Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ermer Verdmer.

This is Emma.

She's all over the interwebz.

It's actually not her birthday because she was born on Leap Day. So whatever. #hipster

But. She's worth celebrating every year, not just every four years. So.

Here's a list of things she's taught me since I randomly, blessedly, luckily met her last year.

1. Middle parts aren't just for fashion-oblivious seventh graders.

2. Embrace your curls.

3. Tinder is actually the last name of every boy you meet on Tinder, e.g. Joey Tinder, Marcus Tinder.

4. Feminism is not a four-letter word. You actually probably already are a feminist.

5. It's possible to be a blogger and not be the worst.

6. It's cool to be best friends with your mom.

7. It's not necessary to shower every day.

8. Snapchat is actually the greatest form of communication there is.

9. Post whatever you want on the internet.

10. It's okay to like Miley Cyrus.

11. Life is to short to always check for typos.

12. There is beauty in your daily life when you look at the ordinary through new eyes.

13. Have dreams and go for them.

14. Be vulnerable and don't be ashamed of who you are. Being imperfect is what makes you beautiful.

15. Saying cheesy things is okay if you really mean them (see numbers 12-14).

Lurve yer.

Friday, February 27, 2015


Yesterday, I left my house and it was surprisingly warm. I passively took in the clouds that were hanging low over Mount Timpanogos as I got in my car and drove to work.

Here's the thing. It started snowing. How come I couldn't see the signs? They were all there--the temperature, the clouds. But there I was, not in boots, but in flats, not having even thought twice about it.

I went up to school, where I walked across a campus of sidewalks all covered in a centimeter of water. My shoes soaked through, dried in class, and then soaked through again on the way back to the train.

The truth, and the reason I'm writing this, is that when I got home and took off my shoes, they reeked. So much so that I couldn't leave them by my bed, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to sleep.

I tossed them to the far side of my bedroom, and there I think they will stay for quite a long time.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Fire Hose Straight at My Chest.

Today, there was traffic, so I walked into class a few minutes late.

A guest speaker was talking. We were talking about religions as nonprofits that day, and I remembered from the syllabus that she was a Christian Scientist.

I sat down and started listening, but I felt totally lost. She was talking about healing and "Take Me to Church" by Hozier and surfing as a religious experience and her husband's recent conversion. She was not talking, as I would have thought she would be, about how her church is organized or raises money.

I felt uncomfortable. Part of it was that I could tell the people next to me were uncomfortable--checking their email, checking facebook. I felt like they were doing anything to keep from looking at her.

But then there was a moment when I said to myself,
What if I didn't have to feel uncomfortable with what she's saying just because it's different from what I'm used to? What she's saying is beautiful and meaningful to her. Let her say it.

My elbows were on the table, my hands clasped in front of my face. I put them in my lap, physically opening up a path to my heart.

And I listened again, with a different heart. I still felt uncomfortable. It felt like a fire hose straight at my chest, but I let it.


She left some pamphlets when she left, and I took some. I read them all the train ride home--I couldn't stop. They were touching. I shed tears.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

It's All There Is.

What can you do when your friend is kind enough to make you lunch and send it home with you in a tupperware for the next day?

What can you do when you don't have social media to immediately tell the world how angelic she is?

Luckily, blogging is a loophole to the no-social-media-for-Lent rule.

I was feeling sick today, but somebody had already made me lunch. There's no way to describe how that made me feel, because it's so kind that it's painful to think about. I can't do anything but feel so grateful. 

And feeling grateful doesn't seem like it's enough, but it's all there is.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Stimulus Tuesday.

Today was Stimulus Tuesday at the movie theater, so we went to see "McFarland, USA."

This is a bold thing to say, but in terms of inspirational race-related sports films, it's maybe one of the best.

I think it's because Emily has been really into her Latin American Humanities class lately. She tells me about it and sometimes has me read short stories by Sandra Cisneros. And then on Friday nights, we watch "From Prada to Nada," which is a retelling of Sense & Sensibility about Latina girls in Los Angeles.

I've never wanted to be another ethnicity. But, like Emily says, their culture is so intoxicating. 

It's full of color--colors that burst out of the land when the earth was formed that they've been passing down from mother to son and father to daughter since the beginning of time.

It's full of dancing that twists and turns in a sweet singsong like the sound of their words.

It's full of faith, where God is ever-present, and worshiping Him is as natural as crossing a room or breaking into a smile, so that the sacred and the secular mingle intimately from moment to moment.

It's full of love, like a big room of people you know you're related to, but aren't sure how.

Everyone is just as worthwhile as everyone else. When you realize that, sometimes you give away a kidney. Sometimes you want to end poverty in other countries and end discrimination against people whose culture is so intoxicating.

But instead, sometimes all you do is win cross-country meets. Instead, sometimes all you do is ignore everything and go to the movies for Stimulus Tuesday.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Most Horrible Time of the Year?

I just wrote an entire post about how elections week at UVU is the worst week of the year. I said I hate it even more than boys' basketball tournament week each summer, when the halls are overrun with junior high boys on razor scooters.

