Monday, September 29, 2008

and now, back to me

maybe you've heard this already, but it was my birthday last week! six days ago, to be exact, and since a whole week hasn't passed yet, i feel like it is still totally appropriate to talk about it. not to mention that, since this is my blog after all, it's actually appropriate for me to talk about whatever i want. so. take that.

anyway, back to me, talking about myself.

the night before my recent birthday (which was exactly one week ago today. to be exact. exactly), i had a celebratory (as in celebrating me!) dinner with these girls. who are my girls. my peeps. my favorites. my sisters. my urban family. my laugh and cries. my in good times and bad. my bests. (we missed you, jen!)

we went to the melting pot and stuffed ourselves with delicious fondues and even better company (though if everyone in the world came with a swirl of peanut butter, how much better would this world be?). as per my favorite birthday tradition, everyone at the table shared one of their favorite things about me. (for the record, and lest you think i am a total narcissist, this is my favorite birthday tradition on other people's birthdays, too. not just my own. but, we are talking about me right now, aren't we? so let's get back to it.) i left dinner feeling loved and appreciated and warm and grateful for my life and the people who make it up.

then, as per kjones' favorite birthday tradition, i had to tell everyone at the table one thing i learned in the past year, and one goal for the next year. to be perfectly frank, i have been pretty crappy about the making and keeping of goals lately, so it was a good chance to think of something. and putting it out in the ether of the interweb seems like as good a way as any to hold myself at least somewhat accountable. so, here you go.

first, what i learned. you may or may not know this, but my strong instinct for self-preservation extends beyond a concern for my physical well-being. despite a general love of people, and what might be termed an outgoing personality, when it comes to matters of emotion i often lean towards protecting myself rather than saying what i mean, or how i feel. the instinct to insulate myself from potential emotional harm is high. but in the past year of my life i have learned that protecting myself doesn't actually always make me feel better. there are times, i learned, when putting myself directly in the line of fire, in the eye of the hurricane, on the front lines, in the trenches of emotional honesty and vulnerability, makes me feel safer in the end.

and now, my goal. several months ago our bishop gave a talk about the process by which people become experts that has stuck with me in a big way. people who become experts, he said, are people who come to the edge of their knowledge or understanding or comfort, and find a way through to the other side. everyone else, he said, gets to the edge and stays there, eventually retreating instead of pushing through. in some areas of my life, i feel like i have been chilling at the edge for a while. i don't feel as though i've been retreating, that my knowledge or understanding or skill in any one area of my life has been shrinking, but i do feel like it is time to get down to business and do some pushing of my own. in other words, i am ready to see the other side, and i am ready to work for it, too.

i have a pretty good feeling about this being 27 thing.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

midday sunset (peak)

when heather came to get me for our hike yesterday morning i was still in my pajamas, and if you guessed that was a (bad) sign about my committment to go hiking, you are the winner!

the plan was to send summit september out with a bang by hiking to the top of grandeur peak, but i was having trouble getting excited about that. and heather was having trouble getting excited about my new plan of sending summit september out with a bang by going back to bed. luckily, a compromise was struck and we headed up little cottonwood canyon to sunset peak, which turned out to be the perfect choice; perfect length, perfect difficulty (as in i can use my legs today, a big plus), perfect weather, and the fall colors in the canyon and on the mountain were truly stunning.

as we started our ascent i wondered out loud whether i would miss the mountains if and when the time came for me to leave utah. when i came here three years ago, i wasn't in the habit of doing things like scaling down canyon walls and up mountain sides, and i am inclined to think that back then it really wouldn't have mattered. but now, i am not so sure. i have grown sort of attached to these majesties. and, can you blame me?

{starting out}

{strange to think this will all be covered with snow sooner than i would like to admit}


{the destination}

{the view}

{homeward bound}

Friday, September 26, 2008

all these things i've done

today i wore a large and creatively-tied scarf in my hair that made me feel hip and cool, but also a little like carmen miranda.

i also took a walk in liberty park and passed a guy wearing a shirt that said, "11 a.m.: headache. and who is this girl?" (if i had a dime for every time...)

and, my totally awesome threadless t-shirt, a birthday present from my big baby brother came in the mail. and i got to see my long-time crush, salt lake city mayor ralph becker.

