Friday, February 18, 2011

Countdown to 30: Day Eight

Diet Cocola: totally worth celebratin'

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Countdown to 30: Day Seven

I have some incredibly intelligent, talented, creative, brilliant, funny, and endlessly entertaining siblings who love me to the core. We are each unique and individual--different from one another as night from day. And yet, when together, I feel like I'm with "my people." I feel I make some strange sort of sense.

This is all of them--"Yours, Mine, and Ours."
I'm the baby.
I was loved by all. Naturally.
(So I say.)

And sometimes this being loved business included mauling.
With a side of: "Because you're the youngest, that's why. Now go get it."

Like I said: these are my people.
(Sister-o-Mine, we evidently need to pose in front of the camera at the same time.
But, as always, thank you for engaging in my goofy posing games while on vacations.)

(Watch for the signature Brooke & Wendy pose again in this post.)

If only I had this one's height.

(Told ya it was coming.)

And a more recent picture of me and the brother.
(Have I mentioned how much I love this picture of me and my boys?)

(Also, in searching for photos for this post, I've realized I need to start posing in front of the camera more often with the Dad siblings--sheesh, Rookie!)

I can't imagine loving, fighting, laughing, playing, teasing, celebrating, torturing, admiring, commiserating, living my life, complaining, or hanging with any other siblings but these. I'm lucky to have so many crazy kids to call my very own.
Half or not, I call you all ALL mine.

Thanks for putting up with 30 years of this:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Countdown to 30: Day Six

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?"
~ Mary Oliver

Have I mentioned I'm downright smitten with Mary Oliver's poetry? And Pablo Neruda's translated poems (how I long to read their originals and understand each word). And there's Whitman and Pinsky and Swenson and St. Vincent Millay and Cummings and on and on and on. I am smitten with each of them. With poetry in general, really. Words, frankly, and all that these morphemes and syllables and sounds are capable of creating.

It was a boy that got me into it (poetry, that is--and isn't that always the story?). The boy is long gone, of course. But the poetry. Oh, how the poetry stays.

"Someday, somewhere - anywhere, unfailingly,
you'll find yourself, and that,

and only that, can be the happiest
or bitterest hour of your life"

~ Pablo Neruda

Words are musical. Words are art. Words, when it comes right down to it, are one of the best ways in which we communicate our inner selves to the outer world.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Countdown to 30: Day Five

At one very low point along the old musical taste timeline, I dug these guys:
Joey McIntyre was my personal favorite. My sister, Tammy, and I would endlessly discuss John/Jordan (her favorite brothers) and Joey. And how one day they'd all come a-knockin'. Even if it was in our dreams.

Before NKOTB I remember loving Cindy Lauper and listening to pretty much whatever the older siblings enjoyed: Depeche Mode and R.E.M. (from the brother); even Milli Vanilli and Garth Brooks (from the sisters).

I've since gone through my Hip-Hop/R&B phase in 6th grade. This was around the time I'd call the local college radio station DJs, pretending I was much older than my 12 years, and dedicate songs like "In the Still of the Night" (a la Boyz II Men) to 12 year old boys who didn't know I existed.

In high school it was all things Broadway (with a little bit of Jewel, Sarah McLachlan, and other
Dawson's Creek/Lilith Fair fare scattered in). Ragtime was my favorite. Then Into the Woods. The summer after I graduated I bought a Discman with my first paycheck. I recall listening to West Side Story as I walked (okay, maybe I skipped) in rhythm to the bus stop.

Until I realized just how nerd-a-licious my tastes were. And that boys listened to something a little bit tougher. Which was the impetus for my pop/punk/ska/rock phase. Blink 182. Weezer. Incubus. Sublime. Beck. Good Charlotte. Foo Fighters. (Whom I still adore--
Rock Star Boyfriend, anyone?)

And then I became an upperclassmen. I'd taken Women's Studies 1010 (for 2 weeks). I was a serious-minded English Major. I bought all my clothing at thrift stores. It was an era of Ani DiFranco and Tori Amos and Chaco Sandals and bandannas in my hair.

