Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sam and Audy's Engagement Pics

The comic book hero shot!

The paparazzi stalker shot.
Just chillin' in the doorway. Aren't they gorgeous people?!

The red wall. There were 166 good shots.

the blue wall. I believe the commentary isn't really adding to the photo viewing experience.

Just takin' a walk. Next to a heavenly red wall.

On the steps at the Masonic Temple.

This angle is my most overused angle as a photographer. But it works! So I will continue to overuse it!

This is my Paradise shot. She looks like an angel in white. And Sam--he looks like cute, funny Sam. And they're both looking at each other with love. And I love it.

These two make my heart happy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Good day

Today was the busy day, and the stress just relaxes me.

Weird, I know.

The Jazz are winning, but it's midnight here and I'm going to get to bed so I can get to class early tomorrow.

Tonight's World Cultures lecture was truly international--China, France, England, Mexico, Peru and Spain.

Brain hurting.

We were supposed to talk about Japan as well, and I'd timed everything out so we would have time, but I let everyone out early because my brain was tired, as was theirs.

The history of all the world is a rather large subject.

The Jazz and the Lakers have the same colors. I don't like it.

Now the Lakers are ahead. I better change the station before I jinx the game.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Lately, I've mastered the art of existing.

I'm very good at it. I'm not much good at anything else though.

In keeping with this vain, tomorrow's lesson plans are as follows:

American Experience--show a long movie and go over the midterms.
World Culture--go over midterms and have students present on key figures in the chapters. I'll probably actually teach a couple of chapters too, but I'll think about that tomorrow. Remember, the goal is to exist, while doing nothing overtly lively.

I managed to unload the dishwasher and take out the trash. I also took out the recycling because it is Earth Day.

Upcoming events: take Audy and Sam's engagement pics, go on blind date--(haven't heard from him yet--not sure this is still happening), and Spring Fest with new family ward. (I'm supposed to help with the hotdogs.)

I'm boring myself. I should never write about "existing". There's nothing interesting about it, but frankly, there's not a whole lot of interesting things happening in my world right now. I am bored. This is why I'm writing about what's happening years ago. I wouldn't write anything at all, except that the boredom/dissatisfaction is overwhelming me. I'm feeling unable to pull myself out of this rut, out of merely existing and into "existentialing!" (Is that a word?)

Here's an example of yesterday's existing exploits:

I had the day off. I looked at a bunch of gyms online that are closer than Bally's and won't require me to get on the freeway. I thought about going to visit them.

I watched Biggest Loser on hulu and ate some brownie batter. I didn't want brownies, just the batter.

I watched 24 and looked out at the deck and watched the clouds roll in. Thank heaven! Because it rained, I could justify not painting the deck on my day off!

Today wasn't much better. But I went to work! And I inspired young minds.

Here are my existential goals:
1) Wake up at sunrise and go for a walk. Take pics of the sunrise.
2) Go to Philadelphia and see the Cezanne exhibit before it closes!
3) Paint the deck.
4) Go and see 3 shows in DC--soon!
5) Plan a concert. (done and doing!)
6) Take a walk through an art museum in DC.
7) Eat only green leafy vegetables, fiber drinks, and fish/chicken for 7 days. This will help me to lose weight and appreciate food!
8) Develop a funky new look and go to a place where only strangers will see me! Walk around like a rockstar.
9) Go and see a show in NYC.
10) Stop making lists and get to bed by 11:00pm one night!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


My baby brother went to prom!! (He's the cute one on the far right in powder blue.)
In my mind, he's still the chubby little baby in his purple sweat pants, pulling the dog by the tail.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What I can remember tonight

April, 2004
I was living in Coralville, IA with Merry, Lisa, Katie, and Angela. I was working at University of Iowa mail room. I processed mail. I had just gotten back from visiting Virginia and applying for grad school at Mary Baldwin College. I spent a lot of time with the guys next door, Casey, Ben, Randy and even Paul when he wanted to watch Alias with us. I drove a 1994 Ford Escort.

April, 1999
I was getting ready to leave on my mission to Dallas on May 5th.
I was probably buying dresses. I bought Born shoes that were wonderful!
I lived in Provo in Cinnamon Tree Apartments with Lesley Larsen, Abbi and Bethany from Boston, and two other people. I wasn't in school at all. I had just gotten back from ACTF in Humboldt. I drove a 1989 Nissan Sentra.

