30 October 2011

Potentially Homeless

Well folks, Juniper's days are coming to an end. It's been a long time coming but it's now inevitable. There are multiple leaks in the plumbing causing thousands of gallons of water under the building as well as rendering the heating almost useless. Housing had a big meeting today for all of Juniper residents and broke the news. There were cheers. There were tears. Most of the residents are freshman and the news completely overwhelmed them. Housing is working on finding options for the students that are pretty generous. But they're still freaking out that they're homeless. And for the moment, we don't really know what's going to happen to us. So we are potentially homeless too!

27 October 2011

Bridge to Neverland


What if Peter Pan was real? What if starstuff was real? And what if you found a secret note from a starcatcher that led you on a crazy adventure to find and save starstuff? Well, then you would be the main character of Bridge to Never Land. 

But really. Let's be honest here, m'kay? This book was not a page turner; it took me waaaay longer to read this book. It was an okay book, but just not up to par. Not really what I expected. Plus it was super current. iPhones, iPads, etc, are mentioned far to frequently. However, I could tell that Barry & Pearson had done their research on Disney World. They even used the term "cast member"!! 

Anyway, this is super random. But the point is: maybe don't waste your time with this one. Save it for the kiddies.

Peter and the Sword of Mercy

In our final Peter chapter, which takes place directly prior to the Peter Pan story most common with Wendy, John, and Michael, Molly Aster is now grown up. She has married her friend, George Darling, and they have three children: Wendy, John, and Michael. George, as you know, is a very practical man, and has encouraged Molly, now Mary, to put all this nonsense and magic talk behind her. 

But then strange things start to happen. John, and original lost boy who chose to grow up with Molly, came to visit. And then he disappears, a victim of the underground kidnappings. Mary/Molly starts investigating, and she too disappears. It seems to be up to Wendy to save the day . . . 

And so our novel unfolds and the baton is handed off. I really did like this adventure and totally recommend it! Read On! 

Peter and the Secret of Rundoon

"I'll be careful," said Peter, grinning. "Aren't I always careful?'
"No," said James 

In the third adventure of Peter's, we are taken to Rundoon as the starstuff is once in danger of evil people obtaining it. The dark is rising, and it is up to our heroes, once again, to save the day. In this adventure we meet the lost boys: Curly, Tootles, Nibs, and the twins. They had been sent to Rundoon to work for the King, but Peter invites them to escape and join him.

The shadow-man, the dark, is returning. It's kind of neat, actually, because he tries to use Peter's shadow, but can't get full control over Peter. At one point, Peter's shadow is separated from himself, which explains that right there. 

So I don't really have much else to say about this book. I liked it though! 

26 October 2011

Peter and the Shadow Thieves

In this thrilling adventure of Peter's, a mysterious dark force who can control shadows is after the starstuff, and it is up to Molly and Peter to save the starstuff, Molly's parents, and themselves.

Some fun things:
-Peter and Tink meet a man by the name of Barrie in the streets of London
-Molly Aster is friends with a boy named George Darling
-A main part of this story happens at the Tower of London. Molly tells us that her father has taken her there before, but left her outside with a guard, "if I asked why, Father would make some joke about not wanting me to get my head chopped off"

I did enjoy this book. Barry and Pearson keep it as exciting and page turning as the first as they give us more of Peter's history. As this one is based on shadows I thought it would give us some insight into Peter and his shadow . . . but you'll have to wait for the next one: Peter and the Secret of Rundoon!!

25 October 2011

Double Identity

In Margaret Peterson Haddix's Young Adult Mystery Double Identity, we read of Bethany, a young girl who is suspiciously left at a stranger's house. A stranger who is her aunt. All over town people are "recognizing" Bethany, looking like they've seen a ghost. Yet noone will tell Bethany anything. Bethany strives to figure out not only who she is, but all the mysteries of her family. It turns out *SPOILER!* that Bethany had a sister, a sister who died years before Bethany was born. A sister who grew up in the town where Bethany has been stranded. A sister Bethany resembles almost perfectly . . . because she is her clone. 

