Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Fun

This past week has been packed with Holiday activities.On Thursday, Aubrey and Amanda both had Christmas concerts. I had my annual "Aunt Heidi Overnight Party" for all my nieces and nephews. While I made dinner, the children made little greeting cards for the neighbors. After a quick dinner, we grabbed some homemade treats and headed out for carolling. Aubrey brought her clarinet and Amanda brought her violin to accompany us. The neighbors must have been forewarned, because they were not home. We did find a couple people home and inflected, I mean, treated them to a carols. After carolling, we watched Christmas themed movies and made Christmas ornaments. The children help decorate my little "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree. They put enough ornament on it to decorate a six foot tree, but my little tree is only about 3 foot tall. The next morning there was enough snow for a snow ball fight.On Saturday, I had my work Christmas party on Saturday. We had a tacky outfit party and I won the "best" outfit. The sad thing is that I just wear my Christmas outfit.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Movie Review- Bolt

Disney did it again. A smart story that will keep both children and adults entertained. The script is witty and there are plenty of sight gags that will keep everyone satisfied. I wished I could have seen it in 3-D. Go see the movie.

Movie Review- Australia

Australia is the modern-day Gone With the Wind. It pits an English aristocrat Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) against the will of Drover (Hugh Jackman). They fight and struggle against the elements and each other as they try to keep a cattle ranch open in the 1930's and early 1940’s. They also touch on the Australian policy of removing mixed-raced Aboriginal children from their homes. The movie feels epic in scale, and really showcases the beauty of the Australian outback. The movie even has an impressive “burning of Atlanta” scene with the attack of Japanese bombers on Darwin. I would recommend seeing the movie in a theater: a movie this big deserves to be seen on the big screen. However, I would also recommend watching the movie Rabbit Proof Fence if you want to see a powerful movie about the Australian policy of removing Aboriginal children from their homes. I found that movie to have much more of an emotional impact.

Movie Review- Twilight

The gang before the movie. We went to the Ha' Penny for dinner.

My friend Kellie getting ready to face the pubescent hoards before the movie

My niece's friend Arial and my little nieces Aubrey and Amanda

I went to Twilight twice the week it opened. The first time I went with girlfriends from work on opening night. The second time I took my nieces and one of their friends. Opening night was a zoo, but lots of fun. The audience was really into the movie, actually applauding as characters came on screen.
I was a little disappointed by the movie. It felt "small-budget;" the special effects were poor and detracted from the story. I wish that they had spent a little more time developing the characters' stories rather than having Bella and Edward spent so much time looking into each others eyes. It just got silly at times. I think for fans of the books, though, the movie is good enough. It includes some of the best scenes from the book. I think that fans will have to go at least twice. Once to compare it to the book, and once to just enjoy the movie. If, however, you haven’t read the book, skip this movie.
I hear that the plan to turn all the books into movies. I hope that they spend a little more on the special effects and fleshing out the supporting characters that make the books so much fun.

Service Learning

Well, the semester is winding down. I have a final next week and I’m busy cleaning up my English essays. My English class required us to do community service. I have real mixed feelings about the whole thing. There are a lot of needs out there and exposing the public to what the community needs is a great thing. However, if people are required to do service for a grade, it’s hard to have the right attitude about the public service. I know I struggled with having a positive attitude. I also felt like I maybe choose the wrong agency to volunteer with. I just felt like my volunteering really didn’t help anyone. I think if I need to volunteer again I will choose one agency to do all my service with, at least I would feel like I made a difference in someone's life, instead of going to random events.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ethan's Birthday Card

This is the card I made for my nephew, Ethan,who birthday is Dec. 24th. He's turning 5. We are having the family birthday party for him and my Brother-in-Law Jeff. (His birthday was the 2nd) This is my first attempt at making a penguin. I think I need to play with it a little bit.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Kaite's B-day Gift

My sister's birthday was a little while ago. She is a difficult person to buy for. She lives in a small apartment with her family and she is always rid of stuff that she doesn't absolutely need, so I wanted to give her something small and useful. Not to mention, I was really broke. I made her birthday cards. Her husband's family is really into cards, they like card almost more then the actual gift. I was able to get her over a dozen cards, so she should be set for a month or so. I was fun to make all the cards and I felt good that I was giving she someting she could use.

