25 May 2009


6:00 am wake-up call
8:00 am breakfast at Dad's -- uncles and aunts and grandpa
10:00 cemetery
11:00 program -- taps is played
12:00 cemetery
1:00 lunch at the Brown Residence -- great food, great family, great prayers, great day!

22 May 2009

it's hard to believe...

This innocent creature, who is useless as a Labrador retriever because she can't swim, could be the cause of this backyard adventure...

Khloee walked on the winter tarp to the pool before we had cleaned it thoroughly. We found her standing on the pool stairs unable to move {let me say again - she is a Lab afraid of water}. I had to climb in and guide her out and Chase and Darren "scubaed" in the unheated skanky leaf water to retrieve all the sticks so they wouldn't clog the pump. Isn't the dog supposed to do that? I love how Chase didn't let the air out of the drysuit -- he's here to "pump, you up." He also didn't wear any insulation under the drysuit therefore counteracted the purpose. He didn't last long. Darren on the other hand, was the hero of the day, he is still complaining, but would not get out of the water for over an hour. What is that Seinfield episode about cold water?

15 May 2009

time since... one year

two intertwined knots in the center of the celtic pattern on her headstone signifying they are forever as one

Ten days and one year ago I had left my friends after exiting the Staten Island Ferry to go wandering through Soho in NYC. The last photo I took was of a policeman on a horse, the click, click, click of the hooves on the cobbles made an unusual sound for New York. I went around the corner and bought some clever earrings from a little design studio and then dropped into a store to buy a pair of purple jeans. As I was purchasing the pants, Darren called, graveness in his voice, and said I needed to be alone. I shouted back - is this about the boys? No. Is it Erica? No. I'll call you right back. Shakily I completed the transaction, went outside, sat on the dirty sidewalk and rang him back. As he told me what had happened... Your mom and dad were working at the new house and a terrible accident occurred while your dad was driving the tractor and your mom was killed... it was as if a time warp happened and I could picture the story unfolding as it took place. He asked me if I could get home. I said yes. He asked if I could give him my sister's number. I couldn't think. He said the number slowly and asked if that was correct. I said yes. At that point, I had stood up. Something intuitive and incredibly strong had taken over my mind and body. I had to get home. He had to be so very frightened for everyone, but he was incredibly calm and gentle as he told my mother's daughters about her death. He was in Salt Lake, Chase was in Nevada, Land was in Logan, I was in New York. I took off running and crying and groaning. Not knowing what direction I was going -- I just knew I had to get home. I ran down into the subway, but then thought a taxi may be better and ran back up to the street. A newstand man came and grabbed me by the shoulders shouting in my face in a thick accent, "What's wrong with you why you crying?" I yelled back there's been an accident, I need to get home my mom is dead. He was panicked and pointed to an intersection where I would have better luck getting a taxi. I ran, again disoriented... uptown, downtown, midtown. I was running in the street yelling for a taxi to stop. Begging, please, please stop. A young women - so kind - tried to help me find a open car. Rush hour. No Luck. She suggested I go back to the subway. I had to ask to be buzzed through the gate, twice. I couldn't figure out which platform to stand on. The trains, the people, it was all a blur; all I could hear was the grief in my heart. I think it was creaking, maybe close to breaking. This was the beginning of my identity as a motherless daughter. Eventually I ended up on the plane. Amidst a rowdy baseball team. A loud young man asked where I was headed. I said to the hospital, there has been an accident. He offered, "I hope it turns out all right". It doesn't look so good. I put on headphones and turned the volume up loud attempting to drown out the questions in my head. I remember Survivor being on the TV... it was Thursday night. I fell into a surreal daze. I can't recall anything else about the airplane. I drove myself to the hospital. Chase did too, he had a similar experience catching a plane to get home from work in Nevada, he had spent so much time with his grandma and grandpa recently helping them with the house. A gift. Grandma loved he and Land unconditionally. What amazing young men I have around me. Land had been sitting in a chair next to my heavily sedated father since early in the evening. Not saying anything but "being there" when my broken bewildered father woke agitated and so so sad. Land was immovable. He stayed there all night, unwilling to leave his grandfather's side. I am in awe. Most times I am not the grown up in this family. I fitfully rested on the hospital floor. Shock.

