Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Time to Amaze...

Wake up! Remember what excites you. Think of these things, those friends, and the adventures that can be yours. Focus. Care. Fantasize. Imagine. It's all so near. Speak as if you're ready. Physically prepare for the changes that you wish to experience in your life. You've done this before. You know it works. You're due for an encore. It's time to amaze. That's why you're here.

I'm one of those people that believes life is good. REALLY good! I believe that life gives you lemonade. I believe that every good thing that came into my life--from moving to Paris just before my twentieth birthday, to spending summer nights in Harlem listening to my downstairs neighbor blow tunes on his sad sax, to having that first French kiss, to seeing my newest little niece via skype yesterday for the first time--and knowing she had my heart right then and there--because I believe that life is meant to be wonderful.

I've said this to a many people before, and a few of them, the hardened ones, have called me naive. They usually wear tweed jackets, work in academia, and were my boyfriends at one point. They think these twinkling blue eyes and long blond hair and white, white skin might just be the three ingredients that keep a person soft and naive.

That's not the case for me. I've had things in my life that could have and have tried to--make me hard. I've had a brother who has been addicted to drugs since he was 16. He is now 27. He is homeless and living in a park somewhere. I've had a sister who's husband shot her in their driveway--and nearly killed her--in fact, I do think he killed most of her spirit, and I am at a loss at how to help her rebuild any of her former self...let alone the lower half of her face that he shot away. I've had a cousin who was left to babysit me when I was young and he sexually abused me. I've struggled with an eating disorder for most of my life. I found true love at 16 years old--and he was killed in a car accident just a few short months later, and I don't know if I've ever really gotten over it. I have a mom who, when I would ask for money as a teenager, threatened to kill herself for the insurance money and give it to us, and she was pretty serious. I have an older sister who doesn't want to have me in her life because we don't agree on religion. I have had. You have had. We have all had our lives.

But that is just it--life. We live it. It is messy. It is not supposed to be pristine and clean and have everyone perfectly in their place and sort everyone by a label. Most people like you to live by labels--Gay, Straight, Christian, Muslim, Tall, Short, Fat, Skinny, Smart, Dumb, Republican, Democrat, Caucasian, Asian, Jock, Prep, Cheerleader, Goth, Emo, Nerd, Youngest, Oldest, Ugly, Pretty. Once you label something--you define it--you confine it. You try and take away its wings.

Wings are what makes life worth living. Wings give you authenticity. Wings represent that indelible, consistent, unfailing river of hope that flows through the veins of each person--some more quickly than others. And this day, this exact day, my wings are taking me to Portugal. And it didn't come to me easily, and it isn't happening by chance. I created every route and venue for living my perfect, undefinable life. And there, with the ocean breezes, white beaches, shooting stars, and endless possibilities--that's the place I'll fly a bit higher than I have before.

And if that is naivete, I'll take it--every time.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Something Yellow...

Bananas, daffodils, canaries, fresh churned butter, corn, the sun, omelets, raincoats, taxis, lemons, baby chicks, mustard, my favorite t-shirt, the occasional brick road, school pencils, custard, pac man, and submarines that you live in.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

All Night Long!

The New Pornographers: Together

If you like music...wait--that can't be right--I mean, everyone LIKES music of some sort don't they? It's not like you meet someone and you say, "Hey, do you like music?" and they ever answer, "Nope, music is a waste of time and space." So, I should be selective: Ahem, if you like the kind of music I like--then you're as happy as any clam that these two new bands are putting out albums soon!

Luckily for me, I write music reviews for this awesome music magazine, so I get most of this stuff far in advance. In fact, I've had these two albums on repeat for sometime now. They have made me very happy.

The National: High Violet

Sometimes, most times, when I make an acquaintance, I like to check out their music and book collections. Those two things can be more revealing than ANY medicine cabinet.

There are some people who like what's popular--their iPods will be full of a few Lady Gaga, that Swift girl, Coldplay, Green Day, Metallica and possibly even some of the Cure. This is not a bad thing--at all--but it does, in my mind, represent the idea that you haven't quite taken music very seriously. You've been satisfied with what society and late night tv performances tell you to like. And you've been just fine with it. I get it. I used to be that girl (along time ago, but it's true--my mixed tapes in high school were comprised of a little too much of The Police, Midnight Oil, and, yes, the ever heartmoving--Phil Collins).

