click on this

Ya know, most blogs have some kind of variation of this--and yes, blogs are all alike, but they are all alike in different ways (YEAH TOLSTOY!).

And unlike most other blogs, my link list does not fall on the weekend, but on a Monday. The perfect way to start your week, yo!

click on these (or don't, I'm not the boss of you)

1. Listen to radio waves in space--from the 80s (this only works on a desktop computer)

2. Guys, I've given up true crime podcasts (for my health). BUT there are some really good ones that have taken their place. This one is about boss women who didn't get a jumpstart on their real careers until later in life--their "second life." This one, about ISIS, is crazy good. Heavy on the crazy.

3. My new favorite blog. Her instagram is straight eye candy.

4. I feel validated.

5. The most beautiful sunset paintings I've ever seen.

6. The cutest story about the late Anthony Bourdain and an 88-year-old food critic named Marilyn Hagerty.

7. This is where I get my desktop/phone wallpaper.

8. These simple drawings make me laugh real hard ("only BAD SEEDS play with matches and do fireworks." brb cryin)

9. This movie review is old, but it is still my favorite.

10. a poem about birthdays (Houston's birthday is next Tuesday)


broken flowers

Last night I discovered a dumpster in the cemetery, overflowing with the dying flowers from Memorial Day:

I think it means something, but maybe that something is different depending on who you are (hashtag LIFE).

To me, it was a little heavy. Two weeks ago an old friend of mine took her own life--and this is not the first time I've lost a friend to suicide. A famous fashion designer committed suicide a few days ago, and everyone was shocked. Seems like it's always that--confusion, wondering how you could have missed someone being that sad and why didn't you do more, the inevitable guilt, and then the weird one--anger. A couple of weeks ago I learned that I have the hardest time feeling and expressing this emotion. It translates to me being low-energy, because all of that "fight or flight" energy just gets stuck with nowhere to go, and then, yeah...tired. Naps. Sad naps. Shower naps.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you should never feel ashamed or guilty for feeling something. An emotion just is. Let yourself feel it. And I really hate being angry--it means someone hurt me, I let them hurt me, or  they betrayed my trust or made me feel small or confused. But if I let it sit inside me, I end up feeling worse, always.

My therapist is a big proponent of throwing rocks--big ones. Or you could try hitting something (not a person)--a punching bag or a pillow or a ball. Seven years ago when I found out my friend had killed herself, I got on my bike and started riding away. I didn't know where I was going, but I had to do something. And I also wanted to cry without being seen.

Yes, bad things are going to happen to the ones we love. We can't prevent that, not really. But I think life would be better if we enjoyed all the time we had with them while they were here. If you ever feel alone or misunderstood or depressed, please reach out to someone. Even if you think nobody cares about you, I bet you there's at least one person who does. There's at least one person who will be sad to find out you're gone.

And if you don't have someone, you can talk to me.

a poem:

The Night Where You No Longer Live

Was it like lifting a veil
And was the grass treacherous, the green grass

Did you think of your own mother

Was it like a virus
Did the software flicker

And was this the beginning
Was it like that

Was there gas station food

and was it a long trip

And is there sun there
or drones
or punishment
or growth

Was it a blackout

And did you still create me
And what was I like on the first day of my life

Were we two from the start
And was our time an entrance
or an ending

Did we stand in the heated room
Did we look at the painting

Did the snow appear cold
Were our feet red with it, with the wet snow

And then what were our names
Did you love me or did I misunderstand

Is it terrible

Do you intend to come back

Do you hear the world’s keening

Will you stay the night
Source: Poetry (November 2015)



I know I have written about this before. I know because I used to have another blog (circa 2008, holy wow that was ten years ago now I'm crying), and apparently back then I had the same problems I do now. Will I ever learn?

God is a perfect parent, and so not only is He patient with me while I flounder, but He also gently guides me towards what is right for me. The problem is, sometimes I feel like nobody is guiding me. Like I'm just floating in the Great Salt Lake with some cuts on my legs...it BURNS. And I feel like I'm waiting, and waiting, and waiting for something to happen when all the while, it seems like nothing changes.

I have a hard time distinguishing between "waiting on the Lord" and "acting, not being acted upon." Those directions seem to contradict one another, and there are times when I do not know when to do which. But I do know, from past experiences, that it's usually a combination of both, and like most things in adulthood, you just kinda move forward without having any clue what you're doing and then you see what happens.

