Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I'm super excited about my third grade students' "flat" travels... so far we've been to California and Mexico, and we have many more stateside and international destinations coming up! To check up where my "flat" students have been, click here

Really, go ahead and click on it... it's not spam or a weird link. I promise.

Friday, December 26, 2008

This one is my Dad playing vibes and percussion in the orchestra for a weekly syndicated radio show. Again, I'm guessing that this video is from 1992-1993. This video is courtesy of my brother, Dale
My Dad used to bring me to these rehearsals and recordings so I could see professional musicians play their instruments- he hoped it would help me select an instrument to play myself. My Dad was so supportive about anything I wanted to do or learn. In this particular video, my mom and I are standing outside the window watching him play. 

This video is my Dad playing timpani in an orchestra- perhaps the old Nevada Philharmonic? I'm not 100% sure. From what I can tell, they are rehearsing at Ham Hall at UNLV. I'm also not sure of the exact date, but I think it's from 1992-1993. Again, this video is courtesy of my awesome brother, Dale.

I miss him.

This is a video of my Dad and his friend, Howard, after they just finished playing the "76 Trombones + 4" concert. It's an annual event here in Las Vegas. I'm not sure what year this video is from, but I'm guessing the early 1990's.
Video courtesy of my brother, Dale. =)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

For more information on the Flat Stanley project, visit my class blog at:

My class is doing the Flat Stanley project again this year! We would LOVE it if you would help us by hosting one of my "flat" students. I can deliver the Flat Stanleys in person to those of you in Vegas, or I can send them out via snail mail to those of you who are in more exotic locales. All you have to do is take digital photos of the Flat Stanley in front of landmarks or doing exciting things in your hometown. Then, email me the photos and send the Flat Stanley back in the prepaid return envelope. If you like, you can also send back souveneirs (postcards, newspapers, etc...) that are significant to your location.

photos courtesy of
Then, my students are going to use YOUR photos as primary source documents as they research your home city/state/country. The students will write a script and use your photos to make a documentary!
For more information on the Flat Stanley project, visit There are lots of examples and fun photos right there! The purpose of the project is to allow my third grade students to explore the world beyond our classroom walls.
Anyway, if you or someone you know would be interested in hosting a Flat Stanley, please let me know! Contact me via facebook/comments/phone calls/email/etc... My email address is my first name DOT my last name at gmail.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I saw this on Bill's blog and couldn't help myself.

How BYU are you?
77 questions.
[X] You have been kissed at lease once
[_] Your first kiss was on campus
[X] You've had a boyfriend/girlfriend
[X] You lived in the dorms your freshman year
[X] You went to Homecoming or Preference
[X] You hiked the Y
[_] You've taken a social dance class
[_] You regularly attended FHE for at least a semester (Still do, even.)
[_] You've participated in Choose to Give
[X] You've been to Liberty Square for a party at least once
[X] You've driven around south of campus for at least 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot
[X] You know the cougar fight song
[X] You've crossed the crosswalk without using the flags or biked through a red light
[X] You've been to Friday Night Live
[X] You've performed or witnessed an act that made it onto Police Beat
[X] You've been on a "date" to the bell tower or duck pond 
[X] You've been to the Bean Museum for FHE
[X] You've been to Divine Comedy
[X] You've been to International Cinema
[_] You are engaged
[_] You are married
[_] the temple
[X] You were previously engaged/married
[_] You have kids or are expecting kids
[X] Your birth parents are still married
[_] the temple
[X] You have at least three siblings
[X] You've taken a marriage prep or mission prep class
[X] You've taken at least one religion class that is not based on the scriptures
[X] You have slept on a couch in a restroom
[X] You have been to the BYU Creamery
[X] You have been in one of the BYU choirs
[_] You've been on a date to Fat Cats (I don't think this place existed back when I was a BYU student)
[_] You have read Twilight
[_] 2
[_] 3
[_] 4
[X] ...seen the movie (peer pressure from coworkers)
[_] ...more than once
[_] You've waited in line at the Bookstore for the Harry Potter or Twilight book premiere
[X] You have seen The Singles Ward or Sons of Provo
[X] You have walked out of a movie you found morally reprehensible
[X] You know where the "chastity line" is
[X] You can finish the phrase "Nothing good happens after ______"
[X] You read the Daily Universe at least 3x a week (I used to work there!)
[_] ...and it's the only newspaper you read
[X] You've personally known someone who was reported to the Honor Code Office
[_] You've participated in or watched a Mr. BYU contest
[_] You've received personal revelation that he/she is "the one" 
[_] ...and told him/her about your revelation 
[_] ...and then they rejected you 
[X] You've been to the Nickelcade (Preference '99, baby!)
[X] You've been to Classic Skating
[X] You've ignored your parents' phone calls for at least 3 days
[X] ...and then they called the University Police (OMG- how did you know?!?!?!?! I thought I was the only one who had this happen!!!!!!)
[X] You've been pulled over by the University Police
[X] You watch The Office religiously (ugh. I didn't know this was a BYU thing.)
[_] You mostly wear jeans and t-shirts or plain fitted shirts
[_] You own at least 3 things from American Eagle or Hollister
[X] Your sacrament meeting is a fashion show/scam session
[X] You've been on a date to the Provo River

You've kissed in a...
[X] ...campus parking lot
[X] ...Provo Canyon or Squaw Peak
[X] ...on temple grounds
[X] ...on a couch as soon as your roommates left the room
[X] You think UVU is not a real university
[_] You hate U of U with a passion

FOR GIRLS (don't answer if you're a guy)
[X] You own knee-length shorts
[X] You regularly wear camisoles/undershirts for modesty reasons
[_] You are a MFHD, RMYL, Elementary Education, or Exercise Science Major
[X] Your major crush ended up dating a MFHD, RMYL, Elementary Education, or Exercise Science major
[X] You have had at least one roommate who is in hair or dental school
[_] You own The Italian Job or The Princess Bride 
[_] You wear makeup at least 3x a week
[_] You do something with your hair (other than brush it/ponytail) at least 3x a week
[X] You went or plan on going on a mission
[_] ...because you couldn't get married (What an insulting question!)

