Thursday, May 24, 2012

Photos that Never Made it, and Thoughts on Life

I have some ADD thoughts and photos that I need to express.  

Last night I played Coldplay's "Yes" over and over in my head as I drove Mike up to work.  I love the beautiful dissonance and the whole tone of the song.  The weird thing was that unprompted by me, Mike started humming the melody when he got home.  Weird!  We are totally bumming brain waves off of each other. 

There were two mud-daubers frolicking in the parking garage for a while, and one awesome dragonfly performing loopdy-loops out in the courtyard, reminding me to just be happy and enjoy the warm summer weather.  

I had the coolest experience volunteering for Dr. Culatta's Early Literacy Program the other day.  We had all prepared lessons with phoneme blends for K---, but after teaching him for a minute or two, it became apparent that it was way above his level.  So I quickly switched gears and threw together games for recognizing the /k/ sound (the beginning sound of his first name); "Hot" and "Cold" with /k/ sound words, Pin the /k/ words on the cat; practice tracing /k/ & c.  Afterwards, teaching E--, J---, and H-- went really well.  We did some active running games (like rag tag) as well as singing and stories.  The best part was when they ran up to their parents afterwards to show them the "flag bags" they'd made and tell them about the fun they had.  I felt like I'm really making a difference, and it was really cool to get experience teaching the same things that I will be doing as a paraprofessional next year (fingers crossed).

It's so strange to think that our college experience is drawing to a close.  The other day, I finished my application to Albany County School District--my first REAL JOB--and got to take a look over my transcripts again at some of the classes I've loved.  They include:

Flexibility:  A 20 minute nap and getting to wear my stretchy-pants each day = awesome
Social/Cultural Anthropology: With Dr. Crandall talking about the menses of Himba women in his "Perfect English accent" (don't ask, don't tell)
Conversational ASL: (no words necessary)
Beginning Jazz, Contemporary, and Latin Dance
Descriptive Astronomy: Reclinable chairs, mythology, and learning the secrets of the Universe
Elementary Skills & Activities: getting to be a kid in P.E. all over again
Clinical Phonetics:  IPA is another great language to learn
Human Anatomy & Speech Anatomy: Nothing was more valuable to my learning experience than the tactile sensation of handling cadavers. 
Principles of Statistics 
Language Structure & Impairment: Taught by the brilliant scientist Dr. Fujiki
University Orchestra
Hearing Tests and Measures: Almost made me wish I was going into Audiology
Parenting & Child Guidance: Awesome tips & theories that I will use
History of Creativity
Figure Drawing & 2-Dimensional Design
Mind/Body Health:  A Holistic approach to health.  LOVED this.
Missionary Prep:  Who doesn't love Bott?

This reminds me of some photos that never made it to the blog; ones that kind of describe what we like to do, more or less, when we're not competing for who can watch the most episodes of "Prison Break" or buying leather-bound books.  

We like to:
Celebrate Birthdays together

Inject my knee with "pain," "swelling," and saline for $120! (participate in BYU's knee pain study)
Volunteering to chalk the walk for cyclists at the Special Olympics in Utah
Go to awesome bridal showers for old apartment-mates (from left to right: Diedre, Lauren, and Sarah)
See some of our greatest friends, the Blumel-Sloats get hitched!!! (sorry for the corny smiles)
Attend my beautiful roomie Amberly's wedding reception
See some more of my old roommates,  Danica & Melanie at beautiful Kelsey (the Bicmore)'s  wedding reception
Before I met Kelsey, I had heard Mike and his roommates refer to her as "the Bicmore" because she was like the hot item in our singles ward. 
Get lost at Cornbelly's Maze with the Merkley's

Visit the Salt Lake City Temple & sealing room where we were married

go camping in wyoming with the fam

Snag great finds that used to belong to other people (Lost and Find or "Finders Keepers" sale at BYU)

Make and eat food with the RS sisters of my ward
Part-ay like it's 1984 with my work friends from the Skyroom restaurant 
Work as a Server at the Skyroom with my cousins & other lovely people (Amanda, Mariah, Me, Maria, Leslie, Jessica, Israel, and John in front)
Play Dance Dance with the Heath's & Co.
Celebrate the summer with my family at my Grandparent's place

(I love my dad & sister Bri)
Mike made awesome George Cloony T-shirts from the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou.  (On the back, they say, "I'm a Dapper Dan Man!")
Hoost "Spook Fest" at our apt.  *Yes, those are brain cakes, graveyard dip, tombstone pudding cups, monster chocolate Oreos, caramel corn, and eyeball eggs

These are the awesome Cosbys.  They just happened to match
Jani made these costumes herself! (Prince William & Kate Middleton)
And of course, we love the Killens as Alfalfa and Darla from The Little Rascals
It's hard to tell, but we dressed up as Forest Gump and hippie Jenny

Watch concerts at the SCERA outdoor theatre and Monday-night movies in the park
Craft! I spray painted this small dress frame from Hobby Lobby ($2)
Decoupaged light fixture (easy: Modge Podge + Scrapbook Paper) 
Decorated presents this year with brown paper bag wrapping paper, ribbon, tags, & salt dough ornaments.

