Wednesday, December 24, 2008

merriest of christmases to you

hi friends.
sorry i'm such a slacker poster. but i thought i'd send a little holiday greeting and my love to whomever looks (especially you ashmae for looking so often). i'm in new york for christmas with my sisters. its always a little surreal to be here because its so familiar that i never seem to notice an adjustment. even coming from my silent snowy solitude at the ranch. strange to watch so many people rushing about shopping on christmas eve, i wonder what deer have been in my yard today, and what the cats have been doing. its lovely to be with my sisters and friends though. i hope you all have a cozy, loving holiday. i love christmas for the sheer fact that it is a time to contemplate the miraculous birth of that miraculous babe, born in a manger who lived, died, and rose again perfectly for me and for you. i love him. and i love you all. xoxo. merry christmas.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


the other day pomegranates were on sale for .99 cents at terrels. i love pomegranates. they are the most beautiful of all fruits. they are like a next of glorious gems hidden under that gorgeous red skin. i love the way they taste and feel in your mouth. i love to just look at them for hours. in italy i became obsessed with them and would buy them at the market each day to draw in class. i did lots of drawings, and then an extensive etching of them. i miss making drawings. i am going to start doing that. and painting. its been too long. sigh.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

thanks to be given

1. beautiful view of a beautiful valley with beautiful clean air to breath and a beautiful canyon to hike in.
2. mom and dad so close and sisters far away.
3. savior's love
4. thesis DONE!!!
5. dear friends
6. dear deer
7. soon snow
8. knitting/woodstove
9. health
10. three warm kitties.
xoxo happy thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

foccacia mia

so the night before my defense i spent several hours in the kitchen relieving stress by making foccacia that i hoped would be good enough to distract people from my presentation the next day (its tradition in our department that you bring food for people who come to your defense). you'd think making something for the first time wouldn't be the smartest idea for such an important event, but that's never stopped me before. i used the recipe from the cook's illustrated baking book, mixed with some elements from jamie oliver (naked chef). i made a rosemary and olive oil one, a caramelized onion one, and tried to recreate the green olive foccacia i would buy each week at a little foccocceria down the street from my school when i lived in florence. they turned out pretty good and i'm excited to experience with some new flavors.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

jack of all trades, master of . . .

thanks to all your prayers and support . . . i passed! it went well, and despite me being really nervous, i got a lot of great feedback and people loved it. most especially my committee loved it. i have to do some revisions, but i will still graduate in december. whew. i am so so happy. thanks again for all your love and support!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

please please please

tomorrow at 11 am is my defense (yipes!) i'm excited and nervous. i have my powerpoint ready and my clothes laid out. so if it isn't too much trouble, if you wouldn't mind saying a little tinsy prayer for me i would greatly appreciate it. love you all. xoxo

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

tales of hans the brave, etc.

so yesterday inga and i were looking out the window at two deer, a mama and a baby (if you haven't noticed, there are a LOT of deer around my place these days). The mama was looking very worriedly under inga's truck, her ears kept flicking, and her nose was twitching. we were just as bewildered trying to figure out what she was looking at, when none but mr. hans stepped coyly out from under the truck. he gave sort of half a glance at the deer, turned and sauntered off. earlier that day i'd hear a bunch of deer stampeding and i'm almost certain hans was chasing them.

then today annalisa and i decided to take a little hike up bill allred canyon to my favorite spot. now hans makes the walk out to the pigs with me every morning and evening, and spends prodigious amounts of time outside, so i thought i'd invite him on our hike. mind you this is probably a three mile hike or so, not so long, but very long for a cat. he trotted along quite well, but after a while got tired and proceeded to meow and meow in his full husky voice. what ensued was a combination of me carrying him, him being upset by that, me deciding maybe this time he'd follow, but he'd just go sit under a tree and yowl. so i carried him. once up in the canyon he was happy as a clam exploring and being his jungle cat self (it was such a pretty day up there!)
but then when it was time to turn around and head home, he once again yowled and hid under trees. so i carried him again and invented this most useful cat snuggly. all in all it was a grand adventure for mr. hans, and he has been asleep by the first ever since we got home. poor tuckered whiney baby.
in other news . . . analisa and some kids from aspiro helped me load manure and leaves for two days and put the garden to be for the winter! we used the sheet mulching technique were you make a lasagna of cardboard, manure and leaves over your garden. this will decompose under the snow and give you rich, weed resistant soil in the spring. yeah!

