Sunday, December 26, 2010

When have you even seen me wear a scarf?

Merry Christmas!

Ok, I'm bragging on myself. If you hate reading stuff like that, just know you have been warned. If you find things like this to be like reality tv, where you really just can't look away, please, read on.

I went full-on crafty for Christmas this year. I made scarves for all my siblings and siblings-in-law.

I think I realized in October that I was getting in over my head. However, I have to be honest and say it gave me something productive in those moments when I just needed to watch mindless tv.

My newel post became my model.

For my sister:

For her husband:

For my brother:

For my sister:

For her husband:

For my sister:

For my sister (who believes, as do I, that everything is better when it is red):

Friday, December 24, 2010

But there's so much to do before Santa comes!


I thought I would share some of my favorite things at this moment.

I really enjoyed the perspective in this article, written by a rabbi who loves Christmas, because it was a good reminder of what all the trappings of Christmas mean. And even the shopping isn't a bad thing.

We went to a house nearby that actually has the lights synchronized to music. He has a sign that says tune your radio to this station. We sat in the car and clapped and cheered for each song. I have to admit that secretly I thought all those videos were fake. It was totally awesome!

And my most fav:
These guys.

Friday, December 10, 2010

There's another beloved children's book I can never read again.

Book Reviews

1. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Plot: The novel is split between 1985 and 1945. It starts in 1985 with Henry, a Chinese American, who is reflecting on his life during the war and on his relationship with a Japanese American girl.

Review: I loved it. I got really wrapped up in the story and the characters. So wrapped up that I got upset over particular events and was sad when the book was over. It was well-written, the characters were good and believable, and it is an interesting period of time.

Recommend: Absolutely. To everyone.

2. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery

Plot: An 11 year old girl, Flavia de Luce, solves a mystery.

Review: I really liked this one. It is young adult fiction, mostly because the protagonist is very young. But it is very smart. Flavia uses huge words and in general is very smart. She runs off solving mysteries entirely on her own, but even that is explained in a believable way. It's a clever story and a fun read.

Recommend: Yes, for a fun, young adult read.

3. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel

Plot: A young girl discovers that she can taste people's emotions in the food they cook and she grows up trying to deal with this "ability."

Review: I found the premise fascinating. I was reading recently that there is a branch of Indian belief that we are affected by the emotions of the people who prepare the food we eat, so they don't want people cooking when they are upset and putting anything other than love into the food. So I thought the idea was really interesting. However, the book didn't go quite where I had expected it to go with the idea. The author seemed to get lost with the narrator's brother. And then I was really disappointed with the end.

Recommend: Eh. No not really.

If I'm ever going to see their faces I've gotta get back home. The real world.

Have you seen this?

The bar has been raised. I have new expectations for when I arrive home next week. Family, I definitely think you should spend the week working on your flash mob skills.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Oh, I love Joey! Joey lives with a duck.

Oh and it is that time of the semester. It feels like it's been a while since I've posted some student writing. Somehow today, these two made me laugh. They certainly can't top the Gecko, so maybe the laughing was just to keep me from crying.

Student 1:
Earnies' pub had cheep beer and was pretty much empty. This was a great experience because it was the first time I was legally able to drink, and it made me fell like I was an adult.

In my mind:

And I'm also thinking, well, I guess you already knew the effects of alcohol if you knew you would fall.

Student 2:
About nearly 4,000 middle school students by Limber and fellow Clemson University psycho lists Robin Kowalski. Found that 18 percent reported being bullied at least once in the previous two months.

In my mind:
Yeah, I had to read that 5 times too.


Finally I realized psycho lists = psychologists.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What's this? A piece of toast? A pretzel stick? Popcorn? What blockhead cooked all this?

I ran away from Thanksgiving this year. I went on a road trip to St. Louis by myself. When people asked my plans and I told them this, everyone just looked at me like I am crazy.

I feel like I get that look a lot.

In spite of these looks, I had a great time.

