Sunday, July 4, 2010

Movin' on up

Oh, That's What Bre Said, you've been such a fun little blog.

But I can't keep living this double life. I get more crazy Chinese spam comments than actual readers. I can't choose between the two blogs all the time. And since I changed my name, it's difficult to justify this url. I'm a one-blog kinda girl these days, so, everyone, you're going to have to stop by

and visit me. Change your bookmark (Mom). Update your reader. Do what you have to do, but please, keep reading!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sweet Stuff

I got free frozen yogurt in the cafeteria yesterday.

If you guess the exact cost of your frozen yogurt on Friday, they give it to you for free. They even rang a little bell for me and everything.

I guess it's the little things that make life oh, so sweet.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

It's all Greek to me

I spend a lot of time on the bus. A LOT. Which means I do a lot of reading and take a lot of head-bobbing naps. I hear funny conversations between loud returned missionaries, see a lot of businessmen who get started on their work before they even ARRIVE at work, and even saw one genius Velcro his iPod touch to the seat in front of him and watch a movie.

But apparently, my listening skills are out of shape. Riding the bus has rendered me nearly incapable of actually listening to a conversation, whether I'm involved in it or not. Most of the time, I'm not. But I think I may have taken my tuning-everyone-out a little too far.

Last Friday, I was going home early and I was excited for the weekend. I had my book out (this week it's Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut) and slowly became aware of the obnoxious teenagers sitting across the aisle.

There were three boys and a girl who had really long blond hair. They were joking with each other, laughing, pointing at things on their iPhones and iPods. I smiled at them, guessed they must be about 17, and went on reading my book.

When we got to the point of the mountain, I realized they were speaking French.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My husband loves me

... or maybe he just likes to eat. Either way, I'm thrilled.

This is my new best friend. We've spent a lot of time the last few weeks making bread, cookie bars, cookies, muffins, mashed potatoes... naturally, we need someone to eat it. Ryan is always happy to help.

We bought it refurbished but it worked like a charm. Except when it ate the measuring cup right out of my hand.

That was terrifying.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hold my hand

I talk a lot about how I'm so excited to graduate and move to Utah and start my internship and how thrilled I am that Ryan is starting at BYU and how wonderful everything is. And I am excited, and life is good, but to be honest, it's a little scary sometimes.

It's a little scary to go to church and not know anyone. It's kind of scary to stay home on the first day of school, to worry about having a job once the internship is over. None of it is terrifying, but it's unfamiliar, and that makes me a little uneasy.

This weekend, we spent a wonderful weekend with some of Ryan's mission friends and their wives at their mission president's house. We were finishing up a nice, relaxing break, but in the back of my mind, I was just worried about things. I have a gift for making little worries seem like the end of the world, and I was suppressing the urge to really let the stress of "What's going to happen next?" get to me.

It was like she was reading my mind. During scripture study, Sister Egan hit me with a simple statement:

"At some point, we're all like Adam and Eve walking into our own personal wilderness. And just like them, we hold hands and move forward."

What Ryan and I are doing isn't new. Through the ages, millions of men and women have shared my fears. It seems to me that those who lean on each other usually turn out all right. Better than all right.

Ryan and I aren't sure who initiated our first hand hold. I guess it doesn't really matter, as long as we keep holding on tight.
*wedding day pic by Camille

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thanks for the help

Remember back when I found that ridiculous button on the new my.byui? I found another reason to love the information technology communications at BYU-Idaho:
Here's a closeup of the best part:
I'm glad they notified me that the e-mail wasn't working. Via e-mail. :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Reason

In my Fiction Writing class last week, we studied six-word stories and how fabulous they are when done right. Example from Hemingway: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." They tell the whole story in very few words.

Last night, Ryan and I read the New Testament account of the Resurrection morning. It's a beautiful story. Maybe because of my class, I noticed this time that the heart of the story was contained in seven simple words.

