Friday, December 29, 2006

Forget walking softly--somebody give me a stick.

As sprightly youngsters, my sisters and I, in rough and ready pairs or trios, would joust each other freely, using whatever straightish sort of twigs we could find. Stick-sword-fighting was one of our favorite pastimes, or at least it was mine. (I may be coloring their experiences with my own...)

Once, when I found a long thin metal rod, I thought my elevation to knighthood was assured; here was a real sword made of metal, not wood! I felt all-powerful and quickly defeated all twig-bearing opponents.

I've wondered at times, in the years since being that rather fierce five or six-year-old, where exactly all my courage and boldness boiled away to.

When I think of my personality now, I consider myself a shy person, prone to being rather withdrawn or even hesitant to interact with others. And yet, now I wonder whether shyness was something I was born with or if it was something I decided I was, and then became.

Would that five-year-old with mud on her shoes and hair wisping from a lopsided ponytail recognize the cautious creature she has become?

I think I need to find a stick one of these days and shake it a few times at the current dragons in my life. Maybe if I beat them about the head a bit they'll leave me alone. If I bruise them, perhaps they'll respect me. And if I leave them limping and fleeing away, maybe I'll find that I'm still courageous and bold after all.


Get thee to the MOA

About a week ago on KBYU (a local PBS station) I saw a string of images set to a piece of music from Robert Cundick's The Redeemer. (This piece of music is perhaps one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard.) I discovered later that the images, all of which were depictions of Christ, came from the current exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art: Beholding Salvation. (For those of you who would like to see what I saw on KBYU, go here and download from Chapter 3.)

I need to get to the MOA.

This past Sunday (while singing with our ward choir) I broke down in tears during John Rutter's "Candlelight Carol," something which almost never happens. I'm usually way too absorbed with how my voice should sound and whether I got the note just right to even think about the meaning of what I'm singing. I leave that to the audience and usually miss out on what could otherwise be meaningful spiritual experiences. But this time, when we began singing, "Find Him at Bethlehem laid in a manger: Christ our Redeemer asleep in the hay," I couldn't go on. I barely hit one note in five, if that.

I finally remembered what Christ is to me, and my whole soul thrilled to the sweetness of Him.

So I think, sometime within these next few weeks, I need to take a trip to Provo and take a few moments to behold Salvation, and to see how others view Him as well. I think seeing Him may help me to see other things just a little more clearly.

Monday, December 25, 2006

And a very merry one at that

I'm afraid I'm a very negligent blogger. So, because I earlier failed to do so, and because most of you are still in time zones where it's still officially December 25th, I heartily wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I hope it was lovely and joy-filled for all of you.

And also because I've been awake since about 5:30 this morning, I think that's all I'll say. Merry Christmas, everyone.

And God bless us, every one.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

So--wait--what's wrong with feet?

Okay, people. We are going to get at the root of something here. We're digging deep! We're dredging up stuff that has lain undredged for aeons!

I want to know exactly who decided that feet were ugly. I mean, was it during the Victorian era when pretty much everything below your neck was considered indecent? (And sometimes below your eyebrows?) Was it during the Roman Empire when that prevalent sandal-wearing caused unsightly calluses and really gross accumulation of gunk on said feet? Was it last Thursday when someone posted on her blog, "Ew! Feet are gross," a post which has more or less been altered by me in significant ways? (Inasmuch as no one ever posted it that I know of but I DO know a lot of people actually think this way and I really can't understand why?)


I'm sure it's all three.

However, I find that I must take a different road. To me, feet are not ugly. To me, feet are quite nice little things, actually. They arch so agreeably in that inside space between the pad and the heel; they have such interesting ligaments on top; they're tough and leathery on the bottom and smooth and delicate above. And heck--don't even get me started about how much I love toes. (Yay! Toes are great!)

