Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy is as Happy does

My third year in Salt Lake has come to an end, and let me say that it's been a ridiculously crazy three years. At the end of it all, though, I am as happy as a clam (which according to a friend is about an 8 on the happiness scale) and perhaps even a little happier. Despite life's best efforts to get me down, things are downright fantastic. I couldn't ask for more than I have. I'm a little wiser than I once was, and I think I'm a better person after it all. And I guess that's what really matters isn't it? So, here's this year's list of what brought me to clam status on the happy scale:

-getting out of school early
-days during the winter when even a jacket is not required
-having big plans
-coloring
-biting into a fresh crunchy apple and having a huge chunk break off
-spur of the moment vacations
-Tally Hall
-traditions
-auditions
-fruitions
-free food
-gift cards
-spring
-pirates
-homemade stuff
-rings
-excellent weather
-bare feet
-applause
-killer parts in awesome shows
-Applebee's half-priced appetizers
-walking around looking at cool architecture in old neighborhoods
-unexpected giddiness
-the symphony
-singing
-wall vinyl
-mismatched Christmas tree ornaments that still mesh well
-flavored lemonade
-shopping carts
-good story tellers
-slippery sheets
-kitchen science
-alphabet books
-children's books
-when it's so hot outside that the tar on the blacktop squishes under my shoes
-MLIA
-pumpkin spice steamers from Starbucks
-when my tarantula Duncan catches a cricket
-nephews
-cardigans
-Glee
-soup
-Estelle
-paper snowflakes
-show people
-chips and salsa
-days off
-snuggies
-the bedazzler
-crazy life-changing decisions
-grammar (don't judge)
-British accents
-Google docs
-mixin' it up
-the ghost of Christmas yet to come
-dance parties
-following your gut
-rehearsal
-J. Crew

Friday, December 25, 2009

Novena

Date Number:

The girl: D.
The connection: My dad's office manager's cousin. Yep. She's wanted to set us up for years, and it just happened to work out this time.
The setting: McDonald's in Richfield. (Don't judge, there aren't many places to go in Richfield)
The plot
: This was a quick, getting to know you kind of date. We shared an order of french fries while playing several rounds of speed and chatting. Simple, short, delightful. She's from that area of Utah as well. We know lots of the same people (she's actually met my sister and my sister-in-law), but we've never met. She currently lives in St. George, enjoys reading, and is considering returning to school.
Funny: The fact that there were all of 2 people in McDonald's at the time we went, and it was still like pulling teeth to get someone to take our order or give us ketchup.
Something in common: Aside from growing up in a small town, she also did theatrical things in high school. Always a fun subject to talk about.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Starving Artist

So, you'll note here that one of my goals in life is to be in a movie. And more than just as an extra. To that end, I have acquired an agent. I affectionately call here Estelle in tribute to Joey Tribbiani's agent. She actually reminds me of a mix of Estelle and Dolly Parton. I think she is hugely entertaining.

She sent me to an audition for a hockey referee - which many of you will think is hilarious, as I did - for this film. If nothing else it was a good experience. Plus, the scandalous boyfriend from Charly was there. He was auditioning for the same role as me. I figure that makes me locally famous by association.

There's also a project being filmed right here in Salt Lake City. It's called "Immortality Bites" - a vampire comedy. Last night I was an extra (apparently the new PC term is "background artist", personally I prefer "film parsley") in a frat-house scene. Basically what happened is I waited four hours in a chilly house (people kept coming in and out, so it never got warm) so that I could sit in the background at a table with two Russians for about 20 minutes eating soggy cheerios. Should anyone see the movie, and if the scene makes the final cut, and if you can actually see me, I'm in the kitchen during the beer pong scene eating a bowl of soggy cheerios and practicing my cursive.

So there it is. On the road to stardom. More to come on this subject shortly. Stay tuned. :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A note...

Dear directors of the world,

Please, on behalf of the sanity of actors everywhere, don't expound. When you give us notes, just give the note, have a little trust, and let us go. We don't need flowery explanations, founts of knowledge regarding motivation or background reasoning, and we certainly don't want our time wasted, or yours. Clear, concise, short. Words to live by.

Sincerely,
The actors of the world.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

ocho

Date Number:

The girl: Sara. Now for those of you who are thinking "Wahoo!! That's like 5 dates!!! Get 'r done!!!" I'm going to tell you what I tell my students several times a day - chill out. Also, this might be a good opportunity to let you know a little bit more about Sara. She works with...kids who just don't get life. She just started a master's program for secondary education. She enjoys dancing, hot chocolate, and small amounts of straight eggnog - which I don't judge her for, but which I also don't understand.
The setting: My house.
The plot
: Paper snowflakes - it had been a while since she'd made one, so I showed her how. Fun times. We also made flying paper lanterns. This is something I wanted to try with my class (we ended up not doing it) and maybe something I'd like to start as a new Christmas tradition. You make them out of tissue paper, and then put something one fire underneath it and, in theory, it floats like a hot air balloon. You can find instructions here. And a pretty cool video of the effect here. Ours didn't work so well. Sara's fell prey to the snow just outside the door, and I think it might have been too cold for mine to actually lift off, but it was just a first attempt, and we had fun making them. :) We followed all of that up with some mad Xanadu action. Probably the worst movie ever, but highly entertaining.
Hilarious: Xanadu. Yep.
Surprising: How easy it actually is to make a paper lantern that will fly. Seriously.
Cool: Actual snowflakes.

Lucky number 7

Date Number:

The girl: B Wo - one of my favorite friends from Hello Dolly. She's currently attending the school down south in the MDT program, has an abundance of dancing talent, an amazing voice, and just enough attitude to keep things interesting. :)
The connection
: Hello Dolly. We were "shuffle across the stage" partners. Every night it was interesting to see who was more out of breath at that point in the show. Good times.
The setting: The house of a mutual friend (MF) in P-town.
The plot
: This was a group date. B Wo and I were joined by MF (who is currently in Earnest with me at Hale) and her BF, and my friend K (friend from Disney days) with his date L (who was sadly on crutches in the snow because of knee problems. We felt for her). We watched the First Presidency devotional on Channel 5 while taking talking and stretching breaks during the choir numbers to try and wake ourselves back up. We love some FP, but their voices are so soothing that sometimes it's hard to stay alert. We ate some delicious treats provided by MF, and played a round of apples to apples. Most of us are show people, as you can probably tell from the picture.
Funny: What the women of the choir were wearing. Appliqued blue caftan-like dresses. We decided that the oldest woman in the choir was given the honor of deciding the wardrobe, and it passes down to the next oldest as people leave - for whatever reason.
Fun: Picking out our standard Mo-tab favorites. i.e. the token black man and Asian woman, the woman with the white hair etc.
Surprising: The new black woman in the choir. None of us had ever seen her before.

