Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cocoa Puff Cookies

I'm pretty sure this has been the longest week of all time. I don't even know exactly why it was such a long week; busy, to be sure, but just interminable. By Wednesday I felt like I was running through molasses, so I turned to the best comfort food I had: Hurst cookies smothered in peanut butter. It didn't make the rest of the week go any faster, but it did make me feel better. Weird how some weeks hit you like that.
So, now to detail the week that never ended.

School has been a beast. Not necessarily hard, just busy. Plus, seeing Thanksgiving just around the corner makes it hard to buckle down and study. Don't worry, I'm doing well. I nailed my two midterms, and I'm hoping that will carry onto the two I have this week.

Then socially this week has been packed too.
Tuesday night I attended my first BYU baby shower. I told you about the quilt already, but Tuesday was Charlotte's official shower. It was a very pleasant evening despite the fact I only knew Charlotte. Her friends are easy to talk to and welcomed me in and we all enjoyed just celebrating the next stage in life. The only thing that was really weird about the evening is the thought of how quickly Charlotte and I moved to completely different stages in life. She began dating Jonah, her husband, a few weeks after Austin and I started dating. Then, they got married the week Austin entered the MTC, and here we are 13 months later. I love it though. I would not ask for anything different for either of us.

Wednesday night we had a Relief Society meeting (formerly known as Enrichment) Jessi is on the planning committee and helped put together a meeting on "Feasting on the Sabbath". I really appreciated it. Jessi, Ashlan and I went and purchased six loaves of Great Harvest bread then went and set up tables and chairs for the 30-ish girls that showed up. After chatting and eating bread and butter Jessi gave a well prepared lesson about how to make our Sabbaths more meaningful. She presented lots of good ideas and led a very personal and well-participated in discussion. It was exactly right for the setting and the people.

Can I pause my week and tell you how much I love my roommates? They are unbelievable. Incredible, really. Maria, Ashlan and Jessi are all so strong in different ways, hilarious and caring. Basically, they make my life so easy and fun and exactly what anyone could want.

Back to Wednesday: After RS we headed downstairs to the Acoustic Explosion. Our three friends, Kevin, Anthony and Zack played three of their songs in the Varsity Theater. Here it is in simple terms: Three silly friends, two guitars, one awesome musical show.
I wish I could link the video, but it's on a secure Facebook profile, sorry.

Saturday we drove up to Salt Lake for Hailey's baptism. It was really nice. Watching Grandpa sit Hailey on his lap and honestly tell her his feelings hit my heartstrings. I have a lot of respect for Grandpa and for some reason he seems to understand me. Plus, I've had tender moments like that one with Grandpa before and I hold them close to my heart. Basically, I love my family. I can't express it better than that.

I love you all. 8 days of class until Thanksgiving.


LOVE.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Click Our Way Through the Weekend


Some pictures from this last weekend:

McKenzie's surprise birthday party:


Pumpkin Carving Group Date / Halloween Night:



Preston's Baptism:










McKenzie's Birthday Dinner at The Pie in SLC:





I love you all so much and I love spending time with you. If you want more pictures or whatnot email me and I'll forward them to you or I'll burn you a CD.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Purple Elephonkey




Disclaimer: Dad, this will be centered. Sorry. The next one I'll L-align it for you.

A few weeks ago I decided to be artsy and make something.
As I rifled through my talents, desired outcomes
and possible projects I came up with:

Jonah and Charlotte Barnes - Currently pregnant with Baby Boy Barnes (aka O'Barna)
Birthday sewing machine still unused
Oncoming cold months and depressing weather
Plus: I'm mormon and I've never made a quilt.
I figured I should change that.

So I busted out my sewing machine, took a trip to Walmart and concocted this quilt.

Yup. Republican and Democrat cloth. Ballin!!!

Here's the inspiration:
I met Jonah through Austin Secrist. Both are avid Conservatives/Republicans. (Avid isn't strong enough. Fanatical would be more appropriate.) Charlotte comes from a liberal background, similar to me. They are currently expecting their first child, a boy (who will be named Barack Barnes or Hilary Barnes. Or both.) and so I figured a blanket representing the dichotomy he will be born into would be perfect.

