Sunday, November 21, 2010

Everything I ever need to know...

....I learned from Jennifer Josephine Wandalla Bowler McDonald.

She has a long name, but Moe and I like to call her Jo, Jenn, Jen (I always seem to leave off the second "n," which she definitely prefers), and Jenny (she actually doesn't like being called that too much. But I insist).

1. Jenny taught me about manual cars. Did you know that if you push a manual car (that won't start) down a hill, it will start? Yeah, I know, it's kind of a miracle. We had to do that once to get home from our friend Heather's house. We just pushed that car right down that hill, it finally started, and we all jumped in the car for the ride home. I can't believe we made it. Jenny used to have a little cream-colored car named Sir Walter Raleigh. We were sophomores when she had that car. She got it from her older brother, Ben, who had purchased it for literally ONE DOLLAR from a co-worker at Frostop. And that car liked to die at stoplights sometimes. We would stroke the dash and say nice words, and Sir Walter would lovingly spark back to life and get us safely home. We gave that car a dignified name so that he knew we respected him.

2. She taught me about Frostop and how a life is never complete without it. Jenny used to work there. And when she was working, Moe and I would go visit. And I would order a mint oreo shake with cookie dough sprinkles on top because I could never completely decide between oreos and cookie dough chunks. Jen was the sweet employee who liked to do special favors for me. Jenny also introduced me to the too-amazing-for-words picadilly chip. Those things have more grease than that philly cheese steak I ate in Philadelphia that got all over my clothes. But boy are they delicious.

3. Jenny taught me how to be wrong. During the first months of our best-friendship, we were often at odds with one another. I definitely thought I was a smart cookie and I didn't like to back down or be wrong or do anything that showed weakness. Eventually, after several awkward car rides home from school (that Jenny so generously offered me), I learned that it's okay for little things not to matter. I learned that every little thing didn't have to be a big deal, and that my friendship with Jenny was worth way more than being right about something. And, I learned that I acutally was wrong a lot of the time. Jenny and her wisdom was actually very powerful- quite a formidable force.

4. Jenny taught me about The Carpenters. 9 times out of 10, the Carpenters were playing from the tape deck in Sir Walter Raleigh. But I don't remember listening to any songs on the tape except for "Close To You." I daresay that song is the theme song of our sophomore year. And still, when I hear it, I can feel the heat of a springtime St. George afternoon, can smell the rotting foam seats in the car, and can picture Jenny sitting there, her hand on the steering wheel, probably arguing with me about something that I haven't learned to me wrong about yet.

5. My friendship with Jenny taught me how to be a hard worker. I don't think I know anyone who is a harder worker than Jennifer Bowler McDonald. She always had a job in high school, she became a CNA after taking college classes our junior year of high school, she went to school early morning for both color guard AND jazz band, she played in the pit in all the high school musicals, she seriously worked all-night 12 hour shifts at the hospital before and after we started college, she has always had really good grades, she graduated with her RN like 2 years after high school, and now, she takes care of husband and baby and never complains. Somehow Jenny has always been able able to juggle everything and be successful in everything. She really is a hero. She has taught me that it's totally okay- and worth it- to work and sacrifice for something that you really want.

6. Jenny taught me how to make friends a priority. Throughout my 6 years since legally being able to date (wow it seems way longer than that), I have gone through many a time when a  friend or roommate gets many a boyfriend, and the story is almost always the same. Said friend gets in a relationship and for the most part, forgets about you. Boyfriend because priority number one, and best friend/roommate (me) gets very crudely left behind in the dust, wimpering and lonely (I should add that I'm not complaining, I totally get it). I said "almost" because Jenny is the exception. I will never ever never ever ever forget what Jenny did for me our junior year of high school. Moe was currently dating a boy and she had forgotten us almost entirely. We had resorted to scheduling disciplinary friend hearings with her just to have a conversation (we really did that. We left the court order notice on her car. We got annoyed, okay? But she's all forgiven now. Loved her always). So then, Jenny started dating a boy at school too. I got really scared because then it would just be me, awkward, chubby, and alone all the time with no friends. But Jenny understood my pain. She very fairly and kindly divided her time between me, the best friend, and him, the boyfriend. She hung out with me despite her likely (though never confirmed) preference to be with the boy toy because she knew that I needed her. She made me a priority, and I felt that. It was so.... nice. So good. I knew that I was important to her and that she knew that I would be permanent, while said boy may not be. Because Jen and I will always be friends. Best friends.