I got a really nice hotel room for cheap on Priceline. Love Priceline. Although I do have to admit it scares me a little bit. I put in a bid, fully expecting it to be rejected, and then it's accepted and I think, AH! Oh, wait, I wanted that. Ok.

The huge king size bed. Yup, I slept in it like I was making a snow angel, completely spread out.

The fancy bathroom

with a fancy floor

which was really cold, so I was glad I brought my little slipper socks.

Thursday morning I went to the St. Louis Thanksgiving Day parade. It is advertised as the biggest in the Midwest.

Waiting for the parade.

right in front of the Old Courthouse.

There were a bunch of marching bands.

And even a bunch of big balloons.

But these guys were the best part. They were four old men in these little tiny cars. Number 4 kept zipping around, spinning in circles up and down the street and around all the other little cars. The other two got into the act a little bit, but Number 5 did not. He drove very slowly in a straight line down the street. Every time Number 4 came near him, he just stopped and waited. It was so funny. I could almost hear him thinking, "You young kids! Always showing off! You'll poke your eye out!"

The rest of Thursday was my movie day. I saw two good ones and was safe inside during the snow. It was just a little bit, but snow on Thanksgiving nonetheless.

On Friday morning, I started all my major sightseeing. My hotel was two doors down from the Gateway Arch, so I started there.

I rode to the top in this tiny capsule.

Personally I thought this was one of my better pictures. I'm not a very good photographer, but I thought this turned out cool.

And I like bridges.

After I rode down in the tiny capsule, I went to the Expansion Museum. It was cool.

Then I walked across the street to the Old Courthouse.

The rotunda inside was really cool, and they had it all decorated for Christmas.

I personally like the pink courtroom. I'd feel so much better as the defendant in a pink room.

From the front door.

Friday afternoon I drove down to the Science Center. It is a very large science museum and I was really excited about going. So of course, I didn't manage to take any pictures.

The best part of the museum was the demonstrations. Every hour they had a different mini class. The first one that I went to was about extreme weather. The scientist made fog and clouds with liquid nitrogen and then he made a tornado with fire. Even though I have been to a lot of science museums, I haven't ever seen a fire tornado.

The other cool thing, or interesting to me thing, was the exhibit on Missouri's past. It has gone through many phases over billions of years. It has been underwater, a desert, and had volcanoes.

When I got back to the hotel Friday evening, there was a wedding. I tried to bride spot for a minute, but she was taking way too long.

So I walked down the road to Union Station.

The Christmas lights were on as I walked.

I watched a fudge demonstration that was pretty hilarious. After the demo, I treated myself to a good seafood dinner, instead of fudge.

All in all, it was a great new tradition for Thanksgiving.

For my final week of gratitude, I focused on the big things that I am grateful for that I didn't mention through the month.
1. My family
2. Friends
3. my house
4. my job
5. my students
6. my car that gets me places
7. prosperity
8. a really good life

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I've been dreaming of a true love's kiss

WEDDING DATE   photo | Kate Middleton, Prince William

Did you see all the announcements of Prince William and Kate's engagement? I was watching the morning shows at the gym and the funniest part was when the hosts of GMA decided they were really offended by the term "commoner."

And of course, all the talk of the royal wedding got everyone talking about Princess Diana's wedding. Yeah, did you notice how Charles never gets mentioned?


When I was a little girl, my family lived in Scotland. We had a tiny red car and we went everywhere in it. We went to tons of castles, to the Loch Ness, and much more.

At one point, I got a Princess Diana doll. The doll was little, and was dressed in this taffeta wedding dress with the full length train and everything. I thought she was beautiful, and I loved the doll so I tried to keep it really nice. But secretly, I thought Diana had a really big nose.

And secretly, I hope that Kate Middleton's wedding dress doesn't take fashion back to the same place as Diana's.

Sounds like somebody needs to sing a Christmas Carol.

I got a little excited for Christmas.

I have a cute advent calendar that my mom made me. This year, I am continuing the tradition of using it to count down to when I head home, instead of counting until Christmas day. The twenty-five day countdown starts tomorrow.

