Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Small World

About ten years ago I was working on my very first Short Track Speed Skating World Cup. We were working on the list of VIP accreditation and my boss told us to add two for "USOC Reps". I was so nervous to have people from the Olympic Committee at my first event! So of course we took really good care of them and they were really nice and end of story.

So about two months ago I saw this woman in the office who only comes in once a week. Her face and her name felt really familiar and I realized hey, she's that USOC lady from the Short Track event! So I sort of nervously asked her if she had been in Provo for that World Cup and she laughed and said yes. Turns out her husband had been a skater and a coach and back then Speedskating was one of the sports she managed.

We ended up hitting it off and I found out she is some kind of CRAZY cyclist/runner/swimming fiend who seriously does at least two of those things every single day. In between being a kick ass mom and working one day a week for us. Girl crush to say the least. Yesterday she emailed to see if I wanted to do a bike ride tonight after work. She and my boss are friends so the three of us ended up heading out together.

I probably should have known when I got to her house ON A HILL and we headed DOWN that hill that um-the very end up of our ride would be a somewhat brutal climb. That doesn't really say great things about the rest of the ride now does it?

We did 27 miles and she made sure to take us on one of nastiest hills in Colorado Springs. There were several points at which I weighed the embarrassment of telling them they would need to come back for me with the fact that my lungs were straight going to explode. Instead I put my head down and kept grinding and felt like a complete rock star when I came up over the last bump and her husband told us how tough we were.

It was a great ride and I probably have lots to say about how this might be the healthiest era of my life and how much I am enjoying finding my inner athlete. But mostly it was just fun to think about how you absolutely never know how and when people will float in and out of your life. And how glad I am that I learned from a young age by watching my mother that it's better to be nice to people. They might come back in ten years in kick your butt on a random Tuesday...in the best possible way.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Prize Fighter

I don't usually like to repost funny stuff from the internet on my blog but this happens to feature a friend of mine AND it's hilarious so...for your Monday viewing pleasure:

The Jane Austen Fight Club

(Emma is my friend Farrah, I'm glad I know not to mess with her!)

Feel free to share...it's burning it's way across the web today.

This just in...also directed by a dear old friend, one Mr. Keith Paugh. Crazy talented fella, happy to see some of his work getting so much attention.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Kids in the Hall

Who needs kids of their own when you have these to spoil and then give back to their parents?

This week was completely bonkers. The first ever Youth Olympic Games are next month in Singapore and we had 125 athletes and staff to outfit. It's been kind of a zoo as you can imagine.

My summer of Colorado exploration continues tonight as I head to Steamboat Springs with some girlfriends. We're going to sit in hot pools, float down the river, run a 5K, hike, bike, and probably take a photo or two. Is anything better than summer?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kid Rock

Dear Morgan,

Two years ago tonight your Aunt Katie was having a pretty big day. She took a private plane with the Chief Marketing Officer of a great big shoe company to New York for a big party she planned to open a very cute little store in SoHo. It was a very cool party and all kinds of fancy people from trendy magazines came and danced and drank lots of free beers and told us how darling our store was. I kept my blackberry close that night because I was waiting for some other big news as well. I was in the middle of a conversation when I felt the vibration of phone in my pocket. A message from my sister, "larrybird is here!"

I imagine your parents have told you that we called you larrybird for most of the time your momma was growing you. I had to go right back to that party and pretend that I was glowing over sneakers and rubber boots but for about ten minutes, I stood on a street corner in Manhattan and thought about how I would never forget that moment and how someday I would get to tell you that you managed to upstage one of the major milestone days of my career.

You are turning two today and it seems like pretty much everything is different than it was when you were born. You got a little brother, a cousin, and a new uncle. All your dad's siblings AND several of your grandparents have moved to new cities or houses or jobs. Maybe you were the catalyst for a lot of nice things happening to so many of us. You were progress Morgan. A brand new invention, something we'd never had in our family before. And now there are more little Clifford babies for us to adore and overphotograph and brag about, but you will always be our first.

