Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On Miracles

I've been getting more pragmatic about God for the last few of years (normal post-mission/growing up phase I think), but even more notably this last couple of months. I'm a closet mystic, but have come to the point that I can't imagine God as an omniscient micro-manager without feeling micromanaged myself, which drives me totally crazy (in both senses).

The step back has been mostly positive. Rather, it's been enormously positive, but simultaneously sort of negative, so I think the net result is, you know, mostly positive.


Two months ago a woman came to one of my classes to present on her foundation whose purpose is to get pro-LDS content on the internet. I was sort of instantly excited. The inital thought was to get my smart, interesting LDS pals to write short essay on "Why I'm a Mormon." It felt good, and they were in, and it was going to be a kind of content that doesn't have a huge presence. I pitched the idea to my brilliant lovely sister who liked it, who liked it, but proposed that we do something a little less text-heavy. Visual testimonies? It was brilliant and good and right. We recruited my pal Annie (and picked the brains of our talented family and friends) and Hopefully Mormon was born.

Already I've been inspired by the "Reasons for Hope" (what we're calling our entries) that have been sent in. Already we've received really positive feedback and lovely, personal stories. It launches for real on the 1st, but it's starting, already, to feel like it's bigger than us.

Rachel and Annie and I met last week to work through kinks and I felt beyond lucky to be working with them. We have the right skills and the right friends to start this thing. And I'm having a hard time convincing myself that this is a coincidence.

I'm humbled and kind of awed that Heavenly Father would let me be a part of this. I'm certain that this confluence of people and time and information is auspicious. It's enough to poke holes through my pragmatism.

So. Go check it out. Send in a Reason if you haven't--or another if you have :)--we need need your help to get through the first couple of months). It's a great idea, come get involved.

Hard things

Hard things I like doing:

  • Backpacking alone
  • Weeding
  • Shoveling
  • Cooking for crowds
  • Making things happen
  • Cutting off all my hair
  • Graduate school (depending on the day)
  • Teaching high school
Hard things I hate doing:
  • Making phone calls
  • Resolving conflict (the process, not the product)
  • Committing
  • Taking criticism

I want to elaborate on this last one a touch. Because right now I have a final draft (A-, with an endnote whose first phrase is anbiguous) in my bag and an email from a professor in my inbox,
relating to my final and paper. The final I think I aced. The paper was awful and I turned it in because I'd spent two weeks and hours and hours writing and and it was Christmas Eve and I had to finish, so I finished.

I don't want to read them. They could be super useful, really help me out in the long run, but my stomach feels queasy and my muscles are tight and my breathing a little frantic. I don't want to know. (I've made a deal that I'll read the email when this post is through. It maybe will last forever.)

Once I wrote a confessional email to a friend I'd wronged and/or mislead saying something like we should give us a try. He emailed back, I skimmed it, got the sense that is was negative, and I ignored him for a month. When, after a month, I reread the thing careful, it wasn't, actually, negative, but it had been a month. So.

Writing this out makes this issue sound kind of silly (which was my hope), but the issue remains. And it's kind of a big deal, I think, one of those habits of highly successful people (not one of the 7, but just folk-wisdom generally) is being able to take criticism, right? Eew eew ew.

(P.S. The email was 80% positive. I'm a baby)

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Writing Papers
Papers are hard. I forgot somehow. The upside: I learn so much. Not about my topic even, necessarily, just thinking that hard opens things up. I forgot that also.

Working Hard
In case you missed it (you probably didn't, I'm not great at hiding this kind of thing), I kicked my trash finishing things up. It was really fun. I'm going to work on this next semester.

I might not do well this semester. I think that's ok. I don't fail very much (I mean, depending on who you're asking or what you're judging), and I think it's going to be good for me. I'm kind of falling in love with, not failing, but forgiving myself. Turns out I'm human. Dig it.

I'm convinced that I have a music mix that makes you smarter: Thievery Corporation, Mogwai, Ratatatat (Daine. I loves it). It helped so much--the focusing, the white noise effect. The only problem is that the the first phrase any of these songs drives me into panic. Just a little.

Diet Coke.
You know.

Anyway. Go Christmas go. ke

Friday, December 18, 2009


I was asleep while you were dying.
It’s as if you slipped through some rift, a hollow
I make between my slumber and my waking,

the Erebus I keep you in, still trying
not to let go. You’ll be dead again tomorrow,
but in dreams you live. So I try taking

you back into morning. Sleep-heavy, turning,
my eyes open, I find you do not follow.
Again and again, this constant forsaking.

Again and again, this constant forsaking:
my eyes open, I find you do not follow.
You back into morning, sleep-heavy, turning.

But in dreams you live. So I try taking,
not to let go. You’ll be dead again tomorrow.
The Erebus I keep you in--still, trying--

I make between my slumber and my waking.
It’s as if you slipped through some rift, a hollow.
I was asleep while you were dying.

--Natasha Trethewey

(Because it's beautiful, beautiful.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Forgive a moment of lechery.

Did everyone see this coming but me?

He's so handsome.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

You should probably know

that the reason your teachers make/let you do creative projects is because they're inevitably heartwarming.

Exhibit A

Exhibit BThis is a Rhetorical Analysis Guide Pyramid. In cupcakes. (Reversed, because that's how PhotoBooth works apparently?)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

(ok. my last one and then I'll get back to writing)

Carrion Comfort

NOT, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist—slack they may be—these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me 5
Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones? and fan,
O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?
Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod, 10
Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.
Cheer whom though? the hero whose heaven-handling flung me, fóot tród
Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year
Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.

--Gerard Manley Hopkins

(I'll be fine.)

Good news/bad news

"Turn it in at your convenience," he says,

"Just make sure it's good."

Was he never a student?

Not a girl student, certainly, with tendencies for perfectionism.


New Post, Short Post

I just wrote a midterm and feel like my entire body is wrung. I kind of love that feeling.

I love dropping names. Love it. I don't think this is one of my most endearing characteristics, I'll be honest, but do you think it's enough to build a career on? "I am in academia because I like citing Foucault in casual conversation." I hope so. I think this is an adorable pettiness.

Also adorable: new hair.
I have a paper to finish. On Cixous. And Barthes. And sextuality. (I'm so clever. I can't get over it.)

Loves, ke.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Morning Sunshine

My body is magic. I woke up early this morning with cramps painful enough, obviously, to wake me up. I know this routine, it happens every time. So I got out of bed, found some ibuprofen in the dark (in the mesh pocket of my backpack or the change purse of my briefcase or the basket in my linen closet), lumbered half-asleep to the kitchen where I chugged some soy milk to keep the advil from eating through my stomach lining, and went back to bed. I tossed, I turned, I tried to find a comfortable position and I drift-ed-off-to-sleep. When I woke up 3 hours later, this is the magic bit, I was so happy. My muscle were all relaxed, everything was mildly rose-colored. Once the pills (which I take every 4 hours for 36) have done their work, I'm golden. Golden.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Compulsory Heterosexuality and the Lesbian Existence

I haven't read much feminist theory to this point. I wanted to write about why.

Reason number one: I believe that traditional roles and traditional marriage are important and I always wonder how I'm going to rediscover this conclusion after working through feminist theory. I've done stuff like this before, but it's hard. This is more a matter of convenience and comfort I think.

Second, my mother (maybe because we didn't have money for expensive clothes? I've wondered) (maybe because the competition in our family was/is silent but deadly) taught me early and thoroughly to avoid trends. I didn't listen to the Backstreet Boys. I didn't play pogs. etc. Feminism felt inevitable for me, once I left Provo High where I was actually fairly outspoken, because I'm a smart liberal arts major with daddy issues. I didn't want to fall into cliche.

Third. I had/have this suspicion that being an articulate feminist would disqualify me for marriage somehow. Tragically--almost hilariously--ironic, right? This suspicion is founded on vocal disparagement of feminism by, um, 95 percent of the people in my life, many of them men whom I love and/or respect fervently. And so I'd be disqualified because as soon as I really embrace feminism 98 percent of the men I come in contact with (oh, BYU) suddenly hold views about me that I can't possibly tolerate. Also because I think it will take me a minute to justify marriage again, because I'm going to have to reevaluate its value and the way I imagine me working within it.
This is ironic, too, because I've always had feminist tendencies which have managed to alienate me from a lot of people, I just haven't had the codified theory to explain how or why or to make it seem worth it. (Feeling "condemned to an even more devastating outsiderhood than [my] outsiderhood as [a] woman" (165).)