I love the quilt and I'm really proud of how it turned out.

But I love Jonah and Charlotte more. I am so excited to meet the newest little one in a month.




Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Petri Dishes.


Hey, I'm just getting ready to head up to class and I thought I'd send a quick hello. I'm doing well despite the fact BYU's PR representative came to my Teachings of the Living Prophet's class to say our entire class has been exposed to whooping cough. Then, our professor said we have two people in our class with confirmed swine flu cases.
So... I'm a ticking time bomb basically.
I love you all, whether or not I contract one or all of the diseas
es flying through campus and die. (More likely I'll die from my two exams and two papers) I can't wait to come home to San Jose this weekend! I love you all!

And Dad, in response to your email from my last post:
"what is the deal with the center alignment? i had to copy it into a word document and L align it be be able to read it comfortably"
Haha, you would. The man who edited Philip's emails from Brasil. (Did you notice I left it L aligned for you this time?)
The reason I put it in the center is because it is more aesthetically pleasing. Yup.

All my love and none of my sicknesses to all of you!


P.S.

I found this sweet photography blog. Check it out.
There are some awesome portraits of kids, like the one here,
as well as some amazing scenery shots from
wherever they live in Europe. Love it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I am my mother's daughter

The past three weeks that I've been up at school I've been sustaining life.
Meaning? Peanut butter and crackers.
I'm glad I'm an obedient child and
took my mother's warning to heart at the tender age of 18 months.

"Listen kid. If you're going to survive in this family then you better learn to like peanut butter."

It's just helped me survive, period.
But that's changing. I bought some stuff to make fun food so no worries. I won't be mal-nourished or anything like that. Lots of veggies and fruit and cheese. Mmmm... : )


In class today people kept asking me about my weekend and I honestly had a hard time remembering everything I did. (By the way, I wore my cameo to class today and it's amazing.) Besides BYU's devastating loss to FSU it was a fun weekend! The most interesting thing was visiting Mark and his boyfriend Mike up in Salt Lake.
Thursday after class I drove up to SLC to visit my long-time friend Mark and meet his boyfriend of a year, Mike. It was a big deal that I was meeting the boyfriend, but it all went very smoothly. Honestly, the entire experience was fabulous and Mike is so very pleasant.
For dinner they made me curry and cheesecake and then we went to a gay bar.
Yes, a gay bar.
Now, I know the stereotypes that immediately pop to mind, and this place was nothing like that. I think the fact it's a private bar, so you have to be a member to go there, helped make it less sleezy. The entire night I felt neither uncomfortable or compromised. We played pool and darts and sat out on the patio and talked. It was definitely something weird, but at the same time very low-key.
How can I best describe my emotions from the evening? Happy.
Being with and talking to Mark has always, ever since we met at EFY, set my head strait. And then Mike has such a happy feeling about him that I was immediately enveloped in his caring love. I wish I could accurately capture the fabulousness of what most people would find to be an uncomfortable situation.

Saturday morning McKenzie, her roommate Britteny and I went with Austin Hyde to ride his grandpa's horses. Now, knowing that I was the biggest horse nut growing up, it won't surprise you to know it was blissful for me. Getting out at 8 am up in the hills near Springville where I could ride up and look out over the newly emerging fall colors of the valley I was so relaxed and free. I know I got past the horse-nut stage, but I still do want a horse. I'll be honest.

School's crazy but I love it.
My New Testament class blows my mind. My professor, Camille Fronk Olsen, has so much knowledge and explains things perfectly so that I wish I could just soak in every word she says! Plus, I'm blessed to take the class with Kyle and Ashlan and their comments and insights are always inspiring. I have the best friends in the world, hands down.
My Teachings of the Living Prophets brings back truths that the spirit reaffirms and it's a pleasure basking in the passion of my professor Sister Wyne. Accounting is tough but I understand it. English is frustrating because I feel like the information could be so interestingly presented but my professor just kind of Blahs it all up. And Business Management is full of friends and so directly relates to public relations.
I love learning. And reading. And I'm going to learn a Rachmaninov piece this year in my piano class. I can't wait!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Crimson and Gold


Saturday, after watching BYU destroy Tulane, was the USC vs. Ohio game. So we drove up to Eagle Mountain to watch the game at Kyle's friend's house.

