Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Arduous: Hard on Us

As an aide at CMS, I got to different classes each period with different students. In one of the sixth grade reading classes, the word of the weeks is arduous. When I was in seventh grade, that was one of our vocab words. 


Answer: People who had a teacher who used rhymes for remembering. She'd put up an overhead [oh I'm old!] with the word, the rhyme, the definition, and the picture. And it worked.

  • Arduous: hard on us
  • Aloof: on the roof
  • Churlish: girlish
  • Asunder: split by thunder
  • Chattel: cattle
  • Chicanery: like Sean Connery
Not only did she use rhymes, but rhymes which hinted at, or directly gave, the definition.  This teacher, whose name I cannot even remember, taught me vocab words I can still recall. She taught us a prepositions song, most of which I can still sing. 

I never thought of her as anything special, but I guess she was.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

The sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is much less-known, and will probably never become a movie. It will most likely never see the fame of the first, and yet I like them about the same. 

In this novel, Wonka takes Charlie and Grandpa Joe home in the great glass elevator. They pack the rest of the family into the elevator and blast off, intending to head back to the factory. Of course, pandemonium ensues and they go too far up, up into the sky, up out of earth's atmosphere. And so their zany adventure begins. 

I enjoyed this book. It's a nice easy read and great for kids! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Outsiders

The Outsiders

"Two of my friends died that day; 
one a hero and the other a hoodlum"

The Outsiders is one of my favorite books, and has been for a very long time. It's also probably the book I have read the most.  I recently re-read it and I guess I just didn't realize how short it is; it's been a while since my last read. But I still loved it. And maybe it's short length is part of its charm. I love a book that I can just sit down, read, cry, and leave. It's like a good crying movie in book form. 

This book is traditionally read by 8th graders; it can be such a poignant novel for those kids, if they let it be. I hope they do. Because this was a life changing book for me. I love it. It's a coming of age story laced with the conflicts of socioeconomic status, inability to get out of poverty, and love of sunsets. Read it. Love it. I do! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

This novel tells the story of two children, one Chinese and one Japanese but both American, during WWII. They become friends and puppy love takes over. But racial differences during the war make it hard for them to even see one another. And then they start placing the Japanese-Americans into Internment Camps. 

Ford's novel bounces back and forth from the 1980s - "Present" - and the war years as the Panama Hotel is re-opened and belongings from Interned Japanese are found. Memories are sparked. And then the ending is exactly what you would suspect. 

The story had a few good moments and a very sweet succinct ending. Yet at times I was bored by the story and found it rather predictable.  Didn't love it. Didn't hate it. Not sure I would recommend it, but I won't berate you if you love it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11: Where were you?

Whenever something big happens in our history, people ask where you were. Where were you when JFK was shot? Where were you on Pearl Harbor? Where were you on 9/11? 

I was in ninth grade when the twin towers were hit. We had been reading To Kill A Mockingbird in class. We all had to do little presentations on the novel, and I had gotten my friends to be in a skit for mine. We were practicing before school in Mrs J's room. I'm not sure who turned on the tv or why -- probably Mrs J heard the news first. And we watched the footage of the planes hitting the towers. 

I didn't really understand what was happening. I didn't understand why it was such a big deal. I was so innocent for a 14-year-old. And I didn't understand the political ramifications of this at all. 

Everyone started talking about war. I was worried there would be a draft. I had read lots of books on wars - Revolutionary, Civil, World - and had a misconception about the way war is waged today. I thought my dad would go to war, Mom would have to go back to work. My friends would finish high school and leave, maybe leave early. I knew people used to lie about their ages. I thought I'd never get married. Or if I did, my husband would be gone for the war, maybe die. 

I was a little paranoid. And thought it was the early 1900s. But I worried. All I have to say is that I'm glad things didn't go as I imagined. But that is where I was.

Where were you?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lost Boys

Lost Boys

So I was pretty excited to read this book. It's by Orson Scott Card; I've enjoyed other works of his. He's a pretty good guy. Whatevs. And this is what it says on the back:
"As Stevie retreats into himself, focusing more and more on a mysterious computer game and a growing troop of imaginary friends, the Fletchers' concern turns to terror...And as evil strikes out from the most trusted corners, it's suddenly clear: Stevie's next on the list."
I thought I would love this.
I love creepy books. Ya know, ones that mess with ya. Nothing terrible. Mostly along the lines of Jodi Picoult. 
And then I find out the characters are Mormon. Kind of annoyingly Mormon. They keep having religions discussions throughout the book. And then they give us their formula for how they get new callings. Puke.
And the wife is terribly whiny. She's pregnant and has three other small children. From what I understand that's hard. I also understand that I was the same age as the oldest in the book when my Ma had baby number four. And I don't remember my mom being unable to make dinner or being unaware of what was going on in my life. Yet the wife in this book was totally unable to fulfill her homemaking duties, and is often whining to her husband that he should just quit his job and come home. 
And the book is a bunch of padding & fluff -- lots totally irrelevant to the actual  plot. I just kept waiting for the real story to happen.Waiting and waiting and waiting. 400 pages of waiting!
And then the ending is just terrible. It was almost too real in the emotions and the possibility of my children [who are far off in the future!] being hurt or taken. But at the same time, it was totally ridiculous and impossible. [Spoiler: Ghosts, Spirits, Apparitions, Whatever you want to call it, OF THE DEAD CHILDREN. I didn't buy it.]
And I felt totally creeped out and couldn't sleep. 
I think this is probably Card's worst work ever. I haven't read everything he's ever written, but I have read a fair sample, and this is a fair assessment. 

