Thursday, June 26, 2008

this is real, and it's fabulous!

doing some very serious journalistic internet research yesterday i stumbled upon this amazing article. yes, the sub-headline really reads, "harnessing the untapped power of breast motion."

with that introduction, i can't imagine any of you not wanting to read this article for yourselves. but in case you are at work or your mom's house and pulling up an article about boobs might get you in trouble (or make you blush), i'll give you a quick run-down. basically, the article explores the possibility of converting the motion of a woman's breasts into energy that could power, say, an ipod. as it happens, the breast moves along three separate axes (up and down, side to side and front to back), and a poorly-supported d-cup can move up to 35 inches while a woman exercises. who knew?!? so, as the author points out, "why not put the girls to work?"

the article also sheds some light on the hygienic practices of scientists, or maybe just their lack of exposure to women and their undergarments. consider the following exchange:

'so you can generate enough energy to power an ipod?' i asked.
'definitely,' wang said.
i asked wang if this bra would be machine-washable.
'you don't need to wash a bra!' he said.
i disagreed.

all of this could certainly be seen by larger-busted women as a sort of karmic payback for the annoyance of exercising with big breasts. i, myself, wouldn't know anything about that as my particular cup size is used in this very article as an example of one that would not, and i quote, "get that ipod up and running."

you can't win them all, right?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

for my father, embarrassingly late

someone said something about father's day the other day, and i had a moment of panic that i had forgotten all about it. because i do stuff like that sometimes. then i remembered that i had remembered to call, but i also realized that i let both father's day and my dad's birthday pass with no blog shout-out. and that simply will not do. so, here are some of my favorite memories and stories about my dear old dad.

i made a less than graceful entry into this world, and my mom was whisked away as soon as i was born for some, um, repairing. i was left in the cradle of my dad's arms, apparently forgotten by everyone but him. i don't remember it, of course, but we have long maintained that my dad and i really and permanently bonded in those first few minutes together. even today when i am sick, heartbroken, sad or scared, it's him i want.

my dad loves watching old music videos on the internet, like "love shack" by the B-52s. he also loves watching funny clips from "the daily show with jon stewart" and "the colbert report." sometimes he laughs so hard he cries.

my dad always has my back, and because of that i have rarely been afraid to do hard things. when i reported one of my junior high teachers the to administration for sexual harassment, dad was behind me all the way. he encouraged me to go to summer camps, fellowships and college far away. he never missed a week of writing me on my mission, and made sure i got all the care packages i needed. he is always my biggest fan and almost never criticizes me, even when i do really stupid things. instead, he helps me learn from my mistakes.

a couple years ago i had a really bad break-up and i was pretty depressed about it. my dad called almost every hour, on the hour, and recited that skit from "saturday night live": "you're good enough, you're smart enough, and gosh-darnit, people like you." if i didn't answer, he left a message.

i was sort of a mess when i first came home from my mission, and my dad was really understanding and supportive of my rocky transition. there were a couple mishaps, like when i was getting discouraged about finding a job and he said, "oh, frances, i had to send out at least a thousand resumes before i got my first job!" (i burst into tears) or the time he sat next to me on the couch, put his hand on my knee and said, "frances, i know this is a difficult transition and you are doing a great job and i just want you to take as much time as you need. but how much time do you think that will be?" (i burst into tears), but most of the time he was my biggest ally and support. one particularly bad day, i had just been rejected from another job and my mom was hosting a bridal shower at our house. one of the ladies from the ward saw me in the kitchen and said, "still here, frances? what, no job?" i couldn't decide if i wanted to cry (yet again) or punch her in the face, or both, but my dad quickly intervened and took me out to dinner and a movie. it was just what i needed.

my dad loves to ride motorcycles, and he has a lot of them. five harleys, to be exact. sometimes he shows up unexpectedly at my door after having ridden, literally, thousands of miles. he is a member of the "iron butt club." he pretty much exclusively wears harley-davidson t-shirts and, if they come from somewhere special, he buys two of them. one to wear and one for his "collection." he also had some of them made into a quilt. this summer, he is riding his motorcycle to the arctic circle. none of this seems strange to any of us anymore.

