Friday, June 20, 2008

Swim Party (Part 2)

So, I forgot one of the most important details from Wednesday. That morning I gave blood and you know how they tell you to stay hydrated? Well, I tried to drink water as much as I could but it wasn't enough because it was HOT! So, I'm dehydrated because of the loss of blood and the heat. I ended up getting a fever, but it was quickly dissolved when I downed a bottle of water. So, moral of the story is: Don't give blood on a hot day.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Swim Party

Yesterday, we went over to Bree's for Maryvonne's farewell party. Silly Maryvonne thinks school is more important than her friends. :) So, we got there about 3:00 and played Apples to Apples (There were about 6 of us.) I finally got a green card right as I had to leave to go home and teach. I was "phony." But, that's not as bad as Douglas' "naive" and "pathetic." So, I taught 3 students and then came back. By then, there were over a dozen people and most of them were swimming. They had been swimming for a while and they were gonna be done soon so I decided not to go in because it takes way too long to brush and dry my hair after swimming. It's not worth it to spend more time doing my hair than swimming. Pretty soon everyone was done so we barbequed hot dogs and had chili and tons of chips. Then we went inside and played Apples to Apples again (this time with about a dozen people) and it was lots of fun. Then everyone decided to go swimming again but I couldn't because I somehow managed to trip on the carpet (I'm still baffled as to how I managed to do that) and ripped up my toenail (I KNOW you wanted to know that) so I ended up being designated picture-taker. Then we watched So You Think You Can Dance and ended up going home a little before 1:00 in the morning. All in all, we had a ton of fun. I can't wait for the next pool party!

This is our fun game of Apples to Apples (notice Douglas on the right sleeping on the couch)

I'm not sure why everybody thought it would be a good idea to pile on top of each other

Giant toilet!

And here's Douglas trying to attack a shark

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yesterday was weird

So, yesterday I went to Big Lots and it was filled with people. This guy looked at me so I smiled and walked away. He followed me! So, I'm thinking it must be a coincidence. I went down another aisle and he followed me again. I'm getting a little nervous at this point but I'm thinking I'm just paranoid. I walk to the other side of the store and realized I had lost him. So, I start looking at cards (I love to do that) and I feel someone brush up against me. I look around and the same guy is walking away from me. Ok, so now I'm scared so I quickly picked out a card and walk to the register. I had just finished paying and was about to walk out the door when this couple behind me asks the clerk if the manager is on duty. She says yes so the lady paying tells her there's this creep walking around the store. I stopped dead. As I'm turning around, the clerk is telling the lady that she's the second person who has said that and that she's gonna go call the police. She walked to the phone really quickly so I didn't have a chance to tell her that I had a similar experience. So, I just told the lady at the counter that I agreed with her and felt scared and hoped she would relate that to the clerk. I left in a hurry because I just wanted to get out of there, so I don't know what happened. I was shaking as I was driving away, so full of gratitude that it wasn't any worse.

Then I went to the funeral of Mary Webster, a sweet lady in our ward. Her son passed away last year from the same cancer and her son-in-law passed away in November. Her poor family!

But, then we went to Souplantation to celebrate Father's Day a day late and ended the day on a happier note. Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Grandma & Grandpa!

Yesterday, we went to Valley Center to celebrate my grandparents' anniversary. It was a family reunion kinda thing. We got to see most of my family on my dad's side. Uncle Harry, Aunt Carol, Aunt Dorothy, Aunt Maria, cousin Ann and cousin-in-law Chris, cousin Kenny, Mom, Dad, Jordan, Jared, Grandma, Grandpa, Douglas and me! (Please don't tell me I missed anyone)

My wonderful grandparents

Me, Dad and Mom's head in the front with Jordan, Jared
and Grandma hidden behind us, Grandpa in the middle
and Ann, Uncle Harry and Aunt Carol on the left
(Douglas was behind the camera)

Aunt Dorothy, Aunt Maria and Kenny's arms on the left,
Chris, Ann, Uncle Harry and Aunt Carol on the right

There are more family members that weren't able to be with us and we missed them. But we had a blast and ate incredibly yummy food thanks to our gourmet chefs! (You know who you are!) Love you all!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My claim to fame

My mom and I were interviewed about homeschooling and are quoted in this article that might be published in the Union Tribune. You can find the article at

Who will teach the children?

Courts could require credentials
for home-schoolers

By Steven Mihailovich |

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A case that goes to court later this month may bring about an opportunity for North County parents who home-school their children to dispel many myths about the system.

On June 23, the California 2nd District Court of Appeal will hear a case on which the Superior Court ruled that parents had to be credentialed to teach their children at home.

According to court files, the appeals court will decide whether there is a constitutional right to home-school and whether parents must be credentialed under California law.

But many of the estimated 166,000 home-schoolers in California believe a ruling against the practice will send education backward, not forward.

“Home-schoolers get into top colleges as much, if not more, than public school students,” said Cathy Gray of Escondido, a former teacher who has been home-schooling her four children for 12 years. “Some public school graduates don’t even know division.”

Until the case is decided, home schooling remains legal, said Loren Mavromati, president of the California Home School Network, a support and advocacy group. With briefs supporting home schooling filed with the court by the governor, the state attorney general, legislators and even school administrators, she said her confidence is high that home schooling will stay intact.

Mavromati notes that privates schools don’t require credentialed teachers either. She also points out that if the court rules against home schooling, thousands of children will be dumped into a public school system, which is cutting its budget because of a lack of funds.