While the Easter story is the furthest thing from fiction in the world, I think this seven-word non-fiction by Luke is infinitely more fabulous than six-word fiction from Hemingway:

"He is not here, but is risen."

Never have a more beautiful seven words been written! The Savior died for us, and because He was risen, He lives again for us.

Happy, happy Easter.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Life's funny.

Sometimes it plays little tricks on you. Like when you think you're all grown up and you realize you're not. Or when you think you're not grown up and you realize you are.

That happened to me this morning. In case you didn't know, Ryan and I are bunking at my mom and dad's for a couple weeks because we had to be out of our apartment but, you know, have to go to class for another week.

Today we watched conference and I momentarily reverted back to my childhood — I ate potato chips and played MarioKart. Both were delicious. I thought I was getting another shot at being at little girl in my parents' house.

Then we helped my dad move things into my room. They've been painting and recarpeting and giving the whole house a little makeover (I'd post pictures, but my camera cord is waiting for us in Provo, along with 98 percent of our belongings). My room is now bright yellow with thicker carpet and looks so much nicer than the beige/beige combination I had growing up.

Suddenly, I wished I had painted my bedroom when I lived at home and still had walls I could paint. Mom kept asking me to, but I never did, mostly because it wasn't that important to me. Today, I looked at the back of a decoration I'd had on my wall for years and realized that I could have easily made more of them. I could have painted and made decorations and made my bed and made the whole thing really beautiful.

Oh, how I wish I had a wall I could paint now!

I guess it's one of those little tricks life plays on you. I started out this morning thinking I was a little kid. But I'm realizing that the desire to make a beautiful home and paint and decorate and CREATE has been in me all along. I just never nurtured it — until now.

Which (I think) means I'm
growing up.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happiest Place on Earth

One week from today, I will officially be a college grad.

Thank you, thank you. * bow *

You might be thinking to yourself, "Bre, you've graduated from college. What are you gonna do next?!"

Answer: "I'm going to Disneyland!"

Seriously. We are. Even though I've been (cough, cough, ahem) lots of times, Ryan has never been. He insists he has, but he was 1, so he doesn't remember and that doesn't count. We're really excited to get out of Idaho and get a little sun in the golden state. And, we'll get to see Ryan's sister Camille. And, best of all right now, it gives us something to look forward to during finals.

Couldn't be happier.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Birthdays are funny things.

I was thinking today about one of my favorite short stories, "Eleven" by Sandra Cisneros. I love this passage: 

"What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. ... You feel like you’re still ten. And you are—underneath the year that makes you eleven.

Like some days you might say something stupid, and that’s the part of you that’s still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama’s lap because you’re scared, and that’s the part of you that’s five. And maybe one day when you’re all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you’re three, and that’s okay. That’s what I tell Mama when she’s sad and needs to cry. Maybe she’s feeling three."

I can relate to the little girl in the story today. The only difference is that today I'm 22, not 11, so that gives me twice as many years to swift through when I act a certain way. And I'm figuring out the the more years you have layered under your age, the more complicated your actions get.

Sometimes, I get nervous to graduate because I don't know what's coming next, and that's the part of me that's still 18. Sometimes, I see Ryan and I get butterflies and don't know what to say, and that's the part of me that's still 13. Sometimes I drive like I'm 16, and I still feel like a 6-year-old playing house. 

Today I went to Primary with my niece and I did the actions to the songs. That's the part of me that's still 7. Right now I'm procrastinating my homework like I'm 17. 

I really feel like I'm still 21. And I am — underneath the year that makes me 22.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What I live for

I know no one likes a grammar-Nazi schoolmarm. But I still kind of love finding grammatical (our punctuational) mistakes  in writing that completely change a sentence's meaning. Case in point — this question on my assignment today:

How do side effects of Paxil effect consumers buying potential? 

I didn't know that consumers could buy potential. Where can I find some? And how much does it cost? 

