Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Six Months!

Time flies, huh? (And how cute are we?)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sleep it off

What a difference a couple of loungey, sleeping-in days make. Today, despite the fog/rain and having to dig my car out, I feel much better.

Other contributions: On vacation, you get to spend a lot of time with boys you like. Watching Avatar (the Last Airbender, not the other) and 30 Rock and snacking on delicious birthday treats (Harry and David chocolate-covered cherries? Yes please) and, you know, scandalizing roommates a little. Heart.

Last night a group got together for Eva's and the Cathedral of the Madeline Christmas Concert. Such a great night. We saw Temple Square, and Eva's is incredible, and they let me be in charge of ordering (this is 2-fold fantastic: 1, I get to be in charge. 2, I get to watch people delight over, like, the baked mac and cheese for the first time. Love love love), and the cathedral was beautiful, and the music was beautiful and we ran into James' sister and kids which was delightful too. The Catholics have this Christmas thing down, en serio.

And then I got Taylor Swift albums and enameled cast iron (Cuisinart!) that was ridiculously cheap. The gay best friend thing doesn't always play out like Teen Vogue tells me it should, but sometimes it's plays out exactly like it should.

Friday, December 17, 2010


(Pic from the Washington Post.)

A lot of great stuff has happened in 2010, don't get me wrong. See my archives for example. But. I walked over to the tabernacle tonight and watched it still burning 18 hours later (in the dark and the snow--really striking) and was very ready, suddenly, for 2010 to be over.

I had a quick pleasant chat with a professor/friend the other afternoon (the one who told me "this should be fun," and "there are some things that once you think them you can't unthink them," actually, both of which have spurred posts,) and he offered another nugget: "this is the only life you have" which has got me thinking all over again.

There's plenty to celebrate, plenty to do, etc. etc. And I keep waiting for things to get better or calm down--and they're not going to, right? Isn't that the moral of the story?

I cried at the tabernacle burning--not a lot, but I snuffled some. I don't know, something about things never being the same again, even in this small thing.

Ramble ramble tonight I'm drinking cocoa and reading Victorian adventure novels (complete with 6 pages of a 'fac-simile' of ancient Greek/Latin texts with their expanded translations *and* a witty translator's note) by my Christmas tree. So I'm not complaining. Just contemplative.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Best of the Week: the joy of sisters

Another great week. Another highlight:

Anne called me over (our water heater was out for 3 days this week and she offered her facilities. Luckily for me I only showered once all three days and wore the exact same outfit for two of them. Heart finals week), cajoled with a "I have something for you." What you should know about Anne is that she is great at presents. Even tiny pre-Christmas things she picks up because they were cheap end up being perfect. I think the result of being super empathetic and a great shopper? And I needed some Scout+Church time and hadn't seen Anne for weeks.

Christmas is up at her house and her tree is beautiful and Scout was showing off and Church was being giggling and charming (he's not quite crawling yet, but dragging himself along the carpet like a champ). I commented on a very lovely ornament (we have a thing with peace doves) on the tree. And Anne laughed and we kept talking and later, when Anne pulled out of a bag somewhere "the little something" she'd picked up for me it was an exact replica of the ornament that had caught my eye.

Dear my family: I love (knowing) you (so well).

fa la la la la

Get two meticulous people (James is great with a butter knife) together with a common goal and a room full of candy and there's no saying what can happen.

(Also: Happy Birthday, handsome.)

(Also: Happy Birthday Grace!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I've been thinking some about confidence lately.

When I was in Armenia we'd hold our weekly planning sessions: we'd figure out who we were going to see and what we were going to teach them and I drove my companions crazy. Because we'd be talking about Wednesday afternoon's appointment with Anush and we'd go to call and coordinate, but while she was on the phone I'd suggest making a couple other calls and I'd run to the kitchen for just a sec to check on the soup and remember that we needed dill so I'd start putting together a shopping list and looking dill up in the dictionary which would remind me that Karine need a lesson on the Word of Wisdom which I would start planning and suddenly an hour would've (productively, of course) passed when we would get back to Anush's lesson. There was an enumerated list we were supposed to follow. Which I only did under extreme duress. So we got the job done but more than one companion marveled that we managed to get everything done under such chaotic conditions. (I filed this trait under "weird" and "to work on" and try to be better at seeing things through.)

Today I spent all day researching. I started in the MLA International Bibliography, went from an article there to some definitional terms in Wikipedia (dear Deep Ecology: are you for real? Also, check out the post for Arne Naess for some pure Wikipedia gold) then was distracted by the muppets (see previous post) then got back to work finding books on ecofeminism, moved toward the Jane Eyre end of things for a couple of hours, ended up in the library choosing unplanned books from the stacks and almost not being able to bring them home because I've reached my limit (of 50).

So writing this thing is still daunting, but I think this personality quirk treats me well occasionally. And that happens a lot, you know? What potential weaknesses of yours rear into awesome?


Have we talked about how much I love finals week? Particularly in the winter. It feels so festive and indulgent and yes I'm writing this post, even now, instead of researching, and I'm not looking forward to my late night tonight and the thudding realization that I'm going to have to rewrite (I expect that to hit just about the time I meet with my professor Thursday morning. But then I'll have a free day Friday! To write and dink around online and eat another breakfast sandwich from the Twilight Zone--Asiago cheese bagel, toasted, plus 2 eggs, sausage patty, American cheese--utterly disglicious) but. For now I'm going to keep working on the 3 candy canes I bought this morning, maybe I'll get myself some lunch in a minute, and look forward to hanging out next to my Christmas tree tonight. With clementines? Hot cocoa? Love.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Why Kjerstin, that wouldn't be a 7 foot Noble Pine immaculately lit and lovingly decorated behind you, would it?"
"Yes, that's precisely what it is."

