April 2007

I got my own, personal interview from one of my new favorite bloggers, Azúcar. I found her doing a random google search, and it turns out she lives just a few blocks away from me, and we share some common interests. Yay! So she read up on my quirkiness, and sent me these questions. If you would like an interview from me, I would love to do it. Just ask me in the comments.

1. How did you start running or figure out that you love to run?

I come from a family of runners. My Grandpa was a Utah record holder for the mile, about 70 years ago. While I was growing up, my parents started running, and gradually joined the group of semi-psychotic masochists called “ultra-runners.” These are people for whom a marathon is just not enough. Both my parents have run the Wasatch 100 mile Endurance run, which, for the record, is one of the more strenuous of the 100-milers. I grew up with an expectation that I would run it someday too.

I ran on the track and cross-country teams in high school. I once got a school record for the 800 meter, which was snatched away the very next week. I was also on a team that got a record for the medley relay, where I ran the anchor leg, also 800 meters. I ran on and off through college, never going more than 6 miles. After Calvin was born, running was so painful that I thought I would never be able to do it again. Then, after Zeeb was born, I gained about 20 pounds in a very short time, and I decided I needed to try again.

I started with 2 minutes at a time and got up to 45 minutes in about 3 or 4 months. My cousin asked me to team with her for the Blue Mountain to Canyonlands Triathlon, so I had incentive to get up to 6 miles again. After that, I would hear about a race and just enter it. So that summer, I ended up running 2 half marathons, the Provo River and the Hobble Creek. I don’t recommend doing those both in the same year, since they’re 2 weeks apart. But I loved them both. I loved finding out I could run 13.1 miles in 1 hour and 47 minutes. Even if it was all downhill.

2. Where did you go to high school and what did your prom dress look like?

I went to high school in Salt Lake City, Utah, at West High. I graduated in 1993 with no special honors, because I was too lazy to do homework. I almost didn’t graduate because of my F in AP English, but my teacher let me make up the work 2 days before graduation.

My prom dress? Well, my mom made it. I’m gonna see if I can figure out how to scan a photo, and I’ll post it when I get it done. It was a long flowy cream colored skirt with a shiny cream brocade jacket that I loved. Looking back, I kinda wish the shoulder pad thing had never come into fashion. The surprise is that I actually did go to prom. We didn’t have a senior prom, just a junior prom. But it was still the thing. I had a date because a friend of mine felt bad that I had to go to homecoming with someone I didn’t want to go with (I was in the royalty, so I had to go), and this friend promised me he would take me to prom whether or not he had a girlfriend by then (7 months later), which he did. He was even kind enough to double with the guy that I really had a crush on. Well, he later married that girlfriend, and the other guy married his prom date. I’m not sad.

3. What was your major in college, did you ever change it, and did you graduate?

When I started college, I thought I would major in English. As it turns out, I never took a single English class, even for GE. For a while, I was a music major, then I changed to microbiology, then I went back to music. I thought about Linguistics for a while, but I decided I should just graduate. Which took me 8 years. I have an obsession with languages, and since BYU offers millions, I had a good time taking at least one language class per semester, for a total of about 40 hours of languages (that I didn’t need, since I majored in music). I took Italian, Spanish, German, French, and Russian.

I majored in organ performance, but discovered I really didn’t like giving recitals when I nearly died of nervousness during a recital at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, in Salt Lake. I still play once every two months in church. And yes, I have played the organ in the Tabernacle. And no, I have never wanted to play at a baseball game.

I was also accepted as a trombone performance major, which I thought was funny, since I hadn’t applied. I think they just really wanted a few more females in the major. They offered me a scholarship. Also funny since I only learned how to play the trombone because I had some friends who played, and I thought it would be funny. Yes it was. I played in the Cougar Marching Band for two years.

4. We already know you love The Hero & the Crown, name three other fiction books that you would force us to read.

This is like asking me to name my favorite child. I have now spent several days trying to think of my three favorite books. Well, here’s a try:

Seventh Son, by Orson Scott Card. I think the storytelling in this one is beautiful, and the story is interesting. It’s definitely from the fantasy phase, but definitely not the unicorns and fairies part of that phase. I left that behind when I was 12, right before I went into the sci-fi phase. Also from the fantasy side (OK, OK, I didn’t really leave it behind) is Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale. It falls in there with Hero, as a book about an empowered young female, and is lovely.

