ultimate relaxation

I got back to CO on December 18, but I forgot my camera cord in Provo (along with my glasses, which my roommate mailed to me--they haven't arrived yet. . . .). So this is a picture-less post but will hopefully fill my blogger needs.

December 20: BYU lost the Vegas Bowl. Blast.

December 21: Christmas Sunday in the Applewood Ward. It ended up being a Wood-family sacrament meeting, actually. Mom and Dad gave the prayers, Grandma and Grandpa spoke, and Emily and I gave the musical number. And as always, I had encounters with some of the more unique members of the ward and was asked if I was engaged. I'm asked that question at least once every time I come home, sometimes more. Family dinner was Shamazing: roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, ice cream cake roll.

December 22: I got my hair colored again. It's super dark again. (Grandma is calling me her "Indian Princess," a reference I'm still not quite getting.) Too bad my camera cord is in Provo; otherwise, I'd post a picture.

December 23: We all went over to Grandma's in the afternoon and had a bake day! I read, helped with the sugar cookies, and just sat there, still detoxing from finals.

December 24: Christmas Eve! Delicious dinner, Christmas Eve program, new pajamas, electronic LIFE game=awesome.

December 25: CHRISTMAS!! I spent the entire day in my pajamas, watched P.S. I Love You (which I got from Emily) and Prince Caspian (from Santa) (for whatever reason, Blogger won't italicize Prince Caspian--my inner editor needs to give that caveat for the inconsistency), ate whatever I wanted, napped, and was a complete agoraphobe.

December 26: At least I showered and got dressed, but I still didn't leave the house. We watched almost the entire first season of "Chuck," which Santa left for the family. I think we watched another movie that night, but I don't remember.

December 27: I planned on leaving the house, but woke up with an acute abdominal pain. I can't figure out where it came from. It could have been the huge bloody nose I had in the middle of the night where I swallowed a significant amount of blood, my horrible holiday eating habits, PMS, or a horrid combination of all three. Regardless of the cause, I was pretty much incapacitated all day. (I think I've been watching too much "House," because during my bloody nose trip to the bathroom to grab tissues, I had visions of the blood not stopping, blood starting to come out of my ears, and then the cut to the opening credits--good grief.) I planned on leaving the house but didn't go out until about 7 pm for a friend's birthday party. That marked about 72 straight hours in my house. Wow.

December 28: Another day of church and another engagement query. On Christmas Eve, one of the missionaries who was over actually asked me in all sincerity if it was uncommon for a girl at BYU to reach her junior year without being married. I replied that no, it was not out of the norm to be single at twenty-one years old--I am not a BYU anomaly. Good grief. Mom, Emily, John, Sarah, and me (Dad was at home with the stomach flu, yet another possible cause for my freaky stomach pain the day before) went to a vow renewal for one of Mom's good friends. They weren't LDS, and I left feeling so grateful for the priesthood and temple marriage. Dinner that night consisted of a delicious, light meal of Cream of Wheat, scrambled eggs, and toast.

December 29: I cleaned, read, played Guitar Hero World Tour, watched "House" despite my self-diagnosed "House" overdose, ran errands with Mom, ate a delicious dinner, and the current blogging.

Sorry for the lack of pictures that would break up the grayness of this post. Oh well. Kudos if you made it through :) Thankfully I still have a week left (well, six days now), and I look forward to the Crop Day tomorrow, a homemade donut New Year's Eve, shopping with Christmas money, and more movies and TV, because I really need more time in front of the tube.


first leisure book of the break

I just finished reading Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, my first leisure book of the break. I love leisure reading. I read all semester long for class, so you'd think I'd be booked out; however, I find few things as enjoyable as plopping down on the couch with a good, leisure book in hand. I read so much at school, but it's never quite like reading something I read just because I want to read it. I can analyze as much as I want; I can retain as much as I please; I don't get a grade; I don't take reading quizzes. I read because I want to.

I really enjoyed this book. I've read this author's first book, Everything Is Illuminated, and like Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close better. For those of you who haven't read it, the plot follows the story of a nine-year-old boy, Oskar, trying to connect with his father, who died in the WTCs on September 11. The subplot, which eventually ties in with the big story, centers on the boy's grandparents, who survived the WWII Dresdan bombing. I thought that the story was fascinating, and most of all, the narration style was captivating; I felt that the narration style was hyper stream-of-consciousness, which I didn't think I'd like, but I surprised myself.