Near the end of the book, Bethany starts to think about what it means to be her instead of a clone of her sister. Thinks of how she can be unique. And for a children's book, MPH has this covered. I would like to see this concept tackled at a deeper level though, where they already know they're a clone and are striving to make themselves their own (which isn't really what Double Identity is about. It's more solving the mystery of her origins) as opposed to a copy. But overall I did enjoy and do recommend this book. Read on!

Vermillion Castle

Since my parents bailed on Saturday, Cass and I found our own hike to go on. Right nearby Parowan, Vermillion Castle is a "moderate hike" with steep, narrow switch backs, but great scenery and a few Hoodoos along the way and at the top. Here is our journey in pictures!

At the trail head

Scaring off mountain lions!
First Hoodoos, about half way up!

Cassidy's Metaphor

Climbing up the big rock!
Me climbing the big rock

King of the Rock!

View at the top -- Can you see why it's called Vermillion Castle?

The other side
With the Hoodoos at the top!

We had a great hike! It wore us out but we can't wait to go again; it's beautiful at the top and totally worth it!

24 October 2011

The Almost Moon

"Alice Sebold may be our true heiress to Edgar Allan Poe, a novelist who dares to write honestly about the banality of violence, and about how it lives next door to normalcy, in a mist." -Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer

Romano's analysis of Sebold and Almost Moon is completely correct; Sebold is eerily Poe. For a book about mother-daughter relations  and accountability for actions, it is a gripping story with an element of intensity and disgust. Our main character, Helen, is a mother and a daughter, but has always been primarily a daughter. Her mother holds an uncanny grip on her, despite Helen growing up and making a life of her own. Eventually Helen's mother becomes old and feeble. Helen is the only one who can take care of her, continuing to be insulted by her mother. Finally she can take it no longer, and kills her mother. The rest of the novel unfolds with the repercussions of Helen's actions and her resulting emotions. The emotions Helen struggles with are much more exciting than the actual action; it's really intense and makes you think. What would you do in this situation? 

This is a typical creepy book for me and I really enjoyed it! I recommend it, with the caution that it does delve into some un-mormon behaviors as well as touchy emotional subjects. Enjoy! 

My Family Came to Visit

This past week was UEA, so my parents and siblings (minus Jenn and Adam, who had school, and obviously Elder Stone :)) came to Cedar to visit. They rolled into town Thursday afternoon. We just hung out  that afternoon and went to the Hong Kong Buffet for dinner. As always, it was delicious. I love me some Chinese food! After dinner I went over to their hotel to swim (Cass stayed here to do homework). Jordyn was a chicken at first, but then she warmed up.

Friday Cass still had class, so my mom and I planned for our activities to stay local, thinking we could go to St George and on our hike on Saturday. So we went to the Iron Mission Museum that morning. Dad thought it was super cool. Jordyn liked the Shakespeare exhibit and dressing up. Ammon and Matthew just liked the candy from the gift shop. Next we headed up to Park Discovery so Jordyn could play. She had a blast-- and Ammon even played on the tire swing! That afternoon we saw Footloose. I thought it was great. The dancing was awesome. Oh I miss it!

That night we all went to Mexican and then back to the pool. Cass came and Ammon even came down to the pool for a little bit.

Saturday we were supposed to go to St George and to the Lava Tubes, but my parents' van was being a butt, so they decided it would be better to just head back to Mapleton. Good thing they did -- the engine burned up and died in Nephi!

It was great to have my family come down and visit! Love you guys! Ya'll come back now, ya hear?

23 October 2011

Spiritual Sunday: Visiting Teaching

I've been thinking all day about what I wanted to blog about today and nothing seemed quite right, til I remembered what I had done earlier this week. I did my visiting teaching! I don't really enjoy visiting teaching because I have a hard time talking to people I don't know very well and I just don't have much experience with it in general. Luckily, my companion is a member of the Relief Society Presidency, and she has been just great at arranging the visits and helping the conversation flow. This month it's my turn to do the lesson and I was really nervous; I had never done it before.

