Eight Months

Serious

Dear Zinger,

It was about a month ago. I didn’t see the actual collision.

The four-door sedan, driver’s side crumpled, in a slow spin.

The 4X4 truck, front end smashed, bleeding oil from the grill.

The truck seemed to have spun in the same direction as the car.

I saw an airbag deploy in the face of the truck driver. His head whipped back and then his whole body slumped down.

The car rolled past where I could see.

It must have all happened in two seconds. As the scene replays in my mind, there is no sound. I want to insert sound from accidents I’ve seen in movies or television shows. Was the radio too loud? Were my windows rolled up? The lack of sound somehow makes the whole thing worse.

The light turned green, but no one wanted to go. No one could, because time had frozen.

People were running toward the scene. I was too far back in the turn lane to have helped. I wanted to help. I can’t help feeling I should have helped.

Nervous

On the TRAX blue line, at the Courthouse Station. A couple board and then sit across from me. The woman has straight hair and a small messenger bag. The man has gritty hair and hands with dirty nails and freckles. The couple might have been in their 20s.

The woman hands the man a $20 bill. I watch without watching.

They watch who boards at the Temple Square Station. The man stands and pretends to stretch. The woman smiles.

Two men sit on the other side of the train from where we sit. One of those two men walks to sit in the seats behind the man and woman. This man has bloodshot, shifty eyes.

The man with dirty nails walks to sit across from the man with the shifty eyes.

The man with the dirty nails comes back to sit by the woman with straight hair. The man hands her something small. It’s wrapped in paper or cloth and the ends are twisted so that the package looks like a teardrop.

The man has one of his own. He puts it in his mouth and worries one end with his teeth while holding the other end between two fingers, like he’s trying to open it.

The couple gets off TRAX at the Planetarium Station, and I can breathe again.

Great Grandpa

A family gets off the Frontrunner at the same station as I do. One of the parents tells the children to slow down as they run across the tracks, and the image of Dadda and me teaching you safety rules flashes in my mind. I see you holding my hand. You want to run across the street, and I tell you to keep holding on to my hand.

Explorer

I worry, little girl.

You explore the world. You crawl, you scale the walls, the couches. You get excited about all the new things to touch and see and taste.

There is so much that is beautiful and breathtaking. But there are also darkness and tears to choke on.

Thanksgiving was this past month, and of course I’m thankful for our blessings. Lately, when I reflect on something I’m thankful for, I think about how other people are also grateful. For example, I’m thankful for food. And I imagine families in developing countries who appear to have so little. I imagine these families also being grateful for their food. Shelter. Rain. Being alive. Being around people who love them. Having something to believe in.

I want to teach you to be grateful in this way. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being grateful for what you have. I just hope you don’t give thanks that you have more than anyone else, or that you’re better than other people. That’s not true gratitude.

Am I thankful that I wasn’t hurt in that accident? Definitely. Am I thankful not to have a drug addiction? For sure. But beyond being grateful, I hope that you can reach beyond yourself. Are the families of these people okay? Will your gratitude enable you to help other people and be a good person?

Park

And so Christmas approaches. It will be your first, and your Dadda and I want it to be fun and special for you. But we also want you to feel Jesus’ love. And not be scared of Santa. We hope you like the gifts, but we also pray that you feel the spirit of this season.

Eight months, Zinger. Just today before church Dadda said he saw you try to take some steps on your own. I’ve seen your attempts. You practice so much. You work hard. Baby steps.

We’re all taking baby steps, but you’re much better at it.

Read

Happy!

Sleepy book

We’ll always do our best to catch up to you. Don’t you worry.

Merry Christmas.

Love, Mom

Our First Thanksgiving as a Married Couple

This time last year looks a lot like the pictures below. I didn’t take pictures last year, so you know I’m not just reusing photos. Just like last year, Reilly’s mom and sister cooked a ton of amazing food.

This year, Reilly’s sister-in-law brought a homemade pumpkin cake. Reilly and I brought cheeseballs and crackers. We also helped “make” celery sticks stuffed with Redi Cheez.

Also this time last year Reilly and I tried to keep quiet while we made out in a spare room of his parents’ house. This year, . . . it’s harder than I thought finding differences between this year and last year.

Kidding.

The main and biggest difference is that we’re married. I wasn’t wearing a ring this time last year, but we began talking about one. This year, we have an apartment to snuggle in without being sneaky about it.

I was also less nervous this year. And I wasn’t scared that Reilly would break up with me if I didn’t go Black Friday shopping with him.

That last sentence is also a joke.

But the similarities between then and now hold their own: the warm cozy house, excellent food, the friendly, funny and generous family, the super cute man that I fell in love with. It doesn’t even have to be November for me to be ever grateful for the constancy.

Here’s the now-familiar drive down:

Here’s West Mountain, which all the time reminds me of one of the first images from the Little Prince:

Here’s Utah, a place I like most of the time:

Here’s Reilly’s hometown:

Here’s Reilly’s childhood home:

Here’s food and family. Hover over the photos for commentary:

Thanksgiving Ponderance

So I’m reading the Book of Mormon
and it’s the Rameumpton scene.
And I’m just so thankful that I’m not like that
looking down from that tower up
so high, thanking God
that I’m better than
everyone else.
That I’m more righteous,
that I have more.
People at the top of that tower
are so stupid and pious.
Pie? Yes, please.