Finally (I think, at least for now), I don't know if I can do it. Looking over the last sev--oh, my entire life really, I am kind of grossed out by how often the things that I do are decided by/because of men. I feel like a need to please and a privileging of the masculine (masculine ideas, ways of knowing/interacting, etc.) are so inherently a part of my personality that I'm not sure who I would be if I embraced myself as a(n empowered) woman. I look at the really smart, strong, women I know and wonder if I could be that (offense not intended to anyone here--smart and strong are separate, here, from any certain ideological system). And maybe I'm being an absolutist, maybe I could change some small things...

But, we're sort of skimming through feminism for theory. I read Adrienne Rich's article (the name of this post. Attention-grabbing, isn't it?) tonight and devoured it. Not all of it may be true, but so much of it feels true. And feels important. And matches with things I've supposed for ages. I recognize that theoretical traditions probably (our personal worldviews certainly) are formed by so much by our own personal experiences--we find the truth we want to find. And so I can see how feminist theory maybe doesn't appeal to everyone. And I know why (strengths and weaknesses both) it definitely appeals to me.

I'll probably write more about this later. Hopefully a lot. I think feminism is important for me right now--if only because if I keep believing the stuff I do about myself, about men and women, I don't know how I can keep going. Dr Muhlestein said the other day something about "there are some things that, once you think them, you can never not think them again" and I feel like that's where I am. Kind of glorious. Thanks Rich.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I woke to a voice within the room. perhaps.
The room itself: "You're wasting this life
expecting disappointment."
I packed my bag in the night
and peered in its leather belly
to count the essentials.
Nothing is essential.
To the east, the flood has begun.
Men call to each other on the water
for the comfort of voices.
Love surprises us.
It ends.

Eliza Griswold

What I love about this morning:

Did you know Barry White died? In 2003? This seems like something I should've been (maybe was) aware of. In honor of the 65th anniversary of his birth (right, birthday is morbid after the fact?) his people released a new box set. For some reason Barry White is a ridiculous(ly inspiring) way to start out the day.

I used to have a bathroom with a window. A long time ago. My favorite thing was showering late so, when I was drying off, the sun hit my back. The warmest best feeling. I'm sitting right now with my back to the windows of the Memorial Hall with the sun on my neck, and I want to stretch out in it like a cat. Mmmm.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Advice please

So lately, I'm kind of having a hard time taking myself seriously. Not in the way you're thinking--I'm very serious about how the decisions I make right now are going to affect the rest of my life and how the things I say are very wise. Sort of. I'm not having too good a time (though the Thanksgiving pre-game meal and Sunday brunch and etc etc are so fun) or kissing too many boys or whatever. I just can't seem to believe myself when I have those talks that start "Now Kjerstin, you have a lot to do today (this week, this year)..." and end "then at 10 you'll read in bed, then at 10:30 you'll go to sleep."
I make plans, that is to say, and then I blow them off.
Right now, as you might suspect, I'm avoiding: I have a page and a half left to write for this midterm I'm doing. "Now Kjerstin [ke; am I giving up the game? surprise!], if you'd just write your midterm, you could get to bed, then get up early to go running." Right. Or: "Kjerstin, if you don't do this midterm now, you may never succeed." Smooth. Or: "Kj, do you really need to play with wordle [, check it out--so pretty] again, right now?" Yes. I do. Because nothing is ever due and I can probably pull it off if it is and if I keep telling everyone how busy I am than no one will expect anything from me. (Thanks for the backrub, btw, mom.)
It kind of feels like I'm 18 and away from home for the first time and eating donuts and rootbeer for breakfast every day: nauseous, guilty, and delicious.

I suspect that the key ingredient here is a biggy--like Grow Up or Take Responsibility For Yourself or Stop Being So Damn Selfish For A Sec--and if that's your advice, it's noted, thanks. If you have anything practical to add (I don't know, shock therapy?) suggestions are welcome. Thanks.
Love, ke.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

a note on faith

(Connie and Dave--you're only allowed to read this post if you promise not to panic. I'm doing just fine. ke)

So I'm in this theory class this semester and I love it a lot. If we talk in real life we have probably talked about Derrida or postmodernism or Marxism lately--ideas are so fun, and these guys are grreat at them, making them sing and dance. But of course theory is there to shake things up, to put names to the tricks we play on each other and that are played on us, to point out patterns in behavior--to make opaque the generally transparent underpinnings of social functioning. And while I'm good enough at compartmentalizing my Mormon brain and my scholar brain that I'm not crushed and offended by these theories about the way people are manipulated by those in power, it has started me thinking about all this stuff I believe, again.
We talked about how ideologies are reinforced: we believe a things we're taught to, because we're taught to; we somehow don't fit into that thing we believe so we feel guilty; we're taught, when we feel guilty, that we need to believe better, to participate more fully in the thing we believe (ideology), which starts the cycle over again. It's easy to see how, like, capitalist systems do this and how cults do this and how despotic regimes do this, but a little more tender to understand how the church does this (perfectly). I recently reread, um, John? Where it says if you keep the commandment you'll abide in His love? A favorite scripture denaturalized and made sour a little by the things I've been learning.
Plus. Plus. I've been trying to avoid should this past month or so. I've been trying to reframe my relationship with God so it feels a little less like Him bossing me around and making me do ridiculous things and criticizing me for not doing enough, and a little more like he's a loving father who wants the best for me (which, in my heart, I know he does). What this has looked like, practically, is a little distance from church stuff. Not bad distance, I don't think, not angry distance, just a step back to gain some perspective.
What I've found is that not much has changed. There have been friendly ward members and friends who have asked up on where I've been, and I know that God is around because there are nudges here and there toward ideas or people or practices, but no burning bushes, as usual. And today at church I realized this: God is serious about this faith thing. It wouldn't be faith if we had him there guiding us home step by step. On one hand, of course, this sounds like I'm falling back into the ideological system; but on the other hand I am. I don't know why circumstances are the way they are--why I find myself in this state, in this family, having learned the things I did about God--and I'm not sure that it's possible for me to make any decision other than continuing in the church, but I think I'm going to choose to stay. This distance has been good to remind me that I'm choosing this system of belief, I'm choosing to let it tell me how to interpret the feelings I have and the things I read. I'm sad that Heavenly Father didn't send an angel or even spiritual fire to come down and comfort me and set me straight (he did "send" great friends and an opportunity to speak in church and this class to help me reevaluate), but I'm glad he's consistent at least. And that he seems to trust me enough to, in a very real-feeling way, take a glimpse at the alternative and to choose.

Anyway. Great day. ke

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dear Mr. Elwes

I was channel surfing this weekend, stopped for a minute on Georgia Rules. In the duration I noticed you, playing Lindsey Lohan's smarmy, unlikeable, step-father. Who does that casting director think he is, casting you as smarmy (fat) and unlikeable? Wait, that's the same role you played in Liar Liar, and that Christmas movie...and like every time I've ever seen you. What gives?

Need I remind you of how adorable and likeable you were in The Princess Bride? In case the answer is yes:
Totally adorable. And it was kind of a silly role (=cult classic), but I don't know that it damned you to a lifetime of simpering bit parts.

Luckily for you, I'm kind of great at rejuvenating celebrity careers, and I have a plan.

First: leave Hollywood behind. Just for a minute. Lose a little weight (you don't carry it well, hon), and head back to England.

Second: reestablish some credibility by joining a Shakespeare troupe. Do a little Richard III for depth (put your smarminess to good use, eh?), do a little Hamlet (because that goatee isn't hiding your baby face). Brush up on your acting.

Third: once you've fully purged Hollywood's cheap cologne smell from your lovely long hair, see what you can do about making your way into independent film, on both sides of the pond.

Fourth: you're ready, if you want, to come back to Hollywood--not as a demeaningly cast character actor, but as a force for cinematic good. You'll play historical figures--kings and leaders of rebellions and such. Hollywood loves a baby face with a dark edge, loves an accent. You'll could the next Ian McKellen, if you play your cards right. (Sorry, the next Sir Ian McKellen.)

Just some thoughts. If you're interested in further consultation, feel free to get in touch. (Also, TinTin? Good plan.)

Loves, ke.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why I Wake Early

by Mary Oliver

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety--

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light--
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Once in 8th grade I went to the doctor for an ear infection. Hey took his little flashlit looker fellow and peered into my ear and said "Oh my, yes this must be killing you." And I nodded my head puzzled and said, "Yeah, that one hurts a little too, but it's the other one that's been bothering me."

