Monday, December 28, 2009

Give Us This Day Our Yearly Bread

A little over a year ago, I finally figured out how to make real bread. The kind with hard, crusty deliciousness on the outside and warm, chewy goodness on the inside. The kind you only get if you buy it from the bakery. It's not easy unless you have a special oven (as most bakeries do). It was a milestone and a cause for much rejoicing in our household, since my husband is European and misses his bread almost as much as he misses his family. Unfortunately it is very time consuming as well--one loaf of lovely bread takes about 12 hours minimum to make, and more if you really want the taste of the bread to be fully developed.

Ironically enough, JC and I decided to start restricting carbohydrates in our diet just a few months later to see if the hype about low-carbs diets is true. It is, by the way (at least for us). But oh, do we miss our bread! Anyway, we have been looking forward to Christmas because we decided we were going eat bread as one of our Christmas presents. And of course, if you only get to eat bread at Christmas, it HAS to be the good kind. So we made our Christmas bread and it was thoroughly enjoyed, if not terribly long-lived. And yes, it tasted as wonderful as we remembered. We thanked the geniuses who first took flour, water and yeast and made this fabulous creation. We sang our praises to gluten. And we ate the whole loaf in one day. Now we have to get back on the bandwagon, so we are a little depressed. However, we have decided that this will be our new yearly tradition and now look forward to that great loaf of bread that we will devour next Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Keeping Busy

My dad always told us when we were feeling tired or depressed that the best thing to do was get moving and do something and that you would feel better. Of course I gave him dirty looks when I was younger and he said something like this, but he was, as usual, right. So, since JC and I are are trying to stay jolly and festive, we are doing our best to be involved in community goings-on.

This morning we ran the Christmas 10K for the Women and Infant's Hospital and although it was a little cold we thought it was worth getting out and supporting the cause!!!!! It was in Newport and it was a gorgeous run. Next time we do this we will take a small camera because we got to run for 6 miles along the coastline and it was really beautiful, even if it is wintertime!!! Afterwards we drank hot chocolate and ate the obligatory New England clam chowder, a necessary part of every New England event. I am not sure where the race coordinators get their volunteers but they had a bunch of teenaged girls screaming and cheering at different points in the race, and it was very helpful, especially on the hills! I will also say that cold water can still hit the spot, even if it is cold outside. But it's Newport, after all, so it wasn't THAT cold.
We didn't finish first, but neither did we finish last! (And yes, I was worried that we would be dead last. JC said I wouldn't have to be last because he would let me finish before him. What a sweetie!) We made it home and stretched and now I have to go get ready to do a show tonight in Boston.

Here we are, tired and sweaty but feeling very festive!!!

Now it's back to memorizing my music--my brain keeps spitting out random lyrics to holiday music, which is good when they are in order and set to the correct tune. Unfortunately they are mostly not at this point. :-)

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What I Am Doing This Holiday Season

This year I am not going to Utah for Christmas. I am bummed about that because my whole family is going to be there except me. It's hard to be so far from family--I would say one of the hardest things about living on the East Coast, since everyone else is west of the Mississippi. There are several reasons why I am not going, but one of them is that this year I am doing my first run with the Boston Pops for the holiday concert series. Interestingly enough, this program will be performed 32 times. I am not sure it would be humanly possible for one chorus to do that many performances and be alive at the end of it, especially since sometimes there are 3 concerts in one day. We are split up into four teams and each team is assigned eight concerts. Mine start this Friday, but the festivities began last night with a different team, and it looks like it is going to be a fun season. Eight performances is more than I have ever done for any program anywhere, with exception to maybe the Tabernacle Choir tour. So it is looking to be a very busy season! This week I am still teaching and trying to get tests done before school lets out, running a 10k, helping cook for the ward Christmas party and doing three Pops concerts. And that is just from now until Sunday. Things will be easier once school lets out next week, but they are absolutely crazy right now. Now, as crazy as things are, I have noticed how much more festive I feel this year just being part of some kind of holiday event. After all, the holidays are all about being with people, right? Well, I am getting plenty of that, and although I may not be with my family, I am definitely appreciating the season.

