Three Years

Photo By Carolina Lindsay Photography

There is something between us:
A weighty thing; palpable—drawing on our center like gravity
into the loop of an orbit.
Orbits look lazy from afar, but they are manic—the threat of being flung off,
into eternity—boundless vast.

But I am not afraid.
I have seen eternity, darling; and it looks like you.

Thoughts on Anniversary Weekend

I've been thinking a lot lately, about life--the diversity, depth, transcendence and oftentimes meaninglessness of the every-day.  The heart-rending, and the yawn-drawing and the soul-destroying and the sleep-inducing-ness of it all, and I'm humbled, and in an awe near desperation for deeper understanding.

Somewhere in the world, someone has just won a contest, and someone has lost an earring.  Somewhere in the world, someone's home has just burned to the ground because of a lazy mistake, and someone else has just been handed the keys to their first real grown-up apartment.  Somewhere in the world, someone has just found out that they were expecting after years of trying and trying, and someone else has lost their favorite dog to a careless driver.

There is someone, out there, right now who is wondering why they can't seem to find anyone who shares their values, and someone whose friends have just surprised them with a birthday lunch.  Somewhere someone is writing a letter of gratitude to a friend, while another is receiving a medical bill they'll never be able to pay.

Somewhere in the world is Manhattan, and there are people in the streets, and people in the penthouses, and people in the taxis and the shopping malls and the fire and police stations.  Many people are working, and some are just thinking, and some are trying not to think.  They're doing the same thing in Tulsa Oklahoma, and in Thailand and Malaysia.

Somewhere in the world are you and me, and we're ordering a pizza and watching Season 9 of The Office on Netflix, because they finally got it up there on October 1st, and we were too cheap to see it any other way.  Somewhere in the world you're telling me that I'm perfect even though my hair is greasy, my jeans are too tight, and I'm wearing one of your T-shirts that you are supposed to wear to work, but you don't because it's hideous.  Somewhere in the world you're good enough for me, and I'm good enough for you, and I'm asking you to find my wedding ring because I've (somewhat ironically) lost it, right here and now on our anniversary.  We're at home instead of going out because somewhere in the world somewhere could be dying, and when they do, someone could call us and you'd have to leave.

Thankfully that doesn't happen.

Somewhere in the world someone is dying, but it's not here, and it's not now, and it's not us.

No, we're not dying.  We're living--living, breathing, eating pizza and watching Netflix, and it's more than OK.

It's more or less perfect.

Writing Exercises

Husby suggested tonight that we play a game, aka: do our writing exercises.  We do this sometimes, to pass the time while still feeling productive.  We'll find writing prompts, and we each take a computer and write according to the prompt.

I won't tell you what the prompt was for this four-part series, just enjoy if you like.  I should practice writing fiction more often, I can just never get myself to form an actual coherent story.  I'm much better at snippets; therefore, I rather like how these turned out. . .

