Thursday, September 18, 2014


IF you were coming in the fall,
I ’d brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.
If I could see you in a year,        
I ’d wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.
If only centuries delayed,
I ’d count them on my hand,        
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen’s land.
If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I ’d toss it yonder like a rind,        
And taste eternity.
But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time’s uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.

Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Long Lost Loves

This past summer, Kate and Jane and I watched a lot of movies.
We started with Tarzan one night and kind of challenged ourselves to watch every Disney movie we could. I finally saw Tangled and Brave and Matt finally saw Frozen.
In between Disney movies, we watched the movie version of plays to prepare ourselves for Les Miserables, on Broadway.
We watched Evita (for the 10th time) and Grease and Les Miserables, of course. 
We also watched the Fantastiks.
Oh, I love love love The Fantastiks.
The name of my blog is a reference from a Fantastiks song that didn't make the movie version.

I've only seen it performed once, it was playing in NYC last summer, but I didn't know of it until the last night of the show. 
Matt took me to see it in the outdoor theater at Sundance. I'd had it on DVD for years. (Joey from the NKOTB plays the lead and he is still so very cute.)

If you've never seen it, it follows the tale of the young Luisa and Matt, neighbors whose fathers hate each other- a fact that fuels the romantic hopeless love between the two of them.
They live each day writing poems and living in a fantasy world of the day they can be wild and free and in love forever and ever. 
Little do they know that their fathers do not hate each other, and they've been scheming to get the two kids to fall in love. The feud is the perfect foil. When they believe the kids are so in love that the timing is right for the feud to end, they hire a man from a traveling carnival to pretend to kidnap Luisa, so Matt can rescue her and be her hero for always.
Crisis solved, damsel rescued, Luisa and Matt can begin their life together, but they quickly find out that real life is the end of the dream. They are both real people with flaws, weaknesses and even....gasp...bad breath. 
Luisa goes running to the exciting and dangerous villain, who, in the kidnapping- thrilled her and excited her. 
Matt goes to retrieve her and finds that his belief that he was a hero was all folly and he's nobody. 
How does it all end? 
Ah, Spoilers. 
See it for yourself. 

At one point, Luisa sings a song about the romantic dream life she will one day have and it will include her being a the kind of girl who is "kissed on the eyes."

When I watch this play/DVD, I smile and think of myself when I was so much younger and I lived such a life in my head. 
I remember being that girl and I remember the boy who first kissed me on the eyes. 

Today, for some reason, I was thinking about that boy and decided to Google him and see what he grew up to be. 
It was 1987. I was 14. He was 16.
His name was Todd.
I was too young to be kissing a boy, but he was so handsome.  
He was troubled and moody and new.
 I was naive and young and so insecure. I'd never been noticed by a boy before and Todd was like something out of a fairy tale to the blank slate of a heart I was wearing those days.
He'd tell me I was beautiful, he'd tell me that one day I could get away from po-dunk Idaho and have a different life. He'd talk about how sad he felt and how much anger he had towards his dad. He'd rest his head on my shoulder and sing "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling" softly to me because he was obsessed with Top Gun and Tom Cruise. We watched "Legend" together and he told me that I was  Lili and he was Jack and even though I was trapped in a nightmare life, I'd make it right and I'd escape the evil trolls and my future would full of light and magic. He told me to seek fairy tales and follow fairies and sprites, whatever form they came to me.  He said I could go anywhere, I could go to California or I could go to New York and I could leave Meridian, Idaho behind. 
And I believed every word. 
He'd trace the lines on my hand and stare at me, saying nothing. 
And he was so handsome.
 He played football at another school, he was tall, blond and blue eyed and I could not figure out why he chose me, but I also spent a lot of time in a dream, just thinking "Todd held my hand all day and he kissed my fingertips......" 
One night, he took my face in his hands and kissed me on the eyes.
Oh, that Luisa knew what she was talking about. 
That was it for me and I would close my bedroom door at night and sing "I feel pretty" and wanted time to stop forever.
But it doesn't, and when time ran out he left my life and I never saw him again. 
My heart ached, the ugly, jagged wound kind of pain that seems to accompany those relationships that never had the chance to experience the mundane, the flaws and the bad breath.
We ended it because at that time, neither of our parents were going to let us be together and when you are young, in the world before the Internet- distance ends things and you lose people forever.
It was a dark season of my life and I wasn't really okay afterwards.

