Sunday, October 5, 2014

20 things that make me smile :)

So I have had some obstacles to overcome in the past few weeks, but thanks to many factors, I’ve come to discover that the best way to live life is with a smile. They are hard to come by at times, but yesterday I started thinking about all of the little things that bring a smile to my face and heart whenever I encounter them. What makes YOU smile?

  1. Sunrises
  2. Sunsets
  3. Clouds, especially when they are accented by streaming light
  4. The smell of brewing coffee and the coziness that greet me when I walk into a coffee shop
  5. Bookstores and libraries
  6. Puppies
  7. Kittens
  8. Rainbows
  9. Warm rain
  10. Acoustic guitar music
  11. “Home” by Phillip Phillips
  12. Super-soft blankets
  13. Comfy pajamas
  14. Cinnamon
  15. Messages from my friends
  16. Picturesque landscapes
  17. Waterfalls
  18. “You’re the best teacher ever” and “I love you”s from my kiddos
  19. Craft stores
  20. The color purple - not the book, the actual color :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Potter and ramblings...

I have often found myself so immersed in a book that I am reading that it permeates the rest of my life.  The series that tends to cause this effect most is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.  Despite the fact that I’ve read them and seen the movies multiple times, I am still so engaged in the books that I find it hard to put them down.  And like many other books I’ve read, even when I’m not reading them, I’m thinking about them.  With this series, it’s gone even further, however.  I find myself thinking about real-life circumstances in terms of characters and situations in the Harry Potter books.  I am halfway through my reread of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince now (the sixth of seven books, for those not familiar with the series), but I can’t believe how much some things in Order of the Phoenix (the fifth book) paralleled things in the real world.  Government officials who have no background in teaching taking over education, changes being made which are completely illogical and unfair, and people being bullied by peers and superiors are just a few of the things I noticed that reminded me of the real world today.  J.K. Rowling’s books really are amazingly well-written, especially when one thinks that they were originally targeted towards tweens and teens.  They are so much more thought-out than many young adult series, and the Harry Potter world is incredibly rich with detail and background.

Although I have had a relaxing and fun summer, I can’t help feel regret that I didn’t work on certain things I should have done, like de-hoardering our back room or trying to work through the mounds of laundry forever stacked in our bedroom.  I have no idea how I have so many clothes that I still have things to wear despite this stack...couldn’t have anything to do with buying new clothes instead of washing old ones, could it? ;)  Reading the Harry Potter series, however, has helped me escape into a world with different, bigger problems than the ones I face in the coming months.  I don’t want to think about the fact that I am now preparing myself to begin a year in a job that I never expected nor wished to have.  I knew that I was beyond lucky to be able to get a job teaching the fall after I graduated from college, but now I really realize how lucky I was to have that dream job for few short years.  I was actually teaching the subject I had been trained to teach.  I was able to share my love of music with my students.  I am now, because I decided to “make myself marketable” and become certified in all subject K-5, having to begin teaching subjects for which I have no passion whatsoever.  Some people will say, “Well, at least you have a job.  Many certified teachers can’t find any teaching jobs.”  I understand that, and I am very grateful that I am still employed.  However, my dream in life was not to teach kids how to type or throw a ball (I don’t even know how to properly throw a ball myself, so that should be interesting).  It was to help kids on their journey by adding music to their lives.  For me, earning a broader certification meant that some day instead of teaching music I might have my own classroom where students learned math, social studies, science, and ELA from me, or that I might teach Spanish (which I ended up doing for several years).  Never did it cross my mind that a district would want me to teach a specific subject other than music or Spanish.

I know I must push through this surprise and do the best I can with what I am assigned to teach, and I will.  I am a good teacher, and I will find a way to teach students in these unfamiliar subjects.  However, I can’t help but wondering again whether going into teaching was the right thing to do.  I can’t imagine doing anything else, but when the passion is taken out of the career for which you were passionate, what does one do?  I can blame the entire situation on the “problems with public education today,” but that really won’t help at all.  I guess I just always thought that I had chosen a path which would make me happy and make a difference, and I am starting to see that I may have been wrong.  It’s a sad day when you realize that no matter how hard you hope, things will turn out the way they turn out, and there’s not much you can do about it.

