Operation Superhuman Reader: Summer Book #3

Ethan Frome Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a quick read and provided much fodder for thought for such a short book. For most of the story I was wondering what Mattie's feelings really were, and even at the end I didn't know for sure. I didn't know what to think about Ethan and his character; it was a fascinating story, and I love Edith Wharton, but it was a bit of a downer. Good thing I'm okay with downers :)

View all my reviews.


Operation Superhuman Reader: Summer Book #2

Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman (Modern Library Classics) Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman by Thomas Hardy

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I quite enjoyed this book, especially when I thought of Jude the Obscure as I read. The story, as per Hardy's style, is tragically beautiful. I don't know if I like it more than Jude, but it made me think. I didn't know who to blame--Alec, Angel, Joan, John, Tess herself, society--and just like in Jude the Obscure, the main character is so tragically complex and ill-fated. This is definitely a book that I will think about long after I finish it. Just as in Jude, Hardy seems to criticize society the most, but the individual characters are so beautifully developed and multi-dimensional that you can't help but wonder how much agency the characters are supposed to have. Are they left to the winds of fate or do they lack the simple ability to rise above society? What are the forces at work here?

Regardless of these uncertainties surrounding the book, Hardy doesn't disappoint. I think I need a happier book on my next-to-read list, though :)

View all my reviews.

PS--This is my 300th post!!!


It's Back!!!

One of my top three favorite shows on TV, "Chuck," was rumored to be canceled. That upset my TV-junkie-ness. I wrote a short note to NBC telling them how much I love the show and telling them why they should keep it on the air.

Then a few minutes ago I saw this headline on the NBC website: "Chuck lovers everywhere rallied around the show--and the efforts paid off. Thanks to your support, TV's quirkiest gang of nerds and spies will return for a third season on NBC."

Sure I have to wait till March 2010, but better next March than never.

Best TV news ever.

On the Hunt aka Hello?! I'm Awesome, So Hire Me!

I've been home for about a month and am still on the hunt for steady employment. I've had a couple of well-paid temp jobs, so that's been nice, but still. Something consistent would be ideal. Sure the first week or two of break I wasn't avidly looking for work, because I was so burned out from school. And then I also didn't want to finally get a job only to have to say that I needed six days off for a family vacation. Well, the burned-out-ness is gone and the vacation over, so Charlotte, you need to get a job.

I have applied at the following establishments:
  • Lakeshore Staffing: a couple of short-term jobs found here (already completed)
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Borders
  • Hobby Lobby
  • US Buckley Air Force Base (I actually really want this one)
  • Ann Taylor Factory
  • Nine West: I have an interview on Wednesday
  • Chili's
  • Old Navy
  • The Gap
  • Bath and Body Works
  • Hallmark
  • DSW Shoes
I just want to plaster across my resume Hey! I'm a stellar person! You would love for me to work for you. Just ask those who know me, especially my mom--I'm awesome. Hire me!!!! But I can't do that. Saving for school is hard, and I'm on the hunt--wish me luck.


My brother, the Singer

I just have to give a shout-out to my little brother, John. He auditioned for and made the highest choir at Wheat Ridge High School, Singers. He found out last night. Good job, bud. You rock! I am SO proud of you!

Give Me Mountains Anyday

I live in the most beautiful state in the United States, the most beautiful place in the world, in my admittedly biased opinion. Vail was incredible. It was one of the most relaxing vacations I've ever had. Seriously.

I safely reached Vail a little before 7 and enjoyed a casual dinner of quesadillas. In the five days we spent in the breathtakingly beautiful mountains, we took several walks throughout the hilly neighborhoods.

We went to the park (where several years back Emily and I had a frightening encounter with a wolf-ish dog) and played on the swings.

I caught a photo of Sarah and John in true form: John is pushing Sarah off the twisting balance thing. Even in Vail we can't escape the match-and-kerosene combo that is Sarah and John.

And of course there were several cameras snapping shots of everything all weekend long.

I spent quality time with Max, Lucas (pictured below), Eva, and Miles (all first-cousins-once-removed). In addition to seeing Michelle & Co., I also got to see my cousin (Michelle's brother) Ryan for the first time in probably ten years.

We made several good meals, but we didn't cook so much that we were overwhelmed. One night we had homemade pizza followed by Diet Delight (a sugar-free pudding and Lite Cool Whip concoction that is absolutely incredible)--delicious!

There were extra puddings afterwards--I might have dipped into the surplus.

