29 January 2010


Good mornings are not possible when you wake up late and still have three hours of homework undone from the day before.

I know because, well, I had a not so good morning today. I don't know that I would generally classify myself as a "morning person," but overall I usually feel more or less congenial and optimistic as I wake up and drag myself out of bed, though I rarely would rather get out than stay in--am I the only person who truly LOVES sleep? It's so pleasant. I love soft pillows and warm blankets and resting muscles and a peaceful mind and dreams--even scary ones--they're just so interesting. And I love to analyze my dreams and diagnose myself through psychoanalytic speculation. Sleep! My dearest and most illusive friend!

But despite my desire to stay in bed, I regularly get up anyway and feel more than just ok about it. Proof that I am neither depressed nor suffering from mono, if nothing else! On days like today, however, I am forced to pull myself up from bed with a terrible sinking feeling, wondering if perhaps it would not be best to remain beneath the sheets and wait for another 24 hours to eclipse this unwelcome day; hoping with the next breaking of morning all the dreaded details of today will have disappeared with the magical passing of time. And yet, even in my half-awakened state at 7am, which should have been 6am, I know that it doesn't work that way. I know that if I stay in bed and miss today I will just have new reasons not to get up tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. And it occurs to me that it's true what they say: We have to live in today. I'm sorry to break the hearts of "Annie" lovers, but we can't love tomorrow without first living today. It is, in fact, the very reality that I did not live quite properly yesterday that made my awaking today so very unpleasant. Had I prepared more fully and gotten all the things accomplished which I should have, I would have woken up today to the figurative chirping of birds and the sun shining through my window to beckon me softly into the new day--and it is not tomorrow that would call, but today itself. We have no hopeful tomorrows, we only have potential todays and our todays determine our tomorrows, which in turn become todays full of opportunity and choice and it is up to us to live today and thus to prepare for the next and the next after that.

So I ask you now and always, tempt me not with tomorrows! They will do me no good!

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof." 3 Nephi 13:34

27 January 2010

Goggles and a swim cap

There really isn't anything I like better than a good swim, except perhaps the lingering suctioned-circles my goggles leave around my eyes that make me appear like a distant and strange cousin of the raccoon. That is, in fact, my favorite thing of all.

In other news, I love homemade trail mix, I hate homework, I can't remember why I thought majoring in English was a good idea, and I have decided to become a gypsy.

24 January 2010


"What might we be if we rise and evolve, if we come further down from the brooding trees and out onto the smiling plain, if we unclench the fist and drop the dagger, if we emerge blinking from the fort and the stockade and the prison, if we smash away the steel from around our hearts, if we peel the scales from our eyes, if we do what we say we will do, if we act as if our words really matter, if our words become muscled mercy, if we grow a fifth chamber in our hearts and a seventh and a ninth, and become as if new creatures arisen from our shucked skins, the creatures we are so patently and brilliantly and utterly and wholly and holy capable of becoming...

"What then?"

-from How We Wrestle Is Who We Are by Brian Doyle

20 January 2010

In Praise of Winter

The truth is, I hate winter. I hate being cold. I hate walking outside in the mornings and feeling the skin on my face tighten and burn as frigid air penetrates my skin and sinks into my soul, leaving me low and bemoaning my cruel fate. I hate that my feet start to numb beginning with the toes and working up into the soles; and I hate even more that before they lose feeling they pang with bursts of uncomfortable coldness radiating into the rest of my body. I hate that when I walk outside I think I might crystallize into a large human icicle, but when I walk inside on campus, still wrapped in scarves, gloves, wool coat, sweaters, thermals, tights and knee socks (which remain insufficient to fight off the deceptively sunny chill outside), I begin to sweat under the too high temperatures of the buildings I enter, leading to an intensely and annoyingly variable discomfort inside and out. And I hate how there is no reasonable means of keeping my face warm, so that my cheeks and nose turn red and raw and my eyes start to water as much from the harshness of temperature as from the sadness it crystallizes into my heart.

I’m from Arizona, but I’ve lived in Utah for four and a half years now. I knew that frozen, snowy winters would be a shock, but I thought I might start getting used to the cold after awhile. I thought that I would learn the secret to keeping your self warm while walking across snow-packet sidewalks and under trees that douse you in thick white slush if you dare venture beneath their heavy laden boughs. I assumed that I would learn how to keep my balance when skidding across ice infested walkways that have left me badly embarrassed and bruised on more occasions than I am likely to confess. But such has not been the case, and as Winter has begun her reign yet again this year, I found an abnormal sense of pleasure in planning for myself a future free of frozen fingers, feet and face, forevermore! I will be graduating in a few months, and I feel like an elderly person who has recently retired as I picture myself sunny and cheerful in Arizona, California, Texas, Florida. I imagine the beautiful winter days when I can retire the bulky footwear and suffocating coats I’ve tried to come to terms with and replacing them with my ever beloved sandals and tee-shirts worn outdoors on even Christmas day — paradise! I stubbornly and maliciously plotted ways in which I might fix my future so that I would never have to touch another snowflake in my life—it would be essential, I mused, to marry a man as opposed to coldness as myself, of course. And then, if perhaps I was diagnosed with an ailment that provided me with doctor prescribed warmth and sunshine—a vitamin D deficiency lets say—that could never hurt. And I should look into a career path that would necessitate a warm climate—I should start growing citrus! After all, who doesn’t love a good orange?

