Sunday, July 25, 2010


I keep finding names that fascinate me. Names that I can't stop thinking of. Names, that if I were to ever have another child, I would want to bestow upon them. Names, that quite simply, I am in love with.

When I was pregnant with Savannah, her name was one of the most difficult things to determine. Later, when Savannah was still a babe in arms, I discovered the first name I was completely and undeniably certain of--and knew that if I had another child, her name would be Gabrielle Kathleen.

In writing I have never been able to name my characters. In fiction I write endlessly about un-named people who, after a very short while, become quite cumbersome to keep track of without proper names.

This (and other, less easily identifiable reasons) is one thing that keeps me in the realm of journalistic and memoir-style writing. I don't have the burden of giving anyone a name. Their parents already did that for me.

The name, to me, feels like a heavy responsibility with many consequences. My strong resistance to naming characters comes from a fear of limiting them--restricting them to someone's idea of what a person with that name is like.

But, as I continue to encounter and collide with names that start to haunt me-- showing up in fitful dreams or becoming daydream companions--I think that, perhaps, these names are a gift. A map, if you will, to the people whose stories I may need to tell.

As my daughters continue to grow and the time that they need me as a daily guide grows ever shorter, perhaps these names are the children who will help fill the void. Ease the pain. Stave off the hole left in the inevitable empty nest. Perhaps, after all, I can write fiction. And these wonderful, delightful, daunting names will lead me there.


Monday, July 19, 2010


Pronunciation: \(ˌ)rē-ˈyün-yən\
Function: noun
Date: 1610

(Merriam Webster)
1 : an act of reuniting : the state of being reunited
2 : a reuniting of persons after separation

a collection of "intellects" gathering over forgotten aspirations that have been transpired by bleak realities...

Other definitions that come to mind at the mention of the word "reunion" include references to torture, masochism, humiliation, fear and (gasp!) cash bar.

For me, it was mostly about curiosity. Even though high school provided me with some lifelong friends, fun memories and great experiences on the school paper (what a nerd!), I tend to think of my life actually starting after high school. I'm sure that this is not unique, but it does take some of the dread out of the inevitable class reunion.

After attending my 20th high school reunion this weekend, my post-reunion hangover is a combination of sore thigh and calf muscles (dance-related), sleep deprivation (again, dance-related--with a dash of drink) and residual delight at how awesome Bonneville High School Class of '90 turned out to be.

While I was a constant presence in high school due to my aspiring journalist ways, I was not one of the popular kids, per se. I was weird. Eccentric. Scrawny. And--as pointed out this weekend--"REALLY a waver."

The coolest thing about the reunion was that none of that seemed to matter. No one put anyone into the box they belonged in 20 years ago. Other than lots of "what are you wearing tonite?" and an impromptu trip to the mall with Kellie and Becky (excuse me, Rebecca) Huntington, it didn't feel very "high school" at all. When Kellie picked me up (as she had so many times before) and we said goodbye to my mom, it felt very deja vu--but having no curfew (and knowingly planning to come home a little inebriated) instantly brought me back to the present.

Everyone, to me, seemed more open-minded, accepting and diverse than I remembered--including me. Growing up non-Mormon in Idaho Falls was neither typical nor easy--and my non-Mormon status is one of the biggest things I identify with my childhood and teenage years. No matter how hard we all tried, it was just one of those things that was always present--and I think that our parents (both LDS and non) were often afraid of us "contaminating" one another and that added to the strange separation that existed.

Showing up 20 years later as a divorced, self-proclaimed wino who swears like a sailor could have been something that would make reuniting awkward--especially with the good friends I had who were and still are faithful "members." But it wasn't. They were just as cool and fun to hang with as those with whom I shared a drink (or three).

We all shook our groove thang on the dance floor. We all hugged and took pictures. We all laughed at the silly prizes (Cradle-Robber was my fave) and '80's nostalgia served up by the dutiful and very brave organizers of the whole weekend.

So, as I hobble (that dancing kicked my ass!) off to soak in the tub and enjoy a glass of vino, it is with fond memories of my classmates and unrestrained enthusiasm for the next time we all get together.

BHS Class of '90--here's to you!

Saturday, July 3, 2010


On my way home from Terri's tonite I saw brilliant explosions of color and light through my windshield and in my rearview mirror. I was surrounded by fireworks. And it was awesome.

It got me thinking about how many bright, scary, fun and always surprising explosions happen in our lives all the time.

Savannah graduating from high school.

Gabi's irresistable snicker at an "adult" joke she just shouldn't get.

A puppy nuzzling my neck.

Seeing Bachelor #2 drive by me smiling and waving in the Kaysville 4th of July Parade this morning.

A bevy of young, 20-something guys vying for my affections.

Terri's mom having emergency exploratory surgery to find the source of internal bleeding after a "routine" operation yesterday.

The surge of support and love triggered by a text message prayer chain.

Every day we have many "fireworks" moments. Moments that cannot be ignored. That call us to full attention--whether in awe, in excitement, in happiness, in fear, in gratitude, in anger, in sorrow or in laughter.

The form and delivery of these everyday explosions are varied and often unexpected, but what can be relied upon is that they will happen. It can be that touch on your hand that still feels thrilling after years of marriage or that accidental glimpse of your child being completely themselves when they think no one is looking.

It can be an inexplicable feeling of calm in the middle of a furious emotional storm that you fear may overtake you. Or the simple joy of breathing in the air after a rainstorm.

Some days we are searching for miracles and others they just show up, out of the night sky, in our rearview mirror.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A page from my secret, fantasy life

Why I should have been a rock star:

With the right hair, makeup, wardrobe, lighting, wind machine and highly-skilled (and patient)photographer (oh hell, let's throw in a couple martinis for good measure) I could look damn good on the cover of an album.

I have been rated a "Hit Artist" repeatedly on Sing Star.

I'd have the perfect excuse to develop a seedy addiction, destroy my life and go on Celebrity Rehab where I would finally meet the dreamy Dr. Drew!

After Celebrity Rehab I could write an inspirational tell-all cautionary tale that puts me on the NY Times Bestseller List and gets me invited to be on shows like Oprah and Ellen (although I would totally pick Ellen--I want her and Portia to adopt me, but that's a different fantasy).

Back in the day, I could totally rock both leather and vinyl pants.