Friday, April 27, 2012

Stream of conscious....

I had a roommate that hated stream of conscious writing because she felt that there was no skill or organization in it, but I think I value it for just that reason. Especially right now. My brain is a little fried from all the organizing and structuring and such. And yet I still want to write a bit. So forget the organizing, but I can't neglect spelling and punctuation. that suffers enough in blogging, even my own. I just sent off my last final of the semester, and school year for that matter, and while my brain is tired I realized that I loved writing it and would do another in a heartbeat, well, given a day or two of rest I would. I also realized I loved learning all the things I learned and feel like I am pretty much getting the grade I deserve for the work I did. And now that its all done I have to go to work in about an hour. Which will be fine because I am going to take a book along and read for fun! About music, actually, since I feel like music is what is suffering in the face of studying something other than music. Also, my old voice teacher started back to choir last night after a long absence and I'm thinking I want to see about doing lessons with her for the summer. Although money will be the big question since technically I'm only subbing at work and so I am at the mercy of the scheduling bitch. yes i said it but this is stream of conscious writing so I'm not apologizing for it. I don't know that the woman who does scheduling actually is that in real life, but when she has power like in scheduling she likes to make it known that she is in charge and everyone else must bow and beg and grovel at her feet. Also because scheduling is hard. So maybe its not so much her as it is the nature of the beast in general. I'm sure whomever does the scheduling ends up being nasty, but either way, my ability to purchase groceries and pay for utilities is dependant on her. Also I'm looking for another summer job and some volunteer stuff in the counseling field, mostly so I can have the experience but also for the money. And I got a new phone! It is fancy and I got it for free and my plan rate didn't increase with the smart one because we were able to switch out some data for some unused minutes so I may have told the At&T guy that I loved him when he figured that out. Its kind of great to walk out of a store with a new cool gadget and not pay a cent.... only i had to sign my life away on another two years with AT&T but I've been with them for so long and every time I look at switching I don't see anything that's really a better deal..And tonight my friend Kim and I are going to the Mozart Requiem, and who knows if she actually wanted to go see it but I did and she is just so pleasant and agreeable that she didn't say anything about it being overdone or boring. Which is good because I believe that the classics are classics for a reason and You simply cannot criticize Mendelssohn's voice leading I don't care how respected of a musician you are! That happened and I was so offended I had to use my new found counseling skills to calm myself down. And tomorrow I'm going to spend the day watching season two of downton Abbey and eating thin mints and making cookies for the neighbor guy who mowed the lawn this week but I'll do all that AFTER I go get a pedicure with Kim. At some point I need to clean the house too because it is beyond disgusting and I can't even describe some of the grossness that the roommate leaves around here. I already cleaned up stuff in the bathroom that no one should have to deal with and may I add that if the garbage is overflowing WHY DONT YOU TAKE IT OUT? Especially if you are the person using it for your, uhhh... personal needs. I cleaned up an entire extra bag's worth of garbage off the FLOOR from around the trash... GROSS. Next up is the kitchen where she left a stick of butter out on the dryer (yes, the washer/dryer are in the kitchen and double as counter tops, we make do with the space we have) but she left the stick of butter just sitting on top of the dryer without a plate or anything and THEN SHE USED THE DRYER. What do you think that did to the stick of butter? and do you think she cleaned it up? of course not. SO there's a whole lot of stuff like that around the house that needs to be addressed and then I have to figure out where and when I'm going visiting this summer since there is a family reunion in Denver and my sister is coming home from her mission in just a few weeks and that's all very exciting. also, i would like to finish a few sewing projects and maybe even rearrange the furniture. Wait, no. I won't rearrange furniture. Oh my gosh, what am I going to do with all this time?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Things I just don't get:

1. Food that looks like other food. Like cake that looks like a hamburger or mashed potatoes that look like cake. Actually, cake tends to be a frequent perpetrator/victim of this trend. I just saw cupcakes on pinterest that were made to look like little pies. They used m&ms to look like fruit filling and frosting to look like a lattice top. The thing is, all of these are yummy, and they even go together, but how about if you want something to look like pie, you make pie, and if you want to eat a cupcake, you eat a cupcake?

