Friday, January 31, 2014

Thankless Jobs.

I've been thinking about thankless jobs today.  Why?  Because I was trying to think of a job that is thanked less than a teacher.  It wasn't hard to think of police officers.  They probably aren't thanked very much.  I'm sure not many people getting speeding tickets or arrested in a drug bust stop to thank the police officer for making the world a safer place.  I thought of the two officers in Utah Valley yesterday that were shot on duty.  I guess they have it worse off than I do.  (And for which I am EXTREMELY grateful for.  What wonderful men and what a pathetic waste of space that attacked them)

But now that I've clearly stated that there are certainly jobs that are less thanked than mine..... let me continue.

Today was one of those days.  Education really is a weird thing.  We all want the benefits of it without the work required.  We all want to get smarter.  We all want to make good decisions and benefit from the success that education can provide, but we hate doing what it takes to get there.  I mean we've all been there done that, cheered when class was cancelled, smiled when a teacher decided to shorten the assignment, or copied someone's homework because we were too lazy to do it ourselves.  And on the flip side how often we groan when a teacher assigns work, get defensive when we get docked, and are mad when teachers hold us accountable.

Here's the hard thing about being a teacher.  My salary is in no way a reflection of how much my students learn.  What does that mean?  Every time I assign a reading, dock a grade, or hold a student accountable..... I am getting nothing for it.  Well except complaints, anger, resentment, and today.... tears.  Yep.  Today was a first.  After 9 years of teaching it finally happened, an angry parent made me cry.

Now of course because this is a public blog and teachers have been fired over complaining about parents, I will not go into any details.

Rather I write this post for two reasons.  First, to say like so many other teachers have pleaded for before, Realize teachers are not the bad guy.  They are not out to get your kid.  They are not trying to ruin his life.  Maybe the teacher doesn't seem reasonable, maybe it doesn't make sense, maybe it really isn't fair.  But remember.  The teacher is not the bad guy.  The teacher is not getting paid extra to give challenging assignments, try and give feed back to help the student learn from mistakes, or for punishing kids when they aren't responsible.  Teachers do this because there is a reason they went into teaching.  They certainly didn't do it for the money or because they get some type of weird satisfaction in making teenagers miserable.  They did it because they have a dream.  Whether it's their sense of duty or their passion.... they do it because they are trying to make the world a better place.  So please, when in doubt, support the teacher.

Second, thank a teacher.   Not for being hip or cool, but for challenging, stretching, and inspiring.  Because man oh man, a couple more parents like that is enough to make any good teacher be the teacher that gives the easy A while showing movies and handing out book work. Because at the end of the day, we all get paid the same.

And while you're at it.  Thank a police officer too.

Some extra reading if you are interested:

What every teachers really wants to tell parents.

Monday, January 27, 2014


I used to think that when people fall in love, they landed where they landed, and they have no choice in the matter afterward.  And maybe that's true of beginnings, but it's not true of this, now.  I fell in love with him.  But I don't just stay with him by default as if there's no one else available to me.  I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or disappoint each other.  I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me.
 -Tris Prior

Yes this quote comes from a sappy silly teen book.  But that doesn't make it any less true.  I'm so glad he chose me.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bossy : the role of Women

It was 7th grade.  We were doing a group project on different Native American tribes.  My group had chosen "the plains" Indians.  Because my dad had been a cowboy and Indian artist for half of my life at that point we had numerous resources at home that helped us with the project.  I brought books, pictures, and even Indian clothes and costumes for the report.  Our project went fantastic, best in the class, and we of course got 100%.  After the project was over the last assignment was to grade each other on how we did working in the group.  It has stuck with me for the rest of my life.  When it got to my turn I was expecting praise and really a pat on the back.  I had worked so hard and produced a wonderful product.  I remember we each had to go around the group of 4 and critic each other.  (Looking back I can't believe in 7th grade we did this....)  The first person said, "Well Kristin, you did a good job getting all the stuff and information but you were kinda bossy."  I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.  What!?!  I turned to the next person hoping they would back me up, defend me against this horrible accusation.  "Well you did have all the stuff so of course you kinda had to take charge but.... yeah you were bossy."  I was mad, furious!  I felt betrayed.  I felt ashamed.  How ungrateful!  I had just worked my butt off and got those 3 kids a 100% and this is what I got?  I learned at a very young age of 13 years old that the worst thing in the world was being called bossy.  From then on I did everything in my power to prevent anyone from saying that about me again.  Even if it meant getting a poor grade or having a bad decision made.  Never again was someone going to call me bossy.

