Tuesday, September 28, 2010
This weekend was the awful precursor to the awful day.
I found myself weeping incessantly on Saturday, with zits blooming all over the left side of my face. My friend Robin called and I tried talking to her adorable boys about their new window art projects, but I just couldn't stop crying.
Then Sunday sweet hormonal relief happened.
And today--the horrific physical pain that follows the end of the hormonal rollercoaster.
Usually on this day of days, I curl in a ball and weep softly to myself, while rocking.
The weeping actually helps the pain.
Today I had to work. So today, I plotted out my work methodically. I scrubbed and breathed. I mopped and sighed. I cleaned and sang. I told my co-workers that I would be singing along with my ipod, and I didn't bother to ask whether they liked it or not. Singing/crying really does help with the pain.
So I sang myself silly.
I was so pleased that I made it through the night without fainting. I came home and watered the flowers and now I'm going to go to bed.
Good night cruel day of days. Until next month!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I saw this last night. It was a little long . . .but the story was a complicated one. I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed Susan Sarandon's character. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around all the facets of this movie. I've been trying to understand the function of money in a society that's lost so much money over the past few years. What is the true value of money now? A few years ago, we all defined ourselves based on how we made money--but now--it seems so simpleminded. Money is simply a means to an end. It isn't who we are. But still. . . it would be nice to have some.
It's funny. And smart. And the relationship between the girl and her parents is lovely. Very cute. And I love how it reveals students as stupid and innocent who believe everyone else is raunchy and crazy...but they're all just as stupid and innocent as you. Perhaps a touch naive? Who cares! It's nice.
If you haven't seen it yet... sorry. You missed an awesome movie!! Nuff said.
I snuck off to watch this movie by myself and giggled happily amidst a bunch of kids with their parents. Who am I kidding? The only one of these movies I actually saw with someone was Scott Pilgrim. Anywhoooo . . . I loved this movie. Emma Thompson can do no wrong. I wish I was her. Seriously. I want to be her. Or a bird. Or maybe a lion.
A few weeks ago, Chris walked into Rubios with a pile of cds that he had promised me ages ago.
I've been making my way through this treasure of music.
The first cd I'd like to rave about is Delta Spirit's album History From Below.
My great-grandma and my grandmother moved from Arkansas in the 1940s out to California. My grandpa and his mother moved from Alabama around the same time. They both met and fell in love in Los Angeles.
Delta Spirit is a band based out of Los Angeles--but this album touches on the history of the South. Lead singer Matthew Vasquez spoke about writing the song "Vivian" about his grandparents' love story.
The band has been on tour for the past 2 years. They wrote some songs together, and some songs seperately as they lived in their "isolated coexistence" (as described in a great interview here.)
To give you a sense of what this album entails--here's a list of the music as it appears in my itunes. Note the different names they've given themselves, based on the songs. I'm rather in love with this band. I enjoy them more and more everytime I listen.
Elijah Thompson 1. 911
Delta Spirit 2. Bushwick Blues
Bo Koster 3. Salt in the Wound (favorite)
Delta Spirit 4. White Table (favorite)
Bo Koster 5. Ransom Man
Delta Spirit 6. Devil Knows Your Dead
Elijah Thompson 7. Golden State
Bo Koster 8. Scarecrow
Bo Koster 9. Vivian
Delta Spirit 10. St. Francis
Bo Koster 11. Ballad of Vitaly
There's something so rich about hearing a contemporary band capture the spirit of the South. It somehow makes time stand still and you feel a part of something more than just a morning drive to work.
Monday, September 20, 2010
The Inappropriate Bishop Higgins
I have been giggling to myself all weekend.
