Sunday, July 31, 2011


When I was a freshman in college, my friend Brandon came over one night and when he went through all my CD's he told me my New Edition Greatest Hits disc was the ONLY one worth listening to but also cool enough that we could still be friends.

I had to come to the office today to finish up my orders for next summer. And iTunes decided to give me this ditty as a gift

Just for the record, I can still sing every single lyric on that entire album. Yep.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Win Win

I joined a kickball team this summer. Some friends at work sent me an invitation and it seemed so fun I broke my own rule of never signing up for a sport that involves other people. I am just not an athlete so I have tried to stick to thinks like running and biking and even climbing where my inability to catch or serve or hit a ball will make the people at my job hate me.

I was actually pretty stressed out the first night as I realized even kickball requires at least a little coordination and I really do hate to lose at things. I had these terrible flashbacks to being in a hyper competitive congregation as a kid and being the weak link on every softball/volleyball/basketball team the Mormons make their young suffer through regardless of talent level. Fortunately it's really just a nice excuse to run around a little, do some trash talking, high five a bunch and then go sit at Tony's and drink beer (or Diet Coke) on a hot summer night. And tonight I even scored a run and performed decently at third base.

The theme of this year seems to be wildly awesome things strung between millions of tiny simple pleasures. Like Tim photo bombing my double rainbow photo. Endlessly entertaining tonight.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I was getting ready to leave the office tonight when I saw a tweet from a friend with the news that Jeret "Speedy" Peterson had died. Jeret was a freestyle skier and medalist on the US Olympic Team in Vancouver.

I got to met Speedy at an event just prior to Vancouver. I was tasked with making sure he and one of his teammates got in the car that would take them to the airport. We sat on a bench at 30 Rockefeller Center and chatted a bit while we waited. He was cute and funny and charming-just exactly what you imagine when you think of meeting an Olympic skier. When the freestyle team came through team processing a few months later they were lively and fun and his silver medal moment was one of my favorites from the Games.

So the contrast of this young, vibrant guy I have in my head and reading that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot is breaking my heart tonight.

I was already thinking this after reading about Amy Winehouse and her fairly tragic death this weekend as well but gosh, this kind of thing just makes me want to be kinder and more patient with people. We have no idea what kind of demons the people around us might be battling. This article written during the 2010 Games talks about the particular difficulties Jeret went through and the enormous efforts he made to try to deal with them.

I have a lot of Olympic related people and organizations in my social networks so I've been reading all kinds of sweet messages from his friends and teammates. They reminded me of this Jackson Browne song that I've loved since I was about 16. It's sad but it's also tender and hopeful.

I sincerely hope Jeret is finally getting to feel the peace he couldn't seem to find in this life. And that maybe heaven has hills.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Can we all agree that I look good with a dog?

And can we also all agree that all photos should be taken in the witching hour of perfect, golden sunlight?

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Back before everyone had an iPod and a million ways to get music online, some friends and I started a little CD trading club. We all picked some kind of theme and then sent out mixes to the other fifteen people in the group. We lived all over the country so getting the mail for those few weeks was such a treat. Some discs got more play than others but every single one ended up yielding at least one or two gems that are still in rotation even nine years later. That club was what finally unlocked Radiohead for me, helped me see the beauty of electronica, introduced me to Kings of Convenience and Beth Orton and Damien Jurado. We got a Johnny Cash primer and a CD full of songs my friend Mandy was reclaiming from past relationships.

We only did two rounds but I still have all the CD's and the artwork that people put put a lot of effort into. One of my very favorites came from my friend Jed, who I adore for both his flawless musical taste and relentlessly upbeat attitude. It was titled "Late Night Summer Listening in the Dark." It seemed hyper-specific but I am have come to realize that late night summer in the dark activities always require a soundtrack. And typically, you are either doing something super awesome (like eating ice cream in the park and talking until the wee hours) or something super introspective (like staring at the ceiling with your headphones on trying to figure out what to do with your life). I've had a nice amount of the former this particular summer but tonight it's definitely the latter and since this new computer has yet to get it's own LNSLITD playlist, I decided to put a few songs together and share them with you. I hope your late night listening is as satisfying as mine.

I've become straight up obsessed with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals since that Red Rocks show. Their music runs from big rockin' tracks to slow and sexy ones that are perfect for, well, nocturnals like me. I adore this one. The line "lately I feel like I'm fooling myself, either that or I'm fooling everyone else," shot me right through the heart the first time I heard it. Yes to that.

Late night summer activities usually make me feel like I'm 16. And they probably wouldn't love to hear this but Third Eye Blind does a great job of evoking teenage feelings. This is a pretty great make-out song and one thing you should definitely do at about midnight in July is make out.