I take pride, that is to say, in not getting/feeling/being bothered by sickness. It has something to do with being the child of workaholic parents with stout western European dispositions (my mom gets sick once every two years. She takes a day or two to sleep it off and then is on her feet and getting twice as much done as your run-of-the-mill mortal).

So yesterday I started sniffling. Headachey a little, nappy a little. I slept through class this morning. I was telling a friend about this as we were walking onto campus and as I ticked off symptoms, she drifted further and further away. She thinks I have swine flu. I think I'll be over it in a day or two.

I'll keep you posted. :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Time Management

What follows are the posts I've been composing this week but haven't had time to write. So. Enjoy the binge.

Movie Post

1. Where the Wild Things Are.

Lovely, right? Also irritating and almost hard to watch?

2. The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

I read the entire thing walking home from school yesterday. Seriously, it took me twenty minutes. And was delightful.

Even if I didn't adore Wes Anderson and run, not walk, to theaters to see anything that has is name on it I would see this film. Mostly based on this adorable tiny knit cardigan. Blow the image up. It's tiny and knit!

b) I wonder about appropriating kids' books for adult consumption. I think that TFMF is less not-really-for-kids than WWTA, but isn't it kind of weasly of us grown-ups, who get all the good entertainment anyway (and the means and autonomy to consume this entertainment as we will) to steal things from kids? I know it happens all the time and has always been the case--it doesn't make it any better.

Furthermore, I wonder about kid's lit. Background: I realize more the older I get that the only difference between kids and adults is that kids believe us when we say we're in charge. There are some physio-psychological differences with little little kids I think, but my 14 year olds were playing the same games and thinking the same way as I was, they just didn't know it.

It's troublesome to me that kids don't really have a voice in their own literature. Adults are constantly telling kids what is funny and what is interesting. We pretend to be able to relate to them and tell their stories, but I remember all the time when I was little thinking "this isn't funny. Why are they trying to get me to laugh at this?" Adults are constantly constructing childhood for kids, and using childhood as a playground for their own existential angst.

And I'm getting a little unclear--if I'm arguing that kids are the same as adults, why would it matter that adults are manipulating entertainment for them. I think our construction of childhood is what's getting in the way. We're treating kids like they're dumb or from another species.

Also a side note: I don't think we should be sitting kids down in front of Silence of the Lambs, or whatever either...we need to protect the fellows.

I don't know. This is the quandry: what does children's lit mean? Why does so much of it suck? Why did I dislike so much of it even when I was growing up? Why are adults constantly stealing it? Using it to forward their own ideological agendas? (and the argument collapses into questions. TaDa!)

Good Morning Sunshine

Carbonated water
Caramel color
Phosphoric acid
Potassium benzoate to protect taste
Natural flavors
Citric acid

Ode on Grey Hair #1

The old wives say that if I pull you out you'll multiply. And they would know. The rub there is if I don't pull you out you'll multiply anyway. This is the beginning of the end.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I love love love

This morning I ran! I listened to peppy New Pornographers and was charmed. Then I listened to this song for the first time. Maybe not listened to, but heard at least.

These are the lyrics. Which are amazing:

Even before we call on Your name
To ask You, O God,
When we seek for the words to glorify you,
You hear our prayer;
Unceasing love, O unceasing love,
Surpassing all we know.

Glory to the Father,
And to the Son,
And to the Holy Spirit.

Even with darkness sealing us in,
We breathe Your name,
And through all the days that follow so fast,
We trust in You;
Endless Your grace, O endless Your grace,
Beyond all mortal dream.

Both now and for ever,
And unto ages and ages,

–Michael Dennis Browne

Say/think what you will about the Mormon Tabernacle choir. Go ahead. I love this song and I didn't find a better recording. On YouTube.

Then I ate fried tomatoes and eggs and toast. Which, yes, made me feel a little like a hobbit.

Then I walked to school and I felt the sun like a hand on my face. It was so beautiful.

(And now I'm on my way home from campus to hang out with my sister and bro-in-law. Happy Friday!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Go Team!

So the Boys and Girls Club has an event called Sports Hero Day. College athletes come and play games with kids: there's a station for every sport, I think you collect tickets as you go, there's free food, good times for all.
The summer I worked for the club there was a slight change of plans: the cheerleaders, who had their own station, approached the organizers and asked if, instead of teaching kids how to cheer, they might split up and cheer on the other athletes. How could they refuse? So there was a roving herd (collective for cheerleaders? A pom?) of college cheerleaders jumping and dancing for everyone. It was sort of perfect.

Something you may not know about me: I was once verry girly. When someone asked me, before I started school, what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told them I wanted to be a cheerleader. The thing that recommended kindergarten above anything else was that my teacher had cheered for BYU. I'm not exaggerating.

A compliment that I keep in a mirrored box and take out when I need a chuck on the chin was paid to me by a favorite professor. He said that I'd be interesting in the classroom, that I'd be a good professor. I've been thinking about this lately in the weighing of life plans, and what this really means.

Because I'm excited by everything and nothing which makes the career of specialized research I'm staring down sort of daunting.

Because I'm much better at wasting time than I ever ever knew.

Because when people tell me I'm good at things I think I'm no good at or scary things it makes me want to change my plans. Every time.

Because I want this couple of years to be worthwhile and foundational and productive.

Because I keep having these fantastic intense dense unwieldy conversations with interesting fantastic people and I think: I'm good at this, this is what I love.

And where does that leave me? Swayed by moods and by compliments and by Facebook? Alternately, everyday, bored and exhilarated by this endeavor?

I bought a book called "Life of the Muses" which I still haven't read and which told the story of some half-dozen inspirational women, the Fanny Brauns in the lives of so many Keats. Keatses? I love this idea and love this story, right? Find me a very troubled brilliant man and I will make him less troubled and more brilliant? (Until he gets too much of either and tosses me out.)

Not brilliant.

Ok. I'll get back to work now. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kids Will Be Skeletons

So a couple of years ago some friends of mine introduced me to Mogwai specifically and ambient music/postrock/whatever in general. It took a minute for me to catch on but. Especially lately I've been spending a lot of time in the graduate carrels (10-20 interesting and opinionated people sharing an office) and have been listening to a Mogwai-based Pandora station to keep my head in the game. Love. Love trying to winnow out the good stuff from the overly Maxwell-lick-my-ear-beats and campy dancy stuff and etc. (This, btw is something that fascinates me about Pandora endlessly, where musical qualities meet social and cultural mores. Oldies stations are soo hard to engineer, the music is 90% associations and 10% poppy guitar.) Love the band/song names. Love love love the party in my brain and no one's invited but me and maybe, like, Wayne Booth when I'm working on him.

This: what's it called when the music takes advantage of stereo sound and slides its way around my brain? Like a finger around a crystal goblet or (everything here sounds sexual because it's such a sensory experience) something?

Also, I have a thing for repeating themes--the short ones, less than 10 notes maybe--that just keep going and going and maybe changing a little? "Everything in its Right Place" is a good example for me. This probably, also, has a real name. Anyone? Heart.

Sometimes I sit just swooning enjoying this stuff. Thanks for the intro you guys are the greatest.

And, in the spirit of musical sharing:

Call for Mix CDs

What are you listening to lately? Do you want to send me some? Or names and I'll look them up myself (or if you have issues with piracy. Arr.)?

My best stuff always comes from friends always.

Toodles. :)

Monday, September 28, 2009


(though anxiety dreams?! About Christmas break? Terrible way to wake up.)

Today I ate lunch at the Pendulum Court, which was surprisingly tasty. I waded my way through Bakhtin (mind-buzzing and succesful). I got a giant coke, enjoyed the fall colors, talked to some 2nd years about the impending doom (I got my first papers in today. Doom.) and they told me that probably I'd be ok. That next time will be better. It was good to talk through. I am generally hard on myself and it's hard to know whether this is warranted.

I saw a fantastic episode of the Gilmore Girls (how do they manage to be continually in the fall?)--the one where Christopher's fiancee has a baby. It's interspliced with scenes from Lorelai's life, kind of beautiful.

I made a date to make chocolate-chili fudge.

I wonder about cycles. Like every 24 hours we get to wake up and try it again. And once a week we get a Sunday and a reboost. And once I month I realize, suddenly, why everything seems so terrible (this, btw, was not one of those times) and feel connected to larger ebbs and flows and deeply content. And the seasons let us start over. And years. And whatever. I believe in starting new. In cycles.