Yes, that made me laugh. Yes, I thought I was clever when I spotted it. Yes, I spotted the wrong "effect," too, for anyone else who noticed.
And yes, I'm a TOTAL nerd.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Everything I need to know I learned at Falls Valley

Blame it on my pending graduation, but I've waxed a bit philosophical about my education lately. Mostly, I've remembered Falls Valley Elementary School and the priceless lessons I learned as a little girl.

Last week, I was in the testing center painstakingly filling out my Scantron sheet. I always fill out the bubbles with obnoxious precision — I can't bring myself to mark them with light dots, and I find it equally annoying whether I go outside the line or fail to fill the entire circle. Why do I do that?

And then, I remembered. A long-stored memory pushed its way to the front of my mind with all the speed I wished the answers to my test questions could muster. I remembered sitting in Mrs. Holcomb's second grade classroom — the one that opened up to the coat room and also Mrs. Pickett's classroom on the south side. Mrs. Holcomb always had the date written on the board in numbers/dashes form (you know, 3-16-10), and I would always write "95" at the end of the date. I couldn't wait to be in 96. I thought the number 5 looked fat.

But the thing I remembered at that  moment in the testing center had nothing to do with fat numbers or coat rooms. I remembered Mrs. Holcomb teaching us how to fill out bubble sheets for our big Iowa Basics test.

She put three bad examples on the board. In one, the circle was filled, but too light. In the next, the circle was filled, but the mark spilled over the edge. The last showed a bubble incompletely filled, and Mrs. Holcomb explained that the computer might not read these marks properly. I decided right then  to never miss a question on a test like this because of something as silly as inappropriately filled Scantron bubbles.

So there I was, 15 years later, in the testing center at BYU-Idaho one month prior to receiving my bachelor's degree, and I was filling in the bubbles with ridiculously diligent accuracy. I'm sure I learned a lot of other things in my second grade class that I use every day — double-digit addition, for example — but most of those lessons apparently didn't take as well as that bubble-filling lecture. If I missed any questions on that test (or any other I've taken since '95), it wasn't because the bubbles were improperly marked.

Thank you, Mrs. Holcomb.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The rest of the story

You know how I didn't vote for "Marc" because "I don't even know Marc"?

Yeah, he definitely won the election.

Shows what I know.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Secret

What's the best part of SRC elections week? Color-coded, Times New Roman-ed "campaign badges" that look like name tags? Being assaulted in the Manwaring Center? Poorly Photoshopped campaign posters?

None of the above.  Answer: Awkward moments

I thought I had the best idea ever: vote early, and you are home free through the whole week. That way, you have an infallible excuse to rush past all the fliers pushed at you. Platform-pushing campaigners can't argue with "I already voted!"
It's not fool-proof, though. I tried it on Monday, and instead of out-smarting all the lobbyists, I just found myself in a really, really awkward situation.

GIRLS: No. Are you running?
ME: (laughing at their naivity.)
ME: (feeling pretty smart) Yep! Sorry.
CAMPAIGNER: Did you vote for Marc?

I don't even know Marc. And I don't know this guy, either. But you can't just say "No," because that's rude. In my search for words, I inadvertently managed to say something even ruder.

ME: I ... don't ... think I know you.
CAMPAIGNER: All right ... see ya later.

And of course I've seen him twice. It must be a law of the universe that the people who witness your most embarrassing moments haunt you. At least till campaign week is over.

Happy voting!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A winning equation


plus this:

= my quote from Tuesday night's American Idol.

Ellen: "Most people would say, 'Don't take on such a big song.' But they also said 'Don't mix sleeves with a blanket,' and look at the Snuggie. It's huge!"

Love it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Highly Recommended

I mentioned a couple posts ago that I love being a comm major. Here's reason #2,782: Out textbooks tend to be more of the Barnes & Noble variety and less of the Rip-Off Bookstore variety. Case in point:

I read this for my Media Management class, and it was outstanding. I think the main reason I love it is because it's written for everyone — not just business owners, not just advertising creatives. It teaches about how to make ideas stick, and everyone has an idea they need to stick.