FOR GUYS (don't answer if you're a girl)
[_] You shave every (or almost every) morning
[_] You know when your hair is "too long"
[_] You know what the "divide by 2 and add 7" dating rule is
[_] ...and you follow it 
[_] You've dated freshmen girls as a RM
[_] ...when you already knew better
[_] You've used the phrase "On my mission..." to a girl 
[_] At least 3 girls have baked cookies or meals for you
[_] You went or plan on going on a mission
[_] ...because you wanted to get married


A: 68-77
B: 60-67
C: 53-66
D: 45-52
F: 44 or below

Thank goodness I got a "D." I was starting to get worried. I can tag people, right? Of course I can. So I'm tagging any of y'all who went to BYU. Have fun!!!

Monday, December 08, 2008

I can repost some tidbits from a previous blog entry, right? Of course I can... especially since the blog entry was from over two years ago and, well, it's pretty much awesome. 

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the documentary, Sherman's March by Ross McElwee. This film started out as a doc about General Sherman's march through the south during the Civil War, but ended up with the filmmaker pretty much just using his camera to meet chicks.

“I spent the next few days with Cam and his friends. They seem to spend a lot of time collecting and trading plastic animals, like the kind you used get in cereal boxes, except larger. I never really understood what it was all about.”

“I’ve come to the end of my journey with no car, no money, and only one roll of film. What’s worse is that I don’t seem to have a real life anymore. My real life has fallen into the crack between myself and my film. I begin to feel paralyzed by these speculations, when suddenly, a news item on the radio snaps me out of my stupor: my old nemesis, Burt Reynolds, is back in
town... and I decided that this time, I have to find him and film him.”

“For a long time I’ve had this notion that love was possible, I mean, romantic love. You know, two people falling deeply in love with each other and somehow managing to stay together for more than two weeks.”

“Having two large empty beds is twice as depressing as having one large empty bed.”

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Thank to Netflix, I happened upon a darling film that embodies an overwhelmingly large amount of things that I hold dear. Here's the summary, courtesy of IMDB:
Michael has written a scholarly book on the revolutionary war. He has sold the film rights. The arrival of the film crew seriously disrupts him as actors want to change their characters, directors want to re-stage battles, and he becomes very infatuated with Faith who will play the female lead in the movie. At the same time, he is fighting with his crazy mother who thinks the Devil lives in her kitchen, and his girlfriend who he wants to live with, but does not want to marry.

Here's the shortlist of my interests that were oddly all included in this film:
  • Alan Alda, my "#1 old man crush"
  • The Korean War 
  • Faults of historical accuracy (or inaccuracy) in filmmaking
  • Media ethics
  • A reflective look at filmmaking process
  • Pursuing a doctoral degree at prestigious university
  • Colonial America and the human stories behind the Revolutionary War
  • Feeling guilty about aging parents who become increasingly demanding
  • John C. McGinley pole-vaulting and being very "un-Dr. Cox"
  • Lilian Gish
  • Lynne Thigpen (yes, from "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?"
  • Dealing with a romantic relationship where one partner is unable to make even the slightest effort towards lasting commitment (ie: men who cringe at the mere mention of the word proposal, even in other contexts)

Monday, December 01, 2008

I splurged and bought one of these:
All I can say is WOW. These four inches of memory foam made such a huge difference! It's not like I was having trouble sleeping in the first place, though. Anyway, I stayed in some fancy schmancy hotels this summer in Washington D.C. that had were sporting these memory-foam mattresses and I've been pining for a memory-foam-induced coma ever since. Love it!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I stole this video from B. Sorry, B- I'm always stealing stuff from your blog.
Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Some of the things I've been looking forward to have come and passed in the last few weeks, chiefly the election, and also the second of two sessions I copresented with Dr. Keeler at national academic conferences. So let's recap:

1. I got to dress up as Betsy Ross for Halloween with my third graders. They have been learning about Colonial America, and some of them have been creating a virtual museum about colonial clothing. They learned enough about colonial clothing to ask me questions about my colonial underwear. Oh my. I'm glad to see that my students are actively applying their knowledge to real-world situations. =)

2. Obama won. I was looking forward to staying up all night watching the election results roll in, eagerly anticipating the inevitable sleepy Dan Rather-ish commentary of the "if a frog had sidepockets" variety.

3. Conference #1, the National Educational Computing Conference in San Antionio. We presented on Project-Based Learning from Kindergarten to College. Read more here! Seriously, it's interesting, official, and this link makes me sound smart.

4. Conference #2, Dr. Keeler and I presented Technology-Based PBL (project-based learning) for the Young Learner. This was presented at the National Council for Social Studies annual conference in Houston. Click here for our PowerPoint presentation, audio from our presentation, and pertinent links. I really liked this presentation because it showed off my students' hard work.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

While I enjoyed everyone's fabulous Halloween photos with their adorable children, I feel sad that I don't have anything likewise to share. I didn't have the heart to dress Cocoa up this year (see Wendy?), but I did get dressed up with my fellow third grade teachers at school. We are currently teaching our students about symbols of the United States, the election, and colonial America. So we had Uncle Sam, George W. Bush, Hillary, and Betsy Ross. Who knew that my Nauvoo dress would come in handy as such a versatile costume? (Thanks, Sister Hatfield!!!)

Keeping with the patriotic theme, I hope that everyone makes it out to vote today!!! I am so grateful to live in a country where we can have a voice and make a choice. It brought tears to my eyes to see my third grade grade students, who come from a very low socioeconomic area, actively research the candidates and make an informed choice about who they support. These young kids are so excited about democracy, about voting, and about making a difference in their community. 