Wednesday came around and it had just been a rough day for me in general. I really did not want to go visiting teaching. I wanted to change into my jammies and watch tv and drink diet coke and eat junk food. But I told Dani I would go visiting teaching with her. And I went. 

The message this month is "If We Do Not Doubt" by Julie Beck. She discusses the stripling warriors and how 
“If they did not doubt, God would deliver them” (Alma 56:47).
“We do not doubt our mothers knew it” (Alma 56:48).
 She encourages us to strive to be like these mothers, so that our children, too, will not doubt we knew it. She concludes with
Latter-day Saint women who recognize that their strength comes from the Lord’s Atonement do not give up during difficult and discouraging times. As covenant keepers, we excel at upholding, nurturing, and protecting children and youth so that one day we might say of this rising generation, “Never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all” (Alma 56:45).
 Even though Sister Beck didn't say it, I think it's also okay to take out of this message that even as women, we can be as the warriors too. We can emulate both the warriors and the mothers. It takes all types of courage.

Dani and I discussed this message with our sister and I really had a great time. We were able to just talk about our lives, which isn't something I get to do with other girls very often. And I left with a smile on my face. I didn't want to go visiting teaching, but I'm glad I did. It totally changed my attitude, and it wasn't the message that did it.  

20 October 2011


Slated as a cross between Twilight and Hunger Games, I was surprised when Cass brought this home from the library. He read Matched first, said it was clear that Ally Condie is from Utah, and it was reminiscent of The Giver and, despite similarities, he liked it better than Twilight. 

So I read it. It does start out very Giver-esque, with the banquets and the ceremonies. In this society they have the ability to predict everything. They predict who will be your best match. How you will react in a given situation. The figure out what your caloric intake should be and provide appropriate meals. They assign your job, tell you where to live. Tell you when to have children, when to stop having children. And when to die. They have exacted what makes the optimal life and are providing it for their society. Yet there is a mix up at the Matching, and Cassia has been given two matches -- one a mistake, he's an aberration and disallowed to be matched, Ky, and one a childhood friend, a best friend, Xander. See the Twilight similarities? Guess which boy she chooses?? And of course, I like the other one.

So that bothered me. I liked parts of it. I like the idea even though it's not super original. She's also been signed by Disney I guess. She's definitely writing to her target audience -- Twilight -- and it's a little predictable, but I just can't get over the boy problem. I think Ky is a creeper. But there are a lot of occasions where I find boys to be creepers in media and I'm the only one. Overall, I did like this book. And I will read the next one, I'm sure, when Cass brings it home from the library in a month or two. And maybe I won't hate the ending. Hopefully it solves some of the mysteries Condie has laid out for us in the first book and doesn't turn into a ridiculous teenage love story with the cover of having more to it. Because this book, the series I'm sure, is ultimately about free will, agency, the power to choose. It's much deeper than Twilight, and I really hope Condie doesn't sell out just for numbers. Quality over Quantity, right? Please?

19 October 2011

Shadow Children

Once upon a time*, when I was ten or eleven or so, I brought home a book order from school. I had circled the many books I wanted my momma to buy for me, and I was sure we would sit down later and narrow down my selections. And in that book order was a book, Among the Hidden, by an author I had read before, Margaret Peterson Haddix.  
"Do you really want this weird book?" momma probably asked me. "It looks strange. The government says you can only have two kids? What kind of weirdo are you, Jayme?"

"But Momma!" I'm sure I argued, "We liked Running out of Time, the weird book about those kids who thought they lived in pioneer days and escaped! And this lady wrote that too! So it must be good!"

"Okay, fine, whatever, you odd child of mine. At least you're reading."

And I was reading. The problem was, Haddix came out with a sequel a few years later. But I was older. I was reading other books. And Among the Imposters was never at the library. And then it was another year and another book, and so on. And I always meant to read the Shadow Children series and never quite made it. I kind of forgot about them until I would see Among the Hidden sitting on my shelf, which wasn't often. I have lots of books. 