2. Collections of quotes by people who have no claim on wisdom, but since their famous and said something succinctly, it must be truth! Again, pinterest is full of this stuff. Its like the phrase "forgive and forget". Just because it is alliterative doesn't make it true! In fact, if you read in the bible, we are never ever once told to forgive and forget. We are commanded to remember and we are told that the Lord will forget our sins if we repent, but nowhere are the words "forgive and forget" stated. Still people insist its true because they've heard it so many times, they believe it must be somewhere in the annals of truth. Guess what. Its not. And George Clooney is not a politician. He is an attractive man, but he made his fame on looks and his ability to memorize lines that someone else wrote. He has no claim on "smart". And Coco Chanel was a rich lady, not a philosopher. Even worse are the memes that don't cite anyone, but if they are cleverly worded, they are repeated as if they reflect doctrine. THINK, people, think!

3. Bullies. No, not just bullies, grown up bullies. I know that children learn bullying from the people (grownups and peers) around them. They do it out of insecurity and they do it because it is a learned behavior. That's not a justification, its just a vision of their path. But adults who are bullies? Sure we all have insecurities, but at some point on our path we have encountered people who are kind, and we have liked those people because they make us feel good and validate us. So why don't we try acting like the nice people in our lives instead of continuing to posture for superiority by being cruel to others. I mean honestly, the tantrums, the eye-rolling, and the insults I have seen coming from one grown-up to another in the past few weeks are simply shameful. This probably deserves its own post. But let's just see if we can't know ourselves well enough to understand why we are lashing out at those around us, and then see if we can be honest and kind instead of mean, manipulative, or playing games in order to get desired results.

I'm seriously so tired of mean people.

Monday, April 16, 2012


False: If you dish up a single brownie onto a plate and then walk away to eat it properly with a fork instead of eating brownies directly from the pan, you won't eat the whole pan in one afternoon.

True: If you dish up a single brownie onto a plate and then walk away to eat it properly with a fork instead of eating brownies directly from the pan, you will have to wait for a commercial break during the reruns of Hawaii Five-0 in order to walk 8 steps into the kitchen and get more brownies.

Which I suppose burns a few more calories than bringing the pan directly into the living room like usual.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A bit Dorky, but this seems like the place and time

One of my professors is made of pure awesome. I'm not kidding, I totally have one of those elementary school teacher crushes. Not like the one I had on 6th grade Mr Fleischaker, who was dreamy and had lovely blue eyes. No this is the "I wanna be just like Miss Laura when I grow up" kind of a crush. Where teacher can do no wrong and I'll bend over backwards to get all my work done and hope and pray that she likes it, and if she doesn't its because I have failed her and I need to try harder next time. I want an A in her class, not because I want to get all As and have an amazing GPA, but because I want her to like me, to think I'm smart, and to be pleased with every bit of homework. Did you ever have a teacher like that? I bet your teacher wasn't as awseome as mine. She works with torture victimes and refugees, she specializes in working with children. She does theatre and sings with the Symphony chorus. But she also played basketball at Duke. That's a big deal. And she's so nice. She corrects people all the time, but you can't help but feel all warm and fuzzy when she does. She doesn't own stuff falsly (like the woman who once "apologized" to me because I made her mad. Heh. Fake apology.) but she tells you when you are wrong and then shows you how to fix it. Sometimes she calls me smart and compliments my writing, and I go around feeling like the whole world is a better place. Other times (like today) she turns in a rough draft back to me with pages of corrections and says "this is a C- paper. You can do better." And so I fix it, and then I feel a little like I could be made of awesome someday too.

Anyways. I noticed her picture on the school website today, and so I clicked on it (I told you, total school-crush) and there's a video of her talking about the psych program. Its an ad, but if you want to see the bestest teacher in the world, you can watch her.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

See how she just makes you feel like you can accomplish anything?

