Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stolen Flamingos

This is one of those family stories that we just laugh about. And no, it is not about me, it was my little sister Emily who did this.

My family went to Utah about every other summer for the longest time. One summer we went when I was eight or so and Emily was two (actually we don't really know, everyone thinks she was a different age). We were constantly in and out of the house. Kids were playing in the yard and there were a couple of adults outside. With all the chaos, nobody kept a close enough eye on Emily.

At one point Emily wandered off to the neighbors house. When she was younger she loved the colors pink and red (still true) quite excessively and wanted everything that was one of those colors. Well, the neighbors had a collection of pink flamingos taking residence in the yard. This did not go unnoticed by Emily. She simply walked into their front yard, and stole the flamingos so that our grandma could have them instead.

A few minutes later, someone noticed the strange happenings. Two year old Emily was pulling a flamingo out of the flowerbed and dragging it through the grass to a spot where she had hidden a couple other flamingos. This was pointed out to everyone else and we laughed because it was so strange. We quickly returned the flamingos and went our merry way. This was not the end of it. There were a few times she tried to retrieve the flamingos again but we already knew what she was up to and it didn't work.

Everyone remembered this story, except Emily as she was so young. Recently when it was brought up we laughed about her stealing flamingos and she was quick to accuse other people, namely our mom of stealing the flamingos. That added another dimension, which just made us laugh all the harder. Why she picked our mom to accuse I have no idea. She was two when she did it, and it was cute, not criminal.

Oh and because this is only slightly relevant (since it is about someone other than me) I will post it here. This is another thing that happened we all laugh about. On the first day of school (or the first day of seminary) one year, while Anna was getting ready for seminary she tumbled down the stairs (very normal in our family). It was very loud though, and I remember getting out of bed to look at the scene. Apparently she had latched onto one of the spindles while she fell, resulting in her breaking it. So basically, Anna broke the stairs.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

It All Started at a Sleepover

So I have a handful of stories I still want to write up here before I leave on my mission. I'll definitely try to do that. Here is the first of the lineup.

Generally speaking with girls that means a crazy night full of gossip, boys, and girlie things. This party was no exception. There were three girls, me, Abby Anderson and Courtney Carter. I can definitely be crazy, but I have to work my way up to it. These two girls are downright crazy, especially with all the crazy feeding off each other.

After settling in, we three chatted up a storm. Courtney filled us in on a boy she had gone on a date with, who was going to call during the sleepover. We were all giddy with excitement. A boy?! During the sleepover!! Duh she would put him on speakerphone.

As our excitement increased, Courtney realized she didn't want to talk for very long, she would rather spend time with us. Thus a plan was formed. Courtney would give a signal when she was ready to stop talking and we would pretend to slam my finger in a door, causing an emergency where she was needed and would have to hang up.

It was a good plan, however it was not good enough. It had to be more realistic. We found a strand of cheap beads to slam in the door so the door wouldn't completely shut and sound closer to a finger stuck in the door. Even that wasn't good enough. We decided to make my finger look the part as well. We applied marker and smudged it around until it looked bruised, though not swollen. Then we took pictures on Courtney's phone so we could send a picture in case he questioned anything.

When he called we did everything as planned. He didn't question anything (to my knowledge), Courtney got off the phone quickly, and we had an enjoyable evening. It was such a random thing to do (and kind of unnecessary) but it definitely made the sleepover memorable.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Beanie Baby Cat Ladies

One of these days I'll end up as an old spinster with nobody to keep me company except my many cats. This sentiment has become a joke among some of my friends, namely Anna, Kaitlyn, Hannah and Kara. It started one time when Anna and I were with our grandparents for the weekend, fourth Sunday dinner. On Saturdays we're the only ones there but by Sunday evening the rest of our family arrives and all the excitement begins. We have to fend for ourselves for entertainment before anyone arrives, luckily we're good at that.

On this specific day, I stole Anna's phone (with her knowledge) and was texting Kaitlyn really ridiculous things which were definitely out of character for Anna. For some reason, Kaitlyn had no idea. I told Kaitlyn how Anna was going to live alone forever as a cat lady. Anna added to the conversation when she said, "I'm going to buy cat beanie babies because I'm allergic." We were already lying down on the floor (granted, when I lie on the floor, I tend to go crazy so it all added to the excitement) so that easily enabled me to roll on the floor and laugh until I cried (not unusual for me). Now it's pretty much an exclusive group, the Beanie Baby cat ladies.

About a month before last semester ended I had a strange dream. I came home and my friend Hannah hid two kittens in my apartment. I found them and was really surprised that my friend would give me kittens. The next morning I told Hannah about my funny dream. To me the dream meant something along the lines of, my friend randomly gave me a kitten which is awesome and cute. Hannah's immediate response was something different. She interpreted it as her enabling me to become an old cat lady, which she said she did not want for me. I guess even my subconscious is telling me I'll be a spinster cat lady one day.

I hope that all these funny pictures make all who read this laugh. Otherwise I don't think we can be friends.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer Quotes

Random texts I got from a girl I don't know.

Way to go! You're awesome :)

The girl somehow responded to everyone who received a mass text from a different friend. It wasn't clear that was how she got my number until I asked after the second one. It was awesome getting those random texts though, it made my day.

"There are no special effects, except the toilet flushing." -Beth
"Right or left?" -Beverly
"Doesn't matter." -Ronnie
Beverly goes left.
"I would have gone the other way." -Ronnie
"You were directing us!!!" -Laura

"That giant bird just cut in front of us!" -Beth

"Those are the buffest twelve year olds I've seen in my life." -Beth

"I love a good beard." -Beth

At work: "Yes we had a conference call about your inability to participate in contests." -Andy (my coworker is still technically from a temp company)

"Sorry my knees are really long." -Beth
"Your knees or your legs?" -Laura

"He didn't mind growing up to look like Santa Claus." -Beverly

All of the things from Gettysburg:

The names Ethan was called by various people: Larry, Ian, Theenuh

"Take a gander..." -Ethan
"Gander? hahahah" -Me
"I'm sorry that not everyone uses the word gander in the vernacular." -Ethan
"Vernacular? hahahah" -Me
"I give up!" -Ethan

"I reckon..." -Ethan
"Reckon? hahaha" -Laura

"Hot dang!" -Ethan

"There's something in that tree." -Laura
"It could be a kite or a beach ball... or a small child." -Ethan
"A beach ball? Who brings a beach ball to Gettysburg and gets it stuck in a tree?" -Laura

"Are you a jumping bean?" -Laura
"If I were to be a legume..." -Ethan

"You do not have talons!" -Matt to Ronnie

"You can touch her!" -Laura to Spencer

"Somebody stole my unicycle in Hawaii!" -Ethan

"Hey Luke... uh I mean Matt..." -Laura
"And how do you know my brother?"

Apparently I reference a lot of unexpected things, or say things my friends wouldn't have expected me to say...
"Blithering Idiot!"
"Brother from another mother!"
"I will cut you!"
"Nope... Chuck Testa!"

Post Gettysburg:

Creepily: "I've never been down that hallway before..." -Laura

"I called in sick at work. I've got a fever... dance fever!" -Matt

Sunday, August 26, 2012

How Long Has That Food Been In Your Purse?

"Is that a stromboli in your purse?" -Andy my coworker

Yes, yes it is. On the third Wednesday of the month all of my work gets lunch from somewhere around the area. In June, I got a stromboli and stuck it in my purse when I was about to leave. It was kind of funny because he thought I just left it in there the whole day.

This reminded me of a similar incident. The same day a bunch of friends and I went to Macey's to get King Kong Kones I decided to grab cream cheese for something I planned on making. Then we all tried to do the moonwalk around Macey's. We then went to Kaitlyn and Hannah's to watch the Mormon Pride and Prejudice. I think we even fell asleep on their floor for a couple hours.

