This is the cutest dress I have ever seen in my whole entire life. Basically. Unfortunately, even if I could feel justified in spending 117.99 on a dress I have never actually seen on my body... it is out of stock. And has been for the last month. *Sigh.*
Yesterday I moved into my new home - the white house. (And we would all like to thank Chris L. for donating a fun fact booklet about the presidents in honor of our new presidential-sounding home). Many people have laughed at the white house because it is old and a little worn down. I will certainly confess that it isn't perfect. Yes, I found a dead bee in my bed. Yes, our kitchen is the most vibrant shade of kelly green you've ever seen. Yes, the boys who lived here last left a thick layer of grime on everything.
But despite it's imperfections and chipped paint, I think this is going to be my favorite place that I have lived to date. Because I am obsessed with lists, I am going to list all the things I love about my new home!
*The little nook my bed is in. I have put a tension rod with an orange curtain in the nook so I can have my own private little area. *The room I share with Laura has two little nooks so we can each have lights on and not disturb the other one's sleep *The desk is huge! I have plenty of space to scrapbook without getting on Laura's side *The kelly green kitchen actually ended up being really cute once we added some shelves, pictures, and curtains. *I love having to work on the house and figure out what we want. The living room still has a ways to go, but it is so fun to pick out exactly what we want (as long as it is under $20) to beautify our home. *I love all the space we have! It is so nice to be in this house and know that I am free to be in any part. It is nice to walk up a staircase to get to my room. It is nice to not live my life from a hallway. *I love the "home-y" feeling of going through the back door instead of the front. *I love eating in a room separate from the kitchen. *I love seeing my piano against the staircase. *I love that I can live here and stay in my ward. :) *I love my roomies. I don't really know one of the girls yet, but I met her for a second today and she seemed to be really great. I know first impressions aren't always accurate, but she seems awesome. Haha.
I had a few doubts about moving here (mainly the moving process... there is nothing I hate more than packing! Except maybe bananas...) But there is enough storage and I am enjoying the little challenges of working out the space and decorating. I think I am going to love my summer in the white house!
This is a brick wall. This is what I feel like I am running up against right now.
Tomorrow is my birthday and the last day of finals. It should be a great day. My mom and dad will be in town and they are taking me to Terra Mia (which is just like the pizza I had in France, and I am presuming authentic Italian as well. At least that is what Scott says). There is a big mystery package on my bed waiting for me to open. Not to mention being done with this semester - as interesting as my classes have been, I'm definitely over them.
However, before I can do any of that, I have to take my physiology final at 7 am. I have studied for 10 hours today (and 2 last night), written down about 20 pages of notes from the powerpoints, and repeated hormones over and over in my head. I still don't feel like I'm ready! Every time I try to write down a pathway from memory, I can't think of anything but how many things I should be remembering. Hopefully the multiple choice will jog my memory a little. I'm going to take a break, read through those 20 pages again, and then go to bed, stumble to the JFSB and take that sucker. Then I have a dance test and unpacking... but at least I will be free from the stress of taking this final. I want to get an A!! but if it ends up being a B or B+ life will go on. I just wish I could skip the next 12 hours so I could be done!!
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to do something that (perhaps nerdily) has always been on my bucket list. I went fencing! With swords! Scott's roommate from freshman year got together a big group of people and we went to a little place in Orem. We had to wear those white jackets that zip up in the back (and the girls got to wear big plastic chest protectors too... that was a little awkward) and those black mask things. It was the perfect way to release finals angst. Even though Scott's arms are so long that he could stab me at leisure. I know we make fun of the medieval club at BYU, but seriously, sword-fighting is awesome. Everyone should try it at least once.
We had another one of our epic crepe nights last night. Thanks to Lisa for putting everything together. Sometimes you never realize how much you miss people until you see them again. I stole this from Lauren ;)(And I stole this idea from Lauren... here are some favorite pictures of France from other people's facebooks because my computer is still dead dead dead.)
And we now interrupt Lorren's studying for the bioethics exam with a few philosophical musings of her own...
