Friday, August 22, 2008

As Promised, 9591 Pages

Rewind – 220
*Speak – 197
Finding Daddy – 165
Cut – 168
*The Giver – 180
Sometimes I Think I Hear My Name – 139
*Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman – 183
Holes – 233
True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – 215
To Cross a Line – 154
Then Again, Maybe I Won’t – 164
Are You In The House Alone? – 172
*Hope Was Here – 186
Lucy Peale – 167
Prom – 215
Where the Red Fern Grows – 212
The Black Pearl – 140
Lisa, Bright and Dark – 143
*What My Mother Doesn’t Know – 259
Dancing with an Alien – 134
Romeo and Juliet, Together (and Alive) – 122
Devil’s Race – 152
S.O.R. Losers – 90
The Dark Pond – 142
The Fighting Ground – 157
A Place Called Ugly – 134
On My Honor – 90
*Missing May – 89
Driver’s Ed – 184
*Story of a Girl - 192
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – 384
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – 433
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – 547
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 734
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 870
*Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince – 652
*Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – 759

Those are all the books I read this summer. Of course they're all for young kids/adolescents, so the reading level isn't very high. But still. That's probalby more than I've read in my whole life combined.

I read the last seven books in two months. And I felt like I was reading pretty slowly and relaxedly so, there's that. I've asterisked the ones I would recommend.

I'm adding to the list:

*Catcher in the Rye - 214

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Walk to Remember

bahaha. Here you thought I was going to post a blog about that sappy movie that I can watch maybe once every two years. Don't get me wrong, it's a great movie, but it's a little over-the-top in a few ways so I can't handle it very often.

Actually, I wanted to write about my walk to work today. Sounds random, I know.

I park in the same parking lot five days out of the week for about 45 weeks in a year. It's about a 7-8 minute walk to my work. I also go up 101 stairs. I always feel a bit stranded at my office because if I ever wanted to leave, it's a long walk to my car, and I'd have to hope there is parking when I returned, then I have another long walk back to work. It's a little annoying.


Where I park!

In any case, I love the spring and summer terms when "my" parking lot is super empty! I was most excited when summer term finals were over this past week. I drove to work on Monday morning thinking, "Yes, the parking lot will be SO empty!" Then I drive in and see huge motor homes and trailers parked under all the shade in the parking lot. "GOSH DANGIT!!! It's freaking education week!"



While I think education week is amazing for all of those people old enough to be out of school and old enough to own motorhomes that take up all the shade, it is annoying for students and student employees.

So today, instead of squeezing in near a motorhome and a tree to try to get some shade, I decided to try another parking lot--one that doesn't force me to go up 101 stairs.


The arrow is pointing to my work.

I parked in a spot that will provide my car with shade by the time I return to it later today. I had a nice seven-minute walk from my car to work. It's this diagonal line that runs past the tennis courts on the left. On the right you would probably think you were in some sort of forest. There are trees and plants growing rampant. The entire walk is completely covered in shade. You do have to walk up a steep hill (equivalent to the stairs), but it's not as hard as the stairs and is also totally covered in shade. There were birds landing on the side walk and skittering into the trees on the right.

The best part is, I wasn't all sweaty when I got into my office!

It really was a nice, shady walk, and much more scenic than my normal one. I only never park there because I was convinced it was farther away than where I normally park, but it's not. If this parking lot is open during the fall, I will be parking there on a regular basis, I think.

In other news, I made a movie bargain with Tanner last night. He wanted to watch Lord of War.



I wanted to watch Almost Famous.



Well, I think I should be allowed first choice from now on. Because Almost Famous is awesome. And Lord of War, not so much.

I felt that only 45 minutes into the movie, we hadn't really gotten anywhere. I understand that it is an insider's take on gun running and how the United States is providing guns for people to kill each other in smaller, warring countries. I get that it is a criticism of the things people do for money and justify their actions by saying that they are not the ones pulling the trigger. These are all good things to think about. I guess I just felt that the presentation of it was a bit weak.

The movie was slow. There were trashy, unnecessary parts. The parts that were gruesome and meant to make a powerful point were not powerful, just gruesome. It was enough to gross me out and make me feel guilty, but not enough to make me feel any emotion. I don't know if it's Nicolas Cage and his horrible narration that makes me completely detach, or what, but I just wasn't affected in the ways that I felt the topic could have done.

