Saturday, November 26, 2011

Count your blessings instead of sheep

Bing is oh-so-wise. These past few weeks I've been overwhelmed by how blessed I am. And considering the season, I'd say a cheesy, gratitude blog entry is definitely in order.

1. I have wonderful parents! I've been working on my semester project for my Doctrine and Covenants class this week; I wrote a 3500 word paper about Diana Baumrind's prototypical parenting styles--permissive, authoritarian, and authoritative--and comparing them to the advice we receive from Heavenly Father and our church leaders. Turns out, Baumrind is right on target when she discusses the importance of balancing limitations with autonomy and love. And, as it also turns out, my parents were right on target while raising me!

2. The beautiful Rebecca threw a surprise birthday party for me a few weekends ago, and it was so wonderful! I didn't expect a thing; it took me completely by surprise! She had some delicious BYU mint brownies and ice cream waiting, along with 20 or so of my favorite people! And, as if that wasn't enough, the next day she made a seven-layer cake for the cousins and us. What a sweetheart, right?

3. My parents and Granny bought me a new Kindle Fire for my birthday! It is pretty much the coolest thing I own. I've downloaded so many books already (all the free classics, of course) that chances are I'll never finish all of them! I have all of the Jane Austen novels, some Dickens, Shakespeare, Vanity Fair, Walt Whitman, Crime and Punishment, Elizabeth Gaskell, plenty of P.G. Wodehouse, Les Miserables, to name a few. I'm still finding my way through all the ins and outs of this high-tech gadget, but honestly, the biggest challenge will be deciding what to read first!

4. I spent the last few days in a lovely, homey condo in Park City with the cousins (pictures to come later). We had a peaceful Thanksgiving and even made our own traditional turkey dinner! Yes, that's right. Five college students cooked a complete, delicious Thanksgiving meal without any causing any national disasters... unless you count starting a fire in the oven. But don't worry, we just let it burn out and carried on with the cooking! We wouldn't let something so trivial as open flame keep us from food. What did we do for 2 days, apart from cooking? Well, we may or may not have watched the entire (extended edition) Lord of the Rings series while knitting scarves. It's definitely a possibility.

5. Last Friday, Dustin and I went to dinner at Tucanos so that I could use my birthday coupon. It was absolutely delicious. But that's not even the best part. As we walked out of the restaurant, we saw a crowd gathered around a gazebo in the middle of the square watching someone play the most magnificent piano I've ever seen. We decided to see what was going on and get this: JON SCHMIDT. Yes, that's right. We stumbled upon a free Jon Schmidt concert. He played all of his classics: "All of Me," "Waterfall." Then he did some upside down playing and some fun, jazzy Christmas carols. His beautiful music, combine with an abundance of Christmas lights and lightly falling snow... Well honestly, it couldn't get much more magical.

6. Last Thursday, Rebecca, Allison, Nikki, and I went to see BYU's theater production of my favorite Christmas movie of all time: White Christmas. It was absolutely fantastic. When they invited the audience to sing along with them at the end, I was on the verge of tears. I may have actually shed a tear or two when it started snowing on stage, it was too dark to tell. (In case you can't tell, I have this unpreventable emotional reaction whenever I see snow; I think it's a sort of medical condition.)

I'll leave you with a song from one of my new favorite artists. Her name is Camille, and she's a French singer with such a unique, interesting sound. Here's her song "Quand je marche."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

An angel in Romania

My friend (and future roommate! She'll be moving in when Rebecca goes off to Jerusalem) has been in Romania for the past few months working in an orphanage. I perused her blog today and, let me tell you, the tears flowed as I read about her experiences with the children there. She is the most loving person I know, and I am in awe of her beautiful testimony. If you need to be uplifted, read this blog. But beware; you might find yourself filled with a sudden desire to drop everything and change the world.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Plaid Sisterhood

A few weekends ago, we headed up Provo Canyon to take some roommate pictures. Naturally, we needed some sort of cute, cheesy theme, so we went with plaid. It's always a blast to spend time with these beautiful girls! I am so blessed to have such wonderful roommates. Here are some of the best shots:



Friday, November 4, 2011

It's a small world after all, and it's freaking me out.

So I spent this past weekend in Idaho (more about that later) and while I was there I met a girl who is roommates with someone I met at EFY four years ago, who also happened to be in my cousin's home ward.

I went to a party a few weeks ago where I met a guy who knew someone from my home stake. He served a mission in her ward after she had moved to Pennsylvania.

I'm a TA for my French professor's sister.

