iMovie Practice: Little Sister’s Prom

I’m one of those people who absolutely loved everything about prom. I love putting on make up, getting my hair done, finding the perfect dress, and taking a zillion pictures. My little sister is the complete opposite. She blames it partly on me as I used to dress her up in tutus, do her hair, and put make up on her…without giving her much say in the matter.

Can I Kiss You

Last night I attended the “Can I Kiss You?” presentation sponsored by The Women’s Center. The speaker used humor to talk about the party and dating scene and asking for permission. Several people laughed as he asked if they have ever been asked to be kissed.  The audience agreed that most of the time people just go for it.  He asked why and the response was that by asking if they can, they are afraid of rejection.  The speaker went on to make a good point, so because you are afraid of rejection you don’t give the other person a chance to say no?  He said it’s important to be given the choice before the act occurs, so you don’t have to be defensive.  

Aside from asking for permission the presentation was about rape.  His sister is a rape victim and that is what led him to speak out against sexual assault.  He published a book with the stories of several victims of rape and I began reading it. 

One victim said, “I lost the possibility of sharing that experience for the first time.  I lost trust in other people-I sometimes look at them and wonder what bad things they’re thinking or doing.  I feel I can’t go anywhere without being afraid that he’ll be there or that he’ll find out where I live.  I lost the ability to have fun; I lost my carefree attitude; I lost my innocence.  I lost myself.  He took that from me” (Voices of Courage, p.30).

A male victim who shares his story on college campuses said “It’s one thing to write in a personal journal about your experience.  It’s another thing altogether to become an agent for change in a violent and unsympathetic world” (p.20).

It made me think of how I would feel if I were put in a situation like those or if one of my close friends or family members was.  We left the presentation with three things: We have the power to stop rape from happening, we can let our friends and family members know that if anything has happened to them or ever does that we are there for them, and to simply ask first.

School’s Out for the Summer…Almost

I decided I wanted to be like everyone else and recap on what a wonderful year it has been.  I could tell you that I loved all my classes but that would probably not be true, but I did like most of them.  I enjoyed learning some about html and creating my website.  Not even kidding, I felt so cool creating a website that as soon as I had my template made I made all my friends get on and check it out.  I even showed my mom the code as if to let her know that my understanding it I am a genius…or at least that I’m learning something.  I have also enjoyed blogging.  I think I will try to continue blogging in the future.  A few weeks ago I started another blog.  There is this idea in my head that I want to be an event planner and so I began a wedding blog.  Cheesy, yes!  Do I care, no.  

I also took casino and gaming management, which was pretty cool.  We learned the ins and outs of building and managing a casino.  Then there was body toning for women, which since it was a class made me actually go workout.  Thank God for that.  But Zumba.  I just couldn’t quite get my body to move like that.

This summer I will probably be getting a job, taking 12 credits, and going to Anaheim, CA with my little sister to FBLA’s National Leadership Conference.  My husband is going to South Korea for a month to take Physics 2, so that will be an adjustment.  I have 3 cousins graduating.  Two are a day apart in Oklahoma and Minnesota, my family is thinking about driving all night to make both.  Aside from celebrating graduations, I will be helping my grandparents celebrate their 50th anniversary and my parents their 25th.

March for Babies

I have had the pleasure of working with the March of Dimes office in Omaha to help plan Kearney’s March for Babies Walk on Saturday, April 27 at Yanney Heritage Park starting at 9 a.m.  I am thinking about doing my video commentary on this event/the organization. It’s an organization that I care about deeply and have supported through Phi Beta Lambda who is a national partner with March of Dimes.

March for Babies is the largest fundraiser for March of Dimes. It’s a family-friendly event where the community comes together to walk for healthy babies.  Money raised through March for Babies supports lifesaving programs of research, community service, education and advocacy.  The March of Dimes helps expecting mothers, healthy newborns and those who need help to survive.