April, 1994
I was 16. Attending Bear River High School. I had just gone to Girl's Choice with Micah. I drove a big American car-not sure about the make and model. Pontiac? We painted it green. It was a big ol' boat. On some occassions, I would drive the Napa Auto Parts delivery truck. I was probably in a play, but I can't for the life of me remember what play it was! I was a sophomore in high school. Nick was 16 months and very cute. Kelli was graduating that year, Jack and Kim were both freshman, and Jayson and Matt were both in the 6th grade.

April, 1989
I was 11 years old and living in Centerville, Utah. My best friends were Rochelle, Abbi, and Merrilee. We lived in a nice house with beautiful roses on Peachtree Drive. I loved going to the mall with my friends. I played basketball with Jr. Jazz and softball.

April, 1984
I was 6 years old and lived in Salina, Utah. Jack was 4, Matthew was almost 2. How my mother did it, I will never know. I remember playing with matches and being spanked for it. I remember eating melted cheese and throwing it up. I remember going to kindergarten, and being yanked out and taught at home. I learned how to ride a bike here. I remember sandbagging against the floods. I remember tying my shirt in a knot and feeling scandalous.

April, 1979
I was 15 months old. I was very cute. My mom was pregnant with my brother Jack. I remember ripping pages out of books and playing around our apartment in Provo. (Not really, but I had you freaked out a little! ha ha ha!)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Art and New Music

Today was a perfect, lovely day. I suffered from some strange horrible headache during this day of days, but for the most part, it was lovely.

1) I woke up at 10:30am after falling asleep at 3am. I got out of bed the moment I felt like it.
2) I emailed lectures and responded to students' until 1 pm.
3) I put on my horrible ugly clothes and began painting my deck. The color I picked is a little too orangy, but it's growing on me. I didn't want to go and exchange the color. I just wanted to paint. So I painted. After 2 hours, I decided that I was done painting. I still have quite a bit of painting left to do, but painting a deck is tedious work. This is now going to be a longterm project instead of a one day project. And I'm perfectly fine with that.
4) After rinsing out the brushes, I watered all of my plants. I just want to keep them alive!! This is so much harder than it looks.
5) I made some dinner, put some laundry in and watched some tv while eating.
6) Then my headache began to settle in.
7) Sarah and I went to the grocery store to buy meat for our bbq tomorrow night.
8) I sat on the couch and debated whether or not I could get away with going to an art show in paint covered ugly clothes.
9) I put on a dress and some mascara.
10) I went to the art show. It was wonderful. My friend Melissa Branin curated a show of art created solely through recyclable materials. It was wonderful. There was a great band playing in the gallery. I loved it. But the headache persisted.
11) On the way to the gallery, my parents sent me a text of my little brother Nick in his tux at prom!!! Nick went to prom tonight! It's so cute! He rented a powder blue tux with tails. Magnificent!
12) Now I'm home, in my dress, eating chicken nuggets from McDonald's. The two exedrin have kicked in. I don't know if the headache was allergies or paint related.
13) Sometime between painting and shopping for food, Lesley called and we discussed the merits of creating an artistic community. I need art. I need to create.

But until I get a new show going, I will paint my deck and water my plants. It's good times!
After painting the deck, I'm going to start another cross stitch.

14) Oooh I forgot! I downloaded some new music--well old music. I got Evita, Carole King, Carly Simon, Harry Connick Jr., Jeff Buckley, and Peter Sellers. Yeperooni, it was a great day!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reasons to Be Happy

This week has been a crapper of a week. It seems that everyone I talk to has been having a bad week. Except for my mother, who I believe has found the holy grail of anti-depressants because she was positively chipper the last time I talked to her.

But other than my happier than thou mother, it would appear that many of my friends--myself included in this bunch, are experiencing a "Winter is over, please stop raining, I need it to be sunny now, oh good grief it's freezing, where's the ice cream, oh wait that's right, I need to lose my winter weight so that my clothes will fit" kind of depression right now.

So here's my little attempt at finding happiness in the midst of a poopy week.

