Thursday, December 24, 2009

How We Do It

I do believe I said I'd write about buying Mike's wedding ring. I think I'll also write about buying mine. Just keep in mind, we like to keep things adventurous. And mildly shady in some cases.

My Ring: Truth be told, we were secretly semi-engaged for a good chunk of time. We (read: I) were pretty sure we were crazy because things had happened so quickly, so this was a time wherein we considered, hypothetically, what it might be like should we get married. We liked that, so then we moved to officially engaged but the kind where you only tell your families because there isn't a ring, and in today's world people need that blingy proof. Eventually we decided we couldn't go on not telling everyone in the whole entire world that we were in love and getting married, so we went to Claire's and bought a fake engagement ring. Now armed with a $7 ring we made visits, sent out mass texts, and changed the facebook status. We also made an appointment with the Mysterious Jeweler, recommended by one of Mike's sisters.

MJ runs a very cool, and very unusual business. I quite liked him, and I love my ring. But, getting the ring was still an unusual experience. Firstly, it's important to understand that he is a jeweler jaded by the industry and doing his part to right some wrongs by doing things very differently. He only accepts customers through recommendation and does every thing by custom design, and doesn't make you pay the outrageous amounts most jewelers do.

The unusual part of the experience came from how careful he is to keep things low key. Our instructions for getting to his office were something along the lines of:
Go to the bank across the street from the gas station on X street. There will be steel doors propped open, enter there. Go up the stairs to the second floor. Turn right. There will be a blacked out door on your right. Knock on it and I'll let you in.

Is it just me, or does that seem a little ominous? I admit I asked Mike if our jeweler was also a drug dealer. He wasn't. He was very kind and helpful though, and capable of interpreting my desire for a "swoop" ring. The ring he made for us is gorgeous and I love it very much. And he delivered it just before the fake ring permanently turned my finger green.

Our experience with Mike's ring was strikingly similar.

Mike's Ring: The reason we didn't go back to MJ is because Mike wanted a tungsten ring, which we couldn't get from MJ. It turns out, in fact, that we couldn't get it a lot of places. I started searching the websites for all the jewelry stores I knew of in Provo, and most of them didn't carry tungsten rings, or only had a few to choose from. In desperation, I turned to google, which promptly directed me to a company that specializes in men's tungsten wedding bands. Perfect. I send the link to Mike, who immediately finds what he wants. Oh, and did I mention they were having a huge sale that day? So, I call to find out where they're located and we set up an appointment to look the ring over, get it sized, etc.

Address in hand, we head off to the jewelry store. Or, the mall? Or, a small rented office? Nope. A huge house in the middle of a bunch of other huge houses. We were slightly confused, but we went to the door anyway. A tiny kid answers. Odd. Then a man comes to the door, introduces himself, and invites us in. He takes us to the basement (totally weirded out at this point, wondering if I've found a murderer posing as a jeweler) where there are lots of dead animals mounted on the walls (does not help the creepy factor) including a moose with a Santa hat (that made Mike happy) and, finally, a display case full of tungsten rings (phew).

Again, things worked out fine. Mike found exactly the ring he wanted, and the price was about a third of what I had expected.

We've been really lucky, and I'm not going to lie, I hope that streak of good luck holds up.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wherein I Kick Adversity's Butt

You know how you always get sick at the worst possible time? (or is that just me?)

Yeah. That happened.

Yesterday, after parent teacher conferences I came home with a throbbing, aching head. Maintained consciousness only long enough to make dinner, throw up dinner, and watch the end of my favorite Christmas movie. But, not long enough to finish my lesson for my very important evaluation that I had today (important as in it goes on my permanent file as a teacher).

So, much sleep, several meaningful prayers, and one early morning PowerPoint party later... I headed to school... with another terrible headache.

Second period rolled around, and... it went so well!

I had decided to do a lesson about colons, because I love grammar, and my students love our grammar lessons too. Truly. They all participate and then go crazy using whatever we learned in their writing (there have even been reports of text messages containing semi-colons).

They wrote fabulous titles, lists, and compound sentences using colons. They asked just the right number of questions, and misbehaved in minor ways the exact number of times I would have wished for (part of your score is for correcting misbehavior). I need to come up with some sort of treat for them. They're always a good class, but this being perfect was quite intentional on their part.

Then my administrator and I went over my score (I sort got an amazing score) and her notes. She left. I turned off all the lights and laid on the floor on my office willing my head not to explode. Which apparently worked since I feel totally fine now.

p.s. I will write about things besides teaching sometime soon. Probably about the time that Mike and I bought his wedding ring from some random guy's store... in his basement. That was a good time.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Scarlet Letter: Facebook Version

Sometimes, I feel like I am running out of ideas. And time. Or, more frequently, I have run out of time to come up with ideas. This happened recently when I was trying to come up with some sort of clever/meaningful review activity for the 11th graders as they finished The Scarlet Letter.

Luckily, I had a little memory flash to when Elliespen showed me some funny and clever literary adaptions. The uniqueness of these adaptations was that they were done in Facebook Newsfeed style... that's right Pride and Prejudice and Hamlet in Facebook form. So... I stole the idea, and I showed those versions to my class and had them each write 10-15 things to contribute to our Scarlet Letter version. I compiled them (and spiced them up a little), and we ended up with a very successful final product.

**Quick note: There are definitely spoilers here; reader beware. Also, this is a little extra thorough because it was their test review. And, this is text only, the one they got looked all Facebook-y too. Enjoy!

Custom House Clerk is new to Facebook: Scarlet Letter Addition.
Roger Chillingworth is offline
Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale are now friends
Hester Prynne is in a complicated relationship
Pearl is online
Hester Prynne, the Arthur Dimmesdale and 200 other friends are attending “Scaffold of Shame” hosted by Puritanical Judges
Hester Prynne feels embarrassed and full of shame.
The townspeople really want to know who the dad is.
Hester Prynne is not telling. Ever.
Arthur Dimmesdale is feeling guilty.
The townspeople became a fan of Arthur Dimmesdale
Roger Chillingworth is online
Hester Prynne and Roger Chillingworth are now friends
Hester Prynne is shocked by the appearance of an old acquaintance.
Roger Chillingworth isn’t really surprised, he should have seen this one coming.
Roger Chillingworth became a fan of Getting Revenge on the Guy Who Had an Affair with Your Wife
Hester Prynne just promised to keep a really big secret…
The townspeople became a fan of Hester’s Sewing
Hester Prynne thinks little Pearl is angel sent from heaven to help her through her hard times.
Roger Chillingworth and Arthur Dimmesdale are now friends
The townspeople don’t think Hester should be a mother. She’s too wicked.
Hester Prynne really appreciates Mr. Dimmesdale’s help convincing the governor to let her keep Pearl.
Arthur Dimmesdale is still feeling guilty, but he’s glad he could help.
Arthur Dimmesdale is a little leery of his new roommate.
Roger Chillingworth took the “Who is the most likely partner in Hester Prynne’s Adulterous Affair?” quiz. His result was Arthur Dimmesdale.
Arthur Dimmesdale tried to confess… didn’t work.
Roger Chillingworth just saw a scarlet “A” on someone’s chest, BUT not on who you’d think…
Arthur Dimmesdale feels like torturing himself : (
Arthur Dimmesdale is going for a walk… to the scaffold… but for no particular reason…
Reverend Mr. Wilson, Hester Prynne, and Roger Chillingworth are attending “Governor Winthrop’s Deathbed”
Arthur Dimmesdale has invited Hester Prynne and Pearl to attend “Stand on the Scaffold in the Dark to Ease My Conscience”
Arthur Dimmesdale is not attending Pearl’s event, “Stand on the Scaffold with Us Tomorrow… in the LIGHT”
Hester Prynne is really not sure why she’s standing here.
Roger Chillingworth totally saw that!
Arthur Dimmesdale and Pearl are now friends
Pearl poked Arthur Dimmesdale
Hester Prynne is shocked at the condition of Arthur Dimmesdale
The townspeople are weirded out by the meteor and the “A” in the sky… must be because Governor Winthrop was such an angel!
Pearl wants to know what the deal is with the scarlet letter
Hester Prynne is going to tell Chillingworth to leave Dimmesdale alone. She’s had enough of this!
Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale are attending “Meeting in the Woods”
Pearl just made and awesome seaweed scarf! Check out my pics!
Hester Prynne totally still loves him, and… she thinks he loves her too!
Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale are attending “Escape Boston So We Can Have a Happy Life”
Arthur Dimmesdale is afraid that Pearl won’t like him
Pearl is grossed out. Dimmesdale kissed her forehead! Ew!
Hester Prynne bought her tickets! With one extra ; )
Roger Chillingworth bought his tickets too. Ha.
Arthur Dimmesdale is writing an AMAZING speech!
The townspeople, Arthur Dimmesdale, and 3 other friends are attending “Election Sermon”
The townspeople loved Dimmesdale’s speech!
Arthur Dimmesdale confessed (finally!)
The townspeople took the “How Well Do You Know Arthur Dimmesdale?” quiz. Their result is “Not Very Well at All.”
Arthur Dimmesdale’s account has been deleted
Hester Prynne and Pearl are attending, “Let’s Get Out of Boston!”
Roger Chillingworth is leaving everything to Pearl
Roger Chillingworth is offline

