is one of the best words in the english language. as my wet eyes tried to focus on the road north, I couldn't help but think and feel how overwhelming it all is. leaving my mom and my teary grandmother wasn't easy and the only thing keeping me from doing a 180 was the sheer one-way nature of the north-bound freeway.  I drove, listening to joe bro's all the while, thinking how overwhelming it all is. 

overwhelming, though, is overused and makes phrases like 'too much' and 'handling it all' cliches. but it's true and telling word. you're buried or swamped.  I am not submerged with tasks or duties in the sense of the word.  but just drowned in feelings and conflicts of interest. fleeing your dwelling-place is enough, but leaving somewhere means you have to be going somewhere. you have to end up somewhere. and here I am--where I wanted to end up. 

I had my TA training yesterday from 8:30 to 4 pm. by the end of the day I thought my brain was going to explode. since I haven't thought about all I need to know about just being a TA--subject material not included--my brain is doing okay. we had to stand up and introduce ourselves in front of 20 new and 10 returning TA's. our introduction had to include 'our biggest fear about being a TA.' as far as I know, though it hasn't been confirmed, I was the youngest TA there.  and that was my biggest fear. but of course I didn't let on. I announced a carbon-copy of what everyone else was saying: being inadequate. which, of course, is a great fear I had.  but being in a room with people getting ready to graduate was intimidating. and seeing a list of my students--older than me--was intimidating. but fear was the theme yesterday.  not the childhood fears of monsters or bullies or reprimands. but the fear of being mediocre.  and I refuse to let my youth or inexperience jade me from being the best I can at this job.  more than anything, I am excited. 

but being in transition is always hard.  I've seen old faces that I love.  and I've seen old faces whose name I can't place--something I thought would never happen to me! what frightens and enlightens me though (forgive the ryhyme), are the new faces.  

I enter my 2nd year of college with great anticipation of what it will bring, and what I will bring to it. and I'm glad you're here for the ride. 



it's strange that one year ago I was doing the exact same thing I am tonight. all in all, my feelings as I prepare to drive 250 miles northward and start my sophomore year of college at BYU, are:

so incredibly nervous. is there someone who can tell me what I was thinking applying to be a teaching assistant?! I am out of my mind and so not ready.  I'm so scared. 

excited. sort of. 

happy that my classes won't be that hard this semester, so I can focus on my job.  my books are only going to be around $200. yippee. 

sad. of course. to be leaving. leaving my mom and Meg. and St. George is a good place to be.

apprehensive about making new friends.  very few of the friends I made last year will be returning, as they are all abroad

ready. to make new discoveries. 

nie nie day.

Last week Christian and Stephanie Nielson were in a very serious plane crash. They are a young couple with four children under the age of six. They are in critical condition. Stephanie has third degree burns covering 80% of her body and Christian has third degree burns over 30% of his body. The recovery will be very long and very expensive.

If you are able, please consider contributing to this fund that will go directly to the family. http://www.nierecovery.com/

Today, several websites are auctioning off items for their benefit. Go here to see the comprehensive list: http://www.designmom.com/ .

Updates about Stephanie and Christian here: http://blog.cjanerun.com/



when I was 3, I was friends with Jessica P.  she lived at the top of the hill of which I live at the bottom.  she lived with her grandparents, La Fawn and Forrest.  I remember La Fawn would send us next door every day to get a sucker to have a smoke. they also always had Nestle Drumsticks in their freezer at all times.  Forrest fixed up old cars and he took us to DQ one time in his old convertible.  needless to say, my hair was full of ice cream by the time we got home.  but something I have less memories doing, but a constant reminder, is selling rocks.  this is mine and Jessica's rock store.  we would find rocks and break them in half. and then sell them.  I don't remember if we ever made any money. La Fawn died when we were 4 and Jessica had to move away.  Forrest kept the rock store open the whole time.  He died a couple of years ago, and now Mr. Hagler lives there.  imagine me, now 19, driving passed the rock store I managed 15 years ago every day. Mr. Hagler keeps them there.  I like to think it was in the real estate contract or something. 

after Jessica, I joined my JoySchool buddies. one of which is Cami. we were friends as pre-schoolers and remained that way all through high school and I still consider her the dearest of friends. they were pretty much the only friends I remember until 3rd grade. 