It was not emotional. It was offensive. It reminded me what a crappy place this world is and left me numb.

A movie like Blood Diamond, however, touches on similar topics, and made me want to get up and do something. I was connected to the characters and their changes. I was connected to the children with guns. I was shown the evils of this world through a very tragic portrayal. It moved me, it didn't numb my soul.

Anyway, those are my feelings. I think a good message delivered completely the wrong way is what happend with Lord of War.

Next up, Almost Famous. I already love this movie. Tanner needs to see it to love it too! :)

Three best things

1. Scriptures. I'm reading in Alma and there are so many sweet scriptures in these chapters. Alma 34 is probably my new favorite. It's beautiful.

2. Visiting Teaching. I took a very short time out of my day on Sunday to visit teach two women in my ward. I don't think either of them are struggling or particularly need my roommate and I, but you never know. And I have a strong testimony of visiting teaching--I felt so good after I had done it. My mother's visiting teachers have kept her closer to the church than anything else has in the last few years.

3. Cleanliness. I love having my apartment and bedroom clean. It's just so much nicer to come home to.

(4.) Everyone in my life. For caring and reading my blog and commenting and encouraging. I appreciate it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fear is Not My Friend

I cannot believe how difficult it is for me to even consider writing this blog. My heart is beating rapidly, and I feel the tears behind my eyes welling up and getting ready to fall.

I'm realizing something about myself--a very bad thing. These moments of self-reflection, when you take a careful, honest look at yourself and are not happy with what you see--those are difficult moments.

I figured because this issue involves a lot of people, I should probably just put it out there. Also, writing always helps me feel better. But this is scary, so bear with me.

I don't know if it has to do with being the first child, or just that it deals with the personality that I have, but my whole life I have been a perfectionist. I'm very hard on myself. This also means I have to be the best at everything I do. I'm not very competitive; I don't want to confuse you. Or maybe I am competitive and am afraid to lose.

I think that's what it is.

This is a really horrible predicament for me to be in. My fear of losing, of not being good at something, makes me stay inside my comfort zone, away from the things I expect I won't be good at.

I did not do sports growing up. I have realized that sports should be an important part of any child's life for so many reasons--social growth, personal growth and confidence, athleticism and health... But I did not do that. I was more the intellectual type and did not really care to do active things. Again, don't misunderstand. I was not a lazy child. I just was not an athletic one. I did martial arts starting at age 11, and I loved it. I love it to this day. But I remember being so afraid to start that, too. I was afraid a few years ago to go to the gym--to lift weights, to work out in front of people, to let people see that I had no idea what I was doing.

I remember being young and trying to learn card games from one of my best friends. I was no good. I'd lose. I'd forget the rules. I'd feel so uncomfortable and anxious about silly card games.

My family wasn't ever very active or out and about. We're into movies and music and conversation, but not super active things. So when I got invited on a hike with my fiancee's family, I was afraid of the challenge that faced me. I tried to just go full force into it and do my best and have a good attitude. I rocked that hike, by the way.

The thing I am grateful for is that in recent years I have been more willing to push myself outside of my comfort zone than when I was young. I was afraid TO GO TO THE GYM, for crying out loud. But I went. I did it. And I love it now. I have learned that it's OK to learn. It's OK to learn while others are watching. And it's OK to look bad while doing it. I know these things. But it doesn't make the process any easier for me. I get extremely uncomfortable and emotional about things I am nervous about and unfamiliar with.

I'm going to Lake Powell in a couple weeks:

-I am missing school--a huge focus in my life--and it is stressing me out beyond belief how I'll manage to keep up or what kind of consequences I'll face in my grade. I know it will all work out, but that doesn't make it easier for me.

-I am going with a really athletic, active family. They all know what they're doing. This scares me because I have never water skiied or wakeboarded or done any water sports like that. Trying these things is immensely scary for me, especially with people who are so good at these things. I get that it impresses people that you just make an effort, but for me, like I've explained, not doing well is really difficult for me.