What can I say? When it comes to Christmas trees, I don't mess around.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another way to think about mirror-to-mirror eternities

When I wrote about Jane Eyre a couple of months back, I was critical of the engagement scene: Rochester telling Jane about herself. There's something in it that feels domineering and erasing--that Jane isn't a real person, that she's not filled in somehow, until Rochester describes her to herself. But I've been thinking about it and I don't think that I reacted so strongly to the incident because I was upset by it but because it felt so familiar.

That is, I've been thinking a lot about what I value in relationships lately and something that all of my most meaningful relationships have in common is this feeling of definition. There's the potentially alarming implication here: I have been known to change dramatically in some relationships, I've been (too) eager to please or be defined or whatever, but for the most part this is a really positive and vital part of my friendships. I go to a friend with a problem and they're able to help me see how deeply seated fears or personality quirks or what have you are coloring my opinion of the situation. My really great friends are the ones that seem to understand these fears (or whatever, they're not always negative or that deeply seated) and who are able to tell me about them. The version of myself that they see is the one closest to the version I myself imagine. And I think that in the very strongest of these relationships, this is mutual. I'm able to help my friends (family, whatever) get to know themselves better.

There might be something a little unhealthy here. There's more-than-is-maybe-useful self examination (slash centeredness). And shouldn't I be able to see these things myself? And sometimes there's some game playing--there's something coy about me refusing to see the way that my daddy issues inform my perfectionism, asking, indirectly, for some sort of validation or other. But there's also something deeply confirming and intimate about these exchanges: I know you well enough to know that.... or I trust you enough to let you help build my self-image or, mostly, really, I get it/you, you aren't that broken/freakish/alone.

And through these exchanges, relationships become essentially generative: both parties are invested in the building/defining of the other, and so the relationship.

What do you think? And do you do this? Or not and why?

The Weepies

are all I want to listen to lately.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Best of the Week

How have I forgotten how much I love this time of year? I love cozy snowy evenings and fresh bracing mornings and there's something so hopeful about the first month or so of snow. I love the holidays: I love family and travel and food.

I spent this week with the Texas branch of James's family. We got one day of warm weather (we spent a couple of hours out on the dock Wednesday night--full moon, lake lapping, James, perfect), a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner (Sherry's brined turkey was incredible), lots of delicious food actually, great time with the fam and a safe ride there and back (40 hours total. James and I are great at ridiculous road trips). I am grateful for the time with family and for James and for the break.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Best of the Week

Disputable (remember when I used to do these all the time?): I left campus early Friday to go and check out Bijou Market, where Annie was selling some of her stuff. I had to go back to campus to meet with some students and I was kind of bummed (I felt bullied around and simultaneously flakey. Gross.) So, grumble grumble I'd rather be napping, I headed up to my office, met my first student, and it was like a light switched on in my brain: I was engaged, I had interesting things to say, I was helpful (I think) and he was very gracious. I don't know how well I'm doing at applying the lesson I learned about application and engagement--not yet at least, but: lesson learned. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A note:

We all hold this suspicion that my dad was secretly kind of famous. Everyone who I knew who knew Dennis ran into him regularly ranging around downtown with his hound. I suspect that hundreds of downtown-dwellers have noticed the dog and the cigar and the hat and thought "who is that guy?"

Recently our suspicions have been confirmed somewhat. A friend of Dennis' was talking about his passing and her friend said "Wait! I know that guy!" Turns out he took a picture out his car window. Just because.

The pic:
Sometime, maybe soon, I'll try and articulate why this picture is as figuratively touching and perfect as it is literally kooky and touching and perfect.

(maybe here and now a little)
Last year when Dennis pulled 7 C-notes out of a cigar box with an art-dealer's business card, directions to the gallery, and a recommendation for a great German bakery in the neighborhood, my sister proposed I write it into a short story. We talked about working my brothers' efforts to guess Dennis's favorite author in order to access some of his records into a essay or story of sorts. My friend Amanda, too, suggested I write a speculative memoir of/for/about Dennis. And the idea, in addition to feeling daunting and impossible and potentially offensive to everyone, has this persistent tickle to it. Like I've sorted years of his life into chapters, started collecting info online (could Dennis have written a book called Your Mama Was Wrong I hope?) and watching BBC adaptations of LeCarre for source material/inspiration for The European Years.

There are some questions I have to answer first (I'm rereading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and trying to imagine fitting Dennis into a similarly sparkling nostalgia): do I paint him as the suave secret agent we've always sort of imagined him to be? Can I write about my dad as a womanizer? Do I try and explain away the dark/sucky years with international intrigue or stick with dark and sucky? I want to do it. I probably won't let anyone read it. Tickle tickle tickle.

the end.

When Adorable is not Enough. Gasp.

So, first, I'm probably getting old. Second, I find myself having less patience with things that I'm not drawn to initially lately. And having a hard time sitting still/concentrating/whatever.

Also, I try and not be that person on the internet who is a jerk just for the fun of it. I rarely leave comments and never in anger. Because that person generally misread the prompt and radiates all this negative energy for no reason. But this post has been rattling around in my head for more than a week and I thought I'd pound it out. It feels important/definitive somehow.

I saw Sufjan Stevens at Kingsbury last week. And I didn't like it. He, as the title mentions, is adorable--charming and with a lovely voice and he was wearing angel wings. He was on the very short list of people I'd like to see perform live. There was too much concept, though, and not enough (for me, last week) heartfelt. Sufjan, dear, don't you just want to croon a little with your back-up orchestra and guitar and make me cry?

This is a thing I know about myself, now: I like concerts where I get to sit down. I prefer acoustic instruments. I want to feel like music is being created as I watch and not pre-prepared to, like, make me think or impress me or whatever. Even this is an illusion on long-touring shows I guess but the feeling that maybe the band wants to be there and maybe is enjoying the stuff they're playing and maybe hasn't spent the last year eating mushrooms with their artist friends is important to me.

This is good for me to write down: I've kind of always been ambivalent about shows (all the cool kids are going!), and maybe this will act as a reminder. Or something.