If you are a mom trying to teach your child not to hit, this book is for you. If you teach a Sunday School class, this book is for you. If you are a leader of a group or if you like to tell stories or if you are giving a sacrament meeting talk or if you write fiction or if you just really, really want to help someone remember something, this book is for you.

Try it. I think you'll like it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

This is a pretty good post

Remember when people paid 15 cents per word for a classified ad in the newspaper?

Does anyone remember when there were classified ads in the newspaper? Anyone?

Remember when Craig's List stepped in and suddenly newspapers were making billions of dollars less than they were before? Remember how everyone figured out selling things online was SO much better than selling it in a newspaper? That was a good idea.

But I'm a little bit afraid that people aren't using online ads' free space to its full effect. Case in point — this ad that Ryan found on BYU-Idaho's Bulletin Board:

Excellent. I think I'll take it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Still old.

Yesterday, this guy came into the office when I was proofing pages before we sent Scroll to print. This guy came in and was trying to get my attention.

Me: Can I help you?
Guy: I have a question, when you get a minute.
Me: Go ahead.
Guy: But first — how old are you?
Me: (thinking, huh?) Twenty-one.
Guy: Oh, you're only 21? OK.
Me: Why?
Guy: Oh, I'm doing a project on alternative students, and I thought you could help me.

Alternative students? That's the word people use for moms who didn't finish school and come back later. Alternative students are old — though, I admit, my bad hip wasn't helping me out on this one.

Me: You thought I was an alternative student?
Guy: Yeah, well, 24 or 25 at least.
Me: Thanks?
Guy: Yeah. Uh, you're welcome. I'm not sure if that was a compliment. My wife would slap me if I told her that.
Me: Yeah ...

Thus ended the most awkward conversation of the day. And thus I became self-conscious the whole time I was getting ready this morning. "Ryan? Does this make me look old? Do pearl earrings make me look old? Should I put a little bow in my hair?"

Maybe I should skip getting a job and jump straight to retirement.

Disclaimer: I realize that 25 is NOT old. It's just the idea of "You're only 21? You look like you're WELL past that!" that bothers me.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I feel sort of like this picture today.

Yesterday, my co-worker brought his adorable little girl into the office. As I was getting ready to leave, I bent over and said, "Hi, Ellie!" I tickled her belly and then ...

My back burned. It pinched, it cramped, pain shot all over. I stayed bent and somehow scrapped my way into a chair without using my legs or lower back too much.

Ryan's uncle Jeff, who's a chiropractor, gave it a fancy name for "your hip is rotated too far forward." He popped it around and back into place, gave me some medicine and told Ryan he had to do the dishes today.

My family does have a history of bad hips, but I'm already laying on the couch waiting for my left hip to heal. And I don't turn 22 for another month.

I am officially old.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A little bit obsessed

So I kind of get on "kicks" about things, and I had to share these two little bits of YouTube that I can't get enough of.

First: Michael Bublé's new single. This song has been in my head for 48 hours. And I'm not tired of it. I know it's about waiting for love to come along, and I've already found Ryan, but somehow listening to this song makes me relive it or something. Basically, this song is amazing even if you HAVE "met him yet."

The video is good too. Isn't it refreshing to see a girl wearing jeans on one of these videos? She's, like, normal. Except that she's ridiculously beautiful. But I'm willing to overlook that.

Second: Google's Super Bowl ad. This is the first time Google's EVER advertised in TV (or advertised, period?) and I think it's awesome. Some of the guys in my Media Management class thought it was lame, but I LOVE IT. And, yes, we do watch and discuss Super Bowl ads in my Media Management class. Being a comm major rocks.

