Friday, December 26, 2008

Imposed Ambition

In the process of setting some sort of course for the next several years, this was unexpectedly comforting. (Writing anything scholarly, particularly something so patently bullshit-laced as a statement of intent, always precipitates a wide-lens reevaluation of life plans. Plus free time plus the new year's approach, you get the picture.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

(I keep playing with the formatting in the next post and it just keeps getting worse. Sorry in advance.)

St. Julia

So I've dedicated December to the patron saint of the kitchen, Ms. Julia Child. As such, I've learned:

a) how to whip up a creme patissiere without a recipe

b) how to best and most efficiently separate eggs (by hand of course, who was I kidding with the shell-to-shell deal?

c) all that hype about Kitchenaids? Totally justified. I hearby commit to only eat meringue-based foods every day for the rest of my life. The eggs just come out so beautifully.

d) more than I thought possible about eggs in general?


Tartes aux fruits. I (with a lot of very good help) make like 100 of these for a friend's wedding. Beautiful, delicious, big pain. (We made a larger one for Christmas eve dinner and it was also great. Creme patissierre without a recipe I tell you.)

French onion soup. Yes it took 2.5 hours of carmelizing onions. Yes it was worth every minute. Even more delicious than the first time I tried. (These, of course, are just remnants. There was much of rushing boiling soup covered in drippy cheese to the table for the first 5 minutes of dinner. No time for pictures.)

Chocolate souffle. The joy of cooking indeed. This time I planned for the photo and was even wearing my new cardigan (so flashy). The verdict: chocolate souffle is a genius. And would've been prettier if we were more of a sit-down formal dessert eating bunch. As it was the 2 minutes I had before everything started falling to pieces wasn't quite enough. (Fallen souffle is still delicious.)

Anyway. I felt a little like my nieces and nephew who had come prepared with a musical program. Niece #2 danced, I made delicious and high-maintenance French cuisine. But isn't that what Christmas with family is all about? Anywho. Joyeaux Noel to the lot of you. :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'd just like to point out

the secret message hidden in my archive.

Why I love my job: I lied because you would worry pea hen.


Also, movies viewed so far this break:

Nick and Norah's Endless Playlist: Meh.
High Noon: Yes (Gary Cooper? Grace Kelly? Could one go wrong?)
Maltese Falcon: Yes (how is Bogart so charming and condescending simultaneously? Hm.)
12 Angry Men: Yes (like unexpectedly and entirely riveting)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: too long, but otherwise Yes. Also, Clooney and Pitt = Newman and Redford? Anyone?

AND days are getting longer. Bonus.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Break (TMI)

Kick off:

The entirety of Breakfast at Tiffany's
Bubble bath
Box of chocolates



Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why I love my job:

Sometimes the class is working feverishly at the not-easy portion of my final and there's that frantic scratching buzz in the air that means hard working and hand cramps and it's snowing outside and I'm correcting vocabulary:

7. What would be the most efficient/quickest way to starta a fracas right now?
by telling Strom he's a liar, Logan he's ugly, and Grace a preppy know it all.

Maybe you had to be there.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I lied.

So. I feel like I need to publish. My words make delicious pie? I'm eating it with ice cream right now.

The biggest issue is that I need to grow up and learn how to take care of myself. I know how, of course, but often make decisions that get in the way of the taking care of me. One Thursday morning when I was in the MTC I saw a very tiny looking elder eating a donut and rootbeer for breakfast and I laughed at him. How obviously just out of his parents house! Bahaha. (I was enjoying toast, cottage cheese, and mandarin oranges. As responsible as you can get on Sisco.) Moral of the story: Winterberry dear, you need to sleep.

BUT I have this theory and I think it's a breakthrough: what if there were such thing as a sleeping disorder? Not like sleep apnea or the crazy dancing legs one, (restless leg? something?), but in the same sense as eating disorders: denying oneself sleep in order to impose external order on internal turmoil? And I wouldn't be so hasty to jump to conclusions but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who does it. In fact, I know a handful of you who are reading this post right now who know more about it than I do.
What do you think?

Anyway. Me hopped up on adrenaline, caffiene, and the Christmas treats that parents keep bringing, signing out. :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Because You Would Worry

Upon noticing that I've spread myself too thin yet again, I've decided to give up Winterberry till life slows down a touch. Say mid-January. Hope to see you all then! ke

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pea Hen

I decided that since I don't have a door on my closet I should color-code my clothes, you know, make that side of the room that much more pleasant to look at? A design decision rather than construction oversight? What my closet looks like is this:

1.5 feet of neutrals (white-off white-brown-grey)
1 foot of color
2 feet of black

I shouldn't have been surprised. (I did choose grey as my dream color. I spent last summer convinced that I could live jeans and a black t-shirt only.) Tonight, though, I went to see a friend play at Velour. I'd just come back from the gym and slipped on some jeans and a cardigan. And I felt very underdressed.

The thing is, a couple of years ago, it wouldn't have given anyone pause, my jeans and beige cardigan. Remember when the Gap was in ascendancy and khakis were today's leggings? I was the hottest girl you knew.

Trend is not the issue even, though. I'm also at that weird straddling period that I love to talk so much about. I dress adorably for a teacher, just the right balance of professionalism and style, but my non-professional garb is pretty milk toast.

So I've brainstormed. Here are options.

a) Get an edgier hair style. (Yes I was considering buzzing my hair. No I will not. Probably. Not if I get to sleep here in the next little while at least.)

b) Buy some make up. Right now I own black eyeliner and red lipstick. Very dramatic, but I can only pull it off so often. (It still gives me pause, the make-up thing. Who are you fooling?)

c) Learn how to accessorize.

d) Buy that sweater in yellow. (Speaking of which, if anyone comes across a lemon yellow cardigan/sweater, will you let me know?)

e) Admit my pea hen status and marry this guy:

(Do you think Amy would mind?)

Christmas Help

So I've kind of fallen in love with "In the Bleak Midwinter." One of our choir classes is singing it and it's very lovely, right? The problem: I can only find terrible schmaltzy recordings of it (Sarah Brightman and Frida from Abba and awful soft-focused choir boys.) Does anyone know of anything better? Sufjan hasn't tried it has he? :) The opposite of schmaltz.


I just gave my car keys to a man named Fabian.

What I think happens now is that he loads Mandy on a truck and takes her to Sandy to get the damage gauged. And hopefully fixed.

Because Monday I was on my way to Walmart to pick up a coke and hit a very cute Civic with a very friendly woman inside and I broke Mandy's face. Half the bumper is gone (I kept this piece mostly because the curled and torn license plate seems to be a dramatic reminder), the passenger side front panel is curled, the passenger door won't open, the hood is bent off its hinges (just a little), the headlight was hanging out by its nerves and the washer fluid resevoir was showing. Pitiful.

It could've been much worse. Ashley and her husband (who came down as soon as it happened) were super friendly, no one was hurt, I have insurance and some savings. Yeah I could use the money and yeah I wish the road wasn't suddenly so treacherous, but it was an accident. I sat in the car waiting (2 hours) for the policeman to show up replaying the situation. I was dumb. It was an accident.

Anyway. Chalk it up to experience I guess. It kind of seems like one of those things on the checklist of adulthood, right? Along with finding your own dentist (check) and buying a house. :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Happy Monday!

My new favorite villanelle.

The Grammar Lesson
Steve Kowit

A noun's a thing. A verb's the thing it does.
An adjective is what describes the noun.
In "The can of beets is filled with purple fuzz"

of and with are prepositions. The's
an article, a can's a noun, a noun's a thing.
A verb's the thing it does.

A can can roll - or not. What isn't was
or might be, might meaning not yet known.
"Our can of beets is filled with purple fuzz"

is present tense. While words like our and us
are pronouns - i.e. it is moldy, they are icky brown.
A noun's a thing; a verb's the thing it does.

Is is a helping verb. It helps because
filled isn't a full verb. Can's what our owns
in "Our can of beets is filled with purple fuzz."

See? There's almost nothing to it. Just
memorize these rules...or write them down!
A noun's a thing, a verb's the thing it does.
The can of beets is filled with purple fuzz.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What I Read This Morning:

"Mormonism is truth; and every man who embraces it feels himself at liberty to embrace every truth: consequently the shackles so superstition, bigotry, ignorance, and priestcraft, fall at once from his neck; and his eyes are opened to see the truth, and truth greatly prevails over priestcraft...
"Mormonism is truth, in other words, the doctrine of the Latter-day Saints, is truth...The first and fundamental priciple of our holy religion is that we believe that we have a right to embrace all and every item of truth without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men, or by the dominations of one another, when that truth is clearly demonstrated to our minds..."

