Friday, December 14, 2012

Reaction

I'm sick. Do I even dare?

I hesitate to ask the question, because the answer isn't one I'll like. The answer is another question -- a more complicated question. A question I'll be answering for the rest of my life.

As I sit here letting more and more of the story unfold, I can't understand.
The question just hangs there, threatening tangibility, threatening to force itself from my lips.It chokes me as I choke back the sobs. A whimpering starts deep within and I wipe angrily at the tears sparking in my eyes. These aren't my tears to cry.

Images, jumbled and mostly imagined, flash before me. A part of me is fighting, trying to tell myself it can be stopped, that it won't happen to me, won't happen to--no I can't think it. I won't. But it wells up inside of me and overwhelms.That question. " How can I bring a child into this kind of world?"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rain, Romance, and Taylor Swift

   I think you know someone is right for you when you can be all of yourselves in front of them and not feel like you're telling a secret. You know how you have different sides, like how you talk differently, sit differently, and even think differently when you are talking to your boss than you do when your talking to your dog? Like how you are totally cool with your family's annoyance as you belt out Wicked songs, but you'd be mortified if said belting were overheard by say your college professor. See, you know you've found your soul mate when you can scream Backstreet Boys songs in a little girl voice for the duration of a 40 minute bike ride, then turn right around and shy away from asking for ketchup at McDonald's.

   Back in the days when Justin was my boyfriend, I used to drop everything and sprint to his house whenever there was the slightest hint of rain. The thing is, I had this notion that dancing in the rain- and just not caring whether it ruined my hairstyle or not -was romantic.The the thing is that it was really a silly thing, and yet my husband-to-be would smile , everytime, and turn up the volume on his phone's music app. I am a hopeless romantic, and I am and have always been accepted as such by the love of my life.

   There isn't much rain here in Arizona so our romantic dances have taken on a new trigger...Taylor Swift. Say what you will, but the point is that whether the song is actually about a lasting relationship or not doesn't really make a difference to us. Only that stolen moment in which we are completely ourselves, and completely in love with each other.

    So naturally when Justin came sprinting in after a basketball night saying "Hurry, the song's almost over" and dragging me out to the garage to finish a T Swift song playing over the car speakers, I just absolutely had to blog about it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ins and Outs

     Have you missed me? 3 weeks it's been since my last post. I had plenty of ideas for posts in the meantime but, I guess I am getting choosier about what I post and when an why. My apologies.

Maybe I'm being a little selfish but I wanted to share with you all how very proud of myself I am. Over the last few months I have been working very hard to change some of my less-endearing habits and I now feel that my success is complete enough to share.

That's right, I've altogether stopped being a slob. Well I guess that's not entirely fair--I still am a chronic mess-maker, but I have learned how to counter it. Yes, over the past few months I've been doing an increasingly good job of keeping the house in homeostasis. Best of all , Justin appreciates it. The other day was the first time I really sat back and thought "something is different here." "Hey," I said , all thoughtful, " this house hasn't been messy for longer than 6bconsecutive hours in a long time..." "Yeah, " he said, "your actually like a clean person now- I'm not gonna lie, for a while there I was worried."

Poor Justin, I guess it took me a lot longer than most people to figure out my own inner workings. I was trying to be clean and organized all along, but I think the difference is that I've finally learned what works for me, rather than trying other people's routines on for size.

What I've learned about me:

1. Just trying to pick up after myself immediately after I make a mess ( say putting my clothes in the hamper after taking them off) just doesn't work for me. For whatever reason I can not get my mind focused enough to do it consistently.
2. Establishing a plan or routine before learning the ins and outs of a new schedule doesn't work for me. For years I've tried to be "with it" and say this is how it's going to work, I have to make myself do it this way before really knowing at what points in the day I'll be exhausted or hungry or in a "cleaning mood".
3.Procrastinating doesn't work for me.

It took me years to figure out the doesn'ts, but when I did the doeses just fell right into place.

1. Having frequent, set times throughout the day and week in which I clean does work for me.
2. Waiting a week or two to see when those times naturally fall into place, and then holding myself to that "natural" schedule does work for me.
3. Once I've done 1&2, doing it now and not waiting for a better time where I "feel more like it" does work for me.

It feels good to have gotten a handle on this part of myself I just hope I can keep it up!

P.S. In case you were wondering, Justin and I did in fact watch all 6 of the Star Wars movies recently, and I have since been using Yoda's classic diction in my everyday life, if some of these effects have rubbed off on my blogging I either apologize or say your welcome.
3.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mystery and Spaces

I have a few different posts I've got to get posted before November starts: an election day research project, and a Pinterest challenge update ( yeah you thought I'd given up, never fear guys I am slowly inching closer to that 30 pin goal.)

Despite the urgent need to post my first political post and to post pictures of my latest projects, I won't be writing either of those posts today. Today I want to write about something a little more spiritual  ( original right?). Maybe it's because of the particularly thought provoking, old episode of House I watched on ion yesterday? In any case, here we go again.

In my studies there was a certain line of logic that came up frequently . It went something like this; human beings feel the need to explain mystery (using language ) and thus make up stories and belief systems to compensate for their fear(?) of the unknown ( W. Barnett Pearce, check him out, courtesy of the first seemingly scholarly work that popped up on google) . Many people use this line of logic to argue that religion and faith are really just compensation for the unknown. Some might even argue that this is evidence that science is the best way to come to know ( obviously false as science is itself a belief system which seeks to explain the unknown for the same reason). There was always something that bothered me in the class discussions that centered around this idea.

Why do we stop asking why when we get to mystery? I struggled in class to put words to the feeling I had whenever we got down to this question. It felt like putting the brakes on to quickly. By asking why, logic had somehow gotten us to the conclusion that human beings feel the need to explain mystery/the unknown but we stopped there. I think a better question to ask is why do human beings feel the need to explain the unknown? You don't see cats walking around contemplating the meaning of life. They eat they sleep they get on with things , and that seems to be enough for them. At least, they've yet to start up institutions where they sit around all day mewling at each other about it ...at least not that I know of...although now that I come to think of it cats do seem to slip off discreetly on a fairly regular basis. Elephants don't seem to have been seized by a an urge to stare up at the stars and chart their movement across the night sky. I've yet to see an ape look ponderously at a flock of birds flying and jot measurements down.

What cues us in to the fact that there are things we don't know? I've seen Beta shocked by one thing or another, but I haven't ever found her later curled up in a corner with the spark of a burning question in her eyes. You get what I'm saying , yeah there's evidence of some animals mourning their dead but this isn't exactly compelling evidence that they are trying to explain the unknown.

Personally, I feel less fearful of the unknown and more drawn to it. Sometimes I find myself obsessing about life after death, other times I am pinning images of what I hope is in my future like somehow that makes the future a little more knowable.

Why are we drawn to these questions? Do we see spaces, absences where there are none? I don't think we do. Deep down, we know that there is more , something beyond. Our stories express this , touch on these deeply felt gaps in mortal knowledge. For "time ", something we've created to measure our seemingly limited lives, there's "eternity" something that defies our own institution and points to something bigger, something more ( is it "more"?). We feel it and so we ask, once we've asked we must explain...at least, that's my explanation ;)






*P.S. Maybe some of you don't think you do ask these questions , but unless you made a conscious decision to leave society in favor of a culturally isolated life and also chose to give up language then you are partaking in a belief system that answers these questions for you and thus you have been relieved of that fundamental need for now.*



Saturday, October 20, 2012

For a Little Lamb who is Lost

This poem is for a little lamb who is lost. It is special in that it was written as a personal lament for one person. If you relate to this piece, feel free to share it. However please do not use it for political ends, for that is not why it was written, and will be made hollow in such an attempt.

How far will you wander away little lamb,
 before you know you are lost?
How much are you willing to pay,
 little lamb, before you realize the cost?
You give yourself o'er and o'er, little lamb,
once pure without blemish or spot.
Gladly you'll be a sacrifice now, 
O'er the heathen , gentile's pot.
Answer the Master's call little lamb
'fore you find yourself tossed in the pit.
Wait not til that day at the judgement bar,
at which too the Lord will sit. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'll be back friends

In the last few weeks my time on the internet has become limited. It's been a great thing, but it means that I have to make sure I bring the right notebook with me when I intend to post a blog post ;) Don't worry I've got a thoughtful poem already written and waiting to be posted, as well as an update on that pinterest challenge you thought you'd have heard more about by now. Keep coming back , I promise I'll be here soon!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sustainability

I first heard the term "Sustainability" from my roommate ( who later became a best friend and bridesmaid) Michelle Stevens. It was within the first few days of our meeting my freshman year, she described the AP Sustainability class she'd taken at her high school in Oregon. Only in Oregon right?