in 3rd grade, I was in with the in crowd.  I made friends with Cassidy--8 going on 18. she was so cool. we were best friends until 6th grade.  her parents were both hair-stylists and we had fun doing our nails and going roller-skating at Outer Limits.  but she also catered to my imagination by playing pretend with me.  most of my friends were tiny (invisible) elves and small (25-cent) plastic  aliens. she pretended they were real with me, and I pretended we were 18 with her. we went to different middle schools after 6th. we hugged and tried to assemble some heartfelt tears on the last day of school. last time I saw Cass was at Old Navy. she had just gotten engaged.  from what I hear, she is happily married. 

in 6th grade, I met Millie (Amelia) and got to know Carly. the 3 of us were best friends.  I don't know what or how it happened.  it was just instant.  6th grade was kind of like my freshman year of college--scraping so eagerly to find any friends in this new experience. the 3 of us attempted forming an intramural team (I was a lost cause) and were managers of the school store together. I remember going to Millie's house and eating twinkies. I think 6th grade was the first time I ever thought something was funny. Carly is hilarious and she made me laugh so hard. she is still one of my very best friends today and I used to see Millie at football games where our rival high schools would face off.

middle school as a whole different story.  the first day of 7th grade was my 12th birthday and I think one person all day knew it. otherwise, Whitney was my first new friend in middle school. she was so great.  we had shop together, with lunch right before.  we went to lunch together at K Mart or Arby's or Albertsons. after which we would be late for shop and Mr. Abraham would lecture us with a smile under his breath. we laughed together, both wanted to try out for cheer, and had a crush on the same 8th grade boys.  I love Whitney to death still.  she is hilarious and an example of faith and courage to me. 

then I met Karly and her posse.  she was easily the most popular girl in school--with all the boys chasing at her heels.  she was so nice though.  and welcomed me in effortlessly. I was so grateful to be part of the group.  Karly, Natalie, and her friends all had plans to try out for drill team, so I quickly adapted.  I still feel bad for leaving Whit that way. Karly introduced me to so many things--but primarily, boys.  we laughed hard together, she taught me about makeup, and called boys to their mothers' discomfort. Karly is still a dear friend of mine. But she introduced me to Megan the summer before 8th grade. 

I've been thinking about me and Meg. nearly inseparable since 9th grade, we used to spend hours together, just as I did with my past friends.  I remember after our friendship set in, we were both so grateful to have someone we could each 'share the same brain wave' with. looking back now, I think we both recognized our similarities and compatibilities and embraced them.  but we are very different people, and so now, our friendship sort of baffles me.  I told Meg recently, our friendship is so easy and automatic now, that I think it will be more difficult--harder to maintain.  we can take for granted our similar brain frequency, and explore the different stations we each carry. our friendship started out like any other 13-year-old girls' friendship would. but it has lasted in more ways than just time. and at this point in each of our lives, it must endure the transformation from teens to adults, from girls to--dare I say--women. 

the 2 of us have had "gift wars" during our friendship.  scrapbooks intricately adorned with meaningful memories and hand-embroidered quilts whose threads will surely come undone in a few short years. this year, though, Megan gave me something unparalleled and unbeatable. for sake of the war, she has won and I gladly and gratefully surrender. it is something that I will have forever in material alone. but it is something that embodies more than its valuable elemental component.  as I think about it, Megan has always shared things with me that normal people would normally choose to hold sacred to themselves. things you don't have to share.  it's totally normal, acceptable, favorable, and even good, to keep for yourself.  you don't have to share it like you do everything else.  her friends. I still feel so lucky to be considered part of a gang that has roots planted long before I arrived.  her family.  I have said before, they welcome me as their own and as my own would.  it's not normal.  and now this birthday gift. I just can't say how much it means to me. to not only have such a good friend in and of herself. but for her to share the way she does is something only sisters do. thanks. 



birthday mom.

isn't she lovely?

last night. she was magical. and how funny that they started playing a little Stevie Wonder number after her speech.


to do:

Katie sent me The Last Lecture for my birthday and I'm nearly done. it is sort of a breath of fresh air and kind of reminds me of chicken soup books, but a little more tough-love. if you haven't read it, he talks mostly about how he achieved all his childhood dreams. and when he talks about enabling others' dreams, he makes a suggestion: "you can always change your plan, but only if you have one. I'm a big believer in to-do lists."

personally, I really like writing down my goals. but they are usually ones that are something like, exercise, or be more patient. sophomore year of high school, everyone in Mrs. Hansen's english class was required to complete what was called "My Family Book." it was partly a pre-written eulogy and something that made 16-year-olds take a look at their future and what they wanted to look back on in 60 or 70 years. I have misplaced my My Family Book but am still looking for it. because I can't quite remember what I said I wanted on my headstone, and because I'm reading this book written by a dying man, and because I think they should make college freshman (or sophomores) do exactly what Mrs. Hansen made us do with our thoughts and words, I am making a to-do list. it is neither neat nor comprehensive.

