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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Let the race begin....

I started another semester at Weber State yesterday. I am taking threes classes: British Victorian Literature, History of Christianity in Europe, and Literary Criticism. All are intense, high-workload classes that I hope to pass with good grades. It used to be that starting a new semester was fun for me; now only a sense of impending doom is felt. The anxiety of this semester is something new. I suppose I will take one day and one assignment at a time.

I think that my Victorian Lit class will be the most enjoyable. One of our assigned readings is "Jane Eyre," which I have read. I generally like literature from this period and the poetry is generally less symbolic than the poetry from other eras. Dr. Rogers loves his topic and seems to actually care about his students. The History of Christianity in Europe will be very intense. The teacher, Dr. Francis, has five assigned texts along with 18 internet readings. Weekly reading responses along with four tests, and five major papers will round out the class. I will probably learn a lot if it doesn't kill me. My literary criticism class will be very technical and semi-uninteresting although it will help me immensely in analyzing works of literature for my other classes.

For me, school is a battle that seems unending and unconquerable. I love knowledge and learning but hate the hoops that must be jumped through in order to obtain a piece of paper. That said, I will stay in school because I know that it will be the best thing for me in the end. That which does not kill me, makes me stronger. Let the race to win begin...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Darcy's Story

The book I just finished is called "Darcy's Story" by Janet Aylmer. This charming story is Mr. Darcy's story from "Pride and Prejudice." Unlike some other retellings or sequels to "Pride and Prejudice," this had actual dialogue lifted from the original book. The author took care to match Mr. Darcy's actions up perfectly to Jane Austen's masterpiece. She had a decent writing style and wasn't too wordy. While not destined to be a classic, this book is a must for lovers of "Pride and Prejudice."

A funny "Onion" moment

The Onion

Girl Moved To Tears By Of Mice And Men Cliffs Notes

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—A visibly shaken Grace Weaver said she never wanted the synopsis to end.

When I read this story, I had to laugh. Some of the stuff on "the Onion" can be a little shocking but other stories are hilarious. I have, sadly, had the experience of talking to fellow students about influential novels and come to realize that theyhave only read the Cliff Notes. As an English major I find myself sometimes liking but usually loathing Cliff Notes. They are helpful in a jam if you can't remember plot points but horrible because it kills the "spirit" of the book.

Curtis and Qatar

My friend Curtis is in the Air Force and is stationed at Hill Air Force Base. In about a week, his unit is being sent to Qatar. This small, app. 5,000 square mile, country is a peninsula that juts off the edge of Saudia Arabia into the Persian Gulf. (For more info, go to Wikipedia.) While it is safer than say Iraq, Iran, etc., it still worries me to see him go. He keeps telling us to not worry about him because worrying does no good. If anyone out there has been to Qatar, I would appreciate knowing how long it takes a package to get there. I can't manage to get a straight answer.

Last night John, lawyer Ryan, Curtis, and I went to the Athenian to eat. (For those unaware, it is a Greek restaurant in Ogden and the lettuce/grape leaf wraps are excellent.) Afterwards, best friend Ryan joined us at Johns for a game of Trivia Pursuit Pop Culture. It was a close game but Curtis won in the end. To celebrate his victory, his usual "rock-on" face was exhibited (see picture.) It was a low-key Friday night but I had fun nonetheless. I will really miss Curtis while he is away. I can always talk to him about religion, books, politics, or any other serious, semi-smart topics. At least I will get to see him once more next weekend. (I believe a going-away party is in order!) Be safe Curtis and I will miss you.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wyatt and the green, green grass

On Wednesday, Brit dropped Wyatt off for a couple of hours. While I had breakfast, Mom took Wyatt outside to pick a zuccinni. When they didn't return, I looked outside. Mom and Wyatt were sitting on the grass and Mom was laughing. I grabbed my camera. Wyatt was discovering grass. With Mom making sure he didn't fall over, he would kick at the grass and try to grab it with his hands. Then he would look up and smile while his doting Grandma laughed. He seemed a little perplexed that the grass wasn't coming up very easily. We made sure he didn't end up eating the grass and I took a couple of pictures. He is such a darling boy. How did we ever get so lucky?

