Friday, December 26, 2008

Aluminum Echoes of Birdsong

Christmas was a blur of humanity and western landscape, a few of my favorite things. I flew home Tuesday night, played Christmas Wednesday morning with my sister Dami – I was too excited to give her climbing shoes and take them for a smear to wait until Christmas day, when the gym would be closed and I would be back in Salt Lake.

Our Christmas Eve climb date, following in the monthly tradition we’ve had going since September, was a trash-talking giggle fest, with a pleasant surprise this time; we met a new climb/ski buddy, a fellow Idaho native who we both agreed probably crossed our paths by divine inspiration. Family time was mellow, full of good humor about bad times, awful jokes and retelling of good times. The best part of family is nestling in to a world where people are irreplaceable, where you aren’t anonymous, where every interaction is tangibly laced with history and understanding. Christmas morning, I woke up hung over from a late night chat/debate with mom, drove across an unusually snow-coated Boise, built Lego creatures with my bro TJ for hours, breakfasting with his side of the family, and stopping to see Grace for the first time in over a year. (A year is far too long to go without being even remotely near my “other” sister!) After that happy chain of events, I set sail to the skies, being only briefly delayed in the Boise airport – which, if you’ve flown through there, you might know that it’s just a fancy glass birdcage. The resident birds of the east corridor were chirping away by the B gates, singing Christmas songs – foreshadowing for the flight, where an enthusiastic and off-key flight attendant chirped a “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” on behalf of Southwest Airlines. Christmas night found me right at home in my present location, with another family I love dearly and treasure my time with. Holidays are special, not because of dates and obligation, but rather the collective good will and love that seems to reach through the Universe and tie people together, regardless of the "reason for the season."

Today, the barely-four, adorable little girl I was skiing with looked up and said, "This is fun, I love you." I looked right back at her and said "I love you too, McKenzie." Cheesy as that may sound, it was a simple, beautiful interchange. In my personal, non-public writing, I've been musing about that expression often, for months. Frankly, I've feared it, held it back, kicked it away from me and pretended I didn't hear it more than a few times. In my young adult mind, "I love you" had implications, expectations, held a certain level of the harnesses of the enemy: commitment. Over a year ago, I found myself in a house where that changed.

It was my first experience living with a family, a whole family whose ties and security hadn't been charred by the firestorm of divorce, for the first time in well over a decade. "I love you" was a liberally applied statement of affection, for those little moments simple greeting at the door, jubilant expressions during passionate conversations on any topic, part of the ointment routine for the bruises and bumps of children. "I love you" was written in the dish suds of that house, scrolled in the hardwood floors, placed in vases in the center of the kitchen table. Honestly, it made me uncomfortable for a while, and I didn't know what to say. The "I love yous" never abandoned me or begged a return of sentiment, no matter how quiet I was, how little heed I gave them.

In time, I had come to understand that reciprocation is not a requirement of a sincere "I love you," and tear-jerkingly emotional, expectation-laced yoking wasn't part of the game either. In fact, saying "I love you" isn't a game at all.

In a way, living there healed my negative associations with the words, and better yet, it healed the pathways between my heart and my brain, where "I love you" didn't send me running for the broom closet when I felt it bubbling to the surface of my own emotions, and the idea of someone feeling and expressing love for me didn't send me turtling into the collar of my own shirt.

Not that I've shouted it from the rooftop, or desecrated it with over-use or misapplication. I'm miles from that kind of behavior. But I have said it where it counts, and no longer fear the words "I love you" where they rightly belong and are backed by sincere feeling.

On a lighter note, I adore flying. For one thing, I get whole hours to sit still, uninterrupted. No matter how little I have in terms of luxury, even the cheapest flight feels like an opulence high. Something about being sardined in a sailing tin can with a bunch of folks I don’t even know, who clutch novels I’ve never read and share my oxygen, just seems oh-so exciting. The journey is always beautiful, in all my travels, but when I elect to take a plane, it usually means something about the destination is worth hurrying for, and I love the feeling of that energy coursing through me – anticipation, excitement.

I hope your year dwindles away in a sequence of beautiful winter days, and unfolds into an advent of re-birth, the turn of a pristine page on which you can write whatever you please.

In the traditional Icelandic way of saying goodbye, which I’ve become fond of…
Bless bless!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Moab Getaway

Matrimony Springs, Moab, UT. "As the legend goes, if you drink from it, you will be married to Moab, and always return." I drink deeply, every visit.

Closing the door on the Red River was a little heart wrenching, the symbolic prelude to leaving town - indefinitely.

Moab couldn't be more gorgeous, the La Salles are cloaked in brilliant white, reigning majestically over the red plateaus, the martian landscape, the floor of this valley that gently rises to rub elbows with the sheer cliffs that surround it.

I love this place. It is one of my homes, a place where my soul has been set free time and time again.