Pops toast the season with glee, tradition - The Boston Globe

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Stick To Your Plan

I am the Academic Decathlon coach at Wheeler. (My assistant coach and I are competing to see who the biggest nerd is, which just proves that this is the right job for us to be doing.) This year our topic is The French Revolution, so this weekend I took the team to Boston to the Museum of Fine Arts to see some of the 18th century French paintings and just to go over Art fundamentals in general. It all started out well at Providence Station that morning and our train ride there was very uneventful. We arrived in Boston and had lunch at Betty's Wok and Café, which is like a 50's anglo diner but that serves Chinese/Hispanic food. We had hoped for a French restaurant, but we were on the wrong side of town. We visited the museum and saw some beautiful artwork and sculpture.

It was all working out to be a great trip. However, Evie (my assistant coach) and I noticed that on the metro map there was a closer train station than the one we had planned on using to get back. So, when we were done at the museum, we asked the museum guide how to get to the closer train station. Well, he sent us in the OPPOSITE direction from the station. I knew we were lost when we started wandering around the Wentworth Institute of Technology. So we started back towards the museum and asked some people on the street how to get to Ruggles Station. Do you know every single person gave us different directions? Oh, yes, and right about now it started snowing. Finally we found a street map and located the general vicinity of the station. At this point we were close to missing our train and had to make a mad dash across the campus of Northeastern to finally find the right road. I am sure we looked like some kind of weird running team with backpacks. But find it we did! Unfortunately we arrived at the train station seven minutes after the train had already left. We had an hour and a half before the next train so we hung out in the Northeastern student center and drank hot chocolate and had some dinner/snacks. We DID make the next train and the evening ended well. The team is mostly boys this year and they are extremely chill so it actually made things more fun to have time to sit around and chat.

Anyway, the moral of the story is stick with your plan because trying to make things faster doesn't always make things faster and sometimes makes things much slower! Here is a picture of everyone at Betty's before we changed from the Wheeler Academic Decathlon team to the Wheeler Night-time Track Team:

The novel the kids are reading for the competition is Tale of Two Cities and after our experience we decided that our motto for the year should be:

"It was mostly the worst of times."

Do I have a fun job or what?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Feeling Proud

Yesterday the copies of Juan Carlos' first book arrived in the mail. While it's not a book that will top (or even make the bottom) of the bestseller lists, it is still quite an accomplishment for him and one that I think he is still a bit surprised about. As someone who has lived with JC while the manuscript was being written and who watched him go through the editing process, I find it incredible that anyone has the patience to write books, let alone try to make a living doing it. It is grueling, painstaking work. And the editing! Oh, my friends, the EDITING. So here it is:

I have mentioned before how extremely lucky I was to marry JC, for just about every reason imaginable. But one thing I have always admired and envied is his motivation to work and to set aside what he wants in order to do what needs to be done. I don't think I have ever had to ask him to do anything, he just gets things done. There are only two people that I have seen work like JC works, and one of them is his mother. So I guess he comes by it naturally. At times I can get in a mood and complain  about how much work I have, but then I just look at Juan Carlos and it makes me shut up immediately.

Juan Carlos is in Spain right now doing a presentation for a university that has an exchange program with Stonehill, and when he arrived they surprised him with a newspaper interview. He was pretty nervous but it turned out to be a good experience for him.

This has been such a trial for him and such a ghastly amount of work, but something that has helped him grow and develop as a scholar and a writer. I am not going to say I am in any hurry for him to start another book, but I appreciate what an accomplishment this is for him. And I am very proud to be his wife.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Model UN

It was my singular opportunity to travel with a group of Model United Nations students to a conference this weekend. It has turned out to be a fun and enlightening experience! We had a bit of a complication because the state of Rhode Island has decided that any child that wants an H1N1 vaccine has to get it through the school and only on the day that the state decrees for the distribution of the vaccine. You don't show up that day, you don't get it. Our day was the day after we were to have left for the conference. So of course half the team had to stay, get their shots, and join us halfway through the conference. It has been a great exercise in resiliency. We had a few frustrated moments with the kids who arrived late and didn't know what was going on once they got to their committe sessions, but most everyone has caught up now and is having a good time. We did get to take a tour of a nearby university yesterday, which was very nice. Can you tell where we are from this picture?

