Monday, December 31, 2012

'12. Not 1912.

Last year, I was really against a year-end post.
Which is funny, because 2011 was such a big year for me.

So big, really, that I thought 2012 would quite pale in comparison.

But upon reflection, it has been quite remarkable.

And what else is a blog for?

Top 12 about Twelve:
(not ranked, because that would just be too difficult)
(and obviously this is only the good parts.
there have been plenty of bad ones.
don't get the wrong idea.)

1. First time to California.
And I did it twice.
Needless to say, I'm in love.

Me at La Jolla Beach.

2. First birthday party since I was in eighth grade.
And 3948593 people showed up.

With the birthday banner Killy & Tim made me.

3. Went inside two pioneer-made temples 
for the first time this year:
Salt Lake City in February and 
St. George in July.
And attended the Brigham City Temple dedication in September.

Jess & I at the St. George temple.

4. New job description at work,
with more opportunities to plan and train.
And associate with the best people on campus.

In the Freshman Mentoring office.

5. Relief Society president for a semester. Eep!
Seriously, so blessed during that time.
Went on so many dates :)

Here's a nice picture of me from that time.

6. Sent a ton of friends on mission this year.

First her.
Michele: England

Then her.
Rachel: Florida

Then her.
Shelisa: New York

Then her.
Jessica: California

And last, her.
Cassie: Spain

And the other half of them are leaving next year.
But, good news,
the boys my age came home this year!

7. One of my favorite parts of this year
was really just my summer dinner group.
I mean, you get free dinner every night with good company
and you only have to cook thrice over the summer.

The best time was when I made a pioneer feast on Pioneer Day:
barbecued pork sandwiches, potatoes, biscuits, baked beans, strawberries & blueberries, root beer, and peach cobbler.

And then we went to an Orem Owlz baseball game,
and then to Denny's.
It was all very American.

Somehow Jess had never been to a baseball game!
And there was a rainbow.

8. Friends married!

First, Katie. One of the best friends from home.

With all the girls.

And then Lizzie & Clark.
They were a huge part of this year.
Somehow we let all this time pass without a good picture of us being taken.

I think I took this picture.
That's why it's off center.

The night they got engaged!

9. Brought a couple of grades back from the dead
(like that Emily Dickinson class, remember?)
and ended up without a grade lower than an A- this year.
Took the GRE.
And whittled down my list of possible futures.
Linguistics Professor
Museum Studies
Law School
Linguistics Professor (again)
High school teacher

This is John Stuart Mill.
I referenced his theory in a paper I wrote.
And I just love statues.

10. Exactly 100 blog posts this year.
Blogging has been a big part of my life.
Favorite pastime, besides eating.

11. A new development this year that I like to call "Say what you need to say."
When you have something to say, say it.
It helps everyone know what's going on.
And it's done me well.

I don't usually promote these things,
but a lot of this is how I feel.

12. And hey, the world didn't end.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Today I went to church in the building where I grew up.

This is it. Banisters perfect for sliding.

I probably should have said
in the building I grew up going to.

But I think it was right the first way.
I did grow up there.

At every turn, there was someone I knew,
whom I was happy to see.

A building full of lifelong friends.

Most of my Sunday school class was together
for the first time in years.

And I wonder why we wasted so much time back then
not being better friends.
We were all each other had.

But I hope the love I have for them now can make up for it.

Today, I was at home.

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's a wonderful life.

I recently wrote a facebook status hating on Elf.

So I couldn't write another such status,
or everyone would think I'm a Grinch.
(I like that movie, for the record.)

But I just watched "It's a Wonderful Life" with my parents,

and this is my synopsis:

Two hours of stress 
for five minutes of crying
and a couple of cute little kids.

I mean, it is a good movie.

But sometimes George's life wasn't that wonderful.

having a roomful of friends at Christmas at the end of the movie
is what makes a wonderful life,
and I believe that.


I tried something new.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I enjoy being a girl.

Today, while browsing Etsy,
I decided

If I'm going to spend my whole life as a woman,

I might as well wear pretty things in my hair

Etsy shop

and scarves

Etsy shop

and high heels.