I can't forget to mention the games we played! I played a game or two of Killer Bunnies (the others played more), and before you think Killer Bunnies is weird, give it a chance. It's weird, but awesome, though granted a little cultish.

The best game of the trip (and perhaps the best game ever): Bananagrams. (Check out Mom's post a while back about the game.) One round, my brain shut down, and all I could come up with is shown below. Ha. However, I had a few stellar rounds: phonetic and brattiest made their way into a couple of my spreads.

We also caroused Vail Village one day. Half the shops were closed because of the off-season, but we managed to find a few thrilling finds, including a boutique called Roxy and a cosmetics store called the CosBar. I'm such a sucker for makeup.

I tried several times to capture a good SP with four-year-old Eva; however I didn't have much success. This picture accurately portrays my frustrated attempts.

Vail earned itself a bump up the coolness scale when I noticed in the grocery store that the express-lane signs said "15 Items or Fewer" instead of "15 Items or Less." Thanks for adhering to proper usage, Vail Safeway. (I don't know if other Safeways have this; probably, but Vail is where I noticed it.)

We watched movies (including both Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea), I cross-stitched, and we watched the 24 season finale and the American Idol performance final (YAY for Kris!!!!!!). I didn't feel guilty about watching three movies in a day or drinking more than one soda in an afternoon. I napped; I slept in; I even went to bed early a couple nights.

I wasn't quite ready to come back, but I am grateful to have fully utilized this vacation for optimal relaxation. And I'm back. I'll get used to life again.

It was a beautiful weekend in a beautiful place in a beautiful home with the most beautiful people I know. If someone offered my family and me a week at the beach or a week in the mountains, I'd choose the mountains, hands down. Mountains are magical--that's just the truth of it. Nothing can beat this.


counting down the hours

On Tuesday I got a phone call from the temp agency offering me a three-day temp job with Coleman Natural Foods. I quickly accepted and have been working as the fill-in receptionist since Wednesday; the real receptionist is just out of town, so this won't turn into anything long-term, but I'll take three days of employment over zero.

The downside to this is that I just have to semi-pretend that I know what I'm doing for three days instead of psyching myself up for a whole summer at Coleman Foods. The days seem longer and the clock definitely slower. There are several duties that the real receptionist has that I don't have to worry about simply because I'm here for only three days. Facebook and Pandora are both blocked, so I sit here willing myself not to look at the clock and answering periodic phone calls (most of which being sales calls, which either irritate me or make me feel sad for the sales people).

I think I can get away with a bit of reading. (Tess is coming along quite nicely, by the way.) And of course, I've been blogging. *Sanity saver* And blog stalking, obviously. Yesterday I was given a project that filled up several hours; plus with said project, I got to go through the corporate benefits guide and edit it. Oh the joys that lowercasing brings!

What will make today a long day, however, is not just the fact that it's Friday and my last day at this job, but immediately after work, I'm heading up Vail to spend a long weekend with my family, Susan and Fred, and Michelle & Co. Can't wait!! Seriously. Having this incentive at the end of my day makes sitting here doing not much of anything killer. I've been looking forward to this weekend for weeks, since before I finished the semester. Now it's here, I'm packed, my stuff is in the Corolla, and I'm counting the hours until I leave Coleman Natural Foods for good, grab a Big Gulp, and cruise on up the mountain to meet up with the rest of my family, who are going up mid-afternoonish. Seven and a half more hours. . . .



When I was a teenager, my patience level was practically nil; we called it "Zero Tolerance," ZT for short. Thankfully I've mellowed out since my teen years, and things that used to bother me don't anymore, or at least not as much. I'm markedly more laid back at twenty-one than I was at fifteen. So what's funny is that what I have the most ZT for is stupid teenager antics, those teenagers being the age I was when my ZT peaked.

Last night I went with the family to my brother, John's, spring choral concert. I was really excited to see him perform, and he was excellent, but all of the whooping and cat calls from barely pubuscent students just about drove me out of my mind. Behind where we were sitting, standing in one of the entrances to the auditorium was this group of boys (I'm not sure if they were in high school or not--I'm thinking not?); they were loud, obnoxious, and sported vile heads of dreadlocks. They would clap really loud and much longer than everyone else and yelled things into the crowd. My ZT levels spiked significantly. And I can't forget to mention the senior in the choir who refused to put on a '70s costume and wore an "I'm from the future" sign instead or the twenty-five minute awards ceremony when it was already 9:15 or the sloppy layabout sixteen-year-old boys who thought that their long, stringy, unwashed hair was cool.

