Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Traditions - REPUBLISH NEXT WINTER

My family has many traditions. I'm talkin' lots. And we're very protective of them, at least us kids are. For example, one year when I was probably about ten my parents announced to us that Thanksgiving would be held at our Grammy's house. For many children, this is the tradition. We on the other hand have always had it at our own house. We may invite people over, but we do not go anywhere else. My older brother had a fit.

"What?! You mean we're going somewhere else for Thanksgiving?!" That set us all off. We made such a ruckus about it that Mum and Dad called up Grammy and told them that we'd have to pass. They were welcome to come to our house, but we would be staying home for Thanksgiving.

All holidays call for such traditions in my family, but none are quite like Christmas. Christmas is a meaningful, wonderful time in my house, but it is also full of pointless traditions that we have always just accepted, until one of us realizes - and points out - just how weird it all is.

Christmas morning. Kaitlyn rolls over to me and asks what time it is. 5:30 is the reply.

"We woke up late!" Yes, usually us kids wake up between 2 and 3 am. We sit in the family room watching movies until 5:30 when we're allowed to bother Mum and Dad. We rush around waking everyone up. When enough kids are awake to make rousing the parents necessary, I venture over the upstairs and down the steps to the master bedroom. Mum drousily tells us to go ahead with the stockings.

While we're sitting in the family room looking through our stockings, Jake pulls out the apple and orange from the toe.

"Ahhh, the apple."

"Jake, we get apples every year," I say.

"Yeah, but do you ever actually eat the apple," he whispers so that Mum wont hear, but she does and we know it.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving in Elk Ridge, Utah

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I am down here in Katie's house right now. (Katie's one of my roommies.) It's been a pretty fun week. One and a half days 'til we go home. I'm just going to recap some of the things that have been happening.

Thanksgiving was fun. Lots of food, mostly familiar, some new. Katie's grandmother is from Louisiana so her mom puts on more of a southern Thanksgiving, but it still has all the essentials of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and of course, turkey! She made some of the best sweet potatoes I have ever had in my life! They were covered with a praline-type topping. (Mum, you're gonna love it! I'm getting the recipe.) Yeah, it was good. I made an apple pie, which 11-year old Bonnie helped me with. It came out beautifully! And man, it tasted so good. Katie asked me to make something that is more what we have. (I automatically thought of oyster-stuffing, but decided that with two kinds already, that would just be detracting from the meal.) So I made something I have always liked, and must be by far the easiest of all the dishes: peas and sweet onions in cream. I've never made them before, and wasn't sure if it was really cream, or what the real name of the onions were, so I just went by what looked right. (Dutch onions. Crazy.) I just emptied the peas and onions into a dish, stuck 'em in the microwave for 10 minutes, poured 1/2&1/2 over them, warmed them up again, and stuck them on the table. Everyone really liked them. I was like, well, it's not like it's really hard or anything.

A lot of the time I spend with Katie, her 17-year old bro. Matt, and all of their mutual buddies. The boys are hillarious. I was sitting in the back of the car with Matt, Brad, and Cloward, and Matt starts "singing" along to some techno song on the radio. He was making one noise, so Brad and Cloward joined in with the harmonizing noises. I just sat there and thought, "Wow, I'm in the back seat of a car in Utah with Levi, Todd, and Lincoln." That's exactly what it was like. I was even cracking up like I would with those guys. It was fun.

Earlier tonight, 13 of us went to play lasertag in Provo. It was so much fun. The first game was kind of lame 'cause we were mixed with another group, and they had these little kids (like 10-13 year olds) that just would not play fair. They kept taking off their vests and putting them under their shirts so that the sensors couldn't be hit. Or covering your guns if you were in close-combat. It was lame. The second game was just with us and other people from our first team (that we didn't know, but at least they were cool). It was pretty fun. I accidentally hit Kevin right in the eye. Yeah... that was embarrassing. Oh well.

All us ladies of the house of Shallenberger went to Pudding on the Rice (obviously a rice pudding place) which really impressed me. It was way good! (The amarretto... amazing!) Then to Pirates of the Carribean 2. Not an Oscar-winner, the writing needed some boosting, but at least it sets us all up quite nicely for the third one. Besides, Johnny Depp is way too good an actor to let a little thing like mediocre writing get in the way of entertainment.

All in all it's been pretty fun. Yeah, I wish I was home with my family for Thanksgiving, but the Shallenbergers have been good to me. They've got a house full of 7 kids (all with varying degrees of ADHD... and I'm not kidding - each one is diagnosed) so it's kind of crazy. But they're a good family, and are full of hospitality!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

How Environment Effects Theory-Theories

The following is a journal entry for Sister Edwards' Child Development class.

Eden is seven years old, and has lived on the Micronesian island of Saipan since she was about eighteen months old. Her family is from an island off the coast of Maine, a place of which she has no recollection. Her seven older brothers and sisters, for the most part, remember things such as altering seasons, Atlantic wildlife, and pine trees. To watch Eden's cognitive development has always been amazing to me because of the very differen experiences we have had thus far. She and I are very much alike in personality and looks, and yet her understanding of certain concepts during the preoperational period (between the ages of two and six) were relatively different from my own during that stage.

Allow me to use the concept of celestial orbits as an example for the cognitive development of Eden and I. Growing up with television, I can only imagine that my understanding of sunrise and sunset at the age of four was based off of what Sesame Street and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood portrayed - something about personifying the sun with sensations such as sleepiness. Eden on the other hand has never had television in her childhood, and therefore took what she knew of the environment in which she lived (continual summer, Pacific wildlife, and palm trees) and ran with it.

When my younger brother asked my dad what happened to the sun when it went down (he was, at the time, about six years old) Eden (four) piped in with this answer: "At nighttime the sun falls into the water and in the morning the dolphins push it back up into the sky again." Simple, to the point, and completely irrational. Although Eden had, what was in her mind a very clear theory of the sun's ratation, there really was no support whatsoever for her to thing the way she did on the topic. I never would have thought of dolphins simply because although I knew what dolphins were, they were not in my immediate environment as they are in hers.

Now when Eden is asked about how the sun works, she uses a much more reasonable explanation. (It is interesting to note that, even though she's a great deal closer to the truth, she is much less sure of herself.) The interview follows:

Me: "Can you tell me how the sun works?"
Eden: "What do you mean?"
Me: "At night, when the sun goes away, where does it go?"
Eden: "I know it stays in one place, and it shinies."
Me: "That's excellent! But where does it go when it's dark outside?"
Eden: "Well, the moon goes around the earth."
Me: "The moon goes around the earth, okay. That's good. Now what does the earth do?"
Eden: "It, uhhh... I think it goes around the sun. Or something like that."
Me: "You're right! Does that make it dark?"
Eden: "It's dark, uhhh, because, uhhh, I think because the earth goes away from the sun."

Even though Eden doesn't fully comprehend the spinning motions of the earth, she does know orbits take place and even which bodies orbit around which. In three years, and very little formal schooling, she has been able to readjust her thinking in a more logical way.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Read in Whispered Tones

"Shhhh! He's gonna hear us!"
"It wasn't me! It was Julie!"
"Sorry. Hey, don't put tape on his paint. Only on the glass and plastic."
"Hhh! I hear someone coming!"
"Quick! Hide!"

**Scuffle, scuffle...**

~A Few Minutes Later~

"Hehe... false alarm."
"Thanks, Katie for sending me into cardiac arrest!"
"Hey, I really thought I heard something, alright, Scott?"
"Are all the stakes in?"
"Yeah... uhh... Danel? I can't really see who you are."
"Ang, it's Mal."
"Oh! Right..." *giggle*
"Guys! Let's get gone!"
"Okay, but who's gonna stay to doorbell ditch 'im?"
"Uhhh, how 'bout Katie and Ang. Wait 'til we're in the cars though, then run out to the road."

*Scuffling over gravel*

"Wow, we're really quiet, aren't we?"
"Yeah, about as guiet as a flock of seagulls."

*Loud laughter from 15 single adults.*

"Okay, let's go."

*Katie and Ang doorbell ditch Bishop, and start sprinting out to the cars. I open the door and move over to make room for Ang in the back of one of the cars. Katie has to climb over Rachel to get into the backseat of Scott's jeep. No one comes to the door, so Scott blares his horn a couple times and peels out. One other car follows him. Two of us sit in the road with our headlights off to see if he answers. Bishop appears in the doorway, framed by the porchlight, and looks around to find that a mysterious FHE group from the 28th ward has heartattacked his front lawn and truck.*

"Ha! That was awesome! Man, Ang, that was such a good idea!"
"Yeah, well, ya know. I try."

*A few days later five of us from Relief Society 'B' climb into Bishop's car to head off to the cannery in Idaho Falls. Four of us were involved in the attack. We see, piled up in the corner of his dashboard, about fifty pieces of construction paper cut in all different shapes and with all sorts of heart-felt messages scrawled across them.*

"Gee, Bishop... that looks like it was fun. Who did that?"
"Oh I'm not sure. You wouldn't happen to know anything about it would you?"
"What?! What?! Us?! Why would we know anything about anything?"
(Rachel point at one she did.) "I like that one. It's my favorite. Whoever did that sure was creative!"
"Tell us what happened, Bishop."

