12.10.2006

Awesome week!!



Well, I must say I had a excellent week filled with nights out to dinner, getting addicted to "Heroes," going to Salt Lake, and receiving good mail!



*note: I started this post on Sunday, but due to a crazy, whirlwind week, I haven't gotten back to it until now.



So, quick recap of my stellar week last week: On Wednesday my visiting teaching partner, Jamie, and I took one of our girls (Katelyn, who also happens to be a really good friend) out to Legends Grill for dinner and it was a needed break from school work. I had an excellent salmon filet complete with corn and potatoes--it was the closest thing I've had to real food in a long time (with the exception of Sunday dinners with Jessie and Timm).

Friday and Saturday nights I got to go up to Salt Lake to see Temple Square and both times it was so much fun! I love Temple Square any time, but especially at Christmas time (is that one word "Christmastime" or two?) My ward went on Friday and we saw the Joseph Smith movie, which was truly amazing! It was another experience that made the story come truly alive for me--it renewed itself and didn't seem like the standard Church story you hear all the time. At the end after the credits, everyone was sniffling and wiping eyes! I want to see it again before it leaves Salt Lake and it's also one of those movies you want your non-member friends to see because it explains the story and it's easy to see why it's such an important story for us, why we so greatly revere Joseph Smith.


Brooke (Katelyn's roommate), Katelyn, and me


We didn't get to spend too much time actually in Temple Square though, so Katelyn and I decided to go back Saturday night and operate on our own schedule. We borrowed Jessie and Timm's car and drove up to Salt Lake after a delicious dinner at the Olive Garden. The wait was about half an hour, so we went across the street to the ShopKo because I needed some cash and I ended up getting a little bit of errand shopping done, as well as having fun trying on shoes and browsing the toy aisles!


Once at Temple Square (we parked in this really creepy parking garage where the only way to get out was to go down this really creepy rapist stairwell--ah!), we strolled around looking at all the pretty lights and taking countless pictures. We went inside the South Visitors Center, which was pretty interesting and then headed over to the North Visitors Center to see the Christus, but it closed early because there apparantly was a bomb threat or something. Scary! I was really disappointed though that we couldn't see the Christus--I was really looking forward to that and Katelyn hasn't seen it yet. Oh well, that just gives us another excuse to go up again! We went up to the top of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and looked out over Temple Square at all the lights and the temple--it is so pretty there! The Joseph Smith Memorial Building itself is a beautiful structure; the high ceilings, intricate woodwork, and fancy chandeliers make it feel like a palace of sorts!



Once we got back to Provo, we checked our mail and lo and behold I had a package from Jill!! I was so excited and had to open it right away. She sent me a darling "peace" embellishment, two Christmas mixes, and my very own "Good Mail from Charlotte" stickers!! Thank you so much! I saw it was sent on the 6th and due to the retarded dorm mail system, I was surprised it made it to me by the 9th. A well deserved thank you note is on its way!


Well, I must sign off and go to class now. This week is full of studying, tests, studying, writing, studying, and did I mention studying? I probably won't post until I go home a week from tomorrow!!!! (yeah, with a flight at 7:15 a.m. . . . yeah) Good luck all with Christmas shopping and plans and remember that this time of year is supposed to be fun so take some time out here and there to enjoy December!!

12.02.2006

Thanskgiving pictures--hopefully Blogger will work



Here's some of the pictures from Thanksgiving--I know it was a while ago, but finally Blogger is working for me!!

Emily in her super sweet chef's hat as we're making the chocolate turkeys

Emily and me


Me and Emily making the chocolate turkeys


John making chocolate turkeys


The army of chocolate turkeys (this is only one of two trays full)

Sarah and me decorating the downstairs Chirstmas tree

My friend Mikayla and me at game night

Mikayla, Rachelle, me, and Liz at game night


Rachelle and me laughing for who knows what reason!

The new pretty Christmas tree in the dining room

12.01.2006

Yeah, Blogger wasn't working last night

Yeah, last night I was trying to get myself a profile picture, but it didn't work, and then Blogger wouldn't let me back on to delete this really random photo, so yeah. That's the reason behind this totally random photo that has no real context at all. Good grief blogger is retarded sometimes.

11.29.2006

Thanksgiving Break!!

Wow it's been a little while since I've posted! Anyways, I came back to Provo Sunday night after spending over a week at home--it was awesome! One of the best parts of my break though was the fact that I didn't have school and I didn't have to work--it was a real vacation from everything. I spent the first few days reading (I finally got to read what I wanted!) and napping, which was completely amazing!

Thanksgiving Day was exciting and relaxing. Jessie, Emily, John, Sarah, and I made the traditional chocolate turkies and later that night we decorated the downstairs tree. Dinner was of course delicious and the rolls were my favorite part! Usually on Thanksgiving we all go around the table and say what we're thankful for, but this year (per Jessie's suggestion), we did it alphabet style. This way we still went around the table, but we had to say something we're thankful for that corresponded to the next letter in the alphabet. (Emily said Arthur the Aardvark, when it was my turn it was on D and I said dentists). We went around the table a few times and got through the alphabet twice, making for a fun and thought provoking meal!

The next night I got together with a bunch of high school friends and we had a game night, reliving the old days when we all lived close together. I got there at 6 and then we just hung out for an hour and a half talking and laughing and catching up with everything. Then we played Scattergories (one of my most favorite games), ordered pizza, and finished up the night with a fast-paced game of Nerdz (which Rachelle and I totally won by the way ;) ) The best part was just being able to slip back into the fun groove with friends and coming back together after everyone being gone for three months.

I wasn't too stoked to return to school, but something I noticed more this time than the last time I went home, was that I found it really easy to slip back into life here in Provo. I was of course sad to leave home again after being there for the holiday, but I will be back in just a few weeks for Christmas (ah! can you believe it!) Also, (I think I've said this before but I will reiterate), my life in Denver and my life here are almost completely separate, so it's really easy to slip in and out of them without seeing traces of the other. Even though I like home better, college is way fun and I think that because at BYU there's so few things to remind me of everything going on at home, it's easier to jump right back in.

I definitely have a lot to do over the next few weeks, but I do know these weeks leading up to Christmas are going to be fun! There are decorations everywhere on campus (isn't it cool that at BYU they can put up Christmas trees in the middle of Brigham Square and in every building and not get told off for "not being PC"?) and I have some fun plans with my friends here. Next weekend our ward is going up to Salt Lake and we're going to see the Joseph Smith movie. I'm way excited because first of all, I haven't seen the movie yet and second, I get to see Temple Square at Christmastime with all the pretty lights and decorations! I definitely think the rest of the semester will be fun, despite papers, tests, projects, and finals--I'll make it all work out!

*I was way excited to post pictures, but Blogger isn't allowing it--I'll try and post them later*

11.18.2006

I'll Be Home for Christmas (or Thanksgiving in this case)

I'm finally home for Thanksgiving!! I haven't posted since last week just because things have been so crazy with tests and papers and some semblance of a social life and being SO EXCITED TO COME HOME! I'll do a quick recap (which I do hate, but I think it's sometimes inevitable)
  • Vocal Point interview: Awesome!! I spoke with three members and they were really nice in addition to giving me some really good material for my paper. The paper is finished and I think it's a good one! (If all goes to plan I'll have a date with Vocal Point before Christmas--not an individual in Vocal Point, but Vocal Point as a whole (Timm's idea)
  • Weekend happenings: Institute Dance in Orem last Friday (not yesterday, but the Friday before that), Budge hall football game, lunch at Brick Oven, field trip to Little Foxes play with English class
  • This week: homework, homework, and more homework, Pilgrim and Indian ward dance on Wednesday, VOCAL POINT CONCERT THURSDAY!! (which was awesome by the way--they performed Earth, Wind, and Fire's "September" and "Thriller!"--total score)

Now for my return home: I was fortunate enough to catch a ride with Mark, who said he was leaving the Friday or Saturday before Thanksgiving which is fantastic, because that means I get a whole week home! We left this morning and made good time, driving into Denver a little before 3:00. I went to the kids' piano recital and then Mom, Sarah,Linda Jibson (mom's good friend), Rachelle, and I went to the Young Ambassadors performance in Longmont--it was really good! I thought it was funny that I left BYU, so BYU came to me!

Well, I look forward to a week of friends, family, and gratitude--I'm so excited to finally be home and this time for more than 36 hours!

11.08.2006

Identity

Last Sunday in Relief Society the presidency taught and it was a really good lesson. They taught about body image and the parts of ourselves we really need to focus on that have no bearing on our physical appearance. At first I thought this would be the typical "you're beautiful no matter what" lesson we frequently got in Young Women, but it wasn't. The lesson rather focused on how our understanding of our divine nature makes our physical imperfections unimportant. The presidency had asked a few girls before class to tell how they knew they were daughters of God and it was really a touching lesson.

I think this was an excellent choice of topic (it was also based off of one of Elder Holland's more recent conference talks) because it hit at the core of some things. Now I'm not a wayward child by any means, but moving away from home compels you to reevaluate yourself and what is really important. You change, even over the course of a couple of months, and fortunately in my case, my changes are good and deal more with how I think about things and how I react to different situations, but some people have a hard adjustment. For most, if not all, of us in Relief Society, this is our first time living away from home and I can see how it would be traumatizing if you didn't already have a strong sense of self. This lesson helped me re-realize who I am and what is really important.

