Thursday, December 13, 2012

When it is finals

I will want to cry, but will just eat lots of cookies instead.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Blanchot on writing.

One must just write, in uncertainty and in necessity. Not writing is among the effects of writing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hesse on trees.

(And also on life.)
For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow. 
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. 
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live. 
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. . . . Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all. 
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother. 
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
*h/t Miss Pinborough

Friday, November 16, 2012

Been talking bout the way things change.

My family lives, in a different state.

Rivers and roads. Rivers and roads. Rivers til I reach you.
Rivers and roads. Rivers and roads. Rivers til I reach you.

(Family/Utah, I will reach you tomorrow. And for that, I am thankful.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Colbert on grief.

INTERVIEWER: Your father and two brothers died when you were just 10.

COLBERT: That’s right.

INTERVIEWER: They were on a commercial airliner that crashed while landing in thick fog. Your brothers were both teenagers, and your father was taking them to Connecticut to enroll them in private school. How did you make sense of their deaths?

COLBERT: Things didn’t seem that important anymore. Nothing seemed that important anymore. My mother said to me—and I think she said this to all my brothers and sisters—she urged me to look at everything in the light of eternity. In other words, it doesn’t matter what I wear. I just wear the uniform of my youth. I wear an oxford-cloth shirt and khakis. What does it matter? What does it matter what I wear?

INTERVIEWER: As a 10-year-old boy who just lost his dad, that advice helped you?

COLBERT: Sure, absolutely.

INTERVIEWER: It’s been almost four decades since it happened. Does the grief dissipate?

COLBERT: No. It’s not as keen. Well, it’s not as present, how about that? It’s just as keen but not as present. But it will always accept the invitation. Grief will always accept the invitation to appear. It’s got plenty of time for you.

INTERVIEWER: “I’ll be here.”

COLBERT: That’s right. “I’ll be here when you need me.” The interesting thing about grief, I think, is that it is its own size. It is not the size of you. It is its own size. And grief comes to you. You know what I mean? I’ve always liked that phrase He was visited by grief, because that’s really what it is. Grief is its own thing. It’s not like it’s in me and I’m going to deal with it. It’s a thing, and you have to be okay with its presence. If you try to ignore it, it will be like a wolf at your door.

INTERVIEWER: It’s a loud wolf. It huffs and it puffs.

COLBERT: [Laughs] It does, doesn’t it? It can rattle the hinges.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I always want to hear the same old song.

These days it is First Aid Kit's "I Met Up With the King." (Thank you E.P.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Religious Test.

A week or so ago I got to watch an interesting documentary for free, see two old friends (one who happened to produce that interesting film), and eat good snacks.

The film was The Religious Test, the friends are Eleanor and Michael Potter, and the snacks were plentiful. All three things took place at my beloved Claremont Graduate University.

The movie centers around a statistic in a specific that said 1 in 5 individuals in America would not vote for a Mormon president. I know that the election is over. And that the Mormon candidate conceded. And that Mormonism may have played a bigger role in the primary election than the general. And that many (if not all of you) are political-seasoned-out, but (and this is a big But), I still think this film is worth watching. It asks important normative questions about how religion should be related to politics, and offers descriptive data about how it is.

This documentary also included nearly every person I would have liked to see interviewed about this subject, that is, Laurel Ulrich, Kristine Haglund, Joanna Brooks, Kathleen Flake, Richard Bushman, and so forth. As one person in the question and answer session with the producer, pointed out, while it lacks a certain narrative, as you watch it, you feel like you are in a room with a bunch of smart people, just talking, and like you are part of the conversation. Kudos, Michael!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

On voting.

Yesterday marks the first day that I have voted for someone other than Ralph Nader for President of the United States. And also the first day that I have voted in a place. Before, I was always absentee. I must say, it felt pretty great to bike to a local polling venue, hand my already completed mail-by-vote to the appropriate volunteer, smile at the other voters, and receive my sticker.