I found out what a nephew was in kindergarten when my friend Ryan, whose brothers and sisters were all VERY OLD, brought one for Show and Tell. I was the oldest so it seemed like it would be a long time before we had any in our own family. In the meantime, every human being I knew became and aunt or uncle and blabbed on and on about how great nieces and nephews were. Now I like kids just plenty but I was always just a little suspect about how great they could really be. And then I met you. And i haven't been able to stop buying tiny LeBron James high tops and stuffed monkey's and miniature hoodies for you. You and your cousin are the background on my phone, your face is all over my fridge, you are in more frames in my house than your parents are.

You have plenty of people there in Utah who love you and I know when I come around it's always a struggle to remember who I am and to figure out why I seem to like you so much. I had a different kind of crazy day at work today, in Denver, not New York. But I got funny texts from your Grandma and called your dad and saw a photo of the fabulous cake your mom made for your big day. It's funny for me to think about you running around Murray Park today-completely oblivious to how many people adore you and have all kinds of dreams and hopes for you.

So on your second birthday, indulge me a few auntie style wishes.

-I hope you keep demanding that your parents let you watch the US Open on The Golf Channel
-I hope when you start talking, your miraculously have a slight spanish accent
-I hope you learn to dribble before you learn how to read
-I hope one day you will sing "hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog" on my voicemail
-I hope that your Aunt Emily posts photos from your birthday party before I am dead

Mostly Morgan, I hope you know how lucky we are that you came to our family. I love you so much that I say ridiculous things like "i want to eat that baby!" when I get photos of you. You have reduced me to the personification of every dumb aunt cliche and I don't even care. I post photos of you, I show people funny videos of you acting like a chicken, I squeeze you to pieces when I see you even though you look at me like I'm a space alien.

I love you Morgan, and it thrills me to my toes that I get to be your Aunt for pretty much the rest of forever. Happy happy birthday you little weasel.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sign of the Times

I must finally be getting either 1) old or 2) responsible because despite the fact that I have loads to write about and it's only 10:14, I am going to put myself to bed so I can be a well rested and productive member of society tomorrow.

Something is wrong.

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Take a look at this list of Emmy Nominations and see if you can figure out why I am so excited today:

Best actor in a drama

Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights"
Hugh Laurie, "House"
Matthew Fox, "Lost"
Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Best actress in a drama

Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"
Glenn Close, "Damages"
Connie Britton, "Friday Night Lights"
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
Mariska Hargitay, "Law and Order SVU"
January Jones, "Mad Men"

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Tony Award

I'd like to take you on a little tour of the random ways a person can end up downloading a small fortune from iTunes in an astonishingly short period of time.

Last night I was watching "It's Complicated" while I worked on a few projects and wound down from my weekend. The movie was pretty good but the soundtrack was outstanding. It opens with a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song that I could identify as them but couldn't seem to find the title. I Googled it about ten times but the song that kept coming back didn't seem right. So I called the one guy who I knew could figure out what I was looking for-my dad. I sang the part I liked from the movie and he said "oh you mean Judy Blue Eyes? The best seven and a half minutes in music?". Ladies and gentlemen, is it crystal clear where I got it?? So we talked about how awesome Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young are for awhile and then I went back to watching the movie.
Turns out I did know the song but I actually thought it was two different songs. The whole thing IS worth a listen but it's right around 6:35 that I was so obsessed with last night. Like so obsessed I want to put that minute on a loop and throw a dance party where that is all we play. Download #1.

So then there is a scene with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin having dinner that ends in laughing and dancing and there are several songs in a row that had me so excited. First it was this John Legend gem that I already own and have always loved. My favorite lyric is "love hurts sometimes when you do it right".

Then it was Joss Stone who I always forget I really like. This one is maybe a little more "wealthy white people falling in love in New York" then I normally love but there was something so danceable and happy about it, I pretty much HAD to download it. #2

I decided to finish the rest of the movie at that point and wait until the end to do some more searching. So the next thing I looked up was from that same scene and was by Raphael Saadiq. I knew his name but hadn't really ever listened to him. In a sort of odd twist of musical fate-I had downloaded some Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings earlier in the day (yep, I am an addict people) and he was on the "you might also like" section of the iTunes store. So I downloaded "Love That Girl" without even listening to a sample. #3

Does that voice sound sort of vaguely familiar to anyone else? I did my standard wikipedia search that I always do on new artist and OMG! Raphael Saadiq is actually Raphael Wiggins of Tony! Toni! Tone! He was lead vocals on this piece of R & B perfection from my youth...

