Tuesday, October 12, 2010
My life now is three photographs. I wish I could post them (again, technology and my own impatience) but I'll describe them for you.
#1. Sitting on a wire-frame red chair at an outdoor wire table with Nate; behind is a flowergarden growing out of a bathtub. On the table is a half-devoured plate of fried pickles (the waiter is out of the picture, probably still fetching the tempeh burritoes). I'm wearing a scarf, jacket, and green crocheted hand warmers; Nate is only in a t-shirt; and I'm barely avoiding being skunked in cribbage.
While I spend most of my time in the amazing Patagonia outlet with amazing people (think: beards, big llama eyes, easy laughs, plaid shirts) the most memorable part of work is the hour drive. Photograph #2 then is me in the mussy black interior of my car, an apologetic apple core in the cupholder along with three pairs of sunglasses and a Maine gazeteer; the two front windows are rolled down, as is the sunroof but I'm wearing the same scarf, jacket, and green crocheted hand warmers; Avett Brothers or Matisyahu blasting. (I guess you won't be able to see that in a photograph...oops.)
#3. Armed with a blowdrier, a bag of bricks, three pillows, six sets of playmobile guys, and a bin of blocks, I face my cluster of sqealy, wide-eyed primary kids. The girls are wearing any dress that sparkles or has flowers, the boys are generally to be found crawling under the table. I am terrified but determined. The scarf, jacket, and green crocheted hand warmers are nowhere in sight.
Anyways. I'm sorry again about the terrible pause (and the rusty writing...). I'm trying to repent with more phone calls and fewer facebook posts. I miss you all! xoxo
Monday, June 14, 2010
Sketching in Periodicals
today, in the mellow gold of the library,
I scraped the lines of your arm,
tracked the ruffled arc of your hair
as it crept into curls around your ear.
The gentle curve of your fingers were childlike,
your eyes so smooth,
gray swoops on my page
and I stared and stared at the way
the ridge of your nose slipped into your eyebrow.
It took time for me to get that right.
when I was done, you were there
dropped in the margins of my Economics notebook,
where I could shuffle back
and locate you easily;
quietly nestled between Positive Externalities
and the Law of Diminishing Returns.
I watched your face a minute longer
wanted to reach across the table
to rub your forehead, as if you were my little brother
sleeping on the couch on a Sunday
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
--and opened the door ("hi Betsy, hi Betsy! Down, girl!")--and yelled:
I'M HOME! IT'S DONE!!!!
as loud as your little lungs could manage.
And then there were cookies from Mom, and a quick review of all the papers you had haphazardly shoved in your lime green backpack, and a reminder to call home--
and you were off to the woods again, up Centennial Ave and to the Whale Rocks or the My Side of the Mountain fort that you and Sophie had perfected last week or even, to check on the tadpole clusters that Echo had found in the concrete pond. It was sunny and not too hot, and you could wear a bandanna to keep the sweat out of your salty eyes anyways. And afterward, on special nights, you would find the soft, bleached log that had washed up to Centennial Beach, and Dad would bring the djembes, and you and Spencer would dance in the sand, kicking up the dunes and singing; the dark waves giving their measured, hissing applause while Mom bobbed her head in time, tapping the thick trunk.
Who says childhood is idealized? That's the truth, straight up. I lived a magical life, I think; I still wonder where I can bring my children to have their Island dreams.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Poem. (<---title goes here. Ahem.)
We all place our best work at the feet of God.
Sure, there are different way of saying it.
Back in the day, when the fiery angel dropped to prick the earth with his voice
(to Adam, to Eve, how tinny a voice that must have been!),
Abel settled his sheep (the whitest, the fleeciest, the warmest)
securely on the alter, then turned away, afraid.
Later, when Abraham rocked his baby on the stony crib,
sweat and lullabies streaming onto his child’s face,
or when Moses offered his tongue, his sandals, his future
to the glory of that electrifying shrub,
we stop and gape, amazed,
and poke our neighbors in their wooden pews
and quiver to compare ourselves
with those ceramic brows.