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Notes to the World (Not a Rant)

To: The Copy Ladies,
Thank you for always being so nice to me, for learning my name the first week of school, and for never complaining when I have last minute copy jobs. Most days, you're my favorite people at the school.

To: The Janitors
Thank you for letting me into the building that one day when I left my wallet there. And for cleaning my room. And for just being nice.

To: The District Language Arts Mentors
I love you! Your meetings are always helpful and never tedious. You give me lots of materials and ideas that I can actually use. And, there are always snacks.

To: A Certain Locally Popular Gas Station
I very much appreciate that you consistently carry Vanilla Coke. I'm not sure why everyone else is so wishy washy about it, but I know I can count on you!

To: Camille (my library friend)
I wish you were around so I could tell you about how awesome life has been lately. But, I'm also pretty glad you're busy being the coolest sister missionary ever.

To: The English Deptartment at MRJHS
Thank you for lending me some books for the 9th graders. I would be seriously sunk without your (completely unexpected) generosity.

To: My Book Club
Have I ever mentioned that I really, really like all of you? And I think you're brilliant? I'm glad we make time to get together. It keeps me going when I get bogged down.

To: A Particular 10th Grader
Thank you for saying, and I quote, "What? That's it? Semi-colons are easy!" That made me feel like I did a good job :)

To: Last Year's 7th Graders
I still miss you. I keep the certificate you made me in my office at the high school and people always comment on it. Sometimes I tell people random facts about Al Capone (because I can) and I hope you do too. I'm trying hard to stay "legit."

To: Lauren
Let's write another silly story. And make Mike read it ;)

To: Mike
I'll tell you your note in person... the internet would be grossed out by the gushy things I have to say to you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Considering Appearances

Today, I made my students question their intelligence... and I laughed about it until I almost cried.

Whole story:

My 10th grade classes have been doing a unit about identity. One of my goals for this year is to do more activities that use the different styles of learning (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc). Kinesthetic (learning through touching and moving) is probably the hardest one for me to include in my lessons because it's so opposite of how I learn. But, for today's lesson I had the bright idea of having them use playdoh to create a symbol to represent themselves. I wasn't really sure how it would work out, but they loved it and it met all of the learning objectives perfectly.

Now, one tiny bit of background information. My classes are unusually small. This is the one advantage I have this year. My biggest class is about 32 kids and my smallest is about 15. The others are all around 20-25.

Okay, so tiny little class of about 15 tenth graders are happily sculpting their symbols while listening to The Nightmare Before Christmas and all is well. Then, these two guys come in looking for the teacher I share my classroom with. Seeing he isn't there, they begin to leave, but one of them pauses, leans over to a girl and says quietly, "I didn't know you were in a resource class."

She replies (rather loudly), "This isn't a resource class!" Hearing this the other students get this sort of confused and sad look on their face as they look around at the tiny class and then look down at their playdoh.

At first I felt terrible and assumed that I was just a horrible, horrible teacher that made them do silly things. They assured me that our class was fine (and they in fact really like it... but... they had always wondered why the class was so small. Then, they were asking me (as they pat and mold their playdoh creations) if it really was a resource class and the school just had some sort of agreement with their parents so they wouldn't find out. That's when I laughed so hard I almost cried. They laughed too.

*side note: you should read this post by my wonderful friend Lauren. It's the whole story I never told you because I was busy being vague.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Minor Difficulties

Last Friday, Mike and I went to the ballroom dance social at the high school. It was a lot of fun. A bunch of my students are on the team, and actually were in charge teaching the dances to the public. Which was great, except for how every time we'd start to get tired and think about sitting down for a song a new student would pop up and offer to teach us a new dance. They were so cute and enthusiastic that there was really no way to turn them down. Mike is a great dancer, and I didn't harm myself or anyone else, so I count that as a success.

Funniest/most awkward part of the evening had to do with some mistakes being made about my age. Basically, I get mistaken for a high school student at least once a day, and it doesn't really bother me all that much. But, it gets really uncomfortable when a student mistakes you for a student... and asks you to dance. Yep. That happened. I just smiled and explained that I was just going to dance with my fiancé. He looked a little weirded out too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

If You'll Excuse an Expression I Use...

I'm in love with a wonderful guy!

And (in case you haven't heard) we're getting married!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ever So Punny

My 12th grade World Lit. class just finished reading "The Epic of Gilgamesh." It's... not that exciting really. BUT it is a pretty big deal because it's more or less the first written literary text that has been discovered at this point. The story (or at least the part we read) goes something like this:

Gilgamesh is 2/3 god and 1/3 human and the king of the Mesopotamian city, Uruk. And he's kind of a jerk, so he has all these run-ins wherein he upsets various gods and goddesses. Thanks to one run-in, his sidekick, Enkidu, dies. Gilgamesh becomes deeply aware of and concerned with his own mortality and goes on a quest to find the secret to immortality (this, of course, is the epic quest). He goes to a prophet-type figure who tells him his worthiness for the secret must be tested. The test is for Gilgamesh to stay awake for 6 days and 7 nights- and he promptly falls asleep for days, and days. Fail.

Then, the prophet figure feels bad for him and tells him to pick up a plant on his way home that makes old men young again. This isn't immortality, but it's close-ish. Gilgamesh gets the plant and cheerfully heads back to Uruk, but on the way he takes a little break and a sneaky snake steals his plant. And he is distraught for a while (according to the 12th graders, "cries like a baby"), until he goes back to Uruk has a change of heart, tells his story, and becomes a good king.

Now, during our discussion, I asked them if they thought that Gilgamesh was successful at all in his quest. They said nothing (they were more or less asleep thanks to the soothing voice of the man on the recording we listened to). So I explained the two essential views-

1. He succeeded in a way because by telling his story and sharing his knowledge he ensured that he would be remembered. Evidence- we are still reading about him and talking about him thousands of years later.

2. He failed. He was on a quest for immortality, and he didn't get it. In fact, this is literally an "epic fail."

Response: "Epic fail, ha, I get it... it's an epic! And he failed!"

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all year.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Some Notes From My Career

It's probably best that I didn't have much time to post until now as it turns out that stress makes me a little complainy and grouchy and in need of "Death by Chocolate" ice cream (thank you Mike!). But, as of today I am caught up with planning (which is all I can ask for at this point), have had a nap, and am perfectly capable of giving a balanced report of the job so far.

Most important lesson learned thus far: be honest. I am on all four of the grade level teams, and so I had a ton of curriculum planning meetings. I was feeling totally overwhelmed and guilty because everyone else had everything planned in some detail. I most definitely did not. After much vague description of a fake sequence of units, I finally just came out and said, "Yeah, I got hired a week ago and I am teaching four entirely different classes. I don't really have anything planned, and I'm probably going to copy whatever you do." And then everyone realized, "That girl might need some help." And I didn't have to lie anymore. Much better.