So maybe I ended up picking up this, "Let's Get Down" and "Anniversary". I already own "It Never Rains (in Southern California)". I think I have mentioned before that I am a sucker for the other clips that run down the side of your You Tube selection and I got lost in about 30 minutes of New Edition. I actually thought I had this one already but I didn't. Now I do.

When I was sixteen and my parents let me paint my bedroom I listened almost exclusively to New Edition's Greatest Hits and "Homebase" by DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince. A memory that made me realize I didn't own "Summertime" which *might* be one of the greatest summer songs of all time. So I bought that too. We are up to 8 at this point.

I went back for a little more Saadiq..

Which lead me to some Anthony Hamilton

And then I realized maybe I should go to bed when I got here a few hops later

Because I could probably actually drown under the weight of nostalgia for the gloriousness that was 1997-98. But just for good measure I downloaded this

Ah Toad the Wet Sprocket. Why didn't I already own this song?

And so that my friends is how I kill and evening AND part with about $15 without even trying.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

June Bug

Oh hey, it's the 4th of July already-does anyone else feel like 2010 is the Usain Bolt of years??

June certainly had a lot going for it-the Wasatch Back Relay and getting to meet my new nephew , the trip to Portland, a site visit to London, an old friend making a pit stop on her great escape from Provo to New York...and it still managed to outdo itself.

Some highlights...

-My nephew Wyatt Mark is a doll-baby. Holding a newborn just never gets old. My little brother being the father of two children also never stops taking my breath away. He and Tasha are so good at making kids I think they shouldn't stop until they have a baseball team.
-Wyatt's big brother Morgan gets funnier every time I see him. I took him some tiny LeBron James high tops I picked up in Portland and got my first unsolicited hugs from the guy. He was so excited that we ran, kicked the soccer ball and dribbled in the house to try out the new kicks. He's still not so sure about me but I think we both learned an important lesson about the value of a good bribe. I always sort of fantasized about being the fun aunt who gave the kids fun toys but always figured that as the oldest, I certainly wouldn't be the auntie before I was the mommy. Fate, you have a wicked sense of humor.
-The Wasatch Back was fabulous as usual. It's such a thrill that the thing my siblings like to do together is something so active and that takes us through the most stunning parts of our home state. The best news of this year's race is that all this training in Colorado and doing that infernal Incline once a week without fail meant that I ran my legs in my fastest times ever. And I felt really fantastic too. My second leg started at 12:30 at night and was a little over six miles long. I was totally alone for most of it, just me, my headlamp and my playlist. I really can't think of many things I've ever done that make me feel more like I am truly living than those night runs. If you haven't done one of these races, and you like running even a little bit-just DO IT.
-Post race we finally did what I've been dreaming of since the first year and stayed up in Park City at a fancy hotel with a hot tub and big comfy beds. It was just as dreamy as I hoped it would be and it had better be a tradition...are you listening siblings?
-I got back from Utah on a Sunday night and sort of forgot we'd be leaving for London so quickly. But before I left, it turned out my sister-in-law Kristen would be in Denver on her very first business trip. I drove up to take her out to dinner and oddly, three couples from college-including the lovely Jane who was here in May for the dance competition-also happened to be in Denver for the Sox-Rockies series. So Kristen and I met up with them after the game and I got to catch up with all of them. I hadn't seen Troy and Daphne in probably ten years but there is something about your college people-they always feel so familiar. Jane posted an awfully cute photo of all of us here. I promise no one has aged a day. Good people, great families-lucky lucky me to be able to steal a little time with them.
-London was a delight. I got to spend a good chunk of time in the school we are going to use to process the athletes in 2012. We saw a bunch of venues and then spent a couple of days just getting to know the city. I am enjoying my Colorado home more by the second but oh boy is there ever a city girl in my soul. I love the crowds, I love the Tube, I love the shopping, I love the energy. I can't wait to keep going back and kind of can't believe I have a job that is going to allow that!
-The highlight of the trip was getting to sneak off one night and say hello to my friend Danny from my Boston days, and my friend Monica from my HB days, both of whom are now living in London. And then walking into the pub and running smack into my friend Troy from my SUU days who happens to be there taking a class during his break from law school. Epic.