I was sleeping in my car one spring night earlier this year, in a town that shares some of the same nuances of Moab, yet hosts a distinctly different flavor, and operates at a perennially lower volume. It was a frigid desert night, and I snuggled into my 0* down bag, listening to the whistling, whispering desert wind draw its fingers over the roof of my well-beat Civic. Lost in my thoughts, I came up with the idea that the desert doesn't offer much, doesn't extend its hand to feed and nourish. Rather, the desert stands stoically, silently, the liberty of interpretation and self assertion lying in the heart of the beholder. Like a backpacker appreciates food on an empty, calorie torching venture, a soul appreciates the lack of propaganda in the desert, the mind cleansed of input and free to process its own products. It takes a few days for the gunk to clear out, and that's why I came.

Cryptically speaking, a synopsis of the experience would fit nicely in these limited words. I found a life altering book on the 50cent paperback shelf at the library yesterday, which opened the vacuum sealed fluids of my brain to look at some "things" a little more constructively. In so doing, I realized the words that go along with the actions I've been taking, and how it all fits into the collective psychology of women, in my generation, with regard to my personal history. I'll make a post about it sometime, when I've finished the book - it presents some really powerful concepts I'm excited to share.

Anyhow, this voyage into the desert yielded thousands of words of progress on some writing projects, a new haircut (pictures, later) and some time with old friends. And, the soul-soothing vistas of a familiar landscape, which kind of brought it all together in the first place.

(Oh, and a desperately needed kick in the ass, dually brought to me by the deity and human hands that wrote the little paperback into being, and placed it on the discard shelf, and the allowance I gave it to rock my monotonously fog enshrouded little boat.)

I love, love, love teaching skiing. But this live out of a car, sleep on couches and in random trailers life suits me quite well. Travel writing would be ideal for me for the next few years, I need to find the words and means to unlock that opportunity, reconfiguring my off-season rhythms.

Speaking of which, I'm going to hop back into my car now, cruise to Salt Lake, and take my belated shot at some of the new powder in the Wasatch. More to come this weekend, and my beloved cousins are coming to visit soon - backcountry jump, anyone?

Life really is grand. :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

I lied.

Fall is not over.

Today's weather makes me question whether or not SUMMER is over... I might go hike Olympus in a bit, seeing that it is bathed in 70 degrees of sunlight.

December first. Come on.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fall 2008

The last day of JH's nanny career, for the time being.

Ski season has started off to a dull roar. There's not much snow in the Wasatch, the south facing side of Little Cottonwood is remarkably dirty for this time of year, but the runs are soft and the skiers have come into their shells, out of their eastern abodes.
Seven seasons in, I love teaching skiing more every day.

I spent this weekend in the wonderful company of a beautiful little girl from St. Louis and her family. It's amazing to be in a place where individuals and families come to enjoy life, and I get to be a part of their experience. I am truly blessed.

On one of our rides this afternoon, we shared the chair with a man from Manhattan. He asked a lot of questions about my life - and the picture I painted for him was (my reality) : I ski in the winter, am taking my time through school, and have spent a good part of the past three summers running rivers.

The man looks at me and he says "What do you think you are, some kind of diety, that you get to take the best of life and just do that?"

And I'm sure I laughed, and was pleasant, and didn't gloat too much.


Whirlwind weekend. I have slept, oh, 7 or 8 hours total since Friday. I taught the equivalent amount of hours in ski lessons, and AS OF TODAY, finals week is ON.

Finals Week To Do List:
Film - Present critical analysis of stereotypes and class/race issues.
Lit - Essay critically analyzing 3 pieces of Feminist lit.
Folklore - Portrait of a Folk group and its material folklore. My topic - climbing (might as well enjoy it... and I've already written about skiing a time or two.)

Note the lack of exams. Lucky me. I love, love, love majoring in English and dodging Math courses.

Next semester game plan? You tell me, I have no idea. I have a sample schedule made up, a tentative trip to Europe in March, a hundred other things I want to do, and a burning desire to get a degree as quickly as I possibly can. Registration starts tomorrow... and I don't think I'm going to make up my mind for a few weeks.

School is such an investment of time and focus. I've been enrolled every semester of 2008, three in a row. I was looking in the mirror about a month ago and realized there were things about myself that I hadn't even been conscious of for months - weirdest feeling. Like I'd been in survival mode for so long that I didn't really stop to think about the details. Or if I were to wake up in the morning and do whatever I wanted, what I would actually choose - without impending deadlines and looming projects. Or how I might have more to give my friends and family, in terms of minutes and sincere, undistracted listening, if my mind wasn't always straddling the chasm between disciplined time-management and liberal indulgence devoid of urgency.

Although I haven't chosen a set path yet, at least I can look at all of the options I've honed down and honestly say, there isn't a bad one in the bunch. Each of my choices has pros, cons, merits for achieving goals and unique gratification.

I believe that when you are living well and being conscientious of who you are, what you want, and how you might attain it, it's usually the case that the choices in front of you are all good, and given time, one will likely emerge as the best or most desirable. Uncertainty is okay, and probably temporary. If you're working towards a goal, with persistence, it will be attained -the amount of time and the details of the journey are the variables. They count. But shouldn't dethrone or detract from the goal... just make the story of attaining it more interesting.

