Goodness: A Ten-Year-Old's Surprisingly Wise Rant

Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Dear Boys from around the World,
There is just one ting I have to say before I go on. STOP BEING SO STEREOTYPICAL!"

This ten-year-old is fed up with stereotypical boys (or, rather, boys who think of girls in stereotypes), and she isn't about to be quiet. Read the rest of her rant. It is priceless.

The Midwife and The Someday Doula

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Headband: from the grocery store, $3 for 6-pack
Scarf: TJ-Maxx, $10
Blouse: Gap, $5
T-shirt: Hanes, $5 for 3-pack
Vest: secondhand Moda International, $6 from consignment shop
Jeans: gift
Boots: secondhand, $8 from thrift store

A funny thing has been happening to me lately. There's this woman named Briana Blackwelder whom I don't know and have never met. She passed away on Saturday, and inexplicably, the universe has been directing all of my thoughts toward her. No less than five blogs I read, representing five people I know, have featured posts about Briana and paid tribute to her. She was evidently this amazing woman, a Salt Lake City midwife, and I'm simultaneously really sad that I missed the chance to know her in this life AND happy to have been "introduced" to her at all.

Some links:
tribute video by David Perry
interview with Briana Blackwelder, produced by Kate and Neil
post at Our Mother's Keeper, featuring a beautiful poem written to remember Briana

I believe in meaningful coincidences. Most of what I've happened to learn about Briana is related to her calling as a midwife. She clearly cared so deeply about women, particularly pregnant and laboring women, and she dedicated much of her love and energy to helping women have positive birth experiences. I'm learning all this just as I've re-committed myself to becoming a certified doula (essentially a support person for women in labor), and the books I'm reading for that purpose just arrived this week. It's quite special and inspiring to have this example in Briana, this unexpected example of true passion and love. I am certain that all of her beloved ones would find it as no surprise that she's still teaching and still magnifying her calling, from that beautiful place where she must surely be.

Love Is The Movement

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Headscarf: Gap outlet, $8
T-shirt: secondhand, free from clothing swap
Sweater: ModCloth, $17
Jeans: American Eagle Outfitters, $19
Shoes: secondhand Converse, yard sale loot via my mom
Purse: Target, $25
Turquoise ring: Urban Renewal (St. George, Utah), $11

It has been four weeks since I last dyed my hair, and the roots are starting to show. Going from blond to a darker color is a funny thing; if there's enough difference between the two shades, and if the original blond is sufficiently light, then the regrowth ends up looking like baldness. Solution? Pulling the hair straight back and covering the front with a headscarf tied about your noggin. Make sure the resulting bow or knot is front and center. Fwuhbam. The look is a little funky, a little unexpected ... and maybe awesome? That's how Brittney at A Day in the Life Too would describe it. In the interest of thriftiness, I try to keep my dye jobs spaced apart by at least six weeks, so for the next little while, I'll keep my roots hidden by wearing headscarves like they're going out of style (and they probably are).

Next notable thing about my outfit: a shirt with words. This is a tricky one to pull off, team. Part of me is certain that shirts with words are for teenagers only. Remember the days of wearing shirts that said "Angel" or "Princess" across the boobs? Man, the '90s were classy, weren't they? I think I speak for all of us when I say I hope that phase is firmly in the past. Still, this shirt felt marginally more acceptable. Number one, the words are not hot pink or glittery. Number two, the message is political, religious, semi-inspiring, and vague all at once. That's a recipe for success. I also got the shirt for free from a clothing swap, and since free = good, a free shirt = a good shirt. Problem solved.

Here are a few pictures from recent days.

I took a walk yesterday (keeping up with the habit I started earlier this month) and shot a few unplanned, unfocused pictures of the construction going on one street over from my house. This one was a favorite, showing the mud, grass, chains, and gray cement structure that had been pulled from the ground. I also have a soft spot for how you can see the well-worn outline of that construction worker's wallet in his back pocket; reminds me of my dad, my grandpa, and all their farming/ranching compadres.