Monday, November 10, 2008

r.i.p. mama africa

one of my musical heroes died doing what she loved yesterday, singing on stage in southern italy. miriam makeba, or 'mama africa' was a huge voice of south african music and also spoke out openly (and appeared before the UN) against apartheid. because of this she was exiled to the u.s. for awhile. i first heard her from my dad, and then learned more of her when she was featured in 'amandla: a revolution in four part harmony' (if you haven't seen it DO IT). her music is so gorgeous, she is so gorgeous, and she sings from a real and beautiful place.

Friday, November 07, 2008

title track

this morning i was sitting in one of my four window seats enjoying the sun and watching a deer nibble on grass outside, sifting through the still fresh snow. i thought of a line from 'poisenwood bible' (barbara kingslover, if you've not read it, DO IT) "i trust in creation that is made fresh each day". and as i sat i thought about this idea, of the miracle, majesty and mystery of nature/creation. i spend so much time just looking at the sunset, or the snow fall, or the deer munching in my yard . . . and i feel inspired, and connected to all of it. i am amazed that nature goes on doing it beautiful amazing thing all the time, regardless and totally indifferent to whether i am watching. i hope i can be like this. create, and be beautiful and inspiring with no audience. to do it all for love of being what i am and in love of the creator of all. i know these are not new or profound thoughts, but they slide around in my mind, and become more real the more time i spend watching, listening and feeling. this song by beth gibbons (of portishead) sums up a lot of what i feel, the opening line "god knows how i adore life" sums it all up. if i had to pick a title track for my life, this would be it. plus, this video? so gorgeous.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

do your duty with a heart full of song

i'm pretty excited about this family moving into the white house. what a great day for america! however, president obama will need help in bringing about change. america as we know it is largly controlled by big business corporations and getting the voice of the people heard will be no small feat. that is why we need to respond to obama's plea that we serve more and sacrifice more. here is one way i believe we can make a difference. lets not let our momentum for change fade, lets not leave the fate of our nation and our lives in the hands of one man (no matter how good and competent he may be). lets let our voices be heard. please sign up for the nov. 5 movement. xoxo

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

today is a beautiful day . . .

1. i voted (hope you did too!)
2. it's SNOWING outside and i have a new wood stove at the lodge
3. i handed in a 99 page document yesterday which means a least for a little while i have a free ticket to read in bed, watch movies, start knitting my sweater, clean the lodge, visit with inga the awesome girl from iceland who is staying with me, or just curl up with some pero and watch the snow come down. i deserve it. after all i herded one of the blankety blank pigs for 45 minutes this morning.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

i thought i was done

but she told me to rewrite one section by monday . . . and then turn it in. so my plans for blissful vegging and hiking all weekend were shot and i'm back to my beloved laptop . . . speaking of beloved inanimate objects . . . it could've been worse, i could have been married to the berlin wall like this lady. so so weird. at least i'm only on my way to being a crazy cat lady, not a crazy 'i'm married to the berlin wall' lady. Link

Friday, October 31, 2008

you know you're procrastinating when . . .

actually i'm not. i'm DONE!!! but i'm waiting to hear from my thesis chair whether she thinks its good enough to defend. waiting on pins and needles. so thanks laura for giving me internet quizzes to distract me.
Your dating personality profile:

Religious - Faith matters to you. It is the foundation that you build your life upon. You trust that God has a plan for you.
Big-Hearted - You are a kind and caring person. Your warmth is inviting, and your heart is a wellspring of love.
Liberal - Politics matters to you, and you aren't afraid to share your left-leaning views. You would never be caught voting for a conservative candidate.
Your Top Ten Traits

1. Religious
2. Big-Hearted
3. Liberal
4. Intellectual
5. Romantic
6. Adventurous
7. Practical
8. Athletic
9. Traditional
10. Wealthy/Ambitious
Your date match profile:

Religious - You seek someone who is grounded in faith and who possesses religious values. You believe that a religious person can enhance your life.
Practical - You are drawn to people who are sensible and smart. Flashy, materialistic people turn you off. You appreciate the simpler side of living.
Big-Hearted - You want someone compassionate, someone gentle and kind. A loving, nurturing person will fill that hole in your life.
Your Top Ten Match Traits

1. Religious
2. Practical
3. Big-Hearted
4. Shy
5. Traditional
6. Romantic
7. Intellectual
8. Adventurous
9. Athletic
10. Conservative

Take the Dating Profile Quiz at Would I Date You

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

could have been

yesterday in a fit of procrastination, i went digging around in some old papers i collected my senior year of college for a project i did getting to know my great-grandmother through other people's memories. zina lenore cannon wood is my namesake, and was a lovely woman from what i've gathered. she was well-educated, loved shakespeare, hard working, service minded (she was a social worker in berkley for a long time), and loved by all who knew her.
and she was loved by this man
wallace bennett (who went on to become a repulican senator from utah, as did his son who still is). apparently they were sweethearts for quite sometime, and yesterday while reading some documents i found he even gave her a diamond . . . which she kept for some time, but finally gave back. i wonder why? not that i mind. i'm not sure how i'd feel about being bob bennett's grand-daughter instead of owen and lenore's granddaughter. still funny to think how s many lives may have been changed. funny to think how our decisions affect people we never meet years later. i've always taken comfort that she wasn't married till 28 or was it 29? there's still hope for me . . .

Monday, October 27, 2008

of wasps and men

well, i'm no longer an ER virgin. thanks to the ever so tiny, but ever so bad (for me) stings of two wasps last week i wound up completely puffed up, covered with hives, and finding it difficult to breath in the mt. pleasant ER. thank goodness my friends magnus and adam had come for a visit and were the heroes of the day. they drove me there, they politely stood aside while i vomited, held my hand while the nurses poked about in vain trying to hit my vein without ever succeeding, and made sure i made it home safe and well. thanks guys! it was an exciting break from thesis writing!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

halloween is a scary scary day

because that is the day i have to turn my thesis manuscript into my committee. EEEK! after four straight hours of meeting with members of my committee yesterday, some fool hardy confidence and a BURNING desire to be done will hopefully be enough to get me through the next eight days. last night i dreamed all night of collecting data . . . except it was my cats working that i was studying . . . so weird. wish me luck! xoxo

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

show don't tell

this is pretty much my life these days. in case you were wondering.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


yes, its true. your worst fears for me are being realized (kate). i am becoming a crazy cat woman. because two weeks ago when i took my grandma's poodle to get its hair did at the vets and saw on the door a sign that read 'free bengal cat' and then when i met said bengal cat and felt the words 'i'll take it' slip out of my mouth, i sealed my fate. but really how could i not take him? he's gorgeous, sweet, good natured, polite, and free! like flannery o'conner said 'a good man is hard to find'. so shoot me. the bad news is he and reuben don't get along at all. its lots of growling and hissing. sigh.

