Monday, December 29, 2008

Weekend getaway in the windy city

We decided to go to Chicago the day after Christmas for a nice little weekend away since we weren't going to Copper Mountain, CO this year to ski and board. I always assumed spontaneity was rare in my family, but my parents proved me wrong. For my mom, Abs and me, this weekend was delightful. For my dad and brother, not so much.

Goodbye home!

Jack Bauer entertained Mitch and me on the ride up. He does not disappoint.

Pizza the first night, of course. Giordano's comes highly recommended for delicious reasons.

A museum the next day. Our smiles are slightly misleading. We discovered we aren't really into science or industries.

Mitch and I did a reenactment later to show our true feelings towards science and industries.
Shopping was good to Miss Abby....

Most of the time.
This picture cracks me up. It's such an excellent portrayal of her mood right then. And mine.

The Evergreen Restaurant in Chinatown makes you feel like you are actually in China; however, I'm still not convinced the Chinese eat Crab Rangoon.

I love this town!

The McCain's never miss a chance to eat good chocolate.

Hey look! My parents finally came together to take a decent picture. Thanks for the group effort, guys.

The final verdict:
Abby: Enjoyed Chicago, but "you should see New York City."
Mitch: After standing next to the man who cursed every other word and getting his jacket stolen in the ESPN zone, he was happy to be leaving.
Me: Loved it as usual. Chicago's at the top of my list of cities to live in once I graduate.

Abs attempted her reporter skills in the second city.

Goodbye Chicago. See you soon.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Day 2008

Christmas 08 was perfect. We had everyone over for Christmas Eve dinner and then woke up early the next morning to full stockings, presents to open and biscuits and gravy to eat. We spent most of the day at my grandparent's house with all the cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. The only bad thing about Christmas is how fast it all goes by. I've still been saying "Merry Christmas" to everyone even though it's technically over. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people take down all of their decorations and lights the day after Christmas. Soak it up, it only comes once a year.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The funny face game

I survived.

Finals, knee brace, airport. It's all over. My favorite part you ask? Probably finally landing in St. Louis and walking to the baggage claim to see my family waiting for me. First response: my mom starts cracking up - so hard, in fact, that she has to sit down. Then, when she can finally breathe again, she gets up, starts making fun of my walk up and down the baggage claim, then says, "You look like you have cerebral palsy." Thanks mom, I love you too and I'm so happy to be home.

I did the math. I've been home a total of 32 hours and have slept 18 of them. That's beautiful. However, considering my reputation with numbers, I wouldn't completely trust me with that calculation.

Here's a video to introduce the first night of Christmas break.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Knock on wood

Said Michael Scott, "I'm not superstitious, but I am a little stitious."
I think I am, too.
Do bad things really come in threes? I hope not, but I'm beginning to think there may be a little truth in that superstition.

Two weeks ago I got in the most traumatizing car accident of my life (Yes, I am dramatic).
This weekend I sprained my mcl in my knee while snowboarding.

What's next? Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm thankful for Thanksgiving

I'm on a blogging spree this week. Today was wonderful. I spent the whole day with family from both my mom and dad's sides and I loved absolutely every second of it. I count my family as one of my greatest blessings, advantages and assets. Can people be assets? I'm not sure that's in the accounting definition, but I don't know any of those definitions anyway so why start now.

I'm not sure how I deserve to be blessed with such amazing people in my life, I just know that I am. I found my essay for my BYU application 3 years ago on my family computer today and I thought it was pretty relevant to all the day's emotions. So I included it. It's not the best writing, obviously, but I still feel the same way.

“No man is an island.”
(John Donne)

I am a firm believer that if the character of a person is not clear, look at her (or his) friends. It is who we surround ourselves with that truly defines who we are and who we will become.
I have not won any state championships, nor am I the valedictorian of my high school class; however, I can say with confidence that I have succeeded in surrounding myself with the right people.
The people who encourage, listen, inspire, teach, and accept.
Because of one motivational teacher I was encouraged to maintain a better than average GPA while involving myself in numerous extracurricular activities. Because of a constant friend I experienced the elation of high school while also surviving the inevitable struggles. Because of my newspaper adviser I have been introduced to the stirring field of journalism and acquired a thirst for the future. Because of a supportive mother and father I have been taught to love my Heavenly Father and developed a firm faith in His gospel. And because of a compassionate Savior, I have been taught to accept and love others.
It is by no coincidence that through friends, family, and teachers I have found individuality. Through others, I have found myself.
The future is a mystery to me. I do not know who I will become or what I will be.
I do know that if I am in the right environment, surrounded by the right people, my greatest potential will become a reality.
I can think of no other environment than that of Brigham Young University that offers what I am seeking- a place to add to an abundant list of the right people.

