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.


rock on

Brooke has a friend who is in a band, and they had a "concert" last night. We went. It was in the plaza area of their apartment complex, so we just sat and listened for their eight-song set.

This can just give you a general taste for the concert. (And yes, you can't really see anything, but I would have felt unbelievingly retarded taking video in that particular crowd, so I "videoed" to get the sound for you. No actual video. Plus it was dark. PS this is my first video upload. ShamWow!) They opened their set with a rocker version of "That Thing You Do," which is always a good way to get me hooked. They played some pretty well-known songs, and nothing original, for which we can all be grateful. Original songs by local bands don't ever bode well.

The lead singer sang a bit off-key not infrequently, and sometimes the guitar solos were especially loud. I did recognize a lot of the songs thanks to Guitar Hero--many of the solos were familiar.

And we saw a cross-dresser. Yes, a cross-dresser. At first Brooke and I couldn't figure out if it was a boy or a girl, because of the outlandish outfit. This person was wearing pink lounge pants, a rainbow striped really low cut top, and a hideous giant yellow thug hat with rhinestones. We realized that this person was male when we saw the beard stubble. (This was harder to see initially because the man was very black.) Wow. I tried to take a picture, but knew that the flash would go off, and that would be embarrassingly awkward; so I took a video, but decided not to post it because you can't see him that well anyway.

The concert was funny, the cross-dresser frightening, the time with Brooke awesome. We watched "Monk," ate mac and cheese, and stopped by a large birthday blowout for some guys in my ward. All in all a successful, fun, semi-socialable evening.


along the trail to fame and glory

This week was Homecoming Week!! The Homecoming Opening Ceremonies were on Tuesday, and activities took place on campus all the rest of the week. And then . . . the football game on Saturday!! We played New Mexico and totally won. I don't have season tickets, but my friend was able to get me one for Saturday's game.

Um, it was pretty dang freezing. But way fun! The game itself wasn't too exciting, but we did win and kept up our undefeated winning streak. Woohoo! And the best part: I got a picture with me and Cosmo. That's right. My second picture with Cosmo at my time here at BYU.

The other perk to Homecoming Week was the free t-shirts. I donated blood on Thursday and got a free t-shirt, and then on Friday during the lunch hour, Emily and I played a "respect game," told the workers what we learned about "respect," and got a free t-shirt. Score on all homecoming counts.

a very un-Charlotte-like adventure

Earlier this week, Brooke wondered if I wanted to go geo-cashing with her this weekend. Remembering her raving account of her previous geo-cashing experience, I readily agreed to go. (*geo-cashing is using a GPS system to find pre-placed "treasure." Usually you go to several different locations finding clues until you find the treasure, but this adventure was a one-stop geo-cash.) So yesterday morning, we headed out to the mountains.

Now this wasn't a trail kind of hike--this was a real hike through wilderness.

Yes, I did make my way through that. No joke.

It started snowing where we were, which actually felt great because I was pretty hot after hiking through such terrain. We found the cave and climbed down in. The floor of the cave was covered in water, so we made our way through to the end by putting our feet up on the edges of the cave and walking that way. (Our friend Logan came with us, thankfully, because he had the GPS system and made a bridge to forge the river on our way back.)

We signed the cave "guest book" and then made our way out. For a minute we turned off our flashlights and just sat there in the pitch pitch pitch black. It was a little creepy but ultimately cool.

At one point during the adventure, I slipped, and a large, protruding, pointy tree branch stabbed me. It didn't break through my pants, but I have a four-inch long, swollen, bruisy, semi-bloody gash on my leg. This is by no means an attractive picture of my thigh (but what thigh picture is ever attractive? . . .), but it gives you an accurate idea of my wound.

While this was a very un-Charlotte-like adventure, I had fun! I've never done anything like this before, and I had a blast! So, thank you Brooke for helping develop my dormant mountain woman qualities.

PS--On our way to the starting point, there were a bunch of cows in the road. Seriously. Cows?


now there's a Cougar kid

I was walking to class this morning after work, and there was this group of elementary school kids on a field trip. They were walking around the JFSB quad chanting, "BYU! BYU! BYU! BYU!" Kudos on the Cougar indoctrination BYU alum. I'm impressed.


a rarity

I came home from campus, and no one was here. That almost never happens. Ever. It's glorious. I really did get lucky as far as roommates go: they all have their idiosyncrasies of course, and I'm not sure if I would ever spend time with them if I wasn't roommates with them (with the exception of Katie of course--she's just amazing), but to not have to deal with three extra personalities after a long day of work and school is just such a nice break.

With this time completely alone I have, I think I'm going to read my scriptures, read my Great Expectations assignment, and get a head start on my 500-word article due in editing on Friday.


General Conference: SLC and 100th Post of the Year!!

This is my 100th post in 2008!! This is huge accomplishment for me, because looking at my archives, you can see that in the past couple of years I average about half that. I can't explain why the sudden change, but I love it. These past two and a half years since I started blogging--and especially the past nine months--have been the most regular and thorough record of my life. I love blogging! I really want to put my blog into books like I know Michelle and others have done. Where do I go to do that? Through my blog I've best been able to capture who I am. I have a record of what I think about on a day to day basis, what's important to me now, how I react to situations; I don't have to rely on an unstable memory of myself, but rather, I can read back through my blog to see who I was at any given point in time.