Church Talk

I am attending a tri-stake singles branch here in Sanpete. There are about 30 of us, most under the age of 21. Today I was asked to give a talk on 'what the gospel means in my life'. It was actually one of the harder topics I've ever been assigned (and I've had to do mothers & fathers days, and two Easter Sunday talks AND a law of chastity talk in another singles ward. . . ) not because I had to study up on it, but because it was so personal and emotional. I'll admit I cried, frequently, because I feel these things deeply and sharing them is sometimes difficult. but I want to share it with you all- whoever hasn't given up on my blogging entirely (I know I've been REALLY bad at it, I promise I'll do more. . .). Take it as you will. xoxo
What the Gospel Means in My Life
• Covenants: When asked ‘what matters most’ a few summers ago, I determined that while my family, the church, friends, nature and many other things matter a great deal to me, the things that matters most and in fact gives meaning to all the things I love, are my covenants made in holy temples with my Father in Heaven. What a miraculous thing to have the binding power of the priesthood here on the earth so that I can make everlasting promises to my Father and in turn he makes promises back to me. Without these covenants all that matters would be lost, I would not have the assurance of being with my family forever, I would not have the assurance that the gospel plan with continue for me forever, I would not have the knowledge that my friends and loved ones may be a part of my life eternally, and I would not have the precious assurance that my life will continue on and on without end. However, these covenants can remain empty if not filled with the fruits of the gospel, so here are some of the fruits I have experienced in my life through experimenting on the word.
• I Need Not Fear: 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. The Gospel gives me an everlasting peace and assurance that no matter what happens in my life, it will be ok. There will never be anything so big or so difficult or so devastating that I cannot deal with it and overcome it through reliance on the Savior’s redeeming love and sacrifice. This sense of assurance and peace is earned through our obedience to the Lord’s commandments and counsel received in the scriptures, through modern prophets and by the spirit to our hearts. Failure to obey results in a failure to access the divine peace and security Christ offers. The righteous need not fear is a profoundly comforting phrase. This peace gives me comfort as I face difficult decisions in my life, heavy burdens that come through living and loving, and in times of physical danger and distress.
• Hope: The Gospel allows me to hope for those things that are not seen but believed in my life. I can hope in the power of the atonement when I have sinned or fallen short. I can hope for the promised blessings of family and companionship if I remain faithful. I can hope in the promise of beautiful things to come in this life and the next. I can hope even in dark and troubling times that the Savior will come and we will have peace on this earth. I can hope for the salvation of those who have strayed or not yet heard the Gospel. I can hope that I may one day return and live with God. My Patriarchical Blessing serves as a great source of hope in my life, I know that the promises given there are from a loving Father and will be fulfilled according to my faithfulness and his timetable.
• Comfort: Because Christ suffered every sin, temptation, affliction, heartache, disappointment, sorrow, sickness, and pain I know I always have a place to receive real, undiluted, lasting comfort. One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 11:28-30 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light'. I have experienced on countless occasions my heavy heart being supported, and my sorrows being healed. Christ truly is the balm of Gilead and knows how to succor each of us in our hours of need if we turn to him.
• The Gospel gives Assurance and Solutions in troubling times: In a world filled with so many different issues, agendas, intellectual philosophical, political, and academic pursuits it is sometimes overwhelming to try and make sense of it all and determine how you can help alleviate the suffering, corruption, and many problems that fill the worlds families, communities and nations. It can be deeply frustrating and discouraging to try and solve these problems when left to the meager devices found amongst men. However, through an understanding and belief in the power of the atonement, the priesthood, and the plan of salvation, we find useful and lasting solutions to many of these issues. Those which are not immediately solved may still cause consternation and distress, but we are able to trust in the Lord and have faith that all these things shall give us experience and that it is never worth giving up the battle for good. What a powerful gift it is to have true and lasting optimism in the face of so many community and world problems. (*give example of Joyce from Kenya, or your own political involvement and decisions to not allow the negative to become your reality).
• Guidance: The Gospel provides and constant source of divine guidance in my life. Because of the miraculous gift of the Holy Ghost I am able to seek answers to my questions and guidance in my choices. I am able to make decisions in my life and gain assurance that what I am doing is right, or wrong. I am able to receive guidance on how to live and navigate troubling times as I listen and obey the counsel of prophets both ancient and living who speak to us directly in our time. I am able to gain access to the needs and wants of others as I receive promptings, no matter how small, from the Holy Ghost and strive to lift others burdens.
• The Ability to TRULY Change: This is perhaps one of the most profound aspects of the Gospel in my life. I am so very very grateful to my Father in Heaven for his unlimited patience with me as I bumble my way through this life, sometimes seeming to make every mistake and wrong decision possible. I am so grateful that his arms of mercy are continually outstretched to catch me and comfort me when I stumble, when I fall, and even when I willfully disobey. I am also so grateful that he lets me makes the decisions on when and how I change. I’m sure it must pain him greatly sometimes to watch as I drift from him, he patiently waits for me to come on my own time and in my own way. The greatest times of joy in my life have come when I am able to come to the realization that I need to change, and then gather the courage and desire to do so, and am then so lovingly allowed to through the great and lasting sacrifice of my Savior Jesus Christ. I cannot explain exactly how this process has worked in my life, but I do know that once I determine my course of action, my Heavenly Father slowly allows my heart to change, soften and turn towards him. As this takes place I am able to let go of sins and weakness and become whole through him. (*tell story of my conversion over the course of college).
• The Gospel gives me reason and compulsion to look outside myself and care more for others: while I am not perfect in this, the Gospel has provided a sense that human relationships are of the utmost importance and are worth the time, effort, pain and joy that accompany them. These relationships become more lasting and rich as I realize that we are all children of God and in our own way are doing our best to manifest the truth that is in us. Knowing that God deeply loves each of us helps ease the burden when I see my loved ones struggling or lost and helps me to never give up in trying to ease their burdens and gently lead them to the light. (the story of the Carnie on your mission)
• Who I Am: the Gospel teaches me who I am. I am a daughter of God, and I have a foreordained mission on this earth. I know that I am infinitely loved for being exactly who I am. I know that there expectations on me given out of love and confidence. I know that I always have somewhere to turn for comfort, guidance and love. I know that my existence is not limited to this earth, and that through Christ I will be able to go on in happiness and truth forever.
• JOY: 2 Nephi 2 teaches, “Adam fell that man might be, men are that they might have joy”. The culmination of these many blessing of the Gospel in my life is a resounding joy. The Gospel, its message and meaning bring a quality of joy and happiness that goes beyond any I have found in any other pursuit. This joy seems to resonate on a deep and eternal level, and fuels me to continue onward, to repent, endure, and to always serve.