I loved watching my little brother perform--he makes me smile, and I love him dearly. But the longer and longer I'm out of high school, the more and more glad I am that I never have to go back. Ever.


coolest school project ever

I've made mention of this school project in posts all last semester but never actually posted about what we did. I took the editing capstone class last semester, and I chose to take one of the magazine editing sections. There were twelve people in the class (and our section had all girls!), and our assignment was to make a magazine as a class. Normally I'm anti-group projects--I've had lame experiences and tend to be the kind of student who would just rather do it all herself to ensure a quality project; however, this assignment was ShamWow. We applied for positions on our mock staff, came up with the topic, audience, mission statement, title, content, photographs, and design. After hours and hours of work on everyone's part, we walked out of class with this:

I worked as the senior editor over features and wrote a couple pieces myself. Our magazine, whisk, is a cooking magazine for those 20 to 30 who are somewhat new to cooking. We took a back-to-basics approach and tried to generate content that hit cooking fundamentals without being condescending or boring.

I had a blast working with the girls in my class and was a sad saying goodbye to them on the last day of class (almost all of them graduated in April--I still have a year left). This probably isn't the most exciting post ever, but it is something I worked on all semester, and I want to document it! I bought three copies of the magazine and decided that were whisk a real publication, I would definitely subscribe. (Good sign we had a good idea, eh?)

Putting together whisk was definitely the coolest school project ever.

I know, I know

Yeah, I moved back home two weeks ago . . . and just finished unpacking today. I know, I know. It just took a surprising amount of energy and discipline to unpack my clothes; everything else just had to wait two weeks. This was what my room exploded to this morning:

And after a couple of hours, the moving of a bookshelf from John's room, and a bit of dusting, I had this:

A room functional for summer. It only took me two weeks to do it. Don't judge.


Good Afternoon, Catholic Health Initiatives

So I got a last-minute temp assignment today. It's only for today, but seven hours at $13 an hour isn't too bad. I'll take it.

I've been sitting at the front desk of this highly professional, high-rise office with a great view since 9:00 a.m. (Yes, I did have half an hour for lunch.) But I'm bored out of my mind. I've been blog stalking pretty much all day and would enjoy more of Tess except that I don't think I'm allowed to read. . . . However, I can do pretty much whatever I want on the internet. So here I am blogging. And because I'm so bored, I'm going to do one of those tag things. I don't always do them, but today I'm going to.

Confession Survey

1. What is your blogger name? My blog is minutiae: the small and trivial details of my life, and the name that pops up next to my comments and such is Charlotte.

2. When is your birthday? August 26

3. How long have you been blogging? June 2006

4. Who tagged you? Boredom. But I got the survey from Jill's and Kristi's blogs.

5. Tell me your five most favorite body parts: Of mine? . . . I like my hair (ha I get it colored), my eyes, my smile, my fingers (not my fingernails), and my calves.

6. What do you wish most for your birthday? Hmmm . . . my own car. Realistically, however, how about more trendy clothes and accessories.

7. What color are your nails right now? Completely natural, baby. I don't usually like painting my fingernails, but my toenails are usually painted during the summer. Right now my toenails are a reddish, orangy color. I need to redo them.

8. Any depressing thoughts lately? Our family car sure is depressing. Oh yeah, and figuring out a way to save for school next year. Those aren't fun thoughts.

9. What's your next one month's plan? Numero uno: find a job. Stat. Numero dos: read like crazy. Numero tres: escape to Vail in a week or so.

10. At what age did you have your first crush? Second grade, Chad Bacon--dream boat.

11. Did you attend any high school reunion after you graduated? No, because I've been graduated for only three years. No reunions yet. I'm not sure if I'll go. If I can persuade my friends to accompany me, then probably I'll go to at least one.

12. Are you a clean freak? Hmmm . . . I wouldn't term myself a freak exactly, but I do like things to be clean. Put the dishes in the dishwasher, rinse your toothpaste out of the sink, pick up and vacuum every once in a while. And for heaven's sake, clean the bathroom.

13. What era do you wish you were born in? I think I would have liked to live in the '40s, meaning I should have been born in the '20s or '30s, so that I could actually enjoy the '40s. Right now is pretty stellar, though.

14. Are you a vegetarian? Ha.

15. How many pillows do you sleep with at night? One plus a decrepit stuffed animal.

16. Are you a light sleeper or an I-don't-care-if-there's-a-bomb sleeper? I'm a moderate sleeper. I can sleep through quietish noises, but can wake up easily if need be. I've had a couple of uber-light sleeper roommates, though. I'm a pro at dealing with others' light-sleeper-ness. (I did have a roommate who said that I made the bed too loud in the morning. I didn't know how to respond to that one.)

