Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ever feel like this?

This is how the week leading up to finals week has been for me. I have a feeling it's going to continue to be me hanging on to my to-do list by my fingernails all through finals week as well. 24 hours. A day is so long, and yet not long enough. Two opposites, both true...reminds me of the postulates of relativity. But I won't burden you with unneccesary knowledge. Ok, dark tunnel of finals, here I come! Christmas lights are at the end of the tunnel. I think I can, I think I can...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cold Comment

One word: BBBBBRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!

Ok, now a few more. 0 degrees this morning...Seriously?! I don't know who's idea winter was, but I'm pretty sure I missed that meeting in heaven when we voted for it, because it definitely could not have been passed otherwise. How, you may ask, did I become so influential that my one vote could have swayed the decision? Believe me, I can make a stink when I want to, especially when a discussion of a lack of heat is involved. Many can attest, I do NOT function in frigid conditions!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Apple Party!

I've been meaning to blog about this for ages, but haven't had the time until now. Thank goodness for Thanksgiving! Anyway, at the beginning of the semester, we threw the second annual Apple Party. Some of you may be asking, "What in the heck is an Apple Party?" Well, I'll tell you; it is a party including everything apple: carmel apples, apple slices, apple cider, apple pie, apple juice, sparkling cider, apple fritters, apple cobbler, apple crumble, bobbing for apples, carving apples, apple juggling, apple stories... you name it, it's in an Apple Party. If it's true what they say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, we have an anti-doctor radius that encompasses the entire neighborhood for about a year!
Here's some nice...ok, not-so-nice, pictures of bobbing:
All the apple goods!
We had some people carve apples.
Everybody got into groups and wrote stories about apples - apple wars, nonfiction Newton apples, apple poems, apple mutations, apple computers - you name it, there was a story about it. Then we had apple storytime!

All in all, it was a great party and now you that know, you can go have your own apple party next fall! Happy Appling!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Battle of Entropy

Upstairs, two bedrooms face off! Door on the right: "Warning: This room is FREAKISHLY clean. Try to contain yourself." Door on the left: "Warning: This room is a WRECK. Brace yourself."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our Most Recent Gag

The guys who live in the house around the corner from us are so hilarious! A few weeks ago, they stuck this on our door:

It's kind of hard to see, but from left to right, it says: Diana, BreAnna, Miranda, Nina, Deb, and Lisa. So, not to be outdone, we put on an all-night production and came out with this:

(Elizabeth Berkley, Kim Raver, Cate Blanchett, Kirsten Dunst, Rebecca Gayheart, and Missi Pyle) I think they turned out rather well, but you'll have to tell me what you think!

One Rough, Amazing Week

This week has been crazy for those associated with the marching band. If, somehow, you are out of the loop and don't know what's going on, it all started last Saturday. On the way home from a competition in Pocatello, Idaho, the bus driver of the woodwind bus passed out for some reason, causing the tour bus to veer off the highway out of control. Thinking quickly, Heather Christensen, the woodwind staff, jumped up and took the wheel. They ended up flipping over & Heather died. The kids were pretty beat up, and two had to be life-flighted, but no one else died. It was a crazy night, and the kids were pretty shaken when they found out, as well one might imagine. Throughout this entire ordeal, there have been so many instances of outreach and love, it has been wonderful. The director of the Davis High band got them another bus, which was very nice because otherwise it would have taken a lot longer. They took all the kids to the hospital to make sure they were ok, and they didn't get home till early in the morning. One thing that I think is so great is that the other buses, who saw it happen, stayed with them and waited until the other bus came. I just love how united the band is, and what happens to one, happens to all. The other buses could easily have gone on ahead, but they stuck together.