my dad is interested in me and my life, and this encourages me to be an interesting person and do interesting things. he never, ever, ever pressures me about dating or marriage; instead he calls to see what i think about the eliot spitzer scandal, how my bike training is going, what i am working on at my job. he keeps magazine articles he thinks i might be interested in. he gives me story leads. he stays involved in the best of ways. i like and want to tell him things.

and, finally, this. a while back i was reading a book called "reviving ophelia" (i think i have mentioned it before) and there was a chapter about how a girl's relationship with her father shapes a huge part of who she will be for the rest of her life. i think i have been hugely shaped and influenced by the fact that my dad never treated me like a girl, he always treated me like a person. there was no reason i shouldn't do well in school, move away from home, travel, play sports, pursue leadership opportunities. the words, "that's not very ladylike" or "why can't you act more like a girl?" never escaped his lips. but there was also no reason i shouldn't make quilts, wear skirts and have giggly sleepovers if i wanted to. he always let me choose, and he set an example that has helped me choose wisely. when he says he is proud of me i know he means it, and it is the greatest affirmation there is.

and so, on no particularly special day, i say thank you to my dad, and give him lots of love. better late than never, right?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

the solstice with the mostest

first, a disclaimer. we had a most adventerous summer solstice, but we also all forgot to bring our cameras, so you are just going to have to take my word for it. think you can do that? i thought so.

i started off the longest day of the year by riding my bike over to the avenues bakery to meet suvi for breakfast. she was in town for her sister's wedding, and it was wonderful to see her and hear all about her big city adventures. she works at the UN. pretty rad, huh?

then it was up the big hill home to start our kayaking adventure. last weekend when heather came over for frances cake we cooked up a plan to go kayaking on the great salt lake. none of us know much about kayaking (in fact, most of us had never been), but it didn't seem that hard. just go to REI, rent some kayaks and head out. right?

well, only sort of right.

for starters, REI didn't have any kayaks available to rent. though they did have a lot of canoes.

me: is it a good idea to rent canoes if you happen to be the kind of person who has swamped every canoe you've ever been in?
rob: i don't want to be in your canoe.

instead, we found another sporting goods store that had plenty of kayaks to rent. there was all kinds of discussion about how many we should get and what kind and then there was the issue of loading them onto the trucks, which took a pretty long time. by now it was the beginning of the afternoon, so we decided to bag the great salt lake and head just a few minutes up the canyon to mountain dell reservoir. it's a protected watershed area so you can't swim, but you can "fall in," which sounded good enough to us at this point.

i wish we had taken a camera just so you could see how beautiful mountain dell is. clear, sharp blue water and green, green mountains. sunny, open sky and a mountain breeze. it was truly gorgeous.

our next obstacle hit when we unloaded the kayaks (no small feat with the super-complicated knots the sporting goods guys had used to secure them) and realized we only had three paddles when we needed five. we still have no idea where the other two paddles ended up. it was ok, though, because two of our kayaks had foot pedals so you didn't really even need paddles. it was basically like paddle-boating in a kayak, which might seem like cheating, but it was also all kinds of fun so i didn't really care. jessica did have her pedals in backwards for a while, but once we got that sorted out it was smooth and most enjoyable sailing (unless dave was in the vicinity, trying to "help" you fall in). there might be nothing better in the world than floating for hours on the water.

loading up the kayaks wasn't as hard as we thought it would be...

heather: that went faster than even at the store.
rob: which might not be a good thing.

...and all the boats, paddles and people made it back in one piece. then it was off to a delicious dinner of fish tacos at lone star taqueria. whoever thought of fish tacos is a genius whose hand i would like to shake.

we wrapped up the longest day of the year with sallee and joan's annual summer solstice party. plenty of delicious food, dancing, guitar playing, poetry reading and sallee and i performed our now-famous rendition of "charlie on the MTA." joan (that's sallee's mom) thanked us all for coming to "celebrate the time when the universe changes" and i felt happy and full and alive.

welcome back, summer. welcome back.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

why, sometimes, the grocery store is awesome

generally speaking, i despise grocery shopping. which is why i have been subsisting mainly on cheeze-its for the past few weeks. i hate taking the time to plan meals, make a list, go to the store and search for everything i need. and, since i almost always skip the first two steps, i usually get to the store with no real idea of what it is that i need in the first place and just wander the aisles aimlessly, tossing things in my basket only to get home and realize i still don't have actual food. plus there are about one trillion things i would, and do, choose over going to the store and by then we're out of toilet paper and shopping has become crisis management and the whole task seems too big and overwhelming and all i can do is run in and get the few things i need the very most and i'm pretty much right back where i started.

