Sunday, August 30, 2009


It's a ridiculous term, I know. And mine came and went and I didn't say a thing about it. I wasn't unaware of it, in fact I wondered that day and throughout that week if I should post something about the fact that a year has passed since I moved to Utah and began the blog. But it seemed such a ridiculous thing to do, not to mention how entirely illogical the construction of the word "bloggiversary"is. After all, if you are celebrating a one year annnniversary, you can hardly eliminate the "anni" which is the prefix indicating a yearly celebration. You know, for "annual". And so I ignored it. But with august coming to an end, I still feel a bit like I should acknowledge the year mark. And it still fits as well, since my first august here was still a very transitory time, I was living as a basement hobo and had yet to establish my classroom.

So lets take a brief accounting of the things that have happened in the past year. After all, on my first post I indicated that I was seeking to rediscover and reclaim the happy times I have known in my life. A year seems like a good amount of time for making progress in that goal, now doesn't it?

I found a place to live. I like the place I live. I had a roomie that I absolutely loved for most of the year, and now I have one that I could really give or take. She has some passive aggressive habits that I respond to in equally passive aggressive ways, and we will never really be friends, but she is fairly normal and she pays her rent and we stay out of each other's way. I'm fine with that.

I established a classroom. And then I realized how much I resented my job and unestablished my classroom. Now I am a nomad, wandering from room to room for an hour at a time with no real responsiblilities except holding babies and changing a few diapers. I like holding babies. It somehow feels a little more honest, though. After all, I am a glorified midget wrangler and I would rather not pour my heart and soul into something I am just going to end up resenting again. At the same time, those kids that were in my room over the past year, some of them I really like, and I will really miss them. Just not all of them.

I have returned to school. This was a goal long before the whole re-claiming happiness thing came along, so I think it was an absolute essential. Along with returning to school, I found a little more self respect that was lacking as a preschool teacher. Now if someone asks what I do, I tell them I am a student. It has a much better feel to it than the frumpy stigma that goes with preschool teacher.

I have re-established those friendships that I missed so much while I was gone. Sure we have grown and changed over the past few years, but the security that I feel in those relationships is back, regardless of how often we get a chance to visit. It really did tear at me to be gone for those years, and I began to question myself and the value that I had place on my friends, but I have learned in the past year that I was not wrong, that there are great people who affect us forever, and that we are allowed to cling a little bit to the good times that built the trust we rely on.

In the same realms of friendship, I was able to spend some quality time with my grandfather before he passed away. I can't begin to express how much that meant to me.

I am singing again. For a while there in Minnesota I had stopped. Not stopped the lessons and the working at it, but stopped loving it and stopped really singing the way I love to, except during the lessons, which actually kept me sane. But this is different. Instead of going from week to week with simply lessons and practice time, I am singing along with my cds in the car and I am humming along with my ipod, and occasionally I even catch myself singing to the kids. It's good. I missed feeling the music, and having it back is a pretty significant thing. Plus I am singing with an ensemble again, and that is something that for a while I really thought I would give up forever. I told you, I was in a pretty dark place for a while.

I am making new friends. Yeah, that stopped entirely for a while, and while I still refuse to go to certain singles events and activities established solely for the purpose of meeting a future spouse, I am starting to chat with people and enjoy the company of new people. I still prefer the old friends, but I no longer get that horrible all consuming pit in my stomach when faced with a new crowd or forced to introduce myself.

I should add that along with being willing to make new friends, I did make a very few new friends over the past year, and it's a good feeling, knowing that I wasn't entirely a lost cause socially.

I lost 40 pounds. Yup, its about the lifestyle change. No more evenings alone with a gallon of ice cream, no more sitting at a desk job, no more hiding from the world while curled up in the fetal position. I am back to the size I was before I left, and I intend to continue the trend so that I can actually be smaller than I was when I left. It's not so much a question of my happiness being dependant upon my body image, but my body image reflecting my personal happiness. And now that I am aware of that about myself, I am more prepared to cope with it if the pounds start piling on again.

