Monday, August 31, 2009


It's almost September which means that it's just about to be FIFTEEN YEARS since I started college. I was thinking about that today when I decided to go to the gym instead of hitting the Counting Crows show. The 17 year old me who listened to "August and Everything After" on repeat that fall would be so disappointed.

This is my favorite track from that CD. I never get sick of it and it can still make me cry. Being a freshman was so dramatic!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

500 Miles

I really love "best of" lists. I know they are so subjective and I rarely read one where I agree with everything, but I'm kind of a sucker for them anyway.

There is a very snobby music review site that I used to read pretty religiously until I decided they were making ME snobby and quit. I still check in now and then though because their reviews are usually interesting and well written and they do a lot of cool interviews and features as well.

This month they have posted Top 500 Tracks of the 2000's. And yes, it's kind of weird to post this list a solid four months before the decade is really over but eh, 500 songs in nine and half years and change is still ambitious AND awesome.

It's a cool list and there are so many great songs in here. It's hitting my ears at a funny time though. The move and the job change has definitely got me in a nostalgic mood and I didn't quite realize how much of a time machine such a collection would be. I have been working my way through most of the list at my desk and I have had to get up a few times and run to the bathroom and wait for the redness to clear out of my eyes.

I keep thinking 2000 really wasn't that long ago but let's see, it was four moves, three jobs and tenish years ago so I guess a think or two has happened since then. It's been a pretty incredible ten years with a really fantastic soundtrack. Here are some highlights...


If you didn't know this song in the early 00's you must have been living under a rock. For some reason it always makes me think of trips to the Tasty's Donuts at the end of my street when I lived in Sugarhouse. I still miss that sweet little neighborhood sometimes. And I really love Jay-Z.

Such Great Heights-The Postal Service

I first got this song from a boy when I was living in Huntington Beach the first time. I don't remember precisely which one though because for a very lucky six months or so I had a steady stream of mix CD's coming my way from helpful guys willing to share their musical expertise. Those three boys really changed the way I listened to music and the first thirty seconds of this song still make me feel like I just discovered something life altering.

3rd Planet-Modest Mouse

This is one of the first songs I ever downloaded from iTunes. Modest Mouse is probably the band that I most closely identify with moving to Boston the first time. I was late in discovering The Moon and Antarctica but it's a beautiful, beautiful album. I love this song so much because some parts of it are weird and almost annoying and some parts are so pretty and melodic. It's kind of the perfect way to describe the way I feel about Boston and my collective time here.

Move Your Feet-Junior Senior

Quite a few times while reviewing this list I have landed on a song and thought, "I FORGOT THAT THIS WAS SO AWESOME!" I listened to this song until it virtually fried my brain and I still can't sit still during it. So perfectly dancably wonderful.

White Winter Hymnal-Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver-those are two artists that are linked to Boston Round Two. I went to see the Fleet Foxes at the Sommerville Theater all by myself last fall when I was feeling every single day like I needed to quit my job and move. I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad I stuck it out. Things work out if you don't run away. And I'm also glad that the darkness of much of last year didn't ruin these guys. At all.

So it's February of 2003. I've just made a new friend who knows just about everything about music. He gets into my car one day and reaches for my CD holder and I see him nodding approvingly. But I know something is there just waiting for him to lower his opinion of me. Then he pulls it out and says, "you have Justin Timberlake? Let's listen to this!" And so began the story of one of my all time favorite friendships.
This song is amazing.

Cry Me a River-Justin Timberlake

Jesus Etc-Wilco

New Year's Eve 2004. Me, Emily, Corey. Madison Square Gardens. Like every dream the teenage me had for how my life would go coming true. And then we sang along to this song at midnight and I probably could have died a complete woman that night.

Ms Jackson-Outkast

This is one of the first songs I remember really liking after I got home from my mission. I would listen to it over and over in the bathroom I shared with my sister for longer then I think we all thought I would stay there. My brothers loved to sing the chorus-I am for REEAL. I had a fun job and good friends and a salary! What more could a girl want...

Young Folks-Peter, Bjorn and John

My friend Dainon put this on a mix and I was instantly obsessed. It will forever remind me of runs along the water in HB and bike rides to the pier. I never once walked out of the house in that town without thinking I was the luckiest girl in the world. I can see now that moving on was the right thing but those memories are some of my all time faves.

So check out the list-it's very indie so you aren't going to see Britne or Usher on it...but I'll bet you find something you forgot you loved too.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A mile high

They say the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. If that is true then I have probably been going slowly insane for the last seven years. My life has been a somewhat predictable cycle of "take a marketing job, pack things, move to a coast, talk about shoes all day." And not just move to a coast-move within five miles of where you lived the last time that city was home.

