Tuesday, July 31, 2012

be bold...

Once upon a time in January I filled out this post template for the heck of it. It's now 6 months later. I decided to fill it out again and see if any of my "sometimes" have changed.


...I get weirdly excited about hearing a song on the radio. Like Kelly Clarkson's "Dark Side" or Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" or Rihanna's "Where Have You Been" or Journey's "Faithfully" (among others). Those are the moments when I just have to turn up the volume and sing along. Or, you know. Dance in my car.

...I feel overwhelmed with gratitude when a friend spends an afternoon with me or lets me talk to them on the phone.

...I can't stop thinking about school starting. And...I'll admit it...that one person.

...I just want to be happy all day, every day.

...I am kind of a bad person and judge myself and others too harshly.

...I wish I could express what I know in my heart without fear of rejection or losing a friend. But that is always a risk -- always.

...I  (still) just don't understand the allure of Batman. This topic of conversation follows me everywhere. It never used to come up at all -- then I met Parker and I swear he cursed me.

...I can't believe how close I am to turning 21. 6 months from now, I'll be 21. That is so strange.

...I strongly consider spending a lot of money on clothes and shoes (some things don't change very much). Add in an iPod and we're set.

If you want, try this yourself (even if you've done it before). Just copy and paste the bolded areas and fill in your "sometimes."

Monday, July 30, 2012


I found a recipe on a blog that I've been wanting to try for awhile. Seeing as it's my turn to take a treat to work tomorrow, I decided to try my hand at it.

I've never made biscuits before. That being said, the buttery little beauties that I pulled out of my oven were surprisingly delectable. I've had to stop my sisters from eating all of them so that I can share some for Tasty Tuesday (I know, I know -- English majors are so creative).

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 scant teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons butter (yes, 5 -- but I think I might use a little less next time)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
Heat oven to 450. Mix together all of the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into bits, picking up the dry ingredients and rubbing the butter between your fingers. Make sure all the butter is thoroughly blended into the flour. Stir in the yogurt until the mixture forms a ball. Turn the ball onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 10 times (or 20 -- I lost count). Dough should be slightly sticky (they bake fluffier if the dough is a little stickier).

Press the dough into a 3/4 inch-thick rectangle (or if you're like me, you'll make a circle) and cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter (unless you're like me and didn't even know such a thing exists, so I used a glass cup instead). Place rounds on ungreased baking sheet. Reshape leftover dough and cut again. Bake for 7-9 minutes (7 is better than 9, at least in my oven) or until golden brown. Serve with butter and jam (strawberry is particularly good).

Sunday, July 29, 2012

not today...

Woke up early -- not tired a bit. Got up, got dressed, got it under control.  Cute hair, cute dress, cute shoes, cute girl. Ready for another day.

Not ready for the questions.

They came from all directions. Concerned faces, hushed voices, worried looks and whispers.

How's your dad?
How's your family?
What did the doctors say?
What treatments is he getting?
What changes has he made?
Is he happy? Is he sad?
Are you all doing okay?
Is there anything we can do?
How's your mom?
How are your sisters?
(but worst)
How are YOU?

Sympathetic hands laid upon my arm, hugs and promises and ever more questions.

DON'T TOUCH ME I don't scream,
GO AWAY I don't say.

They believe that they are being kind. Which is why I answer -- wrote and boring -- but it's what they want to hear.

He's fine. He's tired.
They're all busy.
Shots. Pills.
Doctors. Bills.
Happy, yes. Sad, no.
Okay -- I assume so. I'm not home much.
I don't know -- I don't live at home -- I don't know what they need.
She's tired.
They're busy.
(they wait expectantly)
I'm fine, too.

I don't tell them that I'm tired. I don't tell them to go away. Instead, I go.

Left church early -- couldn't stand it anymore. Held back tears -- didn't want to explain. Escaped the people and the words and the problem they all want to dwell on. Stood under a tree and listened -- bees buzzing above my head, birds chirping in the bush, heat singing over the ground -- they ask nothing of me. No more questions.

Not today.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

no more cookies...

Never, ever, ever eat an entire package of Chips Ahoy! Reese's Chocolate Chip cookies by yourself in one afternoon. It is a terrible idea. Do not do it.

I think I'm done with cookies for awhile.

the Spanish Vest Pocket Dictionary...

Quite the mouthful of a title for a book that fits in the back pocket of my jeans.