I thought the character development was superb and the emotion in the pages profound. However, I felt very dissatisfied with the very very end. I liked the part with Oskar talking with his mother, but when Oskar wishes to rewind life, I felt depressed. The story does have a depressing underlying tone, because the characters don't believe in God and often feel hopeless themselves, but I thought that maybe the ending would contain some thread of hope for the future and for happiness. I didn't pick up on such an ending message. I was able to find traces of hope in my reading but felt let down the last page or so.

For those of you who have read this book, what did you think? I really really really liked the book, almost surprisingly so, but the ending left me unsettled and sad for the characters. Is that how you felt? If haven't read it, I highly recommend it. It reads fast and is incredibly captivating, I think. Once you read it, let me know what you think. I'm still processing.


last day of class

Thursday was my last day of class for the semester--YAY!!!! Here was my day:

Instant oatmeal, hot chocolate and scripture study.

Cleaning my computer from a campus-wide USB-transmitted virus.

Hideous editing at work.

Laundry--I hate laundry.

Emily's concert! She was awesome!

It was a good day :) Now I just have to get through finals, and I'll be home free. . . .


my dad

Monday was my dad's forty-seventh birthday. (He hates that number because it's prime--I think that's funny.) I love my dad--he is amazing to the max. He loves me no matter what. I love him back. :)


new landlord

I think I should start making out my rent checks to the library instead of to the Colony. My new roommates are Dorothea Brooke, Jude Hawley, and universal healthcare.


a third orchestra concert

Tuesday was my third orchestra concert I've been in at the Y. I love it!! I love playing!! I love being in a fun, non-diva orchestra where my stand partner is one of my really good friends and the conductor is a Ukrainian who resembles a hobbit. It's only one credit hour, and we meet once a week for a couple of hours. So far, I've been in the University Orchestra, which is the full orchestra (not only strings, but also brass, percussion, and winds). Full orchestras are my favorite to play in, but next semester, Erica and I will be in the string orchestra because of scheduling conflicts. I'm still excited though--I love having the opportunity to play even though I'm not majoring in violin performance.

The concert on Tuesday went really well. My orchestra played a Pomp and Circumstance march, a piece by Verdi, one of the Reformation movements by Mendelssohn, the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies and the Dance of the Flowers of the Nutcracker Suite, and the Radentzky March. My favorite was most definitely the Nutcracker selections.

My very first concert (a year ago), Brooke and Alexis came--it made my night! The last concert, my roommates, the guy I was dating, and a couple other friends came. Tuesday night, though, I think I had the largest turnout of Charlotte supporters: Brooke, Anneli, Matt (Anneli's boyfriend), Katie, one of my visiting teachers, Blake, first-date Luke, and my favorite person who came, Emily.

I was SO excited that Emily could come and see my concert: she is my only family member to have seen me play in my BYU orchestral experience, and it really meant so much to me that she was there. She even gave me a big bag of holiday M&Ms that she gave me license to hoard. It's always a bummer that my family can't come and see me perform, but having Emily there made me so connected to the rest of my family. I was reminded once again of how much I LOVE having her out here.

Alas, I didn't get any pictures, but I know Emily took some, so maybe she can get those to me.

I'm glad that orchestra finished up before finals are underway, and I love playing. I love being able to play my violin simply because I love it. I love it that my parents indulged my fourth grade desire and went on to pay for my exquisite instrument and my private lessons. I love it that my family and friends have always encouraged me in my playing. I love every aspect of playing music.


being a hideous intern

I can't believe it was already a couple of months ago that I left my job at the Physics Department and started interning at the Maxwell Institute. I think it's about time for an update on the intern situation.

I'm loving it! For about the first month or so, I wasn't too sure. I always planned on sticking out these two semesters, but for a while I was pretty frustrated. I felt like I didn't do things right, I would forget things all the time, and even though I'd do a pretty thorough proofread, my boss would always find stuff that I missed and that's what he pointed out. My boss would also bring up the last intern all the time as an example of what was awesome to do. I don't think that he meant to make me feel bad, because he mention once that he didn't bring up the other intern to make me feel bad, but she was just the most recent intern and therefore, the closest reference.

After the first four weeks or so, though, things definitely picked up. I feel like I'm definitely in a groove--I know what to do, I know how far to go on my proofing and editing, and my boss and I are friends, which always makes working easier and more fun.

I like what I do, and generally, I look forward to going to work. Sometimes I feel mentally drained after work, because my brain is basically working all day now that I can't watch TV during work hours. But I like it. I think that this will be a good leg up to other internships, and I feel that I'm getting great experience.