But I have a hard time believing in change...or change for the better at least. I feel like I watch relationships fall apart and people miss their potential and society deteriorating (even if postmodernism is fake and we've always felt this way). What do you think? Do things change for the better? Can people change?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm not going to lie

I'm sort of over/underwhelmed by my life and I keep feeling guilty that maybe it's spilling into my blog and I'm going to be one of those bloggers...and I really respect those of you who are positive all the time (I keep your blogs to read as a treat when I have a bad day. Or sometimes read them impulsively and they always make me happy and always make me think), but I have plenty to feel guilty about. And if you don't like it, well, there's probably something else you can be doing with your time. :)

I slept in until 11 today. Until noon yesterday. There comes a time (a couple of years ago) when this is no longer acceptable but days are hard to face sometimes. Hard to face that I'm really going to have to learn how to teach finally. Hard to face that I have to win approval from my professors again. Hard to face the fact that sometimes I'm mean and thoughtless and I could probably be better. And so I sleep late. And then watch TV instead of reading scriptures. And then watch Mean Girls instead of reading articles. Articles which should matter. Which, when I do read them--after watching Happy Feet which, again going for honesty here, is a mess of a film, epic Disney fail, really--do end up mattering. Even if I feel like their being assigned is kind of busywork. If I feel like in that way I'm getting a taste of my own medicine (really interesting, btw, going from teacher back to student. I would've hated me).

So I'm trying to think through this because it doesn't seem like a great way to live my life. And I think about how I chose this life. And how I'm super lucky that I get to do this (who are we, students/academians everywhere? Yes we work a lot in a competitive industry, but I have breakfast dates. I can skiv off for things. Ridiculous) and how I love it.

And I'm trying to not care so much about people because they are everywhere and boss me around without knowing it and I'm failing them without being sure how. I've not felt this lost in crowds since my mission maybe when I was supposed to have already mostly learned the language and I wandered panicked and in a fog...

I'm having a hard time finding my focus. Or really believing that my time is mine and I can do what I want with it and no one is making me do anything. Or appreciating the things I have and can do. Or the lovely friends who are there for me always...

Ick ick ick.

On the plus side: I made my first Frog-eye salad. It was lovely and took up sooo much space in my trash can (the making of it--4 cans of fruit, cool whip container, etc. Processed food).
Ken Burn's new doc does justice to America's best idea. John Muir was a madman and a saint and his wife wrote him a letter after a jaunt up Rainier (I was excited and then I was at the top) saved his life telling him to use his life to save the wilderness. (It's so tense in the early years. I keep waiting for Teddy Roosevelt to ride in and toss out the moneychangers.)
My walk home goes through one of the most beautiful corridors in all autumnal Provo (by the duck pond, oh I love it).
A drive through the Alpine Loop didn't leave me stranded without gas on an unnamed backroad.
Pho Noodle House: ok.

Anyway. So much in my head this last month or two. So faily feeling.

Happy Monday?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dear Walmart:

Those huge bags of candy you've begun selling? What are you calling those? Halloween candy? For those of us who like to keep giant bags of candy unopened and uneaten for a month and a half?



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What I'm thinking about

1. When a person's income has been slashed and she can no longer afford her fabulous tattooed hairstylist the question remains: much shorter or much longer? I'm leaning, of course, toward shorter.

2. How much Coke can a grad student choke if a grad student would choke Coke?

3. Appeals to place. This rhetorical theorist talks about how place and time are intertwined--he cites Leslie Marmon Silko talking about storytelling, telling stories about the places where people still live and the things they still see and how place, then, becomes layered--the place we are, the place it was then, or then--and time twines through those layers instead of marching on linearly. I was thinking about how this applies (or not) in the Judeo-Christian tradition: how Judaism was always on the move, and how does that change ideas of progress or time (both). And how Mormons place the Garden of Eden in the Midwest. How Jackson County is Zion. What happens when traditions revolve around actual instead of mythical place? Why have Mormons adopted such a progressive worldview when our beginning and end points are already mapped?

4. Thesis topic candidates--Civil Discourse and New Media: something pithy about humans and computers. Beginning, Middle, End: Narrative, Rhetoric, and Meaning-making. American Lit: Poetry? Feminism? something.

5. Dan Muhlestein. I never took him as an undergrad, avoided him on the basis that his followers (disciples they were, adulating) were dismissive and cynical. Now that I'm dismissive and cynical I love the guy. Love this theory class because it's introductory so is theory when is just sort of nosing toward problematic. But is not actually problematic. (Or maybe I just love it because it's theory.)

6. The fall! Rainstorms and leaves changing and I'm always overwarm because I'm wearing my sweaters already. Love it love it love it.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oh yeah, I love this stuff is why.

So. A note on me and change. I love change. Or the idea of it: I love last days at work and suddenly skipping town (or the country) and signing yearbooks and saying goodbye. When change actually happens, though, I take a long long time to normalize. I go into watch mode. (My favorite line of Dr. Suess from my favorite book: "It's gray day, everything is gray. I watch, but nothing moves today.") I make piles, I sleep in, I'm super introspective, it's kind of mental hibernation. Something I've put together about myself.

BUT. I think I'm back.

School is going great. Great. The transition was hard (Dear graduate school: do you think you could spend a little less energy trying to terrify me and a little more energy on throwing me catered banquets with really exceptional polenta? Thanks.) and I've been go-go-go-ing from the time I throw myself out of bed until I fall back into it 16 hours later. I had a couple of small panic attacks (Connie and Dave: I will probably not be dropping out of school to start a non-profit) but. This is where I am. I'm going to work hard here and see what happens and I'm really excited.

This is where you are.

I wrote about this? In the book Plainsong a teenage girl finds herself pregnant and kicked out of her mom's house and talking to a teacher. She says something like she wishes she could move or go or didn't have to face her neighbors. The teacher says "this is where you are now." I love this. I love this and this is why: when I panic (when we panic?) I tend to look way way outside of myself for answers. I need to move to Mexico. I need to buy a trampoline. I need to run a triathlon. But that's hardly ever the right answer. The right answer is to make where I am the right place.

I was going to write some of the fantastic stuff I've been thinking through (we got to the theory part of my Research in Rhetoric seminar and I'm on effing cloud nine) but it will have to wait till I'm a little more coherent (and not watching Night of the Living Dead. And making zucchini muffins for Good Food Friday in class tomorrow).


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Loose Ends: II

I was right in expecting it: this week I have been lambasted with unresolved issues. Half-finished relationships and all sorts of repressed emotions re-emerging. Even with mental preparation I'm sort of reeling--there is way more stuff here than I anticipated (though in many ways, it's been much easier than I thought and I think I did ok--what do you think, loose ends?). The news, though: I feel totally humbled and happy and hopeful. (Weird.)

The thing I learned: nothing is ever finished. The problems I pretend to bury inevitably resurface. My world is a very small one, granted, but I feel like the longer I live, the more I see that the world is small. We run in crowds, everyone knows everyone, how did I think I was going to outrun this?

My sister pointed out that our life-as-progression is less about defeating an endless series of character flaws (compulsive lying--check, serial murder--check, chewing fingernails--check) than about doing battle again and again with the handful of flaws we've been fighting all our lives.

And so I find myself pulling open festering stitches and pawing through boxes to find rubbing alcohol and neosporin. Letting myself feel and acknowledge the sting.

I'm excited, I feel blessed, because maybe this time I can dig the pebbles out for good.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


1. Frank McCourt of course is who I mean.
2. I don't hate men. Or anyone (you know, within reason). What I mean to say: I'm done obsessing over what people think about me. I'm done being hurt by thoughtless words or actions. I've spent a long time concerned about these things and I'm tired and I'm done.
3. That bit on love sounded really arrogant and terrible. Of course I want to be completely swept off my feet. But I am starting to wonder if I am even capabale of feeling that ever. I'm certain that you fell in love and it was wonderful. Yeah. Poorly put.

In a minute I'll start posting again for real. Thanks for indulging me. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The long and short of...