I really liked Smilla’s Sense of Snow, by Peter Hoeg. It’s a mystery, and the writing is brilliant, especially in the first half. The ending sucks rocks, though. But I love mysteries, probably more than any other genre. Agatha Christie saved me in Vienna when I was locked in the apartment all day and didn’t feel like learning Chinese. That’s another story for another day.

I also read a lot of the Newberry winners and honor books. One of my favorites was The Giver, by Lois Lowry. I like dystopia novels, they help me with my parenting skills. Another dystopia one I liked was Feed, by M. T. Anderson.

5. If you could move anywhere, where would you live and why?

To a farm where I could pretend to be useful, but really watch the paid farmhands do all the work. It would be a farm with big mountains nearby and a mild climate. I would have chickens for eggs, a few sheep for wool, bees, a milk cow, a gigantic herb garden that I would harvest and sell at the local farmer’s market, a gigantic flower garden, ditto, and lots and lots of vegetables. And a horse for my daughter. And I would like it a lot if it were in the south of France.

6. Bonus question: What is your favorite Austrian treat or food (and if you say hazelnut Manner Schnitten, I’ll know we’re separated at birth.)

Hazelnuts and chocolate are a combination worthy of the Nobel Prize. But honestly, if it has sugar in it? I love it.  I went to the Hotel Sacher once and had Sachertorte and Hot Chocolate mit Schlag after the Opera. I love a good Apfel Strudel. And at the Markt in Salzburg, I got the best Lebkuchen ever. I liked the Mozart Kugeln, but for some reason I liked the fake ones better than the real ones. I’m a marzipan snob, and my mom makes the best marzipan ever. Spell-check does not like this paragraph.

Now you know everything that is important about me. I run, read, play the organ, speak several languages, like to garden, like sweet stuff, and above all else, I’m really lazy and don’t do any of that stuff.


And the correct answer (continued from Chapter 2) is… A, C, and D. Sort of. But before you go on, I should warn you that this post is way too long.

Yes, Derek did paint my toenails one night. I’m still not sure why. My best guess is that he was trying to come across as unafraid of girlie things, unafraid of other people’s feet, and willing to sacrifice just a little bit of manly dignity in the name of keeping his woman content. It was weird. Cause honestly, he volunteered. I didn’t ask him to paint my toenails. It was his idea.

And yes, he did have one of his friends pluck his eyebrows, but only the once. That was at the beginning, before he knew that I thought the uni-brow was cute. Besides, I have a uni-brow too, and the last thing I needed was the expectation of having to constantly pluck it.

So the real answer is that his high school girlfriend, who shall remain nameless, came home from her church mission. This was important because up until then, he still wasn’t sure how he felt about her. So he spent some time with her, gauged his feelings about her and about me, and made a decision.

Here’s how it went down. I was sitting around on a Friday night when he showed up at around 8:00. I should have pretended like I was busy, like he shouldn’t just expect me to be home on Friday night, but I was never into playing games. So there I was when he came over and asked if I wanted to go to the International Cinema. Of course I did. I don’t remember what was playing that night, but I think it was in Chinese. Dan Daring was there, as was said former girlfriend. I think there might have been conversation, and perhaps some sort of after-movie activity. I can’t remember.

What I do remember is coming back to the apartment with Derek, and nobody was home. I made some quesadillas (it bears mentioning that Derek had never had a real quesadilla, with skillet warmed corn tortilla and jack cheese, so this was his first) and we sat on the two separate couches and talked. At one random point, Derek asked me, “So why am I over here, and you’re way over there?” I quickly remedied the problem. Derek told me about his other woman, and told me that he’d chosen me. In retrospect, I should have been at least a little reluctant, but I was pretty far gone by then. Later that night, Derek kissed me for the first time.

That was the beginning of us being completely inseparable. We spent every day together, ate dinner at my apartment, went to church together. (We actually hit all of the Mormon clichés. We met at BYU, at church, which met in the Wilkinson Center IN the Cougareat. You don’t get more cliché than that. Except he wasn’t my home teacher. But he was in my Family Home Evening group.)