but, sometimes grocery shopping is like other things that seem so much cooler and more fun if you come back to them after not having done them for a while. like when you have weeks' worth of celebrity gossip to catch up on, or when you run into an old friend who used to kind of bug you but it's so fun to reconnect because now you hardly get to see each other so all that annoying stuff doesn't matter anymore. the smith's in the avenues was that friend to me last night. here is just a small list of the rad things that happened to me while i was there.

1. i ran into miaken who i had seen, literally, just a few minutes earlier at my office. we should have carpooled. and, she bought a five pound bag of cinnamon bears. you should ask her for some.
2. i ran into katie clifford, who wasn't phased at all that i recognized her in the shampoo and cosmetics aisle even though we have actually never met. she looks just like her sister (and my new friend), emily, so i played that card and decided to leave out that i may or may not sometimes stalk her on facebook and/or her blog. she was lovely and friendly and i hope we can be friends, even if she reads this and gets a little scared for a minute.
3. there was a guy in front of me by the cheese wearing a t-shirt that said, "not the kind of grass you take home to mama."
4. when i got over to the eggs, i remembered this dream i had a few nights ago that i really, really needed an egg, like for something really important, and when i opened the eggs in our fridge, they weren't eggs at all but just empty shells. and the few that were eggs were so fragile that they cracked all over as soon as you put a finger on them. weird. the eggs i bought appear to be fine.
5. newman's own pasta sauce was on sale.
6. when the cashier asked the woman behind me how she was doing the woman replied, "not so great. i think i have the tomato salmonella."
7. i ate a creamsicle in the car on my way home.
8. i didn't forget one single thing. not one. i even remembered the toilet paper.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

wednesday wishing well

it is currently my fondest, fondest dream that a scene like this would unfold at my office. or at the grocery store. or on my front lawn. or anywhere else where i could see it. and maybe even join in.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

the f(eminism) word

ever since coming home from denver (can one come home from home?) i've wanted to tell you about the rocky mountain retreat, an annual gathering of wonderfully broad-minded and free-thinking mormon women who are devoted to spirituality and truth. some of us call ourselves feminists and some of us do not, but one truth we all believe is that women should have every and equal opportunity to excel, to discover and develop talents that help themselves and everyone else. call it whatever you want, but i think that's an ideal everyone can (or at least should) get behind.

it's also an enormous and complex mission that i could write about for days and still feel like i had barely explored. which is, i think, why i have put off writing about it at all. where to begin? where to go? so i've decided to take baby steps (which seems the best way to approach all things enormous and complex) and tackle one small piece at a time.

first, let me say this. i do call myself a feminist. i didn't always, but i think that was only because i didn't realize the way i lived my life and expected to be treated was something out of the ordinary that needed a name of its own. i grew up in a family and environment where equality was a given, where moms and dads both worked and both did the dishes and both said smart and funny things at the dinner table, where boys and girls were both right and both wrong, both got masters degrees and both cuddled babies. i loved transformers as much as my little ponies and have no memory of ever thinking i couldn't do something, or should do something else, because i was a girl. it wasn't until college that i realized how unusual and lucky my life had been.

for this year's retreat, my mom asked me to sit on a panel about, basically, generational perspectives of feminism. at first i was totally jazzed because "sitting on a panel" sounds really important and grown-up and like i'm really smart and interesting, and every time someone asked me why i was going to denver i would say, "well, i'm sitting on this panel..." but then i got really stressed out because i didn't know what to say and i felt really uninformed and unqualified and it made me pull funny faces and gave me a little bit of a tummy ache. but, it was really fine and completely compelling and i learned a lot, from and about myself and the other women there as well.

in fact, i could probably write a dozen posts (or one super duper incredibly long one) just about the panel. but, baby steps. so i am going to start with this idea, which is a really pertinent one, i think.