Just before voting, I sat in a class called "Women in American Religions," and heard my professor, Patrick Mason, tell a story from the previous presidential election. At that time, four years ago, he was living and teaching in Egypt. Most of his students were not American, but he held a mock vote, just for fun. Afterward he was back in his office, and one of his colleagues thanked him for the opportunity to vote. She got a little bit misty eyed, as she explained that she knew that it was not real, and would not have a bearing on the election, but that it was the first time in her life that she had ever had a choice. She said it it made her feel like she mattered, as a person.

That choosing, that mattering, was meaningful to her, as the retelling was to me. I also remember the first women who had that opportunity to choose in the United States, and they were not the Suffragettes or women's rights workers we often think of (though I remember and revere them too): they were Mormon women from Utah, in 1869, fifty-one whole years before the 19th Amendment passed.

America is beautiful, and our right to vote is one of the strongest things that makes it so. As per the results, I am mostly excited for Elizabeth Warren's senate win. Just knowing she is part of congress makes me feel that much better about congress. I am especially happy for all of my loved ones in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville.

As for Mitt Romney, I wish he gave the speech that Joanna Brooks recognized he never gave. I think it might have helped his cause.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mock debate. Mock vote.

Last Thursday my Mormonism and Politics class held a mock vote, as per my suggestion.
Because it was my suggestion, I got to tally the votes.

6 Romney. 6 Obama. 1 Jill Stein.

Can you guess which one was mine?

I am feeling a tad bit anxious this morning.

To be fair, it is hard for me to tell how much is inspired by the election, and how much by my morning's impending presentation.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ghosts of Halloween Past.

Leopard, 198x.
Mary Poppins, 2007.

Madam Librarian, 2009.

Mime, 2009.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Life's a Pizza!

Another National Pizza Month is about to come to a close.

This October did not find me eating pizza every single day (or even every other day) like in October's past. I believe only twice all together, but those two times count for a lot, because each one was shared with good people, and conversations with those good people.

I leave you with this song. (It is quite charming.)

Adieu, and happy pizza!

Monday, October 29, 2012

When the wind is blowing very hard on the East Coast

You think of every single person you love on the East Coast, and hope they are okay.

Please be okay.

(This moving map reminds me of Van Goh's "Starry Night." It is mesmerizing.)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Spend a lazy Sunday

In my arms.

(I won't take, anything away.)

Also, when you live in Southern California, you can have evening picnics any day in October. And because your husband is with you (when he is spending lots of days and nights and weeks in Utah this autumn), you have them as often as you can. Backyard picnics. Schoolyard picnics. Etc., picnics. They are a delight.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My grandpa died 10 years ago today.

And I still miss him.

Monday, October 22, 2012

And today, I registered to vote.

This video really speaks to me.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall is HERE!

(Hear the yell.)

I also love this painting by Brian Kershisnik, titled "Fall Coming Like Three Sisters." It might be because I have three sisters, and I like the idea of anything coming like them. Or maybe it is just because it is beautiful.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brigham Young on Zion.

I have Zion in my view constantly. We are not going to wait for angels, or for Enoch and his company to come and build Zion, but we are going to build it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dear Eunice,

You are the winner.

A sincere congratulations to you, and an equally sincere hope that you will love the Tala Stone Tiny Gold Circle Necklace as much as I. (I really have worn mine happily every day since it arrived.)

And a sincere thank you to all those who participated. I'm sorry that there could only be one winner. xo

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Le petite prince. Le petite fox.

"Here is my secret. It's quite simple: One sees rightly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes." ― The tamed fox. Also, Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, the new C.S. Lewis.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"And in this moment, I swear we were infinite."

I watched the Perks of Being a Wallflower tonight, with a dear friend, a girl, who you might say is a "bosom friend," or "soul friend," if you said such things.

She was a perfect person to watch the film with, because she just finished reading the book (mostly by plane ride) yesterday. And it slayed both of us, in nearly identical ways. When we laughed, we laughed together. When we cried, we cried hard together. When I found myself pressing my hand against my chest, I would peek over in the near dark, and see my friend doing the same.

