faux graduation


I didn't walk at my graduation. I said I didn't do it because we were getting married around that time and I was stressed but if I were being honest with myself it was really because walking at a graduation felt too official. I loved college. I loved being a student. It has been a little hard to come around to the idea that it is Kevin's turn to go to school now and that it will be my turn again when he is done but I am starting to feel okay about it.

We decided to take pictures even though neither of us walked. We borrowed some robes from great friends, and had my sister in law Julie take the pictures. It took five minutes, and this is the only one I would put in a public place but it was still worth it. "For posterity" I kept telling Kev.

Well kids? Here are your parents not on graduation day. Just dressed in borrowed robes standing in front of the entrance sign. Your mom studied English and your dad studied Neuroscience and we hope you go to BYU too so your education will be subsidized and we can use our money to go on cruises and retire early. 

p.s. Photobucket changed and I hate that site anyway. What do you use to put html photos on your blog? I don't like using the basic uploader since it always changes the size.



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To make a prairie it takes
a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do
If bees are few.
 - Emily Dickinson



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My sister told me on the phone, "You sound depressed."
I laughed. "Me? Depressed? No."
But when she said it I thought, "Wait, I'm not. Right?"

Depression is that dark, hooded creature that comes up behind us. It pulls us down permanently. It is not a temporary thing, is it? It cannot be situational or cyclical. It cannot lay heavily on us for days or sometimes weeks or even months at a time. It is chronic. Isn't it?

I laughed because I do not think I could ever be the sort of person who is depressed. Look at my life! Look at my talents and cute husband and great job and family! I feel like I could deliver a commercial on how not depressed I am!! I feel like I could wave happiness pom-poms! I could perform a choreographed lip sync and do jazz hands on my happiness!!

But then there are days when it does feel like that dark monster is reaching towards me. It creeps and it begs and it knocks, wanting so badly to be let in. And sometimes, I let him in. (Depression has to be a man, right?)

I told my husband, "I'm an artist. It's okay to be depressed." Saying it out loud made it seem real, when I still can't quite decide if it is or not. "An artist?" he asked me. Because I am, and that may not be the entire reason, but it is a partial truth. Words and feelings and thoughts are my medium instead of paint and all artists are a little depressed and I think that is okay and even healthy to some extent and I am okay with it.

The point is, that sometimes with me, it feels like an accomplishment to just be a little more happy than sad, but I'll take it. I'll take happiness any way I can get it.

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book club recap

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Thanks to everyone who attended book club on Saturday. Seriously, I loved our conversation. For those online or who weren't able to make it, here are some topics we discussed about Woman Warrior:

- Ghosts. This makes sense, since the tagline is "Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts." We talked about whether or not they were literal or figurative, Kingston's point of view as a child and what a ghost might be to her, and Allison brought up the topic of cultural ghosts, which I found fascinating.

- Body Image. It was pretty evident to most of us that bodies were mentioned a lot in this book. Fat and skinny adjectives were used throughout and we wondered whether or not Kingston struggled with body image, or just made it clear that body image is a constant battle as a woman. Men have expectations, women have pressure, etc.

- Sex/Puberty. Yes we went there. I thought it was entertaining and interesting to hear the thoughts of the girls there. How do different cultures teach their children about "The Birds and the Bees?" What is the best way to talk to our own children about these issues? Why as women is sex a taboo? Why are we placed into two categories: Innocent or Whore? How do we approach these issues, and allow other women to see that these are universal questions?

-Food. The book is rife with images of food. Some disgusting, some terrific sounding. Who prepares the food, what its purpose is, etc.

There were dozens of other things we discussed that I probably am not remembering. For those of you who read online - what were your thoughts? For those weren't able to make it, what did you think?

Our next book "Fugitive Pieces" was chosen by Brittany (we missed you!). I started it this morning and am already so intrigued. 

Thanks again to everyone who came. I like you guys so much.

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double book review

I read both of these books this weekend. (Yes, I am really cool.) I loved them both so much. Some people think that YAF is secondary, but I completely disagree. It is my favorite genre, and I explain that more in detail here

“I keep thinking about a tale my nurse used to read to me about a bird whose wings are pinned to the ground. In the end, when he finally frees himself, he flies so high he becomes a star. My nurse said the story was about how we all have something that keeps us down.” 