I taught a really great classroom of 17-18 year old boys in sunday school. Random? yes. And I haven't mentioned it all that much, but the fact is, I loved that class, and today when I was released from teaching them I realized how much they have come to mean to me and how much they affected me over the past year. For the first few weeks of teaching my anxiety was nearly insurmountable, but they came and they listened and they asked me about me and they were my friends. They gave me a place in a ward where I knew no one. And they are really good guys and they accepted me and respected me and taught me to have a little more confidence in myself than I really was allowing. I'm going to miss them. They are moving on just like my kindergarteners, only they are moving on to college and missions. I hope I gave them something to grow on as well.

I lost a car and gained a car and found a child and received a scholarship and, well, the events of the last few weeks sort of pile in there together without me really being able to make much sense of them yet. But the bottom line is, with a little faith there is a lot better plan than the one we make up for ourselves. Seriously. And I think that's the real point to this past year. And I know I still have a long way to go before I can say I have claimed happiness the way I intend to, but the foundations are certainly moving into place. And today is as much a part of that path as tommorrow is, so I am allowed to rejoice a bit in the blessings of today. If all of eternity is a path that includes our yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows, then who is to say that we can't have bits of joy in every moment of that eternity, including the thens, the soons, and the nows. After all, i bei momenti is not only plural, but it literally refers to the blessed moments, and there certainly have been blessed moments.

Some things never change...

I'm back at school this week. It's been a fascinating time for a number of reasons. My schedule suddenly shifted from just working full time to attending class for four hours, attending work for five hours, and attending rehearsal for three hours. Throw in the driving from place to place and I am leaving my house at 7:15 am and returning around 11 every night. Of course, rehearsals won't be every night now that chorus is in full swing, which will leave me a few evenings a week for homework, and frankly a few evening should be plenty. My classes are by no means difficult (although I will admit that statistics is more than a little bit daunting) and I have had a few pleasant surprises pop up as things got started. But more about that later.

It's really interesting to return to school after 8 years. It turns out that you learn a whole lot of things in 8 years about yourself and about the world around you. At the same time that you remember the way things were and the way you were the first time around, you have a bit of a perspective shift. Here are a few examples.

College professors: Remember how they knew so much and were so ready and willing to dispell all their knowledge upon you, the student who is paying to hear about their expertise and success? They still do and they still are, but it turns out, they are even more than just willing to dispell knowledge. They are also so entirely pompous that you are left with the impression that they are the only ones qualified to offer their expertise and knowledge. They stand at the front of the classroom and spout their credentials as if no one else on the planet has seen or learned as much as they have, and therefore what they have is the gospel truth. Some of these professors even go so far as to imply that every answer a student gives is wrong, and then when they have destroyed the confidence of every individual in the classroom by ridiculing and shutting down responses, they give an explanation that sounds remarkably like the second or third answer given to their question. Professors haven't changed a bit.

That First Day of Class Lecture: You know how it goes. Professor X introduces themself and spouts the aforementioned credentials, then proceeds to skim through a syllabus about the subject matter, the grading system, the papers due, the school's academic honesty policy, and then, oh then, they go into their spiel about how they are the cool professor. They talk about how people either do or don't get A's in their class, and how that makes them cool. They talk about how they want to see well thought out responses, and how that makes them cool. They talk about debate and discussion in class, and how that makes them cool. aaaand we are back to the whole pompous thing, now aren't we?

The Students: That's right folks, from SLCC to U of MN to BYU, the only thing that changes about the students is the number of piercings and tattoos you see. There is still that peanut galllery of silly girls fresh out of high school who managed to register for a class together and manage to disrupt class with giggles and whispering. There is still the pompous guy who makes comments as if he is the only person on the planet with a previous knowledge of the subject. There is still that one girl who asks the most irritating and senseless time wasting questions, with no clue as to how much she annoys the rest of the class.

Along with the students, the Student Leadership Club: You know how they set up their little tables around campus, particularly in the first week of school and they promote school spirit by handing out donuts and bowls of captain crunch and flyers for activities? They are still there, pushing their high starch breakfast foods and repeating the same lines about activities and the benefits of joining student leadership. I just hope they do the whole free hot cocoa during the first cold mornings of the year.