one woman in the audience raised her hand and brought up the question of girls in junior high and high school using their bodies and their sexuality to exact and exert power over other people: teachers, friends, boyfriends, parents, even other girls. it's the oldest formula in the book and has endless expressions, but usually goes something like this: cleavage+short skirt-discernible intelligence and/or personality=success. being flat-chested (sternum all the way, baby!) and otherwise generally body-conscious, and being basically incapable of reining in my oversized personality (not to mention my crackling wit and brilliance), this is not a system it has ever occurred to me to employ. but, i have also lived long enough as a girl to understand that this is a real temptation and problem, no doubt borne from a belief that there is no other power a woman can wield. and i am just as much a slave to hair straighteners and mascara and new clothes and cute shoes as the next person (probably even moreso on that last one).

so, what to do?

the ideal solution would be, of course, to root out our damaging, body-obsessed popular culture and replace it with a healthy, nurturing, realistic vision of women and womanhood. seeing as that might take a minute though, i struck upon this idea for the meantime.

it's all well and good to tell girls they shouldn't rely on their bodies and their sexuality to get what they want. but, when you take something away, you have to put something in its place. a bad habit is much easier to get rid of if there is a better habit waiting in the wings to fill the hole. think nicotine gum or words like "fetch." and i don't think this case is any different. if we don't want girls to rely on short skirts and empty heads to get ahead, we have to give them something else to use.

which got me thinking, what is it that we emphasize and value about women, about each other? i guarantee that at least 90 percent of compliments i get have something to do with my physical self. either i am wearing a cute outfit, or my hair looks nice, or i look like i've been working out (read: i look skinny). not that there is anything wrong with these compliments, and i certainly enjoy receiving them, but let's look at the long-term, unintended consequence. if, for example, i am always being complimented on my clothes, i am naturally going to put a lot of time and effort (and, in this case, money) into my wardrobe because i know from experience that i will be validated and valued if i do. but what if, instead, i was always being complimented for being a hard worker, an articulate speaker, a kind friend? it follows that i would put a lot of time and effort into those things instead. can you start to see the difference we could make? just by changing what we say? it's so simple it seems like it can't be true, but i really think it is. certainly as good a place to start as any.

and now, dear readers, a challenge, proposed by another woman at the retreat. it is this: no look-related compliments, for anyone, for a week. or a day or a month or however long you want to try. no, "you're so cute" or "OMG, i love your shoes!" but instead, "you are so thoughtful" or "i admire your organized closet." (hey, i said it was just a place to start.) i think we will all be surprised about the many different and substantive things we find to honor in each other. and ourselves. good luck! (and don't forget to report back!)

Monday, June 16, 2008

frances cake, take six (raw edition)

frances cake has been on something of an unintended hiatus, but i am happy to report it made a strong comeback yesterday with heather and raw pumpkin pie.

heather is one of those people practically everyone i know knows, and i wanted to know her, too. she's popped up at parties and other gatherings and, while it's always nice to see her there, i really wanted some of her to myself. because i'm like that sometimes. but, let me tell you, it is tricky to get on heather's calendar. this girl is early to bed, early to rise, always out climbing things, hiking things, kayaking things, studying things (nursing, mostly) or yoga-ing things. we had a lot of false starts before we finally landed on a frances cake date that stuck. whew.

the next challenge was that heather doesn't eat refined sugar or wheat. i might accidentally leave eggs out of frances cake, but flour and sugar are pretty much always there. it was a fun challenge, though, and heather found a rockin' recipe for pumpkin pie, sweetened with maple syrup and honey, with a crust made out of pecans and oats. there was also some rice milk involved. and it was so, so, so, so, yummy! like, really yummy. plus, there is something sort of awesome and subversive about unabashedly eating pumpkin pie in the middle of summer.

heather is a formidable speed scrabble and catch phrase opponent. she is also one of those people who is not afraid to talk about life, and i appreciate that. good things, bad things, successes and failures of ourselves and others: she knows how to make a safe space for all of it. definitely a big picture kind of person who somehow manages to keep everyone in mind, while taking good and loving care of herself. can you tell i want to be just like her? because i do.

summer :: opening day

the weather around here has been downright awful and, frankly, depressing as of late. rain, wind, even snow. i am morally opposed to the idea of wearing a coat-- a coat!-- in june, and i defy anyone who still thinks global climate change is a crock. but, summer seemed to arrive to stay this weekend, just in time for the first day of the farmers' market!

