Monday, August 25, 2008

Of Trucks and Sabbaths

Moving. Ugh. In 99 degree heat. Ugh-er. With little help. Ugh-est.

Although to be fair, having little help is my own fault.

Here's how my sunday went. I got a uhaul. Finally. I know, I know, sabbath day and heavy labor and spending money, all that makes me a sinner. But my "ox was in the mire", to coin a phrase. I had one day to get my big furniture stuff into the new place before I had to spend another week slleeping in someone else's basement, and I just can't do that anymore. I have already asked for too much help with this move, mooched off of too many peopple, and I have so little self-respect left. SO I rented a uhaul. On a whim, I upgraded to a bigger size truck, which turned out to be a good thing for me. Have you ever rented one? It's interesting to drive a truck for a day. I don't reccommend it. For starters, when I got to my Aunt and Uncles house, where I was storing my furniture, I tried to put the truck in park, it ended up in neutral, rooled into a tree in their yard and took off a large branch. How embarassing. Then I ran up to their door to let them know I would be grabbing my stuff, and accidentally interruppted bishopric meeting. How mortifying. THey jumped up and started carrying my furniture for me, suits and all, and I found that I had way more stuff than I thought I did. Luckily it only took about 10 minutes. I still owe them several batches of cookies. Then I drove back to my new place and loaded the stuff into what will become my bedroom (tonight!). There, I found the girl who will be my new roommie, and she helped me lift the big heavy mattress. I had intended to just do this all on my own, I hate asking for help. I don't just hate asking for help, I hate letting people who have offered to help lend a hand. I don't know why, but somewhere my self-worth got linked to my independance, and getting or allowing help is just not within my ability. Except when absolutely necessary, I have managed to ask my parents. See, now there is proof that I love them, that they are the only people I have ever managed to ask for help from. (Well, a few of my choice buddies from northern Utah as well.) At any rate, you can be guaranteed that if I ever even allow you to help me, then you must be in the top 15 people I love.

So back to the day....
We unloaded the uhaul, and I had it returned 3 hours after I got it. Not bad, actually. They guy at the counter wanted to know how I managed to go 106 miles in that little amount of time. Not only was it unloaded and returned by 1:05, but since my new ward starts at 1, I had time to get to church. I thought I would just miss the first bit of meetings in order to get there and to change into a skirt. When I arrived, there was no sacrament meeting going on. I was very confused, so I asked a random guy in the clerks office about it. For my non-lds buddies, you should know that most Mormon chapels have the same layout, so wherever you go in the world, you can find a chapel, walkk in, and know where every meeting and office and classroom is. So I asked a random person, and they began to explain to me a strange thing. My ward did not have it's regular meetings this week. Remember how I said I had 4 choices as far as wards go? I was wrong. I have no less than 9. Possibly more. Some speak tongan and saomoan, so those are out, and some are university marrieds, so they are out too. But one is the family ward, one is the student ward, and then there is something called "H-4". The "Holladay four" is a group of over 800 singles, mainly professionals, divided into four wards that have group activities, FHE groups, and meet together for their 3 hour block once a month. I happened in on that day, so I missed their meetings. I am intrigued, though. With 800 people, the cliques are a little more open, the gossip a little less pointed, the attitude a little more broad, and the atomosphere a little more refreshing. As I chatted with say random male, and met several people still hanging around the building, I never once felt evaluated, looked up and down like rancid meat, or even flirted with. I was treated as a normal individual, who just wanted to go to church. YAY ME! So I am going to give the singles ward thing a try here, perhaps even a month or two, before I get irritated and head to the family ward.

I still made it to a random sacrament meeting to complete my sunday. And I slept well last night even on a bean-bag chair!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The happiest place ever

I went to my store Saturday. Normally I am appalled at America's consumption. Normally I am offended at our willingness to shell out $45 for a brand-name t-shirt. Normally I am frugal and sensible. I understand that you pay for what you get. I don't believe in Wal-mart, they are the cause of too many bad things, but i don't believe in Abercrombie either. There is always a happy medium. But I do have one great weakness. One expensive weakness. (besides a Cold-Stone cake batter mixed with cookie dough and hot fudge, served in a waffle cone with whipped cream on top. But there, my excuse is, you get what you pay for.)

