Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lene Kristine Botolfsen.

I purposefully ignored this girl's birthday. Because I was on vacation and didn't really have a way to wish her an appropriate happy birthday, and if you know Lene Botolfsen, you know that she needs an appropriate happy birthday.

Lene's birthday is one of the most important days of the year. Lene is not ashamed to celebrate! (See Lene's Birthday 2010). And so, because I could not celebrate with her this year, I thought I would list 26 reasons why Lene Kristine Botolfsen is one of my favorite people in this whole wide world.

at her going away party.
1. She is extremely--but not mistakenly--confident in herself and what she wants. She's not afraid to be herself, and she's not afraid to show who she is. This quality ultimately brought a change in my through my association with her. Why should I be nervous to call a boy? Ask him to hang out? Lene isn't. She's cool and collected and very sure of herself.

2. She is very loyal and really cares about people. If you are Lene's friend, she will keep in touch with you, and you will be her friend forever. She devotes a lot of time and money to the people in her life, and that's exactly how it should be. Lene works hard to maintain the relationships that she cares about, and that is admirable. It's exhausting to have as many friends as Lene does, but she takes it in stride.

3. Lene is just so cool. This is what I tell people. That she is literally the coolest person I know.

4. Lene shops and spends money more than anyone else I know.... which makes it a blast to shop with her. One time we were in Banana Republic and she found, and this is a true story, a velvet, purple blazer on sale for a decent price-- but not a fantastic one. And she bought it. Because, what if she needs it when she teaches elementary school? She just might. Or, imagine Lene as a farmer's market. The average customer wanders around and looks at things, talks to the people at the booth, buys maybe a little bit of fruit, and then goes home. Or, if you are me, you buy nothing. ever. But Lene buys....lots of things. Not an unreasonable amount. Not like she's a crazy person. But I was always just in AWE of the way she could talk herself into buying things. :) It was adorable.

5. Lene. likes. kissing. I'm fairly certain that anyone who has ever MET Lene can attest to this fact, because she happens to bring it up quite frequently. Not inappropriately, but contextually and hilariously. In our apartment we had not one, but two mistletoes hanging from the ceiling-- year round. Around Valentine's Day we had a Kissing Booth... that stayed up until August. We had, in one area of our living room, what we like to call the "kissing corner." There was a small poster with kiss marks all over it. We each kissed the poster to signify each boy that we, as 4 roommates, had kissed. When Lene comes into town this August, I think we've collectively got like 4 to add... maybe more.

6. Lene takes an absurd amount of time to do things...like homework. It's not because she's slow. or dumb. The contrary is true, actually. It's because she likes to watch TV or a movie while she does her homework. Why not get some enjoyment out of it, right? When Lene reads this she will protest. She will say that watching something did not make her take longer... but I swear it did.

yes. lene is the one on the left. and yes. she looks terrifying.
7. Lene is very independent and very tough. She does what she wants, when she wants. Not to inconvenience people or anything, but like, if she wants to walk to the grocery store at midnight to get some milk by herself, she will, despite the repeated and emphatic objections of her roommates who care about her and her safety. She also, one time, rode her little red beach cruiser to the Provo Towne Center movie theater for a 7:00pm showing. And then she wanted to watch another movie. so she did. and then another one. a midnight showing. SO. She rode her bike home, by herself, across the SKETCHY bridge on University Avenue that goes over the railroad tracks, at like 2 AM! Crazy woman. But that is Lene. And that is why we love her.

me and lene, pretending to be dating Kevin and Geoff.
8. Did I mention that Lene LOVES Robert Pattinson, the Twilight movies (even though she knows that they are dumb), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Dawson's Creek. She loves them. Last summer she watched Buffy and Angel in order, alternating shows every episode, because apparently they connect and happen concurrently, which actually is kind of cool. But who else besides Lene even knows that?

9. Lene has amazing style. She is the queen of accessories, and when we shop together, she is somehow able to buy pieces that I could never see fitting into anyone's wardrobe, but somehow, they do. And they are awesome. Like the velvety purple blazer. I would never, not in a million years, consider spending money on something so impractical. But when she wore it.... I found myself a little jealous. Like, why can't I see things the way she does when I'm trying to build a wardrobe? I see solids and basics... and that my friends, is why my clothes are so boring, but Lene's are so awesome.