As I continued my studies, sustainability continued to pop up as a more and more important issue. I read books such as The Age of Missing Information by Bill McKibben, which drew to my attention the cultural problem of a disconnect from nature. I co-wrote a 20 page paper about it. I fell in love with Wendell Berry. I started a pinterest board. I cherished finding this book at Justin's grandma's...





Justin and I have enjoyed several of the longest conversations we've ever had ( remember how he doesn't really talk much?) about "organic" food and farmers' markets. Between his interest in health and preventative medicine, and my own theories about the socio-cultural benefits of local growing and reconnecting with nature we could go on for hours.

In the end though, my dear husband in all of his wisdom has again led me to ask myself this question; What am I doing about it? I defended myself to him by saying that even little changes were big ones for me, but as I go through this whole "being present" phase I can't help thinking that if this really is something I believe in /cherish, then I can't just file it away for the "when we get rich enough to buy a little plot of land" future.

These are the little things I am doing now:

1)Opening the blinds each morning and turning off lights whenever they are on

2)Reading books and articles about sustainability and living off the land

3)Asking Grandparents about growing up, and the logistics of homesteading ( so far I've learned about raising rabbits for meat, dairy cows, beef cows, sheep, bee-keeping, and horses)

4)Trying to change my clothes less, and re-wearing clothing that isn't soiled before washing it

5)Helping Justin's grandma( and learning in the process) tend a vegetable garden
Our first sprout-a pea shoot



6)Reusing and Upcycling plastic containers, paper towels, etc.

These are some things that I think I can add into my routine now:

1)Hanging sheets, towels, and running clothes to dry


Justin has already started.


 2)Using more of what we have, making sure I plan well enough that we aren't throwing out food.

3)Donating to a charity that focuses on making villages etc. more sustainable ( areas where there are inefficient water sources etc.

4)Eating healthier

5)Taking more nature walks, spending more time in the backyard, camping more.

6)Reading more Wendell Berry :)

 What do you think? What does sustainability mean to you? Can you think of something I should add to my list?

My basil and chives



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Running the Race

When I first started running cross country, I used to do something that caused coaches and more experienced runners to shake their heads, perhaps even chuckle. I used to start my races out very fast. Once, at the Woodbridge High invitational, I even kept pace with Jordan Hassay for about 600m! My coach tried and tried to convince me to run a more evenly paced race. " Slow it down! Don't kill yourself in the first half mile, you'll run a much faster race if you slow down that first mile." she repeated again and again as I went from being a freshman to a senior. I never did quite get the message.

Last year, in my third year of racing at the collegiate level I finally started to get it. If I was confidant, and didn't allow myself to be pressured into a pace that was much too fast for me to handle, I would give a beautiful performance, and run a stronger better, sustained race. I think too, that understanding pacing contributed to my love for the sport. When I paced myself, I wasn't suffering throughout the whole race. Certainly I felt fatigue, but there were these incredible moments where I felt like I was flying, like I was meant to be where I was, like I had an awareness of and control over my body that I simply didn't have ordinarily.

 This season, though I have not yet raced, I have already made the mistake of starting out too fast. After a blissful summer and long transition phase in which I took on part-time work ( I like to think of this time as my pre-race warm up), I decided it was about time I started making the big bucks. In addition to my job as Chandler High's head coach I took on a 15 hour/ week job as a media specialist for the City of Casa Grande. After a long first day working both jobs I came home to the joyous ( sarcasm) news that my substitute clearance card had finally arrived. Now I tried furiously to work out a schedule in which I could sub several days a week on top of the other two jobs. I hit a lowpoint on Friday, when both jobs required me to work outside of normal hours. As we drove to Chandler ( my sweet husband tries to make as many of my cc practices as he can) I whined despairingly to Justin that this was ridiculous, that I felt terrible, that I was an inadequate excuse for a human being. "It's not really a big deal", said my ever-calm husband. " so what if he's mad?" I heaved in a angry, rattling breath " So what if he's mad?!? Justin this man could fire me if he wanted to!"

Justin looked at me with those eyes of his and said quietly and seriously "So."

I'm pretty sure Justin is an old soul, a 25 year old just shouldn't be that wise.

The fact is that Justin is right of course. So what if I make a mistake or get fired. Really, in the long run, how much will that matter?  The situation reminded me about a talk by Hugh Nibley , entitled "Work we must, but the lunch is free" Nibley talks about our tendency to spend the majority of our time and energy working for our lunch. How many hours a week do we spend to put "bread on the table?" For Americans, that number has been steadily increasing , despite our predecessors making the projection that American's would be able to cut back on hours and enjoy more leisure time by now.
The problem is that our lunch box is ever expanding, and we are spending more and more time trying to fill it.

*The average American these days is not happy with the comfortable one story her/his parents owned. Media portraits tend to lead us to believe that the "average" American should have much more than is financially feasible. Take the show Friends , for example, a group of young inconsistently employed single adults living in Manhattan in that size apartment , expressing little concern for impending bills? Seeing this, perhaps we feel that we cannot rest until we have our perfect place , our giant apartment with Pottery Barn furnishings. Perhaps we feel that squeezing in a 60, 70, or 80 hour week is perfectly normal, so long as we are putting "bread" on the table.

Nibley suggests, however, that this attitude is contrary to gospel principals. "[The idea that there is]"No free lunch" easily directs our concern to "nothing but lunch." The Adversary keeps us to that principle, making lunch our full–time concern either by paying workers so little that they must toil day and night just to afford lunch (his favorite trick), or by expanding the lunch–need to include all the luxury and splendor that goes with the super–executive ... lunch,"

These thoughts lead me to one of the most important skills to master as a runner. Running the right course. I have been sprinting around in circles without progressing toward the finish line. I have been working hard and long for money, and neglecting the things that really matter; my God, my husband, and my eternal progression. I want to start living my life the way it was meant to be lived, according to my Heavenly Father's will and progressing toward being like Him.

I don't think I need to quit my jobs in order to make this happen, but I do need to shift my focus, worry more about how I am treating my husband rather than what my boss will think of my best effort.  I trust that as the "lilies of the field" I will be fed and sheltered gloriously, so long as I am striving to achieve my eternal purpose.


* I am working on citing this.
I was inspired to write this post by this talk by President Monson, who I believe to be a living Prophet.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pep Talk

I've come to learn that life is full of in-betweens. Personally, I've developed a very bad habit in looking forward to the big landmarks? without appreciating life for what it is--an everyday thing. I wrote in my last blog about living in the present and it's proving easier said than done. I am so impatient to get to the next part of life that it's turning out to be very difficult to pay much attention to the here and now.

For example, when we planned on moving to Casa Grande, we planned on my substitute teaching along with coaching at Chandler high. Substituting seemed like the ideal job for where we are at in life right now, since it is flexible and the pay makes my bachelor's degree seem worth getting. Unfortunately I am  still waiting to get my fingerprints cleared. We hoped it'd be about a 5 week wait and it's been 8. I called last week and they said it would still be another 1-2 weeks. So up until this point we've been struggling financially and I've spent most of my days waiting for cross country practice to start. Luckily the first installment of my coaching check came along on Thursday. {That day was a high/low point, let's just say there was giddy laughter and dancing around over $400}

In any case, here I am, waiting. I have another job possibility which I will write about in more detail later, but fate is not on my side in that case either. Up until last night I was feeling pretty useless.At the beginning of this year,  I'd have given anything to have time on my hands. There were so many books to be read, poems to be written, pinterest projects to get done. Now I have the time, but lack the funds.  Oh the irony. Still I realized last night that I am being ridiculous. I have been blessed with so much! So I've decided to give myself a virtual pep talk.Here it goes (sharp intake of breath)
Wake up Kelsey, take a walk. Read a book! Watch your pitiful vegetable seedlings get blasted away by dust storms! Enjoy your life for what it is, and be happy with it. You have a sweet , kind , loving husband. You get closer everyday to figuring out where you'll settle for the next three years. This is a transitory state, and there is so much to see and learn from in these little transitional blips. So stop whining , wake up early work hard and love your life!

You too guys. Wherever you are, whatever misshapen figure your life is currently cutting, love it and most importantly LIVE IT. Be happy with where your at. The little dot you now inhabit on the map of time and space is a unique one, perhaps never before seen! explore it, discover it , don't let it slip away!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Home

 This isn't the first time I've written about navigating the transition to an adulthood version of "home."I guess it probably won't be the last.

