Monday, February 28, 2011

"Stress. It's a killer, sir." -Bartok

But ya see, the problem is, when I'm stressed or busy, I lose my appetite. But my body still NEEDS nutrition, and I still feel all of the emotional signs of hunger (in my case, sensitivity and irritability), making dealing with stress more difficult.


Could someone please bring me a steak dinner? Or maybe some Thai peanut curry?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

“Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives.”
-- Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Of Things That Matter Most” (October General Conference, 2010)

Thanks, Dieter. I needed that reminder. (And thanks to the guy at Stake Conference who shared this quote today.) And thanks to all of you for reminding me to not bite off more than I can chew.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Running faster than I have strength?

Here are all the things I'm trying to balance this semester:

- Being the editor in chief of an online magazine
- Two online classes, both of which require weekly group meetings
- Acting II, which requires out-of-class rehearsal time
- Rhetoric class, for which I must read an average of two chapters/two essays per week, and write the equivalent of two essays per week
- Theatre Methods, which requires that I write ten detailed lesson plans before the end of the semester, and teach at least one of them
- Doing 20 hours of practicum work at local high schools before the end of the semester
- Helping to organize a summer theatre camp
- Working 20 hours a week, as a TA for an entire department/student secretary/script librarian
- Helping to keep a home in working order (dishes, laundry, etc)
- Singing in the stake choir
- Teaching the 7-year-olds in Sunday school
- Working out on a daily basis (I know this sounds shallow, but I'm trying to take better care of my body, and in the short term, I NEED endorphins to help me deal with Seasonal-Affective Disorder, so this can't be eliminated)

So with that in mind, is it super-mean of me to back out of a project I was just asked to do on Wednesday? If it will take an additional 10 hours a week, and if someone else could do it, and if the deadline is in a month?

I wanna say I'm completely justified, but I'm having an awfully hard time saying no. I'm probably gonna have to, though. Just writing out that list gave me a knot in my stomach. Remember how this time last year, I was trying to do this much, and ended up in the hospital with mono, tonsillitis, and a tonsillar stone? I'd really like to avoid a repeat of that kind of thing. Something on my to-do list has gotta go, and I can't think of anything else to eliminate.

So could you guys do me a favor? Could you please validate me? Okay, thanks.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

If you can read this, thank a teacher!

With all the current hullabaloo in Wisconsin, just keep this in mind. (I don't know enough about the debate in WI to have an opinion at the moment, but I know this much: Teachers are some of the hardest-working, most underpaid employees in the United States.)

"Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do - babysit! We can get that for less than minimum wage.

That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan-- that equals 6 1/2 hours).

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day...maybe 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.

However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.


That's $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master's degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

Wait a minute -- there's something wrong here! There sure is!

The average teacher's salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student--a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!) WHAT A DEAL!!!!"

by Anonymous, via facebook

image via

Monday, February 21, 2011

Excuses, or "How Being a TA Has Changed Me"

NOTE: If you're taking a class on campus, "The internet was out all week" is not a good excuse for not doing your homework. Especially since the internet has worked, on campus, all week.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More on Writing

Write. Even if it's no good. You don't have to show people everything you write. Writing has more purposes than just recording something to be read. I'm all for free-writing. (Don't, you know, turn it in and call it an academic essay. But don't be afraid to just WRITE first and refine later, instead of trying to do them both at once.)

"Would God have given us a mind if he'd wanted us to waste all this paper writing down what's wrong or badly put? But that internal thinking process lacks a dimension which writing provides. When we just think inside our heads, the cycle of language is incomplete; we are prey to obsession. The thoughts, sentences, images, or feelings that play in our heads continue to play round and round. But when we write down those thoughts or feelings, the sterile circle is often broken: they have a place on paper now; they evolve into another thought or even fade away. Writing is a way to get what is inside one's head outside, on paper, so there's room for more."
--Peter Elbow, "The Shifting Relationships Between Speech and Writing"

Writing is the Muggle Pensieve.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Writer.

My rhetoric teacher assigned us a short essay on our biggest influences in reading and writing. This is mine.

