Saturday, December 29, 2012

“you can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” -Frederick Buechner

okay, you guys. I don't generally enjoy gossiping about people on the internet, and factually, most of the folks I'mma talk about in this thing probably read this blog. But I need to put some of my thoughts somewhere. I need a place to vent. So here you have it. I am making the second New Year's resolution of my life this coming year, and I need to talk about a few things in order to succeed. I am just going to drop this baggage off in 2k12 and start over in 2k13. I have a good feeling about the coming year.

First off, I need to say that I am really sincerely trying to deal with all of this lightly and with patience and faith. I really am. Most days this results in me feeling like a terrible, insecure monster who cannot learn to be forgiving/kind/patient/humble/nice (yes, there is a distinction between nice and kind; another blog post, perhaps).  I am not good at dealing with things, and I feel guilty for my mistakes and frustrations 93% of the time. I am running on fumes and don't know where to go for help because the places I usually have turned aren't really helping all that much anymore. I am trying to maintain sanity and grounded kindness. I am wearing thin. I am also very wary in writing this, and I have experienced a lot of anxiety in deciding to post it. Please be kind with your judgement and gentle in how you handle the knowing of these things.

And now for the story.

My parents were married in the LDS temple in 1983. Essentially, this means that, according to Mormon practice, they were sealed as a married couple for time and eternity under the authority of the Holy Priesthood. It's a really big deal, you guys. It essentially means that they committed (among other things), to be together forever. The Mormon view of "together forever" is bigger than most versions I have encountered, and more intertwined and imitate than one might suspect. I don't know where problems began, and I am not writing this to condemn or judge anyone, but sometime in the course of their 27 years together, things went awry. The tipping point  came in the fall of 2007. I was home from school at BYU with dreams and prayers of serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was so full of ambition and conviction. My application was submitted, and I was ready to go when I discovered that my dad had cheated on my mom. I am not going to give you graphic details, but essentially, I had irrefutable proof that this was the case. I saw things that have haunted me since then and things that I am trying to learn to let go of.

In a state of shock and panic, I decided that I wasn't in a healthy enough mental state to continue pursuing the dream of serving a mission for the Lord. I needed to go back to school, and I ended up keeping my knowledge a secret to myself. This has also haunted me. Looking back, on this phase in my life (up to the present), I am beginning to see that I may have been in a  state of Post Traumatic Stress, resulting from the psychological trauma of knowing the things that I have known. I carry them with me still. I also look at myself throughout the last 6 years with a lot of love and sorrow. I love that  21 year old girl and all of her pain and fear and struggle. I look at her loss of innocence and the abrupt end to her faith with empathy and compassion. I am continuing to try to love her more, to forgive her more, to nurture her more. I am trying to comfort her and tell her that what she saw was something that no person should ever have to see, that she didn't deserve that, and I am trying to convince her that she can find a healthy way to live after it. I am trying to tell her that she is worthy of being loved and that she belongs. She is a person who is very difficult to convince of certain things, and she deeply believes the precise opposite of most of those things deep down inside. She is a girl who is broken. But I want her to see how far she has come and how far she can still go.

By the summer of 2008, I was already back to Provo and trying to forget all of the ickiness I had known. I threw myself into social activities and school. I had the best semester of my academic career (which has generally been very good). I made many new friends. Of my some 1100 odd Facebook friends, probably half were made during this time. I couldn't bear to be alone or quiet or still. I hated everything during that year deep down inside, and I tried to douse the rage with a barrage of activity. I felt successful in taking control of my life and keeping myself occupied and my secret to myself until a gorgeous day in June when my mom called me in tears. She told me that she also knew the truth. I couldn't breathe. I remember sitting in my living room in that house on 500 north and trying to figure out how to tell her that I already knew, that I had kept my knowing a secret from her for the last 8 months. I just listened to her cry and mourn while I lay silently weeping on the floor. How could we go from here? How could he do this? How did we not know? What did it mean? Did we matter? What was next? Could we survive? Did we deserve to?

This was the beginning of a very very dark time in my life.It is interesting to me to read through my blog, because I began keeping this shortly after I returned to Provo, feeling abandoned and broken. It is interesting that I haven't ever written about it explicitly, but it shows up nevertheless.  I had a sincere wrestle with my faith and belief in God in this time. During patches of this time, I turned away almost completely from my faith practice, and there is still a thread that is woven through my religious practice which is informed by this period. I wear it as a battle scar.

I won't bore you with the details, but over the course of the next few years, my parents were divorced. Things were rough. I constantly doubted almost everything I had known to be true. I constantly questioned myself and doubted my ability to do anything. I was overly critical and convinced myself repeatedly that I didn't belong to anyone anywhere, and that somehow I was unworthy of love. In any form. I built a barricade around my heart that was very very strong. I couldn't feel love. In the end, I am convinced that I am unloveable and that I deserved to be excluded. This is a dark thing to write out and post on the internet. It is hard for me to admit that this is the narrative that I have written for myself. It is in such opposition to the beliefs I claim to espouse and that are taught to me (that I teach others!) in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I had a conversation with a very dear friend once, where we both recognized that we weren't fun like other people in our age and social group were fun. I wasn't carefree- everything had so much weight to it. I wasn't lighthearted- my heart was heavy and dark. I wasn't sarcastic or ironic- I was sardonic and bitter. I am hoping that in realizing and looking at this, that I will find a path to move forward. I believe that we don't talk enough about mental health and there are too many stigmas associated with depression and other mental disorders. I am writing this so that I can acknowledge for myself that this was and still is my reality. I deserve to be loved and healthy and free. I deserve to feel important and needed and loved by the people who are important and needed and beloved to me. I am starting to learn that this reciprocation is maybe what love IS.

2012 was a year that was earmarked from the start. In my first New Year's resolution of my life, I promised myself to be present in this year. I wouldn't say that it was a landslide success and, if you looked through the pages of a family album, you wouldn't know that I existed almost at all. I became a ghost for some of them. I wasn't present at or invited to my dad's wedding. I wasn't in many of the pictures from this Christmas. I wasn't really there in spirit or mind  when I visited my mom. I tried to be present when I went to the San Diego County Fair with my sister. I was, however being present and honest when my dad told me he was marrying a 27 year old. This had crushing results that have brought me to a place of estrangement. I was honest and present when I was her temple escort. I was fully there when I came to knowledge that she and my dad were dating, but not telling anyone at the time. I was there for the full weight of that. The year wasn't a total bust... I was deeply there when my brother returned from his full-time mission to Germany. I was fully there when I talked to my mom on the phone and listened to her tell me about how she was becoming a bigger person. She is becoming a person who stands on her own feet.

And this coming Sunday, the second to last day of the year, I will be present at my sister/best friend's wedding. It is insane and completely hilarious. She and her boyfriend of 5ish years will marry in the Graceland Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada. I will bring my whole heart to the table and I will begin, on that day, a new chapter in my life. I am ready to stop determining my life by the pain of the past, and in 2k13, I am going to fight to keep my heart open.