Again, it slayed us. (Or at least the heart part of us.) I believe in all of the right ways. Because it is a story like that. One that is happy and sad at the same time, and that has a kind of beauty and intensity that is rare. I first read it almost exactly three years ago, for a class, and stayed up approximately the whole night to finish it. Not because of class deadline, but because I couldn't put it down. (Making it one of three books that I have read that voraciously.)

When I did set it down that 5 a.m. morning time, I was a) done reading the last page, and b) laying on my bed sobbing. Which means that I shouldn't have been that surprised that the movie might have that same effect. Of that first read, I also remember that it stayed with me, in my thoughts and feelings, for a long time. I suspect that may repeat again. A last memory is that I had never experienced the things Charlie had, yet never had I felt more understood by, or like a literary character. It was a strange, but healing thing.

I was very pleased with the acting, particularly with Emma Watson's, as she did such a phenomenal job portraying a character very unlike that of Hermione, for whom she has become so well known. Other's acting was similarly strong.

The movie version left some things out (which all movie versions do), and added a few things (which many movie versions do). I felt that the things they took out and added were wise ones. All of the most powerful parts remained. All of my favorite scenes. All of my favorite lines. Especially and including the ones about feeling infinite, and of those, especially and including the first time, when Sam flies, under the tunnel, to the music. It was beautiful to read and picture on my own, but it may have been even more beautiful to watch it displayed, by camera light. (My one regret is that the teacher's character was not quite included as much as I would have preferred.)

My other favorite lines are inevitably about choosing the love we think we deserve, and then the part at Christmas time, when Sam and Charlie are talking about first kisses, and Sam says the kindest thing that anyone has likely ever said to Charlie, before kissing him.

I rode my bike home in the dark, to the music. And I felt infinite.

Friday, October 5, 2012

For the beauty of Tala Stone jewelry: A Giveaway.

There is a woman in my life, who I love, that makes jewelry I also love. Because I love you too, I am introducing both, via a giveaway.

The woman's name is Pegah. She is the mother of these dark haired darlings, and one of my most cherished friends.
© Skye Blu Shoppe

When I finished school in Boston, poor, and heart-bruised, and uncertain of my future, she welcomed me into her home while I tried to figure out my next steps. It was a healing time for me, largely because she and her children are healing. We went on walks together every evening, played in parks, and occasionally got our nails done. When I was sick she shared her juice with me, and bought me sushi. Many days we just talked. The good kind of talks that you don't want to end, that are about things of consequence.

I treasure every moment I have with her. The lasts were during Spencer's dream graduation week, and were perfect. But how could they not have been, filled as they were with "so many bubbles" in the words of her oldest, and cuddle time with her youngest? That littlest's middle name also happens to be part of the inspiration for Pegah's jewelry, which is just as lovely as she is a person.

The middle name is Tala, which means gold in Farci. The shop is Tala Stone, and the necklace up for grabs is the very delicate and classic "Tiny Gold Circle Necklace." I ordered my own earlier this week, and am already dreaming about wearing it every day. (Especially every day I wear a dress.)

She also has a tiny heart necklace that I love. And a little skull one. And some very pretty raw brass, geometric earrings. And etcetera.

To enter, simply leave a comment with your email and a note about your favorite piece from Tala Stone. To enter twice, simply do the first two things, plus share this link on your social media outlet of choice, then let me know that you did. Also, please be a US resident :) (as the giveaway is open to US residents only). The winner will be selected randomly a week from Sunday. Best of luck!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sometimes a gold medalist writes a book and dedicates it to your dad.

The gold medalist is Dan O'Brien, former World Record Holder in the decathlon. The book is Clearing Hurdles: The Quest to be the World's Greatest Athlete. The dad is my dad.

To be fair, the book is dedicated to 31 people, 3 towns, and 2 dogs. My dad's name is listed near the top, and is the very first person under the rubric: "The coaches who made the difference." This is likely because my father, Larry Hunt, was Dan O'Brien's first track coach. Or, because he was the first person to suggest that he could be a great decathlete. That he should even try the decathlon.