Just...ya know...some stuff

Online sticker chart

My Life is Average

Funny e-cards

Cool magazine

Cheezy sci-fi movies make me laugh.

My Christmas tree looks magical.

I almost made it to Christmas break without getting sick. I consider that a small miracle.

My lovesac may or may not currently be the most heavenly place in the world for a nap.

I think this might be genius.

And I feel like my dating life should somehow lead to a moment like this:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

half a dozen

Date Number:

The girl: M
The connection
: Mutual actress friend
The setting: Conference Center
The plot
: She met me at the ticket office to go see a performance of Savior of the World. I didn't get a picture because I figured I'd get one after the show, but I forgot because of the show. I'm not really a cookie-cutter spiritually blatant Mormon-type Mormon. You know the type, they go to BYU, memorize talks by the general authorities, buy BOM-themed games and the prophet face cards. They wear khakis and polo shirts and will probably go to dental school. But I have to say, the show was pretty awesome. It tells the story of Christ's birth and resurrection. Act I is the story of his birth, Act II is the story of his resurrection. Pretty straight-forward. I must say I was a little skeptical, but by intermission both M and I were wiping away the tears and making jokes about how they need to install Kleenex boxes on the arm-rests. Act II was equally moving. I won't go into details, but it really makes you stop and think, and can give you an interesting perspective on things. Definitely worth going to.
Props: SOTW cast. They performed admirably, and even stood out in the cold to greet their adoring audience after the show.
Surprising: The number of people they fit on that stage. Leave it to the church to take "cast of thousands" literally.
Business idea: Armrest Kleenex holders.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ha ha ha ha hm.....

I think it's funny when:

Guys watch themselves working out in the mirror at the gym.
Kids get educational songs stuck in their heads.
My school's internet filter won't let a page through because it's "dubious/unsavory".
People drive 30 mph on the freeway in their SUV during a light snowstorm.
You fall asleep for a power nap and wake up several hours later.

Personality types of people I know that bug me to death:

-The one-upper. One of my students is kind of a one-upper. *eye twitch*
-The "I've been home from my mission for years, but I'm still not home from my mission". Akin to the one-upper, but specific to the country of the mission.
-The aspirer. This person wants to be in the position of the authority figure currently over them and acts as if they already are.
-The vicarious liver. Usually someone too old to be doing what you're doing, so they try to get you to do it the way they would.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

People who need people...

Call me crazy, but I LOVE crowds. Love 'em.

I love things like busy amusement parks, midnight movies, Black Friday, and the ward jell-o cook-off. If there are going to be tons of people there, sign me up!

I always hear people say things like "You won't see me out there!" or "That place is a zoo! There's no way I'm going!" or "Grandma's teeth fell out again!" And I don't understand it.

Don't get me wrong, I hate traffic, finding a parking place, and waiting in long lines, but I love the excitement and energy that surround a churning crowd of people - the possibility that something insane is going to happen. I love people watching and the more people there are, the more crazies there are bound to be - especially when the crowd is summoned by some special event like a movie opening, a renaissance faire, or free sample Saturday down to the Costco.

I thrive off that kind of thing. Love it. Deal.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Last night my bed called me Gaylord

Date(s) #5...and possibly 6/7

The girl(s): Sara...and Leah...and Tara...
So Leah, Tara, and my friend Melissa* thought it would be funny to "set me up" on a date, and then when I showed up it would be the three of them. Hilarious. But, Melissa ended up not being able to go. I was going to ask another girl, but it turns out she has a boyfriend, and is only 19 (to which I am slightly morally opposed), so I asked Sara.
The setting: Downtown SLC
The plot
: Sara and I had a delightful dinner at Settebello, where her father randomly appeared while picking up dinner for himself and Sara's mom. We enjoyed caprese, pizza, and some gelato.
Then we headed to meet Tara and Leah at "Bravo Broadway" with the Utah Symphony at Abravanel Hall. Melissa works for the Symphony and Opera and kindly provided tickets. The show was fairly amazing. It's been a while since I've listened to a live symphony. I miss it.
Funny: Oh where do I begin? Let's start after the show. Upon arriving at my car to take Sara home, we discovered that it wouldn't start. We thought it might just be the battery petering out, so we called Tara and Leah to come help. They kindly did, and we discovered that it was not, in fact, the battery. My car was leaking gas all over the place (not constantly, just when I turned the power on). Well, Leah has AAA, so she called them up to get a tow truck. Turns out, if there's a puddle of gas, AAA won't come to tow the car unless the fire department has checked the area to make sure it's safe. Yep, we were just as confused as you.
Enter the SLCFD. We called them up to come check it out. The lady on the phone was just as confused as the rest of us, but was kind enough to send help - after a lengthy list of questions about the situation (Leah wanted me to request attractive firemen, but somehow I didn't think that would lend to our credibility). We stood out on the sidewalk in front of the parking lot waiting to flag down whoever might be coming when we heard sirens a short distance away. Don't worry, they were for us. The fire engine arrived to save the day - sirens blaring, and lights flashing. And Leah was not disappointed in the crew manning said engine. They poured some sand on the gas, disconnected the battery in my car, and confirmed to AAA that the situation was not dire, before driving off into the sunset (figuratively speaking of course, as it was now about 11:30).
The tow truck arrived a little after midnight and Mike kindly loaded up poor Charley and took him away. Thank you AAA!
At this point we were all freezing and figured we needed something to commemorate this occasion, so we headed to Denny's for some hot chocolate and other ridiculous sorts of merriment. I paid the check (thus dates 6 and 7), and Tara drove everyone home - including my date. *sigh*
Although the situation sucks, all we could do was laugh as we stood rather helplessly in the parking lot freezing our toes off.
Many thanks to Leah, AAA, Mike, The SLCFD, Denny's, Tara, my uncle Gary, Melissa, and Leah's friend Dave who all contributed to the success of the night's adventure.
Best Characters: The random lady who was exiting AH as we were entering and said to me, "Hey! I've seen you at Hales!" Sara and I laughed awkwardly, confirmed her statement and made a hasty entrance into the building to enjoy the giant sculpture in the lobby.
The fire chief who whistled for his crew to come over for the picture, then stood to the side and watched.
Future Dates: Postponed until my car is fixed.