The book isn't actually my dictionary. I was cleaning out the drawers and cupboards at work today, and I came across the little book. It was hidden in a drawer full of old magazines and catalogues that we use for ordering toys and party supplies. The red-orange color and the long proclamation of the contents (I can use lots of words, too) were completely out of place. After examining it from a distance, I picked it up to take a closer look.

Memories cascaded into my mind the moment I opened the book. It was like a magic spell was cast when I touched it, bringing to life long forgotten happenings.

It was his book. He must have left it on the counter one day, and it just got swept into a drawer and forgotten. He used to thumb through it and find random Spanish words to learn their meanings. Sometimes he would read a word aloud and tell me to guess the meaning. I rarely got it right, but every once in while I'd surprise both of us.

Now The Spanish Vest Pocket Dictionary is sitting on my bedroom floor. It spent most of my shift in my back pocket, where it fits nicely. I've used it twice, too, to aid me in helping a customer who didn't speak English very well. The customer told me that he was looking for a "mantel." He brought up one of the plastic table covers, and he wanted to know what the translation of "mantel" is in English. It means "tablecloth."

I like things -- things as in those that remind me of people and places and events. Mostly things that remind me of people that I care about. Keeps them close, you know? Like having a friend you can take with you every day in your pocket.

It's funny what reminds me of people. It's funny how attached I get to objects -- even little objects, like a leaf given to me by a friend on a walk, or a pebble from a little girl, or movie ticket stubs from an outing. Add a book to the list of treasures -- at least until I can return it to its proper owner.

Thanks, vest pocket dictionary. Thanks for the memories, and thanks for helping me out today.

Friday, July 27, 2012

someday we'll know...

Love is something that I don't get. There are so many definitions of love -- I, however, can't seem to define it. There are so many ways that people show love -- sometimes it's hard for me to recognize those ways. And sometimes, it's hard for me to grasp that someone actually loves me.

Take physical touch. I don't know what it is about me and physical touch. I go for days and days without it, and I start to forget that it even happens. No hugs, no high fives, no nothing, and it's no big deal. I rarely miss it or seek it out. I just tend to forget about it.

Then out of nowhere someone will scoop me up in a hug or place a gentle kiss on my cheek. It often shocks me, and I'm left standing there looking surprised. Like today -- a family friend who I've known since I was a baby came into PartyLand tonight. She asked me how my dad and my family are doing, and then she asked about me. I gave the usual "I'm fine" answer. All of the sudden she leaned over the counter and gave me a hug, then kissed me on the cheek and told me she loves me.

I was completely thrown off guard, so much so that I could hardly respond. Standing there behind the counter, I felt tears come to my eyes and a voice in my head said, "Oh, yes. That's what it feels like to be loved. That was kind of her."

And then I felt all funny inside, and vulnerable. Lately I've been trying to keep a sort of protective shell around myself when I'm among coworkers and friends (close friends and room mates excluded -- they've figured out how to get through the shell). But I'm beginning to notice that when I'm offered verbal and physical affection from someone, especially someone I don't know very well or see very often, the shell starts to crack.

Knowing that someone loves you is a strange thing -- for me, it's one of the most astounding sensations in the world. I often worry that the people I love don't love me as much as I love them, and that they'll go away (still working on that one). Realizing that someone really cares about me and loves me hits me like a lightning bolt -- the lady at the store literally left me speechless.

Love is a hard thing for me to understand. It's hard for me to explain why -- I'm not even sure that I know. I only know that it's a tricky thing for me, slippery and hard to grasp in my mind. It frightens me -- it keeps me up at night, or wakes me up.

Like last night -- I know I was having a good dream, and that I was with someone who made me happy. I know it was a man, and that we were laughing and having a good time and were happy together. Then, I lost him. He was there one second, and then he was gone. I couldn't find him -- he was just lost. I woke up crying, not really sure why because the details of the dream faded very quickly -- but I felt so scared and so alone. I do remember that it was 4:15 in the morning, and that I haven't felt that devastated in a very long time.

I think I loved the person in the dream. I don't remember who it was. I don't even know if the man was a person that I knew. Losing him, though, was the worst thing ever.

Love. I don't get it. Not just romantic love, either. The dream is just an example of one of the things that worries me. The other loves, like sister, parent, daughter, brother, friend, neighbor, and all of the others -- those worry me, too.

For what is it to love, and to be loved? What is it really?

Hopefully I'll begin to understand it someday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

q and a, yes or no...

