timpanogos noodle bowl.

In honor of Pioneer Day (and my dad's birthday) Whitney and I hiked to Timpanogos cave and took the tour. I hadn't been since I was 11 and it was way cooler than I remembered. It completely blew my mind. The formation of that cave strikes me as inconceivable. I feel like I'll never fully appreciate the millions of years or perfect combination of elements that made it possible.

Our tour guide was this portly guy who said he was a P.E. teacher. He showed us how almost every formation in the cave could resemble food.

"This; over there, to your left; this is what we call cave popcorn."

"Oh! And that up there is what we call cave chicken. See it?"

The best part about it was this little Chinese boy in our group who would say,"Yummm . . ." after every food item.

"There's a waterfall of mashed potatoes and gravy . . ."
"Yummm . . ."

"See that massive serving of rocky road ice cream?"
"Yummm . . ."

"Look! Another waterfall of caramel. . ."
"Yummm . . ."

There were cave noodles and cave bacon; cave carrots and soda straws. I started imagining what kind of meal this kid must've been imagining. His enthusiasm over food never seemed to waiver.


rubbing elbows.

Have you ever literally rubbed elbows with someone when the crustiness of the other person's elbow actually startled you? Today I scrubbed my elbows in the shower and slathered them with lotion with the hopes that I will never do this to someone.


drawing lesson.

So I'm riding with Whitney in her car and I explain that I've had yet another realization:

"Okay. I'm standing in my room and I look in my full-length mirror and I realize that I'm completely fine with my body."

"Laura, do you know you've had this realization before?"

"I have? I guess . . . I have . . ."

"Even when you started telling me that you had a new realization, I was wondering if it was going to be different than last time; but it wasn't."


I know she's right. But really, I'm okay with my present world of constant, (even repetitive) realizations. I think it's only natural after emerging from the thick fog of my miserable marriage. The world seems brighter. Movies are more enjoyable. I love to breathe the air. I cannot think of one thing I dislike about a growing list of people. Inconveniences seem manageable. I carry full faith that present difficulties will fade with time.

Why did acceptance of my body seem like an entirely new realization? Because I was able to accept it in a completely different way than before. I had been accepting of it as "good enough" previously; but at that moment, I was able to imagine drawing myself, like in a figure drawing class. I had never considered this concept before.

Anyone who has taken a figure drawing class can appreciate the fact that some models are more fun to draw than others. Some models seem to have this inherent beauty that makes you feel a certain responsibility as their visual interpreter. You must do them justice. Your concern moves a little beyond technical issues as you yearn to capture that beauty on paper.

I realized that I would be fun to draw.

p.s. the picture is a drawing of my favorite model from a figure drawing class at slcc.



The first thing I heard when I started my car this morning was an npr story about a guy named Tamien Bain. He held up a McDonald's when he was fourteen, was tried as an adult, and served a 12 year prison sentence. He said he developed an interest in music during his prison stay, and now at age 29, he's one of 5 finalists in the "Big Mac Chant Off" contest. The winner gets a trip to Los Angeles and their song featured in a national McDonald's ad. You can vote for him here.


saved by the bell.

Nothing prepared me for my current job as well as elementary school. This is because at elementary school and Beehive Clothing, the bell is the boss. It orders you to sit in your seat, to come inside from recess/breaks, to eat lunch; to gather your things and head home. In elementary school, I learned that even the longest, most monotonous days eventually come to an end. I learned that regiment and routine can be withstood. These are the skills I rely on most at Beehive Clothing.

Today happened to be one of those seemingly unbearable days, until I pieced together a perfect outfit in my mind. I got pretty excited to go home and try it on; but then I realized that it needed a screen print to attain the perfection I was envisioning.

As soon as the bell rang at 3 o'clock to announce that it was time to go, I ran out the building, raced home in my car, and started screen printing. It was ready to go at 5p; just in time for a debut at foreign film night. And truthfully, I think it looked pretty snappy with my white vinyl rain boots.


life on the bayou.

At a recent pool party, I was complaining about a particularly itchy mosquito bite on my back and said something like, "There are so many mosquitoes around this year; I just don't get it. . ."

"That's because you live on the bayou," Jeff explained.

I thought this was hilarious at first, but now I think he's just right.

This is seriously a picture of my mailbox. Retrieving mail from the mailbox has always been one of my favorite hobbies, but now it feels more like an adventure.
These days, I pick it up as I'm returning home from work. When I've arrived at the mailbox, I stop my car in the middle of the road and walk a few yards over to it. If I attempt to pull right up to it and try to grab in through the car window, it gets way too messy.
Most days I drop a few envelopes on road because I'm not looking at what I'm doing in an effort to keep my face out of the jungle-like vegetation, and I'm trying to hurry to avoid the insects. (I was bitten twice by mosquitoes while taking this picture.)