This year I decided to decorate a little more than I have in years past. I have a wreath for the door and a stocking. But I have never bothered to get a tree. I'm not here on Christmas day, so what's the point.

Well this year, I decided to do something a little different.

I saw this in a magazine and thought it would be fun.

Totally awesome, right?

And to have even more fun while I was decorating, I was actually listening to this:

Your heartfelt gratitude's plenty.


Get ready for some more gratitude.

November 15
1. That Heather is using her schooling to become a very good counselor.
2. That I have $50 to spend on groceries.
3. Time to read.

November 16
1. Time to cook.
2. Finishing my grading (for the day).
3. A warm house.

November 17
1. Home teachers.
2. Not having to explain.
3. Top Chef - Just Desserts (and I am excited for All Stars!)

November 18
1. Kathy
2. Sherilyn
3. My mom

November 19
1. A decision
2. Completing my work at work
3. Going to bed early

November 20
1. Habitat for Humanity
2. Knowing really good people
3. Kathy's family

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Would it spoil some vast eternal plan? If I were a wealthy man!

I was looking for that clip I added to yesterday's gratitude post, and I came across this one. I know that I posted it last year, but I watched it again, because I remember these people in New York being so cute.

The first thing Elder Oaks says is "We should thank God for our adversities."

So today for my attitude of gratitude, I am thankful for Fred.

In writing this, I realize that to you, dear reader (how much do you love that I just pulled a George Eliot?), it may seem a little silly, or a little forced, or a little insincere. But I do know how much there is to be grateful for with Fred. I have learned a lot and I have grown. And, like the man toward the end of the video, I am thankful for the support of my family during a hard time.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is.

Attitude of Gratitude

November 6
1. My mom - for talking to me for an hour
2. Julianne
3. Hot pads

November 7
1. Stake conference at 10 am. Church at 10 is so much better.
2. Time to take a nap
3. My dad - for calling to check on me

November 8
1. Yoga
2. Heather - for letting me vent about work
3. Lunch with coworkers
4. Beautiful weather

November 9
1. A fun activity in class
2. Getting so much done
3. A warm bed

November 10
1. Jill
2. Sandy
3. Julianne

November 11
1. Time in the morning to prep and plan
2. Getting ready for Shakespeare
3. Funny stories from my coworker
4. That my class has become friends

November 12
1. New running shoes
2. Getting projects done
3. A rainy night

November 13
1. Colorful trees
2. Elder Bednar and Elder Holland
3. A clean bathroom! and bedroom!

Talk to the universe. Or God. Or Ripley.

Dear Universe,

I got this magazine that you sent in the mail this week:

I'm sure you are wondering. Yes, I can take a hint. However, I think that you (and this magazine) are overlooking one of the crucial elements of a marriage.

So next time, perhaps instead of a magazine subscription, you could arrange a meeting for me with this guy:

Darren Criss Picture

(I have a little crush after his performance on Glee this week).

Or, barring that, you could arrange a meeting with a nice guy.
Preferably one who isn't too young, one who doesn't have kids,
or a girlfriend, and can remember my name.
But I'm not trying to be picky.

Love, Emily

Saturday, November 6, 2010

On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises from his pumpkin patch

Oops, I forgot about Halloween. I had the best costume! I got tons of compliments.

I'm a Chiquita Banana.

Yeah, that was a hard shot to capture. The "sticker" says "I'm fat free Dance with me."

I am grateful! Grateful to get away!

Every year, Carla starts off the Attitude of Gratitude Challenge. Check out the rules here.

I'm just going to post mine at the end of the week. But I'm pausing to reflect each day -- that's how you get the benefits.