The next day Kara and I were hanging out. We got kind of bored. When Anna came home from work we decided to get haircuts because that was something exciting. Kara just watched. When I went to pay I pulled out my wallet and noticed the cream cheese boxes in there. I looked at Kara, laughing, and I asked her if she wanted to hear a funny story. Because Kara is a cheater, she looked in my purse while I got my hair cut and had already discovered it. It made me laugh so hard. Then later we used it for a frosting a cake. I mean it was already softened...?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pennsylvania at a Glance

This is just a list of everything I've done, just for my own sake.

  • Week One- An introduction to the area, and I went to the ghetto mall by my hotel.
  • Week Two- The vice-president of my company came, and West Virginia trip.
  • Week Three- My mission call! Memorial Day barbecue, and cleaning the girl scout camp.
  • Week Four- Break the fast at the New Oxford building, then my New York trip!
  • Week Five- Party with Hershey ward ladies, start of my acid degree value testing, Romeo and Juliet in the park, and the Walk for Autism.
  • Week Six- Hershey museum, YSA barbecue in the park, and the DC temple.
  • Week Seven- The infamous rolls incident at Texas Roadhouse, City Island with Ivan, Drive in movie and the beach.
  • Week Eight- Trip to Lancaster County, and Ronnie's house for a pool party.
  • Week Nine- John Bankert's birthday party at Ronnie's, RS swim dessert party, and our overnight Palmyra trip.
  • Week Ten- Making cookie dough brownies with Beth, I gave away a Book of Mormon, and the Philadelphia trip.
  • Week Eleven- Murder in the dark with our super late night, cupcakes with Ethan, and the Gettysburg conference.
  • Week Twelve- Frisbee golf, watching the Olympics, book club pool party, pizza with Beth, and more Olympics.
  • Week Thirteen- Swimming, my family came to visit me, Hershey Park, skydiving, and the Sister Surprise.
  • Week Fourteen- Dinner at Beth's with Ethan, Matt, and Emma, dinner at Ethan's house, my going away swim party, and my flight home!

So this list is kind of crazy. I did a lot of things... A lot. I look back on it and think that it is amazing I fit all of this in. But then, there were some times I was bored and thought about the time I still had left.

All I can say now is that I am so glad for this summer. It was probably the best summer I've ever had. It was so much fun, and I did a lot of things I have wanted to do for awhile. Living in PA has allowed me to do a lot of traveling which is one thing I don't do enough of. It will be interesting at home for the next six weeks without the amount of activities, I will surely get bored. Anyway, that's it!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Week Fourteen

L-R Ethan, Emma, Matt
On Sunday, I gave the Relief Society lesson for my last week. They are just so nice assigning it as my going away present! After a nap, I went to Beth's to make dinner. We were both talking to various friends and decided to invite them over. Ethan, Matt and Emma came over and we had spaghetti. We played Phase 10 and chatted for awhile. Towards the end of the game we were less enthusiastic, nobody knew whose turn it was, and a couple people forgot which phase they were on. The best was when Matt rolled on the ground and said that he forfeited. Luckily we only had one round left and Emma won. We decided that we would hang out until midnight and then make a frosty run. While we waited, we watched youtube videos, especially a lot of Divine Comedy ones. At Wendy’s, we were very disappointed because they ran out of chocolate! How on earth does that happen?

Monday I hung out with Beth. She was sad because she didn’t come the night before for frostys, since it was so late, so I went and got one with her. At least they had chocolate.

On Tuesday, it was my last Institute. It was actually pretty sad because it was also Ivan’s last one as well. He is such a big part of the activities here, it will be quite different without him. There was a group that went to Outback after as a last hurrah. I came a little bit late, and that meant that I got to sit on the outsider table. But it was alright because we had a couple people order their fries which come covered in cheese and bacon, and they were nice enough to share.

Wednesday I went to Ethan’s house and we made dinner—enchiladas and Spanish rice in very huge quantities for his whole family. Then we walked around to work off some of our massive dinner. We made brownies and watched the movie Encino Man.

Thursday was my last day at work. They brought doughnuts in celebration and I got to say goodbye to everyone. After work, I went to Beth’s apartment and we talked for awhile. Then Ethan came, and the three of us headed out to the store to buy food for my going away swim party.  We bought lots of chips, sodas and cookies. We went swimming for a couple hours and generally had a good time. Eventually we got out and talked around the fire pit. There were some funny stories , and we were all laughing. All in all, it was one good last night in Pennsylvania.

On Friday I went to Beth’s house very early in the morning to give back some of her stuff. Then I sat in the airport for a very long time, both before my flight and during my layover. It took longer to fly than it does to drive so that was ridiculous.


Now what? I’m getting ready for my mission, and a couple friends will come see me one weekend! Other than that I don’t have anything else until I go. And this blog will be less exciting for awhile. I may even make a different one for my mission, I'll keep everyone posted if/when that happens.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week Thirteen

Monday I went swimming with Ethan. Then we went to the park. It was one of those awesome old wooden playgrounds that is awesome to climb on (which I did not do). I also got bitten by approximately a million mosquitoes.

Tuesday we went to Texas Roadhouse once again. I sat with Matt, Spencer Giles, and Cassandra. It was very funny because Spencer and Cassandra are really good friends and they told stories from when they were 12 up until now.

On Wednesday, my family came! My family has not taken pictures together in about four years so we were up for a new one. We will only be in Virginia for one day all together so we got some here. As we were leaving, my dad dropped his phone and it broke. Interestingly enough, the nearest AT&T store was two doors over. So we went to look there for a new one. The one he picked was actually out of stock though so they came back another day. We ate dinner at Cracker Barrel. I had some delicious blueberry pancakes with the cutest bottle with my syrup with actual blueberries in it. At my hotel, we went and got in the hot tub, then watched the Olympics.

On Thursday we went to Hershey Park. We went on a few rides, a roller coaster and log flume and ate lunch. After lunch we went to the water park. They have long lines for the lazy river so we waited a bit for that and went around a few times. Then we went on a water slide and into the wave pool. The wave pool was fun, the waves were coming from all directions so it was a pretty good imitation of the beach. At some point there were some threatening clouds in the distance. We waited it out in the pool until it really looked like they might hit. When the thunder and lightning officially hit we had already gotten out and we beat the rush. We wandered around and found one of those shooting games. My car was pretty awful, I got half our score--mine was 72,000, and we lost to the other team. The storm passed and we went back to the water area (nobody else had changed). I went on a wooden roller coaster. We went on the monorail around the park and the town of Hershey. Then we decided to leave. It was also good timing as another storm came rolling in with no plans on stopping. We went to Wendy's for a late dinner then went home and watched the olympics again.

On Friday I went to work while my family went to Lancaster (Amish) County. We had a nice dinner of chicken alfredo, salad with my dressing, vegetables and one of my cheesecakes.

On Saturday my family headed home. After they left I went tandem skydiving!! We had to wait around for awhile though. We had a short lesson and filled out paperwork then up we went to 10,000 feet. Ethan and his instructor, and me and my instructor were crammed into a tiny plane with our pilot and I got to go first! I kind of forgot what they told me to do with all the adrenaline. When I did jump, we flipped head first a couple of times. Then we went into formation with our legs up and arms out as we free fell. It felt so weird, and it was really overwhelming. After a little bit, we let up our smaller parachute to slow us down a little bit. Then our main parachute went up and we were upright. Then we spun around a few times as we came down. I mainly looked out on the area, it was just amazing. When we landed it was like we were sliding into third base. Or well it was supposed to, according to Beth I landed on my knees and was all bunched up. Overall, skydiving was such a strange sensation, my ears hurt like crazy, and my stomach was doing flips, but it was nothing like I had ever felt before and I'm not sure there's anything else like it. The sad thing was how short it was, only a few minutes with just a fraction of that as free falling.

