Saturday, December 22, 2007

Maybe this year will be better than the last

Since I'm leaving the country soon, and don't want to waste time in a foreign country blogging with dial-up, I have to do my year review post now.

It's been an amazing year. I've choreographed an award-winning show, and have had many gigs as a result. I have a fantastic job. I started, and am excelling in, graduate school. I went through the temple for the first time. I've traveled. My siblings and I have grown even closer than in years past, now that we're all growing up. No relationships to speak of, though I came close a couple of times. Maybe soon one of those will stick.

After the hell that I crawled out of by moving here 18 months ago, I really feel like I'm finally coming into my own. When I meet and talk to strangers, particularly older ones, like the woman I talked to in Wal-mart last Saturday, they remind that my life really is pretty neat.

I wonderful family and friends. I love you all and am so grateful to have you in my life! Thank you so much for sticking through my craziness and loving every part of me. I honestly don't know what I would do without you.

As fantastic as 2007 has been, I feel like 2008 is going to be even better. Aren't you glad you'll be along for the ride?

Merry Christmas, to all of you. May you be surrounded on that special day by loved ones. Happy New Year too! Make sure you kiss someone at midnight. Be safe and responsible, but have lots of fun.

Y'all are awesome. The following is my Christmas gift to you. Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2007

I need an academic advisor to point the way

I really don't like the grading system. It's totally arbitrary and depends not only on the teacher, but also on the school and geographic location! There is no universal system you would think you'd learn after 17 years in school. Just because it says A on the assignment worth 10% and B+ on something worth 20% doesn't mean I know the exact formula. Of course, this would be easier if I aced everything, but I'm not perfect.

In Texas, all of our grades were "92" or "73". Our teachers had this nifty little slide rule thing that did the math for them. If we got 18 questions right on a 20 point quiz, we had a 90. It made sense.

Then, in Utah, we would just report that we got an 18/20, and we'd have to keep track of our percentages. Usually, the smaller assignments were only worth 10 points and the tests 100, or whatever, so, even if weighted assignments, it was pretty easy to know where you were for the class. We would just As or Bs on our report cards.

I don't remember what I did in undergrad, but it was more confusing than that. Now? I just get an A on the assignment worth 15% and I have no idea what that means toward my final grade. Sure, I could probably figure out the math, but that's too much work.

So, yesterday, when I saw all my assignments and tests were finally graded, but no final grade was posted, I was a wee bit antsy.

The grades were finally posted today.

I currently have a 4.0 on my grad school transcript! Yay!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

And I hate that I love you so

I hate my (roommate's) sewing machine. The piece that holds the spool of thread is weird, and with spools of thread I've been using, I can never tell how to position it. The bobbin randomly unwinds itself. The needle won't stay threaded. The tension is inconsistent. Everything can seem fine one minute and then completely unravel the next. For example, I was sewing a piece last night that (and I've timed it) should take me about five or six minutes. Something went wrong, and as I tried to fix it and resew, IT TOOK AT LEAST 20. I was not pleased.

I don't think that the sewing machine itself is out to get me, but it's certainly much cheaper and not as nice as my mother's machine that I love so dearly. I am quite glad, however, that I have access to a machine. I don't have a clue when my roommate bought it, but I was first one to take it out of the box and set it up several months ago. I'm still the only one who has ever used it. Despite the fact that it drives me absolutely crazy, I've been having a lot of fun the last few weeks designing and making several Christmas projects. (Pictures will not be posted for a while because not only did I not have a charged camera battery last night, but some gift recipients read this blog.)

For those who are receiving those gifts, please be kind. I did the best I could with the world's smallest rotary cutting mat, an evil sewing machine, and instructions that were weird. I had to completely scrap one project as a result, so no one's getting that.

Luckily, I had boxes for everything that I needed to ship, and everything was sewn, wrapped, and packaged by about 11:30 last night. I figured I'd run to the post office on my way to work, like everyone else was probably planning.

Then I remembered the 24 hour self-help kiosk and parcel drop at the post office about 3 minutes from my house. No one would be there at 11:45 at night! No lines! Brilliant! Sadly, the parcel drop was so full it wouldn't even open for me, but I did get everything stamped and ready to go, and it only took me a few minutes this morning to drop by again.

So I'm totally ready for Christmas! Except that I need to clean my house. And pack. And buy an international outlet adapter. And . . .

Friday, December 14, 2007

5 6 9 and 10

5 Things I Was Doing 10 Years Ago

1. Learning to walk again
2. Drinking Vernors almost everyday
3. Holding hands with a boy for the first time
4. House-training my new puppy
5. Faking my way through an advanced art class.