She had heard something once, about the difference between a single point and two points.  The single point can have an infinite number of different lines stretching between that point and oblivion, but two points can have only one line drawn between them.  Reading this was like living that principle in verbal motion; each of those words created a point, and between them, only one line--one steady line, forming an idea.  Someone else’s words, and the picture was so clear, almost painfully so.  She felt the familiar discomfort that comes from clarity, because it’s infinitely easier to throw one's hands in the air and say, “I don’t know”.  There is too much responsibility in knowing.
Funny, really, that the abstraction of poetry could ring so clearly in her mind as she read:
I know that each one of us travels to love alone,
alone to faith and to death.
I know it. I’ve tried it. It doesn’t help.
Let me come with you.
It was no longer a matter of whether or not she would go, or even why she would go, only how.  How to make someone else understand what is so clear to your own mind, to your own intellect, and how to make yourself understand how that part of you, that belongs so solely to you, how it can be carved so deeply by the hand of someone else.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The dishes clattered as each course was passed, ceremoniously, around the oblong table.  Even the baby knew better than to make a mess, or a sound.  The only sound could be, then, the television.  I guess we left it on for comfort, to remember the old idiom that there is always someone out there who has it worse than you.  Always.  
Dead words, about the dead, came from dead lips, painted the deadest kind of pink--one that could not commit to being red,  
After months of investigating, police are beginning to acknowledge that the shooting may have been nothing more than a random act of violence, without the political motivations previously suspected . . .
Strange that there was any comfort in those words, anything to take our minds off of the clattering of the dishes, and the nothingness that otherwise filled the spaces devoid of metal on porcelain and crystal glass.  Someone always had it better than us, because somethingess had to be better than nothingness.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“You don’t have to sound so bitter about it!” Emery scoffed.  
She scoffs.
“I’m . . . not bitter.  I’m just saying, she could do things . . ” and I had to pause, because it’s one of those moments where you know you’re about to say something that shows your hand, and the only thing you can do is laugh at yourself before you get laughed at.  
“I’m just saying she could do things more like I do them.” Though it took me a while to get the words out between the grins and the giggles, plastered there to cover up the disappointment in myself; the disappointment that I couldn’t see past this strange sense of competition I felt whenever I thought of her.  I turn away, effectively ending the conversation, but I do so out of a different motivation, so that Emery couldn’t see the flash of, “well she started it” that was about to cross my eyes.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Political motivations!  Everything in life is personally motivated; everything else is just a coverup!  When will people ever learn that?!”
The drunken man’s declaration was unwarranted, and filled the entire bar without difficulty.  The handful of people who had been watching the T.V. now seemed ashamed of being even referentially associated with the loud-mouth, and looked down instinctively.  The evening was a competition, to see who could be the most silent, the most unemployed, and I sat and watched it all with interest.
The man whose eyes darted about, as though sure of encountering a bar-room swindler in any one of the dark corners; the short blonde who’d obviously had enough, surreptitiously scribbling her number on a stained napkin for the benefit of the man who was seeking no benefit; the couple with their backs to everyone, wondering what brings them here when they could be at home; and the man in the doorway, deciding whether or not to step out for another light.  

It wasn’t merely a question of whether or not someone would connect the dots, drawing us all together, but who?  And it might as well be me.  Somehow, I could see it all for what it was: a parade of the absurdists, each of us trying to avoid the eyes of one another, not because of the television, not because of the loud-mouth, not even because of the alcohol on everyone’s breath, only because we should not be there--we could not be there.  Each of us had something we were supposed to be doing, and taking on the additional burden of anyone else’s failed dreams was too great a task, so we drank alone.  Even those who were with someone drank alone, because in so many ways, it was the only option, considering the current state of affairs.  It had to be done.  

Food For Thought . . . Because We ALL Need to Eat

Ok.  Here goes.  It has been a great deal of time since I last wrote, and for that, I apologize.

Now that I've got that over with, time for the soap box.  I will not beat around the bush, I will come right out and say it: skinny women have feelings too.

I know, it's hard to believe.  I know that it will come as a shock to many, but it is the truth.  Pure and simple, and I will not lie about it. *winking frantically (seizure emmenant)*

This is honestly something I've been planning on writing about for awhile, not because I think my thoughts are going to change the world, or ensure that people stop making inappropriate comments about weight; because, well, frankly, they won't (we're all just human, anyway).  I just think it's an interesting phenomenon, and I want to write about it.

That being said, I don't feel like I need an explanation from anyone about "why" people think that they can say whatever they want to a person about their body, as long as they're "skinny" (if this is somehow news to you, society pretty much tells us a lot of weird things and gives us very strange criteria for judging others--yep, got it.  That conversation is OLD news) but isn't it weird, just how hard it can be to see how easily we can hurt others by saying things without thinking them through first?

I have always been thin.  It's just ME, a part of the way my body works and runs.  Capisce?

But here's a scenario (one that has happened to me countless times).

I am in a group of women, talking, and somehow weight gets brought up.  I immediately fall as dead silent as possible and do everything I can to avoid brining attention to myself.  It does no good.  Inevitably, no matter how quiet and unobtrusive I am, someone turns to me and says, "Well, you don't even know what we're talking about.  You don't even need to watch what you eat, or exercise."

