I often declare out loud how happy I am to be divorced. I have never regretted it.
But there are those rare occasions when I remember how heartbreaking the demise of my marriage really was.

It is sometimes difficult to remember because it happened steadily and surely, day after day as even the smallest marital exchanges seemed to malfunction; each malfunction triggering steady doses of pain.

Watching my brother parent his one-day-old son somehow brought those painful emotions forward. The love for his wife and son felt so evident and natural as a reverent feeling of peace permeated their small apartment.

It reminded me that there is nothing that I crave more in this world than to enjoy a happy marriage and to be a mother.

I desperately hope that my future attempts will not be so futile as those in my past.


¡más snowboard!

Snowboarding for the first time was amazing.

On my second run, Whitney and I grabbed one another's matching coats so that we were facing each other and snowboarded in tandem. We carved together and I went faster than I could've on my own. I felt like I got a taste of what it was like to really snowboard. Although I could hear my squealy laugh echo through the canyon, I couldn't stop.

I cannot wait to go again soon despite my aching legs.

On another note... I am going to deny myself of all treats starting tonight. I've always said that if Mormons practiced Lent that I would choose to deny myself of chocolate. It is my one addiction. Why not wait until the new year?

No excuses. I mean business.

(Oh. And why did I add the ad? My sister made $60 off hers. I'm a starving college student...)


i am a flower princess and you are happy.

My beautiful niece modeling the necklace she just made.
(click on the picture)


$10 hotel room & viva las vegas.

When I told people that I was staying in a $10 hotel room in Las Vegas, everyone wanted to know what it was like:

When the rest of the gals arrived, the extravagance began:

3 generations.
Truth be told, I do not love Las Vegas. But I would go almost anywhere to have the opportunity to spend time with my female relatives.

My ability to appreciate female relationships has added a depth and meaningfulness to my life that I never anticipated or even hoped to find.

I used to always need a boy present in social situations to make them seem worth it. Somehow I felt unfulfilled without that possibility for romance, excitement, or a boost to my ego. I viewed other females as competitors and compared myself relentlessly. I am eternally grateful to have grown out of such immaturity and selfishness.

If I never get married again, I know that my female relationships will be enough for me to be happy.


come with a shovel in hand.

One week at church when I was married and living in Provo, a woman stood up and told us the story of how she met her husband. I had always admired their relationship:

"I saw John for the first time when he was shoveling my grandmother's driveway."

I thought it was ingenious. How could you really go wrong marrying someone who had gone out of their way to serve your grandmother?

Two days ago, my brother, Tom, called me just to see how things were going. He's a busy guy with a career as a Navy doctor and 4 kids, so the fact that he called me is pretty remarkable.

After I was done telling him about what's current in my life I asked what was up with him.

"I'm pretty sore from snow-shoveling."

"Is there seriously that much snow in Washington?"

"No, there's just a lady who's husband is deployed right now, so I shoveled at her house too."

This is my new-found criteria for me wanting to date/cuddle/kiss/marry anyone. You must be a snow-shoveler.


miranda july.

This is Miranda July.
This is a picture of me and my sister, Miriam.Don't they look so much alike?!

If you want to date Miriam or set her up with someone amazing, let me know. But be warned: she might be the smartest person I know. She has a P.h.d. in molecular evolution. (and I'm not lying!)


romanian christmas wish.

My beautiful, bi-lingual, best friend; Whitney; wishing you all a Merry Christmas in Romanian. I helped her with some of the photoshopping and it got saved to my desktop. I couldn't resist.


the end.

A set of emails sent between me and my drawing teacher at BYU:

My teacher (to all students in my class): The grades are in. Please go to blackboard and make sure there is nothing missing or extra. The faculty review is included. Your total grade is under the Final Weighted Total Column.

Me: Hey, I feel like my grade doesn't make sense. My final class grade is a 97% and I got 93% on the Faculty review (28 out of 30.) Added all up my weighted grade should be around 95%, but right now it's 93%.
Laura Barlow
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

My teacher (2 mins. later): So I should change your grade from an A to an A?

Me: I thought a 93% was an A-. Don't make fun!
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

My teacher (30 secs. later): shouldn't you be folding garments or something? (Because he knows that I fold garments in a factory for a living.) Say hi to fingernails for me. ("Fingernails" is a derogatory nickname for a male coworker I've complained about in class who happens to have particularly long fingernails.)

My teacher (30 secs. later): BYU don't do the A+ thang.

So I guess I got an A. I am so happy that the semester is over, but there are a lot of people I will miss.


fashion shoot.

yup. I made these clothes. Nate took the pictures.



I did all of these in the last 72 hours. My right hand is numb and tingley and I can't remember the last time I was so sleep deprived.



I drew Nate in church today.
He took a bunch of pictures of me on Saturday night. He set a studio up in his basement and needed to test it out.

25: the beginning of the rest of my life.

My birthday was on Friday night. It was probably the absolute best birthday of my life. Here's a list of highlights:

Whitney let me ride her bike during Critical Mass (just a massive bikeride that happens once a month in Provo):

Then I went to the opening of the art show that I made the chickens for:Karisa made the best carrot cake I've ever tasted and brought it to the art opening in honor of my birthday.