Rambling. Back to my expensive weakness.

Have you ever been to "Anthropologie?"

It is my favorite store ever, and the cuteness of their stuff is such that i don't mind shelling out $118 for a sweater. Or $6 for a kitchen knob. Or $45 for a "sexy" apron. (I don't know what else to call them, they are so adoreable.) The store has an extremely ecclectic appeal. There are bins of fancy dresser hardware, dishes, bedding, soaps and candles, clothing, jewelery, and did I mention the aprons? You could wander for hours and continue discovering fun new things.

We all have our vices, our weakness, our frivolty. Mine is Anthropolgie. Once for my birthday, my friends pooled their money and got me a gift card, so I could go and actually purchase stuff there without the insane guilt that goes along with such frivolty. With $112 I was able to purchase a pair of earrings, a bottle of perfume, a book, and a cocoa cup. Go ahead, judge me. But I love them all. I wear the earrings more than any other pair. I wear the perfume every sunday. I drink from the cocoa cup frequently. And I brought the book to my preschool class as my favorite book to share one day. (It has pictures of the most glorious desserts you will ever see).

There was one in Minnesota, but it was hard to get to, far away with bad parking. Here, I can just run over to the gateway, park down that alley that I always park in, stop and grab a caramel apple (with butterfinger and white chocolate), and walk into my favorite store ever. You are welcome to join me anytime. Just as long as you promise not to rush me.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ward Shopping

For those of you who haven't heard, I have found a place to live! I will move in one week from today. It's a little later than I expected, but the living situation is perfect, in a little duplex with just one other roomie. See, no more arguments over the atractiveness of Olypic Athletes. Yay!

But with the new address comes the settling in. And with settling in comes the ward shopping experience. Some of you may not have experienced this. Most of the time, within the church, you move to a place and you attend the assigned ward. But singles get options. That's right, as a wearer of the "Scarlet S" the church wants to amke me feel as comfortable as possible, and they give me choices. I find this ironic since it is the fact that I have options that often make me feel like the outcast. If we all, singles and couples alike, had to attend the geographically assigned unit, there would be much less judging and questioning.

You see, I have a choice between three wards. There is the single student ward, there is the over-30 single ward, and there is the family ward. There are pros and cons to each choice.

In the single student ward, I will be treated to the meat market. A veritable buffet of potential future-mates, and a bishop trained to encourage pairing off the way other bishops are trained to dole out welfare. Every week there will be activities replete with "getting to know you" and general fluffy silliness, designed to display the admirable qualities of every potential mate. Your callings could range from "greeter" and "family home evening mom" to "dating coordinator" and the ever desirable "RS pres". Every calling has a counterpart member of the opposite sex, the bishop's own little match-making system. The focus is simply to shop and eventually purchase your very own spiritually inspired eternal family starter kit, containing one preisthood holder, complete with RM status, life goals, and temple reccommend. The difficulty is that you personally become a display as well, with the expectation to perform like a monkey, trained in home-making and child-rearing. Your testimony is merely a commercial advertisement, "try me, I will be a great wife!" and your sunday school comments must be postured in order to wow the potential buyers, discourage the weirdos, and put any competition in their place. No real friendships are made or maintained from such a situation, as all are in competition with one another.

No thank you.

I haev never attended the over-30 ward, and I am sure that it is only intensified by feelings of inadequacy over being a "menace to society".

And then there is the family ward option. It is where I usually end up. The family ward has much to offer, simply because it is much less superficial, has better areas to serve, and does not occupy as much time with ridiculous activities. Your calling in this ward could be Primary teacher, Young women's secretary, or even activities committee. No worries about the major leadership responsibilities here, since we don't feel that singles can/should handle them. In my last family wad experience, I was quite happy, called as the seminary teacher and unofficially expected to direct the music at every meeting, I was comfortable. Serving in real callings, making real friends, and giving honestly of my time and energy to efforts that I believed in. The difficulty is the social front. Everyone in a family ward that is the same aeg as me is married with children. We get to be friends at church, but since I work, and the moms stay at home, I don't get to attend any social events that would be with my potential friends. No such luck with evenings or weekends either, since that is family time/date night/youth activities, etc. I get to have real friends at chuch, but I get to spend my friday/saturday/sunday nights watching reality tv with my parents. I hate reality tv. If I ever do make friends enough with someone to merit an invitation or activity ouside of sunday meetings, it is usually akward. Everyone else brings their kids and their spouse, has to be home for bedtime or to let the sitter go. No, I am more likely to be invited as the sitter, and I am often more comfortable with the kids anyways.