I was really excited when I realized that my 100th post of 2008 would be about General Conference: I think it appropriate for who I am and what's important to me.

Emily and I had the amazing opportunity to go up to SLC for Conference this morning, and it was incredible! It was Emily's first time to Conference, and I was really excited to share this experience with her. We had a parking voucher (fortunately), and that took a huge load off the stress! We parked by Energy Solutions and then just walked the few blocks to the Conference Center. We had seats in the terrace and we in the center section. This was our view:

It was raining pretty hard all morning, so Emily and I stood out in the rain for a bit waiting to get inside. I love the rain! It finally felt like fall!

We sat in our seats for about an hour and a half before Music and the Spoken Word, and we were both so tired from having to wake up early (Emily stayed up until 1:30 the night before and then woke up 10 minutes before I left to pick her up. . . .) and so we dozed for a bit while waiting. Emily dozed a bit more than I did, and granted, she did go to bed in the morning, instead of the night before. Good grief.

Once Conference started, we were alert and awake and took copious notes. My Conference notes are more the impressions I get and what sticks out to me rather than everything that's actually said. Highlights include:
  • President Eyring's focus on unity
  • Elder Hales's statement that opposition presents us with opportunity
  • Sister Dalton's statement that through virtue we can change the world
  • Elder Ballard and the emphasis that the work of God cannot be frustrated
and my favorite insight and talk from the morning
  • President Monson's admonition to "find joy in the journey," to "relish life as we life it."
I had a harder time focusing on the afternoon session, because I watched it over at my friend's apartment, and there were a few people over who kept talking. Plus, I was extremely sleepy, resulting in accidental dozing.

Some themes I noticed from this Conference were
  • Hope in the face of adversity and how we should react to adversity
  • The need for us to show gratitude
  • Unity in building up Zion
I loved it. I felt so uplifted and edified. I'm not really ready to return to my crazy, school-filled life again, but return I must, and I'm going to dive back in determined to "find joy in [my] journey."


General Conference: The Cabin

General Conference time is come around again, and I love it! My weekend is going to be pretty varied with where and with whom I watch Conference this time around. Last night after I helped out with Katie's family's mission reunion (more on that later), I headed up to Heber with her family. Her parents just bought a cabin up in that area, and I was invited to come up with her to watch Conference today!

Their cabin is beautiful: it is totally the kind of place my family would love for a family compound. If you want to be by yourself, you can; but, if you want to be with everyone, you can do that too. The ceilings are high and vaulted, the kitchen is big and open, the lighting is cozy, the decks are large--it's just amazing!

Anneli and I slept in the "dormitory" room. It's this long room with four beds in it, so it's perfect for having lots of people over. There are three levels to the cabin, and we watched Conference on the ground level in this cozy room with a big TV and a large, way comfy sectional.

The decor wasn't necessarily to my taste, but it was definitely mountain-y and cozy. There was a big stone woodburning stone fireplace, and several fun little family rooms complete with a ping pong table, a chessboard, and a piano.

In between sessions, Katie's dad took us out on a "cart ride," which was really a ride in a four-wheeler-esque type of vehicle. It was completely open, and it was raining, so I put up my hood and had quite a ride bumping along the muddy roads around the area. It was a definitely a stellar--and wet--20 minutes!

The colors up there were absolutely breathtaking--it was just beautiful. This was outside my the window by my bed:

I brought schoolwork that I need to do, but did I? Not really. I did a little bit of editing, but read only about two pages out of Great Expectations. At least I tried, right?

General Conference since I've been out at school has been a bittersweet experience, because I love love love love love Conference, but I really miss being with my family. So being up in the cabin with Katie and her family was great, because I was with a family, even though it wasn't my family. After the first session, we had a family prayer, and afterwards, I almost got ready for a family cheer--it pulled on my heartstrings a bit.

Some quick highlights from today's Conference sessions:
  • The 5 new temples!
  • Elder Andersen's talk about how we don't know everything, but we do know enough. That was so encouraging.
  • Elder Oaks's saying "texting" in his talk. Not text messaging or using your cell phone, but he actually said "texting."
  • President Uchtdorf's connections between hope, faith, and charity
  • Elder Holland's talk about how angels are always among us
  • Elder Bednar's instructions for having more meaningful prayers
  • The children's choir. I loved seeing the kids see the camera and then look away smiling; that one boy who frustratingly thrust his arms down at his side; and the boy who was standing sideways when everyone else was standing facing the right way. Ha!
  • The overall theme I saw of hope and faith and comfort: we are never alone.
I loved it, and I can't wait for tomorrow! I probably would have stayed up in Heber for tomorrow's sessions, except that Emily and I have tickets for the morning session tomorrow! We'll be off around 7:00 a.m. . . . Can't wait!


single, divorced, or widowed?

In the FAFSA application I spent forever filling out tonight, I had to declare my marital status. There was married and then single-divorced-widowed. That's right: one slot in the drop-down menu. What a category, right? For all the government knows, I could be a 21-year-old who has been divorced, widowed and is now single.

Newflash: It's October

Newsflash: it's October now. No need for the 80 degree weather. I have way cute fall clothes that need to be worn.
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