Just some contemplations from the evening, I felt it fit the purpose of the blog well, seeing that balancing school and EVERYTHING else seems to be an integral part of the quarter-life process.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Here for the Holiday

After climbing indoors this eve, I was covered in dusty grime - I have no idea how that happened. Dami is killing me on the wall. She has some sort of natural aptitude for the sport that I lack. Where she sends gracefully, I muscle with deliberation and a little too much effort. Today was not a strong day at the gym, but we sure had a great time, and the mutual afterthought is that I should come home and we should get memberships together, and really commit/get into it. I don’t know if I can handle getting completely whooped by my kid sis just yet. ;) This pic is us, being ridiculous and loving every second of it.

Climbing was a good release from a tension-filled, uncomfortable lunch outing with Ma’s side of the fam. I don’t have much to say about it… but in the future, when the term Anti-Christ gets thrown into political discussion, I am going to silently back my way out of the room. I love my relatives, but we come at politics from a completely different frame of reference.

I chased TJ through a playground like a six year old yesterday. It was a fall day in Boise, the grey kind of day where fog clings to the trees, and steam rises off of the goose pond. We stomped across the playground bridge, dove head first through its tunnels. I followed his every move like there were no years between us, no separate planes on which we exist, no vague and uncomfortable connections. I was right there, right on his heels, flinging myself down the slide and tripping on the wood chunks, laughing, playing… I’m the only biggest sister he’s got. Why let fifteen years divide us?

And so it is in my time here, everything is a little richer, every emotion is a little deeper, every meal is shared. There is no, I repeat no, snow on the visible face of the mountains, so I’m running away to the Wasatch again on Friday, with only the memory of a day chasing bro, belaying sis, chatting with Pa til we’re both blinking back sleep, not wanting to stop the flow of dialogue dammed for so many years. A few more drops in the bucket of learning to be an individual, a complete and whole creature in the presence of Ma, with whom my allegiance has always taken part in my self-definition. A wonderful new friend, a reconnection with an old friend, some good advice, and some jaded politics. And of course, whatever delicious moments tomorrow brings.

This is Thanksgiving 2008, the beginning of a new season, the start of all things mayhem at work for the next month or so, the only November 26 where each of us resides at this age and phase…

The only day just like today. I can proudly say, I made the most of it, and loved every second.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Coin Cyclone

It’s been a big week on the mindfront and in the heart.

So big that I won’t disclose the minutiae, even in private, for months to come, because I am too busy living in the delicious present, tasting and feeling every emotion in my repertoire vibrating forth in deep, harmonious melody.

The chimes come in , the bass lows, the voice within me pricks at the right moment and issues a sweet, vocal exhale of everything I’ve been inspired by.

Deep loneliness is one of the contrasting hues of the human experience. It can bring a greater appreciation for every moment of warm, brilliant, heartfelt interaction. Chapters of isolation (most people have them, I assume) whether self imposed or real, are like the reset button that follows a sequence of taken-for-granted thinking.

I've always been of the belief that one true, good friend is more than I could ask for, and yet somehow, I've experienced an influx of beautiful friendships with incredible people in the past few years, each bringing a unique element to my aggregate energy that leaves me feeling whole, overcome with gratitude, optimistic about the human condition.

I've probably said that before, but when I went to make today's post, it surfaced again in an intense rush from the heart.

That said, here's a segment of today's writing sesh that I'd like to share.....

Airfare is on sale, gas is cheap. In a sell-out world, my mind has set sail to different realities and stages of nostalgic locale, heart-warming
in essence, calming in companionship, enlightening…

Who knew it was possible to feel so whole, yet so subdivided at the same time.

I yearn for this game of Mafia we played on the plywood surface of that perennially unfinished dwelling, the abode that heals our soul and binds us together, ligaments to our different parts and functions and distinctly divided intentions.

We function with the breathless strength of a hardworking unit. We forgive, we heal. We struggle and adapt, we ponder in unison and arrive at conclusion, indifference.

You stand there in your work gloves and tell me of your fixing and creating and building. I sit with the heat of my words filling the interior of my cheeks, swirling slowly against the permanent retainer binding my front teeth. Canine to canine she said yesterday, scraping the effects of a thousand days of intake from my dentate jaws… and I thought dog to dog, bird to bird, human to tooth to bite to nourish to live to think to express…. are we so different?

My words speak soundless volumes of my interpretation of what you’ve simply, profoundly accepted and lived. I walk circles, staring suspiciously, rotating in face-off opposition, wondering… could I be there?

Could I walk this circle, drawing nearer in every round, like the penny in the cyclone, the plastic chamber that filled acoustically with the copper, nickel, silver offerings of young children, the cast offs of the paper that paid for the cheap meals - jackpot, right down the center, into the common chasm.
The entertainment of the donation and the cozy advertisement of its beneficiaries offering respite from the ensuing disappointment of white bred, enriched buns and slathered onion mix, the pseudo nourishing puck of ground beast nestled between.

And is this satisfaction, or survival? Are we living conscious, contemplative, thoughtful existences in our allotment of time, or shall we spend it reacting, rowing backwards against our natural currents, challenging not the status quo or the author of all that we’ve inadvertently come to embrace, were we to be defined as an original creature in the universe.

Rather, we blend into the monotony of a composite body, a sea of plankton in an ocean of delusion, wafting – waving with the tides, eyes closed.

