Monday, May 18, 2015

A Decade of Words

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I'm starting to feel like my brain is helium--floating and aimless--so I guess it's time I should start writing again. Writing and walking are the two mediums I use to drum up any intelligence I have left in my head. Not much is left. Why does having babies use up so much brain capacity? Does it ever regenerate? I love my babies though, totally worth becoming less intelligent.

The truth is that this month marks my blogging ten year anniversary! I started this blog one day while filling in for my dad's secretary at the Clark Mechanical office on Columbia Lane. I had read a blog from someone who worked at a celebrity treatment center and was spilling all the secrets of the stars. I thought, THIS IS FANTASTIC!

The first few posts I wrote were lame and a few people told me that it sounded like I was trying too hard. Eventually I deleted them all and started over. I think that's funny now because while I probably had more intelligent then, I lacked in self-confidence and I'd say those things have switched in their abundance. When I say self-confidence do you read "arrogance"? Oh well.

So I've been a blogger for ten years now and that is wild. It's been the most intense ride. Blogging has given me opportunities and opened doors for me I never, ever thought possible. My life has changed dramatically. I started this blog to talk openly about infertility (because no one was talking about it) and here I am with four small children crawling to the computer at six in the morning so I can write.

I thought about this anniversary a lot over the years. I thought I would do something big to celebrate. Write a book! Throw a bash! Make a slide show! Giveaway tshirts! But the truth is when May 2015 came this year I forgot all about it until one day I was in the backyard and it occurred to me my blog was ten years old and I looked over at Christopher and told him and he responded with a thumbs up. And that was it.

But I like it that way. I like that this blog has changed shapes over the course of the last decade in my life. At certain points it felt all-consuming and overwhelming. It felt like an intense, demanding boss. It was our family's only source of income for awhile. It was a confessional. It was a canvas for my words and a mirror for my soul. It was (and still is) a window for me to see the world. This blog saved me many, many times.--spiritually, soulfully, socially, financially and purposely.

Of course all of this wouldn't be possible without readers. I don't even know where to start to thank my readers. Readers have been kind and thoughtful, respectful and sweet. They've cheered with me and cried with me and left me and come back. They've pushed me, challenged me and corrected my "theirs". It still means the world to me when I get hugged at Costco from a stranger with tears in her eyes. I am a lucky woman. I know that.

Before I sign off, I wanted to write perhaps one of the most touching moments I've had during this decade of blogging. My mom and I had gone to a lecture given by the prophetess Joanna Brooks. I was hugely pregnant--due any day. After the lecture Joanna came up to me on the front row and kissed my belly. It was so beautiful. I felt the blood in my body go warm. And just as she did that a woman came up from behind me and slid a tiny piece of paper into my hand and bolted for the door. It all happened so fast I didn't really get to see what was going on, but she looked to me like a twenty-something college student with a backpack and wavy short hair, all in black.

Because there were friends and peers to chat with I didn't get to read the slip of paper until I was back in our car ready to go home. When I opened it up it was tiny--smaller than a gum wrapper and it had the words "Your writing has changed me."

I think it was her vulnerability bumping up against mine. It felt like she was as scared to hand me that paper as I am when I write something that pushes my cultural boundaries. I felt like we were giving each other permission to be brave. It still makes me cry when I think about it.

There hasn't been a day in the last ten years I haven't questioned myself for being a public blogger. I've been told many times I spill too much, I tell too much, I overshare and I will regret it when I am older. And while there are certain blogpost that make me cringe for writing them, I have to say though I don't regret them. I don't regret this. This has been my life's work. And if one person, if one woman on the U of U campus thinks my words are useful, I am telling you, that's is enough for me. It's actually more than enough.

Happy ten year anniversary. Thanks for being around.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

Five For Ever

When I turned five my mom sang to me "I'm Five" by Barbara Streisand over and over (in her best Brooklyn) and it was the best. When she sang it I felt really special like someone had finally penned and composed a song about how amazing it felt to turn all five fingers.

So tonight, on the eve before her birthday, I sang "I'm Five" to Ever and then because technology is a gift my children get to have, we looked it up on youtube and I played the video to her.