5 Things On My To-Do List

1. Finish all my Christmas sewing projects
2. Clean my house (I think that's always on my list)
3. Register for classes for next semester
4. Plan my upcoming trip
5. Organize donations for my FHE group's Adopt-A-Family

5 Things I Would Do If I Were A Millionaire

1. Take at least a year off and travel 'round the world, preferably with someone I love
2. Put aside all the money I need for grad school
3. Buy a house
4. Pay off debts
5. Invest

5 Things I'd Never Do Again

1. Eat a goldfish
2. Cut my hair so short I look like a boy
3. Have an art show in a museum (sure, it was fun, but I'm not that good)
4. Travel with Big Monkey (we wanted to kill each other for about 50% of our trip)
5. Work at

5 Favorite Toys

1. iPod
2. TiVo
3. Flat iron (it curls my hair too!)
4. Amazon Kindle (what? It never said I actually had to own it . . . though, I certainly wouldn't mind doing so . . .)
5. My roommate's sewing machine

5 Things I've Read Recently

1. Books #3 and #6 in Meg Cabot's The Mediator series
2. Ursula Hegi's Stones From the River
3. Textbooks
4. Various news articles online
5. More blogs than I care to admit

I'm not tagging anyone, but feel free to do it if you like.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Will I lose my dignity?

It is come to my attention that there is a serious problem among our children today. Actually, it existed when we were kids too, but we weren't as open about it. Now is the time to talk to our kids. Help them understand that there is something that can be done. Prevention and awareness is key.

Good news!

One of my favorite expressions is Merriam-Webster's Word of 2007! Anyone who talks to me online knows my fondness for the word, and I've had to explain it more than once. When I read the article last night, I thought of me, and at least one of my friends did too. He kindly posted it on our message boards for me to see.

All I have to say is:

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Here in my car, I feel safest of all

The last 36 hours has been rather eventful for my car and me. Back in July, the day after the release of Harry Potter 7, I had a flat tire. That was an adventure of its own, but the spare was put on and I promptly forgot about it. (Bad I know. Let's look past that.) Yesterday, one of the guys in my work building pointed out that the tire was low, and recommended that I get it taken care of before I get stranded in the nasty weather we were having. After work I took myself to the Sears Auto Center and convinced the poor mechanic eating for the first time all day to help me out. I spent a good hour wandering the adjoining store. Two tires later I was finally on my way to picking up Reimsy and heading into the city for a party.
All was well until I got directions to the major road I needed from the hostess and was headed home. Unfortunately, her directions were to turn right on New York Ave (US-50) instead of the left I needed. Even more unfortunate was the fact that every other street in the surrounding Southeast DC is unsafe and there was no convenient place for a U-Turn. All I could do was drive to the side of the city opposite the one I needed and drive all the way around half the Beltway to get home. Not the most ideal of situations at 11:30 PM, or ever really, but I finally made it home.

Another quick story for my car's past - the dome light started acting up and wouldn't turn off when it was supposed to, so I just slid the control into the permanently off position. Over the last few months, I've gotten used to not being able to see in my car at night when I park.

Tonight, that all changed. I arrived in my lot, parked, took my key out of the ignition, and the dome light turned on! I sat, amazed, for a good ten seconds. It even turned off when I locked it, just like it should, except that it's still supposedly set to off. I think it might be possessed.

Despite all the randomness with my car, wandering around whilst waiting for a tire change allowed me to find these:

Now, I'm all in favor of Christmas decorations. I understand light bears, penguins, and deer. But a frog and a dolphin!?!? Seriously.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The winner is . . .

Emily! And then DeShawn! And then Reimsy!

First, the CORRECT answers.