10. Lene has a collection of Chuck Taylors. Like a gazillion pairs. When I say gazillion, I mean probably like 15. I really have no idea how many. But that's pretty rad.

11. The first day I met Lene, I was trying to move into my new apartment at Banbridge. I found the apartment, but I had no idea where the management place was. That means I couldn't actually get checked in or get my key or anything. So I knocked on apt 12. The one right across the hall. And Lene answered. She seemed very nice, and very helpful. I noticed that she had a little bit of a strange lilt in her accent. But I didn't think anything of it. Why would I? I didn't find out for like another two weeks that she wasn't from our country. (Which leads me to #12) But she gave me the info that I needed, and little did I know that she would change my life. :)
oh yes. excitement over the little things. you wouldn't guess, but we were at IHOP in this picture. At the traditional finals week dinner.

12. Lene is Norwegian. She is, by far, my favorite Norwegian. Last year when I was student teaching, there were some visiting students from Norway for like a day. And the girls reminded me of Lene-- probably just because of the way their English sounded. :) But anyway, she is very proud of her Norwegian heritage. I have, because of Lene, celebrated the Norwegian national holiday, May 17, 2 times, and with much vigor and vim. Lene makes Norwegian food, decorates, invites everyone that we know to come over, and then on occasion, makes everyone learn and sing the Norwegian National song. It is so great. And so Norwegian. And omg, Lene and her Norwegian skin gets sunburned worse, and more often, than anyone I've ever seen.

13. Lene speaks English better than most Americans. This is partially because she's just so darn intelligent, but also partially because she was always meant to be an American, I am sure of it. On the 4th of July, she just goes around, with her patriotic shirt, waving her little American flag, and saying, "I LOVE AMERICA!"

14. Lene is not shy.

15. Lene celebrates everyday more, and better, than most people. She is always up for planning more things, doing things elaborately, and making excuses to see her friends-- to spend time with people that she likes. In the last 3 years (since I've known her) she planned a significant number of events for everyone to enjoy. And sometimes, she very gracefully let me help her. We planned a lot of things together, and I don't think I've ever had more fun-- or seriously---been more stressed. The short list includes: 2 For Like Ever parties, 2 Picnic Awesomes (I have, so far, dropped the ball on that this year, ps... maybe we'll do it when you come to visit), 1 bomb halloween party, smoothie nights, 2 17 Mai parties, several events on the roof of banbridge, the Old Maid's Day extravaganza, lotsa blacklight dance parties, countless summer weekends of fun, 2 fully-orchestrated birthday bashes, an excellent going-away party, dinner nights for friends, and omh one time we had a bike gang that had this really hierarchical leadership struture that Lene was the master of-- and we would go Slickgangin like once a week and it rocked...etc., etc., etc.
black light madness. Yes, Lene's arm says, "I <3 MEN."

I was in DC student teaching, but I had to make a presence at the For Like Ever. And Amy did to, of course. So Lene made signs. :)

Halloween 2011. At our epic party. And these are my girls. honestly, it's a miracle we were able to gather everyone for one picture. a miracle.

Our collection of summer '11 friends. you know, the summer crew.


16. Everyone wants to be Lene's friend.

17. Lene is very, very smart. And very dedicated to her school work (most of the time). She went into elementary education because she genuinely cares about children and wants to make sure that they learn all the important stuff-- and that they are comfortable at school and have a safe place to go.

18. Lene is very nurturing, and she is going to be an awesome mother. She'll be the cool mom, but also the mom that her kids trust and depend on. I'm so excited to meet her children, btw. because they. will. be. rad.

19. Lene is very organized. She keeps binders full of all her things, and they are all labeled.

20. As a transient college student, Lene still made it a point to collect house decorations-- things that she will want in the future, too. I do not have that mindset, at all, so it was always surprising to me. But awesome. Our apartment was adorable, because of Lene and her decoration collecting habits.

