Arizona Bound

ARIZONA, USA. Eye chart - 8 x 10 digital print design art - custom

Remember how Kevin wants to be a doctor? It is actually going to happen, but we are going to have to move to Arizona to do it. He will be attending Midwestern University and will graduate class of 2016 (Ohmygoshthatsoundssofaraway.) To say that I am proud of him would be an understatement. This is the culmination of thousands of hours, years (really a lifetime) of preparation, and so much focus and dedication. I know there is a lot more work ahead, but I also know he is very capable of it. 

With all of the changes occurring in health care right now, we have had a lot of people question his decision to enter the field. (And a lot of doctors advise us not to do it.) It is amazing to me how every time someone says something negative, his response is always the same. That he doesn't want to do it for the money. That he wanted a career of service and that this was the best way he  felt he could use his personal skills and talents to do that. I love that man.

We are moving mid-July to Glendale Arizona. If you are from there or love Arizona, could you just tell me all of the reasons I will be happy there? Because as proud as I am of him, I am also very apprehensive about leaving my family and the state I love behind. 

Med school here we come!

(thinking I might need to buy this cute print for our new apartment)


from somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond

December Homecoming
White Winter Hymnal, Fleet Foxes
It’s Getting Dark, Summer Fiction
Conversation 16, The National
There Is a Light That Never Goes Out, The Smiths
Violet Hill, Cold Play
She Belongs to Me, Bob Dylan
Sullivan Street, Counting Crows
You Can Do Better Than Me, Death Cab for Cutie
The Dress Looks Nice on You, Sufjan Stevens
Listen here

 nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
 the power of your intense fragility: whose texture 
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
 (i do not know what it is about you that closes
 and opens; only something in me understands
 the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
 nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
                                      - Cummings (of course)

all the time lately i keep thinking of this poem, and wonder if the people i talk to have a voice in 
their eyes, and i am beginning to believe that we all do, and i think mine is strong.

image via


Books vs. Films


I saw The Hunger Games this weekend like most of you, and thought it was a great adaptation of the book. I heard some mixed reviews following the film however, and thought that as an aspiring author and avid reader, my opinion on books vs. films might match some of yours.

Novels, films, art, poetry - are all mediums through which we as humans convey our own messages and tell our own stories. I constantly hear the sentence, "The movie wasn't nearly as good as the book," which bothers me, since you can't really compare one medium to another. Just because you prefer reading to watching, does not mean one was necessarily better than the other, just better to you. Realistically, a film could never contain the same descriptions and anecdotes and language contained in a book. Because books are my preferred form of medium, I understand why people say, "The movie wasn't nearly as good as the book," but only because to me, I did not feel the same things in the film that I felt in the book. Although the reverse could be true also. "I did not feel the same things in the book that I felt in the film."

I once heard Gail Carson Levine speak at a lecture. She spoke passionately about writing, her characters and their stories before opening up the lecture up for questions. Someone asked her quite rudely, "Were you embarrassed by the film adaptation of Ella Enchanted?" She paused for a moment and replied something to the extent of, "Of course not. The film is so different than the  book that it is hard to compare them." Levine understood mediums.

I have also heard the argument that a truly great author would never let their books become films. My response to that, is that an author is primarily a storyteller. Is not a screenwriter also a storyteller? By choosing just one medium, the story and audience is limited.  Of course the film is different from the book - but that is okay. I usually test various mediums by how they make me feel, and I felt something spark inside me both when I read The Hunger Games and when I watched the film.

I cried real tears when Katniss volunteered herself in Prim's place. Kevin told me it was because I have sisters I love that much and he is probably right. I couldn't breathe the whole movie because of anticipation and for 2 solid hours forgot about my current stresses.

Say what you will about the movie, but something that makes you feel so good afterwards has got to be positive - even if it isn't your preferred medium.


everything was beautiful and nothing hurt

I read all of Slaughterhouse Five in the Hawaii airport. I was waiting for Kevin, and his plane was delayed, and they didn't even have anywhere for me to sit. I am not joking I sat on the floor for four hours, and I had nothing else to do but I had a copy of Slaughterhouse Five so I read the entire thing in one very sore and uncomfortable sitting. 

It is a blend of reality and science fiction, and the reality you can't really trust anyway and no one can actually trust science fiction (I mean really?) and Billy Pilgrim is so sad and pathetic and if you didn't hate war before you started it you will hate it afterwards. 

When Kevin's flight finally got in I was confused about what place I was in, why I was there, and how we humans became people who would kill each other (these are really all things you think about after finishing it).