Or not.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rainwater and Grey

(Story of my young adult life :)

The world and blogoshpere is abuzz today - so much to get swept away in, passionate about – so much to ignite the fires of anxiety and contemplation.

I’ve considered making political opinions part of my blog, and then realized that I don’t care to. Not because I don’t care, but because my blog is a refuge for me – a place where I let a little bit of myself into the world, or write about the little bit of the world that just affected my soul. I want this to be a canvas for belles lettres.

Instead of being riled up about an issue right now, I’d rather just be grateful for things as they were today, for this really beautiful, intricate dam of fall leaves in the gutter, the crystal clear liquid snowmelt and rainwater stocked up behind it, the way the leaves lined the rough old concrete. The water was cold and clean and fresh from the sky, and a little stream flowed through the locked fingers of last summer’s maple canopy, going on to be pooled in the next tier… I touched it with my bare toes, despite briskly frigid air, the rain coming down in wailing rants throughout the grey afternoon.

I can’t part with my Chacos… even though there is snow on the mountains not a mile from my doorstep. It just feels so much more real to have the elements on my skin and to actually get cold. I love it. I appreciated the warmth of the blanket I wrapped up in afterwards, and the hot breath of the space heater to dry my numb toes. The best part of today's walk through the rainwater was talking to Grace through it all, ranting in the impassioned way of twenty-something girls about the latest and greatest in our love affairs and lives.

So I thought about and talked of love today. I love many people. I even love myself. I love my life, I love the people in it.

I then thought about need… the need for attention, acknowledgement, praise, success. I thought a lot about the need for companionship.

I spent the past three days, in large part, holed up in my house with my roommates Tiki and Pinky. Pinky and I even shared the bed last night – in our six months of living together, that is a first. Tiki is beautiful and old and always happy to see me, and the greeting is quick, sincere, and we both attend to our own business in the house and stay out of each other’s way. Pinky is neurotic, bulimic, and bossy – she can’t hold more than a pinch of food down at a time, and insists on getting in my face, literally, whenever I try to relax, seated or lying down. Paws in my face. Drives me crazy. And Tiki, bless her, mastered the art of eating an entire loaf of delicious, expensive organic bread – the fresh baked kind with five or less ingredients, the same day I bought it. She didn’t share a single slice.

Love the dog. Tolerate the cat. Okay I admit... I kind of like the cat. Thought a lot about trading both of them in for a human today.

The other resident homo sapiens of the dwelling are out adventuring this weekend, what they do best. So it was just us - the canine, the feline, the reptile, the spiders, and the lone human… the perpetually contemplative human, who couldn’t go biking with her friends because she picked school first this semester, and was paying her dues.

I’m grateful, truly, for many things. I am grateful for the opportunity to receive an education, and the relative success the endeavor has been met with, this time around.

I’m grateful for some truly amazing friends and the blessing of having some of the world’s finest beings so close to my heart. I always feel that way the days I get to talk to Grace...

I’m grateful for the contentment I’ve found in solitude, and the time to reflect and focus on my goals, and just me. I've celebrated the independence like a kid celebrates birthday cake and Halloween candy.

But that only gets you so far. School has ceased to be challenging, I drink it up – love to learn and produce, but I have it dialed right now, it’s programmed into my operations.

I suppose what I am getting at, is that independence, in all it’s glory, can become easy, monotonous.

And it seems I have more energy to distribute, more interest to invest, more time to listen and desire to commune than I can exhaust. Maybe this is the calm before a storm; ski season has a way of exhausting all of my resources with expert efficiency.

Or perhaps this is growing up, this is the realization you come to when you’re about ready to invest in people’s lives, for permanent, for good. When selfishness has played its game, taken the winning shot and retired to the bench.

I don't know, but I'm sure thinking about it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Gorgeous, Perfect, Wonderful...

.... the first adjectives that crossed my mind this morning, as I looked out my bedside windows at white flocked bows and lawn blanketed in cushy, brilliant white. It was better than Christmas! And it's just a Wednesday.

I'm absorbing the feeling of winter getting it's stoke on in a house full of fervent worshippers. The bathrooms - all of them - have ski related reading materials. The closets, all of them, are full to the brim with boots, jackets and the like. The garage doesn't even have a car in it - gear, yes.

I'm on the brink of falling into my favorite phase of bliss. Ski season cometh.

A snapshot of me in one of my earliest winters...If you've known me for long, you know that I haven't changed much. The static life may bore and disinterest me, but there is consistency and rhythm in my pursuits. ~~*

Please, do tell me what a real job is. Apparently I've never had one, nor have many of my friends. Instead, we have fun jobs. Ironically, these fun jobs pay our real mortgages, buy real groceries, fuel our real cars with real gas. Hmm.
It's all good, I called in a powder day to my surreal job, and am spending the day surreally blissed out in a corner of the world that I think is absolutely perfect. Un-cubicled, un-wired, non-preternatural. Lucky me.

Some lyrics I adore from Ani DiFranco...

"Squint your eyes and look closer
I'm not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am thirty-two flavors and then some
and I'm beyond your peripheral vision
so you might want to turn your head
cause someday you're going to get hungry
and eat most of the words you just said."