Because of this, Dan O'Brien was a part of my childhood. Even a substantial part. He would eat at our house sometimes when I was very small, and when I was a little bit bigger, and he was competing in more world class meets, I would travel with my dad to watch him. Those drives from wherever we were living in Oregon to Eugene, or Sacramento, or etc., gave me some of my most cherished memories with my dad, and those meets gave me some of my most cherished memories in general.

They enabled me to be introduced to many of my childhood heroes, many times, including Carl Lewis and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Plus, Dan O'Brien always paid me and my siblings special attention. Once in 1992 after winning his 100 meter dash, he walked over to where my little brother and I were standing and gave each of us one of the rectangular stickers with his lane number on it. I still remember that it was the number 2. And stranger's cameras flashing. And feeling special inside.

The day! The day! (Featuring little Rachel and little Sam
wearing his "Ran with Dan" shirt.)

Earlier that same year, a whole city spent a whole day honoring him. The small city was Klamath Falls, Oregon, the place of my birth and his growing up. The day was dubbed "Dan O'Brien Day," and it began with a mile run. Each participant received a shirt that said, "I ran with Dan" (which shirt I still own). Not every participant was invited to ride with him in his limo to subsequent events. I and some of my siblings were the very lucky few.

Later when I was in high school and participating in track myself, I had a signed poster of him hanging on my bedroom door that read, "To the Hunt kids, don't just do it, do the best!" I read it every single day. He would also call our house sometimes to get ahold of my dad, back when people called houses for such purposes. Whichever kid lucky enough to answer the phone would beam for weeks. (Or at least I would.) One such call came the week or so before my junior year's district track meet. I got wished "Good luck!" by the very best.

My sophomore year I got to accompany my dad to the US Olympic Track and Field Trials in Sacramento (where I would later serve my LDS mission). We had seats right in front of the finish line, on the third row. Dan was past competing by then, but was watching too. He gave me a big hug and kept saying, "You were the littlest Hunt girl! You were the littlest!" More feeling special. More flashes from strangers photographing me with Dan O'Brien. (And thankfully at least one coming from my dad.)

Sixteen in Sacramento!

Great day. Great beard.

Which brings us to this year, when my mom told me about his book and title page. I asked her if my dad had it yet, and, for whatever reason, he didn't. I made her promise that he wouldn't buy it for himself, and ordered a copy right away. I was able to present it to him when he came to California for Spencer's graduation. It was a tender, tender moment. The most tender of all was me asking him if he had seen the title page yet, and him saying that he hadn't, then him turning to it, and seeing his name there for the first time. I think we both might have gotten a tear in our eye, and he certainly made the slight wooshing sound/sigh he is famous for, when experiencing something particularly sweet or holy.

We had a one hour drive before us, just he and I. Just like the old times when we would journey to far away meets. He asked me to read to him from the book, and that was tender too. While standing in my church parking lot he had already discovered at least one story about himself, having to do with him getting to tell Bruce Jenner that he beat the World Record. It was a story I had never heard, but I soon got it from the horses mouth. (He said Dan got some of the details partially wrong.) On our drive, I began at the beginning. It was written remarkably well, and I can't wait to read the rest of it.

Upon being gifted.

Father/daughter/book. As it should be.

The tenderest moment.

The coach who made the difference.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


(Also known as backtracking x 3 weeks.)

The most beautiful part of Spencer's graduation week is that he graduated. The second most beautiful part is that his mom was there, watching him graduate. (It was a true, true miracle.) The third most beautiful part was seeing other lovely lovelies that I don't get to see very often, including my parents, sister, sister-in-law, niece and nephew, and so forth. The last most beautiful part was watching my father open a special book (of which I will write more later).

Pictures pleased:

Southern California Institute of Architecture:
recently named the #1 architecture school in the world.

Dedicated with love.

In the midst of his presentation to a jury of world class
architects. Plus family and friends.


This is how happy we were during S's graduation!

This is S graduating!

Spencer and very supportive sisters. (Plus one more
who is still supportive, but too, too pregnant to attend.) 

Her presence is a treasure. 

The Happiest Place for my mama's birthday bash.

I took the carousel.

All tuckered out.