Do the new shoes that you bought pinch your feet?


Did they in the store when you tried them?

Yes. A little. Yes.

But you bought them anyway?


Did you really spend $115 on a hair straightener yesterday?

Yes. Yes, I did.

Did you have the money to buy it?

No. No, I didn't.

Did you even want the straightener?

... No.

Did you talk to that boy yesterday?


For 2 hours?

Yes indeed.

Did you send a text about how you like this boy to your sister?


Did you send it to the boy by accident?

... Yes.

You feel like an idiot now, don't you?

.................... Yes.

Do you realize that you don't "like" this boy?

.................................... Yes.

Did you vacuum the floor like you said you would?

No. No, I didn't.

Did you do the dishes?


Did you sleep last night?


Is it because the pain killers didn't help at all?


You still haven't called that doctor, have you?

No. I haven't.

Do you realize that you're a mess right now?

... Yes.

Has there been anything good that happened in the last 24 hours?


Did the guy who attacked Callie really get 20 years in prison rather than just 15?

Why, yes, actually. Yes, he did.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2 hours, 4 minutes, and 12 seconds...

dear Friend,

While I don't agree that I would look awesome in sparkly, orange high heels, I do agree with something that you said before. Once upon a time you said that when you talk to me about the problems I'm facing, you often gain more insight than you feel you shared. You've thanked me for coming to you with a problem -- I haven't been able to figure it out until now.

It's true. Talking to you helped me see things I hadn't considered before. My words to you offered me solutions and gave me strength. You helped me remember things I'd forgotten -- things like the fact that the Savior loves me just as much as He loves you. And that things get better because He'll help us if we ask.

Knowing that you're there makes me feel stronger and braver -- thank you for being there to lift me up.

Thank you for letting me return the favor.

I love you. And I'm always here. Hope you know that.

all my love,

Monday, July 23, 2012


Sometimes I feel that all I can do is focus on holding myself together, forcing myself to dwell on the good things rather than the not so good things. And it makes things easier to bear. And it makes it easier to fall asleep at night.

I like to remember

...how fun it is to watch any of the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings with someone who hasn't seen the long versions before -- Brianna and I watched The Fellowship of the Ring this afternoon and it was fantastic
...freshly baked cookies topped with cold ice cream
...long talks and big hugs from daddy
...the sudden frequency of huge fluffy, puffy, cotton candy clouds that float over the valley and every so often share their watery burden with us down below
...promises from heaven that are being kept daily
...that I actually look really cute in skirts
...how wonderful it feels to be clean and fresh after a hot shower
...that I don't have to wash dishes or clothes by hand
...that I've been very lucky when it comes to the times I can't handle the physical pain -- so far it's usually been on weekends or holidays when I don't have work or school
...I'm twenty year old single college student with one room mate and I don't live in an apartment -- wow
...my school schedule keeps working out so well -- so do my money worries
...D&C 6:34 -- "Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail."
..."Once Upon Another Time"
...the feel of his hand in mine and the sound of his heart beating in my ear

Sunday, July 22, 2012

people are more important than things...

First, I would like to say thank you to all of the people who have written their thoughts about the shooting in Colorado. Each one of you has had different insights that have helped me gain a larger perspective. You have helped me keep anger and sorrow in check, and have helped me begin to move forward again.

I will admit that I have not been kept in check enough, however, to keep from feeling frustrated and upset by the lack of compassion and tact that many Internet users, political lobbyists and campaigners, column writers, and casual conversationalists have shown during the past few days.

May I just say how very tired I am of seeing people use the Colorado shooting to further their own ends. Be they political, religious, whatever -- the things I have been reading and viewing online and hearing in conversations are ridiculous. There's a little something called empathy, that being the ability to place yourself in someone else's position and attempt to see and feel things the way that person is to gain an understanding of what that person needs. I do not believe that empathy includes turning someone else's horror into an advertisement, a sarcastic meme, or a campaign slogan to carry out personal aims.

Timing, people. It's all about timing. Now is the time for prayers, for letters, for people to take an interest in not just the horror, but in the welfare of those victims of the shooting. Now is the time to focus on what can be done to help the families and friends who are left with empty spaces in their hearts that no poster or promise can heal. Now is the time to think of those who were injured, whether by physical bullets or emotional shrapnel. It is not the time to be funny or sarcastic, or to attack. The attack has already happened. It is in the past -- that cannot be changed -- and the witty comments, snarky remarks, and biting insults are doing nothing to help anyone move forward.

