Wednesday, December 22, 2010

'Tis the Season

I mentioned in my last post that I would post again when I found my camera cord. Well, instead of finding the cord I bought a new camera. Thanks to a great Black Friday deal I have a pretty great new camera. I am enjoying testing it out. It doesn't do some things I liked with my last one, but I'm still adapting. I feel like a nerd when I'm reading my owner's guide to choose the appropriate setting for the light I'm in. :) I have never really Black Friday shopped before and I don't know that I'll do it again, but can I just say, I will be having a very Merry Christmas because I was pretty selfish on that day. Anyway, that seems like old news. In fact, it was nearly a month ago. Who knows where time goes?
In recent memory, life has been awesome. I went to Salt Lake last weekend for a pre-Christmas getaway with my family to the north. I shopped a little with my mom, saw "Tangled" with Cody, Kim and my nephews. Super cute flick by the way. I also visited with my dad and grandma, went to Temple Square to look at lights and watch our high school girl's choir sing in the Assembly Hall, and I even got in stand-by to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and David Archuleta concert. It was phenomenal; in fact it moved me to tears at least once. We stood in the rain for more than an hour, but it was a fun way to spend the Sabbath morning. That evening I enjoyed seeing my cousins and aunts and uncles at the Olsen Christmas Party. As always we had good food and good company. My niece was even awake long enough to smile at me (she's kind of a sleepy little one). In all, a great weekend. I didn't even grade one essay (which I paid for with lost sleep later).
This week so far has been awesome. I mean, Monday felt like a Monday of a short school week with students begging me to be the teacher that shows a movie, but I didn't cave. We took quizzes instead, mwhahaha (maniacal laugh here). Tuesday was a great day. For the second time since I started teaching, we had a snow day. A joyous occasion. After finding out about the cancellation of school, I went back to bed, only to wake up to more than 14 inches of snow in 24 hours. I spent several hours shoveling the driveway the hard way (is there an easy way?). My arms still ache. But I spent the day doing exactly what I wanted. I assembled my Christmas cards, wrapped presents, cooked. . . It was nice. Though because I didn't grade anything I was up half the night doing that, so I need to work on my priorities.
Today I am off officially. No school (except I have to chaperone a dance this evening). I'm heading south for the holiday, spending it with my brothers Holland and Bret and Lori and Faye. The next week I plan on skiing at least once. Holler if you are interested in joining me. If I don't see you between now and Saturday, I wish you a warm and happy Christmas. =>>>*

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm 26!

I had a birthday! I turned 26 last week and now I feel sort of ancient. It's okay. I consider myself lucky to be young and single. It's fun.
I had a great birthday. On Friday my yearbook staff threw me a surprise birthday party. I was actually surprised and it was really nice of them. They gave me a "PMS Mobile" sticker for my car (My license plate letters are PMS, not by choice but coincidence. It's funny). Yeah, I can't tell if they like me or just like to make fun of me. Oh well, the gesture was sweet none the less.
My mom came down for the weekend with some of her girlfriends. We shopped at Mistletoe Mall here in Gunnison. I got a cute hat again this year. I'll put up pictures, but I can't find my camera cord anywhere. I loved the girl time and I even stayed in budget.
I drove up that evening to go to my niece's baby blessing, but in the middle of the night got really, really ill. I couldn't go to the blessing in my condition so I drove home. I took Monday off of school. Throwing up in front of my students isn't my idea of fun.
Otherwise, things are good. I've started going to a Zumba class and it is about the funnest thing I do all week. I really love it. Also, for all you Potter nerds. You better believe I bought my midnight showing tickets already. Long live the nerds. I'll post again when I can find that dang cord. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vent via Blog

I'm not one to be super vocal. I mean I stand up for what I believe in, but I rather take a back seat in order to avoid confrontation. I didn't use to be that way. In fact, I used to be a brat sometimes, sharing my opinion even when unwanted. I grew out of it and thought it was maturity taking place, but really it was me conforming to become a non-pot stirrer. I think it's a sad thing, but not that uncommon. Somewhere in my education I was taught to keep my opinions to myself and then I'd likable. After four years of teaching, I'm learning that being likable isn't the only thing that matters. Giving a damn does.
Each day I walk into a class full of students who couldn't care less. They'd rather be texting or facebooking, or blogging . . . or gaming, or watching some form of media (most of those verbs didn't even exist when I was a teenager and I'm young). They don't care about government or education or human rights. Granted, they're teenagers, but I remember knowing things in high school. Maybe I was above average, but I don't think so. I remember watching the news and knowing that CNN is a news channel and not an abbreviation for Cartoon Network. I knew why my parents chose to be affiliated with the political parties they chose. I remember having discussions with my brother Bret about a million things in preparation for my own debates. I remember seeing the world through a critical eye.
I was at a speech meet this weekend and one of my extemporaneous speakers asked me what a Democrat is. I can't tell you how shocked I looked, but I could tell you that she was shocked I was shocked. In what arena of life would she have ever been expected to know what a Democrat stands for or believes in? Who expects her to care or know? The only eye my teenage students are looking at the world through is a lowercase i. If they can get it through an app on their iPhone or iTouch, they know it. But what kind of filter is that?
An entitled one. My facebook status today is "why does this generation of teens (or is it everyone?) feel so entitled to everything? 'What's in it for me?' 'If it exists it should be mine.' 'Do this for me because then it will be correct and the way you want it.' Shut up and work for something! Then maybe life will have meaning . . . That I can't do for you." Harsh, maybe. But lately, all I feel is drained when I get home from school. I used to teach and work in a place with imagination and creativity. Now sometimes I feel like the only one with an imagination left (hyperbole, not actuality). Where did we lose it? I feel like blaming teachers, parents, Hollywood, the media, and whoever else could be culpable of taking away the life force of the growing generation. But really, that's the problem isn't it? I want to blame everyone but the kids. At some point this is their fault. If they don't care about doing homework, guess what? That isn't my fault as a teacher. If they are under some illusion that the world will give them everything they ever want just because they feel it's their right, then good luck. Learn that lesson the hard way. (though I know some of them won't. We are making it easier to get something for nothing.) And maybe it isn't just teenagers. Maybe we are all social loafers looking for the easy way. If that is the case then I say to you world: Shut up and work for something. Then maybe life will have meaning. And more importantly, maybe our kids will learn to give a damn if we do.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Wow time flies. A lot has happened, and I can't ever seem to find the time to update my blog. It's been a tough month. My friend Kassie left for a mission to Costa Rica a week and a half ago. She's in the MTC until December. I've been adjusting to living in her house all alone, but haven't noticed much since I'm hardly ever home. Though I say that, I am missing her like crazy. She has been my best friend here in Gunnison and my confidant. Hopefully my independent nature will get me through all the silent meals and quite evenings home.
The end of first quarter is here and I'm inundated with papers and grading. I think I'll take a mental health day this week to get caught up with my life outside of school. I'm in serious need of a day to do my laundry, sleep in (my eye has been twitching and I dedicate that to lack of sleep), and clean parts of the house that need it. Plus, I haven't really had a weekend to myself since school started. I need a day to rejuvenate and rehabilitate :) Maybe that will be my birthday present to myself.
For Halloween I got to take the GVHS speech team to a tournament at Snow College. I've also been busy coaching my debate students on a volunteer basis. My public forum (I know most of you have no idea what that is, but it is team debate) team took first place at a tournament with 14 schools most of them 3a-4a schools. I'm uberproud. They make me look good :)
I've seen some family in SLC recently. I posted pictures of a picnic evening with 'smores. Also, mom and I got to watch Faye while all the boys went to a football game so we headed to Gardner's Village for some fun. To our surprise it was the Witch Weekend or something. Hundreds of ladies were dressed as witches. We had so much fun watching all the activities and participating in some of it too. Faye and I danced to lots of the music and shared some cookies. I'm thinking about making it a tradition next year. So, so much fun.
My birthday is coming up this weekend. My mom is coming down to Gunnison for the Boutique shopping weekend at Mistletoe Mall. And then sunday is Laney Olsen's baby blessing. Should be fun.
I'll tell you how the mental health day goes. Happy Halloween