Say WHAT?!?!?!!!???!! My doctor has TOTALLY been lying to me!  He keeps saying I need to watch what I eat an exercise, but it turns out-- I DON'T?!?!  Gee, aren't I lucky? (Someone should be whistling the tune to The Andy Griffith Show in the background of this paragraph.)

Ok, how dumb is that?  Of COURSE I need to watch what I eat an exercise.  I am a PERSON!  People need to do those things in order to be healthy physically and mentally.  End of story.

I will say that I'm not necessarily OFFENDED by these comments (I don't really consider myself to be one that offends easily--if you know me and disagree, sorry?) as much as they just . . . make me feel awkward, and not good enough, and like I don't fit in.  Sound like someone else?  Oh yeah, everyone.  Human beings will always find a way to make others feel that they don't fit in, the method can just be more subtle sometimes.

I was recently at an event with other women when the conversation arose concerning a relative of one of the women (the conversation got started because someone was telling me that I needed to eat more than I was, for whatever reason) who is thin but eats a lot.  The words, "It's disgusting" were worked into the conversation, as well as the phrase, "She's one of those people where you just want to say, 'Do you even exist?'"

Weeeerrrrrrrgggggggghhhhh KRNK! *car crash-type noises* "Do you even exist?"

Cue me awkwardly laughing and looking down, hoping the subject will change (though actually being kind of glad that those words were said when the issue was on my mind, because it was an interesting specimen of a conversation for this post.)

The conversation didn't offend me.  It just made me feel sad, and awkward, and like I didn't fit in, or needed to change somehow to be more like others.  That's really lame that people have been taught over and over again that it's OK to say things like that, as long as it's a reference to someone being skinny.

I have a dream . . . that one day it won't even be necessary to make any social-setting comments whatsoever on weight because we'll all just be OK with who we are personally, and we won't really have the time or energy to worry about how other people look or what they do or eat.  Maybe one day.  


I was just going through my "drafts" folder on Blogger, and found this old gem.  It never quite made its way to being posted.  Better late than never.

We knew there'd be ups and downs, working at a mortuary.  The moment the idea came up, we thought, "cool!" . . . the next moment, "really?".  "Why not?" . . . and "Why should we?".  We took it. 

Fast forward to this morning at 5:30, phone rings.  Again at, I don't know, maybe 7:00.  Again at 9:00-- I take the call, you are still out.  You barely get back in time for church, or so we think.  The phone rings again.  That call shouldn't take long, only there's been some confusion, so we miss half of the primary program we'd so been looking forward to.

Church is over, but because there is a viewing in the mortuary, we have to cut our usual Sunday Afternoon snack-time routine short, and you head over there.  Fast forward an hour or so and I am on the couch, eating a tub of pre-prepared cookie dough, and watching Sabrina, the one with Audrey Hepburn in it.  We both love Audrey dearly, but agree that the newer version is better film-making overall.  What difference?  You're not there anyway. 

Time trips on.  You call toward the end of my second Hepburn film to say that you have to drive down to Salt Lake after everyone leaves the viewing.  You've not eaten in many hours, and ask me to bring you something.  So I trudge out into the rain, toting a sandwhich in a honey-smudged plastic baggie.  It was the best I could do, I reason.  You're just grateful for something other than a bowl of mints to snack on.

On the desk in the office is a clipped-out article about the rush on Hostess products as soon as the bankrupcy and bakery shut-down was announced.  You sit across from me, wearing an ill-fitting suit, and eating the sandwhich.

"We'll have to tell our kids one day. . . about Twinkies."

You laugh.  You think I'm joking.

"I mean it.  I don't know why, but we'll have to tell them."  It will have to mean something, I finish saying in my mind. 

"Twinkies.  They've just always been there.  Ubiquitious, gratuitous, there in our lunch boxes.  Well, I never had a lunch box, and therefore, never had a Twinkie in one.  But had I had a lunchbox, I'm sure there'd have been a Twinkie."

You're still eating your sandwhich.

"And we should have bought Wonder  bread while we had the chance.  Stone-Ground Hazlenut?!  What were we thinking?!"  I'm staring now at your sanwhich.  I think you're agreeing. 

