Sunday, November 30, 2003

Christmas Checklist

I have less than twenty days before I land in Seattle to spend eleven days with my family for Christmas. It's true that I love Christmas. I mean, I'm practically a Christmas baby. I used to have a teddy bear dressed in a Santa suit who sang several different Christmas carols when I would push a paw and I would fall asleep with him singing to me every night... until I was 18. I love Christmas. I love that we get to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I love that people make an extra effort to be kind to one another (unless you're in a store) and I love the sights, the smells and the sounds of Christmas. But I don't love my family's special edition of the holiday. So, in my attempt to prepare myself for the scene that is to come I have to start now. I have prepared a Christmas Checklist...

Em, I mean Emily (I have to get used to that... and also responding to Little Sh#@), please remember the following...
-your head
-candy canes
-Excedrin and Tylenol with Codeine
-running shoes
-cell phone
-phone card
-keys to the Lunsfords, Faerbers, Armstrongs and Ridings (oh... ya... and to your parents' house)
-CDs and personal CD player
-a lock for your suitcase
-also please remember that you're going home for only eleven days and you will be required to come back on the 31st to share New Years with your friends and under no circumstances are you under any authority to promise your parents that you will move home when your contract ends. Eleven days. That's it.

Bring it!

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Thanksgiving Miracles

This Thanksgiving was a Thanksgiving of Miracles for me. What counts as a miracle? Let me tell you...

- I didn't get lost on the way to or from Caroline's house (granted I was following Caroline but you would be surprised at how often that doesn't make a difference.)
- I had no use for my "escape vehicle." Not once! (In fact I think the only person that used it was Jena.)
- I ate three candy canes in three days and I ate them just for kicks, not out of nerves. (And believe me, I came prepared to eat a lot of them!)
- I cried zero tears for the very first time on the third Thursday of November. (And I don't mean 2%! I mean no tears!)
- I was not scared at all at any given time. (I don't think I was even jumpy. It was as if I didn't think anybody was going to hurt me... ooh!)
- I didn't think anybody was going to hurt me. (A huge miracle because...)
- I was safe this Thanksgiving for the very first time!
- I was not expected to make the whole meal myself at the same time my family was yelling at me and eating all of my
ingredients and then clean up the whole mess myself afterward as my family was yelling at me to move faster and asking about dessert. (Instead I hardly did anything useful at all and the only people yelling were the people watching the football game. Which brings me to my next miracle...)
- I didn't find it necessary to take a single Excedrin or Tylenol with Codeine. (And I was packing... believe me.)
- I didn't feel like a social reject even though I had never been in a situation like that before.
- I didn't have a single nightmare!! Can you imagine??
- I was with people that I loved and liked me back enough to allow me to come over and be in their way for three days and they even acted like they liked it!

They may seem like no big deal to you but they were miracles to me! And Caroline and her family and my Ann-Marie are definitely my angels. I told Caroline's mom that this was my best Thanksgiving ever and it was no lie. This Thanksgiving wasn't full of the bare minimal survival tactics. This Thanksgiving I had fun and a lot of it! I was happy and content. I felt welcome and comfortable. And really... that was the greatest Thanksgiving Miracle of them all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003


It turns out that I'm a napper. I have never been able to take naps. I think the only time I took a nap in high school was my senior year when I was ridiculously sick and even asked my mom to take me to the hospital. And then once during my freshman year of college when I had been up for 3 days. And then again my senior year of college when I had a continuous cold for four months. So that's three naps in five years.

I took a nap this last Wednesday. I was feeling pretty sick and Eddie called and asked if I wanted to watch Finding Nemo with her. I went over there with a pillow and blanket and crashed on her couch. I took a nap today, too. I haven't really been sleeping all that well. After lunch, Liz came over to watch Finding Nemo with me. I fell asleep on the couch. That's two naps in less than a week.

Why? There are three possible causes. A) Finding Nemo is like unto NyQuil. B) I'm turning into an even bigger pansy. C) I'm getting old enough that I'm gradually moving towards the "old-man-sleeping-in-the-front-porch-rocking-chair" mode. Oh dear.
Stings Like a Bee...

