The Avery Six

I highly doubt I am alone in thinking that my family is a bit crazy. Don't get me wrong, I love them all dearly but they are certainly a bit crazy. I am one of the craziest, I know this.

We have had our rocky roads, our ups and downs, our good times and our bad times. Yet, even through all the crap, we can still come together as a family when we need to. In fact, my friend Ashtin said, "Your family can be so fu**** up - but you are amazing when you pull together!"

Love you Ashes, I couldn't have said it better myself.

I won't go into much detail but we decided at the very last minute that we needed to gather together, hop on a plane (flying standby) and go spend a weekend in San Francisco with my brother Chris, or Fer as we call him. We miss him and we care about him. We hope that we can convince him to move back to Salt Lake. He's been gone for too long.

We went back and forth about who all should go and decided that it would be powerful if just the original Avery family went. No step-parents, no spouses, no half sisters, just the 6 of us. While we love all of our family it has just been too long since we have spent quality time together. The last time we went on a vacation together was I think 23 years ago. A trip to Hawaii that I actually have no recollection of (I was only 7).

Five days after we decided to take this vacation we were on our way to San Francisco.

Fer didn't know that all 5 of us were coming. He only thought Eric and Dad were coming. So when we arrived at his house Eric and Dad went right in. My mom, Heather and I waited about 5 minutes and then snuck up to the front of his house. The boys were in the back yard and so I knocked on his gate and said in a disguised voice "Helllllloooooo?"

Fer looked toward the gate and said, "What? Who is that?!"

"Let me innnnnnnnnnnn!"

"I have no idea who that is. I don't really know any girls!"

Fer looked over the gate, and didn't recognize me in the dark (it was midnight at this point). It took my mom saying, "Hi Fer!" for him to realize who it was.

He screamed, laughed and threw open the gate where we had a slightly tearful reunion. I wish this picture wasn't blurry.

Our trip was wonderful. It was so nice spending time together. Traveling with our family is easy. We are all on-time. We didn't have to go back and forth deciding what to do, where to eat, etc. We just went - in a fast pace. If you know us, you know how quickly we can move. We spent the day at Fisherman's Wharf. We rode "The Duck" and had a blast.

We spent time driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, and touring the city. We played with Fer's crazy dog Skyler (who is tiny but can seriously jump up to my face). We ate pizza in our hotel room and reminisced. It was really nice.

I have always felt very fortunate that my parents have remained close and civil since their divorce. At family parties you will often find my mom and dad sitting together and talking. I love that they have been able to get along, and with my amazing step-parents. Not everyone can say they took a vacation with their divorced mom and dad. I can and I feel very lucky. It wasn't awkward either. It was really nice.

I'm not entirely sure we convinced Fer to come home. He's a grown man and only time will tell. He lives in a great house and the city is beautiful. I can understand why it is hard for him to leave. I suppose I can only hope that "we" are reason enough.

I've had a lot of time to think about my family and how each of us are so incredibly different. Yet again, at a time of need we pulled together and I think our differences make us strong.

I love my dad for his forward manner. I love that he isn't shy and I can and always have been able to talk openly and candidly with him. I love that even though he is strong that he has such a soft heart. No one can move me to tears quite like my father. I love that he has such an amazing understanding of what it is to be Christlike. I love that he can willingly see and admit his faults. I love that no matter what his kids do, he loves us. We always know that. We know where we stand with him.

And then there is my sweet mother. A woman who has taken on the weight of each of her children and our pain. So much so that it manifests itself in her physical ailments. She would give everything for her children. She is above all a caretaker. She's the one I called when I recently had the flu. She is the one that picks stuff up at the store that she thinks we will need. She is the one that always know what is going on in our lives. She stays in touch with us, more so that most mothers. I know when my phone rings exactly what my mom will say, "Hi, how did your dinner turn out?" "Hey, how was your event last night?" "Hi B, did Seth love his Tube bunny?" We have all tried to teach mom to not take on our burdens and while she has improved over the years, she hasn't quite perfected it. I doubt she ever will. We are her life and therefore our burdens, and joys, are hers. And we love her for it.

No one makes us laugh harder that Fer. While reminiscing we laughed over story after story of Fer. Stories of him sneaking the Suburban out of the garage in the middle of the night, stories of pushing his cars across the Bay Bridge, stories of how accident prone he has been his whole life (he has 9 lives), stories about unlikely friends he makes. In fact, his empathy and compassion for people less fortunate amazes me. He is a good person who cares deeply for others. Fer is such a hard worker. Everything he does he does to perfection. He takes so much pride in what he has and what he has accomplished. Whatever he does he does well and he works harder than anyone I know. He is also the known favorite of all the grandparents. Perhaps it is because he was the 1st? Probably not. His love radiates and we simply don't get to bask in that love as much as we could. Ahem - move home.

