Things that make me laugh about BG

  1. He can't stand the 'extra comma' most people put into the Pledge of Allegiance. So every morning instead of saying "One Nation, under God, indivisible," he makes a point of saying "OneNationunderGod, indivisible," loudly if anyone else is around.
  2. When students ask, "Can I....{do something}," he always answers, "You May." Sorry, but you're not going to reverse the disintegration of the English language. Kids will continue to ask if they can do something when they should ask if they may.
  3. I believe this could be considered OCD: BG spent TWO WHOLE DAYs (and $30 for some font-identifying software) looking for the exact font of the existing vinyl letters in the library, and trying to get old documents from one computer to another. He really doesn't want mismatching signs.
  4. He hates tomatoes. OK, I know this isn't that strange, except that he brings tomatoes to school regularly. Trying to give them away.
  5. When someone says "thank you," he always says "Welcome." No You're in there; just Welcome. Why is may I such a big deal again?
  6. (My favorite:) Anytime we start talking about something, BG walks off and comes back with a book on that subject. King Arthur, Alaska, the name "Morgan" (a book about Morgan horses), you name it. Just because I'm talking about something doesn't mean I want to read a book about it. Right this second.


On Sunshine

I am soaking up every drop of summer that is still left in this old September.
Yes, soaking it up.
Every afternoon I take my blanket, sunglasses and a book - unfortunately also my phone for keeping time - and lie on my front lawn whilst reading of faraway places and things.
This is a favorite activity of mine...something I do as soon as springtime is warm enough to stand, and as late as autumn will allow. I need to store all that sunshine somehow before the long, bitter-cold, often-sunless winter begins.

Speaking of storing sunshine.
I watched the General Relief Society broadcast Saturday evening (if you couldn't tell by my last post) with my mother, sister and sister-in-law. I felt like every word that was spoken was spoken for me, and it was like sunshine was being poured into my soul.
I also felt like I would need that warmth in some unknown cold, dark days ahead.

"We live in perilous times," we keep hearing from our leaders. "The family has never been in more grave danger." I've just begun to wonder, has this warning become too familiar? Have we heard it so many times that we don't really hear it anymore? Are the calls to step up and do more felt as keenly by the rest of the world as they are by my parents, my siblings and me?

Newspapers and magazines are reporting financial crisis -imminent doom, really- for not only our nation, but others around the world. A part of me is inclined to think that a Depression would do our country some good. We are too wasteful, too spend-thrift, too dependent on Daddy's money, too lazy to learn how to work hard and to appreciate what we have. I was never more grateful for less help than I was in college, where I paid my own way and I learned that I could do without a lot of things. That we all could.
If we could all have a little humility.
Isn't that what causes financial problems? Wanting bigger and better things that we can't really afford? um, PRIDE?

I've been following the Presidential campaign painfully closely....thanks to my job in the library....and frankly, I'm getting sick of it. If one more person tries to tell me what to think, one more lie that so-and-so is telling, I might just throw up my hands. Just how far does my duty as a conscientious citizen extend? And how has it come to this?

Amidst the trouble and gloom, a glimmer - no, a ray - of hope warmed my soul Saturday night. And my soul answered back. Yes, it said, I am divine. I CAN create. I AM compassionate. And I WILL do more, be better. Whatever is required of me for good.

Please, let me know what that is.


I heart Dieter F. Uchtdorf

and Sister Beck, Sister Allred, and Sister Thompson.

I love Relief Society.

If you are reading this, I love you too.

Creation and Compassion....time to get to work.
(More on this later.)


Back to the Future

I picked up my flute last night for the first time in *ahem* years. And I was pleasantly surprised at how much I still remembered. At first.

Then I went to community orchestra and realized just how much I've LOST- breath support, embouchure, high-note fingerings,
counting abilities..... Basically I've become one of those flautists I used to disdain. Serves me right, I think.

I had also forgotten just how much I love to play in a large group. There was a
reason I spent 8 years (how many hundreds of hours?) in band; that passion hasn't left me. Bubbles of laughter kept escaping - was it glee? - from me throughout the entire practice. Em's quiet panic, Matt's nonchalance, my mother's amusement, and my own incompetence all combined for an hour-and-a-half of unrestrained joy. Oh wow.

I decided something last night. I will never let my flute sit, unused, for that long again.

It missed me too much.


Scrap This

So my Beehives scrapbooked tonight for a class activity.
3 words: WASTE. OF. TIME.
Pretty sure I'm outnumbered by women who like to scrapbook, so I have to be careful, but I just don't understand how intelligent people can spend hundreds of dollars and SO MANY HOURS cutting pictures and cutesy paper and sticking on stickers and ribbons and letters. Ugh.

