Friday, August 26, 2011

I'll Never Leave

You'll never leave where you are until you decide where you'd rather be.

Hard to Wait. Harder to give up.

It's hard to wait for something you know might never happen; but it's even harder to give up when you know it's everything you want.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Scotland Pictures

Laugh Partner

I was talking to Becca's sister, Sarah, the other day about relationships and what we inevitably are looking for in a future husband and she was telling me about a friend of hers that pretty much summed up everything.

Sarah was telling me how her friend and her husband were never really two people you would think would end up together, but in the end, it was their senses of humor that made them perfect for each other. They play off each other very well and they both think that the other person is hilarious.

In fact, this friend was saying, she and her husband are up late at night and can't get to sleep because they are laughing so hard. They never tire of talking to one another and they just have a good time, always because they are so compatible.

I've had friends like this. Where we lay awake into the wee hours of the morning talking and giggling, and it put a big smile on my face thinking that maybe I can find a husband like that.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cities are all the Same

When you are walking around Seattle, New York, San Francisco or Edinburgh, the truth is, from what I can tell, all cities are pretty much the same. So many people moving from one place to the next, tons of taxis and buses, the homeless, and an endless amount of street performers.

There are the people that paint themselves like statues and hang out, the ones that play different musical instruments (anything from drums to a trumpet or saxophone to bagpipes...), the magicians... My first night in Edinburgh we stumbled across a small band consisting of a bass guitar, drums and a bag piper. They were impressive young men, and we stayed and listened and enjoyed their music. On the street corner on Queensferry, there's a really good trumpet player that I liked, too.

In Edinburgh during the Festival -- and it's festival time right now -- people pass out flyers and advertisements for comedy shows and theatrical performances. It reminds me a lot of the flyers that are passed out in Las Vegas, only not pornographic. The performers walk down the Royal Mile dressed up in their costumes and singing some of the songs in order to advertise for the show that night.

The touristy shops are basically the same, even if the items are somewhat different.

The one thing that does change is the architecture. Except some of the skyscrapers, the architecture is fun to look at for a couple of days. And of course, I love the buildings in Edinburgh, having been around for hundreds of years.

In the end, my favourite places are the landscapes and picturesque countrysides and waterfronts where I can leave cliché citylife behind.

Edinburgh Night Life

The other night we decided to catch a film at the cinema. (Captain America, don't waste your money). Becca was on her mini-honeymoon and had left us to our own devices, which meant we didn't know which taxi service to get, so we ended up with some Chinese man that didn't speak any sort of English -- especially American English. We piled into his small sedan and headed to the theatre, only, and he dropped us off at the grocery store across the street. We loaded up on candy and pop and I wondered if it would be more or less difficult to sneak it all in.

It was easier. Actually, it turns out that you can hit up the bar outside the theatre and you can carry your beer bottles in. Cool. The guy selling the popcorn informed us that they "don't do butter" which turned out to be smart -- the actual auditoriums were spotless and carpeted. No sticky feet!

The movie was terrible.

Afterwards, we headed out and tried to find a taxi, but they had all switched off their lights and we were out of luck. The guys were getting incredibly nervous because right next to the theatre, there were a few night clubs -- gay night clubs. And they were overflowing with sailors and flamboyant men.

The people in Edinburgh are sort of terrible drunks. Josh and Jason were commended because they knew when to quit drinking, whereas their Scottish counterparts, continue to drink until they are staggering down the middle of the road in 6-inch heels and leopard print leggings. I wonder how many girls go into the hospital with broken ankles. Seriously.

We headed on down the road, and were probably only a mile or so away from Rebecca's apartment, but it seemed quite a long walk especially because Roberta -- the poor dear -- was hobbling with pain in her ankles, knees, back and neck. We were walking pretty slowly, which made Roberta feel like a target for all the crazy people on the road. She clinged to her son's arm and I was supposed to take Josh's. Only, Josh didn't actually offer his arm to me, so I let him walk ahead as if he were my bodyguard, instead of my escort. No big deal.