Bookstore ladies and admin personnel: I swear, the same old ladies who worked at U of MN moved to BYU when I did, and then they moved back to Normandale and then they moved back to Salt Lake. And somewhere in the middle there they worked at Weber State. Have you noticed that the college campus full time staff ranks swell with old ladies who look like sweet grandmas but as soon as you speak to them they are stern and disillusioned and no fun at all. Why is this? Have they really spent too many years standing at the entrance to the bookstore directing you where to go for textbook returns, or does the campus actually seek out grumpy grandmas in its recruitment process?

Slow walkers and sidewalk talkers: Everybody remembers this. It was at its worst at BYU, but it still happens everywhere. You have ten mintues between classes, and you have to run a mile across campus in order to be on time for your next class, and that is always the class where they professor only accepts assignments at the beginning of class, and in the middle of your mad dash (and I might add, the only time in your life you will actually be sprinting an 8 minute mile, because really, who runs for fun?) the person in front of you sees a long lost friend, mission companion, distant cousin, or attractive member of the opposite sex they met at a party once, and they stop. They have their precious reunion right there in the middle of your olympic trials, and then they continue to stroll together at a pace only clocked by inchworms and small tortoises. They clog up the entire walkway, causing congestion and collisions as people try to navigate around them in every direction. Freeway's have shoulders, where you pull over and deal with your issues away from traffic, should you have the same courtesy between classes?

Oh yes, some things never change. The way I deal with most of it has changed ever so slightly, only in that I am more aware of the process. I was quiet then and I will be now, I will just have a different thought process as I face each of these things. Bookstore ladies don't scare me any more, now I just think they are sad. Professors aren't the end all of knowledge, I just have to sort out the answers they want to hear. You get the idea. But there is one thing that has never changed that I will approach and conquer with a completely different attitude.

The music student hierarchy: Ah yes, this one some of you may not be as familiar with, but I had a lovely time reliving this, even at a community college. You may think that med school and law school, being professions which garner some prestige and eventually earn some admirable salary are competitive, but they are in fact nothing compared to what musicians put each other through. (My friend Jenny may be able to confirm this seeing as she has experienced both, so I will leave that to her) You see the world will use as many doctors and lawyers as it creates, and your salary may depend on your credentials, but you will always have a job. Musicians, on the other hand, know that there are only so many positions available. There are only so many slots in a choir, there are only so many books that will be published, and there are only so many recording labels and concert halls and performances that will pay, and even fewer will pay well. And somewhere in the mess of limited resources, musicians began connecting their self esteem directly to their abillity to compete in that environment. An attack at a musicians skill is an attack at who you are at the very core. A mild insult about timbre, a feigned correction of intonation these things will send the sensitive musician reeling for years! I still hold a grudge against the professor who told me he could find "no natural beauty in your voice", even if he came crawling back years later. (In fact if you want his name and the information about his "anyone can sing beautifully" singing boot camp, I will gladly give it to you with a copy of his opinion on my voice including his signature at the bottom. I'm not above discrediting the man.)

Like I said, an attack on a musician's ability is personal, and yet we hand them out quite liberally. But since I had no intention of singing with the choirs at a local community college, it wasn't really something I was planning on dealing with. Until I met a voice professor one morning. You see, he sings some of the solo roles with the Utah Opera (remember how I am in the chorus there?) and we were chatting about music and my returning to school for other things, whne he asked me if I was intending to do music while at SLCC. No. But, he told me, there are scholarship funds available. Oh. Here. Go sing for this guy (writes down phone number) and tell him I sent you. I'll let him know you are coming, and we'll see how much money he can get you. OK

So I went to sing for this guy. He was having auditions for his choirs, and all of his little community college American Idol wannabes were gathered around the doors chatting about how fabulous there are and feigning humility to each other while waiting for their turn to sing. (Do you know how a musician feigns humility? It goes something like this: "Well, I would sing that piece, but I really struggle with (pompous passage here) and he is so big on (name important musical quality here, only say it with disdain as if it is actually unnecesary to sing in tune), you know?" Then sing a few bars of it, just to demonstrate that you really could do it if you wanted to, but won't so that other people have a fighting chance at being as good as you are.