The lesson concluded with those few girls standing and telling how they knew they are daughters of God and I was prompted to write down how I know. Sometimes life gets clouded with things ranging from family to school to friends to boys to church and it's easy to lose sight of who you really are; in moments like those, I think it's important to have some hard evidence of what you know. So here it goes . . .

I know I am a daughter of God because I've never doubted it. I know that sounds almost contradictory because you read and hear stories about girls who have gone astray, but then in a moment of revelation realize who they really are. For me it's that peace that has always reminded of who I am. I was taught since infancy that I'm a child of God and while it would have been easy to let that slide off, I internalized and made it a part of my identity. I've relied on that definition of myself and I allow it to encompass my personality, my acts, and my thoughts. Placing a strong faith in that identity has never let me down--I've never been disappointed when I trust in that knowledge. The fact that I'm a daughter of God is reinforced on occasion as well; sometimes out of the blue, I'll hear a song or read a passage out of a book or hear a piece of music that stikes me to the core, testifying of my divine heritage and potential.

I know I'm a daughter of God because I've felt His Spirit play a major role in my life. In my life, I've seen the Holy Ghost work as Comforter, as Guide, as Testifier, as Protector, and in each instance manifesting to me of God's love. Sometimes I let go a little; I don't study my scriptures as I should, don't read my patriarchal blessing as often, don't have fervent prayers like I should and I feel and notice the difference. The Holy Ghost has the ability to be a part of every aspect of my life and it's up to me whether I allow it. Sometimes it's hard to have a staunch faith in something you can't see or hear, but feel. It's hard sometimes to put all your trust solely in impressions, but it's never let me down.

Here are some reasons why I know Heavenly Father knows and loves me as Charlotte:
  • He sent me to a time with indoor plumbing and dentists
  • He sent me to earth when the full Gospel was restored and where I can enjoy the blessings of the Priesthood.
  • I have a father who is a worthy Priesthood holder.
  • I learned how to drive a stick without too many mishaps.
  • I could come out to school where I already have family upon whom I can trust.
  • I have constant, unwavering friends
  • There is the Internet
  • I currently live so close to a temple.
  • I have a close relationship with my siblings.
  • I have parents who never let me forget how much they love me.
  • He sent me to a time when there's Clorox bleach and Swiffer dusters
  • I was born in a free country where I have innumerable opportunities
  • I have access to millions of books
  • I have a close relationship with my family
  • There are phones, texting, email, blogs, and snail mail all open for communication
  • The Atonement allows me the opportunty and ability to return to Him

These are just a few of my thoughts of late. I'm so glad I know who I am and why I'm here. I'm so glad I've never doubted and that I've never been disappointed in trusting in the knowledge that I'm a daughter of God.

11.05.2006

Vocal Point Rocks my Socks



So last night, me and a couple of girls from my sociology class went to the Vocal Point concert in Springville and it was so much fun! I'm a die hard Vocal Point fan (fan really meaning obsessive, freakish, stalker-like fan) and when Melissa emailed me about this concert I knew I had to go!! It was so good--Vocal Point is AWESOME! For those of you who don't know, Vocal Point is BYU's top male a cappella group and besides the fact they're ridiculously good looking, they also sing amazingly--score for that combination :) Here's another exciting bit of information: so for my writing class we have to write a community profile research paper where we have to research something specific to BYU or Utah Valley and last Wednesday, the light bulb came on in my head and I thought: VOCAL POINT!!! I have an interview next week where I get to sit in on a part of their rehearsal--so cool!

So here's some pictures from Saturday:

Camille, Andrea, and me waiting outside the theater (Camille is in my French and sociology class and Andrea is her roommate who's also in sociology with me)

We went to Cold Stone after the concert--yum!!

This picutres needs a bit of an explanation. :) Okay, so before we got to see Vocal Point perform we had to sit through an hour of Shaun Barrowes, a jazz pianst and singer who has talent, but nothing original. He equated himself with Frank Sinatra and Harry Connick Jr., both comparisons setting him up for even more lameness. So he performed a whole hour of music (the best part being the cute bongo drummer accompanying him) and after he finished there was applause and a little cheering, but no standing ovation and here's the topper for Shaun Barrowes: he gave himself an encore. Yes, you read right. He gave himself his own encore. As the applause died down, he came back out on the stage and said "you want another one?" Good grief. However, when Vocal Point came on, it made Mr. Barrowes look even more lame when they only performed half an hour of music and received two encores complete with two standing ovations. I mean seriously, it is hard to figure out which act was the preferred? Yeah, I know. This picture anyway, is our reaction to Shaun Barrowes after his self-granted encore.

So that's my exciting weekend and I have an exciting Vocal Point filled week ahead--I'll update on my interview! I'm SO excited!!

10.31.2006

Probably the Best Devotional--Ever

About a month or so ago, I was talking with this guy in my FHE group who's in one of the univeristy choirs and he told me that President Hinckley was coming for Devotional on the 31st and that day was today. They didn't publicly announce that the prophet was coming until yesterday, but it spread pretty well by word-of-mouth. On my way to my 8 o'clock class, I saw that the parking garage right next to the Tanner was already completely full and traffic was already backed up on the road up by the Marriott Center.

After my Book of Mormon class (of which only half the class attended), I made my way to the Marriott Center in the continuous stream of people from campus. I got there and not surprisingly it was already way packed. Fortunately, some of my friends from the ward went early and there were still seats next to them, so I got super stellar seats--we were sitting seven rows up from the floor on the side that President Hinckley came out of!!

I've never had an experience like it: as soon as the people on the stand stood up when the prophet came in, the entire, and I mean all how-many-ten-thousand people, in a second were completely silent and stood. Just like that every person in the Marriott Center was dead quiet. It was awesome (in the literal sense of the word). Instantly the entire spirit of the room changed. Once the prophet was on the floor and sitting down, there was little talking and everyone just listened to the prelude music from the organ. There was a focused intensity in the room, everyone fixated on the center of the floor where our prophet sat. We sang "Teach Me to Walk in the Light" and normally it gets off a little (probably because of the acoustics), but this morning everyone was together. The Hinckleys' grandson gave the invocation and then President Hinckley stepped up to the podium.

He is such an amazing man; he got up and made a joke about it being Halloween and then directed our attention to his festive tie--it was so cute! He then proceeded to tell us stories that impacted his life, stories running the gamut from personal experiences to historical events. Some were funny, some somber, but all contributing in some way to President Hinckley's life. He concluded by encouraging us all to record those experiences and thoughts and impressions that mold our character and create our lives, to write down those "experiences worth remembering." He also emphasized that this time as students is the best time to find an eternal companion, one with whom to share those shaping experiences.

As he was leaving, he waved with his cane to all the sections of the stadium (is that what it is?) and was smiling the whole time. As he left, once again everyone stood. He left through the portal closest to our section and since I was so close to the floor I got an up close view! He was still smiling and waving as he left and right before he walked out sight, he looked up to our section, caught my eye, and smiled!!!! It was so amazing! I got that feeling I frequently get whenever I think of our prophet, the feeling that he would know my name if he saw me. I know he doesn't, but I feel like he would, like he loves me as Charlotte, as opposed to loving me as a member of the Church. President Hinckley is such an amazing man, he really is. When he entered the stadium and when he left, tears came to my eyes because I'm so grateful for him, so grateful for a living prophet on the earth. I'm so grateful for his love, for his stalwartness, for his personality and Halloween ties!

He truly is an emissary from God and when you're in the same room as President Hinckley, you feel his power, you feel his spirit. When we all stood in respect for the prophet, when everyone fell completely silent, I couldn't help but cry; there was such a spirit of unity, of oneness. I felt so safe and so loved by the prophet and by our Heavenly Father. This was such an amazing day for me. This was an experience I want to tell my children, I want to always remember. I mean, seriously: how many people can say the prophet looked them in the eye and smiled? There's just something about being in the same physical space as a prophet of God that is so overwhelming and humbling. I can't even begin to adequately describe it. I purposely dressed up (no not for Halloween) for the prophet today (and while my feet are killing me, I figure it was worth it!). I'll never forget today, never forget those feelings I felt in the Marriott Center as the prophet addressed our campus. It was so amazing. Just amazing.

Have any of you had experiences when general authorities have come to speak?

10.26.2006

this could be a problem

I don't have much time, so this will be probably my shortest post ever. Whenever I come back to my dorm after work and Brittany has been there during the day, the thermostat is turned up to 80 degrees. Um . . . this could be a problem. That's all I'm saying.

10.23.2006

GOOD GRIEF!

