Friday, May 30, 2008

have you ever seen the rain?

That song has been looping through my head for the past several days. Well, one line of the chorus, anyway: "I want to know, have you ever seen the rain . . ." over and over and over! I think it's because it won't stop raining. Hmmm . . . maybe I should start singing "It's Raining Men"--it couldn't hurt :-)

We actually didn't have any rain today, which was really nice. There's lots of water just sitting around . . . some ditches had water in them a month ago. It just keeps raining! My parents' sump pump kicks on every three minutes or so. One of my coworkers said she has six inches of water in her basement! Boy, am I glad I live in a second floor apartment!

Some severe storms came through last night. Here in Nebraska, we tend to get rather blasé about storms because it seems we're constantly having severe thunderstorm and/or tornado warnings in the summer. The lightning started here around 5 p.m. . . . by that time, Kearney, which is about 1 1/2 hours west of us, had already been hit by a tornado. The same storm produced a tornado at Aurora, 20 minutes south of us. But when it was all said and done, we had rain--no hail, and no tornadoes. Sometimes, I just take for granted that God's going to protect us. Stephanie said she feels like Central City is invincible--we have warnings, but as far back as we can remember, we haven't had a tornado. Seeing the damage in Kearney and Aurora made me think about what I'd do if CC did get hit. And you know what? It's all just stuff. Would it be hard to lose my things? Of course! But life and the ones you love are so much more important than any thing you might own.

That said, last night I was much more concerned about being able to watch the season finale of LOST than about the threat of tornadoes (remember what I said about being
blasé about storms?) Both the Kearney and Lincoln ABC stations were, with good reason, preempting programming in favor of storm coverage. Then the Lincoln station announced they would run the finale at 12:05 a.m. Of course, fanatics that we are, Val and I had to watch it. Then we had to discuss it for another 25 minutes. I got to bed around 2:45. Was it worth it? You bet!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

RIP, beloved tree

One of NC's landmarks is a horribly bent tree between the girls' dorm and Ad building. Hundreds of students have climbed on this tree throughout the years, and it has always been a favorite picture-taking spot. In fact, when college friends Jen and Sarah were here a few weeks ago, we couldn't resist:

Last week, my dad mentioned that he'd been thinking of taking the tree out, as it seemed to be leaning farther down. I begged him not to, since the tree is special to so many people, and it's obviously still living. At the end of last week, several severe storms came through. This is what I saw when I arrived at work this morning:

RIP, beloved tree

Monday, May 26, 2008

what's wrong with my plants?

I definitely don't have a green thumb. It's closer to black, kinda like my mother's. I currently have four plants. One, I have amazingly kept alive for nearly 2 1/2 years. Of course, it's one that doesn't require much water or sun, so that helps! I've had my second plant, an African Violet, for about three months. It's on my table, so I see it all the time and sometimes remember to water it. My newest two plants I received as gifts about two weeks ago. They both aren't looking so good! I'm not sure what to do for them--I water them (I don't think too much), but the only place in my apartment that gets good sunlight is in the entryway right outside my door, and it gets really hot there. Any suggestions?

These are geraniums with something else thrown in for good measure. The person who gave them to me didn't know what they were, either. See those little buds? They were there two weeks ago, too . . . and they've never shown any signs of opening.

These are some kind of impatiens. The tag said they need lots of sunlight--not ideal for my apartment! They're looking pretty sickly!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

things i love this memorial day weekend

  • a picnic in the park with friends and family
  • staying up until 3 reading a ridiculous Christian romance . . . and not caring since i don't have to work in the morning
  • getting new contacts that actually aren't blurry
  • Unbeatable Banzuke--it's like Ninja Warrior on steroids
  • Hy-Vee brown sugar & cinnamon bagels ($0.79 each)
  • American Gladiators marathon
  • the National Memorial Day Concert. it always makes me cry . . . especially when they do the Armed Forces medley, and all the veterans stand and sing their branch's anthem.
Here are some pictures from our picnic. (It's my first slide show . . . here's hoping it works!)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

why i do what i do

Contracts for next year recently went out, and for the first time since I've been at my school, I'm not thinking about bolting for the door. But I have been doing some thinking about what keeps me at my job. If you asked me what I like about it, I could give you lots of answers: speech, The Advance, being around my family, etc. However, there's just one thing that keeps me coming back--my students. Who would have thought I would say that? I wasn't ever going to be a teacher. But somewhere along the line, I fell in love with the internationals. I'm crazy about them! I love talking with them about their home countries. I love teaching them grammar. I love having them on my speech team. I love going on trips with them. I love having them over for a meal. I love making "lemon pie" (lemon bars) for them. And when they graduate, transfer, or just leave for the summer, I miss them.