Sunday, October 10, 2010


One of the reasons I like living in Gunnison comes from the laid back attitude. We don't have the rush of a city, only the rush of our many responsibilities keeping us busy. The last few weeks of my life have been busy. Nothing really substantial on their own, mostly just school stuff in fact. I have been coaching a few debaters. I got three students to sign up for Lincoln Douglass (the debate I did in high school). I am finding out that I am out of practice, but still know how to speak my mind. I might try it more often.
Kassie and I started taking a Spanish class at the high school. Our local teacher teaches once a week for eight weeks (just in time to get over for basketball season because he's the coach). Already we've learned a lot. In fact we read the first chapter of the Spanish Book of Mormon and we were able to understand it with just a little help from the English version. Exciting!
Kassie is also 10 days away from leaving on her mission. We're both freaking out a little about what needs to happen before she leaves, but we're working through it. I got her to help me clean the garage yesterday. It's beautiful. Recently the edges have been creeping closer and closer to our cars. We had to squeeze in and out of vehicles, and my bike was parked outside. I'm happy to say there is plenty of room for all now, even the bike. I was really worried about cleaning the garage by myself. There is no way I would be able to put everything where it goes because I don't have a Brown gene to know where everything should go. We spent the rest of the day inside. Kassie went through enough mail to last a life time while I did laundry, cleaned the fridge and microwave, and got bedrooms ready for the Brown family coming next weekend for Kassie's farewell. We cleaned from 9 to 9 and it shows. I woke up this morning a little sore and it took some time to figure out why. House work sneaks up on a person that way. We only have the basement left and I'll feel good about living in the house alone after all is clean. That means I'll only have my own messes to deal with I guess. I'll finally see just how clean or cluttery I really am, but mostly I'm going to miss Kassie a lot. Though, I'll leave my ode to Kassie blog for latter. I still have 10 days to figure this out.
School is going well. The speech team, yearbook staff, and creative writing and arts club are keeping me plenty busy. I hardly have time to grade any papers, but somehow I assign them anyway. This year is going pretty well. I somehow worked it out for my reputation to change. Instead of being the young, fun teacher, I've turned into the teacher who expects a lot- a reputation that takes years to build. I'm pretty excited about that change. It means people are finally taking me seriously. I feel good and we're a quarter of the way through almost. Plenty of drama is yet to come my way I'm sure. I'm sure I'll post pictures from Kassie's farewell. It will be my last photo opp. Until then . . .

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Okay, okay

Okay, So it's been a while. Sometimes I think that my life is only exciting during the summer and maybe I'm right. But whatever. I've been home a while now, and it's about time I posted all the things I've been meaning to post. I'm going to try this fast, bullet style.

* Recently after returning from Santa Fe, I joined up with a family from town and Kassie to hike to Coyote Gulch. I've never been, but remember stories from brothers. I don't remember well enough I guess from those memories to have discouraged me from ever going to The Gulch. In retrospect it was a lot of fun. We hiked in and camped near Jacob Hamblin's Arch. It was beautiful. The next day we hiked to Stephen's Arch and back. That was sort of the crappy part. Don't get me wrong. Beautiful scenery, but not really worth some of the death defying rock sliding we had to do in order to see the arch. Also, the 16 miles in one day was a little tough to recover from. In fact (I am absolutely not lying) I got blister/rub marks from my Chaco's and the sand that day and they are still healing. I'm hoping for low scar damage, but we'll see. We hiked out the next morning and Kassie and I spent the next few days limping around and popping the IBs. Pictures are in the slide show.

* Then, school started and my adventures kind of stopped. I am really enjoying my classes this year. Students seem up to the challenge, and my yearbook staff is starting to get the picture of what it is I think they have the potential to create. We'll see though. They usually talk a good game and then whine when work needs to be done. Teenagers . . . :)

* I attended the County Fair the last weekend of August. I love the fair. Two nights of rodeo and one night of smash 'em up derby madness. I had four students (past and present) participate this year. One (who is actually the nephew of the people I live with so I know him pretty well) won$500 for being the most aggressive driver in the Derby. He drove in the mini car heat with a tiny Festiva. He did awesome. I also worked in the concession stand one rodeo night for my old dance company (I actually still clog with them). I haven't done that since high school. As an adult now, I got to help customers at the windows instead of making burgers nonstop for 5 hours. I guess that's one of adulthood's advantages. Pictures will come soon. They are on Kassie's camera.

* I got a new niece. Cody and Kim had a daughter on Sept. 3rd. She looks tiny in photos, and I can't wait to see her in real life. Relief Society duties have kept me in town on the weekends, but I'll be making a trip north this weekend to hold the little one. Oh, her name is Laney Snow Olsen and she resembles her brothers. Photos to come.

