LET'S START AT THE VERY BEGINNING: 365 Days Project Begins Here

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

275. June 29

Long post. Sorry for my recent garrulous nature. If you aren't a fan of my commentary, skim the post for the pretty pictures. If you aren't a fan of my commentary or my pictures, the world wide web is a big place and surely there is somewhere else that can please you.

Smatterings of a Tuesday in June:

This is a field I passed this morning on my way to a job. My first thought when I pulled this photo up my computer tonight was, life is so good. Utah's skies need no editing and this photo needs no further commenting.

 Reading L'Amour's memoir at sunset at the park. Gods of the library, please forgive me for marking up your beautiful book. It was, let me assure you, quite necessary.

The quote of the day is again from L'Amour. It may not mean much to you, dear reader, but if L'Amour had come to me in a dream and spoken these very words to me, I do not think they could have hit me harder than they did on the printed page.

"There are so many wonderful stories to be written, and so much material to be used. When I hear people talking of writer's block, I am amazed. Start writing, no matter about what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on. You can sit and look at a page for a long time and nothing will happen. Start writing and it will."

In a somewhat related note, I now want to marry a man like the young Louis L'Amour.

And, let me take a quick moment to wish my parents a happy 26th wedding anniversary. I hope to one day have a marriage as happy as theirs--with my young Louis L'Amour, of course. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have parents who are still in love with each other. I love that Dad and Mom still hold hands everywhere they go, go on dates every weekend, and kiss each other goodbye everyday. The world could use a great deal more spouses, lovers, friends, and parents, like this couple.

(Photo taken 6/20/10)

Lastly, I'm digging the awesome Live Traffic Feed on the sidebar. Check it out. I'm intrigued, dear reader, by all the locations from which you come. I wonder what your stories are. Do you like reading books at sunset, eating toast at midnight, or walking the beach at dawn? Are you a lover, a dreamer, or a wanderer? What, I wonder, makes you tick? And how did you ever stumble upon this humble little blog?

Midnight already. So much for getting my faucet of writing flowing tonight. 

Dear Brain, 
Please retain your beautiful stories until a time when I have a free hour to write them out. Thank you.

Dear Me,
Keep your blog posts shorter. Then maybe we'd have time to write.
Your Brain

274. June 28

This little notebook is, as the title implies, a book of thoughts. Here is where I collect the thoughts of the world--quotes from books as well as from life, characters and stories I come across that I don't want to forget, funny bits of conversations I overhear, curious facts, and anything that strikes me in a particular way. Here is where I collect the thoughts of my mind--word pairings and lines I like, ideas for stories, questions on life, and things to ponder. I began keeping a notebook such as this in my freshman year of college, due to the suggestion of an English professor in a creative writing class. It was the best suggestion anyone has ever given me concerning my writing. This little book is very dear to me.

I know a handful of other people who keep similar notebooks for all sorts of reasons. Every once in a while, a friend, or perhaps a stranger, will pull out a notebook similar to mine and I'll feel as though I suddenly have a small understanding of who they are in a way I never would have had were we not both keepers of notes. It's a lovely connection.

Someday, dear reader, this notebook, and other notebooks that have come and will come, will come in handy to my writing. In a few cases, it already has.

If you, dear reader, have every felt the ache of wanting write, or the passion to read, or the desire to gain education outside of a classroom, read Louis L'Amour's memoir, Education of a Wandering Man. It has thus far been the best education I have ever found on what it means to be a writer, a reader, and a pupil of life. It also happens to be delightfully entertaining. From L'Amour's work:
"...For a writer, of course, everything is grist for the mill, and a writer cannot know too much. Sooner or later everything he does know will find its uses. 

A writer's brain is like a magician's hat. If you are going to get anything out of it, you have to put something in first.

I have studied a thousand things I never expected to use in a story, yet every once in a while these things will find a place.

I have read because I loved reading, and I have learned because I loved learning, yet all one needs cannot come from books. It can come from sounds, from music, from the play of light and shadow, from the people one meets or those one does not meet."

Monday, June 28, 2010

273. June 27

The Newport Beach California Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This place is beautiful to me not only for its aesthetic appeal, but because my faith is beautiful to me. 