It has been fun to watch the kids as they reenact the International Criminal Tribunal in Rwanda, discuss and propose resolutions to world issues, and deal with legal issues involved in international dispute. They even have sessions where they wake them up at 1 in the morning and they have to go deal with crisis situations, like wars breaking out or political assassinations and their aftermath. I have never been remotely interested in politics, domestic or otherwise, but I have to admit that it's great to see that there are young people around who are. And now I know why when kids get back from the Model UN trips they are always totally dead in class. Well, we are going home tomorrow and at least there are only two days before Thanksgiving break.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Most of my friends know I am not a very emotional person. I always say I got it all out in my teenage years and early twenties. It's not to say that I don't have emotions--I just don't like it when they take control. Mostly I keep them on the back burner. However, every few years those pesky feelings do come out and force me to acknowledge them. I am having one of those times right now. One of the things that has always affected me emotionally and also helped me to deal with emotion has been music, and in particular, participating in music making. Maybe it is the control you have to have to create something beautiful with your voice or with an instrument, but it has always been an emotional outlet for me and something I have loved for as long as I can remember. The holiday season is coming up and I am getting ready for the holiday concerts that I will be doing with the Boston Pops. I think it will be good to get into the spirit of the season; however, most of my holiday performances in the past have been more religiously focused. I think this one will be less so, although I plan to enjoy it regardless. I have also been spending a lot of time at the piano lately going through many of my favorites, and it is wonderful to get in touch with them again, like spending time with old friends.
I have been listening to some pieces lately that have really touched me emotionally over the years and are very healing music. The first is O Magnum Mysterium, a Christmas piece by Morten Lauridsen that I sang in college. No matter how terrible I feel, this piece always makes me feel better, and usually more peaceful. This version is the Brussels Chamber Choir and they do a lovely job for such a small group.

Latin text

O magnum mysterium,

et admirabile sacramentum,

ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,

jacentem in praesepio!

Beata Virgo, cujus viscera

meruerunt portare

Dominum Christum.


English translation

O great mystery,

and wonderful sacrament,

that animals should see the new-born Lord,

lying in a manger!

Blessed is the Virgin whose womb

was worthy to bear

Christ the Lord.


The second is called The blue bird, by Mary E. Coleridge and C.V. Stanford. The choir at my school is learning this one right now and we always hear them practicing during my Spanish 3 class. It is particularly nice to listen to while taking a quiz! This version is the Boys Air Choir. This song is gorgeous and boys' voices just add another dimension of ethereality. The words are not life-changing or sentimental, but the combination of voice and words is very calming.

"The blue bird"

Mary Coleridge (1861-1907)

The lake lay blue below the hill,

O'er it, as I looked, there flew

Across the waters, cold and still,

A bird whose wings were palest blue.

The sky above was blue at last,

The sky beneath me blue in blue,

A moment, ere the bird had passed,

It caught his image as he flew.

Be aware that neither of these pieces are going to motivate you to get up and go run a marathon or change the world, but they may bring you a sense of peace and tranquility for a few minutes, as they do me. And these days I really need it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Things You Learn

Today in one of my classes the kids had an assignment to speak for two minutes in Spanish about one of their most memorable days, without using any notes or prompts. Their grammar and pronunciation is graded as well as the content and the development of their topic. Usually this assignment causes quite a bit of consternation and nerves, and today was no exception. However, this year I have a group of kids who, for the most part, really like to talk and share. They are all good friends with each other and feel little to no hesitation talking about themselves and their lives. I am really enjoying them and we have had some amazing talks about everything from swine flu to whether it is possible to love someone too much, or even debating immigration policy in the United States. I look forward to that class every day.

Anyway, back to the assignment. When you teach school you do get to know the kids pretty well, but you do only have them for 50 minutes a day, and there is a lot that goes on in their lives that you are not a part of (and that is generally a good thing!) So today I learned some things about my students that really expanded my vision of who they are as people, and not just as students.

1. One student talked about going to the baseball game where the Boston Red Sox finally won the World Series after 86 years. He talked about sitting and cheering with his dad and how everyone went out into the streets afterwards and were hugging and kissing each other. We asked if he kissed anyone and he laughed and said "posiblemente". 

2. Another student talked about visiting Israel and climbing the plateau to visit Masada. She talked about how much it meant to her to be in Israel and to explore her Jewish heritage. She mentioned how difficult the climb was and what a spectacular view it was from the top and how it was an experience that would affect her whole life.