Okay, I just need to vent for a second. My roommate Brittany has a couple of her friends from the floor come into the room a lot, which is fine. The problem I have, is that whenever they come in, regardless of when I'm there, they sit at my desk, sit on my bed, and touch all my stuff. How is that possibly okay?! Like tonight for example, a girl from down the hall, who's always nice to me, came in to talk to Brittany and I came out of the bathroom and she was just sitting on my bed and playing with stuff on my bedside shelf. She said "Hi Charlotte" and was perfectly fine except for the fact SHE WAS ON MY BED AND TOUCHING ALL OF MY THINGS!!! This is the same girl who gave herself permission to sleep on my bed one night over Conference weekend when I was at Jessie and Timm's. Yesterday after church (two separate times last night), another girl was over and just made herself comfortable at my desk and was fiddling around with some jewelry on top of the desk and even though I was in the room and had nowhere to sit to eat my bowl of Froot Loops (don't cringe Mom :) ) she didn't even acknowledge me. She never acknowledges my presence anyway, but when she's sitting in my desk and touching my stuff--now that's just plain rude.

I mean I understand looking at pictures and looking at things, but not touching unless you have permission. I just don't understand how other people think like that. I just really needed to get that out. If you stuck around to read it--thanks.

I feel like I have the right to say something, but I'm not sure how to bring it up without coming off as a possessive brat. Any suggestions? I don't want to come off as rude (however I don't think my feelings exhibit any kind of rude tendencies in this situation--I am the victim here). Once again, I marvel at the thinking processes of others; I just don't get it.

PLEASE HELP ME! I'M DESPERATE!
Please solicit any advice you may deem
helpful in either coping or confronting or both.
Good grief.

10.17.2006

taste testing

One of the perks of working in the science building is that on a regular enough basis, you get a little card with an appointment time for you to come to the Nutrition Sciences lab and taste test for money. It's very simple actually: all you do is go in at your appointed time, go into a little cubicle where they slide trays out to you through a cool portal thing and then you proceed to answer questions about the various food samples like the appearance, the smell, the taste, the texture, and the overall evaluation. You usually have to go in for two sessions per testing day and you get $10! Score!

Today was margarine testing day and I must say it was not exactly enjoyable. I taste tested 20 different samples today and it was quite the experience let me tell you. Some of the margarine samples were a sickening pastel orange with the consistency of Play Doh while others were a frightening, almost neon-y, yellow with the texture of semi-melted butter. Eew. There were even a couple of samples I rated "dislike extremely" for appearance and taste. They provide you a saltine cracker and a small glass of water to refresh your taste before each sample and I'm not going to lie, that was the best part. I learned to take small bites so the lard-like taste on some wouldn't last as long. All is well though because today I earned $1o and tomorrow will be the same, except I get to taste test shortbread cookies instead! This is definitely a fun job sometimes! (I get to do more taste testing next week!)

10.11.2006

HOME!



I got so caught up in school this week I forgot to post about the best part of the semester thus far: my 36 hour visit home! Last weekend was Sarah's baptism and I got to fly out (flights are so cheap from here to Denver) for a couple nights. I just love Colorado and I love being with my family. It was so weird though because as soon as I got home it felt like I'd never left. Sure there were screams of delight and big bear hugs with all, but I just slipped back into the swing of things. I'm so glad going home is like that because if it was too much different I think I'd be scarred.

Sarah's baptism was nice and I was so glad I got to be there for that special occasion. Emily and I haphazardly threw together a musical number that we faked ourselves through most of the time, but I think it worked out and afterward there was a dinner for all who came to the baptism. It was so nice to come home, even if it was only for a little while. Also, with the baptism, I got to see a bunch of people all in one shot! My other super exciting perk of the weekend was seeing Rachelle because she came to the baptism! Like with my family, things just picked up where they left off and it was like we never left for school. I love it when you have relationships so strong that you can feel secure in knowing that distance won't change them.

Also, the parting this time wasn't nearly as bad as when I left initially--not by a long shot! It makes sense though; I mean, now I have a definite life here in Provo and so I'm not going into the unknown and my family has their life with all the craziness associated with that. When I'm home I easily slip into that organized chaos, but now me and my family are all used to the fact that the chaos of family isn't such a part of my everyday life. Well, off to delve into some homework after a successful watching of this week's Lost and Gilmore Girls (and can I admit I think I'm starting to like Christopher for Lorelai? I don't think Luke and Lorelai are meant to be--the writers messed that up last season).

10.10.2006

quintessential autumn moment


I love autumn. It is without a doubt my most favorite season and right now in the beginning of October, it's perfect. And yesterday I think I had a quintessential (I love that word--it's one of my favorites!) autumn moment.

First of all I was wearing my way cute new fall outfit from Old Navy. The outfit comprised of a white tank underneath a navy cable knit button up sweater with big buttons, dark green sporty-ish pants, with cute new sporty-ish trendy shoes with stripes from Target: this whole ensemble screamed autumn to me. So to continue with my perfect fall morning: at my 10 o'clock break I went to the Bookstore where I spontaneously bought a new leisure-reading novel, 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith. (I like it pretty well so far, but then again I'm only about 50 pages in--I'll reserve my final verdict for later). After the Bookstore I purchased a cup of hot chocolate and proceeded outside and sat on a bench underneath some pretty trees with yellow leaves and I drank my hot chocolate while reading my new book and the leaves were falling, the air was crisp and chilly and it was just perfect.

I know this is a short post, but I felt the need to blog about my perfect half an hour (which was rudely interrupted by the fact that Sociology starts at 11)

10.02.2006

not good, but great mail update

So, since my arrival in mountainous Provo, I've been the lucky recipient of multiple waves of great, yes not just good, but great mail and I think it's about time I post about it. I receive regular cards and comic strip mail from Rachelle and my mailbox is constantly full of sunshine as a result! (Comic strip is mail containing primarily funny comic strips with commentary by Rachelle). Here's a sampling of the many cards I'm lucky to find in my mail slot. The one on the far left though is a birthday card from Melissa which such package will be discussed in later detail!

My first package while here was from Melissa as a belated birthday present, but it wasn't belated because she forgot; rather, it was late because one of the gifts wasn't available until after I left. What joy filled my heart when I saw the little yellow slip in my box, indicated I received something too large for the 4x4 slot. I didn't think to take a picture of the box and no longer have it, but it was covered in stars and cute writing--a sure sign of cuteness inside. Melissa gave me a movie night kit complete with microwave popcorn, M&Ms, hot cocoa, two cute hot cocoa mugs (pictured below), and the dancing movie "Take the Lead." It was definitely a score! Later that week a few girls on our floor got together in our room and we watched the movie and ate the popcorn! Also in this package were a few things I forgot when I left like a notebook and my iPod cable and a pair of socks.

My second package I received Monday last week and it was fun because I picked it up at the same time I was talking to Mom, my kind benefactress! The most exciting part of this package was the discovery of two, yes two, loaves of pumpkin bread! SCORE! I also got a really cute sweater, some super Halloween socks, a Fall Flava' mix (courtesy of Emily), some Halloween Peeps, and other funny miscellania. The box was just as much of a treat as its contents. Making the desk worker chuckle, the box featured a huge Ariel cutout and was said to be from "Ursula and the Blue One," funny reminders of my mermaid-filled childhood. This package was a stellar beginning to my week!

And now we're caught up to today's mail. I'm expecting a package from Mom with some Mary Kay stuff I need, and once again the magical package slip was in the box amid the other cards and such, and when I got the package the return address was not from Colorado, but rather from Florida. That meant only one thing: I got mail from Rachelle's Aunt Nancy and Uncle Randy who we stayed with over Spring Break in March. This was another major score of a package. Inside I found not only a belated graduation card with a check for $50, but also a really warm throw, Crayola magic markers, beef jerky, lotion, Silly Putty, a scarf, cute mini clicky colored pens, and a Finding Nemo psuedo aquarium where the fish acutally move inside! When I get packages it feels like Christmas when you're going through your stocking--it's neverending with fun surprises!



So there's my great mail recap of the school year thus far--I love mail. I love sending mail and receiving mail and I think that mail is sometimes Heavenly Father's way of brightening a Monday. The packages of late definitely help stave off waves of homesickness and I just love it!

9.30.2006

a few more pictures

Katelyn Schwanke (Oregon)--girl on my floor
Me and Cosmo at the women's soccer game against Arizona!
Me and Sara Sonne (Missouri) at the soccer game
Katelyn, Michelle (floor girl), Brooke (floor girl), me, and Brittany at the World of Dance on September 27

9.27.2006

Groove

I think I'm finally getting into a good groove here at school. I've already been here for four weeks (which I still find hard to believe at times), and now things are definitely slipping into a rhythm. I have the routine down for getting ready in the morning, breakfast, making my way to classes, what to do during breaks and for lunch, and figuring out things with my job. I'm so busy all the time! I have school, work, church, friends, family, etc., all of which I deem important and even though it's crazy, I think I'm doing a good job at balancing it all. I'm also settling in to a more defined group of friends. There's the girls on my floor I hang out with, the people in my ward, and then all the littler groups of people you hang out with during class and study groups and things of the like. I'm having a lot of fun, but I still miss home so much! I'm so excited to come home for Sarah's baptism in less than two weeks--I LOVE HOME!