So to all of you people out there who think that our legs would do much better with just a stump at the end, or for all of those out there who insist that feet must be covered up every waking minute lest we all become flooded with inappropriate thoughts about each other, and to those nay-sayers who say, "Nay, feet! Nay!" I say:

"Walk on, feet. Be proud in your feetitude. Be bold, be step-worthy, and above all, be bare."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

In everything I don't say is where I live my life

I've been thinking today about the creation of things, how the act of creating moves something from one of hundreds of thousands (or millions) of possibilities into the one thing that is. When I post here, I usually come with some idea of what I want to talk about, whether it be nephews or books or getting stuck in the snow. I taste sentences in my head like someone at an ice cream counter, sampling this flavor or that before I find one that sticks.

Then, when I sit down to write it, it shapes itself into something entirely different, going from chocolate to strawberry to oreo mint, when I had originally intended something more like peanut butter cup.

So even when I intend to write about something, I often end up with something completely different.

And then there are the things that get left out because I don't want to write about them, things like staring into the mirror for fifteen minutes trying to penetrate my own mind on the double fronts of the exterior and interior barriers I've put up against myself, trying to see past my own eyes and find out at last what this creature whose reflection I see is really capable of becoming. Or when I go through days when every song I hear, every line I hear from the television, every comment someone makes reminds me of things that I lack, of traits I wish I had, of people I miss, of things I want in my life but simply don't have.

Sometimes I don't want to tell you about these times, I believe because they make me feel too sad.

But there are so many things that I would tell you, but I can't, because by the time I finally get around to typing my post, the idea is gone, or changed into something unrecognizable. Or because this blog is public, I don't want to really bare my soul too much; instead I'll leave it safely ensconced somewhere behind my breastbone, thank-you-very-much, from which, in the privacy of my room, I may take it out and pat it a few times just to remind myself it's there.

Even now, this post isn't anything I thought it would be. But it is what it is. It's moved into the realm of being rather than just the realm of what might be.

Just know that, when I write about being miffed at choir practice or the joy of having loose and baggy jeans, there's an entire life's worth of unwritten experiences that I have every day but will not or cannot share. (Not that you need to know precicely how my toothpaste tasted, of course--I'm not talking about minutae.) I guess what I'm saying is, please remember that, although a blog is formatted in such a way to give you snippets of my life, it's only the very skin of the thing, never getting beyond the epidermis. But I've got a whole lot of flesh left under that.

As have you.

So come on. Tell me how you're doing. (And in case you were wondering, yes, that meant you.)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Because nephews are, of all things, most wonderful:

I give you this:

Not to mention this:

(Aw. Cute little socks on cute little feet and you'll probably slap me if I use the phrase "cute little" once more.) Hahaha! Please, do forgive a besotted auntie.

I just had to share. (I guess this counts as a shameless plug for someone else's kid. Where's my pride, man?)

Friday, December 15, 2006

What is like falling in love

I've remembered what this was now.

It's music.

Like the music I heard last night, some pieces ethereal and some rousing and energetic. It felt very much like falling in love, that sensation that flares in your chest and rushes out to your shoulders and down to our feet, making you want to race something and strain your legs against the earth, but also to stand unmoving on the crest of a hill while the wind blows through you.

Saying that it was lovely stuff would be true but not accurate. But I can't really think of anything better to say.

For those of you still in Utah (darn few of you), if you have the chance to attend the MoTab Christmas concert with Sissel (who, by the way, has convinced me that I really can become an instant fan of a Norwegian Singing Sensation who, despite an admittedly odd haircut, has one of the loveliest voices I've heard in ages) then you will love it. Period.

If you don't have a chance to attend, at least tune in to the weekly MoTab Sunday morning broadcast at 9:30am (Mountain Time) on KSL for a brief taste of it.

You know. If you feel like it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

And also...

I know, I really do know it's creepy that I read the blogs of people I don't know, but you people have seriously got to see this.

Despite its irreverence, it tickled my insides until they shouted at me to stop.


Oh, yes. This is why I dislike winter...

