Moving into my old room floods my mind with distracting memories. I've had some of my best creative moments in that room. I taught myself to sew, paint, and dress. I've stayed up all night alone in that room too many times to count; heaving furniture across the carpet, trying to piece new outfits together with my latest D.I. purchases, creating art and hanging up my latest work.
But above all, I recall an overall yearning more than any actual or single event.
I feel like any of you who knew me back then would confirm that this yearning continuously gnawed at me.
I never knew what I was yearning for: creativity, romance, success, adventure, music?
More likely a combination of all of the above.
When I heard a song that seemed to express my inner yearning I'd say that I had an ardent desire for it to exist tangibly, so I could touch it or cuddle up in it.
Yearning gave me a sense of wild motivation to be spontaneous and driven, but also desperate. It was for the most part, exciting, but I often wanted to satiate it. I expected something or someone to be capable of satisfying it for me. But I was also scared to loose it in case I also lost the compelling motivation that it accompanied.
Was it all just immaturity? Hormones? Does every teenager experience something similar?
All I know is that the contrast between my new and old self standing in that room has revealed that it's gone. I'm happy it is.
I enjoy contentment more than I'd ever supposed. I've reigned my creative efforts in, making them more focused, channeled, and predictable. I spend much greater portions of my time doing constructive things.


settling up.

Another thing I love about blogging is the obligation to write. I'm kind of always thinking up what the next entry will be.
I love this because I believe that the writing process can be so effectively therapeutic.
I want to be a good writer because I want to command language. Regardless of the situation or application, I want to manipulate words to say and mean exactly what I want them to, what I need them to. I don't want my ideas or communications to be shaped by the words available to me, but rather allow my ideas to emerge independently, and then use language as a tool to express them in their essence; and so that others can clearly understand.
Writing is therapeutic for me because in order to figure out how to express something well, I must figure out exactly what I think or mean first.
I used to rely on commonly used phrases to get me through a situation, to force a mutual understanding, but words alone cannot be used as a crutch. I believe that my reliance on common phrases reflected my need to consider something more carefully; that it was indicative of carelessness toward the subject or even denial. Definitely the more I think about writing, the more I consider my life as a connected series of events with causes and effects. I perceive it as being linked to a greater network of relationships and I'm able to see myself more clearly through other perspectives.
This is partially why I'm moving everything out of my storage unit and into the old, downstairs room I used to occupy in high school. I need to take better command of my present life experience. In considering writing about my experience living upstairs and my current relationships with my parents, it's become clear that I must start occupying my own space, and create my own sanctuary. They've been generous to share theirs for a while, but it's time. And really, they'll still just be upstairs.


all is full of love.

The other thing I'd forgotten about working full-time is that you have so much time to think-- which can be good or bad. I think it's been pretty good lately because I'm so happy. I've considered what moments in my life speak to the absolute heights of joy and depths of pain. I've been piecing together why and how these moments were so joyous or miserable. I've imagined possibilities of greater joy in the future, and I guess I'm so optimistic lately that I haven't fantasized about any future moments being worse than anything I've experienced in the past.

Today I considered how immensely blessed I am to enjoy relationships with such noble and unique personalities. My sister, Marie, (who runs a full-time day care and has three children) approached me with two book ideas that she'd conceived and wanted me to help illustrate one of them. My sister, Miriam, (a Ph.d. who runs her own science lab) just wrote a fantastic essay that just showed up in my e-mail in-box this afternoon. And Whitney, who is always working on some new idea, keeps proving herself as one of the best friends you could have on the planet. I feel like there is a zeitgeist of increased creativity flowing among those closest to me and like great things are going to result.
This realization prompted me to listen to the bjork song,"who is it" every time I drove somewhere in my car and sing along as loudly as possible . It felt great.


full-time folding.

It's not so bad folding full-time again. My school schedule was so hectic that it feels like somewhat of a break.

Today a Hispanic woman stopped me in the bathroom while we were both drying our hands. She told me in broken English that she likes to look up from her sewing machine and see me folding. She explained that I was graceful, like a dancer, in the way I perform my work.

The only error I made upon returning to full-time status was forgetting that you should never bring fish to reheat in the microwave for lunch. I had to be the moron to stink up the cafeteria today. Three different co-workers approached me at different times and said, "Oh. You're the one with the fish."


summer solstice.

