Friday, September 22, 2017

First Day At the Zoo

I was just a little bit frustrated with the zoo today. One of the main people in charge had specifically told me that a calendar with the different times volunteers were supposed to show up would be sent out through email. She made it sound like I should check the calendar to determine if I was supposed to come in this Friday. Well, I looked and looked all week, but the calendar never came. I decided to go to the zoo anyway. Good thing I did. Apparently the calendar was only sent to staff members, not to volunteers. Oh. Good to know- both about the calendar, and to know the difference between a volunteer and a staff member so I don't hear "staff member" later and think that includes me.

My task this morning was using this machine that looks and functions a lot like a lawnmower, but is a leaf blower. I pushed it around the walking paths all of the zoo, blowing leaves out of the way and onto the grass. This was a great first task, because I was able to walk around the zoo and get a feel for the animals and their locations. My fingers quickly got cold and sore from having to hold the "Go" lever on the machine, though.

I had gone around the loop once and was coming back from one of the side paths when I bumped into Troy, the main zoo director. He checked to see what I had done so far, then did the other side of the loop for me. By this I mean, I had driven the machine while sticking as far to the right side of the path as possible for my first loop around. Troy also stuck to the right side, but went along the loop the other way to blow off the rest of the leaves and loose grass and things. He was a lot faster at that than I was. Then he pulled me aside so that we could talk about ethograms.

The zoo seems really excited about my background in psychology and my interest in animal behavior. Troy gave me several ethogram sheets to fill out, asking me to look at the muntjacs, the yak, and the coyotes. A muntjac is a tiny deer. A really, really tiny deer that only comes up to your knee. Oh, and it has fangs. The female and the male are housed separately right now, but the goal is to house them together when they get moved to their winter pens. The female is generally shy and skittish whereas the male is more forward. So, he wanted me to record those behaviors. He also showed me the enrichment binders for various animals so that I could look through those if I want to.

So, I went out and recorded some behavior today. The female muntjac stared at me without moving the entire time (until I stood up again and she bolted), but the male was a lot more friendly and came right up to the fence to see me, even though it was drizzling a bit and he had been hiding in his "tunnel" until I got there. The yak paced in circles a lot, and the coyotes ran about their area. It was neat to spend so long watching each animal, whereas zoo patrons probably stay for just a few minutes and then move on. Luckily the rain didn't cause any problems, though I quickly became aware that the season is changing and I'm going to want to start dressing more warmly.

My shift is from 8:00 - 11:00 Friday mornings. I rode the bus to Blue Square to rest, eat, and prepare for my fiction writing class at 2:30 today. My class wasn't impressed with the guy that lots of them went to hear speak on Wednesday. I was a little amused by that. My teacher kept insisting that he was great and the lecture or reading thing would be great, but my classmates who went complained that what happened at the lecture was a lot different than what was advertised. I didn't get the details, but I didn't feel bad about missing out in favor of Institute instead.

Speaking of which, I went to Institute today accidentally before remembering there was no class on Fridays. Whoops. That'll take a bit of getting used to, since I go to it after fiction writing two other days during the week. Well, maybe it only takes forgetting one time to remember for later.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Lots to Do

Busy day of classes combined with homework and trying to get my lesson planned for Relief Society this weekend. The works.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


I ate lots of reheated pizza today. Them's the breaks.

My fiction writing teacher cancelled class today. We were invited to attend a lecture about folklore and things that some guy the university brought in was giving somewhere. It didn't sound interesting to me, so I decided not to go- That, and the reason class was cancelled because the lecture started halfway through class. It ran into my Institute class. I elected to go to Institute.

I walked home after Institute is done. I've definitely done a lot of walking home instead of bus riding this semester, what with all the construction and all. Hopefully they finish it up soon. There was tons of dust in the air as I was walking by. Probably wasn't great for my bronchitis, but hopefully that will be gone soon.