Now, if I get your iPod and I see a little Camera Obscura, The Do, Nous Non Plus, Basia Bulat, Beach House, Great Lake Swimmers, Agent Ribbons, Avett Brothers, Bon Iver, Doves, She & Him, Two White Horses, Swell Season, T. Rex...and some of that colorful stuff--well, then, we might just find things to talk about all night long.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Room of One's Own

"Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of a man at twice its natural size."
- Virginia Woolf,
A Room of One's Own

"Without those forerunners, Jane Austen and the Brontes and George Eliot could no more have written than Shakespeare could have written without Marlowe, or Marlowe without Chaucer, or Chaucer without those forgotten poets who paved the ways and tamed the natural savagery of the tongue. For masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice."
- Virginia Woolf,
A Room of One's Own

"I told you in the course of this paper that Shakespeare had a sister; but do not look for her in Sir Sidney Lee's life of the poet. She died young--alas, she never wrote a word. She lies buried where the omnibuses now stop, opposite the Elephant and Castle. Now my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word and was buried at the crossroads still lives. She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here tonight, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives; for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh."
- Virginia Woolf,
A Room of One's Own

When I was young and Mormon--all my girlfriends would giggle and plan their weddings and the number of babies they would have. I would smile and nod and join in, trying to believe it was what I wanted too.

Then, at night, I'd crawl into my bed and read Virginia Woolf under the covers..and promise that I'd never get married for getting married's sake, that I would never give my entire life to the raising of babies and losing myself (though the two do not have to go hand in hand), and that somehow, somehow, I would find a man who would let my dreams be just as important as his....

And that always, always--I'd have a room of my own.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Something Prettier...

I am currently debating about purchasing the necklace on the girl to your right. It's wistful, light, airy, pink, and perfectly pretty. But it's also a bit on the expensive side. What do you think? Timeless or Dated?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Natural" Disasters

In case you didn't know, I write for a little publication known as the Exponent. You can visit me there if you like a good discussion. Here is my article for this month:

This past week in Europe has been overwhelmingly stressful for people. With the eruption of the Icelandic volcano, (and my subsequent reading on the causes of the eruption), I've been reminded of the religious bent to look at each natural disaster as a sign of the times. After all, that is what the Bible teaches us to do.

Job was an extremely pious man. He was also very prosperous. He had seven sons and three daughters. It was proposed by Satan that Job was ONLY pious BECAUSE he was prosperous. Thus, to prove a point (because God needs to prove his points), God allowed Job to be tried—with almost every possession and family member taken away. Then he got boils and whatnot.

When Job’s wife had felt that Job had suffered enough she said, “Do you still hold to your integrity? Curse God and die!" (Job 2:9-10). Job responded to her, “You speak as one of the foolish ones speak. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Apparently, Job accepted the idea that the natural disasters that killed his family and took away his possessions were all apart of God’s plan. This idea is reiterated throughout the scriptures. In Matthew 5:45, “For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Recently in the news, the Iranian cleric blamed the regions earthquakes on promiscuous women. It was the women that caused 25,000 people to die in Bam. Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi told worshippers in Tehran that, “they had to stick to strict codes of modesty to protect themselves. ‘Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes. What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble? There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam’s moral codes,’ he said.”

Similarly, the Rabbinical Alliance of American issued the following statement about the profound effects of allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military:

“When Americans are suffering economically and millions need jobs, it’s shocking that the Administration is focused on its ultra-liberal militantly homosexualist agenda forcing the highlighting of homosexuals and homosexuality on an unwilling military. This is the equivalent of the spiritual rape of our military to satisfy the most extreme and selfish cadre of President Obama’s kooky coalition….

"Thirteen months before 9/11, on the day New York City passed homosexual domestic partnership regulations, I joined a group of Rabbis at a City Hall prayer service, pleading with God not to visit disaster on the city of N.Y. We have seen the underground earthquake, tsunami, Katrina, and now Haiti. All this is in sync with a two thousand year old teaching in the Talmud that the practice of homosexuality is a spiritual cause of earthquakes.”

In reading various articles this week, you can find the belief that God has been behind every major “natural” disaster that has occurred in the world. And why it may seem ridiculous to many of us today—most Christians live by these ideas—as they are constantly illustrated in the Bible and The Book of Mormon. The Great Flood, Sodom & Gomorra, The Tower of Babel, to the destruction of the Nephites time and time again. All of these things, I was taught as a child, were signs of the times—signs of the ending of the world…and that ultimately, it would be the sinning nature of humanity that would bring about these natural disasters. It makes sense, in the context of orthodox religion, to blame 9/11 on gays wanting to join the military and women letting their hair down. Doesn’t it?

Um, not really. That’s the thing. Don’t these ideas, when based on fundamental logic—tend to illustrate just plain ridiculousness? Doesn’t it seem weird to believe in a God that would flood the earth because women wanted the right to be in control of their bodies, or a God that casts fires on the state of California right after it approved same-sex marriage, or a God that would wipe out New Orleans because of the rampant gambling and drug usage? What about a God that preordained a system of ruling that has a man at the head and several wives that adhere to his priesthood power? What about a God that promises to burn the world at his coming? What about a God that based the Plan of Salvation around the violent murder of one of his children?

That’s the problem with me lately. I can’t seem to take that God seriously anymore.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Something about Mary...

I heard a joke the other day about a pious soul who dies, goes to heaven, and gains an audience with the Virgin Mary.