Yesterday was the longest day of the year and Nathan and I totally celebrated by rock climbing, swimming, eating Thai food, visiting friends, and crafting. Before the course of the earth forces us into autumn, there is still so much to accomplish:
  • Unloading my storage unit.
  • Eating breakfast in Saint George.
  • Rafting the Provo River.
  • Taking a trip to the east coast (New York and Boston.)
  • Taking a trip to Anacortes.
  • Becoming competent at yoga.
  • Learning to rap the one part of the Bjork "I miss you" remix on Telegram.
  • Learning why sunscreen can subdue the damaging affects of high frequency UV waves.
  • Teaching Nate to sew t-shirts.
  • Wake boarding.
There's really a lot more. I'm gonna have to come back and edit later.

And I accidentally loaded the pictures from my mom's camera instead of my own (because our cameras are identical) and I discovered some that required posting:

This is my beautiful niece, Mattie.

This is Carl & Hilary extracting honey.

And finally, here's some concrete proof that pictures are worth a thousand words.
This is me, Michael (one of my favorite people on the planet,) and Adam. This is a day before Michael entered the MTC and two months before I left Adam.


props to mathmeticians & scientists (& engineers.)

I can't wait for tonight's sushi party! Celebrating Paul McCartney's birthday pales in importance to celebrating the "B-/C+"that I earned in Physical Science. (It seriously could've been much worse.) I never have to take another math or science class again in order to graduate from college. Yes! I'm going to eat a whole tablespoon-sized glob of wasabi to clear my intellect and boost my shaken self-confidence.


graphic dreams.

I'm feeling completely flattered by my English teacher, who told me after reading my personal narrative ("Explosions") that I should be a writer. She went on to say that I had found my genre, that I should be teaching the class about how to write a personal narrative, that I need to be published. She even made a statement like," Move over Stephenie Meyer, 'cause Laura Barlow's coming through."
And although I feel so complimented; I'm also petrified.
It is my absolute dream to write graphic novels as a viable occupation.
But what if my paper was a fluke? What if Miriam helped me edit my paper so much that it's half hers? What if my teacher just likes me? I've been unable to focus on studying for my physical science final thinking about it. What if I really can write graphic novels and I just need to find the courage to do it? What if I try and it doesn't work out? What if I really wouldn't enjoy it once I got started?

And on a completely unrelated topic: I hate that I turn regular hang-outs with friends into therapy sessions.

I cannot wait for Friday when my finals will be over.



Today was the last day in my World Civ. 0-1500 class and we're finally reviewing the Italian Renaissance. Whenever my grad. student teacher doesn't have expertise in something, he asks the class what they know about it to help him out and fill in. (I hate that we get tested on things he doesn't even really know about.)
He shows a few photographs of the Sistine Chapel and the famous sculpture of Moses and says, "Can't anyone share anything about Michelangelo with us?" and then he points at me, "You. . ." "Me?" "Yeah, aren't you like, an art student?" To me, the topic of Michelangelo is fairly broad. "What do you want to know?" "Anything," he answers.
I forgot to mention that this is a huge, auditorium style class where you don't know anyone's name. S0, we can conclude any combination of the following:
1- I am so loud that he once overheard me saying that I was a Graphic Design major.
2- I dress in such an artsy way that he felt comfortable drawing the conclusion that I would know about Michelangelo.
3-He is somehow linked to the Art Dept. and memorized my name.

I know that 3 isn't likely, but I wish I could read his mind only for a moment and determine which of 1 or 2 it was.



Whitney drew this for me and I love it so much that I had to archive it here. I cannot look at it without laughing, and I'm not sure anyone has cooler friends than I do.


I just finished running the anti-pornography 5k with Mike Alger in 34:30. I have nothing to compare this time to because during the last 5k it was raining and windy, and everyone walked (Whitney endured this with me.)

Anyhow, 75% of the reason I went was to get a free t-shirt, and when we checked in, they killed all of my hopes by informing me that you had to be "pre"-registered to get a shirt. We ran it anyway, of course. Mike basically dominated me at running, managing to talk the whole time while I was out of breath, but still claimed to not enjoy it when it was over. He also won two Seven Peaks passes from the raffle--but above all--he got me a t-shirt.

They started throwing them to the crowd at after the raffle was over, but they kept throwing them in the same spots and the tall guys were jumping up and getting all of them. At one point, I even grabbed one, but someone tore it out of my hands.

In the meantime, Mike is standing off the to the side. A shirt gets thrown way over there, and this guy just picks it off the ground. He's standing next to this other guy and they do this "Do you want it? No, you can have it . . ." thing, and Mike talks them into letting me have it.

He also showed me some cool hip-hop on the way home.

So, the moral of the story is that I'm so glad that Mike came to run the anti-porn 5k with me this morning, it made the whole event.


explosions (for those who were curious.)