The coming year carries a lot of uncertainty with it. I will be graduating from my Masters program and be expected to find a job or something of equal or greater value. Ideally, I would marry. I am declaring right now, though, that I don't care. My circumstances are no longer my master. My heart is freed and deserves to feel love wholly and deeply. I talked about it once before, and I mean it. This heart is strong and is now allowed to feel and know and return love. I pray only that it will be met with kindness and other hearts who are also seeking love and openness. I regret to think that I had shut out these in the past, but I will not be shaken in my resolve.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

all time low

Bullet points are the only way to deal with this information:
-I am not certain that I brushed my teeth today or yesterday.
-I weighed myself before and after a bowel movement. I lost 1.5 lbs.
-I can't remember the last time I brushed my hair. Generally, it's clean, but rarely brushed.
-I have worn a pair of pants (GUYS! PANTS!!!) for nine days. In a row. That's correct. Pants. 9 days. NINE. They have not been washed, don't worry.
-I never wash my face at night unless I am sharing a bed with someone.
-I ate ice cream for breakfast this morning.
-That breakfast was eaten at 11:35 am.
-For the past two days, I haven't left my house until , at the earliest, 2pm.
-There was a span of time within the last two weeks wherein I couldn't see my floor in my bedroom.
-I haven't gone to bed earlier than 3 am any of the nights that have been December.

But damnit all! I have got to get an outline, annotated bibliography and draft of my thesis proposal to my adviser tomorrow. I find an insane need to have her validation and approval, and so I am working my ass off tonight to make it happen (don't be fooled, this blog post took three minutes to write and I will be back on my game after this tiny break).

This is my writing song

(and some secret information: The janitor who empties the trash in my office, which is where I currently am, smells amazing. He must wear the most delicious cologne... He came and left over a half hour ago, but I can still smell him and, DAMN. I know that is weird but really. REALLY.)

Friday, December 7, 2012


I have come to a realization.
I have been living my life life it was broken.
Some days, I really feel pretty broken...
I think I have pretty legitimate reasons for some of that business.
But in equal measure, I have legitimate reasons to feel whole.
I am starting to see that I have closed my heart and it has blocked me from a lot of good things.
So I am calling my own bluff.
My life isn't actually broken- it's human

And so, I am done with the broken schtick. 

It's pretty boring and like, SUPER draining.
I am done putting conditions on the way that I love and give. I am done demanding the most specific and probably impossible requirements from situations and people. Especially from people.
I'm not making any huge promises, but I am committing to be aware and to at least try. I am going to try to live with an open and full damn heart. I am going to show up and belong and be present and make mistakes and allow myself to feel loved. I block that last one the very most. It's really tiring.
I think this is probably the beginning of a very good season.

Can you help me?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

rancid butter

the best class I ever took in college was called "The Cultural History of Medicinal Plants." I learned more in that over-filled auditorium than in any other classroom I have ever been in. Perhaps it was because it was almost entirely NEW information, and in so learning, I was stretched beyond my normal capacities. I remember several times noting to myself that I could actually feel myself learning. Or perhaps it was because I love the earth and things that grow from it (so many garden anecdotes could fit in here, but won't because writing is unnatural to me lately).
Occasionally information which I learned in that class reappears and makes an important streak across the sky, reminding me of what it means to know things and be educated in practical and practicable things. It's like cooking. Do you know how to cook? The question always baffles me, and a person responding "no" to that question is unfathomable to me sometimes. But I know that there are things which I don't yet (or maybe ever will) know. Anyways.
Today, I was brought back to the Widtsoe Building on BYU campus when I stepped onto a group of fruits lying in the grass. If there is one crucial element to this story, it is this: Nebraska is infiltrated by Squirrels. The concept of piles of fruits or nuts just lying around without a horde of squirrels rummaging through them is unheard of in these parts.  I was weirded out, and, retrospectively, I understand why.

These fruits, and now my boots, smelled acutely and precisely of pungent rancid butter. 

As the smell punched me in the nose, the image of my professor telling me about the scent of rancid butter couldn't be ignored. what was it? I remembered the image of a tree on the screen behind him, and I seemed to remember scribbling something down in my notebook about it. A tree... I prided myself on knowing the trees. My parents were "Master Tree Stewards", and the title was one that I decided I wanted to inherit. I had to know!
And then, I looked closer and remembered the bipedal leaves of the ancient Ginko. Ah yes, the oldest deciduous tree in the world. This old friend of mine. The fruit looks like this:

Sincerely, and with all of the pleading in my nostrils, PLEASE, avoid stepping on these babies. Rancid butter boots are not something that I would wish upon anyone, and as soon as I finish this, I will run to my car and take mine off so that they don't contaminate my car, and I will not wear them for a few weeks. So foul. So. So. So. Foul.

I am thankful for memory and the capacities for remembrance of knowledge. Knowing things is a miracle and a blessing.

Along those lines, I presented this today. It's a for chapter of my thesis.

In semi-related news, if you are looking for something to listen to, and you want to think more about memory and the implications of memory and its erasure from popular culture, you should listen to this. It might make you feel bad, as a warning, but I think it's maybe time for us to start being grown-ups about feeling bad.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

hell hath no fury

I have a lot of thoughts on a lot of things just now. I want to say them to you and record them here, but I feel stuck and self-critical and so I don't.
Two things quickly:
1. I am dating someone. He gives me a lot of space, and our relationship might be a tiny bit fake, but probably is real in equal measure.

2. I am mildly scared that I am too angry to have many of the conversations that I want and need to have. I don't know how to channel that fury and frustration into words. I am scared of being angry. I am scared of the implications of being furious and the possibility that I cannot overcome it. I do not want to be angry. I want to be kind and gentle and nourishing and fun. I want to pray and feel loved and receive answers. I want to be boldly kind and generous. I want to be unabashedly fun and kind. I want to love with an open heart, not one that is protected and defensive. I really do. But I feel like there are some major blocks which I need to address with my words... If only I weren't too angry and heavy to formulate sentences. 

Paul Klee
Double Tent

Saturday, November 3, 2012


today, I made the very best pizza I've ever had in my life.
And then I talked about penile anatomy and the gospel.
I heard some amazing people tell me about their faith today.
It was a very good day for being born'd.
Thanks, mom.
That was probably a lot of hard work.

My brother will be here in 6 days.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

some of the times

but not ALL of the times, you see,  it's real hard to be a good Mormon/example/disciple/person.

(there are so many things to be said.)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

"She doesn't work here"

Tonight, I went to listen to good women and men speak to the world. It's part of my religious practice to, twice a year, listen to the revealed word of God, as given by latter-day prophets. The practice warms my heart as a certain specialty Mormon holiday-feel always seems to creep its way into my soul in the spring and in the fall, as I, along with all of the members of the church across the world, meet to think about our relationship with God. We meet and stand in support of the network that is increasingly spreading across the globe. It is the goodness of the gospel spreading forth. 