"I am writing a book which will be read by thousands, or, I modestly hope, by tens of thousands. So, please, get out of the room. I want to be alone. Writing normally calls for some kind of withdrawal." --Walter J. Ong

My parents tell a story about a time when they found me, at age two, sitting in my bed with a copy of “The Nose Book,” flipping the pages and reciting to myself the words I remembered them saying. While I didn’t get them all quite right (the words, that is), it was apparent that I had inherited Mom and Dad’s love of reading.

My childhood was lived in our apartment, at the park, and at the Fremont Public Library, with the round reading room, and that book about the chameleon who got trapped in a pickle factory. Some nights, my mother would tell us stories about a little girl named Annie, and her magic hat that could temporarily transform her into anything in the world. She didn’t have a choice as to what she would become, but she could always take the hat off and return if things got hairy.

My life was filled with literature from the day I was born.

While my tastes grew from The Nose Book to The Baby-sitters Club to The Top 500 Poems (ed. William Harmon), my own authorial instincts grew. I wrote short stories (about kittens), began novels (about mermaids), and composed poems (about camping equipment and summer storms). I think I always saw myself as a writer. But in 8th grade, Mrs. Monroe once scribbled a line or two of praise on a poem I had done for an assignment. And suddenly, with that one line, I wasn’t just a writer to myself, I was a writer to the world!

So I kept writing. I organized a binder for all my poetry, and add to it at least monthly. I became a religious journaler, and my collection of journal volumes is still growing. I started a blog [this one!] as a simultaneously more public journal, where I can also publish poems and the few short stories I attempt (mostly so that James or Valerie Best will read and critique/validate them). A year ago, I began a short novel, but, true to the cliché, have tabled it until further notice.

I saw Mrs. Monroe a year after I graduated high school. I was working at Staples; she was buying pencils. I told her I was going to major in Theatre Education. She smiled. “I always thought you’d be a writer.”

I guess I still can be.

Monday, February 14, 2011 like cloth?

Hey! I'm married! It's my first Valentine's Day with a permanent significant other! So that's nice. But the part of me that's been celebrating "Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D.)" on February 14th for the last ten years just can't get into a mainstream Hallmark holiday. I love my husband dearly and am thrilled to be sharing this holiday with him, but I refuse to conform. So here's my V-day celebration post. A little early-2000's throwback.* I'm glad I got my own TECH-NO-LOGICAL-RO-MANCE. Full bars. 

*Can something that recent be considered a "throwback"?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Live to read, read to live

My good friend Sarah recently posted on her blog about the uplifting power of good books, especially in low times. She asked for recommendations of what to read next, and I started to comment with my ideas, but decided to share them with the world instead.

So here's my list! These are some of my favorite "cold-weather reads"...books that have the power to just sweep you into their world and lift up your winter heart. Some I read regularly, some I've read only once. A lot of them are feminine, young adult novels, but not the cotton-candy kind. May you find something to combat the cold weather with here.


Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (third book in the Anne of Green Gables series, and by far my favorite)

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale (along the same vein as Ella Enchanted, although maybe not quite as brilliant)

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (a classic)

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (wonderful if you're looking for a laugh...this book is hilarious!)

Abarat by Clive Barker (much more adventurous...this book is Alice in Wonderland meets some version of Alice in Wonderland that has a scary bad guy that's always after Alice)

The Whistling Toilets by Randy Powell (similar to An Abundance of Katherines, this book is hilarious and delightful and I have a crush on the narrator)

A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes (written during the late 1800's, the writing style is a little bit more demanding, but the prose and the story are BRILLIANT...about a group of pirates who somehow get stuck with a handful of British children, and it's based on a true story)

Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer (all y'all can judge all you want, and I'll agree that the writing isn't perfect, but these books really can cast a spell)

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (the ole stand-by)

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (a little heavier of a read, but I'm still always inspired by this young girl's spirit and courage)

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (there are very few books out there that celebrate the female spirit in such a holistic and non-confrontational way)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (lovely lovely, always)

A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck (an episodic novella about a cantankerous ole grandma who does a lot of good in the world)

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit (very short read but full of some GORGEOUS writing)

Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund (a little on the heavier side, but this book is one of the most intriguing and wonderful books I've ever read)

Anything by Ray Bradbury
Anything by E.L. Konisburg

Happy reading!