It was shortly after my social explosion that Rebecca informed me:

"I seriously never even knew what your voice sounded like."

And this is after growing up our entire lives on the same farm road, only a half-mile apart; after attending the same nursery, primary, and Sunday school classes for thirteen years. To say that I was shy as a child feels like an understatement.

But it's not like I didn't have good reasons. My mom dressed me only in D.I. clothes, I lived at the very end of a three mile, dead-end, farm road (Rebecca was my closest neighbor), and I attended a private school fifteen miles away, with a bunch of rich kids, who lived in rich neighborhoods, very far away.

But I guess those things don't speak to the real root of the problem, the insurmountable catalyst resulting in my shy behavior: chronic urinary tract infections hacked at my immunity starting at age four. I felt like an alien attending kindergarten with a portable I.V. strapped to my arm. I used to imagine that my portable I.V. was a fish while I was in the bathtub. The draining sack of medication floated in what seemed to me, such a buoyant and graceful way on the surface of the water among the bubbles. This inspired me to draw a picture of a fish on each new sack of medication. Once a boy in my kindergarten class approached me and pointed to the sack. "What's that?" I just couldn't get the words out," Oh. . . it's a fish . . . uh, I mean . . . really a bag with medicine . . ." He walked away giggling.

Incomparably worse than that-- was the enduring embarrassment of peeing my pants on a fairly regular basis. In the case of urinary tract infections, you simply don't experience the sensation of needing to use the bathroom until it hits you all at once and you think you're going to explode. It's like no matter how hard you try to hold it, you could still use a count-down as some kind of prediction method. You feel like you need to go and you may as well start counting: "10 . . . 9 . . . 8 . . . 7 . . . 6 . . ." And you erupt at "1" no matter what location you're in. It could be the playground, your desk, the hall, your chair during primary class, wherever. I always felt guilty at having some adult clean up after my "accidents" but the harassment from my peers often seemed unbearable.

The worst of all was someone I called my “evil twin” but her real name was Kelsey Frazier. We were born in the same hospital, on the same day, within the same hour. We also shared the similarities of curly hair and blue eyes. She would, however, not share her half of the primary classroom with me.

Hey, Rebecca, Emily, come sit over here . . .” and she would prance to the corner of the room near the window. “. . . but Laura can’t sit over here. Nobody who pees their pants gets to sit with us.” I didn’t say a word or even look in her direction. I thought of possible retorts, like, "Your dumb!" or "You're ugly!" but I think of them too late, and I know they're not very clever.

So I just hold it in.

One of our first Young Women’s activities when we turned twelve was country square dancing in the church gym. There was a part of the dance where you had to link arms with your dance partner for a “dosie-doe,” or something like that. And everyone had to take turns being partners with everyone else. Kelsey refused to touch me, and messed up the order of the dance, confusing everyone else. After I link arms with Rebecca for our “dosie-doe,” Kelsey whispers in her ear, to set her straight, and then nobody touches me for the rest of the night.

I almost cry, but I just keep holding it in.

Just after we turn thirteen there’s a scrap-booking activity. We’re cutting things out of magazines that are supposed to represent us or our hobbies. I’m cutting out a picture of an easel and paintbrush. Rebecca’s cutting out a picture of a deer and some rainbow trout. But Kelsey’s squeezing a glob of Elmer’s glue in the palm of her hand. She waits for it to dry a little bit and she peels up the edges so that it looks like dead skin. She squeezes another glob as I stand up to grab some more magazines to flip through. “10 . . . 9 . . . 8 . . . 7 . . .” She spits in her palms as I’m sorting through the stack and starts rubbing her hands together. “ 6 . . . 5 . . . 4 . . . “As I am looking down at some pages, she walks toward me, smacks her sticky hands on both of my cheeks, and starts giggling in my face like she’s going to get away with this. “3 . . . 2 . . . 1” I explode. It isn't my bladder this time. No. It's like the whole person I am in that instant comes rushing through me and I can't keep her in anymore. It's like a dam breaking under the pressure of the water it's supposed to hold back. Everything I’d restrained for so long came out in an uncontrollable burst.

Without thinking, I push her away by thrusting both of her shoulders down as hard as I can. My cheeks burn from how quickly her hands tear from my skin. She’s on the ground now, not sitting, but all laid out. Nobody says a word. I can feel my face turn hot as I stalk out of the room. I’m scared to call my mom to ask her pick me up, so I decide to leave on foot.