I complained about how many posters litter the school, about how it seems like the richest team can just buy the presidency with flashy marketing, about how no one even knows what they do.

I called it a dirty sham.

I had written it all, read through it several times, made sure that it had line breaks where I wanted them and no typographical errors.

But then.

I went digging through news articles on the UVU Review website. I read about their platforms. You know what? I think they actually do do things! They actually do care about what they're doing. They actually do love UVU, just the way I do.

So this is what I'm saying instead: I hate your posters, and I'd still like to know whether you're governed by any campaign finance rules, but it's okay.

The marketing that got Team Rise elected last year.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A 24-Year-Old's Birthday List.

The other day my mom texted me to see if I wanted anything for my birthday.

I responded,
"I can't really think of anything.
Just one more day in each week,
a boyfriend,
the ability to keep my desk clean at work,
more daring,
a time machine so I can visit 1964,
the ability to read faster,
and/or a collection of illuminated manuscripts."

The one thing I forgot is a pair of black jeans that don't lose their dye when you wash them.

Maybe I could practice speed reading on the illuminated manuscripts.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Four Years.

Guess what today is? This blog's fourth birthday!

The past four years with this guy have been great. 
A place to say things,
a record of me becoming a cooler a person and a better writer,
a way to win friends and influence people.
He does it all. (I just made him a boy. I don't know.)

I was 19 and thought I should have a blog. 
It sounded like something I would do.
And college girls have blogs. Right?

Now here we are,
498 posts, 48900 views, and 4 layouts later.
I can't imagine ever stopping.

And would I be the me I am without it? I don't think so.

That's such a good feeling.

Friday, February 20, 2015

I hate everything I've never tried.

Today, I got sushi for the first time.

We went out to celebrate Kristen passing her licensing exam, but I, of course, stole the limelight when I kept going on and on about how nervous I was.

A few months ago, I got into an actual argument with my coworkers because they said I couldn't say I didn't like sushi if I had never tried it.

But why did I have to try it if I just knew I wouldn't like it?

Anyway, there I found myself, and it was too late to turn back. I was a mess. The woman tried to hand us a dish to put our soy sauce in and I just sat there and stared at her and wouldn't take it out of her hand.

But we made it through that debacle and I ordered the California Crunch--crab and avocado, tempura style. Because crab dip is good, right?

The truth is it was okay.

I mean, it was. It was okay. It didn't make me gag. I didn't like the fishy taste, but I did eat the whole roll, besides the pieces I shared with my friends.

By the last piece, though, my ability to lie to myself that I actually liked it was wearing thin. I downed a lot of water as soon as possible.

But I did it. I tried it. EventhoughtobehonestIwasrightallalongwhenIsaidIwouldn'tlikeit.

My one consolation was that I at least knew how to use chopsticks.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

That was that.

Graduate school fills your head with ideas--for better or for worse.

After my nonprofits class, I can't help thinking about volunteering and donating and ending world poverty.

On the train home from school tonight, there was a girl walking up and down the car, asking everyone for money. Just a dollar or two. She'd left her wallet somewhere.

She got to me, and I took out my headphones. Her speech was slow and it seemed too young. Her face was toward mine, level with mine, but her eyes weren't looking where I thought they would be.

While she was still explaining, I got two dollar bills out of my pocket. I didn't even unfold them, just put them in her hand and said, "Here's two dollars."

She said thank you and moved on to the next person and rehearsed her lines. I put in my headphones and that was that.

That was that. That was that. That's all there was to it. She walked away and who she was and where she was headed and what she would do with my two dollars was of no concern. And whether I had done the right thing was of no concern.

That was that.
That's what I told myself, at least.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Are you happy?

Today, a friend at work looked straight at me and asked, 
"Are you happy?"

Out of nowhere.
As I was handing him a ruler he had asked to borrow.

It was odd, but it wouldn't have been as odd, except he wasn't the first person to say something like that to me recently. 
He was the third.

After I laughed and told him that fact, he persisted, 
"Well, are you?"

And I said, "I don't know."

With his directness, it had hit me as a strange question. 

Am I happy? I don't know. Should I be? Is that what people ask themselves? Is that the mark of a good life? Am I unhappy because I don't worry about whether I'm happy or not? 

There must be a reason that it's important to him that I am happy--someone he shares pleasant smiles with at work but don't know all that well. There must be a reason that three people asked me that within two weeks. There must be a reason that this idea won't go away.

If I'm unhappy, is that such a terrible thing?
I don't know what to say.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fat Tuesday.

This morning at work,
I realized
that it was Fat Tuesday.

Mardi Gras if you will.

since the only thing
I had to bring for lunch today
was a package of fudge
my mom sent me
for Valentine's Day.

I would have
eaten it for lunch anyway,
no qualms,
but it's good to have a reason.

After rounding out the day
with In-N-Out Burger for dinner
it was time to get down to business:

I've decided
to participate in Lent
this year.

All growing up
my friends did
and my teachers did,
but I never did.

It's not part
of my religious tradition.

But the older I get,
the more beauty I see
in Lent.

I'm giving up social media.
I think I might die,
but isn't that the point?
To really do something difficult?