Monday, August 25, 2008

back on the ranch

hi folks.
sorry for the summer blogging hiatus. but i'm back! and with big news. . . i moved! i guess that isn't that big of news, but it feels big to me for after five years in provo (wow was it really five???) i have gone back to my roots, i've moved back to sanpete county. . . and to be precise am living on the ranch (yes the same one i work at all summer). it came about because a. i knew i needed to leave provo, b. i NEED to finish my thesis and c. the whole summer at the ranch i kept looking around and thinking 'man i sure love it here, i wish i could just stay'. . . and then i figured why not? we have a beautiful straw bale lodge that needs care and watching, so i am the steward of the lodge, land, pigs, reuben my cat and now momo the ranch kitten. moving down involved several painful days of packing, cleaning, a u-haul, and lots of sweat. thanks to those that helped. i'm slowly settling in and making the lodge more of a home and am enjoying immensely the open space, quiet, solitude and beauty. i have the best view of the valley and sunsets, 80 acres at my discretion, and tons of fun projects like building some small winter garden greenhouse things, stained glass, furniture making, a rag rug loom, and for the past couple of days i've borrowed my mom's pressure steamer and have been canning green beans from the garden. so far i am loving it. last night i couldn't fall asleep because i kept thinking of projects and things i want to do. and this morning on my walk around the property i kept pinching myself thinking how lucky i am. i have no internet (which is a good thing.. .die facebook die) so blogging may be here and there but hopefully a lot more interesting. i have been reading lots, watching planet earth, writing snail mail letters, and just being still. it does get a bit lonesome, but there is PLENTY of space for guests and parties. so consider yourself invited any ol' time you need a break from inversion, traffic, noise, or people. xoxo, zina