Today was the first snow-shoveling day of the year, at least for me. Right after Family Home Evening, we noticed that our dear ol' dad had gone out to shovel the driveway. Now, my dad is completely capable of clearing the entire thing by himself, but because we love him and we don't want him to have a heart attack alone in the snow, my two younger sibs and I went out to help him clean up the durn thing.

Unfortunately, this morning as we all left for work or school or Walmart, each of our cars left a trail of packed snow behind us that absolutely refused to be parted from the driveway this evening. And also the snow was a bit wet. And heavy.

All of this helped me to remember this evening just why I dislike winter. It's not so much the cold, nor the fear of slipping and breaking my tibia (or worse, my clavicle) while shuffling around the church parking lot in shoes that have NO traction whatsoever, nor is it the gloom that descends on our poor minds every time the clouds lower, nor is it the cold. (I already mentioned that? Oh. Well. It counts twice.)

It's shoveling. Particularly when it's snowing at the same time, and by the time you've finally gotten three quarters of the way down the driveway, that first quarter already has another inch on it.


Fortunately, that was not the case this evening. It wasn't snowing, and while it was cold, it wasn't frigid, and while the snow was packed and a bit heavy, it was mostly frozen so it wasn't too bad, and we just kind of skimmed over the top of the car tracks, and also there were four people shoveling so it didn't take too long, and also we got some hot chocolate (mine artificially sweetened) at the end of it.

But it was kind of like seeing a preview for a movie you didn't want to see, but you knew for the sake of societal pressure you would see anyway. No. No, that comparison doesn't work at all.

It was more like smelling something foul that you hadn't yet come across but you knew was just around the bend and you were about to run smack dab into it. With your bare foot. Weeeelll...better, but still...

It was like...

It was like...

Yo. It was sooooo like shoveling a driveway full of snow, knowing that winter has only just started and you have at least another thirty or forty days where you'll have to shovel this gunk (and a lot more days where you'll have to LOOK at the gunk) before you finally start seeing green on the trees again.

Yeah. That's totally what it was like. Yaaaaay winter.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Slightly Irregular Wish List

For all of you out there who are thinking about buying me a smashingly wonderful Christmas gift, (i.e. none of you), I have finally found a gift for me, one that I will love and cherish and adore for the rest of me days.

Now I know that the spirit of Christmas is all about giving, and believe me, I would never have risked my flesh and unbroken bones in the mass of shoppers on Black Friday (i.e. the day after Thanksgiving) to find those few perfect gifts that also happened to be on sale if I weren't interested in giving, giving, giving away just like the Little Stream.

But, because I've had trouble thinking of exactly what I wanted to receive, (I usually just buy stuff I want...when I have enough money...), I thought I would make it easier for any of you. Who happen to want to give me stuff. Um.

In any case, while I was working in the Juvenile section of the HBLL at BYU, I ran across an old picture book called The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine. The pictures are basically cutouts of Victorian-era engravings, and the story is a hodgepodge of strange events and bizarre characters, including a pirate who has knitted his own beard. I was wowed. I wanted one for myself. (The book, not the beard-knitting pirate, although that would be cool too...)

However, when I went to try to find the book, I discovered to my everlasting dismay that it was out of print.


And yet what were my triumphant rejoicings when today I received an email update about news in the Juvenile Lit publishing industry and found that The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine has been reissued! (They were great indeed. rejoicings, that is.) And I looked! And it was there! On Amazon!

So, for those of you who are just racking your brains (ouch!) trying to figure out exactly what to get lil' ol' me for Christmas, here's your hint, your one major hint.

Except...if more than one of you intends to get this for me, I would have several copies of The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine. And then I would have to donate copies to local elementary schools and literacy programs in South America, and the poor children would be very confused about the strange disjointed tale and would probably end up working in some terrible industry, like fast food, because they were so disturbed by it.

So maybe I should just buy this for myself. Yes. Yes. Just nevermind this whole blog post.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Here's a tip--don't shock yourself.

