Archive | June, 2010

Football Camp

26 Jun

As a Conference Assistant, I see a lot of different camps come and go. EFY, Swimming Camp, Golf Camp, Tennis Camp, Basketball camp, TEAM Basketball camp (which is different), Dance camp, Clogging camp, and more EFY arrive every week, and leave a few days later.  But none of these camps are as feared, as dreaded, as terrifying as Football Camp.

Imagine your high school football team x 50 with very minimal supervision.  They wreak havoc….and they also just reek if you catch my drift.

This last football camp however was…in general…a pleasure. (This sounds kind of harsh, I actually do like my job and I really don’t mind the football dudes too much. But they do seem to be more messy than the other camps. Let’s be real here). Here are a few highlights. One of these highlights is a very gross, nasty terrible highlight….I will save that one for last.

1. This first one comes from my incredible coworker Megan actually. I am stealing it because I loved it so. So there Megan was, giving a big group of Football players the little shpeil about cards, keys, headcount, etc.  And when I say “a big group” I mean that in every possible way. There were probably a lot of people, and those people were probably very BIG dudes. It is the nature of Football camp. Anyway, she finishes telling them all they need to know, and asks for questions. A couple moments of silence pass, when finally one of them raises his hand timidly and asks “Are we allowed to use the piano?”

Is that not endearing?

2. So there I was, roving around making sure all is well.  I get to May and go check the lobby for any problems.  There are a bunch of football dudes watching a World Cup game, and anyone who knows me knows there was no way I was going to resist watching a little bit.  The Netherlands (I think) made a goal and it was an equally exciting and scary experience jumping up to cheer along with 20 guys, most of which had to have been 6 foot five and 300 pounds. They were big. And I felt very small. I had to stand on the couch to high five one of them.

3. As I was leaving May Hall after that last adventure, one them ran up to me in a fluster. “Miss! There is something wrong with the vending machine!” he said, with a really heavy accent suggesting he hailed from a Spanish speaking country. I told him to lead the way so I could take a look at it and decide if maintenance needed to be called. While we walked over to it, the following conversation took place.

Me:”Have you been watching much of the World Cup?”

Him: “Of course! I’m from Mexico!”

Me:”Wow! So, do you like football camp so far?”

Him: “I’m going to football camp in a couple weeks”

Me:looks at his most definitely football pants “Uh…aren’t you at football camp right now?”

Him: “Oh…yeah. THIS kind of football camp. ha ha.” indicating his pants

Me: “oh. ha ha. Which kind do you like better?”

Him: “I like this football” pointing toward the group of American Football players watching the world cup…the other kind of football. I couldn’t tell if he was pointing to the TV or to his peers.

Me: “wait…soccer or football?”

Him: “My football or your football?”

Me: “My football”

Him: I just like football.

Me: ……which one?

This confusing conversation never got resolved because we got to the vending machine, which leads us to highlight number 4.

4. The vending machine DEFINITELY had problems. Someone’s powerade had gotten stuck. So, the natural reaction I guess was to try to get more drinks over and over again. The result was horizontally stacked drinks all the way to the top. I laughed for a good while and then told them I would call maintenance.

5. As football camp was checking out, I started doing room prep for the next conference which was checking in that same day so I had to be quick. Participants are supposed to leave their blankets folded at the bottom of their beds, but that rarely happens and if it does it usually has to be redone. HOWEVER, as I entered the hall I was pleasantly surprised to see a sports camp counselor stopping a group of departing guys and rounding everyone up for a little “pow wow.”  He stood on a chair and yelled, drill sergeant style “I want all you boys to get your (excuse my french) butts back into your rooms and refold your blankets. Your Mamma’s taught you better than that!” I could have kissed that sports camp counselor right then and there.

ok…prepare yourself…this last highlight is the gross one.

6. So, Megan P. and I were taking the trash out . It is a pain because the trash bags are bigger than us, and heavy, and we can’t drag them because they will rip and who-knows-what would come oozing out.  So, we are waddling along, biceps burning and olfactory senses overwhelmed by nasty.  We finally made it to the dumpster and Megan holds the lid as I fling my bag with all my strength.  We switch places, and Megan flings hers in as I hold it open.

It happened in slow motion…I saw the bag coming, I noticed it was dripping too late and I wasn’t able to duck in time. I got sprayed with trash juice in the face…the putrid mixture getting closer to my mouth than I ever want to consider or think about again.  Who knows what had been festering there for a week! blek blek blek. I think the experience has made me a stronger person though. Or at least a person with a stronger immune system.