Isn't it lovely that in only a few more months, reading can look like this?

Keep your eye on the goal, dear readers. Winter can't last forever.

all images via weheartit

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Out of the frying pan

Yesterday, the car wouldn't start. This is the third time this has happened this semester.

Today, the car starts but was taken in anyway, where we were charged $40 for no definite answers regarding the actual starting up problem.

Today, I fixed our dryer. Replaced the heating element and felt awesome. Did one and a half loads of laundry to celebrate.

Would have done two, but...

The washer broke. It is now filled with several gallons of water. After reaching into the FREEZING water and wringing out an entire load of laundry, by hand, we put half in the dryer and half to hang dry around the house.

That, my current hormone levels, and the toughest academic semester of my career, has left me pretty emotional. So if you don't see me tomorrow, I'm probably at home, eating my way through a gallon of ice cream and watching documentaries on Netflix Instant Viewing.

Jacob's been a trooper, btw. I can't imagine what I would have done without him the last few days.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Non-seismic T-shirts

Yeah, no earthquake. Whatever.

In other news, I would like all of these shirts, please. In women's, medium sizes.

and also this person

Especially the two on the right.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Human Seismography

Neither Jacob nor I slept well last night. Jacob's getting over a cold, so that makes sense, but I'm normally a heavy enough sleeper that his tossing and turning doesn't affect me too much. But around 4:30 this morning, he gave up and got out of bed, and I lay in bed and continued to toss and turn myself. When I got to my first class (10:15), one of my classmates laid her head on her desk and bemoaned her inability to sleep the previous night. I told her I had had the same problem! More and more classmates piped up with similar girl explaining that her whole apartment was awake at around 6 because they just couldn't sleep. People who usually sleep soundly tossed and turned. Granted, it wasn't everyone, but I've been asking people all day (in person and via facebook), and for every 1 person who reported sleeping well, there were at least 3 who reported the opposite. Folks from Yellowstone to Rexburg just couldn't catch any shut-eye.

Being a scientist (at heart), I have formulated the following hypotheses:

Possibility One: The leftover excitement from the Superbowl created a cosmic wave of energy that caused excessive alertness (unlikely).

Possibility Two: The barometric pressure changes in Rexburg affected everyone's ability to sleep (pretty likely -- we all left our homes this morning to find a bizarre snow/sleet/ice/mist thing going on).

Possibility Three: We were all attuned to slight seismic variations and/or changes in earth's electromagnetic field and there's going to be an earthquake in the next few days (awesome)!!!

Maybe it's my "Natural Disasters" class this semester that's causing me to look to geology for explanations. A friend in West Yellowstone reported that there was a small quake south of the park yesterday, but I'm having trouble finding information on it. (I'll keep you posted.)

The point is this. When Rexburg gets hit by an earthquake in the next few days, you all remember that I called it.

(Please bless that it's smaller than about a 4 magnitude. We can handle that, and the Yellowstone area could use the "release.")

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I was just checking the weather forecast for the coming week, and rejoiced because it will still be on the warm side tomorrow!

And then I thought, "Huh. Right. I live in a place where a high of 26 degrees is 'on the warm side.'" And after last week's cold snap, it really is.

Wanna see what last week did to the INSIDE of our bedroom windows? I found this on Thursday (you know, that day that was a full ten degrees warmer than the day before?). This picture was taken a full four hours after the sun had risen and started to melt all of it.

And THAT is why I make a crazy plan for a vacation to Florida/California/Hawai'i at least once a week during winter.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Remember when this happened?

This was a pretty good day - February 3, 2010.

First of all, my husband is awesome. He played the drunken porter in Macbeth. Wanna see?

And one time, during dress rehearsal of Macbeth, this happened.

That was awesome. I'm so glad he asked, and I'm so glad I answered yes.