Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I feel free.

On season eight of Project Runway,
Mondo revealed on national television
for the first time in his life
that he was HIV positive.

The plus signs on these pants
represent his being HIV positive.

Afterward, he said,
over and over,
"I feel good.
I feel free."

It made me cry.

Yes,
I thought.

Saying hard things
that need to be said
is what makes you free,
not hiding behind them
to spare someone the hurt.

On Joy and Sorrow, by Kahlil Gibran

Monday, July 29, 2013

Dairy Queen.

When I look back on this summer,
one of my best memories
will be evening runs with Ashley
to get frozen treats.

With no air conditioning in our apartment
and lots of church activities to go to
that we don't always want to attend,
we find lots of reasons to reward ourselves.

Tonight,
the choice was between
McDonalds & Dairy Queen.

At home,
the Dairy Queen never seemed
to have any customers,
and I always felt a little sad
for that empty building.

I'd much rather give Dairy Queen my business
than McDonalds,
I decided.

So we went,
and everything on the menu
looked like it would hit the spot.

We literally let 10 people go in front of us
while we were trying to pick.

I saw a cute father and son,
and it made me think of childhood.
Some evenings were special
for no special reason,
and you got to go to Dairy Queen.

It was there that my dad and I discovered
that I needed glasses.
He asked me if I could read
the billboard across the street.
I couldn't.
The rest is history.

What I'm trying to say is this:
It seems like a real American thing to do
to give Dairy Queen your business.
They deserve it.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Y Chromosome.

Some days,
it's just nice to be a girl,
and to like a boy
for no reason
except that he made eye contact with you
for a little longer than normal
and happens to have a y-chromosome.

(Eye contact optional.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Ray.

I was just thinking to myself,
Ray Charles is so good,
there are no words to describe it.

But then I remembered:
I'm a linguist.
I can find the words.

This is what I came up with:

Ray Charles is so good
that when I hear him,
my heart wants to split
into a million pieces
so each one of them
can individually listen to Ray Charles.

You know the law of diminishing marginal utility?
It says that
the more you consume a good,
the less satisfied you will be
with each successive consumption.

Yeah, that never happens with Ray Charles.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

O Pioneers!

Yesterday was Pioneer Day.

To celebrate,
I ate at an old west restaurant in Lehi
where you can order a drink called
"Rattlesnake Venom--guaranteed to kill your thirst."

We wanted to order everything on the menu.


I made a Pioneer Day playlist.
I feel like my grandfather's granddaughter
when I listen to cowboy music.


I danced the Virginia Reel
and ate homemade chocolate pecan pie
that made me want to sink into the soft earth
and die happily.

...

Over 150 years ago,
my people were pushed out
of every place they tried to settle.

So they followed the sun west,
across the endless plains
and over the towering mountains.

Finally,
they settled in this cozy valley
where I now live.

I love those people,
and others like them in every country.
I like to think
that I hold onto some bit of their strength.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer Love.


As the first-rate busybody that I am,
I love to watch relationships form.

And lately there's been a lot
of summer love going around.

I love it,
and it makes me think of this song,
which just happens to be
one of the best summer anthems out there.


The Four Preps were right
when they said,
Romance runs high
the last two weeks in July.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Nineteen Years Later.

It has always bothered me
that Frodo leaves Middle Earth
once he's destroyed the ring.

That's what I like
about the ending of Harry Potter:

Even when you've defeated evil,
you have to go on living.


Monday, July 22, 2013

How to Be My Boyfriend.


Today, I found a list I'd once made
in a little notebook.

It was probably about 3 years ago.

This is what it said:

How to Be My Boyfriend:
1. Hair: cut it short
2. Piano: play it
3. Suits: wear them
4. History: love it
5. Serious: be it

It's absurd on so many levels.
I don't even know where to begin.

Well, here goes:
What boys do I even know
that don't have short hair?
This is Provo.

Why so much stock in playing the piano?
I already play the piano.
He can have his own hobbies.

...

Truth is,
this list was written by a me
who know little if anything
about anything.

