Wednesday, September 18, 2013

for my cousin amanda.

andrea and amanda.
     Every year on September 18, I remember my sweet cousin Amanda. It’s the day she and her unborn baby passed away. Every year I read what her mom and sisters have to say about it, about the experiences they’re missing out on with her, about the trial it is to live without her. Every year memories are shared, funny things, sweet things, small things that tell us how Amanda’s life touched someone else.
It doesn’t seem any easier as time goes on for her immediate family. If anything, it seems harder, as the distance between memories and the present widens. As if they are climbing a mountain, and look back often to see Amanda and her unborn child standing there in the distance, frozen in time, waving. Growing smaller. The sight is hard to bear, and I imagine that some days they refuse to turn around in the faint hope that the pain will go away.
But on the anniversary of her death or her birth, everyone looks back. And for that day, for me and for everyone, her presence seems as close as it ever was. Her smile, her mannerisms, her words. The distance between the present and the way it used to be shrinks until it is nothing, and you imagine her reaching to you from behind a sheer curtain. Reaching and smiling and right there.
And for that day, the presence of that memory is bittersweet. Sweet with the nearness of her, the truth of that nearness. She is never far away, standing in the distance, frozen in a smiling wave. She is alive and thriving, climbing her own mountain, walking right next to you, and for precious moments in life, precious reminders like the day she died, you can feel that. You feel the warmth of her hug, the infectiousness of her laughter, the cadence of her voice.
     But the moment is tinged with bitterness, because no matter how near she feels, she is still far enough that it hurts. She stands behind a mere veil, the gauzy fabric between physical life and physical death: just on the other side, close enough to feel, far enough that words and sound and touch fail. Sometimes, in your dreams, that veil thins, and there she is and there you are, and the presence of her is not bitter at all.
      Except in waking.
      To Amanda's loved ones--to her sisters, her brother, her father and mother, her daughter and husband, her friends: I have never lost a loved one as close to me as Amanda was to you. But I want you to know that I am looking back on her life at the same time as you are. Right now, this day, and every year from this day, I will look back and reflect on her beautiful story and will feel some of the hurt of not having her here any longer. Not nearly as much as you hurt, but some.
     I hope you are doing all right on your mountains.
     I hope you can feel the nearness of her, despite the veil.
     Most of all, I hope you look forward, past the long journey in mortality that you have without her. I hope you see the time when she’ll be breathing and smiling and laughing, when the veil lifts from between you, and at the very moment of its fluttering ascent, I hope you feel her arms around you and hear her voice in your ear, telling you that she’s missed you, and you’ve done wonderfully, and that she loves you so much.
     Until the sweetness of that reunion, I hope you look neither backward nor forward, but right at your side, because that’s where Amanda is.

Friday, May 17, 2013

a dog's diary.

NOTICE: We interrupt the lack of blog posts with an important contribution from a canine guest.


My name is Ella. I am a dog. I have nice humans and a nice Territory.

This is me.
In my Territory there are two waters. The Big Water and the Little Water. The Little Water sits next to the Food. It is great for drinking and splashing on my belly. Sometimes the humans get annoyed when I splash because I get water in the Food. I do not know why they speak words at me and point to the soggy Food. Soggy Food is not a problem.

The Little Water.
The Big Water is very big. It is good for drinking too, though it has a strange Flavor. When it is HOT HOT HOT the Big Water is good for jumping in. I swim one Circle, sometimes another Circle, then I get out and find a human and shake the Big Water on it. From the loud voices, I know they like it.

There are three PINECONES here. Also many PINECONE bits.
My favorite things are PINECONES. I love PINECONES because they are crunchy. I hunt through the bushes to find a PINECONE, carry it to the grass and chew my PINECONE. I then move in front of the human door, so as to share the PINECONE bits with their bare feet. I know they like it because of the loud voices.
Excuse me, I must find another PINECONE.

My eye. Also the Cat's tail.
I am a good photographer.
I am back. My best friend is Noel, who is a Cat. I know some Dogs do not like Cats and I do not understand because I love Every Creature. Except Racoons and Birds and Large Bugs.
When I am sick Noel will rub her head on mine. We like lying on the patio. When a human appears, we fight for the human’s attention. But I am bigger with lots more Drool so I always win.