And to close, a video that has nothing to do with Football Camp. Think of it as a late tribute to Father’s Day, and enjoy,

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I don’t mean to be the wrong Alice

20 Jun

It is nice to take walks by yourself on occasion. It gets you thinking. Here are some things I thought about tonight.

Well, as I always do first on such occasions, I went through the day and scolded myself for all the stupid things I did.  I felt myself blush thinking about this or that stupid thing I said to people I am trying to impress and I vowed to never make a fool of myself in front of them again in the hopes that  they will forget the stupid things I said.

Then I started thinking about a line from Alice in Wonderland (I was walking home from the dollar theater after seeing it for the first time) that I found particularly profound. Somewhere at the end of the beginning, Alice says “I don’t mean to be the wrong Alice!” I can relate to the poor girl.  I rarely feel like I am being the right Annette for the group of people I am with in any given situation.  I am too sarcastic, not sarcastic enough, too peppy, too serious, too quiet, too talkative, too aggressive or too passive. I have a knack for saying the wrong thing.

I seem to alternate between dominant and secondary personalities at different times in my life.

Growing up, I was described as “freakishly shy.”  I have heard those exact words. I fit under this description until I was almost 15, when we moved to New Mexico.  I was praised by friends and family for finally “coming out of my shell.”  And perhaps a small percentage of that sudden burst of outgoingness that resulted in my becoming a class president, section leader, a steady girlfriend, and an active athlete had to do with a sudden conviction to break out of whatever shell I had before.  However, I believe I have a more probable explanation.

You see, I have noticed a tendency of mine to sort of shrivel away when I am in a group with a more dominant personality than I feel equal to. If there is someone more dominant than me, I don’t even try.  And my whole life I lived with an older sister who is the most dominant personality I have ever encountered.  The reason I never talked during Sunday School, Young Women’s or bore my testimony on Fast Sunday was because I had a sister who did it much better than I could.  I never did extracurricular activities because how could I even hope to be successful compared to my sister, who everybody knew and admired.  I don’t mean this to be accusatory to my sister at all.  She and I get along fabulously and we always have.  She has never felt a malocious or mean feeling in her entire life toward anyone.  But, as previously stated she is most definitely a dominant person.  And I never felt a reason to do or say anything because what was the point really?

So, then I was 15 in a new state and my sister was away at college.  No one knew about her. I remember panicking my first day in Sunday School as it began to hit me that it was up to me to make an impression on everyone about what this new Harris Family was all about.  I spoke up, answered questions, and got involved. I started actually talking to boys and learning to flirt.  I wore make-up and took it upon myself to liven up every dance I went to.  I wasn’t that I was too shy to do these things before, there was just always someone else to do it first and better.

It has taken me a long time to get to the point of this story, but here it is. I become “outgoing Annette” when there is no one around to fill that role.  Otherwise, I become passive Annette.  This summer has been a little hard for me because my coworkers are all pretty dominant personalities, and I have been having a personal crisis trying to get myself to match them in such a short amount of time.  I often feel like my comments are misunderstood and my sarcasm taken as offensive.  And then I feel like a terrible person so I stay in my room, which I am sure doesn’t help any. ha ha. Dear coworkers…sorry…I’m working on it.

I also think I have lost a lot of my “muchness” (also an Alice in Wonderland reference) this summer. For example, back in the day I was a piano player. I mean, I was defined by my piano playing. I was introduced to people like this “This is Annette, she is my friend the piano player.”  But I have not played the piano in months. MONTHS. That is just wrong! And what is even worse is that I haven’t even thought about it that much. That is a quintessential  example of losing one’s muchness.

See! The piano is my natural habitiat! I bet I can't even play "Mary had a Little Lamb" anymore!

Then I got to this part of the sidewalk with INTENSE sprinklers and I tried my best to dodge them but failed miserably and giggled everytime I got hit by one.  I started wondering if I would have giggled if I had been with other people or if I would have just pretended to be annoyed. I guess it is something we will never know.

Then I started noticing benches along the sidewalk.  One of these days I am going to walk down that path with the express purpose of sitting on every one of those benches for at least 5 min so they are used for more than midnight DTRs or depressing break-ups.  I wonder how awkward the walk back to the Riv is after a bad DTR on one of those benches. Also, there is the bench in the middle of the grass, facing the street.  Just sitting there. No bus stop, no path. Just hanging out. I especially want to sit on that one.