Then there is my beautiful sister Heather. Heather is the quiet and wise one of the family. Heather talks the least out of all of us. Yet when she does talk it is always a bit profound. Often you see her sitting in the background, observing the rest of us chatterboxes. What I love about Heather is her level head. When I have problems I love going to Heather. She doesn't get wrapped up in the emotions too often. She sees things clearly and helps others see things clearly as well. I love how accepting Heather is. She loves people for who they are, no matter their flaws. If only more of us could be like her. Heather is another person that I know would do anything for me. She is that way for all those she cares about. She would do anything to help us. When she sets her mind to something, she is unstoppable. If only SHE knew how much we all admire her and her inner strength.

We joke that Eric came out of the womb happy and positive. Honestly there are people you meet in this world that are always happy and yet it rarely seems genuine. My brother is genuine. He is just a happy, positive guy. Eric is the one that always looks on the bright side of things and believes that if you put positivity out there, it will come back to you. Eric loves what he loves fully. His dogs, his family, his 311. He is also the most affectionate person I know. As a child I only fought with him because he kissed me too much, not because he was mean to me. I rarely remember him being mean to me. He is also one of the most sensitive guys that I know. He will cry at a commercial, song, TV show or beautiful rainbow (sorry had to throw in a shout out to the youtube rainbow guy - that's totally my brother). Eric is also my protector. If I had an ounce of his positivity I would be so happy. Because he is happy, so happy.

I'm not entirely sure what I bring to the family. I suppose brutal honesty? Mediation? I'm not sure but I do know that I often hear, "Becky you call Eric/Heather/Fer - they listen to you." Maybe in a way I am the peace maker? I'm not sure.

I do know that as quirky and as eccentric as we all are, together we are great. I am so happy we had those 3 days in San Francisco. To show our love as a family.

April 12th

Here we are again - my day on April 12th. Big shout out my sweet friend Meili - who is now busy trying to stay sane and rested with her 2nd kiddo. Yet she still made the time to put my pictures in a grid for me. So nice of her. Love you girl!

1. Tristin, my adorable coworker. Telling us all about how she is in loooooove with a new boy. It was so great to see her glowing. Ah, to be newly in love. :)

2. David Sedaris came to town and I had the luxury of assigning seats for 172 people. Good times! He was hilarious but the ticketing was kind of a pain.

3. Another part of my work day, picking up tickets from beautiful Red Butte Garden. They have a great summer concert line up this year. FYI.

4. The famouse "on-air" clock at KUER. This was the first 12x12 I was able to do at work and I wish it would have been a bit more exciting today. Sadly it was pretty quiet. People were still recovering from the fund drive and taking some much needed time off.

5. Anyone know who I am posing with here? You get a gold star if you do! These cardboard cut outs grace our office and I think they are hilarious.

6. Where I spend my 40+ hours a week. It's small but the view is spectacular.

7. A new part of my daily routine - Foothill traffic. Ugh. I work close to the U of U but it takes me at least 20 minutes to get here!

8. Seth being a saint and doing our taxes. Poor guy spent 2 full days working on them.

9. Pawits Royal Thai, I love this place and I love their decorations.

10. You know me, I love love love babies. I think I must have kissed little Asher about 200 times while over at Meili's.

11. One of the world's greatest dishes, pad thai with tofu!

12. Meili and new baby Asher. Hooray for cute little baby boys!

My Case for Public Radio

The last two weeks I have lived and breathed public radio. We just finished our Spring Fund Drive - an event that lasts for 9 days.

Now, I have done events. I have done weekend long events. I have done events which led me to work late nights before. But nothing like this. This lovely Sunday I feel as if I am finally getting a bit of my life back. My laundry is done, the house is fairly clean, I went to yoga and even painted my toenails which were sadly neglected. I also feel rested which is lovely.

Most days began before 7:00 am. In fact on day one my alarm reluctantly woke me up at 4:30 am. I made my way to work that morning excited for my first day in a fund drive. My coworkers must have thought I was crazy as I shuffled around, made coffee and set out snacks for volunteers, made sure all the phones were set up and working, rechecked the pledge page and basically was smiling ear to ear. So what if it was 5:30 am - it was go time.