It was that Modernism.  The belief in the man-made.  Had they made an organic Twinkie, they probably could have survived.  But people are losing faith in the man-made.  Call it post-modernism, call it a swinging pendullum, call it common-sense, I don't care.  There's been a death in the human family, and I can't let it go.  I know I should have bought a box while I had the chance, and now they're going for $100.00 on Ebay, or so reads the paper. 

I don't have 100 CENTS to put toward it.  I set the paper down. 

You've since walked out to help the family start to clean up, it is past 8:00 and you're anxious to go down to Salt Lake so that you can get back at a decent hour. 

I sit and stare, stare at that paper and the recently published obituary and a death certificate.  This woman had not been old.  Out in the hallway, another group of women are huddling together.  They're crying, mourning a loss.  A loss I can't begin to understand.

I'm thinking about the Twinkies.  I think I can understand that.

I think.

"Reader, I Married Him"

"Reader, I married him."

And so, it begins.  This beautiful little journey of ours.

Out of the first 10 days of our marriage, I was sick for about 7 of them.  But all I can feel for that is grateful, because I have someone there to take care of me and rub my tummy and scoldingly tell it to "be-have".

Last night I spent several hours making dinner, cleaning the kitchen, grocery shopping, cleaning our bedroom, vacuuming the carpet... and it was the most win-win situation ever, because I thought it was a domestic blast, and JD thought I was the best wife in the history of wives, which, he is more than welcome to think that if he wants, even if he's wrong.

Our wedding day was... blurry.  I was sick, of course, and could hardly walk, I ended up with more to do right at the end than I'd planned on, and wanted to kick myself for that.  Then I was late to the temple, when I'd promised myself I would not be.  JD was pacing when I got there, later, he said not because he was worried that I was late, but just because "I was getting married."  Every groom needs a few minutes to do an I'm-getting-married pace.  I completely respect that.

The ceremony blew my mind.  If you have never been to a temple sealing, just trust me on it.  I was completely blown away, and further evidenced in the sealer's having told JD just after "take her to a sealing soon. She was so into you, I don't think she heard a thing I said there at the end."

Guilty as charged.

JD ended up with a bloody nose just as I was ready to exit those doors with him, so I had to wait.  I think that was the most nervous I felt all day.  We were already married, but I was waiting, and hoping that he was OK.  And does a woman ever forget the look on his face when he first sees her in her wedding dress?  I hope I never do.  There should be a natural safeguard against that, a special spot in my heart where that is written, not to be soon set aside.

Taking photographs in the late afternoon sun, over at "Walden", trying to take it all in, even though I know that is not even possible.

The reception was a dream.  It was perfect.  Having so many people who have touched your life, walking into that room, and the feeling of overwhelming gratitude.  It is indescribable.  Other things went wrong, but they ironed out.  Things always work out.  That is what I told JD's Stake President the Sunday before the wedding.  He said that if I really believed and lived that, then I pretty much had life figured out.

And I've been thinking about that lately.  Having things figured out.  It is a cliche that brand-spanking-newly weds always think they have it all figured out.

But don't they, in a way?  That pull that the newness gives us to be tender, to be kind and loving and understanding always.  That pull doesn't last forever, but if we listen to it, it is teaching us something.  If we listen to it, it is saying,

Being kind and loving and understanding always will not come easy for long, at some point it will become a decision, no longer automatic.  Until you have decided long enough that it becomes automatic again.  Be kind.  Be loving.  Be understanding always.  Things will work out.

So, with an eye looking forward to many more mornings of "I know it's way out of your way, but I left those important assignments on the table, can you bring them by the store for me on your way to work?" and evenings of "I had to leave the staff meeting early, because my wife was sick" I will get back to life.  Real life, though it doesn't feel completely real yet.  I will make it so.  It will be so, and I will live every last drop.

Because I'll Want to Read This Later



Start again.

Always starting again.

I told JD tonight that this was not the time to be bothering to change our lives.  Our lives are going to change themselves two weeks from today.  Exactly two weeks.