And meanwhile, I escape into a fantasy world.  Ah, Harry...what can be done when the Ministry has all the power to decide our fates?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Changing tides...yet again

So another school year has passed, and my job is changing yet again.  For the past seven years I have taught in my district, but I have never had two years where I’ve actually taught the same grade levels or subjects.  Every year something has changed.  That kept me on my toes and kept things from getting stale, sure, but it has also made it so that I never know what to expect and have never been able to flesh out my program completely.  I’ve dealt with it, but it’s been frustrating.  I’m going to try to remember back all those years, despite having a faltering memory these days, just to lay out the details for myself.  I already feel like I’ve forgotten what I’ve done because of all of the changes.

2007-2008 - DK-4 General Music, 3/4 elective choir, Title One supplement
2008-2009 - Sp. Ed. Preschool-1 General Music, 1st grade Spanish, 5th General music
2009-2010 - Special Ed. Preschool-1 General Music, 1-2 Spanish
2010-2011 - 2-4 General Music, 2-3 Spanish
2011-2012 - 2-4 General Music and Spanish
2012-2013 - 2-5 Spanish, 2-3 General Music
2013-2014 - 5th Spanish, 2-3 (only part of 3) General Music, 4th elective choir

I think I have it down right, although it seems even more overwhelming looking back.  Guess what I’m teaching in the 2014-2015 school year?  As far as my schedule shows right now, I’ll be teaching K-3 “Technology” (by which they pretty much mean keyboarding) and 4th grade music.  If I’m lucky and motivated enough, I’ll also be doing an after-school 4th and 5th grade choir, out of the goodness of my heart and to help improve my sanity, since my choir this year was one of the best parts of my job.

I didn’t want this entry to be a rant-fest, and I realize that that is what it has become.  The one thing that keeps me going, despite the fact that I’m assigned to teach a subject I’ve never had the desire to teach and have never been specifically trained to teach, is that maybe I’ll be able to spend more of my out-of-school time enjoying non-school-related activities.  Since the majority of each week I won’t be teaching a subject about which I’m passionate, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to focus more on enjoying my non-working life.  One thing I do NOT want to do is end up devoting all of my time outside of school to trying to get my mind around teaching kindergarteners to type.  Another thing that keeps me going is that this assignment is hopefully temporary.  There’s a possibility that I’ll enjoy it immensely, but I highly doubt that, and I can always hope that I’ll be back to teaching general music all day in a couple of years.

Meanwhile, I’ve devoted about 0% of the first two weeks of my vacation to thinking about next year, since it’ll probably only get me down.  I can only be thankful that I have not been assigned to an even more unpleasant position and wonder why I decided I needed to be certified in so many varying subjects. :P  End unexpected rant.  On to better things.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

No one Youer than You

So when a second-grade girl calls you “bubble butt,” something inside you shifts.  Yes, the culprit is probably eight years old at the most.  She has no sense of tact, just like most of her classmates.  She probably doesn’t even know what “bubble butt” means, although I can’t imagine someone not realizing what that phrase would mean.  It’s pretty obvious...although, now that I think about it, it could mean someone who can blow bubbles out of their butt...but I’m kind of doubting that was her thought.  Despite all these things, I had inside factors working against me.  Since puberty, I’ve been self-conscious about this bubble butt of mine, and my body has obviously filled out even more since then.  Lately, I’ve been particularly aware of my inability to disguise said butt in my work clothing.  Today was the first day I’d worn a certain pair of pants in a really long time because of this, and so this little girl’s comment hit a nerve.  For the next hour after that, I was worried that people were judging whether my pants were too tight, or my butt was too jiggly, yadda yadda.  It was pretty dumb.  As teachers, we definitely have to have thick skins in many cases, but sometimes it’s difficult.