But, what is the difference then,
between us and those great, glassy men;
enamored in our gazes?
You and I,
we litter His feet with our own, private bounties;
tedious gray hours kneeling at the side of His childrens' beds,
hands hung over keyboards for long, long minutes, waiting to drop the perfect hosanna
onto the paper’s generous spread,
fishermen pulling in their sodden lines and pushing off, away, away,
preferring to hear God’s voice in the pulse of wave after wave after wave;
(what contrite thankfulness for salt and flippering fin!)
Even with a boyish whistle in the face of stark winter morning,
we honor His great hands.
And what greater proof do we need, in scripture or in hymn,
that we travel through our lives, whispering our hushed benedicti into our
handkerchiefs and to the insides of our scarves,
and finally, in that great moment of emergence,
when faced by mountains,
those resonant purple thumbs of God,
we stand up, and rub our palms together,
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
is the one buried in her furtive glance as she swipes three grapes
from the plate being marched to the dinner table
and it is his voice that echoes with each drip of the faucet
into the metal mixing bowl,
plink plink like tinny elevator music, punctuating the conversation with
such measured presence.
Today she finds his smile on fifteen street corners;
because every idle pedestrian knows his name
(and the secret weight of his hand on hers)
and they each wink to her
in silent confidence: yes, yes, yes.
It should be no surprise, then,
when he threads himself through the stubborn
air-conditioning vents of her car
(tickling the secret arcs of her calves)
and into the tangles of her morning-tossed hair, and oh—!
even now, his face appears
impressed into the pattern
of crumbs on her plate after Sunday morning waffles,
bobbing in a slick of syrup.
He waits patiently,
waits to be speared and devoured;
so small and so hungry.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Happy Mom Day Everyone!
Today in church, while Bismark was describing Ghanaian tooth fairy traditions, I started thinking about my mom.
Isn't she a babe?
(Photocredit to my amazing Aunt Jen--check out her amazing blog.)
I could write Tolstoy-sized volumes on my mom without scrabbling for ideas. She is, in a word, stunning.
So, sitting in church, I did what I did best and began to make lists. And, while it is certainly sub-Tolstoy sized, it is still worth sharing because it IS mother's day and she IS an amazing, amazing person. So here goes:
(ahem) The Qualities I Hope to Inherit From My Gorgeous Mother:
- Goal setting: My mom is the world champ, no joke.
- Money matters!
- The quality of never being satisfied, in the best possible way. Mom is always looking for ways to improve, to stretch herself. She is always searching for excellence.
- a knowledge and love of the scriptures
- SO. MUCH. ENERGY.
- In her free time, Mom hangs out with her family! (Good deal for us.)
- ADVENTUROUSNESS! She rock climbs! Tries vegetarian adventures! Bikes! Moves to Boston! Runs a Boy Scout Camp! Sends her kids to far off lands! Wears interesting clothes! Marries an artist! (Is there anything she is afraid of?!?!)
- She NEVER complains. Maybe she "constructs" on occasion, but never complains.
- I have never heard my mom say anything bad about her family or children to anyone else. Ever. (WAA?!?! Isn't that crazy?!?!)
- She doesn't care if flowers are particularly beautiful as long as they smell wonderful...aka she likes things that are useful. She's not a knick-knack person, but a utility/artistry woman. An amazing thing, really.
- she has excellent taste in clothing
- she loves and values education, and never backs down from an intellectual challenge. (Her response to why she studied medicine and chemistry in college: "Because it was the hardest thing I could find. I didn't want a 'just looking for marriage' major.")
- She can raise good men.
- She loves delicious food.
- Wayyy spunky. (In the righteous sense)
- She has a burning testimony of the gospel.
- She loves, values, and defends motherhood.
- She has vision. (A favorite T-shirt of hers: "Dorothy had the shoes, but she didn't have the vision. Take the controls: Women Fly.")
