Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Stoned

On Monday, I met up with two dear girlfriends I have known since I was four for breakfast. We’ve missed each other on my last few trips and I was really looking forward to catching up-Ashley just added a baby girl to her house full of boys and Andrea is dealing with the joys of a teenager so their stories tend to be pretty entertaining.

They called our names to be seated and as I stood up, I felt a little bit nauseous. I figured I was just hungry although that didn’t really explain an odd pain in my lower back. Andrea looked at me funny and asked if I was ok. I said I wasn’t sure and peeled off my coat and scarf thinking maybe I was too hot. I tried to concentrate on the menu but this side pain was pushing everything out of my brain except a rising feeling that I wanted to be lying flat somewhere.

I went to the bathroom, threw my guts up and we all agreed it was time to call my mom. When she answered, all 34 year old independent woman went right out the window, and I started to cry. She told me to go straight to the ER. It’s a good thing all my girlfriends are super bossy because Andrea and Ashley took my keys, forced me into Andrea’s car and off we went.

I haaaate the thought of being really sick. I have never been in an emergency room and I couldn’t stop crying in the car. I was scared and embarrassed and in more pain than I have ever felt in my life. Ever the event manager, I still managed to call my insurance company to make sure the hospital we were going to would take my insurance. When I told the agent no I actually didn’t want to hear about how to go paperless with my statements as I was on my way to the ER and just wanted to check my benefits she said, “honey if it’s an emergency you really shouldn’t worry too much about this part, just go!”.

We got to the hospital and Andrea was helping me walk in, trying to convince me to let her go get a wheelchair but that sounded so awful and embarrassing I said I wanted to walk. Which I did until a fresh wave of pain swept in and I doubled over in the street. I looked up and my cute sister-in-law Tasha had suddenly appeared with a massive orderly and they scooped me into a wheelchair.

I realize that I do have a flair for the dramatic but I typically don’t like to make a scene. All I can tell you about the next ten minutes however, is that I was crying hysterically, I definitely told the entire waiting room that I desperately needed to take all of my clothes off and then I threw up in the bag that the unflappable admitting nurse handed me when I said I needed to get to a bathroom. Apparently vomiting in the ER waiting room is no.big.deal. The whole time my brain was screaming, “get it together Clifford!! Stop acting like a Grey’s Anatomy guest star!!” But everything hurt so much all I could do was be that hot mess that bursts in the doors just before the first commercial break.

I will say this though, the way to get seen nearly instantly at the ER is to arrive sobbing. I was gowned up with an IV in about five minutes flat. There was a parade of people asking me what hurt and for my social security number and if I might be pregnant (I am not, a fact that another parade of people confirmed awhile later). And then the guy taking my blood apparently said, “my name is Barlow and I’ll be your nurse,” but I promise what I heard was, “does it bother you that I’m your nurse?”. We had watched Knocked Up the night before and there is a scene with a male nurse that I guess was stuck in my head so I said, “why would it bother me-because you are a dude?” Andrea and Tasha looked at me like I had three heads and Barlow was definitely NOT amused.

The doctor came and took a look (favorite moment, I’m mostly naked and being poked and prodded and he says-“hey where did you go that you got so tan?” So at least someone got to appreciate my lovely tan lines.) and my mom arrived just in time to hear that more than likely it was a kidney stone.

A KIDNEY STONE! Of all the reasons I could end up in the hospital day, a kidney stone is absolutely the unsexiest thing I can think of. “Kidney disease” has been part of the family vernacular for pretty much my whole life. Everyone in my Grandma Clifford’s family died of a hereditary kidney disease and my dad did his damnedest to check out on us 13 years ago when one of his kidneys gave up. His new one turns 11in February. So all apologies to my father, anything kidney related feels like something that happens to old people. Not 34 year old women who ride bikes and run races and drink water all the live long day. The control freak within feels decidedly uncomfortable with the notion that my body can and will play tricks on me even when I try awfully hard to treat it well.

It’s been a really nice holiday but an odd one as well. I saw a lot of people I hadn’t seen in ages and it seemed like there were more ghosts floating around in Salt Lake than usual. I can run around downtown Salt Lake and not think about the Olympics or hang out in Holladay and not have high school on the tip of my brain but for some reason this trip, all those sort of memories were out in full force. I got some weird news on Christmas from someone I didn’t want to hear from-I just spent quite a bit of the week feeling like I was in a bizarre time warp.

I got some prescriptions and some advice and Mom and Tasha and I went to Noodles and Company and they teased me a little more about poor Barlow the (hot) male nurse and I felt like a human again. We stopped at the Rite Aid on the way home and I ran in to get my precious bottle of percoset.

I was waiting for my pills when this old lady came in complaining as she approached the counter about pain in her leg. I kept thinking-please please please don’t sit next to me, I do NOT want to talk about pain and medicine, I just want to get my drugs and go home and try to get Morgan to play with me before I leave. Sure enough, she sits down next to me and tells me all about the difficulty of getting a doctor to see you at the holidays. But she was nice and she had a slight New York accent so I listened. She asked what I was getting and I told her about my little kidney stone adventure and she told me she had one once too and then suddenly my mean brain clicked over into “be nice” territory and I asked where she was from. “The Bronx. We came here 56 years ago for school.” And then she told me her first husband left her for another woman but at least she had her master’s and her two babies and her second husband had been wonderful. She lost him twelve years ago but she still wears her ring. And then she said, “and you know, I believe that when you are feeling the very worst pain is the moment right before you get an answer.” I don’t know if it was whatever they gave me at the hospital or being tired or spending most of the day scared and tense but I started to cry. And she looked at me with these big sweet eyes and said, “oh honey, I hit a nerve, I’m so sorry!” She asked me how old I was and when I said 34 she said, “come on now, you are just a baby…just a baby.” And it’s funny when a complete stranger feels so familiar but I asked her name and of course it was Stella, because 77 year old Stella from the Bronx WOULD say something that felt like just exactly what I needed to hear.

What I also needed was a little perspective. Things have been a bit rough the last couple of months but geez-how many things can one person be thankful for in 24 hours? That I was in Utah with friends and not alone or on a plane when the attack happened, that I have good insurance, to have family that could rush to the hospital, for nice nurses and doctors and all the modern technology that helps figure out what's wrong and then fixes it pretty fast, for a generally healthy body that meant I could get on a plane home later that night. I know I am really blessed, even in those stretches of time where I can get lost in waves of, "why is this happening to me?" I remember reading an interview with someone who had been really successful but had also been through some terrible stuff saying that if you ask "why me?" when things are not going well, you have to ask that same thing when things are going well. And personally I would rather not throw into question all the great things in my life that I have by no means earned, nor do I deserve.

I was nowhere near death on Monday and what I had turns out to be something that dozens of people I know have been through as well, but for a few hours I was straight up terrified that something really serious was happening to me. That sort of has to get your brain counting it's blessings and being thrilled that you will indeed get to climb another mountain and get on another plane to Spain and maybe, just maybe, be in a hospital someday for something way more fun than a kidney stone (you get that I mean a baby right?).