For me this whole concept of home has been an ongoing problem. It started when I left home of course. Up 'til then things were quite clear cut. My freshman year of college was like standing on the edge of something, I could sense that my idea of home was changing, but I still knew where home was. I still felt tied to my parents in Lancaster, still made it absolutely clear to everyone I spoke with that that was where home was. Sophomore year came along and I got engaged and once or twice I said the words "back home" in reference to Hawaii rather than to Lancaster. I always felt as though I was a traitor when I did slip up though, like somehow the cramped dorm room I shared with people who would come to hold a special significance in my life wasn't worthy of the word. Home was reserved for Mom and for Dad and what they had built for me. Friends who had become a constant part of my life, who had taken on the role of a family to me; they were a predicament, tossed to the back of my mind in the "this-is-a-weird-stage-of-my-life" category.

Then I got married and the challenge of pin-pointing "home" could no longer be pushed aside. As you may recall, I battled with the word's usage, with it's meaning, and what a change in home symbolized about where I was in my life. I had left the nest, but I wasn't so sure I could call any other place home.

I have to say that this battle seems to be an ongoing one. We moved in with my parents for a few months after graduation, not because we didn't have anywhere else to go but because my Mom asked me to, and frankly it didn't seem natural not to. That's what I've always done for the summer holidays and that was my automatic first choice; Justin didn't really mind either way so we went home. I loved every minute of being there, but part of me knew that it wouldn't have been good to stay much longer. It was all too easy to slide back into the role I had filled in that home-- the role of the child, the role of the whiny teenager, being chauffeured around and shirking real responsibility. Toward the end, I could tell that the carefully constructed relationship Justin and I had worked so hard at building was devolving with my lapses in maturity. We weren't Man and Wife there, I was the oldest kid and Justin was the accoutrement that came along with me. It wasn't that my parents or sisters prompted that, just that I was easily tempted to opt for the easier role, and it didn't reflect the growth we had experienced in our first year of marriage. It didn't recognize the new multiplicity of home.

Last weekend I visited my cousin Kathryn in Glendale. The long drive was well worth the spiritual nourishment and stimulating conversation I found there. No really ...we had a 9 hour conversation...LITERALLY. Kathryn and I have always been close, and our talk ranged from catching up to the time-space continuum. I mention this visit because it really got me to thinking about this whole idea of home in several ways. For one thing, I felt at home in Kathryn's apartment. Here was someone whom I loved and trusted, someone I was raised with , more than a best friend, someone who knew the intricate details of my life from childhood 'til now. It seemed for a moment like little piece of home here in Arizona, while I try to navigate my way around this new place in location and time. But I was a visitor, and Kathryn's home indisputably belonged to her and Stuart ( her husband) just as my home belongs exclusively to Justin and I. That's where I hit on it. Home is more than just a location...but it is tied to location. Parts of my conversation with Kathryn inspired the follow up to that thought.

In one of my college classes, Aesthetics actually, a professor illustrated for us an idea about the interaction between time and space. In her illustration, time and space were the x and y coordinates of a never ending graph (complete with those arrows on the end that mean forever) Thus, though most of us separate the two , both time and space are needed in order to understand something's place. In art that might mean that we shouldn't classify a painting based only on what time period it comes from, but also where it comes from geographically. I am starting to feel as though it is even more complicated than that too, because those two coordinates don't seem to fully encompass other "locations" ...like culture...but it's hard enough to wrap my head around the interrelationship between the two so I'll stick with that for now.

In any case, this graph seemed to get at how eternity works. Since both axis are ever expanding,   (could they be chords of the universe?) there are an infinite number of possibilities as to where we might be. Our limitation lies in the fact that we are tied to this earth, both chronologically and geographically. Time, for us, is moving only forward. Space, for us, has only recently reached our own planet's moon.

I blame our time-space limitations for this whole predicament. See, all of us are so used to seeing things on this mortal plane that when something eternal comes to us we grapple with it. Home, in more than one place at the same time? Home in the same place at different times? Home in one place and then it's not home and then it is again? "That just isn't how life works!" I sometimes want to scream. "Everything stays in place but me Universe! Home is there and I am here , I move --not it." ...Somehow my previous logic, that only Mom and Dad's place can be home sort-of seems like that long-ago idea that the universe revolved around the Earth!

What I think, is that home is not bound to this mortal sphere. Home is eternal and exists in more than one place or time. Home looks like this.


It's hard to grasp since our mortal existence occupies a single dot on the graph, but that eternal something within us knows and accepts home for what it is, a precious universal that holds more meaning than we will ever know in this life.













Monday, August 13, 2012

Presently

 

After my last post it should come as no surprise that I have committed to procrastinating less. I'm not going to make this a formal thing, or even really specifically define what it is I'm committing to, I am just going to try to be more present in the present. Rather than looking to the next step all the time, rather than putting the little things off 'til it's too late, I am going to focus on doing more now , doing it wholly, and focusing on the things that matter most.

I think that's sort of what I was going for when I started my 30 day pinterest challenge...yeah yeah so much for that thing right? Wrong. I am still going to finish the challenge. Of course, like a lot of those little commitments we make for ourselves, I am going to be making up for lost time...I think what I have learned is that you can't think dates and numbers when the commitment you are making is about improving yourself. Progression doesn't work that way. It's about doing it when it needs to be done, how it needs to be done and not a moment sooner ( or later!!). Thus, I will not retract my goal of completing 30 pins, I will simply do them as they come up in my real life and do them because I want to give more time to crafting.etc... not because I want to make a deadline.

While we're on the topic of presentness and all that that entails, I will fill you in on the latest for the Royer family ( population 2+a Beta)

-We moved last week to Casa Grande, Arizona
- I have begun my new job as the head cross country coach at Chandler High School, and thus far have prepared for and survived; a welcome meeting, coaches' meeting, mandatory meeting, a week's worth of practice, and a parents' meeting.
-We are starting to realize that we need to draw a line with Beta. For example; the other day I asked Justin " Did you get the baaaaaab...ah um puppy?" Also, she prefers to sit on my lap with her back legs hanging down like a human. We have decided we will refer to her strictly as "the dog" or "Beta", and try to pick her up less...Because she is a dog and needs to have a normal, non-human life.
- I have tried to implement some of the herbal remedies I learned from a highly reliable source ( hint: it starts with a p and ends with an interest) found out two things so far 1) Lime juice works well for relieving itching due to mosquito bites 2) Toothpaste also works, but may leave weird burn marks on your leg if you have any patches of dry skin...I considered posting a picture but somehow those burn marks make it terribly difficult for me to get a flattering picture and posting an unsexy one sort of feels like a blogging sin.
-Finally, in honor of my recommitting to the pinterest challenge, I made honey lime enchiladas and they were awesome! And easy! And cheap! And I did it...with out any mishaps...YAY!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Regrets

When I was around eleven, I took a trip to Colorado with two of my younger sisters, and my cousin Kaycee. We went all by ourselves to visit our Great-Aunt Nancy, who lived alone in Highlands Ranch. Aunt Nancy, my grandpa's sister, took us all around Colorado. We went to the Sugarwater Festival and saw Queen Latifah, we went shopping and she gave us each a hundred dollar bill to spend, we went to the red rock amphitheater and Georgetown too. Great-Aunt Nancy never forgot our birthdays, and always sent Target gift cards every Christmas.When she got back from one of her adventures to Thailand or West Africa or India she would always bring back presents. Last year, she called to ask my mom what I wanted most out of all the things I'd registered for. She bought me a set of China, my beautiful beautiful China that I treasure so much I nearly had a heart attack when we moved it here a few weeks ago.

I sent a round of Thank-You notes for my wedding, but I know I missed a lot of people ( sorry if you're one of them :( ). I found a whole bunch of now-yellowed envelopes stuffed hastily in a drawer at my parents house this summer. Now I am wracking my brain to remember if Aunt Nancy got a Thank You. Did she know? Did she know how much it meant to me that she was one of the four who knew I wanted china the most then lovely had it sent my way? Does she know that over these years I have thought of her often, that I treasure the memories of that long-ago Colorado trip?

I am terrified to think that she didn't know, didn't feel loved or appreciated by me. I wrote her countless little notes-started them at least, thought of calling her all the time. Most recently, I thought of calling to see how she felt about that Batman shooting. The thing is, when someone gets to the point in their life where they pass on from this world, you realize just how much procrastination can hurt. Hurt you, hurt your Aunt Nancy.