7. Jenny introduced me to Lord of the Rings. Moe helped too. But we watched them all at her house, and she loaned me the books to read. And her little sisters were obsessed with watching the special features on the extended version DVDs. The Bowler house, for a little while there, was overcome with Lotr mania. But I loved it. Those books and movies changed my world, all because of Jenny. And Moe too.

8. Jenny very lovingly fed my Harry Potter addiction and made it seem very much okay. She taught me to appreciate my crazy passion for things. She used to help me with my parties and such. One specific time, actually for the preparation party before book 7 came out, Jenny came to Pebbles in my Pocket in St. George, while I was working, carrying notebooks and literally all 7 Harry Potter books, and sat by the counter for several hours to write the jeopardy questions for the party. We wrote like 20 questions for each book. It was insane. But little miss devoted Jenny was with me every step of the way. And she gave up her day to sit, while I got paid, to make up questions for the party that I was throwing.

9. Jenny taught me that a person could look absolutely perfect and gorgeous without wearing any makeup. She is one of those very naturally beautiful people that you see and wonder how a person can be so beautiful. And her hair is so stinking thick and amazing!

10. Kind of a sidenote: Jenny has this amazing little library in the basement of her parent's home that was the source of most of my for-fun-reading in high school. I would sneak into that closet, pick a book, read it, and then pick another one. That is actually where I got most of the Tennis Shoes books. I never would have thought to finish that series if Jenny didn't have the books.

11. Jenny taught me how to have more fun at girls' camp that I ever thought possible, despite my already brimming obsession with it. Jenny and I, being in the same stake, were able to go to camp together as YCLs two years in a row. The first year, at Beaver High, Jenny and I managed to be the first girls to climb that horrible, wobbly, giant ladder. Teamwork, baby. It was all us. The second year, at the stake camp on Cedar Mountain, Jenny and I prepared weeks in advance for awesomeness. We sewed Batman capes. Yes, Batman capes to wear at night when we were out and about pulling pranks on people so that we could hide under them in the darkness and not get caught-- plus, we looked really cool. We also brought Batman bandaids and an entire extra tent and plastic tote bin to hold all our supplies. We set up the extra 2-man tent in the middle of the forest so that no one would find it. It was the designated "Bat Headquarters" and we used it as a secret place to plan our schemes. The extra tote was for toilet paper, shaving cream, water guns, etc., for pranks. Worked like a charm. we had a blast with out our secrets, and no one ever caught on. That same girls camp year was  the year of the glowing toilet. Creepy, right? But Jenny and I had an unhealthy amount of fun together at camp. If I had to live through camp without Jenny, I would still love it, but not nearly on the same level.

12. Jenny taught me that it is totally acceptable to attend the same movie at Flood Street multiple times in one week. I'm pretty sure we did this too many times. Pirates, Cinderella Story, Sahara, Phantom of the Opera, etc. One night we convinced her little sister, Angie, to see Sahara with us. She had been like, "I think I've read that book. I don't want to see the movie." And she described the entire book/movie plot (which was the same thing) and we told her straight up that they were entirely different and that she would love the movie. We convinced her they were separate entities. Why we lied and forced her to come to the movie with us, I'll never know. But it was fun.

13. Jenny was a staunch advocate of ice cream in all forms. Frostop, Iceberg, Dairy Queen, you name it. We hit a different place every day. For real.

