Wednesday, August 31, 2011


There are some days where I feel like everything is just half a step off. Today was one of those days. I felt out of sorts and couldn't quite put my finger on why. And then the internet reminded me, as it has a tendency to do when you have left bits of your life all over it, that a year ago today a boy I was busy falling for did one of those thoughtful and romantic grand gestures that feels straight out of a John Hughes movie.

So the weird feeling made sense. If I'm honest, I'm not 100% over that guy. He was really different from the kind of person I am usually attracted to and our whole relationship felt like something sweet (and maybe unrealistic) that I made up when I was 16. I've gotten so tired of telling myself that maybe THIS experience was just good preparation for the ONE but in this case, I really do think I learned a lot from the whole experience. Even though it didn't end the way I was hoping, it was a sweet chapter in my choppy love life.

What I wanted to do when I got home was pull out the cookie dough I shouldn't but do have in my fridge, watch the episode of 30 Rock where Liz Lemon meets her pilot boyfriend, and try not to compose any texts I would instantly regret. Instead I got into my cycling gear and went for a hard ride through the Garden of the Gods. I tackled the really evil hill that I never do and always forget isn't just three steep peaks but has a nasty little fourth kick to get to the top. I listened to tough girl songs and I counted my blessings-all that stuff that sounds cheesy when you are in a mood but somehow manages to work anyway. There are times when I'm almost annoyed that I'm nearly 35 years old* and I'm still spending time and energy trying not to think about a boy. And then I think of all the things I don't have to worry about right now and I'm humbled as usual.

I'm also giving myself a few minutes to remember how swept off my feet I felt last year because that feels fair. It's one of those stories that I will love to tell once the sting is all out.

The Counting Crows album August and Everything After is one of my go to albums when I'm feeling a little melancholy and I found this beautiful version of two of my favorite tracks. I might be watching this in the dark. It's cool though, "''round here we always stand up straight."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quick Release

Dear Internet-

I changed my own bike tire tonight all by myself. Well, all by myself with YouTube. But still-I DID IT.

So old dogs, new tricks and whatnot.

Pretty sure it's because I spent the weekend watching guys do this


Friday, August 26, 2011


I'll be in Breckenridge this weekend watching a couple of Schlecks and a Hincapie and a Leipheimer ride up some hills.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I was in a meeting today when someone (who I cannot stress enough is NOT a member of my organization) went out of his way to treat me like I was an idiot. Completely misconstrued something I said and made me look stupid in front of a room full of people. Fortunately I had a conference call scheduled and had to leave the meeting right after his comments so I had to shake it off by the time I got back to my desk. My boss came by later to see if I was OK and to remind me that I'm not by a long shot the first person to be treated that way by this guy.

This afternoon I had a session of a leadership class I am taking at work. It's based on the Dale Carnegie book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and at first I was a little skeptical. But I don't really believe in turning down development opportunities even if they sounds just this side of cheesy. It turns out the class has got me looking at leadership in a completely new way. Nearly every session stresses the importance of showing appreciation, being far more lavish with praise than with criticism and developing a genuine interest in the people around you. The whole course seems to be built around the revolutionary idea that if you are nice to people and you treat them well, you will get better results out of them. It's been a terrific class and I'm grateful to work in a place where they are teaching us that just plain being good will make you a more effective leader.

So tonight as I have been getting ready for bed I've been thinking more about my interaction with the meanie. I don't want to give him more head space than he deserves but the whole thing really got me thinking about what kind it actually means to be successful. If you have a cool job and you are good at it but it's a known fact that you are arrogant and treat people badly then I tend to think you've failed on a pretty fundamental level. Tonight I'm resolving more than ever that really the only measuring stick I want to use is how I make other people feel.


This is my grandmother. It's her birthday today-a birthday that puts her a little further into her 80's. Let's hear it for living clean ladies and gentlemen because I would cut a tiger to look this good at eightysomething.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Essay

This has been a pretty chill summer. I did my crazy globe-trotting and island hopping earlier in the year so it's been nice to do low-key things for the last few months and just enjoy the warmth and slower summertime pace. I've made some new friends, gotten to ride my bike quite a bit and taken time to some new parts of Colorado.

And then my cousin decided to get married and most of the non-SLC Cliffords peer pressured each other into taking a few days and going home. Now listen, my family is not perfect. We get in stupid fights and we hurt each other's feelings and we definitely talk too loud and too much. But if eternity is a little bit like our Sunday afternoon at Liberty Park, sign. me. up. I'll do forever with this crew.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Remember several months ago when my friends and I saw Fitz and the Tantrums twice in two days because their shows are THAT amazing?

Well in case you didn't believe me, watch them get 10,000 people on the ground at Lollapalooza two weeks ago.

I haven't been able to stop watching this clip, that explosion at 4:17 makes me grin like a damn cheshire cat.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


One of my all time favorite teenage memories was a river trip we took with my church group when I was almost sixteen. In a rather stunning display of all kinds of rule-breaking, we went as a coed group and rafted and camped for three days in Southern Utah. Now, we were Mormons and we were heavily chaperoned so I really don't think any funny business happened but there was something a little illicit about spending our days in swimsuits and sleeping in tents inches away from the handsome boys we'd grown up with.