I received a text from the Relief Society president today. She asked if I would be willing to teach the lesson in relief society this Sunday. I was a little concerned because I have a lot of work coming up over the next few weeks, and I've never taught a Relief Society lesson before. I agreed to teach, and I'm sure I'll be able to pull it off. I'm teaching on magnifying your callings. Hopefully all goes well with that and I get everything done that I need to do.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Holly's Pizza Delivery

I took a quiz for my Research Methods class today. It's always amusing that universities have such a huge Zero Tolerance Plagiarism policy when you see evidence of teachers creating their quizzes by copying things in like this:

May not be posted on a website, in whole or in part. Hmm.

In answer number three, that word is "naive" if you were wondering.

I took my first exam in Measurements today. When teachers scan scantrons through the reading machine, the machine automatically sends out an email to each student to distribute their score immediately, so I knew how I did within a few hours. I only missed 4, which I guess is okay. The most missed question was number 2 (missed by 19% of the class) but I got that one right, so that's nice.

I ate lunch and then went to my behavior class. It's crazy how many people just don't go to classes. We've had significant drops, especially in that class. I don't know if people have switched out or if they just think that the book will give them all they know and they don't need to attend. Maybe that's true, but you wouldn't know that until you've been in class for a long time, and would you really risk that when you haven't even taken the first test of the class? I guess people just trust their studying abilities. Well, it's none of my concern.

I stopped by my apartment to use my inhaler and grab a sweatshirt, but I made absolutely sure not to dilly-dally around, and hurried around the corner and down the hill so I could get to the credit union stop before the other bus. I definitely didn't want to have to call on Holly again.

I made it to the zoo in plenty of time today for my second day of overview training. We saw tons of loud birds and saw the food preparation areas and things. The zoo directors told everyone not to get their hopes up about being anywhere near the monkeys, "Except maybe Maysen as she studies their behavior from two fences away." They're really excited about having me work on ethograms for some of the animals, though getting to the monkeys might take a bit of working up to.

Additionally, they assigned me to come into work on Fridays (including this Friday, I think? They said they would send out a calendar). While it's great that my Wednesdays are still free, I kind of hope they allow me to volunteer on Wednesdays too after a month or so. I may need those extra hours. That would be a shame if I had everything for my internship figured out, but I had no way to accrue enough hours.

Holly picked me up at 8:30. Yay! We made it! It was really nice of her to do that for me, but it's nice that she won't need to anymore. She kept telling me that I could "seriously call her for anything". I mentioned that maybe one of these days I'd have to ask her if she'd take me to get pizza (asking a day or two in advance) because it's difficult to ride the bus, walk from the stop to Little Caeser's, walk back, wait forever for the bus, and by the time I get home the pizza is cold. She surprised me by suggesting she stop by right now. Luckily I had some money.

So, Holly went through the drive-thru and when she dropped me off at Blue Square, I had a box of warm pizza and a smile on my face. She's been really nice to me. I'm glad that I've been able to meet her. I'm sure she's great at touching the lives of everyone around her.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Basketball Baptism

Some things I did today: Studied for upcoming exams before heading up to campus to buy some scantrons. I'll need those for my Measurements tests. After that I went to fiction writing. Mostly normal stuff.

Today was my first day at my new Institute class, however. My teacher was very friendly and joking when I came in. Much more lively than my old teacher. He was funny and kind of reminded me of Mom's brothers. The class was huge, too. I guess that happens when you're in a cornerstone class instead of just a little side early morning class.

Our lesson was on the different types of sin commitment and repentance. My teacher explained that there are sins committed because of weakness and sins committed because of rebellion. Your reaction to different sins (godly sorrow vs. sorrow of being caught vs. no remorse) can determine whether your heart is in the right place and whether you can truly be forgiven if you repent, if you repent for that sin at all.

Speaking of the heart not being in the right place, my teacher gave us a scenario. He said, "You know how every Church basketball team seems to have that one nonmember on it because they're really good? Imagine if a change was made that you had to be a member to play basketball. The bishop calls you in and tells you that we need to get that man baptized so he can play. He says, 'I don't want to know how you get him baptized- just do it'. So, you and your friends approach the nonmember and ask him about the Church. He says he's not interested. So, you put him in a headlock, drag him to the font, say the prayer, and dunk him."