If you want to have a heartwarming experience, click here to view my school's patriotic morning ceremonies. I'm a little partial to the third grade video from September 26th and the fifth grade video from September 12th. =)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

In this time of introspection,
On the eve of my election,
I say to my reflection,
"God please spare me more rejection."
- Ben Folds, Army

For the last 10 years or so, I've chosen the end of October as a time to reevaluate the direction in which my life is heading. I know that most people do this on New Years, but I feel like that's the easy way out because everyone knows that New Years' Resolutions are just a token effort to feel better about ones' self after eating ones' own weight in holiday food. =)

So the biggest change in my life is that I find myself newly single, after ending a 10 month, largely long-distance, relationship with a very special person. Sure, it's easy to wallow in a puddle of "what if's." At this point, however, I think the healthiest thing would be to just suck it up, consider what I learned, and focus on the future. This is the strategy that I usually rely on after a devastating disappointment, and so far it's proven well.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

To my friends with school-age children, fellow teachers, and people who enjoy a custom word search,

Spelling tests made fun!
This is the most amazing site in the whole world. Really. I will never have to give (or grade) another spelling test as long as I live! Not only does it have a dozen custom spelling games, but it gives an individualized test for each kid, reads each word AND uses it in a sentence! And it reads it in a HUMAN voice, not a creepy computer voice. Kids can take the test at their own pace with less testing anxiety. When the kids are done with the test, they print out a certificate with their score and which words they missed! This is truly amazing, people.

... and it's free!!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Maybe life isn't so bad after all. Over a year ago, Briana and I toyed with the idea of starting a "good things" blog, where we would each share one thing that made us happy. We planned on doing this every week so we would get in the habit of focusing on positive things. Well, like many good ideas, this never came to fruition.

So I'm going to start it now by listing some lovely things from this week:

To usher in fall, I made pumpkin pie... from scratch. Baking pumpkin pie always reminds me of my dad's Thanksgiving tradition of baking 900 kinds of pies, all from scratch. The aroma of pumpkin pie baking in the oven makes me feel like my dad is still here.

At the neighborhood grocery store tonight, I was greeted by a little girl who was in my class last year. She ran up to me with open arms, gave me a huge hug, and shouted, "Maestra!" ("maestra" = "teacher" in Spanish).

I realize this is kind of lame, but I'm going to share it anyway. I very rarely watch Futurama. But tonight, the one time I turned it on in months, it just happened to be my favorite episode (In case you were wondering, it was the one where Lela met her long-lost parents. Hey- I said it was lame).

On facebook, I had an instant message discussion with one of my classmates from BYU. I was really happy to hear that he is gainfully and happily employed in broadcasting. It always makes me smile when I hear that my broadcasting/film school classmates are actually employed in our field! However, there was always something special about this particular classmate. He is a very talented journalist, but in college, he proved to also be humble, kind, and genuinely good. There's just something awesome about knowing that good things really do happen to good people. 

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I can't believe six weeks of school are already over! If this were college, it'd be midterm time. I am so happy with my (gigantic) class. The kids have really learned our routines and procedures and they are learning so much. I love third grade. The kids are still sweet and somewhat innocent, but they are mature enough to handle joking around. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Please click here for a lovely blog entry from my dear friend, Blair. This made my day and could quite possibly make your day, too.

Love, H

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I got this forwarded email from a well-intentioned source who meant no harm. This created the following exchange:
RE: Photography shoot for the LDS Curriculum Department

Dear Talent File Participant,
I apologize for the extreme tardiness of this request. I have been given the assignment to find "non-Caucasian" families and singles to attend a photo shoot this Sunday, September 28th. It was my desire to glean help from the surrounding wards, thereby not taxing our talent pool yet again, with requests for ethnicities. However, the members in that area have not responded to the call, and I am now desperate for help!
Would you, or ANYONE you know, be willing to attend this small photo shoot for Church Curriculum? (By "ethnic," at this point, we'd be grateful to have anyone with a dark tan!)
Here is the information I have available:
Project: Photographs for the new "Gospel Principles" manual to be released in 2010.
Setting: A Ward Sacrament Meeting
Needed: Ethnic Minorities (non-Caucasian) who can follow directions in English. Singles are welcome! Families are welcome! All children need to be accompanied by at least one parent.
Location: LDS Chapel located at 1925 Gunderson Lane, Holladay, UT
Date: Sunday, September 28, 2008
Time: Please arrive between 3:30 – 3:45pm. (No later than 3:45pm.)
Duration: Until about 5:00pm.


This is the reply I sent:
Hello. I just received a forwarded email requesting "ethnic" members for a photo shoot. As a person of color, I find the manner of this request quite insensitive. For your future reference, next time you put out an all-call for "ethnic minorities," please don't say "by 'ethnic,' at this point, we'd be grateful to have anyone with a dark tan!"
Also, my skin may be dark, but I am able to "follow directions in English." I followed them just fine during my undergrad studies at BYU and during my graduate work. Your assumption that members of the church with dark skin are unable to follow rudimentary directions in English is quite offensive. I would have hoped that the general population of our church would be more enlightened, if not especially the leadership and those working for church media.
Please be more sensitive- or at least less openly ignorant- when making future requests.

They responded quickly, but CC'd to everyone in the whole world. Basically, they told me that they are "sorry I feel this way."
Here is their response:

I am sorry that you took offense where none was intended. Many "ethnic minorities" come from other countries. If I were in China, I would not be able to follow directions in Mandarin, and that would rule me out. [If you were in China, the directions would be given in Mandarin AND English because that's how ignorant Americans demand everything.]
Again, no offense was intended, nor have I received any feedback from anyone but you that this language was offensive.
[clearly, because people with dark skin apparently can't read English]

You know, offense that isn't intended is just as ugly and often more insidious. So basically, they don't MEAN to be ignorant, but they're going to be anyway.