The band had a meeting on Sunday to see how the kids felt about the competition that was on the following Tuesday, the Rocky Mountain competition at BYU. They could either not go, go just to watch, do their show just as exhibition, or compete. They voted unanimously to compete; they said it was what Heather would have wanted them to do. Those kids are so tough! I cannot even imagine performing a show, so emotional anyway, so soon after such a traumatic experience, full of memories. They did an amazing job, despite the obvious holes from people who couldn't march. As soon as they were lined up in the tunnel ready to come out, everyone started cheering and the entire stadium gave them a standing ovation. Then they remained standing until they were all set up. It was great to see the support and respect. There were four woodwinds who couldn't march that were grouped around the flag in front with Kelsie, just playing. It was touching, almost like the casualties of war to whom the show pays tribute. At the end, they turned around one of the posters and they had Heather's picture with the scripture from John 15:13 - "Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." It was so moving, because that is exactly how the woodwinds felt, that she saved their lives. It really was a miracle that only one person died, as tragic as that was. If the driver had passed out earlier, they would have gone off a cliff, and if Heather hadn't taken the wheel when she did, they would have gone into the lava rocks and it would have been even worse. Standing ovation at the end again until they were all off the field. (Sorry I don't have any pictures, I was dumb and left my camera at home!) After them was the BYU Cougar marching band in exhibition. During their show, we looked up and noticed a flock of white birds a little ways off. I thought they were just geese heading out for the year, and didn't think much of it. But then they came right over the stadium and circled about three times before flying off. We didn't really know what to make of it, but afterwards found out that they were doves. The band felt really strongly that Heather sent them. That was really cool. Afterwards, to show their support and love, the Cougar Band played "Amazing Grace." It was cool to see that support and feel the spirit that was there. It was drizzling, almost like the sky was crying as well. They gave the band a thing of flowers too. As far as awards go, it was another clean sweep. The drum majors from the other bands were such good sports. After every competition, they salute each other and then give each other hugs and congratulations. This time was no different, and I think it's cool that they can still be friends even when they are competing against each other.

On Saturday they had Heather's funeral at the American Fork Tabernacle. That was the coolest experience, at least for me. We went super early and were just sitting and listening. The woodwind section played the prelude, which they prepared in like two days - arranged, practiced, and put together. They did a really good job, even considering the lack of music stands in the stand, since they didn't have time to memorize it. It was really nice - smooth, quiet, soothing. Then for about the last 15 minutes the organ took over the prelude and it was really interesting to see the contrast. After the other, the organ was just grating - loud and dramatic. The tributes and stuff were great, as were the talks. Elder Bruce Hafen of the Seventy was there and gave a marvelously inspiring talk. Apparently, the AF City Council announced Saturday as Heather Christensen Day, and in honor of her, everyone was asked to do an act of service, since that was what her life was all about, from beginning to end. He also talked about "staying on your dot" in the spiritual sense, and keeping our lives in line so that we can meet together in the Celestial kingdom with Heather, who no doubt will save spots. Another image from the other talk that I enjoyed a lot was a story told about a little freight boat. The people on the dock watching her sail away into the mist say, "She's gone!" but the people waiting at the new destination for the goods say, "Here she comes!" I liked that way of putting it, because I'm sure there were lots of people there to greet her, as there will be for everyone. After it was all over, the organ played while the band filed out. Then as they were starting to take the casket out, it stopped. We were all thinking, "Ok, now is not the time to be flipping pages!" But then through the open doors, floating in on the breeze, the band started to play their second movement, the slow one. It was so touching! The Spirit was so strong; it was like taps, or the windows of heaven opening to usher her in. It was also like the band's voices, thanking her one last time and bidding her farewell. I don't think there was a dry eye in the tabernacle, even the men.

It never ceases to amaze me how strong those at AFHS are. Every trial and tragedy that comes their way is faced with courage and unity. They support each other in their hard times, whether they know them personally or not. It never seems to end either. I remember last year, it seemed like every other week, something else had happened and there was a card in the hall in the seminary and people were crowded around it, offering comfort and letting them know that they were being thought of and prayed for, sometimes by complete strangers. They really are of "one heart and one mind" and I'm so grateful for that example.