Also, I got a care package the other day! Score! Complete with two loaves of homemade pumpkin bread, a new "Fall Flava' " mix (courtesy of Emily), new Halloween socks, vitamins, throat drops, Airborne, Peeps, and a new sweater, this package definitely made my week. One of the best parts though (probably after the pumpkin bread) was the box. Mom and Emily taped a large Ariel cutout on the front and on the return address put that it was from Ursula and the Blue One. It was so funny and it made the desk worker in the Cannon Center laugh when he brought it out!

I have some more pictures, but as I'm not at my computer, I'm unable to post them right now, but I'll upload a few later tonight (hopefully).

9.18.2006

Life at the Y

Here's some pictures of my life at the Y!


Me and suitemate Jenna (Sandy, UT)
suitemate Katie and her boyfriend Robert (both from Arlington, TX)-BYU vs. Tulsa
suitemates Jenna and Katie- BYU vs. Tulsa
suitemates/roommate Katie, Jenna, me, Brittany (Murrieta, CA)- before church
me, Jenna, Katie at BYU vs. Tulsa
So here's a quick look into my life as a college student and I'm having a blast!

9.09.2006

Rise and Shout the Cougars are out! . . .

Wow! What a week! This week has been so crazy and everything is new; I have those moments in all the hubbub of the first week of school when I think it's crazy I'm actually in college. It's so surreal sometimes. Well classes started this week and I think it looks like it will be a good semester.

My classes are as follows:

  • French 201: a good first week, I really like the professor and fortunately for me this looks like it will be more of a review grammar course which I definitely need! The only major downside however is that it's every day at eight in the morning.
  • ELang 223 (Introduction to the English Language): a good first couple of classes, the professor is hilarious, and I find the subject matter really interesting. Being the English dork I am, I think I'll have a fun time dissecting our language and figuring out how it works!
  • RelA 122 (second half of Book of Mormon): I love this class! Even though the class has 50-60 people, I'm still engaged in the lessons and the professor is funny while still pointing out significant spiritual insights. I wish I had this class more than twice a week!
  • Soc111 (Introductory Sociology): your typical auditorium class with 250 people and a lecture from a power point presentation. I expect this class to be my least favorite and least interesting, but I don't think it will compare to high school economics. (Eek!)
  • Hon150 (Honors University Writing): I'm really excited about this class because as earlier established I am an English dork and I like to write. The class has about 20 people in it (maybe less) and so it's in a much more learning-condusive setting where I'll really get to know the other students in the class. I'm excited to get to writing!

Well there's a quick recap on my classes and now for a quick update on my new job. I started working the same day classes started so Tuesday was definitely an overwhelming day overall. I think the job will work out well; I just do basic secretarial duties like answering phones, making copies, running errands, etc., which is actually stuff I like to do because while yes it is easy and somewhat mundane, it gives you something to do that isn't really intense.

I like my roommates pretty well. I don't think we're best friend material but I think we have enough in common to have fun and get along. The other night though, Brittany's (my cheerleader, Southern California roommate) phone rang at one in the morning and she answered it! Who does that and speaks at a normal volume at one in the morning when their roommate is trying desperately to sleep?! Needless to say I was a little peeved.

I went to the football game on Saturday and it was so much fun! My roommates and I and some of thier friends all bought the All-Sports-Pass together and so in the football games we all get to sit together. Your seats for the games are rotated throughout the stadium and so sometimes you get really awesome seats like on Saturday. We were sitting seven rows from the field in between the 10 and 20 yardline and it was awesome! I don't understand every single in and out of football, but I understand enough to follow the game and have fun cheering on my team! The best part of the game though was when it started raining; in about the middle of the 3rd quarter, it started raining and then it turned into a deluge! By the time I left, I was completely drenched! I loved it! Also, this was not just a rainstorm, but yes can you believe it, it was a thunderstorm! Score! We left with about five minutes left in the game which was about when they called a weather delay. It was so much fun and on top of the thrill of the rain, we won 49-24 against Tulsa! Woohoo!

After my first week as an official college student, I think I like it. I'm having fun and I like it that everything is new and exciting. I think I'll have fun with this plan! I'd post pictures but currently Blogger isn't allowing it so the pictures will have to wait. I'll post again when I can!

8.31.2006

settling in

Well, I'm finally here at the Y! I flew in on Monday (it was definitely a tearful goodbye at the entrance to security) and Timm met me at the Salt Lake City Airport. (I thought it was hilarious but logical that there were hoardes of missionaries everywhere in the airport terminals!) I crashed for a couple of days with Jessie and Timm, meaning they carted me around to everywhere I needed to go and watched movies with me. Wednesday was the big day and in the morning Jessie and Timm took me around campus, took me to buy my books, and helped me actually move in. Thanks guys--you're both amazing!

Moving in wasn't as crazy as I anticipated; the hallways were pretty much empty and it wasn't nearly as noisy as the movies always portray move in day at the dorms. My roommate didn't come yesterday, leading me to believe that she won't be coming until later this weekend since obviously she isn't attending orientation. Hence the anticipation of meeting the roommate will extend a few more days.

The rooms are bigger than I thought and I'm able to fit everything where it needs to go. I'm also a huge fan of the shared bathroom suite. I'm in the setup where two bedrooms share a bathroom. The other two girls (Katie from Texas and Jenna from Sandy, UT) in the sharing room are here and they're both nice; we've been hanging out a little, so it's nice to have hang out buddies.

Another bit of news: Timm in all his wonderfulness got me a job at the Physics/Astronomy Department! I be doing simple secretarial work, so nothing too exerting in any realm and it's conveniently located on campus! Well here are some pictures of my dorm to give you an idea of where I live now. I know I already emailed you guys some of them, but I thought posting them on the blog would be fun :) I'll keep you posted on all my first-weekend-happenings at BYU!


From top to bottom: two views of my closet, (right and left), my desk, my bed

Sorry I haven't figured out yet how to rotate the pictures!

8.27.2006

mellow birthday

Well yesterday was my 19th birthday--weird! Last year I had more of a plan of what I wanted to do and so on and so forth, but this year it was just kind of nice to kick back and have more of a mellow day. I slept in, ate a bowl of Froot Loops, went to Borders, dozed during a movie, played some Sudoko, and just hung out. The weather was perfect! It was cloudy and rainy all day which was a fantastic birthday present from Mother Nature!

We were going to go up to the mountains and have a cookout for my birthday dinner, but we looked at the weather forecast on Friday and decided that maybe dinner in the rain might not be such a stellar idea! I decided to have the Wood/Petersen classic of roast, mashed potatoes, and gravy for my birthday dinner and my final dinner before I leave tomorrow! AH! In addition to my family (including Grandma and Grandpa), Melissa, Jacquelyn, Rachelle, and Mark all came, which resulted in a fun and pleasant evening. The cake was (as usual) amazing and I was very full come the end of the evening.

The presents received goes as follows:
  • a digital camera (my main present and one about which I'm very excited!)
  • cute nail polish colors in a cute bag
  • really good tweezers (I think only girls could understand the coolness of that gift)
  • super cute file folders
  • the game "Imaginiff"
  • a sparkly dry erase board
  • a sweet toy sports car
  • Bounce dryer sheets and a roll of quarters
  • a pink and black laptop case that looks like a super chic purse
  • a free haircut and color (total score, especially as I'm going to school!)

It was a very satisfying birthday overall and I think one of the reasons I kept it so low key was because I really just wanted a nice day at home before I go. This whole summer has been crazy and busy and helter-skelter, so it was the ultimate present to just be able to kick it at home.

Tonight we're having a donut night as a farewell bash and then I'm going to finish my packing and psyche myself up for tomorrow. I can't believe that 24 hours from now I'll be there; it's such a weird feeling. I helped Rachelle move into her dorm last week and it was just a weird feeling for me. The past few days my emotions have gone in waves of really excited and really nervous. I think the excitement and nervous levels are about equal. I'm not as teary-eyed about this whole experience as more just feeling sick to my stomach sometimes. I'm definitely not thinking "I don't want to go to school," but I am trying to juggle the anxiety, impending homesickness, and excitement, resulting in a really weird funk. I've been pretty mellow the past couple of days and I think it's just my way of dealing with the whole thing. Instead of getting all stressed out and upset, I take a step back and take a really deep breath.

Well, I'm off to donuts and the airport. I'll post an update of the goodbyes, the flight, and the whole moving process when I get a moment. Oh, and I'll be able to post pictures of everything with my super cool new camera!

8.23.2006

LAST DAY!

Today is my last day as a Wamulian! Ever since I found out I wouldn't be able to work at the Provo branch I've been antsy to be finished. Now my last day is finally here I'm really excited, but I'm also sad to be leaving most of my co-workers. I get along really well with almost all of them and we always have a great time talking and hanging out when things get slow. *sigh* Once again it's that bittersweet feeling.

So yesterday I had a little freak out moment. I was going over my flight information with Timm and we were working out where he'd meet me and where we're going to pick up my other boxes etc., and when we finished he said "Okay, see you Monday"--ah! It's really weird to hear it put like that. I know it's true and I know that this time next week I'll be moving into my room, but it's still weird to hear that all the same.

Yesterday was a great shopping day! I raided the Gap outlet and bought a new pair of jeans, two new tops, and a camisole. Score! I like the Gap better than Old Navy because 1) the clothing quality is better and 2) the outlet prices are about the same as Old Navy's prices. The only downside is that the outlet has a little less selection than the Old Navy across the street, so I figure I can alternate between stores.