If they are really having such a hard time finding "ethnic" people, perhaps they could just use Caucasian people and put them in blackface, since they already did that in "Testaments." That's right. Instead of finding an actual "ethnic" person to play the lead role, they put the lovely (and Caucasian) Joy Gardner into blackface for the role... or would the more correct term be "brownface"?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008


Thank you Shan & Amanda, for your feedback. =)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

You should all be pleased to know that I successfully got my Fulbright application turned in before the deadline this past Friday, thanks to the following people:

  •  Dr. Keeler- amazing recommendation letter writer and the fastest email responder ever
  •  Dr. G, Mrs. B, and Mr. S- letter writers extraordinaire 
  •  Briana- morale booster, proof reader, and finder of missing verbs
  •  Steve- essay shaper, proof reader, and catcher of words like "Cocoa-Cola" (Seriously, if it wasn't for Steve, I would have turned in a curriculum vitae that proudly stated that I was a Cocoa-Cola Scholar.)
Thank you, guys!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Not that I'm counting, but this...

is starting to feel an awfully lot like this:

I have a relatively large class, especially for third grade. I'm currently at 29 students (and counting!), and I have nearly 40 students in my reading intervention group. Did I mention yet that I only have 32 desks? We are seriously running out of my room, and thanks to the district hiring freeze, we have no hope of getting any more teachers (we have four teachers doing the work of six teachers). Somehow I lucked out and actually have a REAL classroom in the actual school building; the other third grade teachers are teaching in tiny portable trailers where there used to be basketball courts.

I am really dumbfounded. What happened to CLASS SIZE REDUCTION? According to one of my favorite pieces of Nevada Legislation, third grade is supposed to be capped at 21 students. The only loophole exists in a team teaching situation, where two teachers share a maximum of 38 students. This is not the situation in my school. 

I am honestly trying to remember how many kids were in my class back when I was a third grader, and I cannot remember. So, just for perspective, how many kids were in your classes when you were in elementary school?  

Monday, September 01, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things...

(about Steve)

 ... loves his family.
... has always been 100% honest with me.
... works so hard and has accomplished so much academically and professionally.
... stands up for what he believes in with undying resolution (even though sometimes this drives me crazy).
... gives his all working for the causes he supports.
... enjoys a flick at the Tower just as much as I do.
... is looking forward to Sundance.
... takes me on dates to the State Capitol building.
... has sent me flowers "just because."
... fixed the door handle on my car.
... spends time with my wonderful friends and family.
... loves art museums.
... reads stories to my elementary school kids and did an AWESOME "Flat Stanley" for my class.
... supports all of my academic and professional endeavors.

Monday, August 25, 2008

So I went to a church function recently where one of the girls was going on and on about some guy- a great catch, she said. In her words, his family was loaded, but she said she would never go out with him because he had "chinky eyes." (yes, this is wrong on sooo many levels) This girl then went on to speculate on the genetic origins of his "chinkiness" (yes, she actually used that hateful word). She wondered out loud, "Maybe his mom is half chink."

W... T... F...

In the light of this event, as well as the recent Racist Spanish Olympic Basketball Team fiasco, I'm going to offer you all a brief tutorial. 

If you are my friend (or "chin-gu," as I call it in my mother-tongue), you can joke with me about the following things:
* my penchant for taking too many photos, especially multiple pictures of the same thing
* my affinity for Korean melon candy and patbingsu (ie: red bean snow cones)
* my love for Pucca stationary products
* my disgustingly amazing ability to achieve a perfect tan in one afternoon

If you suspect someone is Asian, you should probably not do the following things:
* make that disgusting gesture where you hold up the corners of your eyes (ie: the Spanish Olympic Basketball Team).
* call them a "halfie," a "guk," a "jap," or a "chink"
* use a Sharpie to write "Jap GO HOME" on the windshield of their car while they are in a gas station (thanks, random bigot from Cedar City, it was really fun cleaning that off!)
* use a Sharpie to write "Jap GO HOME" on their apartment door (thanks, random bigot in Provo! Seriously peeps, is that a line from a movie or something? Why do random bigots keep writing that on my stuff?!? K, it's only been two people in almost 30 years, but still...)
* refuse to rent them an apartment on the grounds that they "might make Chinese food that stinks up the house" (ahhh, gotta love Provo)
* assume they're from a country that they're not really from, and then gush on about how you served your mission in this country, and gush on and on about how you "love their people"

Oh yah, and did I mention that the forementioned church activity was a thinly veiled attempt at fellowshipping less active members? No, really, it was. Eek.

So I pretty much had the best first day of school ever today. Only 25 kids showed up, which was great, because I was told I'd have 30+ kids. Believe it or not, five kids makes a big difference. (Think about it. Imagine you have NO kids, and then suddenly you have FIVE kids. Big difference, right???) There were no major outbursts, no tears (from me or the kids), and no first graders tried to stab me this year. All in all, it was pretty awesome.

 In the immortal words of Edwin McCain, "I could not ask for more." *

* ...with the exception of more salary, AND more papers/pencils/crayons for my kids. And another teacher in our grade level so that we could actually follow the class size reduction mandate. 

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Maybe I'm way out of line here, but my close friend's wedding is coming up in a couple months and I expect my boyfriend to attend the wedding with me. He refuses. Am I really out of line for wanting him to come? Question here...

This one is for my lady friends who are married. So that means pretty much all of you. 

1. When you have a social function, such as a close friend's wedding, high school reunion, mission reunion, etc... Do you expect your husband to attend with you?

2. Does your husband willingly attend or does he act like a mopey poop the whole time?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wise Words #7

"I don't need to throw around my degree from Northwestern or my juris doctorate to be condescending. I can do just fine being condescending on my own."
- (with love) S.G.

Dear Wendy,

Remember when we used to make up interpretive dances to Britney Spears's songs? AHEM. I mean, remember when our "friends" used to make up interpretive dances to the aforementioned songs?

Well, my college friend Drew made one real humdinger of a video. I can't stop watching it. And so I find myself forcing it on all of you.

