Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

It's that time of year again! What are your resolutions? Are they the same as last year or are they new and different? How are you going to accomplish your goals this year? I am going to compile my list here:

Get in shape (Isn't that the first one on a lot of people's lists?)
  • Attend my hip hop dance class again
  • Dance Dance Revolution
  • Do my back exercises 5 days a week
  • Eat healthy foods
Get to sleep earlier
  • Manage my time better
  • Don't stay up all night worrying
  • Don't stay up all night blogging ;)
  • Discipline
Attend the temple once a month
  • Attend Relief Society temple nights
  • If class does not allow me to attend on scheduled nights, schedule my own night
Exercise more faith
  • Pray
  • Be calm
  • Be peaceful
  • Trust
  • Have patience
  • Remember what the Lord has already done for me
Serve others
  • Matthew 16:25 "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
  • Think of others first
Finish Grad School!
  • Work hard
  • Enjoy the experience

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Miracles

I have had a simply wonderful past few days! I have felt calm, peaceful, happy, content, watched over, supported, and loved. As I mentioned in my blog entry "The Call Has Come", I was able to watch a dear friend of mine open his mission call on Thursday. I had fun researching Toulouse, France on Friday. On Saturday I was able to attend the temple with another friend. Sunday was filled with wonderful conversations, quality time with friends, and miraculous events. I am truly blessed, and my prayers are heard.

Monday I led members of my ward in singing Christmas carols at our neighborhood care center for our ward Family Home Evening activity. I was very pleased with the number of people who came to sing, and everything went very well. It was a great evening, and it reminded me how good it feels to do things for others, even something as simple as singing songs with them.

After singing we went to our institute building to play games. Have you ever had your knuckles bruised by and air hockey puck? I have! Michael's air hockey "slap shot" is brutal! But let it be known that, despite playing with an injury, I did win the game. :)

I went to visit Kristine today and had a wonderful time chatting and catching up. She only lives about 20-25 minutes away, but when we both get busy it's hard to meet up, so today was a treat. Love that girl!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I am looking forward to an unconventional Christmas this year. My original plans changed (and kept changing), so I am not traveling anywhere this year. My mom is coming here the day after Christmas, so I decided to stick around and do my own thing on the 24th and 25th. I get to spend Christmas Eve night with my former bishop and his wife at their house. It will be wonderful to be with them. Christmas morning Andy (my brother), Emery, Jovanni, and I will be serving breakfast to those in need at the Christian Life Center. We have to be there at 6:00 am! It will be great.

It occured to me this week that the Christmas story is one of humility. The Saviour was born in humble circumstances. He was unknown by so much of the world - a small and simple beginning. At the same time, the birth of Jesus was a glorious moment announced and celebrated with choirs of angels singing, "Halleluja!" It was a moment fortold by countless prophets -- a moment that would lead to the saving of all mankind. What a wonderful combination: humility and great glory. I believe that when we humbly perform simple, Christ-like acts, though they may seem insignificant and are certainly not as miraculous as the birth of the Saviour, they can be life-changing for those we serve. In those quiet, selfless moments, we are truly performing acts that cause angles sing, "Halleluja!"

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hodie: A Christmas Cantata

Saturday I went to Emery's concert (she sings with the choral artists society). The choir and orchestra performed Hodie. (It's pronounced "hoe-dee-ay." Not "hoe-dee" like Michael says or "hoo-dee" like I say.) It is a Christmas cantata by Ralph Vaughn Williams. Hodie means "This Day."

Luke 2:11 "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. Although I like cantatas, requiems, oratorios, etc., it pains me to admit that I often have had enough after the first half hour. And I am even someone who loves music. I guess I like some variety in performances, and not every concert provides that. I love Handel's Messiah, and I don't get tired of that one (maybe because I know it so well, and particularly when it's a sing-along). And now I can say I love Hodie too. It's a little eclectic, but I like it that way.

The narrative portions of Hodie are sung by a children's choir, and the lyrics are the scriptures from Luke that tell the Christmas story. I loved hearing the familiar scriptures sung. It brought a new experience, and therefore new feeling, to the text.

Previous to the concert, since I had dropped Emery off and was there early, I was able to attend a brief lecture about Hodie and Vaughn Williams. This allowed me to enjoy and appreciate the performance even more. I learned, for example, that Williams got the text for the songs in Hodie from various famous writers and poets. My favorite poem sung that night was "The Oxen" by Thomas Hardy. I love the simple, yet unique thoughts in the poem and the word choice that paints the images and expresses the emotions so well.

I know I too am the kind of hopeful person who would follow into the gloom "hoping it might be so."

The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearth side ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel,

In the lonely barton by yonder comb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

By Thomas Hardy

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Call Has Come!

Last night Derrick received his mission call! He is going to Toulouse, France! He leaves April 22 for the MTC in Provo. We were all able to gather at Derrick's house last night to watch him open his call. It was so exciting and so wonderful. I'll post some pictures.

Derrick had many people on speaker phone for the opening of his call. :)

Standing at his official mission call podium

With our former bishop and his wife

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It was love at first tree...

We have a Christmas tree! Emery and I went out on Saturday to get our Christmas tree. It was cold and snowy, so fortunately when we arrived at the tree farm, we fell in love with the first tree we looked at! And that was that. After a long trek home (ok, so it was just around the block - the tree farm is in our golf course parking lot) we were ready for Christmas! Our tree is so pretty:

On Thursday I finished my last final project of the semester. It was a rough semester - I had a lot of other things on my mind, I was busy with more responsibilities at work, and I was getting over the mid grad program hump - but despite that I did very well. I got everything turned in on time, and my final presentations went very well! Hooray!

Since then, I have been running errands, doing Christmas shopping, and singing. Friday night was my ward's Christmas social. The Activities Committee had tried to get several people to provide some music for the party, however no one was able to except me. So, the result was "The Katie Show, Part II". (Now that I think about it, I don't think I ever wrote about "The Katie Show, Part I." That was the Ward Thanksgiving Talent Show. I performed in 5 numbers, including a flag routine! I want it known, however, that I only signed myself up for 1 number that night. The others I was volunteered for. I was voted "Miss Madison YSA" at the end of the night. I'll include that picture. :) Anyway, I was a little nervous at the Christmas social because I didn't really have time to prepare, but it went pretty well. I sang "Santa Baby", "Merry Christmas, Darling", and "Jingle Bells" (Barbara Streisand style). It was a fun night. I was able to have fun and talk with good friends.

Yesterday I had another fun opportunity to sing. The wife of one of our bishopric members works as a volunteer supervising tour guides at the LDS Conference Center. Her shift's volunteers were having a small luncheon previous to their shift, and she asked if Emery and I would sing Christmas songs during the meal. We asked Dennis if he would play the piano for us. Fortunately, I am off-track and Emery and Dennis were able to take a couple hours from work so we could sing. It went very well and was a nice opportunity. Everyone was very gracious and happy we were there.

This morning I dropped my car off to be serviced, then walked home in the falling snow. I loved the taking a nice, long walk. And thanks to my new gloves and old thermals it was very pleasant. I think I was walking faster than the cars waiting in the lines of traffic. :) I'm glad we do have snow now, too. I'm not a huge fan of the winter cold, particularly when it's still here in February and March, but I've come to like a nice white blanket over everything for Christmas. It's he perfect backdrop for the season.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Teaching Tidbits

Sweet Students
One of my student's sisters was a lunch worker a couple months ago. When she saw me getting my lunch she waved frantically and said, "Miss B! I'm Liz's sister! You probably know that because everyone says we look like twins."
She continued to talk a mile-a-minute about various topics, then paused and looked at me.
"Miss B, Liz really likes you. She says you are the best teacher... And she says you're not married."
"Well, thank you. And no, I'm not married."
She thought for a moment, then looked at me in complete sincerity and said, "Hmm... So beautiful, but not married..."
So sweet.

Pepperidge Farm factory
Every morning and afternoon the entire school yard smells like waffle cones. I couldn't figure it out for a long time, but finally asked another teacher where that smell was coming from. She told me just over the hill is the Pepperidge Farm factory. Now I have a visit to the factory on my list of things to do.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Watching a Heart Attack

I watched a man have a heart attack in September. I was at physical therapy and a new patient was getting ready to use the stationery bike, when he turned very white and strange looking. The physical therapist asked his assistant to stay with him and make sure he didn't fall off the bike - he wasn't responding enough to even get off - while he ran next door to the doctor's office to get help. With the help of the other doctor, they got the man to the floor on a mat. 911 was called and, since the office is very near the hospital, the paramedics arrived very quickly. They were able to determine the man had a history of heart problems, so assumed it was in fact a heart attack. I stood in the doorway of my little stretching room watching it all, completely fascinated. Needless to say, it was an interesting morning.