[DiFranco, Ani. "32 Flavors." Not a Pretty Girl. Righteous Babe Records, 1995.]

It's a great song, as are many by Ani. Check her out if you're unfamiliar.

Happy Snow Day! ;)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Fam

Climbing day with the fam. I don't know if I've expressed this often enough...

I love my family.

-------------------> PAPA __TJ__JH _ Dami__MA

That's us in JPEG form :) along with our blog names - how I reference them here.

Papa has the Iron Man emblem over his heart - he is a veteran triathlete and furiously training for the epic ski season knocking at the door. He and I make a point of knocking out as many powder runs as the daylight will allow at least once a ski season. As a first time climber, he sent a double over hang route with impressive one-arm-pull-up skills, and I'm looking forward to our next climbing venture around Thanksgiving.

Lil bro TJ is an intense kid, energetic and intelligent. Though we have different mothers, he is as brother as can be. Currently he is learning the rules of the basketball in his Y-Ball league -he made a couple of really great shots his last game, only one of which counted. Apparently, even in Y-Ball, you have to dribble rather than make a break for it, clutching the ball for dear life. Too bad, since the strategy seemed to work :) we were all still proud of him, his Mom especially.

When climbing, he scaled the first half of 5.6 rated routes very well - but the full ascent registered as a bit terrifying to him. 40 feet or so is a long way when you're hardly a tenth of that in stature!

Dami(enne). My sister is wonderful. She has an affection for France, and spent her last spring break there. She's learning the ropes of the young adult life, and has a lot of love to give. I am inexpressibly grateful for the opportunity to share most of my life growing up with her. She worked hard at climbing - initially going half way like TJ, but once she learned to trust the ropes, she finished her first routes quite gracefully.

Ma is as dedicated of a mother as can be. She put every ounce of her energy the past couple decades into my sister and I, and we're eternally grateful. She's on the brink of having ALL GROWN UP children, and I'm hoping her 'liberation' will allow her more time on the slopes with Zeppelin, on cassette if need be. :) Ma is not into combatting gravity on a climbing wall, but prefers to gracefully work WITH it in descending ski hills.

So, that's the fam! TJ and Dami were knocking out 5.6s by the end of our venture, and Papa is hooked, I am sure. He has immense experience rappelling and teaching rope rescue, but never got into climbing. I remember him telling me he wasn't interested a few summers ago when I first climbed in Moab, and I think I chided him, saying that if he wanted to rapp down, he had to earn it by climbing up. I saw the fire ignite in his eyes during our day at the gym - I have a feeling he intends to scale every route we came across, and won't stop til he does.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The City of Trees

Is alive and well on a passive skied, milky clouded day. I'm looking out across the valley, the Owyhees appearing misty in the background, the fiery colors of fall foliage speaking volumes about this place, adorning the resident maples, catalpas, elms...

Is it home? I don't know. I don't know where home is... Earth. Globally speaking, not regionally pinpointed.

Unless we were to speak of the habitats that constitute my collective childhood memory, in a time where home was more defined than just a feeling. The canopied streets of Boise, the sand and smell of its sage spangled foothills, the water of the arterial river that flows through it all and the days spent swinging into it from terrifying heights. The drive between here and New Meadows, that twisting, convoluted form of a house outside of McCall that seems to bow ever lower with each passing season. The footbridges and sparkling waterways and trails that carve through the Ponderosa forests, the local haunts we've danced the nights away at, whose borrowed letters helped us conquer the Alphabet Game on timeless road trips as children. The small cities, who in and of themselves have an identity to be missed and longed for - relatives of the soul, checkpoints on so many journeys - Banks, Lake Fork, Cascade, Smith's Ferry. The infamy of the Horseshoe Bend hill, the eerie reminders of the Cougar Mountain Lodge, the straight and broad, dusty road to Warm Lake. This area is what Idaho and I really have in common - our heartland. This part of the planet, even in a lifetime of travels, will forever be a beloved muse.

I'm going trick-or-treating with my sweet, wild little bro TJ this evening. At the tender, innocent age of six, he's elected to be a military Sniper for Halloween. My Dad (mistakenly, he admits) let him play Call of Duty on Playstation for a while, before banishing it for violent content. Aside from that, he comes from a proud military heritage on his maternal side - hopefully we'll play up the inspiration from the latter. :)

Happy Halloween to all!

Friday, October 24, 2008


(Insert: very, very nerdy comic. Source =

I'm feeling all sorts of philosophical about things in this moment. Grateful for some writing time after a mellow evening at home - made dinner with my lil buddy WK, a beautiful kid and total joy, not to mention culinary phenom and soccer star.

I've done some blog browsing lately, and have been rewarded with interesting perspectives on a lot of very different individuals. I'm fascinated by the sandwich of life and what people freely choose, and how they portray their creation. Bread on bread of birth and death, and an endless array of fillers, spices, meats, vegs, pastes, creams, jellies etc you can smoosh inbetween. No matter what falls between your slices of birth/death, you've got a existential sandwich (if you will) - 100% unique, no matter how hard you try to follow influences or conform to the fight for non-conformity.

