Saturday, June 28, 2008

Enna Burning

Since I don't have a lot of exciting stories, I will just relate the books I have been reading! The latest is Enna Burning by Shannon Hale. This was a fantastic book about Enna, a girl who learns the secrets of fire and is able to help her homeland at a time of war with her abilities. This ability comes at great costs, however, and the book is ultimately a story of friendship and balance. In her magnificent way, Shannon Hale weaves yet again another amazing tale. For those not familiar with Shannon Hale she writes (primarily) in the young adult fantasy/fairy tale genre. She is an outstanding author and I love the way she writes. Her writing has been described as lyrical...and I have to agree. Enna Burning was a little different than Goose Girl (the first book in the Bayern series) as it deals with darker and more complex issues than those in Goose Girl. All of the characters are there, however, and it is hard to put down. I enthusiastically recommend this book (and all of her books!) to those who enjoy this genre--and really just good reading material!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Viva la Vida

So, it is one of my favorite things of late. I know, I know. Coldplay is overrated. Coldplay is the most insufferable band ever. I've heard it all, so don't bore me with it. I've always liked them, and their new album is no exception. Most specifically of late, I love the song Viva la Vida. It is a song about how things can turn on you in a dime. How fitting for life, right? And perhaps a little autobiographical for the band, eh? (Only in reference to their standing amongst critics mind you...they are by no means headed for the poorhouse anytime soon) I really, really like the rest of the album (There are those moments, of course, there always are...but I'm just saying overall). It sounds like Coldplay, but sometimes it is surprising how it is pretty different. It doesn't seem quite so emotionally desperate as they sometimes come off. It is generally to the point. And there is variation. It isn't only Chris Martin and Chris Martin alone. The number one track barely features him after all! It's true. So, give it a listen. I love it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Perspectives

In addition to the dream angle of blogging, I think I will talk about the things I love that I do each day. Today I went hiking up to the Wind Caves. I really like this hike and have done it many, many times. Today was a little different, however. It started off like any other time I have hiked it, but I ended up in an entirely new place. As I was hiking I noticed a new little trail veering off from the regular trail to the caves.

It read "To Green Canyon" and I thought, "Why not?" So off I went. It was much less traveled, but there was still a distinctive trail. I wondered how I had missed it before. Perhaps it came right at the wrong angle of the switch backs. Maybe I am usually talking to someone else and have continually missed it. Also, I think it is fairly new. Today I was going slow because, well, let's just be honest, I am out of shape and it was hot! But I was grateful for the new perspective on Logan Canyon it offered me.

Although the view wasn't probably all that different to someone who hasn't hiked the Wind Cave trail a million times, it was very obvious to me. And I thought the canyon had a new attraction today. Just like in life, you can start off on a trail with the end in mind, something that you have thought about. And along that same trail, you may take a trail that will offer fresh and exciting new perspectives. Sometimes it is as unexpected as finding that trail on the same old trail you've been hiking your whole time while in Logan. And hopefully that new trail will offer only the best...Next time I am bringing more water and hiking to Green Canyon!

Dream #1

It is ironic, as someone so kindly pointed out to me last night, that since my job has ended and I have all the time in the world, I have essentially not blogged. I explained that not a lot of excitement is going on, and then it was suggested that I blog about my dreams. Now, I usually don't remember my dreams, but strangely enough I remembered my dream from last night. So here we go...

In my dream I was in the middle of a school group. The strange thing about this (aside from it no longer being my job) is that this school group was taking place inside my grandma's house. It wasn't even in their old farmhouse in Idaho, either. This is their regular, friendly neighborhood home in Ogden. Everything else was similar to the school group program--me, in my tattered yellow pioneer dress, groups of approximately 10 kids gathered around me, and groups rotating from station to station. What was so great about my dream was that all of my normal feelings associated with schools groups were there--anxiety, stress, focus on working with the kids, and difficulties with staff. I distinctly remember one staff member announcing she was going to leave mid-school group. I told her that wasn't a possibility and she stayed, but she was grumbling. Basically, your normal response it seems with this program and my job.

That was it. I don't know if I am supposed to analyze my dream, but I think it was helpful to have such vivid memories of exactly how stressed I was at times with my job. It makes me more appreciative of this little time I have of relative low stress. Because in a couple of months, the stress level will hit a level I have never experienced, to be sure.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

No Longer My Problem

[Forgive me for the slightly sentimental, sappy nature of this post. It is the end of an era for me, after all.]