"We" =
Hilary
Kevin
Naomi
Kyle
Ashlan
Jessi
Trevor
Zack
Ashton
Nick
Anthony

"Eagle Mountain" =


USC won the game, bookended with a fabulous start and tense ending. I obsessed with McKenzie's camera, taking pictures. The following pictures are a taste of our fun.


Ashton and Kevin celebrating USC's touchdown.

Kyle consuming. Of course we had food.

Ashton and Zack.

I love this picture. Just because.

Reunions and Scrabble Night

Sunday marked the official, "I'm back at BYU" point with the revival of Sunday night Scrabble. We weren't able to finish because our Home Teachers showed up and then I had to leave for dinner with Chip&Debbie but it was a good warm up.

Here are my friends whom I love dearly.

Kinsi
(not living with us this year)
She drew all the Scrabble Girls on her fingers.

Trevor & Jessi
[SherKahn & Andaconda]
(He's from St. Louis. Served in Russia. Knows the Hannah Montana characters.)
(She's from Springfield, VA. Public Relations major. Looses backs to left earring constantly.)

Ashlan
(From Dos Palos, CA. Theatre Ed Major. The Scrabble Queen.)

Kyle
[Kobra]
(From Los Alamitos, CA. Served in Pennsylvania. BFFL.)

Kevin
(From Agoura Hills, CA. Served in Brasil. Loves USC.)

Nick
(From Phoenix, AZ. Served in Iceland. Refreshingly realistic.)



Disclaimer: These are NOT all of my friends.
These are all the pictures I could post so I
have to wait until later to introduce the rest.



Thursday, September 10, 2009

We're involved.

Hello all.
I'm in the Library. We're obsessed with each other. Haha, no but really.
I'm back at BYU and I'm feeling really good about this year. All my boys (except Ron) from freshman year are back from their missions and I couldn't be happier about it! Having friends who will allow me to just sit on their couch as they do homework is too good to be true. Also, I don't know how Kevin and I weren't friends before, but that's okay. We're making up for lost time.
Last night I went to "hot yoga" (Not Bikram Yoga. Yoga in a mediocre-ly warm room) with Manuel (if you can't say it right, aka like a Mexican, call him Manny). That was an adventure! I really liked it! Bikram yoga was harder, but this yoga definitely helps with flexibility. We'll see if I can find a class here at BYU to go to. I need something, because I really do miss yoga-r-ing if you will. (I totally just created that word. Start with yoga. Add -r to make it a Spanish verb, to do yoga, then add -ing to make it the action of doing yoga. Word.)

Anyway, I have to go read some, finish a paper, then go to class times two.

LOVE.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Tupperware Tale

Three Molinengos and a Hurst sit around a square card table playing Scrabble.

Jessi: I need to order that Tupperware from Sister --.

Hank: Don't pay all that money for Tupperware! You don't need it! Just order take-out Chinese food and save the boxes. Use those!

Jessi: I don't want to buy a lot of Tupperware, just those collapsable ones!

Hank: It doesn't make sense.

Fran: Hank, she's buying a few so she can take lunch up on campus, store food, that kind of thing. It makes sense.

Hank: Oh ok, fine. Buy all the Tupperware you want! Get it! we'll get you all the Tupperware!

Jessi/Fran: No Hank! Don't buy all the Tupperware! She just needs one or two containers.

Hilary: * Extreme bursts of laughter. *


I love the Molinengos.

P.S. I got my glasses.


Monday, July 20, 2009

"Just Stopping By" Redefined

Realizing, a week ago, I had only one weekend left with no definite plan threw me for a loop. How is my summer almost over? What have I not done that I'll regret missing later? Every weekend adventure I participated in has been planned by Jessi and/or the other West Springfield High-school graduates so I pulled my own plan into action.
I've wanted to head down to Newport News (a town just south of Williamsburg) to visit Taylor who's currently stationed at Fort Eustis so I knew this was my one chance so I took it.
The plan was solid.
I called Avis and made sure that renting a car at 21 wouldn't be a problem and then reserved one online (because my research discovered it's cheaper that way). I was to pick up the car at Reagan National Airport because that location opened at 7am and closed at 12:30, thereby allowing me to skip weekend traffic and maximize my time partying. So Saturday morning I got up, got ready and got Jessi to drop me off at the airport with my driving directions and mix-tape in hand.
From the moment I entered the airport until 2:30 pm, NOTHING went down the way it was supposed to and the only way I could deal with it was to just throw everything out the window and just enjoy the moment.