Is that a valid baptism? Why not? The Bishop said it was okay, the priesthood authority was there, the person was immersed, and there were witnesses. But, the Holy Spirit wouldn't uphold that baptism due to the heart not being in the right place, and not being truly converted.

My teacher then told us that this is how his dad was baptized- except without the headlock. His dad had little interest in the Church and had never taken missionary discussions, but wanted to keep playing basketball, so he was baptized very quickly. He didn't even know the name of the Church; years later he was in the army, he wrote down Mormon when asked what his religion was. Eventually, through the army, he met up with some missionaries and was converted for real.

It was definitely an interesting story and a cool lesson for my first time there. This teacher seems a lot more engaging than my old one. I think I'll enjoy his class, and it's great that it's on my lighter day too. Since this is a cornerstone class, though, that means there is required reading to keep up with. Hopefully I don't fall too far behind.

I had dinner at the Marketplace tonight and attended a study session for my Measurements class taught by the TA. He hinted that the example questions we had been sent earlier in the week were actual questions from the test. Which was good, because I'd looked over those, and then we went over them in the study session. Measurements is a confusing class, but I'm starting to get my bearings. Hopefully I'm able to pull through with decent grades by the end.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

I'd Call My Dad

I felt pretty sick today. Oddly enough, my eyelids especially felt really heavy and sore. I had a pretty runny nose and started having a bit of trouble breathing. Not to the point that my life was at risk or anything, but that I felt congested and it was really bothering me. This probably had something to do with the fact that I stopped using my inhaler eleven days ago so I could attend my laser appointment. I had Mom check my forehead so she could help me decide if I was well enough to go to church. She said I wasn't warm. Really? I wasn't feeling too well, but okay. I figured I'd sit quietly and not open my mouth too much or touch anyone. Maybe that would prevent other people from getting sick.

I'd also been talking to Mom about my crazy class schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I had to be up on campus pretty early every day and stay until fairly late. Yes, I have a lunch break where I could potentially go home instead of eating on campus, but with all the construction and crazy bus routes, there's really no telling how long it would take to get down there and back. Plus, I don't have tons of lunch food in my apartment anyway. What I do have, I'd kind of like to save for dinner. I like eating on campus. Anyway, it gets pretty exhausting to be running around on Tuesdays and Thursdays every week.

Mom suggested that I switch my Institute class to Mondays and Wednesdays. I was pretty surprised- I hadn't even thought about doing that. But it made sense. Institute was my early class each day, so switching it out would mean I didn't have to go up to campus until just after 10:00 each morning, giving me plenty of time to get ready and make sure I've gathered all my things for the day. And, I haven't been liking this class very much anyway. So today, we made the switch. Fingers crossed.

Preston had really hoped I would make macaroni while I was here. I'd told him yesterday that we could have it for lunch today. I got Dad to help out a bit, since I didn't want my sickness to spread to the food I was making.

Church went well, and after it was over, Dad drove me back up to school and dedicated my apartment. Last year, my home teachers had offered to dedicate it for me. This year, I decided it was a good thing to do and I didn't want to wait too long. One of elder's quorum presidency, I guess (I don't really know how they organize themselves) had come into relief society last Sunday and written a phone number on the board so that we all had someone to contact since official home teachers haven't been assigned yet. I'd considered calling them, but as the guy wrote the number, he said, "So if there's like, ghosts in your house, we can come give you a blessing or something". Hmm. Well, that wasn't really why I wanted my apartment dedicated, but now I felt weird about asking.

To sum it up, I was glad that Dad came up with me to dedicate the place himself. It was kind of nicer that way than having it done by strangers, even if we are in the same ward. Plus, I'm not sure if they're allowed to come over if I'm the only one living in my apartment... though, they came over last year at a time when Demetria wasn't around. Huh.