Monday, August 21, 2006

A birthday celebration

On Sunday we celebrated the birthday of Jen, my sister. Everyone but Jordan managed to make it up to the house for dinner. We had all three babies in one spot so we decided to take a picture.
Wyatt and Lauren were in pretty good moods but Isaac had just woken up. He probably could not understand why so many flashbulbs were interupting his normally calm waking-up period. Mom made great Santa Fe Pasta along with tomatoe salad, fresh vegatables, fruit salad, and rolls. We ate homemade ice cream for dessert. A good time was had by all, especially me. I love being around my nieces and nephews. They truly are the lights of my life.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Yeh! The Bees win!

On Friday night I went to a Salt Lake Bee's game. I met John and Curtis at Big Kyle's house and the four of us rode down together. Katie had bought our tickets before we had arrived because the stadium had really started to fill up. After a disappointing first four inning, the Bees finally scored a run in the fifth. The Bee's then scored five runs in the sixth inning. It was awesome! It was fun to see everyone enjoying themselves. In all, the group included John, Big Kyle, Curtis, lawyer Ryan, Katie, Bree, Kyle "Ferny," best friend Ryan, and me. By the end of the game we all got pretty tired. I think it was because no one scored a run in the seventh, eighth, or ninth innings. The Bees ended up beating Fresno 6-3. Yeh!

Flower pictures

Here are some pretty pictures that I took. The pictures are of the flowers that are growing up our front porch.
Each flower is a soul opening out to nature.

-Gerald De Nerval
I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.

-Claude Monet

The vine from where these flowers bloom.

Cedar City

On Wednesday, Jordan, Alison, Isaac, and I left for Cedar City to go to the Utah Shakespearean Festival. After four hours in the car, we barely made it in time for Jordan and Alison to see their afternoon performance of "The Merry Wives of Windsor." Isaac and I lay on the grass. While he caught up on his beauty sleep, I crocheted a blanket and read from a book of short stories by Garrison Keillor. Isaac woke up with a messy diaper and a need to wander. (Ok, it was my need to wander.) We walked through the gift shop and then Isaac decided to have yet another dirty diaper that happened to leak on his shorts and my shirt. While changing him I made a colossal mistake of leaving his diaper open while I searched for a wipe. He proceeded to create a small fountain all his own, some of which made my pants wet. After these trying situations, I was rewarded with a wide smile which reminded me how cute he was and that I shouldn't drop him off with the closest group of traveling gypsies. He started to get hungry and tired just as his parents exited their play.
We checked into the motel and Alison and I placed our sandwich orders with Jordan. While Jordan did his familial duty and hunted for food, Alison washed out Caleb's soiled shorts and I entertained the now very tired little boy. After eating an ok meal, J & A went to see "Hamlet" and I tried to get a very tired little boy to sleep. He wanted to stay up and play. Being a wonderful aunt, I gave in. Eventually I gave him a bottle and he went to sleep. This was the first time that Isaac had ever had formula. Although he made protesting noises and funny faces, he drank and was relatively happy. I watched tv and read until Jordan and Alison returned after 10:30. They brought some excellent chocolate cake with them which I dove right into. By 12 we were all in bed.
The next morning, Jordan went for a swim in the motel's pool and returned tired and nauseous. Alison and I remained in bed and we barely made our 11 am checkout. A friend of Alison, Melissa, managed to get us free tickets for a Thursday afternoon showing of "Room Service," so we decided to stay instead of going home. After an interesting barbecue with Melissa's family, we went to see "Room Service" at the Randall L. Jones Theatre while Melissa babysat Isaac. The Randall Theatre has an awesome bench with a seated statue of William Shakespeare on it. I ended up taking a picture of Jordan, Alison, and Isaac on it. Before we took the picture, Isaac required a diaper change and then was changed into his "Got Shakespeare?" onesie that Melissa had purchased for him. I managed to take a picture of Jordan and Isaac before his diaper was changed (the diaper of Isaac, not Jordan.) The Randall L. Jones Theatre has some very interesting statues around it. "Room Service" was a comedy set in the 1920's. and I highly recommend it. I saw a former co-worker, Kim, there and we exchanged brief hugs and hellos. After the play, we left for the four-hour drive home. We stopped in Provo for dinner at The Pizza Company. Jordan still wasn't feeling well so we didn't linger. We arrived home after 11pm. Despite the drive, I had fun. It was nice to spend time with Jordan, Alison, and Isaac.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Mark Twain reading quote