My Dad is flying out to Colorado with my Grandpa to finally pay that visit. I am touched that my Grandpa , who has had trouble traveling lately is willing to go through a certain amount of indignity in order to say his goodbyes to his sister. I am sad to know that my Aunt Nancy is going. I mourn her death, but mostly I mourn the loss of an opportunity to send her that nice note, to show her how much I love her. I know that this life is just one of many travel destinations for my Aunt Nancy, but somehow I wish I were able to reach her where she is going next.

Friday, August 3, 2012

On Beauty

It's been awhile since I've posted, but now's not the time for updates. I've been thinking about beauty. What it means, what it feels like. We live in a society that's obsessed with it. Or thinks it's obsessed with it. I'm not so sure we haven't missed the mark on this one. ```

In art, beauty is a lottery ticket. If you hit on true beauty you can move nations. But true beauty is quite elusive. What's beautiful in one time or place is not so beautiful to another group of people. Art critics try to corner this concept, some even go so far as to say that one of the criteria for the truly aesthetic is that it is relevant or moves the people of it's time and place. And yet, so many artists have created beautiful work that wasn't admired or appreciated 'til years later. Is their work not beautiful?

Living in this particular time and place can be difficult in terms of beauty. As a young American woman I find myself thinking about it for hours , taking it to what I feel are superficial and frankly unhealthy extents...but I am not even half as engrossed as many of my fellow young American women. Shoot, I only put on make-up like twice a week!Still I think about it often, I have moments when I assure myself that I have a rocking body, that my looks are stunning, exquisite, rare. Then there are those, more frequent moments in which I cry and pout and blame the universe for the fact that I look like I'm 12, that I'm having a bad hair day, that the stupid dog nearly knocked my tooth out and now I have to wear a retainer for 3 months ( which of course adds to the prepubescent problem).

There are times when I consider beauty in a more reflective,  outreaching way. Times when I stop and smell roses,times when I marvel at someone else's genius, but those moments don't happen enough.It seems like mostly I don't take notice until beauty is staring me straight in the face.

Can something be truly beautiful if only one person ever sees it? I am beautiful to Justin in a way that no one else will ever see or ever know. Justin's every breath is beautiful to me. No really, I'm not just trying to be cheesy here. I think about those moments in my life where I really truly saw beauty; in a painting,  a movie, in a rose. Once I went running in some dusty old hills, I parted from the trail and made my way through the ugliest patch of thorns and weeds and then happened upon a little valley covered in these purple flowers. I knelt down and thanked God for that beautiful moment, and then I begged him to forgive me for being blind.

If you're like me, you are probably tired of not seeing. Tired of staring straight ahead and pushing hurriedly forward, just to find out you aren't really going anywhere at all. It's time for me to open my eyes and see what's beautiful. I have a feeling I won't see it in magazines either.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Writing my own story: Part I

I have a real life job interview for a coaching position coming up and I am spending today researching and preparing for it. While it may seem silly, I am quite nervous and I thought up this little exercise to help me feel more in control when the time comes. Basically, I've decided to write my own story. This is how my interview is going to go...we'll see how different the real life experience turns out!




She walked confidently through the door and sat opposite him across his desk. There was something about the way she carried herself that exuded the kind of authority you needed for this job. He looked up with sharp eyes, surveying her critically. She was young; probably too young. If he'd seen her on the street wearing a different outfit he might have mistaken her for one of the girls themselves. Still, there was probably an advantage to that, the girls would have someone they could relate to yet someone with just enough experience over them to command their attention and respect. Something told him not to underestimate her.He asked her the first question, she quivered. "Nerves," he thought critically. She answered well enough, speaking too quickly but mentioning something about 'linear periodization' which told him she'd done her homework. She loosened up throughout the rest of the interview and he knew she had it. It would be a gamble to hire her but it was as if things were lined up in her favor. She had the family background, the time and energy, just enough experience, and the fire for it. More than anything else he knew that she loved running and he figured if she ran with the kids they'd be sure to improve. "Lead by example" she had said, when he'd asked about her coaching philosophy, and he knew she would.

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Apologies

Dear Blogging friends look to my coming at first light on the fifth day. At dawn look to the east.


P.S. Look people if you are going to read my blog then you will have to accept my LOTR obsession.

P.S.S. For those who are now wondering...currently it's 7 times, I am toying with the idea of reading it again before real life happens though...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Days # 7 and 8: Camping Crafts!

Justin and I left on Monday, after a grueling test on his part and some grade a doddling on mine, to meet my parents, my aunt, and some family friends at El Capitan Canyon near Santa Barbara for some good ole' fashioned camping. We had a lot of fun and I took the opportunity to try out some camping pins!

The first, I pinned with this particular trip in mind and I was bursting to try it. There were 11 kids from 1 yr-16yrs on the trip and I figured if I bought 8 oranges that maybe some of them would want to try it. But on Tuesday night when I started getting the all the stuff together, without even getting around to asking, all 11...make that 10 (the one year old wasn't super interested) seemed to appear out of nowhere , as though they had apparated immediately upon smelling instant cake mix. They all had a fun time scooping out orange guts and waited anxiously for their cakes to finish cooking. I would say that this one was a success!


 Of course, they weren't super pretty but they tasted great and the kids loved them.

The next day, I worked on a "Sustainability" pin I have been hoping to try. I have pinned a ton of projects from the Boy Scouts Magazine, Boys Life website and this was the first time I tried to make one.

The Pizza-box Oven was a cinch to assemble, and Justin actually enjoyed helping me with this one. What I learned though, was that this solar oven takes A LONG TIME to cook anything in...an I am still not a hundred percent sure that the marshmallow I tried cooking wouldn't have cooked just as well sans foil/cardboard contraption.

I plan on making another one (Tip#1:  if you use your solar oven on the beach don't fall asleep and let it get soaked.) and trying it in Casa Grande, where there is sure to be plenty of sunlight and heat.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Life Uninhibited

Usually I attribute a lapse in posting to a break from reality. Up until now the gaps between my posts have been filled with visiting family, hitting the couch for a while, daydreaming. Not this time.

No, my latest absence from this blog was due to what I'll call an overdose of reality. Without giving details about someone else's life, I would like to share my feelings about where the world is going, now that we've seen a different side of it.

What I have learned from venturing out of the blissful bubble that is Justin's and my happy little life is that there are lots of people out there who make really bad choices.

As I contemplate what I have come to know these last few weeks; I am shocked, awed at the fact that I managed to get this far along in my life unscathed by the plague that is addiction, in one form or another. While I am sure there are those who feel completely o.k. with where they're at, I have seen what started out as "normal behavior" spiral into something much more sinister.

Where are we going world? To what end will this quibbling idea of morality bring us? How can we draw lines, expect people not to go to extremes, when young kids are being told that sex, drugs, pornography, are just a natural part of life. "Try it once, just for the experience, " they are told, "just know your limits." Newsflash world, pre-adolescents don't know their limits, CAN'T know their limits. Some say it's not within their psychological capacity ( Kegan) . These kids aren't maturing either, its like they get stuck in a terrible cycle , they can't move past the egoism of the teen years. If you ask me its an epidemic.

I know what you are thinking; I am prude, judgemental. No. I'm not. I have lived a great life, been sheltered from the harsh realities around me, but I am a good listener. I know that many of the people who have chosen such a lifestyle are good people. That's the saddest part. That these good people will never know what I know, never have what I have. A life uninhibited. The freedom to reach far beyong the mediocrity of this everyday life. The foresight to choose my own destiny. I'm not deluded, though you may not believe me, I am speaking from a level of experience that fewer and fewer people have today. Some might say I can't possibly know because I have so little personal experience with drugs, sex, and pornography. I'd argue that that lack of exposure lends to a broader perspective.

I am watching people waste away. I see people spend their best years chasing happiness, constantly running in the wrong direction. Life comes with problems, and I won't say my life is perfect, but I will say that I am free from the burdens of addiction, from the chains of the social expectations that come along with it. It's an incredible gift that I feel incredibly lucky to have.

