Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Dream Wedding

Last night I had the craziest dream. I dreamed that I was getting married. I wore a big, poofy white wedding dress (it didn't look ANYTHING like what I hope for in real life), but it was still kind of pretty. All my sisters and family members were there, and I was excited and stressing and worrying about having everything that I needed (I'm not even sure today what all those "things" were, but I was nevertheless quite stressed about it).
We got to the temple (it wasn't a specific temple, just some random temple), and went into the dressing room when I suddenly realized, I had no idea who I was getting married to! I turned to Mom and said, "Mom, is it normal to forget who you're marrying on your wedding day?" to which she replied, "yes, honey, totally normal." Just as I was leaving the dressing room, on my way to go get married, on my way to find out who I was going to marry– my alarm goes off. I guess I'll never know who I almost married. Bummer.

4 weeks until finals are over. Woah. My first semester at A&M is almost complete. There are certainly times that I feel more stressed and overwhelmed than I probably have at any other time in my life, but even during those times when I have 2 exams coming up and several projects due all at the same time, there is a certain adrenaline rush that I experience that I absolutely LOVE. I love the sense of accomplishment that I get after I've put in several long hours in at the library. I love the quick, frenzied overview of notes before a big test, and then all of the sudden–it's over. Hours of study and stress dissolves after 40 minutes! I don't quite know how to explain it, but suffice it to say, I really like being a college student. I've even had the words "graduate school" enter my mind once or twice this semester...

The job is going alright. Business is slow. The weird part is business is slow everywhere. This is the holidays, don't women want their hair to look good for Christmas pictures? Salons all over College Station are just empty. It's bizarre, and we can't figure out what exactly is causing people to stop getting their hair cut. Ladies, get your hair cut! Every 6 weeks!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A lot of exciting things have taken place in the last couple of weeks! For starters, I got a job. Wahoo! I searched and searched everywhere for something that would work with my school schedule, give me sundays off, weekends off every now and again so I could drive down to Fort Worth, and something that would allow me to earn enough money. That's a long checklist, I know. But I felt confident that because I have a skill that is actually in demand for once in my life, I might have a little more say with potential employers. I had many, many interviews. That is also a first. It used to take me weeks and weeks to get just one interview. And I finally found the right one. I can already tell that this job will test my skills in several different areas (some of them not even hair related), but I am certain that it will be a very good thing in the end.

This week I had my second round of exams. I cried a couple times. Don't worry, it's pretty normal for me to cry during exam week.

I LOVE INSTITUTE. It's the highlight of my week. I attend the writings of Isaiah class on monday afternoons, and the Book of Mormon class on tuesday nights. The institute teachers are amazing. The other day I was studying at the institute building in between classes, and during a quick FB break, I read a post by an old friend who was asking about faith. I wanted to reply with a scripture that I could vaguely hear in my head, but couldn't remember the exact reference. So I went to the one of the institute instructor's office just to see if he could help me out real quick, and I ended up having a good 25 minute chat with him about how to best approach responding to this friend on FaceBook. It was awesome. I probably spend more time at the institute than anywhere else.

I went to the first Midnight Yell a couple weeks ago. It is held at Kyle Field the night before a home game. Students and Alumni come and learn the yells used during the game. There are a lot and I was super confused the whole time, but I had a blast.
Mom and Dad and I went to the game against Ole Miss, and even though my Ags lost, it was so cool finally be in the stadium for a game, listen to the yells, and watch traditions being carried out.

As we were driving down for the game, I kept thinking about how weird it was that I was excited to get back to Aggieland. I had been gone for 11 hours, but I was excited to be back. I like it here. I've made some pretty good friends, and I mean GOOD friends. I'm not saying that I didn't have good friends when I lived in Provo, but I'd say the ratio of good friends to not-so-good friends was very skewed. The sort of things I do with my friends here would be down right mocked by some of my hair school friends. Attending institute weekly, having sunday dinners together and ending the night by watching Mormon Messages, reading the scriptures and having real in depth conversations about the Gospel, that's just not something I ever did with my hair school friends.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Unfortunately I have ZERO pictures this week because I restored my phone to the factory settings versus the "backed up" settings. Whoops.