7am-9:30am
-Learned that Avis sucks at Customer Service. They gave me bad information and wouldn't give me options. Just told me, NO. The airport wouldn't rent me a car because I'm not 25 (Apparently it's a DC law, but no one bothered explaining that to me. All I ever wanted was a little bit of kindness.)
- Rode the majorly delayed Metro to a Virginia based Avis. This one didn't open until 9 (even though Ma'am at the airport said it opened at 8. When I called to see if she could help me at all from her end I felt like she put the blame on me.)
-Battled hurt pride, ruined plans and strained nerves.
-Called and woke up Philip to complain. Thank goodness he's amazing and could chill me out.
-Successfully obtained a car.
9:30-2:30
-Drove to Newport News. (It should only take 3 hours)

I'll spare the details of weekend-traffic-induced frustration but I will say this: The last leg of the journey is a 60 mile stretch on highway 64 East. Reaching the ramp onto 64 I hit molasses-like bumper to bumper traffic. Pulling out my iPhone (best phone ever. You can quote me on that) I saw that the entire 60 miles were like that. 
Screw that.
I also noticed a traffic-less highway that ran the direction I was headed so I pulled off the ramp and took the path less traveled. Definitely worth it. Even if it didn't save me time, it saved my sanity. The quaint back-roads were spotted with interesting architecture and even random memorials of civil war battles marked with signs and cannons. I am a California girl through and through but I am able to appreciate the lost southern culture, even if it's simply by enjoying the differences.
Playing in Newport News was amazing. Taylor, his battle buddy Albrecht and I just explored. We bought wings for lunch/dinner (not as good as Wingers but more interesting in that we could pick an array of sauces) and then just went exploring. We drove to then walked around historic Yorktown and then this tiny little place called Dandy. 
Historic Yorktown was interesting because of the people. Lots of my peers were at the beach just kicking it. In my frame of reference though, it didn't look like fun. the beach was shallow, the water was full of jellyfish and there were lots of tourists walking around, leaving the awkward impression that the beach goers were as much on display as the naval ships in the distance. The fisherpeople on the peer were more fun to watch and the Old Man of the Sea drove by in his beat-up van complete with stogie and cap. As always the general atmosphere was worth a stroll and catching little crabs in the rocks reminded me of what Philip, McKenzie and I use to do all growing up.
What word do I use to describe Dandy? Not a town; too small. Not a housing community; too formal. Dandy is the kind of community that is created on a small island. Small, white, closely-knit community where everyone rides between houses on their golf carts, every driveway sports a Ford Truck of some sort and pretty much every house has direct access to the water. I definitely felt like an intruder, even though the "Welcome to Dandy" sign also welcomed me to a Dandy Newsletter.
My drive home was pretty uneventful except for the fact I was inexplicably wired and that I stopped by to see Richard at W&M. It's fun to be familiar enough with my surroundings that I know I'm close enough to stop by Richard's place simply to give him a hug. He's the kind of guy who makes you feel like the most important person in the world. What a gift and he uses it to the maximum. 
The opportunity to be in Virginia and have this kind of experience can be summed up by Jessi: The friend who will stay awake simply to make sure you had a good trip and get home safely.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cast & Crew

DC Summer 2009
"Puke and Rally"

Starring:


Jessi Molinengo and Hilary Hurst

Fran and Hank Molinengo

Richard Walsh
Spending the summer at William & Mary

Katie Horner
Spending the summer at Virginia Tech

Andrea (Drea) Goetchius
Spending the summer at UVA

One may ask, how are they a part of your summer if they're at school?
Don't worry. West Springfield High put something in its food
so these guys are obsessed with each other and we make it work.