Not a shabby way to end a year says I.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Shake Your Wiggles Out

Morgan and Wyatt inherited some jammies that Sterling and I wore when we were wee and then Emily and Christopher wore as tiny folks five years later. Naturally I wanted a photo of the two of them posing like Sterling and I did 32 years ago (gross).

This is the attempt to get them to sit still on the couch for ONE PICTURE.





I was unsuccessful.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Break

I'm sorry some of you are still at work. Because we are doing this.




Monday, December 20, 2010

Jetting

6 a.m. flights seems like such a rad idea when you are booking them (I will have the whole day!) and sooooooooo stupid when you are facing down getting up at 4:00 to get to the airport. But at 8 when baby sis is picking me up, and at 12:30 when Wyatt and Morgan are struggling to remember why they know me, it will all seem alright again.

So I'm sure my posts will be sporadic over the next week. In the meantime, I am nothing short of obessed with this little tune right now. I absolutely love Regina Spektor's contribution and this video is pretty awesome too.

Ben Folds - You Don't Know Me from Eric Wareheim on Vimeo.



SLC, here I come!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wanderer

I got a notice this week that it's time to decide whether I want to sign another 12 month lease on my apartment. I was sort of surprised to discover that I had my typical panicked feeling when faced with a long term commitment to a place. I love my little apartment, I have a great job, and Colorado and I have fallen in love. So why the raised blood pressure over one measly year?

I came home from New York last weekend in a funny mood. I've been to that city more times than I can count in the last eight years and I always leave thinking, "great city, definitely couldn't live here." For the first time I found myself wondering if that could be my next move. Which is hilarious because it's crowded and expensive and far from my family-all the issues I was trying to solve when I left Boston. But when I landed in the Springs on Sunday afternoon I had this stabbing fearful thought-"what if this is my last stop?? Am I staying in Colorado Springs forever?"

I have no idea where I picked up this fear but at several points of my life I have been terrified that wherever I am is going to be the end of the line. That post-college I would never make good friends again, that post-mission I would never leave Utah, that post-Salt Lake Olympics I would never be excited to go to work on a Monday ever again, that Huntington was the prettiest place I would ever live...you get the picture. And I suppose fear is a pretty good motivator because I've spent the last 12 years trying my hardest to make sure none of those worries came true. My worries and me-the most consistent relationship of my life.

So this time, instead of having a freak out about DYING IN COLORADO SPRINGS, I'm trying to use this lease signing as a time to think seriously about what I would like out of the next year of commitment to this stage of my life.

I don't have any answers yet, I've only been thinking about this for a few days. But I do know that the last year has been a pretty clear sign that the only real roadblocks to the life I want are the ones I put up myself. This has been one of the most intense years of my relatively intense life but I'm pretty satisfied with the view from this mountain I'm scrambling up.

So yesterday I decided to do something that I couldn't do if I lived in New York-drive ten minutes and get on a hopelessy beautiful trail. I talked Heather and Tom into coming with me and we finally found the snow that has been non-existent down here in the valley.


We made up a song with an O in it. It was about Heather. She didn't like it.

We can't believe we get to live here!

This was just after Heather recited a poem about beauty and Tom made fun of us for being tired.

After the false summit.

Tom looks so rugged.

Overcome

Snow!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holy Places

My mother had a custom frame shop for a long time and so we got sort of spoiled with beautiful things on our walls. Even in college, every poster I owned had a fancy frame.

The result is that I'm pretty picky about what I will put up in my house. I don't typically like to buy things that I think I'm going to see somewhere else. So since I'm encouraged at church to have religious imagery in my house I try to find things that every Mormon in America doesn't already have.

My friend Kris and his wife Cathy are photographers (and also one of the most adorable couples on planet earth) and they have taken some really terrific photos of a lot of the prettiest temples in the West.



If you are still looking for something for parents or newlyweds, they are having a holiday sale and there are some really killer photos to choose from. The Newport Beach ones make me just a wee bit homesick, it's such a cool temple. And I sure love the idea of supporting young artists!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rolling Deep

I have this fantasy that someday I will have a holiday season where I actually decorate my house and get my shopping done early and remember to make an advent calendar and I spend the two weeks before Christmas making cookies for all of my neighbors as Nat King Cole plays in the background. I have very vague memories of the season being that way when I was kid.

Alas, it never quite goes that way. But I did get to spend Monday afternoon decorating cookies for the other floors at work


and yesterday we had our Sport Division Holiday Party. Between that and running around looking at trees and lights and windows in New York, it might not LOOK like Christmas in my house but I have a good holiday buzz going.

I also have a couple of great Dear Me letters for you! The first one is from of a friend of a friend who had me in stitches one night over dinner in Denver. Note to any of you wanting to submit a letter-playful letters are most welcome. I love this particular one because if there any bit of advice lots of adults seem to want to impart to their younger selves, it's to kiss more people.

The other one come from yet another friend of a friend and is the kind of gentle but honest letter probably all of our teen selves could have used. "This is who you are kid, you'll still be that way in 10 years but hey! Who you are is good!"

I'm working my way through a bunch of "Best of" music lists from 2010 and I just keep remembering great albums and tracks I had forgotten-a testament I think to the sheer volume of good things that blew through my ears this year. I don't know how I missed this one but holy moly is it good. Adele has such a diva voice and these lyrics, while maybe a little bit angry, are also pretty dead on.

We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart inside your hand
And you played it to the beat


Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Tourist

New York was super fun. I didn't realize how stressed out I was about the meetings with our apparel sponsor until we finished up Friday afternoon and were eating pumpkin cheesecake in the Plaza Hotel and I finally felt like I could take a deep breath.

Everything went really well and now I'm excited for the next meeting where we see some initial designs. So then it was just full speed run around the city-and let me just say that if you would like to get in the Christmas Spirit-New York City certainly does it right.



I had a delightful time with my dear Jed, as usual

we had a Catherine O sighting

I got to see a couple of my favorite HB boys

and even got last minute super fabulous tickets to In the Heights. Jed's parents were in town as well and his mom had never been to a Broadway show.


It took just a little convincing to let her know we might never again get second row seats to a Tony Award winning show that is closing in three weeks for $40 but we managed ; ) Not only was the show a complete joy but it was sure fun to see her face when the lights first came up and the company was practically in our laps.

So now it is Holiday madness until January. I'm heading to Utah a week from Tuesday and can't wait to spoil nephews and see friends and drink some salted caramel hot chocolate on Temple Square.

I'm listening to A LOT of Christmas music. Here is one of this year's favorites.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Mother Ship

So I didn't watch 30 Rock tonight because I was busy eating the best fettucine in the world at Alfredo's. But I didn't miss it entirely...