Quite frankly, I don't feel insane. But I think maybe the universe wants to just make sure. Three weeks ago a dear friend from a past work life called to ask if I was interested in looking at a job description she thought I would really enjoy. I am never one to say "no thank you, I'd rather not explore that opportunity," so I said sure. Flash forward a few weeks and folks, this girl is switching career gears and moving to Colorado Springs.

That's right-not Huntington Beach, not Boston. And it's not footwear. You know I'm going to be cagey about exactly where I'm going-I keep myself pretty accessible online but I do like to maintain a semblance of professional distance. But here are some hints: I'll be spending winter of 2010 in Vancouver, summer of 2012 in London, winter of 2014 in Russia and summer of 2016 in city yet to be announced. And I'm pretty sure I'll be able to verify that famous wingspan on Michael Phelps in the near future...

It's an absolute dream job that will have me working my TAIL off. As you can imagine I have much more to say about all of this but for now, I'm walking around feeling like this all day...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Our Own Devils

Even if you really like your job, I think it's tough not to get a little case of the Sunday Sadness as the weekend closes. Especially in the summer when even though you got to sleep in and buy cute new shoes and destroy a heaping tray full of crab legs by the sea, you still feel like you didn't get enough Saturday.

I try to do things Sunday night to relax and get ready for the coming work week. One of my favorite things is to take a nice long shower with candles and music. Taking a shower is already one of my very favorite things on earth and has been since I was a kid so you add in low light and good tunes and seriously, it's practically impossible to get myself out of there.

Tonight was particularly nice-Natalie and Linda did "breakfast for lunch" this afternoon so I ate Mickey Mouse pancakes and then lounged at their place for awhile just enjoying all that fun freedom we single folk have. Then I came home and watched a bunch of Mad Men episodes so I can actually participate in TV conversations again...and then that delightful shower. I had this song on repeat because I have kind of a big crush on it.

and now I have four minutes to get to be before my self-imposed midnight curfew!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Usually when I see that my mother has been posting old photos on Facebook it means I have to go in and untag myself a bunch of times lest the world see what an AWKWARD teen I was.

But fifth grade? That was my I am the day I dressed up as Georgia O'Keefe to do my state report on Wisconsin (where she was born).

Monday, August 17, 2009


Here at work I sit next to the guy who does all the marketing for our Running category. So I hear A LOT about his star athlete Usain Bolt.

This weekend that guy did this.

Pretty spectacular don't you think?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Reeling

My brain is sort of a jumble tonight. It was a good weekend but overly emotional. I'm not going to dwell on this too much but they made a big change in the congregations here in my little corner of the Mormon world. All the single people over 31 are being shipped off to a shiny new ward by ourselves starting next week. And in case you were afraid I was going to have a good attitude about it, I still feel the same way I did 2 years ago when we had a midsingles conference in Huntington Beach. I'm sure I'll get over it and get on board but tonight I feel like I'm in a "failure to marry" penalty box.

And yet. I want to slap myself when I hear my brain using marriage as any sort of barometer of success or personal worth. For a variety of reasons I've spent the last couple of weeks thinking quite a bit about the past and trying to figure out what I want the next four or five years to look like. And I'm 32, so it's hard not to let stuff like, "well if I do that thing will it affect my ability to meet someone?" creep in when I weigh options. I have such mixed feelings about that thought because I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be optimistic or realistic at this point of my life. Too many -ics, it's exhausting sometimes.

What isn't exhausting though? Today I used my new cookbook and made dinner for six. And it was pretty great. So maybe I'm totally OLD and I should just get some cats or whatever but at least the animals and I will eat well.

Here's a song from the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack that has been making me happy for weeks.

just stay there
cause i'll be comin over
and while our bloods still young
it's so young
it runs
and we won't stop til it's over
won't stop to surrender

Thursday, August 13, 2009


So I got a pretty great letter yesterday for the Dear Me project...

Dear me yesterday,

Buy more milk. Oreos wouldn't be a bad idea either.


I'm always wishing yesterday me would have bought some Oreos.

Speaking of food, after reading "Julie and Julia" and deciding it was high time I learned my learned my way around a kitchen, I bought the first cookbook I have purchased as an adult. I also got around to reading "Friday Night Lights" on a plane this weekend (so, read the book, saw the movie, worship the TV show) and decided it was also high time I knew more about football. So since I was already at the store, I picked up a book that bills itself as a woman's guide to understanding the NFL.