A guy who served a mission in my singles branch a couple summers ago was in a student ward at Utah State with my roommate's brother.

Seriously, if Mormons are involved, that whole six degrees of separation thing goes down to four. If you go to BYU or know someone who lives in Provo, it's three degrees. This is my third year in Provo, and I'm still not over it.

On a completely different note, I just found out that my favorite artist of all time, Edgar Degas, has an exhibit RIGHT NOW in Washington D.C. I am desperate to go. DESPERATE.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Graphite Powder Power, Graphite Powder Power

One of my favorite projects from my Intro to Drawing class was our graphite powder picture. I'd never heard of graphite powder before this semester, and although it's difficult to get the hang of, I really enjoyed working with it! Here's how you do it:

Choose a subject. 

You'll need graphite powder...

...and a foam brush.

Sprinkle the graphite powder onto the paper and brush it around until you have a smooth surface.

You might have to do this several times to achieve the smoothness and blackness you want. Note: don't do this in your bedroom. Apparently, it's just not a good idea.

Pick out the darkest spots and use your finger to smudge more graphite powder into those areas (the shadow of the shell). Find the lightest parts of the subject and use your eraser to pull out the color.

It takes a while before you feel like you've made any progress, so don't give up!
Keep in mind, my art skill is minimal! This blog post is mostly a demonstration for my mom, not a demonstration of my (exceptionally limited) graphite powder prowess.

Also, anyone who understood the excessively obscure reference in the title of this post gets a cookie.
Don't get it? Don't be ashamed.
Just educate yourself.

See between 2:48 and 2:54.

Second Star to the Right, and Straight on til Morning

Dressing up is more fun when you do it with friends.

Nathan (as it's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring), Brooke (as a mermaid), Rebecca (as Peter), Dustin (as Captain Hook), me (as Tiger Lily), and Tessa (as trusty Smee).

"Peter Pan... mighty warrior... save Tiger Lily... make big chief... heap glad." 

Captain Hook: You wouldn't do ol' Hook in now, would you, lad? I'll go away forever. I'll do anything you say.
Peter Pan:Well, all right... if you... say you're a codfish.
Captain Hook: [gulps] I'm a codfish.
Peter Pan: Louder!
Captain Hook: [wailing] I'M A CODFISH! 

Our two beautiful Disney princesses: Belle and Ariel

I found him!

To the Dark Lord, I know I will be dead long before you read this but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more. R.A.B.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sometimes I'm selfish.

Today was my turn to bring treats to the Stance editing meeting, so I decided to be really crafty and try out this new cake-mix cookie recipe. Granted, the recipe only has 3 ingredients, so I wasn't THAT crafty. But the results are pretty yummy! 

And by "pretty yummy" I mean... well, yummy enough that I've decided to NOT take them to the meeting. I'll buy some Oreos on the way up to campus. Yes, selfish. But honestly, my fellow editors won't even know what they're missing! So I only feel a little guilty.

Mmmm. Just ate another cookie. Guilt gone.

In other news, BYU football is back on its feet! Riley Nelson, with whom I've had a special connection for several years now, has been starting and playing brilliantly! His passes are impressively accurate and if there isn't an open receiver, he can run with the best of 'em!

Our poor, old apartment has been going through some trials lately, bless its heart. First, our toilet can't decide if it wants to work or not. Second, our bathroom sink's plug is stuck down, so it takes about a million years (rough estimate) to empty. Third, our oven has had such difficulty turning on that we finally had to let it go. (On a side note, our management here is the greatest! Once they found out that it wasn't working, they replaced it within the week!) Fourth, our kitchen sink. That sink. On Cleaning Check Eve, it got completely clogged and started filling up with all sorts of lovely remnants from our garbage disposal. I won't go into any more detail. I try to keep this blog classy (hence the picture of the plunger). Fortunately, Spencer and Dustin came to the rescue and, by their powers combined, drained and unclogged that sad, strange little sink (name that movie). The clogging culprit (among other things)?

Yes. A butter knife.

The girliest, giggliest of my adventures this semester took place in (considering I live in Provo, this will not come as a surprise to you) Alyse's Bridal Store. My dear, darling roommate Tessa (the brunette in the green jacket) is engaged to be married! So we went on a store-wide search for the perfect dress. Let me tell you, she looked like a princess in every dress she tried on. I am so excited to see which dress she will choose!