Well, there's not too much more minutiae to report so I'll sign off for the time being!

8.18.2006

Crest Whitening Strips

Ever since I was little I've had these tiny calcium deposits on my teeth and they're not bad, they just don't look awesome. A couple of years ago my dentist recommended I use the Crest Whitening strips to get rid of them and this was when the whitening strip idea was brand new. These whitening strips are so weird. You're supposed to put on a top strip and a bottom strip for half an hour twice a day (but using them twice a day made my teeth too sensitive, so I only use them once a day or every other day). The strips are these thin pieces of plastic coated on one side with this strange gel-like substance. When they go on, they wrap around the bottom of your teeth and go onto the back side to keep the strip in place. The first couple of times I was really taken aback because I didn't realize the gel squeezes out easily, making for quite a disgusting taste in your mouth. The strips also have a hard time staying in place; they either slide from side to side or up and down. When you're wearing them you talk with a funny lisp and can't really ennunciate your words. I started using them again a couple of weeks ago because the calcium deposits came back and I like having white teeth, but I've definitely come to the conclusion that I hate them. They taste bad, they feel weird, and they make my teeth hurt. The only and certainly major redeeming factor is that they work. My teeth really are whiter and I guess the sensitivity, bad taste, and strangeness of it all is a worthy price to pay for white teeth. My teeth better stay white for 12 months like Crest guarantees or else . . .

8.16.2006

Fun Day

I can't believe it's already the middle of the week! How does time fly by so quickly?! Well, yesterday I had the day off which was fantastic! I had a productive morning with cleaning my part of the bathroom, vacuuming the basement, discovering a water bubble in Mom's bathroom ceiling which is traced to water leaking through the old grout in our bathroom, and eating a bowl of Kix. In the late morning Mark picked me up and we went all the way down to Flatirons Mall and did a little shopping (his idea by the way--total score!) I unfortunately didn't have much money, but it was fun to browse. I found a great pair of jeans though! We had lunch in the food court, which I think is a lot of fun. I don't know why I find eating in the food court such a pleasant experience, but I guess I can trace it back to when I was little. It was always a treat when we got to eat a hot dog in the food court because we didn't have "mall days" too often. The food court was for more special occasions when the mall trip became the central event in the day. Yesterday I enjoyed sweet and sour pork over mixed vegetables and steamed rice from the Panda Express.

My favorite part of the mall trip though was the rendezvous inside Borders. I love that store! Once again I had no money, but I always find it fun to browse. I found one of my family's favorite BBC shows, "Monarch of the Glen," on DVD which I haven't seen in any stores, so that was an exciting find!

After the mall we headed back to Mark's house where we watched an episode of Monk, played some Rummikub (spelling?), hung out for a bit. We had dinner at my house (mmm: pork tenderloin, green beans, red potatoes, and homemade wheat bread) and then watched a movie Mark brought over, "The End of the Spear." I'd never seen the movie before and I thought it was really good! So I'd say that yesterday was a successful fun day!

So now that I've had a good fun day, I'll devote some more time to getting things together for school and all the odds and ends associated with that!

8.14.2006

college countdown

Two weeks from today I fly out to Salt Lake City. This is definitely weird for me. It seems like this summer has flown by and yet at the same time everything that happened seems like it was so long ago. Graduation seems like ages ago, the week when Mom and Emily were in Charleston feels like it was last year, and now before I know it, it's time to start school again. The kids start school a couple of weeks before I do and that's weird to think they only have one week left.

I need to finish packing up my stuff, but I think I'll wait until next week because most of the stuff I'm packing now I need and I'd rather not live out of a suitcase for the next two weeks. Rachelle and I are having a party tonight for the end of the summer and to see everyone off before they go to school, the Best of EFY program is this Saturday, my last day of work is next week, my birthday is a week from Saturday, donut night is the night after that, and then I leave. I'm more excited than sad or nervous right now, but I definitely expect that to change come the morning of August 28.

Emily and Mom just finished painting the room last week and it's still in an organized form of chaos (if there is such a thing) with a bunch of junk under my bed that I don't really intend on fixing until I leave. There's a few things that go on my wall that Mom doesn't want to put back up yet because they don't know what they're going to do with the furniture so I just have all this stuff under my bed that I don't know what to do with, so my plan is just to leave it there and take what I need when I finish packing.

I can't believe my last day as a Wamulian is a week from Wednesday! Unfortunately I'm in that mentality where you know you're done after a certain day and you can't wait, so consequently the days preceding that last day are somewhat painful because you know you won't be there much longer. I working a bunch this week and I need the money, but that doesn't make the time fly by any faster. On top of sheer impatience I'm feeling, I have so many other things I need/rather be doing. Good grief, I know I only have two more weeks and I want them to fly and drag all at the same time. I want the time to pass quickly (which I know it will) because I'm just impatient right now. I hate it that impatience is in my inherent nature. I want the time to drag (which I know it won't) because I know that this is basically it and I want to soak it all in before I go. It's so weird having so many conflicting feelings all at the same time.

8.09.2006

morning cocoa

My grandmother frequently iterates that "we all have our idiosyncrasies" (I know what a cool word!) and one of mine is that I love hot cocoa all year round, not just in the winter. Whenever I work in the mornings (which is most of the time during the summer) around 9:30 or 10 I head over to the Starbucks inside the Safeway next door and pay $2.69 for a grande hot chocolate. One of the best parts about this deal is that for every 7 Starbucks beverages you purchase, you get the 8th one free! Score!

In the summer I'll only drink hot cocoa in an air conditioned place. I'd never drink a heated beverage in our oven house, but I have no problem downing a hot chocolate in the Washington Mutual or in the Starbucks or Peaberry's. My favorite place to get hot chocolate in Peaberry's (a local coffee chain), but alas the one closest to my house was bought out by Starbucks and despite my grudge against the Starbucks monopoly for that very reason, I continue to buy the grande hot chocolate. Go figure.

I usually only make hot chocolate at my house during the winter and my preferred brand is the Nestle kind. The best way to have the Nestle hot cocoa though is with CoffeeMate Vanilla creamer added, that way you get the chocolate and vanilla taste which really pleases the tastebuds :) What I like about hot cocoa is that it can fill you up enough to last you until lunch so your stomach doesn't perform acrobats and make strange gurgling sounds.

I think my cocoa fixation came from a combination of Rachelle and early morning seminary. Rachelle had this phase junior year where she would have Peaberry's hot cocoa multiple times a day and whenever we went out we would get some. Her brief obsession served as an introduction for me into the wonderous world of hot chocolate. Another factor contributing to my love of hot cocoa is that Peaberry's (before it morphed into yet the 4th Starbucks in a mile radius) was directly on the way from the seminary building to school. Emily and I would frequently stop by Peaberry's on chilly mornings and get some hot cocoa to start the school day off right (but wait that's what seminary is for, right? Ha, good one!)

Some may think it strange I drink cocoa all year round, but my philosophy is that people don't think it's weird if someone drinks coffee all year round, even in the summer, so why then should it be weird if I drink hot cocoa even in the summer? Now I have by no means a hot cocoa addiction like those people whose bodies require coffee to wake them up, but the hot chocolate is definitely a nice beginning to the work day.

So that is one of my many idiosyncrasies and if I tried to document them all, this would be a novel-length post and then some. What are some of your idiosyncrasies?

***
I answered the phone a couple of minutes ago and I always answer the work phone: "Thank you for calling Washington Mutual this is Charlotte. How can I help you?" but frequently, no matter how much I ennuciate or speak at an understandable pace, many people still think I say my name is Sarah. Sarah is the name of one of our Spanish-speaking tellers and so today (only one example of something that happens often) this girl called me Sarah and then started going off speaking rapid Spanish that of course I didn't understand. I clarified who I was again and said "No, my name is Charlotte," but she kept on speaking Spanish and so I quickly put her on hold and transferred the call to the real Sarah's desk. I find it funny/frustrating when people think I'm someone else but then I get bombarded by a language I don't know and I can't communicate to them that I'm not the person they think I am and it just seems a vicious circle until I tranfer the call. Good grief.

8.07.2006

no longer a Wamulian

Well I heard from the Provo branch today and they decided to go with one of the full time candidates. I can't exactly say I'm surprised because that's what the position specified, but I just wish I hadn't gone this far only to be rejected. So as of my last day at my current branch, August 23, I will be unemployed for the first time in over two years. I'm not exactly sure what I'll do for the upcoming school year. I'll look into other banks around Provo and some potential office jobs. Ideally I'd rather not work at all at least for a semester, but financially I don't think that's really an option. I'm so used to receiving a paycheck every other week and becoming accustomed to not having that biweekly flow of income will be difficult.