I've been wanting a new job since I got the current job I have. Actually, I think I've been wanting a new job for the last six years, but I keep applying for jobs I don't want, but am over-qualified for, and then I get stuck in a miserable situation and can't seem to find a way out. I got excited when a couple of months ago I finally decided on a profession, but then nothing seemed to come of that. I live in a bit of an isolated town, and the jobs are very slim. The most discouraging part to me has been finding jobs I think I would love, that I think are perfect for me, but they are nowhere near me. Moving isn't an option right now, and so I just feel really stuck.

There must be some secret-sauce to finding a job you love, and I haven't found the sauce yet. Or I don't have it. I think it has something to do with being assertive and confident in yourself and knowing you deserve better. Is it possible to fake those attributes before you have them?

Asking for a friend.


so you wanna become a writer, eh?

Jim = people who feel bad for those who want to write for a career
Dwight = the writers who shouldn't give a carp

*sips my huge water bottle full of lemonade because I accidentally made a gallon of homemade lemonade and so it's not really a sip it's more like a succession of loud gulps*

I very recently decided to own the fact that what I want most in life (career-wise, anyway), is to be a writer. You would think that after two English degrees I wouldn't feel weird about saying "I am a writer." But I did.

Usually, when people asked me what I wanted to do with my degree (which is my least favorite question....all ye who speak to young adults, please ask something else), I squirmed uncomfortably and said "Uh, I dunno."

"You gonna teach?" (always, always this)

"I don't know. I actually did teach already and I didn't love it." (*flashbacks to late nights grading and answering angry student e-mails)

"Well, teaching is great."



I've been reading lots of self-help books and a lot of them say some iteration of this: what you are good at is not an accident. You are meant to use your god-given talents and share them! That doesn't just mean that because you learned to play the piano you will always be the pianist for Relief Society (but I did just end my streak of having this calling in the past five wards I've been in). Those things you are passionate about shouldn't go to waste! And while using them in church is wonderful and (usually) a good experience, it's not the only experience.

This blog is a microcosm of everything I wish I was, but I am not yet. But maybe that's the thing, maybe my expectations of "what I'm supposed to be" are complete trash. And I should put them where they belong--in the garbage can. So many writers suffer from that fake-curse of thinking "I'm not good enough." And I think writers are one of those groups that actually can say that without a hint of irony, because rejection is part of the gig.

Within one month of submitting a couple of poems to a dozen magazines, one wrote back and said my writing was strong and they wanted to publish, and the other said I "just wasn't a good fit." It used to sting a little, but I send out my poems to so many places it's hard to take things personally now. Maybe it's about getting comfortable with discomfort, with rejection, with someone saying "no thanks." Step one to becoming a writer: learn to take nothing personally, in a world where everyone does.

And people are still saying "no" or "that's a bad idea" to me in other ways, but I've decided not to care, because I know what I'm supposed to be doing. I finally know! And it was always right in front of me.

Since this two-week-old epiphany happened, I've had conversations like this:

my boss: "So, what do you want to do in life? What's your trajectory?"
me: "I want to write."
boss: "Hmm."

student: "What are you going to do with your English degree?"
me: "I want to be a writer."
student: "Oh." (while making a very thinly veiled painful expression)

person: "What did you graduate in?"
me: "English."
person: "On purpose?"

It's probably going to keep happening. And when I publish my first book, I will definitely, positively dedicate zero of my pages to those people.


to watch


Occasionally I write movie reviews, but only when I care enough to shout it to the rest of the world.

Hey youuuu guuuuuyyys!

Watch this:

It's a Wes Anderson classic, and even if you're not quirky enough to like Wes Anderson, you'll like this. It's got a bit more relatable oomph, and, well, it has lines like this:


Fun fact: Jason Schwartzman is Robert Schwartzman's brother. Yeah, the guy you had a crush on when Princess Diaries came out.

Basic plot synopsis yawn: a high schooler involved in every extracurricular activity you can think of tries to win over one of his teachers, to sad/comical effect. Sounds weird, right? But it's not. It's just real good. And that's why you should never rely on a basic plot synopsis to tell you what a movie is about. How am I supposed to capture a feeling?!

I am the next Roger Ebert, I think.