*Bishop relates his side of the story*

"Wow. They sound like a great group of people. You should have them over for soup and scones more often!"

The best FHE activity yet! Good job, Ang!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

No Ang, You Blew More Than 'a Fuse'

So, I'm laying on the floor in my living room, alone, doing Russian homework while I watch Law and Order: SVU. (Amazing show. It's one of my addictions.) The overhead light has two bulbs, but one went out just the other day. The dimness wasn't that apparent until the daylight from the window stopped helping. I hate working or reading in dim lighting. I don't mind doing anything else in the dark, but I want to be able to see my pages very clearly. So, I decided I would take one of the bulbs from my bathroom light fixture. As long as it was on my side, Ang wouldn't care. I would just get a new bulb the next time I went to the store.

I climb up on my counter, lights off, and begin to unscrew the bulb. I worked on it for a long time, but it wouldn't come out. It felt loose, like it was almost there, but I just wouldn't finish. I thought for a second that perhaps I was going the wrong way, but after having the rhyme, "Left to loose, right to tight" run singsong through my head, I realized, no, I've got it right. Then why wouldn't it come out!? I looked in and realized that the glass part of the bulb was coming out of it's metal conductor. Great. Just great. I decided that I should leave it until I could get someone else in there - someone else being a professional, or at least a guy.

Later that night, Angela came home from a test at the center, and upon going into the bathroom, realized my light was out. She's taking a personal health and wellness class (a requirement) and the teacher asks that everybody in the class perform three acts of unsolicited service throughout each day. I'll just replace that bulb for Mallory with one of mine! That's a great idea! She managed to unscrew the bulb from the fixture without event, but when she went to screw the new bulb into the ACTIVE CIRCUIT - yes, this does mean that the light switch was in the ON position - a shock ran through her fingers.

"AAAAHHH!" came a small screech from the bathroom. Katie, who was in her bedroom studying - a new trend in that part of the apartment - turned to find a frazzled Angela in her doorway. A moment of shocked silence passed, and Angela showed Katie her blackened fingertips and a burnt out light bulb.

"Think this'll still work?" Katie shook her head in the negative, laughed at Angela's daze, and went back to work.

Still later that night, I went into the bathroom, flipped the switch, and when the lights didn't come on, I checked the toilet room (the bathroom has two parts, the vanity area, and the shower/toilet room, the latter has a door) same deal. I flipped the light switch in the hallway. Nothing. The other girls' bathroom? Nope. All the bedrooms and the main parts of the apartment worked, but it seems that the wiring in our bathroom runs through the hallway and into the other. Great. I didn't know what Ang had done, so it seemed really surreal at first, like the power was out only in those parts of the house.

Ang comes around the corner and saw me playing with the switches, desperately trying to get them to work.

"Oh yeah, I blew the fuse in here." She obviously didn't realize the extent of her damage.

"No, Ang, you blew a much bigger fuse than 'in here.'" She tried the other switches and started cracking up when she saw what she did. I joined in with her. We neglected to tell the other girls that their lights were out as well, but they figured it out eventually.

The next morning, as Ang and I turned the corner of the building to start heading out to class, there was the maintenance man, crouched down in front of the fusebox. We sniggered quietly amongst ourselves, and headed off to English.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

1986 - the new George Orwell Classic

Hey! Okay folks, this is my birthday message from me, a couple days after my birthday. This past year has been a good one. Hard, fun, crazy, different, long and short, all rolled into one sweet little package I like to call "19." It was awesome. My roomie totally surprised me with decorations when I woke up and a gift! (She planned ahead. She actually thought of me over the summer while she was back home in Georgia and bought my gift there, and brought it with her to Idaho! Crazy!) Even though there weren't a lot of people here, it being Conference weekend, I was really glad I could spend my birthday with Josh and Angela. They are awesome, and I can't think of any other two people I would rather spend it with - that I could find in Idaho at least.

Happy birthday to Paul - who, if he could, would spell his name Pahl - he just turned 22 on the first. And of course to my dear friend, Julie (of the Andrews variety) who, even though she's a bit ahead of me in years, is still a classie-lassie!

Well, I've got a bunch of homework to get done before I head off to lunch and then to no-Pyccku. (That's using cyrillic characters by the way, so it's not pronounced the way it's spelled.) It's been a pleasure catching you all up to date on the beginning of my twentieth year!

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Little Blurb

Can I just say that the Conner Clan is letting this blogger thing go? This can't be happening! No, really though, we do all need to get on the ball. I mean, hey, at least I have an excuse, I'm a busy student, and have a social reputation I need to uphold. But the rest of you are really just pathetic.

Happy Birthday to Todd (today), Renae (today), and Sara (tomorrow). I'll write more on my birthday!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Leaving - Relief at a dear price

The ending is so very bitter-sweet for seasonal workers. On the one hand there is an almost uncontrollable relief that you are done. You never have to go back again. You can if you want to in a year or two maybe, but until you decide on that, you have the peace of knowing that you don't actually have to go back. Leaving right after August like I am is a prime example. August is the peak of the season. To give you some idea of what it's like let me elaborate.

At the Jordan Pond House Restaurant, at night, in the middle of August, we can easily serve up to 200 people between 6 and 9. That was my experience this year anyway, but our tourist count has been low all summer. Most restaurants, even in the middle of town, consider anything above 80 a jumping night.

The end means that the stress is off. I don't have to perform for anyone anymore. No more scraping down the grill at night. No more dealing with the nasty floors. No more smelling salmon on my hands when I tuck them under my head at night after my shower. All of those are sweet, sweet thoughts.

But there are so many other thoughts that are of a most horseraddish-like nature. No more thumb wars with the finger puppets from Geddy's. No more Ladies Only breakfasts. No more cranking the music up in the gift shop right before it opens and dancing with Rosemary. No more offers from Eric to walk me home at night; and with it no more mile-and-a-half long conversations. No more Friday nights with Dawn and Pawel. Possibly the worst is no more of my beloved Bulgarians. Many of those that came back, I feel closer to now than last year. We've just gotten to know each other so well. It wasn't until I started saying goodbye to them that I started to tear up. In general, I'm not a very teary person. There are some things that get me "every time" but not many, and parting is not one of them. But it is a very good chance that many of the friends I have made here in the past couple of years will not return and I will never see them again. Thankfully there is so much technology, our worlds have grown very close together. Sometimes though, that just makes it harder. They will be so close, and yet so very far away.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Calls Home

So, yesterday was Sam's birthday, (or today it was rather, but not really, just here, not there) and today was Eden's birthday, (or tomorrow, here, but not there, if you catch my drift) so I made some calls home. I try to make sure I call them separately, even though their birthday's are only one day apart.

Yesterday, I called and talked to Sam-a-hamma-whamma. That was fun. We laughed at things and people, and then we put them together and really got laughing! Oh man, some of the stuff people do. It's just too funny. So that was good. Sam's a good kid. It sounds like he's done a lot of growing up since I've seen him last. That's always a good sign.

I'm not the kind of person that kids grow up "too fast". I think that there are some people that just don't grow up, which is bad, and people that take on a lot of responsibility at a young age, but seeing as many of the people in this position that I know personally just use that as an excuse to feel sorry for themselves because they "never had a childhood", shows their immaturity and therefore, they really aren't as grownup as they would have you think. I mean, if a kid had to start taking on these responsibilities at like, age 9, okay, that'd be, maybe, too early, but I don't know of anyone like that, so - yeah, no.

Anyway, moving. Let's see, what were we talking about, oh! Birthdays! So, yeah, talking to Sam was fun. I just got off the phone with Eden-peanuty about half-an-hour ago. She's such a cutie. I can't really talk with her as long as I can with Sam, but she's always a pleasure to chat with. She was searching frantically for someone who knew the title of the song her new music box made, and I could hear in the background, Kait, Jake, and Ez go, "da-na-da-na-da-na, da-na-na." I knew what they were singing, but no one was really sure what the title was. I tried to tell Eden, but she ran off to get the box so I could listen to it.

"Ede, Ede."
"It's 'Fur Elise'."
"Fa Elise?"
"No, 'Fur', like the hair of a dog."
"Yeah, that's what I said."
"Okay, yeah. That's what it is. 'Fur Elise.' That's a pretty song."

So, for those of you that don't know, "da-na-da-na-da-na, da-na-da" is Morse Code for 'Fur Elise.' Everyone knows that.

Happy 17th and 7th Sam and Ede. Keep on rockin' out.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Leave Calmer's MySpace.

Hey, here's Levi's page. I don't know if anyone else has checked it out, but it's pretty cool. I was just kind of fooling around online with my friend Lindsey, and she typed in his name in Google to see if he would come up. (You know the game.) Of course it did, and I checked out his page for the first time. I love the song "Being Found," it's awesome. I downloaded it.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Moving must be like my hobby. I just seem to be doing it constantly. If I'm not moving, I'm gearing up to do so. Between the time I left home and right now (a total of a year and almost a month) I have moved (entirely) a frightening 8 times. That's not including the stops in between which were often long enough for me to have to use my suitcases, not just an over-night bag. It's been horrendous, but hopefully things will start to slow down as the years go by. (I'm counting on it, actually. I can't live like this for too much longer.)

