The world is your oyster!: 2009        
 
                 
     
       

These are a few of my favorite things:

summertime
pina-colada flavored italian ice
ribbons
sisters
i.n.s.t.a.n.t...o.a.t.m.e.a.l.
dance parties
pearls
flamingos
America
missionaries
s.u.n.g.l.a.s.s.e.s.
playgrounds
dressing up
love :)
     
       

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My name is Heather.

I am 22 years old.

I am an East Coast girl
who also loves Utah.

I love my life. How could I not?

The world is my oyster :)
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Monday, December 21, 2009

I'll be hoooooome for Christmas

Although for a second there, I didn't know if I would be! The East Coast is currently experiencing more snow than it's dealt with in the past several years, and Marylanders trying to drive in snow are a little bit like a barbershop quartet trying to play football. So naturally, at the sight of a snowflake, the state had to go into emergency lockdown mode and all flights coming into Maryland were rescheduled.

Kelly and I were supposed to fly home on Saturday, but when our flight was cancelled, we ended up going to a barbecue for the elder's quorum in Kelly's ward, watching Surrogate at the dollar theater, packing, cleaning, and hitting up The Loft on our real last night in Utah of 2009. So although we ended up going to the airport fourteen hours after we had originally planned (and 3 hours after we got home from The Loft), I think we spent those hours very well.

Our flight was at 7:55 in the morning; boarding time was 7:25, so we left Raintree at 5:00 am. I don't think I have gotten up this early the whole semester (although I have been up at 5 am, it just hasn't been because I was getting up then). Shout-out to Winnie, who was nice enough to pull herself out of bed and take us...what a good friend! In order to bring everything we wanted to and keep the trip as inexpensive as possible, Kelly and I stuffed everything we could in our carryons and brought no checked luggage. I also showed up at the airport wearing two pairs of jeans, two pairs of shoes, two tank tops, one long-sleeved shirt, a hoodie, and a coat because that was what didn't fit in my carryon. I think it's also important to note that I had planned very carefully that I would be going home on Saturday. I had been counting so heavily on this fact that I didn't do laundry for a few weeks leading up to this weekend, so I was also wearing my swimsuit bottom because I had run straight out of underwear. Not really ideal, but what can ya do. Especially with snow as impudent as this.

Originally, we had a direct flight, but with the cancellation, we were switched to a flight that had a layover in Cincinnati. I was pretty certain that we would get delayed in Cincinnati because of the snow and we would end up stuck there in some obscure hotel for days before we could get a flight out. I had visions of a very haggard Kelly and I, hitchhiking our way home, wearily pulling our suitcases behind us through Ohio. I imagined us finally arriving at our cheerfully lit home just in time for December 26th...2010. Thankfully this didn't happen. Our flight out of Ohio wasn't even delayed, and we made it home right on schedule.


While on the flight from Cincinnati to Maryland, Kelly and I discovered something important. The flight attendants came up the aisle with the drink cart and asked us what we wanted. I got my usual cran-apple juice, while Kelly went out on a limb and ordered a virgin bloody Mary. She was pumped to see that it was on the menu of complimentary drinks. We sat in eager anticipation as the stewardess mixed this delectable surprise up for us in the cabin. Kelly took the first bold sip and let me tell you something: that limb she had gone out on, suddenly crashed to the ground. Here are some common misunderstandings about this concoction:

1. A Bloody Mary is some kind of cheerful berry drink.
2. You do not really have to be that drunk to enjoy a Bloody Mary.
3. You will be happy if you try a virgin Bloody Mary.

I would like to dispel all of these right now. Right this minute.

1. A Bloody Mary is, in fact, some kind of gross tomato juice disaster that has had spices added to it. There is nothing berry-y about it. There is also nothing cheerful about it.
2. You would have to be slobberingly drunk to enjoy such an abomination. I don't drink, but if I did, I don't think I ever could get drunk enough to enjoy it.
3. If you try a virgin Bloody Mary, you will not be happy. When I let those few drops trickle across my tongue and down my throat, my whole body rebelled as it never has before. It was the most vile substance I have ever experienced. I tasted it and felt instantly angry that such a thing had ever come into my line of vision.

Of course when we discovered how horrendous this thing was that had come into our hands, we couldn't stand to look at or smell it. We artistically arranged all of our napkins and snack wrappers on top of the cup and waited for a flight attendant to notice and take it away.


Finally we arrived in Maryland. We flew into the Reagan National airport, so only Mom and Dad came to pick us up. Sarah called four times while we were driving home to ask how many minutes or seconds before we would get home. She is so cute! A brief status update on everyone:

Sarah has lost her two front teeth, and her hair has grown about a foot. Jacob is the exact same. Joseph is as tall as me now. WHATTT. No one told Julie about the bench. And Nicole hasn't changed at all, either.

If I had forgotten for a minute that I was home, there were multiple points throughout the evening that would have reminded me that I was. For one thing, my dad tried for ten minutes at dinner to finish the following sentence: "I was thinking today, and I wonder..." You might wonder what he was wondering, but you will find yourself wondering that for a very long time. I am still wondering what he was wondering, because he never quite got to say. Every time he got close, something happened that triggered the onset of an extensive medley of songs.

Last night we had a big huge sleepover in the living room, all the girls. For some reason my house turns into a frozen tundra at night, so we all huddled for warmth on the couch with several blankets from Nicole, Julie, and Sarah's beds, and both couches. When I woke up at 3 am, I was shivering under one solitary blanket, Nicole was on the floor, Sarah was on the other couch with Kelly, and one of my sisters was snoring away under a two-foot tall pile of blankets. At my request she kindly moved over and shared her blankets with me and I slept soundly the rest of the night....or so I thought. Apparently this wasn't the case as Nicole told me this morning that I actually started crying and saying, "Who would make such a sound?" and then backhanded one of my sisters several times when I learned that it was her snoring that was causing me such grief.


This morning while Kelly and I were doing our laundry, we came across some clothes that we had made when we were much younger, about 7 and 8 years old, when we were learning how to sew. I had been making a purple dress, and Kelly was making a floral print skort, complete with a matching hot pink shirt and floral print scrunchie head band. For some reason her shirt was a rectangle....only turned the wrong way. We put on our clothes and recruited Joseph to photograph our awesomeness. I think that Kelly looks like some 80's Malibu Barbie and I look like a purple Polly Pocket. We are way too attractive for our own good, that's all I can say.



Ignore the time stamps on these pictures....I don't know what the problem there is.

Anyway that's all for now. More on my crazy family later :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mary, Mary....Quite Contrary??

This blog is devoted to my roommate, Mary. She is only my roommate for exactly 7 more days, because she's going to England for a semester, so I have to write about her fast.

When I first met Mary, I thought she was the sweetest person. She is the studious one and the peacemaker in our apartment. Sometimes she drives me places, or makes me food. It's been very pleasant living with her.

This week, our relationship apparently took a turn that I did not see coming. We entered new territory.

We became the kind of friends that snap at each other.

Yes. It's true.

Two nights ago, Mary's home teachers were over and I mentioned something mean that Mary said at the beginning of the semester, the first mean thing I had ever heard her say. Before I even got to the punchline, Mary interjected, "Hey Heather. I'm glad you curled your hair today." I smiled. That was nice, wasn't it? "Thank you..." I started to say, when Mary jumped in again and said, "--because you didn't shower yesterday." Oh. Oh my. Well that wasn't quite so nice anymore was it?