Here are some of my favorite posts:
Saturday, October 10, 2009
All Things To Be Done In Order
If you'd like to make an appointment with the bishop, you need to see Tom Davis, who is the secretary for the executive secretary. He'll make an appointment for you to see the executive secretary, Brother Samuelson, who will then schedule your bishop's appointment.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Twenty Third Most Popular Sin This Week
Lusting after the girl at the DMV with the low cut shirt reading the book "Miracle of Forgiveness" and trying to imagine what sin she committed to warrant her reading the book.
My friend Lonzo took this picture during rehearsal the other night. It's been a great play to rehearse. So many talented people. We went to a karoake bar Friday night after rehearsal. I sang "Sweet Child of Mine" because I love Axel Rose.
Before I started the first grade, just after Matthew was born, we moved to a duplex in Lehi. I went to first grade at a private school called "American Heritage" for 1st grade and part of 2nd grade. Then I moved over to Lehi Elementary School for the second half of 2nd grade.
Life at this house was very fun. I remember riding my bike and singing Madonna's song "Crazy for You" about one of the neighbor boys. I remember watching the neighborhood boys break dance. I remember seeing the lady who lived in the house next door lay out in her bikini on the drive way. She had red hair. I thought her body was so beautiful! I remember learning about what sex was from my friend Megan while living in this house. And I remember hearing one of the neighbor boys whisper that he loved me while we were playing tag in the backyard. All of this happened in and around this house.
I had a mission reunion on Saturday in Lehi. I found myself driving through the town looking for my old neighborhood. It's been 25 years and the house hasn't changed a bit. It was like entering a time machine. Nothing has changed.
It's been 10 years since my mission--and everyone changed! We're all older and fatter and everyone but me has a bunch of cute little kids. My mind might explode if I try to understand how one part of my past has remained untouched over the past 25 years and how another part of my life can completely explode with change in just 10 years.
I have live in many many different houses. I am going to write a book entitled, "Finding Home". Don't tell anyone. Hold me accountable though! I will finish the book by June 2011.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Both Jeb and Cletus are single guys in their mid 30s who have been LDS at some point. Jeb is still trying, though not very well frankly, and Cletus has officially given up on the LDS spiritual path. Both of them were describing how incredibly sad they are right now. (Please note that they don't know each other at all--so this isn't some homoerotic love story I'm sharing here--even though Jeb and Cletus could be the title of a spectacular love story . . .)
I'm not inclined to tell everyone that if they were faithful Latter-Day Saints, they might find happiness. These are adult men who served missions, and who understand the blessings of the gospel. I have faith and confidence in their capacity to choose what is best for them at this time. Perhaps it isn't what I would choose--but I have respect for their ability to search things out and I respect that if I were in their same position, I might have made the same choices.
BUT . . .
As a result of these choices, both Jeb and Cletus are miserable with themselves. They do not own their decisions. I could sense from both of them that because of the mistakes they had made, they were utterly miserable when facing themselves in those inevitable moments of solitude. Both guys complained about not having love--but they're both incredibly handsome guys who could easily find love. The real problem is that both Jeb and Cletus are uncomfortable being with themselves.
I've been reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have no intention of seeing the movie until after I finish, and I really enjoy meandering my way through the book. In the book, she talks a great deal about meditation and the art of just being with yourself, and with God. She speaks of enjoying the present--without concern for the past or the future.
If you think women worry more about the past and the future--you are sorely mistaken--men are horribly caught up in all the things they can't change about the past and all the things they can't predict about the future. Both Jeb and Cletus were good upstanding mormons who fell into their current paths because they found themselves in life situations that didn't fit into the promised mold. Among other reasons--but I'm vastly oversimplifying.
I think women are better able to let go of these concerns, because we've had to relinquish control over our lives for centuries--or at least get used to the idea that at any moment, we might have to swallow our will in favor of someone else's--be that a man or a child, a parent or a grandparent.