When we finally hit Dean Bridge and started down the hill into Dean Village, Roberta was using the hand rail and we came across a slug. Because of the wet climate, snails and slugs are pretty prominent around here, but usually underfoot, and not on the hand railing. Anyway, Roberta decided to flick the thing, and it went flying, somehow, forward. Onto my wrist.

I'm not normally a panicky person, although, maybe I really am because it seems like every other day, I'm writing up some experience where I'm doing the heebie-jeebie dance... this was no exception. The boys, who were dying from being so held back by our slow pace, turned around and watched me shriek while Roberta bent at the waist and nearly peed her pants.  

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Doing the Dishes

Sometimes when I'm standing there doing the dishes (or cooking.... or OK, cleaning the bathtub) I imagine my non-existent husband coming up behind me and wrapping his arms around me, maybe giving me a kiss on the neck and whispering something (suggestive?) in my ear.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My First International Flight

I have a small recollection of being on a B747 at some point in my life, mostly because I remember being a little older and getting on the flight and wondering why there weren't four seats abreast and where was the giant screen at the front. But when I boarded the plane from Detroit to Amsterdam, I was overwhelmed by how big the aircraft actually was. I only wish I had been seated on the upper deck! There were 13 flight attendants manning the plane, and I wonder if they worked in shifts because although the same attendants helped my side of the plane, there were always different ones on the other side.

This whole trip, I haven't been extremely happy with my seat assignments. I prefer the window because I generally like to take a seat and not get out of it until we land. Usually, the flights are not very long, and so this is not difficult to do. Besides, I had every intention of sleeping the whole flight, just so that when I arrived in Amsterdam at 9:55 a.m., I would be well awake and ready for my first day abroad.

I had an aisle seat, and sat next to a neurotic couple that used sanitizing wipes on everything. They wiped down their tray tables and arm rests and then their hands. Their mother was one of those overbearing, crazy ladies and I imagine she was from New Jersey, who kept sneaking up behind us and saying, "What do'ya want?" in an exasperated, motherly tone. When the couple said nothing, she kept pestering them until the man was like, "A tissue. Do you have a tissue?" And the mother asked if he was chewing gum. He wasn't. "What do'ya want?"

It went on for some minutes. I tried to dive into a book.

We took off and I did talk to the couple -- who were really very nice -- for a few minutes, I read some, waited until we had eaten dinner (chicken in a squash of some sort and green beans) and then I was out. I tried to watch the movie, but the headphones they passed out hurt my ears and the ones I had brought were too short to comfortably sit back and listen. Besides, the first movie was Water for Elephants, which I had already seen and wasn't terribly interested in watching again. The second movie played, but I missed all but a minute of Jane Eyre, as I was perfectly sleeping. They played a final movie, and at that point, I was still pretty sleepy, but I felt bad for trapping in the couple, and besides, the flight attendants were feeding us breakfast (an egg on a crescent roll and a banana). I pulled out my book, and I was in Amsterdam before I knew it.

The airport in Amsterdam made me nervous. They did have everything in English, which was nice. I was certain I was headed the wrong way, and turned around only to walk to the end of the terminal, where I had to turn around again. There was no time to stop and see the touristy gift shops, no time to use the toilet, no time to do anything but head to the gate and walk through the metal detector (where would I have had time to pick up a dangerous object?) and flash my passport -- they had security screenings at every gate -- and then I stood and waited. And waited. They did not have bathrooms once you were in the gate, so I figured I would wait until I made it to Edinburgh. After a while, they began checking boarding passes and they had us enter another corral area, where we waited to FINALLY board the plane.

This plane ride was easy. I had a window seat. Sat next to an attractive man who assured me I would enjoy Edinburgh, even though the weather was bound to be pathetic until Sunday, and allowed me to read and sleep for the short trip.