Saturday, April 7, 2012


It's getting time for another list. It needs to be a positive list. I found a list I wrote when I was at BYU full of things I wanted to do. I was pleasantly surprised that I had accomplished all but one, and that one thing is to get a master's degree. Since that is in the works, I figure I should start coming up with a new list. But I'm in the middle of finals and a lot of writing, and Easter concerts and a few other stressors. So instead of making a list full of new expectations and hopes, I'm making a list of little things that are pretty much guaranteed to make me smile.

I have no idea how long it will end up being...

1. Lemon Merengue Pie
2. The Eiffel Tower
3. People speaking French
4. Music by Gilbert and Sullivan
5. Those running hugs you get from toddlers that nearly knock you over
6. Eyeore
7. an unexpected text message
8. Fried Chicken and Waffles (with lots of syrup)
9. Cute shoes
10. Fresh Strawberries
11. M&M's
12. Cookie Monster
13. Anything Monster related actually,
14. And I suppose anything cookie related as well.
15. Birds
16. The crackling sound a new book makes when you open it for the first time.
17. Queen of the Night Tulips
18. A REAL game of Scrabble
19. Choclate milkshakes
20. Fresh tomatoes
21. a new hat
22. Bright umbrellas on rainy days
23. Googly eyes
24. Clever wordplay
25. Penguins (who are also birds, but they are special kinds of birds)
26. Harry Potter stuff
27. Jokes about Schrodinger's cat
28. Thin Mints
29. Chuck Norris jokes
30. Ruby Slippers
31. Snuffleupagus
32. Neil Diamond
33. The Y on the mountain
34. Tuna sandwiches on homemade bread with a giant glass of lemonade.
35. Captain Picard
36. Soft Kitty
37. Pianos
38. Anything written by C.S. Lewis
39. Le Petit Prince
40. The Planetarium
41. Teddy Bears
42. Hot cocoa

Well now. I think 42 is as good a place to stop as any. It's by no means comprehensive. or prioritized. And there isn't nearly as much food on there as I thought there would be. :) Now. What would you add? Or how would your list look? You don't have to agree with me on every point. But I bet we have more than a few in common.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Conference Weekend Post

I have some thoughts. I also have some pictures. They don't go together, but I'm going to dump stuff here, and we'll see how it turns out.

I have been really well behaved about keeping my laundry done. And I hate doing laundry. But here's what happens when there is no laundry laying around my room. Books. I think there were 18 books all around/on my bed, just that I used in less than a week's time.

I think its awesome to love books.

Mmmmmm, homemade candy bars! I'm on a pretzel kick lately, and I made these and substituted pretzels for the pecans we usually use. SO. Graham cracker caramel coconut chocolate pretzel bars. I made them for movie night with my friends Kim and Stan. And I was telling a friend about them at choir and ended up giving the recipe out to a whole bunch of the people sitting around me. It has been reported that more than a few made them for this weekend.

Ok, I recognize this is a picture of my garbage can. Gross. But I just needed a little more empathy. Please notice that there is a FULL 44oz cup of soda in the garbage can. Here are my questions: Why pay for the drink if you aren't going to touch it? How hard is it to pour the drink into the sink before throwing the cup away? What do you think is going to happen when someone has to take out the garbage?

Its not rocket science.

We had a saturday morning rehearsal last week for the Easter concert this week (we couldn't this past saturday because we were already a little booked.) Anyways, it happened to be the weekend that the new city creek shopping center opened accross from Temple Square, so OF COURSE we had to go explore and have lunch. The thing that is missing in this picture is Anne Marie St Felix, who took the picture. She is the one that got us all laughing pretty hard and then managed to snap the perfect shot. I rub elbows with some remarkable women. I wish I could tell you all how remarkable the people in the choir are. I still believe firmly that someone should write a book on the everyday lives of the people in the choir. I have yet to hear a story that doesn't leave me in awe.