Etsy shop

There are a lot of things that women can do
that men can't.

And I should do more of them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Natural Barber.

In middle school and high school, I loved to write stories.

I've been wanting to post something I wrote,
and today on my bookshelf at home, I found the perfect thing.

I never could write a real plot,
and you won't find one here.

I don' hold my breath for snow days. I don' pay no attention to the weather at all. If it happens, it happens. You don't hafta know everything before it happens.

So that's why I'm walkin' down the street in a beat up old windbreaker jus' as it's starin' to snow. Well, look. They all turned out to be right. It was gonna snow. But it didn' help nothin' to chit chat about it. Woulda happened either way.

Mr. Kemp waves to me from the doorway of the barber shop. There he is with a big ol' broom, already sweepin' away the three or four flakes that have had the chance to pile up. But he goes fishin' sometimes with my old man, so I nod back.

Just as I pass his storefront, I hear him call, "Darren!"

I whip around. "Yeah?" My voice is all scratchy 'cause I haven' used it for the past hour and Mr. Kemp took me by surprise.

"How'd you like a job here? Just sweeping the floors?" He grips and ungrips the handle of the broom like somethin' spooked him.

I smile, 'cause Mr. Kemp keeps the word count down, just like I do. I could work for him. He's a real decent guy.

Then I think of a catch. I always look for a catch 'fore I agree to somethin'. 

"My dad put y'up to this?"

Mr. Kemp laughs like he knew I might say that. That puts me out for a quick minute, but soon he says, "No, sir. On my honor as a barber."

I woulda laughed, but my cheeks are too cold. Do ya think they got some barber code of honor? I wouldn' be surprised. Maybe there's a barbers' guild and they issue those red and white striped poles and those aprons.

"I getta wear one of those aprons?" I ask without movin' my lips.

"Standard issue." Mr. Kemp smiles proudly.

I look around like I'm still considering.

"Well, okay. Sounds swell."

Mr. Kemp smiles and beckons me toward the door. A little bell tinkles as I walk through into the warm shop. Whatta nice place. I used ta get my hair cut here, when I cut it regularly. Now my hands fly to the hair around my ears, ashamed.

Mr. Kemp slips into the back room without a word. I look around at the black and white tile floor and the pictures on the walls--movie stars my mother likes, photographs of the town fifty years ago, and advertisements for hair grease and shaving cream. I shuffle around like I'm spooked, but it's justa show.

Mr. Kemp comes back with an apron and Wallace McCann. I forgot--he works here too, don't he? Oh well. He's as gooda fella as any, jus' talks too much.

"Well, Darren Nichols! Whatta guy! How are ya?" Wallace asks. Then he stands with his hands on his hips, waitin' for an answer. Man, does he got bug eyes. After a quick minute, I remember to nod and grunt.

Mr. Kemp shuffles forward and hands me the apron. I slip it over my head like a medal, right over my stupid windbreaker.

"Look at that, Doc," Wallace laughs. "Looks great! He's a natural barber!"

Well that sounds looney.

Mr. Kemp brings me a broom from the closet. "Well uh, let's see how ya do."

I set to sweepin' under the four chairs and under the sinks. It ain't hard or nothin', but I make sure to get all the corners. It's good, honest work. I might even call it swell if I didn't haveta hear ol' Wallace McCann goin' on and on.

"We-el-lllll, looky here! He is a natural, eh Doc? Look at his technique! Reminds me of a young me--yeah Darren, you might not believe it, 'cause I'm a honesta goodness barber now, but I started riiight there where you is now, sweepin' up for Mr. Kemp! Make sure and don' miss those corners! Ha ha ha! Well gawwwlly."

I'm 'bout done now so I stop.

"Done well, Darren," Mr. Kemp says.

I nod and grip and ungrip the broom handle.

Mr. Kemp touches his bald head. "Well uh, can ya manage... an hour? Every day after school? What time does school end these days?"

I wanna tell him I might as well come in the mornings sometimes 'cause I hardly ever go to school, anyhow. But I jus' say, "Two thirty."

"It'll jus' be minimum wage, ya know."

"Yessir." Sir? Yeah, I guess Mr. Kemp is a sir.

