Wednesday, June 27, 2012


At 4:30 today I was toggling between Dan O'Brien and Jackie Joyner Kersee at a presentation for all the athletes that have qualified for the team the last two days when I got three texts and two phone calls from friends in Colorado Springs letting me know my apartment complex had been evacuated due to the raging wildfires devouring our city.

Fortuitously, my dear friend Emily came down from Portland tonight to hang out with me and she has been here to take my mind off the coverage I can't quite take my eyes off of everything burning, burning, burning. I am scared to go to sleep and wake up to the news that my apartment is gone. I have felt a million things tonight and made a thousand lists of what I would have pulled out of my place had I been home.

Universe, you are a laugh a minute these days.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Track Town

So this is the day I had.

For three hours this morning we opened nine pallets worth of clothing and arranged it on racks and tables.

Then we went to do a tour of the stadium and happened to be in the coaches box when Ashton Eaton broke a world record in the decathlon 100m.  It is not going to hurt my feelings when we get to fit Ashton for his Team USA gear.

Taken with my iPhone. No zoom. OMG.

Afterwards we wandered around the venue for awhile and happened to run across an older gentleman my coworker Cindy knew from way back named John Carlos. Who was he? Just this guy. I got an actual chill up my spine shaking his hand and I haven't stopped thinking about it all day.

John Carlos was the bronze medalist
Then it was back to the hotel where we finished up our set up. This is what outfitting looks like for the 2012 Olympic team.

We wrapped up with way too much sushi and gossip on a rainy Eugene night.

Tomorrow it all begins and I feel a little bit like a kid on Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Glory Days

My house is not going to be as clean as I like it to be before I leave on long trips and I had to dump a few less than savory projects I had planned to do the last two days on the intern fleet but every single cliche about family funerals came true in the last 48 hours and I am so relieved that I went.

My dad picked me up at the airport yesterday and we got to spend some father-daughter time together which we haven't done in a long time. We get together in groups and piles when I am in Utah and neither of us are big phone talkers so it was nice to sit in a restaurant and listen to him talk about my Uncle and how he was feeling.

I hadn't been to Idaho since my grandmother's funeral almost 20 years ago.  But I was born there. And we spent glorious weeks there as kids, climbing trees and sliding down roofs and searching for-and sometimes finding-wild kittens in the tall grass of my grandparent's field. My grandma let us drink Coke out of the bottle and eat candy until we were borderline diabetic. On those vacations there were always trips into Rexburg to see my Uncle Kyle and Aunt Julie and our cousins. I have good memories of those trips and even though we drifted far, far apart as adults, it was stunning to me how familiar they felt as my Dad and I went through the line at the viewing last night.

A collection of my siblings were driving up from Utah so it was just Dad and me last night, hin running into all manner of old friends and family he hadn't seen in ages. Everyone looked so old and it was something of a jolt to realize how fast my own father is suddenly 66. I remember him when he was my age and that feels a bit surreal.

After the viewing I asked if we could drive by my grandparent's house. He was a little hesitant-it had been a long time since he had the seen the place he grew up in-but we made our way over anyway. Menan, Idaho looks exactly like I remember it. Maybe a new house or two down the road we drove a million times as kids but mostly unchanged acres and acres of farmland. We got to the house and it looked tired. There were a lot of cars in the yard and two somewhat unsavory looking characters were in the yard. I said I wanted to go in, Dad was uncharacteristically emphatic in saying no. But he pulled down a dirt road behind the house and let me take a few photos. I am an emotional gal and I like nostalgia as much as the next guy but I still wasn't prepared for the weight of emotions that are tangled up in places where you spent so much time as a wee person. That house was the most consistent brick and mortar of my first 18 years and it was bittersweet to see weeds and junky cars surrounding it.

We left the house and went to get gas and then suddenly the other kids had arrived and they wanted to see it too so back we went.  We caught up to a carload of them on the deserted street leading to the house so I got out of the car and chased them for a minute much to the delight of my nephew Garrett who was so hopelessly sugared up we didn't get him to bed until 11:30.

We drove up to the house and the eight of us spilled out, trying not to freak out the people who lived there and probably not succeeding. All my dad's city mice, walking around in the pasture next to the tiny tiny place where my grandmother taught two little farm boys to dream beyond the borders of their little town. I know he was sad to see the place in disrepair but I could tell he was also overwhelmed with all the support crammed into those cars. There was a time before my parents got divorced when lots of us didn't get along with him very well and he's worked pretty hard the last twelve years to make things right. He's taken responsibility for a lot of the mistakes he made with us and been incredibly supportive of all the decisions we've made as adults.