Anyway, my 9th move is underway. I'm moving in with a friends' family. She and I went to middle school together and have kept in contact off and on ever since. We still regard each other (as many of my long-lost friends do) as good buddies. She's not living here right now, but rather, up near her internship. (She's a biology major. There's a lab on island and I guess they have some housing nearby.) Her family has taken me under their wing. Her mum and dad are great, as are her brother and two little sisters. Julia, the youngest, is just about Eden's age. In fact, her birthday comes up in a few days if I remember right.

I have spent the past two nights here, this will be my third, but I still have quite a few things over at the dorms. It's only about a mile away, but it's still a big change. First of all, no drunks in the middle of the night. Secondly, I have wireless, free laundry, free food, and free rent! It's fantastic! My old pod-mate, Dawn, was like, "Well, living in the dorms isn't that bad. I mean, $93 a week and we get quite a bit." I'm like, "Dawn $93 bucks a week, and I get a bed, closet, one meal a day (I pay for more, but I'm working during the other two meals), one computer with the slowest dialup I can ever remember enduring, and a perpetually disgruntled dorm mom, who means well, but complains a lot." Yeah... I think I'm getting the better end of the deal here.

So, yes. My new home, in the quiet, and somewhat familiar town of Seal Harbor. What a sweet thing it is! Beautiful! (The house too, not just the town. I mean, it's really stunning.) Besides, they have a piano. What more could I ask for!? (Not much.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

How I Feel About Laziness

You know what kind of baffles me? How some people just have no motivation to work, like, whatsoever. I don't get it! I mean, really, how can you just not work and totally, completely expect to to be paid. I mean, seriously, there are some people here that just kind of dally around and wait to be told every little thing they do, and when to do it (step by step) and yet, they seem to think that this is entirely normal. It seems to be especially prevalent among Eastern-European men who are here working for the first time. (None of them return for their second year.) I've seen it in a few Americans and a couple of women, but not quite as much. I just don't get it! There is this one guy that just drives me nuts! He is so lazy and so easily distracted that he just drives me up a wall at work. The supervisor that works on Friday's doesn't care what he does as long as everything gets done. The regular night-time supervisor, Barb, she would've whooped him if she'd seen what he was doing. (Or not doing.) She would've been on his hide faster than a bee to honey! Luckily for him, and me ('cause I'm pretty sure I'd die if I had to work with him on a regular basis) he only works on Friday's, which is Barb's day off.

Okay, well, I just wanted you to know how annoying I find that trait. Laziness I mean. It just baffles me. I don't understand it in the least!

Okay. Bye.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Are You From New England?

I usually find things like this funny, but often not even close to the truth. This one on the other hand kind of startled me as to how close to the truth many of them were. So here it is, 16 Way To Tell If You Live In New England.

1) If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September to May, you live in New England.
2) If someone in a Home Depot offers you assistance and they don't work there, you live in New England.
3) If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you live in New England. (This is really where things start to hit home to me.)
4) If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed the wrong number, you live in New England.
5) If "vacation" means going anywhere south of New York City for the weekend, you live in New England.
6) If you measuer distance in hours, you live in New England. (To be honest, I thought everyone did that until I moved away. It's really the only sense of distance I have.)
7) If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you live in New England. (Can I just add, "and have shot it on the spot to put it out of it's misery." Yeah.)
8) If you have switched from "heat" to "A/C" and back again in the same day, you live in New England.
9) If you drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in New England.
10) If you install security lights on your house and garage but don't lock either, you live in New England. (Yeah, my grandparents did that. I never thought it was weird until I read this and I was like, ya know, that doesn't make too much sense.)
11) If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you live in New England.
12) If the speed limit on the highway is 55, you're going 80, and everybody is passing you, you live in New England.
13) If driving is better in the winter 'cause the potholes are filled with snow, you live in New England.
14) If you know all four seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction, you live in New England.
15) If you have more miles on your snowblower than your car, you live in New England.
16) If you find 10 degrees a "little chilly", you live in New England.

Just to set the record straight, the ones about the terrible/terrifying driving (except for the deer) is alluding mostly to Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Sent to me by my cousin, Jeremy. The modifications are by myself.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Can I Just Say...

I love America?! I mean, seriously, it's the coolest place on earth. I was talking to my friend Eric and he's like, "I sometimes feel like I want to travel to foreign countries and see what they're like, but there's just so much to see here in the United States." He drives everywhere he goes and makes sure he has plenty of time to get there so he can get lost and have a good time. For example, he gave himself 5 days to get up here to Maine this summer - he lives in Pennsylvania. I must say, I have to agree. I mean, I would love to travel all over the world and if I have the chance, I will. There is a lot to see however, not only in the United States, but in each individual state, I mean, there's a lot of land out here, and a lot of people, and a lot of things. That's the only thing that kind of makes me wish I had a car.

I was reading today in 1 Nephi 14 about the promise to the gentiles that if they believe in Jesus Christ they will be given the promised land and they will never fall captive to anyone. They will have all their stumblingblocks taken from them. You can see that here in the US; although we are a very young country, we have never been taken captive. (Which is interesting, because we are a very young country.) We really live in the promised land and are a people protected like no other, I'll tell you that much.

I talk to people from Europe (there are a lot of them here) and they say things like, "Well, the food is better in Europe" (which I still find hard to believe, it's just that this food is different; it's really sweet to them, and really only the Polish say that) and I'm just like, "Well, at least you have that much. I mean, your country is being torn apart by war, gas prices are skyrocketing, and, for the most part, you guys spend 60 - 80% of your lives so drunk you aren't entirely sure what's going on, but at least you have excellent food. That's good." The US on the other hand, although it has it's setbacks (name a country that doesn't) is a mighty nation. We are strong, intimidating, and yet charitable. We give aid to places that are in need of it. We accept people from all walks of life. Of course we have the stereotypes and discrimination that are seen in all nations that I know of, but we provide the same priviledges and freedoms to everyone. It's just a great thing.

I'm proud to be from such an awesome country and such a beautiful part of it.

And that I schooled Milan at basketball the other day.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Parenthesis - More Than Usual

Okay, so I guess I totally impressed some people at work. I had no idea how little faith they had in me when I was first hired to work in the kitchen. I mean, I know it's got a reputation for being hard work, but seriously, if a certain friend of mine can do it, I can do it! (It's not that she's bad or anything, but she doesn't handle stress well - at all - and has been known to break down and cry when there's really no excuse for it. Then again, I'm not much of one to tolerate crying over silly things.)

So, I was talking to my friend Chris, who is also one of the kitchen supervisors, at dinner a few nights ago, and he was like, "Well, I start again tomorrow" (he had taken a couple of days off) "which means that Ivo" (this kid I thought I had trained well, until he revealed the ugly truth to me that really, he was never going to survive if he didn't pick it up a notch - or 10) "is not going to get away with crap like that." (Chris later threatened to send him back to the dishpit if he didn't start doing things the way I had taught him. I haven't had a problem with him since.)

I was like, "Well, don't be too hard on us." (Or something like that, I don't remember the exact wording.)
"Oh no Mal, you're fine. In fact, you've really impressed us."
"Uhhhh, I have?"
"Oh yeah, I mean, nobody, nobody, thought you would keep up. No one knew you could work that hard."
(Okay, for the record, just because last summer I was working in information and the parking lot, does not mean that they put me there because I can't work hard. They put me there because - well, actually I don't know, but they needed someone and I was it!)

Really though, it's not that hard. I mean, yeah I have to move fast when I'm making 5 to 6 pans of popovers at a time, and running buckets to the dishpit, and getting more out ahead of time so they can warm up to room temp, and stuff like that, but it's really just a matter of timing. I don't understand how people can burn themselves every time they do popovers. I mean, I've burned myself twice this summer (which I guess is a record) and they've both been minor and on pans. (There was this thing with my supervisor not putting them in the right pile, and then this HOLE IN THE BRAND NEW OVEN MIT WHICH KIND OF TICKED ME OFF! but nothing I can blame on anyone.) The kitchen manager, John, he burns himself every time, and bad too! I don't even see how that's possible unless he's jumping in the ovens after the pans.

So, yeah, moving on. The only person in the kitchen I was worried about impressing was Barb. (Who, for a long time, really intimidated me. She's the kind of woman that doesn't fool around. She's there to work and doesn't put up with stupidity, excessive foolishness, or laziness. A lot of the servers are not on her good side.) I guess what really impressed her was that, instead of just leaving when my replacement got here (there's a 2 hour overlap and really not enough for 2 people to do) I would go where I was needed, usually the dishpit. People consider the dishpit the lowest of the lows. (The popoverpit is only slightly less disgusting.) I'm just like, hey, dishes are dishes, whether you're eating off them, or someone else. Yeah, it gets nasty, but after sweating in the popoverpit all day, it's almost refreshing to move into the dishpit where the constant wetness keeps you relatively cool. I'll even do silverware if I have to. Besides, the guys in the dishpit are really cool. (Not to mention HILARIOUSLY funny.)

