Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 Was A Big Year

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! I know I did...blessed with the company of family and the joys of thoughtful gifts that I gave and received.

I'm sitting here, the day after Christmas, thinking about how 2010 is coming to a close. For the past 17 years, my mind has thought of "years" in school years...because when you start a new school year in August, it feels like that is when you have the chance to start over, make some changes, and accomplish some things, whether you're starting 4th grade, 12th grade, or your senior year of college. Now I'm trying to shift my mind to think in calendar years like the rest of the "adult" world!

2010 was a really big, and wonderful, year. Lots of changes, lots of excitement, and a few things that brought about some sadness or nostalgia.
I rang in 2010 in Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl, which was such a fun trip aside from our loss, and a great way to end my EIGHT years in marching band! I can't imagine my life without it, and while it's nice to have my weekends again and be home for all of the holidays, I do miss performing and being with such a tight-knit group of people.
I began my last semester as a college student, which was so surreal! I took lots of classes that interested me, and also had my Advertising Campaigns class that capped off my degree nicely, ending with a huge presentation to CBS radio in Dallas.
I welcomed a new grandlittle, Audrey, and a great-grandlittle, Callie, into my Tau Beta Sigma family. These girls, along with Kayla and Ashley, have truly become like little sisters to me, and I value keeping close to them even though I am now a TBS alum.
I got sick...a lot. Staying so busy during my senior year was both a curse and a blessing because I truly lived it up and did just about everything I possibly could, but I also didn't sleep enough and wore myself out. I wound up with the stomach flu in February and an upper respiratory infection and mono in March. My body forced me to rest, and since then I have been MUCH healthier for the rest of the year!
I spent part of spring break in San Antonio with my best friends Briana and Marissa. We are a true testament to the ability to remain close to friends even when you are separated by physical distance.
BIG milestone-- I graduated college! I now have a Bachelor of Science in Advertising/Public Relations from Texas Christian University. Four years flew by faster than I could ever have imagined. With this graduation came many goodbyes-- to Tau Beta Sigma, to band, to my many friends at school, to living with my roommates, to both of my jobs working with children that I loved so much; so while it was an exciting time, it was also sad too!
I moved home. Living at home again after four years of living in a dorm/apartment/house with your friends is a little strange, but I've settled in nicely. I get along well with my parents and enjoy spending time with them... and major bonus, it's rent-free!
I got an internship doing something I had never done before, and learned a lot.
I went to Hawaii!!! Such a beautiful place, and an amazing family vacation. I want to go back to paradise!
I got a grown-up job!!! And not just any job, the job that I had hoped and literally prayed for ever since I was an intern. I had tried to prepare myself if it didn't work out, but I was so relieved and overjoyed to be hired and get to do what I love.
My sister left for college. It's weird being the only child at home, but she's adjusted well to college and is following in my footsteps as a public relations major. I'm very proud of her!
Another major change-- Alex moved to California. We had done a "short distance" relationship at different colleges over the last four years, and that was hard at times, but this was a huge distance. It was hard to have him leave after an amazing summer together, but a semester flew by and we survived, so I know we can do it! I honestly think all of the build-up and preparing for him to leave was harder than it's been now that he's actually moved, because I was dreading the unknown.
I began to experience TCU as an alum. Strange to not feel such a sense of ownership anymore because I can no longer walk the campus as a student, perform at football games, hang out in the buildings. But I love TCU and wear my purple even more proudly... it's just a little different from the other side!
I visited Alex twice in California. It was wonderful to spend time with him there and experience his life.. I think it makes it easier to be apart when I know what his life is like there and have been involved in it firsthand. I am very much in love with him and am so proud of what he is already doing with his life.
A few other things that have happened-- met lots of great new people and friends, paid my first loan off, joined a bowling league with some of my co-workers, and experienced holidays in the "real world" and now appreciate time off more than ever. There were many other things that happened, but hopefully that covers the big stuff. All in all, it was an amazing year, and I am very very blessed.

To sum it all up, I chose a picture from each month of the year in 2010:

JANUARY- Fiesta Bowl! New Year's Eve in downtown Phoenix

FEBRUARY- the most snow I've ever seen in my life

MARCH- My Tau Beta Sigma Pink! Family (Ashley, Kayla, Audrey, and Callie) at 3rd Degree

APRIL-My advertising campaigns group, Sentidos, after we presented to CBS Radio in Dallas over a campaign we had worked on for 3 months

MAY-Graduation with my family

JUNE-Sister's high school graduation


AUGUST- 6 Year Anniversary in California

SEPTEMBER- TCU game as alumni with my pledge class!

OCTOBER- Cowboys Game on Halloween with Bree and Marissa

NOVEMBER- Bauza's Birthday

DECEMBER- Happy Graduation, Caroline!

Choosing picures for that was WAY harder than I expected, because I love pictures and have hundreds from the past year to choose from!

Thank you to everyone who made 2010 a great year... I value and love each of you!

Friday, December 24, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Christmas... In Texas, That Is

My mom used to read this story to us every Christmas Eve! 

‘Twas the night before Christmas
In Texas you know,
Way out on the prairie
Without any snow.

Asleep in their cabin
Were Buddy and Sue
A-dream’ of Christmas
Like me and like you.

Not stockings, but boots
At the foot of their bed,
For this was in Texas,
What more need be said?

When all of a sudden
From out the still night,
There came such a ruckus
It gave me a fright!

And I saw ‘cross the prairie
Like a shot from a gun,
A loaded-up buckboard
Come on at a run.

The driver was ‘Geein’,
And ‘hawin’, with a will.
The hosses (not reindeer)
He drove with such skill.