Pretty sky, also from my walk yesterday.

Another slammin' headscarf. Believe me, this will become a major theme.

Our friends Drew and Elise are moving to California in the next few weeks and had a little campfire par-tay last night to say goodbye. We're going to miss them hard core, but we're hopeful that our paths will cross for future road trips. Observations about campfires:

One, they are the original televisions, in that they absorb your attention for long periods for no discernible reason.

Two, whether you're hungry or not, it is always a good idea to eat a s'more while sitting by a campfire (and I really wish I had realized this last night before we left).

Three, campfires take the pressure out of situations where you're mainly with people you don't know. Finding it hard to make conversation? No big deal! You didn't come here to chat; you came here to enjoy a campfire. If you're looking at the glowing thing in the middle of the circle, you are navigating the situation successfully, so chillax.

The Unimaginable

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
- Mary Oliver

This quote from Mary Oliver showed up on my Facebook feed earlier today, and it's been on a sort of rolling boil in my mind since then. I guess I've never thought to do that before (leave room for the unimaginable), but now that I consider things, it's wise counsel for all of us, cynics and idealists alike.

After three weeks of not blogging a single picture or word, this will be my third post in a 24-hour period, so it's a marked difference.

(I'd like to make some kind of declaration about how I'm going to be more committed or how I've come up with a new/improved approach to keeping this record up; I'd like to make a declaration like that mostly for myself, as a personal charge. Ultimately, though, I'm not gonna make any promises. There's no point. I stopped writing because I was floating between "bummed out" and "depressed" for a while, and when I'm in that place, keeping up with a blog isn't the most important thing, and if it's not the most important thing, I'm not going to pretend as though it is. Ergo, no promises about future post frequency. I'm here now, and that's all I've got.)

I get a wee bit overwhelmed by life sometimes, and since I live a really easygoing, uncomplicated life right now, the fact that I'm overwhelmed makes me seriously worried about the future when things will actually get tough (and yes, that worry does contribute to the overwhelm-ity of it all -- what a tangled, messy web). My primary issues right now are (1) a medical condition that, as part of its batch of fun, makes it next-to-impossible that Craig and I will conceive a baby at this point, even though that is what we most want in the world, and (2) religious/spiritual/existential meltdowns that I undergo every so often.

With the first one, there's not a whole lot I can do to fix things; there are some things I can do, and I am doing them with as much positivity as I can muster in any given moment, but it's not a "take this magic pill and be on your way" kind of problem. I would elaborate if I felt up to it, but I suppose the details don't really matter in this venue.

As for the second issue ... I know that there are loads of people in this world who aren't continually stressed about their relationship with God, who don't second-guess themselves daily about religious belief, who don't battle with the idea of "truth" to the point where they can't sleep and have to finally get out of bed at 4:00 AM to write a meandering blog post. There are people like that - I'm married to one of them, I'm the child of two of them, I'm a sibling or friend to dozens more. I'm guessing that the vast majority of people on this planet fit into the category of "people who are basically okay and/or totally satisfied, most of the time, with however they view spirituality and religion." And that's cool and everything, except for I'm not in that category and I feel a little weird about it. To me, faith is serious business, so I treat it seriously -- I have no qualms about that. Still, I'm increasingly sure that something I'm doing in this department is unhealthy and, therefore, unwanted. I know religion isn't all peaches and sunshine, that there are some serious questions to ask and sacrifices to make, but nevertheless, religion is typically presented as a source of peace in a troubled, troubling world. I would love for my faith to be that sort of sanctuary for me, and sometimes it absolutely is, but it's also got a lot of angst attached. When I say "my faith," I'm not talking about my specific church group or the particular doctrines I was raised with; I'm talking about the whole enchilada of my personal faith, how my conscience, my history, my doubts, my hopes, my worldview all combine into one hodge-podge. That is the thing that I would like to be a comfort, but it is mostly a ball of tightly-packed stress these days.