I can really only remember one real childhood dream, and that was to be a character at Disneyland. after my first visit there, I emailed a Disneyland correspondent and asked her how I could. she gave me instructions and I kept them nailed to my wall above my bed for a lot of years; after that, they were safe in my desk drawer. I cleaned that desk out this summer and wasn't really sure what to do with this piece of paper I printed out so long ago. I've heard of a lot of people from BYU doing Disney internships and I think it's pretty easy to get into. but where do we draw the line. is it really so important to achieve a dream you had when you were a child but means nothing to you now? for people like Randy Pausch, the line doesn't seem so fuzzy.

if I live to an old age, I think some of the things I want to have checked off on my list are:

- be a mom. a really good one with lots of kids. one that reads to them and asks them what their scribblings mean. one that teaches them cliches and buys them stationery.
- be a morning person. not wasting mornings with sleep, but not wasting nights with tired consciousness either.
- write thank you notes.
- I don't know if you can have a goal to be poor. but I don't want to be rich.
- be a mentor and friend to young girls whose paths cross mine in ways other than through my children. I have a few friends who are examples and mentors to me through my own finding, not through my mom's.
- be a patron of the arts--music and modern dance.
- be a real aunt. one that knows her nieces and nephews.
- have boxes full of journals and old but meaningful paraphernalia. maybe my kids won't appreciate it but I hope my grandkids will.
- visit India.
- have a beautiful wedding. I hope this isn't too superficial. I just want my wedding to be everything I want it to be. I've been clipping magazines and photos since I was 11. I wish I could just get married and that would be that, but that would break my heart. I also want it to be the last thing my parents pay for.
- have an open mind and open others' minds too.
- give natural childbirth.

these are the big things. there are others, of course. like listening to A Prairie Home Companion on Saturday evenings. but I hope I can say I did at least a few of these things (sans the Disneyland character part) when I croak.


now that I've returned from a wonderful family vacation, it is time to get down to business and ask myself, what's next? 

in the week behind me, I've turned 19. and in the week ahead of me, I will embark on my 2nd year of college at BYU.  standing at the intersection between these weeks, I find myself confused.  waiting for some sort of revelation on who I'm s'posed to be: young or old? single or looking? studious or fun? under wing or taken flight? what classes should I take? what should I major in? 

in being completely and uninterestingly honest, I've been thinking about psychology.  I really like psycho-analyzing people's behavior--though I know nothing of the science. I like it a lot and I only wish I could settle on it. but something far inside me that seems to know the future tells me it is not supposed to be my ultimate path.  oh how I wish it was. 

nevertheless, I am supposed to be in the middle of applying for my major. the major I have chosen. and I am so unenthusiastic about it.  I'm bored with it and I haven't even started it. 

otherwise, my preparations for my fall job have me thinking, what about american studies? 

settled on nothing, my mind goes blank. even now, not anything there. 

tear-filled thoughts are calmed, though, by the repeated whisper of one day at a time. there is little else any of us can do but today's tasks. today's musings and thoughts and reminiscing are pacified by little else than the words just today. 

all I need to know now is what I'm supposed to do next. 
thank you so much for your kind birthday wishes. it was a delightful one filled with cherished friends and family.  one filled with my dearest friends carly and megan. where glenn got great news. and karly returned home from abroad. thanks everyone. 



today is my birthday. 



I'm in love with this paper line by American Crafts. every once in a while--paper like this hits me like a ton of bricks and I have to buy way too much of it.  the last design was boy scouts. 