(Also. In case you want to accuse me of Philistinism: I'm definitely listening, unironically, to Journey as I type this. Right now my little heart is being inspired to not stop believing. :) )

Monday, November 8, 2010

Smiley's People

Tonight I am grateful for support from unexpected quarters: my students, carrel-mates, and ward buddies (and not just the ones I already know and love) have kind of rocked my world today. Blessings, etc.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


"Hope" is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.

--Emily (I may be on a first-name basis.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I'm not looking for advice. I want to write this down mostly so I can start sorting it out and thinking about it. And start my mom worrying? Which is what will happen anyway (don't worry, Mom, I promise it will be ok).

I'm not happy with my program/life. I sort of like my classes and am sort of interested in my thesis (any energy I had for it was expended in the half-dozen frantic all-nighters I had to spend to get it to the point where it is: still unacceptable and a month past deadline) and haven't put the energy into my classes that they deserved and so I've kind of dreaded/sucked at teaching. But I was surviving. I have 2.5 courses (read: seminar papers) left and the thesis of course. My plan was to grin and bear it, get the thing done, etc.

But now I find myself facing another Monday morning entirely unprepared from my week of funeral-planning and in a sort of questionable emotional state. (Not that questionable. I am wearing Halloween colors today. I ran and showered and got myself up to campus. I also have only cried once--which might be all I need?) And suddenly I have the perfect reason (maybe excuse?) to drop out of my life. Who could fault me for taking November and December off to get my act together? Or for using this trauma as impetus for starting a life I want to be living?

I know we all have had this discussion and I'm not naive enough to assume that Somewhere Else a perfect life is waiting for me. I know that my demons live mostly in my brain and not at BYU (mostly). There's this great lyric from a Magnetic Fields song: "You won't be happy with me/but give me one more chance/you won't be happy anyway." Which is how I feel about everything in my life.

But. If I wanted to start over, now might be the time to do it. (And maybe I can do it without dropping out of my life. Though doesn't manual labor sound so appealing right now? Does anyone need a basement refurbished?)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Wednesday Looks Like

Today I:
passed off my classes to subs (good friends both).
wrote my dad's obituary.
inherited some of my favorite things.
shared candy (and diet coke) with my siblings.

Right now I'm on my way to Southern Utah for good red soil to bury my father in.

I feel exhausted to my heart but very loved.

Details to follow.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Something Beautiful/I want to go to there: Albania

What do you know about Albania?

It is, apparently, pretty safe (the State Department rates it a medium) and totally gorgeous.
Because it's Greece and Italy country--Mediterranean but more mountainous than Greece apparently.

And also awesome: ancient, once war torn, formerly communist (strong ties to China actually).Yes. I don't know much either. But, Albania, I've got my eye on you.


Remember how terrible that story is? I want to poke myself in the eye just thinking about it.


I'm not saying I'm not going to get better at this, but I am realizing how very poorly suited I am for a thesis program.
To wit, a short list of personal weaknesses:
1. I don't work well under pressure: I'm no good at deadlines (self-imposed, externally imposed to an equal degree), I'm no good at working under close supervision, I feel paralyzed by expectations, particularly if they're held by authority figures.
2. I don't work well with authority figures: I'm no good at standing up to them. I'm not good at knowing how/when to back down. I get tense and tongue-tied and you know that scene in Washington Square? When Jennifer Jason Leigh wets herself while playing the violin for her dad? I feel like that a lot.
3. I have the attention span of a gnat. Which is why (I'd like to think) I'm not working on revisions but blogging about revisions.

Becca, who I ran into as I was, teary-eyed, leaving the 4th floor to work on revisions, as she was leaving her thesis defense (which she passed! Congrats Becca!) pointed out that no one is good at thesis writing. That no one who is doing a thesis is good at the kinds of things thesis-writing requires (if we were good at these things we'd be out making livings somewhere). And this was a kind of relief. And not because it means I can't justify myself in throwing up my hands and giving up forever. Moving to Mexico/Boston/Buenos Aires.

Ok. To work to work. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010


Sometimes old mistakes rear ugly heads. And for all your attempted hope and forgiveness and gentleness toward yourself it seems like you'll never change. And you try to remind yourself of humility and of patience but just for a minute everything seems very very dead-ending.

(Maybe I'll hike this afternoon? At any rate.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

On Alyssa

So I'm waiting for the go-ahead on my prospectus. Which means I have some time on my hands. For doing Important Internet Research. On Alyssa Milano. (Could I fit another sentence fragment in this post?)

Did you know she's a chart-topper in Japan?

That she had a running gag going with internet superstar du jour?

That she's in a new movie? I know someone involved in its production, and it's sort of fascinating: is this a local production (sort of looks like SLC, right)? How much do you pay Beau Bridges (Carol Kane?) to be in your film? Is Alyssa playing her age (nearly 40) in this film, or not?

Anyway. Back to grading. Or whatever.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


[insert something here about the linguistic relationship between angel and miracle in armenian? i could go and get my dictionary but i'm not going to. apsos. at any rate:]

Last night at 12:30 I came from a very important and lovely conversation (I get to have so many of these lately, have you noticed?), stopped at Macey's for reinforcements of the sugar-carb-diet coke variety and settled into writing what feels like an almost final draft of the prospectus. It was late. I didn't sleep the night before either (important! lovely!). I'm waaaay past my deadline and worried about souring an important working relationship, and, you know, deadlines are complicated. So I lasted for a little over an hour. And, exhausted, I headed to bed, stopping, out of desperation, on my knees:

Father. I'm trying. I've worked hard at this. I need to sleep. I need to get this written. I need your help.

And I fell asleep (sort of). And when my alarm rang at 5 I wanted to cry. Another prayer. Another 15 minutes in bed. And then I was up. And then I was going. And connections were made clear, and the way to structure my arguments, and. I stopped to read some scriptures with my roommates, I made breakfast (I am the kind of girl who just can't fry an egg and eat it on toast if there are garden-fresh tomatoes and sharp cheddar in the vicinity), I popped in my earbuds, I worked.