Alice Walker wrote a story called, "Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self" about her own journey to find joy with herself. I hope for Jeb and Cletus that they will learn how to take time to enjoy being with themselves. I love and respect them both. I believe that some decisions are mistakes, and some decisions are right for us and lead us to paths that will strengthen us and teach us lessons the hard way. And sometimes the hard way is the best way to learn something deep down in your bones. I want Jeb and Cletus to respect who they are today and enjoy just being. I want them to understand and feel God's love for them in this very instance--not when they've fixed everything or when they've solved the dilemmas of the past and future--but right now.
I wish that for all of my friends.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
When he walked in, I almost gasped. I definitely let my face slide into a subtle grin. The man was perfect. About 6 feet tall, deep brown eyes, perfect lips. 38 years old, but crazy handsome so that he appears to be somewhere between 25 and 30. We asked each other all the requisite questions. The conversation was a little slow because he is Peruvian and working on his English. He would stop to ask me to explain a word and I began to appreciate his intelligence. He told me about learning Italian while he worked on an Italian Cruise Ship. He told me how he'd learned French growing up in Lima, but then decided to devote his time to learning English. We started talking about reading and our favorite books. We were both relaxed. I was quiet because I knew it was easier for me to understand his broken English than it was for him to process my stories. So I sat back and quietly asked him questions and he shared with me.
I was beginning to think the date was going to be a convenient English lesson between two friends when suddenly he stopped speaking and very innocently just stared into my eyes. I let myself lock eyes with him. It seemed a bit intimate, but why not?
After a few seconds of unbroken staring, he calmly said, "You have beautiful eyes." I replied, "So do you." Then we smiled and continued talking.
At this point, I was dying to say, "Check!" But, he was interested in learning more about me. So we talked for another 45 minutes.
After finally paying for dinner, he walked me to my car. I put my purse in the car and prepared to wait it out for a good night kiss. I leaned against the car and began searching the sky for stars. He leaned against the car next to me and we stared off into the sky looking at the stars, continually talking about everything and nothing.
I was careful not to touch him or seem too eager. The fact that I wasn't getting into my car made it pretty clear that I was interested. We stopped talking and just locked eyes again. We both smiled and enjoyed the anticipation.
He asked me, "When can I see you again?" I told him when, and then, when he had established that this wasn't just a one night non-commital make-out session--he leaned in and kissed me.
I'm home now. My stomach is doing flip flops and my knees are gelatin.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Before I move onto Nyla's subject--I must describe my meeting with her mother. I was sitting one person away from her. I thought to myself, someone on this row has a lovely singing voice. Yeah.... And then I realized that it was Ariel Bybee!!! Ack!
I stopped her after the fireside and said, "Are you Sister Bybee?" She smiled graciously and said, "Yes."
Then in my mind I said, "Your music is so inspiring. I can't tell you how much I love your rendition of 'O Divine Redeemer."
Instead, tears started streaming down my face and I said, "uhhhhh I .... can't speak."
I finally muttered a "Thank you for your music."
I had much better luck with her daughter. Nyla has started a project called the Mormon Women's Project. You can visit it at www.mormonwomen.com. The point of the project is to show that there is more than one way to choose the right. I love it. I immediately ran up afterwards and said, "How do I help?"
One of the women that they're highlighting is the anonymous creator of the blog "Seriously So Blessed". I am cracking up reading this parody blog. It's too brilliant. From the misspellings to the crazy names for the kids to the guilt over store bought cupcakes. I luhhhve it. And the playlist is cracking me up as well.
Go visit: www.seriouslysoblessed.blogspot.com and www.mormonwomen.com
Saturday, September 11, 2010
My life has gone from working about 20 hours a week and making more money than I ever have--to working every day--on my feet all day--for a bit less.
I am reminded that the more money you make--the less you work. I really like my work now though. I liked it before too, don't get me wrong--teaching is incredibly fulfilling. But I like going to work at Rubios everyday. The restaurant prides itself on fresh food and I love that they value doing things well. I really like the people I work with too. Everyone takes great pride in giving really great food to people.