Then it hit me, mid-fantasy: what if I really never had a winter again? The image of the first frosted morning of the winter season flashed before my eyes like the face of a loved one lost. Gone forever. What if I never saw the way the sunlight glints off the snow into a million dappling lights, casting glitter across the landscape and almost blinding me with brilliance? What if I never saw the lightly falling snow illuminated mysteriously and enchantingly in the moonlight as it softly falls upon my hair and face with a gentleness and delicacy of a first kiss? What if I never heard the crisp chirp of a chilly bird in the early morning hours reverberating through the frozen air, captured in the stillness and reverence of those icy days, as if taking time to bask in the beauty of the resting earth, blanketed and protected by this dense covering of crystals? What if I never felt the tingle of chilliness tickle my nose and cheeks and fingers refreshingly as I step outside from the warmth of a heated house, waiting behind me with promises of warmth and sweet cups of tea and cider and chocolate that so starkly contrasts the outside world that each becomes magically perfected in its variance? I was suddenly stricken with terror. I was horrified at the thought of losing winter, the season I had always considered the worst of enemies; my nemesis; my torturer; the unfeeling, inhospitable juncture of time, cruelly keeping me from flip-flops and tee-shirts, swimming pools and suntans; the absence of comfort, and even of life.

Now, I found my heart heavy and the corners of my eyes brimming with dampness, the ever ready butterflies of fear taking up their place in my stomach—I knew I would miss winter, somehow, impossibly, if I found a way to evade its presence ever more. I was flabbergasted and confused at this strange sorrow and the unsuspected dearness of winter. Everything I knew told me to escape with all possible haste and never turn back. And yet, I knew that my success in such an act would not leave me satisfied. I was in a conundrum.

So now, as I sit in my semi-heated apartment, watching as the first few wispy flakes of snow drift down past my window, despite my initial instinct to cringe and complain, I realize I need to enjoy these moments and hold them dear. I need to remember this beauty and keep it locked inside of me so that I can pull it out someday as I sit warm by the beach in Miami or San Diego, and enjoy the beauty of winter, safely in the heat of the sun.

13 January 2010


I have been extremely lazy lately. I have plenty to do. I just have an aversion to actually doing it. I will associate part of this new trend with the cold outside--the fact that cold weather makes me want to bundle up in blankets with a cup of tea and a book and listen to soothing music, cuddled up against the chill outside, toasty in my little nest; and also the fact that going outside to get to work or the library or the computer lab sends shivers up my spine, literally. So I've taken refuge in my room, where, in reality, I could find a good many things to do. There's homework to be done, papers to read, my desk desperately needs organizing (but having let this particular task go undone for such a long time I now feel utterly overwhelmed even looking at it and find I am much more content if I turn my back and pretend this looming mountain of papers and books and boxes and pens and old bills and bobby pins and notepads and who knows what else simply didn't exist at all).

Of course, I went to school and work today and woke up early to do some reading and came home and cleaned the oven and tidied my room a bit (our apartment is getting checked for cleaning today) and then, while I had planned to go back to work for another couple of hours, I realized that by the time I got there I would hardly have any time before my pilates class and it just wasn't worth it. So that leaves me trying to wile away the next twenty minutes with some sort of task. But I've already checked all my emails, responded to a couple, played the guitar, checked facebook at least twice, tried (unsuccessfully) to get some pictures from Christmas off my camera, thought about doing my homework and found excuses as to why now isn't the time, called my mom, read the back cover of a text book, changed into my work out clothes and tried to think of something interesting to post on my blog--so I guess that wasn't exactly my most successful endeavor either.

Now I'm going to go to pilates early so I can make use of my time there to print some homework, ensuring that I will be able to avoid taking extra trips to campus tomorrow (again, the cold and I don't quite get along, so I just try to avoid it as much as possible. You might say I'm non-confrontational.).


12 January 2010

Blueberry Pancakes

This morning my roommate Trisha came into my room with a plate of delicious pancakes and a bottle of syrup and made me the happiest girl in the world! I am so grateful for her and for all of my wonderful roommates--they make me happy every day; and for good friends; and family; and so many blessings I couldn't count them even if I tried as hard as I probably should. I do not deserve all the goodness I have been given.