Here's the jist of this whole entry, I impress Barb enough so that she decided I would make an excellent expediter. Let me explain, on the line there's hotside and coldside. On hotside there's usually two people. However, when the going gets tough, they need a third person in the middle. The expediter. That person only does some simple things: stew and chowder, veggies, and starches, and putting the order up. The over all job though, is pretty important. The expediter keeps the workspace clear of food that is all prepared and ready to go up, therefore allowing the cooks to keep going. They're in charge of not letting the servers take their food before it's ALL up in the window. They're in charge of knowing who gets what food when. It's a fast job, but a lot of fun. Again, it's boiling hot, but not too bad. Overall, I love it. I also like knowing that Barb feels like she can trust me to keep up with her. (We'll see.) Not to mention I get a TOTALLY AWESOME title: the expediter! I mean, seriously, can anyone compete with that?!

Monday, June 26, 2006

"Following the Special Musical Number, We'll Hear From Brad Dalton"

Okay, so I'm sitting on the stand filling in for Sister Boothe as the conducter (a whole 'nother story let me tell ya!) and Brad Dalton is just starting his talk on living a joyful life. He makes a good point when he quotes someone-or-other in saying that living a joyful life is probably the commandment we neglect the most. He goes on to say that we let the worries of the world interfere our thoughts too much. At school, or at work, or even at home we are always worrying. He works at the YMCA, with little kids. He quickly explains this and says, (and I quote): "Ya know, we worry about everything. We think to ourselves, 'we can't lose a kid, or let them get sunburned.'"

I see through the heads Julia Conti sitting next to her mom. She sees me. I have a clear shot. I'm taking it.

"Lose a kid?" I mouth slightly while making a face reminiscent of Levi's 'You said what?' expression. Julia covers her face with her hands, but I can see her body is shaking with laughter.

The talk continues. It's good. Really good. I listen, and get a lot out of it. I feel pretty safe and secure right now, but then another attack is made available - oh, so available.

Brad says something about how joy may be seen externally, but it's "not an external emotion. It's not, like, a nosebleed."

WHAT?! This is too good to be true! I know I shouldn't have done it, but could you have kept from chuckling just a little bit? NO! I didn't make any noise above an Uncle Steve laugh. (For those of you that don't know, that's just breathing quietly but rapidly through your nose.) I did get a bit of a grin on my face though, and again, Julia saw me, though she tried to avoid my silent, ever-ready, cursed wit.

"Nosebleed?" I jiggled.

Really, it was a great talk, and I told him so afterwards. But in all seriousness, who likens joy in ANY WAY to a nosebleed?!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

My First Talk of the Summer

Okay, so last week Brother Dalton (okay, let's just call him Greg. Brother Dalton's a little too formal for our relationship. Especially since I'm no longer in Church right now.) asked if I would speak this week on Matthew 6:33. I thought I might just put my notes up here. That's a good Sunday activity.

[It is also important to read Matt. 6:20-21]

"Wherefore seek ye first the kingdom of God..." Or, as the JST puts it: "Wherefore, seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God..."

Both translations are important and should be practiced.

Building up the kingdom of God:

[Missionary work] *Full time missions. *Ward/Branch missionaries. *Couple missionaries. *Every member a missionary. > A very important key to this is to make sure that people are aware that they are welcome to learn about the Church and the Gospel. I find many people just don't realize that we are more than welcoming.

[Raising families in the Gospel] *Sister Mindy Nesbit from the Stake women's conference in May gave a class on The Family: A Proclaimation to the World. This is what she said, "It is important to bring topics of the Gospel into open conversation with out kids." Another good proverb: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Just a little trivial fact: I call this the kitchen proverb because it's on a little plaque behind the sink in every house we've lived in that I remember doing dishes in. I didn't know until I was about 10 or 11 that it was actually a scripture!)

-Seeking to obtain the kingdom of God:

*We should be in the world, not of it. *Colossians 3:2. *Submit our wills to His. > Seeking to obtain the kingdom is closely related to the call to Come unto Christ. Sister Heidi Swinton spoke at a devotional at BYU-Idaho this last semester, and she said this about submission: "Our personal submission of will is the only possession we have the true right to give." *Obedience to His commandments. > Mosiah 2:41

I know that God will take care of us. We should plan, but what we should wear, eat, drink, or live should not consume our thoughts to the point of distraction from what is most important; namely Christ and His kingdom. I also know that it is not only our duty, but in our best interests to seek and to build the Kingdom of God.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Terwilliger knew what was going on!

My uncle ordered popovers
from the restaurant's bill of fare.
And, when they were served,
he regarded them
with a penetrating stare...
Then he spoke great Words of Wisdom
as he sat there on that chair:
"To eat these things," said my uncle,
"you must exercise great care.
You may swallow down what's solid...
BUT... you must spit out the air!"

And... as you partake of the world's
bill of fare,
that's darned good advice to follow.
Do a lot of spitting out the hot air.
And be careful what you swallow.

-My Uncle Terwilliger on the Art of Eating Popovers
By Doctor Seuss

Truer words have never been spoken.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Dancing Queens

Sarah and I got home from work on Friday at about 9:30. (I've started working the night shift at the gift shop so I can get a few more hours in while they're short on people for the next couple of weeks.) She was hot and nasty smelling, so upon entering the common area of our pod, she said,

"Hey, are you gonna take a shower?"
"Uhhh, no I took one between making popovers and the gift shop. Why?"
"Well, I'm gonna take a shower, and then why don't we dance?"
"Yeah, all right. That sounds like fun."

So, while Sarah was in the shower, I was picking some things up off the floor so we'd have a little more room. You see, Sarah and I were ditched earlier tonight. Some friends of ours came looking for us and asked us if we wanted to go to Seasons, Acadia Corps' new restaurant in Bar Harbor. Kyle could go, but I was still working, and so was Sarah. You can imagine we were feeling kind of sorry for ourselves... kind of. Sarah's suggestion to dance was just the thing we needed to have our own little party.

Sarah came in from her shower, put on a shirt, I tossed her a lava lava (meant for any kind of dancing, really. It just makes you feel so ... movable) and we cranked up the tunes. We danced for a good little while by ourselves, then our friend Yulia walked by, and we grabbed her and gave her a lava lava. Yulia was showing us some belly dancing moves, and I taught them a few Tahitian moves, but overall, we were following little Miss Thang Sarah on the free-style. We heard a whistle out the window, so we pulled the blinds. Yulia left, and Amy, Kyle, Brigitte, and Kim got home... holding a camera. Amy and Kim joined us, and I tossed them a couple of lavalava's. The last one I had went to Nicole, who joined us a little later. We danced til almost 11. It was so much fun.

The next morning it was unanimous: we're definitely doing it again sometime.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Back to Work

I love working for the Acadia Corporation. They really treat you well, and you get to know a ton of people from all over the world. Right now things are pretty slow. The tourist season hasn't really started yet. It wont be full-blown until about July, then it just gets crazy in August, and starts to ever so slowly peeter off in September and October.

I still work at the Jordan Pond House Restaurant and Gift Shop. The corporation has a few shops and a new restaurant in Bar Harbor as well, but JPH is out on the Park Loop road, about 15 minutes away from that town. Last year I worked days as a Information/Parking Lot Attendant. I also worked in the bar when things got nasty in there. Nights were spent working as a waitress in the restaurant and clerk in the gift shop. I ended the season working as a busser/setter. This year I'm in the kitchen.

The kitchen is awesome. First of all, I get to work with some really cool people. Not that the servers aren't cool, but in the kitchen we get to "fool around" a little bit more. (Not dangerously, but we can talk more.) When you're out front, you have to always be paying attention to the needs of some person you have never met before in you life. Don't get me wrong, I loved working out front. I've had people offer me places to stay if I was ever in there neck of the woods. One lady actually gave me her address in New York and said that if I ever wanted to tour the city, she'd house me and take me around for a couple of days. But I'm glad I work in the kitchen now. It's something new, and I've done almost every other type of job they've had to offer. I'd like to work as a hotline cook since they kind of rule the kitchen, but I'm a humble popover maker. (At least I'm in charge of that.) Maybe someday I'll be on the hotline. Who knows.

For right now, my legs ache, my feet ache, I have bruises on my wrists from pouring mixer bowls that could kill small dogs, I'm covered in egg, and I smell like popovers. I'm going to go shoot some ball before anyone gets home, and then take a nice, hot shower.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


From the song "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John:
**REAL LYRICS** "Hold me closer, tiny dancer"
**ANGELA'S FRIEND THOUGH IT WAS...*** "Hold me closer, Tony Danza"

From the song "Swing Swing" by All American Rejects:
**REAL LYRICS** "Emotions are stirred"
**ANGELA THOUGHT IT WAS...*** "She motions, she's scerd (scared)"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Roxaboxen Was Alexa's Game

Many people may not realize this, but it was Alexa who was the imaginative one as a child. I mean, yes, Sam and Jacob and I still get lost in our little reveries, but it was Alexa who would get an idea in her head and then actually carry it out. It was Alexa who could spend a good part of the day just sitting up in her room reading; it was Alexa who would write-out, direct, and of course act, in all the plays we have ever put on; it was Alexa who had the flow of thought that always kept us outside and busy in the summers - and winters for that matter.