As I mentioned, I believed the things he said to me and knowing he was lost to me, I put them in my secret place in my heart, buried them deep, but safe. Treasured up and made holy.
 I look back now, and I see that I spent every day of my life after that, getting away from Idaho.  
My family moved, I grew up and had children and divorces and bad years and fat years. I had beautiful seasons where everything was perfect and fell in love with the man who makes every other man I have ever known seem as dull as a dirty nickel.
Matt outshines them all, and I am happy, unreasonably happy.
 Love and loss, sickness, health, joy and sorry.
 More good days than bad, even though those bad days are sometimes so bad. 
And every day, I have created more distance between my life and that nightmare I lived in as a kid. 
It would appear to be a completely foreign, alien world to my children.
I made things right, or at least, I did the best that I could.
And I went to California, I went to New York. 
I choose the man who tells me I am beautiful every day and who also once kissed me on the eyes. 

And what became of my Google Search on Todd?

Todd died three years ago.
He stayed handsome and affectionate and he kept writing poetry.
He had two children, one is Zane's age, the other, younger than Romy.
 He had two divorces and never left that suffocating town he was living in. He had never believed he could leave, he told me he'd never get out but I...I could fly away.

And oh, the things I have seen from my view, soaring through the clouds, my friend. 

He never could have known how the things he said to me, the way he treated me and loved me changed me. I never thought much about it myself, but it caused me to make a slight course adjustment that changed the entire life journey for me.  It was he who first planted the seeds of challenging the world I lived in and making a new life for myself, so different from the one I knew as a kid. I lived believing that above all else, life was a changing thing and that even though those changes can be hard and break your heart- there is so much joy to be found in taking giant leaps of faith and in seeing things differently, in living the life YOU want and chasing sparklies. 

Today, I'm going to lie in my bed and cry some of those tears I saved up in my heart from when I was a younger girl.
 There is a new, jagged tear in my soul and and even though I tell myself it's absurd, it still hurts to know that the his story is over.  I have yet to see the beauty in death and every single time, it feels like a sucker punch. I know as I grow older, it will happen again and again and I don't know how I'm going to deal with that.  It feels horrible. It makes me cry and today, with the rain pouring down and the skies appropriately gray as far as the eye can see- I am crying, but I am also thinking of what I will do when I take my next running leap with Matt.

Goodbye, Old Friend that I lost so long ago. 
Try to remember, and if you remember then follow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A New Tradition- If We Don't Have Heart Attacks First

School started on a Thursday in Springfield, New Jersey, which was kind of strange.

And I sure do love this family of mine. 
We miss the older girls every day, but we know they would be with us if they could. 
We started a new tradition this year, the Back to School Family Feast.

Earlier in the week, with the help of the family, I created the menu. 
I'd asked each person what they would have me serve if they could only have one thing- anything for dinner. It could be dessert it could be a drink, a main dish....whatever.

On Sunday, I decorated the table and presented the kids with our feast.
We had: 
hamburgers (Greyson)
mashed potatoes and gravy (Zane)
pizza (Parker)
sausage links (Mom)
grilled cheese (Dad)
Dutch Apple Pie (Romy)

It was absolutely the most unhealthy thing on the planet, but we had so much fun. 

Each person set a goal for the year and we brainstormed about what our family mission statement would be for the 2014-2015 school year. 
We talked about things we are looking forward to, things we are thankful for and things we hope to change this year. 

We drank Cokes and laughed when people turned down foods that they normally would fight over, because nobody could eat a cheeseburger AND a slice of pizza AND a grilled cheese sandwich AND Sausage AND mashed potatoes AND pie- even though the boys certainly tried to.

 We had a lot of leftovers, but there are worse things than having leftovers of your favorite food.
It was a good way to start the year, it added some fun and the Olson silliness that we enjoy. 
It was fun to start a new tradition, we will see how it changes over the years.
We don't have that many back- to - schools left, after all. 
I hope the kids look back on this and it makes them as happy as it made Matt and I to see their shocked and amused faces as I brought out the feast food. 
I hope your back to school week included something fun, if it didn't- you still have time, there are plenty of weeks left n September.