Like in 20 years I'll look at a page and remember my happy life better because the paper has polka dots on it??? Or because the picture has jagged edges? I'd probably look at a page and remember the time I wasted putting together the blasted scrapbook instead of making more memories or doing something good for someone else. That I could recall with my excellent memory.

Besides, who has room for all that stuff in their house? Your house is too big. De-Clutter, that's my motto....even if only because I've moved 10 times in the last 3 years. Huh.

Also, I love this video. If you have 4 minutes to watch something "nice" (OK, cheesy), you should watch it right now. I wish my hair looked like Taylor Swift's, for real.


Day 10 - random tidbits

Before Slice and I got married, I told him over and over and over - and over, sorry babe - that I wanted a piano. That was all I wanted, just a piano. "It's an investment," I told him. (Very true.)

Three months later we finally have one! My sister gave us an old upright that she got I don't know where (where did you get it Mario?); it's been sitting in another sister's house/garage for quite a while. One brand-new Uhaul truck, 4 buff men and a 2-hour drive later, and voila! Investment now sits in our tiny house. Making it even tinier.
I can now give voice lessons here...and they're going well so far. Next week I'll make her sing by herself.

In other news:

  • Creepy boy hasn't come into the office for, like, a week now
  • Only one teacher continues to completely ignore me. The last one I would have expected
  • I drive a sweeter car than any of the high schoolers (love it!)
  • School lunch isn't half bad for $2.25 - you can get a lot of food, man
  • And....there's a faculty restroom. That explains why I never saw any of my teachers in the lowly student ones. But the other day a male teacher walked out of the one marked WOMEN.....no idea....


Oh Maya

You might think that a high school library is a quiet, unassuming place, and that working there is a tedious job. And if you did, you might be wrong. Like I was.

Exhibit A: UHS library at lunchtime.

When I was a student here many many years ago, I avoided this place like I avoid painkillers: Only if absolutely necessary, please. If I had no class (college classes, Fridays) I was either at Seminary, The College or someone else's house. Not these kids. Who knew the school library was the new hip hangout place?

Exhibit B:

A student's mother quietly protests the curriculum covering The Crucible for said student's English class. She has prepared a list of objectionable content in both the book and the movie (huge differences between the two). The librarian happens to be head of the English Department, so I get to eavesdrop on this ongoing conversation.

Questionable content in books and movies is a sensitive topic 'round these parts these days.
Thank you Tabiona teachers. How do we decide who, when, and how much to expose our students to? Is 'sheltering' students beneficial to them or harmful?  Sarah Palin is accused of being a book-burner while I read a biography about a young girl who was raped.

As a historian (yes, fresh out of college), my outlook on this issue is probably different than most, although I'm conflicted as well. Why have other human beings been subjected to so much suffering if not for the rest of us to learn from their experiences? How can we grow into compassionate, charitable people if we turn a blind eye to all the evil in this world? At the same time, how do we maintain our own security, preserve our own souls from the harrowing that could occur by immersing ourselves in that evil?
After all, Jesus Christ did not turn away from even the vilest of sinners; He descended below them all. Somehow He loved them while condemning the horrible things they did.

I understand and sympathize with parents who want to protect their children. Honestly, I think parents should be the one to make this call. But maybe they should make it consciously, with a decision to discuss historical issues - consequences of choices and how we got to where we are - with their children. (Note:
historical. I think the only junk considered for schools should be junk that actually happened;
 otherwise it becomes a glorification of evil. One thing I've learned is that real, honest history never glorifies evil .... if anything, it deters us from the glaring ugliness. Visit a concentration camp if you don't believe me.)

I guess in the end we each make our own decisions.
Isn't that the way it is with everything in life? Yay for agency!

Now I'm going to go read Elie Wiesel's Night. Can't wait.


King of Tut

I had other (possibly more important) things to write about today, but something else came up. I was shocked and dismayed to learn that I have spelled the word "Pharaoh" wrong my entire life.
PharAOh. PharAOh. PharAOh. Darn.

This wasn't so much a revelation as a blow to my pride. My Elk Ridge Middle spelling bee-winning, common spelling error-finding, grammar-snobbish pride.

"Jacques, I said no cleaning."

"I am ashamed."


It's everywhere you want to be

Camping trips can be really fun. In fact, I think they're always fun - except when it snows or bears eat things (and/or people, not fun) or when your father trips over a rock and gets pancreatitis and has to spend the rest of the week in the hospital.

