Saturday, February 21, 2009

I guess its my turn...

That would do a lot to explain the blog lag. Not sure if that's a word. I'm not too hip to the "blog lingo," so if perchance a more experienced blogger would like to correct me, they're more than welcome to do so.

We had our first official date night. We had a gift card from the Olive Garden (thanks suegros!), so that took care of dinner. The main event, so to speak, was our venture to the Dallas arts district for DMA "Late Nights." Every third Friday night, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Crow Asian Art Museum are open until midnight. Beyond the cool art, there were a number of live music dance performances, free wine-tasting, and presentations by a silk worm wrangler.

It was really fun, and not at all expensive. The Crow is free and the DMA's only $10 (not sure how much if you have student ID). We'll definitely check this out again.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sweet survival

Well, I made it through Saul. Hallelujah!

It made me sad to only see Husband for a half an hour in the morning (6am) before he left for work, and then another half hour or so before we went to bed (11pm or so). Yes, I was definitely glad to welcome Saturday, the first Saul-less day. And this week has been gloriously Saul-free.

Our landlord, the coolest dude ever, keeps getting cooler and cooler. This weekend, we saw him riding one of the horses (bareback), and we chatted for a while. He asked if it might be alright if he called us up sometime to go sailing on a nearby lake. Also, he has been tilling the garden directly behind our little apartment for us to use for planting. He's the coolest, and really makes us want to stay where we are just so we can enjoy all that there is around us. (They also ninja-planted some pansies by our door. I don't know when they did it!)

So, yesterday I went to the public library to check out some books on gardening and composting. To my surprise and dismay, the selection there was quite sub-par by my estimation. There were only a handful of books about vegetable gardening, several of them having been published in the UK. Not that I have anything against the Brits or that I think that they don't know anything about gardening, but one must admit that there is marked difference between the climates of GB and TX. I welcome their advice, but would prefer something more locally informed.

I discovered I don't know the first thing about gardening. I've had reasonable success with my former gardening experiences (those little lima beans I planted in the plastic cups worked pretty well), but from what I gather, it's quite a different endeavor to plant one's own garden. Everything makes a difference: where you plant things, what kinds of seeds you use, how much you water, etc. And composting! I thought you just put a bunch of trash in a heap and then put that on your garden, but actually, there's a lot of that sciencey stuff behind it, apparently. You have to have a good balance of carbon- and nitrogen- rich materials, as well as sufficient amounts of water. Who knew? Science is amazing.

So, if anyone has any garden tips (what I should or shouldn't plant, how to nurture my little plantings, how long to let my horse manure rot before putting it on the compost heap, etc.) please let me know! I know SOMEONE reading this blog has to know something about gardening.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Saul, Saul, Saul.

My life this week has been consumed by Saul, the wonderful oratorio by G.F. Handel. I'm the T.A. for the baroque orchestra, which has been madly scrambling to get this performance-ready for our two concerts, one of which was last night and the other of which is tonight. I am exhausted, and today is the BIG day.

Being T.A. means that I get to haul harpsichords, violones, timpani, a portative organ, a celesta, and move lots of chairs and stands to set up the orchestra, as well as making sure everybody has their music and everything they need . It's been a glorious week for that. And today, our concert is off-campus--in fact, in Dallas. That means I get to drive the equipment truck (full of all those instruments and more) to and from the venue. I'm terrified. Please pray for me.

The ride home will be especially fun. The oratorio is three hours long, and our start time is 7:30. That means we'll be done about 10:30, at which point we'll get to load up the truck, drive it back to school, unload it, and return it to the facilities place. We may be done by about 2am. This is exciting to me, considering I was up this morning at 5:30 to be at a 6am seminary teachers' inservice. Did you guys know there's a five-thirty in the MORNING, too?

So, I'm about to head home for a nap. We drive the van down at about 2pm, unload and set the stage, go back to Denton, load the buses at 5pm for 6pm call, play our concert, then proceed as outlined above.

I will be so glad when this is behind me.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Teaching 101

So Rachel and I have been attending the Denton Spanish-speaking branch for the past few weeks. A more accurate description of this unit would be "bilingue" or perhaps "Spanglish." There's a fair amount of both languages bouncing off the chapel walls every week.

Last week the branch president asked if we would meet with him later this week. The reason was to offer us callings, or responsibilities in the branch (all positions are filled by volunteers in our church).

So, today I began as a young adult Sunday school teacher. Rach will be teaching seminary, in addition to helping me team-teach my class. Needless to say, we're sticking with this branch until we eventually move.

I think Sunday school is pretty well-understood by most, so I'll skip to explaining a bit about seminary. In LDS culture, "seminary," refers to an additional class taken outside of church where high-school age students can study the different books of our cannon: The New and Old Testaments, The Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants. As a convert, I missed out on this experience, which tends to be quite enriching from what I hear.

I haven't taught a class in a while, religious or otherwise. It was a bit tricky considering I have yet to get a feel for the branch itself. I don't really know anyone's name yet. So I sort of hit the ground running if you will. I was of course nervous, and it showed. My class of five (including my wife) seemed kinda bored with the first fifteen minutes. Thankfully things went better for the rest of the lesson. I loosened up, sat down, and inadvertently opted for a seminar, as opposed to lecture, approach to finishing the class. It was nice. People started sharing thoughts and experiences, and I walked away feeling I had a good first day. Win-win.

Teaching is a great thing. I've had a lot of practice in church, as well as the mission field. Every time I always walk away learning more than anyone I attempt to teach. Still, its an important skill to obtain. Like all things, its a process. Hopefully I can remember one of the most important lessons in teaching: never quit being a student.