Still shock 12 months later. We went to the cemetery that morning. Swirling brain again on seeing her name on the headstone. Time is relative. Is that cliche? I don't think so. I cried so incredibly hard. I looked at the pictures and can hardly recognize myself. Darren sat cross-legged in front of the grave, talking to her - she loved him - and he misses her deeply. I hugged my dad and we sobbed together. I thought, this is something he will never get over. How can you? You just find another way to BE in this world. It was a beautiful day...

06 May 2009

sweet & tenacious

I do have to say that I am a bit bitter after finishing my degree. Some of you may be confused, as I walked through graduation last year, but I still had revisions on my paper. Due to the sudden and unexpected death of my mother I was unable to finish those revisions in time and took an exemption for late completion. Meanwhile, our department installed its third department head in four years. Upheaval is an understatement. I have taught and filled in when any professor left or didn't want to teach a class. I usually was given the classes that were taught after 3:00 as others wanted to get home to their families. I worked hard and I loved it... but this year has been different. I struggled with egos and hierarchy within the system and was told several times, just don't say anything. Well, me being me, I can't keep quiet and a few heated discussions ensued. I did finish my requirements for receiving my diploma, but at this point, the restrictions, revisions, name-calling and overall bad form have made me wonder if it was worth it. I can honestly say I do not deserve to be treated in this manner, really no one does. My world felt very small and confined until April 18th when I decided to venture to SLC and take a chance on hearing and seeing Wangari Maathai, the first black female Nobel Laureate. I was not disappointed. Terry Tempest Williams introduced her as fierce and compassionate. After hearing her speak, my descriptive words were sweet and tenacious. She possesses the most amazing smile, inner calmness and patience... but you can feel that she will not be silenced, that she will keep on expressing her voice until it is finally heard. She loves. As TTW said, she expresses hope in the power of a seed... she started the Greenbelt Movement in Kenya... planting trees one at a time to change the world. She spoke about environmental degradation and how this is what is affecting most women in poverty in the world -- no access to clean drinking water -- my heart flushes when I hear this -- it should be a fundamental right for all people. She spoke of those in power who get used to the perks and luxuries of such a position and how they become the most dangerous as they are the most vulnerable to corruption. She listed a few things that we in the US can insist on in our quest to not forget Africa. Be engaged, keep speaking out, insist on good business practices and of course human rights and "We must not abandon Africa to China." She told of how she learned the 3Rs in the US -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and how she has added her own -- RESPECT [do not waste; show gratitude]. She was wearing a lovely beaded hummingbird brooch given to her by TTW. She told a story about the hummingbird, how during a raging forest fire all the animals were rushing out of the woods, bewildered and scared, the hummingbird kept going to the river sipping drops of water, flying back to the inferno to let the tiny bead of liquid fall into the flames, all the while thinking that this drop might make the difference. When confronted and made fun of by the other creatures the hummingbird replied, "I'm doing the best I can." And that, among all the other wise and profound thoughts she expressed was what I held to most, I want to be caught doing the best I can.
Note: I was privileged to be introduced to TTW afterwards. I told her about my paper, Interior Ecology and she said it was a beautiful phrase. I explained further research I would like to do, inspired by her writing and she said to email her. She held her hand out to me and said it was an honor to meet me. So maybe the obstacles placed in my way have not been for naught afterall. My heart is full.

01 May 2009


Since biodiversity of ecosystems is a prominent section in my paper and I, of late, have an extreme distrust of tractors and machinery, this ad by Olgilvy in Germany caught my eye. Deceptively innocent with its "Mike Mulliganesque" illustrations.
(image via here)