Then i walked past the street I always turn on too early when I am driving to Helaman Halls and I thought how silly it is that I always make that mistake.  While walking, it is so obviously the wrong turn, but while driving things go faster–details are missed.

As I stood by the snow cone shack, waiting for the little walking man to appear in the other side of the street signaling my assured safe passage across, I realized how pretty traffic lights are.  Like…the actual lights are really pretty. And before I knew it, I had missed my legal chance to cross the street.  But I don’t regret it because seriously…how often do we get to stare at green lights? Like never! Because we always drive through them as fast as we can.

So, there you have it.  After tonight, I am convinced most great works of literature were began by leisurely and lonesome strolls.

Oh, and I liked the movie quite a lot. It certainly was imaginative, and I thought it was a very pretty movie. It made me feel like a little girl again, and I was really disappointed when the super market was closed upon my departure from good ole Provo 8 Cinemark because I wanted to buy a coloring book and crayons.

E-Pro

15 Jun

I love the song E-Pro, by Beck.

That is the video.

I love this song because sometimes, I feel like Beck knew me when he named it. When I feel really super confident about myself (mind you, not arrogant – just really super confident), I feel like a pro. An E-Pro, if you will.

Here is a short list of things that made me feel like an E-Pro recently (I’m the one that loves to make the lists!)

1. I convinced my mom to go to church with me. No. Not the Catholic one! This was a huge step in the right direction. Even though she told the missionaries what was up as we left, and it was intense (“How would YOUR mothers feel if you were converting to Buddhism or something?!”), I still think it went much better than the snake Baptist experience of ’98. Annette deemed this worthy of a History Channel special – the snake thing, that is. It was. The epic-ness of that event was of Biblical (hahaha) proportions.

2. I erged all by myself in my driveway for a whole 45 minutes. When I was done, I entered my power stance (feet shoulder width apart, chest out, head held high, and hands on the hips – try it sometime. You will feel like a champion) and stared at the erg with victory blazing in my eyes. That machine was conquered.

3. Speaking of ergs. My father and I managed to move both an erg and my bike back from UC. With all of my other stuff. In one van! I think we both felt like E-Pros.

4. I painted my nails and my toe nails. This feels like a ginormous accomplishment. You should probably know that running and rowing make my nails look horrendous – if I paint them, it never stays for more than a day or two. So, it feels futile, so I never do it, and this just perpetuates and intensifies my conditions of ukky looking nail devices. But for now, considered them conquered.

5. I managed to FINALLY remove all traces of the semi-permanent tattoos. Consider the polar bears on my arm, candy cane in my ear, and snowflakes on my wrist that have all been there for almost a full week – CONQUERED.

Yes – it is a small list! Complete with minor victories like nail painting and tattoo removal. I guess I deemed them important to me because they really did make me feel like a pro. A pro a living a mildly mediocre existence to some, but I don’t believe that any existence is mediocre. It’s the small things like this that combine (Megatron style) to really enrich and create a fulfilling life.

Consider this post – CONQUERED!

Year in Review-ish

12 Jun

This has been one wild year of college. It finally ended on Thursday at dawn, as I concluded the worst paper I have ever written about anomie in the urban environment. I learned so much! My brain feels sufficiently saturated and ready to just be empty for the next couple of months.
Here is a limited first year in review (can you tell how much I like lists):

1. I recognize how lucky I am to live in a country where I have access to such a wonderful education. Think about it – there are millions of young people unable to go to school because of poverty, war, or lack of a sufficient institution in their country. There are an estimated 1 billion illiterate adults in the world, and 2/3 of them are women. I’m not saying these people are bad because they can’t read and write – I’m not saying that at all! I believe that extenuating circumstances cause illiteracy. If any person had a choice, I doubt they would be like – psht, education? Life opportunity? A way out of poverty? I’ll pass. I never take for granted how wonderful it is that I have access to this opportunity – I want to use it to help others have access to education too. It’s a natural human right. I’ll stand by that no matter what.