All I can do
is laugh kindly at her,
pat her head,
and say,
"There, there dear."

...

Post Script:
I guess I'm looking back at that Rachel
too harshly.

She wasn't serious.
It was just for fun.

I tried to think
of what I would write on such a list now.

And all I could come up with was

1. Beard: grow one

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Wedding Reception.

Going to wedding receptions
usually seems like a drag.
Maybe that's just me.

But tonight,
I went to my dear friend Matt's reception.

There were so many
old friends
to be seen.

Old jokes
to be repeated.

Old nicknames
to be called.

The new Mr. and Mrs.
danced their first dance,
and I cried.

Sure, wedding receptions are stilted.
But sometimes they remind you
that no matter how much life changes,
you always get to make new friends
and keep the old.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Coming of Age.

Roll your eyes if you must,
but I just read Anne of Green Gables.

My sister and I have never liked
"coming-of-age stories,"
mostly because that means that the main character
doesn't fall in love at the end.

But this book is everything good about growing up.

Working hard
and getting smarter.

Getting prettier.

Getting better at things,
and not making those mistakes you used to.

Realizing that people can love you.

Quieting down,
even though the things you have to say
mean a little bit more now.

Looking back
and seeing how far you've come.


...

Coming of age stories are actually the best.

Maybe you have to have come of age
to appreciate them.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah.

This is Joel.


From the first time I saw him,
I knew I wanted to be his friend.

And I was right.

Because he wears a Scotch tape tie
that's actually his family tartan,
and borrows my blender to make the yummiest food,
and knew I would love this music:


When he's around,
everything glistens under the sheen
of his easy charm.
And people are glad
to be there.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Story of the Jam.

Once upon a time
on Mother's Day,
I wrote this post about my mom.

In it, I mentioned that my mom makes homemade jam.

...

Then what do you know?
I went to church,
where my bishop's wife, Sister Bailey,
gave me a jar of delicious homemade raspberry jam.



"I read your blog post,"
she smiled.
"And I knew I needed to bring this to you."

It was one of those things
that was so nice
that I couldn't quite wrap my head around it.

I did wonder a bit about
why she was so inspired
to bring me that jam.

There wasn't anything particularly wrong,
no secret hole in my heart
that that jam seemed to fill.

...

Then what do you know?
In the hallway at church,
I was telling some people
about the jam.

Erin said,
"I made some homemade Amish white bread yesterday.
Want to come over this afternoon for toast?"

Little did she know
that I had been wanting to be her friend
for a while,
but thought she was far too cool.

I went.
The toast and jam were amazing.
It was like living an Amish dream.

And we've been the best of friends ever since.



...

I think I know why Sister Bailey
brought me that jam.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My heart wants to sigh.

This weekend,
I hiked in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

To Cecret Lake
in the Albion Basin, to be exact.
Doesn't that sound romantic?


We went up past the ski resorts,
leaving the summer heat at the foot of the mountain.

I thought the immobile ski lifts
complimented the scenery perfectly,
standing as tall and majestic
as the ancient pines.  

Admittedly,
I spent a lot of the hike
pretending we were in Switzerland,
wanting to sing out
that the hills were alive with the sound of music.

Seriously.
Amidst the boulders
sprung up thick carpets 
of brilliant, unassuming wildflowers.

I gave elegant names to especially pretty views,
like Anne of Green Gables would do,
like
Alpine Lea
and
Stony Slope.

I gotta say,
brooks really do laugh
as they trip and fall over stones on their way.
That's the only way
to describe it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Marauder's Map.

Sometimes I think of God
as keeping track of us all
with a big old Marauder's Map.


I thought of this tonight.

The cool darkness of sunset
tugged at me inexorably,
and so I left my empty house
to go for a walk.

I saw the most amazing moon,
taking its throne 
as the last memories of day
disappeared over the distant western mountains.

And I contemplated how singularly dear
is the whack of a tennis racquet
and the soft screeching of shoes on a court.