*This post dedicated to Melissa, and the Stake Musical Review "Through Different Eyes."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quad

The girl: Sarita. It's been quite some time since I've taken a single girl (meaning single as in one girl, not single as in not married) on this many dates, but I rather enjoy Sara, so we're just gonna see what happens.
The setting: My School
The plot
: She came to help me with my after-school book club. These were my more gifted boys. They'd read a book called "101 Things to Do Before You Grow Up". It included cool stuff like how to run a clock on lemonade, how to make a boomerang, and how to hypnotize someone. Due to poor planning on my part, we ended up making kites out of garbage bags (yes, it was in the book), and it was actually pretty fun. The boys loved it anyway, even though there was quite a lack of wind that day.
After kites, we went for ice cream at Cold Stone. It's a personal, and mutual favorite. :)
Funny: How many of my boys couldn't tie a simple knot. Also, the lady at Cold Stone who walked in, got a sample, and left.
Curbside Service: Check
Future Dates: Stay tuned

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tres


The girl: Sara, again. :)
The setting: South-central Salt Lake Valley (where there is a dearth of ice cream shops, just FYI)
The plot
: We started the evening with a little racquetball. I didn't get any pictures, which is
probably best for all parties concerned. Just imagine two people who are rhythmically blessed, but sort of athletically challenged trying to hit a small ball around a small enclosed room, with only one florescent light trying its hardest to light their shenanigans, and you've pretty much got the idea. That was followed by a merciful trip home to shower and eat. Then we met up for a movie. I won't tell you which movie because some of you would judge me. :P But I brought pumpkin spice frappuccinos from Starbucks (No, they don't have coffee. Stop judging already.) and a pumpkin cream cheese muffin.
Funny: Watching us play racquetball (read Sara's account), Me being late for racquetball because I trust the grid system too much, and basically the entire movie.
Weird: Families at the movie.
3rd Date: Don't mind if I do.

Chastity, Chocolate, and Cheers

Recall for a moment, if you will, something I posted about a month ago regarding chastity, how much it can sometimes suck, and how un-celebrated - and in fact often mocked - it is.

Enter the 1st Annual Chastity Celebration.

"Congratulations! You did it! (By not doing it.)"

A remedy for the vacuum of virtue. A quenching nectar on the barren plains of purity. A ray of light in the abyss of abstinence. A veritable beacon of hope for the weary soldiers of celibacy.

A bunch of us decided that Chastity really is something worth celebrating, and that we should get some recognition, or at least a piece of cake/commemorative wooden craft for our years of effort in remaining morally clean. And that's just what we did.

Imagine a bunch of twenty-somethings - all virgins (as far as we know) - gathering to have as good a time as possible, and you'll end up with an evening like we had. It went off like a dream. As the initiator of the event, I couldn't have hoped for anything better. There was a table full of delicious creations of every kind (two better-than-sex cakes! - also known as "better than some sex cake," "better than blessings cake," and "better than Tom Cruise cake"), a paper-doll chastity belt design competition, a reflections contest, a white-elephant style gift exchange of immense hilarity (everyone brought a gift representing what chastity meant to them. Seriously, I haven't laughed that hard in quite a while), and a spontaneous code phrase "This is so good!" (Anytime someone said the phrase, we'd all yell "Chastity is my favorite!")

Here are some of the evening's highlights:

The Spread
It's kind of a blurry picture, but you get the idea. This is just one table. On the kitchen counter we also had egg rolls, a chocolate fountain (which didn't work for some reason. Feel free to read irony in to that event somehow), cheese breadsticks, and a veggie tray.

The gifts


There were many other hilarious gifts - Janice Kapp Perry tapes, pants (if you're wearing pants, you'll probably be chaste), a Finding Nemo can (avoid the swimmers) each representing what people thought about chastity. They were so creative and hilarious. These were the ones I got pictures of.

The Chastity Belts

The Chastity Belt Winners
Third Place: Kevin Neff with the VL warrior
Second Place: Charisse Baxter with Chastity Belt Disguise. Underneath is Rosanne Arnold.
First Place: Nate Bohnam with poison oak. Cheap and effective.

Nate with his winning entry, and first prize commemorative wooden craft!

Reflections

Our theme this first time around was "Chastity is..." We did it old-school reflections style. Just express how you feel about chastity in whatever medium best suits you. We had quite a few entries - pictures, poems, drawings, collages etc. Unfortunately the only one I got a picture of was the winner:

Tara Osborn with "Chastity is...a bitch." And her First place commemorative wooden craft.
Second place was a list of what chastity meant to the author by one Jamie Su'a
Third place - a drawing, on a cell phone, of a woman with hairy legs.

Other favorite entries included:
Melissa Singleton "Chastity is hard. Hard like this rock (insert illustration of a rock). But I rock it."
Charisse Baxter with a Haiku:
Chastity - Just do
It, but not like that. I mean
Just don't do it (yet).

Overall a fantastic night. Thanks to everyone who came and participated. Everyone who couldn't make it - be jealous, and clear the first weekend in November next year.

(we don't get the whole fireworks show, but we can still have sparks!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Segundo

Date #2

The girl: E (I've decided, for the safety and well-being of those I date to just go with an initial here from this point forward. Sorry Sara!)
The setting: Foothill Library
The connection: Friend of Felicity
The plot: I picked E up from her apartment in the south end of the valley and we proceeded to the north end of the valley for some hot beverages and an art-ish exhibit. I couldn't find a Starbucks, so unfortunately we weren't able to enjoy a pumpkin steamer, but we did get some hot chocolate and added pumpkin spice flavored coffee creamer - completely delightful. We enjoyed an art exhibit at the Foothill Library consisting of blown-up Polaroid pictures that the guy had altered with toothpicks and needles and the like before they were completely developed (actually pretty cool). Then we wandered upstairs to read a couple of children's books (Trouble Gum; and The Magical, Mystical, Marelous Coat - both completely delightful) before heading home for the evening.
The commonalities: teaching, reading youth fiction, high school band/orchestra
Funny: When we got to the library,
the room where the exhibit was housed was closed and looked dark. But the door wasn't locked, so we just sort of let ourselves in and turned on the lights. Nobody stopped us.
Second date: cute girl, we had a nice time, but probably not.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It begins