Then of course, there were the river guides. I don't know if you have to pass some sort of pheromone test to be a guide but ours were completely irresistible to nearly every female on the trip. From about fifth grade on I had a hard time getting boys my own age to pay any attention to me but because I was smart and talkative, older gentlemen usually got a good kick out of me (this is still true by the way, grey hairs tend to think I'm the greatest). I loved sitting up front on the raft and and hearing them talk about college and the terribly adult things they were doing when they weren't running the river. We were an underage church group so I'm sure they were far better behaved than they may have been had we been drunk sorority girls but there is a kind of innocent flirting a college boy can do with a high school girl that gives both of them a nice little ego boost without crossing any creepy lines. And especially for a sort of serious teenage girl who worried constantly that she might never, ever go on a date, it was awfully nice to get some extra attention from the ridiculously good looking "men" leading the trip. There was one in particular who I thought was probably my dream boy and although I have forgotten his name or any other details about him, when I hear the Shawn Colvin song he recommended I check out I can still get an image of his impressed face when I told him I did, in fact, know who she was.

Yesterday we went to a little town about 90 miles from the Springs to do some white water rafting on the Arkansas River, a thing I haven't done since that trip. I was with two couples so I suppose you can guess who ended up sitting with the guide? It turned out he was my age and we had quite a bit in common, including having lived on the same street in HB at different times so we had a fun conversation when he wasn't making us work. I kept wondering exactly what that teenager me would think-"34 and still flirting with river guides? Get a grip older me!" or "34 and cute enough river guides still want to flirt with you? Good job older me!" So I decided that if I remembered the summer of 92 correctly, she'd probably go with the latter.

I guess no matter what we do, our younger selves are knocking around in there somewhere. It was fun to spend the day with mine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fox in Sox

We had a company party at the Sky Sox game last night. Today the guy who took all of the photos said to me, "there is a HILARIOUS photo of you in the shared files," which is precisely what every lady wants to hear. I always want to look HILARIOUS in an easily distributable JPEG.

Turns out it is sort of hilarious. Close your mouth Cliff!

Maybe I'll use it for my profile. (I don't really have a profile)(anymore)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


I wish this song was longer than 43 seconds. But those 43 seconds are pretty rad.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


A few years ago I answered the phone at work and my boss told me she was quitting. I had no idea how to react-we had just signed a major deal with a big celebrity and things felt like they were finally going to take off. The person I admired most at the company leaving seemed like a sign that maybe I was wrong. The HR Director told me to take the afternoon off and I went straight to Crystal Cove to run on the beach and try to figure out what the hell to do with my life. I decided that no matter what happened with the big celebrity contract, for me personally it was time to get out of the comfortable bubble I was in and look for new ways to grow.

It was only a few months later that I was packing up my life once again and moving across the country for a job opportunity. A new opportunity that turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. I do not regret anything about that move-I made incredible friends, learned things about myself that were disappointing and things about myself that were awesome, and had experiences that have increased my capacity for empathy. It was a good move. However, deep in my heart, I know that it was a move I talked myself into because I was a little too chicken to figure out how to grow where I was. A new job, a different city, a new ward-it was a wonderful external way to force myself to change. The last fifteen years of my life have been all about clean slates.

Cut to late summer 2011 and staring down the two year anniversary of moving to Colorado Springs. I have zero reason to be restless, I have a great job, good friends, I'm close enough to Utah that I can drive there or get a cheap plane ticket, the weather is lovely, I've picked up some new hobbies I am loving and I have an apartment that makes me happy every single time I come home. Life is good.


It's easy to get complacent when things are going well. And it's very, very easy when you are single and making a nice living to just be having fun all the time and totally forget to stretch. A couple of months ago an old friend from college asked if he could set me up and while we were talking about it he said, "you have a great life but it's time to quit goofing around and get serious." Let me be clear, I in no way think being 34 and single is an indication that I have been "goofing around". I don't think married people are all responsible and single people are all flakes. (And to be fair, I don't think that's how he meant it either.) But what he said hit a nerve on some other fronts.

Instead of daydreaming about what else might be out there and imagining how I would reinvent myself when I got there, I've decided to make some changes I've been thinking about but not DOING much about for awhile now. This weekend I went on a blind date. I got up early on a Saturday to go for a bike ride and we did some evil hills. I took every box and drawer and pile of stuff I said I would go through "after the Olympics" and sorted and organized and trashed things like an episode of Hoarders. I've committed to some lofty goals at work. I keep thinking about the scripture about needing to be humble lest you GET humbled.

Hard things here I come.


And for your Monday morning listening pleasure-here's a live version of Bon Iver's Blood Bank from Boston recorded Friday night. I heard them play this many years ago, also in Boston, and it was one of my very favorite music moments. A beautiful song that is simply outstanding live.

Monday, August 01, 2011


After work. Ten minutes from the office.

I may never leave Colorado.