I love being a hideous intern!


and I'm back

Thanksgiving was amazing. Emily and I went home on the 22nd and just got back today. I love being able to go home for such extended periods of time. I had a paper to write and a bunch of reading to do and some worksheets. Did I do any of it? . . . Nope. This is what I did instead.


I'm alive!!

So, I'm alive--I miraculously survived the week preceding my journey home. Phew.

I'm surprisingly out of a blogging groove, but I'll try and work my way back into one. It's uncharacteristic of me to not post for a week and a half.

Needless to say, I'm home, I'm happy, I'm well fed.

I'll try and find my blogging zen and get back to you.


another first date

Last night I had another first date--I've had many many first dates. Last night's first date was with a guy from my New Testament class; his name is Luke. (Ha!) I didn't really know what to expect, but I ended up having a great time! We went up to Thanksgiving Point and went to the dinosaur museum, saw the ocean 3D movie there, and then went out to dinner at Chili's. Good activities, good guy, fun conversation, home by 10:00. (I hate it when first dates are marathon dates--getting me home at a decent time is a great idea.)

I was thinking that this would just be a first date, but I think that if he asks me out again that I'll for sure go. I'm going to feel this out, because I see potential. :) It's nice to have a good first date.

ode to a favorite pair of jeans

I love jeans in general, but I do have a favorite pair. They used to be my dressier jeans, but after countless times of wearing them, they're now my Saturday jeans.

I first got them when I was in high school. The dad of one of the girls in Young Women was a truck driver, and he was delivering a shipment to the GAP, and some of the boxes spilled and the merchandise fell out. The store couldn't sell it, so he got to keep it. I was over for an activity and left with a really nice, way cute pair of GAP jeans.

I love them. Every time I wash them and then put them on again, they fit perfectly. The boot-cut is ideal, the length quintessential. I wear them all the time. Now, they're pretty worn, and because of the hole in the knee, I call them my rocker jeans. I only wear them on Saturdays or on days when I dress up and come home needing to be comfortable. Even though they're holey Saturday (ha) jeans, they still look cute and can give my otherwise grubby look a certain nonchalant, casual flair.

Just last time I washed them, I noticed a fraying patch in the nether regions--distressing. I think I'll take them home with me in **6 DAYS!!** and see if Mom can prolong their life just a bit longer.

It's been at least four years, so it would be about time to toss them. I just can't. I need a pair of worn, nonjudgmental, loyal jeans--I'm not ready to give them up yet.


Okay, this is pretty hideous

I found one aspect of editing that I found hideous--like really hideous. Indexes. Ew. I love pretty much every facet of editing: I love the commas, the vague pronoun challenge, the small caps, the ins and outs of the possessive; but I hate indexes. It's the most tedious thing ever, and I loathe it. Half of our last test was editing an index, and I marked so many things and caught so many mistakes, and yet, I still miss enough to give me a high C for a grade.

It really is hideous.


last Sunday's project

Complete with pumpkin bread and Gilmore Girls.

10 days until we're home :)


an attempt at comment reciprocation

I am excited to have had comments from several members of the Woellhaf (that was a haphazard guess at the spelling--you'd think I could have that one down by now) clan; however, I cannot reciprocate because your blogs are private! I would love to be able to read your blogs and subsequently comment, returning the commenting done on my blog. If this be okay with you, just shoot me an email: charlottejane17@hotmail.com. Thanks! :)


a starchy, splendid Friday

Here is my splendid Friday night all to myself:

Yes, I do starch and iron my jeans. I know. I'm serious. I love how they fit after such an iron and starch, I love how they smell, I love how crisp they are, I love how they make my butt look. ;)

How better to spend a weekend night in your apartment that you have all to yourself? Read some Jude the Obscure, read a Conference talk or two to speed along the psychological recovery from reading Jude the Obscure, pop in a disc of Gilmore Girls, iron your freshly washed jeans, and top off the evening with a hearty bowl of Dreyer's mint chocolate chip.

Voila: starchy and splendid.

not ideally beautiful

In my novel class, we just finished reading Middlemarch by George Eliot, and at the end of the book is one of my favorite quotes ever. I have countless favorite passages from countless books, and this one I daresay is my favorite of them all:

Certainly those determining acts of her life were not ideally beautiful. They were the mixed result of a young and noble impulse struggling amidst the conditions of an imperfect social state, in which great feelings will often take the aspect of error, and great faith the aspect of illusion. . . . But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

Certainly those determining acts of my life are not ideally beautiful. Some of them are, and for those, I am truly grateful. Determining acts that are ideally beautiful are true blessings, but I think we can all agree that many--if not most--determining moments in our lives are not ideally beautiful. And that's okay, and we can push through our not-so-ideal moments.

