Friday, April 17, 2015

Tap tap tap...

Is thing on?

Not sure what possessed me to return to this ol' blog today. Angst? Nostalgia? A desire to get back to writing stuff down in one place?

Anyway, here I am posting again after letting this place go dormant for a years.

Not even sure where to start, just wanted to get something posted. I've been thinking a lot about the cruelty of hope, maybe if I can get my thoughts together I'll post them here soon.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I read a book: Gone Girl

It's been a while since I graced this blog with my presence but I just finished a really great book that I wanted to share.

"Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn was recommended to my by the fabulous Lina Holmes (I like to imagine that we're besties but in reality she recommended it on her podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour - a must listen if you haven't already, it's a highlight of my Friday each week.)

Linda suggest that you read it without reading anything about it first. It was fun having no idea what to expect. I'll just say that it's an adult book with some strong language and some sexual context - neither gratuitous.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

a day for pioneers

Today, the 24th of July, marks the anniversary of the day that the first Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. It is a day of parades and fireworks, bonnets and dutch oven dinners. But mostly it is a day for epic stories of incredible sacrifice, courage and faith.

On this Pioneer day, I am reminded of a poem by Carol Lyn Pearson. I was fortunate enough to hear her recite it a couple month ago and find myself going back to again and again. This is how I want to think of my ancestors, who gave up so much and did such extraordinary things. I draw courage from their imperfect examples to do difficult things and face my unique challenges and opportunities with faith.


My people were Mormon pioneers.
Is the blood still good?
They stood by in awe as truth
Flew by like a dove
And dropped a feather in the West.
Where truth flies you follow
If you are a pioneer.

I have searched the skies
And now and then
Another feather has fallen.
I have packed the handcart again
Packed it with the precious things
And thrown away the rest.

I will sing by the fires at night
Out there on uncharted ground
Where I am my own captain of tens
Where I blow the bugle
Bring myself to morning prayer
Map out the miles
And never know when or where
Or if at all
I will finally say,
“This is the place,”

I face the plains
On a good day for walking.
The sun rises
And the mist clears.
I will be alright:
My people were Mormon pioneers.


Here is a video of her reciting it. She is really a remarkable woman and a true pioneer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I read a book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Heaven help me, I read a book and forgot to blog about it. And trust me when I tell you, this was a really good read. I say trust me because, though two dear friends recommended it to me, it doesn't sound like any fun at all.

Any attempt to explain this book, put me to sleep. So I'll leave you with a review by Jab Abumrad, of Radio Lab (if you've never listened to it, you're in for a treat.) He says it so much better than I ever could.

Honestly, I can't imagine a better tale.
A detective story that's at once mythically large and painfully intimate.
Just the simple facts are hard to believe: that in 1951, a poor black woman named Henrietta Lacks dies of cervical cancer, but pieces of the tumor that killed her--taken without her knowledge or consent--live on, first in one lab, then in hundreds, then thousands, then in giant factories churning out polio vaccines, then aboard rocket ships launched into space. The cells from this one tumor would spawn a multi-billion dollar industry and become a foundation of modern science--leading to breakthroughs in gene mapping, cloning and fertility and helping to discover how viruses work and how cancer develops (among a million other things). All of which is to say: the science end of this story is enough to blow one's mind right out of one's face.
But what's truly remarkable about Rebecca Skloot's book is that we also get the rest of the story, the part that could have easily remained hidden had she not spent ten years unearthing it: Who was Henrietta Lacks? How did she live? How she did die? Did her family know that she'd become, in some sense, immortal, and how did that affect them? These are crucial questions, because science should never forget the people who gave it life. And so, what unfolds is not only a reporting tour de force but also a very entertaining account of Henrietta, her ancestors, her cells and the scientists who grew them.
The book ultimately channels its journey of discovery though Henrietta's youngest daughter, Deborah, who never knew her mother, and who dreamt of one day being a scientist.
As Deborah Lacks and Skloot search for answers, we're bounced effortlessly from the tiny tobacco-farming Virginia hamlet of Henrietta's childhood to modern-day Baltimore, where Henrietta's family remains. Along the way, a series of unforgettable juxtapositions: cell culturing bumps into faith healings, cutting edge medicine collides with the dark truth that Henrietta's family can't afford the health insurance to care for diseases their mother's cells have helped to cure.
Rebecca Skloot tells the story with great sensitivity, urgency and, in the end, damn fine writing. I highly recommend this book. --Jad Abumrad

Just read it. The writing is superb, the facts are fascinating and the storytelling is intriguing.

Monday, July 16, 2012

what I've been watching

Because I know that you want to know, here are a few gems that I've discovered amidst the dearth of summer programing.