When I was a sophomore in college I went down to school about a week early for some student government responsibilities. My roommate and I spent the evenings listening to the Barenaked Ladies while we painted our entire apartment. Then we would sit out on our deck and talk and people watch. I started that year with a job I loved, great roommates and a cute football playing boyfriend and every time I hear this song I think of sharing the last dying embers of our summer talking about how amazing the fall would be....

James Blake is a recent discovery. I had him mixed up with the guy who wrote that terrible "You're Beautiful" song and when his name kept showing up on blogs I trusted I was so confused. I finally clicked play late one night on this track and was chastised. This song is full and beautiful and best enjoyed over crickets.

I don't think I could get through a playlist without a Ryan Adams song. I volunteered at a music festival today and was talking to this guy about artists we liked. I said Ryan Adams and he laughed and said, "yeah, my ex really loved him. That guy totally gets girls." Yes he does. This particular one is about a girl with brown eyes that are "pretty as hell" and I think it's one of his most heartbreaking.

I don't even remember where I heard this the first time but it stopped me dead. I was shocked when I discovered it was Keith Richards. It's such a sweet song and I love the melody-it's a got a real Motown feel to it. I have been putting this on late night mixes for years and I get so excited every single time I hear it.

Oh Florence and the are so tied to a boy who broke my heart but so good I can't give you up even when it still stings a bit to listen. This is from a B-side of "Lungs" and it has some pretty terrific lyrics. I particularly love the lines "Falling's not the problem, when I'm falling I'm at peace, it's only when I hit the ground it causes all the grief."

Oh Nada Surf. I'm sorry I wrote you off as a lame novelty band after that "Popular"song. Turns out you guys are awesome. I fell in love with this song one late night in Boston watching them play it. In the dark.

Josh Ritter sang this one Wednesday night and maybe just maybe this is when I started to cry.

It was hard to pick a Broken Social Scene song since You Forgot It In People is such a dear little album to me. There was a summer many years ago where my friend Keith and I spent an inordinate amount of late night time together. It was perplexing to nearly everyone (including me initially) that we weren't dating, it just wasn't ever that kind of relationship. But we adored each other and I probably learned more about guys and relationships from him than I ever did from boys I sparked with. He's a daddy now but this album will always remind me of him and all the crazy fun we had together.

So there we go, ten tracks for summer nights. Late ones. Dark ones. Awesome ones.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Light For My Lantern

These two weeks are probably going to be my two least favorite weeks of the next 18 months. I have to order every single scrap of apparel we will use at the Games next summer by the end of the month. That's every hat and scarf and sock for everyone from the basketball team to the volunteers. It's killing me.

So when my gracious friend Heather called with a +1 to the Josh Ritter/Blind Pilot show in Boulder last night, it seemed like a great way to blow off a little mid-week steam.

The show was in a beautiful old barn built in the early 1900's. You can hear pretty clearly outside so there were all kinds of people spread out on blankets, the night was warm and perfect and both bands seemed a bit awed by the surroundings.

The place felt just a bit magical and since Heather is friends with both band managers and Josh Ritter himself, things got even more unreal when I found myself sipping a ginger ale on the tour bus and discussing the finer point of puppeteering with the drummer at 11:30. On a Wednesday night. In Boulder.

The bus call was midnight to head to Tulsa so after big hugs from Josh we giggled our way back to the car feeling like a couple of teenagers. Running on four hours of sleep all day hasn't been my favorite but this summer and I are having so much fun together sometimes I do irresponsible things.

If you don't love these two artists you need to correct that. See below.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Kids Are Alright

I got a chance to teach the teenage girls at church today and between that experience and being with the five year olds a few months ago, I'm pretty convinced that the key to getting young folks on your side is sparkly jewelry.

Earlier this week a woman from my congregation called to see if I would fill in for her with the 16-17 year old girls she teaches. I was thrilled. I really miss teaching at church-it's a calling I used to get a lot when I was in singles wards and it's always been something that helped keep important stuff rattling around in my brain for longer than just three hours on Sunday. And I like teenagers.

I should clarify-I like the idea of teenagers. Outside of my nephews and the odd outing with a married friend, my life rarely brings me in contact with anyone younger than about 23. So in theory I feel like I would get along with teens but then last night at about 11:30 as I was finishing up my lesson I was suddenly terrified. What if they just sit there and stare at me with the "I'm too cool for this" expressions that half the girls I grew going to church with were super good at? What if they played with their phones while I was trying to say something meaningful (which I am so guilty of doing in our big meetings)? But most terrifying to me-what if a single 34 year old woman is the personification of everything a nice teenage mormon girl is afraid of? Are they going to write me off as a sad spinster? I so rarely get stressed out these days about what other people will think of my life but suddenly the thought of standing up in front of a bunch of high school kids made me feel exactly like an insecure freshman.

So I did what any rational adult would do and I ran over to the grocery store and bought chocolate. And then this morning I made sure to wear something extra sassy and a pair of red high heels for good measure.