The man ended up being fine, from what I hear. I had never before seen something like that. Well, actually, I have seen something similar once before. I was teaching a class of sixth graders about fractions, when a very shy, red-headed boy raised a shaky hand. I asked him what was wrong, and he pointed to his lap. The girl who sat next to him was no longer sitting up next to him -- she was passed out on top of him! She came to enough to sit up again, but was totally out of it. A few moments later, she was flopped over on top of the boy again. When we finally got her to wake up enough, we wheeled her down to the office in a rolling chair. Because she was okay, it was actually quite comical. That poor boy will never be the same. :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Leader Effectiveness Training (L.E.T.) by Dr. Thomas Gordon

I was assigned to read a leadership book and answer a series of questions about it for my EDPS 6445 class. I want to include a quote from the book that summarizes Dr. Thomas Gordon's general philosophy for all human relationships. If you are interested in reading more about the book, the author, and my class responses, check out my EDPS 6445 blog. I also recommend you read the book. It takes a buisiness approach to effective relationships and leadership, but the skills taught should be transferred to any and all human relationships. Thanks to Jerry for recommending the book.

"A Credo For My Relationships

"You and I are in a relationship which I value and want to keep. Yet each of us is a separate person with unique needs and the right to meet those needs.

"When you are having problems meeting your needs, I will try to listen with genuine acceptance, in order to facilitate your finding your own solutions instead of depending on mine. I also will try to respect your right to choose your own beliefs and develop your own values, different though they may be from mine.

"However, when your behavior interferes with what I must do to get my own needs met, I will tell you openly and honestly how your behavior affects me, trusting that you respect my needs and feelings enough to try to change the behavior that is unacceptable to me. Also, whenever some behavior of mine is unacceptable to you, I hope you will tell me openly and honestly so I can try to change my behavior.

"At those times when we find that either of us cannot change to meet the other's needs, let us acknowledge that we have a conflict and commit ourselves to resolve each such conflict without either of us resorting to the use of power or authority to win at the expense of the other's losing. I respect your needs, but I also must respect my own. So let us always strive to search for a solution that will be accpetable to both of us. Your needs will be met, and so will mine - neither will lose, both will win.

"In this way, you cn continue to develop as a person through satisfying your needs, and so can I. Thus, ours can be a healthy relationship in which both of us can strive to become what we are capable of being. And we can continue to relate to each other with mutual respect, love, and peace." (p.261)

Gordon, T. (1977). Leader Effectiveness Training. New York, NY: Wyden Books.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gingerbread Joy

I am now off-track until January 5! Hooray! But I can't completely celebrate until Friday because I have my grad school finals still remaining. Friday I'll finally get to sleep in and then perform a couple songs at my ward Christmas social that night. It will be so nice. :)

I have had a lot of fun with Andy, Mom, and nieces Kersee, Mandie, and Heidi this week. A week ago Friday Mom, Andy, and I had a nice breakfast together when I drove Mom up to Park City after her arrival at the airport. Mom and I went TV shopping then saw the new "Twilight" movie on Saturday. (By the way, the guy who plays Edward is gorgeous. ;) Sunday the three of us had "2nd Thanksgiving" up at Mom's house and were joined by Emery, her boyfriend, Michael, Brian, and Derrick.

Friday night I invited Kersee to join me in a trip down to Provo to attend Emery's mom's annual gingerbread party. She loved having a special night out with all the grown-ups. She also loved adding as much glittering sprinkles to our gingerbread house as possible. We built a team gingerbread house. I was in charge of the frosting glue, eating candy, validating Kersee and making Kersee laugh. She was in charge of the house and garden design, placing candy and sprinkles into the glue, telling me to stop eating all the candy, asking me if her ideas were good, and making me laugh. We made a good team.

Yesterday I went with Mom and the girls to Zoolights. We had a great time. The park is decorated with all kinds of Christmas lights shaped like animals and holiday symbols. It's dark, so many of the animals are sleeping during Zoolights, but we got to see a leopard and some big horn sheep. We also had some fabulous glasses that cause you to see a snowman everywhere there is a light bulb. Highlights of the night included the girls looking cute in their snow hats, the ooing and ahing at the lights, and Heidi repeating over and over in the car, "Honey, Honey. I'm cute! Honey, Honey. I'm cute!"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dating Panel

Tonight I got to go to Family Home Evening because my professor decided to conduct an asynchronus online class. The title of the FHE activity was "Men, Women, and the Eternal Perspective". I admit that despite my initial reaction of, 'What a totally singles ward thing to do,' I am always intrigued every time a dating panel activity occurs. What will be said? Who will speak up?

Well, tonight was no disappointment. In fact, I'd say I enjoyed it more than most other such activities I have attended. It was interesting to hear what people had to say, and nice to be able to say a few things myself. The panel did a great job of sharing thoughts, impressions, experiences, and advice. Many of the answers offered by both the audience and the panel were things I needed to hear. Some of them were even things I have been told before, but I needed to hear them again.

The end result was that I felt calmed and reassured. Interestingly, this is exactly what I have been praying for lately. Heavenly Father so directly answers my prayers so often, it's scary. :) He really loves me. He constantly puts people in my path to help me, lift me up, and validate me. One day maybe I won't need so much constant validation - it's something I'm working on - but He helps me while I get there. Tonight was big progress. It's as if through all the words spoken tonight, directly to me and indirectly, ultimately sent the message: You are loved, you are liked, you are great, and you are often right. Trust yourself. Trust others. Trust the Lord.

I realize I have blogged about this type of topic a lot lately, but it's what I have been in the middle of for months now - this effort to understand and to be directed and guided when I don't have all the answers. I guess that's life. We never completely understand things, so we go forward being the best person we can be, letting faith be our strength and guide.

Well, it was a good activity. I once again have a renewed perspective, smile, and positive attitude. I am okay.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas Wish List

Here is a list of the things I would love to get for Christmas, but don't expect to get:
World peace
Dance Dance Revolution (and an X-Box to play it on)
An analog to digital converter box for video and audio tapes
A new and improved digital camera
A kiss under the mistletoe ;)
A Cooper Mini Convertible

Here is a list of the more normal things that I would like:
A hot pink, black, purple, and teal blue hoodie
Wonderful, comfy socks, a variety of colors, that are long enough to keep my legs warm, thick enough to be cozy, thin enough to wear with nicer shoes, that don't make dents in my legs and make them itch, and don't slip down and bunch up around my ankles
Color Stay lip stuff
A plant to replace the dead one in my polka-dotted pot
My house cleaned and windows washed
Alias DVDs
Heros DVDs
Veronica Mars DVDs
Colloidal Silver
iTunes Music
Theater Tickets
A sleeping mask
Cute Jeans

I'll keep adding as I think of more things.

What do you want for Christmas?

More 6th Grade Test Answers

Here are the latest entertaining answers to my students' 6th grade science test.

Question: Ben notices the milk he poured on his breakfast cereal is lumpy and tastes sour. What inference should Ben make?
Answer: He should make pizza.
Answer: The milk is warm and soggy.

Question: A group of students wonders if pond water smells bad because it has microorganisms in it. Describe a way they could find out.
Answer: They could look in a telescope.
Answer: They could send it to a lab.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Falling Apart

A couple weeks ago I purchased some shoe closet organizers to use in my office closet. Instead of shoes, I put my CDs, DVDs, computer equipment, etc. into them. Apparently the audio/visual/computer items were too heavy for the cheap, plastic shoe holders because just a couple days after I had gotten things organized exactly the way I wanted them, the shoe holder broke and all my belongings went crashing to the floor, scattering everywhere in my office closet. Of course I was frustrated and discouraged. In fact, I couldn't even stand to look at the closet for weeks knowing I was going to have to sort through everything! I knew I would probably find things had been broken. It just should not have become such a disaster!

Today I finally tackled the mess. As I sorted through it all, I realized that things were not as mixed up and broken as I thought they were. And as I sorted throught the things that had gotten mixed up, I found many things I had forgotten were even there. One item I found was a CD I had been searching for. In fact, I need that CD for a performance tonight! Nothing like things working out just in time. If my closet organizer hadn't completely broken and fallen to pieces, I wouldn't have found what I had been searching for. I got exactly what I wanted exactly when I needed it. It just took longer than I thought it would. And it certainly took a strange event to help me find it.