I am very disappointed but I keep reminding myself of Mom's job story. When she was newly married she applied for a job at the BYU Bookstore for which she was the perfect candidate, but she didn't get the job and went to a boring receptionist position elsewhere that ended up being an excellent job that gave her more opportunities than the Bookstore job would have. So trying to be optimistic here, I'm relying heavily on faith that something else will work out for me. Emily is always fasting and praying for work opportunities and she miraculously always finds money when she needs it, so I'll try the same tactics and see where I end up. One of my favorite scriptures says:

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow and toil not, neither do they spin:
and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, o ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought saying, What shall we eat?, or What shall we drink?, or wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.
Matthew 6:28-34

So wish me luck on my job search and I'll try to maintain an upbeat and optimistic attitude about this. Do any of you Utah residents know of any banks around Provo or potential office jobs or any other kind of job worth looking into?

8.03.2006

you're it!

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Babysitter
2. Mailing/Office Assistant
3. Nanny
4. Teller

Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. Pride and Prejudice (A&E)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Kiera Knightly)
3. That Thing You Do!
4. Beauty and the Beast

Four Places I Have Lived:
1. Provo, UT
2. Philadelphia, PA
3. Lakewood, CO
4. grandma's house

Four TV Shows I Love to Watch:
1. 24
2. Gilmore Girls
3. American Idol
4. Law and Order

Four Places I Have Been on Vacation:
1. Florida (Ft. Lauderdale and Disney World!)
2. Steamboat Springs
3. Alberta, Canada
4. my basement watching movies

Four Websites I Visit (almost) Daily:
1. wamu.net
2. msn homepage
3. Jessie's blog
4. Michelle's blog

Four of My Favorite Foods:
1. chocolate ice cream!
2. peanut butter toast
3. McDonald's soft serve
4. parmesean chicken

Five Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
1. home with my family (home meaning basement and not kitchen!)
2. with Rachelle
3. with Mark
4. Disney World (maybe not in July though)
5. Borders

All right it's your turn now! I know Jessie and Michelle have done this on their blogs before and I don't know if they've already done this one, but Emily just sent it to me so I thought I'd have fun with it! Post you're responses either in your comments or on your own blog!

8.02.2006

tidbits

The past couple of days contained nothing of too much import, just little bits of life, so here's a quick listing of semi-interesting happenings:

  • I had my phone interview with the Provo branch on Monday and they said they'd get back to me after they interviewed two more people. I felt good about the interview--I just hope everything comes through!
  • Over the weekend I found these really cool boxes made especially for holding CDs and DVDs. The colors match my colors for my dorm and were only $6 for three boxes at Hell-Mart (aka Wal-Mart, Purgatory in a building)
  • Yesterday I got my room placement and got the name of my new roommate. Her name is Brittany Watkins from California. I emailed her and have yet to hear back, but I'd sure like to get to know her a little before I move out there.
  • I cleaned our front door yesterday and so it looks absolutely fantastic! No more cobwebs!

Well I can't think of anything else worthy of reporting, so I'll check out and blog again when I have something more interesting to write.

7.31.2006

closing the box

This past weekend I continued my productive packing streak and tackled the bins under my bed. I went through all the bins and packed the things I won't need anytime in the near future (i.e.- graduation cards, old school projects, work training books, my AP Calculus test prep book, etc.) in boxes. I decided to pack some of the things I'm taking with me in the now available plastic bins (i.e.- books, loose leaf paper, potentially useful old essays, etc.). It was actually really fun to go through all that stuff and experience that nostalgic flood of memories. I found writing portfolios from freshman year, an old 8th grade project, and old photos from my 15th birthday party. This cleaning out/packing endeavor needn't have taken all afternoon, but with the detours down memory lane, I was cloistered in my room for a good few hours.

It was weird boxing up all that school memorabilia, but what was probably most strange for me was boxing up all my graduation stuff. I think this was so weird for me because graduation wasn't that long ago; it seems like forever ago, but it only in May. I put my plaques, graduation cards, tassel, and jacket letters all into a box and I felt weird putting the lid on top. I didn't quite feel ready to box up all the graduation stuff; I know I won't need it and it won't be adding to my dorm decor, but all the same, it felt like I was instigating the definite close of the only chapter thus far of my life. It's an emotion combining post-high school excitement, anxious uncertainty, and childhood nostagia. In a month I'll be beginning the second phase of my life; this new beginning is also a strange feeling because all I've known thus far is the cocoon of public education and the safe haven of living at home. I'm so excited for college and all that entails, but it is such a bittersweet feeling.

I expect to feel more of the same emotions in the next few weeks as I pack more and see off my friends, so I'll let you know how it all goes!

7.27.2006

packing productivity

I'm off to the Y come August and the frightening prospect of packing all my stuff looms in front of me. So I decided to avoid the huge few days of packing crunch and pack the things I don't need right now and wait to pack my other things (i.e. summer clothes, toiletries, etc.) until it's closer to when I leave. After a relaxing afternoon of watching "Lost," eating York Peppermint Patties and M&Ms, and drinking Mountain Dew, I ventured to my room with my biggest suitcase and dived into my dresser and closet for the beginning of my winter clothes packing.

Earlier this week I cleaned out my sock drawer and divided up my nylons between good pairs and bad pairs and threw out numerous belts from elementary school. Now I can actually close my sock drawer without having to move socks around and/or have socks and nylons peeking out from the corners! So with the sock drawer endeavor already out of the way I headed for the sweater drawer, pajama drawer, the 3 t-shirt drawers, the 2 junk drawers, and yes, even the underwear drawer. Come 7 pm I had a cleaned out and organized dresser! Shame I couldn't have taken on that project a year ago so I could have enjoyed a large, spacious dresser longer than a month, but oh well.

While cleaning out my dresser I made the Throw Away Pile, the Give Away Pile, and the Ironing Pile. The middle of the floor was completely covered in clothes. Plus I hadn't even started putting clothes in the suitcase at this time; I still had the closet to raid. The majority of my winter wardrobe comes from the closet and not the dresser. So I carefully folded and placed multiple t-shirts, sweaters, blouses, shrugs, and a red peacoat all inside my humungous red suitcase. (And then once I was ready to go bed and after I'd already zipped up the bag, I realized I hadn't packed my winter skirts and dress clothes. Snaps.) As I packed I took an inventory of my possessions, thinking that could come in handy someday. The inventory is organized according to what is packed where (so all my winter clothes are catalogued under the large red suitcase heading). I love organization--I'd go crazy without it!

So begins my adventure of packing and moving. Some things I'll be able to ship early or send with others like my bedspread, sheets, books, and other things of the like, but packing up all my stuff is still so overwhelming! Where do I put it all?! Well hopefully my packing will continue running smoothly--wish me luck!

7.24.2006

Monday Discouragements


The common societal stigma of Mondays is negative; most view Mondays as the mere beginning of yet another long week. I think Mondays can be viewed in a few different ways; one can either see Mondays as a blah beginning to a blah week, as just another day in the succession of weeks, or as a chance to recommit and start over. I think you can connect taking the sacrament on Sundays to starting over on Mondays, but this is a thought that is difficult in execution.

I've lately come to the realization that change is a conscious decision, a "duh" realization I know but a crucial realization all the same. You have to choose to react differently; you don't just change because you want to. I think is something I've always known, but I haven't always realized it's true meaning of putting everything into my own power and capabilities. Something I've been having problems with lately is how to handle myself when John and Sarah start screaming and fighting and yelling at each other, completely shattering any kind of peaceful spirit in the home. Thier quarreling extends past themselves and affects Mom and Dad and Emily and me. Emily is probably the best at ignoring them and rarely reacting, and I am probably the worst. I am one of the most impatient people I know and so you can imagine how well I deal with the uncontrollable chaos of younger sibling tantrums.

As I left the house this morning to the dulcet tones of tantruming siblings I thought "Good grief, I'm sure glad I don't have to listen to this all day. I'm glad I have to work today," definitely not a feeling I want dominating my thoughts. I want to get along with John and Sarah and I want to be not only thier sister but thier friend, yet I find it so difficult to react well. They are either screaming at each other or being uncontrollably wild, both of which result in disruption, fighting, and widespread tension. Their fighting interrupts movies, family dinners, car rides, lackadaisical Saturday mornings, and more. I realize I can't change them, that I only have control over my own reactions. I realize that changing how I react will be a hard change and will definitely have to be a conscious one, but I don't know how to make this a more permanent change. Sometimes I have days when I handle myself really well and then I have other days when I lose it, allowing them to dictate my mood and attitude.

John and Sarah both are like night and day, black and white, Jekyll and Hyde, sweet and sour. Sometimes they are so amiable and helpful and then in a second they turn and are the complete antithesis of whatever they were before. I need some advice for how to change my attitude toward my younger siblings. Keep in mind, I am a very impatient person and when John and Sarah are so contentious, my tolerance level plummets. So, calling all siblings younger and older: how can I maintain a more constant attitude and keep my mood and spirits up despite heavy opposition and contention? How can I not react in such a negative way? I need your help!

7.22.2006

An Ode to my Shel-Bell

Well, once again it is the birthday of a friend, my best friend as a matter of fact! Actually her birthday was yesterday, but we were so busy with 18th birthday festivities that I didn't have time to blog at all! So here's a quick birthday recap: Emily, Rachel (Shel's next door neighbor), Miki (another best friend), Rachelle and me went to the Denver Firefighter Museum around 11:30 or 12:00. Rachelle didn't know where we were going and so it was a fun surprise for her!

