2 of my most precious.

I cannot explain the depth of my love for these two. My brother Carl was my very first friend and has managed to stick with me through thick & thin to remain one of my most valued confidants. Now he's 28! I am so grateful that he was born.


burnt fingers.

1. Yay for technology! Jared and I digitally spent the morning as he was sick and forced to call in.2. A friend whom I owe many favors bought this 1970's box-frame with a butterfly and wheat-y things in it. She asked if I could it make acceptable to hang on her wall.
First, I had to tear the wheat stuff out.Then I had to figure out what to do with all of the torn parts on the matting. I don't typically pursue crafts and even feel I lack an aesthetic eye for it, but I dutifully pulled out the ol' glue gun and my bag of buttons. Hopefully this is crafty-cute? I'm not fully certain...


i love you.

I've always known that I love people and love to be around them. I told Jared at the very beginning of our correspondence that I knew I needed to have at least one "real" conversation everyday or else I'd get really lonely.

The freedom of graphic design has seemingly woven its own nets of loneliness. I'm in a weird gap in between semesters, working everyday to prepare my portfolio to apply to the graphic design BFA. And because my job with the Chinese Flagship Center at BYU doesn't require that I go anywhere in particular, it's added up to a lot of time alone spent in front of a computer in my freshly cleaned bedroom.

I don't mean to complain about the flexibility of my schedule; that's fantastic. But the lack of any routine has left me a little lonely. There are no coworkers or classmates to bump into in any regular way. Spending so much time alone has granted me exorbitant amounts of time to think, which only increases my desire to share my thoughts with others! It's a funny cycle.

I ran into my friend Annie on campus yesterday and the flexibility of my schedule allowed me to spend the rest of the day with her. I talked SO much. Good thing she's such a patient and responsive listener. It was only after I'd talked so voraciously with her that I recognized I must've been lonely at all.

I think that's the good thing about me and blogging. It allows me to uncap some of my thoughts even when I can't be with you.



I went to see a psychologist for the first time today in an attempt to clear the cobwebs leftover from my failed marriage.

I remembered one of my favorite games as a kid. There used to be large sheets of plywood scattered all over our backyard. I guess they were leftover building materials from my parents' house. I remember walking through the knee-high grass and spotting the plywood from a distance by the empty spots. Sometimes we'd jump from piece to piece imagining that we were in the ocean. Their weather-warped unsteadiness made it seem like they might actually be floating on water. But more often, we wouldn't step on them at all; we'd lift them up. The most exciting ones revealed the cross-sectioned tunnels of worms and snakes and mice. If we were lucky, a real mouse or snake would dart out and away near our feet. Even the most boring revealed large spiders and centipedes, tangled masses of earwigs, and june bug larvae. I remember the fear and excitement; I loved the unpredictability. But I remember always having mixed feelings about destroying the crusty shelter of all those nasty things.

how tall is jared?



This is my collection of fingernail polish so far:I maintain a strict regimen of clipping my fingernails at least twice a week and painting them every Sunday.

I even bought a small bottle of fingernail polish remover while I was in New York so that I could keep up my routine without bringing more liquid on the airplane. I remember explaining it to Jared on the subway as I was planning my purchase.
"So when did this start?"
"mmm...I guess...when I got divorced."
"Ha. There's one to take to a therapist."

He was right. As I thought about it more carefully I realized how much my ritual really meant.

To better describe my reasoning, I've first got to explain my attitude toward fingernails: I think they're disgusting. I see them as as carriers of germs and dirt that can be uncomfortably snagged across almost any surface in their most unkempt state. I see long nails as a frivolous obstacle. Long nails suggest that one never engages in dirty work. In my opinion, the shorter, the better.

Then I've got to describe my attitude toward hands: hands are direct representations of who we are and what we do. Some of my oldest friends might remember that I had a crush on David Blake in Jr. High based almost entirely on the beauty of his hands.
Conversely, I've always felt that my hands were ugly: mannish, stubby, unrefined. When I was younger I couldn't stand nail polish on my own fingers because it only accentuated their lack of elegance.

When my nails are clean and short and painted, I feel in control of my life. They suggest that I've taken the time to groom myself properly; that I've taken a moment to breathe. Painting them in brazen colors indicates that I have conquered my insecurity about their ugliness. But above all, making something this frivolous a priority helps me take the time to assert and evaluate my needs.

I think it makes complete sense that I started this after my divorce.


post cards.

I think if I were a postal worker, there is no way I could restrain myself from reading a few post cards every once in a while.



I made it.



Some dct's (dreams come true) that happened in New York (as documented on my cell phone:)


heterosexual male hairdressers.