I had always been opposed to the typical short engagements found in Utah. I also never thought I would date someone from Bountiful, but concessions have to be made sometimes. So six weeks later, Derek told me he was going to pick me up early on Saturday morning. He arrived at 6:00 with one red rose. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going, but drove up Provo Canyon, and then up to Sundance. After we drove around for a while, we went back down. Turns out he’d gotten lost trying to find Stewart Falls, so he gave up and took me to Bridal Veil Falls. I know, more cliché. At least this one was unintentional.

Derek wanted us to be at the falls for the sunrise. Unfortunately, the sun never rose that morning. It was rainy and overcast. We got out and walked to the falls anyway. He made me stop at a bench and hugged me for a minute. I was not such a dummy to not know something was going on, especially since his heart was beating so hard and he looked like he might faint. He made me close my eyes, and when I opened them, he was kneeling on the cold, wet ground, with a ring in his hand. It was a pearl ring, since both of our mothers had had pearl engagement rings. He gave me this little speech that he’d been practicing, and I totally ruined it by not answering him.

We were all giddy and goofy the rest of the day. We decided we’d have 7 kids. Which, in retrospect, is really funny. We have 3 now, and that’s as many as I can ever handle. We shopped for a “real” engagement ring, since Derek thought I should be able to pick one I liked. The pearl one was just so he would have something for the proposal. We told our parents, who were all excited except for my dad, who said you should always say no the first time you get proposed to.

That was Saturday, October 14th, 2000. We planned to get married on January 6th, but Derek’s mom wasn’t thrilled about a 2 1/2 month engagement, especially since we’d only really known each other about 4 months, and had seriously dated for 6 weeks. So we got married on February 17th, 2001, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since it was just after Valentine’s day, we had Valentine cookies, cheesecake, and chocolate dipped strawberries for the reception. It was the best day of my life. We were young (Derek was only 22) and naïve, but we got really lucky. He is the best husband in the world. I like him a lot. A lot a lot.

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Derek’s mom and I just formed a team to run/walk the Komen Race for the Cure in Salt Lake City, on May 12th. We would love it if you joined us! So far, we have me and Derek, Derek’s mom Toni, his sister Britanna, his younger brother and sister who are too young for me to reveal their names on the internets, and his sister-in-law Linda.

Some of us will run, some will walk. It’s a no pressure “race,” and it’s for cancer research. Join Team Hope is Power!

Where did we leave off? Ah, yes. In Chapter 1, I had just left the country for a 5 week whirlwind tour of Europe with Liz, Sheila, and Isaac. There are several stories there that deserve a good telling, like when Isaac and I blew up our brother’s car in Gothenburg, Nebraska and had to Greyhound it to Indiana, or when we got to Paris and had to find our way to the bus station to go to London, but had too much luggage, and the directions Sheila had given us were, “Take Metro to Center.” (Do I need to tell you about the Metro in Paris? Is there a stop called Center?) Or how Isaac went to Soho and didn’t come back till the next day, after we’d called the police and hospitals, only to tell us he couldn’t remember the day before, and he didn’t know where he was when he woke up? Or how about the nice Belgian Jesuit priest that found us in the square in Bruges and offered us a place to stay, dinner at a crepe place, and a tour of the town in his car? Then gave us each a Mozart CD to remember him? Or the bombing in Madrid, 6 blocks from my aunt’s apartment? But these stories will have to wait. Love is on the brain.

When I came back from the trip, one very important thing had happened, and to this day, I’m a little shocked that I still chose to go to Europe. My older brother, David, had gotten married to his girlfriend of 10 years. I guess I thought I might never have an opportunity to go to Europe on that kind of tour again. But jeez, I’ll for sure never be able to go to my brother’s wedding again. Anyway, they had an open house at my mom’s house a few days after I got back. I had been emailing Derek through the whole trip, and sending him postcards, I think about 10 in all. If that doesn’t say stalker…

I had sent Derek my mom’s phone number, and he called on the night of the open house. I was so excited that I sat in the hall off the dining room talking to him for I don’t know how long. He asked if I had plans for the 24th of July, which is big in Utah. It’s like statehood day, but it’s really a celebration of when the Mormon Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. There are always fireworks, big parades, party stuff. So we agreed to “do something” for the 24th. We didn’t really discuss what, so I was a little surprised when he took me home for dinner with his family. It was, after all, our first real date.

