Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I've Been Married 5 Years!

So as of last Thursday, Aaron and I have been married for 5 years! I almost can't believe it—it's gone by so fast. I still remember when we were engaged and I thought our wedding day would never come, and now we've been married for 5 years.

Well, I've been stressing about what we should do to celebrate. I wanted it to be really special because it's such a milestone. Even though I've been trying to think of something for a couple months, when it came down to it, I came up with NOTHING! On the day of, we didn't do anything because we wanted to wait till Saturday. On Saturday, I went to the grocery store in the morning and picked up a bed tray, some whipped cream, and canned blueberry pie filling. Then I went home and made Belgian waffles, bringing them on the tray to Aaron who was still in bed. He LOVES blueberry Belgian waffles. We pretty much just hung out all day, mostly in bed. Finally we did some productive things (if you call playing video games organizing my spice rack productive).

By 6 p.m. I decided I wanted to at least go out to dinner. I let Aaron pick and he chose Outback (which is the same place we went to last year for our anniversary). It was a good choice. Aaron go the mahi mahi and I got pork chops with grilled veges (their grilled veges are to die for. They're like marinated or something. Mmmm!). The pork chops were extremely tender and cooked just perfectly. Since it was a special occasion, I got a strawberry pina colada—so good! And to top it off, our waitress was awesome and very attentive.

So maybe we didn't do anything really special, but at least dinner was fantastic.

So do you want to know what else I considered? Well, one thing I thought of was going on a hot air balloon ride. How cool would that be? It's something I've wanted to do since living in Washington as a kid and seeing the hot air balloons sail over Puget Sound. Well, I looked it up and everywhere I tried was like $200 per person for about an hour ride. Worth it if you can afford it, but sorry if we don't have $400 lying around.

I thought about going to Park City or Salt Lake City and staying at a hotel, but that would be quite a bit, too. This one hotel, Anniversary Inn, has themed rooms where you sleep in a bed shaped like a carriage or a gandola or in a forest. It looked way cool, but was all booked when I looked (and I'm not sure Aaron would have wanted to spend that much, but Costco has a deal where you pay $115 for $230 gift certficate there, so half price). Maybe I'll remember that for a future anniversary.

I thought of just doing something fun like laser tag or miniature golf, but I was worried there'd be a lot of loud kids there, which would make it a little less fun.

I also tried to think of something creative we could do, like I could decorate the apartment with a Hawaiian theme, or starry night them, or rose garden theme, but I couldnt' think of anything really definite. I think I would need more time to plan something like that. Again, maybe something to do in the future.

Oh, well. All in all it was still a good anniversary and the important thing is that we're still excited to be married to each other.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Are You out There, Readers?

Okay, this might sound weird, but I'd really like to know who, if anyone, reads this blog. Supposedly some of my family does, but I wonder. (And if they do, how often?) So I would like it if when you read this, you leave a comment. It doesn't have to be much--just a "Yes, I read this" or a short comment about the post. Otherwise, what's the point in me doing this? I keep a personal journal, so it's not like this is my way of journaling. And since anonymous comments are allowed (that is, you don't have to sign up for an account to leave comments), you really have no excuse (although I do ask you to put your name or some identifier in the comment, so I know who is leaving a comment). 

Also, it'd be nice if this continued to happen on an ongoing basis, so that if you stop reading, I'll know by lack of comments. I just want to know if it's worth it for me to do this or if I should just quit! 


Monday, March 12, 2007

Newspaper Article about Author Friend

Brandon Sanderson, the friend I mentioned who is a published author, had an article written about him in the daily paper. I thought I would link to it and copy the contents: http://www.deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,660202512,00.html

