Friday, November 29, 2013


I made a new friend recently.
His name is Malcolm.

Before I saw 
Seventh Child: A Family Memoir of Malcolm X
on a shelf at the UVU library,
I really didn't know anything about him.

Ask me about him, and I would have said,
"He was a black civil rights leader
who got assassinated.
He was a little crazy.
And he wore those glasses.
You know--
Malcolm X glasses."

I'm pretty sure
that I thought he was a Black Panther.

Not true.

He was Muslim.

And he wasn't just an advocate for civil rights,
but for human rights--
which the American government was,
for hundreds of years,
unfit or unwilling to secure for its black citizens.

He believed that his people
needed education and self-respect,
and to do whatever was necessary
to secure better lives.

What he believed in,
he believed in strong and true
and without apology.
And he gave his life to it.

The person I met in that book
was so dear.
And I miss him,
now that it's over.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Kati Dear.

This is Katilynn.

Not Kaitlyn.

She wears soccer bruises as a badge of honor.
She wears high heels like it's nobody's business.

The color of her hair is always changing
and it's always beautiful.

I recognize her handwriting no sweat,
because she's written me about 200 nice notes in her life.

Before I even knew we were friends,
she was always telling me
that she loved me
and was happy to see me.

She's always doing that
to someone or other.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

This Bitter Earth.

I have loved a lot of things lately.

The sesquicentennial of the Gettysburg Address.
Learning the origin of "The Princess Pat."
Reading a memoir of Malcolm X.

But one important thing hasn't made that list:

It seems that the list of people
whose lives inherently interest me
has decreased dramatically in size.

If that sounds horrible,
it is.

I used to be shy
because I didn't know
that I had it in me
to be otherwise.

Then, I learned how to make friends,
and I had so much love in me
that I'd hold anyone's hand
that was near enough to grab.

And now,
I don't talk to others
not because I can't,
but because I don't want to.

But as it turns out,
not wanting to for a long time
makes you feel like you can't.

And if my life is like the dust
that hides the glow of a rose,
what good am I?
What good am I?
Heaven only knows.


This story doesn't have a moral
or an adage
or a word of advice at the end.

I don't know how to fix this.

But I still have faith
that somewhere between all these poles,
there's a happy nook to live in.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Today in church,
I looked at the hand
of the person sitting next to me.

And it was incredible!
It was as beautiful as this:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Before zombies were cool,
the Cranberries were cool.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chats with Pops.

I just talked to my dad on the phone
for an hour and a half.

He stayed up until 11:30 his time
(and this man goes to bed early)
to tell me about
my great-great-great grandfather,
Christian Olsen.

I asked him about when he proposed to my mom,
because I never get tired of hearing
that he was so in love with her
he just had to call her on the phone
on a Monday morning,
and ask her to marry him.

He told me about military police
patrolling the streets in Uruguay
when he was a missionary there in the 1970s.

He told me about how he missed America's bicentennial
because he was in South America.
I wanted to cry.

His dad died when he was 29
and his dad was 66.

In seven years,
I'll be 29,
and my dad will be 65.

I told him not to die,
and he said okay.

Christmas in the Kitchen.

Usually, I get into Christmas music
pretty early.

Like, mid-October.

But this year,
it doesn't feel right yet.

So I'm dipping my toe in slowly.

 But no matter what mood I'm in,
it always feels right
to listen to Christmas music
when I'm cooking.

Especially when I'm making
butternut squash pie
or apple chutney and pork.

(As you can see from this photo,
the apply chutney was kind of
a culinary misstep.
As was the pie.
So don't be too impressed.)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

It's nice to be reminded of the good in the world.

Lately, I've been noticing something
about my facebook news feed.

It's just people posting inspirational story
after inspirational story.

Interesting photograph after interesting photograph.

Disturbing statistic after disturbing statistic.

It made me think.
I feel like we go to the internet
to search out
and experience
whatever emotion we want to feel 
at the moment.

Just go to Upworthy
or Huffington Post,
and you can have it.

Read about this obscure artist from Croatia,
or this teenager's good deed,
or this study's finding about happiness,
and you will be more _________ of a person.

(Insert whichever adjective you are lacking today.
The internet's got your back.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman.

On Monday,
I realized my dream
of performing a karaoke version of
"Stand by Your Man"
by Tammy Wynette.

Level 39 achieved.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Apple Peel Matchmaking.

So a few days ago,
I learned that girls
used to do different rituals on Halloween
to determine who they would marry.

They did that at midsummer as well.

(I guess it doesn't matter what century you're in--
women will always be matchmaking.)

Genevieve and I think these sorts of things
are great fun.

So to celebrate Halloween last night,
we threw apple peels over our shoulders
in the hope that they would land
in the shape of
our future husbands' initials.

And they did.

Sarah was walking by and joined us.

She got a lowercase Y.
Hopefully someone named Yelnats.

I got an A,
and Genevieve, that lucky duck,
got 3 whole letters!
T, V, & C.

So if you know a Vincent Carl Tennyson
or a Christopher Tecumseh Vial,
let me know.