“Come on there Buck, Pancho,
And Prince, to the right!
There’ll be plenty of travelin’
For you-all tonight.”

The driver in Levi’s
And shirt that was red,
Had a ten-gallon Stetson
On top of his head.

As he stepped from the buckboard
He was really a sight,
With his beard and moustaches
So curly and white.

As he burst in the cabin
The children awoke,
And both so astonished
That neither one spoke.

And he filled up their boots
With such presents galore
That neither could think
Of a single thing more.

When Buddy recovered
The use of his jaws,
He asked, in a whisper,
“Are you Santa Claus?”

“Am I the REAL Santa?
Well, what do you think?”
And he smiled as he gave
A mysterious wink.

Then he lept in his buckboard,
And called back, in his drawl,
“To all children of TEXAS,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

When I Count My Blessings, I Count You Twice

I meant to post this during Thanksgiving week, but I figure that this entire season is about giving thanks and remembering the blessings that God has given us. I am so thankful for the people in my life--my family, my boyfriend, my co-workers, my many friends. They are who keep me going, keep me sane, inspire me, help me grow, make me laugh, and each teach me something in their own unique way. Thank you all. I am so thankful to have a job I love, the opportunity to live with my parents, to have gone to an amazing school, and to live in a wonderful country where I am free. There are many more things that I am thankful for, but that sums it up well.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


My first fiction short story (in my semi-adult life, at least-- let's not look back at my elementary school stories!) It needs a lot of work, but my professor had some good things to say about it last semester when I wrote it, so there's hope! Maybe one day I'll write my novel. Enjoy : )