Well, it's about time to trek back up to campus. I'll leave you with this song:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why I shouldn't read novels during the semester

 I am a binge reader. I think it might be unhealthy. Once I start a book, I simply cannot put it down, regardless of the amount of French homework or Syntax studying I may or may not have. What book stole my heart this time? The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I downed that beautiful piece of literary loving in little over 24 hours, shirking most other responsibilities during that time. I am particularly obsessed with any book whose main character is obsessed with books. I think this is why I loved this book and The Book Thief so much. TGLaPPPS is a collection of correspondence between some of the most lovable characters I've ever encountered. It takes place soon after World War II (I seem to have a thing for WWII novels) in England and the Guernsey Islands.

There they are, right near the French coast. I want them to be mine. Because of TGLaPPPS, The Channel Islands have now passed Greece on my List of Places I Currently Love from Afar but WILL Someday Explore or So Help Me. (Sometimes when I title things, I find it difficult to decide which words to capitalize. I also find it difficult to be brief, especially when the thing to be titled is of great importance.)

Once again, I can't stop thinking about how much I want to start writing again. Not boring research writing. Not even let-me-tell-the-world-about-my-life writing. Real, fictional, straight-from-my-brain-to-the-page writing. This is why I am awake at 1 in the morning. I tried to go to sleep for about 5 minutes before I realized how fruitless my endeavors would be. I want to write, but I can't think of anything to write about.

So for now, I'll just keep writing about my life. Hopefully I'll eventually have some sort of epiphany and a genius story idea will just fall down from heaven and hit me in the head.

On another note, I received this email from Grandpa today:

Just a short note to my beautiful oldest grand daughter – I love you!   Your grand Mothers ( Kate. Margie, and Lois)  love you and think you are kinda special-don’t know why-but they all agree--so there you are Katie Love!!!  You are special and loved… Talked with Heavenly Father lately?  You also have a beautiful mom and sisters. Loveyou Katie!!           -Granddad

I can't even express to you how blessed I feel! Unsolicited love notes from one of my heroes and favorite people ever? Beautifully constructed novels that leave me desperate for more? An afternoon nap on our comfy couch? Leftover chocolate pudding pie for dessert? Lovely sunshine all day followed by sweet-smelling, summer rain to lull me to sleep? Honestly, could life get much better?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Song for Athene

There is a special place in my heart for Song for Athene. It's hauntingly beautiful and it's one of those songs that is so calming that I can clearly feel my pulse drop while I'm listening to it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kid History. Also, my new favorite word.

 I cannot express how much I love these videos.

"Girls are mermaids. Some boys are mermaids too."

"I'll go get my bag!"

And now for my new favorite word:
Shibboleth /shɪ bo lɛth/ noun: any distinguishing practice that is indicative of one's social or regional origin. It is most often used by language snobs to describe a word or grammatical structure that separates the uneducated from the educated. (Ain't is the classic example.)

The thing that I love the most about this word is how it originated! The modern use of this word comes from a story in chapter 12 in Judges. As usual, the Gileadites and the Ephraimites were at war with each other and, at one point, the Gileadites had blocked off the passage that led to Jordan. The Ephraimites frequently attempted to sneak through their blockade, so the Gileadites devised an ingenious plan. 

5. And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;
6. Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.

Basically, since the Ephraimites didn't have the 'sh' sound in their language, they were unable to pronounce Shibboleth the same way the Gileadites could, marking them as having a different social and regional origin. It would be like a French person asking me to make the nasalized 'r' sound, or an American asking a Japanese speaker to differentiate between the words rice and lice. Isn't language cool? Every day I sit in my Usage class and my Syntax class and I think to myself, "There is nowhere else I'd rather be." Honestly, once you find something you're passionate about, it is so easy to love learning!

I was going to call this entry Climb Every Mountain, but I realized that I used that entry title two years ago.

I am beyond tired! But the wonderful thing about it is that it is NOT from doing schoolwork. No sir. This semester has been easier than any semester at college ever. So far. And that probably just jinxed it. Anyways, it is an hour past the time I was planning on getting to sleep tonight, so I won't write much. But here are some pictures of one awesome thing I did this week:


Trent, Mister-expert-rock-climber-man, took Sarah, Rebecca, Dustin, and me up to Rock Canyon on Saturday and we tackled a pretty intense cliff, if I do say so myself!

I even helped belay!

Despite the soreness in our forearms, we had a blast! I am so blessed to be in such a beautiful place with such wonderful friends!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Life is Delish

My life has been so jam-packed full of wonderful, fantastic, how-great-it-is-to-be-alive moments recently that I just can't get over it! Here are just a few reasons why:

1. Firstly, check out that gorgeous Utah sky. We have had perfect weather the past few weeks and I am loving it!

2. I've started working at the Stance for the Family student journal as an assistant editor. It's never too early to start getting experience, and my experience so far has been great! Everyone is very friendly and I love reading through submissions and giving them the yea or nay.