My favorite things besides PINECONES are Stuffed Animals. First you must tear out the eyes. Then the nose. Then the ears. Then you tear out all the White Fluff until it is everywhere. This is what you do with Stuffed Animals.

This Stuffed Animal has no eyes, nose, or Fluff. That is how it should be.
Today I walked the human. It was HOT HOT HOT but I liked sniffing all the sniffs. I also Pooped on someone’s lawn. The grass there smelled good and that is why I did it. I know humans like Poop because they pick it up. So I make sure to pick the Nicest Lawn to Poop on. But my human did not even let the other humans have my Poop, she picked it up with a Trash Bag and made grumbling noises, which I know means she is pleased.

When we got to my Territory I splashed from the Little Water and then jumped in the Big Water. I found a PINECONE. Then I took a Nap.

I barked at a Mysterious Creature. The human came outside. But once they were there I forgot about the Mysterious Creature. I ran around the human until she patted my head. Then I found another PINECONE.

The Master poured Flavor in the Big Water. I love the Master.

I took another Nap.

Noel and I sat on the patio in the shade.

The End.

Friday, May 10, 2013

that one time I graduated

so I've been sick, like two weeks of upper respiratory misery over here. but now my head hurts a bit less and yahoo! I graduated from college.

the sadder part for me is that I couldn't write anything these last two / three weeks. like, my brain just shut off. which is understandable because in that last month of school, I turned in about 70 pages of academic writing (NOTICE: that is disgusting) and 100 pages of fiction. and I guess my immune system was suppressing all sorts of garbage, because it hit me about three days after I got home.


anyway. graduation was beautiful. one of my favorite professors gave the convocation speech, which I loved. (also--she gave me a 99% on my final 12 page paper. I ain't never got a score that high!) and now, prepare yourselves for lots of pictures.

me and my parents. so grateful for them and all the support they've given me throughout the years. plus--my mom looked gorgeous!

it's the wagner sibs! missing riley, who was swimming his heart out at a swim meet that weekend. 

my gorgeous roommates, kelsea on the left and kirby on the right. not pictured is amanda, who had to work but was there in spirit. 
love them!!

jacquie and I wore the same color scheme, whaaaaa? so andrea, when you get married, these are your colors. haha. also you can't tell, but I was on my tip-toes for this pic because she's wearing heels and I didn't want to seem short. so great.

my grandparents were fortunately able to come too! so grateful for them. 

also my uncle paul. they sat through mine and kevin / jessica's ceremonies. which was a lot but that just goes to show how great they are. also we got to enjoy a nice dinner afterwards with them which was lovely.

 here's the whole group. kevin and jessica got to walk too! so it was a big graduation partay which was super fun. family is the best.

college was a journey, that's for sure. I'll get my thoughts together on that at some point...but for now, I've got to write a talk for church on sunday--mother's day! lucky me. :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

"you can sleep when you're dead"

that quote is courtesy of dave, my high school swim coach.

good things: I have my voice back, I'm finished with all my finals, and the sun is shining!

not as good things: I have two capstone papers to finish by wednesday, almost all my roommates are congested and sick (give me more vitamins, pleasee don't let me get sick), my car is kind of sketch / I'm worried about the drive back to bakersfield. also three days of sunshine is probably not enough to give me a tan, but that is superficial of me.

worst thing: my lack of sleep, because even though I've given myself time to sleep, I wake myself up because I am stressed.


best thing: that one time kelsea and I were studying and we ended up having an hour-long discussion about harry potter. it was decided that my best subject would be potions, which would incidentally be her worst, whereas my worst would be charms and that would be her best. we would both suck at divination.

also we decided the sorting hat is like heavenly father because the house you get put in brings out the best in you. like neville. and sometimes you have to make the decision because you could be great doing anything / being in any house!! wooahh the analogies are endless.

okay peace and blessins on this fine earth day.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


jessica, kevin and I went to see jurassic park in 3D on the "mammoth screen." it was indeed a mammoth-y screen.

we also ate 12 tacos from del taco in the movie theater because it was taco tuesday. which meant sneaking in 12 smashed tacos in our pockets.

so recap: dinosaurs, taco-stuffed jackets, and 3D glasses.

we looked awesome.

and attention!! it was my last day of classes as a college student.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013


still! no voice! gah. I guess I should say it is actually a voice, it's just abnormally high and quiet. but it's slowly getting better. still, ariel, I feel your pain.

umm I mostly wanted to share a couple of cool things. first, professors keep saying nice things about me! aww shucks. when I turned in my novel, my writing professor said, "well, I just think you're really talented." and I was like, "thank you!" except in a ridiculously high / mostly gone voice.