Costa Rica: I came home early. One day I will go back and explore Granada and the San Blas Islands. I promise.
My brother-in-law asked me for my three best-and-worst moments of the trip and I answered terribly. So my revised list:

  • Best #1--swimming (as clothed as you'd like to imagine) on our first day. Quepos. Substantial wave action. The sun going down. Me+the ocean and the thrill of swimming fast and far underwater, sort of disappearing there. This. This is why I spent weeks planning and packing and a night on the plane.
  • Best #2--Gabriel Garcia Marquez's yellow butterflies. Were everywhere. Everytime I saw one I thrilled a little. I think there's something here I'm saying about finally experiencing Latin America, just a taste of it, and hopefully not in an objectifying way. I guess something about wanting to experience more.
  • Best#3--Becoming a man-hater. This isn't what it sounds like, but has more to do with getting in touch with me and God and our relationship. And with knowing how I feel and with expressing how I feel precisely. And getting comfortable with me. And telling off a bully which was delicious. Teasy teasy teaser.
  • Worst #1--La Fortuna. Ripped off, bad hostel, no lava. Fail.
  • Worst #2--The moment when, after driving with aplomb the entire 2 weeks and me admiring in the "there's no way in hell I could pull this off" sort of way, Jennie told me I needed to take back the rental car. We'd driven all night to the airport (getting lost sort of and taking a wild detour) and I'd waited for an hour while she checked in and I was sleep deprived and panicked and I nearly cried. (Great turn-around, btw--fantastically nice people, not a bad drive, a long morning nap in my gorgeous Quaker-run hostel.)
  • Worst #3--I went to this bonfire at a bar in San Elena. I was talking to these Irish school teachers Donald and someone and we were getting along really well (a balm to a sort of 'you don't fit in at the beach'-roughened heart) and the party was good and mellow. I walked Jennie back to our hostel, then went back to the bonfire and it had nightmared out. The adorable Irishmen were so occupied with their discussion of Costa Rican weed that they didn't notice I'd come back, our California friends had left, and the Costa Rican kid who was chatting with me was accosted by local girls who started calling me puta to my face. Grody.

Seattle. Is a run-down sort of place. Great company, bad city. We did cool stuff--running and a great bike ride and delicious food. A day in Portland which was fantastic. A very mellow vacation.

Frank O'Hara: I love you for many things. Teacher Man was lovely and may have changed my life a little. Your reading at AWP was phenomenal. You seem like a great kid. But Angela's Ashes just wasn't that good. A tragedy I know, and I mean that in all respect for the dead. But really?

Love. I may not believe in it. Or maybe my definition is shifting? I read The English Patient and there's all this inexorable passion. I was listening to something, too, a song or This American Life or something about how it feels to fall in love and I kind of think it's bullshit. Love is hard work and calm joy I think. And there's thrill, but is the thrill so different from, like, getting a raise or having a really good party? Extended? And the thrill isn't really love anyway, right? It's just someone like stroking your ego: You think I'm cool and I think you are too? There's more here, but I've been surprising myself with my own pragmatism lately. I don't think this has too much to do with man-hating, btw.

Maybe I'll post sooner than later. :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Travelogue: get over it.

So. Costa Rica. It's been sort of intensely flying by, sorry, those of you who've been wondering, that I've not been super detailed in my report. But it's only been a week. And I've blogged twice. Whatever. (Long too, sorry.)

Sort of play-by-play:
We got into San Jose at like 6 in the morning and rented a car. I am not driving (thankfully/necessarily/duh). We drove down crazy winding jungly hills and learned how to disregard roadmarking/kph signs entirely and Jennie took to it like a fish to water. "There are fewer rules, so everyone does what needs to be done." I know I couldn't do it (not aggressive enough, obv.) but she's a natural. Renting a car was a genius idea: more on this later.

Tuesday we spent with the Bakers in Quepos (three-four hours SW of San Jose, near the coast). We swam in their complex's private pool in the afternoon and ate and went to the beach in the evening.

I love the beach. LOVE. I know I live in the desert and am not one of those water people who shrivels and dies without a Powell/Cali trip every couple of months, but everytime I get back in the ocean a little part of me feels like home. So we swam and got eaten by mosquitoes alternately while the sun set. I made the resolution to skinny dip my way through the country (like 5 and counting? more?) which has changed my life a little. :)

Wednesday was the sloth day. We hiked through Manuel Antonio, a nature preserve (the sloths!) which was incredible. On a turbulent white sand beach we saw a white-faced monkey steal and then return some guy's sunglasses.

Then dinner and on Thursday we took to the road.

Renting a car was awesome--I feel like we've seen so much of the country and been able to go and go and go. A (small) downside: we only have CDs bummed off of 16-year-old Celie Baker, which while fun is also pretty heavily weighted toward Avril and Brittney and screaming screaming boys. Adds a certain something. :) Our car is little, though, and a manual and has been totally thrashed by bumping through stretches of pot-holed, rocky, and otherwise unpaved roads. I'll post pics when I get 'em.

We headed north, up the Nicoya peninsula (beachtowns). We took a ferry across from the mainland (I also love boats. Incredible again.) then down to the tip of the peninsula: Montezuma. Tiny, cozy beach town. We spent the first day relaxing in hammocks out back and swimming. With and without suits. The courtyard behind the hostel smelled vaguely of lotus: 3-12 people sitting quiet staring at the ocean. All day and into the night. Kevin who owned the hostel was all sorts of helpful and adorable. The food was waaaay expensive (which doesn't matter when you're on the beach all day, right? You have like a yogurt for breakfast and a gatorade for lunch and the rest of the time you're too hot to care) and there were tourists, but it was little and fun.

Day 2 in Montezuma was a highlight: Jennie loves waterfalls, so we went waterfall hunting. An easy hike (up the river) in found us in this crazy jungle waterfall. We swam around and under and followed locals in jumping into deep bits, then followed locals up this crazy jungle trail (we were climbing up roots and stuff) to 2 more waterfalls. One was like 40 feet high. We swam and lounged and eventually I jumped off the sucker. Why I do these things I'm not sure, but it was awesome and there are pictures.

Jungle waterfall: vines, moss, everything is green...the water is this deep tealy blue over the dark volcanic rock. Delicous.

Buzz buzz fastfoward to Tamarindo, another, much more touristy beach town. Really cool people, a hostel with a great patio area and totally awful mattresses. I hardly slept here at all. And crazy mosquitoes. We met some really cool Dutch kids (I have such good luck with Nederlanders always) who told me about the San Blas islands in Panama and Chris the Australian who recommended Nicaragua. More on this later.

Then inland to La Fortuna. I will write something about a town named Fate at the base of a volcano (Arenal) whose main income is obviously tourism. I don't really want to talk about La Fortuna. I saw no lava. We were screwed twice (fool me once...). We just left this morning and I'm still pretty bugged. Grr. (Oh, we found this hot spring--it's a warm river right off a bridge and we swam in the jungle in the dark. It was relaxing and delicous.)

But now we're in Santa Elena. I'm on my way to do a canopy tour--ziplines, a 1 km Superman flight. I'm splurging.


Nicaragua is cheap. And I hear Granada is fantastic. And I'm here anyway, no? Jennie and I will part ways tomorrow and then I'm off--

I'll be careful. I love you. Toodles. :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dear Mom

Do you remember that rrreeealllly bad sunburn I got when I was 15? We went with Scott and jetskis to Utah Lake and wanted a tan so didn't wear any sunblock? And you spent most of the night draping wet towels on me and I didn't go to church because I was shivering uncontrollably? And it blistered and peeled and was a giant gross mess?

I may or may not have that one beat. (We're still in the red-getting-redder phase, I haven't yet been able to assess damages.)

The ocean here (Playa Tamarindo) is beautiful. Entirely touristy, but beatiful.

Loves, ke.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Costa Rica: I'm for it

(So you know that Office when Michael comes back from Sandals Jamaica all converted by the culture? At this point I still feel a little like that. I'll write more after i get some rice and beans in me.)

a) Miniature things so far: mini tortillas! mini (baby) lizard! in the Bakers' condo!

b) beaches so far: awesome. Salt and sand and sun and I always feel like I'm going home even though I live in the desert. More on this later? We swam in a cove where the water waved up right to the jungle's edge. Mountainy jungle. Fantastic.

c) Sloths! We saw 2 today and they were adorable. We're trying to maybe decide if a trip over to the Caribbean side is worth it--the sloth treatment center that you can see if you YouTube "costa rica baby sloth" is over there. Probably worth it right?