By Julie Carter

It’s always a bit unsettling when you realize that something a professor just said while you were spacing out will probably be on the next test, or when you discover that you’ve reached your destination but don’t remember the drive there because you were lost in thought. It was barely past noon, but Emma had already done both of these things. Blinking with the realization that she had in fact arrived at the daycare center where she worked part time, she dragged herself out of the car and shuffled through the bright yellow door. Time to focus, she thought. Distraction was never good with 4-year-olds. Just when you turned your back or stopped paying attention, something was bound to happen. Like the time Emma was distracted for just a few minutes chasing an unruly child, and when she turned around, several of the others had managed to turn the sink into a bubble-filled, overflowing mess.
Emma’s future career wouldn’t even involve children. She was majoring in marketing and planned to venture out into the business world after graduation. But working with children had always been natural for her. They saw the world in a simple way, yet managed to point out things that adults had become too busy or too practical to notice, like how it was perfectly acceptable to play in the dirt or that you could still see a faint outline of the moon on some mornings. She loved their creativity, imagination and, most of all, their brutal honesty. If they didn’t like something, they would tell you straight up. Not like Melissa, Emma thought. Emma’s roommate and former best friend much preferred the silent treatment now, forcing polite conversation when absolutely necessary, but none the less avoiding an honest conversation with Emma.
“Miss Emma, Miss Emma!” several of the children cried when she walked into the jungle-themed classroom, its walls covered with butcher paper trees and zoo animals. They ran up to her, little Joshua trying to tell her about the story they had read earlier, while Meredith twirled her fingers through Emma’s long brown waves of hair and Sophie chattered about her new baby sister. Normally it was easy for Emma to listen to their cute stories and endless questions, but as she assisted Miss Marci with snack time, her mind was occupied with thoughts of the previous night.
Yesterday they had celebrated the birthday of one of their other roommates, Lily, by having all of their good friends come over and surprise Lily with a night of margaritas, music, and dancing. Melissa was perpetually with her sort-of boyfriend, Sam, these days, so Emma had planned the whole party with their fourth roommate, Sarah. Normally Melissa would have been right there scheming away with Emma, but she was never around anymore, and Emma had to awkwardly tell her about the party the day before when she unexpectedly ran into Melissa on-campus rather than at their own house. Fortunately, Melissa showed up, but it felt like she was an uncomfortable visitor the whole evening, perched awkwardly on the couch like she didn’t actually pay rent there. Sam wasn’t with her, and Emma didn’t ask where he was. Sam had become a touchy subject between them. Instead, she asked Melissa how her broadcast journalism classes were going. With her fiery personality and ease in front of an audience, Emma knew she was going to see Melissa anchoring the 6 o’clock news someday.
Melissa looked down, toying with the margarita glass in her hand. “Um, actually,” she said slowly, “I changed my major a few weeks ago. To biology. I decided working in the media isn’t really my thing. I wanna study science and become a dentist.” She shifted on the back of the couch, tossing her long blond hair back in the uncomfortable silence that followed.
“Wow,” Emma started, not sure how to respond. “I had no idea you changed your major… I guess there’s a lot I don’t know,” she said, hoping Melissa would take the cue and agree that yes, there was a lot, and that it was definitely time for them to cook dinner together and catch up on everything they were missing in each other’s lives.
“It happens,” Melissa responded, shrugging as if this was no big deal. “It’s whatever.”
At that moment, Emma realized that she and Melissa were not at all the same friends they had been a few months ago. Melissa, who used to consult Emma about something as trivial as what color to paint her nails, was now making major life decisions without bothering to tell Emma anything. And to her, it was all fine.
As the children lined up to wash their hands after snack, Emma watched Sophie turn to a cute freckled girl named Anna.
“Hey Anna, will you be my best friend?” Sophie asked eagerly.
“No,” Anna replied, sticking out her tongue and turning away.
Turning to the person in line behind her, Katie, Sophie again asked, “Hey Katie, will you be my best friend?”
“Yes!” Katie said, and she and Sophie hugged each other and began giggling. They would probably be “best friends” for the rest of the day until they lost interest, only to find a new best friend the next day. Emma couldn’t help but think of her best friend, or who her best friend used to be. She and Melissa shared the same favorite flavor of ice cream, chocolate chip cookie dough, the same shoe size even though Melissa was four inches taller, and the same love for romantic comedies and silly jokes. She and Melissa would always refer to each other as their “BFF.” How long had it been since she had done that?
“Miss Marci, you remind me of my cat,” Nicole suddenly piped up from the table where she and the other teacher were coloring, throwing Emma’s thoughts back to the children.
“Oh, do I?” Marci asked absently, obviously not paying much attention. She was accustomed to the random associations her class made, and always seemed more than ready to leave at the end of the day.
“Yeah, my dead cat,” Nicole replied, in a matter-of-fact tone, not even looking up from her crayons.
Marci didn’t respond, but Emma had to stifle a giggle. She wanted to know why in the world the other teacher reminded Nicole of her dead cat, but didn’t ask. If only adults could say whatever was on their minds, without worrying about what other people would think. That was one thing that Emma had always loved about being best friends with Melissa—their ability to be real with each other and not sugar coat anything. If Melissa didn’t think a shirt looked great on Emma, she would tell her not to buy it and help her find something else instead. If one was frustrated with the other, they would come right out and say it. They would argue with each other, yell and call each other names if necessary, and then they would talk it out until they understood each other. And every time, things would go right back to pre-fight mode and the girls would back to their usual antics—laughing at things only they found to be funny, confiding their biggest secrets, and blasting their favorite songs in the car and singing as loud as they could even when other people were watching. When did all that change? Emma couldn’t help but wonder.
That was the thing with fading friendships. Sometimes you couldn’t pinpoint exactly where things went wrong. It was a little occurrence here and then, until one day you were slammed into the realization that the relationship you once had was completely changed. Emma and Melissa hadn’t had a big falling out. It just seemed to be a gradual build-up of events, each one adding a piece to the wall that had grown between them. Maybe some of that uninhibited honesty had contributed to their failing friendship.
When Melissa and Sam had started talking more and Melissa confessed that she really liked him, Emma was happy for her. She assumed Sam would be Melissa’s new boyfriend and that they would be happy together, but that Melissa would still be her usual self and hang out with Emma. However, Sam hadn’t turned out to be much of the boyfriend type. He liked to charm Melissa with a lot of words and false promises, yet managed to say the same things to other girls when she wasn’t around. He never officially asked her out either, preferring to avoid any conversations about where their relationship stood. To Emma, this was a red flag, but Melissa remained disillusioned by the “good times” she had with Sam. Never one to be fooled by people, Melissa seemed to be living in complete denial about her so-called boyfriend. Emma had tried to talk to her about it numerous times, but she couldn’t get through to her.
There had been one afternoon, a couple of months back, when Emma was sitting at the kitchen table and enjoying her lunch. It was a beautiful day, and Emma had been thinking about doing her homework outside later. She was surprised when she heard the front door unlock. Lily was in class at this time, and Sarah spent every moment of her free time working at a local bookstore, so it had to be Melissa. But Melissa’s stays at their house had become few and far between. Whereas she used to spend every night at the house, doing her homework and hanging out with her roommates, she now seemed to only come home to drop things off, grab new belongings, and leave again. The front door slammed closed. Sure enough, it was Melissa who came storming into the kitchen, her face streaked wit tears.
“What’s the matter?!” Emma had cried, hating to see Melissa upset. Melissa rarely cried.
Melissa collapsed into a kitchen chair. “It’s just Sam,” she said, sighing. “I made the mistake of asking him what we are. I shouldn’t have brought it up. Everything was fine the way it was.”
“What you are? Like whether or not you’re exclusively together?” Emma asked, and Melissa nodded.
“You have every right to ask that,” Emma told her in her best encouraging, firm voice. “You guys have had something going on for a while now, and you bend over backwards for him. He can’t expect you not to wonder why he won’t call himself your boyfriend.”
“Well, that’s the thing,” Melissa said quietly, “Everyone keeps telling me they see him with Lacy Cummins and that she’s always at his house whenever I’m not. So I asked him about her, and he got all defensive. I think to him I mean a big commitment, and he’s just not ready for that yet. But he will be. I know it,” she finished, sounding only about as sure as Emma felt.
“Mel,” Emma said, trying to choose her words carefully. “That’s ridiculous. You’re a great girl, and you do so much for Sam. Y’all have been talking for a while now. Surely he can see how great you are, and if not, he’s not good enough for you. It’s not like you’re getting married or something. You just want him to be your boyfriend… not Lacy’s or anyone else’s.”
“I know he’s right for me though,” Melissa said, a tone of desperation in her voice. “No one else has ever made me feel the way he does.”
“I know, Mel,” Emma said, trying to make her stay calm. “But I’m tired of seeing you be so upset over the stupid things Sam does. He doesn’t always treat you right.” Instead of stopping there though, she kept going. “Maybe you should be with someone else instead. It’s hard watching you invest so much emotionally energy in Sam.”
Emma could tell then that she had gone too far. Melissa stood up quickly, grabbing her backpack, and snapped back, “Well, I am more than willing to do so. You don’t know Sam. You don’t know how good he is to me!” And with that, she was right back out the door.
Yes, Emma decided, maybe that was a time she should have held back her opinion and let Melissa figure it out for herself.
“Miss Emma, what did you color?” one of the kids, James, suddenly asked, wedging himself between her lap and the table.
Emma had been doodling for a while, but only now did she look down at her picture. She had drawn two stick figure girls, one tall with long blond hair and the other shorter with brown curls, holding hands. Her and Melissa. Her former BFF.
“Oh, just a picture of someone important to me,” she replied, ruffling his messy hair, wild from a day of playtime.
“Are you gonna give it to them?” he asked, looking up at his teacher.
“Sure,” Emma lied, imagining Melissa’s reaction if she gave her this picture. A few months ago, it would have made her laugh and she would have put it on the bulletin board by her desk. Now, Emma wasn’t sure what to expect. Just for fun, she wrote Will you be my best friend again? on the picture in bright green crayon, Melissa’s favorite color.
After the last of the rambunctious 4-year-olds had gone home with their parents, Emma clocked out at the center and headed home, armed with her drawing. She was surprised when she pulled up at their little white house and found Melissa’s SUV out front. What she’s doing home? Emma wondered. Probably in a fight with Sam over something stupid he did.
Melissa closed the door on the setting sun and listened for any sounds coming from her roommates. Lily and Sarah weren’t home, but she could see light shining from under Melissa’s closed door. They were the only ones home. Emma imagined knocking on Melissa’s door with a gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in hand, ready to tell her about the children’s antics and her marketing test and to listen about whatever had probably happened with Sam. And then they could go pick out new clothes at the mall, because Emma was dying for a cute shirt. Yeah right, she thought. I’m starting to sound like my 4-year-olds with my crazy ideas.
But she found herself standing right outside Melissa’s door, still holding the picture in her hand. The Melissa she knew six months ago would love it. What would the Melissa that was here now say? She could hear music on softly, but not the tunes she and Melissa used to love. This was something Emma had never heard before, something angrier. Probably Sam’s music. For a moment, her hand hovered next to the door, ready to knock. And then slowly, she crumpled the picture in her hand, the juvenile picture disappearing inside the white paper ball.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