We started "pitching" at 6:00 am and I started clapping when the first phones began to ring. I got several curious looks and heard first "Oh the new girl. Just wait, after a few days you won't be clapping anymore!"

But I loved it. I loved the excitement and the people.

I loved that I was asked to take my turn and be on-air to pitch. I wasn't too nervous and I found I was a natural at it.

I loved the loads of emails, phone calls and comments that I heard from the listeners. I loved that no matter how much I worked, there was always more to do.

Don't get me wrong, by about day 4 I was tired. I found that when I got home (usually around 7pm) I couldn't function. I couldn't cook, clean, etc. I just wanted to sit. Oh and I wanted it quiet. Even TV was a bit too much for me some nights. It was simply exhausting but I pretty much loved every minute of it.

Our drive ended on Friday at 7:00 pm. While we had set a goal to raise $475,000 over those 9 days (a goal we feared was too lofty) - when the clock hit 7 and we finally ended we had made nearly $540,000. The biggest by a landslide for KUER. We were ecstatic.

You see, congress may be cutting all of the federal funding for public broadcasting. No matter which side of the issue our listeners were on they wanted to give. They wanted to give because they were afraid we would lose funding and they gave because they don't want us to get any federal funds. It turned out to be a win-win situation. And while we have 170,000 weekly listeners, and only about 8,000 give each year (you do the math) - we are thriving.

So here's my case for public radio.

I started listening to public radio in 2004. I remember when I was married to Jason I always felt less intelligent than him. I remember going to dinner with Sally & Blake and the three of them would talk about issues (taxes, war, abortion, etc) and I never really piped in. I never really had an opinion that was my own. At the time I was active in the church and always felt like being Republican was the right thing. I didn't know why, I just knew that is what I should be. I remember being shocked when Sally said, "I don't agree with abortion but I also don't agree that the government should tell me what I can or can't do with my own body."


I mean, that thought hadn't really crossed my mind.

I also remember spouting off nonsense to Mark Gurney when we were talking about taxes. "Taxes suck! They shouldn't raise our taxes! We already pay enough."

To which he replied, "Well don't you like these nice roads we are driving on? Can't have those without taxes."


Keep in mind I was a college graduate at the time.

Anyways I have a lot of stories like these. I always felt uninformed. I watched the news too - every day. Oh and I was a regular visitor to but I still never felt that informed.

Fast forward to Seth. When I started hanging out with Seth in late 2004 he used to say to me, "Oh I heard on NPR today...." and I started to notice that a lot of people I considered really smart would say, "Did you hear that story on NPR today?"

What was this NPR? I honestly had no idea.

Seth filled me in. National Public Radio. Oh interesting. KUER broadcasts NPR, well I'll tune to 90.1 and I'll give it a shot while I drive to work tomorrow.

And so I did. And since then I have felt my understanding of the world shift. I know that sounds cheesy but it's true. At first I was fascinated that I could listen to the radio on my commute and it was quiet. There were not screaming DJs and no obnoxious commercials. I loved that. Then I realized I started learning, a lot. I learned so much about politics, history and countries I have never even given much thought to. I heard voices of people in Iraq and New Orleans that were so real. Soon I realized I could hold my own in conversations. Not only did I know WHAT people were discussing but I started forming my own opinions on them. Opinions that I could back up solidly. I never had that experience before.

Since then I have never turned back. I love that people often come to me with questions about what is going on in the world. It's not that I am smarter, I'm just more informed. With all that is going on in the world right now; 2 wars, budget cuts, hurricanes, slow economies and revolutions, how can I not listen to public radio? I laugh when I got to KSL now and see that their top stories are all petty crimes that honestly I don't care one bit about. I don't care that someone's house was broken into, well I don't care to hear all about it. It isn't important to me. Not like Libya, Egypt, the potential shut-down of our government, etc.

Since then I have fallen in love with the programming. This American Life is a constant companion at the gym. Do you know how embarrassing it is to burst out laughing at a story, or start crying unexpectedly? Listen.

I love that on Sunday afternoon I can listen to a fantastic cooking show. I love that when getting dressed on Saturday morning I can listen to a fantastic news quiz game show. I love that after 8:00pm I can turn and listen told some great jazz. I love that I can hear in depth interviews about some of the most highly reviewed books, movies and albums.