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

gone baby gone

hi kids
sorry. summers are real bad for my blogging because pretty much i spend almost all of it in places where the internet doesn't exist (which i like a lot). as of tomorrow morning i'll be on my way to 2 1/2 weeks of bliss in the grand canyon on the river (which is my favorite place in the world hands down). it will be a great trip with my WHOLE family, plus cousins, friends and 117 degree weather. perfect. then once i'm back its ranch time. i've been working all this last week with the staff getting the place ready, and the first batch of boys arrived yesterday. i'll admit i'm sad to miss a session, i love love love that place/people, but this river trip is going to be great. i'm really looking forward to the girl's session which by the way is still not full and could use some more awesome ladies so if you got 'em (12-15) PLEASE send them my way (
i hope all y'all are getting your hands dirty often, perfecting your farmer's tans, and sleeping under stars. xo xo

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

i'm one of a kind!

so today i happily found out that while there may be 4,563 people with the name zina (how did that many parents name their child 'illicit fornication'- which is what my name means in arabic) and there are 882 bennions (that has to be wrong. . . there are that many in my immediate family alone!) I and THE ONLY zina bennion. sigh. its good to know you are one of a kind.
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Friday, May 23, 2008


hello friends
sorry i've been so absent. no excuse really, just a little hiatus. i took a trip back east to visit friends and sisters, took a little backpacking trip, and have just been enjoying spring here in provo. however, i haven't been entirely absent from the blogosphere, my super cool hero friend raquel works for the downtown provo alliance and invited me to be a guest blogger on the downtown blog to talk about some of my favorite local downtown businesses. you can read them here. i promise i'll blog something cool soon. but in the meantime if anyone wants to come help me and my parents move 70 tons of stone next weekend, well, consider yourself invited.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

grains glorious grains

ok ok i know i've not been a good blogger as of late, but who ever said i was a good blogger? its been hectic hectic finals time around here. i arose at 6 am this saturday morning and was at school by 7 am to give my class their final. poor dears. that is just too early. evil byu for scheduling it. boo. then i spent the rest of the day grading all said finals, plus lots of papers. my brain and eyeballs are fried. on tuesday i leave for dc/nyc for a little r&r. but in the meantime EVERYONE should buy THIS book. seriously. i found it when i was looking online for quinoa recipes. . . read some reviews and immediately ordered it. since it came i read it all the time (its on my bedside table) have cooked numerous delectable dishes (quinoa and chinese vegetable stir fry, breakfast quinoa cooked in orange juice, quinoa & corn muffins, coconut corn curried soup, buckwheat polenta with green olives and tomatoe, buckwheat and millet waffles. . . endless deliciousness). its like the word of wisdom cookbook to the max. all different kinds of whole grains, the history of them, storing/cooking/flour info on each and amazing, simple, delicious and so good for you recipes. sigh. trust me there will be more posts about this, but for now i've got to hit the hay! xoxo oh ps this pic is from critical mass here in provo a few weeks ago! we commandeered the streets of provo on friday afternoon during rush our! it was so awesome! thanks to all who showed up, and for those who want to join we'll have one the first friday of every month.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

it's national poetry month

and i'm celebrating with one of my all time favorites by the lovely mary oliver.
Welcome to the silly, comforting poem.

It is not the sunrise,
which is a red rinse,
which is flaring all over the eastern sky;

it is not the rain falling out of the purse of God;

it is not the blue helmet of the sky afterward,

or the trees, or the beetle burrowing into the earth;

it is not the mockingbird who, in his own cadence,
will go on sizzling and clapping
from the branches of the catalpa that are thick with blossoms,
that are billowing and shining,
that are shaking in the wind.

