Friday, December 09, 2011

Proud To Be An American

Today Juan Carlos became a United States citizen. After so many years (and soooooo much money, but let’s focus on the positive!) as a permanent resident, he finally became an official American!!!


The oath-swearing ceremony was a surprisingly lovely event—particularly since we have been dealing with Homeland Security for more than ten years and lovely is not the word I would ever choose for any Homeland Security procedure. There were about 35 people from 19 different countries at the ceremony and it was great to see the amazing diversity of countries represented in the state of Rhode Island.  There was even one person from a place called Dominica, a country I didn’t even know existed!!! (It’s in the Caribbean, for those of you who don’t know, either Smile)  Juan Carlos was the only Spaniard, though, and he represented well!

Everyone took the oath of allegiance and then received the certificate of naturalization:




Then we all said the Pledge of Allegiance. Early this morning we were frantically practicing the pledge, although after studying for the citizenship test the pledge should have been a breeze.

Since he is now an American we had to go to a real American place for an American lunch…what better than Johnny Rockets? And what is more American than a chocolate milkshake?


He even chose a song from the jukebox to commemorate the event:


During the ceremony I was thinking about how beautiful the United States is and what a lucky thing it is to be able to live here—and we have lived in a few different parts of the country, so that makes us doubly fortunate. I surely do appreciate other countries, and I know that the US isn’t perfect, but there is a whole lot to love and be grateful for about America. I know Juan Carlos is still very much a Spaniard and will never lose his love for his homeland, but I am proud that he wanted to be a citizen of my country, as well.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmastime Is Here…

And JC could not be controlled in his decorating frenzy…





This is what I got to decorate:


I still do love me some bubble lights.

Mostly the reason we did all this already is because we won’t have time before Christmas actually arrives to do anything remotely Christmas-related. Sad, but true. The good news is that when school gets out that means Mom and Dad and Sue and Josh and their five kiddos will be coming. I call that something to look forward to!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


So this is going to be my Christmas present this year:


xmas present

But wait...there's more!!!


Plus their parents and my parents! I have no idea how we are all going to fit in our condo and still come out of it loving each other at the end, but I don't even care, I am just counting the days!!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

9th Grade Love

Here it is, I know you've been waiting for it, that yearly email I write about how much I love 9th graders. Every year I wonder, "Am I still going to love them?" Well, I still do.They continue to be one of the highlights of my life. With 9th graders there is wonder, humor, innocence, intelligence, awkwardness, and angst. You see the first adult glimmerings of what they will become. They have brought lightness to what is otherwise quite a difficult time for me--and for that I have no end of gratitude.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Remember That Blog I Was Writing?

My second semester and the beginning of summer reached unbelieveable levels of busy and my poor blog fell by the wayside a bit. It's not that I didn't have anything to say, just no time to say it! And I am soon to be on my way to Ohio to spend time with my sister and her five children so I am not sure my time for writing is going to increase anytime soon.

I have a lot of music to memorize this summer as well. Fortunately the first batch is over:

I loved, loved, LOVED the Bellini. Lovely, artful Italian opera that sounds as light as air but is technically demanding. Fortunately the chorus parts are pretty straightforward, but oh, how I did love listening to the soloists! Except for the one part where a huge moth the size of a bat decided to fly straight into the back row of altos and hang out awhile. Ah, the joys of outdoor singing!

Now the Requiem, on the other hand, just about did me in. The Latin was not so much an issue as was the way-too-high range of the female voices. It was like Extreme Singing for Altos. This made it feel very heavy and by the end of the rehearsals we were all pretty exhausted, not to mention the actual performance. Now that I have had my grump, I have to say that it is one of the most spectacular things I have ever sung. At one moment I actually choked up listening to the men sing the Tuba mirum and had to pull myself together before my next lines. So to sum it up, Berlioz: Stressful. Punishing. Hell on the voice. Sublime.

Now for the rest of the summer--Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and Beethoven's 9th Symphony.
I sang some of Porgy and Bess in college, and thankfully have memorized the Beethoven already, so that will be just a brush-up, but I didn't realize quite how big Porgy and Bess was. I listened to the whole production on my way home from Tanglewood yesterday (3 hours) and realized there is a bit more to it than I thought. One song I remember from college brought me a hilarious memory--we sang this for some big BYU celebration in the Marriott Center (Homecoming?)  and Ariel Bybee was the guest soloist. I think it was like 1993 or 1994. When we were singing the chorus for the picnic song "Oh, I Can't Sit Down" there is a line that says:

Sure is dandy, got de likker handy

We had to substitute "hamper" for "likker". Ha, hah! Of course you can't have a bunch of Mormon kids singing about how much alcohol you have on hand! But remembering it made me laugh. All my choir friends from back then will remember that! I am hoping it does not work it's way into this performance, You know how your brain is about memorizing sometimes!

Just so you can see how many pages!!!!