This reminded me of my word for the year: become. My own becoming moments won't always be ideally beautiful, but they will be becoming moments. And in the process of becoming, I can take comfort in the idea that perhaps the growing good of the world is partly dependent on my own "unhistoric acts," my goal to "[live] faithfully a hidden life."



My absentee ballot never came. Because I registered when I lived in my last apartment, it went there over the summer and just slipped through the cracks. (The hairy couch in that place probably has it, actually.) I requested a new absentee ballot, which never came. So yesterday I donned my USA shirt and red patent leather headband to show my support for the election. I wanted so badly to vote and was initially pretty upset that I couldn't, but my not voting was in no way because of my lack of trying. Oh well. The election is what it is, and I am just grateful to live in a country where we have a say and where we have our freedoms. I prayed a heck of a lot yesterday for various issues and hoped that Heavenly Father could cast my ballot for me. Regardless of my political preferences, I do feel peace about the results, and I'm just glad to know that I don't have to be in charge of making sure that everything works out.

Katie sneaked an "I Voted" sticker for me since she knew I was sorely disappointed that I couldn't vote. I felt dishonest wearing it, but I did put it on my computer. :)


productivity miracle

As I'm sure you can gather from my couple of posts from last week, school has been crazy lately. I feel as if I'm drowning in reading assignments, papers to write, and sleep deprivation. I had lots to do for Friday's classes, and Thursday night after class, I felt so overwhelmed and inadequate. I saw such a huge and looming pile of responsibilities that I thought there was no way I could ever fulfill. I knew I needed to get started on everything I needed to do and decided to read my scriptures before I got started.

I took out my copy of Preach My Gospel and flipped to where I left off last time I studied from there. The section I read was about faith, and it had some scripture references at the end, so I looked them up. I read all of Ether 12. A few verses resonated with me:

verse 6: "I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." I couldn't see a way that I could do everything, so I needed to exercise some faith.

verse 27: "and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." I just felt so weak physically, mentally, emotionally--I don't have to feel that way.

verse 41: "And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever." I needed to seek Christ in my time of need.

After I finished reading, I knelt down and prayed that I would be able to accomplish what I needed to. I expressed my feelings of inadequacy, exhaustion, and state of being overwhelmed. I prayed for power, for a miracle.

When I sat down to start everything, I had the impression to take out my internet cable and turn off my phone. The night from then on out was amazing: I knew how much time I should spend on everything, when I should tackle each task, what to write. I finished everything I needed to in record time, and I was ready for bed before I had to register at midnight.

It was a true miracle. There was no way I'd ever be able to complete everything that was on my to-do list by myself. With Heavenly Father's power, I was motivated, inspired, and uplifted. My sour, pessimistic mood dissipated almost immediately. I felt strength from a source completely outside myself. I was able to focus, synthesize, and produce good work.

It was a miracle.

the fruits of my labors

After 5 1/2 hours in the library:

I wrote two papers and completed a take-home essay midterm. Phew! Thankfully, Emily happened to come to the place where I was studying, so we studied together while swapping Facebook messages alluding to our planned excursion to "High School Musical 3." (HSM3 was stellar, by the way.)

Unfortunately, 5 1/2 straight hours in the periodicals killed my brain so I wasn't able to finish my regular homework and assignments for Monday. Oh well. I wrote 14 pages of essays and tests, so I call that productive. And those hours just made me all the more excited for Emily's and my trip home in a mere 20 days from today!!


this is not my calling

I decided to apply for a summer internship with the Denver Post, and the application is due today. For the application process, I had to have the internship office send a test to the school that would be proctored for me. I took the test on Thursday. I felt pretty good about the first page, because it was just grammar and usage. Then I turned the page.

The whole second page was current events fill-in-the blank. No joke. I had to fill in the blanks on a myriad of current events. Some were easier: The Summer 2008 Olympics were held in _______. Michael Phelps won eight gold medals in ______. But then there were questions like this: Maksydfikasldf resigned as president of _________. Emansdfkasdf stepped down as prime minister of _______, although the two incidents were unrelated. I filled in maybe half of the blanks.

Then I got to the third page. One part had a bunch of people in the political limelight right now. I match up the people or events (e.g. the Republican 2008 National Convention) with the state where they're from or happened. Not regular matching, mind, but a blank map and I had to put numbers in the specific state. I think I only got a couple right on that one.