Yet at CMS, kids are still reading the Shadow Children series. The last one, Among the Free, didn't even come out til 2006. Good thing I wasn't holding my breath. :) But I digress. I was reminded. And so while I was at the library, getting Peter and the Starcatchers, I thought to myself: I should go look at Haddix's section. See what they have of her. And low and behold, they  had the whole series. So I got them. And read them. They're children's books and short, so I pretty much inhaled them. 

These folks live in a society where, due to the famine a few years back, they have limited the number of children to two per family. But that doesn't stop everyone, and I'm not entirely sure the government has provided adequate birth control. So there are lots of illegal third, sometimes fourth and fifth, children in hiding throughout the country. And that is where the series starts, with Luke, an illegal third child in hiding. Through the course of the series we meet other illegal children and see other problems within this government. But  many of these illegals have fake IDs. The end up meeting each other and banding together, hoping that one day they will become free. Hoping they will have the right to exist. 

But they were pretty great. I love the concept, I love all books like this. Of course. I like weird books. Lucky for me, they're pretty in right now (ie: Hunger Games).  I'm a little worried they're getting ruined (see my next post) but I'm not too concerned. So yeah, go on. Read these books. You'll love 'em!

*some facts have been exaggerated for the enjoyment of the story telling. But the concept of this is completely true: I was a strange child. I read strange books.

18 October 2011

Of School Houses and Sunburns

Yesterday and today the seventh graders of CMS had a field trip, half going each day, and I was asked to help out at the Iron Mission State Park Museum both afternoons. Yesterday I worked in the school house as the school marm. I got a switch and everything! It was really fun to show the seventh graders what school was like back then! Today I was a mover, helping the groups move from one activity to the next so I spent most of my time outside. It was a nice day and I got a little rosy! They had great activities: the school house, candle dipping, bread baking, brick making, a stagecoach activity, a handcart pull, and a game like baseball -- where I spent most of my time today. It was hilarious to watch the kids who really play ball try to remember to hold onto their bat as they ran to first base. It was a great day and I loved how it was both fun and educational for the students! 

Unfortunately, a lot of state park funding is being cut right now and the Iron Mission Museum may be getting cut! Museums don't generate a lot of income and rely on outside funding to stay opening; hence them being cut as funding is cut. I really would like to see the Museum stay open! Sometimes they're a little boring, but it is open year round and it's part of our history here in Utah. I would hate to see it get cut. 

Peter and the Starcatchers

Last year Matthew read this book at school and suggested it to me, but I didn't really listen. I have lots of books to read; even placing one in my hands is no guarantee I'll get to it. But then I got my job at CMS and the sixth graders are reading it there too. And it is a really good story!!! It is pretty exciting and gives a lot of interesting background and linking of Peter Pan with other characters and situations. While not keeping entirely true to JM Barrie's works -- Dave Barry (haha -- Barrie, Barry) and Ridley Pearson are commissioned by Disney and this is clearly based more upon the movie, which makes sense because the target audience would have seen only the movie and probably not know about the book -- there are still links and it is a good Peter Pan story. It is to serve as a prequel to Barrie's Peter and Wendy despite obvious contradictions -- especially The Little White Bird. So I just couldn't help it. I couldn't possibly wait patiently and read with the sixth graders. I had to get my hands on this book and read it for my self. And I did. 

And I loved it. There's a whole series, so I will be trying to get the next installment at the library tomorrow, and I really look forward to reading them all. The book is written for children, but there are little asides meant for adults, and it appeals to all ages. It starts with Peter - no last name - and four other boys: James, Prentiss, Thomas, and Tubby Ted boarding a ship called The Neverland, along with some characters that seem vaguely familiar . . . And showcases their adventures upon the high seas with a young girl, Molly Aster, Pirates, and the titled Starcatchers. But I sure enjoyed this book and recommend it for all ages, especially if you have an interest in Peter Pan! I look forward to the second novel: Peter and the Shadow Thieves  and hope you'll keep tuning in! 

Happy Reading!