I know friends who struggle with mental illness / gay friends who’ve found success after getting kicked out of BYU / friends who’ve had their hearts broken trying to have or adopt children / those who’ve had their hearts broken trying to find love / friends with children who have limb differences and other special needs / friends who mourn and grieve all manner of loss / soldiers who have died in military service / those who know sign language / friends who’ve had sexual trauma / friends who don’t have “traditional” parents / homeless people / creative people / angry|bitter friends / friends and family whose feelings I’ve hurt / dying friends / lost friends / people who are easily offended / loved ones who don’t care about the church / introverts / friends who have helped with tsunami relief in Japan / and who have survived 9|11 / and hurricane Katrina / and hurricane Sandy.

My great and spacious building
faces the tower,
and we go around the table
with our abundant plentiful
copious many blessings
or list something every day
this month
that we are just so thankful for.
Guilt arrives,
awkward, familiar guest.
Help yourself to some stuffing,
turkey.

I remember the sick feeling I got the day after this past election / what it’s like to be “chee-choh-ching”ed at / what my own prejudices are / talking with African college students on a dilapidated campus about their dreams to teach their children and give their country hope / being at a drag show / my own sexual abuse as a child / being with my mom the first time she returned to the temple / the outhouse that my Filipino grandpa built that reminds me of the one the the beginning of Slumdog Millionaire / the trailer that I lived in as a kid / my barefoot cousins in a bamboo village / seeing friends who’ve been separated by distance and time and contention become reunited / a constant feeling of helplessness for this world / watching Muslims in Africa as they kneel in prayer / playing with malnourished, licy children who don’t care that my French is horrible / yelling at a homeless man / ordering another round / sweat.

This feast won’t settle. I wipe
the cranberry sauce and spleen
from my face. I excuse myself
and walk out of the room
and down the stairs.
I trip across the threshold
onto packed snow,
into fog.

The well-cloyed see me and scoff
because I keep slipping
away from the tower and the building.
I slide into a canyon of people
who slid there too,
better than anyone else
without knowing it.
You help me up.
It’s warm here.

He Forgets Not His Own

OVE bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack’d anything.
‘A guest,’ I answer’d, ‘worthy to be here:’
Love said, ‘You shall be he.’
‘I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on Thee.’
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
‘Who made the eyes but I?’
‘Truth, Lord; but I have marr’d them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.’
‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘Who bore the blame?’
‘My dear, then I will serve.’
‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste my meat.’
So I did sit and eat.

“Love” – George Herbert


I just sat at a table and feasted until I could feast no more. I’m always a little shy around strangers, but they didn’t turn me away. There was comfortable conversation and laughter, and while I wasn’t with any relatives, I felt like I was with family. Though I may have inwardly resisted, because this family’s brand of crazy is a little bit different than to what I am accustomed, I accepted the invitation. The host gave me grace, and I sat down.


So hopefully goes the time when I come to Love’s table. (Except after feasting at Love’s table, I don’t get merciless heartburn and my host has to give me medicine to relieve the pressure. I feel a lot better after a couple hours.)


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am so very grateful for all of you. I have my reasons, which I’m also grateful for. 🙂

Alerts

At 1:33pm:

The National Weather Service is warning of a winter storm today that “will far surpass anything that we’ve seen, probably for the last several years.” The combination of snow, extreme cold, and possibly damaging winds will make travel extremely hazardous. The storm will begin in the north and move south, hitting Salt Lake City later this afternoon.

Please watch the weather reports and be prudent in your travels.

At 2:06pm:

This is a Y-Alert. As you were informed earlier, a major blizzard warning has been issued by the National Weather Service. Because of the severity of this expected storm, BYU will close campus at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010. All classes should be canceled after this time.

Campus will be closed on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010, except for essential services as determined by unit supervisors. If you have questions about specific locations or events, we encourage you to contact the respective organization.

At this time, the men’s and women’s basketball games are still scheduled.

I’ll spare you any sarcasm about the basketball games. Please be careful out there. I’ll be so very pissed if you die. You know this.

Un Plan

So, I know about who’s in Australia, some people in Utah, and a lot of people along the East Coast. I don’t know about anybody anywhere else. Western Europe, Russia, East and Central Asia; the one blip in South America; and who’s the little guy swimming in the middle of the South Pacific? He’s probably browsing the internet while holding an umbrella-adorned beverage and wearing board shorts (and nothing else) and sitting under a palm tree as the waves crash upon the shore. Lucky. According to the information, he’s from Wallis and Futuna.

I imagine whoever’s in Russia is doing the exact opposite. Is that even still Russia? Yep, I checked. Parka, boots, slow internet; tundra, timberline; vodka.

This weekend is going to be busy with school stuff. The university should just make this whole next week part of Thanksgiving break. I’ve overheard a lot of conversations about people leaving tonight to fly/drive home to spend time with their families. I vote throwaway days, since there’s no class on Wednesday anyway.