The visitor asks Mary why, for all her blessings, she always appears in paintings as a bit sad, a bit wistful: Is everything O.K.?

Mary reassures her visitor: “Oh, everything’s great. No problems. It’s just ... it’s just that we had always wanted a daughter.”

Taken from a great article about the old Boy's Club in the Catholic Church that you can find here.

Something Inexplicable...

My friend went on a first date last night. They had a drink at her apartment. He came over. He did not bring wine. He drank lots of her wine. He used the bathroom. He did not turn on the lights. It was dark. He left the bathroom door open. He did not flush the toilet. He did this TWICE in under an hour. Then he went home.


Monday, April 19, 2010

She & Me

My VERY Mormon sister decided she didn't want me in her life this past week. There are many things that I do that she does not approve of.

She takes her five children to church for three hours on Sunday. They wear perfectly pressed dresses, their hair is always in place, and they each carry their scriptures.
I walk in the mountains each morning and commune with my source.

She completes her Visiting Teaching each month so she can "count" the numbers.
I gave the homeless man (the one who held his hand out to me as I was passing by) my apple yesterday.

She gives money to her church every month to insure that she won't burn in hell.
I bought my unemployed friend's five children winter shoes.

She teaches her children that homosexuality is bad.
Many of my best friends are gay and I love every little bit of them.

She believes that women should only be "wives" and "mothers" and that I cannot reach my highest potential if I do not enter into the bonds of matrimony.
I do not ever want to put a label on who I am and what I do. I do not believe in the power of a marriage license.

She lives her life by the Bible code.
I live my life by the Golden Rule.

She believes you can only be happy in this life if you are a Mormon.
I am happy.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Sometimes, even though you may just have splurged last month, you find something so perfectly you that you have to splurge again. I think that this is perfectly acceptable.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thoughts from the Universe


The greatest predicament of living in the jungles of time and space is learning to be happy while still having unfulfilled dreams.

The greatest challenge, is not looking to the illusions for meaning, definition, and answers.

The greatest mystery, is figuring out who you really are.

And the greatest reward of living in the jungles of time and space, is having predicaments, challenges, and mysteries that you have absolutely aced, crushed, and unraveled.

Lucky you, The Universe


Aha! Do you know what your thoughts did last week?!

Oh, yes you do.

They became the things and events of this week. The things you thought would be difficult became difficult; easy became easy; boring became boring; and fun became fun. Where you thought there might be surprises, you were surprised. And where you thought there might be land mines, there were land mines.

Bravo! You can add this week to the list of your most creative accomplishments.

Now, can you guess what your thoughts this week are going to do?

You are awesome, The Universe


If you would see everything filtered through the light of truth you'd never, ever again know sadness, lack, or limits. You'd see that you are safe. Bathed in love. Surrounded by admirers in both the physical and spiritual realms you grace. You'd see only beauty, perfection, and meaning. And you'd realize that just as the stark contrasts of time and space and the illusions of have and have not imprison you, so too can they make possible wings that will lift you higher.

Seek understanding, or as it was once put, seek first the Kingdom of Heaven, and everything else will be added unto you. (Same thing, different audience, grossly misunderstood to this very day.)

Cawwww, cawwwwwww, cawwwwwwwww.... (Soaring bird sounds.)

Tallyho, The Universe


As if the most accomplished among you didn't have their own piercing doubts, fears, and worries; didn't have spells when they believed they were inadequate, lost, and dependent; hadn't at times felt downhearted, discouraged, and all alone in the world.

Yet still, you know their names.

It's like time and space were made for you,
The Universe

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Today I went to Geneva and had only my camera for company. She's good company. It's been a while since I pulled her out. She's felt a little abandoned.

I walked along the lake, people watching, bird watching, water watching, sky watching. Watching, watching.

I like red.

I like the way she posed her legs.

I watched a movie being filmed in the Old City. I do not know how the main actor was, but he was tres mignon.

I sat and read a book under this striped umbrella. It glowed. It cast a rosy glow upon my guilty pleasure novel that takes place in Milan. I'm thinking of going to Milan on Monday and finishing up the novel I can see The Last Supper (a major focus in the novel).

I like when things are lined up. And standing straight. And generally ignored by most people who are walking by.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

For Easter morn, I'll wake up and have a cup of tea.

I'll write my thoughts in my journal and give them a place to be seen. They like it when I do that; it helps them rest.

I'll pick up pen and put it to paper to send a distant letter to a close friend. I like friends.

I'll take a walk and confide. And most likely there will be a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye.

And I'll spend time in a light-filled room thinking of all the things I am grateful for and how much this day and time has expanded from the one-dimensional way I used to look at it.

And I'll be happy. The end.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I and Love and You

Thanks to my sweet friend j. I have now listened to this little npr concert about five times through this morning. And if it wasn't clear why I was single as of yet, it is because I am planning and plotting on marrying the Avett Brothers...yep...ALL of them.