There you have it.

PS- If you're interested in knowing who won the throwdown, here's the results:
We had a lot of positive reactions to both pies; however, word leaked on who made which pie (which is against the throwdown rules). So it was obviously biased. For example, my grandpa raved about the cherry pie until he found out mine was the apple, and then he was all about the apple. I called for a re-count but wasn't willing to make another pie. I did see my mom on tonight under the "pies" tab already searching for next year's recipe, so obviously she sees me as a threat.

(But I think she won)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 1: shopping and a throwdown

Being back at home is never boring. Today I slept in, ate banana chocolate chip pancakes that Abby made, went shopping, had dinner with the whole family, then instilled a brand new Thanksgiving tradition. Continue on if you want details...
Since Mitch is now bigger than me, he automatically assumes he now rides shotgun. But how wrong he is.

Add Image
Lunch at my favorite cafe.
Then shopping.
ANOTHER Mizzou hat? I'm beginning to worry about this kid.
I told my mom this is her new default picture for facebook. She didn't go for that. Good thing.
Professional shopper at age 11.
Then we headed to target. Abby and I renewed our love we share for the notebook aisle.

Ok, now for the important stuff. We began a new Thanksgiving tradition tonight. It's called the Pie Throwdown. It's kind of a spin-off of the food network show, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, except way better. Here's how it goes:
Step 1:The night before Thanksgiving my mom and I will each make a pie.
Step 2: Thanksgiving day/ Judgement Day begins. Select family members will taste each pie, unaware of who made which one.
Step 3: I win.
We made several videos tonight documenting this monumental moment in McCain family history. I voted this the most entertaining video and therefore posted it; however, please don't judge my mom. Or tell her I posted this. Thanks.

I think my family is hilarious.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reunited at last!

I flew into STL tonight!! So of course Mitch, Abby and I all got in some quality bonding time around midnight. Here's the evidence:

Sistas. (Yes, this picture has been extremely edited. After spending a majority of my day either at an airport or on a plane, consider yourself lucky you don't have to see what I really looked like.)

Mitch tried to play it off like he didn't miss me quite as much as Abs did.
But, really, he did.

But I think I missed them the most. Obviously.

Oh how I missed them.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Just a little homesick

There's only one bad thing about going to BYU for school - my family is far far away.

I have a brother, Mitch, who is 13 and a sister, Abby, who is 11 and I'm not there to see them grow up. They are my two favorite people in this world and I'm a little worried they aren't going to have very many memories with me in them. I talked to them on the phone today and they are both doing fabulous, as always. They're both crazy talented and the two most amazingly accomplished young people I know. I'm not sure how they're related to me because they're way cooler than I could ever hope to be. I also have two little cousins, Stella and Jake, who are two and one. If I could photograph the word "adorable," it would be a picture of them. Jake is talking now, apparently, and I gave my sister an assignment to have him saying my name by the time I go home for Thanksgiving. Oh, I can't wait. I think Halloween is just as much a family holiday as any other. I would so much rather have been with my family than anywhere else this past weekend.

Mitch just keeps getting more and more good looking. At 5'7 he is now taller than me. I used to push him around all the time like a good big sister does, and this summer as I was continuing my good sister habits, he felt the need to inform me that if he wanted to he could flip me over and slam me against the ground. The sad thing is, he's right. He's in 7th grade now and is the star football player. On top of that he wins student-of-the-month every month (no exaggeration) and has never once received a B in his all honors classes. I know, he's such a little jerk. I love him.

Abby is the one on the left. She was a dead football player for Halloween which is so atypical of her. She's usually something super cutesy and girly which just shows how much she is changing. She lives at the dance studio and has more talent than she can contain in her little body. You will never meet anyone like Abby. She's so full of personality and uniqueness that she still surprises me sometimes. I love her.
Ok, seriously. Are they not the two cutest little people you have ever seen? It amazes me how people so young can still have such strong individual personalities. I babysat them all summer and sometimes I just want to be back spending my days with them. There was never a dull moment. I love them.

Some more pictures to make me miss home a little more...

I promise I really am happy at BYU and this is definitely where I'm suppose to be. I think I just expect things to stay exactly the same at home while I'm gone but I have to remember that while I'm growing, changing and experiencing life, so is my family. I'm so blessed.