-I am going with a very outspoken family. Oh how I love them. But it is very difficult for me to get a word in at any time because I don't care much to compete and am not confident that what I have to say is of any real value. They intimidate me a great deal. This frustrates me because, in a comfortable situation where I feel like the dominant personality, I am always the one doing all the talking and making all the jokes. When I am not the dominant personality and am uncomfortable talking, it makes me feel bad because I feel like I'm not letting people know me for how I really am.

Last night, I was told that I'd have to stay up late and play card games. How simple is that? For Janae, not so simple. Staying up late is not my thing to begin with, I get super grouchy and my body acts kind of funny. And I've explained that from a young age, I've never liked or been good at card games. I feel so silly and dumb even talking about this, but this is how serious my complex is. I had a dream last night that I was playing card games. You were supposed to end up with as few cards as possible. I thought I was doing well but somehow ended up with this two foot high stack of cards and had two people staring at me, like, "Wow, Janae," really confused as to how I had botched the game so badly. And I felt really stupid that I had done so badly. I HAD A DREAM ABOUT A CARD GAME, PEOPLE. What the heck?

OK, so now everyone knows that I am immensely uncomfortable with many factors. I am afraid to try things that I don't think I'll be good at. I'm afraid of being laughed at. And even if no one laughs, I just beat myself up anyway.

So there it is--one of my issues in a blog. And now it's all out, and I'll probably psych myself up for this trip and all of the intimidating things that come with it. I need to let go and be proud of myself for making an effort and for getting outside of my comfort zone. But any understanding and support and patience that I can get would be so helpful to me.

Thank you guys for reading... Hopefully I don't seem like a crazy person now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Life as a Student

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with how fast life goes by. I am in my fourth year of college. After that I will do a semester of student teaching, and then I will be a real teacher. WHAT?! Oh yeah, I'll also be married. And hey, in a few years, I'll have a family. What?! When did all of this happen? I swear I was just in eighth grade.

Then I thought about how grateful I am for blogs. It's a motive for me to journal my life events. I figured I should probably write about this fabulous past week that I've had before it slips away to the crevices of my mind. I wish I had Pensieve like Dumbledore's. Then I could just watch my own memories.

On Tuesday night, Tanner and I went on a date to dinner and Trafalga. OK, so Trafalga was a serious ghetto. But we had so much fun. We got the ultimate date night package thing.

We ate at EZ Take Out Burger - our In-N-Out knockoff.


First we decided to try the batting cages. I wanted a pretty slow one since I have never done it before. But of all of the cages that were there, I got the defective one. It was throwing rogue balls everywhere. It even it me in the knee with a ball. I was pretty much done at that point and walked away and pouted. Tanner came into my cage to see what I was talking about. Then he got hit on his left leg--Charlie horse status. See! I wasn't lying. So we talked to the employees who were young, super cool and laid back kids. They let us try a different cage--a softball cage. Yes. Much easier for me to hit. I whacked some good ones, but I was hitting really low on the bat, so I hurt my hand badly in this activity. My hand was hurting until Saturday, and even now my carpal/whole forearm hurts. So I sustained an injury, but like I said I hit some balls and made contact with most of 'em. I got 'er done! Tanner did too! He hit some balls really hard! A lot of them!




After that we did the go-karts, which Tanner was expecting would not be fun. Oh my gosh! It was a blast. I wish we had pictures of it. He wanted this fast car he saw a kid racing in, and I chose the next fastest. I beat him. I lapped him once or twice. We were both giggling like crazy. Every time I'd come to lap him, he'd try to run me into the center thing! Not nice. Really though, I had so much fun.

After that we went and did mini golf. I won. :) Tanner didn't like it. But I think that's just because he is an ogre and can't hit the ball softly enough to make it end up a reasonable distance from the hole. I had fun. I like miniature golf.

Then we went inside and got our "8" tokens. Half the games we tried were broken and ate our tokens. So I went and told them, and they gave us like a handful on a couple of occasions. We played air hockey, and Tanner won. :) So we won some tickets and got prizes--a Mickey Mouse keychain and a teddy bear! He pretty much gave it to me for free. We didn't have near enough tickets! So that was fun. We got our Dippin' Dots too--Mint Chocolate. They were delicious. Then Tanner drove me home and we went our separate ways. It really was a fun night!