i love the farmers' market. when i was a kid growing up in michigan, we would go to the farmers' market with my mom and get fresh honey and amish bread and maple sugar candy. at last summer's salt lake farmers' market we found delicious fresh corn and cherries and peaches and dozens of other summer delights. but the thing i love most about the farmers' market here is that it seems like the whole city comes out

and suddenly the diversity of salt lake, which can be difficult to spot sometimes, is right there in front of you. it reminds me why i choose to be here, right now, and why i am happy about it.

so, with summer and the farmers' market making their entrance on the same day, mara and i hopped on our bikes, rode downtown and checked it out for ourselves.

we ran into all kinds of friends, including heidi and tanya, who were equally excited about the whole thing.

there wasn't much produce yet, but there were great crafts and delicious belgian waffles

and that diversity i was talking about earlier.

nothing says it like a leopard-print bike, eh?

and so, let the summer fun begin!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

celebration of the century (get it?!?!)

as is becoming our custom, sallee and i threw ourselves a big dessert party the day after our successful completion of the little red riding hood. (have i mentioned it was 102 miles?) bringing a dessert was optional; showering us with praise and admiration was not. luckily, we have gracious and supportive friends who were willing to do both (i am still eating leftover german chocolate brownies... delicious!)

because it's always tricky to host a party and document it photographically, i left my camera on the coffee table and let other people handle the evening's picture-taking. this particular method, i learned, seems to encourage people to mostly take silly pictures of themselves (i'm looking at you, joel dayton), but we did manage to capture the evening's revelry. and, unlike last year, sallee and i could actually stand up, stay awake and enjoy it. hurrah for being hardcore!

sterling looks a little confused by all the lovely ladies...

nate loves pie! and i only spilled a little bit on his pants...

dave can hardly stand the brilliance of emily...

and amy can hardly stand to be without a coke. i totally understand...

these dolls took the party to the front lawn, where they made friends with our neighbor's dog, frankie.

dessert madness...

christian made sure i knew he doesn't let just anyone sit on his lap. i felt so honored...

this is joel, and the self-portrait phenomenon i was talking about.

carolynn's sprint thriathlon, which was scheduled for the same day as our ride, was cancelled. but she came to celebrate anyway.


and, scene.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

why yes, we are hardcore (the main event)

let me just cut to the chase and say that sallee and i rocked the little red riding hood. period. all 102 miles of it. we rocked it and we rocked it hard. and we rocked it hard even though i think it is safe to say that the elements conspired against us in a big way. for starters, the course went up to preston, idaho this year, and preston is not what you might call flat. there were lots more hills than last year's course. but, seeing as we are harcore these days, more hills were no problem for us. then there was the issue of the rain, but that didn't slow us down either. the real obstacle was the wind, which we were riding directly into for more than half of the course. but, even with all that, we finished in the same amount of time it took us last year in perfect weather, which i see as a major improvement on our part. plus, we only finished half an hour behind sallee's super-hardcore boss, who rides two centuries a month and usually finishes them in six hours or less. what's what you say? we're hardcore? why yes, yes we are.

and, most importantly, the ride was about one thousand times more fun this year. we knew what we were doing and we were better prepared. never once during the ride did we doubt that we would finish. and never once during the ride did it occur to me to kill anyone, including myself. i cannot say the same for last year. and, while last year i got off my bike and swore i would never do it again, sallee and i are already gearing up for our third annual century next summer. in the meantime, here's a recap of our second go-around.

we arrived in wellsville on friday evening, just in time for some carboloading.

and, delicious baked potatoes aside, we both got a little emotional when we pulled up to the park where the ride starts and finishes. there is something really tender about watching husbands and children and friends and family gathering around and supporting women who are about to do something amazing and wonderful and hard. it just brings a tear to your eye.

the next morning everyone was back at the park, bright and early, pumping up tires and pulling on leg warmers, getting ready to go.

in all the preparation mayhem, we managed to run into sallee's friend, emily, who had decided just that morning to do the ride. it was a sweet twist of fate, and we had a great time riding with her, all day long.

ten or twenty miles in and sallee is still all smiles. wanna know why?

because this year's course had twice as many bathroom and snack stops! though we still find the name "honey bucket" a slightly ironic choice for porta-potties.

