Thursday, January 29, 2009

How It All Came Crashing Down

An article about the current economic crisis, How It All Came Crashing Down, was recommended to me by a friend of mine via blog post. I decided to check it out, because I was basically uninformed about how this recession has come about. I was shocked. To be honest, all of the investment in housing, and selling houses for more than you bought them, just before the mortgage rate all sounds kind of like those pyramid schemes where, yeah, sure, the first few waves all end up just fine, but eventually there's going to be someone who won't join, or who won't buy this ridiculously expensive house from you, and you lose it all. And then I was also shocked about the people that could still afford to make their house payments who walked away from it anyway. It's definitely an interesting world. I hope things get better before I start making huge financial decisions, like buying a house.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Non-Death Day

Okay, so I have started 3 drafts for a blog post this week, and I have finished none of them! So I'm going to just combine the three ideas into one post (this one) and start forcing myself to finish whatever drafts I've started, every night. Deal? Deal.

Topic the first: Last Thursday, I went to my first Arabic class! I have been interested in learning Arabic for a while, and have never had time to take it. But I graduated this December, and I can do whatever I want to fill my time! And my boss just happens to be in charge of the Arabic 101/102 classes at BYU, so he encouraged me to sit in on an Arabic class.

Last Thursday, I also went to my last Arabic class! For this semester, at least. I didn't go to an Arabic class at all during the first week and a half because I was going crazy trying to get settled into my new job responsibilities, and working really hard to be able to keep that job when I found out about the hiring freeze. So I have missed a LOT of the first part of the semester. And I decided that I had better start again another semester, when I can start from the beginning.

Topic the second: My diploma arrived! I got it in the mail on Monday. It is so sweet looking! And it makes being a graduate seem so much more real. And getting accepted into grad school will make it that much better! Please let it happen!

Topic the third (and the reason for the post's title): Today I almost died choking on a piece of snickers! I have choked on snickers before, and actually I would say I almost regularly choke on chocolate. It's not every time I eat chocolate, though. And it's not getting a piece of it actually stuck in my throat, but it's like I salivate too much (okay, I really like chocolate!) and I choke on the saliva and it makes my throat close up. I began to wonder for the very first time today if I might have a mild undiagnosed allergy to peanuts or chocolate. And every time I choke, I always tell myself I'll be more careful the next time I eat chocolate. Well, this time I will!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cow Jokes!

I started this post a long time ago with my friend Jonny, with some help from his sisters. But I put it off because I was going to make a video to put on here for some of the jokes that are funnier in person. But I've decided to just go ahead and post these. I love cow jokes!

If a cow laughs, does milk come out its nose?

Why were there bones on the moon?
The cow didn't make it!

What do you call a cow with two legs?
Lean beef!

What do you call a cow with no legs?
Ground beef!

What do you call a cow with short legs?
Udder drag!

What do you call a cow jumping over a barbed wire fence?
Udder disaster!

How do you get dragon' milk?
A long uddered cow!

And, for your viewing pleasure, a cow cake, made by my friend Xan:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I think so, Brain; but where are we going to get rubber boots our size?

This is a tag from facebook. I'm supposed to write 25 random things about myself, and then tag 25 people; but instead I'm going to just write the 25 random things! Feel free to follow my example, if you want to, after you check about my random facts. Here they are:

1. I am eating salmon and spaghetti right now.
2. I love new clothes, but I hate shopping or paying for them!
3. I like cleaning lint.
4. I have lived at the feet of mountains almost my entire life.
5. I am a part-time faculty member at Brigham Young University
6. I love fries with a chocolate frosty.
7. I have 7 siblings.
8. I have way too many books and not enough room, so most of them are in boxes.
9. I have turned in my grad school application to BYU!
10. I'll be turning in more grad school applications elsewhere in the next couple of weeks.
11. I like listening to music while I do anything...and usually humming along.
12. I'm listening to "Nervous in the Light of Dawn" by Leigh Nash on Pandora right now.
13. I am gluten-intolerant.
14. I have never worn braces, and I'm mostly satisfied with my teeth.
15. Daisies are my favorite flowers.
16. I speak Spanish and Chinese, and I'm going to start learning Arabic this semester.
17. I like sleeping. I can sleep in pretty much as late as I want. If I wasn't concerned what people thought, I'm sure some weekends would be spent entirely in sleeping.
18. I want to be an ESL teacher.
19. I think ward choirs are great!
20. I read a lot of blogs, and I add new blogs to my reading list frequently.
21. I love the Harry Potter books...don't be a hater!
22. I have a foreign coin collection.
23. Even weirder, I have a sugar packet collection.
24. Now I'm listening to "Merry Happy" by Kate relation to Leigh least I don't think.
25. I'm almost 25!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Utah TAP Project