17 October 2011

The Diamond of Darkhold

The fourth and final installment of DuProu's Ember series, I felt The Diamond of Darkhold fell just a teeny bit short. Everything had a nice happy ending, including an awkwardly told, unchronological almost-epilogue. It vaguely had a tie in with Prophet of Yonwood summarized in one sentence. And everything was just so easy. She really could have stopped at People of Sparks, yet she still leaves this open for continuation.

Those minor complaints aside, I enjoyed this book. It was a nice denouement for the series, yet wasn't quite as thrilling as the others. Parts of it were clever and unpredictable, and it was rather enjoyable. What I really would like to read is about the first people to go to Ember, which would tie in Prophet of Yonwood much better in my opinion. As a series, I'm not sure this one is a winner. I don't feel my time was wasted, but there are other YA authors in this vein (Haddix, Lowry) who I would suggest first.

16 October 2011

Spiritual Sunday: Jeffrey R Holland

Jeffrey R Holland is one of my favorite general authorities to listen to at general conference. He was set apart in 1994, so I don't really remember a time when he wasn't a GA. He spoke at a stake conference of ours around this time, and Mom broke the rules and took us up to meet him after. He gave Michael a kiss on the cheek! 

Interestingly enough, he got a BA in English before started teaching Institute. He also has two Masters and a Ph.D. I think he's absolutely amazing.

My favorite talk of his is The Other Prodigal. He really speaks to me, and it was nice to hear things from a different perspective. Here's a lovely snippit or two:
"He forgets for a moment that his faithfulness has been and always will be rewarded."
"But the older brother lives in some confinement, too. He has, as yet, been unable to break out of the prison of himself. He is haunted by the green-eyed monster of jealousy. He feels taken for granted by his father and disenfranchised by his brother, when neither is the case."
 And best of all:  
"How can we overcome such a tendency so common in almost everyone? For one thing, we can do as these two sons did and start making our way back to the Father. We should do so with as much haste and humility as we can summon. Along the way we can count our many blessings and we can applaud the accomplishments of others. Best of all, we can serve others, the finest exercise for the heart ever prescribed. But finally these will not be enough. When we are lost, we can “come to ourselves,” but we may not always be able to “find ourselves,” and, worlds without end, we cannot “save ourselves.” Only the Father and His Only Begotten Son can do that. Salvation is in Them only. So we pray that They will help us, that They will “come out” to meet and embrace us and bring us into the feast They have prepared."

In my life, especially growing up, it was so easy to align myself with The Prodigal Son's Brother, to find myself jealous of others and the attention they get. I always thought of this poor brother, this hard worker, who was continuously ignored, and I wondered when he would get his party, his fattened calf. But he already gets it all. Those who remain righteous get their reward, and those who return get theirs. Elder Holland ends by telling us that God loves each of us, regardless of the baggage we carry, and I have come to learn this for myself. Being happy for others does not diminish me or my work. And who are we to deny others the blessings of heaven? Should we all not want all to succeed?

And this is why it is my favorite talk. It came at a point in my life when I really needed to hear it, and it is still valuable today.  It is a good reminder to not place myself above others, nor judge them. I hope you all can give this talk a look and enjoy it as I have.  

What do you think? How does this apply to you?  Does this apply to you? 

14 October 2011

Flashback Friday: Masquerade

 I'm in the back -- Snow White

When I was in high school, the school had a dance practically every month. In October the dance is Masquerade and everyone dresses up in costumes. This picture is of my Jr year. I'm with one of my close friends, Adam. For this date we did some other halloweeny things, including watching The Nightmare Before Christmas (Ashley and Jack are Nightmare-ing it up in the front of the photo) before we went to the dance. We had a great time. 

Aside: At the dance a random girl, who I had never met before, approached me and asked me how I got my face so white. Yeah, I didn't do anything special. I'm just pale, yo.  


13 October 2011

A Long Way From Chicago

The eighth graders at CMS are reading A Long Way from Chicago right now, so I decided to read it up real quickly so that I can better help the students. 