The museum was pretty neat actually; it had antique firetrucks and displays with old firefighter outfits and signs everywhere describing how firefighter equipment worked, the history of different styles of firetrucks, and other minutiae of the like. The museum also had self-directed hands-on activities for kids that our group of teenagers participated in as well! We got to step up into the firetruck and we put on some mock firefighter equipment and slid down the pole. It was really fun! We also raided the tiny gift shop and Rachelle and I both purchased a Denver Fire hoodie for a mere $25 each! Score!

After the museum we headed over to Civic Center Park for a picnic lunch (it was still early enough in the day in to evade the creepy park hoodlums). One of the funniest parts of the day was our somewhat frightening encounter with an aggressive squirrel at the park. This little squirrel would crouch down in the grass and creep a little closer and peek up to reevaluate his prey. Then when he was about two feet away from the blanket he started circling us as if he was honing in for the attack. It was just a little creepy!

We headed home at about 1:45, but Rachelle and I turned the wrong way on Colfax and drove about 45 minutes in the wrong direction before we realized our mistake, but no matter--we had a fun hour and a half talk anyway! We watched Annapolis after we got home and then Rachelle and I went to the Gap to look for new jeans. We found out that Rachelle's birthday plans for the evening fell through and I couldn't allow Rachelle to spend the night of her 18th birthday alone, so as an end to the birthday celebrations Rachelle and I got Mark and Ben (Shel's boyfriend) to go play foursquare with us at the local elementary school. We played on the playground equipment for a bit and then hung out at my house afterward. Overall, I think Rachelle's 18th birthday was a big success!

Rachelle and I had a rocky start to our relationship in freshman year. Our orchestra teacher Leah Rolfson introduced us and swore we would be best friends, but that's definitely not how it began. She thought me to be snotty and I thought she was mean and standoffish. A year and a half later we were in the same biology class and ended up being lab partners. We were both in the musical pit together and we roomed together when the music department went to New York City for Spring Break. This was the time when the ice was finally broken and we allowed ourselves to become friends, letting our guards down in order to learn more about the other. The rest is basically history, but I feel the need to add I've never had a friend like Rachelle. We both have strong personalities and sometimes it's hard to avoid clashing, but I feel we complement each other well.

I can tell Rachelle anything. We talk about school, friends, boys, church, clothes, cars, jobs, beliefs, politics, worries, excitements, sorrows, family, each other, and everything in between. We are very different in many ways, but something I appreciate and love about this friendship is that despite our sometimes significant differences, the most important thing for both of us is our God and His Son. We both believe Christ to be our Savior and Redeemer and while our religious beliefs are not identical, we both believe in Jesus Christ and in His saving Atonement. I don't always feel required to defend my choices or my lifestyle because we live in very similar ways.

Rachelle is undeniably loyal. She will defend you to anyone about anything because she knows you and trusts you, not allowing what others say to affect her opinion of you. I appreciate her loyalty and I strive to have that kind of devotion to those I love. Rachelle is stubborn, but she also allows those opinions of those she loves influence and affect her choices. She trusts her best friends, relying on their words and advice, regardless of whether she wants to hear it or not.

Sometimes I marvel at our friendship, wondering how we could withstand the obstacles in each other we've had to face. Then I realize that that is what love is: having the ability and willingness to look past faults and differences and embrace their person. (That may sound cheesy and hippee-ish, but it's the only way I could define my realization). I'm willing to work through our problems because my friendship with her is worth it to me. I believe our relationship to be strong enough so that I don't have to worry about moving away for school. I don't worry about how moving away to school will affect our friendship because I'm not worried that we won't be friends. I think there's always that friend or two from childhood who you will stay friends with forever. That's Rachelle and me.

So, happy birthday Rachelle and know that I'll love you forever--you're my best friend!

7.18.2006

continuing to be a Wamulian

As most of you know, I work at Washington Mutual as a teller and I was always planning on tranferring branches once I moved out to school. However as of late, the company put a freeze of sorts on hiring, making it harder for branches to post new positions and making it so my transferring was not so much of a surety. I definitely need this job because it's perfect for what I need.

I need this job because:
  • The hours are flexible. I don't work any earlier than 9 am or any past 6 pm, so I'll still have my evenings.
  • I get Sundays, Saturday afternoons, and holidays off and get paid for it.
  • Tellering pays better than most other jobs I could work.
  • It's relatively easy work that's easy to learn; I don't need too much training.
  • I'm already a Wamulian (an employee of Washington Mutual) so I could just dive right in!
  • I already have the shirts.

Well, a posting came up for the Provo branch last week, but it was for a full-time position (blast). I e-mailed my old manager (the one who was working on this with me before he transferred) asking if I should apply anyway, (even though I'm interested in working part-time) and he said to go ahead. I applied today and then I e-mailed the Provo manager just letting him know I applied and expressing my hope we can work something out. He e-mailed me right back and said he'd be happy to discuss the position with me, so the transferring now looks like much more of a viable option. I'm so excited! I need a job badly and being a teller is so perfect. The only downside is that I have to deal with not-so-nice customers every once in a while, but it's still not bad!

I should be seeing more developments as the summer progresses!

7.17.2006

heat wave



I hope this picture looks like it would be hot because that's exactly what it has felt like at our house for the majority of the past week. The tail end of the week was high 90s and then when the weekend hit, it was triple digits, leaving our un-air conditioned home a true oven. You know that phrase that "you could fry an egg on the pavement"? It's not an exaggeration.

We moved houses a couple of years ago and it's at times like these when the weather is so unbearably hot that I yearn for the perfect combination of swamp cooler and attic fan that once was ours. We have the fan routine down pretty well in this house: we have the fans that you can set to either blow in or blow out, allowing you to expel the hot air during the day and suck in the cool air at night, but when it's this hot, all the fans really do is just circulate the hot air because nothing is cool.

Yesterday at church I didn't even complain about the freezing cold air blowing on me all throughout the three-hour block because I knew that's the only time I'd be cold all week. The kitchen is so hot that when you're standing there getting some water to offset impending heat stroke you start feeling clammy and lightheaded and faintly sick to your stomach because the heat is so intense.

Last night I slept in shorts and tank on top of my sheets because the thought of sleeping in covers was truly nauseating. The weather forecast predicts the highs to drop to the low 90s by the end of the week, but as we all know, weather forecasts hold no promises.

On a less pessimistic note, I went to my first drive-in movie on Saturday! A bunch of us got together and drove some cars to the scary Cinderella City drive-in theater and paid $9 each for a double feature. We saw "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" and "Cars," both of which I've already seen but I think it's better to have already seen the movies before seeing them at a drive-in because it's harder to pay attention when you're outside. We were fully equipped with Reese's mini cups (which were really soft due to the heat), Starbursts, Lifesavers, Gummi Bears, Orange Slices, and water. The first movie started at 8:30 and the second began at 11:35, meaning Emily and I didn't make it home until 3:00 am. I thought the drive-in was a lot of fun and I think I'd go again because 1) there was a nice breeze to counter the end-of-the-day heat stagnation and 2) it was fun and relaxing to be with a bunch of friends watching a movie outside.

To end on a more reflective vein, this heat made me start thinking about our pioneer forebears and their perseverance despite harsh opposition. Pretty soon the LDS community will celebrate our pioneers and their trek west and they probably endured heat like this while crossing the Plains. They didn't have air conditioning in their wagons, fans to circulate air, or attic fans to suck in cool night breezes. They couldn't even dress accordingly; they donned long dresses, bonnets, and maybe even petticoats--I couldn't imagine living in this heat without short sleeves, capris, knee-length skirts, and the tank top for sleeping! They couldn't go to Grandma's house to get cooler because everywhere was the same. What is most impressing to me about the pioneer story is that they endured all the hardship, pain, and discomfort for a greater cause: their God. I think my testimony is strong enough so that were I asked to trek across the Plains in covered wagons, I'd do it. I think that if I have faith that our Heavenly Father can help me through math tests, keep me safe when the car breaks down in Cinderella City theater, and comfort me when I'm feeling discouraged about having enough money for gas that I can also have faith that He could get me across the Plains as well.

I think if your faith is real, then it's all encompassing. I don't know if it's possible to know of God's power and authority and still doubt His ability to perform great miracles. I do believe it possible for your faith to grow to encompass all; it can't be all enveloping initially. If faith is stagnant however, I don't think it's actual faith, only more of an inhibited reliance. The way to expand your faith and to make it grow is to take those leaps, putting out your trust and relying on Heavenly Father to keep his end. It's like if you have a testimony of Joseph Smith, you consequently must believe the Book of Mormon to be true, Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet, and the Church is true; you may not have a separate testimony of each of these things, but you rely in the knowledge of their origination. You may rely on your faith of one smaller thing, leading you to have some acceptance of other things, but not true faith. I'd like to think that if I were called to do something akin to the pioneers trekking across the country, that my faith for other things would reassure me in going forth, leading to a greater faith in Heavenly Father.

I love Alma's faith analogy: faith starts out small (like a seed) and then grows if nurtured properly. Our faith may start out small; we may only have faith in one small thing, but if we nourish that small faith, it will grow to greater heights, grow to embody more. I believe that all encompassing faith is having faith that when tested will extend. That's the kind of faith I'd like to develop, the kind of faith I see in those I admire, the kind of faith that is truly reassuring and comforting.