Premature birth costs society more than $26 billion a year.  Babies born even a few weeks early are at risk.  Premature births can result in disabilities such as cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, vision and hearing problems, neurological disabilities, and intellectual and learning problems.  Premature birth is the number one killer of newborns.  An average of 519 babies are born in an average week in Nebraska and 10.6% of them are preterm.  Families with premature babies are counting on the support of their friends, family, and community. 

Anyone can sign up to walk and fundraise at www.marchforbabies.org

Through A Father’s Eyes (Column Second Draft)

Red sheets and Christmas lights were strewn across the room.  The October weather was too cold for camping, so this makeshift tent would have to do.  The door was left unlocked because he knew she would be there shortly, so he waited, ready to serenade her with the song he had written.  When the song was over he got down on one knee and opened the little box.  My brother, Tyler asked his high school sweetheart Jamie Hubl to marry him.

Incase you were wondering she said yes, but after one look at that diamond it would be hard to say no.  They might have been young, but they truly loved each other and knew they were ready.  They had dated for five years and thought it was time to start a new chapter in thir lives and take on the world together.  During the years they dated, their relationship developed until the point when they knew they were ready for something more, more of a commitment.  It made more sense financially as well, since they knew they were going to be together eventually getting married now meant that they each didn’t have to pay for their own stuff and separate rooms.

Tyler and Jamie stood at the altar and said their vows on September 25, 2010.  Shortly after they were ready to buy their first house here in Kearney.  After some painting, new carpet, and completely redoing the kitchen it was a place for them to call home.  Most students aren’t ready to commit to buying a house while in college and even though Tyler and Jamie weren’t planning on staying in Kearney long-term this was a stepping-stone.  Eventually they knew they would be moving out of Kearney, but didn’t know exactly what their plans were.  They felt like it made more sense to be putting money towards something they could own and get money back from, rather than just throwing money away on rent.”

This past August Tyler and Jamie welcomed their first daughter, Tylee Lanae into this world.  Like several college students, Tyler is now majoring in grocery shopping, cooking, and paying bills, along with changing diapers, cleaning up spit up, and singing his daughter to sleep. Those of you who are parents or have been around people who are, know that their lives were changed forever.

 

School wasn’t really a part of their decision to have kids.  They decided that they wanted kids and we were ready to have them now.  Also, it was important to them to start their family young.  Tyler jokes about not wanting to be old geezers who go to bed early and miss out on stuff.  Instead him and Jamie felt that while they are still able to stay up late and function on not a lot of sleep, it would work better.

The stinkiness of the diapers and the cost of diapers and wipes were what surprised Tyler most about becoming a parent.  Oh and the cost of the baby clothing industry.  How can such tiny material cost so much?

There were times when lack of sleep, work, and stress of homework all built up, but Tyler and Jamie stuck to their schedule, worked together and communicated.  They started spending more time collectively on the family and focused their attention on Tylee, so they wouldn’t feel the stress.  Staying on task and busy really helped.

Getting married and starting a family in college isn’t for everyone.  It’s important that before making these huge life decisions that the people are ready.  Before getting married in a Catholic Church, couples are required to attend an Engaged Encounter weekend.  The weekend is filled with spiritual guidance, real life examples from married couples, and communication about issues some couples may not have ever talked about.  A lot of divorces happen because people don’t talk about the important stuff.  It could be things like whether or not they want to have kids or how they will split their finances.  Programs like this are beneficial for couples, especially if they haven’t talked everything through.  Whether starting a family in school or not, it’s important to always keep an open line of communication in your marriage and new parents need to focus on their baby, as well as each other.

Trying Something New

Last Saturday I was feeling very adventurous as I partook in something I promised myself I never would.  I arrived with my husband at Fuji Japanese Steakhouse in Grand Island where we would be meeting my husband’s family to celebrate both my sister-in-laws’ April birthdays.  I had secretly been hoping they would change their mind on the restaurant and go for something more like Texas Roadhouse, but I skimmed the online menu just to make sure I didn’t have to fake sick.  Just kidding, but I might have eaten before we left.  I found most of the choices to be quite repulsive but there was chicken and steak so I felt like those would be safe choices.