Sunday, April 18, 2010
because as an English major and as a student who commutes at least 4 times a year on airplanes, I've started wayyyyy too many books.
So, here's what I'm reading right now. (Sans pictures, we'll chalk that up to laziness.)
A Good Man is Hard to Find- Flannery O'Connor. Given to me by my Hawaiian creative writing teacher, it's a spectacular collection of short stories.
The Hungry Ocean--Linda Greenlaw. Autobiography of a female swordfishing captain who captained the sister boat of the Andrea Gail, of "Perfect Storm" fame. Super interesting book, with too few technical drawings for those of us who aren't avid swordfishers.
The Count of Monte Cristo--Alexandre Dumas. It's been my airplane book for the past three years, and I think I just need to start over with it. Dang.
Breakfast of Champions--Kurt Vonnegut. As much as I love Vonnegut, I'm taking a moral pause on this one. I need a breather from him sometimes. But his writing is snapping and precise, like Fitzgerald. Mmmm.
To The Lighthouse--Virginia Woolf. Amazing, with more character depth than possibly any other book I've ever read. Also assigned for a British literature class, so I need to have it finished up before that final on Wednesday....
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man--James Joyce...also amazing. Also needs to be done by Wednesday. Dang.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter--Carson McCullers. A personal favorite, it's so tastefully and powerfully written, sortof a mix of Barbara Kingsolver and "Winesburg, Ohio." I'm in the last 20 pages, and just need to finish 'er up, to cross it off the list.
The Book of Mormon--inspired prophets. Oldie but goody, I think. ;)
So. What's on your list?
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I remember chicken marabella and couscous that mom cooked, the way it rolled in it’s own light olive-colored sauce, the tiny bubbles of oil pooling at the bottom of the bowl as I lifted it to the dishwasher.
I remember cherry pie and mango ice cream, him twisting the ice cream maker’s handle with his large hands.
I remember his hands, with black hairy knuckles and broad, flat fingernails; how I used to play with them in church, try to stick my pudgy fingers into his cavernous palm before it closed on me.
I remember sitting in the yoga room (before it was even that, I guess) on the burnt orange couch, sitting there with a sketchbook in the evening, and seeing his sure, easy fingers draw the smoky outline of a face, a woman’s face, beautiful and definite. “You come from a line of beautiful women”, he told me there, while I sat staring in frustration at the page, an unhappy thirteen year old. “Let me tell you about yourself. You’ve got your mothers lips, big and full, and that’s a good thing, although you may not think that now.” and he drew them there, a curving, gentle line with a smoky dark shadow under it. I stared at the page. He smiled as he drew. “You’ve had your mom’s lips since the day you were born, and you’re lucky.” And I thought of a picture of me, maybe three months old, clutching a tiny teddy bear and puffing out my lips, wide eyed and whispy haired. (I feel that way now, sometimes, just sitting and clutching and staring, adjusting in my body, knowing my own skin and eyes, sitting breathless in my own life.) “And,” he said, “you’ve got your grandmother’s hair. My mom.” I winced a little, running a hand over my frizzy splitting ponytail and wishing that I had inherited something a little less unruly. His voice changed for a moment, thinking, not talking to me anymore. “Your grandmother was a beautiful woman.” I thought about her, hunched and a bit paunchy now, generally looking stressed. Carma. I hardly know her, I wonder sadly, Grandma Carma. I thought of her name, Carma Carma Carma. What a beautiful name, I thought. I wish dad had a photograph of her when she was young, like a wedding picture. I imagined Carma with brown, curling hair, still short, but very thin, like all the girls of the 50’s. Maybe she wasn’t like this at all, I didn’t know though, so I let her name and Dad’s thoughtful description whisk me away, while he sketched.
