Knock knock Who's there? Yoga Yoga who? Yoga to try this, it feels amazing.
I pulled together a little make-shift yoga studio in my unfinished basement with a big bolt of cool fabric for the walls and some smelly candles for lights. On most days that space is used by my friends and I for a nice, relaxing, and rejuvenating yoga class taught by our favorite yogini. Tonight, however, the class was taught by a hokey DVD instructor and was made up of me, my sister-in-law, and my 9-year-old nephew who couldn't stop laughing about us sticking our bums in the air for downward facing dog. Now I have the giggles about it. I'm not sure I will be able to keep a straight face the next time I try that yoga pose. It might be kind of like trying not to laugh during church.
Turns out there really is a form of yoga called laughter yoga. And here I thought Jeremy and I made it up.
It's May Day or Beltane and I don't have a Maypole. Does anyone do that any more? I remember doing a Maypole dance when I was a little girl. I finally was allowed to wear the pretty yellow dress I got as a flower girl at my uncle Ross' wedding and I had ringlets and daisies in my hair. The yellow dress was long and twirly and shiny and satiny, and I felt like a princess. May Day was a liberating joyous day when I could let my inner girly girl out and carry around baskets full of flowers.
Shortly after the days of that yellow dress, all my girly tendencies were carefully hidden away and I was recreated into a pseudo tom boy. It was foreign territory to me. I still wanted to wear dresses and lace and ribbons, but at my school it was very uncool to wear a skirt. It hadn't been many years since girls were forced to wear dresses to school and we were all reveling in the new-found freedom of looking exactly like the boys. My mom still wanted me to go to school with my long blonde hair in perfect ringlets, but the girly girls were considered freaky and I had to play kickball just to try to fit in. So, I tied up the curls my mom had spent hours carefully arranging and pretended I thought dolls were stupid and playing house was downright boring. I ran around and tried to keep up with the boys and not even look at the flowers.
It look me many years to embrace that girl again. Mostly because I am tall for a girl (kinda tall even for a guy), I played volleyball and showed up at track and pretended to be that tom boy I was supposed to be. Now I just wish I had that yellow dress in my size and some pretty daisies for my hair. Oh, and a Maypole with cute boys to dance with.
P.S. Happy birthday to my friend Bonnie who is the real Queen of the May.
I'm having a love affair with pine nuts. It all began when I got an impossibly big bag of the little suckers from Costco. I started with the expected: fresh pesto. I love that stuff. Then I moved on to adding them to stir fry, which was also unexpectedly delicious. These jewels are tender and a little sweet and crisp. Perfect for stir fry. I'm not going to Google this idea and just pretend that I made it up. I sprinkled them on oatmeal...yummy. I poured them in a smoothie...nice and nutty. And I baked them into brownies...not bad.
I even fed some to the cute duck couple who have taken up residence in my back yard. I'm not sure they were as thrilled with the pine nuts as I am. I think they were under the distinct impression I was throwing the tiny nuts AT them instead of TO them. They scurried out of their private pond and started hiking up the snow bank. So I quit raining down pine nuts and backed up quietly.
Which brings me to another subject that's unrelated, but on my mind. What do I feed wild ducks? I've heard you shouldn't feed them bread. I've read something about cracked corn, but I don't know where to get that and I don't know where Jimmy lives. (Okay, bad joke, but bonus points if you get it.)
Maybe tomorrow I'll hit the feed store. And Costco for more pine nuts.
You have to watch this video all the way through. I promise you won't be sorry. Susan Boyle is an unemployed 47-year-old lady who has a dream to be a professional singer. Never been married (or kissed for that matter), she lives in a flat with her cat called Pebbles. Her audition is something to see!
Sometimes I think I'm some kind of cross between Anne of Green Gables and Bridget Jones.
This afternoon my friend, Julie, and I decided to wander down to the new Red Mango that just opened a few blocks from where we work. It was a blustery afternoon, to say the least. We could feel the building swaying in the wind and had to hold on to our skirts when we got outside.