You still recall, sometimes, the old barn on your
great-grandfather's farm, a place you visited once,
and went into, all alone, while the grownups sat and
talked in the house.
It was empty, or almost. Wisps of hay covered the floor,
and some wasps sang at the windows, and maybe there was
a strange fluttering bird high above, disturbed, hoo-ing
a little and staring down from a messy ledge with wild,
binocular eyes.
Mostly, though, it smelled of milk, and the patience of
animals; the give-offs of the body were still in the air,
a vague ammonia, not unpleasant.
Mostly, though, it was restful and secret, the roof high
up and arched, the boards unpainted and plain.
You could have stayed there forever, a small child in a corner,
on the last raft of hay, dazzled by so much space that seemed
empty, but wasn't.
Then--you still remember--you felt the rap of hunger--it was
noon--and you turned from that twilight dream and hurried back
to the house, where the table was set, where an uncle patted you
on the shoulder for welcome, and there was your place at the table.

Nothing lasts.
There is a graveyard where everything I am talking about is,

I stood there once, on the green grass, scattering flowers.

Nothing is so delicate or so finely hinged as the wings
of the green moth
against the lantern
against its heat
against the beak of the crow
in the early morning.

Yet the moth has trim, and feistiness, and not a drop
of self-pity.

Not in this world.

My mother
was the blue wisteria,
my mother
was the mossy stream out behind the house,
my mother, alas, alas,
did not always love her life,
heavier than iron it was
as she carried it in her arms, from room to room,
oh, unforgettable!

I bury her
in a box
in the earth
and turn away.
My father
was a demon of frustrated dreams,
was a breaker of trust,
was a poor, thin boy with bad luck.
He followed God, there being no one else
he could talk to;
he swaggered before God, there being no one else
who would listen.
this was his life.
I bury it in the earth.
I sweep the closets.
I leave the house.

I mention them now,
I will not mention them again.

It is not lack of love
nor lack of sorrow.
But the iron thing they carried, I will not carry.

I give them--one, two, three, four--the kiss of courtesy,
of sweet thanks,
of anger, of good luck in the deep earth.
May they sleep well. May they soften.

But I will not give them the kiss of complicity.
I will not give them the responsibility for my life.

Did you know that the ant has a tongue
with which to gather in all that it can
of sweetness?

Did you know that?

The poem is not the world.
It isn't even the first page of the world.

But the poem wants to flower, like a flower.
It knows that much.

It wants to open itself,
like the door of a little temple,
so that you might step inside and be cooled and refreshed,
and less yourself than part of everything.

The voice of the child crying out of the mouth of the
grown woman
is a misery and a disappointment.
The voice of the child howling out of the tall, bearded,
muscular man
is a misery, and a terror.

Therefore, tell me:
what will engage you?
What will open the dark fields of your mind,
like a lover
at first touching?

there was no barn.
No child in the barn.

No uncle no table no kitchen.

Only a long lovely field full of bobolinks.

When loneliness comes stalking, go into the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice
something you have never noticed before,

like the tambourine sound of the snow-cricket
whose pale green body is no longer than your thumb.

Stare hard at the hummingbird, in the summer rain,
shaking the water-sparks from its wings.

Let grief be your sister, she will whether or no.
Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also,
like the diligent leaves.

A lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life.

Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away.
Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.

In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.

Live with the beetle, and the wind.