So the debate rages on in my heart. Do I attend a real ward, with families and friends and people I can relate to? Do I attend the singles ward, with activities I can attend and the potential for eventually fitting in somewhere? Either way I choose, everyone whose business it is not will question my decsion. SO I don't care about opinions. For now, though, I will continue with my favorite sunday schedule ever.

845-leave for temple square
930 attend music and the spoken word, stay for the rehearsal afterward.
1115 grab a bowlof cereal, read my scriptures
1230 drive around looking for a sacrament meeting
100 take the sacrament, listen to the talks
215 leave building, drive to provo
330 arrive at my grandfather's house, begin preparing dinner.
430 eat dinner with grandpa
Play 2 games of scrabble, accompany grandpa on the piano while he plays hymns on the flute
900 drive back to slc and go to "bed" (bean-bag chair)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A day in the life of....

I am not a babysitter. It is very frustrating to be treated as such, and I am appalled at aome of my co-workers who allow themselves to be treated as such by performing babysitting services for clients of the center. Thr trouble is, while my new workplace is in a state of transition, I am stuck in the toddler room as opposed to teaching preschoolers like I am used to. Last year I had a clas of 20 brilliant pre-kindergarten children who functioned as a school classroom. We learned to read, we learned math, we learned science, we had manners and we conformed the way all teachers expect conformity. Not in the uncreative, dry and soul-sucking sense of conformity, but in the functional classroom sense. Even great artisits recognize that rules must govern us. But here in the toddler room, no such order exists. SO here is the run down of a day in my current life. For privacy sake, I will refer to the children by other names. Points if you can figure out where I am taking their pseudonyms from.

6:45 am- wake up wondering what time it is. It is an adventure to live in someone else's basement for a week or two. Combined with starting a new job and trying to settle into life in an old/new environment makes for some interesting days. I wake up in a panic every morning.

7:00- shower (fast, because i don't want to inconvenience anyone.)
705-dress (from the laundry basket I currently live out of) Put dirty clothes in plastic bag to bring to car.
710-grab breakfast, bring it and clothes bag to car
715-drive to work
740-sit in car, eat breakfast, read a book, listen to the radio until it's time to clock in. (varies, 815-900)

830-walk into classroom where 4+ toddlers are eating breakfast. Severus sees me and immediately dumps all food onto the table and begins throwing it and smearing it. Narcissa grins big and runs to give me a hug, dumping her own ceral everywhere and smearing me with milk. Avery bites Severus on the arm while Severus continues to smear banana everywhere. We let it happen, because it is a sensory experience, and because it is easier to clean up after they are done than to try to stop them.

845-two more parents with two more toddlers arrive, and add to the breakfast chaos. One parent informs me that little Karkaroff has thrown up this morning, but since he doesn't have a fever, she feels alright about dropping him off. He still smells like vomit. She proceeds to give him corn flakes and milk. The other children who have finished their breakfast are fighting over a book. Avery bites Lucious hard enough to leave a mark.

900 the parents finally finish saying goodbye to their children, (now there are 8 total) who could care less that they are being left here for the day, but somehow connvincing themselves that their child hates it makes the parents feel better about leaving them. I write an accident report about the bite, while another teacher cleans up breakfast and the children throw toys and chairs at each other.

915 we begin the diaper process. sanitize every surface between each diaper, record BMs and smear diaper cream on each precious butt. 8 BMs later, I scrub my own hands and begin the sunscreen process.

945- with clean bottoms and protected skin, we head out the door to the playground.

946- the center director stops us to give hugs to all the kids, in the process she smells that Severus has deposited another package in his pants. I return to the classroom with 4 of the eight to do another diaper.