Up until now the music of choice has been Britney Spears/Lady Gaga and CSN. Haha.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Double Talk


In downtown DC most of the stores have their names
written in English and Chinese.
Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, May 22, 2009

"My dear, I don't give a damn."


This past week I've been paid to read.
NRI, the temp agency that hired me, placed me at the University of the District of Columbia where I worked as a cashier for registration week. Students came to me, exhausted after winding through every possible setback caused by the illogical and misleading process, where I proceeded to deplete their bank accounts by hundreds of dollars. Thankfully, I only dealt with a handful of piercingly pissed-off people and I rather enjoyed the experience.
Originally there were five temps hired for this job, but each day we lost someone (because not enough people came through to make it worth it) so by today just Julie Eccles (from the ward out here. She's the one who hooked me up with NRI) and I were left. 

Julie Eccles at our station. My computer is the one on the left.

The view from the window behind us.

Basically what my days looked like were:
I read my book until someone walked into the room. If none of the other temps stood up to help then I would take the student's ID number, look up how much they owed, take their money and point them to wherever they needed to be next. That's it. I wish I could say more about the people or the job but except for the squat, mustached female security guard and the complete failure of any sensible system, there's nothing to say.

Hilary and Julie. Die hard temps. Oh yeah.

In our hour commute to UDC, Julie and I have to switch trains. Yesterday, as we headed home, there was an unusually large number of commuters so as we got on our second train I was surprised that the people sitting next to open seats were taking up more than their fair share. I asked a young sandy woman if I could take the seat next to her and sat down. Because Julie was behind me, she walked two rows past and went to occupy a seat beside a white male: 24 years old, dressed like a thug/skater carrying a guitar case and mini-amplifier.
Immediately the woman beside me, who obviously had watched Julie go to sit down, grabbed my arm.
"Do NOT let your friend sit there! Don't!"
As I turned to hail Julie, with no clue as to why, the round black woman across the aisle from me scooted over to free the seat next to her and, with eyes too-wide and a voice too-urgent for any apparent reason, waved Julie to her side.
"Sit here!"
Turning back around my sandy-complexion neighbor said, "You don't want your friend sitting there. That guy's been rolling joints this whole train ride. Look now! See?!"
Sure enough, Mr. Pot had a doobie stuffed in his hat and was licking a new one closed. He then proceeded to spend the entire rest of the trip hollering anything that would produce a reaction, and when that stopped he would cough/clear his throat/spit and then sing marijuana-theme songs. Interesting how the appearance of one weirdo will draw together so many strangers. That ride was the one commute where I had a good conversation with someone I didn't know, and it wasn't just with Ms Sandy, it was with everyone around me. For example, the middle-aged man who told me in all his years moving with his Dad in the Airforce his two favorite places were Germany and Kansas. It always makes me wonder what I'm missing in all the other train cars.
People really are more interesting than anybody.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Week Well Spent

So I had a week to burn before starting my first job placement tomorrow but more about that anon.
Anon?
Dead give-away to what I've been doing; I devoured "The Three Musketeers" in the last four days. I still find myself thinking in Dumas styled rhetoric and I'm constantly playing the characters over in my head.
First, can I say (and this is to those familiar with the work) that I was so upset that Milady's real name is not Lady d'Winter. Thanks to Disney's "Three Musketeers" (which is so off-base it doesn't deserve the title) I thought her name was Lady d'Winter when in reality her title is Lady Clark. Definitely a name not fitting to the sexual daemon Dumas paints her to be. However, thanks to Disney, I also believed that Aramis looked like Charlie Sheen. Thankfully I was able to overcome all previous assumptions and delve into the world of 17th Century France.
Now that I have finished, and thoroughly enjoyed, that novel, the local public library is holding "Gone With the Wind" for me to blow through. I'll take my time with that one though, since I really don't know the story at all.

Tomorrow I'm metro-ing to the University of DC where I'll be stationed for the next week doing whatever they tell me. I'm not sure exactly what I'll be doing but I think I'll be working the cash register. (Not registering, despite my desire to turn common nouns into verbs. Registering is a different activity.) I'll fill you in later this weekend.