After skydiving we went to a YSA activity, the Sister Surprise. When we got there, all the girls had to wait to be escorted in. Ethan escorted me in, and we sat with some random people. The entire time, we hardly sat down, we were talking with friends at other tables. After dinner, the dance started. The dance was pretty fun, it started with a lady teaching us some salsa, and a couple of other dances. Then we got frostys at Wendy's. This was my last major activity!! This summer is almost over which is both saddening and very exciting!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Week Twelve

Monday I went to the park with Ethan. We played frisbee golf which was fun. There was a random man with a metal detector there, not sure what was up with that. A few holes in, I almost hit a dog with my frisbee, then I cleanly broke off a tree limb and the frisbee kept going which was entertaining. Later, Ethan lost his frisbee in the woods, meaning that I won by default (my favorite way to win). Then we went to the store and got ice cream and different candy and chocolate things to put on top. Mmm.

Wednesday Ethan and I watched the Olympics. I really wanted to watch the women's team gymnastics final so we watched it on DVR from the night before. It was amazing to watch the women's team take gold! We also had watched some synchronized diving and some swimming. In the diving, the Mexicans and Canadians (?) won silver and bronze. They were visibly excited and were hugging and smiling. The Chinese won gold and it was kind of hilarious because the commentator said, "For the Chinese it is business as usual." They were unsmiling and it looked like they just wanted to leave and go home. Seriously? You just won in your event at the Olympics, show some sort of emotion!

Thursday I went to a pool party with Beth. Not many people were there (five total), so that just meant more fabulous dessert for me. Afterwards, I watched more Olympics, specifically the women's individual all around gymnastics final. Gabby Douglas won gold which was really exciting!

Friday I went to Beth's and we made pizza. It was delicious, with pepperoni, spinach, olives and mushrooms. Then we watched Pride and Prejudice, (the Kiera Knightly version) and went to Wendy's for frostys.

Saturday I went shopping for more mission clothes. Then I watched the Olympics for a few hours. After I couldn't take my hotel room for any longer, I went to Ethan's house. We watched the Olympics, (women's trampoline) and played Stratego. Since he had not had nutella in years and wasn't sure if he liked it, I forced him to try some on peanut butter cookies we made. He is now a fan!!

Two month mark for my mission! And two weeks here in PA. So that means you won't get these obnoxiously long posts anymore, not true actually, wait two months!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Week Eleven

Work was more ADV testing. Also, I booked my flight home! It's almost here!

After institute, a group of us played murder in the dark. It's such a fun game but it was not the best. Everyone teamed up, it was in too big of a space (the whole church building), and you could see most of what was going on due to the exit lights. I had fun regardless because I talked to Matt, and Ethan throughout the game. After the game we kept talking and the three of us ended up staying at the church until 2 am. We had some really insightful conversations. We talked about hugging, facial hair, gaming (not that I participated in that area), love, friends, missions and other topics.

Hugging was the major topic of discussion that night. It came up because I said that I do not usually like hugging, and that surprised Ethan. I just like my personal space. I don't like hugging people I don't know very well, and I also don't like hugging people if they hug me awkwardly or if they don’t like hugging themselves. I like to have somewhat of an emotional connection with people; I don’t like giving them out willy-nilly. Then the three of us went about hugging each other which was funny. I don’t want to make anyone think I’m this closed off weirdo, I really do like being touched/hugged by close friends (Boise weekend anyone?)!

Thursday I went to Ethan's house and we made cupcakes. They were chocolate with raspberry filling and chocolate cream cheese frosting. It was impressive baking with someone who actually knows how to do it! I felt that I was even shown up a bit which never happens.

Over the weekend, there was a YSA conference centered around a trip to Gettysburg. On Friday, Beth and I met up and carpooled to Ethan’s house. Then we drove the hour down to a church building down there. We played Apples to Apples for a little while and ate dinner. The mingle game was after dinner and it got us very comfortable with each other. We had six people stand on a towel and we had to flip the towel to the other side without anyone stepping off. I rode piggy-back which was very fun except for thinking I was going to fall on my head when Denay leaned forward to move the towel. We did not end up winning but when we got it, we were able to do it the quickest, at about thirty seconds.

Then we drove to the girls’ camp to drop people off with their stuff (since we were in a fifteen passenger van) before it got too dark. On the road, the guys behind us were pulled over! Sad day. Then we met up at camp to go on a ghost tour in downtown Gettysburg. On the way to our tour, we had to stop at a sobriety check point. Ethan realized he did not have his wallet and license with him. The cops were nice and let us through, probably because we were there with fifteen mormons for a church activity (and “Ethan didn’t fit the profile”). The ghost tour was very fun, Sam was the guide. She worked as a tour guide for these tours for five summers so it was pretty great. We listened to some ghost stories and then walked around to see if we could find anything. We did not unfortunately. Then we headed back through the sobriety check point to get through the camp. We were very nervous if they would let us through again, but they did. Then we headed to the camp, then the church then home. We were supposed to pass through the checkpoint for a third time but instead we took a detour, through Mummasburg Road (yes it is that ridiculous). It was an hour and a half drive back, which started around 1:30 in the morning. We ended up going to bed a little past three.

Saturday morning we woke up at 6:30 to go to the camp. We met up at camp and went to Gettysburg for a tour. While we were waiting, Beth wanted a picture with the three Spencers. The most hilarious part was when Spencer Sundrud (the one on the left) would not hold her up and we got the funniest picture imaginable. I had to tell him that indeed, “You can touch her!” Poor 18 year old boy. Our group was pretty big, we had fifteen or so people and Beverly was our guide. We went to quite a few places including the Virginia monument and then to Little Round Top where we climbed among huge rocks. The soldiers were able to hide among the rocks and could shoot without being seen and shot themselves. Then we went to lunch. Anna, Spencer, Maddi, Ethan and I went to a diner and we all got burgers which were pretty good. We drove back to Gettysburg to look from the observation tower. Those people up there probably though we were crazy, we had a strange conversation (will be up soon).
We drove back to the camp and hung out while people showered. A group coming back from their pioneer trek came through and we cheered them on. Then we went back to the church and ate dinner. I was so tired at that point I forgot what I was doing a lot of the time. I was in the bathroom and told Brooke I would look for Beth. Interestingly enough, Beth was in the bathroom and tried to tell me. Then I got distracted and started playing the piano…? Then we ate dinner outside, potatoes, BBQ chicken, and mac & cheese. We went into the mother’s room to sit down and talk. We then went to the dance and had lots of fun. Ethan and I did some swing dancing, which was very fun (I am for sure taking a dance class when I'm back, I'm so awful!). The dance was fun but we were exhausted! At that point we were up for fifteen or so hours. At ten we left and we went to McDonalds for ice cream. It was absolutely delicious but we were all saying the most ridiculous things, or at least I was. It was one of the best weekends yet and definitely the best YSA conference I've been to.

Also, there were a lot of sassy things I said this weekend, and the things I said making fun of Ethan as well. Those will be up on a separate post soon. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Week Ten

First, I am to 100 posts here on my blog! I can't believe it! I didn't even plan on having a blog, it just happened.

So of the first 100 here are a few of my favorites:

I really just want to go home and get ready for my mission! I have four more weeks of my internship to go. I love the weekends and the fun I'm having but I wish my mission would come faster. Only two and a half months away!