We enjoyed our delicious fro yo by the fireplace and watched the wind pick up even more, bending the new little trees and whipping the grand-opening flags with abandon. I carefully stashed my cash in my bra for the walk back and we set off down the street. As we were crossing the four-lane road, a big gust of wind came up and blew my money right out of my bra. There I was, chasing $15 down the middle of the street in my billowing black skirt and fluttery top with my hands outstretched, reaching for the bills that were always tumbling just out of my reach. They rolled and flew, getting run over by passing cars and skipping through intersections. I galloped along after them, over grassy medians and through turning lanes filled with cars, and people wondering just what the hurry was and why I was sprinting crazily like Phoebe from Friends down the middle of the road.
This spectacle, of course, was also in embarrassingly full view of our 5-story building filled with co-workers and window offices.
Luckily, Julie, who is much younger and sprightlier, realized that I wasn't going to give up, so she powered ahead and grabbed the $10 and the $5 just as it was about to blow under a big truck.
We got back to the office with pink cheeks stained with tears from laughing, forever bonded by our impromptu track and field event.
It's a surreal experience to celebrate Holi or the Festival of Color in Spanish Fork, Utah. Most of the people who converged on the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple yesterday were BYU students reveling in their own form of spring break.
In the legend commemorated by the festival, an evil king named Hiranyakashipu forbids his son Prahlad from worshipping Vishnu. But Radhu rebelliously continued to offer prayers to the god. Getting angry with his son, Hiranyakashipu challenged Prahlad to sit on a pyre with his wicked aunt Holika who was believed to be immune to fire.
Prahlad accepted the challenge and prayed to Vishnu to keep him safe. When the fire started, everyone watched in amazement as Holika was burned to death, while Prahlad survived without a scar.
The burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi. According to some accounts, Holika begged Prahlad for forgiveness before her demise, and he decreed that she would be remembered every year at Holi.
Part of the beauty of the celebration is that once the colors are thrown over the crown, everyone is the same colorful combination. They shed their differences and become one. The irony of the festival in Utah is that most of the 15,000 BYU students there looked more alike before the throwing of the colors than after.
A man named Sing convinced me I could make Indian food "just like they make it at Bombay House." And I was naive enough to believe him.
I wandered into Sing's shop in the heart of Taylorsville in the hopes of finding cardamom pods—anything whole that hadn't been ground to a blackish dust by McCormick. But Sing saw me as a white girl who definitely needed several impromptu lessons on Indian cooking.
Before pointing me in any direction in particular in his dimly lit and exotically fragranced store, he first needed to find out just what in the devil I would be needing with cardamom pods.
"I'm making chai," I told him a little sheepishly.
"Well, how do you do it? What do you put in it?" he asked me.
I started going through a list of ingredients that seemed to me to be pretty regular: cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods, bay leaf.
"No, no, no. That is not how we do it. It's NOT how we do it." He was quite positive that he was about to save me from making a colossal chai mistake.
"You are going to need this," he said definitively, as he handed me a large basket. I followed him meekly as he quickly started listing off the necessary items for chai and grabbing bags of unrecognizable spices off his low, dusty shelves. After filling my basket with green cardamom pods, black tea powder, raw fennel seeds, an egg-shaped nutmeg seed, and whole cloves, he asked me if I knew how to make saag paneer. I slowly shook my head, so he grabbed the handle of my basket and shoved a tattered notebook and greasy pen into my hands and indicated with a loopy finger in the air that I should start writing.
"This is a very important Indian dish you need to master," he said as he continued filling my basket with the necessary ingredients. He rattled off instructions as I followed him around frantically scribbling down notes, doing my best to get close enough to the spelling of the strangely named ingredients to be able to look them up on Google later. A couple of times, seeing my confusion, Sing rapidly spelled the ingredient for me, but because of his thick accent I didn't get much closer to the correct spelling. "You call me when you have made it and tell me how it turned out," he said.