additionally, and perhaps most importantly, a little interweb research revealed that a certain new song by a certain hip band (who will remain nameless because identifying them on your blog seems to get you into trouble) has, in fact, been released. which means that i can again put up pictures of my time spent working with said band on a music video for said song. this picture might jog your memory.

for the whole story, go here. (or, i guess, just scroll down.)

upon subsequent review, really the only pictures that are independently interesting are these of sallee, our new friend jen and me in the helicopter, so here they are again.

let me reiterate that riding in a helicopter is a totally surreal, wonderful, sort of emotionally connective experience, and definitely worth all the work i had to do flirting with the pilot to get a ride in the first place. let me also reiterate that imposed internet censorship is lame, even if it does come from guys who can rock eyeliner. but it looks like i got the last word after all. so there.

(p.s. because i love you, i'll tell you the new song is called "human" and it's pretty good and you should look for it. fingers crossed that that little divulgence doesn't put the interweb sleuths on my tail again.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

birthday, birthday, welcome to earth day!

have i mentioned it was my birthday? because it was! and i threw myself a party, because that is the way i like to roll. (actually, ck and briana did all the hard work. thanks a million, girls!)

now, i am willing to throw myself parties, but i am not that into taking pictures of myself at parties i am throwing for myself because that just seems, well, a little too self-indulgent. (though sometimes i really do wonder, is there such a thing?) luckily, professional photographer dallas was on hand and offered to document for me. some people snuck out before their presence could be recorded, but i think this is a fairly good representation of the good times had by all. the only thing missing is a shot of the gallons and gallons of ice cream we ate. and no, i do not exagerrate.

{don't ask what these two were doing out by the car later in the night}

{ryan came all the way from new york city to help me celebrate! and miaken came all the way from the ghetto}

{joel is doing the "touchdown" sign. as he pointed out, twenty-seven is a football score, after all}

{heather brought me beautiful flowers}

{and emily taught me how to tie a stylish summer scarf}

{self portrait}

{birthday buddies. dallas had one the day before. the only sad news? i feel like i have a double chin and half-closed eyes in all these pictures. i really am getting old...}

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

to my great-grandmother, on our birthday

today i am 27 years old. and today, my great-grandmother, with whom i share a birthday and a name, would be 109.

"she couldn't ask for a better namesake," my grandmother said as we wished gram a happy birthday with pink roses.

i couldn't ask for a better compliment, and i hope that it is true.

my great-grandmother frances (gram to us) was the youngest of 10 daughters, a devoted child and sister. she was educated at radcliffe, a master storyteller and musician, who believed in fairness and equality above all. (she would individually count each stalk of asparagus to be sure everyone got just the same amount. if an unexpected dinner guest arrived, she would gather up the stalks and start again.) she followed her senator husband to washington d.c., befriending kennedys and nixons with grace and style. she raised five children who still love each other as adults, which i think says a lot. she was honest and good and loved the lord.

my personal memories of gram include the vanilla wafers that were always in her pantry, the bowl of jelly beans that was always in her living room, the gorgeous jewelry box on her dresser and her endless stories of her sisters, her parents, her adventures around the world. using her old gowns for dress-up, i would imagine myself a concert pianist, a president's wife, a competent business woman getting things done, the mistress of a well-oiled household.

i was 14 years old when gram died. she had been around for so long, i think it never occurred to me that she would not be around forever, but i knew she was gone before anyone told me. i remember being sad. i remember hoping that she knew me and loved me as i knew and loved her. as i have felt her in my life, in my work and in my service, that hope has been fulfilled.

and every time i introduce myself to someone, every time i say my name out loud or write it down, i think of gram. my name, a name i love and cherish, a name i feel like fits me just right, is just one of the many gifts she gave me. i couldn't ask for a better name-giver, example or friend. i can't wait to see her again and know her even better.

and so, to gram, a very happy birthday to us.