I have been thinking the past few days about "the ideal." I have in my mind what would be the best, most enjoyable version of life. I'm not thinking so much about the things that you do but just the feeling of happiness that you get from life. (This is probably not going to make a lot of sense, because I have been in the library for the last seven hours and my brain has become incoherent in all things except bioethics and statistics. Those I've got for the next 24 hours until I regurgitate them onto the scantron. OK, end of brief aside). Anyway, I have had that feeling of perfection a handful of times (usually in the summer). I have seen what looks like the personification of that perfection in pictures of my friends. I have felt it in retrograde - maybe I didn't feel it at the time, but when I look back I feel it (think Jamie Cullum - "When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life, I see so much magic though I missed it at the time"). Sometimes I feel sad that I can't hang onto that feeling all the time. It makes me feel kind of depressed, like I am failing and if I could just try a little to hang on to those moments, I would be living in this perfect life. I know cognitively that isn't true, but sometimes my heart hopes for it a little bit. Anyway the point of all this is that I'm realizing it isn't true. Just like the best people have days where they can be total jerks, the best lives have imperfect moments. It isn't about having those moments all the time, it's about recognizing them when they come.
* Take a midterm for cell bio * Get TA help on my take home final for cell bio * Turn in my cell bio final * Go out to dinner with Grandpa and Grandma Hinckley * Make a whirlwind appearance at the ward social * Go to work
I have failed miserably at being healthy the last few days. Would you like to hear what I had for dinner today?
2 trefoil girl scout cookies 2 do-si-do girl scout cookies 2 tim-tams cookie dough 2 slices Sara Lee Delightful Low-Calorie Bread 1/3 can cooked chicken 1/6 package of cream cheese (with the chicken) Glass of milk
As Scott so aptly put it yesterday, "You have whatever you're studying." Diseases, that is. I have always been a little bit of a hypochondriac and taking physiology and behavioral neuroscience at the same time haven't helped any. The last several weeks/months, I have been feeling really dehydrated, tired, short of breath, and also gaining weight despite eating more healthily. We have been learning about diabetes in physiology, which has really been freaking me out.
However, I learned a really cool fact about diabetes yesterday. So, type II diabetes is a problem because usually when you eat glucose, insulin basically hits a button on the cell that allows openings for the glucose to go inside and be used as energy. However, with diabetes II, the insulin can hit the button all it wants, but it won't stimulate those openings for the glucose to come. So that glucose is just floating around the cell, causing problems, while you continue to crave it because your body can't use it. However, exercising opens the glucose channels without the help of glucose, which is why it is recommended for people who have diabetes or are prone to diabetes.
So, it is my goal to exercise at least 5 times a week from now on. I don't think that I have diabetes yet, but I think that I am definitely at risk, considering the way my body is behaving. I would hate to have cardiovascular disease when I am older because I was too irresponsible or lazy to take care of myself.
I worked out last night and felt so good when I woke up in the morning. Hooray for exercising!
Ok, I know I am not the world's most outdoorsy person. I have always loved staying inside and reading a book or playing the piano. My skin turns to a fried crisp within 5 minutes of going out into the sun. I am not a fast runner or strong at all... doing curls with 8 lb. weights just about kills me. But for some reason, lately all I want to do is go disappear in a forest or something. I keep seeing photos of my friends hiking mountains and jumping in waterfalls and camping and I have to say, I am getting tired of my life being contained within four buildings (the HBLL, the MARB, Jenny's house, and my apartment at the Elms). I want to wear Chacos and hike things. Too bad Sam's in the MTC, she would indulge in this crazy whim with me. Also too bad that I need to be at this computer right now, making sure I get stats done by midnight. But I can feel a summer of no makeup and grunginess coming on. I've never wanted to get outside so much in my life!
The last few weeks, I have attempted to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This is more surprising to people who know me well. As a child, I was required to eat one carrot and one orange slice a day. If forced to eat more than this, I would usually throw up. I hate bananas more than anything on this earth. (If you want to hear a really gross story, ask me about how I now know that I think bananas are grosser than poop). My list of vegetables I enjoy is very short: peas, carrots, and spinach. The list of fruit isn't much better: oranges, grapefruit, berries, and grapes (if I'm really in the mood). So how have I managed to even attempt this goal? While I admit I haven't been perfect, I have found some secrets that have helped make eating healthy more tolerable (and even enjoyable).