I want to let all you Utahans know about an amazing opportunity to serve coming up. It's the Utah TAP Project. This is a project done by UNICEF to raise money to provide millions of children with clean drinking water, the lack of which has become the second largest killer of children under the age of 5. To participate in the Utah TAP Project, when you go out to eat at participating restaurants during the week of March 22-28th, you can donate one dollar for the TAP water you normally get for free, and provide a child in need with 40 days of clean drinking water. Please visit their website at

Those of you who are not in Utah, please go to TAP's website and find out how you can get involved in an area near you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I yelled at my students today!!

That was the first line of a post I started on Friday. Now it's Monday, and I don't feel like blogging about my Friday frustrations. But, just in case some of you were wondering, this shows that I am not perfect! I was really embarrassed by it, and I was really glad when one of the girls came up to me after class and thanked me for helping them during class. I could tell she said it just to make me feel better, and it worked!

So, last year I had an engagement calendar (a book to keep all of my appointments straight) that was called The Reading Woman. It was a weekly planner that had pictures of women reading throughout. I loved this planner, and I wanted to buy another one for this year. But I use Google Calendar all the time now, which makes a paper planner still useful on some occasions when I'm not near my computer but inconvenient when it's a huge planner that I don't use that often. So, instead of getting another one this year, I decided to cut out the pictures that I liked the best from this year's planner, and creating room on the back to write things down, and using them again this year! I get to see all of the pictures again that I've loved for a while, AND I am reusing instead of throwing away! Sweet!

Here are a few of the pictures from the 2008 calendar that are making it into the 2009 Life, by Merry edition!

This last picture is my favorite. I love the little girl sitting on her mom's lap while she reads. I'm sorry that these are all different sizes, that's the way I could find them on the internet.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Two Good Things - Motherhood

We finally had TGT again! It was fun to get together with the girls, especially because of two new developments. Sara had her baby boy Joshua! And she brought him with her to the meeting, so I got to hold him. Adorable! And Chelsea told us that she's pregnant! Yay! So our prompt last night was to write whether we thought Chelsea would make a better mom to a boy or a girl. I kind of twisted that prompt, and here's the result:

Chelsea, your motherhood is long overdue! Hopefully that has given you time to prepared for this blessed event. "How might I have prepared?" you ask? Well, let me tell you!

For the boy that your baby may be, I hope you have desensitized yourself to slimy things.

For the girl that you may be delivering in July, I hope you have learned how to make tutus and flowered headbands.

For the boy that may have Kevin's looks, I hope you have reviewed your imagining and pirating skills.

For the girl that may have your passion for Chinese, I hope you have practiced controlling your emotions for when hers are uncontrollable.

And for yourself, I hope you have laughed and loved and are prepared to laugh and love some more. You'll make a wonderful mother.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Room of Requirement

I went looking for a computer lab today in the Widtsoe Building. I had visited it once before when I was desperate for a computer, and had found it rather easily. But today I wandered for quite a while looking for it. I asked two girls, and they didn't know about it at all. I began to think it was kind of like the room of requirement, that would show up according to true need, but not when I was just casually interested in having a computer. It turned out that I was getting a little confused about which building I was in (the Marb and the Widtsoe connect on the second floor) and I had been very close to it several times. Funny.

Bilingual Education

I have such a hard time understanding articles like the following. Read my response to it after you've read the article.