It turns out that Mary really did like my hair, she just forgot that it wouldn't look very good for me if she went around proclaiming the details of my poor hygiene with her home teachers, eligible bachelors in our ward, sitting right there. And in all honesty, this explanation makes sense, when you know Mary. She doesn't ever intend to hurt people's feelings. But everyone lets out something they didn't really mean to say now and then.

So I recovered. Our friendship was back to normal. This morning, she drove me to school. I tried to give her directions. She kindly went the right way regardless of what I told her. I came home from studying and ate a bread stick she made for me. We sat in the living pretending to study and genuinely enjoying one another's company.

Then came the fateful suggestion. "Can I watch a movie?" Mary asked plaintively. "No," I thought, "Don't. I have to study. Please go back to studying, Mary."

Five seconds later, "What can we watch?" she said, and started looking through our collection of DVD's.

All was lost. I would never get anything done with a movie on. My final grade depended on the continued silence of the TV in our living room. I could have gone back to my room, but I was feeling so antsy that I wanted to be somewhere that I could be social and still get my work done. When the TV is on, I turn into a zombie. I get nothing done.

"No," I said, "Don'ttt put on a movie. Let's just..."

Mary interrupted. "I need you to use your big girl voice," she said.

My mouth stopped moving. I just stared at Mary. Her face immediately registered penitence as she turned sheepishly away and laughed. Five minutes later, I was laughing, too, and everything was better. However, we've passed the point of no return. I am sure that from this day on, our relationship will never be the same.

It's ok though. I love Mary :) and I still think she is the sweetest person.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Joyyyy to the World!

Today I went to ward choir for the first time ever in this ward. I had a brief stint in choir last year and then all of a sudden I just....stopped going, I don't know why. Why did I decide to start going today? I guess the reasons just all stacked up in a way that it would have been silly for me not to go. For one thing, the choir director, a girl in my ward named Megan, stood up and announced that we are singing next week at some big stake thing and she wanted everyone to come to practice today, even those who had never been. It sounded like the perfect day for me to start going! Also we were going to be singing Christmas music (of course) which is my favorite thing to sing. Furthermore, she put out a special plea for more girls to come because the boys have historically outnumbered the girls every time. I am almost always more than happy to volunteer in situations where more girls are needed because they are being hopelessly outnumbered by boys. (Oh and did I mention that Megan was bringing treats for those who came? This also may or may not have contributed to my decision.)

So, at 1:30 this afternoon, I found myself marching through the first real snow this year to the Raintree clubhouse where the choir practice was being held. It was a quite enjoyable practice. We started out singing "I am a Child of God," just to warm up, and then started on the Christmas songs we will be singing in church next week. I don't know what it is about Christmas music, but I cannot stop smiling when I'm singing it. I'm sure I looked ridiculous, but it just makes me want to smile as big as I ever have and sing as loud as I possibly can. It's like I want everyone to hear me singing about Christ's birth or something. We are just singing three songs, O Come all ye Faithful, Joy to the World, and Picture a Christmas.

The people in my ward choir are a really fun group, and we don't sound bad, either! I think I am going to continue going next semester. When I go for a long time without singing, I forget how much I like it, but I really do love singing, even if I'm not the best at it.

At one point during the rehearsal something really funny happened that reminded me of a discussion we just had in my marriage and family class this past week. During one of the songs, the girls sing while the boys hold an "ooooooh" on a D. I guess that's the starting note for "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," because while Megan was trying to explain this to the boys, someone started singing that. Almost all of the boys joined in and proceeded to enchant the rest of us with a lovely rendition of this classic Christmas song. Before they could finish, one of the boys who wasn't singing (named Sam) interrupted. "Hey, everyone! Megan is trying to lead a rehearsal and you are all being very disrespectful! She has worked very hard and no one is giving her the respect she deserves. I have been in positions where you have to get up in front of people and I know that it is very difficult when no one is listening or giving you the time of day." etc. He went on for a full minute, calling everyone in the room to repentance.

BRIEF INTERMISSION TO SAY THAT I HATE WHEN PEOPLE THROW SNOWBALLS.

At some point in the middle of his scolding, I realized that I hadn't been doing anything wrong when he got mad; in fact, the girls had all been very cooperative! It was the boys who had started singing "White Christmas," which had prompted this outburst in the first place, that he was really talking to. I looked up and scanned the choir. All the girls had assumed a penitent stance, their eyes lowered and their expressions remorseful. I then glanced over at the boys. Every single boy had his head up, his eyes trained on Sam. The top of the tenor section was rippling as every head nodded in agreement with everything Sam was saying. When his speech was done, I watched as several guys reached over to give him a high five or a congratulatory pound. I was amazed! How could these boys think that he was talking about anyone but themselves?

After pondering this for a few minutes, a discussion we just had in my marriage and family class came to mind. I don't remember how it came up, but I raised my hand and mentioned that I had been doing an exercise video recently and I noticed that the whole time, I was being barraged with enthusiastic compliments by Lena Pareira. I said that I have never seen a football huddle that contained that much love and encouragement, and therefore, I have concluded that boys are encouraged by different things than girls.

My teacher said that was very true and brought up a friend of his who has coached men's and women's soccer for years. His friend said that you need to adopt two totally different coaching methods when you're talking to each team. When he would talk to the men's team during their halftime, she would just tell them everything that needed to be improved. He could maybeee throw in a compliment or two, but for the most part, it was yelling about what they should have done, what they had better do this time around, and what he never wants to see again. As he presented this pep talk, he would look at every boy's face, and he could tell that they were all thinking the exact same thing: "Oh, he's talking about so-and-so. Yeah, he really needs to step it up. I'm doing my best, I'm carrying this team! He's not talking to me, definitely not. Gosh, why don't these other guys get it?" Then they would go out and play harder to make up for those other guys who the pep talk was clearly intended for.

When coaching the girl's team, however, it was a different story. 90% of the talk had to be complimenting their performance. "Great job on this, really nice work. I like how you're working as a team. Susie, I love that pass you did. You girls are awesome." Then he would say one thing, one thing, that they needed to improve on, and every single girls eyes would just drop, and he would know exactly what they were thinking, "Oh, he's talking to me. He's totally talking about that time I totally blew it a few minutes ago. I really should've been on that. There's no excuse, ughhh I haveee to do better! All the other girls are good. I'm the worst on this team. I know he's talking about me." And with just that one little suggestion, the girls essentially do all the work for the coach.

In choir it was the same situation. All the boys were certain that Sam was talking to someone else. All the girls were certain that Sam was talking about them.

Anyway, the rest of the rehearsal went smoothly. We sound beautiful, and I'm sure that we will inspire thousands with our voices next week :)

Feelings

Feelings are a funny thing. They don't always correspond exactly with the things that happen to you. In fact, sometimes the most wonderful things can happen to you and it just makes you feel horrible. Feelings aren't very easy to predict, it seems. Feelings also are very determined to make you feel however they want, no matter what else happens to you. Sometimes that's a good thing, but sometimes I would just rather my feelings stay out of it, thanks.

Time is another funny thing. Everyone perceives time differently. Some minutes take years, and some years take only a few minutes before they are over. One time, my brother Joseph was 8 years old for about 3 years. It was ridiculous! And everyone in my family remembers this. It took forever for him to turn 9. Now he's 13 (ehm. I think?) and I don't even knoww what happened to him being 11. Until these kinks in the system have been worked out, I'm going to have to conclude that we as humans have very crude methods for telling time.

But while we're talking about time, I think it would be worthwhile to mention that one year ago today, Jake took me on our first date together, to go rock-climbing at the Quarry. That was pretty fun, I think :)

PS Here are my new favorite songs:


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones
Listen to the lyrics. They are the most wonderful thing I ever heard.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Phone Twins!