955- we all made it outside for recess. They fight over the push toys. Avery bites Bellatrix, leaving a mark. Severus tries to take a toy from Avery, Avery begins to bite again, but Severus is too fast, and he pushes Avery in the face, hard enough to knock him off the toys and into the sand. Severus then looks directly at me while he kicks Avery and walks away with the toy. I help Avery up, give the toy back to him, and "redirect" Severus. (We never punish, only re-direct) Severus begins throwing a tantrum.

1015 the tantrum is still happenning. Avery has bitten two other children. Lucious throws up. While we are getting the hose to clean it up, Bellatrix decides to come over and play in it. Lucious is screaming, Severus is screaming, Bellatrix is disgusting, but the rest of the gang is happy.

1030 the barff is cleaned up. The two vomit-covered children have been hosed down, and the other teacher brings them in to change their clothes and call Lucious's mom.

1045 The other teacher returns, with both children. Neither of Lucious's parents are answering their phhones. She left messages. Severus is still walking around crying and pushing people.

1100 We go inside.

1115 We begin the diaper process again. This time, luscious has diarrea. We call his parents again. Still no answer.

1130 Lunch with 8 toddlers. it is spaghetti. (need I say more?) 3 of the eight have food from home to eat. We prep their lunches. Severus dumps his food all over the table again. This time, Yaxley eats some of it. But he is allergic to the egg in it, and we have to get the epi pen ready in case the reaction is severe.

1145 we get out the cots for naptime.

1200 Severus and Narcissa are still eating. Everyone else is laying on their cots with blankies and binkies. Two are jumping up and down, one is crawling under the sheet, and one has decided to move his entire cot to the other side of the room.

1215 Severus and Narcissa are still eating. Two have fallen asleep, two are screaming, and two are rolling around the floor.

1230 5 are asleep. Severus and Narcissa have finished eating and are playing in the sink ("washing their hands")

1245- ONly Narcissa is still screaming, the rest are asleep. The other teacher leaves on break.

115- Narcissa is asleep. I begin to clean up lunch. Luscious wakes up, throws up spaghetti, and begins crying.

145- Lunch and luscious are clean, still no response from parents, other teacher returns from break and I leave.

***One glorious hour to spend on crappy computer***

245- return to the classroom. They are all awake, jumping on their cots and running away from the other teacher. We put cots away.

300 begin the diaper process. more diarrea, more sanitization, more BMs

330- begin sunscreen process.

345- repeat recess process, fighting, biting, tantrums, the same kids do the same things every day. Lucious throws up again.

445- return from recess. We finally hear from Lucious's mom. She will come to pick him up by 530. (helpful, I know)

500 begin combining the classes so teachers can go home. Severus tries to push a big kid. The big kids punches him in the nose. Severus comes crying to me, I check for damage. When there is none, I tell him he deseved it. I am at the end of my wits.

515. Luscious' mom comes for him. She apologizes, 'cause she didn't realize he was really sick.

530. We still have too many children for me to legally leave the room. I call my boss, she comes in and lets me go .

600 traffic is terrible. I finally get to the house I am staying at and realize that only crazy girl is home. I cannot endure another argument over whether Michael phelps is hot just because he has olympic medals. I never argue one way or the other, but bshe argues both sides, so I leave without going in.

630, I have found some friends to go visit, I drive, we visit, I feel great.

1100 I decide its time to head back. when I return, A different roommate has exiled everyone to their rooms because she is making out with a date in the living room. I go to one of the roomie's rooms and chat until 1200

1200 I chase make-out people out of the room. I am tired. I collapse on the bean bag chair and don't wake up until aboiut 645 the next morning.

Ahhh, my life in a nutshell. I just want my regular classroom and a place to live. I can't handle transition very well!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

must alter the pink....

it's too much. i thought i could deal with the pink until i got my own laptop and had tie to figure it out, but I can't take it! and the computer at work is too slow to figure it out and fix it in my 1 hour lunch break. but i can't take the pink anymore! i feel like something is wrong with my eyesight every time I log on. please, help me fix the pink!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State

i am waxing borderline political here. people tend to take offense at such things. so if you tend to take offense, don't bother reading this one. and if you read it, know that this is not intended as any type of attack. the only person that i refer to as an idiot has no idea that i blog, and indeed, is only a passing acquaintance.