Dearborn schools urged to ban Arabic
School district, Arab community at odds over proposed language ban.
Tanveer Ali / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- A recommendation to bar Arabic speech in the city's most
heavily Arab public high school unless it is absolutely necessary has
sparked a sharp debate between those who say it's necessary to help
students perform better and those who say it only helps alienate them.

A study commissioned by the Wayne County Regional Education Service
Agency said the use of Arabic by students in the bilingual programs in
Dearborn Public Schools slows the assimilation of students "into the
school and American society in general" and fosters suspicion among
students and teachers who don't speak the language.

Students' ability to communicate in the language they feel most
comfortable with is a basic right, said Imad Hamad, regional director of
the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.

"It should not be touched," Hamad said. "I am not a fan of restricting
or reducing language. I feel that goes against the best interest of any
type of education."

The 44-page report from the Michigan Leadership Institute, an
independent education and municipal consulting group based in Old
Mission in the Grand Traverse Bay area, addressed the usual problems
public high schools grapple with, including overcrowding, test scores
and No Child Left Behind compliance, but also took note of the specific
challenges for the district with an Arab population that reaches as high
as 90 percent in some schools.

Though the language divide is a problem at all three high schools in the
district, the report singled out Fordson High School to prohibit all
non-English use unless absolutely necessary to communicate with parents
or students.

"To do otherwise reinforces a perception by some that Fordson is an Arab
School in America rather than an American school with Arab students,"
the report stated.

District officials said they will explore ways to accelerate students
into English-only classes over the next 18 months.

Intissar Harajli, the district's coordinator of bilingual education,
said the district tests all new students' English proficiency and places
them in English-only or bilingual classes according to their skill
level. All schools and all subjects have bilingual options.

"The misconception is sometimes (determining) when the child has
survival skills they can move on," Harajli said, adding that it takes up
to four years for a new English speaker to gain the skills to adapt to
an English-only classroom.

Kevin Harris, president of the Dearborn Federation of Teachers and a
former economics teacher at Fordson, said a bilingual education is
necessary in the school district, home to many students and parents who
are new to the English language. Yet, he agreed with the report's
assessment that the use of languages other than English "contributes to
an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion on the part of English-only
speaking adults in the schools."

"The report's concern is that there's an overuse of the native tongue
when there didn't really need to be," Harris said. When English speakers
choose to communicate in Arabic he said, "It does make me suspicious and
I think it's rude for them to do this. If situations were reversed, how
would you feel? I don't think they get that."

Non-Arab parents like Tomara Doss, who has a daughter and a sister in
the Dearborn school system, said English-only education is necessary in
order to integrate a community that seems to be distant from American

"Schools should be all English. If you live in America, you are an
American," said Doss, 33, who was picking up her sister from Fordson.
"Not to take anything away from their culture, but only speaking Arabic
won't give them a chance to broaden their horizons."


After doing a little bit of research in language education (during my TESOL minor at BYU), it seems clear to me that bilingual education is the way to go if we want the students to have the best education possible. Of course, that doesn't address the concerns that English only teachers have about what the Arabic speakers are saying, and I supposed that some policies should be put into place so that there's no abusive use of Arabic in the schools. But, there's still the underlying idea that many educators and policy makers advocate a double standard. They want to put lots of money into programs to get young native English speakers into these "high demand" languages like Arabic (I work in an office that's federally funded to produce and provide learning materials to learners of Middle Eastern languages), and yet they are so willing to cut off a native Arabic speakers possibilities to develop high literacy skills in their native language, saying that it prevents them from assimilating. Does teaching Arabic as a second language disassimilate English-speaking students from the rest of the population? No. And does continuing to educate them in their native language of English have a benefit? Yes! So give the native Arabic-speaking students the same chance to be the best learners they can. It's their futures we're talking about here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Crazy Week

I had the craziest week with work last week! I came back to Provo to work the Monday after Christmas (Dec. 29th), but I had to wait until last week to get all of the paperwork taken care of to hire me as a non-student. So I went in to talk to the secretary about getting hired. And I was informed that BYU (and the church) had a hiring freeze that went into effect on December 31st! The secretary called some people to find out what we could about still hiring me, and she seemed fairly confident that something could be done because I had been offered my non-student jobs months before the hiring freeze was announced. But I was very nervous about all of it. I had been feeling a little uncertain about my jobs over the Christmas break because I hadn't heard back from Nellie when I emailed her about hiring information. She had told me that I would be sent some stuff via email to get the process going over the break, and that never happened. So, to me, it seemed like those thoughts I'd been having were in preparation for me to lose my job! Which I didn't want!