I read The Princess Academy first. I was wary about the title. Who wants to read another story about an academy where girls are taught to be Princesses? In truth, it was far more interesting and detailed and special than the title suggests. 

I loved reading about Miri falling in love with learning. I loved it I think, because I feel the same way about learning. It is illuminating. An education is the best thing you can give someone. Miri was charming, and the story was unpredictable and you watch a heroine develop and become a brave person. I can't wait until I have a little girl who can read this story but in all honesty - I believe even lovers of high-end literature would enjoy this read. 

“We know it's all just daydreaming...But sometimes, it'd be nice just to hold something real in your hands that felt like a measure of your worth.” 

I liked Goose Girl more than The Princess Academy, which is funny since Academy is the one with the Newberry Award. I honestly couldn't put it down. I carried it with me everywhere (even church. I haven't done that since I was 10.) The story is magnificent. I wished so badly that I had thought of it myself. It is intricate and emotional, and scary in the right parts and written beautifully.

The main character is so brave and humble and everything that you want a character to be. I have read so many fairy tales, and this was a new one that has never been told but belongs with the classics. Please read it.

After finishing these, I found out that Shannon Hale has a blog and, she lives in Utah. I think I am going to shamelessly stalk her on the internet until she agrees to go to lunch with me. I loved these two books that much.

Have you read either of them? Can you give me some new YAF recommendations? I am a little tired of adult fiction and I don't care who knows it. 




It is easy to forget why we need God when we don't need him. That is why, I have come to see - He allows us to go through hard things. We lose our loved ones, and distance separates us. Pain and sickness clutch at us and scavenge into the veins of those closest. Disaster strikes whole villages -cities - countries even. Hunger gnaws, poverty humbles, and darkness closes in on us each night like clockwork.

We believe that all of this is nature taking its course. But I know that the weight on my knees tugs harder in times like these. Gravity pulls the body and the heart and then we kneel because we do not know how else to decipher this suffering, this disbelief.

All prayers start differently but end the same. The beginning often starts with anger, or frustration or sometimes broken humility. The middle is rife with tears, pleading or scattered words. But the end - - the end is when we recognize our own smallness, and our need for something more. We simply ask for help, which is the whole reason we were driven to our knees in the first place. It is painful, but it is also cyclical perfection. 

It doesn't have to be much. It can be a few words, or poems, or songs lifted up. It can be still or mushy or frightened. He hears it of course, even if it remains unspoken in the cavities of yourself, hiding from the light, resting next to the shattered dreams you thought only you knew of. He hears it, because no voices are necessary. His medium is you. 

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We went to Arizona last weekend. It was an equal experience of love and depression. We loved the place, the apartment we found (pictured above), the warmth (I'm certain we will be singing a different tune come August.) We didn't love the meeting we had with the financial aid counselor, or the long drive, or the frustrations and fears we let seep in.

Friends have told me that I am being dramatic about this experience. I know they might be right, but I don't want to fake enthusiasm. The last thing I want to be is phony, and it is hard for me and it does scare me and I don't feel ready to leave this life I love here. 

My parents moved to Japan 23 years ago with three little girls (me, at ten days old.) My dad managed the Sheraton in Tokyo Bay and worked crazy hours. My mom didn't speak the language, had no friends, and often wondered what she was doing there. She felt alone a lot, I know that.

I think about how brave she was - how brave they both were to do that. I think of how blessed I am - to have a husband who is not only smart and ambitious, but also very kind and humble. I think of the blessing of being able to keep my job, I think of the beauty of the new space we will live in, I think of my best friend Lizzie being just 25 minutes away, I think of the opportunities that life grants you when you work for them.

I think that it is okay to not enter everything you do with feigned enthusiasm. I wish we could talk about our fears a little more openly, because I have found that when I voice mine, I see how small they are in comparison to the love that blares at me every minute I am alive on this earth.


On Repeat

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All of these songs are just on repeat in my car, on my iPad, in my head.  I tell myself other mediums matter more, but when I hear them I realize words that are sung are just as beautiful as words that are written, or words that are read.

