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.