Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Abstract Approved!!!

I just got confirmation that my abstract for my Master's Thesis has been approved.   The idea works, the proposed process works, I'm good to go. 
Now the work really begins. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Confessions of a Bibliophile - Part One

Bibliophile - a lover of books

When I was two years old, my favorite book was The Animals of Farmer Jones.  I loved this book so much that I had it memorized with the appropriate page turns so that it looked like I was reading.  I still have a decent portion of it rattling around in my head, "It's supper time on the farm, the animals are hungry, but where is Farmer Jones..."  I loved books.

It is a little known fact that my education started at Parowan Elementary.  I went to school there for all of Kindergarten and half of first grade when my family moved to Cedar (because my dad was tired of driving back and forth to work - have you ever noticed how cyclical life can be sometimes?).  

I remember really liking my Kindergarten teacher.  Her name was Mrs. Topham and for Halloween (when kids could still go to school in costumes) she and I were both a witch.  Sure, you may think that's pretty normal, but we both had red broomsticks too.  I remember it was about that time of year that I had a much older kid (probably a second or third grader) call me a Kindergarten Baby, and I laughed at them because little did they know I was the oldest of then three kids and hadn't been a baby for quite some time.  And they thought they were so smart. 

I don't remember my first first grade teacher at all.  I'm sure she was nice, but I remember that we had reading groups that we would break up into and sit at the tables.  She did a bird theme.  There were the eagles, robins, sparrows, falcons and bluebirds.  Seems harmless enough, right? Well, everyone knew why the eagles were the eagles and why the bluebirds were the bluebirds.  I was a bluebird.  I don't remember being able to read at all in that class (granted those memories are few and far between).  

It's not as though my parents had much control over who was my teacher, but I personally think there was some divine intervention because I got Mrs. Ipson (some of you may remember her...).  She had this shelf on the outside of her classroom (remember how the halls weren't really halls in the lower grades, but just half walls with bookshelves?).  Each of these books had colored tape, white, yellow, red, green, purple, blue, brown and black.  
Light colored tape was an easier book and they got harder as the color got darker.   Mrs. Ipson didn't put us in tables with pretend names to cover abilities.  She said it didn't matter who read what color.  What was important was that everyone had the chance to read.  And she did not allow comparing or teasing of any kind.

When I entered Mrs. Ipson's class I was reading yellow.  I don't know why, whether it just took a little longer for it to click or I just needed the right system or what, but I remember thinking I wanted to read black (I think I may have mentioned a time or two before that I am very competitive - I want to be the best).  

Something clicked.  I remember not being able to wait for reading time in first grade.  I didn't want to go out to recess because I wanted to read.  I thought about lying about being sick so I didn't have to go out, but knew that my Primary teacher said lying was bad and my mom had this FHE lesson about it, so I didn't (but I really wanted to).  

I started flying through the colors like crazy.  There were all these great stories and I didn't want to stop just because we were at the end of a chapter - I wanted to read the whole thing.  I read everything I could get my hands on.  

My first love in the world was books.  And by the end of that first grade year, I was reading the great hard-bound black taped books.  Even when I didn't have great experiences with teacher continuing through some of elementary, I still loved books. 

The reason for this memory and the others that will follow soon? (really, I can't explain all of the book-loving craziness in just one post)  I saw Mrs. Ipson last night, wanted to catch up with her to tell her thank you, but missed her.  She started the process of me becoming a bibliophile.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


In her spare time, my mom is Wonder Woman. (Okay, not really, but she could be.)

She currently is self-employed - teaching about 50 piano students a week (that's 25 hours of listening to the piano a week!!!)

She cooks dinner for 14 or so people at least once a month when we are all there.

In the last 10 years, she made four wedding dresses, two blessing gowns, all the bridesmaid skirts for three of the weddings, four wedding cakes, refreshments for the receptions, centerpieces for the weddings, watched toddlers when siblings were being born, babysat my kids when I did my student teaching, canned a ridiculous amount of salsa and chicken, etc.

Then, in her "spare" time, she makes pieced quilts that she just gives to people.

Or a full blown wedding cake just for a young women's activity.

Or cutting, rounding and polishing little pieces of granite to give to all the young women at girl's camp one year.

Or feeding the entire varsity basketball team ribs, etc. for lunch on two separate occasions.

I get seriously anxiety over the prospect of someone in my ward meeting her because they will see what she can do and think I can do that too.

I can't crochet - I've been taught more times that I can remember.

I can't quilt - I think I set the world record for bending more needles in any amount of time.