Anyhow, I know this has been really scatterbrained (I haven't slept -- see above), but my point is this: I can't imagine these two things finding a resolution. I mean that literally, as in "My imagination doesn't contain a day when these problems are fixed." It seems, in a way, like this is just the reality of my life and I've gotta deal. That's true, to a point -- it IS the reality of my life, at the moment, and I do gotta deal -- but my imagination doesn't include much hope for a change.

So this advice from Mary Oliver, to keep some room in my heart for the unimaginable? It was needed. I can't imagine the solution to these woes that beat up my mind and heart and gut, but my imagination has limits; maybe there are events on the horizon that can heal me, even though they're beyond my view. I can at least keep my heart open for that possibility.


Monday, April 25, 2011

My husband, Craig, officially completed his BA in December, but since there's no commencement ceremony in the wintertime in northern Utah (thank goodness), he received his cap, gown, diploma-holder, and all the other graduation trappings this past Friday.

(It's my fault his feet are cut off in the above picture -- blast.)

I well-know the simultaneous fear and jubilation that comes with finishing a degree, and Craig is feeling both ends pretty hard right now. Whatever comes, I am oh-so-pleased with the effort and passion that he put into completing this stage of his life, and I have no doubt that better things lie ahead for us as a partnership and for him as an individual.

Congratulations, dude. You're pretty much the coolest now.

Ridin' the Range Once More

I haven't even logged in to Blogger for three weeks, but I'm back in the saddle again, out where a friend is a friend, ridin' the range once more.

In lieu of legit outfit pictures today (I have a PIMPLE on my CHIN!), I'm going to share some pictures that I've compiled over the past month or so. Pinterest has been my compiling tool of choice. Heard of it much? If not, let me assure you that it is very cool and user-friendly; I'm forever trying out new online technologies, and most of them I abandon within a few days because they're not useful enough for me. I move on quickly, since I need to conserve the brain space that would be occupied by remembering a bumload of unique usernames/passwords. Pinterest has really passed the test. It is, more or less, an easy, aesthetically-pleasing way to save and organize images from all around the internet. If you're a visual person and your Firefox bookmark list is getting crazy-long, this should help. Pinterest is also fantastic because the original source for each image is saved automatically, so you don't have to worry about failing to give credit where credit is due.

I have several distinct boards on Pinterest, and one of them is the designated place for style inspiration. Seeing all of my favorite images gathered together so concretely led to an interesting discovery: I LOVE outfits that consist mainly of neutral colors -- black, white, gray, tan, brown, taupe, along with navy blue and muted greens and pinks (which count, in my opinion). This was surprising because, when it comes to individual items, I'm ALWAYS drawn to bright, bold shades. Give me a saturated yellow or rusty red any day of the week. Somehow, though, the stylistic combinations of these mellow colors really struck my fancy. This revelation has given me something new to consider when I get dressed in the morning.

Anyhow, as I said I'd do a few paragraphs ago, I'll share some of my favorite ensembles from the ones I've saved on Pinterest. If you want to see the whole pinboard (with accompanying original sources), you can. (And if you want in on the Pinterest trend, let me know in a comment; I can send you an invite, you lucky dog.)

It's all brown. Shouldn't that be boring? But it ISN'T.

She's got those glossy blue flats, but otherwise, it's neutral all the way.

Another favorite on display: old man-ish loafers.

An easy, summertime version, like for a picnic or a supposedly-spontaneous photo shoot on the front porch.

The general neutrality really gives her bright scarf room to stand on its own (no, not literally, for it does not have legs!).

Some fashion bloggers have perfectly-placed wind machines, I've learned. A luxury, sure, but a darn good one!

Are you nuts for neutrals too, or do you go cuckoo for saturated colors? More importantly: do you have a wind machine I can borrow?