It is about healing. Yes, we must learn from this. We must take into consideration the measures that should be taken to keep something like this from happening again. But it is about the timing. And now is not the time for insensitive words or photos.

Forgive me if I seem close minded or unfeeling. I am not angry, not about the shooting or about the responses to it. I am sure people don't mean to be insensitive. There are so many ways that people deal with tragedies such as this, whether they were there or read about it in the paper. But the focus must be on what can be done for the people who are left to remember the horror they experienced, rather than dwelling on what someone should have done or should have said or what measures should have been in place before. There is no "should have" anymore. There is only "can do."

We live in a society that is all about the moment. We take a situation and try desperately to use it to show how clever we are, or how right we are, or how obvious "the point" of something is. I feel that we as a people are too quick to the punchline and too slow to notice the effect an event has on the individual. We aim to impress the masses, rather than to comfort the one.

We must think before we speak, post, text, and share. We must think beyond the punchline, beyond the political agenda, beyond the religious ideal. We must think of the person -- the person with a face and a name and a family and a future -- for people are always more important than things.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

mini Steve...

You know your dad loves you when he gets you a Captain America jump drive for your second year at BYU.

Pretty sure my files are going to be very safe from now on. Even when he's pocket size, Cap's the perfect man for any job.

Friday, July 20, 2012

he was so cute I couldn't help it...

Once upon a time, Callie bought a Betta and named him Thomas. In her excitement, however, she forgot that Bettas cannot live in a pet store plastic bag forever, and that they need food and a regularly cleaned tank. Since Leonardo's death has left me feeling very sad and lonely for a little fish, I decided that I would make sure that Callie gave Thomas the best care I know how to provide. So down to Walmart I went (because their glass fish bowls are only five dollars, unlike the pet store ones which are fifteen) to create a fish starter kit for Callie.

While perusing the shelves in search of Betta food and care items, I noticed a handsome little guy sitting on the shelf near the bowls. I kept telling myself, no, you don't need another fish, and you don't even WANT another fish. Back to comparing prices and quality I went. But for some reason, I could not stop looking at that little fish.

Against my better judgment, I bent down and examined the handsome little guy who was swimming lazily in circles. He was very chill about things, swimming with what I can only call a saunter in his tail and a devil-may-care look on his face. I could almost hear him say, "Hey. How you doin'?" as he swam another lap in his cup. And right then I knew that the cool fish on the shelf was about to move out and take up residence in my living room.

My friends, meet Raphael. He's a 3 inch long Crowntail Betta, mostly blue and red in color with purple highlights in the fins, tail, and gills. He enjoys swimming laps around the bowl and blowing bubbles on the surface of the water.

He's not afraid to strut his stuff, this one.

Basically, he's attractive and he knows it.

reaction time...

My friend Linnea is quite possibly one of the most "chill" people I have ever met. So when she told me that I was so stressed out that I was making her nervous, I knew that there was something wrong.

At first I was a little confused. I didn't feel particularly stressed -- more like exhausted and scared. Which, come to think of it, are symptoms of stress. I began a mental inventory of things that could possibly be stressing me out.

One. The Parker thing. And it doesn't have anything to do with the post about the conversation we had on the phone.
Two. School. Like the fact that I might have to go for another year. And that it costs money.
Three. School with two jobs and wondering how I am going to get my homework done this fall.
Four. Money. Two jobs, school, rent, food. Money. Bleh.
Five. Room mate stuff for fall.
Six. Having too much food in the fridge/pantry/freezer (yes -- that does stress me out a little).

So I had a list of things that were stressing me out, but they didn't seem like anything I haven't been a little worried about this whole summer. They've always been there in the back of my mind (except for the Parker thing because that's new). Why surface now?

While running a double check inventory, I remembered these little things.

One. Dad has started his cancer treatments (oh, yeah, I forgot to mention -- my dad was diagnosed with cancer two weeks ago). He actually seems to be feeling a little better. He's not quite as tired.
Two. Callie is doing much better. She told the authorities and a court date is set for next week. She also bought a fish today and named him Thomas. She carries her pepper spray with her all the time, and she is laughing and smiling often. She isn't healed, but she's getting better every day.
Three. Things at work are a little better.

But all of these things are good developments, so why are they stressing me out?