This is the dark bread of the poem.
This is the dark and nourishing bread of the poem.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


lately i am trying to have more motivation. more motivation for a lot of things. i've been trying to run and work out more, work on my thesis more, cook more, pray more, serve more, and trying to figure out my life more. two nice little things have helped with that motivation (well, there have been lots but here are two i'm highlighting) first are these great alternative motivational posters. . .seriously its about time someone did something like this! my awesome friend hailey sent them my way this morning. i really love the integrity one. . .anyone want to go in on an order and split shipping?
second last night pack and i finally got around to watching our netflix that came last week and boy howdy was it a gem! it was this darling short little documentary called 'the hobart shakespeareans' and i'll admit i cried several time just because of the sheer beauty and humanity of one teacher who really gets it and really cares. it is pretty incredible. he has his 5th grade students in a rough neighborhood of LA put on a shakespeare play every year, and they've garnered the attentions of the likes of ian mckellen who said: "You can’t watch the little actors without wanting to cry. Why do you cry? I suppose it's happiness, really, and a regret that not all the children in the world could have a Rafe Esquith for a teacher."

Monday, March 31, 2008

per favore?

dear friends. i need some help. please. but its really fun help. as many of you know i'm involved in the wonderful birch creek service ranch, a summer program located in spring city for youth (the un-troubled variety. . .though i think all youth have some element of trouble) where we work hard, serve others, play lots, and have a wonderful wonderful time. so here is how you can help:
  1. we need campers! especially the girl kind (i am the director of the girls program, so they will be in my care. . . for better or worse!). this is seriously the most fun any teen can have. so if you know any ages 12-15, PLEASE send them my way. applications can be found here. the session dates are:
    • boys 1: june 9th- july 2nd
    • girls!!!: july 5th- 19th
    • boys 2: july 21st- aug. 13th
2. the second way you can help is that if you don't know a teen, you could donate and help sponser a kid who needs a scholarship.
3. and third and of most immediate helping needed, we are having a work party down at the ranch this friday and saturday in an effort to help resurrect our dear little yurts that got crushed under the heavy snow this winter. we bought about 7 jaunty darling yurts straight from mongolia and the campers have been living in them the last two summers. alas, several of them fell this winter and need some major tlc. please come either or both days, it will be super fun replete with sleepover in the american yurt, hot tubs, conference listening, good food, and glorious nature. let me know if you can make it and we can coordinate carpooling!
thanks! xoxox zina

Friday, March 28, 2008

seizures and lust

for christmas this year my friend davey gave me a graphic novel called 'epileptic' by david b. i finally got around to reading it this week and LOVED it!!!! (thank you davey!!!) it is only the third graphic novel i've read, but i'd put it top on the list. its a sort of autobiographical exploration of a young boy and his family and the affect the older brother's epilepsy has on them. its also an exploration of the author's intellectual/ideological coming of age. the drawings are terrific and the story is so heart wrenching and real. its amazing to me how well he captures human emotion and experience through his simple, powerful drawings.
and then secondly, i am seriously lusting after this awesome bike basket from moma store. . . wouldn't it look so great on my bike?? sigh.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

yo provo!!!

people of provo you should know that the new michel gondry film 'be kind rewind' is playing at the dollar theater at university mall. cool right?! its just come out in regular theaters, but for a cool buck fifty you can see it in a crappy theater surrounded by orem teens. i went the other night with pack and we both loved it. its quite a different feel from his last film (science of sleep), and at first i felt it was dragging a bit and i was worried i would be bored, but then more it went on the more into it i got, and i almost felt like i was a part of the film. it ends so wonderfully, it made me feel like i was in my childhood again. . . making up plays, being a part of a community. it was really heartwarming. and as a result of seeing the film i now have a MASSIVE crush on mos def and can't stop listening to his music. i mean look at him? how could you not?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

balloon fairy!!!!

i just went outside my door and to my absolute surprise/delight/ glee someone left a bunch of beautiful bouncy balloons tied to my bike!!!!!! i am so super excited! THANK YOU BALLOON FAIRY!!!! who are you? where do you live? how can i ever repay? i make yummy tasty treats? to whomever did this this is the nicest thing ever! you have made my day/week/month/year/life!!! i hope whoever you are you are having all the blessings of wonderfulness poured out on you. and please, let me know who you are so i can return your kindness and give you a big kiss! xoxo me