Next lesson: high school is not at all like jr. high. Call me crazy, but jr. high was a ton easier. There are a lot of reasons why, but on the flip side of that there are some fun things about high school. Like not having to teach them how to staple their papers, which may have been a continuous issue for the 7th graders. It's also very interesting to teach all four grades- the differences between the grade levels is a lot more pronounced than you'd think.

Also, turns out, the word "dialogue" is both a noun and a verb, but when it is used as a verb it makes me gag and roll my eyes in derision. Sorry about that everyone in all of my meetings.

Successes (thus far):
*A short discussion with a 10th grade class about how zombies are totally "in" right now won me some major brownie points.
*I read the 1st chapter of a book about the English language with the 12th graders (all linguistic-y and cool) and they now want to read the entire book. And love learning about English.
*My parts of speech review with the 9th graders today was more or less amazing. We played a game where they took word cards (like the refrigerator poetry magnets) and had to race each other to make sentences with certain parts of speech (1 adverb and 2 adjectives, or 2 prepositions and 2 conjunctions, etc.). Sort of great and terrifically educational. At first no one can label a single word, but mid-game they're explaining, "No, this is an adverb not an adjective because it describes how she ran."

Yep. I'm a teacher.

Friday, August 14, 2009

If You Love Me You'll Help Me

I got a job! I'm going to be teaching at W******* High School! I pretty much couldn't be happier.


It does get a little complicated, however when you consider:
  • School starts on Thursday.
  • I am teaching 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade classes.
  • Most of my teacher stuff is more jr. high oriented.

So, here's where you step in to help me plan 4 different year long curriculums without losing my mind (as much). Please, please, please comment on this post and tell me which books you read in high school and which grades you read them in. And, if you really loved or hated them you could mention that too. Thank you internet friends!

Also, I really do want to thank everyone who has been so supportive and optimistic this summer. I kept expecting to find myself in the depths of despair, but there was always someone there to keep me going. And I very much appreciate that.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"I intentionally wrote it out to be an illegible mess"

So, I have this perverse pleasure in being vague. You can't really get away with that a lot, but, the blog happens to be free game. The rules of this post, then, are that I get to be as vague as I want and refuse to illucidate anything that doesn't make sense.

Originally I meant to write a post about inertia and how it's easy to get going in a certain direction in life and then be resistant to change. It was quite clever, I promise. But, before I could write it everything changed and the inertia I thought I was dealing with got blown to pieces by several unforeseen forces. Which was great, because I never particularly liked physics much anyway.

Here's (part of) what came up:

*Renewed hope in the teaching plan. Still no real leads, but there is hope. And hope is nice.

*A job at a publishing company as an editor. How cool does that make me sound? Best part- absolutely flexible around the teaching plan and, as a bonus, I get to work with some ridiculously awesome and very intelligent people. And I get to read literary criticism all day which might be helpful for the back-up plan.

*Someone who is perfect company for adventures (big and small).

*I finally get to go on a vacation!

Friday, July 31, 2009

If You Put Together Many Things I Love...

I love Alice in Wonderland
I love Lewis Carroll
I love literary adaptations
I love Disney
I love Johnny Depp, Alan Rickman, and Anne Hatheway
I love things that are creepy
I love going to see a movie on opening night
and
I love Tim Burton
Now, put them together and...
I know what I'll be doing on March 5th.
*sorry, I didn't embed the video... too tricky for me to figure out without the proper motivation.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

As Requested

What MRU looks like...

1. Preparation: This is a tiny glimpse of what our house looked like in the week preceeding MRU. We were a clothes-sewing, boot-painting, sequin-glueing workshop.


2. The Parade: I like parades. And, I liked seeing the Osmonds at this parade.


Of course, this is the person I really went to see:


3. The Rodeo(s):

The contestants and the clown. (that sounds like the title of some strange novel)


This is our little group: my mom, Marti, me, and behind us the SSIR Queen Coordinator, Kris (of Kristi Q designs), Kenzie, and Kasey. My dad is in like two pictures because he took all of them. He was there though : ) Also, the contestants were sequestered the whole week, so this was the first time we got to talk to Marti. It was a looong week.


4. Coronation: This is the royalty (Marti is the one in light pink)

And, this is how the celebration looked:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

How Things Went Down

Marti got 1st Attendant at MRU! Yay!

I realize I'm kind of a biased source, but trust me, she did an amazing job this week. And, to do that well your first year is really remarkable.

There are like ten million things I would love to write about that happened this week. In hopes of making it a little less tiresome for you devoted readers, we're going to try a multi-genre experiment today and I'll tell you about what happened to me through a little Q&A.

Questions about the week that I would have to answer "NO" to:

Were you okay with the labelling of the cream cheese at the cute bagel place you went to while everyone else was at MRU orientation? Okay, for the record, regular cream cheese mixed with strawberry jam is not strawberry cream cheese. And I don't mean to be rude, because I really liked my bagel and the atmosphere of the place, but working at Einstein's made me into a bagel snob. I didn't expect it to be double-whipped, but I do love some legitimately strawberry flavored cream cheese.

Did anyone think you were crazy when you were really, really happy not to get the job you interviewed for on Tuesday? They shouldn't have if they did. I applied for that job out of desperation like 4 months ago. I learned something about myself through this experience: I never want to live in a mobile home in rural Utah all by myself. Never.

Did you enjoy your stay in the freakiest hotel in Ogden? I thought we were going to die. Or catch a disease. There were huge, gross stains everywhere; the carpet was coming up in the hallway; people were yelling at each other a lot; and there were people camping by our car in the parking lot.

Questions that I would have to answer "YES" to:

Did you think that releasing 50 doves to honor survivors of cancer was a nice gesture, but rather too dramatic? It was very nice, but totally incongruent with the rest of the program. I felt the same way about the sky-divers who brought in the flags the first time and the flag carried on horseback that emitted fireworks. That last one just seemed like a bad idea. And, all of it together was overkill.

Did you get a little bit giggly and pretend to swoon when you found out the Osmonds Second Generation were the Grand Marshalls of OPDC this year? But, Donny wasn't there, so it didn't last very long.

Are you a fan of attending gala events? Very much so. I liked the atmosphere of the big luncheons and the fashion show and such. It was exciting.

Did you enjoy sitting next to the regal old lady at the modelling luncheon? I certainly did. She was very nice to me, but nothing about anything that was going on pleased her at all. The size of the room was wrong, the number of people per table was ridiculous, the placing of the tables foolish, and, the steak was tough. I thought about asking if she wanted to trade and I'd eat her steak and she could have my potatoes. Dehydrated potatoes. I have strong feelings on that subject. She turned to me at one point and said, "Don't you agree this is simply inadequate?" Actually, I thought it was pretty nice (minus the potatoes), but she was fun to sit by and chat with; she reminded me of a countess.

Did you threaten to slip your mother anti-anxiety pills if she didn't stop being so frantic? And next year I'll be prepared to do so.

Were you glad to take a break mid-week and go see an interesting movie with some cool people? Very.

Were you pleased about how well the quilt did at the silent auction? Monumentally pleased. It sold for twice as much as any of the other quilts. And people gushed over it. Mission accomplished.

Did you think it was pretty awesome to sit by the river and alternatively read a book and ponder life? Amazing. It was so pretty and peaceful.

By the end of the week, did you look like you'd been hit by a train despite several attempts to fix the problem? Just in time for the thousands of pictures! Maybe next year I'll look gross strategically. Because, really, there is no better way to stand out in a room full of beauty queens than to look as terrible as you can.

Overall, did you enjoy yourself? I really did : )

That's mostly it. If you have any questions for me about the week, feel free to ask.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Grammar-isms

In an effort to practice positive thinking towards (hopefully!) getting a job in the fall, I recently started to tentatively plan a super cool linguistics unit. I think it's kind of ridiculous that most English classes absolutely ignore linguistics (you know, the study of language). I think it's crucial, because looking at linguistics makes grammar so much more approachable and studying English so much more enjoyable.

There are essentially two schools of thought when it comes to grammar: the prescriptivists, and the descriptivists.

