Thursday, December 17, 2009
If you're none of the above, let me provide a quick recap. Dr. Doom (or more accurately, Dr. Dube) is my professor for a class called Communities and Societies. MRU has decided this is an important class for me to take as a degree student because high schools no longer do their job and don't prepare kids to learn at a university level, so my school has taken the task upon themselves with their new General Education program, where kids get to take high school english, social, and science again. Either that or learn about the 60s, which I know is vitally important to my overall education and helped me dodge the impending disaster of what would have happened if I did not know everything that happened at Woodstock.
In Dr. Doom's class, we read books about people who are supposedly trodden upon in society, and discuss them in class. Or at least, that's the theory. Dr. Doom does most of the talking himself.
My first class I wandered in completely naive, and left thoroughly depressed. I had just sat there for an hour and a half while my professor told the class precisely what he thought of the feminist movement. Many of his opinions led me to day dreams of storming out or simply standing up and throwing my shoe at him. As a girl whose dream in life is to be at stay-at-home mom and has no problem with the term mankind being used to refer to all people, I felt like I was under attack. How could I endure this twice a week for a whole semester? I left that class and desperately looked for a way out, but unless I wanted to drop the class and not replace it, I would be stuck with Dr. Doom until December.
Naturally it did not take me long to dislike Dr. Doom. I disagreed with just about everything he said, and everything he made me read. On my midterm, I was asked to write a letter to my daughter in the future, and tell her in this letter some of the values discussed in the feminist book we were reading. All I wanted to do was write in big block, capital letters, "I WOULD NEVER WANT ME DAUGHTER TO READ THIS BOOK!" Thankfully, I did not risk my GPA over this silly question, but it made me even more sulky.
After what felt like an eternity, we moved on from the feminist book, and started another winner, The Poisonwood Bible. This book actually sounded quite interesting, it's about a Baptist family that moves to the Congo so their father, a reverend, can preach to the locals. This was in the 60s, that decade I took a whole class on.
I started the book with high hopes, but they quickly died. From my own religious perspective, I found the book frustrating because I saw exactly what this chauvinistic, close-minded reverend was doing wrong to drive away the natives and let his family fall apart. I've always liked to read to be entertained, and I did not find The Poisonwood Bible entertaining. As a result, more internal frustration was channelled at Dr. Doom.
By the third and last book, I was ready to give up. This one was called True Notebooks, and was the memoir of a writer who taught a writing class at Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles. Brilliant, I thought. Another story about somebody inspiring under priveleged kids with football, ballroom dance, tiddly winks, etc. When would this class be over?
Right after the annoucement of the third book came, I recieved some more distressing news. Since last spring my family had been planning a trip to Thailand over Christmas, and the flight was booked right in the middle of exams for me and my sister. All semester long we had been praying that our exam schedules would allow us to go on our holiday, and Janine's lined up perfectly, with her last exam the day before we were to leave. My first was that same day, followed by one a week later, and Dr. Doom's
a few hours after my flight was supposed to leave. Needless to say, I was not very happy again.
I approached Dr. Doom with trepidation. His opinions and the fact that he was a huge guy who swore frequently in his lectures made me slightly afraid of him, and I was terrified he would start cussing me out as soon as made my request to take the exam early. What he did was just as startling; he smiled.
After hearing just the first part of my carefully worded request he grinned, said he'd love to help and would check with his head of department right away. Then he preceded to ask me politely about my trip.
I was completely flabbergasted. Was this really the villainous monster I had constructed in my mind? I was surprised I actually liked this man. He arranged to move my exam, and quite suddenly, Dr. Dube was a nicer man. Or maybe it wasn't so sudden, maybe I just stopped being such a snob. Either way, I opened True Notebooks with an open mind.
To say I loved it may be an exaggeration, but I most definitely enjoyed it. I didn't even have to force myself to read it. The author's purpose was not to show how these kids (several of which were being charged with murder) could change their lives by writing poetry, it was to show the social conflict between reaching out to young, violent offenders and dehumanizing them so one doesn't have to feel pity for the lives they'll spend in prison. The writer went in with certain ideas of the kids he teaches, and the book chronicles his journey as he realizes who they really are.