Usually once I have all of the mail, I hold it carefully in my left hand so I can dangle it out the driver-side window because it's covered with aphids that latched on during the retrieval. My arm and hand are usually covered with sticky spots of that aphid goo that only comes off with soap.
I never attempt to close the mailbox door. . .way too much effort for the inconveniences involved. Neither does the postal worker. I like that because I can tell if there's mail from my car window as I drive up. I would hate to go through the whole ordeal only to discover that my dad already got it.

One more thing. My mom moved this old gun cabinet out of the house because she's doing some redecorating and decided to replace it with an new shelf from Ikea. She left it out on the deck because my cousin, John, supposedly wants it and agreed to pick it up. It's been there for a few days and it's been okay because the weather has been mild. But when I woke up this morning, it had been tipped over and damaged:

It hasn't been windy or stormy at all lately, and this was seriously the first thing I thought of when I saw it:


show, don't tell.

This was the most important piece of advice that my English 150 teacher, Lisa Boswell, wanted us to keep in mind when writing our personal narratives. "Show, don't tell." And she gave us numerous examples to ensure that we understood. Because I love The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian so much, I want to include my own example. I love the way Sherman Alexie writes:

I wanted to watch the sweaty Penelope sweat her perfect sweat on that perfectly sweaty day.
She stood at the service line, bounced the volleyball a few times to get her rhythm, then tossed it into the air above her head.
She tracked the ball with her blue eyes. Just watched it intensely. Like that volleyball mattered more than anything else in the world. I got jealous of that ball. I wished I were that ball.
As the ball floated in the air, Penelope twisted her hips and back and swung her right arm back over her shoulder, coiling like a really pretty snake. Her leg muscles were stretched and taut.
I almost fainted when she served. Using all of that twisting and flexing and concentration, she sma
shed the ball and aced the Lady Gorillas.
And then Penelope clenched a fist and shouted, "Yes!"
Absolutely gorgeous.

And obviously, (since I think everyone who reads this blog has taken ENG150) to tell, rather than show, would be more like this:

I watched Penelop
e play volleyball today. She looked really hot.

Okay, really, I'm getting to a bigger point. After a conversation with Mark, I decided to adopt the philosophy of "show, don't tell," to my entire life. I decided that it's not really that I talk too much, but that I vocally over-analyze life as it's unfolding around me. It is annoying and it feels annoying. And I know that I do it out of an insecurity and need for confirmation.

I feel like my kissing record (mentioned in my previous post) is, once again, a good example.
It's fine that I am deliberate in my actions. No problem there. I shouldn't kiss anyone that I would regret kissing. But, at further prodding myself about these situations, I really could deduce the implications of kissing someone by the way that "we" individually behave and communicate within our existing relationship. Sure, the future of the relationship may go differently than I can reasonably project, but having a long conversation about the implications of kissing is not likely to change that.

It has always been a sense of insecurity that has led to those long conversations and the destruction of those prospective cinematically romantic moments.

So now, I move forward. I do not need a verbal confirmation of everything. And I am so happy that I came to this realization.

Because no kissing situations are likely to arise in the near future, I've posted pictures of my favorite celebrity crushes; because I never do things this girl-y, and especially because when I name them by name, nobody knows who they are. (It's weird, but for some reason the topic of celebrity crushes keeps coming up.) The first one is Asano Tadanobu and the second is Melvil Poupaud.



I have described myself as having an "intense" personality. While I still believe this is true, I've thought of a more detailed or accurate way to explain it.
I am a deliberate person. A calculated person.
I'm constantly weighing and evaluating the implications and effects of my actions.

This may be best illustrated by my kissing record. I have kissed ten boys in my life and I'm not proud of it. Only two are what I would consider "rape" kisses or kisses completely against my will. Preceding all of the other 8 kisses was an hour< (longer) discussion of what the consequences would be if "we" kissed. I guess I could say I've missed out on a lot of cute/ romantic moments.

I think other people think, "Hey, I wanna kiss you+ you wanna kiss me+ we both like each other= lets kiss." And then without saying it out loud, they tuck some shiny long hair behind a delicate ear, or slide a hand behind a neck, move in closer, and go for it. Right?

I admittedly sometimes regret this aspect of my personality simply because it seems that others may have more fun. Whitney explains the decision to shave her head during high school like this: She's hanging out with her friends and they are feeling crazy. Someone says, "Let's shave a head!" and she says, "I have a head!" Done.

