Saturday, 25 April 2009

Stress Levels

I hate packing. I'm the worlds worst packer, in so many ways. It stresses me out to such a degree that I post pone it till.... well past the time when I ought to have started it! And on top of that, it's been a stressful few days. Oh, and there's the whole leaving my sister and .... other important people.... er.... person.... not a happy state of affairs. And it's not like I'm packing to go home.

Well, ok it is like I'm packing to go home. But I'm not actually going home! I'm off to Arches with my folks today, or maybe tomorrow (yeah.... things are really on a tight schedule. Kinda not helping much, actually! I need deadlines! Hello?!? I'm an academic!) definitely by Monday.... then, we'll be back sometime over the weekend.... Saturday? Sunday? Who knows! (That part's not so stressful.) But when I do finally get back to Salt Lake, I have at least one day with Lois. Which is really good, and quite important. Our week/weekend got hijacked by someone for her pet project, so I didn't really get to spend the last 3 days with Lois. And that stressed me out. But the whole bouncing back and forth between Salt Lake and Arches, not really helping me. It's like, I'm leaving.... psych! Now, I officially, finally, definitively leave Salt Lake on the 5th of May. But even that isn't the final hoorah.

I'm off to Florida to drive my grandma from her winter home (she's a snowbird) to her summer one in Michigan. Sounds like fun, yes? Well, it actually will be. And I'm quite looking forward to it. It's just that it's making my packing more complicated. Because I now have a domestic flight ($35 dollars for luggage!!! I'm totally going to play the, 'I'm an international traveler, and I'm on my way to my international flight. Will you please not charge me extra? card. We'll see if it works.) then at least a week of travel, probably closer to two, living out of my suitcases. So I have to pack in such a way as to balance the weight between my bags.... then repack when I get to Florida, so I can actually get to my clothes, and then repack again when I get to Michigan to distribute the weight again! Aaaaaargh! Not fun.

And then? When I finally do fly to the UK, I've got to get said luggage home, in my jet lagged condition, by myself. Through the London train/underground systems. Because I don't have family in the UK who can come collect me, and all my friends are at work. Yeah. That's going to be so much fun. Seriously, the worst part of flying back to the UK is getting home from the airport.

I'm looking forward to the individual trips. I just wish I didn't have to lug 4 months worth of stuff about with me. I'm normally a very light traveler.... I can go for 6 weeks out of a large backpack. Honest. Have done it before. But with living over here for 4 months, I needed casual, and professional things. Actually, I only arrived with half a suitcase worth of stuff. But you know how it is... Christmas sales, Spring sales.... you collect stuff. And my wardrobe really did need an overhaul. I went through and got rid of a good 60% of what I owned before I left England. So my closets were looking pretty bare. And the combination of cheaper prices (exchange rates are actually in my favour over here!) and having Lois as my personal shopping advisor, I got quite a number of things. And then there's my obsession with Scrapbooking. I bought a bunch of stuff whilst here, because it's A) cheaper, and B) available! But getting it home is no picnic. Especially with the extra travels I've got.


Ok. I'm done. Sorry.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

And That's A Wrap!

Well, over the past week I've marked 90 essays and 90 exams. I finished the last of them today. I started off the marking on Thursday, last week. So it was a full week of marking! Except that I didn't actually mark that entire time. I marked all the essays on Thursday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday. I gave my first exam on Saturday at 7.00 am. Ooofta. Then I marked their exams Sunday. And gave my other two exams at 7.00 am and 11.00 am on Monday. And marked all the 1st class on Wednesday and all the second class today. I kind of missed out Tuesday due to exhaustion (and not being home). So I finished the marking, and entered the grades! Yeay! Hooray!! That's all I have to do for my teaching responsibilities for BYU. My TA is doing the grade calculations and submitting the marks. They have to be in by the 29th of April, so I'm doing really well having everything done by the 22nd!

Oh? The exhaustion? I was out with The Boy. Yeah, he's still around. I didn't get home until very late Monday night. Or, more accurately, very early Tuesday morning.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Blues House Party

Last Wednesday I discovered a very wonderful thing: A Blues House Party every Wednesday night from 9.00 - 11.00! Yeay! Means that there's somewhere for me to dance every week for the rest of my (ok, I'm nearly gone) stay in Utah. Yesterday I took Naomi (my visiting British friend) and a couple of her friends along for the ride. I gave them a breif lesson at Lois' place before we headed out, and then Sherri (the hostess of the party) and Bryant (a fellow dancer) gave them a real lesson. They did pretty well!

It was a good night, and most importantly, it meant I didn't have to leave all that good Blues Dancing behind in Denver.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Blues P.S.

I finished the Red(ish) Vintage dress, and took it with me to the Blues Exchange. Wore it Saturday night, to great acclaim. Seriously, everyone loved it. The ladies loved it because it was pretty, and the guys loved the way it swished and flared when they spun me! Sorry . . . yet again I don't have any photos. I even wore The Blue Dress again, and still didn't manage to get any photos of it! Seriously, I'm so busy when I'm dancing (dancing!) that I never get photos. *sigh* And there was another gorgeous dress I wore Sunday night, that I don't have photos of, either!!!! Anyway, just though I'd let you know that one of my projects is finished.

Bluesin' Baby!