Sculpture by Lynn Forbes

"The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read."
-Mark Twain

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Library opening and "Captain Cookie"

Saturday was the opening celebration of the Kaysville library. After months of work, the re-opening finally happened. Even though I don't work there anymore, the powers that be asked me to work and help out. Bright and early, at 6am, I was at the library. First, blowing up helium balloons, then doing a little cleaning. I think some of us librarians killed a few brain cells blowing up hundreds of balloons (I even included a picture of one). At 8:30 the opening ceremony was presided over by Pete and the mayor of Kaysville, Neka Roundy. Commissioner Page made a speech about libraries and the importance of them. The general theme was welcoming the Kaysville people into the fold of the Davis County System. Sadly, not many patrons were there. I think it was because it was so early. Kim gave in and got a Davis County card. Nikki helped her (it was like old times). It is always nice to see people I used to work with. I helped greet old Kaysville patrons until I was summoned to the snack table outside. Sitting there, serving cookies, I became bored and started to think about how tired I was after only getting a few hours of sleep. Luckily, Erika and another county employee came over and visited with me until I left at 1:30pm. Since mom and dad had gone up to see Grandma R in Idaho, I decided to take a nap when I got home.
Two hours later, I awoke and called Ryan. We met in Salt Lake and ate at a new restaurant, Fostinos. After going to Barnes and Noble, one of my favorite places on earth, we went to Mikeys. We all hung around and talked. A group broke off to watch "V for Vendetta" in the family room. Big Kyle, Kyle F, Ryan, and I made cookies. It was a lot of fun watching these manly men carefully stir and measure. They, the cookies, turned out pretty well. I think that Big Kyle should be known as "Captain Cookie" from now on. I even managed a salute and a hug at the end of the night.
Church was nice today. After a lesson on family in Relief Society, Char gave a good lesson on keeping the Sabbath day holy in Sunday School. I have the say that the highlight of church was sacrament meeting. Jen gave a great talk on bearing each others burdens. She related a story about when her mother helped an older couple in an airport. By the end of the story, I found myself getting a little misty. I would just hope that someone would help my grandparents if they ever needed help.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Can't sleep

It is now after midnight and I can't get to sleep despite being tired. I have to be up in about five hours. I have to be at the Kaysville library at 6 am to help them set up for the open house. That's right, after six weeks of construction, the library is going to be officially opened at 8:30 am. I was asked to work there to help Kaysville patrons apply for cards, direct traffic, and generally make everyone I know feel better about Kaysville becoming part of the county system. It has been an interesting transition. As many of you know, I have been trying to document how the building has changed. Here are some more before and after pictures.

My desk area before the packing of books and construction began.

The same area six weeks later. It now holds Videos, DVD's, Music CD's, and Books on tape.

The before and after photo's of the children's section.

And now for the weirdest pictures ever. The following is a look from the front of the library. The changes are so drastic that it was a small shock for me to look at them. The pictures do not give the change justice because the amount in front of the new circulation desk cannot be seen in this picture.
After working most of the day at Kaysville, I took a shower and got ready for the night. After dinner with my parents at Cafe Alicia, I went to see Grandma J at the hospital. She went to the hospital after having serious chest pains on Thursday. After a ride in an ambulance and many tests later, the doctors aren't sure what is wrong with her. Her heart seems fine but she may have pneumonia. It worries me because her health is not the best. Her lungs haven't been good the last couple of years and she now walks with a walker. Grandma and I had a good talk about life and such until Josh and Brooke came. The four of us talked until it was obvious that all of us were getting tired. After a brief phone call to my best friend, whom I haven't seen in a week, I decided to go home.
Mom is leaving for Idaho tomorrow morning because her mom is having health problems as well. Grandma R goes to the hospital three times a day to get antibiotic shots in her pic line. (A pic line is an IV that goes directly into the heart.) Mom is really worried about her mom and dad. Grandpa R sleeps a lot, keeps falling, and seems to have given up the will to live. I am not sure who among my grandparents will die first but I suspect we will have a funeral sometime in the next year. I hate the idea of saying goodbye to someone that I love. While I realize that death is not the end of the life of a soul, it is still hard when someone leaves this earth for the next. I can't imagine how people who have no faith in some kind of afterlife deal with the loss of someone dear to them. It would be scary to think that you would never see that person ever again.
I hate not being able to sleep. I can't take sleeping medication now because I would never wake up to be at work on time. I am not a morning person so I wasn't looking forward to getting up early. Oh well, such is life. I hope all goes well tomorrow. Maybe after I get home I will be able to take a short nap.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fahrenheit 451 anyone?

Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.
-Heinrich Heine, German Poet, 1797-1856

Berlin, Germany
May 1933

While looking for another library quote, I came across this one. The interesting thing is that the author of this quote, Heine, had a Jewish background. He was such a famous poet that the Nazis insisted that the poet's songs and poems be marked as "author unknown" instead of getting rid of them. Eighty-five years after his death some of Heine's countrymen were burning books, then later cremating the bodies of victims of concentration camps.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

My new camera

As many of you know, I bought a new camera. It's small, durable, and takes pretty good pictures. I took this picture of my bracelet today. (For those who want to know, it is a digital Casio Exilim with 6.0 mega pixels)

This fun, fun weekend...

On Friday I went to work at the "new and improved" Kaysville library. Even though I don't work there anymore, I thought I would help out with the transition. I took a picture of what it looks like. It is scheduled to open on August 12th and there is a lot to do. After moving boxes of books, along with other activities, I went home sweaty and tired. After a much needed shower, Ryan, John, lawyer Ryan, big Kyle, and Nick went to eat at a chinese restaurant called Pei Wei. I highly recommend it. The group ended up at Brian and Ryan's house, where we later made an ice cream run to Baskin Robbins. (Another place I highly recommend.) Big Kyle kept cracking me up. I will really hate it when he gets transfered or has to move because he is in the Air Force. (Speaking of moving, I will miss Curtis too because he is being deployed in September.) After a late ride home, I woke up to hear my youngest niece yelling at someone downstairs. For a girl who is only two months old, she really has a nice pair of lungs. I am holding out hope for a girl who sings. I layed low on Saturday and helped out with Lauren. Mom helped Jen prepare for Lauren's blessing by finding a blessing gown and deciding on and buying food for the big day. Jordan joined up. Alison and Isaac are on a trip with her parents and I think he misses them dearly. At the end of the day, John called to say that his grandfather had died. I feel so bad for John's mom. Even though John's grandfather was suffering, it still is difficult for their family. Sunday morning I helped out by cutting vegetables for the meal after the blessing. We, as Jen's family, tried to do all we could to help her with the preparations for the blessing. I picked up Grandma, along with some backseat driving, and we went to the church. The blessing was lovely. John did a wonderful job. Afterwards we had a luncheon at my mom's work. The food was good, the company was better, and Lauren slept through a lot of it. I got some pretty good pictures including a picture of my dad and his mother and a darling picture of Wyatt attempting to eat his father's fingers. At app. 5 pm, I took Grandma home and stopped by the cemetary to see Caleb. John's nephew was at the blessing. He is almost two and I couldn't help but wonder how big Caleb would be had he lived. I usually don't ponder on these type of thoughts, but family milestones always bring them up. After arriving home, I went to a fireside where the stake presidency talked about the Godhead. I really liked Pres. Child's talk on the Holy Ghost. The coming week holds lots of work for me.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Where is the world heading?

Over the past two weeks I have been reflecting upon where this world is heading in regards to the care of children. For those of you outside to Utah (or people inside of Utah but who haven't been paying attention to the news), two little girls have been killed in the last two weeks. Destiny, a five year old little girl, was lured away from her front yard by a neighbor. They eventually found her body in the basement of a man who lived only a few houses away from her. Stuffed in a plastic container, Destiny had been sexually abused.

A few days ago, Shelby was beaten to death by her father in his attempt to "discipline"her. After beating her with his hands and a belt, he killed his ten-year-old daughter. A step-brother eventually called 911. These two stories have made me sick. How can people treat their fellow human beings this way; especially children. Innocent lives taken by adults who are sick and do not understand how precious and important children are. It makes a person afraid to raise a child in this world of ours. I wish I knew how to stop horrible things like this from happening.