But that isn't what I want to write about tonight. That is a topic worthy of praise and awe. No- tonight, I want to reflect on two incidents that have effected me deeply. The first one happened  tonight before the broadcast, the other 1.5 weeks ago.

Tonight, my stake Relief Society decided to host a potluck for all of the women who live in our area TWO HOURS before the broadcast was to begin. I found the time-frame absurd, and so I decided to go late, believing that, certainly, others would too. I was only partially correct in that others also came late, but mostly they came without food. I brought some hummus and pita bread.

So I stood alone and late in the kitchen at our stake center, sawing away with the child-safe knives readily available in the unlocked drawers, at my pita bread wafers. The other sisters from the stake were already sitting down to dinner, and most of the food was already gone. I was attempting to make a million triangles out of four rounds of bread. As I stood there, an older lady rambled in, holding an empty water pitcher from her table. She slammed it down on the counter where I was hacking away. She glared at me, demanding my attention. I said hello as politely as I could muster through my obvious disgruntlement. She replied, "My water is out. I need it filled."

I had no idea how to reply. Was it not apparent that I was busy? That I wasn't her servant? I went through an entire range of emotion: rage, confusion, bewilderment, frustration, impatience. As this encounter was happening, another sister had entered the room. She saw what was happening, and quickly attempted to intervene. She loudly told the first lady, "She doesn't work here, Norma!"

And suddenly, it struck me. No, no, Norma. I DO work here. This is PRECISELY where I work. This is how I can serve and lift where I am standing. Tonight, I was standing in the kitchen hacking away at pita bread that would hardly be sniffed by the carnivores in my stake. Tonight, I was needed to refill pitchers for seemingly incompetent old ladies. Tonight, I needed to lift chairs onto stacks after frail ladies had sat on them to dine. Tonight, I was needed to crawl under the stage to retrieve somebody's purse that had mysteriously gotten lodged. Tonight, and maybe every night in my entire life, I was needed. I think I have been missing this somehow.

I filled the old timer's pitcher as she stood there scowling at me with such impatience. I returned it to her, and she continued glaring. I went back to my pita bread, hoping she would just go away when she said, "What about ice?!?!"

I felt completely floored. I was reminded of a story that my dad loved to tell me while growing up,  about a time that an older gentleman was rude to him and cut him off while in line at the temple. He was so enraged and irritated by the old man that he felt he had lost all of the goodness he had generated that evening. A temple worker, standing nearby, sought to help my dad regain his peace, and said to him, "I'm so sorry! That's too bad!" Instantly, things were put into perspective. It's remarkable how having an innocent- someone who will intervene can restore peace like that.  I think the point of this story is the message of the Savior, the message of forgiveness and patience in learning to love one another. I forget sometimes how that applies to every person. I get blinders on and focus on the people who I know need love, the ones whose need is apparent. But I forget that I have committed to act to serve even the least of people.

It was a really weird moment, because it was so incredibly inconvenient to have this demand placed upon me. And why couldn't the other sister find ice for her? The old lady demanded MY attentions, MY service, MY action. It was a time that I wasn't looking to learn a lesson, an instance wherein I didn't feel like expanding or softening my heart. I turned to look for ice for the lady, and I walked to the fridge with the most bitter wrestle in my heart as I felt it tempting to melt to her needs. There was no ice, and I felt a little vindicated in invalidating her demand for cold. She sauntered off, grumbling, and I kept thinking.

I have been accused (more than a few times) before of thinking too much and too deeply about things that might be insignificant. But there was something about this instance that won't leave me. It is a lesson that has been sitting with me for some time, and one that I am ashamed has taken me so long to learn. I will be 27 in a month, and I should like to think I had know this sooner. But alas, I am humbled... yet again.

The other incident coincides beautifully with the lesson that was given voice tonight.

A week and a half ago, my battery in my car died. I had to borrow money from my dad to get a new one which is humiliating in itself, but even worse to know that it meant that there was ZERO dollars left for the rest of the month (this was around the 15th). So that. But then, I was asked to buy some supplies for the ward activity, which, being broke, I could not do! It was so embarrassing, but I had to call my relief society president  to have her come buy the things because I didn't have the $20 to front the bill. She came and paid and all was well. A few days later, she texted me and asked if she could visit for a minute.

Then she said she didn't want to offend me but that she was worried about me. I really wasn’t feeling all that sad about being poor because… well… I always am, I guess.  At first, I was sort of defensive and nervous because, you know… pride. But I decided to be soft and let her visit.

She came over and she didn’t say anything really, just hugged me and gave me an envelope full of money and left. I have never been in a situation where I needed help so badly, but I didn’t ask for it. I felt foolish for not asking, but at the same time completely humbled that I didn’t have to. That I mattered without announcing it. (Sidenote: There is a pattern I see emerging with my recent thoughts about Charity, and in particular, with this one incredible person. I have more thoughts on this topic, but those will be saved for a later date!)

I guess I spend a lot of time feeling like other people’s problems are worse than mine are, and I still suspect that is true. But even still, it was a big lesson to me that EVERYONE matters, and that really, in very real and practical ways, true charity cannot fail.

[It's also really weird, if you are able, listen to the last sermon that was given in that link up top... The one by the man (President Eyering)- it is the section of the conference through which I wept. Everything fits, everything is teaching me about this right now. ]

I guess the end result of this (these) lesson(s?) is that it's maybe time for me to stop pulling away from God. It's time to come back and find out, earnestly, what He/She/That is all about. I think it might be time for me to "be as childlike as my education has taught me to be tough-minded—wise as serpents and harmless as doves, I believe the Savior called it."

If you only choose one link from this post to listen to, choose that last one.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I think I need to write more and better things, but I can't. I'm blocked, and my thesis is being selfish and taking up all of my time that isn't spent thinking about boys.

I sound horrible.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Let's remember what it is to be new.

Pablo Picasso, Woman with a Yellow Hat (Jaqueline) ca. 1906
I sat next to a man at church yesterday who asked me where the priest was. I explained how we have bishops in the church an a little bit about the organization. I am not confident that he understood all of what I was saying because I was whispering to him during sacrament meeting, a time when we're supposed to be real quiet. In a ward the size of mine, it's easy for people to notice when you are un-quiet. He started me on a vicious cycle, and my defense of things that smaller and newer than I am kicked in right then and there. I wanted to ask the speakers to be kind and non-jargony. I wanted so hard for them to remember that "initiatory" and "baptism for the dead" and "celestial kingdom" are things that sound scary to people who aren't us, but are curious nevertheless. Those things are scary for the uninitiated. The man sitting by me (we'll call him Charles, because that was his name)   looked to me several times, imploringly seeking validation and a glance to know that he would be ok. He would be ok. I was reminded of sitting in my dad's ward in California as a teenager. I always remember that ward as a ward where I was watched nearly constantly by the children of the ward. I think they liked me because I liked them openly. I remember how they often would watch me while I sat in sacrament meeting. It's a weird feeling to know that you are being watched like that. I'm not trying to say that I was a perfect example all of the time. In the contrary, I was often the one who supplied those babies with coloring books and dinosaurs to distract their attentions. I know what it is to be new, and to not know what big words mean. I know what it is to not know where I could set my backpack. I know what it is to not speak the language, and not know who I could sit by in the cafeteria, or when it was appropriate to ask a question. I know what it is to be new.