Fruits: *I discovered many variations on the common orange. Blood oranges and Cara Cara oranges are a little more expensive, but they are sweeter than navel oranges and also just a bit of a change. Clementines are definitely my favorite citrus-y alternative, although they are getting more difficult to find as they are becoming out of season. I have also enjoyed Minneola tangerines - they are so juicy! I was opening one in class and, I kid you not, a steady, forceful stream of tangerine juice hit my friend Kyle in the face. I had to forfeit a slice of the tangerine to obtain forgiveness. * I saw a girl in my Neuro class eating a grapefruit like you would eat an orange. I tried this. Unfortunately, I thought it was really nasty. However, you might like it - go ahead and try it! * If you get berries out of season or berries that don't taste amazing, a little Cool Whip goes a long way. As long as you keep it under a few tablespoons, you aren't consuming too many extra calories, and it helps out with overly tart berries. Just be careful because it does contain a lot of fat.
Vegetables: * The little autistic boy I work with is on a very strict diet and eats a lot of healthy foods, so I experimented with something his mom makes for him - pureed cauliflower with spaghetti sauce. I also put grated cheese on top. This was admittedly not my favorite - the cauliflower taste was still really, really strong. However, Scott told me his mom put Velveeta cheese on cauliflower. I think next time I am going to boil cauliflower and just pour Velveeta sauce over it. We'll see how it goes * Edamame is a life saver. It is delicious, cheap, and very easy to prepare. It is a great snack food. I put a little sea salt on it, which helps satisfy salty cravings. * At Macey's I found packs of four individually bagged servings of baby carrots for only $1.39. This is great if I have forgotten to get all my servings or will be on campus all day. Also, each bag is only 25 calories but takes a very long time for me to finish. I am munching on it usually at least 30 minutes. Very good for satisfying hunger pangs. * Spinach salads are always great and if you get a sweet dressing like Litehouse Blueberry Pomegranate or Litehouse Honey Dijon, you can satisfy the cravings for sweet. I like to eat salad at the end of my meal so I can have "dessert." I also like to put feta cheese on it and hard boiled eggs when I don't have time to cook chicken. * I love peas and they are great filler food. I just use freezer peas (canned peas have a gross aftertaste) and put some salt on them. * I have bought some freezer green beans but haven't brought myself to eat them yet... however, I think I am going to get some onions next time I go to the store and saute them and then combine them with the green beans and parmesan cheese. It sounds yummy to me! * 1/2 cup of Ragu spaghetti sauce is more than a full serving of veggies! This is so easy to eat. You can put it on pasta, other vegetables, crackers, make pizzas on quesadillas or bagels... definitely my favorite way to "cheat." * I love chili, so getting a more vegetable heavy chili definitely helped me grab an extra serving. * This isn't the world's greatest option, but salsa also supplies some veggies. Pita chips or crackers are a little healthier than tortilla chips. I don't really like chunky salsa (although I've gotten better about it) so I look for smooth varieties... or if you make your own, you can do it in a blender. * Cutting carrots in half and frying them in a pan on the stove in butter tastes surprisingly like sweet potato fries. Another "cheater" option but it is healthier than the real thing.
Anyway, I have lost two pounds since I started eating more vegetables! And whether or not it is psychological, I feel much better after I eat - none of that bogged down, too-full to move feeling. I don't LOOOOOVE vegetables yet, but I am proud to announce that over half of my grocery list involves fruits and veggies, and I hope to grow to love them more. :)
It is shocking to me how catty girls can still be to each other. I can't believe that 10 years after those angsty, pubescent days of middle school, we, now adult women, still have the need to belittle each other behind our backs. Does it really feel that good to "vent" our annoyances about others constantly? Is it really that big a deal if so and so "borrowed" your laundry money, your favorite pants, or your bread? Sure it's rude to take advantage of someone, and sure it's frustrating. No one likes to be taken advantage of, and most people don't like drama. But I think so often we are so busy complaining about how we've been wrong, we don't notice the hurt we are inflicting. Everyone has annoying habits, including the person complaining. But we all hope to be loved or at least treated with respect despite our imperfections. If a habit or event actually is a problem, it should be between the offender and the offendee and dealt with in an upfront manner, instead of talking about it to everyone except the person who has offended you.