It was a neat experience for me particularly. I didn't know Heather very well at all, just that she was Samantha's clarinet leader. But I felt so much closer to her after that and so grateful that she did what she did so that my sister could still be here with us. I cannot imagine how horrible that would have been. As much pain and suffering that there was in that building, it could have been thousands of times worse, if all the families of all those kids had to go through the same heartache and grief. It's sad that it takes events like this to make you realize how much you really love your family, but at least there is some good that can come out of it. I'm so grateful for the Atonement and the way that it provides so that we can all be together again, and also for its healing power. I am so grateful for that knowledge in my life. Hopefully we can all resolve to be better people and learn from this incredibly difficult trial.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A perfect day for a marching band competition!

Last Saturday was the Nebo competition in Payson and it was so much fun! It was a gorgeous day, the sun shining with the perfect amount of breeze (though sometimes the breeze did smell a little of cows :)). My mom and I went to cheer them on and had a picnic in the process. Hurrah for free food!! Voilà the simple pleasures of a college student. :) For those of you new to the marching band world, there are several schools who come from around the state to compete, divided into several divisions based on size. AF is in 5A, along with Davis High and Mountain Crest High. There is a fierce rivalry between Davis and AF, with Mountain Crest hanging on their tails for the most part. Davis didn't end up showing up, so it was between AF and Mountain Crest. To give them credit, Mountain Crest has gotten way better since last year. We were a little worried when we saw their show that they were becoming a threat. But then AF started to march onto the field...

Ah, check out those straight lines! Who can compete with that?!! They are just so imposing; there are so many of them, all in perfect's amazing! As soon as they start to come out, one person will start to cheer and that's all it takes to get that crowd going. Everyone, all dressed in caveman red, stands up and just starts to cheer. I love the support everyone shows, that is part of the fun for me. Their show is called "The Greatest Generation" and they have all these references to World War II with war posters, music, formations, etc. The girl in the wheelchair in the corner is so sweet! Her name is Kelsie Smith and she has been made an honorary band member. She sits there holding the flag, just smiling so big, I love it! :)

It is so cool at the end; the band walks off and leaves the colorguard girls standing in perfect rows, columns, and diagonals like crosses, just like Arlington Cemetary. It is chilling.

So after all the schools perform, they have all the drum majors come out and then they announce the awards for all the divisions. When they came to the 5A awards, everyone is just on pins and needles.

"Outstanding musical performance...American Fork High School! *cheering*

Outstanding color guard...American Fork High School! *cheering!* (we were so proud of those girls, because that one has been a toss up in the past)

Outstanding visual performance...American Fork High School! *Cheering!*

Outstanding percussion...American Fork High School! *Cheering!!* (no shocker there, AF wins percussion every single time, for years in a row)

And First Place with a score of 929.42...AMERICAN FORK HIGH SCHOOL! *CHEERING!!!*

Needless to say, AF came out victorious and we were thrilled to death about it. :) Hopefully that trend will continue on Tuesday when they come to my town to compete at BYU! GO CAVEMEN!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's that time of year again!

Did anyone else notice how the weather all of a sudden took a turn for the colder? Well, I think the people up in charge of the weather got the memo a little late, but it is once again MARCHING BAND SEASON!! We went to the family night show on last Monday night and it was FREEZING! It's been so nice lately, hot actually, but it was like, "Oh, marching band? Oh, oops! COLD with WIND, check!" Those color guard girls are so tough. They were just standing out there, in short sleeves mind, motionless. Me, in the stands with my sweatshirt and people to cuddle with and I was still shivering; couldn't hold still to save my life! To look at them you would think it was a nice ocean breeze! I love marching band competitions! It's like an artistic sporting event. Be sure to check back here periodically to see how AF is currently squashing the competition! (Not that I'm biased or anything! :))

Sunday, September 13, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

about BYU!! I have just loved my first two weeks here and thought I would share a few of the highlights of and things I love about campus:

*Disclaimer: I didn't take any of these pictures. I keep forgetting to bring my camera with me :)*

~The view of Y Mountain. Practically anywhere on campus you can look up and see the Y. I really like that because it is just a simple reminder to me and helps me stay focused on "Y" I'm here. It also reminds me to stay curious and to wonder about things. :)

~The people here are all so friendly and willing to help you. All the professors and staff and even the bookstore employees are so nice. Even during the huge textbook rush they had a smile and cheerful hello for you. I'm just surrounded by good people and I love it!