I start running home, full of energy and smiling. I’m not even afraid to talk about it by the time I arrive. The person I am is flowing freely. My voice, locked away for so long is suddenly there, pouring out of my mouth. "Mom, you will never believe what happened . . . I kinda got in a fight . . ." and I go on for a half and hour without taking a breath explaining everything. I'm surprised that my mom isn't mad. She justs listens carefully and hugs me when I'm finished. "I hope it doesn't happen again, but she probably deserved it," she says. And I feel so warm, so validated.

The next time I attend Sunday school, I just can’t stop talking and I'm drawing on my sacrament meeting program and showing everyone: "This is a picture of my mom, who's a little fat--this one with the poofy hair; this is a picture of my dad, who's really fat and he has a pocket protector 'cause he's a nerd; and this is my brother, who's medium fat, 'cause he hides cake under his pillow at night. . ."

The other kids are surprised, and laughing, but Kelsey is silent. The teacher seems surprised and lets me go on for a while, but finally interjects:

"Uh . . . Laura, we really need to get on with the lesson; and maybe your family wouldn't appreciate that very much."

It was so hard to stay quiet during the lesson that I had to concentrate on keeping my top and bottom lips touching in order to stay silent.

The funny thing is, around that time, my urinary tract infections dissipated. Just as I gradually gained control over my bladder, I lost control over my mouth. I basked in the liberation of saying anything, anywhere, anytime I wanted. But I kept blurting things out and getting myself in trouble.

With my mom: “Do you really like your hair all poofy like that?”

With my brother: “Your Tetris high score is seriously only 86?!”

With my math teacher at school: “Man, this class is so boring I’d rather be doing heavy labor.”

Just like with my explosive bladder, my explosive mouth caused a lot of “accidents”, only this time no adult would clean them up for me.


car hip-hop.

So, two posts in one day. I forgot to mention that I was listening to this old Common album on the way home from BYU. I enjoy music the very most these days when I am driving home from BYU. I always crank it up and cut loose. I've noticed people sometimes noticing me car dancing while I'm in traffic and giving me funny looks. Everyday I wish I had someone in the car with me who would rock their head to the music and love it as much as I do. Nothing romantic- it could be a girl; sometimes I wish it were my brother. I've just never had a real hip-hop buddy.


In this picture: find 15 fruits, someone being poked, and Erykah Badu all listening to Brad Wilcox speak at the American Fork Tabernacle. (Whitney and Nathan are honorary collaborators on this piece.)

this is my banana boyfriend.
(cell phone charm)

and this is a moofia.

My tokidoki package arrived today. I took them out of their packages and photographed them on top of the swamp cooler first thing when they arrived. I feel like an eight-year-old boy who just successfully nagged his mom into buying him a teenage mutant ninja turtle action figure.



As I listened to a conference talk that used the biblical account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as model examples of what it truly means to have faith, I thought of my brother, Tom.

I remembered that he would use the word "hot" interchangeably with the word "shadrach." Like, "Oh man, I think it's pretty shadrach in here," and then he'd open the car window or something. I thought it was really dumb at the time, but I realized that that it is totally funny, and I kept smiling to myself about it at work.

On another note, I put my zune on "shuffle" today, (which I never do) and Simon & Garfunkels' "The Boxer" started playing. I'd forgotten how much I loved this song and I sang along and completely enjoyed it. Then I realized I couldn't remember a time when I didn't know this song. Kind of like how I can't remember not being able to read. And it's still so good:
lie-la-lie. la-la-la-la-lie-la-lie. lie-la-lie. la-la-la-la-lie-la-lie-la-la-la-la-lie.


erykah badu.

I will be able to breathe on Saturday. For now, I am smothered. I have to finish my research paper and get my in-text citations and reference page into the correct format. I have to take my Physical Science this afternoon, and after studying all Friday evening, I will take my World Civ. test on Saturday.

My hypothesis was confirmed that Erykah Badu is the most beautiful woman on the planet. I feel more beautiful for somehow soaking up a portion of what she has in her presence. The show was incredible. Whitney and I discussed that you would probably love it even if you had now clue who she was or what she did and just decided to show up.


the clam.

Another blogging goal of mine is to always post a picture, because I hope it will help me to communicate visually.

My mom returned from her visit to Seattle last night and brought home fresh clams, scallops, and salmon. When I opened the fridge this morning to get some milk to pour over my cereal, I noticed there was a transparent plastic bag full of clams on the same shelf. I could hear something gurgling, and when I looked closer, I could see bubbles coming out slowly from one of the clam's cracks.
I was worried about eating dinner all day, until the whole house smelled like deliciousness and it was ready to be eaten.
I love seafood.