21. Lene likes really manly, manly men.

Our relief society sleepover. We were obviously up to no good.
22. Lene treats our church, and the gospel, as her highest priority. She loves to serve. And she has a testimony, that while serving as her 1st counselor when she was Relief Society President, I learned a lot from. She taught me how to serve with love and kindness, but with firmess-- and she always allowed the Spirit to guide our actions as a presidency. We had loonnnnnnng Sunday meetings. But they were awesome. I looked forward to them every week. I loved the girls in our presidency, but I also loved learning from Lene. We followed the Bishop's counsel to a T. Lene had deep respect for Bishop Brough. She was also always very concerned about our girls. More than the rest of us. She made extra visits, and did what else she could, in her limited time, to serve them. She was an amazing example.

you know, just a small collection of boys.

another small collection. both of these groups of boys came over for dinner as a farewell to Lene, fyi.
23. One time, Lene texted all her favorite boys something akin to the following: "come over so we can cuddle." (that is not a direct quote. I don't know what it actually said... I just know it said something about cuddling). Within like half an hour, there were 12 boys at our house. 12.

24. Lene has excellent picture taking skills. She takes pictures that actually capture moments, and she's not awkward about it. For some reason, I have a hard time making people pose for pictures. I just do. But Lene doesn't. She makes people pose, and they want to. And she makes people take self-portraits, which are always hilarious. And then she posts the pictures. She has over a hundred albums on facebook. They document her college life, and that's amazing. You only have to look at her pictures to realize what a cool person she is. She experiences new things and she's not afraid. And she documents it, and it's just so great. I think that like 70% of all my pics on facebook are from Lene. :)
the 4th of July. Night before. camping out for the parade. Because in the words of Lene,  "what is more American than a parade?"

iceblocking. together. it didn't work. and no, we didn't mean to match that day.

we thought this pic was going to turn out cooler than it did. dang it.

25. Lene gets excited for people. She very appropriately reacts to news that you have. She cares about what you are doing and how you are, and she gets excited. And sometimes, you just need someone to act on the outside exactly what you are feeling on the inside, but just can't let it out.
In San Diego. At the beach. 

26. Lene has a goal to eat a meal in the smallest and largest cities in every state. Who else thinks of something like that besides Lene?

And last: Since Lene left Provo, there have been many occasions when our friends-- or other people-- have made comments about her absence. They tend to say things like, "you can't replace Lene. there is only one Lene." and it's true.

Our last picture together, before she left forever. 

I love you Lene! Happy happy birthday. And thanks for being my bestie. :)

And also. I'm so excited to see you on August 6th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

California Dreaming and I love the Beach PART 2

My recent family vacation to the lush, wonderland that is Southern California.

Our family vacation had a little bit of a rough start-- Stephanie got sick and bailed on the whole thing...which meant that the family vacation became a family vacation-Stephanie vacation. And let's be honest, Stephanie is the heart and soul of the crew. She's the loud and funny one. I mean, they are all loud and funny, but as the oldest, she is the ringleader.

The following is a list of things that occurred on said family vacation:

1. IT TOOK A SOLID 10 HOURS TO DRIVE FROM ST. GEORGE TO LA.  This is supposed to be a 6 hour drive. The logical person might conclude that something terrible must have happened for it to have taken so incredibly long to arrive at destination b. No. Nothing happened. except my father. who was in an unusually good mood and decided to stop a total of 6 times. 3 of those stops were in LAS VEGAS. you read that right. He had also wanted to stop in Mesquite... but I was able to convince him not to. It was a miserable drive. But my father was like singing and whistling to himself the whole time, like there could not be a better drive, ever. Adorable.

2. The first day we went to the wonderful land of Lompoc. My father's dreamland (that must have been why he was so jolly the day before). My dad went to high school and left on his mission from this little California coastal town, and it holds a very special place in his heart. We had never been there before this trip-- and we were all actually very excited to visit too. We wanted to see it. And it was lovely. We loved Lompoc. We were there for the annual Flower Festival. We went to the parade (I LOVE parades) and the festival (oohhh and I love festivals), and then we drove around and he showed us his old house and everything. It really was a dream. :)
what a lovely bunch of parade goers.

3. After much discussion and persuasion (and there might have been a pickled herring involved), my mother and I were able to convince Andrew and father that driving to Neverland Ranch was in their best interest. A difficult feat, mind you. My brother and dad are two of the most persuasive people I have ever met, so they know all the secrets and getting them to do what you want is very hard. BUT, I think my puppy dog eyes are finally what did it (at least I'd like to think so). Andrew realized that driving the extra half hour to Neverland would be a dream come true for me. And it was...even though we could only see the gate. And it wasn't even the same gate that was there when Michael was in residence. But it was still great. Pictures are below, never fear.

The new gate.