Big meetings with BIG design house tomorrow! And then shopping and goofing around with my bestie Jed and a whole mess of other NYC pals. Not a bad way to spend some cold winter days.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Unsolicited

The security guard in our office asked me the other day about my boyfriend. So of course I just said, "which one?" and got in the elevator.

Today he handed me this when I came in from lunch



So. Awesome.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Jockularity

There are some weeks when it's just kind of clear that God has a wicked sense of humor.

Early this week I was catching up with an old friend who I totally adore and who just got out of a relationship. I kind of enjoy doing the post-mortem on someone ELSE'S heartbreak and it's always fairly fascinating to hear a male perspective on why something didn't work out. We got on my favorite, and by that I mean very least favorite of all time, topic of how if women get too independent and men don't feel needed, they will bail.

I don't disagree with that fact or frankly with the attitude behind it. It's not like I especially want to be with a guy who doesn't need me either. But here is where I get so frustrated and frazzled when someone tells me that-then what on earth am I supposed to do? Sit around helplessly until a man comes along and saves me? Or learn how to take care of myself and have a full and active life until a guy comes along who digs a girl like that at which point I will gladly turn over auto maintenance and garbage duty and bug killing and dress zipping up aid and worry easing pep talks and all the myriad of other things that yeah, I can totally do myself but like pretty much all human beings, I'd sure love to have a teammate around to help with. I don't need a man in the sense that my life is a mess without one. But I totally want one. And I'm kind of looking forward to all those little compromises I'll have to make to let someone else into my life. I truly believe that going it alone for so long means an extra dose of appreciation when you no longer have to handle everything yourself.

So two things happened this week that made me think, "yep, I'm gonna be juuuuust fine."

My coworker Todd and I go for a bike ride every Thursday. This week I was having some ID badge drama and couldn't get into the locker room to change. I was kind of rattled and rushing around once I finally got in because I knew I still had to check my tires and fill my water bottle and I didn't want to hold Todd up any longer than I already had. I ran into the storage room and almost had a heart attack when I didn't see my bike anywhere. I came out the door practically in tears and there was Todd, with both of our bikes, tires ready to go and my water bottle full. It was such a small gesture but so kind. I was a bit overwhelmed in fact and Todd seemed a bit thrown by how pleased I was. I couldn't stop thinking about it all day and it struck me-Todd has been married for a long time to a very capable and talented woman. He has seen me fill my bike tires week after week and knows I don't "need" his help. But I think he could tell that I could certainly use a hand so he just did it. And let me just assure any gentlemen readers out there, the likelihood that you are going to do something nice and unexpected for a girl and she is going to lecture you about how she doesn't need your help is just pretty low.

Jump to yesterday. I was pretty tired from a long week and since I am headed to NYC on Wednesday for meetings and then sticking around for what will be a fun but exhausting weekend, I elected to let myself sleep as long as I wanted. I woke up at about 11:30 to my friend Dainon's daily Christmas song email which just happened to include a recipe for pumpkin pancakes. So I blew off working out (oops!) and invited my friend Ari over for what turned out to be lunch. Then I lazed around until it was time to go meet my friend Darius who was going to help me with a couple of electronic themed errands. I went to pick him up and as I was walking up his stairs, I heard a hissing sound coming out of my car. I mentioned my car was hissing, he said that didn't sound good and when we came back out, I had a flat tire.

Do you want to know how to turn me into a completely helpless female stereotype? Cars. They are my kryptonite. I completely freak out when something goes wrong with my car. So I'm starting to have a meltdown and Darius just gets in the trunk, pulls out the spare and jack and starts fixing it. I got a little jumpy because he was already taking time to help me with my Best Buy trip and now this! But we're friends right? So he changed the tire, gave me some advice about the sad, sad state of my front tires and offered to drive so I didn't have to put too many miles on the spare. And later when I told him I would cook him dinner because I owed him he laughed and said, "cook me dinner because you want to, you don't owe me at all."

So I've been thinking all week...I absolutely don't want to be the kind of girl who puts off a "stay back, I got this myself" vibe. But there are certainly a lot of men in my life who seem to be confident enough to realize that while I may be plenty cabable, I do sure like their help. And sometimes I even need it.

I'm sure there are dozens of things I can fix about the way I behave in and out of relationships but this is one concern I'm calling time on. I've lost my patience for any dating advice that begins in "this gender needs to _______". Relationships are complicated and every single one comes with it's own set of rules and oddities. I have been sort of shocked this year as I compare all the different boys I interacted with to one level or another (this was kind of a busy year dude wise) and how each situation brought out something unique in me. When I turned 30 I decided I was never going to make sweeping statements about all men every again. I guess now at 34 I'm also going to quit listening to sweeping statements about all females too. That sort of talk really doesn't accomplish much except to put us on opposite sides and love is enough of a damn battlefield without us making it worse.

So this holiday season, I'm grateful for the quality and quantity of good men in my life. From fabulous brothers and dads to terrific coworkers to dear friends, I am so blessed to have loads of examples of good, honest, supportive males in my life who keep me hopeful that there is one out there like that for me.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Advised

My two twenty-something travelmates were giggling one evening in Panama about "things people do when they turn 30." They were pretty funny and I was laughing right up until Nat said, "yeah like suddenly being really into cooking or taking up cycling."

Guilty! I'm actually pretty sure I'm falling right into many of the cliches of getting older. Start expensive hobbies! Run a marathon on your birthday! Spend holidays with friends not family! Date younger boys!

I have yet to go sky diving or buy an SLR and start posting photos of plants and sunsets but...yes, it turns out none of us are really that original eh?

So yes, in the last few months I have picked up two new hobbies and I'm pretty much in love with both of them. I now have a standing Wednesday night date with my friend Darius at the rock climbing gym and my coworker Todd has managed to get me to commit to Thursday lunchtime rides. I give both of these gentleman a lot of credit for introducing me to the concept of "consistency", something I have never really been very good at.

Anyway,I got two bits of coaching advice from these generous and patient fellas-who have been oh so willing to teach me even though I'm totally slowing them down-that were so loaded with real world implications that I nearly laughed out loud.

From Darius as I was stuck on a climbing route after charging up without thinking enough, "you need to slow down. This isn't a race. It's OK to find a comfortable place to rest and plan your next move."

From Todd on rough terrain today, "loosen your grip! The bike knows where it needs to go and if you stop trying to control it, you'll ride smoother."

OK universe, I get it.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Shop Girl

Hey blog friends, my old PUMA pals shared their employee discount with me for this Christmas buying season and I'm passing it along to all of you. 40% off at PUMA stores and online and 30% for those of you lucky enough to live near a PUMA outlet. It's good Dec 3-6.

PUMA Friends and Family Coupon

Go be a good American and buy some Euro style gear!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tails

I got this latest letter for Dear Me just before Thanksgiving. It's from someone I really admire and I was quite delighted when he asked me if he could submit something even though he was not a girl.

I was standing in the kitchen half watching TV and half making dinner and then suddenly I was definitely crying.