While in the shower (where I always have my best moments of inspiration!) one day in late September, I came up with the idea of flying Alex home as a late birthday/early Christmas present. I knew he wasn't going to be able to come home until Christmas, and I knew that while he was happy and settled in LA, he did miss home. I also missed him too and knew his family would love to have him at home for a few days. As we started looking at weekends, it became clear that this was a perfect one. Alex was able to see his family, including visiting his brother at Baylor on sibling day, spend time with me, attend a TCU football game since Jenna, my former roomie and game buddy, was out of town, and even lead worship at his home church. It couldn't have worked out more perfectly, and I feel like by giving him this gift, we all received the gift of his presence.

This weekend was a reminder of how blessed I am to have an amazing boyfriend. Even though it is hard to be away from him for weeks at a time, I've realized something that changes my whole perspective on a long distance relationship: I am truly blessed to have someone, who I love and who loves me back, that is special enough to miss so much. I think we all just truly want to love someone and be loved back, and I am fortunate to have found such a person so early in my life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween 2006-2010

I love Halloween. I think it's because I love dressing up and seeng what creative costumes other people have come up with, and I love passing out candy to cute little kids. This year we had so many trick-or-treaters that I ran out of candy (for the 2nd time) by 8:00! I dressed up as Minnie Mouse to pass out the candy, and heard so many cute things in response, including "Thank you, Minnie," "I like your costume!" and "Look, Minnie lives here!" I think that no matter how old or "grown-up" you are, you can still be young at heart and have fun with things. My friend Liz said I'll probably the kind of mom that dresses up to pass out candy and also get super into it with my kids, and I think she's exactly right.
My entire Halloween night was made this year by a sweet little baby. He was maybe 10 months old, and my house was the very first one he had ever been trick-or-treating to! His mother asked if she could take a picture of us, and as a baby fanatic, I said of course! I held him, she took the picture, and I talked to him and bounced him for a second. I was surprised at how content he seemed, but I've discovered that babies are a lot like animals-- they can sense fear, and if you're comfortable and calm, they often are too. Then, I tried to hand the sweet baby back to his dad, but he fussed. We thought maybe his hand was caught on my costume, but we realized that he was clutching on to it! I tried to tell him that the fun of Halloween is to go to lots of houses, but of course he was too little to understand. His relatives were laughing and totally surprised because he had never done that before. Finally I had to just pry him off and into his dad's arms as he cried and reached for me. His Mom said "Good thing I got a picture-- I can write about it!" It was the craziest thing, but I loved it and thought he was adorable! A perfect example of my love for babies. : )

Here's a look into my past five Halloweens:

2006: Minnie Mouse, Freshman Year at TCU
I went to my very first drumline Halloween party. I didn't know what to expect, but it was your typical crazy college party. I just took it all in and decided that Halloween could be almost as fun in college as it was when you used to trick-or-treat!

2007: Angel, Sophomore Year at TCU
This time I brought Alex to the party, and went with my roommate, suitemates, and dorm friend. We had a lot of fun, and I loved the age and phase in college we were at. Sometimes I miss dorm life.

2008: 80's Rockstar Groupie, Junior Year at TCU
Pretty self-explanatory... Alex was an awesome 80's rockstar, and I was his groupie. I had never dressed like that before, and we had a blast.

2009: 50's Couple, Senior Year at TCU
Alex and I decided to do something simple, cute, and classic and dress up like a high school couple from the 1950's. Don't we look like we just walked off the set of Grease? : )

2010: Pink Lady, Post-Grad
I didn't expect to come to the Halloween party this year since I am an "old alum" now, but my wonderful Little Ashley invited me and I couldnt resist! We decided to dress up as Pink Ladies from Grease since we had most of the right materials and are also members of the Pink family in Tau Beta Sigma. Ashley made our super cute jackets, and I had a lot of fun spending the night with her in Fort Worth and getting to see my friends that are still at TCU. Also, I have the cutest Pink family!!