The other day as I walked through the Wilk, a flash of blue caught my eye. Could it be? A baby blue chocolate LG Verizon phone just like mine? My heart leapt as my suspicions were confirmed. Clutched in the hand of someone engaged in what was no doubt a very important conversation was the very same phone that I had in my own pocket. I knew exactly how it felt to have that phone pressed to my cheek, exactly how it sounded when the person on the other line's voice whizzed into my ear from across the country. I felt an unexpected thrill as I thought these thoughts.

I found myself marching towards the Verizon customer, reaching for my phone, ready to tap them on the shoulder and say, "Phone twins!" so they could share in my excitement. Luckily I came to my senses before this potentially embarrassing act was performed, changed my course, and continued to my class, still smiling from the (almost) encounter.

But why did I get so excited over such a little thing?

Here's what I've come up with. I think that, deep inside, we all have that longing to establish commonalities with other people. We want to discover things about us that are similar. We relive good memories over and over again with the people who were there with us.

Similarities are conversation prompters. This Halloween, I dressed up as Alice in Wonderland. At one of the parties I went to, I saw someone dressed as the Mad Hatter wandering around the gym. I ran over to him, grabbed his sleeve and said, "Hey! Are you the Mad Hatter?" He said, "Yes! Are you Alice in Wonderland?" I told him I was. Well obviously we were meant to find each other at this party. Recognizing this, we wasted no time. We took pictures together. We chatted for about 10 minutes. We danced and then we went our separate ways. So maybe I didn't meet a lifelong friend, and maybe I won't even recognize him again if we run into each other at the next sale at the BYU Bookstore, but we had a fun time exploring our similarities at the Halloween party, and sometimes, that's all a similarity is good for...a good conversation.

Other times, though, it can have a much bigger effect. People look for friends who have similar interests, hobbies, schedules, and humors. We date people who like the same things as us. We celebrate our various cultures because we like to know that there are other people like us. Studies have shown that couples are less likely to get a divorce if they are about the same level of attractiveness as their spouse. (Also if they have the same fundamental beliefs about religion, how to raise children, etc. I just wanted to specifically mention attractiveness as a factor.)

I think this desire to seek out people who have things in common with us is because we want to know that we all came from the same place. Maybe it sounds like a stretch, but I am going to tie this into evolution. Scientists look at the differences in a species and try to figure out why those differences are there. They backtrack and try to look at the basic similarities in a species. These similarities are what tell us where all the different branches of the same species started out originally. I am sure that we all knew each other before this life. I am sure that we all have divine characteristics. When we try to find things we have in common with each other, we are searching to find and recognize those basic qualities that we share with one another.

That's all :)

PS I had a wonderful Thanksgiving Break and I'm so excited to go home for Christmas!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Something I'm Grateful For

As this Thanksgiving approaches, I've been thinking a little about what I am grateful for. I'll probably come back in a little bit to add more to the list, but for now I just want to talk about one specific thing I am grateful for.

I first thought of this when I read a sign at Jump On It that said, "Please do not jump if your weight is over 230 lbs." Then, I thought it again as I was galloping across the gym for my exercise science class. I thought of it again as I sprinted across campus after my test today....only to watch as the bus pulled away from the stop and charged down the road. And I thought of it againn when I ordered one solitary soft taco from Taco Bell (because I had missed the bus so what else was I going to do?) and watched as the person before me in line ordered four soft tacos, the bell grande nachos, a large fountain drink, and two bean burritos and plodded off to their table to eat a lonely meal, complete with enough calories to sustain me for a month.

So here's what I realized, in all these situations: I am incredibly grateful that I am not 300 lbs.

I don't mean, I'm grateful that I'm a normal weight. I mean, I am grateful that I am not ridiculously obese.

Think about it. How discouraging would that be to wake up in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror, and think, "Man. I really need to lose....200lbs. Yep, better get on that." I would absolutely hate my life. And this is me, Heather Connor, exercise video enthusiast. I like working out just as much as the next person. But if I had to set goals, and go on diets, and arrange my schedule so that I could work out, I think that would suck all the fun out of it. I would stay inside and do Richard Simmons videos until I passed out. And thennn you go and eat something, and there goes all that hard work. So that sucks. Plus there's all the costs you incur with health insurance because you are so fat that no one wants to cover you.

So as I thought about that, and felt more and grateful by the second, I realized something else. People don't just wake up one morning and find that they have gained 160 lbs. No one is thatt surprised when they see themselves in the mirror. It happens gradually, because people eat burgers and ice cream every other second and take the elevator instead of the stairs and watch TV when they could be watching Lena Pareira do the Bikini Body workout. I understand that some people do not have the best genes or the best metabolism. But their weight still increases gradually. If I woke up every morning for an extended period of time to find that my mattress was getting closer and closer to the ground because of the force of my sheer mass, I WOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

And it's not like you can just, forget about your condition. You carry your fat around with you, for goodness' sake. You don't order a Big Mac, happily chow down, and then go home and see your fat sitting in the corner right where you left it. You don't buy a box of Twinkies only to find yourself smacking your forehead as you drive away because you suddenly remembered, "Oh....aren't I fat? Well dang it. I guess Twinkies might not have been the best choice." So it's certainly a choice you make. What is it going to be, water aerobics and Weight Watchers, or burgers and buttprints on the couch? You just have to choose. And, as is often the case, prevention is generally going to be easier than repentance.

All I'm saying is, I am grateful that I'm not 300 lbs. Or even 250 lbs. That would just be depressing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Boys.

In my marriage and family class on Wednesday, we talked about communication and how boys and girls generally communicate differently from one another and why that might be. I left the discussion smiling enigmatically, feeling greatly endeared to every boy I passed. I just love boys. They are the cutest thing.

My professor said that boys just want to be right. That's not a bad thing; it doesn't mean that boys are egotistical jerks who can't be corrected. It's actually a very good thing. You want your husband to want to be right, because then they will do whatever they can to avoid doing the wrong thing. Which is good.

He also said that boys just want to please their girls. They want to help and be appreciated. They want to be needed and feel useful. He gave the example of washing the dishes. When a man's wife says to him, "Oh, honey, will you please do the dishes?" his first thought isn't going to be, "Oooh, dishes. My favorite chore." Instead he's going to be thinking, "She wants my help. She needs me to do something for her....oh dishes, I can do that, yep." Then they'll go to work, putting away the dishes. So what happens when they put the bowls where the plates go, and the plates where the cups go, and the pots and pans where the silverware goes? Their wife is going to want to correct them. And when she does, that means that they are doing something wrong. Which, as we just discussed, men don't like. They don't want to be wrong, they really just wanted to do it right the first time. And now the dishes are all in the wrong places so the wife is unhappy, and the husband did something wrong, so he is unhappy, too. So how can we avoid this? If the wife tells her husband how she wants something done, he'll generally be happy to do it that way. My professor asked the boys if they cared where each dish went in the kitchen, and not one of them raised their hand. Then he asked the girls if they cared, and a good number of girls said that they did. He concluded that again, boys just want to be right, and if their wives tell them from the start how they can be right, they will be happy to do things the right way.

My professor also talked about how boys want praise and appreciation for little things that they do. He said that girls need that too, but not to the same extent as boys, generally. When a girl sees that the dishes need to be done, she'll go ahead and do them and then move on to the next thing. But if a boy sees that the dishes need to be done, and for whatever reason, he decides to do them, you can be pretty sure that the first thing he'll do when he finishes loading that last saucer into the top rack is to go get his wife, take her by the hand, and lead her over to the dishwasher to point out what he did. How cute is that??