We've been re-watching season one of Dexter, so that has been fun. On Friday night, we had a Joshua Radin concert.

We left at about 4:15, drove through Taco Bell, and were on the road. We got there at about 5:15 because we were supposed to be there at 5:30 for an "exclusive meet and greet" with Josh Radin. Turns out their sound check took a longer time than expected, so the meet and greet was after the show. So we got to stand outside watching a group of lesbians kissing each other till doors opened at 6:30 or so.


The tour bus.


We were right up on the stage.




All of us and the set. :)

Hana Pestle opened the show.


She was good. I didn't care too much for her music, but the girl could sing--no doubt about it.

Erin McCarley followed.


I really enjoyed her, actually. She had some pretty catchy tunes. I got a video of her.

Joshua Radin graced our presence with his cute smile and cute hat.


He played mostly old stuff with probably three or four new songs. I loved his new one, "Brand New Day." It was upbeat and happy. I got some videos too ("Closer," the best song ever!). He decided on a name for his genre of music: "whisper rock." There were free stickers on his table--a silhouette of Josh making the "I love you" sign and a "Shhhhhhh" trailing out of it.


I think he meant to do the "rock 'n roll" sign.


After the show he was kind of out and about, available for pretty much everyone to talk to. So our "exclusive" meet and greet was pretty impersonal. But hey, we got to meet him and greet him. We shook hands, took pictures, and got his autograph.


Raytch and Josh


Me and Josh


Tanner and Josh


Cara and Josh

After the show we went to Denny's and got shakes. I love my post-show Denny's.

OK, I am SO excited that Rachel and Cara are moving in. I am so excited that half the apartment will be empty for another week till they move in, too. I love empty apartments.

I've been slowly moving stuff into the basement apartment that Tanner is already living in. Speaking of, I should probably get pics of that too and post them. Anyway, I'm just trying to clear up some space :) I got all my CDs and some books out, all of my games, lots of my blankets, that sort of stuff. I took my Garden State poster down so Tanner could have it in the basement. My room looks really clean and pretty empty. As soon as Rachel brings her TV I can take that over there too. I need to clean out my dresser and closet and donate some clothes. I need some boxes to clear out and organize my book shelf. And Raytch and I are going to reorganize the kitchen, pretty much. My plan is to get rid of all of the tupperware without an owner and a lid. Without a lid, it is of no use to anyone :).

So like I said my room is pretty empty and looks really clean. I'm sure I will pass cleaning checks today.

In other news, my parents bought a Harley. Oh goodness.


They both fit on it. That is a big hog, I tell you what. I hope they are safe. I think motorcycles are so dangerous.

My mother is cute and sent me a package that I got on Saturday night. It held an Angels shirt (which I'm wearing today), Angels shorts, an Angels hoodie, and an Angels canvas bag thing. It also had a Coach purse--just a knockoff, said mom. I used it for church yesterday because although I'm not much of a name brand girl, the bag is cute, and it was free. So that was a cute litle "sessy" (borrowing Bri's word) from my mom. She is so thoughtful.

I am excited for Powell in a couple of weeks. I'm not excited that in a week or so I'll need to go buy my textbooks and try to get all my syllabi from my teachers. I'm not excited for the stress that may accompany this trip with schoolwork.

I need to go dress shopping, but I am waiting for Rachel to do that. I was told by my co-worker to look at Sweeatheart's Bridal on Bulldog Ave., so I will probably do that. It's weird, November is not that far away! I should probably start panicking.

Anyway, lots of stuff going on in my young life. Weird how different life will be in a matter of five years. Weird how different it is from even 4 years ago.

Three best things

1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It was a really fun and fast-paced book. I cried and cried and cried at the end of it, but that's OK. I shall live through the day.

2. Cleaning checks. Feels like I just had them, but whatever forces me to live in a clean environment, right? I love emptying my room.