Prescriptivists= people who are all about the rules of language. They love Latin, and try to make English seem Latin. They have some French cousins who created a whole government department to keep their language "pure." They are also the people who will correct your grammar. (Don't hate me if you're a prescriptivist; I just think you make grammar no fun at all and give people headaches about split infinitives and other such nonsense.)

Descriptivists= people who believe that language is all about how you use it. These people understand that standard English is only of many dialects; each dialect follows unique linguistic rules, and is legitimate in its own right. If they were to talk about correctness, they would tell you that it depends on the context of the usage (beautiful thing called pragmatics). So, standard grammar in scholastic or business settings is entirely appropriate, but using nonstandard dialects (think of things like ain't, ya'll, etc.) is equally appropriate in other settings. To these people, it's all about using the dialect that will lead to effective communication. I am totally a descriptivist.

Is anyone still reading?

It feels so great to be thinking about this stuff again! Here are some things to think about should you like to ponder the English language with me:

*The word "you" is such an interesting word. This word is both singular and plural; in order to clarify people have applied logical pluralizing patterns and came up with ya'll and youse. At one time it was formal, but now it's informal (somewhere in language history "thee/thou" and "you" just straight up switched places- weird!). Who even knew such a little word had so much behind it?

*When someone asks you "How are you?" It is not at all incorrect to answer "I'm good." Am is a linking verb that should be followed by adjectives (like good) and well is mostly an adverb and only kind of an adjective. Well would be appropriate for talking about your health, but not so much your state of being. I was so happy when I learned that. I hate, hate, hate it when people have some snobby comment about how you really meant to say you're well; similarly the "may/can" thing. From now on, I'm just going to say, "Nope. I use adjectives after linking verbs, pal." (Thank you Grammar Girl.)

*Something I've seen a lot lately is people using an instead of a in front of an "h." Unless you're British, or it's a silent "h," it's unnecessary. The whole point is to make sentences more fluid. Two vowels next to each other is not fluid; try saying a 'istoric. Not easy. Now try an 'istoric. Piece of cake. But, if you don't have a charming British accent, you can say a historic just fine, and probably the deceptively sophisticated-looking an historic is actually kind of awkward to get out. Neat, huh?

If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them. I'm kind of curious if anyone stuck with me through the whole post.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Probably Mentioned This

So, I told a bunch of people about the quilt I made for the Miss Rodeo Utah silent auction, and I thought you might like to see how it turned out.

The story behind the whole thing is that Marti needed a couple of items to donate to the MRU silent auction. Providentially, she had two important things at her disposal:
1. Material featuring the Ogden Pioneer Days Celebration icon (they sponsor MRU)
2. Me and my mad quilting skills

Now, for you to understand just how providential it is that someone just happened to give her that material forever ago, I need to tell you a little bit about the OPDC's iconic image, the "whoopee girl." This sounds more scandalous than it is (I think), but whoopee girls were more or less western pin-up girls. The first whoopee girl was a girl from Ogden in the 30s; the mayor at the time was looking for something, an image, that would make people remember the OPDC. Turns out he was pretty successful with the whoopee girl idea, because whoopee girls are a major collectors item, and have been for some time.

So, OPDC is kind of a big deal, and the whoopee girls are a big deal to them, and hopefully the quilt will kind of be a big deal at the auction.

Here is a close up (sorry, you still can't see much detail):

And now I have to brag a little; my Grandma Honey is excessively proud of me for this quilt even though it's really pretty simple. Know why? Check out the middle seam... oh, wait... you can't see it! It took forever and a day, and a lot more patience then I generally have, but I matched all those scandalous girls and the cacti and fences, etc. up exactly, and you can't see the seam at all. Yay! (I know, I know... humor me.) Check it out:

I'm excited to see how it does at the auction. I hope people adore it; that would please me very much. I also hope my grandma doesn't try to be sneaky and buy it back; she is heart-broken that we have to give it away.

Now that you know about my secret but illustrious quilting career, you might ask, "What's next?" This:

Sun-Bonnet Sue and 11 more of her friends. It is taking for.ev.er. But, I like it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Won a Prize!

One time, CoolBoy and I went to the rodeo, and we were sort of forced into entering a contest to win a truck. I got a call tonight, and I didn't win a truck, but I did win a $75 gift card to Kohl's (and having only a fake job, such a shopping spree sounded heavenly).

BUT then... you had to be at least 25 to claim it.

BUT it's transferrable, so someone who is 25+ could pick it up for me. And I have a mom!

BUT turns out my dad has to go too, and it will "only" take 90 minutes for them to pick up my prizes.

And then... my mom was giving me her "I will kill you as soon as I get off the phone" look.

Having long since realized I was never going to get this gift card, when she did get off the phone, I told her I hadn't realized that it had entailed so much hassle and we could just forget about it. She turned to me and said, "Nothing in life is free. If it seems too good to be true, it is." This, of course, brought me back to the stinky, mean real-world where I don't get any new clothes at no cost to myself and people only want to sell my e-mail address to solicitors.

Also, "Puppies, turn into dogs, who get old, and DIE!"

(I remain unmoved in my idealism, however, because if I switch over to realism I will simply have to cry. The world isn't that bad; it just isn't. Also, I don't actually like Kohl's all that much.)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Did I Ever Tell You

If you google my full name, the third hit you get says "Perfect." I'm serious, try it.

What can I say?

Pretty soon it will also say "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer"... because the reading strategies I developed for that novel are the other internet published work I have. BYU is pretty cool that way- the English Ed department is amazing.

I already told you about the radio ad. And, last night I got to see the bio I wrote about my sister in the souvenir rodeo programs. It was on very nice, extra glossy paper; it looked and sounded beautiful. The little girls who had my sister autograph that page will cherish it forever/ for a week.

There's the co-authored, library-bound parody, "Eternity Means Forever." Which... made people laugh, and that was the point. (yay for Saturday morning shifts with Lauren!)

And there are a few other things I've written that I have decided not to tell the world about just yet. Most are uncredited, but some are not. Some have met their deadlines, and some are still in process.

I bring this up because, today is my blog's birthday; I think it's cheesy to bring it up at all, but I was thinking about it today, and I got rather pleased with myself. In that first blog post, I wrote about writing. And, I'm still nowhere near the Annie Dillard or Anna Quindlen level... but I'm writing. And that writing is going places. (Wrangler pockets, for instance...)

When I stop to think about all the little things I've written since I wrote that first post, I'm actually just thrilled to pieces about what I've done. None of it is big or ostentatious, but it's real, and it's mine. And, hey, google thinks I'm perfect.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hate to Bring This Up, But...

Do you know what's not okay? Ignoring people.

I feel okay discussing this here, because this isn't a problem I have with anyone who reads my blog. (Well, I can't account for any lurkers, but if you're blog-stalking me and refusing to talk to me in real life... yeah, that's all you.)

Here's the thing, it's just not okay not to respond. It's not. I don't know if it's a result of how easy it is communicate in various instantaneous modes, and so now people take communication for granted, but it really is still a big deal. I think it's most offensive in personal relationships, but also professionally. Let me share some occurrences of the last few months.

First, let's talk about Potential Employers: um, did you get my application? Did you look at it? Did you hate it? I really have no idea, because you never responded to me, my e-mails, my cover letters, etc. Also, I interviewed at a school, they told me when they'd let me know whether or not I got the job... and they called a week after that. Yeah... I'd pretty much figured it out by then, but, hey thanks. I'd say it's a pretty prevalent problem. I've applied for about 50 jobs so far this summer, and very few of them have been so good as to recognize my humanity and communicate with me.

And, how about the people we all know and love? You know, friends who used to call at all hours of the night but now cannot manage to respond to a text message, or the friend who you wrote faithfully while on their mission but now they cannot manage to type a little IM response, or the favorite professor who claimed to want to help you in any way but then ignored your e-mail and in person requests for letters of recommendation twice. These are just a few that were on my mind last night when the last straw broke.