November 1
1. Having a chance to speak at a meeting
2. Yoga
3. Time to watch Castle

November 2
1. Heather thinks of me enough to keep track of my test dates
2. Jamie is a college student and will talk to me after my late class
3. My night class

November 3
1. Obama bucks
2. Test results
3. That everyone is actually as excited as I am about my test results and they don't think I am crazy

November 4
1. Fitting a trip to the grocery into a very busy day
2. Good results from the meetings, despite the glitches on the way
3. Flushable travel packs of fresh wipes -- Yup, don't ask

November 5
1. My friend likes the baby blanket and she didn't have the baby in my living room
2. Accomplishing some projects at work
3. A really good night's sleep

Everybody's stupid in an election year, Charlie.

Election day was this week and it had some people really riled up. The political ads seemed to be playing absolutely non-stop. Did any of you have a political ad comparing the rival to Lindsay Lohan?

Kansas totally did.

And sometimes I wonder, how do I live here?

On Monday evening (let me just remind you that that was November 1st), I was driving home from my yoga class, and needed to get away from the political ads, so I flipped through the channels on the radio.

The first station I tried was playing Christmas music.

Which kind of made me go, ACK! Seriously?!

Election day brought really good news for me though.

I finally got my Obama bucks!

But since I have been waiting forever, I have no idea what to do with it now. My original plan was to go to Japan, but I did that already.

So, in honor of democracy and elections, I'll let you cast a vote for how I spend my Obama bucks.

Just to get you started with some ideas. My original thoughts were:
1. Tile the bathroom floors
2. Buy a digital piano
3. Buy a plane ticket to Italy (Who wants to save up and go with me?)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Basic principles. Any man can sweep any woman off her feet. All he needs is the right broom.

There is so much to catch up on. I don't even know where to start.

How about here:

Remember back when school started, and I told you I have a student whose smile makes him look like Christian Bale?

Well, that eight-week class ended, and now Christian Bale has been joined by a student whose smile makes him look like Michael Phelps.

I've never had a semester like this before.

Yesterday, I had to evaluate another instructor. This is yet another one of those tasks that most people complain about. But secretly, I learn a lot. I totally learned a new way of teaching research. It made a lot of sense to me, so I'm hoping it could help some of my students. (Oh yeah, we're teachers, we blatantly steal.)

However, it's always amusing to watch the dynamics in someone else's classroom.

There was one pair of students in this room that acted like they are a couple. At one point, he said something to her and she responded by shoving him.

And I thought of this:

Minute 4:29 -- "For those of you who haven't been to high school, hitting is a good thing."

In my class last night, we read the article "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema." This is a satire, a concept which takes a ton of explanation -- even for kids raised in the Comedy Central generation who have tons of examples in Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.

Sorry. I'm getting back into my rant... Back on track now.

My favorite part of this article talks about our dentist visits and explains why we place such a high premium on oral hygiene.

It says: "Were it not for the rituals of the mouth, they believe that their teeth would fall out, their gums bleed, their jaws shrink, their friends desert them, and their lovers reject them."

We talked about this for a while and I asked if that's what they think about oral hygiene, if lovers rejecting them is really the reason that they brush their teeth. This lead to a discussion of morning breath and the comment that heck yes, I would never date someone with nasty teeth.

So I mentioned the commercial where the friend tells a girl that she will set her up on a date if she will whiten her smile in two weeks. And at the end of the commercial, the girl wins the guy.

And I thought back to the beginning of the semester when my students asked why I am single.

I think I found a new answer.

And I'm on my way to Target to buy some Crest Whitestrips.

**Disclaimer: I was not paid or compensated in any way by Crest or their subsidiaries.**

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mawiage. Mawiage is what bwings us together today.

For a pick-me-up today (on this day that is filled with a little too much drama and needy-ness), we shall return to our favorite segment: Student Writing.

In an argument:
"Many people view marriage as a mild stone in their life."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Roma Italia

Today President Monson completed the groundbreaking for the Rome, Italy Temple.

I am beyond excited.

More sites and news:

From way up here, you all look like little ants!


I'm having a HORRIBLE BUG day!!

This is GIANT BUG number 3.

If you would like to know the others:
Bug #1: a giant wooly caterpillar
Bug #2: The most giant creepy looking bug I have ever seen! Totally unidentifiable
Bug #3: This giant guy
Bug #4: a silverfish

I killed them all.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Time for your lobotomy, Jack!