3. One girl shared her experience of writing and directing a Christmas Eve play for her church and how it was so hard for her because she is not a playwright or a director and how she did not have a lot of support. She wanted to do something nice for the children of the congregation and so she took the initiative to write and put on this play, which was very well received and will be repeated this year.

4. Another of my students is a very gifted musician and he talked about giving his first full piano concert at the Blithewold mansion in Bristol. He talked about how nervous he was and shared the worst thing that happened that night--a piano duet in which his partner turned two pages of the score at once and so they had a little bit of a crash and burn. It was such a success, however, that he has done repeat concerts every subsequent year.

5. A girl talked about a time when she was younger when she and her mother and three brothers left Rhode Island to go on vacation to Florida. She knew something was off about it and sure enough they stayed in Florida for two years. She talked about living in a one-bedroom apartment with her three brothers and mom because living in Rhode Island was too expensive. She talked about how she did not feel the economic difference and never thought twice about wearing the same clothes over and over again. The climate in Florida was not good for her health, though, and eventually things improved enough so that they could rejoin her dad in Rhode Island. I think this was something that a lot of people didn't know about her.

These are just a few of the experiences I heard about today. Now, I can complain a lot about teaching and sometimes I think I chose a very difficult career path. And some days I feel like I should have gone into a field of work that doesn't take over your life so totally. But on days like today I look at who these young people are and who they are becoming and I am, frankly, enchanted.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Still In Love...

I wrote about 9th graders last year at around this time and how awesome I think they are. I have two classes with a lot of 9th graders again this year and I started off the new year thinking that maybe it was just a nice group of kids that I had last year and not so much the age.

Well folks, it is confirmed, I just love 13 and 14 year olds, which is weird because my mother swears 13 is the year she wanted to slit her wrists with all of us when we were growing up. It must also be said it was not the best year to live through, however, I remember being a much bigger brat at 15.

Anyway, the first day in class we go over tips for doing well in class, and number one is always "Lose your fear!" The biggest challenge for a language teacher is to actually get the students to speak voluntarily. The first few days are awkward and I swear they all think I'm a lunatic with all the playacting I do in the first few days, but after a couple of weeks everyone gets into the swing of things. After all, if the teacher is acting like an idiot, then it must be ok, right?

Going back to you remember being 13? How awkward, how uncertain, how hyper-conscious you were about what everybody thought about you? I do. Think back...if a teacher had told you "Lose your fear!", you probably would have thought, "this teacher is obviously psychotic"; at least, I know I would have, just before collapsing into a pile of tormented social anxiety on the floor.

Anyway, my 9th graders last year did a great job losing their fear, which is why I loved them so much.  I am happy to say that this year's 9th graders have embraced the motto as well! They speak in Spanish to me all the time and when there is a massive breakdown in language (and there are a lot) they don't let it get to them. Sometimes it sounds like gibberish, sometimes they get halfway through and get stuck and have to finish in English. But they are not afraid. They stick with it, they have fun with it. They TRY. And they laugh when they make mistakes and then they try again.

That's why I love them.

Monday, August 31, 2009

My Not So Relaxing Summer

So, as a teacher who finished the last school year at the beginning of June I should be feeling totally rested and rejuvenated and ready to go for a new school year, right?

Since I have had 10 weeks of no teaching, I should be excited and anticipating the new year with alacrity, yes?

I wish.

Today as I was wildly putting together AP binders and student-parent contracts and syllabi I wondered where on earth my summer went. It was supposed to be the first summer I didn't do any major travel, so it was going to be nice and relaxing. At least that was the plan.

June 9th-June16th: I went to Cincinnati, OH and graded about 800 AP Spanish tests. Ok, maybe not 800, but it felt like that many, at least. Eight hours a day of grading for 7 straight days. Now and then some very funny stuff, but mostly listening to bad Spanish and rethinking my career choice!

June 17th-30th: I found out that a colleague and I received a grant from the Rhode Island teacher's association to create a teaching unit. So we started creating forms, setting up interviews, begging for equipment and mapping out the plan project.

July 7th-14th: Lovely trip to North Carolina to visit friends and see if it is really as wonderful as I remember. It is.