14. Jenn taught me how to clean her room. haha. I swear, most weekends Moe and I would get to her house to do something, and she would still have to clean her room before being allowed to go anywhere. So, we would help her. I remember that she always had random piles of tithing money everywhere, so we would have to combine all of that, fold clothes, stack up all her books, make her bed, hide the laundry in the closet, etc. I should mention, however, that a lot of the time, Moe and Jenn were waiting on ME to get there. I was the inconveniently late one, and that was especially ridiculous considering the fact that I lived about 5 blocks from Jenn, while Moe lived solid 15-20 minute drive away. Jenny's room, by the way, was the headquarters for our little game, and many hours were spent in there scheming, planning, not sleeping despite the late hour, eating pizza and caramel treasures and mint oreos, etc. Moe, Jen, and I used to sleep cross-ways on her big bed so that we all fit. 

Jennifer Bowler is one of those people who knows what her priorities are. She knows who and what is important, and she makes sure that they know that. She cares and she guides and helps and rescues. And really, I wouldn't be the same person today without my Jenny. She is just really good a being a friend. She knows how to listen and she gives good answers. She really just taught me what it means to be a friend- priority, loyalty, caring, acceptance of oddities (haha), etc., and all of that by example.

Love you Jenny. Happy happy birthday, 7 days late.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Okay, I know you're all getting sick of Jimmer madness by now, but HOLY COW!!!!

Jimmer. On the cover of Sports Illustrated. In superhero comic-book animated form.

What could possibly happen next?

Yes. March WILL be Jimmer time. Because you know what? It's Jimmer time ALL the time.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Definition: verb meaning to "do something extraordinary with no apparent effort, and to look good while doing said amazing thing. " Example: "I totally jimmered the heck out of that test."

"Jimmer" can also be used as an adjective: (something happened that was totally cool) "That was so JIMMER!"

and a noun: (in reference to a boy who just walked boy smelling very nice) "he is such a jimmer."

We love Jimmer Fredette. Why? Perhaps because of his outstanding basketball skills? The fact that he was named to like 5 all-American teams this year? Maybe his nice nice shoulders and arms? Or maybe because it's just so fun to turn a classmate who you might actually see walking around campus into a celebrity?

Yesterday was the season opener. Rachel so graciously went to wait in line outside the Marriott Center around 3pm. Dani took her place at about 4:30, and I arrived at 5:00, just after they let everyone in to the building. We sat at our seats excitedly for two hours before the game started, and Jimmer made two appearances. The first time he walked in, everyone cheered, and he just raised his fist in the air.

So Dani made a shirt for the game. It said, "I LOVE JIMMER more than his girlfriend does." Before the game started, two cheerleaders made their way up the stands to us and one of them asked Dani if she could have a picture with her and the shirt. Dani was like, "wait, are you...?" And she said, "yeah, I'm his girlfriend." EEK. Embarrassing. A little. But also VERY hilarious. Haha, I about died while Dani's face turned red and she posed for the picture. As the two girls walked away, I realized: "Dani!! Jimmer is going to SEE THAT PICTURE!" Said girlfriend will be like, "hey Jimmer honey, look at this girl who is in love with you!" It might even end up on Facebook. ahahahahahaha.

The game started with a bang, they turned off the lights and dropped the sheets for the introduction. It was amazing. The first couple minutes of play were. a. mess. A little bit of a disaster. We were all over the place and there was a foul like every 10 seconds. Not an exaggeration. But then we hit a rhythm, and at one point, we were up like 39 points. The game ended 83-56.

For a more detailed report on the game, check out this article in the Washington Post. Check out the headline. Even people in Washington love Jimmer.

I love basketball season. As much, perhaps more than football season. Basketball games are just such a blast, and there are TONS of them!! It just spreads the joy over several more days of the year.

This week we have two games scheduled: Wednesday vs. Utah State, which is going to be a huge game. We lost to them last year, and the anticipation is killing me! Dani and I are even going to camp out on Tuesday night to make sure we get awesome seats (there are already like 8 tents in line. crazy byu kids). Then, on Saturday there is another game against some team I've never heard of. But don't you worry. I'll be there.

But I'm excited.

Anyway. We love Jimmer and the basketball joy he brings to BYU through his inherent awesomeness.

Friday, November 12, 2010

This guy.

New boy on Glee (which is a show that I don't watch anymore) who is super adorable and has my new favorite voice (for today anyway) = Harry Potter in the Very Potter Musical on YouTube that is certifiably hilarious.