I love my family.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wardrobe Malfunction

While studying in the library, I decided to take a bathroom break. As I was washing my hands, I looked up in the mirror to make sure I didn't look like I had been studying all day, and low and behold I had two different earrings on. They are both flowers; however, completely different. One is cream and small while the other is yellow and big. Both of the people I told this story to said maybe no one told me because everyone thought I was "making a statement." What kind of statement do you make with two different earrings in your ears? The only thing that comes to mind is that you weren't awake when you got ready this morning. Which I wasn't. So I guess I was making the right statement. Now I know to not only check my backpack to make sure I have everything before I leave in the morning, but to check my ears as well.

Friday, October 10, 2008

L7 Weenieeee

My dad emailed this to me today just to remind me how cool he thinks I am.

No wonder I have self-esteem issues.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Discoveries made in the library

I've discovered why accountants are notorious for being boring. They can't help it. If my days were full of the stuff they do (which currently they are), I would have absolutely no personality plus I'm almost positive I would have scars on my wrists from where I cut myself. It's that bad. I don't know why I'm even learning this, I'm just going to end up hiring an accountant anyway. I'll be sure to bring them cookies and cards so they can have some form of happiness in their life besides balance sheets and statements of flowing cash.

I've also discovered why I have a blog. My theory is that I'm subconsciously protecting myself from becoming a politician in the future. Someone somewhere will dig this thing up and find some kind of something to hold against me, thus ruining my career and my reputation.

We'll see what another two hours spent in the library lead me to. This is what happens when I study "The Language of Business," aka: Accounting 200.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Meet Apt. 101

Ok, I'm a little behind. Let's catch up.

Apartment 101 bonding day. We "hiked" Squaw Peak. And we looked good doing it.
Now for a quick synopsis into the life I am currently living and the people who make it worth living:

Meet Hannaha Rachel Allen. Currently, the only pictures I have of her are blurry; however, despite the blurriness, it is perfectly clear how awesome she truly is. Hannaha enjoys locking herself in her room, studying accounting, hiding my things, occasionally watching One Tree Hill, spying outside her balcony, watching musicals and people who have absolutely no sense of humor.

Next comes Nicole Michelle Terril. Who knew Nicole has so many hidden talents? Sewing, cooking homemade salty bagels, finding things in her not-so-clean room, cleaning bathrooms, playing the violin, clogging, saying quotable things and the list goes on. Nicole is always happy even when she shouldn't be, as evidenced in this photo.

Introducing "The Other Roommate." She doesn't sleep here, but she's always welcome. Amberber Rogers is a liar and a thief. Though you shouldn't believe anything she says, you're always allowed to laugh hysterically. And you will. Amberber is full of love and hate. At 5'4, she's quite the perfect little bundle of joy.

Driving in the Jeep always makes for a good time.

What a happy family we make.

Yes, I know I am only halfway through September, yet ever since the first week of school I continually tell myself I am already halfway through this semester. I'm not sure why, though, because I have high hopes for my junior year at BYU. Excellent new roommates, excellent new classes and an excellent new ward should all make for an excellent new semester.
Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Starting the day off right

I'm not sure whether or not this story will translate as well in writing as it did when I acted it out for several people tonight, but I'm going to go for it anyway.

This morning as I was leaving my apartment complex headed for a full day of glorious schooling, I came to a point where I had to choose my path. I had two options: Go straight and then make a 90 degree turn onto the sidewalk OR cut through the gravel, jump off a 4 or 5 foot wall and then make my way to the same sidewalk, only a couple feet ahead. Obviously the ladder of the two is the quickest and most fun. Since I am a wall-jumping veteran and had safely landed the day before off the same wall, I had no fear. So I jumped. (Please try your hardest to picture this in your head with my poor description) As I landed, my knees buckled. The top half of my body was now far ahead of my feet, so each foot began making several tiny, awkward steps forward trying to catch up. I lost all control by this point and was simply trying not to crash completely into the gravel. As I descended closer and closer to the ground, trying to regain my balance, my overloaded backpack went up over my head. I was going so fast that my flip-flops had no traction on the gravel and now not only could I not control my body, I couldn't see anything except my backpack in front of my face. Finally I stopped, hands spread out, feet oddly positioned in a way I could never do on purpose, backpack literally in my face, and me so close to the ground I probably looked like I was actually laying on the ground. Here's the best part. Like anyone else would do in this situation, I quickly jumped up and pretended like I was fine and nothing happened. As I turned around to see if anyone saw my mess of a jump, I saw a boy who was walking not far behind me before. He glanced over the wall, and obviously having seen my previous display, made a sharp left and decided to take the long way. I now take credit for saving his life, or at least protecting him from a limb broken in several places. He obviously would not have recovered from a jump of that stature as easily as I. Ha.