Oh. Wait. Because now that all of these people involved are doing better, I seem to have subconsciously recognized that I can take a bit of a break from being the strong one. Think of it as a delayed reaction -- two weeks after the fact, I'm starting to really feel the impact of all of these things. My dad. Callie. Work. Even little Leonardo dying (I miss him so much). I suddenly feel awful -- nervous, exhausted, irritated, sometimes downright depressed -- and I think part of it is because it isn't necessary for me to be calm, or just there, all of the time.

Couple this lack of being needed with the resurfacing old stresses (plus the Parker thing) and presto. You've got one awkward, jumpy, uptight, spring-loaded little girl. Delayed reactions, people. De-freakin-layed.

Bad. Bad, bad. Thank goodness for a good gym buddy (working out really does help with stress -- who knew), strawberries, a fat old chocolate lab whom I love, and the promise of an evening with the Raddatz family tomorrow night. Always good to have something to look forward to! Not to mention I'm providing Thomas the Betta with an apartment and food for his new residence in PartyLand. He's gonna be one spoiled little fishy.

Actually...having Thomas at PartyLand is another stress. I'm feeling extremely protective over this little fish. Bettas are a bit tricky. If he dies...good grief. I might fall apart.

Bad. I need more strawberries. And sleep. Psh. Sleep. Who does that?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

lesson Three...

If you talked to your friends the way you talked to yourself, there's a chance you wouldn't have very many friends.
To be very honest with you, dear reader, I do not want to write this post, because once it's written and posted...it's written and posted, meaning that people will be aware that I'm aware of this problem in my life. Then, they'll expect me to change it.

Nothing is wrong with change, I understand that. Where I get hung up is that I'm not able to change fast enough. But that is beside the point of this post. The point of this post is to address the next lesson that I have realized I need to learn, that being the statement above in italics.

What led to the recognition of this problem was a conversation with my friend Parker. As usual, he had gotten me talking about things in my life that very few people can get me to talk about. After about fifteen minutes of listening to me, he interrupted and said, "Stop saying that you're stupid." I laughed it off and replied that I wasn't saying that, and he responded, "Yes, you are. I've counted six times in the last five minutes that you've referred to yourself as 'stupid.' Stop it."

The sad fact was that he was right. The sadder fact was that I honestly hadn't noticed. Six times in five minutes? That's ridiculous. But if I replay conversations in my head, it's true. Be it stupid, immature, boring, fat, dumb, whatever word you like -- I use it frequently in reference to myself.

Once he'd pointed this out to me, Parker said something that has made me think a lot more about this (and I'm paraphrasing here): "If you were to talk to me like that all of the time, I wouldn't want to be your friend. And if someone else were to call you names and talk badly about you, I'd tell them to shut up and possibly punch them in the face. So why on earth is it okay for you talk that way about yourself to me, or anybody?"


But really! I mean, if someone else comes up to you and says, "You are so stupid," it makes you feel angry, indequate, or hurt (or any combination of feelings). It's never okay for anyone else to treat you in that manner, nor is it okay for you to speak that way to another person. It's just as bad then to talk to yourself that way.

By no means is this easy to do (I'm finding that most of these lessons are similarly easier said than done). However, recognizing this problem in myself has caused me to pay attention to my patterns of speech, and in some ways my patterns of thought. I've noticed that I don't call myself "stupid" as much as I used to. Granted, part of that may be the fear that Parker will find out and deck me (which he wouldn't), but most of it is because I know it's not fair to myself. Slowly, I am removing that word from my vocabulary. I still slip up (Brianna can attest to that), but it's getting better.
The hard part is removing other such words from my vocabulary. It's easy to see from the experience with Parker that I don't realize I'm speaking in certain ways. Then there are some words that I don't particularly want to stop using because they're safe and familiar. In some ways, they're a part of the identity that I have established. However, if that identity is one that is uncomfortable going outside or being with people, then perhaps it truly is time to change things. Or change more things.

The way we talk and behave towards others is a big indicator of who we are. I'm beginning to see that it is much the same in the ways we talk and behave to ourselves. It's easy to believe that my words and thoughts towards myself don't count and don't matter, but I'm beginning to see that this idea isn't true. It's a false belief -- hearing my inner voice say the words "you are so fat" hurts just as much as hearing my classmates say those same words did when I was in elementary and junior high school.
The biggest problem is less related to the words we use and more to the meanings attached to them which can lead to improper ways of seeing and thinking about yourself, others, and the world. It isn't necessarily the words that hurt the most. It's the belief in the ideas that the words hold. The words "stupid" and "fat" don't mean anything -- the ideas surrounding those words and the societal definitions that we buy into are what hurt. I would never project those definitions and ideas onto a friend or family member. I don't buy into those ideas in the context of my friends and family. Why then is it okay for me to apply such ideas and definitions to myself?