17. Do you secretly wear comfortable grandma panties when your husband isn't around? Firstly, I don't have a husband. Secondly, no way. Thirdly, this is too personal a question for my comfort.

18. What is your ultimate dream job? Career-wise, magazine editor, but not too high up, because I would want my own life outside of work; life-wise, a mom.

19. What is it that your husband does that annoys you the most? Reference question 17, and he better not make mouth noises when he sleeps. He should also be okay with vacuuming.

20. What is your dream car? I'm not picky--give me air conditioning, automatic windows, a CD player, and power steering, and I'm good to go.

21. Do you easily wake up in the morning? Usually. It depends on what I'm waking up for: school, I'm up. Gym, not so much.

22. Do you like hairy men? Goateed men? Ew and not unless you're Johnny Depp.

23. Which would you prefer? A 2-hour spa experience, 2-hour foot massage, or 2-hour Thai massage? I'd probably opt for the spa experience.

24. Have you ever wished you had a different name? Nope. I love my name: Charlotte Jane Wood. Love it.

25. What is the most extreme sport you've ever done? Hmmm . . . racquetball and Antelope Island are probably tied with babysitting John and Sarah.

26. Do you prefer traveling to Europe or Asia? My traveling ventures have stretched just as far as NYC and Cardston, Alberta. Europe has always appealed to me way more than Asia, however.

27. What is your favorite food? Pot roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, and dinner rolls. Plus chocolate pie for dessert. (I was almost tempted to put Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese in that list. Ha.)

28. What is the most embarrassing moment you've had on a date? Playing racquetball was pretty embarrassing. Seriously.

And I killed about forty-five minutes. Sweet.


Operation Superhuman Reader: Summer Book #1

At the beginning of winter semester, I started making a summer reading list. I want to read so many books, both classic and contemporary, and I can never remember everything that I've wanted to read (goodreads helps immensely with this dilemma). Throughout the semester, my summer reading list got longer and longer and longer, extending to almost fifty books. Fifty books in one summer?!?! That's inhuman. I've accepted that I won't be able to read them all this summer (especially since some of them are over a thousand pages), but I'm going to try to at least make some headway.

I started reading Tess of the d'Urbervilles after I finished my finals and have really liked it so far (I'm almsot 100 pages in), but when I got home, I found my fourth 44 Scotland Street book waiting for me (I bought it for Thanksgiving but then left it in our company's car, and they drove back to Texas, leaving me without my book--totally my fault). I restarted that book, The World According to Bertie, last Sunday and finished it this evening.

The World According to Bertie (44 Scotland Street, Book 4) The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love this series and thought this book fit in well with what I've come to know and love about 44 Scotland Street. I love the character development and being privy to their lives. The writing is engaging and witty. It's a quick and easy read but definitely well worth the time. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!

View all my reviews.

I just posted this review from my goodreads review (it's so much easier that way). I would definitely recommend the 44 Scotland Street books to anyone looking for an easy, engaging, well-written, and witty read. This was one series that I just stumbled upon one day in the BYU Bookstore--I love it! It's definitely a favorite series.

Now I'm back to Tess--stay tuned on Operation Superhuman Reader. I'm interested to see how far I get this summer.

we got the best of both worlds

I feel so behind on blogging, but oh well. I'll catch up as best I can.

(This photo was snapped while waiting at a stoplight on our hurried way to the theater--my SP skills are improving.)

Last Thursday was awesome. Emily and I persuaded Mom to take Sarah out of school over an hour early to go to the Hannah Montana movie. Yes, that was my second time seeing it, and I loved it just as much as the first time. It was a total surprise to Sarah, so after Em and I helped Mom put up decorations at the stake teacher appreciation night, we zipped on over to the elementary school and snatched Sarah out of school right before a fire drill.

I was the only one in the group who had already seen it, so armed with cash from Mom, I jetted over to Target and bought movie treats: 3 bottles of Coke Zero, 1 of Sprite, 1 box each of Reeses Pieces, Milk Duds, and Junior Mints. (It was quite a feat fitting that into Emily's purse.)

We were the only ones in the theater, and we used that to our advantage: we sang along and danced to several of the songs. We felt pretty cool.

An afternoon with just the girls--awesome.

Do I have a job yet? Nope. But at least I've seen the Hannah Montana movie twice now. It's pretty amazing to be home.
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