I haven't thought about that story in years.  Probably 17 to be exact.  Until this morning on my run as I was listening to a TED talk about "Disruptive Leadership".  The current CEO of Facebook, a woman, was talking about the word bossy and why it is only used in reference to women.  She of course was arguing that the world would be a better place if more women were in leadership positions, had more pull, and had more influence on the world.  But for some reason both men and women have a difficult time with women in leadership.  She gave all sorts of numbers and statistics about this but the only number I specifically remember her using was that only 13% of political leaders are women in the United States today.

Of course this got the wheels in my head turning.  Not necessarily towards leadership or women power, but the role of women.  I probably think about this topic more than most because I am a little resentful towards how in my culture I felt limited in how I was able to dream of the future.  I don't blame this limitation on my parents or the church in general I blame it on the culture.  And I guess I am trying to work through how to change my view on the role of women in order to prevent the same limitations being set on future girls/my daughters.

My reasoning for posting this online is I'd love to hear the views of others, particularly women of my same culture, on what they believe should be the emphasized as the role of women currently and in the future.

I feel like there are two camps of women that are highly criticized within our culture: girls who sit around and wait to get married with no ambition or drive and girls with lots of dreams and ambition that get labeled as "man-haters" and "career women" that aren't interested in having families.  For the record I've spent the last 12 years of my life surrounded by two 100% LDS universities and I have never actually met a woman in the second camp.  I have never met a girl at either church institution say, "I have no desire to get married and have a family."

I believe because of the criticism heard about both of these camps many girls like me, tried to shoot somewhere in the middle.  Rather than dream about how we wanted to influence and affect society, what we are good at, how we could make the most money, or what we actually wanted to do, we chose a path that was practical, a path that easily led us to being wives and mothers.  When I think of the women I have associated with over the course of the last 12 years of adulthood, a large majority are teachers, nurses, beautician, or some type of secretarial assistant. Now in no way am I trying to suggest these are not noble or worthy careers.  But I do have to question, how many of these girls chose these careers, which typically don't make the money or lead to the prestige of other careers, if they hadn't felt the same limitation that I felt.   Why are we holding ourselves back?  Even within the field of education which is becoming more and more predominately women, why was I the only woman in my Educational Leadership Masters degree at BYU?

It's hard because right now I can hear someone reading this thinking, "Oh no here we go again, another LDS feminist who's going to wear pants to church next Sunday."  And I guess to me, that is the problem.  Once again there is two camps, extreme "womens libers" who still want to burn their bras, and women who passively support the status quo.  What about us in the middle?  Us that have no problem with only men having the Priesthood, only men attending Priesthood meetings, supporting and loving our husband, fathers, and other men within the church as they preside but still wonder about what the role of women is today?

We know that we are encouraged to be educated and ready to enter the workforce if necessary.  But what does that mean?  Is it okay to encourage girls to have dreams?  Within the church should we be encouraging our girls to be doctors, astronauts, or even the president of a company as well as dreaming of being a wife and mother?  Or do we have to choose?  There is no question that within society today women are playing a more influential role.  Is this wrong?  Should the dreams of girls solely be related to be wives and mothers?  If not, how do we encourage our girls to dream without creating these oh-so-feared bossy feminists that reject to the role of mother and wife?  Where is the balance?

Friday, January 17, 2014


It's affecting me.  Probably more than it should.  I have just grown so attached to the foothills of Glendora over the last few years.  If you didn't know... the foothills currently look like this:
 I love these palm trees... I run passed them every time I am in Glendora.  Here are even two pictures I've taken of them.

 And I'm sure it'll be a long long long time before it looks like this again. :(

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Power of the Mind.

Last night we got together with some of my cousins.  We heard in depth details about one of my cousins recent experience completing an Iron Man.  That is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile ride, and 26.2 mile run.  Just typing that makes me tired.  Ridiculously tired.  I wonder how someone can even physically do that.  And what's even crazier this cousin of mine... he doesn't train like you would think he should.

As we were talking and his wife was trying to explain to him how he needs to train more.  She turned to me and said, "Kristin how many miles do you run a day?"  I stumbled over an answer but then said, "I actually feel really guilty, I only ran 5 miles yesterday."  I meant it.  I really felt guilty that I only ran 5 miles.

I was thinking about that as I was driving to work this morning.   I was thinking about the first time I ran 5 miles without stopping.  It was my sophomore year at BYU-IDAHO.  I was so excited that I woke up my dear cousin Erica (Bless her soul for not killing me) to take my picture.  And I'm so glad I did.
Yes, I have a whole scrapbook page dedicated to this event.
No, I didn't run in this outfit.  (At BYU-I you had to wear their clothes which of course was extremely annoying but looking back, I am SO glad they washed my clothes for me everyday :)  And don't be deceived.  That isn't a discman..... it's an MP3 player..... I loved that thing.  I hope I still have it somewhere.... But that smile is priceless.  I was so proud.  I had really accomplished something.