I read this from the Joseph Smith manual (I missed the Relief Society lesson) and I was struck by a couple of things:

a) I used to know this. Like know know. I remember teaching in Armenia and being able to see the shakles that people were laboring under and I understood that a knowledge of the gospel would break them free. Would help them find purpose in their lives and structure in their families. This was a huge testimony builder for me.

b) I've been trying to teach my kids a love of learning. I hope they get it by example, but I want them to really get it. The more I learn the more I realize that everything connects eventually and that no knowledge is useless. The more you understand the world, the more you can find patterns and connections and meaning. I love the doctrine of the church emphasizes so much on learning and its role in salvation and exaltation. ("It will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave" idea. Learning to weild to power-knowledge of Godhood? Chills. Love it. Sign me up.)

c) I wonder why this seems not to happen in practice. I had an oddly atheism-themed weekend over Thanksgiving (I blew through His Dark Materials in 36 hours [not necessarily atheistic, but I was reading it through the spin of course--have you read this? You must] then caught an article on NPR on atheism [they talked about how the saying "there are no atheist in foxholes" is really offensive to atheists"] the next day. Interesting) and one of the things that I was thinking about is how certain it is. When I start talking about religion to people who believe differently than I do, I get really insecure. There are so many things that I believe without being able to explain, and things that make sense to me but only because they're the context of a lifetime of learning/understanding. I get all defensive, and it keeps me from being able to share the really fantastic truths that I know.
And on reflection, the things I'm claiming to know seem kind of ridiculous--an all-powerful being, both loving and vengeful, who insists on exacting justice, but is willing to take his/his son's death in exchange for our sins? What? If I didn't have innumerable experiences that have convinced and reconvinced me that there's something else out there, if I didn't have a framework through which to make sense of these experiences, if I didn't just happen to flip to this lesson even though I slept through Relief Society and it was just precisely what I needed to read, how could I believe something like this?
The point being that there have been many times when my beliefs haven't been liberating, but have felt confining. They've felt like superstitions.
And it seems like culturally we're (members of the church) kind of closed-minded and bigoted at times. That is, many of the people I know don't seem like great acceptors of truth-in-every-form. Myself included of course.
So what happened? (Visions of Brigham are dancing in my head, though that's probably not fair.)

d) I've troubled some over the dearth of great LDS thinkers/writers. We have some of course, but...(maybe I'm judging unfairly) the dearth of LDS theology? But I think the reason why is because the tenets of the church/gospel/whatever are a jumping off point. Our job is to take what's taught us and run with it, find the paths of truth that it leads us down, and build up our salvation with God. That is collect the knowledge that will ensure our salvation through prayer and personal study...on our own. And as we learn this stuff we, individually, grow closer to God.

Anyway. Made my day. ke

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stuff I Like

I am considering spending my Christmas budget on these.


(I saw the film Helvetica last night. A main argument was between the simplicity/boredom of Modernism and the schizophrenia/freedom of Postmodernism. I was not surprised to find that I fall pretty surely in the Modernism camp, Gill Sans girl that I am. Anyway. You should see it. A favorite quote:

“The life of a designer is a life of fight. Fight against the ugliness. Just like a doctor fights against disease. For us, the visual disease is what we have around, and what we try to do is cure it somehow with design” - Massimo Vignelli

...which has a lot to do with the ideas of entropy that I've been kicking around, actually. Entropy and control freakiness/attention to detail.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

So much past

Living in Provo with the brain I have is kind of like living in a house made entirely of television sets. And all of the TVs are on different stations and all of the stations are showing reruns of my life. Driving up University Avenue feels a little something like this:

I see me running across the street on my way to Smith's and finding the couch of destiny (which got Amanda and John engaged, which I moved from an old apartment of theirs with Trevor who I didn't date during my dating break the fall after Nick, and I stole the couch from that house with Lina at midnight and couldn't kiss Tim #2 on it because it was so busted up and I had to cajole some friendly ward members to finish moving it to my school where, after it turns out stuffed furniture is banned, it disappeared forever), or eating with Margaret Robertson at Bombay house when she was on a break from law school. She taught Sunday school when I was 15 and sent me a very considerate letter which kind of changed my life. She kind of changed my life. Or driving by Lina's place and the Burrow where so much of my life happened last year, or by Provo High, or by Hogi Yogi where I used to stop after bikerides last summer for a Yoasis with mango, and don't even get me started on passing by the Glenwood and Alta...

So heavy. I read The Shipping News a couple of summers ago and was struck by the idea of roots. What are the pros/cons of living in a place where people know you, where, when you say this or do that, they think it's just like your grandfather or uncle? Where you don't have to explain personality quirks or wonder about them because everyone already knows that your dad was a bastard and your mom drinks too much and flirts with the mailman.

On the one hand, there's something so stabilizing about that. Safe-feeling. On the other, though, when and how do you decide who you are and what choice is there but to act out? It would be exhausting.

For some reason I'm preoccupied with remembering. And not everything: I'm a terribly inconsiderate friend. I forget birthdays and parents' names and allergies to chocolate. But everytime I step into the JFSB I'm flooded with memories about this corridor or that doorway or this computer lab. Memories like guard dogs and suddenly I'm intruding on someone else's territory. The whole of east Salt Lake, from I-215 to Cottonwood Heights belongs to an ex-boyfriend and I feel like I'm intruding everytime I drive through.

I'm trying to leave, but suspect that that's not the answer. So.


I bought a steel gray shirt at Target a couple of years ago, and when I was celebrating (it's my favorite color of gray!) Lina shot me down: how can you have a favorite color of gray? I guess technically gray isn't a color at all, but I loooove it.

My room. It's beautiful. I can't get over it.

My cheapety cheap Gap loafers that are falling apart but were worth every penny because they're gunmetal and perfect.

Cardigan (also from target).

Bella the kitten. Her name was Sprout before her owner (a friend of my roommate, thus the reason she's been living in my bathroom [Kjersten (sic): There's a kitten in the bathroom! Don't let her out!]) saw Twilight. She's also been litter training in my bathroom. But she's very very sweet and has this tiny scratchy meow that is terribly endearing.

The sky this morning. I wrote about how impoverished and light-starved November always feels, but this morning the overcast sky was the warmest, richest tone of gray I've ever seen. I wanted to weave it into a sweater and wear it. Or spread it on toast or something. I keep trying to write a poem about it, but I started with the title "Shades of Gray" which is cramping the vibe something awful...I'll look into that.

From "My Many-Colored Days," a lesser-known Dr. Suess:
"It's gray day, everything is gray. I watch, but nothing moves today."

Any insights on the gray/grey deal? It depends, always on my mood.

PS: what is it with poets and plovers? Admittedly, it's a lovely word to say, but I think some MFA program bet all the others to see how often they could fit plover into poems. A drinking game of some kind? Plover plover plover.

Friday, November 28, 2008


I tried to pretend that Tuesday was fine. But after a conversation with Justin the headmaster (Headmaster Kennington. Get your giggles as you'd like) in the which he said I was looking kind of off and warned me against burning out and said that they'd love to have me next year please (could he tell I was staying up late exploring graduate programs?) and asked how he could help, I felt both weighed down with grief and weariness and restless, bothered.
I'm a runner. Yeah, in that sense, but also that I often feel cornered and need to leave. I decided to take a trip to Southern Utah. Parowan: the town where my grandfather was born and my dad grew up. I changed in the car, stopped by my house to pick up my camera, and set off.

I love travelling. Just going. One of the most peaceful and contemplative times I remember was on a train to and from Lake Como. Not having to worry about where or why, just moving, thinking, writing. After 4 months serving in the Yerevan, a 20 minute marshrutni ride from the mission office, I found myself entirely claustrophobic. I wanted to move without thinking, to be in the open.

This was a great trip. I decided about halfway down that I'd need to spend the night (it would be 5 by the time I got there, and not light enough to take pictures), and drove past the Days Inn to The Victorian Rose, a restored little inn on Center and Main. Gail, the proprietor knew my grandfather by name. I bought a lily from Bev's Gift and Floral (I'm as sentimental as I pretend to be cynical) and walked to the hills at the edge of town and let myself be sad for a minute. I stopped for a toothbrush at the Foodway, ate dinner at the Pizza Barn, bought a couple of 25 cent books at the library, stayed up late reading (The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay which was incredible and made me absolutely weep).

In the morning I wrote a little and showered and ate at the Parowan cafe and stumbled upon the cemetary where I found some cousins and some lovely graveyard kitsch. (Irreverent? Maybe. Kitschy? Absolutely.) And came home in time to walk the dogs I'm housesitting for.

Moral of the story: a) I love wandering, and if I'm going to stay in Utah, I've got to honor that. I think I'll have to make something work this summer so I don't get so tense. Travelling helps me put things in perspective--the world is wide and I am a very minor player in all of this.
b) My grandpa loved Parowan. I love him for that. He left for his family I think, and I can't imagine my dad there, even as a kid, (when I told him I'd gone he asked why, disgusted, which didn't surprise me a bit), but I know it was a sacrifice. A very sweet little town. c) Fun fact--PHS is across the street from the mortuary. I'm not sure why that delighted me so entirely, but it certainly did.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


What is better about this morning:

  • A surprisingly delicious breakfast. (Sometimes oatmeal in a cup hits the spot precisely.)
  • Listening to a mix full blast, and I'm not sure how to turn my base down.
  • I am a lucky kid.

Friday, November 21, 2008

In Memorium

I have a theory about landscape. My mom and dad are both wanderers, water people. At parties they're the ones moving between groups, introducing people, pouring drinks. Like interstitial fluid they keep things moving, fed, interesting. Connie was raised off Puget Sound, in a landscape so green that when we first visited I thought it was fake. I wondered at the trees and grumbled at a shirt hung up to dry in them, still wet the morning after. Dennis left Utah as soon as he could. Transitioning from desert to ocean in Finland's frozen wetlands, he never went back really. Jetting from Oslo to Stockholm to Miami, he followed currents: the deft flow of money first, then international cruiselines. Even back in Utah he builds fountains and waters his gardens into tropical lushness.