My Thanksgiving Break officially began at 12:45 today (as in Tuesday). I came home and remembered that my mom had mailed me a package last week so I stopped by the office to pick it up. I had an idea about what would be inside and I did my best to harness the Chi before I opened it up. But even though I anticipated their move and saw the fist coming, I didn't dodge quick enough. Curse my bad reflexes and trusting nature! I cried. End of match. They won. And then, as if to gloat their victory, they called. Within an hour of beginning my Thanksgiving Break they had successfully brought me down to my pansy knees. D'oh! However, I anticipate that the next few days will be exponentially better. It just so happens that I have the coolest friends in the world. Interesting...

Saturday, November 22, 2003

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Well, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the movies anyway. Christmas back home looked just like the 4th of July and Easter and every other holiday. Wet and green. But not here. Here it's white and beautiful and it looks like every winter childhood fantasy I ever had. But I was a stupid child. Now I realize that snow is just a wretched combination of wet and cold that never goes away! Maybe if I skiied or snowboarded I would understand the underlying joys of winter but I don't. Just driving down the street to the grocery store takes twice as long and that time is twice as uncomfortable as all the heat is directed at your windows for defrosting instead of your fingers which are frozen as well. So, in an attempt to accept winter here is a list of things I love about the season... (just a few...)
1. candy canes
2. hot chocolate
3. hot apple cider
4. decorations
5. holiday movies
6. holiday music
7. heated apartments
8. blankets
9. days off work
10. travelling
And I'm still excited!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003


I only ate one candy cane today. (Mostly because I was sick but still... give me some credit here...)
My parents didn't call today. (The second day in a row!)
I took a nap. (I think this was the second one this year.)
I didn't wear any makeup today. (Just something I forgot to do today...)

Miracle of the Day

Caroline dropped off muffins for breakfast and Mrs. Ord bought me lunch. This counts as a miracle because they were both kind to me for no apparant reason and also because I have zero food in my cupboards and their kindness was the only reason I ate before 4:30pm for the first time this week. (But don't worry. I now have half of a very large vegetable pizza in my fridge. Yes... only half... but sadly enough me eating half of a pizza wasn't part of the miracle...)

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Top Obvious Statements of the Day

5. "The skin is our largest organ."
4. "I'm easily entertained."
3. "I was just entertaining myself."
2. "I wasn't listening."
1. "I fell."
Top Ten Reasons Why I'm Happy

10. I graduated from Elementary and Junior High
9. I have about a dozen candy canes coursing through my vanes
8. I only slept about 4.5 hours last night (campy... happy... same thing)
7. I passed cleaning checks on the first try and I didn't even need to take a tooth brush to it
6. Debbie was fired and I never have to see her again
5. I got to spend quality time with Kat, Eddie and Jena today
4. My parents did not call
3. Caroline's drawing of my Sunday tumble
2. Justus claiming me as his new "kissing friend"
1. Pratt, Bennett and Peterson Thanksgiving

I may have graduated from BYU in April but today I graduated from two schools apparantly.

Today I took 23 first-graders to Timpview High School to watch "Cinderella" and since it was a high school production there were... you know... high schoolers there. And these high schoolers were running around the auditorium doing what high schoolers do.

We had just gotten seated when little Annie got very excited. "Miss Hansen! Miss Hansen! Is this where you go to school?"

"Nope. Not even six years ago when that was possible."

Although it's true that it's been over four years since High School graduation, I was a bit pleased to be associated with these pubescents. Why? Because just a few weeks ago I was mistaken as a sixth-grader. In just a few weeks I have graduated from elementary school and junior high! And that, my young friends, is my greatest success thus far!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Sunday Morning

I set my alarm clock last night for 6:25am. I was asleep by 12:30 because I knew that today would be an early one. Something did go off at 6:25 but it rang instead of playing the Winnie the Pooh song. I looked at the clock. 6:25. Why is my alarm clock ringing?? Oh, it's my phone. I've been here before. I'm the one that has to say hello. I did (at least I got one thing right today) and it was my Caroline on the other end. She called to tell me that they had to be on time and so they were leaving and asked if I wanted to go with them.

An hour early? Was she crazy? Not likely. It must be me. But the clock said 6:25. I hang up the phone and sit up to get out of bed. I look at the clock again. 7:28. WHAT??? 7:28. Not six. Seven.

