Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Aeroplano

Last night, I flew out of San Diego headed for Sacramento. My sister dropped me off just after 6 o'clock pm. I was pleasantly surprised that the lines for both check-in and security were relatively short and moving quickly.

I arrived at my gate about twenty minutes later.

And I finally got on the airplane at 10:20 pm. Then we sat in the plane until 11:00 pm, because they could not find anyone to load the baggage. (Really.) Which meant I finally reached Russ's house at about 2:00 this morning.

Now, the point of this post is not to gripe about holiday travel. Really, I just bought a book at the airport gift shop, and read for several hours. (Big personal sacrifice.) The point IS that whenever I surfaced from my reading material, I took stock of how my fellow passengers were holding up.

Based on several hours of observation, I have found that there are key "types" of passengers.

Type #1: The Hostiles. With each announcement--delayed, delayed, broken plane, problem with the luggage--these people became snarkier and louder. Specifically, there were two guys sitting behind me that let out a string of expletives one expletive longer each time the airline representatives made another announcement.

Type#2: The Martyrs. While these people weren't shouting or cursing, the corners of their mouths were dipping lower and lower with each passing hour. By 11:00, some of these people had become true facial contortionists.

Type #3: The Deer in Headlights. This group was largely made of parents with young children. Their faces slowly drained of all emotion, and their glassy eyes stared straight ahead as Junior sprawled unconscious across the airport floor or shrieked murder from his stroller.

Type #4: The Smirkers. There were several of these, and I liked watching them the most. They were the ones that cast sly sideways glances, quirked their lips sideways in bemusement, and maybe even let out a scrappy chuckle or two. There was one lady in particular who really seemed to think the situation got funnier and funnier as the evening went on.

I'm not sure why I felt compelled to expose you all to my mini Sociology experiment. I just thought I could take a lesson from the lady from group #4.

To be fair, I guess I should say there was also the fifth type:

Type #5: Girls who are so distracted by the book they are reading that they only realize an announcement is being made when it's already 2/3 of the way over. These girls then have to judge whether it was a good announcement or a bad announcement based on the reactions of the people sitting around them. So they stare. And then they blog about it.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Overly Invested

Sometimes, I am absolutely ridiculous.

I have a problem--there are times when books, or television shows, or movies affect me a little too much.

When something sad happens, I feel sad. And then I can't shake it for a while. My mind just turns it over and over, and I find myself trying to put words to the emotions that I witnessed. As if by writing them down--even mentally--I might somehow better understand it.

I just finished watching a show on tv, and I'm feeling embarrassingly distraught.

I guess this is why I will never be a counselor, doctor, or social worker; I'd be a pathetic heap of sobbing blubber by the end of the first week.

Maybe I ought to work on that.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Anticipating Precipitating

A blizzard is coming.

That's the word they keep using for it: blizzard.

From the moment I stepped out of the house this morning, everyone has been talking about it.

It's on the radio. It's waiting in my email in-box. It's the topic of special faculty meetings and teacher lunch tables. It's written on big flashing signs along I-15.

Blizzard.

In the grocery store parking lot, I watched each shopper tilt his or her chin way up, trying to read the storm clouds.

We're watching.

The world is battening down the hatches.

And I'm inexplicably excited about this whole thing.

Is it strange that if it doesn't snow, I'm going to be really disappointed?

Come on, clouds. We're holding our breath.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Getting Noticed

My sister and I recently visited Sea World. We were at the sea lion exhibit, and I bought a tray of fish. Sunshine pointed out one sea lion that seemed particularly "well-behaved." The others were growling, barking, gargling, and literally trying to climb the plexi-glass to get our attention. This one just sat on his rock, looking as if he were posing for a Sea World calendar.

Right up until he decided he wanted a fish.

Remember that scene from Dumb and Dumber? The one with the "most annoying sound in the world?"

Oh yeah. Don't be fooled by all the strange sounds on the clip. You'll know it when you hear it.

video

I gotta say, it worked for him. He probably got half of my tray of fish.

Also, when they tell you to watch out for the birds, they mean it. I was hit in the head by birds four different times that day, and Sunshine actually had a sea gull swoop down and bite her finger hard enough to draw blood!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bragging Rights

Yep. That's right! These fantastic people are in MY family!