Still, it got me thinking about body image.  Lately I’ve been working hard to help my students feel good about themselves.  It’s difficult to promote self-esteem when since infancy, children are bombarded with images and messages discouraging certain body types and glorifying others.  I loved my Barbies, but it is sad that none of them had a realistic body shape.  Older family members complained about their own weight in front of me since I was young, and as I hit puberty, I had multiple family members and friends comment about my wide hips or protruding buttocks.  Not something a growing girl really needs to hear, but all in good fun, right?  I know that none of the things I heard about my shape were meant to hurt, but they did.  I grew up thinking that I needed to minimize this and maximize that, to the point where the thought of trying on new clothes (pants in particular) just makes me depressed.  I have never been overweight for my height, but I used to think that I could only look good enough if you could see my bones.  Luckily, I never took it out on myself in the form of an eating disorder, but the negative feelings about my own body have festered inside for a long time.

I’ve definitely become more confident with my body as I’ve gotten older and realized that one does not have to resemble a twig in order to be beautiful.  However, I still find myself saying negative things about my appearance daily, unconsciously, as if it is perfectly okay to constantly put myself down.  I pray that I’ll be able to grow confident enough in myself to not criticize my appearance in front of my future children.  My daughter certainly does not need to hear that her mother has a spare tire or a butt that’s too jiggly or hips that are too wide.  I want her to love herself for who she is because everyone is amazing in their own way, and body shape should not get in the way of seeing how truly outstanding she is.  How can she be comfortable in her own skin if her mother is not comfortable in hers?  If she witnesses me criticizing myself, will she not think I may be criticizing her, as well, however discreetly?  The truth is, I’ve always been much more critical with myself than I am with other people, but she won’t know that.

A program with which I am currently involved teaches about having a positive outlook on life and a healthy self-image, and I am hoping that this will help improve my thoughts about myself.  I decided this year to also focus my elementary choir’s spring concert on having the courage to follow your dreams, believing in yourself, and not letting negative people get you down.  If I start bombarding my girls with positive messages as opposed to the negative ones so prevalent in the world today, I’m hoping I might be able to have an impact on them and on myself.  Live true, all.  As a friend said recently on another friend’s blog, “you be you.”  And in the immortal words of Dr. Seuss, Today you are You; that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”  Truthfully, you are amazing.  No one can take your “you-ness” away from you.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Six things I really thought I (and the world in general) wouldn’t have to Deal With after I turned 30

So at one point, thirty seemed to be a ridiculously old, mature age.  The twenties were for cool, young people.  Everyone who was an “adult” was “at least thirty.”  Thirty-year-olds were parents.  Thirty seemed a LONG way off for me.  There were some things I just took for granted as not having to deal with once I turned into a “grownup.”