Sometimes my life starts to feel numb and I think of that quote I read on the airport floor, "Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt" that Vonnegut dangled in there. I ask myself sometimes, "Why do I pretend that everything is beautiful and nothing ever hurts me?"

I think we need more honesty not for each other I guess but for ourselves, because a lot of things can make you happy but even more can make you sad if you let them. It is the consciousness of the choice that makes us real and actually alive.

There are a lot of things I want to be in this life and one of them is sincere. Because of that, I am learning to let myself feel it all without shame. Not because I crave emotion, but because I want to be consciously here on this earth.




Today is Kevin's birthday. When I think of it as just a birthday, it seems fun - not life-shattering or anything. But when I think that 25 years ago, the most important person in my life was born and began his existence that would later morph into our existence, into us and we, instead of you and I, it feels pretty big to me.

Kevin's mom nicknamed him "Kevi-Sunshine" a long time ago, a nickname I adopted as a joke at first. But when I really think about it, this name suits him better than any other. He is the brightest thing in my life.

Happy birthday lover boy.


book club and other things


1. After some thought, I decided that at the first meeting of the book club, we won't actually discuss a book. I feel like in order to really communicate with each other, we have to get to know each other, and I don't want to take up anyone's precious time by doing both. I'm planning on March 31st at 11:00 am. If you haven't emailed me, I have no way of getting you my address and directions, so please do that if you haven't already. For those not able to attend in person, I promise I will still keep you updated here on what is next. It is going to be a total party and I can't wait.

2. I met up with my friend Laura in Anaheim last week. She drove me to Downtown Disney. We rode the tram and the cold felt so good. We ate at a taco shop and cheered with our glass soda bottles and never ran out of new things to say. I was so sad to say goodbye to her. I wish I could keep everyone I love closer to me.

3. I missed writing Jessica two weeks in a row. (That should say something about how busy I have been.) She wrote me an email saying, "Loser, It's been two weeks. Write me. Lots of love, little sis :)" I miss that girl so painfully much.

4. I finished seasons 1 and 2 of Downtown Abbey. I would like to think I am a Sibyl but my co-worker assured me I am definitely a Mary. After finishing I may have searched hopelessly for a flight to London.

5. Kevin's birthday is in March which means it is his birthday month which means I can't complain about the large amounts of March Madness going on at our place. Birthday months are sacred to us. I think God knew what he was doing when he sent Kevin down in March.

6. This clothing fast is harder than I thought it would be. A friend had to physically pull an item from my grasp at the checkout, knowing I would feel guilty if I made the purchase. 

7. I felt a little bit of springtime today. Everything changes in the spring which is good and hard and I finally feel like I am ready for it. 


having heart

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It is amazing what the human body can handle. Long days and short nights, where sleep seems like a distant prayer with no answer. Hours on feet, thousands of footsteps taken, mouths that are tired from the talking and ears that ring with the listening. Labor that breaks sweat and lasts all day. The waking when there has not been enough rest - but still the miracle of the waking.

We wake every morning and our bodies feel stronger than the night before. We begin again, sometimes with no hope for rest again but only the faith that we will get through and try. We do this over and over and I believe there is beauty in this struggle.  

Living this life the right way takes a lot of heart. It is brave of course, it is courage and willpower mixed with ambition and grounded in faith, but it is mostly heart - both literally and figuratively. These hearts of ours are often weighted and limp but they are also filled to the top with light. Resting gracefully there and reminding us that we have done it before, and we can do it again. 

image via


i want love like this

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my daughter, who turns twenty tomorrow,
has become truly independent.
she doesn't need her father to help her
deal with the bureaucracies of schools,
hmo's, insurance, the dmv.
she is quite capable of handling
landlords, bosses, and auto repair shops.
also boyfriends and roommates.
and her mother.
frankly it's been a big relief.
the teenage years were often stressful.
sometimes, though, i feel a little useless.
but when she drove down from northern California
to visit us for a couple of days,
she came through the door with the
biggest, warmest hug in the world for me.
and when we all went out for lunch,
she said, affecting a little girl's voice,
"i'm going to sit next to my daddy,"
and she did, and slid over close to me
so i could put my arm around her shoulder
until the food arrived.
i've been keeping busy since she's been gone,
mainly with my teaching and writing,
a little travel connected with both,
but i realized now how long it had been
since i had felt deep emotion.
when she left i said, simply,
"i love you,"
and she replied, quietly,
"i love you too."
you know it isn't always easy for
a twenty-year-old to say that;
it isn't always easy for a father.
literature and opera are full of
characters who die for love:
i stay alive for her. 
                  - Gerald Locklin
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