Sometimes it is okay not to respond. Those times include extremities (read: deaths, being lost in the wilderness for extended time periods, hostage situations, etc.), and that's about it. Because really, how are people supposed to take it if you don't take the 10 seconds-2 minutes it would take to send a text or make a phone call? Even if it was just to say, "Hey, I can't talk right now," that would be something.

The problem with me is I chalk it up to broken phones, shaky internet, lost mail, etc. until that becomes totally improbable, then I take it personally for all of a minute, and then it changes to this silent-treatment inducing rage. Probably not the best reaction, but also a fairly normal one.

Preventing that cyclic rage is probably why our wise forefathers invented manners.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Drat! I'll Never Get That Song Out of My Head.

Here's what happened in a public school today:

* I attended the 4th grade "Utah... This Is The Place" program. The exact same program my 4th grade class did. And, I swear to you I've had the state song stuck in my had since 4th grade, so listening to kids scream-singing it only engrained it further. Drat.

My favorite parts of the program were when:

*Brigham Young forgot his line. "This is..."... and he meanders back to his classmates with a dazed look on his face while the teacher directing the program shouts, "THE PLACE! THIS IS THE PLACE!"

*During a square dance, one little girl's skirt fell down. She was wearing jeans underneath, and being a sturdy pioneer woman, steadfastly continued dancing. She kept going, in spite of the laughter of the audience, until a teacher pulled her and her partner out because kids were slipping on her skirt.

*The director of the program was actually a teacher at my elementary school. She taught dance/music/drama in 5th grade. That year I had pneumonia, and I missed a week or two of school. I also missed a big assignment that I couldn't make up and she wouldn't excuse. And, consequently, I got a D in her class. If you think I'm a little bit of a perfectionist now, oh man, you should have met 5th grade me. I was so furious! Happy to report that I felt no rage upon seeing her today, though.

*Cute children behaved perfectly all day and then left me little notes on the whiteboard about how much they liked me.

Wonderful day!

Friday, June 26, 2009

It's Officially the Future

I saw a robot today. Oh, yes, I did. I saw it while I was gathering supplies for the cucumber sandwiches I'm making for my book club tomorrow. (Aside: cucumber sandwiches are among my favorite things now- they are so good!)

I took a picture:



A lady came out of the store and gave me a super dirty look. Um, you know what? If you don't want people taking pictures of your robot, don't put him on the street corner.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oh, hooray!

I paid off my car today! That means my cute, ridiculously-tricked-out-by-the-prior-owner Neon is all mine. : ) I'm not sure if you're all aware of the car troubles I've had in the past, but this car has by far outlasted and out-performed the others. Here's a brief history:

1. '89 Buick Skylark.
Color: white with royal blue interior
Nickname: "Buttercup"
I got this car in August of '03 at the beginning of my junior year in high school. It was like unto a small boat, and people found it easy to recognize me all across the county. It often smelled like maple syrup because of how I frequently left my IHOP apron in there. This car is the one associated with the most stop light pick-ups, and the time that some friends and I got lost in a freak fog, uh, storm (?) and sung Phantom of the Opera at the top of our lungs until we had braved out way home. This car struggled with sudden stops and hills (particularly the legendary Killer's Hill in Lehi). I actually loved this car, but near the end of my senior year we played musical vehicles and my dad started driving it. Soon after I bought...

2. '98(?) Buick LeSabre
Color: white
Nickname: the grandma car
This car was a life lesson about why I need to be more assertive. It was ugly and huge and I hated it; I'm still not sure why I bought it besides caving to the pressure of the salesman. It had a short life of about 5 months before The Accident. It wasn't really that bad of an accident, but it was totalled and I was totally shaken up. I was also left to the mercy of the public transit system for quite some time. That time period probably deserves a whole post of its own, but I will give you a hint of my feelings for it by this: one time, I sat down, put my hand on the seat next to me as I got something out of my book bag. The seat was wet (and consequently so was my hand)... and, oh, yes... it was most definitely urine. There are not words...

3. My Grandma's Corsica
Color: gray
Nickname: Grandma's car (less a nickname than a fact)
At the time of The Accident, I was a freshman and BYU and working in Orem, my grandparents took pity on me, and let me borrow their car for a couple of months. Unfortunately the car was very near the end of its life, so I still rode the bus part way. I spent a lot of time in the mall parking lot killing time between school and work because I couldn't really go anywhere because the car would probably die. Usually I ate Spaghettios (out of the can) or took a nap. I more or less felt homeless in this car.

4. '95 Pontiac Bonneville
Color: green
Nickname: none
After several months, my parents decided to buy a suburban, and they gave me my mom's old car. We'd had the Bonneville for quite awhile, and it was a nice car (still rather boat-ish, but nice). It worked wonderfully for me for about 5 months, and was like a merciful blessing from heaven not to have to ride the bus anymore. In about July of '06, however, the gas gauge quit working, and the gas alarm started going off at random. Eventually it started to go off every time I pressed on the brakes. People told me that it was fun to ride in my car because you got the feeling that you were a winner on a game show. In an effort to fix this weird problem, I spent every Saturday for a month at my mechanic's shop. They couldn't figure it out, and eventually quit charging me to come in. We became great friends by the end of it all. Besides the sound effects, the car continued to be functional until October. I was working at the library when we still closed at midnight, and the engine just died on the freeway on my way home. 'Twas kind of scary.

5. 2000 Plymouth Neon
Color: silver
This is the one I paid off today! It was the 1st car I ever had that was not a grandma car. And, perhaps you noticed, was the 5th car in approximately 4 years. This car seems to have turned my vehicular luck around though, because I've almost had it for 3 years. It is associated with a bunch of good memories (road trip to California with Erica and Susie, driving to Heber for no reason at all with Beth)... and some unpleasant ones (need not be mentioned), but overall, it's the way I get from one adventure to the next!

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Children make you want to start life over." ~Muhammad Ali

It would be mean of me not to share the highlights of today's substitute experience. And, I am nice, so, here are some highlights of the fun I had teaching 2nd grade today:

*I always write my name up on the board when I sub, and when they walked in they all got inexplicably excited and start singing, "Miss Wardle, Miss Wardle..." like we were long lost friends. When the bell rings I start to introduce myself and they yell out, "You're [Student]'s mom, huh?" Oh my. It took me quite a while to convince them that I was not this kid's mom just because we have the same last name. Kids are not good with ages if you haven't noticed; sometimes you're 17 and other times you are old enough to have a child in 2nd grade (which I am not).

*2nd graders are nice. We played weather bingo, and that was all well and good. But, as the wee children gathered around the rug for story time and I was putting away the bingo supplies the container of several hundred foam circle bingo markers slipped from my hand and scattered across the floor. Before I even have time to react, over half of the kids have, quite literally, thrown themselves to the floor in a competition to be the most helpful and pick up the most foam markers. And, as a bonus, they thought I was ever so funny for dropping them.

*Aaand then... for story time we read The Frog Prince, Continued. It's a cute book about how the Frog Prince and Princess are not living so happily ever after because they fight all the time. They thought the whole premise was ridiculous. "Duh. All he has to do is kiss her again, and then they'll be happy." I will try to remember this in the future.

*At least four kids cornered me at some point during the day and conspiratorially whispered, "Miss Wardle, can I be your helper today?" And I told all of them yes. I'm not sure how you say no to that.

*Right now, they are working on their Animal Reports (Do any of you also remember doing this in 2nd grade? I did mine on whales.). Ensuing conversation went something like this:

Boy: Teacher! Teacher! (this is the standard call whenever students are so excited that they forget your name) I got the best animal for my report.
Me: What animal did you get?
Boy: Bunny! And, do you want to know how bunnies defend themselves?
Me (bunnies defend themselves? hmm...): Sure.
Boy: Well there are two ways. First they pretend like they are a rock. And then if something catches them they jump, like 15 feet in the air and then they get away.
Me: Oh, wow.
Boy: And the second way... oh man, this is so cool... the second way is that if something catches the bunny it emits this really high-pitched squeal out of its ears! And then the animal gets startled and lets it go.