In short, it's not okay. It isn't easy, and it isn't just about removing a word from my vocabulary. It's about treating myself better. My friends are not verbal punching bags. Neither am I. It's time to tear up my stock receipts in the ideas of society and use words that encourage good thinking, good speaking, and good acting -- not just in others, but myself.

Be your best friend. Take care of all of you -- mind, heart, body, spirit -- in the way you think, speak, and act. After all...

If you talked to your friends the way you talked to yourself, there's a chance you wouldn't have very many friends.

Monday, July 16, 2012

reasons why I hate crying...

  1. Mascara runs down your face when it isn't waterproof.
  2. It also gets in your eyes and stings, but if you rub them to stop them from hurting you end up looking like a raccoon.
  3. The dog gets worried.
  4. Your eyes swell up and turn red.
  5. Your nose can swell, too, and also turns red.
  6. It gives you a headache.
  7. Sometimes when you start, you can't stop.
  8. Not only do your eyes run, but your nose can, too.
  9. It sounds weird.
  10. If people notice, they want to know what's wrong -- then when you explain, you sometimes cry harder and can't talk.
  11. It's hard to think when crying.
  12. Either you cry all the time, or you can't cry at all.

Friday, July 13, 2012


It's been a year.
That leaves one more.
They say that the second year flies by.
They, in this case, being everyone.
I hope they -- everyone -- are right.
I want this year to fly by.
I've got it all planned out:
to be busy --
so busy,
so caught up in living,
so ignorant of time --
busy enough that you sneak up on me.
One day you're there, and the next?
You'll be here again! A surprise.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


*names have been changed

Let me begin by saying that I don't know how to begin, and I don't know how to write this, but I know that I need to. If you're reading this, please bear with me.

While on my way to work this morning, I received a phone call from a friend. I knew something was wrong the second she said, "It's Callie*." When she asked me if I had time to come pick her up, I knew that work was the least important thing on my list of places to be today, and that I needed to be with Callie instead. After calling the office to tell them I'd be late, I literally raced all the way to the gas station where Callie had called me from. I'm amazed that I didn't get in a wreck.

She wouldn't look at me. She wouldn't talk to me, she wouldn't say anything. She just sat there shaking like she was freezing cold, despite it being 95 degrees outside and my car having no air conditioner. Her eyes kept darting back and forth, and she jumped whenever I moved my hand. She had a bruise and a cut on her forehead -- Callie isn't clumsy. Her actions and mannerisms were making me nervous. I became more worried when all of my questions were answered in the same way: "I'm okay." Over and over again, "I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay."

I took her to school like she asked me to, but I felt like I should keep asking her if she was okay, and if she needed anything, and what happened. Finally she looked at me.

Her eyes -- I have never, ever seen eyes like that before. Callie's eyes have always been happy and mischievous. They've been tinged with a bit of sadness on occasion, but never like they were today. Today -- I can only describe the look in her eyes as broken, or shattered. It was like looking through a window and seeing darkness, pain, shame, sorrow, fear -- every awful feeling you can feel was housed in her eyes. Two dark, never-ending pools absolutely full to the brim of everything and nothing at the same time. A strange and terrifying emptiness.

Suddenly, she broke. Through tears and sobs, she kept saying that she was sorry, so sorry, that she didn't mean to -- my suspicions that I had when I first saw her increased. She said she felt sick and like she'd done something wrong, and she'd repeat "I'm sorry" again and again, followed by the mantra "I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay."

Amid the repetitions of apology and her continual attempts to convince me (though I'm almost positive that she was trying harder to convince herself) that she was okay, she choked out what had happened. The phrases were in no logical sequence of beginning-middle-end. But it was enough.

I've never seen anyone so broken before -- like something inside of her had been snuffed out, a candle flame in a sudden gust of wind. I didn't know what to do -- how can you convince someone so shattered that it wasn't her fault?

How can people be so cruel and evil? How could anyone willingly hurt someone as badly as they hurt Callie?

And it brings back so many horrible feelings and memories -- what happened to Callie almost happened to me. I could have been the girl with the haunted, broken, shame-filled stare. I almost was. And every once in awhile this afternoon, I've felt like it should have happened to me. Me, and not Callie. It doesn't seem fair that I was spared, and that she wasn't.

