The world is your oyster!: December 2009        

These are a few of my favorite things:

pina-colada flavored italian ice
dance parties
dressing up
love :)


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.


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 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!!!