Monday, January 31

Chinese New Years Resolution

As a general rule I don't do anything without overoveroverover thinking it. New years resolutions are no exception, so, finding myself at the end of January and with a proper feel for 2011, here are my New Years resolutions:

1) Go on a mission.



No real explanation. Uh... this one has been around for a while. Except this year... will it come true...?!

2) Eat less of the stuff I don't need.



This is a given. I'm not dieting in the strict sense (I detest the idea and I'm quite comfortable with my weight.) But I do tend to over-stock myself when it comes to some things (sweets. Zubs. You know.) I think I'll be a lot healthier (and happier) if I stop doing so.

3) Buy less of the stuff I don't need.


I've discovered something. While I wasn't paying attention, I became an impulsive, greedy shopper. Buying electronics, books, clothes, and food with a reckless abandon that I've left unchecked and uncontrolled. Last night (when I realized this) I did some ritualistic things and set up a few guards to keep me from continuing this. Especially since I need to save for a mission. I'm well on with the funds but I need an after-mission fund too...

4) Develop a green thumb.



We'll see, right? ;)

Tuesday, January 18

Priceless



I love the faces on people who park next to you as you scramble into the back seat and climb out through the back door of your car. :)

Wednesday, January 12

Snippet



Sitting happily, munching on a nutritious lunch, (Asagio cheese bagel and chocolate milk. Naturally.) I saw a young man approaching me looking troubled. He was talking on his phone, and for a moment I thought he was actually approaching ME. But he walked right by, continuing with his conversation. I caught this snippet: "as if worried about some old, weird, RM creep guy trying to steal his daughter..."

Oh I love BYU. :)

Sunday, January 9

Winter 2011




And so begins another semester.

...

I have to admit, within the first two days I was pounding my head against my desk, gazing horrostruck at my textbook receipt ( $380.27 and that's renting my physics book, and WITHOUT buying two of the books--which my teachers "suggest" we have but don't require. Let's hope I don't get bitten for that later...) and sneak-playing video games during work and study time. After a lovely Christmas break, I was NOT ready to go back to school.

Seeing as it's not truly an option, however, I pulled things together. I got my books. Did my first few assignments. Cleared any confusion with my teachers. Worked out a daily routine. Went to the temple. Returned my over-due library books and finished over-due projects and errands.

And I'm pleased to say that I've figuratively re-established my appreciation for BYU and schooling in general. Hopefully I can maintain this. I fully intend to put forth my best this semester, rather than the half-hearted "Gawl, when will this be over" attempts that I've been falling into since LAST winter semester. So we'll see what happens, all in all.

As to classes, I think I've come out well enough. :) I'm cutting down to 14.0 credits because I want to focus on study habits and organization. Here's a quick overview:

Plant Propagation:
This is taught by another awesomely ancient and totally cool Biology/Plant/Landscaping professor who seems to care less whether you are interested in the subject or not, but will give you every opportunity to become excellent--if you're willing.
This class should (please please) offer me some more experience against my black-thumb syndrome as I learn what exactly is going on behind those leaves. I am most excited about the lab--which I've yet to attend, seeing as it's a Monday lab. What can I say? Living with plants. ;)

Astronomy:
Is awesome awesome awesome. I doubt that this class will in any way further my career. It's entirely general ed and personal interest based and I intend to enjoy it to the fullest. I already love the planetarium and I'm excited to get a BYU perspective on the heavens. I think, in some way, we've all felt the majesty and awe available to us in such a field and I cannot wait to better understand and appreciate it. Truly, the sky is one of the most obvious examples of Heavenly Father and Christ's artistry and majesty.

Bidding and Estimating:
This is another class that I guess no one knew existed until they asked me what I was taking this semester. Basically, Bidding and Estimating is what landscape contractors do when they determine how much the installation of a particular design is going to cost. Sounds simple enough... but I'm not so sure. This class seems to have a wide range of focus (like, goodness, EVERYTHING in the major.) Chapters in the book include: Basic Construction Law, The Bidding Process, Estimating Labor Costs, Overhead Expenses, Recapitulation of Costs, Contingencies, and Profit, Management of Landscape Contracting Business and the Preparation of the Business Plan, etc etc. I'm currently writing a paper on the specifications one needs to know when they hire employees. Who'd have thought?

Genealogy:
Well, not much needs to be said about this (you all know what it entails). Needless to say, I already LOVE the class. There are so many resources I'm going to learn to use and so many opportunities. :) I'm excited to really focus on genealogy for the first time in my life.

Organizational Effectiveness:
Eww. I mean, "wow! What a useful class! Sounds like I'll actually learn stuff that I will actually use in my future life!" But still. Eww. This is an online course (which, hopefully, means I can have it finished within a month. For 3.0 credits, that's not too bad) and as much as I hate to admit it, learning to create and run effective organizations is a psychological, almost philosophical thing. It's a business class, obviously, but the more I read the more I realize that knowing what goes into groups of any kind is important. So, much as I hate to say it, this class is greatly interesting. I do find myself writing on odd subjects. One of my homework questions the other day was to write on the significant differences between "effectiveness" and "efficiency" within an organization. (That made for a confusing paragraph or two.) But I can't help but feel that I need to study this subject with more care than I've given to many preceding it.

And, lastly, I have a soil lab that accompanies the "dirt" class I was so enthusiastic for my first semester at BYU. Now, finding myself actually pursing a landscape MAJOR instead of MINOR, the lab has become essential to my major and needs to be taken. I just have to say, taking a lab about a year after the material has been learned is proving to be interesting... let's just hope I can remember everything.

And there you have it! Here begins another exciting chapter in the Life of Beth.


Sunday, January 2

Gingerbread Exploits

I decided, ultimately, that now was high time for me to attempt a gingerbread house.


And, like everything else I "attempt" it was go big or go home. I learned many many hard

lessons during the production of this structure. But, since it was just for fun, it didn't get me down. ;)


So here's my gingerbread castle timeline.


Plans (Created from scratch and card-stock. Apologies to Greg who had to sit there watching till I had it "just right". (Especially since I deviated somewhat from this final.)






Then I spent about four hours one Sunday actually cutting and building the pieces.



(This was probably when I should've been most careful. Naturally, I wasn't.)

The pieces were all a little warped/misshapen, so they didn't actually fit together.






Luckily, I'm not a picky person (hur hur) so I just made do with lots of frosting to fill gaps - and, in one notable case, layers of frosted animal cookies to support the roof. (See below.) They are mostly frosted over though.



The finished product was pretty snazzy. :)

I don't actually know where I put my pictures, though here's one lit up.



When it was finally time to get rid of it, rather than simply throwing it away, Erin, Clearing, and I decided to light it on fire.



Yep. What better way to go, right? Luckily,with some lighter fluid and a safe snow-covered arena, there were no disastrous accidents. And cookies/sugar incidentally burn VERY well. It was a vivid reenactment of an actual burning building. The windows melted in and the walls slowly collapsed inward.


Good experience, overall. :) I officially will never go into any sort of engineering.