Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I had a great Christmas vacation. I spent it lounging around, reading Harry Potter, going through my belongings in the attic and weeding out things to throw away, hanging out with my family and friends, eating good food, shredding papers, buying presents, playing games, and partaking of the Christmas Spirit! I was the only one home with my parents for most of the time, and it was nice to spend time with them. We laughed a lot!

I have been thinking a lot about what makes Christmas so special. I've reflected on Christ's birth, time spent with family, traditions, and gifts. These things seemed like the most important things of the season. And I just finished a book called "Simplify Your Christmas" by Elaine St. James, that gave me some ideas about how I could really focus on these important things by cutting out the other unnecessary parts of the season that have taken over our culture. I found some really good suggestions that I plan on implementing in my own Christmases in the future. They include buying fewer presents, buying consumable presents so that presents don't clutter the receiver's life, reducing decorations, and not having a Christmas tree (it's not very green to be cutting down a tree every year and then throwing it into a landfill). They also include doing more service, taking time to meditate, choosing a symbol that your family can focus on, and creating traditions that don't add stress to your life. I loved it, and would recommend it.


Today I found out my grades for this past semester! I didn't expect them to be online yet, but I was looking at grades for past semesters in preparing my grad school application. And there they were! I am very pleased with my performance this last semester, especially considering how much I worked on homework and studying. I really feel like I worked harder this semester than any other semester I've had at BYU. I've had some other time consuming semesters, and I've had some harder classes, but this semester takes the cake, and I'm so glad it paid off. Time to celebrate!

Fictionist Album Release

Just a quick word about the band Fictionist:

They are releasing their CD at the Velour next week. They're a great band (I've been to a few concerts and have a CD...from when they were Good Morning Maxfield) and I would recommend the CD and the concert at the Velour. Here's the info:

DATE: January 9
TIME: Doors @ 8:00
VENUE: Velour
135 N. University Ave, Provo
COST: $7.00 at the door

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm graduated!

I have officially turned in my last final for my undergraduate degree! Finals were a less stressful than the last week of class, and now I have nothing to do but pack my stuff (I'm moving back to my old apartment complex) and get ready to go home for Christmas! I'm leaving on Sunday, hoping that the snow storm we're getting right now will be blown out by then. And then I'll come back to UT next Saturday so that I can be here for my nephew's ordination to be a deacon. Yay! Things are looking great!

I'm also starting a "new" job. I'm still working at the NMELRC, and I'm still doing some secretaryish things. But I'm also getting a raise now that I'm no longer an undergraduate, and I'm going to start working on a project for my boss Kirk. I'll be helping develop material for the "Best Practices" resources that the NMELRC wants to develop for teachers who teach Middle Eastern languages. It's going to be pretty interesting, and I'm way excited about it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Budget, Shmudget

So, there's a car dealership near my apartment complex that's called Mad Max's. I've always thought that it was an odd name for a car dealership, but whatever. It's kind of small, and definitely has a lot of "personality." Today I was riding the bike home, and because I was coming from a direction that I don't normally come from, I rode right next to Mad Max's. They have flags out on poles in front of the place and I was riding right underneath them. The flag's had skulls and cross-bones on them. Wow. I want to buy one of their cars.

But seriously, I do want a car. And I'm going to start saving for one immediately. Today I had a little crash on the bike, and before that I was freezing as I was riding the bike, and I realized (for like the 4th time in a week) that I need to buy a car. So, I'm going to start planning that into my budget, and we'll see how it goes!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh, the Irony!

BYU's newspaper, The Daily Universe, has been having a Christmas contest. The way it works is that every day they would print a section that had a question/puzzle that you had to fill out, with the help of things that you would find in the Daily Universe. After you filled it out (with your name, email address, BYU ID, etc.), you submitted it to the newspaper, and it was entered into a drawing. Every night, after all of the slips had been collected, 10 people were drawn from that day's entries. Those 10 people had their names printed in the paper the next day, and they could go to the DU's office to collect their prize: a $50 Visa gift card! If you didn't get drawn, the slip that you entered that day would be saved and entered into the big drawing at the end of the 8 days (during two weeks of school) that they were doing the drawings. The big drawing had prizes like a Wii and an IPod, and the prize that really wanted, a $500 Visa gift card. There were 8 days to enter, and I checked the newspaper everyday to see if I won and to enter again, but I never won.