I quietly listened for a few minutes, as is customary for any newcomer to a circle of musicians, then I made the choice to be friendly but reticent. I did not opt to feign humility, I opted to avoid the subject of music entirely, they would all hear me singing a few minutes, no sense in lying to them about who I am or where I am at. I simply made friendly conversation about that girl's baby and Sarah Brightman's inabilities and what concerts were being performed around town. Some shiny little college boy showed up with his girlfriend and began bragging to everyone about how fantastic she was while she pretended to be mortified that he would be so bold, and I attempted to make friendly conversation with him as well. The problem is, if you are a straight male and a musician, you tend to be even more pompous than the average, (Sorry guys) and you tend to think that even attempts at conversation are attempts at flirting. (I will admit to knowing one exception to this rule, Bryan, simpy because he tended to be unaware of anything other than the music, right Britt?) I thought I was in the clear, since I am clearly ten years older than this guy, but apparently he felt it necessary to "put me in my place" and he snubbed me with his classic musician snub. When I attempted a friendly "oh I know someone with that last name" he simply said "Oh." and stared at me. and when I filled the silence with undaunted and mindless chatter, he did the "uncomfortable and penetrating stare" and when I stopped the chatter, he obviously turned to the person next to him and started a new conversation about how great he and his girlfriend were at singing. Luckily at that moment, the director opened the door and invited me in to sing, so I didn't have to think of a new way to be generous and kind to the arrogant little terd. (I mean, inexperienced young man. Really). No problem, I thought, now he can hear what he just snubbed.

Don't get me wrong, I know I still have a long way to go vocally, but I am not going to feign humility here. Me auditioning for a community college choir is somewhat akin to Michael Jordan playing high school basketball. (See, I can make sports analogies!). I sang a passage from Verdi's Macbeth that displayed my range, my flexibility, and some lyric moments where I really got to spin my voice and play with the power I have. Have you heard me sing? You know how in church I am loudest person in the congregation and can control the tempo over the settings of most church organs? Well generally speaking, I am holding back during congregational singing. And while I had debated holding back a little for a community college choir audition, Arrogant Terd made up my mind for me, and I did not hold back. I let loose every muscle in my abdomen, I resonated in every appropriate sinus cavity, and I spun each note as perfectly and freely as Jeanine ever taught me to (thanks Jeanine!) and there is no way that those groupies just outside the door missed a single note. In fact, since I could hear their conversations continuing as I began, I also heard their conversations stop as soon as I opened my mouth, and I relished every second of it. Really it only encouraged the diva in me.

And the director offered me a thousand dollar scholarship.

So of course I will be singing with them. Because a thousand dollars is soooo worth it.

And as I was walking out the door, the accompanist handed my score back to me and said "Thank you, it was such a pleasure to hear you sing" and my inner diva roared with delight.

And everyone outside the door, including Arrogant Terd heard that part of it too, and they were silent as I walked past them, except for one sweet girl who said "wow, you sounded so good". And I smiled at her and thanked her, and put my backpack on, and just as I turned to leave, I caught the eye of Arrogant Terd and said "perhaps you should be more careful who you snub in the future." (well, in more or less words I said that), and I walked away.

Yes, some things never change over the years. College campuses, the people who spend their lives there, and the social hierarchies that developed there, those are all the same. But me, I am not the same. And that will make all the difference.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Children I Actually Like: A day in pictures

This post is mostly for family amusement purposes, you are under no obligation to Oooh and Awww over pictures of my nephews unless you absolutely want to. But that being said, if you do happen to enjoy the pictures and have a few oohs and awws for me (the spoiling spinstress aunt) and my sister (their mom and source of half their genes) then feel free to tell us how cute they are in the comments!

Most of my days are spent with children under the age of 6. Today I actually took a day off in order to do exactly that, only unpaid and with children I like. (See how it works? If I like the kids, I hang out with them for free, otherwise dig deep, I don't come cheap!)