I have a theory about haircutting. I've drifted everywhere trying to find a reliable person to cut my hair short and keep it sleek and feminine.

In Utah, most hairdressers are female. Furthermore, they're the type of females with poofy bleached hair. They have a hard time understanding why I would even want my hair so short. Most of the time they run their artificial nails through it a few times, act scared when I tell them what I want, and then cut it so it looks something like this:
When I found Pat, my search was over. Aside from being a talented hair stylist, Patrick understands the aesthetic of haircuts beyond the poofy and bleached. And here's where my theory really kicks in: because he's a completely heterosexual male (who acquires most of his dates from customers) he knows what's attractive to men and will cut your hair accordingly. I would never let anyone else cut it so short, but I have an absolute trust in him to keep it feminine and flattering.

And for those who are wondering, I do believe the reverse is true. Guys, go ahead and get your hair cut by the poofy blonde girls. You're the ones who can and should keep them in business.


to my jared.

Jared needed some socks so I sent them in this:It unzips on the side.


rabbi shmuley and the real reason i don't want to clean my bedroom.

When I was in Brooklyn, this beautiful girl I stayed with, Suvi Hynynen (older sis of my dear friend Meri,) recommended that I read this book:One of her friends got stuck with it at a white elephant party and decided to actually read it. She loved it and passed it on to Suvi to spread the Rabbi's wisdom. Suvi is a strong advocate of the Rabbi's teachings and although I only read a couple of chapters, I'd say I also became converted.

The Rabbi has given me a lot to think about. The book uncovered the truth that I have commitment issues, and has unlocked some of the reasons I've made ridiculous dating decisions in the past.

(To my single friends: I know it's the kind of thing you'd never want to be caught reading [especially with the heinous rose on the front] but it has my strong recommendation. I am going to buy a copy for myself and if you'd like to add your name to the waiting list, feel free to email me confidentially at larboe@gmail.com)

The real reason I don't want to clean my room:

When I exited my marriage, I carried everything out in one day. I took only my personal belongings and things borrowed from others. I shoved it all in a storage unit the same day and finally moved it all out of there when I'd decided to stay at my parents' house long-term. I shoved all of that stuff into two rooms of my parents' house in one day and never really got settled in.

There is a laundry hamper on the floor of my closet full of stuff ranging from an old light fixture to important tax documents to old photographs. There are at least 4 shoe boxes full of sewing notions that desperately need to be sorted. There are clothes always thrown everywhere.

I haven't wanted people to judge me for this. I know I have the capacity to be meticulously neat. And because I've never been home, it hasn't really bothered me. For the majority of time I've spent in that room I've been unconscious.

Both of the times my bedroom has been clean since I've been divorced, Miriam has visited from California and taken sympathy on me for living in such an untidy space.

The truth is, cleaning my bedroom post-divorce is like sawing open my head and picking around at my brain tissues until all of my most painful memories come forward.

There are pictures of people who I don't know anymore, letters from old friends and boyfriends; objects I've kept for years on grounds of sentiment that isn't supposed to matter anymore. I've known that all of this stuff would have to be seriously organized and the pangs in my heart have not wanted me to do it. At a time when running from all of my hurt was the only and best thing to do, I just couldn't.

I started cleaning it again today. Wish me luck.


i am present.

(picture taken 1 minute before posting with 0 tries to make it look cuter)

I'm calling this my summer of sobering.
Last summer was an explosive celebration fueled by the momentum of my redemption from a tyrannical marriage. I couldn't get enough. It was glorious. It was like reaching a garden hose gushing icy water after hiking in the desert for days.
But I think the time for that sort of catharsis has passed.

In the fall I cruised forward with the same momentum. I plowed through classes and jobs and relationships without taking much time to breathe other than to thank God and my family that my life was astoundingly blessed.

This summer is joyously fun, but the fun things about it are also the sobering things. I've taken time to sit and mend some neglected relationships that I previously cruised past at warp speed. I've taken time to attempt to mend myself as I've recognized more deeply that nobody enters and exits situations like that of my former marriage unscathed.

And I'm not done. I feel daunted by the necessary progress that awaits.

My divorce used to feel like the launchpad of the beginning of the rest of my life. And although it need not be minimized, it is no longer the central trajectory point it once was. My view has shifted to focus on living this sweet summer in the present. In this moment, I am loving it.


late fourth of july post.

More from Tom deployed overseas as a Navy doc:


I hope you all had a very enjoyable 4th of July. I read the papers back home and saw that many events paid tribute to deployed troops. It is nice to think of all that thought and good will directed our way.

Besides the thought and good will, however, it was pretty much just another day here. Why should there be a celebration? In our world without weekends, why have holidays? I did notice that the Air Force put up a slip ‘n slide for their people… we weren’t invited.