This is my Intermediate ESL class, minus Dan (Taiwan), who had already graduated. Alice (Korea) is the girl on the left. She has a twin who looks absolutely nothing like her--you wouldn't even be able to tell they're related. She is one of the hardest workers I have ever met. She joined our class in January after she got bumped up from Beginning ESL, and once she started getting the best grades in the class, everyone else realized they needed to start working harder! Arisa (Japan) is next to Alice. She always made me smile, and she acted like a mother to the boys. Her English improved dramatically throughout the year. David (Korea) is on the left. He's holding the "lemon pie" I made in celebration of our last day of class. He would always greet me with a "Good morning, Miss Becky"--no matter what time of the day it was! Paul (Korea) is on the right. My friend Melissa calls him "Exclamation Paul" because he only speaks in exclamation points. Paul makes me think--he always has excellent, deep questions, especially relating to Christianity. He is obsessed with finding me a husband . . . to the point where he offered to set me up with his "fat, mean" uncle. When I asked why he'd want me to marry someone mean, he said, "Because then I could call you Aunt Becky!"

I'm excited to meet next year's class, but I don't know how it could be any better than this one!

"it makes your apartment look woodsy"

Tina was one of my favorite ESL students. I had her for Intermediate ESL last year, and this year, she ended up joining the speech team and taking my speech class. More than just being a student, she really became a friend. I was sad to see her graduate, but her cousin owns one of the Chinese restaurants in Grand Island, and she's staying with him this summer, so I hope to see her a few more times before she goes to UNL in the fall. Right before she left campus, she told me she had a gift for me. Many of the Asian kids give gifts from their home countries to their teachers, so I was expecting something like that. Instead, she gave me this:
How much cooler is that?!? She got a 3rd place ribbon in pencil drawing at the conference art contest--I didn't even know that she could draw!

I wanted to find a frame, and I figured that Hobby Lobby would be the best place to go. The prices made me want to run away, but then I saw that frames were 50% off. Gotta love Hobby Lobby! I have lots of colors of wood in my apartment (beggars can't be choosers), but this perfectly matched my beloved Shopko table. Val came over just as I was finishing the framing process, and after I hung it, she said, "It makes your apartment looks woodsy. Kinda rustic. Like a log cabin or a ski lodge." I guess with the couch, it kind of does. What do you think?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

early onset alzheimer's?

Yesterday, I had a debate with myself. I couldn't decide if the year was 2007 or 2008. I had to look at a calendar to figure it out! This wasn't the first time something like that has happened, either. A few years ago, I couldn't remember if I was 23 or 24. I had to do the math: OK, I was born in '81, and this is 2006 (at least I knew what year it was!), and I haven't had my birthday yet, so I must be 24!

This afternoon, the principal popped out of his office to ask, "Is this 2008?" I thought he was making fun of me. Nope--he really didn't know! I think this is a bad sign. I'm 26; he's 27 . . . shouldn't we still be sharp enough to know what year it is?

the big move

I've decided to join the rest of the world and post on a "real" blog instead of MySpace. This is a big deal for me, as I'm still not sure I want this stuff just "out there." Here are a few of my most recent MySpace posts to get things started . . .


If you haven't seen Bella yet, rent it. It's totally worth your time.

hanging out with my boys

We had a staff picnic at the music teacher's house tonight, about 20 miles northwest of town. It was so fun to just hang out with my coworkers away from the school setting. I also got to play with two of my favorite boys in the whole world—Toby and Malachi. Malachi is 2-1/2 or 3, and his parents adopted him from China just less than a year ago. (Toby and their other brother, Bennett, also were adopted from China. And for the record, Bennett is also one of my favorite boys in the world—he just wasn't there tonight!) At one point, Malachi climbed onto Steph's lap, pointed at me, and said, "Is that you?" He then ran over to me, pointed at Steph, and asked, "Is that you?" It was so cute! I didn't think we looked that much alike, but we sure did to Malachi tonight!