Learning to Walk

Monday, April 4, 2011

Earrings: secondhand, $3 from thrift store
Gingham shirt: Old Navy, $19
Blouse: Macy's, $15
Sweater: ModCloth, $17
Jeggings: gift from my mom
Boots: gift from my mom

These are not the most conventional outfit photos for me, but I swear there's a good reason for it. All will become clear in time.

On Friday/Saturday, I became inexplicably depressed, and nobody likes to dress up and take pictures in the front yard while depressed (which explains why I haven't done outfit posts in a few days). All a depressed person wants to do is lie somewhat uncomfortably on a couch in his/her pajamas, stewing about what a pathetic, talentless, smelly human being he/she is. This is all part of being depressed, in my experience, and it is no fun at all.

These depression spells seem to come along every three months or so. For the record, I know what it's like to be depressed in an "I'm suffering from depression" kind of way, and that is not what's going on for me with these bouts. Still, it's a destructive and difficult habit, and I keep trying to find ways to either solve the pattern or accept it, whichever is most right.

As a teenager, I was very aware that other girls my age were sometimes filled with self-doubt or self-loathing, maybe because of how they looked or how people treated them, and I remember being so grateful at the time that, for whatever reason, I wasn't afflicted with such issues. Actually, I thought I was pretty special because of it. Such flawed, flawed logic ... But anyway, turns out that I was just saving some of these confidence/personal criticism issues for adulthood. FUN! And now I have to deal with them.

I don't bring all of this up in an effort to get sympathy or encouragement via the internet; luckily, I have sufficient amounts of both from my real-life support system (have I ever told you that I have the best best friend and the best husband in all the land?). The part I really wanted to share is that, between reading some heavy-duty inspirational quotes and listening to some wise advice from my husband, I think the solution to this problem will be to find and follow a new passion (or four).

One really mild passion that I took some time with today: taking a walk. I looped my point-and-shoot camera around my right wrist and took pictures whilst walking, most of them very haphazard. I took that same not-really-trying approach to the above outfit pictures, actually. Here were my favorite shots from the day.

Maybe going for a walk around the neighborhood doesn't sound like a legit "passion," or at least not a worthwhile one, but whatevs. It makes me happy.

The other things I'm doing are:
1. learning to play chess (Craig and I are halfway through my first game ever)
2. getting back to my doula training (I was super wrapped-up in this about a year ago)
3. working on altered books (check it out -- I'm already getting started!)

Anyhoo, I think you can expect to see some documentation of these new hobbies, which will mean pictures that look a little different. Heads up.

And also: this is the fifth day of my Weeklong Remix with the gingham shirt. I've worn the shirt more days than I've documented it, but I figured I ought to share these pictures from today just to officially round out the five-day stretch.

Gingham Shirt Remix #5:

See also:
Gingham Shirt Remix #1
Gingham Shirt Remix #2
Gingham Shirt Remix #3
Gingham Shirt Remix #4

The Promise of Springtime

Friday, April 1, 2011

Jacket: Old Navy, $30 (ages ago)
Shirt: Old Navy, $19
Dress (as skirt): Wal-Mart, $15
Slip: secondhand, $2 from thrift store
Sandals: Payless, $11

The weather today had "bare legs" written all over it (really. in skywriting.), but I was too nervous to leave the house without some kind of coverage. This jacket has been in my life since middle school and adds a rugged touch to any outfit.

I've decided that something in this house is cursed, and it's either my oven or all of the white flour in my cupboards. Everything I try to bake tastes positively horrid, and I KNOW I'm following the recipe exactly. There goes the hour that I spent trying to make a decent batch of cookies.

PS: I shared some pictures from the Holi Festival of Colors a few days ago, and now, there's a great video to share as well! Enjoy.

Gingham Shirt Remix #4:

See also:
Gingham Shirt Remix #1
Gingham Shirt Remix #2
Gingham Shirt Remix #3
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