"What time is it?"
"Not 7:30?"
"Nope. I just looked at the clock. It's 6:30. Even look. See? Si... SEVEN THIRTY!!! I swear that it just said SIX thirty!"
"Mine too!! I know it did!"

Kat does my hair as I do my make-up and I get ready in... three minutes!! I run out to my car. Then realize I forgot my purse and run back upstairs. Then I run back to my car and start backing out and...

... run into the dumpster. D'oh!!!! WHY????? I figure there's nothing that I can do about it now so I start driving towards the SFH for the meeting that I'm already ten minutes late for. I arrive at the building, pull into a spot, get out and walk around to check my bumper. There's a scratch but it's not too bad. Could be worse. So I start walking to the building. But then...

... I fall. And I fall hard. I scratch the inside of both knees and ankles. Ya, picture THAT one! So, with visions of Bambi's first attempt to walk, I untangle my body, gather my things and head back to the meeting sure that my three tragedies for the day had been fulfilled. And they were... I hope!

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Phone Home

My dad called again today. And by "again" I mean AGAIN! I'm telling you, this new calling plan is kicking my trash. He called my cell phone while I was at Jena's wedding reception. I "accidentally" didn't answer it. But lucky for me he didn't neglect to leave a nice message on my machine. Phew! I listened to it on the way home...

Hi Emily. This is your dad. I looked up your bank statement and it says something about a GRE. Is that the test you took? You took it a few weeks ago, right? What was your score? Also, have you purchased your plane ticket home for Christmas yet? You have to do it. You need to decide when you're coming and going soon. That's everything. You can just e-mail me back with your answers, I guess. Bye.

Just so you know, although I do try to keep my parents at a safe distance, I do tell them things. Especially about major changes in my life like taking the GRE and applying to grad schools. But as history proves, they don't listen to me. And they don't care about what I do until it shows up on a bank statement. I've told them the last fifteen million times that they've called that I'm taking the GRE on the 13th (one day after my brother's birthday to help them remember), that my birthday's on the 19th, that I'm coming home on the 20th and that I would have to be back in Provo before New Years. Why before New Years? Because I'm in charge of planning a huge ward New Years party and I have to be there. Yes, this last part is definitely a lie. But you gotta do what you gotta do...

"If this is going to work then you have got to listen!!!"

Friday, November 14, 2003

When Patience Pays Off

I'm one of the lucky few that is assigned to tend the hundreds of screaming first - third graders for an hour during lunch recess. The hour can be long sometimes but there are occasional shining moments that make it all worth while.

There's a small hill leading down to the mini-field where the youngsters play football and soccer. Since it's been raining pretty heavy for the past few days there's a huge mud area right on that hill and quite frankly I've been watching that spot a lot lately. Why? Because I've been waiting for a kid to come flying past there and totally slide into it. I've been waiting all week and there have been quite a few close calls. But the little buggers always seem to be able to keep on their feet!

But today was my lucky day. Little Hunter, a second grader, came running towards the hill. Poor kid never saw it coming. He ran and ran and then WHAM! His feet slid out from under him, he caught a bit of air and then that kid face planted it right into the thick, gushy mud! Sara and I both saw it happen and since we're both mature adults, paid to tend the children, we immediately burst into laughter. Hunter looked up at us, covered from head to toe in mud, and saw us laughing. He got up, smiled at us (showing off all his missing teeth) and then ran off to finish his game of chase with his friends. Sometimes... just sometimes... patience really pays off.

My engine light went on just as I was entering the on-ramp to head toward Blackfoot for Marci's party last Friday. Today I decided to do something about it, guessing that it just needed an oil change. I pulled into Jiffy Lube and almost an hour later I pulled out with a still slightly unhappy car and $190 less in my pocket. I have to go back next month (if the car lasts that long) , when I get paid again, to get a new battery and an engine analysis to figure out why in the heck the stupid engine light is still on after the oil change, filter changes, etc that I paid for today. This sucks. But on the plus side, I think my car likes me again. I was able to get out of it twice this afternoon without it shocking me. Baby steps...