M.I.A.

They moved to Florida.

Permanently.

Curse you, Sea World. Curse you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Moab with Megan

I spent a couple of days in Moab with Megan this last week. We started doing this when we were in high school (though Megan started going years before that). We used to be quite cocky--even somewhat stupid--about what we would attempt out there. We took a look at some of our old haunts, and it was funny to realize that I must be getting OLD! Somehow, jumping 10 feet onto slanted sandstone no longer seemed like a valuable way to spend my time!

However, that is not to say that we didn't have any fun.

"Scrambling" is always so much more fun than climbing...even if we are getting old and weak. While I was wedging my way up this crack, my shoe came off, and I had to perform some midair acrobatics to get it back on my foot. Meg kept her shoes, even when she got stuck!

I actually thought I was on top of the arch in this shot. You would think it wouldn't be that hard to tell...

Delicate Arch (in profile).

At sunset.

And, of course, the self-portrait.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Enough is Enough

Dear Everyone I Know,

Okay, you win. I'm saying uncle. I give up! So please, please, please STOP now!

STOP getting hurt! STOP ending up in the hospital! STOP having close calls! STOP having accidents!

Sometimes, bad things happen to good people. Therefore, you must all BE CAREFUL. Because you ARE good people!

Wear your seatbelt! Wear your helmet! Take your meds!

Because I LOVE YOU. And I am selfish. And I want you HERE. With me. Unbruised.

You are all the little pieces of my heart.

Star

Sunday, August 29, 2010

100%

You should try this! Here are the two quizzes I recommend: Jet Punk or Sporcle.

Here is my latest round of results:

Countries of the World Quiz

How many countries can you name? Use the common, English name. Has to be a sovereign nation, so Scotland and England don't count, etc...

Scoring

You scored 195/195 = 100%.

This beats or equals 100% of test takers.

The average score is 76.

Now if only I could go and SEE some of those places!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

97.5 lbs of Frozen Fish

I spent the past couple of weeks at a fish camp outside of Juneau, Alaska with my dad. The deal was that we worked half the day as Galley Staff and then we fished half the day using their boats. Adventure! Here are some of the highlights: The Mendenhall Glacier has areas of ice so blue that they look to be made out of blue raspberry Jolly Ranchers. Flying over the glacier fields on the way to Juneau was amazing--giant, ragged channels of ice that ate valleys into the sides of mountains.
There were so many bald eagles everywhere that my dad started referring to them as Alaskan Pigeons. This fellow was brilliant. He is camped out at one of the salmon fish hatcheries. The giant salmon would come along, and try to jump over the little cement partition, and land on the rock just in front of him. Alaska Zipline Tours. Courtesy of one of Durd's bus-driving buddies.
This is the first fish I caught--a halibut. At the time, we were fishing in close to 300 ft of water with lead weights to hold our line on the bottom of the sea, so reeling anything in was a challenge. I was proud of my fish, but I soon learned that that size of fish is called a "chicken" in Alaska, and it is really nothing to get excited about. By the end of the trip, I had seen people catch fish 5 times tha size, and I was throwing all of the chickens back!

My dad really liked salmon fishing. It was cool to get to spend so much time with him. He taught me how to rig up a pole, drive the boat, and net a large, angry salmon. However, I refused to be the one to hit the fish on the head with the baseball bat.

Humpback Whale. Look close. He is breaching and is about to crash back into the water.
That thing in my hands is a crab trap. I was fishing for halibut when I snagged my line on something so heavy that I could not get it up. It was obviously not a fish, so my dad had to help me hoist it in. And lo and behold, a crab trap! We fixed the trap up, and put it out for a few days, but when we went back to check it, all we had caught was a sun starfish.

Sun starfish have 18 legs! (Thanks for the picture Elaine!)

Fish camp was fun! We did an ENORMOUS amount of dishes, made a RIDICULOUS number of sandwiches, and folded sheets until I was ready to explode. But we also met some fabulous people, saw incredible wildlife, and got to experience a place that is truly like nothing else I've ever seen. All in all, good adventure.

Now, what am I going to do with all this fish?


Thursday, July 01, 2010

Animal Cruelty

We have two cats.
This is Dannon.

This is Morgan.