And then, I don't know, but a huge wave of love came over me. Because for a moment, you know, I was my mom and she was me. It was like time travel and body-swapping happened on the couch in our living room while youtube played us back to "why does this have no color?" time.

I looked at my daughter's face and for the first time in our relationship I remembered being in her spot in time. I remembered exactly what it felt like to be five. We've never shared that before.

But at the same time, I felt like I suddenly understood my own mom's love and charity for me. I could feel her hope for my five year old self as I looked at my own daughter. And interestingly, my grandmother gave birth to my mother at the same age my mom had me which is also the same age I had Ever. This is meta.

I thought my mom was the coolest human on earth when I was five. I thought it was so fancy she could sing Barbara Streisand. Fancy AND funny.

I hope Ever thinks I am fancy AND funny and cool for knowing how to find Barbara Streisand on youtube.

But even if she doesn't, I have to say for the record: Ever is phenomenal. She's smart and quiet and day dreamy and introverted (sometimes when friends come over to play she gets about an hour into it and asks if she can take a nap) and elegant.

And when I reach back into my memory to when I was five, I guess I sorta see myself as all those things too.

Maybe not elegant.

Not like Barbara anyway.

Happy birthday to my great, lovely friend Ever Jane!





Friday, April 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Provo!

Maybe I mentioned I am working in the mayor's administration? I'm based out of home which is dreamy. But I also get to sit on some fun meetings and get dressed (!) and a lot of days I walk to work which I think is just so completely enjoyable. 2.5 miles of Provo panoramic views.
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Mostly I get paid to have ideas and one idea I had was to celebrate Provo's 166th birthday this year with balloons and community parties. As soon as the idea left my brain and exited out of my mouth, the mayor's efficient team of designers, film makers and admin set to making the week happen. The mayor himself offered to go to any birthday party held in Provo's honor. In my head I thought there would be about 4-5 parties to attend, but I underestimated Provo. In 4 days there were 24 parties. And I loved to see the business community get into it, Sodalicious threw a party with Mindy Gledhill, Freshly Picked threw a party with Dev Mountain and Provo Bakery and the Mumsy Blog paired up for a party.

Families and friends and BYU students and Provo schools from east to west joined in with yellow balloons and cake and "Pin the Y on the Mountain" and it was such a delightful week last week. I hope this is a tradition that lasts forever.

Here's a video we put together of the week, and an original "Happy Birthday Provo" song written by Stephen Cope and Elizabeth Holden from Studio Studio Dada. It's a catchy, cute tune, if you press play you'll be singing it all day. Also look! In the freeze frame? That's the mayor giving Ever and Erin cups of Sprite. They LOVE Sprite.



Also, my friend and favorite urban artist Susan Kruegar-Barber or ART GRRRL celebrated Provo last week by constructing an art instillation aimed at making her neighborhood safer. I can't tell you how much this video inspired me. It's so out of the box and brilliant:


Lastly, my favorite photo of the week was this one of Iris on Mindy Gledhill's bus with the Mayor. Hahahahahahaha.
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Happy Birthday Provo!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Gilgal Mormonism

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First draft

Child was aware that many people would find Gilgal Garden strange, but hoped they would accept its challenge. “You don’t have to agree with me,” he explained. “You may think I am a nut, but I hope I have aroused your thinking and curiosity.” 

It's spring break around here and without funds to spend on some tropical destination, the Kendricks are staying around for the week. Hooray for the Kendricks.

In an attempt to make things a little bit more exciting for the six and under crowd we decided to take the kids to Salt Lake to combine some work CK had with some play. I reached out on twitter for suggestions and my friend Emily Jensen replied with a recommendation to go to Gilgal Garden.

I had never heard of this place so I googled it and it immediately perked the part in my brain where my obsessions start. This place! What was this? It looked eerie and spooky and spoke straight to my statue fascination.

So we went.

Basically Gilgal is a garden curated by a man named Thomas Childs who was a masonry contractor. He built sculptures and wrote on stones with an oxyacetylene torch in an effort to represent his greatest beliefs. For instance this is the Sphinx with the head of Joseph Smith:
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(Thank you Erin for the pose.)