This letter made me think a lot about some of the difficult things my own family has been through-divorce, illness, remarriage-and how you don't always react to those things the way you think you will. Or hope you will. There are situations I would have changed, but some I wish I would have been less hard on myself about. I'm trying to see things more as opportunities to learn and not always as the final performance. The last line of this letter is pretty stellar

“...the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.”

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Irony?

English teachers can correct me but is it ironic that I kept talking about how I was just going to drink a ton of Diet Coke on vacation and then Brenda and I got delayed and instead of spending Monday on the beach we did this?



And is it more than a little funny that this is right across the street from that?



We did eventually make it here


(this being the last photo taken before I broke my 4 day old camera)

And so despite broken cameras and missed planes and too much sunburn, it was a wildly successful Panamanian Thanksgiving.

I thought about a lot of things-goals for 2011, the power of two, new places I want to go, lessons I can learn from Andre Agassi (not a joke), possible color schemes for my bedroom, where I want to be in 10, 15, 20 years...but mostly I counted blessings. My list probably sounds a lot like yours-family, friends, job, home, car, freedom-all the standard stuff.

By far the thing I am the very most grateful for is one whole year of feeling like I am just where I want to be. Professionally, personally, even the bumpiness of my love life (there is no non-lame sounding way to say that is there? Love life? barf.), I have no business complaining. And sometimes I still do but I'm also thankful that I usually manage to laugh at myself pretty quickly when things like delayed planes and broken cameras get my blood pressure rising. It is humbling to see how active the Lord has been in granting wishes I probably don't even deserve.

Tonight my sunburn still feels a little raw and the contrast of my pink skin with the snow that is finally falling in Colorado Springs is making me giggle a little bit while I listen to some Christmas music. Not a bad end to the first of this many holidayed season.

And for you...an artist I'm falling madly in love with of late. Rambling Man by Laura Marling. I posted her song "Ghosts" a few weeks back and then found this live version that is just stunning...I love the imagery of the first verse

He walked down a busy street
Staring solely at his feet
Clutching pictures of past lovers at his side
Sat at the table where she sat
And removed his hat
In respect of her presence
Presents her with the pictures and says
‘These are just ghosts that broke my heart before I met you.
These are just ghosts that broke my heart before I met you’

He opened up his little heart
Unlocked the lock that kept it dark
And read a written warning
Saying ‘I’m still mourning
Over ghosts
Over ghosts
Over ghosts
Over ghosts that broke my heart before I met you’




More to come...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Grid

Leaving for Panama in the morning. Going to see how long I can go without getting on the www.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! I hope it's full of family and friends and really, really great stories.

Friday, November 19, 2010

TGIF!

All I want to do today is listen to Prince. And get all my work done so I can leave for Thanksgiving vacation with nothing on my brain but how many Diet Cokes I can reasonably drink before noon.

Here are some of my favorite Prince tracks that should pick your day up too:

I Wanna Be Your Lover


Let's Go Crazy


And my very all time favorite
Little Red Corvette

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brave

One of my goals for 2011 is to be nicer. I mean, I still want to be able to laugh at the people on Jersey Shore because they are awful. But for everyday situations, with real live friends and family-I would just like to live by that old quote "be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

One of the things that has made me want to try a little harder has been the letters I've gotten for the Dear Me blog. Many of them have come from women I thought I knew well but I had no idea the fears and worries and past experiences they were carrying around.

One of my favorites came from Megan in Utah who wrote about how scared she was when she discovered she was pregnant much earlier than she and her young husband had planned. I am ashamed to admit this but I have operated under the assumption that all those 19-21 year olds getting married in droves in my home state just couldn't wait to start churning out babies ASAP. Megan's letter made me feel like kind of a jerk for lumping all the girls who made different decisions than I did together. And to be completely honest-some of the things she was afraid of feel like things that wouldn't be any less scary if you were having a baby at 41 instead of 21.

So when I received this letter from a sexual abuse survivor, I again resolved to be more gentle with those around me. In her letter she talks about falling into stereotypical promiscuous behavior for an abused girl. How many times in high school did I look at the girls who had a "reputation" and think I was better than they were? How many of them might have had a story like this one?

I don't know this woman, but I admire her bravery. For writing this letter but more for refusing to give in to being a victim. It sounds like she has broken the cycle for her family and I think her daughters are very lucky to have such a strong example in their lives.

So Replikate readers...what is your story?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Twins

This is why having kids will be awesome. You can teach him all the stuff you both love and then see who wins when the kid grows and chooses which thing he likes better:

Cycling with Dad.

Or MNF with Mom.

Having nephews is pretty rad too.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Monday

An old friend was in town this weekend. We got to spend some quality time just hanging out, eating good food, talking about music and teasing him into doing the Incline where I remembered that boys who are twice my height make that thing EVEN WORSE. It was a nice few days even though today I'm popping advil like it's my job.

I've been listening to a lot of great new music this weekend, this one from my sister's Fall mix though has been a real standout. It's just beautiful and perfect for grey November days. There is a little point at 1:30 where the female voice comes in and it almost stops my heart. I can't stop putting it on repeat.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

House Call

OK, I do realize that I've been sort of broken record-like about The Head and the Heart as of late. And if you also happen to follow me on Twitter or Facebook you are most certainly ready for me to move on. But this post here is not as much about them specifically as it about the lovely sensory experience we had Tuesday night when they so graciously agreed to play in a living room for a tiny little group of slightly obsessed fans.

My friend Heather, who I met through my friend Dainon, and who has become quite dear to me since I got to Colorado Springs, saw The Head and the Heart in Seattle this summer and being the savvy music blogger she is, realized what a gem she had discovered. She got to be friends with the folks in the band and somehow talked them into playing a small house show here as they passed back through on their way to shows Westward.

I love music (duh) but sometimes you go to a show and think, "these guys are better on a CD in my house." And whatever, I'm getting old and sometimes I don't want to be out too late and I don't want beer spilled on me and I don't want to be ten years older than the boys who hit on me. So while I still love a good show and I'm willing to get over all of the above, it doesn't happen nearly as often as it used to. And I'm pickier about who I'll see. All of this to say that lately, the shows I do choose to go to get under my skin and into my soul in a different way than they used to.

Tuesday night after I spent the entire day completely distracted by pre-event excitement, I picked up my other lovely Heather and we headed over to the house. It was a big empty place that Colorado College uses for gatherings and was just perfect for such a performance. We got there as both bands were unloading their stuff and I tried really hard not to just grin like a stupid groupie while they set up. I did have one "OMG!" moment when Heather introduced me to the lead singer, I mentioned something nerdy about how the sweatshirt he was wearing was an as of yet unreleased Nike model (they have friends with a hookup) and he said, "wait, do you have a blog? Did you write about us? I read that". Blush, why yes, I did write a completely drooly post about you guys this week. So much for not looking like a groupie eh?

Quite a few of my friends were there so we visited for a bit and then Heather and I went like little moths to a flame when we heard a guitar in one of the side rooms. We sat outside and listened to the boys rehearse and erupt into spontaneous Neutral Milk Hotel covers.