  1. Acne.  Seriously?  I heard all of these awesome, exciting things about how acne was just a teenage thing.  I looked forward to the day when I wouldn’t have to worry about new, ugly zits cropping up on my chin and other annoying areas.  I dreamed of the perfect skin I would have in my twenties.  Well, world, at least for me, acne did not end once I stepped into my twenties.  In fact, it didn’t stop once I reached thirty, either.  I guess I can always hang in there for forty being the magic age, but I’m almost positive I’m going to be eighty years old, full of wrinkles and age spots, and STILL get pimples.  Le sigh.
  2. Middle school-style drama.  Yes, puberty was a tortuous time for me, like it is for so many others.  Not only are you having to deal with all of these awkward body changes, but people start to get really catty, and rude, and gossipy.  That ends after high school, right?  College?  Once you get into the workforce?  Once you turn thirty, and your peers are wise and mature enough to realize that bullying people, making snide remarks, stabbing backs, gossiping, scapegoating, forming cliques, etc., etc. won’t get you anywhere?  No.  It never ends.  The only time we were free of this drama was prior to puberty.  Unfortunately, kids are getting into this earlier and earlier in life...Turn back, kids!  Slippery slope!
  3. Not being able to control my emotions.  Okay, don’t get me wrong.  I wasn’t naive enough to think that I wouldn’t have those certain moments in which emotions would take over.  However, I really thought that once I was “really an adult,” I’d be able to get frustrated, angry, embarrassed, or extremely stressed without the incident resulting in tears.  I’ve certainly failed at that aspiration.  It would certainly be lovely if I could learn to control my emotions better, but I really don’t see much changing at this point, since all that’s changed since childhood is that I don’t sound like a siren wailing anymore.  (Well, except in VERY special cases, and no one but my husband gets to witness those episodes... ;) )
  4. Anxiety when meeting new people.  I thought that “adults” had some acquired ability allowing them to socialize with new people as easily as they could with acquaintances.  For some reason, I figured that one day, I would have absolutely no problem walking into a room of strangers.  That tight feeling in my chest before stepping into a completely new experience?  That wouldn’t happen in adulthood!  I beg to differ.  If anything, the anxiety has increased.  When we allow ourselves to be afraid of things, those fears just escalate over time.
  5. People who start smoking.  This is obviously a society-wide issue, not a personal issue, other than the fact that I can’t breathe when people are smoking anywhere near me.  I never in a million years dreamed that restaurants and bars would be smoke-free, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised with that development.  However, I cannot believe, with all of the things we know about the dangers of cigarette smoking, with the high prices of such a highly-addictive drug, that people would still start smoking.  I see teenagers and people in their twenties with cigarettes, and I just can’t wrap my mind around it.  I understand why people keep smoking -- it’s addictive, obviously.  However, to begin just makes absolutely no sense to me.  Hopefully one day, the number of new smokers will begin to dwindle, and young people will eventually avoid cigarettes altogether, but I unfortunately have much less hope for that now.
  6. Feeling like I’m not an adult.  Is there a time when people really start feeling like they are grownups?  Instead of making me feel like an adult, turning thirty made me realize how young thirty really always has been.  Like I said, I really did think that once you were in your thirties you were completely grown up (AKA, old).  The characters in Friends were grownups, right?  And they were supposed to be in their upper twenties!  Will I ever feel like I’m really an adult?  When I have kids, will I then feel like an adult?  Will I still feel younger than I am when I turn forty?  Fifty?  Seventy?  I can only imagine now that people in their eighties may still feel (not physically, obviously, but mentally) like they’re still in their thirties or forties.  Readers, do you feel younger than your biological age?  Does Betty White still feel like she’s thirty?  I have a feeling she does.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Confessions of a Crazy Music Teacher

Oh, the conference.  The time where I may be able to gain some invaluable tools and ideas for my classroom.  I may also be faced with realizing I’m in a completely inapplicable session and have to debate whether to face the embarrassment of walking out halfway through, amid the stares of the other attendees, presenter, and presider.  But most likely, I will be faced with the negative side of being an ambivert.  From what I’ve read (mostly in title of articles, I’m not gonna lie), ambiverts are supposed to get the best characteristics of both introverts and extroverts, but I’m pretty sure I got the worst.  Walking into the registration area, I was suddenly back in time, walking in on the first day of school in a new class, where everyone else seems to know one another, and I’m the outsider.

It’s dumb, and I know it’s probably just because of the way I’m awkward with people, but I’ve just always seemed so alone in the music education world.  I think it all started with my not-so-welcoming experience in undergrad music.  So many music educators I know are still friends with others from their undergrad program.  The conference is an opportunity for them to get together and catch up.  Hardly any of my friends in college were music people.  Dalton just felt uncomfortable to me during those years -- fifth grade all over again.  All the girls had already been in a choir together their freshman year, so they had bonded, keeping me out of the loop once I was in ensembles and classes with them.  Everyone seemed to know more than me about almost every facet of music, and there was SO much competition, which is not my thing when it comes to music.

