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This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...


I've been told

by certain types of people

I guess I do it sometimes
and at other times
I believe
and maybe, just maybe,
so much that I
make a fool of myself
until afterwards
when realization sinks in
and I see how

--Not all people--

really like me

Some people even 
and those people never imply that

...disregarding times when I might.

special thanks goes to
for sharing her time and talents with us
and for humoring me 

A handful of my favorite poems
I've written thus far:

remembering humanity

OR Putting Yourself in Their Shoes

Something happened today in one of my classes that reminded me quite abruptly and poignantly of a problematic issue I have wanted to open up for discussion for a long time now. The issue concerns everyone everywhere.

When dealing with our fellowman, do we remember who they are? Do we remember they are a person just like ourselves? Do we strive to breathe (and think) before we speak words of wrath or even just slight irritation?

I ponder on this social issue because I have transgressed against many a member of this world family in a moment of fiery temptation that inadvertently objectifies and dehumanizes someone who is a person just like me who is living and breathing and stressed out and having health problems, love problems, family problems, possibly mental problems--just like me. I used to not realize that I had even hurt anyone's feelings. I couldn't see how my words cut them like a knife to the heart or how I was rejecting their trust and love through my insensitivity. Through many many ugly situations and hours and even days and weeks of contemplation I began to see how I was hurting others and hurting myself.

If you couldn't tell by my blog, I love people. Making new friends--and keeping them--has been a hobby of mine since my earliest recollection. This issue with forcing people into a corner of distaste for being around me has been more than problematic. It has been in direct opposition to all that I love and want for my life. So figuring out how to see people in the midst of challenging situations has become a facet of my life's work.

Whenever I begin to realize how I might be objectifying someone, I stop, breathe, and begin asking questions so I can better understand where they are coming from. I attempt to rehumanize them in my mind because they deserve it by default of actually being human. It seems so elementary, but if you think about it, how easy is it to keep someone the human that they are when it is so much easier to not consider them when their humanity has inconvenienced us or possibly even made our life more challenging or even more unbearable than before their humanity crossed our path and made it more treacherous to travel? [takes a breath]

I want to be human in the eyes of everyone I cross paths with. I want others to love me despite my failings and my slip ups and even (dare I say it?) my stark no nonsense say it like it is even if it hurts because I don't realize it hurt your feelings until after way of being.

Knowing I struggle with insensitivity on accident, I purposely evaluate situations that are going awry for any hint of me not realizing my part in it. In other words, I attempt sensitivity on purpose.

I have also concluded that not everyone cares about keeping friends as much as I do. Some of the very best of people are not fazed by a lost friend or two. I have learned to realize that as well and not apply anyone else's standards when in sticky situations.  Sometimes it helps and sometimes not so much. Therefore, I have a motto for this part of life:

I want to remember your humanity even if you won't remember mine.

sunlight and supernovas

a purple dusk ~ photograph by Smurfs O'Malley
at dusk with the sunlight's waning,
i ponder on our chance meeting.
how you are light in my darkness,
how you are warmth upon the snow.

you and i live worlds apart,
loving in similar ways
and as strangers in others,
even the distance found between stars.
we met under unique circumstances
at a time when i needed who you are.

even if at first 'twas not realized,
a priceless friendship has ensued.
how could i know how much you'd mean?
even as i count the ways
how i could never love thee,
even if proximity
were not quite so convenient,
the distance between stars
will always remind me
why the titans are always clashing and
why proximity wouldn't give reason.
for you would never be too far
if the real distance could be fixed.

alas, i would not change you.

so for now you will ever be
brighter than a supernova
blindingly winning me over,
infuriating and lovely,
even my dear antipodes
in distance farther than the stars.

i {heart} photography

Beautiful ~ photograph by guest photographer Smurfs O'Malley

Taking photographs is something I love to do. I'm not quite sure why it is so captivating, but I truly enjoy my time behind the lens of a camera. Sometimes my photography lacks creativity and sometimes I get that perfect shot and the thrill of it all overtakes me.

Gotye meets The Muppets

I heard this song by Gotye called "Somebody That I Used to Know" and I watched the official video and I didn't know what to think of it. The words were so depressing. The nude people singing with paint magically appearing on them, trying to be art, was bizarre to me. I liked the song though, yet the visual art was overstimulating and even irritating. And then! my brother, who had introduced me to the song in the first place, introduced me to the real video--not to be confused with the official video--and I must share it with you:

p.s. for best results, please remember to pause the music player at the south end of the blog prior to pressing play for the video.