Tomorrow we take up wandering in our rental car. Maybe back here next week for the Surfing World Championship. Awesome. :) ke

Monday, July 20, 2009


So I'm addicted to crisis. This is nothing new to any of you who know me. But this last couple of days I've been in a wild mad dash (I decided to extend my Central American adventure 3 weeks) to get everything done and I've LOVED it. LOVE. Short nights, leaving meetings early, drinking lots of diet coke, making big decisions in intense bouts of critical thinking, packing, moving, shopping, planning. I feel so alive.

I know I know, this is pretty unhealthy behavior and isn't sustainable and isn't even really possible (thanks to: Dennis, Connie and Dave, Anne, Liann, Amanda, Heather, Mary and like a thousand others who have helped by lending or lifting or letting me flake), but after a year of trying really hard to be smart and thorough and stolid, it has felt soo good to let loose and rush.

I'll post maybe. Or see you at the end of August.

Loves, ke.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yes Please

(4 days and counting. Getting a little nutty.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dear Patrick

I would like to have your babies.

Annie: I will name them after you.

Much love, ke.

This is me with girl hair. GIRL HAIR! I'm so adorable I might be accidentally seducing you as we speak. Patrick at Shep Salon in Provo. (My roommate Tabitha uses him too.)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

sounds so good tonight

(Bad audio, sorry.)

Sunday, July 5, 2009


So I feel like I'm a pretty good communicator. Not, like, in the healthy relationship sense necessarily, where I'm able to be open about my emotions with another person, but I feel really comfortable expressing myself verbally. I've always kind of taken this for granted, maybe. The more I read, though, and meet different people the more I realize that being able to say what I mean is really valuable and not universal. And I remembered the other night what it's like to want to express something and not to be able to.
I was walking up Center St late. It was like 11 on the 4th and cars were still lined up trying to get home from the Stadium of Fire. Someone was playing something hiphop-y and beat-driven really loud and I wanted to bust a move. Real bad. I wanted to dance at them that I felt young and alive and beautiful and I was so glad we all got to share that gorgeous evening. But I couldn't. I felt inarticulate and clumsy and kind of repressed.
Or sometimes the only thing my soul wants is to scream its way through a wild 10 mile run. Run until I'm squeezed dry, until it stops aching or trembling or whatever. And though I'm a pretty good runner, I can't always run until it's time to stop. I half-deal with the problem, then my body gives out and I'm left unresolved.

The running I'm working on.

I took a modern dance class once trying to teach my body the vocabulary of grace. It was mostly mortifying. Our final was a solo that we choreographed: I tried to express the liberation of expansive skies and the open road. I got an A- which seemed pretty generous to me.

This blows my mind.

And not just because it's in Spanish. Crazy hot and dusty and their flinging bodies. AMAZING. When I do approach this kind of ecstasy? And release? So gorgeous and perfect.

I'm a writer not a dancer?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day


I worked today. In order to make this seem like it was less of a bad idea I ate lots of crap. Except for the pink lemonade snow cone this backfired completely (in that it made me feel much worse and not better at all). I think there's a lesson here about freedom from addiction? Like wouldn't it be great if I stopped eating salt and vinegar Lays (we need to discuss vinegar because I love it) before I wanted to hurl? Or could just have a little coke. If it's there I'll eat it. If I'm feeling down I'll go and get it. Diet Coke is alternately the best thing ever invented and kind of disgusting.

Dear John*,

Please stop telling me how to do my job.

Love, ke.

*John is my boss. So basically he's paid to tell me how to do my job. In moments of clarity I realize this briefly. Yesterday we were shovelling dirt in the blazing afternoon sun (I learned at Fort Laramie that a military punishment for public drunkenness was digging holes just to fill them in again. Granted, they had to do it wearing a barrel and a sign that said DRUNK, but this has been our project this week) while John sat in the shade or in his truck. He corrected my rock-moving method. I snapped something probably unnecessary. He's nice.
Also, those of you who knew this but knew better than to say anything (because when's the last time I took advice?): I am too old for this job. It has its lovely bits, certainly, but what am I doing taking orders from 19 year olds?

I am too old to be cynical about the 4th of July. I say take the day to celebrate. Enjoy the screaming and the too much meat and the traffic and the fireworks. Fireworks are beautiful and everyone looks up in unison and awe and they're loud and bright and I love them. These 19 year old boys I work with are soo over the 4th and I want to shake them and order them not to waste this beautiful night. That there are only so many holidays like this. That the summer is almost over and we need to make something of it before it fades and dies. (The Armenian word for celebrate or commemorate is the same as mark, like to mark on a calendar. Mark this day, friends.) (Also, coming to terms with my own disappearing life. My nephew, who was born when I was in high school--I remember getting out of class to go and see him, I remember like it happened last week--is starting 6th grade this year. Which I also remember like it happened a minute ago. I went into the MTC 5 years ago last week. WTF. This may have something to do with my impatience with these kids--turns out they're not lying when they say it's going to fly.)

Boston, July 4, 2000 (ish). I was there for FCCLA Nationals. We were sitting on a long curb, the 30 or so of us from Provo High. We couldn't see the stage, but there were huge monitors everywhere blasting the Boston Pops. We wandered under the trees and bought frozen lemonades and flirted and played and ran amok. When the sun set we watched fireworks to music. The last number was Imagine which is weird I think but the song is so evocative and there were thousands and thousands of people and their faces were lit up and they were all looking the same way and I was overwhelmed with awe and connection. My favorite 4th of July.

In an interview with David McCullough on RadioWest he was talking about how hard times build patriotism, and not in a "chest-thumping" kind of way, but real patriotism: love of country. I love this country. I love the people and kinds of people the US produces--the cynical ones and the smart ones and the sweet ones and the rash ones. I love the land, the open skies, the mountains and forests and the wild open stretches of nothing at all. I love the art we make--clean lines and bright colors; gruff, broken protagonists, all of it still wide-eyed with possiblity and overwhelmed with beauty.
We're weird and arrogant and pushy and rude and all of that. We make decisions that confuse and frustrate me. We say things I wish we didn't.

I love it.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

So. Life plans.

I don't know how much I wrote about praying and fasting and agonizing over what to do. And how I found some peace with my decision to teach and go to school both. Life was going to be hectic, but also happy. Well. Scheduling got in the way and I had to choose. So I'm dedicating my next couple of years to studying only. Weird because I thought I was decided and thought I was right. Cool because the life of a student sounds soooo appealing right now. I will have to ween myself off of Banana Republic (Gerard knows me by sight. I think he'd remember my name if I went in this weekend. He's fantastic), but I think that not waking up at 6 every morning sounds delicious. And I might have time to run? Yummy.

There's is something to be said about learning how to make good decisions. Bad decision: living in a house with a newlywed couple and no living room because a garden party would be beautiful and I like having a contract signed. (I need to get out of this still, but can and will.) I know this is a bad decision. I'm going to make it right. Bad decision: trying to split myself 17 ways with school and teaching and teaching. I know that I want to teach, but I can wait for a minute, get a little experience, and go back to it. Dedicate myself completely (and most of my sanity) to the project. Bad decision: cinnamon bears+fudge+pretzels+diet coke+meat loaf "sandwich"+13 hours in the car. This is not easy stuff. But. I can choose well and choose happiness.

Also: when I'm making bad decisions, or am undecided, I find myself unable to write. Weird? There's this silent panic in me. Like my soul is constipated maybe. So here I am again. Getting my life in order. Feels great.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

America's Best Idea

Final count: 3 days, 6 states, 1850 miles. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009


Today I was listening to a short story called "Emergency" by Denis Johnson. The storyline basically is that an orderly and friend find some LSD (thanks) in a cabinet of the 1973 hospital in which they work, drop it, and mostly imagined hilarity ensues. The story was entertaining and well written, and the commentary before the reading spoke of incongruous events, but about halfway through I started getting dizzy and feeling frantic and sick, and I had to turn it off. My day had been productive, but that kind of multivalent productive--lots of computer work, to and from my car, looking at apartments, etc--where 10:00 felt a lot like 1:00. Dizzy, sick, I had to turn it off.

Shortly after he died, I was reading a collection of short stories by David Foster Wallace. I got to "The Girl With Curious Hair" (also the name of the collection), got halfway through, and the same thing: dizzy, naseated. Had to put the thing down.

The ride home from Scanner Darkly was really similar, a friend talking me down. And I stopped Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (which I now own and have still never finished) midstream--I was dozing, sleep-deprived--and had to leave my apartment and walk around the block.