Oh yes. You read that correctly; "it emits this really high-pitched squeal out of its ears." This boy had burst into tears for no discernible reason about an hour earlier, so I just let that one go.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Confessions

If you're in my family (which I, of course, am), the summer rodeo season is now in full force. I am only involved by way of being appreciative of the western heritage and, more importantly, a supportive sister (My sister is the last one, and, yes, her bio is amazing and does not make me want to gag like some of the others do. I helped her write it, but whoever typed it up changed a couple of things... which does not please me at all).

In any case, last night I went to the first night of the Utah High School Rodeo Association Finals to watch my cousin ride, and it started all over again. And by that I mean:

1. My whole-hearted belief that rodeo hamburgers are The Best. Like, the best hamburgers, and way up there on my list of favorite foods. What is different about them? I don't have a clue. But, I do know that I will elatedly eat far more hamburgers in the next two months than I will eat during the rest of the year.

2. Every time I watch the bull riding I have a tiny little glimpse of a childhood dream; as a child I firmly believed that I would marry a bull-rider. This lasted until I watched the movie 8 Seconds (if that movie doesn't make you cry, I may have to question whether or not you have a soul/beating heart).

3. The song "Rodeo" by Garth Brooks makes my heart leap up into my throat and I start breathing extra fast. Sometimes it literally brings tears to my eyes. This is not a normal occurrence for me, I swear, it's just this song. It sort of freaks my apathetic little heart out that this happens.

I know, I know... that is why the post is titled "Confessions."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

It Was Very Modern, I Suppose

I was perusing my bookshelves the other day, and came across the book Native Son. I read this book as part of my Modern American Literature class in the fall. That was such a great class, and I was really looking forward to it because I love modernism.

I hadn't heard of Native Son before, but I was very intrigued when our teacher warned us that it is a very disturbing novel and we shouldn't read it before bed. I mean, that's not the kind of thing your professors usually tell you in an upper level English class. It must be very disturbing. I took it as a personal challenge, because, as you know if you know me well, I am not easily disturbed.


**Spoiler alert- Sort of. I am going to give away some of the novel's action, but it's all stuff at the beginning, and, it is a little gruesome.**
Well, I start reading (in the evening, of course), and I was really enjoying it, so I easily read through the first hundred pages- through the murder.

Here's the premise: Bigger Thomas is an young African American who lives in the slums of Chicago and has had some trouble with the law. He ends up being offered a job as a sort of chauffeur for the Dalton family- a very well-off white family. On his first night on the job he is asked to drive Mary, the daughter of the Daltons, to an evening class at the local college. But, turns out Mary really just wants to meet up with her communist boyfriend. The communists are all for equal rights, so Mary and her boyfriend are thrilled to be hanging out with a Black man. They get totally drunk, and Bigger feels really uncomfortable the whole time.

When they come back to the Dalton's house, Mary is too drunk to make it up the stairs to her bedroom, and Bigger is freaked out and sure he is going to lose his job. He carries her up to her room, and lays her on her bed. This novel takes place at a time where he is pretty much a dead man if he gets caught in her bedroom because of the strong racial prejudices. Well, as soon as he puts her down, Mary's blind mother comes into the room. She can't see Bigger, obviously, but she's trying to talk to Mary. If she realizes Mary is drunk she'll come in and figure out that Bigger is there, so he puts the pillow over Mary's face to keep her quiet. Mrs. Dalton assumes she's asleep and leaves, and Bigger removes the pillow and discovers that he has accidentally suffocated Mary. In a panic, Bigger shoves her body into a trunk and carries her downstairs to dispose of the body. He passes the ginormous furnace, and decides to put the corpse in there. But, she doesn't fit... so he hacks her head off with an ax. Yes, you can now see why my professor warned us.

So, I read all of this, and I was not really all that disturbed. It was intense, yes, but it wasn't going to keep me from sleeping or anything. It really only freaked me out the next morning.

I slept on the couch that night, and when my mom left for work that morning, she woke me up and told me I could go back to sleep in her bed. So, I did. I'm right on the edge of sleep when I my dad comes into the room for a second before he leaves for work and tosses a pillow onto the bed. He didn't realize that I was there, and he tossed the pillow right onto my face. And then everything I read the night before came rushing back to me, and I was sure someone was trying to suffocate me. I screamed; a good, blood-curdling scream, and threw the pillow across the room. I think my dad almost had a heart attack. I don't think a book's ever had that kind of effect on me before.

And that, my friends, is why we listen to our teachers.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Day I Ate an Entire Carton of Ice Cream

Things I will do once I (finally) get a job:

*Stop crying myself to sleep as I think of living in my parents' basement for the rest of my life (okay, okay, I am exaggerating- I only do that every other night).

*Buy contacts so I don't have to wear my attractive librarian glasses every day.

*Stop rationing my make-up.

*Limit my viewing of freaky-weird tv shows that I have a special gift for finding (including such gems as My Fake Baby and I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant).

*Begin paying off my heinous debts (aka student loans).

*Stop mentally stoning uninformed and tactless people who tell me that it's easy to find a job in education. Oh really? And how would you know that?

*Get rid of at least one credit card, because, really, that is not a temptation I need.

*Do something nice for my parents who have been very nice to me even though I have been a tiny bit freak-out-ish and monstrous at times during the last two months.

*Similarly, have a big party or something in honor of my most loyal and wonderful friends who will still talk to me when I have nothing interesting to say and am far less clever and charming than usual.

*Stop joking about selling my non-essential organs on eBay. I think people are creeped out by that and don't get that I think it's very funny.

*Get a massage and a pedicure.

*Go on a vacation. I need a beach, a novel, and some sunshine.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Really Think You Should Just Not Speak at All

I am all about following the rules. Yep, I'm lame like that. I just sort of enjoy the universe being in order. There are two little stories I would like to share today, both dealing with authority figures and stupid people who like to argue with them because they believe that social rules do not apply to them.

1. For this substitute job I had to go to an unpaid orientation meeting. I sat next to a mouth-breather with bad breath. He felt like he should talk to me a lot, which I did not appreciate. (Already terrible, right?) Most of the meeting was about medical stuff (which heightened my germaphobia and made me not love the girl sitting on the other side who kept coughing on me).

And here's where I get truly annoyed... An RN (that, of course meaning registered nurse, aka someone who has worked really hard to get where they are and knows what they are talking about) came in to do the first aid training. More than once she explained something and this crazy lady would start arguing with her. And then... other dumb people start trying to back her up. They felt like they should press such brilliant points as "There is a difference between The Flu and Influenza," "Swine flu will kill us all," and "If I see an inhaler I'm supposed to take it away, right? (even though you said not to) Because I don't think kids should have 'drugs' at school and I want to use the little power I have to full effect." This poor nurse was so patient and nice; it was all I could do not to just scream "Look, she's a nurse; you are hoping to be a substitute teacher (not even a real one like me, suckas) and therefore are obviously not experts in any medical field. SHUT UP!"

2. This one actually happened first, and I think is worse because it's church-related. Not that I promote blind obedience, but there are certain points that you just do not need to push, especially when it comes to, oh, say the apostles!

I teach a Sunday school class, and because of that I was invited to this really fantastic teaching seminar in my stake (larger regional Church division). This wonderful (and very nice) man who works in the Church's department of curriculum came to speak to us. He works very closely with members of the Quorum of the Twelve.

It was really helpful and enjoyable meeting, except for the part when not one, but two men decided that they didn't agree with the methods this brother was teaching. And, they felt like they should voice that opinion in the middle of this meeting. The way they stated their disagreements was fairly confrontational. I was shocked. Really? You're going to argue with someone who is getting this information directly from an apostle? Because that seems really dumb. Plus, did you really need to make it a scene and ruin this nice meeting?

I was not at all sure what to expect to happen next. I am happy to report that the presenter, although he was a pretty mild-tempered and patient guy, was having none of that. He (very nicely, but very bluntly) made it clear that these weren't just "tips" that you could debate about, these were items of instruction from men we sustain as apostles of the Lord. You listen to them. I wanted to high-five him.