Who knows what next year will bring? I really want Alex and I to dress up as Mickey and Minnie Mouse someday : )

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 16- A Song That Makes Me Cry

I've decided to continue on with this challenge... I'll just do it at my own pace : )

Day 16 is a song that makes me cry, or nearly. This one is by Racal Flatts, "I'm Movin' On," and it definitely makes me teary-eyed every time. A specific memory I have of this song is in high school when our guard instructor played this song and had us get in a line and go down the line and hug every person and say something special to them so that we each had a private moment with everyone... I think we did this when the seniors were leaving. It was very emotional, and it's the kind of song that I think a lot of people can relate to.

"I'm Movin' On"
Rascal Flatts

I've dealt with my ghosts and I've faced all my demons
Finally content with a past I regret
I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I'm at peace with myself
I've been burdened with blame, trapped in the past for too long
I'm movin' on

I've lived in this place and I know all the faces
Each one is different but they're always the same
They mean me no harm but it's time that I face it
They'll never allow me to change
But I never dreamed home would end up where I don't belong
I'm movin' on

I'm movin' on
At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me
And I know there's no guarantees, but I'm not alone
There comes a time in everyone's life
When all you can see are the years passing by
And I have made up my mind that those days are gone

I sold what I could and packed what I couldn't
Stopped to fill up on my way out of town
I've loved like I should but lived like I shouldn't
I had to lose everything to find out
Maybe forgiveness will find me somewhere down this road
I'm movin' on

I'm movin' on
I'm movin' on

Monday, October 25, 2010


I also wrote this in Creative Writing... anyone who has ever done colorguard/winterguard should be able to relate to it!

By Julie Carter

Lips painted crimson, violet-coated eyelids
and hair pulled tightly into buns,
shields of spray securing every strand.

Awaken our muscles, synchronize breathing, match
even the curve of fingers and tilt of heads,
each of us a duplicate of one.

Listen to the instructor’s gruff voice,
steady and commanding but an underlying urgency
willing us to not spoil the crafted choreography.

Cradle the silk flags, wooden rifles and silver sabers
as we enter the blinding arena lights
blanketing the audience’s faces in shadows.

Shuffle on bare feet, calloused with repetition.
Line the pieces along the floor, waiting
to come alive in spins and flourishes.

Toes locked on starting places across the stretched tarp,
smiles pasted on our faces, inhaling deeply
to steady the tremors in them.

Wait for the judge’s signal to begin,
a split second where everything is silent
but the hammering of our hearts.

Set in motion by the first strains of music,
we propel through the precise routine,
every motion a fluid transition into the next.

Equipment rotates easily, powered by adrenaline
stored just for these five minutes, more important
than anything else we will do today.

Extend every movement of limbs,
heads craned upward so that even those
high in the stands can feel our energy.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

First Goodnight

A poem I wrote for my Creative Writing class my last semester. Loosely based on my real life ; ) One of my first attempts at poetry, so it needs work and it's definitely cheesy, but enjoy!

First Goodnight

The soft murmur of re-runs echoes a story of young love
as we nestle together on a seat made for two.
Hands intertwined, the long, flexible fingers
of a musician laced through mine.

I trace the curve of your yellow bracelet,
not wanting words to break the silent anticipation.
Breathless we sit, even swallowing is too loud,
the beats of two nervous hearts fill the room.

And then you speak, our heads draw together,
lips connecting for the first time.
Unknown at first, gently they touch, leaving a print like a memory.
Tingling with a new discovery, yet familiar, not wanting to part.

Then we must say goodnight, but only for now,
out into the evening air, clinging to the last wisps of summer.
So many questions we could ask,
but the hum of possibility fills in the gaps.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

LA Weekend- Trip #2

Last weekend I was able to visit Alex for a longer trip. My boss was wonderful and gave me Friday off, so I flew to LA on Thursday night. I arrived pretty late in the evening, so we made s'mores and watched our favorite movie, I Love You Man. I was so happy to see him after 6 weeks apart. The time went by quickly, fortunately, but it wasn't until I physically saw him that I realized how much I missed him.

Friday morning we slept in, went grocery shopping, and I napped on the futon in the sun while he went to rehearsal. Then it was time for... JACK JOHNSON! My early birthday present from Alex was to see Jack Johnson live at the Hollywood Bowl. It was a really cool venue, and Jack sounded amazing live. He played absolutely everything that I wanted to hear, including "Better Together," my favorite song. I think it's a perfect song for me and Alex, especially given our current living situation. It was a great night and I'm so glad we were able to go!

Saturday was another gorgeous day so we headed to Will Rogers State Beach, which wasn't crowded at all. We spent most of the afternoon at the beach, laying in the sun and relaxing. The weather was perfect. The water was, as expected, very cold, but I still dipped my toes in. We worked on our tans too-- but poor Alex got a little sunburned! After the beach, Alex headed up to USC for a meeting and I showered and relaxed. When he got home, we attempted to make coconut mojitos. They were very good, but came out more like coconut mojito milkshakes/a dessert item. Alex cooked me a delicious stir fry and coconut rice dinner.. mmm. Amazing.

Sunday morning I went to church with Alex. I loved getting to see where he goes to church, and I really liked it there. It was another beautiful day, and I wish I was still there! After church, we spent the rest of my time there relaxing and just enjoying each other's company. I wasn't ready to leave, but I bought Alex his birthday/Christmas present before I left-- a ticket to come home in November! So we were able to part with the knowledge that we will be together again in a month. It's always hard to leave, but I am thankful for Skype and phone calls and texting that enable us to stay connected even when we are many miles apart.