“My biggest pet peeve with public schools is that arts and music is the first things removed when there’s no money,” said Gray, who taught music in public schools. “Also shop classes and physical education. All the stuff kids like.”

The misconceptions about home schooling are numerous, but the most persistent is that home-schooled children have no social skills, said Jennifer Wallace of Escondido, who has four children being taught at home.

Wallace said her children spend time with adults, seniors, teens and children, and are more adept at dealing with society than children who spend most of their time with peers.

“ ‘What about their social skills?’ is the most asked question,” Wallace said. “Usually when I answer that question, I’m careful so they don’t feel too bad that they have their kids in public schools.

“It’s a different kind of lifestyle. But when you make the commitment, what other people say doesn’t matter as much.”

Nicole Turner is Gray’s 23-year-old daughter. Turner was home-schooled beginning in seventh grade. She said she missed none of the activities associated with schools, such as football games and the homecoming dance, because she accompanied friends who were in the public schools.

“I set foot on campus lots of times,” Turner said. “I didn’t feel I was missing out.”

Leona Wolf of Vista home-schools her two sons, Addison, 13, and Hayden, 11. She said her sons have clumsy moments socially when they sign up for soccer and basketball leagues.

“They’re a little awkward when all the kids are the same age,” Wolf said. “They don’t know all the slang or the subjects kids in the same group are talking about. But it’s the same if they were suddenly moved to another school in another state.”

The perception that home-schoolers are religious zealots who pull their children out of school to teach Creationism is more of a concern. Mavromati said parents who are just looking for quality education for their children are often lumped in with the religious groups.

“People think home-schoolers are chained to a kitchen table with the Bible open and the kids have no friends,” Mavromati said. “We’re just a microcosm of the country. The majority of the country might be Christian but not fundamentalist Christian. To put it frankly, the media cover the fundamentalist side more because they’re stories that get more attention.”

The home-school system uses teaching methods as diverse as the families that participate, Mavromati said. Many home-schoolers work with independent study programs offered at some public schools, while several charter and private schools specialize in home schooling, assisting parents with meeting state regulations on curriculum, assessments and record keeping.

Wolf’s children are enrolled in the independent study program of Behesa Charter School, which provides textbooks and curriculum and tests the children annually. But home schooling gives parents the flexibility to find lessons that work for their children.

Wolf said she used a variety of curricula to teach her eldest son math.

“If they’re not responding to a certain approach, you look for a different one,” Wolf said. “It’s largely about finding the right explanation, finding the right language that speaks to them.”

While Gray admits that home schooling is not right for all families, especially those in which both parents work full time, she dismisses arguments that her children won’t learn as much as public school students.

“God gave them to me,” Gray said. “I don’t want to turn them over to someone else. … To lump children all together and say the best way to learn is to have them sit at a desk for seven hours reading something they don’t like doesn’t make sense.”


I spent most of the day on Wednesday in Costa Mesa at the Orange County Performing ArtsCenter for the dress rehearsal and concert. It went really well. I saw some familiar faces in the audience, which was really nice.

This is inside the hall. I was able to get a shot from my seat during the dress rehearsal. There are 3 tiers and the acoustics are incredible. It seats about 3,000 people (and it was sold out.) I can't describe the thrill of playing with a big group and that last chord being played and receiving a standing ovation. There is nothing like it.

Backstage during the concert. The Sunbeam Choir (ages 4-6) were so stinkin' cute in their costumes from around the world.

I am trying to track down a picture taken during the dress rehearsal of everyone on stage and the whole adult choir waving American flags during the finale. If I find it, I'll post it.

I am really glad I was able to participate in the concert. It was a big success.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Concerts Galore!

Yesterday I went to the final concert of the San Diego Youth Symphony this season. It was great. They played Beethoven's 5th Symphony, Haydn Cello Concerto, Swan Lake and 1812 Overture. It brought back so many memories. I remember this time last year playing the final note of Stravinsky's Firebird and receiving a standing ovation. I was a mess. Eight years (well, nine if you count the year with a different director) of my life were over. If I had stayed through this year, I would have finished a decade yesterday.

My good friend, Meredith (fellow violist) after her last concert

But, leaving the orchestra, as hard as it was, opened new doors. Oklahoma was the major one. With every Saturday being filled with rehearsals, I wouldn't have been able to commit to an 8-show a week run. And I'm sure Oklahoma will open new doors as well. I look forward to the opportunity to play in future productions. Another door that was opened to me recently was the Orange County Mormon Choral Organization. I have been rehearsing with them the last 2 Saturdays (again, I wouldn't have been able to do that if I had been rehearsing with the youth symphony.) We have a concert coming up this Wednesday, June 11 at 7:30. It will be at the Orange County Performing ArtsCenter in Costa Mesa. It will feature 4 choirs and an orchestra (with me in the viola section) and we are playing some really fun music, such as Rhapsody in Blue, Shenandoah, Oh Susanna and Camptown Races. There will also be some original pieces and, of course the classic patriotic songs such as The Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful. Some of the pieces gave me goosebumps during this last rehearsal. I think it's gonna be really good and I'm super excited.

You can find out more information and purchase tickets at:

It would mean so much to me if I had friends in the audience. It's always fun to play for someone you know rather than all strangers. And if you do decide to come, let me know so I don't leave without saying hi. Or you could just surprise me at the stage door after the concert. Either way, I hope to see you there!