I went to the big drawing on the last day. I was having a pretty bad day. I had two papers and a presentation to turn in, so I'd been up most of the night. I was still preparing my presentation, and my flash drive stopped working because of the stupid flash drive virus that is going around BYU campus. So, since I couldn't access my power point presentation to work on it, I decided to go to the prize drawing, and prepare some notes to use during my presentation. I watched as other people won, and got more and more depressed! I shouldn't have gone when I was so tired! I went to class pretty unhappy.

In class, my classmate Greg told me congratulations on winning. He had seen me filling out my form several times in class, and I think that he entered it too, although I'm not sure how often. I was so mad at him for teasing me about winning because I assumed that he'd been at the big drawing and knew that I hadn't won. I told him I hadn't won. He asked me, "Didn't you see your name in the newspaper today?" I had forgotten all about checking that day's newspaper because of the big drawing that was taking place that day. I looked in the paper, and sure enough my name was in there.

I went and got my gift card. I was so happy about it because I really wanted money! And when I went to use it to buy some groceries it wouldn't work!! I had already activitated it, but it wouldn't work. So I'm going to have to call the company again and find out what the deal is. But eventually I will have access to that $50, and it makes me happy!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Check it Out!

Okay, so I follow a blog called Seriously, so blessed. It's pretty funny, and they have great giveaways! And by putting a link to it on my blog, I am entering myself into another of her drawings. Check it out for yourself (I'm not selfish; I'll share the chances to win).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another Hilarious Linguistics Moment, brought to you by the letter C

Tonight, at final review for my syntax class, I heard an adult native English speaker ask, "So, I can't say, 'I saw cat the wet?'" The study of syntax is making us question things that we should never question! Haha! We were talking about how you can't separate constituents and move them to other parts of the sentence. It was pretty funny.

The more I study linguistics, the more I realize that it is a miracle that little children learn to speak.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I like being a nerd

This is so funny. In my field methods linguistics class we've been talking about the semantics and pragmatics of the phrase "oh snap." We've taught our teacher (40s-ish, Dr. Elzinga) how to use it, and he's pretty obsessed with it. I just found it used in a Gmail blog post and I can't wait to share it with my classmates! I think that some of them will disagree with the way that it's been used, but I think that it fits. Hilarious! And nerdy. I have realized that my classes--my entire university career--has changed the way that I look at the world, especially in a linguistic way.

Another example of this: I have been dealing with stats and stuff for my senior paper for the Linguistics senior seminar class (Ling 490). The research has been interesting, but I'll be happy when the paper is done and turned in. Anyway, I have also been entering my name in a daily drawing on BYU campus. They have two places on campus where you can enter yourself daily, and then the next day they publish in the paper the 10 winners that were drawn the previous night. As I was putting my name in today, I wondered about the statistical probability that an even number of the 10 people drawn each day came from both of the two locations where you can enter the drawing. I wanted to know how many people who had won already were people who were submitting their entries at the same location that I was...you see the reason for my interest, right? But I went so far as to ask the guys manning the booth if they knew if the program was keeping track of the locations that the winners submitted to, for statistical purposes. They said it wasn't being tracked. But I'm going to contact the Daily Universe and suggest that for next year. It will make the drawing more scientific if they can prove that your name has just as much chance being drawn from one location as the other (they're all put into one big bin for the drawing, but does one location have an advantage?). Yeah, I'm a nerd.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Jungle Cat

On Wednesday my boss, Maggie, threw a party to celebrate my graduation! It was a lot of fun, and I felt really happy! One of Maggie's good friends from school was visiting her, so she came to the party as well. While I was talking to her she related a funny story. She and Maggie had been communicating through email about what was going on in their lives. Maggie had told her that she was living in the mall. Her friend took this to mean that Maggie spent a lot of time in the mall. What Maggie really meant was that her condo is on top of the mall, and she really lives there! Her friend thought it was so funny when she discovered the truth. She had thought Maggie was speaking metaphorically.