I'm thinking about my life sandwich (again...always...) - the established layers, and the forecast of layers to come, to be sought after. The fun thing about twentysomethinghood is that the space between feels so open-faced, so boundless. There's a huge expectation that you're going to slap some standard fare on there (college, marriage, kids, etc) but no real requirement other than what's in your head, what you're jonesin' for, what you think will create the most fulfillment and joy. For me...

I love, love, love learning. It might be my most favorite of all experiences in the whole Universe. I wouldn't equate a college ed to learning with any nuance of exclusivity, ever. Life is complex, beautiful, rythmic, profound. There are endless avenues of discovery.

Though it comes and goes, and it's definition is transitive and subject to circumstance, companionship is no doubt the most profound sustenance offered at the deli counter. Somewhere in my journey, I fostered a fair but of misandry, which has lent itself to fierce independence and reflexive death rays that shoot down intruders with a moment's scrutiny. I'm seeing that as increasingly benign as I wend my way down the path, alleviating the pressure of a major expected component.

The children in my life are, truly, wondrous beyond description. My vocabulary fails to illustrate the true feeling of inspiration I have gained from their pure energy, intelligence, strength, and beauty. The world is full of such life, brimming with it actually. If all the days of my own life were to pass with vacant womb, I would still be satisfied, heart and soul, with the pitter patter of footsteps on the earth itself, and the song of children everywhere.

On that note, my definition of "standard fare" and my own necessary, vital Life Sandwich components have begun (rather, began some time ago...) a dynamic separation, the latter growing and thinking and re-defining, reconstructing, constantly.

As humans, I think we all feel an intrinsic urge to attain KNOWLEDGE, fight for LOVE, and undertake the CREATION of a meaningful legacy. I want to extend the challenge to myself and anyone who reads this to take an objective, positive look at the daily possibilities for powerfully executing all three objectives and DO, regardless of circumstance.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Euro GnarShredd: 03/'09

This spectacular girl I know - a skier, a student, a bundle of fun-filled, energetic life force - a fellow Altaholic... invited me to come visit her in Europe this spring at her family's new digs near St. Anton (Austrian ski resort).

Hmm let me think.... YES please!

As soon as the prospect came up on the horizon, I felt some guilt surface about spring term of school. (Euro ski trip would be paid for with Spring 09 tuition budget.) I've been really focused on school for the three semesters I've been back - three in a row.

Having taken two years off, and knowing that the motivated people who graduated with me in '05 will be graduating from college this year, I feel a sort of self-imposed rush to hurl my way through, semester after semester, til I get done.

On further thought, I realized what a luxury it is to be where I'm at. If I were graduating from college this year, I'd be on the hunt for a job with benefits and limited vacation time. I'd likely be "ready to settle down" (gag.... cough cough...) which would mean that my free time would give way to a barrage of responsibilities, snowballing every day of my life until I die, more or less. It's not a bad thing....

But to everything, there is a time and a season. And this season, I think I'm going to kick off my academic shoes, feel genuinely happy for the people who pushed their way to a degree, and be completely elated to spend a week shreddin' in Europe.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Karma calling!

Foreword: This is a lil bit of something I've been working on, to illustrate the early-twenties feelings on the early-twenties Journey - the cat and mouse dating game. Warning: content infused with sarcasm, author mildly jaded. ;)


They say that love is blind – love is not blind.

Infatuation, on the other hand, at least when unreciprocated….*
Contracts a unique hearing impairment, shifting claims such as:

“I’m not interested in a relationship with you.”
Which translates directly to: “I’m dying for you to ram more of your self-absorbed dialogue about how I’m wrong about this into my brain.”

Translates to: “Maybe! Ask again! I secretly adore you and will eventually give you the answer you seek.”

“This isn’t working out for me - please don’t try to contact me again.”
Translates to: “RARRR, I love a relentless stalking! You’re killing my resistance softly, tiger.”

“The attraction isn’t mutual.”
Translates to: “The nauseated look is part of the game, I’ll jump you very very soon.”

*Has also been linked to pathetic, clumsy behavior, and absence of grace.
*Often features a defunct sense of smell, an icky touch, vision skewed by its own interest.

Infatuation lacks sense(s). Period.

All were in the same boat of undesirability and sugar coated ease, which I wanted to kick from my shores forever and shoot flaming arrows at, like a medieval death raft.

Better to have it far, far from me – whether I sit upon shores of denial, ego, and self righteousness or not...

The one saying that my passion for skiing would have to pass pending our nuptials; too expensive and risky for a wife of his, who needed to be preserved like waxy casserole in airtight Tupperware, changing diapers and living dependently off his stingily dispersed income. And this, darling, is the noble definition of teamwork!

Another, a scorpion angrily demanding a sacred place in my agenda, touting his presence in my life as “the best thing that ever happened “; defining me with all the accuracy of a self absorbed, reality skewed prick. Truly, the senselessness of infatuation personified.

And another, lovingly throwing elbows into my life, arriving breathless and out of tune, like a happy hound… asking no pertinent questions, making many arrogant assumptions, and criticizing my claims. I loved the walk around the park, but no, I don’t want to take you home. Yes, I do know that for sure, and thank you for reminding me how little you think of my ability to reason.