On the second loop around the store we were on to chicken curry complete with whole mustard seeds, golden garam masala, and bright orange turmeric powder. I scribbled down the directions, convinced by a very enthusiastic and effervescent Sing that I could make this curry like any restaurant. "You call me after and let me know how it is. You be sure to call me," he repeated.
I walked out of Sing's store with a bag full of enough spices to season my own restaurant for a year at least, but convinced I could cook like the Bombay Houses' best chef.
I came home and eagerly started wading through my recipes written in several directions and with arrows and notes in the margins. My friend Bonnie came over to witness the attempt and was unreasonably supportive as I started pulling out bags of powders, pods, and seeds.
My kitchen soon took on the look of a disaster area as I tried grinding the spices with the back of an ice cream scoop and blending spinach and onions in a not-so-powerful blender that hasn't been used for anything except margaritas.
At one point Bonnie pointed out that the green goo I was scraping into a wildly sizzling pan looked a lot more like baby poo than food.
But I pressed on.
The curry was lumpy and the saag paneer too green, but Bonnie ate some of the chicken and declared the rice perfect.
It took me hours to rescue my kitchen, but I can't give up now! I have enough ingredients for a year full of spicy attempts at curry and saag.
All day today I was working on labels for bottles that will be sold in Canada. Everything from ingredient decks and usage recommendations to positioning statements and marketing copy on the label must be in both French and English to meet Canada's stringent regulatory standards.
This afternoon I was struggling with an English phrase we needed to have translated into French. But my colleagues—the manly metrosexual graphic artist I'll call Mayo, and our friendly Swedish product manager I'll call Kristofer—weren't much help in the French department. (Kristofer's native Swedish wasn't even providing any good clues.)
So, we decided to bring in reinforcements in the form of Simone, the cute French girl who works on the other side of the building. (That's not her real name either, but she is completely innocent in this story.)
Simone has helped me with various projects and we've formed a bit of a friendship by way of the break room, grabbing coffee, and short elevator trips. I've always thought she was fun and interesting to talk to and ready with a quick hello and a smile. She seems like the kind of person I would like to invite to my dinner club.
Kristofer eagerly volunteered to go get Simone to help us with a new French translation—something about "gently flash pasteurized."
When Simone arrived at my desk, the three of us—Kristofer, Mayo, and I—all pointed to the offending phrase we had been mispronouncing and slaughtering with clunky American (and Swedish) accents for the last hour.
Then Simone read it.
she suddenly became the sexiest thing any of us had ever seen. While she was intent on writing out her translation and whispering the correct phrases in French, not one of us could tear our eyes off of her. (Not even me. And I like boys.)
Just as she was about to leave, I breathlessly asked her if she would mind reading the paragraph just one more time. None of us made a sound.
After she walked around the corner, Mayo said, "Is it just me, or was that the hottest thing you have ever seen in your life?"
My friend Jan died this week, and her passing has stirred up all kinds of memories and people from the past. It has been very bittersweet, but leave it to Janny in her final act to arrange for a big reunion of old friends.
Jan was a great outdoors woman. And she knew how to camp. I was pretty lacking in that area, to say the least. I didn't really grow up camping. My family's idea of a camping trip was to drive the truck a mile from the farm into the canyon and have a "weenie roast" with hot dogs burned over the fire on willow branches we had just cut with my dad's dull pocket knife from the edges of Toad Springs. We weren't even fancy enough to have s'mores. And we always had to go back home to sleep so dad could get up to milk the cows at 4 a.m.
So when Jan and Diane and a group of friends decided to go camping in Moab together, I couldn't have been more excited. This group was crazy and funny and full of life and I would do just about anything to tag along. So when Jan told me to just bring my camping gear and a tinfoil dinner, I wasn't about to ask too many questions--especially not "what's a tinfoil dinner?"
We caravanned our way to Moab, laughing and playing tricks on each other as we drove. I think Lan and Tam at one point took their shirts off and pretended like nothing was up just to see if Di and Jan would notice when they passed us.
