Archive for September, 2009

September 25th, 2009

bah-humbug! yet another driving note

Matt and I were on the road today on our way to Fruitland. We stopped in Boise for a while and did some shopping and ate. While we were at the mall, I used the restroom. As I went to leave my stall, my student ID fell out of my pocket and into the toilet. An automatically flushing toilet. As soon as I moved to rescue my ID, the toilet flushed. Somewhere in the dark abyss that is the sewage of Boise Towne Mall, is my student ID.

Other things I’ve flushed or almost flushed:

  • my cellphone
  • at least three tubes of lip balm
  • a ponytail
  • a bra
  • an apron
  • a potholder (technically it wasn’t “flushed,” but I dropped it in an outhouse toilet, so that counts)
September 24th, 2009

I feel rich

Every semester the bookstore has a “Textbook Loyalty Party.” I’ve gone in the past, but nothing very exciting has ever happened.

Matt and I went to the party today, hoping to be selected for a shopping competition, where each participant would be given $100 to spend at the bookstore. We were really bummed when neither of us were selected to participate.

We each made sure to put a ticket in the pot for drawings throughout the day. We were bummed when we weren’t drawn for the iPod Touch or for the first round of cash. They were having a drawing for textbook cash, if your ticket was drawn they would reimburse you for all the money you spent on textbooks at the bookstore. I, of course, badly wanted to win because of all the books I bought at the bookstore this semester.

We stood there staring at our tickets, waiting to hear our numbers called. Number after number was called but not ours. During a little break, I asked Matt if I could have his ticket if  it was called (he only bought one book, compared to my 32). He handed me his ticket: 549525. The next number called: 549525. I screamed I was so happy!

I walked away with $340: 8 $20s and 18 $10s. What a day.

It's all real!

The Stack

September 23rd, 2009

my un-friends

I’ve been on this campus going on four years now. I have spent an unbelievable amount of time people-watching in the library. There are people who have shared these four years with me who have no idea I exist, but I know and love them. I have nicknames for all these people; the quirky people that I have seen repeatedly on campus or around Rexburg over the years. I realized while I was making a list of these “friends” that I have, that some of their nicknames may come across as mockery or mean, but I promise that I have no ill feelings toward any of them; I’m actually quite happy when I see them again at the beginning of the semester. I’m even happier when they sit next to me at a computer lab or somewhere and I know little things about their lives and they have no idea. Yes, it’s kind of stalkerish, just remember that I don’t follow these people home or anything, I just observe.

My friends:

Stevie-Dave (he’s actually graduated now, but he was one of the first and most quirky)

Mr. Big Voice (also graduated, miss his voice)

Touchy-feely (still here, married)

Val Kilmer (I haven’t actually seen him for a little while, I hope he’s not gone)

Lizard Boy (just returned from a two year mission)

Burnt Caramel (the same color head to toe with pink lipgloss somewhere in the lip region)

Quasimodo (sweetest man ever)

Ursala (sometimes scary)

Beach Boy Ken & Malibu Barbie (really cute couple, Ken could also be Hercules)

Model Girl (she’s so perfectly beautiful that she’s still single)

September 23rd, 2009

another driving note

Our car had a very loud rattle/rumble for months. It became the characteristic sound that communicated “Matt and Ashley are out and about.” We had grown accustomed to listening to the rumble and grumbling to ourselves about it.

Last weekend while I was driving 85 mph down the highway looking out the rear-view window, I noticed something flat and metal fly out from under our car. I slowed down to see if I could detect something wrong with our car…the car kept driving, same as always, no smoke or sounds of impending danger.

Our car no longer has a rumble. I find it very ironic that this took place while I was driving and not Matt, based on our driving stats. Of all the times the little metal thing could have flown off the car, it was while I was driving.

September 23rd, 2009

meeting my hero

I saw her. I listened to every presentation she gave while she was on campus. I gave her directions to the restroom. I shook her hand.

I was nervous to go and listen to her presentations; I didn’t want to be disappointed to find that she’s a jerk, just a regular person, or something else. She’s incredible. Lois Lowry deserves every ounce of respect that she gets. Her insights on our life experiences were honest and inspirational. As she began to speak, I would relax deeper into my chair and just listen. Most people can write and talk, but she has the words. She knows how to use words in a way that carries you to somewhere far from where you really are; she makes you listen.

It was wonderful to sit and listen to the charm and grace of a generation past. She was raised in the World War II era; a time when radios were still a staple in every home, when black and white was the only camera setting, when television was still new and exciting, when girls still wore dresses and ribbons, when literature really meant something. I love that she grew up in a forsaken way of life and writes for the children who will determine the future.

I spent most of Friday and Saturday with her, knowing in the back of my mind that I wanted to get a book for her to sign. I figured that if she was going to sign my book, I wanted it to be hardcover. I searched Rexburg high and low for a hardcover copy of any of her books with no success. I went back to the school where the bookstore had several for sale. When I returned to purchase just a regular paperback, I was told that they were all sold out. I was so disappointed. It meant so much to me that she signed a book for me.