Feel free to watch it over and over again. My favorite part comes at about 2:57, and it involves a family of ducks. 


PS: Watch this one by the same artist. Only if you have time, of course. This one is a beautiful rendition of a beloved Primary song. And no, I'm not a heathen. So there.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Can we get a little RESPECT?

Seriously. The Spanish Olympic basketball team released these photos:

What in the name of cultural tolerance were they thinking? How disrespectful and downright disgusting!

"It was something, like, supposed to be funny or something but never offensive in any way," said Spainish center Pau Gasol, who also plays for the LA Lakers, in this article, which contains some real gems. In case you don't have time to read it, here are the highlights:

Frank Zhang (spokesperson from Li Ning, a Spanish clothing brand) said, "...the gesture shows that the Spanish team is so humorous, relaxing and cute. They sat around a dragon pattern, which we think showed respect to the Chinese."
Listen here, Frank. It was humorous and cute until y'all started making hate gestures.

Manuel Calderon, one of the Spanish players (who plays for NBA's Toronto Raptors), said, "We have great respect for the far East and its people. Some of my best friends in Toronto are originally Chinese..."
Ohhhhhh, okay. Some of your "best friends" are Chinese? Like we haven't heard that racially insidious qualifier before. Hmm... George Wallace, the trademark racist governor of Alabama in the 1960's, apologized for his segregationist ways in the documentary George Wallace: Settin' the Woods of Fire (2000). How so? Wallace said, "some of my best friends are black." 

Sure they are. Sure they are...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

This was shared today by a friend. Thanks Amanda E.!!!

warning: there is some mild language (ie: d***a**) and one questionable image.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So if you know any men in their, um, nineties, who are looking for a very superior wife of the 1930's, tell them to give me call. Did they even have phones back then?


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I am so excited about Girls Rock Camp!!!!!!!! Steve took me to see the documentary about the camp at the Tower Theater back in June, and I can't stop thinking it. In case you didn't click on my hyperlink, Girls Rock is a summer camp based in Portland, Oregon. Basically, they take girls at all levels of music experience, help them choose groups ("rock bands"), give them private lessons, and  help them write an original song. Then, at the end of the week, the campers participate in a showcase concert, performing for their friends, family, and the community. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!??!?!?!

Also, they are 501(c)3 non-profit organization with lots of scholarship assistance for girls who can't afford tuition. 

From their website:
We want to eradicate all the limiting myths about music and gender that make girls afraid to speak up, sing out, and make noise. We want to abolish all the obsolete traditions that restrict many girls' and women's free musical expression and obstruct their access to the world of music. We seek to demonstrate—through lessons, mentorship, positive examples, and the shared experiences of the staff and volunteers—that every genre of music from the heaviest to the most delicate, and every technical job and creative endeavor in the music industry, is available to any girl or woman who wants to explore it.

I had a really strong emotional connection to this film. Not so long ago, I was one of those girls who played the drums and sometimes felt out-of-place making music. I often felt intimidated by jerky boys who didn't want to "play with a girl." I eventually found solace with Brickle, my girl band from college. I made music with two amazing women (Briana and Minda) and one incredible, enlightened, opened-minded male bass player (Dave). I can't begin to describe how empowering it is to make music, to play the drums in a rock band, and to play shows in front of big (and semi-big) crowds. 

The camp has locations in other cities around the world, all organized by woman rockers who are dedicated to empowering the next generation of female musicians. There are camps in Washington DC, Portland, Brooklyn... 

Can anyone guess what city still needs a branch of Girls Rock Camp? I am seriously considering organizing a Las Vegas chapter. I have one colleague who is willing to collaborate on this. Anyone else willing to lend a hand for next summer?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wise Words #6

There's such divinity in not being what people expect.

-Darci L.

K, so in case I haven't made it already clear, I have been out of town for nearly a month. I arrived home to find that there were zero groceries in the fridge (surprise!). And since I'm really hurting for money, I thought I could scrape together a few meals until my next paycheck on the 25th. Last night, I made a delectable meal of spaghetti noodles, a pat of butter, and pepper. Exciting, I know.

So tonight, I was feeling pretty good about my culinary skills. Plus, I was hungry and had ZERO dollars. I thought I'd branch out and make migas, using a recipe from the Rachel Ray website. Heck, I saw Rachel Ray herself make these on t.v. a few days ago. Plus, Steve and I made them a few months ago for dinner, so I didn't feel like I was exactly flying solo on this one.

However, remember that I had an empty fridge and zero cash. So I had to substitute a few ingredients.  And the ingredients that I HAD were ALL borderline moldy. To be fair, none of the expiration dates had been expired for longer than two weeks. But still...  

Tonight I learned an important lesson. If you cook with disgusting, near-moldy ingredients, your dinner will be a soggy foul-tasting mess. 

I can't even bring myself to throw it out because today was trash day, and I don't want this mess hanging around until Friday (the next trash day). I'm contemplating putting it all in a plastic bag and driving to the nearest public garbage can, preferably a garbage can in front of a 711 where I can splurge $2 on a slurpee to help get the taste of rancid bacon, eggs, and onion out of my mouth. After tonight, I think I could start a whole new fad diet based on taste aversion.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We had the second annual Scarlet Something camping reunion over Fourth of July weekend (FYI: "Scarlet Something" was my rock band in college, the predecessor to "Brickle," another college band). 

It was really fun to go camping, and even better to be with such awesome friends. You guys are like family- I love you all! It was so much fun to get together again, along with our spouses/children/significant others.

This was my first attempt at "digital scrapbooking." Be sure to click on the "play" buttons at the bottom of the picture so you can see the rest of the pages.  There are five pages. My favorite is the "then and now" page. It's funny to see how much (and how little!) the four of us have changed in the last six years! 

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I bet y'all are wondering about those last couple of posts. 