Cooking and football-part of my goal to build my personal brand during a down market.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Promise to Me

This song got overplayed about 10 years ago but I ran across it tonight and gosh, so pretty.

I saw 500 Days of Summer again today and I'm telling you what-if you think love is a pretty good thing then you will like it.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Modern Love

The New York Times has a weekly feature called "Modern Love" that deals with all sorts of topics relating to Love and Marriage. Although I don't love just copying someone else's article as a blog post, I haven't been able to get this one out of my head and thought it was worth passing along. I wish wish wish that I had the kind of calm and foresight the author did when dealing with a crises. It's a good read whether you are married or not.

Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear

Published: July 31, 2009
LET’S say you have what you believe to be a healthy marriage. You’re still friends and lovers after spending more than half of your lives together. The dreams you set out to achieve in your 20s — gazing into each other’s eyes in candlelit city bistros when you were single and skinny — have for the most part come true.

Two decades later you have the 20 acres of land, the farmhouse, the children, the dogs and horses. You’re the parents you said you would be, full of love and guidance. You’ve done it all: Disneyland, camping, Hawaii, Mexico, city living, stargazing.

Sure, you have your marital issues, but on the whole you feel so self-satisfied about how things have worked out that you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: “I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did. I’m moving out. The kids will understand. They’ll want me to be happy.”

But wait. This isn’t the divorce story you think it is. Neither is it a begging-him-to-stay story. It’s a story about hearing your husband say “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him. And what can happen as a result.

Here’s a visual: Child throws a temper tantrum. Tries to hit his mother. But the mother doesn’t hit back, lecture or punish. Instead, she ducks. Then she tries to go about her business as if the tantrum isn’t happening. She doesn’t “reward” the tantrum. She simply doesn’t take the tantrum personally because, after all, it’s not about her.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying my husband was throwing a child’s tantrum. No. He was in the grip of something else — a profound and far more troubling meltdown that comes not in childhood but in midlife, when we perceive that our personal trajectory is no longer arcing reliably upward as it once did. But I decided to respond the same way I’d responded to my children’s tantrums. And I kept responding to it that way. For four months.

“I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did.”

His words came at me like a speeding fist, like a sucker punch, yet somehow in that moment I was able to duck. And once I recovered and composed myself, I managed to say, “I don’t buy it.” Because I didn’t.

He drew back in surprise. Apparently he’d expected me to burst into tears, to rage at him, to threaten him with a custody battle. Or beg him to change his mind.

So he turned mean. “I don’t like what you’ve become.”

Gut-wrenching pause. How could he say such a thing? That’s when I really wanted to fight. To rage. To cry. But I didn’t.

Instead, a shroud of calm enveloped me, and I repeated those words: “I don’t buy it.”

You see, I’d recently committed to a non-negotiable understanding with myself. I’d committed to “The End of Suffering.” I’d finally managed to exile the voices in my head that told me my personal happiness was only as good as my outward success, rooted in things that were often outside my control. I’d seen the insanity of that equation and decided to take responsibility for my own happiness. And I mean all of it.

My husband hadn’t yet come to this understanding with himself. He had enjoyed many years of hard work, and its rewards had supported our family of four all along. But his new endeavor hadn’t been going so well, and his ability to be the breadwinner was in rapid decline. He’d been miserable about this, felt useless, was losing himself emotionally and letting himself go physically. And now he wanted out of our marriage; to be done with our family.

But I wasn’t buying it.

I said: “It’s not age-appropriate to expect children to be concerned with their parents’ happiness. Not unless you want to create co-dependents who’ll spend their lives in bad relationships and therapy. There are times in every relationship when the parties involved need a break. What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?”

“Huh?” he said.

Go trekking in Nepal. Build a yurt in the back meadow. Turn the garage studio into a man-cave. Get that drum set you’ve always wanted. Anything but hurting the children and me with a reckless move like the one you’re talking about.”

Then I repeated my line, “What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?”


“How can we have a responsible distance?”

“I don’t want distance,” he said. “I want to move out.”

My mind raced. Was it another woman? Drugs? Unconscionable secrets? But I stopped myself. I would not suffer.

Instead, I went to my desk, Googled “responsible separation” and came up with a list. It included things like: Who’s allowed to use what credit cards? Who are the children allowed to see you with in town? Who’s allowed keys to what?

I looked through the list and passed it on to him.

His response: “Keys? We don’t even have keys to our house.”

I remained stoic. I could see pain in his eyes. Pain I recognized.