I guess there was the “extravaganza.” I am not sure if it was planned to be an activity for the fourth of July, but that is the day it fell on.

There is a small market just outside our area where you can go buy hookahs and really bad ripped off DVDs – the kind with heads from the theater bobbing around at the bottom of the screen. Anyway, they announced that there would be an “extravaganza.” The plan was to augment the normal market with several vendor stands selling local antiques, baked goods, real silk carpets, and artisanal crafts. There was also going to be a camel to ride.

Honestly, we were pretty excited about it – something different, and potentially fun. I was hoping to find something cool that was actually from the local area that I could send home to my kids. I even went to the finance office and got a bunch of American cash and a bunch of local currency – just in case I saw something I couldn’t pass up. I read online all about how to tell real silk carpets form fake ones… I was not going to be ripped off.

On the Fourth of July, we drove out there with money burning holes in our pockets. When we arrived, we saw about four tents more than there normally are – with real local merchants, as promised. It was good to see some people that at least looked like they were born in this quadrant of the world.

I first approached the antique stand. Immediately, as you might expect, a young man with surprisingly old-looking teeth behind his smile arose. “Bery old,” he said through an accent, and held up a copper plate. “Bery, bery, bery old. Tirty dollar.” I took the plate in my hand and saw that it was a machine made copper plate, tarnished enough to give it an antique look. There was a nice brass design attached, but the attachment was poorly done with aluminum pop rivets that were certainly not bery old. I set it down on the table. The man’s smile dropped, hiding his teeth. He continued nonetheless to show me the fine craftsmanship in each little carved stone elephant and dog down to the end of his table.

I wished him a good day, and went over to the baker’s table. This certainly did look genuine, because nothing looked similar to anything I am used to eating, and because the gentleman there spoke no English at all. I found someone who spoke his language well enough to ask if the various baked balls were sweet or savory. I picked a tray of handsome looking sweet balls, resembling white powdered donut holes with tiny brown caramelized specks. The gentleman pretended to not be able to make change in local currency, apparently preferring dollars, so I paid him three dollars and took the goods. My first bite revealed that they were simply finely shaved coconut baked with a little sugar. Not too exotic, but not bad. And my lack of illness since then suggests that they weren’t poisoned as part of a terrorist plot – another bonus.

The carpet vendor was under the largest tent. I guess my advanced study paid off, because I could see from 15 feet that the carpets were cheap imitations, definitely not real silk. OK, the give away was that some were pink, featuring Disney Princesses.

At this moment I was struck with déjà vu. I considered it for a moment, knowing that I had certainly never been here before. Then I placed my finger on it – Tijuana. It made me feel a little closer to home.

The last tent was the artwork tent. Inside, the walls were covered with paintings, and local artists stood by to sell and even paint portraits if we desired. There were a few decent oil-on-canvas still life studies of fruit. Everything else was a depiction of lounging local ladies in shiny, fringed clothing, painted on black velvet.

We had, by this point, noticed that the money was no longer burning holes in our pockets, and we began to regret our exchange for what was clearly way too much local currency. Well, at least we would get a camel ride.

As we approached the tent with the camels, we saw that there were two, but one was resting. The ride was to consist of hopping on the camel and having the camel stand up. There would be enough time for a picture, then the camel would sit back down to let us off. I think this was the first time I had seen someone ‘riding’ a camel.

I soon saw that camels are great creatures, much more cantankerous than any American donkey. With each person who would sit on its back, the camel bellowed, neighed, and huffed. It spat through its huge teeth that were even a few shades darker than its owner’s. After thirty seconds of throwing a fit, it would stand up reluctantly and await the command to sit again.

As we approached the front of the line, it was determined that this camel, like its friend, was too tired to continue. They would still let us sit on its back, but would not have it go up and down.

By the time it was my turn, I was quite entertained. I felt like I should feel sorry for the animal. It probably was really tired. But it was throwing such a huge fit as each of us sat down that it lost all credibility. Pure camel drama for sure. As I sat down, it let out an ugly snort and shimmied its hump to show discontent. I had no trouble grinning for the picture, but did find it hard to make it look genuine.

So, we drove back, pockets still full of money. To top off our celebration, there was a large flag sheet cake in the DFAC, but a placard below it declared it for display only. The real high point of my day was a package from my mom with the best socks I have ever worn. No, not even the mail here stops for holidays. To our delight, there were no fireworks that evening…

Next year, at home, I will certainly be busier with festivities. I will be sure to take a moment, though, to think of the Independence Day camel and laugh.

Love, Tom


brooklyn summer.

Still in Brooklyn, presently in denial about leaving in 2 days.