The second part of the third page had a list of six people who have passed away in the past year. Then there was a column with four slots of achievements. I had to match the "legend" with what made them famous. Because there were only four achievement slots, I couldn't play the process-of-elimination game. The only one I knew for sure was Charleton Heston

Needless to say, I think I'll look for other summer internship opportunities, ones that don't involve having to read the newspaper.


clean sheets=small link to sanity

I just put clean sheets on my bed and replaced my towels with clean ones. And in the middle of an insane week like this one,

clean sheets sure are nice.


Ode to a Friend Named Brooke

Today is Brooke's birthday, and I dedicate this post to her.

Brooke and I worked together technically starting freshman year, but we didn't work in the same area of the office, and we hardly knew each other. At the beginning of sophomore year, I was transferred down to Nan's office, so we were working together all the time. Our interactions started out talking for a little bit when there was nothing else to do and progressed to talking all the time and moved on to talking when we weren't supposed to. Then we started texting each other, and by the beginning of winter semester, we were starting to do things outside of work. I would make the trek up to her house (she lived in a house up by the temple) on Fridays, and we would watch "24" and make cake and order pizza. It was glorious. Then it was hilarious when we both started dating boys at the same time, and our relationships were oddly parallel--just more fodder for conversations, I suppose.

Since I took that job with the Maxwell Institute, we don't work together, which has been a hard adjustment. However, we still do stuff all the time: we know we're real friends because we do stuff even though we don't work together anymore. It's funny because our personalities and tastes are pretty different, but we are such great friends. I see her at least two or three times a week now: we watch "Chuck" and "House," usually do something over the weekend, and chat about life on Sunday nights. It's just great.

I never would have guessed a year ago that right now Brooke would be one of my best friends. I love it that we're different, and I love it that we still have so much in common. Thanks for putting up with me, Brooke--you're just great! :) Happy happy happy birthday!


the only place I could go

The other night Caitlin was talking really loud with a friend upstairs, and Katie went to bed, needing to get as much sleep as possible before she takes the GRE this weekend. I still had Middlemarch reading to do no place to do it.

Solution: transform walk-in closet into study room. Yes, I read Middlemarch in my closet.


yikes yikes yikes yikes yikes

One of the guys who lives across the street not infrequently comes over for random, awkward invites. For example: a bunch of us are having pizza at my apartment around six. You should come. Translation: Just I'm having pizza, and you should come so we can hook up. Um, no thanks. Last week, he knocked on the door, gave a plate of cookies to Caitlin (who was the one who answered the door), said, "I made you some cookies," and just walked away. Um, weird.

Last Friday, he came by again. (I, fortunately, was downstairs in my room, and so didn't have to provide an answer.) He had a pen and paper with him and asked if anyone in our apartment was less than single. That's right: less than single. Ew. Yes, he had a pen and paper. No joke.

For the record, if he ever corners me, I am never ever available. Ever.

We don't even know if he's actually the ward greeter--he might just stand there, handing out programs, doing reconnaissance.




Spooky Good Mail

Emily and I got a Halloween package this week, courtesy of Mom, Grandma, Susan, and Rachelle!! Score!! Emily and I couldn't open it unless we were together, so Thursday night we gathered in her dorm room and opened the Halloween bounty of spooky treasure.

Way cute jack o'lantern pot holder. I also got a way cute skeleton dish towel, but forgot to take a picture, and I'm too lazy to go upstairs, snap a picture, and load it up to my computer right now. But it's way cute and festive.

Darling Halloween mug, complete with hot cocoa that turns orange. The orange cocoa is pictured. I made it specifically for this care package photo shoot and then proceeded to sip some. No bueno. But the orange "brew" was fun :)

"Legally Blonde 2," courtesy of Rachelle. You can rarely go wrong with a pink DVD case.

No, these M&Ms are not from Valentine's Day; they are for breast cancer. I hoarded them and only shared them with a few select friends. Again, courtesy of Rachelle.

Disney Princess-shaped Spaghettios--yum! Thanks, Rachelle!

Probably my favorite of the package was the pumpkin bread, which didn't make it to the photo shoot. I also hoarded that and didn't let anyone know I had it. I gave Katie a bit, but no one else knew. I'm very possessive of my care package pumpkin bread.

Care packages are amazing. I love them.

one week later

It itches like crazy. And I think it's hilarious that this happens to be my 200th post ever. Ha. And yes, I have been picking my scabs. . . .

PS--Yes, that bruise is green.
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