I got a text this last week that has been sitting deeply with me. It said, "disciples are not people who never doubt. They doubt and serve and help each other with their doubts. They doubt and practice faithfulness. They doubt and wait for their doubts to be turned into knowing."

I don't know who said it originally, but I am deeply moved by the concept. Is that not precisely what we promise to do every week? Is that not what it means to bear one another's burden?

I had to leave the sacrament meeting about halfway through because I was so overwhelmed in looking at he meeting from the eyes of the new. I am new to some ways of seeing things, I suppose, as things have shifted in my family lately. My dad is getting re-married next month, and I don't really understand how all of that works. I am sort of in a mess about how things will straighten themselves out. Where do I fit? And what of my parents' temple sealing? I don't know how to sort things out, and the talks given were almost exclusively about the topic of marriage (aren't they seemingly always about that topic in singles' congregations?). I felt remorse for leaving Charles to his own intellect to understand all of all of the things. I went into the hallway and cried and cried. I felt abandoned again. Felt lost again. Felt new and scared again. I felt like I didn't belong. Again.

And it is truly by the grace of God that I was joined by one of the kindest women I have ever known in that hallway. My relief society president wept with me. She shared her love and compassion and empathy with me. She showed me how to be Christlike. And man! What an incredible thing!

She literally embodied the spirit of the Relief Society in that instance, that selfless moment of reaching out to me. I shouldn't have needed it- I should be one of the strong ones. But she didn't care. She didn't want me to cry alone. She didn't want me to sink. And she reminded me that it's okay to be new. It's okay to not know, and to re-asses and ask again and again and again. There are always answers. She reminded me that charity never faileth.

Let us have patience with being new, and kind to those who don't yet know.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

let me be alone outside sometimes.

Yesterday, the wind pushed hard and steady. Almost the whole day, it seemed like it wanted me to remember that I live in the middle of the Midwest. We are laid out in the sun to dry here, without a hill to make a shadow or protect us from storms. Nothing breaks the wind in this land. Exposed entirely on the prairie's face, the wind licks and tumbles over the surface of things here. I'm sure that hurricane Isaac being a bully in Louisiana isn't helping the wind calm down any. But weather is strange and powerful, uncontrollable and determined to carry out its own whims.

Via. I. Lincoln, NE (Me.) II. Baton Rouge, LA (Isaac.)

I spent the afternoon and early evening sitting on top of my car overlooking my favorite place in this city. There's a herd of American bison to my left periphery and an elk couple on the right. Before me, the prairie lays itself bare in the straw-yellow of late afternoon.They were all so lazy in the sun, languishing in their confined spaces. I wondered how it would be, constantly enclosed like that for my whole life. Would I know that I was missing something? Am I?

But here, the wind is king. I heard once that sound travels over a distance of 1,256 square miles. The wind pushed itself through all of the yellow tall grasses in their late-summer brittleness and bashed into trees. I could feel it rocking my car below me, and more than once it threatened to take away the blanket I had wrapped under my body. It won't let me forget.

I walked over to a tree to get a better look at it. On my way back, the wind took my hair and tangled it into a branch. I pulled it loose and turned to face away from the wind so that my hair would be my own again- it became a veil on the sides of my head and danced on my elbows, my back. I felt safe in there.

I have sat on top of my car many times. I've found need for the ritual in every place I have lived. I need to be alone outside. I need to touch the earth and feel the wind and know the sound that the sun makes and un-makes. I need to have it touch my face. I need to smell grass growing and dying and being eaten. I need to be reminded that I am small and that there is a whole world beyond my understanding and the phenomena of my immediate concern. It is here that I draw the closest to God.

Nature is a temple.

In high school, I had to be outside to be regenerated. I remember wanting to hang my cleaned sheets from a line that I rigged from the house to the shed. I wanted them out there not because I wanted them to smell fresh when I went to bed, but because they created the most ethereal fort in my family's back yard. I set up a stool between the fitted sheet and the top sheet and just sat there watching the wind manifest in the ripples of fabric. I sat there for hours. The same wind manifest itself in the tall grass of the prairie yesterday.

When I was a little girl, my mom worked as a landscaper in a cemetery in Northern Utah. She always  brought us along to help pull weeds and to know what the earth smelled like. Some of my best memories were from gently nudging pansies out of black plastic cups and setting them in the deep brown soil for my mom to carefully swadle into their beds. I liked to take adventures away from her side in that cemetery. I remember one in particular because of its strangeness in retrospect. I found a hole in the side of a little hill towards the back of the cemetery lot. Looking back, the idea of this scares me, but I had the courage of a child who didn't know how to be scared yet. I remember feeling very tired and warm from working in the sun all that afternoon and so I climbed into the hole and laid down. It was so dark and damp and cool in there. I could smell the bitter sting of roots and feel them cradling me there. It felt like things were growing all around me. I fell asleep and when I woke up, it was dusk. My mom was just packing up to leave. I wonder now, if she knew I had gone. I wonder now what that hole, that was just large enough for my 7 year old body was actually for? A deer, maybe? I felt then, that I had gotten away with something tricky because I was on my own entirely for that few hours. The best naps are taken in wombs, I guess. Even in a place where they might actually be a tomb.

Finally, in class this week, we were discussing (very philosophically, of course), where the idea of humankind as separate from nature happened. I believe it was the rise of "humanism" during the 15th Century that the distinction was made the most deliberately. In that time, the objective was to see where humanity fit in the grand scheme of things. The scale went like this: Nature -> Man -> God, and the human sciences served as a means by which to measure the human distance from nature and from God. In some instances, this was an enabling power and in others it was a delimiting one. The effect was our separation from nature: from the nature of which we are inherently part. Nevertheless, the word "HUMAN" comes from the same Greek root as the word Humus, which is basically the end result of compost. It's dirt. And it's dirt from which we come. It's dirt to which we return. We are beings of the earth.

Human beings.

The earth is our mother.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


For the first time in some time tonight, I was completely honest and up front and open. And it felt completely terrifying and scary and vulnerable-making.

And I cried harder and more than I have cried in some (great) time.

But it think things are going to get better.

I think I am going to learn how to be more deliberate.

Some few people whom I have loved in my life told me that they loved how I "live deliberately". I never knew what that meant, and I have to confess that I wasn't really ever living deliberately; rather I was living insecurely. I was living so that things appeared deliberate. In actuality, I was mostly scared that people would see that I was scared of not-belonging, that I wouldn't feel loved, that I wasn't smart, that I wasn't right, that I was ugly or that I was needy or that I was weak. I was scared that I needed too much validation and that I needed too much love. I was scared that I wouldn't be forgiven.