And then I mellowed down the hippie-granola-vibe. I'm now smitten with everything from Glee to The Frames to Alicia Keys to Regina Spektor to Debussy to Ray LaMontagne to The Weepies. I've discovered that I don't really like what's on the radio--beyond NPR.

And the beautiful thing about music--it always takes me back. "The Right Stuff" still gets me dancin'. How can you not laugh and feel young and careless when the music of your lifeline comes drifting through the air? I celebrate music. Even the eras of really bad musical taste--and there were many. Each song is linked to a memory, a someone in some moment somewhere I haven't been in a very long time.

Here's to the stuff that makes my toes tap, my hips sway, my mind surge with memory. Here's to music. I delight in it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Countdown to 30: Day Four

Once upon a time
I was blonde-ish, bald-ish, and kind of doofy looking:

But guess what?

They kept me anyway.

Maybe because I matched the set?

And then I turned into someone even doofier looking:
(But Grandma and Grandpa insisted I stay.)

Unfortunately, I only got a little bit doofier:

And then it went from bad to worse:
(My mother chose my glasses. But you never would have guessed that on your own.)

Until I turned into a beautiful swan.

Then again, maybe not:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Countdown to 30: Day Three

Everything I am I owe to my parents. They are good people.

Even if my mother sported a white-woman's poodle 'fro circa 1980 (evidence below).
(My parents on the left the weekend they eloped in Vegas--aunt and uncle on the right.)

I get my expressive nature from my mother. I talk with my hands, emphasize every sentence. I feel her energy and presence run through me. Tonight I found myself sitting in a position exactly like one of hers. It was eerie and comforting at the same time.

I get my mellow side from my father. I can, if need be, go with the flow. I like to be alone, in my own little world of quiet and thought. I also got his terrible vision. Does this mean I can send my eye doctor bills his way?

I learned to laugh because of them. Even at my dad's stale jokes: years upon years of hearing, "You're going to eat your mother?" after asking "When are we eating, Mom?" (He still thinks this is knee-slappin' hilarious, by the way.)

(THIS, my friends, is the 80's in all its Mormon WASP-ish glory.
In fact, I'm pretty sure this was taken at a ward party.)

I am lucky. My family laughs. Sometimes at each other, sometimes simply because we're being silly, sometimes because it hurts so much what else can one do. My parents taught us this. To keep going. That life keeps moving. That tomorrow is tomorrow and is sometimes much better.

I learned to accept others charitably, without judgment--to love unconditionally, to give of myself, to serve, to stay loyal to family--all from them. I learned that everybody's family is a little crazy and that's okay. I learned to feel things, to be self-reflective from them.

Between the two of them, they've raised 10 children. They have 19 grandchildren. They mixed two families together and made it out alive. They've l
ost businesses, houses, parents. They've been married over 30 years. They are good friends. They drive one another crazy.

They're down to earth. Their idiosyncrasies are boundless. They are each quirky and witty and fun and intelligent. They are intriguing, unique people. I am grateful I have them. How can I celebrate these 30 years without acknowledging who got me here?

I love you, Momdu & Popsy. You're good people.

da baby

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Countdown to 30: Day Two

I've since learned better.

I now prefer an icy Diet-Cocola.
With fresh squeezed lime.

Or an icy cool water.
Water rocks my world.

I'm also far too curvy (and fashionable)
for overalls.

But, in all honesty here, wasn't I cute?
(And rockin' the piggies?)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Countdown to 30: Day One

The backyard of my childhood home had a mature elm tree at its center. The branches of the tree arched over nearly the entirety of the back lawn. You could see its tallest branches peeking out when standing in the front yard. It was a beautiful tree.

I loved this tree. I climbed it. I danced beneath it. In autumn I'd frustrate my father as he worked in the yard, leaping into his neatly raked piles of the tree's leaves. I used to lay on a blanket under its limbs and read my college textbooks when spring had arrived and I missed the sunlight. I sometimes cursed it in the summer when it interfered with my sun worship (before I admitted that sunburning and freckles were my skin's natural pattern in the sun). My dad has told me my whole life that I used to stare up at its leaves when I was a baby, calm and content.