It's no big secret that I love my family right? I think it's well documented here that I think they are great.  But seeing them all there, knowing that it wasn't a perfect or easy time for anyone to take a time out, I felt even luckier to have them. Sometimes I get so lonely I can actually feel it in my bones but when I'm with all of them, all of that melts away and I just think I'm blessed beyond reason to be part of this crew.

The funeral was really nice, my Dad did the life sketch and because he's a terrific writer, it was beautiful. He got more emotional than I have ever seen him, I know this is harder than he knows how to show.

Uncle Kyle was buried near my grandparents. We walked through a cemetery with lots of "Clifford" headstones. I guess maybe all the moving around I've done as an adult and still being pretty rootless I just forget how nice it is to be in a place with a foundation.

We finished off the event with a big fat pizza buffet in and then Emily and Aaron dropped me off at the airport.

Very selfishly, I can't believe how calm I feel now on the eve of this crazy summer. My friend from USA Track and Field who is already in Eugene texted me today to say my NINE PALLETS were at the hotel. This is happening and I am really, really excited. But I'm also really sure that whatever else happens in the next 60 days, these last 48 hours were the most important of the summer.

A few highlights of the trip

Dad over the Snake River. I made him stop so we could walk across it. 

My sister the fashion queen-classing up the joint

Garrett's first funeral. He was pretty great. 

I call this "dad couldn't figure out the iPhone" 

Monday, June 18, 2012


I've added a leg to my crazy summer travel schedule. 

I'm driving up to Denver tomorrow morning to catch a flight to Idaho Falls where I will meet up with my dad and an assortment of my siblings to attend my Uncle Kyle's funeral. 

I found out Saturday night and my very understanding father told me that he was proud of everything I am up to at the moment and I shouldn't worry about getting to the funeral happening less than 24 hours before I leave for for Olympic Trials in Eugene. But hearing myself explain to the very nice boy who told me to come over when he heard the news that I was too busy with work to go just sounded like a person I don't want to be. So I booked a flight and unless I absolutely have to go in between Eugene and Knoxville, my next day in the office is in September. 

I should definitely be freaking out right now and worrying about a hundred things but I feel remarkably calm. It's hard to explain but as soon as I made the decision to go the funeral and to be there for my dad, I felt like I had passed some kind of life test and the reward is a sense of peace about the summer to come. 

I've been working really hard to two years now to prepare for this. I'm ready, it's time now to have some faith in my abilities and just get to work. It's been an interesting couple of weeks both personally and professionally-I've been learning maybe even more than I wanted to about forgiveness and self-awareness and getting a chance to leave with clean slates all around. 

Tomorrow night I will get to spend some time with a bunch of my favorite people on earth and although I'm very sad for my Uncle's family and for my dad, I do feel tremendous sense of gratitude that I will get to see their faces and draw some strength from my little tribe before I leave. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Typical Situation

So what does a typical day at work look like when we are leaving for the Olympics in less than a month?

A little bit like this.

Guys, when an email like this starts to seem like no big deal then I'll know it's time to quit. In two weeks I'll be in Eugene, Oregon, fitting newly minuted Olympic Team Member after newly minted Olympic Team Member with all their Team USA gear for eight jam packed days. And in the afternoon I'll introduce Olympic legends to those athletes who will tell them how to be good ambassadors at the Games.

How did this even happen?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Groundhog Day

I had a date last night.

Let's not get too excited internet. We had a lovely time and we're going to hang out again but I'm not spilling one single detail beyond that. 

But can we talk about how dating is really, really, really weird? Everything about it. And the longer I have to do it the more the whole process is still just as scary and awesome as it was when I was 16 and dying to get started. 

We went to this restaurant last night that is popular with guys of a certain age here in the Springs so yeah, I had been on dates there before. And as I'm sitting there running through my siblings and where they all live and who has kids and who has a cat I can't help thinking that the last time I did this I had two fewer nephews and one of the cats was new. And how many times am I going to do this in my life? How many times am I going to make my joke about how 35 in Mormon girl single years is like 55 in regular girl years? And I don't say that in any kind of whiny or self-pitying way but I'm just so curious how many times you can hear yourself tell the same stories while trying to be charming and funny and flirty and light and have it still seem genuine? 