I've never been a camper, but the prospect of a long weekend exploring the badlands of Utah with Amanda seemed too fabulous to pass up. We spent Friday afternoon salivating over the over-sized pictorals in the Utah section, basing our itinerary on beauty as much as anything else. We drove threw half the state that weekend: Goblin Valley, Capitol Reef, the San Rafael Swell. We took state highways and cattle graded county roads. We debated taking a right at Green River and spending a night at Lake Powell. We approached a park ranger, "Where's the nearest water?" He laughed and sent us to a trickle of a creek 2 hours away.
I sat in the passenger seat on Route 24, past Hanksville and Cainesville, watching the desert bloom into green as we approached town, then fade back into reds and greys. I wondered about some of the first Easterners to see this waste: Mormon pioneers fresh from New and old England. Where was their garden-dwelling god now? This was no place for the white-washed pillars and flowing robes; the god of this land was lean and encrusted in red dust, leering at the new comers.

It started even with his office: industrial, high-ceilinged, with polished concrete floors and the omnipresent thump and rumble of machines--a little too loud for comfortable conversation. I remember the uncomfortably sweet smell of the place: raw meat and cardboard. And Grandpa, seated enormous behind his desk. His smile cut the tension a touch, as did the powdered donuts he offered from his vending crates. He had us giggling in a matter of minutes and I remember my mom's eyes so bright she didn't need the buzzing flourescent lights.

Thanksgiving at my grandparent's house: Grandma's rolls and pies, raspberry jam from the garden. Grandma dashing to and fro, feeding, cooking, chatting. The kitchen is buzzing. At some point I ignore my dad's "go see if your grandmother needs help" and slip in quietly beside him. The talk here is doubtless of football. Probably how BYU is doing. It's kept at a constant rumble, uncles and boy cousins contributing with stats or analysis. My Grandfather sits in his chair in the corner, laughing quietly, but mostly watching. Occasionally, though, his voice booms, some joke about family or Grandma or someone he works for. The crowd explodes into laughter and mock outrage from the women passing through. In a few minutes the conversation resumes along its merry way and so it goes till Grandpa pulls out another zinger.

And this is where the essay always ends, shortshortshort of where it ought to.

My grandfather was the rock of our family.

Earlier this morning his giant heart gave out.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Right Side at Least

So my new house is old. And by the railroad tracks. I was walking out to our basement laundry room the other night (trains rumbling) and wondering if back when riding the rails was a more common occurrence, if the lady of my house was a feeder of hobos. She probably got them all the time.
I've also been thinking lately about transience. I finished Housekeeping recently and haven't thought all the way through it. The book tells the story of a couple of generations of women in a family. It tells of the desire to wander. The narrator of the book describes it as a method to disappear...I haven't thought through it...and East of Eden also plays with wandering. Just wanting to go, coming back a little more quiet and a little more distant. I don't know how much I can empathize with these wanderers--I'm too big a fan of showering and feeling safe. (Though the world is calling my name.)
On the other hand, I've been trying to balance two urges in me: the urge to sell all my stuff and move to Latin America, and the urge to scratch together a down payment and buy and rescue an old house (it takes me twice as long to meander my way home because I'm using half my brain to check out real estate) and plant a garden. I've posted about this.

K, into this hardly formed fog of thought enter James. I'd heard tell of him--a friend of my landlord, took care of most of our remodel and currently taking care of our plumbing. We were chatting over a couple of leaking pipes, and it came out that he was a wanderer of sorts. ("Where are you from?" "I'm not..." etc.) I decided to check some of my theories of wandering against him, see where he stood and it turns out not only does he ride freight trains, not only is he trying to sell his house and find somewhere more mobile to set his stuff, he studied hobos in college. He was an anthro major whose emphasis was wandering. What!?! I love my life.

A couple of nuggets of wisdom: first, this area of the world was known as the "milk and honey belt" to hobos in the 20s and 30s (and beyond probably). Utah valley was famous for its generosity in feeding and employing wanderers.
Second, James argued that the wandering/settling impulses aren't mutually exclusive, but actually stem from the same urge: to be able to control one's environment. They're just different ways of going about it. (This makes sense, btw, in my situation. And makes sense of the fact that when I feel most out of control is when I want to leave or find a place to stay.)
He also had some interesting things to say about the male/female impulses to wander (that women--and this is general but also researched--stop wandering as soon as they have kids. Not that it's impossible, but that some switch seems to get thrown) and about people's reactions to his riding trains. Men's eyes get all faraway looking. Women are generally appalled. Also, that hobo cultural forms resemble almost exactly earlier tribal cultures...and he talked about how men always seem to want to wander, and it's only a big problem when, as in American society, they're not allowed to come back. I want to keep chewing on this assertion.

Sometime I want to talk about women (not) in road novels and the implications of this. James didn't agree, but I think I didn't establish the levels of the metaphors I was playing with clearly enough.

A couple of personal things I realized: my dad is a hobo at heart. The wandering, the very low-maintenance survival habits, etc. I'd like to discuss this with you (=mostly family, but also interested parties) sometime.
I've dated a lot of hobos. In fact, that might be the only thing that most of my exes have in common, in one way or another.
If you're a boy, are you a hobo? Is that the issue here? Or am I just good at spotting them?


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Guess Who Got a New Camera...

Keep posted for pictures of my life. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008


This may take a couple of days...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


So, I keep getting blasted by these rays of inexplicable joy. I love it of course but it's so weird (I have bullets!):

  • This morning, trying to convince my conscious mind to get out of bed. I know all I should want to do is curl up in my flannel sheets, but I'm so excited to jump into my chilly drafty bathroom and get to work. (This may have had something to do with my new Danskos. :) )
  • Driving to work this morning: it's still dark, it's pretty chilly and I have I-15 to deal with, but I was eating my yogurt (aaaah, 10 grams of fat is why it's so amazingly delicious) and listening to NPR and was sooo happy.
  • A couple of nights ago. Sitting on my bed (right after spilling Diet Coke all over my new duvet cover). I love my room. I love staying up all night.
  • All weekend long. Grey paint! Dai! Bookshelves! My mom and Dave! Penny and June!
  • A crazy 5-6th period. These are my rowdies. I was in such a good mood, though, despite no lesson plan and sleeping in. There was bantering and laughing and they are adorable.

To be honest it kind of freaks me out, and I'm not planning on it lasting forever (I love the maudlin so well. And it's only going to get more cold and dark) but I like it. Thanks body or divinity or both! :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Suggestion Box

Has anyone found a better way to kick back after work and assert one's selfhood than staying up all night blogstalking?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Grey Day

Just to be clear: I'm in a great place right now. I feel good about where I'm living and where I'm working. Next door the choir is practicing Christmas music. I love the fall. I love the rain in the fall. I love my flannel sheets. I like that I'm going to talk to my new bishop tomorrow about working in the temple. I had left-over curry for lunch, left-over from the end of a really pleasant day. I have plans. I want to be successful in what I'm doing. I have a stack of oxfords still swathed in plastic from the cleaners.

The inevitable but?

I'm sitting in our windowless workroom basking in rainy autumn listening to impossibly melancholy songs absolutely basking in the loneliness of Autumn.
Maybe it's because it's Monday and that I slept in (atrociously. eeek.) and just pulled off an unplanned day and have a lot to do today. I'm sleepy and sad and lonesome and I love it. I'm feeling entirely at home. How is it that I feel most at ease when I'm on the verge of tears?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Deconstruct Me

In class a couple of months ago we took a look at this sculpture. We talked about how the lines draw your attention to Naram-sin who, yes, is smashing one of his enemies beneath his feet, and how that was evidence of the Akkadian's artistic sophistication.

Which is why, when I saw this this picture, I was bothered. Not surprised, of course, but I'm just getting out of an extended Gilmore Girls stint and am bummed that we have to resort to such lame advertising tactics.

10 points if you can tell me what we're trying to sell. 20 point if you can tell me 3 reasons why it's extra disappointing in this context. (And the fact that whoever that kid is--I only watched to mid-season 3--he isn't Jess, doesn't count.)

(The feministy themes of this week are coincidental, I think.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kind of a girl thing.

So I'm pretty strict about letting my students leave class. Mostly it's to cut down on the chaos: I teach ninth grade and once one kid has left class there's a dozen kids in line waiting to go, suddenly no one's keeping quiet or paying attention, and every time someone comes back in there's a giant ordeal. When kids ask I try to gauge the urgency: urgency of tone, wiggliness, I usually ask some very invasive question like "do you have to?" or "are you going to die?" The kind of thing that I would slap someone for asking me.

Every once in a while, though, some adorable ninth grade girl will come up to my desk. "You should've gone at break. No."
"It's kind of a girl thing."
And I break. Of course I let her go. Because there are few things more potentially horrifying than some kind of menstrual-related accident at school. I remember. It happened to a couple girls when I was ninth grade and I was terrified, terrified, that something like that might happen to me. So terrified, in fact, that I never approached my teacher with "It's kind of a girl thing."