Also when you don't bring enough food.

For example: Slice and I went camping Labor Day weekend. My St. Louis sister and her adorable children were in town; we planned to meet them at "Lake Leaving" (so dubbed by my youngest brother) to fish for a while, catch our dinner, and then camp for the night. They would all go home and sleep in their beds.

Good times fishing.
Problem #1: Slice caught no fish.
If Nathan, my nephew, hadn't caught four and graciously given us two of them, we would have had nothing but Ritz crackers and tomatoes to hold us until morning. Thank you Nathan.

Problem #2: We stayed at Lake Leaving until dark.

After cleaning the fish by flashlight and wrapping them in napkins (Always keep napkins in your car, people. You never know when you may need to transport dead gutless fish in them.), we drove to the campsite and set up camp. Slice built the fire while I started the propane stove and tried to cook the fish in butter. Semi-successful.
Problem #3 : Assuming it's warm enough for just one sleeping bag and a blanket. Especially when the sleeping bag is a mummy bag, and it's September. Fortunately my husband let me take the mummy bag. He also did all the work in the morning while I refused to leave the tent.
Gas, camping fee, fishing licenses - $60
Camping gear received as wedding gifts, finally used - $100
Watching Nathan catch 4 fish in a row, brilliant starlit sky, lessons learned - priceless.


The strangest things happen in the library

One day while sitting at my desk, I notice a boy (young man?) standing at the counter, watching me.
Me: "Can I help you?"
No answer.
A few seconds later I ask again, "What do you need?"
Boy: "Oh nothing." He doesn't move or look away.
Confused me.

Lunchtime the same day--same boy at the counter again.
He hesitates for a moment, then asks, "Um... what's your name?"
Me: "Rachel Morgan."
"Rachel Morgan."
"How do you spell that?"
Baffled me: R-A-C-H-E-L. M-o-r-g-a-n. (I had to spell it out slowly; he was writing on a sticky note.)
"OK." Boy returns to his computer.

He returns moments later. "Do you have a last name?"
Me: "Yes, it's Morgan."
"You don't have another one?"
(Starting to get suspicious) "No."
"Do you have a middle name?"
(Lying blatantly now) "No."
"Don't you have a first name?"
"Uh, yeah. It's Rachel. I told you."
"Any other names?"
"WHY???" I finally ask.
"Because I want to look you up on the internet....to see how old you are."

Me (starting to get creeped out): "??? You could just ask me."
"No. I want to look you up. "
"You're not going to find me on the internet."
"I'm thinking maybe 27?...."And he walks away.

As my friend Gabe would say, Who IS this jokester?
He's come in a couple times since then--he'll watch me from the counter for a minute before he moves on.
I usually avoid him.


The way of all the earth

Having a history degree can be both a curse and a blessing.

My grandfather died last week at the age of 77. One of my most frequently-recurring thoughts was: I have no right to grieve over his passing.
You see, Grandpa didn’t die of starvation, disease or malnutrition, as innumerable inhabitants of this world have. He didn’t die as a victim of war or any of its widespread effects. Or from religious persecution, a target of racial or cultural genocide—even as a tragic martyr.
All things considered, he lived a long and happy life.

I don't yet have words to express what this man meant to me, or how his quiet but real - oh, so very real - Priesthood power shaped my testimony, my vision of who I am and what I have to do here. Somehow I was always aware that my grandpa knew more about me than I knew about myself.

And as fortunate as I am to have been a recipient of his particular love, his unwavering faith and his shining example of a Christlike life, I can't help but wish he'd been around longer to see my future children. Family meant everything to him.

I'll miss you, Grandpa. But I'll see you later.
I have no doubt.


The Call Came.

The world stopped for a second.......And then it moved on.

As if the greatest spiritual giant I ever knew wasn't really gone; just watching from the other side.


Why I got married

Slice has been home from Japan 6 months and 3 days; his half-birthday's 3 days away.
I may be the only one in the world who celebrates half-birthdays. There is a reason, but that's another story for another day.

And since Slice doesn't read this blog (or at least I think he doesn't...his reaction when I said "I started a blog today": eyes rolling out the back of the head), I can write about him as much as I want to. Yessss.

Last night we were getting ready for bed, with Mrs. Morgan Tired + Stressed + Headachey + Expecting a phone call informing that her Grandfather passed away.

And then it started to rain.

Man, I love rain.

Somewhere amidst my dread of this morning's early alarm--and the Expected Phone Call--I really wanted to watch it. Me: "I want to watch the rain."