I'm pretty sure there's a lesson in all this. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don't Give Up

I haven't been entirely myself lately. I consider myself a cheerful, optimistic, hopeful person, but I have been letting things get me down and overwhelm me, despite the fact that I am blessed and uplifted by Heavenly Father on a daily, even hourly basis. It's not that I am in despair - I have faith that everything will work out if I continue to try my best to do the right things. And it's not that my struggles are even extraordinary - indeed, I am truly a fortunate person. I can't even understand how I am so blessed! I think that's why I get frustrated with myself for being so affected. I suppose I need to cut myself a little slack - I am very busy and overloaded with work, school, yadda yadda, and my emotions just add to it all. But, I can do better. I need to stop thinking and worrying about myself so much. I need to put others first. I won't give up. And ultimately, despite all the ways I fall short, I know I will be successful with the help of Heavenly Father.

Tonight's perfect song is "You Are Loved" by Josh Groban.

Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
When your heart's heavy
I...I will lift it for you

Don't give up
Because you want to be heard
If silence keeps you
I...I will break it for you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved

Don't give up
It's just the hurt that you hide
When you're lost inside
I...I will be there to find you

Don't give up
Because you want to burn bright
If darkness blinds you
I...I will shine to guide you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you
Everybody wants to be loved
Don't give up
Because you are loved

You are loved
Don't give up
It's just the weight of the world
Don't give up
Every one needs to be heard
You are loved

Thursday, November 6, 2008

REACH Training Day 2

Here are y notes from my second day of REACH training:

Understanding Prejudice, Power, and Diversity

Racism is like...
•Barbed Wire - it separates us and is hurtful
•A blinding fear of something unknown
•A race - and everyone is trying to get 1st place
•Judging a book by its cover
•The fangs of a demon - marked and obvious
OR morning mist in a jungle - unseen and subtle, yet blinding, clouding our vision
•A country's borders - separates, unseen, but cross it and people get angry
•Caroway seeds - bitter, the taste never leaves
•White Water - dangerous, destructive, sucks you in
•Acid - eats away, can be volatile

"We the people"
The ideal:
•A more perfect union
•General welfare
•Common defense

How are we doing?
No matter where we think we are on the road to progressing toward a "more perfect union", we can all agree that we have made progress.
Morgan Freeman's Speech

Prejudice + Power
What institutions do we have that have systematic prejudices?
Organized Religion
Health Care

Definition of Racism
The systematic discrimination and exploitation of human beings on the basis of their...
S sex/gender
H heterosexuality/homosexuality
A age
R race, religion
E eliteness
D disability

Identity Triangle
*Individual Uniqueness - the heart of you, what makes you individually special, this level is where conversations allow us to get to know individuals on a personal level, this level takes time and effort but is so important
*Collective Identity (the groups you belong to, everyone has many at many different levels) - LDS, teacher, 6th grade teacher, tech, BYU alum, singer, musical theater, field hockey player, goalie, Blunt, single female 30+, middle child, IDET, "fatherless" child, burn victim, dancer, educator
*Common Humanity - basic needs, language, association/relationships, DNA, values system, love, emotional needs, family units, belief system (organized religion or otherwise)

If we overemphasize any level of this triangle stereotypes can happen:
"We're all individuals and we rise and fall on our own" (too much individual focus)
"isms" occur (too much collective focus)
"I don't see color." or "We're all alike." (too much common humanity focus)
Too much emphasis on one level and not enough balance causes issues develop that create conflict.

•It's a luxury to be seen as an individual.
•We are all seen as representatives of several collectives.
•There are both positive and negative perceptions given to collectives.
•Some of these perceptions may not be true for you - but are perceptions that exist for the collectives of which you are a part.
•You have choices to:
1. Reinforce the positive aspects of your collective identity.
2. Take the time and make an effort to communicate with the other person so you can also be seen as an individual.

I am co-responsible for change and I will...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

REACH Training

This week I have been out of the classroom a lot. Tuesday I had a whole day of tech work. My principal got a sub for my class so I could try to fix as many computer problems as possible. It was much needed, and it reminded me that I really do enjoy that part of my job IF I am given time to do it. What I don't like is everyone complaining that none of the computers are working knowing that the reason they don't get fixed is because I don't have any time. So, it was a good, productive day. I felt very good about it and had fun problem solving all the issues with the Accelerated Reader program, printers, Internet connections, and so on. Yes, this does confirm that I am a tech geek.

Wednesday and Thursday I attended the REACH training provided by my school district. My next few posts will be my notes from the training.

REACH stands for:

REACH Diversity Values:
Diversity awareness and multicultural education are growth-oriented rather than deficiency-oriented.
Diversity awareness and multicultural education are systematic change processes, not content areas.
Everyone is a learner / Everyone is a teacher.
We work at living our basic principles.
Time is fluid / We're in a marathon, not a sprint.
Saying "ouch" can open the conversation from the heart.
Humor heals and keeps us human.
Confidentiality and privacy are honored.

The Business Case
•By the year 2020, white males will constitute only 37% of the workforce, yet continue to occupy over 90% of senior management positions.
•By 2020, people of color and immigrants will comprise over half of the net new entrants to the workforce.
•Next to European Americans, Hispanics are now the second largest ethnic market in the US.
•Significant regional differences in ethnic representation will continue into the 21st century, with diversification being most significant in the Western states, especially California.
•There are only 5 states that are designated refugee relocation states. One of those 5 is Utah.
•Women will continue to increase their share of the workforce (48% by 2006) and, as the nature of work changes, gender will become increasingly irrelevant as a factor in job choice and opportunity.
•By 2006 Hispanics will be the second largest ethnic group in the U.S.
(Statistics from 1998, updated 2005 and 2006)

No matter how the elections turned out last night, we have had an historic election: We would have either had a woman or an African American in office.

Due to all of this, diversity is being seen more and more in business. Advertising, marketing, etc. has a more multicultural focus and look.

The Education Case
•By 2030 children of color will constitute over half of the students in U.S. schools.
•At the close of the 20th century, whites comprise over 90% of the teaching force in the U.S. Without new concerted efforts to recruit teachers of color there is little chance we will see increased diversity in the near future.
•20% of U.S. children are born into poverty. Poverty has been shown to be highly correlated (.99) with low academic achievement.
•There is continued disproportionality in achievement, discipline, and drop-out rates along gender, ethnic, and socio-economic lines.
•In the U.S. we spend an average of $8,600 (less in Utah) per student for one year of schooling and over $25,000 per inmate for one year in prison.
(Statistics from 1999, updated 2005 and 2006)

My school district has 5 homeless shelters within the district boundaries. We have the highest homeless population of all districts in the state.

The Nation-Building Case
•The nation's Hispanic and Asian populations will triple over the next half century.
•By 2050 non-Hispanic Whites will represent about one half of the total population of the U.S.
•The African American population will rise to 14.6 % of the U.S. population by 2050.
•In 2004 there were 762 active hate groups in the U.S.
•79% of racial hate crimes in the U.S. in 2003 were perpetrated again non-Whites.
•After-tax income for the top 1% of households in the U.S. doubled over the last 25 years, while incomes in the bottom 80% remained flat.
(Statistics from 1999, updated 2005 and 2006)

The Global Understanding Case
If the World Were a Village of 100 People
(try a Google search and you'll get a lot of sites with this data.)

Points of Focus:
Multiple Perspectives
"Culture is something everybody has."
Build Cultural Bridges
Healing: Head - Heart - Hands
Be a Role Model for Co-Responsibility

Multiple Perspectives
Keep in mind that the winners write the history books.

For example, what about the "Civil" War? What perspectives are there about that war?

For example, how do the following groups view the building of the transcontinental railroad?
European Americans
Latino/Hispanic Americans
African Americans
Asian Americans
Native Americans

Even within those groups, every individual is different and therefore each has their own perspective.

Recognize all the perspectives around the table before making a decision.
Engage in conversation to understand multiple perspectives.

