hit the ground running

I'm back from Thanksgiving break and am in the final leg of the semester.

Today I need to

  • Read Monster
  • Read sections 65–69 of D&C
  • Read articles for personal finance and complete corresponding assignment
  • Go through my planner once I get back to my apartment, because I forgot to throw my planner into my book bag
  • Go to Target because I came back to sour milk and I'm out of other necessities like Diet Pepsi
  • Get a Big Gulp with Emily, because I didn't see her much yesterday, and even though we're freakishly awesome friends and I just spent an entire week with her, I miss her
  • At least seriously consider going to FHE
  • Make it to my orchestra dress rehearsal at 5:40—concert tomorrow at 7:30 in the de Jong!! (It's free!)
  • Call my visiting teaching companion to check up on our visiting (I think we still need to make a visit. . . .)
  • Decorate my Christmas tree after I buy ornament hooks at Target
At least I won't be bored today.


pie crust tutorial

Remember the pie I made not too long ago? The crust was a travesty, and I vowed to commission a tutorial when I came home.

Wednesday morning I made my way over to Grandma's in the early afternoon and observed her expert pie crust making in action. It doesn't look too hard, but I know that when I decide to put my lesson to practice I'll find it harder than expected. As Grandma iterated, "Making pie crusts is a skill born of experience."

So I ate almost an entire loaf of pumpkin bread on my own while I watched Grandma's skilled hands mix and roll and crimp pie crust. Really, though, the best part was sitting at her counter and talking with her and being reminded that I have one incredible grandmother.


it's like buried treasure

When Dad bought a first edition copy of My Name Is Asher Lev he gave me his other copy . . . I think. In fact, I'm almost positive I have my own hardback copy of Asher Lev, so today I began a more dedicated search for the book (you see, I'm reading it with someone and said I could probably finish it over break). No surprise to any of you I'm sure, I have many, many books. I have a few shelves in my bedroom, a drawer in my captain-style bed for books and two or three boxes full of books out in the garage. After looking for the book in the usual places (e.g., my many bookshelves plus my parents' bookshelves in case the book gravitated back to its original home), I took on the garage.

Yup. So I started looking through boxes, trying to decipher if any of them were mine. I was up on ladders and step stools and crouched down all the while trying to avoid the spiders I knew were there but couldn't see.

My first hint of success was finding a box full of old high school workbooks and AP test prep books and college application remnants. No luck with actual books, but finding that box at least told me that I do have possessions somewhere in that garage. And I found this eighth-grade treasure:

Oh the joys of 14-year-old creativity!

After some more rummaging—and really the actual rummaging was kept to a minimum, because Dad wouldn't love the organized chaos of the garage to be become unorganized chaos—I found another box that contained many of my books! I sifted through this buried treasure—I think it was literally buried—and made a selection of books to take inside with me.

Many of these books are writing books I bought back in high school and writing books Grandma gave me. Regardless, I was excited to find this treasure trove of words and stories I'd forgotten.

But did I find Asher Lev? No. I swear I have my own copy. . . .


my nose is frozen

Yesterday the pump on our water heater went out, so for the past two days we've been without heat. It should be fixed pretty soon—thankfully the problem is just a bad wire—but the temperature in the house has been hovering around 60 for the past two days.



Yes, I woke up at 4:30 a.m.

So, I actually like the airport. I get a thrill out of getting through the security line and making my way to the gate to wait to board. Admittedly I have had more than one occasion when I've had to run through the airport to make my flight on time—and those airport excursions are not fun at all—but I do find myself excited when I can take my time and stroll through the B terminal.

On this particular airport morning, Emily and I had time to stop at Starbucks and drink their Signature Hot Cocoa (a combination of four chocolates!) and eat a buttered croissant, my favorite on-the-go breakfast. So delicious.

I also got to start a new book, The Book Thief, that counts for YA lit and pure pleasure. Lovely.

I dozed on the plane while listening to my iPod and arrived in Denver before 9 a.m.

Now I'm in Denver blogging, eating York Peppermint Patties, and enjoying the glow of our downstairs Christmas tree.