My grandmother, Nanny, visited Texas last weekend. Her visits are an unusual occurrence, so if she's gonna make the trip, you know it's for something big (wedding, or new baby usually). Well, last weekend, we went to something BIG. Like AT&T stadium big. She took Mom and Dad and me to the UCLA vs. UT game held in Arlington.

Now, I have been known to root for the Longhorns in the past. This was when I was young and ignorant and thought that orange was an appealing color. But now, as a proud member of the fightin' Aggies (WHOOP!), I'm pretty much expected to hate the guts of UT. So of course I rooted for the Bruins. Still, prior to the game, I had no personal reasons to dislike anyone belonging to that school. Well lemme tell ya, I've got a whole list now, and top of that list is the fans. They were SO obnoxious, it was absolutely ridiculous. My poor grandmother got caught sandwiched in a tussle between the row of UT guys in front of us (they were being sorry losers), and the UCLA guys behind us (they were rubbing it in everyone else's faces). There was blame to be had on both sides, but the UT guys were causing trouble from the get-go.

Other than that the game was a blast! The teams were pretty evenly matched so it kept the game suspenseful. I love a good nail biter. Tip to any girl who is interested in going to a game at Cowboys stadium: make sure you leave your purse in the car. That's a whole other story, however...

Mom and I also went to the temple again on saturday. I've only been twice, but I already love it. I want to go every week! Houston temple is closed for maintenance right now and won't reopen for a few more weeks. The closest options then are Dallas and San Antonio, both of which are 3 hours away. I'm super bummed :( I keep telling myself that it's not right to complain when there are others who have to travel hours and hours to get to a Temple. Sometimes they have to cross borders to get there! I only have to drive 3 hours. And I'm staying within my own state.

School this week was good. I have really been enjoying my institute class, and this week I went to two classes. The teachers are amazing. There are also many converts in the singles ward, and they always have such interesting perspectives on the gospel. I love to hear their stories.

I have been pondering "faith" recently. I know that faith is a super basic principle and shouldn't be that hard to understand, but I've always struggled with it. Not so much having faith, but what I can do with it. From what I've read, there are basically two parts to faith. The first part is the one we're all familiar with. It's believing or hoping in something which isn't seen (has no evidence), but nonetheless is true. Easy. Got it. The second one has more to do with the power of faith. Something that actually allows you to perform miracles and things. This one I don't get. We're told that we can do anything as long as we have faith. But if I pray and ask God to give me the ability to fly, will He? Absolutely not. Is this because I have a lack of faith? No, it's because that request is totally unreasonable. However, I have all the faith in the world that He could give me that ability, if He really wanted to. So how do you find that balance between believing something will happen because you asked for it in faith, and understanding that sometimes God has a different idea in mind? All the faith in the world cannot change His plan for us, right?

In several of Boyd. K. Packer's talks he has stated, "fear, is the opposite of faith." I have faith. But I am still afraid that what I ask for will be denied because whatever I'm asking for is not what God intends for me. Do you kinda see what I'm getting at?

I always welcome comments or links to helpful conference addresses ;)




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Very Good Week



Mr. Yates! One of the great friends I made this summer working at Head of Dean. He is among the very small handful of individuals that I know out here in Aggieland, and he has been a tremendous help this first week. I saved a butt-load of cash by not buying books this year, because Yates told me never to bother with them. "The library has everything you need!" And so far, everything has gone super smoothly, and I don't own a single textbook. Also, he let me borrow his $60 iClicker for the whole semester in exchange for a couple haircuts. Boomshakalaka. 