We made it to Edinburgh. I made it through customs and filled out my little visitor card, even without Rebecca's address, and then waited for my luggage.

It was not to be. My luggage had not arrived to Edinburgh. Which, for some reason, I had known that this would be the case. I had thought while I was packing in Ohio that I should pack to be prepared for such an occurrence, but I brushed it off. I didn't want to have any toiletries in my bag to worry about security, and I didn't want to be carrying around heavy carry-on bags. They said that the bags would likely arrive around 1:00 p.m., and so I happily went out to find Becca. We called throughout the day, but there was no word.

I went to bed in pajamas from Becca, and decided to worry about everything yesterday. Only, yesterday, we headed to Glasgow to pick up Becca's wedding dress. By the time we got back to Edinburgh, Becca and Christian were off to meet with their Stake President and we were off to hunt for dinner. We knew that the delivery guy would have missed us by that time, but figured we could pick up the bag afterward, since they didn't close until midnight. However, that was not to be. So I spent the second night without my bag.

It has just arrived, and all is well. I will get along much more famously, now that I have my own items.... including underwear.

Happy day!

Monday, August 08, 2011

What are you doing here!?

Over the years I have tried to surprise my family by showing up in Ohio when they least expect it. I've been unsuccessful every time. Every time. I guess I always made the mistake of telling someone in my immediate family, thinking that I needed a ride home from the airport, only to have said person blab it to someone else, thinking that they needed to know... Most the time, I'm just too excited and have to tell my mom or dad.

Our family reunion happens every year the first weekend in August. We've been going to Camp Wesley Woods for as long as I can remember, and for longer than most of the kids have been alive. I thought for sure I wasn't going to make it this year, and I sent an email letting everyone know.

But then a series of rather fortunate events took place, and I found myself with a plane ticket in to Columbus and no direct reason to tell my immediate family. The game was set. I was going to surpise my family, and this time, I wasn't going to tell anyone.

I told my cousin Chloe and she arranged a way to pick me up at the airport. We drove -- and by we, I mean, she did. I slept for probably two out of the four hours to Kentucky -- and ended up at Wesley Woods at 4:15 a.m. We almost didn't get lost at all. (Turns out Old Ruckerville road is a LOOP! Who knew?!) Aunt Elouise had been nice enough to have our bunks all set up and ready, and we literally got out of the car and fell in to our beds.

When we woke up in the morning, I casually walked out and everyone was like, "Wait a second, you aren't supposed to be here." But Brad and Mackenzie's faces were priceless, as they recognized me and couldn't believe that I was there.

My parents and Amy came later that afternoon. And it couldn't have been planned better. It was raining and so they were trying to quickly unload the van. All I did was walk up to my mom, who was looking down, and put my finger out and said, "So I have this thing on my finger..."

(A red spot that has been irritated for the past week, and that I had told her about on the phone a few times.)

She looked up and practically yelled, "What are you doing here?"

I think there were tears in her eyes. She really had no idea that I was going to be there and I had even called her while she was driving down and threw her off her guard.

It was so fun to actually get away with surprising everyone -- and I'm so glad that I made it to the reunion!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Just Practicing: The Kid and the Mannequin

WalMart in Provo has a new modest line of clothing in the women's department. The clothes are somewhat intriguing and sort of cute, so tonight before Katy and I set off to do some serious shopping, we decided to take a look.

As were standing there looking at the clothes draped on a headless mannequin, we watched as an eight (to ten) year old boy walked up with his hand outstretched until he fully felt up the mannequin. It was as if his hand had a magnet in it, and the mannequin's boob was drawing him in.

I'm still not sure what his goal was. Did he just want to touch a boob? Any boob? Even a plastic one would do. Did he want to test and see what the boob was made out of? Did he anticipate it to feel lifelike, or did he already know that it was plastic. Was he really just wanting to adjust the cardigan, but his shoes slipped from under him, causing him to grab the boob for support?