And I got something out. I will revise this afternoon. I emailed it a half-hour later than I intended, but it was there! I was focused and smart and on the ball!

I wanted to write this up, mostly, because of this: I've been struggling with God. He seems distant and disinterested and I've been living the life of a much less believing person than I think I am (I was reminded of this other day--how tied to action belief is, how when you're not living it, what's the difference what you believe?).
Yesterday, though, he reached out to me (via these kids noticeably), and calmed some old hurts. And this morning he heard and helped.

So this post is meant to be both a prayer of thanks and a sharing of conviction and also a reminder (for stubborn pragmatic me) that Heavenly Father's around. And helping me out.


Monday, October 11, 2010

[on a lighter note]

My roommate Pam invited us to her friend's house to go apple picking yesterday. I ate sweet plums fresh from the tree and apples until I was sick. Delicious.


So. I've been having a down-ish week--stressed a little and blah a lot and, you, know, surviving some. I've constructed a playlist to match (included. I wasn't going to build it in the name of getting things done. haha. :) ) I named it "Haunting" and when I listen it feels a little like my soul curling up in a down comforter and spending the afternoon watching rain fall or something. Kind of gorgeous, but I'm beginning to wonder how much time my soul ought to spend in bed...that is, I think my playlist is speaking the feelings of my soul, but I wonder whether my soul would be quite so lethargic feeling if I was listening to something a little peppier?

=This is me trying to take responsibility for my life and mood.

=grumple {distressed face}.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Crunch Time

The last 2 hours before a deadline are the worst. It starts seeming possible that I'm not going to make the deadline and so the panic sets in and so I become less and less able to concentrate on the task at hand. And so I start sending random acquaintances links to pictures of baby sloths and blogging compulsively and seeking out sounding boards around campus.

Once more to the breach!

(and searching online to remind myself of the precise wording of Shakespearean idioms)

Dear the Nephews:

(And their parents.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jane (wherein I wander)

I (am/thought I was) a Wuthering Heights girl. Give me the storm, give me the spontaneous fainting, give me the souls torn one from another in delicious anguish. And sure it was over-the-top, but wasn't that the point?

I read Jane Eyre for the first time just after reading Ayn Rand. Jane seemed prim and Rochester oppressive and I was deeply insulted that Rochester had to be broken and chastened before Jane could deserve him.


I've been re-reading Jane Eyre for my Victorian seminar and there's something else going on here. Or I'm more attuned to the pressures Jane was feeling. Or.

Jane's a lovely character. Just snarky enough to take the edge off of her perfection (disciplined and practical and wise!), it might help that she's not blond and fair. She gets bored and impatient and angry and is just kind of sympathetic and great. And I'm still not sure about this Rochester fellow. I'm listening to the chapter right now where he describes how he wooed Jane and it's pretty creepy. Lots of watching and weird manipulations...

And there's something I want to think about: men telling women about themselves. There's been a paper in the back of my mind about those songs that extol the virtues/idiosyncrasies of the beloved, like "Meet Virginia" (She doesn't own a dress, her hair's always a mess...), "She's so high" (She's blood, flesh and bone. No tucks or silicone.) and there's one really recently released that I can't ever remember when I mean to. There's something about men defining ideal womanhood and I wonder what this does/means/how it works. Rochester does this in Jane Eyre, talking about Jane being elvish and sensible, etc. And there's something to this, I mean, there's something to love about being seen in a way that feels true by someone who knows...any thoughts from you kids?

Anyway. The point of all this is that I love the fall. Listening to the Brontes, walking through cloudy rainy campus. I was reading about climate recently somewhere something about how people are calmer in the fall, about curling up with a book being good both for the soul and for civilization? This last week of Indian Summer has been very hard for me. Granted I've been stressed by school, but I suspect, too, that the weird transitional weather has played its role in my frantic.

Anyway again. I feel much calmer when it's raining. Victorian novels notwithstanding.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

There's another Emily in town

High waving heather, 'neath stormy blasts bending,
Midnight and moonlight and bright shining stars;
Darkness and glory rejoicingly blending,
Earth rising to heaven and heaven descending,
Man's spirit away from its drear dongeon sending,
Bursting the fetters and breaking the bars.

All down the mountain sides, wild forest lending
One mighty voice to the life-giving wind;
Rivers their banks in the jubilee rending,
Fast through the valleys a reckless course wending,
Wider and deeper their waters extending,
Leaving a desolate desert behind.

Shining and lowering and swelling and dying,
Changing for ever from midnight to noon;
Roaring like thunder, like soft music sighing,
Shadows on shadows advancing and flying,
Lightning-bright flashes the deep gloom defying,
Coming as swiftly and fading as soon.

--Emily Bronte, 1836

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oh. And.

Hair disaster averted. Patrick is a genius.

Sweater Weather

Yesterday the 10-day forecast was full to the gills of sun and 80-degree weather. I was supposed to be happy (such a gorgeous September!) but. I've been known to resist happiness. And. I hit JCrew pretty hard last week (slash it hit me, why are pretty things so pricey?) and bulked up my sweater collection. And. It's fall. I love the fall. I'll be mad when it snows but I think I'm ready for the fall.

Today: sporadic rain (what's the rain equivalent of a snow flurry?). Cooling everything down. Thanks the universe.

Oh. And something else: it might be that my life is awesome and blessed and I have most things under control (enough at least) and what's in order is not overriding change but, like, a deep breathe and a leisurely afternoon hike and a sigh of appreciation/relief. (Did this conclusion really take me by surprise? Again? Grrm.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

There comes a time

in every person's hair-growing journey when she resorts to desperate measures.

(Suckers at 9 am may or may not fall under the "desperate" category.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

'fin' is apt but very dramatic

This week/month/couple of months have been brilliant and difficult. I guess I want to apologize? Because it used to be I brought all of this swirl of uncertainty and joy and anxiety here (or here) to test and sort. I came to some good conclusions, I think, and am sort of proud of and delighted by the girl-woman-person I was [becoming]. But now, suddenly, everything feels so real and so personal. I feel like I'm developing into a whole new person and I'm wary of subjecting her to scrutiny too early, even to so small an audience as you--even I seem too rough a judge some days.