Nov 1 – Here We Go- N*Sync
Nov 2 – Working for the Weekend- Loverboy
Nov 3 – I’ll Be There for You- The Rembrandts
Nov 4 – Beautiful- Christina Aguilera
Nov 5 – Once And For All- Newsies, the musical
Nov 6 – Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen- Louis Armstrong
Nov 7 – Unwritten- Natasha Bedingfield
Nov 8 – Pizza Day- The Aquabats
Nov 9 – I Enjoy Being a Girl- Flower Drum Song, the musical
Nov 10 – Out Tonight – Rent, the musical
Nov 11 – Experimental Film – They Might Be Giants
Nov 12 – These Are Not my Pants- Five Iron Frenzy
Nov 13 – Mozart’s Requiem
Nov 14 – Existentialism on Prom Night – Straylight Run
Nov 15 – Magic’s in the Makeup- No Doubt
Nov 16 – Amazing Grace, performed by one of a million artists/groups
Nov 17 – Plenty- Sarah McLachlan
Nov 18 – Call and Answer- Barenaked Ladies
Nov 19 – E-mail My Heart- Britney Spears
Nov 20 – Why God Why? - Miss Saigon, the musical
Nov 21 – Video - india.arie
Nov 22 – The Thanksgiving Song- Adam Sandler
Nov 23 – Shopping – Barenaked Ladies
Nov 24 – Rise and Shout – The BYU Cougar Fight Song
Nov 25 – Something to Talk About- Bonnie Raitt
Nov 26 – Nasty Habits – Oingo Boingo
Nov 27 – No Creo- Shakira
Nov 28 – I Guess This is Growing Up- Blink-182
Nov 29 – Pullin’ Together- Saturday’s Warrior, the musical (line by Jimmy)
Nov 30 – One in a Million- Instant Winner

Emily had 1 wrong, Theater Geek had 3, and Reimsy had 5.

Now, Emily had a slight advantage. She's familiar with the ska band I was friends with in high school (Instant Winner), and we watched Saturday's Warrior I don't know how many times growing up. Those were the two I most anticipated being wrong as a result.

To be fair to all involved, and to show my gratitude for them even entering, everyone wins something! Emily's prize will be bigger and better than Theater Geek's, and so on, but I will be on the lookout for a Parisian souvenir for all three.

Thank you for entering and congratulations!!

(P.S. I'm still using song lyrics for my post titles, including today's. Knowing this may come in handy again . . . )

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Christmastime is here, happiness and cheer!

For me, Christmas shouldn't start until after Thanksgiving. After a big turkey dinner is when the music can come on, the decorations can go up, and the shopping can begin. (Really, I enjoy last minute shopping sometimes.)

Unfortunately, between finals, being sick, the lack of snow, and having no family around, I wasn't feeling very festive yet.

Today, 75% of that has changed! Finals are done, I'm feeling much better, and there's even a smattering of snow!

What I found on my car today:

What it looks like now, at work, still snowing:

I still won't see any family for a couple more weeks, so I'll have to wait on that.

My "family" and I did put up the Christmas tree for FHE this week, however, so my house looks much better. Saturday morning, my roommates and I went to the Naughty Pine Plantation to cut down our own tree. Yes, I chose it for the name. We found a beautiful tree, cut it down ourselves, and they took a Polaroid to commemorate the occasion. Once we got it home, we put it in a bucket of water. I was sure that I had a tree stand and Jane insisted she had a hack saw to even out the trunk.

Fast forward to Monday. Our "family" is coming over within twenty minutes, and Jane brings down this saw that my kitchen knives could take in a fight. So, that's a no go. Then, I realize that my Christmas stand is probably in my bedroom closet IN MY PARENT'S HOUSE! I even called my brother to confirm, and I was right. Useful? Not so much.

So I ran out of the house and to the friendly neighborhood CVS and made them open a box for me to get a tree stand they hadn't even stocked yet. Now I own two. Super! I made it back before anyone arrived, and since it was the suspension kind of stand, we decided not to even it off. Problem solved! We had a low turnout, but the tree looks great. The others apparently got a little bored, because I still have a third of my ornaments in my box that I'll put up tonight. Imagine that there are a few more on my tree.
I also finally put up the wall cubbies I got for my birthday . . . seven months ago . . . Perfect place for the Nativity! (And the ugly angel that was my first tree-topper.)

It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

That's my new philosophy!

When I was trying to think of topics for the last week of NaBloPoMo, Eilonwy suggested I talk about what I've learned in school this semester. As it turns out, one of my last tasks was to write a brief philosophy statement along those same lines. I will now share it with you.

It is an absolute necessity that we treat each patron with as much equality as possible. If nothing else, that’s one thing that I have been reminded of constantly throughout the semester. Everyone has the right to information and we have the responsibility to make it available to them. We may not agree with those we serve, want to help them, or even like them. However, we must still provide for them and their information needs. We must make what we have equally available to all we serve. This means not only providing the resources and the tools with which to find them, but also to teach patrons and users how to access and make use of it.

Additionally, as information professionals, we have a responsibility to the information. We have a stewardship for preserving and providing access to the shared human record of history and information. We may not be the only ones regulating its creation, availability, or use, but we certainly must make every effort to account for what we can. We are responsible for its organization and dissemination. We are also responsible for keeping some information private.