List of Reasons to Be Happy:
1) I can listen to conference whenever I want now. I don't have to wait until conference weekend to enjoy the pick me up of listening to prophets and apostles give comfort and wisdom.
2) Even though I know that I've gained weight, my clothes still fit, because I gain my weight in my boobs. How lucky is that? (I still need to lose weight--but we're looking for silver linings here.)
3) I am currently giving a midterm. This makes me happy because the snotty students who have sauntered in late or left early, or spent class time texting instead of participating in class lectures are now sweating over my little test. Victory is mine!! You WILL learn, whether you like it or not! (There's nothing quite so satisfying as seeing students sweat over an open book test.)
4) The rain cleaned the world last night. This morning's drive was beautiful. The sky was blue, the trees were green, and the roads were shiny!
5) I am going to Iowa over Memorial Day to visit my dad and brother! I love Iowa. It's like a little heaven on earth.
6) My mom is coming out to Virginia to visit me in July!! I get to take her to Chincoteague Island. I'm so excited!
7) My brother Nick got into Bear River High's Madrigals. For his auditon he sang Eh Via Buffone from Mozart's Don Giovanni. Yep. We're related.
8) I have lovely red sheets on my bed. And lots of pillows.
9) I have daffodils blooming in my kitchen right now.
10) Sadey Sue unloaded the dishwasher and took out the trash yesterday, despite feeling less than. It was wonderful.
11) My students in my English class are incredibly impressive writers. It's a joy to read their stuff.
12) Midterm week. (sigh) No lectures, just me watching students sweat over an exam. I said it earlier, but it is so worth repeating. This is so much easier to than planning 4 hours of material per class. Their little brains look like they're going to explode!

And that is my list of reasons why this is not a crapper week, but a very good week.

I'll go ahead and list the obvious reasons everyone should be happy too:

1) Pictures of sexy men are everywhere in supermarkets and online. How can you see a picture of Hugh Jackman and not smile.
2) Laughing babies can be found night and day on youtube.
3) Ice cream.
4) exercise balls are fun to play on, and they make you feel like you're "working out".
5) facebook! Sometimes connecting with old friends can be so satisfying. (And that's all I'll say about that. Just know that there's a special meaning in that--and I know you have your own special reasons for loving facebook--so we'll just maintain a happy understanding about it. Wink wink, nudge, nudge.)
6) Cheese! It makes everything tasty!
7) Panang Curry! It's hot and sweet and sooooo delicious!
8) Friends who blog. I love reading about your life. Whether it's the good stuff or the bad stuff, it's wonderful to be able to see what makes you tick. I love it.
9) Finishing taxes at 11pm on April 15th!
10) Having the money to be able to pay your taxes! (This is the first year I've ever owed. It sucks.)
11) Ipods!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Easter is my favorite holiday.

Today started off with a nice long shower. I put out Easter baskets for my two roommates last night before going to bed. I spent the morning listening to conference talks that I had missed last weekend. After enjoying a perfect omelet, I got the house ready for choir. At 11:30am the ward choir filed into practice our songs in preparation for the Easter program.

The words, "Surely, surely, he hath borne our griefs" filled the neighborhood. I cannot describe how beautiful this music is. I love this choir. "And by his wounds we are healed, we are healed."

"We all like sheep, have gone astray--each of us has turned to his own way . . ."

I wish I could remember all the words. As I type them I can hear the song in my mind.

As I walked the choir director to her car, my neighbors commented on how nice it was to have the choir singing in the neighborhood. Their kids were all decked out in Easter dress. My other neighbor came out of her house and called out "Happy Easter!" And the sun shone and the blossoms danced on the trees.

At church, we sang 3 numbers, and the congregation sang 2 intermediate hymns. The chorister had the congregation stand for both of them and I felt like I was attending mass. up down. up. down.

After Sacrament meeting, I enjoyed my final Sunday School and Relief Society lessons in the singles ward. I felt both happy and sad--both emotions kind of overcame each other. I was pretty even keel. I did my best to avoid any goodbyeing. I allowed myself to thoroughly enjoy the ward though and to relish in the good parts. Relishing brought a little tear to my eyes here and there, but I tried to keep my emotions to myself. I might have come across as callously casual.

This afternoon, I enjoyed chicken alfredo. I am relaxing alone in the house, listening to more conference and celebrating Easter with me, myself, and I.

I hope you, yourself, and you enjoy a wonderful Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Evil thoughts of Heaven and Hell on Earth

I've been trying to find the words for this post for a long time. I'm going to attempt it now, without making it too long.

Lately, the wards in the area have been throwing around the idea of a mid-singles ward. To which I say, "Great! What a wonderful way to teach people who don't have a family about the joys of family by keeping them good and clear of it into their 40s. That's swell!" Clearly, from my sarcastic tone that you couldn't see, I am not pleased with this stupid idea.

Next week, I enter the mid-singles ward. Whoopee! I am sad to go to a new ward, because I enjoy my ward. I am not sad in the least bit to be going to the family ward. I am excited about it!

Here's the quick and dirty dealio.

Women--get a little nutty with age. We go on trips, learn cake decorating and gardening, pick up a few degrees, but for the most part--we're pretty normal as we get older. We don't have much choice about the whole dating thing because frankly in the church and out of the church--the whole hunt and be hunted thing is kind of the rule of law. If the girl hunts the guy, the guy may like it--but he ain't gonna marry it. So, we go out occassionally, try to keep things together and find joy in our lives as they are--recognizing that we have the lovely promise of marriage in the hereafter--where I hear babies sleep through the night and poopy diapers are really fun!