It turns out I only had three girls in my class and two of then were visitors. It also turns out that it's not just a theory, I really do like teenagers. The three of them were so darling and paid attention and were willing to participate. We had a nice lesson and then visited a little bit afterwards about their lives and they asked me questions about my job and very adorably mentioned their aunts and uncles who were older and not married and were really cool. It was such a sweet thing for them to pick up on. And they LOVED my earrings. Just like those little five year olds couldn't get enough of my ring a few months ago.

All afternoon I have been thinking about those girls and how being a parent of teenagers much be so challenging. I don't think any of the girls in my class were probably in line for Homecoming Queen. They were fairly shy and quiet and just a touch awkward. And I can imagine that you want to say all the thing to your daughter who doesn't get asked to the dance that adults said to me about college being better and teenage boys being sort of dumb and that it's better to be a good adult than a popular teenager. All of those things turned out to be 100% true and all of those things sounded 100% stupid and unhelpful when I was 16. But I'm awfully glad that there were plenty of people in my life at the time who said it anyway. I felt an enormous sense of responsibility today to use my forty-five minutes to be one of those voices for these girls.

I'll be stocking up on candy and jewelry for my next substitute experience.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

That Old Moon

The moon is full tonight, we hiked a 14er today and then hung out in Breckenridge, I get to teach teenage girls at church tomorrow and this song is stuck on repeat.

Pretty solid Saturday night.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Can we talk about how this is my new favorite piece of clothing ever?? It is this ridiculous floor length dress with bat wing sleeves and was the only article of clothing I could tolerate when I fried myself at the pool last weekend.

I bought it because it looked JUST like something a crazy 70 year old rich lady would wear while drinking mimosas by the swimming pool and sometimes, don't we all want to be that lady?

Also the dress is completely unthreatened if I want to wear big sparkly earrings with it.

I might be wearing it right now.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fooling Myself

If you looked up the word "spoiled" in the dictionary I'm pretty sure there would be a photo of me for the week of July 4, 2011. Allow me to elaborate.

In my quest to have a very Colorado summer, I have been nearly desperate to get up to Morrison and see a show at the famous Red Rocks Park. So my friend Amanda and I made 4th of July plans earlier than I have ever made holiday plans in my entire life and bought tickets to see Toad the Wet Sprocket and Blues Traveler. Then two weeks before the 4th, Amanda got a rad job and moved to Indianapolis. Leaving me with two tickets and a bunch of friends who had already had things going on. So I threw it out on the internet and crossed my fingers that someone really fun had nothing to do on the best day of summer. I toyed with the idea of going up alone-I've been to shows by myself and it can actually be really fun-but somehow going to an iconic venue for the first time on the 4th of July solo just felt like a bummer.

I lucked out big time and my friend Ashley thought she was moving a week earlier and found herself with nothing to do so she took the ticket and we decided to celebrate her last week in Colorado with a bang. (Note-either I am driving people out of Colorado Springs or I need to make friends with fewer flight risks.)

I'll just gush for a moment about how spectacular Red Rocks-it's hard not to speak in hyperbole about it. You drive up this windy road and park and then you walk up about a billion stairs and then suddenly you realize you are seeing a concert quite literally IN a mountain. As in, there are rocks all around you and the band is performing to a backdrop of red rock.

Here we are at the top of the venue-see how it looks like you can see forever? That's because you can see forever.

We were having a hard time sitting still and then this happened

Those first 10 seconds made the hair on my arms stand up. I was right back to about 19 when our family friend's asked me to dog-sit for a week and I would spend every evening with the patio doors open blasting "Fear" and feeling like I was finally an adult. Which seems hilarious now because I was 19 and barely an adult but this album forever has the feeling of the first tastes of the world absolutely feeling like your oyster.

So this week was made, I didn't really need anything else to happen for it to be another pretty great summer week.

But then I happen to be down chatting with some guys in the office and they happened to mention that they might have this extra ticket to see the Avett Brothers and suddenly they are thrilled to get a cheerful designated driver and I'm beside myself to be hitting yet another show at Red Rocks.

They had a friend in town from Florida who had the ticket hookup and the whole evening turned out to be just kind of perfect. Or as Mark put it on the way home, "this was an error free evening, we didn't make a single mistake." The guys were the kind of smart-aleck gentle teasers that remind me of my brothers and because they were all on loan from wives, I got the play the snarky kid sister role that is really one of my best.

The tickets turned out to be VIP, it rained just enough to feel like an adventure but then stopped before it got cold or annoying, the guys managed to get set lists and photos with the opening band and the Avett Brothers did a John Denver cover which made me cry and miss my dad. Guys with kids don't get to a lot of rock shows so it was awfully fun to be with people that were just as outwardly giddy about being there as I always feel at a good concert.