 For more about temples, click here.

"Christianity does not remove you from the world and its problems; it makes you fit to live in it, triumphantly and usefully."
~ Charles Templeton

272. June 26

I spent the most wonderful afternoon on the beach. I ate a burger on the pier, played bocci ball in the sand, and stood at the shore and let the Pacific wash over my feet. I enjoyed the California sunshine, the company of friends, and the pleasure of doing nothing.

And I didn't take a single picture.

That's the funny thing about this 365 project. If anything, I've come to understand, I don't want to live life behind the lens of a camera. I love taking pictures for the sake of taking pictures, but as for preserving memories, I'd rather just live life in the moment and live each moment well. But, you, dear reader, and I still have another ninety-three days to go together. And I'm not giving up on you yet. So, I continue to take pictures and I continue to find joy in doing so.

Today's picture was actually taken the day prior on a morning walk. There are few things I love more than early mornings on the beach.

"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."
~ Dorothea Lange

It's the words of this poem that haunt me every time I feel I'm losing myself behind my camera:
The Vacation
Wendell Berry 
Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.

271. June 25

Lisa and Louis on a rock atop California's Point Mugu State Park. This world is such a beautiful place.

"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle." 
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

270. June 24

 Road trip.
California sunset. 
Love it.

"As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life."
~ Siddhārtha Gautama

269. June 23

Would you look at that sky? Give me the desert heat of Southern Utah any day, as long as I can keep my blue sky.

"I just feel tired of everything sensible and I'm going to let my imagination run riot for the summer."
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

268. June 22

As part of my work today, I cleaned out the home of a client, Maynetta, who has recently moved into an assisted living center. I had only met Maynetta once. She was over ninety years old. In her bedroom, she had a carved elephant that her son had brought back from Africa, the companion carving to an elephant I had found in a consignment shop in North Carolina.This extraordinary and obscure coincidence is really all that ties me to this woman.

When I arrived today, all the possessions that mattered to her and to her children had been removed. What was left upon my arrival was the strange odds and ends of an ordinary life--a jar of pickles in the fridge, yellowed Tupperware in the drawer, a 22 cent stamp, a layer of soft dust over the shelves... This was left by her front door. Leave a note.

"Was there, then, no strength in growing up? No solace in being an adult?"
~ Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

267. June 21

My life as it currently stands:
I forgot to take a picture today.
I'm learning to love raisins. 
I'm trying to cure a sweet tooth and improve my posture.
I disappoint myself more than I do anyone else. 
I like to be held.
Revolving doors give me anxiety. 
I am a lover of all things good and beautiful.
I always want more than life has to offer. 

"I know who I am. No one else knows who I am. If I was a giraffe, and someone said I was a snake, I'd think, no, actually I'm a giraffe."
~ Richard Gere, to The Guardian (UK), June 2002

266. June 20

Oh how I love my papa.
Happy Father's Day to my dear dad and grandfathers, and to my big brother, celebrating his first Father's Day. How lucky I am to have these good men in my life.

My little brother, Dad, and me.

"There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself."
~John Gregory Brown, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, 1994

265. June 19

My dear friend, Samantha, just moments after her wedding.
Congratulations, Samantha and Jason.

"Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering."
~ Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

Thanks, Tif, for recommending The History of Love some time ago. It was the most delightful book I've read in ages.

100 days left to go...

Happy Birthday, big brother. I love you.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

264. June 18

"It's not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised; the mosquito is swatted."
~ Marie O'Conner

Thursday, June 17, 2010

263. June 17

"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am, I am, I am."
~ Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Yes, Jeremy, I recommend The Bell Jar. The novel is a simple, beautiful work that demands neither shock nor sympathy, but merely the attention of its reader. Tif, please, if you never read another book, read Little Women. Don't give up if it gets off to a slow start. And you, dear reader, get your hands on a copy of Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine. Quick, before the summer is over. Read it. Relish it. Please. It's important to the heartbeat of your summer.

262. June 16

Making plans to paint my bedroom...
Chocolate Cheesecake, however, is not the right color. It's warmer than it looks here, but still, not the destined color.