But it has set me to wondering. First off, if you had a cute young teacher who seemed to be getting off on not letting kids leave class, wouldn't that be the first tool in your toolbelt? "It's kind of a girl thing, how could she say no?" (I'm definitely thinking of Alicia Silverstone in Clueless.) Second, it's such a female thing. What excuse could boys use? I mean I guess they could, but I don't think they do. Or would....I'm trying to decide how to say this best and am just thinking myself into deeper hole. But right? We let girls go with hardly a blink. Third: is it more socially acceptable to discuss female bodily functions than male? Like women breastfeeding in public...or is it just me?

Happy weekend eve at any rate. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy November 5th!

I have my reservations. The conservative tendencies dyed deep in my sinews are cringing this morning. I think we shouldn't be hasty to leave a Middle East that is going to collapse into chaos. I think that everyone has a right to the money that they make.


I haven't been able to stop smiling this morning. I've almost started crying a couple of times.

Even if things go very very poorly (and I don't think they will) this is such a pivotal moment. American asking for change. Barack Obama and everything that he stands for taking charge.

We're on the brink and I wish they were selling real estate here.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What I'm Thinking

Something along the lines of these. Love the chandeliers. And yellows.


it is raining again. It is cold and gray and windy and all of the leaves are getting all soaked before they fall off and get stomped and mashed. Fall smell. Love it.

Also, I'm stoked it's election day. It feels like a holiday. I'm not registered and I feel a little irresponsible, but I'm excited to see what happens. All caught up in history.

I got my house! [I got the room I wanted in someone else's house, good call Molly] It's a renovated farm house: high ceilings, big windows, wood floors. Perfect. I'm debating paint colors: poppy or a light bluey grey. I like the idea of poppy, but every room I see in cool neutrals is like a breath of fresh air.

Lame mopey post for a lame mopey day. Such a good mopey. :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008


No, I will not tell you what's going on in my life. I will not give a summary of plans or goals or even guess at where I might be next week. I have no idea. I was supposed to move to Provo today, and alternately was contemplating staying in my apartment; but no, I'm lounging on the obscenely comfortable queen-size in my mom's basement. Moving took 2 hours because I had a fantastic crew (Anne, Connie, and Dave, thankyouthankyouthankyou, you're brilliant and so kind) and, oh, because I was already entirely packed from September's "I need to get the hell out of here" kick.

Those of you who I've chatted with know that I'm planning on graduate school. Or that I'm adoring my job and think I'm going to stick around. Or that I'm moving to Mexico next week. All or none of these things could be true. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I may be talking big, but I reserve the right to change my mind now. Or now. That's the way life is right now. I'm glad, too, that it's right now. That is, I'm only responsible for providing a stable environment for my students, and as far as they know I'm made out of granite. (It sparkles, after all, in the sun.)

But the usual potpourri:

Staying/going. As I was pulling up my square-foot garden today (the peas were just about coming...) I was thinking about gardening. I love it. I loved my little patch of green, as well as the delicious salads that it kept producing (soo bummed about the weakling basil--can't stand 3 inches of snow, huh? Pansy). In my garden I will plant tomatoes, carrots, peas, herbs (basil, cilantro, thyme, parsley and a couple of grab-bag--the kind that you see at Lowe's and have to try), nasturtia, radishes, spinach, egg plant, squash. etc. I'll cook delicious things and serve them to good friends in a white kitchen with big windows and be so healthy and happy.
On the other side of my brain, though, is a list of places I want to see before I die. Buenos Aires, India (I haven't narrowed the subcontinent down yet), Bogota, Toronto, Prague, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Oahu, the Amalfi Coast, Morocco. etc. I'm not sure how to balance these two desires.
Contemplating them I feel extraordinarily human.

This I Believe. I managed to use this finally in my class. Next year it will be better, and the show may be featured more prominently as part of my curriculum. I just remembered that I believe things. I've worked really hard to construct for myself a foundation of belief, but am usually too busy trying to feather out the other side of the argument and the implications to remember that foundation.
That is: I've been really stressed lately trying to relate to people who believe different things than I do. I've been overwhelmed by how relative this all is and must be to coexist. This careful reevaluation of what I believe has been enormously stabling. I hope to get a post out soon.

I love my family. You are geniuses.

Happy hardworking weekend. Lesson plan! Daylight savings!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Look what I can do!

Travel into the future.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Because I'm Pretty Sure

that Brian Doyle is less than a year from stardom on the Mormon circuit, and I'm big into being there first (hats off to those of you who were actually first, Pat, Amanda, and co.), I wanted to get my two cents in.

I was feeling dark and detached late last night and couldn't sleep despite my near fatal (definitely uncharming and frustrated) exhaustion during dinner earlier in the evening and was nosing around the open boxes that are serving as bookshelves in my half-packed room. I needed something of substance, but didn't want equivocation. Enough with making things more complicated. (Doctorow, Lethem, Rushdie, Wallace all out out out.) I found Leaping. Of course. I read the Credo from "Altar Boy." Lyrical. Clear. Earnest. It was perfect and I finished the essay and I fell asleep.

I've been finding comfort in Doyle more and more often. When I finished Leaping first (in a comfy chair at the Cheers house with a manic kitten on the loose) I was ambivalent. Despite the loveliness, my comfy cynical undergraduate self wasn't sure what to do with so much hyperbole. So many adjectives. But lately, amid the mad tectonics that have defined my 26th year, I want to weave Doyle's taut clear belief and wild fluid prose into a blanket and take a nap in it.

Here is another Credo (and some pretty lame pictures, Online Catholics). Enjoy!

Aaaah. That's What They're up to.

or: How the Flaming Lips Suddenly Make Sense.

Wayne Coyne.
Making the room brighter.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why I Love Sports Night

If you know me well, you've heard me talk about Sports Night. One of those critic's darlings that gets canceled tragically after the first couple of seasons. Aaron Sorkin (of the West Wing's) early attempt. Brilliant though, brilliant. Clips of the show are making their way slowly onto YouTube and in honor of the first couple of shows that I just watched, I wanted to tell you why:

The show is earnest. Earnest bordering on preachy. But in a TV landscape filled with snarky sarcastic one-dimensional characters, Sorkin writes characters with depth, who stand for things, with interesting and troubled pasts who truly care about each other.

I respect particularly Sorkin's male characters. The female characters are great too, BTW, assertive and smart, but I think that male characters are so often simplified to meat-headed sex machines that the loyal and thoughtful men on Sports Night are beyond even refreshing. Here's me and earnest: they're awe-inspiring. They make me want to help my students be good kids and to raise good sons and to fight for goodness. It's weird and fantastic. (I suspect you see this on West Wing too. Something about a group of dedicated people fighting the good fight just makes me glad.)

And it's about sports. And I still love it.

(If you're a first-timer: they do this really bad gimmicky laugh track the first part of the first season. It goes away.)


Some highlights from this weekend:

"It's raining babies!"

"It's better to swear on the wall than swear at your mom."

"That's one way, at least, that Wagner and Woody Allen are similar."

I love my life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Pursuit of Happiness (kick Will Smith out of your head immediately)

Radio West today: A few years ago author Naomi Wolf traveled across the country talking about what she sees as threats to American liberty, and what struck her was how powerless Americans felt to make change. So, she set out to learn from the nation's original revolutionaries what freedom actually means, and she quotes the 18th century philosopher Diderot when she says "everything must be shaken up, without exception and without circumspection."
A little inflamatory. The kind of inflammatory that gets me thinking and also sets like lead in my stomach because if she's right I need to restructure my belief systems and MO. Again. (And doesn't it feel right, a little? Like we might be living during a major downswing in innovation and motivation? My whole body hurts thinking about this and trying to see through the politics and faulty assumptions to something true.)
She talked specifically about the pursuit of happiness. About how we throw around that phrase these days in connection with things like buying a new car or getting a really good burger or shopping online in our underwear. But how it means much much more than that. How that right, guaranteed, means that we have the opportunity and obligation to make our lives the very best they can be and to use our time and energy to help others. Sounds very familiar. Like maybe it's eternally the case.
And this is something I've been wrestling with: it is my responsibility to make sure that I'm happy. It is no one else's and if I fail then I'm not only denying myself that happiness, I'm hindering the good I can be doing and my longterm progression. Again and again the choices I'm making come back to this: I have to fight for my happiness. It's not easy to be happy, but is worth the fight. More than that: giving up on that fight is giving up everything everything everything.
But what does that mean? What will make me happy? There are the obvious things, of course, but more and more, as I'm in a place when I'm making decisions that are going to have long-term consequences (I always hated this notion, but now even more than when I was an undergrad I feel sooo weighed down by choice)--habits that I'm making and thought-channels I'm grinding--I'm confronted by these sorts of questions. What will make me happy? What do I want? I can make it happen, I just need to decide what I want and do it.
Theoretically. But as a friend said recently, (and by said I mean gchatted) "i'm just waiting to look back on any part of my life and say 'uh-huh, I planned that.'" Yes, this agency and choice thing is all well and good in theory, but actually I know that the universe is a very unpredictable place. What's the point of planning if the plans all end up foiled in the end anyway?
And this: part of me wants to throw caution to the wind entirely, let myself be lead by these impulses, leave behind my obligations and live for me only; a thing that, though I'm self-centered certainly, I've never really done. But part of me knows that those impulses are fleeting and that there is happiness in sticking. How to stick without feeling stuck?

