Monday, September 26, 2011

At Sea Soundtrack, Session #15

This is what perfection sounds like. My mind is liquidy with the pulse of this song. I'm pretty sure I was humming constantly all day. And then blaring my blown-out speakers before work, during lunch, and on the drive home.


Sunday, September 18, 2011


My niece, Jessica, has lots of freckles on her nose and along her cheeks. More of them speckle up in the summer sun. A few weeks ago, I told her, "Jessie, I love your freckles." She put her hands up to her face, smiled, and said, "Thanks." She also has red hair and a quick temper. I love her without the freckles too.

I've always wanted freckles. Lots of them, all over. Instead I have a few random ones and then a whole lot on my shoulders. If I ever got a tattoo, I think I'd just like to have thousands of freckles tattooed on.

You can't really see her freckles, but Jess is in the middle. Maren is on the left and Mark is on the right.

Questions I want answers to after I'm dead

1. Okay seriously, what happened to the Grand Duchess Anastasia?

2. Why do blackheads have to exist?

3. Who really killed JFK?

4. If I stare at the sun for a whole day, will I go blind?

5. What did Moses look like?

6. Why did you do that?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Baffled King Composing, Sountrack #14

"Hallelujah" is one of my favorite songs. So beautiful, so sad. It seems simultaneously hollow and overflowing. Once, for a presentation in a Spanish lit class, I made the whole class sing along (don't worry, I had the lyrics on a PowerPoint).

Here are a few covers of it that do its lyrics some justice:

This is a four-part beauty. Youtube wouldn't let me embed it, so listen to it here.

Kate Voegele

Jeff Buckley

Imogen Heap -this cover is very spare; haunting

Regina Spektor

Rufus Wainwright (this is the one you've heard from "Shrek")

Casimir, Soundtrack #13

I was listening to "Casimir Pulaski Day" as I was driving home. I hadn't listened to much Sufjan Stevens lately. I was wearing my sunglasses even though the sun was falling and everything I saw seemed to be covered in a sheer kind of darkness. To me, this song is autumn. When I hear this song, I think of wearing long-sleeved flannel and waking up in the dark and the smell of pumpkin and cold leaves. I think of cheeks made pink with the start of frost. I think of slightly chapped lips and hall lights.

If last Christmastime had a soundtrack, it would be Sufjan Stevens' Christmas collection, "Songs for Christmas." I listened to those CDs over and over: in the car, at home, playing in my mind while sitting on a metal bench, waiting for the bus in the ice and night. When Christmas had passed, I stopped listening, and I missed it. To me, Christmas is now wrapped and seamed together with those songs. I have a hard time separating the holiday season from that music. And whenever I think of the past December, Sufjan is there, playing quietly, peaceably, on repeat.

Dear Sufjan, what do you say to an autumn wedding? I'll wear a cream-colored dress and we can serve everybody hot cider and apple donuts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Got Soul

This commercial always make me wish I were some hardcore athlete.

I'm not.

But I still have this song on my ipod. And I still feel pretty dope when it comes on when I'm running.

You know what else is rad? Pre.

Don't need no ticket, Soundtrack #12

These are today's songs:

People Get Ready -Eva Cassidy

Dream -Priscilla Ahn

Skinny Love -Bon Iver

Hamburg Song -Keane

To Be Alone With You -Sufjan Stevens

Forever and Always -Taylor Swift

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th: Ten Years

Ten years have passed. When I remember September 11th, 2001, I am horrified and heart-broken again. That day: the events, the people, the pain, the loss, the confusion, the shattering of everything familiar and safe--it is all still with me.

I can feel pretty cynical. I'm sick of people's overloud and in-your-face political diatribes (whatever the side, whatever the position). I'm tired of the greed and irreverence and lack of integrity. I've seen too much of people with their hands clapped over their ears, but their mouths wide open: listening to no one, but shouting themselves hoarse. It is easy to be apathetic and skeptical.

But I am reminded often, and especially today, that there is so much good in the world. There are good people who are holding up good causes. And there are people whose hearts are torn, but they keep moving on, trying to find light in the darkness that the events of September 11th left behind. There is unmeasured kindness. There is healing. I hope I never forget that day. I hope I never forget what it taught me, what I'm still learning. And I hope I can teach those things to my children: compassion, hope, belief, and the honor and importance of grief.

So today I bring you this video. It has brought me peace many times. Because I believe that true wholeness, true healing comes through Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Several years ago I went to Spanish mass at Salt Lake's Cathedral of the Madeleine. At the time, I thought the cathedral was huge and kind of gaudy. Several months later I headed off to Europe for a study-abroad program and I found myself wandering through cathedral after cathedral, and suddenly the one in SLC seemed meager, almost cheap (though it is not). There were so many cathedrals, in so many countries. Some were so ornate that I just stood there, mouth open, stomach clamping down. Some were smaller, more humble. But they were all beautiful. Old and strong and tall. Inside were huge, heavy columns rising up like trunks of ancient trees. Those columns seemed to be simultaneously reaching to God and pushing him away, keeping him so far above and out of reach. I loved the heavy, unforgiving marble and the bleeding, suffering statues of Jesus; the agonized, heart-broken sculptures of the Virgin Mary. I loved the thick, dark pews. The loved the side chapels with their saints and the displays with the garb of past archbishops.

I wish I could go back. I want to run my hands over the cold stone and stand before the paintings of the Madonna. I want to sit and listen to mass read out in Latin. I want to watch men and women rise from their seats and step forward for the Eucharist. I want to wonder about that bread--is it literally turning into the body of Christ? I want to sing those unfamiliar hymns. I want to close my eyes and breathe in all those hundreds of years of tradition, of worship, of piety, of missteps, of seeking.

I never got tired of going to cathedrals: those grey, glacial fortresses of God.