~The hourly bell chimes. Every hour they play the first line of "Come Come Ye Saints" followed by the hour chime. Every time I hear it, the words go through my head: "Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear; but with joy wend your way." It is such a good reminder that we are all (or most of us anyway) saints of God, members of the church working towards our educational goals. It is also good because I get that uplift and reminder that a college education requires a lot of hard work, but that I can do it. I don't need to shrink from the workload; I should face it head-on and with the Lord's help, I can do it all.

~The duck pond! This is my new-found place of solitude, meditation, peace and tranquility. I love sitting under the shady trees and watching all the ducks walking around, swimming, sleeping, bickering, and talking back and forth. They are very tame and will walk right up to you. I just think it's so fun!

~Incorporating the Gospel into secular discussions. It is so cool to be able to freely incorporate the Gospel and our testimonies into comments in class! Some of my professors even use quotes from the Prophet and General Authorities in class or before the lesson to set the tone. It's great!

Anyway, there are some of my favorite things. As my American Heritage TA said, "It's terrific! The Gospel's true!" (Of course he was talking about the football game but...) I feel my Savior's love in all the world around me! :D

Sunday, September 6, 2009

First Week French Anxiety

So here's my story for this week:

On Tuesday I had my first French class (321 Advanced Grammar) at BYU and I was convinced it started at 9. So I got all ready and was walking across campus with plenty of time to spare. I wanted to make sure I was on time because I was a little nervous, the normal first time jitters plus I was a little uneasy that they might kick me out because I haven't taken the prerequisite French 202, so I wanted to make a good impression. It was about 8:45 and I thought, "I should get my schedule out and check the room so I can just walk straight there without stopping." (I knew which building, just not the room number) So I'm digging through my backpack as I'm walking and I can't find my schedule! I realized that I must have taken it out when I switched the books from Monday. A little unsettled, I thought, "Well, I can access it online...oh yeah, I have my laptop so I can just connect to the BYU network and look at it." So I proceed to attempt to connect to the network, again as I'm walking. But for some reason it wasn't connecting! I got to the building and went inside, thinking maybe I was too far away from a transmitter or something, but to no avail. I kept trying as it was getting later and later and my panic level was getting higher and higher. Pretty soon it was 5 to 9 and people started coming out of classrooms and coming in. Finally I just admitted that this wasn't working and I wasn't going to be able to get connected. Officially panicking at this point, I started thinking, "Well, maybe I can call someone back at the apartment to see if they can find my, my room's a mess and I can't tell them where to look and they don't have Internet back there, so they can't get online to tell me either...I could call mom! She has Internet!" 2 seconds after this decision came the realization that I had left my phone in the car! That was parked at the other end of campus! Five minutes is not enough time to even run there and back; that takes at least 10 minutes. After a little indecision, I mustered up all my courage and asked the guy sitting across the way from me if he had a cell phone I could borrow. Alas! He confirmed in the negative and walked away!

Now I'm trying really hard not to cry or hyperventilate. Then the thought comes to me, "They must have public access computers around here somewhere. I remember all the ones in the bookstore where you can print off your book list; maybe they have a general access one." So I take off as fast as I can for the Wilkinson Student Center where the bookstore is. I didn't want to run and look like a dorky lost freshman, so I was just walking really fast. I passed the library on the way and thought about going in there for about 2 seconds, but then changed my mind. I'd never actually been in the library yet and I knew it was a big place and didn't want to get lost. So I continued to the bookstore, tore around, found no such computer and so was again foiled. Next, I remembered that when I went to the employment office a few weeks earlier that there was one in there and it was just around the corner from the bookstore. Hope was restored! Racing as fast as my walking legs would carry me, I encountered three open access kiosks next to the information desk on the way, all occupied. I waited, wishing they would have chosen to check their email somewhere else. Couldn't they see this was far more important?! Finally, someone finished. I was pushing buttons like a madwoman as fast as my fingers would go. Internet, byu, log in, schedule, view, cruise down the list, French! across the line, room number 1010. Bingo! Log off and book it back to the JKB (Jesse Knight Building). Time check: 9:10! I went straight to it and discovered...only one person in the room! I was a little confused. Luckily, I had met this person once before, so it wasn't as awkward as it would have been. Her name is Samantha and she came to our apartment on Sunday for a potluck my roommate Deb was hosting for her work friends (she works at the MTC). She's from France and had mentioned that she was studying it. I looked at her a little quizzically and she confirmed that she was waiting for French 321. I then asked where everyone was. She said that the class didn't start till 9:30!! And exhale! I think I had been holding it for the past 15 minutes or so. Whew, 20 minutes to return to a regular heart rate and breathing pattern and to get my over sized butterflies under control.