I got really good a keeping that to myself.

But tonight, I was really honest, and I really cried, and I really said all of the things that needed to be said. And I'd be lying if I said that I felt great after getting it all out. In actuality, I think I will just go to sleep now and probably cry some more, but it's a start. It's a cleansing. I remember in some movie with Nick Cage (ummmmm...), where he is talking about how it's remarkable that humans cry. And yeah. It's super cheesey, but it's maybe also true. Also, Nick Cage. Anyways- maybe it's the first step to let some of that go.

I am going to congratulate myself on expressing my needs and my expectations in a really grown-ass way. I am not going to feel bad for crying. I am going to feel proud that I respect myself enough to say what I need and to explain where I'm coming from. And I am going to feel good about being vulnerable. I am honest. Sometimes that hurts the worst, but I find solace in believing that it's for the best. I promise I'm not trying to be mean. I am learning to trust, and I am learning how to have faith. I am learning about love and about how sometimes, it's really, really hard to do love things. It's hard to be in a family. I don't really know how to not, though, so here I am.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

pool partie morningnights

obviously, I need to be asleep right now, but my body is taking me to weird places late at night these days.
It misses being touched by people.
It misses certainty.
It misses love and, probably, it misses you.

I wrote Madeline a poem about what I usually do to lull myself asleep:
and you know
[2:06:43 AM]: when I can't sleep
[2:06:51 AM]: the image that is mostly most comforting to me
[2:07:07 AM]: is thinking of swimming pools with their lights on late at night
[2:07:09 AM]: in the dark
[2:07:11 AM]: but now
[2:07:13 AM]: that image just haunts me
[2:07:14 AM]: i just like the color of it and the elecctricity-ness of it
[2:08:16 AM]: the contrast
[2:08:22 AM]: juxtaposition
[2:08:26 AM]: darklightness
[2:08:31 AM]: you know
[2:08:34 AM]: but
[2:08:36 AM]: not tonight.
[2:08:42 AM]: tonight
[2:08:50 AM]: it feel dread about it.
[2:09:00 AM]: about those pools dotting the country
[2:10:40 AM]it just in my head.
[2:10:43 AM]it's sloshing.

It's calm electrical teal, without a ripple or a hint of disturbance.

I've been in more pools in the last month than I have probably been in the rest of my life combined. My hair smells like dark, rich chemistry and tangy blueness. I might be starting to like it, but mostly just at night. At night or when it is raining. I know it's dangerous. I just don't care at all. 


There is oregano and lemon basil and marjoram and sweet basil drying in my kitchen right now, and all I want is to drink big cups of cold water until my belly hurts and not think at all anymore about anything (which is everything, so much) that is disallowing me to have calm like that pool. 

Peace like a river. Peace like a river. Peace like a river.

i miss everything. maybe tomorrow will be more than a Maybe.


this song is so old, and I don't even care if you care.
I love it, and I feel it is apt.

Monday, July 16, 2012


I need to write this down so that I don't forget it. It isn't for you, it's for me. If some kernel of it touches you, that's great, but I need to write it to remember.

I have been troubled lately by the trend of Mormonism-discussing articles. It seems like people who have had an experience with the church are using their experiences for capital. Perhaps it is the fervor surrounding what Newsweek and the New York Times last year called, "The Mormon Moment" that has sparked the interest. Perhaps there are political motivations. Regardless of the motivation, it appears that my religion has become fodder for articles and columns rather than a means to access God. Honestly, it's why I won't be voting for Mitt Romney this fall. I want my religion to stay peculiar. I want it to stay out of the mainstream. We have never been mainstream, and I am not ready to apologize for that. It has become a cultural stamp to say "I was once Mormon, and here are all of the reasons why I was wrong and I am stupid for doing it". I am tired of reading those things. I am tired of hearing the reasons why these people think I am stupid for remaining active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I understand the implications.

I have read the history, I have intimately known the racism, the sexism, the bigotry. I understand that heritage in proclaiming my love for and adherence to the church. I can see the danger in accepting that.

I am not blind in my faith.

But when it comes down to it, that is precisely what I have: faith. I often think that the only things I have are faith and an enduring hope that faith will be rewarded. I am increasingly comfortable with that. I do not know many things. I am constantly impressed to think about how little I actually KNOW for fact. It seems that there is always another modifying element that comes along to challenge my certainty in all things. I'm not just talking about churchy things here: social, emotional, academic, secular, scientific, etc. Knowledge seems to work as a manner of disproving past theorems, asserting the rightness of new ideas to replace old ones. It's the work of so much philosophy and science. I respect that, but I am not going to root myself in it as absolute truth. I spend a lot of time at church asking questions and challenging the knowingness of my fellow Mormons as well. I don't direct my frustrations with knowing at the secular world alone. I want to push to see if they really know, and if they do, how it can be so. I rely a lot on Alma to back up my challenge here. Is their belief mistaken for knowing?

I want us to become more comfortable with faith. There are so many things that we cannot know, and I am happy to accept the limitations of my capacities. I can acknowledge my weaknesses. In so doing, I also must assert that there are many who seem to know more than I do. I wear my questioning nature as a badge of faith. I believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ can withstand my questions, and righteousness will reign. I believe in absolute truth. I do not know it for certain, but I believe in it. There is power in belief.

I am increasingly comfortable with not knowing. I am increasingly comfortable with relying singularly on faith. I am, herein, seeking to praise that virtue. I want to hear more people in the church stand at their pulpits on the first Sunday of the month and tell me what they BELIEVE. I am tired of hearing what they presume to KNOW. I am saying that there are limitations to what we can know, but there is not a limit to what we can believe.

I study systems of value in the history of humankind. I have seen empires fall and rise based on the certainty of particular systems, assertions of knowledge. Assertions of knowledge lead to dangerous, hateful places. In so studying, I have come to the conclusion that we are all different. We are all trying to adhere the most to the things we want the most, the things about which we are most certain, the things which congratulate us the most. We are all seeking for the best situation for ourselves and for those we love. We use logic to deduce the best possible means to accomplish our goals. I will never deny the power of logic in decision making, but I would really like to introduce and affirm the power of faith in decision making. Not in knowing, but in believing. Faith, inherently, has uncertainty built into it. That's why it's scary.

I went to the Nauvoo Pageant this past weekend. I have to insert here, that I have found a lot of ways in my life to disconnect from Mormon culture. I hadn't ever seen Saturday's Warrior. I never fell for any of the missionaries who visited the wards of my youth. I didn't own a Jody dress with an ugly pastel floral print. I didn't plan to marry until after I had graduated from college. I have friends who are homosexual, and I had stepped foot in a bar before the age of 22. I enjoy a nice Diet Coke now and again. I unapologetically pepper my language with swears. I didn't want to go to BYU, and I have never been to a Cougar's football game. I only ate at Brick Oven in Provo once (it was gross). I often forget what happened in Kirtland, and couldn't name the prophets in order for you. I sought to defy the faith of my ancestors in a lot of venues, sought to differentiate myself from them for a long time. I went to the Manti Pageant a few years back as a tongue in cheek, semi-ironc statement. I can take responsibility for those decisions I made.  I was defensive against an institution that sometimes manifests human insecurity and selfishness. I was defensive against a culture that sometimes moves in ways I think of as unholy, ungodly, monotonous and harmful. I was defensive against institutional harm that has been done to my people. I was defensive. And I accept that.