The girl - Sara








The setting
- Downtown Farmer's Market at Pioneer Park
The connection - Hello Dolly at Hale Theatre. My first really solid memory of Sara involves her putting her entire arm in the billowing, lacy sleeve of her costume - which only came down to her elbow (the sleeve, not the costume) - and then us discussing the effect of a lost arm on the show's choreography. She's pretty much just fantastic. I've actually been meaning to take her out for a while, but I'm kind of lazy, so it just never happened.
The plot - We took pictures, listened to the stomping ukulele player, had amazing pesto sandwiches (incidentally we were disappointed that the place making the sandwiches didn't offer their fantastic-sounding almond shake today) - which we ate with her parents who happened to also be lunching at the market. Farmer's markets are some of the most prime people-watching experiences you'll ever have. I highly recommend them. After that we roamed on up to Hatch Family Chocolates for a pumpkin milkshake, a short walk, and an amazing conversation. I can't speak for Sara, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Funny - The muttering man we kept running into, dread-lock mullet, bottle-cap magnet sayings. "Sarcasm, now offered all day"
Second date - plausible.

It also happened that a friend of mine, Carrie Scott, was singing with her band at the Market this morning. I bought her CD, because she's kind of amazing. What's really cool about Carrie, though, is that she has a blog - Flirty and Thirty - documenting her own dating adventure: Thirty first dates in honor of her 30th birthday. Good times.

Monday, October 12, 2009

27 dates by 27

There are exactly 27 weeks until my 27th birthday. In honor of this oh-so-numerical occasion, I've decided to get in 27 dates by my 27th birthday (technically by the 27th birthday week - my birthday's on Monday, and that might be cutting it a bit close), and I need your help. I know my fair share of women, but the majority of them don't fall into the "date" category. So it's time for all of you to pull out your little black books and help a brother out.

Here are the rules:

1 - I guarantee a first date, but nothing beyond that. That doesn't mean it won't happen, I just don't guarantee it.

2 - She needs to be single (obviously), a natural-born female (you laugh, but I have stories), active LDS (the time for recreational dating has passed), and legal (more stories...)

3 - I'd prefer you use a measuring stick beyond "Hey, she's single!" - i.e. she enjoys MST3K, she speaks Spanish, she's interested in the finer points of brownie baking - but I won't be picky.

4 - A date might consist of anything from the standard dinner and a show, to a walk through the park. I have a pretty full schedule, so an hour here or there may be all I can get in.

And that's about it. I'll be blogging about my experiences on these dates, and I may end up being brutally honest. Don't take it personally, just know that she wasn't the one for me - nor I for her. That's how dating works. However I'll try to be tactful and only include relevant, and hilarious information.

If you have someone, shoot me an email, and we'll work it out.

Let the games begin.

*addendum: I believe in the guy taking initiative and planning and paying and all that - perfect, I'm down with that; however, I also know that dating involves two people (dating is a verb - action word, something you do, not something done to you), so I am of the strong opinion that girls should have some input, and should be involved in the date, not simply show up, so on the date I might show up with a couple of options and let her help decide what we do. Just don't want anyone to be caught off guard.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Aspiring Artists

I love seeing children that have supportive, encouraging parents. Whenever I'm at Barnes & Noble and I see parents buying their kids books, or reading with their kids, my heart warms and I know that somehow, the world is going to be ok.

Case in point. I stumbled across this - four kids who have a blog! Their dad helps out. Seriously? Awesome. I most enjoyed this post. The blog is mostly about the kid's artwork - of which they apparently do a lot, and at which are kind of ridiculously talented - and this particular post is an anniversary celebration where they invited people to pick a favorite picture from over the years and do their interpretation. They got feedback from some amazing artists. It was fun to see what people did with the kid's work.

Hooray for involved parents!

And a special shout-out to my own parents. They were always amazingly and selflessly supportive of their children. Thanks for letting us explore and become the people we are!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ch-ch-chastity

An inspirational message from a friend of a friend:

A long-running inside joke emerged within my district in the MTC the day we started practicing to teach about the law of chastity.

Under normal circumstances, of course, chastity is no laughing matter. But when a blushing elder bears his testimony of the sacred law of self-denial by blurting out, for lack of a more, ahem, voluptuous Japanese vocabulary, “Chastity is my favorite!” I think we can all be forgiven for finding the whole thing a little funny.

Particularly because I don’t think many people would list a chaste and celibate life among their favorite things in the history of ever and, speaking from long-suffering personal experience, I can tell you that chastity gets harder and harder to like the longer it sticks around.

Now, before I am misunderstood, let me say that I am fully aware of, and grateful for, the blessings that come from saving myself for The One and Only. (Or George Clooney. Whoever comes knocking first.) The spiritual and emotional toll of illicit intimacy is certainly a higher price than I am willing to pay. But still. I can’t help feeling that I am suffering in virtuous virginity without the recognition that such a feat deserves.

Think about it.

We get certificates for memorizing the Articles of Faith, sew-on patches for learning how to tie knots and pendants, statues and courts of honor for accomplishing every goal on a predetermined list. But the honor of chastity? Not even a commemorative wooden craft or a pat on the back.

Or, think about this.

We go to great lengths to celebrate the simple act of turning one year older, which requires significantly less willpower (as in none) than decades of physical restraint. And yet, when is the last time you baked someone a chastity cake? I don’t think it’s totally unreasonable to suggest that a 30-year-old virgin get at least that.

We celebrate all kinds of milestones and accomplishments, both in and out of the church, and yet that high covenant of chastity, the violation of which is second only in gravity to murder (murder!) gets nothing. So instead of rejoicing together in the blessings of obedience and discipline, chastity often becomes a source of embarrassment, no matter how in but not of the world you are trying to be.

I never feel this more acutely than on my annual visit to the lady doctor. The conversation usually goes something like this.

Her: Are you married or in a relationship?
Me: Nope.
Her: Are you sexually active?
Me: No.
Her: Have you ever been?
Me: No.
Her: Do you drink?
Me: No.
Her: Smoke?
Me: No.
Her: Drugs?
Me: No.
Her: Do you wear your seatbelt?
Me: Yes.

And just like that, I feel like the lamest dud ever. Can a person be any more boring on paper? No sex and I wear a seatbelt? Brother. I can’t even see the edge I’m so far away.