Seattle was beautiful. oh how I love those mountains and trees. was I born in the wrong place? coming back to red rocks and red dirt felt natural--like coming home. but oh how I love those mountains and trees. for more pictures, visit here. we had such a lovely time and Parker made it to 100 sales! wahoo!

when I returned, I had my 2 wisdom teeth extracted. I'm glad I have that life experience under my belt. I am not 100% healed yet and my face is swollen and yellow with bruises. and yesterday at church, face like a chipmunk, I had to do everything. I was so mad. I had to do a reading and lead the music. I was really embarrassed. everyone kept saying, "I don't even recognize you! you are so mature!" mature in what? facial weight? I don't know why old people say that to young people. "you're so old!" thank you.

since my dentist took out the teeth and not an oral surgeon, I was wide awake during the whole thing. I did get some mean laughing gas though. I loved it. when you are under the influence of your brain, it is in control--and so are you. but when the laughing gas steps in, your heart takes over. it just lets your emotions come. I have all my saddest thoughts stored in a compartment, and I suppose for fun, I decided to try them out on the laughing gas. these are thoughts which should make you cry every time you think of them, but your brain helps out and you are composed most of the time. needless to say, I was crying the whole time. the gas made me feel exactly how I was supposed to. of course, I was also scared to death while they let me numb up for 45 minutes all by myself. I almost asked the assistant to just stay in there with me. not to mention the little girl next door who was coughing and crying at her first dental experience. poor girl. that was totally me. I remember handing my chart back to the secretary at Dr. Frei's office. written on the front of it, gags easily. when I actually felt the pressure of my tooth being pulled, I laughed my head off. but the rest of the time I just cried. calm, though, when Dr. Ence whistled and put his latex-covered hand on mine.

today is my 2 to 19. and I am feeling old. I think when people say they feel old, they aren't talking about how they feel. they are talking about how they don't feel. they feel young--despite how old they really are. I still feel 17--though I am 19. I love 17. 18 is no bueno and I think 19 will suit me much better.

on thursday, my family and I are going to have a small reunion. I am expecting the best weekend ever and will report when I return. after which I will be returning back to school. this summer has been meaningful. as expected, as soon as I enjoy being here, it is time to leave.


I really like the variety of dinnerware that Fish's Eddy has. I love this memo mug, and would love to have one of each. found via {A}.



last month, I went to the farmers market in downtown SLC. 
a few weeks ago, my mom and I headed a voter registration booth at the market in St. George, 

and tomorrow, my mom, Melissa, and I will be joining Kate to check out what Seattle's market has to offer. 
we will be celebrating Melissa's birthday--08.08.08


homemade fig jam.

my mom taught me to make jam this week. I was so grateful to learn the art, as I've watched my mom do it seasonally all my life. preserving more than peaches, I always think wordlessly. like shelling peas. here is our variation on fig jam.

you must be certain your jars are very clean.  this recipe calls for about four 16-oz jars, or a variation of 16-oz and 8-oz ones.  we had a little more than that.  but to you must wash them out thoroughly just before you make the jam, and leave them filled with warm water, to ensure their cleanliness.  do the same with the lids. 
3 and 1/2 pounds figs. you can pick them off our tree if you'd like.  (I promise, fig jam is delicious.  I don't like figs because of the texture, but they make excellent jam)  different fruits call for different amounts. also, if you want to use more figs, you can't double a jam recipe.  you just have to make multiple batches. 
you can either cut them up and hand-mash them, for a chunky jam, or
grind them with your grandmother's grinder (that you can still buy at the kitchen store).  we made 2 batches---one with large chunks for people like my dad, and one with ground figs--very smooth, for people like me. 
put those in a pot on high, mixing in the gelatin jam mix you can buy at the grocery store. (the gelatin mix also comes with this same recipe). stir constantly until the fruit comes to a boil. 
after it boils, add 6 and 1/2 cups of sugar (you always want to measure your sugar ahead of time, because of the fast sequence of events.  it is easy to measure it all out in a bowl).  stir constantly until the batch comes to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.  let boil and stir for 1 minute.  
then, turn heat off and scoop the jam into your jars through a jar-funnel.  you will want to skim off the layer of foam that rests on the top of your jam batch.  then, empty your jars of water one at a time, being certain there is no jam around the edges to insure its preservation.  set and screw on lid securely.  you should listen for a popping of the lid, when the lid cannot be pressed down like a snapple top. 
set in boiling water (with jar tongs) in a special canning pot.  the water should cover the jars at least 1/2 inch above their lids. 

priscilla ahn.