I've totally noticed this in my life. When I'm home, I know everythingg my dad does to help around the house. It's because while he's doing it, he talks to the kids about it. "Now look at this. See how your daddy is scrubbing this floor? It's so your mommy will have a nice clean floor." "Do you see this wall? I'm gonna paint it. I'm getting it all ready so your mommy can have a nice red wall. I think this is a good color. Right? She'll like it so much." "Look at this, look at this. Who's making dinner tonight, huh? That's right, your daddy. I'm making the dinner tonight. We're gonna have such a good dinner. I'm making it." "Now when your mommy gets home, she'll see we cleaned this whole house. She'll be so excited. She'll say, 'Oh, Sid. Did you clean this whole house?' I'm getting everything all ready for your mommy!" He gets so excited about it and as he is working, he makes sure everyone knows what he is doing and why he's doing it, what he predicts will happen in the end. He is always expecting to be showered with exultant approbations, no matter how menial the task may seem. Then, when my mom does get home, he doesn't even wait for her to notice on her own. He takes her to the kitchen, or the living room and points out everything he did.

This starts pretty early. I remember once when I was younger and I made up a Lost and Found box for my family. I called it the "Make a Match, Save a Single" Center. If someone found an earring, a shoe, a sock, or something that didn't have a match right there with it, they could take it to my box. If its match was not in the box, they would leave it there so the person who later did find its match could find the other one already in the box, and they could make a match! I introduced the system at Family Night and then left the box in the laundry room, someplace convenient. A few days later, my younger brother Joseph, who was probably only about 5 or 6 at the time, came up to me and said, his eyes bright with excitement, "Heather. Come here. I have something to show you." I followed him to the laundry room where he stopped in front of the box and said, "OK. Today, I was walking upstairs. Just walking. And I saw this. On the landing." He pulled a shoe out of the box. "All alone. It was single!" I gasped appropriately. He grinned. "Sooo," he continued, "I puttt ittt...." he dropped it in the box, "Right here! So someone can find the other one and make a match!" He clasped his hands behind his back and rocked back on his heels, smiling hugely. He was just so excited that he had used my system and he couldn't wait to hear me praise him for it. Which I did, of course :)

So in conclusion, I just love boys. Their impish delight in doing something impressive and their innate desire to be right just makes them such pleasant people when you are the one they want to impress and be right for.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

One Year Older

Yesterday, I turned 19 years old. It was a wonderful occasion :) Here is what I did for my birthday.

1. Went to class. On Friday I only have two classes, my stats lecture in the morning and then my stats lab after an hour break. I am randomly in this class with a girl who was in my ice-skating class winter semester and it is so fun!

2. Went out to Tucanos for lunch! When my lab was over, Kelly and I took the bus back to Raintree and then Christine, Winnie, Kelly, Kelsey and I went to Tucanos. I've never been before and it was amazing! The waiters just kept coming with more meats and grilled pineapple and it was all sooo good! The only thing I didn't like was this wasabi? maybe? It's in the Princess Diaires II movie and it is nottt, in fact, guacamole. So don't be deceived. It's actually this really strong something that cleanses your pallet. Other than that, the food was all delicious and I was glad we went.

3. Gave blood! After Tucanos, Winnie dropped Kelsey and me off at the Wilk and Kelly, Winnie and Christine went to run some errands. While Kelsey went off to be productive and do homework or something, I went up to my favorite bathroom on the 3rd floor, turned the lights off, and made myself comfortable on the couch, ready for a nice, pulse-slowing nap. (I tried to give blood on Wednesday (which also happened to be the worst day of my life) but then my heart rate was randomly too high. Still not really sure why, but the guy who took it was really cute so I'm going to blame him. Anyway I was determined to not let a little thing like heart rate ruin my blood-giving experience and cost three people their lives, so I was taking a nap to try and slow down my heart rate.) Over the next hour, I answered four phone calls and turned the lights back off twice after someone came in to actually use the bathroom and turned them one. So my nap wasn't everything I had hoped for and more, but I went down to the East Lounge an hour later to try to give blood again.

For those who don't understand the significance of me giving blood, I'm going to try to explain it now. I first was inspired to give blood by a poster in the hallways of my high school, encouraging people to sign up for the NHS blood drive that would be coming in December. The poster gave three cases in which your blood might be used to save a life. I was amazed! I was thrilled! If I gave blood, I could save three lives! My blood would be in someone else's body and they would be alive because of me! I was fascinated by the idea that I could be standing next to someone on the metro, or behind someone in line at the grocery store, who had my blood flowing through their veins. (Not to mention I would get out of class, eat lots of snacks, and maybe even get a free t-shirt.) This was the best idea anyone had ever had! Then I discovered that there is also a weight limit. I'm sorry, whattt? Yes. You have to weigh 110 lbs to donate blood, as it turns out. I was crushed. I resigned myself to the fact that I would never reach 110 by the December blood drive. Instead, I signed up to help with refreshments. All day, I ran water bottles, pretzels, sodas, granola bars, and juice boxes to the fainting donors and harried phlebotomists and wistfully thought about the day that I would finally be eligible to donate.

That day came last February, when I went to my first-ever blood drive in the Wyview central building. I prepared for this blood drive for months and then, finally, I felt ready. The week before the blood drive I dedicated to eating food with lots of iron and protein. The day of the blood drive, I made sure I ate a very substantial breakfast and lunch. I convinced Jake to give blood, too, and we signed in and completed all the paperwork and the interview. I sat in the chair, chatted with the phlebotomists, and then watched as my blood trickled into the blood bag. 5 minutes and 31 seconds later, my bag was filled and I was standing up, feeling a huge sense of accomplishment and not an ounce of dizziness. I ate my snacks, drank my drink, and waltzed out of the central building, proudly bearing my hot pink bandage about my arm. It was a wonderful experience, so I was excited to be doing it again on my birthday!

Anyway, giving blood today wasn't quite as positive of an experience. When I got my pulse taken the first time, my heart rate was the exact same that it had been before. A little bit frustrated, I asked if I could try one more time in ten minutes. The girl said that would be fine and I sat down and tried to think calming thoughts. I imagined my heart pulsing. In my head, I watched it move. I imagined a knob next to my heart that controlled the speed of my heart. I imagined myself turning it down. I breathed deep, long breaths. Ten minutes later, my heart rate had gone down 9 points. Just from me thinking about it :) I was eligible to give blood! I was once again fine when I sat in the chair and watched the blood drip into the bag. This time it took 8 minutes. Which was kind of annoying, since I had wanted to beat my time from February, but it didn't happen.

Today when I got up out of the chair, I got three different kinds of cookies, two juices, and one extra-large shirt. (It was all they had left.) I felt a little bit dizzy and very thirsty, which I hadn't been expecting, so I was a little annoyed. About five minutes after I was done giving blood, Kelly and I were running across the street to catch the 832 back to Raintree and I was feeling very dizzy. Regardless, I was still happy to have given blood.

4. Did homework. I sometimes don't like college as much as I say I do at other times.

5. Went to the Haunted Forest! It was great. It was just a big group of girls and boys. Waiting in line was even fun because they had an awesomeee actor performing a skit as Jack Sparrow and I was totally enraptured. The Haunted Forest itself was okay but I think I built it up so much so I wasn't really scared as I went through it, maybe because there were so many people?