The other thing that happens when I like the kids is we do fun things. Not only am I capable and willing to spoil children, I am also pretty good at wearing them out.

Especially when its on my territory. Would you like a crash course? Here is how to wear down even the most energetic of farm-bred boys:

Step 1:

Take them someplace wonderful and new...

Step 2: Allow them to discover new worlds... Or at least a moon.
Step 2.5: Find out how much you would weigh on said planets and moons.

Step 3: Buy them Ice Cream

(Even the littlest one)

Step 4: Take time for transportation. A LOT of time for transportation, so that you can pause at every distraction along the way.

After all, every kid needs a change to fly a rocket,

... Or drive an ice cream truckAnd carry some extra refreshment along.

Because pretty soon you will be boarding a train...

Step 5: Find some cool places to hide

And Check out some books while you are at it. Are you getting sleepy yet?
'Cause we are...Now all there is left to do is wait for the train,
Ride back to your car,
and give in to the sleep.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Would you like to hear the story...

...of a very long week?

Read on.

Last Saturday morning I woke up in a state of mild despair. I had laundry to do, but no way to transport my clothes to a laundromat. I had grocery shopping to do, and while walking with a few boxes of cereal and a package of ramen had worked in the past, I didn't much feel like carrying a gallon of milk and a large amount of groceries on the bus. I had to go to the bank to pay some bills and resolve the issue of the one penny that I was off on last month's bills, but the bank was the opposite direction from the grocery store that I like to shop at. I moped and whined for most of the morning, but soon came to realize that life wasn't going to happen without some effort on my part. I realized when I finally resolved to just go grocery shopping (at the one by the bank) and deal with carrying the milk that these questions were going to come up again and again as I continued on my car-less journey. I spoke with a friend who gently suggested to me that perhaps I should consider actually buying a car. I abruptly told him it was an impossibility and that I couldn't even be tempted with the thought, but the thought still nagged at me even after the conversation was over. This is ridiculous I would tell myself, there is no way to even begin considering it. And I ran to catch the bus that takes me to the grocery store and bank.

Gallons of orange juice were on sale, and I do so love orange juice, so I bought one of those too. After all, as long as I had to lug along the gallon of milk...

One of the bank ladies was really nice and funny. One of them was totally snooty. I focused on the big glass of orange juice I was going to have as soon as I got home.

I caught the bus back, and as I was walking up the 2 blocks back to the alleyway that cuts into my neighborhood, I noticed an unusual thing. The traffic was swerving around what looked like a tiny child in the street. I didn't think it could actually be a tiny child, because who would just swerve around a kid in the street?

Turns out, it was a tiny child standing alone in the street and there are people on this planet that would just swerve around him and drive on. When I got up there, quite a few cars had simply driven past him, and he was standing all alone in the street screaming for his mommy in the most frightened and heart wrenching sob I have ever heard. I convinced him to join me on the side of the road and began asking him his name, or wher ehis home was, or where his mommy was. He couldn't have been two years old yet, and he wasn't wearing a diaper, just shorts, and he was soaked in urine, and he couldn't tell me his name or anything at all except "mommy", "daddy", "yes", and "no".

We knocked on a few doors around there, but nobody was home. On eof the neighbors finally drove up and said they didn't recognize him at all, so I call the police and we sat down in the dirt to wait for an officer to come and collect him. He recognized the cheerios in my grocery bag, so we enjoyed a snack while he babbled to me incoherently about the owies on his knees and the trees. When the officer finally collected him, hhe clung to me and I nearly cried at the thought of where he would go next.

I got home and decided I needed some practice time in order to recover from that emotional ordeal, so I packed up my organ books in my backpack and started to walk over to the church building. Just after I got there, Ann Marie texted and wondered if she might come by for a visit, and I decided I wanted to tdo that more, so I turned around to head back home. That's when the bishop's wife saw me.