We made it to Moab and finally settled in to a camping spot after pushing and digging one of the cars out of sand up to the doors. Everyone deftly produced their tinfoil dinners to cook on the fire. Mine looked pretty much like everyone else's except maybe a little lopsided and unstable and long like a log. I was anxious to see just what was inside everyone's mysterious tinfoil dinners. The mouthwatering smells of savory stews were wafting from the fire and I could see my dinner starting to smoke. I pushed it around with a stick and tried not to call too much attention to it, but it soon became pretty obvious that one of those dinners was not like the others.
Jan asked me, "What exactly do you have in there, Wendy?" And I'll never forget her peels of laughter when I opened it and she saw my blackened Rice-A-Roni and beans along with some random vegetables like broccoli and mashed potatoes. I was experimenting with veganism at the time and hadn't had meat in months. I had just packaged up leftovers from the fridge and sealed them in tinfoil.
Jan and Di were good enough to share some of their perfectly cooked dinner, even some forbidden meat, but my first attempt at tinfoil cooking was never to be forgotten. My stint as a vegan was over and I still haven't lived down that tinfoil dinner to this day.
I've had many a tinfoil dinner since then and have even learned some tricks to make them incredibly tasty, but I'll never be able to eat one without thinking about Jan.
Tonight the President spoke to Congress. He spoke to the House and the Senate, the members of the Supreme Court and his cabinet, to honored guests and the First Lady. And he spoke to me.
He reassured me with his knowledge, he inspired me with his optimism, he comforted me with his wisdom, and he made America seem a little less scary today.
I've never seen a leader like this in my lifetime. Not even close.
He didn't say it would be easy. He didn't even say it would be quick. But I heard him say it is possible. And I believed him.
"The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation. The answers to our problems don't lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and universities, in our fields and our factories, in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth. Those qualities that have made America the greatest force of progress and prosperity in human history we still possess in ample measure. What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more."
"Those of us gathered here tonight have been called to govern in extraordinary times. It is a tremendous burden, but also a great privilege — one that has been entrusted to few generations of Americans. For in our hands lies the ability to shape our world for good or for ill.
"I know that it is easy to lose sight of this truth — to become cynical and doubtful, consumed with the petty and the trivial. But in my life, I have also learned that hope is found in unlikely places, that inspiration often comes not from those with the most power or celebrity, but from the dreams and aspirations of Americans who are anything but ordinary."
And with a leader who is nothing short of extraordinary. Like he said. He gets it.
Oh, and it was great seeing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg there too!
My friend, Maren, hosted a sled dog and skijoring race on Saturday in Park City called the iDIDaRACE. I got to watch. And I fell in love with the dogs and their complete joy of purpose. Their excited calls would echo over the hills when they knew their time to start racing was getting closer. They could hardly contain their excitement and would raise their voices together to announce their readiness to race.
These dogs obviously love their jobs, even the lone sheep dog entry who performed her job perfectly by running behind and herding her owner through the whole race.
Here is Maren praising one of the dogs for a good race.
Yesterday I got to see the movie Milk about the first openly gay elected official who was a supervisor in San Francisco. This film rattled my soul a bit and watching it in Utah after the recent fight about Proposition 8 made it even more poignant. Today I got this link from a beautiful friend of mine who married her long time partner last year in a joyful and loving ceremony. This video made me cry and wonder why we are still even fighting about this basic human rights issue.
I probably should be told to step away from the computer when it's after 2 a.m. and I just found out that a friend of mine is dying. This post might deserve a warning stronger than the swear-word warning--so stop reading now if you are not up for tragic and morose.
My friend has been told she has advanced, inoperable liver cancer and will probably only live another three months at the most.
I found out on Facebook.
Finding out that someone you know is dying on Facebook is like someone breaking up with you on a post-it note, only a lot less funny.