All very heavy stuff.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Barack Obama is not the Anti-christ

For those of you who were wondering.

Also, I love this website a lot. I love that it exists. And though it may only be a sort of illusion of balanced objectivity (because who can believe that that exists anymore?) I love that illusion (I live in relative world and I am a relative girl, it's appealing certainly, but exhausting). Like my feather comforter on a cold night.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Provo/Orem Bound

For those of you who live locally and haven't yet: go to the Orem Public Library. Go today. Get a card. I was down perusing their film selection and was almost brought to tears. Nico Icon? The literature section? (Readings by Grace Paley, Czeslaw Milosz, Louise Gluck)? I'm entirely in love.

Also, the book sale, which isn't always great, was: Pale Fire. Fifty cents. Also, if anyone has a record player, there are some great spoken-word albums to be had.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Did you hear it snowed this morning?

In one of the Ender's Game series, somewhere toward the end (they get more weird as they go) Ender and his crew (which includes a boy-aged version of his sociopath brother somehow) are flying toward a home planet of the human race's old nemeses, the Buggers. This is a race descended from ants who don't communicate verbally but chemically. In preparation for this method of communication, the spaceship Ender and gang are flying is equipped with sensors that read the molecules the Buggers send. Anyway, they're approaching and they get this chemical message that resembles heroin. They have to decide if their hosts are trying to convey how happy they are to see them, or if they're trying to dope the pilot of the ship out so they can take them out more easily. I don't remember how it ends.

I was thinking about this last night as I was making soup. I love soup. I love making it and I love eating it. I honed the skill on my mission. At first it was just another comfort food (give those Snickers bars a rest), but I remember at one point making a new trainee who had a viscious stomach problem a bowl of chicken vegetable and hoping and praying that she'd like it, that it would make her feel better, and maybe that it would help her feel welcome in the country and in our companionship. A tall order for a bowl of soup, yes, but I'm satisfied that it did its job.

The moral of the story is this I guess: I wish I didn't have to talk. At least not about my feelings. I wish I could communicate solely through the medium of soup. It comforts in a way that I've never really been able to. And making a good soup is a lot like composing a poem: you add spices and stir and drain, all driven by smell and taste, trying to find a unity which supercedes individual ingredients.

Last Night's Soup
1 med onion

1 small zuchinni

6 C chicken stock

1 russet potato, diced and boiled
3/4 roasted acorn squash, mashed
2 small tomatoes, diced

1 can black beans
1 can garbanzo beans (If I did this again I would cook the beans myself--canned beans inescapably taste like the can. Ick.)

Rosemary, italian seasoning, cumin (I can't leave it alone).

1 egg
1/3 C white flour
1/3 C wheat flour

Sautee onions in a little vegetable oil. Add halved and sliced zuchinni and chicken stock. Boil for 5-ish minutes. Add drained potato, squash (I mashed my squash into a measuring cup and mixed in 1/2 C of broth before returning mixture to pot), tomato, beans, and bring to a boil.

In small bowl beat egg. Add flour until dough-y but not dry. When soup is boiling, drop spoonfuls of dough into soup, continue boiling until the noodles are cooked.

Would be good with a little parmesean.

=It's a chilly Saturday and you're dressed like a hobo and it's ok.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


A manager of mine at Ross Dress for Less (the ex-military guy with the white mustang convertible and penchant for X96's 10:00 mosh-pit) told me about a friend-of-a-friend who went completely nearly homocidally crazy. She went to a psychiatrist who had a simple explanation: she drank too much Diet Coke. Apparently the stuff will bug you out to the point of wanting to strangle people just to feel their Adam's apples bob.
I don't believe the manager of course, but the threat has stuck in the back of my brain like Crush by David Archuleta (have you seen the video? Not sure how I feel about it, but congrats David, on #1) on a bad day. It pokes its over-long little nose into my subconscious on days like this, when I'm just bugged. And today had such potential too. But my haircut makes me look like I'm 17 and I kept having to pansy out to child's pose ("do you feel like moderate or intense this morning?" Moderate of course, it's Saturday morning, are you crazy?) and got sucked in to 2 episodes of Americas's next top model interspersed with the Daily Show which, while it has lovely moments, is so angry and negative. Diet Coke for lunch. Bugged.

Positives are these: I enrolled, finally, in my 401k. Yes, actually, on the very day that the Dow was at its lowest in memory. My economist step-father (in that subversively positive/pragmatic way that economists are so great at) pointed out that it's a good time to invest, prices are low at least. Also, I'm going to DC this week for fall break and the timing couldn't be better.

Also: I wonder about TV. I heard this article on NPR about how advertisers, due to TiVo and other commercial-avoiding technologies, are getting more aggressive/skillful at product placement. They sited 30-Rock's Soy Joy episode (I thought it was a joke, too), where a character's hand gets stuck in a vending machine trying to grab a Soy Joy (bar?) as one of the more obvious/pointed examples. They also talked about reality tv. It's cheap (no writers, no sets) and lucrative (hey you models, drink this Diet Coke, would you?), and terrible TV (except when it's fabulous, like Dominque facing off Claire and two other girls 3 cycles later). So what's keeping the networks from doing all-reality all the time? Pertinent here, too, are shows like 30-Rock that are brilliant and critically acclaimed, but that don't get all that many viewers (because people are blind?).
So what happens to TV next? A theory: the appetite for sequels and for TV on DVD (commercial free an always on) combine to form a new medium: Independent Television. But it won't be television. Show made especially for DVD. We've already begun, sort of, with Dr. Terrible's Sing-along Blog. A friend of mine made a claim that this is the Golden Age of television, and what better way to keep that gold shiny than to separate TV from the commercial realm (could it survive?)?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I'm tired

of 7:30 (6:30, 5:30, 4:30).

of grading.

of whispering.

Next week will be better (fall break).

External indicator of internal unrest: a messy desk, a messy room, diet coke for breakfast.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

10 hours and counting

Just in case you are also still at school at 5:30 grading too many end-of-term papers and needed a little pick-me-up. Club Narwhal, you have saved my life yet again.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


There are unformed beginnings of many posts in my head right now. I think I'm going to list them willy-nilly and see if next week I can get something more cohesive down.

I feel pretty confident that the Killer's new song is a reflection on Brandon Flower's lapsed mormonism. What business of it is mine, you say? None, not at all, and I wouldn't inadvertently want to add to the mass of LDS urban legend (though I think this Elvis thing is pretty delicious), and I'm not trying to imply that everytime that everyone refers to "on my knees/looking for the answer" that it means some kind of soul-searching confessional lyric, but I do think that emblemizing the unreachable perfection that cultural mormonism seems occasionally to imply is the ideal as "dancer" ("are we human, or are we dancer?") would be literary genius. Genius I say.

I love my family. I think that A brings it out most in me, and I know Jeremy brings it out in Rachie, but we seem always to end up in lovely debates of all flavors. Last night: Presidential politics and same-sex marriage. Lovely discussions both, but the best part is arguing with my family. I get kind of uncomfortable arguing with friends: we do it all the time, but I come out arguing the conservative side and never feel sure of what I'm arguing and am always worried about social implications. With my family I rarely feel defensive and generally end up the crazy liberal one, which position I'm almost always more comfortable supporting. Odd. So fun though. There was also a moment during conference when we were all lounging on the couch, Jeremy asleep on Molly's shoulder and I felt so completely content.

I'm constantly writing notes to myself/inanitmate objects in my head. Why do I do this? Some examples from this week:

Dear Kjerstin-of-the-future,
Those brown pants you're trying on right now are a bad idea. Brown pants never work and you will certainly regret the purchase. Trust me.
Love, Kjerstin-of-the-past.

Dear basil,
Welcome to my garden! You are beautiful! I wasn't sure you'd grow and now all I can think about is caprese salads with tomatoes from Connie's.
Love, Kjerstin.

Dear Diet Coke,
Thanks for saving my life. Again. If you ever need anything, just let me know.
Love, Kjerstin.

I'm loving teaching this week. A lot. I'm finally getting it through to me that if I really work hard at something and engage in it then it's fun and I'm successful which is also fun. I have an outline for goodness' sakes (and a planner from Connie that is indescribably comforting and helpful. I'm a much less calm person if my life isn't color-coded).
As I'm preaching the value of education (the longest day revolved around a less-than-successful field trip which necessitated a period-long pep talk about how these kids aren't screw-off eighth graders anymore and the only thing coming between themselves and the Ivy Leagues, or whatever else they really want to do, is them) I'm really converting myself. Like, why do we get an education at all? Not to get a better job. To be better people. I've convinced myself entirely that education is the key to making something of your life, to adding value to every second, to making people better. Also, everything you learn will help you--the more stuff you know, the more potential connections there are in your head, and what is knowledge but making connections?
On the one hand this goes even further to convince me that teaching is for sure the place for me. On the other hand, what the hell am I doing with only a bachelor's degree and one little-used language? I need to learn Spanish. I need to learn German. (Russian, French) There's so much history (particularly the history of the Israelites/Hebrew/Jews is fascinating me right now) and literature and math and chemistry that I don't know. Physics!: I haven't even touched physics.
Where do I go? (Turkey.)
What do I do?