This is another coming-of-age story, taking place during The Great Depression; each chapter is a different summer Joey and Mary Alice spend at their grandma's house.  Grandma is quite the character and the children learn many different life lessons from her, from how to use illegal fish traps to how to take care of other people. 

I liked this book well enough. It's not really something I would suggest over other books, but it a good reading level for the kids and it is a Newbery winner as well as a nice quick read. As far as crazy adventures or trying to solve a mystery or a cliffhanger ending . . . not so much. This book is much more real life than that, which is always a nice contrast. Soooo, it's up there, but not the best ever.

12 October 2011

The City of Ember: The Movie

Based on the novel The City of Ember, this movie does a fairly good job of portraying the story. I definitely liked it less than the book, and I'm not really sure if I liked it at all. It was an okay portrayal, and I'm still a fan of the storyline, but if I was the director, I would have done things much differently. They added unnecessary things, smoothed over some things very quickly, and the "instructions" where all very different. I really enjoyed the book and wanted to enjoy the movie, but they weren't able to give it the correct background and set up that it needed, nor the exciting execution of the novel.

If you do want to see this movie, I would recommend seeing it before reading the book. But that might be confusing so I don't know. I'm just all sorts of up in the air with this movie. Maybe someday I'll reread the book and rewatch the movie. Then my opinion will change. But for now, mediocre.

11 October 2011

Modest is Hottest

"I find the whole concept of being ‘sexy’ embarrassing and confusing. If I do an interview with photographs people desperately want to change me - dye my hair blonder, pluck my eyebrows, give me a fringe. Then there’s the choice of clothes. I know everyone wants a picture of me in a mini-skirt. But that’s not me. I feel uncomfortable. I’d never go out in a mini-skirt. It’s nothing to do with protecting the Hermione image. I wouldn’t do that. Personally, I don’t actually think it’s even that sexy. What’s sexy about saying, ‘I’m here with my boobs out and a short skirt, have a look at everything I’ve got?’ My idea of sexy is that less is more. The less you reveal the more people can wonder. - Emma Watson

I've seen this around on facebook the past few days, with the added caption of "Modest is Hottest" and it kind of drives me crazy.  She never said "Modest is Hottest" and is truly talking about something much different: being her own beautiful self.  This also reminded me of a subject I've been meaning to write about and haven't yet. So here we go.

Here's the thing: "Modest is Hottest" is a huge contradiction. 
mod·est  (mdst)
1. Having or showing a moderate estimation of one's own talents, abilities, and value.
2. Having or proceeding from a disinclination to call attention to oneself; retiring or diffident. See Synonyms at shy1.
3. Observing conventional proprieties in speech, behavior, or dress.
4. Free from showiness or ostentation; unpretentious. See Synonyms at plain.
5. Moderate or limited in size, quantity, or range; not extreme: a modest price; a newspaper with a modest circulation. (emphasis mine)


1) Having extreme sexual attractiveness. (emphasis mine).
See? How can one be "unpretentious" or "not extreme" in any area while also "having extreme sexual attractiveness"? Modest, ergo, cannot be hottest! And in practice, aside from the linguistic contradiction, this is a problem. Women are told to dress modest to detract attention from males. But if we are hot, are we not attracting their attention as well? So we cover up to be modest and keep those easily swayed men at bay. And then, in being modest, we become the hottest, directly attracting the attention of those same men! What's a girl to do? How can you keep yourself from being a sexual object? For in being modest, you are hottest, which is directly correlated to being sexy and a sexual object of lust.

Another problem I see in this: only women are told "Modest is Hottest." If you were to see two teenagers walking down the street, both in shorts and a tank top, one a boy and one a girl, who is immodest? The girl. They're showing the same exact thing. 

In my experience, I have generally heard men, or boys, saying this phrase. Men are telling women what to do, how to dress, in order for men to find them "hot." Why do women have to dress for men? Can they not dress the way they want? Yes, sometimes covering up is much more sensual than a naked body. But that is something entirely different. There is a beauty to being yourself, that's what Emma Watson is talking about. Not that modest is hottest.  Yet now women are throwing around this phrase that their modest clothes are what makes them so hot. Clearly they are more righteous and more deserving of male attention.