What else is new?

Michael Buble, you save my life.

A new EP: "Hollywood"

I haven't had this fun much while writing a torturous paper at 2:21am, like, EVER. And it's all thanks to this song.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Over soon.

Yesterday I had class at 8am. Came straight home at 9:15pm and got ready for my practicum. Drove to Lehi. Taught some 8th graders. Drove home by 4:00pm. Was at the library by 5:00pm. Worked on my senior capstone paper until midnight. Walked home in the cold darkness with my furry hood around my face, a backpack with my notebook and laptop in it, and literally 11 books in my arms.

It is days and moments like these that make me excited for when it's all over.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Breaking News

So there's a new Michael Jackson single. Apparently is was recorded before he died, and record producers just cleaned it up and released it in anticipation of the release of an entire album, Michael, set to drop December 14. (YAY!!!)

Unfortunately, there is some controversy as to whether it's actually Michael's voice on the track. Which, if it's true, would be more tragic than I can say. The first time I listened to it (just moments after it became available on on Monday), I was confused. My first thought was, "this doesn't sound quite like the Michael I'm used to..." As I listened, I was convinced that it was Michael, but that the backtrack vocals were not him, probably because he didn't finish recording the harmonies. I could be wrong, but after several listens, before even hearing about the controversy, this is the conclusion that I came to. I at least noticed something was a messed up. And after several more listens, I want to add some more reasons why his voice sounds a little bit off: age and processing.

First, the last studio recording that was fully produced by Michael and his crew was released on 2004's "Michael Jackson Number Ones" greatest hits compilation album. The song was written by R. Kelly and titled, "One More Chance." He undeniably sounds a bit different in this song that in previous recordings that the general populace is very familiar with. Now, he died in 2009, dating the recording of "Breaking News" as many as 5 years after "One More Chance," the last time the world heard Michael sing on a recorded album. SO, his voice could have aged and slightly changed in the meantime (plus he passed the landmark age of 50).

Second, this MTV article about the subject mentions the fact that recording technology has changed dramatically in the last several years, and that the processed sound that it adds to natural voices can change things. In fact, to quote the article: "processing might be Jackson's voice's biggest enemy." I do quite agree- we love the natural, live Michael the best. We don't want the touch ups. BUT, the song does sound processed- and that may have been done with or without Michael's approval. He wasn't really around stop it or anything.

However, many of Michael's relatives are claiming that the voice on the track is not him. But who is to really know? Admittedly, his family and friends probably will know more than anyone. BUT, if there really are hundreds of unfinished and unpublished songs in his collection (like there was rumored to be following his death), why in the world would record executives fabricate a song and release it as original? It simply makes no sense. The same relatives who claimed the song was a fake also say that other songs on the album are 100% Michael's voice. It seems strange that Epic Records and MJJ Productions would release a fake song that they produced with some Michael sound-a-like before releasing a real one. If they were caught (kind of like they have been, if accusations are real), then they have ruined their credibility before the album is even released. That would destroy sales and really would never be a good business plan. Sheesh.

What I am getting at is that in my expert opinion (and as an avid listener and follower of Michael Jackson, I think I've earned the "expert" status), the song is real. This could all come crashing down on me, and I may eat my words soon. But whatever. I can be wrong.

In my heart of hearts, though, I really hope it's real. Really really really really I do. It was so comforting to hear the song. And to know that more is coming. I hope they don't take that away from me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chapter 188: The meaning of Halloween (2010)

The number one best thing about Halloween: dressing up as something you're not. Or simply dressing in a costume that a normal, socially acceptable person wouldn't wear on an average day to school or work.

Halloween equals creativity and planning a special outfit. Perhaps sewing something or creating something from scratch. It means applying make up and doing hair differently than usual.

Some people equate Halloween with words like "fright" and "scary." That concept of Halloween has never been in my schema or Book of Audrey.

And as I have been known to say, "I don't believe in looking ugly on purpose." Which, I think, is a good mantra and should be applied to all people in all situations.