2. Rowing is deceptively difficult. What could be so hard about a sport you do while sitting down? How about everything! It’s not just physically hard. It’s a mental and emotional drain. I have learned a lot about my character – how strong I really am in the world of sports. Rowing has, at times, reduced me to a weak, shaky, sobbing, heaving mess, and I am having a hard time reconciling with it. It’s taught me that sometimes you can’t always win, that sometimes you really do have to fail, and that occasionally, it really is better to give up, only to try again later.

3. Adding political science to my major was a great idea. I’m AWARE of what goes on in the world, and I have an opinion about it! It’s like discovering a backbone. I care about the state of this planet so much. I care about humans. I care about animals. I am not a fan of legislation that hurts them to profit a few. And I also learned this. Having an opinion comes with responsibility. I really want to be vocal about what I think is legit vs not legit, but I find myself dulling it down for the sake of how other people will feel. I have mixed feelings about this. I have let the infamous Bobby French make me feel like a loser because I feel bad for how I am going to offend him if I say anything opinionated. I do the same thing for people I really like, but their opinions are just so discordant with mine that I feel like if I say anything, I will drive them away. Here is my for example.

I am not a fan of anything going on in Arizona. I posted something with a minor opinion (“What the heck? This is blatantly unconstitutional”) about this new awful bill that is being formulated for voting in the fall. A friend of mine recently moved to Arizona and said:

“I think it’s debatable. If you live in Arizona & experience the issues caused by some illegal immigrants, especially drug cartels, you might think differently. It doesn’t really affect Ohio all that much..but I live in Arizona now, so I see it on the news every day. There are parts of Arizona where it’s not even safe to be out at night, period. It’s bad and unless the federal government does something to secure our borders, Arizona will continue to do things like this to try to protect people & enforce the law.”

I said:

“…”

What I wanted to say was:

“I recognize that I do not have a complete perspective on the issue because I do not live in that state. However, here is an anecdote. I live, usually, in Clifton, a neighborhood in Cincinnati. About 5 blocks to the south is Over-the-Rhine, another hood in Cincy. Have you heard of it? You should! It’s kind of famous. I ran down Liberty Street one day – it’s really nice around Central Parkway. While living here, I have seen people using heroine. I have witnessed many a drug deal at the Cincy deli on my way to teach the impoverished Girl Scouts a few blocks away. I have heard shootings early in the morning, heard sirens, and then read about it in the paper the following morning. I have run past the site of a shooting exactly one hour after it happened – it was 4 o’ clock in the afternoon. I have been harassed and chased while running. I would say it isn’t safe at almost any time of day. These immigrants did not bring these problems – no place in Arizona even made the list of the FBI’s 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods. Drug cartels are a federal problem too, as is our current flawed health care system, the fact that 3/4 of my Girls Scouts could not read, and how we just treat humans in general. I am sorry, but it is not in a state’s power to abuse human rights in direct violation of amendments in our federal Constitution.”

I would never say this to her face! She would hate me. And it frustrates me to no end that I lack enough backbone to say what I really want to say.
And as for Bobby French and what he says. I just hope that educated people will read what he says, and laugh at him and his obvious ignorance. He just wants to sound smart…oops….did I just really say that? I guess I’m not much better. Look at me dripping with passive aggression; I’ll blog about it instead of telling you what up!

So. Yes. Go poli sci. I know more about fascism and radical Islam than I would ever care to. I know that my opinions on urban society policy are just a little Socialist. I know that I like liberal politics. And I know, that when I become even more educated, I will be able to advocate for my ideas with more confidence. At least, I hope so.

4. I learned about something awesome. From two awesome fellows. The ambiguity is necessary for now.

I wish I had a better conclusion without getting too cheesy. You know, the stereotypical jazz about growing up and getting wise. I learned to be way cooler than that.

How about a song instead.

Oh. Well. That might be a little cheesy too.

In Gratitude

9 Jun

Today I was feeling very bummed.  I was a little frustrated and upset, dealing with a feeling I have never had to deal with before.  So, as I always do when I am not feeling at 100%, I called Elisabeth.  She let me vent, and she knew exactly what to say to make me feel a little more ok.  I wish we didn’t live 3,000 miles away, and that I could have vented and cried about it over a bowl of ice cream and a facial, but phone calls will just have to suffice (thanks Alexander Graham Bell),

And then she made a music playlist for me….even though it is late her time, and she is right in the middle of finals week.  Listening to it may or may not have made me tear up a little.  She knows me so well.

Search for “For Annette!” under playlists on grooveshark.  Share in the joy from the best Best Friend in the world.