As many of you already know, I am an avid swing dancer. I do several different styles: Lindy Hop, Balboa, some Charleston (which can be danced solo or in pairs), and Blues. This weekend was the Mile High Blues Exchange in Denver, Colorado. And boy was it smokin'!!!! Now, I'm a good dancer, but I'm not exceptional. There were some truly exceptional specimens this weekend.

What is an Exchange, I hear you ask? Well, originally it was when a group of Lindy dancers from city A invited dancers from city B to come spend the weekend. Then city B reciprocated . . . thus the 'Exchange'. Nowadays it's more of a roving party. Different cities host it throughout the year. So there's a Portland Exchange, Denver Exchange, St Louise Exchange . . . . and even abroad: Moscow Exchange, London Exchange, Munich Exchange . . . . The local dancers all pitch in and help run the event (free of charge) and everyone pays a small (larger if there's teaching going on, but there often isn't. Just loads of social dancing) fee to pay for the venues, teaching, food . . . . Mostly it's just a lot of fun. People travel from all over the country, and even all over the world for the best exchanges, to come dance for the weekend. It's typically a Friday Night + Late Night, Saturday Afternoon (sometimes, not always) + Night + Late Night, and Sunday Afternoon (again, sometimes, but not always) + Night + Late Night (though there's not always a Late Night Sunday because of people leaving). Sometimes there's a pre and a post dance the night before/after the exchange, as well. Sometimes there are classes on Saturday/Sunday, sometimes there are activities (like the Utah Exchange they went sledding) . . . every exchange is different.

So, the schedule for this exchange?

Friday 7.00 am -- Leave for Denver (8 hour drive!)
6.30 pm -- Arrival/Registration/Auditions for upper level classes.
8.00 pm -- Dance
12.00 am -- Late Night
Now, the Late Night finished at 4.00 am, but I'd had a massive headache all day, so we called it quits around 3.00 am, and the 4 of us (Utah Dancers) went back to the hotel room we'd rented near the venues.

Saturday 8.30 am -- Up. (I know . . . I couldn't believe it either)
11.00 am -- Class (really good)
12.00 pm -- Class (really good)
1.00 pm -- Class (really good)
2.00 pm -- Lunch (didn't get any, too rushed)
3.00 pm -- Class (missed half of the class, but no problem because knew the stuff from the 1st half. 2nd class was good, though!)
4.00 pm -- Class (skipped)
5.00 pm -- NAP!
8.00 pm -- Dance
12.30 pm -- Late Night (no headache . . . . . got swept out the door at 4.00 am!)

Sunday 9.30 am -- Up.
10.00 am -- Class (missed the 1st 10 minutes)
11.00 am -- Class (fun, but not fabulous)
12.00 pm -- Class (I skipped the rest of the classes and did marking instead. *sigh*)
5.00 pm -- Easter Dinner with new Denver Dance Friends. Ooooooh so yummy!
9.00 pm -- Dance
12.00 am -- Late Night
3.30 am -- Jumped in the car to head back to Utah. I slept the first 2 hours, then swapped to be the driver. Will and I swapped back and forth most of the rest of the trip (8 hours) back.

Monday 2.30 pm -- Arrival to Salt Lake
4.00 pm -- Picked up Jane and Naomi from the Airport (Jane had been at an interview earlier in the week, so she flew to Denver, and Naomi had been visiting her friends in Seattle.)

So, it's 8.00 pm now, and I still haven't been to sleep (car sleep doesn't count. It just takes the edge off.) And the plan for the evening? Will, Naomi and I (and maybe Jane) are going to Keys on Main to see a live Jazz Band. We live by this motto:

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming...
Damn, What a ride!!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Blogging By Naomi

Its April and I Naomi West am Adele's guest!!! (by the way...I am an English lady who is from the same English Stake (IPSWICH) as Adele)
I spent my first few days at General Conference with the Germans! (Sonja, Christian, Rene, Rike and fact half of the German Choir)

and managed to go into all sessions, except for the Priesthood session, obviously!

Monday Adele had to teach so I went to BYU with her and explored the campus. I also managed to have a tour of the music department and saw what they have to offer. Whist listening to the Orchestra (which was amazing) I saw Abby Pentreath!!
The choir rehearsal was a personal favourite of mine. Such a great sound with fantastic diction and timbre!

I then met up with MARC MATTHEWS! It has been 2 years since we have seen eachother. He took me to lunch at Cafe Rio. It was really good food and great company.
Then the BRITs got together for a brief moment in time...Ben Twigger, Dan Kim (honorary Brit) and Abby. We popped to see Adele too, so there were 5 people from our stake in the same place at BYU at one time!

Adele doesn't teach on Tuesday so we hit the slopes at Solitude. It was my first time on the slopes and with a Snowboard in my hand was a little nervous but very excited. The mountains are SO beautiful.

We started on the baby slope, up on the chair life which was a little scary getting off!! I fell over!

But did get the hang of it eventually, that doesn't mean I didn't fall over anymore though!!! My deriere is extremely tender this morning! LOL! But it was worth every bruise!

Once I got the hang of it I loved it! We had a great lunch and then hit the slopes a few more times before being completely cream crackered!

Then home to relax in the sun!!!
Then after dinner we showered, I got in my PJ's and we headed to Pleasant Grove where we stay with Adele's Aunt and Uncle but wee had a random call from Ben LaFevre and Cameron and his brother. So we went to see them. And we had a malt!

All in all having a wonderful time. Off to Seattle tomorrow!!!!