Anyway as I was driving to work I was thinking about how powerful the mind is.  How at one point in my life 5 miles seemed an almost impossible feat to conquer.... where now I run 10 or 15 miles with little significance.

Now don't get me wrong.  I am not trying to suggest completing an Iron Man would ever be easy... or that I'd ever even consider that something I aspire to.  But it's just interesting to think about what the power of the mind can accomplish.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Christmas Vacation part III

Then we headed down to North San Diego County.......
Christmas at the Braithwaites.... 
 Every meal at Leigh's house is picture perfect.  It's hard to capture it with a camera but I did my best.  The table:
 The view out the window.
 The "Sistine Chapel" mural on the dome ceiling in the dining room.

 In other words................. meals at Leigh's are ALWAYS amazing!

SO Jason's birthday is December 30th.  I hate to complain but seriously.... I've decided I want to start celebrating his birthday on his half birthday so we get my holidays throughout the year!   But anyway, Jason LOVES flipping in any way shape or form.  If he had ten lives one would be as a diver, one as a gymnast, one has a base jumper, and one as a professional motor cross flipper guy (yes embarrassing that I don't even know what you'd call that?) *Don't tell Jason I am that embarrassing.  Anyway so for his birthday I got him tickets to the traveling Cirques dul  in Irvine.  It was pretty spectacular.

In case you didn't believe me.... here is a "simple" dinner at Leigh's.

For Jason's real birthday we went climbing again...... (The only way they got me to climb was Jeff, Jason's friend promised he'd take some sweet pictures of me.)

I think I'd climb a lot more difficult rocks if Jeff was always there with that camera!

For New Year's Eve Jason took me to Laguna Beach.... shockingly, I'd never been.  I think my favorite part was it wasn't exactly like every other touristy place I've been.  Like I've previously stated Waikiki, Miracle Mile Chicago, South Beach Miami, Old Town Pasadena, all touristy spots, it's like you could pick them up and transport them to each location and it's exactly the same.  You can count on them having the exact same shops and restaurants.  I loved that Laguna wasn't like that.  

It was pretty amazing................ but we got back to Fallbrook around 7 with nothing to do for the rest of the evening..... so we put on our pjs....
And went to ........
Of course it was amazing.
The next morning we hit up the beach.......... just because we could.  Honestly, I don't know if the weather could have been more picture the entire trip!

I had to giggle one morning as I was working out..... who gets this view during a workout?
Then we decided to help celebrate Nils and Raine's anniversary!  (what's more romantical than hanging out with your niece on your 34th wedding anniversary?)

We met up here:
then had the most ridiculously amazing and ridiculously cheep dinner at a seafood place in Newport on the water.... 

It was Raine's first time having crab so I had to show her how it was done....

Then after a stop at the Melting Pot in Vegas to meet up with Matt and Linz and spending the night in Cedar........................ it was back to reality.

Oh hello inversion..... my how I've missed you.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Christmas Vacation Part II..... LA.

Christmas morning after opening presents and eating breakfast we hopped into the car to head to the warm weather and sunshine!   I don't know why but I've never really cared for Christmas Day.... I feel like it's always so boring!  So we road trip....

We headed first to Glendora to spend the next day with the Lindstrom's Clan.  Nils gave us our favorite present!

The 2012 Lindstrom Family Video!
The next morning we headed to Lars' apartment to get some things and take a dip in his gorgeous pool in Pasadena.  

 That night Loraine decided we should have a" Downton Abbey Dinner".......... 7 courses and all.  The entire meal took probably 2 hours but man it was delicious and so much fun!  Nils set up a tri-pod and took pictures of each course..... but sadly I don't have them.
 The Menu:
Cranberry/Cream Cheese tarts with Martinelli's
Tomato Basil Soup with toasted baguettes
Roast Duck with prunes (shockingly amazing)
Spinach Bacon Mushroom salad with poppy seed dressing
Prime Rib and roasted rosemary potatoes
Cheese and Fruit
Swedish Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

We pretty much rolled away from the table after.................
Oh yes, and then the English Crackers for the grand finale.

 The next day Lars and Jason wanted to surf and I wanted to run on the sand. Bulsa Chica had the best waves in LA county.... so we headed there.

It was amazing!
 Jason got stung by a stingraye.

On to the last part of the trip..........