Friday, September 19, 2008

what's with today, today?

picked up this little daybook idea from my friend (really more like an acquaintace/blog-stalkee, but that makes for an awkward sentence), jana, who got it from this simple woman. i dig it.

for today...

outside my window: a cloudy afternoon sky, lots of leaves.

i am thinking: about my community, what it means, who makes it up and how i can give to it more. also about how next week i will turn 27. and my delicious ginger/chocolate chip cookies.

i am thankful for: the inspiring and accomplished and amazing women i heard speak this afternoon. and my delicious ginger/chocolate chip cookies.

from the kitchen: my delicious ginger/chocolate chip cookies. (how many answers do you think i can work this into?)

i am wearing: a silk camisole under a black suit jacket. and pajama pants. hurrah for half-day fridays!

i am reading: the gmat for dummies. and other people's blogs.

i am hoping: for clarity.

i am creating: laughter.

i am hearing: laughter.

around the house: laundry to be put in the dryer, shoes that need a home, dishes from last night's impromptu quesadilla party.

one of my favorite things: being in bed in the middle of the day. and my ginger/chocolate chip cookies. (i knew i could get it in at least one more time!)

a few plans for the rest of the week: concert tonight, moving in friends tomorrow, family in town, sunday school lesson, my birthday. and eating lots of ginger/chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

summit this! (september)

a few years ago, my dear friend sarah started a tradition called "summit september," wherein she climbed to the summit of a mountain once a week for every week in the month of september. i think we can all agree that is a pretty ambitious undertaking. i joined her for one summit last year, a slightly ill-fated trip to the top of deseret peak, the details of which i will not get into here. let's just say we both learned it was better to a) wear more clothes than just shorts and t-shirts and b) not lock the keys inside the car at the trailhead.

sarah has, sadly, moved away, but i decided to carry on the summit september tradition this year, at least in part. and so, heidi and mara and i tackled mt. olympus last saturday. actually, mara slept through her alarm, but miraculously caught up with us on the trail, forever confirming my contention that i am, in fact, the world's slowest hiker.

the hike itself is pretty brutal; you gain more than 4,000 feet in a little more than three miles, and the path to the summit itself is a big mess of rocks and boulders you have to climb hand over foot. i was skeptical about anything being worth that effort, but 360 degree views of the valley and the most clear sky and perfect weather anyone could ask for proved me wrong. my legs are still complaining a bit, but i can't think of a better way to have spent a september saturday (those of you who skipped to watch the byu vs. ucla football game, and you know who you are, really missed out).

see for yourselves!

{starting the ascent, early morning}

{mara miraculously catches up. could she have super powers?}

{on the way up}

{scramble to the top. heidi doesn't know i have this picture}

{at the summit}

{tired feet}

{the long road home}

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

i've got soul and you can be my soldier

{editor's note: i have some good news and some bad news. the good news is, through the magic of this here interweb, the killers have caught wind of this here blog post. (swoon! sigh!) the bad news is, they have requested (somewhat unreasonably, if you ask me) that the pictures be taken down until the video is released. because i would kiss any one of them on the lips, i have reluctantly agreed. but, in more good news, the pictures will be back as soon as the video drops, which i believe is happening on sept. 22. in the meantime, my stunning and witty prose is still available for your reading pleasure.}

dear the killers:

(aka: brandon flowers, lead singer/hottie; dave keuning, guitar/vegetarian; mark stoermer, bass/curly hair-conscious; and ronnie vannuci, drums/fan of the ladies)

i just wanted to write a quick note and let you know how much sallee and i enjoyed working on your music video shoot over the weekend.

we were a little panicked when we almost ran out of gas on our way, but luckily we stumbled upon the (literally) hole in the wall gas station (literally) just in time. i bet you passed it, too, but you were probably asleep on the tour bus.

preparing food and snacks for 50 hungry people (sometimes more) was something of a challenge as we have no catering experience, and the facilities were, ahem, less than desirable. (just for the record, RV kitchens are not made for bulk and cooking usually goes better with running water.)

some of your grips were a little mean about our efforts at first (and, by the way, you might want to tell them that nipple rings are kind of gross), but we won over even the crankiest ones by the end. (frankly, your cinematographer was the worst. i don't care if he did shoot "jurassic park.") and it looked like you enjoyed our culinary delights, especially sallee's authentic north carolina barbecue beef, as well, (hope your portobello mushrooms were also delicious, dave!), even if the whole operation was a little more "down home" than usual, as ronnie put it.

i can see why your tour manager said you guys are a 10 on a niceness scale of 1 to 10. ronnie even remembered my name (though my exhortation to put on sunscreen went unheeded), and mark gave us a big "thank you" when he passed us hauling a massive cooler full of water down to the set. i bet mark wouldn't even be mad if he knew that sallee found his guitar pick in the bathroom and we kept it, even when someone came over the radio and asked if anyone had a pick he could use because his went "missing." (we figured someone who could pay $10,000 for one of the original light sabers used in the "star wars" movies could probably afford to buy a new one. but, mark, if you really need it, i'll send it back. i'll just have to take it out of the frame.)