* Saturday, I helped run a 15 Stake Fireside here in Gunnison. We are trying to get all the single's ward together a couple times a year, and we decided to take the initiative to get the tradition going. It was a great experience. We've been planning for months and it is finally over. I had to conduct the meeting (nerve racking) but without fail, my old speech persona kicked in and I did a pretty good job. We had Margaret Nadauld and her husband speak to us. Their messages were excellent. Elder Daniel M. Jones of the Seventy was also there. He coached me through the conducting procedures before the meeting and we had a good talk after. Great man. But now that is over, and we have other things to plan. The work is never done I guess.

Mostly I am really busy with school. I'm helping yearbook staffers learn to use our new, awesome camera. It's Homecoming this week so I have pictures to take, assemblies to participate in, parade floats to supervise, and games to watch. I love this week as a spectator, but as a teacher it's pretty hard to keep anyone's attention. I'll report on this events later.

Now that I've accomplished the catch-up post, I'll hopefully update again soon. Until then . . .

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hasta luego Santa Fe!

Well, that's it. My summer session at Santa Fe is finished. I got back to Gunnison last night, talked to a sleep-deprived Kassie, and saw the Otten clan before bed. I've had an excellent adventure. Before I left Santa Fe, however, I did some more fun things that need reporting.
The last week of Bread Loaf was really low key. Mostly we hung around at night and talked. Wednesday was graduation and most everyone cleared out that day. But, there were five stragglers who were waiting around to either stay in Santa Fe a bit longer or who were waiting to drive home. We went out for dinner and frozen yogurt. It rained most of the night, but we came back to St. John's College and swapped teacher stories until late arrived.
I got up the next morning, packed my car, picked up a friend and headed to Albuquerque. I dropped my friend off at a hostel and I went to the ABQ temple. I was by myself, but the session was small enough that I got extra attention from the temple ladies. You can see it's a beautiful temple.

After that I picked up my mom from the airport, and we drove back to Santa Fe. It was fun to show my mom some of the stuff in Santa Fe. We spent most of Friday downtown walking in and out of galleries, shopping for souvenirs, eating good food, and people watching on the plaza. It was a good day. We went to see "Dinner for Schmucks" that night. It was funny and awful at the same time. The next morning we went to the Farmer's Market, toured St. John's campus, and left Santa Fe for good. I can't describe the feeling I had driving out of town. I looked in the rearview mirror and realized I wasn't just going on another field trip. I wouldn't be back for quite some time. I got sad. But I was also really anxious to get home. We stopped at Taos Pueblo on the way out and took a tour. I love the rich and long history of the people of New Mexico. They have some incredible stories and traditions. Pictures are available in the slide show of the pueblo.

The drive was beautiful. I don't know if I've ever seen anything as incredible as a stormy Northern New Mexico/Southern Colorado. We drove through lightning and thunder and torrential down pours the whole way. It was off and on, but the storm system was either huge enough to cover all three states or followed us along the way.

But, that's it. I had my first school dream last night, well more like a nightmare. I hope yearbook isn't that bad . . . But maybe I'll see people before school starts up again. Though I am looking forward to staying home for a while. I sure missed Gunnison.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Acoma Pueblo

Okay, another awesome field trip. This morning I got in the Bread Loaf van with four other people and we drove to Acoma Pueblo and had a wonderful adventure together.

The Drive: Acoma is just under two hours from Santa Fe, so we prepared for quite a trip. Outside of Albuquerque out trusty driver Eileen decided to pull off for gas because we were running on empty. After driving around and trying to chase down a guy in a golf cart to get directions to a petrol station, I pulled out my handy-dandy VZNavigator. I look up stations and see one is only .8 miles away. We follow the direction to a frontage road that looks sort of lonesome but keep going. When the voice in my phone says, "You have arrived at your destination" we look around and see nothing. Not even a lonesome tumble weed blowing across the desert. We keep driving until we meet a sign that says: "Pavement ends" HA! That's awesome. Luckily a local was on the side of the road doing something to his truck and we ask for the nearest gas station. He tells us to go back the way we came, but we see a dirt road that leads to what looks like somewhere. He told us we could take it for about 10 miles and drive through a tunnel under the freeway to get to a gas station on the other side, but the road is rough. No problem. We take our rent-a-car on the rough road. It's not ours right :) We drive for about 10 miles and pass this drainage tunnel under the road but keep driving, no one really thought that was the tunnel (except me, I've seen such things in Utah plenty). We drove until the road literally ended at a creek. Although each of us contemplated our chances of fording the river and making the incline on the other side, we decided to go back and chance the tunnel. It wasn't so bad, but it was really funny. Long story long, we make it to a gas station on the other side after at least a 30 minute detour. Too fun :)

The Tunnel and Dusty Van

The Pueblo: We made it to Acoma just in time for the 12:00 tour. We hopped in the bus and followed our knowledgeable tour guide around faithfully. I learned so much. Acoma or Sky City is on top of a mesa. It is the longest inhabited pueblo in the U.S. You know Mesa Verde and parks where you go to see all the ruins of ancient Native villages? Well everyone asks where those people are or what happened to them. Apparently, they are still around, living in Acoma. I never thought of it that way, but I felt enlightened. Old villages might be abandoned, but the people aren't gone. They are still around preserving their culture (thanks heavens).
It was a really cool place. No electricity. No running water. The place is reserved for pueblo and clan members. Every clan has a house or area that everyone comes back to for religious times or feast days. Our guide was a pumpkin clan member and he showed us where he grew up. A lot of the Acoma people live in towns nearby or all over the world, but Acoma is still home.
Also, there were vendors with tables outside their homes selling famous Acoma pottery. Most of them wouldn't let us take pictures, but you would know what I'm talking about if you saw one. The traditional pots are pretty expensive, hundreds of dollars in fact. I bought an ornament and might save up for a few years to buy a pot someday.
The pueblo has a view of Enchanted Mesa. (Yes Lori and Kassie, just like in Fablehaven). That is the mesa with the legend that all the people were in the valley tending their crops when lightening struck and destroyed the stairway to the top, the only access. A woman and her daughter were trapped on the top of the mesa, so rather than starving to death, they jumped off the mesa together. The people were displaced, but lots of them just transferred to Acoma. Pictures below.