I hadn't really wanted to travel to Nauvoo with my ward in Lincoln for the utter cliche of it all. But my heart was softened while there, as a piece of the evolution of my faith. I was in conversation with a friend from the ward here who was baptized a few months back. He thinks really deeply about things, and so is interesting to talk to. He is pretty logical about most things, and it's refreshing sometimes to hear things from a Spock perspective (I function mostly as a Captain Kirk). But after we watched the pageant, he told me that he felt like his heart grew three sizes bigger, that the hair on the back of his neck stood up, and he felt overwhelmed with peace. I felt like he was witnessing to me the meeting of the head and the heart. Together, they testified to him and allowed the Spirit to teach him about the Gospel. He told me he felt like the Grinch in the cartoon version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, when he goes into the town and everyone shares their canned food with him. When he feels bad about them all being hungry, but still celebrating Christmas, so he gets the "roast beast" they had prepared- while he is slicing it, his heart grows too big for the frame. That part. He felt like his heart was going to burst with love.

I love that feeling.

I am also completely terrified and addicted to that feeling.

I cannot explain the logic in it, and I want to assert the power of feeling the Spirit. I want to acknowledge the courage it takes to act on faith. I want to sing praise for my pioneer grandparents whose exodus makes no logical sense. I want to give love to the polygamist sisterwives of my ancestry, who resisted based on logic, but committed because of faith. I want to thank all of them for their humility and willingness to build, what they believed, was the kingdom of God on the earth. I think I am coming to understand why there is such a focus on pioneers at church. I always hated how much of a focus there was on that... It seemed like ancestor worship that detracted from a testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the center of my faith. But I think I am coming to know the principle that is at work in those stories of which there are not a few. I am coming to see the common thread that knits my heart to theirs. I am coming to know that it is precisely that testimony, that faith to act on the mission of Jesus Christ is what provokes the focus. We liken the past unto ourselves.

I believe that faith leads to action. I am trying to resist the demand to know, and trying to be content with the power of faith.My sweet missionary baby brother directed me to this talk today. It has a lot in it that I find applicable to my assertions, queries and ideas here. The gospel is amazing. I believe it to be true.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Night Lights

It's a Waning Gibbous Moon tonight. This happens after the moon is "Full", and has just begun to turn its face away from the Earth's in its rotation, relative to ours. Sometimes the Waning Gibbous is mistaken for a "Full" moon because of how large and tangible it appears in the night sky. I feel like I am a Waning Gibbous tonight: tangible and big, but not really filled.

   There are kids outside playing night games right now. I saw them on my drive home, catching fireflies and holding them like secrets, close to their bantam, pounding chests. It's 1:16 on a Friday night in June, and their older cousins are still in the bars two miles away, hoping that someone will think they are worth some heightened breathing. 

    I almost convinced myself, today, to purchase two things: A beautiful Schwinn Varsity bicycle in space-age sparkle green (you know the type that looks like it's brand new, even though it's probably older than my own parents). The other thing was a baby's high chair. It was wooden and obviously had seen the feedings of many, many children over the years, most of whom are now wizened old timers themselves. What a heritage. Neither of these two items would actually fit my (financial or emotional) budget, and neither of them was a real match for my life, but I spent a substantial time talking myself down from the nerves of walking away from them. I'm still thinking about them at 1:19 on a Friday night. They seem, somehow, to represent more to me than just objects.


    There is a house up the block from mine where very fat women live. They wear boldly colored frocks and seem incredibly sweaty and full. They aren't particularly smart or friendly, except with one another. There are probably eight of them crammed into that tiny space that was built by and for small, malnourished German refugee immigrants in the early 1910's. That's what this place looks like with its history. 
    Every day, the fat women come out to their porch and sit for a few hours in the late morning. They always get hungry around 1:30, and they always convene in the shade of their fledgeling Chinese Maple that grows in the patch of grass between the road (which ends as a dead end at the railroad tracks two houses down). They have a picnic table set up there for their lunches. They are never outside after 3:00, unless it is after 6:30. They are usually back by then, all sitting around again, wondering aloud about the moon and their old stuffed animals. I have heard them. They seem to be extravagant women whose lives revolve around one thing: joy. It is remarkable to see such a gathering, really. I used to hate them for their bonds. Tonight, though, as I drove past the fat women's street, I saw those firefly gatherers on the other side of the road, and felt happy for them all. I looked down to the fat ladies' table, hoping (as I always do when I pass their street) to catch a glimpse of their clown-car life. They had apparently all gone to bed (afterall, it was 1:04 on a Friday night). But set up and gleaming on the table was a single, long candle set in a candlestick. It was miraculously lit, and blowing gently in the constant breeze that seems to be pregnant with impending storm. I was reminded of the advice that I was given about buying candlesticks, and then was forced (again) to re-revisit my thoughts about that baby chair and the bicycle. A professor told me before I went to Europe, to invest some substantial money into some fine Italian silver candlesticks, and that I would thank myself when I was an old lady with children who needed something to remember me by.
    But I don't want to be remembered for candlesticks. I want to be remembered for chasing fireflies at 1:16 on Friday nights in June with little legs, and for that well-worn chair, and for wanting to bike everywhere I could desire to travel.

    And then I let myself cry for the first time in too long to this song. I wasn't really sad, just sort of whelmed and needing to let something go. At 1:10 on a Friday night in June.

    And the crickets and cicadas have begun their music again for the summer.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blackberries for Amelia

Blackberries for Amelia

Fringing the woods, the stone walls, and the lanes,
Old thickets everywhere have come alive,
Their new leaves reaching out in fans of five
From tangles overarched by this year's canes.

They have their flowers too, it being June,
And here or there in brambled dark-and-light
Are small, five-petaled blooms of chalky white,
As random-clustered and as loosely strewn

As the far stars, of which we now are told
That ever faster do they bolt away,
And that a night may come in which, some say,
We shall have only blackness to behold.

I have no time for any change so great,
But I shall see the August weather spur
Berries to ripen where the flowers were—
Dark berries, savage-sweet and worth the wait—

And there will come the moment to be quick
And save some from the birds, and I shall need
Two pails, old clothes in which to stain and bleed,
And a grandchild to talk with while we pick.