Lately, Morgan has been acting sick. She's been lethargic (even for a cat) and very sneezy. I started having flashbacks about when we fostered them when they were little and they got really, really sick. So, I decided to take them both into the vet.

They did not like riding in the car.

They started fighting when I carried the cat carrier into the vet's office.

They shed ALL OVER the exam room.

They did not like having their temperature taken. (Don't blame them.)

They did not like shots.

Dannon reacted by claiming the cat carrier and refusing to let Morgan back in. I've never really seen her act like that! The vet said it was normal...

So while Dannon was in the backroom getting worked on, I closed Morgan in the cat carrier, and I got a cardboard box carrier for Dannon so I could keep them separate on the ride home.


We got them back in the car. And Dannon was suddenly possessed by a horrible demon of some sort. She yowled and screamed and scraped and slammed. She sounded like she was trying to imitate a character from Duck Tales! I had NEVER heard her do ANYTHING like that!

Keep in mind, this cat usually enjoys confined spaces...


I tried talking to her to calm her down, but the craziness just escalated for the entire 3.5 miles home from the vet.

When we pulled into the driveway, I leapt out of my seat, ran around the car, threw open the door, and found Dannon sitting free in the backseat.

Here is what the cardboard carrier looks like now.



She had somehow managed to squeeze out of that hole.

Apparently, there will be no road trips with the cats....

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ranger Aide Norman

My sister Norman is working for the Department of Natural Resources for the summer. We went to visit her.
This is Norman.

This is her home.

Whilst visiting, we went to see Minnetonka Cave.

Why, Foreesto! What a manly beard you've grown!

They kept repeating the fact that there were 444 steps in and 444 steps out.
Foreesto descending into Hell. No really! That's what they called this portion of the cave. (Note the red lights for the added effect.)

This is a very blurry picture of my parents.

On this trip we also visited the Pickelville Playhouse, rode jetskis, ate fist-sized marshmallows, and very nearly ran over a skunk. I recommend the cot in Norman's trailer to anyone who wants to "get away from it all."


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Soccer Flops

The FIFA World Cup is in full swing now, and Russ and I have been watching the matches every morning. I have a lot of respect for these athletes, and I love to see squads from all over the world get together to play. Man, these guys are good!

But sometimes I have to go do something else, because I get so TIRED of watching these grown men throw themselves on the ground, rolling in fake agony because somebody on the other team kicked them in the shin guard. When they start flopping, I feel like I am watching a two-year-old have a tantrum in the grocery store. And then they just jump up and run for another 55 minutes as if nothing happened... becuase in most cases, nothing did.

Steve Nash broke his nose, put it back in place himself, and kept playing. In high school, my best friend Megan broke her arm in a soccer match and still finished the game! So why do these super-talented, super-strong men pitch full on fits any time they fall down?

(I do feel inclined to say that a real injury is a real injury. If you are hurt, you obviously should get help. Heck, I blew my knee playing soccer. I know how that goes.)

Oh well. Here's hoping it doesn't effect the overall scores too much.

Go Ivory Coast!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

24 Hours of Super Awesome Nothingness

Coming up on 24 hours of summer vacation...

So far I have:
1.Eaten at a restaurant
2. Taken a 3 hour nap.
3. Watched the last 4 episodes of Jerciho.
4. Stayed up until 4 in the morning to finish my book.
5. Slept until eleven.
6. Visited Riverton Art Festival.
7. Purchased cartoons at the Hollywood Video closing sale.
8. Eaten tacos at the little league fields.
9. Purchased plants (zucchini, tomato, red bell pepper, purple bell pepper) at IFA.
10. Took a 2 hour nap.

Next?
Dinner at Marshall and Lauren's.
Rodeo in Herriman.

Teachers love summer.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Cup

#1. Elementary Carnival Preparations
Positive: I managed to figure it out. I used our entire budget, got the administration on board to spot us the rest, and managed to rent a dunk tank and an inflatable slide and obstacle course.
Negative: It took FOREVER. Making phone calls on every break I had to try to get in contact with people who inevitably needed to call me back later... Stressing about money. Stressing about disappointing the kids...

