Thursday, May 28, 2009


remember that one time when i went to turkey?

(i know, my blog backlog is totally pathetic.)

well, i am also counting that as a trip to greece. or at least as a trip to ancient greece, because we spent a few days climbing all over some pretty bodacious ancient greek ruins. (ancient + ruins = department of redudancy department?)

sometimes ruins are totally yawn, but these ones had been preserved and reconsructed so well that you could really spend hours just wandering around, imagining the days when these ruins were bustling metropoli, filled with people wearing togas (one of my favorite exercises).

the largest ruins by far were at ephesus (of bible fame), basically a whole city that has been reconstructed. but i am reserving those photos for a post of their very own. luckily for this post, we also hit up priene and didyma. (and luckily for us, you can hit them up without knowing how to pronounce them.)


{we encountered some rain at didyma, which would have been a disaster if they weren't selling animal umbrellas at the tourist shop across the street. to honor the temple we were visiting, we named him apollo.}

{priene is a city of ruins, up at the silent top of a mountain, so it has a serene, almost eerie sense. it also has the ruins of the temple of athena, so "battlestar galactica" references abounded. dana was very patient.}

{and yes, i am wearing polka dot socks with my sandals. desperate times, people.}

in short, i give (ancient) greece two enthusiastic thumbs up. and don't worry if you haven't had your fill yet. there is more to come.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

in the outer (banks)

fact: geographically speaking, i did not go to duck beach. rather, the locals call where i was the outer banks. or OBX, if you are really in-the-know. as for the mormon social phenomenon, however, the term duck beach still applies. it's duck for short (and awesome).

fact: if you are going to forget one item on a trip to duck, it should not be your razor.

fact: sunscreen should be reapplied every 80 minutes. to everywhere.

fact: the ocean is freezing. and terribly wonderful.

fact: the world is small. duck sightings included: lauren and rob, who i know from boston and who now live here; darrin, who i know from the MTC and who now lives in boston; adam who i met in salt lake and who now lives in nyc; carl who i know from denver and who also lives in nyc; and megan all the way from the good old ensign 7 in slc. i could go on, but i won't.

fact: it is statistically impossible that so many men have naturally hairless chests.

fact: catching sand crabs in the middle of the night is all fun and games until someone dumps them out of the bucket and makes you stand still while they run all over your feet.

fact: the fine for lighting bonfires on the beach is $300.

fact: duck is a great place for old friends...

and new...

fact: i would say i'm glad i went once and i don't need to go again, but there's no sense in setting myself up to keep eating my words now, is there?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

quack, quack

first off, i am most pleased to report that i have won the wireless war (thanks, obama!) and my blogging will return, effective immediately, to its usual, fabulous status. (that is, of course, if i am not preparing documents for the deputy secretary of defense until 10p.m. every night. and you better believe i am going to brag about that every chance i get.)

and, i have more good news. (it just keeps coming!) in addition to a recounting of the rest of the terrific turkey trip and a full debrief on the cross-country drive (the billboards in kansas alone are worth multiple posts), you can also look forward to a very detailed retelling of my upcoming trip to duck beach.

duck beach? you ask. what's that?

well. in addition to being a well-known geographic location in one of the carolinas (i can't remember off the top of my head which one, but i am not leaving until tomorrow so i have time to figure it out), duck beach is also the premier east coast singles extravaganza.

twice a year, over memorial day and labor day, hundreds (this is not an exagerration) of mormon singles descend on duck beach for a weekend of mixing, mingling and general debauchery. you know, mormon-style.

the goings-on at duck beach are legendary. everyone who is anyone is there. you go to duck beach to see and be seen. duck beach is to east coast mormon singles what the white party in the hamptons is to the characters on "gossip girl." it is serious social business.

and ever since i heard about it... i thought it was the dumbest. thing. ever. i believe my exact words have often been, "i wouldn't be caught dead at duck beach."

as i don't plan on dying this weekend, at duck beach or otherwise, i guess i'll have to eat those words. but the thing is, friend-beggars cannot be choosers and i was invited by some truly lovely people. so i have decided to embrace duck beach.
(and thanks for not rubbing it in.)

(also, quack, quack.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

the first day of my life

today i prepared a briefing and sent it to the pentagon.

today i got a crash course in acronyms. JEC, CAC, PM, WIIJEC, COB, POC and counting.

today i made a new friend at work.

today i used an access code to get into my new office.

today i ate a lot of candy.

today i said funny things and people laughed.

today i worked late and it felt good.

today i wore my most flattering and stylish suit.

today i heard the phrase, "we still don't have the necessary resources committed from all the assets."

today i will relax with aunt joyce and "dancing with the stars."

today i am happy.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


this might not come as a big surprise, but connecting a wireless router to a computer with internet provided by the united states senate is a little bit tricky. especially for someone who can barely tell the difference between a wireless router and an answering machine. (that someone would be me. also, do people even still use answering machines?)

all of this to say, i still have loads more to tell you (with pictures!) about turkey (remember that?) and my recent drive across the country (remember that?) but i am afraid it's going to have to wait until i get connected to the web of the world wide on my own computer.

in the meantime, though, i can tell you that i got a little teary when i was driving to church today and the washington monument rose out of the skyline right in front of me. to be perfectly honest, i am not really one for outright patriotism, but that was pretty awesome.

i can also tell you that uncle bob makes delicious pork chops for saturday dinner.

i can tell you that carrying all my earthly possessions up four flights of stairs is totally exhausting and i would have given up were it not for sallee and her brute strength.

i can tell you that i have already made some new friends and one of them, magellan, mounts right on my windshield and tells me how to get around this crazy place. (we're not on the grid anymore, toto.) i think he and i are going to be pretty close.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

life, elevated

i drove to denver yesterday and cried all the way from cheyenne to my parents' driveway.

because, after a whirlwind week of packing and seeing friends and finishing work and selling furniture and having parties and filling my car to the absolute brim, there on the empty road it finally sank in: i don't live in utah anymore.