            First week of classes = success. I like all of my classes, except for math. But I knew I'd probably dislike it going into it. My Computer Prof. is hysterical. He's a little older, with a thick Texas accent and a handlebar mustache. He goes off on some rather interesting tangents, and I get the feeling everyone else is either not listening, or annoyed that he's discussing something entirely off topic (today the subjects were Ben Hur, Gilgamesh, and Hollyhocks), but I find it highly entertaining. The work is not the most exciting, so I enjoy having a professor that keeps things a little interesting. 
            I can feel myself being lured into the Anthropology department every time I go to Anthropology class. It's such an interesting subject! But I've been told that the students and faculty in that area of study are a bunch of pretentious snobs, so steer clear! 
            Ecology is... yikes. It's been a while since I've had to memorize that many terms and read that many graphs. I find the content interesting, but the terms and formulas a little overwhelming. Wouldn't it be cool if all general ed classes used the "for dummies" books for their curriculum? 

            Well on Sunday night I did end up going to dinner at that friends house. I met several other people there and had a great time :) on Monday I went to FHE, got assigned a group and met a few more people, also had a great time. Then I got asked by one the ward members I hardly knew if I would take him to WalMart so he could, quote, "get graph paper". I said yes. 

BIG MISTAKE.

            It ended up being an hour long ordeal and I about wanted to throttle him by the end. Oh well, lesson learned. Next time a dude asks me for a ride to WalMart when he has two legs and a perfectly functioning bike, I'm gonna tell him to zip up his man-suit and ride the bike. I just have a really hard time telling people "NO". Maybe I need to zip up MY man-suit... 


            The stars started to align while I was at Philmont this summer. In August, I received a text from Mom that a few girls from our stake had gone through the temple. The church has not made any real statements yet, but young adult women who are interested are being encouraged to go through the temple regardless of whether they are serving a mission or getting married. Hallelujah! For over a year I have felt a strong pull towards the temple. When I would go do baptisms, I always felt like I was missing out on something, like there was more I was supposed to be doing. However, I couldn’t do anything about it because I had no “reason” to! This new change just makes so much sense to me. All those years of Young Women, each Sunday we recite in the theme that we are being prepared to “make and keep sacred covenants” and “receive the ordinances of the temple.” We’ve been preparing our entire lives for this, is there really any reason to wait? There are enough challenges being thrown at young people today that they need the temple just as much as someone preparing for marriage or for a mission needs it.
            Caroline, luckily enough, already had plans to be in Texas the first week of September, and it took little persuading to get Holly down here as well, so plans were made and interviews completed, and I went to the temple with my family on Saturday! I want to roll my eyes at myself for saying this, but the only way to describe the temple is “very special, and very sacred.” Before I went through, I wanted to throttle anyone who said that to me. “Yes, that’s very helpful, now can you give me some REAL answers, please?” But now I understand. And it was, very sacred, and very special. I can't wait to go again :) 


            It was a fun-filled weekend, and I cried when they all left, and I cried when I hugged my parents and then hopped back in my car and started the drive back to College Station. Honestly, it’s a 3-hour drive and I’m doing it again this weekend. I’ll see my parents all the time! But goodbyes are something I just can’t handle. It does not matter how long or short the separation will be, I hate saying goodbye every single time. I’m already counting down the days until all my family comes back to Fort Worth for Thanksgiving.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Catch Up

Well it seems I have a bit of catching up to do on this blog...























I made many good friends this summer. It really was remarkable how well we got along. It didn't take long at all before we felt like family. A few of them even trusted me to cut their hair ;)