July 15th-21st: Non-stop filming for teaching unit project.

July 22-August 4th: Visit from my mother and four sisters from out west. We had a great time and gallivanted all over New England. Made the vow that I will never drive through Boston again.

August 5th-14th: Catch up interviews and review of footage for project. Realization that our primary interview footage is totally unusable and that we need a new video camera to redo some of the interviews.

August 19th-23rd: My first performance at Tanglewood. I went to rehearsal Thursday and drove back 2.5 hours to meet Juan Carlos, who had been in Spain for the previous month. Spent Friday the 21st together, then I drove back 2.5 hours again to Tanglewood for the orchestra rehearsal and performance on Sunday.

August 25th: Went back to school for pre-year meetings.

So it turned out not to be the summer I had envisioned, and I face the school year a little less rested than I had hoped. Since I am trying to focus on the positive, though, I just look forward to next summer and tell myself it's not as far away as I think.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Post In Which It Is Revealed How Pathetic I Am About My Dog

May is an unbelievably crazy month for both JC and me. Final classes, final exams and final grades all make an appearance and all the extracurricular stuff is going on so we never know who is actually going to be in class from day to day. Add on top of that test makeups and extra help and by the end of the day we have no recollection of any of our actions. At home we are trying to write said exams and reevaluate lesson plans to fit the smaller amount of time that we now have in class due to all the craziness. JC is editing his book manuscript as well, and our church callings take up a large amount of time, so we are pretty much spoken for from 6am to 10pm every day. Our house looks like a bomb hit it and last night I found myself washing dishes at 11pm because we had run out of silverware. Don't even get me started as to why we needed silverware at 11pm. We look at each other sometimes and ask each other did we really choose to do this as a career? If so we were stark raving mad.

What does my dog have to do with all of this? Well, she is around all day, wondering why she is not getting the walks that she usually does and why we are not giving her the attention that we usually do. I have a great dog. A really great dog. The other day a Verizon repairman stood on our doorstep with the door open to the street for an hour (while we were simultaneously trying to listen to him, eat dinner, feed the dog and get ready to go to a church activity) and she just sat there, cool as you please, for the whole hour, not even thinking about jumping on him or running out the door. My dog also sleeps most of the time (awesome) and never chews on ANYTHING except her chew toys. She never gets up on furniture unless invited, even when we are not around. She stays in her bed in the morning until we are good and ready to get up and take her out (it must be said we are almost always ready before she is). She is always eager to meet another person or dog, and generally is happy all the time. So you can see why we might feel like she deserves a lot more time and attention than we are able to give her in May and selective other times during the year.

We have tried really hard to do everything dog-related ourselves in order to save money and not turn into those crazy dog people that treat their dogs like people, but we finally gave in and took Luna to a doggie day care this week, because she does have needs that we were obviously not taking care of.

The day care is in Attleboro, MA, where we lived for a year. We were not too happy in Attleboro when we lived there, but then we moved to Pawtucket and now we WISH we could move back to Attleboro. It is a little out of the way for us, but well worth it. The staff is wonderful and they even carry the hard-to-find dog food that we give Luna. That alone is worth the price. They have an indoor and an outdoor play area and a large dog and small dog enclosure. And the best thing of all is that they have a streaming webcam so you can check on your dog any time. (Maybe I should say the worst thing, because who would want to do work when they can watch a room full of dogs playing?)

Yesterday was Luna's first day and when she came home she lay down and conked out for the rest of the day. Astonishing! Once I finished my 11pm dishwashing she finally looked at me like, "What are we doing still up? It's bedtime!" So I finally feel like even though we had a crazy busy day, so did she, and hers was considerably more fun than mine!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What I Wish The World Was Like

My dad always gave me a hard time about watching musicals. He actually secretly likes some of them too, but I guess he thought it was his responsibility to let me know that people don't really go around bursting into song. What? They don't?! Why ever not? I always laughed it off and continued watching and loving musicals. Well, I guess there are some people like me in the world after all, and they are trying to fix the problem. Believe me, if the world were like this, I would already be in heaven.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Getting Back to Singing

I was feeling sad after the LDS General Conference a couple of weeks ago, because the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is doing such great things and I wish I could still be with them sometimes. Also, one of my friends from BYU Concert Choir was just appointed to be the assistant director, so he is leaving Boston and going back to Utah and I have been feeling a little bit jealous. I don't like having bad feelings but I did get into a bit of a bad mood over all of this. Juan Carlos said exactly what I needed to hear: music should make me happy and not miserable. He was right and I decided that I really needed to start singing again and do it here and not live in the past. Unfortunately all the choirs around here want you to pay to sing with them. I am also prideful enough that I don't want to sing in a crappy choir. (I know, it's a bit snobby!)