At work one of the best things happened. I talk about my religion with coworkers all the time and today one asked about the Book of Mormon. After talking for awhile he decided he wants to read it!! It just made me so happy. So Friday I gave him one and I marked some specific things for him. I am looking forward to hearing what he has to say.

Beth and I made brownies this week with cookie dough on top.... They were so good. I guess that is one good thing about not having an oven, I don't make baked goods often. Yes this is good for some reasons, we ate half the pan in one sitting (bleh), so it's good that hasn't happened multiple times this summer.

There was more thrift shopping this week! A few shirts and a couple skirts. I also found this huge dress that I'm going to turn into a skirt. That's one good thing about my 6 weeks at home before my mission, I'll be able to sew some skirts to wear.

I got a haircut this week. No picture specifically, just check out the ones from Philly. Guess what? I'm going to donate my hair again (I did my senior year of HS)! I know its counter-intuitive to cut some off if I'm growing it out but it really does make sense. It will grow faster because it is healthier and I want my hair to look nice until that time comes. I'm thinking sometime early next year in CA I'll cut it, so it will be shorter for summertime (wow that is thinking really far ahead).

Saturday the YSAs went to Philadelphia to visit all the historical sites. Beth and I started at the Liberty Bell with a group. During our wait, Beth and I got out of line to take pictures with Independence Hall behind us. We did get some good pictures but our group went into the building and then went on without us. We got back in line and waited to see the Liberty Bell. I learned about the history of the crack. There was a small crack they tried to fix but they accidentally made it bigger. At that point it was unable to make noise anymore and was more of a symbol of independence than anything else.

After that, Beth, Patrick and I went to one of the parks in the city. There are five parks, one on each corner and one in the middle. We went to the one that contained the tomb of the unknown soldier. We then walked down one of the streets and caught up with another YSA group. We all headed to get lunch, Philly Cheesesteaks! It was good and I was starving at that point.

 The three of us then separated again and we went to the portrait gallery. On our way there we took pictures of us imitating statues. I have been doing that since 2008, it is definitely one way to make the historical things more personal, imitate history! There were lots of portraits and people to read about. I took pictures of Beth with Andrew Jackson, and they are really funny to look through.

Then we went to Independence Hall. They have Washington's chair, everything else is a replica. This is where the Declaration of Independence was signed. It is strange to realize that our country is only 236 years old. We are a baby country but we have had much success because it was founded by many who were inspired by God. We had great potential from the beginning and have been able to excel with God overseeing our growth. One of the last things we did was visit the building where both Adams and Washington were inaugrated (I can't remember its name). Then we saw Benjamin Franklin's grave and we went home. I learned so much and we didn't even do everything! I'll just have to visit some other time in the future!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Passing Notes

I have a couple of notes from Sundays past. This first one is from high school, possibly when I was a sophomore, from me to Anna. Also take note that Brother Milton looked exactly like Peter Parker and we often referred to him as Brother Spiderman.

Brother Milton came and tried to give something to Tyler but he wasn't there. Chris (Tyler's brother) said he would give it to him but Brother Milton didn't "trust" him. Then Chris said that Spiderman is all about trust so he gave Chris a bag of M&M's for Tyler. 

In case you didn't know (shame on you), the quote referred to is "With great power comes great responsibility."

Secondly, a note back and forth to Kara during our freshman year.

Dear Laura,
Love, Kara

Dear Kara,
You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you'll find, you get what you need.
Love, Laura

Dear Laura,
I love that song... (some other stuff)
Love, Kara

Dear Kara,
I am glad you knew which song I was talking about. It is a very good song indeed, although not as cool as that nap song.
Love, Laura

Dear Laura,
I think my favorite is the don't bite your friends song. It's ridiculously funny. Why would anyone not bite their friends?
Love, Kara

Dear Kara,
That is a good point, whenever I become friends with someone I bite them to show my affection, MY VAMPIRE AFFECTION.
Love, Laura

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Week Nine

Work: On Monday I had to call companies to get help with using their products. I was transferred a zillion times, because they couldn't get me to the right person on the first try. Then more testing this week.

Went to Ronnie's for a birthday party. Chase was there and he is quite the entertainer once he starts on his stories. One time he took eight melatonin to help him sleep. Apparently one wasn't strong enough for him? He slept for a day and a half straight. There was a piano there so I played some Phantom of the Opera songs. I haven't played for awhile so I was really excited and spent a good 30 minutes to myself.

Thursday was our Relief Society's dessert and swim party. Beth and I made a strawberry kiwi tart. There was also a contest for the best dessert and sadly ours didn't even come close. Ours was pretty average, crescent roll dough with yogurt, strawberries and kiwi topping it. There were some delicious tasting things that also looked impressive. Maybe if I had my usual stash of baking supplies I could have done something amazing but we didn't really try too hard.

One of my coworkers keeps giving me things to entertain me. A month ago he gave me a book by Stephen King called The StandIt is the original, uncut edition which is a whopping 1141 pages. This version has 500 more pages than the first edition of the book. I wish he had given me that version, this one is a monster! He gave it to me right after I finished The Count of Monte Cristo which is also a long book so I didn't want another long book in a row. Although it is interesting, it is not something I would pick for myself. His writing is very violent and gruesome which I don't appreciate but I'm stuck reading it out of politeness. This week the same coworker gave me all three seasons of Arrested Development. I don't know when I will have time to watch it, I'm too busy doing fun things and getting ready for my mission. It looks hilarious though so at least he gave me something I might like. 
On Friday, Beth and I drove up to Palmyra, New York. I've been before, when I was fifteen, but since it's been a long time I was looking forward to it. We got there about an hour before the pageant. All of the cast walks around to greet people, and to tell people what the pageant is about if they don't know. While we were waiting, one of the actors playing Joseph Smith came by our area so Beth and I got a picture with him! Not too long later, the pageant started. It goes through various stories in the Book of Mormon including Nephi, wicked King Noah and Abinidi, Alma the High Priest, Samuel the Lamanite, the coming of Christ to the Americas, Mormon, Moroni and eventually Joseph Smith and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. It took forever to get out of the parking lot and to get to our hotel. Since it was opening night it was packed and it was standstill traffic trying to leave.

In the bedroom where Joseph saw the angel Moroni.
L-R Amanda, Amy, me and Beth
The next morning we got up and went to some historical sites in Palmyra. First we went to Joseph Smith's home (a replica). It is two floors and very tiny. They had two or three children sleeping on each bed which were about the size of full sized beds. We thought about Joseph seeing the angel Moroni with his brothers in the same room. The spirit must have made sure they were completely out of it. Behind the house, his mother Lucy Mack Smith planted a beautiful garden every year, full of delicious fruits and vegetables. They made the garden look like it would have with her gardening skills. I just wanted to pick some of the broccoli and zucchini and eat it then and there. 

After that, we went to the house Alvin built for his fiancee before he died. It is 85% original which is amazing, and it looked very nice. We got to see a few spots where the plates were hidden in the house. One was under some bricks at the fireplace, another was in a wooden box, and a third was in the bed in between two sleeping girls.
After the tours, we went into the Sacred Grove. This was where Joseph Smith had a vision where he saw Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. They told him that none of the churches on the earth were true. After this vision, he was prepared in order to translate the Book of Mormon, an ancient record of peoples in the Americas. While I was there I felt a connection to Joseph Smith. In a few months I will be a missionary and I will teach the Restoration of the gospel. I will help people discover the truth which they have been looking for, much like Joseph Smith. I am so excited for this opportunity, and I look forward to teaching this story.