I just wish someone would have been there to laugh with me. It's no fun laughing at yourself alone.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Straight Up

Today while I was driving in the car with my mom, the blast from the past song "No Such Thing" by John Mayer came on and for the first time I realized how genius those lyrics are. I felt like saying, yeah John you're right, there is no such thing as "the real world" and yeah, I do want to run through the halls of my high school and scream at the top of my lungs. Before that song was just a catchy tune but now I'm thinking of incorporating it into the sound track of my life. Preach on John, preach on. (Though I still think the song "Say" is incredibly redundant and that you are regressing towards the label "man whore.")

In respect to the "real world," this is where my desire to be musically inclined accelerates. I would love to join the list of artists making a statement with their guitars and quick-witted lyrics regarding the "real world" fallacy. As far as I'm concerned, I am already in the "real world" and I've lived in it a full twenty years now. Yeah, ok, maybe I'm not financially independent yet and maybe I'm completely naive when it comes to politics, the stock market and trusting mechanics, but I'm still not convinced those are the ingredients that mix together to define the "real world." I babysat a two and a one year old all summer and that seemed more like reality than anything I've ever watched on CNN or Fox News. Oh, and "reality" television? Come on. I think the show entitled "The Real World" proves my point. So yeah, Matchbox 20 I do wish the "real world" would just stop hassling me because unless a "fake world" exists, I don't want to hear it. And yes, from now on the "real world" will always be put into quotation marks.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You can't put your arms around a memory

I've been thinking a lot about something lately. A few years ago when I was having a difficult time understanding why I was struggling with something so much, my friend, CJ Lotz said, "Sometimes living hurts, but it beats the hell out of living numbly." I know that's true, but is it really true?

Just as our words cannot be neutral, neither can our experiences. What do you do when you don't want to re-live something because you know it will never be as good, but you also don't want to move forward because you don't want to forget it? And is there a limit to how many memories our brains can hold at one time? Does one memorable moment automatically replace another? Do I have to sacrifice my memories in order to get more? For some reason I have this scenario in my mind of me saying, "I'll give you one fourth grade slumber party in exchange for my upcoming camping trip," followed by a man with horn-rimmed glasses and the book of my life squinting his eyes whilst flipping pages back and forth then saying, "Throw in that senior year karaoke night and you've got a deal." That's not right.

Plus, if I can't store all of these memories in my brain, then I am forced to document them elsewhere. Ok. That's great. If I was the one responsible for recording the Second Coming it would probably go like this, "It was really dark. Then really light. Then Christ came and it was really cool. He's awesome." When you have the vocabulary of a fifth grader, it's difficult to convey any speck of emotion. In my creative writing class last semester, my professor shared this line from a girl's paper used to describe her character: "Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever." I sympathize and empathize.

It's depressing thinking about all the good memories I can't think about anymore because they're forgotten. That's why I'm starting to believe that living numb is the only way to go. If we don't know what we're missing, we aren't missing anything.

Side note: There's a reason why this blog is entitled "Conversation With Myself." I am very well aware I couldn't pay someone to have this conversation with me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back and better than ever

I have returned. Not only am I a changed woman, I am completely cultured and significantly better looking than I was before. I am glowing with dehydration and am sporting the flip flop tan line across my feet. Tourist at its finest right here, baby.

Okay, time to be serious. Saying that Europe was an experience of a lifetime is lame but the only way I can think of to adequately describe five weeks of newness. You know you're a bad writer when cliches are your main channel of expression. Actually, I knew I was a bad writer when every other word in my journal was either "amazing" or "so cool." Anyway, it's time for some European highlights in no particular order:

Loch Ness: Not only is it a sea monster, it's an actual loch (similar to lake, but completely different). Who knew? I didn't. But if there's one thing I learned in Europe, it's that I'm completely uneducated and ignorant to the world I claim to live in. I sat and over looked Loch Ness for a good thirty minutes and thought that even if I did have all the power and creativity there was to offer, I could never make something this beautiful.

Gelato: Have you had any? Until you've plunged into your first lick, you cannot accurately say you've experienced pure bliss. Two scoops two times a day is what got me through 110 degree Rome. Whatever you do, don't die a gelato virgin.

Holy Frickin Bastille Day: Yes, France has an equivalent fourth of July celebration and we happened upon it. Sitting directly under the Eiffel Tower, watching the most amazing fireworks show of my life with classical music in the background was definitely monumental in my short, pathetic 20 years; however, getting back on the Metro after the show was like reliving the Titanic (even though I didn't live it the first time but I feel Jack and Rose justified the emotions well). I'm talking women and children only. It was intense and sweaty.