I ended the season feeling much more accomplished and happy about some of the things I did out here. I really tried hard to take advantage of the spectacular hikes around me on my days off. I summited two peaks this summer, one of which was a bucket list item, and I visited other camps, and got to know some other staff members. I wanted to learn how to play ultimate frisbee, and I wanted to be decently good by the end of the summer. In almost all of our spare time at HoD, we tossed the disc. And I actually improved by the end of the summer! Enough that I'd like to find a club team to play with down here at A&M.
In other ways, I left Philmont feeling like I hadn't quite done enough. This summer was different from the others in that I had cell phone reception. It was both very helpful, and very distracting. It was helpful when I was waiting to (hopefully) hear from Texas A&M, it was helpful when I was looking for a place to live and I needed to call apartments and offices, and it was helpful when I really needed to talk with Mom and all I had to do was hike up the hill and I'd hear her voice within minutes. It became a distraction when I was anxiously thinking about a boy back home, or when I received news of a loved one going through some tough times. So much of me was rooted in things happening at home, and because I could still be involved through regular communication, a part of my brain could never focus on the work I was doing at Philmont. I delivered good program, I completed my duties as far as being a Program Counselor goes, but I couldn't give that 110%. Most of the summer went like this. Then about halfway through I was able to slap myself a couple times, turn off the cell phone, and things got a little better. One thing is for sure, if I go back next summer, I think I'm leaving my phone at base camp.


Shortly after arriving back home I drove down to A&M for two day orientation. Wow this place is really big, and also kinda weird. No one says "hello" at A&M, they only say "howdy" to which you must promptly reply with another "howdy". Hissing is also a pretty normal thing here, which you do if you dislike something. Never wear burnt orange on campus. You'll probably get hissed at. And also don't walk on the grass surrounding the Ag buildings. Hisssssssssssssss!
So it's official! I'm signed up for 4 classes this semester. Anthropology, Ecology, Math (gag) and a computer class. Classes start tomorrow. On Labor Day. Hiss.......




Here is my lovely apartment bedroom all furnished and decorated. Do the walls look very barren to you? I feel that the place could use a few more posters...



It's a small apartment, but perfect for just two girls. My roommate is a graduate student from the Phillipines. She is accustomed to a warm climate, so naturally, she keeps the apartment at a balmy 85 degrees. But she is very nice, and very helpful, and VERY clean.

Today I went to the Singles Ward prepared, as usual, to HATE MY LIFE during all 3 hours. But this ward will be a good one, I think! Mom, you should be very proud. I introduced myself to several people and I stayed for ONE WHOLE HOUR after church and mingled at the "linger longer". To be truthful, they were offering free food, and that was the main reason I stayed behind. But I did get to meet a few more people. One of them invited me to come to her house for dinner tonight. I think I'm gonna go. Although I have absolutely nothing to bring with me. I resisted buying a box of brownie mix at the store last night and I think I may have made the wrong decision.

After church I went onto campus and I walked through my schedule. Most of the buildings were locked, but I at least know which buildings to go to for most of my classes. I am hoping that I fall in love with this campus someday. Right now it is big and confusing and even more unlikeable when it's 100 degrees out with 67% humidity. I am resisting judgement for the present and I will re-evaluate my feelings towards it come mid-october.

*Save and publish*. This blog is officially caught up :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

May

My, my, how every month seems to just fly by. This month I got to spend time with my whole family. Together. At one time!



We spent Mother's Day weekend in Michigan. Our first day there was a temple day. Everyone (except me, grr) got to do some work for my grandparents. I heard that it was quite special and a very happy experience for everyone. No, of course I'm not jealous or anything... ;P I did get to join a youth group that came in to do baptisms, so that was nice. I was glad I could contribute in some way!

Caroline and David performed a special musical number during sacrament meeting the next day, and they did wonderfully :) It was fun having all the family spilled over 2 rows at church. Our family just keeps growing!


That evening we spent time lounging around outside next to the fire pit, enjoying s'mores and good company :)







On the way to the temple on the first day we passed by this huge church. It looked just like an old English cathedral (not that I've ever seen one, which I reminded my mom of several times while we were inside). We knew we absolutely had to go tour it on Monday. So Monday was our girls day out! We toured the church, did a little shopping, had Italian for lunch, and finished it up with some ice cream. We had a blast!