It was Alexa who initiated one of our longest running childhood games - Roxaboxen.

One of the greatest things about coming from a big family is that you always have someone to play with. I remember when Scoobie found out about our little backyard game he wanted to join, and he did a little bit, but he was not what made it. Not even my friend Colleen got in on that. It was really a family thing.

We would go out behind our house, past the big birch in-between the garden and the old, ugly trailer that took up most of the yard; we would go down the little path and into the woods. Not very far in the trees started to thin some and we had our little set up. Alexa had a general store near the brook, in a little grove of trees. Sam had his blacksmith shop by the stump of a tree. I was the jailer. It was in a small clearing right in the middle of a bunch of pines. Jacob, if I remember right, started out as my deputy. (Kaitlyn joined us later, and eventually Ezra. Eden never got in on the game until a new "chapter" of Roxaboxen started out in Saipan.

In the summer we would go back there in the woods a little ways, and play. We had our houses, shops, and such. We had our village disputes, but eventually, things always worked out. Sometimes we would go farther into the woods and sneak past the hermit's shack. Yeah, really, a hermit's shack. It was old, tumbling, and gross. Sometimes we would look in the windows, but usually we just walked on by into the little meadow that was beyond it. The man, Dier, was usually never there, or at least not that we could tell, but we thought it was kind of brave all the same.

In the meadow we would play games like hunting. The grass was really tall, and some of us would hide, while others looked for us. It was fun hunting, but it was more fun being hunted. That way, you could find a real good vantage point and watch the hunters try to be clever.

In the winter, the village was moved a little closer to home - right in our back yard. We would pack the snow up to build houses, line streets, and build stables. In the stables we would keep our sleds. We had a tobbogan that some of us would sit on while another pulled. It was always Lexi or I was did the pulling. If we were lucky, Levi would come out and pull us girls around. He was strong enough to run with us, so that was always fun.

In winter, the village disputes turned into village battles. Girls against boys. We would raise our walls up higher, and make little pockets in the snow to keep our snowballs cold. (Everyone knows you need a pocket in the snow to keep your snowballs cold.) We would chuck the snowballs at each other from our respective forts. You could almost guarantee that, if he was home, Levi would be in on this part of the game as well. I didn't mind getting hit by a snowball or two, but Levi was a pitcher, and he threw hard. Not to mention his aim was good - he hit me right in the eye once, and pleaded with me not to tell. I didn't cry (I remember 'cause I was really proud about it) but I was soooo mad. Needless to say, there wasn't any point in trying to keep it from Mum and Dad 'cause I was yelling so loudly at Levi they could hear it through the windows.

You could always guarantee on a game of Roxaboxen to keep us kids busy, any time of year. But then something changed... something really changed. Alexa started growing up. She wasn't a child anymore, and didn't have time for childish games. She and I started public school, and weren't at home as much, especially during the winter. We met new friends, outside our family, and started hanging out with them more. Sure, the boys and I played the game a few more times, but it wasn't the same. Alexa had moved on. Her little shop by the brook was taken over by Jacob, but it seemed empty.

Eventually the brook in that part of the woods became polluted and we were forced to move Roxaboxen downstream. (Don't ask me about the logic there, it was just cleaner.) Everything had changed. After one last summer of Roxaboxen - entirely Lexiless - we had all come to realize that the glory of the game, it's charm, it's fun, had died.

It sounds sad, I know; any time you spend reminiscing, it usually leaves you in a slightly saddened state. But really it's not. It's just different. It was fun being a kid, but I'm grown now, and I actually don't mind it so much. Yeah, I play different games, with different people, and in a very different way, but I still have fun. Imagination - a tool important in everyday living. I was taught to use mine by the very best.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Things You Don't Think About Until You Have To:

1) I don't know of one person that would say the thought of starvation is pleasant. Here at BYU-I, our lives revolve very much around the functional hours of the Galley. I came out of the bathroom once, and they had closed the Galley doors. They were open when I went in, and closed when I came out. I pulled on the knob, realized it was open, walked in and got myself some breakfast... hey, I paid a lot for those unlimited meals, I plan on getting my money's worth. And then there's the possibility of getting there and having all the good food gone and you just have to live off the scraps the other dogs left you. Moral of the story: don't cut your meals close.

2) Toilet paper - we Americans are a blessed people. The entire nation of China lives in uncertainty of if they will have something clean to wipe their bums with tomorrow morning. But we are able to be fairly sure that the longest we will ever go without TP is a few hours, while Mum runs to the store to get some. At least, that's how it is until you wake up one morning and realize that Mum is not there to restock the rolls. The end of the semester is here and everyone refuses to buy more toilet paper. Angela and I have been sharing the last two rolls of her secret stash for the past two weeks. Let's just say, things have been getting pretty thin.

3) It's a good idea to have clean checks in the dorms and apartments. I mean, some people are just naturally clean, but I don't care who you are, living with five other girls, all with busy schedules, makes a constantly clean crib something you hear of, but never witness. Most clean checks are easily passable. It's really just the basics: vacuuming, bathroom, mirrors, windows, clutter... that's about it, and you pass with an excellent. However, at the end of every semester, in every dorm and apartment complex, there is the clean check of all clean checks - "White Glove." Taylor Smith put it well when she said, "That sounds evil." Well Taylor, that's because it is evil. If you just make sure you dust everything, move some furniture around to vacuum under them, detailing things like that, then really it's not that big a deal. But there are those that simply cannot deal with the stress of it and eventually just go into shock.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Song of the Righteous is a Prayer Unto Me...

Katie had left without me, thinking that I was asleep. I had been, but after Andrea woke me up I couldn't regain the fitful sleep I had been half-enjoying half-enduring. I quickly climbed down from my mattress. I pulled on some jeans off the top of my suitcase, threw on my hoodie, stuck a piece of gum in my mouth, and grabbed my hymnal on my way out the door.

I headed down to the track and field stadium. I had wanted to go stadium singing ever since I'd heard of it, but I didn't know what it was exactly. Katie just said it was singing under the stadium. I guess I was trying to read too far into it, 'cause it was literally singing underneath the stadium.

I was a ways off when I first heard it. A sound rising up so beautiful it can only be described if you read "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." The voices reverberated off the steel walls of the stadium. There were probably two hundred people under those seats. The conductor stood on a stage in the center and held up the numbers to different hymns. People sang parts. It was all a capella.

I couldn't help but think of two things: a) how happy I was to being singing on Sunday evenings again; and b) how cool it would be to sit on that stadium during that hour and a half.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Thoughts

Church today was fantastic! In fact, it was so good, I'm going to transcribe some of my notes and put them on here. I have some good quotes, some excellent points, and some touching stories. The other two speakers were excellent, but I'm going to be focusing on the third speaker.

Brother Ross Baron, a professor of religion here at BYU-Idaho and a high counselman in my stake. (Not to mention my personal goal for a religion teacher for Fall semester!) He gave a fantastic talk!

Bro. Baron was raised in a Jewish family in southern California. So, naturally, he was raised under Judaism. When he was about 9 he asked his parents what happened to one after death. They said that "your memory lives on, but other than that, we don't really know." When he reached his teen years he began to look into other religions such as Buddism, Hinduism, Taoism, Shinto, and Confucianism. He never considered Christianity because they were those "Sunday morning preachers on T.V. that we'd watch if we got bored one Sunday." However, he did eventually end up looking into it (I can't remember how exactly that came about, but it did, obviously) and he asked a friend about Mormonism. The kid (he was 17 at this time) layed out the Plan of Salvation for him 5 minutes before class, then referred him to his dad (who was a bishop) for all other answers.

So, this is what Bro. Baron said that I loved so much. First of all, he said that "The Plan of Salvation, with Christ and His Atonement at the center gives us life, hope, and a purpose. ... Maybe we don't appreciate the Atonement enough." He also said that he used to feel a little bitter towards Peter, James, and John for falling asleep when Christ asked for them to watch with him one hour. Just one. The only time Christ asked them to do anything for Him, and they let Him down. Until he realized, Christ has asked each of us to "watch with Him 10 minutes" [in Sacrament] every week, and what do we do? "Our minds wander. 'Oh, she's cute.'"

He told a sweet story about a young boy in Primary with Down's syndrome. The teacher gave each of the kids a plastic egg and asked them to go out and find something to put in the egg that reminded them of Christ. The little Down's boy came back with nothing in his egg. The other kids laughed at him, and the teacher asked how that reminded him of Christ. "Because Jesus wasn't in the tomb. It was empty, wasn't it?"

"Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen!"

