Sunday, January 31, 2010

Farewell, Book Blitz Month

This week was full of events. In other words, it was eventful. A limited summary of our activities are as follows:
  • We finished up invitations and will be sending them out shortly (international invitations have already been sent out)
  • We went to a play entitled Farewell to Eden, produced by Zion Theatre Company. We also saw I Love Lysistrata, a BYU production
  • Thomas worked on a few research projects based on COHA (the Corpus of Historical American English (link)), which will eventually be accessible from the homepage...
  • We passed (we think) our Foxtrot test (unrelated to this)
  • Lisa gave a lesson on emergency preparedness for Relief Society and assembled a 72-hour kit. For more information on this, go here
  • We saw Lisa's old roommate and family and several other friends

  • We took a walk around Provo and snuck into the Provo Tabernacle for a bit
  • We went to a Peruvian party for one of Thomas' coworkers' birthdays and ate Peruvian food

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Marriage license? Check. Dress? Check. Rings? CHECK!

I know I'm up late, but it's been a while since we've posted and it's my turn to write... so here goes!

We've been getting into the swing of this new semester, with new schedules and everything the past couple of weeks. Thomas stays very busy with work and school - he's even keeping up with his homework! He and his roommate, Sterling, are doing very well with their Thursday temple trips so far. They've been able to attend two weeks in a row and will hopefully continue this trend!

Social Dance is becoming a much-anticipated Friday activity. It's so nice to have a set block of time that we'll not only get to spend together, but for the majority of the class, get to interact and work together as a couple!

As the title of this post suggests, we've been making a lot of progress when it comes to making all of the arrangements for our wedding. The majority of our invitation envelopes are stuffed and await postage. I bought a ring for Thomas on Friday and it came in the mail today. I think I like it, and I hope he does too!

In unfortunate news, Thomas and I have both been under the weather for the second time in this new year. We're both shaking the last of the symptoms of a cold we both had over the weekend. After a lot of orange juice, Airborne, and Dristan cold medicine, I think those nasty germs have surrendered!

I formally apologize for the lack of visual stimulation in our recent posts. There just haven't been many photo-ops lately. I guess I could post pictures we took of a book Thomas needed information from, but that might infringe on some copyright laws and I don't really feel like getting in trouble. The photos weren't that interesting anyway.

Well, that's about it for tonight. Before I go, though, I will share a funny recollection I brought up to my mother tonight..... When I was around 7, 8, maybe 9 years old, I spent a lot of time after school playing outside. I had a dog to play with - my beloved Maty - and our yard had plenty of interesting things to entertain my imagination. I was quite enchanted by a manzanita bush we had in our front yard, about 4 feet away from the fence. This particular manzanita had grown more up than out, and looked more like a young tree than a bush. For some reason unknown to me at this time, our family had attained about a dozen 8-foot or so stalks of bamboo, which were available to me in the yard (I think we may have built a tee-pee with some of it, I really don't know). Anyway, I recall, one afternoon, using some of this bamboo - which is very sturdy, mind you - and balancing it on the fence and between the branches of the manzanita.....

And then, holding onto the bamboo with my hands, swinging my feet up and hanging there like a sloth!

Mom came out and told me to get down because it was dangerous.

Hehe :o)

Alright. I'm off to bed.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Another Brick in the Wall

I've been thinking about education a lot lately, and came to a few conclusions primarily regarding K-12:

1. Despite what people say throughout the world, schools in America WORK. They could be better, but in the end who cares about test scores across the world when in the real world (post-school) we produce more patents, more jobs, more everything? There's a reason why, regardless of the "low" scores (which don't take into account technological training, group collaboration, or any number of arguably more important things that one can't test), people come HERE to study, and we shouldn't be trying to copy what other schools around the world do when ours are obviously outputting as good or better end results. The traditional philosophy in the United States on schools is to inspire productivity, adaptability, and creativity (albeit a recent push away from this); elsewhere, they often cram facts and numbers. The keyword there is inspire. I argue it's more important to have the former attitude, as with it you can come up with anything the latter does, along with unique paradigms.

2. The second shortcoming is the seeming decrease of responsibility of parents to their children. There is so much emphasis on putting kids into school for more hours, but would it not help more to have the kids around their parents to learn directly from them? These days, so many parents push off the responsibility of education to schools, whereas I argue schools are simply there to maintain a basic minimum standard as well as provide creative and adaptive interaction, and little more. We don't need more money for schools (although perhaps the money could be better allocated), more time in schools, or more facts and work in school, and rarely do we need the school to bend over backwards to cater to the individual students. The flaw often lies in the parents themselves, who fail to educate in the home and thus fail to ignite the spark of loving to learn for learning's sake.

3. Never let school get in the way of your education, to paraphrase Mark Twain. Formal schooling is helpful to the extent it should be (that is, enforcing a minimum standard of knowledge and understanding as well as providing an environment for students to grow as a group and learn to adapt to others), but once again, education is far above schooling. An inward motivation is all it takes to excel and progress your education.

Anyway, these are solely my own opinions and don't even necessarily reflect those of my marvelous fiancée.

This week school began. As if that's not enough, I have classes. But Lisa and I share a class, Dance 180, in which we will learn the foxtrot, the cha-cha, the waltz, and some swing. 'Twill be a great Friday night date :^)

My roommate and I began a weekly tradition of going to the temple on Thursdays. How many times must an event occur to be considered a tradition?

On the invitation front, Lisa cut up all the invitations (no comment) and they're ready to stuff as soon as we get the photos, which we eagerly await.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Best Is Yet to Come

A new year has come, and the biggest day of our life is at last in the present year: our wedding! The events of our vacation spent in California include but are not limited to:

-The continuation of Thomas and Rosie's friendship

-A trip to Sacramento to visit some of Lisa's family, including Aunt Lucy, Grandma Lee, Uncle Carl, and Aunt Sandy
-A visit from former neighbors, the Kings, and gifts of beautiful handmade quilts! (and homemade jam, fudge, cheesecake...)

-Christmas Eve gifts of matching pajama pants for us, made by Morgan

-A relaxing Christmas day and dinner with the Souzas and Mr. Ball
-A day-after-Christmas dinner with the Spencers
-An overnight visit from Lanessa

(Lisa is not actually this GIGANTIC... just sitting on some blankets)

-A LOT of flower-making

-Church on Sunday at the Pleasant Valley Ward
-Making a Bûche de Noël for the family (link)

-An online audio chat with the Bradshaw clan
-Obtaining a marriage license in Sacramento county

(indeed, the office is in a strip mall...)

-Making burritos for the family (link)

-A trip to Lisa's cousin's home (the Fabre family), and dinner with them, Aunt Ruth, and the Shofstall family

(Dad and Ulises playing on the Fabre's new Wii)

And then,

*A long, 12-hour drive back to Utah on New Year's Eve

(driving through South Lake Tahoe)

*Dinner with Thomas' brother's in-laws upon our return to Utah

*New Year's illness (way to start 2010...), leaving both of us sick in our beds for 2 days

oxen from Lisa and Thomas this time!!