So. Yes, an apology. Or an excuse. Or maybe an invitation to give me a call? :)

Loves, ke.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I'm sorry to announce that El Azteca has been taken over by evil yuppy demons who think that we prefer choosing black or pinto beans to some of the most reliably delicious Mexican in Utah Valley. Disappointing and gross is what my lunch was yesterday, and not just because I was in love with and abandoned by their veggie burrito. They were good at what they did and I'm not sure why they went tampering.

Sad day for Provo.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Give it a whirl

What I want this post to express:

--prospectus=very stressful (do your joints ever tense up from stress? You can't make any sudden movements and even your eyes sort of ache?)

--Cool stuff that happened today: James saved my life once. Trent (prof/graduate coordinator/friend) the second time (he gave me some very good and practical advice and the conclusion was that I might have something new to say about Dickinson. Which is news to me and terribly encouraging. I got a rough rough draft of something down (thanks again Trent!) and Susan liked it. A lot. And gave me some good advice. And so now we're moving forward.

--Something about stress relief techniques: diet coke (and the friendly girls at Crest). Slab. Chocolate in all forms. This blog which I'm not going to be ashamed of subscribing to because it's adorable and sometimes you need some baby foxes/mongeese/otters in your day. Great friends.

--Something also about the waxing/waning sense that Heavenly Father doesn't, in fact, have it out for me and is, in fact, working in and through my life in ways I didn't/can't/anticipate. This is very cool.

This is all the energy I have for a post right now so maybe you can add some wittiness and depth? In your mind? :)

Loves, ke

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

me + my autumn sweater

We rolled into town Sunday at 4. Running on 5 hours of sleep (3.5 caught in half of the back of James' CRV [the other half was filled with our stuff. Neither of us remember anything between lying down and the bling of the alarm at 6 am] in the parking lot of a Motel 6, 1.5-ish on the road when we weren't keeping the other awake). Ward prayer, some unpacking (I ate a meal made by humans. I heard James ate a leftover blueberry cobbler MRE). I was up at 6 to finish some stuff up before teaching at 9.

Welcome back to Fall.

Fall is my favorite season. Today I'm wearing an aqua sweater and my blacks. Monday night I got to break out my kitten cardigan. After sleeping Tuesday night Business Kjerstin reemerged and started to work on the to-do list. Work on syllabi. Call the Financial Aid Office. Throw away a year's accumulation of student papers and handouts. Color-code my classes. Etc. etc. etc.

The week before Hawaii was pretty hectic. Graduation+family reunion+prospecti+moving+grading. Little sleep, lots of diet coke (remember when I was off for a minute?). We ended up speeding down to Vegas to make our flight in the middle of the night in the rain. I was chomping sunflower seeds and blasting Marina and the Diamonds and Vampire Weekend, chanting something about being young and reckless and alive. Lucky for us that corridor is made for speeding (if I go 95 from Cedar City to St. George I can make up for the 85 I have to go through the Arizona bit to survive the turns). Lucky for us the Nevada state line brings with it an extra hour and we were both distracted enough to be pleasantly surprised.

We slept on the plane (someone got sick? We had to reroute to LA? If sounds nightmarish and I only sort of remember it happening.) And woke up in Hawaii.

Palm trees! Balmy weather! Abandoned North Shore! We got a house a block away from the beach and spent the first couple of days napping in the sun and in the shade and in the sun.

We ate at Ted's and spent a lot of time at Sunset Beach (with like 7 other people) and swam with sea turtles (I had to step out of their way so they wouldn't wash into me. And they were huge and sad-eyed and adorable). We rode horses on the beach (I got a stubborn blonde who refused to do what I asked) and ate fresh garlicky shrimp and watched a lot of sunsets and picked guava from the tree outside our door for breakfast and did some PCC stuff and spent time in Honolulu and ate sushi and spam.

Hawaii was magical. Gorgeous. Perfect.

It was part one. Part 2 was even better though it was shorter and, um, more physically intense. We got off the plane in Vegas (having left one of our drivers on the island...it's a long story but ended well I think?) in the early morning. Ran to Walmart for food for backpacking and fuel. Ran some other errands (we stopped into Dick's Sporting Goods and almost napped in one of their tents. I bought a sunhat and a couple of water bottles for a dollar and fell in love with the new insulated aluminum straw-ed Camelback water bottle (It's soo pretty.) and decided I need more clothes that wick moisture. Then did we head for the trail? We meandered a bit and got there and packed and on the trail by 6 or so. Hike hike hike. We stayed the night just outside the village (Supai), headed in the morning, found our group, set up our hammock and went to sleep. There were falls and hiking and some brushing of teeth, but mostly mostly we napped.

We camped (illegally it turns out) next to Havasu falls--gorgeous red rock and aqua water and lush viney green out of this desert canyon. We all had hammocks and the people were great. I dunno. So quiet and beautiful.

Hiked out Saturday afternoon. Started driving at midnight or so (if we drive all night we can make 9:00 church bahaha).

And that's the story.

And now fall's here. Hurrah!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I am not dead

but haven't showered since Tuesday. And have brushed my teeth 3 times also since Tuesday. I will blog about everything later. Everything=awesome.


Monday, August 16, 2010


I may have lost my testimony of English.

I like reading books.

I think I have some stuff to say about organizing ideas and putting words together in aesthetically pleasing ways.



Wednesday, August 11, 2010

(best of the week, late)

I think I'm going to stop pretending, at some point soon here, that my best of the weeks don't almost always revolve around James.

On Saturday he surprised me with flowers.

Oh things are going to get real gooshy here, real fast. :)

For Scout:

Some of you have already seen this. My niece, though, gets full access to videos I post here and I love the image of her (she'll start 1st grade in the Fall) watching/falling a little bit in love with this.