What a way to start the day, right? At least I got a calf workout from it! :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Job Report

Here's my report of my first two days of working. I have the best job in the whole cafeteria!! Yea! Seriously, there is nothing better than dealing with dessert for 6 hours - all the people are happy and friendly, the station smells good, there's no grease, and I don't have to be bumping into other people. It's a fairly small confined space and I'm the only one working in there. It does get kind of lonely, but the good thing is it's in the middle, so a lot of the hosts and managers and other people come in there to visit when things get slow.

Tuesday night was my first time and it was busy! I was practically running from the freezer in the back to the display case in the front to keep up. That is basically all I do is make sure that the display cases stay stocked. The other thing I did was answer, or at least try to answer, questions that people had. That was one disadvantage to being in the center, people come to you first. Being new, I didn't know the answers to a lot of the questions, such as "Where is the chicken?" and "Where do we take our trays?" Luckily I learned the answers to those questions as the night went along, but I always feel bad when I can't answer someones question and then learn the answer a short while later. Luckily I found out where the ice cream was really quickly, because that was the top question. I was proud of myself that I actually figured out the answer to that one by myself without having to ask someone else. They have it hidden behind this wall to the right of my station and I happened to notice it before we started.

So, here's how Tuesday went: I showed up a good half-hour early so I would make sure to have enough time to figure out where to park, (education week is crazy!) walk to the Cannon Center, find the employee entrance, get my uniform, and be ready by 4. I ended up having to park down by the stadium and walking up the street about a block to the CC. I made my way down and circled the entire building once. I saw the loading dock they talked about at the hiring meeting, but the door that I passed required an access card to get in. All the doors that I could see did, so I was at a loss for what to do. Then I saw another guy with a backpack walking down into the loading dock, so I caught up to him and asked him if he worked there. He said yes after a little hesitation, so I assumed it was his first day as well, which he confirmed. We decided that we would be lost together and proceeded to walk down. I learned that his name was Lars and he moved her about two weeks ago from Minnesota and he was staying with cousins. He noticed on one of the doors that the light was flashing green, not yellow, so we were in luck to have found an unlocked door. After we got all our uniform stuff sorted out, and met another girl named Minnie, he headed for the Expo, she to the front to be a host, and I to the grainary. There I met Kayleen, a lovely woman and very nice. She is just perfect for a pastry cook, just like out of the books: A little larger, but so cheerful! She took me right under her wing and showed me around, all the desserts and what they were called and everything in the back room. Then she told me that she had to leave at 4:30. Now, wouldn't you know, my first day of work and they leave me to fend for myself, and on top of that, I got to close! I now understand why I would hear people at school complaining that they had to close at their work. It was ok though, because Kayleen went over the closing list step by step and walked through it with me. She even gave me a "field trip" and showed me where the dishes were and the scullery, laundry, trash (she gave me a nice tip on how to get that open - it's tricky), mop room, everything. I was exhausted by the time the doors were closed, but that means nothing for the desserts because people usually come to get those last. However, I survived.

