Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Love this. Needed it.

I'm convinced that pretty much everything Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf says is meant entirely for me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


That is how many mosquito bites I received on Sunday night at a family get together held in the great outdoors of Alice's aunt's backyard.

27 in 2 hours.

Why do the damned things love me so much?


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Did I Mention My Love for Autumn?

A little over a month ago I went here:

What a difference a month makes:

I simply love this little spot up the canyon.

I'll let you see why...

I think this might just be my favorite photo I've ever taken.

We even ran into these guys unexpectedly!

It was a perfect day.
Mostly because I spent it avoiding grading.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Sweater Season

Autumn is officially here, friends.
I have acquired four new cardigans in the past month to prove it.

Oh, how I love this season!
I keep thinking of the Keats poem
"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness..."

On Tuesday evening I drove up the canyon with a friend and walked around a lake rimmed with golden aspen groves. The air was fresh and crisp and perfect. Each of us kept stopping mid-sentence to simply gasp at the brilliance of it all.
I kicked myself for not bringing my camera.
I also realize that sometimes this is a blessing.
We also caught sight of a moose family
(momma, papa, and their kiddo).

Enjoy watching the world turn vibrant. I most definitely am.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Things I'd tell you if I could

A friend from high school recently tagged me in several photographs found in the typical Facebook old-school photo album. Most of the photos were from my senior year of high school. My hair was long. Really long. I was skinny but, naturally, thought I was fat. I was beautiful and thought myself ugly. So, after reading this. And this (she does a series of these, by the way), I've decided I need to write my own advice to my adolescent self.

1. You are beautiful. Stop looking at
Seventeen and you'll start to realize that fact.
2. Cut your hair. It will save you time, money on hair products. And you'll love it so much more.
3. Embrace your freckles. One day someone will stare at the one on your top lip and it will drive him crazy in a good way.
4. Go to bed earlier.
5. College will be better than this.
6. You are talented, intelligent, and worthwhile. You needn't change a thing about yourself.
7. Except, please, for the love of all that is good and holy, just smile for the damn camera. Enough with the thumb and forefinger at the chin GQ pose!
8. Mascara is sometimes all you need on that face.
9. Stay out of the tanning bed. You're fair skinned and freckled and it could easily lead to cancer.
10. Wear shorter skirts while you can.
11. Accent that little waist. Don't hide behind clothing that is too big.
12. Flirt more with the boys. They like you. They really do.
13. Be bold. You are allowed to express your own will. If someone hurts you, tell them.
14. Don't say "sorry" or "just kidding" so much. Own what you have to say. It is of value.
15. Wear tampons earlier in life. It will change your life and save you from embarrassment.
16. Be foolish and silly. This is the time for such things.
17. Always be a loyal friend to people who do the same in return.
18. Love that body. Treat it with kindness. Don't eat a bag of chips from the vending machine for lunch just because your friends do. Keep dancing, even if it is in your living room.
19. Your greatest asset will be a good bra. I promise.
20. Don't think you need to listen to the same pop music your friends do. Trust in your instincts and good taste.
21. Sometimes those boys are teasing you because they think you are attractive.
22. Take chances and risks and listen to what the deepest part of yourself is saying.
23. Write thank you notes to your teachers. Most of them are working hard for kids just like you.
24. You really will be just fine when some people don't like you. Chances are you don't like them much either.
25. Don't be embarrassed of your parents. They are amazing, likable people.
26. Oh, and one last thing: could you whine and cry and throw an immature fit or 48 in order to make your parents pay for braces. Push the issue. Your nearly 30-year-old self with the increasingly crooked front tooth will thank you.

**Not quite during my adolescence--but, my, was I young!

Monday, September 13, 2010

To My Life:

I think I love you. Most of the time. I know I love the gifts you give me: an eccentrically beautiful family; a brilliant/supportive/loyal/funny/kind/fabulous best friend; good people whom I love spreading out in so many different directions I can hardly keep up; gainful employment that I complain about, yes, but that deep down I rather enjoy; my perfect-for-me faith that has seeped so deeply into me I can't separate my understanding of myself from the doctrines it teaches; a warm queen-sized bed all to myself. Music. Shoes. Freckles. Bright toenails. Books. Color. Naturally curly hair. Laughter. Years and years before me and (most likely) years and years to go.

I didn't think at my age I'd be where I'm at. I had a timeline at 14. I've more than doubled that number since. Some of those items on my life checklist I've stuck to. Most I haven't. Some I'm still waiting on. And I'm okay with it. I've made mistakes and learned from many of them. I am still learning from some. And others I just keep making. I'm learning to be patient with myself. Usually. For everything I haven't done in exactly the way I thought I would, I've managed to take on roles I never expected. Some beautiful, some really, really torturous. But they are my faces, my facets and that makes them all the more meaningful. I've kicked up dust where I never knew I could or would. I've left my mark in the lives of children, even if they're not my own. I've loved truly without finding that elusive, possibly cliche, true love.

