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Thursday, December 23, 2010


Every person is a story.

I first met Eli in Salt Lake City sometime around 2002. David and I were showing some new immigrant neighbors around the city. Eli was playing cello by Temple Square; he called to us and struck up a conversation. I took a photo of him. "Can I have a copy of it when you get it developed?" he asked.

Looking at this photo and knowing what I know now, this must have been shortly after he began playing cello for the passing public.

Tonight, I came across this feature story on a local news site, and I've been riveted by the accompanying YouTube videos since.

Have you ever seen Eli in downtown Salt Lake? What did you think? What did you assume?

Eli: Part 1

Eli: Part 2

My spirit is stirred up. Listen to him speak in these interviews! I am awakened. I am most engaged by the contrast of the man drawn out to speak his thoughts and the man most of us think we see on the Salt Lake City sidewalks. I am moved that someone slowed down enough to see another human and took the time to draw stories from Eli. Amazing.

We can never know each other until we quiet ourselves. We will learn years about a person in one hour of listening.

Ever wonder how a man surviving on street performance ever learned the cello? What is Eli's background? Someone doesn't just find a cello lying around and play like this! And how does someone who can play like this end up nearly homeless? Who is Eli?

With so many questions, I correct my first statement.
Every person is a compilation of stories.
Let's listen.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In Which I Do Not Deal Well With Poop

Just thought I'd put it out there. This post is about poop.

"But it's Christmas!"

I'm sorry. You shouldn't have said anything.

Back to my woes with earlier potty-training incidents of the beloved toddler...

~ ~ ~

She poops her underwear, and I carefully guide it down to keep the poop contained. Easy... easy... easy... I get one leg out and lower the underwear to the ground. She proceeds to put the foot of her free leg down. Right smack in the middle of it. Yes, it.

~ ~ ~

She poops her underwear and I again carefully guide the panty down to keep the poop contained. Easy... easy... I get one leg out and guide it back, so she steps down away from it. Ah. Success. Now, the second leg... just do the same--- she jerks her second leg backwards to get away from the nasty poop she has just become aware of and the brown mass flips out of the underwear and plops soundly onto the floor. Ugh.

~ ~ ~

She poops her underwear. I've learned this time. No trying to remove the panty carefully. I back the child up to the toilet. The idea is to flip her panty and have the mass plop right into the toilet, minimizing the mess. I am being really careful, watching to make sure it lands in the bowl. It rolls... it plops right in. (Yes!) I don't anticipate the splash. Right. On. My. Face. I am stunned and disgusted. Then, I am angry. Then, I laugh. And then, I scrub my face with soap. Really hard.

~ ~ ~

Another morning, I walk into the toddler's room, and before I throw open her curtains, I am greeted by undeniable non-visual proof that there is poop firmly present. The toddler chirps out "po-po!" She is tugging at the back of her PJ's, and I see that some of the stuff has crept up her lower back.

Fortunately, this time she has on a Pull-Up which means no careful balancing of stuff on fabric. I stick the kid in the bathtub and rip off the Pull-Up and throw it in the trash. I am smugly satisfied. As I am washing her off in the bathtub, the toddler decides to balance herself. With the hand she used to tug at the back of her poopy pants. By holding on to MY LIPS.

Words cannot describe how unsettled this makes me.

I purse my lips together to prevent the poop germs from migrating in, though I am sure they are cackling and lunging at my tongue. I wash my mouth area with the only soap available in the immediate vicinity: antibacterial hand soap.

I don't know if all antibacterial soap has this effect when applied to lips, but surely, the cheap brand I replenish my bathrooms with does. The sensation on my lips reminds me of the scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in which the Nazi soldiers make the mistake of looking at the ark when it is opened. And then, their faces melt off. Such is the sensation on my lips.

As I dry my lips, the feeling is replaced by the one of intense negative 100 humidity. If this soap was a lipstick, it would be named Desiccated. And it would be the most accurate lip color ever. I apply copious amounts of moisturizer to my lips, to no avail.

Desiccated. Look for it at beauty counter near you.

~ ~ ~

I do not like poop.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Smart Phoenix

Brian Mitchell has been found guilty of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart in 2002. What a looooong ordeal to get to this point!

I still remember where I was when she was declared found after being missing for 9 months. I was gardening outside of my apartment when a UPS truck pulled into the parking lot of the complex. The UPS man yelled at me, "They found her!"

"What?" I had no clue what he was talking about.

"They found Elizabeth Smart!"

"What??" I may have asked for clarification on whether "found" meant her body.

"She's alive!" he yelled.

That's when I noticed the radio in the brown truck blasting the breaking news.

"Wow," I uttered, paused in place. "Wow..."

I was overcome with emotions and awe at the miracle. Alive. All this time.

And man, is she ever. I am sure she has difficult days, but boy, she still has life! She keeps great composure, communicates clearly and with conviction, and has taken on to do the challenging work of serving a year-and-a-half mission for the LDS Church. I am constantly amazed by the glorious persons we can emerge as from even the filthiest of ashes and am ever grateful when I learn from others' examples.

I have never met the girl (now woman), and I never participated in her search, but Elizabeth Smart's disappearance and discovery has always been another testimony to me that we humans are made from one energy, a part from our Creator. This is the reason we unite to celebrate arrivals and departures of life at births and funerals. We feel it a part to say "hello" or "see you later" to parts of our life energy. In between these landmark events, we tend to forget of our eternal ties to each other, and I believe that some of the experiences of our lives (both the greatest and the most painful) serve as reminders of the infinite nature of our connection to each other and to our God.

One day, we will more clearly recognize the eternal relationships to each other; until then, we are simply commanded to "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep" (Romans 12:15).

Friday, December 3, 2010

This Calls for a Helping of Musical Geeks

Long day today.

I'm so glad Jennica shared this on Facebook.

Who knew a file drawer would harmonize with a Fisher-Price xylophone?