This reminded me of somebody I used to know. I used to know the Muppets and there's something magical about them. They remind me of laying on my belly in front of a big old console television watching Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock and wondering why Kermit and Miss Piggy seemed to always have something to fight about.

Plus, I think I just needed to be able to laugh at the song a bit to appreciate the words more. Nothing like the Muppets to help ya out with that one...

My Las Vegas Shoes

I went on a trip to Las Vegas, and I know what you're thinking, but none of that happened.
FYI:What [doesn't] happen in Vegas also stays in Vegas.
So to move on, I went there to see family and friends. I really got to relax quite a bit and I feel rejuvenated. My only wish would be to have had a couple more days, but c'est la vie.

One of the many adventures on this non-scandalous trip to Las Vegas was going shopping and we so way went shopping! I found the most fabulous shoes of the not purple variety I have yet to come across, so of course my trip souvenir had to be the shoes. of course. All good shoes need a good home and mine is where it's at. These shoes are so amazing that my BFF bought a pair for her daughter and one of my sisters-in-law bought a pair too. These shoes are so fab they almost qualify as purplicious. And I mean it, but don't take my word for it. Just LOOK at these babies. Aren't they the most uber delicious pair of heels yet made?

Ok...you don't have to think so even though I think so. But don't keep your comments to yourself, we will just agree to disagree if you don't agree :)

me and the shoes after four hours of use = I'm a trooper

my friend again

Have you ever had someone you needed to tell
How they hurt you but that you're sorry too
That you're sorry for being unkind and even horrible
And how they hurt you helped you to learn
How it all helped you to learn how to be
The person you are today who is a stronger version of yourself
Stronger and more able to do hard things
More able to not make those same mistakes
More likely to be there for others because you were there for me
When no one else was there,
Despite all the sorrows, you were there for me
When I needed you most you were my friend
You were my friend before all the mistakes
Amidst all the pain
You showed me how to save someone
Because you saved me

My forgiveness feels as if I forgave you
Before I even knew you would hurt me
I hope your forgiveness for me feels the same
I thank you for being sorry
I thank you for being my friend again
Before now I could hardly imagine
Being at peace and full of so much love
I am grateful for you showing me true lovingkindness,

My Friend Again. 

candy machines

What Grown Ups See
Sometimes I wonder why it's so easy to say no when quarters are begged from me for candy machines. Then, I took these photographs and it makes a little more sense to me now.

Looking down, I see all the candy and how teeth will rot and how much dental work costs.

But looking from the child's perspective, I can see how unattainable this bit of candy might seem. Most of what they see is metal and a big label with big red numbers on it that might as well say Mom will probably say no, but ask anyway.

With this paradigm shift, I might need to reevaluate my response. Who wants to be such a downer?

What Kids See

The BYU Boom Box Guy

It was a silent Friday morning as walked down the concrete stairs, past the not ringing bell tower, lost in my own thoughts. Then, stopping at the curb to wait for the signal to keep walking in my dead silence, I heard music. Immediately, my mind flashed to when I could remember music while walking. I thought about those big boom boxes of the 80's and 90's. I reminisced as my eyes dashed around to discover the source of this music. My first thought was it must be coming from a car, but cars kept driving and the music felt like it was coming nearer to me. Then! I turned to the side of me and the music was standing next to me in all it's glory playing Friday, I'm in love by The Cure. I could not help myself from smiling; it put a song in my step.

On my way to another class a couple weeks later I was walking along feeling quite downtrodden, even unempowered of all atrocities, when I heard a song from the soundtrack for my life right now: What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger) by Kelly Clarkson. Within a moment I was able to see this amazing boom box carrier and the enchantment was complete. I promised myself I would ask this music giver for his permission to photograph and tell my story the very next time I encountered his inspirational intrusion into my quiet.

I didn't hear him (or see him) for a couple weeks. I watched and listened and hoped, but then I remembered how nothing ever comes that we are waiting for until we aren't waiting. So I decided to give up. The next day, there he was!

With permission given and mini-interview done, I found out that the music giver is named Ethan and he is quite a sport.  I don't know why I had even thought to be shy (for me) about talking to him. His friendliness was all one could expect from someone who unabashedly carries an antique of an electronic around on his shoulder, brazenly choosing the playlist for everyone he walks past.

Just so you know, Ethan, I adore it. The days of earbuds and thousands of songs streaming endlessly into one's ears is fabulous. But-- the days of hearing a song blaring through the air, sifting through all the other noise have something more to them for me. Those days were the days of my growing up, and your music helped me connect with the fact that these are the days of my growing up still and I have a song--from time to time--filling my ears and heart to remind me.

the great sweats debate

I heard from a certain middle-schooler that sweats are only cool when girls wear them.