Can't wait for November!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Trip of a Lifetime

Day 15 of this challenge is supposed to be a fanfic, but I don't do those... so here's something I wrote myself for Creative Writing this past semester. It's about the trip to Ireland my high school band took. Enjoy : )

The Trip of a Lifetime
By Julie Carter

“Are we driving to Ireland?” Kelli, a freshman, asked as we sat in a circle in the band hall, discussing the plan for the biggest trip of our lives.
“Yeah Kelli, you can drive to Ireland,” my best friend replied sarcastically. “Good luck making it across the ocean!”
I was 16 years old and traveling out of the United States for the first time. My high school marching band had been invited by the Lord Mayor to march in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin and, by some miracle, our uptight band director had agreed. As a member of the color guard, I was fortunate enough to be part of the parade as well. The Band Booster parents had been referring to it as “The Trip of a Lifetime.
When we arrived in Dublin, I discovered that my suitcase was the only one on the entire plane that hadn’t quite made it onto our connecting flight from London. Although I was flustered filling out the necessary paperwork to get my suitcase back, I was able to reassure my color guard instructor that yes, I had indeed packed my uniform in my carry-on bag. If nothing else, I would still be in the parade. Fortunately, my suitcase was delivered that night, so a spandex uniform that made me look like Wonder woman wasn’t my only wardrobe option. It also restored my faith in Aer Lingus after our terrible landing that day. I had been dozing when we skidded onto the runway practically sideways, bouncing everywhere, and I had sworn we were crashing. Why we trusted Irish pilots during the week of St. Patrick’s Day is beyond me.
Before we departed for our weeklong trip, my friend had declared that she would find the greenest hill in the country on which to be married someday. As our bus to Kilkenny Castle took us along a winding road with views of beautiful green hills on both sides, all I could think was that she had a lot of options to choose from. Although I enjoyed touring Kilkenny Castle and walking around the expansive grounds, what I and most of my friends remember best about Kilkenny were the cute boys that were on their lunch break from school while we explored the city. Much to our surprise, the majority of them were brunettes with blue eyes instead of the stereotypical Irish green-eyed redheads. While I vaguely remember the interesting shops we saw and the ancient-seeming cobblestone streets and alleys, I believe we spent most of our time there giggling and following the uniform-clad young men through the streets. And I think that many of us vowed to move to Ireland for good.
Our hotel was full of twisting corridors and confusing staircases and passages. Somehow my best friend and I found a back way into the dining room where the entire group ate dinner together every night, saving us the trouble of pushing our way through the main doors and fighting for a good table. Some of the food was unusual, and our table spent an entire meal poking at our food and debating about whether the meat we were eating was chicken or fish. I’m still not sure. I mainly survived on bread and, of course, dessert. Every night the dessert was brought out on rolling carts and positioned in specific areas in the dining room. We learned where the best places to sit were and slowly scooted our chairs closer until it was time to make a mad dash for the desserts. The best ones always went fast. We didn’t have much free time at the hotel, because the days leading up to the parade were spent rehearsing in the ballrooms or marching around the parking lot. The endless rehearsals spent with the director screaming at us through the megaphone were probably meant to keep us out of trouble, but several groups of students still managed to have parties in their hotel rooms. I didn’t go to these parties, but I was very glad when it was Saint Patrick’s Day and we could be in the parade instead of rehearsing more.
As we rode the busses from our hotel to downtown Dublin, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We had been in many parades before, but the 4th of July parade in little Coppell, Texas, didn’t quite compare to the Dublin Saint Patrick’s Day parade with 600,000 spectators. Ireland was still pretty chilly in March, and while the morning of the parade was sunny, I was quite cold in my sleeveless uniform. I kept warm by bundling up in one of the chaperone’s heavy coats until right before the parade started. I was accustomed to wearing crazy outfits as a part of the color guard, but I can only imagine how unusual we looked to these people in our red and yellow skin-tight body suits, complete with purple capes and silver buttons. Let’s not forget about our hair in buns, purple eyeshadow, and red lipstick. A whole group was already gathering as the band split to warm-up in sections. They watched as we practiced basic spins and tosses, clapping every time we all caught our flags together. I wasn’t used to that reaction at all. In Texas, hardly anyone paid attention when we were on the field performing at halftime, let alone acting excited when all we were doing was warming up.
We lined up in the street in our parade block, even though we proceeded to wait around for a while longer. Marching band is a lot of “hurry up and wait.” People were handing their babies to drumline members to take pictures of them. Based on the number of cameras that were on us throughout the parade, I have to wonder how many total strangers have pictures of me somewhere. We finally set off through the streets of downtown Dublin, playing an entire American patriotic melody. The guard spun silks designed to look like the Texas flag, but with the red and white stripes in reverse order so that it wasn’t considered disrespectful to be spinning them. I became tired of replying to my band friends that yes, we did know that the stripes were reversed on our flags and that they were supposed to be that way. We had a choreographed routine to the music, which we performed over and over throughout the multiple-mile parade. I had no idea just how tired my arms would become or that by the end, our flimsy tan jazz shoes would be so dirty and torn from the epic parade that we would all have to throw them away.
The sides of the streets were so crowded in some places that it was difficult for me not to hit the spectators or another guard girl with my six foot flag pole, but by no means did I stop spinning. When we passed through several streets that were lined with buildings, forming a crazy wind tunnel, I ran after my tosses at all costs, not daring to be the one that dropped my flag in the middle of the street. In between all of this, I tried to smile as widely as possible and actually look at the crowd. I knew I would never have an opportunity this unique and exciting, and I wanted to enjoy it. I couldn’t believe how the streets were packed with people, several rows thick, all straining to catch a glimpse of the big white band as we marched by. I knew we had to be one of the biggest groups there, and was excited to find out that we won an award for being the best band in the parade. I was completely blown away to see people on the rooftops, cheering especially for us. One man, seeing our flags, yelled “Take me home to Texas, baby!” I had almost forgotten where I was for a moment, but Texas seemed so far away right then. I was young, but I saw for the first time what a big world it is. I may not have found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or met a leprechaun, but I was in a beautiful foreign country and a part of the coolest thing I had ever done. I understood what the Band Boosters had been talking about all this time and, even though my feet hurt enough by the end to want to be carried up the hill to the bus, I bet I could have kept going for several more miles.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 14- A Non-Fiction Book