So that is my story. I saw a place where Hopi people have been living and preserving for almost a thousand years. Oh and I ran into Lee Marmon again in the museum cafe. We chatted and it was amazing. He says Utah is the prettiest state in America. That means a lot coming from someone who takes landscape photos and who is from Acoma.

P.S. Sorry this is long, but I'm done with all my homework. I'm heading home this time next week. Can't wait to sleep in my own bed, and see family. I'm missing a heck of a weekend in Pine Valley.

The mesa with Acoma on top (it's camouflage)

Me in front of the valley

Enchanted Mesa (I totally believe fairies and other magical creatures reside on top, and that if I wanted to go on top a distractor spell would lead me away hehehe. Thank you Brandon Mull)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Isotopes Baseball

Okay, I know I love the Salt Lake Bees. I mean, they're my team. But, last night I went to see the Albuquerque Isotopes play the Round Rocks. It was a pretty awesome game. The smell of kettlecorn. The taste of a ball park hot dog. Cracker Jacks (and prizes inside). The smell of grass and dirt. And of course the look of the players in uniform on the field (wink, wink, gotta love a uniform). All of it is magic to me. The game lasted 4 hours and it was only 9 innings, which is insane. The final score was 16-14 for the Topes. With such a high score, you know it had to be intense and it was. There was a grand slam and several other home runs. The fielders made some incredible catches and plays. I love minor league baseball :) Oh and there were fireworks after. I loved that part because I missed 4th of July fireworks. Pictures below.

Today I turned in a paper worth 60% of my grade. I feel a little sick, but hopefully I can fool my professor into thinking I'm brilliant. We'll see. Cross your fingers for me.

I'm headed into my last full week of school. I only meet in my classes three more times before my summer education is through. I'm a little sad to say goodbye to my friends here, but it will be nice to relax a little. I know I've been having fun, but sight seeing is different when the whole time you are away from your computer or book the worry center of my brain is exploding. So, meditation and relaxation will be much needed. One paper and two books to completion. I can do it!
Santa Fe has some of the best sunsets I've ever seen.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Taos Pow Wow!

Okay, today I went on a super cool excursion. A few of us drove up to Taos to watch the Pow Wow take place. The Taos Pueblo was closed to visitors for religious purposes. I am sad I didn't get to see the pueblo, but you gotta respect the religion. The Pow Wow was held towards the outskirts of town. We got there at 12ish and watched some dancers and listened to the drummers. The color guard brought in the flags and all the dance contestants (yes they have competitions). The leader of the colors was a really old man who was a warrior from the Taos tribe who fought in WWII. He was ancient but kicking.

While some of the tribal elders and representatives spoke, my friends and I walked around the sellers to look at their wears. I ended up with some white buffalo turquoise earrings and a piece of art. I am happy.

But by far the coolest thing I've ever seen was the dancing and the costumes. We had to pay $10 to register our cameras to let us take pictures of the events, but it was well worth it. I think I took about two hundred. I don't know if I've ever seen anything so beautiful. I'll post a few of the better pictures so you can get a sense of what went on, but I don't know how much permission I have to do that. I also have a video (without sound because of my ancient camera) that is pretty cool. I wish I could describe this, but it's one of those things you just have to see. I'll never forget it.

On the way home we passed over the Rio Grande. The gorge had a pretty cool look out so I posted some pictures of that as well. I bought a nice pendant of a stone that looks like turquoise but isn't. I asked him the name but I forgot it. It was cool, about 20 people (most of them hippie-like) were selling stuff at the pull out for really cheap. Some of the jewelers had the rocks they chip things out of in the back of their trucks. Felt like four-corners. :)
Enjoy the slide show above. I'll post a few pictures below that will stay on even when I remove the slide show.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

T-shirt Contest

Every year, each Bread Loaf campus hosts a t-shirt design contest for their campus. I entered one for the Santa Fe shirt, and I won. It should be a pretty cool shirt. I don't get anything for winning but bragging rights I guess, but that's cool. the shirt will be turquoise blue and the lettering will be rust colored (even the cowboy). Very Santa Fe. Very cool. :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Santa Fe Opera/Rafting/July Fourth

Well as usual things are crazy. I am halfway through my time here in Santa Fe and I have no idea how to get all my homework done with all the playing I'm doing (hehehe just kidding, sorta). I turned in my first papers for each of my classes last week and am happy to report that I got an A on one and an A- on the other. Not too shabby.

I also had fun this week. I'll try to keep it brief:

1. I went to the Santa Fe Opera on Friday night. It was opening night of the season and the show was Madame Butterfly. Tragically beautiful. It was a gorgeous venue because it is partially open to the environment. There was a ceiling, but no sides or back to the stage. The whole production we could see the sun set, and even cooler, the thunder/lightening/torrential down pore going on during the show. Madame Butterfly was amazingly performed, but I will never forget the storm as it raged on outside and around us. It perfectly accentuated the performances as the wind blew across stage and wrapped Butterfly in Awe-ful power. It was awesome. I wasn't allowed to take photos. Sorry. But we had a tailgate before the production. It is a Santa Fe tradition. People brought tables, themed spreads (mostly sushi and Asian type dishes), and plenty of wine. It was definitely not your average football player's tailgate. Very classy.

2. I went river rafting with two of my girlfriends on Saturday. We put in just south of Taos on the Rio Grande and floated 5 miles of the river. Our river guide Ben was freaking amazing. He used to be a metal work artist in Washington until he sold his business and traveled the country rock climbing for 3 years (yes, he spent plenty of that time in Moab). This winter was the first time he's worked in those three years. He was a ski instructor at Ski Santa Fe and now he's a river guide. What a life! Anyway, the rapids were fun and the company even better. Definitely an experience I want to have again.

3. I studied all day Sunday, except for church and fireworks. At duskish the crew hiked the mountain nearby and watched all the fireworks in the valley, but the major show happened about 10:00. It was beautiful. Again, good company, good view, equals good times. I missed Gunnison and all its celebrations. I can't believe it will be another 3 summers before I can spend a 4th with family again. But don't worry, I'm not homesick, not at all . . . maybe a little . . . but only sometimes. . . :)

Things are good. I submitted a design to the t-shirt contest here on campus for our summer shirt. We'll see how that goes. Voting is going on now until Wednesday when the winners will be announced. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lee Marmon

Any of you who followed my blog last summer got to deal with my name dropping nature when I wrote about some of the famous people I get to brush shoulders with all summer. Now, I know that academics aren't really famous, I mean, I don't even know these people until I meet them and they tell me exactly who they are and what they have accomplished; but tonight was a different experience. Anyone who knows Southwestern culture has probably heard of Lee Marmon, and if you haven't heard of him, you've seen his work. Lee Marmon, the father of the famous writer Leslie Marmon Silko (author of Storyteller, Ceremony, Yellow Woman) is a photographer. He was a free lance photographer and took many famous shots of Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Ronald Reagan, etc. But what he is most famous for are his portraits of Native peoples from Acoma and Laguna, and Zuni (all located in New Mexico).