So Mr. Morgan wrapped me up in blankets, sat me on our rickety wooden bench, and held me as we watched the rain from our porch. I always wanted a porch bench.
This morning, I got up and read and showered and dressed; I fully expected Slice to stay in bed since he didn't have work until this afternoon (and he was still asleep when I got in the shower). But when I was almost ready to go, he had a plate of eggs and toast waiting for me and a lunch hanging on the doorknob.
My husband takes good care of me.


Day 1

The Good:
BOOKS! Books books books. I'd almost forgotten the indulgent pleasure I used to feel in libraries (think Everafter). For the last 3 years my relationship with HBLL was, shall we say, strained. I was usually rushing in to print an assignment, searching for a dusty old book among the millions of miles of shelves, or lugging around 20 books already from which I needed to study.
How many times I wished I could sit and read for pleasure! No longer!
Also the library is the brightest place in the school. I do love sunlight.

The Bad:
High School Bathrooms, not least trying to ignore teengae-girl-on-her-cell phone with unknown-abusive-teenage boy, telling him not to try to get her back. Please, spare us.

The Ugly:
Clothes. Oh, the clothes. Why are skinny jeans back in style???
I wish there was an Honor Code for everyone. *sigh*


Back to School

When I left Roosevelt two months after graduating high school, I knew my life would never be the same. Gone were the days of racing cars on old airport roads, walking under bridges, making Sobe bombs and blowing up propane tanks....I think that's enough detail to make you wonder who my parents are. (And yes, they DID know what I was doing.)
Gone, gone, (almost) gone, and gone.

I was away at college for almost three years; my mischief-making changed tone. Instead of spray-painting sidewalks and canoeing in the dark, I was bar-hopping in downtown Vienna, riding waterbuses in Venice without paying, and taking midnight hikes with no flashlights.
I repented for the waterbus. (See here for the Biggest-Guilt-Trip-of-My-Life. Given the very next day.)

But I digress. Here I am back in Roosevelt and, it seems, on the other side of the world. I'm married, for one thing....I'm going back to high school for another.
I start my new job tomorrow as a library aide.
Mixed feelings, not only because it's high school and I was a student there 3 years ago and I'll be a library aide, but also because I'll be working as a peer to my former teachers. Common small-town occurence? Perhaps. I don't care; I'm still not accustomed to many of those.

Another thing I start tomorrow: voice lessons! I'm giving my first one, hopefully only the first of many to come.
Wish me luck.


Yes, folks, I AM a book.

Mr. Morgan, AKA Slice, informed me late last night that he knows everything about me. Furthermore, that he can read me like a book...just by looking at my face.

Are you kidding me?

Apparently, after two months of marriage (don't forget the two months of engagement and FIVE WEEKS of dating before that) (but do forget the four years of school together), my husband can read me like a book.
I couldn't help but think of Snape's nasty retort during Occlumency lessons with Harry Potter: "You think you can read minds like a book?" (Sneer.) The mind is much more complex than that.

And, I submit, so is the personality. I'd like to think that there's a whole lot more to me than meets the eye, even in 6 years of acquaintance and 5 months of near-constant companionship. After all, as Dumbledore said, "It is our choices which make us who we are, far more than our abilities."
I wasn't as nasty as Snape--didn't say much at all after that, actually--but the comment left me wondering. How in the world can anyone say that to someone else? Cocky, sir, just a little cocky.

That's one of the reasons I love the man. He makes me laugh.


Blog du jour

Dear Blog:

I've thought about you for a long time. I've read quite a few of you written by others, and even loved some, but I didn't know if I was ready to commit. Commit to the exposure, the possible criticism, and most importantly, the time.
I guess you could say I was afraid.

But today, after reading and seeing the outreach of thousands of bloggers culminating in NieNie day (and, I'll admit, after attempting to read
Nie's entire blog in one sitting), I couldn't help but feel inspired.
There is humanity on the internet after all.

And I made a decision; a pledge. I pledge to write. Not for myself, the thoughts and feelings I've sometimes put to paper and stashed away in some private place, to be visited only by me or my posterity (after I'm dead). Not for my professors, scholarly articles and historiographic essays that only a historian specializing in early modern European Christianity and Families would understand. I want to write for others--"others" that I love and laugh with and see often; "others" that I don't see as often as I would like, "others" whom I may not have met but want to someday--to read, think about, perhaps even be inspired by.

This way maybe I can give back. Contribute somehow to the outpouring of love that I have witnessed. Take part in what I feel is a monumental undertaking.
(Oh, and write.)

It's time to give back.
Here goes.