The mental list:

Clean room
Pack stuff
Paint apartment (more and more)
Find more furniture
Make more money
Eat more healthy (aka eat less carbs)
Write in my journal
Read my scriptures more intently
Pray more intently
Do pretty much everything in my life more intently
Finish the video projects I am WAY overdue on
Renew my driver's license that expired over 2 months ago (don't read if you're a cop)
Be a good employee again who isn't constantly stressing about outside-of-work things
Get the car repaired

This list doesn't even include anything from the wedding to-dos (callcaterer.visitreceptioncenterandsetuparrangement.meetwithdecorator.findstaffandcrewfordecorator.
buyamillionmorethingswithnomoney.finishdressandveil....blahblahblahblahblah...)  That is an entirely different story.

But the one thing on my list that has finally boiled to the top?  Writing.  Writing anything.  Why?  Because I'll want to read it later.  Two years from now, I'll look back and wonder, "why can't I remember anything about the weeks leading up to my wedding?"  And then I'll say to myself, "oh yeah.  I was a total stress-case and never took the time to just sit.  Just breath.  Just be."

So here I am.  Sitting.  Breathing.  Being.


This may not be the time to change my life.  I may be in "bare survival mode" for a reason.  Perhaps it comes with the territory.  Rephrase.  Perhaps, for people like me, it comes with the territory.

But I want to write this to my future self, to remember myself by.


I want you to remember that the weeks leading up to the wedding got really hard.  There was a lot to do and no time or money.  You felt like you spent all of your time at work, and when you weren't there, you were at home wishing that you had the money and energy to do everything you needed to do to get ready.  JD was hard at work with school, the store, and the mortuary.  You were crying one the phone to him on a regular basis because of the daily mental break-downs.  But remember this:

Remember the time JD held you for hours, massaging your back at intervals because your stomach hurt so bad you couldn't think straight.

Remember the time Mr. and Mrs. Clean *wink* came to your apartment all the way from Spanish Fork to help you paint.

Remember the time the CFO at work reminded you that "family is first" and told you to stop feeling bad that you'd had a lot of wedding stuff to attend to; then gave you a dinosaur chewable-vitamin out of his desk and told you that you should ask for a raise sometime.

Remember the time that "Ambs" and you struck up the inside joke about "Despi" who "drives to Layton from anywhere in the world." and you couldn't stop laughing about it even though no one understood what you were talking about.

Remember the time that JD got sick, and you were able to hold his head in your lap and play with his hair, watching episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show" to help you both get through.

Remember Mom driving perilously in the middle of the night to come help with the invites that were way more complicated than you should have ever let them get.  But you still don't regret them, because you love how they turned out.

Remember Cinni's beautiful photography, and how you were in love with her creative "butt-picture" with the picnic basket and almost used it in the announcements, until you remembered that everyone would judge you if you did that, and probably rightly-so. 

Remember everyone who came together to throw and attend bridal showers, and how JD's grandmother gave you cut-glass dishes that had belonged to her mother.

Remember everyone.  Remember everything.  Somehow save all of these little memories away: the melted wedding veil, the overnight shipping charge for the announcement envelopes, the beautiful ring sitting in the box waiting for JD's hand (and the time that you proposed to him with it, in the kitchen, just to be silly, and he jumped up and down and begged for a closer look), the small bunch of dishes by the door that needs to make its way downstairs for a washing, the feeling of pure euphoria when your best friend sent you her flight itinerary that meant that she was going to be able to make it to the wedding from OH, the piles of antiques and vintage items (collected on date-nights and random DI outings with sister) stacked on the table in the corner of the bedroom, the plethora of scaffolding on the Timpanogos temple (and how the two of you decided to pretend that the temple was being built especially for your wedding, and somehow wasn't going to be complete, but you're so in love you're moving forward anyway), the lunches on Fridays stolen away at Taste of India with Will and anyone else who wants to come and the waitresses there who practically are your best friends by now, the feeling of anticipation, the fear of blowing everything but wanting to move forward anyway, the knowledge that you and JD have everything you need to be brilliant, to make life into what you want it to be.

Remember all of these things.  

This is real life.

This is water.
This is love.