The day has come for me to say goodbye to the American West Heritage Center. I have been involved at the Heritage Center for years—beginning as a volunteer, working as a camp counselor, being a volunteer again, working as the receptionist, and finally finding the job as Education Coordinator. I have enjoyed my job. I’m not going to say I’ve loved it, because there have been days that I have absolutely despised it. But I feel so blessed to have found a job that I really enjoy and feel compliments the things that I love to do. History is a part of me. Education is a part of me. And agriculture is a part of me. That is why it is going be so hard to leave. The unique nature of my job is going to be irreplaceable. The people I have worked with will be irreplaceable. New things will come into my life, I know that, but nothing will replace being able to walk about the grounds, being greeted by ducks, peacocks, chicken, geese, horses, donkeys, sheep, goats, cats, and any sort of surprise animal. The beauty of the setting of the Heritage Center is irreplaceable. Looking out to the snow capped Wellsville Mountains, the open pasture with buffalo and cows, hay being cut with horse powered machinery, volunteers and staff bustling about in period clothing, the smell of campfire, the excitement of the kids, and the historical buildings set amid the trees and somewhat white fences …these are all things that I will indeed miss. There are people at the Heritage Center that I have grown so fond of. So many of the people that I’ve known at the Heritage Center are just good, down to earth people. There are unique personalities, wise and calming influences, and an overall feeling of being a part of something like a family. And just like real families, there are always those moments that they see the best of you…and the worst. That is how it’s been at the Heritage Center. I feel that I’ve done an okay job—probably not the greatest that could be done—but between Liz and I, I think we’ve accomplished some good things. It’s hard to leave it all behind. It has become a part of me. But life moves on as it always does. Who knows what awaits me…it could be the biggest mistake of my life (or the greatest adventure), but it is the thing that I need to do now. For better or for worse, ready or not, I’m leaving something that I am pretty comfortable at to embark on a great and scary unknown. Luckily for me, I have listened to Wayne say for our 2 ½ years of school groups, “It’ll all work out.” And it always does, even if in that moment you have no idea how it could. That is the life lesson learned from my Logan chapter.

So, today is the day things at work are officially not my problem anymore. Worrying about schedules, completing the patchwork of volunteers and staff, handling personality quirks, lateness, camp counselors on the verge of what seems to be quitting, the weather, staff telling me how to do my job, an infuriating lack of communication, school group set up, animals…well, the list could go on for awhile. Today, all of those things, all of the little details, well, they aren’t my problems anymore. And in a way it feels really good. It is time to move on to a whole new set of them.

Monday, June 9, 2008

It's Hard To Make These Things Up

[Warning: The following story does involve some material that may not be suited for those sensitive to animals who, because of situations out of our control, might be harmed.]

Oh, the stories from my job. Even if you stripped away all of the personality quirks and uniqueness of working on a historical farm, you would still be left with the hard to make up animal stories. Most recently, I had the rooster incident. A little while ago there was the mystery of the vanishing buffalo. Today, we have the story of the possible rabid dog. [I say possible because the consensus amongst my co-workers is that the dog was, in fact, probably not rabid, just terribly, terribly angry/mean] This seemingly nice yellow dog was sitting by the front doors of the Welcome Center to greet all who tried to enter. It barked and chased away many, but managed to bite two of the visiting teachers who are attending the conference being held on site. Then, it successfully attacked one of our summer camp leaders, but luckily only managed to tear her dress. I began to panic slightly because in a few minutes approximately 30 camp kids (with siblings in tow) would be coming to register. Our caretaker tried to lasso the dog, but dislocated his shoulder in the process. Our director pulled it back into place. They managed to chase the dog down the road by throwing rocks at it. Animal control was called, but it was the local version of animal control, which consisted of a local farmer in his blue, slightly beat up farm truck with what appeared to be a dog carrying case in the back. I didn't have a lot of confidence in this method, needless to say. He was not successful in locating the dog. I scurried around, with a pocketful of rocks and a stick, making sure camp was situated. And then, walking back to the Welcome Center, I heard the gunshots--and the subsequent whimpering of the poor dog. There were two officers, a (seemingly) more legit animal control guy, and the first local animal control guy. They decided the animal could be rabid and shot the dog 3 or 4 times, I believe. However, they were not successful in killing the dog and it ran off into the neighboring fields after bleeding a bit by the front doors. Our poor receptionist cleaned up the blood. So, at this very moment, the dog has not been found and the health department seems very concerned about the teachers. Oh, and when the officers were at our site, they apparently got a call about 2 kids being bit by a dog at a local school. It couldn't have been the yellow dog at our site, so it makes me wonder what strange things are happening. A co-worker suggested werewolves? I don't know, it seems as logical as anything else that happens around my workplace.

**It should be noted that this dog never belonged to our site.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Wednesday/Thursday Trend

It's official. It rains on Wednesdays and Thursdays this spring. I've noticed. The weatherman has noticed. In fact, I've noticed trends in the weather since I began my job. It seems to always rain the first week in June (the first week of camp) and the first part of May and October (I remember the October event because of one incident in the rain, in the corral, trying to get the cow in the barn...oh yeah, I was in tears too). I cannot control the weather (people can continue to ask me to, but it won't ever happen) and I can't tell teachers when to schedule their field trips for the best possible weather. It's just not going to happen. I think someday I will miss the ridiculous nature of these requests, but for now, I'm really excited to be rid of those pesky questions.

No One Watching, Huh?

It's been awhile since I've commented on sports, so let's take a shot at one famous golfer. Seriously. So, nobody watches hockey anymore, eh? The golfer is calling hockey boring...that's hilarious. I have never played either sport, so let's just call my opinions neutral. I do know people LOVE their golf and the Canadians LOVE their hockey. But I can honestly say that I've never watched a golf tournament--I'd rather die. I don't get it and it looks like a bunch of preppy, khaki wearing business execs ready to ink the contract on some big merger. But I've sat through some hockey games (albeit not professional grade ones) and I agree, it can be a little anticlimactic with the low scores and all. But it moves quick, there's plenty of excitement, and there are fights at any random given moment. Oh, and the fans are the most outrageous for sure. And to say that on the heels of the Stanley Cup this year. Yeah, not exciting at all. [Too bad the Pens had to lose. Because I like the Steelers, I am by default, a Penguins fan. This theory probably even extends to the Pirates...but I hear they don't win much.]