I have just discovered Priscilla Ahn. (via Black*Eiffel) her voice is like an angel's--even the sweetest voice sounds harsh next to hers. she is also breathtakingly beautiful, as well as an excellent musician. watch this. I purchased her album. she is fabulous, though I wish it is more acoustic.

the final chapter.

spoiler alert - if you have not finished the Twilight series, but intend to, you probably shouldn't read this post. 

oh boy.  just finished the final chapter in the Twilight saga.  and I have so much to say that mostly I just want to say to myself.  there is so much to explore as I read the nation-wide craze that is Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn.  though I've been a faithful fan and reader of the entire series, I found more than I expected to this time around.  I'm no expert and I haven't read them through more than once. I would love to research more. but let me see if I can conjure up what it is that had me thinking literary value and doing more than turning pages.

the idea of physical drive. from the very first sitting of reading Twilight, an attentive reader couldn't help but see similarities between the temptations and consequential dangers of 'touch' with Bella and Edward, and normal teenagers trying to walk the same tight rope. Eclipse, which seemed to be the most explicit of them all, wasn't exactly hard-core romance. and I almost got the idea Stephenie Meyer was backing off a lot on graphic details in Breaking Dawn--dancing carefully around the honeymoon.  she did everything, including the honeymoon, in an extremely traditional but compelling manner.  while reading past books, I wondered if Stephenie Meyer was doing so intentionally, but any contest is done away with by reading her introductory quote by Orson Scott Card to Book 3 of Breaking Dawn: "Personal affection is a luxury you can have only after all your enemies are eliminated.  Until then, everyone you love is a hostage, sapping your courage and corrupting your judgment."  (a statement I happen to agree with).

eternal life.  it is interesting that Stephenie Meyer doesn't make as much as a deal about it as say, Tuck Everlasting.  she seems to take the view that you can live forever and not be bored--but be eternally happy.  not a new idea.  

I loved the unfolding of the Cullen family.  family, not coven.  so many ideas that integrate nicely into views of a devoted family today.  in Garrett's speech, he says that because the Cullens are able to "deny their very natures, they have found something worth even more...intense family binding" which he says has a vital character--a life of sacrifice.  this was one idea that just made me jump. so sweet that individuals living good lives, denying themselves of gratification--pure selflessness.  lives of sacrifice form ties that bind into the love of a true family.

I have worried, as I read the series, about the young girls whom I saw become even more obsessed than I was with it.  I, however, didn't start the series until my senior year of high school--well passed 17.  I had already done my fair share of teenage fantasizing, letting my imagination run wild with the idea of how I would fall truly-madly-deeply, in love. what worried me was not that these girls would depend on this book rather than their imagination, but that they would rely on who Bella was as the golden key into the heart of the world's most perfect man--Edward.  what bothered me was that Bella seemed weak and vulnerable.  there is nothing wrong with being clumsy or even average. but it was hard to tell if she ever really believed in anything or took a stand, or did anything someone could call an achievement.  I love how unique Bella is.  but I watched my young friends and could only hope that they were not misled to believe that all you have to do to win the love of a worthy male is breathe or bleed or have low self-esteem or be mysterious.  I know that this series is definitely a fantasy, but it is also very very real to most of its readers.  as Breaking Dawn unfolds, though, I was pleasantly surprised with what a strong character Bella becomes.  a hero not because of her vulnerability or weakness, but a more classical one, praised and worthy because of her strength, and selfless sacrifice to put the safety of those she loves ahead of her own life. her role as a mother, loving wife, and strong, self-offering woman--as well as her ability to believe in herself, with power beyond what she believed herself possible--were what made her a hero. 

and lo and behold.  it seems Stephenie Meyer is, after all,  team Edward


welcome august.

happy birthday dear. 

of course I cannot pretend that August isn't my favorite month of the year.  thought October puts up a pretty good fight.  but Megan, Carly, and I brought August in with style. it was Carly's 19th birthday, my 19-to-19, the first day of the month, the supply arrival for another fix, among other more dramatic and personal sagas that hope to have been put to sleep.  I love celebrating. 


happy 19 to 19.

yesterday was my 19-to-19. (that's nineteen days until my nineteenth birthday.) and boy did I celebrate---more to come. but little did I know someone else was thinking of me, thanks to a most brilliant and generous marta, who is giving loads away in the form of giveaways these days, I won this darling Nsquare Design birthday garland. thank you marta.