It was one of those special sorts of ADHD mornings when somehow all good clothes are gone--not even dirty, mind you, just GONE—and just the lone pair of sweatpants are left at the bottom of the drawer. I told him to stick his BYU sweatshirt on with the pants and his coolest pair of athletic shoes and he'd be just as awesome as he was yesterday. And that was when he informed me of his sexist theory on the subject of sweats.

It truly astounded me. I do not see how that could possibly be true.  I specifically recall wearing purple sweats, heather grey sweats, and even a pair of black sweats (yes, I count the black ones as a low point, but whatever) while in junior high and high school of all places. And while I wasn't ever Miss Popularity, I also wasn't Miss Not-Popularity either. I don't know how I would have survived grades 7-12, and even now, without the blessing of sweatpants. Sweats are some of the most comfortable clothes ever. Sweats are like wearing pajamas when there isn't a pajama party. Sweats are double-duty clothes: you can put them on before pulling an all-nighter doing homework, take a nap, then roll out of bed and head to school. I do not see what is not cool about that. That rocks!

Yes, sweats are very cool.

Oh yeah—but I'm a girl...

related link:

Popular! You're Gonna Be Pop-u-u-lar

Tom Selleck's Bigote

Spanish and I don't get along quite as well as I would like, but I have some amazing teachers who find some of the most creative teaching materials to add to the curriculum. There are some verbs I have been taught since Spanish 101, yet for some insane reason I cannot remember what they mean. Ever. I can say, every once in awhile, I do grasp some things permanently. Once such word is el bigote.

First, this word is just funny sounding to me. For those unfamiliar with Spanish, here is a gringo phonetic spelling so you can hear it in your head a bit: bih - go - teh. (not sure if I did that right, but if you watch the video below you will hear it a bunch and hear what I'm saying)

Second, two out of my three different instructors over the past almost two years of Spanish have shared the video I will be presenting today. They share it because it teaches vocabulary and it is plain old hilarious. It was especially funny to me because I used to watch the Magnum P.I. television series when I was a kid and it brought back floods of memories with Tom Selleck running around the islands in his short shorts and that mustache!

Now, without any further ado, I present to you a video of whimsical delight (and don't worry, there are English subtitles).
PRIOR TO VIEWING, PLEASE PAUSE MUSIC PLAYER (located at the bottom of the blog)

Muchas gracias a mis maestros: Hermana Elder, Profe Gonzalez y Profesora Bean.
Ustedes son mis maestros y mis amigos de toda mi vida. 

Eleanor Roosevelt and My Inferiority Complex

No one can make you feel inferior
without your consent
Eleanor Roosevelt

When considering others...

The truth of the matter is that Eleanor is right, but sometimes you don't realize you were being made to feel inferior until looking back with hindsight. I probably need to think more critically whenever I don't have my normal sense of confidence. That might be a little tip-off that I am giving permission to someone inadvertently.

Another angle on inferiority complexes...

This moment in time is pushing me to my limits of confidence (or lack thereof). I hardly know what to do with myself, having barely a shred of confidence that doesn't fizzle out within the hour of feeling the spark.

For instance, I can't comprehend instructions in my classes--Spanish AND English classes. Just yesterday I had to turn in an assignment, but I did it 100% wrong because I read the instructions with absolutely no regard to the ENGLISH words actually on the page. I assumed a lot and, in my anxious state, had misunderstood my teacher's verbal directions about the assignment. I tried so hard to do a good enough job even though I truly did not know what was expected of me. If my teacher had not been so kind when I explained my mistake, I think I might have left and never returned with how ridiculous I feel right now.

I wish I could fast forward to the point when I am not acting like a freak show and can actually be the effective, intelligent woman I have known and loved and am accustomed to putting my confidence in. Whether or not I should, I realize how I am consenting to make myself feel inferior. Now what the heck do I do with that?! I already feel dejected and alone. I get away from people who try to make me feel inferior, but what to do with myself, right?

The only things I can think to do are pray and keep on keeping on (for lack of a better term) no matter how badly I fail or how stupid I might feel while doing so...

Baby Chicks LIVE!

Live stream by Ustream
Live stream by UstreamI'm not a big fan of animals (understatement of the millennium), but my BFF has these chicks they are broadcasting and I find the whole idea absolutely captivating. Many of us can't raise chickens, for one reason or another, although now we can see what these creatures go through every day to get to where they can provide delicious eggs, be live food storage, and enjoy the free range life my BFF and her family will provide.