Being someone who has shaved my head before, I describe it much more has an action that breeds excitement because I'm feeling all of the implications of it at once. I'm understanding how much I'm defying cultural norms and I'm loving getting away with it. I'm wondering what people will think. I'm feeling powerful, in a way. The first time I shaved my head, my hands shook as the clumps of hair dropped to the floor.

Ultimately, I don't regret being like this. Although I never have the excuse that I "lost control," I prefer the alternative. I don't tend to do things that I would deem unwise.
Conversely, I have made many bad decisions in my life, and they tend to be enduring because I've reasoned myself into thinking that those bad decisions are decent-- or at least okay.



I've been doing a lot of sewing at work these days because if I fold, our department will run out of work. I don't get a radio signal where the sewing machine I use is located, so I've been listening to no n.p.r. and all music. In order to relieve myself of the stress of deciding what to listen to, I put my zune on the "shuffle all" setting. And because I've been such a music enthusiast my whole life, there is a memory linked to almost every song or album. Shuffling all of this music up can send me on a fairly unpredictable journey through my past.

Today my zune selected a Neil Young song that stirred my tenderest emotions toward Michael. It was the summer that I returned from Rochester, right after Luke and I decided to cancel our wedding. I was constantly anxious and unsettled. I felt little direction in life and the abrupt absence of Luke's companionship left me with an insatiable loneliness.
In his own quiet way, Michael sensed all of my discontent and made an effort to befriend me. He made small gestures at first. I remember him coming downstairs to talk with me as I moved my stuff into my old room. I was listening to Neil Young's "Unplugged." He wouldn't ask me if something was wrong directly. We never spoke in any direct way about our lives.
"Movin' your stuff in?"
"Do you just want these clothes in those drawers over there?"
"Michael, you don't have to . . ."
"Nah . . . I love putting clothes away. This Neil Young album is real good anyway."
And because it was the only music we agreed on, we listened to it together all summer. We watched "Sagwa" and "Dr. Who" and "Arthur" together. We played "Kirby's Avalanche" and "MarioKart" together.
He would draw little comics for me and bake chocolate chip cookies for us.
And no matter how much he disliked whoever I was dating, he would make an effort to get to know that person.

I didn't get it at the time, but maybe more than any male in my life, Michael has sought to protect me. And it's a little funny since I am 4 years older than him.

I continued to reflect on the time last November when I locked myself out of the apartment. I stepped outside to take out the garbage and the locking mechanism on the knob was turned the wrong way. Adam wouldn't pick up his phone. When he finally called back 2 hours later, he told me he was busy hanging out with his friend and that it would be inconvenient to come home and let me in. So I called Michael. By the time he arrived I was shivering and trying not to cry. He brought some of my mom's dinner left-overs and a game console so we could play "Kirby's Avalanche" together. He asked no questions and stayed with me until I was warm and calm.


A little while later a song from The Roots "Game Theory" came on. The lyrics go like this:
He said yeah
You better come out with your hands up
We got you surrounded
I'm in the back
Changin my outfit
He said blink
We gonna send the hounds in
I said wait
Cause here I come
Here I come
Here I come
You boys get ready
Cause here I come
Here I come
Here I come

This song is hard. Too hard for me. I remember telling Adam that I didn't really get it or what it was about. He said that it was simple; that it was all about power and feeling tough and powerful.
This song recalls vivid images for me: large, dirty footprints and smeared clumps of grass leftover from the hurried shuffles of police officers' shoes; along with scattered white pills on the kitchen floor.
As I walked back to the apartment from the Vuissa's where I called the police, this song popped into my mind. I remember thinking, "Laura, you hate this song," and replying to myself, "but you hate this situation so much too." And I rhymed it to myself over and over again, using my heart palpitations as a beat.
All of the neighbors were outside on their porches and I tried to pretend they didn't know who I was or how I was involved as I walked by their inquisitive faces. The flashing blue and red lights seemed like an unbearably embarrassing spectacle.
I peeked my head inside the front door and heard the policemen speaking to Adam. I knew he didn't see me and I ran back to the Vuissa's, still silently mouthing the words to the chorus over and over again.
In the back of my mind, I knew that Adam's suicide attempt was a last-ditch effort to seize control over his erratic life. I think he attempted to finally take power over his mind; to outrun the establishment of nurses, policemen, and doctors who would contradict him. He was intensely angry to wake up 2 days later and realize that he'd failed.

It makes sense to me now that this song entered my mind when it did.


anticipating autumn.

I guess it seems a little premature, but I am excited for the fall. It is probably my favorite season, although I like them all. The feeling of autumn is one of nervous excitement for me. Maybe I'm just confessing that I like school and always have; but blustery weather does permit the use of my favorite clothing.
I am particularly excited for the follow-up to my Spring term at BYU. Rather than generals I will be taking almost exclusively art classes, as well as scuba diving. Finding out that my Spring term grades weren't as bad as I'd anticipated has helped me feel more competent as a college student. I feel up for the challenge of another semester. (I got a B+ in Physical Science.)
Summer has been pleasant and I'm hoping to squeeze every possible drop of fun from its remainder, but I cannot wait to drive the Alpine Loop when the leaves turn yellow.


independence day.