The Avett Brothers melted our faces off as I knew they would but the real revelation of the evening for me was finally understanding all the fuss about Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. They are from Vermont so they played in New England quite a bit but I had never paid much attention. The five of them strutted on stage at precisely 7:30 and proceeded to bring the house down. Grace Potter herself is tall and beautiful with long blonde hair and legs that I didn't think existed outside a Victoria's Secret catalogue. And then she grabs a guitar and this unreal voice takes over and I instantly regretted never learning to play an instrument. Did I mention she rocks three inch heels through the whole set? And that she also plays the keyboard? I was transfixed. If I were a tall, blonde girl who could screech like that and play like that, these are the songs I would want to write and this is the kind of show I would want to put on.

This video pretty much sums it up-be sure to check out around 5:50 when the whole band gets on the drums together. Sick.

I don't even know how the rest of the summer expects to compete. I'm happy to let it try!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Game Changer

Today the IOC announced that Pyeongchang, South Korea will be hosting the Winter Olympics in 2018. I distinctly remember sitting on my mom's bed folding laundry in the summer of 1995 when the IOC announced that Salt Lake would get the 2002 Games and thinking, "that is so cool, too bad I will likely be married with a kid by the time they get here."

I realize this sounds sort of dramatic but I've been in this fog all day thinking about how I had no idea how sitting there that morning separating whites and darks how much that announcement would end up affecting my life. I'll be 40 by the time these Korean Games roll around. Will I go? Will I be bringing kidlets and a nanny? Will something be different in seven years because this thing is happening in Asia and not Europe? Do I even want to go?

Did my whole life change direction today while I ate a turkey sandwich for dinner?

This is how exhausting it is to live in my brain my friends.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

He Takes a Whiskey Drink

I was planning to write a real post tonight but then the internet decided to circulate a video of They Might Be Giants covering the 90's hit "Tubthumping" and well, I've felt compelled to share it on every available web avenue. If you don't think I'm incredibly jealous of the AV Club staffers that got to be part of the chorus that day then you clearly don't know me at all. I promise this is worth 4 minutes and 54 seconds of your day.

They Might Be Giants covers Chumbawamba

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Soul Sister

I should be in bed but holiday weekends bring the night owl out something fierce. I slipped down a rabbit hole of music blog hopping a few hours ago and now it's midnight and I'm alone in my peaceful little apartment enjoying the fruits of my downloading labors.

My dear friend Heather moved to Oregon this weekend. She's off to pursue a graduate degree in writing which makes me incredibly excited for her and maybe a little bit wistful as well. I have a lot to say about dreams and the pursuit thereof that I will save for another time and just say how proud I am of her for doing something so brave and new. She's been a well-loved teacher of English for many a Colorado Springs teen and I have admired the whole process of watching her chase a new dream.

She had a going away slash moving party on Wednesday that included a real movie moment when the sprinklers came on during our lawn pizza feast and we all spilled wet and laughing into her empty apartment to sit on the wood floor and discuss whether or not this was the perfect excuse to play spin the bottle. We didn't but we did listen to music and talk and it was a lovely way to send her on her way.

But then the next night she wasn't gone yet and even though I had already spent a very full weekday evening playing kickball and chatting through a couple rounds of drinks at Tony's, she and my other Heather lured me out of the house and over to a really tiny club to hear some band they promised was worth reapplying makeup and leaving the house at almost 10 on a Thursday to catch.

There couldn't have been more than about 50 people there and it was nearly 11 before Seryn hit the stage so I was 100% unprepared for what we saw. There was a ukelele and a violin and multiple drums and a piano-esque thing and way more guitars than people. We sat in our seats for maybe five minutes before Heather just exploded onto the floor and that's where we stayed and danced and swayed while this band played their guts out for a tiny little audience made up mostly of people who didn't stop talking to each other. I am just terrible at writing about music but I'm pretty good at including a link you will want to click if you like things that make you want to hold hands with a bunch of people you care about and prompt you to tweet really cheesy things like, "the world is full of so many beautiful things there is no sense wasting time worrying about things that aren't." I honestly believe that art has power-music, writing, film, paintings-and that night was one of those little magical summer nights that made me glad I chose people over a good night's sleep. I simply can't imagine this band won't blow up here pretty quick and you won't be able to say I didn't warn you. Click it!

Paste at SXSW: [Video] Seryn :: Featured Videos

Saturday, July 02, 2011


Dear one year from now self,

You are probably stressed out right now and wondering when the next normal meal and full night's sleep are going to happen but please, PLEASE, do not be a jackass and tell a perfectly polite and capable volunteer to "chill out" when all he did was ask where he was supposed to park the car. Because maybe that guy ran a business longer than you have been alive and you couldn't do your big splashy event if he wasn't DONATING his time to help out.

Be nice. Be nice. Be nice.

-you currently volunteer self