Wee-hour musings paying off for author

By Rosalie Westenskow
Deseret Morning News
      PROVO — For five years, Brandon Sanderson spent the quiet midnight hours weaving tales of fantastical worlds filled with magic, intrigue and secrecy.
Brandon Sanderson recently received a six-figure advance for a children's fantasy series about a boy named Alcatraz. (Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News)
Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
Brandon Sanderson recently received a six-figure advance for a children's fantasy series about a boy named Alcatraz.
      A graveyard shift at Provo's Best Western CottonTree Inn yielded a total of nine books for the budding writer, a student at the time, who pounded out page after page until 5 a.m. each morning while working at the hotel desk.
      Two published novels and 12 book deals later, the 31-year-old author can afford to devote daylight hours to his work — although his wife, Emily, tells stories of late-night writing binges.
      Sanderson recently received a six-figure advance from Scholastic, the "Harry Potter"-series publisher, for a children's fantasy series about a boy named Alcatraz who does battle with a cult of evil librarians.
      These recent writing successes, though, resulted from years of hard work — a fact Sanderson likes to point out to students in his class, Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, at Brigham Young University.
      "A lot of people say my 'debut' novel doesn't feel like a first novel," Sanderson said. "Well, that's because it's not. It's my sixth novel."
      The day Sanderson received an offer for "Elantris" from an editor at Tor Books, a publisher of science fiction and fantasy, made all the late hours worth it, he said.
      "I just about fainted when I got this news," Sanderson said. "Finally somebody bought one."
      "Elantris," which hit bookshelves in May 2005, was one of 13 "practice" novels he wrote while attending undergraduate and graduate school at BYU.
      "A lot of people give up after writing a book and not selling it," Sanderson said. "My opinion is, just keep at it."
      And keep at it he has. Sanderson currently has 80,000 copies of his books in print. The first of a trilogy called "Mistborn" appeared in bookstores in July 2006, and the second is slated for publication on Aug. 21.
      The first of the Alcatraz series, "Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians," will come out Oct. 1 and other books are planned for May 2008 and early 2009.
      Unique plots characterize much of Sanderson's writing, said his literary agent, Joshua Bilmes.
      "It was clear looking at his work that Brandon had more ideas in one book than a lot of fantasy writers have in their entire career," said Bilmes, of JABberwocky Literary Agency. "This was just stunning to me because it was so beyond what other writers I was reading were capable of doing."
      Both of Sanderson's published novels include maps to help readers orient themselves in the kingdoms he has created, and "Mistborn" even has its own alphabet, designed by Isaac Stewart, who also drew each of the maps.
      Stewart, a close friend of Sanderson's and a prolific fantasy reader, said he likes Sanderson's fresh take on the genre.
      "My favorite thing about them is that they haven't been done before," he said. "Brandon's books aren't the derivative Tolkien."
      The complex magical systems and mysterious characters of "Elantris" and "Mistborn" seem worlds away from Sanderson's neat townhome in south Provo, his casual jeans or innocuous hairstyle.
      But fantasy appears to take up a large chunk of Sanderson's mind, and random thoughts often lead to the next project, he said. The entire "Alcatraz" series, for example, resulted from a line that just popped into his mind one day.
      "And that line was: 'So there I was, tied to an altar made from outdated encyclopedias about to be sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil librarians,"' Sanderson said.
     After a mere 16 days of writing, that line turned into a 50,000-word novel — that's about 300 pages.
"Allomantic Table of Elements" is one of many illustrations by Isaac Stewart in Sanderson's books. (Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News)
Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
"Allomantic Table of Elements" is one of many illustrations by Isaac Stewart in Sanderson's books.
      The series, Sanderson's first attempt at children's fiction, tells the story of a boy who discovers he's part of a secret group of freedom fighters who battle librarians, an evil cult that controls the world by restricting information. Each of the freedom fighters has an unusual but surprisingly powerful magical skill, such as the ability to arrive late to appointments.
      By focusing on less-obvious talents, Sanderson said he hopes young readers will realize their hidden abilities.
      "I think everybody has talents that don't immediately come out ... and sometimes those can be more important," he said. "One of my talents was daydreaming, and I've turned that into a career."

Monday, March 5, 2007

Taught Primary Class

So on Friday I was asked if I could teach a CTR 8 class. The teachers are having health problems. So I prepared for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday morning. When Aaron and I finally figured out where to go to teach, I found out that we onlyhad one student. I had No idea when class was suppose to end, so I had no way to gage how much time I had to waste, or whether I needed to hurry. So the lesson ended 30 minutes before the end!

I guess when you have one student, who is very quiet, you don't get much discusson. The last time we taught, we had the 4-year-olds and there were like 10 of them. Right at the beginning of class, they all wanted to go to the bathroom and get drinks. I think we spent half of class just doing that, especially since only one of us could go with a couple of the kids while the other stayed with the rest of the class. So we only got through half the lesson that day. I think we also had less time (like 40 minutes, rather than 55), and so when i prepared the lesson, I wasn't worried about not having enough to do.

So after we finished the lesson, we talked about the Friend magazine, which I had brought and went through a couple things in there, a story and an activity. Then Javiera, the one student, suggested playing a game of hangman. Then finally it was time to go into sharing Time and Singing Time. What a relief! I'm just glad this happened with an 8-year-old, and not 4-year-olds.