She asked me why I was still walking and I told her about dead mathilda and taking the bus for the next long while, and she was horrified and appalled. Another member of the ward happened past at that moment, and Bishop's Wife asked Other Lady if she knew anyone that had a good car for cheap that I could buy. I tried to protest, but Other Lady responded quickly that she did know someone that worked with her husband in their mechanics shop who was trying to sell a nice little mazda for way cheap. She was so thrilled to have the opportunity to put her less active husband in a position to help someone in the ward that I could hardly say no to a test drive. We arranged for me to meet her husband at church the next day (which to her meant that he would actually come) and she arranged for a test drive on monday night.

By the time I got back to my house, Ann Marie was waiting for me and we had a lovely chat and some cafe rio in order to round out my improving attitude. Back to my house, I checked my mail and found statements from my 401k/ira companies about some policy blah blah blah and this that and the other. I browsed them and started to throw them away when a thought suddenly occured to me. I had exactly the amount of money in those funds that I would need in order to buy the car.

Of course, it would take weeks to actually procure the money, and who knows how much in taxes or if I would even be allowed to take it. Silly Nancy, quit daydreaming and shine up that bus pass.

Sunday came along and I met Other Lady's husband and he was so nice and a little stern in that grandfatherly sort of way. He told me that his friend would hold the car for me, but that I had better be honest and up front with them, because he already had other calls on it. I thought about that retirement money again and allowed myself to imagine the possibilities. Bishops wife noticed me talking to Car Man and asked me if I was going to buy it, I told her I still had some financial concerns but was seriously considering it. She dragged her husband over and informed him that he was going to have to help me make sure this happened. I reassured him that I was not going to come to the church looking for funding for a car, and that I was happy to keep my problems to myself. He simply smiled, said nothing, and went to start the meetings.

Monday morning, I have to admit, waiting at the bus stop, I thought more about the car thing and how I would kindly tell the nice car men that I simply couldn't afford to buy a car. I should call those retirement money places and get my excuses from them, I thought. So I did. And the nice lady at one place said to me "well since you are a full time student we can cut you the check today and it will be in the mail tomorrow. as a student you won't have to be paying any taxes on it since your income won't be high enough this year".

And I said "Do it".


I called the next place, and the nice lady there gave me a lecture about paperwork and faxing things and documentation of my student status and complicated, anxiety ridden instructions. She said she would send it all to me in an email.

See, I knew it was crazy.

I worked, and I found myself getting off of work early. I decided to finish off the Mathilda issue. She was still sitting in the lot at the shop and I had told the guys there that I was going to donate her, but in reality had not moved forward at all. I called a wrecker place about donation, and on a whim asked them how much they would pay for her. I called a whole bunch of wrecker places, and gradually upped the price. By the time I got off work and over to the shop that was Mathilda's resting place, I had gotten just enough money out of the deal to cut a few losses and turn a small profit. Small, but enough to make the other car a little more of a possibility.

I went home and waited for car guys to show up for the test drive. As soon as they pulled up, I liked the car. It was red and sort of peppy and cute. Older than Mathilda, but smaller and somehow a little cheerful. (My therapist friends think it is unhealthy for me to assign human names and emotions to cars, they think I get too attached. Whatever)

Before we even test drove the car I told car guys that it would take a few days for me to get together the money to do this. See how I was being up front with them?

They said if I wanted it I could put down a deposit and they would hold it til saturday.

I wanted it.

On Tuesday I read through the email about getting the rest of my money with the complicated paperwork. I looked in my bag and low and behold I had all the paperwork in a folder full of student-y type documents. No harm in faxing it, right? Sure it would take 7-10 business days for them to review my reqest and then 5 days to cut a check and then however long after that to mail it to me, but what the hay.

I called them an hour after I faxed the paperwork in order to double check that it had arrived safely. The lady couldn't find my paperwork, so she revied my file in the system. It turns out she couldn't find the papers because they had already been reviewed, approved, and a check was being cut for me at the colse of that day's market.

Seriously? When does "7-10 business days" become "an hour"? THAT NEVER HAPPENS.

I paid my deposit on the car.

I also went over to the church building that night in order to rehearse and record an audition cd for yet another big audition. Then I was more than a little bit exhausted, so I laid out a blanket on my back lawn and fell asleep until my phone alarm wake me up for the meteor shower.

I made a wish on a few falling stars before going to bed in my actual bed.