6. Watched the Proposal. I had to leave the Haunted Forest before everyone else because I had to turn in some homework and I walked into my apartment to find Crystal and her friends Alex and Connor, getting ready to go to the Dollar Theater. They invited me to join them and we went off to watch The Proposal for my third time.

All in all, it was a wonderful birthday!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Conference Weekend!

Yesterday was a day of highs and lows.

It started out with me being happy out of my head that it was Friday. This week has been so stressful and I was just glad that it was almost over. I had my first stats test, two quizzes in D&C, a Marriage and Family project, and a test in ASL. All week, I was either studying or stressing, or both. By Thursday I was totally drained, and after classes, I went home and fell asleep until about 12 when I woke up, took a shower, and went to bed.

Probably the highlight of my Friday day was having lunch with Andrea and Kierea. We all sent out missionaries who were really good friends with each other within the last 5 months, and now we like to have lunches or get ice cream together. I love these girls! We sat and chatted for about 2 hours, about everything. Talking to people who are in the same situation as me is so uplifting and pleasant! I'm so lucky to be friends with these girls :) This was definitely a high point of my day.

Yesterday was another home game, against the Utah State Aggies, which we obviously won, 35-17. Although we left early, I am going to call this a high point because of where we were sitting. Portal RR, section 136, row 36. Yep....the veryy. topp. row. I don't know if anyone's ever seen the deleted scenes of the Pink Panther with Steve Martin, but in one of them, he and his partner are getting on the plane and finding their seats. His partner was nice seats towards the front of the plane. He finds his seat quickly and easily. Steve Martin, on the other hand, is led by a stewardess to the very back of the plane. They go through door after door, past countless seats, finally ending up at a wooden chair that is tied precariously to the wall. By the time that the food he ordered arrives, it is cold and molding. And that is Steve Martin's seat. The point of this story is, as we were walking up the thousands of steps it took to get to our nosebleed seats, I felt like Steve Martin walking to the back of the plane. From our seats it was difficult to tell what was going on EVER, so we mostly just took pictures and chatted. The view did start growing on me, though, because you could see the whole field, and there was no one behind you. We ended up leaving early, just because we were sure that the Cougars would win and being up that high wasn't super-exciting.

Kelly, Winnie, Christine and I ended up in my apartment, watching The Office, which we all missed this week. We had not even gotten through five minutes of it when, suddenly, we heard music coming from outside! There was an impromptu dance party happening in the parking lot. Someone with a really good sound system in their car and a disco light was the host, and we were the happy invitees. We ran down the stairs and started dancing with them. This was a high anddd a low, because it was a high point of the night, and because we got low to all the songs! (haha.) It was so much fun and it totally turned my night upside down. The boys were from Glenwood so maybe we'll never see them or hang out with them again, but maybeee they will come back for another dance party! Crystal had two friends, Brian and Bruno, who were her friends since middle or high school, who were there too. Brian is this big Hispanic guy who I immediately felt comfortable with. I just wanted him to be my friend and take care of me. He and Bruno were both so nice and pleasant. At the dance party, Brian became even more my favorite person when he flipped me over his arm so fast that I thought my head would fall off. I felt like a little kid but I kept wanting him to do it again.

The night ended with the girls once again gathered on the couch in my apartment, watching The Office and Gossip Girl.

This morning I realized, as I rolled out of bed and shuffled into the living room, that I love conference weekend. I love having the ability to watch it from my apartment, in whatever state I am in. Kelly came over and we made raspberry and chocolate chip Bisquick pancakes during the first session.

I can remember when I was little and we had to go to the stake center to watch conference. The week before General Conference, we spent time at Family Home Evening updating our conference notebooks with pictures of the prophets and apostles, inspiring quotes, biographies, articles from the Friend and New Era, conference bingo boards, and blank paper for drawing or taking notes. We had to go at least an hour early to get a good seat. It wasn't so bad because I grew up on the East Coast, where there is a two-hour time difference and the first session didn't start until 12. Besides, all my friends would be there, and in between Saturday sessions, we would play outside, climbing in the trees and splashing in the little creek. Everyone went their separate ways for lunch, and every year, my family got Subway. It was a special treat for us then (now, Kelly and I get Subway almost every day) and it was a tradition we looked forward to every conference. After the afternoon session, we hurried home the minute the last talk ended to get pizza from Pizza Hut and host a pizza party for all the young men in our stake. They would come over, eat pizza, tease us a little, and then leave to attend the Priesthood Session en masse. I loved this tradition, too.

On Sunday, our day started early in the morning when we got up with my mom to make Belgian waffles for the young women in the stake. They came a few hours before the morning session and had all the waffles, whipped cream, syrup, strawberries, blueberries, bacon, and sausage a person could want. We laid out the breakfast on China platters and borrowed chairs to accommodate everyone who came. We would have leftover Belgian waffles for at least a week afterwards. These weren't waffles from a mix, either. My mom made the batter from scratch the night before to give it time to settle properly or whatever. When we made Belgian waffles, we were serious about them.

Usually between sessions on Sunday, there was a potluck in the gym of the stake center. You could count on there being at least one impromptu jeopardy game taking place in the building with people using their notes from the sessions the day before. We would go outside and take family pictures in the trees, all dressed up with our Sunday dresses and our fluffy bangs.

These were the days before conference was available in people's homes, when we had to actually get up and get dressed to listen to the prophet. I distinctly remember the year that most of the people in my stake started watching conference from their own tv's. I'm not sure which year this was, I just remember that we drove into an almost-empty parking lot, scampered into an almost-empty church building, and excitedly claimed the best seats in the house. I remember looking around, waiting for the rows around us to fill up. I remember thinking, "Man! We must be earlier than I thought!" And finally, I remember conference starting and me asking, "Where is everyone?" My parents said that it was Saturday morning, and it had always been the least attended session. That made sense to me. People just couldn't make it this year. The chapel would be full again tomorrow. The next day, there were a few more people, but the chapel was still surprisingly unoccupied.

Every year after this, the numbers dwindled even more. I saw the difference in the church as the potlucks and jeopardy games of the past slowed down and eventually stopped. I even saw the difference in the Belgian Waffle Breakfast, as the young women showed up to our house wearing sweatpants instead of skirts, because after breakfast, they would all be going back to their own homes to watch the sessions. My family stopped going to the stake center, too, when we had the option of going to my Aunt Carol and Uncle Brett's in Pennsylvania. This was so fun for me. We all got comfortable and took notes and snacked as we pleased. We could wear whatever we wanted.

These are two distinctly different settings. But in both of them, I have felt the Spirit. I have felt the love that the prophets and apostles have for me, personally, and for the church as a whole. I have come to know and love them. I used to think that I loved General Conference because that was when I got to play at the Stake Center, see all my friends, and eat delicious food. But I guess that wasn't the case, since all of that changed, and I still love it :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Leggers

A few days ago, my lovely roommate Christine and I came up with a really fun game that we call Leggers. It is amazing at relieving stress. I would highly recommend it to anyone with legs (and/or stress).

Here's how you play. You stand behind the couch and flip backwards so your head is on the couch cushion and your legs are straight up in the air (so you are upside down on the couch, facing away from the couch. Then, you make letters with your legs. Some of the letters, you can only make with two people. Like "A." and "N."

Anyway, Christine and I came up with this delightful little game on Monday at Winnie's house while she was doing homework and my laundry was in the Wyview laundromat. It has many benefits, including:

1. relieving your stress
2. working out your abs
3. improving your bond with your roommate :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Productive Weekend?

This day was probably my most successful Saturday since I've been in Utah.