(by the way, that day was one of my lows. I was so stressed out, plus I was sick, that I opened a random peppermint tea packet in my backpack and inhaled it for five solid minutes. super cool.)

things have gotten better, don't worry. I feel like I'm on the downhill, even though I clearly have finals and three papers due. it's ok though, because apparently I'm organized. today my comparative literature professor asked me how I would prepare for the final, and I answered. then he said, "I really lock into what you have to say, because you're one of the most organized students to ever come through this program." my first reaction was this: me, organized?? HAHAHA jokes, have you seen my closet? or my bookshelf? what does that say about the rest of the students in the program?? haha. but I was flattered anyway, so I said, "thank you!" in another awesomely high voice.

I have some cool pictures from this weekend but I'm currently on campus so I can't share them with you. lame I know.

oh the other cool thing that happened is that I saw the video below! I love the pianoguys, and I also love berlin. can't believe it's been almost two years since I was there...I sometimes feel like a completely different person. but maybe not.

now for some nostalgic pics:

I was at the berlin wall too! and I'm pointing to my very small signature.

would you look at that? I was standing in pretty much the same spot as the video!
by the way, that's the berliner dom, a HUGE cathedral. one of my favorite experiences was going to church there and hearing that organ. so amazing.

this is a blurry photo from inside the dom. that organ.
anyway. happy tuesday! this is my last day of classes. of COLLEGE. (at least, for a bachelor's degree.) what a crazy thing.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

april showers & flowers

I loved general conference, how about you? I think this was the first time I had many questions going into it. the first time I went to the temple the week beforehand, the first time I was seriously looking for answers.

and I got them.

such a blessing.

maybe I'll embellish on that sometime, but for now, I just want to write about random things.

first of all, I don't appreciate the fact that I have no voice. (laryngitis, yum.) this has never happened to me before. I can't take myself seriously with this high voice, not to mention all the poor people around me.

sometimes I read books in german on the roof of the jfsb.
I'm going to miss this college life.
second of all, I got kind of tired of facebook so I allow myself ten minutes a day and then it blocks me. cool right?

this is the most random post ever.

here's a story about crescent rolls. I tried to make some the other day, and I succeeded because they were delicious. I failed because they were crazy shapes and sizes, not the uniform perfection that are my mom's crescent rolls.

but when it comes to cooking or baking, I really don't care if it fails or not. I just like making stuff. and I know I'll get better but there's gotta be a first time.

me, kelsea and heidi.
we just wanted to be hipster and watch general conference in the old tabernacle.
not really, we just didn't have enough tickets for all 3 of us.
by the way, I had a good time this past weekend, on friday I went shopping with kenzie, my roommate from last summer. didn't find anything because the mall closes at 9pm (what the what?) but it was great hanging out and talking about the life.

then kelsea and her cousin heidi and I went to salt lake, shopped some more, ordered pizza in a hotel room and engaged in all sorts of random hilarious stuff. like scaring some passerby outside, only to have them say, "you think we don't see you white girls there?"

I'm guessing the porch wasn't a good enough hiding spot. also I'm guessing they weren't white.

also we ate leftover cheesecake in the salt lake cemetery.
not pictured: the half gallon of milk that we took swigs of, wrapped in a plastic bag, and left in the car during the afternoon. did we eat it on cereal the next day?
to end, I will just say that I PRINTED OFF NINETY-NINE PAGES TODAY. now, obviously I'm blogging in order to de-stress from that stressful assignment. so what were my 99 pages?

drumroll please...

my middle grade novel! still untitled. still not finished. (about 89% complete, which is 89% awesome.)

want to be a beta reader? ha. but seriously. you can read it for the price of one sentence of feedback. doesn't even have to be grammatically correct. just tell me and I'll send you a fatty file. (actually it's pretty short, since it's not finished and it's a children's novel.)

well that's about it. if I could leave you with a picture of my inflamed vocal chords, I would. but all I've got is this fantastic snap from andrea wagner...

nuff said.