The most interesting point Bro. Baron made was about the Fall of Adam and the Triumphant Entry. It says that Christ cursed the fig tree upon entering Jerusalem. The only record we have of Him cursing anything and having it immediatly destroyed. In the Old Testiment, after the Fall of Adam and Eve, it says that they tried to hide their nakedness from the Lord with the help of the serpant. They did this by covering themselves with fig leaves. This is a false covering. When the Lord came, the first thing He did was cover them - but with skins. It was a direct foreshadow to what was to come. They could not cover themselves completely with leaves, an innocent animal had to be sacrificed in order for them to be covered properly for the Lord. The fig tree represents Satan's false covering, and the cursing of it and the killing of the animal for the skins represents Christ's triumph over Satan, and His sacrifice for each of our sins.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Gospel Values Essay

For FA-100, we have to attend the Gospel Values Lecture, given by a Brother Call. Since I put it off until the last one, I also had to write a Gospel Values summary essay. I think it came out pretty good. See for yourself.

It is obvious that te Gospel of Jesus Christ has certain standards we are all expected to live up to. These standards canjust as easily be called values. They are what set us apart from the rest of the world and draw us ever closer to God and Jesus Christ.

God's goal is to keep His Spirit with us at all times. In order to fulfill the goal, He gives us commandments - or His standards - that lead us to live righteously. We renew our baptismal covenants each week as we take the Sacrament. These covenants state that as long as we are consciously striving to live worthily, by keeping our values, than the Lord will keep His Spirit with us. If, at any moment, we are not living righteously, the Spirit withdraws and leaves us vulnerable to Satan's power.

In contrast with the Lord, Satan's main objective is to keep us separated from the Holy Spirit at all times. It is during these separations that he can put into action his specialized plan to destroy each of us individually. It is inevitable that we will once in a while fall victim to his plotting. It may seem at these times that we are left solely at his nonexistent mercy, but we must remember this: we have power over Satan, and by turning back to the standards set for us by the Lord, we may come again into the presence of His Spirit and fully repent.

We, as believers and partakers of this Gospel, have three main principles. First of all, we have the gift of the Holy Ghost. This means that as long as we are maintaining the values, we not only have th privilege of His Spirit, but a right to it as well. In order to keep ourselves as far away from sin as possible, it is important that we learn ways in which we can stay close to the Lord. Constant prayer is of the utmost importance. As long as we are praying, our thoughts are "garnished with virtue." Doctrine and Covenants 10:5 tells us to "pray always that you may come off conqueror; yea that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work."

The next principle is the line. There is a line between good and evil, but it is not easy to see. the extremes, white and black, are clearly decipherable, but the gray is enormous, and its murky darkness ever so subtly bleeds into the white. Brother Call says that "Satan's biggest lie is that the line is somewhere in the middle. I think the line is as a soon as the gray touches the pure white. ... It's easy to distinguish black from white, but it's pretty hard to distinguish off-white from white."

The third principle is that we must judge wisely. These values were given to us not only for the purpose of bringing us closer to His Spirit and to help us to stay on the right side of the line, but also that we may judge where that line is. Every day we are confronted with choices that may contradict our values. If we choose wrong, we commit sin. If we choose right we gain in spirituality. This happens in every decision we make - our spirituality is not standing still, it is either decreasing or increasing. This is why it is so important that we make righteous choices.

Possibly the most common decisions we make are media-based. The mdeia is always in our face; in movies, T.V., music, and magazines. There are two criteria we should take into consideration when making a decision based ont he media. Ifrst is the content. Is the material virtuous? If not, we should choose right then not to have anything to do with it. If so, the second criterion is style. If the style and content are both good, it's certainly worth participation in. It's praiseworthy, lovely, of good report, and virtuous. If the content and style are both bad, there is really no temptation. If the content is good, but the style is mediocre, it's probably not harmful, but also not worth much. The most dangerous zone is when the style is good and praiseworthy, but the content is filth. this can deceive some into believing it is appropriate, interesting, "worth it," and sometimes even as beautiful as that which is truly virtuous.

Satan is subtle in his snares. It is up to each of us to realize our dependence upon the Lord and grasp hold of the principles He so caringly gives us. Sometimes we will fall, but through the grace-filled Atonement of Christ, we may repent. Through these things and by continuously raising the bar just a little higher for ourselves each time, we will one day become perfect in the Lord and He will welcome us into His home.

To view the Gospel Values Powerpoint Brother Call uses in his lecture, click on, go to "Students">"Academics">"FA-100"

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Fun and Funny Quotes from...

Steven Wright - Comedian

*On Ambition: "I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize."
*On Being Realistic: "When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane."
*On Gaining Experience: "Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it."
*On Self-Worth: "If you think nobody cares for you, try missing a couple of payments."

Jerry Seinfeld - Comedian

*On Common Sense: "Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."
*On Ageism: "My parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty and that's the law."

Angela Breiding - Roommate

*On Movies: (During X-Men) "So, which one is X-Man?" (During Batman Begins)"Where's Batman?" (During The Pink Panther) "Is there gonna be a panther in this movie?" (During King Kong) "Oh! The sticks keep the monkey out!"

Joshua Cole - Brother From Another Mother

*On Fashion: "I used to be a terrible dresser, then my mom took me to Old Navy, and, well, I've been irresistible ever since."

Andrea Membreno - Roommate

*On the US Postal Service: "Hi, we were just wondering if the Saturday Mail will be delivered tomorrow or not." Res. Assistant: "Ummm... tomorrow's Thursday." [PAUSE] "Soooo.... is that a no on the Saturday mail?"

Monday, March 27, 2006

Claiming a Title

So, we have some very close friends that live in Biddulph Dormatory. (It's a guy's dorm.) Their names are Stew, Josh, and Chris. They're (for the most part) inseperable. Two of them, Stew and Josh are my brother's from other mothers. Really. Especially Josh. He reminds me soooo much of my cousin Dickon. Not only his personality, but his physique as well.

Anyway, Josh told me and my friend Angela that they have made up some nicknames for us and the rest of our roommates. We were really interested in finding them out. But, Josh says that whatever is said between him and the guys stays there. Boo. He stinks. Eventually though, I thought I had noogied it out of him. He said, "Okay well, I'll only tell you yours and Angela's. We sometimes call you Crazy Russian Girl. Angela we call Crazy Woman." I thought they were a little generic especially for these guys, but hey... whatever, right? So last night Angela was texting to Josh trying to get the name out of him. (He had made me promise not to tell her. But he never said I couldn't encourage her to find out herself!) This had been going on for an hour or so when I decided I would go to bed.

The room was dark except for Amber's book light shining from accross the room. I was still wide awake, but for the moment it was pretty quiet. I was laying on my back with my arms behind my head, when all of a sudden, the door swings wide open and Angela walks in in her pajamas and with her phone. "Super Hotness?" she said. I waited a second, slightly puzzled, and after Amber didn't say anything, I figured, Hey! I might as well claim the name given, right? "Yes?" I replied. Yeah, we had a good laugh about that until Ang explained she was just asking if that was the nickname they gave her. Obviously Josh was sucking up. I replied in the negative and we laughed a little longer.

We found out today that Josh had lied to me so that I would stop asking him. We've decided to make up little names for them in return. Losers. Not fair!

Oh, just as a side note, Chris had lied to us about his roomie, Todd. Andrea and Emily got pictures of him eating egg at breakfast. We confronted Chris about it later, and he was like, "Yeah, actually, it exploded! Now I have to clean it up!" Yuck! It's been in there a week! Blake said the same thing happened in his microwave. Hahahaha.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Quoting the Music...

In my Music and the Hummanities with an Emphasis on Jazz - yes that is the full name - I hear the coolest things. Honestly, I didn't realize how many funny and also profound things have been said in there until today. I write them down in the margins of my notes. They're partly from my professor, Brother Dr. Mark Watkins. He's a great teacher, very funny, rather sarcastic. He's probably 6'2" or so, dark hair which he always wears slicked back, and the second thickest glasses I have ever seen in my life. (The first belonged to brother Chris Tenbrink in Maine.) Anyway, yeah, he plays some mean saxophone I'll tell ya!

Most of them though are from a guest speaker we had today that was trying for a possition as the trumpet teacher here in BYU-I. I don't know his name, I'll try to find it out. I'm pretty sure it's a Brother Neilson, so that's what I'll call him for now. Others are from different video clips and such:

**"People are people, they'll do whatever they want to do. We're just looking for the commonalities." - Dr. Watkins. (In a lesson about racism and it's effect on jazz.)
**"We all know what it's like to be tempted by self-pity; and we all know the necessity of picking ourselves back up again." - Bro. Neilson (In a lesson about Miles Davis.)
**"Can we allow people to find their freedom as we pursue our own?" - Bro. Neilson (Lesson about Miles Davis.)
**"The suggestion of the solo [in jazz] is that diversity in unity is not only coherent, but also a dazzling human achievement.... [It] reveals the possibility of delight involved in musical resolutions of intricate tensions, as well as the possibility of a liberated individual presence subtly cooperating with a distinct ensemble." -Kathleen Marie Higgins
**"The man with a real sense of humor is the man who can put himself in the place of the spectator, and laugh at his own misfortunes." - Bert Williams (Comedian)
**"[Jazz] is the aural representation of everything this country stands for." - Bro. Neilson (Lesson about Miles Davis.)
**"First of all, ya can't get over how hard that grooves!" - Bro. Neilson (After listening to a demonstration of a Miles Davis tune. He was right.)