Boy Meets World defines Halloween as "the one holiday that brings loved ones together." And, when my concept of Halloween is considered, the BMW definition is entirely logical. Families can dress up together, go to parties, creatively carve pumpkins, bake treats for their neighbors and leave a little ghosty in the window, and trick-or-treat to get lots and lots of yummy candy that brings happiness and joy for weeks to come! Halloween is a joyous occassion of yummy treats, pretty costumes, and being with people you love.

Halloween was originally a Celtic holiday, or so Wikipedia suggests. It was the day of the year that the "veil" was the thinnest, and families could invite the spirits of their deceased relatives home for dinner, but with that they had to ward off the bad spirits. It was a celebration, but also a slightly fearful one. They used Halloween to honor and remember the dead.

Now, because of Memorial day, we no longer have the need to honor the dead on Halloween. So now it is just a fun day. And a significant one in the world of Harry Potter. (aka the day that You Know Who killed the Potters but failed to kill Harry, the day of Nearly Headless Nick's deathday party (when Harry first heard the basilisk in the wall, etc.). That is all. Not scary.

(I might add that this explanation was necessary because this year I happened to encounter several people who hate Halloween because it's "scary." They refuse to dress up and go to parties or whatever because they don't like Halloween. My argument is that a refusal to acknowledge Halloween because it is "scary" is illogical and kind of a fallacy. It doesn't have to be scary. Only fun.

This Halloween my roommates and I took the call to have fun on Halloween very seriously. It occurred in two stages:

1. Stake Halloween party on 10.29. Friday. It was also the day of a BYU basketball season preview. I missed it. For the party. We dressed up and went to dance and hang out with fun ward people. The dance was full of costumed Mormon kids who strictly followed the "no cross-dressing or masks" policy, and still obeyed the honor code dress and grooming standards. It was a wholesome, blast-and-a-half activity. I was a peacock (a really lame but cute one), Lene was Bones from the TV show, Sarie a cowboy midget (I promise it was more politically correct than it sounds), and Dani was Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. Dani and Lene, I think I should say, actually love dressing up scary for Halloween. Dani obsesses over it a little bit. (refer to this post from last year) But I like them anyway. :)
Roommates. My makeup looks funny.

the wardies. I'm peeking out from behind Belle. Notice the very tall Hagrid in the background. He's funny.

2. SHAKE YAH MONSTER MASH PARTY at our house on 10.30. Saturday night. It rocked the socks off any other Halloween party, ever. At least I had a blast. It was probably partly because throwing a party is like gathering all of the people who you like the most at your house in one night. You get to talk to all of your favorite people (excluding the ones who live far away and couldn't come), get all dressed up, dance to fun music, and have people exclaim to you about how fun your party is. Really, ya'll should try it sometime.

To assemble the party, Dani and I first planned out the decoration, food, and scheduling details. Then, Lene, Sarie, and I had a late-night planning session at which assignments were distributed, and each party-planner was given a list of things to do.

To get the word out, we announced the party together at ward prayer and gave everyone candy. Then, we sent out Facebook invitations.

Dani wrote the Facebook description of the event (which may or may not have been my favorite thing about the whole party):

"Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this [party] in no way endorses a belief in the occult."
-Michael Jackson

for optimal facebook taggage, come between 8:30-9:30 for the PHOTOBOOTH and the consumption of delicious foodstuffs.

at 9:30 will commence Project: Shake What Yo Mamma Gave Yah.
to paint a mental picture:
-black lights (yes, we really REALLY love these things)
-taio cruz
-glow sticks
-wicked halloween decor
-special guest appearance by justin bieber. for realz this time.

costumes: mandatory :)

see all of you party animals there!