When I was younger, Caroline used to put together "Silly Sister Dates". For our first ever "date", I remember that she made a sparkly, homemade invitation, structured like a poem, describing what our date would consist of. We would often go to the dollar movies, or ice skating, or just out to get snow cones. Our last silly sister date was to the nail salon, the day before Caroline's wedding. Spending the weekend with my sisters felt just like another silly sister date :)


Monday night we also celebrated Andi's 4th birthday. She was SO happy when she blew out those candles. That girl cracks me up. She's very spirited, and she's very girly. She loves all things pink and glittery, and she spent quite a bit of time downstairs with me watching me do my hair in the morning. Also, she sticks her tongue out and spits quite forcefully when she is angry. First time I saw her do it, it added a whole new meaning to the phrase "spit-fire mad".


I didn't have my phone out quick enough, but just before I snapped this photo, Peter had been hugging little Henry. It was an adorable sight.

So Dad sold the silver beetle, the car I had been using, earlier this month. And while we were in Michigan, he happened find a replacement! It really was a good thing, because the next day, all the flights went down the toilet, and we relied on that car to get us home. Road trip, wahoo! We drove all day Tuesday, and that evening, Dad dropped Mom and I off at the St. Louis airport, and we managed to catch a flight out.

This week I am gathering all of my supplies and packing for Philmont. I'll be working at a challenge course camp this year. No bikes :( But the work that I will be doing at this particular camp fits in more with what I am studying at school. Challenge courses specifically help crews develop better communication skills, and strengthen as a team and individuals. I remember from my first year at Philmont, and the short time that I spent working at this camp, that I had the most fun facilitating challenge course. It was very demanding work, since it not only required a lot of physical effort, but also mental effort. But it was the most rewarding. Listening and analyzing how the crew works together, deciphering their dynamic, it requires a lot of close attention. And I get so excited when I finally get down the root of the problems, and sit down with a crew and explain what is going on and what they need to change in order to be functional again. It's all a giant puzzle, and I love helping them solve it!

My last day of work was last Saturday. I was sad to lock up the salon for potentially the last time. I very much hope that I can return in the fall! Finals are over. I got decent grades, and I'm crossing my fingers, hoping for an acceptance from A&M. This will most likely be my last post on this blog for the summer, since Philmont base camp does not like Blogger for some reason.

I'll keep the world updated about my adventures using Philemma.wordpress.com!










Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April

Wow the months are flying by. I think college has something to do with that, and the fact that Texas has warmer seasons. Everything seems to drag when it's cold.

Finals are coming up. They are next week to be in fact. After next week, I will officially have completed my freshman year of college :) I feel a little old to be saying that, but it's never too late to start, right?

In two weeks I will be completing my last week at the hair salon. I have tentative plans with the owner to come back to work one or two Saturdays a month after Philmont. If all goes well with A&M and I am accepted, I'll only be living 3 hours away in College Station. That's an easy drive once a month, and I don't have a heart to leave this salon completely. It has been one of the best jobs ever. I have a small handful of loyal clients who I will miss so much!

So I will be spending the next few weeks preparing for Philmont! I just bought a small solar charger for my phone so I'll be able to call home frequently this summer. Did I mention that the camp I am working at has cell phone reception? And showers? HOT showers? And a cabin (though I'll be sleeping in a tent anyway) with a porch and swing? This is luxury camping at it's finest. I am going to be spoiled rotten when I come back next summer and I'm working in the middle of no where again.

ALSO, I just bought tickets to go see Paul McCartney with Dexter this summer :) It's going to be a little tricky with my schedule and all, but this is the only summer I would be able to make it work, and Sir Paul is going to kick the bucket any day now, so if I want to see a Beatle perform, I gotta see him now. I'm so excited!!!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

February

I think February should be renamed "Bipolar Month" in Texas. First it was freezing, then it was in the 70's, and this week it supposed to get cold again. We got some snow early on, and as you can see it was not the best snowman making material. But Dexter and I did the best we could. We basically used a sand castle method, and packed the snow together using a bucket, since it wasn't sticking very well. Here's our attempt. Caroline thinks it looks more like stacked toilet paper rolls :[