and, before you know it, we're in idaho! there is something really awesome about being able to say, "i rode my bike to idaho last weekend." and you better believe i am working it into the conversation as often as i can.

lunch came around at mile 60 or so, and emdawg and keri (and hundreds of other bicycles and their riders) were waiting for us there. (jen and georgia came up to cheer us on as well, but they went running and got stuck in a rainstorm in the canyon, the same rainstorm that hit us a few miles after the lunch stop.)

we were showered with praise and food and every time someone pulled up after us em would say (hopfully not so loud that they could hear), "nice work, but not as fast as frances and sallee!" since we were bringing up the rear for most of the ride last year, it was nice to be in the middle of the pack this time around. it was also nice to sit down and eat delicious sandwiches for a few minutes.

millie enjoyed taking a rest as well.

but soon it was time to suit up and hit the road again. (those nifty leg warmers totally saved me in the cold weather. and aren't our biking skirts just darling?)

leaving lunch we got hit with some rain, and the wind was basically awful. but, we still managed to keep up with the pack and passed the time singing john denver songs and sending and receiving amusing text messages. (travis sent one around 10:45 a.m. that read, "so, are you done yet?" just for the record, the ride started at 8 a.m. and we did not find him very funny. but he was much more supportive the rest of the day.) i slowed down for a few miles around mile 80, as i seem to do every year, but our secret weapon got me through. we call it "liquid cocaine," but it's really just orange-flavored high fructose corn syrup, and it does wonders. the only real problem of the whole day came around mile 92 or so, when sallee forgot to unclip at a stop light, fell over and let out a loud curse word in front of some police officers.

officer (not moving, i might add): you ok?
sallee: i'm fine. and sorry about the swear.
me: can we get arrested for that? (because if any city has some weird public profanity law on the books, it's logan)
officer: i didn't hear nothing.

and off we went, to the finish line!

where there were hugs and congratulations from our very own cheering squad. it was probably one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me, coming up to cheer us on like that, and it made all the difference to have those girls waiting for us at the end.

and, in a perfect end to an inspiring and wonderful day, standing there as we crossed the finish line was alice, who started the little red riding hood 21 years ago, and who has ridden in it every year since.

she and a friend got the idea after the friend had a fight with her husband and wanted to go away for the weekend, somewhere where he couldn't find her. she and alice loaded up their bikes and rode all around cache valley, and ended the weekend with the idea that all women needed a chance to get away and do something difficult and rewarding for themselves. i haven't always felt this way, but right now i couldn't agree more. i was so glad to give alice a big ol' hug and tell her that her little ride has changed my life. it might sound silly but i don't care, because it's true. a whole new me started growing when i started that ride a year ago, and it was a different me that crossed the finish line this time around. though, i still cried like a baby when we were done. i guess some things always stay the same.

Friday, June 6, 2008

who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

one year ago, sallee and i spent eight hours and 100 miles doing this...

tomorrow we will do it all again, this time with more ibuprofen and mini candy bars in hand. that big bad wolf doesn't scare us at all.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

catching up...

i realize i have been a little absent from the blog lately, so thought i would share some of the many small things that are making up my life right now, just so we're all on the same page. you know?

1. i am moving. not until the end of july, and not out of salt lake, so no one panic. the final straw in a years' worth of housing annoyances, which included disconnected gas lines, frozen pipes, possible meth contamination and sketchy handy-men who left strange notes under our door, was our completely lame landlord announcing a few weeks ago that he was selling our house and not renewing our lease. the sad news is that, even with the aforementioned debauchery, we love our house and hate to leave it. the good news is that we found a new house that is equally charming and much more functional in lots of ways. not to mention that our new landlady is named lola beatlebrox. no joke. just say it out loud. lola beatlebrox. she may or may not drive a flying school bus and her husband definitely does drive a musical taxi in park city. briana has already settled in to the new digs, and ck and i will join her later this summer. you are all invited to help us move in. and then to help us celebrate when we are done.

2. i have a new phone. being technology-averse as i am, this is big news. i hated to give up my old phone, and i am still trying to figure out how to use this new one, but it was time to make a switch. my old phone was coming up on three years, which might as well be 300 years when it comes to these thinbgs, and it was never the same after i dropped it in the bathtub last year. plus emdawg always made fun of it. my new phone is red and slides open instead of flipping open, both of which are exciting new features. most importantly, i can still dance to my ringtone.