P.S. I will start up the 30 day challenge again tomorrow. This week's theme will be "camping", since that's what I'll be doing ;)

Monday, June 18, 2012

In Which Beta Becomes A Challenge


Beta , modeling Day #6's project

I guess it's about time to take stock of how our "beta test" is going. Beta is almost five months old now and she has gone from 6 1/2 pounds to 13ish pounds since we got her. The first few weeks were hard because she whined all night unless we let her sleep on the bed. So we let her sleep on the bed...and secretly I totally loved it. Especially because she fulfilled a life long dream of having a dog literally sleep at the foot of the bed. I thought that raising a puppy would be filled with gruesome tests that would keep me occupied enough to dismiss that case of baby-on-the-brain that I've had off and on for the last little while; but our beta test is going wonderfully! She is such a little sweetheart as you can tell by her sweet face. She is low maintenance. She sleeps a lot so she doesn't get lonely or anxious if we leave the house during the day, and she is adoring, loyal, and loving as a dog could be. I love that she follows me up and down the stairs , no matter how frequently that is. She is pretty quiet, but she'll play if you get her toys out. My favorite thing though, is that she totally loves little kids. Whenever we walk past babies or have young toddlers over she goes nuts, she gets so happy and plays so gently and sweetly with them. It's a big reassurance for me because I am not a fan of getting rid of dogs when the going gets tough. I want Beta to be a part of our family for the rest of our life!

Now this all sounds ooey gooey and wonerful but see, Beta has presented me with a real problem. She has been so easy and brought so much joy that she has lead me straight back into that baby-craze! The thing is that I know that right at this moment isn't quite the right time yet, but I so want it to be... Of course Justin has an answer for everything. The other night, just before bed we lay there talking sweetly to eachother and I tried to convince ( yet again). "Justin I just want a baby so bad, I think we should just do it." I said , half-serious. " How could you Kels," he said " we have a baby!" and with that he plopped Beta right into my lap. I cuddled her and felt better, temporarily.

Now let's get to the challenge part. Today I took an easy way out. I looked for something that would be easy and involve Beta (so I could get two for one with this post) and found the most ridiculously awesome, simple way to make a dog sweater.

Here's the link to the site I pinned from. The idea was so simple that I didn't actually even read directions. I just followed the picture from the pin.









Saturday, June 16, 2012

Day #5: Apple in Apples Pie

When they passed around a sign up at church to bring pie for father's day I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Once again, I was thrilled to find out that these too were rather simple to make. I'm sure if I were an over-achiever and had made the pie crust from scratch it would have been a much more painful process, but luckily for me my mom had bought a TON of premade pie crusts and all I had to do was some scooping, cutting, and sprinkling. I chose to bake mine as the first two blogs in the pinterest chain denote, however the original idea was to use the apples more like bowls than crust.Start that good old pinchain here.


 They were a lot of fun and I had a great time making a whole lot of pie with my mom and sisters. I even did the unthinkable ...shhhhhh I have to type this fast before Justin sees it. I made a lemon meringue pie for Justin. It's his favorite and he has been asking me to make one for him for ages. Besides the crust I made it all from scratch and if you can't tell I am extremely proud of myself. The little beauty is cooling off in the fridge as we speak. Hope he likes it!


Friday

As you may have noticed, I didn't take on a pinterest project yesterday. Basically Fridays are reader's choice days and that seemed like a pretty handy excuse when I got back late from the zoo and decided I was really tired. So there you have it , get on the ball readers!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day #4: Father's Day Bacon and Eggs


Today brought the sweet joy of proving Marissa wrong. I pinned these candies months ago with the intent to make them for my Dad on Father's day. Promptly, I forgot that I had ever done such a thing. Luckily though, I decided to do this 30 day challenge in the nick of time!

So here they are, my special Father's day treats. I had help from my little sister Jill and little sister-in-law Melissa. (That's Jill in the tiara)

You make them exactly how you would think-- melt white chocolate chips and glob it on in fried egg shapes, stick a yellow M&M on one side and stick the two halves of a pretzel stick on the other side. The girls had a lot of fun making them. A word of warning though, chocolate burns! So if it's all melted and you think to yourself " Hmm I should put these in longer because it seems like they should be more liquidy than this" ... you are thinking wrong. If you can't see chocolate chip chunks then it is melted enough. Trust me.













Can't wait to load a bunch up into my Father's Day Gift Bag and give them to my Dad!

Day #3 : Mini Lasagnas

Last night my mom was in charge of the Mid-Month Meeting for our Relief Society. A little preface: Relief Society is the women's organization within my church, it was originally organized to give relief to those in need and still function today as an aid society for those within and without our church.

Anyway last night my mom helped organize the activity , which involved a potluck. It was the perfect opportunity to make the SUPER cute mini lasagna I pinned awhile back. I thought these would be fun for a couple reasons. 1) I have yet to work myself up to making a full fledged lasagna even though it's one of Justin's favorite meals 2) They are bite size and don't need utensils. 3) They involve wonton wrappers; which I just think is cool.

They were simple and easy and tasted great, and I got a few people asking me how I made them which was awesome because it was easy enough to tell them right then and there.

My original pin was from one blog, but I chose to follow the recipe she was inspired by because it seemed a little healthier. They were delicious!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day #2: Father's Day Gift Bags

With Father's day coming up, my mind and pinterest account are awhirling with fun craft ideas. Chances that my dad will truly love the cutsie stuff I am doing are slim, but I am sure he will appreciate the fact that at least one of the things I will be making this week is comprised of chocolate.

These bags I pinned on my "Crafts and Parties" board ( which is mostly a place for me to file away cute holiday ideas) and I have absolutely no memory of pinning them. I am glad I did though because the template was easy to print and to follow and it was a nice relief after the 100 years war making that braided scarf turned out to be.

This is her finished product...

Make some for your Dad and check back throughout the week to see what I am filling them with!

And this is mine:)


























* I am on a quest to complete at least one project I have pinned on my pinterest board daily, for thirty days. Join me as I laugh, cry, and amaze you with my pineteresting powers.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day #1: The double braided scarf

Ah life. Don't you love how it just comes up and smacks you in the behind sometimes? Like today when my double braided scarf project took hours longer than it should have, and then my camera started malfunctioning when I finally sat down to upload the pictures to this post just now? Well, anyway I must start my countdown today and so here we are imageless...and we all know that you only read this crap for the pictures. I apologize, and officially and publicly recognize that this is an atrocious affront to humanity. I will continue lamely , picture-less-ly from here.

Well I decided to start the challenge with something, well challenging. Naturally all of the womanly things made the top of the list. Cooking and sewing...ew. Well it's about time I started to take on some feminine pursuits and I figure what better than this super cute scarf to suddenly magick me into ultimate craftiness ... right? That or my subconscious wanted me to develop a hunch in my back ( from all the huddling over sewing machines and whatnot) ...I am making this sound hard...it wasn't ...but it was for me, because I am astoundingly dense sometimes.

Check out the original pin as it appears on my "DIY" board.

I love the results and I will post the pictures as soon as I can. Until then check out how this lady did it:)


P.S. If you go into Goodwill to look for potential scarf material, plan on walking out with 3 more old man sweaters than you actually need, because when you have Pinterest on the brain there is no stopping a vicious onslaught of "Yes I can make this work"s and " I can totally pull that off"s.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A 30 Day Challenge

A while back I was spending numberless hours on the ever addicting pinterest when my sister Marissa burst unannounced into the apartment, before I could shamefacedly exit from the vortex of girly awesomeness she walk over and took a look at the screen. " Pinterest?!?" She shouted , a hint of disdain coloring her tone, "seriously you're spending your free time on PINTEREST?" "Hey," I said " there's a lot of good stuff on here and I am totally going to use all this stuff whenever I have the time and the means." The girl would not listen to reason. " Come on Kelsey, you know that is just a waste of time." she asserted with force. Innocently, sweetly, I made some comment or other about watching SNL clips on her laptop...she didn't seem to appreciate the remark. " Well, " she sniffed snobbily " I get a good laugh while you are over here deluding yourself into thinking that you are actually helping yourself fawning over things you'll never have and stuff you'll never make."

That's when I made myself a promise. A crazy, fun, challenge to myself. "I AM GOING TO BLOG ABOUT THIS AND IT WILL BE AMAZING!" I said convincingly (I'm sure it was convincing). So here I am after a short break from reality in favor of couch potato-ing and a crazy trip to AZ and back I am ready to get creative and prove my sister wrong. Starting tomorrow I am going to embark on a 30 DAY PINTEREST CHALLENGE! Everyday for 30 days I am going to make one of the things I pinned on one of my pinterest boards. On Fridays I am going to leave the choosing to you! Friday morning first one to leave a comment( on here or on fb) with a pinterest challenge for me ( just add the link or describe the pin) will see their challenge undergone. For those who are unfamiliar with pinterest it is a website which allows you to "pin" clippings from blogs or articles onto your "pinboard" I have lots of boards but the ones I will focus on will be the crafting/DIY and recipe boards. Fridays are free game though so be looking for something crazy you want to torture me with.