This weekend should be fun. Jessi's friends are coming home from school so we'll have a bigger gang and more havoc to wreck.
LOL, jk. No, but really.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

It's Spring and not Summer yet. That's for sure.
The natural sprinkler system of Virginia has been keeping everything wet and cool. I'm not complaining because it reminds me of California winters but every time the sun makes an appearance I find myself begging it to stay. One nice thing, everything will be green and beautiful for the summer. I'm a fan. : )
Friday night I was laying in bed when I realized there was a lightening storm in the distance and I was missing it. (Jessi made sure to let me know that there will most definitely be more/better storms this summer. It's a summer thing apparently. Weird the things I never realized.) So I sat at the window listening to the static sounding downpour and watching the flash illuminations of the outside world. It's such a zen-like moment. Kind of like when you realize all your Scrabble taws align perfectly on the bo
ard in an eight letter word or when you finally learn how you want to express the notes of a piano piece. Anyways, Thunderstorms are definitely something I missed out on by growing up in San Jose.
As for now, I've been catching up on reading (Gone With the Wind is the newest adventure) and journaling until Friday when I go off for my first job. I'm excited! Not California, but I am really understanding the draw of the East.

Jessi and me in front of the DC temple the week we got here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Summer 2009: We're Just Trying to Cause some Trouble

I'm here: Springfield Virginia. The 703. The DC area.
Whatever you want to call it, it is stunning
These three and a half days here have felt so much longer. I'm exhausted and it's probably a mix of the humidity, working out with Jessi (the machine) and just trying to figure out my new surroundings. I'm fascinated by all the differences and all the similarities.
The most interesting this is the dynamic of working people here.
DC is to Politicians/Military 
as
San Jose is to Computer Geeks
I have already learned to love Hank's tirades on the going-ons of the capitol and all it's people and pretty much everyone I've met is connected to the government/military somehow. It's definitely a different dynamic and I'm soaking it in. Call me SpongeHilary-YogaPants.

I say yoga pants because Jessi has a strict PT schedule and Bikram Yoga is every Tuesday and Thursday. (I'll let you know how my first session goes tomorrow) I'm pleasantly sore from the gym because it's been a while since I've worked out regularly. Jessi's obsession fixed that.

As for Virginia, it's exactly what I expected and yet a constant surprise. Driving from BWI (Baltimore Washington International Airport in Maryland) to Sidenstricker Road filled me with memories, thoughts and excitement. I'd forgotten the world gets warm and stays warm (VA stays warm all night too. Humidity. I'm loving what it's doing for my hair.) and that the smell of cut grass means summer.
The roads are all lined with trees. Birch I think. Something about it reminds me of driving in Palo Alto and it's comforting in it's newness. I have to say though, I've fallen in love with dogwoods. Those trees are gorgeous and they're everywhere! the distinct white and pink flowers accent the carpet-like lawns and Manor style houses. It's a whole other world in the "south" and I'm fitting in quite well despite my blasphemous California-self.

As for my living situation, I was a little unsure at first how I was supposed to fit in. That has already been destroyed by the Molinengo's hospitality and Hank's obsession with making everyone comfortable. We're already shipmates, Hank and I. It makes it easy to know how I can pitch in and feel like I'm not intruding.

All in all, this newsy post sums up to one thing:
 I'm happy, I'm healthy and I'm helping.
 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Goodbye Winter 2009

I am officially done with the 2008/2009 school year and I couldn't be happier.

Today as I walked home from my last final I couldn't help but be bouncy from joy. I was walking home with nothing but sun in my life. I was wearing my white summer dress with wavy summer hair under the white blossoms and warm sun. There is no better way to end a long winter than with solid grades, happy weather and an adventurous future.

Then, (as if a perfect packing session wasn't good enough) McKenzie and I went to dinner. We try to make it a regular-ish habit, and it's always amazing. We usually get a light dinner (tonight it was bread twists and salad from the Pizza factory) and then just make the most of our payment by  nursing Diet Coke and just sitting in the restaurant and talking for hours. (Tonight's bonding lasted 2.5) Unbelievable to think how we didn't get along at all in the not so distant future. Thank goodness for growing up! McKenzie is the BEST confidant one could ask for and an even better little sister. Listening to her describe her newest passion (El Salvador and micro-somethingorother) and her almost new passion (Austin Hyde) reminds me of why we became best friends. She's a champ. Hands down.