(though i have yet to inform the united states postal service of that fact. i better get on that.)

that's right. the chapter of my wonderful life in utah, filled with some of the best people and best times i have known, has come to a close. can you blame me for shedding a tear? (the answer is no, no you cannot.)

when i first moved to salt lake, i told myself i would stay as long as i wanted to, and not worry constantly about when it was time to go, but just trust that when the time came, i would know it. that i could feel it. 

and so i stayed for longer than i ever thought i would, and had a happier life than i ever thought i could. and then the time came. and i knew it. and i felt it.

and it's still hard.

hard because i will miss letting myself in elliott's back door, and holly and evan stopping by with baby kyle and FOE with the girls.

hard because i will miss riding my bike to work, and up memory grove, and out to saltair and around liberty park.

hard because i will miss a ward where everyone knows me well enough that i can use "battlestar galactica" references and no one thinks i am weird (right?) and i will miss a workplace where we can laugh all day long together about quotes from "the office."

hard because i will miss crawling into bed with briana and brushing my teeth with ck and going to the d.i. with sallee. 

hard because i will miss lunch with my grandma, the hot tub with uncle john, visits with kathryn and keri and family gathering.

hard because i have no idea what lies ahead, but i love everything that lies behind. 

i believe in mourning. but i also believe in doing hard things. and i believe that my life in d.c. will hold just as many unexpected and happy surprises as my life in utah did. i have plenty to look forward to.

por ejemplo.

cheaper international flights! H&M! a bus to new york and a train to boston! new relatives close by! free museums! cherry blossoms! possible obama sightings! the metro! new/old friends! an excuse to buy new work clothes!

not to mention an exciting new job that will take me in exciting new directions, teach me exciting new skills and get me into the pentagon. 

not to mention knowing that, even though it is hard, my life is moving bravely forward.

not to mention that all my favorite people are going to come and visit me.

so really, it will be like i never left.

Friday, May 8, 2009

topkapi is tops

a while back i was trying to think of ways that we could make a bunch of money without having to have jobs, and i concluded that we should become jewel thiefs. one good heist and we would be set for life. especially, i now know, if the heist involved topkapi palace.

we are talking emeralds the size of my face, people. gold-leaf, pearl encrusted thrones. (michael jackson tried to buy one. tried and failed.) the sixth largest diamond in the world. topkapi palace is a jewel thief's dream.

topkapi palace is also a dream if you're into fake religious artifacts, such as the bone from john the baptist's forearm and a piece of mohammed's beard, both of which claim to be there and both of which, i am certain, are not.

and, finally, if you're just into wandering through gorgeous grounds (tulips everywhere!) and scoping out old gazebos with delicate tile work, topkapi palace might be the place for you, too.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

buy my love

have i mentioned that i am moving?

in less than a week?

and that this involves packing up my entire life? like, all of it?

oh, you've heard this before?

very well.

have you also heard that i am selling a bunch of furniture?

do you want some?

i can only imagine there is one of you out there who needs a coffee table and matching end tables...

{these are totally my favorite, btw, and you will love them, too}

... or some bookshelves...

... or maybe some drawers and a matching bench...?

i also have a desk and a rug and some dining rooms chairs.


let me know.

{shamless post? also, yes.}

one mosque, two mosque, new mosque, blue mosque

it can be sort of easy to forget that turkey is a muslim country.

until, of course, the blaring call to prayer wakes you up at 4:30 in the morning.

or until you remember that half the women around you have their heads covered.

or until you visit some of the most stunningly beautiful mosques you have ever seen in all your live long days.

it starts with the ayasofya (or hagia sophia, depending on where you're from. i like the first one better because the spelling doesn't remind me of the word hag. but, to each his own.)

ransacked by crusaders, the outside is not much to look at (IMHO. again, to each his own), but the inside is just breathtaking, a wonderful hodge-podge of muslim artifacts, including massive disks of calligraphy bearing the name of Allah, and christian influences, like intricate tile mosaics of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, the doctrinal cross-over owing to the fact that the ayasofya has served as both a mosque and a christian house of worship in its long and eventful life. now it is technically a museum, but don't tell it that.

{my tour book pointed out that this is one of the most impressive religious mosaics in the world. never mind that the bottom two-thirds is missing.}

across the way, you'll find the blue mosque.

the blue mosque is sort of the opposite of the ayasofya. the blue tile and soaring minarets make for a gorgeous exterior, but dana pointed out that the inside is sort of like a convention center. since the mosque is still in use, we decided to forgive this. in fact, we arrived right at prayer time and had to wait outside while the prayer finished up before we could go in.

the minarets on the outside actually caused a big scandal back in the day because there are six of them, the same number of minarets at the big mosque in mecca. no mosque had ever rivaled mecca like that, and no one knew quite what to do. the final solution was to add a seventh minaret in mecca. now you know.

or, if you are looking for something a little more modern, you can head over to the new mosque, which is, of course, not really new at all, but we are speaking in relative terms here.

i can totally pass, right?