Luckily, my masters program in music education made me appreciate Dalton SO much more, and I was able to meet many more people with whom I could better connect.  Still, it takes me YEARS hanging out with people before I really become comfortable with them.  This is where the worst sides of my ambivert(?) personality come in.  Like extroverts (I’m guessing...I’m really not an expert at all), I enjoy being in social situations.  Or, at least, I enjoy feeling comfortable in social situations.  I like hanging out  with people.  Sometimes when I’m by myself, I search out people with whom I can spend time because otherwise I feel lonely.  However, like introverts (still, guessing), I feel anxiety in social situations in which I am not extremely familiar with the other people.  As you can imagine, this makes things difficult for me.  I love having friends and having things to do outside of my home, but I also have no idea how to meet new people or, heaven forbid, actually become friends with them.  I really have no idea how I already have friends.  It’s a bit of a mystery to me.

This inconvenient dichotomy of my personality makes things like large-scale conferences in which hundreds (thousands?) of people in varying aspects of music education are milling about, socializing, learning things from one another, extremely uncomfortable for me.  I find myself trying to stay with people with whom I am somewhat familiar but not at all comfortable, but that just leads to wasted time and more feelings of inadequacy (can anyone say “middle school”?)  The second day of the conference this year, I decided to do what I should have done in the first place.  I chose the sessions I wanted to attend, avoided trying to plan out my schedule to have lunch with others, resigned myself to being happy eating alone, and, miraculously, had a wonderful time.  Without the pressure of trying to fit in, I was able to be more authentic, more like the real me.  As we all know, but we don’t always act upon, being ourselves is really the best thing we can do.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t still have very awkward moments in which I tried to greet people I knew, only to say something ridiculous or trail off into awkward silence.  (By the way, if you were with me at the conference and are reading this, and I happened to say something really awkward, it’s not you.  It’s me. :) )  And that doesn’t mean I actually made any new connections (because I found myself just not talking to people unless they made contact with me first).  However, I was able to learn things to bring back to the classroom with me, and I was able to feel more confident in my abilities and actually enjoy the experience.

I know there should be a take-away from this.  I should learn to just be myself, not worry about how to interact with others, and simply live.  I’ve been trying to tell myself these things for years.  I hope that I’ll finally be able to live up to these ideas.  It would make life SO much less uncomfortable.

Please share any awkward situations you’ve had.  Reading about the shared awkward will make us all feel a little better. :)

This awesome article slightly sums up some of my issues:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

frustration and mind-block :P

So I know that at one point in my life I was able to come up with creative ideas for lessons for my students, and I still get ideas once in a while, but I feel like I’m at a standstill.  I cannot get my mind to take the time to develop quality lessons.  I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve been on break for so long that my mind isn’t ready to get back into gear or something else, but it’s really getting frustrating.

As I sit here in a coffee shop, having decided that it would be a more conducive work environment than my living room couch, all I can think of is the book sitting a foot away from me and how much I’d rather be reading it.  All I can do is continually switch between the tab of my lesson planning and my Facebook tab, which is absolutely useless.

I am in great need of some divine intervention in the idea and motivation department.  I should be motivated enough, seeing as how I’ve had two and a half weeks off of planning (more if you count the days where I didn’t really need lessons because of other school activities).  The break must have done the opposite of what it should have, though.  Having the opportunity to teach my second graders music three times a week really is a blessing.  Think of how much I can teach kids when I see them two hours and twenty minutes a week as a opposed to the thirty of last year!  However, it has led to a very quick expenditure of all previously-taught lessons, and now I’m in serious need of some new ideas.  Ay, I can only hope that inspiration hits me incredibly soon!

