dark meat is always so much more moist and tender. It really is the best stuff! (My family is welcome to disregard that statement, though- if you start moving in on my dark meat, I may have to beat you with a wet noodle...)

9. Teaching Relief Society/Sunday School (or even giving a Talk): Part of this may be because I just naturally tend to talk a lot (not that any of you have noticed, right? :) However, I think it is also just one of those gifts that God has given me. I think there is a reason I have wanted/planned to be a teacher for most of my life growing up. I think it is just in my blood. I really do enjoy it, especially getting to teach an older group of people (I don't know if I'd still love it if I had to teach 4-5-year-olds, or even adolescents- I've never had that opportunity...). One friend asked once how I do it without ever getting nervous (she'd had to to teach Relief Society earlier that day). I explained that I do still get a little nervous, but I've somehow found a way to use those nerves to my advantage. I just don't worry too much about what I'm going to say. I try to focus more on how I'm going to say it (i.e. through the Spirit, hopefully).

10. The smell of freshly-cut grass: While there may be many others who also enjoy this smell, I know it bothers a lot of people mostly because in order to get that smell, you have to actually cut/mow grass, which releases a lot of pollen and other allergens into the air, which most people hate. My bizarre allergies are kind-of come and go, but even if mowing the lawn were to aggravate my allergies, I would still love that smell- definitely one of my favorite harbingers of summer and all the delights that come with it!

So there, Joe. As you can see, I'm not just a hater. I like lots of things. There are plenty of other haters in the world that hate things I like. So why don't you just quit hating on us all? :)

Here's hoping any and all of you readers out there have a beautiful week!

Monday, May 11, 2009

News and Olds

Yeah, it's been awhile. Here's a brief that may or may not be brief.

1. New Goal: Obtain teaching license by the end of June. It means an insane month of May, getting all this paperwork and teaching documentation done, but I have been assured by my two advisors at Marian College that it is possible. Keep your fingers crossed and hold your breath (until the end of June, that is... I hope you don't turn blue- or dead.)

2. Old Hopes continually dashed: Why oh why do my students continue to fail? I could count the number of passing grades I gave out this last midquarter on one hand. Overall, they seem to be generally engaged in class. I can't see how they might be misunderstanding my expectations. They know what they have to do. Why oh why don't they do it? How can I get them to do the work so they are learning and NOT failing? I'm really struggling with this one, so all you teachers out there, I could use any thoughts or advice on it...

3. Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo: Since apparently I did NOT inform anyone of my intended activities this past weekend, contrary to what I had thought, here's a quick rundown. I left school early on Friday, picked up a friend, Kristina, and drove many many many hours to Nauvoo. Why, you ask? Because we had a couple of friends who were getting married on Saturday (to each other, not to other people- i.e. one wedding was involved, not two). I stayed Friday and Saturday night with Rebecca (Morris) Powell in Burlington, IA (Kristina stayed with the bride's family in a hotel in Nauvoo). Friday night, a group of us (including the groom) went to go see Star Trek. Holy Cow! What an amazing movie! I won't go into a lot of details yet (since some of you may still be on your way to see it), but the casting was amazing, the cast was talented (and hilarious- especially McCoy and Scotty), the story was just a good, solid story- it was incredible! Even Kristina, who is not really a Star Trek fan, loved it and would go to see it again in a heartbeat. For those of you who love movies- even if you're not a Star Trek fan- you should definitely go see this one!
Saturday- the day of the wedding- was beautifully clear and sunshiny- and COLD! FREEZING COLD! And windy! Even in the midwest, May is usually consistently warm. My outfit, including a knee-length skirt and sandals, should have been fine. No. We all froze as the photographers snapped dozens of photos. Still, the wedding was lovely, the bride and groom radiant, and as the weather eventually warmed up by late afternoon, the day was wonderful.
Sunday- after attending sacrament meeting, Kristina and I (and the groom's mom, who joined our party car for reasons too complicated to explain) headed back to Indiana. Despite all the driving I forced Frankie to do, I would say it was a good weekend, even if a bit exhausting...

So, there's an update on things going on in my life right now. Now you can quit asking.

To finish this off, I offer you a list, taken from one of Genny Dawson Dazet's recent posts:

10 Things I Hate That Other People Seem To Like:
(in no particular order)
  1. Seafood: Everyone is always raving about shrimp or crab or this or that kind of fish. Blech. Ew. Gross. Now, I realize that part of this is years of prejudice against any kind of seafood talking (thanks a lot, Mom and Dad, for forcing me to eat all those nasty fish sticks... I think you have traumatized me for life). However, in growing up, I have made some effort to overcome those psychological prejudices and have made the attempt to try some types of seafood. That being said, with the exceptions of canned tuna and fried cod/fried calamari (when I'm in the mood), I hold to my first opinion. Blech. Ew. Gross. (I do, however, have to give kudos BIG time to Red Lobster, who can ALWAYS make seafood look appealing, even to me... Whoever is in charge of their marketing campaigns is a pure genius!)
  2. Earbuds: While I am not opposed to swabbing out the earwax with a Q-tip on occasion, I still can't handle the annoying sensation of earbuds. While I realize traditional headphones may feel a bit bulky, I still prefer them to sticking wads of plastic/rubber in my ears for extended periods of time. It's like having wax buildup that won't come out! I'm sorry. If there are earbuds out there that are lighter than air so that I don't notice I have them in, great. I'll give them a try. Until then, I'll stick with the bulky but comfortable.
  3. Vegetables: While I am often quick to point out to my family that I have come a long way since I was a child- I can willingly eat many things (vegetables included) that I didn't like to touch as a kid- I can still freely admit that many vegetables are not on my list of things I like to eat (the few that are tend to be low on the list- with the exception of corn, which I can honestly say I love). When I do eat veggies, for the most part they have to be raw. I still struggle with cooked vegetables (Hey- at least I don't have to massage my throat anymore, right?) Of course, that makes it hard for me to eat many other types of meals, because they often use vegetables as a complement to meats, grains, etc. Oh well. I still find plenty to eat.
  4. NASCAR: I realize that this may be rather ironic, considering that I live in Indianapolis, the heart of car racing. There may be those that would consider such a statement blaspheme. Nuts to them. I certainly didn't move here to be closer to the Indianapolis Speedway. People who honestly enjoy NASCAR are either sick or drunk (or both). The closest I will ever get to willingly watching stock car racing is watching CARS. (Disclaimer: I realize that Indianapolis is famous for the Indy 500, which is NOT a NASCAR race. No matter. The speedway is still used for various NASCAR races. And even if it weren't, I'd still hate NASCAR.)
  5. Cola: Pepsi, Coke/Coca-Cola (by the way, as far as I know, there really is no difference between Coke or Coca-Cola, so why they have to use both names is beyond me...), Dr Pepper, Mr. Pibb- all are gross to me. Only if I am dying of thirst would I even consider taking a sip of any cola, name brand or otherwise- and even then, I would probably pass up on it, preferring to suck my own spit to soothe the dry throat. I have never liked cola, I never will, and I don't think even the addition of flavor- cherry, vanilla, chocolate or otherwise- could make any of them palatable enough for me to willingly drink.
  6. Vitamin Water/Flavored Water: Continuing on the subject of drinks, I don't really understand the appeal of these drinks. Well, at least Vitamin Water can claim to have nutrients. Still, I have a hard time believing that people actually drink them for their taste. To me, it's like drinking very, very, very, very watered-down Kool-Aid, where only a hint of washed-up flavor is left. Yuk. If I want flavor in a drink, I want flavor! I don't want to be teased with traces of it. I'd rather just drink plain bottled water, which does far more to quench my thirst than this tainted crap. So have fun drinking your pseudo-"healthy"-Kool-Aid-imitation-blah-ter. I'm gonna stick to the real stuff.
  7. Valentine's Day Romance: It's not that I object to romance in general. On the contrary, I love a good romantic story (nerd alert: I recently re-read and re-read and re-read Jane Eyre because of all the thrillingly romantic moments throughout the story). And it's not even that I still object to Valentine's Day in general (I have more or less gotten over my previous hatred of it). I have decided to use Valentine's Day as a day to show other kinds of love- family love, friendly love, etc. But I find that romance on Valentine's Day just tends to be nauseating. Maybe it's all the cliche gifts and activities that are so nauseating. I don't know. Whatever it is, I have decided that whenever I find that significant other, anything red, white, pink, chocolate, stuffed/fuzzy, rose or carnation is outlawed on Valentine's Day (now, the day before or the day after might be a different story...)
  8. Red-Velvet Cake: I think people talk themselved into liking this kind of cake simply because of the cream cheese frosting. How can anybody seriously like such a butchering of chocolate cake? And all that red dye can't be good for you. Nope. Red-velvet cake is disgusting, plain and simple- and a complete waste of good cream cheese frosting. Get yourselves a really good carrot cake, for pete's sake. Stop ruining chocolate.
  9. Nebraska: Well, I don't know and don't care if other people like this state. I just figured that if this is a hate list, Nebraska has to be on it. It's a long story. If you are really interested, ask me. But for now, just know that I hate Nebraska.
  10. Football: Yes, I will admit that I occasionally keep tabs on the Colts. I feign interest because I have so many students/co-workers that love the Colts, and in order to avoid looking like a complete idiot, I try to keep track of how they are doing- sort-of. To be honest, though, I really do not care. I don't hate football the same way that I hate NASCAR, but I really have no true interest in the sport. Although I don't mind attempting to play it with the family on a beautiful autumn Thanksgiving Day...
Okay, that took a little longer than planned. I was going to punctuate the list with photos, but I have to be a responsible teacher again. I'm out.