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