So for the past two weeks I've been counting food, cleaning floors and tables, greeting customers, and working on my feet for about 7 to 8 hours a day (not too many). My not so little body isn't used to being on the feet all day long. My back kind of tightens up into this mass. It's weird. It feels numb. But I really like the work. I kinda wish I made the same as I made before, but there's a time and a place for everything.
By only making a certain amount of money, I am forced to enjoy living with my grandmother. And by living with her, I am privileged to listen to stories about what it was like when my grandpa died in the F104 (The Widowmaker) back in the 60s. I get to listen to stories about their last trip to Italy, and about my Great Grandpa's experience fighting the Battle of the Bulge.
I auditioned for a play at a little theatre in Salt Lake City. I get to play Nurse Rached in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Between work and the play, I don't have a lot of time for much else. But I do manage to think about things enough to enjoy some pathos.
I miss my friends in Virginia, but I'm very aware that this step, as painful as it is on my wallet and on my heart--was a necessary step for me.
I wish I was a better person. I wish I had more of my life figured out.
But I'm okay. And that's pretty good considering.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Tomorrow I'll listen to the rest of the album, but right now I'm just playing this song over and over again. Because as I mentioned before, I love it. Very much.
Middle Cyclone by Neko Case
Here are the lyrics--
Baby, why'm I worried now,
did someone make a fool of me
'fore I could show 'em how it's done?
Can't give up actin' tough,
it's all that I'm made of.
Can't scrape together quite enough
to ride the bus to the outskirts
of the fact that I need love.
There were times that I tried,
one for every glass of water
that I spilled next to the bed,
wretching pennies in a boiling well
in a dream that it once becomes
a foundry of mute and heavy bells.
They shake me deaf and dumb
say, "Someone made a fool of me
'fore I could show 'em how it's done."
It was so clear to me
that it was almost invisible.
I lie across the path waiting,
just for a chance to be a spiderweb
trapped in your lashes.
For that, I would trade you my empire for ashes.
But I choke it back, how much I need love...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
As a woman born after or rather, in the throes of the women’s rights movement, I have searched for a means to identify my own unique feminine power. In the 1980s, too many people defined power as a purely masculine energy. Women wore the shoulder pads and forged ahead, accommodating their feminine power to fit in a masculine world.
As a woman, I am loathe to give up my own brand of power in order to mimic an unfamiliar source of strength simply because the world identifies power in a different way. Many of my female friends feel the same way. Today, women are reimagining the shape and nature of power.
I want to be who I am—without pressure from cultures old or new. I am embarking on a journey to identify power that is particularly recognized as feminine in order to fine tune my inherent strength. I want to know what iconic gifts history has already bestowed upon my gender and use that knowledge to extend my present reach.
As I walked through the museum, weeping over tapestries and pots, I chuckled at my hormonal reactions to such simple visions. How utterly weak to cry over a clay pot! How very womanly of me! To empathize with a human being long dead, with no connection to me beyond our physical need to create something. And I wept again.
In the center of the exhibit, there were two paintings. Both paintings were done by men in the 1940s. The first image was of the Aztec goddess Xochiquetzal, painted in 1947 by Guillermo Meza. The painting is dark and frightening. Her breasts are healthy and perfect, her shoulders and collar bone denote health and vigor. But her breasts and arms are covered in blood. It isn’t clear whether the blood is her own or someone else’s. It doesn’t matter. Her eyes aren’t pained. Her eyes are clear, but vacant. They are beyond judgment. From her head grows a plant. Her face juts forward into the future. The goddess represents fertility, life, flowers, pleasure. She also represents death that comes with birth and the cycles of life that follow war and desolation. In her presence both life and death cling without particular adoration for one over the other.