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Prank Gone Wrong

So yesterday we were allowed in the guy's rooms for a special occasion from 12 to 2. We're only ever allowed in the downstairs lounge usually. It was so funny. Angela and I went after breakfast. Our friend, Glenn loves to eat hardboiled eggs at breakfast, but he leaves the yolks. We took three of them and snuck them into the guys rooms in a napkin in my pocket. In PIP's room we put it under his pillow, then we put on in Chris's microwave, and one in Blake microwave. Just think, when they turn those on, those eggs are gonna stink like there's no tomorrow. PIP's friend layed on his bed and found it right away. We thought it was pretty funny, until at lunch today Chris comes in and says, "Guys, did you hear about what happened to Todd [his roommate] last night? He put a piece of pizza in the microwave and somehow this egg yolk that was in there melted with it and he was rushed to the hospital." Yeah, turns out Todd is allergic to egg. Pretty badly too. Ang and I thought he had found out it was us and was just trying to scare us, but it looks like he's telling the truth. Todd is okay now, and back in the dorms, but man... way to make me feel crappy about that prank. Oh well, at least PIP's and probably Blake's will turn out. But I still feel like an idiot about Todd.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My Life as a Seinfeld Parallel

So Angela and I were talking the other day at lunch about how our life here in BYU-I is like something out of Seinfeld. Really... you could just walk around with us for a couple of days video-taping everything we do and you'd have a very funny show primarily about nothing. We could even draw comparisons between all five of us ("us" being the initial group we formed when we first met and became friends) and the characters in the show.

-- Angela and I share the role of Jerry... kind of the ones who're out there in the spotlight. We're the ones who make most of the decisions and whip out the most one-liners.
-- Andrea is Elaine... you could easily picture her saying "Get out!" while shoving the person with both hands. She doesn't want to draw any extra attention to herself, but she's wicked funny and rolls-with-it like no one else. A New Yorker through and through.
-- Amber would be George. She's nice and not selfish like he is, but she can ramble on for minutes and then finally someone will say, "Amb, what are you talking about?!"
-- Emily is most definatly Cramer. First of all, we often call her Fajen, which is her last name. Secondly, she's the neighbor that randomly enters (not uncommonly at uncomfortable moments) and, if there were an audience, would get an applause everytime. Thirdly, and by far most significant, she's ADHD. It is amazing what the outcome is when you combine "Hyperactive" with "Attention Deficit". That "H" makes all the difference! This girl is off the walls!

We have all the little inside jokes, hand signals, and obsessions that are so key to the show. For example, in Angela and Andrea's American Heritage class (which is at 9am), they sit in the same seats everyday. Until one day there was a kid with bright red hair sitting in their place. They now leave at about 8:15 (they really only need to leave at 8:50) in order to beat the kid there. Angela saw him in front of her one day and she actually sped up in order to get in class before him. Oh, and his name is officially "The Red-Haired Kid".

Things like that run ramped through my life right now. It's ridiculous, funny, and in many ways kind of sad... but hey, it makes for a good lunch conversation.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Best Weekend

This has been the best weekend I've had in a long time. On Friday we went to the Slam Dunk competition, which was awesome! After that there was a dance which was really fun. We left early though, just 'cause my roomies wanted to go bowling with some of our FHE brothers. I went to Biddulph since I really didn't want to bowl. Besides, they were nearing the end of a Lord of the Rings marathon... I wouldn't have missed watching Return of the King just to go hang out!

Today was soooo much fun. At one o'clock me and my roomie, Amber, went to the field to watch a football game between the third-floor and second-floor of Biddulph. It was fun to watch and really warm out, until my shoes got snow in them. I went home a bit early since I couldn't feel my toes. That's what I get for wearing clogs in the snow. I'm glad I did come home early though 'cause Seth called and asked if I wanted to play some ball. We met at the Hart with his roomie, Bryson and played some pick-up games with some other guys there. That was a lot of fun, especially since I haven't seen Seth or Bryson for like a week now. Seth has been down in Utah. (Just for the record, the first game we played was the first time I have ever been on a winning team against White. I didn't make any of my many shots, but I did make some UNBELIEVABLE assists! My passing's getting better.)

After that we got ready for the Sadie Hawkins. It was so much fun! Chris went as a greaser and I went as a socsh. My roomie, Angela was the only other girl from my room to dress 50's. She got this HUGE wig from a production of Hairspray she was in, and wore that. Josh, her date, also went as a greaser. They had slicked-back hair, combs in their jean pockets, and white shirts from the "Boys" section in Wal-Mart. They wanted to make sure they were nice and tight. It was hillarious. We went to Craigos with our whole entorage, and us girls got pizza for the guys. While we were eating, Ang, Josh, Chris, and I decided we needed names. Angela was MariJane, Josh was Frankie, I was SandraDee and Chris was (of course) Danny. We got so used to calling each other by them, that Angela almost didn't know who someone was talking about when they said, "Josh". It was so fun.

The best thing was, we all had excellent dates. They were all so fun. I am so glad I went with Chris. He is an amazing dancer. I taught him a couple of things, but for the most part, he was teaching me. He's really energetic, even though he was exhausted from playing wheelchair basketball, a football game, and then dancing all night. He was a great date. I couldn't have asked for anyone better.

Don't worry, Mum, even though I had a great time, as of right now I'm not engaged to a Yankee's fan.

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Good Day

Okay, so next week will be my 8th week in school. So, it's been an awesome 7 weeks! Here are some stuff I will remember from the first half of my first semester here at BYU-Idaho!


"Four" - a jazz quartet. That was awesome. My professor (though mostly blind) is an excellent musician!

The Natelie McMaster concert. That was so much fun! Tom went with me, and I couldn't have had more fun with anyone else (except maybe my dad). She's an awesome fiddler!

The 24-hour film festival. My friends made a video for it. (The themes were first date, dream, or last chance.) It was so good. Tom filmed it; Chris was the main character; Jason, Tom, Chris, and Big Josh were the producers and editors. I think that's everyone. Guess what, THEY WON! I was so proud of them. It was really good. They better make me a copy.

Watching the USA pummel Canada in hockey was fun. It was cold, so I only saw part of it, but there's nothing to keep you warm like chanting "U-S-A" with a ton of other people at 10:30 at night. I didn't have a coat or anything, just my hoodie on, but I was surprised at how long I stood out there and didn't even feel the freeze. There were Canadians there too, but I feel bad for them now. The final score: USA = 5, Canada = 2. Ouch.

The devotionals are excellent. My favorite so far was given by a member of the 1st Quarm of the 70. I can't remember his name, but it was on Joseph's last few months before his martyrdom. I have always had a special place in my heart for the Prophet, but I have never felt more for him than during this devotional.

Schooling Noah at pool.

Schooling Tom at pool.

The Soweto concert last night was amazing! From South Africa, these people are awesome! It was so much fun. Very good performers!


I lucked out in my roommates! They're all really cool. We have a lot of fun together. We've only had one spat in 7 weeks, and it wasn't a big one. Six girls in this small of a space, that's a freaking miracle! There's also my neighbor, Emily, who basically lives here. She's a lot of fun, and completely crazy! Within the first day we all had an inside joke. Two days later, we had 2 more.

I also have some great friends from Biddulph (the guys dorms). Shane, also called PIP, basically lives in my apartment as well. If he could spend then night outside our door he probably would. PIP stands for Pretty in Pink; it was the first color we saw him wearing.

Then there are guys like Blake, who is just full of it, but is a lot of fun. Noah, who you can only explain as quite a character. He is completely insane and knows it. If Noah is around, you are sure to have a good time. Chris is a flirt, but a good guy. He's getting ready to serve his mission in Romania! I am so excited for him! Josh (not the big edition) is so fun, and hillariously funny. Tom, Jason, and Dylon, (aka the Tri-force... don't ask) can be explained in three words: quirky and hillarious. There's Stewart, who is just rediculous, and Mambo (or German) who is always thinking of what other people want, and how to sneak salt onto Chris's deserts. The list goes on and on, and everyone is a lot of fun. They keep you on your toes, I'll tell ya that much!

It's been a blast. Hard at times, and somewhat stressful, but a lot of fun. I am having such a good day today. I SCORED on my biology test! At least I think so, it was mainly on photosynthesis and I was AMAZING! It is so beautiful out. Bright and sunny and just gorgeous! It's like spring. I can feel it coming on. You know, I love cold weather. It's hard to find something more pure and beautiful than sparkling snow, or more peaceful and reverent than softly falling snow in the woods. But it is a very glorious thing when the sun begins to shine again. One of my favorite things is when the sunlight paints everything a golden color. It mainly happens in the afternoons and makes me remember things. Like I should make a bunch of water balloons and just start a war with my brothers and Scooby. Or go climbing up the tree out in front of Colleen's house over the stream we used to catch newts in. Or go play baseball in Stevie Smith's field. Or race around Walls St. and Davis Ln. on our bikes. Or play street hockey outside Lloyd's. Or jump ramps on our blades. Okay, enough reminiscing. But it's fun.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hush the Hype!

