Archive | June, 2019

Tell Me Three Things

17 Jun

I just read the YA romance Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum and so you’ve caught me at a vulnerable time. I am deeply in love with these characters, with this story, with Love In General.

Love is a many splendored thing!

Love lifts us up where we belong!

All you need is love!

(Fine, I won’t start that again.)

In the story, Jessie and SN (Somebody Nobody) text all day every day. Except, TWIST, Jessie doesn’t know who SN is! They fall for each other, of course. Through sharing their souls in little bite-sized chunks.

Jessie and SN often begin the day saying, “Tell me three things.”

They share tidbits and thoughts and all that nothing means more than so many somethings, as Kathleen would say.

All that nothing inspired me to share some of my own.

Maybe it will be a series?

Who knows, I’m not thinking clearly!!

 

Three Things Today

1. I like the bad animal crackers.

You know the ones.

They taste almost neutral. Like eating sawdust. A snack to fill you up but not let you down.

This feels significant to me, somehow. That I want the bad stuff.

I bought the normal branded animal crackers recently, forgetting that they are ever-so-slightly sweet. That they have a taste. I’m not interested in that.

I want my animal crackers like I want my Amazon packages.

Made of cardboard.

 

2. I have created the world’s most perfect Coldstone order.

In my list of life accomplishments this has to go somewhere near the top.

Jillian Denning. Good at book recommendations, birthday presents, banana bread and Coldstone combinations.

(It’s too bad Coldstone combinations doesn’t start with a B.)

 

The Jillian Denning

½ Sweet cream ½ cake batter ice cream

Cinnamon

Pecans

Kit Kat

 

3. My hair is a shaggy mess.

Shaggy seems the only word for it. The ends are frayed, the top is heavy, and there’s this slight fuzz to it all that never quite goes away.

Sometimes I wonder how I got married in August, during a hurricane on Cape Cod and my hair looked fly as pie and now, in my everyday life I wonder if I’ll ever like it again.

Hair, if you are reading this, I’m just joking. Please do not give up on me now!

I have an appointment with Alberto tomorrow and I’m just hanging on until then. Crown braids, high ponytails.

The price of only getting your hair cut two states away from where you live.

The price of picky.

Have A Great Summer

15 Jun

The other day I was sitting with a group of friends talking about the summer.

When you work in a school, The Summer takes on a life of its own.

What are you doing This Summer?

Any plans for Summer?

I’ve answered this question a dozen times over now. I’ve asked it even more. We are all the problem. We are The Summer.

This summer I am

Seeing my family in Utah

Attending the American Library Association’s annual conference in Washington DC

Going to Cape Cod

Teaching a Quidditch camp

whataboutyou?

When my friends asked about summer plans, I recited my four events much like you recite your college major, anticipating the follow-up questions.

Sonia Sotomayor (is speaking at ALA)

My husband’s family has a home there (on Cape Cod)

You have a student wear a yellow flag football belt (to be the Snitch)

“But what are you looking forward to?” someone asked.

“Oh, I have a long to-do list.”

I started rattling off my bullet journal.

  • weird car noise to address
  • art to frame
  • items to post on Craigslist
  • storage closet to clean

“You know, really getting things done.”

The group looked at me.

“But what are you looking forward to?”

I went silent.

I have this thing.

I don’t know what to call it.

But basically, I don’t count myself as a human in this world unless I’m being productive.

I guess I should call it a curse.

Last summer I made this exhaustive list of every errand I needed to accomplish. On there was renew my passport. I wasn’t going anywhere, but my passport was expiring. This was the time to get it done!

At the end of the summer I looked at my list in shame.

My passport remained outdated.

How had I wasted all of my time?!

Of course, there were other things not on the list that I had accomplished.

Things like walks with my grandma and cuddles with a newborn baby. Fresh strawberry jam on my mom’s homemade bread.

The things that never make it to the list because the list only contains horrible things I hate doing and only 20% need to be done.

(But if they aren’t on the list, do they even count?)

What are you looking forward to this summer?”

I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

Not Large Activities I Am Doing.

Not My Enormous, Oppressive To-Do List.

But things I’d like to do, just because. Things that nourish my soul.

Things like thrifting with my sister and trying my hand at cinnamon bread. Turning off my phone for large stretches of time. Hiking and smelling the honeysuckle and I don’t know.

Things I haven’t even thought of yet.

Things that are going to surprise me with their beauty.

If I let them.

If I can let go of the horrible productivity monster inside of me.

Did you know that kids still use the phrase HAGS?

It’s in yearbooks and everything.

Have a great summer! You’re the best!

HAGS!

Note it’s not: have a productive summer

HAPS!

It’s not have a great time getting your passport renewed

It’s have a great summer.

HAGS, baby

HAGS

Terry Tempest Williams

9 Jun

Reading Terry Tempest Williams felt so intimate it was almost like hearing an echo. There I was, there were generations of Mormon women, with our voices combining and splitting, yearning and striving.

I felt heard and understood, seen and embraced.

I wonder what it would be like to read Terry’s words and not be a Mormon woman.

A Mormon feminist woman who grew up in Utah.

She speaks of places I know, people I’ve never met who are familiar all the same.

There is a part in Refuge where she is given a ride back to Salt Lake from strangers. She notes that if she had asked enough questions they would have likely been related several generations back, “the dark side of residency” in Utah.

She and I, with enough questions, might find we are related.

I don’t need to ask them, though.

Refuge is a memoir. A story of grief and death. Terry speaks of her mother’s cancer, the slow decline, holding her mother’s hand, acting as her midwife as she passed on.

Refuge is an environmental treatise. Terry speaks of the Utah landscape, of the Great Salt Lake.

Chapters begin with the Great Salt Lake’s water level. Terry spends pages, chapters on birds, at times the text becoming a scientific journal, one I don’t fully grasp.

When I saw her in person, just days after reading this she said, “My dad can tell you, I had every indication of being normal until I started watching birds.”

I’ve always been a little hesitant to use the phrase “hand of God in my life.”

It’s something we like to say at church, instances where something bigger than ourselves shows up. Grace, perhaps.

I can rarely pinpoint these moments in my life when they’re happening, but this week, after seeing Terry Tempest Williams in person I felt it.

Me reading her words just a week before she was to be in Los Angeles and I could see her. Surely that was the hand of something.

Me sharing that experience with a girl who I feel firmly was brought to me by something bigger than myself, well, that was a hand waving in my face.

Hello!

Hello!

I took a lot of notes at Terry’s talk. It’s hard to describe the energy in the room. You could hear others breathing around you. We were eager to take her in.

Terry is thoughtful and kind. I appreciate that so much.

There was so much talk of her being Mormon!

Terry is no longer a practicing Mormon.

I take issue with that very black and white definition, though.

The book is overflowing with Mormonism. She speaks of it with respect and nuance, recalling a spiritual experience as angels in the room. She speaks of its origins and liking to be connected to something magical and mystical.

She prays over her mother’s sick body.

She carries a few verses of Mormon scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 88:45-47, with her at all times.

45 The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.

46 Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand?

47 Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.

Practicing is a subjective term, isn’t it?

After Terry’s talk, my friend and I stood in line to get our books signed. We were missing another event, but it seemed vital, pressing that we stay. That we see her.

Terry joined the crowd on  her time, smiling and friendly. We introduced ourselves.

We are Mormon.

We met through the visiting teaching program.

She spoke about her love of fast and testimony meetings, of hearing each other’s stories and bearing witness to each other.

She gave us a hug and said, “We share so much.”

Hello!

Hello!

We share so much.