My political philosophy should be no secret to anyone who actually knows me. But for the sake of remaining neutral, lets just say that I believe the most important thing is to think for yourself, with an awareness that all information you receive is biased. Case in point, this move during this political season has been fascinating. Because my thoughts have little to do with actual politics, instead of stating "red" and "blue" I will simply refer to the states as being "chartreuse" and "mauve". The you can't take offense if you feel differently than I, because the most important thing is that we are allowed to have our own opinions, I can still be friends with republi.... I mean, Mauve people.

So lets say that I just moved from a swing state with a mauve governor to an entirely mauve state (but a chartreuse city). Make sense? I am fascinated by the cultural attachment to politics that is here. I understand that generally one group of people connected by location and communication would tend to have similar political philosophies, but this place takes it to an extreme.

This is all coming up because I finally turned the news on in my new location, last night. And I was laughing at how clearly biased the stories were. One channel in particular runs unchecked by any desire for balance, and with an attidue that their own opinion is more important than ethics. A roommate in the home where I am staying asked me why I thought the news was funny, and I pointed out the mauve bias. She was quite defensive, not of the reporter or the story, but of the channel's right to have a bias. She then pointed out that it was simply the same truth as was reported by a certain mauve radio host, who she enjoyed listening to. Normally, I enjoy a political debate, but as soon as this radio hosts name came into play, I backed off a little, and asked a few questions. I asked if she was really ok with said radio show host. The Very Young Roommate admitted that she had never personally listened to the radio show, but that her parents like him. She got very defensive of such a position, equating religion to politics and responding to my questions with emotional but illogical statements. I ended the discussion then and there. I don't generally like to back off when I disagree. Here was my logic this time:
There is no valor in beating an idiot in a battle of wits.

Aren't you proud of how much I have grown up? Sure I am still calling the person an idiot, but I didn't pusue the course simply for a win. If you take no time for study, place no value on intelligence, and rely on insults and manipulation for your grounding, then I see no point in debate. The purpose of debate is to learn and reason. Take the political affiliation that you take, approach it with logic, prayer, study, or even toss a penny to choose your candidate, but defend your choice by taking responsibility for it. Make it your choice, not your parents, and back it with reason.

That being said, I still love it here. Don't give me the old "if you don't like it then leave" arguement. I would wager that I love it more than most, which point is illustrated by my willingness to be here in spite of political differences. Not to mention the fact that said attitude (blind bias and cultural entitlement) is keeping the gas prices here as the 4th highest in the nation. I came for the mountains, not the politics. And as long as the mountains are here, I will love it here. If you don't like that, then you can leave!

*** See, no offense intended. as long as you think for yourself, you can still be my friend!***

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Still figuring things out.

So, about his whole blogging thing. I am still working out the kinks. Until I do, it's pretty skeletal. Plus I may be computerless again starting the end of this week. So many things to do, and never enough time, money, energy, or desire to do them. One thing is for sure. I must focus my efforts on going back to school. So if contact seems sparse, and if I seem distracted, it is because I am doing the things I am supposed to be doing with my life. If, however, you begin to notice that I am on facebook every 6 hours and posting a new blog every day, then you can be assured that my old pattern of procrastination and anxiety has taken hold.

Either way, I will pay this semester's tuition before I purchase a laptop. But after I find a place to live. We'll see how returning to college goes before I really settle in anywhere.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A blog a blog, we have a blog!

"i bei momenti" is italian for "the good times". It's from an aria, by Mozart. In "The Marriage of Figaro" it is commonly refers to "Dove Sono i bei momenti" or "where have the good times gone? The Countess sings this particular piece when she is lamenting the loss of the good times in her marriage and life. She concludes the piece by vowing to reclaim his affections and her own happiness. It's one of my favorite pieces simply because she begins with a longing for the good old times, and ends by resolving to take matters into her own hands, owning her personal destiny and happiness. It's an oddly appropriate theme in my life right now. While I am not trying to reclaim a lost love, nor am I even trying to reclaim my life that I left behind 2 years ago, I am going to reclaim happiness with this new adventure.

Starting with where I should live. An apartment alone? More roommates? Old roommates? Establish myself as a grown up, or turn student again and go after another degree whole hog?

Sometimes, it's harder to decide what you want when the whole world is open to you.