In every apartment I've lived in, to some extent there has been the roommate that everyone else loves to hate on. Sometimes it's been me, sometimes it's been someone else, and unfortunately, I have to admit that sometimes I've been the one venting. But being exposed to it today helped me to realize that the most Christ-like thing to do is to try and understand the person who is driving you crazy and have charity for them. At the very least, keep your negative comments to yourself and discuss any problems with the person who is causing them. I want to apologize to anyone who has had to listen to me gossip or complain about someone in the past. I am making the goal today that I will not speak negatively or critically about other people to build myself up or "vent" my emotions. There is a difference between expressing frustration and trying to solve a problem and just attacking someone over and over again. We are counseled to try and have unity in our homes, and while we remain unmarried, our apartments are our "home away from home." This kind of action brings only division. If you ever hear me criticizing needlessly, please call me on it so I can apologize to you for making you listen to poisonous things.
I am sitting on the fourth floor of the good old HBLL in the Asian section. There is a little group of kindergarteners on a field trip doing a scavenger hunt. There are some random Asian artifact type things that are actually pretty cool, but have more or less become background to me because I study here every day. One group of little kids came right up next to me to this model of a Chinese house that is covered with really ornate gold decorations and one of the kids said, "It's like a miracle!" They were so entranced with these objects. Nearby there is carved wooden table and this little girl was just tracing over the carvings with her finger. (Like little kids ever obey the signs saying "Do Not Touch.") I was just reminded how beautiful things seem when you are a kid and everything is new. I think I should try to remember what it feels like to see everything for the first time and appreciate the beauty of what I see every day. :)
For most of my teenage life I have always had a boy I was interested in. Even when I wasn't dating someone, I usually primarily hung out with "the guys." My best friend is a boy. I liked boys because they were not jealous or catty or gossipy - they were interested in having fun and having good conversations about life, not about who was dating who.
However, over the last six months or so I have realized how important it is to have girl friends. Maybe this is kind of a silly thing to think about. But I really am starting to realize how much women need each other and can support each other in ways that relationships with men can't. I have had the opportunity the last couple of semesters to live with women who are very strong and are really good examples to me, and have always been completely supportive, even when they didn't know me very well yet. I have developed some really strong friendships through visiting teaching, and we are still close now, even though that particular calling has ended. I went to an old roommate's wedding on Thursday and had the time of my life not because some guy asked for my number or asked me to dance but because I got to have the first good talk with my former roommate in months. After having lunch with my sister and her best friend today, I feel completely rejuvenated and ready to face all the crazy things that are coming at me this semester.
So my conclusion? Well, I am dating someone who is in my opinion one of the best guys I know. It is a really good relationship. However, no matter how good that relationship is, I still need to spend time with my girls and develop those strong friendships. Balance is everything. :)
During the winter break, I watched a weird movie called The Jane Austen Book Club. I didn't love the movie too much, but it reminded me of a conversation I have had with my roommates. Most girls love Pride and Prejudice (if you don't, I'm sorry for stereotyping you) and I'm sure we are not the only ones who have tried to analyze which Jane Austen character we are most like. Maureen was classified as Jane, Katie was classified as Mr. Darcy (I still don't actually understand that one), but I was having a hard time figuring out who I was, when my friend Logan (a closet Austen fan) told me I was Marianne from Sense and Sensibility. I loved hearing this because Sense and Sensibility is my favorite Austen book and movie, and Marianne is my favorite character. However, I didn't think much beyond that until I was driving home tonight thinking about different relationships I have had. Like Marianne, I used to think the more angst and pain you went through for a relationship, the better. It had to be romantic and crazy, throwing all other aspects of your life out of the picture while you were consumed with this crazy emotion. I had a few relationships like that and they ended in disaster, with our feelings for each other getting burned out pretty quickly while schoolwork and other friendships suffered. However, at the end of Sense and Sensibility, Marianne learns that she doesn't need to be losing her mind to be truly in love. There is a time and season to everything and it is important to be balanced in order to find lasting happiness. I think I am working on learning that lesson right now. Sometimes it would be nice to throw caution to the wind and be irresponsible and crazy, but indulging in that kind of behavior will only cause problems in the end, while being aware of the timing and appropriateness of everything will build a strong and lasting relationship.