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.