Let the Challenge begin! BEAT THAT SIS!!!!!!!!MUHUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Ok so we all know that I posted this last week and have yet to begin, but never fear today is the day I will be posting my first and I WILL NOT MISS A DAY FROM THERE ON OUT I SWEAR IT. Also I'd like to publicly apologize to Lauren, who I left hanging last week ;).

Monday, May 21, 2012

Terrified- A Post Graduation Thing






Don't listen to them when they warn you. Those people who tell you that real life starts after you get your bachelor's...it's just not true...real life drops an anvil on your head. Ok so not so much but lately Justin and I have been dedicating our time and talents to figuring out how to go about beginning this whole real life thing. Justin still has plenty of school left but this side of graduating reveals a few areas of interest that are going to take a lot of thought and planning. For one thing there's that whole paying for P.T. school thing that's hovering on the cusp of this next year . Justin still has a few year-long pre-req classes he has to take before he applies so the big numbers aren't quite looming yet, but that hovering thing is still pretty uncomfortable. My second concern is quite selfish, yet totally normal. I am absolutely terrified that I won't get a super-awesome job to show off to everyone! There I said it. I know it sounds vain, but I keep feeling the pressure to become something brilliantly amazing and the terrible thing is I am not so sure I want it anymore! Is journalism truly where my heart and future lie? Honestly I chose journalism because I love to write and deadlines suit me, but with the economy the way it is and newspapers becoming a thing of the past I don't know what kind of jobs will be left for me, and I am just too prideful to work my way from the very bottom ( think bicycle route-ouch). I also wonder if I should go for my master's degree. My mom and grandma want me to. They tell me I am too good at school not to stick it out and  take it to the next level. I did like college and I would love to take more classes, but I balk each time I get to that point in the conversation with myself because of my fourth concern , the biggest concern of all, the one that tugs at my heart and keeps me awake at night-alternately quivering with fear and cooing with excitement.




I want a baby. This will make little sense to those of my friends who are busy being college students, but I am leading a very different life than they are. I finished college in three years. As you can imagine that means there was very little partying and experimenting involved. I did a lot of finding myself, but I didn't do it with a killer internship or by switching majors. It happened somewhere between running to the tops of mountains and late night talks with the man who would become a part of me. I got married ( remember how confused that made people?). What I am trying to say is that I am in a different place than most of the kids my age. And I am sure most of those kids will think that this is all terribly cliche this whole getting married at twenty and then blathering on about wanting kids NOW instead of when I'm 23 thing. But that's just it, I want a baby. No matter how silly or cliche or brainwashed or whatever else it sounds the real truth of the matter is that I am longing for it , aching for it all; the pregnancy, the birth, the raising up. 

I'm sure I sound quite naive. I'm KNOW pregnancy can be absolutely awful and that that's the easiest part. I know I'm still a little girl with a lot to learn; but I also know that I can be a wonderful mother. At BYU-H when I was taking philosophy and humanity and anthropology classes, when I was asking myself really deep questions, when I was working as an editor-in-chief...none of it struck home more than when I was working with the little 3-5 yr olds at Church. More than anywhere else , that is where I felt at home. It's where I felt I had the most power, could make the greatest impact. I wrote some great articles. I even made it into the Church News. I started two news shows ( admittedly in dire need of professional equipment and development). I got my degree. None of it eclipsed those little girls though. None of it quenched the yearning. 

That's why I said that real life is an anvil. Not because we are having a terrible time making ends meet (we've been blessed by others' graciousness in that department). Not because Justin's upcoming schooling is scary. But because on this side of graduation lies that opportunity, that blessing, that dream, and that promise of children. It's brilliant, it's amazing but most of all it's absolutely terrifying.



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Blind

Today I was thinking about being blind...sort of. I was taking advantage of my parents dvr this morning watching some episodes of one of my favorite t.v. shows, The Big Bang Theory, and one of the scenes got me thinking. I won't go into detail about the scene but basically the uberlogical and scientific/ obsessive compulsive Sheldon Cooper is closing his eyes and feeling around with his hands, thinking he was reaching for one thing but touching another. Another character asks him if the object he is touching is an arm ( like he thought it was ). Rather than saying "No" he says "It doesn't feel like an arm".

This little scene is a succinct portrayal of scientific reasoning at its best. If something is not visually observable ( either literally or through experiments and deduction) then it cannot be declared a fact no matter how obvious that fact might be. Perhaps it sounds silly to make a statement about an entire epistemology based on a scene from a t.v. show, but hear me out. How funny it must sound to a blind man when people ask "If you can't see it how do you know it's there?". Certainly when people say that  they are usually talking about faith and god and what not, and what they mean to say is that there is a lack of physical ( not necessarily visual) evidence, but the question that arises from my observation is, I think, still reticent. How often , especially being raised in a culture where the most prevalent epistemology is scientific, do we take one or other of our senses for granted? If I can't visually observe it then I can only make a very specific, inconclusive statement about what I am feeling as opposed to coming to "see" it in another way. How often do we brush off those more spiritual or emotional promptings because they don't make sense with the straight- forward way that we view the world. How many times have you laughed at someone who insisted that they came to know something in a non-scientific way( through religion, a dream, a shaman, an astrologist)?

Hear me out on this, I am not saying that we should all invest in a pack of tarot cards and a collection of essential oils, but I just wonder how many miracles have been missed, how many lives have remained unchanged, simply because we are too afraid to believe that our way isn't necessarily the only way.

P.S. In going over this post I was reminded of a poem I wrote a few years ago...

There are those who see the ledge but think they cannot fall,

There are those who see the ledge but deny it's there at all

There are those who stand beside it, and contemplate a leap

There are those who see the other fools and safe distance humbly keep.

P.S. If blindness is the lack of sight, aren't we all blind?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

White Roses


My sister thinks I have anxiety. She’s probably right too. I am nervous and cautious. I worry about things girls my age shouldn’t be worried about. Mostly I’m afraid of dying. It got worse when I married Justin. Sometimes I just get this desperate feeling like I just can’t lose him. I love him too much. I’m afraid to die because it would mean being separated from him. It would also mean taking a leap. It would mean it was time to see if my faith is going to pan out. Time to see if all the stuff I know and believe is real. I know it sounds silly. Perhaps it sounds like I lack conviction, or real faith. That’s just how it is for me.