"The color brown, I realized, is anything but nondescript. It comes in as many hues as there are colors of earth, which is commonly presumed infinite."
~ Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

261. June 15

As I've mentioned before, I adore Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. This particular copy has such a silly cover. Which of these girls is Meg, Jo, Beth, or Amy? And who are these other sullen children lurking around them? As I said, silly cover. But, I love this copy nonetheless. And I'll tell you why.

The first time I ever flew on a plane alone was when I moved two thousand miles away from my home. I had a layover in Dallas on the trip and I remember wandering the airport, feeling completely bewildered and a little anxious. I wandered into a book shop, and there, upon the shelf, was this copy of Little Women, my favorite book, for only $3.95. I bought it and read it the rest of my flight. It was like I'd found an anchor to home. I've loved this silly copy ever since.

I could, and often do, narrate my life by Alcott's words. For example, today when a patch of terrific news fell upon me, as foolish as it sounds, this passage of Little Women kept coming to mind:

"I... tried to thank God for being so good to us, but I could only cry, and say, "I'm glad! I'm glad!" Didn't that do as well as a regular prayer? For I felt a great many in my heart." 
~ Jo, in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women

Monday, June 14, 2010

260. June 14

My recently obtained job, in a nut shell.

And the quote of the day, as found taped to a door.

Happy Flag Day. And happy sixteenth birthday, Megan. Megan's is one of only maybe three or four of my many cousin's birthdays I can actually remember and only because of Flag Day. Why I remember the date for Flag Day, I have no idea. Happy sixteenth, dear.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

259. June 13

My little brother, Kyle's hands whipping out Something Corporate's "Hurricane" on the piano.

"Sing me something soft,
Sad and delicate,
Or loud and out of key,
Sing me anything...
Sing like you think no one's listening."
~ Straylight Run, "Existentialism on Prom Night"

258. June 12

Cherries, fresh from a local farmer's market.
As of late, life feels so fantastically summer.

"Isn't it good just to be alive on a day like this? I pity the people who aren't born yet for missing it. They may have good days, of course, but they can never have this one."
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

257. June 11

Melysa, Danni, and I, following a jaunt in the warm summer rain.

"A woman's life is a history of the affections."
~ Washington Irving

Friday, June 11, 2010

256. June 10

Today's photo is not my own work, but rather that of Alecia Dawn Photography. Alecia photographed our family last month, and today I got to see a CD of all the photos. This one was one of my favorites. Check out a few more of the family here.

"Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second."
 ~ Marc Riboud

(Ah, and as you can see, Blogger issues have been resolved. Thank you for your aid.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Playing around with Blogger's new Design Template accidentally yielded results I never meant to save. Efforts to undo a small error proved fruitless. My little blog is now....not how I want it. I mourn the loss of what was. Is there any way under the sun of getting back into Blogger's old layout system? I just really like the bare bones of blogging. Not this. Help would be appreciated.

255. June 9

I went on a sweeping rampage of my own bedroom today. The pragmatist within me stripped the mirror of the quotes and snapshots that lined it, removed the calendar of sunrise/sunset times from its place by the door, and the magnet board from the wall. My inner sentimentalist watched quietly. The pragmatist unscrewed a little shelf with coat hooks from the wall and threatened to toss everything that had been on it--paper mobiles, Christmas ornaments, key chains, and such. The sentimentalist within me objected only when it came to the dried corsages. Useless? Yes. But beautiful? Yes. The sentimentalist won out--for now. Both the pragmatist and the sentimentalist agreed to deal with the shoebox of dried corsages another day.

I'm complicated, sentimental, lovable, honest, loyal, decent, generous, likable, and lonely. My personality is not split; it's shredded.
~ Jack Paar 

254. June 8

My Grandpa S. has been playing bachelor for a time while his sweetheart is recovering from surgery. Mom and I had the chance to clean up their home today and iron a few of Grandpa's shirts.  I simply love going to Grandma and Grandpa's home, even if Grandma can't be there right now. There is always such a feeling of warm peace within this home.

I am grateful to have the family that I do. I am grateful for opportunities to serve. I am grateful for the recent turns that life has taken. I am grateful to be employed. I'm grateful to be busy. Most of all, I'm grateful to be happy.