1. Band of Horses - Funeral
2. Feist - The Bad In Each Other
3. Ellie Goulding - Lights
4. Pete Yorn - Ice Age
5. Taylor Swift - Sparks Fly
6. Ryan Adams - Come Home
7. Katie Herzig - Lost and Found
8. Adele - Turning Tables
9. Bon Iver - Blood Bank
10. The Weepies - Gotta Have You
11. Rosi Golan - Hazy

(Previous playlist here)

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Steve Jobs Biography

"It's not a faith in technology. It's faith in people."
                                                         - Steve Jobs

I know I am a little late on the bandwagon, but that is because I chose to listen to Steve Jobs' biography instead of read it. Honestly, I am glad I did. I put it on my iPad and listened on my commute. There is a lot of dialogue in the book which makes it interesting to listen to, and a lot of technical details that I think I would have been bored reading about.

I have never considered myself a technology person. My little sister was always the one who fixed the VCR, or the remote, or the computer. Listening to this book though, I realized how much I actually love technology. When used in the right ways, it can be a really beautiful medium. I appreciated Jobs and his obsession with the way design and technology intersect. Jobs saw good design in everything. He saw it in windows and house floor plans. He didn't buy a couch for seven years for his new home because he could not decide what the purpose of a couch was, and could not find one designed well enough. When in the hospital, he refused to wear his oxygen mask because he hated the design, and told the nurses to bring 7 different masks so he could choose the best design. I love that.

Reading the reviews of others, I have seen that there has been a lot of controversy about Jobs and his personal and professional life. I was not offended by it personally. I appreciated that Isaacson wasn't afraid to tell the truth. We are all so human and flawed. I think most biographies would be rife with personal issues, lack of communication and severed relationships. If anything I liked seeing his person evolve.

Yeah there were times when Isaacson drifted towards celebrity name-dropping which I found annoying. We get it, he was friends with Bill Clinton and Bono and told Obama he didn't want to meet with him at first. Although, that sort of thing might have been exactly what other people found interesting about the book, just not me.

Most of all I learned a lot about business while listening to Jobs. How he hired a team of all A-list people. How products need to come before profits - and how the goal of companies should not be to merely make money. "Anyone can make money", Jobs asserted several times, "but not everyone can make a really great product." It made me laugh since I was listening to the book through iTunes, on my iPad, with my iPhone tucked in my lap in case someone called. Learning about their creation and the attention to detail was pretty inspiring actually. I think we all want to make a "Ding in the Universe" as Jobs calls it, and the book details exactly how he managed to do that.

I can't recommend you read it, since I didn't but I do recommend you listen to it. Especially if you have a love affair going on with your iPhone and want to cultivate your inner genius, which I believe we all have inside us somewhere.


jazz game



Last Friday I took Kevin to the Jazz vs. Kings game for his birthday so he could watch his beloved Jimmer. (Who played like five minutes and scored four points, but we love him anyway.)

Tia and her fiance Dan came with us, since Dan is a fellow Jimmer lover. The boys watched intently while Tia and I talked over the crowd, and laughed the entire game. Kevin kept saying, "You paid $40 a ticket to sit there and talk to Tia." Worth it.

I don't know if I can really say how much I love Tia. She is the most infectiously happy person I have ever met, and no one besides Kev makes me laugh harder than her. Anyone who knows her can attest that she is special in the most unique and surprising way. Some of my best childhood memories involve her, (the voice, girls camp Gaston songs, 7 Peaks Lazy River, Chicken Dance, etc.) and I can't wait for her wedding this month.

So, morale of the story: Make your husband happy by taking him to see Jimmer, and make yourself happy by taking a funny friend along.


Book Club and Thank You


First of all, thank you so much for all of your nice comments about Arizona. There were a lot of readers I didn't even know existed who seriously made my day. I am grateful to know that a lot of you are going through the same experience, or have ties to Arizona. I truly appreciate your outreach of support more than I can express.

Second, we had our first book club meeting on Saturday. We didn't discuss a book yet, but we did talk (a lot) and I loved every minute of it. How did the cutest, smartest, funniest group of girls all end up together? Honestly, it was one of the best parties I have ever thrown, and most of us didn't even know each other before. If you were feeling hesitant about joining before, it is not too late! Please email me for more information, and join in next time. We are going to be discussing Woman Warrior on April 21st as well for all of those readers participating online.

I am so excited about what is ahead for this club, and so sad that I will be moving right as it gets started. Luckily I will be traveling every 4 to 6 weeks for work to Utah and maybe we can schedule a couple meetings I am able to attend. Thanks girls, for making it such a success!

(Unfortunately this instagram photo is the only one I got, but we can take more at the next meeting.)