As I stared at the goddess, I tried to imagine the moments where women have stood as pivotal figures in war, death, birth, and pleasure in history. I felt power in my feminine connection to birth and death. As I pondered this connection, I pictured an experience from just a few years back. I was sitting at the bedside of a dear friend as she clung to life after giving birth. Her skin was pale and yellow. I felt the sickness of her body as her organs threatened to shut down. Without really understanding why, I began to chant softly, very calmly requesting that the cells in her liver begin to function, I requested that her empty uterus heal, that the cells in her organs begin to work together in an orderly fashion. I felt her heart break inside my heart as I thought about her child, taken to another hospital with a better neonatal intensive care unit. I asked that her heart be healed. I felt it was my privilege and duty as a woman to say these things with her as she sat as a vessel of birth on the brink of death. I left her room and just hoped for the best, not really believing that I could make any difference. Truly, despite exercising the power, I felt quite powerless. The doctors and nurses had the real power to help her now. Three days later, she called and asked me when I had come to visit her. I told her the time. She told me that before falling asleep, her condition was worsening. After I left the room, the doctor came in and to his surprise, her body had started to heal. He said, “I don’t know what dwarves were in here over the last hour, but they sure must like you. This is amazing.”
I share this not to brag. I feel as though I’m breaking some ancient feminine code in revealing this intensely personal moment. But, I understood that somehow, by virtue of being a woman, I had a power over life and death that needed to be exercised at that moment. I stared at the goddess in the painting and smiled at our shared connection.
Next, I came across Raul Anguiano’s painting “Desolacion”. The first thing you see is the sorrow on the woman’s face. The scenery is empty and desolate, but for this lone woman. The next thing you notice is her bare feet. She has nothing. No evidence of a past, and only bare feet to carry her forward. Her emptiness is overwhelming. Yet she exists. In the middle of emptiness and destruction, she alone emerges to carry forward. Not a plant, not a bird, an animal or any other sign of life exists as evidence that anything has ever existed before. But not only does this woman have the power to survive such destruction, but she marches forward, out of the desolation and towards something else.
In identifying traditional images of female empowerment, I can’t help but wonder at the power of my male counterparts. If feminine power is traditionally linked to life and death, pleasure and suffering, what on earth is left for the men to rule? I think back to kings, princes, laws that left women without representation, money, and at a general disadvantage in all things between life and death.
So what do stings, dreams, clay pots, tapestries and paintings of iconic women have in common? They all exist within a day in the life of this particular woman. They contribute to my own unique search for my place within this post modern world. As a woman, I am my pain, my pleasure, and my power to heal and embrace a world beyond the logical and the practical. All these factors came together to create a moment of connection between myself, the women of Mexico, and the iconic goddess. I still have so many questions: how do I identify my own particular power as a woman today and adapt this power into a livable wage? I have no interest in setting up shop as a doctor or a midwife. I don’t plan on opening a brothel or a funeral parlor. As I come to understand the gifts that history has recognized as particularly feminine, my next journey is to identify a way in which I can live up to my sex, while paying my bills. In the meantime, I’ll just write about it.
THE END. FOR NOW.
The first thing I noticed was that I wasn’t angry. I was just empty. I wasn’t ready to embrace any kind of overt joy, but whereas before my heart had been swollen with anger, confusion, pride, and regret—now I was empty and open. I had no intention of filling it up with anything or anyone, but I felt safe being open to whatever the day might bring. I methodically showered and dressed. I went to an appointment. Again, I let the sad songs play and I cried. But I also let the happy songs play too. And I read comics and I laughed.
I decided to tell Elijah’s father about the dream. I did. And that felt nice. I don’t know why I had had this dream about Elijah, but I did and I thought it would be good for his father to know that in my dream, Elijah is an awesome being who gives peace to everyone who comes near him, even me. I could sense that my words meant a great deal to his father. I felt a sense of power at my ability to heal with words.
By this time, I noticed that my finger was about half the size that it had been the day before. I let myself smile. I got in my car and made a beeline for the University of Utah Art Museum. I parked my car and walked inside.