I call this "The Nest". Its what happens in my living room when I have a major paper due. This paper was on eating disorders. In this picture you should be able to see 12 empirical articles, 3 blankets, mint meltaways and wrappers, an empty 44oz cup (formerly filled with Diet Dr. Pepper) 4 texts books, a computer, bread and peanut butter, water bottle, cup of milk, dinner (microwaved brussel sprouts) a backpack, 2 purses, a journal, and the cheesecake edition of Taste of Home magazine. Now picture me sitting on the pillow in pajamas and you have the paper-writing experience.

I currently babysit for a living. While I feel some hesitancy to declare that because of the cultural view of a 35 yr old woman who still does the job of a 14 year old, I think you should know that I adore the children I watch and its so fun. So fun. Can you tell?

One of the wonderful remarkable women I love from the choir is going to retire soon. Heartbreak. But My friend Kim and I decidded she needed to know just how much we love her.

So kim found a small token of our love at costco and we left it in her cubby.
Here's a note on carrying a very large bear through the tabernacle on conference weekend which just happens to be April Fools day.... You can tell a lot about a person from their reaction. There were people who smiled, people who laughed and wanted in on the fun, people who looked annoyed, and people who clearly thought we were insane. Your reaction tells me a lot about you. Most mysterious of all is the one person who didn't even flinch. Saw, looked us in the eyes, and just kept walking. Of all the people and all the reactions, this is the one person who I am convinced is actually dead inside. If you don't respond to a 53 inch teddy bear, you don't have a soul.

Finally, a note about conference.

I have heard wonderful responses and I have heard not so wonderful responses. I have heard those who loved and learned from the music and I have heard those who didn't. I have struggled with balancing those responses. Who is right? Was it great? Was it mediocre? Are those who loved it just dumb? Are those who hated it just jealous?

Here is my conclusion:

I'm done listening to criticisms of the choir. I don't care if you think the tempos were wrong. I don't care if you are tired of hearing what you think are the same songs. I don't care if you think such and such should be memorized. You do the math on how much music we are doing in one weekend. You pay attention to just how many pieces are new, how many pieces you think you have heard before, and then find out if you actually have. You be the first people there in the morning and the last to leave after its over. You spend the hours in between rehearsing for the next to come. Now consider when on this earth there is a choir that sings to an audience of 14 million people. I doubt you could ever find a choir with a larger audience, and the demands placed reflect that pressure.

Go ahead and sit at home in your PJs and criticize to the people you are sharing oreos with. But don't you dare disrespect the sacrifices and efforts made by me and the remarkable individuals I am priveledged to sit with by telling me that you would have done it differently or better. No one does it better than Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy. No one.

We get criticized at choir plenty, all in the spirit of improving and perfecting the music. The real reason for criticism is for the purpose of correction, and we are constantly correcting and trying to be better. I love direction that leads to improvement. If your response to me will not make anything about the choir better, keep it to yourself.

And I might add that if you are listening for something to go wrong, then you are missing the message. You don't sound smart when you tell me you would do it differently or better. You sound judgmental and pretentious. Your response to me about the choir does not tell me how the choir sounded. It tells me how well you listened.

Next time we discuss the choir experience, please know that I want to hear about it. I just want to hear about what you loved. I want to hear about it so that we can connect on a heartfelt level. I want to hear that my offering was accepted by my friends.

I'm sad that we live it a world where people think they can look good by declaring how they would do things better. It diminished that which is offered. This principle goes beyond my choir experience. There is no value in criticisms that only serve to make you feel better about yourself. They belittle those around you. Even if what is offered is small and insignificant. Would you belittle the widow's mite because you have more to give?

If your job is to edit or correct or educate then by all means, give the kinds of correction that will make your students better. But good teachers know that there is also a time for encouragement. And beyond that, there is a time to take the correction hat off. There is a time for accepting gifts, for sharing and connecting.

So on a final note. Please know that I loved it. If you have been positive and kind, I am so grateful. I loved singing. I'm glad you loved listening. If you have felt and learned and loved, that speaks so well of you. I'm glad you are my friend. I bet you are the kind of person that would smile at a giant teddy bear too.