I think I can imagine the appeal of taking acid. Something about getting outside of your brain, about creativity and maybe about giving up control and that being really enlightening. And I think the physiology of drugs is fascinating--it was my favorite unit in Psych, and one of my favorite convo topics when I hung around more with people with experience. I don't know, maybe I would really enjoy a good trip, but the idea of losing control, losing track of time and reality for any period of time terrifies me. Sort of irrationally I think.

I write and want to teach writing. A lot of what I teach is how to pull a reader along an argument--striving toward some kind of logical linearity. A means B means C (or whatever). I know that this is sort of a naive and formalistic understanding of argumentation, but I think that at the level I teach, it works. It feels like I'm teaching fundamentals. But I like finding relationships between facts and arguments. I like putting these things in order.

I had a discussion with a friend (and later with my sisters) about plans. I like plans. I like to know plans. If there's not a plan but there should be I stress out. I don't have to plan, but I need to know there is one or that there doesn't need to be one. I like to print out maps so I don't have to rely on someone else's directions (which I may forget or not be able to conceptualize--you know? when they've listed the fourth turn and "you should turn north along Miller and follow it down the hill" and everything jumbles and you have no idea where you should be? And everyone's waiting for you? Eeeckh), I like to know what other people are wearing (or turn up in torn jeans and feel uncomfortable all night?) or bringing or going to eat. Not because I need people to do what I say, I just feel better if I know there's some sort of defining logic.

So. Does anyone else get jittery around acid? Is this totally neurotic? There's probably something more here...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The things I'll do

for a free t-shirt.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dear Loose Ends: (disclosure)

So I thought I could get away with avoiding you all forever. Or that the loose-endiness would just disappear or I'd grow up or something. Turns out I was wrong and we're going to have to interact. I'm going to have to deal with the all of you. And I'm no more prepared to do it than I was when I ran away the first time.

Instead of, like, living in awkwardness, or confronting each other, what do you say we fight? KE+loose ends cage match? You can all take me on at once, if you'd like, just as long as we can get over this and so my stomach doesn't shrivel and dance every time I see your names?

As far as I can tell, this may be our only shot at normalcy.

You're lovely, all. ke

The less/more cryptic issue is this: isn't it weird the way that we are forced back into situations? I find myself in this weird repeat cycle. Like. I work with 19 year old boys. They're nice and lovely, but I keep doing ridiculous awkward things and then flashing back into the MTC: me+4 elders and all the weird competition and feelings of incompetence and marginalization come flooding back. I still admire those kids, but it sucked a lot. And I didn't know what to do or how to act and I hated it.

And BYU. I thought I'd left all the drama behind because I left. But no. It's there still. Waiting for me.
And knowing that it's all in my head doesn't really help, actually. It would be better if everyone knew because at least then my inexplicable behavior would make sense and everyone could be awkward together and realize that it's not that I'm socially inept (entirely) but just that there's weirdness and the weirdness is chasing us and threatening to eat out our innards while we watch, screaming. Maybe I should make t-shirts or something:
There is Residual Weirdness
For No Good Reason I Haven't Forgiven You
What is Your Problem?

Aaach. In all honesty I feel trapped by all these emotions that I hate and am not sure how to overcome.

Too much honesty probably. Mom: you don't need to worry, I'm just venting. Loose Ends: I'll figure it out, no worries.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Summer Part 2/Book Recommendation

Today was awesome. Again. And it's only 3:30.

Part of the awesomeness: Plainsong by Kent Haruf. Have you guys read this yet? How did I miss it? It was a National Book Award finalist and is just good. Deep down to the bones good. I have no words.

Relatedly: I've been thinking about competence lately. For a second I was claiming that I love me a competent man, but really I am attracted to the ungendered trait. I started thinking about it in terms of Cormac McCarthy (I will have new classes in the fall and will stop harping on Mr. McCarthy I promise)--his protagonists are all great with their hands. They can fix things and make things and calm horses and do whatever, really, is necessary. So much so that I started wondering about competence and maleness...for reasons unimportant here I feel a lot of pressure to be competent, but I wonder if that's something that we expect more of boys? A sort of defining social pressure?
The idea also come into play with my dad: he's sort of ridiculously competent. He can lay sod and refinish floor and choose good pastry and good restaurants and run businesses and he knows his way around the world...and I don't think this is just weird Freudian hero worship either: my dad is not competent at many important emotional things--I don't suspect he's perfect--it's just that he's good at everything else.
And competence is weird--can we really expect a person to be good at everything? And it's more knowing basic skills, right, and how to use them, or knowing how to learn things. It's more of an attitude than a personality trait?
And it seems like valuing competence is a little dangerous. I lose patience with people who fumble really quickly, which is ironic because I'm clumsy and silly and incompetent-seeming all the time. And I think valuing competence so highly kind of sets me up for that: I'm easily flustered if I make a mistake because I expect perfection. Or something.

Anyway. Plainsong is a about life (lives) in small town Colorado. The men are ranchers/farmers--quietly (undeniably) competent. One of the subplots, too, revolves around a woman coming to know herself--coming to trust herself and attain a very typically feminine brand of competence ("I have Maggie Jones here and she thinks you're right.")

Yeah, and this is where it all comes together, I mean, the feminine (emotional/social) competence in the book is embodied by women who aren't afraid to look reality in the eye and who don't despair over life despite that. They know what needs to be done and why. The men, too, have about them that sort of calm. They can look a problem up and down and figure it out. For Guthrie and the McPheron's it's more a matter of, like, around the farm kind of stuff...I'm rambling. Competence is an attitude born of careful thinking and past success. If you tackle a project thoughtfully and thoroughly, if you've practiced, you're bound to do well. The attitude is as important as the skill...And if you assume competence in those around you they're more likely to succeed? In whatever endeavor you're pursuing.

Anyway. The book was lovely.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Today I checked in textbooks, got my yearbook signed, went to lunch with the Type-A Club, went to graduation (where I didn't cry and which I should've been in charge of), went shopping for t-shirts, read a book (Plainsong--what is it that's so endearing/appealing about the idea of curmudgeony old bachelors taking in a teenaged girl?), bought my summer sandals, went for a walk for frozen yogurt, watched Bella (liked it. Mostly a vehicle to fall you in love with this fellow. Mission accomplished.) In a word, it's summer. And I'm stoked.

I may at some point wax reflective/philosophical about my year and about summer and about June but for now I am content. Happy it's done for a sec.

Tomorrow: 10K. Hurrah!

Monday, May 25, 2009

If I May Direct Your Attention

So, mostly so I keep track of all of this (summer YA reading), I've started a new blog. Miss Evans Reads. I'm open to suggestions on names. Maybe something involving fishnets... I hope it will be a more successful pursuit than other blogs I've sort of started. We'll see. :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

blue jeans

I hate to prove John Cougar Mellencamp right, but there's something about summer, no? These last couple of evenings I've come out into perfect breezy evenings and all those feelings of restlessness and longing--those feelings that used to drive me to scrawling poetry by the light of a thunderstorm and to stay up all night reading and go to Macey's at 3 am just because it was there--that I'd thought I'd grown out of or gotten over are stirred up again. I can suddenly sympathize with boys yelling from trucks and with my students who can't sit still and haven't heard a thing I've said this last week or two.

And I love the feeling. And I hate it. All itchy and nervous and go go go. Lonesome and bored and awed and happy and comfortable and hungry and jealous and so much till I wish I could explode or kiss someone or run away.

Today I got my summer job in line. I'll be working for Orem City again, this time at the city center on State and Center. Not quite so idyllic as Timp park (to be in the mountains first thing every morning, it was sooo gorgeous), but not as motion sick/asphalt-heated as Ernesto's road crew. (Except my supervisor, now that I think of it, might be mildly crazy...dang.) I'm totally looking forward to working out this angst in manual labor. To spending my days outside, to Summerfest, to sushi lunches at Target. To lunch hour in the library. I just caught Jim (last year's boss) before he left for the day and I practically skipped out of his office. I LOVE him. Anyway. This also means potential for travel this summer and that I'm not going to starve next year, very reassuring.

There's more here: a weird satisfaction in being able to do manual labor to save up for grad school. I like toeing the blue-collar--white-collar line (one of the reasons teaching is so appealing).
I'm excited to work off flabby.
I'll have to even more fully embrace the early-to-bed lifestyle I've started this year. Too bad I love summer nights just slightly more than I love summer dawns. (I didn't go to a movie tonight so I could wake up early feels like sell out or being boring, but really I just want to run while it's still cool).