-by Richard Wilbur

 Bedouin Shepherdess Spinning, Beersheba, Palestine, 1932
Unknown Photographer


Sunday, May 27, 2012

reassess, re-envision

It's POURING rain outside right now, pounding hard on my double panes. I can barely hear the trains sporadically cutting through the tumult of weather. The thunder is absolutely deafening and the lightning shatters the dark of my bedroom and makes it look a little bit scary. I wish you were here to buffer the scariness. Nebraska in May, I guess I should have anticipated as much.

I never knew what a thunderstorm was, really before moving here, and I doubt I will ever un-know this.

Today at church, the teacher asked us to list places that we thought were beautiful, and I said, "NEBRASKA." Everyone laughed, and my ears grew hot with shame because I was completely sincere in my assertion. Earnestness met with ridicule is hard to bear sometimes; I've never learned the lesson from that. I think she wanted me to say "the temple" or something, but "NEBRASKA" was a more fitting answer for me then, and maybe now, I'm not sure. I didn't want to cover it up, so I just allowed myself to feel hot and ashamed. I think I heard one quiet utterance of agreement, but it's okay. You should come visit (again): I'll show you (again).

Sister friend was here for a week last week, and her absence makes the lonesomeness even more lonesomey and missing-y. So I spent the night at someone's house and had a really REALLY awkward morning.

It's hard to be by myself. I feel floaty in a detached, not-that-good, sort-of-lost kind of way. I had come to believe that I was getting good at being alone.

I'm not.

I need to remember what I am doing here. And where would I be if not here? I need a better system to lay down roots. I never learned that, really.

I think I would feel less like I had to convince myself of things every day if there were more feeling present. Prospects (so many) have shifted in dramatic ways lately, and things are different. I need to reassess and re-envision where things are headed. A relative stranger with insider information recently commented that she had heard that I "had some major life decisions to make". She was right, but I was annoyed that she would offer such an intimate assessment of my life, and the means through witch she received such knowledge about me left me completely enraged/frustrated/vulnerable-feeling. I didn't really know what to say to her, and defaulted a mumbled, "I think I would like to get married". Would I like that? It would solve nothing...

Maybe it would solve some thing(s), but I would still be this person. I love this person. But this person could/should/can/will/must be more/better/bigger/rounder/wiser/kinder/patienter/knowinger than present. How do I keep getting myself stuck here?

...make progress. make progress. make progress. make progress...

Mom comes for a visit next week. I hope that I will have figured some things out {by} then. I want to figure out some things with her, some things about her, some things about just me, and I want her advice on how to make myself not-alone. She is a pro at not-alone. Is she also good at not-alonely?

Is that a thing I can do? Surely.

And I force my dad to girltalk with me about every little emotional whim. I consider it payback for something, I'm not sure what, but it feels gratifying somehow. It feels like he's got my back, even if it's just because someone else now knows how I feel. He has a lot of hope invested in me, that is sometimes shocking to hear voiced. It makes me wonder how he sees what he does, and it makes me hopeful that he is right in his fullness and seeingness. Or maybe it's a lack of seeingness that is making him so hopeful. But even still, he thinks that I'm going to be okay.

I think wind is lucky because it can go wherever it wants. It's probably never lonesome. I think I need to learn to make plans, for the first time in my life.

I'm sorry if I make too many words up, but English is an insufficient language on its own.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Call this number: (323) 843-4652

You will not be disappointed. 
Or you might be.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


literally laughing so hard in my room alone right now.
 there are tears.
this is certainly my screen capture career high.
you're welcome.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Letter to My Future Child

Letter to My Future Child

The way you don’t exist is remarkable
When I have been hotwired, cobbled from
Spongy tubes specifically to birth. At least to bud

Would be preferable, shedding a child
Like petals drooping from a center.
I apologize profusely to you,
But I am content in my selfishness and
My love of this girl I’ve created.

Today I watched the bees graze,
The perfect mix of threat and song and binge,
And I felt I, too, could bob and maneuver.

I guess they reminded me of you:
Your toddling bumble, your absent suckle,
Your mere addition to the swarm.
You would be a plump grub in honeysuckle
Were you to be anything, but you will not

Be. This is something I’ve decided.
There is only so much life to go around; I’ll take
Two rations. The petal and the pistil.

And, hey, the calyx. The ability to share is mythic,
Like you, and who needs another creature,
Another sea monster? I already have the
Swooping vertebrae of my back, I have my bones

Diving above and below my skin
Filled with just the right amount of people:

One. How could I bring a child into this world
When I want it all to myself?
Life is that right and full of love, flowers, et al.
I’m sorry for me, sure. But most of all, Little Bee,
I am sorry for you.
-Megan Amram

 Heironymous Bosch
Beehives and Witches
Pen on Paper

Sunday, May 6, 2012

a new hope

My dad's dog had a big batch of pups.

He now owns 13 Great Danes.
They just opened their eyes this week, and they're getting really big.
I could probably spend the whole entire rest of my life watching them bauble around and try to not run into walls.

My whole life.

I might need to move somewhere where I have land ASAP.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

thomas kinkaide

I had the thought today, as fleeting as it may be, that working in a Thomas Kinkaide gallery might just be sort of post-modernist, art historical canon challenging, stick-it-to-the-maniosis't work I could do satisfactory to my beliefs. I would do that, of course, after I received my master's degree in Art History and Curatorial Studies.

I would get to mix Kinkaide's now DNA with ink that I would then use to stamp his name on the prints I sold. That DNA would come from his urine. After all, how else could an artwork be authentic? I hope they collected a lot of urine before he died. Maybe they will use other bodily fluids from his body (too far??) now that he is gone forever.

How many of these can you look at before wanting to meander through the English countryside or scream:

What do you think? 

Do I have a future making more money per year in a mall gallery than I likely will with my original professional goals?

Is it sad to you that calendar art is more lucrative than the pursuit of academic knowledge?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Big Three

Remember this?

Well today I am feeling grateful for prophets who answer my questions and try to push me to meet my needs. Yep. Grateful.

Jeffrey R. Holland | How Do I Love Thee? | February 15, 2000 | BYU Broadcasting

Monday, April 23, 2012

and now for some art history

...since that IS what I do, and there have been requests for more art in this space. I am a woman of the people!!

(Alas, don't despair- this will be fun, and there is no test or long essay to hand in afterwards. You will neither be judged nor mocked for not knowing or remembering.)
I sometimes have a difficult time remembering things as isolated facts. I often make up stories so that I can remember visual images. I do it with people too. You might remember that one time I went to the symphony and spent the entire time making up stories about how the performers' lives intersected one another. Sometimes I like to just make funny associative observations that help me remember.

I have an entire list of funny art history, but I will start you out easy. This is one of my favorites:

These dudes are from the Cornaro chapel of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. They are the male patrons from the Cornaro family. The chapel is pretty famous for housing a super famous Bernini sculpture of The Ecstasy of St. Theresa.

Here's that:

I'm not Catholic, so I don't really understand the saints and all the culture that surrounds that practice. But basically the gist of this work is that Theresa, a Carmelite Nun, had a vision where she was overcome by the Spirit of the Lord, embodied here as an angel (left). He is holding an arrow, poised to pierce her heart with the transcendent love of God.

