More from my brother who is deployed overseas as a navy doctor:


This morning we woke up to dust. It kind of reminded us of being home because it looked like fog. Nope. Dust. It wasn't the first dust storm we have had, but the others have been gusty. This one was still. The dust hung in the air as if suspended by some magnetic force, and very slowly showered down.

It covers everything. It even covers me. I went to the gym this morning and when I first wiped the sweat from my head, it was muddy. People who have hair had had it frosted by fine dust.

The sun coming through the dust provided a reddish glow. We decided we were on Mars. Hot. Red. No plants. Must be Mars.

There were not very many people in sick call today. Medical is kind of a far walk from everything else. I think they didn't want to walk through the dust. They had breathed too much dust already without hiking out here. I had better have a lot of sinus medications ready for tomorrow.




i wanna rock with you...

Walking out of an opening at a gallery in Chelsea on Friday night. I think even the sky wanted to participate.
Eating a street gyro at a table in the middle of Chelsea nightlife. Every time traffic stopped at the light, at least one car was blasting a Michael Jackson hit that Jared sang along with. I am posting this picture only because Jared laughs every time he sees it (albeit somewhat smaller.)
Guggenheim on Saturday. Frank Lloyd Wright designed some really weird buildings. I learned how toned down the Guggenheim itself really is. If you don't believe me, go here.
And Jared found this amazing beetle in the middle of a CVS in Manhattan. It's so cool! Look at its branchy antennas!



I made it to Jared's show at Black & White gallery in Chelsea. It was definitely better in real life.



It probably seems like I haven't been doing anything creative lately because I typically post photos of the stuff I've made, but it's not true.

I was SO busy making stuff that I didn't even have time to post it. So here's the stuff I did during spring term at BYU.

1. Project for my packaging design class. This is essentially what I spent the entire semester on. We had to choose a product to redesign. I chose Annie's line of natural foods. My teacher said that whoever was presently doing the design work for them should be castrated.



2. My corporate branding class. I designed a logo, along with a letterhead, envelope, and business card for an imaginary algae bio-fuel company. We also had to package something to give as a gift for an imaginary consumer or supporter of our product. I figured the gift packaging was the most interesting item to choose from. Here is my lemon basil rice hull herb garden:

3. And last, but not at all least, my bronze cell phone, where my blackberry and banana boyfriend charm will be memorialized forever. I accidentally signed up for .5 credit hours of an independent sculpture class. They happened to be casting bronze. I knew exactly what I wanted to make:


the only reason i'm sad for mike alger to leave china.

Our skype chats just won't be the same.

my brother is deployed.

I can't tell you when or where, but my brother, Tom, who's been serving as a doctor in the navy for 7 years has finally been deployed.

My family shares the love of words. It's easy to forget because our interests and occupations are radically diverse, but all of my siblings are fantastic at writing. There's not one I'd exclude.

Tom typically has no time to write, but since he's been deployed I wish that he'd start his own blog. Here's the letter he sent to the fam this week:

Hello Family,

Life out here is still good. I get to chat with Keriann almost every day on Gmail chat, which enhances my quality of life greatly. It’s not a bad age to deploy, when you get to talk to your spouse every day.

Yesterday I ate ice cream. It was good. Most days I’ve been able to resist the temptation. I think that was only my 3rd helping since I arrived – OK, maybe 4th. The DFAC is what we call the Dining FACility. If this was a Navy installation, it would be the galley or chow hall. But in this not so nautical world, it’s the DFAC. When I got here, I quickly realized that the DFAC was going to be my biggest enemy.

The DFAC is a modular structure – like a bunch of trailers all hooked together. It is surrounded by a tall grey concrete wall that makes it hard to really size down. As I approached it, I was expecting it to be kind of a small joint. I entered for the first time into a smallish room without windows, and with the walls completely covered by stainless steel sinks. Papers taped to the wall above the backsplash caulking declared “HANDWASHING IS MANDATORY.” One of these papers was even in a frame, which, out here, lets you know the contents are important. There were also graphics posted to visually instruct us in proper hand washing technique. As I advanced past the garbage can full of paper towels, another set of taped papers caught my eye. These used scare tactics, just in case we had gotten this far without washing our hands. They threatened diarrhea unless we complied with the prescribed course of cleansing.

Having been properly sanitized, I merged again with the flow of people headed deeper into the DFAC. We shuffled through another small room, where we each, in turn, scanned our ID cards and grabbed a tray. I followed the faint boot prints on the white tile floor a few more steps, then looked up.