I hope you like these as much as I do. :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I've decided every mispronunciation and "hard word" in the English language can be traced back to one part of out lovely English language — vowels. Two epiphanies led to this realization:

1. Our last name is exactly half vowels and half consonants (count: Olaveson).
2. No one can say our name.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard, "What is it? Oh-lay-vuh-son? Oh-love-son? Ah-lay-vuh-son? Lav-en-der?" (Yes, someone really said that) we'd be eating at Applebee's every night. I think everyone likes hard and fast rules, like the sound for "r." They always know what sound it's going to make. People are so crazy about "r" that they toss it haphazardly into our name all the time. "Oh-law-ver-son?"

I learned in my New Testament class that the Hebrews (or Greeks, or someone like that) didn't use vowels, and that's why we're not really sure about what some Bible names are. For example, we call the Old Testament Christ "Jehovah," but all it really translated to was "JHVH," so it's more of a best-guess sort of thing.

I think the Hebrews had it right. Just call me BRNN LVSN from now on.

(Oh, and for the record, you say our name "Oh-LAW-veh-son.")

Saturday, January 30, 2010

We Thank Thee, O God

As some of you may know, we got to have lunch with Elder Russell M. Nelson this Tuesday. This is a column I wrote about it that will be published in Scroll this Tuesday. Enjoy. :)


Last Tuesday, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stood in devotional and said, “If I had my preference, I would hear from each of you. I would like to get to know every one of you. I would like to learn of your faith, of your goals in life, and of your challenges.”

He obviously didn’t get his wish, but he did sit down to lunch with some students — 14, to be exact. I was one of the lucky ones.

My husband and I met with the other 12 students in the Manwaring Center before we were led to the conference room where lunch was served. When we sat, I saw Elder Nelson without a pulpit between us. There were no Teleprompters, no satellite transmissions to make communication possible. He spoke to us face to face, and something about his candidness made me feel at home.

Elder Nelson and his wife spent the hour answering our questions. One student asked him what it was like to work with the other members of the Twelve. He smiled, and responded, “I still have to pinch myself.”

That was funny, because I was doing the same thing. I took the occasion to ask him how we could learn to best balance our time, and as I phrased my question he looked at me directly. I was suddenly uncomfortably aware of my grammar and word choice, but he took my fumbling in stride. I felt that if any BYU-Idaho student had asked him a question just then, he would have listened with that same intensity. (And by the way, his answer was, in essence, “Schedule the important things first and everything else will fall into place.”)

More questions followed. We asked him how we could help make the Apostles’ job easier (“Be part of the solution”) and what kinds of challenges the Church will continue to face in coming years (“Growth”). His answers were thoughtful, and he took time to explain them. It felt more to me like we were having a conversation than a question-and-answer session.

As he answered our questions, I watched him eat. Though I knew members of the Quorum of the Twelve had to eat, something about seeing it made him seem more human to me. Elder Nelson is a prophet, but he’s also a man, and seeing that side of him somehow endeared me to my leaders. The sacredness of his calling was apparent, and he was simultaneously quite personable.

As members of the Church, we sometimes maintain a relatively flat image of the brethren. We see them as well-dressed men standing behind a pulpit and we somehow imagine that’s how they really are. But there’s more to the brethren than we see at General Conference. They are living, breathing men with families and concerns.

When we finished our lunch, Elder Nelson asked if he could take time to shake our hands. His humility and kindness were incredible and his love tangible.

If I could put into simple terms everything I learned from Elder Nelson, it’s that when he said, “We love you!” he really meant it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I think I found a way to get rich

I have a cluster (that's "half-a-minor" to you non-BYU-Idaho folks) in English, and I'm finishing it up this semester. I'm taking Advanced Creative Writing — Fiction. The funny thing is, I've never actually written any fiction. Except a couple little somethin-somethins in second grade called "The Ghost at Julie's House" and "Amber's Bike," but my mom was the only one who read those (I sold them to her for 75 cents apiece.)

Anyway, this fiction class is AWESOME because I can write whatever I want. I can throw all that "maintain journalistic integrity" and "check three sources" caution to the wind and make stuff up. And it's encouraged.

I've found that most of my "fiction" is just like my non-fiction, only cooler. I can tell stories about my elementary school days that are 95 percent true and then throw in some extra humiliation and call it fiction. It rocks.