"Chicken Soup for the College Soul"

I read this book during my first week at TCU, and it is full of inspiring stories about college, just as the name suggests. It gave me encouragement, made me laugh, and helped me to not feel so alone/afraid of the new environment I was in. My sister left for college a month ago, and I passed it along to her. Hopefully she has read it by now and enjoyed it just as much as I did.

In other news, I have been slacking on reading and posting blogs lately! I am loving my job and staying busy. Alex has been gone for a whole month now.. it feels like so much longer. Yesterday was the TCU vs. Tennessee Tech game, and I had a blast. More to come about that later.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Los Angeles- Anniversary Weekend 2010

Last week I traveled to Los Angeles, California to visit Alex for our 6 year anniversary! I cannot believe we have been together for six years, because they have gone by so fast. We were only 15 and 16 and juniors in high school when we started dating, and now we are 21 and 22-- he's in graduate school and I have a professional job! I can only imagine how quickly another 6 years will go by. I'm very lucky that I found someone so special so early in life and that we have maintained our relationship through high school, separate colleges, and now the new challenges we face living in different states. We continue to grow in our love every day, and I can't wait to see what God has planned for us in the future.

Our weekend together went by so quickly, as we knew it would, but we had a wonderful time together and did so many things! I left Dallas Friday night and arrived in LA at 9:30 p.m. Alex picked me up from the airport and gave me a driving tour of a little bit of the city, and we headed back to his apartment. We relaxed, had a snack, and watched the first few minutes of I Love You, Man (which is kind of "our" movie) until the DVD player decided to stop working. At that point I was worn out since my internal clock was on Dallas time (2 hours later), so we called it a night.

Saturday we headed to Grauman's Chinese Theatre and walked all up and down the Walk of Fame. I loved seeing the famous actors' and actresses' hand and footprints, and I got a great view of the Hollywood sign! From there, we headed over to Beverly Hills, where we saw many very fancy cars, but unfortunately no celebrities. There were probably some around, but they did a good job of blending in! We went browsing along Rodeo Drive, which was very fun. I even bought a wristlet from Coach! The weather was gorgeous and I loved the palm trees. After relaxing at his apartment for a while, we got ready and went to P.F. Chang's in Santa Monica for our anniversary dinner. The food was delicious and we had a great night out. After dinner, we walked along the 3rd Street Promenade and headed to Santa Monica Pier. The Pier was really fun! Lots to see, and we walked down to the sand and got to see the ocean. It was a little chilly, but felt amazing compared to Texas heat! After the pier, we walked all along near the beach and admired the ridiculously huge houses.

Sunday morning we went up to USC campus, and Alex gave me a quick tour of the places he goes to most often. The campus was very very pretty. Then we went to visit his Uncle Jeremy. I had never met him before and I'm so glad I finally did, he's so nice! We were able to sit outside and enjoy a beautiful, sunny LA Sunday afternoon. After our visit, we went home for lunch and to pack my things, and before I knew it, Alex was dropping me off at the airport and I had to say goodbye. : ( It went by fast, but we had a great time. I miss him a lot and am hoping to go visit again in October.. we already have a list of things we want to do!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 13- A Fictional Book

I don't read nearly as often as I used to, (and in fact, just finished re-reading Eclipse from the Twilight series over a span of like 2 months this summer) but I still love a good story. I have quite the mental list going and need to just write down some and get working on them! Maybe I will get a book for my traveling this weekend : )

One of my favorite authors is Jodi Picoult, who has written many fiction books. They always surround law or a case in some way, but deeply involve you in the characters as well. I've read many of her books and enjoyed all of them, but one of my favorites is Nineteen Minutes. It made it onto #1 for the New York Times Bestsellers list, and I see why. It's about a school shooting and the events leading up to and after the incident.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 12- Whatever Tickles My Fancy

I've become bad at this challenge lately. I'll try to do better! I need to catch up on blog reading. Here are 10 things that make me happy:

1. Good conversations
2. Tight hugs
3. Laughing at anything and everything. A day that you don't laugh is a day that is wasted.
4. Chocolate
5. Shoes
6. Beaches
7. Big cities
8. the color pink
9. Music, of almost all kinds
10. Babies/small children

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 11- A Photo of Me Taken Recently

This picture was taken of me recently when Alex & i made Dirt Cups! yummm. I have the recipe if anyone is interested.