I teach two eight week classes each semester. The one that covers the first eight weeks just ended on Thursday night.

As part of the final exam, the students had to write a paragraph based on one of the prompts that I gave them. My favorite prompt out of these says, "Many experiences leave scars. Write the story of one of your scars." Last semester I learned that I had to specifically say I only wanted to read stories about physical scars. So I remembered to tell the students that.

One student has written before about how she was in a really terrible car accident. It's a sad story, but she's very chill about talking about it.

In her scar story she wrote about the scar that the accident left around her ear. She calls it her "shark bite scar," and if anyone ever asks she calmly tells them it's from a shark bite.
great white shark

I laughed at that, because I have the perfect made-up story for my scar too. It goes something like this:

Person: "Wow, that's a big scar. What happened?"
Me: "Oh that? It's nothing. It's from my lobotomy."
Person: [laughs nervously] "Yeah, right."
Me: [laughing not nervously] "Yeah, ok. That's just the story I tell people when I don't want to admit that I had a face-lift."
Person: [totally believes me at this point, and doesn't know how to comment on a 29 year old having a face-lift].

Unfortunately (or very fortunately), my scar is so well-hidden in my hairline that I have never actually had this conversation.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

When it comes to scorpions, the bigger the better. Small one bites you, don't keep it to yourself.

This morning I woke up with a bunch of bug bites on my knees. They are absolutely torture.

I think that explains my dream about a giant scorpion in my bed.

Although perhaps Freud would say otherwise.

Needless to say, all of my bedding is in the wash right now.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

As if every thought that tumbles through your head was so clever it would be a crime for it not to be shared.

Have you been watching this?

GMA was having a special edition this morning. They kept showing these reunions, and I was almost crying on the treadmill.

Yay for Chile!

Last month I got summoned for jury duty. While waiting for the day to arrive, I had to shuffle my classes a little bit. After doing that, I had to call a hotline last night and find out if I had to report for duty or not.

I didn't have to go.

I found myself kind of disappointed by that. I think I was hoping for this:

I am working on rewriting one of the classes that I teach. Today I was searching for some articles to use in class, and flipping through a textbook I came across an article called "I Want a Wife" by Judy Someone or other.

The article gives a lot of examples of how a wife takes care of the husband, children, and household. The author comments several times that she wants a wife, because she needs to be taken care of.

When I was an undergrad, I worked one summer with a program that trained AP Biology teachers and got them certified. Being a peon, my job was to make sure all the little components were in place to make the program run smoothly. So I had to get the snacks together, make photocopies, and set up the labs that the teachers would do.

One day, I came in and the women who taught the program were running around a little crazy. I asked what was up, and they said they had forgotten to do something that they needed. I calmly said that I had done it.

The main teacher looked at me and said, "Will you marry me?"

It became one of the big jokes because she really wanted a wife.

After reading this article and remembering that experienced, I realized, I want a wife. It would be so nice to have someone take care of me.

Driving to and from work the past couple of days, I have seen a whole row of bikes with a sign that says For Sale by Owner. I keep thinking about calling and getting one.

And then I remember the day after I first rode a bike in Italy.

Maybe it's like if you give a mouse a cookie. If you buy a bike, you have to buy padded bike shorts.
Womens Padded Pro Bike Short

Thursday, September 30, 2010

This is exactly why I created nurses. Clean up on aisle three!

Fun student writing:

"My goal is to become a needle nadle nurse. I love children and want to work with babies."

Translation: neonatal nurse.

And this just reminded me of my job and boss during undergrad. We worked with middle schoolers, and had one who wanted to become an architect. She told him he couldn't do it until he learned how to spell it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Truth like-like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold.

I feel the need to brag on myself. Look at how pretty this is.

It's for a friend who is having a baby girl in November. And I am now discovering that the problem with crafting things to give away is that I don't think anyone will really like it or actually appreciate it.

I'm going to give it away anyway.