 After the grove, we went to the Palmyra temple. It is a very small temple, I was told you can practically see all the way across the building from anywhere inside. We just sat on the grounds and talked, and had some interesting moments. Beth invited everyone to sit on her lap (not all at once) which was really funny. We were comparing how bony everyone's butts were (no mine was not the boniest). Amanda only briefly sat on her lap and Beth said she couldn't judge by that brief encounter. She didn't fully sit on her lap, it was more of a crouch or what Beth called a "butt touch".

After the temple we headed to Nima's pizzaria. Beth said we had to go because it is the best pizza she's ever had. I'm not sure if it was the best pizza ever (I'll have to try a lot more to make a good judgment call ;) ), but it sure was delicious. Also socially awkward moment: Beth and I ate fries left on the table by the people who sat at the table before us. I felt super weird about it, but they were on their own plate and the customers hadn't eaten any of them and we were starving (it was 2:30 at this point). I guess I've done worse things.

Then I headed to the Grandin Building with Jonathon. The building is where the first few thousand copies of the Book of Mormon were printed. We walked through the process of printing and we got to see one of the original copies. The printing took many months to complete. Each page took a long time, each letter was a separate stamp and they had to compile all the stamps together to make words, sentences and paragraphs. This was done for the entire book. Then they had to turn the printed pages into a book by pressing the pages together, binding them, cutting off extra paper, putting a cover on it and engraving the title on the front. It took a lot of work but was well worth it. After that, we headed home. It was quite a long drive, and I passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Movie Scene

After work today I really just felt like sitting by the window to watch the rain while listening to a sad song. So I did. I put Vienna by Billy Joel on repeat and had a pity party. It felt like a scene from a movie. So of course I took a picture.

Things that make me sad lately...

I had a dream about my mission! Except that in it I had forgotten to tell my friends prior to going into the MTC where they could see me one last time. Since I couldn't use my phone it meant I didn't get to see them. Yikes. I was quite upset in my dream, and I woke up freaking out a little. This says one thing, I worry too much. However, maybe I will dream of other more likely problematic scenarios for my mission that I will be able to avoid because I am thinking (dreaming?) ahead. Not likely, and yes self that is a poor excuse for worrying.

Also, I've mentioned that I'll have to bike in California. Apparently my mission president doesn't believe girls should have cars if at all possible. So that's going to be fun. I have this horrible vision similar to a scene from Princess Diaries. In the movie Mia tries to go up this crazy hill in her old convertible and it is too much for her car. She ends up stalled on the side of the road, in the rain then says, while crying, "I am invisible, and I am wet." Well imagine that but me on a bike, unable to get up a hill, crying in the rain. Poor Laura. Let's just hope that doesn't happen.

This new group of friends in PA called me mom on Sunday! For real? I haven't baked anyone food the entire time I've been here. The one time I participate in making baked goods I only put it in the oven and started the timer. Someone checked the brownies and said they were done ten minutes early. I was surprised and said they had awhile left. She put up the "clean fork" to prove it. Well I guess it was clean, except for the chunk of brownie?!? I said that even though I was ten feet away I could see that it definitely was not clean. I didn't mind they were gooey brownies, I actually like gooey brownies better, but I called her out on her lying about the clean fork. It was stupid, but they called me mom. Then yesterday I used the phrase, "you are testing my patience!" Whatever, I already am a mini mom, just my friends/roommates are the kids.

Also mom-like, I now own a sewing machine! My mom bought it for me for $5 at a surplus sale. It's old so it is completely made of metal and built to last. Now I want to get my hands on it to sew my mission skirts!

Back to the regular scheduled posts filled with laughter and excitement.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Week Eight

Work: ADV testing and cheesecakes. That's about it.

Beth and I have worked out a bunch this week. It's been great, I definitely want to be in shape for my mission since I'll bike around California. We've also gotten in the hot tub in my hotel a couple times.

After institute we went to Texas Roadhouse of course. This time I adamantly refused to eat rolls because of the zillion I had last week. I also felt really aggressive, as in I really wanted to kick people, however I did not. Pretty sure that was because Katie had gotten set apart as a missionary and I had received her last text until April 2014!!! I'm not sure why aggression was the emotion that came out but whatevs.

For the fourth of July I went to Lancaster County, PA known for the Amish presence there. Beth and I ate shoofly pie which is made from molasses. It was the second time I've had some and it was delicious. We drove through the country for a few miles just to see the farmland. I was driving pretty slow so I could see the farms and that made people mad so they all passed us. I don't get it, we were in Amish country, why were they in a hurry? The Amish are all about taking things slow and enjoying life. More people need to be less serious and enjoy the little things.

I didn't take many pictures because of the Amish presence, they don't allow pictures of themselves. But there's a picture of me and my pie and then the beautiful farmland.

After visiting Lancaster, we came back to my hotel, and exercised and went in the hot tub. Then I made dinner, pancakes. They were absolutely the worst pancakes I've ever made in my life. The pan would not stay the right temperature and did not cook them evenly. One half of the pancake would burn and the other half wouldn't cook at all. There was only one that remotely looked like a normal pancake. [Sidenote: At the beach, Beth and I had a conversation about men in suits. Mmmmm.] At the beach I promised Beth I would I introduce her to the show Suits. We watched a couple episodes and I remembered why I love it so much. They are just so witty and constantly make me laugh.

Saturday I went thrift shopping at a Salvation Army. I found a couple more skirts for my mission, and I found a blazer and a jacket. Then I went to Ronnie's house for a party. We watched She's the Man then we got in the pool. As soon as we got in, it started thundering, lightning and raining. So we got out, well all of us except for the 18 and 19 year old boys. Oh boys (this is where I roll my eyes). After like fifteen minutes it was clear enough that I got in, and soon after the rest of the people joined us. The pool was nice and warm. In the middle of it somewhere, a war started up. Ethan teamed up with me and we were against Ivan and John. We just hit each other with beach balls and pool toys until I decided to get out. Then we played Girl Talk which was hilarious since we were playing with more guys than girls. It is one of those games meant for teenage girls and all their girlfriends. One person gets asked a really girly question and everyone guesses their response. If you guess right, you draw a card which has a boy on it and you have to collect all the boys!! Doesn't that sound exciting? Well guess who won? Me! I was just lucky. After that we played Dance Central 2 (which is majorly ghetto) and when Ethan and I complained enough, they switched it to Just Dance 3 (which is not ghetto). Basically I rocked those games. I even got 5 stars on one of the dances which proves how much I rocked it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Week Seven

I'm at the halfway point of my internship! At this point, I have something planned just about every weekend so it will probably go by pretty quick!

Work: more chemistry. I have done it 4 of the 5 days this week. Friday I worked on cheesecakes and while they're a little better they still taste gross.

After institute we went to Texas Roadhouse again as a group. There were something like thirteen of us so we were in two different tables across from each other. I sat next to Ivan and he knows I like their rolls so initially he put one on my plate. It was nice, then every time they brought more he would put one on my plate with more of the cinnamon butter. After about four it became not nice, because I did not want anymore but I ate it because it was there. I ended up eating six rolls. One of the guys there, Chase, told some crazy stories and they all started with, "And so I was naked." They were really funny but I think he's scarred me for life. I don't think I'll be able to look at him the same.

Thursday I went to City Island with Ivan. He brought me more rolls from Texas Roadhouse before we left. I have eaten way too many this week now. Then we went to Jimmy John's, which was delicious. At City Island we walked a bridge and looked out onto the Susquehanna River. There were a bunch of random shacks on the side of the river for decoration, like a fake drink shop, schoolhouse and more. Then we went to play mini-golf next to the water, such a pretty view. Mini-golf was pretty fun, I did pretty good at the beginning where I only took a couple of shots to make it. Halfway through I stopped caring as much and did pretty bad. I just started hitting hard and did not aim.