I felt like I was floating. The museum housed a collection of art from Mexico. The sunlight fell in the pristine museum and the art stood proudly on their individual perches. Each piece was catalogued and identified for me on a card. I methodically studied each new piece, breathing the work in and out. I stood in front of a little clay pot and imagined the fingers molding the clay. I imagined the dust and the sweat from the artisan mixing in with the wet clay. And I cried at the miracle that had somehow connected me to the artisan across centuries and miles. I cried over a clay pot.
In awe, I stared at the weaving that the women of Mexico had created years before. I imagined a woman weaving her cloth in the dirt, one end attached to a small tree. Her heart must have been filled with responsibility, pain, and anguish. At some point, she probably got stung by a yellow jacket, or worse, by a man. And yet, here I was staring at this beautiful tapestry that she created. Despite the heat, the pain, or perhaps even the promise of pleasure, she dedicated herself to creating something beautiful. What is it that compels us to create in a world that stings and swells? I wanted to discover my connection to this woman.
My finger was the size of a small breakfast sausage. I know this because Sunday morning, I had sausage with my family. Three pieces. My finger resembled a sausage. It itched like crazy and I thought my skin would explode. I had this insane desire to cut open my finger in order to let it deflate, but some small rational part of me kept me from finding a knife.
I sat in church staring at my finger. I could feel it getting bigger. Every time someone spoke to me, it took every ounce of strength not to bark my reply. I finally found some ice in the kitchen and tried to freeze my finger. It seemed like a healthier alternative to mutilating it with a knife.
I enjoyed a nice roast with my brother and my grandmother. I pushed through all the allotted tasks, knowing that to stop, was to collapse. After musing over whether to go to the hospital or not (the finger was actually bigger now) I decided to just run to a drug store and get some allergy medicine. I swallowed the pills, iced the finger, and watched it grow.
As I drove from one obligation to another, songs would play. I skipped the happy songs. For every song of anger or heartbreak, I sang out and only then did the tears race down my cheeks. I didn’t want to feel better. I wanted to feel exactly how horribly lost and alone I was and I did not want to feel anything else. I felt like I had wrapped myself up in some dream of hope and that dream failed me and I wanted nothing but unadulterated reality. Raw reality. I think my favorite song was “We Do Not Belong Together” sung by Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin in Sondheim’s Sunday In The Park With George. In the song, Dot tells George that she’s leaving him because he doesn’t need her. As I raged with Dot, I shuddered with tears. But I always wiped my face before I got out of the car. Clearly, there was more to my pain than an allergic reaction to a yellow jacket sting, but it’s so cliché I’m loathe to share.
Monday night, I fell into bed at some ungodly hour I’m sure. I took a Claritin, two ibuprofin, covered the finger in cream and curled into my pillow. That night, I dreamed of a boy. The boy had brown curls and a pale face. He was my friend Elijah and his father had left him in my care. In the large mansion, a gregarious homeless man with a nicotine stained beard played video games with a boy with cerebral palsy. Other children with various ailments came in for sodas, played cards, or just gathered around Elijah. There was nothing formal about the evening. Everyone was having a nice, relaxed time. I noticed that here with Elijah, no one felt out of place or handicapped in anyway. Everyone just enjoyed one another’s company. Including myself. My main goal was to figure out something that Elijah could eat. I know Elijah in real life, and I knew that there were specific foods that he couldn’t eat, and in my dream I felt this overwhelming need to make sure that he was well fed and cared for. I finally decided to give him mashed up green beans. I remember mashing and mashing the green beans. I wanted to make sure that they were perfect for him. When his father came home, I was happy to tell him that Elijah had finished his grean beans. Then I woke up.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Saturday I went out to the Antelope Island Stampede with my parents. It was a great time! A little warm, to say the least, but I got a great henna tattoo, watched professional kite flyers--(I want to go to there . . .) and listened to some live music. I'm not gonna say it was wonderful music, but it was fun seeing all the people enjoy it. They also had a hula hoop competition!