As we celebrate and have fun, our hearts are with our dear friends in Murray, Sarah and Andy.  They were in our ward in T-ville and when they moved to Virginia, we were all so sad to see them go, but we were excited for them, too. Years later, they had returned to Utah and we were the ones moving far away. I was so freaked out and it was Sarah who gave me the confidence and comfort to trust that the Lord was with us and it would all be just fine- wonderful, even. 

Their son, Magnus, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and in the past two weeks, their life has turned upside down and inside out.

You can read their blog here:
We love you guys, your names are in the temple here in the big city, and we think of you every day and pray for you. I wish there was more we could do to help. If any of my readers would be willing to pray for and put their names in their local temple, I would be personally thankful.

Sarah, Andy, Laylah, Jonah, Daphne, Baron & Magnus Collette....we love you. 
And cancer sucks.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Begin Again

Less than an hour ago, I dropped Greyson and Romy off at school.

I may have started singing in the car as I drove back home.

Greyson began his Sophomore year and Romy is starting her final year of Junior High. 

Oh, I hope 8th grade is easier on her than it was on me.
That was a tough one.
She has good friends and I am sure it will be just fine. 

They grow up, don't they?

Parker has registered for school and all of the paperwork is in, unfortunately, the classes he wanted to take were full by the time he finished, so he will start next term.
But next term for sure, and that is a really good thing. 
Getting his life back on track has been a slow road for him, but he hasn't given up.

Emma is back at the U, and has a job at Subway. She's living in the dorms again, and hopefully her roommate this year will be friendlier than last year.  I am excited for her to have more independence and to have the experiences she is having. 

Zane has a job, working for a flooring company that is owned by one of our closest friends. It's all hard, physical labor and just what he needs as we wait for his mission call. (There were a few hiccups with the paperwork, I didn't quite get all of the doctor clearances needed.)
Today he is working a job in NYC, he's driving into the city all grown-up like.

I still don't have the courage to drive in Manhattan, but he's a confident driver who learned to drive in New Jersey. 
Beware, Big Apple drivers.

Kate is busy with play practices, she tends to fill up her schedule during the school year and Senior year has many opportunities to do the things she loves. 
She and Jane both made it into the advanced choirs at their schools. 

It's fun to see that they not only got 'pokey outie ears" from Dad, but they also got his amazing ability to sing.
 (Did you know Matt can sing? Like an angel- a giant, 6ft 7 angel. He has an amazing voice.)

Jane, I believe, is attending SLC comic-con with Emma today.
 I think it's a good reason to ditch school. Comic-con is awesome and I hear Salt Lake is one of he best.  With today being Thursday, even though most of the stars will not be there, they will also be spared the crowds. 
(If you see John Barrowman, swoon for me!)

 She's playing violin in the school orchestra, but she's really sick of it and only hanging on so she can go on the orchestra trip this year. She is also singing in the advanced chorus at her school. Like her sister and her father, she loves to sing and has talent.
(Did you know that I can sing as well? Yep, but I don't enjoy it so I only  sing in the tub or to babies.)

Matt and I have started to look for deals on flights, the girls are coming out for UEA and Christmas this year and Matt and I hope to attend Kate's play. I may not be able to swing it, but Matt will go for sure.
 After I have purged the house of all of the summer messes, I am going to start a fairly large sewing project. We will see if I actually see it through, you know I am only good at 80% of any project. I did FINALLY finish my accent wall two weeks ago. It only sat there, with a stencil taped to it, needing two panels painted for a year. 

I also painted the front room. 

I love the color, but the room feels very cold, like a doctor's office to me. I need to figure out what to do to warm it up, because I'm not painting that space again. Our home has great paint colors, but it's all flat paint and after two years, every wall outside of our bedroom has some sort of mark and grime on it that won't wash off. 

With that, the next season has begun.
It was even a little bit chilly when I dropped off the kids at school this morning.
I'm ready to begin again.