Bucket List (or How I Want to Hug a Manatee)

I know I may seem a little young to be creating a bucket list, but these are things I would really, seriously like to accomplish before I go up to the spirit in the sky.  Not thinking about them until I’m too achy and forgetful to go through with any of them doesn’t sound like the smartest idea at this point.  So here goes!
  1. I want to write a children’s book.  I don’t know whether or not I’ll be able to illustrate it myself, and I have no idea what the story is at this point, but it would be amazing if I could get a book published.  I’ve wanted to do this ever since I was a child.
  2. I want to go to Ireland.  Both my husband and I are really interested in visiting this part of Europe, so I’m hoping it’s a real possibility someday.
  3. I want to travel down the west coast.  I want to see Seattle, Portland the redwoods, the beautiful Northern California shoreline, San Francisco, and so much more.
  4. I want to have children and try to not perpetuate societal stereotypes while raising them.  I know that they will face these stereotypes in media and at school, and probably even around my own family and friends, but wouldn’t it be amazing if we were able to raise children who didn’t fall prey to the pressures put on them by societal norms?
  5. I want to be in a production of Urinetown: The Musical.  It’s one of my favorites, and it would be so fun to be a part of it.
  6. I want to sing in a choir again.  I really miss being part of an ensemble, and I know there are opportunities out there for me to participate.  I’ve just been too busy or lazy.
  7. I want to actually finish making afghans and blankets.  I know this is a silly one, but I’ve never actually been able to make myself finish crocheting an afghan or baby blanket.  Hopefully this one can be accomplished in the next year or two. :P
  8. I want to go on a tour of Europe.  This may go with the Ireland one, but I really would like to see England, Spain, Italy, and France (despite Dave’s aversion to all things French :) ).
  9. I want to travel to Hawaii.  I never used to want to go to Hawaii.  I’m not really a tropical-island kind of girl.  I am much more likely to turn into a shining lobster than a golden-tan beach babe.  However, I have seen such beautiful views in Hawaii now (and I hate to say it, but some of this desire has come from the movies 50 First Dates and Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and I’d really like to experience it firsthand some day.
  10. I want to see a manatee in the wild.  Manatees are one of my favorite animals, and I’d really, really like to see one.  If I could safely swim with one, even better. ;)
  11. I want to swim with dolphins (in a safe, controlled environment).  Definitely not one for danger...  :)
  12. I want to come up with more goals in life.  I am not an adventurous girl, at least in the reckless sense.  I definitely don’t like things that pose a great risk of bodily harm, so you won’t see “sky-diving” or “bungee-jumping” added.  However, I really would like to have more things I really want to do on this list.  It was difficult to think of just this many.  I don’t know if that’s because I’m scared of new things or because I don’t want to disappoint myself if I don’t accomplish them, but I’ve got to get over it and start getting more motivation in my life.

Here’s to great years ahead!  And a picture for the road.  Are you serious right now?!

And this video!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Why Frozen might be one of the Best Princess Movies Disney's Ever Made

**Be warned.  Spoilers abound.**

I recently watched Disney’s new animated movie Frozen.  I saw it twice, actually, both because I loved it so much and because I wanted my mom to be able to see it, and my stepfather surely wouldn’t be into it.  For those who haven’t seen it, this blog will spoil the ending.  If you don’t plan on seeing it, or don't care, here’s the breakdown:

The story is about two young princesses living in a Norway-esque kingdom with their parents.  One of the sisters (Elsa, the grown-up version voiced by the amazing Idina Menzel) was born with a magical gift: she can summon ice and snow at will.  Unfortunately, it’s a somewhat dangerous power, and she accidentally injures her sister.  An adorable troll helps heal the younger (non-magical) sister, Anna, but also takes away the girl’s memory of her sister’s unique gift.  He also warns that people’s fear of her power could be her downfall.  Elsa is therefore hidden away from Anna and the rest of the kingdom for her own safety and the safety of others.  Cue a sweet growing-up-alone montage (who knew Kristen Bell could sing?) and in true Disney fashion, tears for the parents who die when their ship is overturned while on a voyage.  Eventually Elsa must become queen, and then, of course, chaos ensues.

The main story itself is not uncommon for Disney, and in fact is “inspired” by the Snow Queen stories of Hans Christian Andersen.  Like most Disney takes on these old stories, however, it is vastly different from the original.