So of course
I spent the last few hours of freedom
binging on facebook,
sending friend requests
that I'll have to wait 40 days
to learn the outcome of.

And now,
I think I understand
the concept of Fat Tuesday
for the first time.


Monday, February 16, 2015

(St.) George, Washington (County)

For Presidents' Day,
we took a quick trip
down to St. George,
Washington County, Utah.

I thought it was appropriate.

Really anything that lets you
wear sandals in February
is appropriate.

On a road trip,
you can drive four hours,
get out of the car,
and suddenly it's warm.

You can drive four hours
and suddenly see the stars.

You can creep up
to 95 miles an hour on the highway
like it's nothing.

You can tell the story
of every boy you've ever loved
and learn all the presidents
in order
and listen to every cd you have,
and still not be there yet.

You can go in 150-year-old buildings
that pioneers built.

You can order something
called piccadilly chips
from a 40-year-old drive-in
and burn your mouth on them.

You can hike past giant rocks
that look like turtle heads
in sandals
because you forgot your shoes.

You can drive around
listening to Louis Armstrong,
feeling like
it's the red rocks themselves
blowing on that horn.

You can make new friends
and be reminded of
all the charming things
you love 
about the friends
you already have.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


One great thing
about being a girl

is that you can meet another girl
and within 10 minutes,
she'll start telling you
about a boy she used to date
who did her wrong

and you're instantly interested.

By the end of the story,
you're ready to TP his house.

Or she can tell you
about how she met her fiance,
and by the end of the story,
you have hearts in your eyes.

You don't have to know her,
and you never have to
talk to her again,
and still you know
that you're friends.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Let's be more than Franz.

My favorite thing
about Valentine's Day
is the valentines.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Autobiography Game.

Alyssa and I
like to make up games
that we can play at work.

One of the best is
The Autobiography Game.

One person thinks up
a title for an autobiography.
At the same time,
the other person thinks up
a famous person.

And then they say them
paired together.
As if that person
had written that book.

"My Life as a Teenage Spy, by..."

"...Aaron Burr."

You get the idea.

Here are book covers
for some of the best
we've ever come up with.

(The first ever autobiography
we dreamed up.)



Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Memory for Tears.

They say elephants never forget,
but it's eyes
that I wish
didn't have such a good memory.

Their memory for tears
is uncanny.

I shed a tear or two
almost daily,
from seeing or hearing
some beautiful
or inspiring
or devastating thing.

And then I can feel
more tears
just waiting.

preying on me.

The edges of my eyes
feel watery
and tired
every time I blink.

Sometimes for hours afterward.

They remember me crying.
They can't forget.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

In the most tragic sense.

Tonight, I was on the phone
with my dad.

He said that
the older he gets,
the less his career
matters to him.

All that matters
is Mom
and me
and my siblings.

I tried to ask him
how I could make him so happy.

I'm just a person.
I've never done anything
noble for him.
I haven't added to his honor
through my accomplishments
or my virtue
or my wealth.
I've used up his money,
I've cried and screamed,
I've taken up time
in his prayers.

He couldn't explain it
in a way I could accept.
And I knew I couldn't understand
because I'm really just a child,
and I won't know
until I have my own child.

Without a way to understand,
I could only feel angry.
So angry that someone loved me
so much
even though 
I didn't deserve it.
Sometimes it's tempting to think
that you can draw a box around yourself.
There's a little door
through which you let in love.
And you think
you can keep out
the rest of the things
that you don't accept.

Sometimes the thing
that you don't accept
is someone loving you
in a way that you're not
ready to understand.
Almost two years ago,
I heard this quote by C.S. Lewis.
It has stayed with me
and meant something to me
since then.

I think I maybe
understand it
a little bit
for the first time.

[God] has paid us
the intolerable compliment
of loving us
in the deepest,
most tragic,
most inexorable sense.

From "The Problem of Pain"

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What if Zell Kravinsky isn't crazy?

Today, I became acquainted
with Zell Kravinsky,
and I want you
to meet him too.

He's a teacher
and a professor,
a regular guy.

He started with $1000,
and made millions
in real estate.

Then he gave
his millions

All of them,
until his family was left
living again a normal life
in their modest home.

His moral principle is
the greatest good
for the greatest number of people.

He had a lifelong dream
to give away a kidney.

He learned that
he would have a 1 in 4,000
chance of dying
if he did.

"To withhold a kidney,"
he said,
"from some who would otherwise die
means valuing one's own life
at 4,000 times
that of a stranger."

He said that was "obscene."

So he gave his kidney
to a stranger.

"What if one of our kids
someday needs your kidney?"
his wife asked.

But he couldn't see
how it was right
to value his children's lives
more than anyone else's.

When asked if he would let
his own child die
to save 1,000 other children,
he said yes.

He said
he would let his own child die
to save two children.

But isn't that obscene,
to use his own word?

Doesn't it go against
every proclivity of the human heart?
If you google Zell Kravinsky,
you will find an article called
"What if Zell Kravinsky isn't crazy?"

What if he's not?

Hasn't he,
in losing his life,