Anyway, I decided to try out for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, which is the chorus that sings with the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops. It was a crazy drive into Boston, but JC kept his cool and we got there in time. As I was listening to the other auditionees I was wondering what I had gotten myself into, because it was obvious these were serious singers. All I had to do was sing the song I had prepared--which is easy compared to the Motab audition! But it has been three years since I did any real singing so I still had plenty of nerves, and those of you who know me know my nerves are of gargantuan proportions when I am singing solo. I chose a Brahms for my audition and I felt like it went well, although I am not sure how good my German is! Afterwards John Oliver (the conductor) started asking me questions about the song and he said he had played it before and how it was one of his favorites of Brahms. I hoped that was a good sign. But still, it's the Boston Symphony! So I didn't really expect to get in.

Well, yesterday I found out that I DID!!!! It's a little unbelieveable at this point but I am sure the rehearsal schedule will bring me back to reality soon. The summer season was just published and looks wonderful. I seriously can't believe it. I am excited to get back to singing. And while it's no Motab, I think it will be a close second!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Still working on it...

Believe it or not, I really am still trying to work on my nothing wall. Unfortunately it takes a lot of time to try and find the right thing, so it is still moving very slowly. My friends know how indecisive I am, so I think this is why Lara took matters into her own hands and just sent me what I needed, at least for one part of my living room. I am so grateful to have such an inspired and thoughtful friend:

Aren't they awesome? I was so thrilled to get these miniature opera posters in the mail--all I had to do was frame them! I would never have found anything as perfect--I can't even find sheet music in this area so I wouldn't have even dreamed something like this was possible. Anyway, Lara wins a prize even though this was not for the nothing wall. Lara--watch your inbox for your fabulous prize....

Now I bet you are all REALLY hoping I pick your idea for the Nothing Wall!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Nothing Wall

Okay, so almost TWO years after we moved in, we are finally getting around to decorating our house. We got all the painting done at Christmas and a few other things going in the last month or two:

Pardon the pile of trash on the table!

Sue, there is a special something for you in these two!!!!

Anyway, here is the problem. I have no idea what to put on walls in the first place, so I copied things from other people's houses that I like and so far, so good. But I have one big, empty wall and no idea what to do with it. More sconces? Pictures? Paintings? Leave it empty? Hang a plant? Something more creative? This is where I am a total incompetent. I just don't know. And if I don't do something, it will be Christmastime again before I make a decision. (And don't think I don't know how much like my Mom that makes me!)

So, to the point!!! I am in need of decorative genius and I am calling on all of my friends and acquaintances for assistance. What do YOU think I should do with my Nothing Wall? Post an idea in the comment section below before next Wednesday (3/4) and if I use your suggestion you will win a prize!!!!! And I promise it will be better than the ¡Fantástico! pencils I give my students. I can't wait to hear your ideas.

Monday, February 09, 2009

How I Know I Did Not Marry An American

Tonight we were watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show while we were grading papers. We were watching the hound group and one of these came up to be judged:

Juan Carlos promptly said:

"Look! The Wipe-It!"

Monday, January 26, 2009

My First Blog Award

I got this award from my friend Lara this week:

I was so surprised because I know my blog is pretty boring most of the time--I don't have cute kids or interesting hobbies that I write about. So I feel very proud, especially since Lara is the blog meister. Anyway, with this award I have to talk about 5 things that I love and tag 5 other blogs that I love. So here goes:

1. Middle school literature. I love love love it. Maybe it's the freshness and open possibilities, but I just can't get enough.