Wednesday, November 12, 2003


Today was a wretched day. And it's all Debbie's fault. You know, usually I have good associations with the name Debbie due to the fact that "Little Debbie" brings so much joy to millions of people all over the world. This Debbie, however, does not. Quite the contrary actually. Because this Debbie is crazy.

Debbie works at the elementary school with me and she tutors kids one-to-one all day long. This is what I do in the afternoons. Debbie sets up shop in the library and stays in the same tiny area all day long. Debbie thinks this is hard and whines to me about it a lot. "Hi Emily. Do you work all day, too? It's hard, huh?"

It's not hard.

We've recently run into some issues. Sara, my friend who also tutors in the afternoon witnessed a disturbing scene the other day when Debbie got in a fight with one of her students. She makes the kids tell her that she's nice and that they love her. She's mean to them and says she does it because she loves them and wants them to be safe, smart and happy. Debbie's a twisted human being. She's manipulative to the max. The kid came in with a cough and this is what followed...

Debbie: Are you still sick?
Kid: Kinda. Got this little cough.
D: But it's been like a week!
K: Ya.
D: Are you taking medicine or anything?
K: Nah, my mom says I don't need anything. I'm fine.
D: NO! That's not okay! You've been sick for a WEEK! Your mom is wrong! I love you and want you to be better!
K: That's something between me and my mom. I'm not that sick.
D: It is about me too! I'm your tutor and I love you! I see you every day and I want you to be better! I'll talk to your teacher and the principal about this! Your mom is wrong! Here, I have some pills in my purse. (She pulls out some pills.) Take it.
K: No, thank you. I don't want to.
D: Take it!!
K: No, I don't need it. I'm not going to.
D: Don't talk back to me!!

And so the session continued. The twisted, twisted session. The kid got upset. Debbie caught on and said, "Here, I'll only make you read two words instead of the whole list and you can read to yourself instead of out loud to me. Aren't I nice? I don't let all the kids do that but you're special. I'm nice, right?" The kid was scared and so he said, "Ya."

So Sara told me this story at recess and asked if I would sit by Debbie today to see what I thought about it before we reported it to our supervisor. I set up shop by where Debbie usually is and waited. Soon enough in came little Ramos. Debbie was manipulative and bossy but not too bad. But at the end she made the girl give her a hug. She looked so uncomfortable. I felt bad. Then in came the kid that Sara had seen yesterday. They started their session. The kid has a hard time reading (which is why he needs tutoring in the first place) because he reads too fast and skips over words. Instead of helping him slow down and showing him what he missed, Debbie just tells him he's wrong and makes him read it over and over again until finally she gives a deep sigh and tells him to move on. He does and then she shouts, "No! Go back and do it again!" He looks at her scared and says, "But you told me to move on." Debbie's ticked, "DON'T TALK BACK TO ME!! I'll take you to the principal and my supervisor! I'm sick of this! If I were your teacher you wouldn't talk back to me!" The kid started to cry (he's in the 6th grade) and Debbie told him to just go back to class and cool out. He got up to go when suddenly Debbie must have realized it's not a good idea to send a crying child back to class. "Wait!" she called. She chased after him and said, "I'm sorry. It's just that I love you and want you to be a good reader. Why do you talk back to me when I correct you?" They went and sat back down. He told her that she made him feel stupid. And she kept repeating that she loved him. She laid down ground rules (1. He couldn't talk back. 2. He had to do what she said and 3. They needed to have more fun together) and told him that if he followed them for a week he'd get a prize and then another one for reading. "See? I'll be giving you two prizes! I'm nice, right? Tell me I'm nice!"

It was like watching my own childhood and I just wanted to take the poor child away. She was so random. She was mean. She was manipulative. And she made kids hug her and tell her she was nice and that they love her. It was all too sick and twisted for me and I was shaking and wanted to throw up. I let my student leave early because he was doing such a great job and also because my mind was swimming. Debbie came up to me.

Debbie: Sorry you had to see that.
Em: Ya, me too.
D: It's just that he always talks back. He's such a problem.
E: I actually didn't hear him talk back.
D: Well you didn't hear everything! He DID!
E: I was sitting right next to you. I heard everything. He wasn't talking back. He was just a bit frustrated.
D: Yes he was! You didn't hear everything!
E: I gotta go. (Debbie walked away. I packed up.)
D: (Comes back as I'm leaving.) I'm sorry if I offended you.
E: I gotta go.

