just amazing

Mom came out last weekend. You can read about it here. It was just amazing, and I'm just so floored by gratitude that she's my mom forever.


I'm not kidding

At the end of August when Mom, Emily, and I were out shopping to get our apartments settled, we obviously had to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond. We browsed the clearance section and came across a tablecloth. In the packaging Mom and I both thought that it looked pretty cute. Plus it cost only about $2 after all the markdowns. We were pleased with this purchase. Very pleased.

Yeah. That's what I bought. I put it on my table, and Mom and I didn't say anything. We went on to work on something else, but our eyes strayed back to the table.

"Well, it's not as cute as I thought. . . ."

"Actually, I think it's really ugly."

"What were we thinking? It looked okay in the packaging. . . ."

"No I really hate it."

"I hate it more and more the more I look at it."

Tablecloth off.

I actually bought that, thinking that it would make a cute addition to my college apartment. I'm not kidding. And I have nothing more to say on the subject.


mac 'n' cheese

Step one to feeling awesome again?

Let your sister paint your nails Mac 'n' Cheese Orange while you both watch MK&A. :)


enough is enough

Okay, Charlotte. Life hasn't gone how you thought it would the past little while, and you know, it's been hard. And then the other day you found yourself feeling like you'd been punched in the stomach: that one thing happened that just compounded everything and made everything feel like it was crashing in on you.

But you know, in spite of all that, even though you've been feeling so out of control of your life lately, you've experienced miracles--true miracles. In the moments when you've felt the most alone, you've been reminded of how many people love you and are rooting for you. You've been blessed with a heightened ability to see the beautiful things in your life. You have beyond incredible friends and a seriously amazing family.

Let's reassess your miraculous life:
  • It's a real miracle that you're doing as well as you are. You've kept a sense of who you are and what you deserve from life. Your functioning of the past few days has been a direct answer to prayer--it's not you. It's 100 percent the Atonement.
  • You've been blessed with an increased ability to better understand and implement the Atonement. Your faith is stronger than you thought.
  • You have motivation for school. You like your classes, you like your job--you want to excel. You know you have a future. You remember what Sister Holland said: "The future holds everything for us."
  • You have a great calling (compassionate service committee member). You have the opportunity to step outside of yourself and serve others.
  • You've realized that you can take control of your uncontrollable life and make to-do lists and put together motivational playlists on your iPod. You want to clean the bathroom, do your laundry, pick up your room, and be productive.
  • At the same time, you know that it's okay to be sad sometimes. You don't have to be 100 percent okay right away or all the time. You're dealing with deep disappointment, and that won't go away overnight.
So, Charlotte, enough is enough. Decide now to be happy. Keep an eternal perspective. Have faith. Live your beautiful and miracle-filled life. You're not broken.

I hate to see you cry
lying there in that position.
There's things you need to hear,
so turn off your tears
and listen.

Pain throws your heart to the ground;
love turns the whole thing around.
No it won't all go the way it should,
but I know the heart of life is good.

You know, it's nothing new,
bad news never had good timing.
But, then your circle of friends
will defend the silver lining.

Pain throws your heart to the ground;
love turns the whole thing around.
No it won't all go the way it should,
but I know the heart of life is good.

Pain throws your heart to the ground;
love turns the whole thing around.
Fear is a friend who's misunderstood,
But I know the heart of life is good.
I know it's good.

~John Mayer, "The Heart of Life"

The heart of your life is good.



a surprising, punctuated weekend

Friday afternoon I was sitting at my desk when Emily hollers to me from my front door saying that Mom sent us some homemade bread (score). I went out into the living room, and Emily opens my front door further to reveal Rachelle! Rachelle decided to surprise me by flying out for the weekend! It was a most excellent surprise :)

Here's a recap of our weekend:

Emily and Brooke threw me a belated birthday party, punctuation themed of course.

We played Punctuation Bingo

and Pin the Comma on the Sentence.