“Oh, I see what you’re doing,” he said. “You’re going to make me go into therapy. You’re not going to let me move out. You’re going to use the kids against me.”

“I never said that. I just asked: What can we do to give you the distance you need ... ”

“Stop saying that!”

Well, he didn’t move out.

Instead, he spent the summer being unreliable. He stopped coming home at his usual six o’clock. He would stay out late and not call. He blew off our entire Fourth of July — the parade, the barbecue, the fireworks — to go to someone else’s party. When he was at home, he was distant. He wouldn’t look me in the eye. He didn’t even wish me “Happy Birthday.”

But I didn’t play into it. I walked my line. I told the kids: “Daddy’s having a hard time as adults often do. But we’re a family, no matter what.” I was not going to suffer. And neither were they.

MY trusted friends were irate on my behalf. “How can you just stand by and accept this behavior? Kick him out! Get a lawyer!”

I walked my line with them, too. This man was hurting, yet his problem wasn’t mine to solve. In fact, I needed to get out of his way so he could solve it.

I know what you’re thinking: I’m a pushover. I’m weak and scared and would put up with anything to keep the family together. I’m probably one of those women who would endure physical abuse. But I can assure you, I’m not. I load 1,500-pound horses into trailers and gallop through the high country of Montana all summer. I went through Pitocin-induced natural childbirth. And a Caesarean section without follow-up drugs. I am handy with a chain saw.

I simply had come to understand that I was not at the root of my husband’s problem. He was. If he could turn his problem into a marital fight, he could make it about us. I needed to get out of the way so that wouldn’t happen.

Privately, I decided to give him time. Six months.

I had good days, and I had bad days. On the good days, I took the high road. I ignored his lashing out, his merciless jabs. On bad days, I would fester in the August sun while the kids ran through sprinklers, raging at him in my mind. But I never wavered. Although it may sound ridiculous to say “Don’t take it personally” when your husband tells you he no longer loves you, sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do.

Instead of issuing ultimatums, yelling, crying or begging, I presented him with options. I created a summer of fun for our family and welcomed him to share in it, or not — it was up to him. If he chose not to come along, we would miss him, but we would be just fine, thank you very much. And we were.

And, yeah, you can bet I wanted to sit him down and persuade him to stay. To love me. To fight for what we’ve created. You can bet I wanted to.

But I didn’t.

I barbecued. Made lemonade. Set the table for four. Loved him from afar.

And one day, there he was, home from work early, mowing the lawn. A man doesn’t mow his lawn if he’s going to leave it. Not this man. Then he fixed a door that had been broken for eight years. He made a comment about our front porch needing paint. Our front porch. He mentioned needing wood for next winter. The future. Little by little, he started talking about the future.

It was Thanksgiving dinner that sealed it. My husband bowed his head humbly and said, “I’m thankful for my family.”

He was back.

And I saw what had been missing: pride. He’d lost pride in himself. Maybe that’s what happens when our egos take a hit in midlife and we realize we’re not as young and golden anymore.

When life’s knocked us around. And our childhood myths reveal themselves to be just that. The truth feels like the biggest sucker-punch of them all: it’s not a spouse or land or a job or money that brings us happiness. Those achievements, those relationships, can enhance our happiness, yes, but happiness has to start from within. Relying on any other equation can be lethal.

My husband had become lost in the myth. But he found his way out. We’ve since had the hard conversations. In fact, he encouraged me to write about our ordeal. To help other couples who arrive at this juncture in life. People who feel scared and stuck. Who believe their temporary feelings are permanent. Who see an easy out, and think they can escape.

My husband tried to strike a deal. Blame me for his pain. Unload his feelings of personal disgrace onto me.

But I ducked. And I waited. And it worked.

Monday, August 03, 2009


For a few minutes when I was in high school country dancing got REALLY popular. There is a working farm in Salt Lake with a big barn and they did line dancing every Wednesday night. It wasn't really that cool to like country music but somehow, you got a pass if you were going to Wheeler Farm.

My friend Andrea knew some cute boys from a different high school who we went with a few times. Boys from another school always felt so much cooler then the ratty ones you'd known since six grade AND we were out on a school night. Doesn't get much better than that at 16. We've been joking around that our summer theme has been Teenage Summer what will all the roller coasters and late nights and ice cream eating (not this week!) but I was thinking last night that the thing it's missing is a little country line dancing with the Granger boys...this song was one of my favorites back in the day-I have to see if there is a country bar here in Irish pub central.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


I wish grownups got summer vacation too.