spanish speakers only.

My Spanish teacher is a nerd; a real zoobie. Clean-cut with boyish good looks; polite, caring, enthusiastic, but a stickler about assigning things that feel impossibly difficult and making sure that he marks you absent if you're more than 10 minutes late. (We have class 5 days a week and you automatically fail if you're absent 5 times.)

Earlier in the week, he was teaching us the about the "a personal" and writes this on the board:

¿Tu amigo lleva _________ a la fiesta?
Our options being "a mi hermana" or "mi hermana."
(translation: Your friend is bringing my sister to the party?)

To help us decide whether or not to use the "a," my teacher stiffly exclaims,"Is she likely to receive some action if she is being taken to the party?"

The class erupts. My teacher turns bright red. El fin.



I blame it in part on the close relationship I had with my brother, Carl, when I was growing up. We were inseparable, close, connected, bonded. We had all the same friends for the first 17 years of my life. I felt that life was meant to be experienced with someone. I grew accustomed to the comfortability of recapping daily details and speaking aloud whatever happened to be on my mind. I like to think of this sort of connection between siblings as rare. I think it really might be. Carl was my very first and very dearest friend.

I guess all of this, this sort of openness and sharing in lives, still equals love to me. I guess I think that's fine, except for I can't quite seem to reconcile the fact that for most people, I talk too much. I keep hoping that somehow I'll change. I keep wishing for some paradigm shift to wash over me that will leave me contentedly and quietly within my own head. But other times, I feel it's an innate desire, an integral component of who I am and that I may just have to search out more people who are okay and even welcoming of it.

These days, when Carl visits with his wife and son, I get excited. I speak voraciously and he welcomes it and accepts it and enthusiastically responds. It feels wonderful.


via luke.


(illustration by Marcos Chin)

There is a type of love that leaves me singing first thing when I wake up in the morning and makes me think that smiling at every stranger is the only natural thing to do. It helps me feel a little more free from money and time restrictions, but I could stay awake for days on the energy it supplies if I needed to anyhow.
I often wonder what could be done for the person who is the object of my affections. I feel eager to help them with anything. I wonder if they are tired, sick, hungry, and desire to do my best to relieve any of these discomforts regardless of the obstacle. It drives me to feel bursts of sympathy towards many and kindly toward the world at large.
I laugh often. 12:02am ends up really being 1:42am. Kissing is about communicating tender affections rather than taking for oneself. Even grocery store errands become memorable. It is a love so compelling that I hardly notice I'm not listening to music/npr during my morning commute as I'm thinking of how to describe it on my blog.

I've only ever experienced this during brief periods of my life, but it absolutely does exist.

I'd learned recently to dismiss these sort of emotions as immature and false. Post-divorce, dating became largely about some sort of resumé line-up. More like: "He should have A,B, and C and then it will all work out fine." I was wrong. I believe there is something very natural and powerful about these gut-levels of love. I've learned that I can't do without them in any relationship worth pursuing.




Reflections at the start of the rainy season.

More from my dear brother deployed in the Middle East:Yesterday the rainy season here started. When I woke up, the sky was overcast. It is always a little overcast, with a layer of fine dust suspended in the air. This time, however, I knew the cover was made of real clouds because it wasn’t so bright out. It didn’t even hurt my eyes when I walked outside without sunglasses.

The groud, which is usually a single shade of pale tan, was mottled all over with areas of deep brown. It was as if the clouds above, even before rain, were drawing up water from the earth that I didn’t even know was there. Water that has survived for months beneath the surface, somehow escaping evaporation in spite of the most compelling sunlight thinkable. And, also, there was a breeze. It was a real breeze too. Almost cool. It was a stark change from the hot wind that I have felt, for months, like a hairdryer in my face. All of these changes combined on the world overnight, so I knew when I woke up that the rainy season had arrived.