4. Many of the car rides included rousing games of "Arthur Trivia" or "Boy Band Trivia." Elise and I make up the best games in this world. These 2 games consisted of everyone taking turns asking questions about Mark Brown's television show, "Arthur" or else questions about 90's boy bands. Both are excellent games. Elise won Arthur Trivia by a long shot (even though we didn't keep score), and I think I take the cake on the boy band one. Boy bands, if you didn't know, are my specialty.

5. Sunday was spent at a church in the LA area and at the LA temple. We walked around the grounds and then hung out at the visitor's center. We also made an appearance at this one terrifying beach... you know, just to splash around and see all the freaks and weirdos on the boardwalk. I was very uncomfortable, actually. Not that great.

my darling baby jo... who is going to be 17 next month. WHA???????
I told elise to get rid of that butt crack part like 12 times, just so you know.

6. Santa Monica beach on Monday. I love the ocean. so sososososoososososo much. The beach was beautiful and warm (except kind of not really. I think I was cold for like a solid three days on this trip. California is super tricky... because you think it's supposed to be warm... and then it's SOO not.) and I went a little too far into the ocean, I think. The lifeguard got a little angry with Andrew and I. I was just annoyed because the lifeguard assumed I wasn't a good swimmer. I am, okay? I just get in that there ocean and want to go out farther and farther and farther. It feels so amazing to get swallowed up in the waves. You feel so small and insignificant-- and so in awe of the wonder of the ocean. How the waves break and then disappear. How they create chaos and then an instant calm. it's amazing. But so anyway, there was an adorable pier on the beach. We rode the ferris wheel and had amazing hamburgers. Holy cow.

yummmm they love that ice cream. my parents are more adorable than yours.

7. The trip included a lot of bonding. We really had so much fun as a family, but I really missed Stephanie. There was definitely a hole. We love her.

8. I read a book, mostly on the road. Divergent. Not that good. Many people had recommended it... but I didn't like it well enough to even read the second one, so there.

9. My father snores, fyi.

10. My mother wore tie-dye sunglasses.

11. Andrew and Mallory were continuously adorable.

12. Moriah kept trying to take naps on me in the back seat. The back seat is mine, okay Baby jo?

13. And Elise just kept getting mad every time I tried to read. So rude.

14. An unexpectedly small amount of arguing and/or stressful decision making. We were all very chill. Unusually so. I feel like there is generally this expectation in my family that we all always have a say in everything. And we all care where we eat, every time. We each, individually, care so much, that it takes a lengthy, full one discussion about where to stop the car for lunch. It's so ridiculous. But there was very little of that on this trip. I think it's partly because I chose to keep my mouth shut (let's face it...I'm probably a large part of that problem), and because we've all matured quite a bit since the last go-around. Anyway, it was lovely.

So thank you, mom and dad, for taking us on this heavenly, peaceful, and lovely vacation. Love you tons.

ID Stole My Heart

Thus begins a tale of a self-indulgent, expensive, quick trip to sin city to see the hottest new boy band that I've been a fan of for, oh, like 4 months.

Was it worth it?

Yes. Definitely yes.

I drove down to St. George with my friend Candace on June 8--- you know, to prepare for the concert on June 9. We slept at my house and then spent the next day making our shirts and then driving down to Vegas. We got there a couple hours early, and there was already a massive line of SCREAMING girls. Yes. They were already screaming. Why? Because that is what teeny boppers do. They scream. We cut in line with some other Provo girls that we know--who had also made some rad shirts--and commenced our own screaming. Girls came running down the line to tell everyone to sing "What Makes You Beautiful" as a group, or else they just came down the line to scream, and for no other purpose.
yes, that is still on my car.

But everyone in line, and near our seats (once we sat down like an hour late) was very friendly and very nice. And I was led to the conclusion that teeny boppers-- and Directioners in general--are a great kind of people. You know, when you are sitting there screaming with someone, a special kind of bond forms.
Megan, Karen, Candace, Me. Yes, her shirt says, "It's Gotta Be Harry Styles." I was jealous.

At one point, before the concert started, there was a commotion in the lower bowl (yes, our seats were at the tippy top. Did we care? no no no no). We looked down but couldn't really tell what was going on. It looked as though the One Direction boys were down in the crowd! Taking pictures with people. So. Candace used her super duper camera to zoom in on the crowd and take some super-up-close pictures.And guess what we found?? THEY WERE IMPOSTERS!!! There were 5 fake look-a-like imposter One Direction boys down in the crowd causing mass hysteria. How rude, right? The 11 year old girls behind us were FREAKING OUT. The one girl started crying. So we turned around and showed them our pictures. They calmed down a lot once they realized that the people in the lower bowl weren't meeting the real thing. But how evil and tricky of those imposters, right?