The world may never know.

It took him a second to notice that Katy and I were watching, so he quickly took to task of adjusting the cardigan before joining his dad and brother in line.

Katy and I were dumbfounded for about a second, and then it took us several moments to recover from laughing.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Let Teachers Teach

In eighth grade, I had this amazing history teacher. His name was Mr. Roberts and he was an assistant coach on the high school football team and helped with weight lifting for many of the other sports teams (I think.)

He was amazing because he made history come alive and while I had always -- and still do -- loved history, I knew several people in my class that didn't share the same passion. But then Mr. Roberts would roll out his own personal stocks and he would put some kid in there for a day. He had his own guillotine, and he used newspaper Halloween masks to perform beheadings of King Henry the VIII's different wives.

For one of my favorite projects, Mr. Roberts placed a crown on his head and declared himself the King of England, put us in companies that were off to settle America and had us write journals as to how we prepared for the voyage across the Atlantic. If we didn't mention in our journals that we had brought dried fruit, he would tell us that we got scurvy. Once we reached the colonies, if we didn't sign a peace treaty with the Chief (also Mr. Roberts, wearing a headdress) then the Indians would poison our water source or burn down our fort. The company that lasted the longest won. We got to name our ships, and I'm pretty sure that we got bonus points if we named our ship after a Beatles reference.

During the Revolutionary War unit, we had to make a Colonial newspaper. I had fun coming up with different Classifieds and writing the obituaries. We had to interview one of the Patriots.

And then in the Spring, class shut down and we didn't do any learning through activities and presentations, group projects and crazy stunts from Mr. Roberts. Instead, we had boring lectures and flash cards, all presenting the information that we needed in order to complete the standardized test that was coming up. Every single one of us hated those two weeks and the test afterward. I still hate standardized tests, because I do not take them well. Mr. Roberts was as stressed as we were. We were yelled at for talking when throughout the year we had done nothing but laugh as we learned.

In Washington D.C. on Sunday, there was a SAVE OUR SCHOOLS rally. Matt Damon flew in to speak because his mother, a long-time teacher, asked him to speak. His speech was empowering, I think, and worth reading.
“I flew overnight from Vancouver to be with you today. I landed in New York a few hours ago and caught a flight down here because I needed to tell you all in person that I think you’re awesome.

I was raised by a teacher. My mother is a professor of early childhood education. And from the time I went to kindergarten through my senior year in high school, I went to public schools. I wouldn’t trade that education and experience for anything.

I had incredible teachers. As I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself — my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my curiosity — all come from how I was parented and taught.
And none of these qualities that I’ve just mentioned — none of these qualities that I prize so deeply, that have brought me so much joy, that have brought me so much professional success — none of these qualities that make me who I am … can be tested.

I said before that I had incredible teachers. And that’s true. But it’s more than that. My teachers were EMPOWERED to teach me. Their time wasn’t taken up with a bunch of test prep — this silly drill and kill nonsense that any serious person knows doesn’t promote real learning. No, my teachers were free to approach me and every other kid in that classroom like an individual puzzle. They took so much care in figuring out who we were and how to best make the lessons resonate with each of us. They were empowered to unlock our potential. They were allowed to be teachers.

Now don’t get me wrong. I did have a brush with standardized tests at one point. I remember because my mom went to the principal’s office and said, ‘My kid ain’t taking that. It’s stupid, it won’t tell you anything and it’ll just make him nervous.’ That was in the ’70s when you could talk like that.
I shudder to think that these tests are being used today to control where funding goes.

I don’t know where I would be today if my teachers’ job security was based on how I performed on some standardized test. If their very survival as teachers was based on whether I actually fell in love with the process of learning but rather if I could fill in the right bubble on a test. If they had to spend most of their time desperately drilling us and less time encouraging creativity and original ideas; less time knowing who we were, seeing our strengths and helping us realize our talents.