I was shaking like crazy and I had to work not to throw up. I could feel tears coming to my eyes and I just wanted to get out of there. Amy, my supervisor saw me. We had a chat with Sara and the principal about it. The whole thing just freaked me out and I never want to see that woman again. I never want her to be around kids again. I just never want to experience that again. Oh, gosh... here come the holidays...

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Little Homestar

There's a little bald boy in the next first grade classroom over from ours. His name is "David W." I don't know why his parents shaved his head but they did and the kid has been hiding behind hats ever since. But my favorite thing about this kid is that he sounds exactly like Homestar Runner. I kid you not! He sounds just like him and, since he's only six, many of the things he says are things that Homestar Runner would say too! It kills me! The kid's in my friend Sara's class and she told me about her family presentation. She had invited her brother, Daniel, since he was the only family in Utah that she had because he was attending BYU as well. The kids were so excited to see a "real college student" and when it came time for questions and answers they were all too excited.

David W. was first...
D.W.: What is your favorite key?
Daniel: What kind of key? A musical key?
D.W.: Yes.
Daniel: Well, my name's Daniel so I guess my favorite key is the key of D.
D.W.: (very pleased.) My name is David W. and the key of D is my favorite key as well."

Another little girl was next...
Girl: What is your favorite thing to ride?
Daniel: Write? Or Ride?
Girl: Ride!
Daniel: Uh... a boat I guess.
Girl: Woah! That is really cool!

The class oohed and ahed at the intellect, maturity and dashing good looks of this real college student. But nobody more than David W. "Woah, Danwiel. Dat is weawy coo!"

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Things I Don't Understand...

1. My Auto Insurance Policy
2. Why I have to become a UT resident with an UT license and an ugly UT plate for my cute car.
3. My parents.
4. My annual addiction to candy canes.
5. Why I've become the new designated ring leader for a new ring of insanity.
6. Math.
7. The importance and usefulness of the GRE.
8. Thanksgiving.
9. The last blog I wrote... huh? You get sugar how?
10. My cell phone plan.
11. How my room is a mess... again!!

Saturday, November 08, 2003

For Ann-Marie: To Free Up Her Thanksgiving

SUGAR BEETS TO SUGAR... (at home.)

1. Clean the sugar beets. (two 8-10 pound beets)
2. Slice it up small.
3. Cover with water and boil for about an hour until it's mushy.
4. Strain the juice, reserve the pulp.
Purify the Juice
5. Use about a 1/2 cup of milk of lime (acting as calcium hydroxide) and a shot of seltzer water (acting as carbon dioxide).
6. Let juice set for about 2 hours. (semi-solids will settle to the bottom)
7. Pour off the water on top (this can be fed to livestock)
8. Sugar mass is left... cook it very slowly and carefully. It will take about an hour and a half for it to turn think and molasses-black.
Seperation of the refined sugar from the molasses
9. Put the molasses gunk into a procolator (juicer) and make sure the lid's on tight.
10. The spinning with throw the white sugar into the bowl of the juicer and the molasses gunk drips out the spout.
11. The sugar will be a bit damp so allow it to air out a bit.
12. You now have about a cup and a half of refined sugar!

And that my friends is how you get sugar from sugar beets! Ta-da!!!

Thursday, November 06, 2003


Last night I had a dream that I got shot by somebody near my right shoulder. I don't know who shot me but I knew it was bad and lots of people saw it happen but nobody was willing to help me. I wasn't bleeding but it hurt a lot and I couldn't use my arm and it hurt to breathe. But since nobody else seemed to care or think it was a big deal, I did my best to shrug it off. I ignored it, too. I went throughout the whole dream... wandering around the Villa, hanging out with wardies and all the rest of my odd dream activities. I kept trying to forget about the fact that I was shot and put on a happy face but there were a couple of times that I would use my left hand to touch the bullet hole to see if it had gotten worse and I'd remember that I still hadn't taken care of the problem. There were a few times that I would complain about it to one of my friends that were there but they'd just say that I looked fine to them and if it was really serious then I wouldn't be able to look so happy. I figured they must be right. I mean, all those wardies couldn't be wrong, right? Just like the time when I was convinced that it was my birthday on December 16th. It's weird, though, because I never did really freak out about it. I just dealt with it. I pretended nothing was wrong. No, no... it's no big deal. Yes, I realize I've lost the use of my right arm but I'm guessing it'll take care of itself...