Then we (all of my family who lives in Utah and my friends Whitney, Mike Alger, Nate, Mark, Mary, and Lauren) all walked to the local Indian restaurant and enjoyed dinner. They all said one thing they loved about me as they passed my toki-doki cell phone charm around the table. My emotions ranged from laughing to crying.

Perhaps what Mark said was the most notable:
"What I love about Laura is that no matter how dramatic my life seems, her drama can always trump mine."

Then we made this exodus in lots of different cars to my parents' house for cake and ice cream. I rode with Mike Alger along with Mary and Lauren:

Mike: Sorry guys, my heater takes forever to warm up. But I have two blankets back there.

Mary: Oh good. I'm so cold.

Mary starts wrapping herself up in the blankets as I'm giving directions to Mike about where we're headed.

Mike: ...So Laura, right here? ...Oh yeah, you might wanna watch out for the red blanket though. I think I saw a clump on it or something.

Laura: A clump? What does that mean?! (Mike's car is kind of noisy) Mary, watch out, Mike says he saw a clump on the red blanket back there.

Mary: A clump? You mean on this red blanket I'm swaddled in?

I couldn't stop laughing. Also I think that Mary just stayed all swaddled up in that clumpy blanket. It was the joke of the night for me.

The chocolate cake my mom made was divine.

My brother, Carl, gave me the kid's book Preztel (a childhood favorite of mine) and everyone humored me by allowing me to read it to them.

We did fortune telling games and stayed up late.

Me, Mary, and Whit all had a fabulous sleepover full of girl talk and went out to breakfast in the morning.

My only question: How does life get better than this? And I'm being completely serious.

more from mike alger.

This is so amazing I can't believe it. I HAD to repost it here. Feel free to watch it over and over again.



My Indesign assignment is ready to be turned in for class, but not fully complete. Most of the text is just filler-- placeholder text. That's fine for my teacher, but I want to make copies for Nate and the Ortons as Christmas gifts with real text. So, if any of you have advice on how to watch "Grey's Anatomy" like a man (or any other good jokes,) please send them my way.

Or if you know how to make the picture bigger, that would help too.



1. That I can sit on a hard floor and make myself concentrate on something I really don't want to do.
2. That I spend most of my life in the HFAC.



Finished just in time to hand in 8 hrs. from now. I think that my feelings toward this particular assignment came out in the overall violent feeling it eminates. I'm sure that my teacher will request several modifications...
(It is really 18"x24")

prodigal daughter.

(I drew Whitney in church today.)

Alone time is overrated.

When I cut my mullet off this morning, Miriam was there to straighten the hairline on the back of my neck with scissors and Mom was there to vacuum off my shoulders.
Right now I need someone to stand on my ruler so that I can tear my over-sized piece of drawing paper in a straight line (but everyone is at church.)

I cannot describe how much I've enjoyed the company of my family while they've been visiting for Thanksgiving.

We had a lesson on the parable of The Prodigal Son in church today and I couldn't help but think of my own prodigal-ness. Not one of my siblings has been jealous or resentful or angry about my parents' figurative killing of the fatted calf upon my return.

Every moment spent in the company of my family feels absolutely joyful as being in their collective presence reminds of that fact.

I cannot wait for the time when we will all be happily gathered in the same room.


swoon (less.)

(a self portrait I drew in 2003)

Last night I saw "Twilight" last with 3 of my siblings as well as my mother (who have all read the "Twilight" series books.)

It was a disaster. Absolutely dreadful. It was like I forgot that movies could be THIS bad. The dialogue: straight from the back of a cereal box. The action sequences: laughable.

But what really killed me were the romantic parts. I wasn't even involved enough to feel awkward about how poorly acted they were. I felt no reaction. None whatsoever.

Then I started to feel scared for myself like, "Laura, are you seriously so jaded about romance that you can't get into chick-flicks anymore?"

I felt even worse when I reflected on my experience watching the 4th season of "The Office" with my 25 yr. old cousin, Scott, on Thanksgiving Day.

"So Scott, do you like Pam? Like, do you think she's cute?"

"Yeah. I'm not sure that I'd go for her in real life, but I think that she's perfect for Jim."

"Okay, but do you really care if they end up together or not?"

"Yeah. I really hope they end up together. It's like the best part of the show."

I can genuinely say that in my experience watching "The Office" that Pam and Jim's relationship feels like the slow part, the thing that you just have to bear with or get through until you hit more of the funny parts. As I watch I find myself thinking, "Why would anyone even want to go for a girl like Pam?" But then I always answer myself with, "Oh yeah, Jim isn't actually that cool either."

I'm certainly not complaining, I think my life is fabulous and blessed. But aren't I missing out on something? Maybe I'm just watching the wrong movies?

Romance feels like a fairytale to me, like something a male would work at until he felt secure in his relationship; until he'd won her over.

Maybe just in most cases?

Maybe my icy, divorced heart will melt someday.