Well, I've been out and about for the last few weeks... I went to Washington D.C. with a group of teachers from the Clark County School District, thanks to the Teaching American History Grant. After six fun-filled days in D.C., I flew to San Antonio to co-present a session at the 2008 NECC Conference with Dr. Keeler. Click here for our fun and exciting presentation, and download the presentation, complete with my extra fun slide design! It'll feel just like you were there in person! Really!

Anyway, when I'm at a conference, I like to take notes on my laptop, but I found that if I post the notes from the sessions on my blog, I'm more likely to review them. So yah, sorry about that.

Fun-filled photos from D.C. and San Antonio will follow soon. It was my first time to visit both places and I had a great time. The trips included the following:
  • 4 hotels in two weeks
  • 6 airplane rides in two weeks
  • 3 DC Metro tickets
  • 2 fun outings with Natalie!
  • 1 visit with Steve and his family!
  • 12 hours in Colonial Williamsburg
  • 4 hours at the Holocaust Museum
  • 1 pair of crocs, with soles worn COMPLETELY through
  • 2 Texas-shaped waffles
  • 11-13 trips on San Antonio public transportation

But don't worry. Apparently, Steve was very busy while I was away...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Therese Laux
From iPods to MIDI: Transform Learning through Music Technology

North High Magnet School in Omaha, Nebraska, Vikings

READ: Technology STrategies for Music Education, Thomas E. Ralph, Floyd Richmond, David Mash, David Williams

Focus on 21st century learning
Where do you see:

  • engaged students
  • scial nd emotional connections
  • sensitivity to cultural differences
  • Have you noticed?
    • students working collaboratively and creatively
    • self-direction
    • adaptability and accountbility
  • What is it about music?
    • engaged students- they like being in school and have positive experiences
    • emotional and social connections
    • collaborative and creative
  • When business leaders ask what is needed today, they often say:
    • people who think with creative sides of their brain
    • people that have played in a band bc it enhances symbiotic capabilities
    • the technology insitute for music educators
    • non-profit organization devoted to helping music teachers learn how to integrate the tools of technology into the music curriculum
  • 7 Areas
    • electronic musical instruments
      • MalletKAT
      • MIDI wind controller
      • keytar, Justin Timberlake, Herbie Hancock's recent CD
      • electric violin from Yamaha
      • Roland V Session electronic drumset
    • MIDI sequencing
    • music notation software
      • Finale or Sevalius
      • kids have to "own" music, it's a tremendous creative outlet
      • teach kids to play happy birthday, let them figure it out
      • in their music media tech, they have a piano recital every year for EVERYONE- this is true differentiated instruction
    • computer-assisted instruction
    • multimieda and digitized media
    • internet and telecommunications
    • information processing, computer systems, & lab management
  • What are they so engaged in???
    • Garageband!!! kept kids in school and out of trouble
    • beginners and pros are able to do it
    • tracks, loops, instruments, oh my!
    • they find a way to communicate their ideas!!! They can express themselves
    • podcasts: fellows night out, fellas night out
  • What can we learn from the world of business? Do they have answers?
    • at first this sounds insulting, but they might have some answers!
    • Winning the Answers, by Jack & Suzy Welch
    • Daniel Pink book
  • seeing difference_ pay attenetion to differences that matter
  • understanding difference: gain knowledge about those differences matter
  • value difference: experiment with changes in how you operate as a result
    • martin davidson, Darden School of Business
  • What's the next big thing?
    •, Earth Harp, Bill Close
    • Japanese Tenori-ON, blending the beauty of shape and sound, 16x16 led panel
    • REactable, collaborative electronic
  • andy crozier ipod ade
  • apple learning interchange
  • music and the mac, join this group at the apple learning interchange, form a ning group

Monday, June 30, 2008

Reasons why our students will benefit from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame "On the Road" programs:

  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has video conferencing about history and significance of rock & roll music
  • "On the Road," Distance Learning Program, "on the road: Opening Act"
  • just finished 3rd full year, connected to 28 states and 4 countries, over 10,000 students!
  • Overview of course offerings:
    • offer classes for grades 3-12
    • interactive & interdisciplinary
    • explore popular music and its social meanigns while meeting academic content standards
    • analyze historical performances, images, and documents
    • view behind-the-scenes clips (curatorial, oral, historical)
    • engage in question and answer segments
  • Course Offerings:
    • Rock & Roll Reactions: records, radio and the birth of teen culture in 1950's
      • how Rock & Roll helped break down racial barriers
    • Ball of Confusion: music and social change in the 1960's and 1970's
      • most popular class, fits in well with variety of classroom settings
      • Vietnam War, Civil Rights Movement, counter culture, Women's Rights
      • how musicians reflected these concerns in their music
      • compare and contrast performances
        • Dylan vs. Hendrix versions of "All Along the Watchtower"
    • Hip Hop Technology: from turntables to computers
      • trace the origins of hip hop, 1973 in the Bronx, NY
      • at the end of class students can act as producers creating a hip-hop act live in studio
    • Ambassador to the Orchestra: the arranger in rock & roll
      • focused more on music, how rock & roll and classicl
    • Inductee Spotlight: Frank Zappa
    • Planet Rock: Global Perspectives on Popular Music
    • Inductee Spotlight: The Dors
    • Ball of Confusion II
    • gasgag
      • influences
    • Great Moments in Rock and Roll: popular music through the decades
      • how rock & roll connects with society
      • show classic moments
        • Chuck Barry live performance of "You Can't Catch Me,"
        • ask students "why is this a great moment in rock & roll history?"
        • ask, "how is this breaking down racial barriers?"
          • during live performances, a rope would separate black and white audience members, but during the performances, the rope would fall and teenagers would just enjoy themselves

John Goehrke
(216) 515-1202
rock and roll hall of fame distance education

  • $100
  • online access to pre and post connection packets with lesson outlines, supporting materials, and classroom activities
  • pre-connection call
  • the class!
  • offered 9-5 eastern time
  • at least 3 weeks notice, usually sold out by March
  • 30 students per class
  • talk to tech coordinator for video conferencing equipment
  • polycom, tanbergh

Friday, June 20, 2008

I don't know why, but I freaking love these commercials.