It's like Facebook has somehow become the universal PA system. "Attention everyone in the world remotely connected with (insert person's name here.) We have some bad news for you and we'd like you to read it right along with everybody's minute-to-minute updates about the weather, anecdotes about how tired their kids make them, and the quiz that tells what character they are most like from The Office."
Since there is no remotely good way to hear about something like this, it might as well be on Facebook. It's easier really. When you hear about it you don't have to see anyone except your own reflection in the computer screen. It takes a few hours for this kind of news to sink in and seem real anyway.
Honestly, I'm not sure I would have heard about this as soon as I did were it not for Facebook. I haven't seen her in a while. And I wish I could have just stayed oblivious to this news forever. But now at least I will get to go visit her, and laugh about old times, and try to make up for letting so much time go by without seeing her.
Hopefully soon my head will be clearer, and I will be able to write down some of the great memories I have of this friend. She is one of the most vivacious, energetic, sparkly, and intensely good people I have ever met. Her happy and joyful spirit rubs off on everyone she is around. Her impact on this world has already been spectacular. And that part I didn't have to find out on Facebook.
This post comes with a little warning for all of you sensitive types. If you don’t watch rated R movies because of the “naughty parts” or if you have used “oh my heck” in a just-so-darned-charming way within the last week, stop reading right now. . . . . . . I see you are still with me so I will have to apologize for unfairly loading the expectation wagon. There is really nothing all that titillating or exciting coming, but I have to include the warning simply because it turns out I’m not exactly a good gauge of what will offend some people.
I got chastised today for cursing. I think I said something like "I'm not sure what the hell to think of that." And one of the guys in the room said, "we may be able to enjoy this conversation as soon as you stop cursing."
Honestly I didn't realize that saying "hell" was cursing. Not even in Utah. So, when I asked innocently, "Oh, sorry, did I curse?" the reply I got was "well yeah, you said heck."
I said, "I'm pretty sure I would never say heck." But what I wanted to say was, "there is no damn fucking way in hell I would ever say heck." Which would have sent half the people in the room into full-on cardiac arrest, but would have been extremely cathartic and exhilarating for me.
Oh, and about those "naughty parts." Isn't everyone really just waiting through the other parts so they can get to the naughty parts? Don't pretend that's not true or I might be forced to say hell again.
I just watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a Woody Allen film about two friends who go to Spain and fall in love with the same painter who is still entangled with his ex-wife. Light and sparkly and somewhat classic Woody Allen, it's an entertaining film with beautiful people who are fun to watch. But I have to admit, I probably wouldn't have ever watched it were it not for the Academy Awards.
For some reason I think of the Academy Award nominated films as homework. As soon as the nominations come out, I get this obsessive need to check off as many as I can on my "seen it" list.
I don't know when the Academy got this kind of control over me, but I get more obsessive every year. It's almost like a scavenger hunt. Okay. Which ones can I pick up in theaters, which ones sneak in at The Broadway, which ones can I pick up on Netflix, and which ones can I talk friends into pirating for me. (Although I'll deny that last one if anyone in a suit asks me.)
So far here is where I stand:
Seen it: 1. Slumdog Millionaire 2. Frost/Nixon 3. Curious Case of Benjamin Button 4. Doubt 5. The Visitor 6. Tropic Thunder 7. The Dark Knight 8. Revolutionary Road 9. Vicky Cristina Barcelona 10. Australia 11. Kung Fu Panda 12. Wall-E 13. Man on Wire 14. In Bruges
Hope to see it before the Oscars:
1. Milk 2. The Reader 3. The Wrestler 4. Rachel Getting Married 5. Changeling 6. The Duchess 7. Waltz with Bashir 8. The Baader Meinhof Complex 9. Happy-Go-Lucky 10. Frozen River
Not bad I guess. I've seen more than half of the ones I want to. I'd give you my review of each of them, but I'm sure you aren't that patient or interested. And really who cares what I think about them? Although I'm sticking with my favorite so far: Slumdog Millionaire.
Wish me luck on my quest. Looks like I have just over three weeks to get them all in. Am I alone in this little obsession?