And I'm grateful for this little quote:
"Think about your particular assignment at this time in your life. It may be to get an education, it may be to rear children, it may be to be a grandparent, it may be to care for and relieve the suffering of someone you love, it may be to do a job in the most excellent way possible, it may be to support someone who has a difficult assignment of their own. Our assignments are varied and they change from time to time. Don't take them lightly. Give them your full heart and energy. Do them with enthusiasm. Do whatever you have to do this week with your whole heart and soul. To do less than this will leave you with an empty feeling."
 ~ Marjorie Pay Hinckley, Small and Simple Things

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

253. June 7

Rappelling off of the red rocks featured here. A smashing good time. I thoroughly recommend it, despite the rather brutal summer heat. I think God made a pretty dang terrific world and I'm quite sure He appreciates my enjoyment of it.

"We're going to live like we're living the best story there is. Are you ready?"
~ Brothers Bloom

A few words I'd like to see brought back into daily use: smashing, keen, swell, and scream (as a noun, such as, oh it was scream!). I might have possibly been born in the wrong decade.

252. June 6

Lazy Sunday evening. Not much new here, how about in your corner of the world?

"Sundays, quiet islands on the tossing seas of life."
— - S.W. Duffield  

I asked Kyle for a quote and he gave me these three:
  1. "Reading is like sleeping, you can always do it." (He told me not to put this one by virtue of it being dumb, as though the others following are not.)
  2. "Reading is like speaking with your eyes."
  3. "I can't believe it's not butter."
 And a bonus one for you, dear reader, as typed by the hand of Kyle:
"Valerie sucks at blogging, and i can tell she is very bored with this post..." ~ Kyle

This a quote from Devin, quoting a girl at his school named Courtney:
"Those are the kind of people who do their grocery shopping online and have it shipped to their house." (She was describing the kind of people who write math textbooks.)

In other unrelated news, I'm craving a reread of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

251. June 5

Always where a helmet. Even when playing badminton.
Thank you, Chris, Susan, Bailey, and Carly for one lovely afternoon. Someday, a letter will arrive in your mailbox that explains in better words than these how much time spent with your family has meant to me.
"Conform and be dull."
~ J. Frank Dobie

250. June 4

I can't get enough of this summer sun. If I could, I would live every day, all day, beneath a perfect summer sky. For now, I must be content with Friday afternoon bike rides.

"Every man's memory is his private literature."
~ Aldous Huxley

I love this little quote, because from the memories I am creating out of the life I lead, I hope to be creating a beautiful private cannon of literature.

(And, dear readers, thank you for your kind comments on this little blog. I am a novice to this world of blogging and do not know if I am to comment in response to your comments or merely press on. So I just go on. Know that you, dear reader, are loved.)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

249. June 3

Hiking with my brother and sister. Such good days.

"Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight?
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself will it ever get better than tonight?
~ Pink, "Glitter in the Air"

248. June 2

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

247. June 1

Books I've read recently, or I am currently reading. What's in your stack?

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves." 
~ Anna Quindlen

246. May 31

If I could have a thousand days as perfect as this one, I'd be a thousand days happy.

Dad, fishing at sunset.

“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey--delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.” 
~ Jenkins Lloyd Jones, as quoted by Gordon B. Hinckley
(I've heard a couple variations on this quote, and it's often falsely attributed to Hinckley, so I hope this is correct.)

245. May 30

Danni thought I should post some pictures on here of friends to show that, yes, I do have a social life. I thought of giving you a cute little collage of social activity, but I just loved this one shot of Krista too much. She probably won't like it. But I do. It's happiness. At an angle.

"Even if I knew that the world would end tomorrow, I would plant my apple tree today."
~ Martin Luther

244. May 29

This lovely bride is Mandy. She was my roommate my freshman year of college, and has been a good friend ever since. I remember many weekends as roommates that we spent eating cake and watching chick flicks, lamenting about our then single statuses and dreaming up Prince Charming (come on ladies, admit you've done it before). And now Mandy has found her Prince Charming. It's wonderful to see her so happy and in love.
Congratulations, Mandy and Tyler!

"We love because it's the only true adventure."
~Nikki Giovanni