3. sarah was in town for a few days, en route from india to washington d.c., where she is starting the next chapter of her life.

i think each of us get a handful of really significant and important friends in our lives, and sarah is one of mine. it was so wonderful to curl up in my bed and laugh until our stomaches ached. i am glad that we are at least on the same continent now, even if not the same time zone.

4. i was elected to be president of my board at the ywca. it is definitely an adulthood-arrival moment to be the president of something that is not a young women's class, and i am petrified and thrilled all at once. my first major (but actually minor) responsibility has been to organize gifts for outgoing board members and it's gone well so far, so i am taking that as a good omen of things to come.

5. i have a new "lady doctor" and i adore her. incidentally, she is also joelle's lady doctor and will deliver her baby when that blessed event occurs. it's nice to like your doctor because otherwise i would get depressed by conversations that go like this:

marital status?
sexually active?
have you ever been?
tobacco use?
do you wear a seatbelt?

could i seem like a more boring person?
definitely not.

6. i can't stop listening to the new weepies album. or to kings of convenience.

7. the team with whom i went to india presented about our trip today at the rotary district conference. this is momentous for a couple reasons. one, as the conference was in lehi, i had to break my usual "don't cross 3300 south" rule. and, more importantly, we got to see the team visiting here from india. so fun. i especially loved hearing sentences like, "i am being married" and "i am coming from kerala" and "i am basically a travel agent." on the downside, the crowd was pretty dead. the only thing that really went better than when we presented at the district conference in india was that no one hung an enormous banner over the screen where our presentation was playing.

8. sallee and i completed our final training ride today, and saturday is the little red riding hood century. 100 miles, here we come. i keep thinking that once that whole thing is successfully completed, i will feel like a more normal person. here's hoping i'm right...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

sweet home sweet

since no one could remember the last time i had been in denver, it was about time i made a trip home. and even after a long absence, lots of things were the same. such as...

mom's delicious homemade tortillas...

dad refusing to have his picture taken. the only reason i got this one is because he was distracted from laughing about having given the camera the finger when i tried to take a picture a few seconds earlier...

dinner with steve and sarah, two of my most favorite, and their brood, including baby julia...

big baby brother...

afternoon thundestorms...

lunch with dad in downtown denver...

the mormon feminist rocky mountain retreat in winter park with mom (more on this later)...

and then some things were different. such as...

the cat.

mogli is not super new, but new enough that i sometimes still forget he exists. my family has never had a pet before, but they are completely obsessed with mogli. and i mean obsessed. they sit and watch him endlessly. my mom referred to him as "loquacious." my dad got me off the couch to take me into my parents' walk-in closet to show me where mogli had executed an amazing jump, every single detail of which dad could recount perfectly. my parents have been shopping for a new rug for the living room for more than a year and they finally found one they could agree on but didn't buy it because the cat wouldn't walk on it. i find all of this very bizarre.

massive deck/patio construction.

as with all my parents' home improvement projects, the deck renovation has spun slightly out of control. it is so big they have to display a building permit in the front window of the house at all times. but, the new patio is going to have a fireplace and a waterfall, and my mom already has a fancy new grill for the deck.

my room now = guest room.

the good news is there is a bigger, more comfortable bed in there than ever before. but, to make way for said bed, and other guest room acoutroments, i spent a large portion of my trip cleaning my stuff out. this involved getting rid of a lot of old clothes and sorting through hundreds and hundreds of papers, college notes and photographs, many of which ended up in the garbage.

a quick photographic perusal of my past revealed that i have made many a humiliating wardrobe and hairstyle misstep. an entire album of pictures from seventh grade went straight in the trash. but, i saved a few gems, which i just might scan into my computer and put up here some day for your enjoyment. keep your fingers crossed. this is all that remains of me at my parents' house. not bad, eh?

bike rack.

i would like everyone to know that baby brother ben and i removed my spare tire all by ourselves (i did the lug nuts) and attached this bike rack. i drove out to denver this time around so i could bring back some books and small pieces of furniture i had left there, and that meant i could take millie with me. which was good news because there are some awesome bike trails by my parents' house and i had a great time riding them.

and the drive wasn't too bad, either.