Then, on Saturday, the day of the party, we decorated and prepared for the party, which included:
-covering our entire living room with black trash bags to make it look like a giant black, never ending cave. The corners of the blackness were covered in giant spider webs (compliments of Dallin Henrie, the best spiderweb constructor on the planet)
-Adhering a 12-foot long piece of white butcher paper to the wall in the kitchen for signing with highlighters during the black-light portion of the evening (this was my other favorite part about the whole thing)
-Setting up the photobooth, complete with gray backdrop covered in a giant black spider web, nice camera (thanks Rachelle!!) on tri-pod, and spotlights for good lighting.
-Making the food: brownies, apple cider in giant cauldron with dry ice, bloody (white chocolate died red) popcorn, slimy (green jello) popcorn, edible teeth (apple slices with small marshmallows held between them with peanut butter) and loads of tootsie rolls. (Thanks to the ovens in both Banbridge 5 and 9).
-Borrowing and assembling speakers with the help of Jonathan Meacham (who reads my blog) and Brett Gladsen, ex-wardies but still friends extraordinaire.
-Removing ALL of the living room furniture and hiding it in the corners of our apartment, the one across the hall, and in the stairwells (this might have been the trickiest part of the whole thing) (Dani's Michael aided in the removal and BB9 very kindly allowed us to hide our couch in their apartment)
-Assembling a playlist (thanks Dani) complete with requested Jackson 5 songs.
-Setting up our entertainment center and TV outside of the door to play the "Thriller" music video on a loop throughout the whole party (my other favorite thing). (Made possible by the contribution of Lynne's extension cord).
-Preparing for the blacklights. We had to remove the tube lights from the hallway (which we aren't technically allowed to mess with), switch out the kitchen lights, borrow standing lamps from BB9, and switch all the light bulbs.
-getting ourselves costumed and ready. Stephanie had to come do my makeup at 5:00pm, in between getting herself and other friends ready.

And then the party started at 8:30, and TONS of people came. I always get really nervous about throwing parties. I mean, you really go out on a limb. You prepare all of this stuff, but then what if it's lame and no one comes? You put yourself in a vulnerable position when you plan things, but really, the stress is worth the reward.

Some of my favorite photos from the evening: (you can pick out the photobooth ones)
Ryan. Joey. Steve. Me. Lynne. My favorite part is that Joey is Peter Pan.

Dani and Michael looking purposefully awkward but so so so adorable as Jack and Sally

Washington Seminar alumni.

Rachelle and Brad looking hot as Mr. and Mrs. Smith

love love love this one.


you can get an idea of the crowd. and the black walls.

The Jackson 5 minus 1. Love these boys.
 For more photobooth pictures, see THIS blog. 

And I'm so thankful for all the random (but not so random) help we got. So many people contributed little things. It just made me realize how much I care about my Provo friends, and how much they care about me and my roommates. And when people came to the party who I invited but didn't really expect, I was so surprised and so happy! It makes you feel so good when people accept your invitation. I just really appreciated all the people who took the time to come to our party and make all the work worth it.

You see? Halloween really does bring loved ones together.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Announcements, announcements, ANNOUUUNNNCEEEMEENTS!

I, Audrey Spainhower, will be doing my student teaching in Washington, D.C., our nation's capital, next semester. I'm not sure what school, subject, or grade, but it's officially happening.

After the aforementioned student teaching, I will fly back to Utah to walk in the commencement services at Brigham Young University, where they will hand me my diploma. It will be an end to happiness and joy and a beginning to the absolutely unknown.

I love both the Backstreet Boys and Michael Jackson. Lucky for me, there are exciting things for both of these artists (despite the non-living condition of one party) on the horizon.

First, the BSB are launching a tour in 2011 with New Kids on the Block. Yes, you read that right. I just watched the official announcement on Oprah.

Second, By the end of this year I will own the new "Michael Jackson Vision" DVDs that contain ALL music videos and short films, some of which are very rare. AND, I will also own A NEW MICHAEL JACKSON ALBUM, titled, Michael. It is a compilation of songs recorded before his death that were never made into an album. It officially goes on sale on December 14. That is 40 days away. I almost shed a tear when sent me the news a mere 10 minutes ago.

the new album cover. It reminds me of Dangerous

Last, the new Cirque Du Soleil show is Michael Jackson themed, and it is going to tour the United States. It's coming to Utah on November 29, 2011 (I think). I have to go. 

Hold your breath ladies and gentleman. This is all just going to be way too much fun.