"Culture is something everybody has."
What are the elements of culture?
Celebrations & Ceremonies (Funerals, Weddings, etc.)
Economic Status

Surface vs. Deep Culture
Surface - easily observable - accent, behavior, customs, physical appearance
Deep - the things you don't see - "why", beliefs, values, perceptions, assumptions, emotionally charged, communication style

Build Cultural Bridges
Multiethnic --> Multicultural --> Global
Multiethnic -- you were born with this, you cannot change it
Multicultural -- these things are learned (see list above)
Global -- world culture -- every individual on the planet is unique and has their own ethnic, cultural, and global perspective

Healing: Head - Heart - Hands
Head - things we know in our head - factual information
Heart - attitudes & feelings
Hands - activities & actions

It takes these 3 steps for the healing process to begin.
We want healing to occur - healing a person, a community, a situation

Be a Role Model for Co-Responsibility
We need to be willing to stand up against social injustices we see.
This can be a hard thing to do, but we need to be brave enough to stand up for what is right.
Don't bring bias and prejudice into your classroom.
If we realize we have pieces of us with prejudices or bad feelings based on past experiences about certain cultures or ethinicities, we need to look at them, recognize them and change.
Don't let things go if you have an opportunity to stand up and teach respect.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Another Perfect Song

As my thoughts progress and I come to new stages in the decisions and challenges I am facing, I always seem to be blessed with a song that captures all my feelings at that moment. This song is perfect for me right now.

Jordin Sparks
One Step At A Time lyrics

Hurry up and wait
So close, but so far away
Everything that you've always dreamed of
Close enough for you to taste
But you just can't touch

You wanna show the world, but no one knows your name yet
Wonder when and where and how you're gonna make it
You know you can if you get the chance
In your face and the door keeps slamming
Now you're feeling more and more frustrated
And you're getting all kind of impatient waiting
We live and we learn to take

One step at a time
There's no need to rush
It's like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It's gonna happen when it's
Supposed to happen and we
Find the reasons why
One step at a time

You believe and you doubt
You're confused, you got it all figured out
Everything that you always wished for
Could be yours, should be yours, would be yours
If they only knew

You wanna show the world, but no one knows your name yet
Wonder when and where and how you're gonna make it
You know you can if you get the chance
In your face and the door keeps slamming
Now you're feeling more and more frustrated
And you're getting all kind of impatient waiting
We live and we learn to take

One step at a time
There's no need to rush
It's like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It's gonna happen when it's
Supposed to happen and we
Find the reasons why
One step at a time

When you can't wait any longer
But there's no end in sight
When you need to find the strength
It's your faith that makes you stronger
The only way we get there
Is one step at a time

Take one step at a time
There's no need to rush
It's like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It's gonna happen when it's
Supposed to happen and we
Find the reasons why
One step at a time

One step at a time
There's no need to rush
It's like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It's gonna happen when it's
Supposed to happen then we
Find the reasons why
One step at a time

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Keys on Main with Kat

I had a great birthday yesterday! I started the day by attending City Choir practice, where Emery had the choir sing "Happy Birthday" to me. We came home and Brian helped me make Puffed-Up Stuff (aka. German Pancake). I spent the afternoon playing on my computer, singing, buying music online, IMing friends, talking on the phone with good friends and family, and relaxing.

At about 8:30 pm I turned 31 years old! My friends and I then headed for Keys on Main, a dueling piano bar downtown. We had a lot of fun talking, laughing, eating, singing, and dancing. I got to go up on stage and dance for my birthday. I made Emery come up with me after about a minute, and there was some scandalous dancing then. ;) Later we got Sharon up on the stage too, since she is celebrating her last weekend of being single. When the piano players managed to play a few songs without swearing and dirty humor (the down side of the show), it was a great time! I think my favorite parts were the competitions between different sides of the room to see who could sing along the loudest and singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" at the top of my lungs with the piano players and the crowd. I actually know every single word of that song. Ha!

Present at the club last night were Katie (me), Emery, Michael, Kristine, Adam, Brian, Lee, Dennis, Sarah, Jeff, Sharon, and Jeff (Sharon's brother). I have good friends. :)

Along with yesterday's birthday festivities, I have also gotten some fun gifts from family and friends: chocolate (always a good thing), an Anne Taylor gift card (yes!), a card (funny!), a letter K wall hanging (cute!), a chair for my room (so great), and more chocolate (always a very good thing). Did I miss anything? Oh yes - my present to myself was a bunch of sheet music: some of my favorite Broadway shows and jazz standards.

So, a great birthday. I get to stretch it out for one more week, too! When my mom gets back from helping my sister with her new baby, we will celebrate together. And I am still looking forward to hanging out with my brother. And I think I need to blow out some candles at some point. I have already had several wishes come true even without that much-anticipated birthday wish, but a girl needs all the wishes she can get. :)

Thanks to everyone who wished me, "Happy birthday," and made me feel loved on my birthday!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How Many People Does it Take to Fly a Dog to Germany?

Answer: 20

2 women must walk the dog, drive her to the cargo area at the airport, and fill out paperwork.
1 man must unload the kennel from the car.
1 man must weigh the dog and the kennel.
1 man must be in charge of getting paperwork signed and entering information into the computer.
1 man must look over the computer man's shoulder to make sure he is doing things correctly, and of course confuse him with every comment he makes.
1 man must stand and pleasantly smile, every now and then chiming in with comments like, "Haven't you been here before?" and "You look very familiar." and "How many countries has this dog been to?"
1 man must know the computer codes and the airfare.
1 man must explain how to enter the codes and calculate the airfare on the computer.
1 man must roll his eyes and actually enter the codes when the others can't figure it out, then promptly leave the room again.
1 man must attempt to get the computer to say the correct airfare when it suddenly changes on the screen, since the check has already been written.
1 man must ask questions about professional basketball, since the topic of why the dog has flown all over the world has come up.
1 man must make photo copies of the paperwork.
1 man must confuse the man trying to make copies of the paperwork by referring to the paperwork by the wrong names. Said man must then stuff the paperwork into the correct baskets and envelopes.
6 men and women must pet, fawn over, laugh at, and adore the dog until she is loaded into her kennel and ready to go.

So, the Grand Total: 20

And that's not even counting the preparation involved before arriving at the airport: vet appointments, Department of Agriculture documentation, German paperwork, dog sitting, etc. Nor does it include transfers and layovers en route to Germany and customs and pick-up in Germany!

So, the New Grand Total: A LOT!

As you can tell, Emery and I had fun last night on our adventure dropping off my sister's dog, Harley, at the airport for her trip to Germany, where my sister and her family will be living for the next 10 months. We then spent another hour waiting for Emery's friend to arrive from Lithuania. The friend never did arrive, which was actually no surprise at all. (If you knew her, you wouldn't be surprised either.)

By the time we got back from the airport, my mom was due to arrive from from LA. She stayed in Utah for the night and brought me a birthday present: a new chair for my half-empty bedroom! Yay! Today she continued her drive to Idaho where my older sister just had her fourth baby girl, Jacey, early this afternoon. My mom said baby and mother are doing well. The baby "is perfect" and has her daddy's nose, as do all her sisters.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Birthday Is Coming!

My birthday is in 5 days! I've been so caught up in everything else going on, I haven't gotten all excited about my birthday yet. It's high-time I did. So, my new background is to help get the party started! I like it. It is very girlie, it has green, and it has glitter. Perfect. Happy birthday to me!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why Is The Sky Blue

There is a must-read website for those of you who would like to have scientific explanations for all those questions that are plaguing you. Questions like:
Why is the sky blue?
Why does the moon sometimes look bigger and othertimes look smaller?
What is the meaning of life?
Why do birds suddenly appear?
And, most importantly: When a cat is dropped it always lands on its feet. When buttered toast is dropped it always lands with the buttered side facing down. What would happen if a piece of buttered toast was attached to the back of a cat and the cat/buttered toast combination was dropped?
The answers to these important questions, and many more, can be found at Why Is The Sky Blue. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

I am lying here in my bed where I have been for the last two days. My back is in extreme pain and my heart is broken. So, how is it possible that I have a smile on my face and hope in the future? Once again, I am amazed at how loving and generous my Heavenly Father is. He has opened my eyes to the outpouring of blessings in my life. Perhaps that is why I go through times like this at all. I am forced to lie here - since I literally can't stand up - and think. And when I am forced to think, I go through the Katie cycle of emotions: fear, anger, confusion, frustration, despair, panic, resolve, determination, action, let-down, sadness. And then, when the whirlwind is finally over: peace, happiness, hope, and gratitude.