"They say a man should always dress for the job he wants.
Then why am I dressed like a pirate in this restaurant?
It's all because some hacker stole my identity,
Now I'm in here every evening serving chowder and iced tea."

I keep looking at my checking account and credit card statements. Part of me impishly hopes that some wacky identity thieves spent all my money and racked up this astronomical debt. Also, I keep getting these letters telling me that my student loans are about to go into repayment. Could it be that an identity thief funded an expensive graduate degree using my identity to take out massive student loans?

Sadly, no. It was me. =(

But really, as far as student loans go, it's not that bad.  Can you really put a price on education?

I was all excited about these commercials, hoping this trio was a real band- a quirky fun band reminscent of Chris & Tad, writing  spunky jingles and wearing cardigan sweaters. But no, it's all lies, lies, lies. Read about it here

Apparently, the lead "singer," Eric Violette, is a French actor. According to this demo real, he is also an astronaut, horrible coffee house singer, interpretive-dancer, super violent Chuck Norris fan, and above all, a mediocre lip-syncer. 
Sigh. You think you know someone...

Miami 2008

Steve and I visited Miami and spent time with our long-time friends, the Archer family. We visited Miami Beach and saw a Marlins game. Amie and I took her two sons on a rousing trip to Build-a-Bear. Steve and Diego went fishing and brought home a fish! All in all, it was an excellent trip! 

Even though Amie and I haven't seen each other since our crazy days at BYU, it felt like just yesterday that we were rocking out in Provo.  We promised not to let so many years go by without seeing each other again.

It's not like I'm a huge fan of Sex and the City or anything, but what's up with Kim Cattrall's voice? Why does she talk in that syrupy condescending voice? It's like the voice of a really horrible babysitter or kindergarten teacher. 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wise Words #5

"Just because you're lactating doesn't mean you're the shiz."
-Briana to Minda

...and a sidenote: the Scarlet Something/Brickle reunion is in just a couple weeks!!! I never thought I'd look forward to going to Wyoming!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's official!

I'm teaching third grade next year! As a kid, though, I hated third grade. My teacher was frightening, but luckily, she was absent most of the year. She told us that she saved up all of her sick days and was going on a trip to Hawaii. She blatantly favored certain kids, screamed a lot, and was generally very sarcastic and cold. In fact, I can't think of any favorite projects or events from that entire year. I really wanted to please my teacher, but I just remember being stressed out a lot and always being afraid of her. Scary, I know. (Incidentally, CCSD recently named a new school after this lady- further proof that I have no idea what it takes to make it in this school district.) 

Can any of you supplement my memories of third grade with happy fun stories? I'd really like to know what made your third grade year special.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

No more children, no more books,
No more parents' dirty looks!
haha... see, it's funny because I'm a teacher, but I'm still singing an irritating song expressing excitement about the end of the school year. haha, see guys, I'm still funny... really...

I won't lie, the thought of sleeping in and leisurely going to the gym at 11am is a real treat. I don't even feel guilty, because I make so little money while working 10-12 hour days for most of the year, and spend thousands of dollars of my own money on school supplies for the kids. And we really only get 9 weeks off... and I'm spending several weeks out of town for work-related conferences anyway, which I have to pay for out of my own pocket with very little reimbursement. So basically, it boils down to the normal time-off that everyone else in a salaried job gets... except I still don't make very much money.

I'm excited for the super busy summer I have planned. No, I'm not jetsetting off to Germany again this year. But I do have several professional conferences planned this summer, as well as a nice spur-of-the-moment trip to Utah. I'm visiting Washington D.C., Lake Tahoe, aaaand San Antonio, Texas. It should be lots of fun.

I've also been substituting at (gasp!) other schools to make a little extra cash. So far, I've taught P.E. and elementary school music. Gotta' love year-round schools!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Steve and I visited Hofbrauhaus and it was super! They had a great band, awesome atmosphere, and excellent German food. We've felt the need to enjoy a meal there ever since Steve found that $100 bill in their parking lot a few months ago.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Some unnamed family members visited Vegas this weekend. They were staying with my grandparents. They didn't inform my mom and I that they were coming, well, until they got here. I was at a work-related conference, and certain family members threw a great big noisy fuss until I left the conference early... something about my "priorities" being out of whack.

So we went over to my grandparents' house to visit with them, and this was the conversation:

Hey, can you come with us to the Shark Reef and buy us the locals-reduced-price tickets?

Sure! I have nothing else going on today because I'm single and have no children and no spouse! I'm soooo excited to totally cancel all of my weekend plans at the last minute for you!!!

(whispering to each other right in front of me)
uh oh. There's no room for her in the car, between the car seat and all of our kid's slobbery, crumb-covered toys that he can't travel without for three blocks because we've completely spoiled him.

You know what? I've actually had a drivers' license for over ten years now! I can drive my own car and meet you there.

Um, well, actually, we don't want to go through the trouble of actually meeting you at Mandalay Bay. It's a big place, after all. It might take us a long time to find each other.
(This portion of the conversation was actually quoted as said. For crying out loud, it's not like I offered to meet them in the middle of the Oregon Trail. Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef has a ticket counter. It's a central easy-to-find location.)

Later that same day...
Do you want to come to dinner with us?

Sure. Where should I meet you?

It's going to be all the way over on this side of town. It will cost you a lot of gas to get all the way over on this side of town.
("this side of town" is actually the SAME side of town where I live.)

Okay. Where should I meet you?

Well, actually, dinner should probably just be a family-only thing. So never mind.
(this is what they ACTUALLY SAID)


I plead with you, family-minded blog community, to please be sensitive to the needs of your single friends. And I don't mean be "sensitive" by feeling sorry for us. Please remember that we have schedules, commitments, and feelings, too. Being single just means that we have managed to avoid walking down the aisle and procreating. We don't need your pity. It is quite possible for us (and by "us" I mean "me") to lead full and meaningful lives. Don't you worry.