“Carma Carma Carma.” I remember this.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
- because I've heard too many lame jokes about choking on your food and being mistaken for speaking German
- because after three years of Latin in High School, I didn't feel up for another romance language, but wasn't quite ready to commit to hours of meticulous scratching over kanji or Chinese script during my first semester of college
- because Germany and Austria sounded completely bomber places to visit
- because it wasn't Spanish, which somehow seemed so boring (and now, I envy the pure range of communication that any Spanish speaker has, just the functionality of being able to speak with so many people in America...unfortunately, there aren't that many Germans wandering the Utah highways, asking for directions...)
(Mostly) all joking aside, though, what would I do if I ran the Zoo? A few thoughts:
- have more art and music taught in schools
- abolish billboards
- bigger libraries, with higher paid librarians
- more funding for the UN
- tax breaks for people who recycle, and for people who bike to work
- frisbee more popular than football
- start breaking down the military-industrial complex
- more cobblestoned streets
- un-invent drugs. (...unfortunately, this is a very hypothetical world...)
- have mango trees in my backyard
- more bike racks
- lower the prices of: climbing shoes, ice cream, hand lotion, tie-dye kits and laundromats
- more stores closed on Sundays
- no torture, ever.
- give funding for free concerts in the summer
- live in a place where the Wasatch Front meets the North Atlantic Ocean
- more local businesses!
- lose the drug taboo on dreds
- be able to slackline/hang hammocks on BYU campus
- and, as a shout out to the newly Oscar-ed Ms. Bullock: World Peace.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
The gift was two miniature ducks, carved from wood. The couple would place the ducks on a mantle or shelf, and used them as a weathervane for their relationship:
Ducks facing each other: all was well. No misunderstandings, no hurt feelings. He was using enough dishsoap in the washer, she was folding the towels right way, the dog was being fed, things were going smoothly.
However, a Duck facing away: trouble. Someone's hurt, upset, a little confused, feeling uncommunicated with. Maybe her back is sore today, maybe the radio was on too loud last night, maybe there were unkind words said in the car, maybe there was just a little problem with the tax receipts--but now, we're all aware of it, thanks to the unassuming, unbiased ducks, and now, it can be solved.
Strange? Maybe a little. Visual representations of personal conflicts are always a bit uncomfortable. But think of the genius: if I had my feelings hurt, but knew my (theoretical) husband was too busy to talk at the moment, how simple to sneak to the table and do a quick rearrangement of the Duck Creche, knowing that resolution would come quickly, at a better time for both of us. Also, ducks can't gaze in spite: no hurtful words would need to be said to initiate the issue, it could just be a simple conversation. ("Sooo, the ducks are fortelling a little conflict, hmmm?" "You look happy tonight sweetheart, but the ducks tell another story..." Heh.) But seriously, no emotional elephants lurking in the corners of the living room. And maybe, just looking at the two, unassuming animals gazing in opposite directions would be enough to soften my perspective. Interesting, how when I am forced to take physical (and not just verbal) action on my inner feelings, I tend to adjust them. Are the dishes left in the sink really worthy of a duck adjustment? Probably not.
So, I haven't scampered out to buy duck effigies yet, but I'm thinking about it! Until then, I'll just try to keep my duck facing in. :)
Saturday, January 23, 2010
A monk by the sea,
With his ponderous cloak
and back bent like a tree.
He peers through the mist
past the soft-spoken glee
of the wind-ruffled waves,
and he whispers his plea.
oh what does he see
as he stares out to sea?
Perhaps it's a vision of you
and of me.
Monday, January 11, 2010
So. Tonight, as I walked home from Spencer's apartment, (where I brought him a grapefruit and five dollars and returned with an original piece of artwork, a fortuitous exchange!) it was so cold that I wrapped my scarf around my neck three times (until I almost couldn't lower my chin without fear of cutting off my windpipe) and then once more, across my face. And then I sang all the way home, as loud as I wanted, all sneaky-like because the cars dashing by had only a smeared view of my eyes, forehead, and very shiny earrings before I disappeared again. My breath evaporated before me, slipping back into my face as I trotted homewards, back to muffins, a toasty afghan, and a good dose of literary analysis on "The Importance of Being Earnest." What strange breath of fortune tangles my hair on evenings like these.