I was very busy with patients all day. There was also a change in them. I didn’t see any heat exhaustion or athlete’s foot or rolled ankles like I am used to. Some kind of change had started to draw hidden things out of people too. I spent two hours with a sailor I thought I knew. For two hours she told me the details of a worse childhood than I could have imagined. Memories that she had willfully suppressed for years, that would not be kept down any longer. It was the first time she had spoken some of it, and it was difficult for her to say through the tears and choking sobs. I heard about abuse, rejection, loss, and emptiness that repeated themselves for decades. In spite of the pain, I could sense that purging this filth brought a little relief to the emotional nausea she has suffered for years. I hadn’t known if I could help. I don’t think I am trained to help with these things. But she would not be sent to a chaplain or a psychologist, only me. So I was glad when I sensed in her a little relief.

Soon after she left another sailor came. He, too, was haunted by the past. His memories were especially stinging because the missteps were his own. He has been gone for five months now, and his wife has learned that she really can do it without him, and she intends to. He cried for his loss, he cried for his sense of worthlessness. But mostly, he cried for the agonizing regret. He wishes now that he had cooked dinner for her at least once, or watched the kids for her once while she did her homework, or spoken with her once in the past two years like she was his friend instead of just a wife.

I don’t know if I helped him at all. I hope he helped me know how to avoid such profound regret.

As the sky dimmed a little with evening, an orange light flashed far off in the distance. No more than a flickering glow at first. For an hour, the flicker grew nearer until I could see forks of lightning striking the earth wherever they chose. By the time it was dark, the forks were blue, nearby, and left following thunder. As I fell asleep, I could hear huge drops falling outside, cleaning the sky after months of hard use by the sun and hot wind.


high strung.

Yep, I've been identifying myself pleasantly in my head for my entire life as easy-going. If you consider being easy-going as meaning that you don't mind sharing toothbrushes with friends and that you're o.k. with sleeping on the ground, then I still am.
But if you consider easy-going to mean someone who enjoys hanging out all day doing things like buying fountain drinks at gas stations, driving around listening to music, or watching movies, then I am the antithesis of easy-going.

I was walking with another graphic design kid, Richard, to the stock room to buy materials for our letter-press class today.

"Geez, ya gotta speed walk everywhere?"

"This is just how I am. Sorry."

Not only do I think I'm not easy-going; I am high-strung. I am the taskmaster of my list and the accomplisher of many a deed. I like to get to the meat of things. I'm a discusser, theorizer, and problem-solver. Touching base with me means cutting past the "what" and analyzing the "why."
There's just way too much to do in life than buy fountain drinks.


even greater joy.

Whitney just made me this and my joy increased twenty-fold:("Bofta" means good luck in Romanian.) For more awesome Whitney graffiti, click here.

unexpected hope.

I ran into this online while researching graffiti styles and it instantly cheered me up:See, my life is so sad that the design project I'm most excited about is the one I get to spend the least amount of time on. ¡I am redesigning pokemon cards into an edgy/urban/graffiti style! But I feel like I never get a chance to work on it. Here are my preliminary drawings. Wish me luck.


so, this is love.

I told my mom in passing a few days ago that I'd run out of deodorant. I told her because I'd been using hers. When I came home last night after a long day, guess what was on my desk:This is really all I need in life. Thanks, mom.


tom sellecks.

This is for Jared (and my mom...her celebrity crush has always been Tom Selleck.)


i'm a simple girl, really.

Things I am grateful for:

#1 Space heaters. Post heart-attack, my dad can't shovel coal for our furnace anymore. I am super-grateful for space heaters.

#2 The back float. On even the most discouraging days, the back float is an instantaneous relaxer. Underwater noises calmed me so much during swim class today as I stared at the ceiling.

#3 Unexpected friendships. I am increasingly amazed how close friendships forged in a computer lab can become. I don't know what I'd do without my eclectic little graphic design group. We went on all went on a super hard and scary hike in the snow yesterday and then ate at the Red Igunana with our graphic design class. These are the pics from it that I like best:


please still say i'm not a stereotype.