I’m not afraid all the time. Like the other night… the other  night Justin and I went out for a movie while we were in Santa Clarita for our anniversary. You might say the movie inspired me; or maybe I was just in the right place at the right time… We’d been to Pasadena earlier that day and it was beautiful there. It was beautiful in Santa Clarita too. We went to the Santa Clarita mall, the buildings were big and lovely and there were rows and rows of expensive looking stores, but none of them were responsible for the feeling I had. What got me were the roses.
White roses. Coincidence or no we had seen a lot of white roses that day. I stopped to smell one on the way in to the theatre. It smelled good—just your average rose. But when we came out of the movie late in the night, when we walked slowly and quietly (as my dear husband does) the roses were calling to me. I walked up to one, caressed it’s soft petals, breathed in its scent, and I thought about Heaven . I thought about divinity. I thought about how absolutely wonderful it was to be alive right then and there. I thought about how people spend their whole lives trying to inject meaning into their world, trying to find the drama of the moment, to be more than just average, more than just human. All this time it was right there in front of them. Just stop and smell a rose. Touch it, feel it, call to it. It will call back. And suddenly everything makes sense.
Anxious, nervous, fearful. Every time I get into a car, or a plane, every time I get a sunburn or eat junk food, I get all worried that I’ve made a choice I can’t take back. Violent images will string through my head like flashes of a camera bulb. It’s really cliché actually. I realized this on the road between Pasadena and Santa Clarita. I was talking to my mom on the phone and Justin was driving. We reached a stretch of freeway that seemed unfamiliar and a big semi-truck was next to us on the on-ramp. “Wouldn’t that be terrible if I died right now with my mom on the phone?” I thought, and instantly horrific images and a stream of audio started playing, all jumbled and terrifying. My heart raced. I felt sick. Sadly, this was not an uncommon experience. This time, though, I was watching myself do it. I thought about it the way I was taught to think about things. I looked at it with the critical eye my diploma says I am supposed to have.
Some things I noticed: 1) The images were strung together in weird flashes, just like every movie scene of a car wreck 2) The audio was not really plausible. It wasn’t even my voice screaming 3) The images were overly dramatic, heart wrenching, there was dripping blood and crunching noises.
I realized that the things I was seeing in my fit of anxiety were implanted there. That lots of my concerns were concerns that lots of people have. Lots of people exposed to computer-graphics filled action movies and the sensationalism of the American news media. Adorno would have laughed at me, quivering with fear as I tried to stave off a full-blown panic attack.
And then I smelled the roses, and a very different feeling came over me. One of calm reassurance, of self-confidence. One of gratefulness and intelligence. Awareness—like I’ve never felt it before. I was suddenly alive. Suddenly fearing death seemed all too silly. You can’t die if you haven’t truly lived. That’s not to say that I think my life has been a waste of time, or that I discount any of my experiences or anything like that; what I mean to say is that I am done letting movie directors decide how I see life.
I’ve been thinking about a detox for a while now. There was a point , amidst the stress of finals and and graduating and all that , that I screamed it to the heavens. “ I’m done with the computer screen, with the hunching over a keyboard. I’m done with processed grease and not even knowing what I’m eating, or watching or thinking or doing. I’m done with screaming or crying into my pillow at night because I'm exhausted and yet dissatisfied with what I did all day.” I screamed it, shouted it, prayed for a miracle. Then I came home and laid on the couch, ate cake, and surfed the web. It didn’t seem all that bad when the pressure of deadlines and becoming something were lifted.
Still I have this knawing feeling that I need to smell more roses, and I also have the feeling that I can’t do it immersed in a culture of mindlessly absorbing everything the money-chasers shove in front of me. I don’t plan on being radical, I don’t plan on never going out for a movie, ( it was going out for a movie, after all, that gave me the roses) but I do plan on a detox. A physical, mental, emotional, spiritual detox. Starting tomorrow I am going to spend my time outside instead of in, away from the t.v. and the computer . I’ll write down my blog posts on paper. Starting tomorrow I am going to eat things I can trace back to an original source , I’m going to try a few different things to flush the popcorn butter and pizza grease out of my body, I am going to let myself drift in thought, rid myself of violent emotion. I am going to do yoga and meditate dang it! Just for one week. Then I am going to re-enter society. But this time I am going to direct my life. I’m going to keep things in perspective. I am going to smell the roses.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

One Year Richer...One Year Royer

If you were misled by the title of this post stop now...Justin and I did not win the lottery or make inordinate amounts of money this year. But we certainly are richer for the time we've had together, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year as a Royer.

On Monday, Justin and I celebrated our first anniversary! I can't believe it has been a year already, time has flown and I think that's a good thing. We are very proud of ourselves because lots of people told us the first year is one of the hardest, but we found it to be amazingly awesome and indescribably happy. I know though, that there are also those who say that the hard part doesn't start until after the honeymoon stage...BRING ON ROUND TWO!


Speaking of round two, Justin came up with this really great plan to catapult us out of the honeymoon stage. See, my birthday happened while I was busy not blogging ( look to later posts to read about the New York Karaoke Bar Fiasco) and Justin got me the best present ever ( see below). This little bundle of fur, teeth, and energy is sure teaching us a lot about ourselves, our relationship, and the ins and outs of having your very own ( in our case miniature) family. I guess you could say she is really living up to her name. How cute is this--we named her "Beta" as in "Beta-test", as in we are doing it like the Grogans  (Marley and Me) and starting with a dog first. P.S. I get the creeping feeling that we are pretty nerdy whenever we have to explain that a beta test is something often used by video/computer game makers to refine their product before releasing the official game.


Anyway, we had a really fun anniversary going out to dinner and eating our frozen wedding cake ( fun fact: We didn't have it preserved , we didn't wrap it in foil or wax paper, we didn't even use a ziplock...that thing had been sitting there in my parent's freezer, whole and untouched, on a plate for a year. fun fact#2: We did not die or get food poisoning.) The fun is just going to keep on coming too since I booked a hotel in Valencia for this Friday night and we are going to good ole Six Flags on Saturday. There was quite a debate between the two of us, or should I say the four of us ( we both wavered between the two sides at one point or another) as to whether it would be honest for me to borrow Aimee's ( read: little sister that looks a lot like me) season pass and her coupon book for a $25 ticket and only spend $25 total  for both of us to get in. We talked and talked but never really made it to a good conclusion and so we figured we were better safe than sorry and asked my family to come with us (that way they can legally use their coupon books and get us in for $50 bucks total ; which is still a pretty good deal.) I think it'll be more fun with the family anyway, but what do you think? Using a sibling's season pass-yea or nay? Let me know in the comments.


I'll spare you the lovey-dovey bit for now, if you want to know how I feel about Justin, and how celebrating our love in commercialized glory brings it out, refer to my Valentine's Day post.It feels good to be back to blogging and trust me when I say that I have a lot more to write about.(Think cool challenges that you are going to want to read about me failing at.)

P.S. I noticed that a lot of my friends also have anniversaries in late April/ early May...could this be because that's when the BYU's Winter/Spring Terms gets out? That said, happy anniversary to all my BYU-tiful friends too!




Wednesday, March 28, 2012

DEAR READERS

DEAR READERS,

 I know it's been awhile, and I know you are all devastated at this gaping chasm that is our current relationship, but know that I am thinking of you day and night and that I have some spectacular things to say when I get back.

                          WITH LOVE,
                                           kELSEY

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Community

This past week we've seen a lot of rain. Like A LOT! It flooded pretty bad yesterday, which was actually awesome because my classes got canceled. In between storms I went for a run and saw something that struck me as profound. See, down Iosepa street there is this super nice house that was recently built. The family that lives there owns Iosepa electric and apparently has done pretty well with it. Yesterday during the lull between the storms I saw the Iosepa electric truck guy, kids in tow, going around , filled with sand, stopping at each house and shoveling it into those oarange bags. I don't know if this was like a community assigned duty or if they were getting paid in some way, but something tells me they weren't. Either way there was a sense of community there that made me wonder if I had missed out on something, growing up in Suburbia. I know I am lucky to be a member of the Church and have community through the ward, but I can't help but think about the fact that I barely knew my neighbors growing up ( except Lyssy) and that I probably would not be comfortable holding a conversation with any of my parents neighbors now. Seems like maybe small town has some perks. Sure it might take a flood to bring them to the foreground, but it sure did make me think.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A reflection on Mass Media

A little while back, a professor of mine required us to record our use of mass media and our subsequent reflections on it--first as we used in normally, then as we fasted from it, and finally after spending time ( a few hours) in nature removed from secondarily sourced information. Then we had to write a paper about it. While there are some key insights that I think I made in the paper, I happened to really enjoy keeping the media journal itself , so I've decided to post it first and then later to post the analysis. I kept the journal in conjunction with reading The Age of Missing Information by Bill McKibben which may have something to do with a hippie-ish undertone in the journal. Enjoy.