This may sound strange to some, but my family doesn’t eat much fish other than maybe breaded shrimp and I had never been to a chinese restaurant before junior high or high school.  So this is a somewhat foreign taste for me.  

We got to the restaurant and it was a very classy place.  We sat at around a hibachi grill where we got to watch our food be prepared.  The guy preparing our food was quite the entertainer flipping his tools around, making jokes, tossing food to see if we could catch it in our mouths, and making us all laugh.  It helped make this restaurant more than just a dining choice, but an experience and one you would want to come back for.  I ordered chicken and surprised myself by trying sushi and calamari.  The sushi wasn’t terrible but definitely wasn’t something I would ever order for myself.  Strangely I actually liked the calamari.  I just tried not to think about what I was eating.

The Bell Tower Still Stands

 

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The library roof may be gone, but the Bell Tower still stands.

Last night I awoke to the sound of wind and hail slamming against the windows.  It was a howling mass of chaos that kept me from immediately following back to sleep.  I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable and block out the noise of the storm.  Hours later I awoke around 5 a.m. to the sound of my phone ringing.  It was the UNK alert system notifying me that the library would be closed.  I was confused as it was early and I wasn’t all there yet.  I wondered if Mitchell Center would be open since it is connected to the library.  Hearing that the building had sustained substantial damage had me worrying about what my car would look like.  

 

 

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The littered grounds by the library.

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Trucks hauling away parts of the roof from the back of Mitchell and the library.

On my drive to campus all I really noticed was that trash had blown across lawns and even into the streets.  My first class was in West Center.  The only damage I really noticed was a large tree had had fallen limbs.  When I got past the Health and Sports Center I finally saw the damage.  The roof of the Fine Arts building was peeled back and caution tape roped off the ground below.  The library had several vehicles in the back, including the yellow water clean up vans.  Men were on the roof throwing pieces of the roof to a pile on the ground by the back door of Mitchell.  As I walked around to the front of the building I saw debris everywhere.  It was a mess.  The water, mud, insulation, and other parts of the roof lay scattered across the grounds leaving a murky feel just a few days after warm weather, sunshine, and the welcoming of summer.

When I walked into Mitchell I saw the sign on the library doors stating that the library was closed, but classes in Mitchell were still a go.  Through the glass windows in Mitchell that look into the library, I could see shelves of books wrapped in plastic on the second floor.  I later learned from Dr. Hogg that the books were being taken to CashWay where they would try freeze drying them.  How crazy is that?  It’s such a blessing to have community members and businesses so willing to help!  

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The library roof missing.

Dr. Hogg also informed us that we should watch for emails as classes could be cancelled as further assessments are made.  There was even mention of the library being condemned.  

When i heard that the radio station was damaged I went with Laura to take a look.  I saw radio equipment wrapped in plastic below spots where water had seemed through the ceiling tiles.  In one room there were buckets sitting on the tables.  That same side of the building was without power.  Walking by offices, some professors had to run extension cords into their office to light a lamp so they could work.

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Professor’s office lit by lamp.

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Radio station equipment covered in plastic.

 As I was outside taking pictures of the damage for this assignment I was also being stalked by the news crew that was sitting inside the library doors.  I answered a few questions about my morning and initial assessments and how I felt about the library being closed this close to finals.  Before that moment it hadn’t occurred to me just how long it would take to reopen or the inconvenience not having a functioning library could be for students as they prepare for finals and need to utilize services like tutoring or the writing center or simply need a place to study or work on group projects.

 

 

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Think of all the people that helped/will help clean up and renovate the buildings and grounds.