Everyone's your friend in Salt Lake City...

Here are some ultra-cheesy photos from Temple Square. For the record, Steve and I are not the kind of people who take ultra-cheesy Temple Square photos. So that makes it ironic, which makes it cool... right?

I'm so happy that we ran into Miss Kris that day. LOVE her.

Temple Square wouldn't be the same without the protesters. 
I wish I felt passionate enough about something to protest it.

We rounded out the day by enjoying a lovely lunch with Ryan, my brother-from-another-mother (I've never used that phrase before; it makes me feel like white people who say the word "phat" and mean it.). We went to the Blue Plate Dinner and enjoyed good company, as well as a kickin' almond malt.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

From the looks of this juice label, the television writers weren't the only type of writers on strike.
Seriously. "Flavored juice cocktail in a blend with another juice." No kidding, really?

P.S. This is Steve's favorite juice beverage and we've been drinking it since February, but didn't notice the ridiculous label until a few weeks ago.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I cannot find the USB cable for my camera- tragedy, I know. My camera is currently holding captive the following gems:

* my sentimental journey to Provo
* Steve being disgruntled on BYU campus
* colorful (in more ways than one) murals painted by elementary school children
* a delightful incident involving the wearing of matching Crocs

Have you ever lost your camera cable for a seemingly indefinite amount of time?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Easily one of my favorite songs in the whole world.

And the lovely video reminds me of the things I miss about Europe:
1. narrow cobblestone streets
2. outdoor cafes
3. adorably tiny cars
4. rivers that run through cities, with their associated riverwalks and bridges
5. expansive fields to walk/jog near

Dear Wendeleeza and the BSC,

Does this look familiar?

Sometimes I love Saturday Night Live. I tried, oh how I tried, to find the entire sketch on youtube, but I was unlucky.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

So I broke down today and went back to my old flame. Oh Franklin, how did I make it through the days without you? I tried using a Palm Pilot, I tried using my fancy-schmancy cell phone, but it just wasn't the same. I missed planning out every hour of my life. I missed your weekly compass bookmarks. I missed making lofty goals and writing cheesy personal mission statements.

Franklin and I first became "involved" when I was a freshmen at BYU. Like many new cougars, I went to some kind of training seminar and, thanks to Dr. Brough (a fellow Franklin-devotee), I used Franklin to plan every hour of my college existence. I was promised that my posterity would cherish these very detailed records. As far as I know, none of the people at my table kept our silly goals for the semester. I never trained for a marathon. To the best of my knowledge, Brandon didn't practice the piano daily. And group members and I never did start that evening jogging group/book club we planned...

Franklin was my faithful (although sometimes absent) sidekick until I finally got sick of carrying around a gigantic zip-up leather binder... those suckers are heavy! Plus, I got irritated with the over-planning. I felt so cheesy. Would anyone really care who I went to lunch with on October 13, 1999? Probably not.

But my life is falling apart. Or at least is very poorly planned. I'm forgetting passwords and assignments left and right, and I totally forgot that I had a field trip scheduled for this Tuesday with my 1st and 2nd graders. Oops.

So after much thought, I stopped by the Franklin Covey store today and rekindled that old flame. I went with the smaller and more convenient "compact" size, and with weekly rather than daily planning system. They had some new darling contemporary designs and I even bought an adorably saucy blue binder that matches my favorite Coach wallet.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Since I subscribed to Netflix, my DVD purchasing has substantially decreased. This was part of my secret plan to stop buying garbage. So it's been quite awhile since I've actually wanted to purchase a DVD... but lately I've been pining away for these beauties:
1) Juno

Every other line in this movie was hilariously quotable. Plus, the soundtrack was lovely.

2) Dan in Real Life

"You are a murderer of love!" This movie provided much fodder for inside jokes. The Dane Cook/Juliet Binoche pairing was odd, but I guess it was supposed to be unnatural and not mean-to-be. This was the first time I saw Steve Carrell in a feature-length film and I was surprised that he wasn't annoying and Jim-Carrey-ish.

3) BBC's Planet Earth

I just really really want to see this, and I get irritated with multi-disc rentals on Netflix because I get totally into something and then have to wait days and days to get the next disc. Plus, I think that installments of it might be nice to show in my classroom.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A few days out of town provided a lot of perspective...Interestingly enough, the song that used to be my "Provo Anthem" is now my "Vegas Anthem." I think it's about time to think about leaving Vegas.

If Winter Ends, by Bright Eyes

I dreamt of a fever,
one that would cure me of this cold winter-set heart,
with heat to melt these frozen tears, and burned with reasons
as to carry on.
Into these twisted months I plunge without a light to follow
but I swear that I would follow anything,
just get me out of here.

But I fell for the promise of a life with a purpose,
but I know that that's impossible now.
And so I drink to stay warm,
and to kill selected memories,
cause I just can’t think anymore about that or about her tonight.

and I give myself three days to feel better,
or else I swear I'll drive right off a cliff,
cause if I can’t learn to make myself feel better,
how can I expect anyone else to give a sh**?

and I scream for the sunlight or a car to take me anywhere,
just get me past this dead and eternal snow,
cause I swear that I'm dying, slowly but its happening,
and if the perfect spring is waiting somewhere,
just take me there,
and lie to me and say,
it’s gonna be alright,
Yeah, you worry too much kid,
it's gonna be alright.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I know you all have adorable photos of your adorable families celebrating holidays. Well, I don't have that, but here is how we celebrated Easter.
Love, Heather

Cocoa is all dressed up for Easter!

Mom and Steve toil over a hot stove.

Apparently, Ty is very super excited for Easter dinner.

Aww, aren't we cute? Look at Cocoa smiling!