So tonight he presented to us here a slide show of his favorite pictures and told stories like a pro. I loved every minute. I bought a poster of one of his most famous prints "American Moccasins" and he signed it. I've posted it below along with one of his other famous pictures "Eagle Dancers." I'm trying to post in smaller chunks so I don't have any long narratives like the last few. Anyway, just met a regular old guy (he's 80 something) and got to here some of the stories of his life. Pretty neat, sweet, man.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sante Fe Rodeo/ San Miguel

I am loving Santa Fe more and more! I know I haven't been here that long, but this is one of the regions of the U.S. I could find myself living in (you know, besides these six weeks). Since Thursday, I've been working hard and hardly working. I don't really remember Friday. I read Bless Me, Ultima (I highly recommend it) but don't remember much else. On Saturday, I got up early and went with my good friend Amy and a few others to volunteer at the San Miguel Cathedral. I don't know if it is a Cathedral per se, but it is a Catholic meeting house downtown Santa Fe. The problem is that these churches are all made of adobe bricks, which is great, until the 50's. In the 50's construction people thought it would be great (easier, I mean) to put cement plaster on the walls over the adobe bricks instead of regular mud/clay plaster. Apparently, the adobe needs to breathe, and the cement doesn't allow that. So, 60 years later, this non-profit foundation is working on repairing the moisture damage before the churches and missions start toppling over because the moisture just collects in the bottom of the walls and weakens the structure. Our team of 5 people got to climb up a four story scaffolding to the bell down of the church to pull off the old plaster and use new mud plaster to cover up the walls. We worked with this guy named Nicholas. He is an architecture student from Chile here for a 3 month internship so he can go back to Chile and repair the churches there. It was cool to ask him all sorts of questions; he even helped us with our Spanish.

Anyway, we worked our way down the front of the church, filling in depressions or working on cracks. It was a great experience. This was old school stucco, and it is neat to find out that no matter our technological advances, that going back to the old, original ways is what works the best for buildings like this. Also, the people who are working on this are pretty awesome. I mentioned Nicholas, but I also got to work closely with this kid named Brian. He's going to be a senior at a school in Santa Fe and is working for the foundation for the summer. We were working the opposite ends of a pulley system. He'd load buckets with mud plaster, and send them up to me. I'd send them back and we got to chat quite a bit. He wants to be an electrical engineer, which is awesome, but come to find out he's in the foster care system working his way through high school so he can go to college. He describes people as "good Christian folk" and leaves it at that. Man does he have a heart. It's people like Brian that restore my faith in the youth of today.

I also got to know Antonio. He is a retired teacher of 30 years and now works exclusively with adobe. He's brilliant, and he's the reason I was able to write the first paragraph of this blog. As a teacher he taught CAD, shop and Spanish (which he had upper level degrees in). He has worked with adobe on the side of teaching for his whole career and now does it full-time in retirement. Anyway, I'm also glad to get to know him. I was impressed with his easy manner and humble brilliance.
We worked until about 2:00 before we headed back to campus to get busy on other work. I'm hoping to go back in a few weekends with Amy. It's good to find service opportunities in a different place and for a different religion. Service is service; it stills leaves me with the warm fuzzies.

Later that night I went to the rodeo with a group of friends. I became the Western expert and answered as many questions as possible. But let me tell you, watching steer wrestling with a group of vegetarian/academics is a whole new game from watching a good home town rodeo with friends. I think in all everyone had a good time. I even rode a couple rides with my friend Robert. He convinced me that carnival rides can be fun and not scary, even though they were unloaded from a truck and put together a few days earlier. I had a blast and my friends here are great.

I left my camera in Utah when I went back for yearbook camp, so no pictures yet. I'll try to get a few from those who had cameras there. Hopefully my dear, sweet friend Kassie will send my camera pronto quick. Until later. I don't think the fun-vi will take off until Friday this week. I have two papers and two books due this week, so into the closet I go. Adios and Yee-haw!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yearbook Camp

Whew! What a quick few days! Last Saturday I flew home to Utah to attend Yearbook Camp with two of my awesome yearbook staffers, including the editor. Camp started Monday, so I spent Saturday evening with my mom (after two horrible flights--I've never felt sick while flying until then). Sunday I went to church with my mom and had dinner with my dad and brother Cody's family. It was a nice Father's day evening.
The real work started Monday morning. My friend Kassie drove my two students up to SLC in a district car (because, well, I was carless). She is great and I hope to repay such a huge favor in the future. I had to ride the bus to trax and meet them at the station, which was fun. I was running late so I did my make up on the bus with wet hair. I've never been one of those people before and it wasn't bad (nothing against those people however . . .) Anyway, we spent three days at Snowbird with fellow yearbook nerds (the only better kinds of nerds are English nerds and that's who I spend the rest of the summer with), and right from the get-go my girls were working hard, designing layouts, creating theme ideas, taking copious notes in meetings, and completing every task. I am really proud of them and the work they did. All that hard work paid off too. They won the grand prize for the concept we created (in competition with schools our size, which was a lot). Now we get free, full color endsheets, which is awesome and expensive. Woohoo!
I took pictures but can't find my camera in the vicinity. I'll look harder and post some later.
I'm back in Santa Fe as of Wednesday late night. I conveniently was able to volunteer to get bumped from my earlier flight to take a later one. I got a $200 voucher, which ain't bad, but I barely made my connection in Denver. That is one large airport. But, I'm "home" and right back in the game. I had two classes today and thankfully was ahead enough that I was right with my classes. However, taking a 5 day "vacation" means I'll be spending every free second reading a few books and writing two papers this weekend and early next week. Maybe I'll go on one excursion this weekend. If I do, I'll post pictures. Otherwise I'll go for a walk or something and take pictures to post next time, since I'm sure you won't want me to write about my close reading of one of Thomas Hardy's poems or the significance of silence as a rhetorical theory. Yeah, that would be boring . . . Well you might think so, but I am fascinated. Well, until next post I'll be your nerdy friend/relative Arti 8)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Do you know the way to Santa Fe?