Also, can we talk about the best part of this song, I think, which is that is has all the synth-y magic of the 80's without any of the lusty angst? Right? I feel like its infusion of goofy (Norwegian) indie optimism pushes it from good to magical.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Grasshopper v. ant

This morning I read this. And the sentiment is important and the piece is lovely, but I'm taking the selfish road on this one and talking about how reading this morning I was reminded that I need to write.

Because I stop writing in the face of uncertainty, and I haven't been writing because I haven't been certain. Things seem precarious (delicious, certainly, the summer and the gentleman caller) and I don't want to ruin the magic with certainty, you know, like butterfly wings or whatever.

And because it's time to start inhabiting myself again.

The advent of August is weighty every year. In August I reassert and renew. I make plans and budgets. I pull out my planner. Fall is on its way and August never lasts more than a minute and the thing left to do is write everything down: take stock. And the daze I've been floating through (what a fantastic summer it's been) has been so important...and now I'm left wondering how to keep the joy I found this summer while trying also to live my busy crazy life.

I think, soon, I'll write a little more about what I learned this summer...and about words being like water. Because I can't stop thinking about it.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Best of the Week+August

This week was hard. I did hard things and had hard conversations and I failed some. Which I don't love and suppose I'm going to have to come to terms with. (Hey, there, reality. Nice to see you again.)

But, there were lovely bits:

the new Jeunet (Micmacs. It's charming, but is no Amelie) with Alea. It was a lovely evening.

contacts rained like manna from heaven. (This is the summer of the windfall, which is entirely welcome.)


long talks with James. And playing with James. And sitting by James at church. :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Zucchini Season

[maybe this is a food blog]

1. The old standby: sliced zucchini sauteed with onion, garlic, basil.

2. Zucchini coins breaded (egg, maseca, s&p, fennel), sprayed with olive oil, and baked. Served as a side.

3. Garlic, onion, olive oil, grated summer squash, lemon rind. (This is my favorite. I used it as a pasta sauce.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On Repeat

Sort of weird? Mostly awesome.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Food Blog

Dear Alea:

Bruschetta (olive oil, grilled, rubbed with raw garlic)+ricotta cheese, honey and lemon zest.

Red peppers (olive oil+garlic)

Halloumi (+lemon juice and basil)

Tempeh (soy-ginger-garlic marinade)

Pineapple (brown sugar-cinnamon-cayenne)

Carmel corn puffs (can't get these out of my head)

S'mores pizza.

You are a culinary genius.

Way to be born!

Best of the Week

This week I've been thinking about my thesis. Or rather I've been rethinking my thesis. A couple of new people asked me what it's about and, in explaining to them, I got back to some fundamentals.

I'm interested in wandering. I'm interested in home.

It's weird to me that everything always comes back to a cluster of themes, no matter what I'm studying or thinking about. Wandering. Home. Connection/sublimation/unity. Which are all, of course, related and maybe all have something to do with God and his love and how we relate to him. Maybe?

So I talked to my committee chair about the changes and she was very enthusiastic. My thesis isn't going to be one that changes the world and I'm ok with that. I'm excited I get to write about things that interest me entirely.

And it's going to be a sort of intense week--I had a goal to finish my prospectus by the beginning of August and if I push it I can sort of do it--but, I started working on my thesis for 2 hours every-ish day in May or June, and it's really helped. I waste some days and don't go some days, but now that it gets down to doing, I feel confident that I can. As a friend of my noticed: "If you work on a hard thing every day it gets done-er." Miraculous feeling, but not.

So meeting with my adviser was a best of my week? The (quiet, maybe I'll start writing and will find it's unfounded) confidence I can get this done.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I have feelings

about food blogs. Not all of them. If you're a good photographer, for instance, then your food blog is probably great. Because pretty food is always a good idea. But it's hard to describe food in an engaging way. Mmm. It was delicious. Struggle.

That being said. Sometimes I absolutely delight myself. Like right now. And my dinner guest hasn't joined me yet. And if I don't tell someone about how smart I am I'm probably going to explode. So this is me food-blogging it up:

Zucchini stuffed with Moroccan-style red lentils and quinoa (so cinnamon, tumeric, cumin, plus the zucchini middle, sweet potato and onion and tomato) and topped with a masa-garlic crumble? And I'm going to spritz it with a lemon I stole from my roommate who is in Peru (and you can't blame a girl for stealing a lemon. I'll replace it)?

Radish-apple-onion salad dressed with green-curry-coconut-milk?

Mmm. It was delicious. (Or rather. I can only imagine this is going to go well.)

Thanks for indulging me.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Best of the Week

Intensely awesome conversations.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Best of the Week

[This post is also about how awesome my life is in the summer in Provo.]

Night walks in Provo are my favorite, in part, because they feel absolutely safe and familiar. I get to a place where I feel like I've been walking in Provo at night forever. I recognize old houses and landmarks and there's the glow of the known. But. I also like night walks because they're sort of wild and a little dangerous. And the streets I know in the day look differently at night. Unexpected sounds make my heart beat faster.

The combo, right?

And the stars. I love the stars.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I love my life.

So. I might at some point blog about something other than how awesome my life is. But I feel like I've had a really great run this last month or so. And that doesn't always happen. And I've got to make the most of it.

Monday. Started early and angry. I, naively, promised my family that I'd stake out a spot on the parade route. How hard could defending some curb space be? But ke vs. the sleep-deprived rugby player and ke vs. the couch-toting dad are not fights you want to see. Or not fights I wanted to see at least. Then my family started coming, which was great and helpful, but my family is not a morning family and I wasn't sure how to handle two handfuls of grumpy kids and my siblings uncertain of how we'd all fit in my little spot...so I took off. While I was off wandering gorgeous 4th of July Provo (and breaking my Diet Coke fast. It was entirely, deeply, nauseatingly worth it) Rachel and Jeremy took on the couch-toting dad and I came back to happy kids and a comfy chair and my mom passing around blueberry-lemon french toast casserole. With fluffy whip. Yum. And the parade was great. And my friends came by which I loved. Love.