When he picked me up, he had just gotten a “summer haircut.” A buzz. I thought it was pretty cute that he still had his mom cut his hair. And I noticed that his eyes were not blue, but grey-green. Even better, I thought. With that hair, though, he looked about 16.

This is where things get a little blurry. We spent a lot of time together for the next few weeks. We went on a backpacking trip to Mount Timpanogos with some of Derek’s high-school friends (Hi Carrie and Crystal!), we went to another party with Dan and some people from church, and we even went on a spur-of-the-moment camping trip to Yellowstone with Sheila, wherein we had a very weird DTR in the tent one night, with Sheila asleep between us.

The day we went home, it was Derek’s birthday, so Sheila and I took him out for sushi for the first time. You know how someone can say a very simple thing, and suddenly you know you want to spend your life with him? Well, Derek tried the sushi without flinching, pondered for a few moments, and said, “Wow, this is like a religious experience.” He’s been a sushi addict ever since. And I’ve been a Derek addict.

But still, for me, there was so much uncertainty. We never even held hands. It drove me crazy, but with my total lack of experience in the world of romance, I couldn’t do anything about it. Then on September first, everything changed.

Wanna know what happens next? I have to go to bed right now, before my eyeballs start bleeding. But I’ll get to chapter 3 tomorrow. What was the big change? Was it:

A. The new nail polish that Derek so lovingly applied to my toes one night?

B. That he broke the news that he was really a 34 year old married man with a secret wish to move to Colorado City?

C. The return of his high-school girlfriend from her mission?

D. The fact that he plucked his uni-brow because someone had told him that girls like guys with two eyebrows.

Find the answers in Chapter 3.

Everybody is so curious where I found such a man. One who washes dishes without being asked, who believes taking out the trash is the man’s job, who loves his wife’s short, short hair, who eats what I cook, who secretly pads the stats on the I Love Derek post so it will stay in the top posts list, who likes to snuggle with his kids, reads to them every night, sings to them (that part is a tiny bit amusing), and is the handsomest man on the planet to boot. Yes he is. Yes he is. Yes he is. Kathryn, stop it, mine is cuter. YES HE IS!!!

I thought I would never get married. It’s not that I didn’t want to, I really did want to, but I never thought anyone would fall in love with me. I never dated much, and most of my dates were ones I had asked. I’m pretty sure they all thought I was stalking them. Which I was. Needless to say, I didn’t manage to even ever have a boyfriend.

When I was 25, I was about to graduate from college (don’t laugh, but it really did take me 8 years to get my BA, not because I’m dumb, but because the school I went to had so many, many foreign language classes that by the time I graduated I had over 40 hours of language credits that I didn’t need, and because I couldn’t decide whether to major in music or microbiology, two fields that are not very related…) anyway, graduation nearing, I was living in my apartment alone, and very lonely. I had sort of dated a guy for a couple of months who turned out to be dating someone else, and I decided it was time to get out a little more.

So I started organizing hikes and parties. I had noticed Derek one day at church, when he made an announcement to the women’s group, calling us the “Sisters’ Quorum,” and I thought he was the cutest little dimpled, blue-eyed 19 year old I’d ever seen. I knew his roommate, Dan (now husband of the famous Kathryn), so I went about inviting them both to these events of my creation. Inevitably, Derek had plans with his family. He really, really liked his family.

After about a month, a girl in the neighborhood was getting some people together to go country dancing, so I used it as an excuse to call Dan and Derek. Luckily, Dan wasn’t home, and I got to talk to Derek with a pretense all lined up. We talked for an hour, agreed to go dancing (without Dan), and I warned him not to wear sneakers, which he did anyway, for fear of looking like a geek. When he dropped me off, we stayed in the car talking for 5 hours. I knew he was different when, at 3:00 am, he asked me why my parents had split up. Only someone who wants to keep the conversation going would do that, right?

Two days later, I left on a trip to Europe for 5 weeks with my cousin, Liz, my best friend, Sheila, and my brother, Isaac. When Derek asked me if I would send him a postcard, I said, “Of course.” He asked, “From every city?” I tried. We also emailed while I was gone, which made me desperate to find internet cafes wherever we went. I drove Liz and Sheila crazy.

This story is turning out to be exceedingly long. I think I will serialize it. Plus, Calvin is about to put me over the edge, begging me to read The Hero and The Crown. Come back tomorrow and find out how old Derek really was, what color his eyes really are, and whether or not it’s possible for him to look geeky. And how long it took for us to be madly in love and decide we should hook up for good.  Find out the answer to these questions and more, in Chapter 2.