3. Smoothies. Random, I know. But I got one on Saturday morning for the first time in a while, and it was delicious.

4. (Yep, four today). Swimming pools. This heat is lovely as long as a pool is around. And a good tan is fabulous--thank you, brown pigment!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Back in the Habit

HEALTH

Well, I'm back at the gym. Finally. Before going to visit California, I got super sick for over a week. Of course, no one likes to work out when they are sick. So being completely out of the habit after being sick, and then going to California and binging on In-N-Out for five days, getting back into this whole "health" thing is a necessity and a challenge.

It has been especially hard since being back from California because of incessant exhaustion. I don't know if there's something wrong or if I'm just an abnormal college youth who needs more sleep than normal people. But I really do find myself getting sleepy beyond reasonable measure. I can manage to get myself up and at work pretty early because, well, I hate wasting the day. But I still find myself coming home from work and napping. I honestly am a little concerned as to how tired I get.

But I realized, as I always do, that I love working out. Getting up is sometimes hard, but it's really a matter of making myself do it. I lifted yesterday and did my whole upper body, pretty much (and I'm paying for it today!). Then I did an hour on the elliptical, got really pumped to a song in the last five minutes, and then I nearly passed out. I had to slow down very, very quickly to get my heart-rate down. Again, I don't know if there is something wrong. My heart has done funny things throughout my teenage years. Mostly I just have to recognize my limits and be careful. All was well in the end though, after my hour and a half at the gym. And I have started to become anxious at the thought of how I will manage exercising at difficult phases in life with children. Oh, boy.

I also changed my routine a little bit. As my "health plan" *cough*diet*cough* recommends, I lift every other day and do two-a-day cardio sessions twice a week. Therefore, I normally don't lift on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have decided though, that I can simply go a little earlier in the morning on those days and knock out about 10 minutes of ab workouts, and then do my first cardio session. This would put me at two to three times a week of ab exercise. Today I tried something my fitness freak Aunt Amy recommended and laid down on a mat, used a big medicine ball, and transferred it from my hands to my feet, raising and lowering all my limbs. Oh. My. Gosh. My abdominal zone is DYING. Holy moly. Just goes to show that I need this pretty badly. All this pain, and all I had to do was picture myself looking fabulous in a wedding dress. hehe. So on Thursday I will probably do some different ab things (leg lifts and the ab curl machine thing), but I like this new plan and feel better that I am focusing more on my abs than the last workout plan I was on.

I'm sure you all really care about this, huh? But oh well because it's MY journal, and you can skip what you want to.

RANDOM

I had some fat-free organic vanilla yogurt this morning for breakfast. Oh my delicious. It was so good. Organic things just taste better, I've decided.

On another note, it is really dark and cloudy outside today. This eliminates some heat from the sun, but it is still hot as Hades here in Utah. This is the first time in a long time that I've looked outside and wished it were cold or raining. Alert the media: CALIFORNIA GIRL WANTS RAIN. This dry heat takes everything out of me. I seriously feel like my insides are boiling, and my skin will melt off. I was used to California heat because, fortunately for me, in Glendora, there is usually a good, consistent medium between humid and dry heat. No super sticky days, no days where my skin would melt off. Just plain old hot days. But this... This is almost unbearable.

SCHOOL

I don't know if I've talked about school at all. I have registered though! I got almost everything I wanted, but definitely everything I needed.
-I got into my last religion elective--LDS Marriage and Family.
-I am taking Teaching Composition with the fabulous Dr. Debbie Dean.
-I got into my last Spanish minor elective, originally Border Spanish, but I switched to Mexican-American literature because my spring professor, Dr. Quackenbush, was teaching it! He is the coolest! I am also taking it because a large amount of the reading is in English, which makes my life happy.
-I am taking Modern American Usage with Sister Harrison, who seems awesome in her recent e-mail to me. Keep in mind that I'm taking this class because I WANT to--it's a modern grammar class, basically, and I'm a nerd. It will help me as a teacher, I think, so I figured I'd do something outside of the requirements just for myself.
-I also have an American Literature class, but I will be manually adding a different American Literature class (better time, better teacher who I've had before!) come semester's start.
=14 credit hours.