When I reached my gratitude phase today, I counted my blessings. Here is my list of things that made me laugh and smile the last few days, even as I lay flat on my stomach with an aching back and an aching heart:
  • Being able to roll over
  • Being able to brush my teeth
  • Putting on clean clothes
  • A ceiling fan
  • Texting
  • Sleep
  • My retainers
  • Windows
  • Listening for approaching cars
  • Putting on makeup
  • Uncrustable sandwiches from my mom
  • My iPhone
  • Music on my iPhone
  • Cheesy LDS boy bands
  • The white purse my mom bought me
  • Still not wanting to do homework, even though I am totally bored
  • Facebook messages from friends
  • Being able to laugh at the chirping fire alarm in my room when it wakes me up at 3:00 am
  • A nice, big, tall, comfy bed
  • An email titled "My favorite Katie!"
  • My 74-year-old bishop who picked me up to try to pop my back
  • A bishop who trusts my judgment
  • A bishop who tells me I can stay in the ward as long as I want to
  • A bishopric member who hugs me and kisses me on the head repeatedly
  • A bishopric member who asks me if "That Dutchman" is still following my roommate around
  • Smiling at the pork and sour kraut my mom bought me, I made, and my roommate heated up for me, even though I'm eating it lying on my tummy in my bedroom when I'd really rather be salsa dancing with all my friends
  • Laughing out loud at the Milli Vanilli lyrics stuck in my head
  • Wondering why that Milli Vanilli song isn't on iTunes, and laughing out loud again at the fact that I actually searched for it
  • Crawling down the hall with the sweat pants I tried to put on but couldn't wrapped around my neck, hoping the neighbor isn't watching me through his windows, then realizing how ridiculous I look and collapsing in fits of laughter right in front of the neighbor's open window
  • Laughing instead of crying when I can't lift my legs back onto my bed
  • Emery taking care of me
  • Visitors
  • Dennis and Sarah coming to visit with lunch and music
  • Brittney coming to visit the next day with my niece Ellie and lunch
  • Ellie's sense of humor: For example, today she was speaking with her bink in her mouth, so her words sounded like total jibberish. We told her to take her bink out so we could understand what she was saying. She obediently took it out of her mouth and repeated what she had said, which was in fact total jibberish! I know you had to be there, but we all laughed and laughed.
  • Ellie spreading noodles on my phone cover, dropping crumbs in my bed, spreading mac & cheese all over her face, and putting mac & cheese into my checkbook
  • Ellie pretending to call "Aunt Kat" on Mommy's cell phone
  • Ellie actually managing to send Aunt Kat a text on Mommy's cell phone
  • A friend who will make your bed for you when the sheets are all crumby and torn out from an "almost 2"-year-old's visit
  • Realizing your niece left a container of butter on your windowsill
  • Friends and family
  • Derrick keeping me company
  • The courage to say how I feel
  • Answers to prayers, big and small
  • Priesthood blessings
  • Faith
  • Trust
  • Knowing where I stand, even when it hurts

Monday, September 1, 2008

I'm Walkin', Baby

Tonight is a beautiful night! I feel so happy. I'm still coughing like crazy, I still have a sore back, and what has been consuming all my thoughts, energy, and emotions lately seems not to be going the way I want it to. But, I am so blessed. I had a wonderful day with my mom, sister, brother, and niece. The sky tonight is clear and blue and clean from the rain storm. The air is crisp and refreshing. I went for a walk and had a bounce in my step and a smile on my face despite, or maybe in spite of, the fact that nothing seems to be turning out the way my heart wants it to. Here's why: I know I am loved. I know there is something in store for me far better than I could ever plan for myself. I know the heavens watch over me. I know I am a good person. I know I have spunk and fire, sensitivity and charity. I know exactly who I am. I am hopeful and I am happy. So, come what may. Things may turn out as I want them to after some time passes, or they may not. Either way, I am happy because I choose to be. I am happy because I want to be. I am happy because my Heavenly Father and His Son support me in every step I take. I am happy because I know exactly who I am.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So Ready

I don't know if I've ever been this ready to go off track this early in the school year! I am so ready for a break. I am tired, I don't feel well (cough, cough), I am overwhelmed with tech work (that blasted AR program!), and I am anxious and emotionally strained. I have a lot on my plate and on my mind, I guess.

The kids are actually behaving pretty well, teaching is going well, and I like my teammates at work. I have great friends and loving family. I love the gospel and I like who I am. So, I'm not complaining. I'm actually very happy, generally speaking. I'm just ready to have a break, that's all. I think it may be because this upcoming off-track time will be full of big events, decisions, and changes:
  • I will turn 31 in a few weeks, which means I will be leaving my LDS YSA (young single adult) ward. I told myself I wouldn't decide where to go to church until I was off-track because I am too busy right now to think clearly. So, that decision is looming.
  • I am planning on doing a financial overhaul in September, and I'm waiting to talk to my home loan officer when I go off-track.
  • My hairstylist retired (I know... WHAT??!!) so I will be making an appointment with his replacement when I'm off-track.
  • I have a t-chart to make when I go off-track to help me make another decision.
  • I am performing a song in church on September 21, and I can't think about what to sing or have rehearsals until I'm off-track.
  • I have two weddings of good friends to attend at the end of September, supposedly on the same day as a stake activity I'm partially in charge of, so I'll be figuring that out.
  • And I want to lose 50 pounds in September. ;)
(Just to name a few of the things I have coming up...)

So, you can see I've got a lot to do, but I can't start on it all until I regain sanity with off-track status. So, I am very anxious for next Friday to get here! Of course, my off-track time will not really be a break because it will be spent doing grad school homework, but oh well. At least I'll be moving forward with some things I have been anticipating. I hope.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Did you know that every time I use a public restroom I make sure that I get completely dressed before I flush the toilet out of fear that the toilet will overflow. I want to be sure that if that ever happens, and I have to run out of the overflowing bathroom stall, at least I'll have all my clothes on.

Want to know another one of my phobias?

Did you know that I have a fear of water plants? Yes. They scare me. I think about the things that could be lurking in them and the microorganisms living on them waiting to infect you. Gross. They smell and they're slimy and you never know what is swimming around down there in them.

In fact, one time my little brother, David, and I were in a canoe on my uncle's lake in Michigan. We got out of the boat to explore the shore a little, and when we returned to the canoe David decided to push the boat, which I was already in, away from the dock, then jump for it to make it back into the boat himself. I knew this was going to be bad! The canoe tipped, dumping David and me into the lake. I found myself in shallow, absolutely disgusting lake water. I was completely surrounded by lake plants, slime, smelly foam, and the kind of muck that would suck you and your shoes down to the depths of the lake, never to return. I think it was the only honest-to-goodness panic attack I've ever had. I couldn't breath. I refused to put my legs down further into the awful lake. I was freaking out. I think I may have drown had David not been there to help me to the shore. I don't think David has ever been the same since that day in the canoe.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Songs of the Week

Both have perfect lyrics.

"What About Now"

Jericho Road
"You Melt the Madness"

Friday, August 22, 2008

Quote of the Day

I have another funny conversation to report from my new 6th graders:

In science class today, one of the boys looked at me and said, "Miss Blunt, you look really tired today."
I patiently smiled and said, "You know, that's probably true - because I am tired today - but let me tell you something. You really should not ever tell a girl she looks tired."
Another boy looked at him and said, "That's true. You know, you really shouldn't ever say anything to a girls except, 'You look pretty.'"
The first boy responded, "Oh... You're right... Miss Blunt, you look so pretty today!"
I laughed and said, "Thank you! You are smart boys." :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


It has been the week of injuries! I showed you my beautiful toe injury from about a month and a half ago, but that really is nothing compared to the way that my leg looked after stake softball last Saturday. I didn't think it was a big deal at first, but I quickly realized where the ball had hit my leg was really hurting. By the time I got home from our game, I couldn't believe how much it hurt to put weight on that leg. Then, in the shower I bent down to look at it and actually got light-headed from the pain. It was so crazy! I had a lump sticking out from my leg a good 2 inches at least, and it was already turning all kinds of fun colors. I propped it up and iced it while I took a nap, and that helped it go down significantly. I limped a little and had to put it up every few hours for the rest of the week.

Here are pictures of it on day 4:
The pictures don't really do the bruise that spread over my leg, puffed up my ankle, and settled into my foot the justice it deserves, but you get the idea. Once it stopped hurting, it was really quite fun to have such an impressive bruise. It still hasn't gone away. The bump is still there, and the bruise is now yellow and red.