When I thanked my roommate she chimed back to me a quote I love: "Never suppress a generous thought" (Sister Parkin in a devotional at BYU a few years ago). How great is that? I've always been amazed at the simple truth of those few words. We can do so much good to those around us if we just do what we naturally want to do. If we feel inclined to make a phone call or bring someone brownies or do someone's dishes or give a friend a ride or write a little note or just spend time listening to what another person has to say, why not just do it? That is something I really want to work on in my life and I am so grateful to have such incredible examples around me! Thanks Trisha! And thank you to everyone who serves me and brings me joy and makes me laugh and listens to my stories and tolerates my craziness! I love you--you are my light in every dark day.

09 January 2010


Yeah. I have that.

08 January 2010

It's a Record!

I have successfully completed the most pathetic first week of school EVER! I made it to the first three days... then I skipped the next two.

Blame it on the virus. Or maybe thank it.


Yesterday my body decided to play a nasty trick on me. I woke up feeling sick-ish. But I've been worse and I figured I'd go ahead and go to work. Well, about 10 minutes of that sent me straight back home and into bed feeling nauseated, head and throat-achy and a bit feverish. Then I started feeling dizzy and strange and I thought I might get sick, so I got out of bed and then it started. All of the sudden my hands and feet and face started feeling tingly and strange and the muscles started contracting uncontrollably. It's happened to me before, especially when I get migraines on occasion. But this time it was out of control. I lay on my bed and started to sob with panic as my body became increasingly paralyzed and contorted. By the time one of my roommates heard me, I was quite a mess. I was bawling, my entire body was in pain, I couldn't move the majority of my limbs and I was FREAKING OUT! Luckily, my roommate Holly is a pro and she knew just what to do. She got me breathing normally, got some Tylenol and fluids into me (which I pathetically had to drink through a straw while she held the bottle up to my face since I couldn't MOVE), and then started stretching and messaging all of my limbs. Before long I was practically back to normal. And except for some very sore muscles and a bit of residual flu-ishness, I'm doing much better now!

Thank heavens for good roommates...and drugs!

06 January 2010

Brain Freeze

I'm at work. I'm sitting in the Sociology lab trying so hard to write a draft of the challenges we have identified for evaluations of small NGOs (non-governmental organizations). But every time I start to look at the page my brain suddenly diverts to some other topic. To someone I want to talk to or something I need to do or to worries about how I'm going to survive what promises to be a quite busy semester or random questions about random things or I'll realize that I've just been staring into space for the past ten minutes without thinking anything at all that I can recall. And the paper I'm writing isn't even particularly difficult or boring.

I think I'm lazy. Actually, I'm fairly sure of it. I could sit around for hours and do nothing. Or perhaps not literally nothing, but things that are unrelated to work and school and other productive endeavors. As Robert Louis Stevenson reminds us,

“Idleness so called, which does not consist in doing nothing, but in doing a great deal not recognised in the dogmatic formularities of the ruling class, has as good a right to state its position as industry itself”

I could spend all day listening to podcasts on iTunes and playing around on the guitar (I can't really call what I do real playing) or painting my nails or reading books that aren't for school or checking my emails and facebook and the weather and my blog and my class schedule and anything else I can think of about fifty times an hour, even when nothing new has happened. And I can walk down to the kitchen and up to my room back and forth trying to decide if I'm really hungry. And I can try six different things with my hair (and still hate how it looks). And I can take naps and read and re-read my class syllabi and call my mom on the phone and make lists about all the productive things I could and should be doing.

Maybe that is even my favorite waste of time. I think, actually, that is why I own a planner. Don't get me wrong, I am certainly forgetful and it would be very helpful to have things orderly and written our for me to remember, but I don't usually do that. And when I do I forget to look in my planner and forget anyway. But that's another story. What I like to do is write out schedules for my time...

Today, January 6, 2010:
7am wake up
8am eat breakfast
9am class

of course, I inevitably wake up at 7:45, skip breakfast, have to do some last minute homework and run to campus to get the computer lab and end up being late for class with half our assignment done. And then there are other lists. Like lists for the grocery store, which never work and I either forget them at home or somehow manage to forget at least one item I wrote down and purchase several that I wasn't planning on. Or lists of things to accomplish during the day: 2 hours of work, reading for English, reading for EDLF, paper for Capstone course. And I love to cross them out, but usually I end up crossing them off half way through the day when I realize that I'm only going to get to one of the ten planned activities and even then I will probably not get all the way done. And sometimes I start to wonder where all this time is going to. If I'm not working or doing homework or socializing or eating or sleeping, what do I do?