No, the book is not trying to teach us to pity murderers, the author himself loves the boys he teaches but is disappointed and heart broken when he learns more about the crimes that got them where they were. He seeks to humanize them, and show people who they really are. The mission of his class is not to change the kids lives, its to give them some good memories. According to the author, everyone deserves at least a few good memories, even violent, seventeen year old gang members getting life sentences. For once, I was reading a book for the purpose of exploring new ideas, and not just to be entertained. I was surprised how much I liked it.
I felt like this book in someway reflected my outlook at the beginning of the class. I let one moment, one fact really determine how I treated Dr. Dube's class, and didn't really learn to appreciate him, or his class until the end.
So thanks to Dr. Dube. You'll likely never see this page, but thank you for helping me stop learning with my eyes closed.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Apparently after I had crushed the strawberries, whipped the cream, and put it all together, I still had to let it chill in the fridge for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. I cursed myself for not reading this earlier. I had envisioned setting out all my gorgeous pies on the table that evening to be admired and then going no where near the kitchen, not coming back every few minutes to stir some berries and cream.
Somehow, I persevered. I got the cleaning up done between stirring sessions, as well as took each pie out of the oven as it finished. Perhaps that whole staying in the kitchen thing was a good idea after all.
By 10 pm, it was all over. Six pies decorated the counter, and the strawberry was chilling. Again. The counters were cleared and wiped, the floor was no longer coated with flour, and I was flopped down on the couch with a book. Eight whole hours I had been in the kitchen. Seven pies were ready to go for Thanksgiving the next day. My back ached, my feet were tired, these pies had better the best dessert we'd ever eaten.
They may not have been, but I thought the were pretty close. I wish I'd taken a picture of them, but by the time the strawberry chiffon finished chilling, I was running around helping with dinner. My family was clever enough to keep any comments that may have been less then flattering to themselves. The elders particularly liked the strawberry chiffon, and I got to show off my handiwork to anyone who passed through our house for the next few days.
This is a very exciting day. Today I live up to the title Kylie bestowed on me in the eleventh grade. Today, I really am the Queen of the Pie Realm.
Now for next year's Thanksgiving . . .
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Preference was this past Friday. FYI - Preference is the Mormon YSA dance where the girls ask the guys. It is a long standing tradition in the Redd family that the Redd girls DO NOT miss the Preference dance for a pathetic excuse such as they have no one to go with. It's always been accepted that you ask someone. At least you do, if you are not me last year. Clearly I am the black sheep of the family.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Last Tuesday I ran into my good friend Trever on the way home from school. As we visited and caught up, I mentioned that that afternoon, my sister Janine and I were driving down to Cardston, on our way to Provo to visit friends and cousins at BYU. Trever's reaction to this news was typical, yet still amusing.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
- A speech could be given about any topic, so long as it was a persuasive speech.
- We would all perform said speeches for the class before three finalists would be chosen to go to the school-wide match.
- The winner would be given a pie.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
This past Sunday, Janine and I made plans to have a Thai dinner with some friends after church. We wanted to keep it laid back, so we figured we'd just invite people whenever we saw someone we wanted to invite the week leading up to Sunday. We've also learned that if you want say 20 people to come to a party, you invite about 30 to 40.
On Friday there was a dance, and we both figured it was a chance to invite people for Sunday. We went around in no real order, inviting each person we ran into. We got a few enthusiastic yes's, a couple sorry-can't-make-it's, and a swarm of might-come-maybe's that are just so typical of our age group. Years ago, Janine had had a party similar to this where she invited 30 people and 37 showed up, so we were feeling pretty good about our waffling friends.
On Sunday we went to church with the intent to invite more of our friends we hadn't seen Friday. Before that could happen, we got some cancellations. A few more people regretfully declined, and a bunch of might-come-maybe's were added to the pile. By sacrament meeting, I was doing a mental tally. The total number of people who were still definitely coming had reached a whopping two, and I suddenly doubted my more evasive friends would be showing. Not only that, but our two confirmed guests were a couple of guys, who, though good friends and great people, I did not want them to think we'd conned them into a double date at our house with our brother, parents and grandparents present.