Last night, I played football at ward Family Home Evening, and managed to add a couple more injuries to my list. I jammed my thumb trying to catch a pass and was unable to do much of anything all day today. The kids at school had to help me use scissors, open dry erase markers, etc. And, in an attempt to dodge my opponent, I slipped, got punched in the face, and landed on my knee. No black eye, but a nice swollen, purple knee.

Sports are sooo fun... :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Google Me

I found this idea on Emery's blog, so I'm trying it too. Here's how it works: for every category, perform a Google image search and post your favorite picture on your blog. You can only choose from the first page of results! Have fun!

My Name: Katie

(I don't really like cats, but my family does call me Kat. And the other pics weren't quite appropriate...)

The City Where I Was Born: Escondido

A Past Love

Favorite Object

Favorite City: San Diego

Favorite Food Right Now: Chicken Souvlaki with Lemon Rice

Favorite Color

One of My Bad Habits

My First Job

A Future Job

A Place I Would Like to Live: Boston (I don't know... maybe.)

My Age: "Thirty is the new twenty... but with less angst and more wisdom."

I know this has nothing to do with my age, but it came up and I thought it was funny. :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Homework Distraction

Some of you may know that I was voted "MVP" of the faculty vs. 6th grade softball game at the end of the school year a few weeks ago. OK, so there wasn't really a vote, but some of the kids unofficially gave me that honor. This was mostly because I managed to get on base each time I hit, and because of my very dramatic "slip on the grass and crawl back to third base" move. I also played catcher in the big game and managed to get my toe crunched by a student who slid in to home plate on top of my foot. It was a great time.

After the game, I hobbled just a little on that poor big toe and watched as the faintest hint of purple formed at the top of the toenail. Shortly after the school year ended, I got a pedicure which covered the toenail with red polish. Today the polish came off to reveal a spectacularly purple nail! It looks so much more impressive than it did a few week ago! I'm very excited. I am of the opinion that if you're going to get an injury, particularly one that came from doing something cool, it ought to be a noticeable one. OK, so maybe not always, but at least when only a toe is involved.

So, for your viewing pleasure... my purple big toe!

Sorry if the sight of my foot grosses you out. :)

Now I need to get back to my homework.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Coming to a Close

My summer semester is coming to a close soon. It's finals week and I just have to finish my website by Tuesday. I have been pretty stressed out, though, with starting the new school year while ending my grad school semester. But I am surviving.

I'll write more about my new school year soon, but I thought I'd do a quick entry today (since it has been a while) and post a fun website a classmate showed me. It is . Check out the "Time for Some Campaignin'" movie. So funny!

I'll also post my Flash movie that I turned in for my Multimedia class.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dancing Queen

I am still hard at work in my grad school classes (see my blog list), and I am hard at work again at work. :) We have one more week left in the school year. We have been building and launching rockets, playing in a softball tournament, reading like mad to finish our class novel, Among the Barons, and DANCING!

Thursday is the annual end-of-year 6th grade dance, and to ensure the kids have plenty of moves to do, I have been teaching them dance routines to songs from every decade from the 1940's to the 1990's. I actually have dance moves I could teach them clear back to the "aught's", as Emery calls them, but we don't have any more time to learn them all. I have had a ton of fun teaching them. I have danced about and hour and a half every day for the last 3 weeks! You'd think that between all that cardio and watching my diet (which I have been doing, E & B) I would have lost a few pounds. Alas, as far as I can tell this is not the case. Sigh... But, at least I've been having a ton of fun. I LOVE dancing! I don't love being sweaty every day and having my hair all funky-do-wa, but I do love dancing.

In the past months I have been so into the astronomy I have been teaching that I have even been dreaming of space! For example, did you know that solar winds strong enough to blow us right off the surface of our planet are blowing at the earth every day?! The only thing that protects us from these winds is the invisible magnetic forcefield created because of the earth's iron core. But, little bits of the energy from these winds get through the forcefield, and when they do they create spectacular light shows we know as Auroras. Fascinating, don't you think? Well, apparently I thought so because I had dreams about solar winds and Auroras for a whole week! There are worse things I could dream about. :)

Despite all my business, I was able to get everything done a little early so I could take a trip with three of my friends to Las Vegas this past weekend. So fun! Here's my brief summary of our mini vacation:
The gas may have been expensive, but I did win $60.
I didn't buy anything at the mall, but I was able to demonstrate that my blanket can do anything Sharon's new dress can do.
The shows may not have been everything we expected, but the adventure certainly was.
I may not have slept well, but I got to laugh at Emery talking to me in her sleep.
My dinner may not have been up to par, but the chocolate was.
The elevators and valet may have taken an eternity, but the people watching during the waits was better than anywhere else on earth.
I didn't get to see Bette Midler perform, but I did get serenaded by Emery and Bethany.
I may have gotten my behind pinched, but I got to dance!
It was a long drive, but so worth the chance to talk with Beth, Sharon, and Emery.
It was definitely very hot there, but so were we!
So, I'd say it was a great trip! I'm looking forward to the next one!

I'd better get to bed so I am not so exhausted again tomorrow. All the activities of my day can really wear me out!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Katie's Rules

Apparently there are some definite DOs and DON'Ts at my house and in my presence that are somewhat unspoken, but helpful if known. Emery and Brian are helping me produce a list of rules of conduct that I expect people to follow while with me. This is a work in progress, so my list may be updated and added to. If you have any suggestions of rules that should be included, leave a comment and I may add them.

•You must use politically correct terms and proper grammar.
•No tickling, and no requests to be tickled.
•Never wear ugly red shirts - you never know who you might meet that day.
•No talking about personal hygiene in the kitchen.
•Do not talk to Katie right after she has woken up.
•Never throw surprise parties. Ever.
•Only positive self-talk.
•Never talk about The Great IPTA. Ever.
•Only church music or mellow music may be played on Sunday.
•Do not insult Katie's blanket.
•No cutting hair in the house.
•Use extreme caution when touching Katie.
•Do not sit on the couch pillows.
•Do not insult Katie's piano.
•When Katie wants to dance, you dance!
•You may not complain if the ice maker (or anything else in the house) is broken unless you intend to pay for it to be fixed.
•Never refer to Katie, or any other teacher, as "rich" or "loaded".
•If Katie covers up her head, it is best to move on to a different topic of conversation.
•It is often necessary to disregard mean, strange, or intimidating facial expressions.
•Stinky cheese is not allowed. But, if stinky cheese must be had, a warning is appreciated.
•Squash should not be left in the oven.
•Cooking S'mores should not result in the fire alarm sounding.
•You may not complain about the size of the television unless you intend to buy Katie a larger television.
•The light brown blanket is designated as Katie's back blanket.
•A laugh from Katie can have a variety of meanings.
•Certain words are prohibited:
fart (You may say 'toot' or 'sparkle'.)
crap (I can't believe I even just typed that!)
Oriental (unless you are referring to rugs)

I hope you find these rules helpful and informative. As I said, be sure to add any rules or forbidden words you can think of. And check back to see what has been added to the list!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

This morning Emery and I met Brian and Derrick for breakfast at Dee's. It was fun to spend time with them. After our meal, as we waited for Derrick at the cash register, in walked President and Sister Monson! (Over a year ago I had thought that I had seen President Monson at the same Dee's as I drove by, so he must frequent the restaurant.) Emery said good morning and President Monson said good morning as well. He said he was just trying to remember what country he was in today. "I think I'm in Salt Lake again," he laughed. "We're here to enjoy some breakfast... or is it lunch? What do you call it when it's between breakfast and lunch?"

"Brunch," I replied.

He laughed again and said, "Yes! That is the word for it, isn't it?"

He motioned for his wife to sit down on the benches while they waited for a table, then looked to see if we were in need of sitting on the benches. We motioned for him to go ahead and sit. "Well, you're young, I suppose. You don't need to sit down, do you?"

I told him, "Oh, we're on our way out anyway."

"Oh don't say that!" he replied. "That makes it sound like you're on your way out of this life!"

I laughed and said, "I'm not ready for that yet!"

"Well, no! You just got here!"

We all laughed again.

When Derrick was done paying his portion of the check, he turned around to realize what was going on. He was hesitant to interrupt Pres. Monson's conversation with some other Dee's customers, but he clearly wanted to shake hands with Pres. Monson and meet him. With some encouragement, he waited for a pause in the conversation, then Pres. Monson reached out his hand and shook Derrick's hand, then mine. He commented that Derrick was wearing his high school colors. "West High." he said. "She (pointing to his wife) went to East High, and I went to
West High. My school was finally honored as being Utah's best high school this year. It's always been her high school that won, but finally my high school did."