But then in the same moment I think to myself, Now wait just a second here. I shouldn’t be embarrassed, I should be celebrated. Given my current life circumstances, I couldn’t have given better answers to any of those questions. Balloons should be falling from the ceiling. George Clooney himself should be sending me a congratulatory card. At the very least, I should be getting a cookie. Because true chastity is not what I could call my favorite. It is hard work and, let’s be honest here, sort of a bummer. But it is what God has asked me to do, and so I am doing it.

Is there anything more worth celebrating than that?

No?

In that case, I’ll take that slice of cake now.

Inspirational because the first annual Chastity Celebration is now in the works. Stay tuned for more details.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Alphabet

A is for audition. Next one - Oct. 24th.
B is for bargains. Downeast clearance center. 3500 S. 3500ish W. 1 shirt, 1 sweater, 1 sweater vest. Total cost - $6.50.
C is for cheesecake. I went to the cheesecake factory and remembered how much I love cheesecake. Feel free to bring me some whenever you want. I promise I won't say no.
D is for downtime. I've got some right now. I think it's just the right amount. But I think everyone out there knows it won't last long. I'm a go-getter.
E is for education. I sure like learning and improving myself. Things I'm currently learning or working on: Master's degree in reading education, handwriting, shorthand, French, film acting.
F is for fall. I wish we got one of a decent length. But I'll enjoy it while it's here - mostly with the help of pumpkin steamers from Starbucks - thanks Kasi for turning me onto them.
G is for General Conference. Park City. Comfy couch. Delicious food. Hot tub. Good people. Amazing messages.
H is for humanitarian work. I would like to help here.
I is for investigative TV shows. I'm kind of addicted.
J is for jogging. I don't jog because it hurts my knees, but I wish I could. Instead I read on the stationary bike. Not as refreshing, but it sure helps me get through my to-read book list.
K is for kanoodling. I'm pretty sure I made up that spelling just to fit this letter. Nonetheless, I could use some.
L is for love. Spread it around.
M is for magic bullet. I use mine - All. The. Time.
N is for news. Thanks to the surprise of a friend, I've started reading the news on a more regular basis. I guess it's about time I got caught up on what's happening in the world.
O is for observation. I was observed in my classroom. This can be quite a harrowing experience, but it went of like a dream. Everyone was beaming.
P is for porch. They stripped mine to the bare cement on Saturday, thus enabling them to install new generic astroturf. I'm guessing that means it'll be done...sometime in March? P is also for prepositions. Just because.
Q is for quiet. My crazy neighbors have calmed down...at least for now.
R is for restraint. I'm gaining more as I try to cut down on sugars and unhealthy foods and eat more whole foods and other things that do my body good.
S is for "strict" parents. Notice their children are all normal.
T is for tables. I bought 4 at IKEA then spiced them up with wall vinyl. Fruity you say? Perhaps, but my tables look awesome.
U is for Utes. Yay for football season!
V is for vacation. I need one outside of Utah.
W is for wishful thinking.
X is for Xavier. I just like the name.
Y is for yeti. Thoughts as to his existence?
Z is for Zooey Deschanel. I'm pretty much in love.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

So true.

A friend of mine sent me an e-mail ago full of thoughts from people our age (i.e. twenty somethings). I have to say I agree with all of them.

Random thoughts from people our age...

-I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

-More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can
think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell
my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves
me.

-Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you
realize you're wrong.

-Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're
going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to
be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the
direction from which you came, you have to first do something like
check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to
yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're
crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

-That's enough, Nickelback.

-I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

-Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the "people you may know"
feature on Facebook people that I do know, but I deliberately choose
not to be friends with?

-Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't
work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically
fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all
know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards
or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

-There is a great need for sarcasm font.

-Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and
suddenly realize I had no idea what the f was going on when I first
saw it.

-I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually
becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting
90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's
laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little
bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the
only one who really, really gets it.

-How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

-I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than
take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

- I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear
your computer history if you die.

-The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to
finish a text.

- Was learning cursive really necessary?

- Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".

- I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

- Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron
test is absolutely petrifying.

- My brother's Municipal League baseball team is named the Stepdads.
Seeing as none of the guys on the team are actual stepdads, I inquired
about the name. He explained, "Cuz we beat you, and you hate us."
Classy, bro.

- Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart",
all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

- How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod
and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

- I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up
to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

- Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using 'as in'
examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete
idiot. Today I had to spell my boss's last name to an attorney and
said "Yes that's G as in...(10 second lapse)..ummm...Goonies"

-What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

- While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and
instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.

- MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I
know how to get out of my neighborhood.

- Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the
person died.

-Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty,
and you can wear them forever.

-I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

- Bad decisions make good stories

-Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their
profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got
the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if
I do!

- Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?

-If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring
would probably just be completely invisible.

-Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go
around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly
nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be
a problem....

-You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work
when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything
productive for the rest of the day.

-Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't
want to have to restart my collection.

-There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are
going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

-I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me
if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I
swear I did not make any changes to.

- "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.

-I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people
watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will
they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't
watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and
leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'

-I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello?
Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and
goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone
and run away?

- I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not
seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

-When I meet a new girl, I'm terrified of mentioning something she
hasn't already told me but that I have learned from some light
internet stalking.

-I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle,
then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

-Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising
speed for pedophiles...

- As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers,
but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

-Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still
not know what time it is.

-It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.

-I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to
answer when they call.

-Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.

-Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car
keys in a pocket and Pinning the Tail on the
Donkey - but I’d bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze
button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time
every time...

-My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would
happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?

-It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on CNN.com and
the link takes me to a video instead of text.

-I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they
drive behind obeys the speed limit.

-I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

-I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or
Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

-The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw
they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words,
someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think
about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people
eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by
myself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard
before dinner

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Friend

This is my new friend and church:



I'm fairly certain that on more than one occasion, it will save my sanity.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Milestone

I overestimated* one of my children's ability to hold it.



*Thanks Toph and Carm for the correction. :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Poeticality

Our first unit in Language Arts for the year is "Friendship." It's very cute. As a getting-to-know-you warm-up-for-the-unit activity, I made friendship packets for my kids that include things like drawing a picture of you and your friend, a word search, coloring pages etc. etc. etc. One page is for the kids to write a poem about friendship titled "Friendship is..." Here's mine:

Friendship is gooey, sugary, buttery goodness wrapped in chocolate and eaten from the pan.
Friendship is long walks and short walks and no walks at all.
Vision boards, and staring at the wall. Breaking beds and breaking hearts.
Friendship is laughing til you're curled in ball on the ground clutching your sides.
Friendship is love sacs, and love taps, and elementary-esque love notes.
Season tickets, seasonal desserts, and seasoned kissers.
Trips to foreign places, and places around the block.
It's crying from laughing, crying from heartache, crying from sleep deprivation.
It's being stranded in an airport with nothing but a jacket and copy of Harry Potter 7.
Friendship is retail therapy.
Friendship is pretty freaking awesome.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What's on your mind?