The sights at SunCrest's Village Green today were nothing less than magical. I felt my heart beating a little faster and I could hardly take it all in. An impromptu photo shoot with my friend Bonnie was one of the funnest things I've done in a long time. It was dazzling everywhere we looked. Here are a few of my shots. Luckily with scenery like this, being a novice was a lot less of a handicap.
I love it when the fog rolls in. It's so soft and silent. Feels like I'm up here alone. No one in the back, no one in the front. Just my little house on a mountain in a cloud. Oh yeah, and the naked guy next door who thinks he is invisible in fog.
Sometimes I like to live dangerously, buck the system, be a rebel.
So, today while I was at the doctor I blatantly disregarded this very professionally taped-up sign in the office warning me not to use electronic devices. Ha. I scoff. This room is way too small and boring not to text while in there.
It's just too bad my phone camera takes such crappy evidence pictures. Pus, my phone doesn't look anything like those scary warning pictures.
Yes, today was amazing, historic, exciting, and incredibly inspiring. But I think Michelle Obama's feet must hurt! It's possible that really expensive high-heels are a little more comfortable than really cheap high-heels, but still...they made her stand up ALL DAY LONG. (I loved that she was taller than George Bush when they met at the White House. I guess I'm taller than him too since I'm the same height as her.) But standing in those heels had to hurt.
She walked down Pennsylvania Ave., she was standing during the swearing in, she was standing during that WHOLE extremely long, unusually redundant, and excruciatingly drawn-out parade. Come on! Give the new first lady a chair! Now she has to dance in at least 10 different balls and wander around the parties shaking hands with everyone. Her feet have to be killing her, but you'd never know it. She looked gorgeous and put-together the whole time. I have to admit I got teary watching her dance with her husband, but I bet she is exhausted and ready to head to the White House. She's all kinds of a good sport and will be an extremely fun first lady to watch.
Are there any mysteries any more? Remember when we used to just wonder about things we couldn't figure out? Then we would have to resort to either going to the library or finding some person much smarter than we were to answer our questions.
For example: What is cream of tartar? I know it's used in baking, but the name just sounds...well, wrong. Sorta like the stuff the dentist scrapes off teeth. Umm, not my teeth. Just some hypothetical person's teeth, as it were. I'm admitting to nothing here.
So anyway. Now we don't have to just wonder what this powdery, strange baking stuff is. We can just look it up in this convenient little box full of information called a computer. Just for your information, my box of information says cream of tartar is a natural, pure ingredient left behind after grape juice has fermented to wine. Other sites call it a sediment, a by-product, or a sort of crust on the side of wine bottles that is scraped off and ground up. Really not sounding that good, huh? In this case maybe it was just better not to know.
Which brings me to my next question. What is steak tartare? I've always had some vague idea about this stuff, but maybe I should really get this straight. Wikipedia, the font of all unnecessary and inaccurate information, calls it: a meat dish made from finely chopped or ground raw beef or horse meat.
Raw horse meat? Really? Who is eating this? Are they saying, "I'll take the horse meat, but I'd like that raw with some cream of tartar on the side?"
Yeah. Probably not.
So, I just type in: who eats horse tartare? and I find out it's mostly Canadians. Those crazy canucks. Is canuck an offensive, North-of-the-border slur? I don't know, so I type that in too and most of my inside sources like words@random and ask.com say it's not offensive. A hockey team is called that after all.
Which brings up icing. What the hell is that? I've been to a handful of hockey games and found them incredibly boring. All that talk of icing has always left me cold--and confused. So I asked Wikipedia again and it said: "Icing in ice hockey occurs when a player shoots the puck across at least two red lines, the opposing team's goal line being the last, and the puck remains untouched." Doesn't clear that up at all, but who cares? I'm already too bored to keep researching.
I think you probably get my point and I could easily do this all night. I'm just happy for this little box full of knowledge. Can't imagine what I did without it.