I think I could have just sat right there the whole night and been totally satisfied. One of the things I love about my job and one of the reasons I have stuck around in the sports industry even as a non-athlete has always been how inspiring slash fun slash rewarding slash all the words I can think of are so cliche it is to work in a place where you get to be around people who are truly the best in the world at what they do. Whether it's the athletes or the coaches or even the people I work with every day-no one is here because they didn't have anything better to do than work really hard to get a job in a super competitive arena that other people fantasize about. That's how I felt Tuesday night as we were listening to the guys from the band fool around with arrangements and tempo and harmonies. How you can not be filled up when you get to be around people doing the thing they love the very most and oh yeah, they kind of rule at it?

The Lumineers from Denver opened and they are pretty delightful themselves. Heather caught one of the highlights of their set:



The THATH came on and well-I don't know if I even breathed. It was dark and they move around a lot and my camera is old but this is pretty much what they are always doing-making beautiful music and harmonizing and looking happy to be there.

When they played Down in the Valley I was quite certain my little heart would burst, but I settled for just letting tears stream instead. That song is so ingrained in this particular phase of my life now and it was a sweet moment to stand five feet from the source and sway along with my friends. This stuff just does not get old for me.

After pretty much everyone left several awesome things happened...a sing along in a dark kitchen, a handstand contest, lost of karate kicks and this:



I didn't get much of it but yes, yes, a thousand time yes to tipsy musicians breaking into spontaneous Bon Iver covers at midnight. And yes to getting moments like this to make you just enjoy the hell of where you are right now.

Some photos from the night...

Heather (the organizer and music blogger extraordinaire) and Mundi, just being beautiful.

Aaron, fellow music lover and excellent climbing teacher, just being Aaron.

Darius (my climbing/cycling/boy advice consultant) and Adrienne. Just being adorable.

Heather, Paul and Julie, just happy to be there.

James, another climbing buddy and frequent photo friend, and me, just posing.

Ghosts

We have the day off today. I'm going to sleep in. And go for a long run. And listen to music. And write letters. And go to lunch. And buy a swimsuit for panamaintendays.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Y

Brilliant night last night with The Head and the Heart. I need a little time to properly capture what was really quite a tender night for me. And we clearly had fun.



I have a new post up on Dear Me and this one is from a boy!!! About three or so years ago I started getting comments on Replikate from a guy in Texas. They were always very nice and complimentary but I had no idea who he was. A little correspondence over the years and I still don't think we've figured out how he stumbled on my blog but I've enjoyed having a fan. I read his blog too and what I've learned over the years is that he's a great husband, a terrific dad, and a true music lover. So I was pretty delighted when he sent me a Dear Me letter.

I've been pretty focused on letters from women but I'm so thrilled to add a male perspective. Sometimes I think don't realize how much we have common but also how our differences make us better equipped to help each other. As usual, it's a great letter with some great perspective.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Loud and Clear

My sister Emily has a lot of talents. One of them is the ability to make a really terrific fall mix.

Her 2010 version came in the mail this weekend so I've been listening fairly obsessively. I'm sure there are more tunes that will make their way onto this blog but here are two that have me smitten.

This is "If He Breaks Your Heart" by Jeremy Warmsley. It's kind of adorable:

If he treats you right
I will be his friend
I will never sing
This song out loud
If he breaks your heart
I will break his legs
If he breaks your heart
I will break his face


The obvious problem with this song being that the boys who tell you that they will kill that guy if he hurts you are usually related to you, gay, or firmly in your friend zone. But I do love my gay/related/friend zone boys dearly and I do love this tune.




This one is called The Running Kind by Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers. It's a great song and I'll bet just about anyone can identify with the lyrics:

Wanted you to stay forever and a night
But come to find, you are just another of the running kind


Happy Fall y'all.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sliver

There was a moment my freshman year of college when I specifically told myself, "remember this." It was May and I had just gotten one of the coveted appointed positions in the Student Government cabinet for the next year. We had locked down a stellar cast of roommates for the fall semester, the sorority I wanted to join was courting me and the cute runner I had been crushing on for six months was taking me to the Spring Formal. In sharp contrast to the first quarter where I cried myself to sleep every night and couldn't seem to make a friend to save my life, it appeared that life was finally playing right into my "college will be better" fantasies.

But even at that perfect moment I knew that there were plenty of other shoes to fall and I wanted to slow myself down, absorb and love what was happening RIGHT THEN and also realize that it wouldn't always be like that. But also to know for sure that periods of amazingness are possible and that they often follow periods of utter suck.

I have mentioned before that things have been pretty dreamy ever since I moved to Colorado. So I was due I guess. And that's why when it sort of felt like the bottom dropped out on me a couple of weeks ago I just decided-fine, I'll take it. I can be sad and I can cry and I can be frustrated. But I'l take it. Because I have been here before. And I will be here again. But awesome things will happen between now and then and if I have to deal with this to get more of that then fine, I'm in.

And maybe that's why God elected to throw me a bone last week. I always say when I'm telling people about my job that for every hour you spend talking to gold medalists, you spend six months folding clothes in a warehouse. But this week was one of the weeks that makes the fact that I'll spend the next six days slaving over a forecasting spreadsheet worth it.

My boss and I and two of the Marketing folks flew up to Portland on Tuesday to meet with our athletic apparel sponsor to go through the 2012 Team USA line. We sat in a locked showroom with no photos allowed and saw amazing product that was really athlete focused. It was a crazy few days with a TON of information and decisions to be made but it thrills me to my very toes and completely overwhelms me to be part of this.

So there was that. But then personally it was just like an explosion of little moments that absolutely made me feel like the Lord is so aware of me and the desires of my heart. A selection of highlights...

-Tuesday night. Dinner in Portland. A guy from the swoosh's hockey division who lives in Toronto was in town so he came along. We're doing the typical career path walk through that you do when you meet a new person in your industry. He mentions ESPN and Sports Illustrated, I mention PUMA and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. He says-I know there were a lot of people there but did you perchance know a Lori M? And my mouth drops open because yeah, she's one of my dearest dears. Turns out his wife is tight with her too and suddenly the world is smaller. And it's nicer. Everyone else is feeling good from the red wine, I'm drunk on connections.

-Later that night I meet up with two friends who have both moved to Portland in the last year. They didn't know each other yet but I was convinced it would be a girl-match. We met up at a coffee shop and ended up shutting the place down. We laughed and we commiserated about everything from jobs to boys to religion. I stared at the ceiling of my hotel room until the wee hours feeling humbled by the quality and quantity of outstanding people in my life.

-Friday I flew back to the Springs just in time for my friend Aubrey, in town for work, to pick me up and we headed to Denver for dinner. We caught up, ate amazing food and she told me all about the new boy in her life. It was great to see her and to hear that such good things are happening for her.