The best part is that you can get rich doing this. And your stuff doesn't even have to be that good. You can just have a weird dream one night and then write about it the next day and make bajillions of dollars when they make your weird-dream (bestselling) novels into movies that gross $72.7 million dollars on their first night (where have I heard that before?).

And for the record, I wasn't making that last part up. New Moon really did gross that much on opening night. I still have SOME journalistic integrity.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I may have taken this metaphor too far ...

... but you'll get the idea.

In April, I'll graduate from BYU-Idaho with a bachelor's in communication and clusters (for you non-BYU-Iers out there, a "cluster" is half of a minor. Two clusters equals one minor) in English and Political Science.

I have love-hate relationships with both of these fields. And today while I was trying to swallow 34 pages of "Chapter 4 — Political Attitudes and Participation: Venting and Voting," I decided political science is a lot like peanut butter.

I like peanut butter. I especially like it when it's in a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup — like political science all candied up and wrapped in something delicious, like storytelling. If I can weave something I learned in a political science class through a terrific story, I'm so glad I'm studying it.

I also like peanut butter on PB&Js. Storytelling here is like one piece of bread, journalistic objectivity the other, and good design is the jelly. The peanut butter of political science adds credibility and interest to a good news package. It's a happy little conglomerate of four wonderful fields.

But who can stand to sit and eat jars and jars of peanut butter for hours at a time? Who shoves giant spoonfuls of peanut butter into her mouth without even a drop of anything to wash it down?

Gross, I tell you. Absolutely disgusting.

Friday, January 8, 2010

That's cold, man

One thought has dominated approximately 85 percent of my brain activity this week. At any given moment since school started, I was probably thinking, "It's cold" or "I'm totally freezing right now" or "Is the AIR CONDITIONING on in here?" or "I think my nose hairs just froze."

Since things probably won't warm up around here until at least April, I've created a scale to measure coldness (at least I'm channeling my creative energy somehow, right?). The generic "cold," I've decided, can be classified into one of three categories. "Cold," "cold," and "really cold."


This is the general term that begins circulating sometime in October, generally. It's commonly associated with the complaint that you can't wear a short-sleeved T-shirt with no coat while walking to the store. It's what people say when the Fourth of July fireworks start and they grab their sweaters. It's sissy stuff.


When it starts to snow, you really start to remember what cold means. It inspires scarves, heavy coats and gloves. It requires windshield scraping. It makes you re-route your walk to class so you can pass through heated buildings. It's not fun.

Really Cold

This is the worst thing, on this planet, ever. EVER. It's too cold to snow and there's no cloud cover to keep the temperatures up. It's the cold that penetrates to your muscle fibers and makes your ears sting. It's caused by deceptively clear, blue skies and dry air. It cracks the skin on your hands and chaps your lips. Cars won't start. Frostbite develops during a walk to class, even with the warmer re-routes. Don't even get me started on the wind chill.

It's what we're living in this week.

What kind of "cold" are YOU experiencing?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I thought the Rocky Mountains were a little rockier than that

I know people are always complaining about the BCS (that's "Bowl Championship Series," for those of you who don't have ESPN on in your house more often than the heater), but what it should be understood that what I'm about to say is not a complaint.

It's an honest, flabbergasted question for anyone who can explain.

But first, a little bit of background. I remembered this morning that Boise State University played Texas Christian University in the Fiesta Bowl last night. I've been around enough sports fans to know that that was a big game "because there's a Mountain West team playing." I also know that Ryan and I cheer for Mountain West teams when they play in a bowl game (even if it's the Utes, if they're not playing BYU ... don't tell).

So I asked Ryan if BSU won like we hoped they would.


I know the BCS does things in weird ways, but in all the planning and deciding what teams belong to which conference, did no one interject, "Wait a minute. Texas doesn't have any mountains!"?

I think our school systems need a bigger emphasis on geography.