While Dad drove me up, I managed to finish my "sudden fiction" assignment for fiction writing class. It's a little three-page story about an employee who gives an elevator pitch to his boss about why he should be fired instead of accepting the promotion he's been offered. Of course, his boss decides that his debate skills are very good and decides to give him a better promotion- much to the horror of the other employees in the elevator who are watching this play out. Also, since our story was supposed to focus on a physical fight scene, I have a bit of hand slapping going on, because I really liked this elevator pitch idea and the hand slapping fight was the only thing I could think of.

So tonight I submitted the piece- and realized immediately afterwards that the page length for this assignment was actually 3-4 pages, not 2-3 like I'd thought. Oh. It had been pretty hard to condense everything I wanted to say down to three pages, and a little extra room might have been nice. But, my story takes place in an elevator, and it's probably about as long as the elevator ride allows anyway.

I still wasn't feeling too well tonight. I took a long, hot shower and tried to get some work done. Busy day tomorrow, and now I have a new Institute class straight after fiction writing too. Hopefully I enjoy it, and hopefully I don't forget to go.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

I Ride With My Mom If I Want To

I had an 8:00 laser hair-removal appointment today. Due to the issue with the antibiotics and rescheduling last time, the lady I'd been talking to offered to come in early. That was really nice of her. She was the only one there when we arrived, since technically they weren't supposed to be open.

She was a little weird once she started talking to me, though. She kept asking me about how I had gotten here from school, and she didn't seem too impressed when I explained how Mom picked me up every six weeks. She said that I could ride the bus to Salt Lake instead, and then my mom could just pick me up from there. That sounds like it would get expensive pretty quickly, and then I'd have to ride the public bus with lots of strangers for a few hours. This way, my mom is able to come up and buy me groceries, we talk, and sometimes we go out to eat. Oh well. The hair removal got done, and I guess that's the important part.

I spent some time studying today, mostly for my measurements class. I wanted to review my notes and do some extra research to better understand those things that had confused me on Tuesday. It was surprisingly difficult to hunt down the information I was looking for. Apparently my teacher makes up a lot of the terms and definitions he uses, so they don't actually have real names or definitions that can be found via Google. Lovely.

Dad made tasty homemade spaghetti for dinner tonight, which was almost too bad since Mom brought back pizza after I ate. Stockton had asked for it. I don't get pizza when I'm up at school a lot, so I managed to eat one slice. That meant that we finished off the box and didn't have to refrigerate anything, so that's a great reason to eat pizza. I'm a hero.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Noodles and Spicy Food

Fridays are kind of nice because I have only my fiction writing class. On Tuesday, I told the zoo staff that I would be able to work an 8-11 shift on either Wednesdays or Fridays. Even though my schedule gets really busy and kind of overwhelming on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it's nice that I have so much time on the other days so I can do things like ride the bus to the zoo. It sure takes up a large chunk of time.

Mom picked me up after class today. I'm going home for the weekend for another hair-removal appointment. For real this time, since I've gone off antibiotics for ten days. My cough has gotten a lot better, so hopefully it won't be a problem. We went grocery shopping, then ate at Noodles and Company. I had a large bowl of macaroni and cheese, and Mom had a spicy dish that she didn't really like. I was slightly amused watching her since she didn't like it, but she did eat it all.

After that, we headed home, and I was able to check in with my family again. Kind of nice to have an excuse to see them every once in awhile.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Phew, No Zoo

Pretty busy day of classes again, but at least there was no zoo today. No breakdowns in measurements class either, so I count it as a success.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Recovery Morning

Today I took a "recovery morning" to cool down from the craziness of yesterday. I just enjoyed some writing for awhile. It was great because I was pretty sure I didn't have any assignments to do. Of course, when I did check Canvas, I had one assignment to do for my behavior class and one for research methods.

Luckily, I was able to get them both done. For behavior, I just had to draw a graph. The research methods assignment took a bit longer since I had to answer several questions in depth about the hypothetical research project I'm supposed to be designing throughout the semester, but I was able to manage that too.