I also have a problem with the young-ness of people bantering about this phrase. I know I was told it once in high school; we went to parent-teacher conferences (rather, my mom did and I went to the basketball game) after dance class and I was in a tank. The tightness of the tank and my dance pants were not the problem. My "undeniably sexy" shoulders were the problem. The boys were the first to say it, but an older sister of one of the boys also chimed in. I couldn't help but think she was jealous as she was a little overweight and I was at my prime. Couldn't they mind their own business? I was promptly given a shirt to wear. And I was wearing appropriate clothes for dance class. I was showing the same amount of skin, or less, than the girls we were watching play basketball. Where was I wrong?

"Modest is hottest" needs to be disbanded from our current jargon. It is a contradiction. It is harmful. And it is  relegates women to being consistently and solely sexual beings.  Aren't we done with that?

Florizella and the Wolves

As ya'll know, I love one Philippa Gregory and her many works. And so I read everything she writes, even if it is juvenile fiction. She wrote these books for her daughter, which I thought was super cute. And I liked the story. It mixed fairy tales with real life, had a moral, and the princess didn't need a hero. I think Jordyn would like this book, so maybe I'll let her read it sometime. It's right on her level and has few enough pages that she could finish it quickly enough without getting bored. So yes, I enjoyed a book for first graders. So there.

10 October 2011

Why Should I Worry?

I am a very worrisome person. I worry about everything. I always worry about getting fired -- regardless of my job. All my jobs ever, I've been paranoid about being fired. Even if/when I'm awesome at my job. And it's really annoying, because it makes me worse at my job. So why do I worry about it all the time? Why can't I just have self-confidence and be a normal person? I just can't figure it out, or make it better.

And now a slightly irrelevant vid including the song title! 

09 October 2011

Spiritual Sunday: An Intro & Disclaimer

After General Conference this past weekend, I've been thinking. And I want to join the conversation on Mormons, on spirituality, on religion, on the history of my people. So I'm going to start including this as a facet to my blog. I'm not sure what this means exactly, but I look forward to writing about my beliefs and my experiences. And if this turns you off, just skip these posts :)

08 October 2011

Prophet of Yonwood

The Third Book of Ember, The Prophet of Yonwood, is a prequel, well over 100 years prior to The City of Ember and in the town of Yonwood. A young girl, Nickie, is visiting Yonwood with her Aunt to clean up and sell her great-grandfather's home. Yonwood is the home of a prophet who has seen terrible visions of the future -- war -- and is now in a comatose state. The town is all aflutter trying to follow the visions, trying to follow God, as the verge on fanaticism. They are accusing sinners left and right, and adding new "commandments from God" every time the comatose prophet mumbles something. 

This book was okay. It just wasn't what I was really expecting. It was nothing like the other two books, even for a prequel. And to be honest, I found it pretty irrelevant. It covers the space of a few weeks and then in the last chapter it gives a mini epilogue of sorts for the characters. And then, in one sentence, it is linked to Ember. Maybe in reading the fourth book everything will tie together. I'll let you know!

07 October 2011

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time

A murder-mystery told from the point-of-view of a boy on the autism spectrum, this novel is a very interesting read. It offers a unique perspective into the mind of a boy with autism/Aspergers. While not an especially exciting read, if you are interested in this point if view, I do recommend it.

Flashback Friday!

Theresa, Scott, Mom
Me, Aaron

About twenty-some-odd years ago, my uncle went on an LDS mission to Australia. This is us at the airport and is one of my favorite  Little Jayme Pictures. When I was a baby, Grandma used to watch me while Mom worked and Dad was at school. Scott would come home from high school and play with me. Apparently we would take our naps together. [He sounds a lot like my brothers -- nap whenever you can!] I don't remember being this little, but this picture reminds me of the importance of families and I am grateful for mine! Love you, Scott! 