In other news, my sister is officially a baby Gamma Phi Beta at OU!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 10- A Photo of Me Taken Over 10 Years Ago

I'm a few days behind on this! But I suppose I will just take my sweet time; no need to rush this challenge! I need to catch up on my reading list tomorrow. I feel disconnected from what all of you are doing. I also love how several of you are doing this challenge now too! : )

Here's a photo of me taken over ten years ago.. not sure exactly how old I was in this picture, but very young. Also, I obviously loved the color pink already.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 9- A Photo I Took

Do you know who I am, 30 Day Challenge? I LOVE taking pictures. Just look at my gazillion photo albums. Choosing a picture is hard work for me. Here's one I took in Hawaii:

God's beautiful creation.

I have many things to post about, so hopefully this won't be my only entry of the day.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 7- A Photo that Makes You Happy

In case you don't know me, I love pictures! Lots of pictures make me happy. And I kind of want to rebel against Day 8 because I don't have pictures that make me angry. The only reason pictures make me sad is if I miss the people in them!

But how about I combine the two for Days 7 & 8... this photo makes me happy (taken by the lovely Jessica Evancho in 2007) but also sad because Alex is moving tomorrow and I am going to miss him so much! I love him with all my heart : )

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 6- Whatever Tickles Your Fancy: US Travels

I was going to post this yesterday but forgot! Here it is a day late. Day 7 to come later! ; )

A major item on my bucket list is to visit all 50 states in my lifetime. In order for it to count, I either have to do something touristy there, visit someone, or at least see a major section of that sate by driving through it. (So, just being at an airport there does not count!) Here's a list of all 50 states. The ones in bold are those that I have been to... 18 out of 50. As you can see, I still have a long way to go! (Ashley, I realized I have never been to Kansas! We should fix this!!!)




New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York

North Carolina
North Dakota

Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota

West Virginia

And, just for fun, here's what I've done in each of these states (that I can remember, I may be forgetting something!)

Alabama- Driven through it on the way to Florida several times. Seen a lot of the land. I don't think I've ever done anything "touristy" here, but maybe I've forgotten. If anyone has suggestions, I'm open to them!

Arizona- I have been to Phoenix twice, once my freshman year of college with Liz and Caroline while Care's mom was working there. We had a great time and made a trip to the Grand Canyon, which was beautiful. I definitely want to go there again. I also traveled to Phoenix for the 2010 Fiesta Bowl! While it was a disappointing finish, it was still a fun trip for my senior year.

Arkansas- In addition to traveling through this state numerous times on my way to Tennessee, I also competed in a pageant in Hot Springs when I was a baby (and won a national title, I might add!)

California- I went to Disneyland, Hollywood, etc. when I was 3 years old and have vague memories of it. I have also been to San Diego 3 times, once when I was little and twice for TCU Bowl game trips (woohoo, Poinsettia Bowl!) I will be going to Los Angeles in several weeks to visit Alex. San Fransisco is high on my must-visit list!

Florida- I have been to Florida many, many times. Always love the beautiful beaches! I am probably forgetting somewhere, but I know I have visited Tampa, St. Petersburg, Destin, Navarre, Orlando... and gosh, there has to be more! My favorite is Navarre Beach though. Pretty blue water, gorgeous white sand, and not nearly as crowded as Destin. My visit there was also so fun because I was with one of my besties, Marissa.

Georgia- We went to Savannah as part of our family vacation. What a cool, historic city. We ate at Paula Deen's restaurant and it was Southern cooking at its finest!

Hawaii-- My most recent trip! This was a graduation present for me and my sister from our wonderful parents. We had a great time. I still need to post pictures and stories from this.

Illinois-- I went to Chicago for a family reunion during the summer of 2004. Chicago is a very cool city, and I want to go back. I finally went to the American Girl Place and experienced the aquarium and Tastes of Chicago, among other things.

Louisiana- Once again, driven through it many times, but I also went to Baton Rouge for TBS/KKY convention at LSU!

Mississippi- Driven through it and spent a night there on my way to Florida, but also been to Vicksburg and toured the battle site!

Missouri- Branson for family vacation. A very fun place that's great for families. I especially loved Silver Dollar City (an amusement park) and our evening on the Branson Belle showboat.

New Mexico
- I kind of shudder when I think about this state, because it's where we went for the worst band trip ever! Those of us who were in the TCU Band in '06 and unfortunately went on this trip all agree. The hotel we stayed at got trashed by some members that got out of control, and the next morning when we boarded the bus to head back to Texas, many people felt ill from their unwise decisions the night before. The bus I was on broke down before we were even out of Albuquerque, which began a multi-hour process of trying to fix the bus while we all waited on the bus, in a rest stop, etc. Finally, they gave us a "new" bus which really meant an old bus that happened to be running. It was another loooong drive back to FW, and at this point we were way behind schedule. I remember that when we were literally on the edge of campus, the bus stalled, and all I wanted to do was get off the bus and walk the rest of the way to my dorm! Rough weekend, but funny to look back on now. Maybe I need to visit Santa Fe next time...

New York
- I went to visit Marissa in NYC! I had a great time there. I love big cities, and I got to do many tourist things and also see neighborhoods and other places I wouldn't see if I wasn't with someone who knew her way around. I will definitely go back.

- WGI World Championships in 2005 in Dayton, Ohio! What a cool experience.

Oklahoma- I considered going to OU, so I toured the campus. I also went to Norman when TCU played OU my junior year. And now my sister is going there, so I know I'll be back!

South Carolina
- We went to Charleston on family vacation and also stayed on Hilton Head Island. Very pretty and a fun, new place.

Tennessee- I have been here many times to visit my Grandpa! I have also been to the Smokey Mountains and climbed Clingman's Dome, as well as toured The Hermitage.

Texas- Obviously, I have lived here my whole life! I love Dallas/Fort Worth so much! I have also been to Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, South Padre, etc.

I have a lot of places still to cover... who wants to come with me?
: )