My summer according to Facebook:

Greg Barnett...

...is so excited for three months of day-time relaxation
...is sad that Treasure Island is over, but excited for Dolly
...is relaxin' at home
...is at the theater
...is heading to Panguitch for some family fun
...is at the theater
...kind of loves Dolly a lot
...should probably be working on school stuff
...is headed home for the 4th
...is at the theater
...watches too many crime shows
...is at the theater
...needs something to do during the day
...is at the theater
...hopes his epic road trip for next summer works out
...is at the theater
...will be in Junction for a few days enjoying the company of his family
...went knee-boarding for the first time and had a total blast!
...is at the theater
...auditioned for another show - no dice
...cried a little during his last performance of Dolly
...is at the theater
...auditioned for yet another show - again, no dice
...finally figured out the plot to Pimpernel after 6 weeks of rehearsal
...is at the theater
...is at the theater
...is at the theater
...is opening tonight, and not sure if he's ready
...is at the theater
...has a free evening for the first time all summer, and isn't really sure what to do with himself
...wanted to work in his classroom, but they were waxing the floors
...is at the theater
...finally got to work in his classroom, and is actually kind of excited for school to start back up
...is at the theater
...will enjoy his last weekend of summer freedom to the fullest
...is starting school being involved in only one show, and that's probably for the best
...is at the theater

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The life of an eggplant...or an egghead...

So, aside from family reunions, crime show sprees on cable, and drawn blood in the last three shows at Hale Theater (none of it mine - knock on wood), there hasn't been much going on since school go out. I spent too much money on back-to-school clothes, and not enough time trying to become a better teacher, but such is life.

School is now back in and the first week is past (173 days to go!) And we kick-started it with flair. I got a honeymoon period of about 3 hours with my class this year. I've got some real winners. My class consists of 5 white kids, 1 Polynesian, 1 Vietnamese, and 21 Latinos (2 Carloses and a Jesus). I think it's awesome. Should be an interesting year.

Evidence - beginning of the year, getting-to-know-you surveys about favorite things:

color - red
food - carrot
person - brother
place - park
animal - dog
school subject - math
article of clothing - recess
time of day - lunch
game - Hulk Unlimited Destination xbox live.

subject in school - riteing (does anyone else see the irony here?)

movie - August Rush (surprising, but awesome)

I got lots of Michael Jackson and The three Little Pigs as answers to various questions. I'm not sure what that means.

Anywho, school is back in session, the children have brought their A-games, luckily so have I. It seems to be going well so far. I'm excited to see how many of my kid's favorite animal will be a tarantula when we get to that part of the curriculum, and I'm excited for the weather to cool down as our school has no A/C.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesdays

A random thought on a Tuesday morning, enjoy:

God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future—to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities.

God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe.

-Jeffrey R. Holland

Monday, June 29, 2009

Too soon?

Initial estimates indicate 38 states, roughly 10,000 miles, and just shy of 7 weeks. I'm planning next summer's road trip spectacular across the country. It's gonna be huge.

Usually when I get crazy ideas like this they sound fun for a while, but never amount to much. Stuff like moving to France for a year - just because, or graduating college and working for Disney for the rest of my magical days. This idea, however, is something I really want to make happen. So, here's the deal:

(Imagine me putting on my teacher hat.) One of the best ways to increase comprehension in the young ones is to build and activate background knowledge i.e. if we're going to read a story about farming we see what the kids already know about farming, then we talk about what a farm is and what farming entails. Then, when we read the story, the kids have a better concept of what's going on, and thus their comprehension is increased.

So, here's my idea - I want to drive across the country interviewing the authors of the stories we'll be reading in class. Get their point of view, their inspirations for the stories etc. etc. etc. I'd also like the authors to read the stories on camera, and then I can show that to my kids. I think it would be cool for them to actually hear the story from the person who wrote it, rather than just reading a story written by some person they'll never meet. I also wanna get some stellar background footage like Cape Canaveral and the Moon Landing exhibit for our unit on the sun and the moon. Or The Baseball Hall of Fame and a shot or two of Dodger's stadium for our story about baseball.

I'd also like to try and contact some famous people that the kids can connect with to maybe read one or two of the stories. I think that might motivate the kids to read more and really get excited about what we're doing in class. I don't know anyone famous, but I know people who do, or know people who know people who do. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

The authors live everywhere from St. Petersburg, FL to Seattle WA, so it's going to be a rather epic journey. But I'm pretty stoked about it.

I realize it's still early for a lot of this to happen, but I'd also like to not have to pay for the trip myself. I'm looking at getting some grants and/or sponsors to help me out. If any of you know of any grants that I might look into, or any companies that might be willing to sponsor this expedition extraordinaire, please let me know!

Here's to cock-eyed optimism!

Friday, May 22, 2009

You do it too.

Pooping, I mean.

Speaking of Zac Efron, I think it's sometimes odd how much adults, despite claims to the contrary, are really just bigger versions of kids. I'm talking in terms of maturity levels.

At school all day long I hear how something someone else has is better. Kids want things, and don't want things, and the things they want aren't necessarily even things they want, they just want them because they don't have them. And the things they don't want may even be things they actually want, but they don't want them because other people say they shouldn't.

Today we had a half-day work day and for part of that the 3rd grade team met with the 4th grade team and discussed class lists for next year. I was amazed at how whiny the 4th grade teachers were. "Are you sure I have all the gifted kids I should?" "I've got 6 low kids, and they only have 4." "I have too many behavior problems." "I had tough kids this year, can you give me a break next year?" "I'm so glad you didn't give me that kid."

I understand that a little...ventilation is needed when dealing with our profession, but this was outright whining. For crying out loud, you're a teacher! Grow a pair! Suck it up and do your job. If you don't want to deal with behavior problems, or struggling learners, or kids who might bug you, then you are in the wrong profession, and definitely at the wrong school. Anyone can teach smart, well-behaved kids. It takes a committed educator to deal with the less-than-savory youngsters, so if you're going to whine, go get a cubicle job - that way no one has to listen to you.