I wouldn't want to actually touch the little guys, yet watching the animal antics and witnessing the chicks turn into chickens is definitely something I can do. Plus, it is a streaming slice of life that I can't resist.

I hope you enjoy the view!

quote me, if you dare

Musings of mine on the topic of friendship:

I believe friends, the close and dear sort, who have a sense of knowing between each other have a responsibility to look after one another.

You know you're really good friends with someone when you can't imagine anything other than they are somewhere in the world living and breathing and being happy.

There is nothing in the world like time spent with a friend who knows you and doesn't second guess your meaning or motivations.

Give a loving word in friendship and you'll always gain a friend.

A hidden treasure can be found in the friendship of a sister-in-law.

Friends are like glitter: They add sparkle to everything they touch and always seem to linger even when you thought you didn't have any left.

Friends are the fuel for my fire.

Ten Posts about friends and friendship:

The Non-Traditional Student
Hand over a slice of humble pie
Without Them Life Would Be Miserable
Family: Amazingly Complicated
Lasting Friendship
Blog Buddies
How Martin Luther King, Jr. Changed My Life
Friends Share This With Friends
I just got a call...
Confessions of a Fanciful Bowler

purple and goofy

a bit of green and purple for St. Patrick's Day
I'm feeling like I should show my dorky side today, so here is a hardcore sample of how bizarre and corndog things can get around this place:

Purplicious Humor

People come in every shade of purple.
Some are royal, while others are amethyst gems.
Some lilac it's going out of style, but you forgive them when you can.
You can get silly with some like a child orchid, especially when they mauve you to tears laughing.
Even if you're wrong, friends treat you azurite.
Some are plum crazy, but that's to be expected.
Especially if they are obsessed with the color purple.

not even one more wash

The past week has taken its toll and I don't have much sparkle left in me. It might sound a little bit silly, but sparkle, spunk, and that certain something about overachieverness keep me going. And the fire is dying. At least just for today, I hope. I want to feel like a castle with fireworks happening overhead, even though I feel more like a sixty-one inch piece of fabric with rapidly fraying ends and it might all unravel with one more wash. Even if it's on delicate cycle...

life is everything

Life is exquisitely













captivating in good and bad ways.

suffocating in bad and good ways.

Life is everything we make of it.

Let us make it worth living.

Valentine's Day Fail

One fateful St. Valentine's Night, I showed too much love. I prepared the most delectable dinner, set out the fine china on an old, English lace tablecloth, lit dripping candles all over the dinner table and in the bedroom, knowing he might come home just a little bit late. Well, an hour passed by, then two, then three. I couldn't stay awake at that point, so I gave up. I left the table set for proof of love's labor lost, but blew out candles and put away food. Needless to say, I never put forth that much effort again.

He Melted My Heart With Words

photograph by C. N.
I have this son. He is a sweet boy, a smart boy, and even a very good boy. I love  him so much I wouldn't know what to do without him. But this boy also has ADHD and drives me up the wall with his antics. EVERY DAY. He is currently getting below average grades even though he has above average intelligence. And this brings us to the real story.

He plays the tuba and really super duper wants to go to a band festival, but cannot go due to a failing grade in one of his classes-- English class of all things! (You ever heard of how a plumber's pipes are always leaky...yeah, I guess that's my story now) So to keep going, his lovely teacher said that if he can get his poetry unit turned in completed before school starts, she will let the band instructor know he is passing, and the kind band instructor agreed to this deal. Now this brings us to my role in the whole story.

I told my son that if he would work hard, I would be his assistant and type up his work so it wouldn't be messy and chicken-scratchy like his ADHD work tends to be when he is actually getting stuff done. (Give him a month on one thing and it will look fantastic!) He worked until midnight. Writing and writing, asking how to spell a word here and there, but working and writing and thinking for himself. I felt so happy. Then, he told me he couldn't think anymore and was falling asleep as he said it. I told him I would type up what he had done so it would be ready to paste on his project, then I got to work.

As I typed, I read funny poems, average poems, and some poems I wouldn't really say were poems, but oh well he actually wrote something down poems! Then, I got to his very first poem--the one he wrote while he was missing out on grocery shopping with us because I figured out he had another pile of work gone undone for English class right before we headed out to run errands. I told him he wasn't going to do anything else until he got his simile/metaphor poem done--not even go grocery shopping.