He looks out the window. "Well lookit that! It's sure is snowin' now--Get on home, son."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

She wears her heart on her sleeve.

On campus this week I saw a poster entitled
"Acceptable Reasons to Cry in Public."

Some googling informed me that the posters are some sort of
public spectacle essay/art installation.

There were some pretty sad things listed on the poster, like
"You saw an old man at the grocery store
buy one can of cat food,
a pint of milk,
and a candy bar."

However, my personal feeling is that any reason to cry
is an acceptable reason to cry in public.

Where meek souls will receive Him still

I love this video.

Not only do I love cathedral choirs,
where the big men sing the low parts,
and the little men sing the high parts
and wear those funny collars,

but I also love how the congregation joins in.

I love the way the old men,
so stately and distinguished,
sing about the angels and archangels,
cherubim and seraphim.

And how that mother and her adorable baby
remind us of Mary & Jesus.

I love this little group of believers,
singing their praises.
This video is what it means in O Little Town of Bethlehem:

Where meek souls will receive Him still
the dear Christ enters in.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The height of class.

I love living in this world because
there are people 
who rap about Alexander Hamilton.

(mild language)

Doesn't that just make you glad?


I remember when I found out that they were making 
an Abraham Lincoln movie

with one of my favorite actors
playing one of my favorite men.

I remember when the trailer came out.
I watched it twice in a row,

and I cried both times.

Then I saw it with two people I love.

And there in the middle of the theater,
I met my hero.

It felt sweeter than I could have imagined.

He was bound to die from the first minute,
but I flinched as it approached,
grappling for some hope that things could be different.

Don't do it.
Don't kill him.

Ever since I left that theater--
weeks ago--
I have missed him.

I feel homesick for him.

It's weird.

how else do I make sense of my life?

Too good to be true.

It's been a while since I've felt up to writing a post about love.

But today I lay on the floor and listened to my roommates singing.

And I thought:

"This is too good."

I think that a lot, actually.

Because that's how love feels.

Like there must be some trick
because it is too nice
and too lovely,
and things in our world
just can't be that way.

As one who doesn't quite always see life as rosy,
you can trust me:

I'm here to tell you that life is really that good.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The condescension of God.

I am a Christian.

And I love Jesus Christ.

I know that Jesus Christ lived as a god,
but he came to where we are
to be with us and help us.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

"He came down to earth from heaven,
who is God and Lord of all.
And His shelter was a stable.
And His cradle was a stall.
With the poor, and meek, and lowly
lived on earth our Savior holy."

Jesus Christ with the lowly
at the pool of Bethesda

"Our God, heav'n cannot hold Him,
nor earth sustain.
Heav'n and earth shall flee away
when He comes to reign.

Jesus Christ at His second coming.

In the bleak midwinter
a stable place sufficed.
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ."

"For as surely as thou livest,
behold, I have seen my Redeemer;
and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman,
and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name.
Now, when he had said these words,
his heart was swollen within him,
and he sunk again with joy"

When I think about these things,
I feel happy!

I feel important
and not alone.

And that's enough for me
to know they're real.

Friday, December 7, 2012


To you, today might be Pearl Harbor Day.

And it is.

But it's also another important day in history:
Delaware Day.

December 7, 1787:
Delaware is the first state to ratify the Constitution.


Doesn't it just make sense that someone who loves America 
as much as I do
would have to be born it its first state?

I inadvertently wore my Wilmington Blue Rocks shirt today.

But I think it was meant to be.

For your enlightenment, I have draw up the following list.


1. Vice President Joe Biden

2. DuPont, the company which made lycra.
Yes, you have my state to thank for spandex.

3. Bob Marley's mother lived in Delaware at one point. True story.

4. Our state bird is the blue hen, known for its fighting ability.

5. We have an event each year after Halloween
entitled Punkin Chunkin,
in which we catapult off old pumpkins.

You better believe it, baby.

6. We have probably the classiest licence plate in the whole US.

Can't beat gold and navy.

7 - ∞. Etc.

And at the end of the day,
at least we're not New Jersey.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

School's out.

You know in Finding Nemo
how Nemo's all
Well today I'm all