It was fun to see the president of the church in such normal, every day circumstances and remember that even with the great spirituality and responsibilities that come with being the Lord's prophet, he is also just a person. I have met him once before when I worked at Aspen Grove and he came to do a fireside. He is very tall, and very friendly. I thought today he looked particularly vibrant and happy. He has a fun personality and sense of humor and is loving and kind and patient. What an enjoyable experience.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Things Kids Say...

Teaching 6th grade provides a lot of interesting experiences. Kids really do say funny things sometimes. Some things they say to me are sweet, some are cute, some are harsh, and some are just strange. This BLOG entry is dedicated to some of the crazy kid quotes I've heard over the years.

After calling a student by their first and last name, another student said, "Wow. How do you know everyone's last names?"

Student: "How old are you?"
Me: "How old do you think I am?"
Student: "You don't look a day over 22. So how old are you?"
Me: "30."
Student: "30?! Oh! You need to find yourself a husband!"

One year I had a boy in my math class who thought it was very entertaining to respond to everything I said with, "Are you sure?"
For example:
Me: "So, the answer to number five is 32."
Boy: "Are you sure?"
Another example:
Me: "Your homework tonight is the worksheet I gave you in class."
Boy: "Are you sure?"
You get the idea. One day in class I had had quite enough of his "Are you sure?"s, so I said to him: "If you say, 'Are you sure?' one more time I'll send you to Think Time!"
Boy: "Are you..." and he quickly slapped his hands over his mouth.
I admit I couldn't help but laugh.

Ancient Egypt test question: In at least one paragraph, explain why the Nile river is often called the 'life-blood of Egypt'.
Student Answers:
  • It could be because it meant every thing to them. It would give them water. I gave them water for there plants. It gave them the ability to travel faster and cary hever things that they would trade. It expeshally helped them for wars and other things like that.
  • They used it to live, for irrigation, and for their cows. They drank the water, grew crops. And fed their cows who gave milk. Which left them with strong bones to get more water from the Nile.
  • The Nile river is called the life-blood of Egypt because it provides water. A nother reason why is it grows plants like the reed plant other nowen as papyrus. And it helps grows food. the farmers use it to grow there crops. It helps ceep animals and the Egyptians alive and usually fish live in water.
  • The Nile was how the Egyptians survived, it was used for irrigation, building, water, the animals needwater so the Egyptians could have bacon ect.

Student: "You don't dress like a teacher."
Me: "Well, I wear jeans on Fridays because it's a short day for students and I have to do things around the room once you're gone, like clean up and climb on chairs. I can dress more formally if you think I should."
Student: "No, that's not what I mean. You just don't wear weird sweaters and apple pins."
Me: "I can wear apple pins if you want me too."
Student: "No! I don't want you to wear an apple pin. I like the way you dress. I just mean you dress better than most teachers. I mean, you wear things from American Eagle. It's cool."
Me: "Oh. Well, thank you."

Student: "If you weren't a teacher, what would you want to be?"
Me: "A Broadway star."
Student: "Oh ya. I can see that happening because you're so pretty."
Me: "Thank you!"

Student: "Do you want to buy my school pictures? I know you said you like them, but my mom doesn't. So, do you want to buy them?"

My first year of teaching, the day before we went off for winter break, I stood in front of the class opening Christmas gifts the students had given me. One girl gave me a ceramic figurine of two snowmen - a girl and a boy - snuggling close together in the cold.
Me: "This is a perfect gift because I don't have..."
Boy in class: "... a husband."
Me: "Ahem. I was going to say, 'very many Christmas decorations.'"

Following are two excerpts from student essays about the extinction of a dinosaur called the Coelophysis. They first read a story giving a lot of possible causes for the death of this group of dinosaurs. Their assignment was to decide which theory they thought really happened and give supporting evidence for their answer.

  • I think the reason why they all died in the same place is because they ran out of food and water supplies. Or, there might have been a big fight to the death, and after they died they ate each other because they were cannibals.
  • I think a drought struck and all the water dried up. Then the Coelophysis laid down and died, some of them in puddles.

While out helping the students who were on Safety Patrol duty, I noticed one student who was yelling at the other children to try to get them to stop running.
Me: "You shouldn't just yell at the kids to walk because..."
Student: "I know. I know why. It hurts their ego-system."

World War II Test Question: Name the Central Powers.
Answer: Friendship, Love, and Caring
World War II Test Question: Name the Axis Powers.
Answer: Team Work, Hard Work, Niceness, and Happiness

Kids... you've got to love them.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Summer Classes

This semester in grad school I am taking a Multimedia class and a Web Design class. I'm excited about them. In the Multimedia class we will be learning to use Adobe Photoshop and Flash. So far we have just been practicing different tools in Photoshop. To see my assignments, you can go to my EDPS 6560 blog. In my Web Design class we will be learning to use DreamWeaver and Fireworks. There's not much there yet, but you can visit my EDPS 6447 blog too.

The last few days have been somewhat gloomy here. We went from 95 degree temperatures on Monday to rain and COLD weather again! Tonight it looks like the clouds are clearing away, so I'm hoping tomorrow will be a perfect Spring day. I'm looking forward to going on my morning runs/walks again. It's been too cold! Here's hoping for sunshine!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Break! Sort Of.

I finished off spring semester of grad school two weeks ago. I earned A's in both classes again. (Yay!) And I finally got a bit of a break. Well... at least a two week break from grad school, but teaching school has been plenty busy. I will get another break from teaching when I go off track this Friday. Well... at least a break from teaching, but grad school starts up again Tuesday. At least one thing at a time is better than everything at once.

So I know you're wondering how things went with my class performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". I left everyone hanging for a while, and I'm sorry! It turned out very well! I did end up wiring Oberon to help him with his lines, but by the last performance he only needed me for a couple of lines. Vast improvement.

Between running the spot, the lights, the sound, and feeding lines, I was running out of arms to do everything, so I asked Brian to help out with lights and sound. He was a huge help! I'm not sure he loved all the adults assuming he was a parent volunteer, and he probably didn't love the 12-year-olds asking him if he "likes" me, but he was a trooper. I couldn't have done it without him.

Brian was also hooked up to the radio with a wire in his ear so I could give him lighting and sound cues. This made for some interesting moments. When I first read Oberon's lines to him, Brian responded with, "What?! I don't know what you said!" while Oberon stood on stage looking around very puzzled. And when Brian said to me over the radio, "Your wish is my command," Oberon found it very amusing and asked if I remembered that he could hear everything we said. The secretaries in the office could hear everything we were saying too and were shocked at what sounded like risqué phrases. They didn't know what to think of lines like, "I'll put love potion in your eyes" and "I must be thy lord" being whispered over the radio.

Puck was most definitely the star of the show. She was a fantastic actor! She had to be one of the best Pucks I have seen. She worked hard to get her lines down and followed my direction so well, but also added a lot of her own character and ideas to the part. In rehearsals her efforts to remember her lines were quite comical at times. One day while practicing the scene where she tricks Lysander and Demetrius into following her through the woods she accidentally shouted, "Come, thou coward! I'll smite thee with the Iron Rod!" She stopped and looked confused for a moment, then she and I both laughed so hard we cried. Between the bursts of laughter and the gasps for air she managed to explain that she had learned about that in church the previous Sunday. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.

The Workmen of Athens did a wonderful job with their "play within a play" at the end of the show. Very funny. Pyramus hammed up his acting and Thisby used a hilarious high-pitched voice. I loved the way Wall performed her part too.

We only had a couple of disasters:
Oberon skipped two entire pages of the script in one show, but Puck was determined to say her favorite lines, so she went back two pages when she came on stage! It didn't completely make sense. But then, what 4th and 5th grade audience members can really tell what Shakespeare is saying anyway?
In another show, Hermia fell down the stairs in the dark just before the last scene. A fairy came running across the stage to inform me. I saw a teacher from the audience go back stage to see if she was alright, so I waited an extra minute. When all seemed well again, I turned on the lights. Hermia came limping on stage with tears in her eyes (ironic since her character had just been married). I later learned that her fellow thespians had said to her, "Get up! The show must go on!" and inspired her to continue. :)

At the end of the last performance, as Puck finished her famous ending monologue, before I was able to turn off the lights I heard Puck say, "But wait!" I was terrified of what she was doing - she can be just as mischievous as her character - and apparently my face showed my fear. She continued, "We would liketh to thanketh our teacher for directing our play." A fairy ran on stage with roses and I was waved onto the stage. It was a very sweet, fun presentation.