and brandon, we exchanged a few words and i caught you watching us with, was it fascination?, on many ocassions, but you never came over for a proper conversation. i would have initiated something more substantive than passing comments about cookies if i wasn't so intimidated by the "no soliciting the band" rule. and the feathers on your suit jacket. if you had come over, we could have talked about this whole i'm-an-active-mormon-but-i-smoke-and-drink-sometimes thing. i also heard you drop the f-bomb. you can do better than that, flowers! (call me!)

i know it was a long, hot day for everyone (having the set in the middle of the desert, at the bottom of a steep canyon, probably seemed like a good idea at some point, right? just not when you were hiking up and down in polyester leopard print) but i think the video is going to look awesome!

i am guessing all the european tourists who tried to steal our water think so, too. it was totally fun to watch you guys rocking out down there. i just wish i had more pictures of our time together. but, i get it. closed set, celebrity privacy and all that. (though i am pretty sure a couple from florida wearing socks with their sandals got some of your performance on tape before the park ranger shut them down. you might want to watch out for that.)

the thing i am most sad about, though, is that none of you ever got to ride in the helicopter. aaron, the pilot, was so nice to take us on a little spin once the shooting was done, and it was truly unbelievable. sort of like riding a motorcycle in the air. if you get another chance (and you seem like the kind of guys who can make stuff happen) i highly recommend it.

in the meantime, good luck with the rest of your european tour and the new cd and all that. if you're ever in the area and looking for a mean dutch oven cobbler, you know where to find me. (i wrote it in lipstick on the tour bus mirror.) (not really.)

until next time!
(i love you!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

blogging for life

part of my long-term life plan involves getting famous (and hopefully filthy rich!) from blogging. i know that this can be done, and i am going to try my darndest to figure out how. (any suggestions or tips are welcome and encouraged, btw.)

for starters, i figured expanding my presence on this here interweb could only be a good idea, so i agreed to start a blog for ck's company, shabby apple. you should check it out because it means another dose of my wit, charm and brilliance, plus stylish dresses. which can also only be a good idea for everyone involved.

and it's an especially good idea because right now, this very second, on the shabby apple blog, we are running a charity auction to help stephanie nielson and her husband, christian, two friends of shabby apple who were involved in a private plane crash a few weeks ago and are facing months of difficult recovery and mounting medical bills. to learn more, go here or here.

it's not every day you can get a completely adorable dress and help a family in need, so i suggest taking advantage of it post-haste. i also suggest telling your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, train seatmates and people you meet in the grocery store to take advantage of it as well. i promise you won't be sorry.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

a bicycle built for three

when sallee and nathan got engaged i told nathan that, as the person losing my best friend, i thought i deserved some sort of consolation prize. i mean, she got a diamond (not to mention a husband) out of the deal, right? a ring for me seemed like a totally reasonable request. and i was clear that cubic zirconia was fine.

being the amenable fellow that he is, nathan was happy to go along with my request (ok, it was more like a demand) and presented me with a ring(pop) that was not only beautiful but delicious, and turned my tongue and lips a very alluring shade of red. what a guy.

i was also pretty clear that there was going to be a lot of "the three of us" going on (in a strictly non-adulterous kind of way) as i have no qualms about being the tag-along. true to form, nathan was on board for that as well.

and so, for our first triple date since the vows were said, sallee, nathan and i went on a little bike ride yesterday. we met up just west of the airport, did a little bike maintenance...

and rode out to saltair. nathan hung back for a while, keeping our pace, before finally giving up and speeding ahead in what sallee calls "tour de france mode." this involves, among other things, leaning low over the handlebars with a look of intense concentration.

the ride itself is just gorgeous, along some salt flats and the shore of the great salt lake, and the time of day was absolutely perfect. thanks to nathan's speediness, and our attempts to keep up with him, we finished the 21 miles in a little more than an hour, arriving back at the cars just as the sun was dipping under the horizon.

the best part of the night, though, was catching up with my favorite marrieds. i usually have a pretty strict "married people are dead to me" friend rule, but i think i'll keep these two around.