And synthesizing the two into one- Sometimes you simply have to admit that you are not the expert in the room, and that is okay. We all take turns being in charge. When we talk health, it's the nurse (or Susie, who is my infallible source); if it's Church stuff we defer to sustained leaders; if it's about teaching or Victorian novels I get to be in charge unless someone smarter and more experienced than me is in the room. That's just how it needs to be for life to go on peacefully and without me wanting to throw things at people.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Something Nice

Today I substituted a 6th grade class. I was only there for half the day, and I really didn't do much because some teachers are nice and leave you with easy things like movies and art projects. Also, as has been the case for some time now, I was not particularly nice or fun or patient or funny. In fact, I was sort of happy to release some negative energy by using my death glare on some boys who were particularly annoying during the movie.

But, do you know what happened? At the end of the day, this little girl comes up to me, wraps her arms around me and says, "You did a good job today." And then runs off. And, you know what? I really needed that.

I wish that on tough days everyone had someone to give them a hug and tell them that they're doing okay.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Few Recent Conversations

I went to a wedding reception and had this conversation with a friend's mother.
Friend's Mother: Aubrey! You just got married, right? Congratulations!
Me: Oh, no. I'm not married.
Friend's Mother: You just got engaged then?
Me: No.
Friend's Mother: Oh... pause... So, what have you been doing then?
Me: Um... I just graduated from college.

I felt like I really let her down. It turns out she had confused me with one of my close friends.

Relatedly, I've been substitute teaching, and at the school where I went today this happened:
Girl 1: So, are you married?
Me: Nope.
Girl 2: Duh, she's not married, she's only like 17.
Me: (probably a little defensively) I'm not 17.
Girl 1: Oh, well, are you getting married? Because I could totally see you getting married.
Me: Um... not right now.

Well... at least I'm "the cutest substitute teacher [they]'ve ever had" with "nice hair" and the air of someone who is about to get married. I guess that should be encouraging.

People seem to be truly distressed about me being single. I'm possibly going to start wearing my great-grandmother's wedding ring that I inherited and make up a fake husband.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Somebody Already Broke My Heart, But Thanks Anyway

I have an astonishingly good memory for dates, and today is a sort of significant day. Don't worry, I'm not going to dwell on any broken-heartedness because that part is long over- I just really liked that line. I want to tell a story that resulted from a break-up that occurred a year ago today; it's a good embarrassing story (I like that kind). It was the kind of break-up that you knew was coming, was really the best thing, that you were about to do yourself, and that only sucked in principal and not so much in practice.

So... I had decided to break-up with this particular guy, and then undecided, and then decided to base my decision off of one last date. The date was... okay. So the totally-average-and-unremarkable-style date makes me decide to not decide just yet, but to let things keep going. BUT, on the way back to his apartment I realize that I should have just done it and beat him to the punch when he says something like, "There's something I've been meaning to talk to you about..." Which can't be going anywhere good.

And thus, we broke up. I was pretty proud of myself, I must admit, because prior to this I had had this very real conviction that I would die if someone broke up with me, and I could never break-up with someone else. False; I can totally take it. I said only one sort of unpleasant thing, and it was just true. And, my head didn't explode during the long string of clichés that he fell back on (althought that was a close call. There is nothing I hate more than stupid cliché statements). I didn't even come close to crying in front of him.

But... sometimes I get these very Romantic notions (Romantic as in the 19th century literature movement, like Wordsworth and co.), and so as I pulled out of his apartment complex, I decided that it would be most appropriate to cry at this point. Plus, being broken up with just isn't very good for your self-esteem. I had to work at the library that night, so I cried all the way there, and then sat in the parking lot and cried for another fifteen minutes. I stop, re-gather my dignity, wash my face in the HFAC, and head to work (Amy N., I bet you remember this night- I loved you extra for being so nice to me that night, just so you know).

Now, the library on a Friday night early in spring term when the weather is lovely = EMPTY. At this time, I was also taking an adolescent literature course, so I had a ton of reading to do. Amy started BP in the back, and I sat down to watch the front desk and finish Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr. It's a wonderful book, but it is so, so sad and emotionally provocative. And, the library was so ridiculously empty, and that Romantic sensibility came over me, and I let myself cry my way through the falling action of the novel.

And, this is a little weird, but not really, because there isn't a soul around but me. Until, out of nowhere, some guy comes up to the desk. And I am bawling, and cannot stop. And he is staring at me. I grabbed a tissue, and mumbled something about how I was reading such a sad book as I walk over to check out his books. And... he continues to stare at me, and it's all I can do not to yell at him to "Give me your freakin' book so this awkward moment can end!!" Instead I say, "I'm fine really; I'm sorry, it's just such a sad book." And... he is still just staring with this concerned look. Now, more people are coming over. I finally just reach over and take the book. Check him out, check the other people out in an atmosphere of pure awkwardness. And then solidly rebuke myself for being so silly.

Then I went to an awesome party and stayed out til three in the morning. Which was a far better way to deal with things than uncontrollable crying in public.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Long Time Coming

Happy Mother's day! It's been a pretty fantastic day today, and I thought I would add to fantastic-ness by finally sharing some treasures from student teaching... the highlights from the vocabulary unit! Honestly, I thought a lot about the 7th graders today during this very wonderful talk that was given in the singles' ward by the wife of one of the bishopric members. They haven't had children, but she is a perfect example of someone who has "a mother heart." She talked about how all women are mothers through our acts of love and nurturing. And, that made me think of my children. The 90 of them : ) And so, I present, Sentences From Vocabulary Assignments That Made Me Laugh My Face Off.... (my remarks and clever comments will be in parenthesis)

biped- something having two feet
* The chicken had biped. (that sounds like a horrible disease, doesn't it?)
* The other day I was bipeding down the street.

unfeeling- devoid of feeling, unsymphathetic
* I have this unfeeling in my foot, is that good? (ha! I love this sentence the most)
* Bob's unfeeling wife laughed at his funeral. (Ouch! She is unfeeling!)

unfortunate- not fortunate, having bad luck
* This unfortunate kid was never fortunate. (ah, I see...)

repeat- to say something again
* "Cow." Can you repeat the word? "Cow." (why cow?)

postpone- to put something off until later
* Mr. Michelangelo always used to postpone making statues. (Mr. Michelangelo?)

segregate- to seperate or set apart from others
* They segregated the two boys after they wouldn't be quiet.

* I segregated my mom and the phone for a whole week. (I love what this says about his mom)

beautiful- full of beauty
* She is beautiful she is, Ashley Tisdale. (To a 7th grade boy she must be like Aphrodite)

I love them!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fine. Next Time I'll Do It. And DIE!

Remember when you were little, and Officer Friendly, and your teachers, and your parents, and your grandparents, and educational television programs warned you repeatedly not to talk to strangers? When, I would like to know, was this policy changed? Because something happened to me awhile ago, and a bunch of people I told about it think it's practically criminal that I didn't give my number to this complete stranger (flattering stranger though he was). I, however, am leaning towards logical, practical, safe, reasonable, etc.

Here's what happened:
I went to they gym to attend a yoga class, and since I got there early, I did some cardio and then decided to walk on the track for a little bit. On my way to the track, I made eye contact with a guy who was walking towards me. He looked a little bit familiar, and seeing as I was in Lehi where everyone knows everyone, I smiled, and continued on my merry way.

As I round the corner someone behind me calls out, "Hey, wait!" Which is always an indicator that you should keep going. Or perhaps run. But, I turn around, and it's the guy I smiled at, who I can now clearly tell that I do not know.

He begins, "Hi! I just wanted to apologize. I was just kinda scowlin' and unpleasant and then you smiled at me and..." Here he indicated that my smile made him melt, which was very, very flattering I admit.

"Oh, that's okay, really." I reply. "I thought you looked familiar, like someone from school, but I don't think I know you."

This is followed by introductions. Which is followed by him asking if I have a boyfriend. My reply, "A little bit." Boldfaced lie, and it sounds like one too! (I did feel bad about that part.)

And now, The Point.