I could survive. That's all I'm committing to right now—survival. But it wouldn't be pretty. I'm fully addicted to electric power. My life would be dramatically different without it.
Last night the power went out all over SunCrest. I got home to a cold and dark house that just proceeded to get colder and darker. I piled all my blankets on my bed and dove into the middle of them and trusted that the power would be back on by the time I woke up. That's how it usually works. But it wasn't. I woke up to an even colder house and a new quandary. Should I buy a kerosene heater? Should I buy a generator? Should I find a really big candle?
I'm not really prepared for an emergency at all. If something bad happened and the power was out for days, my house would be nearly useless. I can't cook, no hot showers, my phone doesn't work without my modem, my fireplace won't light, my food would all spoil, and my flashlights are all junk. But the real problem would be staying warm. My house was 45 degrees when the power finally came on today. If a power outage lasted for any longer I would be in trouble. I guess I need a plan for emergency heat that doesn't include breaking up the furniture and burning it on a make-shift alter on my kitchen bar.
My emergency plan has always been simply this: go to the farm in Idaho. I remember having this feeling of uneasiness after Hurricane Katrina. I called my dad and told him I was worried that I didn't have an emergency plan. His response was, "sure you do; just come to the farm."
I'm glad I have that option as long as I could get there, but I probably shouldn't just leave it at that. Living without electricity for a day has made me realize how much I rely on it. I'm going to have to think about a plan B.
I'm convinced I live in a snow globe on top of this mountain and someone won't quit shaking it.
I drove up the hill tonight on completely dry roads, singing songs from the Juno soundtrack at the top of my lungs, and not even watching for deer. I bounced over to my friend's house to play bunko with the neighborhood girls on this sparkly and sorta warm (40 degree) night.
But be warned: you can never, ever let your guard down up here.
Before we even had a chance to get started with the game, we looked out the window and realized we couldn't even see across the street. The wind had whipped up and the snow had blown in and all-of-a-sudden we were in the middle of a good ol' Little House on the Prairie-type blizzard. It was like someone had filled the snow globe with swirling powdered sugar and was whipping it around with abandon.
One of the women lives down the mountain in Sandy, so she grabbed her things and determinedly headed out. Within 20 minutes she was back at the door with the news that a trip down that mountain right now was impossible, and she needed to bunk in the snow globe with the rest of us. The news put a quick end to the dice party and we were pushed by the wind into our cars to try to make it the several blocks home.
Feeling like Mr. Magoo, I pasted my face as close to the windshield as I could get and inched my way to my house in a total white out.
Now I'm just hoping the fun is over soon and whoever is shaking this globe will get distracted by some other interesting toy. I'm sure there's a hurricane on an island somewhere that would be fun to play with.
It has been a busy night. I went skiing—ran through a few slalom courses, played some doubles tennis, went bowling and bowled my best game ever, and then played a little baseball. And the truth is I'm tired, even though all these activities were done in Bonnie's living room on her Wii. It's pathetic, but I'm going to be sore tomorrow.
I know there is something wrong with complaining about a self-imposed moratorium on shopping, but man oh man this is kinda getting to me. At first it was just the little things I thought I needed, like black socks and night lights, but now I've started fantasizing about totally redecorating my bedroom. It has been so cold lately that I've taken to climbing into my warm bed early and dreaming about new curtains and furniture and bed linens. I want to replace the chocolate brown and aqua blue with vibrant orange and lively yellows. I've been tossing around plans for new feather pillows and silky sheets that never need ironing. I want billowy fabrics and bright fluffy towels. I'm dying to go to IKEA and go crazy; skip through Bed Bath & Beyond and pile up three carts; run madly through Pottery Barn and fill bags full of bedding! I want a headboard for my bed and a fireplace for the corner and beautiful art on every wall.
Since I'm not the von Trapp family's nanny and I don't even have a guitar, I can't really justify turning my drapes into play clothes. My towels are too nice to turn into rags. I don't need a headboard because I have big wood paneling on my wall and I already have 800-thread-count sheets and a big fluffy duvet.