And so on and so forth, down the line of unreciprocated crushes.
Perhaps their little flames were stoked by my disdain –

I know there’s sometimes nothing hotter than the unavailable mystery
Of someone so distant from touching anything vulnerable in you
Incapable of shattering a carefully constructed, independent façade.

And there’s some sort of relief in disinterest – no spotlights
No emotional search warrants
You’re safe here, ducked into the void.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mission Accomplished

(yep, those are real peacock feathers! ^^^)
Best weekend ever in Salt Lake.

If it were my job to make heaven, it would look just like Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Some highlights of the weekend - two climbing sessions in LCC, two wonderful parties, 12 carved pumpkins, fall colors, amazing friends, the house to myself, and making plans for a busy week.

Many thanks to my fun, talented, generous friends for making it all possible!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's Late.

I am so very awake, for the next ten minutes at least.

I know I'm really tired when I can oversimplify everything. I just logged in just for kicks, and saw the word "born" on my page, and was overcome with thoughts on being born. Existing! I was BORN somewhere. I am alive! That seems so ridiculously profound... one day the Universe was humming along in it's rhythym and the next minute I was part of that rhythym. And I've spend a sequence of days and years claiming my space and identity... and I was born once... did I mention that..?

I'm not high, just exhausted. Maybe coming down from a sugar/adrenaline high from and sweet, eventful day.

Cleaned house, ran errands, did homework, dressed up in elements of peacock, made food, had friends over, carved pumpkins, took pictures, talked, laughed, smiled a lot.

I decided this was going to be the best weekend ever today, and it's off to a ripping good start.
Now seriously, it's too late to be writing... much much too late. G'night world :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

From the Heart

A slice of introspection, from a relatively ordinary day.

First, before I write this blog, I want to make an assertion about who I am
that I can finally declare sans sheepishness and denial.

I am here for the emotional experience.

Any thrill I've been known to seek, any place that I run to, anything I love about myself and admire in the Universe is inseparably linked with my desire for emotional fulfillment.
The places I love most are the places that evoke the most in me.
The activities I have pursued have somehow brought emotional challenge, stimulation and fulfillment to my life.
The relationships I treasure with all the deepest affections of my heart are those that travel limitlessly through the dynamics of life - unconditional, uncircumstantial.

I'm all about the journey. I could care less for the destination most of the time. The destination is the end of the chapter and the impetus for a new beginning.

I write every day, and blog very infrequently. I've been reserved to the idea of blogging because it's nearly impossible for me to write impersonally, and I've felt disinclined to throw my ponderings into the public sphere. I've come to look at it a little differently in the past week - a challenge to see if I can learn to let my words be open to interpretation, and learn to filter the personally sacred from the sacred existential common ground that we all share as a human family. Some of the best things in life need to be shared, like lungs need oxygen, lest we forget the common threads that tie us together. I've been forgetful.

SO. Now that the disclaimer is out there, here are some of the latest notes from my emotional journey.

Something in me is symptomatically falling in love, and I'm not sure why.

I walked the streets of Cottonwood Heights for hours yesterday, breathing deep, viewing the snow dusted Wasatch Front adoringly, laughing at myself, balancing on concrete ledges, listening to music, feeling very alive and pleased with reality as-is. I browsed the shelves of the library, visited with friends, got really tired and slept well.

And it just seemed like a perfect day.

The economy sucks, my schedule is whack, things are a mess all over the place.
I still had a perfect day. Because perfect is the acceptance of things as they are. Perfect, in my mind, is a state of peace with imperfection; embracing who you are, where you've been and where you realistically are and want to go. Without fear, pretention, or jealousy. Or doubt. Or anything nasty and unnerving that could obstruct the clarity and peace that is always, always alive and well in the Universe, available for the undistracted heart to appreciate.

After this dazzling, simple day, I concluded that that brand of happy thoughts is usually associated with falling in love. I guess I'm falling in love then, with the promise of an impending ski season, even with the prospect of economic doom, and always with the love of good friends and cherished family.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


My Wednesday was spent in a canyon with a good friend, surrounded by autumn sunlight and orange/red/yellow mini maple leaves. I was there, in the corners of ancient cobbles and on the faces carved by a delta, settled firmly over a millennia of stillness and frequented by a breed of adventurers known as climbers.

A different breed, really. Climbers come with their own culture, lingo, practices, theories, habits, class of vehicles (fuel efficient-ish, high clearance-ish, dog friendly, hatchbacks.) Climbers have a body and an attitude that can usually be stereotyped pretty accurately – some of the more flattering aspects being quite admirable. I like the climber girls who admit to shamelessly wearing Chacos to church, hate dressing up, beat the boys… a lot of the prerogative of outdoor culture in general, just with a different stylistic flair. Very earthy and wholesome, the personification of dedication and hard work against persistent challenge. I dig it.

What I don’t dig about climbing, the moments that tap into the easy-route, gravity cooperative neuro transmitters in my head and send them on the fritz. When I am stuck somewhere painful and uncomfortable and it is just simply HARD. Difficult. Gravity is sitting cross legged on my dome chuckling at my pathetically weak struggle against it. I get nervous, I get antsy. I get unsure. Really, honestly, I DO NOT KNOW where to go next in these moments, and I feel like nothing is reaching out to me, rather that I am scrambling aimlessly at the void.