We also played Apples to Apples and Catch Phrase.

Saturday Emily and I gave Rachelle a thorough tour of BYU campus.

We went to the physics department and showed her the tasteful decorations

and, of course, Nan's giraffe office.

We stopped by the bookstore, where Rachelle indulged her inner Cougar.

We went to the library, followed by a trip to the Sugar 'n' Spice for Creamery ice cream.

We went to Brick Oven, a classic Provo experience, and then watched two movies at Emily's.

Sunday, we slept in a bit and went to church.

Now she's back in Colorado. . . . But even though her visit was short, I loved having a respite from the norm, especially given my unexpected Provo transitional issues.

Thanks for coming out, pal :) And thanks to Emily and Brooke for a ShamStellar birthday party. And thanks to Dan for driving us to the airport to take Shel back. (Now this is getting Academy-Award-esque.) But yeah, it was a good weekend :)


a flaw in my education

I've always been proud of the fact that I have made the most of my education career. I took AP classes in high school, I've done my best to fully engage myself in the material (well, maybe not with physical science. . . .), and I read a ton on my own anyway. And yet, given all my propensity and love for learning, yesterday I realized a serious hole in my education, more specifically my literary education. Surprised? Me too.

I never learned to read nonfiction. I've always read fiction books, especially when I read for fun. In all my English classes, I've read primarily fiction books. (I'm racking my brains for nonfiction I've read in school and came up with Night by Elie Wiesel, and I've also read and loved Rocket Boys, but do memoirs count as nonfiction?) In my major, I've read fiction books. Almost exclusively. With the exception of excruciatingly boring early American lit and horribly condescending Heideggerian theory, I've been conditioned to read and appreciate fiction, with no thought for nonfiction.

In my Literature for Adolescents class, we just read a nonfiction book, Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, about Captain Shackleton and his expedition to Antarctica. It wasn't my favorite, but it was still okay. What most concerned me about my reaction, however, was that I didn't expect much, simply because it was nonfiction. I am currently completely unable to see how a teenager would want to just pick up a nonfiction book. Do teenagers read nonfiction just because? I never did. I'm completely jaded by my own constructed bias for fiction.

What went wrong?! I'm a reader. I've always been a reader. I love being able to call myself a reader. But now I feel that I'm not real reader because I don't appreciate nonfiction--I don't even know how to appreciate or enjoy nonfiction. It's not even just about appreciation--I haven't even given nonfiction enough of a try to see if I could or wanted to appreciate it.

Who would have thought that my literary education--my literary education--was flawed like this?

In an effort to help me fill that serious gap and better round out and complete my education, please give me titles of your favorite nonfiction books. I'm serious.


Five years ago today. . . .

I'm sure you've heard me mention this story before. It's one of my standard quirky-things-about-me-that's-a-horrifying-yet-hilarious-anecdote-that-also-serves-as-a-great-ice-breaker-in-many-social-situations stories.

Five years ago on this exact day I hit a pedestrian. Yes, dear readers, I ran into a person with my car. You think I kid? Think again.

I was driving to school from seminary one bright fall morning, and I see this girl at the crosswalk right in front of the school. I slow down so she can cross, because believe it or not, I'm actually a courteous driver. This little blond girl looks both ways and doesn't move. It's one of those situations where I'm not actually stopped yet but am obviously slowing down so the person can cross the street. She just stands there, seeming to me to be waiting for me drive by.

So I accelerate.

Screech!!! Wham.

She woke up out of the coma three months later.

Just kidding.

But thankfully, that prosthetic leg is really working for her.

Just kidding, again.

She picked herself off the ground and her mom called 911. I was the more traumatized of the two; the paramedics and firemen were more concerned about my well being than hers, because I was freaking out, to say the least. I mean, I hit a person. Yeah, this happened just as everyone was pulling up to school in the morning. Yeah, the two or three police cars plus the ambulance plus the firetrucks backed up traffic to the nearest elementary school. But, you know, it all worked out.