So there were 2 opening acts. One random girl who was really lame and not even a good singer. And then this dude, Olly Murs, who was also on the British X-Factor, who was so rad I couldn't even stand it. He was awesome. And his background singers were GROOVIN'. Seriously. He was kind of '50s old style with a modern twist-- a little Bruno Mars-y, but no gross. You know what I'm saying. He was adorable and just precious. And he could move. Man, he could move.
A VERY blurry Olly Murs and his rad backgrounds.

Harry, Zayn, Liam, Louis, Niall
AND THEN. Enter One Direction. They were so so great. You know, I can't even remember what they started the show with. Honestly, I've never experience such screaming in my entire life. Even the boys kept saying, "YOU GUYS ARE LOUD!!" And then they would just scream louder. And then Harry would say something, and screaming would block out any possibility of any other sound. It was deafening, and actually very hard to hear the music. But those One Direction boys are so funny. They made all sorts of jokes and they were adorable, and they sounded GREAT live. Great. And Niall was always off on the side of the stage doing his own thing-- I don't even know. And Louis and Harry were just so funny! Zayn probably didn't talk the whole time. I don't think he said a word. But he sang. And it melted our hearts. I think that Zayn has the best quality to his voice, and s probably, technically, the best singer. I mean, I prefer Harry's voice, because it is deeper and super manly (and the kid's got massive amounts of swag), but Zayn is cool. He's a cool kid. Liam is the adult. Somehow it seems like he's the leader, like he's in charge. That might be because he acts a lot older than the others-- but he also sings like every first verse. He the first voice you hear in all the songs, there's probably some sort of subliminal message in that. Anywho, the whole thing was magical. Candace recorded like all the songs on her awesome camera. I have yet to acquire those videos into my collection of awesome things. But I will.
some mid-concert excitement, if you will.

Other fans, in the crowd,  to note:
The family in front and to my left. It was a mother, 2 daughters, and probably a 9 year old son. The mother was more excited than anyone. And after downing a couple of beers she gettin' down more than anyone else around. It was quite a spectacle. And the kids were just taking pictures of her like they thought it was hilarious! I would have been so terribly embarrassed. If my mother acted like that, I would not go out with her in public. Period. haha.

There was a couple directly in front of me that was utterly atrocious to behold. They were dressed in formal clothes. Like, prom dress and tux. For the One Direction concert. And the girl would like, try to get excited, but the boy was like all up in her grill like the whole time. I would have been like, "dude!! ONE DIRECTION! Get off me!!!" At least I couldn't hear the slurping noises over the screaming.

So my favorite parts of the show were during "One Thing" and "What Makes You Beautiful." As per their request, I called the Jessica Bodily during "One Thing" and Adrienne during "Beautiful." It made it at least a gazillion times more fun to know that I was sharing the joy with others. :) And they loved it-- they said they could hear every word and that it was amazing. Because it was.

After the supposed "final song," the boys left and everyone started crying. Okay, not really, but kind of. People started yelled "encore" or else rushed toward the exits. And let me just tell you, those people who rushed toward the exits MISSED OUT. Those One Direction boys came back on stage in SUITS. people, I'm telling the truth. Harry had a bow tie. This is real life. And they sang another song, and then the crying began in earnest (still, not really, but I assume some people cried...)

Everyone left in such a rush that there were screaming girls packed in the hallways and main entrance area to the arena like sardines. We were all smashed up against each other. So hilarious. And then, in true One Direction spirit, a rousing rendition of "What Makes You Beautiful" arose from the crowd. It was magical. And so hilarious. obv.

There was joy to be had all around.

All I can say is, after seeing One Direction, I HAVE to see Bieber. I would be a crazy person if I missed the Believe tour. So now, I just have to save my pennies and buy tickets before they get too expensive--- which was, like, a month ago. Who knows, maybe I'll win tickets on the radio or something. A girl can hope.

Cause I might be a Directioner, but I'm a Belieber first.

Loomis, CA

Will include my trip with Mike and Drake to their homeland: Loomis, Sacramento, and San Francisco.

And how it changed my world.