And this a monument of a sculpture of Childs with brick pants and "the worlds greatest jacket":

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And there's an altar and ancient Old Testament religious rites and Mormon temple references and it's all so bizarre and mysterious but just amazing too.

As I walked around this garden, my kids asking a zillion questions ("why are there body parts buried all over this mound?") I realized how much I understood Childs. This is the language of my religion. These post-earthly ideas paired with a love of God and a desire to unlock all the things we don't know. I get it. I totally get it.

It reminded me of meetings on my mission where we often gathered as missionaries to talk about the deep stuff. The stuff we were pouring into day and night. Wondrous stuff that we couldn't share with the average person we met on the street. It was like a drug--the mysteries of God. We couldn't get enough, we saw it every where. Our brains bulged with it.

It's not a secret I've been struggling with some of the modern aspects of my religion. I have my frustrations and a whole set of doubts. I don't mind having doubts. I feel like letting go of a perfect surety has done wonders for my ability to relax and live my life. And I don't ever let myself believe that my frustrations don't come from the very same place as my faith.

Frustration has many times been the work of the prophets.

But this garden represents why I don't ever see myself abandoning the Mormon faith. I like to be in a pool swimming in deep waters with deep thinkers. I love this manifestation written on stone and sculpted into shapes only a few people in this world will understand. I love the bizarre. I love the mysterious. It doesn't negate the problems, but it represents the passion. No matter how hard I try (and believe me, I've tried) I can't leave it alone.

(As my friend Zina offered to me at lunch the other day, "You believe in the church of 1830" which is probably true. That's the church of unprecedented forward thinking about women and angelic visits and female blessings and a grasping of ancient wonders.)

I find myself amused mostly, but also grateful that this gets to be my heritage on this earth. A heritage I will pass onto my curious, unsuspecting, smart children.

Sorta makes me laugh--in that giddy way when you finally get to share a brilliant secret you've been hiding inside your throat for far, far too long.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

We Wean

My Iris weaned. She self-weaned a week short of her first birthday. Her birthday is on Sunday I am fine. Am I fine? I will never nurse a baby ever again. That's fine. Is it fine? Our relationship is already changing. I think for the better. Now we can sit in proximity to each other without her arching for milk. We actually look at each other more! It's great. Is it great? I wanted to do something spiritual to mark this transition. Is writing this post the thing? Hey World, for the past seven years I've been pregnant and breast feeding and now it's all over. Is it all over? Yes, it's all over. CHRISTOPHER SAYS IT'S ALL OVER. That's fine! Is it fine? It happened so fast! I wanted a baby for five years and within five years I had four children! That's crazy! Am I going crazy? AM I GOING CRAZY? It's fine to go crazy! My last baby self-weaned the week I started my dream job. I work with the mayor. I get to do things I love. I am so happy! Am I so happy? Really? Because I'll never have that fluttery kick inside of me and that fantastic anticipation of giving birth. I'll never give birth again. The last doc told me I could have six more! My body was made to birth babies! Those hips! He said. And my chest has always been generous. Milk for years. And now it will just be a shell of what was. It's ok. Is it ok? What does a woman do with a body that looks like it could birth six more babies but it's done? Do I just carry this body around as a relic of the past? What will my body look like now that I am done birthing? Will my chest shrink? A little? Will I still be special? Will I miss the special treatment pregnant and breast feeding women get around here? The Get Out Of Anything excuses are so nice! I'm fine. It's fine. My hair is still falling out. And the gray ones are growing in. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER WE DIE? IS THIS A MID LIFE CRISIS? Next week I'll be 38. That's young right? Is it young? It's middle age isn't it. I AM MIDDLE AGED. What happened? I swear I just turned twenty seven. Now I am middle aged with drops of gray hair and no baby to breastfeed and I don't really get what happens when we die. I STILL LIKE TO SHOP AT FOREVER 21. I still swoon at my husband. Am I supposed to swoon for ever? We were at Costco today and I actually swooned. We also spoon but I am not going to blog about that. IS NOTHING SACRED ANYMORE? Anyway, spooning is what got me in to all this trouble in the first place. It's worth it though. Is it worth it?
Yes, yes. It's worth it.
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I'm fine.