On a lighter note, I got pie this week. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

And the answer is...

T or F

1 - Chocolate Malt-o-meal is pretty much the best breakfast ever.

This is definitely true. Especially when combined with the object of question number 7.

2 - The swine flu scare is a little bit ridiculous.

I was going to say true here, but I like Joe's answer. False - it's absurdly ridiculous.

3 - There are only 5 weeks of school left.

False. At the time of posting there were only 4 weeks. Currently there are only 3. WOOT!

4 - Bread pudding is best served with some sort of buttery sugary glaze.

Absolutely and undeniably true.

5 - A compound subject has 2 verbs.

False. A compound subject has 2 or more nouns. A compound predicate has two or more verbs.

6 - Leatherby's hot fudge makes me gag.

Completely false. I have yet to drink it through a straw, but I have eaten it plain.

7 - Hugh Jackman died.

False. A falsehood that was, in fact, propagated by one of my own students.

8 - In two weeks we have 4 days of school, and I will teach for only 1 of them.

This is true. Monday we have a wrap-up activity, Tuesday a field trip, Wednesday I'm gone, and Thursday is early day.

9 - Children's literature ROCKS!

Definitely true.

10 - Dr. Nancy Livingston, my current professor, is wearing a BRIGHT red Asian vest and not doing a very good job of it.

False. She was rockin' the vest.

Multiple Choice:

11 - One of my new favorite children's authors is:

A - Mo Willems (Look him up, his books are awesome, especially for younger kids.)
B - Katie Curick
C - William Steig
D - Barak Obama

12 - How do I feel about next school year?

A - excited
B - nervous
C - willing to wait
D - all of the above

13 - Who looks best with a mustache?

A - Tom Selleck
B - Burt Reynolds
C - Me
D - Queen Victoria

Just depends on your taste, really. I'm partial to her majesty myself.

14 - How many of the principal men in Hale's upcoming production of Hello Dolly have receding hairlines?

A - 8/8
B - 1/8
C - 4/8 (That I can think of...there may be more...)
D - 12/6

15 - A book I would recommend to anyone would be:

A - The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
B - Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm by Jerdine Nolen
C - Heartbeat by Sharon Creech
D - Big Plans by Bob Shea

Trick question. I really would recommend any of these books. A, however, is the one I've been most active about recommending.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Quiz

T or F

1 - Chocolate Malt-o-meal is pretty much the best breakfast ever.

2 - The swine flu scare is a little bit ridiculous.

3 - There are only 5 weeks of school left.

4 - Bread pudding is best served with some sort of buttery sugary glaze.

5 - A compound subject has 2 verbs.

6 - Leatherby's hot fudge makes me gag.

7 - Hugh Jackman died.

8 - In two weeks we have 4 days of school, and I will teach for only 1 of them.

9 - Children's literature ROCKS!

10 - Dr. Nancy Livingston, my current professor, is wearing a BRIGHT red Asian vest and not doing a very good job of it.

Multiple Choice:

11 - One of my new favorite children's authors is:

A - Mo Willems
B - Katie Curick
C - William Steig
D - Barak Obama

12 - How do I feel about next school year?

A - excited
B - nervous
C - willing to wait
D - all of the above

13 - Who looks best with a mustache?

A - Tom Selleck
B - Burt Reynolds
C - Me
D - Queen Victoria

14 - How many of the principal men in Hale's upcoming production of Hello Dolly have receding hairlines?

A - 8/8
B - 1/8
C - 4/8
D - 12/6

15 - A book I would recommend to anyone would be:

A - The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
B - Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm by Jerdine Nolen
C - Heartbeat by Sharon Creech
D - Big Plans by Bob Shea

Best of luck. :)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

On Life

On teaching:

Still lovin' it. I'm doing a big Treasure Island project with my kids right now. I'm in the play at Hale Theater (Come see it! It runs til June 6th, and is amazing!), so I decided I wanted to take my kids to see the show. I bought them all an easy-reader version of the book so they know the story before coming to the play. It's amazing to see them during the school day. Sometimes it's all I can do to get them to put their books down. (It's kind of a conflict, because I want them to be reading, and it's exciting to seem them so engaged in literature, but we do have to do other things.) More to come on the culmination of the Treasure hunt. Also, only 5 weeks left of school. That's 23 school days, and probably 18 days of actual teaching. Man, how time flies.

On living with a girl:

Not much different than living alone...mostly because I'm never home. A few things though - I have to be careful about emptying the bathroom garbage can, and my bathroom is encrusted in hairspray. But it's also freaking AWESOME to live with my little sis. She's pretty much the coolest girl I know. I'm just sad I don't get to spend more time with her.

On being a pirate:

So. Much. Fun! I'm in my mid-twenties and 4 times a week I get to dress up like a pirate and go play for a couple of hours. How cool is that?! Besides the fact that I happen to have the coolest part in the show. People love me. I'll just have to try and not let it go to my head. ;) Again, come see the show, and get your tickets ASAP cause there aren't many left.
PS - funny story: So, I'm in Treasure Island, but I'm also rehearsing for Hello Dolly at Hale. Well, last night I was popping back and forth between TI and HD, and apparently during one of the super tense fight scenes in TI, right during a place when everyone is sort of paused (I was in the rehearsal hall in a different part of the building), everyone in the theater heard "Out there, there's a world outside of yonkers..." Apparently someone mistakenly turned my mic up. Hilarious!

On girls in general:

I'm super busy, so I don't have much time for dating, but I'm making an effort. There's a girl in my ward I went on a date with, and we're trying to coordinate schedules to make a second date happen. There's another girl in the ward I'd like to ask out. So, we're gettin' 'er done.
Also, I recently spent some time with some pretty amazing married friends of mine, and that's a huge motivation to date and get married. They really are awesome examples of what marriage can be like and what I'd like to have in a marriage. So I'm gonna keep on keepin' on.

On reading:

I've taken some pretty cool classes this semester about teaching kids to read better. My favorite one so far has been a class exploring children's literature. It's so much fun! One thing I've learned is that boys are seriously lagging behind in their literacy skills. I'm sure I'll have an entire post at some point on this subject, but for now, just let me say: Fathers - read to your sons! It's ok for moms to read to their kids, but one of the biggest determiners of boys being readers is whether they have strong male role model. Do once again - Fathers - read to your sons! And make sure they see you reading. Even if it's just the newspaper. *sigh* I could go on forever, but that's another post entirely.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

All my single ladies

So dating, right?
Yeah, I'd like to put in my two cents about that.