Also, I apologize for my ridiculous use of bold. I kind of feel like a teenage girl right now.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Angela's Ashes

So my amigita favorita had the lovely idea that we, along with another chicita bonita should start a book club. [I'm the only non-ginger allowed, so back off! :)]

And so we read Angela's Ashes.

Angela's Ashes 

Not gonna lie. I legit picked this book up on a dollar day at the bookstore with no idea what it was about. I just looked at the cover and assumed it was a holocaust novel. My bad. So it was sitting in my pile-o-books-to-read when Nat suggested our book club and reading this. However, with the wedding and the moving and the honeymooning and the five other books I was reading, Angela's Ashes took a back burner. 

My first thought on finishing this book was that I clearly need to read Joyce again because I'm starting to think all Irishmen are the same.  But seriously.  Near the end of this really started to remind me of Portrait. Maybe Stephen Daedalus knew Frank McCourt? Okay I'm being ridiculous. 
My second thought was "Why is this book titled Angela's Ashes? I don't get it!" 

But I did enjoy this book. I didn't speed through it, but I did read it rather quickly. I do recommend this book. It also has a sequel, apparently, which is now going on my list.  

But really. Anyone know why a nice gent like McCourt would title his memoir with his mother's name? 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Facebook & Famous Relations

{{So there is this app on facebook that shows you your famous [and famous Mormon] relations. And if your facebook friends have enabled this app & are related to you as well, that will also show up! Here are some of my famous relations, but for your convenience///reading pleasure, I have limited the Mormon relations to 6th cousins, because I have a ton of 8-10th Mormon Relations since all of Utah is related!}}
  • David Haight, 3rd Cousin

  • Gordon B Hinkley, 6th Cousin

  • Spencer W Kimball, 5th Cousin

  • George Albert Smith, 6th Cousin

Other Famous Relations
  • Susan B Anthony, 5th Cousin

  • Emily Dickenson, 7th Cousin

  • Walt Disney, 7th Cousin

  • Thomas Edison, 7th Cousin

  • Eli Whitney, 4th Cousin

  • Orville & Wilber Wright, 6th Cousin

  • Mark Twain, 7th Cousin

Who are you related to? And If you do the app, 
see if you're related to me!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wii Like to Party!

For  my birthday, Cass got me Just Dance 2 and Super Mario Brothers for the Wii. I've played the dance games before; my mom has The Michael Jackson Experience and Just Dance Broadway. Just Dance 2 is more hit songs, but it's been really fun! I play the "Just Sweat" mode and it's great. Also, it has some African style dances and a Bollywood! Love it!

So we play Mario almost every night! But it's so crazy; I always get so frustrated! But it's fun and it's a great way for the two of us to spend time together! And if you have any hints on how to do better *slash* not get so frustrated . . . Lemme know!

And I want someone to play the dance game with! Cass won't play with me :( But I still like it! So . . . Wanna play? 

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Island

"Which is better - to be born stupid into an intelligent society 
or intelligent into an insane one?"

A follow-up to Brave New World, Huxley offers a cross between utopia and primitive-ity for a "sane" society. Island has many of the same themes as Brave New World, but they are dealt with very differently. 

Drugs are still used, but they are used to put the society in an enlightened state for the purpose of gaining knowledge. Likewise with the trances, as they are used for hyper-learning. This "sane" society merges the best of the East and West, as well as utilizing the best of technology, science, and religion, as opposed to being slaves to it. 

To be completely honest, the book was a little over my head and I will definitely have to re-read it in the future to gain a better understanding.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

First Week of Dance Classes!

The first class I taught was the JBT, or Jazz/Ballet/Tap, class for 11-14 year-olds.
Only two girls showed up, but we had a good time. 
Two more girls showed up for company (they had missed registration). We weren't going to hold company this week, but since they missed JBT (and the two other girls thought there was company) we had class. 
Since we're not starting on choreography yet, we did conditioning and across the floors.
It was a much more intense work out then I was planning on! 
But it was really fun to get out there and dance again! 
Unfortunately, I walked to the studio in some shoes I that are either too small or I haven't worn in (I'm not sure cuz I'm a flip flop girl) and I ended up getting a huge blister!
It's about the size of a quarter.
It's super gross. 
And it hurts. 
But other than that, dance class was great!

I only taught the one class, since we are holding off on company class 
until we have company.
I taught a JBT class to 1st-3rd graders.
There were nine of them, and they were chatty!
But they were super cute and it was great fun --
I'll just have to be patient with them until I instill silence in them! 
haha :) 

Again, I only taught one class, but today it was my Broadway/Musical Theatre Class.
We had a wide range of dancers ages today.
Three 14ish year olds, and one 8 year old.
We had two more 8 year olds that didn't make it today. 
It was a blast though!
But so Jenny and I decided we'd split the class, so now I'll have
a class for the older girls, and a class for the younger girls.

Over all, this week was great teaching dance! I'm excited for the rest of the year!