I have watched far too many episodes of 20/20 and Dateline to feel comfortable giving my number out to total strangers. I kid you not, someone, even someone who tells me that my smile makes them melt, wants my number and in an instant I am having visions of my bloody and mutilated corpse stuffed under a bush with police lights flashing all around as the K9 unit searches for the remains of that one nice girl with the amazing smile.

So if you think I am ruining my chances of ever finding that special someone by insisting that I know someone even the tiniest bit before I tell them where I live, please just think of me as the next murder mystery special on Dateline and I promise you'll change your mind.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You Guys! I Love Reading Again!

I am very much a night person. I love to stay out late going to parties or hanging out with friends, but what I love ten thousand times better is when I stay up late reading an entire book in one sitting because it's so compelling that you just can't put it down. That is bliss.

I haven't done that in such a long time. I've been reading a lot over the last, you know, four years, but most of it has been... not stay-up-all-night enjoyable. But last night I read a whole novel. I didn't even plan to, but I just had to. Loved it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

This One Time I Graduated

And it was great. Much better than anticipated actually. I debated even going because I can get all apathetic like that, but I went and I'm glad. I got all sentimental and loved it because I got to sit with my English teaching friends. Which meant a lot. It's a small program and we've been through a lot together. And I just love them because they are brilliant and creative and incredibly supportive. Here are some of them:People were so very thoughtful and supportive, and I appreciated it so much. Plus! I got to go to Zupa's afterwards, which we all know I love.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This is Kind of Like that Picture Book I Got for Christmas in 4th Grade

Dear World (aka Planet Earth),

As you know, there is a lot going on in my life lately. I have a lot of choices to make, but I need your help. So, I have a deal for you.

I have always tried to be environmentally conscious, but I am willing to increase my committment in order for some increased good karma. I will always recycle, and encourage others to recycle. I will never litter, and, specifically, will never spit chewed up gum on the ground. I will maintain my belief that scientists did not make up global warming (which apparently is some nutty controversy). Also, I will limit my use of aerosol hairsprays.

In return, I would appreciate it if you could help me to:
1. Get a job. Preferrably my dream job (which I just applied for today!).
2. Find a sort of gorgeous dress for graduation/interviews. I know this is last minute. Sorry.
3. Get a really great parking spot every now and then.
4. Find a Prince Charming type of guy (if you have time).

These are the things I would like help with. I'm not sure if you'll have to spin a tiny bit faster or slower, or mess with the tides to get this stuff to happen for me... really any method you choose is fine with me. However, I must remind you that I am on something of a time schedule considering that my life expectancy only has about 63 years remaining, so no sands of time garbage please. In fact, if this takes too long, or doesn't happen at all... I will turn on every light in my house and eat every meal for the rest of my life off of styrofoam plates. Thank you for your time!

Your friend,
Aubrey

Friday, April 10, 2009

No Good at Goodbyes

I'm terrible at saying goodbye. Ask my mom. She always makes fun of me because when I leave it tends to sound something like this, "Kay, bye!... Love you.... See you later, hope you have a good week. ha, bye.... Really leaving now... bye." So... today was hard.

Today was the last day at the junior high (do not think this means the last of the jr. high stories though!). And I knew it would be very hard to say goodbye, because I really, truly love those kids. Essentially, my goal was not to cry, and I didn't... until I was pulling out of the parking lot after school.

I did observations all of this week, but I went in to my classes to say goodbye today. I brought them some candy (which is guaranteed to make them happy), and prepared a little "thanks for a great semester" spiel... They did a much better job.

They made me "postcards" on posterboards with cute little notes. They were all great, but some of my favorites include:
  • "Thank you for being so cool. You are definetely (sic) my favorite teacher. I have never heard a teacher say 'legit,' but you are legit!" (I said "legit" in class once and they thought it was the best thing that ever happened in their educational history)
  • "Hey, thanks for a great term. You made English kinda fun." Kinda. Okay, I'm cool with that.
  • "Come back!!!"

They also made me a very cute certificate because they thought that a diploma wasn't good enough. The story behind it is that the other day one of my very favorite students asked me if I got a certificate for finishing student teaching. I told him that I would get my diploma at the end of the month, but there wasn't really a special certificate for it. He thought that was unthinkable. So... I was presented with the following today:

Congratulations

We the class of Ms. Miley presents this certificate to

Ms. Wardle

This certifies that she has successfully survived the seventh grade with a smile.

I think that might be one of the best things that I've ever been given! So, it's really pretty amazing that I made it to the parking lot.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rabbit Holes

Of all the books I've ever read in my life, there is one that I keep coming back to more than any other. It's called The Easter Bunny that Ate My Sister by Dean Marney (and you are probably laughing/in shock that I have read tons of literary masterpieces but this is the novel I chose to write about, but try to get past that). I must've been like 9 or 10 the first time I read it, and I've read it at least once a year every year since then. There is some sort of undeniable and inescapable truth in it for me. And, I have to tell you, that as I sit here thinking about my life tonight, it has hit home once again.

"I want to talk to you about rabbit holes...-not ordinary rabbit holes mind you... First, do any of you know the story of Alice in Wonderland? She was a young woman who went down a rabbit hole and ended up in a world that didn't make any sense to her. She thought everyone around her must be crazy and that she must be crazy, too, didn't she?
"Life is often a mystery, isn't it? Things don't always make sense, do they?... Listen carefully, because rabbit holes are everywhere and you fall down them all the time.
"Bam! Something happens to you and your life changes. Your surroundings no longer look familiar and there are strange people doing strange things- nothing makes sense- everything is crazy, and, like Alice, all you want to do is go home and be safe. When you feel like that you know you've fallen down a rabbit hole (85)."

I've fallen down a rabbit hole. There are strange people doing strange things, nothing looks familiar, and I'm really at a complete loss as to what I am supposed to do in this nonsense world.

Here's the thing about rabbit holes though, "You have a choice. You're down the rabbit hole and you get to choose. You can choose to live in fear or you can choose love. It's very simple (86)."

I choose love.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Moral Compass

*A little background info: in class we're reading a (great!) novel called Al Capone Does My Shirts. Before we started reading it we did tons of research about Alcatraz and Al Capone. Good stuff, like about the "dinner party of death" and such. They loved it, I loved it.

One kid makes a snappy comeback about another kid's comment.
Boy: You just got Al Capone-d!
Me: HA!!!
Now, they all say that after someone gets burned. Love it.

After we read about how Al Capone got cut up in a barroom brawl (and thus became known as Scarface)...
Student: Do you think after Al Capone got really powerful he hunted that guy down and killed him or something?
Me: I hope so.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hooray! They Like Me! And my shoes.

*"Miss Wardle, I need an A... word in the hall is you're the person I need to see about that."

*Girl (who talks way too much in class): Miss Wardle I like your shoes.
Me: Thanks!
Boy: I like them too. I was going to say it before, but then I would sound gay.

*This made me feel better about my dating life (sorta):
Girls 1&2: Miss Wardle, do you have a boyfriend?
Girl 2: Because we know you don't have a husband.
Me (after debating about lying to sound cooler than I am, and then contemplating the fact that they might like me so much they want to set me up with their cute older brothers): Nope.
Girl 2: Well, do you have friends that are guys?
Me: Yeah, I have a bunch.
Girl 1: Oh, well that's pretty much the same thing. (Girl 2 nods in agreement)

*"So, uh... where're you going to teach next year? Do you think you'll stay here? I hope you get a job here next year and teach something in 8th grade." Complete with awkward, awkward smile. (okay, not as funny, but it was cute... plus I love that he didn't care what I taught as long as it was 8th grade)

*This one is after I missed a day last week for some university stuff:
Girl: How was your meeting?
Me: It was pretty good.
Boy: You're being sarcastic, right?
Me: No, it was really good. Why do you think I'm being sarcastic?
Boy: But, uh, you missed us right? Like, our crazy energy.
Me: Yeah... I did.

I only have three weeks left. It's going to break my heart a little bit to leave. I'm going to miss them hovering around me while I try to work, telling me stories with way too much information, the way they tell me lame jokes like they're great, the way they will stop in to say goodbye before they go home from school... It's worth it.