Because of the cold, a lot of our dates earlier this month were held inside. We got a little crafty and made some tie dye shirts. These are probably the best dyes I've ever used. We got them at HobbyLobby for pretty cheap, and they come in little spray bottles. The dye is super pigmented, but it washes off your hands real easy. After you've applied the dye, you hang the shirts to air dry, then you put them in the dryer, and then you wash 'em and wear 'em! Easy peasy. And we have a ton of dye left. I think the plan is to tie dye an entire outfit hahaha


It started to warm up around Valentine's Day, so we spent the evening go karting and mini-golfing.

 


I whooped his butt at mini golf. Seriously, I am so good ;P






Go Karting was pretty fun, we took a lot of crazy pictures, as you can see. I found this whole package on Groupon, which I know has been around a while, but I only recently got in to it. It's amazing! I will definitely be using it for future dates.




We were also graced with a visit from Holly and this sweet boy over Valentine's weekend. Isn't he just the cutest? Holly had a mishap at the local beauty school about two weeks ago so we decided to fly her down so I could try and repair the damage. It turned out to be a great learning experience for me, and we got it to the original color that she wanted, so it was great! It was really nice spending a couple of days with her and Henry. We went out to dinner (twice), we watched the BBC version of "Emma", we went for a hike, and we sat in bed chatting just like old times :)


Dexter celebrated a birthday this month! Back in January I randomly found a site through facebook that was selling these hoodies. I saw the hoodies, and I just knew I needed to get one for Dexter. He is a HUGE Patriots fan, and coupled with the Texas state outline, it was too perfect! And he loved it :)



Sunday, January 26, 2014

January

 I was crying around this time last year. Literally, everyday I shed a few tears because of how cold I was. January is brutal in Utah. But here... January treats Texas a little more kindly.



January is Stock Show and Rodeo month! Dad and I spent a good 5 hours at the Stock Show on Tuesday. We especially loved the junior cattle shows. I was fascinated by how the judges ranked each competitor. They talked about each heifer, and which ones displayed the most "femininity" and showed the greatest potential. After all those hours of watching, I still could not pick out which ones I thought would win.


Dad and I tested out this tractor in the nearby cornfield. Just kidding, it's a screen. But it looks pretty convincing, doesn't it?


Pigs have got to be the cutest animals on earth.


And baby calves. I spent the whole day trying to convince dad that getting a miniature cow, pig and goat to keep in the front yard would be a really good idea. He doesn't agree with me.


It was very fitting that we visited when we did.  I had had a lecture in History class just that morning all about how Fort Worth became "big". Originally, some businessmen had contracted with the railroad company to bring the railroad to Dallas, and then on to Fort Worth. Apparently, they ran out of the funds needed to complete the project, and it stopped when it got to Dallas. This is when the Dallas/Fort Worth rivalry began. Dallas thought we were just some podunk little town that had no need for the railroad. But Fort Worth residents were so determined to get that railroad, that they raised funds to finish the project, and they sent their own laborers to work on the railroad. It was finished eventually, which really helped boom the cattle industry here. The Fort Worth Stock Yards became quite the happening place, and people from all over came to visit.


Dad and I have a tradition of eating a funnel cake every year that we come to the stock show. We don't eat funnel cake anywhere else throughout the year. Yum :)


Typical January weather in Texas means a couple of cold days (which really isn't that cold, like 40 degrees or so), and then a few days of plentiful sunshine with a high of 73. Dexter and I took advantage of one such set of days, and went for a hike around the lake. It was beautiful. I took about 90 photos. In this photo, Dexter is seen dutifully following my instructions to "stand there and look majestic".


Classes are going well, I was very happy to receive an "A" on my first paper from my crazy English Professor. Literally, he is bonkers. Work is slow. The month after the holidays always hits the salons pretty hard. The A&M application is kicking my butt...And I have no other news at present.

My cat sure can pull off the shades, right?