My workplace is saturated with static electricity. It lives in the carpets; it lurks in doorknobs and in the metal corners of cubicles; it leaps from its hidey-holes in light-switches. And if you're unlucky enough to brush your unhappily conductive flesh against any one of these things, you're liable to get a nasty jolt.

So, I've taken to grounding myself at every opportunity. When I walk back to the copier, I brush my knuckles against the frame of the cubicle behind me, touch the metal bookcase midway down the room and tap my fingers against the light-switches next to the copier so that when I put that piece of paper face-down on the glass, I don't get a heart-stopping wallop to my electrical system. (Those are unpleasant.)

However, despite my best efforts, I still sometimes get a good shock. Like today.

Today, as usual, I hit the back of my hand against the light-switch to disperse the electrical charge I'd built up during the past twenty or so steps. Unfortunately, the charge was so great that when I grounded myself the shock was even worse than usual. A couple of minutes later, the back of my hand started to itch, so I scratched it without really looking at it. When I finally glanced over, there was a little welt that looked like a mosquito bite smack dab in the center of my hand.

I was horrified (HORRIFIED, I tell you!) to realize that the welt must have come from the shock I got at the light-switch. ('Cause mosquitos are dead, man. Dead.)

"Holy Canoli!" I shouted (not really)! "That shock of static electricity totally burned me and raised a welt on my skin! Yowza!"

Actually, I just looked at the welt and thought of what a great blog-post that would be. (I just wished I had a camera at the time.)

And really, don't you agree?

And I don't even miss the other chin.

Today was weigh-in day. I approached the scale with trepidation but left it

For behold, I have at last reached MY FIRST MINI GOAL! And I won't tell you what the goal was (because it's too embarrassing) but I will tell you that this morning I was 5 lbs UNDER it.

And I didst rejoiceth greatly much. And lots of it, too. Tied up with ribbons. With complimentary pink bunny slippers. And... (what on earth am I talking about???) This makes 37.5 lbs in total, and I find that I'm definitely liking the feel of my now-baggy jeans.

To illustrate my (slightly less large-o) self, here's a pic I took on Saturday. It's blurry, but I think it captures, um, the green of my shirt pretty well. Oh, and did I mention that I finally got that haircut? This past summer?

And here's another pic. Because I think it's funny.

See how wrinkled and studious-looking my forehead is? Yeah. We're talking serious thought processes going on here, including but not limited to: ponderings upon cheese, why "House Hunters" on HGTV is good television even though it seems completely boring, and also thinking that what I had for lunch might actually be an interesting blog post after all.

It was chicken. Mmm.

Monday, December 04, 2006

How, oh how did she get my life?

I've been blog cruising; you know--looking for stuff to read on a Sunday night, browsing around the internet because the only alternative is going to bed muy early and also turning on my nifty space-heater so my toes aren't freezing all night.

And (thanks to Lindsay's awesome links) I happened across the blog of a girl who is living the life that I want.

I wonder if you guys have ever had that experience before, where you open up a newspaper and there, in the local section, is the gal (or guy) who, from their naturally curly hair to their husband (or wife) named Stan (or Jill) is exactly who you want to be.

Well, this girl is it for me. She just got back from getting a degree in Library Science from a university in England, (HELLLOOOOO! COOL!), just got a job as a bona fide librarian, just went on an awesome blind date with a guy who, get this, wrote her a thank-you note for a great date!


I just want to go over to her blog, plunk down at her feet and say, "Teach me, oh great one! I will be your willing pupil if only, only you will tell me how to get my hair to curl naturally like that, and how to be a librarian, and also how to get neat guys to write thank-you notes to me."

But I'm too embarrassed to do it. Because I'm living the life that no one really wants. And I'm actually just a little bit ashamed, because by heck and by golly it's my own gosh-darned fault that I'm where I am today. So I'll just keep on lurking and read about her being productive and wonderful and helpful in her librarian position and also having a really great time dating thank-you-note boys.

Urg. *Twitch.* And off I go to customer service tomorrow. Woooo.

Yeah. Bed sounds like a really good thing right now.