2. Science fiction/Fantasy movies or books. Again, can't get enough. Maybe I have problems with reality.

3. My 13 nieces and nephews. I continually harrass my brothers and sisters for photos.

4. Fleece. I am really and truly obsessed.

5. My job, where I get to act like a total idiot every day and get paid for it. (Except for when grades are due, and then I hate it passionately)

I am bequeathing this award to the following blogs:

1. Daily Symphony by Erin Leithead. I met Erin in North Carolina and she was such a good friend to me. She moved back to Utah and I was very bummed. It turned out great for her, but not so great for me! Erin has so many interesting things that she posts about, from life with her two adorable little girls to programs that she finds online or recipes that she recommends. I love her blog and I wish she didn't live in SEATTLE. (Honestly, can you GET farther away from Rhode Island?)

2. Gorgeous Georges by Susanna George. Sue does the best in my family at posting pictures of the kids. She also has like 1 million friends so the comment section on her blog is always packed with fun responses. I check every day to see how my little niece and nephews are doing.

3. Gobblin Market by Emma Forsyth. I am giving Emma this award as an encouragement because she has been EXTREMELY lax about posting in the last year and I am in revolt. I loved reading about the books she is reading and the scrum-diddly-umptious recipes that she would prepare, describe and demonstrate oh-so-mouthwateringly! Not to mention that she now has a Berner to take pictures of. Get posting already!

4. Witness to Insanity by Stephanie Birkinshaw. Stephanie was one of my companions on my mission in France who literally saved my sanity. She has three adorable boys and I love reading about her adjustment to life with her baby-boy twins Alex and Brady.

5. Give me a few words for a woman to sing by Rachel Porcaro. I don't think I have ever met anyone more real than Rachel. We lived close when we were in North Carolina at graduate school but those darn jobs took us to different states. I miss her and love keeping up by reading her blog.

Okay everyone--go out there and love some blogs!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Parlez-vous français

Next week I will teach my first French class in 9 years. I am TERRIFIED! It has been so long and in that time I have taught only Spanish. JC and I only use French to tell secrets and since we don´t have that many we don´t use French much! I am so used to using Spanish in the everyday that I am a little concerned about getting up in front of a class and trying to run it in a different language. It is very embarrassing to be speaking one language and blurt out something in another. (Yes, I know from experience) Or worse, teach a grammatical principle that applies to the wrong language!

At least it´s French 1.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

New Years Resolutions brought to you by Luna

I usually don't make resolutions so this is kind of new for me. I have been thinking a bit about how my life is as opposed to how I want it to be. And I think that is how I have decided what I want to focus on this year. I feel like we just keep working and working and waiting and waiting for our actual life to start, and not focusing on the important things. Let's face it, JC is 41 and I am 34 and as my mother says, we are no spring chickens. When is this "real life" going to start? My mom had 6 kids by the time she was my age and most of my sisters have three or more. That hasn't been how things worked out for JC and me and admittedly we are so busy that perhaps that's how things are supposed to be right now.

Anyway, JC was talking to the dog today, telling her what a good life she had because she doesn't do anything except eat, beg for food and sleep. And I realized that while I have a need to do more than those three things, there were a few things I could learn from my dog's approach to life. So here goes.

1. I will be happy with my life the way it is and not concentrate on all the things that it is not. I know Luna does not sit around thinking, "I wish I had a better life" or "I wish we lived in a bigger house". She is delighted to eat, drink, run, greet, sit and sleep, or watch TV. Whatever people are doing, that's what she wants to do. (although I do suspect she wishes passionately for something to fall on the ground while I am cooking)

2. I will stop worrying about what will or will not happen and live in the moment. Luna doesn't worry about whether she will be fed every day. She is very happy to be fed, but if she misses a meal she doesn't crash down into despair. She moves on and starts scavenging off the floor or out in the park. Disgusting but practical.

3. I will pay more attention to JC. Luna has her eyes on JC every moment. (Mostly because he feeds her contraband but also because he is the center of the universe for her) We are both very independent people , but JC is always taking care of everyone else and I need to be better at taking care of him, especially now that his book is being published and he will be working on his manuscript in addition to his regular teaching. I have seen him make himself sick from exhaustion and I do not want that to happen to him. I had a very bad year last year and JC got me through it. Now it is my turn to get him through a tough year. I never forget how seriously lucky I got when I married him.

So there it is. This life is what I have and it is enough and I am grateful. I guess dogs do have a few things to teach their owners.