Bees are dying.


I just found my own blog, translated into German. I think everybody might have this. If you’re on my blogroll, you can go check out your stuff in German too. Is it in other languages, as well?

I especially love some of the translations. Clara’s dolly journal is translated as Clara’s Transport wagon journal. You know, a dolly, not a doll. Cousin Mike is Cousin Microphone, which is actually funny, since he’s in a band. And colloqualisms are just left the way they are, which makes for very interesting reading! How do they make programs that can do this? Languages are so different. Anyway, hours of enjoyment. I am brilliant in German.

1. My tiny girl who can simultaneously suck her thumb and grab my nose with the same hand. And pat my face with her other hand.

2. My three-year-old boy who falls asleep on the couch with a HUGE bag of popcorn (thanks bon) on his lap. Then wakes up and continues to plow through it.

3. My five-year-old boy who climbs onto my bed when I have a headache and rubs my head.

4. Lilacs.

5. Little tiny pink pants.

6. My sweet husband who calls if he’s going to be 3 minutes late, because he knows if he doesn’t, I will believe he has died in a freak accident and will have planned his funeral before he gets home.

7. Eating lots and lots of popcorn (again, thanks bon) and then drinking a bunch of Fresca until I feel really sick.

8. Pretending like I’m smart.

9. Aganju, by Bebel Gilberto, Latin Project remix. (You can listen to it here, but you’ll have to watch a random guy and his dog.)

10. Clean, unspotted carpet. At least I think I’d like it.

I sit, eating “Chocolate Devastation” ice cream and contemplating the myriad health, human rights, and animal rights issues attached to the contents of my bowl. Where do I even begin?

Chocolate? With the fight for living-wages paid to chocolate farmers in South America, but the ever-growing demand for products made from the cocoa bean, especially since there have been so many new claims of health benefits from eating something everyone loves anyway, I would love to choose fair trade chocolate over conventional agri-business chocolate. When other humans are kept in poverty because the affluent North Americans and Western Europeans want to buy and consume chocolate often, but want it to be cheap, I start to lose my taste for it. I am guilty of buying the worst offending mass produced chocolate that sucks the lives from the farmers. I’m guilty because I’m not poor, it is readily available, and I’m gluttonous.

High fructose corn syrup? This ubiquitous sweetener is typically sweeter than table sugar, but a fraction of the cost, so it is in nearly every form of processed or packaged food, from candy, soft drinks, and cookies, to bread, crackers, “fruit drinks,” and dairy products (check your yogurt). HFCS is made from corn, and thus can be mistakenly thought of as “natural.” It has been linked to growing rates of obesity and diabetes, especially among children. It has also been suggested that HFCS is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is not natural.

Milk and cream? I have met some of the cows that produced my ice cream, so I know they are not in as poor a situation as some of America’s dairy cows, but they still didn’t know about pastures, they still had to stand around in piles of their own excrement until someone hosed off their concrete yard, and they are, like most of the country’s dairy cows, injected with growth hormones to boost milk supply, and antibiotics to treat the mastitis infections that result from excess milk. It has been suggested that these growth hormones are a factor in early puberty among girls, and that the excessive antibiotics in dairy products reduce human tolerance to disease. It has also been suggested that the bovine hormones have no effect on the human body, but recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is banned outside the US.

Hydrogenated oil? I pronounce this with the emphasis on the Hy, so it sounds like hydrogen-ated. This is adding hydrogen (H2) molecules to unsaturated oil and turning it into a saturated fat. As we all know, saturated fats are factors for coronary heart disease, but it seems that trans fats, which are a result of this hydrogenation, are especially unhealthy. Most fats are beneficial to humans in varying quantities, but trans fats are not. And yet partially-hydrogenated oils are preferred for processed foods. They are solid at room temperature, have a nice reaction with flour, which gives baked goods a pleasant texture, and are slower to go rancid than unsaturated oils, so they have a much longer shelf-life.

It seems that my ice cream may not have been worth it.

This post is not meant to be informative, it is just my reaction to all the things I’ve been reading here and there. I don’t have sources, but I think if you wanted to find out about any of this, it would not be very hard.

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