SYTYCD - that's right, it's that time again when I get all sorts of crazy about a reality tv show. I think it's the best but I'll leave it to you to decide. So You Think You Can Dance is back again with slightly different format (no results show) which shouldn't really change too much. Last week was the first real episode (I don't count the audition episodes) and I think they've got some great dancers this year. It's on Wednesday nights - set your DVR (the ability to skip over the commercials makes it oh so much more enjoyable).

The Newsroom. It's brilliant, takes place not so long ago in 2010 and draws on news stories that are still relatively fresh and pertinent: the BP oil spill, the tea party and the recession. And the characters are great too (I'm partial to Maggie). This is an HBO show, so if you don't have HBO, you may have to wait for it to come out on DVD or something - it may be available online somewhere. (BTW, who gave this girl HBO? The perks of living with roommates, that's all I can say.) Also, because it's premium cable, I think it's worth mentioning that it's totally clean. And by clean I mean there's no nudity/sex/violence - at least in the first 3 episodes, and it doesn't really seem like it's going to go that way, but I could be wrong. There might be a couple swears - I usually don't notice the language unless it's really bad - so maybe I'm a bad source, but as far as premium cable shows go, it's clean. It doesn't shy away from politics and it's pretty critical of republicans, so I'm not entirely sure if it's republican friendly, it might drive republicans nuts or maybe they love it, I just don't know. Any Republicans out there who care to weigh in? Also, there's a lot of talk about Utah in the third episode which was pretty cool.

Here's a clip from a scene that I particularly liked:

Bunheads. And now for something completely different - or maybe just a weird hybrid of the first two... hmm. This silly little show is surprisingly entertaining. Like Amy Sherman-Palladino's Gilmore Girls, this show is well written, filled with witty banter and pop-culture references. I may have watched the first 3 episodes last night - and despite musings that she show is slipping (I'll admit, I enjoyed the first 2 episodes more than the 3rd) I'm going to see where it goes. The pilot itself, stands alone as a quirky bit of fluffy goodness that hooked me right in.

So that's what I've been up to. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

seeing Mormons at their best

A little something I wrote while on my recent trip to Scandinavia.

This weekend I attended a mid-singles conference near Stockholm - I felt a little silly for planning a vacation around such a conference but the opportunity to experience a real live Swedish midsommar drew me in. Our awkwardness was quickly overcome after we met a few people and in the end, we had a rather smashing time. Today as a sat in our sacrament and testimony I was overcome with the feeling that this group was taking care of each other in a beautiful and profound ways and I felt honored to be in their company, to benefit from their love and kindness, to observe true acts of charity that though at times took non traditional forms, when recognized, were perfect. I was overcome in that moment and forgot all my questions - inconsistencies and unjustices became secondary to what it is that we do best.

We Mormons are at our best when we overlook our differences and reach out to succor one another. It is moments like these, though they are not particularly Mormon, that keep me here in the church. So many of the things that I cherish in life so many of the good things in my life are so closely tied to my church, that to leave it would be too devastating. There are parts that I could do without but the community is to precious to give up.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

84 hours without power

Friday night I left work around 7, stopped by the grocery store and planned to park it on the couch for the rest of the evening with some mindless television. (I may or may not have watched multiple episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress" before a SYttD spin-off show came on, it's all a bit of a blur.) I had 3 air conditioning units blaring and I was comfortably zoned out when I started hearing all sorts of commotion outside. I opened the door to see gale force winds* threatening to blow my pots off my step. I rushed out into the storm to move my flower pots to what I estimated to be a safer position and by the time I got back inside I was soaked.

And before I could dry off, everything went dark and all I could hear was rain and the wind outside. I peered out the window and couldn't see much but the sky alight in bursts green and pink. And I decided it best to step away from the window. I rummaged through my drawers to find the lighter I had bought last year in anticipation of the hurricane and felt around the shelves of my linen closet for the brick of tealights that I bought on an impulse at IKEA over a year ago. Before long my bedroom looked like I was prepared for a seance, the only thing missing was the Ouija board.

I looked up the weather on my phone and which surprised and a bit relieved to read that it only said "severe thunder storm warning". I had sort of expected something a bit more dramatic but if that was all it was, I figured I'd probably survive.

Now 84 hours later, I still have no power at my house. I've managed to find places to sleep, stay cool, recharge my phone and even free wifi - skills I picked up on my recent trip and have happily fortunately come in handy stateside.

Currently my biggest concern is laundry - my summer wardrobe was already meager and I've clean run out of clothes. Fingers crossed, the powers back tonight.

* Perhaps not actually gale force as I have no idea what it means, only that it sounds impressive and it was hella windy out.