Friday I went to a Drive in movie. We got pizza and drinks beforehand at a shopping center. We were waiting for the pizza and saw this kid limping around with a bloody nose, holding onto his friend who was laughing. There are not any clinics over there so we had no idea where they were going. The few stores included the Verizon store, Great Clips and Chinese food. None of those made sense, so strange. The drive in started pretty late, maybe close to nine so it was dark enough. We watched Brave, the new Pixar/Disney movie. Towards the end of the movie it started to rain so we headed into the cars. Luckily with the rain it was nice and cool, much better than the 90 degree weather plus 100% humidity.

Saturday we went to Ocean's City, Maryland to the beach. It was just lovely. The waves were kind of small early on but towards the end, with the tide, they actually were strong and knocked me over a few times. I stayed out in the water for quite a few hours with a small break in between to reapply sunscreen. The reapplication did not work completely since I sunburned my face and shoulders. It was nice to just stay in the ocean for those few hours, talking and jumping in the waves with my friends. Afterwards, we got pizza at a restaurant on the boardwalk. The boardwalk was super crowded, so many people walked by, and there were tons of restaurants jam packed in as close as they could get. On the boardwalk, I watched some people flying kites which was really cool.

Favorite picture of Beth ever. It took way too long to get a picture where we were both in the air so this was what we ended up with.

The drive back to PA was very exciting. We drove a fifteen passenger van so that all eleven of us could fit in one car. Ethan, and Ivan were in the front with Beth and me right behind them.  It all started when some girl decided to pass us, much to our dismay. Someone suggested we play leap frog and get in front of her, so we did. Then we went into a no passing zone so the poor girl had to follow, so we went slower (the speed limit). She had to follow us for quite awhile before she could pass us. Somewhere in there, Ronnie looked back and said, "But she is hot!!" It was hilarious but I'm still not really sure why he said it. After the leap frog incident, I was really giggly (sounds familiar) so I decided we should share funny stories. Ivan and I were able to keep them coming but Ethan and Beth could only come up with a couple each. My favorite was Ivan unknowingly taking Midol and feeling amazing afterwards. During our drive, What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction came on. Beth and I noticed that Ethan and Ivan both flipped their hair when they sing "The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed." They were even inadvertently synchronized. We just laughed and let it happen a couple times before telling them.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Week Six

Wow it's already been six weeks! I'm writing less (or so I hope) because my work life is getting less exciting and because I bet nobody reads these whole things.

Work: I'm doing Acid Degree Value testing. I hopefully will get it down a lot better. It involves extracting the fat and then doing a titration. I have had a lot of issues with the buret I'm using. Good equipment is a necessity! I'll work on my cheesecakes at some point this summer. I will have something presentable by August or so I hope.

Beth and I went to Hershey, PA which is like 15 minutes away. Beth and I went to the museum and then to ice cream and one of the rides. Ice cream was ridiculous. We didn't realize how much they were giving us and we got a lot. Beth's came first and the immediate thought for both of us was that we should have shared. After awhile, I just couldn't eat any more. Beth suggested that I drink it and because I'm crazy I did. I am really giggly and giddy like a little girl when I'm with Beth. I was laughing the whole time so I'm not sure how I managed to drink any of the ice cream sloop without spilling it.

A couple weeks back I brought in apples because my coworkers decided they wanted to take advantage of my hotel breakfast. They keep joking I need to bring in other things so I brought in dish soap for the lab.

Anyone who has dined at my apartment knows Anna and I use garlic or garlic powder a lot and love garlic flavored things. Awhile ago I moved the decimal place over in one of my dressings so I added 2% garlic powder instead of .2%. It turned out pretty nasty.

Studying Spanish for my mission. One flashcard set I found online has "la música de Justin Bieber" on there. I was so confused why, but whatever, hilarious.

I quit facebook for a second time... I'm not sure for how long though. I think I really could go awhile, maybe the rest of the summer. I guess we'll see what I want to do. My quitting honestly went like this: "Self, it's 11 at night. Why are you on facebook? Get off, in fact you should quit so you don't get on late again."

There were a couple of long car rides this weekend. Friday we went to a picnic in the park but sadly very few people came. Later one of the guys sprained his ankle and was too stressed to drive. Beth and I volunteered to drive his car back with me following. In the middle of the drive we hit a huge storm. He lives about an hour away so we had to take the free way and just go slowly so we wouldn't hit anyone. I drove with my hazards on going 35mph, and even with my wipers up the entire way it wasn't enough. One thing about me is that I don't like driving unless I have to, so this was quite interesting. I've never been in a storm that bad but as long as I went slow it wasn't awful.

Saturday Beth and I went to the temple. On our way there we went to... Cafe Rio! It was delicious, I just love that there is one in DC. We even saw sister missionaries there which made me laugh. That was one of our whims, we were on the way then decided to go so we had to call my mom to get the address. As I went in to do baptisms I saw familiar faces, Sarah Andrew's parents! They went with the YSA branch, but Sarah wasn't there which made me sad. This same exact thing happened last summer so it was a funny coincidence. After baptisms I went to the visitor's center to wait for Beth. I ended up reading some of the Book of Mormon in Spanish. I was surprised, I remember a lot of Spanish from high school when I see it which is good news. I'll just have to learn to speak it better, since I can't say exactly what I want to yet, plus I need to relearn conjugating... that makes my brain hurt.

We took a detour to a creepy mall to get Chic-fil-a. We were driving when Beth said she wanted their lemonade so I found one on her GPS. When we got there, we were confused as we didn't realize it was in a mall. It had few store entrances on the outside and we were so confused whether it was open or not. Beth wanted to just drive home but I was bound and determined to get food there since we came out for it. It was less creepy inside the mall though so the delicious food was worth it.

Notice in the picture the creepy man reflected in the glass. It really was creepy.

It seems like whenever Beth and I drive anywhere with food nobody eats the food at the party so we eat like half of whatever we brought in the car. It happened with chips and cookies a few weeks back, this week it was lemon cookies!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Insert Something Witty about Movies Here

I’m not sure how many of my friends know this, but I love ridiculous movies, like really bad ridiculous movies. I'm talking about the ones that come on Disney channel, ABC Family or Hallmark. They are ridiculously implausible and the story lines are usually not well written but that being said, it’s what makes them hilarious. Other movies that go to the theaters can make it into this category as well, such as the Twilight movies.

Last summer, I was home and so some of my time I spent watching movies or TV shows on our TV. We have this capability called On Demand where many channels put shows or movies up so the users can watch them anytime. This enabled me to watch a lot of ABC Family movies.

Anna and I found one that has celebrities in it but before they were well known. The show was called Crimes of Fashion and it starred Kaley Cuoco and the villain was Megan Fox. The premise was about a girl played by Kaley who was going to fashion school when her grandfather, that she never knew, died. He left her the family business which turns out to be the mafia, making her the mob boss. The entire school finds out from a tabloid about her new job. The students and teachers are terrified of her which is hilarious because she never would hurt anyone and doesn't want to be a mob boss. One young cop follows her around the school, pretending to be a student, so he can find out about her nonexistent evil schemes. Of course, they end up falling in love. She ends up turning one of their fronts around so it becomes a legal business which happens to manufacture clothes, a perfect outlet for her. She finds out the villain (Megan Fox) has been stealing designs from one of the workers at the clothing factory and thus she is expelled. She even gets the rival mob boss to confess that he committed tax fraud while she is wearing a microphone, so her cop boyfriend arrests him. Then it turns out her grandfather isn’t dead, he was one of the mob members helping her all along. He just wanted her to help him turn around the mafia and he wanted to get to know her. Then they lived happily ever after. As you can tell, the plot is really out there but it is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever watched.