I discovered a new hobby on the 4th of July. Mom asked me to use the power sprayer to clean off some old plastic yard chairs so guests could sit on them. I pull-started the motor myself and reluctantly began. The frigid water from the hose seemed unpleasant at first, but as the mist slowly seeped into my clothes I completely forgot about it and cut loose. I couldn't stop. I cleaned all 25 chairs, then washed my car, then Miriam's car. It sprays out so fast that it hurts your fingers if you accidentally get them in the way of all that pressure. 2.5 gallons per minute. I felt like I was using a weapon and I loved it.

Thanks to Nate, Ikea, and Miriam, I also have a beautiful workspace in my old room. I just used my desk to draw my power spraying picture. I love it.

And I attended my niece's baby blessing. New babies in the family always renew a certain sense of responsibility for me. It's like although I'm not likely to play a very prominent role in the lives of my nieces and nephews, but I know that my influence will still impact their lives to some degree. I think my alcoholic grandfather. I never met my grandfather because he died young of his habit. Although this fact alone doesn't seem to impact my life obviously as an individual, the life he led seems to have an obvious overarching, effect that could continually ripple through our family tree.
I just want to have a net positive influence in my family network; I don't know how else to explain it. I just feel an urgency to be a good aunt.

If anyone can identify these lyrics from these seasonal songs, I will happily wash your car with the power sprayer. I don't even care if you cheat:

1- ". . . I saw you at the perfect place
It's gonna happen soon, but not today
So go to sleep, and make the change . . ."

2- " . . . So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
And the moon rose over an open field . . ."


sisters in zion.

I don't have many friends who are girls and never have. But in considering my experience last night meeting with Whitney and Meri over sushi, I feel like I'm at a place in my life where I'm finally capable of understanding the joys of female relationships.

Let me first emphasize how different we are.

Meri is feminine. Ultra-feminine. More feminine than me and a completely different brand of femininity. She's like, lacey, five-inch heels, long blonde hair, Sex and the City-watching feminine. She even has this "cute/squeaky" voice she turns on for when she's trying to get out of taking responsibility for something. But before you box her into a category of being any kind of stereotype, I add caution. She's also in her second year of med school at the U and has spoken her mind to me with such forceful honesty it has made me tremble.

Whitney's on the other end of the table, sitting across from Meri. I'm relying on her sharp whit and keen sensibilities to supervise us, in a way. Whitney will make sure we don't talk too long, too loud, or about inappropriate dinner topics. Whitney will laugh at the right times and about the right things. She will make the right jokes when we need them. She will be an attentive listener. She assumes a quiet, respected authority over the entire gathering.

I excuse myself to use the bathroom early on in our meal and upon returning to the table, notice that Meri's piece of sushi is mutilated and scattered across her plate. She's poking at a small piece of fish, awkwardly, with a chopstick in each fist.

"Do you like sushi, but just not the rice?", I ask.

Whitney starts laughing.

"No . . . I just . . . can't . . . I . . . really need a fork."

She mutters something about how she'll have to take a medication to help steady her hands for when she has to learn surgical procedures during her third year of medical school.

"So tell us your stories," Whitney suggests to her.

"Oh no. Tell me your stories."

Our conversation begins. We start with the basics: school, car purchases, living situations. It goes on for a little while.

"So how about boys?", I ask.

Meri opts for a little extravagance and orders a Vegas roll.

"Well . . . there is this one boy . . ." And it's fun to watch her face light up and observe her nervousness as she speaks. We go around the table, one by one, about our latest romantic hopes. We devour one another's stories, process them, and offer advice for each scenario.

"This reminds me of talking to you in your room from your lofted bed," Meri tells me.

"Right now I wish we all still lived in the mint-house; in Provo again," adds Whitney.

"I kind of wish we all had a place in Salt Lake right now," I say.

"I love that we're all single and have been to the temple," Whitney interjects, knowing just how to steer the conversation.

Meri responds, "Oh my gosh, I know. There was a time where that didn't seem too likely. . . I'm so proud of all of us."

When the check is payed and we've taken some pictures we all walk to our cars. Meri's parked a little further down from us and as we're getting in we both notice her butt teetering back and forth as she struts toward her car in her five-inch heels. She turns around and offers her signature saying we've both heard so many times:

"Don't do anything I wouldn't do." But then she adds,"and now that means a lot!"