Then a good chat with Annie and Maren. Then a nap.

Then I woke up an entirely new girl. I want to learn things! And be succesful! And squeeze all possible awesomeness out of this gorgeous summer!

So I planned my week and graded some papers.

Then FHE took place in canoes and a kayak (I love firsts. Kayaking? Check.) The sun was going down and we were dowsed in bug spray and the river was deep and calm and with the trees I felt like I was jungle cruising somewhere. Just incredibly beautiful and peaceful. Then I convinced a friend to go swimming at Campus Plaza in our (my) clothes. Then I went to bed.

I feel like I've always been a proponent of summer in Provo, but summer in Provo has never really worked out. Either I'm working jobs that I hate (catering+EFY anyone?) or kissing boys all night every night (=guilty, tired, grumpy summers) or have too much unstructured time and things go poorly. This summer, though, is so great so far.

Anyway. We should probably play some time.

Loves, ke.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Best of the Week

My best of the week was that my internet was broken all day Sunday which meant that instead of posting I spent my Sunday lounging in unseasonably temperate weather with my nephews, getting worked at Boggle (This frustrates me to no end. I should be great at word games, I always think, and am not), and otherwise enjoying my independence.

Also Saturday was a great day and night (talk to me about long wandery conversations some time) (and matches) (and fireworks). Also I spent more time walking on Thursday than I did sitting, and more time outside than in and more times with friends (and long wandery conversation) than not.

Also The Last Airbender? I think it was all on purpose--the bad acting and wooden dialogue etc, I closed my eyes I would've thought it was anime. Mr. Shyamalan did try and overstuff the plot, but--and it was beautiful and for kids and I really liked it.

Today, alas, fits into next week's best. So. You'll have to wait.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Best of the Week

Great things happened this week: night hikes and night walks and incredible full moons and 7-Peaks with the best family a girl could ask for and a baby blessing and I hit my teaching groove (oh I'm loving it) and I got a new phone and friends cleaned up after dinner (tomato jelly!? homemade garlic bread!? homemade mozzarella caprese? carrot-cranberry-pudding-cake?!) but the best of the week was last night, learning how to play bridge (a fantastic game with ridiculous terminology) over apple-bacon-pancakes and laughing laughing laughing.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

yeah yeah yeah

Sometimes when you're driving to the temple and you're feeling particularly self-flagellating and KBYU is only playing flutey-flute classical you switch to KRCL hoping for some mellow-y folk and Karen O comes on. Perfectly.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A thing

I've been thinking about lately is entitlement/obligation. A friend of mine posted this quote several months ago:

Even after all this time
the sun never says to the earth, "you owe me."
Look what happens with a love like that,
it lights the whole sky.

And I sort of wish I could tattoo it onto my brain. I'm such a lucky person, and no one owes me anything and I'm not sure why it's so hard for me to remember that (or if figuring out why would even help).

And. I have some things to say about teleology (my vocab lesson of last semester) and the way that it limits contentment. And options. And steals lives.

For now: I worked hard all day today. I found myself planning lessons like a madperson, not able to pull myself away...which is sort of uncharacteristic and entirely awesome. I taught well and studied well (I might have fallen asleep for a minute, but) and rushed rushed into dinner and workshopping and got my phone fixed. Then I walked through nighttime Provo which I love of course.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Girl Crazy

So you could take this the wrong way, but shouldn't: I crush on girls waaay more often than I crush on boys. Like once a month I fall in love with some girl in my class or ward or on the street or whatever. I do crush on boys, and I like them a whole bunch, but girls are easier. And nicer, generally.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Best of the Week

This is another toughy, so I think I'll generalize: my best of the week were the summer nights. I ate dinner with a friend outside in this gorgeous temperate bluster. I went on late late walks by myself when Provo was entirely asleep and the air was just cooler than my skin and then I watched/heard/smelled the sun rise (I have honeysuckle outside my window=winner). I tended a campfire and slept under the stars (how do I alway forget how great they are up the canyon? Wow) with friends and almost watched the sunrise again. I considered a nocturnal schedule (sleep from noon to 8 or something because I'm pretty sure hell is driving up University Parkway at 4:30 in the afternoon) so I could just live summer nights and mornings all summer long.

Love them.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saying yes (and no) to Summer

Spring was unpleasantly busy. Sometimes pleasant, but mostly not and I promised myself that summer would be different. Yes I'm teaching and working on my thesis, but my hours are much more flexible and, um, salaried. I am saying yes to summer.

Yes to rock climbing (and I cleaned a route--which isn't the right way to say that, but it was sort of scary and I did it). Yes to sleeping out. Yes to rope swinging (pics to come I think), on the high branch. Yes to friends. Yes to family.

And no too: I've given up Facebook and sugar and Diet Coke. Two-and-a-half-days and counting and no coke. This is a big deal. And I feel great.

Because summer is going to be fun, dammit. And awesome. :) And already is.

Girls I would marry if I could: Christine

(This may or may not be the first of a running series. There are soo many great women that I know, I wanted to start up a running tribute. And why aren't these girls married?)

I first met Christine in the basement of a house we were both moving into. She and Liann (sure to be featured here soon) were painting the family room Red! and Orange! and Pirate's Cove Blue! because, they said, it looked like a dead grandmother's basement, which was a true story. I wasn't sure what I'd gotten myself into, moving into this house with near strangers who were probably listening to something poppy and raucous (Mika was a favorite that year I think) and laughing over some ridicutraumatic story.

I'm not going to lie, Christine's shining cheeriness put me off at first. I spent the first week or two circling warily, walking in and out of Liann and Christine's extended discussions, waiting for some chip or crack to show.

And it still hasn't. And she sucked me in entirely and loved my crotchety soul (something like Anne and Katherine Brooke from Anne of Avonlea) and inspires me all the time.