Instantly overwhelming. All the food you can imagine. An enormous quantity of food. I turned my head to the right and saw a wings bar with buffalo wings, barbecue wings, and fried wings. Next to that was the Mexican bar with all manner of tortilla and bean choices. An aroma of cilantro led my eyes to the vegetarian bar with some great smelling eggplant parmesan. Turning my head straight again I saw the main line with potatoes, barbeque ribs, corn on the cob, baked trout, fried trout, and baked potatoes. A glance to the left found a fast food line with onion rings, burgers, fries, and other deep fried goodness. In the middle of the room I ran my bulging eyes down a huge salad bar. Across the aisle was a hot sandwich line, a cold sandwich line, a fruit bar, and a soup serving area. In the center of the room was a huge wire basket full of single serving cups of every cereal ever invented, as if it were a monument to General Mills himself. And all around the room, I saw hundreds of tables with thousands of sweaty, uniformed bodies in a whir of conversation and mouth stuffing, with ketchup and hot sauce being dripped liberally to their trays.

Finally, next to the 17 coolers filled with soda, juice, and Gatorade, I eyed the desert display. Cheesecake, chocolate cake, every kind of cookie (big ones), smoothies, baked cobblers, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and all the ice cream you can eat. Cookies and Cream, Chocolate, Vanilla, Pralines… Baskin Robbins. Except here, the whipped cream, hot fudge, and nuts are self-serve.

As I stood there for the first time, I was totally lost. Questions in my head overcame my hunger, and prolonged inaction. How do they get all of this out here? Is this why the Higginson kid came back from the Marines so fat? How much (taxpayer) money does it cost to feed each of us each day? Is this a terrorist plot to fatten and decondition the entire U.S. military? My initial excitement died down a little when I reasoned that the food must be terrible. After shipping it halfway around the world and preparing it in the biggest school cafeteria you can imagine, it was going to be bad.

I finally noticed that my standing in awe was holding up the line behind me. Re-engaging my military bearing, I followed the flow to the main line and filled my plate. I wanted to try at least a few of the tempting dishes, but didn’t have room on the tray for a fraction of the offerings. I sat down, still expecting some taste disappointment. Then I realized I had been totally wrong. Cafeteria food can be good. The ribs were tender and tasted like they had been rubbed, marinated, and sauced before they came off the grill in the back yard. The lettuce was green, cool, and crisp. Even the steamed carrots were crisp, not soggy, and were topped with a little butter and just a dash of pepper. And the Baskin Robbins was the real stuff.

The DFAC is definitely the enemy. Three times each day, I fight another battle with it, trying to strengthen the self control of my jaw with each surrendered bite.




i'm western & i like it.

This was in an art show on BYU campus last month. I wanted to post a photo of it earlier, but lost my digital camera. Joe Ostraff took one and posted it on facebook and I discovered it today.
The title of the entry is the title of the piece. The parameters of the project were that it had to fold up to be completely flat and incorporate a map of Escalante.



Meet my clone, Danielle:
(a funny halloween pic i pulled off of facebook, but still my favorite)
Actually, before I go on, I guess this story requires just a little catch up. I no longer work as a custodian, but found employment as a graphic designer for the BYU Chinese Flagship organization on campus.

This means a few things:
1. I bought this computer, because my life became too complicated without one:
2. Because I'm allowed to telecommute, I am going to Brooklyn for 2 weeks to romance with Jared:3. I wouldn't have met my clone if not for the Flagship retreat in Park City that I attended this weekend.

A Flagship secretary typed our names on the Park City carpool roster next to one another. I met her on the curb outside the JKB and helped her load her rolly luggage into my backseat.
Once we're buckled in, I decide to break the ice.
"So, what are you studying?"

"Spanish language teaching."

"So cool! How far are you into your program? Are you graduating soon?"

"No, I have about 2 years left. I've been in school for such a long time too. I'm a super, super, super, senior."

"Really? How old are you?"


"Ah, no worries, I'm 25."

"Really? Yay! I always feel so old on BYU campus."

"Yeah, me too. . . so what've you been doing? Why has it taken so long?"

"Ahhh. . . that requires that I explain my whole crazy story to you."
There's something about her tone of voice and choice of words that feels astoundingly familiar.
"Are you divorced?"


"Me too!"

"No way!"
And she proceeds to tell her story, which ends up being almost identical to mine right down to the details. Similar length of marriage, similar marital problems, similar style of coping with those problems; everything.
We got lost on the way up and back to Park City. We covered a range of topics that I'd bottled up and set way up on the shelf of my memory.
The comraderie was instantaneous. I think I could burp around this girl without feeling weird about it.

My life is amazing.


fell in love.

image via brigham.