Spring Break Alternative

I had the opportunity to participate in a fund raiser for the student volunteer board. They were raising funds to finance “Spring Break Alternative.” Spring break Alternative is a chance for students to do volunteer work all over the world. Last year, they went to New Orleans and helped with the rebuilding efforts after hurricane Katrina. The year before that, they went to South America and put water filtration systems into low income areas. This is a great program for people who want to do volunteer work. You are required to put forty hours of volunteer time into the project during the week. I was helping to raise funds to keep the cost down for students who choose to participate. I thought it was a great cause and jumped at the opportunity to help.
However, when I discovered the details, I almost backed out. We were manning a concession stand at the Bronco stadium. I have a strong dislike of the service side of food service. I tried to work in an on-campus cafeteria when I started college and quickly decided it wasn’t for me. (And my employer agreed). To top it off, there were two football games that night. I like most sports, but I’m sick of football. I’m so tired of hearing about how great the BSU Broncos are. It makes me sick to see the media and everyone else kow-towing to the demi-gods of the football team. (I have no problems with the individual players; I’m sure that there must be at least one nice young man on the team). I didn’t think I could stand being around that atmosphere for four hours. The football games turned out to be high school games, so I felt a little better about being there. I still felt bad about serving overpriced concession food to the public. I just kept chanting to myself: “It’s only four hours and it's for a great cause.” So I was all ready to happily serve the public. Then they turned on the Fresno State/ BSU game on the Big screen TV. I almost ran for the hills. The only saving grace was it was an away game, so I didn’t have to look at that eye-sore of the blue turf. I was able to keep my cool and work an eight hour shift. At least we stayed just busy enough to make the time go fast and raised a lot of money for Spring Break Alternative.

Into the Streets

On Oct 11, BSU had a huge volunteer event called “Into The Streets.” They had over forty non-profit agencies that needed help with different projects. There was anything from Clean the Greenbelt to Making Blankets for Traumatized Children through the Linus Project. It was really cold, and I didn’t want to work outside, and working with sharp objects, like scissors, is not a good idea for me. Usually, someone ends up with stitches. I choose to go to Simply Cats. It seemed to be a good fit for me, and a fun project.
Simply Cats is a non-kill shelter for cats. They house about forty cats and most are available for adoption. There are a few cats that don’t make good transitions to homes, so they have a permanent home in the shelter. Any cat adopted from the shelter is spayed or neutered, and guaranteed to be healthy. They are also sent home with some food and a little cat-sized blanket. With the economic downturn, they have a lot of people trying to turn in their cats because they can’t afford to feed and care for them. The shelter was too full to accept the influx of new cats. They started a program to get pet food to families who are struggling. That way the beloved pet can stay in the home for a while longer.
So what can a volunteer expect when they go to help the shelter? They are surprisingly well organized. There are little rooms that house up to eight cats. Each room has a checklist of chores that need to be done every day. The rooms are stocked with all the supplies that you need to fix up each room. The first thing on the list is cleaning up the kitty litter box. I’m not going to lie to you; it’s a really gross job. I suggest not eating a big meal before going in. The last thing on the list is to pet and play with the cats. That makes it well worth all the gross work. All the cats and kittens have great personalities. It took every ounce of my will power not to stuff a couple of cats in my pockets to take home.
I will leave you with a word of caution: it’s not easy to walk out of the shelter without a new family member. While we were there, someone brought in a four-week-old kitten. It was a little tiger-striped baby that would fit into the palm of your hand. Unfortunately, they were out of room for any more cats. Luckily, one of the other volunteers was able to bring the baby home.
Check out their website if you would like to help, or even adopt a cat:

Service Orientation

My service orientation did not go well, and it was mostly my fault. I was having a very bad day. I was up until about 1:30 a.m. rewriting a paper that was due the next day. I had the paper finished at 10:00 the night before, only to have my computer crash and lose half the paper. Then I had my car break down, and I was late for both work and class. I was also stressing out over an assignment that I thought was due that day. I had it done, but really sloppily. The assignment turned out to be due the next week. But by the time I got to orientation I was an emotional mess. I just wanted to get all my volunteer hours lined up for the semester at the orientation. I was so frustrated the director didn’t have any information about upcoming volunteer opportunities besides Service Saturdays. I just wanted to plan out my semester. I guess I came across a little too strongly because the Director suggest that I might be happier with another volunteer organization. I was able to calm down and let the director know I would be a happy volunteer. I guess the moral of this story is: try not to bring the bad mood to orientation.