Still, there were so many reasons why this movie was a step forward for Disney and for princess stories in general.
  1. Anna is bold, clumsy, and a lover of chocolate.  She’s not the stereotypical “perfect princess” that one might expect.  Snow White and Aurora, for example (though Aurora is one of my favorites) were delicate, genteel, and prone to attracting small woodland creatures.  Anna just might trip over one on accident if she got excited enough.
  2. Elsa might be seen as the “evil queen” by some characters in the movie, but the real villains are actually men.  This may come as a shock, but think about the villains in earlier animated Disney movies: Sleeping Beauty had Maleficent, Snow White had the Evil Queen, The Little Mermaid had Ursula, Cinderella had the Evil Stepmother, and 101 Dalmatians had Cruella DeVille (yeah, I know, not a princess movie).  Sure, there were male villains thrown in, as well, but some of the most iconic villains in Disney animated history are evil women.  I loved that the women in this movie were not working against one another.  Why do women have to hate one another in so many movies?
  3. The men are not the saviors.  In so many of the other films, despite including some great character traits on the main female characters’ parts, and despite the fact that many of the movies are named after the female characters, men end up saving the day.  Yes, Anna has some assistance from male friends (oh, Olaf, you silly snowman), but in the end, it is her unconditional love for her sister which saves both their lives, not romantic love.
  4. This movie teaches about what love really means.  Sure, Anna gets extremely excited when finally exposed to life outside the castle walls.  Early on, she makes a silly choice in deciding to marry a man she’s just met, but this is all meant to poke fun at the ridiculous nature of romances in some of the other stories (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella).  I love that the dialogue makes a point to stress just how ridiculous it is for someone to think they can marry someone after one meeting.  Olaf has a wonderful monologue telling Anna that loving someone means putting their needs above your own, and then he does so himself when he almost melts because he’s so close to the fire keeping her warm.  As he says, “Some people are worth melting for.”
  5. It’s really a musical, and the music is great.  The creators embraced choral singing as well as solo work, and almost all of the music is quite awesome.  The voice actors were great singers as well as actors with backgrounds in musical theatre, which I think is a must.  I know I am biased on this point, but it is refreshing to see a true emphasis on the music in a film.
I still cannot get over how wonderful it was that Anna saved herself in this story.  The creators could just as easily have had Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff) save the day.  How empowering for young girls to be able to see a conflict resolved by sisterly love rather than an often hollow romantic love.  I can only hope that the next princess movie, which I have heard should be coming out in a few years, will step even further into the realm of empowerment for girls.  I hope, also, that boys and men can appreciate the strength of the characters in this movie and see that girls can be heroes, too.  I am curious, in fact.  How do children respond to this story?  I’m a child at heart, as is my wonderful husband, so we attend these movies despite the fact that we do not yet have children of our own.  I hope that the frequent singing in the film does not keep some children from enjoying and learning from it.  Please share any experiences you’ve had with both girls and boys’ responses to this movie, as well as your own.  If you haven’t seen the movie, I would definitely suggest seeing it even still, despite the spoilers above.  And remember, “Only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.”

If you’d like to read more, check out the following article.  After writing this blog entry, I encountered a much more artfully written piece which shared many of my thoughts.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Back to Awkward: Five Reasons You Should Just Give Up Trying to be Productive and Read Your Book

  1. When the garbage truck hasn’t come in two weeks, and so it is necessary to boisterously swing your garbage bag up into the dumpster, and you happen to be holding another garbage bag in the other hand, as well as your dog’s leash, and just as you’ve gained enough momentum, the plastic drawstring breaks, you will fall over into the snow.
  2. When you are yelling at your dog to leave the kitchen as you sauté onions for your scrambled eggs, you will knock over the bowl of perfectly seasoned eggs, sending half of them streaming over the newly-cleaned counter.
  3. When you add an extra egg to your already-beaten eggs and then begin to add seasonings to make them perfect once again, you will use the wrong opening in the garlic powder and dump about two tablespoons of the good stuff into the egg bowl.
  4. When you take a shower, you will reach for your loofa, only to have it unravel in your hands, creating an incredibly not-useful scarf version of itself.
  5. The book is addictive, and apparently nothing else can go right, so there you go. :)