Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Great Wall of China

(because you would rather see a post about this - than about toilets)

The mountains along the Chinese - Mongolian border.

While we were in Beijing we took a little day trip out to one leg of the Great Wall of China. As you know the wall extends around the perimiter of China - the emporers hoping a wall would keep out the Mongolians, the Huns, and every other invading group of peoples. The wall really was very awe-inspiring and the countryside was beautiful.

This is one of my favorite shots of the wall from about 10 guard posts from the ground.

The funny thing about this sign warning those with "brain fever" not to climb - is it is about 1/2 way up! Too late!

This is a view of the Mongolia - China border and the Great Wall guarding it.

We climbed up to the end of the "arm" that was a look-out extension - 13 guard posts long.

A little detail - viewed from the wall.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Toilet Tour of China

Background: when China made a bid for the Olympics the International Olympic Committee said, yes, if you fix up your toilet situaiton. They added a few Western-style toilets here and there and gave the toilets a rating system, one-to-four stars.

The more the stars, the better the toilet, supposedly. Although, you are hard-pressed to find toilet paper in any of the bathrooms.
This is a four-star toilet, so you can imagine they go down from here!

This is a one-star on the Great Wall of China, let's just say--gross.

This one I would give a two to, but the outside was pretty!

The ancient toilet in the Forbidden City, Bejing. The toilet for emperors!

The bathrooms in the hotels were funny too - they all had see through walls that luckily, we found a switch to lower a curtian over. They also don't throw away their toilet paper - they leave the paper in open waste baskets next to the toilets, so they stink! You can smell a toilet from a mile away.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


Life certainly doesn’t turn out as you expect it to. I certainly didn’t expect to be where I am now, no husband, no children; a BA, BS, and English Second Language and journalism endorsements, not to mention somewhere between a third and a half of a master’s degree. Yes, I am still working on it and will finish it sometime in the next decade!

I’ve taught high school for five years, and am now beginning to take on extra responsibilities. I am working on a 10th grade English collaboration team, am being trained in the new 2011 Core Curriculum Standards for Language Arts in Utah, and am training other teachers in a series of workshops. Did I mention I am also trying to finish my master’s degree? I certainly had other plans for my life!

Life is busy and sometimes discouraging; if I’m not helping an ESL student learn what a phrase means in English, I’m trying to get a high school newspaper printed, an honors student to love the symbolism in Edgar Allan Poe, or trying not to ring a 10th grader’s neck for telling me the fifth time this week, “I have a life Ms. E, that is why I didn’t read To Kill a Mockingbird! I have a life.”

But every once in a while as with anything you are doing, in any profession or in parenthood (so they say), you have a redeeming moment that makes it feel worth it. This week a senior girl in one of my classes, who consequently is a dwarf (not that that has anything to do with this story) told me when people ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, or what is her plan for the future are she tells them:

“I tell them I want to be you. Whenever anybody, the counselors or anybody, ask me what I want to be, I say I want to be Miss E.”

I must be doing something right, I’m not sure what exactly because I’m not the model for Mormon womanhood, but I must be doing something--. She wants to be me, and suprisingly, I didn't pay her to say it.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Permission to Feel Good About Yourself

If you didn't hear this talk this morning in conference, listen to it! I believe it gives permission for all women of the church to feel good about themselves whether single, married, working, or not working. I love that he said:

LDS Women are Incredible

"The women of the Church are not incredible because they have managed to avoid difficulties in life. They are incredible because of the way they face the trials of life. Despite the challenges and tests life has to offer from marriage or lack of marriage, children's choices, poor health, lack of opportunities and many other problems, they remain remarkably strong and immovable and true to the faith."

I love that he said we should not judge women who work outside of the home, and let the women at home know, they should not feel like they are not making an important contribution to the world because they are "just" at home.