Jumping off a 30 foot platform into Lake Geneva: Yes, I did it. Yes, it was cold. Yes, it was totally worth it. Geneva is beautiful and I'm going back. I swear their sky is better than ours.

Getting my backpack stolen in London: It happened. Passport, ID, money, social security card, camera, journal, water bottle - gone. That is why all of the photos on this entry are pirated from people on my trip. Truthfully, Heavenly Father took care of me through other people and without this, my Europe experience would have been completely different. So, yes, I'm grateful it happened. Even though I think the word grateful is entirely overused sometimes, this time gratitude is the only word to capture my reaction. Along with a little frustrated and a tiny bit angry.

Segways in Salzburg: I can't believe Austria was my first time being introduced to segways. Um, hello? Why walk when you can segway? The best part was Ashely flying by me screaming, "Whoa! Whoa! Whoaaaaa!" And then jumping off just before her segway crashed into a stone wall. I was scared at the time, but looking back literally makes me laugh out loud. If those segways are anything, it's durable. When I'm old and rich my first purchase will be a segway.

Bath: Who knew it even existed. Oh, right, not me because I'm uneducated and ignorant. It's in England and is the most picturesque town I've ever seen. It's what I really imagined Europe to be like.

Birthday by the Seine River: This was my best night in Europe. A group of friends surprised me with french bread, cheese, ginger ale and a similar to Martinelli's drink right by the river at night. Picture this - I'm in Paris, by a river lit up at night next to a beautiful stone bridge with candles stolen from a famous French cathedral being sung "Happy Birthday to You" by some of the coolest people in the world. Plus I got a french barrett. What a perfect way to enter your twenties.

T9: Also known as "Team 9" or the coolest group of 9 globetrotters ever. I hung out with the same nine people for almost all of the trip and five weeks was not enough. While the days were busy with sight seeing and travel, the nights were the memory makers. Love circles, making wishes in fountains, stuffing ourselves with crepes and gelato, loser pictures, planning picnics by the river - that's the Europe I'll remember.

The four person bike in Rome: We had some extra time before a museum reservation, so the four of us rented a bike-like contraption and off-roaded down a few rocky hills that probably weren't in the bikes comfort zone. But it was fun and we have no regrets whatsoever.

"Hiking" the Matterhorn: We sat and ate lunch at a restaurant that was literally right next to the Matterhorn. Who does that? Oh, we do.

Paragliding in the Alps: Yep. I did it. Adrenaline rush? No. Freaking sweet experience that I'll hopefully never forget? Yes.

River rafting in Lauterbrunnen: Once again, I'm not sure why this was the first time I've done something this incredible. The river was a level three which was good enough for me. We even got to jump out and float down it for a while. Douggy, our rafting guide from New Zealand, made it all worthwhile.

The infamous sock fight with Ashley: You have to be careful who you get your facts from. Just know that mine is the true story. Too much went down to type all of it so here's the cliff note version: While doing laundry in Switzerland, somehow our director's socks got mixed in with my clothes. I threw the socks off our bed, Ashley got mad because I made an "executive decision" without her, the next thing I hear is Ashley say, "Uh, yeah. I'm gonna do it" followed by her pouncing on me while shoving the socks in my face, I then threw water in her face, she threw my pillow off the bed, I took the comforter with me and decided to sleep on the floor, she threw a fit about that, I got back on the bed at her request, she threw my pillow off again, we fought about who would get the pillow until neither of us did and we both went to sleep angry while I remained pillowless. Then apparently I woke up and got my pillow and Ashley asked me what I would do if she would were to throw it off again (remember this is around four o'clock in the morning and Ashley can still too easily summon her evilness) to which I replied with a moan-like scream or something. This fight will most likely forever remain a sensitive subject and may halter our friendship from ever reaching it's full potential. Was it worth it? Probably.

Smelly bus rides: The bus is where it all went down. Mafia, excellent conversation, starvation, logistics, Study Abroad Trivia, quality time with The Office and Arrested Development, would you rather, I have never, sweet Caroline. You name it, it happened on The Elbo Bus.

My apologies, but this list isn't even close to complete. I've got plenty more to add and hopefully some more pictures, too. The greatest thing I was taught in Europe is that people are what make the experiences worth it. There are good, interesting and fascinating people everywhere you go and as long as you find them or they find you, all of your efforts will be returned to you one hundredfold at least. You know a memory is good when simply thinking about it makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you mad, makes you feel any emotion at all. Europe is full of good memories for me.