Monday, February 28, 2011

Wedding Updates

Wedding plans are slowing down. There's a bunch of stuff I should be doing, but nothing urgent, and I'm feeling kind of lazy. We've finally decided on budget between the two families though. I'm so glad that's over. The parents are far away so this always makes things complicated. But both sets of parents are coming out to SVU in a month! And so my mom will bring the dress out and I'll get to try it on! But the other day, I had my mom on speakerphone with Bear in the room and she said, "I hope the dress fits you" "are you calling me fat?" "no, grandma was just a lot flatter than you." Oh goodness gracious.

I just bought Bear's wedding band today. It's 5mm titanium. I'll post a picture soon. And my engagement ring is finally here! That was the most complicated process. First, they had to change the band to white gold instead of yellow gold. Then there was a complication with the diamond. Because we did it through the barter system, and got a bargain on it, we were considered low priority and the guy kept forgetting to send it out, even though Bear was getting on his case everyday. He kept saying he's send it tomorrow. It started getting sketchy because Bear had paid and there was no more contact from the ring guy. I'll post a picture of that next! I'm doing a happy dance! It's a round cut, 3/4 Carat diamond.

Bear was so sneaky about it. We got the tracking number for the ring Friday afternoon, after the post office was closed. When we looked it up later that night, we discovered they had tried to deliver it at 10 am that morning, while Bear was in class. We were supposed to reschedule a delivery time. But the dinky little post office in Buena Vista is closed on Saturdays. Even the one in Nauvoo is open for a couple of hours on Saturdays! And when we checked the mail box, there was no notice. After waiting for a month, this was super-dee-duper frustrating to have to wait until Monday. But it gave both of us some peace of mind to know it was a block away safe and locked up inside the post office.

Well the post office lady came and delivered the notice the next morning on foot, and Bear went to the post office, saw a lady working in there, and explained his story and begged her to let him in. She felt some sympathy and let him take the ring, even though the post office was "closed". Then he asked if I wanted to go on a walk - now I'm going to be suspicious every time he asks to go on a walk, because that's what he did when he proposed back in January. He was really impatient for me to come downstairs. And he wanted to take the long way on our walk - up to the front porch of Main Hall. I was very suspicious by now, but figured there was no way, because the post office was closed. Then he pretended to kneel down and get some chap-stick out of his backpack, and pulled out the ring and proposed for a second time. I have never been more happy in my life.The ring was exactly how I wanted it to be!

That seriously may have been the happiest day of my life. I took a free day at work, we drove to Roanoke, went to the mall, and then went to Wasabi's - my new favorite Japanese restaurant. It's very reasonably priced and very authentic. Our waiter the past couple of times has had a Russian accent...interesting. But anyways, I'm so happy!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to get married, especially now that most of the stressful stuff is behind us :) Yay yay yay!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Teachings of the Living Prophets

This semester I'm taking an Institute class called Teachings of the Living Prophets. When I was a younger teenager, I remember my mom telling me that she took that class at BYU and really wanted me to too. Obviously, all the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency has completely changed since my mom's BYU days and there's a brand new manual. There's hundreds of new talks and more recent social and ethical issues to deal with, but it's comforting to know that the basic principles of the gospel will never get outdated. And with modern issues or church policies...there's revelation to guide us.

I've always really enjoyed President Monson's biography. It's so long so it's taken me awhile, but it's AMAZING! I want my own copy instead of the school library's.

I've been looking up the church's stance on political issues on the official website. And I've learned a lot of cool stuff. The interesting thing is there wasn't a strong statement on all issues. That's why there's different political views even within the church. It makes me so grateful to be guided in most areas, but have some areas up to our own free choice and what we feel is right. The Lord loves us.

So anyways, I'm loving my class and I'm learning a lot (the good part is I get to take it with Bear). The best part is our homework lately has been to read out of the latest conference Ensign. I LOVE IT! It forces me to spend time looking at modern revelation. I'm just happy right now. Life is good. Especially with the gospel. What was your favorite conference talk from last October? And what are you grateful for?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Beautiful Singing

I'm taking a class called Group Voice this semester, with a teacher named Dr. Clayne Robison. This guy is absolutely amazing. My roommate Haylea took this class last semester, and is taking it again with me now. She really encouraged me to take it, because of the results she had. I can already tell my singing voice is so much better.

Clayne Robison was the director of BYU's opera program for about 30 years. He held singing boot camps at BYU. The DVD's of his former students are amazing to watch. He can make people who can't sing find their voice, and improve even professional singers. He wrote, Beautiful Singing: Mind Warp Moments. composed a piece of music that was used for the dedication services of the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden in Jerusalem.The best part is he's retired, and is just volunteering his time here at SVU. He is one of the best teachers I've ever had. He doesn't criticize or compliment you (which he says can almost be as damaging as criticizing). He just tells me what to do, and then asks me and the other students if I noticed a difference in my voice. So with just some tips from him, I'm basically teaching myself.

The main key is posture. I haven't ever had the best posture in the world anyways, especially when I'm singing. But you lift you ribs upward, creating more room to breathe. You want your shoulder blades to be touching, without puffing your chest out too much. Then you push your chin down, almost like you're trying to give yourself a double chin. The tendency is to lift our chins up when we're singing - even Broadway and Pop singers do it. And you can still sing doing that, and even have a vibrato, but the tone isn't as rich or resonating. Then you lower your jaw, push your lips out, and try to pinch your nose with your lips. You breathe really low, a lot lower than you think. It's hard to explain without showing you in person, but it's pretty ugly. I've had to get over it and my voice sounds so much rich and mature now, with a natural vibrato. And I still have almost 3 months left to go. Each class, we get recorded on a DVD and well get it at the end of the semester to see how we progressed. I'm so excited.

Here's a quote I found from him:
"I'm not claiming to be inventing voice teaching; there are many beautiful singers in the world and many successful voice teachers. Instead, I'm drawing together insights from physics to trigger the basic beauty available in everyone's singing voice."
This guy is the coolest. I wish all teachers were like him. And I wish everyone could have the chance to learn singing under him. The best part is, it's like private voice lessons that I don't have to pay for, and I get college credit for it. He has all these statistics to show how learning voice lessons in a group is so much more productive because we learn from each other, and I can attest to that. I love singing so much, and my voice-confidence is getting boosted in this class. I LOVE IT!

Here's some links:
Deseret News. August 20, 2006