Hearing about the roof problems and water leaking in reminded me of a little fiasco we had at my house a few years back.  My family decided to reshingle our own house.  It’s a three story house with a rather steep roof.  The first day they got as far as putting the new plywood up, minus a few sheets before it got dark.  They tried to finish but the wind picked up and actually blew a piece of plywood from the roof right through the dining room window.  They didn’t feel it was safe to continue and what do you know a storm was coming.  We tried to tie down plastic, but the rain came in anyway.  We then called professionals to come finish the shingling, but then we got to tear drywall out of three rooms, put new up, and paint.  I bet the campus renovations will be just as much fun!

Reeling in Emotion: Secondhand Lions Movie Review

Produced a decade ago, Secondhand Lions was a movie missed by most.  Legend has it that Walter’s (Haley Joel Osment) crazy uncles (Michael Caine, Robert Duvall) stole millions.  Walter’s mother hatches a plan to find out where the stolen money is hidden and the young boy is dumped at the uncles’ house for the summer.  This heart-warming comedy takes us back in time as the uncles retell the stories of their lives to the young boy.  Walter changes their lives as much as they change his; even their legacy touches him in the most unexpected way.

Haley Joel Osment started his acting career at the age of four and was most recognized for his role in The Sixth Sense, as he was nominated for an Oscar at the mere age of 11.  His acting skills continued to improve as he starred in Secondhand Lions.  Michael Caine was an actor I had not seen until Secondhand Lions.  He has performed in more than 100 television shows and many European films, but his performance in Secondhand Lions is noteworthy.  Actor Robert Duvall starred as character “Boo Radley” in To Kill a Mockingbird and later acquired roles in The Godfather films.  As these two men played the parts of the eccentric uncles, I was reeled into the stories of their pasts, like it was my own grandfather’s story.

Secondhand Lions deserves a high rating with the ability to make one laugh, cry, and contemplate life all within two hours time.  The storyline of Secondhand Lions makes it acceptable for the whole family to watch.  People of all ages will surely enjoy it.  Taken on a whirlwind of emotions, I was laughing and crying, as this film soon became my most favorite movie.  This movie makes one wish to seek adventure and be able to look back on his or her life and see it well lived. 

This movie had mixed reviews from critics.  Some (from Rotten Tomatoes) to make note of are:

“Secondhand Lions is a movie you want to believe in — original ideas, acclaimed actors — but McCanlies uses too many broad strokes when subtlety and finesse would have had greater impact.” -Erik Lundegaard, Sept. 19, 2003, Seattle Times

“Lions will appeal to a more mature audience because of the solid acting duo of Caine and Duvall. It will also appeal to children because of its almost mythological feel.” -Mary Lasse, Oct. 11, 2006, Christianity Today

“It’s a very enjoyable, cute, inoffensive film that’s actually family friendly without being pablum. So that’s a rarity.” -Widgett Walls, March 16, 2004, Widget Walls

“…may wander near and far, mixing down-home hokum with gushy sentiment, yet it generally succeeds in winning us over.” -John J. Puccio, Nov. 29, 2009, Movie Metropolis

While I may be biased because this is my personal favorite movie, I feel like these good reviews do a good job explaining why people like the movie or why they should see it.  It’s “a movie you want to believe in” and will “appeal to children because of its almost mythological feel” are spot on descriptions.  The uncles’ crazy story is exciting.  Just like the nephew in the movie, viewers are left anxiously awaiting the next part of the story.

“A family film that won’t really please anyone in the family.” -Matt Pais, Aug. 14, 2004, The Cinema Source

“Secondhand Lions manages to squander the services of seasoned vets Michael Caine and Robert Duvall, and promising newcomer Haley Joel Osment, with a tale that is dramatically false and disturbingly vicious.” -Peter Howell, Sept. 19, 2003, Toronto Star

 While there are some sword fighting scenes and some domestic abuse, I don’t feel like this movie is any more vicious than any of the action packed movies.  Howell does have a point that the storyline is “dramatically false” but like mentioned above that’s why some viewers like it.
 