That's why I love public radio. That's why I listen every day. That's why I tell people to give it a shot. If you think it's liberal - just listen to the morning or afternoon news programs for 1 week while driving home. That's all I ask. Just listen. If after one week you don't like it, don't listen. But I guarantee you'll learn more in those 4-5 hours than you ever would watching KSL or CNN or Fox. I'm pretty sure I could give Jason a run for his money now. Oh and Blake, he asks my opinion now on current events. Awesome.

I have worked for many worthwhile organizations with amazing missions. Public radio, however, it's in my blood. And I love it.

Mind Like Water

Tonight I can't sleep. I found myself in bed, being fully spooned by Seth, but unable to relax. I feel his overly hot knees tucked firmly into the back of mine. I feel the slight kink in my neck because his arm is under my pillow. I feel the tight wrist braces on my hands and realize how they are more necessary than usual tonight. When I feel insecure I curl my wrists more. I feel the cool breeze from our barely cracked window. It makes me tuck my nose under my blankets and I find myself unable to breathe deeply. I find myself unable to doze. Unable to stop thinking.

I tried to focus on something else. Work was an easy path for my mind to wander to. Yet thinking of work didn't help. All week I have been eating, sleeping, dreaming of nothing but the fund-drive. While I am having a great time it has been very tiring. I don't want to dream about work all night tonight. Then I start thinking about work today and how hard it was. Public radio listeners, like me, are all very opinionated and vocal. They are the people that will email or call you if they have something to say. While normally I appreciate it it inevitably will sometimes it gets to me. Today was just too many complaints. Too many mean words. People going out of their way to call us horrible things like "godless and baby killers". I couldn't sleep over rash words on Facebook and so words like that keep swimming through my head. I can't think about work.

I heard my phone ting and buzz against the kitchen counter and got quickly out of bed. Certain I would hear some not so great news. It wasn't anything, just a birthday gift idea from a cousin. So here I am, out of bed and blogging. Hoping that writing will clear my head. Normally I would just turn on TV and try to doze off while watching an episode of Sex and the City. Not tonight though, tonight feels too serious.

I'm dying for a distraction. I'm dying to log onto Facebook to see what meaningless banter I can engage in. But I won't. Because what if someone has posted something rude - or something insulting. That won't help me sleep. It'll just make it worse. Why do I let things bother me so much? Why do I take things so personally?

While texting Seth some of my "woes" earlier today he responded, "Be like water." Apparently Bruce Lee of all people said,

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.

Oh that I could be like water and simply empty my mind. I would put myself into a tight container and seal myself up. I would take away all sounds and distractive thoughts. I would just be. I wish that I could let things easily flow through me, drip off of me. That I could be the person that lets thoughts or feelings enter and leave as quickly and easily as it came. Water doesn't fester. Water doesn't linger. Water always flows. When I think of water I think of crashing waves on a beach. I think of the sound of camping next to a river. I think of bubble baths and hot showers on a cold morning. All thoughts surrounding water bring me peace. I need to be like water. It seeps through cracks. Water always finds its way. Water brings peace. Water brings calm. I need both. I need to be like water.

Tonight for the first time in months I knelt down before bed and prayed. I don't know what I expect to find in prayer anymore. Answers? Perhaps. This time I asked for my intuition to be spot on. Peace? Ideally yes. Although with what I am praying for I am not sure I am ready for peace. Help? Not for me, but for someone I love dearly. Did this prayer help? Well not really. What did help was Seth was able to see my agony and instead of doing when he normally does (offer solutions, talk pragmatically to me) he just held my hand and said, "Everything will work out. It will all be perfect. I'm sorry you're hurting."

The idea of perfection is interesting to me. Not perfect in the sense that everything will work out the way I want it to work out. But rather, everything will turn out just how it is supposed to turn out. That's the perfection. The rough road and the lessons along the way will apparently make me see life in a new light, eventually.

Look perfection, I'm onto you. I'm onto you and frankly I am NOT liking you right now.

Feeling helpless is always hard. When you are a control freak like me, it becomes nearly unbearable. I think that my family the last 5-10 years has seen me as the "strong one". While I don't feel this way personally I do feel a bit of a burden to lead the way. And in this case I am stumped. How can I love someone so dearly and worry so much about them and yet realize that overall my hands are tied. I can't make a grown man do anything I want him to do, no matter how clear and how obvious the path is to me. All I can do is hope. Hope that perhaps the prayer tonight will give me some much needed intuition I seek. Hope that I will find some peace among the sorrow. Hope that help will find a way to him. Maybe that form of help will be me? I think the only help that will make any sort of progress is unconditional love. Really, what more can we possible offer those around us?