Welcome home, Charlotte. You made it.


another senioritis manifestation

I'm just not in the mood for a research outline for Doctrine and Covenants. I'm not motivated to research the Second Coming and compile everything into a two-page, single-spaced outline with references from scripture, conference, and other church books. All I want to do is read for adolescent lit because 1) I still have more categories to fill so I really need to be reading and 2) I love it. Also I wouldn't mind catching up on Bones and Law and Order.

And I'm going home in four days anyway, so who needs homework? That's right—four days.

I'm feeling very senioritis-y today. Ugh.


an announcement

Almost two months ago, on a whim, I completed the online application for an internship position with Church magazines. A week later I received an email asking me to submit a portfolio. A week after that submission I was called in for an interview, and since my interview I haven't heard anything.

On Friday I had call from a number I didn't recognize. I answered it and after talking to an HR representative with Church magazines, I am pleased to announce that I am the intern for the New Era for four months starting next May!! It's a full-time, paid internship, and I'll be mainly writing for the magazine, plus doing some editing.

I'm not sure where I'll be living next summer, whether I'll stay in Provo and commute via bus or carpool or find a place in Salt Lake somewhere. But regardless, I have a real magazine internship where I'll be doing real writing and real editing for a publication that goes out to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people each month.

Sham. Wow. I'm still in some shock.


epitomic domesticity

As you've no doubt gleaned from former posts this semester, I've been having the greatest urges to bake and cook and try new things in the kitchen (mind you, new meaning family favorites that I don't often have the guts to try). Last Sunday I had the remarkable idea to try my hand at pot roast and mashed potatoes. I tried this a couple of years ago with marginal success, but at that particular time I was not equipped with decent pots and pans to make such roast, and if I recall correctly, the roast turned out a little on the dry and tough side. I haven't tried it since.

Monday I went and bought a chuck roast from Target (making sure it was nice and marbled to make the best pot roast possible) and after inviting some people over for Sunday dinner (nervously I might add--I was hoping against hope that I wouldn't produce substandard roast), I prepared for my domestic demonstration.

I took this cut of meat

and unphotographed potatoes and carrots and put together this meal

with these guests (from left to right): Emily, Josh, Laura, Megan, Daniel, and Jordin. (And yes, we did indeed pull out the ugliest tablecloth known to man in a fit of fashion-reckless hilarity.)

For dessert I made homemade eclairs--homemade pastry shells, filling, and ganache. Please note the Christmas tree in the background, and pretend that you can hear the Hilary Weeks Christmas album in the background.

Emily and Laura posed too.

All in all I'd say the dinner was success, despite the spilling of the flour-water mixture I was about to use to make the gravy, which spill necessitated the future dry cleaning of my skirt and the mopping of the kitchen floor. And with two stock pots, two sauce pans, a mixing bowl or two, a real meat fork, and several serving dishes, dinner plates, flatware, and drinking glasses to take care of, Josh gallantly stepped up and did the dishes.

While my efforts at domesticity were not perfect by any means, the effort was certainly epitomic and the result duly satisfying.

I spent the rest of the night reading and almost finishing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time for class. A good Sunday? Oh, yes.


I dare you not to like it

I was out with Emily today, and she had to run to Michaels for some yarn. While there I checked out the artificial Christmas trees and subsequently purchased one that was on sale. Once back in my apartment I took a couple minutes to assemble said tree while listening to an N*SYNC Christmas.

Yes, I realize that it's only the middle of November, and yes, I know that usually decorations go up sometime around Thanksgiving, if not later. But today it snowed for the first time, and I made hot punch, and it was the perfect day for a Christmas tree. And yes in that blurry photo there are pinecones and berries set into the tree to make it cute and festive even without ornaments (which I will acquire sometime this week).

I dare you not to like this tree. You would have put it up too.


A Card for Charizard

When leaving the Testing Center after completing an exam, there's this little vestibule right before the exit. In this vestibule, there's this ledge that is always filled with notes and treats and surprises for those coming out of taking an exam. I don't take too many tests in the Testing Center anymore, and really, who could complain about that? But on the infrequent occasions when I do go to the Testing Center and come down those stairs leading to the exit, I always glance at the window ledge full of post-test surprises, hoping to see something with my name on it, and in my three-and-a-half years attending BYU, no one's ever left me anything. Until yesterday.