I'm here and Santa Fe is beautiful. I got here on Tuesday (a little later in the day than planned). The road was slower than I thought, but the country through Durango and Southern Colorado was great to see. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive and my book on audio.

First impressions:
The city is beautiful. My gps took me through the central plaza of town and this glorious cathedral greeted my entry to Santa Fe. Bread Loaf Santa Fe coordinates with St. John's College to use their dorms and classrooms and cafeteria as a conference type thing. The school is small but beautiful. I haven't left the campus much, but all I have to do is walk out the door of my dorm and there is this great court yard with trees and tables and benches. Who needs a library when I can I sit in the shade or sun and listen to the wind in the trees and watch birds flutter while I read? Not me.

The weather is crazy cool . . . Many of my friends and family commented that I would die of heat while here, but the opposite is actually true. It's been about 80 degrees everyday with cooler mornings and lovely evenings and great cool breezes almost all day long. I sleep with my window open and find no need for the AC (which I don't have anyway). I guess I can thank the 7,000 feet of elevation for the cool weather.

I am going to learn an incredible amount. I had both my classes on Thursday and both my professors blew me out of the water. I am taking two classes. One on the Rhetoric of Silence (basically how silence plays as significant a role in communication as spoken language and how that silence is used in literature), and the other is on Thomas Hardy. I was not very excited about the Thomas Hardy course initially, but after the first day I am stoked to get to pick my prof's brain about Hardy and his life and purpose as a writer. There are only four people in that class so it will just be an awesome small class discussion all the time. YAY!

I will see a lot. Every morning a man from Santa Fe who teaches and was once a Bread Loaf student, I think, hosts a thing called Dawn Patrol. Anyone who wants gets up at 6:00 and goes on an hour long hike some where in the mountains near by. Our campus is actually on/near the trail heads of several hikes. I went Friday morning and walked up a wash (arroyo here). Alfredo (our guide) explained plants and interesting things along the way. Super fun!
Also today was the first of our school excursions. It seems like every weekend day (Friday there are no classes, so Friday Saturday and Sunday) Alfredo rents a van through the school and we go on trips around the area. Today we went to Bandelier National Monument. It is the site of Anasazi pueblo dwellings that have been uncovered and sort of preserved or restored. The hike wasn't bad-two or so miles round trip. We hiked into the dwellings and up ladders. There was one Alcove house that I had to climb up 140 ft. mostly by wood ladders to get to. It was quite the experience. I am not afraid of heights, but several people were terrified. It is interesting to witness people confronting their fears. Neat experience all around. I'll post pictures in the slide show above of the trip. The girl I am with mostly is Maia. She's a super cool girl I've met here and have bonded with.. We were restless and didn't get into the testosterone filled fight about maps and trails, so we left most of the group behind and did our own thing. I mean really guys; it's a national park. The trail is probably paved. . . and it was . . . just sayin' :)

Is this overkill? Maybe I'll blog more often to keep the length down. Friday night was a pretty chill night. A bunch of us got together and went to a brewery downtown. The water tasted great and was free :) but I really like hanging out with friends from last summer and some new fast friends I've made here. I love Bread Loaf and will keep you posted. I'm going back to SLC Saturday for yearbook camp (I know how nerdy that sounds) until Wednesday. I'll miss a class which sucks, but whatever. I'll be back in time to go on a walking mural tour and hike to a lake :) Not bad right? Oh, I guess I'll do some homework too . . . hehehe . . .

Hasta Luego!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Adios Amigos

Hola! . . . That's all I can think of in my Spanish vocabulary that applies for an introduction, so I'll carry on in English. I wish I had pictures to post, but I haven't really taken any, but I do have a bit to update.

First, I went through the temple on June 5th and received my endowment. It was an amazing experience to go with my family and some close friends. We took family pictures afterward, and I'll post them when we get them. But yeah, I don't know what else to say about that except it was awesome and I'm glad I did it. I know I'm not a missionary or getting married, but I could no longer think of any reasons not to go to the temple, so I went. And, I'm glad.

Second, I am leaving for Santa Fe tomorrow! School starts Wednesday and registration is Tuesday. My aunt and uncle are being really nice and letting me stay over in Blanding tomorrow night. According to google maps it only takes 9 hours to get to Santa Fe from Gunnison, but I thought I'd break it up so I can get to registration at the right time. I am really excited to go. I am NOT ready. I have 13 books to read for my two classes combined. I have four and a half done, which is fewer than I would like. But, I figure I'm a good student and can get the rest done relatively quickly. I've been shopping the last few days and only came home moderately successful. I had shopping for capris. However, I did spend the majority of my money on shoes at Journeys. I love that store.

I can't remember what three was, but I'll update that when I think of it. Things are great. I'm excited for my next big adventure. Anyway, more than you wanted to know I'm sure and a little boring too. You can blame that on Thomas Hardy. He has sucked out all my energy to be creative. I've loved the books, but energy to keep going is low . . . three left . . . I can do it . . .

I'll keep you updated on the adventures. I hope to have lots. Adios Muchachos!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

School is over! I can't believe I've finished another year. My first weekend of freedom has been great. I stayed up all night with my graduating seniors at their all night party. A few of the Brown siblings came to town for the holiday, but Kassie went out of town to Wyoming with her grandmother. It was nice to have kids stomping around and people to chat with. Otherwise it would have been pretty lonely around here.
Today I went to Gunnison Res for the first time. In all my years growing up here I don't know how I never made it. My family always went to Delta or Yuba, but I had a lot of fun. Russell Otten just got two wave runners on and wanted to test them out. I was happy to help the family out by breaking in their toys. The sun was out a little, but mostly it was a little cloudy and the water was freezing. Thank goodness it was warm out. Anyway, above you'll find a few photos from the outing.
Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

An Update;