-Aubrey had a plane to catch and dropped me off at a BBQ joint slash bowling alley where my current favorite band was playing later that night. All my favorite Colorado Springs girls were there, my blogger friend Katie who I had yet to meet came with her husband and they were totally fabulous and then the show was just kinda perfect. A local band called the Lumineers opened. They came out onto the floor for one of their songs and I had the honor of holding their glockenspiel (this is not a euphemism) during the number. The energy was crazy and I could not stop grinning for rest of their set.

-I can't possibly say enough good about The Head and the Heart. My favorite music blogger and good friend Heather has been raving about them for months now and after Down in the Valley became the soundtrack to my roadtrip to SLC, I was really excited about seeing them live. I know I use words like "amazing" and "best ever" kind of a lot. But take me seriously here, their set was magical. This is a band that is juuust on the verge of taking off and you can feel that you are watching something really special. Their voices blend beautifully, the melodies feel like songs you've just always known and the lyrics talk about home and new beginnings and love in a way that had me in tears for most of the show.

2010 has really been a great year for music-I can rattle off ten great albums from this year without even trying-and still this one stands out. Heather talked them into coming through the Springs and doing a house show on their way back West so Tuesday I will sit in my friend Anna's living room and-this is just a guess-swing from grinning to crying for a few hours.

The world is good. People are good. Things don't always go the way I want them to but I'm learning that they often turn out better when I loosen my grip a little.

Watch these videos and see if you don't feel lighter.





This one was recorded in a club so it's not as clear but listen to those harmonies! and the time changes! swoooooon!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Hope

This was a pretty terrific week and I have a longer post about it but I wanted to post this photo my mom sent this week.



That's my Aunt Barbara on my super handsome Grandfather's lap. And my cute red headed mom standing behind him. I think it looks like something straight out of Life Magazine.

Take more photos people, it's all you have 50 years later.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Fourteen

When I was in ninth grade, my parents announced that baby number six was on the way. I was fourteen years old and completely horrified. My parents were certainly too old to still be doing that and hey, five kids seemed like PLENTY to an oldest child who was already sharing a room with a fourth grader.

So I told my them I was never going to love the baby and they could forget about me ever babysitting or helping with "it." It sound selfish and teenager-y but at the time I just couldn't understand any of it.

I'm sure it's not a huge surprise that once Elizabeth was actually born, I was instantly in love with her and I have been ever since. But even at the time I was still concerned that since there were 14 years between us, I would be more of a parent or aunt figure than a sister. I was certain she'd be babysitting my three years old by the time she was my age.

The universe has a wicked sense of humor though and now Elizabeth and I-the engine and the caboose of the Clifford sibs-are the two remaining single children. The last two weeks have been almost comical as she sends me sad texts about her current boy situation and then she offers me similiar advice when I send her sad texts about the demise of my own promising romance. This little girl whose diaper's I once changed and used to be afraid of wind and rain. She is 19 now and I have been impressed with the dignity and grace she is showing in the face of a pretty major heartbreak. We were teaching her Beatles songs when she was two and was the little one when my parents divorced so she's often had to be more adult than perhaps she was ready to be.

I sent her a request for a Dear Me letter and she asked if she could write a letter to her older self instead. I loved the idea and I love the result even more.

I too hope that she always listens to "Slow Ride" when she buys a new car and I can tell her that yes, her older self will look back and say "that really wasn't so bad."

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Woosh

I am PDX bound today to see what one of our sponsors is proposing for Team USA to wear on the podium in 2012. One of the many "pinch me" bits of my job.

I put up a new letter on Dear Me-this one from a blog friend I have yet to meet (although fingers crossed we are both swaying to The Head and the Heart on Friday!) but have come to know over the years after one of us stumbled on the other's blog (friend of friend of friend chain).

She's gotten married and moved to Denver in the time I've been reading her adventures and I've so enjoyed her perspective along the way. It's another great letter. More proof that girls rule.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Cold

Yeah that cold didn't really let up. But it took a break long enough for Mundi and I to have some Halloween fun in Denver. It was your basic mayhem but we had some good adventures and let's just say that I kind of rule at being a wingman.


I also got to meet my namesake which was really an honor.

But the true highlight of the weekend was this exchange with the guy making my sandwich at Subway;

him: So are you taking your kids out trick or treating tomorrow?
me: I actually don't have any kids.
him: You don't have any kids??!! You better GET ON THAT.

Thanks Subway guy, I'll be sure to GET ON THAT.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

One More Chance

Two things that I love-the Jackson 5 and a good cover. So this? Rocks. My. World.

The weather in Colorado is fabulous today and my cold is finally letting up. It's good to be alive and young and happy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Advisory

On our drive down to St. George on Sunday I made Elizabeth stop at SUU with me to walk around the campus.

You know how someone else's memory lane is probably the most boring road on earth? This was her reaction to my excitement over how little the Student Center Living Room has changed since we used to sit in there with giant Diet Cokes and whisper about whichever ridiculous crush we were hoping would walk by.


We stopped by Willowbrook #25, the scene of more than a few junior year crimes.

And I couldn't resist a photo op with GIANT FOOTBALL PLAYERS.


But the best SUU related thing that happened this week was my dear friend Jen sending me this as her kind of joking but kind of not Dear Me letter:

marry rich. get skinny young. love your job. don't tan. buy expensive shoes. travel.

Take note young ladies, this advice is solid.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Red Head

My friend Tracy is one of the nicest people in the whole world. So nice in fact that sometimes I have to wonder how on earth she got that way.

She submitted a Dear Me letter that cleared it all right up. This is an amazing woman who has been through a lot and instead of letting that make her mean or jaded, she channels it into being strong and smart and interesting and here's that word again-so so nice.

I like nice people. I like strong people. I like good people. I really, really like Tracy. So give her a read.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Boomerang

The best bed in the world is the one in your very own house don't you think?

After a 12 hour drive that included a traffic ticket in Grand Junction and a few white knuckled snowy hours on I-70 where I maybe cried just a tiny bit, I am finally back in my Colorado Springs home.

In other news, I am on a 48 hour sugar/caffeine detox. I am pretty sure that all I did in Utah was eat things and drink things. Let's see if I can stop twitching long enough to fall asleep!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Sweetest Thing

I'm finally headed back to Colorado in the morning. I was going to leave today right after the funeral but I picked up some little bug in Salt Lake and between not feeling awesome and Sterling and Megan and nephew being here one more night I decided to make my crazy drive in the morning instead.

The funeral was today and it was very nice. My mom gave a talk that made me cry and feel grateful she's my mom. My grandparents were really amazing through these past few days. I can't even begin to imagine the pain of watching your child die but my grandma told me today that they already dealt with the worst parts of this-now it was just a relief to know she wasn't hurting anymore and that it was over. I stood there with them for a few minutes after everyone was gone and my grandpa said flirty things to my grandma and I thought for the millionth time that if I have to wait for an eternity to have a marriage like that one I will do it. Sixty years and still talking like a couple of teenagers? Yes please.