Another movie we watched had the awfully hilarious concept working perfectly although quite on accident. Two summers ago, Anna, Brett, Kara and I watched The Last Song with Miley Cyrus (yes don’t judge). We started the movie and it began really intense. There was a fire going and someone was coughing from the ash and soot. Since Nicholas Sparks wrote the book, we knew that someone was going to die tragically like in all his books (The Notebook, A Walk to Remember etc.). The coughing signaled to us that it would be that character. Suddenly the movie went all weird and jumped around. We took it out of the DVD player and cleaned it. When we put it back in, it started somewhere else. We realized that we had just watched the climax of the movie but we had no idea the lead up to that part. Everyone was highly confused and we started guessing ridiculous ways of how everything tied together. It’s already hilarious to watch a movie with that group of people, but the more outrageous than usual comments made it even better. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Week Five

New York!

Work was really busy. I had to pull a ton of samples from storage, move them to smaller containers and then ship them. One sample request had nine samples that each weighed five pounds.
Beth invited me to a party of some ladies in her last ward. There is a medical school around here and one of the girls finished her third year and took a crazy hard exam, so we celebrated. The ladies there were really hilarious. So here's a couple conversation topics.
Two knew each other from BYU-ID (one is married and one is not) and they kept bringing up people from their old ward. They mentioned a guy who owns a pork bbq place in Portland (they joked it should be named Pork in Portland or Porkland). They decided the girl should date him, because this group is apparently into matchmaking. Later I mentioned I was 21, and one of the ladies said her son is my age and a recent RM. They all gasped and looked at me excitedly. That's just a super awkward position to be in. At least I had a response ready, I mentioned my mission call, which is in fact a great way to ward off boys (although I already do that on my own).
We talked about smart phones because one of the ladies got a new phone. Her son was the one who just got off a mission, and he needed a smart phone so she got the one he had before his mission. I thought that was a little strange but apparently she hadn't updated her phone since 2003. She was so mad her family made her update it because she was convinced it was much better than any other phone out there. The other ladies were trying to console her, telling her it was time for her to get a new one, it was hilarious.

I got my cheesecake stuff ready to go! I'm starting on that first thing tomorrow!
Institute was fun, nothing too exciting. There's a mission prep class starting next week, so that will be good.

I started my cheesecakes! The normal version was delicious but the two I made with a concentrate were nasty. Luckily I was not using a recipe I made up so nobody could blame me! I'll have to tweak them a lot to get them right.
I haven't thoroughly explained what the concentrates are used for so I'll explain now. We take a regular product like salad dressing or cheesecake and make up a control. The control is the typical version of that product. My job is to add in our super concentrated cheeses to replace some of the actual cheese in the product since it is expensive. The companies are able to fill in the difference with cheaper ingredients like water, or oil. The end result should hopefully taste exactly the same as the control so you can't tell there is a difference in anything: taste, color, texture etc.

I started some testing of our enzyme modified products, the technical name is the Acid Degree Value test. Basically I spend time extracting the fat, then I take the fat and add some alcohol and do a titration. I never thought I would need to do one outside of chemistry class but here I am.

Today was a very slow day. I ended up doing the test from yesterday again. I had help from the chemist in our office yesterday so today I tried it on my own. I am not so good at it but I think I just need more practice. My data was at least reasonable, even though it wasn't what we got yesterday. I'll probably do it again next week and see if I can get it down.
Beth and I went to see Romeo and Juliet for free outside in a park. It was really fun. We brought chipotle and sat on a blanket. I only got one mosquito bite!

I went to a Walk for Autism in the morning with Beth. It was really fun. There was a raffle so we got tickets and put them into the Kindle Fire drawing. There were booths advertising services. We happened to know the guy doing massages so we got some for free. It was so nice to get a professional massage! The DJ put on Boyfriend by Justin Bieber because a little girl requested it. There was a boy over by us who ran off screaming "NOOO!!!" the second it started. It was hilarious!!
After the walk we went and saw The Hunger Games in the discount theater. This was the second time I saw it and I thought it was great. I even cried when Rue died... again.

Friday, June 15, 2012

New York, New York!

This past weekend I went to visit the lovely Sarah Anderson in New York City. I'm kind of assuming that whoever is reading this is my friend on facebook, so I'm not reposting pictures, so follow along there.

I got on a 9 am train and got to NYC at noon. It was perfect timing. Sarah got off work at her internship for lunch to pick me up from Penn station. The day before they were busy with dinner, a show and taking care of ambassadors from other countries. It meant they let her have the rest of the day off so we could spend time together! We took the subway back to her office, (which is in the same building as the temple) and went to EuroPan in the same building for lunch. We both ordered the same thing: tomato, basil and some type of cheese (goat possibly?) paninis. It was super filling and delicious. We even ate them in Central Park which was so pretty! Then we walked back and put my stuff down in her office so I wouldn't have to lug it around all day.

We went to Broadway and looked for a show to see that night. We picked a new show called It's Nice Work If You Can Get It which stars Matthew Broderick. We spent a few hours in Times Square. We went to the huge Toys R Us. Inside we looked at the huge candies in the Wonka section, we walked through the Barbie Dream House and watched the huge ferris wheel. We went in the Disney store, which was really cool, there's a lot of Brave stuff there. We stopped for drinks at McDonald's since it was pretty hot out. I got a frozen strawberry lemonade, and we talked for awhile. Next we went to the M&M store and the Hershey's store. All of the stores have so much merchandise, and I'm not even sure who buys it all! Some are geared to really specific people and for really ridiculous prices. We passed a few sites on the way back to Sarah's office to get our stuff. We passed Rockefeller Plaza, Trump Tower, the Lego store and we went through Central Park again. We grabbed leftovers from the dinner her office hosted the night before. We ate on a random area of grass. It was cool that we were in the middle of the city, surrounded by buildings.

We went to our show and it was great! It was about prohibition and thus one of the main characters was a bootlegger. We honestly had no idea what it was about when we picked it but it ended up being a good one! The music was written by the Gershwins and it was actually all old music compiled into a musical. We had to run out as soon as it ended so we could catch our train onto Long Island. However, we did not count on getting caught in a crowd because of.... Ricky Martin?! He's starring in Evita at the moment and apparently he has a ton of fans. All of Times Square was packed with fans screaming for him. I thought he was cool in the 90's but I thought most people were over him, but not so. We missed our train so we tried to wait around for Matthew Broderick and the rest of the cast from our show. We waited for half an hour or so but nobody recognizable came out so we decided to leave so we would at least make the next train. We think a few drunk men tried to follow us on the subway going to our train, but we changed compartments and got off. Interesting stuff, that doesn't happen so much in Provo!

Sarah had a dentist appointment so I slept in! We went into the city around eleven and started at the Natural History Museum. We basically toured the whole building which was so cool! They have areas for each part of the world and they showed how the early civilizations lived. One of the cooler areas contained a ton of dinosaur bones. They were really huge and cool. One of our favorites of the ancient animals was the turtle because it looked like it was grinning. We spent quite a few hours here, then we went and ate salad in front of the building. There was a super funny baby across from us that was excited to be surrounded with so many interesting things. Any new noise he heard, he would look at it and smile or try and reach for it.

We walked to Shake Shack, which is a famous fast food restaurant only found in NYC. According to Sarah, it is mentioned or seen within a bunch of movies, so that's pretty awesome. Then we went to Central Park again. We saw Belvedere Castle which is in the middle of the park. I went up to the top area and looked out  at the city while Sarah got directions to our next place. While walking around the park, we saw two couples taking wedding pictures. What a gorgeous place to take them! We walked to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We didn't have as much time so we walked through only a few sections. We started in the Greek section, looked at some European Victorian era things, Christian art, the Egyptian section, and some American art.