Anyway. More than once today (driving to school in the sun with Diet Coke for breakfast, sunroof up, Vampire Weekend loud; discussing evolution with Toni; Albert pounded his monologue; walking out of Jim's office; reading on my roof) I have been entirely overwhelmed with contentment and peace. Ramble ramble, God is on my side. ke

Thursday, May 21, 2009


So I think I'm going to have a little time this summer (this remains to be seen) and thought I would beef up on my YA lit.

My list so far:
Percy Jackson
The Hunger Games

Other suggestions?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I love my job

A student on Brutus:

"He's so honorable"

in the cadence of "he's so dreamy".


Friday, May 8, 2009

The most perfect day

begins rather later than not, nestled in the sectional-turned-nest in a friend's front room.
Features a light breakfast eaten on the patio which is still moist from lots of rain followed by great scripture reading (=direction, validation, reconiliation).
Involves a long long bike ride to adorable downtowns with Cheesetiques or repurposed torpedo factories and national monuments where people watching ensues (a grown woman: look! horsies!, a withered mom: no, up there, no, not that far, smile!, 8th graders racing each other up the steps). This bike ride may result in the first sunburn of the summer and deliciously achey legs.
Includes errands and a delicious cozy dinner with the great friend, and deep conversation (but not too deep because both of you are worn out from a long day).
A quick nap and reading on the couch and a shower from which you emerge entirely a new girl.
Eating snuck-in Ben and Jerry's and watching the hands-down best film you have seen in theatres for years probably (Star Trek. And I'm not a trekky. And not for naught do I abandon a successful conceit. LOVED IT).
Talking on the couch and making farmer's market plans and lemon souffle plans.

Check and check. I am entirely content. :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I feel an apology is due. Mostly my life is under major renovation (what? yours? no way) and things feel too unsettled to poke at them much. (This is directed less at the blogosphere than to you I've been ignoring. And by writing this sorry excuse for anything ignoring even more. Loves.)

I love the spring.

My life is great.

They're selling baby pygmy goats at a farm near my house and I want one.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Writing Prompt

Christian Bale's dialect coach from Newsies meets Christian Bale's dialect coaches from every other New York movie he's done. In a dark alley or not.

What happens then?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dear Skoticus: Yoink.

Some things that have been giving me chills lately. They're all over the place, so you can skip them if you'd like. But it's spring! And things are growing! And tomorrow or Saturday or next week some time it will be warm enough for t-shirts! And people are mostly wonderful!

This one: the idea is great. The whole thing is pretty adorable too, but I've been thinking a lot about validation lately.

And this one.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I do like my hair. I kind of love it in fact. Easy and cute and just edgy enough that I can anywhere I'd like and not get guff. (Like E's show the other night. Complete confidence.) Because you are so considerate and are worried. :)

"Spring" Break

Ok, so there was the blizzard. Otherwise my break so far has been fantastic. A rundown.

1. Mary and Martha. Alea and I have been kicking around the idea of starting a catering company. The first logical step: dinner party "tastings." We spent all of Friday prepping and cleaning for the thing and it was a huge success--I think this is safe to say--despite my very modestly outfitted kitchen and, like, the cats. Hugest successes: Neufchatel+pesto+strawberry won tons. (Trust us.) Alea's cardamom cream puffs with orange filling. Amazing. I ate like 20. And it was lovely to have friends over and I forgot how much I love entertaining. Or the feeding part of it at least. I left the rest of the partiers to chat while I buried myself in the kitchen. Large groups, even of people that I love, make me real nervous some times. Still. Weird.

Here are mini meatloafs with mashed potato toppers. We're so clever.

2. The first official act of spring break came at 6:30 am on Saturday when my body said "wake up we're late!" And I said "nope, spring break," curled up in my flannel sheets, and went to bed for another 3 hours." So gorgeous.

3. Movies watched: Transformers, Kung Fu Panda, half of Dr. Strangelove.

4. I watched two of these movies with this lovely darling sister of mine who lives in Idaho. Her house is adorable, her (BYU-I) campus is also adorable (mini-sized) and she's really one of the kindest, most considerate girls I know. (I'm sorry your whole house smells like onions.)

(She's the one with hair.)

5. The drive to and from. I love driving. I love wide open places (Dixie Chicks be damned) and having to sit quiet and driving through this:

(the corner of Rexburg that is all mowed fields right now) and the mist and mountains of Southern Idaho/Northern Utah when Estelle (the new Ipod) knows exactly what to play. (i.e. DeBussy next to Cabas next to The Who. Perfect.)

6. Today, in the midst of finishing many busy adult things (taxes! oil change! thank you notes! laundry!) I was driving. And it was 10 am and I love being on the road mid-morning. Totally subversive.

7. I have 4 days left. So. Deeply. In. Love.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I am not making a statement.

(Disaster averted. But only just.)

Haircut Fail

So, my new haircut was supposed to look like this:

It does not.

Granted, I'm not so waifish and adorable as our subject here, but I've had short hair before. It's worked. I even brought in the picture.

On the up side, I'm on Spring Break, so I don't have to face a classroom of students for another week--maybe it will somehow miraculously grow and fix itself?

For now, however, I'm locked in my room watching Sinead O'Connor videos and looking at chocolate-based recipes online and trying to make myself feel better.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Making the rounds



My great happiness
is the sound your voice makes
calling to me even in despair; my sorrow
that I cannot answer you
in speech you accept as mine.

You have no faith in your own language.
So you invest
authority in signs
you cannot read with any accuracy.

And yet your voice reaches me always.
And I answer constantly,
my anger passing
as winter passes. My tenderness
should be apparent to you
in the breeze of summer evening
and in the words that become
your own response.

--Louise Gluck

(It helps to know that God is speaking. I may have cried a little.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

April is National Poetry Month! Because it is the cruelest, mayhap?

I'm posting another poem, and I don't feel bad about it. This is one of my favorites from Best American Poetry a couple of years ago.

It features one very flagrant four-letter word (which I actually think works beautifully with the poem, so am only apologetic insofar as some of my readers' sensibilities may be shocked). You've been warned. :)


Tom Christopher

When a sentence is composed of two independent
clauses, the second being weaker than the first,
it is called One-Legged Man Standing. If it
purposefully obscures meaning, it's called Ring
Dropped in Muddy Creek,
or if elegant composed,
Wasp Fucking Orchid. There are words behind words,
and half the time our thoughts spraying out like water
from a hose, half the time banging inside ou rheads
like a wren in a house. When a sentence ends
unexpectedly because someone has punched
the speaker in the face, it's Avalanche Sudden.
When instead the speaker is stopped with sloppy
kisses, it's Dripping Cloud. Not to be confused
with Dripping Cone, when someone overturns
the table, or Bird Pecking the Mountain, when
the sentence goes on for an hour and a half and ends
in a shaking death. If the speaker lies in the driveway
so drunk on cheap wine that one listening cannot
get close to the meaning and thus runs away again,
claiming, "For the last time," it's Pregnant Dog
Cooked in Sun
. If the speaker sells everything for
an old convertible and drives out into the desert
with untintelligible shouting to the pissed-off stars:
Aching Stones Laughing. Forced incongruent words
are Fishes on Fire, and are beautiful but bring us
no closer to the Truth or the Cosmos or the All,
so either we tour Europe looking for the bodies
of saints or drink all night playing Johnny Cash LPs.
Everything we have said, we have said all our lives.
Same for what we haven't said. Learning the terms
doesn't help, we're still filled over the rim with longing.
Already in the poem there is Clamshell Moon, Barn
House Burning, Cow Lowing the Field, One Hundred
Village Bells, Moth Flurry
. Somewhere above, a Torn
a Peasant Girl Crying, a Baby Dropped Through
Smoke to Voices Shouting.
Not much further a Cat
in Heat
, a Wailing Street, and in the end Tree Frogs
Blazing Reeds with Sound.

fron Haydens Ferry Review

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Poem Again

9. Spring

NOTHING is so beautiful as spring—
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Tonight Mr. Hopkins is bringing tears. I love and am so grateful for language. It traps us and ruins us and is laden with imperfection (wears man's smudge and shares man's smell) and isolates us, whose only deepest desire is connection and understanding; but when it works, and in practiced hands, what a glorious thing.

Also for spring. Even under snow, I'm feeling stirrings again that I thought I'd grown out of. Hope again.

Also making me cry:

(I haven't watched the videos, just listened to the songs real loud repeatedly.) (#2 is pretty awful. Just listen.)