 Anyway, hopefully I will be able to keep up a bit better in the future...hopefully.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

True Love

Surpasses all boundaries: my laundry folding, Juan Carlos post-soccer-wound-treating, and any of our needs to walk through the room.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Valentine

Juan Carlos asked me what I wanted for Valentines Day—mostly I hate that question because really, he makes every day Valentines Day. But I did want to see a smile on HIS face, so I said I wanted to go see our dog breeder’s new litter. I see this smile on Juan Carlos face only on certain occasions: when he is in Spain with his family  and friends, when Barcelona or the Spanish national team wins, and when he plays with dogs. This was the best Valentines Day ever—the only thing that would have made it better would have been to take one home.




Luna didn’t know QUITE what to do with all of these small, eager creatures wanting to play with her…



Saturday, February 05, 2011

Uh…More Snow

We have lived in New England since 2006 and this is the first year we have seen any snow. And by snow I mean stuff that stays on the ground for more than a day. There has been a great deal of it this year, and the temperatures are staying low so it doesn’t melt. Now where I grew up this was just part of life, but here it causes chaos, mostly because there is nowhere to put the stuff, and it is in huge piles along the sides of the already narrow streets of Providence. In Utah there is lots of space and there are places to park your car other than on the street. Add to that that snow removal is not something that has to be done fairly often here. As one of my colleagues said, “this is Providence, we have two snowplows and a salt shaker!” 

I was dumbstruck on Thursday, watching the maintenance crew hacking away with shovels at the inch of ice coating the courtyard at school. It’s definitely a view of the school I have never seen.


Anyway, for the first time I am wishing that the sun would just come out and melt the stuff already. We went for our walk with Luna today and it was more of a half-walk-half-skate around Lincoln Woods.


But….it is February, which is usually the coldest month of the year here. Which means the snow may not be going anywhere.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day


We had a real nor’easter last night and got a decent amount of snow. Since my school was closed for the day, I got caught up with my grading and got some much needed rest. However, I couldn’t resist going out with the video camera to film Luna having fun with the snow in the way that only Berners can! Well, maybe Berners and Juan Carlos.  It’s been nice to see some real snow again.

Shoveling makes Juan Carlos feel manly—or maybe it’s because he’s manly that he feels like shoveling snow…I hope it will stop snowing at some point so he can stop going out!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Rhode Island Greenways: East Bay Bike Path and India Point Park

Today we took a walk around the India Point Park and part of the East Bay Bike Path. This area is right in the middle of Providence heading over to the East Side, so it was much more urban than the Blackstone. However, it was a lovely day and we learned some interesting things about the area.


Here is the view from our car back towards the bridge that connects I-195 West to I-95. As we explored the park we noticed this guy checking us out:


I half expected him to say “Mine!”



Here is Luna checking out the seagull!

 IMG_0531  IMG_0534 IMG_0535 IMG_0536

This is the Seekonk River and since we do not have a boat there was only one way across….

IMG_0537 IMG_0538

The bike path actually runs along I-195, but fortunately we were separated from all the traffic.


Luna wanted her scenic view, too! As you can see, this is a pretty high traffic area and a lot of people seem to feel a need to write on a bridge when they cross it.

After we crossed the bridge we skirted the waterfront until we were directly across from where we parked. You can see the bridge we crossed in the far left of the photo behind the trees.


After we got back to the car it was time for a rest and for Luna to have a nice long drink. Then we went home and washed those dirty paws!!!!


Wednesday, January 05, 2011


For the last year or so Juan Carlos and I have been supplementing his Spanish courses with a program called Second Life, where we hold lab activities and help sessions. This all happens online, so students can attend even if they are at home hanging out in their bedrooms. It is a lot of fun and helps the students feel more comfortable speaking the language.
Meet Eliza:
Snapshot_010                  Snapshot_011  
Eliza is my avatar and she looks somewhat like me, if (gulp!) a few pounds lighter. And I admit readily that she does have better hair and a much better wardrobe than I do in real life.
Here is Eliza with Tanausu (i.e., virtual Juan Carlos)
Juan Carlos is actually better looking in real life, but we can’t all be gorgeous in real life, I guess, can we?
Here we are with some students:
More students:

It has been an experience learning how to teach in a virtual environment, and it is definitely an intriguing way to practice the target language. But I do have to admit that it’s also just fun to wear cute clothes and not worry about getting chalk dust all over them, and to wear shoes that are not sensible and not have to worry about how my feet will feel at the end of class!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Just That

"Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you...but be diligent unto the end."
D&C 10:4

 Since I am mostly continuing my goals for this year, I have decided to focus on this scripture and try to incorporate it more fully into my life. I think this means prioritizing the things that are important and giving my energy and attention to the things that are most important. In other words, it's time to cut out the rif-raff, because a person can only do so much. Some things I cannot cut out and they are going to be my focus this year:

1. Church stuff. Just can't cut it out. Don't really want to cut it out. So it stays.

2. Work. Must be done. (secretly love this, too)

3. Singing. All other activities get suckier if I don't do this.

4. Health.  Can't get away from it, and I'd like to stave off the aging for as long as possible.

5. Husband. This one's REAL easy to focus on, and good thing since #1-4 are going to be hard enough.

I often wonder how other people do resolutions, or how they don't do them. What do you plan for 2011?