3. Love packages. Honestly, I have the best mom in the whole entire world. In addition to three new DVDs (including a version of Emma I've never seen before, which, if you know me, is a HUGE surprise), she sent us some of the most delicious, moist chocolate pound cake I've ever eaten. Seriously. It will bring you to tears. I would let you try some, but let's be real. I'm not letting this stuff go!

4. Jimmer returned to BYU! He, Emery, and several NBA rookies came to the Marriott Center for a special game, and it was the greatest, chillest (most chill?) game I've ever been to in that building! All of the players were laid back and friendly; we could tell that they were having fun, which made us have even more fun. Jimmer made some fantastic shots, as expected, and all of the other players had some great baskets too! They were pulling all sorts of moves and making all sorts of dunks, the likes of which have never been displayed in the Marriott Center before! It was a great opportunity to see Jimmer play one more time before his debut for the Kings.

5. I found a recipe for Scottish oatcakes online! So I will definitely be making those sometime very soon.

I'll end with this treasure, courtesy of Hugh Laurie:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Drew's mission call, amongst other things

Good news. I've started doing really nerdy things that make me think I've finally found the right major. When writing the title for this blog entry, I referred to my handy-dandy (is that usually hyphenated? I don't know, but I sure like the look of it, so it's staying) Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage to determine whether or not amongst is acceptable in that context. Good news. It is.

Do you want even more good news? Okay, here it is. Cousin Drew opened his mission call last night and got called to the Spain Malaga mission! He reports to the MTC on January 4th and will spend the next two years serving the Lord and the Spanish.

Drew is going to be a great missionary and will definitely win over the people of Malaga with that killer smile!

In other news, we got another couch! And let me tell you, I had the most wonderful nap on this couch the other day. It is soft and bouncy and, most importantly, NOT ugly gray-brown.

Doesn't that look like the homey-est living room you've ever seen? 

I will leave you with my new favorite poem by Maya Angelou. I love her attitude in the face of adversity, and every time I read this, I decide to up the sassiness and to rise in spite of my problems.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise. 

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday night and the lights are low...

Because I'm watching Princess Diaries. By myself. On a Friday night. And get this... I don't even mind that I have no social life! I'm  perfectly content with spending a weekend with Mia, Queen Clarisse, and Mr. Robutusen. I have definitely changed since freshman year. And that's probably a good thing.

On another note, I would like to take a moment to thank my mother. It is ridiculously hard to come up with dinner every night. This is only night two and I'm already stumped. And it's 11 pm. And I still haven't eaten anything except for Nilla Wafers that supposedly expired in February... Well, that's my report for the day. I think I will go to bed now, lulled to sleep by loud boys playing in the pool right outside my window. I'm pretty sure one of them stepped right out from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Or at least, his facial hair stepped right out, assuming facial hair has the ability to walk. But that's a whole other discussion that I'm not quite tired enough to delve into. Good night!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hello, Provo

What I did today:

1. Woke up in the morning (feelin' like P. Diddy).

2. Ate 2 of Sarah's Eggo Waffles. They were delicious.

3. Went with Aunt Lanae, Jesse, and Rebecca to our storage unit and retrieved our belongings.

4. Brought said belongings back to our apartment and unpacked them.

5. Put huge amounts of clothing that I never wear into suitcases to keep in the closet under the stairs. If I don't need them at all this semester, they're headed to D.I.!

6. Put up my beautiful pictures on my desk. This is my favorite part of my room. It makes me so happy to have all these pictures of my wonderful friends and family smiling at me all the time!

7. Went to Smith's and spent more than I care to admit on groceries.

8. Organized, rearranged, and discarded objects of varied degrees of importance.

9. Had a delicious spaghetti dinner courtesy of the lovely Sarah.

10. Went to the Creamery and enjoyed Earnestly Chocolate Ice Cream. It has chocolate caramel cups, caramel swirls, and marshmallow swirls; it tastes like a little slice of heaven.

I should really stop being so lazy and writing everything in list form. I also should really take a shower. But that doesn't mean I will...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

7 Ingredients for a Good Day

1. I got a raise! Yes, that's right. I'm going to be a TA for Professor Oaks again this semester and I'm now earning 50 cents more. Ka-ching!

2. I watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire while packing. Two of my favorite things at the same time!

