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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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
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


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.