-In yet another random coincidence, on our way back from London we had a layover in Denver. I was scanning Facebook and noticed my friend Alex also happened to be at DIA and his flight was delayed. I texted, he called and within 10 minutes we were catching up in an airport bar.
-I landed in Colorado Springs and my friend Heather texted to see if I was up for the Incline. I was tired and jet lagged but I had workout clothes and a headlamp with me so I went to her house instead of home and up we went. It's awfully satisfying to choose pushing yourself over going home and passing out.

Which brings me to this 4th of July weekend. It's been such a busy busy few months that I flat forgot to make any sort of plans for the 4th of July. I toyed with going to Huntington and considered a road trip of some sort but in the end, decided to just stay put.

Well sorta. As you may know, Colorado is rather full of places you have all heard of what with all the skiing they do here. Breckenridge, Aspen, Vail, Steamboat Springs, Durango, Grand Junction...the list kind of goes on and on and I figure I really ought to take advantage of my time here and do some exploring. So I talked my friend Greg into just hitting the road yesterday. We sort of made a plan but mostly, we just got in the car and headed out of town. We atarted by driving to the top of Pike's Peak. I was ONLY willing to drive it after Greg pinky swore that we would get some people together and climb the thing before summer's end. Do I even need to say that the view from 14,000 feet is spectacular? These are the views that inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write America the Beautiful back in the late 1800's-a fact I didn't know until yesterday.

After Pike's Peak, we headed West and then North and stopped in Leadville. They have a pretty famous bike race and 100 mile run there so we decided to check it out. Poor Greg discovered that I am pretty much my mother as I chatted my way through two antique shops, an art gallery and introduced myself to the Leadville 100 founder who happened to be wandering around near the finish of a marathon they held yesterday. Then we drove up to I-70, stopping in Frisco long enough for me to fall wildly in love with it AND get my third Diet Coke of the day. Fourth if you count lunch but I think she may have given me Pepsi. We ate dinner in Denver and I dropped Greg off a respectable 13 hours after we set off.

There was an episode of This American Life recently that was all about road trips and the American desire for a road trip to spur some sort of adventure or ephiphany. My honest expectation for yesterday was to explore my new home a little bit and to take advantage of a three day weekend, but I have to admit maybe in the back of my head I was hoping for an adventure or an epiphany.

Colorado delivered on both counts. This will come as a shock to no one but I was controlling the iPod for most of the trip and at one point "Rocky Mountain High" cycled through. I have heard that song about a zillion times in my life-John Denver was a staple when my dad would play guitar with us as kids. But here we were, driving along through the Rocky Mountains, in a state that was never on my list, a year after one of the toughest stretches of my life and the lyrics reached right through the speakers and almost made me cry:

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Comin' home to a place he'd never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door

This is just how I feel about Colorado. I realize more and more as I get older how much Salt Lake is a part of me and I love it so much. California is the only home I really ever chose myself and will always be special, Boston is a place where I learned and grew more than I ever wanted to but it felt temporary from day one. Enter Colorado. I don't have any idea if I will live here forever, but for the first time in maybe my entire adult life, I am not thinking about the next move. I'm really, really happy here. Happy and settled in a way I haven't been in I don't know how long. I love seeing mountains every day as I drive home and knowing I get on one in about ten minutes if I want to. I love that people at work want to go for bike rides. I love that tonight we watched The Sandlot on the lawn and tomorrow there are ten places to go running that I've never seen before. We're coming up on the anniversary of that email from my friend saying, "there is this job in the Springs...are you at all interested?"

Best yes I ever said. I'll be John Denver would agree.

Thursday, July 01, 2010