Well, those are my thoughts emerging from the heat wave and the upcoming pioneer celebration. Hopefully the heat will die down so I don't feel like I'm melting, but after thinking about the pioneers and thier sacrifices I think I can probably just deal with it.

7.14.2006

yo ho yo ho . . .

Well, I wasn't really home yesterday very much again, but I had a really fun day nonetheless. I already had plans to see the new Pirates movie with Mark, but what was originally intended as a few hour date turned into an all day affair. One hour prior to when Mark was supposed to pick me up, I get a call from Jacquelyn (a good family friend) asking me to stall Mark until 7:00 for a surprise belated-birthday party. So after lunch at Johnny Rockets I had no good ideas for a successful four-hour stall and so I just spilled the beans and told him I had to keep him away from his house for four more hours because of a surprise party. However, I didn't spoil the surprise because his mom had already told him so as to keep him from making other plans that night.

So after lunch we played the afternoon by ear and headed over to Jillian's for an intense game of air hockey (which I lost by one point by the way) and a weird horse racing game. After Jillian's we went back to my house where we watched "An Ideal Husband" (Mark's suggestion) and played a few hands of contract rummy with Mom. I think it was a successful stall overall, even though he knew about it, but whatever! The "surprise" party was fun; it was a small group, but we had a good time. Even though yesterday didn't go as originally planned, I had a really good time.

After I got home I updated Mom on the day and we watched a couple of episodes of "Lost." Today I had to be into work by 9 and I'll be off by 3. Emily, Dad, and Sarah come home from Girls Camp today (Dad went up as a priesthood leader and took Sarah with him last night) and I really do plan on just hanging out this afternoon. I know it's a lofty goal, but I can dream. This week has been crazy, but definitely a good crazy.

Usually when my weeks are so helter-skelter, I crash after it's all over. I'm pretty good taking it as it comes and handling the stress in the moment, but after a week of it, I need a break! Also when things are so wacky, time seems to pass faster; I can't believe it's already the end of the week--it just seemed like Sunday was two days ago! Well, wish me a relaxing afternoon and I hope it actually happens!

7.12.2006

"and I say 'Hey! What a wonderful kind of day' . . ."

So begins the beloved theme song of the PBS show "Arthur," a longtime-running show about Arthur the Aardvark and his friends. I for one love this show. It's so funny! I find many humorous aspects about this show, one being that the characters are perpetually in 3rd grade. This show has been on for years and Arthur, Francine, Buster, Muffy, the Brain, Binky, Sue Ellen, and Fern never move from 3rd grade. It's the same with Nancy Drew: she's forever 18 and titian haired.

On the Fourth of July, Emily and I recorded an hour-long Arthur episode entitled "Arthur: It's Only Rock 'n' Roll," featuring the Backstreet Boys as Arthur characters. (It should say something when the Backstreet Boys are cuter as Arthur characters than as actually people ;) Other favorite episodes include Arthur's Music Video ("Havin' fun isn't hard when you've got a library card!") and the Singing Moose Episode. I find Arthur Reed, his friends, and their adventures hilarious. The writing is clever for little kids and obviously they're doing something right if teenagers find the show engaging. I started watching an episode this morning and Buster (Arthur's best friend who is a bunny) and he started talking about the adventurer Illinois Jack (haha! The city of Elwood's own Indiana Jones!)

The Arthur characters go as follows:
  • Arthur: the title character, an aardvark, older brother to little obnoxious sister Dora Winifred, 8 years old, likes reading, plays the piano
  • Dora Winifred (aka D.W.): younger sister, 5 years old, has imaginary friend Nadine, attends preschool, rival to the Tibble Twins, revels in pestering Arthur
  • Francine Frensky: monkey (we think), athlete, 3rd grade, very bossy, best friends with Muffy Crosswire, her dad is the trashman
  • Muffy Crosswire: 3rd grade, rich, snobby, best friend to Francine, monkey (we think), father owns Crosswire Motors
  • Allen (aka the Brain): 3rd grade, unnaturally smart, aardvark (?), mother runs the ice cream store
  • Binky: bulldog, 3rd grade but older than everyone else because was held back, comes across as a bully but is actually really nice, has connections with the 4th grade gang the Tough Customers
  • Mr. Ratburn: the 3rd grade teacher, gives too much homework, was thought to have eaten bolts, nails, and children until proven to be a puppeteer, rat
  • Buster: bunny, 3rd grade, best friend to Arthur, eats a lot, believes aliens will come to earth and prepares himself as a result, parents divorced, spent the summer travelling with his dad
  • Prunella: 4th grade, rat (?), into astrology and fortune telling
  • Fern: likes to read, 3rd grade, enjoys mysteries, reserved and quiet but not boring
  • The Singing Moose: a moose that occasionally appears on the show to musically narrate Arthur's happenings, made his main debut when Buster returned from his summer with his dad ("He's [Buster] a sad, sad, bunny. A sad, sad, sad, sad, bunny . . ."

Well, that my friends is a mere sampling of the world of Elwood City. You should watch it on PBS. It's on at 7:30 and 8:00 in the morning and is also on the PBS radio station at those same times. Arthur is a show not to be missed, a show to be enjoyed and cherished as a childhood staple.

I felt the need to document the wonderful qualities of Arthur not only because it's a quality, laugh-out-loud show, but I am also extremely bored at work.

I would post a picture of Arthur and friends, but all the ones I can find online aren't in the correct format. Blast.

utterly exhausted

Well, after today I will not have been home in three days and for those of you who know me, you know that's a big thing because I love my time at home. Monday I worked and afterward I met up with Rachelle (my best friend) and her mom at the Olive Garden for dinner. I ate the "Herb Grilled Salmon"--mmm I love salmon! After we finished dinner, Rachelle and I headed over to her hotel (she's been staying in a hotel for the past 2 1/2 weeks because they had severe smoke damage to their house on account of an ashen pot of beans found on a turned-on stove after 5 hours). We went to see the 9:40 showing of "The Devil Wears Prada" and came across Mark and his mom Kaye! It was definitely a welcome surprise! The movie was okay; it wasn't your traditional chick flick about a girl trying to get the guy. The plot was a little deeper than the signature chick flick and I love watching Anne Hathaway because she's so pretty. (However, most of us would always be drop-dead-gorgeous if we had a personal team of stylists too). After the movie we went back the hotel and went swimming in the 24 hour pool at 1 in the morning. We came back at 2 and talked for bit, then drifting off to sleep until 10:30 the next morning. We headed out at 11:45 and went to lunch at Chili's, followed by trip inside TJ Maxx and Ulta.

Despite this exciting Rachelle-and-Charlotte time, there was an ulterior motive: her sister planned a surprise birthday and I was the decoy/distraction (however I would definitely have had this fun night/morning without urging!) I had to stall a little in Ulta because her sister wasn't ready and fortunately there was some trouble in ringing up my purchases, so we weren't able to arrive at the house until 1:50 or so. It was truly a surprise--Rachelle had no idea! Ten to twelve of us were there total and we all went boating on Cherry Creek Resevoir for the afternoon. I love boating! However, I'm not a fan of my wet hair drying wavy because it looks dumb (why can't it be wavy all over instead turning wavy half way down my head?), but who looks great boating anyway? Back to the party recap: we went boating all afternoon, grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, boated some more when it was still light, had cake and went back to the house to open presents once it got dark. We opened presents pretty quick because a bunch of us had to get home. I got home a little after 11, so I was beat. Then I slept hard until I had to wake up to go to work all day. Blark. After work tonight I have a quick church thing to do and then I can go home and crash.

Even though I'm completely exhausted, I had such a fun time over the past couple of days. I think my favorite part was when it was just me and Rachelle hanging out. Whenever we hang out we don't usually go out to a movie or go out to eat, so this was a fun change of pace. We never run out of things to talk about and I have so much fun with her! I love having friends like that: friends you can do almost anything with, that you can tell anything, and stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning talking to. I'd rather have 2 or 3 really close friends like that than a bunch of acquaintence-like friends (I hope I'm making sense here). I'll do a real post about Rachelle on her real birthday which is coming up next week.

Well, after today I can crash at home tonight and tomorrow I'm going to see the new Pirates movie--I'm way excited! I'm counting the hours until I can leave work and it's only 10:30; we close at 6. Ug. Oh well, at least I'm getting paid, right? Oh, and one more thing to add to the utter exhaustion I'm feeling: I woke up feeling a potential migraine coming on and my vision was really weird this morning, a definite sign of impending migraine. I took something right away before anything happened and the vision disturbances went away mostly, but I still don't feel so hot. Oh well, I look forward to changing into my pajamas tonight and watching some mindless TV like "Everybody Loves Raymond" or "Lost" if I feel up for some intrigue. Sorry for the somewhat complain-y post and hopefully I will have something better to report later.

Oh, and another quick question: WHO IS THE ANONYMOUS COMMENTER? I definitely appreiciate your comments, but who are you?! The anonymous commenting is too mysterious for my own peace of mind!
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