This dream was a sign of two important facts...
One... The holidays are coming -- I frequently get nightmarish dreams like this when holidays are approaching and family is involved... and
Two... I'm a huge freak.
Three (I lied about there being only two)... I need to stop drinking the bong water. Especially before bed...

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Baby Boy

Today I was exceptionally excited because I finally got my computer back. It's true. It was a mini miracle. I checked my email for the first time in ages and this is what I got...

I want to say I miss and love you so much. And I am disappointed and upsetu cannot come for thanksgiving. It broke the traditional. I'm sad and imagine all the good how wonderful family for thanksgiving. Now without u, now it ruin and worst. It will not feel like thanksgiving to me. So love you so much
W a Z z Y

So this is what I want to know... what do I do? That email broke my heart. And as much as I believe that I can in no way make Hansen Family Thanksgiving worse by me not being there, I feel bad. Because, well, he's young. And I'm a jerk. I promised that I would take care of him and then I ended up going to college and now I'm not even coming home for Thanksgiving? And what if my parents follow through with their threats? Quite frankly I wish the whole holiday would just disappear. Or that I could disappear for the holiday. I'd just rather not. Every single one of them up to this date has ended in tears, many of them mine. And I can't see this one being much different even if I am a thousand miles away. The day itself conjures up horrific memories and I turn into a huge freak. They're going to get me. They always do. By staying here I'm just postponing the inevitable and imposing on somebody else's family.

But maybe... just maybe... this will turn into a good thing. Maybe my family really will miss me and recognize that I'm an okay person. Nah!!

Some people got it and some people don't. I don't. At all. Not even a little bit. It's true that I have Vertigo. And it's amusing when I do my little stumbles and I even get the giggles sometimes when the world starts to spin. It's like being in the teacups and who doesn't love Disneyland? Yes, my imbalances can be fun.

But sometimes they're scary. Like when I'm at the top of a staircase looking down. And unfortunately my imbalance isn't restricted to physical tipsiness. In case you haven't noticed, my whole world is imbalanced. It's usually funny and I get a big kick out of not knowing what the heck I'm doing half the time or who I'm talking to or what's going on... whazit? But then sometimes it's scary. Like when I'm facing a big decision. Or when I'm facing a whole bunch of them at the same time. Like now.

Oh dear.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

My Halloween

I woke up excited because I knew that because I worked at an elementary school that this was going to be one GREAT day. I hurried and put on a psuedo-cowgirl costume, sprayed myself with sparkles and headed out the door. Here are a few of my favorite Wasatch trick-or-treaters...

Elijah as the Red Ninja Turtle (his little face painted) - "Grrr! I'm a tough Ninja Turtle! See?" He shows off his best karate moves. (a.k.a. he flails his arms around.)

Benjamin as a Frog - Ben walks out the way my dog walked when I put boots on her. He's dressed in a green sweat suit with eyes glued to his good. "I'm a frog." He hops a few times to prove it.

2nd grader as a BYU Football Player - Comes out with his head down. "I already had this stuff. I bought it before I knew that the Cougars were going to suck this year..."

Yes, work was hillarious. It made me want to have kids for a minute.

And the party that night topped the cake. Good times... good times...
One Giant Step

Yep, I finally did it. After months of whining and trying to decide if it was worth it, I finally signed up to take the GRE. One-hundred and thirty dollars is a lot to pay for test score that will most likely get me no where but, hey, who am I to take away the opportunity for the test scorers to have a good laugh? And since I have signed up to take the test and realize that the test date of December 13th is really not that far off, I have begun the studying process. In the beginning stages of this process I have realized that I have forgotten several important items of information from my undergraduate experience.
Just a few...
1) I'm not smart.
2) I'm not a good test taker.
3) It really is important to have a "lucky" pencil.
4) Studying apparantly doesn't help all that much.
5) I'm in big, big trouble.