Exactly what and how we care for both our patrons and the information will greatly vary by situation, based on who we serve and the information we are stewards over. What cannot change is our dedication to the profession and our willingness to find a balance between competing values.

With that, and a few small things I have to do tonight, I'm done with school for 6 weeks! Let the holiday festivities begin!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Three is a magic number

I have three things to post about today.

One - A slight retraction. The brilliant Reimsy reminded me that the X is used as a symbol for Christ, hence the abbreviation. So, I guess my offense should be directed at those who abbreviate thinking that they're just saving time instead of those who did it with Christ in mind. Since I will generally not know which one they meant, I'll just have to be less judgemental.

Second -

cash advance

I think that's appropriate. I have no idea what the criteria is, but I'll take it.

Third - My contest is still open. I do have one entrant, but since not all of his answers are right, I'm hoping he'll get a little competition. So enter! What are you waiting for?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Say it somehow

Tonight as I was driving to the church for the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional, I was listening to the local Christian radio station. Christian rock isn't half bad sometimes, and I've recently enjoyed their selection of Christmas music. After the song ended, they played a station identifier about why they were a good radio choice for the Christmas season. The announcer spoke and then they played some clips of listeners. The first woman said something along these lines: "This time of year isn't just about Santa, but also the religious reason."

I understand that there are lots of mid-winter holidays being celebrated by lots of different people. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Festivus. Each has their own traditions and holiday focus. But this was a Christian radio station talking about Christmas, and this woman didn't seem to be brave enough to say "but more about celebrating the birth of Christ."

I find it sad that we're afraid to stand up and say "I am a Christian!" when the situation is appropriate. When it's not appropriate to just come out and say it, it's just as important to live our lives the way He would have us live.

I take offense when people say X-mas instead of Christmas. In fact, when I noticed that the Christmas tree farm we went to yesterday had "Xmas trees" on their last couple of directional signs, I had half a mind to turn around and go somewhere else. I don't mind when people say "Happy Holidays" or other politically correct statements, but I do mind when they take Christ out of Christmas.

On a related note, an agnostic friend of mine and I were chatting the other day and he sent me the following picture.
All I said in verbal response was "Interesting." Religious discussions don't usually go over well with this person, so I left it at that. However, I find myself agreeing with it. Through the miracle of the Atonement, Jesus suffered all of our pains, sufferings, illnesses, addictions, hurts, etc. What we do unto the least of these, including ourselves, we do it unto Him. This is, of course, that we may return home to the Lord and Savior, despite our failings. I felt that this was the artist's interpretation of this belief.

Then this friend sent me this.

I responded "Now this I don't agree with". To which he said "Then you obviously don't have a sense of humor." "No, I just generally don't appreciate humor about those I consider deity."

That's where our conversation ended for the day. To me, the painting these men are making fun of represents one of the most important events in the history of the world, and I would never take it lightly. Later that same evening, when I happened to catch Bruce Almighty on TV, I wondered if I was contradicting myself and enjoying something that was humorous about God. I decided that the end of the film has a very touching message about the nature of God, and our role as His children.

I love Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for all that They have given me, and I take my covenants with Them very seriously. I'm not perfect, but I know They love me anyway. And They love you.
Jesus Christ is the reason for Christmas. I'm not afraid to say it.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I'm enjoying my new need to compete

Whilst my readers are competing with each other (and I'm still looking for more entrants), I'm competing with myself today. Sick Stretch is competing with Scholarly Stretch to both recover and finish all my school work. So far, both have won minor battles and it's been an interesting day. One final is finished, but I also took a nap for almost three hours.

Whoever scheduled finals, three rehearsals/performances with MCW, and a myriad of unwelcome physical problems in the same week should be fired.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

You're an instant winner, out of the blue

This is it! I made one blog post every day for the month of November! Some days were harder than others, but I really enjoyed it. I hope you did too.

Now, in order to celebrate, let's have a little contest shall we?

The Rules:

Be the first person to correctly guess the title and artist for each of my posts this month. If it's a show tune, as there are a few, I want the show title. If, after enough submissions, no one has guessed all of them correctly, the person with the most correct answers will be the winner.

Should you see that someone has answered and I haven't named a winner yet, answer anyway! You may have more right than they do. I know that there are more readers on this blog than commenters, so I'm hoping a few of you will make yourselves known. Say hi.

The prize? I'll bring you something back from Paris.

I'll be there in 25 days. I can't wait!

Now, if I don't know you, and you win, we'll work something out.

That's enough from me.

Ready? Set? GO!!