So for our prompt tonight, I had everyone write a story about a metaphor literally happening. We got some creative responses. And I'm proud of mine, I must say. Here it is:

As I was finishing my daily walk, I noticed my neighbor's black cat sauntering down the road. Max was headed away from my neighbor's house, so I thought I'd pick him up and take him along home. He didn't seem too pleased with the idea, scratching my arm in a couple places, but I knew he was an inside cat and that my neighbor would want him returned.

As I walked up the front steps to Lynn's house, she came out to greet me. "You found him! I just noticed that he got out and I was about to go look." I handed over the cat, and in the process Lynn noticed my scratches. "Oh, he got you, did he? Come here to the kitchen and I'll get some band aids for you." As she rubbed some alcohol into the wounds, she talked about similar experiences in the past and apologized for the scratches. "He used to be quite the jungle cat, but I thought we had broken him of that habit."

Lynn was taking quite a bit of care to clean out the cuts, and being much more fastidious about it than I would have been if I'd been left alone. I wondered how much longer she would take. I wondered what time it was. I unconsciously tapped my foot.

"Oh, am I keeping you from something?"

"Oh...no. It's just a nervous habit." I couldn't bring myself to say that I was impatient to get home.

"Really?" She seemed intrigued. "Have you ever tried to stop?"

I wasn't really interested in the conversation; I just wanted to get home. I shook my head no.

"I have a great method for breaking all kinds of habits. Let me show you." She went to a drawer in the kitchen and pulled out something that looked like a chopstick. What was it? What was she saying as she waved it around? I couldn't understand her words, but that wasn't my main concern as I felt myself start to sink down towards the floor. I realized too late, and my only method of escape was to slither in my new, scaly body toward the door.

"Well, now you don't have any feet to nervously tap!" she said triumphantly. "It's a little bit of a radical change. I didn't have to change Max that much to break his deadly scratching habits. The difference between a jungle cat and a house cat is chiefly one of size. But I think I accomplished your remedy quite well." She opened the door politely to let me go.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Random Thoughts

This morning I got up to campus earlier than I HAD to be, because I had to prepare for a presentation in class today. The sun was shining on the southeast faces of Timp, and it made me so happy to start the day!

I've been busy, busy, busy getting this project done, so I was inside most of the day. When I finally finished class, I wandered around a bit, getting various things done. I liked being outside because it has turned into quite a windy day. The breeze kept touching my face and hair.

The wind made me think about the vibrations I was hearing that were caused by the wind (I've had all kinds of weird thoughts about vibrations ever since I started my phonetics class.), and it made me wonder: If there was wind around me, but I was in a place where there was nothing for the wind to move, and it was just the wind moving past my ears, would I hear anything? And then I thought about it some more and came to the conclusion that I would because of the change of air pressure inside my ear from the wind going past.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm a bawl baby!

Tonight, for Family Home Evening, I read a talk by Elder James Faust. It was a talk in the December 2004 Ensign. In it he quoted a story told by a U.S. Marine posted in Nagasaki a few months after the atom bomb was dropped. It was a story about surviving Japanese Christians, and a Christmas concert they put on for the U.S. Marines stationed there. The music emphasized the power of the Savior to bring peace to our lives. My plan was to talk about Christmas music and its power to bring the Christmas Spirit to people, and then invite the group to go Christmas caroling. When we began the lesson, the group was small, just three other girls. I was a little disappointed at first. But as I read the story I started to cry. I felt the Spirit really strongly testify to the four of us. And I was glad that I didn't have to cry in front of any of the guys in our group! And some of them showed up in time to come caroling with us, so we had some deep voices and high voices blended together. We went to sing to the firemen at the fire station just down the street, but they were already having some kind of Christmas program! So we ended up singing outside of the local grocery store to a few passing shoppers. I hope it brightened their night!

Because of this beautiful FHE experience, I've decided that I'm going to read a Christmas story from the Ensign every night in the month of December. I may share the stories with the blog or people around me from time to time. I almost certainly will cry regularly at the stories that touch my heart. And I hope that it is a good way to prepare myself to celebrate the birth of my Lord.