It's been a while since I've updated, but that's because I haven't had much to update (or wanted to update about). Above you'll see that I have put pictures up of a few adventures. The dance recital is there as promised. Also, I have pictures from my mom's graduation. She graduated from the University of Phoenix with her bachelor's of accounting. She's worked long and hard, and I am super proud of her. I don't know how she did it. We went to the Bee's game the night before the ceremony. It rained, but I got a few pictures. My camera was pretty much dead the next day so I only got the one picture with my mom. I enjoyed seeing all my siblings and having a chance to talk with dad, etc.
Other things that have been happening mostly deal with school. I have four days left, and it is bitter sweet. It's been a long year and I can't wait to have a few weeks off before my own schooling starts. On the other hand, I am going to miss these seniors kind of a lot. I had a BBQ at my house this week for my College English class as a final farewell. This batch of kids has just spoiled me with hard work and great writing that looking at next year already makes me tired for what I might have to deal with. Graduation is Thursday and we'll see if I can keep the tears in :) I'm helping with the all night party again, and I'm hoping to stay dry and not get thrown into the pool. Maybe I'll just come prepared with a swim suit and just get in with them. Although that might be weird too, but at least I won't get my regular clothes soaked. But regardless, I have only four days left of school. Four days . . .
In other news, I am going through the temple for the first time. I've got my recommend and all the necessaries and I'm ready to go. I know I'm not getting married and I'm not going on a mission, but I can't think of any reason why I shouldn't go. My immediate family is coming down and I'll go through the Manti Temple. I'm really excited about this next step and will thoroughly enjoy my experience. I can't wait.
The final picture on the slide show above is an awesome trifle dessert I learned to make from Taunya Otten. It is tres leche trifle and I made it for Family Home Evening on Monday and also made it for my seniors and our BBQ. Seriously delicious!
That's all for the updates. Maybe I'll put some pictures up of the senior party or pictures of me doing nothing but relaxing. That might be fun . . . Four Days!!!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Changed for Good

Last night was the end of something super important in my life. Now, some of you may think I'm talking about my parent's marriage, but I'm not mature enough to deal with the end of that yet. (For further info, check out mom's blog. It's a great way to find out your dad is moving out of the house for good (irony of "for good" noted)).

No, last night was the final performance of Jeana's Danceworks Studio. I started dancing with Jeana when I was 10. I was primarily a clogger, but took jazz for a few years too. Dance was a huge part of my identity as a teenager. I still remember all the assemblies of clogging with good friends like Lacey and Megan. I still have the Christmas T-shirt I painted for a Christmas assembly with Megan. We were awesome :) When I moved back to town, I took up classes again. I danced with the performing teenagers last year, and loved it. This year I took the Ladies class with other dancing ladies from around town. Age range was 50 something to my friend Kassie at 22. Kassie and I jazzed and clogged this year. We are natural cloggers, and wanted to challenge ourselves with jazz.
The theme for the company this year was Broadway. My class took on MAMMA MIA, and yes, I danced with the other two single girls in the class to "Take a Chance On Me." (A Crowd favorite I think. At least that's what I took from the "Go Miss Olsen" 's in the crowd.) I had a blast performing and cheesing it up for the crowd. I'm a nerd at heart :)
Anyway, because of some different circumstances, this could be Jeana's last year teaching dance. She has hundreds of dancers in classes like jazz, ballet, hip hop, ballroom and clogging. It's been an honor to know her and to have been one of her dancers. The final show of the night was "Wicked." We pulled Jeana up on stage for the final song of "For Good." She really is one of those people that has changed me for good in the 15 years I've known her.
Look for picutres later in the week. I spilled water on my laptop last week, but it should be back in hand on Tuesday. So, after that I'll post some pics of my awesome performance. Fake eyelashes and glitter included :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Cool Revolution

Okay, this sounds geeky, but it's spring break and I don't have a lot to do. I've been watching episodes of The Office and Community on hulu because I don't have time to watch TV during the week. So I got all caught up on my shows and found a new one. Jamie Oliver was on David Letterman talking about his Food Revolution show that just started. I was intrigued and happy to find the episodes on hulu. Anyway, I am such a fan. Basically he is taking school lunch by storm in a town in West Virginia. I know it's hard to make the healthy choice sometimes, but I really think Jamie Oliver is onto something. I remember as a kid thinking it wasn't right to be eating chicken nuggets, french fries, rolls, and corn all in the same lunch, but what was I supposed to do about it. Even as a teacher now, I rarely eat school lunch because I recognize how bad it can be for me as an adult (although very tempting). School cooks have a hard job and have to follow an insane amount of guidelines, but I really think this revolution thing is a cool idea. I got on his website and signed a petition for change. Who knows what will happen. It's just nice that this is one thing we can change in our country after feeling so helpless about others. Changing how kids (and adults) view food could be the best thing we can do to take a healthy stand as a nation. So kudos to you Jamie Oliver. He's got an impossible job, but I don't think he should have to do it alone. Check out the show and his website. Plus he's got some ridiculously awesome recipes on his website.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

March Madness

I know maybe some of you are hoping I'm going to dedicate this post to basketball, but alas, such is not the case. Although, I do have two brackets filled out, and I think one of my students will owe me some ice cream (Go Kentucky:), I am actually referring to how crazy March has been for me.

I haven't blogged for a really long time and I apologize. Sitting her typing this is the first Saturday in two months I haven't had something scheduled or been out of town. The first week of March was the Prom. I am a junior class advisor so I played an integral role in planning, decorating and supervising things that week. The chairperson for the advisers had a baby the previous week and left the rest of us in charge. She's uber-organized so it wasn't too much to pick up the pieces in her absence. The hard part of the week was taking over the speech team for this same teacher. I love the speech kids, so I agreed to take the team down to Moab for the Region Speech event. It wasn't the fairest meet I've ever been too, but it was two days away from school that I really didn't plan on. But both the prom and speech went on without a hitch. I have pictures of the prom, but they are on my computer at school so maybe I'll post them another time.

The next week I went to State Speech with the team to St. George. I was really looking forward to the weekend, but it ended up being one of the worst trips I've taken with students. From the inception, it was a bad trip. My students broke a glass trophy case at school before we even got on the bus. I should have taken that for the bad omen it was, but whatever. Later my students broke onto the bus, incurring the wrath of the bus driver, and even later some of my students wanted to free climb the Gardner Student Center at Dixie. I warned and yelled and got pretty upset, each time. I swear I wasn't that stupid when I was a teenager. Kids just don't always have an awareness of consequences. So I got to be Angry Ms. Olsen all weekend. The weekend also lasted longer than it should have. Because of the bad storm that came through, we stayed an extra night in Cedar City. I won't tell you about the drama from that night because, well, it's still under investigation. Yes. That bad.