First, I went on a field trip to Rock Canyon with my Physical Science 111a lab. This class is one I need to take to be in the ElEd major and it is wonderful. It's twice a week for an hour at a time and we can get a possible 10 points each class period. 6 of these points are for attendance. The other 4 are for attitude. It's classes like these that remind me that I picked the right major :) Anyway the field trip was at 10 and I woke up at 9:36 when Audrey, the girl who gave me a ride, called to say she was on her way over. I got ready in a record 5 minutes and then we drove up to Rock Canyon. The field trip was very fun. There are two boys in my class and neither of them showed up, so I felt a little bit like I was walking around in a girl scout troop or something. The weather was perfect for hiking; the sky was clear, there was a nice breeze, and it wasn't too hot. We walked a little ways up the canyon, stopping at various points to learn about the kinds of rocks we were passing.

After the field trip, Audrey dropped me off at my apartment and Kelly and I went down to campus to study with Scott. Scott is in one of Kelly's classes and they always study together. Today, we were studying in the Tanner Building. I brought my stats notes, since I have a test next week, but I didn't get very much done. I think I just need a study buddy, too!

The game this weekend was at home and it was against Colorado state. After last week's disappointing loss, I was excited to be going to a game that we were "supposed" to win. It was amazing! Here are three things that went right in this game:
1. We won! so of course I would have enjoyed it no matter where I was.
2. I caught a t-shirt! Shade was throwing out these really cute gray t-shirts with the word "Cougs" on the front and I caught one! (I think I caught one last year, too, but it wasn't nearly as cute. Plus, the one I caught this year happened to be a small, which nevvver happens with free shirts, so I was pumpeddd.)
3. We sat in the 5th row! We got rotating tickets this year and we were just put there this time, right in the endzone.

There was just one thing wrong with the game. One of the guys in our section is soooo obNOXious. He is always yelling, whether at the players (on both teams), at the refs, or at the other fans. Seriously everyone in our section hates him. At one point there was a timeout and he started yelling at everyone to stand back up and saying that if we lose it's because of the people who are sitting down. I sat down and turned around to glare at him. Towards the end of the game, people just started talking loudly about him, saying things like, "Ohhhmygosh, seriously so annoying." "I wish some people would shut up!" etc. I'm pretty sure the whole section can't stand him.

When the game was almost over, my roommate Crystal txted me and asked if I wanted to go on a triple date tonight. We got home from the game at 7:30ish, and we were supposed to leave at 8 but that didn't happen. (Thank goodness.)

Pause for a little story about yesterday.

Winnie and Christine wanted to see The Proposal, and even though we had already seen it (and loved it), Kelly and I agreed to go with them. Winnie was at work so the rest of us went to the dollar theater to get tickets and to watch Ice Age before Winnie got off work. Ice Age was sold out so we got our tickets for The Proposal and went to the mall. (Really, what else were we supposed to do?) As we walked in, I swore to myself that I wouldn't buy anything. I didn't need it. I left the mall with two new shirts and my first pair of skinny jeans. Cool. I now love and hate Papaya. Mostly love.

Back to today. So luckily because of this impromptu mini-shopping spree, I had new clothes that I could wear to the date tonight. Crystal didn't know the guy who was my date but he was really nice and it was a lot of fun. We went to Fat Cats and then to Coldstone. I used to go to Fat Cats like twice a week when Jake worked there so it was great to see all the workers again! Kiersten, Kelsee, Jesse and the other manager were all there. The bowling itself was super-fun. I thought since I hadn't bowled in so long, I would be terrible at it, but I actually ended up winning! I got 123 points! I had Kiersten print it out for me because I was so proud. After bowling we went to Coldstone (which was of course delicious) and then to the boy's apartment. We hung out there for a little bit and then they dropped Crystal and I back off at our apartment. It was only about 12 so we decided to go to another party. Kelly came with us to this one. It was a little crazier and I started to get tired, so we didn't stay for too long.

All in all, I think it was a prettyy productive day :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Life Lessons from the Little Mermaid

So I have an announcement to make. It's called:

I HAVE THE BEST FAMILY IN THE WORLD!

More on that later. Today was a great day. This morning, I went to Statistics, then to Marriage and Family with Kelly, and then to the library. I am starting to love my Marriage and Family class. It's basically a forum for discussion where everyone asks all the "what-if" questions you've always wondered about, but no one has ever been able to answer. Sometimes my teacher doesn't know the answer, but for the most part, he takes each question and patiently answers it until everyone is satisfied. It's great because he's an authoritative source and he won't tell us anything without backing it up with two other additional sources. After this class I had a really long break. Usually on Mondays during my break I will go home and take a 2-hr nap, then go back to campus for my evening class. Today, I called my parents and did homework instead.

I really love talking to my parents. When I'm at college, I suddenly talk to them about everythingg. Today my mom asked how Jake is doing so I told them about his last letter. He's having kind of a hard time because he's in a foreign country, he has no AC, he doesn't speak the language so he doesn't understand anything anyone says, his companion is kind of not the best, and his house is infested with cockroaches and termites. My dad served his mission in Guatemala so he understood a lot of it and was able to give me some really good insights about how Jake is probably feeling. I talked to them for about 45 minutes and then I got off the phone and went to the library, where I did some homework until it was time for lunch with Winnie.

As usual, the CougarEat was a madhouse. I waited in line at Freschetta for a calzone forevvver and then ate my half with Winnie while I waited for Kelly to finish her class and eat her half. Half a calzone fills me up amazingly well. Half a calzone leaves Kelly dissatisfied. So being the good sister that I am, we walked around looking for something else she could eat. Finally she decided on some broccoli and cheese soup from the Grab'n'Go, which, at some points during the day, turns into the Grab'n'Stand Still. Luckily, we happened to get there when it was going, so it still deserved to be called the "Grab'n'Go."

We grabbed the soup.
We grabbed a lid.
Then we grabbed about a hundred tissue papers used to pick up the rolls (white or wheat) and attempted to mop up the mess we had somehow managed to make while putting the lid on the soup container.
Then we grabbed a CougarEat worker and enlisted his help in cleaning up the ridiculous mess. (I'm sure he recognized us from last week when he was working at Freschetta and we waited a ridiculous 30 minutes for cinnamon bites).
We grabbed two truffles since they looked delicious.
I grabbed my student id to pay for the soup and truffles.
The lady at the cash register grabbed a hundred more napkins because we were spilling everywhere again.
We grabbed what was left of our dignity and then, finally, we were ready to go!

With lunch part 2 now over, and Kelly's stomach filled, we headed to the library for our excel classes. I got an email a few weeks ago advertising these free classes at the library that teach students over about 2 weeks how to use different computer programs (PowerPoint, Photo Shop, etc.) They don't offer any credits or anything, but I figured it would be good if I knew how to use them and signed up. This week and next, Kelly and I will be learning about Excel.

Because we are such great friends, taking a class with Kelly automatically makes it funner for me. (In case you are wondering, funner is a word and it is in the dictionary.) This class was so full that they opened up an overflow class in the room across the hall. Anyway, Kelly and I were able to get a seat next to each other and, even though our teacher was no comedic genius, I found myself laughing really hard at all his jokes, whether he made them intentionally or accidentally. One of the things he said that made me laugh was when Excel made a mistake and somehow projected that the commission pay for one of the sales associates was about 10x the total amount of money made by that representative. The teacher said, "Now that can't be right, can it? We are nott gonna go paying our sales representative 6 million dollars, let me tell YOU." So it wasn't thatt funny, it was just a little funny, but I found it hilarious at the time that it left his mouth. I'm sure he has never had his humor so tremendously appreciated as it was today by the two little blonde girls in the front row.