I've been on a few dates recently. It's all good times. But sometimes dating is such a ridiculous game. There are rules, but they change with every person. What's the best way to ask for another date? How long should you wait after the first date? How many times do you try for a second date? How do you know when "I'm busy" really means "I'm not interested"? How aggresive should you be? How persistent should you be? What really prompted all of this was two-fold: A conversation with a friend, and a blog post by a stranger.

The conversation: Centered around whether to ask for another date, and the best way to do that. I went on a date a couple of weeks ago - had a great time. Super fun. She's intelligent, gorgeous, hilarious - fun. So I'm workin' on a second date. This is where the problem arises. I'm super busy - she's super busy. So, is it really that she's busy? Or is it that she doesn't want to bruise my "fragile male ego"? How long do I keep trying? When is "busy" actually a signal saying "I don't want a freakin' second date, back off!"? And how do I not become confused when she's not really proactive about things, but uses exclamation points when expressing her affirmations of interest (scanty though they may be)? So that's where I stand with that.*

The blog: Here. For those who don't want to read the whole thing - though it is pretty entertaining - here's the gist: "Don't ask 'Can I take you out again?' because you'll get the same answer whether I'm actually interested or not." (Ok, so that message was sort of subordinate, but that's the information that was pertinent to me). Lame. I realize this is one point of view. One girl. One opinion. Even so, it just sort of brings my frustrations to the forefront. Basically, if you're interested - ACT LIKE IT! You can say "I'm busy" but among the many things in my life that I've learned up til now, one of the most important is that you make time for the things that are important to you - regardless of whatever else is going on. If you really are interested in exploring what may be there, make time for it. And if there really isn't time, at the very least, keep the lines of communication open. On the reverse, if you're not interested, be honest about it! There are tactful ways of expressing a lack of interest. My ego may still get bruised, I may still say mean things about you to my friends, but at least you were honest and didn't waste my time.

*sigh* It's just that there seem to be so many expectations placed on men in dating with very few placed on women. I have to ask, pay, ask again, pay again, keep the ball rolling. All you have to do is say yes and giggle. And if you're not interested you ignore me, thus wasting my time, and causing me confusion and ulcers. (I know! It's my own perspective. The grass is always greener etc., just let me whine for a second.)

Basically what I'm saying is, I was gutsy enough to take some initiative, at least give me the courtesy of being honest about anything beyond that.

*I wrote this a couple of days ago, and have since been subtely shafted. I gave it a good go - made several attempts (in a non-threatening, and non-overbearing way) at doing a second excursion, which she seemed excited about i.e. exlamation points and "please let's do!" etc., but never followed through on, so I'm taking the hint - whether intended or not. I gave it a valiant effort and the button is now in her hand, as it were.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

10 years

Every now and again in life my thoughts turn to the future. (And inevitably I hear "Que sera sera, whatever will be will be, the future's not ours to see, que sera sera..." somewhere in the back of my head, but that doesn't stop me from thinking about it.) A question concerning the future recently caught my eye and started the old gears turning once more, namely: "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" It wasn't directed toward me, but it got me thinking nonetheless. Where will I be in 10 years?

I think it's important to take stock of the present before trying to predict the future. Right now I'm glaringly single, moderately attractive, and ridiculously happy. During the day I'm gainfully employed teaching children how to multiply - a job I love, and at night I get paid to make a fool of myself on stage - which I also love. Basically I've been blessed with a life I'm not sure I deserve, but I'm not complaining.

Now about the future...

Realistically: I'll be married to a wonderful woman who still makes me laugh, with three or four children who drive me crazy for all the right reasons. I'll still be working in education, but not necessarily in the classroom. Maybe a traveling advocate for boys' literacy, or a presenter for educational program X...or program Y, I'm not picky. I'll have a few children's books, and a youth fiction novel or two under my belt (though whether they'll be successful is anyone's guess). I'll still get good character roles in local theater productions, and every now and again a good lead. I'll have a house with a swing set, a flower bed, and a small vegetable garden. I'll probably still be in Utah and I have no problem with that whatsoever. I will also be host to the annual Barnett Family Easter Eggstravanza complete with relay races, candy, and one raw egg. And I'll still be ridiculously happy.

Ideally: Not much different from the reality I envision. The house may be bigger - one with a wrap-around porch and a backyard with a fountain. I'd drive a Smart Car. I'd be the host of the resurrected "Reading Rainbow" series - only this time the opening song will be a re-mix of the original, and I will never have been part of the cast of any Star Trek spin-off. My books will have been wildly successful - we're talking Caldecott, Newberry, Nobel Prize for Children's Literature (they'll make up that category just for my stories) and some, if not most...or even all, will have been made into lucrative movies starring everyone from James McAvoy to Julie Andrews (I like the Brits.).

In a world with infinite possibilities: By day I'll host a daytime talk show to rival Ellen DeGeneres, and go on a world-wide quest for the perfect brownie. By night I'd be a near-invincible crime-fighting superhero. And I would have a cape.

Worst-case scenario: I'll be 100 lbs. heavier with no hair left, and still single. I'll have been ostracized from the local theater community and fired from my job on trumped-up charges about something inane. I'll work for a telemarketing firm, and at night I'll watch Tivo'd reruns of the Jane Pauly show while eating second-rate vanilla frosting from a canister without the aide of a utensil. I'll also own a cat.

The real reality is I don't know where I'll be in 10 years. If you'd told me 10 years ago I'd be where I am now, I probably would have laughed. But if there's something I've learned it's that no matter where life takes me I can be happy because happiness, above all else, is a choice. And regardless of my career as an author, whether or not I land my dream role, how many children are in my classroom, or how my Sunday pan of brownies turns out, my own happiness is up to me.

So how about you? Where will you be 10 years down the road?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spiders etc.

Meet Duncan:


He's a Mexican Redknee tarantula, and my new class pet.  Right now he's just a baby, but someday he'll be huge.  I'm pretty excited about that.  He's not super exciting.  He spends most of his time buried, but he's still pretty cool.  And, in reality, I'm not even sure it's a he.  What can ya do?

In other news, for the second time this year, I've made the stall door of the girl's bathroom.  This time it said:  "Mr. B sucks c***".  I have some delightful third graders.  This time it was written on the outside of the stall door, so everyone that walked into the girl's bathroom could see it.  Good, good times.