And my friends, it remains a mystery. It's as if there are little parasites sucking my time, like so many mosquitoes, thirsting for minutes and hours rather than blood. Sometimes I look at the clock one minute and the next an entire hour has just slipped away. And the older I get the more quickly all this time seems to just disappear out from under me. One year, two, nearly five since I started college. And sometimes I find myself stunned with this realization, half feeling like the same girl who spent hours of her days creating different lists intended to make the selection of a university simpler, wondering how I managed to get into a new decade and a new apartment and a new state, somehow. Sometimes I can't believe that I've lived for over two decades. It feels like I'm being shoved into some sort of time warp and as hard as I try I can't seem to keep time still for even just one moment so I can at least make sense of what is going on around me. Instead life flashes before me in great gobs--semesters and summers and trips and holidays and they slip past and become part of the every growing blur I'm leaving behind. I have horrible visions of myself waking up one morning age 52 and wondering where the past 30 years went. Where have I been? What have I done? How have I changed? And why is time playing these awful tricks on me? Why won't it just leave me be and allow me to enjoy my youth?

And now another twenty minutes have passed, or some such thing, and I have accomplished nothing really. I still haven't written a word of my paper or figured out what happens in the great lapses of missing time in my life. But I have grown a bit closer to age 52 and to 62 and 82 and eventually the end of this life. And I can't deny that it will be gone in a flash and I will be left baffled and confused, just as I am now. What a fickle friend this time!

04 January 2010

The Wheels on the Bus

Back to school. Back to work. Back to, well, life I guess. It's a strange thing to go home to the house where I grew up, where my parents live still, and to see my family, my sister, my friends and to realize that as much as I love them all and as amazing it is that we are still in contact and can still fall into our old relationships as though no time has passed (after five years of separation), I don't really have a life there. It is more like an escape into the past; a world where I can postpone my responsibilities and the decisions that haunt me at every turn; a place where I can sleep in until noon if I want and where I can sit around and put together puzzles or laugh with my mom and my sister at stupid things and play with our pets or go shopping in the middle of the week with my friends and all the time without feeling the constant pull at the back of my mind reminding me that there are things to be done and appointments to get to and people to please. It's a magical thing. And a strange one too. It leaves me unsettled and confused. If I don't belong at home, where do I belong?

While I was in Tucson for two weeks for Christmas and New Years I kept having this strange feeling like I needed to go back to Utah. Like that was my home now. But the truth is, it isn't my home either. At least not in any lasting, comforting way. It's a temporary life I lead here. A transitory existence, shifting between different apartments, storing my things in stranger's sheds while I travel for months at a time, and living with new people every few months. And ever in the back of my mind is the truth that this was never meant to be forever. But I don't know what is. There is no such thing as going home anymore, and in less than a year when I receive a diploma and an invitation to enter the working world and real "adult life" I feel like I will suddenly be homeless in a very real way. Not only will my contract expire, but I will no longer have a reason to live in Provo. I will no longer fit in at my parents home. I will be, I feel, that ever so cliché leaf tossed with the wind, and who knows where I'll land.

It certainly isn't something particular to me, and I realize that, of course. Yet, it feels so solitary. There's a song I like by Taylor Swift in which she sings, "I don't know what I want, so don't ask me, cuz I'm still trying to figure it out . . . I'm alone, on my own, and that's all I know." Me too, sista! Me too. It's a strange feeling. It's as though I'm walking along this path of my life and all the way it's painted out so clearly, the light shining through beautiful trees lining the road, even the bumps and hills I've traveled are there, solid and real, but then suddenly everything becomes blackness. I see my graduation and then...nothing. A blank. An absence. And I'm headed straight for it full speed and without any breaks. It's terrifying really. And yet, I'm kind of excited. I'm just hoping that hidden behind that curtain of uncertainty is a beautiful landscape awaiting exploration. And it may not be what I expect or what I know, but there's got to be something there. My life hasn't ended yet (though that is a scary thought!). And, you know, sometimes we need a little mystery. At least that's what I'm telling myself these days. So please, if you know differently, just don't burst my bubble!

01 January 2010

The Newness

I have made a decision: 2010 is my year!

It sounds like a good year doesn't it? This year I will graduate from college (finally) and after that I guess the whole world opens up and I can do whatever I want...or maybe whatever I can get a job doing. For a while I was worried that when the walls that contained me suddenly fell away (metaphorically speaking of course... and perhaps optimistically speaking as well) I would be swallowed up by so much possibility; so much uncertainty; so much of the great unknown world out there, beckoning to me and terrifying me all at once. But right now I feel pretty good. I've decided that I don't have to jump out and consume the world in one great gulp. I can just take a nibble, small bite at a time. I can step out into that vastness before me and see where the road leads without trying to run it all at once. Sure, I'm scared. But I'm excited too. So far I haven't gone too far astray. And if I do, well, maybe that could be interesting too!

Here I come World... you'd better get ready!