Really, I don't see what the big deal is about Valentine's Day! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I don't like it; I love it! What I don't get are all those people out there that are just sulking around, feeling sorry for themselves because they don't have a "sweetheart". Who cares?! You didn't have one yesterday, and you made it! You may not have had one over New Years, when everyone is making out as they count down in their heads; you're still alive! For goodness sakes people! Get over it!

I was over at Seth's house yesterday, and on their white board it reads: "Happy (?) Valentine's Day! AKA Single's Awareness Day." I had never even heard of "Single's Awareness Day." My friend said it was probably because I had never been single on Valentine's Day. To tell you the truth, I've never had a boyfriend on Valentine's Day! Not even a date! I'm not trying to get you to feel sorry for me, I'm just stating a fact, and ya know what, I'm alive, happy, and full of love!

I never really realized what a big deal it is for single people on Valentine's Day. I mean, just hanging out with my friends today, they would not stop talking about "how depressing it all is." I just rolled my eyes and tried to explain to them that it is not a holiday designed by the candy and card companies, it is not any more a commercial gimmick than Christmas is. It is rather a day dedicated to the celebration of the love we have for one another. It was never designed to be strictly for couples. I have received a Valentine's Day gift from my parents ever since I can remember. I have always wished all of my beloved friends happy Valentine's Day. I give out more hugs and kisses to my family and friends. Believe it or not, all those relationships are based on love too. Why do we forget them, and focus strictly on the thought of how alone we are? That is not what St. Valentine stood for. Good grief! I know that and I'm not even Catholic!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Byebye "Villegas"!

This isn't a long blog, I know, but it's an important one! I've just gotta say, I am so excited for Renae and her new fiancee. Seriously, I knew it would happen, just not so soon! My first married friend! I mean, that's my age, obviously! Good job, and good luck! I hope you have the most amazing wedding, family, and life! God bless you!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Book of Mormon: Bookended in Mercy

Here's an interesting observation a girl made in my Religion 121 class, a study of the Book of Mormon. It's pretty interesting; even Brother Sturm (an excellent professor, by the way) commented on how he'd never noticed it before.

In 1 Nephi 1:20, it speaks of searching for mercy. "But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen..." Nephi is plainly saying that he will show us (those who study the Book of Mormon) the mercies of Christ.

Then, again, in Moroni 10:3, about 527 pages later, Moroni tells us to "remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in you hearts."

In my scriptures today, next to 1 Nephi 1:20, I wrote, "Search for Mercy" then x-ref. it to Moroni 10:3, next to which I wrote, "Remember God's Mercy" then, of course, x-ref. it back to 1 Nephi.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

If You Had Magical Powers, What Would They Be?

There are so many different powers to choose from. For example: flying, being radioactive, unmeasurable strength, tons of them! But I think the coolest, ultimate power would be to change form. To be able to change into anybody or anything I wanted to! That would be so awesome!

If I could change into anything, I could do so many things. Good things and bad things. (But of course, I would only do good things.) I could fly like the birds, run like a horse, climb like a monkey, and even swim like an eel. That would be so amazing. To be able to stay under water fo as long as I wanted and look at all the different types of life that people don't even know exist yet. I could make so many discoveries I would be able to add to the civilizations of today. All of the different contributions I could make would be able to fill a room! New truths (not theories, but truths) about the sky, the sea, the depths of the jungles, woods, and mountains.

Yep, that would definitely change the course that science is taking today, for the better!

(Not to mention, I would be the ultimate spy.)

This is a direct translation from Sophomore English with Mr. Fauls at Kagman High School. I just came across a bunch of old journal entries, read through some of them, and decided I should put a couple on my blog. Some are stupid, some are weird, none are profound.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

It Would Try the Patience of Job

Life is hard. For me, it's not the "one foul swoop" kind of hard. It's more of the "ooo, let's slowly wear her down until she just wants to shut herself up in her room to avoid anything else that could go wrong!" kind of hard. It's a lot like how I've always imagined Chinese water-torture would feel; just slow and steady until you finally go insane.

You've heard my travel story, right? Let's overcap, so it'll all be in perspective. Real quick, it goes something like this: Messed-up flight, gets more messed up in transit; lost baggage is delivered at 1:15 am, then again at 2:00 am. That's it in a very small nutshell. (Think coconut in pistacio shell.)

The bus trip up to Idaho was fine. Long, but fine. The biggest perk was that it was completely uneventful. Finally.

When we arrived, I went into the Manwaring Center (it was the closest one), and saw that nobody was downstairs. I left my 15, 50, and 60 pound bags down there, and went upstairs to ask for directions. They told me how to get to my dorm, and that I could bring my bags up by the elevator. (I kind of wish I had a camera so I could watch myself try to maneuvor through that little door with those big bags.)

I started up to my dorm, which really isn't that far away, if you know where you're going. Unfortunatly, I didn't, especially at night. I crossed the same parkinglot twice before I realized which side my dorm was on. The first time I went the long way, around the slushy snow in the middle. The second time, I was so tired of doing EVERYTHING the long way, that I just picked up my bags and carried them over the middle one-by-one. I finally got through the door to the common area, with some difficulty, and met the head resident. She set me up with some keys and sent me up to my apartment. The RA helped me carry my bags up the stairs. She showed me around and told me to just pick a room. Two of them were open, the third was already taken, but the girls are away. I haven't met them yet. Picked the back room, and started to unpack. I was up until a little after 12. When that was done, I laid down to rest on my mattress. I couldn't fall asleep until after 6.

I got up at 10 later that morning. (Sure enough, my newly attained allergies had set in over night; I think it happens when I move to a new place. One eye is really itchy and weepy, and my nose runs.) I called the receiving dock about the two packages I'm expecting. They told me I should come take a look since they had no record of them. I walked over there, and sure enough, no boxes for Malie. This means that I have no bedding whatsoever, and no towels. I also have no mode of transportation since my bike still hasn't arrived. That worries me some. It was sent about a month ago. I just keep praying that this will all end sometime... preferrably soon, but I'll take it when it comes. I'm just so tired of fighting things I have so little power over.

I bought my books today. They were quite a bit cheaper than I expected. That was good. Looking at them make me excited for classes to start. Not math really, but everything else looks like it'll be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Mountain Grandeurs

I have quickly come to the conclusion that, like most things on Earth, you simply cannot compare the Appalachians with the Rockies.

(I know the beginning of that sentence may sound hypocritical to some people, since I've been comparing the States with Saipan for years, but I'm really trying to get out of that, and have decided that you can't really compare any of God's creations considering the fact that He made everything so different. Wish me luck on this endeavor; I really need it!)

Anyway, allow me to expand on my reasoning. First of all, let's go for the Appalachians. Yes, they are small, and the range is short; in fact, many people from the West make fun of the Easterner's for calling them mountains, but mountains they are. It is a range that is not to be made fun of, I assure you. The Appalachian Trial is the most sought after accomplishment of many a hiker's life. The mountains are rugged and thick with forest and often fog, making it easy to get lost if you leave the trail in the slightest.

The Appalachians are not big enough to be formidable to a viewer from the bases, but a more beautiful stretch of mountains is not to be found. I have often walked in the mountains of the East and have more than once been impressed with the woods that cover them. It's like walking in a mythical forest; like something out of a Tolkien book. Dark moss covers the rocks; the trees are straight and tall; and the woods are thick enough so that you can be quite close to a road without hearing traffic. Of course, that's not even counting their brightness in autumn and their reverent silence in winter.

The Rockies. Now those are some big mountains. They live up to their name, I'll tell ya that much. They aren't very green, as far as forests go anyway. They do have some grass in some places, but for the most part, they're rocky, just like their name implies. But to make up for lack of color, they are blessed with size. Rising up out of valleys, their tops are covered in clouds. They are awe-inspiring, no matter where you view them from. I saw them first coming in from above in the plane. They were the first thing I saw, of course, and when I saw the brown, muddy valley below, I decided it was best to allow them to fill my view entirely. Most of their peaks are covered in snow, that gracefully slides down their majestic slopes. They really are impressive. Watching them roll by on my way up to Idaho was like watching the beginning of an episode of Wild America. They are also beautiful, just in a new way. I alway expected them to be so, and they have certainly lived up to my expectations.

Monday, January 02, 2006


My bags have been delivered... finally. I was getting kind of worried there, since I leave Utah to go to Idaho on Tuesday. They were delivered on Saturday morning. The first came at about 1:15 am. Chelsea and I were in bed, but were still awake, talking. The phone rang and the man said he didn't want to leave the bag on the front step all night in the rain. We thanked him, sent Sister Atwood back to bed, and then decided we really needed to get to sleep.

The next time the phone rang I was mostly asleep. It was just about 2 am. I reasoned that the likelihood of it being my other bag was very slim, so I stayed "asleep", until I heard Sister Atwood coming down the stairs. When she opened the bedroom door and told me it was the other guy, I felt really bad that I hadn't answered the phone. I got up, answered the door, and took my second bag in.

Kind of ironic that when my bags finally came, it was the middle of the night. The airports must just pick random people out to harrass. "Oooo! We'll lose her bags then when we give them back, it'll be in the middle of the night! Hahahahahaha!"