The look in her eyes keeps flashing in front of me -- what I wouldn't give to take this away from her, to experience it for her, to do something that will help her. I don't know what to do for her. All I could do was hold her while she cried, and repeat to her again and again that it wasn't her fault -- she didn't know this would happen! It wasn't and never will be her fault. Ever.

But she doesn't believe me. I don't really expect her to believe me. I just wish that she could see that the blame doesn't rest on her shoulders -- that this is not her fault.

Callie -- beautiful little Callie. I don't know what to do.

Monday, July 9, 2012


I'm the kind of person who makes plans and sticks to them. I rarely cancel plans, even if I don't feel particularly well. And even though I hate going to parties, I at least try to show up and say hello for a little while.

Lately, though, I've done the opposite. I've made plans, I've rsvp'd to stuff, I've ventured into social functions -- but somehow, I always end up canceling or making as quick an exit as possible. Even at work I find any excuse to hide in the back room, whether it's calling customers or organizing or drinking 6 full water bottles in a five hour shift just so I could retreat to refill and clear my head.

Don't get me wrong. I love my house mate. I love my coworkers (most of them). I love my family. I love my friends. I need people, all of those people in particular.

Right now, though...I don't really want people. It's so hard to hear people say things like, "we need to go hang out to take your mind off of things" or "call me and we'll talk" because, quite honestly, I don't want to go out or talk. I hate getting invited to do things because I just want to stay in my house, cleaning the rooms and cooking meals and spending time with Kala. At the same time, I keep making plans and trying to force myself to make human contact -- I know from experience that it's not good to withdraw completely.

But making plans is the easy part. It's keeping them that's hard. Even sitting in the same room with Natalie was hard after awhile. So was talking with my coworkers tonight. I wonder if part of it is due to my sudden inability to focus on anything anyone is saying. I'll be looking right at Natalie while she's talking to me, but I cannot for the life of me seem to focus on what she is saying. The same thing happened with Tracy and Danielle at work, and my family when we went to the library tonight. It was like a radio that can't hone in a frequency and keeps shooting out static with intermittent, broken, muffled words coming through the speakers.

I just want to be alone. Alone with nothing but white noise in my head and white lights before my eyes.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

rough weekend...

This morning I received word that two former students from my high school were killed in a motorcycle accident at about 4:30 a.m. David, one of the people killed, is the brother of one of my concert choir girls who I was section leader over during her sophomore and my senior year of high school. The other student who was killed, Janet, is another one of my concert choir girls.

I only met David once, and I must say that he is one of the funniest, nicest men I've had the opportunity to cross paths with. He came into PartyLand on Saturday morning and bought a bunch of stuff to decorate his sister's car with at her reception. Lineah was married on Friday, and the reception was held on Saturday night. David died today, Sunday morning.

Janet is such a sweet, kind girl. She was in my soprano section. She started out with a shy voice, but by her senior year when she performed in the end of the year concert, it wasn't so shy anymore. She had a big heart and a big smile, and was friendly to everyone. Janet graduated from high school in May of this year.

It's been a really hard year for Mountain View High School. Two students committed suicide during the school year, one of them a good friend of my sisters'. Now two alumni as well. Man. Things like these you never see coming. David and Janet will be missed dearly -- they are very loved people. They touched a lot of lives, mine included.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

trouble comes in threes...or fours...

1. Leonardo (my betta) died today. Some people may say it's ridiculous to cry over a pet fish. I disagree.

2. There is an increasing amount of drama at PartyLand. Nine girls in one store...one girl in particular is causing a lot of grief for everyone else. If she wasn't so gosh darn mean all the time, it'd be fine. Sadly, she is mean a lot (and I'm not the only one who has noticed), and it's getting old.

3. One of my best friends doesn't answer when I try to talk to him anymore. I almost want to call him in the hopes that he'll actually answer just so that I can hang up on him. But that's rude.

4. Illness in the family is very, very hard -- especially when faced with the unknown.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

dragon's breath...

My dad and I had a grand adventure today -- sneaking up on two dozen sleeping Dragons, whose fiery roars lit up the sky as they woke to take flight among the clouds.