The Gilmore Girls

Healthy/unhealthy addictions: Diet Coke vs. Ice Water, 24-hour Fitness vs. napping, vs. the Gilmore Girls (there is a striking similarity in the feeling you get opening a book-filled mail box and watching Dean and Rorie's first kiss. Just me?).

General Conference! Rhetorical analysis as well as practical application.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Why didn't I know?

I'm in heaven.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The longest day

I love James Coburn.

I spent 3 hours on a bus over-crowded with 14-year olds.

Today started a verrry long time ago.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Heart Sister Beck

I got to go to the general RS meeting with my mom and sister yesterday and it was lovely. a) my mom brought Mini Brie, b) I got to chat with Anne, and Scout afterward, c) President Uchtdorf is dreamy and there was a kind of hilarious general swoon when he got up to speak. But mostly I really like Sister Beck.
She talked about understanding the role and responsibility of Relief Society, its duties and its potential. Her talk was the same kind of hardliner that we've come to expect and which I'm so glad for. Not only because I'm a pleaser/masochist, but because I really believe that the [women in the] church have so much and so widereaching a potential for good. We forget this. We hide behind insecurities and mundane responsibility. I tend to think of Relief Society as something to keep us busy or something else to check off a list, but it was put in place by the Lord, by revelation to contribute in a major way to building the kingdom. When we minimalize its place in the church we minimalize the sacrafices and contributions of the women who work to make it great, as well as our role in the church.
I've felt agitiation here as well: that RS is all centerpieces and fluffy nothingness...but there's more there and, as I thought Sister Beck reasserted, can be even more.
It comes back to this theory I hold, one I've developed in response to feeling out of place or underappreciated or pigeonholed or ignored in the hierarchy: if leaders are really earnest about the "motherhood is the most important thing you can do" deal, if they mean what they say and if we can believe that, than their pushing women toward the home isn't marginalization or subjugation (or reverse sexism or whatever) but really is honor and trust and responsibility. Do we believe them? Do we think they're trying to pull the wool over our eyes?

Sister Beck visited Armenia while I was serving there. She talked about pioneers, about how all those who go before are pioneers. We were stuffed in a too-warm (and lovely) meeting house in Yerevan and I was worried about a couple of my investigators (and the fact that I'd ended up sitting right next to an elder--my companion had wandered off somewhere). I was impressed then, when she was on the YW presidency with her straight-forward articulation and tenacity. She appealed to me as down to earth and real.

After her address at conference last year, I got caught up in the controversy. My great friends had much to say about "that Beck woman" and I know there was a big to-do generally. But to me it seems like the same people who argued against Sister Beck's hard-line approach are the ones who dislike two-facedness in the church, who resist the programs that seem to them extra-curricular, that they also argue for a more earnest, personally challenging approach to gospel living. It seems to me like this is what Sister Beck is proposing: she reminds us what the leaders of the church have said and challenges us to live it fully.

Lately I've been a little frustrated in my spiritual circles (I haven't jumped into my ward and have just begun institute). I want to pep-talk. I want to shake them and say: wake up! This is the most important/crazy/interesting stuff we know about or will ever know about!! Why are we speaking in cliches? Why are we so bored? Why aren't we sharing? I know I tend toward extremes and I think that's why I like Sister Beck. Don't beat, don't soften, encourage certainly, but let's wake up everyone and do this thing. There's much to be done.

Monday, September 22, 2008


So, now that I have an supply closet to use at my discretion, a lifelong desire has been fulfilled, ok a couple, but one in particular: I have all the post-its I could ever ask for.
Thanks to this free-flow of stickies, my method of organization reflects perfectly my method of thought, which is this: think a thing. Sort of forget about it. In one flurried action pull everything pertinent out and hand them all over.
For instance: I never remember quotes intentionally. I tried memorizing on my mission (and after) and it was hardly ever successful. BUT when I'm in the midst of a conversation, pop, I have the quote and it's sometimes paraphrased a little, and sometimes I don't remember who said it, but usually it works great.
Also, my room never stays clean. I do one thorough cleaning once a week, which is desperately needed, because for the rest of my week (or period of panic, depending) I toss clothes and pillows everywhere.
My desk at school is covered almost entirely with notes to myself. You missed a test? I owe her money? 5th period has to stay in at break? Everything is written on teal-blue notes scattered around my room.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Birth of Guilt

Two things:
1. I think I'm slow on the uptake here, but am realizing more and more how little I know about the history of the Jews. Even Holocaust-era stuff. I know things happened and that they were bad and I've read Night and other books and I've seen the movies, but I'm still not sure what happened and when. I feel like that part of history has been so present for so much of my life that I haven't taken any time to make sense of it. But more specifically before that. Even very early Hebrew history I'm not super comfortable with.
The reason why I want to remedy this: someone (Randy?) pointed out that we talk about the lack of American culture. But really, we're entrenched in the Judeo-Christian tradition. We try and deny it and reject it (leave the homeland behind), but we can't deny it. What a shame that I'm fuzzy about a big chunk of the history of the culture that is or defined or gave birth to my own. Weird that I'm claiming my Jewish roots?

2. In my class we're talking about the Hebrews historically. How this sternly monotheistic culture was born of a melee of pluralistic polytheism. One of the points I thought was interesting is that in Mesopotamian polytheism the chaos of the pantheon reflected the chaos of the culture. That is, life was unpredictable, the climate was unpredictable, leaders were unpredictable, and so were the gods.
Judaism steered away from this by establishing God as a constant and loving being. Vengeful, yeah, but essentially (in the truest sense of the word) good. Suddenly, the savage unpredictability of the world is thrown into sharp contrast with the creator. This conceptual rift was the impetus for several important developments in Hebrew culture. 1: history was seen not as a random assortment of events, but as a story. You could study history to see the workings of God--when people were good they prospered, and wars and famine happened because of wickedness or inattention to the covenant. 2: the need for a Messiah. Someone to reconcile our experience with God's. Also the need for the coming of a Messiah to bring order to the world. 3. the need for an afterlife--a place where everyone could just sit and rest and be rewarded for good-doing. 4. guilt. I want to think about this more. But it seems very important and very much like it's shaped the person I am...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sometimes I Even Surprise Myself

like today. I just paid for 5 visits with a personal trainer. I found a "One Week Free" card from 24 Hour Fitness while I was at Puddin' on the Rice the other day (don't worry, irony is hardly ever lost on me) and decided to give it a try.
So far I've been every day. Yoga a couple of times and some cardio stuff and yesterday they tried to sell me on a personal trainer (Amy. Cute as a button, married to a skinny boy, which bodes well somehow) and I said yes. Why not? I kind of feel like I've been on the outskirts of gorgeous all my life and figure I might as well dive in [you can supress whatever urges you're feeling to reassure me at this point] and what it boils down to is that teachers always gain weight their first years, right? Where's the time/energy to run?
I'm really excited though. Just to be healthy and doing. Though...

When I was a freshman I got lost in the Richards (PE) building on BYU campus. I felt sooo out of place, all these beautiful long-legged dancers, etc. It's a little like that at the gym, but mostly not.

Workout people are just like any other kind of geek, I think, just prettier. I heart geeks. :)

History of Love

Every book I read is about someone I know. Maybe it's Joseph Campbell's fault: every story is really the same story, but I think the issue is that I'm much too sympathetic a reader. Sympathetic like when I read Goodnight Mr. Tom in sixth grade I ended up staying awake till my mom came home at midnight, insisted sleeping in her bed, and lay awake listening to her breathe and wanting to reach out and touch her arm.

I finished The Shipping News on my way home from Alaska and Nick was everywhere. I wished he would read it because I found answers there to questions I imagined him asking. Annie Proulx said things I needed to say but didn't know.

The Road with Tim waiting.

Which is where this speech by David Foster Wallace comes in. A little. Not entirely. But about literature's ability to pull us out of our own heads. About feeling less "freakish and alone" (Amanda--who's quote is this?) in the thralls of a good book.

I've just finished the History of Love, and while the English major part of me is pulling things apart, the rest of me feels very glad to be alive. What it left me with is longing (in a good way). Connection. And a desire to share this and say "this part reminds me of that piece you wrote but hated" and "I read this under a tree when I should've been grading" and "you were my Alma."

Monday, September 15, 2008

not really a post

Because I probably will be blogging on this and maybe you want a go at it before I dissect it to answer questions I feel half-formed tickling my subconscious. I think there are accidental answers too. I didn't know about (wasn't aware of at least) Wallace till today...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Just in Case

Hello friendly blog readers. I'm looking to move out of my house (in the proactive "I'm trying to get my life together" kind of a way more than the flaky "I didn't think this all the way through and am now regretting it" kind of a way. Thanks to Katherine for the attitude adjustment. Thanks also to President Dr. Kearl: sunk costs are sunk.) and wonder if you guys will keep an eye/ear open for me? No pressure. Thanks!

I don't know why solitude would be a balm for loneliness.

So I've been trying to think more about the atonement lately. I know that thinking about it isn't the most productive way, necessarily, to increase its power in my life, but I don't think it can/will hurt, and I'm much more comfortable on my intellectual feet than anywhere else really.