3. We had a tiny earthquake! Granted, I was in the blue car at the time and didn't even feel it. (Those who have ridden in the blue car can attest to the fact that every time you turn that baby on you experience an earthquake that's at least a 6 on the Richter Scale.) But it was still exciting!

4. I finished all my laundry, cleaned my room, watered the shrubs, and sorted through old papers. Cleaning always makes me feel better. It's therapeutic.

5. I enjoyed a Chocolate Chiller from Tropical Smoothie. Need I say more?

6. I purchased a Sharpies 8-pack!

7.  I finally got into VASTU 101! That's the basic drawing class, which is infinitely more exciting than the Personal Finance class I was previously registered for. I dropped that baby like a hot tamale. (Gosh, I hope that sentence never gets taken out of context.)

I'm ready to go back to Utah. I'm not excited to say goodbye to my family, but I am thrilled to be saying hello to dry heat (peace out, humidity!), old friends, new roommates, and those good-grief, oh-my-stars, is-this-real-life, B-E-A-Utiful mountains! Next blog entry will be from Provo, Utah!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Level Up!

Today Rebecca and I were promoted from geocaching noobs to geocaching novices. Be proud. Be very proud. Jesse, our geocaching mentor, has found 32 geocaches (Spell check wants me to change geocaches to stagecoaches. I found that interesting.) so far, so he walked us through our 3 geocaching successes today.

Geocaching is cool because it's an exclusive, secret club that operates right under the noses of ordinary people. It's like the wizarding world. In fact, geocachers call non-geocachers 'muggles.' No joke. Yet another reason why I HAVE to do this more often.

Sometimes when you geocache, you stumble upon exciting other things, like a secret tree house in the middle of the woods, or an elusive turtle. We asked him if he knew where the geocache was, but he wouldn't tell us anything. Thanks for nothing, you useless reptile.

This one was hidden in the bushes!

Silly Katie! You aren't supposed to eat the geocache.

Geocache prizes are way cooler than any kids meal prizes. Except you aren't allowed to keep them...

This one wasn't hidden very well, but I guess the snazzy horse makes up for it.

I can guarantee you that by this time next year, we will have achieved a whole new level of awesomeness, thanks to our past and future geocaching adventures. No geocache in the Provo/Orem area is safe. The cousins are on the prowl!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Deathly Hallows

On my run this morning, I saw this on the sidewalk:

It's just nice to know that someone somewhere speaks my language. It's really tough living amongst muggles all the time, but things like this give me hope.

Also, I saw this video on Youtube today:


Did that or did that not bring tears to your eyes? I think I'm going to watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone tonight. It seems fitting.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Today I may or may not have purchased a wedding dress for a dollar.

"Why?" you may ask. The answer is simple. Rachel and I were at the thrift store and she bought a skirt for $6 and they had a special deal where you can pay $7 to fill a grocery bag with any clothes you want. We decided we might as well fill a bag. So, naturally, we bought the ridiculous-looking, lace-covered wedding dress. I have no idea what we will use it for, but I'm sure we can come up with some incredible Halloween costume or something.

On a completely different note, I've finally finished the Extended Edition Lord of the Rings! Now this might not seem like a big deal to you, but it has been an emotional whirlwind for me. I have laughed, I have cried, I have quoted large segments of the movie from memory, and I have decided that I want to go to New Zealand someday. I started watching them in June and have savored both the films themselves and the six (yes, six) disks of special features. Because of this epic adventure, I have started to mentally categorize people I meet into elf, dwarf, hobbit, man, wizard, and, very occasionally, orc.

And guess what! I learned a new word today:

Abecedarian /eɪ bɪ sɪ dɛr i ən/ adjective: arranged alphabetically; noun: a person who is just learning, a novice. 

Doesn't that word just crack you up! So next time you beat your friend at a game of hangman or your roommate fails her Bio 100 test or your little brother makes a rookie mistake in a heated chess match, just throw the word abecedarian in their faces. It works every time.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hard things.

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about doing hard things. If we're being honest here, and I know this may shock you... I don't always like doing hard things. At this point in my life, I'm having all sorts of tough choices thrown at me, and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming. Today in church, someone read this quote by President Thomas S. Monson:

"Do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle."

We didn't come to this world so that everything could be fine and dandy all the time. We came here so we could have the chance to make tough decisions and change who we are, so why would we want to just get easy tasks? Sometimes I forget that. If we ask for help, we can handle any trial we face and we can be a miracle. I don't always want to do hard things, but I know I can.

Speaking of miracles, I saw this yesterday:

Yeah, I'd say that's a miracle. A delicate, beautiful, living, breathing, flying stained-glass window. Can I get an amen?