When Aunt Barb was first diagnosed earlier this year I called her. We laughed a bunch because one thing Aunt Barb was often doing was laughing. She told me that I was her favorite. Maybe she told everyone that but it was a very sweet conversation and made me wish I'd known her better over the years.

We've known for about a month that the end was very close. Everytime the phone rang from my mom my heart would jump knowing that could be the call. When it finally came I couldn't help but think that maybe her timing was some kind of tender mercy. My particular belief system says that there is most definitely a life after death and I personal believe that the people we love get to watch over us. Family was very important to my Aunt and I feel like she knew this particular weekend I really needed mine. Although everything was tinged with sadness, I got to spend all this really lovely bonus time with the people I love the very most. I got to hear Morgan call me by my name and Wyatt nearly stopped my heart with what I really think is the sweetest baby smile in the world. I got Garrett to tell me what a lion says right in person. I saw my dad, I drove across the state with Elizabeth and we talked about school and heartbreak and the beauty of a lesson learned from a really good mistake. Logan and Kristen and I ate a truly obnoxious amount of sushi and I felt warm and fuzzy about all the good things on deck in their lives. I stayed up entirely too late with Christopher and Tasha and Emily and Aaron not once but twice. I got to introduce Megan to The Pizza Factory here in St. George and feel even more sure that my brother is some kind of superhuman for coming even though he's working on a pretty major campaign and it's 9 days before the election. I got to be here for my mom who just shouldn't have had to watch her baby sister die. She asked me Thursday night if I could imagine, "if one of them were gone," and I couldn't even let her finish the sentence. Because I can't. I'm just wild about this tribe of mine. Sometimes we fight, and we can definitely get on each other's nerves. And sometimes I'm sure we can wear the in-laws right out with our talk talk talking. But these are my people and when one of them says, "you want me to beat him up?", I feel about a billion times less alone.

I know Aunt Barb probably has a lot going on right now. And three kiddos of her own to keep watching out for. But I know she was watching all of us this weekend, making sure we don't take each other for granted. Making this weekend felt a little sweeter.

My mom put this song on the video she edited for the funeral. Say what you want about Garth Brooks, he knows how to jerk those tears.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Miles

Elizabeth and I drove to St. George for the funeral today. I have lots to say but tonight I just want to snuggle neph #3 and catch up with family.

We had a good drive and Eliz and I swapped music (duh). This cover of Sleepyhead is delightful. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Maturity

We went to see Jackass 3 tonight.

First of all, I laughed so hard I have a splitting headache now. And second of all, one scene was so gross I actually had to run to the bathroom and throw up.

So basically I'm a 12 year old boy with a grandma's gag reflex. I'm sure my mother is proud.

The Point

This sort of explains what a weekend with my family is like. Also, I am not letting Uncle Aaron anywhere near my future kids.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Return

I had to make a sudden trip to Utah today. I got a call this morning from my mother telling me that her little sister had finally lost her battle with a particularly nasty cancer. I knew the call was imminent, it didn't make it any less jarring. I have a kind boss who sent me "home to go home" and after throwing a few things in a bag and determining that driving was a better option than flying, I was on my nine hour trek home.

Home.

I thought a lot about the idea of home as I drove. This has been an emotional week personally and I am so sad for my young cousins who lost their mom, my grandparents who shouldn't have to bury a daughter and for my mom who watched her baby sister waste away for six months. But I couldn't help feeling an overwhelming sense of comfort and peace in coming back to my Utah. I was grateful to be in Colorado and not Massachusetts so I could be here right when my mom needed me. Mostly I was just happy to be headed home.

I couldn't wait to get out of here when I was 25. I was ready for adventures and big cities and new people and different versions of myself. I've been gone eight years now and have been lucky enough to find great jobs that have allowed me to travel and live in cool places and have interesting experiences. I've certainly grown up a lot in that time and made peace with so many of the things that made that 25 year old feel insecure. And one of those things is realizing how much of my foundation came from being a Utah girl. It never seemed glamorous to be from Salt Lake. When I was working at SLOC and meeting people my age from Chicago and Boston and Seattle-they seemed so sophisticated and cool. And so often I felt like I wasn't going to be a real adult until I left. Until I was alone somewhere new.

I loaded my ipod with a ton of stuff before I left this morning but I ended up spending an inordinate amount of time listening to this track by the Head and the Heart called "Down in the Valley". There are some lines that I couldn't get out of my soul

I am on my way
I am on my way
I am on my way back to where I started


I'm so glad I did leave. So thankful for everything about the last eight years. But when I was coming down the canyon tonight, getting off I-80 onto 7th East, finding my mom's new house on Spring Lane, walking into a house of siblings and nephews, I felt that sense of familiarity I just don't get anywhere else.

These are the places you will find me hiding
These are the places I will always go


I'm glad this is the place I will always go. Because a wise friend once told me that sometimes after you go looking for something to change, you figure out it's not always about geography.

This song is really pretty perfect driving and thinking and crying and thinking and driving son. They are coming to Denver in Novemember and I for one will be swaying along.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Paintbrush

It's a beautiful fall day here in Colorado Springs. I'm feeling just a wee bit melancholy after a recent disappointing turn of events but something about a sunny day in October still makes me feel like I'm winning at life.

I am posting some letters on the Dear Me blog this week. I have several lovely women who submitted terrific letters so go take a peek. This one is from Lori, a friend from my days at the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. I got to take Lori out on the town when she came to Utah for her interview and I just felt instantly connected to her. She is the most effortlessy classy woman I have ever met and this letter is so her. Simple. Sweet. Full of wisdom.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Satisfaction

You know how sometimes you are really excited about something and then you build it up a little too much and it can't really live up to your expectations?

I'm delighted to report that you actually can't get your hopes up too high when it comes to seeing The National live at the Fillmore in Denver for your birthday with some of your favorite girlfriends.

I'm very rarely disappointed in a live show but there are some nights where everything just comes together kind of perfectly and you feel completely swept away. I guess that's one of the things I love so much about music-a great song can fill up every part of you. When you see it live, it hits your ears and your eyes and you can even feel it in other parts of your body. When they played the first few bars of "Fake Empire", I got that same funny twitch in my toes you get at the top of a roller coaster.

I've been so busy embracing my Colorado lifestyle as of late that I haven't been paying as much attention to some of the other pieces of me. I love it here, but there is a little city girl tucked inside who sure loves bustling streets and creative restaurants and a heavy dose of rock and roll on a Monday night.

They closed the show last night with a really rowdy "Terrible Love" where Matt Berninger (who is just straight up one of the sexiest lead singers on planet earth) jumped off the stage and walked the entire length of the venue through the crowd and then they unplugged for a heartbreakingly beautiful version of "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" that might have left me in tears.

"all the very best of us
string ourselves up for love"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hammer

Dear theoretical future children-

You might want to apply for a new family right now because I've recently decided I won't be the kind of parent who allows a DVD player in the car on family vacations. Instead, we will learn the three part harmonies to the entire Peter, Paul and Mary catalogue and we will sing them loudly and often.