                          
 Monday:
        Since Monday was a Holiday, we slept in until noon. I noticed that often times my leisure time seemed to be a choice between a form of mass media or sleep. Other options just didn’t seem to appeal to me, perhaps because I was tired of thinking, and wanted to do something mindless.
After we woke up we entertained ourselves with our laptops, I spent sometimes “pinning” things on Pinterest and talking to friends on Facebook. After that we called my husband’s parents and chatted, and then headed to campus to play Basketball and Tennis. Throughout the week, I noticed my mind “ shifting” --whenever I did something which required focus, it seemed that while with certain activities, such as sports ( which I have been trained to give full focus to) it was easy to make the “shift”, there were other times when my attention span seemed to have shortened.
We got home around five and I read a book (Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder), while my husband played an online game. One of the worst effects of mass media is this isolation from each other. Perhaps because mass media caters to specific demographics, my husband and I rarely agree on a t.v. show or even movie, and often participating in mass media together is the result of a compromise. As such, our frequent use of media often ends up separating us from each other.
At 7:30 we went to the BYU-H basketball game , after the game we went home, sat at separate computers and updated our blogs ( his about endurance running, mine a lifestyle blog with some of cultural and communication theory mixed in). We went to bed around midnight.
Tuesday:
Tuesday morning, I would say, was a low point. The first thing I did upon waking was to get on Pinterest. I then checked my Facebook before heading out for a run, I took scriptures with me in my backpack and found myself alone , far behind the school. I do this every so often as a way of feeling closer to God, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I sometimes feel as though if I could just stay a little longer , answers would come. After getting ready I went to classes until 1:20 ( there was actually some Facebooking mingled in during my lunch hour)
After that I did a favor for my dad, came home and cooked dinner—something I have been spending an increasing amount of time on, though it worries my husband—“ You spend a lot of time on cooking, what about your homework” ( as if cooking was the least productive thing I was spending my time on).  I like cooking, and I have recently become more and more enchanted with buying local vegetables and fruit. Of course this is the reason my cooking has required more preparation, it takes a surprisingly long amount of time to cut corn off the cob and into the stir-fry when you were previously dumping a can of eerily yellow kernels in. Interestingly, one of my favorite parts of preparing food lately has been all that vegetable cutting. The rhythmic back and forth gives me a lot of time to think, un-beleaguered by pop up ads or the like, and there is something about it that feels more real.
My husband stayed up late Tuesday night wiping the hard drive of an old laptop so he could send it to his brother as a birthday present. Unfortunately I have trouble sleeping with the light of the laptop screen shining, and also the bed seems cold without my sweet companion in it, so I stayed up late by consequence.
Wednesday:
The late night did nothing in the way of encouraging my timely arrival to my 6:30 a.m. EXS class, but I woke and made my way to the gym nonetheless. After my class I went home and slept until a work meeting at 9 a.m. From the meeting, I went straight to class and didn’t get back until 4 p.m.
After class I did a lot of reading (homework), and then took to Pinterest and Facebook once more. I edited the blog post I had made on Monday, and then I watched a t.v. show on the internet. I notice that my use seems to happen for longer periods of time when I am stressed out or busy, it’s as though I am looking to distance myself from my own life in some way or another when I use these technologies.
Thursday:
On Thursday I tried to cut down on my media consumption and didn’t really notice too much of a difference, I went to class as always, and then I worked from 1:40 – 5 p.m. ( an unavoidable form of mass media as I work for a newspaper) I had class again from 5-7, after which I went home and spent a lot of time cooking, I prepared a meal for my husband ( who had not been home from campus yet that day) then did prep work for the next few days, I sat cutting those vegetables and time seemed to pass more slowly and more quickly at the same time.
*One change I did appreciate occurred during lunch, without a computer in front of me my husband and I spent the hour talking.
Friday:
       Friday was challenging for me. Though I was able to spend my time in more relevant pursuits—I went running with a friend, called my mom, went to work, went to school, went to lunch with my sister after shopping at the Farmer’s Market—I found myself feeling homesick, I longed to check Facebook to see the pictures of my friend’s baby I knew would be posted, to check my sisters’ status and see how her puppy was doing, to go on Pinterest and see if any of my friends had found any of my pins to be funny, or stylish, or fulfilling enough to repin them. Though today was the only day I had talked to my mother, it was a conversation cut short by all the running around during the day. I had classes to attend and errands to run, and though I would much rather have been talking to he, I wasn’t able to do so for a fulfilling amount of time. As people move away from their homes, personal conversation becomes more difficult. In contrast, social media allows those three minute check-ups throughout the day. A conversation that stretches across several days even, whereas a telephone call or letter takes up a definite amount of time. This is social media’s greatest purpose in my opinion, while I agree that it is often shallow, superficial, insufficient, I feel like social media is where my generation gets their sense of community and belonging, it allows us to remain human in a rapidly mechanized world. Interestingly, there are people with whom I am better friends with via facebook and blogging than I am face-to-face, in fact it can even be awkward to encounter them face-to-face. This community is strange and lacks a firm anchoring in reality but it is a community…my community.
Saturday:
After getting to a late start I made my way toward the Laie Falls trailhead. I went alone, and after a lot of thought decided to insure I walked most of it by wearing canvas shorts…I often run nature trails and I am happy that I am privy to such frequent unmediated contact with nature, but I figured it was about time to slow things down and smell the roses literally…well kind of I didn’t see any roses but I did smell lots of other flowers. As I made my way toward the start of the trail I noticed several groups of people and even more cars parked along the way. I was disappointed because I wanted to be able to process nature in my own way, without being limited by social conventions. As I trudged (a little grumpily) up the familiar path I tried to make the best of the experience by looking more carefully at my surroundings, it took little effort to discover a second, less worn trail meandering off to the left, I glanced back and then stepped happily onto my little secret trail.
As I walked I made a very conscious effort to really take things in. I heard birds singing, and I listened for the sound of their weight on nearby branches I could tell which direction they were heading by listening closely as the sound grew more and more imperceptible. As I walked I took big deep breaths through my nose trying to figure out exactly what it was I was supposed to smell. Smell , I think , is the sense that is the most neglected in media, as I actually focused on smelling things I was surprised at what I found. I could smell whether two trees were of the same () , I walked by one tree and smelled the distinct smell of death , I looked over and saw that right at nose height a branch had been cut clean off.
Walking down the trail I heard a bird singing.Though I couldn’t see it,  I peeped back at it by pressing my lips together tightly. Suddenly the bird flew gracefully down, circling around me once and landing on a nearby branch. It was a beautiful bird, jet black with a tiny spout-like tail , white on the underside. Right in the middle of his wings was a perfect, white circle. I whistled at him, he made a sort of quacking sound and I tried to imitate it. As this exchange went on he hopped closer and closer to me, flashing his little tail and then he started to sing. His throat swelled up as he trilled away weaving a fantastic tune with intricate warbles and masterful crescendos. I stood there, entranced, and then almost unwillingly I took a step forward. He flew away hurriedly ,high up into the branches. Dismayed, I sang out my own tune, borrowing largely from my dear friend Snow White who, as we know , talks to birds this way. He wasn’t buying it, though I could hear branches high up creaking as he hopped from one to the other, he didn’t come down again. I kept walking, but this time I sang to myself softly, trying to do what the bird had done, trying to create my own fantastic melody. As I walked I heard branches creak here and there, and birds wings flutter from branch to branch, the woods were listening, and the birds were following me.
Walking slowly along the path I thought about the little black bird, I wondered what kind of bird he was exactly, and if my experience was verifiable. I was on the point of resolving to check the internet when I got home when I decided against it. I knew what happened with that bird. I knew he had listened to me, that he had sung to me. I knew what he looked like, I had a perfect picture of him there in my head and if I came back this way and saw a bird like him, I would know how to talk to it. What more good could the information from the internet give me? Perhaps I would learn from a birding website what the name of his (breed) was, what kind of food he liked, exactly what his mating call sounds like, perhaps I would find out that these birds are inquisitive little creatures who like to sing but mostly just mimic other birds, whatever I learned, it probably wouldn’t help to forge as deep or as meaningful a connection as I already had, and whatever I learned it wouldn’t be nearly as specific or relevant to my exact location, to this exact trail, to this exact bird as if I just plain old watched him.
The trail sort of petered out amongst a grove of old and weepy looking pine trees, The ground was covered with their dry, needles which carpeted the floor and muffled the sound of my footsteps. I looked up and saw a flash of orange. Two mountain bikers were pedaling uphill on a trail that appeared to run parallel to mine ( which was getting harder and harder to distinguish thanks to the pine needles)
I finally got the courage to venture from the well worn trail I had connected into, I could see some different colored trail markers in the distance.  I took care to remember my surroundings and then I sat down and slid down the steep hill. The pine needles slowed my momentum and it felt exactly like sliding down a big slide at a water-park or playground, minus the static shock.
After making my way first down and then back up a neighboring peak, I found an incredible view that offered a brilliant perspective. The thing about real-life views, versus those presented to us in mass media, is that they are 360 degrees. I could turn around and take in so much, and gain an even greater perspective just by pivoting from one foot to the other. After taking it all in, I found a flat area and knelt down and prayed. This wasn’t the first time I had been moved to do this by the perspective a mountain top view had offered, but it had been a while since I had been willing to take the time and energy to put myself in such a position, and that slightly awkward but oh-so-welcome feeling that you only get when venturing to offer your personal prayer aloud came upon me. I felt myself being pulled in two directions. On the one hand, I felt out of my element, the usual organization and structure of personal prayers is vastly different from what I was now doing, and on the other hand , the few times I had done it this way had yielded sweeter, more sacred, less tainted feelings. What I have come to conclude is that “nature” doesn’t presuppose anything. There is no identity conflict, no cultural indoctrination, no one telling me I’m brainwashed or stupid or wrong or right. It’s just me. Just me an endless, untainted, complete flow of information that allows me to make decisions based on what I see and come to know for myself.

Pretty Exciting stuff right?

About Me

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I am a videographer located in Goodyear, Arizona. Visit my site storiestoldmedia.com to check out my best work and the Stories Told blog.

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