I just nodded and gasped when people at school told me a girl had been hit, supposedly by a car going 60 miles an hour. The victim allegedly flew 30 feet into the air. Someone even saw a Flight-for-Life helicopter. But for real, the skid marks were there for at least a month.

You know that billboard on the right when you're going north on I-15? The one that says "Hitting a pedestrian changes your life"? I just laugh.


Some catchup: Phantom roommates

Still need to do some catchup. Ha and still don't want to fully face Provo reality. So, get ready to hear about my phantom roommates.

I moved in that Thursday, saw everyone's stuff, but no one to be seen. I'm thinking, "Well, I'm sure they'll be around later tonight." Nope. (I didn't spend the night in my apartment until Saturday night, FYI.) The next day when I went to the apartment to unpack stuff, nothing had been moved. Everything looked exactly the same.

I didn't meet a single roommate--in fact, I don't think anyone else besides me had even been in the apartment--until Saturday afternoon, when I met Springville-native Caroline. I was beginning to doubt my roommates' very existence.

I spent Saturday night in the apartment all by myself. Sunday morning as I was tearfully bidding my parents farewell for a second time (they needed to drop off some medical documents), another roommate came in. (What a great way for her to meet me the first time: Hi, I'm Charlotte, your emotionally dysfunctional roommate who sometimes experiences severe homesickness.) Her name is Megan, and she's my room roommate. She just returned from a mission to California and is an international relations major.

We were the only two who spent the night in our apartment that night. Two roommates accounted for (Caroline and Megan), but the third was still a ghost. . . . I think it was Tuesday night when I came home and saw a blond girl on the couch with a boy. "Oh, you must be Mel! Hi, I'm Charlotte." I didn't get too enthusiastic of a response. She's nice. I guess. Not incredibly friendly, but whatever. She's engaged and is getting married in December.

This week, it's felt like Megan and I are the only ones who live in the apartment. Caroline is never there, and Mel is there only at night really. (Mel's fiance is really nice, as a side note. She's friendliest when they're together.) So sure I've met all my roommates, but two of them are still phantom-esque. I've never lived in an apartment with such a basic "coexistence" dynamic, so this is an adjustment. I think that Megan and I will be friends, but on the whole, this semester is just different.

Oops--I'm getting too close to blogging about my adjustment-filled-sometimes-lonely-emotional-roller-coaster-let's-just-listen-to-Harry-Potter-instead reality.

Blog post ended.


Some catchup: Birthday

So it's definitely time for some catchup, which I think is a great idea because (1) I need to document, even if it's almost two weeks behind, and (2) I'd rather think about what I was doing at home two weeks ago than think about being back in Provo and back at school, where this semester has been a harder adjustment than before. (Yeah, it's been a HP week. . . .)

Anyway, my birthday.

Yup, I'm 22. Weird. We celebrated my birthday two days ahead of time for a couple of different reasons. At first we decided to celebrate early, because my actual birthday fell on the day before we were going to leave for Utah, and who can adequately celebrate when performing last minute packing and everything for moving back out to school? And then the Monday celebration plan seemed even more inspired when my surgery was scheduled for the day before my birthday. So Monday the 24th it was.

We just had a laid-back, relaxed sort of day. Ha I got to kick off my birthday celebration day by going to the doctor to sign surgery forms--awesome. But after that, we got to go to Costco (or maybe Sam's--I can't remember), and we watched Bones, made dinner--roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, angel biscuits--went to the shoe store so I could buy a new pair of Danskos, and had a wonderful dinner with cake and all the trimmings. It was a wonderful day and felt completely like my birthday, even though it wasn't.

Now, on to birthday gift documentation--this year was a bounty of gifts of domesticity!

A chocolate brown tea kettle.

A really nice stainless steel stock pot.

A set of ten drinking glasses with--yes, you are correct--polka dots.