The Hurst kids can't help but be obsessed with each other. BTW.

Yesterday Philip, Liz and I went over to visit Boyd and Betty and take Aunt Betty some gorgeous flowers Philip did a fabulous job of picking out. They'll find out Wednesday afternoon if the surgery was successful and give her more information on how this round of cancer looks. Betty is so strong. She looked tired, but after so many fights with cancer she looks beautiful. Hopefully she'll overcome it this time as well as she has before.

I'm getting ready to head off to DC and I'm getting a tiny bit of the nervous excitement I had before Berlin. Still can't believe I'm not coming home to San Jose.
Dad, I'm so excited to see you Thursday before you head off to Colorado and Mom I miss you tons.

LOVE!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Faces and Memories

(L-R Top row: Silvia Ruggieri, Erin Miller, me, America Ruggieri,
Jessi Molinengo, Kinsi Suttner, Ashlan Schofield 
bottom row: Allyse Pixton, Bridgette Balkman, Tiffany Miller, 
Chelsea Short, Lauren Wilkes)

One of our games was the TP bride one. Tiffany picked Erin (far left)
as the winner because it looks most like Tiff's real dress.
This has been dubbed our Family Portrait.

As I sat watching the mix of girls gathered at my home I couldn't help but wonder what the mother's were thinking. What was Fran (who belongs to Jessi Molinengo) throwing around her mind? or America Ruggieri's mother? What was her quiet fa├žade masking as a dozen 2o-year-old women buzzed about her?
What does any mother think? Poor Tiffany Miller's (the bride-to-be and reason for our gathering) mother was frantic that she couldn't be a part of her daughter's bridal shower. All she ever wanted was to watch her daughter's excitement manifest itself: to laugh as Tiff shyly tried to get out of dancing for the crowd, to cheer as Tiff giggles at lace-y lingerie, to smile as Tiffany laughs and discusses life with her girls.

And so I wonder; what do parents think of as they watch their children? What memories are inspired by differences in lighting or that specific shirt their offspring happens to be donning?

I sometimes wish I knew what Hilary my parents see. Do my tired eyes remind them of that one time at Red Iguanas? Does the summer breeze remind them of Lou's clam chowder? What thoughts exist at specific moments? Sometimes the unfolding, dark, curly haired baby still trying to blink through the bright lights. Other times the bone-headed toddler just trying to do what she wants. The next time view reminds of the awkward middle-schooler with Rapunzel hair. And maybe even at times the tall teenager standing on the swim block, ready to win. (And maybe even go all the way across the pool without stopping. Either way I get a medal, right?) 

I know that as I sat there watching my eclectic gathering of friends, I was impressed by how awesome we are. And I say awesome in every sense of the word.

First, because of our history. Almost everybody there came from the BYU 15th ward. 2 years out and we've still go each others' backs. We all care about each other and I was shocked by how comfortable we are with each other. There were topics discussed on a level that proved how much we trust each other. Not only that, but we realize how unique our connection is. Our freshman ward was unbelievably tight and we still are. Even the married/engaged girls are excited to see our guys get home from their missions.
The second reason the gathering is such a fun people-watching experience is because we all got along despite the fact the twelve of us are from different "groups" if you will. We all just clicked (including the non-15th ward friends) and conversation just flowed. You know those super awkward pauses where you're not sure who to talk to or what topic you should bring up?
Yeah, that moment? Those didn't happen.
And as far as I could tell, there were very few conversations that completely excluded people.
And as we interacted, I had those moments where one person's micro-emotion threw me back to almost forgotten instant.
Jessi's version of the McNasty screams of late-night dorm craziness and army crawling.
Kinsi's facial expression takes me back to Berlin.
Tiffany's knowing smile tells of the moments shared only by those who understand.
Each laugh tells a different story and brings back those thoughts not inspired by any other moment.
My girls (and it is the first time in my life that I really do have "girls") define who I am. They remind me of the best parts of me and have given a hand in sanding down my rough joints. They allow me to be ridiculous and love me for it. They are the keepers of the unique parts of my life.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Testing...testing...