She recorded:
I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it...

This chapel was one of the things I was the most excited to see when I was in Rome in 2010. I remembered learning about this work in high school, and, I am somewhat of a nerd. I had done extra research to know what the exterior of the building looked like and how exactly it was that Bernini (the sculptor) had gotten the light to shine so directly and beautifully onto the marble. Remember, this was sculpted in the mid 1600's, so there was no way to direct electrical lights like we could in museums today. When we came around the street corner and I saw the ingenious portico that Bernini had created to capture daylight, I was overjoyed and inspired... and literally RAN ahead of the group to get the first glimpse inside.

Nerd. Alert.


But the focus I would like to maintain today is not Theresa's somewhat sexualized ecstasy nor my utter unabashed zeal for seeing things in person. No; I want to focus today on the Cornaro family and how completely hilarious they are.

Image via Nina Aldin Thune (with fancy Paint effects by Me!)

Here's a reasonably decent image to show you how all the sculptures are related in the space to one another. The family portraits are to the far left and right of the image, seemingly seated in balcony or box seats in a theater.

Besides the fact that I find their spectarorial presence a wee bit voyeuristic and the idea of them watching this woman perform her devotions to God as slightly creepy (not to mention the somewhat sexual nature with which she has characterized her experience), I cannot help but remember the Cornaro as the muppet commentators, Slater and Waldorf.

Just go there for a minute. The idea is HILARIOUS.

if/when I am ever called upon to teach this work to a classroom, this is how I will teach it.

See- that wasn't so bad, was it?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

too proud for love

I know that both of these songs (CLICK! CLICK!) are so incredibly old, but I feel them both so much right now. I am going to bed tonight feeling confused, apprehensive and maybe even a little bit worried. I miss feeling comforted.

A wise woman told me to try to have more charity today. Another one encouraged me to have more faith. What's left? Hope. I have a lot of hope, almost in absurd quantities that should perhaps give cause for concern but rarely do.

I think I am going to get those other two working better/more for me. I've heard they work best together.

I apologize, I don't know where this image actually came from , I have had it saved on my hard drive for a very very long time, but it basically epitomizes my feelings at this moment. Like... all of them, especially that tornado and that heart.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

today was okay.

First I woke up pretty early and went to the Temple. gosh, I love that place. I could talk more about it, but I would rather tell you in real life. You should ask me sometime.

And then I came home and read books forever. I literally CANNOT wait until I get to choose the books I read again. It's not that I DIDN'T want to read these books, it's more that I wouldn't choose them... ever.

And finally, I went to a roller derby. Hello cool, and HELLO to my new favorite sport.

And now my boobs hurt and are tired of being looked at and it's time to go to sleep.

Happy Easter.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012


This is some local NE chevre with some herbes de provence and peppercorns, a slice of homemade wheatberry bread, a mason jar with Spanish olive oil and the core of a locally grown green pepper.
hi, lunch. 


These are some cookies I made for Purim, the Jewish traditional holiday where the Biblical heroine Esther is celebrated with exchanges of good fortune in the form of cookies and other foodstuffs. This sounds like my ideal holiday: the celebration of a righteously diplomatic, kind and principled woman and food (specifically cookies, my kryptonite). 


Sometimes I pride myself on being a little bit of a foodsnob, and other times I am more humble because I occasionally want a bowl of cheerios at midnight (albeit they are usually the artisan local variety adrift in locally sourced soy milk). And sometimes (usually at the end of the month), I feel a slight sense of remorse at the goodness a new paycheque has brought me in the form of ingredients and fixins. This article helped me gain a little bit of perspective and guidance, although the author's focus was on food associated with hanging out with other 14 year olds and my problem is focused on food associated with afternoon walks in suburbs of Paris, mistakenly delicious alleyways in Brugges, and markets in London. That's not even to mention the cafes in New York or even The Garden. 
Like I said: I'm a snob.
The same basic principle applies in the long run I guess:
Be more humble.


Nourish your body: nourish your spirit.
Nourish each other.
Subvert the system that is feeding you garbage.
Fill with love.
(that was to be read as a command)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

what? oh yeah.

All you can write is what you see. - Woody Guthrie

Monday, March 26, 2012

I do my best when I shouldn't be.

I like driving. I sometimes think I like it more than normal people should, but I don't believe in should any more. Should breeds guilt and insecurity, and I'm not into that business.
It stays light for longer here than anywhere I have lived, except in Alaska, where the sun licked the shore for at least 20 hours. Those were the longest days and the incongruously best nights I have ever had. But Prairie light is different, it's diffused over the country and seems softer and brighter at once, and for so much longer. Tonight, it was light until 8m at least, and the prettiest juxtaposition of complimentary colors. Blue. Orange. Pink. Cyan.
The light of the world.
And then it all melted.
Into a backyard with a stream running through the middle of it and a waving neighbor lady. Big groups of us swarmed there, joking about fish, and forgetting the lesson, and exposing our secrets to one another. We are so tender. I've been so honest lately.

I declined the first hug in over a year and a half tonight, but I made up for it with all that honesty.


Before I left, I drove for a while. I parked behind this apartment building and watched the prairie wind push the grass around and defy the dissolved stillness of that diffused light. It seemed like every piece, every blade was animated and it jumped around with ferocity in all directions. It reminded me of those fake candle lights that flicker until their battery runs out.

(Imagine this as a gif, where every blade is animated in a different direction. Spring is alright in the middle.) 

Horses made noises in the field down the road near where that body was found.

Who was it?

Who was it?

I thought about that body while I watched the grass dancing. I was reminded of that scene in that book I loved first, where the girl sees the wretched old man with holey shoes, and can only think about his mother kissing those same feet as a baby boy. Who kissed the feet of that body?
It led me to thinking about my own baby-foot-kissing-mother. I came inside and looked at that dress that was sent to me: She was so tiny! So full! What was she like? I used to spend hours and hours thinking about my parents. I used to wonder if we would have been friends and how they probably looked and what they liked to eat when they were my age. It's probably normal kid stuff, but I haven't honestly been so fixed on the idea of them in years. How many years? I remember asking both of them what they loved about each other first: she was a great conversationalist, and he was sincere. His hands were cold, and her smile was killer.

I tried on her gloves and then I put on some perfume and thought more about that body. I turned on the A/C earlier this week and then forgot about it; the heat is desultory here I am learning.  So tonight, the vents puffed out soft tufts of faux-chill.
Diffusion of light, diffusion of force (is that what wind is?), diffusion of chemistry in my bedroom, diffusion of a corpse in the field.

In my mind, it all looks the way broccoli looks from the top of the "tree" but with more colors. They are pastel and dusty and taste like chalk. Call me morose, I guess.

And now my hair smells like the last time she hugged me before I left, minus the scent of the beach and tobacco.

*oh, and in 100% unrelated news,  this is something I did recently. The "co" of "co-curator Amber Mohr" is me.