A set of eight to-die-for-cute Target plates with two matching bowls.

Super, super cute flatware from Susan. The green flatware is mine. Not the black or red in that drawer, but the shiny green.

Not pictured is a red garlic press, green carrot peeler, and stainless steel pastry cutter thing. Plus a really nice baking pan and a pie plate. I also got several pieces of cute clothing, including a way cute black sweater and the sexiest pair of jeans I've ever owned.

Oo, and Mom and Dad gave me an ampersand bookend. I love being able to decorate with punctuation.

I opened these shoes at the beginning of my birthday celebration day.

Susan's package was full of stylish and wonderful goodness. Case-in-point: this chocolate brown taffeta wraparound dress. Whoa.

Four-inch, black patent leather, t-strap, Mary Jane, peep-toe, platform stilettos: everything a shoe should be. Thanks, Susan.

I also received some of Jill's awesome stationery, on which I plan to write a few thank-you notes, and Rachelle and her boyfriend, Ben, gave me some really nice turquoise and pearl jewelry with matching earrings plus a set of peace sign earrings. It was a great birthday, and I loved every part of it. Even my actual birthday--day one of post-op recovery--wasn't so bad. I got another box of Froot Loops (my standard birthday cereal choice and the third box of the week) and had fun seeing friends who stopped by to wish Emily and I farewell.

So now I'm 22 and ironically don't feel old enough to be 22 (not that 22 is so aged) or old enough to be a college senior. What happened?!

Well, regardless of me having no clue how I got to be a quasi-adult, at least I had a ShamFun day. And, I mean, look at that cake? Turning 22 is totally worth it.


Quick Course Review

It's my second-to-last semester here at the Y--weird. I actually could graduate in December, but why rush it? So, because I'm taking my time a bit, I get to take some classes just for fun. Here is my brief course review.

Doctrine and Covenants (first half): I'm taking this class with Emily and from a teacher I've had before (Matthew Richardson). Love it.

Literature for Adolescents: Love it. We have to read 30 young adult books throughout the semester, some required, some not. I already know this will be a favorite.

History of the Book: At first I was signed up for Creative Writing, but after the first day, I realized that my professor was a complete bozo and dropped. I found ELang 524 instead, and we get to take field trips once a week. History of the Book will be a serious improvement over a pointless and ill-taught creative writing class.

Personal Finance: Love it. I love the professor, and I'm really excited to learn and apply personal finance principles. After the first class, I'm convinced that someday I can be rich.

Plus I'm the managing editor for the student journal Americana this year and interning with BYU Publications and Graphics. I can't quite feel out how busy the semester will be, but school-wise, I'm excited.

**Ha edit: I'm also taking University Orchestra. Forgot about that one.**


The Knight Bus

I'll go only as far to say that the title of this post is--surprise, surprise--a reference to reality-escaping HP.

I was planning on making use of the UTA this semester to get to work, but now that I have no car, I don't even have the option of ever driving to work. So yesterday morning, the bus it was. I spent significant time trying to decipher the UTA bus schedules and routes and thought I had it figured out. Alas. . . .

Yesterday morning I walked out to where the bus was supposed to pick me up, and . . . I caught the southbound bus. Not the northbound bus. Totally my fault. I ended up at Provo Towne Center.

Sham. Mit.

What else could I do? I called Emily to tell her about my moronic bus knowledge and started trekking back up University Avenue. I paused HP and said a little prayer. I was trying to hold it together and not cry, but I felt so incredibly stupid. I turned HP back on and just stared at my feet hitting the pavement.

Then, a miracle. The exact bus I needed--northbound--pulled up next to me, and I don't think I was even next to a bus stop. There must have been some kind of spiritual neon sign sticking out of my head that said, "This girl could have a breakdown if she has to walk from Provo Towne Center all the way to 900 East and University Parkway."

I was only fifteen minutes late to work.

Miracle. Seriously.
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