My father and his siblings sold the family home sometime after my grandfather's death (it was technically grandpa's home--not ours). At the time I was finishing my final semesters of college. While I looked forward to a new bedroom and the swimming pool at my parents' new condo complex, I hated leaving the squeaking floors, the smells, the neighborhood, the familiarity of that house. Losing one's notion of home and childhood and nostalgia is difficult to say the least. But, as we settled into the new place, what I longed for very most was that tree.

I guess you could say I'm still googly-eyed about deciduous trees. The seasons revolve and the trees spin with them, a kaleidoscopic show. Each season is painted with their colors and serenaded by the wind in their shifting branches. There is little else in this world quite as lovely as the sound of wind through an aspen--except, perhaps, the sequined shimmer of its leaves in that same wind.

Yes, it is true: my first post in celebration of my 30 years and I'm writing about trees. But maybe this reveals something about me, about my personality. About some constant in these 30 years here. Maybe it is because I love the story my father always tells me--my infant-self's fascination with the elm in the backyard. Maybe it is because it is February and the branches of trees all around me have been naked for far too long. Maybe I'm more granola than I'd like to admit.

Who cares? I'm turning 30. And I love trees. They've added to my life's delight. The end.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

30 to 30

I turn 30 next month.

Once upon a time I believed 30 to be quite old. Established. Official. Middle aged-ish.

30 meant you had a balding husband. Kids. A career. A mortgage. A Subaru or Volvo or minivan.

30 meant mom jeans.

30 meant you had things figured out.

How relieved I am to have been so very, very wrong about this age.

Because today I can almost touch 30.

And of all the things I once believed about 30, I can say only one was true: I have a career.

My "kids" belong to other people and leave me alone after the bell rings at 2:30. No husband (even sans hair). Still renting. I wish I had a Subaru (but reeeeally wish for that Volvo) and, if I'm completely honest, I think minivans offer some sweet amenities. I'm grateful I don't wear mom jeans--but I'm equally wise enough to realize not every body can pull off the skinny jean/jegging.

And I still don't have most things figured out. I'm glad of that. It means I'm consistently learning.

So, in honor of the past 30 years--or the next 30 (plus) years--I'm reveling in completely, utterly, overly indulgent narcissism over the next 30 days.

Each day until my birthday I will share my life from the past 30 years. These posts may include photos, there will certainly be memories, perhaps it will all just be an overly conceited celebration of me. Who knows? Who cares? It is certain to be fun. For me, if no one else.

And away we go...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Being 15 Really Does Suck. I Kind of Hated It Myself.

I end my final class each day a few minutes early in order to put the chairs up on the tables, to clean and straighten up the classroom. Sometimes this means we wait for the seconds to pass until the bell rings. I'm not one for releasing my students early. Nobody wants to be that teacher.

Today while we waited, I chatted with a handful of students.

A girl asked me, "Teacher, do you like your job?"

"I do. I love it, in fact. I feel lucky to have found my purpose in life."

To which the always stoic and silent "Braydon" interjected, "I would hate your job if I were you."

The girl continued with her chatter, ignoring Braydon's comment. "You're not married, right? And you probably don't have kids. I think I could teach little kids. Do you think you'd prefer to teach elementary, high school, or college? Did you choose high school?"

"I prefer high school. And that's what I'm trained to teach. I don't think I could do elementary. Little kids are cute, but not 25 or so of them at a time."

Braydon, still eavesdropping, "I hate little kids."

Braydon rarely says much, so I figured I'd best include him in the conversation.

"So what do you like?"


"Do you like video games?"

"I hate gaming. It sucks."


It was almost painful for Braydon to answer in the affirmative, "Some of it is ok, I guess."

"Which genre? What bands?"

"Metal. Like Slipknot. Or Korn. Bands that talk about how much everything sucks."

And then the bell rang.

Oh Braydon, may life cease to suck so much sometime soon.

This isn't Braydon. Obviously.
Braydon wouldn't smile for the camera.
No, this is what came up when I searched "15 years old" in Google images.