So, despite the stress the preparations for our performances caused, I can now say "All's well that ends well" after the production of our play.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I've been quite busy lately, so I haven't added much, but I figured I'd take just a moment tonight to jot some things down even though it's WAY past my bedtime.

I've been working with my class on our production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". It's coming along quite well, but I wish we had 2 more weeks. We do not. Our dress rehearsal is Thursday and our performances start Monday. Yikes! Oberon and Puck still don't even have their lines memorized! I'm considering drastic measures, like wiring Oberon and feeding him his lines. I'm serious. I just might do it! Not everything is so desperate though. I do have to say the costumes are going to look great. And Titania's bower is very cool. I've created it out of my purple beanbag and this gauzy canopy I own. Very magical.

Also at work, we have had a guest artist coming in to work with the kids. Arlo Johnson comes just about every year to teach the kids about art and do some drawing and painting with them. He's a nice guy and makes it fun for them.

I have just two more weeks of grad school this semester, so I am working to complete my final projects. I'm getting close.

Emery's birthday is this Sunday. We're having a party at our house on Saturday evening - BBQ, S'mores, Karaoke. Anyone who wants to come, just email me and I'll add you to the evite.

That's it for now. I am really tired. I have to work tomorrow and then I'm going to the temple in the evening. And somewhere in there I really need to call my mommy back.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

LDS General Conference

The 178th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints was held Saturday and Sunday. Emery and I were able to attend the Saturday morning session of Conference where we were able to participate, along with church members world-wide, in the sustaining of President Thomas S. Monson as the president of the Church.

We continued to be uplifted and instructed in the all of the conference sessions. Following are highlights from two talks given in the last session. There were, of course, so many talks that were wonderful. The transcripts and video of General Conference will be available soon on the Church website. I strongly recommend you take time to watch, listen to, or read the talks that were given, particularly the address by President Monson during the Sunday morning session.

Continuing Revelation
Elder Hollan

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a Christian church.
We believe in the Godhead as three separate beings.
We believe in continuing revelation and guidance from God.
These differences from Protestant Christian churches does not mean we are not Christian. On the contrary, these beliefs are what the scriptures and Jesus himself taught.

Meaningful Prayer - Ask in Faith

Elder Bednar

How can we have more effective prayers?

Act upon the things you have asked of Heavenly Father.
Act, don't just express.
Pray for discernment and for our eyes to open to what the Lords would have us do.
Pray for the strength to act as we know we should.

Dispute not because ye see not.
Don't lose faith just because you don't see answers right away.
Answers may not come in the way and the time frame we expect.

Recognize and accept the will of God in our lives.
"Let thy will be done."
Pray for understanding the Lord's will.
Pray for help in surrendering our will to God's will.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Big Announcement!

I'm engaged! Yes, it's true! I know, I know. You are all saying, "What? I didn't even know you were dating someone!" Well, I admit it has been a bit of a whirlwind. I never thought I would be someone to fall in love so quickly, but... what can I say?

"So who is this guy?" That's your next question, right? Let me introduce you to my fiancé:
His name is Steve Rossi, but everyone just calls him Rossi. He's tall, and I think he's terribly handsome. (I'll post a picture at the end of this post.) We met in grad school in August, so we've known each other for just over 7 months. It wasn't really until the last couple of months that we started to get more serious. But once we did, things just clicked!

Rossi and I have a lot in common. For one thing, he is a teacher. (I know. I never planned on marrying another teacher. But, again, what can I say? When you're in love... ) He actually teaches math and psychology at the high school just a few blocks away from my house. He's funny and talkative and loves to laugh -- just like me!

In other ways, though, I think our relationship is a case of opposites attract. Rossi is a bit irreverent at times. :) Anyone who know me is aware that I'm fairly conservative when it really comes down to it. He says that I am a good influence on him and that his job is to make me loosen up. It's a good combination.

Ok, well that's all for now. I'll be sure to give everyone more details soon. And as soon as we have a date I'll post it so everyone can plan on being at the wedding. We're thinking we'll get married in San Diego, but we'll have some sort of open house or reception here too. Rossi says he's always wanted to have a reception at the Wheeler Family Farm. I hope he's kidding... :)

I am so excited and happy!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Kissin' Dairy Goodbye!

I had a great first week back on track. The kids are always well-behaved and things are just fun. Why any person would want to be on a traditional schedule is beyond me. Year-round is the BEST. But, I digress... The only thing I'm a little worried about is how in the world we're going to be ready to perform our Shakespeare play in 3 weeks! Yikes! But I've scheduled a ton of rehearsal time, so here's hoping.

Last night, Emery, Kristine, and I went to dinner at Bombay House. Yum! Kristine deserved a treat because she has been working hard on her thesis (she's almost done!) and Emery and I just like to eat yummy food I guess. ;) While ordering, I decided to find out for certain whether coconut milk has any dairy product in it or not. I thought not, but I take no chances. So, using my iPhone of course, I googled the question. I found out that those with dairy allergies or lactose intollerance can indeed eat coconut milk. I am getting better and better at this non-dairy life! (I should be! I've been officially non-dairy for almost 8 years now!) Here are some of my favorite non-dairy websites / products:

Turtle Mountain (So Delicious, Soy Delicious, and Purely Decadent ice cream)
Tofutti (Better Than Sour Cream and Better Than Cream Cheese)
Dairy Free Living (check out the FAQs link)

After a day of grant-writing I am ready for a little entertainment. So, Emery and I are now on our way to the ward activity: A Night of Debates. Hmm... Should be interesting. I'll let you know how it goes.

My music listening choices this week have been Jo Dee Messina and The Kinleys. (I've been going through all my country CDs I haven't listened to in a while. It's driving Emery a little crazy, but you know, that's really what I'm here for.) The Jo Dee Messina song that has hit the spot is "These Are the Days". It's a great celebrating-the-good-things-in-life song. I used to listen to it a lot when I lived in "my sunny room" at Bobby's house:

I wake up to the sunshine out my window
And the passin’ sound of a homeless man

Singin’ an ol’ Cole Porter song.
The faucet leaks, the TV’s on the blink again
But my restless dreams are still intact
Even though it’s takin’ way too long.
Got a hundred dollars in a coke tin on my shelf
And I've been thinkin’ to myself, whoa

These are the days you will remember
For the rest of your life.

These are the memories you’ll pack in a box
And you'll pull out sometimes.

So pick your flowers, count the seconds, roll the dice
But baby, don’t wait ‘till its too late.
Put a smile on your face.
These are the days.

Outside the people rush to get ahead
For checks and promotions and fancy cars.

Happiness is just around the bend.
Old Mrs. Jones sits out and suns her face,
And as I walk by I hear her say,

"This is as good as it gets."
There goes the business suit who owns this whole darn block.
His roller coaster never stops.
I wanna say to him:

These are the days you will remember
For the rest of your life.

These are the memories you’ll pack in a box
And you'll pull out sometimes.

So pick your flowers, count the seconds, roll the dice
But baby, don’t wait ‘till its too late.
Put a smile on your face.
These are the days.

For some reason, even when I am not sad myself, I often like to listen to sad songs. I guess I'm just sort-of sappy and girlie that way. I mean... I'm just really sensitive and deep. Yes, that sounds better. I think I like them because they remind me of the times in my life when I have felt something similar to the emotions expressed in the songs. It's good to remember those times. It's bitter-sweet. The songs help me realize I have learned a lot and have come out stronger because of the experiences I have had. "Contradiction" by The Kinleys is one of those good sad songs:

Joel was her only son
Trouble was his way of having fun
With the wrong crowd
He was heading for kingdom come
What should a mother do?
She'll have to let go to get through
If she could she'd send him away for his own good

It's such a contradiction
To love someone enough to walk away
The curse of benediction
Is the pain that just won't go away
La la la la
It's such a contradiction

Penny was just sixteen
Answering someone else's dream
With her child
'Cause they had what she couldn't provide
What should a mother do?
She had to let go to get through
If she could she wouldn't do what's for his own good

It's such a contradiction
To love someone enough to walk away
The curse of benediction
Is the pain that just won't go away
La la la la
It's such a contradiction