Today I was reading in Alma 7. I was trying to pick apart verses 11&12, trying to get what it's saying really, what the promises there are. What does it mean, anyway, to loose the bands of death? There are the obvious answers: the atonement lead to the resurrection, and the atonement reconciles us with God (so we overcome physical and spiritual death), but the problem with the atonement to me is its abstract distance. I don't feel like I'm bound by those bands of death necessarily (the burden of sin, which I am familiar with, as well as relief through repentance notwithstanding) at least not every day. What, then, are the bands of death?

I started to think about things that the Savior did while in mortality. I've always wondered why most of his miracles (at least the ones we hear about) are healings. I tried to think about other things that I've heard/felt that the atonement can do. Bound up broken hearts, right injustices, and got really excited thinking about its alleviation of shame...and what is shame? The feeling that you've done something and can't tell anyone. A feeling of loneliness.

Which brought me to an entirely new train of thought I've been riding: human inability to connect. I'm not so concerned about it now as I have been, but there's still a gnawing sort of (mild) desperation--I live in my head and no matter how hard I try I can't understand or be understood completely.

And where these come together for me is here: loneliness is a uniquely mortal emotion. When we sin, particularly when we try to hide it, we are alienating ourselves from God. Many (most?) sins are sins of alienation: when we lie, we hide our true selves/deeds from others; when we're unkind, we're alienating people; pride is essentially a sin of distance.

Zion, on the other hand, is a state where all is in common. Where hearts are knit together in unity. We know that God doesn't disclose everything all the time, but if, when we're exalted, we become omnipotent, it seems that secrecy--loneliness--is not going to factor into our lives in the same way.

Which brings this out of the theoretical and back to the personal. When I feel the atonement's power most strongly and reassuringly it feels a lot like the opposite of loneliness. It feels a lot like opening long-shut windows on dank rooms that need cleaning (and sunshine). When we come to Heavenly Father and offer him (the secrets of) our broken hearts, our spirits become contrite.

Guest Post

Feeling kind of famous. A little. :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Grab Bag (Another, Happier, List)

1. I love the BBC. At midnight 90.1's nighttime jazz transforms magically into BBC's morning news and dissuades me from never listening to the radio again. Specifically why though: BBC reporters don't mess around. There's no dancing around propriety or serving special interests. Last week a reporter was interviewing a Russian diplomat about Georgia and asked straight up: "isn't your policy toward East Acetia (sp?) the exact opposite of what it was when you were dealing with Kosovo?" [the diplomat fumbles: "you got mad at us then for that so we changed it..."] And tonight, an anchor was interviewing the union leader for Boeing. "Boeing didn't give you the 13% pay raise you wanted, but didn't they give you a 11% raise" [The union leader changes the subject to pocket-padding executives.] "Let me read you an email from a guy in San Diego who thinks your demands are ridiculous." I love that they're allowed to pick fights just because their accent covers all traces of animosity or ill will. I wish I could do that.

2. Other People's Lives. Have you seen this film? Will you please? Set in East Germany. Though it takes full advantage of the communist color scheme (if color came in chords, it would be a minor chord, what do you call that visually? I love it. I wish my entire house was paneled in dark wood and I could wear only grey), and is not life-sucking or depressing. Very tense, almost soul-breaking for a minute, but just a very very gorgeous film
Can we talk about Germans? Like the bizarre swing from Goethe and gay Berlin to communism to Rammstein, industrial art, and trains that always run on time? Why is this sounding so familiar? Dear my German contingent: any insights?

3. Black Amethyst. Bath and Body Works won me over again. Not since junior high school have I been so excited about lotion. I love their new flavor: not as overwhelmingly sweet as Rose Sandalwood, which I was a fan of but couldn't commit to, but just as warm. I love it. Also, I met the most beautiful man I have ever seen in Park City's BBW. And by beautiful I mean I was staring at him thinking "you're gorgeous" and then he spoke and only then did I realize he was a man. Gorgeous. Erik. Totally helpful and he barbed his way into my heart. He told me he could tell I was from Provo. Ouch. Insulting people is the best way to fall them in love with you. I recognize that this steals all thunder from my post about Provo. I love the place, insult it and beware my wrath, but that's not a nice thing to say to a girl in Park City. (I like to think it was the light in my eyes...)

4. First X-country meet went very well. My runners are great and will only get better. Sunny fall Saturday morning on BYU's track. Orange slices. Not a bad way to kick off a Saturday.

This doesn't mean that I'm not still thinking about Mexico. But it was a very lovely Saturday.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Subtle Nudge

So some friends are starting a podcast and it promises to be amazing. Check out the promo under the "Check Me Out" portion of my sidebar. Word of Mouth. And stay tuned.

Reasons why moving to Mexico is a good idea: (#1)

1. They want me to teach more Geography. Which supposes that I have background enough to teach Geography at all. Which is not even minutely true.

2. My 5-paragraph essay lecture flopped today. I didn't finish it. I made the kids write. They probably didn't feel succesful which means they'll never forgive me or the 5-paragraph essay which, while not the be all and end all of writing, is a damn fine beginning.

3. My internal swearometer is through the f-ing roof.

4. We have a X-country meet tomorrow. I don't know who's coming. Or if they're coming. Was that my job? To chase kids around and remind them to come to practice? Don't they want to play sports? Run? Isn't that the whole point of extra-curriculars, that I wouldn't have to get after them to participate? Aaaach.

5. We've been talking about Gilgamesh--about how the (nameless, interesting) harlot who seduces Enkidu represents civilization (they loved this one) and how there's a big hairy beast in all of us who just wants to run with the antelope and eat grass. True. On the beach.

6. I went to campus today for a poetry symposium and it was elitist and self-important and lovely. Am I really too practical for academia? Really? My perceived failures in this first couple of months of real life beg to differ. I keep scouring my brain for some super esoteric interest that I'd forgotten about which I could hole myself up in an ivory tower writing about. Hopefully that someone would pay me to write about. (Barring that, it seems like waves on a beach would be really conducive to finding an inner rhythm to write poetry to.)

7. This sucks. I tried the postitive thing and the denial thing and the buying cute stuff thing (how many times can I go the Gap in a 3-month period, really?) and it comes down to this: trying to build a new life in a hometown is gut-wrenchingly hard. They're paying me to work hard and long and a lot. And I'm not a total slacker either. I'm tired and I'm still sick and I can't express how delicious the idea of handing in an on-the-spot resignation, packing my stuff into my car and driving to the ocean sounds. Delicious. Better than this year's peaches.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

2008 is Great

This time last election season I was learning the conditional tense in Armenian and figuring out how to eat as little cafeteria food as possible. That is to say, I missed out on most of the action. This year I've been eating it up.
I hope to write more later but: I think that Palin was a genius. Let the press knock her (and they have), but I thought her speech tonight was spot-on. She held herself beautifully and did precisely what a good VP should: defend the nominee and knock the opposition. I cringed when the cowboy hats appeared toward the end of the thing, but I thought she was glorious. Also, the only possible way that McCain could even have a fighting chance.
So now I'm torn again. Sigh.

On being torn: point for adult me--I own Nyquil! It's in my bottom drawer. I can't tell you how happy I am.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Kid half: Of course you should keep blog hopping and should also check out that summer playlist you found. And go to that pre-Sundance screening on campus tonight. Plan lessons later. Read history books later. You can sleep next weekend.

Adult me:

Adult me (I forgot to take off the duct tape, sorry): You should definitely sleep tonight. You're sick and your kids will see right through you. And you have cross country tomorrow.

Both of me: when the room is spinning it is time to take a nap.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Provo is where I live

I was on campus for a second today and it was lovely and I ran into a friend and spent money at the bookstore (and did not return the half-dozen library books that have been in my car for the last week because the BYU operator is not omniscient which was the very essence of disillusionment and the library was not open) and prepped myself for the onslaught of hate.

Since I was in elementary school I've had to deal with people bagging on my hometown. They call it the bubble, they knock the culture, they make fun of the moms and the dads and the kids and though I'm not going to do this as diplomatically as my much more mature sister, I want to get the message out where I can: if you don't like it leave.

Yeah yeah, you're going to school, yeah yeah, you want to get married just as desperately as the rest of us, yeah we are paying for the roads where you park and supporting the Thai food place when you're gone for the summer, and also my friends, are you really telling me that there aren't people you don't like in California?

Provo's great. It's beautiful and clean and people are nice and I'm tired of you dogging my town.

That's it. :)


I'm decorating my room. The furniture is set how'd I'd like it, I love my duvet covered day bed (fantastic idea, Anne), surfaces are still cluttered a bit with odds and ends I haven't found tupperware or cigar boxes for, but today I'm focused on my walls.
This stage is a big deal for me, and I couldn't have done it before today. That is, it seems a sort of definition: this is who I am right now and how I'm feeling, and granted sticky tack is designed to be removed (though after last month's flower-mosaic fiasco I'm not sure how true that holds), but there's something about sorting through paintings and postcards and family pictures--deciding what to display and what to keep in a box--that puts a fine point on where I am.
It's also a big deal because it's another sign of commitment to my apartment. I find myself constantly watching for the door--trying to find possible exits of out of any commitment I've tangled myself in. (I'm pretty sure if I needed to I could quit my job with 2 weeks notice and if I was doing something cool like moving to South America they might even applaud the effort...) I have been rethinking my decision to move to Orem: I should've waited and moved in with friends, I could move out and find a place with Erika and on and on. But today I took a stand. I put up my postcards. I put up Mrs. Dalloway. I sorted a little and dusted and unpacked. I'm sticking.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Welcome Home!

