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


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.