I remember once telling a friend that I have before and most definitely still would take my eyelash curler with me backpacking.

"It's so Laura...but also kind of not so Laura."

I completely agree. I'd like to think that the seeming dichotomy of those two items describes something about myself far beyond the mere fact that they happen to be two things I enjoy.

There's a strange part of me that enjoys the fact that my best friend and boyfriend both love Glen Beck when I can hardly bear to stand in the room with a television broadcasting his scathing voice blasting.

I guess, like anyone else, I love feeling like an exception to the rules of cultural dictates.

Last weekend, I accompanied my Glen-Beck-fan-meat-loving-MFA boyfriend on the most art-drenched ventures ever (I still had to wear my jumpsuit and sing D'angelo to myself the whole time):

First, a Friday night show at the CUAC.
Then trailer tacos afterward.
Then a Saturday night collage party at Jenny's.Jared.Jenny.Annie.Me.Last night we made cards at the letterpress lab.
Paris & Miguel.


more about kittens...

I'd be rejecting an important part of BFA lab history to not post this video.or this one (made by a professor and kids from the program; no CG!):

Typophile Film Festival 5 Opening Titles from Brent Barson on Vimeo.


hate it.

Sorry fans, but I hate "The Office." And it's not that it's not funny. It's true that if it were funny enough, I could probably overlook the things that I hate about it, but my major argument doesn't lie in it's humor value. I hate the mediocrity.

I recognize that from the outset, the appeal of the entire show lies in its mediocrity. None of the characters are overwhelmingly successful or attractive. We can identify with them and match them up with people we know in real life. We appreciate their quirks and bad tastes and experience their flawed humanity.

But as the popularity of the series has increased, the mediocrity of the characters has become praised and glamorized. I've heard it said that "not every boy can be as perfect as Jim" and that "I need to find a girl like Pam."

Yes, they may appeal to us as friends, but, do we really want to emulate them? Yes, we all want to marry someone we can laugh with, but what about the substance of a relationship that enjoys undisclosed honesty, hard work, chastity, and sobriety? What has happened to the celebration of really romantic couples who did great things like Marie and Pierre Curie or Abigail and John Adams? What has happened to the admiration of the passion between lovers like Romeo and Juliet?

I think as a society, we've become cynical; the success of "The Office" illustrates how well-accepted this cynicism has become.


guess i'm a design nerd.

I found this on Jenny's blog today.
Confession: Not only do I think it's funny... I find it really sweet.

Kenji brought a sack lunch to the BFA lab today. I peered inside his bag and noticed his yogurt. Being a student of graphic design, I now notice the packaging of all products:

I point to the slender-abs-seal of pro-biotic approval on the front:

"Don't you think this is weird?"

"Yeah. It means you're gonna poop," Kenji declares with a straight face.

"(I first laugh loudly in squealy tones.) Yeah, and it's like they're trying to make that seem really sexy."

(Don't be fooled by the presence of the abs everyone, I know that the stuff is loaded with high fructose corn syrup.) But I guess I should keep in mind as a graphic design student that their campaign is working.


looking up.

I have said lately that the weekend of general conference feels more important than Christmas when it comes to being with my family. It's a time to reflect on what I consider to be my greatest blessing: sharing in the joy of the gospel with my family.
(I'm being serious even though this picture is hilarious.) And what's more? Jared is finally here!
I've been breaking into a lot of stress-related rashes lately, but I think things are definitely looking up. I don't know what more I could really ask for.


pure joy.

First I must say that if you don't know Annie Watkins you are truly missing out.
It has struck me recently that I have an astounding number of amazingly kind and supportive friends. Some are family members, some are girls, some are 20, some are 33, some are married, and some are not. The only thing they seem to have in come is that they seem to come along and help me just when I need it most. Thanks to you all.