Yesterday coming down from taking my second personal finance midterm, I made the routine glance at the collection of cards and plates of cookies, not really expecting to see anything for me. Then a little red envelope caught my eye, and while it didn't have my actual name on it (yes, in fact, the envelope was addressed to "Charizard," one of the fire Pokemon), I immediately recognized Emily's serial killer handwriting. My heart soared—I actually had a note waiting just for me!! And while the test did not go as Shamtastically as I'd hoped (how is it that I got a better grade on the first midterm for which I last-minute crammed and took while battling a migraine than on this exam for which I spent significant time studying?!), the note from Emily made my day.

And apparently the camera on my work computer takes mirror images, hence the backwards writing.


I probably deserve this

So my semester has been pretty low-key as far as school goes. I have only one research paper assigned, and I spend most of my time reading for young-adult lit. Pretty smooth sailing, really—until these past two weeks. Out of the five classes I'm taking (and orchestra doesn't really count, so four classes), three of them have midterms this week. My last round of midterms I played the whole week (ha) and pulled through mildly unscathed. But I'm taking this round more seriously. I started studying last week and am going to dominate, I've decided.

So the past two weeks I've been studying for these three midterms, working on my research paper due next Tuesday, completing my personal finance tax assignment, and still reading my adolescent literature (I'm up to 25 books read this semester so far). Life has been crazy, and my back has a few knots in it.

But like I said, after a cruising sort of semester, I probably deserve some crazy.


It's all in the jeans

I think it's funny this is my third post I've written that is somehow related to blue jeans. I just really love jeans--I daresay they're my favorite type of clothing. Maybe. Anyway, it's time to retire my most loyal pair of jeans. (I think I can hear my mom singing the Hallelujah chorus from here.) They're pretty ratty; I'll even admit to being embarrassed to wear them now. Plus, after I dropped an entire pant size over the summer because I was never hungry, I have only one pair of jeans that is actually my size. Yesterday was payday, and I decided that it was time to buy another pair of jeans, because having only one pair in your size is a little frustrating. (I do wear my other jeans still, because I can't completely give up on my other pairs.)

So armed with my 25-percent-off-your-total-purchase Gap coupon, I made my way to University Mall yesterday. Can I tell you how satisfying it was to try on jeans that actually fit me?? (Plus the size reduction was a great esteem boost.) I just get a thrill wearing new jeans, especially when they fit you well. And in the exhilarating rush of trying on well-fitting jeans, I was overcome with a thought of seeming insanity--what if I bought two pairs of new jeans??

I did. I bought two new pairs of Gap jeans for less than $100, thanks to the 25-percent-off coupon. Sham. Wow.

Look at that--my pants fit!!


A Saturday morning

Who likes to go up to campus on Saturday morning to study for the week's upcoming midterms??

Not I.


No Turning Back Now

I was watching Nancy Drew last night, and there's a whole montage of Nancy's first days in her new school. She's clearly a star: she crafts woodwork masterpieces, out-runs all the competition in gym class, and eats a well-balanced lunch complete with a placemat. In one part of the montage, she recites the quadratic formula:
And while I recognized the formula and can even sing the song I was taught in pre-algebra, I don't think I could effectively or correctly apply the quadratic formula to save my life. I used to be able to integrate and derivate with the best of them, but now that I've completely forgotten how to use the quadratic formula, there's no turning back now. I'm officially a humanities girl, if I wasn't already.


ushering in November

After a lovely day of sleeping in even with the extra hour gained last night, a drawn-out breakfast, being visit taught, reading young-adult lit for a couple of hours, going to stake conference in the oh-so-uncomfortable Provo Tabernacle, eating a baked potato for dinner, mixing up some sugar cookies, and watching the CES fireside, I am cuddling up in my pajamas, blogging, drinking a giant mug of cocoa, and getting ready to watch Nancy Drew.

Hello, November!
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