I would like to present to you his poem written in solitary confinement, under duress:

My Mom
My mom is like my heart that keeps me alive.
My mom is a sweetheart, but sometimes a little bit too sweet.
My mom is like a candy, all ways nice and sweet.
My mom is a coconut, even though she drives me nuts.
My mom is like a house which keeps me clean and dry.
My mom is a party, being crazy every day.
My mom is nice even though we fight.
My mom is like a flower that looks beautiful.
My mom is awesome, as awesome as a possum.
My mom is like a cat, gentle and all of that.
My mom is like a song, just playing along.
My mom is like a book, always filling me with knowledge.
My mom is like a soldier, helping fight all my battles.
My mom is like a medicine that always keeps me going.
My mom is the best mom and there’s no denying that!

-- Mr. [C] ADHD Middle-Schooler

What a ray of sunshine after a cloudy day this boy's poem is for me! I have felt so out of sorts, so unloved, so unappreciated. Like such a LOSER of a mom. But no, I am fifteen lines of mom-ness, even awesome as a possum mom-ness.

I say, if her son says it, a mother can claim any compliment as irrefutable fact. 

And I share it with you here in order to remind myself tomorrow, when the sun comes up and the antics start flying, how my son needs me and loves me so much that he wrote a poem about it.

Missing Her and Waiting

Nine years have past, as of today, since my mother departed from this earthly existence. I do not dare ask if it is normal, but I miss her every day of life, especially this day.

She was a good mother, a most decidedly imperfect mother, yet one of such vibrancy and lovingkindness in all her motivations to make her someone to celebrate for all time. I have made it part of my mission in life to celebrate her at every turn, to seek for opportunities to do so, and to help those who never met her feel as if they know her somewhat by knowing me. 

My love and appreciation for her is woven into the very fabric of my being now. I cannot imagine not missing her, for there is something missing in every part of every day that I am incapable of asking her for advice, getting a hug, or begging her to please bring my keys so I can stop being locked out of my car or house.
Missing Her

Hearing her sing.
Hearing her laugh.
Hearing her play the piano.
These things I miss.
Seeing her rushing around trying to do everything.
Seeing her reading books and filling up crossword puzzles.
Seeing her pull up in front of my house.
These things I miss more.
Feeling her care by the letters she would write to me.
Feeling her love as she loved on my children. 
Feeling her presence because she was physically there.
These things I miss so much I can't find the words. 

I wait for the day when we will meet again, when we can wrap our arms around each other in love and understanding and blissful reunion.

some memories, recipes, and poems:

My Hope For Eternity

Mud Pies

Freaked Out! Friday!

In Her Footsteps

The Best White Bread Recipe Yet Written

Moms, Pepsi, and the First Day of School

Realizing Beauty

The Best Pumpkin Cookie Recipe Yet Written

purple pancakes

Sometimes we just need someone to intervene in the midst of a rough day. Well, at least I do. One of my sweet friends decided I didn't seem quite right over this past week and invited herself over yesterday.

It was the best of times. We cleaned and baked and played and made the most purplicious pancakes a person could ever want. It was actually HRH {D}'s idea to spice them up, and she executed the plan to exactness.

pancake batter by HRH {D} photographs by S. Simonsen

{D} started off by putting a few drops at a time (several times) of purple food coloring, with me giving up and squirting the container as hard as I could into the bowl. We ended up with a shade of purpleness so outrageously loud and fabulous! And they even tasted good.

Purple pancakes with Boysenberry syrup
Moral of the story:
To add color to life, spend time with friends and use LOTS of artificial food dye.


 I am having fun this weekend. Maybe not an ordinary sort of fun, but still a really great time. On Friday night, while tweeting on twitter with a fellow twitterer (or twitt as I like to call them), we were talking about how playing word games on twitter is fun and I said it was like a party and then I decided to make a real twitter game out of it.

I had heard of the game where one person says a random word and you say the first word that comes to mind and you keep going with this. It's really fun with a big group of people. I was reminded of this fun little game when someone from BlogFrog posted a conversation for it in the All Things Purple community. So knowing that games need to be kind of simple on Twitter, I knew this game would be perfect. I explained the rules and had some fun.  Then woke up the next day only to realize that a couple people had searched out trending topics the night before and liked my idea and they started playing too. Whenever I had a chance throughout the day Saturday, I played (admittedly a bit too much), and #TwitterWordParty started to trend in the Salt Lake City area! I couldn't believe it. I tried to round up some friends to play with some success, then I had to take care of kids and mom stuff and go somewhere and homework. When I came home and checked on the party status, my little game was in the #1 spot! I felt cool, to say the least. And then played some more and more people joined in. I needed to stop to do homework (and write this fabulous slice of life), but we'll see where it goes from here. I hope it trends in at least a couple more cities, but the United States and even Worldwide trending would be astounding.

If you ever want to play #TwitterWordParty, just say the word and I am in!