#2. Moving
Negative: Again. And of course it would have to be the same week (same day!) as the carnival. So now, once again, everything I own is in boxes in Russ's garage.
Positive: At least when I moved there six months ago, I did not actually take all of my stuff. I mean, hey, if you never actually set up anywhere, then the take-down aspect of it becomes that much faster! And now I don't live alone in a house that makes creepy creaking noises whenever the wind blows.

#3. Elementary Carnival
Positive: It was really nice of the librarian to help me find all those extra parent volunteers. And we had enough going on that the kids stayed busy. The SBOs LOVED the dunk tank, and since we were outside, I did not have to orchestrate a schedule for the event.
Negative: Oh. My. Gosh. 215 kids as of the morning before the carnival. (Not counting the kids that brought their permission slips in that day.) Ridiculous budget! Parent volunteers who finally showed up 15 minutes after the party started. Broken promises from coworkers. Grr.

#4. Rafting Trip is Cancelled
Negative: I was really, really looking forward to this trip. The Memorial Day trip was supposed to be the light at the end of the tunnel. Disappointment. So why did I take Friday off? Especially because there is SO much to do right now!
Positive: Now, I can stay and get things done. I can watch Russ give his graduation speech, and I will get to attend Carly's birthday party.

#5. Flat Tire
Positive: It is not actually hurt. The guy at the tire place said there was no hole, so I will not have to pay to fix the tire.
Negative: The guy at the tire place said someone probably deflated it as a prank. Which possibly means a student vandalized my car. And that is most definitely NOT okay.


So, what shall it be then, Cup? Which is it? Are you half-full or half-empty?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Live Long and Shoot Aliens

This week I survived a reconnaissance mission to a new planet, witnessed first contact with an alien species, was fired upon by proton torpedoes, and narrowly escaped the shock wave set off by an exploding star ship.


Really, it happened!


You want to know the best part? My 12-year-old students were the ones running the ship.


This week I took my students to the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. It is located inside of an elementary school in Pleasant Grove.


In the days leading up to our "mission," my coteacher and I assigned each of our students a position on the star ship: captain, first officer, ambassador, engineer, right wing officer, left wing officer, and so on. The center even supplied us with descriptions of each of the jobs and recommendations for skills a student would need in order to be successful in that post. We briefed the students on their "mission" before leaving on the trip.


At the center, we broke the kids down into their "flight crews," and then we went into the simulators. Walking through the door was really like stepping into a spaceship... or at least the set of a Star Trek episode. Each student had a costume based on their position. Each student had their own computer, training, and aspects of the "ship" that they were in charge of.


I'll save you the rest of the details, but let me just say that I was totally sucked in! My kids did well--some better than others--and we came very close to exploding in the end, but we DID survive. And the success had my kids leaping out of their seats and cheering.


Also, I learned some things about myself:

1. I still have an over-active imagination.

2. I must admit to being a super-nerd.

3. I don't deal well with stress. One of my students later asked me why I had been making faces while she was negotiating with the hostile aliens. I didn't tell her it was because I was biting my tongue to keep from shouting out helpful hints.


My favorite part was when one of my quiet, shy girls came running through the room holding a ray gun. She stopped, locked her eyes on me in a frenzied half-panic, and shouted, "I JUST SHOT AN ALIEN," and then ran back out of the room.


Totally awesome! I want to go back. They let adults come and rent the simulators too.... Anyone interested?


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Don't Try This At Home

I recently saw one of the most intense movies I have ever seen.

It was not about murderers, ghosts, or criminals.

It was about rock climbing.

At the Banff Film Festival this year, they showed a film about Alex Honnold, a 24-year-old free soloist who is currently enthralling rock climbers everywhere with his outright ridiculous adventures.

The kid climbs gigantic cliffs without a rope. No rope. No equipment. No one to catch him when he slides off. Thousands of feet in the air.

During the film, he climbed Midnight Buttress in Zion National Park AND... are you ready for this... Half Dome in Yosemite.



Yeah, he just walked up to the bottom of Half Dome, grabbed on and started climbing! For 600 meters!

One mistake and you get a 2000 foot drop to the valley floor and certain death.

Oh. My. Crap.

I have never been more on edge watching a film. My hands were sweating!

The kid is nuts. Completely awesome. But nuts.

You can watch the opening clip of the movie here.