And yes, you'll complain. But when you are 30, you are much more likely to remember fondly all the words to "If I Had a Hammer" then to sit around with your siblings saying, "hey remember that one time we watched Finding Nemo in the car? That was so awesome."



You really will thank me later.

-you maybe future mom

(how awesome is this song by the way??? Sigh.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

One, Two, Three, Four

I'm turning 34 tomorrow.

I was reading birthday posts from the past and ran across this little bit of advice that a friend had written when I was stressing out about turning 30. It rings more true today then it did four years ago. I could make a list of 35 things I want to do before I turn 35 and frankly, I probably will. But I'm hoping that my guiding principle-the philosophy by which I measure all of those goals-will be to be kinder and to seek experiences that will make life more interesting. I want to meet more people, deepen the relationships I have with the ones I already know, try things that seem scary, unlock more talents, push push push. There may have been a time in my early twenties when I was afraid of getting older but the last few years have proved that truly, every year is just more amazing then the last.

So bring it 34, I'm not scared of you.

about the 30s... best years of my life. there is this feeling of
accumulation (not in the material sense), which i suppose is better termed
"maturity". the basis of experience grows and grows and it is just
awesome. it's funny, cause ever since t and i "adopted" our niece,
we've been pushing her to do new things, try new things, etc (you know the
drill). she's always like, "why?" and seriously the best response we can
ever come up with (besides the old 'get a body and gain experinece') is
"it will make you more interesting". well, it's hilarious now because it
seems like everyday she comes home from school and it's either "i met someone
from canada" or "i met someone from china" or "i met someone from california"
(all places that she has lived). and i'm just like, "yes!" because it's
stretching her out (is this making any sense at all?!?!?). summary -- if
you find joy in life in other people (which you obviously do), then experience
is the ultimate way to broaden yourself and your circle. we met this
couple here that seemed nice but then it was like "you've been there? us
too. you lived where? you went there for school?" and you know how
the story goes. maybe it's shallow, but i love that. i love having
some kind of bridge with a person and the older i get the completely easier that
becomes. sometimes i feel like given 3 minutes and a few questions i can
hang with anyone. maybe they are just my "we talk music" friend or "we
talk baseball" friend or (like at church now) "this guy is a firefighter and
that's a dream i never got over" friend, but it's something and it always has
the capacity to go deeper. what's my point? as long as we live clean
and open, life just gets better. i dig it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Once

About a million years ago I stood in a tiny club in Providence, Rhode Island with nine of my music loving friends as we listened reverently to Sam Beam and company sing songs from Our Endless Numbered Days.

When he started to play "Fever Dream", I had the most intense peaceful feeling come over me. It was so powerful that I still get a chill when I think about it. It felt unquestionably like a message from the heavens that everything was going to work out just as it should. I already loved this song but from that night, it is a go to whenever I need a little reassurance that I don't need to control everything. Iron and Wine had evolved a lot from his lo-fi beginnings but these early albums continue to be some of my favorite sounds of ever.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Renewal

One of the hazards of being a pretty consistent blogger for about four and a half years now is that it's way too easy to walk back through my archives and feel like maybe I am getting dumber.

Dumber might be too harsh. I have been reading old entries recently and thinking-wow, why am I still struggling with something I thought I had all figured out in March 2008? Why do I have to calm myself down every single October when I know another birthday is just no big deal? And most importantly, how come the Facebook test I took in 2006 said I belong in San Francisco and this week it said LA?

It's a double edged sword though because I also often appreciate the collective "self-wisdom" this blog provides. It's comforting to go back and read a post from a time I know was really hard and be able to say, "hey look, I got through that, I actually learned something there!" Progress is not always obvious when you live with yourself every single day-reading old posts is like talking to a friend I haven't seen in awhile and getting to compare now to then.

Which is why I am still so in love with the idea of the letters of advice to your younger self I wrote about several years ago. I had over thirty women submit letters and every single one of them made my spine tingle with it's honesty and insight. I knew a lot of the writers personally but even the ones who were strangers were inspiring. I did notice a common thread that so much of what women wanted to tell their younger selves revolved around not getting too caught up in what boys thought of them. Something I have noted and underlined and circled in my "things to tell my daughters and nieces someday" notebook.

I started that little project last summer just as I was getting ready to move and take a new job and it got a little lost. I still have a lot of friends I'd love to hear from so I'm opening it up again. But this time I'm not limiting it to women. Over the past few weeks I have been reconnecting with a lot of the fantastic men in my life and I'd like to hear from you all as well.

So take half an hour, write yourself a letter, and send it along. I'd love to hear what you'd tell yourself. Submission guidelines are here. Letters can be sent to katieclifford AT gmail dot com.

Here's an advice song I've always loved to get your juices going



Write on!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Open Door

Yesterday morning I got an email from a friend I hadn't seen in person in almost two years who happened to be in town for the day asking if I wanted to hang out.

My schedule was open so we spent the day talking about all kinds of things, exploring Colorado Springs, eating outside, making brownies and watching 30 Rock.

Steve has one of those brains that never ever shuts down and we always have super interesting conversations. We got talking about what is really meaningful in life and what makes us truly happy.

So I'll say this-very few things are as meaningful to me, or make me as happy, as when you can spend time with someone you really care about, talking about things that matter and laughing at things that are awesome.

This clip has been floating around the internet this week (even though it is really old!) and it sort of captures the way I was feeling about the day's delightful turn of events. This song has always been a favorite and this version is just so darn upbeat you can't help but smile. Can you?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Thanks

Little sisters seeking advice
Fall weather
Friends willing to help you learn something new
Conference on the internets
Old friends showing up randomly for the day
Well written movie about my best friend FB
Footloose on the $5 rack
Doing something scary
Hot showers
Entertaining brothers
Remixes
Funny text messages
Corn on the cob
Safe returns
Discovery of new good restaurant
Sore but satisfied body

Ah weekend, bless you.

Friday, October 01, 2010

TGIF!

Oh Friday I love you. All day I can think about what kind of magic the weekend might bring-and even it doesn't quite live up my expectations in the end, no one can tell me that on Friday. Anything can happen in the next two and a half days right?

Some good weekend music for you then. This track made me laugh OUT LOUD when I accidently dowloaded it instead of the Meiko song I had written down. Boys with girlfriends, the absolute dead last kind of boy you want to meet.



Every single day could use more of The Flaming Lips. Every day.



My sister Emily posted this at the beginning of the summer and I have been addicted to it ever since. Summer and weekends have a lot in common you know.



And if you haven't seen this clip from the Jimmy Fallon show of Jimmy and Justin Timberlake doing a history of rap, you won't regret it. I have giant celebrity crushes on both of these gentleman and this certainly adds more fuel to the fire.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Honest Living

Work related projects not in my job description from the last two weeks.So at least I have options if this desk job thing doesn't work out.