The house we were at is way out in the country. I think I'd like to live in the country someday. Not by myself—I'd probably get creeped out—but with my family. Of course, some people think my town is practically like living in the country.

After watching The Office season finale, I have a bone to pick with Jim. Sure, Andy steals your thunder by proposing first, but seriously! Pam wouldn't have cared! Guys, take note—don't let circumstances stop you from proposing. In my opinion, at least, the "how" of the proposal isn't nearly as important as the proposal itself. So what if it's not the most romantic proposal in the history of the world—just do it!

My friend Jen blogs much more faithfully than I do. On Friday, she wrote about standards—she will not date a guy who . . . Most of her standards I agree with, with the exception of not dating a guy who drives a pickup. I drove a pickup for a while . . . what good Nebraska boy doesn't drive one? And she missed a couple of "big ones" for me: I will not date a guy who smokes. I will not date a guy who will not lead. I will not date a guy who is shyer than I am. I do find it interesting, though, that my list is getting smaller as I get older. Does that mean I'm getting desperate and willing to settle? I don't think so—it's just that I'm losing the "frivolous" wishes (he doesn't really have to play the piano) and thinking more about the traits that actually matter. Besides, it's all still hypothetical . . .

Prince Caspian & other musings

I saw Prince Caspian with friends last night. Entertainment-wise, I'd give it an A. But in terms of staying true to the story, a C- would be generous. (If you haven't seen the movie yet and plan to, it'd be best to skip to the next paragraph now!) I fell in love with The Chronicles of Narnia at a very young age. I've read the books (or had them read to me) three or four times, and I've seen the BBC version of Prince Caspian many times. I'd heard rumors that this movie changed many story details, but I had no idea how many! From a completely invented "storming the castle" battle to Caspian and Peter almost "freeing" the White Witch to Aslan not appearing until the very end of the movie, I couldn't believe all the changes. The last straw, however, was something I'd generally be all for: romance. But a romance between Caspian and Susan? Give me a break! When they kissed at the end, one of the guys I was with said (a bit too loudly) exactly what I was thinking: "Now they've ruined the movie!"

I used part of my economic stimulus money to buy myself a keyboard. Wait a minute, Becky plays the piano? Yes, albeit poorly. I've been having a blast messing around on it. I bought a book called The Ultimate Pop Sheet Music Collection with songs ranging from the '60s through '04. I've discovered that while I detest The Notebook with every fiber of my being, the music is actually really pretty. And then today, I came across the song "Dreaming of You." Check out these lyrics from the chorus: "And there's nowhere in the world I'd rather be than here in my room, dreaming about you and me." Um, there's nowhere else you'd rather be? How about actually with the person?

School's out for the summer! Since we can dress more casually during the summer (and since gas prices are insane), I bought a bike to ride to work. It's not a pretty bike, but I got it for $19, so I can't complain!

My boss asked me to consider being the yearbook sponsor next year. I don't have to make a decision for a while, which is good. What was funny, though, was how my boss asked me. He started talking about how the yearbook sponsor needs to be organized, and then he said, "And you are so organized." I couldn't help it; I burst out laughing! I was thinking, Haven't you seen my desk???

You never know what you'll hear on the radio. Mom & I often listen to "Classics by Request" on Friday afternoons on Nebraska Public Radio. Some songs are requested just about every week, like "The Flower Duet" (on Superman Returns) or "Fortune--Empress of the World" (from that Captial One commercial). Every so often, someone requests something . . . different. Like last week, when we heard "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem"! At first, I was stunned that they would be playing anything "Christian" . . . and then I realized that the even crazier thing is it's not anywhere close to Christmas! And then they played an orchestral version of "Bohemian Rhapsody"--and I think I giggled through the whole thing! My mom really enjoyed it--but she would loathe the actual song!

My 11-year non-vomiting streak is over. Prior to a week ago, the last time I threw up was my sophomore year of high school. I was dreaming that Mr. Musgrave (our Bible teacher) was driving the school bus, and he ran over my stomach. I woke up, rolled over, and puked. You don't want the details of this recent bout with the stomach flu, but one good thing did come of it . . . I lost 13 pounds!