Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Love

If I see one more piece of candy... I'm probably still going to eat it, and continue the month long chocolaty, sugary buzz I've had going, as well as fantasize about spending the entirety of January on a veggies-wholegrains-100% juice only detox plan.

If I have one more event to go to, I'm probably going to enjoy it as much as the others, and appreciate the wealth of people I've been blessed to spend the season with. I'm also going to appreciate the stillness, peace and warmth of a silent house a little more every night, til my day-to-day gets more boring and attains even the semblance of routine.

Christmas week has been truly glorious, one that I will look back on fondly. I've had more time off of work this week than the past seven seasons combined - bookings are down, no surprise given the second year of the recession, but it is more drastic than I expected. Yesterday the Children's Center was as busy as a normal spring day. Usually the fourteen days surrounding Christmas have the place filled to the brim with a delicately organized chaos and pandemonium. Yesterday was a breeze, the kids could even converse over lunch without shouting across the table just to hear one another. I even got the afternoon off after teaching a private lesson, and that's after having the entire week off already. A co-worker makes (delicious) fortune cookies, and yesterday mine read something like : Fear not, prosperity will come to you soon. Ironic.

I like my friend Tim's take on the whole thing. He pointed out yesterday that we might actually have to ski this year. Like take real runs, for fun, while waiting for lessons. We might like it. Our bills might increase or be harder to pay. But what if we actually spend this season doing more of what we love, what we're here for in the first place? In the long run, it probably won't matter that we made less money. It's still going to be a great season.

While visiting home for the week, I got peppered with questions about my relationship status, as per norm. There are distant relatives and friends who maintain a 'milestones only' conversational pattern - and I really haven't had much to report in terms of milestones. My last graduation was high school, and I haven't been capital Dating Anyone in over two years. I'm boring holiday catch-up material, for sure.

My paternal grandpa always has the best (most worthy of recap) way of asking/saying It. Last year, he gave me a sad-puppy faced look and said, over Thanksgiving dinner, "Are you EVER going to find someone and settle down??" This year -

G: So, you have a boyfriend down there [in Utah] yet?

JH: No, why would I need one of those?

G: To keep you warm.

JH: My furnace works well. In my car and my house. And I have a lot of blankets and winter jackets. I stay pretty warm.

G: Well, you're sure getting pretty, if I were your age.... (trails off and leaves room to refill glass of whiskey...)

I know Gramps means well, and I like to think everyone else does too. There's a sadness for him in my being single that I don't share, but I can see it's a way of him being worried about me, an extension of his love and concern.

People come from different frames of reference - Grandpa found his 'sweetheart' at sixteen, and they figured out how to make a life together, paved the way for a whole room full of people to exist in the world, and still love one another, flirtatiously even, sixty years later. From belonging to a family to creating one, they've never been alone.

My other side of the family is comprised largely of young families, people who married within a few years of high school, most of whom had at least one child by my age. Similarly to my grandparents, they've not spent time alone. They hope for me to share a bit of their brand of happiness, and are looking forward to giving me the 'pat on the back' for achieving it. Not a bad thing.

What's amusing to me is the assumption that this is something temporary, a holding out for something better kind of stage. I guess it is for some people. And I guess if I chose to look at it that way, I could adopt the perspective. It seems limited, though.

As a rower, I know in reality and metaphor the cost of momentum, the effort it takes in terms of muscle and dedication to steer a craft through rough waters and around obstacles, to have a destination in mind and exert the continued effort to get there.

I'm not beached, waiting for a pair of muscles to stroll up and take my oars and write my story for me.

I'm downriver from that, my efforts are direct and focused, I am moving along swift currents. Someone might sidle up with mutual intentions someday, but I'm not going to camp out for it, I'm not slowing, and I'm not aborting ship for someone else's dreams. I don't think my well-meaning relatives understand that. But I do love them deeply, appreciate their lives and concern for my welfare.