Bought this $5 picture frame & a $1 table runner & made a DIY earring holder (it turned out cute!) 
Made my version of a coffee filter wreath (wreath frame: DI for $1)

Looking back on these experiences is bittersweet.  We've developed so many great friendships here and we will deeply miss Provo and the people here when we leave, but we are excited to get out to Laramie and begin a new chapter of our lives.  One this is for sure, College was everything I expected and more!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Highlights, Lowlights

        Let me let you in on a well-known secret: I LOVE list-making. On a typical day at work, you could find me detailing my goals, movies I like, friends I want to stay in contact with, or attributes of a good Spy onto backs of receipts, napkins, or my hands. I've often considered renaming my blog to "My Life in Lists" (though I'm sure the URL is spoken for). The only problem is that while I covet time to construct a good whimsical list, I have my Mother's indecision in naming them. So here begins another long-winded explanation of a post that may more aptly be entitled "Explanation of the Nature of Ashley" or more succinctly, "List #296"; or perhaps or "First-World Problems" would be a better description of the material to follow.
         Have you ever seen a little something like this: 
 Or this:

 Yeah, so this sort of describes my life, every day. got me thinking to some of the first-word problems I face every day, or even just this week.  I thought I would describe them as in "Highlights" and "Lowlights".

Highlight:   J-Dawgs, McDonnald's shakes, and Wallaby's with friends
Lowlight:   The plentiful items I thought we had in the fridge turned out to all be condiments

Highlight:  Homemade rolls and a midnight marathon of our new favorite show "Prison Break"
Lowlight:  Working at 7:00am

Highlight:   Peed in my scalding hot shower
Lowlight:   The drain is broken 
Highlight:   I got to visually measure exactly how much water I use showering each day by how far up it comes around my ankles and calves. 

Highlight:   Found a three-foot-tall ceramic giraffe at DI for only $5!!!
Lowlight:   No idea what to name him, and no nursery to put him in

Highlight:   Found pretty much all of my best clothes in the free DI box at Harmony Square
Lowlight:   Waiting to wear all of my best clothes until I'm sure the people who donated them have moved out.

Highlight:   Extending time between showers to my maximum 4 days! before my hair looks greasy  (with the aid of baby powder)
Lowlight:   When your spouse thinks you smell like a dude

Highlight:   Warm weather allows me to rule over my domain (apartment) in the least amount restrictions (clothes) possible 
Lowlight:   Getting a knock on the door

Highlight:   Brand new computer
Lowlight:   Trying to learn a new operating system, or at least how to navigate my files

Other 1st world problems that you can imagine are quite upsetting to me include
  • Choking on a hair I found in my Cottage Cheese (who has black hair in this family?)
  • Not being able to find my lucky black pen amongst 10 other blue pens I keep in the "pen basket"
  • Finally having enough time to start six different home-improvement projects at once
  • Having to wait before the next season of Project Runway Allstars or The Next Food Network Star
  • Trying to claim my FREE one-month trial version of Netflix but accidentally opening an account
  • Posting a facebook status that no one "likes" 
  • Hearing the annoying beep of our three alarm clocks every ten minutes for an hour only to wake up late for class and wondering how I turned them all off in my sleep
  • When Hulu asks if a commercial is applicable to me, not getting to click the "no" button before it ends

Shelter from the Storm

          Lately, I've been experiencing a lot of ups and downs in my personal life and have to admit that I've been feeling pretty down on myself about my lack of motivation, insight, and feelings of peace and happiness.  For a while, I wasn't sure if I wanted to talk about this on my blog, but as I treat this record as a personal journal (that just happens to be somewhat public) I would hate to omit such a seemingly large portion of my daily life just for the sake of appearing unblemished.
         Today being especially rocky, I needed a pick-me-up like crazy.  After taking a long walk on a path through the beautiful foliage of south campus, eating some *delish* butterscotch cookies Mike made (he made my Great Grandma's recipe, aka, he is a total keeper) and watching the Mormon Channel video from the blogger of Nie Nie Dialogues, I got to thinking about how extremely blessed I am.
(I highly recommend taking a look a her blog and watching the video below if you ever find yourself in a similar sulky mood).

         Life is such a beautiful gift.  It is inspirational to think that God does not love me less because of my weaknesses; His love does not fluctuate during times of accomplishment or times of trial.  The fundamental realization that He loves me completely and infinitely combats my doubts, fears, and inhibitions like a lighthouse piercing through a storm at sea (which is the premise of my poem in an earlier post). When I have been completely lost, time and time again he calls me back into the only place of lasting warmth and safety I have ever known.