We texted quite a bit in the last few days. Because that is what you do now. I know all my married friends and people who got hitched in the 50's like to roll their eyes and say that texting is so lazy and "in my day a man called you on the phone and asked you out." Well that's not how we do it in 2012 guys. You exchange numbers and then you text. And frankly, when you are sitting in a meeting and a name you are excited about pops up on your phone, it's awesome. And when he says something super cute and maybe just a little bit brave because texting makes us brave, you can read it over and over for days. The ability to text-flirt all day long is maybe one of my favorite hobbies in the entire world. I will also tell you that it is incredibly satisfying to delete delete block delete when someone breaks your heart. How did anyone know you were ignoring them before there were at least two or three solid social media options for making sure he knows you don't want him to know you anymore?

So there had been texting. Questions back and forth, figuring stuff out, getting an idea of someone. I got out of the car last night for our real life interaction and panicked. Because after a few days of texting I was invested. It was just a first date but we already knew a bunch of things about each other.  So you get to a first date in 2012 and you have already sort of been out on a date and a half. And I'm walking into that restaurant I have been to with someone else on another first date and I'm thinking-as exhausting as it is to be alone, it's exhausting and then terrifying to start the whole process of getting to know somebody new. Can't we just keep texting? I'm really, really good at the texting. 

I have this adorable trio of guy friends who have taken it upon themselves to be my dating coaches lately. They had all been giving me advice all day as thought it was my first date ever instead of another in a loooooooooong string of first dates. Steve called as I was driving home to change, "just make sure you smell good and be yourself and he will literally be unable to resist you." If only sixteen year old me had had such fairy godfathers. 

We talked about a million and thank goodness he was both a good question asker and a willing answerer. The first date at 35 vs the first date at 25 means that you know all the things you want to find out pretty quickly. Or at least you think you do. 

After dinner we walked over to a coffee shop and I am not kidding, walking along the sidewalk in the summer darkness with a boy you are excited about feels EXACTLY the same now as it did when I was 16. And I am so relieved that it does. Because I had a friend once upon a time who said that maybe in our thirties we just needed to accept that we would never feel those kind of butterflies again and it sounded so depressing. I need at least a few. 

I woke up this morning and I had two thoughts-relieved to have gotten through a really great first date. Yay, good job me! And then the feeling of "oh my gosh now what?". Can't I just be a really good first dater and not get any further into waters that might lead to getting eaten by an alligator? Should we quit while everyone is still excited and he really didn't seem to think I talk too much (I do)?

This is why people get cats. 

Monday, June 04, 2012


Our intern made this name tag himself. I'm glad they are starting to know their place. 

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Bucket list

Disclaimer for this post-I have zero complaints about spending most of my summer at the Olympics. However, summer is my absolute favorite time of year and Colorado is simply a spectacular place to spend it.  I have had two delightful summers here so far and I'm just a baby bit heartbroken to completely miss this one.


I'm making a list of 15 things I want to do  in the 21 days I have in the Springs. If you live here, and you want to join me for any of these adventures-the more the merrier says I.

Colorado summer in 21 days

1. Sunset Incline hike
2. Bike to the top of Cheyenne Canyon
3. Eat Josh and John's ice cream at the Manitou Springs park
4. Stay out with friends too late on a work night
5. Make dinner out of things from the Farmer's Market and eat it outside
6. Finish my "late night summer listening in the dark" playlist
7. Make out to the summer listening playlist I got from my friend Adam  (this one is a bit of a challenge but I am up to it!)
8. See some live music (I already have my tickets for a David Bazan house show, you don't want to miss it if you live here.)
9. Go to a summer blockbuster (happy to take suggestions)
10. Take a random half day off work and spend it at the pool (this will be tricky but I'm committed)
11. Eat something that was grilled outside
12. Lunch on the Nosh patio
13. Trail run in Ute Valley
14. Moonlight hot tub dip
15. Finish up the first Insanity rotation without cheating

If I can get through this list then I think I will be able to get on the plane without feeling too much melancholy about all the hikes, weekend getaways, happy hours that stretch into happy all nights, BBQ's and late night chat fests that always make summer feel just a little bit sweeter than any other time of year. I know that all manner of adventure awaits in London, as I get older is just seems that the simple pleasures mean more and more.

Here is one of my all time favorite late night summer listening in the dark track.