Monday, May 31, 2010

How I Know

There's a certain turning point in my learning process that I'm coming to recognize.

When I stop concentrating solely on what on earth something is supposed to mean, (and why textbook writers never explain anything with one sentence if they can use five, and why does it matter whether I learn this or not?), (all of these are important questions, but I've never found an answer to the second one), and start thinking about how I would explain it to someone else, then I know I'm beginning to get it.

This shift from learning to teaching never marks the end of learning. Usually when I ask myself how I would teach this principle or that idea, I don't have a good answer. This is good, because when I keep studying in order to teach, the textbook seems like it's been rewritten in a way that actually makes sense. I think there's a secret dimension of knowledge in every book that hides in the binding and only leaks out when you read the book as a teacher and not a student.

I think it's this shift in perspective that let me do as well as I did in College Algebra this semester. The girl who sat next to me somehow got the idea that I knew what I was doing and asked me questions about the material before every class. I usually didn't have a good answer, but she kept asking me, and so it was like being kicked right into that turning point. I don't know if I actually helped her, but I'm certain that she helped me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I have a friend. She is short. (You know, relatively speaking. I guess normal people wouldn't think she's short, but who cares what normal people think anyway?)

Last night was my seminary (and high school) graduation. This friend found me waiting for things to start, and marched up to me. She commanded me to arise, because she was wearing heels and was no longer short, and wanted to see if she was my height or not. (Neither of us have ever worn heels before.)

Guess what pair of shoes I was wearing?

I just about died laughing. Serendipity makes the best jokes.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Very Nice Day

This was a pretty amazing day.

For instance, this morning in seminary I was told that tomorrow they're having an end-of-the-year party, full of eggs and bacon and sausage and pancakes and eating... and I made it politely but FIRMLY clear that I won't be going. That felt pretty amazing. (I'm very defensive of my twenty-seven pound weight loss. I'm building thick walls against chocolate and all things fried. And if you know anything about me and m&ms, you know those walls have to be high.)

And then we went swim-suit shopping. (If you hate swim-suit shopping and you know it, clap your hands! Sorry.) We picked out six to try in different sizes.

Two of them were too big. (My heart just broke.)

One of them fit but wasn't modest. (It wasn't very cute anyway.)

Two of them fit and were modest and were cute. I got to choose. And it actually was a choice- they were two actual different swim-suits, not just two different colors.

I walked out and told the world that for the first time ever I felt happier after swim-suit shopping than I had when I started.

A passing shopper heard and muttered "You're the only one." Which did its part to make my day that little bit brighter.

Then we went shoe-shopping. Just a quick back-story synopsis for you about me and shoes and my size twelve feet: I have literally gone to seven stores in one day and found only one pair of church shoes that worked for forty dollars. The question of 'cute' or 'flattering' never came up. I can only vaguely remember a time when my church shoes didn't resemble some variant on the foot canoe. (Too bad there's no diet for your foot size.)

We went to Avenue and I tried on every pair of size twelve shoes they had. This didn't take long. There was one pair of shoes that, aside from being the most hideous things on this earth, were perfect, and another pair that I really wanted to try but they didn't have in my size. We asked them to call a store at another location and see if they had those shoes in my size and the right color.

They did. We drove there. I tried them both on, and aside from technical problems like wobbling wildly, they made me look like a princess. Do you have any idea how hard it is to feel like a princess when you're six foot two inches tall and every half-way nice guy you know is a) immature and needs to go on a ten year mission (I did say half-way nice) or b) shorter by about a foot and a half or c) totally uninterested? (Hint: it's not easy.) I wavered a little bit about getting heels when I'm already so tall, but I hated all of the flats that they had, and it's not like not getting them would make me shorter.

So we bought both pairs. Again, they were different shoes. Not the same shoe in different colors, and yes, I've done that. One of them is a four inch wedge with black interlacing straps; very classically casual. The other one has bronze straps and a buckle that looks like they realized that someone with big feet also has big fingers and those microscopic buckles are of the devil. And it has a three inch wedge on a one inch platform with flowers painted on it. It sounds hideous but it really is cute. The Teacher is convincing herself that bronze is my black (goes with everything) because black really isn't a friendly color for me (makes me look like a corpse without makeup- you didn't know funeral homes put makeup on bodies? they do). She might even be right. I just like the shoe.

Two stores for two pairs of different church shoes. That's better than my shoe-shopping experience has been since, um, ever. And the second pair was ten dollars because we just happened to go on the last day of a sale. Heh heh.

But the true cherry on top? We were meeting the Principal for lunch and I put the casual black shoes on and practiced walking in them while we waited for him. And in these shoes, there is no doubt: the dream I've dreamed since, I don't know, four years old, has finally been realized.

I am taller than my father.

He says I needed prosthetics to pull it off and it doesn't count.

I say taller is taller, and it doesn't matter how, nyaaah.

We have such a mature relationship.

(So I'm seventeen and eleven twelfths before I get my first pair of heels? Is this weird, or what?)

Monday, May 24, 2010

The (End?) of the Math Crusade

I just got my report card back for this last semester.

(School ended a little over a week ago. Can you say speedy?)

You may recall my decision to stop hating math. It was hard. And not entirely successful. I'm still not very fond of polynomials, and I wouldn't kiss a logarithm if you paid me. (And possibly not even if books were involved.)

But the math crusade was successful enough that I want to take an accounting class.

And I got an A in the class.

Not that anybody cares about that.

(They're taking me out for lunch tomorrow.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Mellow Dignity

We now know that we have the most mellow cat in the continental USA. Deuteronomy is a long-hair, and a few weeks ago we had to shave him for summer. I held him while the Principal shaved him, and not once did that cat bite, scratch, or even make any serious attempts at escape. He definitely wasn't happy, and tried to hide inside my armpit, and began to yowl a little towards the end, but he didn't tear my face off, which is what other cats would have done.

When we were done, Deuteronomy's head and chest was fluffy; his tail and hind-quarters were fluffy; and everything in between looked like a mowed down cornfield. However, he's much happier now. He's jumping on things and pricking his ears every time something moves. He looks so bad it's almost cute, because he has no clue of just how awful he really looks.

Yesterday we went into town for our own haircuts and told the hairstylist about it. She sided with the cat.