I honestly don’t know where I’d be today if that was the type of education I had. I sure as hell wouldn’t be here. I do know that.

This has been a horrible decade for teachers. I can’t imagine how demoralized you must feel. But I came here today to deliver an important message to you: As I get older, I appreciate more and more the teachers that I had growing up. And I’m not alone. There are millions of people just like me.

So the next time you’re feeling down, or exhausted, or unappreciated, or at the end of your rope; the next time you turn on the TV and see yourself called “overpaid;” the next time you encounter some simple-minded, punitive policy that’s been driven into your life by some corporate reformer who has literally never taught anyone anything. … Please know that there are millions of us behind you. You have an army of regular people standing right behind you, and our appreciation for what you do is so deeply felt. We love you, we thank you and we will always have your back.”
(Via the Washington Post)

Not every teacher I had was amazing. But I can say that I had more good teachers than bad teachers. And I believe I can still name them all. For a long time, I was one of those weird kids that enjoyed school and it was because of these special teachers that loved and believed in what they were doing. For a while, I have debated about whether or not I wanted to become a licensed teacher. If I do, I want to be the kind of teacher that Mr. Roberts was for 90% of the school year. Not the kind of teacher that he had to be in order to make sure we passed those tests. And that was when I was in eighth grade. My sister who graduated just a year behind me, had more tests to take than I did.

As a nation, we can't continue to think that standardized testing is a way to dictate our school systems. It stifles creativity and learning. No wonder the kids of today depend so heavily on video games and the media to provide entertainment.

Monday, August 01, 2011

I Blame the Cute Kinkos Guy

Friday night I dropped a project off at Kinkos that needed to be done and ready to go to Duchesne by 7:00 a.m. Monday morning. Typically, last minute projects get dropped off at the the Orem store, because they are open 24-hours a day, seven days a week. It was early enough that the Provo store hadn't closed, and I knew that they could easily get the project done in time for me to pick it up before closing on Saturday. Plus, the really cute guy with the Arabic tattoo works there at night.

So I dropped off the project, flirted with Cute Guy, and he told me that he would be opening the next day and that I could pick it up any time in the morning. Naturally, I wanted to be able to go in and flirt with him again, because, really....what better thing is there to do on a Saturday morning?

The only problem with the whole plan, is that I sleep in on Saturday. I have a hard time getting to work by 9:30 a.m. or 10:00 a.m. on the weekdays... much less waking up on a Saturday to be to Kinkos bright and early. I told Cute Guy that I would be in at 10:30 a.m. and made the resolve to set my alarm early enough that I could be "cute" when I went to pick everything up.

When my alarm went off, I was too tired. My 3 a.m. bedtime throughout the week had really caught up to me, and I decided to sleep just a little longer. I still woke up around 10 a.m., but I also just bought a Kindle and instead of getting out of bed, I decided to read. When I decided to start getting ready for the day, I was distracted by my book and so I took it and read in the bath. I was just going to run over to Kinkos and get the project, but I still needed to be cute!

By the time I was finished with my bath and my book.... I had completely forgotten about Cute Guy and the project at Kinkos.

I spent the rest of the day relaxing and reading. It wasn't until I was at the grocery store later that night, picking up things for our Munch and Mingle on Sunday, that I remembered the project. And of course, then it was too late. The Provo store closes at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, and doesn't open again until 7:00 a.m. Monday morning.

I felt awful. And irritated with myself. And frustrated. Argh!

So this morning, worried that my boss wouldn't know how to pay for the project when he picked it up at Kinkos, I crawled out of my bed and got ready early enough to make it to Kinkos by 6:54 a.m.

Aside from being up so early this morning, the fact that I'm recovering from a weird bug (yesterday I was nauseous and dizzy all day, which turned into chills and a fever and a massive headache last night), with a lingering headache, I haven't been up this early in months. Frankly, it's going to be a long day. The good news? I can probably leave as early as 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. today. :)

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