Men--get a lot nutty. They have this odd sense of self. They watch Chuck and see themselves with beautiful blond actresses. They wait patiently for said woman to come up and tell them that God himself has proclaimed their love a righteous and chosen love. In reality, they will date perfectly acceptable normal women--who for the most part are far more attractive than they would deserve if they weren't living in a 2 to 1 community--and sit and wait for a sign from God that she's "the one" before they begin to treat the woman with the respect of being more than a friend. They tell me that they're reserving the gentlemanly skills that their parents taught them for their wives--and they don't want to give off the wrong signals.

The men play hard to get BUT they want women who aren't too forward.

Let's see, if you're running away, and I'm running away--then I'm thinking that's not going to work. And frankly, I believe that's the heart of the matter.

I can't control when a man will finally wake up and decide that he's ready to want marriage. But the cool thing is--this realization doesn't really affect me in the slightest because I get the satisfaction of knowing that all will be well if I just live a happy life.

Poor guys though, they gotta figure it out here and now. To this, I give an evil evil laugh.

I had a conversation with a friend this morning who is a 30 something single guy. He explained that he ran into an apartment of four 45 year old single guys, and had a bit of a wake up call.

Perhaps a mid-singles ward would be good after all! Except I would make one little change--it should only have single guys. That way the closeted guys will be secretly delighted, the younger guys in their 30s might see visions to motivate them to finally grow the hell up, and I can enjoy the primary activity days and volunteering in the nursery as I dream of angel children in my eternal family in the sky!

Theatre Appreciation

Today's class was Theatre Appreciation. The goal in the class is to teach students to appreciate theatre. I have to remember this on days like today.

Today my classes projects were due. They were so cute, for the most part. So prepared, for the most part. But there were two main actors missing from both groups--right up until one of the actors showed up at the very last minute.

The directors of the scenes were just going crazy trying to figure out how to work these actors into the scenes. Or out of them, as the case might have been. There were some difficult moments, but overall--they all had a greater appreciation of theatre. (I hope.)

Because directors were giving me the secret low-down on actors attendance and preparation, I found out what students are liar liar pants on fires. or is that liars liars pants on fire? Not sure. Either way, no more Ms. Niave. I was really proud of the work that went into it. When the work actually went into it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Perception vs. Reality

Last weekend, I presented a paper at a Humanities Conference in Richmond. The presentation went very well, but between preparing classes, writing the paper, and worrying about job security--by the time Saturday rolled around, I was mentally and emotionally kaput.

At the conference, Tim Reid talked about the power of perception vs. reality. We are more affected by what we perceive happened than by what actually happened. He showed pictures of African American congressmen immediately following the Civil War, followed by a clip from "Birth of A Nation". Following the production of that film--America's perception of Black History was changed forever. Attitudes towards African Americans changed overnight by the false perceptions created by this film.

Returning to the first paragraph--At the beginning of the week I was overwhelmed with stress and worry. By Saturday, the stress was gone, but I finally let myself feel the worry. I compartmentalize stress in order to get through it. But my word, the aftermath is just blech.

I was at Lesley's when the stress just hit me. I had a great day with Lesley and Robert, planting flowers and digging in the dirt. It was so nice to not think about work.

As for work, I've been offered a multitude of courses to teach at both campuses. Woodbridge campus has offered an ideal schedule of 5 classes crammed into Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. This leaves me with 4 day weekends! I'm so happy! And I would be teaching classes that I've taught before, so unlike this lovely quarter where I'm teaching 3 new classes--I already have everything ready for next quarter. I'm kind of happy. Really happy.

I just have to get through the next 6 weeks. I need to change my perception. I perceive that I am going to have a wonderful time during the next 6 weeks. I perceive it. Perception. yep. I also perceive that I got plenty of sleep last night.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Independence and Revolution

This is what I'm going to use to teach my students about the Declaration of Independence tomorrow. There's plenty of reasons to detest HBO's way of doing things if you're a mormon--but dang it all this miniseries is heaven on earth!! Long live David McCullough! Long live Youtube!! And of course, Long live these United States!!

It moves me to tears to think of the impossibility of the task and that these men were signing their lives away as they ratified this document. They could never have anticipated how the little colonies would have overcome the largest and most well-trained army in the world. But they did what was right, regardless of the foreseeable consequences. I think that's what constitutes true vision. We need to be guided by what we envision, and not just what we see.

Just watch it!