We eventually wrote an email, appealing for my hiring, and I had to submit an application and resume, and fill out some paperwork. It turned out that in order to hire me, I needed to be hired as part-time faculty (at least for my teaching job for ELang 105) in order to get around the hiring freeze, so I also had to have an interview with the chair of the Linguistics and English Language Department (Dr. Eggington) and an assistant dean in the College of Humanitities (Dr. Parry). They wanted to stress the importance of representing their department/college, as well as the university. But that's all taken care of now, and I am officially part-time faculty at BYU!! Crazy, huh? Most importantly, I still have my two jobs.

In other news, I'm turning my grad application in this week (Thursday is the deadline). I'm so excited!

Friday, January 9, 2009

How BYU are you?

I saw this on a friend's blog and thought I'd try it out, now that I'm no longer a BYU student!

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
[X] You regularly attended FHE for at least a semester
[X] You’ve participated in Choose to Give
[_] 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
[_] You’ve been to Friday Night Live
[_] You’ve performed or witnessed an act that made it onto Police Beat
[_] 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
[_] …in the temple
[_] You were previously engaged/married
[_] You have kids or are expecting kids
[X] Your birth parents are still married
[X] …in the temple
[X] You have at least three siblings
[_] You’ve taken a marriage prep or relations 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
[X] You have read Twilight
[X] …book 2
[X] …book 3
[X] …book 4
[X] …seen the movie
[_] …more than once
[X] You’ve waited in line at the Bookstore for the Harry Potter or Twilight book premiere (Harry Potter)
[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
[X] …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” (or been told this)
[_] …and told him/her about your revelation (or been told this)
[_] …and then they rejected you (or rejected them)
[X] You’ve been to the Nickelcade
[X] You’ve been to Classic Skating
[X] You’ve ignored your parents’ phone calls for at least 3 days
[_] …and then they called the University Police
[_] You’ve been pulled over by the University Police
[_] You watch The Office religiously
[X] You mostly wear jeans and t-shirts or plain fitted shirts
[_] You own at least 3 things from American Eagle or Hollister
[_] 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
[_] 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
[_] Your major crush ended up dating a MFHD, RMYL, Elementary Education, or Exercise Science major
[_] You have had at least one roommate who is in hair or dental school
[_] You own The Italian Job or The Princess Bride
[X] 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

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

Barely passing with a D? Well, some of those things that I haven't done I'm glad I haven't done! So there!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

As I look back on 2008, I am happy with a lot of things that have happened. I graduated! I've gotten a lot of experience in my field, which should make it more likely that I'll be accepted into my grad program this year. I've dated several very good guys, and although things didn't work out with any of them I loved the experiences that I had with them. I've accomplished a lot of my goals. And I've set several goals.

Now you probably expect me to talk about my new goals for the New Year. But I'm actually not going to set any new goals. I was already planning not to when I read my friend Jo-Pete's explanation for not setting new goals, which perfectly coincides with mine. I think that you can't depend on a set time of year to give you the motivation to achieve. You have to develop that motivation and adapt your goals as your motivation and needs change. So I've decided that this year I'm going to take a good look at the several goals that I'm currently working on, and I'm going to revamp them if they need it. And then I'm going to keep on with them. I may add one new goal. That would be exercising regularly. This may seem funny to you because I talk about not setting new goals at New Year's because it won't give me added motivation to accomplish them and then I consider adding the typical New Year's resolution. But I've been considering this for a long time. I set up a running chart for myself months ago, and I've talked to a friend of mine about running with her. I've also been very busy with school and so not willing to spend time exercising. So, for all of these reasons, I feel like this has been a goal of mine already that I'm just getting around to starting. And I think it will work. So I'm excited for 2009!