Weds I took a large group of children to the zoo. See the previous post. I also got off work early enough to go to the campus bookstore and look up text book prices.


I forgot what it was like to drop $150 on a book you don't really want to read.

I also finished turning in all the paperwork proving that I am in fact a Utah resident. They wanted me to pay out of state tuition. Crazy.

Thursday morning I finally completed the audition packet with the previously recorded cd. I mailed it. I worked, I missed my bus, I got home and went straight over to Greg's house to help him with his outfit for bingo night. (FYI- Greg's stage name is Tracy. You see what I am saying?)

Friday. Crunch time. I needed those checks to arrive and I needed to call people and to make decisions and ....


My boss stopped by my classroom to talk to me about fall schedules. She has me working 30 hours a week, and she wants me there by 1130 in the mornings. That would be an impossibility without a car, but I told her I had one and was ready to go with that schedule. It means I get to keep health benefits, and if I can't do that I may as well quit anyways. Risky. I made a promise and I had no idea if I could keep it. But honestly, if things could fall together this way, well then that would be the best way.

I was tearing my hair out wondering if this would all come together, meanwhile I was pretending to everyone who didn't really care that I had it all together. Its not a great place to be emotionally.

Greg and Kyle and I went to bingo after I got off work. It was fun, it was silliness, I felt famous since greg looked so fabulous in his outfit, everyone wanted a picture with him.

Whe I got home, I frantically searched for the mail. my roommate had stuck today's mail UNDER the collection of this month's paid utility bills. Who does that? Don't you put the new mail on top? I'm not sure if she thought she was sending a message, and if she was, I'm even more unclear as to what the message would be. But Minnesota passive-aggressive habits do tend to make me suspicious. Maybe she really is someone that just puts the new mail on the bottom of the pile.


Checks. My retirement become car fund.

When I woke up this morning it was cold and rainy. When is it ever cold and rainy in Utah in August? I've never seen it in all my 13 Utah Augusts. Oh well. I had to walk to the bank. It is a bit more than a mile, but I had a new umbrella (thanks Ally!) and money, and I knew that it would be my last ridiculously long walk in the rain. And after I got money things taken care of, I caught a bus down to the Car Guys shop and I bought a car.

Her name is Jenny. And yes, I am attached emotionally. Because I know what it means to walk in the rain and to take the bus and to carry gallons home from the grocery store and, well...

I'm going to the gorcery store tonight, and then I am going to do some laundry.

And I think that I might just sleep really well tonight.

After all, we all know who gets the credit for things coming together this nicely. I couldn't have done it better.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

This isn't worth your time...

(I can't even tell which kid this is, so I think I can totally post it here, because its just a darn cute picture!)

Well, maybe it is. I'm not posting any sort of an update, since I currently have too many proverbial juggling objects currently suspended over my head, which would contradict the laws of gravity, were it not for the fact that they are proverbial. But it doesn't change the potential that at any given moment one or more of them would come crashing down onto my head, crushing me emotionally or at least causing some amount of neck damage. And I don't like chiropractors.

But I am posting some pictures I took at the zoo yesterday!


OK, I'll give that to you. But I have always heard from other out-of-towners (say that part with a MN accent) that the zoo here isn't all that great. And while there is a special place in my heart for the Minnesota and Oakland zoos, I have to say that this zoo is pretty good. I thought it was my first time there, but in a few of the spots I had some odd and vague memories resurface, so at some point on one of the many family pilgrimages to Utah in my childhood, we must have visited the Hogle Zoo.
So yesterday I took my class on their final field trip of the summer. We have gone on one per week for the past 14 weeks, and we have seen and done all sorts of fun things, and I am really done with taking groups of 15-20 kindergarten age children out in public. But at the same time, I am now pretty well versed in Salt Lake area activities for kids.
The zoo is one that I would recommend. Especially with all their little babies born in the past few months.
Like the itty bitty giraffe!

And the teeny tiny meerkats!

Of course, Its not just baby animals that were oh so fun to see!

There was a ferocious tiger... giving himelf a bath...