Time and energy are precious commodities. I have enough to invest in my writing, work, learning and studies, and the people who I've already recognized as permanent and beautiful fixtures in my eternal life. And then those commodities are pretty well distributed, and I'm satisfied with the return on the investment.

I'm taking the spring term off from school. As much as I want to push my graduation date back, I don't see much point in doing so at the expense of Everything Else. I'm happily employed - which I'm recognizing more and more is an absolute blessing. I've got a substantial chunk of my novel written, am in love with the characters and eager to pour more of myself into it's creation. And it looks like I'm going to have to spend more time than anticipated actually enjoying skiing... shucks ;)

I hope the spirit of Christmas and the warmth of the holiday season has filled your hearts and homes. I send love and good tidings your way, and extend the invitation again that y'all come visit the greatest snow on earth and ski some Utah powder this year.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Settled In

I realised I promised follow-up from the New Place post... here ya go.

Still working on putting a photo collage across the blank wall...

Ferguson Canyon makes a nice backdrop for writing and studying.
Visitors welcome!
The Wasatch is calling YOU.
Now if you'll please excuse me, I have schoolwork calling/sucking my will to live. This semester ends THURSDAY. Get me out of here, I'd rather be skiing ;)

Saturday, December 5, 2009


"There is a substance [caffeine] in tea and coffee which when taken into the human system, tends to increase the beating of the heart; which in turn increases the rapidity of the circulation of the blood and of breathing. This causes the body to become warmer and more exhilarated. After a time, however, this temporary enlivenment passes off, and the body is really in a greater need of rest and recuperation than it was before the beverage was taken. Stimulants are to the body what the lash is to the lagging horse—it causes a spurt forward but gives no permanent strength or natural nourishment. Frequent repetitions of the lash only make the horse more lazy; and the habitual use of strong drink, tobacco, tea, and coffee, only tends to make the body weaker and more dependent upon the stimulants to which it is addicted."

-David O. McKay

(read full article here)

Words to live by, as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Friends at Temple Square!

Friends and countrymen, 2009 is on its way out the door, its days are numbered. How bout that?

I celebrated my first Thanksgiving away from Boise last week; truly a lovely event with food, dear friends and great live music. It looks like I'll be in Salt Lake for Christmas too, another first holiday away from home and family.

Things are getting rolling for ski season, and I will be working as an Instructor on a more full time basis this year. I'm looking to store some funds for spring travels... locations TBA. Next summer's Plan won't really shape up until it's here. I, on the other hand, am shaping up to be prepared for it. Some of my wonderful and anonymous friends in Idaho have me inspired in the realm of fitness.

One of the guys I worked with last summer has the physique of a professional fighter, and is more or less on a permanent training regimen, which includes things like lifting cinderblocks and running full boar up hillsides so steep that most people would feel cautious walking down them. While I don't plan to emulate his exact regimen by any means, I do desire something of his results. Another co-worked and I have decided to be "at least as porportionally ripped."

For a woman, I have a fairly muscular physique. Attribute it to work and lifestyle choices - skiing, rowing, climbing, hiking, etc, or heredity, whatever. I genuinely enjoy physical work and feeling athletic and capable. I don't idealize competing with vintage Schwarznegger, but let's just say that I'd take that hulk over the gaunt, frail and emaciated frame of, say, MK Olsen on a bad year any day.

I'm looking at a comprehensive physical overhaul and losing about 20 pounds of excess. So far, I've been climbing and increased my activity level, but I'm just getting started. I have yet to discover a form of indoor, winter-evening friendly cardio I don't loathe outside of climbing, I hate the dull repetition of indoor running. So. I'll be writing more during the journey, but there's the forecast.

Some nerd notes… I indulged in a rousing bout of Trivial Pursuit last night, and ohhhh do I love that game! I’ve been on a foreign film bender, and intend to post more frequent reviews of film, lit and pop culture analysis. In my mind, writing a review is like the chocolate of rhetoric, and I have a mad sweet tooth for some serrrrious decadence. :)

Happy December, however and whatever your holiday celebrations bring, I hope it's a season full of love and warmth of spirit.