It was 3:15 when I left Rexburg to go to the Barnes and Noble in Idaho Falls (30 minutes away), and Lois Lowry was going to stop signing books at 4:30. I drove about 75 mph in a 65 mph zone (yes, it meant enough to speed). I arrived at Barnes and Noble, literally ran into the store and asked the first store clerk where The Giver was. There were only two copies left. I bought them both and ran to the car. When 4:20 rolled around and I couldn’t see the Rexburg exit, I started going 85 mph. I’m glad I didn’t get pulled over, then again, I don’t really don’t trust our speedometer. I ran into the building with my two books at 4:29. I held the last two books she signed.

my book

September 17th, 2009

I just might cry

I’m gushing, absolutely gushing.

This Saturday Lois Lowry is coming to campus to be the keynote speaker in our annual Literature Conference. My heart beats a little faster as I type this. Registration is $30 for students; $30 to spend a day and listen to one of my favorite authors of all time. I usually don’t get all caught up in pestering authors to sign books and such, it seems almost juvenile, but I’m having Lois Lowry sign my book. She’s in her 70s, I may not get the chance again. I want to shake the hand of a master of language and literature.

It gets better.

I received an email inviting me, as an English major, to a private reading tomorrow night with Lois Lowry. I couldn’t be happier. A bonus hour and a half with this incredible writer just because I chose to be an English major.

It gets even better.

I’ve been invited to attend a class that she will teach tomorrow. It’s not even open to all English majors, it’s just a class and I’m going. I don’t know what she’s planning to teach, but it’ll be brilliant.

Tomorrow, I’m meeting one of my heroes.

September 17th, 2009

crunch time

We just started yet another semester of school and it’s been crazy busy; the busiest semester we’ve had by far. So far, I LOVE my classes. I can’t even put into words how much I love my professors and their enthusiasm for the subjects they teach (mostly English and literature).

It’s been a week of the new semester, this is what’s happened thus far:

  • I bought 32 books from the bookstore, more books than most college students read their entire college career and certainly more books than some people manage to read in their lifetime. I hope to read several thousand before all is said and done.*
  • I learned that Jonah blows bubbles when he’s ready to mate (I didn’t learn this at school actually, but I did recently learn this). I feel so bad for the little guy, he has no one to mate with and he’s going through all this trouble blowing cute little bubbles for her anyway.
  • I took an editing pre-assessment in my editing class. When I received my pre-assessment back from my professor, he had written a note on it saying that I scored significantly higher than many of my classmates and that I might get a little bored during the semester. I did not receive a perfect score, it’s not good enough. I want to go into editing and I’m not settling for anything less than perfection – even if I scored higher than my peers.
  • After being on campus for almost four years, I thought I had been on every floor in every building (including the roof and basement of the Romney building). I was wrong. This semester I have a class on the fourth floor of the Smith building. I have never been on the fourth floor before. It smells on the fourth floor. I have taken most of my English classes in the Smith building, but the fourth floor is dedicated to computer people and it smells. Now I’m wondering where else I haven’t been.
  • I got a job as a head model for the Art Department. They haven’t called me yet, but I’m a model when they need one. A good resume builder right there.

*It occurred to me sometime over the summer that if a person reads about 3 books a month (which is a lot more than most do) until they die, they will only read 2,124 books in their lifetime (assuming they begin reading 3 books a month at 21 and they live to be 80). I know this seems like a decent amount, but it depresses me. Consider this: over 172,000 books were published in the United States alone in 2008 (according to a division of the United Nations, because they keep track). I will never be able to read even a small fraction of how many books are published in one year, let alone in the 80 or so years of my life, books from other countries and books published in all the years before my life began. Sad times. Are there books in Heaven?

    September 16th, 2009

    introducing flat stanley

    My friend Amanda sent me Flat Stanley in the mail with the instructions to take a picture with him in my hometown or a place I visit. This was right before we left on our California Adventure, so the timing was perfect.

    Flat Stanley on the plane to California

    Of course, the first thing that I did was introduce Flat Stanley to Jonah. This went over very well: Jonah completely ignored Stanley.

    Well, we went to California and took many pictures of Stanley’s adventures. I think Stanley and I will continue to be friends and I have many fun plans for him.

    A few great Flat Stanley moments from San Francisco:

    Flat Stanley with a cable car operator who happens to look just like Mr. Miyagi from "The Karate Kid" Flat Stanley enjoying his first Giant's game at AT&T Park

    September 16th, 2009

    the many adventures of august

    It’s been a little while, but here’s a quick catch-up of our summer: Matt and I traveled to California and stayed there for the majority of the month of August. Every summer Matt’s family comes together for a week at the homestead. Here are a few highlights of our stay:

    • We (the whole family) posed for an old-fashioned photograph in Columbia, California and spent some time just enjoying the shops and sights of the little town.
    • Matt and I went swimming for the first time since August 2008.
    • The whole family took a tour of the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, California.
    • Six members of the family (Matt and me included) went to Tracy, California for a HamCram and either upgraded or got licensed for the first time to be Ham Radio operators. Now that I have a callsign, I feel like I have an alias. A HamCram is where you go and pretty much memorize all the possible questions and answers that are on the test and then take the test. I think the only reason I was able to pass was my vast experience as a college student.
    • Matt and I went to San Francisco for a couple of days, which resulted in a lot of “firsts” for me: first time to San Francisco,  first time riding public transportation, first time riding a cable car, first time really being exposed to homeless people, first professional baseball game. I’m sure there are more that I can’t think of off the top of my head.