Christine is magical. And her life is magical. And one of her favorite words is magical. This is what I mean: Christine is impervious to worry. She's certain that everything will work out, and everything works out. She finds jobs and finishes papers and plays plays plays with inspiring abandon, not always certain of the next step, but certain that it will be right and great besides. Christine is willing to wait things out: her dream has been interior design school for as long as I've known her, but she took a little detour to get and excel at a real-person job, and the design school thing, eventually worked out. Christine loves people.

And the coolest thing about Ms. C is that she doesn't take any of this for granted. We talked about this once, about how sometimes people sort of wistfully wish for her life and her spunk and her love--and she said "I work hard for this, every day." And that's something I've never forgotten. Christine decided who she wanted to be, and set about becoming that person. She wanted to be social and happy and blessed, and so she works on it. And it's panned out gorgeously.

So. Christine. (Oh, and she skydives.)(Christine. With someone (Joshua?) from So You Think You Can Dance. Because that's how awesome she is.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Confession: "I love deadlines.

I especially like the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by." --Douglas Adams

Instead of writing my paper (still and again for the last, like, 36 hours) I'm going to theorize about why I'm soo bad at deadlines. Because I think it's a thing.

And the obvious bit: I'm not super great at self-discipline. This isn't a thing I'm proud of, and is something I could change with some work, and I haven't or whatever (I've started, actually, and my forees into self discipline have been liberating and empowering: I am in the business of doing, etc.). My friend delivered some Cadbury fresh from London yesterday and I thought for a second "I could keep this as a reward for something later," then dismissed the idea as silly and lit in. It was delicious. I shared with my friends. I finished it after lunch.

Deadlines though? Hate 'em. Hate them like I hated practicing teaching at the MTC with Brother Young glowering through the tinted glass and stopping me every 5 minutes telling me how bored he was or the time the football coach taught driving range and I forgot my right and left and it was awful and growly and queasy? True story.

I live for exceptions to the rule. That, in fact, is what I'm banking on. I'm wagering that my professor won't start grading until tomorrow morning at the earliest, so I can take my sweet (free, self-defined) time tonight knocking ideas around and email my draft to her some time late this evening.

Because deadlines stress me out. I took a job this summer that paid like $3 less an hour because I could set my own-ish hours and I regretted it for like 5 minutes. I'm 15 minutes late and no one's glowering, I go to the dentist without asking permission, I take a long lunch or leave early and I work hard and get the job done with no one breathing down my neck (or telling me that I'm weeding wrong? What?). It's lovely.

And something about exceptions to the rule make me feel like a real person? I go in and talk to a professor (and sometimes tears come, I'm also sort of a stress case) and we bond over the fact that I'm not a mind-blowingly awesome student, though I have them laughing at jokes as I leave, and there's recognition there: you, ke, are more (or at least as) important than (as) the rules.

Rachel wrote about running for the love of it and not for the regimen, and there's some of that in what I'm writing.

The inevitable question is whether this is a thing I want to change or something I'm going to inhabit and work around. Which I guess doesn't really matter now (because the paper is due in an hour and its 30% written) but is something I'll think about. Later. When I feel like it. :)

The thing about theory

is that everything feels like it applies. So I watched Old Spice commercials for a half an hour yesterday (I was going to write on masculinity. It could've been awesome. It was, actually, awesome--I didn't know that Neil Patrick Harris did an ad--just less than entirely applicable). And am blogging right now. For unclear reasons (dear my body: sorry about the sleep deprivation thing. You're a peach). Laters. :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Are you listening

to Chet Baker? Self-destructive, handsome, troubled, with a voice like velvet or suede or something that has seen better days. How have I missed him?

(Who's ever heard a version of this that isn't schmaltzy and terrible?)


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Best of the week:

My best-of-the-week was all week (well, starting Tuesday afternoon I think. I might have cried over kickball on Monday. Because I'm in 2nd grade.) I might not always cheat (by writing about more than one thing, which is the rule), but today I am. And with good reason: this week was awesome. To wit:

  • Tuesday: My prof says "this [explication of gnarled psychoanalytic theory] really comes naturally to you, doesn't it?" It does not, but the compliment felt great.
  • Wednesday: Greek food+friend+great convo
  • Wednesday#2: the most beautiful evening ever.
  • Thursday: Help the Verb! A game I made up (think hot lava+grammar book+water gun) to help the kid I tutor get a grip on his helping verbs.
  • Thursday#2: A second convo with my prof about the paper I should maybe be writing right this minute goes really well. I'm excited to get into my sources and play around. And I've been really pleased with the types of things I've been coming up with, the fact that the paper is due in 50 hours and is officially unbegun notwithstanding.
  • Thursday#3: A conversation with an old friend over Noodles+Co. synthesizes a lot of things I've been chewing on lately. God loves me. And everyone. And thinks I'm doing a great job. And is into the things I'm into. And isn't trying to trick me.
  • Thursday#4: I fell into Walking Club and we found a guy baking pizza in his own pizza oven that he built in his back yard and it was incredible. And I made some new friends.
  • Friday: I got to play with my nephews and it was soo fun. Cookies and hide-and-seek and swords and I fell asleep at 9:30 which was awesome. They are old enough now (4, 8, 12) that there's no almost-marble-swallowing or tantrums or crying (mostly. I think Max cried a time or two, but then I played Lego Indiana Jones with him and he forgot that anything was bothering him).
  • Saturday: More nephews. A sushi date.
  • Saturday#2: Dinner+Daria with my favorite people. Green chile and garlic mayo+roasted corn on the cob. The kind of teasing that only siblings and great friends can pull off. And Daria is just as awesome as you remember.
  • Sunday (! are you tired yet? This is ridiculous!): I had my RS teachers over for a training/lesson preview. We had fruit and muffins and some insightful conversation.
And this all was only the beginning. Changes are afoot. And probably I'll be grumpy again later and things will be hard or whatever. But. Awesome. This week was awesome.