But I still want new stuff. I miss shopping. I guess I'll just go buy some crusty bread and fancy olive oil and call it good. Only seven months to go, but who's counting?
It might just be time for me to get some new and more exciting stories.
It became painfully obvious to me over the holidays that at some point in your life you stop telling new stories and just start recycling the old ones. And I'm convinced I'm going to need a much bigger bundle of stories than my mother has.
My mom's stories are so familiar to me it's like they have been made into a major motion picture and I've watched it no less than 17 times. I can recite all the dialogue, and the characters are vivid and clear and nuanced in my mind. I could step in and finish every one of my mother's stories after less than five words. In fact, I can name that story in three words. Go ahead. Test me.
It does absolutely no good to say anything once the story has begun. That story is going to get told all the way to the bitter end unless the house catches fire. Even then, my mother would still be finishing that story as we shiver outside with the glow of the burning house on our faces.
My brothers have started taking pieces from all my mom's stories and mashing them together to form an epic, crazy, no-good-very-bad-day kind of story. Much like those inane mash-ups on the radio where some juvenile disc jockey has the brilliant idea of mixing a Barry Manilow song together with Dr. Dre, the result is a nonsensical, jumbled mess that doesn't in any way resemble music, or in this case a story.
We find it hilarious how the pinnacle five words of each story fit together into some less-than-harmonious whole. But my mother just waits for the story mashing escapades to die down and gamely continues with her story as if nothing out of the ordinary has happened. "And then your uncle Laurie Whitney said..."
I guess at some point her stories will become my stories and I will pick up the storytelling where she leaves off, because on a remote farm in Idaho there may be no written record, and the only way to keep these stories from dying from the earth is through crushing and unyielding repetition.
I've been on a bit of a movie binge these last couple of weeks. It's my very favorite time of year for movies with all the best films coming out now. I saw Doubt tonight and it was breathtaking. The performances by Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Philip Seymour Hoffman are absolutely riveting. The story simmers and burns and builds to an explosive confrontation between the two powerful and mesmerizing main characters. It's a must see!
I'd also recommend Seven Pounds and Frost/Nixon, but I thought The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was too long and clunky to hold my attention.
My favorite movie so far this year is still Slumdog Millionaire--a rich and inspiring film that stays with you long after you leave the theater.
It's 3 degrees tonight—3! In Idaho we would say it's cold enough to freeze a newborn calf to the ground. Unfortunately that's the harsh reality of life on a dairy farm in Idaho sometimes. Many times on nights like these we would end up with a brand new calf in the tub trying to warm him up on his frigid birthday.
When I was home this year for Christmas I got to visit a new little colt born the week before Christmas. Our neighbor took us out by horse and sleigh and we watched the little colt frolic in the snow. I bet that little guy is cold tonight. I hope his mother is keeping him warm.
Atlanta sucks! Literally. It keeps sucking my friends away and I don't like it one bit. It already sucked one friend right out of these beautiful mountains and now it's working on the second one, my friend Dana. The strength of the suction just got more intense tonight and I'm not ready.
Change always happens quicker than I expect it to. I seem to fool myself into believing I have more control over it than I do and then it sneaks up behind me and takes my breath away. Tonight Dana and I went into a movie in relatively warm, calm weather and came out to a blinding blizzard. The roads, dry when we left, were snow-packed and drifting for the drive up the mountain. By the time we made it home, the windows of my house were all frosted with a fine layer of powdery snow. Now I can't see Dana's house just across the street. But at least tonight I know she's still there. I just won't think about tomorrow.
I've had writer's block. I'm going to try to force myself out of it by posting every day in January. NaBloPoMo.com will be watching me to keep me honest and I may just put some very lame crap out there until I get my mojo back. (Unless my mojo is lost forever, in which case the whole month of January will be filled with crap.)
Though 2008 was an extremely momentous year for me, here is hoping that 2009 is even better! Starting now.