I am Sisyphus, self-checkout is my boulder

 me @ my past self who ever thought grocery shopping could be fun

Before I was married, I actually fantasized about grocery shopping with my husband. I thought it would be a real party, a true bonding experience. Just imagine it! The elevator music playing over the loudspeakers as the fruit guy stares at you for an uncomfortable amount of time. You pluck a grape from the bag in your cart and feed it to your man while the thunder recording plays from the produce section. The white bread is on sale. Sexy, right?

Well. MAYbe I was a bit naive back then (whoops, I still am, don't ask me when I found out how eggs are made).

Now, I'm more realistic. I have a plan. I try to go late at night when there's fewer people, and never ever on a Monday night. Weekend nights are surprisingly quiet, but only if you go after 10pm (wow that is a huuuge window. Huuuuge.). I'm usually not "dressed up" (i.e. wearing anything besides my pajamas) if I'm going to Wal-Mart. If I'm going Smith's, I'll throw on some lip balm and conceal the pits under my eyes. Oh, and Houston comes with, but only if the laundry is done (we're usually pulling double duty with laundry and groceries on the same day, and doing both of those things can really take a toll on someone's spirit, amen).

I started running into way too many former students at Smith's, so I pivoted, and now I go to Smith's Marketplace. It's like a weirder Fred Meyer (one aisle over from the milk, they're selling garbage cans and oven mitts with cats on them). 

It's cool because I can buy my food there but it's not cool because I overthink everything:
  • Are these produce bags just for the organic produce? I don't wanna get charged for organic produce....they feel so thick...hmm
  • I think I've seen that man here before. Oh no he's coming over here I hope not to talk to me.
  • We don't need butter, but it's on sale.
  • Grabbing a cart when the employee is trying to put the carts back at the same time is muy stressful!
  • It is actually comical how long it takes me to decide on which loaf of bread to buy. 
  • No it isn't. Because fiber. 
  • I can't go down that aisle because somebody is already in it.
  • These avocados are already halfway to guacamole.
  • Yeah I think that girl just caught me singing a song about the pasta sauce...to the pasta sauce. I hope she's not in my ward.
  • Never pay in cash unless you have exact change, because the trauma of spilling any coins the cashier gives back to you and holding up the line will make you want to fake your own death.
This last Saturday night, I had too many groceries for self-checkout, but there was only one regular checkout line open and the line was (here it comes again) huuuuge. So I went to self-checkout. A band of youths was just standing there staring and laughing and it was like the hyena scene in Lion King, and I was the elephant about to get eaten (really, it was not that dramatic). But the guy who helped me did have a ponytail and a clip-on phone case. And then I forgot my box of cereal in my haste to run.
 this is exactly it.


when trials are like, way unflattering

I found this in ye olde camera roll today:

This is a picture of me one month and four days before I met Houston. I was feeling real depressed about my current state of affairs....or lack thereof? Hence my puffy eyes, from crying a lot.

Logan was getting colder, I was not sleeping, grading papers was hard, why was I here?? I had felt so right about the whole shindig, and then nothing seemed to make sense after I moved my whole life up north. It was just too hard. I had not expected to feel so alone.

Now, it would have been nice if an angel, or probably my Great Grandma Ruth (because I think she and I are very much alike), had come down to visit me on November 14th, 2015, and said "Everything is going to be freaking o-KAY McKenzie. Cry a little bit, but then wipe your eyes so you can see what's coming next..."

And maybe IF she had done that, I would've been able to endure a little bit more gracefully. And maybe she did, in her own way, and I didn't notice at the time, but the point is, I got to the end of that semester and then I met Houston. It was only a time span of two months.

I recently made a really tough decision regarding my job, and I made what I think is the right choice (based on the extremely unsettled feeling I had about the alternative option). Well, my life hasn't turned around since then. In fact, there have been quiiiite a few times where I have questioned my decision, or just looked back at myself to say "Uh, what were you thinking? Why did you do that?"

It basically comes down to faith--not faith that you will see the miracle, but faith that you might not. At least not yet. And that is the hardest kind of faith, at least for me.

It's so hard to squeeze your eyes shut and kinda jump over the cliff towards an unknown. Looking at this photo was like a gentle love tap from above, as if my heavenly parents were saying "We know you better than you know yourself. Trust us trust us trust us trust us."

So I will. I'll probably still have to do it with one eye open, though.