What better way to start a holiday?

the heat from the flames felt nice on my cold fingers and cheeks

lots of little girls and boys got a better look on their dads' shoulders

the yawning maw of a dragon!

a picnic in the beasts' nesting grounds

soaring into the dawn with the Stars & Stripes

rainbow dragon above my head

Happy Independence Day, America

Monday, July 2, 2012

still a student...

I've been thinking a lot about the first lesson post I wrote. About worrying less about how my life looks to others and more about how it feels to me.

By no means am I a master of this principle, or any of the others that I have written about. I often find myself thinking and acting in ways that are completely against the things I am trying to learn. Sometimes I stop short and tell myself, HEY! Remember that one time when you thought of that one thing and you were going to work on it and become better? Well...better remember it now and QUIT STOPPING YOURSELF FROM PROGRESSING.

Not all of the voices in my head are particularly kind.

Anyway. For example. I've been spending a lot of time on my own lately in the House. Natalie and I see each other in the evenings for a few minutes, sometimes for an hour, but most of the time we're just two friends sharing living space. We both work a lot, I at my three jobs and Natalie at her job and in her volunteering.

This time alone hasn't been lonely time. I rarely find myself feeling sad or upset. Instead, I have found that I am able to get a lot of things done: keeping up with the housework and making sure things are nice; playing with my dog; adventuring with friends; reading; writing; cooking; thinking; singing; perhaps soon drawing.

While I was in the kitchen today, boiling eggs by myself for the first time ever, I stopped and looked around me. Here I am, I thought, boiling eggs and planning meals for the week, debating on whether or not to make a cake or brownies, brainstorming potential primary lessons, cleaning the kitchen, singing hymns and talking to my dog in my Snow White voice, musing on life and its mysteries, mentally checking to see if my camera is ready for tomorrow morning, and trying to figure out which big chore I'm going to complete on Friday night. I looked around the kitchen again and thought, I LOVE my life!

Then another not-so-kind voice (which sounded remarkably like one of the people who works in the same building that I do) said, Yep. You're a total Molly Mormon. You just keep on proving it. You are doing nothing important with your life except cleaning the house, cooking the food, and thinking about the Gospel. Oh my gosh, LOOK AT YOU! You are so NOT awesome. DO SOMETHING with your life, okay? Jeez.

And for a minute, I started to be ashamed. I remembered all of those things that person told me a few weeks ago, telling me that (and I quote/paraphrase) "your life is so boring -- don't you do anything worthwhile at all?" and "wow, you are such a Molly Mormon -- you like teaching primary. And cake pops, seriously?" and  "next time you make a decision you should think for yourself, instead of relying on the misguided examples of other people."

Remembering those things she said brought me spiraling downwards. I hated myself. Even though I had been angry when she'd said all of those things to me, I believed her words for a second. I AM boring, I thought. I am everything she said I am --  I SHOULDN'T like these things. I should be more adventurous and daring, maybe try something new. I probably shouldn't even like Disney movies.

But as I looked at my reflection in the Kitchen Aid that I was putting back in place, I thought of what I'd proclaimed to have learned. WHO CARES if that person thinks I'm a Molly Mormon? WHO CARES if my life appears boring to her? It isn't boring to me! I like my life. I like teaching primary and making cake pops. I like doing dishes (sometimes) and singing and boiling eggs and cleaning and playing with my dog. I like the way I am. Besides, that person has no idea where I've come from and what kinds of decisions I've made.

You know what? This is my life to live. It isn't hers.

We are all students of life. The person who said those things is learning about life, just as I am. We're both in different places and taking different roads. What I need to remember and continue to practice thinking is that though others may tell me that the life I live is boring and housewife-ish, it doesn't matter. What they think doesn't matter. I feel comfortable this way. I feel happy this way. All of these things bring me joy, and to me they are worthwhile.

I don't plan to change the world. I plan to change myself. That is what is most important.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

June top 10 + more...

1.1 Dark Side -- Kelly Clarkson
1.2 Wide Awake --  Katy Perry
1.3 Guardian -- Alanis Morrisett
2. Summer is Over -- Jon McLaughlin and Sara Bareilles
3. Settle Down -- Kimbra (weird music video -- I've watched it about 9 times)
4. Do You Remember -- Ane Brun (even weirder music video -- I've only watched it twice)
5. Once Upon Another Time -- Sara Bareilles
6. A Drop in the Ocean -- Ron Pope
7. I Won't Let You Go --  James Morrison
8. The Vision of Love -- Kris Allen
9. Taking Chances -- Glee cover
10. Lullaby -- Nickelback