As I sit contemplating what will interest ya'll I realize that this whole blogging thing is weird, and it'll take me a little while to really get use to it. So, until then, bear with me. Thanks.

Random stories from the week:
First-This week I got the score on my benchmark (For my news-writing class we had to watch a news conference and then write a story on it. It's graded on a 50-40-30-20-10 scale and you have to get at least a 30 to apply for your major.) I was really worried about it, but I got a 50!! I was so stoked because that will help me in applying to PR and it means I pretty much did a perfect job. Way excited.
Second-Taylor Jarman finally shipped off to army basic training this week. JeffGeorge and I drove him up to Salt Lake and I gave him a hug goodbye. I'm good, nothing emotional, but he is one of my closest friends so I'll miss kicking it with him.
Third-I registered for Fall semester 2009 classes and I'm excited. It will be a crazy semester but I'll have Fridays off which will be really nice.
Fourth-I really want a scooter/motorcycle. (Sorry Mom, I had to say it. But, I'm not getting anything just yet so no fears.)

Let's go from the ridiculous to the sublime, shall we?

Today is Easter, and as some of you may know it is the end of the Catholic holiday Lent. For those of you who don't know, Lent is a time of fasting where one gives something up to help them remember Christ and prepare for Easter. While that may not be the official definition, that's what I interpreted it to be. On Fat Tuesday (aka. Mardi Gras/the start of Lent) McKenzie, Philip, Liz and I got together to celebrate and McKenzie made mention of the fact she tried to give up Diet Coke for the 40 or so days preceding Easter. It was weird how strongly it hit me: I should do that same thing. (Side note: McKenzie made it six hours. Haha. I'm sorry, I just thought that was funny) So I did. 
It's been really interesting how the experience effected me. 
For the majority of the time, I didn't think much beyond that fact I had to have water with my Wingers or hamburger, but this weekend has made the entire sacrifice worth it.

This week is Holy Week in the Catholic perspective. It begins with Palm Sunday and continues with Holy Thursday (The day Christ atoned for us in Gethsemane and the last supper) then Good Friday (the day Christ was crucified) then Easter Sunday (The day Christ was risen). 

Normally I just think to myself, "Oh right, it's Good Friday. Why the heck doesn't BYU give us the day off? Notre Dame would be so ashamed." but this entire weekend has been very tender for me. I won't get into details, beyond one story, but I will let you know that I have felt Christ's sacrifice in a more personal sense and I know that our Father in Heaven loves us. 
My one story:
I had my English 218 - Creative writing class on Good Friday and we read the poem "Saint Judas" by James Wright.

When I went out to kill myself, I caught A pack of hoodlums beating up a man. Running to spare his suffering, I forgot My name, my number, how my day began,
How soldiers milled around the garden stone And sang amusing songs; how all that day Their javelins measured crowds; how I alone Bargained the proper coins, and slipped away.  Banished from heaven, I found this victim beaten, Stripped, kneed, and left to cry.  Dropping my rope Aside, I ran, ignored the uniforms:
Then I remembered bread my flesh had eaten, The kiss that ate my flesh.  Flayed without hope, I held the man for nothing in my arms.
WHAM. It hit me: Christ died so that we could become more like him in every way. Here was Judas the betrayer who sold Christ for 30 silver coins (the price of a slave) spending his last moments in complete selflessness. I hope you'll find your own meaning in the holiday, but I'll just leave you with the knowledge that I found something very dear to me this year.
I love you all!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I have officially given in

I'm now a blogger. Ech. I will admit it's a huge pride buster to say that. But, let's be honest, it's not that bad.
In my English 218-Creative Writing class we were discussing different things (I'll spare any of you who actually read this the entire story) and for some reason it hit me:

1-Instead of doing weekly emails I'll do a blog so I can post pictures and people can find it more easily.
2-I already have a blog set up from my English 312-Persuasive Writing class last semester.

So here we go. I don't promise anything, but hopefully this will keep people updated on my life and what the heck I happen to be doing because heaven knows I'm not very good at keeping in contact. I'm sorry.

Thought for the night: I don't know what I'm going to do without JeffGeorge's movie room next year. That thing is ballin' and he's unbelievably kind for letting me crash his place so often.