(You try explaining to kindergarteners why the kitty is licking his bum... I just love to see GIANT cats acting just like house cats)

And there was a not-so-cuddly Rhino who came up close to us when the kids were all yelling at him...

(I think he could smell that one kid... you know the one.)

And the bears were actually being active. This one reminded me of the bear that used to eat out of our garbage cans in Warroad (but I'm sure its a totally different species, this is just how I would imagine them when I could hear them at night outside the window.)

Of course, my usual favorites weren't active in the least, since it was entirely too hot for them

I've never seen a sadder group of arctic avians. Even if it was only a mild August day in Utah, they were positively lethargic.
Then again, as the day went on, many of the zoo inhabitants were getting lethargic...
(I think this is called a black footed sand cat or something. Whatever. Fully grown it still looked like a leopard kitten, and I want one!)
Because after all, who wants one of these wandering around their yard:
OK, so maybe that would be fun. At least it would keep away stray cats and unwanted neighbors.
Of course, so would this guy:
But they might also frighten away visitors that you do want to see. Like that baby meerkat one more time. (I seriously couldn't get enough of these little guys)

Friday, August 7, 2009


Here's a quick post that I am going to count as an update.

3 things I have heard from parents in my classroom recently:

1. Parent: (surprised tone when they found out that I have a bachelors degree and am heading back to school for a Masters) "Oh! I didn't realize you were a real teacher!"

Me: (in a thought bubble) well what the H do you think I have been doing with your child for the past year? They didn't learn to read on their own, and you certianly didn't teach them anything...

I just walked away from that one.

2. Parent to another child (not their own): "What school are you going to for kindergarten next year?"

Child: (responds with name of school)

Parent: "Oh. Well I suppose that's a really good public school..."

I had to just walk away from that one too.

3. Parent looking at science book with group of kids: "those bugs are called lice! They live in people's hair and bite their heads!"


Parent (in a matter of fact tone): "Well, you guys don't ever have to worry about them, because that only happens to poor people."

I actually had to leave the room for that one.

The thing is, its not just one person. These are three different parents of three different ill-behaved and overly-entitled children. I wish I could be shocked and appalled at just one person having an attitude like this, but it is an overwhelming majority of them!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

More or less complicated...

Yes, my car is dead. The repairs would cost more than she's worth, and so I am moving forward without her. You would think that something like this would ruin all of my plans for returning to school and force back to work full time in order to get a new car and be responsible and all that stuff. But the thing is, it might be easier to do school with a bus pass, and a bus pass is free if I am attending school. And while I couldn't stay at the same job, working part time, since i could never get between the two places fast enough, I wanted a new job anyways. Why not work closer to the school? And while I am having to switch jobs and switch tracks in life, I am even more worried about money, but without a car, I no longer have to pay insurance and maintenance, which isn't a ton more money, but maybe its enough so that I can afford milk and ceral and mashed potatoes. And while it will take that much more time and effort to be taking a bus and carpooling with a friend, it will also mean that much more excercise and weight lost (5 lbs, just this week). And while I don't quite know how I will do things like laundry and grocery shopping, I do know that there are people willing to pitch in and help me out. (The Corvair that I have been driving this week, for example, is at my disposal for a little while). And while we are on the subject of the Corvair, let me briefly take a tangent and ask what is it with boys and cars? I mean, if I'm cute enough to pick up on in the car, why was I never cute enough before the car? Or is it just the car? In which case, I don't want the attention.

The bottom line is, I am not getting a new car, and I am going to find a way to move forward anyways. This next month of transition will be the hardest part. Then I will find a routine, a groove as it were, and nobody can throw me out of my groove. But my biggest concern about this decision, the biggest fear I have and the biggest reason I keep going back to the possibility of getting a car is this: I have so many friends to the north and to the south that I used to visit using my car. How am I ever going to continue playing with everyone that I love and want to play with? Will you still love me when I can't come to parties or drive ins or nertz night? Will you promise to come visit me when you are in my town? I need reassurance!

(...and I promise cookie dough or at least yummy food to anyone who does feel inclined to come visit. My door is always open. Or at least my window is.)