And I keep coming back for more of this. Something in me thrives every time I finish (which, incidentally, is about a fifty-fifty split) a route. Something in my inner struggle is assuaged and edified by what I learn from the rock. Something in my ego was put silently and politely, into its proper place today, moulded by the rounded curves of Maple’s cobbles. Something about the conglomerate composition spoke to me of my place in the packbottom, absolute rock bottom, surrounded by others at every stage of the game. The geology taught me of the nature of dynamic impermanence; the vibrant ushering in of the new season showing that with persistence and presence; being there in the environment, there is a promise of change.

....climb on!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Signs of the Times

In all my disengagement, I haven't avoided as much of the junk show campaign process as I would have liked. Money, solicitation, wasted resources – propaganda today, landfill tomorrow. The hurled insults, the debasement, the ridicule. The looks of arrogance and pride, and the unrelenting vocal polarization of solutions and ideas. The annoying calls I keep getting from unknown numbers. "If the election were to happen today..."

I can affirm with full confidence that there is nothing supernatural or heroic about the animalistic claw for power I’m watching and listening to from the opposing camps. This is not a battle of Good VS. Evil. You do not make yourself look better by flexing your destructive powers on the opposition. I don’t want to see a well rehearsed destroyer and defamer become the next Commander in Chief.

Whether it's in simplicity or naivete that I utter this, all I want is to live a good life and be happy. I'll work for it. I'll do my part.

I don't expect the government to deliver it to me on a silver platter - though I would be among the most grateful beneficiaries of Universal Healt Care, I see it as a pipe dream in the midst of instability and financial turbulence.

I DO expect a goverment that leaves the delicate landscapes of this beautiful country AT the LEAST, preserved. Every time I hear Sarah Palin utter the word energy, I reach for a paper bag and start hyperventilating. When she says “drill” and “nuc-yelur,” I actually hurl.

I want the next generation to know what it feels like to run barefoot on a beach, ski on pristine layers of fresh fallen snow.

I'd like there to be markets and production of gear/transportation/etc. that makes playing outside comfortable. But the humans before us could ski on planks rougher than today's hardwood floors and love it, I could learn to, if push came to shove.

Growing up, we played hard and busted ourselves up on gnarly playground equipment. [Anyone remember old Camel's Back park?] If the world as we know it were to end, it might take a while to reverse adaptations to padded, plastic coated play time and easy, hand-it-to me routine, but the fittest would survive.

Is that what we're looking at here? Complete failure of the system, or a the next Savior of the human race?

Regardless of the victor this fall, they’ve got their work cut out for them. One half or the other of us is going to have to console ourselves with, at best, some new tunes, a warm bath, maybe a run around the block.

Maybe, just maybe, a run to your bomb shelter in the hills. I'd be prepared. Just make sure it isn’t on the north slope of Alaska, because it might not be there this time next year.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The beginning...

Oddly enough, considering the amount of time I spend writing, I've never kept a consistent blog. Occasional rants on Myspace... but nothing particularly noteworthy.

I won't say that things are about to get consistent or routine here, but I'm interested in the opportunity for the first time.

Some things about my life, in the October of my twenty second year. Some things that may or may not be of any interest to the planet, but have profound significance in the existence I call my own.

I live in a wonderful house in my favorite residential spot in the state of Utah, at the base of the Wasatch mountains. A Major Leaguer could probably hit the face of one of the Twin Peaks from the front yard, and my ski commute this winter will involve walking down the block and hopping on the bus.

The family whom I share my new home with is made up of some of the most down-to-earth, pleasant adventurers I've come across yet, renting out a quiet back room in their mountainside "beach house," having freshly returned from a summer surfing excursion on the island of Maui.

I'm settling into a vibrant fall rhythym in the rugged arms of the Wasatch, embracing the academic life and watching anxiously for the arrival of the first signs of winter.

Despite the beauty, serenity, and ample challenges around me, my heart still lives, in part, in Idaho. I miss my family every single day. I'm constantly aware of the little things I miss in the lives of my brother and sister a state away, and despite my love of my surroundings, hear a call in my soul to return to my roots sooner rather than later.

So here I am, plugging through community college, listening to the vibrations of the universe, navigating my way as best I can to meet all the calls that come to me and lay the foundation for my future. Yikes!

This summer was intense and chaotic, I took on WAY too many credits of school, and had very little consistency in my schedule. I gained some experience and confidence in my abilities; it was by no means a wash. A few highlights: kicking off the off-season with a DC trip to visit Destiny, surviving summer semester, watching my Dad cross the finish line in the Boise half Ironman, reading books with my bro, spending time with the little H-G's and Emma (kids I love!) Fourth of July in Moab and some memorable river trips with Red River Adventures. Making some amazing new friends, keeping/getting in touch with some cherished old friends, clumsily confessing my affection to a good chum. Turning 22 at the cabin with my beloved maternal side of the fam, and starting work on a novel there, favorite vinyls playing in the background and the woodstove keeping me toasty warm.

It's a good life. :)