The plan was to go to the Wicked and Godspell lotteries to see if we could get tickets for either. Sarah had done them both before and knew we needed cash, which she didn't have. We tried to look for an ATM everywhere but we couldn't find the right bank. We ended up going into Staples so she could buy something with her debit card and get cash back. We then ran to the subway and from the subway ran to the right street off Broadway to get in the lottery. The drawing is usually at 6 on the dot, and we put our names in two minutes before that. We didn't have to wait long before they started calling names. Sarah's was the second one called. We were stunned, she's tried at the lottery about five times with a bunch of people and nobody has ever been called. We were shocked beyond belief when mine was the third name called. Our cards must have been stuck together on top, that's the only explanation I can think of. Each card gets up to two tickets so we had four tickets between the two of us. None of her family or friends could come, so we didn't know what to do. Other people noticed our situation and tried to get our attention so we would give them our extras. Too many people were involved and it was way too overwhelming so we ended up putting it back into the lottery, which was the best way to do it anyway.

There was two hours to go before our show so we got dinner. The entire time we were just amazed how lucky we were that we got in and on a Saturday! There was about 80 people there and maybe 30 tickets so only about fifteen names were called. We were so shocked we both got called, the chances of it happening were so slim. We made our way back to the theater after dinner. When the ushers pointed us to our seats we were even more shocked. We were on the front row! What?!? It was all too exciting, I was highly overwhelmed. It was exciting enough I was seeing Wicked on Broadway, but the front row?! We sat next to a couple and they were the ones who got our extra tickets, so their gratefulness made it even better. They agreed that they were also lucky, so we were all just starstruck and amazed altogether. I about cried when the curtain came up. It was so amazing. After the show Sarah and I grabbed dessert and got on the subway and train to her house.

Church was at one so Sarah, Galena (the other intern at Sarah's office) and I chilled for awhile at Sarah's house. Then the three of us took the train in and ate lunch at her office. We went to a YSA ward in the building the Manhattan temple is in. It was great to be with people my age again! Sometimes I just miss the BYU atmosphere where all my neighbors go to my ward and I know everyone. It sure is different in a family ward, where I have to drive to meet friends and go to activities. After church, I had an hour where Sarah, Galena and I talked and said goodbye before I got on my train.

It was such an exhausting weekend and I was so sad to leave New York! I really did make the most of my weekend though, I wouldn't change a thing!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Week Four

Are you tired of these weekly things? They're really long but if people read them I'll keep writing!

I went to BtheF (break the fast), and it was about an hour away. There were some crazy hills on the way there and it was raining so it made for an interesting drive. We didn't even stay that long but the chicken was delicious and worth it.

I crunched lots of numbers today to see the money saved on my dressings. It saves a lot but I kind of want to do more with it to save more money.
I made a blue cheese concentrate today, it smelled really strong. In case you don't know, cheddar cheese is dyed orange. I had to add some dye to the velveeta type cheese on Friday. Well today I found some of the dye on the counter... whoops! Luckily it cleaned up pretty easily.
I finished reading The Count of Monte Cristo for the second time! It's definitely one of my favorite books, unabridged of course. It only took me three weeks. The last time I took close to three months. Crazy.

I made a cream cheese concentrate today and it was so thick it would not heat up. I spent all morning standing over it and then left to do other things, even then it took forever.
Institute was pretty fun we started going over talks from the last general conference. Afterwards we went to Texas Road House. So delicious. It was 9 at night so I just got some fries and of course a few rolls with cinnamon butter. We talked about missions which was awesome. It was me and five rm's (only one girl) which was an interesting ratio. It meant they all told me stories from their missions. I couldn't tell if they were trying to scare me or get excite me though... They started off telling me their horror stories and stated mine wouldn't be as bad as theirs, just different. That was... encouraging? There was some good advice in there though. The girl, Liz I think, said that if you are called you have the ability to get through it period. That means there is no need to worry or fear which is good advice for a worrier like me.

Talked about religion with a co-worker. It was such a good conversation. He made the comment that he wished other religions had missions like we do. He specifically wishes that for the guys it would be expected to go on a long term service mission just so more people in the world would have an understanding of their place in the world in relation to other people. It's all about service, it really is.
Beth and I went out to get ice cream again. This time we went to Wendy's and I got a frosty and fries. Love that place.

My coworker who is leaving showed me how to use the salt analyzer. I got the salt concentrations for all of the samples from the week then took their pH. Exciting stuff. I made a really stinky blue cheese concentrate it was ridiculous how bad the room smelled.
I am packing for my next trip... New York!!! I'm taking a train tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to it!

New York trip, separate post coming!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Post-Provo and Pre-Mission

Warning: This post may be a little scatter brained and it's a little lengthy.

This past semester I realized so many things. There are endless possibilities for life and so many things can be worked into the timeline of life. I think that some people get caught up in deciding between one thing or another that they don't realize everything can fit together and they can do it all. Also a lot of people just dream of the day when they are not in the situations they are in at the moment. Both of these ideas work against people. They don't do as much as they can and want to be elsewhere in their life.

To a small extent, I was in that place, but realizing some things, I was able to put my life in perspective. I can do much and I can have purpose in my current life so that I will be happy exactly where I am in life. The average life expectancy is 78 years old. Comparatively, a year and a half is a minuscule amount to fully give to the Lord. I'll be in California during my early twenties, some of the most exciting years of life, but does it really matter what I'll miss out on? It will be time well spent and will be exciting for its own reasons.

I have some amazing friends (you all know who you are, but just in case you don't, I have a few pictures). These friends really helped me with realizing all of this.

To quote Princess Diaries, "And then I realized how many stupid times a day I use the word 'I.' And probably all I ever do is think about myself. And how lame is that when there's like seven billion other people out there on the planet... But then I thought, if I cared about the other seven billion out there, instead of just me, that's probably a much better use of my time."

There are so many selfish things you can do with your time. Instead of thinking of yourself, you can think about the people around you and their needs. One of my friends, Anna, is an amazing example to me. She was one of the people who drove me places while my car was broken and is probably the most optimistic person I know. She always gives complements, telling people that they are rockstars and that she is lucky to know them. She drove one of our friends, Jordan, to take a test and then picked him up after and bought him a frosty! We laughed about how funny it was, he said, "I should be buying her the frosty for driving me around!" How much better of a friend can you have? From her I just see that if you are radiating as much happiness as she is, the only thing more you can do is share it.

Some of my other friends, specifically those who got off their own missions within the past year, have made me want to grow spiritually. When we went to Idaho as a group, Dustin and Nathan went to talk to one of their leaders who had gone inactive while they were away. They didn't even have to think two seconds about it, duty called and they stepped up. I've had conversations with Jordan, Dustin, and Nathan about missions and all that comes with it. They had such great experiences they wouldn't give up for anything. To hear them talk with reverence about the things they did and taught, made me want to have that as well.

In order to share and better myself, I am going on a mission. What better thing could I be doing than helping other people, by leading them to Christ while I grow spiritually? I don't think there is anything better. Looking back at the past few years, I'm sad I didn't realize this before. I always thought I would decide when the time came, but I realize the decision could have been made earlier. My freshman roommates almost all wanted to go, and everyone who wanted to is (minus one who is married). I am kicking myself because I could have gone along with them and decided the same from their awesome examples. However, my decision to go means a lot since I came to it on my own terms and I am grateful I did make that choice. I'm so glad I've had strong friends to influence me over the past few years. Everyone has made a world of difference to me.

Now if you're still reading, wow. That must mean you're either a really good friend or family and I am appreciative for both, so thank you. You guys are the best!