I guess it wasn't all bad though. My public forum team (the debaters I actually do coach, not just substitute coach) took third. This is the first time people have placed at state for several years. I am incredibly proud of them.

Enough whining. Last weekend, I got the pleasure of joining one of my students in Washington D.C. for an award ceremony. The Bill of Rights Institute hosts an essay contest and my student was chosen as a finalist. We spent three days in D.C. seeing things and learning a lot. I am incredibly impressed with the BRI. No expenses were spared on us, and that feels good as a middle class American. A few sponsors paid for all 27 students, their teachers, and a parent to fly to D.C. plus hotel stay for three nights at the JW Marriot right off the mall and two blocks from the White House. Anyway. The contest chose three finalists from nine regions of the U.S. My student took third in our region. We both received checks for $1,250 and a sweet plaque. I'm honored that my student had me help her with the essay. I met some pretty great people (including a cute English teacher from Kentucky) and learned lots. Teachers are such nerds. We just talked about teaching the whole time.

I'm back now and looking forward to April. Baseball season is underway, and I can't wait to get a little sun and watch my favorite sport. Things should slow down a little for me now. Spring Break is here and I can't wait to get some things done that I have been putting off.

Blossoming D.C.

My student and me at the Awards Gala

Monday, February 8, 2010

Fun times ahead

Talk about a lull in blogging. I wish I had something cool to share from the month or so that I haven't blogged about anything, but I didn't do much but work. Recently, Holland came to stay with me this week. We had a fun time eating terribly, getting absorbed in our computers, going to high school basketball games (we won them both) and watching fun movies. I'm glad he came though. It's always nice to spend some time with family. I haven't seen much of mine lately. Church duties and school stress has kept me in Gunnison all month. Plus I've got some resolutions about not spending money on things, so I've been avoiding temptation by staying rural. Although in the next month or so I will be getting out and about a bit. To stop this from sounding like a schedule, I'll spare you the details, but I have a lot of lesson plans to create and get ready. One small vacation I am excited about just came to my attention today. One of my brilliant students (she's the sterling scholar and has a 36 English ACT score) entered an essay contest in Decemberish. The essay had to be teacher submitted so I helped her out with that and read it a few times. She has won several poetry contests, but nothing like this. Anyway, her essay was selected as a finalist which means the organization is flying my student, her parent and me to Washington D.C. for three days as part of the Award Program. It is all expenses paid and includes tours of the Library of Congress and National Archives. I couldn't be more excited. Even though I have been to D.C. twice in the last year, these are two sites I've never seen. I can't believe this opportunity for my student. A small town farm girl is going to be recognized for her incredible writing abilities and talent. It will be fun to experience this with her. So to D.C. I go. I wonder if I can apply for residency. I know the subway system as well as anyone. In fact, I still have a ticket with money on it. Maybe I can zero that out by taking a trip to see Doug, Sara and Cameron in some free time.
I have some fun weekends planned and coming up. I'll blog about those as they come. I'm glad it's February. I always like the busy anticipation of spring. It's all so much more lovely than stupid, dreary January. Yay! fun times ahead.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Resolution smesolution!

I had plans. This year was going to be different. I was going to be money smart, health smart and time smart. No more procrastinating and no more living life in a mess of unorganized thoughts etc. I'm so glad that two weeks into the new year, I am able to see the fallacy in having so much faith in myself :) Just kidding. I wrote out what has been going on in my life over the last few weeks, but it all sounded dark and dreary. Things are actually pretty good, busy and stressful, but good. I'm going to blame it on the fact that I haven't seen the sun at all this week. I get to school in the dark and because it's the end of the quarter, I leave well after dark too. I was hopeful to see it today, but alas, it's gray. So instead of looking back, I'll look forward. Apparently my brother Holland is going to come spend the first week of February with me, which is bound to add some excitement. I don't have to go to school Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and I'm finished with my grading. I have everyday of the next unit planned out, and I'm excited for those plans. Mostly my life is boring when I look at it from the outside. No cute kid pictures to post or pregnant belly updates like most of my friends and family. You'll just have to be satisfied with a photo of my first successfully grown amarylis. It's beautiful. Maybe I'll have to take this flower as a consolation of these dreary January blues, may they leave as quickly as the buds wither.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Heavenly Holidays

I guess it's about time I updated my blog for the holidays. In a nutshell, they've been great. I got together with my family in Pine Valley (mountains above St. George) for Christmas. I love Pine Valley Christmases. We spent four days playing games, watching movies and eating delicious food. I really like my family and love spending such quality time listening to Grandpa Snow's stories and watching my awesome nieces and nephews. We took family pictures while we were in Pine Valley. I didn't get great ones, but I'm hoping a sibling's camera snagged a better copy.

The rest of my break has been spent hanging out at home. I've been going to the fitness center at the school all week. I hope to find time in my real life to keep that habit up. One night, I invited the Otten kids (my adopted second family) over for a sleepover. That was my Christmas present to them. We had dinner and cooked 'smores in the fire place, watched Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, played this great new game Kassie bought called Quelf (we kind of wish we could have played it with adults), and slept in the same room. It wasn't the best night's sleep I ever had, but it worked and was pretty fun. We had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and played around all morning and into the afternoon. It was a pretty fun day.

This weekend, I got to work doing all that I've been procrastinating. I had a mountain (literally) of papers to grade. I got enough done for my A day classes on Monday and will have to finish up B-day tomorrow. I should be grading now, but . . . whatever :) Today Kassie and I had fun with dinner. I got the Costco cookbook from mom a few Christmases ago, but have lost it in transit somewhere. Kim and Cody gave me a new one this Christmas and I have been cooking up a storm. Tonight I tried Apricot Glazed Salmon and I really enjoyed it. I'm grateful Kassie puts up with my experimental cooking. I might have to track down a roast and some red potatoes for next Sunday. You know, make her feel more comfortable. Anyways, we had a good time cooking together. We took pictures because it looked just like the cookbook. I know, even I'm impressed with it. I asked Kassie what we should cook next and she asked if there were any recipes with Steak. I'm taking that as a hint. Like I said, Kassie is nice to put up with all the fish and chicken I make.

That's sparkling cider left over from New Year's Eve I promise.

Anyway, school starts tomorrow and I'm really going to miss wasting all my time away. I'm sure I'll find some time to waste this week regardless. Bring on the schedule.