My sister came to visit for the weekend. We sat around eating popcorn and watching Meet Joe Black last night. (Ok, I was watching Meet Joe Black. She was mostly chatting with Jill and Connie.) I think she's wonderful and funny and insightful and very very kind and I'm glad to see her.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Launch Party

I'd like to direct your attention to a new blog I opened. Food E (was I so enamored with the title of my previous post that I just had to figure out a way to utilize it more fully? Indeed I was.) Maybe it won't work. Maybe I'll lose interest. So far so good.

To celebrate, a treat from the archives:

In my experience there are three realms of sushi. The first is supermarket sushi—specializing in California rolls, heavy on rice, it is best for car-bound lunches paired with Diet Coke.
The second revolves around lower end sushi spots. The variety surpasses the supermarket, the miso soup is free flowing, but the sushi rice is sometimes undercooked and the sashimi is risky.
Your Happy Sumos and Takashis* produce sushi of the third realm. They’re pricey, they’re chic, I’m not convinced that they’re 100% authentic (a little over-fond of flashy, dripping rolls with quirky names), but their sushi is fully capable of inducing culinary euphoria.
In my most secret dreams I imagine a fourth realm—sushi made by master chefs in Japanese seaports, where the sashimi is still quivering and the specialty rolls inspire men to lead better lives…but, alas, I live in an arid landlocked suburb and so will take what I can get.

I visited Yamato (1074 S State St, Orem) doing reconnaissance on the expanding Utah Valley sushi scene. I wasn’t surprised to find a second-realm experience. The interior was nice—redone with paper lanterns and slate tile. The service was the high point: friendly and attentive and eager to help. The extras were ok, but the sushi wasn’t great. The rolls were small and understuffed and the California roll featured a mayonnaise-heavy crab salad, a supermarket skimp. Most unfortunately, the food was just pricey enough to make me wistful for the hipsters on Center. On a 1 to 10 scale, Yamato gets a meh.

*Since writing this (first appeared in Mungo Magazine, Fall 07) I've been to Takashi and wouldn't be so quick to clump it with Happy Sumo. That is, it's the hands-down best sushi I've had in Utah.)

Food E


Laughing Cow
Diced onions
Smoked salmon

Toasted whole wheat bagel

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Look what I can do

I just got back from my first ever fieldtrip. I planned it, passed out permission slips (and collected and sorted and alphabetized them...), printed out nametags (mail merge is a genius), coordinated parent volunteers (with lists and nametags and their insurance info), hired the bus driver (this morning). I also spent first and second periods sorting and checking and listing. We ran around frantically trying to get a couple of students permissed and paid for. I decided to drive last minute (so I could beat the bus up to be able to pay the admission fee...), which worked beautifully. At the end of the day, though, everyone was on the bus. Miraculously. I closed the door, patted the bus affectionately and they were off. Home in time for seventh.
What am I some kind of adult? :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Blogstalking a bit and found this post which lead me, of course, because how could I resist a celebrity look-alike quiz, here: They have a face recognition program that tells you which celebrity you most nearly resemble. I used this picture (well, one very similar but slightly less adorable). They matched me with Janene Garafalo (understandable) and Scarlett Johanson (hmmmm).
Interesting choices, I was pretty close to sold until I kept scrolling and found Eugene Levy and Ozzy Osborne on my list. Really? Eugene Levy? Ozzy? And it's science so it must be true! Ouch.

Thanks My Heritage. Ruin my already sleepless night for me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On Passion

So my theory on "bridle all your passions that ye may be filled with love" as of late.
a) that passions have less physical/healthy/acceptable counterparts. So love is akin to but different from lust, anger is akin to but different from righteous indignation, etc. When we're asked to bridle our passions, we're not asked to become an unmoved being, but to focus on the healthy and necessary counterparts of the drives that motivate us.
b) because passions are physical, you can feel them in your body. So lust is pretty obvious, but does anyone else feel jealous in their gut? Literally feel the longing and anger up through their abdomen and attached solidly to the muscle of your neck and upper back?
c) that love (and I'm thinking charity) is a kind of skittish creature. Once our bodies (unfettered) get in the way, we can't feel it.
So jealousy. The selfish evil twin sister of, what, admiration? I think a passion we don't often think of as such. How do we bridle this fellow? Any ideas?

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about the purpose of family lately. One of my conclusions: family helps you be who you are. There is something very centering about hanging out with people who have always known you (though this can feel repressive at times I've found it recently to be wildly reassuring).
Last week we got together to barbecue. After our diet cokes were finished we enjoyed some vicious black licorice (Turkish Pepper Drops--a.m.a.z.i.n.g.) and headed over to the old SLC library where my dad is setting up for Body Worlds which is opening up in couple of weeks here. We walked through the building and he told us what the next steps were going to be and how the crowds were going to flow through the exhibit (which he'd planned entirely) and we complimented his mustard-colored paint job (which looks incredible through the windows and against the building's cement facade).
As my brothers-in-law grew visibly more worn I had a flash: I belong to this family. I enjoy the walking and the planning and the diet coke and the black licorice. I felt like an Evans girl (a term hardly accurate anymore) and so a deep contentment of belonging. Reassuring.

Scrambled Eggs and Toast

So it's Sunday morning and I just found out I have nothing to do until 1 this afternoon: oh free time and the plaintive call of the blogosphere.

First, some catch up. Things I've found and I love during my break:

1. Quaker Oatmeal Squares: great crunch, not as sweet (but just as flavorful) as, say, Cinnamon Toast Crunch (the last cold cereal I ate with any regularity), and they have like 5 grams of fiber per serving. A fantastic compromise between Fruity Pebbles and All-Bran.

2. "You Don't Know Me." Ben Folds and Regina Spector? Are you kidding me? Plus it's pop magic. If it came out only a little earlier I think it could've been this summer's defining tune. (On the other hand, maybe it's good it didn't...I'm about ready to kick "Viva la Vida" in the kneecap.)

3. Ice water. So, not a particularly original discovery (though I did have a stomach-sinking revelation at one point--that if the end ever comes and electricity fails us there will be no [pebbled] ice. I shudder involuntarily every time I dwell on this eventuality) but as I tend toward compulsion, an influential one. I invested in a real water bottle (BPA free) earlier this month, found out that most gas stations and Target don't mind if you borrow their ice, and have been sipping pretty ever since. One of my healthier twitches, if I do say so myself.

Otherwise, many things have changed: I moved. I live in a quiet little neighborhood near Baskin Robins in Orem. Still adjusting, but this morning with my blinds open and my fan going I feel very content.

Also, school started. The first week was simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating. The panic I'm feeling right now is that I don't have anything to teach anyone and couldn't if I tried. In calmer moments I remember that I'm pretty ok at this. I had a good talk with my boss (the Headmaster, yes) and he thinks I can pull it off. I also was chatting with a woman who teaches the class I teach but part time and that was enlightening as well--that is, she had some of the same issues I had, and I had some advice to give. And she's been teaching for years.

This is the most fascinating discovery for me: my classes have totally different personalities. My first period class digs auditory/visual learning and is fairly well sedated by the 7:30 meeting time. It is going to take a lot of thought and creativity on my part to make sure that each class gets the same kind of high quality education that our school expects.

But things are going well. More later. :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Love you, see you in September!

So You Want to be an Ancient Egyptian Princess

is the name of a book I bought for my classroom. Upon further inspection, I've found more nudity than I like. Who do these people imagine their audience is? Bad illustration, probably questionable history (admittedly, their credibility was shot from the get-go), pandering to the supposed interests of 14 year old girls. Maybe brilliance.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Another highlight of this weekend: Lars and the Real Girl. I was kind of nervous, mostly because my patience wears thin a little with the kooky-family indie film that's been made so often this last little while, but I was wrong to worry. Aside from being funny and awkward and life-affirming and visually satisfying (think comfort food involving canned soup and onion straws), I feel like I learned some stuff/have things to think about.
And maybe the only one I'll blog about tonight is this: Lars and his brother Gus are talking about the lack of rites of passage (I have a friend who wants to contrive some, btw, and subject his kids to them, which could work?) and Lars asks Gus how he knew he was a man. Gus says something to the effect of doing the right things even if they're hard. Working hard, not cheating on your woman, etc. The reason this was interesting to me is because I'm doing the student-adult transition thing and it's kicking my trash. Hardcore. Like, I keep feeling compelled to stay up really late to assert my independence or spontaneity when really I usually regret it later. And I keep being super indulgent (remember how I stopped drinking Diet Coke? Yeah, it's hard for me to keep track too) because it feels like in my indulgence I'm rebelling against something or proving some point and that it's important. But it's not getting anything done and it's not making me happy particularly. I don't really deserve a summer vacation, though I took one and have played really hard. I'm a professional now and need to get stuff done and that's that. ?

It feels like now is when I have to start (continue/remember how) to take satisfaction in fulfilling my responsibilities. I'm not a complete flake, I know how to do this, but haven't lately and have found myself enveloped in an almost superstitious funk (I'm finding that my superstition grows out of disempowerment--imagined, real, or self-imposed) and I think there's a connection here.

Maybe a downer post. See the movie, though, it's fantastic. ke