And I really can't make this.

This was the cake she made Thursday night for Ryan because every year the top ten candidates for most preferred* make a cake to have it auctioned off at school as a fund raiser for Mohey Tawa (our high school drill team who incidently took 2nd at state this year).

Yea, she made that in one night.

That's just ridiculous.

*Most Preferred is kindof the way to equal out the awards given at dances. The boys all have to do a skit in front of the student body and present their cakes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Miiissseeess Seeegmiiiilleeer?

As many of you know last year was my first year of teaching.  After a teacher decided to retire, the option to teach Juniors presented itself and I decided that that could be a change that I would enjoy and made the switch.  

I was right.  

I love teaching Juniors.  I love this age, as they are learning life's lessons, have a bit more maturity, I like the curriculum better...it's just been a good change.

Because of this, though, that means that many of the students who I taught last year, I may have the opportunity to teach again next year.  Now granted, there are some who I'm not sure that I'm all that excited about dealing with again (and so it goes) but as students are starting to think about their next year's schedule, etc.  I have had many walk into my classroom with few variations on this conversation.

Student - "Mrs. Seeeegmiiiilleeer???"

Me - "Yeeesssss?"

Student - "So, do I get you for English again next year?"

Me - "Well, you will probably have either me or Mrs. Esplin.  I promise you will enjoy whichever one you get - we actually have similar teaching styles."
 (there is another teacher who picked up two sections of Jr. English this year, but we don't know what she will teach next year because she also does computers and drama, and if there are fewer AP English students next year, Esplin will pick up another Jr, etc....)

Student - "Well, I really hope I get you."

Really, these conversations make my day, because let's face it, not all high school students are excited about teachers or the thought of having them again.  And I KNOW that there are some who may get me as a teacher and think "No way.  I DO NOT want her again"  (depending on the student that feeling may be mutual) :)  

But the fact that there have been several who hope to have me again makes this job totally worth it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fun for Me and You

Found this on a friends blog...had to pass it on! It could be fun!!

Lucky you! The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you. This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

1- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!

2- What I create will be just for you.

3- It'll be done this year. (might be a little while)

4- You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be a story. It may be poetry or an article on properly cleaning your face before a masque. I may draw or paint something. (okay, probably not this one...) I may bake you something and mail it to you (and hope you live close enough to enjoy it). Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!

5- I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch? Oh, the catch is that you must repost this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same on your blog.The first 5 people to do so and leave a comment telling me they did win a FAB-U-LOUS homemade gift by me! Oh, and be sure to post a picture of what you win when you get it!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Queen Symphony

Several months ago when I was enjoying my therapy session (othewise known as some Classic FM to accompany whatever I'm currently browsing, reading or writing) I first heard the amazing 5th movement of the Queen Symphony. I was moved, amazed, had to stop and close my eyes to truly appreciate the sounds coming out of my computer.

I was determined to have it.

Enter reason #???? why I love Amazon. They had it.

I got this just after school started, immediately took it up to put it on my computer at school where I have enjoyed it often and left the disc there for some time because I just didn't remember that I didn't want it there (I know some of you know what I'm talking about). Then, yesterday, when I was playing "Organize My Life" I found it, brought it home and have had the amazing music blasting from my bedroom all morning.

Here's what you need to know. Tolga Kashif was commissioned by EMI Classics to take the music of Queen and create a symphony. I know, it sounds like it's going to be fully orchestrated elevator music, but it's not. The general sound is similar to Russian composers like Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff (my all time favorite) but then in the 4th movement I always think of Gershwin.

The melodies that are integrated into this symphony are from Radio Gaga, The Show Must Go On, I Was Born to Love You, One Vision, Love of my Life, Another Bites the Dust, Killer Queen, Who Wants to Live Forever, Bicycle Race, Save Me, Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You, and We Are the Champions. It is truly amazing. If you love Queen, big boisterous symphonies, or even better, both, I promise you will have a short love affair with this album.

Interested? Listen to samples here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Big Brother is Watching You

It may be because I filled in teaching AP English yesterday and conducted the final discussion of George Orwell's 1984, but I have been very aware of things that are being developed and going on in our society to "watch" what people are doing.  Sure, there is always a myriad of reasons why the new technology is good for our society, but it is a little scary all the same.

Then I read in today's news the article about Google Latitude.  Yea, I know, they have ways to "protect" people from it, but how hard would it really be for the government to get permission to access these data files, to have this technology, to "check in" on people who don't say the things they would like or whatever.  

It's a little freaky.

You can read the article here.