I've changed wardrobes, changed lines, changed loves and passions. I've come full circle, returning to myself and left other parts of myself backstage, in the past, far behind. I've listened. I've talked. I've read. I've written. Danced. Stood still. Been silly, serious, responsible, lazy, sarcastic, complicated, simple, courageous, weak. I've shouted and whispered and sung my voice away. I've laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed. I've experienced. I've lived.

I want to tell you all I still want from you, some things I want to demand. But I won't. I'm learning that sometimes accepting what you give me turns out to be far more necessary. Though I am hesitant to admit it, sometimes what you give me is even better than what I try and tell you is best.

I have a story worth telling. I own every last word in it. I thank you.

Brooke (who, lately, is feeling less and less like a rookie in her own skin)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A List of Gratitude

There are moments we must account for what is rich and good and right in our lives. This swinging motion called living can so easily pivot in a direction entirely unexpected. Today I take time to recognize the good.

1. I'm grateful for this weekend. I brought home a bag of grading and did none of it. I went swimming with my niece. I shopped the clearance racks. I went out to dinner. Twice. I did yoga before bedtime. I spoke to my eldest(ish) sister on the phone for an hour. I taught my final Sunday school lesson on Jonah and Micah (and realized I will possibly name the son I hope to have someday after one of them). I wandered in the coolness of the woods while talking with good friends. I lay on the bed for hours--reading of all great things.

2. I am grateful I have to give a talk this Sunday. Not because I love public speaking (ok, sometimes I kind of like the challenge of public speaking), but because I get to learn and grow and figure out my own perspectives on a specific gospel topic all week. I've already started studying and writing down thoughts that don't connect to one another. If it comes out decent, I might post it on here. Why not?

3. I am grateful for the silly rainbowed wrist band I found at Wal-Mart last night. It means that maybe, just maybe, I won't hide my school keys from myself anymore.

4. I am grateful for my hair. I admit it. I have a slight bit of hair vanity. It hasn't always been this way--natural curls are an acquired taste. But today at 29 and a half (almost), I can honestly say I've come to terms with all my hair is capable of: its uniqueness, its body, its rich color (thank you Redken & Ashley). I've finally embraced what I do have.

5. I am grateful for my students. They make me think and work and so often smile. They are these people who have so much to learn and yet offer such experienced perspectives. I love seeing them light up with these new ideas I introduce to them. I love how they challenge me. I love teasing them. I love making them laugh. I love helping them learn.

What are you grateful for today?

*image found here

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Totally Geek to Totally Chic: Celebrating Brainiacs

I think we've all established that I have a thing for Javier Bardem.
And who wouldn't, really?
Have you seen Eat, Pray, Love?

This is how I like to think it ends, just in case you haven't gone to the theatre yet:
You can thank me later for summing it all up so nicely for you--
thus saving you the $8.50 you would have spent at the multiplex.
Dear Javier, you can be my champion any time.

But enough about Javier and me.
Did I ever tell you about my affinity for geekish-ness?
About how I think the sexiest part on a man is his brain?
How intelligence gets me a bit hot and bothered?
Because it does.
Very much so.

Take, for instance, this guy:
Host of NPR's (and now Showtime's) This American Life.
Radio personality, master story teller.
Dear Mr. Glass, I have a crush on you and always will.
I'm hoping to run into you (or your brain-alike) at the bookstore.

And I can't deny it...
Dr. Drew Pinsky is a stone cold silver fox.
No one can change my opinion on this.
AND he offers psychological savvy and know-how to boot.

And what about the witty banter of the one and only Mo Rocca?
I just think he'd be a most excellent dinner date.
(And he wears dark rimmed glasses.
Some folks are odd about the fellas in spectacles--
not me.)
As long as I get to keep my beverages
from exploding through my nostrils
whilst laughing uncontrollably--
which sometimes happens when Mo's on TV.

If Mo's busy, I could always settle for him:
That pensive/furrowed brow thing lets me know dear Jon is thinking. A lot.
And if we haven't already established this
Intelligence = Attraction

Lest you think Jewish men are the only ones who stand a chance--
and because we really shouldn't forget the brilliance of some of my favorite writers.
I have to give a few nods to some of my favorite minds.

You see, sometimes I exit the world of a novel or a poem I'm reading
and the whole thing is just dripping from me.
I can't help it,
I've fallen in love with whomever it is that wrote the thing.
Left smitten with their words, their ideas,
the images they've introduced to my mind,
the fluid music of their prose.

Seamus Heaney: I bow in obeisance to you.
You brilliant, brilliant man.
(By the way, if you still looked like this photo
and used that strong Irish accent of yours
it would all be over for me.)

And while I don't usually go for the wild-haired,
"Barbaric Yawp"
Walt Whitman look,
Cold Mountain and The English Patient
have me considering these two authors:

Charles Frazier

and Michael Ondaatje

Because the boys have talent and soul and
let their perfect words fall on the page like a lovely summer rain.
And because good haircuts are easy to come by.
Intelligence, on the other hand, is rare.
And oh-so-much more satisfying.