06 October 2011

The People of Sparks

The sequel to The City of Ember , The People of Sparks begins feeling a little big like Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. The ground is dry and dusty, the people are unfamiliar. And then we continue with the story of the "Emberites", who, having left Ember, eventually stumble upon the city of Sparks. Sparks takes them in, offering to help them for six months. What they do not tell them, is that in six months it will be winter. The Emberites will be forced to leave, homeless and foodless. 

Things begin well enough for a city doubled in size and not resource. But tensions continue to grow, and an Emberite named Tick is the most unhappy and wants to fight. Doon tries to be the peacemaker, but he is accused of throwing tomatoes, a huge offense for those already short on food. And Lina, our hero, has disappeared with a Roamer, headed for the ruins of an old city. 

The conflict continues and war between Sparks and Ember seems inevitable! Tune in for the exciting ending next week! Or read the book yourself :) 

I enjoyed this book and really recommend it -- especially for those into YA novels and the YA crowd themselves!

05 October 2011

Things I Love

1. When Glee does West Side Story . . . mmmmm :) 

2. Teaching my dance classes; the girls are so cute and are quickly adapting to the way I teach and what I expect from them.

3. Reading Books [duh]

4. My Family -- Old & New! 

04 October 2011

Daisy Fay & the Miracle Man

Once upon a time, a baby girl was born. Her parents couldn't agree on a name, and so grandma looked around the room. There was a vase of flowers in the room, daisies to be exact. And that is how Daisy Fay Harper got her name. She begins her journaling at age eleven and gives us all the details of her life, her parents' fighting, and the town gossip. A southern coming-of-age story, Daisy Fay makes a name for herself while making the best of her difficult situation. Her dad is a drunk who can't hold onto a job, or his wife, and Daisy Fay's life is rather unsteady. Yet she shares with us her zany adventures, crazy pranks, friendships, and coming back from the dead, as she makes her way to the top, paving her own road, making her own break, and giving the gossip. 
First off, apparently I'm way more into coming-of-age stories than I thought! 

But really. I did enjoy this book. It was long, and their were a few spots I found to be a little boring or unnecessary, and most of the story was not related to the title, which I found odd. I would rate this book probably a 7 or 8 out of 10. It was enjoyable; I do not regret reading it. It was well written and a good story, yet not amazing. Then ending was definitely worth it though! It was expected, but still nice. Daisy Fay is a great role model, determined, driven, and (eventually) successful. So read on!

03 October 2011

.: Busy, Busy, Busy! :.

This weekend went up north to visit. Cass really wanted to go to the mission reunion so he could see a companion coming in from California. We left Cedar Friday afternoon, after I got home from school, and took another mission buddy up with us. My parents took us to Tucanos for dinner that night-- delicious!!!

We headed up to the reunion and Cass got to see some of his old old mission buddies, so that was good for him. We spent that night at my parents' house.I had to wake up Jordyn when we got there cuz I missed her :)

In the morning we watched conference with my family, then headed up to Orem to see baby Aminoa, our newest cousin. She's Bou and Vania's baby. She's only a few days old and is so tiny and precious! She was about five pounds at birth (same as Jordyn) so I thought I was prepared for how small she would be. I was wrong! I had forgotten how small five pounds really is! But She was just gorgeous. I just love her! 

That afternoon we went up Grandma and Grandpa McCoy's.  We watched the rest of conference and then all the menfolk went out to eat before priesthood while the women and children had our own party. We had Cafe Rio and made "hair pretties" and bracelets. And, of course, I ran around with and played with the little kids, especially Pyper! They were great though; I had fun!

We spent that night at Chris's house and watched the Sunday morning session with Chris and Pyper. We then began the trek southward; first stopping at Forbes to see his new baby, Oliver. He's about two weeks old, so he was about twice as big as Aminoa! And he was such a little cuddler! 

Afterwards we stopped to visit Morrell, who had just spent the weekend on the farm, and then back to my mom's house for Sunday dinner. My cousin Whitney and come down from Rexburg, so it was nice to see her in addition to the rest of the crew. 

Johnson Family Photo!
We made it back down to Cedar last night (and I finally had a good night sleep!) but we had a great weekend! It was great to see everyone!