So after the closing prayer, Neen and I invite more people. We get one more yes. Three people, yipee! Three guys for that matter, who I am pretty sure share two things in common; they are all Mormon, and they all know us. That, as far as I could see, is where the similarities stop.
We went home, revised our menu for a smaller crowd, and consoled ourselves that at least it's one up from the baby shower we threw (literally, as two people came to that), and laughed at the irony of how that morning we were concerned that we haven't invited enough boys, and now all we have is a trio of them. By the time our guests start arriving, I am seriously wondering why I ever bother planning anything anymore.
They've been there maybe half an hour when I remember why - because it's fun! Yeah, there's five of us, but after Neen and I apologetically explain we're the only people coming and swear we did in fact, invite girls, and this wasn't a conspiracy for us to get all the biys to ourselves, they shrug it off and say how hard it is to ever plan anything, and declare their excitement that they get to eat all the curry. Typical boys.
After we've all eaten a lot of Thai food and visited a while, we head to a Fireside, and I realize that again I have worried too much. Then I start to think. Even though there was only two people at the baby shower we threw, it was still a blast. And our dinner party with three assorted friends went better then I ever would have expected, because people are usually just glad to be invited, get to know more people and to do something with friends, even if it's never the grand gatherings I envision.
So our dinner parties, showers, and non-bonfires will continue, never according to plan and always throwing me for a loop, but regardless, it's always fun.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
This morning I arrived at work ready for another day, the last production day before the magazine is submitted. I came to my desk this morning, and sat down to complete the remaining fact checking on my desk.
It took me half an hour. By 9 o'clock I was looking around for something to do. Great, this day is going to be fabulous.
Shortly after, I was occupied with another last minute task; checking the spelling of all the stores mentioned in the mall feature. Considering they talked about 10 malls, that's a lot of stores. I made it fun by opening a different tab for each store and collecting the tab symbols I thought looked best (I still have the 9 winners up on my computer). Sadly, that took me a little less then an hour. I was still kept busy until 11, at which point I walked into my editor's office and handed in the last thing I'd been working on.
She asked me what else I was working on, when I explained the vacant spot on my desk where waiting files usually sit, she thought a moment, and for a few seconds was really stuck as to what she could give her intern to do for the next five and a half hours. At last, she told me to return to a project I'd been working on in July, but had abandoned when production got closer.
It wasn't long after that my two editors retreated into the office to do the "read through," that's magazine lingo for shutting ourselves in a room with an iPod to read every page and ad in the magazine because after all the fact checking, editing, proofreading and spell checking, we need to make sure there are no mistakes. The really sad part is, they often find some.
This is my second production, so I went to work on my not-as-rushed project not expecting to be there for long. Sure enough, 20 minutes later, my phone rings.
"Elena?" my editor's voice echoes in the phone and down the hall. "I need you to call Masters Gallery and ask them about this exhibit in their ad, it's not in the listings."
I throw myself into this new task with enthusiasm, sort of. I have always enjoyed the art gallery side of my work and though I complain about it, I sometimes enjoy being caught up in the whirl of events that is production.
Ten minutes later, I give the info to Laura, and return to my desk. It's another half hour before my phone rings again. This time it's to make sure that the honey cashews at a certain Chinese restaurant are in fact, honey-roasted.
And that is how my day has gone since. I've realized that my purpose here is actually kind of silly. I finished the menial task they give me hours ago, and I just sit here, waiting for my phone to ring for another spontaneous fact check, or my favourite; to count the stores at one mall (via the internet).
It is very difficult to throw one's heart into these little tasks when one can't help but think that were it not for them, one would have nothing to do and could possibly be at home. But instead, I must wait. Perhaps I should slip out to get some silly putty....
Friday, August 7, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I, Elena Redd, who used to always say I could never be a vegetarian because I like meat too much (or my oh so witty high school explanation - I am a vegetarian on February 30), have lived without a single morsel of meat for exactly four weeks. I feel so empowered right now, like I could do anything.