I watched my shadow walk next to me,
both of us caught in sad nostalgia.

And I thought,
"No one on this earth has any idea where I am.
Only God, with His Marauder's Map,
can see me."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Connectedness.

So, there's a thing called StrengthsFinder.

Maybe it's just positive psychology mumbo jumbo,
but I think it's pretty insightful.

It says my #1 strength is connectedness.

"[You] have faith 
in the links between all things.

By nature,
you consider people 
more important
than things.

You consider ways
to initiate, nurture, or sustain
some of the linkages between individuals or groups.

You help people realize
they are part of the human family."

Francois Brunelle photographs
strangers that look like twins.

I think that description of me is dead on.

I like to think about
and blog about
what it means to be human.

I see people who are alone,
and I worry about them.
Later,
when I see them with friends,
I'm relieved. 

I notice who likes each other
and then I get particular joy
when they start dating.

And I can't describe how happy I feel
when people I love
love 
each
 other.

Monday, July 8, 2013

8 Billion Mosquitoes Can't Be Wrong.

Guys, I'm a wimp about some things.

I feel faint
when I get my blood pressure taken.

But today I gave blood!


(Mosquitoes really like my blood.
You can tell by the way
my legs currently look like they have chicken pox.

So hopefully some human likes my blood, too.)

But everything went well,
and I felt like a champ.

Level 38 achieved.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The shirt off her back.

Check out these shoes:


Arguably the best pair I've ever owned.

When they broke,
I searched the far reaches of the internet
to find another pair,
but to no avail.

Today.
Melissa was wearing the same shoes.

I went up to compliment her on them
and she gave them to me.

Right off her own feet.

I tried to fight her,
but I was powerless.

She's just too nice.

I'm speechless.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How to be more American, Star-Spangled Edition.


Listen

played on original instruments
from the National Museum of American History,
and arranged in the style of the mid-19th century.

Watch

Whitney Houston sang the national anthem
at the Super Bowl during the Persian Gulf War.

The way she sings it
makes the broad stripes and bright stars glitter,
and your heart swell 
with the bombs bursting in air.

Sing

While you're at it,
go ahead an sing all four verses.
Out loud.
Right now.

And think about how it would feel
to see your flag still waving over the battlefield,
to know that this young, hard-earned freedom
had not been prematurely torn from your hands.


And for fun,
look up 
"Bob Dylan wannabe sings The Star-Spangled Banner"
on Youtube.

Any song sung in the style of Bob Dylan
will make you more American.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How to be more American, Part 2.


Listen

"Down the Dirt Road Blues," Charlie Patton

Delta blues--
music born and bred right here in America,
raw and sad.

See

Photography by Dorothea Lange

Lange photographed migrant workers
during the Great Depression,
capturing in stark beauty of
the souls of the American people
and its land.

Read

but its sentiment is dead on.

Always America moves west,
chasing that big ole sun.


"They came here--
the exile and the stranger,
brave but frightened--
to find a place where a man
could be his own man."
-Lyndon B. Johnson

I love that one of my country's ideals
is that a poor old human soul is worth something,
no matter what.

And that soul can be his own man.

Monday, July 1, 2013

How to be more American, Part 1.

The big day is only 3 days away,
and so I present to you
the following series
which will help you be the most American you can.


Listen

"Fortunate Son," Creedence Clearwater Revival

It started with the Boston Tea Party,
and it ain't never stopped.
Nothing more American than a good protest song.

And John Fogerty's voice
is the voice of America.

Watch

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

The story of America
as the years pass is ever and always
"My ancestor's couldn't;
I can.
And my children will."

Read

"Let America Be American Again," Langston Hughes

"Oh, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free."

America is as much of a dream
and an ideal
as it is a reality.

And those it has wronged
have been woven into its fabric,
and brightened its hue.

But it's a dream worth holding on to.

Mortal Brokenness.

Herein is one of the greatest triumphs
I have experienced:

to look at people,
and see all their mortal brokenness,
and to love them anyway--
because of,
not in spite of,
those defects.

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