I had one more class (Children's Lit) and then I went back to my apartment. This week in Children's Lit we are studying classical literature. Everyone brings a book that they read the week before, as long as it is consistent with the genre we're studying in that week, and we discuss it in groups. My book was The Little Mermaid, which I would like to discuss here.

The original version of The Little Mermaid is not as happy as Disney would have us believe. In the original, The Little Mermaid has no mother, but is taken care of by her grandmother and her father. Her grandmother tells her all about the people who live out of the ocean, the humans. She also tells The Little Mermaid that one crucial difference between mermaids and humans is that humans live much shorter lives, but when they die, their souls continue to live forever in the heavens. Mermaids live about a hundred years and, when they die, become sea foam on the top of the ocean. More than anything, she wants a soul so that she can live forever, but her grandmother tells her that the only way she can have a soul is if a human falls in love with her and then shares his soul with her when they die. The Little Mermaid's curiosity is so piqued by this that she can hardly wait until she is 15 and is allowed to swim up to the surface and see for herself what the humans are like. During her visit to the surface, she watches as a storm destroys a ship and nearly takes the life of a prince she has admired from afar for years. She manages to save his life and bring him to shore. For days afterward, she is enveloped in her grief because she is unable to be with her prince. At last she can't stand it anymore and agrees to trade her fishtail and her voice for a pair of legs and a chance to win over the prince. The sea witch she strikes this deal with warns her that every step with legs will be painful, but the Little Mermaid still goes through with the bargain. If the prince will marry her, she will be given a soul just like any other human. If the prince marries another, she will die the next morning and become sea foam on the top of the ocean. Accepting these terms, she swims to the surface where the prince finds her and takes her in. As apart of the deal, she is the most graceful human alive, and she often dances for the prince and his court. She is always with him, and although she can't talk, she communicates as well as she can and develops a strong relationship with the prince. He tells her everything, including how he was in a shipwreck and was saved by a girl who he has been unable to find since. One day, he announces that he must marry a princess in a neighboring country. The Little Mermaid accompanies him to meet her, and although she is very in love with the prince, she hopes that he is happy with his bride. When he meets the princess, the prince mistakenly identifies her as the girl who saved him after his shipwreck and can't wait to marry her. The night of the wedding, the Little Mermaid tries to be happy even though she knows she will die the next morning. Then, her sisters swim up to the boat and hand her a knife, saying that they traded their hair with the sea witch for it. They tell her she must kill the prince and then she will be turned back into a mermaid and allowed to return to the sea to live with them. The Little Mermaid cannot do it and casts herself into the sea. Instead of turning into sea foam, she receives a soul and finds herself in heaven. She is told that because she tried so hard to love the prince and gave everything she had for him, she is being allowed a soul. And then she lived....what, is that happily ever after?

I thought this original version of the Disney-popularized story was very thought-provoking. First of all, I was struck by the Little Mermaid's selflessness. She loved the prince unconditionally. She gave everything she had for him. Some might chalk this up to her intense curiosity, others to her naivety. Maybe it is a little of both. But if it was simply her curiosity, she would have tired of him after a short time when he hadn't married her and nothing had changed. I think there is something to be said of selfless love. In our society today, this is a trait that is hardly glorified. Rather, it is looked down upon. When things don't work out in a marriage, when personality differences, scheduling conflicts, and financial difficulties interfere, we are encouraged to get out and salvage whatever is left for us personally. We are advised to protect ourselves against any pain.
This version of the Little Mermaid was written simplistically, in straightforward sentences, but I felt for her when the prince announced that he was going to marry someone else. When she stood by his bed, holding the knife that held her fate, I ached for her to have the strength to kill the man that she loved. Why are we so trained in this society to seek that self-protection at so high a cost? Why did I prefer, as the reader, for the Little Mermaid to kill the prince and return to her sisters? And finally, was I right to want that? Was I wrong to glare at the pages that documented her lonely ascent into the heavens, where she gained a soul, the thing she had really wanted the whole time? Did this story end, as it claims, "happily ever after?"

My teacher said something very interesting the first day of class. She said that children's books don't always have to end happily, but they do have to end hopefully. Children must experience that feeling of hope that promises that something better will come. Our world is fraught with despair. Everywhere we turn, we see another reason to give up hope. But in the end, hope is the most precious commodity we have in our arsenal. When everything falls apart, when life hands us lemons and throws the lemonade in our face, when the sky is dark and the only thing that seems certain is that harder times will come, we fall back on our cushion of hope. We hope that things will improve. We hope that this is not the end. We hope that there is something better in store for us. When our hands, hearts, and eyes are empty, when everything we held dear has dropped out of our lives, how on earth does hope survive?

I believe that hope, even in the form of frail optimism, is not simply a silly idea that the inexperienced people in the world toy with before reality slaps them in the face. Hope survives because, rather than being the flimsy thing that cynics would prefer us to believe it is, it is, in fact, the most real thing about this life. It is a constant that we can depend on. Through the years hope will change it's face countless times, but it is always there. I think this is because we know, deep inside, that things will get better. We know this. In our lives we will be distracted, discouraged, and disappointed, but the one thing we must never let go of is our hope.

One of my favorite quotes is by Marjorie Pay Hinckley. She phrases the idea of hope beautifully in the following statement: "Who knows but that something wonderful may happen today? Have faith that it will! After all, every morning is a chance at a new day." I think of this quote often throughout my day. I anticipate wonderful things happening in my day. I look for them and it is a rare (and very sad :<) occasion that I don't find something wonderful to celebrate in my day.

Today, as I said before, was a great day. The most wonderful thing that happened to me today was that I got a package from my family!!! They are the best family in the whole world, I am serious. Some of the things in the package are just things I left at home on accident (a mug I made with Jake at Color Me Mine, a princess cup Julie gave me for my fake birthday last month, my Bible, etc). Then there were also some treats and other fun things! I got some hot chocolate mixes, Easy Mac, trail mix bars, bobby pins, ponytails, and Dove chocolates. My mom is seriously the nicest ever!

Anyway tomorrow is our first cleaning check. I am a little nervous! (But I guess not tooooo too nervous, since I am still up blogging and not cleaning.)

Besides, I have hope that it will be an easy cleaning check :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

And the semester begins.


I don't know why, but I really feel like blogging right now! So I'm going to.

Yesterday, I was super-productive.

First, I went to my stats lecture. I started out this semester really apprehensive about my stats class, but I am actually really liking it. I got there a little earlier than usual this time so I got to sit wherever I wanted and I randomly sat down next to this guy who happens to be in my lab! So that was cool. I have an hour break between my stats lecture and lab on Fridays, so in my spare time, I went to the library and got a little homework done for other classes. When I went to my lab, I met up with a girl who was in my ice-skating class last semester! That was so fun. We are going to have a study group :) After lab, I was done with stats for the day and I headed off to the Eyring Science Center to try and add a class. Unfortunately it was all full, but I stayed because it was so fun (oh, also because I am just going to try to add it at another time).