My last week of going veggie was uneventful, though plagued with temptations. Thursday night my brother and I drove to Cardston for our cousins wedding-pizza party. Upon our arrival, the orders were pepperoni and meat lovers, so I ate my cousin Monica's crusts. On Saturday we went to a wedding of a family friends where not only the salmon was delectable but the chicken was to die for. But to my delight, the mushroom salad was also fantastic.
Sunday night I took my last stand at a family picnic for my newest nephew's baby blessing. My sister made pulled pork. I binged on plain buns and couscous salad, but I had to keep repeating to myself;
"Do no not cheap out! You've lasted 3 weeks and 6 days, you can last another 12 hours."
Somehow I talked myself into it.
Though on a happier note, Friday proved to be a fruitful day for being a vegetarian. That afternoon, I got together with an old friend from high school, Brittni. After catching up, we decided to make some dinner at my house, and I warned her, I was still a vegetarian. I've gotten used to telling people this, and usually the response is, "Oh, why?" and once I explain, "Oh, okay," and that ends the conversation. With Brittni it was an exclamation of "What a coincidence" followed my the announcement that was also a sort-of-sometimes vegetarian. So we had a fun time creating a vegetarian pasta sauce with a plethora of veggies and an accompanying salad with feta cheese.
Yesterday was a weird day, I woke up and after rummaging through the kitchen for a few minutes, I remembered I could eat meat again. I didn't eat any right away, not until lunch, when Janine and I - left home alone for a week - went to Boston Pizza for lunch.
I was scanning the menu, habitually looking for the meat-free options when Janine and I both remembered again I could meat for the first time. Janine got very excited and started insisting I eat something very meaty, like a hamburger or beef dip.
I didn't. I took the easy road and opted for one of my BP favourites - spicy perogie pizza. It has just a little bit of bacon on it, and it's scrumptious. That has been my only meat thus far. For some reason, I'm not craving it as much as I would have thought.
Overall, I have enjoyed my experiment with vegetarianism. While there were several times I had to slap my own wrist for craving meat I came out successful, and actually enjoyed it. I am not such a carnivore as I originally thought! My mom would often ask me during my sojourn as a vegetarian how I was doing, and the response was always;
"Fine. I like being a vegetarian."
In answer to your question, no, I will not be making this my permanent diet, if only for the sake of Grandpa Redd's chicken sandwiches. I am however, pondering ways to cut down the amount of meat I eat in a structured way. While I have always tried to "eat meat sparingly" I'm having trouble deciding how sparingly I should go in future.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
For those of you faithful followers (Hi Grannie) I apologize for not posting this yesterday. But for one thing, I was busy, and for another, I could not, for the life of me, think of what to write.
I mean what had happened in the world of vegetarianism this week? Not a lot. I still haven’t eaten tofu, I’m not sure I even will. To be honest, I’m not that fond of it, and I have no plans for my character to eat it anyways.
I did not crack this week, I remained meat-free and am still quite enjoying my veggie ways. This weeks story however, does come from my culinary experiences.
On Saturday afternoon my friend Colleen came over, and we had the idea to make pizza with Janine. Of course it came up that I am not eating meat, so we decided to make two pizzas; one veggie one, and one with salami.
Janine, who reads more cookbooks then me, had a great idea for the veggie pizza, we should put black beans on it.
At first, I was sketchy. Beans on pizza? What was this? But seeing as she said she’d got the idea from a trusted cookbook (Skinny Feasts by Dee Hobsbawn Smith) I went with it. Along with my mushrooms (favourite pizza ingredient) olives and bell peppers, we sprinkled on some black beans.
It was delicious! Seriously, I normally don’t even like black beans, but on pizza they were so good. It was like like a little soft, tasty surprise every time I found one amid the cheese and tomato sauce. I would put them on any pizza.
So that is my vegetarian dining experience for the week. Janine copied some recipes from a magazine I want to try, so maybe next week I will not be pulling your leg when I say I’m going to blog about real vegetarian cooking.