Tonight was almost a completely different story. I walked right in and punched (well, actually, slid) my card and went right in without getting lost. That back kitchen area is a bit of a maze! But I just went in, Kayleen was there and she showed me what they were serving. Apparently lunch was a madhouse, because they ran out of several things so the variety was a little depleted. That turned out to be ok though because there were not nearly as many people as Tuesday, which was mostly older people. Then she left and I took over, much more confidently than Tuesday. :) Tonight there were a lot of families with kids, so they took care of the jello, leaving some of the other things for the more refined palettes. The songs on the radio playing on the PA (which I didn't even notice Tue) were a lot more fun; everyone was singing or at least mouthing the words! :) I was also smarter this time and wore shoes with better arch supports, which made a huge difference! I am not nearly as tired and the lack of traffic provided an opportunity to get to know the others working there a little better, plus some time to actually sit down for a minute. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. I also found out my Sunday color for the fall. See, since we mostly serve the kids living in Helamen Halls, we have to occasionally work on Sundays so they can eat. They make it very reasonable and have worked it so everyone only works about 2 or 3 Sundays a semester, which is not bad at all. So they divide the staff into "Sunday colors" and whatever color Sunday it is is who comes in. I'm yellow, which shouldn't be too hard for me to remember! :) I'm not sure if the duties will be exactly the same, since education week is a bit of a special event, definitely out of the norm; I'll be sure to keep you posted on any new developments!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Windows of Heaven

have truly been opened this past week. Right before I found out that I got the job, I looked at my email and I had a message from my financial center at BYU, so I went to the website to see what it was all about. It turns out I have been awarded $2300 in Federal Grants! One was a Pell Grant and the other is an Academic Competitiveness Grant. Hopefully, this will continue and I might be able to eat this semester! :) Now, if I win the Lottery, my incredible good luck will be totally confirmed!


Wahoo! I'm finally employed! It feels so good to know that I will at least be having some incoming cash flow this upcoming semester. By a pure stroke of luck, really, I set up a profile on BYU's employment site and within a week, I saw a posting for 150 positions at the Cannon Commons Cafeteria in Helamen Halls. They had what they called a "General Hiring Meeting" where anyone interested sent an RSVP via email and showed up last Saturday at 9 am. The manager there took us all on a tour of the place and described the different stations and the responsibilities of anyone working in each one. Then we divided into groups of about 6-7 and basically chose a shift that was available in whatever position we were most interested in. Flexibility of hours was the key, but I think they got everyone into a position. WOOOHOOO!! That relieves so much stress on my part, plus I think it was a really positive first job hiring experience for me. I will be working in the Grainery, which is basically comprised of cereal and things in the morning and bagels, scones, doughnuts, and other pastry-type things.
It seems pretty simple from what he described, basically just keeping the station clean. It's about 2 hours 3 times a week at minimum wage, so not much, but every little bit helps! :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

They've got it in for us!

So here I am, riding Trax in Salt Lake for the first time. We were on our way to the Jazz festival to listen to my dad play with the Salt Lake Jazz Orchestra.

You'll notice that I selected my headgear very carefully; I wanted to go incognito (to avoid all the paparazzi that comes with being so popular) :) so I specifically chose this hat to blend in with the local folk. We look up and see this sign:

Shirt and Shoes: check!

Headphones?! Dang, we forgot those! Luckily, we were able to duck beneath the radar and escape undetected; not an easy task considering that I was severely misinformed about the apparel of the locals! :)

Then, on the way out, Samantha is attacked by their so-called decorative waste receptacles!! (Actually, she just wasn't watching where she was going and almost ran into it, but that wasn't as funny.)

Luckily, it was all worth it. Hurrah for jazz!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lehi Parade

I forgot I had these pictures of the Lehi parade, so this is a little out of order. I love any chance I get to show my school spirit and cheer for the marching band, even if it is at a 'parade' (which is pretty much like a band swear word - Samantha, at least, is not a big fan) :). First off, I have to show of my skills that I have been working on since Lagoon. Check out that baby!

Ok, here's what we were all waiting for - AF Marching Band!! I just love it, it's so exciting!

There's Tabitha - see if you can spot her in the other pictures doing the work (the actual twirling and stuff).

As far as I know, I don't think Samantha was in any of those. She was on the other side of the lines.

These guys were really cool. They are a group from Payson High that play bagpipes. It was really neat. That would be a really cool group to be in I bet.

On the way back, we saw a petting zoo set up in a park and stopped for a visit.

Good job band!