As soon as I was done with that class, I went to the library, did some more homework, and then hurried to catch the next bus back to my apartment. I got home at about 2:00, ran around grabbing everything I wanted to send to Jake in his package, and then caught the 2:12 bus back to campus. It was pretty impressive. Here is what I sent in this package:

1. shark fruit snacks. (since he's a fisher of men.)
2. chips ahoy. (since who doesn't love those.)
3. flyswatters. (He's in Mexico. So there are probably a few flies down there. Haha I had to bend the wire handles to fit them in the box....so hopefully he'll be able to unbend them....)
4. Immunity Crystal Light. (so he doesn't get sick.) Also Live Active Crystal Light. (in case he doesn't feel like being lively or active. or his companion doesn't.)
5. antacid tablets. (so he doesn't feel sick.)
6. sidewalk chalk. (so he can be the most popular. lol)
7. a box of pastaroni. (we always used to make that and I told him he can make it with his companion and have good bonding time.)
8. my "I Love to See the Temple" book I made with Caitlin and Kelly!
9. junior mints. (since he's the Jr. companion.)
10. crazy core skittles. (so he doesn't go crazy.)
11. insect bite relief. (to relieve his insect bites.)

Anyway so I was reallyy excited to send this package. I don't know how long it will take to get there, but hopefully not tooooo too long.

Right after I sent my package, I had to go to this powerpoint class I'm taking. I have to take all these tests for the elementary education major that test your knowledge of microsoft products, and I don't feel like I know that much about PowerPoint, so I figured what the heck, and signed up for this two-week long class. Last class was soooo boring, but I came back, and this time, it was actually really enjoyable.

When I finished with that class, I got ice-cream with Andrea and Victoria. I love these girls :) They just sent off missionaries too, who were really good friends with Jake, which is how we know each other. It was so nice to sit and talk and eat ice cream! We sat around for like an hour just talking and it was lovely.

After ice cream I went to Kelly's apartment and we started getting ready for Fall Fest! The theme this year is superheroes, and I have wanted to dress up for this event since the beginning of the school year. It took about 3 hrs and multiple costume changes, but finally we were suited up and ready to go. I was a blue power ranger (costume courtesy of Kali, who wore my costume for Halloween last year), Kelly was a Fantastic Four, and Kali was an Incredible (costume courtesy of me, from spirit week my senior year of high school). Jordan was our makeup artist. And if I do say so myself, we looked extremely super when we showed up to that Fall Fest!



BTW. When I first got to Kelly's apt, I was sitting on Kali's bed and she looks over at me and goes, "Are those my flipflops?" I was wearing a pair of pink flipflops that I had, in fact, gotten from Kelly's apt earlier in the year, but I knew that they were Kelly's, not Kali's. So I said, "No, they're mine." Then she goes, "Did you borrow them from Kelly?" So then I didn't know whattt to say. For whatever reason, I didn't bring any flipflops to college. Oh, except for the dark blue ones which I can only find one of now. Also these really cute ones that Caitlin gave me but that's beside the point. The pointtt is, when I was helping Kelly move in, I saw a pair of pink flipflops on her floor, and I thought to myself, I didn't bring any flipflops out here. I need those! And I took them back to my own apartment. Apparently, they weren't Kelly's. They were Kali's. And I had stolen them. So that was pretty funny and I immediately returned them.

The activity was pretty fun, but it was largely dominated by freshmen, so we left pretty early and went to Red Mango in our awesome costumes. We ate our frozen yogurt, took a few pictures inside, and then went outside to expand our photo opportunities. A few minutes after we had started jumping off tables and punching the air, we realized that there was a couple parked in their car in front of the Red Mango who was thoroughly entertained by our antics. Unfazed, we went on to produce a fantasticcc line of photos.

It is nights like these that I absolutely lovvve Kelly. She is the greatest sister! Who else would spend three hours trying on outfit after outfit, throwing all their clothes on the floor, googling superheroes, and considering every possible alteration to a piece of clothing in order that they could dress up like a superhero....any! superhero....just because I really wanted to, but I didn't want to do it alone? I love that she lives so close to me and we can do fun things together like this!

I also adore Kali. When I suggested that we do this, Kali at first laughed at me, but then she totally caught the vision and helped me find costume pieces for me and for Kelly. The power ranger costume, as I mentioned earlier, was her Halloween costume last year. I'm not sure how she came to have it in her possession in the first place, but somehow she had it, and she had made several alterations to it. It used to be one piece, with the top and the legs connected. When it came to me, they were two decidely separate pieces. The pants had no waistband, and the top covered about half of my torso. The sleeves, which used to go all the way to the wearer's wrists, went only a little bit past my elbow. The legs, which should have gone all the way to my ankles, went a little bit past my knee. So, clearly, this outfit was not exactly intended for someone of my size. Or any bigger. Still, Kali valiantly tried it on, all the time saying, "I don't think this is gonna work, Heather." Despite her completely justified skepticism, she was totally willing to try it, if for no other reason than to show me that it was not an option for her outfit for the night.

Actually while we're on the subject....this costume really was in poor condition. There was a gaping hole in the arm pit of one of the sleeves, which was especially obvious when I raised my arm. There was no waistband, as I said earlier, which created problems whenever the pants came out of my leggings (I was wearing gray leggings under the pants and I had just tucked the tops of the blue pants into the waistband of my leggings to hold them up). Anyway, whenever the leggings loosened their grip a little bit, the blue pants got this nice little pucker in them that looked STUPID. So I told everyone to keep an eye on my butt for the whole night to avoid that ever happening.

Back to all the people I love. Jordan Lee was the besttt makeup artist! I usually don't do crazy makeup, and I think I was wearing more eyeshadow than I ever have in my life, but I just thought it was fun! I think that Jordan is hilarious and she was so fun to just walk around the Fall Festival with. Whew, good thing she was Kelly's roommate freshman year or else I might not know her!



I ended up falling asleep on accident at Kelly's apartment last night, on Kali's bed. I can't imagine that she appreciated that very much but apparently she let me stay there and she slept on the couch instead of waking me up to move me. This morning, Kelly woke me up and I said, "why are you in my house?" But it turns out I was in her's. So I got up, ran back to my apartment in my super-cool power ranger costume....which wasn't embarrassing atttt allllll, don't even worry about it.....and got ready for the football game!

Kelly, Christine and I all went together to the party at Glenwood. It's just down the street and Raintree residents were invited, and there was free food, so we figured why not, and went. It was so funny how many random people I saw there. In the first minute after the pizza had arrived, I saw 1. James, this guy who randomly sat down and had lunch with Kelly and I last year in the Cougareat, 2. Jeff, who was an intern in DC this summer and went to our singles ward, 3. a guy who used to date one of Kelly's roommates last year, 4. A guy who was in our country dance class last year, and 5. another guy who randomly sat down and had lunch with Kelly and I last year.

By the 4th quarter, BYU was really killing Tulane, so we went back home and Winnie took us grocery shopping. Which was so good! I get most of my food with my meal plan, but I need some things like Toaster Strudel, hello, that I can't get at the Creamery or on-campus, so I have to venture to Walmart to get it. I also got some white flipflops today, which I really have been needing. Anddd I bought Kelly a present. She is alwayyys giving me presents. It is so nice! So I got her a present this time. I bought her a pineapple :)

When I came home from Target, where I got my flipflops, I called my dad since he marched on Washington today. Sometimes I think my dad is so adorable. He lovvved it. He said it was the most inspiring thing he has ever done. He said everyone was so polite and he liked meeting as many people as he could and just talking to them. Apparently there was a really great turnout. So I'm glad he got to do that. I really love my dad. I can talk to him so easily at college. I think he is a wonderful individual, I think he is the nicest daddy, and I always always know he loves me.

When I got back to my apartment from doing that, there was a bunch of people and we all played games and had suchhh a fun time.

And now it is way too late and I really really! should be getting to bed.

I just want to say, that even with all the stupid stuff that goes on, I do love being a college student. I love it.