ANXIETY

My current debate, however, is in deciding whether to go to Lake Powell with Tanner and his family which takes place during the first week of school. I have taken the liberty of e-mailing all of my professors for their attendance policies, since I will probably be missing some school for my wedding as well. I looked at a November calendar though, and it seems as though if I went home the Friday before Thanksgiving, I could just miss two days of classes for that! So if all of my teachers are willing to e-mail me their respective syllabus, and if I attend classes consistently throughout the semester (which I always do), I should be able to handle the week long Lake Powell trip.

Dr. Dean will work with me, Sister Harrison will more than work with me, Professor Quackenbush is super laid back and doesn't always take attendance, and Professor Christianson (American Lit) would work with me as well. This doesn't mean they would not penalize me for not being in class (especially that last professor), but they would e-mail me the syllabus and hold me accountable for my assignments and the notes. It'd be a hassle to try and find someone to send me the notes, and I get anxious thinking about what I will miss in lectures (especially Dr. Dean's class), but I think I should be OK in the long run. I still haven't heard back from my LDS Marriage and Family Professor (Matheson), but I'm hoping I'll be OK in there too.

Let's tally these absences up. Assuming I go home on November 21st to prepare, and we hypothetically say we'll be married on Tuesday, November 25th, this is the situation: I'd miss Monday, November 23rd and Tuesday the 24th (which is Friday instruction). And I'd miss September 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9.

Modern American Usage (MWF class) = 5 classes
LDS Marriage & Family (MW class) = 3 classes
Mexican-American Literature (MW class) = 3 classes
American Literature (TTh class) = 3 classes
Teaching Composition (TTh class) = 3 classes

Dude. Thank heaven for teachers who will e-mail you a syllabus and work with you on assignments and absences. I hate missing class. But it looks like I'll be OK! And in the event that we won't be married in November, I'd miss even fewer classes than that. I think I'd like for us to take our honeymoon at the end of December after Christmas because I don't want to have to put a damper on my fun by feeling anxious about school or upcoming assignments. Anyway... Such decisions shall be made later.

(One more thing... My mom found this fabulous bed and breakfast place for our wedding night... Just something to consider.)

FUN STUFF

I am on The Order of the Phoenix (book five of Harry Potter) and I am LOVING it. I just want you all to know. I've heard not-so-good things about the fifth book, but probably because I hated the fifth movie, I love this book. I truly am enjoying myself, and I'm trying to hurry this blog up so I can read!

I loved The Incredible Hulk with Edward Norton. I thought it was really fun.

I got my lovely friends to watch Lars and the Real Girl, which went over swimmingly. I love that movie more than I can explain. I find that when I am telling customers how much I love it, I make the ASL "love" sign over my heart because words just aren't sufficient.

Lost in Translation was not my favorite, I'll be honest.

Nor was Savages (with Philip Seymour Hoffman).

Loved The Dark Knight.

Loved Wall-E.

Loved Hancock.

Hated Wanted. Grrrr.

OTHER THOUGHTS

I've been thinking recently about how quickly life changes. I remember being 16 and thinking about how grown-up and cool my 21-year old aunt was. Now I am 21, and I cannot even believe it. I certainly don't feel like an adult. I am getting married. And in a matter of years I will probably have children. My life will be so incredibly different in only five years from how it is now... Where my focus is on school, grades, learning, and working. It's interesting how before you're ready for it, certain things are just staring you in the face. And strangely enough, I am excited and scared for all of it.

I'm in my last year of college (plus a semester of student teaching). And then I will be a teacher. What? It feels like I just graduated high school and don't know a whole lot more now than I did then. But I do.

Short-term though, I need to start making those silly decisions like what wedding dress I'm going to wear, what my colors and flowers will be, my center pieces, my "thank you" gifts, my daddy-daughter song, and all of those things. Schwing.

Cutest Rachel got me a book - The Holy Temple by Boyd K. Packer - so I can prepare for these big steps ahead of me. I'm right on top of these Harry Potter books, but this one needs to be a priority for sure. I am very excited to read it and am so grateful she got it for me.

I should maybe blog more often so I don't babble on as much.

Coming soon: A total of all of the books slash pages I have read this summer!

GOOD STUFF

1. Delicious, healthy food (and a shrinking stomach, hopefully)
2. Lips. Tanner's, specifically. They are nice.
3. Caring, flexible, amazing people for teachers.