 
 
 
 

 

Student Voice – Do We Really Have One? (Final Column Draft)

Generally I have an opinion for everything.  Some of these opinions I keep to myself, and others I voice unsolicited.  The recent student government elections made me contemplate if students really have a voice?  Sometimes it appears that university decisions are made from purely a financial perspective, recruitment effort, or public relations standpoint, all of which are great, but when does student input come into play?  Is it possible for shy freshman without reputations on campus to demand change or are the only voices on campus those of established leaders whose faces are plastered on all the posters? 

There have been times when I have wondered if my own comments and suggestions are ever taken into account.  Recently, the university has done many things to show that students do have a voice and it is not only valued, but also sought after.      

I personally enjoy most of what the cafeteria serves.  In fact I can tell you that on the day of the All American Rejects concert I ate my favorite meal the cafeteria ever served, ham and pineapple.  The flavors were so mouthwateringly good that I didn’t even mind standing in a long line to get seconds and probably even thirds.  However I can also tell you that on one of the nights steak was served, it was still mooing.  Luckily, the campus cafeteria does a good job responding to comments much like mine. 

Last spring several students tweeted to @unkdining saying they just want some American food like hamburgers and hot dogs.  Sure enough UNK Dining delivered because for the entire next week it seemed like that’s all we had. Sometimes they overcompensate as a tweeter said, “Stop with the burgers and fries! Do you really think we like eating the same damn thing everyday twice a day.”

 Even if students aren’t always impressed with the food options, taste, or price, UNK Dining does an excellent job of trying to please everyone.  Their social media presence and response quickness, as well as their many suggestion boxes, show that they care about students’ opinions.  They won’t always be able to accommodate everyone, but they look into problems, offer solutions when possible, and respond to comments. 

Venturing outside of the cafeteria and into the classroom, students were given a unique opportunity on Monday, March 25th and Wednesday, March 27th.  They were invited to sit in on Dr. Katerine Lavelle’s lecture on how rhetorical criticism can evaluate sports and Ms. Sara Basel’s lecture on interpersonal communication.  Both are prospective employees and student input was solicited to help make the decision.

The voices that should be heard are those of the students. Students are looking to professors to mentor, inspire, guide, and encourage them.  The relationships that staff members build with the students help determine the atmosphere of the university. When you are seeking a person who can manage a classroom, integrate projects and technology into their lessons, as well as uphold school ideals, help strengthen employee relations and moral, and make a difference, shouldn’t the students get a voice?  We are the ones being directly affected.  The decisions on who to hire will in part determine the education that we receive and everyone in the buildings is ultimately here for us.

On Wednesday, April 3rd and Thursday, April 4th, faculty, staff and students were invited to the third floor of Cope Stadium to observe and discuss the “shape” of UNK’s campus, pertaining to landscape changes including trees, sidewalks, walking paths, and sitting areas that will occur in the next 10-20 years.  Maintaining and making improvements to campus are long-going processes. Looking at project planning for something that won’t occur, or at least be completed, for another 10-20 years shows just how much goes into making campus the wonderful place it is. 

UNK Phi Beta Lambda, the collegiate chapter of Future Business Leaders of America, attended their State Leadership Conference in Kearney on April 5th-6th. UNK’s chapter received an award for their 61 hours of community service this past year.  Nine members competed for UNK PBL, each placing in at least one of their events, overall placing in 17 events. Among those who placed four of them have qualified for nationals.  I am thrilled with the success that PBL has achieved this year.

I was involved in Future Business Leaders of America for four years in high school.  For me, this experience was life-changing.  I was able to dedicate my time and energy, working toward the betterment of myself and my chapter, as well as our state and nation.  Some highlights of my experience include qualifying for/attending national conferences and campaigning for a state office.  (I did not receive the office, but this past year I had the pleasure of serving on the PBL state officer team with the two people I ran against in high school).  FBLA-PBL is one of the largest career student organizations and gives members and advisers the opportunity to network, give back to their community, state, and nation, and prepare themselves for a future in the professional world.